The 90s was my decade for embellished denim. My friends and I stuck rhinestones on everything. Patches were cool, and so was embroidery. Our jeans were covered in rips and holes held together by chunky safety pins. I’ve seen some gorgeous vintage jackets, that combine beads and fringe and ethnic textiles, that I would have died for then. Marie Sophie Lockhart of Good For Nothing Embroidery is another designer we would have lusted after. Her light wash denims are adorned with sunbeams, ice creams, skulls and spliff smoking Tweeties. And I like these vintage 501s embroidered with flowers and cacti from Bliss and Mischief. My younger self would definitely approve.
We received a special package from my friend Zelmira today filled with gifts from Lucky Wang in NYC; a kimono for Luma, a starry, superhero t-shirt for Antimo and a dress covered in cherry blossoms for Iole. Each present was beautifully wrapped in bright tissue and floral washi tape. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, and if I had a little more time, I might even make my own wrapping paper. These watercolour papers are quite lovely, too. Of course, I’m happy with newsprint and neon gaffer tape, and one can never go wrong with brown paper and navy grosgrain, especially if you can pull of a ‘Smythson’ bow.
I came across the work of Brian Kershisnik this morning –– naive depictions of embracing couples, dancing families and mothers nursing their babies. There’s something dream-like, surreal and strangely familiar about his paintings. The colours are rich, the themes universal. He paints motherhood with an empathic brush. Here is a dance on a very small island.
Trust me to go to St. Pete, land of neon visors, flipflops and printed shirts, and find the only Rachel Comey dress in town. Twig is singular in St. Pete in that it journeys beyond beach wear and boho baubles, with Antipast socks, Ace and Jig tops and Album di Famiglia cashmeres. The Rachel Comey, deco inspired with an elegant crescent moon print, whispered to me from the rack. “Buy me, buy me –– I’ll look so good with responsible underpants.” I couldn’t resist. I won’t wear it with flipflops, but barefoot on the beach would be divine.
Last Easter, my brother Alex ran around Battersea Park hiding chocolate eggs, wrapped in purple, red and green foil, among the shrubs and grass and budding flowers. The children arrived an hour later, and together we found every one. Both Iole & Antimo have lots of room for make believe in their minds, and as long as they do, we’ll feed the fantasy. This year, I’m sending Yiayia out with a bag of eggs to plant among the seaweed and shells on the beach. I know these traditions are just as much for me as they are for them. Because truly, there’s a part of me that believes in (or at least wants to believe in) bunnies and faries and magic.
Nitch is one of my favourite instagram feeds, with striking portraits and words from the likes of Charlie Chapman, Tina Fey, Paloma Picasso, Chris Rock et. al. Today Salvador Dali popped up in my feed, which is fitting as St. Pete has the largest collection of Dalis outside of Spain. “Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali. And I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali.”
I love the look of classic rings — simple gold bands, eternities and diamond solitaires stacked alongside (or with) something more playful, edgy and audacious. I’ve been a fan of British jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge’s whimsical creations for some time now, and her chunky red lip ring tops my wish list. I love how it looks solo on the pinky, but I can also see it stacked with a band of diamond baguettes, too. Her cocktail rings — traffic lights, smarties, rainbows and starbursts — look best worn with a sense of humour. Her price tags are serious, but the jewellery is not.
The sand in St Pete looks like something you’d bake with — icing sugar, baking soda or flour. And our hotel, right on the beach, looks like a giant cake covered in flamingo pink fondant. Inside, there is a retro inspired ice cream parlour, serving scoops of vanilla, chocolate and fudge in giant warm waffle cones. You can see why our children think this is the best place on earth.
We’re off to the sunshine state tomorrow, where the sand is white, the sky is pink and the folks who collect the tolls are 75 and brimming with life. I’ve got the cozzies and sunhats packed, plus an inflatable pool duck and enough sunscreen to last a month. Let’s hope that’s all we need.
My daughter Iole is named after a beautiful and brave ancient Greek princess, who fled the clutches of Hercules by leaping from a palace window and using her skirt as a parachute to freedom. I love her daring, resourceful spirit. Anytime I see an extraordinary skirt, I think of Iole. But could she fly in it? This one that my friend Bianca sent me last night, may not be billowy enough for flight, but those big, colourful stripes are certainly daring and bold. I think that certain pieces of clothing –– a beloved dress, a well-cut blazer, and an extravagant skirt –– can give a girl confidence and courage. After all, this story wouldn’t be nearly as enchanting if Iole were wearing a tight-fitting toga.