Thursday, November 20, 2014

In Bloom

Wearing: Karen Walker sunglasses, pom pom earrings from etsy, thrifted blouse, old school skirt, Romance was Born clutch, American Apparel socks, Rubi platform shoes.

I bought this blouse and clutch in the same week and it seemed like fate that they match each other *perfectly*. I eluded to this top in my review of Ashley Williams' Spring collection for 2015 and aside from the tiny stains on white rayon it is totally perfect and I bought it for an absolute bargain! I would have payed ten bucks alone for the embroidery detail which looks to be done by hand and it is just perfect. The floral design and pastels kind of remind me of packaging on bottled water. Obviously I had to wear more crisp white and floral with it and a tartan skirt to match the frills of my clutch bag.
Apologies, my school uniform skirt seems to be eternally wrinkled after many hours of slouching and sitting in a brain dead stupor during class. Not that I would condone missing out an an education.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ashley Williams S/S 2015

Ashley Williams, a relatively fresh face on the London fashion scene made a splash at this year’s fashion week with her small army of mall Goths dressed in cheongsam dresses with a modern twist. What appealed to me other than the shades of bubblegum pink and slightly mod 1960s aesthetic were the frog closures used in a variety of different ways. Traditionally they are the feature which decorates the right side of a dress or shirt and for the most part Williams has stuck to the brief but also used these elements in symmetrical skirts with thigh splits which I thought was very clever. It’s a little provocative but aesthetically interesting and adds texture as well. Even though my personal style largely revolves around the use of colour and patterns I still inspect my clothes for their craftsmanship and fine detail. Nothing make me feel more powerful than to wear an outfit that I mindfully chose which is beautiful up close as well as from afar and I like to capture all of those different levels when documenting my outfit.

Fashion bloggers and WOC such as Susie Bubble have already expressed a certain kind of inner turmoil concerning the style of these dresses as succinctly as “I like it! But I know I shouldn’t”. While I don’t see their design as problematic I should make the distinction that I am biracial, half white and half Malaysian Chinese so my ties to traditional design and culture are a little more tenuous. I’ve recently had the good fortune to buy lots of gorgeous clothes from my local thrift shop including a cheongsam, Asian quilted vest and inspired-blouse of which I have no problem styling with but I’m reluctant to sell these pieces on my Etsy store for sentimental reasons as well as a strange sense of pride. These feelings are confusing and in no way easy to resolved but I think the discussion of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry is an important one.

Continuing from Prada’s AW/14 collection, glittery bras and bustiers continue to be worn over blouses and dresses rather than underneath and I love it. I had the chance to buy something similar from another brand about a week ago for twenty bucks and I missed my opportunity and my god I regret that decision so much. At a point where I have nothing but free time on my hands to experiment with personal style and particularly explore fashion without wearing a multitude of layers (as is my habit) I could have looked like a glittery Wonder Woman. I don’t think I’m quite as bold try wear such a look out yet but you never know, I’m expecting Melbourne and Australia in general to have some seriously hot weather over summer but I don’t want degrees of forty temperatures (that’s in degrees Celsius) to stop me from having fun over the holidays- as I have let it in the past. This time I am determined to have lots of fun and look cute doing it too!

While the clothes themselves remained crisp and experimental in design, the models touted somber expressions, heavy eye shadow and somewhat bedraggled locks tying in with some of the more commercialized designs of this collection. I said before it reminded me a little bit of mall Goths but never elaborated on the idea. Put simply the models looked sour-faced, like they didn’t want to be there but nonetheless wore their impeccably applied black lipstick and greased up hair. It kind of reminded me of what it felt like to be a moody teenager at the age of fourteen, getting dragged along to the shopping centre to help me mum buy a week’s worth of groceries. And while it didn’t necessarily marry well with the borrowed aesthetic of traditional Chinese dressers it did make the collection more accessible to some and for twenty-something year olds such as myself it was another thread in a rich tapestry to relate to. I loved it, but can appreciate that Ashley Williams is still learning her craft, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Images via Ashley Williams website

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pom Pom Squad

I always invariably discuss cheerleaders, pom poms and the ideal of American high schools. Even though I left high school behind three years ago I still wonder what it would be like to have my time all over again and if I would do things differently. Or would my experience have changed had I attended school in a different country which again brings me back to America and pop culture references of cheerleaders in movies. But surely because I am so old now doesn't that mean these feelings are more irrelevant and perhaps I should grow up and move on with my life? WRONG. Or at least that is not how my brain works and while it would be nice to live on a neat little timeline and experience things in a logical sequence of events, that is not how real life works either. 
So it would seem that cheerleaders and this lofty idea of high school has been so frequent that it has now caused me permanently corrupted me.

1- Freaks and Geeks, 2- Alex Turner's love letter to Alexa Chung written by unknown, 3 & 4- unknowns, 5- THE COOL CUSTOMER, 6- American Beauty (1999), 7- unknown, 8- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 9- Ghost World (2001) and Rookie Yearbook volume 1, 10- unknown via Ditzy and Whimzy, 11- unknown.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

School's Out

Wearing: Romance was Born jacket, thrifted blouse, Asos skirt, POMS earrings, American Apparel socks, Dr Martens boots and beaded choker.

