Fei Wang Eyewear

As Bella and I hit the pavement, we bumped into my friend, Fei, and her film crew offloading a heap of bags and cases from a car. ‘Bella needs to go and spend her penny. We’ll be right back!’ They were here at my apartment to shoot video clips for her new website.

Fei is an owner / designer of a luxury eyewear brand, Fei Wang. The brand specialises in handmade bespoke sunglasses and spectacles made from vintage acetate sheets. All her high-end models are made in a small independent factory in UK by a team of highly skilled technicians.

I learnt about her brand by chance during my hunt for sunglasses which would compliment my Asian facial feature. Her designs were chic yet individual. And the testimonial of her creative philosophy was overflowing with her passion about making beautiful eyewears. They impressed me so much and I decided to meet her in person and to order a pair for myself.

Her collection is amazing and highly covetable…

I honestly can’t remember how long ago we first met but my first impression of her is still vivid and alive. She was courteous and elegant yet her easy manner put me at ease instantaneously. Her warm personality soon won me over and we chatted like we had known each other for a long time. And we became good friends ever since.

While Bella and I kept ourselves tucked away so we wouldn’t photobomb accidentally, Fei, an art director, a D.O.P (director of photography) and a stylist were busy setting up the scenes…

The stylist, checking Fei’s make-up & hair…

The atmosphere of the shoot was very chilled and happy.

Another touching up before shooting another clip…

Fei is a very hands-on kind of designer…

She oversees a whole process of manufacturing by keeping in close touch with the workshop and exercising a rigorous quality control. The result is not only amazing looking sunglasses but also they are very comfortable to wear.

Late autumn afternoon was so short and the outside was already dark at 5 pm…

Fei gets her inspiration from the glamorous world of old and new…

Those individuals express themselves without giving themselves away. The paradox is created by them not baring their souls by hiding behind their shades.  As a result they transform themselves to a beautiful enigma. How intriguing and seductive is that?

You can see more of Fei’s inspirations in her Instagram here.

This is one of my Fei Wang shades…

From the distance, the frame appears black. However, the acetate has a fine geometric pattern.

Fei sources acetate sheets from vintage stocks in Italy, and therefore, the number she can produce from them is limited…

While most of the well-known big name fashion houses use injection-moulded plastic for their eyewear lines and charge several hundreds of pound for them, her products are truly hand-made and luxurious…

I love this pair of cat’s eye because it makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

YCN @ Rivington Street EC2

I have just sorted out a heap of freshly laundered black socks which were brought back from the Down Under by Hubbie yesterday morning. Mixing & matching almost identical black socks isn’t as easy as one may think. But I have managed to find each rightful pair. Bliss! Also, Mr.B is very happy to have a complete “pack” back.

A few Saturdays ago before Hubbie embarked on his very first Australian visit, he, I & Mr.B were enjoying a leisurely stroll around Hoxton / Shoreditch.

Mr.B was demonstrating his wish. ‘Don’t you dare even thinking about leaving me behind!’

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Hubbie wanted to browse Artwords Bookshop on Rivington Street. After buying a couple of coffee table books, we carried on towards Shoreditch High Street.

Being situated on the opposite side of Rivington Place, a well-known gallery designed by David Adjaye, was YCN

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YCN is a creative organisation which provides its members opportunities to network and share their experiences and ideas, as well as mentors fledgling designers valuable career advice.

This was how it looked when we visited them…

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The works on display were mainly graphic design and photography.
The price was between £10 – 70. They were not only very affordable but also achingly original. They would make a very cool gift, I thought.

Slingshots by Christopher Jaratt…

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The sight of the slingshots made me smile. A simple toy I ran around with when I was a kid. Even though I was rubbish with it, carrying it in my back pocket made me feel very resourceful and adventurous.

In the back of the shop, there was a library with bookshelves laden with rare and interesting old books….

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Hubbie and I agreed that the place would definitely be worth a visit if we were in the neighbourhood in future.

Then, we settled ourselves comfortably in the seat at Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue for a well-deserved coffee break…

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My flat white & a slice of Victoria sponge.

