In Search of the Perfect Chapéu

Finding the perfect hat to suit your face, personality, and style can be a challenge but a task well worth undertaking. Trying on various styles in front of a mirror at an interesting hat/milliner boutique is a good way to start but it helps to know what style you might be interested in. Be it a fedora, panama, pill box, cap, fascinator, beenie, etc. Hats are such a neglected accessory in the modern wardrobe which is truly a pity as not only are they stylish, they’re practical too. During winter they keep your head warm and during summer they protect you from the sun. P.S. They can also cover up a bad hair day, just an added bonus.

CA4LA Hat

In my own search I took style inspiration from 17th century French musketeers or rather the costumes of BBC One’s new program The Musketeers. Having fallen for the character Aramis (played by Santiago Cabrera) and his stylish hat, this became my starting point. As you can see through the pictures I think I managed to get quite close to the original hat worn by Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) with my new CA4LA hat (picked up on a recent trip to Tokyo).

Musketeer AramisApart from the hat, another accessory that I wouldn’t mind having is Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) and D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) on my arms. However, if that’s not possible then I’d be able to settle for the hat, one of their leather doublets and perhaps even a rapier to put my classical fencing skills to good use. En garde!

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the CatwalkThe Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design is a total must see!

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the CatwalkI first heard about the exhibition a year ago when lucky me spent the afternoon picking the brain of one of Gaultier’s nearest and dearest friends and colleagues. Ever since I’ve been waiting in anticipation to see the outcome of the exhibition and let me tell you it did not disappoint. So, if you find yourself in Stockholm, Sweden at the moment or in the near vicinity this is one of those exhibitions you just shouldn’t miss.

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the CatwalkLots of fierce and elaborate corsets were on show throughout the exhibition. My favorite corset was a sleek, tight crocodile front laced corset. Then to offset my previous choice, I also fell for a fabulous soft powder pink diva-esque corset like the one from the Gaultier fragrance.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

DSCN7962Jean Paul Gaultier has effectively proved himself a master of the hard, soft comb juxtaposing both materials and cut.

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DSCN7858Pre-raphaelite much? Certain looks might as well have come straight from a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting.

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Opera Orlando Paladino

Sunday evening, I attended the exciting premier of the opera Orlando Paladino at the gorgeous Drottningholm’s Palace Theatre. It was a dazzling event that drew quite a crowd, including some of Sweden’s best-known celebrities seated in the audience, including me and my darling sister who’s arrived fresh from touring Napa Valley, California.

The dramma eroicomico, created by Joseph Haydn in 1782, was directed by Sigrid T’Hooft. Playing the lead role of Orlando was Sweden’s darling rock star equivalent opera tenor Rickard Söderberg.

The opera performed in Italian was presented in three acts. The plot is both comic and heroic and in short revolves around the knight Orlando who loses his mind when Queen Angelica, the love of his life, goes off with another man known as Mendoro. In the end, it is a sorceress who helps restore his sanity and there is a happy ever after. I thought the sets, performances and overall theatre was absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Me and a member of the stylish orchestra which was conducted by Mark Tatlow.

Why not enjoy a boat ride from Stockholm over to the Drottningholm Palace where you can tour both the palace interiors and the park as well as taking a guided tour of the Palace’s darling Theatre.

It’s always interesting to hear the stories behind the making of the Theatre, which involved the house arrest of the Parisian ballet director for 10 years against his will in order to train new protégés.

Hara- From Naked to Clothed

Stopped by the ultra cool Hara Museum of Contemporary Art which was originally built as a private home in 1938. I’m thinking of old Hollywood when I see the architecture with the long stylish driveway lined with tropical palm trees. It wasn’t until 1979 that the home was converted into the museum that we see today. It’s had a bit of a face lift with a major renovation in 2008 but otherwise I imagine it very original.

Interesting sculptures decorate both the inside and outside of the stylish property. It’s a lovely atmosphere and the art decorated house looks ready to live in with the addition of a few select furnishings like a sofa and a fluffy rug. Voilà, I’m ready to move in! Maybe in a different setting though, with lovely summery sunshine and a view overlooking the ocean. Perfect!

The main reason for my visit other than general curiosity of exploring Hara was to see Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition From Naked to Clothed.

Stylized Sculpture 012 [Issey Miyake 1994] 2007, gelatin silver print, 149.2 x 119.4 cm

Sponsored by Dom Pérignon, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition of photographs aims to explore the history of the human race through the history of clothing. The intense gelatin silver prints show iconic garments from some of the worlds most prestigious fashion designers including Cristobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint-Laurent, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and more.

