Extra! Extra! Spot The Blogger (Click To Enlarge)

When Rumi of Fashion Toast put up her latest post, about getting featured in Vogue Girl Korea, my first reaction was a big 'w0000t!'. And then I took a slightly closer look at the World Fashion Blogger feature she'd scanned along with her interview, and realised I recognised more than one person on the page besides Rumi herself- not least The Clothes Horse, Rhiannon of Liebemarlene Vintage, and Kirsty of That's Just My Vibe (all circled and named in my MS-Paint messup of Rumi's scan). And I think I'd be sure of the identities of more of them if the pictures were bigger, but it's quite a kick to see people on your blogroll featured in the pages of a magazine, more so when they wear their clothes so amazingly.
PS: Does anyone recognise more of the bloggers on the page? I think I recognise some of the outfits, but can't quite name the blogger (which is embarrassing for me!)
picture from Fashion Toast.
EDIT: As a kind reader pointed out, I named one of the bloggers wrong, so I edited the name out. My bad...


The Art Of Amy Sol

Wake Up Again, Gomo (2007)
The Clovervine Slumber (2007)
Cloud Blossoms (2006)
Your Meadow, My Ocean Floor (2007)
Blue Bouquet (2008)
Flying Fish (2008)
The Math Book That Never Opened (2007)
Amy Sol's detailed, dreamy manga-influenced artwork isn't what I'd call easy to lay hands on (her prints emerge in limited editions only), but it's most certainly wonderful to look at- the muted colour palette and melancholy Alice-in-Wonderland feel of her paintings, not to mention the quirky animals who accompany her subjects (mostly female, for some reason all the artists whose work I'm loving these days mainly paint girls) are unique and lovely. I suspect they'd be even better in real life, so lucky people in LA should definitely check out her latest exhibit at the Thinkspace Gallery (4210 Santa Monica Blvd Los Angeles) before it closes on July 4th- that is, if you have the time. Which I hope you do. Those who won't be in LA or anywhere near the gallery, however, should very definitely head on over to her site for a look at more of her work, or look at work in progress on her blog.
Hello, Sea Pony (2007)
all images from Amy Sol's website. Not mine!

My Seven Songs Of Summer

A little while ago, I took a tag off The Internet Goddess of Red Lipstick (aka WendyB), to name seven songs I was listening to this spring. The spring bit is rather redundant (my corner of the world has gone past summer and into a very rainy season already), so I think I'll just name seven songs I've been listening to a lot lately:

1. Whatever, by Oasis. Quite simply put, one of the most happy-making songs of all time- I can't believe they didn't put it on an actual album. Oasis, to me, is the musical equivalent of comfort food. And this six-minute plus version is pure brilliance.
2. Running Up That Hill, by Chromatics. The original's brilliant, but as covers go, this one is really quite good. Though the video has about a minute and a half of faff before the song even starts (this doesn't happen on the actual track), so if you're impatient I wouldn't recommend it.
3. Daddy Cool, by Placebo. I love disco music (which is an embarrassing thing to admit to friends), and I love Placebo. And even if you don't like disco, Placebo's Boney M cover is awesome in its own right. The video is kind of crazy, though- I'm fairly sure Placebo didn't make it, but I like it just the same.
4. Summer Wine, by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra. It's one of my playlist constants, and is going to stay that way for a very long time..
5. Life In Mono, by Mono. I love this one not only because it's unbelievably lovely, but it also happens to be the theme song for one of my favourite films of all time- the 1998 version of Great Expectations. It's been a clear ten years since I first heard it, and my love for it hasn't diminished any..
6. Dark Chariot, by Peer Raben. I can't find anything for it on Youtube except an excerpt from 2046, so no links.
7. Roads, by Portishead. I couldn't find a video for this one, either (and the reason I'm linking videos is because fileden won't upload my files to share). On a side note: I'm so glad to have a new Portishead album, at last...it's been far too long.


The Flowers Bloom For You..

