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...


The last scarf!

So, here we are... it is December, so we have arrived at the last scarf! This has been so nice, being able to open a present every month! I feel like I need to find a new "monthly theme" for next year. Will have to think about it - and am open to suggestions for sure!

But now, without further ado - the December scarf:
I also have one more new Barbie doll to introduce. The never ending Dolls of the World line has, after doing traditional costumes, festivals, weddings and other things, branched out to... buildings! Therefore, they have for the second time in their long history done an Australian theme, this time the Sydney Opera:
I think for once Mattel got it right - it's a good interpretation, but also still looks more or less like a dress... I like the shoes and the handbag, that carry the design on too - nice touch. Now if Mattel could only stop using thoses stiff ModelMuse bodies and the hair cement... oh I know, I always grumble about the same things.

It has also been time again for the annual big pre-christmas indoor flea market & antiques fair here in Zurich. The whole event is getting smaller each year (no wonder with those stall prices that one hears off - but then there are also things that I know I have been looking at for the last 5 years or more, and you'd think that maybe a seller should then starting asking himself, if maybe the price was too high...), so I now only buy one day ticket anymore and go in only once. It used to be that I'd go in at least twice - like on Thursday and again on Saturday, when it got into full swing. Oh well... But for once I was pretty succesful this time! One of my favorite sellers, who sells vintage American costume jewelery, this time had a bracelet that matches a pair of earrings that I bought from her a few years ago pretty neatly:
And, oh wonder of wonders, I have found a beautiful 1940s day dress, which did not cost a fortune! After having pretty much given up on ever buying vintage clothes here or at that particular event, as usually this tended to be totally overpriced. Well, last years' overpriced seller wasn't there anymore. I could imagine that she didn't do a lot of business with those prices she had... So the day ended quite satifactorily, though the dress will need a little taking in on the sides. Stay tuned for that one then!


A trip down the 80s memory lane: scary fashions & Oscar de la Renta

So here I am again. After nothing happening for months, my Barbie collection has been positively exploding lately...

First, a good friend of mine asked me if I was interested in having some of her childhood Barbie stuff, after she cleaned out her attic. Of course I was - or I wouldn't be me ;-). So a parcel arrived with some things I remember well from back in the 80s and things I had coveted but never got... I've mentioned it before, I love those neon-colored, over-the-thop Barbie and the Rockers outfits. I loved them back in the day and I still do. It was just so far away from anything I was ever allowed to wear. And I loved neon colors, period. So here they are, from Barbie's first year as a Rocker: Derek and DeeDee!
Yes, that was the year that Ken was supplanted in Barbie's favors by Derek... nobody knows what's happened, but this pre-dates the whole Barbie & Blaine "scandal" by almost 2o years! And nobody cared a bit about it!
When she arrived, DeeDee was actually in dire need of a visit to the hairdresser:
So I went through the "classic" treatment. If you're not "into" Barbie dolls, you probably wonder how that works... First up: the hairwash. Just a good cleanse, best do it all over, no just the hair. Normal dishwashing liquid is all it needs. Next: a good conditioner. In the case of synthetic hair, fabric softener is actually the thing it needs. Dilute some in a small bowl of water, and let her hair soak in it a bit. Then comes the combing - always the thing that takes the most patience. Take a sturdy comb, not too fine, not too big, and comb the hair in small sections, from the head - and hold her by the hairline, so as not to pull out any hair (but 80s and newer Barbies are usually well-rooted and there's not a great possibility to pull out much). After that, the hair is combable but still "fluffy" because it's still a bit curly. There's only one thing against that: straighten it out! Any straightening or curling that is permanent has to be done with hot water (any kinds of straightening or curling irons would burn this hair - only the old Ashton-Drake Gene dolls have hair that takes styling with irons - hot water isn't enough in that case). Straightening is best done by poring the freshly boiled water over the dolls head, while she's sitting. Just be careful with that hot water! Then, comb the wet hair down again, and you should get shiny, glossy, straight hair that is no problem to comb through:
But of course, DeeDee wants her curls back! So, time for a perm. Basically, you can use anything as a roller for doll's hair that can take boiling hot water and that the hair can be fixed in place with. The best thing: disposable drinking straws, cut into shorter pieces. Household paper, torn into small bits and moistened works as "end paper" so the ends of the hair won't slip out. Roll up from the end, and fix with pins, through the "roller" and the head. Yup, sounds brutal, but I find this is one of the best ways! Depending on how big or small the strands that you roll up are, the curls get bigger or smaller.
And then... just one more step of fixin' this, take a big enough piece of saran wrap, cover the doll's head with it and fix it around her neck with a rubber band. Sounds brutal, I know, but that helps to keep the rolled up hair nicely in place. Water will still seep in, but that's okay. Boil more water, pour it into a big enough bowl and submerse the doll's head in it completely. Leave for 5-10 Minutes, take out, take the saran off and let it cool and set as it for 24 hours. Then... take the curlers out, un-curl carefully, and style as you like:
If you want to, spray gently with some hair spray (but cover her face with a tissue first).

