And Off We Go....

Wilfred and I mean it, though I'm sorry he looks so scruffy. And, for good time's sake, I think I'll sign off with a song no dancefloor should go without tonight (plus, watching graphics hop on and off t-shirts is so my thing).
Do be responsible with the alcohol and whatnots, though. It's a night for sparkly things and flailing arms and hair...


Of Papercuts

I've never been any good at arts and crafts, which may be why (as I think I've mentioned somewhere before) my regard for people who are, borders on near-reverence at times. And it's not really all that often that I get to see someone combining the two, so when I do, it's a cause for a little celebration of sorts.
I'm sure a fair few people on the fashion blogosphere are aware of Rob Ryan's work, but my first sight of it was in a Vogue feature on insomnia, some three years ago. Even if the subject hadn't happened to appeal to me as an ex-insomniac, the illustration- which was composed of one of his papercuts, bearing the text 'To Sleep, Perchance To Dream' certainly did. It'd have been pretty as a painting, which was what I initially thought it was- but learning that it was a papercut just brought my respect to new levels- anyone who's ever wielded scissors trying to cut shapes out of origami paper, will know what I'm talking about. This might sound fangirlish, but it's both the precision and the pure, whimsical creativity that I find wonderful. The fact that text often features prominently is a bonus, because it's cleverly incorporated into the image itself (and it does mean that his work- which includes handprinted tiles, screenprints from his papercuts, and work for Paul Smith and Bloomsbury publishers- has shades of both filigree-like intricacy and comic book-style fun, which is not a bad combination at all).
I was really happy to find Rob's blog last month, which has plenty of eye candy of the best sort for anyone who wants a gander at more of his work (much as I would like to, I can't put all the images up here), also his official website, which is fantastically designed and lots of fun to go through (I have a weakness for the book covers). And his shop on Etsy is lovely, anyone who wants to buy the screen prints or tiles should definitely pay it a visit.
Images from rob-ryan.blogspot.com, used with the artist's permission.


Get Out Those Pails Of Water...

This Lanvin SS08 ad seriously does make Olga Sherer look like a young Wicked Witch of the West on her way to a party, helped along in a major way by the colour of the dress and her expression, not to mention the positioning of those hands (don't they look almost claw-like?) - and I love the way the dress has just taken over the entire frame, it makes her look like she's leaving forest fires in her wake. Hats off to Elbaz and Meisel, I say...
Image source: The Fashion Spot.


Not Quite Blue Suede Shoes..

But they'll have to do. My (non-existent) photography skills and horrible camera (note: if anyone reading this is considering getting a camera from Sony's Cyber-Shot series, don't! They suck) means that the picture doesn't quite do them justice, but I still like them.
On another note: what is up with those new Marc Jacobs ads? My reactions to the pictures (as it loaded on Fashion Verbatim) went more or less as follows:
1. *sees post header*- w00t, it's M.I.A., maybe he isn't actually going to put out ads with Victoria Beckham in them! I knew he hadn't completely lost his head..
2. *sees picture* - erm.....what've they done to her?!?
3. *looks closer* - at least the one on the right looks more like her. But still, couldn't the stylist have fixed those trousers?
4. *contemplates it further*- good for her if she made some money out of it, but she deserves better than that. A visceral inclination for kaleidoscopic fashions* is better off being indulged than suppressed, IMHO. Especially if this is the result.
PS: not fashion-related at all and random in every possible sense of the word, but this (hit the Hipcast button on the page if you want to know what I'm on about) is a guaranteed chortle-maker...if only more three-year-olds liked to sing about falling down and splitting their lips, now ..

* Adrian's words, not mine.


Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Am feeling rather like a boa constrictor after a particularly fat goat (or deer, or whatever boa constrictors eat), and the kick of getting some rather pretty blue sneakers - and yes, I did use the words 'pretty' and 'sneakers' in the same sentence without 'not' anywhere in between, doesn't entirely make up for not finding the following:wrapped in a box at the foot of my bed this morning, but they'll do. Less-incoherent posting resumes tomorrow, so bye till then.

Blue Floppy Hat


Never Mind The Stocking-Tops..

