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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Trotting to a gala like a little pony

On Friday I went to a gala called The Little Black Dress, a fundraiser for youth at risk. It was very schwanky. Su (Fairy Thrift Sister Su) had a few freebie tickets which she generously shared with me and a couple of my friends, Vancouver Barbara and Judy.

This is what I wore, my so-called Vegas Pantsuit because it feels snake-eyes lucky. It's a fully-lined, vintage crepe wool jumpsuit with diamond-edged side slits and neckline. You may have seen me wearing it for gardening here. The clutch was thrifted from My Sister's Closet. And my vintage angel-wing top, psychedelic tights, diamond earrings, and magic loupe.

Too bad you can't see my rainbow eyes here. They matched my tights. Photo by Barbara.

I was running late that night, carried away by eye shadow, so I wound up trotting, rather than swanning, into the heart of the city as I had planned - my sky-high 5.5-inch platform black glitter booties prevented a full-on canter. My hair, freshly coiffed, was very perky and bobbed jauntily like a little pony as well. 

I tried to hail a cab to take me the few remaining blocks, which merely resulted in interesting body contortions as I kept looking over my shoulder for one, but no ride. I am glad I didn't run into sign posts or parking meters.

Those are the booties. I trotted, danced, and hobnobbed in these from 6:45 until 11:30 p.m. Ooooh! But it was worth it - if not now, then when, right?

Below, detail of the side slit in the palazzo pant legs and metallic-silver frog closure embellishment. 

Several people commented on my outfit as I lurched down the sidewalk. I responded breathlessly, in a high-drama voice, "I'm on my way to a gaaaala and I'm late." Heh. It's a line I've always wanted to use.

Below is the jumpsuit as day wear in a 10-second YouTube video I made in late 2013. 

When I arrived at the hotel, I was delighted to see many familiar faces from the gala Shelley (Forest City Fashionista) and I attended last May. See her coverage here. And everyone was dressed.

Mingling in the foyer off the grand ballroom was an older gentleman oozing mystery, power, and moolah, with a bevy of young, gorgeous women, obviously with him. They liked my style and, after discreetly conferring amongst themselves, asked photographer David Bong to take some photos. I also met David last May. Our group lined up and my auto-pilot went ON: one foot forward, shoulders back, head up, big smile.

Then this happened... David said: No, just relax. No posing.

???!!! Be natural? How is that possible?! My whole life is unnatural. It's taken me forever to perfect this state and now I'm asked for natural?! Is a tripod in a concrete box natural? Is smiling into nothingness natural? I tried my best but I'm afraid I must have looked rather Mr. Bean-ish in my attempt to be real. Or here's a thought - maybe that is the real me. Gaaa!!

Above is what I wore the DAY AFTER the gala, tux pants with satin stripes down the sides and a tux shirt. I still had all my stuff crammed into that sparkly clutch, which I continue to use, too lazy to do the bag transfer. Same applies to the tie and blouse, can't tie it, can't iron it. The pamphlet on the right is the crumpled gala program I dug out of my clutch. I'm reading it with O's magic loupe, which, by the way, he is selling on Etsy now, here.

The gala was happy exhaustion. There were dance troupes, opera, live music, DJs, a silent auction, and a grand fashion show, in which my friend Yuliana, whom I also met last May, was modelling. She was a knock-out. Barbara told me later that she saw some Middle Eastern princesses in attendance too. And I met some other Vancouver style bloggers, excellent!! When I left after 11, I heard the show was still only half over, but my feet left and I followed.

Below, Su, who made it happen for us. She farked that pastel coral suit with spectacular detailing on the back. That's a big burnt-out velvet warp with a motif of faces and scissors. And note the asymmetry she created with her earrings, and the black pom-pom near her waist. And let's not forget the shoes, the shoes.

Su is also carrying a Philip Treacy bag with a Campbell soup can lining. You can see it in this photo with Barbara.

Barbara dazzled in this sparkly jacket and all that bling. She is known for her vivid colours and wasn't sure she had anything black to wear. Clearly, she did.


And below, Judy. She made that crown from pipe-cleaners and farked her dress with tons of cool detailing. She also made her neck piece. With her is probably the coolest-dressed couple of the evening. The woman on the left is wearing a Philip Treacy hat which she got through her hairdresser in London. The man is wearing a Barbie-doll necklace with lights and a tire-tube skirt with tulle. Of course he is. Love them!

There was a fantastic live band in the ballroom and Judy and I couldn't keep still. She has irrepressible new Orleans rhythm. 

And below, I spotted this stunning woman in the VIP Lounge, Jamie Gerus. She brings to mind a Downton Abbeyesque adventuress returned home from travels in the Middle East for intense discussions with her publisher before departing on another voyage. I love the tassel on her handbag. Almost at the same time we asked each other for photos. It's like that sometimes.

And below, wearing the Super Model t-shirt I made. Who decides who's a super model and who's not? One of the things I liked about the gala fashion show, what I saw of it, was the diversity of models.

This super model really needs sunglasses with five lenses.
It doesn't take much to crack myself up. Is this natural?

I always get excited by the prospect of a gala or special event, even though I don't need a gala as an excuse to dress up. It's that being among crowds of people with a common purpose can be exhilarating.

I love the frisson of anticipation. Whom will I meet? Will I embarrass myself badly? Will I say lots of stupid things? Will there be magic there? Will there be chocolate? (This gala had pyramids of Lindt chocolates.)

Have you gone to any good galas lately? Fun parties? Do do you usually entertain yourself? That counts too.

That's all for this week. Some bloggy friends are coming to town in a few days. I must get to work now!

I'll link something up with Patti's Visible Monday at her blog, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at her blog, Not Dressed as Lamb. See you there.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Hooped and louped

I was out on my inspiration walk - dum, dee-dum, dee-dum - and I swung by My Sister's Closet thrift shop, as I usually do, inexorably drawn by their famous $5 rack. And look what I found, brought to my attention by my friend Su, who happened to be volunteering that day.

Yes, a closet staple: the magnificent hoop skirt. It brings back memories of dress-ups and dreams, and I figure there's absolutely no reason to disengage from such frivolity just because I am many decades older without any baby teeth left. And for only $5, that's cheap and sigh-worthy thrills. Now the owner of two hoop skirts, I have some serious hoop shoots to tackle when the weather warms up. Can't wait.

Trying to look bad ass with a hip-slung hoop skirt is not as easy as it sounds. Heh. Under the hoop I happened to be wearing: vintage jumpsuit in dark brown/black with floral patterning, vintage wide suede tie belt, purple Mozart jacket, and my still-hanging-in-there D&G heels.

And then below, how I looked downtown carrying the skirt, tied and shoulder slung so it didn't bell out and limit arm function (although that's also a look) or shove oncoming pedestrians into traffic. Unfurling didn't happen until I got home.

Definitely, a hoop skirt is one of those things you've got to wear like you mean it, and I did, even if only over my shoulders, "Ho-hum, I always walk around like this." A few people even complimented my style. Heh. The skirt does look a bit like fairy wings, far from Björk swan-dress-worthy, but the next best thing on a budget and impromptu. Best of all, I felt Björkish.

And a bit of breaking news...

You know how I'm always wearing my magic loupe, right? Ninety percent of my all my photos feature it, and if you can't see it, it's probably tucked inside my clothing. O made it for me as a talisman and reading aid and I never leave home without it. 

If you've met me in real life, you'll have seen it in action. Often it is passed around the restaurant table as we order or in thrift shops to read labels. No one wants to fumble around for reading glasses on the fly (or admit we need them at all) when I have the magic loupe at hand. And I use it all the time for checking photo previews on my camera. 

Well, O decided to start selling them in an Etsy store. They are just like the one I wear. Knowing how much time he put into crafting mine, I thought there's no way he could make them affordable, so I was shocked when he told me they'd be $175 Canadian (that's about $130 US). He streamlined the process a bit but still...

He manually turns the stainless steel on a watchmaker's lathe, he hand polishes all the metal parts, including the screw, and he even hand turns the magnifying lens to get the size he wants. 

That's a closeup of what they look like below, C$175 (US$130). It's such a minimalist design it looks great on men and women - architects, scientists, designers, photographers, shopkeepers, anyone who needs a quick vision fix. Some people mistake me for a pro photographer because of my loupe.

AND, he started to make rings, like the ones he made me, also to sell. He has made three different designs featuring an industrial ruby and stainless steel shaped with a milling machine and manually turned on his lathe. They are hand polished, all in size 6 3/4 (17mm).

Below, Style A, with angled surfaces on the top and sides of the ring, C$490 (US$362). 

Below, Style B, C$490 (US$362). The outer band is smooth but he angled the sides.

Below, Style C, C$390 (US$288). This is his most simple design. In this photo you can really see the high polish. There is something called a mirror finish, but this is a higher level of polish called a black finish, which is often used in very high-end watchmaking. 

Every time I wear my rings I get compliments. There is so little contact between the ruby, the band, and your finger that the stone absorbs maximum light, which reflects an intense red glow. This is definitely a good luck ring that brings me lots of positive energy.

Opening Etsy was pretty scary. Heh. I hope we got it right (I helped). O's production is limited, only one or two of each ring design and four of the loupe at this point. His shop, OSK Micro-art Studio, is HERE. It would be so cool having Louped Sisters - not that I don't already, hahaha!

And back to what I wore...

Below is a variation of the outfit I wore to the big fundraising event I wrote about in my previous post.

This is a vintage '80s silky pyjama suit in neon orange with bright fuchsia dots and linebacker shoulders. I wore it with my thrifted pussy-bow Scotch and Soda blouse, D&G shoes, and the magnificent ruby-red velvet coat, which was a generous gift from Fairy Thrift Sister Su's personal stash. 

If I were to hear the line, "Hey, lady, the '80s called, they want their suit back," I would respond, "Pardon me, the 2000s called, they want their clone back." I feel so empowered in this suit, I suspect I won't need this line, but it's best to be prepared I always say. Plus, the padded-shoulder gyrations, triggered by intense '80s flashbacks, are of such magnitude that it's likely nobody could maneuver safely into earshot when I'm on the move in this splendid number.

And below, something I wore last week as well, a black lace dress bought at a sample sale, Totem brand I think. I removed its black sewn-in slip that morning and instead wore a lacy vintage bright red slip which I mitten-clipped to shorten into a swag. And those are Fluevog shag boots, Jericho, in black, bought at a consignment shop. I also have them in bright green. 

Coincidentally, this vintage graphic coat was also a generous gift from Su. Her gifts are absolute favourites in my closet. Hugs, Su!

I felt a bit odd in this outfit. It's very, hmm, tidy I suppose. Or wrapped up or ordered. Maybe it just feels slightly magaziney, which is not my usual style. But I still felt empowered, which probably had something to do with my hair being its peaky best.

Maybe this outfit is too modern-ish. I'll probably wear it again though, when I'm in a weird mood.

And a laugh, in case you've forgotten that that's what I usually look like when I'm with my friends.

Finally, I spent a lovely day with Vancouver Barbara recently, which included booze and breakfast, not necessarily at the same time, and I am happy to report that she is now on Instagram HERE. At last you'll be able to share in her amazing sewing creations and artistry. 

Of course I'll be linking up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I'll see all youse guys there. 

I hope you have had a stellar week. Life is topsy turvy here, but what's new?

Sunday 14 May 2017

Finding myself through unlearning

I did it. I did something huuuuge. I gave a talk about my style to the Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts. Deb, the head of their programming, invited me several months ago. I ignored the impending date for quite a while, but then SUDDENLY, out of the blue, it was just over a week away. GAAA! Like I always do, I freaked out like a true professional.

This talk was the first time I've done public speaking since I gave my talk called "Unlearning How to Paint" a few years ago. This was more like Unlearning How to Dress or Unlearning the Style Rules. I seem to be wasting a lot of time learning then unlearning things.

I had to hike the pant legs to show off these over-the-knee boots I'm crazy for.
I had to wear them again before/if it ever gets warm.

The talk was called Confessions of a Closet Diva and it featured several costume changes. I went into it dressed a bit like a sausage, piling on layers of outfits under my oversized drop-crotch jeans and an oversized blouse like someone who'd exceeded their luggage allowance at the airport and had to wear the excess.

Bit by bit I revealed the next layers, while Vancouver Barbara, who is also a member of the Guild, held a sheet in front of me as my lovely assistant. Judy, another member of the Guild whom I've featured on my street style blog, kindly provided impromptu game-show vocal stylings during these interludes. Let me just say - the audience was STELLAR!! Simply STELLAR!! I couldn't have hoped for a more safe and encouraging environment.

So there I was, stripping down in front of a room full of strangers, pretty much, just like those dreams you have where you're naked in public. In my case, the dream came true. Too bad we can't pick and choose which dreams we have come true and when. Heh.

Did I tell you I was asked a while ago to be in StyleLikeU's What's Underneath project, the one where you strip down to your undies in front of a camera while you're being questioned about your life by someone off screen? The sessions often end in tears. It would have been excellent exposure (heh) with hundreds of thousands if not millions of viewers, but, while I was truly honoured to be asked, I declined. Definitely, it could have been another dream come true though.

That's all I'll say about the talk (and stripping), except that the feedback I've received from the presentation so far has been extremely encouraging, with even suggestions that it was more like performance art and would maybe work for the Fringe Festival, which is like an off-off-Broadway-by-several-thousand-miles theatre festival of fringy works. I love fringe! And dingle balls too! That would be awesome. Of course my reaction presupposes that comparing my talk to performance art is a good thing. Heh.

So my mind is turning, turning. Every time I scare myself by doing a new thing, my mind starts hurtling into new territory. I'm afraid of what I'll want to unlearn next.

You may note the wrinkles around the crotchal area, rather accordion-looking. That particular instrument doesn't exactly evoke the genre or rhapsody one would prefer in that area.

And this last photo, I'll explain. As a member of the media, on May 13 I attended a big fundraiser event for Positive Living BC, which assists people who are HIV positive. There were about 100 actors/models in the show, including, happily, two of the people I styled with Su Bennett for the fashion show of My Sister's Closet's parent organization, Battered Women's Shelter Society, a couple of years ago (here): Stella Panagiotidis (IG here) and Marc Swiednicki. They were outstanding.

