Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Singapore shopping fun - Raoul, Hansel, Deja Vu vintage, Haji Lane

shopping in Singapore doesn't always confine to only mega malls but interestingly enough, a lot of stylistic, unique brands or boutiques favor the mainstream shopping mall scene for the traffic and buzz. named by Refinery 29 recently as the "most valuable import" to the NY shores is Raoul, a Singapore label founded in 2002 by Douglas and Odile Benjamin (hubby-wife team), developed by FJ Benjamin. originally introduced as a men's shirt label, the brand grew steadily into a fashion lifestyle brand with more than 30 standalone boutiques across south east asia and the middle east in a few year's time. famed for its effortless elegance and luxury at accessible price, Raoul is loved by local Singaporeans as the go-to ready-to-wear / workwear for men and women. but the latest collections are telling us they are much more than that.

if you ask me what raises my interest in Raoul, I have to say it's the much coveted bags collection which was loved by buyers of high fashion, prestigious retailers from shores to shores. Harrods, Matches, Henri Bendel carry them for they are simple, chic and utilitarian; a bunch of fashion editors seem to think so too.

have the similar appeal of a Celine bag, agree?

shop front in Singapore

shop Raoul online at: Raoul store or at Shopbop for a exclusive capsule collection.

what else looks interesting in a mall setting? I did my research before the trip and Hansel popped up as one of the original Singapore design names I should pay a visit. Hansel is by Jo Soh who wears many hats - a stylist, illustrator and design lecturer at design colleges in Singapore, Soh is most of all, the designer behind the tongue in cheek, quirky playful fashion label. a graduate of Central Saint Martins. Soh founded her own label in 2003 with a sole purpose of designing for herself. "a mix of quirkiness and understated minimalism" as Soh describes her designs, they are indeed rather whimsical and cheerfully cute, sometimes mixed with a sense of humor.

SS 2011 The Geometric Swan collection

cinched waist dress in blue white swan print SGD279 

black white siamese swans necklace SDG119

to say that Jo Soh is one of the most beloved designers in Singapore is no overstatement; Soh was named Fresh Designer Label of the Year at the Singapore Fashion Awards 2004, and was chosen to participate in London Design Festival 2006 on behalf of Singapore. she was named Singapore's Designer of the Year at the Elle Awards in 2009. Hansel recently won the Favorite Local Fashion Brand 2011 in I-S Reader's Choice Awards. with all these titles under her belt, Hansel is moving fast on the way up from a humble individual label to a mass appeal brand carried by TANGS Orchard and have its own store at the Mandarin Gallery on Orchard road.

shop Hansel online at: Hansel online shop 
be a fan of Hansel on fb

ever dreamed of finding great vintage fashion in a mall? Deja Vu Vintage is housed inside Millenia Walk on Raffles Boulevard. on the search for the better vintage shopping in Singapore, I was a bit disappointed by the many boutiques who claimed to sell vintage but not, they are either reconstructed pieces from vintage fabric or retro looking new designs. selection of real vintage pieces are hard to come by in the Lion City. Deja Vu Vintage is the baby of Kelly Yeo founded 5 years ago. she has the good eye for tasteful, one-of-a-kind vintage fashion ranging from non branded to high end designer finds. upon arrival, I was immediately drawn by meticulously set up store front display. there are rails of dresses and bottoms in the front and a circular display of bags and shoes in the center; on the left, a wall of vintage jewelry and imported designer accessories and finally I came to the back part of the shop where three large rails of designer pieces are located. all the designer pieces are carefully curated and primed or resumed to its past glory. Deja Vu Vintage is no vintage thrift, all pieces are cleaned, checked for faulty and mended or resized to fit. for the designer pieces, they are even stored in plastic covers. so expect an easy browse to find something you like and save from getting your hands dirty in piles of rags.

evening wear is also a specialty of Deja Vu. I got a 70s Nina Ricci pink and white print maxi dress (USD530) with overlay drape and an early 90s Donna Karan black pin dot sheer blouse and pants set (USD175). love them! they are still with my seamstress for some minor resize so I can't post the pics yet. but Deja Vu offers free alterations and cleaning at purchase. if you're in town long enough to wait for a few days, be sure to make use of this good offer.

some more Deja Vu's wonderful selections:

Matthew Williamson
Vivienne Westwood
Alfed Shaheen

Victor Costa

visit Deja Vu Vintage at #01-70 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore.
shop online via their fb page, just write them to enquire size and price, they will do mail order.

coming out of the shopping malls for a change, there is a shopper's paradise hidden away in the Muslim quarter of the city. Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam district has been rising from a strip of dated shophouses to a hip shopping area frequented by young and fashionable people for independent fashion labels and boutiques in the last few years. I like the colorfully repainted / graffitied shophouses and the middle eastern vibes coming from the arabic cafes. a nice place to kick back, stroll along for window shopping or get into some real retail therapy action.

the shops sell mostly offbeat labels, knick knacks and vintage. below are some of the shops to note which I like:

Dulcetfig (41 Haji Lane) - carries vintage fashion and accessories and its own vintage inspired label. we may now shop onine at their website.

the blog shop (35 Haji Lane) - the boutique carries local independent labels, handmade accessories and lomography cameras. they have another outlet at Far East Plaza on Orchard road. 

mod parade (68 Haji Lane) - sells its own labels for mens and womens wear with contemporary, quirky fun designs. the clothes remind me of Korean fashion. you may shop online, they ship internationally.

A Thousand Tales (55 Haji Lane) - a lifestyle, home decor furniture store with Scandinavian influences. love love love their furniture collection! prices are not unreasonable at all, they are actually slightly cheaper than similar products in HK. there is also the bar and cafe next door upstairs at 57A perfect for chilling out with a cup of coffee. 

on my way out of the lively lane, there are still much to experience and see around the Arab Street area. one may like to try the hookah at the middle eastern cafes round the corner or eat a kebab on the street. I continue to browse for colorful fabrics at the textile boutiques and traditional Muslim apparel shops lined on both side of the street. 

got some Thai silk scarves for SGD10!

a random quote I spotted outside a shoe shop at ION Orchard. my shopping motto! can't agree more : )

1 comment:

  1. I love to see this collection i am really enjoying thanks for sharing
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