My school life was, for the most part, a tame affair- a perfectly fitting thing to be, considering that all thirteen years of it were spent in girls' schools, one of them Catholic at that. One minor rampage with a plastic lizard (that got thirty-nine of us detention for an afternoon) and the odd successful attempt to sneak off the premises before classes gave out (and, correspondingly, one unsuccessful attempt to sneak in without discovery when I got late and wanted to avoid a demerit- I got caught trying to climb a barrier, which isn't easy if you're wearing a pleated skirt), were about as far as I got down the road to rebellion. Which isn't really very far, but still, it's the thought that counts, or shouldn't it?
It might be a result of my early history or anything, but I love school stories- especially when there are uniforms involved and the place in question is more than slightly bonkers. Whether it's Hogwarts (which was at its best and most glorious in the state of complete pandemonium that followed Fred and George Weasley's amazing exit- with orders given to the poltergeist to wreak even more mayhem!), or Colette's Claudine battling it out with her headmistress for the affections of her English teacher, or even The Hairy Bird (an utterly brilliant movie about a bunch of girls in the 1960s trying to stop their school from going co-ed), I love them best in a state of chaos. But as far as madness went, nothing could really top the cartoons I found in a shelf of the local lending library, which I first picked up because they reminded me of the illustrations in my Roald Dahl books.
It was the St Trinian's cartoons, of course. I wasn't aware, at the time, that they were so popular or that there'd been movies made of them -I still haven't seen any of the originals- but the girls drawn in there were more or less the coolest beings I'd ever seen in my (then) twelve years of life- frequent decapitations, flattenings and violent deaths notwithstanding (to be fair, I liked them even more because of the violence- I was a bloodthirsty little squit). Heaven knows how they ended up in our library in the first place, the librarian must have thought they were ok for little kids because they were cartoons (which is sound logic, until you consider things like South Park). And now I hear it's a movie, complete with explosions, tarted-up school uniforms (not really that tarty, if you ask me), Rupert Everett in drag* (yippee!), the fourth formers, the sixth formers (I liked the little girls better, but it looks like sex appeal gets more screen time), an art heist, and Colin Firth. It won't get near me any time soon, but given that I'm such a sucker for school stories, I'll even overlook the fact that the theme song is by Girls Aloud. I mean, it's catchy and that's perfect given that the possibility of shout-alongs is a bit of a factor in how much anyone under the age of fifteen loves a song (personal experience says this), but I can't be the only one who thinks that Girls Aloud so much as pronouncing the word 'anarchy' is hilarious. And dammit it may be a huge marketing ploy or whatever, but I still want to see it. Call it vicarious wish-fulfilment for all my macabre fantasies of taking a hockey stick to my Chemistry teacher...
I know I've yammered and gone berserk with the parentheses and this really had nothing at all to do with fashion, but- here's to all schoolgirls and former schoolgirls, wherever you are. May we never grow stodgy...

*I've always wanted to try drag. Sadly, the only time I thought I'd get a chance to dress up that way was out of the Shakespeare Society- that was the college drama club- cupboard, which turned out to be perfect for the boys to dress up like girls since it was full of eye-wateringly shiny, girlie-looking clothes (they put on Shakespeare, you see). I ended up in a skirt, since the most macho thing I could get out of there was a sword.

PS: A big THANK YOU to everyone for your get-well-soons! And I wasn't seriously ill, hungover or pregnant, so don't worry yourselves on that score.
images from ronaldsearle.blogspot.com and a random Google search.


Dear Bloggers

After three abortive attempts at posting in as many days, I must just give up and accept the fact that queasiness and the constant desire to puke are not good for coherence, at least it's a bit difficult to concentrate properly when all you're thinking is "Where are the lemons?". I'll come back in a few days, though- it takes more than this to shut me up!


