Tag Archives: Cape Town

Dia de los Muertos

Today marks the traditional Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos, or ‘Day of the Dead’. The Mexicans believe in honoring the dead and find beauty in the macabre – the ornate Mexican sugar skull is the most well known symbol of the tradition. These bright, flora and heart-festooned totems have become popular symbols of otherness in Western pop culture over time, and are more and more frequently incorporated into everything from textiles, to tattoos, art and fashion. This weekend I actually  attended the opening of the Wildfire exhibit at Yours Truly, and fell in love with an engraved wooden skull, one of two, which were the first ones to be marked with red ‘sold’ stickers. My own house has been sharing space with skulls for some time already, and the increasing popularity of the skull motif has done nothing to abate my obsession.

A couple of weeks ago my very own Mexican death skull participated in a Dia de los Muertos shoot for Dossier, and I have the privilege of publishing a sneak preview of it today. Photographed by Antonia Steyn, the shoot was styled and art directed by my dear friend Crystal Birch (with the help of stylist Chloe Andrea), and serves as a visual compendium of local queen of print play Maya Prass‘ work over the last decade. One of Maya’s first interns back in the day, Crystal raided Maya’s Woodstock studio for the purposes of the shoot, and I really think that Maya’s surreal ruffles, neon-on-neon prints and textured boleros give the Dia de los Muertos theme a dose of lusty femininity.

Crystal accessorised each look with insane Ida Elsje jewellery and head pieces (I’m a huge fan – do yourselves a favour and go check out her Church Street studio!), which were recently shown at both the Africa and New York Fashion Weeks. Frida Kahlo-esque braids and matte neon eyes by One League make-up artist Nandi Fourie play up the bewitching symmetry of 16 year old model Katryn Kruger‘s delicate features.

Keep an eye out for the full shoot in Dossier soon – let me just say that Crystal created an epic tiered ball gown of a dress from a mass of Maya Prass ruffled skirts and it is a sight to behold.



I don’t usually do these kinds of posts, but I had such a cool weekend that I really feel like sharing it. After a truly abysmal Friday at work (suffering a mild hangover, and with a wounded heart), I decided to short circuit the blueness that was trying to claim me and accept the first invitation that came my way.

The We Love Real Beer Festival it was! Armed with three friends and a hell of a thirst, I joined the rest of Cape Town in Woodstock for an evening of beer swigging, catching up and sausage-eating to the tune of some cool blues. I must’ve consumed several litres of beer and also managed to sneak in a cheese wurst and some spirited head shakin’ to the blues.

Saturday was a delightful grey day, and my brother and I trundled down to The Power and the Glory (or the P and the G as we Capetonians fondly like to call it) for brunch with a friend. The P and the G is truly my local, and I will stand by its hipsterness, The National/Arcade Fire soundtrack it has on repeat and their epic sirloin salad to the death. The P and the G attracts some real aesthetes and it’s just the right size so that I can wear my wooden platforms and not fall on my ass during the trip from barstool to bathroom. It truly is the small things.

From there we went to see the Gabrielle Raaf exhibition at Salon 91, and I bought this little wood and floral brooch. I love the colour so much, and the fact that it’s like a kitsch cameo. It looks like the brooch version of this strange but amazing egg-shaped castanet I bought at a second hand shop a while ago.

An afternoon of lazing, talking, pasta-eating and laughing at old photos with friends in Sea Point was followed by the decision to keep up the good work and get our derrieres down to Swing Royale for the swing party. The Swing franchise is Cape Town’s new answer to a night of good music and dancing that doesn’t include smoke machines, strobe lights and David Guetta.

It was my first time. I wore a silk wrap jumpsuit covered in polka dots over stockings with wingtip-style courts and a vintage bolero. In all honesty, it was so short on me that it looked like a really glam leotard, but I have taken to telling myself I won’t be able to wear things like this in five years time and boy, is it workin’! We danced, a lot, and it was such a festive departure from your average night out. Girls were in full tassels, stockings and suspenders, long lashes and lacquered nails, and boys were dapper in bow ties, brogues and rogueish grins.

Sunday, fittingly, was all about sleep, daydreaming, pizza and music. A real all rounder of a weekend, I must say. And guess what? It’s Rocking the Daisies this weekend! I’m already planning my packing list.

See. You. There!

Crown Jools

Yes, I know, the title of this post is deeply corny, but I couldn’t resist. My post-birthday hangover is to blame.

On Saturday night I celebrated my 25th with a collective a close friends and family over an imperial Indian feast held in my lounge. We were seated on sari-covered cushions around a massive square table dotted with florals, candles and my collection of skulls. Over the course of the evening we partook in numerous Cobra beers (which went down a treat despite initial concerns that they were low in alcohol) and indulged in glorious curries with all the trimmings that make Indian dining so sumptuous and intricate.

