Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happiness is a new old frock

This outfit, worn by Betty Draper (aka January Jones) in the most recent episode of Mad Men had my eyes in paroxysms of delight. You can't see it in the picture, but the beautiful floral wiggle dress has a gorgeous cross-over back. The all matching white accessories - especially the gloves, oh the gorgeous gloves - had me lamenting that the days of people going out "dressed" from head to toe are well and truly over.
Thank goodness, though, that so many other aspects of women's lives have changed.
You can see more Mad Men piccies over at the AMC website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New York London Milan

The Spring Summer R-T-W shows have been consuming volumes of the download quota of fashionistas around the world of late. Even though my tastes tend toward fashions of the past, I still like checking out what some of my preferred designers are sending down the catwalks.
All the lovely images are grist for the inspiration mill. For examply I think theMarc for Marc Jacobs jacket above is to die for.

Luisa Beccaria's collection was romantic and undeniably pretty. Luella's show screamed early 60's lady-like glamour. Jason Wu is simply fabulous and utterly wearable.
And best of all was Erdem, where the devil was in the details. His collection included the most divine prints and, although his silhouettes were inspired by the past, his creations looked worthy of replicating on their own merits.
I'm no high fashion expert, but here are a few of my favourite looks.

Marc for Marc Jacobs

Luisa Beccaria


Jason Wu


All images courtesy of Style.Com.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Heart Hawaiian Style

Hawaii for me conjures up images of an eternal summer. Big waves, black sand, volcanoes, lush greenery, colourful clothes, Mai Tais by the ocean, Gidget strolling down Waikiki Beach.
Having said all this I've never actually been to Hawaii, but I suspect my desire to go there has something to do with the island's cultural currency. Growing up watching Gidget and Elvis midday movies; open mouthed at vision of the first big wave surfers at Sunset Beach.

The point I'm getting to is that the theme for my wedding is "Vintage Hawaii" and consequently I've become just a little bit obsessed with vintage Hawaiian clothing.

I recently purchased a pink 70's Malia sundress on Ebay, but some more collectible and coveted labels are Kamehameha, Malihini and the master print-maker himself Alfred Shaheen, who sadly passed away in 2008. Great Hawaiian style of decades past was defined by tropical and tribal prints on largely functional (i.e. easy to wear) resort style clothes such as swimwear, cover-ups, sarong dresses and of course the ubiquitous and often kitschy Hawaiian shirt.

Alfred Shaheen hand painted many of his fabrics. His 50's sarong dresses, like this tribal print yellow, are so desirable these days, that they definitely don't come cheap. Most particularly if they are in good condition. You can pick this one up at Glamour Savvy.

I had my eye on this drop dead gorgeous Alfred Shaheen wrap dress at Posh Girl Vintage for months, and when I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy it (it was my size and everything!), some other Cinderella had wisely made her move. I will always love you dream dress ...

I'm not aware of the label on this lady in red, but it is definitely Hawaiian and definitely pretty. Perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic and available for purchase at Lucite Box.

I love a matching bolero and nothing screams chic resort wear like red, white and blue.

I'm dangerously drawn to blue or green florals, and thus I'm dangerously drawn to this Kamehameha fit and flare dress. From Hakther on Etsy.

I could totally wear this sixties wrap-dress to work. Flattering, elegant and oh so happy. From Ebay.

Super cute 1950's swimsuit by Kamehameha, which could also double as a playsuit. From Cupcake Vintage on Etsy.

And did you know that the revered Tina Leser (whose hand painted dresses are AMAZING), started her fashion label while living in Honolulu? Her prints drew their inspiration from the many cultures present in the melting pot of Oahu. This dress from TimeLess Vixen is a real one-of-a-kind piece of art.

I'm building up quite a collection of images, so these barely scratch the surface. I'd love to hear from anyone with their own piece of Hawaii hanging in their wardrobe.
On a somewhat unrelated topic - though it does involve clothing and glorious prints - I recently picked up this drop dead gorgeous skirt on one of my scavenges. This cheery little number has helped me step into Spring with aplomb.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wedding Panic

Just about every week since my engagement I must confess to a complete wedding freak-out. This isn't freaking out about the marriage bit of it, just the actual wedding which I've discovered - just like zillions of other women before me - is almost impossible to do on a meagre budget, especially if you want it done right (i.e. the wedding of your dreams).

Thankfully my Mum was there to talk me off a ledge as the panic hit today. I contemplated throwing in the towel (no doubt in some part influenced by how busy I am at work, coupled with having to move house in two weeks ... grrr), cancelling the venue and then running off to the nearest registry office and just doing the deed. Then I realised that I would then be missing out on the (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity to plan a party exclusively for the people I love, to celebrate the man I love. And I can always get myself back into the happy zone by browsing some of my favourite wedding blogs.

