From the ages of two to eight I lived in Kuala Lumpur and up to this day it still holds a special place in my heart. There’s something about the hum of the city, the smell of the air after a tropical rain and the friendliness of the locals that has gotten under my skin.
Luckily my parents still live in Malaysia and I go back every year to visit them. It’s always fun catching up with family and friends, eating all my favorite foods and seeing how rapidly the place has changed. The city inspired me so much the last time I was back that I decided to shoot Kayu’s Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook there. I teamed up with photographer Ana Maria, who in a weird twist of fate is actually from California, and together we prowled the streets of Kuala Lumpur. I had this idea of a free-spirited woman traveling through Asia and seeing the city through her eyes. I’m thrilled with the final photos and hope you enjoy her journey as much as we enjoyed creating it.
One of the things I love about living in the Bay Area is all the great restaurants, from Mexican to Indian, French to Italian – whatever you’re craving you’ll be sure to find it here. We get a lot of people visiting us and they always want to know where to eat. There are so many great restaurants that choosing my favorites was a difficult process. However, I’ve managed to narrow it down to the following:
This is a teeny-tiny restaurant which serves the most delectable brunch. The place is filled with fun curiosities and the owner treats each plate like a work of art. Go early and be prepared to wait. It’s worth it!
The line is insane but if you’re craving shrimp & grits this is the place to come to. We always order a plate of beignets to share and you can’t go wrong with their watermelon ice tea.
Minako is run by a mother and daughter team who craft authentic Japanese food. Fresh sushi, inventive vegan options and friendly service – what more can one ask for? Don’t forget to check out the jars of pickled ume on the way to the restroom.
This place serves souffles of all types – seafood, mushroom, chocolate – and only souffles. Each one is lovingly made to order by Chef Jacqueline, a French transplant who has made it her mission to bring back the art of the souffle. The souffles are huge so be sure to share. You can even visit Jacqueline in the open kitchen to watch her hard at work whipping eggs.
We always order the same thing when we come to R&G – their famous salt & pepper crabs, fried rice and a side of greens. To really enjoy your crabs you’ll want to use your hands! They make some lethal and yummy cocktails too.
The best sushi in San Francisco. Enough said.
Don’t let the misleading name throw you off, this teeny cafe only serves sinful delights of the chocolate variety. I’m a big fan of their sea salted caramels.
What could be more fun than sitting in an outdoor courtyard on a gorgeous summer night while a black & white film plays in the background? I love going for pre-dinner drinks at the bar attached and peeking in at the rotating art in the gallery space. For some after dinner entertainment pop across the road into Doc’s Clock for a game of shuffleboard.
For the perfect thin crust pizza look no further than Delfina. I love the Margherita and their meatballs are pretty awesome too. If you have room for dessert pop into Tartine bakery next door.
This is a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place located in the Tenderloin. Don’t let the humble exterior throw you off; this place serves the most incredible noodles. The key is to order the #25 Dry on their secret menu. It’s a heady concoction of shrimp, calamari and chicken paired with slippery rice noodles. Don’t forget to add the fried garlic they have in small jars on each table.
This place makes the most amazing fish tacos but it’s the corn on the cob I keep coming back for. It’s slathered with a peppery cheese sauce and is a meal in itself.
One of my favorites things to do on a sunny afternoon is to sit in Dolores Park with a scoop of Bi-Rite salted caramel ice-cream. It’s a reminder of why the simplest things in life are often the best.
I thought I’d share with you a sneak peek into my world. I run Kayu out of a 1970s Eichler in California. My office faces green mountains and it’s a lovely place for inspiration. Once in a while a deer or coyote will pay me a visit. The resident owl and hawk are permanent fixtures.
Here I am hard at work. My husband helped me put up the picture gallery on the wall which hold some of my favorite press clippings. I love to wear kaftans while I work – they are super comfortable yet still look chic. This one is part of a small clothing collection Kayu is launching this year.
Who can complain about work in a place like this? I love this type of architecture. It’s very Californian – easy and light-filled.
Some material collected during my travels. I have a soft spot for batik prints and any type of weave. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all this fabric!
