Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stay with me, sail away, I give you Spanish gold

Here's a closer photo of the bookchain necklace, with a cameo. Not a fan of cameos of people you don't know, it makes no sense to me, like wearing an empty locket. 

I had a huge aversion to gold when I was younger - I thought it was just the tackiest thing, and refused to wear it. Not to mention that the Hobbit made rather a strong impression on me and I got the idea that the kind of creatures who liked gold were either small, fat and bearded or large, evil and scaled. But my point is, I like gold now. I have a lovely gold dress that is the most amazing fabric, it's like gold water. Not much occasion for wearing gold dresses in my life though, and as you can imagine, it wasn't at the top of my list of essentials to pack into my suitcase. 

If I had this dress I'd wear it every day though:

Good lord, the eyebrows...I can't stop looking and I love them...also love how this photo must be 15 or 20 years old but seems so on trend. Black cut-out dress, aqua, shoulder pads:
Behati Prinsloo and Lara Stone backstage at this years Victoria's Secret show. Where is the gold, you ask? Lara's gloves!

I think there is a weird contrast between the next two pictures...the first is everything that is tacky and excessive and decadent about gold, and the second makes it innocent and somehow earthy. I suppose it does come from the earth but goodness knows you'd never think about that when you see it wrapped around some rappers neck. 

Dunlop shoes...$10...I could sleep in the things, they are like slippers:

Well you're built like a car, you got a hubcap diamond star halo

It is sunny now and I'm off to walk the dog and I wish I could just throw on denim shorts. Sadly I'm still living out of a suitcase and didn't bring my shorts with me...
Cut off shorts can be so incredibly sexy, especially in Australia where they are usually on lovely tanned legs. But when it is winter and your legs are not tanned, the solution is NOT to wear stockings under them. I have never tried this, but it seems to me like there would be all different kinds of uncomfortableness going on, and all for an effect that is entirely unappetising. And no, ripping up the stockings does not alleviate this effect. 


Laetitia Casta. I would also like a degree in Somehow Studies from the University of Nowhere, and I'd major in Perhaps. 

Tallulah Morton, by Cobrasnake

Lindsay trying to do Tallulah and failing on many many levels 

Vintage Vogue, Sea of Shoes

Freja, I think, because of the tattoos. Liking the thigh highs as well. 

Ashley. I know you are all looking at the Rodarte heels, no point lying. 

And now it's just a waiting game for summer...and one that we will inevitably win. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ice-cream shoes and bookchains

Went out this weekend and accidentally wore an almost identical outfit to my friend, down to exactly the same bra. Funny, but if it happens again I'll be worried, because as she said 'We will turn into those friends who have to send each other photos of their outfits before they leave the house!' The look of horror on her face said it all. 
The shoes on the left are Tony Bianco and I really love the chunky heel on them. The ones on the right are Nicola Finetti wedges, and it's the first time that I've worn them out since I bought them last year. I got a lot of negative feedback off male friends about them, especially when I tried to buy the canary yellow pair and my friend walked straight out of the room in disgust. He later got kicked out of the showroom because he was looking through the pattern books. So I compromised and bought this off-white pair then never wore them, despite them being incredibly comfortable. Because they are runway seconds, they have been resoled on the sides for extra grip and are just like walking in flats. No, really. 

The smaller gold chain is a bookchain necklace with a small cameo on it. It is about 150 years old according to the person I bought it off, but I'm willing to knock 50 years off that and just say "about 100 years old" because I don't really trust sales people not to inflate figures like that. I'll post more pictures of it later because the way it is put together is quite unusual, and I can't find anywhere that still makes bookchain necklaces and they are really beautiful. 

The origin of the other necklace is a bit more cloudy. I bought it at a knick-knacks store in country NSW while I was waiting for a train. The store was really just the wing of an old woman's house full of her and other people's old things, like a giant garage sale. Through the ceramic kittens and suchlike, I found a bowl full of jewellery. She told me that she found this necklace in the house when she bought it and was left there by the Russian woman who used to live there before the old woman moved in. Apparently the old Russian woman didn't speak a word of English and her son was supposed to look after her but he practically abandoned her and so the townspeople took care of his mother. 

I think it's funny that people in magazines say that they like vintage things having a story behind them because it's actually a little weird when you know the details of the story. Most people's lives are sad in one way or another, so chances are that the romantic history of your vintage pieces is a bit depressing. 

Saturday, June 27, 2009


"The world only spins forward."
- Prior Walter

Is it possible to be nostalgic for something you never had? 

Photo by Richard Avedon
What English student hasn't fallen in love with the worlds of the Brontes, Austen and Gaskell? There's something incredibly alluring about a place where men rarely stop at one proposal and where the only thing standing between you and your dreams is an overly-critical and domineering elderly woman. 

It seems like such a leisurely life...embroidering in the morning, then taking constitutionals across the cliffs in the afternoon, reading by the fire each evening. I do understand that this is a total romanticisation but I sometimes feel as though perhaps we let some old fashioned practices fall by the wayside a little too fast. Propriety has connotations of stuffiness and grace has connotations of aloofness. Conformity is a dirty word. 

But it shouldn't be!

Sorry about the lack of labelling sources, I never used to save them so all my older ones are unattributed. From memory I would say all the uncredited ones are Vogue and all are Steven Miesel, except the last. 

Friday, June 26, 2009


I won’t lie, it has been quite a while since I sewed anything. The last time I tried, I got halfway and then got bored, so now I have 10 half-bags sitting in my garage. If I’d been smart and made them one by one, I’d have 5 bags, but when it comes to sewing, I never do the smart thing. Other un-smart things featuring on this list include shortening a pattern on a dress with a tulip skirt and completely altering the pattern on a pair of pajama pants because I thought it looked weird, then not being able to fit into them.

A friend has a Hollywood themed birthday party coming up, so I decided to go for high drama and wear a floor length gown. After much deliberation I chose this Vogue pattern.

I'll be attempting the yellow one on the right. I was also captivated by this Burda pattern which has cascading layers down the back (Hello, Chanel), but it was only available in size 10 and up. Though I'll be damned if that model is a size 10. 

Burda pattern 7894

I didn’t mind the colours in Spotlight but the two that I liked the most somehow managed to give off an overwhelming ‘Year 10 formal’ vibe. Both the lilac and the peach were okay but very bright and also very synthetic looking. 

At this point I have a pattern but no material. I hope to make a mock-up out of toile and then go and get the material from Lincraft, which apparently has vastly better quality material. Currently I have in mind a light knit because I think it will hang nicely, but I will also need to find a light lining, otherwise it will be a bit poofy and nothing like the “artists impression” on the pattern cover.

And of course I’m really looking forward to trawling ebay for a vintage brooch.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sunset Limited

I’d like to talk about books on this blog. This is probably the beginning of ambitious goals that never eventuate. I also plan to do some outfits posts and blog on my attempt to sew a gown for a themed party.

Anyway, I’ll work through some of my favourite books, and rest assured that you are getting the cream of a very varied crop. Which begs the question – why do crops have creams?

James Lee Burke has always featured on my family bookshelf. I will read almost anything if it’s left within reach, and so I had a go at a few of his novels when I was younger. None ever gripped me, and I had trouble getting past the first page. I’m not sure if this was because Burke can be quite a dense writer, or perhaps the vocabulary was too hard for me, or perhaps the topics simply didn’t interest me. It also had an aura of airport fiction about it, which to my mind was not a good thing.

One night I saw a movie based on one of Burke’s novels, and this inspired me to keep on past page one of ‘Sunset Limited’. I was hooked. What I had taken at first for boring and fatuous landscape descriptions transformed into prose of incredibly beauty, and characters with previously silly-sounding names enticed me into their world.

“The eastern horizon was strung with rain clouds and the sun should have risen out of the water like a mist-shrouded egg yolk, but it didn’t. Its red light mushroomed along the horizon, then rose into the sky in a cross, burning in the center, as though fire were trying to take the shape of a man, and the water turned the heavy dark colour of blood.”

