Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scratching the bezels

Craftsmen having a little fun scratching the bezel for a recent bunch of stackables that we did for a client.



Sky blue topaz marquises flanked by two grey-blue spinel pear gems.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

gold on grey

I think I have a new favourite colour combination. A strong 18KT yellow gold against the backdrop of a matte, sandblasted grey. Here are some pieces from the hilltribe artisan dew drop collection that we just finished up for Blueprint.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our very first national television appearance

We previously blogged about our participation in the SK-II Timeless Miracles Exhibition. Here we are, on national television, not at our most coherent. :) Kudos to the production team though for editing out the worst bits. ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blueprint 2010 - our first trade fair


Sometime late last year, we decided that we would expand our ready-to-wear collections, whilst continuing to do bespoke work for select clientele. The reason for the expansion was a little unorthodox from a business perspective, because profit wasn’t the primary motivator. Rather, being based in Singapore – a population of approximately 4 million people – has allowed us to reach a limited number of people. For us to share the Karen’s work as well as to raise awareness for other important social issues via our designs at the impact we felt were needed required us to go international. And thus, that is what we’re doing.

Come 29 Apr – 1 May 2010, we’re taking part in Blueprint as part of Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX), a high-concept fashion trade fair that’s held simultaneously with the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore. Buyers from high-end departmental stores like Harrods and Liberty will be making their way to Singapore just for this event. It’s significant in a number of ways – not least because it’s the first of its kind in Asia as well as our first trade fair. On both counts, it’s terribly exciting and rather intimidating.

On 1 May 10, Blueprint opens to the public at an event called Emporium . It promises to be extremely fun and educational for people interested in fashion– a day of awesome music from a live DJ, fashion shows, the opportunity to interact with designers, both local and foreign, and the chance to purchase never-released-before sample pieces.

The team’s been working immensely hard for this – 2 am working on linesheets, craftsmen working through some weekends, and all of us cracking our heads over visual displays, given the limited space that comes with trade fairs. I have to thank every single one of them – who at this very moment, are probably working – the label would have merely remained a vision in my head without all of you. It’s now down to the wire – let’s do it.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Our bezel in other forms

Two comissioned pieces that utilise our signature hammered bezel look.

Cushion checkerboard smoky quartz bracelet interspersed with white topaz. In 18KT rose gold vermeil.

Detachable hooks in 18KT white gold and G colour, VS clarity diamonds.

Drops in checkerboard mossy aquamarine and london blue topaz. Emebllished with diamonds.

To purchase our ready-to-wear bezel series, they are available at Cate and Tang+Co, Orchard.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Peak, Indonesia - March 2010

A huge thank you to G, who captured what we are trying to do with the label so accurately. We're deeply honoured.
If you'd like to read, please click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dressing up another diamond solitaire

When I was discussing the diamond ring project with S-boy, he articulated his strong preference of the equivalent of the ubiquitous 6-prong setting: high-shine, symmetry and absolutely no embellishments. He cringed in mock horror when he saw my past pieces – asymmetry and organic texture were not his style. Turns out S-girl couldn’t resist everything I loved in bridal jewellery – milgraining, etchings, little accented diamonds for added texture. ;)

As a result, the challenge was fusing their two distinct preferences into a single piece. S-girl and I rejected the more overt pieces of organic texture and agreed that we would keep the shank classic and straight in order to spare S-boy a heart attack. ;)

But she fell in love with the tiny diamond accents, and so we included little leafy vines of diamonds as the bezel along with tiny curved diamond prongs to hold the diamond in, milgraining the borders of each and every diamond set.

We utilised tiny diamonds in the half-eternity band but steered away from any kind of abstract texturing that I typically utilise in my other designs. Instead, to continue the leafy-vined theme, we hand-etched these onto the shank giving it texture, but one that didn’t have the rawness of the label’s previous designs.


The overall look was a vintage piece, full of artisanal touches. However, it still conveyed a highly classic, symmetrical look to respect S-boy’s preference. Most importantly, both of them loved it (and so did I).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

16 Apr 2010 - Bespoke with the bezel

Please click to enlarge

We’re very blessed that the bezel series was met with such great success during our sustainability event. Thus, we’ve decided to do it again for those who missed it – this time, it’ll be with a lot more jazz with the good people at Tang+Co, Singapore.

Particularly, I am excited to meet Beverly Feldman, luxury shoe designer extraordinare who will be to mingling with guests. I’ll be flying in just for the event (in on the 16th and out 17th morning – phew) to speak with guests on our pieces and allow for customisable elements to our newly launched bezel series.

