title sequence design

nerding out on 'lie to me'

I've only recently been watching episodes of the tv show Lie To Me (cancelled after a 3rd season), like a complete nerd. I haven't had a television for years, so I'm quite particular about what I bother to watch. I became completely fascinated with this show. The topic of psychology (and human behaviour) often does. Out of curiosity, I tried to do a bit of research to find out how accurate/real the science was behind the show. I found out via a Popular Mechanics article that the show is "90% accurate." The show is based on the life and work of an expert lie detector, Dr. Cal Lightman (brilliantly played by actor Tim Roth). Turns out, the character was based on a real clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, a scientist specializing in lie detection (and worked with everyone from the U.S. Secret Service and Dept. of Defense to Pixar to detect facial expressions). In fact, Dr. Ekman was involved in the development of each episode on the show and even sends actors on the show photos of facial expressions to imitate. So apart from an expected level of glamourization for television, apparently the show is based on a real science. 

Such a shame it was canceled. Unfortunately, trashy shows that cater to the intectually vacant continue survive and thrive while shows like Lie To Me do not. There are only a handful of great, well-written shows on television on any given season. I discovered it late but this was one of them. I really love the cast, too. If you haven't watched it, go find it on Netflix. I'm starting on Season 3 and I'll be sad to watch the final episodes. 

As a sidenote: I really like the show's title sequence design. 

I am love : 40

A belated post: My birthday this past April was something EXTRA special. I celebrated the big four-oh. What?! YES... be nice. I am still trying to get used to the idea! It was a celebration made more special by dear friends and family, spectacular food, an elegant setting and one amazing cake.

I decided to loosely theme the evening around one of my favourite films of all time, I Am Love. It is easily one of the most sumptuous films ever made. Food – and love – are central themes. I even designed my invites to look like the film's title sequence. If only I had Luca Barcellona as my calligrapher. Chef Jason Bangerter at LUMA created for me a beautiful menu around the themeIt was such an honour to have one of the best chefs in Canada to create such fantastic (and gorgeous) food for my birthday. If that wasn't amazing enough, my dear friend, Chef Rossy Earle created a jaw-dropping, Roasted Butter Pecan Cake with – get this – four layers of dulce de leche. 

It was one of my most special birthdays to date. It was such a beautiful night and exactly how I wanted to celebrate. I only wish my parents who have lived back in Manila for years and more of my dear friends in New York had been able to attend. Everything else fell into place and there was no shortage of laughter. What better way to bring in a new decade. So it's not so bad being grown up ...er, old. ;) 

Many thanks once again to all who shared the evening with me (including my friend Lee from NYC), Chef Jason Bangerter (and the great LUMA staff), Chef Rossy Earle for my amazing cake and Renée Suen for taking and sharing the photos. x 

The AMAZING Roasted Butter Pecan cake with four layers of dulce de leche

All photos above by Renee Suen

A few birthday Instagrams by family & friends' (including my own); left: the Truffle Soup with chanterelle cream and buffalo parmesan that we all LOVED beyond words, middle: my big, beautiful Dulce de Leche cake, right: perfect Roast Sea Bass

The gift bags for my guests included bubbly and popcorn with chocolate pop rocks, peanuts, caramel and Chef Jason's fragrant mix

british style genius

An old friend sent me this BBC Series British Style Genius (from 2009) a week or so ago and I've been devouring every episode since. It is fascinating. It's an incredibly well produced, showcasing the most concise documentary on (any) fashion history that I've ever seen. I even love the title sequence design. Some of my favourite segments and episodes are below. 

The bit about the 60s Mod movement was of particular interest to me. I was hanging out in high school with a group of kids that revived this whole look/lifestyle in California during the late 80s. I also knew 20-something year old guys in Vancouver into the early 90s that (quite seriously) subscribed to the same look and lifestyle. It all centered around 60s, slim-fitting Mod suits, skinny black ties and creepers. One of my closest friends in high school, Barry, would wear Fred Perry shirts, skinny dress pants or jeans and dress shoes to school everyday. He also had the signature vintage Vespa scooter which I rode with him to school everyday. We listened to a lot of ska, Brit pop and punk. It influenced the way that I dressed then, too. I wore a lot of vintage and homemade 60s miniskirts (some tartan) with preppy sweaters, pointy patent flats — and yes, black TURTLENECKS (that's when the turtleneck love began!). Back then, I wasn't as aware of the whole history of the Mods. I didn't question it, I just enjoyed dressing up in the particular style. I still don't really know why the Mod look was revived then. It's interesting how it was (re)done the same way – but in suburban southern California. Perhaps it was a west coast thing. Does anyone know? We did feel that we stood apart from the popular fashion in high school back then (which at my school was comprised of Hyper Color cropped Tshirts, MC Hammer pants and lots of neon). I wish I had photos to share. So I loved seeing the way this documentary series illustrates and gives context to where/how it all began. It all makes sense to me now! 

One conclusion I drew from having watched the series in it's entirety: I believe that the days of such influential and distictive fashion "movements" growing from the streets is gone for the most part. The globalization of fashion trends is likely to blame. There is still a lot of street fashion that influence the styles that end up on the runway, but they don't end up evolving from movements with fiercely loyal followings (not unlike gangs) in quite the same way that it did back in the 60s. It was a time when younger generation made their clothes. New styles were created and evolved more organically on the streets. They weren't simply following what they saw on tv, music, magazines or celebrities (many of whom receive many of their clothes for free from fashion designers). I feel as though retailers like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters are the ones dictating the way young people dress these days. Hoards of young 'hipsters' are merely dressing in uniforms-of-the-minute as dictated by these retailers. That doesn't define edgy to me. I don't believe there is as much actual origination or innovation on the street nowadays — at least not as much as there was between the 60s-80s (and not in north America). So much of what's out there now tends to be an appropriation or remix of everything that has been done before — primarily from the 80s. 

If you didn't see this series the first time around and can get a hold of it, I HIGHLY recommend doing so. It's amazing and not to be missed. 



inspired title sequences : sherlock holmes


If you haven't seen Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes yet, you must. I saw it with my sister over the holidays. What a great film, deliciously clever and sexy. I cannot say enough. As a designer, I was so struck by the title sequences at the end of the film. They are absolutely gorgeous –also a must see. Watch it here.

Images from Prologue Films


speaking of cinematic...


I am a immense appreciator of well-designed, clever, creative and beautiful title sequences for film (as well as the films themselves, of course). Art of the Title is solely dedicated to featuring great sequence titles. The examples above are just a few of them. They also have viewable clips of each one. Love it. 
Stranger Than Fiction




High Fidelity





Napoleon Dynamite