Near the end of the 19th century, cloaks and capes were considered part of standard outerwear for both men and women. This fashion staple showed off the finest of fabrics and accentuated linings and trimmings. The finest of textiles, including exotic silks, velvet and bourdon lace, were used to create the final additions to every evening ensemble. They were particularly popular with the opera crowd often being referred to as the opera cloak. If one were to follow true etiquette guidelines during this time,it was advised for ladies to have at least 2 or 3 evening capes  making up their trousseaus – a bride’s collection of clothing before marriage.

Today, capes are still making a fashion statement on the runways and I definitely fell in love with Dolce and Gabbana’s SS15 ready-to-wear collection during Milan fashion week.

On the local front, I came across a designer whose capes added a simple, yet impactful touch to her collection of sheath dresses. Hazel Mae has devoted herself to a line that screams contemporary, colourful and most importantly, comfortable. Close fitting. Astraight drapery. Enveloping. Sheath dresses are the ideal multi-functional piece for your closet and can definitely take you from the office to after-work drinks or even, say, the opera. Her modern capes compliment any daytime look and are perfect to wrap yourself with on a cool summer night.

Hazel Mae

MC: What does the sheath dress mean to you as a favourite staple in your closet?

HM: The sheath is my favourite silhouette. I think it gives such a nice contour on the body. I’ve always been a fan of tailored and close-fitting dresses. I think it’s flattering on a woman’s body. Sheath dresses are usually very simple, and sometimes simplicity can equal elegance. You’ll notice that most of my designs are unadorned – no frills, bows, too many buttons – nothing that can take away from the silhouette of the body. I’m not very tall and sheath dresses usually fell to my knee or mid-thigh, so it gave me the illusion of having longer legs. Sheath dresses in two tone, color blocking or solid colors were a huge staple in my wardrobe.

MC: How did you come to master this piece for your collection and make it stand out from other designer dresses?

HM:  I think one of the big reasons why my line has been successful is because women know what they’re getting. If you’re looking for a contemporary collection with clean, modern lines, and lots of colour, you can count on this line season in and season out. I’m still learning and educating myself when it comes to fabrics and design. What I do know is what looks flattering on my body. What makes me feel confident and beautiful and comfortable. If I follow those rules, more times than not, I end up with a design and ultimately a dress that ends up in my collection.

MC: Your capes are the perfect accent and compliment your dresses in such an effortless fashion. Where did the inspiration come from when you decided to use capes over, say, matching jackets.

HM: Thank you for that! My inspiration for the cape came from the fact that I don’t like suit jackets. I wanted something that didn’t look like your grandmother’s shawl, but had the same function with a modern twist. I didn’t want the structure of a jacket and wanted a cape that was practical, but still stylish. The ivory trim on all the capes just gave it a dash of sophistication. I like to think of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City walking into a restaurant with one of my capes on and saying to herself, “I have arrived!”.

MC: What do you have in store for fall/winter?

HM: For fall/winter, I’d like to do more two-tone and color blocking. I’m working on some Asian-inspired designs in my dresses with a contemporary flare. There’s a terrific light weight poncho that we would like to include in this line.

Don’t forget to catch the launch of her next collection coming this fall on instagram (@hazelmaedesign) and by visiting

Festival de Cannes

cannes film fest 1939The 2015 Cannes Film Festival  (Festival de Cannes) is officially under way marking its 68th festival season. Originally planned to make its debut in the autumn of 1939, WWII brought it all to a halt until 1946. It rapidly gained its prestigious international reputation, as well as becoming an important platform to present the latest in European film.

Their posters have become as iconic as the festival itself where designs have been inspired by featured films and some were even created by filmmakers themselves.



Buon Compleanno Bartolomeo Cristofori

Today marks the 360th birthday of a man whose name should be shouted from the highest of rooftops. Bartolomeo Cristogori was the inventor of the piano and a figure in musical history that is very seldom talked about. We hear about the praises of Mozart and Beethoven constantly and even though I, too, am a great admirer, none of these famous composers could have succeeded musically as pianists without Signore Cristofori.

So who was he? Born in 1655, in Padua, the Italian inventor originally made harpsichords and clavichords for a living. He was also employed by the son of the Duke of Tuscany, Prince Ferdinando de Medici. It would not be until the 1690s when Cristofori to have started work on what would become the piano.

Bartolomeo-Cristofori (1)

A quick summary on harpsichords and how they work: these were the main keyboard instruments of their day. Strings were plucked in order to make a sound. Unfortunately, once plucked, the sound was quick and volume and other technique could not be enhanced by this function. With Cristofori’s piano,hammers were used instead to hit the strings. The way we play today by having the ability to create soft and louder sounds on the piano is all thanks to this change.

Orginally called “gravecembalo col piano forte – a clavichord with soft and loud”, it was then shortened to pianoforte. Eventually, the final name simply become the piano. 

Cristofori’s new instrument would only become more popular after his death in 1731. Interestingly enough, a year later, the first sheet music for piano was written.

piano inventor

Today’s Google Doogle celebrating Cristofori

Beethoven Body Pump


With a little one at home now and still figuring my daily routine, I have to admit that the first thing I have in mind when it comes to getting back on track with, well, life, is my physical fitness.

Working out has been my go-to stress releaser, daily getaway, and so much more. It saved me through pregnancy and made delivery a hundred times easier. I may have the ‘new mommy’ label hovering above my head but I am definitely ready to get my butt kicked back into shape. The beginning is always the hardest but I have a way to ease into things quite nicely.

For me, it is all about making sure that I have the perfect playlist to get me in the exercising mood. We all assume that those super fast paced electro beats you hear at the gym are the ultimate tunes for your workout session.

I’ve decided to take a different approach by mixing in some Beethoven and his other fellow classical contemporaries. Why you ask?

Dr. Jack Lewis, an independent consultant, shared with the Daily Mail UK that “energetic but not overly-fast classical music can be ideal for the gym”. Listening to composers like Beethoven and Bach can reduce your heart rate and lower blood pressure.

He recommended Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, fourth movement, as a must-have to your workout playlist. You will achieve an even more successful workout with his fast paced rhythms while following a more sophisticated tempo structure. Your brain, too, will get a workout while listening to complex harmonies. Let’s not forget that mental exercise is just as important as physical.

Photo credit: Classic FM