Tag Archives: chic

The HEUCY Gal’s Guide to Rome: Five Days, Four Outfits. True Story.

One of us recently jetted off to Rome (okay, flew…via Alitalia) sans kids, with hubby and four HEUCY picks in tow.  We thought it would be interesting to see how HEUCY really travels.  Is it possible to eat, drink, sight-see and gallivant, entirely in HEUCY?  Now we can say — emphatically and from experience — YES, it is possible.  And enjoyable.  You feel so much freer with just a carry-on!

We also thought, wouldn’t it be nice to post a travel guide for a real modern woman — someone who wants to see the sights, but also enjoys a little downtime while on vacation?  Real life is hectic.  Travel should be relaxing.  And somewhat affordable.  Just like our clothes.

So…Below is our itinerary, which includes a list of outfits plus lots of great Rome travel recommendations.  Enjoy!!

Friday: Arrive in Rome, around noon.  Wore the HEUCY #PerfectTen dress for roughly 24 hours, including on the overnight flight.  As comfortable as PJ’s, but sophisticated enough to garner lounge access.

Stayed at: Hotel de Russie.  An incredibly chic, smallish boutique hotel right off the Piazza del Popolo, just steps from the Borghese Gardens.  When we saw the courtyard, we were happy.

hotelderussiecourtyard

After a piadina, some espresso, some vino biancho, a nap, a shower and a change into the HEUCY #HighSchoolReunion (hey, you never know who you’ll run into in Roma), we walked around the Spanish Steps and met up with our friends for dinner at Dal Bolognese, also on the Piazza del Popolo.  The most. amazing. truffles. ever.  The weight gain begins here, but we tell ourselves that a) European wine does not have tannins.  Therefore no hangover.  And b) you can’t gain weight in Europe because the food is not processed.  No looking back now.

HSRHP

Saturday: sight-seeing, eating, drinking and shopping

After a good night’s sleep, we woke and ambled toward the “historic heart” of Rome — Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Campo de Fiori.  We stopped by Sant’Eustachio for un caffe e agostina with nutella.  OMG.  Words cannot describe how delicious.  I wore the HEUCY #AlterEgo Jumpsuit all day — comfort with a little bit of edge — perfetto for walking around the ancient city.

Quattro Fiori Pantheon

I remembered being absolutely floored by the Pantheon twenty years before, when I had studied in Rome (we’ll get to that later).  Built in 120 A.D., still standing, a true architectural marvel.  Oh, and Raphael is buried there.  What, exactly, have I been doing with my time?  Hmmm.

After a stroll around the Campo de Fiori, we were hungry again.  We had a long, leisurely lunch at Pier Luigi…a fabulous seafood restaurant in a secluded alley off the Campo.  Afternoon light, some delicious sea bass, vino biancho and espresso.  Heaven.

Pierluigi29676_stdIMG_0581

After lunch, we strolled down to Il Giolitti for gelato.  It was a bit like an arms race to get my cone of straciatella, but definitely worth the fight.  Conveniently, there was an adorable children’s clothing store, Boutique ZeroSei, located just a few steps away.  I had my HEUCY for the trip, so didn’t really need to shop for myself.  My daughter got very lucky that day.

Back at the hotel, we were delighted to see paparazzi.  I started to help myself to a bar that seemed to have just “popped up out of nowhere” in the hotel lobby, but was swiftly turned away because I was not “with Universal.”  My imagination was abuzz, who could it be?  I decided to wear my HEUCY #DateNight dress that night, to wow this celeb.

We dined at a charming open-air restaurant called Antica Pesa that eve, in Trastevere, and discovered that our hotel celeb was there too!  I mean, what are the odds?  And can you guess who it was?  None other than Richard “Riccardo” Gere.  Luckily, I felt like “Pretty Woman” in my Date Night!

DateNightHP

Sunday — day trip to Castelgandolfo and Nemi, two very cute villages on Lake Albano.  Normally a thirty minute drive outside of Rome.  But we had forgotten how seriously Romans take their Sunday lunch, so it took a bit longer than expected to get to our first spot.

Nemi viewNemi view2

We lunched on the terrace at Antico Ristorante Pagnanelli, in Castelgandolfo.  Delicious grilled herbs.  And wine.  And espresso. You know, when in Rome…our just outside…

Skyline

Back in Rome, we caught the sunset at the Borghese Gardens.  And then dined outside at Emma, a wonderful new pizzeria off the beaten path on Monte della Farina.  I was sporting my HEUCY #HighSchoolReunion dress again.  Too comfy to just wear once.  And the elastic waistband was forgiving.  I indulged in pizza con funghi e prosciutto as well as a few Peroni.

