Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Michael was lovely enough to send me a few photos of his grandmother so I can share them and we can all marvel at some vintage clothes back in their original habitats & when they were the cutting edge of fashion.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
And finally my favourite Diane capped off an awesome week by wearing a white Chanel dress to the AMFAR Ball. This dress is distinctly inspired by the classic Chanel suit and up close the sequin bodice on this dress is divine.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
After initial fears that 2009's SWF would, quite literally, be a wash-out, the rain thankfully managed to hold out for most of the weekend and a wonderful Festival was,I think, had by most.
Here is the lowdown on what I saw:
Kazuo Ishiguro was fabulous on Friday night. After my mate and I initially baulked at paying hard-earned money to see an author via video link-up - and then relented because it was Booker-prize winning Kazuo after all - we were both very impressed with his considered and intelligent responses to Sandra Yate's questions. He also received remarkably cognisant questions from the audience with absolute no-one in a ridiculous hat making grand sweeping statements that went on and on. I put a lot of this down to the change in the political landscape as compared to previous years as there is now no excuse for anyone to jump up and down declaring that there were no weapons of mass destruction or children overboard with such vigour you would think they had only just worked out that politicians lie.
Kazuo talked about his segue way into novel writing after initially pursuing a career as a singer/songwriting and how his first love of music inspired his recent short story collection Nocturnes. He also made a quite interesting assertion that a novelists best work is usually produced in their mid thirties to mid forties (hence he claims he is well and truly past his peak) and provided startlingly true examples (Charles Dickens, Jane Austen) which completely flipped the notion that novelists are artists that grow more accomplished with the passing of age. He urged young people with the burning desire to write to get working at it now and I'm sure more than a few wannabees left his session inspired.
On Saturday I saw Christian Lander, so called celebrity blogger whose hilarious blog Stuff White People Like has been hugely popular. Christian recently managed to turn his blog into a book deal and he got a load of press while he was in Australia, this his event was completely sold out. Low and behold I find out I am pretty much the personification of his left-leaning, middle class, white stereotype as I love vintage, organic food, Arrested Development (the show and the band), Man Men, grammar, old-school hip hop and conscious rap, Oscar parties, New York, pea coats and cardigans, living by the water, expensive sandwiches and the list goes on. I guess there is nothing more enjoyable than laughing at yourself.
Christian was very self-aware and was honest about how quickly his sudden fame could disappear, but he was so funny I reckon he could make a great career for himself as a stand-up comedian or comedy writer. With his perceptive commentary on the predilections of his own race and class, he reminded me a bit of comedian Dave Chappelle (apparently white people really like him too!).
Unfortunately for Christian I don't hate my parents, drink coffee or own any Apple products, but a lot of my friends more than make up for me in these areas.
After that I saw an in conversation with the beautiful and talented Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. You probably already heard me raving about her last novel Half of a Yellow Sun and most of what Chimamanda talked about was Nigeria and her relationship with it as well as touching on her life now in the US and trying to find her way to what she really wants to do with her life (which, happily for her fans, turns out to be writing fiction for the moment). She was very smart and articulate and thoroughly impressive. I was commenting to someone last night that I've come to terms with all the sport stars and pop stars being younger than me, but I'm not quite ready for all my favourite authors to be. Hearing Chimamanda speak I was certainly aware of her youth, but there aren't many 32 year old people who can lay claim to writing two phenomenally accomplished literary novels.
And on a completely superficial note she was wearing the most gorgeous yellow fit and flare dress with strappy black stilettos and was quite stunning. She looked just like I imagined Olanna did when I was reading her book.
I also went to the launch of a new Australian memoir about dealing with familial alcoholism called The Weight of Silence. I haven't read it as yet but by all reports it is a worthwhile read.
And lastly I went along to a panel discussion entitled 'The Authors Right to Speak' with David Williamson, Monica Ali, Richard Flanagan and Neil James discussing the politics of freedom of expression twenty years on from the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. It was quite ironic to see David Williamson speaking at the Sydney Theatre as he has been in the news of late criticising Andrew Upton's and Cate Blanchett's management of it and he certainly tried to played that up. His contribution was basically just reading out an old edict from NZ tele telling writers how they can and can't represent female characters. I think he was trying to be funny and demonstrate the inanity of too much political correctness but considering he is a white alpha male it kind of just made me uncomfortable. Neil James got up and said virtually the opposite to what David was getting at but in an articulate way; Richard gave an impassioned speech which made his political allegiances (and bitterness about his home state) glaringly obvious; and Monica spoke intelligently to the topic.
