Tribal takeover

A stylized, custom silk in coral and Yves Klein blue shot with gold threads, hand-crafted in the traditional weaving style of the Bontoc tribe of the Philippines. Based on the ikat technique of resist-dyeing the warp thread before weaving, geometric motifs of stripes, triangles and arrows are incorporated in brightly colored panels of cloth.

Marchesa Resort 2011 goes tribal with stripes, triangles, and arrows 
(via style.com)

A look from Missoni Spring 2011 (via style.com)

Perpetually cool Proenza Schouler, Pre-Fall 2011 (via style.com)

A Bontoc weaver carrying on a centuries-old tradition, made new again by the world's top designers.


From the Queen of Gems, a recipe for Galette des Rois

The galette des rois, a traditional French pastry served during the Epiphany (The Feast of the Three Kings).  A tiny ceramic toy (big enough not to swallow!) is baked into the galette.  In the old days, a dried fava bean was used, so to this day the favor is still called la feve.  The galette is cut into as many slices as people in the party, and everyone picks 1 piece of galette.  The one who discovers the toy is made the 'King (or Queen) of the day' and wears a paper crown. He or she then picks a Queen/King by putting the toy in another's glass.  Tradition says that the next party should be at the king's expense. 

Cook time: 45 minutes

  • For the pastry: 1 or 2 packages (17.3-ounce) store-bought puff pastry sheets.  If frozen, thaw in refrigerator.
  • Frangipane cream for the filling, enough for 2 galettes:
    • 1 cup soft butter
    • 1 cup ground blanched almonds
    • 4 tablespoons flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 pinch salt
    • Powdered sugar, for dusting
    • Egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric beater, mix all the ingredients for the frangipane cream, until blended. On a slightly floured cold surface, cut 2 circles the size of dinner plates out of the puff pastry. Put one of them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush one inch around the edge of the circle with egg wash (beaten egg yolk). Spread half of the frangipane cream on the center and place the second circle on top matching the edges of the circles. Press all around the edges to glue them together. Press softly in the center to evenly spread the filling. If making 2 galettes, use remaining cream and follow the same method for preparation. 

Decorate the galette with a fork, press edges together all around -- no pricking. With the point of a knife, make any kind of design, being careful not to go all the way through the puff pastry. Brush the surface with egg wash, without getting any on the sides. 

Bake the galette in the center of a preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake until golden brown. Serve warm with a gold paper crown on top. 


Cornucopia of color

Sarees that are a feast for the eyes, courtesy of my dear friend and long-time roommate.

Intricate details make it difficult to look away from this cobalt creation. 

Graceful seafoam green.

These call to mind the spices of India.


Fabulous fabrics...part 2

An essential component that makes the bespoke clothing experience so special is the ability to choose fabrics that speak to you.  Italian mills are known for a variety of exceptional shirting fabrics, including 2-ply, Egyptian, or Sea Island 120's or 140's cotton.
There is an almost unlimited number of possible combinations for the main shirt and accent fabrics on the inside collar, cuffs, or elsewhere.

Photo credit: Tyra Bleek Photography

Providing a Virtual Appointment Service via webcam for clients not in the Boston area, 9Tailors offers a dazzling array of fabrics and shirt features to help create your ideal shirt, ranging from the subtle to the bold, the minimalist to the daring!


If it ain't bespoke...part 2

A moderately wide cutaway collar looks both elegant and formal.  The generous gap displays both narrow and fairly thick necktie knots to full advantage.

Photo credit: Tyra Bleek Photography

 The devil is in the details.
The tab collar pictured here appears to its best advantage when combined with a very narrow necktie worn in a small knot.

Photos courtesy of 9Tailors, custom clothiers with a studio in Boston.  During private appointments, a Style Consultant will encourage clients to make the most critical decisions (collar shape! cuff style! monogramming!) about how they want their clothes to look, feel, function and fit. Custom pieces reflect personal style, complement body shape and skin tone and broaden the options for beautiful, personal, and unique clothing. 


Fabulous fabrics, part 1

 Hand-loomed fabric from pineapple leaf fibers, used for the dress shirts ('barong Tagalog') of the Philippines.  