Mr.B wanted to know if he could have any crumb…

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Mmmm… I shall save a crumb or two if you promise to let me scrub your teeth more diligently than usual once we get home…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Sensing Spaces @ RA

I am still together, even though feeling rather fragile.
From last night’s practice, I joined the premier’s session fully and went through a yet more lactic acid inducing session. The final straw which broke my back was stop & dash drill between blue-lines. In the end, I was panting like an animal on all fours.
Then, I left my stick on the car roof while stuffing a kit bag into the rear seat. By the time I settled into a driving seat and started the engine, about the stick left on the roof was completely forgotten. So when I performed a three-point turn and headed up the street on the right way around, I heard a loud noise *CRANG*! Did I ram into a car?? I stopped the car and froze like a frightened rabbit, ‘What the hell?!’ Then it dawned on me that it was the stick on the roof. Surely enough, I could see in my rear mirror that the poor stick in question lying on Tarmac in the distance. It was lucky that no car was behind me. Shaking my head, I trotted to retrieve my stick…

It had been quite a while since I visited the exhibition, Sensing Spaces, at the Royal Academy with my lovely friend, Fei Wang.
Fei arrived at the venue earlier than me and bought tickets for both of us. It was almost 5pm which meant we would only had an hour to spare and therefore we headed straight to the exhibits without consulting the leaflet we were given at the entrance.

The space created by Grafton Architects…

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The space resembled an elaborate underground bunker or a tomb. Thick concrete slab-like structures hovered above us, defying gravity, reminding me the scene from the original Total Recall.

The next space was a work by Pezo von Ellrichshausen…

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A towering structure, resembling a Greek temple, were made of rough-hewn timber.

A viewing platform was hoisted up by four robust columns…

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Yet, the inside of each sumptuous column was in fact hollow and occupied by a spiral staircase…

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On the platform, we discovered that some parts of the timber wall were cut out to reveal the gilded angels on the cornice adorning the original space…

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The next exhibit was created by Diébédo Francis Kéré…

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A semi-opaque tunnel was bridging two original gallery spaces.
Upon our close inspection, the structure’s main material turned out to be polycarbonate sheeting with honeycomb like profile.

Thin long plastic straws in various colours were stocked together by the tunnel, offering exhibition visitors to participate in decorating its external & internal space by connecting the straws to it…

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We took a few straws and did our contribution. Wished if we had more time so we could wrestle out something more original…

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A riot of fluorescent colours was mesmerizing…

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Walking through a “hairy” tunnel…

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Then, we entered a work by Li Xiaodong…

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The structure was designed like a maze and an illuminated white translucent path reminded us a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining…

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The walls were made from thin twigs clustered tightly together…

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How strange I felt when my own shadow was removed from the underneath. Rather unsettling and otherworldly. Do you remember the room in 2001: Space Odyssey?

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A small hut was tucked around the passage and a woman inside was working with her iPad in there…

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Amongst all great exhibits, the most spectacular one had to be Kengo Kuma’s…

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Inside the darkened gallery, a dainty willow twig-like objects were standing in row…

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The individual twig was illuminated by a tiny light bulbs from underneath…

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So delicate and organic. The way the objects were lit up was such, they resembled wisps of golden vapour rising from the ground…

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The effect was absolutely magical….

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The exhibition will end this weekend. If you are around in Central London and haven’t been there yet, why don’t you make detour to RA? I can’t recommend the show highly enough. And please allocate more than an hour because we ended up sprinting between the galleries towards the end. Oops!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

London General Store @ Old Street

OMG, I didn’t know a single tube ticket to zone 1 would cost £4.50?!
I realised that I forgot my Oyster at the station therefore proceeded to buy a single return. When a touch screen displayed that it would cost me as much as a bottle of Jessica nail varnish, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Oh well next time, I shall double-check whereabouts of my Oyster before I leave home…
After running mega-quick errands in West End, I came back to Old Street tube station in order to rendezvous with Kate. The station was awash with early evening commuters and there was still 10 minutes or so left before our rendezvous, so I looked around to if anywhere less crowded I could wait.
Them, I noticed a pretty shop sign across a hectic passage..,

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It was a pop-up shop by TCOLondon!
TCOLondon is a Shoreditch based publisher who specialise in film making, graphic design and journalism.
As I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly staff who showed me an each issue in detail…

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This magazine, Little White Lies, is one of their most celebrated publication…

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Each issue pans on a specific film, a director, a screen writer, an actor, etc, and creates a whole magazine around its subject.

