About alphabeticalife

Writer. Undercover hedonist. Understated, never over the top

Exclusive Preview: Jack Spade Fall 2013

This entry (both text and photos) was contributed by Max Kaplan – New York-based social media manager, who, in my opinion, perfectly embodies the ethos of Jack Spade.ed.

While perusing Jack Spade‘s Fall 2013 collection, it’s easy to forget the brand’s beginnings as a maker of simple, waxed canvas bags. At the preview, I was in a (meticulously curated) sea of apparel and accessories that ranged from luxe suede weekenders to herringbone suiting. Even timepieces!

Taking a closer look, though, the evolution is clear: Every piece in the collection has the durability, sensibility and aesthetic that the signature fold-over messenger bags had when they exploded years ago.

Dan Lahkman, Director of Marketing for Jack Spade, walked me through the collection. There was much to see: The brand’s new watch line (this bad boy is calling my name for spring); outerwear in an array of shapes and colors; selvedge denim; and, of course, the bags.

The Fall 2013 collection draws inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames — think geometric shapes, primary colors and clean lines. While these principles have always been a part of the Jack Spade aesthetic, we now see them more than ever, carried through prints and colors. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the collection:

Geometric Prints
The classic Jack Spade tote was reimagined in geometric prints and bold colors, with the “big bird” print even appearing on a cozy wool sweater. I also had a moment with these navy patterned pants (I wanted to throw them on with a chambray shirt and orange belt and run for the hills).

Barbour x Jack Spade
Following in the footsteps of last fall’s successful collection, Jack will continue to liven up Barbour’s signature waxed cotton outerwear by swapping the traditional tartan lining for the brand’s signature orange.

Leather Goods
Take note, guys: This wallet is very important. Crafted in a supple brown leather, this horizontal fold-over style has been the go-to in Italy for years. It’s refined, elegant and the ultimate slap in the face to this.

Chronograph Watches
Jack’s watch collection will expand to include chronographs for fall (drool).

Two of my favorite pieces were a blazer made of raincoat material and a streamlined denim jacket. It’s all in the details: The blazer, made for rainy days, features a barely noticeable hole in the bottom of the breast pocket designed to drain water caught inside. The denim jacket — one of my favorites from any collection I’ve seen for its simplicity — has Jack’s signature orange wrapped around the inside of each button.

The brand’s fall suiting, sold as separates for easy mixing and matching, features a gorgeous wool herringbone suit that will run you less than a thousand bucks.

Design Undiscovered in Singapore

It was a design-filled Saturday afternoon, which started at TheLibrary at the SunnyHills boutique on the third floor of the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade. This popup library has over 500 titles available for browsing, all dedicated to the creative fields of architecture, design, art and photography.

The book selection is curated by leading industry professionals, showcasing books that have influenced their creative pursuits. This initiative, led by Jing Quek of SUPER Studio, aims to raise the level of creativity and arts appreciation among Singaporeans by providing free access to these creative resources.

TheLibrary’s current location (until 31 May) at SunnyHills is the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon. The shop’s interiors is beautifully designed, marrying rich wooden surfaces with minimalist lighting and shelves.

As soon as visitors step in, they are led to a comfortable spot and offered complimentary pineapple cakes from Taiwan and a soothing cup of oolong tea. Look for SunnyHills’ co-owner Regine who will gladly tell you about the brand’s history and gourmet pineapple cakes.

Next stop was the industrial area of Tai Seng. I was on the hunt for brass bookends or a statement chair at one of the secondhand furniture stores, but stumbled upon Grafunkt instead, an independent design brand established by Nathan Yong, ex-founder of Air Division and an award-winning furniture designer.

The showroom is housed in a rather nondescript building that’s easily overlooked. I worked in this area for two years and didn’t even know until yesterday that this place existed! As soon as you step out of the lift, you’ll find that every corner is filled with beautiful furniture and home accessories from local and international brands like Vitra, Folks, Nichemodern, Miniforms, Bludot and more. Displays were put together in a playful manner, sparking unique ideas on how to decorate your future home.

