Saturday, January 10, 2015

the siennaissance

The Observer Magazine

You know how you never get over your first celebrity crush? The one whose Smash Hits poster you pinned to your wall? Whose every film you watched, whose every girlfriend you detested (Jake, I'm thinking about you). Well, I think there's something in the idea that you never fully get over your first style icon. Everyone has one. Think back to your style awakening. Maybe it was when you first picked up a magazine, Kate Moss staring languidly out from the cover, pages filled with homages to her rock-deshabille threads. Maybe it was on TV, maybe it was Mischa Barton, in flippy mini skirts and a mother-of-pearl Chanel bag in the O.C. Or maybe it was Sienna Miller.

I love Sienna Miller. I love her. I've always loved her. I've defended her through thick and thin - I even defended her for Factory Girl, to this day I am one of the eight people in the world who own that movie on DVD. I loved her in cowboy boots and a Balenciaga bag. I loved her in green with gold bangles up her arm, draped all over Jude Law at the Oscars. I remembered cutting out this picture from a magazine, sticking it in my locker at school, and wearing a variation of it every weekend: Chunky fur gilet, multi-layered cotton skirt, knee high boots and sparkly sweater. She was the first, the only. For years I scoured vintage stores and saturday markets (chai latte in hand), hair all messed up, chipped black nails, aviator frames on, listening to Razorlight and the Kinks, smiling a lot and feeling thankful that I had freckles and long hair and boxes and boxes full of chandelier earrings. I was obsessed with London, I was obsessed with fashion and I was obsessed with Sienna Miller. That first style icon informs your relationship with clothes forever. It makes you want to buy certain things, like certain brands (I lusted over so much Twenty8Twelve, for reasons you can imagine), try certain combinations... in perpetuity. To this day, if Sienna is on a magazine cover, I want it. When she carries a bag, I want to know what it is. When, in a Vogue UK profile (where she was described as "phemonally pretty... beatnik Tinkerbell", does it get better than that?) she wore an Isabel Marant navajo sweater, I wanted that sweater. Sound ridiculous, sound high school, sound Mean Girls-y? Yeah, I know. But thinking about first loves always makes me regress.

My longterm love affair with Sienna is a running joke amongst my friends. Most of them have known me since I had a moodboard full of pictures of her wearing green dresses walking her dogs in Primrose Hill. They know how it is. They've had to put up with me banging on to whoever would listen for the past few months about the impending 'Siennaissance' - a phrase I'm pretty sure I have coined - referring to the fact that after a year or so of self-imposed baby-making hiatus, everyone's favourite champagne bubble blonde, all honeyed limbs and perfect hair, the girl who never says no to a dirty martini and a handful of fags, is BACK. And how, with a bunch of good, seriously good movies (Foxcatcher, American Sniper, Unfinished Business), an even bigger bunch of good, seriously good magazine covers, cute kid and nice man in tow. But you know, for me, she's never really been gone.

X

Thursday, January 8, 2015

remade

"Certain places seem to exist mainly because someone has written about them. Kilimanjara belongs to Ernest Hemingway. Oxford, Mississippi belongs to William Faulkner, and one hot July week in Oxford I was moved to spend an afternoon walking the graveyard looking for his stone, a kind of courtesy call on the owner of the property. A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image..." 

Joan Didion, "In the Islands"


I have to talk about this, only because it's pretty much the culmination of two of the things I love - admire, cherish, adore, fawn over - most in the world: Joan and Celine. It comes down to this, unless the next campaign star that Phoebe Philo has secreted up her (elongated, raw-edged) sleeve is Benedict Bloody Cumberbatch there's no way a campaign could top this in my books. So, forgive me this indulgence please. When the New York Times asked JD the Celine ads (she said she had no idea the ruckus she had caused on the internet yesterday) she said "I am fortunate to own a few [Celine things]" and that she lives near the Madison Ave store. Ahem. To borrow Joan's phrase: certain places, things, people, brands belong forever to whoever claims them the hardest, shapes them, loves them so radically that they remake it in their image. Joan, you just won Celine. Take it. It's yours.

X

Sunday, December 28, 2014

summer goals


Had this picture saved on my desktop forever. I guess I wanted to write something nice like I used to, 250 words about summer and salty lips and getting sunburnt on your knees and your elbows and your shoulders and sticky fingers from banana paddlepops (which are actually kinda gross in retrospect) and sand underneath your nails and beach towels with holes in them and sticking to the leather seats of your friend's dad's car... but it's summer and it's hot and I can't be bothered. I'm off to the beach. File this under: summer goals.

X

the gang 2.0



I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Apiece Apart designs for girls' girls. The ones who get up early for brunch, the ones whose idea of a good night is a bottle of red wine and dancing to this. The ones who screenshot things on instagram and send it to their friends ("this is you"/"I want this"/"let's go here"/"o m g"). The ones who like to share things: nail polish, suede shoes, plates of salmon ceviche. The ones who go on road trips together, even if only to the drive in cinema in Blacktown. I'm on of those girls. Are you?

X

Thursday, December 25, 2014

cinematic style - Samantha Mathis in Jack & Sarah


For some strange reason I always end up watching this movie at Christmas time. It's not a Christmas movie per se but it's about family, which to me is what Christmas is really all about. I thought about doing a cinematic style on Cameron Diaz in The Holiday or the feathered-wedding dress and bad hat wardrobe of Keira Knightley in the beloved Love Actually but I just ended up here. Jack & Sarah is an extraordinarily underrated movie with a great cast, a heart-wrenching storyline and impeccable interiors (that Georgian terrace that the eponymous J & S live in is, in a word, fucking incredible). It's the story of Jack (Richard E. Grant, the other, better 'Grant'), whose wife dies tragically while giving birth to their daughter Sarah. Hapless and hamstrung by grief, he hires a young, fresh-faced nanny to help him look after his daughter. Hilarity, to name just one emotion, ensues. 

This is such a fun movie, and yet I've never met anyone who has even heard of it, let alone seen it. It's one of those great 90s films with huge, clunky mobile phones, zippy little cars and overalls galore. The cast is perfect - Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins play Jack's mother and mother in law respectively, and they're a study in twinsets and pearls. Ian Mckellen is the resident drunk who lives in the park who befriends Jack in the darkest hour of his grief. Richard E. Grant is great, all wiry energy, limbs that are too long, the kind of man who is perpetually growing out of adolescence. But let's talk about Samantha Mathis, because she has the best wardrobe. As Amy, a 20-something American in London, with perfect hair and a no-nonsense attitude, she's fantastic in this little film about growing up baby. She seems to rotate in and out of a roster of fluffy, cosy sweaters (despite the fact that baby Sarah is about 1 and a half by the end of the movie, it's never not winter in this incarnation of London) of the mohair variety, all-purpose overalls and little a-line leather skirts with matching jackets. And she looks great. She has a choppy 'lob', wears not a whisker of makeup and has that sheen of star quality all over her. 

I remember when I was nannying and I used to wear the same pair of overalls and the same knobby cardigan everyday. It was easier to have a uniform, but it was also easier to wear something that was unfussy and required zero thought. I had pockets I could put things in, I was warm, I was comfortable, and when I would cuddle the little baby to my shoulder, she would play with the buckle on my overalls with her fingers. Amy has that kind of utilitarian ease to the way she dresses. Watching this film was a study in the ultimate capsule wardrobe, as much as it was a study in parenting tips and how to dress a baby for the cold in a pinch (wrapped in a towel, inside a paper bag, with a sock on its head for warmth). Sure, Amy was a girl on a working visa, living out of two (capacious) suitcases, she probably didn't bring a lot with her. But hey, when I move to London and all I bring is six mohair sweaters and a pair of denim overalls, at least I know I can make it work.

X

ps. The movie's on Youtube if you're looking for something to unwind to after Christmas excess. Happy Christmas everyone, and for those down under, hope your day was full of prawns and mangoes and cherries and all that good stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

everything old is new again

US Vogue December 1993 - Linda Evangelista by Arthur Elgort

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Arthur Elgort is king.

X

Saturday, November 29, 2014

hello saturday



Now, isn't this lovely? This is the weekend: eating cake in lingerie and a coat, cashmere and fresh sheets, lots of light, cups of tea and overalls. Hello Saturday, my old, old friend. You make the monday to friday all worthwhile.

X

Sunday, November 16, 2014

hotels

"Certain kinds of niceness are not easy to recover from because they so thoroughly destroy your appetite for the opposite. I mean, I love home comforts and I love being able to travel around, but two nights at Claridge’s, which I reached in 15 minutes by taxi from my house, were a very different order of bliss. And a large part of the joy comes from not having any of your stuff around you. That must sound perverse: Everybody wants his own desk and his own tin of pencils, his own aftershave, his own towels. But there are times in life, I’d argue, when those things are just part of the general oppression. Sure, you fought to have them; sure, you’d defend them with your life, or with life insurance; and, sure, if you woke up tomorrow and your books had gone you’d blub like a nostalgic baby. But freedom is a multifaceted jewel. A person can feel trapped in his choices, in his commitments, in his loyalties and in his taste, which is why a holiday in your own city can feel like such a relief. What I want is somebody else’s choices, perfect ones, and I get them every time I go through the revolving doors in Brook Street."

Andrew O'Hagan, 'A Hotel Room Of One's Own'


Andrew O'Hagan feels about Claridges the way I feel about The Park Hyatt. (Got this read from Ana's fantastic weekly list of links. Read them all. Now.)

X

Saturday, November 15, 2014

be happy


Let's laugh this weekend. Listen to Blank Space. Watch Pride. Read Funny Girl. Go to the markets. Drink mojitos. Have fun.

X

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ponsonby


These pictures remind me of our poky little apartment in Ponsonby, don't you think T? A funny little place, the walls were so thin, it was either too cold or too hot, but we loved it, because it had lots of light and it had the nicest little coffee shop on the street that sold hot cinnamon buns in the morning and sardines on toast a little bit later and it was close to the Karen Walker store and you could get a steaming bowl of Ramen just around the corner that would make you red in the face. There was a nice day on our little New Zealand holiday when, on an early morning trip to Good One, still in my pyjamas and wearing birkenstocks with thick woollen socks, the barista who had seen me every day for the past couple said to me, "so you've just moved to Ponsonby then?" And so much of me wanted to say yes. 

X