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Health, Beauty & Fashion

12 for 12

Urban picks 12 fabulous things in fashion, beauty, fitness and lifestyle to look forward to in the new year
The Straits Times - December 30, 2011
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12 for 12

THE GOLDEN TWENTIES

Luxury, style and unbridled decadence defined the glamorous 1920s. So, with the uncertain state of the global economy, it is no wonder that designers are recreating the deliriously upbeat vibe of the Jazz Age.

Shiny metallic, drop-waist dresses, topped with fun details like tassels, beading and fringing ruled the spring/summer 2012 runways. They were reminiscent of party frocks the ladies of the decade wore which allowed them to literally kick up their heels and do the Charleston.

Ralph Lauren presented a delicate and romantic collection which featured white menswear-inspired suits, drop-waisted dresses in luxe liquid-like fabrics as well as art-deco beadings.

Marc Jacobs opted for a dance hall-themed collection featuring sequinned and beaded dresses and skirts that fell just below the knees.

At Etro, models in art deco-themed flapper dresses walked the runway, while Gucci added a rock twist by showing studded black-and-gold flapper dresses in layers of sequins and fringed tiers of metal chains.

With Baz Luhrmann's movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, slated for release next year, the 1920s are definitely roaring back in vogue.

LEND ME YOUR EARS

While statement necklaces and chunky bangles have ruled the runways for many seasons, next year will see accessories focused on the ears instead. And what a focus.

Call them chandeliers, shoulder-dusters, door-knockers or whatever you want, but oversized earrings will be the key look for spring/summer 2012.

Marni had them colourful and psychedelic, while Dolce & Gabbana gave a quirky twist by sending them out in the shape of fruits and vegetables.

At Chanel, the look was ornate and bold. Other labels which showed large earrings included Emilio Pucci, Prada and Oscar de la Renta.

The eyes may have it, but the ears will certainly be doing all the shouting next season.

MARNI FOR H&M

Last month, barely two weeks after throngs of shoppers worldwide had queued up overnight for the Versace For H&M collection, the Swedish retail giant announced its next designer tie-up would be with Italian label Marni.

Known for its playful and elegant silhouettes as well as colourful prints, Marni has always been a favourite with the fashionable set.

The collection for H&M, to be launched on March 8, will feature Marni's signature relaxed ensembles in clashing prints and patterns as well as colour blocks. Some of the key pieces include Marni's iconic plastic accessories.

So, get ready to queue once again.

VIRAL FASHION

In the past year, fashion has gone viral as high-end brands put out more online content - from campaign videos to short films.

One of the biggest hits this year was Lanvin's wacky ad featuring models Karen Elson and Raquel Zimmermann dancing to I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) by Pitbull. More than 100,000 YouTube viewers watched it in the first three days and a dozen copycat videos soon popped up on Youtube.

When Louis Vuitton launched its latest City Guides last month, it produced several Lonely Planet-esque short films. These included guides on how to be the perfect gentleman in London and the best dim sum places to visit in Hong Kong.

Dior also released a kooky video showcasing its make-up, which borrowed elements from retro video games like Tetris, Pacman and Super Mario Bros.

Meanwhile, New York designer Prabal Gurung roped in rapper Rye Rye to create an infectious music video inspired by his Resort 2012 collection.

The online trend is set to grow even bigger next year. Karl Lagerfeld, who directed the Chanel short film The Tale Of A Fairy, which went online in May, released another short video last week as a prequel to the fashion house's recent annual Metiers D'Arts fashion show.

Get ready to be entertained in style next year.

THE SARTORIALISTS

Want to look like those dapper guys featured on streetstyle sites such as The Sartorialist? A new crop of Singaporean tailors can help you.

Instead of offering old-fashioned boxy fits favoured by old neighbourhood tailors, these young guns marry traditional know-how with a modern twist.

The year-old Dylan & Son. Sartorial, located at Lau Pa Sat Festive Market, is already a hit with trendy Shenton Way types and has even been featured in lifestyle magazine Monocle.

Run by Mr Dylan Chong, who hails from a family of tailors, the shop's custom-made outfits come with European designer appeal.

Think linen trousers with double inverted pleats worn with braces, or a midnight blue tuxedo jacket with black silk lapels.

Another style purveyor is Mr Chong Han San, who opened Q Menswear in a shophouse in Telok Ayer Street earlier this month.

The former designer for home-grown tailor, Clothesmith, analyses your skin tone and lifestyle before recommending a suitable cut and fabric.