These two photos are great sources of inspiration for my future bedroom. I particularly love the leaning lamp and the green side table. It’s quite funny that even if none of the pieces match, they all work together harmoniously.

Good design doesn’t have to be taken too seriously. Can you spot the toys – particularly the Star Wars ones?

Designer bric-a-brac that proves clutter can be pretty. My personal favourite would have to be the concrete key holder/paperweight in mustard by Luca Nichetto. Its simplicity is captivating!

Looking for chairs? You’ve come to the right place. The Acapulco chairs above made popular in the 1950s are wonderfully nostalgic and modern at the same time. They’re made out of a coated steel frame and PVC cord, and are available in several colours.

Lighting can make or break any interior so choose wisely. Luckily, there’s a wide range of lamps and light fixtures at Grafunkt that double as conversation starters, such as the Wire Light by Decode London.

The next time you need a jolt of inspiration, drop by TheLibrary and Grafunkt and discover Singapore’s creative side. Since these places are tucked away in “undiscovered” parts of town, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and enjoy browsing and shopping in peace.


SunnyHills, 3rd Floor Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade

Grafunkt Flagship Store
Tong Yuan Ind. Bldg
85 Playfair Road, #02-01



Jack Spade Spring 2013 Lookbook

A little quirky, a whole lot of cool – Jack Spade’s spring 2013 lookbook features Josh Safdie, founder of Red Bucket Films and New York’s smallest museum. Just like the brand, Safdie is inspired by the extraordinary in the ostensibly ordinary, like the artistry of a rubber band or a homemade antenna. This curious quality makes him the perfect face for Jack Spade’s highly anticipated lookbook and print ads.

Siam Center: Bangkok’s Fashion Playground

To the unfamiliar, Bangkok is an exotic place that conjures visions of chaos, golden temples and adult entertainment. What others don’t know is that it’s a city brimming with creativity, on a level that could even compete with Tokyo. Head over to Siam Center and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This creative hub houses some of the most inspired fashions, creations and interiors that Thailand’s artistic minds have to offer.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted with a beautiful marriage of style and interior design that could turn the most jaded traveler into a curious child once again.

Aside from the beautiful clothes and accessories from local designers, you’ll also be in awe of the decor that complement the Siam Center’s slightly dark personality.

In most shopping centres, mannequins behind glass walls are de rigueur. But at Siam Center, all white bookshelves behind mannequins are the norm, allowing the clothes to stand out in a unique way.

Keep your eyes open for displays that pay close attention to details, making your retail experience anything but ordinary.

If you’re headed to Bangkok, make sure to include Siam Center in your itinerary as it gives you a look into the youthful and creative heart of this bustling Southeast Asian metropolis.

A Love Affair With Florence

Five Reasons Why I Love Florence

1. Walking around, especially at night, is magical – street performers aplenty, beautiful lighting, lovers hand in hand and enchanting Italian music wafting through the air.

2. Simple, yet tasty Tuscan fare. Walk into a small eatery and feast on local delicacies, such as Bistecca Fiorentina, lampredotto and trippa alla Fiorentina. Most of these dishes were considered humble peasant fare, but the passion the Florentines put into preparing them elevates the food into a delectable masterpiece.

3. Meandering into an unassuming alley is like walking into a treasure trove. You discover cramped boutiques that sell the most handsome looking footwear at prices that can’t be beat; you stumble upon a neighbourhood stall that serves the most delicious salami and truffle cream paninis with a matching glass of chianti; and you chance upon little art studios filled with bright-eyed creatives.

4. Stylish locals that effortlessly strut and flirt as they enjoy a marrocchino or an aperitivo by the bar.

5. The city’s artistry has the ability to take your breath away. From masterpieces at the Uffizi, Pitti and Accademia, to beautifully adorned buildings and gorgeous piazzas.


The Hunt: Statement Blazer

It all started with this beautiful Our Legacy printed blazer I saw on Tres Bien:

But who am I kidding? That print, while beautiful, was a little too much for my tame self. However, I still wanted to get my hands on a blazer with a little oomph, so over a course of two weeks, I scoured the high street shops that were all on sale. To be honest, it was slim pickings, but there were a few interesting finds.

