Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bloomin' Marvellous

When Meryl Streep sarcastically spits in the Devil Wears Prada: "Flowers for spring time? How very original..."  I always think: suck it up Meryl/Anna, you're fighting a loosing battle. I happen to think flowers in spring are really very nice and help distract me from all the work I should be doing. I guess that being Meryl/Anna, you probably have fast cars/ lots of Bollinger/ very nice Chanel clothes, and cocaine, to distract you from life's banalities: I have perennials. 

And herein is a celebration of the things blooming, growing or looking generally fecund that are inspiring me right now.

Purple herbaceous border,  private garden, Hobart.
Installation terrarium in MONA, Hobart

Illustration, MONA, Hobart

Egyptian pictographs on a sarcophagus, MONA Hobart. 
Glasshouse at Werribee Mansion, Melbourne. 
Sun-burned hydrangeas, Berry. NSW. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tailored like a Lady

Getting on the band-wagon of everything Duchess of Cambridge, I thought I'd share some of nice, lady-like tailored bits and pieces I've made of late, most of which have been inspired by the D of C herself. 

The first is a tailored tunic dress, which was commissioned with Kate's Alexander McQueen red dress in mind, as well as her other classic, very restrained frocks. The pink one below is by Emilia Wickstead. 

via InStyle

via Yahoo
We chose a beautiful aubergine wool crepe with great drape. I designed a really simple darted bodice attached to a 3/4 circle skirt with pleats, with a dropped waist band. I also tried doing a strapped sleeve, which added to the nice plain, tailored lines of the tunic whilst exaggerating the sleeve forms a little.

Accessorise this kind of plain elegant frock with pretty statement brooches, or pearls. Statement shoes could add some colour-blocking for fun, or a nude, or textured leathers could be nice too. 
This kind of look is great because the garments have longevity, and can be accessorised many ways. Invest frocks are definitely recession-proof.

Also in this theme is this next frock, which I made for a client to wear to Royal Ascot in the UK. She ordered a black shift dress, and woolen cape (pictured below), 
because even in summer you need a cape in London. 
She chose her fabric from Tessuti; a lovely woolen blend sateen. I designed an empire-line shift with a pleated back. The client accessorised this with a black picture hat (wide-brimmed), trimmed with red roses. 

Pleated dress back with yoke. 

And now that it's coming into racing season Down Under, this same client asked me to renovate a hat from-races-past, into something inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge's unfairly maligned "Chip" hat. I have to say I love this design, and I think it stands out beautifully from the vertical piles of wired dental floss from which most hats seems to be made. It references classical millinery styles from as far back as the 1780's, when bonnet brims were folded and trimmed with all manner of flora and fauna. 

The D of C in her lovely hat, by British milliner Gina Foster.
via American Duchess

To make this hat I pulled the old one apart, and added a larger sinemay disc sandwich over the original disc (after much ironing to flatten it), then re-attached it to the headband. I then added bought hydrangeas flowers, and made several silk flowers from indigo, royal blue and mint silk. I wrapped the wired loops in mint silk as well, and used those to raise the brim of the hat. This hat is to be worn with the previous black dress, Royal-Recycler style, with indigo blue accessories. Very smart.