Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Celebrities on January 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Phewee, what a flume ride, I’m exhausted but although it was scary at times, I’ve learned a lot from this experience.

I’ve learned a lot about what people get out of burlesque and why they love it. I’ve learned that people feel very strongly about their right to wear very high heels and a strong individual look. I’ve learned that there is a self-defined proud ‘vintage tribe’.  It’s been really interesting.

But the best thing of all was finding out – when I got up this morning and opened the comments, almost scared to look – that there are a lot of wonderful people with strong opinions, who are willing to have a conversation and talk things over. Who would rather come to an understanding than keep slugging it out.

Thank you so much for that. It’s really strengthened my faith in human nature. There are far far more nice people  out there than nasty ones.

I’ve now amended the post, taking out the specific term which caused offence and which I honestly didn’t know was a derogatory term. I’m so grateful to Indiyesreally in comments for spelling that out to me.

I’ve also edited the rest of the piece in a way which I hope makes the points I was trying to make clearer and takes out some bits of nonsense that clouded the issues.

Next time I’m going to post about fluffy kittens (in killer heels…)


Why Miss Piggy? She’s the only woman, er, pig, more glamorous than Dita von Teese.

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Who DIDN’T I offend? To all of you, there’s only one thing to say: sorry.

I don’t subscribe to the opinionist posture of never apologise, never explain – I’m happy to do both. I don’t want to offend people. Not my thing.

But right now I want to devote my energy to replying individually to all the comments. So for the time being my explanation is on there.

And here’s what I should have written, to avoid all this rancour, because this is all that I meant:

Dita von Teese is one of the world’s most elegant and perfectly turned out women.

And for those of you who don’t want to – or can’t – wear very high heels, here are some pictures of her looking just as great in flat shoes, as she does in her highest Louboutins.


PS 28th January: I’ve amended the post, taking out the specific term which caused offence and which I honestly didn’t know was a derogatory term. I’m so grateful to Indiyesreally in comments for spelling that out to me.

I’ve also edited the rest of the piece in a way which I hope makes the points I was trying to make clearer.


Rule: flatter shoes can be as chic as towering torture chambers

In Celebrities, Famous people, High heels, Shoes on January 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

BLOGGER’S NOTE:  this post pissed a lot of people off, so I’ve amended parts of it – on the specific advice of the people who got in touch and told me what they didn’t like and why. I’m very grateful to them. I stand by my opinions, but I would never knowingly use offensive terms about particular groups of people.

I’ve also nipped and tucked it in a few other places, because if so many different groups of people got the wrong idea, then that means I didn’t write it well enough in the first place. I think it’s clearer now.

I’ve never thought of Dita von Teese as a bastion of women’s rights. In fact I’m proudly old school feminist about the whole ‘burlesque’ revival. It makes me really uncomfortable. It’s just a fancy name for striptease, which encourages the acceptance of looking at women as objects. I don’t accept it as ‘stylish’.

In fact I’m convinced the whole thing is part of a New World Order global conspiracy of Stepford Wives fundamentalists (a word which, I now realise, spookily contains the sub words ‘men’ and ‘mental’…), who are also behind the current trend for very young women to wear the style celebrated in TOWIE, Desperate Scousewives etc – more make up and hairspray than a young Priscilla Presley (below) and higher heels than the most outrageous drag queen.

Well, obviously not, but I do wonder why we have casually allowed these repressive looks back into the lexicon of style. I really worry about the human Barbie dolls currently being held up to my little girl as the ideal of female aspiration. And not just for looks – for life.

All up, I’m really looking forward to the backlash to the false lash, when we’ll all be challenging 1970s Lauren Hutton again, rather than 1960s Danny La Rue.

Phew, glad I got all that out, now back to Dita. While her choice of career confuses me, I have always admired her style. She’s one of the most elegant and immaculately turned out women in the world. But my respect for her chic ranked up a whole new notch, when I saw the picture at the top – and others – of her wearing her signature groomed style, but with shoes you could drive a bus in, let alone run for one. And not in a caught coming out of the gym way (although I believe she was fresh from pilates in some of these…), but as part of a gorgeous planned outfit. Hurray!

