Girls just wanna have FUNdamental human rights. (Friday 8th of March International Women’s Day)

I spent time recently working with a female politician when I styled her for a magazine photo shoot. Three generations of her family were in the room and we all participated in making the morning flow smoothly so that she could be present to her job and to the newest member of her family who joined us for a short and delightful time. A scenario that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.

During the shoot we talked about how far the world has come, how grateful we are to be alive in a time when there is a wider opportunity for choice for women. Then the conversation turned to discuss how far we still have to go with equal pay, equal rights, and equality for women period.

As a stylist I pointed out the inequality I perceive in what women feel around clothing, around covering up, around loving our bodies and being happy with what is. In my career I witness women making choices to hide themselves. To conform, to minimize. I pointed out that when we hide our perceived ‘flaws’ that we do each other a disservice. If we could demonstrate that we can accept ourselves fully as we are instead of waiting until we are 5 kgs lighter or 2 inches taller or with a bigger or smaller cup size, then that in itself would be giving ourselves permission to be perfect as we are. My physical self today is as equal in status, rights and opportunities as I am when I am at my perceived ‘ideal’. 

Caroline Caldwell articulated this lack of equality and acceptance perfectly when she wrote “In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”  

I pointed out with dismay that a male politician does not face the scrutiny that a female in the same role does. I can’t imagine J F Kennedy obsessively worrying about his thighs, his upper arms, or how low his shirtfront was? These things are on the minds of women constantly, especially when working in and navigating the public eye.

Still things are improving. I’m grateful that customs and laws restricting clothing are evolving and changing with the times. In 2019 women can wear pants in public, we have abandoned the painful and restricting corset, we have burnt the bra, we wore the bikini, we have embraced establishments once forbidden to us. 

This all sounds like ancient history – but its not. As recently as 1967 Katherine Switzer was forbidden to run the Boston Marathon because she was a woman. Nevertheless she prevailed, registered under her initials and became the first ‘numbered’ woman to run the race. The rules were only changed in 1973. Switzer was a trail blazer: “When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.

Kathrine Switzer, The Nation (2013)

This level of sexism might be unimaginable to some of us today. But it was a very real fact back then.  It was only in 1993 that women were finally permitted to wear trousers on the U.S. Senate. Of course, in some places & cultures in the world, women are restricted by law in their clothing choices. We still have some work to do in these areas.

In my style workshops I talk about letting go of clothing restrictions by loving and accepting ourselves as we would love and accept our best friend. Think of that person and how much love we have for them, now imagine feeling that for ourselves? Lets try it.

Here’s my innovative suggestion to Kiwi women for International Women’s Day: What if for this one day we thought equally about ourselves as we do for someone we love unconditionally? What if we innovated for change within our own hearts and attitudes and instead of dressing to hide, to blend in and to not be noticed, how about we dress to highlight those parts of ourselves that we liked. What if we wore our favourite colour purely for the joy it brings us?

What if we stopped worrying about what others thought of us for 24hours and dressed to make ourselves happy?

Friday 8th of March is International Women’s Day

The 2019 theme is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.

Let’s start the change with our choice of clothing on that day, make an innovative choice, an empowering & loving choice for you. Make that day fun! Encourage your girlfriends to stand togetHER, join me in exercising our right to a joyful expression of rebellion: Like. your. self.

 

‘Embrace your POWER’

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Happy New Shoes Day.

I just bought myself a pair of new shoes. 

It was a spur of the moment buy. One of those “I’m not buying anything, just browsing” moments that turned into a conversation, which led to me trying on a few pairs of shoes and then….well, you’ll never guess what happened next dear reader…. I bought the shoes.

 

The conversation went like this:

Salesperson: “Can I help you.”?

Me: “No thanks, I’m not looking for shoes today, I’m just filling in time.”

Salesperson: “Ok, well, if you do want something, just let me know.”

Me: “Oh I do want something but you don’t have it – one day I want to come in here and buy shoes with light-up soles and you only have them in kids sizes.”

Salesperson: “Our light-up shoes go up to a size 39.”

Me “You are joking? I’m a 39.”

Salespersons: “Would you like to try some on?”

Me: “Heck yes!”

 

Dear reader you need to know something abut these shoes. I have wanted these shoes (or shoes just like them) since February 24th 2016.  It’s been 24,315 hours and 1,013 days. Quite a decent amount of time for me to covet a pair of shoes. 

Specifically a pair of sneakers with a light-up sole.

 

I first saw these shoes on a certain man. A Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson. He was onstage at the ASB Theatre in Auckland for his ‘Piano & a Microphone’ tour and I was mesmerized. By everything. His hair, his voice, his proficiency at the piano. His presence. His funk. But particularly his light-up soles. I spent way too much time watching them, seeking them out on stage. They were like the flame to my ill-fated moth. I could not stop staring at his shoes. I knew I needed light-up soled sneakers in my life.

 

As a shoe aficionado, naturally I tweeted about his footwear and Prince re-tweeted my tweet. Cool. A journalist called me in the morning, woke me in fact to ask me about the concert and what it was like to be re-tweeted by him. I rambled incoherently about his legendary status  (I’m not a morning person) and that was that. 

 

I’ve been hunting for a pair for myself on and off ever since that magical night. I came close once. An online sale site was advertising light-up sole sneakers so I took a chance and bought a pair online last January. When they arrived many weeks later, they were not only too small, but the soles were just regular soles. I was so disappointed. So right now I can’t tell you how elated I am to have my very own Prince shoes, and finding them was a complete and utter surprise. Happy ‘New Shoes Day’ to me.

 

Buying those shoes has reminded me what a pure joy it is to buy new shoes. I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but for me, ‘New Shoe Day’ is just about one of the best days there is. Maybe even better than Christmas Day. Just maybe.

 

It depends on how extreme your love of shoes is and for me, my whole 25+year fashion career began in shoes, so it’s a pretty enduring love affair.

 

I understand that light-up sole sneakers will not be on every ones must-have list of footwear. They are not foreveryone, that’s ok. We are all different and that’s a good thing. But one thing that we can probably agree on is the wide variety of choice in color and styles on offer this season. All the red super excites me. It seems red is the new black as far as footwear goes, unless of course yellow is? Then there is green of course, and don’t forget the patterns. Polka dots, stripes and jungle prints are all in season for Summer.

 

I don’t know if like me, you have been coveting a particular colour, style or feature for 2 years, but if you have, don’t give up. They are out there. Keep looking, keep trying shoes on because one day when you least expect it, you’ll have your next ‘New Shoes Day’ and I hope it is as joyful and triumphant as mine was.

 

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Venice.

This visit to Venice was my second. Because of this I didn’t have the compulsion to visit all the tourist spots. This freed us up to simply live like Venetians for a few days. Which is exactly what we did. 

We bought pastries and coffee at a local pasticceria every morning. Strolled around the neighbourood. Went to the supermarket. We avoided any food sellers with photos of their food in the window, English menus and people pulling you in from the doorway. 

My one and only  tourism must-do was a leisurely 7 minutes walk away. 

We got up early to visit Peggy Guggenheim’s collection and there were very few people there at opening. I found myself alone at times in a room – just me and art, and space. To look, to breathe, to absorb, to listen (to the audio guide) to think, and to simply be in the presence of.

This is bliss. 

We had locals recommend restaurants that were divine in Thierry understated simplicity and fresh originality. We and took naps, watched a movie when it rained on our laptop and generally just relaxed. No stress, no crowds, no shoving or rudeness, no rushing to be anywhere. 

This is luxury. 

We passed the men in the tiny corner bacari drinking morning and night.  We drank Apertivo in the early evening and snacked on cicchetti (Traditional fresh lagoon foods). By the time we left we knew our neighborhood well and the map had been retired after only a day. 

