Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Season’s trends take #2 (fa lala lala laa lala la laa)

In Dresses, Trends, Uncategorized on December 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm


Now for the next set of fabulous trends to pick up for this style season – weather season irrelevant, the looks are universal with a few tweaks in weight and layering.

The last ten years has been the Decade of the Dress. After being in the doldrums for years, to the point where it had become practically impossible to buy a nice frock – one of the issues which drove the vintage boom, in my opinion – they have come to dominate womenswear.

After years of careful shopping I now have a closet really well stocked with lovely dresses – mostly silk, print, with pockets, I can just pull on and go. So guess what? I suddenly want to wear skirts again.


And so it seems does everyone else. I went to a party on Saturday night and two of my homies were wearing versions of my own current favourite dress up look: sequin skirts with sweater/sweatshirt tops, feature necklaces and pointy high heels.

It just feels right and I’m taking advantage of the fashion trend to stock up on the tube and pencil skirts I’ve always felt suit my body shape, currently available at great prices and in a fabulous array of wild prints and finishes in the chain stores. I got navy sequins and the aforementioned (in the last post) pleather in Zara, the flesh pink with sequin patterns in River Island.

If even a sweatshirt is too heavy, they also look good with a lightweight jersey T or silk T-type top.


This trend’s been around for a couple of seasons already, but it’s still relevant – and such a dream to wear. It really is exactly what it says on the packet: silk pyjamas. Or silk-like, pyjama-like shirts and pyjama-like pants. You can improvise a bit.

I have silk-like patterned PJ pants from Zara which I team with a black real silk satin shirt I’ve had for a million years. I also have real silk navy PJ-ish pants, which I wear with a vintage print silk shirt.

The key is to button the shirt just enough to be legal, so it’s flowy and dégagé (French for chicly casual…) and roll the sleeves right up. I also whack on a nice heavy pendant or a string of beads which sit half in and half out of the half unbuttoned shirt.


With a barely-there sandal that outfit got me through some very hot days in Brisbane on my last book tour. I also love to get into this rig out, with my velvet tassel slipper shoes when I entertain at home.

As the terrible clompy stiletto platforms I came so to hate (after a brief flirtation when they first came on the scene…) have officially segued into the fashion blooper zone and the pointy stiletto has firmly taken over, there’s a new brilliant entry to the shoe scene: the party flat.

402083_fr_slThis is a fabulous, embellished flat shoe to wear for posh dress ups. I’ve seen some wonderful celeb pics of long gowns with a flat shoe, so glamorous (just couldn’t find one to put on here dammit, sorry about that).

I particularly love the pointy toe ones by new shoe designer name Tabitha Simmons. And you don’t just have to wear them for evening smarts, they also look great with jeans, or chinos for a day look – as do every style of flat in this flatastic shoe season.


I love silver brogues, leopardprint ponyskin slippers (I got mine from Ecco, of all brands), animal print brothel creepers, the new updated Doc Martens (so fun in Chanel-style quilting), buckled monk shoes, loafers, deck shoes… the list goes on.


My advice is to stock up on walkable style dazzlers while you can…

I’ve written about this for my Rules column this Sunday, December 22nd, so please buy the Age if you’re in Melbourne, the Sun-Herald if you’re in Sydney – or look on line here


This is related to the trend above and I think the best possible way to go for party frocks this Christmas. I love lace dresses in every colour, as sported by the pantheon of celebripeople seen here. Miranda Kerr and Taylor Swift seem to have them I every colour.

I haven’t bought one yet, but if I can lay my hands on a bottle green lace dress this weekend – not too tight and definitely not stretch nylon – that will be my Christmas day look (we always dress up in my family).


Or I might just whip out my first ever purchase from Collette Dinnigan, a black lace dress which is as gorgeous now as it was when I bought it twenty years ago… (And more on my adored friend Collette to come shortly.)

Now tell me – what will you be wearing this Christmas day?

“He is resting, he is at peace…”

In Legends, Obituary, Politics, World events on December 6, 2013 at 10:19 am


I’m interrupting the scheduled programme – as the BBC did last night, which I don’t remember happening since Princess Diana died – to take a moment to reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela.

He has been a shining beacon of hope for me since the first time I heard about him – which I don’t mind admitting was in the The Specials 1984 song ‘Free Nelson Mandela’.


It’s such an uplifting riff, with words powerful in their simplicity – that brought the man and his cause to a huge audience. Which just goes to show the role popular music can play in society.

21 years in captivity
Shoes too small to fit his feet
His body abused, but his mind is still free
You’re so blind that you cannot see

I listened to those lyrics and set about finding out exactly who he was and why he was in that prison.

While I was too young and ignorant to have heard of the great ANC freedom fighter until then, I did know about apartheid and as a teenager had beseeched my mum not to buy South African grapes, or any other produce of that benighted country. She agreed and didn’t.

It was my first political act.

When the powerful song Ain’t Going to Play Sun City came out the year after The Specials I knew exactly what it was about.  And I find the video as powerful now as I did thirty years ago. (Sorry for poor quality here, but it’s better than nothing.)


Last night when I first read the news about Mr Mandela’s death on Twitter, my 11 year old daughter heard my wail and came down stairs to find me sobbing at the computer.

The whole family then sat and watched the news on the telly, my daughter bemused why mum and dad cared so much about some old man she’d never heard of.

And so all three of us got into the big bed together and we told her about colonialism and apartheid. Or tried to, it was hard to know where to start.

‘You’re kidding me,’ was her first response. Then she thought a bit more and said: ‘Was it like in The Help?’

Like that and much worse, we told her, going on to explain the psychotic hierarchy of black, white and ‘coloured’.

Watching the look of appalled disgust growing on her face as she understood what had been done to people, sanctioned by the state, simply because of the colour of their skin, was to appreciate yet again what a victory Nelson Mandela achieved, not just for his own country, but for mankind.

The world is greatly lessened today, for not having him in it any more, as the kind of global conscience he became (his words on the US bombing on Iraq make you stop and think). But his wisdom will endure forever in his words.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”

Rest in peace, Tata Madiba. You have earned it.



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