I hadn’t planned to dress to theme, but a particularly glamorous black and gold vintage kaftan that had been hanging alongside my Rah Rah Room stock for months won me over at the last minute. I accessorised with an ankle bracelet, a bindi, dark eyes and bare feet and had a bloody wondrous time, frolicking about, catching up with old friends, and munching on homemade onion bhajis. I opted for a nice stiff colonial G&T (or fifteen) and the night ended with some spirited drunken dancing to Fleetwood Mac in the lounge – eyes closed, swaying, singalong style. Perfect.

Together, my friends and family got my some really beautiful, meaningful and 25-worthy gifts. Usually people just give me clothes and jools, because that’s how I roll, but this year’s gifts were really thoughtful, so I’ve decided to share a few with you…

My parents gave me this beauteous chunky Le Creuset pot in ‘Coastal Blue’ – it’s the exact shade of those old enamelled Aga’s and I love it. One of my other favourite things to do is to cook, so this little baby is going to be the belly of many a curry to come.

What a cool mix of things! First mention goes to the White Stripes dvd, which was a gift from Ian and Gabi. I am a diehard Jack White fan and I haven’t yet seen Under Blackpool Lights. I plan to watch it whilst eating some  of that Honest chocolate spread gleaming in the top right corner (a gift from my handsome friend Arnaldo). Nicol gave me the bonbons, along with the crystal that’s resting on top of Jack and Meg. It’s supposed to ward off negativity and the harmful effects of electromagnetic impulses. Fitting, considering I sleep with my Blackberry by my side and work on a computer all day long. It’s really beautiful, metallic and multi-faceted – I plan to attach it to some kind of thong and wear it around my neck, nouveau hippie style.

The bird locket was from Luke and Ruby and I love it. The little brown leather bag has an interesting story. My friend Max and his sister Lulu have started a project to raise funds for a Malawian guy called Fortune who is desperate to get back home. The project is called Fortuneknit, and Max and Lulu are putting their craft skills to the test, making bags and other paraphernalia to help Fortune get home. If you met Max you would know why I am so touched that he completed each stitch in this bag just for me. Although he’s creative he’s not exactly the sewing type, so it really is special. More on Fortuneknit when I have more information.

These Pringle Chelsea boots are pretty much perfect. I have had my eye on them for my months, and finally, sensing desperation, my friends at my old company, Colourworks, saved the day. They’re the colour of dark chocolate, perfectly plain, and have a perversely pointed toe. Coincidentally, I scraped the veneer off the heel of my other old favourites the day before my birthday. Kismet!

Olivia gave me this painting – her mother painted it of her when she was a little girl and I’ve always loved it. She gave me the original to add to my small but growing collection of art and it means so much to me. Her button nose is unmistakable. She also made me this mad, amazing card – a swirl of citrus filled with heartfelt words.

These silky Honest chocolate bonbons from Arnaldo didn’t stand a chance in our apartment. They were with us for about seven minutes before being consumed.

All in all, some great presents from some great people, and this is just a sneak peek. Take a look at the chunkette of floral cake my mom baked for me, too:


This week has been so crazy that a Friday is the first time I am finding to blog. Unheard of. My lack of blogging this week has made me a little panicky, like I haven’t gotten my fix, and I have subsequently developed a little eye twitch. I’m quelling the freak out with lots of green tea, lots of Yeasayer, lots of self-reassurance and a little red wine in between.

You may or may not know that I have just been appointed Online Fashion Editor at 36Boutiques. Until further notice, the position is temporary, so that is why I haven’t hightailed to the top of Tjing-Tjing and shouted it to the city bowl… but, truth be told, it’s pretty much a dream come true. To be paid to write about fashion, archive legions of runway pics, put looks together and muse over things like silk lining, paisley and Cape Town’s upcoming fashion week is almost too much for me.

My blog played a huge role in my being awarded the position, so I must thank all who periodically come back and read my fashion rhapsodies on this here page. To have the word ‘editor’ next to my name gives me a perverse little shiver of delight. Editor, I murmur to myself, raise an eyebrow. I feel a renewed duty to look edgy and noteworthy about town. Should I wear clunky statement jewellery all the time and have permanently scarlet lipsticked lips and talk about fashion designers like I’ve known them all my life? I actually already do all of those things. Which I think is pretty funny, actually. I was born flamboyant.

My work with 36Boutiques, I must add, will remain entirely separate from my blog. The Pessimiss is a place for my fashion musings, rants, opinions and self indulgent self-pics. Working with 36Boutiques is an opportunity to realise my lifelong ambition of living and working in fashion – a chance to work and collaborate with other fashion diehards, and people I’ve admired for some
time now. It’s a chance to bring my musings to life.

So! Keep reading, because (despite my pitiful efforts this week) I will still be blogging about my velvet fetish, full skirts, leather lust, digital prints, vintage mania, red lips, bondage apparel, statement jools, icons and handwashing woes.

And on occasion, boys with beards/curls/bold brows/rockabilly hair.

And Interpol.