I've always been a big fan of putting random things in my hair - hair ornaments fascinate me no end, and I've said it before. However, the traditional kind (at least in India, and I'm guessing in other places too) aren't easy things to wear despite their beauty, which is why my interest is more than slightly piqued by the fabric creations of Japanese artist Yonuko*. Yonuko's creations are worlds away from your run-of-the mill Alice band, being a take on traditional Japanese hair ornaments or tsumami-kanzashi (she makes them from vintage kimono fabric) that manages to make them look completely wearable but without ever entering the territory of oversimplification or kitsch. And wearable they might be, but ordinary they most certainly are not- the pictures should stand as proof enough of that (I'm actually inspired enough to look up kanzashi tutorials online, despite the fact that I will almost certainly bungle the making of anything like these). But there's much potential in the idea- hair is such an underaccessorised thing these days...
EDIT: To those who like kanzashi and won't be able to get your hands on Yonuko's pieces because you can't figure out how to buy them, I strongly recommend a look at Gochemoche's Etsy shop- she does absolutely lovely kanzashi as combs, snap clips, brooches and even pendants made out of kimono silk.
*just a quick heads-up to everyone who clicks: the site is entirely in Japanese, so it might not be that easy to navigate.
all pics from http://www.a-yarn.com and http://www.himeko-no-kazari.com.


Here's Looking At You, Cyd

Cyd Charisse (1922-2008)
This might be belated, but rest in peace...and thank you for all those lovely dance numbers in the TNT movies I used to watch as a little girl.


Boudoir Pretties...

Although there's no dearth of high-fashion glossies pushing the latest news about European/American labels entering the Indian market, I often wonder why we don't get to know more about designers from Asia*. It's probably got a lot to do with not having the PR machines to get their stuff known, but it's a real shame because there are too many really good designers whose work ends up flying under the fashion radar altogether.
One such designer (she's from Thailand, though not that unknown, going by her press page) is Disaya Prakobsantisukh of Boudoir, whose collection is a dolly-girl's dream, though it wouldn't be too hard to imagine other girls going for it too. It's simple and pretty, but not toothache-inducingly so, with a strong emphasis on dresses (this is the AW07 collection I'm looking at)- and the frill-less presentation of the clothes makes it really easy for me to imagine pulling a piece out of context and de-prettifying it by adding a parka or a beatup pair of boots to the mix (which is my first urge on encountering anything pretty-pretty). Though the ultimate surprise for me was the star-print dress on the right in the second photograph- turns out I don't really hate all star prints except one after all...
*most of my info about designers in Asian countries besides India, Korea and Japan has ended up coming off fashion blogs written from Asia.
all pictures from Boudoir.


Topshop Comes To Town...

I really should look at newspapers earlier in the day...today's Economic Times tells me that the Arcadia group (they own Topshop) is apparently tying up with real estate developers DLF to open up a Topshop franchise in India, and that space for stores has already been blocked in an under-construction mall in South Delhi, among other places. There's no definite date attached to a possible opening- the only thing that gave me any clue was the line 'DLF has started blocking space for Topshop at some of its projects that may hit the market late this year,'. Which means..there could be a Topshop store in this country by the end of the year. (I'm hoping for an online store too, but am I getting ahead of myself?)
On one hand, I'm thrilled with the news- finally, a potential source of decent clothes that won't make me look like some pseudo NGO pillock (*coughFabIndiacough*), and won't be mundane enough to drive me to tears (Westside etc- ugh!)! But on the flip side, I'm worried about the designs being watered down to 'suit the Indian market'*, and also overpricing**. I suppose a lot depends on how the chain wants to position itself, too- whether it's setting itself up as the cooler, more fashionable alternative to the horrible high-street shops in existence today, or as yet another 'premium' brand from the UK (that was M&S's excuse for its own ridiculousness). And given that another article tells me that Zara could also open shop here by 2010...my clothes choices could get interesting- or more interesting than they are now, anyway.
this is where I have nightmare visions of cheap Lycra 'clubwear' and caftans on the rails, and the more interesting designs never making it here at all.
**Mango, which has been around for a few years, sells camisoles- its cheapest items- for over a thousand rupees (that's about £ 12.50- £15 , which mightn't seem like a lot in the UK but is a lot here). M&S also used to overprice truly horrible clothes some years back, but I haven't been near it for a while.