Not because I don’t love high heels – I have a large collection myself – but I can’t wear them all day every day and I feel intimidated by the pressure to do so. At the Paris and Milan fashion shows (which I covered for many years as a magazine editor-in-chief and later as a newspaper fashion writer) it’s almost like a gladitorial contest, who can wear the highest shoes for the totter from the limo into the venue and out again.

So to see Dita wearing flats with all the elegance she wears her heels is a real inspiration.

And she gets another big gold star for the bag she’s carrying in the top photo here.

It’s the Saigon style by venerable Paris luggage brand Goyard, (older than Louis Vuitton and much more discreet), which is a great choice in itself and she’s had it amusingly emblazoned with her monogram. So that’s all good, but what I really love is that there are loads of pictures on the internet of her carrying this particular bag with different outfits.

She’s using it as an investment piece, her go-to bag, that she carries every day, just like a real person – rather than yet another cashed-up meta-consumer showing off yet another of her box fresh Birkins. (Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter, Tamara, has a special room for hers…)

Flat shoes and cost-per-wear? Dita, you’ve won me over.

Rule: The exceptional proves the rule

In Actors, FIlms on January 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Happy New Year and all that. What are you looking forward to? *

On my list of anticipated highlights is the film The Hunger Games, adapted from the book of the same name, which I think (from watching the trailer on Youtube) looks like a gripping adventure riffing on the culture of reality TV.

It doesn’t open [in Australia] until March but allow me to introduce here its lead actor Miss Jacqueline Emerson, who is just seventeen years old, yet already rocking that photo opp moment better than many more seasoned celebritines.

Of course she may just be getting great advice, but the secret is taking it. There are so many actresses of established fame who still haven’t worked that out, but this teen either has serious style of her own, or the nouse to know when to listen up to those who do.

I can’t find a single niggle to make about this picture. Not even the way she’s standing in it. You wouldn’t believe the number of shots I look at each week, where the subject is slouching like a slummock, or – worse in my opinion – working the beauty queen’s ‘Pageant Stance’, with one turned out foot placed in front of the other. Emerson is fully posing here, but in an upbeat, natural, let’s do this thing way. I love her.

On an older person I might have got a bit snarky about the undone hair, on a teenage girl, j’adore. I would have hated a tortured bridesmaid’s up do on that young head.

The balance of the accessories is also spot on. The asymmetry of a bangle, which is so often wanting, a little punctuation mark at the throat and a sparkly hard case ‘minaudière’ clutch bag. The shiny gold shoes are properly dressed up and fun – and not exactly the same colour as the dress, which would have been so dull.

On someone else – someone older – that little bit of contrasting lace at the neck could have seemed a fussy detail. I’m not actually sure if it’s part of the dress or some kind of a slip, but on a girl of Emerson’s age it’s modest and sweet.

It also gives the outfit a bit of a retro 80s hit, which is spot on for her generation, for whom the 1980s is the signature reference. There’s an adorable little hint of Molly Ringwald about it, which is really pleasing because with that gorgeous hair colour, that’s who Emerson is reminding me of. (See The Breakfast Club, below. Oh, how it all comes flooding back…)

And the hair/dress combo is the number one reason I love Emerson’s look. None of us are ‘supposed to’ wear clothes the same colour as our follicles. I’ve certainly avoided beige most of my life for that reason. And redheads in particular, as discussed in a previous outing, are subjected to the most stringent restrictions regarding the entire warm end of the colour spectrum.

So Jacqueline Emerson is breaking both those rules, in fine style, and looks like she’s having a great time doing it, as all cool teenagers should. Bring on the movie.

* This first appeared in the Sunday Age, M section, on January 1, so sharing it here for all readers of Sun-Herald (back in there on January 29th) – and anyone else who’s interested.

I am wearing a great Cloak of Shame about not having done anything on here for ages (crazy busy finishing a book, which was all consuming…) but hope to get back to regularity… it’s my New Year’s Resolution.

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