THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

As a very cold April rolls to an end, I'm sitting here amidst textbooks and notepads, accompanied by my friends Doritos and Häagen-Dazs, wondering how did I get here. I've been juggling my academics and professional life for a while now, however the last few months have proved to be especially taxing. Nothing much, y'know... just a new load of freelance writing, a constantly growing list of editorial deadlines, exams looming on the horizon, a vacation planned without foresight and having to deal with the inconvenience of my bank's usual unreliability. When you spread yourself too thin, time seems to speed up and you're constantly living in a blur. It's a strange, confusing feeling when nothing makes sense yet everything moves forward anyway. By the end of each day I somehow manage to get everything in order, smoothly and systematically, satisfying both clients and lecturers. And my parents. As a good Asian boy, I must not bring dishonour to my cow. What about my satisfaction? What makes all this toil and trouble so appealing to me? The answer lies in that moment a stranger shares an article I wrote and says it was a good read. When an image I conceptualised, styled and shot gets published in Elle. When a client excitedly texts me at 3am to say the campaign I worked on was roping in results. When my quirky advertising professor hands me a bottle of Prosecco and a box of chocolates for having the best project of the year. It's these brief moments that bring the most gratification to my preoccupied soul. It's these brief moments after which I can say to myself that it was all worth it. It's just enough...

FRONT ROW ONLY

CHANEL prêt-à-porter automne-hiver 2016-2017 You know you had a good time travelling when more than a month later you're still suffering from withdrawal symptoms, even though it was a work trip rather than a vacation. There were many little things that made my time at Paris Fashion Week so magical - the snowfall, the food, the company, the showrooms. But most of all, the shows. Ah, the beautiful shows. And Monsieur Lagerfeld, as always, lived up to expectations of a great show. One might think that it was a simple set, unlike the usual fanfare at Chanel... but let me tell you, to give all the guests a front row experience is by no means a small feat. To put it into perspective, the models took about 8 minutes to make it through the maze-like runway. And speaking of models, I'm going to be blatant and tell you I was drooling over these gorgeous girls most of the time, instead of the equally stunning clothes. I'm sorry, but that's what you get when you put all of my favourite models in one show. You end up with a very star-strucked Faiyaz. Between them, Snapchat, Instagram, Boomerang and my camera, I was pretty dazed by the end of the show. Here's a little visual recollection of those fabulous moments front row at Chanel. You can read the rest of my thoughts on the actual collection here. Carry on, kids. I'm just going to be right here, transfixed on the perfection that is known as Gigi Hadid. Photography & illustration by yours...

THE LIGHT WRAPS YOU

A little transeasonal layering as we enter spring. It's a magical time - under the sun it's warm and behind shadows it's cool. The rain is sporadic, letting up now and again for a few moments of gold to shine. If you're lucky you might even spot a rainbow. These photos were shot spontaneously while scouting for future shoot locations, so this outfit really is an authentic representation of an ordinary day out. The warm colours of sunset looked so poetic against the cool hues of my outfit that a poem by Pablo Neruda came to mind as I was editing this. Without any more blabbering on my part, I leave you to these pictures and some poetry. POEMA II En su llama mortal la luz te envuelve. Absorta, pálida doliente, así situada contra las viejas hélices del crepúsculo que en torno a ti da vueltas. Muda, mi amiga, sola en lo solitario de esta hora de muertes y llena de las vidas del fuego, pura heredera del día destruido. Del sol cae un racimo en tu vestido oscuro. De la noche las grandes raíces crecen de súbito desde tu alma, y a lo exterior regresan las cosas en ti ocultas, de modo que un pueblo pálido y azul de ti recién nacido se alimenta. Oh grandiosa y fecunda y magnética esclava del círculo que en negro y dorado sucede: erguida, trata y logra una creación tan viva que sucumben sus flores, y llena es de tristeza. POEM II The light wraps you in its mortal flame. Abstracted pale mourner, standing that way against the old propellers of the twilight...

IN GOLD

I'm a little late on this, but I'm so excited to be (finally) sharing this editorial I shot for our friends over at Estela. Aptly covering the Muse Issue is my own muse - Chawntell. We somehow met in a mad rush of people during London Fashion Week last year and I was a little starstruck. Super gorgeous and super smart with a super personality, I thought she was already a supermodel and for some strange reason I hadn't heard of her before. How this girl doesn't have a million dollar contract with a top modeling agency baffles me. Completely. On a cold Tuesday morning, I explained my back story for this editorial to the rest of the team and everyone got it immediately. Five hours passed in what felt like five minutes and I didn't want to put my camera down, despite the lack of sunlight and exhausting every piece of clothing, accessory accessory and prop. It was pure bliss. Despite the copious amounts of positive energy and Beyoncé beats on set, we dug deep into our souls to create a narrative with a darker undertone. Growing up, my interest was always piqued by powerful, badass characters - particularly women. It's no surprise that Charmed was (and still is) my favourite show ever. As I got older, I noticed these women were no longer restricted to the television screen and they traversed into real life as well. They all fit a certain profile - they were fragile. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. In fiction, some of my top picks include Jane/the Wife (The Yellow Wallpaper), Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Nina Sayers (Black Swan). IRL In non-fiction, we have the likes of Britney, bitch. Need...
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