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Entries in minimalist (18)


A purity of form

I always enjoy reading US Glamour. Some of my favourite columns are Michael Kors’ designer tips, and the hilarious Dos & Don’ts page. Jake’s column is always good for a laugh too. However, I rarely sigh with sheer pleasure. When I turned the page and saw this spread though, I did gasp at the white, sculptural minimalism of Francisco Costa’s designs for Calvin Klein Spring 2009 RTW (although I must concur with’s review). What beautiful purity of form and (non) colour! Those seams remind me of Frank Gehry’s architecture.

These are just the style of clothes I love to wear – although I must be a little more ingenious at finding them with my limited means: young Melbourne designers, vintage, or labels like Veronika Maine or Cue. Of course, I do indulge in sartorial eccentricities upon occasion, but I feel most myself wearing this kind of look.

Some of Glamour writer Kim Bonnell’s words on the subject:

“Costa… stays away from flourishes like major sparkles and outsize buttons and prints, paring down while rethinking the line and structure of a dress, sleeve or collar. [Costa] has mastered this minimal-plus formula, not least of all because he’s an expert tailor. That skill is what allows him to make pieces that, when stripped down to their fabric and thread, are interesting purely because of how they’re curved or seamed.”

“…Costa took photos from his fall runway show and sliced them up, creating patterns for boldly angled sheath dresses with deep origami pleats and long, geometric-sleeve coats.”

“Stick to a mostly monochromatic palette, but vary textures… Keep accessories neutral… Show skin in a calculated way with sheer materials and one-shoulder silhouettes. And above all, seek out strikingly contoured pieces, whether a jacket with a big collar or a bubble skirt.”

I suddenly feel inspired to spring-clean my wardrobe … and start afresh for autumn.

From US Glamour, February 2009. Photographs: Walter Chin.


What I Actually Wore #0012

Serial #: 0012
Date: 03/11/2008
Weather: 18°, slightly windy, cool in morning, threatening rain
Time Allowed: 5 minutes

What is the correct terminology for a hem that is turned under itself and attached to the lining? Balloon hem? Bubble hem? Cocoon? A quick search on Google turns up 'balloon hem' in reference to a Narciso Rodriguez dress on That’s good enough for me.

There is also something strangely attractive about them. I admit, unashamedly, that I liked them the first time they came round in the 80s, when I was a teen. I had at least two incarnations, one in black and white gingham that I wore with a white t-shirt and a black corset belt, and a coral-coloured dress with white polka-dots that I still have rolled up in a drawer somewhere.

Then quite a few years ago I bought an Obüs skirt in greeny-goldy shantung silk that had a modified balloon hem, slightly twisted. And of course we all know they are back in fashion with a vengeance again! However, the dress I am wearing here – purchased at the Salvos – I would never have bought new simply because it is strapless.

I admit, unashamedly, that I liked [balloon skirts] the first time they came round in the 80s, when I was a teen

I have always hated strapless necklines with a passion – I think because I once saw a gruesome photo in the 80s of a quartet of bridesmaids all straining to catch the bride’s bouquet. Their arms and torsos reached to the heavens; their dresses stayed firmly anchored to earth, thanks very much, and all of Australia was treated to a view of their bosoms. Thank you, Cleo or Cosmo, or whichever magazine it was that published this delectation.

A top worn underneath saves the day. Featuring an asymmetrical hem, and a pretty draped neckline it complements the draped hem nicely. Discovered on the same shopping trip as the dress, the top is from the currently retired Australian label Tina Borg. I added the blue suede shoes and red enamel earrings for a shot of colour to enliven my neutral palette.

Top: Tina Borg
Dress: Barkins
Earrings: from Love It
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Sunglasses: from Bimbo
Shoes: Robert Robert


What I Actually Wore #0002

Serial #: 0002
Date: 26/09/2008
Weather: windy, 25°C
Time Allowed: 5 mins

This was an easy outfit to put together, and very much more my style: minimalist and asymmetrical!

It started with the top, which is a tomato red colour. I love the folded details on the neckline and the way it flares out slightly at the waist. It also has hidden square pockets in the front. I adore this signature look of Veronika Maine in the last few seasons, more sophisticated than Cue. I hope they don’t drastically change direction!

This skirt by Obüs must be six or seven years old, and although it is starting to show its age, I love it still. I bought it from Alice Euphemia when the boutique was quite new, in its original location on Flinders Lane. At the time I purchased another skirt from the same range, heavy cream fabric with a shirred insert at the bottom. I also wear that frequently. At $150 each, they were both half price, which was nonetheless a little expensive for me at the time, but I’ve certainly got my money’s worth! Because they were so original and well-made, I knew I would be wearing them for a long time, so I didn’t feel a twinge of shopper’s guilt.

From different labels, the folds on the top’s neckline and the gathered insert on the skirt nevertheless complement one another.

As for the accessories: the white wedges are patent leather, and were a great find in a Salvos for $10 – I just had to get the soles repaired; the vintage sunglasses were bought on eBay from a Frenchwoman, and the sterling silver hoops feature silver pearls. They match the silver shell of my ring, which looks like a giant bug! A boyfriend bought that for me from the NGV gift shop, and I remember admiring it walking all the way home along the river as the sun caught it and made it gleam.

Here’s a closer look on the sunglasses: the frames are red leopard print, and those lenses really do turn the world rose-coloured! 


Top: Veronika Maine
Skirt: Obüs
Shoes: Scanlan & Theodore
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Earrings: Baku
Sunglasses: vintage

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