Monday, 30 January 2012

Kanye West, fashion and music festivals.

Hello Paris '99ers!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being surprised by a great friend with a ticket to the 20th anniversary of the legendary music festival Big Day Out at the Flemington Racecourse. In my earlier days I had always been to the festival while it was housed at the Showgrounds, and as such was a little disorientated by the layout, let alone that I could hardly recognise the site as housing the Spring Racing Carnival only a few months earlier!
Also, the headliner had traditionally been a superstar rock group, including the Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Powderfinger.
This year was an altogether different story, with none other than Kanye West, 'Yeezy' or 'ye', taking up main stage closing honours. Now I must admit to a little cheating, I YouTubed, I believe it is already a verb much like Googled, a clip of Kanye at the Gold Coast event, so I had a fair idea of what to expect during parts of the set, or rather, show.
After British band Kasabian finished, squeezed just between the two barriers, I could make out the hyraulic platform on which he would suddenly appear and sing the opening song, and in a moment of pre-starstruck-dom, planted myself as close to the contraption as possible, to either be able to reach out and make contact, or as I put it, to see whether or not Kanye would still be wearing his favoured 'Celine' blouse from the spring/summer 2011 collection.
He did not disappoint, but I must point out that he debuted the outfit at the also legendary rock festival Coachella in California in April 2011. As a self professed fashion lover, who was able to fulfil his passion by presenting a womenswear collection, a year later, on the official schedule at Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2012, I confess I found this a little odd. Is it a product placement campaign stating the blouse must be worn, or does he really really love it?

The Celine blouse at Coachella 2011, and as seen on the runway in Paris. Image taken from, thanks :)
Perhaps the best representation of the back of the blouse as taken by the very excited me at yesterday's Big Day Out.

There was simply no doubt that Kanye's performance was fantastic, give or take a little too much live Auto-tune to add effect or perhaps mask a not so super hot singing voice, though this of course is not secret. As a non R'n'B lover I was taken aback by the wonder that is 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. I, like many, felt it transcended genre and showed depth in writing, arrangement and production.
The stage was covered totally in white, with a giant backdrop of (thanks to some quick Wikipedia via Google research) a battle scene featuring Athena, the city Goddess of Pergamon and the Giant Alkyoneus.

As the intro dramatic intro music played and the 22 ballerinas from the 'Runaway' video ran madly across the stage as a distraction, the platform rose just in front of us and there was Kanye, rapping the title track from his most recent solo album (and of course ironically, or not, a lyric mentions his female companion 'in that new Phoebe Philo'.
But back to fashion.
As the set was about to draw to a close (a generous 30 minutes of extra music, or maybe spoken word, either way) Kanye lay on his back and launched into a monologue about following his dreams, coming to New York, recording for the first time, being 'lost in the world, down on my life and new in the city', and urging us to set our goals as high as possible, he touched on the fact that he'd found a new passion in clothing, and that (paraphrased) 'believe me, none of those people want me there'.
Now of course I found this particularly interesting. As you know I have been obsessed with fashion since I was 11 years old; drawing, draping, cutting and sewing designs, collecting a mountain of fashion print material from all over the world and visiting designer boutiques and department stores to really understand how things work.
Not to judge too harshly, and of course having been shown six months ago much has been written, but Kanye's Paris collection was a little bit of hodge-podge, a bit of Balmain, a bit Celine, some old Helmut Lang, maybe Givenchy or Herve Leger, nothing was truly amazing or original, and there did not seem to be a central idea or concept driving the collection's shapes, fabric choices or finishings (simple design school fare...).

Kanye West spring/summer 2012, photos taken from, thanks :)

If his new found career is indeed fashion design, and it is not simply a vanity project, it is now February and Fashion Month is about to start. Having spent time with a label who shared the Paris runway with Kanye, I can tell you, though I'm sure you know, it takes much longer than 4 weeks to put together a good, consistent and cutting edge collection.
If I were Kanye, the minute the Australia tour is over, I would scoot back to my studio, hang my measuring tape and snippers around my neck and get cracking on winter 2012/2013!
Thank you for reading my sermon and I will try and be less wordy next time :)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

All things croc.

