KinkyBlueFairy, Joyce Kirsten Wong loves playing dress up, writes more than she talks and suffers from wanderlust. She’s the kind of gal you wanna have as your bff, a shopping girlfriend, party pal and confidante with whom you can gossip wildly with about who’s wearing what – anything more salacious might end up on her blog, www.kinkybluefairy.net.
Spotted stage-side at fashion events and unmissable at all the best parties, this fearlessly fashionable female, trades one outrageous hairstyle for another almost as often as she changes shoes (our favourite style was her scarlett bob). She has played host to a few of her own crazy shebangs too including the outrageously colourful Cat Got Your Tongue theme party and DJs as SalahWrong (with partner in crime Sarah Chan). In between destinations and wardrobe changes, we asked the roving Editor-at- Large of fashion blog Tongue In Chic and creator of the Chic Pop markets that you’ll find us raiding, to spill the beans on some of her favourite local (and a few international) fashion finds.
Shoes Shoes Shoes
Selling shoes (as you would’ve guessed from its name) manufactured exclusively for the brand and sourced accessories; every pair is sole-worthy for an event, or at the very least, glams up a casual outfit. Here’s where you can go for fluoro heels, bejeweled peep toes, and studded gladiators. Despite starting out as a shoe and accessories store, owner Ung Yiu Lin recently launched a dress line called IdyLinn – floaty kaftans, togas and maxis featuring beadwork with semi-precious stones. Also, look out for her upcoming line of bags called KLutched, to be introduced come January 2010.
One of my personal favourites, sevendays is stocked with modern pieces that are very timely with trends. Draped dresses, patterned frocks, studded jackets, shoes and many-a covetable accessory; you’ll find a few key pieces that won’t be found anywhere else in KL. Most fashionistas can guess that owner Roxy sources her items from Bangkok, but where exactly is a well-kept secret I’m still trying to find out myself! For affordable streetwear for men, head one floor up to Select.
20-1 Jalan Telawi 3
59100 Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 2287 9087
One of the first few popular boutiques in the Telawi neighbourhood, Baci’s revamp in interior and selection has allowed it to stand the test of time. Its collection, sourced from Bangkok, hang colour-coded on shiny curvy rails and consist mostly of monotone basics with the occasional dose of edgy thrown in. Expect shredded jeans, latex shorts, fringe vests, and ribbed shirts; as well as shoes and the occasional accessory that catches your eye.
Situated next to equally friendly and colourful sister restaurant Marmalade, Kitsch is the brainchild of owner and fashion designer Eleanor Ng. Here you can find labels by young international designers (mostly from Australia) such as Wish, One Teaspoon, and Lili, as well as pieces by Eleanor herself. Other items include bags by Emma Gordon (London) and Little Odd Forest (Singapore), accessories from Love and Dogeared (US), mismatched shoes from No Concept (reminiscent of Camper), and vintage-inspired T-shirts from Junk Food Clothing.
1F-19 First Floor
Bangsar Village II
1 Jalan Telawi Dua
59100 Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 2282 8261
The go-to boutique for smart casual cocktail dresses, you’ll find yourself fingering pieces from BCBG Max Azria, Chloe, CK, Lanvin, Moschino and 3.1 Philip Lim amongst shelves of bags, and trunks of vintage accessories. Musse also has its own line of apparel (RM199 to RM399) whose quality holds equal appeal. Owner Esstte Loh’s German designer friend Pat designs and she selects before they’re sent to factories in HK and Korea for manufacture.
16-1 Jalan Telawi 3
59 100 Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 2287 6769
Having one of the more original boutique interiors in KL, the cafe-styled shop sells a wide selection of casual pieces that range from sheer cotton hoodies to velveteen flat shoes. The selection spells comfortable and sometimes funky, though not necessarily edgy. Check it out even if only to give the interior a look-see.
Having being regarded as a fashion star to look out for in her earlier years, the Surrey Institute of Art graduate did not disappoint by competing in Project Runway Malaysia, styling for The Tatler, and showing at MIFW. Her designs include soft dresses in bright pops of colour with drapes and bell sleeves, structured cocktail dresses, and cuffed shorts; all made to fit. Her boutique stands out from others by also housing the work of other young local designers such as Alexandrea Yeoh, Justin Yap, Jimmy Lim, Micky Tan and PU3. Clothes aside, Nurita has started venturing into custom-made jewelry reminiscent of Tom Binns, at an affordable price.
