Years ago I watched the film Priceless (in French Hors de Prix) and fell in love with EVERYTHING Audrey Tatou was dressed in. She looked elegant yet sexy and I decided when I could find the right base dress that I would DIY this gown:

Something to do with the combination of the grey with the gold…well it just drove me mad. Audrey has a body for sin and no fat so her version is very tight. Mine on the other hand is a little more forgiving. It’s a thrifted ASOS dress from a Fleas and Trees pop up sale in Paragon in Singapore. This is what it looked like originally:

For this project you will need: A base dress (halter or spaghetti strap works well), needle and matching thread, pins and gold cord.

Just a side note on my gold cord. I looked high and low for some great gold cord and Spotlight here in Australia was dismal. Their gold looked brassy and orange so I turned to my trusty friends at Wander and Hunt (more on my work with them soon…super excited) and they shipped from Hong Kong for me a perfect length of gold cord that would make even Audrey Tatou swoon.

Begin by flipping your dress inside out and folding over a piece of fabric that is wide enough for your cord to fit comfortably through. I didn’t want to cut the dress’s original straps away so I can convert it back to the original halter if I want. Pin down the perfect width.

From here I lightly tacked the pieces over (once again so I can remove the cord and unpick when I choose and wear the dress as originally intended).

Thread the cord through like this:

The loop will go around the back of your neck and the front will end up looking like this:

Pull the two front strands up and tie around the back:

I added a waist strap as there was enough cord:

I wore the dress out to Nobu here in Perth. Here’s a few instagram pictures (follow me there @simoneheng):

Me holding my latest magazine cover out in Singapore now:

I wish I had taken more pictures in it but hopefully I will have more time soon.

Hope you liked this. Many thanks to Wander and Hunt for the gold cord and do keep your comments coming!

Since I moved away 10 years ago…Perth got a lot more hip and cool. Despite people making loads of money out in the mines, it seems that plenty of Perthites do still want to save money. Some fabulous vintage clothing stores have found their way onto William St in Northbridge and wonderfully each has its own strength. Here is my review of the best four:

Siam Temple is located at 263 William St in Northbridge. The store has a mix of new vintage-inspired items and real vintage stock. For me the real pleasure of vintage is the real deal and there is a treasure trove in their back section. Bargain racks for $10 also have loads of treasures. I loved the friendly Thai lady who owned the store, she was fabulous. You can give them a call on 0430 860 482.

And this is the stunning 1960s Japanese beach dress I got from this store. My shoes are from Adolfo Dominguez in Singapore and the bag a vintage piece from Toronto.

Just a bit further down William St at 267B is the classic Vinnies which is my top pick for absolute vintage gems. You won’t find any re-worked or vintage lookalike pieces here. Everything is the real deal.

Shelley, the store manager, is a local icon. I mentioned my virgin trip to the store to someone and they knew her by name. I bought a couple of pieces here and have to say felt better about my vintage addiction knowing that all the proceeds went to St. Vincent De Paul. www.vinnies.org.au.

I bought a couple of amazing pieces from here which I am so excited to wear out soon. I have been searching for eons for the perfect vintage kimono and saw this the moment I walked in. It’s silk and from Italy. Swoon:

And this 1980s bolero which works as a full jacket on my tiny frame. Can’t wait to wear this out too.

The third store on the strip is owned by a lovely fash-school graduate called Fiona. She’s selling new items as well as re-worked vintage and pure vintage. The upstairs of this store is full of amazing antiques and I dream of hosting DIY workshops in such a fabulous space during Winter. Located on 289 William St, Fi & Co is a hipster girl’s dream.

Last but by no means least, right at the end of William St, where basically you think you’ve walked too far, you’ll find Neon Pony. The store co-owner Bridget was a delight and decked out in, yes, you guessed it, neon. I was delighted to see Neon Pony exhibiting just days later at the Polka Dot Vintage market I visited (but more on that later).

Neon Pony has loads of new stock, vintage and vintage-inspired pieces and also designer-inspired jewellery. Colours are bold and bright and the sale rack out the front divine!

I found this blue dress there which fit absolutely perfectly and was a joy to snag for just $40.

If you’re reading in the United States, Dubai or Singapore, I hope I’ve convinced you that my home town is filled with great fashion at awesome prices.

Thanks to Mica Nelson and Sven Berlinger for .the photography

 

So I am very lucky that sometimes my day job and my blog collide. I was approached to interview Khloe Kardashian for my show on Virgin Radio and then at the last minute was given a surprise interview with Kourtney. I had already interviewed Kourtney once before but on this interview she was lively and most surprisingly extolled her love for her sewing machine!

It’s definitely been a highlight for the blog. Khloe is in town on Sunday and I will be meeting her, it’s all for the launch the Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy in the UK and the Middle East. Listen to the audio in the video for all the goss on her designs for the brand!

Here are some of the amazing pictures (shot by none other than Terry Richardson) from the kollection:

It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Kourtney. Take a listen:

More to come on the Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy soon!

 

A little while ago I was approached by Christine at the GEMS Maker Day she said she’d like Cheapnchic.net to exhibit and do a demonstration of a fashion DIY.

Check out the pictures of this amazing community day at Dubai Silicon Oasis:

A highlight of the Day was meeting HRH “Green Sheikh” Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi who I spoke to about advocating young women to upcycle and thriftshop their clothes as opposed to buying more and it ending up in land fill. It was a great moment.

