Showing posts from August, 2018

No Greener Pastures

From my holiday home in the South West of France it is not too far to Spain. Every now and then I pamper myself with a weekend trip to Barcelona.

The green outfit from Skunkfunk I brought home last time is nearly a camouflage in my rural French surroundings immersed in all shades of green as they are.

The Spaniards always get it right. Be it Zara, Mango, Disigual or Skunkfunk. They seem to have the winning formula.

In the German translation of My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle sang right that:

Es grünt so grün, wenn Spaniens Blüten blühen (The rain in Spain...)

Brigitte and the Third Age

The largest German womens' magazine Brigitte started not long ago a special two monthly for women beyond 60. Brigitte wir became a great success as our age group is not only increasing in number but also in confidence.

In the current issue Brigitte wir is reporting on ten women who started a new project at the age of retirement and is inviting readers to choose their favourite: number 5, 2018, Mensch 60+, p. 50ff. I feel privileged to be part of the ten.
Thank you Brigitte! / Danke Brigitte!

Shades of Grey

Grey is the new black. It is so elegant and softer. My dress comes from Denmark made by Charlotte Eskildsen for the label Remix. I purchased it in Bergen, Norway. For me the colour is reflecting the silvery grey of an overcast day in the North. Bergen seems to be one of the wettest places on earth. There they love to tell you all sorts of jokes mocking their rainy weather: An American tourist asked a boy: Tell me young man, is it raining here every day? I don’t know, madam, did the lad answer, I am only eight years old. 

The gathers in the front of my dress add just that bit of playfulness needed for a less sober look. Draped jersey is Charlotte Eskildsen’s speciality. Grey has the great advantage that it lends itself to endless possibilities of combinations. Sometimes I add violet boots and bag and a lot of silver, sometimes I feel more like jazzing it up with gold and an Asian spencer. The plushy spencer is doubling as a wind screen for chilly days.
A red turtle neck sweater and a w…

Taking the Veil - 2

At many places on my travels in Islamic countries I encountered sign boards enforcing the veil.

The reality is not far from the sign boards I saw in Kuala Terengganu, East Malaysia, and in Abu Dhabi: everywhere women in black abaya and hijab like shadow images. Any colour is denied in public albeit there are variations of black. It all depends on who and where.

Elegant ladies in a mall in Dubai, mother and child in holy Qom or the more modern version of the two girls in Tabriz, both Iran, black is the dominant colour.
Felicia Engelmann titled her book on Islamic fashion in big cities appropriately Dresses make people, veils make women. In 2016 Dolce & Gabbana advertised a trendy collection for Middle Eastern customers showing a model in embroidered black wearing fancy sunglasses and handbag.

In Kuching in Malaysian Borneo with their strong Chinese and indigenous minorities the rules are less strict even in public service. Colours are not forbidden.

I am afraid the mollahs wouldn’…

Taking the Veil - 1

Those who have read my posts My scarfs and me (June 30 and July 3) will know that I love playing with scarfs. Only once did I resent that I had to wear a scarf. Here you see me disguised as an Iranian woman. To tour this country from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf and from the Western mountain range to the Eastern deserts I had to present myself at immigration with a head scarf with not a single hair peeking out. On the entire journey I had to cover my hair the moment I left my hotel room. An ample jacket reaching down to the lower part of my thighs, loose pants and long sleeves were de rigueur, as well. Most of the women are still wearing the burka.

In the beginning I refrained from putting on makeup until I found out that many women in Tehran and other large cities compensate for the scarf with almond eyes and beguiling red lips.

In Tehran colourful head scarfs are a fashion item. Boutiques in the up market Northern suburbs are displaying an incredible selection of scarfs. I bou…

Banana Republic

Guess were this photo was taken. No, neither in Hawai nor in Fiji. The huge banana is growing in my French garden. Three years ago I planted an offshoot I had got from my neighbour. By now the banana has grown excessively, branched out and is forming a bush three meters high. I can just stay in my garden to experience wam and humid days. In summer this area is simulating the tropics. You can still see wooden sheds in  the fields where farmers used to dry their tobacco crops. Now it is all wine, wine from Bordeaux.  Tropical bananas are asking for bright yellow and lots of fool's gold. My South African earrings and golden snake are just right. 

La Dolce Vita

This brilliant summer with endless blue skies and sunshine I am having la dolce vita,  the sweet life. No cloud is to be seen, even in the South West of France where rain showers are normally quite frequent. Not this year. In the bastide town Eymet the fresco from the famous Italian film is evoking a Roman summer and so does the weather. No Fontana di Trevi close by but a glass of diavolo citron, the coolest of French soft drinks, and jingling ice cubes. The restaurant under the arch on the main square is adorning the evocative film kiss of Marcello Mastrioanni and Anita Ekberg with the inimitable Italian mixture of a song of love and some washing hanging on the line.
- C'e solo l'amore che mi da la forza di vivere!                   - Alora vivi l'amore.               - Only love is giving me the energy to live.                          - So, I am living love.  

Who would want to contradict.

Eastern Comfort

When in Hongkong do as the people from Hongkong do. That’s what I thought. So, first thing I bought a couple of ample jackets, silk, cotton, flowery, in subdued colours, whatever. And I went to a tea house to taste fragrant Chinese tea. No, I was not ashamed to behave like a silly tourist. I got that Eastern feel I had longed for. 
I didn’t care that hardly any fashionable young Hongkong lady does wear these heirlooms any more. They may remind them of their grandmothers’ attire. That’s why one finds most of them at vintage shops. 

New ones are the asymetric black jacket from Taipeh and the black and pink from KL. 

The latter softens the boyish look of my flanell bermudas from Comptoir des Cottoniers.

I just like the comfort of those ample jackets so much. Any boring black pant gets a new life combined with a lovely Chinese top. Try it.

Sari-Sarong - 3

As to see beautiful sarong-kebaya combinations you will have to travel to Bali. This island so distinctly different from other parts of Indonesia is imbued with Buddhist traditions. I had the chance to attend a royal funeral in Ubud and to witness this important event where a gamelan orchestra played, ladies wore their finest and a sarong seller offered her ware stored in a bundle on her head.
In Malaysia the sarongs are called songkets.  The main techniques are batik (see also post A New Take on Batik, March 18) and ikat. Ikat is the name of a long process of binding the yarn to resist colour and dying it several times to obtain the pattern. Sarongs are now mainly confined to dancing performances and museums. 

I bought the batik cloth with the blue flowers from Tiga Serangkai Design in Eastern Malaysia and the black and brown one in Malaysian Borneo from Sarawak Design.

In the olden days my red sarong with the golden threads would have been reserved for royalty. I saw similar pieces in …