Friday, September 24, 2010

Pretty pics for the weekend

Tim Walker is one of my favourite fashion photographers working today and I was delighted to find a new Walker editorial in the current issue of UK Vogue. This shoot was inspired by the Ballet Russes, the subject is the latest couture (the McQueen dress above is divine) and the mannequin is one of the models of the moment, Karlie Kloss.

Walker worked with Karlie earlier this year on a Wizard of Oz inspired shoot for W Magazine. His photographs often draw on fairytale or mythological elements, playing-up well-worn stories. His use of light is inspired and distinctive and he seems to be a master at photographing haute couture.
Here are a few other Tim Walker images I've enjoyed in editorials of the past. All I can say is 'more please.'

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giveaway: A celebration of Breakfast at Tiffany's

Sarah Gristwood's gorgeous companion book celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Breakfast at Tiffany's (the film that is, not the book), is out next week in Australia. I'm offering one lucky reader the chance to win a copy, ensuring much drooling over pics of Audrey and George Peppard and the streetscapes of New York (apparently the classic opening scene where Audrey was eating a danish on Madison Avenue had a crowd of gawkers watching on. And Audrey hated danishes).

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and let me know what your favourite Audrey movie is.

Is it Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which Audrey was able to imbue Capote's classic and complex call-girl character with a worldly vulnerability while she rocked a ukulele?

Is it her first big Hollywood picture Roman Holiday, which introduced her beautiful face to the world and won her an Oscar?

Is it Charade, where she got to play sleuth alongside Cary Grant, and act out a love affair with an age difference that was this time very convincing (that's more than I can say for Sabrina or Funny Face).

And speaking of Sabrina, how stunning did she look in that film? As both ingenue and elegant young woman, she was utterly mesmerising. I'd happily watch it again right now.

Fashion lovers might choose Funny Face, where Audrey played a beatnik turned reluctant glamazon with ease.

While drama lovers might choose The Nun's Story, where Audrey got to demonstrate her serious acting chops (and star opposite sexy Aussie Peter Finch).

And if I have to put my own nomination in (ask me again tomorrow?), I'm going to say My Fair Lady. I watched it again recently and thought that, quite apart from all the hoopla about Julie Andrews missing out on the part and Audrey's signing voice not being up to scratch (and Emma Thompson recently calling her performance 'twee'), Audrey really did become Eliza Doolittle to me. I couldn't quite imagine anyone else in the role.
If you are a follower, you'll get a second bite of the cherry, so don't forget to remind me. I'll select a runner-up too, who'll get a surprise gift (although don't be too surprised if it is some other book too. I work in publishing after all).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

To Auction

Auctions - whether Ebay or otherwise - are a pretty common (and oft times inexpensive) way to purchase vintage. Until recently I hadn't been quite brave enough to buy at auction outside of Ebay, but when my friend Cath alerted me to a huge auction of vintage clothes by Lawsons (they are based in Sydney's inner-west with an office in Melbourne too), I had a moment of madness and/or clarity and decided to bid on a few items.
I had absolutely no idea what kind of prices to offer, so I ended up picking amounts that I thought were fair but relatively cheap, and that I wouldn't miss to much if I got the item and I didn't like it. Lo and behold I managed to win one item; this green lace and chiffon 1950s cocktail frock which has joined a couple of my other frocks as decoration for my bedroom. At the moment I'm deciding what to do with it.
The risk of bidding online, of course, is that you can't see up close and personal the quality and size. In my case the dress fits perfectly, but unfortunately the quality is not that great. A few stains can be covered up with a good dye job, and the frayed hem can be fixed pretty easily with a new one, but I'm not quite sure what to do with a small hole in the lace. Any recommendations from the crafty types out there?
Next time they have another auction of vintage clothes, I'll try and find time to pop by for a closer inspection, although at the moment I feel I barely have time to blog, let alone shop (but look out for a post about a couple of new purchases soon ... shopping in 20 minute bursts can sometimes prove very productive).
For some seriously high brow goodies at auction, check out the latest sale over at Kerry Taylor Auctions. She's got some great 60s and 70s British pieces from Zandra Rhodes, Mary Quant and more plus everything from 20s flapper dresses to 90s Versace and everything in between. Sigh.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frock of the Week: Cate the Great

