Urban Homme : Finishing Touches

In a few hours, the first ever Urban Homme Icon of Singapore will be born. When I tried out for the challenge, I was in for the month-long free face and body treatments but I soon realised I was in for something more than I asked for. I’ve learnt so much more about personal care and grooming, and that guys don’t have to be silent sufferers of expanding waistlines and awful complexion. Beauty care is no longer the exclusive birthright of the femmes.

With the last of my treatments at Urban Homme completed last night, the seed of regeneration planted within my skin and body, it is now time to add the finishing touches to upgrade my image. The packaging aspect of our looks, because the clothe maketh the man. And here’s my journey to complete that transformation with a makeover photoshoot at The Studio, and adding a touch of refinement to my overtly casual wardrobe, so casual I might as well be wearing rags, with the stylish selections provided by Eurocuffz.

Will I have what it takes to be considered the epitome of a man living in the urban 21st century?

The Studio – Model for an Hour

I’ve never had a studio makeover session done where it is all about bringing the best out of my personal style. My daily preparation for work or just to go out involves a show, blow drying my hair, don a t-shirt and jeans, and I’m done. There are no hair products on my thinning hairline and my choice of clothes is always anything that has hung in my cupboard long enough to lose the laundry creases. Basically, something I don’t have to iron.

The Studio is located amongst two rows of heritage shophouses that has been conserved on Amoy Street.

An unfortunate thing happened to me prior to the shoot. Since I got back from Ko Samed on Tuesday, I came down with a fever and sore throat and the stress of looking my best for the finals didn’t help. So I resorted to taking some Chinese medicinal pills in hope of recovering fast. Normally, I’d let my body heal by itself because I have multiple drug allergies.

I took the pills on Thursday night, my shoot was 3pm the next day and the dreaded thing happened. My eyes swelled up like a goldfish. My eyes are already small enough. After the swelling, they became slits! I quickly popped some piriton (anti-histamine) and seek advice for a quick remedy to reduce the swelling. Ice pack and teabags were suggested. I tried the icing method and thankfully, by the time of the shoot, I look less hideous. Phew!

Love the elegant monochrome baroque decor of The Studio. Do I now look like a prince on a throne? Well, not yet, this me still needs an image remake.

At The Studio, I had some light make-up done. I asked if the make-up would defeat the purpose of showing the skin condition after all the Urban Homme facials but I was assured that they’re not trying to make me look wayang (Chinese opera style), although encouraging clients to go for a special, innovative look is the working philosophy here. Moreover, if the skin condition is bad in the first place, even with light make-up on, the problems will still show.

Izhan shared with me that it's not uncommon for guys to put on make-up nowadays to head out. Err... ok, I don't think I would take up that trend though. I'm too lazy. Even during those days I was filming for Growing Up, I sometimes sneak past the make-up artist, preferring to just blot my face to remove the shine on camera.

For the shoot at The Studio, I had to bring three sets of clothes that I think best personify the urban homme. I’m no fashionista so I fell back on the safe, tried-and-tested business suit (the only one I own), something casual (easy coz I have loads of casual attire), and my only hip, smart-casual look (in my opinion) created with a brown suede blazer (again, the only one I have and a button had come off) and a rather loud t-shirt I’ve yet built up the courage to wear in public.

Make me a model! The Studio's crew - Keyne (photographer), Izhan (make-up artist), & Elly (customer service officer) must've had a good laugh at all my obiang poses.

The photoshoot for all the three looks were done in about half an hour. After that, I got to select the photo I like. I saw the photos of the rest and wah, all the other finalists so good with posing! If you feel awkward posing, not to worry, the experienced photographer will guide you.

This photo got urban attitude or not? I think the more I cover up, the better I look! LOL

A makeover package at The Studio cost S$88.00 and comes with make-up, hairdo, 45 poses in three oufits, one 4R print and two digital softcopy. You can purchase more copies for a price, and digital retouch services are also chargeable.

In our case, the make-up and photography services were sponsored, but the we had to buy the digital files we want to keep. Ten of the shots costs S$240 and the more we bought, the lower the per photo cost. As Urban Homme finalists, we were given a special 30% discount so it cost me S$168 for my set. Another price to pay for vanity sake! 🙂

Eurocuffz – Fine Selection, Superior Service

For the finals, all six of us will be dished out in fine-tailored shirts and cufflinks sponsored by Eurocuffz. When I was told to come down to Eurocuffz for a fitting, I thought it’s just to determine my size and a pre-selected shirt design given to me. I was pleasantly surprised when I was allowed to choose both a shirt and pair of cufflinks I like from the shop’s extensive range. And it’s all free!