I heard overwhelmingly positive comments about Richard's appearances at the Festival and more than a few bookish ladies walked away from his sessions with a bit of a crush.
Meanwhile I'm feeling reinvigorated as a reader and as a thinker, not only due to my Festival itinerary but also because I finished AS Byatt's new novel The Children's Hour on the weekend. If you were a fan of Possession you must read this book. I couldn't put it down and found myself snatching time with the book whenever I could, to the significant detriment of a tidy home. The conclusion had me weeping on the couch yesterday morning and now that I've said goodbye to the characters I can't stop thinking about them. I wouldn't be surprised if this book makes the awards rounds in the coming year.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I loved this Armani Prive dress when I saw it on the runway and I was so hoping I'd see someone wearing it this year. The print is wild and I love a bell shape and - how useful - it has pockets too! The only thing is I think this dress is a little too long for Asia and it might have suited a more dramatic hairstyle. Thoughts?
Isabelle Huppert is wearing Armani too and looks ravishing. Featuring two of my current fancies - lace and scalloping - what is there not to love about this frock?
Robin Wright Penn is stunning in Elie Saab. This dress is from 2007 and some sites are referring to it as "vintage" which grates on me no-end. Since when is a two-year old dress vintage? I abide by the old adage that anything older than 25 years (which is up to the early 80's) is "vintage" and anything post that is "second-hand". However, as far as I'm concerned, a dress from 2007 is just something I've still got in my closet that I bought a litle while ago. I'm still wearing some pieces I bought eight or nine years ago and I certainly wouldn't consider them vintage.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Suzy Parker was the highest paid model in her day and her story is not unlike other famous models of more modern times like Lauren Hutton (who has gap teeth and a crooked nose) and Kate Moss (who is short with bowed legs) in that she didn't fit the usual model beauty mould. Suzy had red-hair and freckles and was considered to be relatively 'big boned' (though I hate that expression, and her photos do suggest otherwise). She was, for a while, the face of Chanel.
Here are some beautiful shots of her.
Jean is a bit similar in looks I think to the breathtakingly beautiful Natalia Vodianova, who appears in an editorial in the May issue of US Vogue posing as some of histories most famous mannequins.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mum actually still has this gown and I played dress-ups in it quite often when I was a kid. Don't they both look gorgeous?
I was then reminded of Elizabeth Taylor's influential Edith Head ball-gown from the billiard room party scene in A Place in the Sun. Edith Head won an Oscar for Costume design for this movie and Elizabeth's dress was no doubt hugely influential at the time on bridal and prom gown design. Ain't she so pretty? And Monty too? He was such a big spunk. This movie is worth watching just to stare at them, though the melodrama is pretty entertaining as well.
I even discovered that there is a Liz Taylor doll featuring a miniature replica of the dress. Rob Pattinson isn't the only one frozen in time in vinyl, forever young and beautiful and really, really small (I saw the Edward from Twilight doll the other day at Borders, and it kind of freaked me out).
And even funnier - on You Tube I found a video someone had spliced together featuring the most romantic scenes from A Place in the Sun set to Total Eclipse of the Heart, my all time favourite karaoke song (followed closely behind by the Gunners Sweet Child O' Mine - I was a child in the eighties after all). It was also highly entertaining and very, very odd.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
What I Wore Today is a collection of photographs of "real" girls and what they wear from day-to-day. Like most stylish ladies, these girls mix vintage, thrift, chain-store and designer items to create their own personal, and inspirational style. A nice distillation of what is going on with blogs like mine and myriad others and with sites like Wardrobe Remix and Look Book. Published by Graffito.
A lavishly illustrated reference book about all the leading vintage stores in Paris. A great book to have in your suitcase if you are going to Paris anytime soon. Not just couture as implied by the title, it covers all manner of stores from those selling Haute Couture to stores devoted exclusively to groovy seventies and eighties sunglasses. Paris truly is an amazing city for fashion-lovers and I only wish I could go back soon, with this book in my hand, sans boyfriend, and with a fashion savvy girlfriend with a lot of stammina by my side.