Pill-Popping Pastels


Whilst we're on the subject of hair rollered housewives (see previous post), I thought it completely apt to bring you the third Because x Kay Montano beauty video I did.  They have well and truly revived my Beauty School Dropout category and have prompted a vaguely more adventurous make-up strategy that goes beyond concealer and lip balm.  Montano's way with lotions and potions is infectious as are Because Magazine's video treatments.  This Pastel Pomp video is the zaniest one yet as we started off being inspired by Meadham Kirchhoff's S/S 12 dolly-kei type make-up but wound up in Mars Attacks or Stepford Wives territory.  The hair in particular is how I'd imagine it would look once I've had one too many gin and tonics and god knows what else in a house where you hoover in heels and bake in pretty dresses. 

Of course the alarming amount of of blue eyeshadow, the zany up-do and pinky-gerlinky lips in my old Chinese self only reminds me of one thing and that's Tretchikoff's painting of Chinese Girl, otherwise known as the Green Lady.  Or else I look like one of those 1930s century Shanghainese ads where pin-up girls are trying to sell you beer or cigarettes.  And you wonder why I don't pile on more make-up, eh?   



Whilst the make-up we did was inspired my Meadham Kirchhoff, the resulting look and video reminded me more of Jonathan Saunders' Miami-inspired pill-poppin 50s trip for S/S 12.  I don't know whether it's Saunders presence in places such as ASOS or Urban Outfitters but in the last two seasons, I've really been seeing a lot more of his pieces in REAL action on the streets.  Applying his prints to accessible jersey and knitwear pieces has clearly worked for him and now the man will be straddling both proper menswear and womenswear collections.

His S/S 12 was an exploration of ultra femininity but he did get to dig beneath the surface of prim prettiness.  Miami's deco colours have of course been flooding in from all directions but it's Saunders synthesising them with the unhinged, unsettled housewife character (or Betty Draper if we're gonna go for the obvious reference though for me I'm thinking more of Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven) that makes this collection soar.  Not in the obvious way either.  He has taken care to relax those 50s cliched looks into something that will endear even the hardiest tomboys to some of the looks.  Little details such as the roomy pockets in skirts, the relaxed fit of a shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and the ever present chunky jumper or cardigan worn over a dress that successfully evokes all of those hysterical pill-popping female characters without recreating their attire like-for-like.  Comfortable, an ugly word to some designers perhaps is embraced by Saunders with gusto and he proves that it can be married up with beautiful at the same time here.  I've ordered up quite a few pieces already and I'm waiting for the moments when I can really 'hang' in these clothes with dandelion seeds to blow, an apple martini in one hand and the other shielding my face from the sun.  Perhaps with a touch of the candy pink lippie.  The blue eyeshadow might be a step too far as matching eye-make-up to skirt is not a style rule I want to ever try and attempt to adhere to. 





















Mother Knows Best


>> For personal reasons, I've been thinking about my mother a lot.  I really relished the time spent at home over Christmas so much so that I've been a bit slow on the uptake with the rest of life now that we're two weeks into January.  I lingered longer over photo albums.  I needlessly sentimalised over certain food, objects and films – anything at home that had an anecdote attached.  I'm actively listening to what my mother is saying so that when she calls me up at midnight to say that I should eat more carrots and winter melon because of my poor stomach problems (she's obsessed with nutrition), it doesn't fall on deaf ears.  I'm munching on a carrot right now in fact.

Therefore when I discovered Pip Jolley's jewellery, her latest collection entitled 'Joanne' tugged and twinged at my heartstrings.  For Jolley, it was a an ode to the women in the 1940s, who put in so much effort into their coiffures.  Taking hair curlers and turning them into silver and in the case of the ring, gold and diamonds, is Jolley's way of awarding these women with a "series of medals honouring the time spent creating the perfect coiffeur."  



This could so easily have fallen into the category of 40s/50s schmaltzy retrograding were it not for the fact that Jolley has come up with an unlikely object for fetishising in silver.  Beyond the immaculate coiffures of the 1940s though, these plastic rollers are exactly the sort that my mother has and still uses.  No tongs or electric curlers in our house (which is probably why I'm adverse to hairdryers and only allow my hair to dry naturally).  My mother favours these prickly plastic objects, sometimes with a sponge wrapper or sometimes with a clipping mechanism.  I'd wake up and she'd be cooking me breakfast (spam and scrambled egg sarnies) with a few random rollers in the hair.  Never the whole head.  Just a few where she wanted a bit of oomph.  Seven year old me would try and roll them up in my own slippery hair but to no avail because my mother already had a perm so it meant already-textured hair would hold on to those prickles.  I'm already smelling that eggy whiff of home perm kit.  Now I want to give Jolley a hug and a bag filled with lavender.  I don't know why.  Isn't that the sort of thing 40s/50s afficionados appreciate? 







Besides my self-indulgent bit of personal nostalgia, it really is quite an unexpected object to immortalise as rings, brooches and necklaces and Jolley has got a few of the pieces up for sale on her website too.  The pin curl necklace is tapping away at another memory lane experience – my teenage yearning for 'pin curls' and my many MANY attempts at pin curling my hair only to have my heavy straight locks smack me in the face as if to mock me.  

