Showing posts from January, 2018

Jeans & Co

In a somewhat grubby mall in Guatemala City I came across this jeans dress, no label and a very good bargain, just a quick buy on a hot day when the air con of the mall came as a relief. My friend Yvonne had steered me through the chaos of the city to get a respite of the heat. Her own fabric shop was close by. The daughter of a Jewish immigrant who began as a smous, an ambulant trader, had inherited the shop from her late father. She herself was clad in the tightest jeans and the highest heels I had ever seen, her blond hair swinging down to her waist.

Compared to her outfit, my easy going dress is looking a bit simple. I don’t mind as you can do everything with a jeans dress. Add some bright red, set off pristine white, play the yellow and blue game. The variations are endless. Or you can double it with your daughter’s jeans dress.   

Jeans adapt easily to every place. The lofty
dress added to my pleasure at a lunch with
Cape Malay curry in the idyllic courtyard
of the stately Lord M…

Cape to Rio

The iconic South Atlantic yacht race is The sports event in Cape Town’s summer season. It is the longest continent-to-continent race in the Southern Hemisphere and has a history going back to 1968. The competition is fierce. Boats from all over the world are taking part. At the Royal Yacht Club at Table Bay the excitement is palpable. 

I happen to witness the arrival of Mercenario 4 from Argentina at the shipyard. Argentina used to be my adopted home country for a couple of years and I am looking out for the beautiful light blue flag with the yellow sun. The Mercenario had started in Uruguay’s port town Punta del Este in November and arrived in Cape Town in late December, in time for the start of the race on January 1st.
It goes without saying that I put on some blue and white combining a simple striped shirt with a linen skirt by Luisa Spagnoli and a French scarf honoring my second home with a hint of bleu-blanc-rouge.

To recover from all that excitement we    make a brief stop at the…

My Favourite French Couturier

I had the privilege to take part in a defilee where I showed his work with the dress he had designed and made for me to My small town in the French countryside is richly dotted with artesanat. There is no exact translation for this French term embracing everything professionally and artfully made by hand.

One of them is young couturier Romain Courret. A couple of years ago he came from the big city Bordeaux where he had learned his craft at the opera house. He installed his own atelier and never looked back. Clients keep coming in flocks. He is the most inventive designer I have ever met.

order. For years I had kept a piece of soft silk from a Chinese shop on Mauritius. Romain combined the pistachio silk with a flowery fabric of his own to great effect.

Rider’s Paradise

The vast grassy plains of Argentina are a rider’s paradise and the country is the world champion of polo. Even for the less fortunate who do not own the minimum of seven horses necessary for a player some polo fun is possible. They have the chance to see this exciting and elegant game to their heart’s content at the stadium in Buenos Aires' neighbourhood Palermo during the polo season. The passionate audience is part of the pleasure.

For the more active there is a plethora of estancias offering rider's holidays and polo lessons. I spent one of my best Christmas holidays with my daughters and a lot pf riding at the polo ranch Estancia La Sofia near San Antonio de Areco.

On the Rural, the yearly country fair of Buenos Aires, I had nearly bought one of the most beautiful Arab horses I have ever seen. Unfortunately, my balcony on Avenida de Mayo was too small to accommodate the diva.

As for the suiting outfit and some very special souvenirs there is no better place as Mataderos in…

Africa is Getting onto my Head

In a competition who invented the most
becoming headgear African women would
win undoubtedly. A head wrap is such a
fascinating accessory for style. You can
wear a scarf with any outfit from contemporary
to ethnic. There are hundreds of ways to wind
a simple scarf around your head making you look
like a queen.

I was lucky to have been shown some when I bought a scarf at a market in
Namibia. The turban seems to lengthen your head and to straighten your back. I would never dare to compare myself to those graceful African gazelles but I am aiming at it. 

Some inspiration how to wear a turban I got from Africanista. Look at their suggestions for tying a scarf:

See how nicely an African head scarf is stretching the neck and how cheerful the three ladies in black are looking with their bright scarfs. The right one I met in a secret garden hidden in Cape Towns Constantia Valley. Shadia hails from Burundi from where her family fled to South Africa.  