Eurocuffz is located at Orchard Central, #02-06. The shop design gave me a sense of trusted craftmanship steeped in the tradition of fine tailoring while having fabric styles and cufflinks that are everything, but boring.

Yet, being given choice was a big problem for me because all the stuff look so good, I spent a lot of time reaching to a decision. I thought I would be in and out in a minute so I came during my lunch time to pick up the goodwill, but I stayed there a long time browsing and taking photos of the cufflinks. I didn’t know there can be so many variety in cufflink designs and they could be make such status and fashion statements!

I picked out my shirt rather quickly because they all looked good and fitted very well on me. But I spent a lot of time choosing a pair of cufflinks because the range was mind-boggling! I love the spunk on some of the cufflinks and almost chose the Transformer one to represent this whole transformation process.

And the service was top-notch. Serene attended to me and she was ever so, so patient, helpful and super sweet. If you visit Eurocuffz, don’t miss checking out her uber bling, ultra cool fingernails. I almost wanted to pry them off and make them into a pair of cufflinks. Don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself!

Posted this pic on Facebook and asked friends to guess which I chose. Thanks to all who responded but no prize for choosing the right one because there's no wrong guess in the first place. These 9 pairs all appealed to me but my choice is... (see next photo)

There are over 6,000 pairs of cufflinks to choose from in Eurocuffz and there are only five pieces of each design. I could almost say that any link you want, you can most likely find it here. Categories for the cufflinks range from designer classics, artistic, bling bling, bejewelled, novelty and even humourous. And the shop even carries specialised cufflinks for festive seasons such as Halloween, Christmas and Chinese New Year!

Decided on the funky gecko cufflinks because the gecko is a symbol of regeneration & rebirth, and they are also considered as good luck charms in some Asian cultures. Plus I think they're sooooo ME!

The gecko cufflinks are from the novelty range and costs S$96. Ready-tailored shirts cost about S$117 and for made-to-measure, there’s a choice to combine two fabrics and cost about S$168. But if you join as a VIP (free to join), you can choose from their range of S$207 packages where you can mix and match a combination of shirts, polo tees, ties and cufflinks.

An urban man is able discern quality & has the ability to enjoy life's simple offerings while appreciating the finer side of things.

There, my face and body treatments are completed. Makeover photoshoot done. Sharp shirt and cufflinks that represent me selected. I’m all ready for the big Urban Homme Icon Challenge finals tonight. Whether I win or not, it doesn’t matter because this has already been a very privileged journey and I hope that all my blog posts have given you in-depth information about the treatments and a behind-the-scene look at what it’s like to take that leap to transform ourselves for the better.

My Urban Rebirth

As a parting shot, here’re three photos from my makeover shoot. In many of the shots, I had to consciously open my eyes bigger because of the allergy swelling so I came across as looking rather fierce. These shots are the passable ones.

Let me know what you think and help me pick the next photo to be used as my Facebook profile pic. Thanks for reading and following my transformation.

1. Business as usual.

2. Natural & care-free.

3. Lao Hiao (old vainpot).

The Urban Homme Icon Challenge finals is held tonight (11 Nov 2010) at St James Powerhouse, Boiler Room, from 7 – 10pm.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patrick
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 15:08:59

    Oh my goodness! you look so rebirth! Nice


  2. ian anis
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 23:49:10

    wah u look good..better..best from top down
    the suit one too pretty too much make up lol
    last one most MASSIVE transform..]
    must be that straw hat? lol


  3. PJ
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 21:42:14

    Darren of all the shots I like the last one the best! So “modelest” yah?


  4. weetzdom
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 02:19:44

    congrats my friend. 🙂


  5. Serene
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 19:36:35

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the compliment :p
    Congrats on winning the title! 🙂
    Can foresee your winning strike when you came down to Eurocuffz that day! LOL



    • Darren Ng
      Nov 17, 2010 @ 23:54:24

      thanks for picking out the winning shirt for me and the patience while i kept flipping and tossing my mind about the cufflinks. the gecko cufflinks brought me luck! 🙂


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