Hello Paris '99ers!
Haute Couture season is upon us, and I, and surely you too, have been flicking relentlessly through all the images available on the various website, namely
One thing has struck me is that there is a lot of crocodile about. Stamping, print, and of course the real thing.
You all know that I love Giambattista Valli, from his work at Ungaro to the edgy 1950s sensibility of his own line. Here is what I think is the perfect croc vest; extremely waisted and with no extra trimmings so all focus is on the narrow waist and that beautifully billowing peplum hip, difficult enough to achieve with wool and horsehair canvas let alone with crocodile skin.
And of course the matching skirt, straight and to the knee. I think there would be women out there who would wear the two together, and what a mighty force that would be (not to mention the price-tag!)

 Both images are taken from, thank you :)

Now amid the major speculation surrounding who will take over from John Galliano at Dior, the 'acting' designer Bill Geytten sent out a collection full of the grand silhouettes Galliano, and of course Christian Dior four circles before him, is remembered for. Tulle, embroidery and all the hallmarks of couture are here, and yes, plenty of croc! I love the simplicity of cut in these jackets; invisible closures, the way the darts help define the hip shaping and the combination of tailored and slouchy. The 'wrap' vest outfit, which seems to swathe around the body as if made from silk. The last two looks might not even actual croc, (a little help here...), but the texture is undoubtedly that of the luxury hide. Either way subtlety of the wider cut neck and dropped shoulder line lend a softer, cooler edge. And nothing beats a big jacket with nothing on the bottom, well, apart from a wispy chiffon pleated skirt of course!

All photos taken from, thanks :)

How could you not be just stunned by the work in the Riccardo Tisci collection for Givenchy? Impossible not to be. The fact the every single scale was separately cut then reassembled to the dress worn by Stella Tennant is beyond belief and shows what couture is all about. Here you can see the back, just as important as the front, (and don't they forget it sometimes!), and also the rest of the ten outfit collection, as I just love big fashion group shots.

All images from, thanks :)

Finally, well. till today, the Armani Privee collection (and I should totally learn how to type the accent, oops). While mostly focussed on snake, there were a few croc moments, and in such colours too! Fantastic peaked shoulders, though not as over the top as those by Margiela in 2007, provide a great anchor for the rest of the jackets to fall from, and although it may be a leap, I definitely see croc in the print on the gown, and even the bustier looks like croc made from green tinged rocks. Correct me if I'm wrong of course!

All images taken from, thanks :)

Haute couture week continues for a few more days, and as I write this, one of the masters and one of my favourites of course, Jean-Paul Gaultier is about the start his show, and I hazard a guess that there will be croc featured here too, I'll have to update tomorrow! Enjoy! xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

New dress.

Hello dear Paris '99ers, I hope you in Melbourne are enjoying this mini heat wave, and that like me, you can take advantage of the sun by enjoying outdoor drinks and company.
I recently visited Darn Cheap fabrics on Glenhuntly Rd, and was pleasantly surprised they were in the midst of a sale, so I stocked up on some beautifully subtle striped burgundy silk, and a silk cotton mix in the same construction. As you know, I'm totally feeling burgundy in the air, and of course in my fashion eliteness, can only imagine what synthetic fabrics would feel like as I work very hard to totally avoid these!
So here is the result (still in progress) of my draping and cutting of this newly bought fabric.
I enjoy the way the wind dictates what happens to the drape of the dress as most of the seams are not completely stitched down, thus allowing for air to breeze through and change the fall. I also have left the fabric as organic as possible, raw edges abound, and the selvedge used as I find the holes quite beautiful.
Of course this dress will be on the mannequin for a while, until I make another one!

First yoke try, clearly too much fabric, nowhere near sexy enough...

Some adjustments to be made.

Better :)

Love the back yoke shape!

First time the silk is introduced.

As much as I like the back in this design I decided to keep it long and flowing. And don't worry, I have more of the silk left so there will be more exploration in tops, skirts, or even as part of a jacket!

The front panel is the width of the fabric and the back is the two left-over triangles layered over each other and tacked at intervals on the sides.

Reveals at back, and down below is the almost too high centre back slit. Hope you like!


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

My dear friend Bea!

