The beach and I have been close this summer but you want to know what has not proven a reliable friend? The vintage swimming costume I bought from my friend Danielle for $10 a couple of months ago. O sure, it has a low-cut back to die for (literally- it is heart-stoppingly fantastic) and it occupies the perfect middle ground between scanty and sensible. Here's the problem: the lycra ain't what it used to be. So what is svelte and cutesy-vintage pre-swim becomes semi-transparent and soggy-saggy post-swim. I come out of the surf less Ursula Andress and more Ursula the Sea Witch. Plus the glue on the straps (I guess they glued the hem under before topstitching?) sticks to my shoulder so I have to peel it off apres swim. It's not painful but just kind of... weird? It's like it is disintegrating on me which is slightly unnerving when it is the only layer of fabric between my self and the eyes of every other beachgoer on a sweltering summer's day.
So with a beach day looming I decided it was high time I looked my fears in the face and went swimwear shopping. This particular breed of shopping has to be my most loathed, trumping even shoe shopping in the levels of dread it conjures. But the thought of reviving the poor decrepitating '50s onesie was just too sad so I gathered my nerves into a ball and sallied forth.
Why is it such a thing? Because there are two kinds of swimwear: the sensible kind which has thick, visible "shaping" underwire/padding and "tasteful" ruching of fabric over the stomach often found in big florals (white hibiscus on black/small dark blue sprigs on a lighter blue) for mature women who want to sculpt their bodies to their best advantage; and the very insensible kind which are usually really interesting from a design standpoint (cutaway sides/stripes of fabrics across the back/laser cut holes) but which are the opposite of supportive. And one could liken their coverage capacity to that of three strategically placed postage stamps.
So I tried on cossies by Lover and Zimmermann; cossies by Seafolly and Watersun. I looked at surf brands (Ripcurl) and at brands designed by former Vogue staffers (Anna&Boy). The costumes I found left me feeling either like I was disguising my body or letting it all hang out (sometimes, rather unfortunately, very literally.) And then I was embarassed. It's just an awkward experience, isn't it? An almost-but-not-quite-fitting swimming costume is not like a pair of too-tight shoes that you really want and can convince yourself to buy because the leather will "eventually give." I look in the mirror in potential swimwear and see myself through the eyes of other beachgoers and almost break my neck in my horrified tearing to get it off.
So there I was, trudging despondently through the middle of the CBD, irritated because, seriously, this is Australia, how hard can it be to find a well-designed, supportive swimming costume? And feeling that spoilt-brat frustration that only wells when you want something that you can't find. It was then that inspiration struck- vintage swimwear has been kind to me in the past- why not give it another shot? So I turned my steps towards The Vintage Clothing Shop, beloved by stylists the publishing industry over for its impeccable collection of proper vintage (no '80s longsleeved polyester frocks here, thank you) and there- there- (if there was one word for 'contented sigh', that would be the word finishing this sentence.)
I found a clutch of Charles Jourdan swimmers from the 60s. Bikinis. Brief. Gorgeous. Never worn (kinda crucial with vintage swimwear, let's be real.) At that point I was willing to try anything, so into the changeroom I went and when I saw my reflection I could have cried in relief. I'm not talking myself up here, my physique is certainly not going to give CJ from Baywatch a run for her money or, let's face it, a 'run' in any sense of the word. But you try hopelessly looking for something for two hours and see how sturdy your emotions are when you find it. Well-cut- incredibly well-cut- Australian swimwear designers take note: it is possible to do both brief and supportive cuts. And mine, all mine.
Look at the colours! (You didn't actually think I was going to put a photograph of myself in a bikini on this blog did you? This ain't Sports Illustrated, girlfriend.)
And you know what else? I found shoes too! SHOES! My beaten Ferragamos and poor bewildered huarches are still in a group hug of relief. So I killed two shopping foes with one hit of the Eftpos card, friends (and mangled a cliche while I was at it.)
The new kids on the block.
Vale, huaraches. You have served me well beyond the call of the $6 I paid for you all those years ago in the Forster op-shop.
Smug just begins to describe how I feel about myself at this moment.
The post-Christmas-feasting period is probably not the best time to confess that exercise and I are not on the best of terms. I actually really like the feel of running and running but my poor stamina means that after two or so minutes I... start walking? A fast walk, though. Probably a faster walk than some people's run. It's practically a sprint.