Some of my favorite reads. I met Iris Apfel in New York once. She was wearing her signature oversized glasses and a huge colorful scarf. I was blown away.
I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek into my world.
We were absolutely thrilled that Norein and Michelle Otero, the talented duo behind the fashion house Ecliptica, included Kayu clutches for their recent Spring Summer show.
Their clothing line, Ecliptica has been the trend setting movement in Puerto Rico since 2001 and has been worn by superstars like Hilary Duff, Nelly Furtado and Grammy winner Corinne Bailey Rae. Ecliptica has presented at New York Fashion Week and featured in magazines like WWD, Harper’s Bazaar and In Style.
I’m sure you’ll agree that their Spring Summer collection is amazing and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on some of their creations!
In April I traveled to Bali to work on Kayu’s upcoming ready-to-wear collection. I’d been dreaming of going to Bali for several years now and had such a wonderful time exploring the island. Bali is large and I only covered a very small part of the island but I thought I’d share some of my favorites from my time there -
SLEEPWOLAS VILLAS Jl. Yudistira 18 Seminyak, Kuta
Located in the heart of Seminyak, the Wolas consists of 16 villas each with its own private pool. A personal butler serves you breakfast every morning and ensures that your every need is attended to. The cool pool was a welcome respite from the Bali heat as was the outdoor shower. Don’t forget to check out the onsite spa.
EATMADE WARUNG Raya Legian, Seminyak
Made Warung is an institution in Bali and no wonder as it serves fabulous Balinese food in a rustic and inviting setting. Leave time to explore the various boutiques surrounding the restaurant to pick up delicate pottery and hand-dyed scarves.SARDINE Jalan Petitenget, Kuta
Sardine must be one of the most picturesque spots to have dinner on Bali. We dined al fresco facing a rice field decorated with over-sized parasols. Their cocktails are a must!WARUNG KOLEGA Seminyak
For some great local food look no further than Warung Kolega which serves Javanese dishes in a casual atmosphere. A dazzling array of vegetables and meats are arranged buffet style and includes spicy tempeh, sambal fish and long eggplants. They don’t serve alcohol but if you’re craving a beer the owner will get one for you from the adjacent convenience store.
BARSKuDeTa Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak
How can one come to Bali and not go to famed spot Kudeta? My hubby and I spent a perfect afternoon there sipping on cocktails and watching all the beautiful people go by. The surf is so close you can hear the waves crashing and smell the salt all around you.POTATO HEAD BEACH CLUB Jalan Seminyik, Seminyak
Potato Head is Kudeta’s younger, hipper sister. Comprising of several restaurants, bars and an infinity pool that leads right to the ocean one could spend the whole day there and not get bored.
SHOPPINGDeus Canggu and Seminyak
This airy store in Seminyak (they also have locations in Canggu, Sydney and Los Angeles) sells custom motorbikes, relaxed surf threads and also boasts a coffee shop. I don’t know much about bikes but I definitely enjoyed the cool art and strong espresso.ULUWATU LACE Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak (and throughout Bali)
The art of handmade lace is a dying trade which makes the intricate blouses and dresses at this store all the more special. From lace tops to tap shorts you’ll find something for everybody. They even ship internationally.
DOJARI MENARI Jalan Raya Basangkasa 47, Seminyak
We are big fans of the uber talented and gorgeous Solange Knowles so were thrilled when she carried Kayu to President Obama’s fundraiser in NYC.
The bag is our Audrey in white mother-of-pearl and is available at http://kayudesign.com
Vogue’s Bookings Associate Simone Tetteh carries Kayu!
On nights out, it’s always a battle to convince myself that I don’t have to have three extra lipsticks with me and that just one bag will suffice. This internal conflict is always resolved a little more easily when I have a gorgeous clutch like this one by Kayu. I love the iridescent look and interesting texture of this piece enough to forgo my hoarding ways. – Simone Tetteh
You can read the full spread here http://www.vogue.com/fashion/5-days-5-looks-one-girl/simone-tetteh/
Big LOVE to Simone and all the folks at Vogue!