DAUGHTER OF THE RAIN & SUN,
SHE FINDS HERSELF IN HER
ELEMENT WHEN ROOTED TO THE
EARTHY SPECTRUM OF SOIL & STONE,
AMONG WHISPERS OF WIND THAT
ROUSE THE FLORA, BENEATH AN EMERALD SKY.
SHE IS A GODDESS.
SHE IS A WARRIOR.
SHE IS A PRIMORDIAL WOMAN
IN NEOTERIC TIMES,
COMPELLED BY INSTINCT & INTUITION,
ATTUNED TO THE WORLD WITHIN & WITHOUT.
Stepping into Style Tribute’s warehouse was daunting. It was my first time loaning clothes (I had always styled shoots in the past with clothes borrowed from friends) and I had no idea what kind of photos I wanted to take. Wandering through a clothing-rack-maze of eye-popping designerwear was overwhelming. Imagine stepping into Harrods, with all the Puccis and Guccis compressed into one room – perhaps this is what heaven looks like. My uncertainty was quickly replaced by excitement as I started recognising pieces I’d seen on the runways of Balenciaga, Chanel and Dior. And then I saw it – a mustard-meets-sienna coloured dress from Prada’s F/W 2009 show, one of my all time favourite collections. Immediately inspired by the nymph-like Prada warrior-women of that season, the direction for my shoot with Philaé became clear.
Who is Philaé, you ask? Other than being an incredibly sweet girl from France, she’s the embodiment of the word ‘model’. She is both the noun and the verb – she, by the grace of good genes, is a model [noun] and, likely due to her training in ballet and Bharatanatyam (she lived in India for several years), can model [verb] pretty damn well. It’s like she jumped out of the pages of Vogue Italia. This lovechild of Enikő Mihalik and Lorde is wiser and more mature than any other seventeen year old I know. She speaks eloquently, moves with grace and has the confidence of a lioness. Because of her slender frame and doll-like features, her friends would joke around and tell her that she should model – and how right they were! After a couple of somewhat dodgy gigs without an agency, she crossed paths with Basic Models and the rest was history. And that, kids, is how she came to be before my lens.
To date, this has been the quickest shoot I’ve ever done – eight looks in under two hours. Hell, the hair and make-up took longer! I told Philaé it was probably because she was such a good model, to which she, very insightfully, replied that it was because of a good group effort – and I certainly can't deny that. Thank you, Philaé, thank you, Ara and thank you, Style Tribute.
Shot at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Frame 1 & 15: PRADA - Dress
Frame 2, 5 & 8: CHRISTIAN DIOR - Dress, Shoes
Frame 3, 11, 13: ROBERTO CAVALLI - Kimono top / EMPORIO ARMANI - Trousers
Frame 4: CALVIN KLEIN - Dress / PRADA - Skirt
Frame 7: T BY ALEXANDER WANG - Blouse / EMPORIO ARMANI - Trousers
Frame 9 & 14: OSCAR DE LA RENTA - Swimsuit / CÉLINE - Blazer
Frame 10: OSCAR DE LA RENTA - Swimsuit cover-up / CÉLINE - Skirt
Frame 12: PROENZA SCHOULER - Dress
Unless your name is Patrick and you hail from Bikini Bottom, you have no excuse not to know about multi-label boutique Club 21 (you know, because of living under a rock and all). From Marni to McCartney, they've got clothing, shoes and accessories from all the drool-worthy designers one could go gaga over. Just last week I popped by their gallery space to preview the goodies F/W 2015 has in store before they actually hit the store. While I've got my heart set on a certain white bag (looking at you, Jack and Lazaro), it occurred to me that this year it wouldn't be totally crazy to splurge – sorry, I mean invest in a good winter coat. After all, I do have to look stylish while piling on the layers back in London. But this shall remain just a thought until I can fully consider it, while a little less delirious from fasting and this muggy heat. Don't forget to head on down to Fashionide to discover the super adorable Cities loafers by Joshua Sanders, also available at Club 21.
Four Seasons Hotel
190 Orchard Boulevard
Tel: +65 6304 1385
1. Calvin Klein 2. Issey Miyake 3. Stella McCartney 4. Proenza Schouler 5. Alexander Wang 6. Junya Watanabe
Many moons ago, when the opportunity first came to shoot with Mia, I casually turned it down – not knowing what a big mistake it was. I was young, I was dumb, I didn’t know better, yadda yadda yadda.