I have the best intentions the night before. I set my alarm an hour earlier, I lay out my sporty clothes and I feel virtuous because not only will I be getting fit but I will be setting myself up for a productive day. Paragraphs will be written!Books will be read! So I fall asleep, warmed by my own virtue and smiling at pain that hasn't eventuated yet. Then the alarm goes off at some dim, unearthly hour and I stub my feet stumbling to stop the wretched beeping and I'm only disoriented- why is my alarm going off when it is clearly not a new day but some halfling hour? Why am I standing in my shadowed room, still heavy with sleep? Why the heck are my sporty clothes laid out on the floor? Madness. Then when I wake up at the usual time it all comes flooding back, and that's what my exercise regime usually looks like.
But maybe 2011 is the time to kick the vicious cycle. Thrice weekly runs. Yoga and pilates at the gym (I have a membership, I do. Been twice. And when I think of how that fee could have been spent...! It burns almost as much as my muscles would if I actually went to the gym.)
I'm telling you all this because I have been living in a Bassike jumper ('sweater' to my North American friends) and it's got a distinctly Alexander Wang feel. So today I'm in a pair of navy satin Kirrily Johnston shorts and the jumper (grey marle) and I feel... like so
A Christmas gift from me to you ('but you already gave us 'awesoriffic'!' You think to yourself with incredulity. Why yes, readers. Yes I did. Merry merry.) Thanks to my lovely friend Cassandra whose pretty blog introduced me to this old but delightful advertisement:
And so here we are! It's suddenly almost the end of 2010 and I find myself contemplating the year that was. Looking back over it, I find myself uncharacteristically lost for words. I'm not really a private person in many ways- if I think or feel something, chances are I will tell you all about it, and passionately. Yet I've often curbed what I share on Fashademic as I have tried to figure out how much this is an arena for idea exploration and research, and how much a personal space to share something of myself and my life (and photos of myself, obvz) with you. I still haven't figured that one out but it's starting to matter less and less which is perhaps the point. This space is mine for the making and somehow, incredibly, you want to check in from time to time- it delights me that you do, down to the bottom my broken-down Ferragamo brogues.
Too much happened this year to cram into one post- I started my PhD, changed churches, moved to a new place, my colourist and I perfected the dye combination for my hair (highlight of the year?), I perfected my butter tart recipe, danced on broken glass in bare feet and had to get it removed by a doctor (no tetanus shot though! high five!), had both romantic adventures and misadventures, bought my first Chloe something and went on innumerable trips to Bassike, found some new best friends and got to know my already-best friends even better, changed jobs, wrote in some capacity almost every day, watched multiple seasons of The West Wing, Mad Men and 30 Rock at lightning speed, and learned a heck of a lot about myself and the kind of person I want to be.
I think that's the key, guys, as well as the take-home from this post. This was a tricky year to negotiate, at times overwhelmingly so. I found myself in situations that I had never anticipated, knowing that I had to rise to meet what faced me but sometimes without knowing how to do that at all. What has redeemed the difficulty of wending my way through the shadows is what I learned from the experience of doing so. I've learned that forgiving is both incredibly costly and incredibly freeing. I've learned that it is worth pursuing what is right even if it is daunting. And yes, that it is important to be kind to yourself- and I don't mean that in the 'spoil yourself every week with a mani/pedi' way but more like... it's okay to not understand everything that is happening in your life and to not have everything stitched up and on track all the time. That the messiness is unavoidable if you have dreams, passions and friends. All you can do is hold to your convictions, listen to other people (especially those that care for you) and accept yourself for who you are.
And at the end of it all, I feel a wellspring of hope in my heart at the unshakeable knowledge that even in the darkness there is a light holding me in His hand. Even when I couldn't feel His presence and even when I felt like my troubles were caused primarily by being His, I held to the knowledge, sometimes just flickering, that He loves me. I don't speak of my faith on Fashademic very often- I know it can be confronting to people who have had horrendous experiences with Christianity or who loathe the idea that there are still people who firmly believe that Jesus Christ not only existed but that he also still lives. I'm not trying to proselytise you, and the purpose of my blog is obviously not evangelistic. But at the end of the most challenging year of my life thus far, I cannot do anything but ascribe where I am now to Him. He made a way for me and so here we are, eleven months after clicking the 'create your blog' button on Blogger and almost 15 000 visitors later and I'm thankful, that's all.
