Fashion

acid wash

April 28, 2022

I’ve worn acid wash jeans exactly twice in my life, once when I arrived at Kingsley Pines summer camp in Maine, and the other to a Madonna concert in Toronto in 2003. It’s not a good look, even in the hands of my favourite contemporary designers. I lost so much weight at camp –– a combination of home-sickness and non-stop outdoorsiness –– that my jeans practically fell down when my Mum came to collect me three weeks later. I didn’t own another pair until 15-years on, when my friend, Antonella and I rifled through racks of jeans at a local Value Village looking for the perfect pair to channel Madonna in. Our black suede pumps, white lace gloves and rhinestoned chandeliers completed the look, and off we went to true blue the night away. Acid wash jeans date back to 1960s California surf culture, when ocean sprayed surfers got fed up of fading their jeans in the sun and resorted to chlorine bleach instead. Then came the gaudy 80s, and between the neon and the shoulder pads and the animal print, acid wash jeans with a paper bag waist fit right in. They have no place in 2022 unless bleach falls on your favourite jeans while you’re doing the laundry.

nature trail

April 27, 2022

I read yesterday with my daughter that there are 950 species of sea urchins, and that puffer fish make huge, beautiful nests in the sand that look like mandalas, and that certain bees build cacoons out of petals and mud prettier than any springtime bouquet. Nature is flipping amazing. Each one of these seeds has a slightly different form and pattern. Purple, acid yellow and milky white. I can’t imagine how many seed species there are on earth, and like the urchins, how much variety exists in each one’s appearance, both subtle and dramatic. It blows my mind. Nature truly is the greatest artist –– resourceful, innovative, disciplined and fiercely imaginative. No wonder we all look to her for inspiration.

around and around

April 27, 2022

Marianne Burr’s beautiful hand-painted quilts.

Cal Lane’s lacy steel sculptures.

Spring salad with peas, broad beans and pecorino.

Sabah slippers in Condessa pink.

A girl and her pearls.

disco

April 11, 2022

It was 1988, and I wore an emerald green satin puff ball skirt and black patent shoes with clip on grosgrain bows. My hair was crimped, as was everybody else’s. I was eleven, and this was my first disco party, in the sitting room of Dominque Westaway’s west London home. Her parents had created a makeshift dance floor complete with strobe lights and a shiny disco ball and the DJ (no doubt, her Dad) played one dance hit after another as we all spun out on sugar and Belinda Carlisle. In between songs, we ate sausage rolls and sipped fizzy drinks like they were cocktails. There were no boys for us to slow dance with, so the DJ kept the tunes light and bouncy with our idol du jour, Kylie Minogue dominating the dance floor. Dominique’s party was the first and last of its kind. This was the moment, just before things got awkward, where we could sing into our juice boxes, dance like no one was watching, and feel free and footloose. After that, boys did enter the mix –– we were at an all-girls school, so it was often an older brother and his mates –– and the dynamic shifted. We traded in our puff balls for tube skirts, straightened our hair and bought wonderbras. Cue Nothing Compares To You and that swallow-me-whole feeling when the boy asked you to dance. It’s all so wonderful and heart-wrenching to look back on. Even more wonderful and heart wrenching is watching your girl preparing for her own first ‘disco’ party next month. Okay, less disco and more Doja Cat, but you know what I mean. Coincidentally, Iole tried on a simple black t-shirt and a silk shift in emerald green at Zara the other day that reminded me of that outfit. What goes around comes around, in fashion, and in life.

in the trench

April 8, 2022

I’ve never owned a trench coat, and chances are, I never will. I’m not an insouciant dresser, and I think one has to be to pull of the trench. Enter, Catherine Deneuve. The trench coat earned its name on the battlefields of World War I. Decades later, girls at elite English private schools started nabbing their older brother’s trenches and wearing them out. Today, there’s nary a celebrity who hasn’t attempted to rock the trench, some more successfully than others. Yes, Kate Moss, we’re looking at you. Right here, is the chicest way to wear one, with your no-fuss Asics, and your favourite pair of jeans. The more creases the better. It’s a rain coat, after all.

light as air

March 22, 2022

The heavier the world feels, the lighter this blog gets. Springs salads, Hyacinths in handmade vases, flamingo pink guest loos. My best writing comes when I have room to think, when I have to room to reflect. And in order to do that, I need to release air from the balloon, so to speak. The key for me is that I keep writing, even if what I have to say is as frothy as a cappuccino. Because when the urge does come for me to express something weightier, I’m more likely to have the words.

in the shade

March 18, 2022

This lamp, designed by emerging talent, Oscar Piccolo is so beautiful I want to carry it around like a little parasol. Affectionately called the, ‘lampada cappello’, –– cappello means hat in Italian –– the pleated lampshade sits on a squiggly base that makes it easy to twist around. Inspired by vintage hats Piccolo found at a local charity shop, the lamp is available in a range of chic colours. “I wanted to make a subtle lamp that’s not too imposing,” Piccolo says. “One that’s beautiful, even when it’s off.” Have a look at Piccolo’s London flat; white washed walls and a minimal aesthetic are an ideal canvas for this designer’s creative mind.

pleats, please

February 24, 2022

Richard Sweeney‘s sculptures look like birds in flight. “People see different things –– animal skulls and a spinal column being a few of my favorites mentioned so far.” It’s hard to imagine that they’re constructed from paper. Monochromatic, fluid and ethereal, I mostly see Doric columns and exquisite Madame Grès pleating. And that’s the beauty of them. That everyone sees what they see.

around and around

February 23, 2022

Embroidery artist, Yumiko Higuchi’s charming designs.

Robynn Storgaard’s warm and whimsical ceramics.

Roughly carved wooden sculptures (using a nata, a Japanese hatchet) by Hirosuke Yabe.

Winning colour combo.

Cotton basics from Elizabeth Suzann.

Olivia Parker‘s shell beans.

around and around

February 16, 2022

Fenella Elms’ exquisite porcelain sculpture.

Simple and beautiful earthenware from Nobue Ibaraki.

Friendship.

When flowers look like gramophones.

A young Meryl Streep.

Simone Bodmer-Turner’s bold forms.

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