Monthly Archives: April 2011

Only a few hours to go…

I wonder what everyone invited to the wedding is doing tonight?  The night before my day, I was calm and had a lovely home cooked meal made by my bridesmaid (calmness ended at approximately 6am the day of the wedding).

The question still remains is what will our Prime Minister be wearing? I am the first to admit her sartorial style leaves a lot to be desired, but her job doesn’t require her to be sartorial savvy. I would rather our PM be making quality decisions than browsing designer websites (another reason why I won’t be PM).  I wonder if she hired a stylist of some sort, Ita Buttrose could provide advice or Australian Vogue editor Kirstie Clements would have the credentials. Even, PM Gillard’s good friend, Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce could provide advice, as she is always impeccably styled. If they were the same size, I’d recommend the PM borrow an outfit from the GG. It would probably be news of the day, before NBN, carbon emissions scheme or the potential collapse of Syria.

Back to my original question, what will our Prime Minister be wearing? I’ve put together some outfits, taking into consideration her usual style.  Will PM Gillard be wearing:

Anthea Crawford – The PM has been a fan and is often seen in several AC type styles.  It’s a little safe…

I can just imagine the PM in blouse 4 and skirt 5. However, perhaps there is something a bit more interesting out there… I’ve put together some looks that she can wear with her extensive range of cream jackets.

Look 1 – Springtime Love

Dress: Collette Dinnigan – Cruise Collection 2010-2011
Hat: Steve Harrison
Shoes: Christian Louboutin – Newton 70

This is clearly a feminine look, but paired together with the 1st or 3rd cream jacket, it would be a perfect springtime morning wedding.

Look 2 – Blue Belle

Dress: Lisa Ho – Winter 2011
Hat: Steve Harrison
Shoes: Kate Spade – Leanna Tapered Toe Pumps

A look with a bit more oomph… and the cream will help break it up a little.

Look 3 – Some like it different

Dress: Bally – Leather trimmed silk crepe gown
Hat: Unknown
Shoes: Chloe – Marion suede ballerina flats

I think this look is a little different and it would need to be accessorised up.  Flats are the PM’s preference and would help at a canapes lunch.

What would YOU wear?

THE event of the decade is only 2 days away.  For all my modern beliefs, I still go gaga for a royal wedding.  Maybe it’s because he really is a Prince and she really will become a Princess… I thought I was stressed on my wedding day but if I was Princess-to-be, I think it would add a whole other dimension of stress.

Even if you’re ambivalent or too cool to care, come Friday afternoon, even you will know what Ms Middleton wore down the aisle.  Bloggers have been rife with rumous, one thing is for sure.  The designer will be British (otherwise it would have been Vera Wang). Until then, I will speculate:

The money is on Sarah Burton for the House of Alexander McQueen, especially after her recent Fall 2011 RTW collection.  The Dress will probably be a little on the conservative side, with sleeves of some sort, but the silhouette might be similar…

Alexander McQueen – Fall 2011 RTW – Exit 27 and 28 | image: style.com

Temperley London was started in 2000 by Alice Temperley and her then boyfriend (now husband) Lars von Bennigsen in 2000.  She is well known for her focus on beautiful fabrics, hand-finishes and has been hailed as “the designer making the biggest waves in British fashion’ by American Vogue. Ms Middleton is known to be a fan.

Temperley London “Long Jessamine Dress” and “Long Twinkle Dress”
images: temperleylondon.com

Vivienne Westwood is not really known for her subtle or conservatism. Westwood began by joining forces with partner and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.  In their early years, bondage trousers, massive platform shoes and slogan T-shirts were the sartorial style. Over the years (and after the split with McLaren) she expanded her design vocabulary to weave that world of safety pins and Union Jacks with the historical romance of tartan kilts, pinstriped tailoring, corsets, and Watteau gowns.  Can you imagine a Watteau gown with a Union Jack pinned on to the rear of the dress? Would be a statement. Somehow, Ms Middleton doesn’t strike me as one to make a political statement.

Vivienne Westwood - Fall 2011 RTW - Exit 50 | image: style.com

I have always liked Phoebe Philo, especially when she was at Chloe and now Celine (Phoebe designed the first “IT” bag, remember the Chloe’s Paddington bag? Oh how I pined for one). Her designs are quite simple and clean, so, can you image if The Dress was a Pant Suit, or a little Skirt Suit in the spirit of Bianca Jagger or Mia Farrow… how awesome!

However, this is a British Royal Wedding and not Hollywood (the Queen probably needs to sign off on The Dress. I guess every workplace has a manager of some sort).  Even though Phoebe is British, Celine is a French label, so it might be a diplomatic awkward, like Princess Diana’s death (still too soon?).