Dreamworlds Are Not Just Pretty Places

Aquarium (2005)A Demand 2 (2002)
Door (2007)
Tea Party (2006)
A Demand 1 (2002)
Garden Of Idea (2006)
The Time Of The Chrysanthemums (2003)
Reading In Afternoon (2003)
They Welcomed 1 (2006)
There's something about looking at Fuco Ueda's paintings that always gives me a feeling akin to listening to Air for hours on end- the dreamy detachment and extraordinary skin tones of the girls she paints, combined with their near-complete absorption in the frames they inhabit and a seeming disregard of onlookers no matter what those onlookers are witness to, make for a strangely compelling, provocative experience. She paints on canvas as well as cloth on wood using acrylic, shell powder and powdered mineral pigments, and her subjects are nearly always female, with plant and animal life rather prominently featured, though 'featured' is really the wrong word- they're much, much more than just background. And checking out more of her work, here, is highly recommended.
I could have sworn I'd done this post six months ago, but it's better late than never...though I deeply regret not doing it at least ten days ago- she had a show on till the 7th of this month at Roque La Rue Gallery in Seattle..
Symbiosis (2007)
all images from http://www.geocities.jp/uedafuco/.

I Don't Get This...

I'm not quite sure what to make of the news that Chanel has actually taken on Emma Watson to be in its next set of adverts. On one hand, it'll probably be good for the publicity when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gets released, it's refreshing that she's a normal girl and can dress herself decently enough without a stylist, and it's great that she hasn't reduced herself to bobbleheadedness yet. On the other, she's barely eighteen and is known only for her work in the Potter series (not exactly groundbreaking, but at least the last three are watchable) plus a BBC production of Ballet Shoes.
I don't know if that's even a proper ground for being circumspect about this, but I'm not a huge fan of actors-as-models (apart from Kirsten Dunst for Miu Miu, and heck, even Keira Knightley had more of a CV), and it might just have made more sense if they'd waited a couple of years. Also, following in the footsteps of Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss and Nicole Kidman (and I wouldn't call myself a fan of the last two, but one can't deny their stature in their respective fields) calls for just a bit more of, I don't know, something, than what Emma's got at the moment.
EDIT, two days later: Turns out it's not true, and Miss Watson isn't fronting up any Chanel campaigns after all.
Bleargh, I'm going to go post about something else now. Celeb-focused posts are not my forte..


Away With The Fairies

Queen Marie posted about babastudioprague's work before me, but happily we're in full agreement that their bags deserve a good talking-up, because they are beautiful. I'm not a fan of evening bags- they normally feel far too 'ladylike' for me, but the sheer whimsy and panache of these little shoulderbags has me hooked- especially their fairy bags, whose prints are based off actual story illustrations and even tarot.
Fairies By Night. There's very little chance of something getting nicked out of this (admittedly not large) bag if I owned it- I'd probably be staring at the front more than half the time. And I love the blue-green tones...

The Fairy Hunt. Title says it all, really- those are some scary-looking goblins in the print! But it's a really pretty drawstring bag...

Make Cakes Not War. I don't like slogan tees much. Slogan bags aren't often much better. But when the slogan is actually funny, an exception is well worth making. And I'd much rather have cakes than war.

Vintage silk-fronted messenger bag (phone not included!. The above two are gorgeous, though not quite practical for a life like mine (i.e. carrying everything but the kitchen sink in my bag). But if I really had to pick a babastudioprague bag to work for me, it would be this one, not least because messengers are my bag shape of choice, and I love the graphic print- and the idea of having one partly made out of vintage kimono silk is something I find more than a little appealing. And I'd advise checking out their other messenger bags too- these are VERY far from ordinary.
all pictures from babstudioprague's Etsy shop.



Fashion bloggers and streetstyle watchers have loved her style since she was first photographed by the Sart last August, and now Louise -who needs no last name for instant recognition, and who has been previously mentioned here and here- has started her very own blog! It's every bit as lovely as one would expect (I seriously hope I'm not coming across as some kind of crazed fangirl here, even if I kind of am..). I'm also highly interested in her art posts,and hope she does more of them in the future..and why is anyone reading this far down the post, sane people should click on the link and be gone at once!
photograph from misspandorapandora.blogspot.com (totally not mine, sorry for borrowing but it had to be done!)

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream..

It's not often that I flat-out fall in love with furniture, but my mind's eye is already seeing pictures of me asleep in this piece of loveliness, preferably with a few vines outside my bedroom windows too. Though its price tag is going to ensure that those pictures remain in my mind's eye only...
The picture and bed are both from Shawn Lovell Metalworks.


No, really, when will this madness stop? Even though Ali Michael already blew the whistle on just how common unhealthy weight-loss/dieting practices and eating disorders are in the fashion industry, it's still horrific to hear it corroborated by another model - this time Coco Rocha, who had a fairly busy season in Paris, so no one can accuse her of sour grapes now. (I'd suggest reading this, this and this). And I'm not really sure what to say any more, but one can't help but wonder just what it'll take to change things.
I'm not advocating total revolution (it's far from realistic to expect size 12 girls on the runway as a standard), but just enough change that a 5'10" girl weighing 108 pounds- which is approximately 49 kgs, for those who are more used to that unit of measurement- doesn't have to be told to lose more weight, doesn't have to be told to 'look anorexic', doesn't take diuretics to 'prepare' for show seasons and doesn't have to be told by her agent to throw up after meals to look even skinnier. It's not enough to say the girls aren't being forced to model, and they can walk away if they choose - which isn't entirely true. Models aren't the only working people who can ruin their health for their jobs in the name of doing them properly, but I don't think too many other fields require you to do so.
And if all these discussions and meetings about changing the status quo (and this is just sizism- racism now, that's another can of worms altogether) are really just hogwash, maybe a models' union wouldn't be such a bad idea after all (and I suspect not much will change in the immediate future, despite the fact that three top models have now spoken up about their own experiences- Natalia Vodianova last year, Ali, and now Coco. But seriously, would it really kill the designers to make their samples just a little bit bigger?).


Baby, The Stars Shine Bright

By and large, star-printed clothes annoy me (though there are exceptions), not least because they're so damn twee (and then they turned trendy too. Heaven help us..). But then a random eBay browse led me to the following beauty by Hanae Mori, currently in the possession of Couture Allure Vintage Fashions:
The $249 that it's going for, here, isn't anywhere within my budget and I'm not sure that I'd stump up that much for just the print, but I love the constellation effect of the whole thing (that's how the seller describes it, and I agree. But it looks more like a coatdress/coverupdress than an actual dress), and the red moon combines with the scattering of the print to make it rather sweetly imaginative instead of emo. In any case, I've rediscovered my love of five-pointed star doodles, which isn't such a bad thing really.



Re: the news that Keira Knightley might be about to play Eliza Doolittle in a remake of My Fair Lady, my thoughts ran more or less as follows:
a) A remake? Of My Fair Lady? Sabrina was bad enough...and remakes of anything are nearly always crap. No, actually they're always crap.
b) Oh God, Keira Knightley as Eliza? She might be an authentic Londoner, but what about her pouting....and the singing...and the acting..
c) If they really have to do this, is Keira Knightley the only young actress in the UK aka the only name Hollywood can come up with to fill the role of a Cockney? I know Audrey Hepburn was also cast for commercial reasons, but she's Audrey Hepburn.
d) Whatever. I'm just going to watch Shimotsuma Monogatari again (the Japanese title sounds much cooler than Kamikaze Girls- this one's joining Amélie on my list of movies that will never fail to make me grin from ear to ear. It really is brilliant).
e) *BFH spends next couple of hours laughing her head off at aforementioned film*. I'll take Rococo Lolita+Biker Chick over a rehash that will probably be as bad as all the other rehashes before it, any day.


