denim inspiration

The sun has finally come out and the first two things we thought of when we saw it were, "We're heading to the beach!" and "We're breaking out our denim shorts!"  There's no summer wardrobe staple more important to us than the classic denim cut-off.  They just look so chic in the sun and, of course, a little bit of tan doesn't hurt!  Paired with a striped tee and sandals for day or with a loose cropped top and heels for night, the denim cut-off is as versatile as it is comfortable.  Our favourites come courtesy of One Teaspoon and ksubi.  And so, to celebrate the return of blue skies and to get you ready for summer, here are some of our favourite denim inspirations to get you excited!



bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


the key to style

SHINee is in many way's K-pop's male answer to Girls Generation and at the forefront of SHINee as their lead dancer and rapper is Key.  Since the group's formation in 2008, Key has caused millions of girls' hearts to throb and their throats to scream in excitement.  He's also become a fashion icon, with legions of male fans scrambling to imitate his style.  So it came as no surprise to us when we saw Key upload a photo of himself with House of Holland's Henry Holland, wearing a pair of House of Holland sunglasses.  Key chose one of House of Holland's best selling round-frame styles, with a reflective rose gold finish.  We think they're perfect for summer.  And now that they're Key-approved, we're sure millions of others think so, too!

Korean pop group sensation SHINEE, with KEY on the far right.

Key of K-pop boy band, SHINEE (left) with Henry Holland of House of Holland (right).


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


chalayan in beijing

Hussein Chalayan is a busy, busy man!  After both closing the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore and then coming to Hong Kong to unveil a special set-up of his Fall/Winter 2013 collection at I.T Hysan, Hussein Chalayan then hopped on a plane over to China for press interviews in Beijing.  This was Chalayan's first press trip to Beijing and he was met with an overwhelmingly warm, positive and excited response.  The Electric sekki team's experience with Chalayan in Beijing was definitely an incredible one.  With a set-up of a selection of his Fall/Winter 2013 showpieces on offer at the Yuan Gallery, Chalayan whizzed through a round of press interviews like a real pro, and then, off it was to go and take in the city sights!  Hussein, it was such a pleasure to have you over with us in Asia and we can't wait to see you again soon at your show in Paris!

Hussein Chalayan with Time Out Beijing's Alice McInerney.

Hussein Chalayan (right) with Madame Figaro's Ou Keke.

Electric sekki founder and president, Amiee Squires-Wills with Electric sekki Communication & Marketing Executive Fiona Wong ride a bicycle-operated rickshaw to pick Chalayan up from his hotel in the morning.

Electric sekki has arrived in Bejing at the Yuan Gallery!

Setting up the racks of Chalayan Fall/Winter 2013 at the Yuan Gallery.

Hussein Chalayan, the stunning anthology by Rizzoli, sits on a table at the Yuan Gallery.

The set-up for press to view Chalayan's Fall/Winter 2013 collection at the Yuan Gallery.

And, if you missed it, don't forget to check out Electric sekki's exclusive interview with Chalayan here.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


chatting with chalayan

While Chalayan was in Hong Kong after having the honour of closing the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, Electric sekki had the chance to sit down for a quick chat with the designer before press interviews at his I.T Hysan set-up in Causeway Bay.  Known primarily for innovative work such as his transforming wooden table skirt, his bubble dress and his light-up LED skirts, Chalayan is perhaps surprisingly also an incredibly astute businessman with a keen eye on the industry and a deep understanding of entrepreneurship.  Of course, sitting down to chat with such a man was conducive to delightful conversation where he offered tidbits about how designing for him is in some ways analogous to cooking a curry, as well as his insights on how the change in the media landscape has influenced the public's perception of his work.  I mean, if that doesn't get you chomping at the bit for more, we don't know what will!

You just had the honour of closing the Audi Fashion Festival; how did you find your experience there?
It was my first time in Singapore and it felt to me like the Switzerland of this region in that everything is calmer and maybe not as exciting as Hong Kong, but it's still very much a future city, so I felt that it was interesting to be there.  They were very accommodating, very professional and it was very exciting.  I would have preferred to have all Asian models, but I couldn't because there just weren't enough models!

Have you spent much time in Asia?  This is your first time in Hong Kong, correct?
Yes, this is my first time in Hong Kong.  The place I've been to a lot is Japan.  And Thailand.  We've always had quite a good business in Japan from the early days, so I feel like I know Japan really well.  But you see the difference here in Hong Kong.  I mean, definitely, we can sense it's the new power!  I feel like Japan is super-refined and very sophisticated.  I think it's very formal--more formal.  I feel like there is definitely a connection between Hong Kong and Tokyo, but it feels to me like Hong Kong is almost a combination of New York and Tokyo, plus steroids!  Yes!