I admit, I like doing this - giving these dolls a "new life", even if they're not highly valuable vintage dolls.

Now with the dolls also came some outfits, which I decided to present on my newest model - one of the Barbie Basics dolls. I love her cool short hairstyle, though that was so caked in "concrete" that I had to give it a double wash first! Okay, with that ModelMuse body of hers, she's way too thin for those 80s clothes, so I had to pin them in the back, but she does make them look great (mostly)!
First up: a colorful little leisure outfit.
Next: a sexy little number in baby pink.

Now, it gets a lilttle scary...
This is one of those Twice as Nice outfits that always featured at least one part that could be turned around for a change of color. This here looks like a rather scary secretary outfit. But I remember my then best friend having it and I just had to have it for memory's sake.
Somehow I find this combo even scarier...
And this is the way that I think it actually looks kinda cute. Kind of a "super housewife"-look.

And now, if you haven't been scared away from the screen by crazy color combos, let me show you the really good 80s stuff. Yep. Not all 80s fashion was bad, and here I have actually one of the best 80s Barbie outfits ever. Nowadays, designers seem to stand in line to have their signature Barbie doll designed. Way back in mid-80s, Mattel began to test the waters with first collectors series (the first collector conventions having been held in the early 80s, this was just sort of beginning to be recognised I guess) - and having a "real fashion" designer do something for them. And that was - Oscar de la Renta! In 1985, 4 "Collector Series" outfits by Mr. de la Renta were sold, and in the following year, another 5. They were all very glamourous (and very 80s) but beautiful as well. Jewel-tone, strong colors - with a lot purples, reds, pinks and deep blues and a dash of gold or silver - were chosen, and each year, one outfit featured exchangable parts for two or more looks. Most of them had an added stole, jacket or cape, and all had a sewn-in label with Mr. de la Renta's signature logo. I had two of these as a child, one survived my childhood as it was a perennial favorite - and since a few years, I have been collecting them. Well, not exactly hunting for them, but when I came across one, I'd buy it. The lastest addition to this small collection is the one I've been wanting the most, because it's so timeless - and "real". This is no Barbie-pink-over-the-top-phantasy, but something you could just imagine a real woman wearing. And it is versatile too!

First combination: a yellow and golden camisole top with matching straight jacket, black slender velvet skirt with a high slit - and black sheer pantyhose (yes, the were part of the outfit!).
Second combo: with black velvet slacks and a black fur stole .

And here's a quick look at my little de la Renta collection:
The blue one is the one that survived my childhood. The fuchsia one on the left is the other one I had, but later gave away. It also has a long slim taffeta skirt to exchange with the short, ruffly one, and a wide golden sash with a pink rhinestone to accent that dropped waist. The balloon dress on the right actually has a backless top under that incredible jacket.

On my last trip to New York, while hurrying up 7th Avenue to find a pharmacy, I came across the Fashion Walk of Fame plaque for Oscar de la Renta, and the sketch on it immediately reminded me of those ruffled, shirred Barbie dresses by him:


Vienna, almost the last scarf... and Pan Am

Long time no write, I know... firstly, I've been on holiday, secondly I've been sort of bizzy work-wise...

