Friday, November 13, 2015

Adventure of trying to buy a piece of H&M Balmain collaboration.

Took me awhile to recover from #HMBalmaination craziness.  But I finally have the time to document my experience.

I knew it was going to be crazy.  But I didn't realize it was going to be this crazy.  After reading the disaster Hermes sample sale in NYC few weeks ago on Racked NY, I decided the smartest way to get something from this collection was to hire a line sitter.  In the mean time, a friend of mine got in the press line in NYC and was suppose to go the night before the launch to pick up a thing or two.  He had promised me to get a leather hoodie in L or leather jogger in L for me.  I thought about cancelling my line sitter but thought I should just double down.

Around 3PM on November 4th Pacific time, I got a text from my friend saying the line is insane!!!  I was like but I thought you were in VIP line!  Are you sure you are not in the regular line for tomorrow?  He assured me he was in the right line and that it was insane.

Then a little bit later, he texted me a picture of empty racks....  That was a bust.  Well, at least I have the option of getting something online and thank god I did not cancel my line sitter.

I decided to go to my local H&M to see how long the line is.  This was 8:30 Pacific time.  I would say there were about 30 people in line.  I was getting a little bit nervous.  I thought about calling my line sitter to come early as she was suppose to come around 1AM to wait inline on my behalf.  I also thought about maybe I should get in line now and wait for her to show up at 1AM.  But then I thought maybe I'm getting too carry away and this is kinda crazy.  So I just figure the ones there are die hard ones and I doubt more will show up until maybe 3 or 4AM.  So I didn't bother to call my line sitter.

Come 5AM November 5th, I tried desperately to get online to buy a piece of the collaboration.  I had my ipad, iphone, iMac refreshing like crazy....  It just wasn't happening.  I was not able to get online at all for well over 45 minutes.  Few friends told me they were able to get online and that pretty much men's stuff were all wiped out.  Ok, two chips are down and I still have one....

I went to H&M around 6:30AM as I know most likely bracelets will be handed out around 7 and I want to be there to get the bracelet on my wrist than to have my line sitter wearing my bracelet.  So when I got there, I realized that I was like 100 people back from the front door.  I knew it was going to be an uphill battle to get anything from then on.  But since I already spent the money to have a line sitter waiting, I might as well wait.

By 7AM, they started to give out bracelets.  My time slot was 9:45AM.  The lady behind me kept on saying "it's all dudes in front of us".  She was absolutely correct, it was like 95% dudes and 5% girls so I knew men's stuff would most likely be gone by the time I got in.

Finally my time slot was let in at 9:45AM.  I was exhausted having wait in line since 6:30 and obviously up since 4AM to try to get online to buy.  I think I may have gotten 2-3 hours of sleep.  I was the last third or fourth person in my group and they had all of us in a single file line so by the time I got to the men's section, there were several black tank tops, few henley, and couple long sleeve t-shirts left.  I was pretty irked by then as there really wasn't anything I wanted to buy.  But of course I purchased few obligated items since I didn't come all the way to here to leave empty handed.  So I got a tank top, couple small blue leather bags for gifts, couple sunglasses.  And for the ladies section, there were plenty of selection except the most desirable beaded items.

I got home and checked Ebay...of course all the East Coast stuff are already posted online for sale.  I was annoyed to say the least and knowing that the closest I'll get to buy that black leather jacket I want is to either buy the real thing and not eat for several month or pay an Ebay reseller.

November 6th, I read on Racked SF the night before that they will be selling the clothes on the mannequin on the first come first serve basis.  I thought this will be my only chance to get something.  I knew the mall wasn't going to open until 10AM so I figure I'll go there around 9:30AM and see if I can find a way to get to H&M first.  I got to the parking lot and went straight across the street.  The door was open to several elevators (which goes to the theater/ spa level).  I guess some people want to use spa early so the backside of the mall is actually open to allow people to go to the spa.  I thought I was pretty smart to get into the building early.  But by the time I got to H&M, there were already 15 people in front of me!!!!  Ok... let's see what will be left by the time I get to the front counter....  Then by 10AM, mall door opened and a group of people rushed to H&M.  They were all shocked to see us waiting in line!!!  They thought they were the first ones!

