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photography SHINI PARK
In a way, the world begins at 18, non?

Eighteen. A number not commonly spotted in the usual roster of suspects, nor accompanied by some far-fetched superstition that leads 4’s to be scratched off elevators and 13’s to haunt perfectly innocent Fridays; it is perfectly harmless, almost mundane. Little do we realise that 18 is, in fact, a glorious number. A not round but so-very-round figure that bottles in just enough experience, evolution and ‘manhood’ for a product to be deemed ready for the world.

Be it in a gawky, all-arms-and-legs teenager or a dusty bottle of Bordeaux from your parents wedding, 18 of anything is a painstaking process of trial & error, handicraft and refinement. Even if Joe’s braces aren’t coming off until next Springtime. Chanel is a master of said 18, hours of which it takes (depending on material) for one handbag to be produced. Each is subject to meticulous care, from sketch to packaging – every step sanctioned by quality control – after which it is then ready to begin its story. Now multiply this by decades of finesse and perfection.

The skins are preserved in a temperature controlled chamber

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Each is subject to meticulous care, from sketch to packaging – every step sanctioned by quality control – after which it is then ready to begin its story.

A range of hand-made mock-ups are produced before selecting a final prototype nased on proportions and stitching details.

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I’m not going to lie, when I climbed in that van outside Hotel Costes I promised myself to Jason Bourne the crap out of the ride, ready to count the minutes between each turn and memorize particular kinks in the road. Just to be able to be privy to – if not trace back for personal pleasure and some light stalking of – one of fashion’s best-kept secrets: the address to the Chanel handbag factory. Alas, my carb-y lunch had been filling, washed down with a glass of white wine, and by the fourth junction out of La Défense, I was out like a decommissioned traffic light. I might as well have had a dust-bag over my head.

We arose to the sound of soft crackle of gravel as the van pulled into the entrance to a handsome building covered in matte-black tiles that resembled the iconic Chanel quilting. The interiors airy corridors in calming tones bouncing off diffused natural light. Workers and craftsmen weaved past us, practically gliding, talking in gentle tones no louder than the soft, diligent whirring of the machines. A cart with a small stack of lemon-yellow leather hide wheeled by – perhaps a limited-edition 11.12 in its infancy – as I made a bee-line to the table where the quilting was being stitched. Room after another, I dashed, mid-sentence – to a corner where the logo hardware was being set, to the station where seams were being hammered… At one point I’m certain I caught my poor guide glancing at a spool of bag chain, no doubt contemplating a makeshift leash.

The iconic 2.55 throughout the ages

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Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
Coco Chanel

Not one bag is the same, multiply that by six collections produced each year under Karl’s boundless design direction, then add a challenge of technical variation for each. Heck, throw a differentiation equation in there for good measure, and that should adequately sum up the level of expertise exercised in the factory. The same building houses also nearly 3,000 bags in archive, forming a rich library of inspiration for designers and craftsmen but also a thick resume of Coco Chanel-class problem-solving skills. “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” The factory certainly was all doors, all solutions.

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Many thanks to Chanel UK for the rare peek behind the scenes.


How a Chanel 2.55 is made
photography courtesy of CHANEL
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The aged calfskin is quilted by needlework according to a lozenge “diamond” pattern.

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A template is placed onto the leather and cuts the different components, which are then individually lined with thin foam.

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The emblematic double C is sewn onto the leather, appearing underneath the flap inside the bag.

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The two bags are placed one within the other to create a single bag and then assembled; this is the “bag in the bag” technique.

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Eyelets are inserted on the bag for a chain made of flat links in metal known as the “jewellery chain”. A rectangular turn-lock clasp, called the “Mademoiselle lock”, is positioned.

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The bag is complete and the finishing touches are checked before it is packed and sent to the CHANEL boutiques.


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Coat – Stylenanda. Ruffle top – ASOS. Satchel – Disney x Coach 1941

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direction SHINI PARK photo assistance SIMON SCHMIDT in collaboration with COACH

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We all love a good American union: Brad and Angelina (Brad and Jennifer, if you like), Facebook and Instagram, fried chicken on waffle (has anyone tried Oreo with Sunny D because MIND BLOWN) and this is no exception. If anything this one puts me straight back into DPA* meetings because I’ve once again burst out in song in the middle of the road and pissed off my parole officer. 0 Days since last Colours of the Wind. Two icons join hands under one limited-edition collection: Coach, who celebrate their 75th anniversary this year, and the mascot of pop culture – Disney’s Mickey Mouse, who is basically my soul animal (high-waisted red shorts with white gloves and a mischievous grin go hand-in-hand). Watch me replace the husband’s protein powder stash with Nesquik this summer.

*Disney Princesses Anonymous, in which I am the token Asian girl that is always expected to sing My Reflection.