One of the most outstanding on this list is Vintage Glam Weddings, where blogger and newlywed Amanda celebrates the best vintage inspired weddings. She highlights those weddings that aren't the lavish chi chi types you see on the pages of bridal magazines, but rather unique and individual ceremonies featuring vintage treasures and flea-market finds. The real life wedding photos are so inspirational and generally gorgeous. Get a load of some of these!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Emmy's

Speaking of Valentino, Rose Byrne (who is one of the only celebrities my betrothed is vaguely interested in, seeing as they went to high school together) was simply stunning in this Valentino gown at the Emmy's yesterday.

Chloe Sevigny oozes girl-next-door sexiness in her polka dot Issac Mizrahi. Love the simple make-up and relaxed hairstyle as well.

And the stunning January Jones blew me away in her strapless Versace. The robotic stiffness of the bodice, contrasted with an uber feminine mermaid skirt is all kinds of awesome.
All the other frocks were a bit meh. That is usually tasteful, but entirely forgettable. If only I and my other fashion loving friends were world-famous actresses with bottomless pits of money and designers names on speed dial. Come to think of it, I'd definitely be working vintage couture on the red-carpet. The gorgeous possibilities are so endless, I think it is time for some much needed dress daydreaming.
Dior, Balenciaga, Jean Desses, Cassini ... I could go on and on ... and I will.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The rest of them are making rags

valentino IMG_1904
Originally uploaded by cerichi

So last night I wrote up a whole post on the delights of the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor and somewhere along the way blogger had a brain fuzz and all my writing completely disappeared. Sob, sob.

The basic gist of my rundown though was WOW. Who knew so much beauty could be packed into two hours? Valentino's lifestyle is crazily lavish, surrounding himself with beautiful people, possessions and pugs. The gorgeous doggies have their own nanny to walk them and clean their pearly whites. And his couture gowns - though not considered by many to be groundbreaking - are timelessly elegant and feminine.

"I love beauty, it is not my fault" he proclaims.

As Valentino retired two months after the doco completed filming, this film really does chronicle the end of era. My highlights:

* Puggies running all over the place

* Valentino's histrionics over the hairstylist for his couture show wanting big but edgy year. "what is this edgy? Do you not like a chignon?" he says.

* Giancarlo Giametto - his partner for 50 years - with tears in his eyes as Valentino thanked him, from the bottom of his heart, as part of his Legion d'honneur acceptance speech

* Watching Valentino create a magnificent white couture gown from scratch

* The insight into the inner-workings of Valentino's seamstresses - literally everything is made by hand - and the seamstresses delight when they arrive at the label's 45 year exhibition in Rome

* Karl Lagerfeld: "we are the only two left" he says. "All the rest of them are making rags."

* Valentino's French villa, impeccable grooming, well-mannered staff and permanent orange tan. It is like a lifestyle from a different age.

* And last but not least are the dresses, like this pink slice of heaven ...

If you love high fashion and are addicted to trawling the Internet for the couture show reports, then The Last Emperor really is a must see. My friend Liana and I walked out with huge smiles, even though we remain bereft that unless we dump our fiances for rich financiers or invent a cure for baldness, we are never getting anywhere near wearing our own slice of Valentino.

My Cate B: Love It or Loathe It?

I love granny rugs. There is something about brightly coloured warming wool which I just can't resist; if I see one at a market or jumble sale somewhere, I am naturally drawn to it. My betrothed even rescued a gorgeous green and purple granny rug from his mate's attic once. His mate - whose own grandmother had hand-knitted it with love - was planning to throw it out, and thanks to my man's thoughtfulness, it now graces our couch and often my body as I snuggle up and watch a late-night film.

But would I want to wear a granny rug on a red-carpet?

My Cate B did just that at an opening for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne this week. My initial thought was 'Oh my God, what is she wearing', but it is amazing how quickly a look can become acceptable once you've gazed at it long enough. Perhaps that explains why everyone thought pairing cargo pants with high heels was the epitome of chic back in 2003?

I thought that the dress looked familiar and my sharp friend Hannah pointed out that the dress is from Australian label Romance Was Born, whose most recent collection 'Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells' had the Aussie fash pack gushing. Australian Vogue editor Kristie Clements was so enthralled, she devoted a cover and entire editorial to the collection in the July 2009 issue of the magazine.

And I must admit I loved this cover with Myf Shepherd actually smiling - gorgeous! - and the editorial was pretty cool too. The clothes are so imaginative and so uniquely Australian - truly unlike anything else being sent down Aussie runways - that I can understand why world-weary fashion editors went into paroxysms of delight.
So while I don't necessarily think this dress is flattering on Cate (I think the one shouldered look with such a heavy fabric makes her look a little lop-sided, and the dress would have worked better if it was a closer fit), I've decided that I can't hate her for wearing it. She's supporting cutting edge Aussie design on an Australian red-carpet and her choice puts her well and truly outside the realm of tired and boring. In fact I think it says "I don't care what people say about me, I love clothes and I will wear whatever I want."
For that, I think I like her even more.

And at least she didn't wear the Iced Vovo dress.