Grace, peace and love to you this Christmas, fellow fashion diehards.
May you all find dealbreakers under the tree and a kick-ass 2011 waiting for you on the other side
Ah, Christmas time. As the days draw closer to the big 2-5 I always find myself reflecting on the year just past, habitually forgetting that there is another week yet to pass before the year is officially over. And that week always takes me by surprise- I never know what I'm doing so any plans I do make feel haphazard, all streaming past in a haze of sun and sales buying when I don't actually want the slightly stained sass+bide denim vest but buy it anyway and swimming and barbeques and obviously these things aren't bad (except maybe for the denim vest? I think the only person who doesn't look like they're trying to channel Kate Moss when they wear one now is Kate Moss herself. And even she doesn't wear them all that often anymore. But I digress.)
I was trying to introduce you to Meg aka YSIC aka the first Christian lady I met who is as diehard into fashion as I am. That's not to say that I didn't know any fashionable Jesus loving ladies before, totes did, but Meg is someone who is as much of a nerd about fashion as me. She knows her Proenza Schouler from her Preen, knows each label Karl Lagerfeld designs for and how they differ from one another and is au fait with his creative side projects. When I tell her how much I have spent on 'marquee items' (cough Chloe coat cough Coach bag) instead of looking at me sideways and mentioning starving children she hi-fives me. And then tries the item on and pretends she's not going to give it back. She introduced me to Bassike and the term 'dealbreakers' which obviously has changed my life for the better AND she gfted me a Vanessa Bruno dress that we call the David Banda dress because if she needs it back at any time (aka David Banda's dad in relation to Madonna) then back it goes. Praying that that day never comes, probably much like Madonna. One of the few things I have in common with Madge.
So anyway the reason I bring Meg up is that today she alerted me to a stunning omission, a glaring hole in the fabric that is this here blog.
meg: 'if I was the editor of fashademic and you were my writer, I would commission you to write a piece on "double bagging" today, with images. You know what I mean? Main bag + tote on same arm. Do we likey?
(that she quoted Alan Cummings from the SATC episode where Carrie models for D&G just sums it up perfectly, I think.)
rosie: as in... a nice handbag and a canvas nothing on the same shoulder? Is that fashion, meggie, or is that fashion's time-honoured foe, practicality?
meg: yes, that's what I mean. And I need you to TELL me whether it's fashion's friend or foe. I see it a lot is all I'm sayin' but I don't know how I feel about it until I read it on fashademic (ice the PhD for a while... this is important...)
then she sent me these under the heading 'I've practically done it for you':
Now far be it from me to say a word against the lovely Susie Bubble, whose style is infectious and whose blog is a personal favey dave. But anonymous blonde (I'm putting my money on Mary-Kate) and Renee Zellweggs, you're ruining the line of both your expenso bags by timesing by two- two cluttered, if you will (and I did!)
And this is my Christmas style tip, friends (assuming that you don't wear earrings shaped like Rudolph's head complete with battery powered flashing red nose. In which case, remove and back away as fast as you can): an outfit generally shines brightest without an enormous bag hulking on your arm. However- it is also important to have stuff with you that you need like, I dunno, ID in case you get carded whilst trying to buy sherry for your Christmas shandies and money to pay for aforementioned sherry. In that case, one bag does the trick, and may it be as roomy and stylish as ye like. But more bags and you start to look like a walking coat rack. And I say that in love, as I frequently channel that look. That is, if coat racks stored library books and takeaway coffee cups as well. Let's heave a collective sigh for the strain we are putting on our shoulders and edit the crap we carry, yes? Awes.
Um. And while Meg and I were texting our conversation, I was finishing my Christmas shopping (that's right, suckahs!!!) and ended up... like... this:
So I texted her: guilty as charged.
meg: new coach???
rosie: same old! but I was flashing the purple lining at you like the ho-bag I am (literally)
meg: I am still getting over the blogged pix of your drop crotch. Fashademic sealed section.
