Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Celebrity vintage sighting

SJP was spotted at a premiere in New York this week in this lovely vintage sheath dress accessorised with a hot pink carnation brooch and a cute Chanel evening bag. I like the complimentary contrast of the white lace bodice with the beige skirt.

I wish I could wear more dresses like this but it is indeed a day to be remembered when I find a shift or sheath that my hips can fit into. I was super happy when I found my baby pink lace 60's shift at The Vintage Clothing Shop, which managed to make it into the social pages of QLD's Sunday Mail (I was up there for work, and it was all because of the dress, of course, that the photo ed. picked it and NOTHING to do with the fact that I was standing next to an early 20 something blonde).

My lace shift will always have a soft spot in my heart as I wore it the second time I was at the same party as Cate B (different party to the one above). I was in vintage and she was wearing tight jeans, a blazer and fabulous shoes and was as luminous as a Botticelli painting. I had wished my boyfriend was there so he would be forced to admit she is a breathtaking beauty and not 'pale & pasty' as he claims.

And at least I can take comfort from the celebrities he does like such as Keira Knightley and January Jones from Mad Men. His taste isn't all bad.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wedding Bells

My darling boyfriend and I became engaged on Saturday morning (at 6.30am precisely - I had to peel off my eye mask to see the ring), and after about ten hours of blissed out lovey dovey-ness and out of character champagne guzzling, I was 1. feeling pretty tipsy and 2. starting to freak out about the whole planning of a wedding.

I had been entertaining fantasies of elopement, but it turns out it is rather hard to take your parents and best mates with you. And while I've always loved attending other peoples lovely lavish weddings, I've never really fancied one for myself. Not to mention we are in the midst of a recession, everyone is worried about holding onto their jobs and not even K Rudd's money is making most people feel secure and flush anymore. Where to from here?

One thing I am certain about though, is that I want to get my dress made. Yep, no vintage this time around. I already know my dream dress doesn't exist out there, so I'm going to have to create it, possibly from scratch or possibly Pretty in Pink styling by pulling a couple of different outfits together.

Jackie's, Nicole's (Balenciaga) and J Lo's (Valentino) are a few of my favourite celebrity dresses. I think Jackie's could be my favourite of all time.

I think my dress will include some elements of each of these dresses, but at the same time will be entirely different, and not as traditionally wedding-y.
And coincidentally there is an interesting article by Hortense at Jezebel that was posted this weekend http://jezebel.com/5227469/is-having-an-offbeat-wedding-really-that-different-from-having-a-traditional-wedding about the off-beat wedding. All I can promise you for sure at this stage is we won't make our guests wear Sari's and there is no way I'm getting married on the beach. As much as I love it there, can you imagine not wearing shoes on your wedding day???
Oh, and if you check out the Jezebel story - how amazing is Elizabeth Taylor?

Friday, April 24, 2009


Check out this amazing Vanity Fair shoot with very pretty & talented British actress Emily Blunt in A/W couture dresses. I buy it every month anyway, but I am particularly looking forward to this issue now. I appreciate a bit of 18Th Century aristocratic styling, and young boys wearing the hell out of military jackets.
I'm feeling particularly glum about the recession today. I just spoke to one of my neighbours and he is out of work & a lot of people I know, particularly those in the building trade, have been struggling of late as well. In the face of such drab realities, some might ask why should we bother drooling over clothes that no-one - not even most celebrities, who are generally too conservative to wear gowns that are more artistic masterpieces than anything else - can possibly afford to buy or would ever have any place to wear. But I draw us much enjoyment from looking at beautiful things as I do from owning them (because frankly I can't afford to own many). Watching the waves roll into my own beautiful Bondi Beach today brings me joy, as does marvelling at the divine fabrics and expert construction in these frocks. And a little bit of joy is always a good thing.

And speaking of Emily Blunt, don't you reckon she and Meryl were the highlights of The Devil Wears Prada?Most chick flicks these days are rubbish - Sex and the City The Movie just about ruined one of my favourite shows and I'm gutted they are making another one - but The Devil Wears Prada was thoroughly enjoyable, and didn't treat its audience like a bunch of screaming wedding obsessed bimbos. And Meryl was - as always - brilliant and completely embodied her character, and Emily was seriously hilarious.

I cannot wait to see Emily's new movie The Young Victoria. Check out the trailer below ...

I love a good romantic period drama and this one will have political intrigue thrown in for good measure too. Plus it is Martin Scorsese, so it is a no brainer really.