Almost every author has a go at the sunrise, now almost a clichéd convention of literature, but Burke’s is saturated with symbolism of religion and war, an indicator of the forces that are about to steamroll through the lives of the novel’s characters.

Tommy Lee Jones also starred in an adaptation of Burke’s novel ‘In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead’, which is my favourite Burke novel. It hasn’t yet been released in Australia and when it is it will probably go straight to DVD.

If you enjoy mysteries or thrillers, Burke is a great way to get your fix without resorting to soggy paperbacks from the 2-for-$5 bin that overuse italics and dead bodies.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Then I defy you, stars

Back in the day when the Wright Brothers were just taking off (I’m one of those people who should never make puns because they are always bad) women had special outfits just for travelling in planes. This aviatrix influence was present in the Hermes collection for Paris RTW09.

But planes are old hat now. With space tourism being discussed like it is a perfectly reasonable thing to spend $200,000 going up then coming down, I don't think it's long before the fashion industry will jump on board the space travel bandwagon.

Space suits aren't just padded white jumpsuits. They are millions of dollars worth of material, mechanics, and artificial environments. Awesome. They also look kind of silly.

The above outfit is available at The Space Store for US $1,550 and it doesn't even work, which blows my mind. But luckily, the whizz-bangs at MIT have designed a rather spiffy alternative. 

Photo: Donna Covey 

I don't think I'll be heading heaven-wards any time soon though, so I will have to satisfy myself with star inspired clothing. I've been really drawn to anything with constellations on it recently, probably because I look at Astronomy Picture of the Day every day. It's a rocket today, how apt, but usually it is incredible starscapes like this:

Photo by a talented photographer whose name I have shamefully forgotten 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A pile ou face

Just a quick post on my favourite French actress, Emmanuelle Beart.

In true French actress style, if you type her name into Google Image, a multiplicity of naked images will come up. French cinema is less inhibited than Hollywood. If a French actress gets her kit off no one will think twice about it, but in Hollywood it is a major media event and the actress is considered to have cheapened herself somehow. Inhibition also leads to incessant on-screen smoking. 

I have loved Emmanuelle since I saw her in 2002's 8 Femmes, a kitch little musical film. I was a bit shocked to discover that Emmanuelle is actually 45. Another thing about French cinema - though age is still a barrier for actresses, it is much less of one. 

This post is really just an excuse to put up some pictures of Emmanuelle. These days actresses seem to get credit for style and fashion, and it is only the men's magazines who will harp on about their physical assets. I believe natural beauty is something pretty special though, and becoming a rarer commodity (I'm thinking of fake tan and surgeon's knives).

Nathalie (2003)

Looking like a softer Angelina Jolie

Love the red and aqua in this photo

And here are the lyrics to the song she sang in 8 Femmes, 'Pile ou Face' (Heads or Tails). I translated this ages ago but I don't trust my French anymore. It's pretty self evident though - it's a song about a woman who lives her life entirely by heads or tails.

Pas la peine de se retourner
Sur le tableau décroché
La craie s'efface
Y a plus de traces

Et moi je vis ma vie
A pile ou face
Tous mes sentiments
A pile ou face
A pile ou face
Et de temps en temps
Un coup je passe
Un coup je passe

Je veux vivre ma vie
A pile ou face
Mes amours se jouent
A pile ou face
Dans un léger flou
A pile ou face
Je risquerai tout
Un coup je m'égare
Un coup je me gare

Chaque jour devant ma glace
Je vois des rêves qui passent
Et qui s'effacent
C'est le temps qui se cache

Mais moi je vis ma vie
A pile ou face
toutes mes émotions
A pile ou face
Chaque sensation
A pile ou face
Sans hésitation
Un coup je passe
Un coup je casse

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tale as old as time

A few months ago I read about a woman who was so organised (read obsessive) that she stored all her books with the spines facing inwards so the shelves appreared a fairly uniform beigey-white colour. How did she find a book when she wanted it? She remembered where it was. This worked for her, but personally I don't think this is a very fun way to store your books.