I feel like I've found my blogging soulmate. I mean, I don't want to get ahead of myself and start imagining the wedding and worrying about how we would split our time between New York and Sydney but seriously. Seriously. Let me take some time to point out a few of the many signs that we are MFEO.
Firstly: a predilection for violent looking jewellery. She believes that "it's our responsibility to feed, nay, bleed on jewellery that resembles violent weaponry." Amen sister.
(Like I even have to remind you but the names of these rings are 'Armour' and 'Guillotine'! Yes!)
Secondly, she did a visual tutorial on how to dress to impress man repel and I saw stars around the time she got to this stage:
I know she was taking the piss and all but she looks good right? Am I crazy? Or just crazy in love with her awesoriffic* style?
And don't even- I have no words- I cannot even.
She saw this:
and so she made this:
A DIY Margiela paper dress.
AND she's both smart and funny.
So Man Repeller if you see this um... hi. BFFZ4LYF? And together we'll wear dealbreakers (you call them 'harem pants' but I can explain, there's a funny story, you're gonna die I just know it) and drop it like it's hot all over the blogosphere?
*awesoriffic is a conglomeration of 'awesome' and 'terrific' and supercedes both adjectives in my opinion. Feel free to pick it up and run with it. A Christmas gift from me to you, with love.
Today it took me forever to settle on what to wear. I started with the dealbreakers- they're so comfortable, so slouchy, and they polarise people, so perfect on a day when I wanted to both hide away and to thumb my nose at the year. So then I worked my way up. Comfortable bassike dress on top but it was too monotonal- not right for today. So I put the ed&bek shirt over the top and- voila. I don't wear closed-in sleeved tops very often- I feel stifled for some reason. But lately I've had a hankering, so on it went. Then the whole look was too neat, so on went the ponyhair belt. It was still missing something so I tried a few brooches until it was just right. My hair had to go up in a bun, which again is not a common choice for me. Wearing my hair like that makes me feel prim and tidy, like I should be going to an office to number crunch and send faxes. And it leaves me nothing to hide behind. But it looked silly out with so many layers of clothes, and so.
And then the leopard shoes to crazy up the print ratio. And the Coach bag which fits everything in, which often means an umbrella in case it rains, sunglasses in case it's glarey, a novel in case I miss my train, some articles in case I finish the novel and need something else to read, an ipod in case I don't feel like reading after all and then the usual suspects- keys wallet pocket mirror (my eyelashes stick into my eyes ALL THE TIME!) lip salve pen daily planner. Carrying that thing is like doing weights, one side of my body at a time.
Anyway, that's how I sually get dressed, when I have the time. It's like choosing the armour I need for the day, but every day what I need changes. Sometimes my clothes are a second skin, sometimes a shroud. Sometimes they shout my mood joyfully to the world, sometimes they help me disappear. And sometimes I am running hideously late so I just grab yesterday's outfit off the back of my desk chair and away we go.
Macau brooch from Bondi Markets a million summers ago.
A close-up on the dropcrotch. The original and the best.
It might come as no surprise to you that Industrie won. And if you have the means and can find it near you, go and buy it just for the interview with Miguel Adrover. A forgotten 'fashion favourite' who was feted in the late Nineties/early '00s (no, I won't call them the 'Noughties.' Ugh) and who now lives off the land and designs for a German eco mail-order label. The interviewer likens him in looks to an Old Testament prophet and like a prophet he speaks out against the prevailing order of the day- in this case, against the state of the fashion industry. He calls out the artifice of the industry and laments the way that young design talent is usurped into old, established houses which 'today...have nothing to say.' He's making bold statements which will probably only serve to isolate him even more from the industry and yet there is something so refreshing in hearing a discordant voice, whether you agree with him or not.
On Nicholas Ghesquiere, whose collections for Balenciaga are elsewhere described in Industrie as 'among the most creative and surprising of any Paris house', Adrover says,' why isn't he doing his own label? Because that don't look like Balenciaga fcking at all! It's ridiculous that he can't make his own label... it's so sad.' And reading those words and remembering Cristobal Balenciaga's aesthetic- exquisitely crafted ballgowns and sharp tailoring for a postwar world looking for tasteful elegance- Adrover is right. Ghesquiere is incredibly gifted- his designs are visionary and utterly unique each season- so why doesn't he have his own label? Why does he need the prestige of the established house? Because, as Adrover says, he would never get the funding to start up on his own from them. (He probably would from a conglomerate from LVMH but I guess that would be dependent on whether or not his designs fit with their own brand and vision.)
