If The Shoe Doesn't Fit...

Give it to a bigfooted BFH to break in, seems to be the rationale going around. And given that new juttis and mojris (quick reference: those curly-tipped shoes at Alexander McQueen's Autumn/Winter 08-09 show? Most people in India know them as mojris, and juttis aren't too far off from those in shape) tend to bite like no one's business, it's basically led to some very sore feet for me, even if the shoes are pretty and remind me of what Iff the genie wore in Haroun and the Sea of Stories*. But they're still less painful than heels, and really, truly pretty- watching the tips of the silver beaded pair I wore all through yesterday peeking out from under my jeans almost compensated for the shoebites. Not quite, though...
PS: Just a heads-up to anyone who's about to try these for the first time- they tend to let a lot of city gunk in through the sides. But that depends on specific pairs, really.

* v. talkative chap with a sky-blue beard and whiskers.
images from Style.com and wikipedia.


Skirting Issues, mk. II

Having spent the better part of the last two months in trousers (it was practically an informal dress code of some kind at work), I'm good and ready to break out the skirts again, not least because it's properly summer and having that much material sticking to my legs in this heat just seems stupid (vanity also enters the equation, at least in part- trousers/jeans of most kinds, aren't really flattering on me). And never mind if Anne Slowey did declare 'the dress' dead among a plethora of new trouser shapes, I still think 'the skirt' has a good deal of life in it yet, quite aside from the fact that it tends to be kinder to my legs. And I think the heat might be what finally gets me going on a DIY skirt that (hopefully, with a little luck) will resemble one of the three below- full, shortish skirts are brilliant for casual wearings, and these have been sitting in my pictures for so long I've even forgotten their exact urls- even if I'm getting rather too ambitious for my own good since most of my DIY jobs involve more cutting-off than actual sewing (am off to buy brocade tomorrow)..

pic#1 from The Sartorialist, pic#2 and #3 from Facehunter.


xxxHolic Might Be Exactly What I Am..

I've confessed to being more than a little prone to crushing on fictional boys (and men) in the past, but imaginary girl crushes are a lot rarer for me. But I do owe whoever first tipped me off to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic, since I've developed a bit of a case of hero-worship over the years on Yuko-san, the Witch of Dimensions and the mentor of the latter series' protagonist. To sum her up in a sentence, the woman is extremely fond of food, even fonder of alcohol than she is of food, possibly fonder still of annoying Watanuki, and immensely powerful. Also rather wise...and I really just wanted an excuse to post lots of Clamp's beautiful artwork (xxxHolic, on the whole, is a lot more ornate and flourish-laden than Tsubasa- though the latter does a brilliant job with depicting battles)- I've never failed to love the insanely detailed covers and chapter pictures of the manga, and all that long, whirling ribbon-like black hair does make for some stunning pictures . I reckon it's worth sharing a few of those, for anyone who doesn't already know and love her (though being in the little Blogger box doesn't do them justice, look below- she's positively spectacular).


I'm Not Quite Done Looking...

All pics Junya Tashiro, AW08-09, Japan Fashion Week.
I'm not sure whether this places me in the category of people who flog a subject to death and don't know how to stop, but having posted about this once before doesn't stop me from doing it again. I like getting a look at clothes from different angles, and Junya Tashiro's collection seems to hold up pretty well to that kind of viewing, so I'm going to indulge myself and have a good stare. Really, it's a great example of the fact that a dark/neutral palette doesn't necessarily=boring, and doesn't preclude drama. And I swear that shot with the hat and coat looks like it should belong in an editorial - it's rather a rare effect from a photograph taken on the runway (methinks the hat- and the fantastic decoration on it- is what brings the outfit to life). It's all really comfortable to look at, but worlds away from rustic or earth-motherish (and I love the white flutedress...it looks so dreamy on the runway, but not insubstantial at all). And I doubt a regular Style.com-type shot would have given me as good a look at the dress in picture#3..
pictures to be credited when I remember the urls. My bad...
EDIT: pic #1, 4 and 5 from blog.livedoor.jp, pic #2,3 and 6 from http://ameblo.jp/londontokyostyle/


The Trivial Six

Lovely LLG has tagged me with the task of revealing six unimportant things about myself, so here we go..