Watch out for Mia Loo. She may seem like your typical Singaporean sweetheart – shy and bashful, giggling often mid-conversation – but don’t be fooled for even a second. She is a chameleon. When the camera goes up and it’s crunch time, the girl-next-door vibe is shed like old skin and Mia shines even more than the reflector on set – I couldn’t help but gasp “mamma mia” under my breath. What a transformation. Where was this top model hiding?
Recently graduated, Mia paved her own path into the modeling world. At seventeen she started taking part in competitions and model searches, finally landing with Basic Models. You can really tell she wants this and she isn’t afraid of the hard work that has to go into it, something I really admire in a model. And the moment I learnt she loves spending her free time in the kitchen, I knew we would totally hit it off. And she enjoys listening to Florence + The Machine. How cool can this girl get?
Despite being a simple set up in terms of wardrobe and location, there was a spunky atmosphere on set, emanating from Mia. Flowing from pose to pose effortlessly, she knows exactly how to make the most of her lenghty body - perfect for the sporty-chic aesthetic I had in mind. Even when the camera was down and she was waiting around on set, every time I glanced at her, it looked like a photograph begging to be captured. I have no doubts she can pull of non-athletic wear equally well.
Dear Mia, keep doing you and with a little determination and perseverance, you’re going to go a long way. I look forward to working with you again, very soon.
Look 1: MARNI
Looks 2 & 4: T BY ALEXANDER WANG
Look 3: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
P.S. – A huge, huge thank you to the team at Style Wardrobe for giving me the freedom to style this shoot and another that’s on the way. Be sure to check out all the amazing fashion they have for sale – you’re not going to find a better deal elsewhere.
As the days get longer, thick layers start to thin out and hemlines rise alongside the mercury. Summer is the time of year everyone anticipates in earnest - those who have braved through the cold, that is. Here, in Singapore, the season of the sun is kind enough to never leave us, making sure we’re all warm and toasty 365 days a year. No one has to worry about switching his or her wardrobes around every few months. Hot sun, humidity, unexpected torrential rain that releases even more warmth from the ground – there’s no escaping the heat (I exaggerate, there is) that so many of you crave - a craving I could never fully comprehend.
So you’ll understand why I’m sitting here, sweating straight out of the shower, and reminiscing over a late-spring afternoon spent buzzing around Paddington, wearing multiple layers, albeit those of linen, in subdued pastel hues. Ah, such simple times when I had one less problem trickling down my face.
Moving on, here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to this hectic week – attending collection previews with the Fashionide, eating, test shooting for Basic Models and Style Tribute, eating, and adding to the #FaiyazExploresSingapore hashtag. Did I mention eating as well?
Super stoked about sharing all the photos and stories I have lined up. Until then, watch this space. I’ll be weathering the equatorial weather. Be sure to follow me on instagram, or maybe twitter, or even snapchat (@faiyazzz) to keep up with my shenanigans.
Shot by Claudia Naomi.
A good thing about being back is having a fully equipped kitchen - I’ve missed having the liberty to bake whenever I feel like it (also partly due to university-induced burnout). Between having a sweet tooth and finding calm in cooking, I need no other reason to pull out the baking tins and my stash of cookbooks. After eyeing a couple of mouth-watering recipes, this one was on the top of my list, and as soon as I knew that we were going to surprise my cousin on her birthday, I was set on making it for her.
This caramel milk cake is without a doubt the perfect kind of cake for a hot summer’s day. It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s cooling and it’s (unfortunately for me) not sickeningly sweet. Don’t take my word for it, you’ll have to try it yourself.
Caramel Milk Cake
- 180g unsalted butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups single cream
- ⅔ cup caramel sauce
- Beat the butter, sugar and ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one by one, and beat well. Add the flour gradually and mix gently until just combined. Place the mixture into a 22cm springform tin lined with baking paper. Pop your tin into the oven preheated at 160ºC and bake for 45-55 minutes. Once baked, use a skewer or toothpick or something pointy to make holes over the top of the cake, and let it cool in the tin. I repeat, don't remove from tin.
- Put the milk, sweetened condensed milk, buttermilk, ⅓ cup caramel sauce and remaining vanilla extract into a large jug and whisk to combine. Pour this milky concoction slowly over the cake (that’s why you need a springform tin, because you won't be able to flip it later). You’ll probably want to place the tin on a tray as well to catch leaks, which there will be. Refrigerate cake for around 3 hours, after which you can remove it from the tin.
- Whisk the single cream until soft peaks form and generously top the cake with it. As a final touch, pour the remaining caramel over the cream… et voila!
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay.