Fashion

Temperley I am actually dying.

I am not a cool person when it comes to fashion.  I wish I could be that all-grey and black monochrome person with the fringe hanging off my Alexander Wang handbag, flicking in the air along with my gorgeous bayalaged hair that doesn’t snap and is shiny but I’m like a magpie.  I love colour and white and shiny things.  And I never get to the hairdresser because I’m always on rotation somewhere new and when I do get to a hairdresser, my grown-out hair reeks of hairdresser-disloyalty.  Anyway, I have all my favourite designers and mainly it’s because they use colour in fun and uncool ways that look cool on hungry Amazonian women in a ‘oh this old thing, I just threw it on because I’m totally ironic and I hardened it up with some chain mail/bondage gear/leather’.  Currently I’m at home tired and I load up my Style.com app because lets face it, we all had that app for the high res photos of New York and Parisian eurotrash parties that random celebrities and fashionista’s showed up at and were often caught mid-drink in unflattering lighting and we could sigh with relief and say “oh thank god, they’re just like the rest of us”.  Except billionaires.  The app understandably got rid of it’s party section so now I just flick through the fashion shows of all my favourite designers (DVF, BCBG Max Azria, Valentino, Red Valentino, Temperley, Kate Spade and so on).  Today I caught up with the Temperley show and OH WOW.  Here are some of my favourites but really, I loved the whole damn collection.

t1

Note the fedora for extra cred.  You mustn’t look too sweet or people wont trust you, or worse, they’ll think you’re stupid.  I wouldn’t wear the fedora and would just cop the weird judgment.

t2

I just have no words for the amazing perfection of this whole get up.  The intricate embroidery, the symmetry, the matching scarf, gladiator sandals that don’t look you’re going to beat someone up.

t3

Again they’ve reduced the sweetness of this one by using what looks like metal grommets.  Again, the attention to detail is off the friggin’ hook.

t4

I can just see myself wearing this at the resort mentioned in the previous post, swanning around in my oversize weird rattan tub chair, ridiculous cocktail in hand pretending I’m there like, all the time dahling.

t5

There are literally no words.  I am actually dying looking at this amazing thing.  Where the hell would you even wear this?  Somewhere amazing.  You’d have to be Cate Blanchett or getting married or something.

t6

This dress is basically who I want to be.  Glittering, supercool, brown, taller.  Basically amazing yet gliding with ease through life with my attention to detail and simultaneous brilliant grasp of the big picture.

Goddamn you Temperley London, I love you.

Full collection Temperley London SS 2016 here.  Pictures also from there.

Makeover.

Dear diary, I promise to write in you more…

It’s time for a makeover.  Time to forget about the negative and focus all-out on fabulousness and positivity and all the things that make life great.  This means DRESSES.  Between Cannes and The Met Ball, I’ve been drooling over so much beauty that I couldn’t not be inspired and get onto it here.

Let’s start with The Met Ball.

Lupita Nyong’o – Custom Prada

There’s a million good things happening right here.  The movement.  The colour.  The contrast.  That smile.

Karlie Kloss – Oscar de la Renta

I adore this dress.  Strapless brocade is in danger of being boring but the metallic, the gradient from large print to small, the drape is just amazing.

Cobie Smulders – Custom Reed-Krakoff

Oh Cobie.  I love you.  I love this dress.  I would wear this dress if I were a thousand feet taller.  And browner.  And thinner.

Sofia Coppola

There’s something so relaxed, so old-world Coco about this dress.  It should be unflattering.  It’s ankle length, a-line, with mid-bicep sleeves.  And Sofia just glides in it.  Maybe it’s the vertical lines, the sequins, the pleating – or the beautiful and intelligent woman in it.  Who knows?

Stacy Martin – Custom Miu Miu

I have no idea who Stacy Martin is but this is what Miu Miu does best.  Young, fun, mixes it up beautifully, plays with colour.  I may kill for those shoes.