1. I've never gotten over the fact that Hershey's stopped making square Jolly Rancher lollipops. The round ones don't nestle as comfortably against my tongue, and pink lemonade (my favourite flavour) doesn't taste nearly as good any more..
2. I hate the taste of milk.
3. I've never worn braces (the kind that go on teeth, I mean).
4. My bookshelves at college are overflowing, but that doesn't stop me buying more books (and magazines- even six of those in a stack are fairly heavy)..
5. I love lemons, and most things that smell/taste of them.
6. Seahorses, IMO, are the prettiest animals on earth.

image of lemons from betterhealthnaturally.wordpress.com


Fab, If You Say So.

I know I'm quite ranty on the subject of bad clothes, and could really do with a dose of decent retail. But if Topshop etc ever make their way here and want to become as much of a presence in India as they are in the UK, it isn't the design frat whose influence they're going to have to compete with, but a label that I'm not sure too many people reading this will have heard of, except for everyone in this country (and chances are, you probably own something from there too)- Fabindia. If there's one single label that defines the look of late teen/early twentysomething college kids in this country, this is probably it. I've never been a huge fan of the clothes - the tops are often too shapeless for my taste and, for lack of a better way to put it, it feels like the lazy way out given that kurtas (long tunics) and jeans are practically a uniform here, but they do have their good points: the fabric is entirely natural, the clothes look rather nicer in real life than they do on the site (which contains only a tiny selection of what's available- turns out they even do food..), and, long before anyone even thought up the words 'ethical fashion', their products are handmade and sourced in villages across India (they're big on craftsmanship and supporting it), and here's the ultimate kicker: they're somewhat affordable, which is rather a big deal when other so-called 'high-quality' (read: splashy designer, more often than not) labels are entering the country and charging the equivalent of a trainee lawyer's salary for three months, for a dress. I mean, I know they're high-priced and all, but some things are ridiculous.
all pics from www.fabindia.com

You're Welcome...

In the absence of actual news, I must report extreme surprise on browsing the local magazine stands. After the usual quick flip through Vogue, and a slightly longer one through Time, the presence of Grazia- which I'm really not familiar with- left me more than a bit flummoxed, because something seemed odd: namely, the presence of Bipasha Basu on the cover (my first thought was that they were doing some kind of Bollywood special). Until I realised that the price tag was in rupees.
Grazia in India, people (though I'm rather late to the party- this was the April issue)! I mean, what's next? (please let it be Topshop or something like it, I'm so sick of the mall retailers and their badly-no, incompetently- cut clothing (if a dress in size XL at Globus ends up not being able to accommodate a pair of 33Cs and being lopsided in the chest, someone obviously needs to revise their idea of what an XL is). And I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the mag, I'll try to get some in before the end of the month (going to go think about buying it now..)


Fashion Week Musings, mk. II

I know I'm far, far too lazy about these things, (the pictures have sat in draft form for weeks!), but I reckon I'll continue...
2. Kiran Uttam Ghosh

She's also based out of Calcutta (I don't really have a bias for designers from my hometown, I promise! It's just that their work really does look better to me), and the collection is flowy and happy, and well and truly relaxed. It's hard to tell at this distance, but I'm really grateful for the fact that there doesn't seem to be a bling OD on her clothes (and, going by past experiences of seeing them up close, there won't be- she never succumbed to the lure of the Swarovski crystal*, thank goodness). It's also good to have a gentle reminder that for India, 'colour' doesn't necessarily have to look potentially toxic- I love the tone-on-tone blues of the top two pics, and (as in the case of Sabyasachi), the styling was pretty decent (though I'm not such a fan of the hats- two sizes bigger and they might have looked right). And the scarf on the last outfit is what really makes the whole thing, IMHO.
3. Vineet Bahl

The sari in the picture above is what really makes me wish there were more pictures of this collection online. Attempting to defy that old chestnut about 'colourful' Indian traditional clothes is nothing short of brave, really, and even more stunning considering he's managed to make it look just as it should (and not like it belongs in a Bollywood movie, thank heavens). Though I still don't understand the empire-line (?) kurta dresses (not shown here- there are pics at bharattextiles.com), I still very badly want a look at what the second model on the left in picture 1 was wearing...and the graphic effects on the brown dress are really rather cool.
* favourite embellishment of Indian fashion designers. Personally, I can't stand 'em.
Pictures from the International Herald Tribune and bollywoodblog.com.


Search And Ye Shall Find

One of the main sources of amusement this blog affords me is the occasional peek at my Google Analytics dashboard- more specifically, at the search strings that bring people here. (past howlers include 'Weasley twins scent'- obviously, someone's an even bigger fan of Fred and George than I am). There are loads of searches involving stilettos- not very surprising, considering the name of this blog, and the odd one for red lipstick- they probably got led here. But the top search over the last three months - with 11 queries in the last two days alone- is for 'stocking tops'. There's also 'stockingtops', and 'do my stocking tops show' (how on earth would I know that?), and I reckon the culprit is this post. But it doesn't bother me, though I can't fathom what on earth would lead some person with an AOL email address (Wtelboy, in case a heads-up to other bloggers is in order) to send the following email to me at the blog's gmail address:
hi, i would love to hear more about your feet and stockings!

*Cue BFH faceplanting on her keyboard*


Skirting Issues..

Having confessed to mucho love and nostalgia for ElleGirl at least once- no, twice- before on this blog, I was taken with yet another fit of it yesterday...and therein lay the way to a trip to the ElleGirl Korea site (I know I've said this before, but- what is it with fashion magazines from that part of the world? They don't ever seem to be anything short of amazing), where I had lots of fun browsing through clothes that are
a) inaccessible thanks to not being sold where I am
b) meant to be worn by a much thinner, cuter person than me (I really don't see my legs holding up to knee socks anytime soon)..
It was actually this picture (seriously, doesn't she look like she should be Facehuntered? The white- possibly canvas?- shoes alone have me in love, but it's all so cute that I'm even willing to throw out my cynicism over this being a professionally styled affair) that got me thinking about the fabled theory re: skirt lengths and the state of the economy (the one that says high hemlines=boomtime, long skirts=recession. But what do you use as a sartorial windvane in a country where a knee-length skirt is considered 'mini'?). I reckon it's all to be taken with a large pinch of salt, since I've never really seen long skirts as frumpy or depression-inducing in any way- if anything, they're easier to move in since you don't have to worry as much about how you sit or move, and mid-length skirts (I've felt this for a while now) are actually more fun, since you don't have to worry about the state of your legs as much, and they put you at less risk of stepping on their hemlines and tearing them. Most of all, there's actually something positively grand about having all that fabric swishing around my legs- I love the way some skirts just go all swirly when the people wearing them move..
picture from ellegirl.co.kr (I can't read any of it, but I think it's some kind of online catalogue attached to the site. And the pictures are too cute). And I know I've ODed on parentheses- I apologise for that..