Oh, and the dresses are Dior, Givenchy, Dior and Armani Prive.
Wouldn't Cate B looking stunning in the Armani?

The Believers

The Believers
Originally uploaded by digsfrocksandbooks
From the author of the brilliantly disturbing Notes on a Scandal, The Believers is an unputdownable breeze of a read about the various members of a well-known lefty family in New York having their beliefs - political, spiritual and moral - shaken to the core. Worth a look.

Published by Random House Australia.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Drooling over old fashion magazines

I found this cool blog today - http://http//www.vintagefashionmagazines.blogspot.com/ - filled with covers and editorials from old fashion magazines. The blogger J has a collection of fashion magazines dating back to the 60's and is gradually scanning all the best images and putting them up on her site. It looks like she went a little quite earlier this year, but is getting back to business now.
My boyfriend made me recycle some of my old magazines last week and it was very difficult to say goodbye, but the reality is we just don't have the space as we are already drowning under all my books and clothes and all his power tools and electronic gizmo's. I kept my absolute favourites, but alas none of mine date back to the 60's, 70's and 80's like this ladies collection.
So inspirational to see the work of some classic photographers and so nostalgic to see some of the former top models working at the height of their career.
The models from top to bottom are Marisa Berenson, Vanessa Redgrave, Isabella Rosselini, Lauren Hutton (one of my absolute favourites of all time), Jean Shrimpton (ditto), Janice Dickinson (before she went crazy/became addicted to plastic surgery), Verushka, Gia Carangi, Evelyn Kohn and more Verushka.
Check out the site for more retro delights.
All the photos courtesy of vintagefashionmagazines.blogspot.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another day, Drew in another dress

Drew was looking smoking hot in another mind blowing dress this week. LOVE the shoes. And I've always been partial to a puff sleeve (when I was a little girl I was so obsessed with Anne of Green Gables that I asked my mum to make me a baby blue puff sleeved dress a la Anne), and you can't get much puffier than these. This Giambattista Valli dress is very 80's glam meets vintage Balenciaga.

My only negative though is that while I love the outfit, isn't it a tad too dramatic for an appearance on Letterman? I guess she is super keen to promote her new film and oops, I just mentioned it here ... Grey Gardens, Grey Gardens ... so her strategy appears to be working.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

American Fashion in the 60's

A fascinating post on Jezebel today http://jezebel.com/5210768/second-life-new-yorks-garment-district-60s-style inspired by the discovery of an old Life magazine article from the 60's about New York's garment district, which was then the heart and soul of American clothes manufacturing and fashion and now forty years later is just a shell of its former self.

Everything is manufactured in China now.

Some nice comments on modelling as a profession in the 60's too, which is so completely altered now. I know in Britain modelling was something middle class and upper class girls could do for pocket money (it didn't pay much then) until they got hitched and I imagine it may have been similar in the States. One reader mentioned the film Funny Face and I thought of How to Marry a Millionaire, a wonderfully enjoyable film starring the very sexy and droll Lauren Bacall, super cute Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe in all her comedic glory. The three play poor models desperately trying to hook a rich man.

The clothes are great and it is funny too. Worth a look if you've never seen it.

Dress of the Week

Speaking of Grey Gardens, Drew Barrymore wore this divine 30's inspired Alberta Ferretti dress accessorised with finger waves, veil, clutch and Dior fur stole (hopefully fake but seeing as it is Dior, highly unlikely) to the premiere of the film last night.
Love the make-up too and especially love the head-wear. She's managed to embody old Hollywood glamour and still look like herself.
I'm fascinated by vintage and retro head-wear at the moment. I will definitely be checking out the hats at the Vintage Fair in Canterbury this weekend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cool Links

US Vogue seems to only put models on their cover once a year these days, usually to coincide with the Met Ball Anna Wintour hosts in NY in May. This years 'model' edition is out and all the top models featured look absolutely gorgeous. Natalia V is super cute and I love Lara Stone because 1. she's half Dutch, like me and 2. she's different and sexy looking, like a young Bardot and 3. she is 25 and still booking jobs and along with Aggy Deyn and Kate Moss she is representing for the older ladies (they are still super young of course, but ancient for models, if you know what I mean). Nice to see an ethnic mix too. They aren't all blonde Prada robot clones.
Check it out on Pop Sugar - http://www.fabsugar.com/3031748 - and you can vote for your favourite model too.

Steven Meisel shot the cover and there is a further article in the issue, I believe, on his muses over the years. Check out http://www.style.com/vogue/feature/2009_May_Steven_Meisel/.
This guy can make a model's career.

