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Entries in asymmetry (17)


What I Actually Wore #0046

Serial #: 0048

Date: 28/09/2010

Weather: a sunny morning, forecast 15°

Time Allowed: 8 minutes

It’s a cool but sunny morning and I am dressing for work at the Hume City Council in the marketing department. The outfit started with a tea rose pink top, which is new (ergo, it must be worn immediately). It’s silk, by Cue, and I found it in a charity store; it looked barely worn. It has a great 40s feel with that sailor-esque collar and bow-tie. There are so many lovely details: pleats, puff sleeves, buttons that serve no purpose …

The skirt is a very old favourite. I have always liked it for its asymmetrical cut and sculptural effect. The zip is cool too: black material with silver teeth. I like suiting fabrics when they make up totally unconventional garments. 

I like to wear clashing colours sometimes – just to flout accepted fashion rules – so the fire-engine red hat came out to play. It proved a particular favourite with my temporary work colleagues: I was given so many compliments when I arrived in the morning. One woman insisted hats did not suit her, but I maintain one simply has to find the right hat shape for your face. The lace-up three quarter boots seemed just right with this vintage-inspired outfit.


Top: Cue
Skirt: Ammo
Hat: Milano

Shoes: Joanne Mercer
Earrings: Baku
Ring: NGV giftshop
Watch: Kenneth Cole


Christmas Cap

The Vintage Hat Series: 1940s long velvet turban

How cute is this velvet cap? It looks like something a 40s snow bunny might have worn après ski, or perhaps one of Santa’s helpers handing out gifts and brewing mischief of some sort.

It is very soft velvet – perhaps silk or rayon – and flops gently to one side. The eBay merchant I purchased it from described it as a 1940s long turban – and very unique. It certainly is that. I can’t find anything similar in my numerous books on hats, or online.

Here are two more quaint hats from Head Hunter Vintage Hat Boutique and Greta’s Vintage on Etsy: perfect for potential Santa’s helpers. You can be both naughty and nice in these numbers.

1940s brown velvet elf hat from eBay’s Head Hunter Vintage Hat Boutique 1930s black velvet asymmetric hat with bow from Greta’s Vintage on Etsy


A Tale of Two Dresses

About a year ago I fell in love with this dove-grey jersey dress from Zara in Dubai. It was on sale and not in my size, so of course I bought it.

As always, I was drawn to the asymmetrical cut and pleated details. It was too big, and I didn’t care; it was comfortable. I first wore it that holiday in Oman over jeans, for modesty in that Middle-Eastern country. It took me around Muscat, to the museums and galleries, the Old Fort and the souq; to the beach. It became imbued with happy memories and joie de vivre.

I returned home to the heat of summer and had to wait for cooler weather to wear it again. Some time after that it languished in the washing basket, waiting for a hand-washing Saturday.

It became imbued with happy memories and joie de vivre.

Imagine my distress when I pulled it forth and discovered it
eaten alive by moths! There are a dozen tiny holes or more, chomped in various parts of the dress’s anatomy. I washed it carefully nonetheless, but I could not wear it. Nor could I bear to throw it away.

Many months later, I thought I would try to have the dress copied (I ought to have taken it on holiday again, this time to the Vietnamese tailors), so I set about finding jersey fabric online, and asking for a price from my tailor. They quoted me three or four hundred dollars at a minimum! Regretfully, I put the dress away in my wardrobe.

One evening, not so long ago, I was walking home down Chapel Street and passed the window of a new boutique, Sadie. Before my gob-smacked eyes there was my Zara dress! Alike in every detail but one: instead of dove-grey, this incarnation was assembled from beige marle. This difference I cast aside as a mere bagatelle.
I wanted that dress.

I returned as soon as could be; reverently lifted the garment from its rail (a small size this time), and whisked it away to a changing room.

It truly was the same dress.

Of course I bought it, and now they hang side by side in my closet. It makes me happy.


