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Saturday 31 August 2019

Ruffled in a frock coat

I've been sequestered in my garrett feverishly toiling on a new symphony in H-minor with none but my pet raven Grasp as a silent companion at the window. This work will break all the records. It'll be huge. Great. Really fantastico. 

But now I am stepping out for refreshment with gentle verse and a forest shower. "O," my giddy soul cries to the heavens, "Dispatch thy muses - and a new rollerball pen." Writing with a feather is fecking annoying. And plucking them from seagulls may even be an offense. Grasp doesn't share either.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, poetry

Artliness temporarily satisfied, I clamber onto nearby battlements and gaze seaward, brow furrowed (not really, those are just lines). I scan the horizon, searching, searching for my ship, which should be coming in any decade now.

It would be so much easier if it were a jet coming in and not a frigging frigate. And an airport at least has a Food Court where I could hang out. But wait, maybe my ship is a luxury yacht or, gulp, a tanker. I must consult the Manual. Does anyone know where it is? Oh dear!

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, time travel

Still waiting, contemplating more poetry. And owning that wall, I mean battlement (the top of a fortified wall of a castle with holes for shooting from). Bafflements is a good word too to describe a confusing wall or even this blog post.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, time travel

And what ho? What's this? The royal court has decided to have an official portrait of me painted?

Me looketh upon the artist with suspicion. "O, Painter, be thou forewarned. If thou dost not capture a flattering likeness, I shall lop off thine head." (Why must I stick my hand in the jacket like that?)

In fact, I would prefer a non-likeness, so not to worry. And we would go out for martinis and pickles and swap stories on where to get good rollerballs and plumes, if not provided deus ex machina (unexpected godly intervention that saves the day), which is always my preferred method.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

I love this aubergine frock coat with ruffles and my Partridge Family pants.

This outfit is a definite time-slipper. I conceived it for chasing bad guys with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a movie which features the phrase, "Groovy, baaaaby," spoken with a toothy grin. But on this light-rain day it morphed from Austin Powers to Jane Austen.

Details of the blouse. I wore suspenders with the pants too.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, suspenders

I have been possessed by ruffles and blazers (and frock coats) for almost a year now. Finally, I farked this thrifted Asos blouse by adding ruffles around the collar and sleeves, and down the front. There's even netting behind the base layer for body and lift, although that was original to the blouse, I confess.

Now I shall fark all my blouses! I would happily wear ensembles like this every single day, although I would need a hound and maybe a horse. I already have a sports car (as you can see in the video clip link in the right sidebar) and a toothy grin.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

I went to another play with Mara, the opening night of Shakespeare's Coriolanus at Bard on the Beach, front row, where we were right in the heat of battle. Clearly, its influence has spilled into this blog post.

I had never been so close to "violence" before, even feigned. The blood and wounds looked pretty convincing, which made me ponder even more the tragically flawed nature of our species.

The story is timeless: ruthless power-seekers contend with colleagues, family, foes, and poor people hungry for a good line. Sigh. In this play, all the people really want is corn. Is that so hard? The lead role is gender-switched to female and played brilliantly and breathlessly by Moya O'Connell. The play runs until Sep. 21 on the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre. Check HERE. (Not sponsored)

I debuted my farked blouse with this outfit that night. Mara debuted a coat that she farked with red paint too. Stunning.

And, finally, I put together my third annual (plus a few months) compilation video of what I wore 2018/2019. Click the photo or HERE to watch the video on Instagram. You don't have to be a member of IG to watch it though.

Mel Kobayashi, What I Wore video, 2018-2019

That's it for this week.

Oh, except I opened a new page with lots of my sketches HERE featuring Ternip Hedd (changed the spelling to avoid conflict). Most of these sketches you've seen on Bag'n'B; a few may be new.

I'll be linking to Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb when the time is right.

Cheers, everyone. How does your ship come in? Land? Sea? Air? Carrier pigeon? Ether? Curious minds want to know.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

The question of smiling, fake serious faces, and authenticity

"SMILE!" We all know that yelp before a casual photo. Or "SAY CHEESE!" Time to fake smile. Oh wow, look how much fun I'm having! Hey, my life is awesome!

I am now a proficient fake smiler and even fake laugher, a result of years of rigorous training. Doing this convincingly in "real" life is a whole other blog post.

But the opposite of a forced smile is forced seriousness, which is just as fake as the smile but maybe easier to pull off. Without this pose, I wonder if high fashion would even exist. It's simply the relaxed face with a dash of intention or self-awareness.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I suppose when you drop a whack-ton of money on a Chanel suit, it's serious business. My face upon spending such sums would probably look like the Psycho shower scene, if I'm still conscious at all. And then there are those who live in rarefied air who don't even blink. Sigh. I'd like to try on that face some day for realsie, and I'd have my personal assistants pose for me.
Me (with camera to assistants): Just relax and show how happy you are working for me. Did you not hear me? I said &*#(@6 HAPPY!! 
Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

The Zoolander face is the absolute best example of the fake serious face: the sucked in cheeks, exaggerated pout, and squinched eyes. And an inner growl which probably only dogs can hear. (Zoolander is a movie that spoofs high fashion.)

For me, the fake laugh often leads to a real one and the fake super-serious face does too, but does a fake serious face lead to a real serious face? I hadn't thought about it until just now. I would guess no, although wretched photos do inspire real-life serious faces, if grimaces or frowns qualify.