For a truly bespoke experience, turn to Mr Kevin Seah, who runs an atelier at Jalan Kilang.

The former bridalwear veteran offers a full suite of services, from monogramming your fabrics to creating your own ties.

He also stocks more than 10,000 fabrics from some of the best mills in Europe.

Mr Seah even completes your wardrobe with the right accessories.

He recently collaborated with cult Japanese eyewear-maker Naoki Nakagawa of Nackymade to produce a range of eyewear rimmed with the fabrics in his atelier.

He also retails socks by Italian label Gammarelli, which has been outfiting the cardinals, bishops and popes of the Vatican since the 18th century.

CROC ROCKS

Leopard prints may have been everywhere this year but come February, when the spring 2012 collections hit the stores, get ready to show some skin - crocodile skin, that is.

These exotic textured scales will appear in various hues on outerwear, bags and accessories.

Spearheading this trend is Louis Vuitton. For spring/summer 2012, creative director Marc Jacobs showed ladylike looks in pretty pastel hues topped with lightweight trench coats made from crocodile skin.

The French label also sent out models toting croc bags, ensuring that next season's It Bags will be ultra-luxurious and ultra-expensive.

American label Proenza Schouler opted for a faux croc skin effect with its black printed bustier paired with a bright blue pencil skirt. Meanwhile, Paris-based Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato took a more tongue-in-cheek approach by featuring crocodile motifs on her colourful skirts.

Rapper Kanye West, making his debut at Paris Fashion Week, presented a luxe take on hip-hop streetwear that also included a hooded jacket trimmed with crocodile skin.

At Italian label Tod's, powdered crocodile skin was a key detail on its shoes and bags while Gucci and Bottega Veneta both included bags made from the reptile skin.

With so many designers doing the crocodile rock, it's no wonder that luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH, which owns luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Celine, decided to acquire Singapore's Heng Long International Limited tannery in October.

It's time to start saving now because staying on trend will cost you more than a pretty penny next season.

DESIGNER TIPPLE

Next year, if you are going to plonk down $20 for a cocktail, make sure it is not one of those pre-mixed concoctions that have been sitting in the fridge for ages.

The cocktail culture in Singapore is reaching new heights with newly opened watering holes such as Barkode, Nektar and 28 HongKong Street emphasising mixology, the art of mixing drinks.

Not only do these bartenders concoct their own cocktails, many also experiment with unique ingredients and textures such as floral infusions and carbonated fruits and use premium liquors.

The mixologists create each drink from scratch only when a customer orders one.

At least one more watering hole, Mu, is set to open early next year in Holland Village. One of its specialities will be tea-based cocktails.

With so many choice locations to drop by for a drink, we say it is time to shelve those shot glasses and raise a toast with a martini glass instead.

COOL CLASSES

Brace yourself for some strange new workouts next year.

If the downward dog yoga position is not challenging enough for you, why not suspend yourself in mid-air as part of a floating yoga class which will be offered by fitness chain Celebrity Fitness when it debuts at the Rochester Mall in Buona Vista in February?

The workout, which suspends users in a trapeze-like contraption and works them through different difficulty levels, allegedly increases the metabolic rate.

It can also relieve compressed joints and strengthen the lower abdominal muscles.

At boutique gym Physical ABuse in Havelock Road, you can literally work out to a new beat with its Drums Alive exercise.

All you need for this high-energy class is a core stability ball and a pair of drumsticks. By drumming on the ball while completing aerobics routines, you can reportedly burn at least 150 calories in 20 minutes.

If team exercise is more your thing, grab your football kakis and head for the updated Cage FITT programme at The Cage at Jalan Benaan Kapal in Kallang.

Launched in 2009, the 10-week-long sessions combine training with football.

They also incorporate TRX suspension training in their drills and some classes >are even helmed by past and present national football players.

EXPRESS WORKOUTS

Workout quickies will be the norm for fitness buffs as more gyms open express classes that last less than an hour.

These workouts are already big in The Big Apple. According to a New York Times report, more gyms there are offering anything from 22 minutes on weight machines to a 40-minute ballet barre workout.

Back home, Mr Chung Tze Khit, who owns the Gold's Gym chain, says that these short classes benefit the office crowd who, on average, can squeeze in an hour for lunchtime workouts.

But there are also benefits to be had in short workouts. Mr Chung says: 'They are useful for those who are not fit enough to commit to a full-hour workout. For these people, 30 minutes is a good start.'