Even though Cate hasn't quite realised yet that we are destined to be bosom friends, I do know that she is a woman who loves what is beautiful as opposed to what is in 'fashion'. The proof was in the pudding yesterday when she wore this archival Christian Lacroix haute couture gown as sourced by those purveyors of fine vintage at Decades. According to the Decades blog, Cate is wearing the dress back to front. I hope we will see some 360 degree images soon so I can marvel further at Cate's ingenuity.
If you are going to tell me that she is horrible in real life, I'm afraid I won't be able to listen. In the two times I've shared a room with her, she seemed to radiate perfection (but oh, how love can be blind sometimes).
Cate was in Beijing for an SK-II gig. After seeing her luminous skin in real life, I could almost invest in some of their products, but I suspect she was likely born beautiful.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Designer Profile: Tina Leser

There are some clothes which transcend the era in which they were made and stay modern looking forever. There are many items from the great mid-century American designer Tina Leser that I would put in that camp. Tina was a contemporary of other great American designers like Claire McCardell, Anne Fogarty and Bonnie Cashin. She originally started designing for her own clothes shop in Honolulu in 1935 and her creations were influenced by Hawaiian prints and styles. By the 1940s Tina was working in New York and selling her 'American sportswear' to the masses in stores like Saks. The war years - when American women were unable to purchase European designs anymore - heralded a golden age for American fashion, and clothes had to become practical as well as decorative. The Vintage Fashion Guild even says Tina referenced American factory workers by using flannel and plaid in her frocks.
Tina loved to travel and was inspired by the prints and silhouettes of India, Mexico, China and more.

Tina was also an accomplished swimwear designer; she had an arrangement with Gabar swimsuits for many years. I particularly love these swim/play suits with floral embroidery on the bodice.

And here is a dress with very similar embroidery, courtesy of Fuzzie Lizzie. I wonder if they were from the same collection, or if this was one of Tina's signatures. Regardless, it is lovely work.

Tina wound up her business in the early 80s and passed away in 1986. Her wearable creations cost a pretty penny these days, but it isn't too hard to find items from her label.
One day I'm determined to make a real life Tina Leser mine, but meanwhile here are a few items - some still for sale - that you and I can both drool over. Whether done simply in plaid or gingham or stopping traffic in florals or paisley, Tina Leser's prints truly were divine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dress of the Week: Beautiful in Black

Sofia Coppola's style isn't always my style, but it is definitely great style. She's classic laid-back American style with a twist of European elegance and it probably doesn't hurt that her partner is French (love Phoenix) and she's besties with Marc Jacobs (he has recently named a handbag after her).
Sofia's been plugging her new movie Somewhere in Venice and she looked a treat in this Louis Vuitton dress. I love the illusion neckline and the peep-toe wedges. I'm so over seeing towering and clunky platforms on celebs - they wear them with absolutely everything - so it is nice to see at least one celeb embracing the new less is more shoe edict.

I know Sofia had a massive head-start to her directing career (hello Francis Ford Coppola), but regardless I've loved all her films: The Virgin Suicides was an inspired adaptation of on an amazing book (I loved Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex even more and wonder when is he going to bring out a new novel); Lost in Translation came out the year I lived in Tokyo, battling a broken heart and crippling loneliness; and Marie Antoinette is quite simply one of the most aesthetically 'wow' films I've seen.
Methinks I'll definitely be checking out Somewhere.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Duchess

The Valentino exhibition was three rooms of awesomeness; two full with clothes and one devoted to photos and film. It was in the photo gallery that I spotted this image of Linda Evangelista from Vogue Italia (shot by Steven Meisel), which stayed with me not only because Linda is resplendent in Valentino, but also because of the pug dogs (Valentino Garavani lives with six, all with names starting with M) and the location, where Linda is busy doing nothing but entertaining pets and looking fabulous, looks not unlike the Rome quarters of the great designer.

I was motivated enough to look for the rest of the editorial, which was entitled 'The Duchess' and appeared in the magazine a couple of years ago.

I'm not really a fan of Steven Meisel's recent work - his photos of Halle Berry in the September issue of US Vogue are pretty same same - but I'm really digging this editorial. It is highly likely my pug bias is doing the talking though.
I particularly love the photo of Linda in the pillbox hat and long white gown, and the one with all the pug puppies and the amazing hat (is it a Stephen Jones?). I think Linda looks like a cross between Dovima and Countess Jacqueline de Ribes.
Oh, and while we are speaking of gorgeous dogs, here is a photo of my very own Elsie hanging on the beach where my parents live. Cute or what?