Here are some of the amazing upcycled fashion items made by the fashion school students from Sharjah who exhibited on the day:

On top of that, loads of Cheapnchic.net fans showed up for the DIY Fashion demo. I’ve got the full project on here soon.

Thankyou so much to my intern Poroma Pant who set everything up. She’s amazing!

Thanks GEMS Maker Faire for asking me to be involved.

The Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest horse race. In Dubai, we really like to do things BIG. I was really flattered to be asked last year to judge the Jaguar Style Stakes 2013 which is the annual fashions on the field contest which accompanies the race every year. Women fly in from all over the globe and it’s a huge deal for those competing and of course for me judging.

My co-judges include stylist Mandi Kingsbury and global fashion week founder (including creator of Australian Fashion Week), Simon Lock.

I made several DIY hats in preparation for the event and will showcase them for you soon soon but I wore a store bought hat for the press conference on Valentine’s Day just gone. I wore a dress from Singapore and the Robe Raiders event I attended, it’s by Tibi and a completely reused yellow classic.

I was also shooting part of an upcoming show for CNN International, I can’t say much more for now but will fill you in soon.

The Dubai World Cup will be taking place on March 30th and I’ll have all the images for you from the major event then.

Sincerest thanks to Jaguar, Meydan, CNN and Goldfish Photography and Video for the amazing images.

Over two years ago now I was added on LinkedIn by a pretty Asian Aussie lass by the name of Yvette King who asked me what I thought of Singapore and the entertainment market there. Yvette and I formed a strange international pen pal relationship which was altogether very retro and cool.

Years later, Yvette is signed to the old manager I had back in 2006 and heading up her own Singaporean fashion blog Tanjongbazaar.com. She’s doing so well and I am very proud to cheer her on from Dubai.

So on my final day in Singapore, Yvette and I decided to meet up…finally. Cue lots of girly screams, blog pictures and my camera battery failing (that’s what you get for trusting hotel room adaptors). So these images from the Robe Raiders and Curated Editions PR sale are thanks to her.

We had a great time (I even bumped into my cousin Nicole who had snuck out on her lunch break to get some Curated Editions jewellery on sale) and I managed to grab 2 dresses which I am using for the press conference of the Dubai World Cup (I’ve been asked to judge the Jaguar Style Stakes this year, more to come) and to the Dubai World Cup itself on March 30th.

Yes, I will be wearing pre-loved designer duds to the world’s richest horse race! Robe Raiders gets fashionista’s pre-loved designer gems and sells them off. I got a Tibi canary yellow dress for AED 600 and a Haute Hippie nude number for AED 750. How typically Cheap’n'chic! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We had a fabulous day! I hope to see Yvette in Dubai soon for more blogtastic adventures but for the moment you can check her out at www.tanjongbazaar.com.

 

Pom poms make me happy! Don’t ask me why, they just do! I had been racking my brain on how to make cool detachable collars for my latest workshop. It’ll be coming to The Change Initiative on February 9th and it’s such a green project because you are reusing old clothes. So here is what I made:

That’s me smiling above! Thankyou to Kelly from www.thehouseofphotography.com for the stunning pictures.

You’ll need an old men’s shirt with a collar, a hook and eye, needle and thread, glue gun and assorted colours pom pom trim.

Start by removing the pompoms by cutting them off the trim. Cut the collar off the shirt below the seam which joins it to the shirt. From there, remove the button which attaches the collar at the neck. Take the 2 tabs of fabric (where the button was on one side and where the button hole is on the other side) which jut out from around the collar and fold them inwards and hand stitch them in. Then sew the hook and eye on to join the collar together. After this get the glue gun out and cover the collar with pom poms.

It’s a project you won’t wear everyday but it’s so fun and happy. I love it.

As you know Cheapnchic.net takes a special interest in ethical fashion, upcycling and special labels who have special missions. I was invited to the VIP Gifting Lounge for a second time. The lounge furnishes visiting superstars like Cate Blanchett, Frieda Pinto and Richard Gere with local and international brands during film festivals and sporting events like the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In the lounge I came across Ethical Muse. The line features beach bags handmade in Uganda to help “weave out poverty” with exquisite cow horn handles. The IPAD covers Cate Blanchett grabbed were created with 48 plastic bags from waste in the Philippines and the brand’s bracelets are made from 100% recycled beads hand crafted by women in Uganda to provide income for their families.

As a for profit venture, Ethical Muse’s mission is to design and source high quality, recycled and sustainable accessories and bring awareness of global social causes to consumers.

The lovely ladies (above), Cathy (a fellow Aussie Chinese) and Christina gifted me their amazing Koko bag. I wore it to the Dove Real Beauty by Real Women book launch the following day. The Koko bag is red because it supports World AIDS Day December 1st. It’s handmade in Ethiopia from local leather and lined with fairly traded fabrics.

This bag has also been worn by none other than Kris Jenner as seen below:

The girls from Ethical Muse were not the only cool ones in the lounge. Just take a look at the amazing brands below.

It was a dazzling night and I want to thank Storylines, T Junction, Ocoo Beauty Drink, Natura Bisse, Bastien, Malaak and Moet and Chandon for the generous gifts. Thanks also to Miss Selfridge for the dress I am wearing in this blog.

 

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