[Image: Jak & Jil]


Yesterday I took the edge off my post-Gazelle hangover with a little visit to Miss Crystal Birch‘s farewell sale at her house in Vredehoek.

Crystal is a great friend of mine and she also happens to be a totally visionary stylist and milliner. She’s jetting off to Hamburg at the beginning of June on a whirlwind styling jaunt, followed by another in New York. The past few months have been spent clocking up more shoots than you can count with amazing photographers and models from all over the world, and always in true Crystal style: haphazard, high speed, transcendent. One afternoon she’d have a trio of topless Dutch and Estonian waifs jumping on her unmade bed, the next she’d be scooting around the city in search of pirate boots, tassels or fake fruit. The girl is a miracle. And our fortuitous meeting has been mutually beneficial to us both on so many levels – as friends, as fashion lovers, and as sisters who are doin’ it for themselves. Yes, I just said that.

Keen to offload some of the many mad things she accumulates through her styling, she hosted a sale (featuring a rail of gems from The Rah-Rah Room). I popped by to say hello and show my moral support, but inevitably, I ended up departing with a few things for myself. Including this epic darling of a striped sweatshirt, which has enough personality for fifteen sweatshirts! Super wide and cropped with tight sleeves and an irresistible funnel neck, it’s so visually witty, I just had to have it. I want to wear it over my new red and white striped H&M frock – a beauteous stripe overload. Its width calls for something really sleek, so the uber fitted H&M stripe will be perfect. I also like the idea of the two primary colours together, as well as the profusion of different stripes. There’s nothing like print with print, right?

I also left with a black mesh dress that is entirely transparent and which no doubt had a pair of glorious Brazilian breasts pressed against it quite recently… I don’t plan to wear it like that, but I do think it will work well with some interesting layers. My final purchase was a little white blouse with geometric cut outs and an unusual hemline. The pictures I took of them didn’t do them justice, so I will post them once they have been incorporated into an ensemble.

PS: I had a request from a reader to do more outfit posts, so this is me trying to do just that. I do feel slightly awkward about things like the truly 21st century ‘self photo’, but I am unfortunately mired with a flatmate who also happens to be my brother. The same brother that rolls his eyes when I ask him to take a snapshot of me, and whose idea of a good angle is my idea of hideous. I really need a gung-ho, snaphappy friend with an epic camera permanently on hand, like all those other bloggers out there! Until then I will surrender to being a 97% 21st century kind of a girl (in 20th century vintage).

Go Rah.

Thanks to all the cool and colourful girls (and boy) that came to The Rah-Rah Room this weekend – I loved meeting you all and spending a little time talking vintage and other lovely frivolities.

If you didn’t make it this weekend (Toffie, Jazz Festival, hangover, in-laws), there are still some gems to call your own! The lovely Miss Crystal Birch kindly obliged to model some of the left over favourites for me in a high-speed mini shoot that we snapped yesterday evening. My brother, Tyler, also begrudgingly posed for one measly menswear picture. For this, I thank him.

If something catches your eye, please feel free to email me at pessimiss@gmail.com or give me a call on 082 855 6969 to set up a little browsing time.

Lilac ruched one-piece R60.00

Pastel silk trousers R180.00

White high-waisted skirt with button detail R100

Striped nautical T-shirt R60.00

Leather backpack R650.00

Hermes scarf R500.00

Black peachskin stirrup trousers R120.00

Two-tone print shirt R110.00

Crytal Birch fascinator R120.00

Baby blue high-waisted shorts R80.00

Feather print shirt R70.00

Grey Ralph Lauren jersey R120.00

Cream pussybow blouse R80.00

Red Escada trousers R350.00

Black sequinned Antik Batik jacket R500.00

Bleached Barrington jeans R110.00

Crystal Birch bow headpiece R40.00

Black velvet trousers R170.00

Black, gold & psychedelic evening top R120.00

Grey and pink striped frock R130.00

Psychedelic peacock scarf R200.00

White military detail shirt R90.00

Silk oatmeal skirt R130.00

Black bowtie R40.00

Red wrap frock R110.00

Classic Levi’s denim jacket R200.00

Paisley cravat R60.00

Printed scarf R120.00

Art Deco earrings R50.00

Men’s plaid shirt R70.00

Polka dot bowtie R40.00

Ladies, start your engines.

It’s Rah-Rah time!

Those of you that shimmied on by in your Saturday finest last time will know that you’re in store for an eclectic selection of vintage and new one-offs, not to be found anywhere else. Fresh new stock is waiting to be preened over and payday is just around the corner! So stockpile your pennies, and polish your peeptoes, it is tiiiiiime to shop.

I will be open from 10 until 2pm on Saturday the 26th of February.

Please feel free to make an individual appointment if you’d like to arrange a private shop at any other time. I’ve had stray shoppers and friends alike popping in for tea all month, and they seldom leave without falling in love with something. Spread the word – send friends, foes and lovers, and I’ll tend to their needs with taffeta and Topshop.