Let's talk a bit about your Fall/Winter 2013 collection.  One of the highlights of the collection were the transformative dresses; at the end of your show, I even heard from many a show-goer that it brought them to tears.  How did you come up with this idea?
Really?  Well, the whole thing was about the idea of escaping the body; the body escaping itself and then being held back, so it was like a reluctant spirit that doesn't want to leave.  So the clothes were always about moving away, but being held back, so that's why we had these layers that shift.  Those clothes were really about transforming from one idea to another; you would change the identity of the wearer, in relation to the theme.  Transformation and metamorphosis has been something that has been in my work for a long time.  I wanted it to be done in a very low-tech way, so it was actually quite a difficult thing to achieve.  There were no wires, nothing; it was just about someone pulling [a string].  We had to experiment a lot until it was right.  I also liked the idea that you can, on a practical level, do it in such a way that you can actually wear it that way; you can actually wear the dress and change it in the evening because you're going out.

For me, it almost seemed like a full circle from that wooden skirt that you made that transformed into a table.  Did you see you it as a culmination of all those years from that initially very innovative design and now taking that idea into something that is a little bit more wearable?
I think that, yes, it's a good way of looking at it.  I'm trying to purify my ideas more and more.  I think there's a thread that runs through all the work and here, in this last collection - Rise, it's called - definitely metamorphosis was something I looked at; you know, how butterflies change from the worm to the butterfly so, essentially, I'm always looking at movement, looking a process within a movement, and taking one bit of it, almost like a still from a film.  I think I've been working this way for a long time now, so what's nice is to simplify, purify and make it more practical.  A lot of the time I'm looking at my old work, as well, because there are timeless ideas that I can take again and do it in a new way.  I've been doing this now for 20 years!  It's our anniversary next year.  I've been at it for a while.

I think it's interesting when you talk about purifying your ideas these days because, to a lot of the press and the industry, you're considered one of the last remaining truly innovative and creative designers, whereas a lot of designers these days have succumbed to commercialization.  That is the world that we live in now.  How do you exist between the two?
It's challenging because we've actually always made very wearable clothes but, when I started in the mid-90s, there was no digital media.  Nothing like what you guys are part of now!  We would wait six months for a thing called Collezione, which was this Italian magazine that they print - they still have them - but we would wait six months and then go, "Oh, wow!  They gave me four pages!  Brilliant!"  So, the newspapers used to choose, always, the pictures of the showpieces in order to sell their papers, so we then got known as "avante garde" designers but, actually, there would only be about three pieces in our collections that were like that.  I spent most of my time - and I still do - making really wearable clothes and working on sleeve heads, collars, technical stuff, you know?  Because that side of our work was always chosen for printed paper in this way, our image evolved in that way.  So when then digital era came, it was better for us, because it meant people could see the whole collection in one go.  While I'm having my interviews backstage after the show, it's already out there online!  But because we started that way in the 90's, our reputation still remained "avante garde" because of what happened before.  In a way, we have not become victims, let's say, but we are really effected by that transition.  So what happened with us was that I felt the press was supporting our showpieces, but the actual industry was looking at the collection.  So this has been this peculiar thing for us.  Now what's happened is that they've joined.  In a way, now, because people can see the collections so quickly, I feel like both the press and the buyers can see the whole lot in one go and there's no separation, because we were spending so much time making the collections with pieces that you could really wear but were still very interesting, but the printed papers were only interested in things like the table skirt.  But that was only one part of what I did!  In a way, it's better now.

That's fascinating, because for someone like me who's on the outside, I look at the situation and think maybe you've changed your approach to design, but actually, you haven't changed; it's the media landscape that's changed.  
Absolutely.  I mean, I've changed a little bit in that I've decided in the last years not to make too many showpieces because there's another thing that's changed for us, and that's that I've been having a lot of museum shows and, actually, what's great with our collections, in my opinion, is that we sell in stores and I really care about how it's made - I spend a lot of time thinking about how it's finished, how it's made - but then there are pieces that are also collected by museums; more show-y pieces.  So that need to have the peak of the show is sustained by museums and collectors.  There is this duality, which I think is quite unusual.  It's not very common.  I've had six museum shows and they're all art museums, which is very exciting.  The last one was in Paris two years ago in the Musee du Louvre.  It was a big deal for us.  Apparently, after Vionnet - who is a dead designer - it was the best-attended show.