Of course by the time I got to the front counter, there were only one henley left which I could have gotten yesterday.  I decided to buy it anyway as I couldn't leave empty handed!!!!

Feeling dejected, I thought I would never get my hand on the pieces I want.  Then by 4:00PM, I decided to pay up on Ebay for the black leather jacket I really wanted.  The seller had zero feedback and actually lives in Oakland.  He/she also had several other men's pieces.  There were very few people bidding on the jacket and I ended up winning.  I guess people just didn't like to buy from sellers with zero feedback.  I figured I could either pay with paypal or in person so I would be protected.  I tried to pay with paypal and Ebay informs me that I need to get in contact with the seller as that option somehow wasn't working (and seller indicated that he/she takes Paypal).  I never encounter that before.  So I message the seller and told him/her the paypal thing isn't working and I'm happy to come to Oakland to pay in cash or meet up in SF.  Never heard a single peep from the seller.

In the same afternoon around 4:45PM, a friend of mine messaged me saying she saw a black leather jacket at the Stonestown H&M!!!  I was like excuse me?!!!!  She put it on hold for me and let's just say I never got to Stonestown that fast!!!  This particular H&M does not carry Balmain so must be someone who bought it at Powell and decided to return.  I was very surprised to see it though as he/she could have easily doubled his/her money on Ebay or Craigslist and I'm sure he/she was there waiting in line around 8:30PM the night before launch.  Anyway, I'm not complaining!  So glad I didn't ended up buying from Ebay (a week later and seller still has not messaged me so I sure ain't gonna contact the seller).  While the jacket is a tad tight on my arms, I'm soooo thrill to have it.  It was my most wanted item from this collection.  I'm sooo lucky to get it.  Hope you are as lucky as me!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tea time! Marc Newson style.

If only I have the money to buy this beautiful tea set.... Georg Jensen has partnered up with Marc Newson to produce a limited edition tea set.... ten total.  You know one of these sets will ended up in MOMA and the other one at Victoria & Albert Museum.  Given that a Modigliani painting just sold for $170,000,000, what's a mere $125,000?  I'm sure these are pennies for those 0.001%.  If I were in their shoes, buying this tea set is a no brainer. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Next Stop: #HMBalmaiNation

I have been a Balmain fan for awhile.  Balmain women's collection had always been more of a party clothes vibe whereas Balmain men's collection had always been more of a clothes that you can wear daily.  Balmain for H&M is exactly that: women's clothes is very sexy and more night time than day while men's is more of a day time affair.

This men's collection is essentially best of Balmain from the past decade.  It had few pieces that were from the Decarnin era but most of them are designed by Olivier Rousteing.  For those who don't know the recent history of Balmain... essentially Christophe Decarnin revived Balmain in 2006 from a sleepy brand to the IT brand in 2006.  Decarnin's biker look was the rage all over Paris.  His biker jeans were insanely expensive (and the new ones still are very expensive); most started at $1,000 and some were as high as $2,500 for cotton jeans.  Depend who you talk to /read, Decarnin couldn't handle the pressure and resigned in 2011.  Olivier was his assistant and took over as Design Director when Decarnin left.  Initially I thought he was just way too young/ inexperienced to be in charge for such a venerable house but some of his pieces have definitely captured my heart.

Here are my favorite pieces from the H&M x Balmain collaboration.  The embroidery jacket looks amazing.  While I'm not sure if it is wearable especially during daytime, I would be open to snatching it if the price is right as regular Balmain embroidery jackets are well into 5 figures.   