The Bibliochaise and the adorable Bibliopouf are a much nicer alternative.

Or for those very special books...

My favourite unusual book storage idea is definitely the lovely Joe bookshelf by Ibride. These French conceptual designers have a strange sense of humour. The website is worth a look, if only for the hilarious but eerie 1920s family portrait where all the heads have been replaced with kangaroo heads. They also have decapitated deer and emu tables. But Joe is whole, a lovely big white polar bear:

I have a bit of a thing about bookshelves. I love books, hence places where you find lots of books are nice. I'm a strong believer in custom bookshelves being the only way to go - anything else ends up sagging away from the wall when you fill it up, and is not the best use of space. Floor to ceiling bookshelves, preferably wall to wall...yes, that would be a library.

Of course the best example is to be found in a french castle. The Beast knew what he was doing when he gave Belle his library.
"You... you like it?"
"It's wonderful!"
"Then it's yours."

Sadly the world is no longer full of wolf-filled forests with magical castles and mysteriously hairy occupants. Which is a sad state of affairs, not least because the world is still overflowing with beautiful maidens who want more than a provincial life. 


Definitely skip this post if you already know all about Poladroid. 

If you don't, let me explain...

It is an application that lets you develop your own polaroids. You can't do them in bulk - each photo must be put into the camera individually. After a moment, the camera spits out the polaroid and you can watch it slowly develop on your desktop. You can also shake it around to make it dry faster. If you put the same photo in 3 times it may come out 3 very different ways. Just like a real polaroid...only not costing you a fortune. 

It's a wonderful time waster because as you waste time, you are actually creating something beautiful. 

Poladroid can be downloaded from here and installed in a matter of seconds. 

It is sort of sad that the iconic Polaroid camera has been reduced to a computer application. You could argue that because you don't end up with a lovely instant photo in your hands, the Poladroid camera is just contributing to the death of film. But if anything, this application has made me more appreciative of the Polaroid camera and if I see one for sale I will certainly try and buy one.

I was on a shoot last week where the photographer told me that these days when she tells clients that they will receive the proofs in a week or so, the clients don't understand why they have to wait a week, and sometimes don't know what proofs are. To clarify, proofs are sheets with test prints of the photos in small sizes. The client will usually go through and select which ones to use, and these are printed out in a high resolution and large size, or, these days, scanned to file. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let's talk numbers

AU $2000 is:

a) the cost of a week in Thailand, including accommodation and return airfares,

b) what LiLo Mischa and Paris probably paid for those hair extensions (whoops),

c) the cost of return airfares to France,

d) the cost of staying in a castle for a month,

e) (you knew it was coming) all of the above.


So if you and 23 close friends wanted, you could stay here:

Chateau de Veilette, Paris

Or here:

Chateau Durantye, Dordogne

www.simplychateau.com has other such decadent places to stay. What is mind-boggling is that if you can fill the place with willing guests, this is budget accommodation. No joke. It is cheaper than hotels, apartments, or cottages. But of course the tricky part is getting the numbers. 

Financially, this would cost more than the average student holiday. But not that much more. When you consider what backpacking around Europe costs, which is probably somewhere in the region of $10,000 to $15,000 for a month’s worth of budget traveling, chateaux start to look even better. You would be buying food from the local patisseries and boulangeries rather than truck stops, which is both cheaper and less disgusting (forget what you’ve heard about European food – if you are poor and hungry it is very hit-or-miss).

Now for a biased overview…would you rather come out of a month in Europe with a shopping list of countries visited, one great story from Amsterdam, and the biggest hangover you have ever had in your life or…

Memories of games of petanque on the lawn with views of the Pyrenees, a tan from whole days spent lying by the pool drinking Bombay Sapphire and soda, life-long friendships formed with locals, a ridiculously chic wardrobe, and a completely relaxed smile that even rainy days and job related stress can’t get rid of.  

Chateau de Chalaine, Loire Valley