Yes, I was going to say; so many designers' exhibitions only happen once they've passed away, but you're in a unique position where you are still alive!
Yes!  And they were very happy with the attendance and they extended it, in fact.  So there is this other side to our brand which, I think, makes it more special, because there are so many other designers out there.  Until recently, I've shown less showpieces because I felt it was taking away from the collection that I thought I spent a lot of time on and I thought was beautiful.  So, in a way, I decided to tone it down a little, but they were never boring.  There was always something happening.  Then, the last few seasons again I decided to put the more showpieces in again, like the transforming dresses.  But it's a balance.

You're not a stranger to challenge and struggle.  Over the years, you've suffered through a lot and fought to keep your label alive.  I think you've already spoke a lot in the past about that struggle, but what I want to know is what keeps you going?  What keeps you motivated after so many years?  Because you've been through a lot of hardship, I think.
Well, I'm 42!  I could probably be your dad.  How can I put it?  Even when we were having hard times, I remained positive and there were a lot of things that were based on choice.  It wasn't ever so bad - I mean, of course, I had stress - and we are in a difficult business.  The worst part of our business are the financial restraints.  That's the worst part.  If there were no issues with time and finances, this is one of the best jobs, but because there are restrictions with money and time it can be a stressful job.  What kept me positive was that I felt you only live once, so I always tried to find new ways of thinking about how I could survive.  I wanted to do it without asking for money from family or anything like that.  Somehow I think it's also been about renewing the work.  I'm someone that always likes to move on and so even though the collections have parts that will repeat, it's always done in a slightly different way, we always add a new element so that you can keep the momentum.  I mean, the buyers always want something similar to something that has worked, so you kind of repeat that, but you add something new.  It's like cooking a curry; you add new ingredients in, but you keep the old ones in there too to give it the flavour!  In a way, it's always been about always trying to move the collection on.

You've also fought very hard to remain independent.
Yes, that's very important to me.  For a very short while, we were partners with PPR [Editor's note: now Kerring] but it stopped and we couldn't take it further because the crisis came at the same time in Europe, the financial crisis.  In a way we didn't pursue it properly.  We did it for about two seasons and then there weren't any budgets because they were cutting them down left, right and centre.  But I remained the Puma Creative Director for five years and that just ended recently so that's how we went around that, because that was one of the deals and we said, okay, we carry that on.  It was actually a good project for us.

I know you have to get going so I'll just ask one last question, because I think it would be interesting for our readers to hear about how you're merging the Chalayan Black and the Chalayan Grey lines into just one line, Chalayan.  Tell us a little bit about that.
We decided that, because of the way that people were buying the collection, they were mixing the Grey line and the Black line - the main line - so we thought because they were mixing we might as well put it all under one roof with three segments: entry, mid and higher.  Because, essentially, my brand is an alternative luxury brand.  In my brand, we always use double-faced, we use cashmere and tailoring so, of course, I have a lot of experience; I was a designer for TSE in New York, which is a cashmere house, and I was also Creative Designer of Asprey's in Bond Street, both three years each and I learnt a lot there.  Actually, there is a technical side of my way of thinking and then the luxury side and then, of course, style and what I think is relevant so, for me, I think it's really important to keep the luxurious segment - the top-tier - the mid is, I guess, in between, and the entry is for people who are first-time buyers or our younger audience.  We thought it was a good way of working.

But the Chalayan aesthetic is there through all price points?
It's all in there.  Absolutely.  And, in a way, I feel you can leave the rail with something you can afford or you can leave the rail with something you've saved up for or that you feel is an investment piece, so I feel it's a good balance.  Also, I feel it's the way people dress now; you mix and match.  You might wear a beautiful double-faced coat, but you might have a sweatshirt underneath.  So I don't think it's all about wearing expensive pieces all together any longer; it's about looking at people buying, say, Uniqlo with designer.  One thing, though, that I think you can't be cheap with is shoes.  You always have to spend money on good shoes!

So the entry price-point pieces aren't a "watered down" version; they're pieces that will work with the rest of the pieces in the collection.
Absolutely no.  I would not say they're watered down; I would say they're affordable because maybe the fabrics are a bit more playful, I would say they're a bit more "easy", but I never saw them as being watered down.  The Grey line for me wasn't watered down, it was just that it had maybe a slightly younger audience, so I guess it's to do with being more playful.  You know, I've got such a big repertoire of work -- you've seen our book?

And that's only just one part, you know?  And, imagine, I've been doing it for nearly 20-years already!

