Showing posts from July, 2018

Sari-Sarong - 2

The sarong with a tightly fitted blouse used to be the everyday outfit all over South-East Asia. Now, it has given way either to Western fashion like in Thailand or to Islamic attire like in Malaysia and Indonesia. The sarong and blouse or kebaya (see post Betty's Kebaya, June 24) is often reserved for ceremonial events or for women working in the tourist sector.Only the Buddhist country Myanmar and Bali, the Indonesian Buddhist province, are holding on to the tradition of beautiful sarongs. You just have to look at Myanmar’s political icon Aung San Suu Kyi and you can see how becoming this uniform is.

Have you ever tried to row a boat while standing on one leg only? The fishermen on the Inle Lake in Northern Myanmar are performing this acrobatic act every day. I took a boat on this beautiful lake to visit the Khit Sunn Yin Lotus Weaving Centre perched on stilts over the waters. The Lotus weavers still practice hand weaving for traditional sarongs. 

Mine is made of cotton and silk a…

Sari-Sarong - 1

India is the land of colours not least due to the wonderful saris Indian women are wearing so gracefully. I showed some of my collection in post Le Pays des Couleurs on June 26, already. One can find beautiful selections of saris not only in India but wherever Indians live. Many are living in South East Asia and in Africa. 

The unusual brown one I found in Singapore. I have adorned it with the mask of king Rama's consort Sita. Images from the Ramayana, one of the two great Indian epics from the past spread all over Asia. The green sari comes for Port Louis in Mauritius.

The kangas of Zanzibar and the capulanas of Mozambique are relatives of the saris. They come in two colourful pieces, one to cover the body and one as scarf for head and shoulders.

The East African women are playing skilfully with these two pieces of cloth. There is a mood  for hiding and one for revealing. Some like to make a statement and put on a kanga with a printed slogan.
Local legend has it that the capulana beg…

Velvet Foreground

Velvet used to be a rare and precious fabric. Not so much any more but it still creates a festive atmosphere. You think of a candle light dinner or a room illuminated by crystal chandeliers. 
My favourite Cape Town designer Eroll Arendzmay have had this in mind when he created the west of copper coloured silk incrusted with matching velvet and adorned with velvet wristbands.

A less formal take on velvet is the vintage purple suit with loose pants and a shirt by Jeff Gattana, Paris. It fits perfectly to the knitted coat from Argentina’s Andean city Córdoba. 

Raquel Rossetto has used the velvet sparingly, just for the buttons. The curvy applications on the coat remind me of Córdoba’s baroque cathedral. The second biggest town of Argentina has a much more Spanisch ambiente than cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. The colonial past is still lingering in the streets and the old buildings with the backdrop of the Sierras Chicas.

Africa in France

Wax and kita explained Alice Ehui Eba are the very fabric of Ivorian society. These brightly coloured  pieces of cotton with their genorous curvy patterns  made a big splash in my small French town and created an atmosphere of joi de vivre à l'Africaine. 
In West Africa they go back to early colonial times and to the Asian technique of batik.Nowadays the patterns and colours are printed on the fabric, but the name of the wax used for batik sticks.

Alice, the stylist from Ivory Coast showed her amazing creativity in a fashion défilée for women, children and even men. Ample pelerines, swinging dresses, bomber jackets and coats, all made from wax.

The traditional meaning of every colour and curve was duly explained. Red means rich and blue love, some patterns are hidden love letters. These connotatios may be lost to the Western customer, but the riot of colour is intriguing. Some ladies in the audience already showed off their West African blouse or shirt handmade by Alice.

She has …

Summer Evenings

Alternating between France, Germany and South Africa is like eternal summer, but the evenings are different. While we are enjoying dinner in our French garden at dusk till late in the evening, night is falling early and quite abruptly in the Southern hemisphere. Storm lights are indespensable accessories of every summer barbecue in Cape Town. Capetonians do love their barbecue, called braai. Grilling the meat to perfection is mens' business. We women are allowed to contribute the salad and condiments. It may not have been so different in the times of the bushmen, only the salad was missing.

I am glad fo the invention of LED light. No burning of your fingers any more while you are trying to light the candle in a narrow glass tube. Glass beads illuminated by LED are doing the business of contributing a romantic glimmer nicely. 

Bleu-Blanc-Rouge - Encore!

Les Bleus, the French equipe mastered the semifinals and may win the trophy of the soccer world cup tomorrow, one day after their national holiday. I am celebrating with some more bleu-blanc-rouge. These lovely colours are polyglott. They spell not only France but also sailing in the great blue or just enjoying summer at the Waterkant.
The trendy neighbourhood at Cape Town's Table Bay and Bo Kaap, the adjoining Malay quarter, offer a backdrop of candy coloured houses along cobbled lanes. 

Summer Accessory Stories

I first discovered the chain stores Accessorize years ago in the UK and I was thrilled. That was just what I did all the time, changing my looks by choosing carefully my accessory. 

A shawl can render an elegant touch to a plain dress. Costume jewellery pieces are adding colour and pep while gold and precious stones tell a different story. 
I am addict to bangles. South Africa is the best hunting ground, beads, recycled metal, threads and gold, you name it.

And shoes…. High heals, plateau, slippers, peep toes, everything is possible in summer. 

I try to get away from all that black and grey. Like dresses shoes can also flourish dans le pays des couleurs / in the land of colours

Bleu-Blanc-Rouge Forever

France's national holiday is around the corner and the Bleu, there fabulous soccer team, is still in the game. So, wearing the colours of the tricolore is de rigueur. I am privileged to have a neighbour who not only produces the best rasberries West of Paris, he is also selling them on our charming local producers' market. Jacques and me in bleu-blanc-rouge aren't we a winning team?

Another friend is selling his crunchy carrots and huge tomatoes. At the long wooden tables everybody is sipping a glass of locally produced rosé wine and munching  away on some tapas or crepes while the brass band is warming us up. French country side at its best.

Sailing Nowhere Slowly

The French colours bleu-blanc-rouge are bringing back summer memories from the Cote d’Azur. Once I possessed a silk dress from Leonard, Paris with just a bit too many maritime motifs. Tempi passati.
Only the matching scarf held on to my drawer and joined forces with the dock steps. They are making me sail slowly through the light blue air of these early summer days. 

My Scarfs and Me - 2

You cannot afford a painting by a famous French artist? Don’t worry.Buy a scarf with the same image. So did I at the Musée Fernand Léger in Biot at the Cote d’Azur.

The same you can do with the Haute Couture labels where even a silk scarf can cost a small fortune but will accompany you for years on end. I have chosen the dark brown geometry on beige by Charles Jourdan, the plain squares of hot pink and mustard by Rodier, the jungle leaves on light wool by Grès, who are now making perfumes only.
From a friend who owns a boutique I got my signature leopards on a scarf by Etienne Aignerand a somewhat heraldic pattern by Hermès.  It says grande uniforme which means splendid military uniform. The French love that. You wouldn’t think that they ever had a revolution. On a vintage sale I made a lucky find, a silk scarf signed by Michèle Morgan, the French blonde icon of yesteryear with the cat eyes.    

The ostrich feather boom of the early 20th century may be gone, but the feathers have their …