Monthly Archives: May 2011

Iconoclast

You may remember that one golden time when I was inconceivably bestowed with three mint condition, 100 % silk, vintage Hermes scarves all in one go… and how the following week I realised that another scarf that I had just found at a thrift shop in Knysna and had been good naturedly calling ‘the wannabe Hermes scarf’ also (Lord help us) turned out to be genuine Hermes.

Well, I still can’t believe it, and I routinely caress them with reverent fingertips as I sway on by. My nod to good vintage karma (and to my ailing bank balance) was to part with the final one, which I sold to a friend’s amazingly thoughtful husband as a surprise gift for her (yes, we all need one of those… ‘SURPRISE! It’s vintage Hermes…’)

Since then, I routinely find myself going into a kind of trance as I browse through the thousands of silky, patterned varieties that have helped make the scarves iconic over time. For something that is symbol of the ultimate luxury, good taste and timelessness, some of them certainly are quite irreverent. My favourite is the classic ‘de Passementerie’ – the scarves featuring legions of regal, overly embellished tassels.

[PS – This book, Le Carré Hermes, a catalogue and commemoration of the classic silken square is officially on my birthday wishlist]

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Preview

Something unprecedented happened this weekend.

I was given this handmade, full-skirted, tight-waisted, oxblood leather dream to babysit for a little while. My fingertips are still tingling.

When I first started my blog, almost a year ago, I approached Amanda-Leigh O’Connell, the visionary behind local leather label, eponymous, and in a very thinly veiled way, I implied that I would happily blog about her beauteous collection if she’d let me spend a night with one of her dresses.

Months later, emails, tweets and Facebook friendships have ensued, and Amanda has graciously given me this beauty to care for while she is gallivanting in Europe, no doubt sipping fine wines, fondling off cuts of nappa leather and contemplating, generally.

We met at Deluxe on Saturday. Amidst the bustle of ancient punks, smiling Death Racers and the aroma of coffee and rum, Amanda handed me an A1-sized white box. I got my first look at the frock in the boot of a friend’s car, and, yes, I gasped. This is the dress that was featured in the May issue of ELLE, fresh from the shoot and straight into my quivering palms. Worries that it wouldn’t fit were soon allayed, when it zipped up exquisitely to reveal that it was practically made for me. Of course. A year’s worth of fantasizing is clearly worth something.

I will be on the hunt for the right occasions to which to don this here piece of scarlet-lined love. Did I mention that it has pockets?

Secret Garden

These jewel-hued, flora-fangled scenes from the Topshop Secret Store opening on Oxford Street have me mooning around like a teenage girl.

Set up as the complete antithesis to a normal Topshop store, the two-week pop-up gem is a working florist, featuring gloriousness by Meadham Kirchhoff, Nasir Mazhar, Michael Van Der Ham and Pamela Love, amongst others.

The collections were produced in limited runs, which only makes me morbid, because I will never be able to have one of those pom-pom-encrusted, spangle-spangled, Fantasia tiara’s alight upon my apex. You feel my pain. And let’s not even mention the Nicholas Kirkwood-esque blue velveteens.

It’s all glorious, and it’s all available online. Some of the ranges have already sold out, so if you want to cash in, get movin’! I love how the online store is laid out – very clever.

Images by Saga Sig via Style Bubble

Girl Friday: Vanessa Paradis

I spent last night paging through Marie Claire‘s June issue, the Earth Issue. Their feature on Johnny’s long-time girl and all-round beauty, Vanessa Paradis, had me hearkening back to her early hit, ‘Joe le taxi’ (which you may be lucky enough to catch on VH1 once in a blue moon).

Featuring a 16 year Vanessa in über 80’s jeans and a sweatshirt, her trademark gap temptingly on display, the video catapulted her to fame (and a measure of notoriety, for the simple fact that her deeply 1980’s gyration had some eyebrows raised). Despite this Lolita-esque start, Vanessa has had huge success in France with her singing career since, and is, to date, one of the country’s most successful female singer songwriters.

She was the face of Chanel’s Coco fragrance in the 90’s, and her friendship with Karl Lagerfeld led to another recent collaboration with the iconic fashion house as the face of Chanel’s new Rouge Coco lipstick (see videos below).

Despite being really just impossible beautiful, she also comes across as both eloquent and lyrical in the Marie Claire feature. Fiercely private about her and Johnny’s reclusive life on a farm in France, she refuses to let on when questioned about their relationship, stating that she finds him ‘truly magnificent’. Well, um, so do we… but I also loved her descriptions of him – how she loves to watch him talk to people, think, puzzle over something, muse.