Don't forget to head to I.T Hysan in Causeway Bay to check out his Spring/Summer 2013 collection and pick up a limited edition signed copy of Rizzoli's book on Hussein Chalayan's work.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


chalayan black & grey

Hussein Chalayan is having a real "moment", as they call it in fashion.  He was just given the honour of closing the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore and his Spring/Summer 2013 creations have recently been featured on top Hong Kong celebrities such as Miriam Yeung <楊千嬅> and Karena Ng <吳千語>.  For those of you who may not be aware, Chalayan has been designing two separate lines: his luxury Chalayan Black collection featuring his fashion show pieces, and his contemporary Chalayan Grey line featuring more accessible prices and a slightly more casual aesthetic.  From Fall/Winter 2013 onwards, however, he will be merging both lines into one, under Chalayan.  This bold move, along with his show-stopping Fall/Winter 2013 collection which he just showed in Paris this March, mean that 2013 is definitely shaping up to Chalayan's biggest year yet!  And don't forget to check out the special Chalayan set-up at I.T Hysan while you can!

Miriam Yeung <楊千嬅> in a Chalayan Black runway gown at the Hong Kong International Film Festival opening reception.

Karena Ng <吳千語> in a Chalayan Grey cocktail dress.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


best bet: superga family weekend

Our best bet for what's predicted to be a rainy weekend is to beat the dreary weather at Superga's family weekend event.  Join Superga this Saturday & Sunday 25 & 26 May from 2-5pm at the Superga Flagship store in Harbour City for fun, excitement and discounts for the whole family in-store.  There will be face-painting in-store, a candy pick-n-mix (who doesn't love a candy pick-n-mix!), colourful balloons and, of course, exclusive discounts for the whole family.  It's going to be a great afternoon to bring the family out for a spot of shopping and a whole lot of fun; see you there!


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


chalayan at it hysan

Fresh off of his successful show which recently closed the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore, Hussein Chalayan is in Hong Kong for a few days to celebrate his Fall/Winter 2013 collection, which was on display at I.T Hysan yesterday and will be there again today, after which the pieces will follow Chalayan to Beijing.  So, if you're a fan of this incredibly innovative and inspiring designer's work, make sure to head down to I.T Hysan in Causeway Bay to get an up-close look at his iconic runway pieces, including one of his 'transforming' dresses, his amazing 'peeling paint' fabric, his modern take on denim and, of course, the holographic pieces which have been somewhat of a signature of his during recent seasons.  Also available is an extremely limited selection of 10 copies of his book by Rizzoli, signed by Chalayan himself.  They're selling quick, so you better get in now if you want to get your hands on a piece of beautiful fashion history.

A retrospective look at the work of Hussein Chalayan, published by Rizzoli.  There are 10 extremely limited edition signed copies available in-store, and for only $650 each, we think they're a steal.  

Chalayan's Fall/Winter 2013 pieces will only be on display until the end of the day today (Thursday), but his Spring/Summer 2013 collection shown above will continue to be available in store, of course!

See a selection of Chalayan's Fall/Winter 2013 runway pieces on display now at I.T Hysan, Causeway Bay.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


art talk: jj acuna of the wanderlister+

If you're a loyal reader of the Electric sekki blog, then JJ Acuna of The Wanderlister+ will be no stranger to you; he has been featured here on many an occasion.  From the very first time we worked with him on our first Les Artistes project, JJ won us over with his eye for design and, of course, his unique and enviable style.  JJ has been an integral part of the Asian art scene for a couple years now, regularly reviewing the shows and exhibitions on offer around town for The Wanderlister+.  Last year, he was an official media partner to Art HK and, of course, you can look forward to seeing JJ around the stalls at this year's Art Basel Hong Kong.  Being the art and style expert he is, we chatted to JJ about what he can't wait to see at Art Basel and, of course, what he'll be wearing to Vernissage!

Photo courtesy of JJ Acuna (via @thewanderlister Instagram).

What are you looking forward to seeing this year at Art Basel?
This year at Art Basel i'm looking forward to visiting some of the 48 new galleries from around the world who have never had a chance to exhibit in Hong Kong before. As with every year the "Encounters" portion of the fair will incorporate site-specific new and old works, usually large scale, to be exhibited around the fair and lie beyond the exhibitors booth. "Insights" and "Discoveries" sector will allow all of us to discover new artists from Asia and around the world.

Also fun at any fair are the major parties. A new art-culture club, Duddell's, is launching this week. Also official Off-Basel parties like Chai Wan Mei and unofficial Off-Basel events like the 032C x KAPOK block party should be fun.

Photo by Olivia Tsang.

