Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Something you may not know: Despite my current employment situation, I actually hold a Bachelor of Design majoring in Illustration. So, while I avoided the bitch-pit that is Fashion Design, I still managed to maintain a love for the industry. And one aspect in particular, which many may not be aware of, is that of fashion illustration.

Being somewhat rubbish at drawing the human anatomy, I completely envy those that not only have an in-depth understanding of it, but can take the human body, distort it,  add a splash of colour and voila, a masterpiece. I could spend hours trawling through illustration books admiring the artistic skill of some illustrators.

Fashion illustration goes beyond a few sketches to jot down an idea for a collection; it also plays a major role in the marketing and advertisement of some clothing labels. Successful illustrations don't need to depict an item of clothing in absolute detail - as long as it is done with flair and conveys an emotion, it'll sell.

Anyway, rather than me writing you all an essay on the ins and outs of fashion illustration, I'd just like to show some pieces of work which I find completely awesome and inspiring. Enjoy :)

Julie Verhoeven

Marguerite Sauvage

Bella Pilar

 David Pfendler
One of my favourites - Stina Persson. I attempted this amazing look once, it worked out OK but nothing this incredible!
Patrick Morgan

Too early for that dress

It’s not often I’d advocate fashion advice from Courtney Love – the longest-prevailing and messiest of all hot messes – but recently I’ve noticed all too many girls walking the streets in the weekend mornings in their Saturday finest. And I sing to myself, from the lipstick-stained mouth of the grunge goddess; “...it’s too early for that dress”.

It might not be the case that these girls “wake up in their make up”, nevertheless, is Sunday morning really the time for short dresses and high heels? Wearing such things puts you at serious risk of judgement by passing strangers. If you don’t care what strangers think, more power to you, but my experiences have taught me to tone it down after dawn and before dusk. The consequences could be more serious than just me wondering if you’ve been out all night as I drive by quietly judging.

When I was working in a bar (a very late-closing (or early, depending on how you look at it) bar) I lived only a few blocks away so I walked home after work. Not being the type of person to take a back pack to work, it meant that I could only fit so much in to my hand bag. Usually a cardy. So I used to walk home at about 8am looking like I’d been out all night, and people out with their children and getting exercise on Saturdays and Sundays would go past and I knew they thought I was doing the walk of shame, even though I’d been up pouring their drinks all night. I usually put my sunnies on and got on with it. I held my head high because I knew I had nothing to be ashamed of. But people will judge.

So one morning, before the sun came up this time, I’m walking home, off the main streets now, and a car pulls alongside me. Sometimes when I’m a bit worried about walking by myself I stride with fists clenched, it makes me feel like I’m putting out a don’t-fuck-with-me vibe and more confident about being alone. Obviously, this guy couldn’t see that from his vehicle. He pulled over and politely asked me “excuse me, are you working?”. I thought, “no, obviously I’ve finished working and am on my way home...” and then I realised what type of work he was referring to.

After that, I managed to jam some jeans in to my hand bag.

Regardless of how overstuffed and uncouth it looked on the way to work, it was worth it to never again experience being mistaken for a prostitute.

So that’s the worst-case scenario. Most of you will just be judged by old people and fashionably concerned early risers like me.

The thing is, recently I’ve been seeing girls that offer some confusion. Here they are, walking around at 9.30 in the morning in heels and dresses; yet their hair is suspiciously smooth, their make-up reapplied and no-such rueful expression as usually seen on walk-of-shamers. But what are they dressing up for? It’s Sunday! The day I usually reserve for tights, slippers and a cosy jumper, the uniform of experienced couch dwellers. Is there something happening that I don’t know about? Is there some ridiculously good-looking grocer down at the veggie markets these girls are hoping to whisk away from the glamourous life of  vegetable purveyance and into their otherwise inexplicably preened arms?

Perhaps it’s just “societal pressure” for women to be constantly on form. If that’s the case, I’ll be maintaining my sessions on the couch. For me, Sunday will always be the fashion Sabbath.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

attack of the clones (part two)

So the other day I'm walking down the top end of Cuba Street in Wellers. Anyone who knows Wellington knows that Cuba comes in two parts - the commercial, chain store end (Glassons, Hallensteins, $2 shop etc)..... and the eccentric, alternative upper end. This is the end where you find cute little boutique stores and somewhat scary tattoo parlours. The end where folk drifting around look somewhat scruffy in that gypsy, musician kind of way. And most importantly, the end where you never expect to see 15 year old clones.

Oh did I say clones? I meant girls.

Well, they might as well have been clones. There were three of them, all wearing the same thing. Awful pale denim-look high waisted skirts, slightly oversized 80's style blazers, white canvas shoes. And those.....what are they even called. The thing where you get out of the shower and aren't sure what to do with your mop of hair so you tie it in a knot on top of your head. Except I'm pretty sure these girls had not just washed their hair. Fail.

This gets more amusing. As they are walking down the street, they stop and say hi to another girl they know. And guess what their friend is wearing? Yes everyone, there was indeed a fourth clone.