And from Cannes, there were not too many I liked – there’s only so many iterations of a ballgown you can see in your lifetime, but there was one…

Zoe Saldana – Victoria Beckham

I haven’t followed Beckham’s ranges at all, but this feels like a departure from the super tight, super structured garment that she usually does.  There’s a free-flowing easiness to this dress, with nods to the female form, femininity and minimalism that I just adore.

Et voila – makeover complete!

Love this little collection of dresses, there were so many lovely ones in there but these were my favourites.  A huge tribute to the designers, the construction people, and the stylists – so many hours goes into making a dress, especially a couture worthy one.  Techniques that are centuries old are kept alive by haute couture – may it never die.

(Images sourced from Style.com).

Embracing monochrome (+ a whinge)

After a good ten years of swearing off black and it’s counterparts, for some reason this winter I have headed full ball into this monochrome utilitarian urban-cool thing not seen in my neck of the woods since the late 90s.  You know, when Stussy (the second coming), Mooks and M-1-11 all had their heyday, well before their shitty warehouse sales and cheap fabrics.  They used to be good.  Am I showing my age?

Anyway, Mr G bought me this for birthday earlier in the year – I love it to death but only take it out to places where it’s in full sight all the time, i.e. it can’t get pinched.

My work doesn’t have lockers.  The nurses have lockers.  The cleaning staff have lockers.  The junior doctors don’t get lockers so I daren’t take my bag.  But I digress.  The inside of the bag is clever too:

I bought myself this coat after freezing my way to and from nightshift.  It was a bit of a gamble but it paid off – it’s really thick and has impressive looking hardware on it.  Bluefly have done a terrible job photographing it.

I was never really interested in Kenneth Cole as a brand before but I am interested in being warm – and now I can’t stop wearing this all the time.  With the above bag.  And a great big scarf.

Then on another fortnight I did so much overtime I could barely see straight (one of those weeks had 70 hours in it by Saturday) and with the resulting double-time I bought the Marc Jacobs Mouse shoes.  I still remember when the original brown-and-cream pony hair variety came out something like 5 years ago, and I wanted them so badly.  I couldn’t afford them on my student budget for such a long time – these seemed like a nice reward.  They’re the Marc by Marc Jacobs variety and not as high end as the originals, but good god I love looking at my feet!

They’re a cute and cheeky offset to the utilitarianism – I never take clothes too seriously.

In all honesty, I’d much prefer not to have bought them and to have had the free time and less money.  Junior doctors can’t really complain about their jobs – the minute you do, the newspapers will go and post a picture of a fat neurosurgeon next to his three Mercedes and the public goes ape and calls all doctors greedy charlatans who are mind-controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.

The sad truth is that junior doctors earn the Australian average (which is still good, no complaints there), and any money you make on top of that comes with the sacrifice of your free time, family, and friends.   It’s not worth it.  It’s not worth standing bleary eyed at the 16th hour of your double shift because some other exhausted person called in sick, trying to work out if someone’s chest pain is a heart attack or a muscle spasm.  It’s not worth the fear involved when you walk out of the hospital at the 20 hour mark crossing your fingers and praying up at the sky that you didn’t, in all your fog, make a decision that could harm someone.  The system is designed to prevent that from happening but things slip through sometimes.  The put-up-and-shut-up mentality perpetuated by the upper echelons of the field seems so outdated – they come from a time when there was no computers, no CT scanners, and a body of knowledge a tenth of what it is now.  In this environment, with this much knowledge and this many options at our fingertips for treatment, we shouldn’t be working this much.  The margin for error frightens me.

But you know, I’m just a lazy greedy fatcat doctor* who is going to drive home in her Mercedes and have dinner and her next holiday paid for by a pharmaceutical** company 😉

*translation:  a hardworking and mostly starving doctor who is driving home in her Toyota Echo to a dinner of whatever I cooked and froze last week, with her next holiday paid for with a fatigued credit card.

