Thursday, September 27, 2012

Free and Selfe

For decades now teens have been turned out onto catwalks and before the camera looking drugged, starved, terminally ill, and as if they are trying to think deeply about the meaning of life and failing. No doubt it will go on a few decades more.
So I make no bold claim for noting a new trend in modelling. It's nice, though, to know of a couple of successful models who are bucking convention. And no, I'm not talking about this personification of the current pretty-zombie look ...

Andrej Pejic

Yes, Andrej is a boy's name, and Andrej is officially a boy. I don't even want to get into what this has to say about fashion's perception of womanhood. 
I'm speaking, rather, of two (so far as I can tell) genuine women - Charlotte Free and Daphne Selfe.

Charlotte Free

Free (and it is her real name) is a 19-year-old Californian with the bloom of youth on her cheek, and blond-pink hair. So far, so ordinary. But here's another shot of her ... unshaven armpit and all.

She says she's a feminist. And while a determination not to shave and an insistence on colouring her own hair at home might not meet some people's definition of the term, good luck to her. I like her style.
Daphne Selfe is by no means another new face on the international modelling scene. This is her back in the day ...
Daphne Selfe
But even putting aside the silly 50s pose, I reckon she looks a hundred times more arresting now ...
Daphne Selfe
Selfe is 83. She left modelling when she married and had children (as you did back when they were taking pictures of women like that first one). Then, in 1999, she appeared in Marie Claire and her career took off again. 
"I’ve never had anything done to my face,” she told a reporter. “Not that [botox] poison, not a face-lift. I think it’s a waste of money. Anyway, I couldn’t afford it!
“I’ve never really bothered with skin cream or anything like that, although I might use a bit of Boots."
She went gray in her 40s, and gave up coloring her hair. “My hair is long now because it’s cheaper. I don’t have to do anything but put it in a topknot or a French pleat,” she said. “It avoids that old lady permed look ..."
What a beauty!

Velvet fantasy

Today, in Caffe Mode

This sweet young thing laughed when I asked if I could take a picture of her luscious silk-velvet coat - her boyfriend had just expressed his dislike of it. He wore a conservative gray suit. Beside him, she was a walking work of art.
Certainly the coat's unstructured floppiness, hood and lavish embroidery veered towards the hippie end of the style spectrum, but the wearer's bright red lipstick struck a contrasting note.
N, who was with me, suggested she change boyfriends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Urban romantic

Last week, on the St Kilda tram

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How not to win customers and make sales

Hi-i! Can I help you? Right, not a problem, but just so you know, like it says on the sign, it’s 25% off everything unless it’s already marked down in which case it’s $25 off a second item of the same value or less if you sign up for our loyalty programme or are you already a member and … yes, lovely top, isn’t it, so versatile, a friend bought one and she came back and bought that dress over there and she wore them together at the weekend and it was a great look, and yes, that’s a cool jacket and a good price for quality, isn’t it, no, that’s meant to be like that or perhaps it wasn’t steamed properly when it came in, I’m sure it would iron out, oh yes, those pants are so versatile, day into evening, that’s a lovely skirt with that flower print right on trend now, sort of spring into summer, it would be lovely on you and perfect with those shoes there, no the coral ones, but the red is nice too, would you like to try those, might as well see now you’re here, having a day shopping are you, well, if there’s anything I can help you with … oh, OK, by-ee, have a nice day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Not exactly melons, Mum


If I was ever professionally fitted for a bra before yesterday, I’ve repressed the memory. The first decades of my so-called adult life I spent in a state of permanent embarrassment and apology for my perceived inadequacy in the breast department.
“Two eggs in a handkerchief,” quipped my mother. I was 15 and had been suffering torments of shame for several years. Mum, I should add, was generously endowed. So for years I donned my 10As in the privacy of the changing room and repelled all attempts to join me, professional or otherwise.
Then along came feminism. On a wave of ideological optimism, I ditched bras altogether (note: ditched, not burned. Did anyone actually ever burn a bra?). It was a good thing to do, because eventually I came to accept my girls the way they are, feel glad even for not being full-breasted – nothing to sag or to garner unwelcome male attention.
Then, when I decided late last century, to relaunch my breasts into a bra, I discovered a 10 would no longer do. Welcome to middle-age, I thought, fastening a 12A. My back had broadened, obviously.
Of late, though, I’d noticed that part of me – a small part – was escaping the top of the cup and giving me that tell-tale double bulge. This is what encouraged me to consult a professional. Still, I was taken aback to be informed, in Bras and Things somewhere in Melbourne, that I am actually a 12B. Ta-da! Not exactly melons, Mum, but definitely large eggs!
While S and I faffed around in adjoining changing rooms, we were subjected to a looped tape of a manically cheerful female telling us of all Bras and Things had to offer. It included something called “level three cleavage”.
When questioned, our flesh-and-blood bra operative said what we were each trying on was level one. She passed me a level three to try.
It barely contained my nipples, so stuffed were both cups with jel and foam and god knows what other packing materials. While the part of me that wasn’t nipple was cantilevered in the direction of my chin. The effect was gruesome. I couldn’t get it off fast enough. I’m fine with level one, thanks. Level one, 12B.