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…Mickey Mouse, who is basically my soul animal (high-waisted red shorts with white gloves and a mischievous grin go hand-in-hand)

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Top & jeans – Stylenanda. Shoes – Kurt Geiger. Pouch – Disney x Coach 1941

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creative direction SHINI PARK photography assistance SIMON SCHMIDT in collaboration with DELL

So, it all starts like this: I like computers, I like pictures, I like not moving. I also happen to like burritos, and DIY (once upon a time). Drop all this into one cauldron – add bat-wings for double-jointedness – and brew 12 years… POOF! out comes a Graphic Designer. Apparently. (Hey, this story needs to be in my LinkedIn profile. *goes and adds*)

A fortnight ago, Dell threw a two-day workshop shindig around the adept new Dell XPS – sessions that were fine-catered to productivity and professionalism for influencers, and I was graciously invited to lead a one. One might note, that by this point in time I was determined, if not hell-bent, on starting a serious conversation with my fellow online publishers regarding branding and professionalism in the industry. So I accepted. Gladly. Twitter conversations are SLOW, what we need is a round-table discussion.

Photos 1,3,4 courtesy of The Apartment

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Between the inappropriate/dad jokes, I cautiously raised what it is to be a blogger in this day and age, how we are – so to speak – dime a dozen, and why branding is perhaps the single most important thing we need to invest in. As a matter of fact, what I really wanted was to be frank, pound the podium, beat the gavel. Alas, what authority did I have, other than some pixel shifting know-how?

But what I didn’t realise then was how crucial this #WeLoveYourWork Dell XPS event was to be for those participated. My gig ran after a VAT & tax 101 class, and then was succeeded by panel discussion session on Influencer professionalism & growth the following day… guys, sign me up, I think I’m ready for another degree. No cauldrons – I do it right this time.

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One of the easiest branding tools happens to be integrating your own personal handwriting into content. Give it a go yourself, the tutorial is available below.

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#Weloveyourwork #DellXPS

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organic handwritten typography: a how to
Easy as a microwave dinner
what you’ll need

Some paper (I keep a cheap sketchbook aside), scanner or smartphone, A brush, ink or paint, Adobe Photoshop (Pixlr is a good online alternative). Any other writing tools such as coloured pencils, markers, pens, watercolour… etc.

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Clockwise from top: Watercolour, marker, ink – all three have slightly different textures

1.
Decide on the words, and write the sh*t out of them

Write repeatedly until you have a few potential candidates, work on letters separately if you’d like – everything can be pieced together later. Try different writing/drawing tools, and brush size. Try wet/dry application. ParknCube_Dell-XPS_009b

2.
Scan

Once the ink is dry (and do make sure it is fully dry, especially if you opted on using the scanner, as the some ink can dirty and even stain the glass surface).

Alternatively, you can simply snap the page with a smartphone. NOTE: For maximum results, make sure to snap on the highest resolution possible, under brightest light – watch out for shadows. Using flash also helps.

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3.
Set up shop

Open Adobe Photoshop CC. By clicking File > Open, open the image you want to work on (you can choose to work on a blank canvas too, in which case, click File > New and set your canvas size). Open the scanned files as well.ParknCube_Dell-XPS_013

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4.
Grab that lasso

Using the lasso tool (shortcut ‘L’ on Photoshop), roughly select the version that looks best.

Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) the selection, and paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) into the working canvas, or drag the selection over.

Repeat for the rest of the words.

5.
Black & White

Working on the typography layer that was just pasted in, click Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and pull the Saturation all the way down. (Or Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+U shortcut)

Click Image > Adjustments > Levels (Ctrl/Cmd + L) to clarify the image – play with the three arrows to make the white, whiter and black, blacker.

* For white font, invert the colours by clicking Image > Adjustments > Invert (or Ctrl/Cmd + I). The font should appear white on black.

6.
Multiply or Screen

On your layers panel (bottom-right of screen), change the blend option for the typography layer to ‘Multiply’. For white font, select ‘Screen’.

You may need to adjust the Levels again (as above) to clear away any ‘dust’ in the white. Alternatively, use the Erase tool.

7.
Transform

Resizing should always be done at the very end, (for more than one layer, select multiple by holding down the Ctrl/Cmd key while selecting) click Edit > Free Transform to resize and adjust your handwritten elements.

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8.
Now play!

Experiment with the best placement for the text (generally white font looks cleaner on busy backgrounds). Handwritten elements look handsome mixed with other typography.

Save for Web by clicking File > Export > Save for Web. (Or save normally as a *.psd if you’d like to revisit the work.)

Think outside the box, consider scanning in your own doodles, sign-off signatures, patterns… the possibility is endless. Good luck!

some inspiration to get you going…

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creative direction SHINI PARK photography TEAM PARK & CUBE in collaboration with AVENUE 32

Shoes – Malone Souliers. Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Suede slingback
Paul Andrew

Wool-blend ‘Breeda’ Jacket
Isabel Marant

Gold Smile earrings
Smith/Grey

Candle
Bella Freud

Denim slip-ons
Joshua Sanders

Rhodium pearl choker
Ryan Storer

Rose gold trip ring
Charlotte Chesnais

Striped shirtdress
Victoria Victoria Beckham

Tortoiseshell sunglasses
Karen Walker

Off-white bucket bag
Sonia Rykiel

Miniaudieres clutch
3.1 Phillip Lim

Elasticated Bryony belt
Roksanda

Graphic silk scarf
Rockins

Eternal
Staycation

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The trick to packing for a Staycation is not taking items of comfort, but picking bits that scare you most when packing for a regular holiday. Like colour, or patterns, or spiders. Whatever. Milk the fact that there is no 23 allowance and the fact that your orange heels don’t need to match with at least five outfit variations. Here are some of my favourites from Avenue32.