Blue Floppy Hat


Out With The Plastic And Flowers

Earrings, from here.
Earrings, from here
Pendant, from here
I know they're the big trends of this winter and next spring, but the things I really badly want to see are...fruits. I also wish, more than a little bit, that two of the above pieces weren't earrings, given the fact that I can't wear any- they'd have been so pretty as pendants, non? I actually had a pendant in the shape of a bunch of glass grapes, but sadly, I seem to have lost it. In the meantime, I think I'll just run off to the fabric shops and see if they have anything appealing in a fruit print for me to turn into a dress- I'm feeling just the vaguest bit twee, though a toning-down would probably be in order (this calls for clumpy boots and a parka!).
And, as Wendy tells me, she has fruit too...she does a mean line in 18K gold fruit (!!) and very pretty flowers, I take it back about not wanting them, in the form of pendants or necklaces- the only form of normal bijoux I can ever (thanks to childhood trauma with earrings and a mental block against bracelets) covet. There's a clean, modern feel to the pieces- even with the details- that I really like, and it doesn't help that they all look good enough to eat. If I were richer or the exchange rates a bit better, there would be a serious hazard to my bank account- and the strawberry in particular is triggering memories of the first line of Summer Wine*.
All images immediately above from Wendy's site, clockwise from the top left: here, here, here and here.
All of the first three images are fromtheir respective sellers' shops on Etsy.
* Yes, I know it's the wrong season and all, but Nancy Sinatra suits me perfectly right now. I'll just leave a video behind, shall I?


An Open Letter

I got this in the commentspace, in response to this post. I think it warrants a reply.
Dear Blue Floppy Hat,

It's all very well to sit comfortably behind the anonymity of your blog and rip the so-called rippers. However, allow me to ask you just one question - did you visit Prashant's stall at the fashion week? If you did, did you meet him? Do you know that international fashion journalists, before drawing meaningless tangents where they don't exist, check each reference? Ditto all serious designers.

Sadly, dear Floppy, you don't seem to have understood the meaning of the aesthetic exercise that fashion is. You give too much importance to what you see, depriving the faculties of your brain of their natural functions of logical inferencing.

However, coming back to the comparison you so happily have discovered and publicised, I'd like to tell you that this fact was already known to the designer when he decided to put his face on that dress. He chose to go ahead with it because his aspiration demanded it of him - a fact I'm sure you were unaware of, because even if your research is strong, your logic is not.

Therefore, dear Floppy, before you try and sensationalise anything creative again, make sure you look deep into the matter. There are those who know better, and then, there are those who just know.

My best,
Varun Rana,
Features Editor,
'&' Andpersand Magazine

Dear Varun,

I think it'd be better if I answered you point by point. But I must first thank you for leaving me your name, I appreciate the fact that you didn't just just choose to make your comment anonymously, as you could well have done.
Now, on to the substance of your comment:

Firstly, like many bloggers, I am not a fashion student or journalist. Access to Fashion Week isn't something that everyone gets, even if they happen to be located in the city in which it happens- and I wasn't. I don't mean to condone a lack of knowledge on my part, but I did make an effort to find out as much as I could about Mr Verma before I made that post- and all I have to go on by way of knowing anything about him is his site, a few interviews (in which he sounded like an intelligent and articulate young man), and assorted Fashion Week writeups in the press and online. And while we're on the subject of fashion journalists, one of the people who commented on that post is a fashion editor. I am neither a designer nor a member of the press, but I've asked for her opinion on the subject, since I think she'd be in a better position to know about expectations in fashion journalism than me.

Secondly, I know that fashion has everything to do with aesthetics. My judgment is obviously impaired by the fact that I can only experience the clothes in 2D, picture form. Obviously, my thoughts are going to be limited to what I saw. I would like that not to be the case, but what we see is all most of the country has to go on as far as high-end fashion is concerned. My opinion was formed on the basis of whatever information was at hand- a little more, sensory and otherwise, would always be welcome.

While we're on the subject of logical inferences, the one I drew was,to the best of my knowledge, fairly logical. Given that the Lanvin dress was shown at Paris Fashion Week in October 2006- less than a year before Mr Verma came out with his version of the screen print- the only conclusion I could come to was that it was a copy, because nowhere was the original dress mentioned, and it certainly wasn't reported anywhere- I went through the newspapers in three metropolitan cities to check, not to mention the Internet. If Mr Verma did mention the fact of Lanvin being his inspiration to anyone at his stall during Fashion Week or anywhere at all, the fact certainly wasn't- as far as I know- reported by the press, in fact there doesn't seem to be a single acknowledgment of Lanvin or Alber Elbaz anywhere. If there was one, could you please tell me where to find the reference?