On the last morning we grabbed a croissant from our local and ate it standing, watching people walking their dogs or heading to work. Some by foot, some by boat. 

This is a holiday. 




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Visions of Fashion. 

Art makes me teary. I’ve cried during extraordinary dance performances, in palaces and in front of monuments. I’ve cried at the concerts of living legends (Celine Dion and Prince – that was you) and I’ve cried in nature. 

Tears are my litmus test for art. Defined for me by moments in my life that have touched my heart. Squeezed it so quickly and so firmly that my eyes leak pure concentrated joy. 

Most recently it happened in the Palazzo Pitti, specifically in the Galleria Palatina (a room so stunningly beautiful as to make you grateful to have eyes that see). My eyes leaked because the room is currently hosting an exhibition of the photographs of Karl Lagerfeld. 

Each photo is printed onto meters of transparent fabric that is suspended from the ceiling. As you move throughout the room the images sway to and fro. They are majestic and reverential. Chandeliers the size of mini coopers punctuate the room.

I want to lie down on the floor and stay in this room forever. I resist the urge. It’s not possible. 

Karl and Karl…

I see you Cate Blanchett…

Chandeliers add an otherworldly effect through the fabric…

Modern art meets the masters with more Lagerfeld photos placed throughout the palace…

Sunglasses are always in vogue…

Diamonds & pearls…Chanel artifacts within the costume exhibit. 


Classic enduring Chanel. 

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Sunset and the City. 

Sunset and the city of Firenze. 


I promise the hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo is worth every butt aching step. 

As soon as I arrived in Florence I wanted to see the city from above, to get perspective and depth. Piazzale Michelangelo gives you this. Go at sunset for bonus romantic mood enhancing lighting. 

Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is a medieval stone enclosed arch bridge over the Arno river. Beautiful to view from afar, and Wonderful to traverse if like me you a) like to browse in stores, and b) enjoy history and historical monuments. 


The Arno river flows through Italy out to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Each day I saw it on my stay in Florence it had a different character. Still and smooth, swift and textured. It is described as an irregular river because it’s flow changes so much, naturally this gives it considerable beauty: 


Special mention must go to the clouds of Florence who have put on a beautiful display in my few days here. Fluffy, wispy, golden, ethereal and menacing (sometimes) – never ever boring. 

Grazie. 

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Street art. 

Clet Abraham is responsible for making me giggle all over Florence with his street sign witticisms. 

His art is graffiti of the gentlest kind and is created with stickers that can be removed. Instead the city decommissions signs and he buys them back and offers them for sale from his studio. 

Naturally I’m on the hunt for a work of his depicting a cat & mouse but hunting these four (in the montage) down kept me amused for most of the morning today. 


Spider-Man 

Jesus


Pacman 

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The perils of travel. 

I love traveling when I get where I’m going but the travel itself… That I could skip. Give me a pill and wake me when we get there. 

My ankles swell beyond recognition and my skin dries out so that I arrive at my destination resembling a raisin. 

Jet lag hit me like a truck in London on the flight to Milan. I could not resist sleep. So I slept and drooled. (Probably) 

I stayed awake on the train to Florence and promptly fell asleep again as soon as I sat down at our accommodation.

So the tiredness won but thankfully the raisin face is a thing of the past. Luckily for me I’ve been schooled on in-flight skin care by those in the know. I take my make-up off. I hydrate, then I hydrate and after that I hydrate before I apply a new face of make-up. Pure bliss. 

Clinique moisture surge face spray is my Bff on a long haul flight as is moisture surge thirst relief. I slather that stuff on like my life depends upon it. Even the flight attendants comment on how fresh I look at the end of the flight. 

Serendipity came into play when the day before we flew out Clinique had their bonus offer. I needed a new mascara and I always need more moisture surge so I was able to bring a new bag of tricks on the plane in the form of mini products to try. 

#lucky 

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