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We love the couch, we revere the remote, we worship the crisps…

Can we all agree that staycations are possibly the best thing since sliced bread? I mean, if all roads lead to Rome, you all know that all conversation topics lead to BEING A HERMIT, here in this establishment. We love the couch, we revere the remote, we worship the crisps. I also happen to love packing and think I may have mastered – for now – packing under duress (usually with the taxi outside). Four minutes TOPS and I’m out, and proud to have not lost a phone cable since 2013. Add this all together and it’s waking up in Notting Hill (at the Laslett – my new love – to be precise) and being pretty sure all my kidneys (and dignity) are intact, because I brought both the good champagne and the husband, from home. Yet, I can’t help but feel a tinge of excitement to see your lover (in this case London), from the other side of the bed.

The point of all this, of course, is to leave you at home, all 37-minutes-away-on-tube of it. Pack the part of the wardrobe you always longingly glance at but rarely reach into because you don’t know what the weather will be at your destination, or whether it’s versatile enough Tetris piece for your 23kg luggage limit. For me it’s colour, and while I typically only man up to pack one or, at most, two bright pieces, this time I went nuts with bits from Avenue32, who have just gone through site rehaul and the new-in’s are more scrumptious than ever. If I was going to wake up in a different post code, I figured I might as well have fun – might even adapt a gangsta walk while I’m here.

Guys, roleplay is SO underrated.

Dress – Jonathan Simkhai. Shoes – Malone Souliers.

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If I was going to wake up in a different post code, I figured I might as well have fun – might even adapt a gangsta walk while I’m here.

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I kid, but sometimes with all the various modes of transport I consider daily just to get from A to B within London it does feel like what a threesome might feel like: EXHAUSTING. (Or not? Tell me in the comments) (OMG PLEASE BE DESCRIPTIVE)

I don’t tend to write much about apps, not because I pride in some strict editorial integrity (heck I’ll write about adult diapers if it’s awesome), but this time I’ve quite genuinely stopped using all other taxi apps and moved onto Karhoo. So this post, effectively, is me saving myself from a week-or-so of embarrassing fan-nerding on Twitter, like I did when Deliveroo was on the rise. It’s everything you thought you need in a cab comparison app in one – pre-booking, real-time car tracking, post-trip rating, service levels, and choice from multiple cab companies – they even list taxi numbers in cities they haven’t yet launched in. Here’s three ways I use and abuse.

creative direction SHINI PARK photography TEAM PARK & CUBE produced for Karhoo

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Evening
Meetings
Travel

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One of the last operational postcard London services since red phone boxes became entrances to The Ministry of Magic

I may have lamented a few times before, how I – despite having eyeballs – decided it was clever to jump into a black cab in grid-lock traffic, but aside from this genius making genius decisions – it still stands that London Black Taxis is the best choice when it comes to whizzing around within Central London for meetings. If not for the fact that you’re jumping into postcard London, then the thrill of cackling at others while you race through on the bus lane. Karhoo just modernises the whole experience really: summoning, tracking, quick automatic payments…

PENNETHORNES | Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

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Evening
Meetings
Travel
Top – POLO Ralph Lauren. Culottes – Zara. Suitcase – Globe Trotter. Bag – J&M Davidson.

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Isn’t it all about survival of the fittest, at the end of the day?

Contrary to popular belief, the London Underground is an asshole when you have a suitcase and a plane/train to catch. Especially in the morning and after-work hours, and even more so if you have to change at Bank Station. For some years I’ve been counting the taxi fare to the airport/station as part of the general travel budget and relishing the fact that I did not die of stress on the cusp of reaching paradise-on-earth or somewhere beachy at least. And FINALLY I can pre-book with Karhoo and avoid the poop-in-pants situation I normally get into after forgetting to book a car for stupid-o’clock, yay.

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Evening
Meetings
Travel

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Alfred, call me a Karhoo

Since we don’t live in Gossip Girl world and nobody really owns a limo, this is the closest I believe I can get to hitching meself a Chuck Bass. The exec level has been my friend in times of 1) presentable arrivals at events (friend’s kid’s birthdays count, right?) and 2) extreme tipsiness when you suddenly feel like you can afford a swanky ride because you just found £5 in your clutch from the last time you were out.

TOWN HALL HOTEL CORNER ROOM | Patriot Square, London E2 9NF

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Dress – Kalita. Heels – Gianvito Rossi. Belt. Stella McCartney

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