Monday — a tour of the Vatican and a stroll down memory lane (literally and figuratively)

Monday morning we woke very early and I put on my HEUCY #PerfectTen (shoulders covered, knees sort of) to meet our guide at the Vatican for a semi-private tour of the Vatican museum, St. Peter’s and other surprises we were definitely not expecting.  Angelo Amorico, our wonderful guide from Access Italy, greeted us at a cafe and told us he had just taken Oprah truffle hunting in Umbria.  I thought to myself, hey, if this guy is good enough for Oprah…then I suppose he’s good enough for me.  It turns out, Angelo is fairly well-connected in Italy and in Hollywood.  And he looks a bit like Robert de Niro.  Surreal morning.

Inside the the Vatican museums, the Raphael rooms, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s, we were again reminded that we are just mere mortals.  Honestly, how did people build structures like this without modern technology?  And how did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel and sculpt The Pieta with chronic back pain and corrupt clergy breathing down his neck?  Seriously awe-inspiring.

Raphael2RAphael1St PetersCreación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

One of the surprises Angelo showed us was quite impressive.  We went “backstage” to meet some of The Vatican’s renowned mosaic artists, who create the works that Il Papa (The Pope) gives to world leaders.  The level of detail and craftsmanship in their works is truly amazing.  Does the picture below look like a painting?  It’s actually a mosaic.  We got to see some of the artists in action.

MosaicMosaic work

We kissed Angelo goodbye, promised to say hello to Oprah for him…and headed toward the Aventine Hill, where I had studied abroad almost twenty years ago.  It’s located near many awesome Roman ruins, such as the Roman Forum on the Palatine Hill, an ancient aqueduct, the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum, the Via Sacra and the Arch of Titus. And much, much more.

Arch of Constantine with colosseumPalatine_Hill_Rome_Panorama_from_Circus_Maximus

I felt like Jason Bourne as we walked through the lovely orange grove park where I used to “study” and we found the Convento di Suore Camaldolesi, the convent where the students in my program had studied and lived.  I was having flashbacks of discotheques in Testaccio and not really studying.  The Suore were kind enough to house and feed us, and to turn a blind eye to our night-time activities.  We were 20 and in Europe, sine parente.  Nuff said.

130709_Rome_Aventine Hill_shutterstock_132242153aventinohillromeClass photo

I really should not be sharing this class photo, for a variety of reasons (namely, my roots and a very obvious love of carbs)…but I have to.  What on earth was I thinking, wearing a chunky cable knit sweater when I could have been wearing easy-to-pack jersey dresses and feeling like Audrey Hepburn?  If only HEUCY had been available then.  Oh, well.  You live and you learn.

Feeling a bit exhausted — mentally, emotionally and physically — we headed to Da Pietro, a lovely Roman hosteria recommended by Angelo.  Really yummy pasta y fagioli and — yep, you guessed it — vino biancho.  We were on vacation, after all.

PerfectTenHP

After an afternoon nap and a stroll around the Piazza, we had a lovely dinner at the bar at Roscioli and a nightcap in the courtyard at the hotel.  I paired my HEUCY #PerfectTen dress with my mom’s vintage belt, and some diamond earrings.  Full disclosure: the carbonara did make my belt feel tighter…but that’s the beauty of accessorizing.  You can just take the belt off!

Woke up the next morning, put on my HEUCY #AlterEgo jumpsuit, and readied myself for the long journey home.

Arrivederci and Happy Thursday!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

P.S. Coming soon: a London travel guide from one of our fave #HEUCYgals, Brett Tyne, the super-chic yet incredibly down-to-earth designer/founder of Wilbur and Gussie handbags.

#National Handbag Day & Top 10 Totes for Busy Women

B_CM9986

HEUCY just learned that yesterday was #NationalHandbagDay. We’re a little late to the party, but would love to share our thoughts on the Top 10 tote bags for busy women. (We love totes almost as much as we “totes” love backpacks…more on that later).

I remember when I moved to New York, right after college just a few years back (hee hee) and I lugged my big, shiny, purple Esprit messenger tote with me everywhere. One night, an older/wiser/more fashionable woman pulled me aside at a cocktail party and said, with a look of real concern: “Honey, we must get you a new bag.”

Now I am older and a little bit wiser, and I no longer own that messenger tote and all of the insecurities and bad choices that came with it. I actually feel pretty confident in our collective take on the best handbags.

To make HEUCY’s list, bags had to fit the following criteria:

1. Displaced items (e.g. sunnies, tampons, lip gloss, business cards, half-full water bottles) can swim around in the bag…but no one can tell they’re swimming in there. It looks TIC (totally in control) from the outside. Kind of like you.

