For someone who spent most of her life in land-scarce, urban Singapore, a place like Iceland feels almost unreal. To be able to lay eyes on mountains as breathtaking as the ones we casually drove by on our road trip, and witness the efforts of thousands of years of unrelenting water activity take shape in the form of awe-inspiring fjords and waterfalls was an immense privilege that I was thankful to have. No photo or video can do justice to the true magic of the moments you spend on glaciers, hills or craters, taking in the vastness of the Icelandic terrain.
It was then that I learnt to silence the hundred and one thoughts that I usually have swirling around in my head, and focus my attention on the multitude of sensations and emotions that surfaced in the moment. Those feelings of wonder, gratitude and exhilaration are permanently etched in the deepest corners of my mind, serving as reminders that we are but specks in the greater scheme of things, and that the world is so much bigger than we know.
Nothing quite like a celebration of local talent to make a Saturday night. On a hotel rooftop, no less! The lovely people from the Singapore Fashion Runway invited me down for their SG50 runway show on the 29th of August at klapsons, The Boutique Hotel. It was a memorable evening and I was especially thrilled to see models of diverse backgrounds and age groups walking the runway. This made it extra special as it proved to be an inclusive, community effort, as it was to honour 50 years of fashion in Singapore. It was great to see fashion through the years come to life on the runway, from 60’s fashion all the way to 21st century eveningwear!
Among the labels showcased that night, BATUA by Barsha caught my attention. Founded in 2012 in Mumbai, BATUA by Barsha started out specialising in designer bags (‘batua’ being the Hindi translation for ‘small bags’) but had started developing itself to include clothing for women. The collection featured at Singapore Fashion Runway was inspired by Singaporeans’ appreciation for traditional Indian wear as observed by designer Barsha when she shifted here. This triggered the idea of creating fashionable Indo-Fusion looks with easy-to-drape sarees and slip-ons for the modern woman.
(Photo credit: Singapore Fashion Runway)
(Photo credit: Singapore Fashion Runway)
Barsha believes in a incorporating blend of Indian ethnicity and Western attitudes in her designs. This was evident in an eye-catching saree-inspired gown, one of my favourites of the evening. This piece was designed as a way of converting the traditional saree into a single dress form, allowing it to be more easily donned yet having it maintain the essence of traditional Indian wear. In line with her label’s identity, Barsha incorporated geometric prints and cuts as the design’s Western elements to create the Indo-Fusion look that formed the backbone of the collection. This Indo-Fusion feel made another appearance with a red and white gown, another favourite of the evening. Barsha designed this piece following a special SG50 theme, having it bear the colours of Singapore’s national flag. The white embroidery against the red fabric coupled with the subtle use of pearl created a classy, understated elegance that allowed the gown to make a statement without being too overwhelming (as some evening gowns can be).
Yard Yarn was another favourite label of the evening. Naturally, my love for statement jewellery drew me to this collection, which featured a mix of hardware parts and leather textile as inspired by fusions between living organisms and still life. The label was started a year ago by founder Gin Tan, who felt that there was a demand in the local market for affordable designer jewellery (I totally agreed with her on this point). Since then, she’s been pouring her heart and soul into Yard Yarn, a brand designed for the modern hippie crowd who enjoys and celebrates eccentric mix.
Besides the boldness and eccentricity of her designs, I also loved how versatile they could be. Each necklace had a pair of lobster clasps where the design and the chain meet. Should someone want to shorten or lengthen her necklace to match her outfit, all she has to do is unsnap these clasps and snap them onto the chain with the desired length. This makes for more customisable layering and flexibility to create the looks that you want. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for added versatility!
Special thanks to Singapore Fashion Runway for the great night! It’s always fun discovering new brands and these platforms are so important in helping local independent designers reach out to other like-minded individuals, as well as allow unique international labels make their presence felt in such a saturated market. As Gin from Yard Yarn mentioned to me that evening, it is so important to have creatives in the local industry support one another and I was glad that I was part of this opportunity!
I used to carry too many unnecessary makeup products with me in my makeup bag whenever I head out. Over the years, I’ve learnt to streamline its contents to include only the essentials, with an extra lipstick thrown in every now and then. Here’s what I have in my makeup bag today!
MAC Select Sheer/Pressed in NC40 – I’ve been using this pressed powder for only about half a year now since I hit pan on my Sexy Mama translucent powder from The Balm. I’ve been keeping to powders with lighter coverage to steer clear of cakeyness, and this pressed powder does the job pretty well, giving a smooth matte finish with a natural look when I apply it in heavier amounts.
Garnier Pure Active Concealer – I only discovered the magic of concealer a few years ago with this product and haven’t looked back ever since (this is my second tube!) I used to be afraid of concealing my blemishes because it might clog my pores or affect the healing process, but this product claims to treat and cover them. I think part of it is psychological – I’m fine with using it over my blemishes because my mind is conditioned to think that it treats them as well. But I have noticed that it helps to dry up active acne, which seems to speed up the healing process a bit. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to do some research before you try it – I don’t get serious outbreaks often and when I do, I make sure that they’re treated well enough before I use any makeup on them!
Real Techniques buffer brush – This brush is AMAZING. It’s a pity that it’s not sold individually, but honestly, it was worth buying the entire four-brush Real Techniques Starter Set just to get my hands on this. It’s the only brush that I use on a regular basis and it’s versatile – I use it to blend my concealer and apply powder afterwards.
NYX Matte Lipstick in Euro Trash – This is my ultimate my-lips-but-better colour! It’s a medium pink that comes off as a blue-toned pink when I’m tanned and a nude pink when I’m fairer. The colour payoff is great, with a matte finish that’s not drying. I’ve looked around for alternatives but nothing has managed to replace my trusty Euro Trash!
Cherry Lip Balm – This was a birthday gift from a friend! I make it a point to apply lip balm before lipstick to keep my lips from chapping and make my lip colour last longer.
Shiseido Rouge Parfait in Salon – Tip: Carry around a darker coloured lipstick in case an impromptu dinner plan pops up! This was my go-to colour in January and halfway through February, but since my trip to Batam, I’ve been sporting a tan that brings out the colour in Euro Trash a lot more. Salon has become my current night-time/evening lip colour. This sample size was a gift from a friend.
Bath & Body Works Midnight Pomegranate Hand Sanitizer – I tend to apply makeup in public, so I make sure that I always use some hand sanitizer before I touch my face. This smells heavenly but in big dollops, it can be too overpowering so I use it sparingly.
The Face Shop Daily Perfumed Hand Cream in Macadamia – I get dry hands often so it helps to carry this around, especially if I’m in an air-conditioned environment for long periods of time. It gets absorbed into the skin pretty quickly but sometimes it takes a few applications before I feel it working for me. I would describe the macadamia scent as a “nutty vanilla”.
Perfume Atomizier – This is great for carrying small amounts of perfume to freshen up on-the-go when I’m out for many hours at a time. I have it in a few colours with each colour carrying a different scent for different occasions!
These nine items are my makeup bag essentials, but sometimes I throw in some eyeliner or mascara, depending on my look of the day. I’m really starting to get into that fresh-faced beauty look so who knows… my makeup bag essentials might go through a rotation soon!
P.S. Isn’t my kitty makeup bag the cutest thing? I got it from the Namdaemun Market in Seoul, if you’ve been wondering 😉