There will also be a fashion show – beautifully strong and vibrant colours – and lots goodies on discount for that night only. Our pieces will be 20% off retail and guests will receive a further 50 sgd discount off purchases worth 400 sgd nett.

Do drop us an e-mail at info@chooyilin.com if you’d like to attend the event – we’d love for you to be there. Space is limited though and we’re allocated only a few seats which is why we’d need a RSVP.

Date: 16 Apr 10

Venue: Tang+Co Orchard

Time: 1900 - 2100 hrs

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Collaboration gown with Love, Yu

Style Weddings, Singapore
March 2010
The loveliest shot of a model wearing a collaboration gown that I did with Ee-Lyn Tang of Love, Yu last year. The necklace acts as a collar piece, keeping the silk jersey column up. It was actually one of the art pieces that I did as my very first collection with the Karen hilltribe artisans. It weighs heavily - over 200 grams of 99.9% fine silver and over a 167 carats of custom-cut aquamarine gmestones to mimic the silver rectangle ornaments.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A lucky diamond

Image taken from Bluenile.

Working with a client who wants to invest in a diamond solitaire involves a part of my brain that designing doesn’t usually tap. What usually happens is that we send off a list of criteria to the diamond brokers and they respond with a beautifully organised excel spreadsheet of data. I sit down and analyse the first cut before sending it off to my client with some preliminary recommendations. Very, very rarely will we find a stone out of this first cut of information. Thus, it’s back and forth with more excel spreadsheets to analyse while talking to the client in real time in order for both of us to understand what we truly want from the diamond.

This analysis and time spent is understandable, because there are typically 13 factors (much more than the usual 4Cs) to adjust for when we make such a decision. In this particular case however, we had to deal with something else that was slightly…unique.

S-boy was pretty certain he wanted the following: a square radiant-cut diamond over 1.0 carat, great colour, good clarity and an excellent cut. Florescence wasn’t an issue, although if it were present, it would have to have a blue tint. We found a number of diamonds that fit in perfectly with this criteria; however, they were ALL rejected because the carat number wasn’t “right”. S-boy said that the diamond number had to be “lucky” and finally, at 2 am in the morning one night, we found the stone… the perfect 1.28 carat, F colour, VS1 clarity. ;)

S-boy proposed to S-girl with the certificate on their second anniversary and it was a happy yes. What did we do with the stone? We’ll write about it soon!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

SK-II Timeless Miracles' Exhibition

I was very honoured to be part of luxury beauty brand SK-II's 30th anniversary of its Facial Treatment Essence. Specifically, we were asked to be one of 30 exhibitors to showcase what we considered a "timeless miracle". Her World has done a lovely write-up about the event here.
My contribution of a timeless miracle was a trio of rings - rings that I had actually worked with one of my bridal clients. We featured a mock-up of her engagement ring, her wedding ring and the groom's wedding ring, along with a little write-up of our inspirations for this piece.


“Unbroken rings are universal symbols of eternity and we wanted to keep true to that. Where we steered away from tradition was the asymmetry of the bands. We wanted the rings to convey a certain sense of deliberate imperfection that is avoided at all costs during today's weddings; too often, we try to get everything perfectly symmetrical forgetting that life isn't like that. It is beautiful no doubt, but wholly imperfect. And we hope that the rings are a little representation of the timeless love that is breathtakingly beautiful, yet humanly flawed.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Bezel Series: Stacking, layering, detaching

One of the key elements of this collection was the built-in flexibility and functionality of each piece. Rings and bangles were open-ended and could be worn on different fingers and parts of the forearms.


The earrings come with detachable hooks – delicate coloured pieces with milgrain and pave. We wanted to give the option to have the hooks worn by themselves and yet allow women to slip in different coloured gems to match their particular outfits for that day.

The necklace pendants come in different sizes, gems and lengths, allowing the user to wear it singly as a delicate embellishment. Alternatively, there would be an option to really dress up in a kaleidoscope of colours (albeit still classically) with a series of three necklaces of different lengths against a plain background.

The bangles, apart from being open-ended, also give the option of wearing it singly, doubly or as a trio. They work well for work as a single bangle but I have to confess I’m partial to them as a stack. Particularly, they look amazingly glamorous as a set of three, because it gives the impression of a vine winding around your forearm, studded with six flawless checkerboard gemstones.