 With the numbers of artisan piña weavers in the Philippines dwindling, the delicate cloth is used only for very formal events.


For Valentine's Day, and every other day

Tiny Prints greeting cards for special moments (or for no reason at all).  The ability to personalize for every friend and every occasion brings hand-written notes back to life.  In this age of Facebook, IMs, e-mail, tweets (and, yes, even blogs!), plush paper and personally written messages make a charming mailbox surprise! (click image to enlarge)


Gone fishing!

Taking a posting break for Valentine's Day weekend -- but do read through what's here so far, and I encourage you comment, follow, or subscribe!  TQoG will be back in a few, and would love to hear your thoughts on how to bring you better and more beautiful things...every day.


If it ain't Bespoke...fix it.

 9Tailors bespoke dress shirt, combining old-world custom tailoring techniques with a modern selection of fabrics, cuts and detailing.  No two people are alike, why should your shirts be? (click image to enlarge)


A McQueen Wedding Moodboard [Updated]

From top left, clockwise: Manila Cathedral at night, Alexander McQueen tartan-accented outfits, McQueen Fall 2010 gown, ikat print fabrics, Dior Spring/Summer 2011 look, Maynila Ballroom, Manila Hotel lobby, bouquet of white phalaenopsis orchids. (click image to enlarge)

UPDATE: Could Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton really be tapped to create (one of) Catherine Middleton's wedding dresses?  If commanded by the Queen of England, this Queen of Gems certainly would not be averse to sharing her McQueen wedding moodboard...


If it's good enough for the Queen of England

NO, not Tiffany's...but the most formal of printing methods: Engraving, traditionally a mainstay of royal and diplomatic correspondence.  Text is etched onto a copper plate, which is then coated with ink and wiped clean, leaving the ink only in the indentations. 

Soft, high-quality cotton paper is pressed hard against the plate, causing it to deform into the etchings. The result is raised, crisp text, with warmth and a sumptuous tactile quality that cannot be achieved with flat printing.

It is easy to tell whether a piece of stationery has been engraved (rather than thermographed -- the somewhat less crisp imitation). Simply turn it over. If there is a tell-tale "bruise", caused by the pressure from the press, it is engraved.  Another way to tell is to look at the letters closely -- thermographed text is shiny, while engraved text is more subtle and matte.


Beautiful Beantown

I ♥ Boston 'T' map by Boston artist Netta Kies...this 5-color print celebrates one of the fastest ways to get around in the Birthplace of America.

To Urbanists such as myself, transit-orientedness is the hallmark of a well-designed city (and is also an easy way to reduce your environmental footprint!).  


MiniMaximalism, defined

 For the avant-garde bride who demands the uncommon in every detail...

...punctuate a modern ensemble with a soaring, but clean-lined, sculptural headpiece.  
Photos courtesy of


Couture Rajo Laurel -- So much more than a fluffy white dress

Bespoke bridal design from the Project Runway Philippines head judge and internationally-celebrated fashion designer.  Having an extremely specific and non-negotiable vision of the dress, and having tried on dozens of gowns in bridal salons without finding anything that even came close, going custom was a necessity.  Of course, the one-of-a-kind aspect is the icing on the cake.  

Because making an exit is just as important. 

Sketches courtesy of Rajo Laurel


Christian Dior -- Vintage, but who can even tell?

The great advantage of having a mother with a Dior collection spanning 40 years? I never have to go shopping.
 Temples intricately adorned with the interlacing lines and sensual curves of the iconic Dior Cannage pattern -- a true showcase for the eyes.

Utterly timeless.


You never forget your first

...Eames, that is.

Eames® Molded Plywood Lounge Chair

Need I say more?


F. Rock - Custom bags. Sustainably made. Buttery soft.

The 'Franklin' laptop bag -- my PhD graduation present to the fiancé.  Entirely customizable (leather, fabric, and hardware) and constructed from 100% reclaimed designer fabrics and leathers, the F.Rock line combines a sleek, urban aesthetic with "walking the talk" on sustainability.

I requested a monogram -- a little more Professorly, don't you think?  Next stop, elbow patches!

photos courtesy of


True love is forever

Finding the One to spend your life with is hard...but finding the gem to wear every day for the rest of your life is even harder.