**pharmacetuical company:  something the media talks about brainwashing me but I’ve never even come across so much as a pen this year.  Let alone dinner.  And as far as natural therapy and vitamin companies go…I’m not sure that with the prices they charge,  they have your health and wellbeing at the forefront of their minds 😉

She had style, she had grace.

I was saddened to see the usual crowd of happy-bashers out in force over Kate and Wills engagement.  According to them, Kate will now have to ‘be more in fashion now’, and less ‘boring’, and mon dieu, wear more makeup as she often doesn’t wear any.  Even her lovely hair wasn’t spared the viciousness from the unhappy masses.  The way I see it,  everything she’s done her own way has worked for her, so why change that?

And then I read The Sartorialist to find a comment on Natalia Alaverdian, a personal style icon, about she dresses too ‘safe’.  As if safe, whatever it is, is a bad thing.  It was Coco Chanel herself, great founder of easy chic and gorgeous minimalism who urged women to take off the last thing they put on.

Here are some shots of Natalia being ‘safe’.  There is something very elegant in embracing who you are as a person, and letting it show through what you wear – not the other way around.

I will never understand the great fear of being boring when all of us are so interesting as individuals.

On why you shouldn’t spend $1000 on a skirt.

It’s been awhile I know.  I’m coming up on final exams which means hours and hours spent at my desk on top of the hours and hours spent at placement.  I’ve not had the headspace for things outside of my field.  I should be studying now, but it’s all a blur.

During my procrastination I sat down with a Strand Arcade (mall in Sydney) catalogue and came across a pink A-line Lisa Ho skirt in the order of around $1000.  I nearly choked.

Here is a photo of it not fitting the model properly and fancied up with a belt:

I know a lot would be asking, what’s the big deal?  It’s a designer skirt, what’s your point?

Skirts are one of the first things novice fashion designers learn to draft in fashion school.  Specifically, plain a-line skirts.  They are the easiest thing in the world to draft and make.  I’ve done it.  And my field is the opposite to fashion school.  It took me half a day and I was going slowly.  Unless that skirt is made out of fabric worth hundreds of dollars per metre (which it’s not), you wouldn’t get close to it being worth that kind of money.

So what kind of value do you get from the skirt?  The answer is none.  It’s a flat colour a-line skirt that you could make yourself or have someone make for you for under $100, using the same fabric, and since you chose the dressmaker yourself, probably with construction skills superior to the factory worker who did the Lisa Ho one.  And it would fit you perfectly.

What about the designer?  Isn’t that part of their creative vision? The answer is no.  They’re also a business.  For every complicated, more expensive to create garment, there has to be a fast cheap garment that they can charge a shitload for and make ridiculous amounts on because someone will buy it.  It doesn’t even matter if it doesn’t sell and they have to reduce it to $400 because then someone will still buy it, think they got an amazing bargain, and the seller is still laughing all the way to the bank.

So who buys this stuff?  We all do.  There was a thread recently on the Vogue forum where a discussion ensued about the way we see our own bodies in light of all this media about dressing to ‘disguise’ the socially unacceptable (apparently) parts of our body.  The OP who started the thread (in all innocence, I feel for her), said she didn’t want to have to think about this stuff, she just wanted to share ideas on dressing for ones shape.  Fair enough.

Bear in mind though, that designers rely on women not wanting to think about it.  They want you to see the label, to see the idea they’re creating in their advertising, for you to link the idea with the purchase, and then the idea with yourself when you make that purchase.  And once the sale is made they don’t care one bit about the massive remorse or the fact that you just maxxed out your credit card buying an idea because you’re unhappy with the current idea of you.  When the current idea of you is just fine, you’ve just got a shitload of media telling you that you’re not.  But that’s another post.