I found her way with words so gentle and considered. She has a truly lyrical quality to her, a seamless fit for her flyaway locks, dreamy eyes and willowy ways. And her style is the perfect compliment to this aesthetic – earthy, dreamy, sometimes with a slightly gothic edge – never trendy, always timeless. Timeless, as in, not of any particular era – a style unto itself.

Gemini

I found this June 2010 editorial whilst browsing through old Vogue Nippon images last night, and thought it pretty appropriate, considering we are currently in real Gemini territory, astrologically speaking.

I’m not a starsign diehard, but I do make the Sunday Times horoscope my Sabbath ritual, and really revel in it when it rings true. I am also a committed Cancerian. After many years of resisting the urge to slot into any kind of mould, I was forced to concede that my temperament and tastes are indeed characteristic of a typically Cancerian shape. Destined to be hypersensitive, home-loving, sentimental and über romantic, as well as in possession of an eye for the unsual (my favourite part). So far this year my starsign has been spot on – career changes, huge opportunities and recognition have all rung true, and in various ways. I have also befriended some fellow Cancerians of late, something which, in the past, was a rarity.

But I digress. Enormously so. This shoot, featuring models Sigred Agren and Patricia van der Vliet, was photographed by Glen Luchford, and I love the huge spectrum of styles. Each image is like its own archetype – the courtesans, the coquettes, the virgins, the vixens. And this, in itself, plays right back into the title of this post, Gemini.

The legend of the constellation Gemini has always held a special fascination for me. I was once doing research and I came across it – the story of two brothers in Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux. Such fascinating names. Born to the same mother but different fathers (one of them Zeus), Pollux was immortal and Castor, mortal. When Castor died, Pollux asked Zeus to allow him to share his immortality with his twin. And so the constellation, Gemini, was born.

Beautiful, huh? I find the twin archetype – so potent in literature, psychology and pop culture – to be particularly interesting. To be so connected to someone that shares your face, and in many cases, your life and your tastes?

A surreal thought. Especially for a fiercely individualistic Cancerian.

High Places

Having talented and like-minded friends is so underrated. Yesterday I posted about Kate and Alix-Rose’s City Hall ball, and today I get to post about Crystal’s deliciously dark styling collaboration with local photographer, Kristin-Lee Moolman.

The pair have worked their asses off on a number of breathtaking shoots of late, of which this one, Carmen, is a great example. It was published just yesterday by online magazine, Hellion. Their model, Carmen-Lee Solomons, is evidently so compelling that the editorial needed only bear her name. And you can see why – her cultishly lush features are reminiscent of anime heroines – cartoon cute charged with about a million volts of hot. Add to that a parade of luxe, stand-out designer pieces and a gloriously noir texture and you’ve got some real drama.

A number of the designer pieces are from Afraid of Mice, who stock pre-owned vintage the likes of Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu that make my erratic Biscuit Mill trips just slightly painful. The real scene-stealers, though, are Oriel Barnard’s ultra glamorous Lisp pieces. The catsuit is my personal favourite – it’s Gaga meets Rihanna meets Jack White’s fantasy girl – auburn-haired, doe-eyed and nothing but black, white and red.

Crystal and Kristin-Lee are also due to style and photograph Stiaan Louw’s new online store images in the next few weeks before Crystal embarks on her transatlantic adventure.

Go go go, girls.

Pants of Fancy

Feast your eyes on this recent shoot photographed by the lovely Alix-Rose Cowie, styled by Kate Desmarais and featuring model Lee-Anne Johnson.

Shot on location at the Cape Town’s gloriously iconic City Hall, the flashes of primary colour and the vintage bent are right up my alley and also right on trend for Winter. Two pairs of my shoes are also featured in the shoot – the vintage men’s Crockett & Jones monk shoes pictured above, and the sky high ruby reds (Woolworths) in the brilliant blue catsuit shot.

I collaborated with Alix, Kate and Ane Strydom on a previous shoot, the Madness of Madeline, that featured a selection of Rah-Rah Room gems. When Kate sent me the link to Fancy Pants on Miss Moss, she also suggested that we do a Rah-Rah lookbook sometime soon.

Now why didn’t I think of that? We plan to muse on said lookbook over a pot of Turkish tea, so I’ll keep you posted.