I Eight This

Lovely Dottie and Stephie over at Fashion Nation have tagged me, and so I must answer...I can't really tag other people right now, though, since I'm rather short on Internet time so I guess I'll edit the post and do it tomorrow..so read on, if you wish.
8 Things BFH is Passionate About
1. Reading. Books, magazines, comics, blogs, you name it I'll read it, I'm the next thing to a junkie bibliophile (and to those, I'd strongly recommend Ex Libris, by Anne Fadiman). Especially old ones- as long as it's got all its text and all its pages together, I'll read it- though I must confess to being fussy about what the covers look like (I don't really care much about what condition they're in, though..)
2. Fashion. I suppose that's rather self-evident, what with having a blog about it and all...or maybe, I should say style, because what a person picks to wear, and how they wear it, can be such a powerful statement of personal choice, especially in context...
3. Food (my motto should really be 'I'll eat anything that isn't alive, and wasn't too slimy when it was alive)...though for some reason, I don't like things with too strong a flavour of coconut.
4. Staring out of windows. When there are windows to stare out of, that is, and more so when I'm inside a bus or some mode of transport.
5. Travelling. I haven't done all that much of it, really, and I prefer to avoid outdoorsy trips when I can, but taking off by myself is something I do rather well...
6. Smells. I'm probably an idiot for doing things like refusing to wear moisturiser because I don't like the way it smells, but that's just one example of the olfactory lunacy I'm capable of...
7. The idea of being independent some day (hopefully, not too far in the future...blasted professional degrees!)
8. Art (though this is going to sound idiotic coming from me)...I lack the talent to even draw a straight line, but can't help but admire people who do have it in them.
8 Things BFH Wants To Do Before She Dies
1. Travel. And there are too many places I want to go, really- Istanbul, London, Vienna, Taipei, Tokyo, Paris, Cairo, Copenhagen, Seoul, close enough to either Pole to see the Aurora Borealis (an ambition I share with Stephie)...too long a list, really. I'd also want to shop and watch the streetstyle in those places...chuck the touristy stuff!
2. Learn (in some cases, re-learn) to speak (and read) the following with a fair degree of fluency: French, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, and Korean. It's bound to help with the travelling, if nothing else..
3. Write something that I won't want to throw in the bin as soon as I see it on paper.
4. Actually watch one of the shows in Paris. I don't give a damn just where in the room I'm placed, as long as the clothes are visible..
5. Live someplace where I don't know a single person (that's most of the travel wishlist, really) for at least two years.
6. Meet other fash bloggers, someday. Esp. the ones located in Asia, if y'all don't think it's too creepy.
7. Grow my hair back to hip-length, which was how long it was till I was thirteen. It's inching its way towards my waist now, I'm just wondering how long it'll be before my stupid layers start growing out...
8. Meet even one of the people I've hero-worshipped for years, in person. And maybe manage not to faint while doing the same..
8 Things BFH Says Often
1. 'Damn!'
2. 'What time do we have to wake up tomorrow?'
3. 'Where's the other sock?'
4. 'Yes, C___' (name left blank to preserve C's privacy)
5. 'Yes, I will wear that.' (to The Mothership)
6. 'Where did I put my pen?'
7. 'Ok, ok, I've got to go now..'
8. 'Wait. Where's my phone?'
8 Books BFH Has Read Lately (more like re-read a billion times really)
1. I Capture The Castle- Dodie Smith
2. Sputnik Sweetheart- Haruki Murakami
3. xxxHolic, Volume 13- CLAMP
4. Toast- Nigel Slater
5. The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides
6. Claudine and Annie- Colette
7. Mike and Psmith- P.G. Wodehouse
8. Clouds of Witness- Dorothy L. Sayers
8 Songs BFH Can Listen To Over and Over
1. Alone In Kyoto- Air
2. Bonnie and Clyde- Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
3. The William Tell Overture- Rossini
4. J'y Suis Jamais Alle- Yann Tiersen, OST- Amélie
5. Ready To Go- Republica
6. Stupid Girl- Garbage
7. Married with Children- Oasis
8. For Fruits Basket- Ritsuko Okazaki
8 Things That Attract BFH to Her Best Friends (yeesh this is going to be embarrassing if they come along)
1. They like books, too. And they don't think it's weird to like books as much as I do.
2. They know when I need to be left alone, and don't hold it against me that it's necessary in the first place.
3. Silences are never uncomfortable around them.
4. I'd trust them with literally anything, and know that it won't be blabbed out.
5. They tease me like no one's business, and it's actually fun.
6. They can give me silly nicknames, and they're the only people in the world who are allowed to address me by those nicknames.
7. I can bring up something I really like, pretending that it's something off-hand, and they'll turn out to like it too.
8. They're actually the coolest people on earth.
EDIT: I now tag....Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, Yumiko of Trials and Tribulations, Headmistress of Salt and Schizophrenia, Evie of I Need More Drama, and Diana of Hot Chocolate and Mint.


"I Write This Sitting In The Kitchen Sink"

Well, no, I don't, actually. It's really a rickety chair whose back I've lost any hope of support from, in a shady little Internet cafe somewhere. And I'd be completely won over by my spanking new copy of I Capture The Castle (found seven years after the library from which I first borrowed it refused to let me buy their copy- and I was too gullible to think of just snaffling it anyway), if it wasn't for the fact that it's got one of those movie tie-in covers (which is annoying, even if the movie is reportedly a nice one- I'm fussy about what my book covers look like). But I'm still rather kicked to have my very own copy at last, and still thoroughly charmed by the Mortmain family and its periphera - and I suspect I'm not the only one..
PS: Anyone attempting to place the author might find it helpful to know that she also wrote 101 Dalmatians. I remember liking the Disney movie as a kid, but the book is brilliant too.


