Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...

2011-09-22

A Barbie post for a change

A lot of late mid 80s to early 90s Barbie Doll fashions are really outrageous - colorful, kitschy, and even though they do reflect trends of their time, they are (opposed to fashions from, say, the 60s or 70s) nothing anyone would really wear - they are just that bit over the top. Anyway, I still love them dearly. This was the time that I played with Barbie, this was the stuff I loved then, and this was the stuff I first started out with being creative at mixing 'n matching. I have a lot of loose outfit parts here, coming from flea markets, big vintage convolutes or simply left-overs from my childhood (when I learned the art of clearing out things I didn't like anymore to make room and money for new things), and finding out where they come from is thrilling, but of course it's even nicer to find still originally packed outfits. Another reason for that is that they often contain the little booklets in which many outfits are depicted of which there is no information in any collector's books. I cherish those...

Every now and then I check out what vintage Barbie things are on offer on etsy - there are usually a few, and it's an easy search. So I came across a 1990 Disney character outfit that I just had to have (and I wish I had the others too - they're just soooo crazy!).

Such an outrageous outfit of course needs an outrageous wearer - Sam!
Sam is a Mattel doll, but probably the one and only of whom I really don't know who she originally was - I found her at a fleamarket. I suspect there was some head-swapping and hair rerooting involved in her "creation", but that doesn't matter. She's unique - and adorable in the craziest outfits.

The outfit arrived this morning, courtesy of tjgholar. Check out her etsy shop - she makes cool stuff, also art photography with Barbie Dolls! It is again and again interesting to see, how artists use or depict Barbie in their work. And I am so of one mind with her in this quote:
"Maybe I am a little biased, but I don't think it's fair to blame it all on Barbie. I feel ambivalent when I hear women blame their low self esteem and poor body image on growing up with Barbie dolls. I don't know if Barbie is entirely to blame. What about fashion magazines and diet ads? What about the ideas and expectations girls learn from their peers and their mothers? What about the culture of self-objectification?"
She's just so right! Nothing gets more on my nerves than those people who try to blame it all on Barbie. I can safely say, though I had loads of Barbies as a kid, their shape and figure was never a thing I considered or wanted to be like - her body was as it was, and that was that. It was just cool that she was a "grown-up" and had that kind of body. And I figured out pretty soon that Barbie's body didn't have realistic proportions either.

I am still waiting for the VFG Forum to be up and running again (they are updating it)... I realize now how much it has become a part of my daily (computer) life over the last one and a half years or so. Sound crazy? Well, there's just always so much to learn, to discuss, to laugh about. There's so much more than just fashion in the strictest sense involved, and it's just nice to meet like-minded people.
From what I'm hearing the updated forum is going to be really, really cool...

Speaking of mixing and matching... I just came across the blog of VFG member Past Perfect Vintage - I love these outfits (and especially the pink jacket!):
Past Perfect Vintage: Building a Vintage Wardrobe, One Step at a Time
: One of the wisest ways to build a flexible wardrobe is to take advantage of vintage clothing. Vintage garments bring everything to the fash...

2011-09-18

Helsinki, South Pacific, another scarf & adorn yourself & your clothing!

Long time no post, I know... Well, things have been a tiny bit crazy around here. In Mid-August, I spent a few lovely days in beautiful Helsinki with my mother. I've been there many times already, but this city never ceases to amaze me. It is one of the truly beautiful cities in this world! Finnish National Style, Finland's own expression of Art Nouveau, and a building boom in the early 1900s created a great part of what the city looks like today, besides the Neo-Classical 1800s buildings around Senate Square and the Esplanade, and the imagination and ideas that went into these buildings, never cease to amaze me! If you want to have a peek, you can check out my photos here.

Of course we also did the obligatory shopping, which is great in Helsinki. Marimekko is a brand that needs no introduction... whatever they make, it's great quality and it looks great. We bought heaps of fabric, but also one of their classic stripy tees, colorful umbrellas - and we both managed to nab a pair of Converse in Marimekko look - now aren't these the bee's knees?! Pertti Palmroth is maybe less well-known outside Finland, but it's a traditional shoe company that's been in business for decades and produces in my eyes the best in fashionable winter footwear there is. Not only do they produce beautiful, timelessly elegant boots (and to add - some of them are also incredibly sexy!) that fit the foot beautifully, but those boots, no matter if flat or high-heeled, are all incredibly warm, and made from water-proof leather and fixed up with good soles. Palmroth is a must for me on every trip, and even though their boots are also made to last, I couldn't refrain from adding a pair of ankle boots to the two pairs of boots I already have. And best of all, they actually still produce their shoes and boots in Finland. Considering all this, they are more than worth their price...
We also took our time to check out some vintage shops - one we already knew, one was "the one that got away" - I had found it before on a previous trip but lost it again - one that we just about missed by one block the last time, and two that were completely new to us (though we'd been poking around one's area before too). Each and every one was what I expect of a vintage shop: nicely stocked with real vintage, well-organised but with full, enticing racks that one just loves to rifle through... Prices were realistic and shopowners ever so friendly - in short, it was perfect. So I did manage to pick up some beauties:

A timeless black 1940s crepe dress from Ruutu Rovua.

