Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I Give A Frock

After many weeks in hiding (actually it was a study-induced hibernation period) I have returned and I have plenty to say on the matters of fashion and crafting and books.  Let's start with my latest purchase...

So the blurb of this book states "If you haven't heard of Michi Girl, don't worry, she hasn't heard of you either.'  I would like to say that if you haven't heard of Michi Girl you should run out and acquaint yourself with her immediately.  Her first book, Like I Give A Frock, came out 2 years ago, and being pink, green, artsy and all kinds of loveliness I snapped it up straight away.  Being in a book store again yesterday I was thrilled to discover she has been published again!  And in navy, no less.  I am powerless before navy.

Anyway, Michi's second book is a 'Michipedia' of all sorts of fashion terms.  It is filled with just as much wit and wisdom as the first, along with the same stunning illustrations.  I thought I would share some of my favourites that had me giggling out loud. Seriously. Loud.

Michi on Body Shapes

There's a bra for everyone

Why we love our designers

Money makes the world go round

Appropriate Underwear

Believe it or not, there are actually things that Michi and I disagree on.  I didn't think it was possible given that she condemns fishnets, loathes humidity, and officially refers to tights as 'Not Pants'.  Yet unlike myself, Michi is not obsessed with check print in its myriad forms and monnikers: tartan, plaid, gingham, houndstooth, patchwork...  I'll take any version!  Similarly, Michi has little appreciation for the many uses of tulle - which I'm sure would sadden my best friend (whose blogger alias happens to be Tulle).  Here's what Michi has to say:

But that's ok Michi, we can agree to disagree.  When it comes to the important things we're on the same page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hummingbirds collection

Well I've almost completed all the pieces in my Hummingbirds collection!  Thought I'd blog a sneak peek on here, before listing them for sale.

The general feeling of the collection is bows, bows, bows, but each individual piece has a story behind it.  For example, the Dixie Doyle pieces are bright pink and bubbly, reminiscient of the girl herself with her pigtails and lollipop.  The Liz Warren brooches are more studious and serious, in dark navy and forest green.  Leo Binhammer and his wife have co-ordinating rings, to represent their marriage (and complications) as would a wedding band.  The charismatic Ted Hughes bow-tie necklace is brown tweed to represent his authority as an educator, yet the pink highlights demonstrate his propensity to charm women.  So here are the pics:

 Dixie Doyle headband (large)

 Dixie Doyle studs

 Liz Warren brooch in navy (left) and green (right)

Small headband in Dixie Doyle (top) and Ted Hughes (bottom)
N.B.  Black headband (middle) is from prior collection

Friday, 24 September 2010

alessara in the press

So, the moment I have been waiting for for months has finally arrived.  Australia's premier wedding magazine, Real Weddings, has released it's 2010 Style Issue, and on page 56 you will find a feature on the wedding of none other than the sister of yours truly!

And if that weren't enough, Sister Bride has just informed me that our favourite wedding blog, 100 Layer Cake, has done a feature too!  Check it out here.

Those of you who were around to watch me as Maid of Honour will know the high levels of energy required for and resulting stress of this spectacular event.  But it was all worth it - especially to see the wedding in print!

Creating the jewellery and accessories was my absolute favourite part of the wedding.  It was my first ever 'collection' really.  I was charged with, first, creating a hairpiece for the Sister Bride, and, second, with designing a unique necklace and hairpiece for each of the four bridesmaids, myself included.  I gathered together ivory glass pearls, silk dupion in various shades of pink, linen and lace in an earthy taupe, and sparkling Swarovski crystals.  This was the result:

Photography by Jonas Peterson

My favourite of all has to be my sister's bridal hairpiece.  It was an elaborate creation of layer upon layer of ruffled silk tulle, carefully spiralling out from the Swarovski crystal centre.  The outer petals were made from softly scalloped ivory silk dupion, all fastened onto a felt, silk-covered base.  She loved it, I loved it - what more do you need?

Anyway, the full story of the wedding can be read in Real Weddings 2010 Style issue, and more photos can be seen on the website of the amazing Jonas Peterson (photography).

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Review: The Butterfly Mosque

This book is amazing. The Butterfly Mosque is one of those works that is so blatantly ordinary, yet undeniably extraordinary at the same time.  It's a memoir written by a woman whom theoretically I have nothing particular in common with... and yet I felt like the book was speaking to me personally.  It was almost like an affirmation of faith; I was able to rediscover and newly appreciate the religion I have come to take for granted, as I read about it through the eyes of someone who truly was seeing it for the first time.

G. Willow Wilson's memoir tells her tale from confused, Boston University graduate and nominal atheist, to naturalised Egyptian, Muslim convert, and wife.  Now, I may not be Egyptian or American, I may not have lived in a foreign country, I am not a convert and I am not in a cross-cultural marriage.  And yet everything Wilson discusses, whether directly or indirectly, rang true with me. Living in a post-9/11 world where the 'clash of civilisations' is rife in many corners of society, I can identify with the struggle to reconcile being a 'Westerner' and being a Muslim.  Of course, prior to 9/11 those two were never even contemplated as mutually exclusive in my head, but in today's world they are touted as necessarily so.  It is not a question of choosing between the two, but finding your path as an individual through which you can authentically express your faith in a society that is not always accepting of it.

At the heart of the book, in my opinion, are relationships.  Wilson's relationship with Allah, with her fiancĂ©, with her American friends and colleagues, with her parents, with her new family, and with Egypt.  The nuances of these relationships - Willow's careful articulation of what a person will do for someone they care about - carry the story and give the reader hope.  Ultimately, The Butterfly Mosque predicates that what is good and right will outlast the hatred, xenophobia and fundamentalism (religious and other) that have come to pervade our world.  Regardless of war, politics, tragedy, and all forms of destructive human behaviour, beauty and truth will triumph, just like the 'Butterfly Mosque' itself.

The Butterfly Mosque by G. WIllow Wilson at Allen & Unwin
Photo by Ewen Bell at M.I.L.K. Photos

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Struggling artist

So has ended my first week of unemployment! A little daunting to have no set job to head off to every day, and try to discipline myself into practising my craft regularly. The week passed not without event, but with much less designing than I had intended. I certainly have begun work on my first proper collection though! Inspired by the novel Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord, which tells the tale of an upper class, all-girls private school in New York. The story flits between two dashing young teachers, the only males in the English faculty, and various senior students (girls, of course). It's a story about all sorts of rivalries and relationships.

The novel for me evokes a whole lot of imagery. I'm thinking grosgrain ribbon and collegiate stripes; navy and forest green with shots of lolly pink; tweed bow ties and careful pleats. So I've put together a little inspiration board to highlight how this little literary work is going to be turned into a collection of headbands, necklaces and other jewellery pieces...