Hello my dears!
Today I had the absolute pleasure of rekindling my physical friendship with my dear friend Bea who has been living in Amsterdam for the last two years. Bea and I completed the Fashion Design program at RMIT together and actually lived together in Amsterdam in 2007 as part of our studies. She is truly one of my closest friends, no matter the distance between us.
Seeing as Bea had arrived in Melbourne just over 24 hours ago following a delay in Asia and all she wanted to do today was to sleep, I felt very special indeed when the first thing she actually did was drop straight into Paris '99! Really she hasn't stopped hearing about the salon but was a well established Amsterdamienne when it all came to be.
Bea is a blast with so many things going on all that time and all that carefree cycling in Amsterdam is definitely a good way to keep trim and terrific, just look at how all these amazing pieces become even more amazing on her!

Bea in the sparkling Badgley Mischka Couture sequined/beaded jacket. I love a nipped waist with slightly rounded shoulder!

Rocking the early '60s with a literal twist! Cropped jacket and chevron flared skirt by Carolina Herrera and draped silk top by Sharon Wauchob.

This is one of my favourite dresses in my whole collection, the Calvin Klein Collection by Francisco Costa spring 2007 campaign dress. The free-flow cascading pleat anchors the diaphanous floating upper layer and when the light hits it you can see the body hugging silk mesh corset. Just so you know, Bea had not seen this image (courtesy of when she struck this pose. What a regular Natalia Vodianova :)

And we let loose just enough with the crinkled leather Undercover bikie style pants but kept it classy with the Oscar De La Renta silk tie-front top. If you know the scroop sound of silk, this is one of the scroopiest I've heard! (and it is now SOLD!)

Thank you Bea for a lovely afternoon, welcome back to Melbourne and I know we'll see plenty more of you before you take off again! xx

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Balenciaga shoe dinner!

Hello dear Paris '99ers!
Now a few weeks ago a dear friend of mine fell in love with a pair of the most divine Balenciaga glamazon heels at the salon. I asked her sometime later how they were and she candidly revealed she had not yet worn them. Shocking indeed!

It was decided then and there that the shoes were to have a 'debut' dinner at a fabulous restaurant in Melbourne, and I had read about an Italian institution, Cantina Cecconi's on Flinders Lane.
Holiday season was right around the corner so we postponed the date till the new year, but something came up and the dates shifted, then something else came up and we had to shuffle again. Finally, last night, it was third time lucky!

I didn't take any photos of me actually wearing my clothes (sorry), but I was wearing a red star print shirt and a tailored vest from a Napoli tailor under my favourite Dries Van Noten iridescent red 'dinner' jacket. Accessorised with an Alexis Belcher laser cut perspex brooch on a silver necklace and my handmade boots from a gentleman in old Jaffa. I actually have three pairs of boots by him, black riding boots, 'Hermes orange' slightly narrow round toe boots and these, the caramel stacked heel calf highs. Unfortunately he has since retired and vanished without a trace. Oh and yes, I did have pants on too, Surface 2 Air fitted jeans, nice :).

By a stroke of good luck I got the last free parking spot a stone's throw from the restaurant. It set the mood for what was a delightful and delicious evening with friends, food and shoes!
Nicoletta, the beautiful hostess, warmly greeted me with a glass of Mumm while the girls were on their way.

We were given the best spot, with prime viewing position of the organised hustle and bustle of the kitchen, and the ability to see and comment on what other diners were wearing, and it certainly was a fashionable and well put together crowd!
Starting our feast with crusty bread in olive oil and wonderfully potent balsamic vinegar dip, we moved on to an appetizer of beautifully cured meat cut nail thin and served with a fig that could have come straight from the garden, it was that fresh. The dish was a flat black cross section of a pebble; just stunning.

My Angus Sirloin steak was the best steak I've eaten in a very very long time, and when combined with the crisp then silky smooth polenta chips, it was texture heaven.

Admittedly, it was all about the dessert: a chocolate pudding that was a like a dark river of liquid chocolate just waiting to be released, and then a literal explosion with the straciatella ice-cream laced with popping candy (excuse my uncultured palette, its what I felt like I was eating!),  a creamy citrus parfait with a powerful passionfruit sorbet and scatterings of freeze dried raspberry and 'snow', and a rich panna cotta with sweet almond biscuit and a surprise chocolate ganache at the bottom of the bowl. Need I say more?

We know that food and fashion aren't always associated with one another (ok, minus the Prada and Stella McCartney fruit themed collections of last spring, and the Dolce & Gabbana vegetable printed frocks from the current show), but thanks to these fabulous heels for bringing us to Cecconi's, and many thanks to Nicoletta and the lovely staff; we really need to find an excuse to come back!