Summer Sun! Cable Beach, Broome, W.A.
It’s the height of Summer a.k.a. the Dry Season here in Broome, Western Australia. The town is bustling with activity. Lots of stores and restaurants are open. Tourists from around the country and all over the world converge at our fabulous cable beach, to savour the most amazzzingg summer weather on earth!
Now, I’m not really a sun-basking, beach lounging type of a person. As a matter of fact, I was very sun-phobic. I avoided sunlight very much like I was Nosferatu. I grew up in hot, humid, Philippines, so I’m kinda over with the tropical heat situation. Nevertheless, in this part of Australia, during the Dry season, going out even at midday is ideal: Sunny blue skies, 25-28 C temperature, and very low humidity. The only time of the year that I become such a Sun worshipper. It’s total paradise! From a vampiric character, I turn into a sun-loving Olaf from Frozen singing: “Innn summmerr” everyday. LOL.
I feel so lucky to live here.
#broomelife to be precise!
Style/Fashion Notes: I thought: Boho chic with this cardigan I got (on sale!) from a market stall in Osaka, Japan; Stone/wood beads, leather and Feather necklace from a mall in Shibuya, Japan; Kangaroo leather armband with metal detail from Broome Night Market; White-wrap shirt from Korea; Shorts from Beams, Japan; Trusty LGR sunnies; Straw Hat from Muji; Suddenly- I feel sooo un-Green; #carbonfootprintsgallore;
x War Julian x
Hong Kong Fashion and Art Scene!
It was so good to be back in Hong Kong. Last time I visited was almost four years ago. It’s one of my top favourite countries to visit: food is amazing (all the best variety of chinese cuisine!), shopping is fantastic (one day is not enough to visit the shops/malls in one area) , and the city itself is just so modern and full of colourful lights and vitality. I could live here and be very happy for the rest of my life.
Speaking of shopping, how about some Lane Crawford flagship in the IFC mall? They have the best and newest merch from every known and new international designers in the fashion world. CAUTION: The stuff that you can buy here are so tempting and so sickeningly expensive- but ooh soo worth it- that you may end up leaving the building with very little funds left (or none) in your bank! I must say; I was very cautious and never went overboard. At least that’s what I led myself to believe at the time.
But the best shopping spot for me are still the ones along Nathan Road. Shopping there is like going for a treasure hunt. Luxury brands, independent brands, counterfeit brands, you name it; they’re all there!
I wish I checked out more of the Art scene though. Nonetheless, with only little time I was able to visit the Hong Kong museum of Art. I really enjoyed the photography and the modern art sections in the gallery- surreal and very thought-provoking. I’d buy them all if I were a rich man.
So after some art and fashion exploration; what better way to end this trip than just soaking the relaxing atmosphere in Hong Kong Victoria harbour. I loved watching the Symphony of Lights: the world’s biggest and permanent light and sound show, for 10 minutes, all for free!
There are so many things more I need to do and explore in Hong Kong next time I come back!
(Sunglasses from Saint Laurent, CHANEL necklace, OverLong shirt by HARE, Japan, ACNE studio pants, Givenchy shoes)
x War Julian x
Bright lights! The Bund, Shanghai China.
It was like stepping out into the future! Shanghai is a city that is so full of energy and its cityscape is one of a kind.
In one direction, you’ll see the futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower majestically peering over Shanghai city like a giant alien pod. Then in another direction, a classic, European style building that makes you feel like you’re walking somewhere in the streets of London, England. It’s a fantastic mix between Asian and Western cultures. Old china and the China of today: ultra-modern and powerful.
Beijing may be more famous in terms of the food culture, but Shanghai has definitely stepped up in its game in the food arena. In Nanjing Road alone (alleyways and backroads), you can find so many traditional restaurants, and best of all, they’re very reasonably priced.
Shanghai may be hailed as the fashion capital of China, but I must admit-I enjoyed shopping in Beijing more. There’s more fashion stores and malls in Shanghai. Though it was harder for me to find unique and good quality men’s clothing than women’s. So I guess, girls of all ages will have more fun shopping here. And if you’ve got lots of money to spend- then the flagships of international luxury shops are eagerly waiting for you in SH!
Navigating around the city.
To say that Shanghai is a bustling city is an understatement. I love the vibe of Shanghai but the traffic, millions of people clogging the streets, smog, etc. can be quite intense. So be prepared and wear good walking shoes and mask!
It really helps to know how to speak a few Chinese words or phrases when travelling to China. Most people do NOT speak English, and they don’t hold back to simply not talk to you if you’re not making any sense to them. This can be potentially frustrating when you’re trying to ask something in a restaurant or dealing with the notorious city Taxi drivers.
After enjoying the bright lights of SH, I’m ready to go and re-visit my favourite chinese city of all- Hong Kong.
(Coat by Bai Peng- 798 Art District, Ralph Lauren Distressed Jeans, LGR tripoli)
x War Julian x
Shanghai Express! Onboard China’s Fastest Train.
After spending almost a week in Beijing, it was time to pack my bags again and move on. I decided that the best way to get from Beijing to Shanghai was to get on board China’s fastest train- the CRH (China Railway High-speed). Pro-tip: Get the best seat and book Business class. Yes, First class is a step-down from Business, so if you want the best experience, book the latter. It’s so worth it!
Speeding at about 300 km/h; Once a 10- hour train ride is now cut to just below 50%! That’s about 4 hours and 48 minutes to be precise.