I spent almost a week in Vienna, which was great - the weather wasn't too bad, we did some successful shopping and spent some crazy nights - amongs others at the fabulous Quentin's Kaffeebar. The music, the atmosphere and all else there are just great. It feels like a sort of extended living room, and it features a Hollywood swing and walls covered with a very eclectic mix of vintage LP sleeves (say hello to all the embarrassing stuff you ever found in your parents' LP collection...!). Vintage-wise it wasn't so much the thing though, though I did buy some fab new things. None of our usual haunts had any exciting vintage stuff, and the vintage shop that we visited because it had been advertised everywhere turned out to be over-priced (an unexciting late 60s poly dress for 120 Euros???) , overrated, badly sorted and generally not what I except of a vintage shop. Besides, the shop was also badly sorted, clothes were hanging on racks willy-nilly... which is one of my absolute pet peeves! Plus, the most fab piece in the shop by far, which I picked up of course, turned out to be private property - it had just been hanging on a rack because the owner needed to iron it! Next one and probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to vintage/antique shops or stalls... And why do so many people think they can charge any price for anything that's remotely vintage, but not even nice? I see this happening so much around here, and I just hate it. Takes the fun out of shopping vintage. In that case, I prefer shopping vintage online, though it's never as much fun as in an actual shop. Just check this new VFG Etsy treasury out - isn't it cool?!
However, on the way to the local Caritas, we came across a kids' secondhand, that had great adults stuff in their backroom for only 3 Euros a piece. Need I say more? A great happy coincidence ;-)!

I've also been working on some dolls and will be reporting more on them soon - some great stuff that I've wanted to have for some time, and some new dolls that somehow had eluded my radar so far... stay tuned!

It is already November, so it's time for the second last scarf for this year! This time it's a very 70s concoction of orange and brown:
On another note, BBC2 has started showing "Pan Am" which I couldn't wait for to catch it anywhere. After four episodes I have to admit, I had expected more... Perhaps my view is biased by Mad Men, which is extremely well made (yep, they made their mistakes too, but it just looks so much more believable). In comparison, Pan Am looks a little cheap somehow, if I'm honest. Some things just don't look "right" to me, and I wouldn't call myself a period specialst. It's just a feeling that I get. And Christina Ricci's hairstyle looks strange sometimes - you'd think by the high standards that flight attendants had to live up to at the time, they'd give her a better hairstyle in the series! The lead pilot is also way too young, I'm sorry, and the idea that you always get the same crew flying together on all flights is preposterous - an airline of that size would even in the early 60s have had rotating crews. Of course they didn't have so many employees as big international airlines have nowadays, so chance to end up with the same person again on the same flight were certainly higher, but this really is too much. I would love to see more flight attendants and more pilots & engineers join the story! But if people, as I read somewhere, are already confused by the simple flash-backs that have been shown so far, then no wonder they have to keep it simple....! Oh dear. Well, I will try to keep watching, but I don't know how much longer until it will completely annoy me. It's just a little too soap opera-ish in the storyline as well. I think that there's just so much more they could do with this premise. Just read any memoir of someone who was a flight attendant in the 50s/60s/70s.


Monet & the indian summer

Having a week's holiday at home, I decided to use the time to its best and do a few things that I usually don't have the time to - at least not on a weekday.

