Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Two tales

She's a ghost wafting silently through the abandoned house, all you can hear is the sound of the wind fluttering the curtains, a sigh barely discernible. Who was she, you wonder? Who did she dream and yearn for that she is still anchored fast to the earth?


She utters no sound, only the hard and fast breath escapes her lips as she runs with all her strength down the path between the trees, hands clenched into fists. The gravel crunches beneath her feet and the wood is still, listening.


Two very different images – except for the obvious fact the models have their backs to the camera – yet they both evoke mystery: one ethereal (clothed in Armani), the other earthy and completely filling the present moment.

I have had these tearsheets for years, but I have always loved the way the images completely draw me into their worlds, and make me wonder about the story within.

Picture credits: (top) William Garrett; (bottom) unknown.


Maid Marian celebrates Christmas

For some strange reason I am thinking Robin Hood girl when I look at this image. Not because this outfit will certainly enable me to easily camouflage myself in the English countryside. No. I think it must be the mask combined with the jailbird stripes.

A sense of mischief inspired this dress-up. It is wholly about the graphic nature of contrasting stripes; the mad combination of red and green. And just a little bit of fun! (Of course my other noble goal was to make the picture strobe and hurt your eyes.)

Some people say you must never wear red and green together, especially at Christmas. Not me.

Just look: this outfit has so many things going for it! Cherry-red lips, mary-janes, classic black-and-white stripes in horizontals and verticals (pick your poison), the cutest striped stockings and a polka-dot embroidered silk skirt in vivid emerald green.

How could you go wrong this festive season, I ask you?


Style over suitcase

My most recent sartorially-related dilemma was over which luggage I should take on holiday with me.

Should I take the red suitcase (Fig. 1), with its wheels and retractable handle? Or should I take the tan leather bag (Fig. 2) that looks good but is harder to carry? It's a case of Practicality vs Romance.

Other important points to consider:

  • the suitcase is much bigger, thereby giving me more room for party dresses; however, the smaller size of the leather bag will prevent me from overpacking;
  • the suitcase expands, creating space for holiday purchases, but this only gives me the excuse to buy things I don’t really need in a consumerist frenzy;
  • any temptations crooked airport staff may feel at the sight of the two exterior pockets on the suitcase do not apply to the bag: its single opening is easily secured against tampering.

But the most important point of all is that the red suitcase has no character. It is undeniably ugly and unstylish.

The only thing lacking in my handsome leather bag is the patina of age and long use, something that should be remedied at the earliest opportunity. One day it will accompany me to Venice and Rome … to Paris … from Russia with love … and it will carry all its adventure stories in its creases and scuffs.

Romance wins.


Tragedy in Blue

Tragedy struck my life yesterday. I was sitting at my desk quietly working away, one hand on my tablet, the other absently – and recklessly, as it transpired – fiddling with one of the necklaces I was wearing. One moment I was staring at the screen, the next, the calm was shattered as the string broke and beads went spilling! And bouncing! And tumbling!

One or two colleagues rescued a few beads for me. One of them – need I clarify, a MALE – thought it would be a good idea to throw one and watch it bounce two feet into the air. I gaped in indignation, and when I had recovered my breath, roundly ticked him off for wanton stupidity.

Really, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the sudden destruction of the stringing material: it was fishing line. Add to this the fact that my travelling companion who bought a similar necklace, had long ago experienced this same misfortune. I had already repaired her pink agate beads, and always intended to restring mine properly, but naturally never got round to it.

What’s that old proverb? A stitch in time saves nine? So very true, but fortunately I am able to report I recovered all my beads.

They are chalcedony, in the most beautiful, pale shade of turquoise: the colour of a morning sky in winter… a colour that makes me sigh in pleasure.

They also bring back memories of the summer evening that I purchased them, from Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon. What fun my friend and I had shopping in that whirl of a tour of Hong Kong! It makes me look forward to my upcoming holiday in exotic lands abroad… what new treasures will I find?

These blue beads must be repaired in time however, so that they may accompany me. Not to bring me luck. I just love them.


What I actally wore #0009

Serial #: 0009
Date: 28/10/2008
Weather: rainy periods in the morning only, 20°
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

Doesn’t your heart just palpitate with delight at the sheer gorgeousness of this silk knit top? Ruched and puffed sleeves! Polka-dot bow! Beads on the bow!

It was actually my friend who picked this adorable garment out of the dross hanging in the op-shop. I immediately felt a stab of envy and contemplated a quick shove-and-grab manoeuvre. But then I remembered we’ve been friends for 20 years, and also she knows where I live.

Imagine my joy when she regretfully passed it over to me because the style of the sleeves don’t suit her broader frame. “Oh, really?” I say sympathetically. “What a shame. I suppose I could bring myself to make use of it.”

The cute velvet turban is also an op-shop find – one that a different shopping companion turned her nose up at, but which received much adulation the day I wore it.

“Prada have brought turbans back into fashion!” I say brightly, but my friend isn’t buying it.

When I got home that night, I decorated the hat with a vintage brooch made of Aurora Borealis rhinestones that I found on eBay. It was described as an abstract motif, but I think it looks like a sheaf of wheat. I paid about $15 for it; it’s the type of brooch that would set you back $90 in vintage boutiques here in Melbourne.

I wore the hat on a jaunty angle and together with the top decided I was going on a 40s kick that day. Accordingly I wore my man-style, pin-striped trousers. Soft, cream leather mules pick up the same shade in the knit.


Knit: unknown origin, but not vintage
Trousers: Miss Shop
Hat: vintage, Kama’s Silhouet, Danish-made
Brooch: vintage 50s
Earrings: pearl teardrops from Camberwell Market
Shoes: Nina Martini