material matters

January 19, 2022

For a long time, I’ve thought about creating a textile made up of swatches of fabric that hold significance for me. Between boxes of richly patterned baby clothes, vintage t-shirts, old curtains, pochettes, and fabrics snapped up at markets all over the world, I could fashion a rather large wall-hanging of material memorabilia. Well, when I say, I –– what I mean is a good sewer, because I’m hopeless with a needle and thread. These beautiful pieces by Japanese-Jewish textile artist, Magumi Shauna Arai offer inspiration. Each one pays homage to the Japanese Boro tradition, (meaning “rags” or “tatters”) and combines Arai’s hand-dyed fabrics with a smorgasbord of vintage textiles. This may be another one of those creative projects that never makes it to the wall. Fun to think about though.

mon style

January 18, 2022

Unlike her Mum, who’s drawn to a kaleidoscope of colours, my daughter’s palette skews more neutral. With the exception of an occasional stripe, she has little interest in print. Frill and flounce have no place in her wardrobe. It’s hard to imagine that Iole once lived in frothy ballgowns and wore tropical fruit on her head. For years, she was a jumble sale of smocked Liberty dresses, stripy leggings, glittery shoes and ridiculously large bows. Yes, I had a lot to do with this hodgepodge aesthetic, but the flare with which she wore it, that’s all hers. And then at age seven, feathers and florals were abruptly abandoned in favour of lycra. She changed her style to fit in at a new school. Black leggings, cotton tees and oversized hoodies in various shades of cement became her uniform. And while I missed the colour and originality of her outfits, and lamented the loss of her un-self consciousness, I did appreciate this new minimalism. I also came to understand that her need to see herself mirrored in the girls around her was both natural and necessary. We are alike my daughter and I, and we share a lot of common interests; our taste in clothes could not be more different. And that’s a good thing. These days, she cringes when she sees old photos of herself in lamé leggings and a sequin bolero. “I can’t believe you let me go to school wearing that!” I don’t say a word. The sartorial journey is long. As is life. Fitting in is innate. So is standing out. Expect plenty of black, with chances of ruffles.

Around and around

January 13, 2022

British Sculptor, Laura Ellen Bacon‘s otherworldly sculptures.

The exquisite mind and craftsmanship of Rowan Mersh.

Alexander Calder’s Connecticut studio.

Yuko Nishimura‘s beautiful paper sculptures.

Bold and bizarre forms from German ceramic artist, Monika Debus.

British artist Victor Pasmore at work.


January 10, 2022

“If people don’t like my house, then I don’t like them,” says Australian artist, Greg Irvine of his fantastically cluttered Melbourne home. Imagine walls of mismatched vintage plates, tortoise shell combs, teapots, scent bottles, books, biscuits tins and bangles. The house is a feast for the eyes, as colourful and detailed as Irvine’s large scale paintings. “I have to be surrounded by beautiful things,” he says. Antiques of all kinds appeal to his eclectic taste, and fabrics, collected over time, weave their way into his paintings. Have a walk around; fellow collectors will no doubt swoon. And those who don’t? Well you won’t be invited back.

high art

January 5, 2022

Beautiful, exuberant and bizarre, Severine Gallardo‘s headpieces are topping my wish list for 2022. The French fibre artist attributes her love of textiles to both her grandmothers who felted, embroidered and knitted throughout her childhood. Folk art, the art of Africa and Oceania and artist, Sonia Delaunay are all inspirations. They really are wonderful. Now the question is, to wear, to display, or both?

around and around

November 16, 2021

New York street photographer, Godlis’ fabulous 70s snapshots of Jewish retirees in Miami Beach.

Hand blocked blouses over at Alix of Bohemia.

Claire Ptak’s pecan slab pie.

The colour rich, abstract paintings of Indigenous Australian artist, Naomi Hobson.

A rose tinted collection from Atlantique Ascoli.

Saul Leiter‘s, ‘Blue Umbrella.’ Spain,1959.

white collar

November 9, 2021

There are few garments cooler than the white shirt. Even the most avant garde riff on this wardrobe staple has a feeling of establishment to it which makes it the easiest thing to wear to pretty much any event. I have about seven white shirts, each one with its own unique personality. I’ve accumulated them over two decades and they’re my go-to when I want to dress up but I don’t want to dress up. My favourite white shirt is billowy enough to hide two people under, with interesting pleats, and a quirky Peter Pan collar to boot. It’s gone to the cinema, to the beach and to a dozen parties.

gold mine

November 4, 2021

The thing about gold shoes is that they feel like jewellery for your feet. I have a pair of Louboutins with vertiginously high heels that look like they were carved from 22 carat gold. They are such a fierce colour, especially against the flash of red soles. I have another pair, Prada gladiators, that are closer to an 18 carat. They’re more subtle, but no less fabulous to wear. Lastly, I have a classic Monolo pump in a gold so mellow that it could have been plucked from a sunset. All these shoes live in their boxes, relics from another life. Once in a while, I’ll peek inside their boxes and admire them the way I would a ring, or a bracelet, or any other jewel. It would be hard to sell them, or give them away. Here’s hoping my girls have small feet.

around and around

November 2, 2021

The London home of painter Ricardo Cinalli.

Burt Glinn’s portraits of Helen Frankenthaler.

Eleanor Lakelin’s wood sculptures.

Simple, sporty bathing suits.

Greta Garbo and Léo, the emblematic lion of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

around and around

October 12, 2021

The colour rich world of Indigenous Australian artist, Sally Gabori.

A beautiful smocked dress from earth conscious brand, A Piece Apart.

Train travel on the Venice Simplon Orient Express.

The transformative effect of hardware.

Nomad wedding in the Hindu Kush mountains, Afghanistan, 1969.


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