I saw this green blazer with a shawl collar lapel at Topman and as I tried it on, I couldn’t help but think: Jersey Boys cast member. Next!

This seersucker blazer was another Topman find. Unfortunately, it was a little too big and the last one in stock.

This maroon blazer from H&M was quite the looker, but I wasn’t so happy with the fit. I had several issues with length and the shoulders.

This grey wool blazer from H&M was one of my favourites, but the material was a little too thick and hot for Singapore. If I was traveling to a cooler country anytime soon, I would have gotten it. Unfortunately, the next trip I’m taking is in Bangkok and it’s not exactly freezing over there. This one went back to the rack as well.

In the end, I chose this blazer from Zara. It fit perfectly and the only work needed is getting the sleeves shortened a bit. The length is flattering, the material is comfortable despite the dark pattern and it’s blackwatch – I’m a sucker for anything blackwatch.

Maison Kitsuné at Pitti W

Its been a great year for Maison Kitsuné, the French music and fashion label headed by Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki. Not only did the brand recently celebrate its 10th anniversary, it also presented its women’s collection for the first time at Pitti W in Florence, Italy, as specially chosen guest designers.

The show took place at the Palazzo Capponi, a breathtaking and historic space where Maison Kitsuné provided more than just a typical fashion show. Instead of having models parade around, the brand unveiled a layered and dynamic experience: An eclectic mix of both fashion and music, presented in a show staged as a live TV recording, starring top musicians on the Kitsuné label.

Performing live at the show and decked out in Maison Kitsuné Fall-Winter 2013 were hot new sensation CITIZENS!, the seductresses Say Lou Lou, the French talent Yelle and the DJ duo from London, Eli & Fur.

Meanwhile, Verbal and Yoon, of Japanese hip-hop group M-Flo and Ambush Design respectively, hosted the show while being filmed by Loïc Prigent.

As for the clothes, the Fall-Winter 2013 collection introduced a modern re-imagination of Maison Kitsuné classics, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s movies from the 50′s. The graphic lines, prints and high-quality fabrics certainly gave to this collection an undeniable preppy style with a modern, urban touch.

Film Style: The Talented Mr. Ripley

Anthony Minghella’s 1999 masterpiece, The Talented Mr. Ripley, isn’t just a riveting psychological thriller that deals with identity and obsession – it’s a film that celebrates the endurance of style over fashion; the coming together of classic Americana and the Italian notion of sprezzatura. While watching the film two days ago for the first time (terrible, I know), I marveled at the costume designs of Ann Roth and Gary Jones, which brought to life the memorable cast of characters: Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) and Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow). And with the movie set in Italy in the 1950s, you’re guaranteed a visual feast.

Tom Ripley’s character is often seen in plainer outfits, evoking a working class background. He favors a no-nonsense corduroy suit, white or blue oxford shirts (which are usually two sizes too big), a well-worn brown, leather tote bag and topped off with his signature frames. Dickie Greenleaf, who is a study in American royalty, is decked in finely tailored Italian suits, linen pants, espadrilles and knitted polo shirts. Finally, Marge Sherwood will give any wasp a run for their money: Flowy skirts, chunky knit sweaters, trench coats and a perfectly kept blonder than blonde mane.

As the film progresses, you’ll notice that Tom starts to inject a bit of Italian flair into his look, as seen in the photo above. He ditches the socks and his footwear of choice are now horsebit loafers. I won’t be surprised if they’re from Gucci.

What I love most about The Talented Mr. Ripley is the attention to detail. Dickie’s ring plays an important role in the film, and so does his pork pie hat, which shows his obsession with jazz music.

Here’s Tom again with his signature corduroy suit and knit tie, while Dickie goes for a more fashion forward navy on navy ensemble.

While everything starts off with clothing straight out of a resort collection, the film’s dark, suspenseful turn is incorporated into the characters’ choice of clothing later on – darker, richer hues and dramatic styling. Even if the costumes are only second fiddle to the film, you can’t deny that they play an important role that brings to life and injects unique personalities to some of fiction and film’s most celebrated characters.