Do you know what you will be wearing to Vernissage?
I never know what to wear before any event. That said, I most likely always go for comfy loafers, Levi's Jeans, a chambray shirt, and maybe a fancy blazer from Thom Browne Black Fleece or Club Monaco. 

Photo courtesy of JJ Acuna.

Give us some tips on how to remain chic, stylish and comfortable enough to spend the day roaming around looking at art.

You want to be comfortable but not too casual, because you may be speaking with a gallerist, and they are there for business. And will only give you the time of day if you look like you can do business. Sometimes the venue gets too cold, so bring a light jacket or blazer, Also there are lots of handouts and stuff they give out you'll most likely need a shopper. This is Hong Kong afterall so business cards are a must.  

I'll be walking around, and am looking for simple and elegant fashions throughout the fair. Simplicity is key. Even when you want to go bold with your look. But heels may not get you far. Literally. It's a huge fair.

Editor's note: we think a pair of super Superga's are the perfect stylish yet comfortable footwear choice that JJ is talking about!

See more from JJ at The Wanderlister+ here.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


art talk: diana d'arenberg

With Art Basel Hong Kong commencing this week, Electric sekki had the opportunity to speak to art expert, Diana d'Arenberg, to find out what she's most looking forward to seeing this year at the art fair, as well as what she will be wearing.  As an art & culture writer, curator and designer, Diana d'Arenberg has an astute eye for design and creativity; she has spent years cultivating her knowledge of both art and fashion, which you can read all about at her insightful blog, Post-ism.  With her striking looks and distinctly strict black, white and red colour palette, Diana has also become somewhat of a local fashion icon in Hong Kong.  She is always flawlessly put together; this is a woman that never seems to have 'off days'.  Who better to gain some style tips from?

Diana d'Arenberg in front of  a piece by artist Jason Martin at Pearl Lam Gallery.

What are you looking forward to seeing this year at Art Basel Hong Kong
I’m looking forward to the Art Basel Encounters section, which will exhibit large-scale installations by a number of international artists; the Insights section showcasing curatorial projects with Asian artists; and Paper Rain, which is Art Basel’s artist parade featuring artists, musicians, dancers, actors and filmmakers from Asia. I’m also excited about local Hong Kong artist, Adrian Wong’s collaboration on the Absolut Art Bureau. Most of all I can’t wait to see our ‘art family’- friends we’ve gotten to know around the world at various art fairs and cultural events – for a festive reunion over art and some nice wine. 

Diana d'Arenberg in front of a piece by Raphael Mazzucco his exhibition at The Space.

Do you know what you will be wearing to Vernissage
Whatever the outfit, it will include one of our luxuriously tailored D&M shirts designed by me and my friend Marleen Molenaar, from the collection we’re launching this September. Both of us go to a lot of art fairs and events and need something that is comfortable and chic and can transition easily from day to evening. Of course, I’ll also have on a pair of ridiculously high heels so I can easily spot art works and people in the crowd. Perhaps it will all be topped with a hat. This humidity wreaks havoc on one’s hair! 

Diana in a design by Marleen Molenaar and herself for D&M, launching later this year.

Give us some tips on how to remain chic, stylish and comfortable enough to spend the day roaming around looking at art. 
Big, bold, fun accessories dress up an outfit as you go from day to evening events (if you don’t have time to change); flats (only to change into if the blood circulation to your feet has failed after a day of heels); red lipstick to help brighten one’s complexion after a long and tiring day.

See more from Diana d'Arenberg at Post-ism here.


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .


hussein chalayan at audi fashion festival singapore

Each year, the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore invites a handful of international designers to show at the event.  This year, Hussein Chalayan was selected to be given the honour of closing the festival.  Other international stars who showed this year included fashion mainstay Carolina Herrera, British newcomers Peter Pilotto, Japanese favourite Tsumori Chisato and Australia's queen of cocktail dresses Colette Dinnigan.  Chalayan's recent Fall/Winter 2013 collection which he showed at Paris Fashion Week in March was heralded as one of the most innovative shows of the season.  It even moved many a show-goer to tears.  And the reaction of the audience in Singapore was no different, with many attendees stunned by the gorgeous creations they saw.  Chalayan is travelling to Hong Kong next and will be in town with I.T this Wednesday and Thursday.  He's then off to Beijing.  So, Chalayan fans, don't forget to keep an eye out for him!

Hussein Chalayan greets the crowd at the end of his show.

The finale strut.

Electric sekki's luxury team, Giusi Genzano and Jessica Lee, on their way to the show (via @jesssiii Instagram).

The view at the show (via @jesssiii Instagram).


bloglovin' . twitter . facebook . weibo .