The biker jacket is absolutely the IT piece for me.  It's a classic Balmain staple and when you unzip the front flaps, the jacket becomes a more traditional biker jacket shape.  The leather jogger is also another must for me.  I can't get enough leather joggers! 
Hoodies are all the rage in SF Bay Area and this shape takes it up another notch.  I like the leather padding at the shoulder to give it an unexpected twist.  Can't wait to see it in person.
Lastly, this olive military jacket was designed by Decarnin.  I believe it was his last season.  I love the clean line of the silhouette.  This coat is a must in my book!
What is your favorite Balmain for H&M piece?  Or more importantly, how many hours will you wait in line to ensure you get the pieces you want on November 5th?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Soccer Mom's revenge!

Michelle Grabner is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and one of the curators for 2014 Whitney Biennial.  End of last year, she had an exhibition at James Cohan Gallery. 

This is what Michelle said about her art: "These works were based on particular materials such as washcloths, blankets and window screens. As in Scarry's quote, the work evolved away from the particular toward the universal. Although the process of employing found material as a template continued, the material--a simple cotton weave blanket--now provided only a roving grid pattern that did not reveal itself as a specific item. Local color evidenced in the previous bodies of work gave way to full spectrum bands of radiating pastel color, again making a shift toward Scarry's "distributional." This relationship to beauty is also underscored in Plato's requirement that we move from eros to caritas, from the interest in the beauty of one person toward the beauty of all. "Being good, bearing knowledge and acting fairly" are classical virtues I would like to reinvestigate via abstraction within the contemporary discourse of painting. I am most concerned with metaphorically conveying beauty as compassionate and good-hearted, that which is very distinct from the sublime." 

Ken Johnson's, art critic at NY Times, reviewed Michelle Grabner exhibition and this is what he had to say about her art: "Nothing in all this is more interesting than the unexamined sociological background of the whole. If the show were a satire of the artist as a comfortably middle-class tenured professor and soccer mom, it would be funny and possibly illuminating, but it’s not."

In 2015, this is Michelle Grabner's rebuttal.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ansel Adam on the cheap!

Since 2007, 20x200 has been selling gorgeous prints online.  Their motto is "It's Art for Everyone".  And they do mean every one.... whether you make 20k a year or 2M a year.  Every print they make, they make them in several different sizes.  In this case, The Tetons, Snake River by Ansel Adams, they have 8"x10", 11"x14", 16"x20", 20"x24", and 30"x40".  Each size has different editions.  For example, 11"x14" has 500 editions available whereas 30"x40" only has 10 editions available.  The starting price range from $24 to $1800.  So for price of a cheap dinner out ($24), you can buy an original limited edition print by Ansel Adams!  How awesome is that?! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Jeff Koon Balloon Dog!

If you have been following Jeff Koon's limited edition artwork, then surely you know of balloon dog plates that were published by MOCA back in 2002.  I remember seeing the dog plates in red and blue and didn't think much of them.  I believe they were asking $595 each.  Well, unfortunately for me, I did not stock up on those plates (more like I didn't get any).  Today, those balloon dog plates regularly sells for $16,000-$20,000.  Pretty good investment if you ask me!  MOCA together with Jeff Koons had decided to publish a different color balloon dog plate recently (all net proceeds will be dedicated to MOCA's endowment).  This time in yellow.  Unfortunately the price is no longer $595....Now it's a princely sum of $8,000.  I guess that's still a bargain considering red or blue dog plates routinely sells for $16,000 and up.  So for those readers with deep pockets, you may want to buy up these "cheap" plates since I'm sure once they are sold out, you will start to see them popping up at Christie's or Sotheby's for $16,000 and up.  One per customer per MOCA website.  Start to get your aunt Betty and nephew John calling MOCA.  LOL.   

Friday, July 10, 2015

Raffle Winner!

And we have a winner for the Ermenegildo Zegna toiletry bag giveaway!  The winner is Shakeia R.!  Please send me your US address within a week so I can send the prize to you.  Please note, I will repick another winner if I don't hear from you by next Friday (7/17/15).  Thank you everyone else for entering and have a great summer!  Until next time.  :)