HBO's new film about 'Big' Edie and 'Little' Edie Beale, Grey Gardens, is out soon and Jezebel has a great post about the fashions Drew Barrymore sports in the film as the younger Edie. A colleague told me about the original documentary and while ago and it is apparently amazing. I need to get my hands on it methinks. Meanwhile I wouldn't mind Little Edie/Drew Barrymore's swimsuit with the buttons down the side. Very cute.

And off that topic, don't you think I need to buy this dress?
It is pouffy and has a big white bow on the back. How can I go wrong?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amy Adams Retro Chic

Amy Adams looking beautifully retro in the latest issue of W Magazine.
Snaps to the stylist on this shoot. Cute hat, very 'now' shoulders.

My first vintage suit ...

Because to be honest I haven't worn a suit for much of this decade. They kind of went out of vogue and I don't have to dress in corporate wear for my job, thank goodness.

I think I need to make a resolution to not look in The Vintage Clothing Shop for some months because I always go in there just to have a quick look at the jewellery or the bags - just for a bit of fun - and I always come out having bought something that I never had any intention of buying. Though having said that everything I've bought there has been at a very low cost - usually on sale for under $100 - and absolutely gorgeous.

Now my latest find is this cute summer suit with bolero jacket and mid calf skirt, which I'm taking in and up so it sits on my natural waist and is knee length. I think it'll look a bit more contemporary shorter. It is very, very cute and I'm completely in love with the pastel balloon pattern fabric which is nice and shiny. I think it is silk but can't be entirely sure as the suit is handmade, so there is no label.

I modelled it for Mum and my grandmother on the weekend and they love it. It reminds me of something Peggy on Mad Man might wear, after the gay BF make-over. Sorry no pics of the skirt as yet. I still have to adjust it.

An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

I have had An Equal Music on my reading list for donkey's and I finally got around to reading it recently as the subject matter - music - is rather pertinent to me right now. I've recently started my new job and my first three clients all inhabit the world of classical music; a world I have had almost no contact with throughout my adult life.

Oh my God, what a book. I absolutely adored this novel and cannot gush enough about it's near perfection enough. The list of books that have made me weep is not long, but An Equal Music made me blubber, so involved did I get with the two central characters Michael and Julia. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, suffice to say that Michael is a professional violinist, a part of a moderately successful quartet based in London, and Julia is his former girlfriend and a professional pianist who after a decade of no contact suddenly reappears in Michael's life. This reunion coincides with major changes in the musical lives of both of these characters who are drawn to one another, not purely out of physical love, but also a deep and shared passion for music.

I haven't read many novels about musicians - novels about painters seem far more common - but Seth has created a truly moving portrait of the committed and creative musician. The book is filled with musical language and history that would go over the heads of many readers (including myself) but none of the descriptions of instruments, pieces etc are ever boring. This, along with the empathy Seth imbues his characters with, is the mark of a brilliant novelist.

This book has blown me away like no other has since I read Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth last year.

I haven't read Seth's A Suitable Boy yet, so I might try and tackle that tome next time I have a few days off work.

Just before I read An Equal Music I read The Reader. I quite enjoyed the movie and it piqued my interest in the book; I know it has been a bestseller for quite some time.

I found The Reader to be a very odd book. The prose is written in a very unusual style and the novel reads not unlike an essay. The narrator spends an awful lot of time asking himself a million questions and then proceeding to answer them for the reader, rather like an essay. His style would have exasperated my creative writing tutors back at uni and kind of annoyed me too. Even though the events of the book are largely the same as that in the film, somehow all the subtlety was gone. I could see what Schlink was driving at from a mile away - the book is about how subsequent generations of Germans come to terms with the Holocaust and not about the saucy love-affair between a 15-year-old boy an an older woman, that is just a diversion - so there was no aha moment like you often get at the end of a great literary novel. Not the twist per se, just the moment when all the thoughts and feelings the writer has been eliciting in you come together to create a perfect, or imperfect, whole.

I saw the film with three girlfriends and two of the other girls weren't that impressed but while I didn't love it I was certainly moved and impressed with the performances of Kate Winslet and the actor that played the young narrator. I'd say watch the movie on DVD and don't worry about the book. Read An Equal Music instead!

Both books are published by Hachette here in Australia.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Audrey Tatou is Coco Chanel wearing Karl Lagerfield for Chanel

I blogged previously on the new Coco Chanel bio-pic starring the super lovely Audrey Tatou and I have since found out that the film is getting a North American release, so fingers crossed it will get a release here in Australia too. It would be great to see all the costumes on the big screen.

