Showing posts from May, 2018

Glitzy Diane

No, it is not Diane von Furstenberg’s      classic wrap around dress which I wear. 

My trois pièce is a dream of chestnut coloured duchesse, light silky velvet shining like jewels and lined with bright red silk completed by a scarf. 

I bought it in New York at Bergdorf Goodman whereto I had fled from an icy drizzle on a grey winter day. 

Talking to Don Quixote

On the flea market in Buenos Aires I came across the lovely statuette of Don Quijote. The flea markets and antique shops of the Argentinean capital are a treasure trove. I dedicated a whole chapter of my little guide book on the city of tango to the Sunday pastime of hunting and gathering so much cherished by the Porteños.

My Don Quijote is reading a book which makes him dear to me. I like to talk to him. As he insists on my addressing him in Spanish he became my Spanish teacher. He is a proud man. I best wear something Spanish during our encounters. I do hope the modern twist of my outfit from skunkfunk will not annoy him. If it does I shall have to change into a period dress like the beautiful ladies on Argentinean National day.

Memories of Damascus

Once upon a time there was an old oriental town where one could amble in the cobbled streets and sip a Turkish coffee in a tiny shop. This town was called Damascus long, long before the devastating and tragic civil war changed it for ever. A relative of mine went oftentimes for business. He sat in the bazar with the merchants and traded cloth.

From that time I kept a treasure. A shimmering piece of brocade with flowers and birds woven with gold threads into the fabric in the deep blue and wine-red shades of oriental carpets. I had a seamstress of my choice make a simple evening dress lined with a piece of black fox fur I had inherited. This dress will never be out of fashion. The brocade is timeless but the memories linked to it are sad. 

Leopards are my Favourites

I once had the chance of a lifetime and could see my favourite wild felines from close by. On the farm Massekwa in South Africa’s subtropical province Limpopo. Staying in one of the farm’s tents I first heard the leopards’ deep cough like sounds during the night. The next day farmer Johan Holzhausen drove us to a large fenced in area and showed us his fosterlings. He was the mother and father of three leopards he had found as cubs in front of the farm gate. The true mother had been shot dead. The youngsters had grown up protected but were now trained to survive in the wilderness they had been born for.

Should I ever become a buddhist I would want to be reborn as a leopard. I cannot climb or purr. What I can do is to emulate the adorable leopard coat with some animal print and fake fur. My more minimalistic inclined friends are frowning on my predilection for animal print. Never mind. Sometimes good taste seems to me a bit like political correctness. Righteous but no fun.

It's a Long Way to Filadelfia

Imagine a road which seems never to end, 400 kilometer straight ahead and only two villages in between Paraguay's capital town Asunción and the settlement Filadelfia. The initial palm tree groves are gradually ceding to bush and near desert.Late in the afternoon we arrive at a town which is like a wonderland in the desolate semiarid landscape of the Gran Chaco. Neat facebrick houses gather along the tree lined streets. A church spire is looming in the background.

60 years ago Mennonite German settlers came from Russia where they had been expelled and created a prosperous agricultural centre in the middle of nowhere. 

Nowadays they speak Spanish and German and employ the Indios of the Chaco in their cattle and dairy farms. There life is evolving around their farms and their church. They adopted the Latin American culture blending it with their German roots. At the weekend dancing there were ponchos everywhere and I had to take one along. 

Hiding Black Lace

I have a hidden penchant for black lace, but neither am I Spanish nor is a fiesta or a corso of Andalusian horses in sight, although I bought the little black dress in Sevilla. 
Tone it down, tone it down.I won’t forgetthis advice from my seamstress, niece of a Berlin couturier well known in the times when the Durchreise was The German fashion event. The lace and a mud coloured bomber jacket with zips become bedfellows, unlikely but working nicely.

Ready to Go Out

I am invited to a wine tasting. What shall I wear tonight? The eternal question. Not too formal and not too casual. I choose my black pencil skirt and a jacket with tooth patterns and velvet dots. The label is stating Commander. I won’t be the commander, as the wine experts will have the say, the true and the self-appointed. Nevertheless, my jacket’s statement is reassuring.

Golden Glow

In ancient China yellow was the imperial colour. In Shanghai I was tempted to buy one of those iconic portraits of a noble Chinese ancestor, his brocade coat glowing with yellow silk and golden threads. The painting was too big to send it home but the combination of yellow and gold inspired my combination of a silk blouse, vintage Thierry Mugler, and jewellery from Greek designer Ilias Lalaounis. I know no other jeweller West of India and the Dubai gold market who works so boldly in massive gold. He gets his inspiration from ancient gold treasures like those found in Troy. I first encountered his gleaming marvels on a visit to the Greek island Mykonos.

Gold got a new dimension when I strolled through the Dubai gold souq. Wow! The massive attack of the glittering metal on your optic nerve is overwhelming. Even teenage girls seem to be draped in gold.

In my rural corner of France daffodils, tulips and early roses rather come to mind. Spring and late autumn are the seasons of all shade…


Singaporeans will tell you we are a fusion of different nations. Hearty doses of Malayans and Indians add to a big chunk of ethnic Chinese. Some days I feel like adopting that style of colourfulfusion. I throw a brightly green Chinese vest over a black dress, add some dark green African bead work and walk high on colourful plateau sandals handmade in the Caribbean.

In Singapore’s East Point Mall I pulled the vest out of a bundle of freshly imported jackets in every imaginable colour of the rainbow. The green beads from Spier Wine Estate and market place in Stellenbosch had been resting in my drawer quite some time until I found out how nicely they fit with some bright green, toned down by black.

On a home exchange to Guadeloupe I was looking for souvenirs and found a shop full of handmade leatherware in African colours and patterns. On the street in front of the shop people were singing and dancing. The descendants of African slaves imported by the French colonists for their sugar in…

Summer White

The classic white linen dress seems to hint at lazy days on a promenade at the Mediterranean coast sipping a fruit sorbet and admiring the yachts in the harbour. Instead orang-utangs climbing the trees of the rainforest are coming to my mind. I bought the dress at Mango’s in Kota Kinabalu on Malaysian Borneo of all places.                                                                                                         

Shopping may be globalized  but my memories are not. I can still feel the sticky heat on my arms, smell the scent of the spices wafting from the stalls at the road side and see the passing Malaysian women in their elegant sarongs. Happily, we still have to go places to experience the world. The internet is no substitute.