And as far as 'happily discovering and publicising' the comparison goes- if you read the original post, you'll find that I said I was extremely disappointed and let down to find what seemed like evidence of a copied design from someone I thought of as talented and different from the run-of-the-mill. I wasn't exactly dancing with glee when I saw the picture. And if the fact of the similarity was known to Mr Verma when he made that dress, maybe (as I've mentioned earlier) an acknowledgement would have been in order? If his aspiration demanded it of him, surely making it plain wouldn't have hurt? And I don't see how it's all right to copy a creative work and not acknowledge the original maker (if he didn't- and if he did, then the press is doing him a disservice by not reporting the fact), even if copying is standard practice in the fashion industry. There isn't really any justification for it as far as I can see, either under logic or intellectual property law.

"Therefore, dear Floppy, before you try and sensationalise anything creative again, make sure you look deep into the matter. There are those who know better, and then, there are those who just know."
I'm not sure what exactly that's supposed to mean. Is it that I have no right to comment on fashion because I have nothing to do with it professionally? There may be those who know better, and those who just know, but since when are we supposed to not question them, and not contest their views? And given that some of those people who 'know' are members of the press, isn't telling the rest of us, the unenlightened ones, what you do know, something of a professional obligation? Better coverage of Fashion Week, and more pictures of the collections- especially online- might help. But I tell things the way I see them, and I stand by what I said. As a blogger, I can do no less.


Blue Floppy Hat


Damn! DAMN!

The fact that my immediate environment is a painfully unstylish, even sartorially horrific at times, place is something I lament loudly and often. And all I'm thinking now, is why on earth didn't I take the camera along to capture the only evidence so far that I wasn't entirely right?
To be fair, the local chain bookstore isn't exactly the place one expects to be stunned in. And I certainly didn't expect to be distracted from my browse by, of all things, a green hoodie with the inside of its hood covered in sequins. And not just any sequins- silver pailettes, no less, which looked nothing short of spectacular given that the hood was down. Pity I was too much of a chicken to actually ask the girl wearing it just where she got it from...at least she didn't notice the staring..
I've been trawling the Internet for a pic that resembles the real-life one, and the only approximation I found was the picture below; try imagining the sequins onto the inside of the hood and you'll have something like what I saw.
Picture from here.


Music And Whatnot

I don't really take to new music that easily. Being forced to listen to some new band called The (Somethings) every third day doesn't agree with me at all- it's like being urged to eat spiders' legs when what you really want is a bacon omelette. But for some reason or other, Remi Nicole (whose name sounds like she should be French- she actually isn't) isn't giving me the fatigues. After giving it a bit of time to grow on me, I think she's really genius. And Rock N Roll is a must-listen for anyone who's ever been criticised for acting different from the way they're 'supposed' to.
Her MySpace page isn't at all bad, either.
Remi Nicole- Rock N Roll
Remi Nicole- Go Mr Sunshine

Dear Lord

...please don't let Rachel Zoe EVER get her grubby paws on this one. The one on the right, I mean, since I think I can safely assume that Daphne Guinness wouldn't ever let the creature within twenty miles of her wardrobe.



Piv playing mommy to a white lion cub? And getting to show us that darling goofy smile of hers along the way? Adorable might just be the word for it. Even when the cub looks grumpy (picture 5), though it seems to like her (last pic).
EDIT: geekgirl was sweet enough to tell me, on here, that the cub (a lion cub, I guess that settles the question of what it was) was a six-week old named Sheila, whom she got to meet when Sheila was en route to the photoshoot. Methinks Sheila makes a great model..
Pictures from Vogue Paris, Dec/Jan 2008
photographs: Mark Segal
styling: Melanie Huynh

Source: The Fashion Spot

Because I Am Just So Taken By This

I absolutely love the way Paolo Roversi evokes the spirit of 3 a.m. cram sessions the night before a particularly horrible exam. And the fact that Freja Beha looks so hot in the debris (almost entirely consisting of books), with her hair all scratty. It just rings rather true to life, even if no one I know does their cramming in floaty tulle or corsets..
It's also rather nice to know someone in the fashion world acknowledged the fact that being a student actually involves, y'know, studying.

images from Vogue Italia November 2007 via Foto Decadent. Yeah, I know I'm a month late but the idea was too stunning for me not to share my thoughts about it.


Jack The Ripper-Off

(on top)Prashant Verma, India Fashion Week, September '07
(to the right) Lanvin, SS07 (Paris FW, Oct.'06)

There is just no other way to put it....I am so disappointed in the man (that's him in the picture). The clothes he presented at Fashion Week were of much more interest to me than the usual ethnic fluff, the training under John Galliano and Alexander McQueen was put to at least some good use, but this is a bit of a letdown. No, major letdown. And still a ripoff, even if Mr Verma chose to splash his own face across his dresses instead of whoever Alber Elbaz picked (the shiny plastic effect and distortion makes it imposible for me to recognise the woman). And even the styling is the same- who is he trying to fool?


Cat Eyes, mk. II

The cat eye and I didn't mix all that well, but come to think about it, it really wasn't meant to happen. Quite aside from the smudging and the messing up, practicality means it would have probably been a bit pointless anyway- you don't exactly see Cleopatra or the 60s Bollywood lot ever having to stick a pair of glasses between their (rather exaggerated) eye makeup and the outside world, do you?
I've worn glasses for nearly eight years now, and every single pair I've ever owned has conformed to the template seen in the pictures above or below, mainly because I'd wanted a pair that reminded me of Marilyn Monroe in How To Marry A Millionaire - the trouble was, my opticians didn't, in fact no opticians anywhere around did, sell glasses anything like those. I had to settle for slightly rhomboid ones, and since 2000, assorted pairs have come and gone (mostly gone, given my propensity to lose them), but I've never quite found anything perfect. Until now. And, wouldn't you know it, they were made all the way back in 1956 and don't belong to me....but these glasses will still be the ultimate cat eyes of all time because the shape, when you wear them, comes right off your face. And as for achieving it, who needs to struggle with eyeliner when all you have to do is pop this lot on? At least it won't need multiple washes and baby oil to remove them ...The lucky owner is gardenpicnic, who posted the picture up on leavesoftea, where I go to occasionally drool over people's antique finds (a first edition of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, a playbill from Laurence Olivier's early stage career, and gorgeous teapots and telephones, are just some of the things on display). It's a fantastic place, especially if you like random knicknacks- it's amazing to see what people end up finding.


Not All That Glitters Is Gold

..sometimes it's the result of my deciding to give the headband (see the picture attached to the previous post for reference) thing a go. Only where I am, it's tough to tie anything around your head without looking like an instant hippie, so shine was a must. And given that ribbons would just slip right off and no sequinned bits of anything were to be found, I had to make do with a bit of old net that originally formed part of the wrapping on a box of sweets, which (as can be seen from the picture above) would've made even the pickiest magpie green in the beak and was scratchy enough to keep a grip on the old keratin follicles. And the results are below..
It might not look entirely right, but winding the scrap twice around my head, higher up the crown, actually helped with not letting my fringe poke me in the eye. It also didn't make my hair foof out weirdly above the band.
I tried wearing it as an Alice band too, it kind of worked... stayed in place and didn't slip off. Would definitely raise eyebrows if it made it past my bedroom door, and prissy, but shiny at the same time.
The normal way of wearing a headband, right in the middle of my forehead...or not too far above it anyway.

As I said, my natural habitat would be a far less sartorially orthodox place than the one I now live in, and it'd take no small amount of courage (even the Dutch kind) to make me venture into the street in accoutrements anything like this. But given that I'm seen as a bit of a dip anyway, I may just capitalise on my reputation, such as it is, and try this sometime. Maybe not out walking around these streets, though.


Sheer Bliss? Not Really.