Sunofication in Action


In ye olde days of blogging, I used to go through a lazy stage of wishlisting things and expressing said wishlist on the blog.  I don't even want to think about the number of pointless posts devoted to items that I was never going to be able to afford/buy/have access to.  Mental wishlisting isn't a bad thing in itself but broadcasting my whimsical empty desires in a wasted post is.  I've tried to break this habit to some degree of success.  Which is probably why you get less small and skittish posts here going "I WANT THESE SHOES!".  

I do sometimes sneak the odd wish in a post, once in a while though.  When I spoke of Suno's rise a few weeks ago, I did also clamour for their A/W 11 printed waxed cotton moto jacket.  Lo and behold, the very next day, an email landed from LN-CC with a code to take off a juicy extra 20% on all sale items.  I punched the air at 9 o'clock in the morning and ordered it right away.   The sun began to spread its rays into my flat and animated bluebirds started to flutter about.  Alright, I'm making the last bit up but it sure felt like those birds were there.

Joyful Sunofication can well and truly occur now with a pair of trousers from a previous Suno collection as well as the appropriately clashing Versace reissue shirt.  What surprised me about the jacket was the waxed cotton texture which means I can legitimately call it a waterproof jacket.  Yes, it's not just another crazy printed jacket to add to the other crazy printed jackets that loll about in my closet.  It will protect me from rain too.  Because err… that is of course the primary reason why I'd wear such a jacket… 





(Worn with Suno trousers, Versace re-issued archive shirt, Topshop glitter brogues)

Another pleasant surprise from ordering from LN-CC was the box the jacket came in.  I'm a fan of big boxes that arrive along with angry UPS men who huff and puff after climbing my fire exit staircases.  Yoox and The Corner are the usual suspects.  Net-a-Porter boxes are also lovely and shiny and sometimes come in those NAP vans so you can chase it down if you've nipped out for a pint of milk.  This was my first order from LN-CC and a useful grey slidey box that looks like a box file with a friendship bracelet handle was most pleasing indeed.  It's the little things that make all the difference and yes, it is just a plain old box but that flash of friendship bracelet thread is enough to endear me to it.  I'm now promptly going to use it to store receipts for tax returns.  The jacket is the reward for that pragmatic bit of organisation.  



An Italian Lesson


Where Pitti Immagine has excelled in the past few years is bringing in guest designers and giving them a complete freedom to do as they please, with full access to a whole host of sumptuous spaces that the city of Florence offers in whatever format they choose.  Some rock the boat, some tow the line and go for the obvious but most embrace their Florentine surroundings and Italian culture with gusto to stage a 'one off' event that is strictly 'for Florence only'.  

Olympia Le-tan 3


Olympia Le-Tan was perhaps not an obvious choice for Pitti W to choose as a special guest but anybody who has been to her presentations in Paris will know that the girl knows how to pick a space to bring her bags to life.  She has made a name for herself with her embroidered book clutches and miniaudieres which has enabled her to play with seasonal literary themes and I hear in March, she'll be presenting her first foray into clothing as well.  I do hope they involve embroidered quotes or the like.  Sounds cheesy on paper but I'm sure Le-Tan could do them justice.

For her event at Pitti, she has created a collection dedicated to Florence and her time spent studying Italian literature and cinema at university.  Once again, she chose another apt venue for her work, the Museo Bellini which has is a privately-owned museum, stuffed with renaissance artwork and objects.  Arranged artfully in amongst the artefacts of museum, familiar and unfamiliar titles and authors jump out at you from her now-established clutch and bag shapes.  I blame the English curriculum and my oafish ignorance for not knowing some of the works that were illustrated on the clutches.  For some reason my reading has gone deep into English, American, French and Russian literature but have only skirted around Italian.  For shame.  Penguin classics clearly didn't do a good job selling them into me at bookstores.









Social Olimpia Le Tan 19




Similarly, the films that were depicted in a series of portraits by Max Farago to accompany the presentation were also a struggle for me to identify.  The obvious jumped out at me but I was a little sketchy with the others.  Still, the presentation has given me impetus to do an Italian cinema DVD weekend as well as a visual reading list for me to plough through eventually.  Le-Tan got her bevy of mates to pose in the photos including Hamish Bowles depicting a scene in The Damned and Olivier Zahm in Sal√≤ (looking like he would if he were to do a self-portrait for his own Purple magazine, no‚Ķ?).  Victoire de Castellane, Camille Bidault Waddington and Andr√© Saraiva join the gaggle of friends who all re-enacted iconic Italian cinema moments. 






Even Olympia herself got in on the action with this Silvana Mangano in Riso Amaro portrait… 

Social Olimpia Le Tan 16

I'm not so great with the hybrid actress slash singer slash IT girl names but i gather there's plenty of them here looking beautiful.  Le-Tan doesn't normally do lookbook shoots for her collections but given the themes and imagery that her books conjure up, these images make you think that she should do this more often.



Natasha Fraser




My favourite portrait though wasn't shot by Farago and instead by Matthew Frost.  Well‚Ķ. it can only be Tilda‚Ķ




The night was Olympia Le-Tan doing her ode to Italian culture but her Gallic ways also crept into the night through the soundtrack and of course, these obligatory fashion party treats…


On a personal note, I've still yet to take the Olympia Le-Tan plunge.  They are insanely pricy but also painstakingly made.  There is no machine-based process to her work and it's not possible to reduce the labour time that goes into each one either.  Therefore, it would take a highly significant book title, preferably an early 20th century English novel to make me fork out the money.  I well and truly hope the people who buy her bags haven't just chosen them for their colour ways and have actually read the book their bag is depicting but that's just me being a militant schoolmaster.