Monday, April 25, 2011

Zambesi girl

The closest I've come to a sartorial love affair is with New Zealand's established designer label, Zambesi.

There was a time in the mid to late 1990s - a period that looks increasingly as if it might have been my hedonistic zenith - when Zambesi pieces were my staples.  I was single, on a career track, and financially independent.

I was so devoted to one particular boutique that carried Zambesi and other favourites Helen Cherry, Marilyn Sainty and NOMd, the owner would buy with me in mind.

It astonishes me now.

On a whim - it's been a while - I viewed Zambesi's  A/W 2011 collection online.  If I was in my 90s phase, I would have snapped these three up, no question. Zambesi has always had a distinctive look and collections flow into one another, but these pieces could almost have been plucked from my wardrobe back then.

(Photos: Zambesi, a/w 2011 runway via

The New Zealand design aesthetic has long been synonymous with a dark, utilitarian mood.  Edgy black and loads of it.   It's no longer the case, with a blossoming, diverse design scene, but I have struggled to broaden my palette - colour and direction - even if circumstances and desire dictate I no longer fill my wardrobe with Zambesi and NOMd etc. 

I still tend to look for clothes that best reflect (on my pared down budget) designer influences from fifteen years ago.  I think it's partly because it represents a time when I felt I had it going on.

But my tastes have evolved; a little less uncompromising, softer, more inclusive.  I adore Richard Moore's draped, feminine dress below.  (He showed at iD Dunedin Fashion Week earlier this month.)

                      Photo: Richard Moore dress via
                     iD Dunedin Fashion Week
Frankly, though, as much as I admire it, I simply couldn't wear it well for many reasons; not least of which, it's white.

Perhaps I should just embrace my anxiety about wearing colour or block white and the post-children fear of svelte clothes, and explode into a new style direction.  I'm thinking vintage Zandra Rhodes, seen here at iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2011 (private collection).

Photo: Vintage Zandra Rhodes via iD Dunedin Fashion Week

Then again, if I focus on confidence, maybe my lack of imagination will be considered a signature rather than a style rut.  Here's hoping.  

In the meantime, I think I will follow up on Zambesi's Shooboot.  Winter is coming.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April sun

The Avon River in the late afternoon, autumn light.  Ten metres to the left, six-foot aluminium fences ford the river, river banks and Cambridge Terrace.  But to the the right there is this.

Punts outside the Antigua Boat Sheds (since 1882)
on the Avon River, Christchurch

The punts have just begun operating again on a reduced river loop.

Looking up towards the Antigua Boat Sheds
from the Hospital Bridge, Riverside 

The bridge is impassable, dressed with the ubiquitous fluorescent orange cones and temporary fencing.  But you would never know from here.

Looking from the Hospital Bridge off
Rolleston Avenue up-river through the
Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park

My mother's room in Christchurch Public Hospital's aptly named Riverside Block overlooks the Avon and Botanical Gardens; north-facing for all day sun.  

Fortunately, I had my phone with me to capture these, but it does have its limits.  I hope you get the idea.  Easter Sunday in Christchurch was a thing of beauty, with the promise of renewal.

(Although we have just had yet another aftershock - best not get ahead of myself!)

Happy Easter x

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cut and paste

Bottom lips began to tremble at the supermarket check-out as the Misses T were told to return the TV Guide.  I have never bought one.  And I never will.

"But she's a Princess!"

Not yet.  Another week.  The manipulative mileage I have made out of the Royal Wedding is alarming.  

If the girls are exceptionally good, at everything, all week, then we will go to Grandma's and watch the televised wedding coverage live.  This is huge.  Not only for the obvious reasons, but because it involves staying up very late.  The prospect of late night gallivanting is almost overwhelming.  And then there is the dressing up (for them).

Eldest Miss T is working up a mood board.  I succumbed to the the pull of the corner dairy's cheap magazine titles for more material.  There was frantic cutting and pasting all afternoon.

While she monopolised all things Royal and Wedding, I rediscovered the joys of creating my own mood board, exploring rather different themes.

I have to say, there is something enormously therapeutic about cutting and pasting, and all without one keystroke or mouse click.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Adults - Nothing To Lose

Like a GOOD girl, I have been silent.  I have had nothing pleasant or engaging to say, and so I have said nothing.  Swallowed it all down.

Swallowed away the anger; the fear; the dark things we shouldn't bore others with let alone reveal about ourselves.

I have been pacing about the house; a short-tempered yo-yo.  Truth is, there is a lot about which I am not happy.

I read the blogs of so many wonderful women living lives I covet, and I have been inspired by them.  But I am so very far away from those lives.  However much they may have put a spring in my step; my world is small and closing in.

The world has moved on.  There was Japan.  Then Libya and the Ivory Coast, and twisters in the US.  But I can't move on.  I have nothing specific to complain about. I'm not grieving a death.  Our home is standing.  But there is loss - all around, tremendous loss.

And the reality is, we have years of such hideousness before us.  Everything that made this such a great place to live has gone, or is denied us.   Christchurch is one big suburb, with its ruptured streets, patched pipes and sewers, and precarious power supply; and no heart.

I lurch from hopelessness to illuminating the many, significant opportunities that a razed city presents.  I know it's manic.

And I'm aware I shouldn't bore people on my blog with my lamentations.  Who, really, wants to know?  I don't want to know.

But I need to.  I need to say what needs to be said.  It might get a little dark, a little strident.  I will have to throw off the shackles of my marketing mind that is screaming "blog suicide", and just get on with it.

I would like to say a special thank you to one of my followers, Tattieweasel. Tattie happened to read and comment on my March 19 blog.  It wasn't a post of note.  But it was the departure point for my dive into melancholy.  Somehow, the fact that Tattie commented was enough to pull me out of my self-imposed, turbulent silence.  

There's a newly released NZ song by Jon Toogood's collaboration The Adults that captures my mood perfectly with its slightly ominous, repressed tension.  It's got a punk vibe with the two-chord thing, but Ladi6 is no punk - she's pure Pacific hip-hop funskster - rockin'  it here with Shihad frontman Jon, and the distinctive Shane Carter.

It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea.