Friday, January 14, 2011

Pattern Magic

I know I've been a bit obsessed with books recently. But I LOVE books! There is a book on absolutely everything, and they are so interesting. I love having a large collection - sometimes I forget what I have, but that just makes it so much more surprising when I find the the book again!

My newest purchase is a stunning pattern book called "Pattern Magic" by Tomoko Nakamichi. It's a japanese pattern book on how to create garments with sculptural elements to them. Taking inspiration from nature, from geometric shapes and from the street, this book harnesses the sheer joy of making and sculpting clothes. 

There is also a "Pattern Magic 2", which I just pre-ordered. These garments are absolutely gorgeous and the patterns will come in handy with costumes. You never know when you need something sculptural to make a statement on stage! Or on the street!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

W. B. Lord

I've got a few books on the go, but the one that I find most interesting (and applicable to what I do) is "The Corset & The Crinoline: An Illustrated History" by W. B. Lord. It was originally published in 1868, and outlines the history of corsetry from the natives in India all the way to 1867 and the Artistic Dress Movement.

If you are interested in corsetry and the history of fashion, I highly recommend this book. It is surprisingly quite easy to read, although the language is a bit flourished due to the style of writing back then. It's incredibly informative with fantastic sketches that illustrate what is described.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

That is SO 80s

I'm obsessed with this book of photographs by Patrick McMullan. So 80s is a 'photographic diary of a decade' and is FULL of inspiration and amazing photos. People like Anna Nicole Smith, Madonnna, Betsey Johnson, Patricia Field, Debby Harry, and much more are represented in this photo collection from parties and events. Some are even dirty and disgusting, and remind me of the type of facebook photos we all regret the day after. I highly recommend y'all take a look at this book. Everything that they're wearing is now in high fashion, and its' great inspiration to make interesting outfits.

Desmond Caddgan at Area (3/10/1984), Guest at Peri Lister's Birthday Party at the Cat Club (10/04/1984), Club Boy at the Palladium (1985), "Bat Boy" at the Pyramid Club, (20/05/1984)

Stephen Saban and Ellen Kinnally with friends at Danceteria, December 1983

Andrea Bouzwa at the Cat Club (20/08/1985), Peter Quendo and Miriam Bendahan at the XTC Party at the Sensory Evolution Gallery (20/08/1985), Martin Burgone and Maripol at the John "Jellybean" Benitez Party at Private Eyes (29/09/1985)

Linda Lust and Tommy Gun at Area, July 1984

James St. James as Leigh Bowery, 1986

Perri Lister at the Milk Bar, November 1985

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this cute polka dot outfit. I think it's one for the sewing table.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Queen Necklace

Now in western Canada, there is a fantastic chain store called Plum that carries pretty cool items of clothing. My sweater with the deer head was from there, and I also picked up a purple dress and this fantastic "queen necklace." I think I've worn this necklace everyday since I got it. It's such a great big piece and dresses up any outfit. I feel like a queen when I wear it, hence my nickname for it.

Canadian Purchases

I tried to be as Canadian as possible while in Toronto. I had a Tim Hortons coffee and bagel almost everyday, ate loads of poutine, drank Canadian beer, went to a hockey, played hockey, etc. etc. It's great to get back to my Canadian roots, and most of my purchases were along those lines. I bought a deer sweater, 2 lumberjack flannies, a pair of moccasins, red rain boots, and my sister even gave me a new pair of Alberta cowboy boots. Also in the pile of purchases are a pair of chunky heels (I needed a pair of shoes to go out in the winter snow) and an H&M 60's dress. A fantastic necklace was also bought, but I'm going to write a post on that later with "arty" photos.

Enjoy searching through my finds. I know I had fun searching for them myself.



A few months ago I headed to Melbourne to visit my dear friend Meg, and she took me to a fantastic store called Madame Virtue. There, I found the most amazing Italian dress by the brand Albino. The original price tag was $700! There was no way I was gonna buy it at that price. But guess what? It was on sale for $100! I had to get it, so it was my New Years Dress.

Leigh Bowery

When I first arrived in Toronto, I was incredibly jetlagged. So while I stayed at my friend Geoff's house, he went out to go party and I stayed at home and watched Fashion Television. On the program "From the Vault" was archived footage of an interview with Leigh Bowery. Being an 80s baby, I had never heard of the guy. But, as it turns out, he's one of the most influential fashion icons every. Alexander McQueen even used him as the sole inspiration for his FW09 show.

Leigh Bowery (1961-1994) was an Australian performance artist, costume designer, club promoter, actor, pop star, and London scene socialite. His signature style is otherworldly, avant garde, even garish, with a hint of grotesque. He was living art.

I was so amazed by his interview and by his looks that I just HAD to research him to get inspiration for costume designs. They are so creative and elaborate.

Here's a snippit of his wardrobe and outrageous costumes. Click on the photo to go to the original site.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Spider's Logic

During my trip to Toronto, I visited the Textile Museum and saw the most mind blowing exhibit ever. A beautiful Chinese Canadian artist called Kai Chan makes these extraordinary art pieces out of string and sticks. His signature is the red thread, and he explores the 3-dementiality of the thread, creating gorgeous sculptures. Here are a few of his pieces from A Spider's Logic.


See what you see




From A to Z

Check out his website:

Back from the Great White North

I'm back! And with a vengeance!
My trip to Canada was fantastic! I started by working closely with the artistic director of "The Nutcracker" (a school show that I used to dance in when in school for 11 years) in rehearsals and changing the design. I pushed my way into the Dads' club with the set and worked backstage as the assistant stage manager. It was amazing! The oldest girls hardly remembered who I was, as they were 12 when I danced my last Nutcracker. They remember me only as the Sugar Plum Fairy with the fake bun (I had short short hair when I was 17).

I then headed to Calgary to spend Christmas with my sister and her darling young family. It was so wonderful to play Santa and see the grins on those tiny faces. It was incredibly meaningful to me and to my neice and nephews that I spent that time with them. It was so hard to leave, but I then headed back to Toronto.

For New Years, my dear friend Claire organized a group of us to to to the Thompson Hotel. Boy, was it snazzy. I have to admit that most of the night is a bit fuzzy, but I had a marvelous time!

I visited my old haunts and fell right back into my life in Toronto. I do miss it. And I really miss the cold and the snow (yes, I do admit it). It's just what I grew up with, and it feels incredibly comfortable for me.  I went to the Textile Museum (a post will follow about the amazing artist Kai Chan and his string masterpieces) and the Royal Ontario Museum (The ROM, which was INCREDIBLY disappointing).  Lots of shopping was done and I even went to a hockey game. I'm now one NHL nut! Go Maple Leafs!!! (last game 9 - 3 versus Atlanta - a beating!)

Now I'm back in Sydney. This week I'm moving out (once my bed arrives), and I'm looking for a part time job. I'll continue making corsets and selling them, and I have the opportunity for a show coming up in May. Life is a bit in limbo, but I'm sure it will get back on track soon.

But it's good to have my own bed. For now.

Photos of King Street on a Sunny, but icy day