From left to right: Stylized Sculpture 020 [Rei Kawakubo 1994] 2007, gelatin silver print, 149.2 x 119.4 cm, Stylized Sculpture 064 [Rei Kawakubo 1998] ” “.

“The history of human clothing is as old as the history of the human race itself”. Based on this perspective, this exhibition poses the question: What meaning does being clothed have for humans? Personally, I think that the answer to this question will vary from person to person as clothes can be very individual and intimate while others see no need for them. Perhaps this question will remain an enigma. A must see exhibition regardless! Très chic!

Hammersmith Vintage Fashion Fair

Love all things that sparkles? Then the monthly Hammersmith Vintage Fashion, Textiles, and Accessories Fair is certainly something for you. If you missed the one held today, there’s always next month, on the 20th of May. The trick is to do a few laps around all of the different booths so that you know what’s out there and get a better understanding of the prices. And, as long as it’s a deal that you’ll be pleased with at the end of the day, then go for it!

I channeled my inner diva by trying on a few super stylish sun glasses that I only wish I could have pulled off.

The jewelery section is always a highlight for me as the clothes are always in very tiny sizes and frankly, someone’s worn them before me. You may consider that snobbish but with my germophobia I simply couldn’t handle the idea. Although, on several occasions today, I was extremely tempted to overcome and conquer my fear, but to no avail.

With so many lovely things, it proved a real struggle deciding which few pieces to get. It can get a bit pricy as vintage is certainly becoming more popular. This is both a good and bad thing as it’s getting easier to get a hold of which is fabulous. The consequence with vintage being trendy, on the other hand, is that there are only limited treasures to circulate around so it’s becoming increasingly pricy and more desirable. Regardless, I left with a few finds that I was rather pleased with. What do you think? Très chic! I fell in love with both the pink necklace and the fierce green bracelet as I have rings that I got at last months fair that will match very well although they’re not a set. As for the panther bangle, who can resist animal themed warrior jewelery that sparkles? It makes one feel absolutely invincible! Of course I also have a ring that matches :)

Hyper Japan Festival

Get ready to warp into another world filled with ruffles, bows and hair dye. The Hyper Japan Festival is now in full swing at Earls Court so, why not come and explore your inner cosplay or at least dabble a bit in this fabulously different culture?

Yum! As a tasty treat between exploring the various booths and events planned at the festival, I stopped by the food section and tried some vegetarian yakisoba. Naturally, I was a bit nostalgic as the last time I had yakisoba was in the school cafeteria while growing up in Tokyo. Sadly, I’d say their soba topped the one I had today. Certain memories are hard to beat!

The big event of the day was certainly the CosParade in which cosplay enthusiasts would take the stage strutting their stuff and competing for a selection of prizes. For those of you who are less familiar with what コスプレ (cosplay) is, it’s simply short for “costume play”. So participants get dressed up in costumes often ones which have an obvious reference or is a specific character from anime, manga comic books, or video games.

There is an entire history behind cosplay which I’m not too familiar with so if you’re interested I suppose the best way is to test the waters by attending an event such as this one. Then the next step would perhaps be a trip to Japan and attend the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya. Drama! I can only imagine the chaos as thousands of Japanese cosplay fans crowd the red carpet to get a glimmer of their favorite characters come to life. They can be rather intense so be warned…

Among informative presentations, cooking demonstrations, parades and musical numbers, I witnessed this group of girls perform a little dance routine in front of the crowds to their very own selection of J-pop music. My personal favorite Japanese song would be JOY, by singer Yuki!

I certainly hit the jackpot as I found this adorable little booth selling Japanese snacks and candies. Tofu Cute specializes in kawaii (cute) gifts, snacks, accessories and stationery and you can see their full range on the link.

If you don’t have time to make this year’s festival there’s always another one right around the corner. Next year’s one will be held on February 26th, 27th so get your tickets early!

London Vintage Fashion, Textiles, Accessories Fair

Took a rather tedious journey to Hammersmith today. The only reason I say tedious is because several tube stations were closed and there were severe delays with the trains due to signal failure. The many joys of the London transport system!

Other than transport problems, I had a wonderful day spent at the London Vintage Fashion, Textiles, and Accessories Fair. A great place for getting inspired and taking a look at various collections of some truly glamorous pieces.

As with any fair, it is easy to get carried away and end up coming home with a truck load of boudoir feathers and maxing out your credit cards in the spirit of a themed lifestyle. I know, tempting isn’t it?

So I must warn, not a place to be tackled by the weak hearted. There’s glitter and glitz at every turn.

As per usual I couldn’t resist coming home without a few trinkets in my bag. Just add clip-on-earrings as a new experience for me…

Lucky for those of you who missed it, there’s another one right around the corner on February 19th.