Monday, 26 November 2018

Furry things, dingle bits, and Turnipheads

I went down to the scary storage locker where my alien pods are hibernating, pods referring of course to my clothes in their vacuum-sealed space bags. There was definitely a rustling sound, maybe even muffled giggles, as I tugged open the padlock. 

The key to survival in there is to be quick and efficient and carry a big vacuum hose. It helps that I have an Excel spreadsheet now that catalogs my clothes by description and bag number. 


One reason I went down is to pull out this ice-blue faux fur because I knew it would go magnificently with a new addition to my closet - a luxury bag from Jamin Puech Paris. It was a gift, a mini collaboration, but rest assured my opinions are my own: I LOVE IT!!

The next photo is what happens when I get excited by a new bag - I wave it about so much you can't really see it! Please kindly skip to the photo after this one for a calmer view.


This bag, Chair, is from their Tingshas line. Dingle bits, velvety softness, high-factor swingability, and satisfying planetary orbs that click open and shut. It is a truly unique piece of handbag art, which is why I was so happy to accept this collaboration. Even the packaging was exquisite.

And look, the cuffs of my thrifted Scotch & Soda blouse match the dingle bits perfectly. Spooky, right? Hahaha. And I didn't even plan it. I'm also wearing my fake stripper track pants that zip all the way down the sides and my brown cowboy-style booties.


No one comes between me and my Jamin Puech. 


Seriously, this is a fine bag and I know I'll use it often. It was very difficult choosing which bag I want - all their designs are absolutely stunning, and I don't say that lightly. Go have a look and you'll see what I mean. Thanks, Jamin Puech

And below is the Chair with another outfit. I like this pairing equally well, especially with the silk velvet scarf in the mix.


Now moving along. Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, lounging on the concrete steps in outdoor wear, as one does, leafing through my journal.


What am I wearing? All things from my closet, thrifted or gifted:
  • black-and-white graphic print vintage coat with red lining from my friend Su
  • heavyweight vintage jacquard pants 
  • men's pointy brown shoes 
  • silk velvet scarf
  • "Soho" glasses, gift from Vint and York in NYC in the summer
  • Jamin Puech Paris handbag
Just so you know, below is the kind of sketch that litters my journals. I have hundreds of them over many years, mostly featuring Turniphead (that's me), wearing the same thing I was wearing that day, and Kitty, often Royal Kitty, wearing whatever strikes my fancy. If you spot me in a downtown cafe, chances are I'll either be sketching or colouring one of these with pencil crayons.

I also wore this black-and-white pattern-mix outfit a week ago to a Uniqlo store in Burnaby, which is a 30-minute transit ride from downtown Vancouver. Uniqlo is an international fashion retailer headquartered in Japan and I went there not necessarily to shop but to hunt for a photo of me from a global print and commercial campaign I did with them earlier in the summer. And look! 


My friend Elizabeth (IG and website) accompanied me and took the photo. I was featured in the stretchy pants section. Awesome! Hahaha. 

I hadn't mentioned the campaign to anyone because I didn't know what happened to it. Then, cincinnata_demetria, whom I know from IG, wrote that she had seen me in the Amsterdam Uniqlo. What a surprise! When I asked, she kindly sent me a photo that I posted on my IG, HERE

That same night, people O and I know in Japan also called, surprised to have seen me in their local Uniqlo as well.

Of course I was excited and contacted Greetje of No Fear of Fashion, who lives not too far from the Amsterdam store, and she generously went down and took a bunch more photos. Huge thanks to Greetje! And to her husband Ron, who drove the getaway car. She has a funny story about that on her blog, HERE. One of the photos she sent me is below. 


That's me in the commercial above the photo too. I'm an architect. Greetje didn't even notice until she got home that I was in there and she'd captured my scene by chance. I'm not keen on the camera angle in the ad and told Greetje, DO NOT USE!!, but I'm over it now, it's life. This was an awesome shoot. 

That's about it from here. I'll finish with this photo - showing the wall who's boss. ???!!!


I'm wearing a short lurex dress with sport-style neck and cuffs. Those are Zohara tights, which they sent me over a year ago. They have a great collection. 

Nothing else to say really. I'll end with this little journal sketch.


It's a giant cat or a little tree. You decide. A windy autumn day. 

I'll link up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for her #iwillwearwhatilike

Thank you for visiting!!! I hope you all have a stellar week. Until next time...



Sunday, 11 November 2018

Hardboiled moonshine and me on TV, but not at the same time

It wasn't very late but already it was dark on Granville Island. My partner O and I have been heading there more regularly now that the crowds have dissipated, taking the Aquabus over in lieu of the car (or my yacht or private luxury submarine). Riding that cute boat (HERE) makes me feel like I'm on holiday.

As soon as November 1 hit, the Christmas/holiday lights came on. The mood was moony, crisp, and blue. O got some great photos. (I was always bummed when on the TV series Gilligan's Island the castaways didn't believe Ginger's prediction that they will be rescued when the moon is blue, read about it HERE.)


This next moon shot O took from our window in late July, but it reflects the feeling of this post so I asked to use it. Don't confuse this moon shot with shooting the moon; that is not my moon. Or with any rocket moon-shot attempts, although I was feeling rather spacy.

Crescent moon in Vancouver, photo by Osamu Kobayashi 2018

I remember going to the Vancouver Space Centre's Planetarium, a 360-degree theatre, in about 1984, to watch the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon show. Trippy. Wonderful - all dreams an arm's length away. Sometimes still are, or even closer.


Still wishing on a star, even if it's only in LEDs. I'm wearing my Emporio Armani suit and man shoes from My Sister's Closet, jacket from Yuzhe Studios, a gift a couple of years ago, and a blouse from last year's flea market at West Vancouver United Church.

Mel Kobayashi in Armani suit, Yuzhe Studios coat, Granville Island, photo by Osamu, Nov 2018

Then yesterday (a relative term) I dressed like the moon or a marshmallow, below. You decide. Or even Mr. Clean, a cartoon character dressed in white to advertise household cleaning products on TV. Yes, an animated version of myself is definitely required for handling household cleaning supplies.

I don't need a cartoon version of myself to handle marshmallows, although if I went all paranomal I would resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the movie Ghostbusters HERE.

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

Of course, these are "autumn" whites, and then in a month or so they will be "winter" whites. In summer, they are simply whites. In every season I am Mel, Mel, Mel, and Mel or Melanie, depending on my mood. At the coffee shop, my name could be Cleo or Krissy or something else entirely; it would depend on my mood as well, not the seasons, which may in fact affect my mood.

In point of fact, I have never used a fake name at a coffee shop. I would feel like a scofflaw, like I'm walking through a crosswalk when the red hand is flashing!!! But I shall start, even though the baristas pretty much all know my real name. If they raise their brows I'll say: A) the truth is not the truth, walk away in a huff, and look back to see if their brows go even higher; or B) (shout) YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!, like Jack Nicholson in that annoying movie, A Few Good Men. 

It's amazing how much drama you can wring out of the simple act of ordering coffee.


Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, stairwell, white moto jacket, Nov 2018

I discovered when I got home that the faux leather has started flaking badly in the armpits. Sweat is bad enough but toxic sweat now? This aging thing sucks! And then I noticed it around the elbows too. Phew, in a way. At least I don't think I have toxic-sweating elbows. The jacket looked fine when I went out, but the stress of movement must have triggered the peeling. 

The jacket was packed in a vacuum-sealed bag for a few months, as was another faux leather jacket that also started flaking. The bags do not warn against storing faux leather in them, but I suspect the packing, not simply fabric quality, played a hand in this premature deterioration. I'll roll with the flaws and try to make more flaking, like it was meant to be like this. Flaking farking or maybe even painting will be required. Just like with my face and hair.

And a final set of photos, also taken by O on Granville Island a little while ago, not posted on my blog before. 

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

I belled those bottoms myself, bottoms as in pant legs, bell as in ding dong. The coat is by Danier, a defunct Canadian leather goods store, a generous gift from Shelley a year or so ago. I call it high-muppet, rock-star glamour.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

This next shot might go on the cover of my new 8-track cassette.

Mel Kobayashi satin bell bottoms, fucshia coat, Granville Island, Nov 2018 photo by Osamu

And in OTHER NEWS

Nordstrom Canada has just released its national holiday-season campaign, and there I am, along with many of my cast mates from the Toronto shoot. I won't go on and on about it - I don't want to bore you with the details - but it was another grand adventure. Have a look.


And they also posted a making-of video, behind the scenes. Check out that snow. It was a hot day in August. Gotta love that movie magic.


Finally, since Bag and a Beret is kind of like my very own magazine, I have decided to finish this post with a festive, theme-related recipe. Don't feel bad if you can't replicate it in your own homes - this is not for the novice chef.

Mel Kobayashi egg recipe Bag and a Beret Nov 2018
I give you Moon Egg.

The trick is in the cooking time and the temperature of the boiling water. In fact, rather than depress you with the complexities of the recipe, I shall leave you to gaze at the perfection of my own culinary skills. Also good with Swiss cheese and a cow jumping over it.

Now I don't know whether to arrive at the linkups early this time or say I was too late for the last ones. Augh. I shall link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike when it goes live too.

Tra-la!

Do you use fake names? Spill - your secrets, not your coffee, unless it's fruity-tasting. Pitui!


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Cosmetic surgery over 50 and inhuman perfection

AFTER
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret after cosmetic surgery

Face lift, chin and lip implants, fillers, chemical peel, botox, hair colour, and hair extensions, followed by professional makeup and a photographer with good lighting. And to think, you only saw me less than two weeks ago. That was fast, right? The miracle of modern science.

BEFORE (photo I posted here less than a year ago)
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret before cosmetic surgery

I'm glad I know photo editing so I don't have to do the makeover for real to see the AFTER because, despite the wrinkles and sags, I'm okay with my aging face, although some days much more okay than others. I still catch glimpses of myself in window reflections and mirrors and wonder, who's that? WTF?! And walk a little faster.

But I keep telling myself over and over, I'll never be as young as I am at this very second. Deal with it. Revel in it! It's not the package that counts - it's what's in the package. I repeat: IT'S WHAT'S IN THE PACKAGE. Sigh. Those frickin' mantras.

Here they are again:

Mel Kobayashi and new younger Mel Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret

So what did I do? Apart from keeping my original nose/eyes/brows and basic facial structure?

enlarged my chin 
enlarged my mouth 
smoothed the wrinkles
erased the shadows
coloured my eyes green
changed the tint
added glam and skin-smoother filters 
blended two wigs 
recoloured my faux-fur jacket 

I used to have contact lenses that exact green - they caused quite a stir whenever I wore them and I stopped. Plus, they were not comfortable. I also think I might have repositioned my entire head or stretched it or tilted it (can't remember, I was lost in the moment).

My partner O and I both agree that the AFTER looks slightly creepy, no doubt due to my editing technique. There are probably apps these days that do all of these things with one tap. I know there is a skin smoother and lip plumper app. I often see the smoothing filter on IG.

It's also doubtful that these effects could be achieved even with extensive surgical/cosmetic interventions, but it was great "trying" them out.

Would I ever get a "procedure"? Never say never. I think it's important to feel good about ourselves.

But the search for perfection is pervasive!
And unwinnable.

Did you know that some popular Instagrammers are simply cgi figures, not real humans at all? Their perfection has won them (their creators) millions of followers in some cases and lucrative sponsorship deals. Is this where our search for perfection ultimately leads?

The following are all examples of hugely successful non-human influencers on Instagram.

lilmiquela






An LV ad with a fake human here (below).

Who needs humans anyway?

I do. You do. We all do! Why this rush to do away with ourselves? Heh.

Sigh - again. I haven't booked any procedures yet, but I suspect they will grow in both ease and frequency of application for all genders. This is a topic for another time. I just farked that photo and thought, wow, that's pretty weird. That new me probably speaks fluent French. Heh.

And because this is also a style blog, I'm sharing this next photo, something I wore yesterday, which I can also link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll see you there!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, wearing black in the stairwell

What do you think about cgi influencers and our obsession with perfection? Another question: once you achieve perfection, what else is there? The search, the process, is where all the good stuff happens.

That's all for this week. I've responded to your comments from the last couple of posts if any of you are interested.

Until next time!




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