All right, you say, so what sort of garments should you spend the big bucks on, if you’re feeling so inclined?  Here’s my list

  1. Shirts that fit you really well.  These are hard to make, hard to fit, and hard to buy.  Spend the money.
  2. Draped dresses.  Draping takes work and is timeless – avoid the fitted tube dress at all costs, they’re probably the third thing the first year fashion students learn to make.
  3. Good, thick coats that also fit you well – they will last forever.
  4. Anything with an uncommon detail that you haven’t seen elsewhere.  Chances are some real work has gone into it.

Avoid spending big bucks on:

  1. Stretchy jersey stuff.  Unless it’s silk jersey (but good luck finding that).  Wool jersey gets a bit more leniency from me but given that we’re one of the largest wool-producing nations in the world, we shouldn’t be paying too much for it (even though we are).
  2. Simple skirts.  Go to Witchery and spend a quarter of the price on the same skirt!  It really is the same skirt!
  3. Shitty see-through silk.  There’s grades of everything and I’ve seen silk of worse quality than nylon.  If you’re surprised when you look at the fabric tag, put it back down.

But most of all, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to question why things are the way they are.  Ask yourself why the super-cool model with messy hair and faux-disaffected look on her face appeals to you so much.  Or why you would pay $1000 for something that is essentially worthless.  Would you pay $1000 for a 1 cent share?  Of course not, you’d pay it for a $1000 share.   Remember the old saying “a fool and his money are easily parted“.  Spend your money on the things that are constructed with talent and work and care, not on the things that only want to take your money and give you little in return.

I’m not able to post much due to end of rotation exams, but I was watching Glee tonight (instead of studying) and was inspired by an outfit I saw in the Madonna episode.  The weather has just turned here, it’s freezing, and the masses of dark clothing in the shops has me feeling a bit down.  This outfit cheers me right up and I shall be putting together my own version as soon as I am free of exams!

Winter 2010

C’est bon!

Winter 01

I’m going through a bad bad fashion period.  I hate everything in the shops.  I even flicked through a magazine at the hairdresser the other day and hated everything in that.  It all appears to be a head-on collision between blonde hair-red lips-blackblackblack 90s thing, Big Audio Dynamite bowler hats, and some dregs from the late 80s with those bloody YSL tapered pants thrown in for good measure.  Yes it was cool when a couple of people did it on The Sartorialist and Garance, but come on, pleated and tapered pants went out of style for a reason.  So, I have been despairing for inspiration.  Style.com wasn’t cutting it, ditto Style Bakery, and even the local street fashion has gone off.  Imagine my delight when I was watching a documentary today on WWII, about women working, and found a delightful wide-legged pant and skivvy arrangement on a woman working as a postal worker.  I wish I could find a photo for you.  I didn’t want to waste any time so hopped on Polyvore to get something down before it left my head.

Winter 10
It’s a little bit 70s in some ways, but they had to derive their looks from somewhere too.  And it’s inspiring in a way, because without those women taking up work while the men fought in the war, none of us would enjoy the privilege of being able to choose our own path today.  Perhaps it would have happened eventually but I don’t think nearly as fast.  When the men came back, the women refused to return to being housewives.  It’s hard to believe that was only 65 years ago.

I’m proud to get my inspiration from these women, in more ways than one.

Barbie.

When I was a little girl, I loved Barbie.  I only had one, and she was thrown out very rapidly (through no fault of my own), and I never had another.  It was a generic one, but I remember standing in shops staring at all the other ones.  I never felt body image pressure from her, she was just a pretty doll who could be anything she wanted.  Businesswoman, ballerina, astronaut.  I think that’s half her appeal.  Yesterday I was on placement where I saw a little girl with one.  The impulse to pick it up and start playing was so strong!  I thought I’d share a couple of the Barbies I coveted with you.

Peaches and Cream Barbie.  Look at that melange of apricot and pink!  Nothing says 80s like apricot.  I love those colours.

What girl, do this day, doesn’t like a sweetheart neckline and hearts?