A grey 1950s jacket, bought at Nasta - a really cute shop who's owner is always dressed in 50s style. I've been there before, and one of my fave vintage summer dresses comes from there.

At Ansa (Visit their blog), another super-cute shop in an area that I'd never been to before, I found this elegant 60s rayon slip by Bali.

Play it again Sam was the shop I'd found before, and "lost" again, though it's just a few street corners from Nasta... My mom bought this great 1940s jacket there, which she fitted out with a new lining, and now it's ready to be worn again!

Just one and a half weeks later, which were filled with frantic washing, preparing, agonizing over what to pack and hoping that the whole thing would actually come together, I flew off to Fiji (I flew out on a Wednesday - on the Friday before I had a ticket, and on Monday I actually knew where I'd be staying...). Not for fun though, but on a famil trip for work. I have never before been to any of the Pacific islands, so this was all new to me. The Purpose was simply to get to know a destination that I sell to my clients daily personally, and visit some of the resorts that we sell, plus a new one we're considering - and one more we didn't know at all but as all else was sold out, I stayed there. Except for the two nights that I spent on an excellent small-ship cruise, I stayed in a different place every night. I was on and off boats constantly - a bit of an adventure sometimes, I admit! For all the traveling around, and some strange weather (at least for this time of year, it was a bit strange), it was utterly beautiful, I saw some absolutely stunning beaches, stayed at some incredible resorts and met lots of friendly Fijians (they really are so warm and friendly!).
Shopping-wise there was just one thing that I wanted to get, and thankfully the last hotel I stayed at had a boutique by them: Pure Fiji. Their bodycare products are made from coconut milk and other natural ingredients which they source from local villages. Each product is available in a range of tropical scents like coconut, frangipani, mango or starfruit (which is my current fave). All the products feel just gorgeous on the skin, and their scents are beautiful too - not overwhelming, over-sweet or artifial like many exotically scented products are that one can buy on our side of the world. In short, I adore this stuff, and I filled my bag with it, of that you can be sure ;-). Most of the hotels use their products too for the small bathroom amenities (unless they're 5-star and think they have to stock their bathrooms with L'Occitane products - they're good too, yes - but all the same, this seems utterly ridiculous...). The Sofitel Fiji even has a scent of their own - orange blossom - that Pure Fiji only uses for their ameneties. Needless to say, I took those home with me...

I have, not so recently, but for some time, been a real fan of kitschy "romantic" costume jewelery, like (fake) cameos. At H&M I found pretty small cameo earrings, but the coolest stuff I have comes from flea markets and Etsy. It doesn't matter they're not real - that is actually part of the appeal to me - the kitschier, the better is my feeling right now. And to make a real statement, I don't wear just one - I wear a whole collection, together with other pieces that look good with them:
This classic pinstriped waistcoat is an old fave - it's only by H&M, but has survived all purges in my closet for the last 12 years or so... (yes, I had been thinking about throwing it out a few times...)

So, I gave added to the three fake cameos (two flea-market finds and one of said H&M earrings, which I bought twice): one fake "miniature" - another flea-market find, a cute vintage 60s porcelain brooch (courtesy of The Spectrum - there's also a necklace with a matching pendent) and my mom's Kennedy Dollar, which she has had set as a brooch, and which I have worn on and off over the years. I just feel these things need to make a statement ;-).

The other option of course is to have just one really, really big fake cameo to add some pizzazz to an ordinary jacket:
Speaking of pizzazz, if you're looking for unusual jewelery that's sure to grab everyone's attention, may I suggest you have a look at Chryssala's Chic Chips? They look just great and are so much fun! Her try-out collection is on her Facebook Page now (be sure to "like" it!), and there is certainly more cool stuff to follow!

Before I finish this here, there is of course the Scarf of the Month that we shouldn't forget!
This month, it's a chic piece in all shades of purple (did I mention that I love purple?!) by Vienna's designer fashion store F├╝rnkranz. Beautiful!