Top of my list was the Monet exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny. It's a 3-hour train ride here from Zurich, so usually the only time to go is on a weekend. The problem is just, with the high-profile exhibitions they like to mount, publicity for them is everywhere, and everybody goes. Especially if our national train company also puts up a specials including fare and entrance fees. I admit, they get some of the best things down there, but I know what it is like when it gets crowded, so any way to avoid that is good. Leaving the grey, foggy Mittelland behind me, the sun came out just before the train went through the new Lötschberg tunnel, and was out in full force when the train left the tunnel after 34 kilometers and almost 20 minutes in the dark (what an experience, by the way). I arrived in Martigny just before 10 a.m. - and not a minute too late to see the exhibition without too big a crowd. With 70 works from the Musée Marmottan in Paris, from private collections (that is almost the most interesting, because these are a rare sight to be seen in public) and from Swiss museums in Zurich, Basel, Berne, Lausanne and Geneva, this was quite a show. It was beautifully lit, bringing out the incredibly brilliant colors in the vibrant paintings, and also showing the less colorful scenes to their best. My problem with the exhibition is just - the exhibition space they have is actually not enough for 70 paintings this size! It's a simple square inside this 70s building, with tiny niches in the corners. These niches get crowded when there's 3 people in there, and barely give one enough space to step away far enough to really see the paintings, unless they're very small. Monet paintings are best viewed from a distance, and the people at this museum should know that - it's not their first Monet/impressionist exhibition by far! In some places, there are also short walls opposite the all-around all where most of the paintings hang. These walls were hung with paintings too (they were generally hung extremely tightly - never seen quite anything like this before!), so there to is not enough space to step away from them. So, basically, with a good crowd, there is no way to really appreciate these paintings, because there will always be someone standing in your way! It really is too bad, because the paintings are spectacular. I have definitely found some new favourites. One certainly was "La neige à Argenteuil" with its pale glowing winter sun (that glow seriously reminded me of some Turner paintings that have the same quality). Another one was his "Route près de Giverny" (colors are much more brilliant in the original - he actually used a lot of pinks in this one), as well as two paintings of cliffs in foggy weather - "Falaises, temps gris" and "Mauvais temps, Pourville". The effect of the last two is just stunning. The colors are so delicate, and it feels so "real" looking at them. Sadly, and reproduction in print or on the internet can never do these justice. The second and third from top on the exhibition's web page are also absolutely gorgeous in reality. There were also some nymphéas or river theme paintings that I hadn't seen before and which seemed different from the best-known ones, which I thought were fascinating, like this one. I am definitely very glad to have gone there, and somehome I feel I have had a "fresh" look at Monet, seeing not just well-known paintings but to the best part ones that I had never seen before. What really struck me was the brilliance of the colors, and the light in some them. Again and again these are things that draw me to certain painters and paintings.
There was also a small side exhibition with japanese wood block prints from Monet's personal collection. They were just gorgeous too.