Fashion Week Musings, mk. I

Having two fashion weeks happen within about two weeks of each other in the same country might be more than a bit confusing, but I reckon it's good to have more output, not to mention more showing opportunities- especially for young talent. And if one of them, on a whole, turns out to look a bit boring, there's always the other waiting to restore my faith in the future of fashion design in this country. That said, Lakme India Fashion Week (so called to distinguish it from Wills India Fashion Week, which gets held in Delhi- see what I mean about confusing?) this time around has definitely had its standout collections, which I'm going to run mini-posts about in the next week. And the first of these is (drumroll, please):
1. Sabyasachi Mukherjee

This should come as no surprise, really, given my previous assertions of fangirlism for his clothes, but I'm madly in love with the outfit right on top already- the man really does have a knack for getting his presentations right, and gives it all a quality very few Indian designers manage to put across in their clothes- coolness. (the trouble with a lot of clothes made by Indian designers is that they're far too precious- the embroidery, handmadeness and sheer volumes of fabric have, in the past, left me feeling like these aren't really clothes to, say, sit cross-legged on the floor in. I can't say the same of Sabyasachi designs, though- they're as beautifully made as one could possibly want, but the sheer casualness of the styling makes it very easy to imagine these clothes in my life some day (I wish!)). Even if I'm in a bit of a neutrals phase right now, the colours are actually mildly soothing (and it's not as if he can't do clothes without colour. After doing a wildly splashy patchwork-featuring show for his India Fashion Week debut in 2002, his next collection was entirely in shades of white, and it was stunning because everyone else had jumped on the colour bandwagon by then).
And one can't help but love the panache and sexiness (albeit of the non-obvious kind) of the way he mixes it all up- it might be mildly eccentric to some people, but it's an eccentricity that seems entirely natural, and which I could definitely do with- beginning with the models' hairdos (stuck all over with flowers and random things- too bad there weren't any detail shots available), to the layering, to the mixes of prints, all the way down to the clotheslines strung full of clothes and fairy lights above the runway (Rediff said they were "creating the pretty ambience of a modest home in the French countryside.". To which I say: French countryside my foot, every house in India has one or more of them on the balcony- what's wrong with just saying that?). But seriously, they're so pretty..

PS: Getting the pictures together for this post was something of a job, since the only shots of complete collections online seem to be on a pay-to-see website. I honestly can't see why people need to act so pricey about pictures- if Copenhagen and Tokyo Fashion Weeks can put out pictures and videos of shows on their official sites, why can't the same be done here?

Images from the International Herald Tribune, indiwo, bharattextiles.com, and Rediff.


There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

....but the Olympic torch certainly isn't it...
Image from The Guardian. Sorry, I just thought of the pun and couldn't resist..

Just A Little Personal..And Maybe Political Too

I know I keep saying this to the point where it gets nauseating, but being crazily busy and not having a functional Internet connection at home is really not good for the update status of this blog- forget posting, I can't even comment on other blogs at the usual rate (which makes one feel a bit like a kid being given sweets and told not to take off the wrappers), and it's more than a little frustrating when my brain refuses to go into 'compose post' mode even when I do have a folder full of Fashion Week (Lakme India Fashion Week, this time around) pictures sitting in My Pictures (incidentally, why is it so difficult to find pictures of entire collections online? Or anywhere? I've caught the occasional video and bits and pieces off the news, but the only site that seems to have got proper sets of pictures requires a paid subscription at $2 a week, which might be handy for an actual fashion journalist but doesn't help a girl like me.. (though I must say, Sabyasachi and Kiran Uttam Ghosh's collections do look excellent, which wasn't unexpected at all. I'll put up a review...when my head is clear enough to think out a post, that is).
The real-world news has also been a bit of a preoccupation of late, not least because strange things have happened not too far away from where I am, beginning with Tibetan protesters storming the Chinese embassy in New Delhi around three weeks ago (actually, with riots in Tibet before that), to the Olympic flame getting put out in Paris the day before yesterday (though a lot of people seem to think protesters have no business being around anything to do with the Olympics, IMHO it'd be hypocritical if they've banged on and on about human rights and how important they are to Olympic ideals and then effectively told the protesters to shut up about violations of those very human rights. And as for the Chinese government's response to the entire issue, I'll only say this much: calling the Dalai Lama, of all people, a 'terrorist jackal' is not exactly reasonable).
On a side note, a pickaxe needs to be taken to the head of the idiot in the cubicle next to mine, who thinks it's a good idea to entertain himself by blasting some godawful Bollywood remix off his phone while I draft documents (Bollywood and the travesties it calls 'music' are, IMO, the scourge of modern-day India. And let me not even get into the frequent stupidity and misogyny of the films themselves, or how utterly repellent the idea that it represents Indian cinema in its entirety is).
I just realised, I've rambled like nobody's business, and am risking being called a few names for the subject matter of the last two paragraphs. This isn't a substitute space for Nonsense on Stilts, my old (and boringly personal) blog, but right now I am too tired to care. Besides, who says a girl who likes clothes can't have an opinion on things that aren't fashion/pop culture-related?


