Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Bonne année" as the French say...

NYE in the city can be pretty crowded and therefore a rather grim affair. In fact, I haven't ventured into town on the 31st of December since 2000 (along with the rest of Sydney I think). I remember that I had to walk 5km home at 4am as there were no taxi's (well duh!) and I lost a gorgeous gold strappy stiletto somewhere along the way (I grizzled about that right through until February too!)

These days my beau and I spend NYE either travelling somewhere else - like last year to NZ (we were in the little french provincial township of Akaroa, south of Christchurch - It was minus 1 degree's) - or with a group of old friends guzzling champagne and eating BBQ seafood.

This year, friends, champagne and seafood are on the cards...but I highly recommend travelling outside of Sydney also. Our trip to NZ was amazing, even with the chilly temperatures. And you can always find a cosy local pub to see the NY in. Celebrating at least one NY with stranger's in a far away place (or even in New Zealand!) is essential!

Other things to do include:
Romantic dinner at home with just you and your loved one. Candles, French Champagne oysters, lobster and a rich dessert - take the phone off the hook and turn off your mobile...romance is the perfect way to see the New Year in!

Got Kids? even if you haven't, Taronga Zoo is a great spot to see the new year in and to watch the fireworks too. Their Roar and Snooze sleepover program is supposed to be pretty cool for kiddies and adults alike.

What ever you decide to do, HAVE LOTS OF FUN AND BE SAFE.
And make sure you glam up, even if you are at home with friends.
What better occasion to frock up than a celebration of all that has come to pass and all that will be?
New Years Eve for me means new beginnings and new adventures...You gotta look your very best for that!
Bonne année

Happy New Year, Friends!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Sale Guide

Check out Missy Confidential for all the best fashion, accessories, jewelry and beauty product sales around Sydney (and the rest of Australia) this month. She also lists on-line bargains and loads of special offers via her web sites!
This web site is QUALITY information at your finger tips!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

So...not long now folks!

At last I can safely say that we are in the final stages of testing our little online boutique. I've had a break over christmas from uploading images and entering all the I still have quite a bit too finish there and of course, there's still a few bit's n' pieces to fix up like the Style File pages and the Design Forum...not too mention alot of the images may actually need re-sizing again

But we are close my friends!

I believe that the site will be live within the next 2 weeks (as long as I work day & night to have it looking spic).

The hold-up is really this....I'm a VIRGO. I can't stand things not being 100% right.
The smallest details are painstakingly scrutinized
Images are re-sized again and again.
Text is re-written over and over.
I'm driving myself a bit batty actually!

Particularly since there obviously will be changes along the way - I know I will find easier ways to do things, I will get feedback from people about things that work and things that don't work, I will find new things to include ....and so on

BUT right now - I just want it to look great and be bug free!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Season's Greetings

I'm heading down the south coast for a few days of R&R.
Have the best christmas!
Happy Holidays!
P.S bowerbird vintage is in the final testing
stages now and it looks like we will be open for business mid Jan!
More on that when I return...

Friday, December 21, 2007

The LBD and Other Classics

Although I love colour, I also have a number of little black dresses in my wardrobe that I always find solice in wearing on FAT days and I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR days. My favourite at the moment is a little lace slip by SarahJane. Very comfy and stylish too.

It got me thinking though about other classic wardrobe pieces - fall back items is another way of describing them:

Here's what I think every girl should invest in for her wardrobe (and by "invest" I mean buy good quality)

LBD (or 3). The one above is by Vivienne Westwood. It's approx $1000 on Net-a-porter if you've got that kinda cash sitting around. An LBD should be all above the quality of the fabric and the cut of the dress. Westwood's incredible craftmanship and detail make this dress 'to die for'

Black Pointed Toe Stilletto. To go with your little back dress of course! They also look amazing with jeans and a blazer, black pants or a great pair of tailored shorts
White Dresses ( long and short). Long or short - a white dress on a hot summer evening is the perfect outfit. Accessorize with tan!

Metalic sandals - When you can't decide how dressy you need to be for the event your attending metalic sandal are the best bet. Think 5 inch heels too much for the bbq at the inlaws - but wan tto impress? go the sandals. Classy without making you feel overdressed!

Black Straight Leg Pants (high waist preferrable). Everygirl needs a pair of perfectly cut black pants. Just like the LBD, they can get you outta all kinds of strife. I found a great pair at Cue this season. But if you can afford to spend a bit more, do it as a pair of well tailored pants will last for years and in term of cost per wear you'll be ahead!

A ligh weight cardi in a plain colour. Cashmere if you can afford it, otherwise a nice light brushed cotton is good too. I think the best colour is a nice light grey because it goes with so much. My cardi goes everywhere with me!

Leather Bag (no fakes allowed). Black is probably the most practical. Or brown. I personal love an Oroton bag. My staple is a aqua blue slouch bag that I bought from the Oroton factory outlet store about three years ago! I still use it most days.

and finally,
Beaded Vintage Evening Bag (big enough for all your essentials)
Great pair of sunnies (invest in one pair of great classic style sunnies)
and a really nice lightweight pashmina or scarf (comes in handy for many things - honest!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perfectly Imperfect

I am no longer afraid of storms,
for I am learning to sail my own ship"
-Louisa May Alcott

The image of Molly Ringwald making her own prom dress in Pretty in Pink defines my 1980's childhood.