What I actually wore #0025

Serial #: 0025
a cool 21°
Time Allowed:
5 minutes

Monday morning blues… what better way to treat them than with Schiaparelli pink? Especially in the form of brand new patent heels bought the day before from Myer!

I wanted the shoes to stand out, so I chose a grey skirt bought from Staff in Dubai, teamed with what I call my meringue puff top from Veronika Maine. Its asymmetrical, standing collar necessitates an updo, however. Little pintucks gathered together with rosettes create a quilted look on the front and rear panels of the skirt. Both garments utilise fabric with a slight stiffness and pleasing rustle, which enables them to hold their shape.

Monday morning blues… what better way to treat them than with Schiaparelli pink?

I really love the sculptural aspects of both items, and the girly pink heels (matched with bright pink lipstick) offset them just enough.


Top: Veronika Maine
Skirt: Staff
Jewellery: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Lipstick: ‘Cherries in the Snow’, by Revlon
Shoes: ‘Devotion’, by Jane Debster


Clothes as sculpture

Ma Ke's Fall ’07 collection … experiments with tattered finishes, voluminous silhouettes and an earthy palette. From Surface #67, ph: Enrico Dagnino.

I have spent the last few days spring-cleaning my apartment (even if it is the depths of winter here in Melbourne). Recent drastic changes in my life have filled me with a burning desire to de-clutter my life, so I’ve ruthlessly been throwing out all sorts of things. It’s been very liberating. Included in the cleanout was a minute inspection of my wardrobe that resulted in a large donation to the Salvation Army.

Even more drastically, I’ve thrown out fashion magazines!

Even more drastically, I’ve thrown out fashion magazines! Only after, of course, I leafed through them and tore out the pages I wanted to keep. I have a vast library of tear-sheet books accumulated over the last twenty years – and I do look at those.

(Above) Reykjavik-based label Steinunn takes inspiration from Iceland, building collections that feature robust forms and plush custom fabrics. Fall ’07, designed by Steinunn Sigurthardóttir. Page from Surface, ph: Jaime Chard.

Constantly exploring new methods of cutting and draping, Maria Cornejo nevertheless creates a seamless transition between her label's latest fall/winter and resort collections. Images from Surface #62, ph: Koji Yano.

These pages come from various issues of Surface, dating from 2006–07. It caused me a pang to rip them up as they are beautifully designed magazines, but reflecting that I had rarely flicked through them since I first bought them, I set to with a will. (Does anyone who hoards magazines actually ever look at them?)

These designer profiles particularly caught my eye because their garments possess all things that I love: intricate folds and pleating, volume, asymmetry, texture. (You can see the whole of Maria Cornejo and Haider Ackermann's gorgeous current collections at, as well as past seasons, including the ones pictured above and below.)

Haider Ackermann's collection for Fall ’07 skillfully experiments with a variety of textiles, culminating into a collection that includes: a metallic jumpsuit (not pictured); (02) furtrimmed outerwear; (03) floor-skimming jersey gown; (04) wool tunic paired with vinyl leggings; (05) fitted leather jacket with asymmetrical closure; (06) draped metallic top. Page from Surface #67.

A favourite piece of Ackermann's from Spring/Summer ’06. Page from Surface #67.

…their garments possess all things that I love: intricate folds and pleating, volume, asymmetry, texture.

For years I have vacillated with two extreme looks: minimalism and a bohemian eccentricity. By the former I do not mean the extremes of the purist nineties style. My sort of minimalism involves a reduced colour palette (neutrals combined with shots of bright colour); one simple shape offset by another, more complex one; and the contrast of interesting textures or accessories. In short, anything that is sculptural.

It doesn’t mean all my vintage clothes have been tossed into the trashcan; I will merely be more selective, and only those that fit my criteria … will fit in my wardrobe.

A selection of Ackermann's favourite pieces from his past collections: (02, 03, 04) Fall/Winter ’05–’06; (05) Spring/Summer ’06; (06, 07, 08) Fall/Winter ’06–’07. Page from Surface #67.