Pleats, If You Please

Pleated skirts are among my greatest sartorial bogeymen- I spent the better part of thirteen years in them for school and got really sick and tired of anything that looked even vaguely like uniform, but lately I've been missing the swinginess of my old P.E. skirts, and when I tried on my cousin's skirt (she's seventeen and goes to the same school as I did), it actually didn't look half bad. Which is a relief, because I'm mildly tired of pencil-shaped, restrictive things, and my beloved old blue ankle-length skirt from the Tibetan market in Bangalore has been nearly worn to death. Also, I suspect I might just be better at avoiding boredom (and overt schoolgirliness) now than five years ago: also, they don't have to be schoolgirly- I certainly shan't be wearing them with uniform-esque things, and I really want some pleat-edges to fiddle with when I'm sitting down (something I did almost all the time in school)..


Frippery And Suchlike

Ivory Recycled Poppy Tail Holder
Recycled Poppy Bobbypin Set
Moon Rabbit Necklace
Decorating myself is not one of my strong points. Not with jewellery, anyway- earrings and bracelets are things I find annoying, and I haven't really found a decent replacement for my favourite pendant- a bunch of purple glass grapes with two green glass leaves- yet another lost bit of cupboard love. However, the embargo on decoration doesn't extend to my hair, which, being abundant and black, makes a decentish background for nearly any silly hairclips/hair ties/pins I choose to put into it. And given that I find one of my silly sartorial cravings coming on (as recorded here), only this time what I really want is a wild, vaguely wood-maidenish sort of floral wreath (less Louis Vuitton and more Art Nouveau fairy), and since I can't really walk around with an actual object of that kind in my hair (this not being adventurous London, but Delhi where creepy men stare), a few pretty hair ornaments by Foundling seem like a viable, mildly toned-down alternative. I'm rather enamoured of the shop's name and contents- and I do fancy everything with a poppy on it and the Moon Rabbit necklace (reminds me of that old story about the rabbit in the moon)...
All pictures from Foundling's Etsy store.



I actually didn't believe my eyes last night, when I read the news that Rei Kawakubo (she of whom I am an eternal fangirl) was actually doing a diffusion range for H&M, which more or less covers everything possible for any collection- from menswear down to perfume*- and I know none of it is ever going to find its way to where I am (off-topic rant: why on earth does shopping for non-ethnic clothes that won't break the bank, always suck? Screw BRIC and the 'emerging markets' faff, just give me something decent to buy, dammit!), but it's still fairly thrilling nevertheless- I mean, expecting avant-gardeism of the kind so often seen on the Comme runways isn't rational, but I'd love to see a few things in the line of the 'Play' t-shirts (last picture). And it's not as if it can't work, I'm actually pretty optimistic..so leaving off with some pictures might just be the way to go..
I'm also sorry for not having posted for several days...but things are mad here.
EDIT: I've just been told I don't really have tomorrow off, after all. I do feel so gypped, particularly considering the fact that my lunch plans (involving a really good friend I haven't seen for nearly eight months now) will have to go in the bin.

*it's only the last one that gives me pause.
pictures from nytimes

About Me

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.