2. Transitions seamlessly from day to night, in case a clutch transfer is not happening.

3. Must, of course, pair well with a HEUCY dress and/or jumpsuit

Here’s the Top Ten, enjoy!

The Gap’s Camo Tote (photo below) —  Slightly edgy, roomy and versatile.  Good conversation starter.  (“You got that at The Gap?!”). http://www.gap.com

Gap-Camo-Tote

Louis Vuitton’s Sac Plat Brown Tote — A timeless classic, that happens to be very durable.  Always chic. http://www.louisvuitton.com

louis-vuitton-sac-plat-pm-monogram-canvas-handbags--M40806_PM2_Front view

Mansur Gavriel’s Bucket Bag – The bag “of the moment”, but we think these will be around for a while.  Comes in tons of cool colors — our faves are Blu and Camello.  www.mansurgavriel.com

Mansur-Gavriel-Bucket-Bag-Cammello-Silver

Marni PVC Shopping Bag – This tote takes high/low to a whole new level.  And it’s very roomy.  Fortunately, it’s also less expensive than a Marni dress, so if you’re going to splurge…www.marni.com

marnibag

Clare V. Gosee Tote — we love Clare V. bags because they’re chic, versatile AND made in the USA…in LA, actually, where we source a lot of HEUCY’s sustainable fabric.  This style in particular is “made for the working woman.”  We can see why!  www.clarev.com

clarevgoseetote

Everlane Petra Magazine Bag — we heart all things Everlane, and this bag is no exception.  Subtle details and fine craftsmanship, at a very fine price.  www.everlane.com

Everlane petra leather market tote

3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Medium Satchel — we just fell in love with the “Cobalt” color.  Would pair very well with HEUCY’s watercolor print, gray or black.  An investment piece. www.31philliplim.com

philliplimpashli

Want les essentials de la vie OHare Shopper Tote — Fashion meets function in the most beautiful way.  One of our new fave lines, perfect for travel.  www.wantessentiels.com

wantblanket

Mark and Graham Elisabetta Slouch handbag — I have this one.  Can’t beat free shipping, free monogramming (why not) and a great interior pocket to hide your stuff.

elisabetta

Cream Mirrored Tote by Cook & Gates — An artistic print that can help you reinvent yourself any day of the week.  The line is hand-printed in Brooklyn, which we think makes it extra-special. www.cookandgates.net

cookandgates2

#TGIF: Gratitude & Three Cool Gifts for a Dinner Party Host…

HEUCY gals

Last night, we had the pleasure of spending time with some of our all-time favorite ladies.  We’ve dubbed these women “HEUCY Gals”: they are dynamic, smart, talented, confident, funny…and really busy!  We’re incredibly grateful for the support these women (Anna and Kerry, pictured here, and many others) have given HEUCY, especially in the midst of the juggling act that is modern womanhood.  So if you’re reading this, Thank You!!

On that note — being grateful (and honestly, being gracious enough to have your picture taken last night) — we thought it would be fun to post a few friends’ answers to the question, “Name an all-time awesome gift for a dinner party host/hostess.”  These ideas are pretty awesome and original.  Take a look!

1. Local Honey; Specialty Liquor or Mixers from Arrowhead Farms (http://www.arrowheadfarms.com)

Jennie Blair

Thanks for this tip, Jennie!  You are a super-chic, model-esque, fabulously Southern HEUCY Gal and you will always lead us down the most polite, ladylike and creative path.

2. Cards Against Humanity (http://cardsagainsthumanity.com)

Bridget and Micol

Bridget (in green), by far one of the coolest chicks we know, and also one of HEUCY’s girl crushes (hope that doesn’t make you feel awkward, Bridget!) recommended Cards Against Humanity as a good litmus test to have on-hand if you’re wondering, will this be a short-term or long-term relationship? Will your dining companions talk to you again after playing this game?  Not sure.  But if Bridget recommends, it must be worth doing.  Sometimes we are sheep.

3. “Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes” by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox

Alice Photo

Our friend Alice (in white) recommended this book because it’s “a book about your astrological sign and how it relates to love and attraction. Good for reading out loud.”  Alice is really smart and really fun — so we’ve already bought a copy for our next dinner party.

Lastly, we wanted to end today’s post with a lovely quote about gratitude, from Marcel Proust himself:

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Thank you, friends.  And TGIF!  Have a great weekend and enjoy the day off if you have it!

xx

The HEUCY Team

Red Letter Day — Moulin Rouge is 125??!!