This is Audrey at the Paris premiere of the film this week, wearing Chanel Couture (of course), and looking impossibly chic. I used to have my hair this short but the boyfriend would kill me if I chopped it all off now. He would probably say Audrey resembles a teenage boy.

Has everyone seen her in Priceless? She looks amazing in that film.

This is a very pretty dress. And I love how she hasn't gone overboard like a lot of the US celebs and worn a ballgown to her premiere.

Hopefully more premieres to follow?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dress of this Week (and subsequent worship of Ms Obama)

I'm going to join the throng of other so presumed air-head fashionistas and babble on now about what Michelle Obama has been wearing at the G20 Summit, rather than the substance of the summit itself. This isn't a political blog after all, but what I will say is that while I know traditionally governments have had to spend their way out of recessions, doesn't it seem a bit strange that the way out of this world crisis of debt seems to be to get ourselves into even more debt? It seems like we really are on the brink of a completely new-world order where Europe and America are diminishing as world-powers and the only way is up for India and China. I'm still not convinced that K Rudd's $900 will be effective as far as my home-grown economy goes either, nor that his plan is necessarily morally sound. Will you be spending yours? I'm afraid mine is going into the bank for my spend later fund. Naughty Lou.

Anyway, back to Michelle's dress. This woman can seriously do no wrong in the style stakes. I LOVE her in this drop waist black Azzedine Alaia. This lady sure knows how to accessorise too as the jewellery and shoes all combine to create a truly elegant and chic ensemble. Michelle isn't afraid of patterns or colour, but she looks equally beautiful in a more monochrome silhouette.

Check out Michelle in this gorgeous Thakoon wriggle dress too. I'm loving the vintage 50's shape with the more contemporary looking pattern.

And Michelle seriously had fashion lovers the world over in a tizz when she wore this asymmetric Junya Watanabe cardigan which I reckon is going to really kick off a trend for similar styles.

For me the reason why she looks so fabulous (besides the figure, height and good looks, of course) is that she isn't afraid to experiment with edgy pieces or aspects of an outfit (for example colour and fabric), but she always pairs that edginess with something more classic (like wearing the Watanabe cardigan with pearls and a relatively conservative pleated skirt).

The G20 summit also meant that the world finally got to see a frock-off between Michelle and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. While Carla is undoubtedly a classic beauty and I certainly enjoy reading interviews with her because I just love her French honesty and innate sex-appeal, Carla isn't really rocking my world in the style stakes the way Michelle does. Maybe I'm underwhelmed because Carla is married to a conservative, but I just think some of her outfits tend to look a little bit like she is playing grown-ups. Maybe it is all the flats that are giving her that school-girl on excursion vibe? Is Nicholas Sarkozy short? I love her beige pussy-bow three-quarter sleeve trench, but wouldn't she look sexier with a pair of high-heeled pumps?

And Michelle manages to hit a high-note again in her floral coat. Michelle's parade of stunning coats is almost making me look forward to winter ... but not quite.

And for some Barack Obama worship, check out the news on his latest speech regarding the ban of nuclear weapons testing http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/04/05/world/AP-EU-Obama.html?_r=2&hp.
Photo of Michelle in Junya Watanabe cardigan courtesy of Getty Images.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dress of last week

This is a belated post as I decided to go sans Internet (apart from checking my emails on my phone) for a few days away for the boyfriends 30th. After our lovely weekend away I was in North QLD for a photo-shoot for work and I barely had time to think.

But I couldn't not post Nicole Richie in this super cute pouffy vintage dress, nicely accessorised with a Pucci scarf. Nicole is a avowed vintage fan and she says her jewellery line House of Harlow was inspired by her collection of vintage 60's and 70's jewellery, which her mother gave her.

Nicole particularly wears a lot of 70's dresses and really has the bohemian luxe look down pat. I've included some recent examples below.

It is nice to see her wearing something a bit left of centre of her usual style though with this more structured outfit. You can barely tell she is pregnant.

When I think back to Nicole's early days in the spotlight as Paris Hilton's BFF when she wore cheap looking make-up, bad hair extensions and sweat pants, it is hard to believe they are one and the same girl. It was Nicole's transformation which made stylist Rachel Zoe a household name, and I like to think that Rachel set Nicole on the path to finding her inner style goddess which had always be lying dormant. There has to be some explanation as to why she looks so good now. She is certainly no cookie cutter Hollywood celebrity in the style stakes.

LOVE her hair too.