So I finished just before noon, having even take the time on the stroll through town to the museum, to visit the roman amphitheater.
The Fondation Gianadda also holds a permanent exhibition of roman artefacts and the roman history of the place. Ruins that have been excavated can be seen all over the town. Situated in a small sunny plain surrounded by mountains, and at a crossroads (which it still is today - the roads south of Martigny lead either to the Great St. Bernhard and Aosta/Italy or to Chamonix/France and the region of the Mont Blanc), it was probably seen as the ideal place to build a fort and and all that went with it.
Anyway, as the weather was still as sunny and beautiful and the air was just getting warmer, I decided that I had rather spend my time exploring some more and putting my day-ticket to full use, which I could use on almost every train in this country for a whole day. Only Martigny isn't quite the place to be... lots of architectural sins from the 60s and 70s and a general feeling of drabness in most places... except a short stretch on its main street, which really is pleasant:
Ater asking at the train station for suggestions, where they looked at me as if I had asked for the moon, I finally figured the solution out myself. On I went by regional train to Montreux, which is a different from the region that I had just come from as it could possibly be... glamourous, also a bit touristy, and that feeling as if one was on the French Riviera somewhere (the temperatures were like that too!). I had some time to spare for a walk along the promenade on Lake Geneva, and to have an ice cream.
And then, I was off on the GoldenPass train from Montreux to Zweisimmen. They have modern panoramic wagons, but also one Classic Train, which has older wagons done up in 1930s Pullman-style - just gorgeous:
... and this is "only" second class! Anyway, this narrow gauge train first winds up along the mountain above Montreux (which you see on the right side on the picture above), through countless vineyards and giving an incredible view of Montreux and the lake. Then it passes through a tunnel, and comes out in what seems to be a wholly different world! First it's the Pays d'Enhaut, green, mountainous, with sleepy small villages, and then passing on to a wider valley, the language changes from French to German from one village to another, in Saanen there seems to be a cow-auction or something like that near the train station (and these cows all still have their respect-inducing horns - not like down here!), and soon follows glamorous Gstaad and the small villages that belong to it, and again the train climbs up and dips down again into Zweisimmen, where the train has to be changed. From here on, the trains run on normal gauge again, towards Spiez and on to Interlaken. There's a whiff of manure in the air at the train station there, making sure you won't forget that you're still "in the country". From here, the ride was one flash-back after another from me. The new seats in the wagon couldn't hide how antiquated it actually was - one visit to the bathroom assured that. They used to have these funny containers with soap powder, and you had to turn a wheel at the bottom so the powder would drizzle in your hand. Once, as a small kid, me and an older girl once probably emptied one of those more or less on another regional train up another mountain valley. Our game was to "clean the sink"... Then there were the church towers, all built in the same distinctive way which seems to be particular to this region. It looked the same like the one in Spiez, where my grandparents once lived and which I remember well from the times I stayed with them on holidays. Only I had never noticed before that this must be a regional tradition. Of course you don't notice this as a kid (and the last time that I think I did this train ride, I was too small to remember it even now). And the scenery - I then remembered that this must have been where my grandparents once took me up by car - just a sunny summer afternoon excursion. Only we didn't take grandpa's usual car (a then already unusual 1970's Triumph that looked harmless but had quite a motor), but "Hueschti", the car that coughed. No kidding. It might have been a Triumph too, can't say for sure, it was white too, but it didn't have dowdy black and beige fabric seat covers of his usual car, but the seats were covered in dark red leather! It usually stayed in the garage and rarely got an outing. I can't remember why we took it on that particular day - but we did, and that just added to the fun. As I said, the car "coughed", hence it's name. I can't possibly say what it's problem was, but every now and then it would make a move and a sound that would feel like it coughed. Maybe it wasn't overly save even to drive a car like that, but to me as a kid it was just plain fun. And we certainly didn't take it very far.
So that's for the trip down memory lane. In Spiez, the intercity train back to Zurich already waited on the other side of the platform, and so I was off on the way back home. What an enjoyable day! If it hadn't been for the trees already turning colors, one could have though it was still summer. But like this, it felt a little bit "Indian Summer"-like, at least after leaving Montreux.

And if you feel like the Indian Summer too now, check out the VFG's latest Etsy treasury, which also features this theme!


Lots of stuff on etsy & get out the silly!

Yesterday I took an overflowing carrier bag to the Caritas shop and went home with a lovely silver grey (not vintage - just plain old second hand) sweater. I did my usual closet cleanout a week ago - much I like the one I talked about here last year. This time it took a little more work because I also replaced the brown paper lining of the shelves.

Going through everything in my closet also meant looking at my vintage. There are a few things there which I either do not wear anymore because my style has changed, or which I bought because it fit and was gorgeous and didn't cost much - but honestly speaking, it's not "me" and I'll never wear it, or it has just too many issues for me to deal with. Which is why I have expanded the vintage section of my Willy-nillies Etsy shop! Check it out now...

Especially worth mentioning: A gorgeous early to mid-1960s evening dress, to which I have the perfectly matching pair of shoes (by Dior, no less!) in the shop too - and they're exactly from the same time too!

A recent etsy newsletter directed me to some utterly outrageous fashion which would be perfect for Halloween. Now, wouldn't you love to weart the Pink Monster Mop Dress?
Check out the other stuff in this shop too - it's all quite wild & weird & wonderful & imaginative! Speaking of Halloween, the VFG have just launched a new Etsy treasury all in black and orange - now, ain't that gorgeous?

And if the Monster Mop dress isn't silly enough for you, visit the Smart Bitches at their blog. Though the competition is already over, reading the entries for the Extreme Jacuzzi Enthusiasm competition will not just put a smile on your face but will be certain to make you laugh out loud! And the inspiration for this competition? Well, who would've thought it, but it actually came from Switzerland! Read it here.

