Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I considered inserting one of those pointless, long-winded, and mostly self serving recaps of 2013 (the sort that are no doubt littering your various social media feeds like leftover beer cans after a raucous party) right here. But I don’t want people, meaning you, to despise me. Plus my memory of anything past the last few months is shady at best, and my predisposition to laziness precludes me from searching archives or inboxes and pressing load more tweets.

I considered posting a picture of the rather large mug I intend to consume vodka out of this evening, combining it with a simple HNY (that’s happy new year for the uninitiated) and pretending it was an actual form of communication and expression. But I’m not sure promoting the ingestion of a large amount of liquid of the Russian variety is in the spirit of what I’m doing here. Plus I just like the sound of my own words too much.

Then, despite the fact that I've historically been steadfastly the non-resolution type, I considered posting a list of resolutions. I actually wrote out a few before it occurred to me that resolving to not make resolutions seemed counter-productive. The remainder of them included buying an Acne denim shirt, and saying yes more - unless the answer was no or I really didn’t want to say yes. See counter-productive.

Having exhausted these quality ideas, here, instead, is what I learnt this year...

Everything looks better on Instagram

Figuring it out as you go along is a perfect substitute for a plan

Peanut M&M’s are infinitely better than regular M&M’s

And often, people will make assumptions about you that belittle who you are and what you want to do, the trick is to not give a fuck about what they think

That’s it. See you on the flip-side...


kb xx

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

no more faking it.......

My legs are so pale that you could conceivably be standing kilometres away from me, and still make out the spindly blue veins that creep under my skin. A combination of my English heritage and a childhood spent with my nose stuffed between the pages of a book and not outside in the blistering Australian sun, means my legs, and in fact all of me, are a lovely pale shade of white.

For a lot of years now, I’ve conformed to the idea that a tan makes you look better. A golden glow makes you look thinner, healthier, happier etc. etc. etc. And all that time spent in spray tan booths, slathering on foams and creams and lotions, and smelling like some kind of weird chemical coconut is worth it. Just to achieve the skin of a bronzed goddess, albeit a short one - with red hair.

But this year, I quit.

This year I’m throwing out all the fake tan crap that has accumulated in my bathroom, I’m leaving the golden glows and bronze goddesses behind. I’m embracing my ghostly shade.

I’m white baby, real white and I’m ok with it.

Just think, this summer I’ll have so much free time. Time I would have spent faking it. Imagine how normal my palms will look? How stain free my linen will be? Imagine a bathroom that doesn’t smell like drug lab run by coconuts?

Oh bliss.

This year, I’m going to learn to love the skin I was born with, freckles, visible veins and so pale it blinds your eyes. Because, who the fuck decided pale white kids with red hair weren’t cool?

kb xx

Thursday, December 12, 2013

return to meredith.......

I'm heading off the grid this weekend - it's back to Meredith I go.

My quasi spiritual home.

My musical oasis.

Where great people, even better tunes and the magical forces of Aunty Meredith combine to create a level of awesomeness not yet matched by anything anywhere.

It's been seven years and I'm still not tired of her.

See you on the flip side...

kb xx

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

missing: one inspiration.......

What is inspiration? Where does it come from? And how do you find it when it’s lost?

Every artistic how-to and every piece of advice from artists anywhere talks about how inspiration is not the key to success; perspiration has a little something to do with it too. And that grit is far more important than a notion of artistic sensibility.

Which is great. But when you’re feeling particularly uninspired, as I have been of late, you begin to question not only your ability to be inspired - but your ability full stop. Which is a level of heartbreak reserved only for those that put their life in such intangible things as words.

I’m not sure if my inspiration has been lost or simply misplaced. Perhaps it got sideswiped by those dastardly exams I had to sit last week, that seemingly wiped me of any thoughts outside of is the answer a, b or c. Maybe I should look for it outside blowing in the wind, under my car or in the dirty washing.

Maybe I’ll find it at the end of this sentence...

Nope, not there.

I considered making up one of those lost posters; but I’m not sure how to accurately describe something so indescribable. I can’t tell you what colour hair my inspiration has, or if it’s tall or short. I can’t tell you if my inspiration has an accent (if it did I’m sure it'd be Scottish), or what it was wearing the last time I saw it. I can’t tell you its name, or where it likes to hang out. I can’t tell you anything really.

I searched for inspirational quotes, because words are the way to my heart and I thought maybe my inspiration was hiding somewhere amongst my internal organs. I learned that the quieter you become, the more you can hear, which makes sense. I discovered that all the good stuff is outside our comfort zones, and that there are seven steps to happiness, which seems just a little too easy, right?

I Googled where to find inspiration, because the internet is always the answer. But the internet told me that exercise boosts creativity, which feels like a not so subtle dig at me for not going to the gym in like, forever.

So now I’m just going to sit here and wait for my inspiration to come back. In the meantime, I’ll write a whole lot of words that can best be described as perspiration and grit and maybe inspiration will just stumble through the door, find me working and join in.

kb xx

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

the road.......

Last night I was scrolling through Instagram, it's kind of like a bed time story for grown ups right? Anyway, I stopped on a picture of a blogger whose pictures I follow and spied a copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My eyes swung to the pile of books on my bedside, the must read pile that seems to grows bigger every day. And there it was; a copy of The Road.

I slipped it out from its position in the pile, like a crazy game of book jenga, and flipped it over - I always read the blurb before I start reading anything, like I'm looking for clues to what I'm about to experience.

Then I started reading. I stopped about three hours later, somewhere near 1am, and as I closed the last page I felt this unnerving feeling settle over me.

The Road was published in 2006 to critical acclaim and took out the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007, (yes I'm a little behind in my reading), and I can see why. 

There is something about the simplistic stripped back use of language, the short sharp paragraphs, the dialogue that feels more like thoughts running through someones mind then actual conversation. It's raw and open and it drags you in and along for the ride.

It's also terrifying. The Road, with it's post-apocalyptic world, could almost be a warning. And in a way it is, but for me the warning is not so much about a barren and scorched landscape, as it is about humanity. And love. And tenderness. And needing to not forget what those things mean.

Sometimes I think the power of words, simple words, to elicit emotion is often forgotten. We're so overwhelmed with images and sound and three word slogans, that real words get lost.

They're not lost in The Road.  

If you haven't already, read it.

kb xx

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

his and her no more.......

I think I might need help.*

Over the past few weeks I’ve bought three new shirts. A blue denim, a black acid wash denim and a red and blue tartan in case you were wondering, and they all came from the menswear department.

What started as a bit of sartorial expression, an over-sized shirt here, some slouchy pants there, has morphed into a outright infatuation. And now I barely give lady-land a cursory glance before pawing through the racks of button up shirts and trousers searching for my new favourite.

It’s even infiltrated what I thought was the untouchable domain of shoes. I want man shoes. I want loafers and brogues and chunky sneakers. We’ve conquered the shirts and the pants, so shoes is the next logical step right?

Where once I stared at the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood and Brain Attwood, (often with a little drool dripping down my chin - hey I’m only human), now I’m more likely to spend my spare time at Mr Porter, with my eyes firmly fixated on the likes of John Lobb. Have you see these patent leather slippers??. Or Armando Cabral. Oh those brushed suede tasselled loafers.


Maybe it’s the boxy over-sized unisex silhouettes that have stomped down the runways these past few seasons, see Celine, Comme des Garcons, Stella McCartney, Yohji Yamamoto, Loewe - need I go on?

Where once the wearing of menswear may have been a subversive bucking of trends for us women-folk, it’s now made it’s way front and centre and shopping in man land just ain’t no real thing anymore.

Maybe, just maybe, the rules that previously bound us to our respective sexes and the garments assigned to them have become so blurred, thanks in part to those illustrious designers above no doubt, that we don’t have to divide our fashion between his and hers anymore.

Maybe that’s why I’m digging all that shiny patent leather and brushed suede on my feet.

Is this the real democratisation of fashion?

What do you think?

kb xx

*I'm kidding. Seriously.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

rei kawakubo and creativity.......

“The voice of the designer has never been so important in disseminating brand values. Cynically put, he (or she) who shouts the loudest, gets heard the most. Yet whilst Kawakubo’s refusal to explain herself has often frustrated her public, her silence has given her voice more power and resonance than any other fashion designer in the industry today,” 
Hans Ulrich Orbist on Rei Kawakubo

Sometimes I wonder if the cliche of celebrity has made brittle that which we call fashion. As Mr Hans Ulrich Orbist says, those who shout the loudest are heard the most. And I wonder if this is to the detriment of what is at it's core a creative industry, where surely the talented and not the loudest should rise to the top.

But then I remember the likes of Rei Kawakubo. In an interview with System magazine for the Autumn/Winter 2013 issue, an exclusive extract of which you can read on BoF here, Kawakubo talks about the creative process in designing a new collection, in this case SS14. 

"I break the idea of ‘clothes.’ I think about using for everything what one would normally use for one thing. Give myself limitations. I pursue a situation where I am not free. I think about a world of only the tiniest narrowest possibilities. I close myself. I think that everything about the way of making clothes hitherto is no good. This is the rule I always give myself: that nothing new can come from a situation that involves being free or that doesn’t involve suffering." 
Rei Kawakubo

As fascinated as we are with the clothes themselves, and we are, we are equally as fascinated with where a designer draws inspiration from. Perhaps it stems from a desire for the consumer to forge a deeper connection with a collection, a designer, a brand. But how does one form a connection with a designer that attempts to break the clothes, before rebuilding them with seemingly no reference to their past? It's a interesting concept and a thought provoking question. Anyone who has viewed Comme des Garcons SS14 collection, or in fact any before that, can attest to the process that Kawakubo describes above.

While I'm of the thinking that inspiration for the creative process can come from anywhere, Kawakubo's point about nothing new coming from a situation that doesn't involve suffering rings true in every since. What's that old saying about necessity being the mother of invention?

In an industry increasingly controlled by celebrity, and fame and a huge marketing machine, all of which can become incredibly overwhelming; it's not just refreshing, it's cleansing for the soul and palette to read about Rei Kawakubo and her creative process, and to see it in action on the runway. And for just a moment, we can be reminded where creativity can take us when we don't try to conform it to expected ideals. When, instead, we look for something new.

What do you think? 
kb xx

Thursday, October 24, 2013

a good hair day.......

 Shirt: Cotton On Mens / Pants: Sportsgirl / Shoes: Siren

I was having a really good hair day last Friday week. But I was too tired to appreciate it.

It got me thinking, later of course, after my brain and body had had time to sleep, about how often good hair and good sartorial choices seem to appear when we are thinking least about them.

Friday morning I so desperately wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep for another twelve hours. Instead I got up and shuffled off to work. I happened to take a quick glance in my rear-view mirror and if not for the fact I was already parked, I probably would have crashed my car. Damn my hair was looking good. 

And damn I could hardly summon the energy to think that. I did tweet it though.

It's like that lazy Sunday afternoon when you throw on the closet things you can find, hoping to avoid all unnecessary human contact and spend the day reading and eating popcorn....oh is that just me?

Instead, what you find is every person who you see compliments your outfit. Because, of course, when trying to avoid human contact you find yourself, in fact, surrounded by members of the species.

It's like when you're not thinking about it, when you're not considering the chances of streetstyle fame, when you're not wondering if ADR would approve, you can actually get it so right. So you.

I haven't studied near enough psychology to work through this in any kind of real way. But here's my thoughts.

The less you think about it, the truer it is to you.

Simplistic? Yes. Somewhere in the vicinity of having some truth attached to it? Maybe. Will this new found realisation stop me standing half dressed in front of my wardrobe pondering what sits and hangs before me like it's my freakin' hobby? Yeah, nah. 


*These shots are a re-enactment of sorts, too tired to take ones on the actual good hair day!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

is this fate?........

Shirt: Vintage Yves Saint Laurent / Leather Skirt: Vintage / Shoes: Converse

I have this weird notion of fate when it comes to my sartorial choices.

Weird because I'm loathe to leave anything else in my life up to the whims of something so elusive, so devoid of concrete evidence of it's existence. Something that contradicts every logical thought that runs through my mind. Fate. What the hell is fate?   

But, like I can't help but feel strongly about tweed, I can't help but feel strongly about fate. Of the sartorial kind that is.

Because of this strength of feeling, I've been known to leave something behind, as a way of testing the very fate I believe so wholeheartedly in. I did it last week.

I fell upon a denim shirt. A men's one, (of course), with a yoke and collar of a tan suede. Sigh. And on sale. And I walked away. In hindsight, total dick move. But my supposition that if I'm supposed to have it I'll have it, gives me this kind of bravado.

Yes, I can walk away from perhaps the most important denim shirt of my life, (is that even a thing, can you have an important denim shirt, rhetorical question because the answer is yes), and know that if it's supposed to join the growing pile of shirts already in my life, it will.

It wasn't. I went back and it was gone.

At this point, without my ridiculous belief that fate rules my wardrobe, I'd be curled up in a corner somewhere sobbing.

I mean, suede yoke people, suede!

But I'm not. Because, you know, fate.

Luckily fate was on my side when I scored this (Y)SL shirt and vintage leather mini. They were, obviously, meant to be. 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

hanging by a chain.......

 Shirt: Vintage Wrangler / Jeans: Dotti / Sunglasses and Chains: ASOS

Accessories have, for me, always been ornamental. Extras, toppings, things that don't offer much more then something sparkly or shiny or nice to look at. And most days I struggle to do much more then wear a watch and the earrings that are seemingly melded to my ears. And even then, once I start tapping away at this keyboard I'm at right now, the watch gets booted and I'm down to the earrings.

I know Coco said we should always take one thing off before leaving the house, she was clearly opposed to the over accessorising movement, (I'm looking at you arm party), but surely my non ornamental look is taking it a bit too far. If I have to take one thing off, I'd be likely heading out sans pants.   

But I think I've finally found an accessory that meets both the aforementioned criteria, shiny and nice to look at, and somehow gets around my apparent aversion.

Sunglasses chains. Or as I like to call them, Nana chains. Cause, you know, my Nan wears them. I'm hooked, another pair are on their way to me now. And I'm scoping out optometrists to score a clear plastic pair. Which reads so much weirder then it sounds in my head.

At first I tried to pass off my chains as a kind of retro throwback, but then it dawned on me why I've been able to jump that hurdle of aversion and embrace the chains. They're useful. Yes, they serve a purpose. More then any arm party or knuckle ring ever could.

Accessories with purpose, that is my kind of fashion.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

(Y)SL redux.......

I'm loath to add yet more words to the seemingly never-ending chatter about Hedi Slimane, (Y)SL, Saint Laurent and even Yves himself. But, I have opinions, like some people have feelings, and I also like to share. And tendencies like that will overwhelm any sense of loathing all day every day.

So here's the thing, I was never a Hedi hater. And I'm not now. While I may have felt a little sadness when the Y was dropped, I quite liked Slimane's debut collection for Saint Laurent with it's wide brimmed hats, pussy bow blouses, cigarette pants and yards and yards of sheer. And while the grungy nineties Courtney Love rocker looks he sent down the runway for Fall 2013 weren't exactly my game, ok maybe the tartan was, I was partial to quite a few looks. And now with Spring 2014 and Slimane's insistence on time travel, there are, again, quite a few looks that I like.

Of course, there are plenty of critics.

But what's happening with Slimane and Saint Laurent right now seems to be a collision of high fashion and retail. Because as much as some critics may be lambasting what Slimane is doing, the clothes are reportedly flying off the shelves. Slimane's version of Saint Laurent is garnering many a fan. A fan prepared to part with significant dollars to wear his threads.

And high fashion or not, isn't that the aim of the game?

I have to wonder if some of the finger pointing and head shaking is coming from a place where fashion, particularly high fashion, is not supposed to appeal to the masses. Is the Hedi hate fueled by a little of that fashion snobbery that might just linger along the Tuileries? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is those eighties inspired shoes have buy me written all over them.



Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Philo rocks my world.......

I'd imagine by now you've seen the Celine Spring 2014 collection?

So you know that Phoebe Philo is a shoe whisperer then?

Cast your mind back to Spring 2013, remember those fur covered flat slides, reminiscent of a cross between a Birkenstock and an old school Adidas shower slide? Yep, well they spawned the Birkenstock obsession that currently has the whole world gripped with rapt admiration.

Of course she did it again with the chunky platform wedges of pre-fall 2013. And then yet again in Fall 2013 with the minimalist, bordering on severe (ok severe), boots in all the colours of the rainbow. Providing, of course, that your rainbow featured grey, burgundy, black, taupe and chocolate brown.

But she has really tripped my switches with this collection.

A mash up of chunky architectural heels, half circles and silver spheres in everything from black, chocolate brown and an old school yellow-taupe leather, to purple suede and a tweed/tartan hybrid that has me chomping at the bit - or more accurately my credit card.

I've no idea how she does it, and frankly I don't care to know. Details tend to spoil the magic, and I'm all about the magic. So keep the specifics fuzzy and just throw the shoes my way, all of them.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

higher and higher baby.......

Shirt: Cotton On (Mens) / Jeans: Vintage Lee / Shoes: Wittner / Sunglasses: ASOS

I've never been a huge fan of high waisted anything. Putting emphasis on my ass and the lower half of my abdomen (which rises and falls throughout the course of the day in opposition to the sun, am I right ladies?) just never melded with my preconceived ideas of radness.

But like all great and wonderful things, it only takes one.

While on a thrifting adventure in search of old school mens denim to customise the hell out of I happened to stumble upon these high waisted Lee jeans, circa no idea, and now I'm hooked.

If I told you that I'd been wearing them basically every day for the past week, would you believe me? Surely those crease marks can attest to my infatuation? Thank god the internet is not equipped with a sense of smell just yet.

Coincidentally the two other pairs of denim I scored that fateful day are also high waisted.

So now the questions is, does this mark the end of my slung at the hip denim phase? Am I all about the Mum jeans, ass emphasis and FUPA?

Perhaps all that Man Repeller reading has finally sunk in.

Hell if I know. But if you find any vintage high waisted Lee denim, preferably from man land, can you please let me know. Seriously. Not kidding.


Friday, September 20, 2013

going hawaiian.......

Ok, real talk. I'm having a moment with hawaiian shirts right now. In my mind, every single look I conjure could be made infinitely better with the inclusion of a brightly coloured shirt. A shirt featuring, among other things, palm trees and blue skies and flowers; lots and lots of flowers.

This streetstyle shot of Yasmin Sewell, while fabulous, only serves to legitmise my current infatuation. Though in the interests of complete transparency, I must admit this shot is from a few seasons ago. Using fashion insiders to prop up our seemingly nonsensical sartorial desires is nothing new. But trawling through the archives to find some hawaiian evidence to solidify my argument borders on ridiculous surely?

Because here's the thing, my growing love of the flamboyant shirts came before the inspirational streetstyle shot. This one brewed in my grey matter and filtered from the top down, until I found myself searching for 'hawaiian shirt' in eBay, ASOS, Topshop, Google and every other search engine I could find.

Which got me wondering. With our sartorial choices seemingly so influenced by the magazines we read, the blogs we follow and the racks of garments in those fast fashion stores we all frequent, is there any room left in our overflowing minds to dream up something different? 

And when you do actually get that dream happening, how do you translate that to a look, especially when your dream just ain't on trend?

I, of course, resorted to the fertile grounds of both eBay and op shops to create this mix of print and denim. Sometimes you just can't leave your fate to the fashion gods of New York, London, Paris and Milan. Sometimes you have to take control of that shit yourself. 

Because fash-un isn't found only inside the minimalist glass doors of Zara or the online powerhouses of Net-A-Porter. It's found in my vintage hawaiian shirt (score) and my vintage customised Levi's (double score) and, you know, it's found in the sky and stuff like Coco said.


Friday, September 06, 2013

how to do fash-un month (at home).......

Fashion month kicked off with New York Fashion Week last night, (I live on the other side of the world so it was night time for me), and I'm quite clearly not there. And I won't be at London. Or at Milan. Or at Paris.


Couple that with the plethora of 'How to survive fashion week' tweets, emails, posts and general social media madness and you have one serious case of FOMO.

So what does a fashion obsessive harbouring an unhealthy predilection for parades of garments that sit comfortably outside the bank balance and tinglings of a sartorially induced sadness actually do during the month that determines the future?!?

Yes, what does a fringe dwelling wannabe do while the cool kids hang out together at shows and parties and just generally be, you know, cool?

Uh, pretend?

Like any good wannabe, I’ve a vivid imagination. So here are some fun ways to pretend you’re at NYFW.........

1) Dress up like you're going to a show. Natalie Massenet implored London to do it, but I say let's kick it off with New York. Channel the likes of ADR, TTH and MR (acronyms are the new black) and rock high waist anything, print on print, denim, some serious neck candy and long long legs capped off with ridiculous, but very pretty, shoes. Take photos.

2) What is Fashion Week without a few fancy soirees. So throw yourself an exclusive fash-un party. Dress a bunch of mannequins up in killer threads (if they resemble certain streetysle stars who will remain nameless that is perfectly ok) and wedge champagne glasses in their hands, or perhaps more accurately for New York - a juice. Take photos. And then drink all the champagne/juice.

3) Tweet and Facebook and Instagram random images of New York, with obscure text. Interspersed with your previously taken photos from your show look and party. #fromwhereistand #ootd #fashionparty

4) Follow that social media onslaught with some so on trend tweets and updates. Cause we all know if we didn’t post it, it never happened.

Example 1) Proenza Schouler has done it again! #nwfw

Example 2) Ugh! Anna and Grace in the front row, so rad. #nyfw

Example 3) Seriously if the @Sartorialist shoots me one more time...... #nyfw

Of course substituting the respective cities in for New York where appropriate. Wow! I'm exhausted, and I haven't even left my house.  

Truthfully, real talk now. While that all sounds like an excellent way/s to spend the month, it also sounds like a lot of work. And I already have, like, a day job guys.

So instead I’m going to do what I do every other time Fashion Month rolls around and I still don’t have a plane ticket and a hotel reservation. I’m going to stalk Style.com and Vogue like it’s my profession. I'm going to collate posts on my favourites looks, on the runway and off. I'm going to wonder at how human-like all those peacocks look. And I'm going to hope like hell Suzy Menkes writes another punchy piece so we've all got something to talk about until next Fashion Month.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

rmit student runway.......

Considering my propensity for all things fash-un, it's strange that I've never graced an actual runway show with my presence. But alas, that cherry has been popped. Sunday night I was lucky enough to attend the RMIT student runway, part of the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, at Melbourne Town Hall. RMIT is one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the country, having churned out some impressive talent, and the show is always a highlight of the Spring Fashion Week.

And what, pray tell, did I see?

A lot of white and grey and black - very Melbourne. But also some serious bursts of creativity, experimentation and my old favourite.....tartan.

I've riffed before on my appreciation for young/student designers. Their ability to reel me in with noodle print jackets and barely there leather aside, it's their willingness to experiment that I so admire. From oversized tartan and fur coats, to the fetishization of food or the rework of seventies style macrame. Even the boxy shapes, reminiscent of Phoebe Philo or the layers of black that held a whiff of Rick Owens, still held that edge of 'we have no idea what comes after this, so we're just giving it a shit hot go'.

And it's exactly that which makes the work of these RMIT students, or in fact any fashion students, so important.

Once a label is established, with that very important customer base, it becomes a little difficult for them to move outside of their illustrated history. Consider Hedi Slimane.

Hence these fashion schools are a place for those dreamers among us to cast aside notions of bottom lines and retailers and profits, and just consider the aesthetic of the design. To look at the old with a desire to create something new, and to do it without the fear of what the consumer wants, or is willing to pay for.

I'm loath to get all crazy emotive and start spouting cliches about them being the future. But it seems apt. And if the work I saw on Sunday night is any indication, the future is looking rosy, (Ugh cliche, cliche, cliche). Or perhaps black. It is Melbourne after all.

Tyrone Susman

Lucy Rosenberg

Hannah Canham

Ella Mcilvena

Lauren Cray

Talisa Trantino

Cathy Lai Wa Yuen

 Victoria Thaniotis

Chin Hau Tay

Esther Gauntlett

Alexander Batsis

My amateur photography doesn't do their work justice, and this is by no means all the talent. There was some very impressive work with LED's that simply did not photograph. Check out this video from the MSFW Youtube Channel for some more pictures.