Pictures left to right: Bianca and Mick Jagger on their wedding day in 1971.  How young do they look?! It was Sinatra’s third wedding in June 1966 was to Mia Farrow, who wore a cute skirt suit and who was just 21 at the time (Sinatra was 50). Finally, Celine Fall 2011 RTW – Exit 25

Though a fairytale wedding needs a fairytale dress. Grace Kelly’s wedding to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco was seen as another fairytale wedding. Queen Elizabeth flatly refused to attend on the grounds of there being “too many movie stars.”  Ms Kelly’s dress was designed and made by MGM’s costume designer Helen Rose.  MGM studios made every resource available to Helen and the gown took six weeks to prepare and involved 35 MGM craftspeople who all worked to make the dress to be a masterpiece.  It used twenty-five yards of silk taffeta and one hundred yards of silk net. Its 125-year-old rose point lace was purchased from a museum and thousants of tiny pearls were sewn on the veil.

Though this dress might be a little conservative for some, it still remains beautiful and a source of inspiration after all these years.

And finally, this is me in my fairytale.

So what would you wear on this occasion?

Now I can see…

I mentioned somewhere in a previous post (you know how I go on tangents) that I was getting new blinds… well they were finally installed a few weeks ago and they make such a difference!

Before

After

I was a bit worried that it was too white compared to the current wall colour, but I am planning for the future wall colour (much to the horror of Mr Purfect) and I think it brightens up the place a bit.

Previously, the old blinds left the top windows uncovered (I have no idea why it was done). You can just see a bit of the top windows exposed in the first picture.  Because the blinds are installed higher (to cover the top windows), they really have brighten up the place, not to mention, help keep the place warmer at night.

The bedroom is now really dark in the mornings, which make sleeping in very easy and makes waking up for work, very difficult.

Are you working on a Before & After project?

Market to market (sound familar?)…

I had a bit of déjà vu while reading M in the Age today.  I was quite surprised at how similar the article below was to my post.  I hollered “plagiarism” to which Mr Purfect responded with, “maybe you’re not the only person with the same idea…”  Anyway, the article has outlined a couple more markets that I didn’t mention (of course, I knew about them but thought I would edit some out… honest).

Nevertheless the point is, I hope that you’re inspired to get out and about this long weekend.

Welcome Australia, to the 21st Century…

It took us a while, but finally Zara has landed on our shores, though not my shore. I have to wait till June.  Even countries with developing economies such as Turkey, Honduras, Malaysia and Kuwait have access to Zara.  When traveling I would buy up on Zara and a friend of mine once asked “don’t you have Zara in Australia?” “Nope”, to which he quipped “what kind of backwards country do you live in?”  There was no point trying to defend my country, with our access to free health care, education and all the other important services that are integral to… living.

Zara opening in Sydney, 20 April 2011 (image:ninemsn.com.au)

What’s the big deal about Zara? The size!  Some fast facts include:

  • Sells 700 million units globally (I think I bought 5 units last year)
  • Employs 100,000 people, including 250 womenswear designers specifically for the northern hemisphere (imagine trying to manage that human resource section)
  • In 2009, Zara sales were worth €7,077 million
  • There are 5,000 Zara stores, compared to Country Road’s approximately 56 stores (excluding spaces Myer, DJ and factory outlets).
  • Spends almost nothing on advertising (most fashion brands factor in a minimum of 4% of turnover a year)
  • 60% is still family owned making the 75 year old founder, Amancio Ortega the nineth richest man in the world.

Amancio Ortega | image: Elmundo

Who? Amancio Ortega. He founded a clothing manufacturing business around 1960s and opened his first shop in 1975 in La Coruna, Spain and called it Zorba! Yes, as in Zorba the Greek. Thankfully (because I don’t think ladies would shop at a place called Zorba), there was a nearby bar with the same name and on insistence by the bar owner, Mr Ortega agreed to change its name.  But because three-dimensional storefront lettering moulds were expensive, Mr Ortega needed a name which could be made by the existing moulds.  So he repeated the letter a and Zara was born.  It works brilliantly because its pronounced the same way in every language, but one.  Can you figure which language?

There is no Zara ‘style’ but a multitude of styles, usually copied from high-end fashion labels (there’s usually something for everybody).  Before the internet put every style on instant view, the company used to send teams around the world with a shopping spend that was legendary (and you thought you loved your job).  Apparently, one French fashion label used to factor in the Zara spend into their profit forcast. They didn’t mind, Zara is for the masses.

I had a browse on zara.com and I’m liking these looks for April.

It’s not my usual style, but I’m liking the sleek look at the moment.  And I’m obsessed with finding the purfect pair of pants.   Zara is famous for its quick turnaround time, from factory to floor in 48 hours.  Zara stores order twice a week and if a look doesn’t sell, it’s pulled.  With that in mind, I don’t hold my breath that the above looks will still be in stores when Zara opens in Melbourne, however I have no doubt, the store will be stocking something else I’ll want.

So, what do you think about Zara opening stores in Australia? Are you a fan?
Stay tuned for an alternative point of view on Zara.

NOTE: Unfortunately the above knowledge was not my own researching, but that of Marion Hume from the Australian Financial Review, published on 25 March 2011. Who would’ve thought that the AFR would have interesting articles on fashion!