And if that isn't silly enough for you, you can always turn to the brilliant QI - currently showing Series I in it's XL version on BBC 2 Saturday nights. I want one of those "Nobody knows" signs! In this world of so-called reality TV, that just seems to get more and more stupid - and usually isn't "reality" anyway, you can spend 45 minutes of absolutely brilliant silliness and un-common knowledge with Stephen Fry, Alan Davies and changing panelists, never knowing what will happen!


Rock your vintage, autumn trends & the next scarf

Today I have been working on some of my vintage - photographing a few things that I haven't had a chance to, before I will put it away when I do my closet cleanup next week and repairing some "new" vintage stuff.
This cute 1950s playsuit has become quite a favourite with me. Made from soft, airy cotton and fitting beautifully, it's a super piece for hot day at the office. I bought it from VFG Member Miss Martys. Yes, they were originally thought to be worn at the beach, but I think for today's standards it is quite "covered up".
I have also already blogged about this 1980s Akris silk dress, whose fabric I loved so much, but have only been able to show it on my manni - so here are some "live" pics!

Since October has started (my, doesn't time fly?!), there has of course been another scarf to unpack! In keeping with the time of the year, this one comes in autumn colors:

My newspapers' article on the autumn trends has been interesting, but I absolutely do not agree with the editor's opinion that the 1940s and 1960s trends are nothing to follow. Hey, we do know that designers like to look back - as long as they don't look back on times that I remember myself, that's pretty much ok with me. She thinks the 40s are too much work "because you have to do it all - make-up and hair too". Erhmmm... I don't think you have to do it all - yes, I love the 40s look, but let's be honest, you can't do the full look in every day situations, and people would probably think that you're "dressing up as" if you try too much. I too am trying to go less "period" and a little more "modern" with my vintage and do it with more subtlety. The Miu Miu Fall collecion that the newspaper refers to didn't go full-on 40s everywhere everywhere either and I think it shoes a few pretty good 40s inspired hairstyles that are not too hard to re-creat - check it out here (not that I like all of it - the shapeless coats with overly-wide shoulders are pretty hideous in my eyes... but some of the dresses are nice).
I would say: take one 40s piece and mix it with modern things, do a nice modern makeup (but red lipstick please - no nude lips!)... and the hair? Well, you can do little 40s inspired without it being too much work when you have long hair, but I think it works without it too:
This is the 40s dress that I bought in Helsinki, and which I have repaired today. Add colorful/textured/patterned modern pantyhose to relieve the black dress, a pair of slightly chunky shoes and a big brooch - voilà!
Also the top of my 1940s Eisenberg suit is a wonderful piece to mix with current pieces:
The black capris are from H&M's current autumn collection. "Indian" slippers by Aldo (some years ago).
The suit really is a dream, made from shot cotton, unlined, with soft shoulder pads and beautiful mother of pearl-buttons.

As for the 60s trend, the newspaper editor seems to think that it's only Twiggy-style babydoll dresses - well, yes, those really aren't for anybody less thin or older than Twiggy was at the time, but there are other cool things like accessories and coats in popping colors that are perfect. If you need any more ideas, check out the Vintage Fashion Guild's Fall Vintage Inspirations!

Last week and even still this weekend, the weather has been incredibly warm, so have been taking the chance to wear the two beautiful late 1940s cotton print dresses, which I bought from Tangerine Boutique a few weeks ago. They were both new old stock and fit perfectly! I gladly took a few other things to the Caritas shop instead - where I happened to find a cute hot pink cashmere cardi, which goes beautifully with one of the dresses:
(though they look very 80s, these shoes are actually only a few years old - and from Aldo too)
With a modern jacket and vintage 70s Coach handbag (reflecting accessory from the Design Forum Helsinki - nearly every woman in Helsinki seems to have such an accessory in some shape or other dangling from their handbag).

This gorgeous dress has a lovely print in purple/pink/grey/green and the fabric is supposed to be needing little or no ironing! The detailing is also incredible - both the collar and the pockets are edged with fabric loops, and the buttons have rhinestones:


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...


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 Fürnkranz. Beautiful!