Given that Indian winters can be quite cold (though they don't always dip into sub-zero range), I've often wondered why thick, opaque tights don't seem to be much of an option in the shops here. About all a girl has to choose from by way of hosiery is ten-denier tights or stockings, which, as might be evident from the description, are sheer. Very sheer indeed. That isn't really a problem in any weather, including the cold kind, because it's a proven fact that the skin on your legs is thicker and tougher than it is on your upper body. Which means that skirts, particularly of the shorter variety, are not completely ruled out as winterwear, if you bother putting tights or stockings on under the lot.
The problem, however, arises in the fact that bloody sheer hosiery is just so snaggable. Stockings snag on everything- from toenails when you're putting them on, to splinters (miniscule ones) in the chair you're sitting on, to even the slightest of rough surfaces that you might just have grazed against- and it's annoying, because even though they're a fairly decent way to stop the winter wind taking the skin off your legs, the constant vigilance is a bit of a pain. The rise of sheer hosiery may have been predicted a long time ago, but I'm actually wondering if I can make it work. The old legs do need some covering-up, after all, and wearing jeans all the time is so not my look. Though I have a long, long way to go before I look half as good as the femme in the picture above...
picture borrowed from The Facehunter.


Neate, This. AKA Hic Sunt A Painting.

I really can't draw to save my life, which may be the reason why arty, artsy things have been fascinating me of late. And when I do draw things (usually the same thing) and feel like I've got it right, my first instinct is to keep the evidence, or at least know where it's gone if I give it away- like on someone's good-luck card or some such thing. Which may be why I find the idea of Adam Neate's art so odd- the idea of an artist actually just leaving his finished paintings around the city for people to find and keep, is a distinctly strange, yet appealing one to me. Graffiti art is something I quite like, and also something he's done, but the randomness of never knowing where a bit of your work- pretty good, even great work too, if you ask me- went, would drive me nuts. And it takes courage to do it. Though I do think the idea of the Art of the State experiment in which one of his paintings was taken and photographed in assorted places in London (third pic, go look at the rest) was immensely cool.
There are just too many possible reactions to art (as also to the question: what is art? I've always believed clothing has the potential to be an art form), and given the sheer variety of the things we look for out of it, there's never going to be an easy way for me to write the artsy posts, or to assume that people will agree with me. In any case, that isn't what public spaces- walls, streets, and now the Internet to an extent- are for, anyway.


That Old Chestnut AKA Tagged, Been I Have

Seven interesting things about me? It's more than a slight stretch, and would be so much easier if I had to name interesting things that happened to people I know (which include, among other things: near-arrests, Fear and Loathing episodes in Hampi, and getting driven down a road at 40mph...while hanging on for dear life to the bonnet of the car), but here goes anyway.
1. My favourite smell in the world is wet dust- to the uninitiated, it's the one that comes after summer, when the ground has been all but baked dry, with about an inch of dust everywhere. And then it starts raining. I've never been able to put a name to the smell that comes off those first raindrops hitting the ground and sending the dust flying before soaking it (and this is rain that means business, not a wussy little drizzle), but I settled for wet dust, because it smells the same way when the plants at college get watered on a hot day. There's nothing quite like it.
2. I have a tattoo. I quite like having it, even if it looks like a child drew it with a marker pen. And in the twenty-four hours after I first got it, I had to wear a bandage over the spot, which led to a lot of people asking me what happened. Nosey idiots thought I'd slit my wrist, you see.
3. I also have a weakness for fallen leaves that look like they're dry enough to be crunchy, and have no qualms about going slightly out of my way to stamp on them. Even if I do look around first to make sure that no one I know is watching.
4. Ditto puddles of rainwater- the bigger, the better . Some of them just beg to be stamped in (of course, we do go and clean ourselves up afterwards), which spells doom for pretty shoes. The last time I did it with a couple of friends, we ended up splashing so much water around that when I got back to my room to change, I found bits of grass in my hair.
5. Fantasy movies are a bit of a weak spot for me- no matter how much I moan and groan about how I'm sure it'll never match up to the book, I always get suckered into watching the lot. Though I'm quite excited about the movie version of Northern Lights that'll be out this December- His Dark Materials is one of my favourite series of books ever, and they seem to have got the casting of Lyra absolutely perfect. Ok, enough with the movie plug..
6. I'd be more likely to choose my soap, shampoo and moisturiser on the basis of how they smell than because of whatever they promise to do. That logic has worked fairly well for me so far, I don't intend to abandon it now.
7. I know this isn't really about me, but- one of my ex-classmates from school swindled a bank out of a whole lot of money. This got into the papers when I was starting my last year of school (at a different school), and given that the girl in question had dropped out of my old school several years earlier, the news that she could speak eleven languages and had successfully impersonated a senior adoption society executive to get the money, while the police chased her across four states for the better part of a year, was nothing short of staggering. And we only got to know who it was because one of the local papers printed her name and the name of her former school- not something that's usually done, given that she was seventeen at the time of her arrest. The ultimate kicker is that she happens to have the same name as my best friend (who was in another school altogether, and never knew her at all) - who got slightly freaked out by the fact that a lot of people were calling her up asking if she'd been robbing banks.