Where have I been? At designEX of course!

Wow time does fly.  I recently thought to myself, “hmmm… when’s the last time I posted? Over a week ago! That’s terrible!”

Where does time go? I don’t think I’m qualified to actually answer that question, nor do I think that you want to read that sort of stuff here. Anyway, I must admit not much has been inspiring of late.  Possibly, because I have doing serious stuff, until Friday!  I was super lucky to score Linda’s ticket to designEx!

designEx is apparently Australia’s leading design and architecture event, presenting the best in contemporary and classic design to inform and inspire.   Showcasing the latest products and design trends from local and international studios and brands.

And… it’s exclusive! For people in the industry only, teasing us design wanna-bees by not inviting us to the party.  So yes, I crashed the partee.

My top things from designEx were:

  1. HPM Legrand Australia – What do they make? Light switches. Yep, gorgeous low profile range of switches and powerpoints, designed with fine lines for a “shadowless” appearance.  With a 4mm profile and premium high gloss surface finish, the Linea range captures the essence of surface beauty. That was lifted off the website. Who writes this stuff?  Anyway, totally interchangeable. What colour should the light switches be today?
  2. Volker Haug makes beautiful industrial style lights – made his first light at the age of ten (I was playing with my cabbage patch doll, remember those?).
  3. Yellow Diva is a collaboration between an English architect and an Australian industrial designer/art director. Both were exploring the sculptural potential of furniture, an overlapping of interests that was to prove a natural crossover point for the two professions.  An outcome is the M Series of sofas – cute as a button!
  4. Standout pod was the ilve pod, it was totally enclosed with magenta walls to attract you to come in.  Had a bar feel to it. What do they make? Stoves, ovens and rangehoods.  I was particularly attracted to the Sphera rangehood. Though, at the time I had no idea what I was looking at. It was black, shiny and sleek looking. A man with a French accent explained the whole thing to me and made it sound interesting… or was that the accent.  Anyway the video below shows what I was looking at and when you watch it, imagine a French accent telling you how it works.
  5. Lunch at giuseppe arnaldo & sons. Okay, not at designEx but all that viewing and sensory overload left me hungry.  This was just cross the road and my day off.  So Ms M and I treated ourselves to a proper lunch. giuseppe arnaldo & sons feels very similar to North Bondi’s Italian & Sons.  I think they’re owned by the same peops.  Though the crowd at giuseppe arnaldo & sons is far less pretentious, or is that Melbourne in general… Anyways I had the Spaghetti Arrabbiata Crab, Tomato and Chilli, which is baked in a paper bag… I ate every single stand of pasta… it was delicious.

A perfect end to a design perfect day.  Thanks Ms M.

So do you get excited by light switches or rangehoods as I do?

There's a mouse in the house.

I haven’t mentioned shoes much here.  A long time ago, I came to terms with the fact I am vertically challenged.  Heels were meant to solve this problem, but heels and I had a falling out. So since then, I have remained faithful to flats.  Yes, yes you can get nice ones, and I have nice ones.  Many, many, nice ones.

However, if I am honest, heels are awesome.  Heels make legs look longer and there are amazing heels out there.  With heels, you can design them high, low, thick, thin, open toe, closed toe, round toe, pointy toe, square toe, sling back, high back, zip back… the list is endless.

Endless heels from net-a-porter. I love the 'mohawk' black heel by YSL

In an article by the New Yorker, Christian Louboutin was quoted as saying:

“I hate the whole concept of comfort! It’s like when people say, ‘Well, we’re not really in love, but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. ‘Comfy’—that’s one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy. It’s really depressing, but she likes her life because she has comfortable flats.” [actually he said clogs, but I’m sure he meant flats]

Mr Louboutin does know a thing or two about shoes, as he sells more than five hundred thousand pairs of shoes a year, at prices ranging from US $395 to $6000 (nope, I didn’t accidentally type in the extra zero). The sole of each of his shoes is lacquered in a vivid, glossy red. It is also a genius marketing idea that renders an otherwise indistinguishable product instantly recognisable.

A beautiful example of Christian Louboutin shoe

A Louboutin shoe begins with a sketch. Once the sketches are complete, they are sent to the Louboutin factory, outside Milan. A team of artisans works long hours to translate Louboutin’s sketches into three dimensions (I can imagine that this would be quite difficult). Three weeks later, a set of prototypes will arrive at the office. Louboutin’s best shoes are almost prosthetic, morphing the body as radically as it is possible to do without surgery. He also maintains a small atelier, where he can cater to the whims of his private clients.

However, all is not lost for us flatties. Trust Marc Jacobs and his design team to come up with something a bit quirky.

Squeak.

They may not be sexy heels, but I ♥ my newly arrived mouse flats.  Because they’re black, I can add a bit of fun to a serious work outfit…  Purchased from Shopbop, who are offering free international delivery within three days!

So, which do you prefer? Heels or flats and why?