I arrived at the venue during cocktail hour at 7 p.m. and didn't leave until the show was over around 11:30. It was a long evening but bursting with talent, generosity, and caring. While I was walking home, I ran across this man whom I'd seen inside earlier. He was waiting for a taxi to take him home. This photo I took of him standing there without his shoes on sums up the whole evening, along with the exhaustion of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I didn't get his name.

I posted on the event on my street style culture blog, Culture Serf. You can see it here.

That's it for this week, sweet chickens.

No blog post these days is complete without linking up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll probably see you there.

Have you done anything scary lately? Like drink expired milk? Walk when the hand is flashing? Do tell. I usually respond to comments but I'm later (than usual) this time.

Monday 8 May 2017

It doesn't have to make sense, right?

Wearing this outfit was almost a religious experience. I felt grim - and ecstatic. I should be living in a remote cave and not speaking, chanting maybe, and making wine and writing important manuscripts with ornate, colourful first letters beginning each chapter. Here, I look up to the light, the low-energy fluorescent tubes. Artificial redemption.

I kept the hood up the whole time I was out. It's all I could do to go out into the world, let alone gaze upon it or have it gaze upon me. At least the hoodie was architectural and cool.

Below, another face-saving outfit. No, I didn't keep the scarf over my head when I went out, but I really like that the dark brown stripe at first glance looks like a peep hole. Totally unplanned.

I bought the embroidered jacket and top after my last audition as a self-reward for not squeaking or peeing on the director's leg, and those are the 2-in-1 pants I farked from pants I got from Anna (Anna's Island Style). I always think of her with big thanks when I wear them.

I am noticing a theme here!

I've seen some excellent headlines in the news lately- and I'm not talking about frickin' fake news or politics. This is REAL, important news, folks.
  1. "Celebs and their famous body parts"
  2. "Katy Perry spits out Starbucks drink after one sip"
  3. "Kelly Osbourne attacked by sandwich"
  4. "An old sauce packet from McDonald's just sold for $20,000"
Whoa, headline 4 inspires me to clean the kitchen. The car too!! I shall start going on daily treks to the junkyard to root around old cars with scuzzy carpet. I found several squeezie bottles of Kewpie brand mayonnaise more than ten years old at a local store once. No kidding. I should have bought them all and retired!

When I do clean (again, a recurring theme, WTF?!), I often hide things in safe places which means I can never find them again, as I've mentioned before. Not this time. Case in point below.

When O asked me where I put the ladder I knew exactly where it was. "Right next to those hanging fragments of garden hose, under the garage door, behind the gigantic boulders," I said. That garage door (at the top of the photo) is a nuisance. The speed bump is rather excessive.

I always laugh when I walk by this construction site because it reminds me of my own safe cleaning habits. These construction workers are my kind of guys.

"Harry, where the feck did you put the ladder?!"
"How many times I gotta tell ya? It's on the wall where I always hang it."

A corset T-shirt from Shelley (Forest City Fashionista), which I adore. I wear it a lot. And a sequin skirt, thrifted of course. The stripes, the sparkle, the price - I couldn't pass it up; plus, I have plans for farking it.

I would enjoy seeing a movie starring only celebs' famous body parts, nothing else. There would be eyes and bosoms and big lips and booties and pecs and big hair jumping all over the screen and nothing would make sense. Yeah, I'd go see it. It couldn't be worse than some of the other movies out there.

I want a headline too: "Mel spits out her two-day-old instant coffee after one sip." You'd read it, right? Well, sheesh, you're reading this aren't you? Hahaha!

Uh-oh, looks like someone got hungry. (What's gotten into me this week?) At least I wasn't attacked by a sandwich.

I have to say this giant blueberry was certainly a bright spot in all possible ways, a quilted, vintage Escada bomber jacket, verrry big. I found that by snapping it shut wonkily it fit better and added visual interest.

Sandra (@standard.deviations) gave me this mini-beast. She's super good at spotting stuff and I am quite lucky to benefit from her largesse!

I was feeling very James Dean in this next photo for some reason but I think I would feel more at home riding a bicycle with streamers on the handlebars and clothespin clickers on the wheels than I would a Harley. Or a vintage Vespa would be good too. All my body parts would have to ride it, not just my celeb parts, which isn't really an issue because I don't have celeb parts. I'll have to work on that.

I'm glad I'm out of photos, which means I can quit writing all this nonsense. Heh.

Have you got any old food stories you'd care to share? Which celebrity's body part would you like to see starring in a movie? Okay, maybe don't answer that. Hahaha.

I'll link up to Patti again, Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style.
I'll also link up to Catherine, #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb.

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