Because This Is Just Too Good For Me To Name

It's been a while since I really gave a thought to my favourite fictional femme, but since real-life things have been rather uninspired of late (as C put it, the magic's gone), I could use a dose of her. Or of the film, to be more specific. It just happens to be one of my ultimate weapons in the fight against November-induced mean reds, and between Amélie, Nino, the travelling garden gnome and Montmartre itself, there're plenty of treats for me on any given day. Though, to be honest, I'm in a bit of a screw-it-all kind of mood right now, so Amélie's clumpy shoes- the spitting image of the ones I had to wear through my last two years of school- suit the strong desire to kick something right along with reminding me of her. And it is those shoes (along with her hair) that keep Amélie from looking like a twee little twit, which is great because it matches the way the screenplay portrays her as anything but. Plus, Audrey Tautou wears things with a panache that I've rarely seen on actresses onscreen- be it a turban, clumpy shoes, slipdresses, or even, in the photobooth, a Zorro mask (in fact, the only other actress I can think of who was as good at this is the other Audrey- and doesn't that scene with Amélie and Nino towards the end look somewhat Roman Holiday-esque? I want a Vespa, now).
I'm leaving a link to Yann Tiersen's theme for Amélie, which is one of the most amazing pieces of music ever composed, and I am not being hyperbolic about that. The rest of the score is wonderful, but this is the sparkler of the entire lot. I should shut up now, and let you watch the trailer- or better yet, the entire film (even if you've seen it before, once more can never hurt- and certainly not in this case).
Yann Tiersen- La Valse D'Amélie


That He Who Lives More Lives Than Once, More Deaths Than One Shall Die

Keeping Sisters In A Cage

Don't worry, I'm not getting morbid- just snitched the line off Oscar Wilde via Kimberlee Traub, whose site I stumbled on via a search for tattoo art and hats (I know it sounds like an odd combination!), and I know I make a crappy art reviewer so I'm just going to be straightforward and say her work is amazing. There is, as she states, a distinct 19th-century Victoriana Goth feel to a lot of it, but to me it's more a lovely mixup of things that feel like they belong in certain panels of the Sandman series (check out the one of Death and Dream) or in the illustrations of certain less-kiddy-than-usual children's books/unusually adventurous books for grownups, possible Victor Horta decorations in 2D form, and things that just plain look lovely even if they're more than just that. I've been having a bit of a curly-lines phase of late, so this is the perfect thing to feed my eyes with. And even if my favourite of the lot is Warrior (the picture on top), I think I have a bit of a soft corner for 'Rebecca Batt And Her Wonderful Hats'- what a wonderfully whimsical title, isn't it?
Images from www.kimberleetraub.com, used for illustrative purposes only.


Braid-y Bunch

(picture borrowed from Garance Dore)
My hair and I never really got on very well when I was in school. A natural tendency to frizz combined with annoyingly strict uniform rules that forced every girl with hair longer than collar-length to plait it, meant that my adolescence was basically a bad hair life, since plaits are really unflattering on me and all the hair ended up more outside the plait than in by the end of the day. And I hadn't gotten over thinking of plaits as the hairdo of goody-two-shoes teacher's pets all over the country (which is funny, since we all had to wear them, irrespective of academic status: I now favour rolling the lot into a bun and clipping it up off my neck )- until I saw the picture above, which should be an advert for some kind of Braid Board (if such a thing ever existed) campaign to convince teenage girls that plaits are cool. It's all the things I never saw a plait as - happy-makingly easy and monstrously insouciant being just two of those things.
Hair has been through all manner of trends on the Noughties runways, from dead straight to wavy to frizzy to Heidi-like (for me, that particular 'do will always bring to mind Princess Leia meeting the Ewoks for the first time in Return of the Jedi*) to ponytailed, but plaits are something I rarely see. I suppose I'll just have to try shaking off the conservative/schoolgirl associations now...though I do wonder if that's even possible, given that I hate the idea of even the risk of being perceived as Pollyanna, mk. II (detestable book. By the end of it, I really wanted someone to drown her).
*apologies to people who haven't seen/aren't fans of the original Star Wars trilogy.