Their sister magazine, huck, is edited with a broader focus…

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Again, they feature a particular subject but their interest is not limited to film-making but expand to wider issues. The issues such as photography, journalism focusing on world/local affair, music, art, design, urban sports, music, etc, are excavated as well as broadened in order to offer its readers better understanding.
I flicked through a few copies and found them beautifully put together and thought-provoking.

The walls of the shop were adorned with the arts from the magazines on sale which I thought any of them would be a perfectly original Christmas gift…

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I wished if I could hang around longer but the time was ticking so bought only one magazine and left the shop…

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At the cafe, she treated me to latte and a slice of delicious pecan pie…

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Thank you, Kate. The next one is on me!

The magazine I brought home features Sofia Coppola, my favourite director…

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I’m gonna save it until my trip to Japan and read it during a 13 hours flight.
The pop-up shop by TCOLondon is up until 4th December. If you are nearby, drop in and pick up their amazing magazines and arts for you and your loved ones…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Retro Graphics @ SOHO

While rat-running on foot through crowded streets of the West End, I bumped into some intriguing retro graphics on the wall.
Next to the sloping entrance of public car park on Poland Street, off Oxford Street, there were two images on the wall which style strongly suggested that they were remnants of the 1950s advertisements.

By the way, Poland Street was once famous for being a host of the Britain’s very first large-scale conveyor belt sushi restaurant, Yo! Sushi in 1997. The chain, now as prevalent as dandelions by the road side, used be a hip & must place where to be & to be seen in its heyday. Even though the portion was mean and the price was extortionate, the punters queued up at the door, wanting to sit on the stools and be mesmerized by the sushi encased in a plastic babble cap on slow moving conveyor belts. After the sushi bar proved to be a mega hit, they expanded the premises to its basement, naming it, Yo! Below. The new space sported tatami mat and square tables with sunken floors so the customers could sit down with their legs down, not cross-legged. Instead of sushi, the restaurant offered boxed bento. Upon request, they offered a complimentary Shiatsu massage as well. It was gimmicky but also fun.

One December, Hubbie and his agency work colleague hired an entire floor for a X’mas party and ended up having a rather unpalatable experience. They were all at the tables and the party was in a full swing when one of them became aware that she could feel something soft under her toe. The staff was summoned and he probed a mystery object under the table. It turned out to be… A HUGE DEAD RAT! Hubbie recounted how every one pulled its legs out of the table in a flash and curled up in horror once the rodent emerged. The restaurant apologized profusely and wrote off the whole bill. However, the venue was forever vanished from his agency’s party list. And that poor girl, who ended up planting her foot on the dead rat, I hope she has got over the experience by now…

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There must have been a servicing garage within the car park when these adverts was painted on the wall…

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Apparently this old BP logo shown here borrowed the shape of an interstate freeway sign in the United States…

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Instead of their present trademark which resembles green dahlia petals, the old one is a lot more fitting to what BP really is. There is NOTHING green about them.
Still, this BP Energol ad looked handsome and groovy after nearly 60 years.

Next to it was an ad of Regent Remoulds tyres…

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The graphic screaming for the attention of passing drivers. I imagine supplies for cars in the fifties of post-war Britain must have been not as plentiful nor inexpensive like they are now.

Another retro sign I came across was on Wardour Street…

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A boarded-up tobacconist “The Hobbit”.
The Hobbits’ love for their pipes is well-known. Therefore, the name seems very appropriate for the purpose. The only shame is it is no longer in business…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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