Even the effects of gravity on a face, especially jowls, can mimic a serious face, which usually translates into a real-life one too because it is so fecking annoying! Does that make it a high-fashion face? Hardly. But there are sometimes scary faces strutting down runways, not due to physics but the gravity of the situation I suppose.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

About the outfit - my friend Mara (I've written about her before HERE) drew my eye to these pieces on the super summer discount rack at a local consignment store, a dusty rose suedine (ultrasuede) dress by Dutch brand 10 Feet and this sheer nude trench coat/dress thing by Mint Velvet. 

You can see the sunscreen on my nose as I didn't bring my parasol. Friends have often reminded me I must blend it in but I always forget and it's hard to notice indoors before I go out.

 Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I think models fake laughing as they strut down a runway might be just as surreal as models with serious faces. It's all part of a role anyway; otherwise, it would be called people walking nowhere indoors in a straight line.

All of this begs the question: is there such a thing as authentic? Is that ever enough? How do we know when we look real authentic as opposed to fake authentic? Maybe we need an app for that. Lie detector machines have tried and still fail.

I enjoy finding the sweet spots in between the poses, the off-guard moments, which, if I am successful, I may try to wrest into a repeatable formula thereby ruining them. And it's too bad that the candids are also often the ones I don't want to share. There's genuine and there's too genuine. I like a bit of curation. Can't I have my cake and eat it too!?

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

Maybe everything is an illusion. Maybe the idea of an "authentic look" is not possible anymore with ever increasing photo moments in our daily lives, like we're running on some joke of a cosmic loop of "say cheese." We survey life through the lenses of cameras, our own, others', and surveillance which so far we don't feel the need to pose for (she wrote, looking nervously around the room with a stiff grin on her face).

I'll link up to Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I hope I'll see you there.

Finally, I have recently been in a Canada-wide ad campaign for Shopper's Drug Mart, part of The Beauty Project they're running until September 6, HERE and a video HERE. If you go into one of their stores (or online), chances are you'll see me in photos and/or a bunch of little videos. Just imagine that I'm encouraging you to try a new look! Filming was a great experience, in Toronto on two occasions this summer.

So have a look if you can. Let me know what you think. I put two of the photos on my IG, here and here.

That's it, seriously, authentically, maybe. Cheers, everyone!!

Thursday 8 August 2019

Bare arms, plunging necklines, and tower hair, oh my

My arms are bare and I'm starting to be okay with that again. I was a bit wobbly (heh) for a while. Pfft. Bring. It. On! 

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Grizas dress and jacket, Vancouver 2019

Grizas sent this dress and matching jacket to me over a year ago, April 2018, and I wrote about it here and even made a tiny video. 

I've said it before, I'll never be as young as I am right now, and if I already cover my arms, what will be left to show of my entire body in the years ahead? It's not about the body; it's about what's in the body, so go do something amazing. Go on!! - I tell myself.

And below, another thing I wore this week: my acid orange jumpsuit with a plunging neckline and no coverup top underneath - it's a first. And arms showing. It was just so dang hot and this jumpsuit was so dang cool I had to do it. After about five minutes I forgot about the neckline completely.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, tower hair, vintage orange jumpsuit, Vancouver 2019

It was a good hair day when I wore my dress. Really, when my hair is sticking up all over the place I have yet to figure out what, from someone else's perspective, would constitute a bad tower hair day. "Uh, Mel, your hair is sticking up there." To capture said hair I went down to the Art Gallery for some photos and took the little step stool to sit on.

Exhibit A: Hair.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, tower hair, 2019

My hair is on the cusp of falling over so I have to enjoy every good hair day left before another Big Chop.

And below, the matching jacket. I feel like I'm sitting for a Sears portrait. Heh. Sears is/was a big North American department store, which always seems on the brink of collapse these days. And bye-bye Barneys - almost. At least they are keeping their New York flagship stores open.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Grizas dress and jacket, 2019
Mel Kobayashi laughing, Bag and a Beret, Grizas dress and jacket, 2019

I even brought my rockstar shirt from O and a vintage tie. I switched out the heels for my slip-on Converse running shoes.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, Grizas dress with rockstar top and vintage tie

Somehow the baggy crotch of the jumpsuit balances out the neckline. I also put on the diamond encrusted meteorite pendant as a distraction from the plunging neckline. That was kind of a big fail - it's big, shiny, and positioned right at the lowest point of the plunge - but it made me happy.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage orange jumpsuit, 2019

SWOOOOSH!!! You can see a bit of pylon or traffic cone in the corner. Coordinating perfectly. I can't lace the top lace holes of my shoes unless I wear socks because the sandals bite my ankles, and I didn't think socks would go.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage orange jumpsuit, 2018

And why not a kick to show you that this is not a dress. It's an even cooler jumpsuit!

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage orange jumpsuit, 2018

The parasol was given to me by Lily-Lark last year. I often go out with it to protect from the sun. I went to the Art Gallery again. I love the light up there.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage orange jumpsuit, 2018

And the Pride Parade was last Sunday. I wasn't in the mood to dive into the crowds so I hung out on the periphery in a cafe and sketched in my journal, as I do. That photo below is two photos stuck together. I didn't have my tripod or camera so this is the best I could do with the phone. It still freaks me out taking photos on a phone.

Mel Kobayashi Bag and a Beret paillette top and palazzo pants in Vancouver

That's been my week. How has yours been?

I'm too late for Patti's Visible Monday, dang! (word of the day), but I'll skedaddle over to Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike, at Not Dressed as Lamb. See you there!! 

Stay cool, my friends. 

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