Located in a standalone red and white building with extraordinary windows, Maizen was founded by Shirieene Hajamaideen and Rekha Sen. It consists of 3 floors carrying up to 28 labels including Charlotte Ronson, Tracy Reese, T-Bags, Black Halo, Elizabeth & James, Rag & Bone, Nanette Lepore, CC Skye, Alexis Hudson and Alexander Wang. Pieces are extremely limited, carrying only one per size (S to L).
Founded by four popular Malaysian stylists, the store sells sourced, modified and self-designed items by Allien Gan, Calvin Cheong, Kenneth Wong and Yee Teng. What’s interesting is that each stylist is given free reign of a space, giving shoppers four completely different themes and fashion tastes. The corner featuring ALLIEN by Allien Gan is a monotone of black, white and grey; Cloth&ier by Ken Wong is favoured by those who prefer colourful patterns and pastel dresses; and Poetic by Yee Teng is all about whimsical femininity with bow accents. My personal favourite is avantGOD by Calvin Cheong for his extensive collection of clothing, shoes, accessories and sunglasses that are best described as rock, edgy and vintage. Many of his vintage pieces have been collected over the years, are well-cleaned and impossible to find elsewhere in Malaysia. Additional bonus: They’ll help style you if they’re around.
A fantastic gem of a boutique discreetly tucked away in a corner, Wondermomo holds a fascinating selection of clothes by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marni, LaROK, Rebecca Taylor, Alice + Olivia, All Saints Spitalfields and more. You can also find jeans by cult brands Cheap Monday, Paper Denim & Cloth, Sass & Bide and Seven. In the back room, their shoe collection is equally orgasmic with selected pairs from Michael by Michael Kors, United Nude and many more. You can also find bags, purses and accessories. Coincidentally stepping into the store during one of their rare sale periods is an occurrence that will make any fashionista weak!
E.01.15 Wisma Sunrise
Plaza Mont’ Kiara
2 Jalan Mont’ Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 6201 1316
Lah’Lah’Land Boutique x Salon
Expanding from its popularity as an online boutique and flea market vendor, Lah’Lah’Land opened last August and is well stocked with everything fashionably vintage – from clothes and bags, to scarves and shoes. Choice is extensive and here you’ll find apparel with unique prints, chunky gold accessories and DIY headgear you won’t be able to get elsewhere. Best part is it won’t do too much damage to your purse – items go from as low as RM10 and rare finds are up to RM300.
Lah’Lah’Land Boutique x Salon
2nd Floor, 39 Jalan SS15/4
The Girl Next Door
If funky clothing that stands out from the masses is your cup of tea, then The Girl Next Door is chock full with items that will distract you in every direction. Braided belts, studded handbags, vintage suitcases, asymmetrical dresses, rainbow-coloured shoes, quirky accessories; these are but a few of the things scattered around the boutique decorated with Rubik’s Cubes, old superhero comics and other vintage paraphernalia. Suggestion: Eat at Roost CafÃ©, which shares the shoplot with TGND.
The Girl Next Door
8 Jalan Dhoby
80000 Johor Bahru
T: 07 2224 178
Boutique x salon x cafes in Johor never cease to amaze me with their creativity in interior decorating and this is no less charming. Hot air balloons and villages painted on walls, rocking horses in the cafÃ© downstairs, and vintage luggage paired with creaky fans and furniture from the 70s decorate the boutiques upstairs. Browse rack after rack of men’s and women’s clothing with unapologetic crazy prints, canvas shoes, fedoras, vintage designer bags, and other pieces lovingly sourced by them.
55 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
80000 Johor Bahru
T: 07 2239 088
Lapsap BBQ / Junkyard Sale
Cult electro DJ duo Blink and Ah Xu have organized a successful run of junkyard sales that usually takes place on a Sunday at Palate Palette every few months. Due to cramp conditions upstairs, shopping requires some patience but you can find all sorts of lapsap (Cantonese for ‘rubbish’) from secondhand books and vintage dresses from Japan to pre-loved designer clothing. Vendors vary event to event, and so will your finds. Besides shoppers, the BBQ and beer draw in the hipsters who hang out, post-Saturday night partying.