School's out for the summer. Not just out for the summer but FOREVER- I officially had my last university exam today and (assuming I pass everything and they don't lose my exam in a freak weather event) I will never have to sit another in my life. It's a weird feeling. The last sixteen years of my life have revolved around education but I feel like there's so much I still don't know yet??? How do I know I'm ready to join the real world and become a functioning member of society. I just wish there was a nice manual or something that magically appeared out of the blue like in Beetlejuice when Adam and Barbara Maitland die. Of course that's not going to happen but it would be really nice if it did! Anyway I've applied to do honors in Palaeontology or Geophysics and I should know whether I've been accepted or not by December.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Phiney Pet SS '15

I really like the Phiney Pet lookbooks- the clothes themselves are full of whimsy and nostalgia but it’s the way they present their collections that captures my imagination. They seem to have the ability to magically transport the viewer to a dimension which exists outside of time and space- maybe in a parallel universe which is not too dissimilar from our own version of reality. The biggest reason for this is they seem to have elements of old and new fashion all at the same time but it’s hard to know where one element ends and another starts. Their most recent collection for Spring 2015 which I have been dying to discuss ever since London Fashion Week heavily borrows motifs from the 1970s and I cannot help but draw comparisons between their chosen model and country singer Dolly Parton.

Although their previous two lookbooks predominantly featured women of colour for which I heavily praised them for, they have since abandoned in them favour of this lone blond femme fatale figure. It is a little disappointing that a brand to see such a quirky and unique brand slowly migrate towards the path carved by the mainstream fashion industry, however; I hope that this change in tune was only for the sake of creating a dreamy and somewhat moody vibe. Don’t get me wrong, I love what model Jessica Mai Walker brings to the shoot and I am so glad they let her wear her nose piercing and even show off her snake tattoo but amidst her fabulous tousled blond locks and sultry, glittery eye shadow-laden stare I feel slightly irked and a little ripped off. Could this be the beginning of the end? I certainly hope not but one thing I know for certain: the clothes have retained all their charm and remain as colourful as ever. 

Despite my ranting complaints and chastising, this lookbook will basically serve as my makeup inspiration for Summer, provided I can find a subtle glittery eye shadow which does not melt in the sun. Mom (if you're reading my blog and I strongly urge you- don't) rest assured I will not be running to the mall to get my nose pierced or whatever but I am totally looking forward to spending hours on getting ready in the mornings which includes careful application of makeup, rather than slapping on a bit of foundation before I rush out the door in order to be deemed “acceptable” as has been my habit for the last few weeks. Summer generally means I have time to experiment again, and I often look to smaller brands with ingenious ideas for inspiration and guidance. I have a feeling Phiney Pet will be leading the march of ideas quietly bubbling away in my brain. 

It’s hard to go past a 70s revival without revisiting staples such as the halterneck or jumpsuit and this young London brand did not fail to deliver when it came to the goods. Alright I am a little biased to say the least when it comes to sequined embellished or statement denim pieces but the ragged hem and addition of brassy hardware is simply perfect. The cartoons on this piece as well as the puff-sleeved blouse and skirt are comical without being too kitsch or cute and just a little bit creepy. From a distance everything looks sugary and sweet but on closer inspection there is a darker twist to their humor and I love it when designs and in particular drawings have a kind of multiplicity about them. Despite their differences and variation I always love the cut and silhouette of these pieces, as well as their prints undoubtedly created by hand during their infancy.

While I don’t claim to be a leading expert on DIYs or have any know-how on replicating runway looks at a fraction of the cost I do have a sense of what people like. Marques Almeida’s collaboration with Topshop featuring trademark denim pieces and satin with raw edges hasn’t quite been the success perhaps they had hoped it would be but I can see similarities between this Phiney Pet laced top and their collaboration. Except for the fact that Phiney Pet has employed the fire power of fancy needlework, sequins and beads to create a rich tapestry of little sparkly designs, with raw armholes for a little extra edge. In many ways it’s a humble piece but it paradoxically creates a statement all at once. It’s pieces like these that keep me up at night and sometimes make me feel light-headed to the point where I should really breathe deeply into a paper bag. They’re all too much and not enough at once. They get my heart beating and blood pumping. Not many fashion collections or more specifically retail shops have the power to make me feel like I am on the cusp of something great.

If you weren’t a fan of Phiney Pet before you read this I hope I have convinced you of their talents, or at the very least inspired you to feel passionately about something very close to your heart. For me this is often clothing as an extension of personal identity or as a representation of some ideal or concept. I think more importantly to be able to have a whole-hearted discussion about a brand or collection you need to have more than one idea or perspective. Often when I write about brands which are largely independent I feel frustrated that I as a consumer cannot access their product but at the same time it cements some kind of view that they clothes they make are magical and somehow transcend all human experience. Perhaps I am just slightly delirious from too much study and should lie down and rest but I would rather feel slightly panicked and overwhelmed than blah for the rest of my life. Phiney Pet eliminates the blah and injects hope into bloggers like me that we too can be a part of their universe.