My parents didn't have much money nor a great deal of interest in "acquiring lots of useless stuff". So, while other kids wore the latest labels and bought the coolest gadgets with their pocket money, I spent my time in Op shops trawling for treasures I could cut up and make into something that [I thought] would give the cool kids a run for their money.

Back in the 80's in small town NSW, being an individual came with it's fair share of torment (It's a rite of passage of course - still alive and well today no doubt!) and I remember desperately wanting to fit in and be part of that group of girls who all the boys gravitated towards at lunch time.

While other kids got dropped off at the school gates in their parents shiny new holden's and ford's, my rather eccentric mother drove a 1966 bat-winged Peugot 404. I used to walk to 5 km's to school everyday because of it.

But you know what? I'd give anything to have that little car now. I didn't realise at the time of course, but worrying about what other's think of you is a terrible waste of energy...and developing your own style is incredibly important. It helps define who you are.

..Those hours I spent secretly trawling Vinnies sparked a life long love of vintage clothing that I've managed to turn into a career and a lifestyle. Having luckily inherited some of my parents eccentricity and devil may care attitude to life, I have had the courage to step outside of what might be considered the "norm" and do something that I truly enjoy.

And although it's a bumpy ride riddled with plenty of pitfalls and challenges, I'm living my very best life - perfectly imperfect!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Please Please Please

Be carefull on the roads these holiday's my friends.
Three generations in one family died yesterday after their car jack-knived on the Kamilaroi Highway heading back to Sydney. Five people were in that car - all of them perished. Please be carefully, be safe and stay focused if your travelling any great distances.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lets Talk About Sex

I miss Sex and the City...
Luckily there's a movie coming May next only 5 months to wait for a top up.
in the mean time, click here to check out the SATC trailer for it - Oh, the fashion!!!!!:

Know this song?

Fiest, one of my favourite (indie) bands are coming to Sydney early next year to play St Jerome Laneway Festival (a huge line up of great aussie bands playing 2008 too).
You know one of their songs for sure; One, Two Three Four...I think it's on the Apple Ipod ad on the tele actually...she has an outstanding voice. Click here to listen to the song:

My Moon, My Man is another great track too.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Lesson #1027

When designing a website that sells clothing, image is everything. If the photo doesn't grab the attention of the viewer then it's likely they aren't going to click on it to view the necessary details that might help with a decision to purchase!

I learned this the hard way this last week. We've done some amazing photo sessions over the last couple of months with beautiful models and great retro backdrops...only to find that when you are shrinking said images down to just a little larger than postage stamp size to put on the main viewing pages, the great backdrops and even the lovely, tall models look weird and distorted.

I've had to re-shoot most of the stock on mannequinns as this is the cleanest, clearest and most inviting way to display them. I can still use the other beautiful photos as larger images in the detail pages - I think people always like to see what a dress or item of clothing look like on a real person - but I've certainly learned another valuable lesson (the hard way). Luckily, I enjoy playing with camera's and clothes!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some Images from BowerbirdVintage

Thought I'd share some of the bowerbird dresses with you....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Wheels of Progress Continue to Turn

I have finally started uploading images and text onto the new website. Yes, 4 months on and it's starting to look like a real on-line boutique at last. Now the hard work begins.
I have 100's of items to put on there and the formatting is all trial and error. Already, It's become quite clear that the pictures I spent hours uploading last night aren't all the same size and their all a little too small as well I think (thank you to my lovely friends for their constructive feedback!).
Also, there are plenty of bugs to iron out and the programmers haven't yet finished the formatting so there are things floating around our little cybershop that look a bit messy
Baby Steps! as Bob would say (Bob being the neurotic loony in the film "What About Bob?" played by Bill Murray - very old skool comedy that gets a run every now and then...completely ridiculous...highly recommended!)
...And my other favourite, "Rome Wasn't Build in a Day" (thanks Dad!)
Anyhow, thought I'd take 5 mins out from re-sizing gazillions of images in photoshop to bring you this very exciting news!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

five fave fashion books

Being the bookaholic that I am, thought I'd share my five faves:

1. 100 YEARS OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION - gorgeous! a look at illustration from the 1900's to now - some of the drawings are so amazing I wish they were hanging in my living room

2. VINTAGE FASHION: for the collector, the wearer and the fashion student. Perfect if you are looking for past influences for inspiration to develop your own look.

3. COCO CHANEL: FRIENDS, FASHION, FAME: Waht geniune fashionista could have a book collection without Madame Coco featuring? This book is more biographical and totally fascinating.

4. ULTIMATE STYLE: An oldie but I keep going back to it. An illustrated history of the Best Dressed List, is the story of how the list originated and grew into the world-famous event it is today. It's a "who's who" of the most glamorous women in the world from the 1940's to now.