Pick & Grab
Usually held at Hartamas Square on weekends, Pick & Grab takes place every 2 to 3 months and is organized by Sun and Edward – the people behind Lah’Lah’Land. Filled with an array of vendors selling new items, vintage bags, colourful accessories and lots more, one usually has to sieve thru lots of typical online boutique items to find a few irresistible key items.
A pioneer in the flea market scene, Threadszoo is headed by Deanna Ibrahim and focuses on vendors selling and trading pre-loved items. Location changes constantly with past venues including TTDI Plaza, CapSquare, and Mist Club. It cannot be left unsaid that when the name ‘Threadszoo’ is included on an event flyer, fashion hunters know they’re up for some serious bargains.
Chic POP Street Market
The first ever flea market to be held at Zouk KL, Tongue in Chic’s flea market brings together over 50 vendors that are divided by category into popular online shops, boutiques, local designers, DIY crafters, and other flea market organizers. Additional tidbits include food by Relish, aura + chakra + tarot card readings by Violet Flame, manicures, and Chic Charity – an ongoing effort to collect and sell pre-loved clothes with all proceeds going to the Women’s Aid Organisation.
(search ‘junk junkies’ on Facebook)
Organized by That’s CafÃ©, this flea market usually takes place on the street with music to accompany you while going through piles of clothes, vintage goodies and many unique items. Half the things you find here are unlike those found in KL, and for less the price too. I must say that fashion-savvy Johorians can put some KL peeps to shame!
Averabella – averabella.blogspot.com
PVC jackets, lace vests, mesh bodycon dresses, and studded bags; the site is run by two 16-year-olds who certainly dress better than I did at 16!
Chance Boutique – chanceboutique.blogspot.com
A wide choice on large photoshopped images, the site sells trendy items for cheap prices. If you’re observant, you can spot some pieces carried by popular boutiques too.
Honey Pumpkin – honey-pumpkin.blogspot.com
With pieces like structured shoulder blazers, plaid jackets, denim dresses, and studded leggings; it’s one of those frustrating sites where everything sells out real quick – so move fast!
I Love Snack Food – www.ilovesnackfood.com
The only one of its kind in the KL shopblogosphere, they sell anything kitschy from acrylic bib necklaces, Tokyo Flash watches, to vintage filigree bracelets, jackets and cards.
LHLY – www.lhlybylinda.com
Candy-coloured leggings, tie-dyed sockholes, giant bows, OTT fringe dresses, feather headgear and gold polka dot tutus; this is the site for some serious nu rave gear a serious party girl.
Ohsofickle – ohsofickle.com.sg
Yet another great shopblog from Singapore which offers pieces exclusive under their brand – eyelet + mesh dresses, lace tunics, studded blazers and more.
Old Blossom Box Store – oldblossombox.blogspot.com
Run by fashion blogger Jezmine, her kitschy and colourful accessories and apparel sell out within minutes of being posted (usually every Sunday at 8pm).
The Glass Puppet – glasspuppet.blogspot.com
Sunnies and reading glass frames mostly made in France and Germany, from the 70s and 80s.
The Scarlet Room – www.thescarletroom.com
Besides sourced items, exclusive manufacturing for the website includes cutout bodycon dresses, body chains, zipper leggings, and studded shorts.
The Vavavoom Fashion – www.thevavavoomfashion.com
Lace blazers, harem pants, cropped tops, cutout skirts and bodycon dresses; the site also features a few handmade items by its owners.
Yunique Paradise – www.yuniqueparadise.com
Up-to-date shoes like fringe booties and sneaker heels that cost more than your average online blogshop, but that’s because you can’t buy these anywhere else in Malaysia.
A guerilla marketer of designer brands at high street prices, most are brand new and up to season. Includes pieces from Vanessa Bruno, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Anna Sui, Dries Van Noten, Stella McCartney and many more. Search ‘popUP Showroom’ on Facebook to keep updated.
One of my favourite sales in town, get major discounts off past season Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Armani. For more on sales updates, check “This Week in Chic” on www.tonguechic.com.
Joyce Kirsten Wong is one of Malaysia’s most popular lifestyle bloggers and writes mainly on fashion and travel. She is the former Managing Editor of Tongue in Chic (www.tonguechic.com) but continues to play an active role as the regional fashion portal’s Editor-at-Large.
Text Joyce Kirsten Wong
Images Tongue In Chic + Miranda Yeoh + Kevin Yeoh