Absolute Greatness

When it came to music, I've always been a bit of a find-one-band-and-wear-out-the-tape/CD listening to it kind of girl. And the mid-90s were a great time for bands that ended up being not only every bit worth the time it took for me to listen to them, but are also capable of blowing me away twelve years after I first heard them. I believe it's called aging well.
And perceived coolness (by other people) or lack thereof can go to blazes, I firmly believe Garbage should be up there with the great bands of that time- not least because Shirley Manson (for those who don't know- and there can't be too many of those, she's the redhead in the pictures above) is a kick-ass frontwoman. She's also a long-standing girl crush of mine from the moment she and her red hair showed up in the video for Stupid Girl, but she'd probably be one even if I had no idea what she looked like, because the woman just sounds that good (though it must be said, no one works the hair and fishnets like her). I mean, all these years and Garbage was never boring- that's got to say something for it and her (they even managed to make a Bond movie theme sound good...which was better than Madonna could do). And I'm all kinds of thrilled to learn that she'll be out with a solo album next year, which I fully intend to get hold of and listen to. Even if it does, sadly for me, mean the end of the band...


The Sky Is Falling!

Well, no, not quite, given that a cyclone chose not to hit my city, but I've been on a bit of a comic/graphic novel kick of late (chiefly the former), and this time it's a childhood favourite that doesn't seem to have been mentioned here before.
I speak, of course, of Asterix. I'm a little weary of most things in animated/illustrated form at the moment, what with the rash of overpriced Agatha Christie and Biggles comics that's been everybloodywhere for the last six months. And also a mild OD of manga/anime (more the former than the latter, truth be told). I mean, I still maintain that Spirited Away and Sailor Moon are among the most beautiful things ever to be put on film anywhere in the world, but I do like a slightly brighter background to my illustrated reading material than the average manga uses. I like colour- especially lots and lots of green, which is inevitable in the panels if your story happens to be set in a Roman-era village. I like the illustrations (half the reason I'll never be able to watch a live-action Asterix movie- they belong in 2D paper form for me). And I love, love, love the puns, which are no less amazing because they were translated from the French, sometimes (according to Wikipedia, which I shall treat as an authority since I don't know French) becoming punnier in the process. Goscinny and Underzo were genius, and I don't get why more people don't agree.
PS: The dashboard tells me this is my 100th post. It should probably be more, I don't know, fashiony and momentous, but this'll have to do.


Liquid Liner And Me are Un-Mixy Things

Cat eyes being the single most attempted DIY of the season is really no reason for me to try them, especially since my reference point for the look isn't Liz Taylor's Cleopatra as seems to be the case with the international fashion crowd, but 60s Hindi movie actresses (now, that was a decade whose movies were fun. Costumes ditto). Anything even vaguely reminiscent of that in contemporary India, particularly if you attempt it yourself, means one runs the risk of looking like a potential candidate for Sonagachhi (the red light district in Calcutta) instead of a cross between Siouxsie Sioux and Shirley Manson.
But given that the inside of the house seems to be safe enough, I pinched some black eyeliner and got to work. The (extremely ham-handed: the eyeliner brush is not my friend!) results are below.

That smudge above my eyelid isn't dirt...it's eyeliner. And no, the brush didn't deposit it there. I don't know if it's my eyes that are structured weirdly or if this happens to everyone, but I'd closed my eye to apply the stuff, and it turns out that opening it once I'm done means some of the stuff gets onto other places where they shouldn't be.
And if you think these looked a mess, the cleaning-up process was worse...bloody liner gets literally EVERYWHERE when you're wielding the brush, and attempting to wash it off gives the words "persistent" and "panda eyes" a new meaning.
PS: to anyone who wants to know who the lady in the pic I used for reference is, it's Mumtaz, who was an actress in the 60s. I haven't seen too many of her films, but I believe the picture was taken from one called Khilona.

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.