Kamikaze Girls aka Shimotsuma Monogatari

Films that involve or acknowledge fashion* aren't things that get made all that often, or by too many people**. But I really wish more of them were like Kamikaze Girls, the one I just finished watching after an email from a friend who raved about it. The eponymous girls aren't suicidal as the title might have suggested at first, but a Rococo Lolita going through culture shock in the small town she's moved to with her yakuza dad, and a biker chick (whose bike isn't exactly what one would conventionally expect on hearing the words 'biker chick', though her behaviour certainly is - inclusive of headbutting! And spitting!). The two lead actresses have fantastic chemistry, and the first half is a riot- I don't think a minute went by without me laughing, and the funny special effects (a yellow cloud for a fart, a cross over a kanji error), along with a crackpot animated sequence on the history of the gangs, are brilliant. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the fashion is fabulous (and how can it not be, with two protagonists like that?). And just in case it isn't clear- this is a must-watch. Especially if you happen to be a bow fetishist, or like movies about female friendships (and there aren't nearly enough of those). Pictures follow.

Ichigo (left, looks vaguely like Shirley Manson IMO) and Momoko(right). The white thing on Momoko's head is a giant bow..
Ichigo's biker outfit (which I think is massively cool). And her bike (partly hidden by her).
It's not quite obvious in the picture above, but Ichigo's long skirt is pleated.
Which reminds me, were Japanese motorcycle gang outfits the inspiration behind Yohji Yamamoto AW08-09? This just makes me even surer of it..

Momoko loves her head bows, even when she isn't in full Lolita kit (I want one, now..)

The pink scooter (sorry, I still can't get over it!)
*note: I don't mean fashion as in runways, photoshoots etc. I'm talking about the things of six posts ago, just the process of getting dressed and giving that some thought for your own sake.
and I'm not talking about stupid rom-coms with heroines working at a 'fashion magazine' or some such thing. Or SATC.
Screencaps by me, except the last one. Yohji runway images from style.com.


Harem Comedy...Ok, Not Quite.

When the first lot of dropped-crotch, super-drapey trousers emerged on runways all those months ago, I chewed a fingernail and thought, 'Hmm, don't those look like.....dhotis?'* After a little more fingernail chewing, I decided the really super-drapey versions also looked a bit like Patiala salwars (picture right at the bottom since I can't bear the idea of that pink being at the top of my blog page), and left it at that, thinking they looked rather cool but still rather circumspect thanks to the seeming flappiness of the legs (flappy legs on trousers just make me want to hoik them up like a skirt).
But a very short while later (this was in November), girls in pants like the ones in the photograph below, started popping up all over the streets of Bangalore - or so it felt, anyway. Come March, I spotted them on girls in Delhi too (primarily worn with racerback t-shirts, it seemed). And I'm no trend forecaster, but I really do think that if something ends up catching here, of all places (no offence to anyone, but India is not the most fashion-forward of places- it's the truth), and this consistently too- two more sightings of the trousers happened just yesterday- there's probably something to it. I'm putting the sudden spurt in the popularity of dropped-crotch pants entirely down to how much they resemble existing forms of traditional clothing (though the shape, as worn by the girls I've seen so far, isn't a dead spit of the inspirations)- which is why Sarah Mower calling the shape 'avant-garde' sounds strange to me. Though I've yet to try it since I'm not much of a pants girl, it's easy to see the appeal- in beastly summers like these, the looseness and the cropped length are basically yelling that comfort is not to be sneezed at. And a bit of draping just makes it even better- I've been trying to find a decent picture of someone wearing one of these for months but had no luck until the Sartorialist re-posted this photograph- which was taken in March- yesterday.

*which, worn the Bengali way- which is the way I was thinking of- are fantastically tough things to pleat and wear (this comes from firsthand experience of being forced to wear one for a school play- in which my character was a guy. I also got a cane and a fan for that getup. Whoever said I don't like drag?)



I'm posting this right after getting the news of the death of Yves Saint Laurent (seen here with Catherine Deneuve) from a comment by Riz. Truthfully it shouldn't be a surprise, given that he's been ill in the past and was even hospitalised after a fall some time ago, but I can't help assuming that practically all the fashion personalities I know of are indestructible, and that the more legendary they are, the more indestructible they get. I suppose an era really ended when he retired, but this just brings it home more than ever.

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.