I don’t think I rated her dress then, and nor do I now, but people, she glowed in the dark.

Le sigh.  Dream Date Barbie.  It felt like everyone had this.  The colour combination of raspberry and such a rich lavender is genius.  I would wear those colours together now if I could find them.  And maybe I shall.  I’ve found some much needed inspiration!

(And perhaps considering reliving the youth I didn’t have with some ‘collecting’ for my ‘future children’ 😉 )

On setting yourself free.

I don’t buy fashion magazines.  You may well gasp.  I stopped a long time ago after reading on the front cover of Cleo that I could get a man to cook me dinner if I gave him fellatio.  I’ll let that speak for itself.

But let’s look at the anatomy of a magazine for a moment.

  1. The advertising.  Impossibly expensive items characterised by impossibly airbrushed people.  Either you can afford said item and you buy it, discover you don’t become that airbrushed person or you feel like you’re some part of secret club because so few people can afford said item (when really, any bogan with a credit card can get it – and do).  Or you can’t afford it, and spend your life either aspiring to it and never quite feeling good about it, sending yourself broke for it and feeling like a big broke fraud, or you buy cheaper copies that just isn’t the same but make you feel like you fit into the secret club above for about ten minutes until the next piece of advertising comes along.  No thanks.
  2. The spreads.  Women with the bodies of a gay mans wet dream with vacant searching looks dressed in outfits you’re supposed to copy, and do.  Every time I go shopping I see some poor girl squeezing herself into a ‘look’ that doesn’t suit her, because she wore it in a fashion magazine, and at the gentle suggestion of her boyfriend/mother/sister/best friend whines “but it’s in fashion!”  She then leaves the store with items, wears it a few times before seeing a photo of herself on Facebook at which point she consigns it to her wardrobe full of other ‘in fashion’ purchases.  And then cries with real desperation that she has nothing to wear.  Which is half true.  She has nothing to wear that she feels good in.
  3. The articles.  I admit to buying an Australian Vogue for a free bag that made perfect carry on luggage back in January.  There was a three page article about how bad it was to have a broken heart and be alone.  Empowering no?  The Vogue Forum essentially bans any intelligent discussion on political issues.  For all their rhetoric about ‘savvy’, ‘market conscious’ women, they like their readers dumb.  Dumb people buy clothes that look awful on them because they’re so desperate to fit in.
  4. The inevitable “What’s Hot”, “What’s Not” page.  Sure to destroy any sense of personal style the reader may have.
  5. The inevitable ‘how to wear makeup/hair/clothes” articles.  Magazines have not changed since I bought my first one as a teenager.  That’s 16 years people.
  6. Being out of date by the time you get it.  Why bother when you have style.com?

However, you can read these things without being a complete idiot right?  Because you’re genuinely interested in fashion, because it’s nice to have a magazine, because you don’t buy into media messages, because you genuinely are bright.  All true, and I don’t dispute anyones choice to buy them.  I do however, believe that the contempt shown for the readers by the magazine is staggering.

Truth is, all that aside, there’s two reasons I don’t buy them.  One is that I can’t afford anything in them, and have no desire to spend my life aspiring to them and in feeling in some way like I’m missing out because I can’t have that Gucci bag.  Go to Cambodia.  No electricity or clean water or access to healthcare is missing out.  Not being able to have a Gucci bag is like not being able to have a Lear jet.

The second is that while I love fashion, I’m a minimalist.  I don’t want to buy stuff that clutters my house.  I have enough stuff.  So I stick to the Vogue Forum, to stylebakery, to The Sartorialist, Faux Fuchsia, NetaPorter (eyecandy), and so on.  I don’t need to be told what to do or wear by some puppet of an advertising company.

*I will occasionally make an exception for a magazine that just photographs the clothes and doesn’t construct a fantasy world.  Personal style comes from life lived and experienced, and fashion history has never been made by followers of fashion.