I get that you are likely to have similar tastes to your friends, but surely people are sensible enough to know that wearing the same thing is just lame? Me and the Haze often see things and think oh that's cool, I'd like that. But do you see us wearing ANYTHING the same??? 

I confess, a friend and I own the same pair of boots. But good boots are hard to come by! And we don't strut around like The Monkeys so everyone can see how awesomely coordinated we are. And yes Hazel and I own a very similar necklace, but we must be smart enough to not wear them on the same day.

I don't how many times its been said in this blog, but don't just buy clothes because they are the current trend or because Regina, Gretchen & Karen are all wearing it. Buy something because its a little bit different and you look awesome in it! Noone wants to be one of the plastics now do they.

Monday, July 5, 2010

bike chic

As the proud new owner of a retro BMX, I’ve started to ponder about the more important elements of the cycling world – looking cool. Let’s face it; I wouldn’t be buying a bike if it was a ten-speed or some chunky mountain bike. You can buy the flashest bike in the world and still look like a geek on wheels.

There’s something about the BMX that’s still cool, even if the last one you had was in the 80s or 90s, (complete with glo-yellow Pro Cycle helmet). The last bike I had was pretty rudimentary and I wasn’t one for riding it much. I walked about five kilometres to school every day rather than biking – I liked to have fancy hair. And I still do; in a less worm-inspired but equally hairspray-dependent way.

And therein lies the problem. Once you start thinking about hair, what about the rest of the components that create my finished look. The whole point of buying the bike was so I could ride it to my mates’ place when we’re drinking to avoid drunk-driving my car. I was thinking, with the wearing of a helmet (so uncool, but necessary I suppose) I’d have to cart around a few essential hair products to fix up what mess said skull protection imposes upon me. And then! “What of skirts?” I began to wonder. What of the short dresses and skirts I so like to wear? What of low-cut skinny jeans and the unveiling of butt crack that occurs upon bending? These are the problems I am to be faced with on my first bike excursion.

So what do you go for? I suppose most tops these days are long enough to cover the bummage. And I suppose it’s winter so I wear tights under my skirts. So maybe I don’t need to invest in some snazzy culottes; but is it going to be that I must endure flat hair for the rest of my drunk-cycling days? (However long that turns out to be. I have been known to change my mind rather quickly and leave in the wake of my indecision a trail of unused hobby paraphernalia and a wardrobe stuffed with unworn clothes.)

As it is, I haven’t taken it further than the top of the driveway. We have an awfully large hill which meets a busy intersection and somehow I don’t think brakes from the 80s are going to cut it. However I do hope my purchase is not a passing fad. My mum gave my old bike away to another kid while I was still at high school and I was totally indignant – how dare she give away my bike! Without even telling me! My indignation subsided rather quickly when she informed me it had been a good year since she gave it away.

Anyway, if you’re at all interested in cycling and fashion there’s an entire blog dedicated to it http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/ Seems like these ladies are managing to keep their skirts down, although they are in Copenhagen (the City of Spires) not Wellington (kindly known as the Windy City).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

mad hattery

It rather annoys me when hats become fashionable. I’m a hat wearer from way back and so when you have places like Glassons and Supre selling fashion-hats it irks me that non-hat-devotees will be wearing them around. Think the great Fedora rush of 2008. I think it takes a certain confidence to pull off a hat. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like the hat-wearing types are often quirky people, who kinda know they’re strange but can pull anything off for that reason.

Of course you’ll always get bartender types who will wear their fedoras to the dying day (although you could say I was once one of them too, I never took my headwear to the bar). It’s part of the men’s bartender I’m-so-freakin-uber-cool uniform of fedora, waistcoat, and stubble. But for the rest of the people that followed trend and purchased the necessary hat, where is it now?

Fedoras were around and cool for years before, but at the time you basically couldn’t turn a corner without seeing one upon one’s head. I guess because it was an extremely accessible step into the world of hats – basically everyone looks good in one and let’s face it, they make you look cooler than you really are.

However, I don’t think this is the case with the latest trend: cloche hats (thinks 20s, Angelina Jolie in Changeling). It’s a pretty specific style for your regular Jo-fashion. And it’s a risky thing to bring into the shops because, although I’ve seen a couple of brave girls try them on in front of their friends and have a giggle, I’ve not yet seen one on the street. To wear such a hat makes a pretty clear statement: “I follow fashion trends and this is the latest one”. If you have previously owned a cloche hat it’s pretty likely that you’re not going to wear it for a while now, wait ‘til the moment has passed, for fear of looking like a blind trend devotee.

Berets have made their way back aswell and I must admit to purchasing one while in Melbourne, however it’s only adding to my collection of hats rather than setting the scene of a hat-filled life. Again, a beret is an easy way to slip into the world of the hat-wearer. It’s casual and can be pulled off without looking trendy-tacky.

Basically my message is; if you buy everything you’re told by stores and magazines, you would have to a) be very rich and b) be a bit confused about who you are and what you wear. A hat is a pretty big fashion statement to make and if it’s just “of the moment” then as far as I’m concerned it’s the wrong statement altogether.