His latest outlet at the International Business Park in Jurong East offers 40-minute spinning and circuit training classes on top of personal training sessions.

Other gyms here are also latching onto the quickie trend.

Gym chain Pure Fitness will launch 30-minute classes at its new Asia Square Tower branch by the first quarter of next year.

At the women-only fitness centre Vivafit, which opened at Tanjong Pagar Plaza in April, short workouts are the norm for its 350 clients.

The gym offers only express classes, including a 35-minute dance-based workout called Sh'bam and a 45-minute pilates class. 

UGLY-PRETTY HAIR

Ultra-girly straight, heavy bangs and boyish pixie cuts were the most popular hairstyles in the last two years. Next year, embrace 'dos that are less about a pretty face and more about a quirky personality.

First up is actress Rooney Mara's mid-forehead length bangs. She chopped off her locks for her starring role in the movie Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and has since been sporting a fringe that ends about 2cm above her eyebrows.

The style could look almost awkward, but the actress shows how it can bed off in real life with loads of attitude and statement make-up, such as a bold lip colour or dramatically lined eyes.

These shorter bangs are easier to manage as they will not fall over the eyes and can be slicked back with mousse for an instant change in appearance.

For his spring/summer 2012 collection, fashion darling Alexander Wang had his models sporting wet-looking locks that made them look as if they had walked out of a gym's shower.

The designer popularised the now-ubiquitous side braid two years ago, so it would not be a surprise if this look takes off too. Plus, this carefree hairdo is a great complement to the sporty look that continues to be big next year.

Of course, you can't just walk out of your home with dripping wet hair as your clothes would be ruined.

Instead, to get the look, scrunch mousse through towel-dried hair and blast it with a hair dryer, as Redken hair stylist Guido Palau did for Wang's show.

Then, run hair oil, such as argan oil, through the strands to give them a wet-look shine.

NAIL IT YOURSELF

Fancy nails took off this year, with patterned Minx overlays and gel nail art all the rage.

However, to get a set of these decorative tips, you need plenty of patience as each session in a nail salon lasts for at least an hour.

The cost of repeated sessions adds up too, with prices starting from $50 for a set of 10 nails, which typically lasts two to four weeks.

Good news is in store then for those who prefer to decorate their own nails, as they will have more options in the coming year.

If you like a shiny, jelly-like shine, check out Majolica Majorca's Glass Drop Gel Coat ($14.50).

While gelish polishes have to be cured under ultraviolet light in a nail salon, this top coat can be applied over any polish for a similar effect.

Those who lapped up the "shatter effect'' top coats of brands such as OPI and China Glaze can now also look to drugstore brand Sally Hansen. The brand will be launching its own range in a variety of colours, ranging from electric blue to metallic grey.

Also check out the brand's patterned Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips ($17.90 for 16 strips), which can be stuck onto nails, just like Minx overlays.

The latest nail phenomenon in the United States and Britain is magnetic nail polish, which contains actual metallic bits.

Hover the magnet embedded in the bottle cap over the nail polish after it is applied to create a swirly pattern.

Sephora stores in the United States are selling a range of magnetic nail polishes by London brand Nails Inc, but they are currently not available here.

Watsons, however, says it has plans to introduce magnetic nail polishes next year.
 

ORANGE CRUSH

Pantone's colour of the year for 2012 is tangerine tango, a vibrant shade of orange-red.

While this bold hue may be a tad overwhelming for those with a more conservative fashion sense, it looks set to be a hit in the beauty world.

Most of the major make-up brands will be launching products in this colour family for their spring 2012 collections. After all, this striking shade is a great way to add a pop of colour to the lips, nails and cheeks.

As make-up artist Bobbi Brown says in her latest press release: 'The most modern way to wear a bright colour is as an accent on an otherwise neutral face.'

Plus, make-up artists say orange-toned colours are great for Asian skin as the warm hues work well on those with yellow-toned skin.

Get a head start on this trend with the following launches next month.

Check out Bobbi Brown's Neons & Nudes collection which features a lipstick in Atomic Orange ($33) and a shiny orange lipgloss in Citrus ($35).

Shu Uemura has a Creamy Dome Cheek blusher in Sunlight Peach ($39) that adds an healthy orange-pink flush to cheeks.

Nails are not forgotten. One of Chanel's three limited- edition spring 2012 nail polish shades is called June ($37), a sweet apricot orange.

 

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