The most exciting part for me about this trip was seeing the rural/country of side of China. Maybe it was just the railway connection route, but I definitely did NOT see any rural-ness throughout the journey. China is definitely a country that can’t stop from developing and expanding.
It was quite surprising, quite bizarre even, to see high rise buildings and/or factories randomly built in the middle of nowhere (like really tall buildings surrounded by farmlands. It’s virtually a mind f**k.) Many resembled that of a post-apocalyptic scene. Buildings looked bare, uninhabited, and unfinished. Adding to the gloomy effect was the pervading smog, which blanketed every town and city in China.
All in all, my Shanghai Express was a great experience. I thought I was going to see a remote and traditional countryside of China. Instead, I saw a different and strange scenes of the city’s extension that stretched from miles and miles away. But I thought it was charming and absolutely intriguing- the strangeness of it all. And I kinda liked it.
(Lanvin sunglasses, Kenzo Sweatshirt, Ice Tree Coat from 798 Art District Beijing, Ralph Lauren Jeans)
And less than five hours later- I arrived in Shanghai!
x War Julian x
Chinese Street Fashion at 798 Art District, Beijing China.
I was thrilled to find out that 798 Art District also has a thriving fashion scene. Dare I say- the best I’ve seen in Beijing!
Apart from it’s fantastic paintings and sculptures, you can also find emerging independent fashion labels and designers here. Modern Chinese fashion is very much alive in 798. Although, it was a bit tricky to identify the clothing stores (they are randomly scattered around 798), but once you find one, you’ll be rewarded with amazing, unique, modern pieces of fashion heaven.
Tucked in a retro/antique shop, is twenty-four year old, independent fashion designer, Bai Peng’s fashion cave. Seriously, if I wasn’t being inquisitive and opening secret doors I wouldn’t know that his shop was ever there (a store within a store)!? His unique designs immediately caught my attention. Then I met E.T. (yup, as in the, alien). A very sweet and accommodating girl who showed me the collection and told me all about the brand. I also met the designer himself. E.T. was Bai Peng’s girlfriend, business partner, and she also appeared as an ad model for the brand. She had to do all the explanation and interpreting as she was the only one who could speak english.
I adore androgynous, unique, and unconventional cuts in clothing. Bai Peng is a champion in this category. I asked him about his design principles. He said he liked to go back to traditional Chinese tailoring but adding a modern flair to it. He really tried his best to explain more but was ‘sorry’ that he couldn’t express himself well in English. I said, “I don’t know how to speak any Chinese either”.
I told him not to worry as I was already captivated by his designs just by looking at them.
They spoke and I listened…
This store was another great find! An independently owned fashion label, their designs also cater to the androgynous tastebuds. The big gowns/smocks and asymmetrical jackets were just two of the many pieces that begged to go home with me.
I did pick a few.
I was grieving about the fact that this was my last day in Beijing. I was sure there were more shops to see but it was already late and Beijing is one unforgivable city to navigate during the night, especially for tourists like me. Damn! I could have spent more time here, had I checked this place out earlier. Woe unto me.
Living in the Hutong (-ish). A night view from my room.
Goodnight and farewell Beijing. Next stop, Shanghai.
x War Julian x
798 Art District Part 2: Paintings.
Aside from the many unique sculptures found all over 798 Art District in Beijing, there are also- the paintings. Restaurants and cafes become mini-art galleries featuring works from famous and emerging artists. The exterior walls of buildings burst with colourful graffiti art. Paintings on canvases randomly nailed on trees- they’re everywhere and they’re inspiring!
What I love about 798 is the freedom to take photos of whatever I deem as beautiful. Even inside the galleries. Unlike the stern art galleries that I’ve been accustomed to- here, people are free to take pictures of exquisite art works. FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!
Quite an awkward feeling though when you’re so used to copyright, no flash photography, and gallery staff embarrassing you in public for that one mistake of even just the act of reaching for your camera!
On my next post, I’ll find out that there’s even more to artistic sculptures and paintings in 798- FASHION! (boy, did I shop and file for bankruptcy!)
x War Julian x
798 Art District: Contemporary Chinese Art Culture.
If you happen to visit Beijing and you like Art, Fashion, and even food; then look no further than the 798 art district in Chaoyang! This complex is lined with massive, old factory buildings and was once the hub of weapon making production and electronics in Beijing. The abandoned military and civilian factories became a refuge for artists and designers in the early 2000s. The vast space and the ‘post-industrial chic’ appeal of the buildings (and the district in general ) attracted artists and over time they came pouring in. And what a thriving, artistic community it is now!
Leisurely walking around and you can see Art in unexpected places: be it on top of a fence, down by a really narrow alley, small cafes and restaurants, sculptures next to rubbles, etc.- Contemporary and Avant Garde creations are everywhere! Not only they’re beautiful to see, but they really grab your attention in a way that provokes and shocks. Moreover, these works of art ask questions and makes you THINK.
798 District Part 1. Contemporary/Avant Garde Sculptures
Below are some of the hundreds of photos I took when I visited the 798 Art Zone. This post is highly about the amazing sculptures found all over the district. I will write a separate post regarding paintings and fashion next time.
It’s amazing how the Chinese government has become more and more liberal on contemporary and avant garde artists over the years. The Mao sculptures, abstract art, nudity, sex and rock and roll that are pervading throughout the district today, are all taboo and would have been banned before. Artists could get arrested and their shows shutdown before they even started. The modern artists of China have come so far since Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution. There is now a new revolution. And this is spearheaded by the brave, new generation of artists that are determined to fight for total and absolute creative freedom.
x War Julian x