In celebration of The Moulin Rouge’s 125th anniversary (which, for some reason, makes us feel old…we wish we had been contemporaries of Toulouse Lautrec), here’s HEUCY’s #ProblemSolver in our favorite shade of Red.  Bright and bold and paired with leopard.  And made in the USA.  Get ready for the holidays, ladies!  Available for pre-order now at heucy.com.

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Choosing the Signature Fabric

114 days until launch

Fabric choice is the most important and elementary choice in developing a garment (well, besides good taste). It literally is the thing that makes up the garment. The choice of fabric also defines the garment development process. It will determine the style lines and cut of the pattern. It determines which factory one chooses to make the garment.

So the HEUCY signature fabric is – drumroll please – Jersey! There are so many different types of fabric, but jersey is a natural choice for HEUCY after going through the following analysis.

Designers usually consider the following in choosing fabric:

  1. Does it look/feel good?
  2. Is it priced right?
  3. Can the minimum requirements for production be met?
  4. Is it on-trend?

So we considered all those factors, but in staying true to the HEUCY ideal of simplifying life with a versatile garment produced with fewer pollutants, we needed to also consider:

  1. Can it be handled and produced into garments at a reasonable price point in the US?
  2. Is it versatile in wear?
  3. Can it be washed as opposed to dry-cleaned?
  4. Is it made of eco-friendly fibers?

The fabric that checked all these boxes was Jersey.  So we sourced swatches from mills across the country and as well as from Canada.

fabric swatches
fabric swatches

Then we narrowed the choices down and requested test yardage from a handful of mills.

test fabrics
test fabrics

The test fabrics above all look the same you say? Well, they kind of do on-screen here, but they all have a different weight, different content, different stretch, different drape, different method of dye, different country of origin, different wholesalers.

So on to testing, testing, testing to determine the best jersey for the styles sketched and in development. Good thing I am Asian – I am good at tests.

Simplification Goal #1: Made in America

118 days until launch – 4th of July edition

made in korea
made in korea

(not these people – they were Made in Korea – like all good fashion items from the 70s and 80s)

I am an import (pictured above with my sister, I am on the left rocking out an outfit that would make a male Brooklyn hipster jealous) – landed in JFK in 1983. It’s not that I don’t appreciate products (or people) made in other countries.

But here are some things I have learned along the way. Hauling fabric and trim from one continent to another to test/sample and then to another to manufacture and then back to another to sell is 1) expensive and 2) involves lots and lots of fuel.

Places from which I have sourced fabrics and trim in my previous jobs: Italy, China, UK, France, Korea, USA

Places where I manufactured garments and accessories with these fabrics and trim: London, UK, Luton, UK, Zhejiang, China, Hong Kong, Portugal

Countries where these garments and accessories were sold: UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Japan

scientific map
scientific map

This my very scientific accounting of all the air travel the fabrics, trim, garments and accessories went through. But seriously, all this transport drives up the cost of these items sold to the customers (that’s you!) and it is killing a family of whales as we speak.

I am no expert on exactly how much damage all this moving things back and forth around the globe is doing (despite my four years of Patagonia wearing, recycled college issue insulated mug carrying days at Middlebury College, the hotbed of all things environmentally responsible) but I do believe that well-made chic garments can be made without doing so much harm.

Hello!

120 days until launch

Hello friends, family and other interested people out in the cyber world!

I am starting this blog to share my journey of building HEUCY – a new fashion label that aims to make effortless, chic, versatile and sustainable clothing.

I want to share this process of building the company and setting up for the launch of the official HEUCY website and webSHOP with like-minded clothes horses out there.  You might be friends & family (who have no choice but to read!) or someone who is curious about how one starts a fashion line.  The good, the bad and the often ugly behind the scenes look at how to get things off the ground.

I have been in fashion for 8 years.  I started out by jumping head first into my first label “s u w h a” after relocating to London from the U.S.  After 4 years of great ups (amazing stockists like Henri Bendel and Holt Renfrew, features in Vogue on both sides of the pond, sponsorship by the British Fashion Council) and downs (hello financial crisis of 2008) – I learned lots of lessons about the industry as the little engine that could.

Next up – I moved back to the U.S. and worked as creative director for Cynthia Steffe, an established contemporary womenswear label with wide national reach.  Again, I learned so much about the industry and this time as the big engine that can.  But after nearly 2 years, I hit the stop button – I felt the itch to build my own again.  This time, simpler and truer.

By building HEUCY I want to take everything I have learned and re-think and re-set the language of my design and create a more honest and transparent process.  SIMPLIFY – but let me tell you, simplifying can actually be very complicated (hence this blog to chronicle the saga).

The countdown portion at the top of this page is to make this as stress inducing of a process as possible.   Who doesn’t love a deadline?

Debut Collection Mood Board
Draft Sketches