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Wednesday 13 May 2015

Groovy bell bottoms two ways

It's like this: I don't have a photographer, so I just have to take care of business myself. It's time to learn my camera better. And it's time to break out of that concrete studio - the stairwell and garbage room atelier. There's a whole city out there calling me.

So now I sometimes lug my camp stool and tripod around with me. I mean, adding a little more eccentricity to the mix isn't really going to make a difference, is it? And chutzpah is a good thing, right? Plus, if I have to take one more photo with my back against the wall I'm going to screeeam!
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Bell Bottom Executive
"As chairwoman of Miz Bagg Mining Corporation I call this meeting to order." Wait, where is everyone? "Come back! You're not afraid of a little... Oh, yes, well, I have some spray disinfectant in my bag." It's odd that the whole city beckons, but my best business is conducted in alleys. (Hm, that didn't come out right.)
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Fringed Vest
There are advantages. I can do this. Spinning action - without whapping passersby. And I can give myself bonuses at the nearby coffee shop. On this day it was a oat-chocolate chip bar accompanied by a nutty, chocolately piping-hot coffee and hearty guffaws as I looked through the outtakes from this photo session.
Everything in balance; balance in everything.
What the hell is she wearing?
  • groovy thrifted bell bottoms, sold as '70s vintage but I suspect they are vintage-style new pants based on the somewhat crap quality of the fabric and the sewing. There's no label.
  • thrifted wool fringed vest
  • thrifted tropical top with sequined neck and sleeves and a T underneath for warmth and modesty
  • thrifted Ingledew's leather ankle boots, like new
  • thrifted lucky charm beaded bag
  • I forgot the magic loupe from O, which I cursed at and another reason alleys are good
  • insect-style sunglasses, vintage now, bought new
Eee-yeah! These groovy pants recall happy days with my transistor radio. CKLW in the Motor City. 
This song by Lighthouse (1972) was a staple of my tender youth: "And yet, there's nothin' better for your soul / Than lyin' in the sun and listenin' to rock 'n' roll"
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Alley in Bell Bottoms
This photo was taken near another alley close to the coffee shop. I couldn't actually take photos solo in that particular alley because other people do business in there, not the executive kind like I do, but the kind that involves real money. Yup, people digging for gold in alley muck and gold-diggers in million-dollar condos all in the same block. And me with my camp stool staking my own claim. Fool's gold. I need s'mores. 

Hey, who took my inflatable gavel? Suzanne...?
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Diesel T and Bell Bottoms
And one last look at these great stripey bell bottoms, worn here with my new thrifted oversized men's Diesel T that features a photo of a man's torso. I wore this with a black velvet tuxedo blazer you haven't seen.

I'm linking these stripes up to Anne's 52 Pick-me-up: Stripes on her blog Spy Girl. She is sporting some particularly peaky hair. Have a look, or even join in!


  1. Great photo shoots, Mel. Ah yes, Lighthouse - listening to rock and roll on my wee transistor radio, held up to my ear. Love your fringe-ness. xox

  2. Allo Mélanie,

    How are you doing? i don't comment much but i look at your blog all the time, you are one of the best around.

    Lots of love


  3. I was going to say I had a pair of pants just like that in the 70's but how astute of you to notice the sewing and fabric were crap. It's not just me who notices how far downhill our clothing has gone then ...

    I love your blog. Always cracks me up. :)

  4. GROOVAY!!! Congratulations on your new position. Your new business cards will arrive next week via interoffice mail.

  5. Stupendous shots, love!
    The chair one looks like it should be on some cool album cover from the 1970s.
    Yes, the 1990s-does-the-1970s. Deceptive at a distance and those badly finished seams and overlocking give them away but as long as no-one gets too close you're fine. xxx

  6. I remember hearing that Lighthouse song all the time when it came out. I'm sure I even had it on one of those K-Tel Hits compilation records.

    Watch out for flying fringe and freakin' fab flares! I need to find some different locations for outfit photos, but you're much better at slogging your tripod with you than I am.

  7. I hate when stores label new clothing as vintage - it makes me quite cranky. Look at the quality! Real 70s pants would have their stripes all lined up on the seams!

    I think your photos are awesome - always so creative! Said the lady who's been doing the same poses for years.

  8. Melanie, your posts are always entertaining, your outfits wild and outrageously wonderful and I love that you are taking it to the streets. Do be careful taking photos in those alleyways, you could become a major witness at a crime scene. If you have to go into witness protection, we would miss you terribly:)

  9. Love the striped bells!!! I like the shorter length because you can see the shoes---I'm super into everyone seeming my shoes lately!

  10. I'm not an expert for vintage so I can't make even a qualified guess whether those pants are truly what they are sold like. Most of the vintage clothes I come by is from relatives who suddenly member there is this odd family member who wears old clothes so might as well not toss it in the garbage.

    Anyway, vintage or not, the pants are very much to my liking. The way you styled them is ingenious...I'm in love with those boots...and there is no such thing as too much fringes!

    The photos in the alley are quite artistic...and I immensely like them.

  11. You and I can join our forces in being executives without involving real money! I'm extremely good at that too! Wahoo! I loved your quirky outfit and the fact that you listed a missed (forgotten) accessory - those are important! I also forget an accessory sometimes, though I forget to mention it too. :) I adore your creativity and am taking notes - so much fun learning from you. With love and happy laughter xxxxxx

  12. Hahahahahahah! Sorry...I made off with your gavel and the can of mace and my nunchucks (just in case!) I had no idea Vancouver was still a town full of gold. LOL

    I'm dying over that men's torso tee! I NEED that! (to gift to my husband) ha ha! joking...or not.

    You are my hero Melanie. I'm feeling like a right wimp not wanting to go to my park to take photos where all I need to put up with is random dog walkers, dog poop, kids on bikes staring at me and some dudes smoking something that smells like vaguely like oregano. I'm really feeling the pressure with these fab shots.

    That second last one the graffiti mimics the colours in your outfit. AMAZING!!! Of course being the artist that you are you already knew that. Heck Miz Baggs was probably out there with spray cans only moments before adding the necessary "touch-ups" for the shoot screaming and cursing how she needs a "real assistant" and not just more stray rats.

    All I can add about the outfit is groovy baby. Groovy.


  13. the new background really add a new dimension to your fabulous outfits!! this pants are gorgeous, could be a costume piece from "hair" :-) not sure what the honks will say if i start to pose in the laneways of my 1000-soul-town......
    and no coffeeshop!

  14. I have been following your blog for some time but I just had my computer friend hook me up for comments ....ah well, I'm of the vintage to have worn all of your outfit when it first appeared in fashionable places! You rock this outfit and I so luuurve it! ...I want me some stripeys too! Everything fits together so perfectly and the boots and the vest are the ribbon to the package! Lurve, lurve, lurve!!!

  15. Very good of you to undertake new (camera) adventures. What I cannot understand is how you got yourself so sharp as a razor in the pictures and the rest behind you, blurred. This is how it is supposed to be, but I never achieve that with my remote. (Hmm.. perhaps too little space behind me?)
    I love your face in the last picture.
    And I laughed over "my best business is conducted in alleys". Yeah right. As you said, that probably didn't come out right.

  16. You are the best ,photographer too. Good location. Best

  17. Ah, you have inspired me to do my 70s inspired photo shoot. I found some banging BCBG shoes that I can't walk in but can look good in a photograph.

    Outdoor locations are the best and the ensemble is perfection.

  18. Posted and linked back to you!

  19. Alleys are glorious. That's what's wrong with the suburbs: no alleys. And the '70s were the beginning of the "crap clothes" era, so your pants might be vintage. I am looking forward to the velvet tuxedo jacket.

  20. Always fabulousssssssssssssss
    Thank you so much for your kindness and lovely words, dear friend.
    So glad to be home at last

  21. Great photo shoot ! Love the pants . Keep up the gold digging ! Lol ...

  22. Fearless fringe-wearing at its best. And, those pants remind me somehow of--Star Trek?

  23. So like groovy man! The cosmic collision of alleyway energies are eating up the ether dude!
    The alleyway is graced by your stripeyness. I'm sure it felt honoured.
    Inspired to do more outside shots. Hmmm where can I look dorky without drawing a crowd?! xo Jazzy Jack

  24. You are so good, I re-read and re-look every single time, your outdoor photo shoot is brilliant, I love all of you and your colour in the stark alleyway, you got moxy and I love it! x x x

  25. Nice to see you out in the fresh alley-way air for your business meetings. Looking groovy, love the fringes x

  26. Looking fierce there. You find the most amazing stuff. Your thrift stores are gold mines!

  27. Hey, those are my pants! What a great fabric and groovy stripe. Actually mine were red, white, and blue. Those front pockets are perfect for adding little treasures you might find in that alley.

  28. Darling, I simply adore urban grungey alleys and decay! It's so - dirty (said with a British accent). Your extreme bell bottoms are the bright spot in those city swamps, and they seem to lend you additional swagger. Or maybe you just like showing off how the stripes converge in the zipper area.

    I wish I could meet you for a chocoltey cookie and coffee by one of these dark alleys. If not this July, maybe some future magical moment...

  29. I repeat myself, but like a rock star!

  30. Fabulous fringing, beautiful bell bottoms and adventurous alley posing. But that's more than enough alliteration, I think... I love that you've broken out and taken yourself onto the mean streets, and of course you look amazing in the process! xxx

  31. You are groove-tastic always, though with fringe and stripes and tropical prints all going on at the same time this one is among the groove-tastic-iest of all your ensembles. I too am my own photographer and I envy your garage atelier and your alley, as they are much funkier than my doorframe. xoxo

  32. You are incredibly groovy, cool and fearless. You are inspiring me to learn how to actually use the camera I have. I adore fringe and love the way you are making it interact with the striped pants.

    Accidental Icon

  33. Loving all about this post.

    Your groovy meets boho look. Your thoughts and writings. Your photography experiments.

    Very cool!


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