What else is interesting about this article? Adrover talks about his design philosophy (whilst never using such a pretentious term) which melds politics, philosophy and sociology into a comment on society. He believes that fashion should reflect modern times, the movements within society and the world. He champions upturning concepts of 'high' and 'low' and the breaking down of hierarchies. His philosophy of fashion is so revolutionary that it is tantamount to anarchical.
I haven't even got further into the magazine yet, I wanted to quickly blog to share my eagerness. I feel disillusioned by a lot of fashion magazines these days but there are a handful that I would recommend*, and Industrie is one of them. They are rare as in Australia though, so you'd better get searchin'.
*The others? Lula, L'Officiel Hommes, Vogue Paris (sometimes. At least their perspective is bold. I feel like sometimes they try to shock for shocking's sake though which is just pretension in my book. But most of the time they are so spot on, achingly cool.)
*ps. sorry for the crappy photo quality. Back to the BlackBerry today because I am in the library and thus without my camera and USB cord thing.
So something funny happened the other day.
I went to work in a long sheer black skirt and a navy and white striped top.
In other words, this:
My manager took one look at me and said I looked like a liquorice allsort. And you know what? He was right. He added that all I needed to complete the look was a burst of colour like lemon or lime. Grinning, I put my hands on my waist: 'like this?'
Can you tell my nail polish wasn't a profesh job? Believe it or not, this is actually one of my better efforts at nailpainting.
Totally unintentional but very funny.
ps. You spotted it, regular readers! This is the Supre skirt I slashed at the knee to maximise the sheer factor a while ago.
tee/Scanlan+Theodore skirt/supre nailpolishes/Nine West and Orly
Ordered and delivered within a week. Thanks bookdepository.co.uk!
Who knew that couriers even delivered on Saturdays? But there it was, nestled right up against my door jamb as if trying to escape the long-fingered heat creeping up my stairwell. (Have I ever described the stairwell of my apartment block to you before? Imagine a 70's hospital corridor having a love child with a motel on Highway 69 and that's what it looks like: all sea green doors and grubby white tiles. It's practically crying out for some shell art.)
I had such an action-packed weekend that it's only today that I've had time to peel open the book's covers to flick through the 400 odd pages of bloggers' photos. A couple of Australians are profiled (way to go Nicole and Elle-May) but I was even more delighted to be introduced to a number of male bloggers I hadn't encountered before. In fact, eleven of the forty bloggers featured in the book were guys, which is a large proportion compared to the girl to guy ratio of bloggers on the style blogosphere at large.
I've shared some of the links to their blogs on here but interestingly, some of the blogs in the book are not active. Some of the addresses didn't work and some of them are only updated once or twice a month which makes me wonder if the author was throwing the net far and wide to find guys to feature. One guy doesn't even have an actual blog but a lookbook.nu account, which isn't really the same thing, really. I suppose one of the difficulties of writing about blogs is that books are permanent in a sense but blogs aren't: they can be made private or deleted, become inactive or corrupted and then they are gone.
(nb: loading this site screwed up my computer- it was hard to get the whole script to read so be warned. There is probably some way to avoid this mishap but failing to know how to help you or even myself I can only give you a heads up, yo.)
This is one of the bloggers I mentioned before. His blog is supposed to be found at boucheouverte.blogspot.com but blogspot can't trace it. I tried searching it as a straight dotcom and then googled it and then googled the name of the blogger and was led to his MySpace. Who knew people still had personal MySpaces anymore?! But here is one of his great selfies, and if anyone finds his blog's actual address then won't you please wing it my way!
My favourite of all these discoveries. He's quoted in the book as saying that 'I don't talk much so I will speak through the images that I post.' So poetic and a perfect opening quote for the chapter I'm working on. Score.
Style Diaries image from Juan Cocco; all other shots by the respective bloggers.
I kept Fashademic while I was a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, conducting my research on personal style blogs. My degree was awarded in September 2014. You can read my thesis, "O HAI GUYZ: Between Personal Style Bloggers, Their Readers, and Modern Fashion" by clicking the link in Press. Fashademic was totes a methodological exercise.