Indian Summer

I celebrated my Indian Summer at the Cape of Good Hope with two simplified versions of the Punjabi salwar, the combination of scarf, kameez and baggy or tight trousers. The dark red one being an interpretation by a group of young designers for the label Hip Hop, now sadly defunct. This Indian reminiscence is not as far-fetched as you might think. Indians emigrated to the Cape since the 19th century and Cape Town owns its foundation to the thirst of the Dutch East India company VOC for South Asian and South East Asian spices.
The turquoise version has its origin in Mauritius with its fascinating mix of French colonial and Indian culture. At the market in Quatre-Borne I can hardly tear myself away from the stands with heaps of fabric for saris and salwars. In the street along the market I enter a shop with more fabric and more saris in brilliant colours. A mother and daughter are selecting a wedding outfit. One gleaming silk sari with sequin embroidery after another is spread out on th…

A Hint of the East

I love the elegance of Far Eastern dressing styles, the brightness of Indian colours and the softness of South East Asian silks. From every trip to Asia I come back with loads of fabrics and stuff. Too much in fact. You don’t want to look like going to a fancy dress party. The avid traveller and the style conscious fashionista are competing within me.

I have to restrict myself to using the exotic items sparingly. A vest here, a silk shawl there toned down by some black.

The green velvet cap with the silver embroidery has a special place in my traveller’s heart. It was a gift I got many years ago on a trip to Upper Egypt.

I was a young professional on my first job and we stayed overnight in the ancient village of Gurna. The roof of the white washed caravanseray was the deep blue star studded sky. Our group was invited to take part in the stock dance which substituted TV as the villagers' evening entertainment. Dates were served. Time seemed to have come to a standstill.

Fast forwa…

Elzabé’s Girls

At my favourite art gallery  Rust-en-Vrede in Cape Town' s Northern Suburbs I saw a painting of a bold young woman looking at me as if to say Here I am. What's the price of the world? I bought it on the spot.

At the vernissage I was lucky to meet the artist. Elzabé Kritzinger invited me to her studio in Hout Bay and I had the privilege to see the bulk of her art work. She mainly paints women. I paged through her paintings and dozens of young girls, old women, black women, white women emerged. A fascinating female world. One of them found a home next to her sister in my apartment. They are greeting me and making me glad every time I enter my lounge. Two more took over my bedroom.

Some others are populating the internet art platform of saatchiart. Do have a look. My black-and-white jacket from Foschini is contrasting Elzabé’s jouyful colours. Her girls are to occupy centre stage.

La Vie en Rose

Every season I am full of good intentions. No, this summer I shall not fall for pink. And what do I end up with? A whole pink oufit. This one was just too intriguing to ignore it. The dress of the finest cotton as light as a feather comes from a township initiative in Kayelitsha, the biggest township of Cape Town.

Of course, I had to help them a bit by buying their stuff at the Watershed barn and it is so comfortable in midsummer.

The simple necklace made of lavender wooden beads came handy as the icing of the cake.

To stroll through the Watershed at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront without buying something is nearly impossible. This showcase of South African handicraft is always worth a visit.

... and the Living is Easy

Nothing like summertime in a lovely garden full of white roses and flocks of ducks waddling to a lake. The noise of cheerful chatting and of clinking glasses is wafting from the terrace of Joostenberg Deli & Bistro in the Cape Winelands. On weekends Captonians love to go out for a late breakfast taking along all the family, grandma, toddlers and friends.

The right place to wear the straw hat I had found in Iguazu at the border of Argentina and Brazil. Genuine Panama the seller had promised. I tend to believe it as the hat is so finely woven, durable and light.

I had travelled to the small border town to see the mighty Iguazu waterfalls from both sides, the Argentinian and the Brazilian. I am still not sure which one to prefer. You must go and see for yourself.

For African bead work with a modern twist I like to choose Pichulik. Katherine-Mary’s bangles and necklaces are the most inventive and playful. 

Stars and Stripes

The ballet stars were shining at the Cape Town Opera House on New Year’s Eve and I provided the stripes. I love
to be in Cape Town for New Year. The fireworks illuminate Table Bay and cheerful people from all walks of life are roaming the streets. After the gala performance we danced on the plaza till the wee hours.

On second January I was again in Cape Central to see the Kaapse Klopse or Cape Coons. Every year the traditional procession of the coloured community is a highlight. Since more than a century the Klopse march through the City in their colourful outfit to the sound of their brass bands. This year again the Klopse were drawing a huge multiracial crowd to their cheerful performance.