5. FACE OF FASHION: This ones on my christmas list. Just released, this book explores the relationship between contemporary portrait photography and fashion. It presents the intensely unconventional, often unnervingly intimate portraiture work of five of the most creative and original fashion photographers at work in the world today. And I can't wait to own it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brett Dennen

My new favourite artist, Brett Dennen. Beautiful folk/indie singer. Check out his Myspace page and click on Aint No Reason or Darling Do Not Fear. Just gorgeous!

The 1950's are back!

Gucci Dress (left) and Karen Walker (right)

The Euporean fashion shows this spring indicate a 50's revival (again). The silouette is very big, billowy skirts (INCLUDING TULLE) cinched in at the waist and lots and lots of pretty floral fabrics. As I mentioned last week, Prada is at the helm with her amazing resort wear label which debut's on the Paris catwalk in September. But Gucci, Lanvin, Escada, Chanel and Dior have all embraced it as well. Closer to home Karen Walker, Akira and Alex Perry have produced some beautiful 50's inspired pieces as well.

Akira (left) and Alex Perry (right)

The original 50's - Bowerbird Style!

The return to the 50's is great news for Bowerbird. Although the love affair with vintage in the fashion world has been strong for many years now, it's always thrilling to see high end fashion houses embracing the vintage aesthetic.

(Me modelling bowerbird's 50's style dresses)

Monday, December 10, 2007


On Saturday I went to the Young Blood Designer Markets at the Powerhouse museum. The calibre of talent is always amazing (this was my third markets) but the absolute stand out for me this time round was Akina by Sydney based artist Lang Leav, whose illistration based label produces fashion, art, jewellery and books.

I highly recommend a peak at her online store!

Summer in the City

I love Sydney always and forever, but my absolute favourite time of year is December and January. I know, I know, it's hot and humid and sometimes stormy. But I'm much more tolerant of heat than I am of cold weather.

The reason I love December and Jan in Sydney is not so much for the weather but for the entertainment! January, in particular because of the Sydney festival which runs the whole month and provides the most amazing quality bands, theatre and art projects and street spectaculars...I start planning my January festival as soon as the program arrives in November. This Jan's line up for me includes Joanna Newson, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, La Clique and as much free stuff as I can fit in - Jazz in the Domain, Movies in the Overflow, Sydney Harbour Ferryathon and the Eat, Drink Talk Art series at various Sydney historical buildings like The Mint.

December's appeals is due to Christmas festivities in part. The city always looks so charming with Christmas decorations and everyone seems to be more tolerant and jovial than usual. We all seem happy to venture out more in December I think. My beau and I definitely spend more time seeing bands, going to the theatre, attending parties and having dinner/drinks with friends than any other month in the year I think.

This weekend alone, I spent Friday night in Bondi having dinner/(too many) drinks with girl friends, Saturday we were out and about at the Young Blood Design Markets, Saturday night was a Bollywood party for a friends 30th and Sunday night we caught He's Not the Messiah with Eric Idle (one of the original Monthy Python Gang) at the Opera House performing the Life of Brian to Opera Music (utterly entertaining and completely silly - possibly the best show I've seen all year!)

Come Monday I'm exhausted and about 2 kilos heavier!
But hey, It's summer and it's Christmas!
Check out the Sydney Festival Guide at

Friday, December 7, 2007

She's still the one

In the SMH online today...this from Posh:

"It became very obvious from the start that I was never going to be the best singer or the best dancer or the best actress," she says. "You know, I've never been that good at anything, to be completely honest"
and then this:
"I'm so camp! I'm such a gay man trying to get out," she says. "I don't give a (bleep) what anybody thinks."
...and that is why I love you Posh!

too busy to buy a mag?

log onto Red Zero for summer inspiration. Aussie internet magazine issue six is now online...I love this mag

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Handmade Bolero's on Ebay

I've just uploaded a few of our beautiul handmade boleros (all in vintage fabrics - and a few are re-versable) onto the Bowerbird Ebay Store . Seeing as the web site is still not yet up and running I thought I should pop a few key pieces onto the ebay site - just in case you are looking for the perfect thing to wear over your summer dress this Chrissy.

But Enough About Me

I love to read and always have atleast one book on the go at all times.

I rarely read books twice though as there are just so many new ones I always want to buy. The only time I re-read something is (a) it's years later and I've totally forgotten what the story was - but recall vaguely that I enjoyed it (b) Am extremely bored/wide awake late at night and have forgotten to purchase new reading material from Myers frequent 30% off sale (c) The first time I read it I stayed up all night to finish it because it was totally mesmerising. Then had to call into work sick the next day because I was so tired I felt physically ill.

Jancee Dunn's book ...But Enough About Me is currently being re-read due to point (b) above but I can see how point (c) could also be relevant here. The first time I read it though was a year ago, and as I owned the shop and was self-appointed Director of Retail Sales (catchy title...I was also the CEO, HR Manager, Finance Director, Head of House Keeping and general maintenance person), calling in sick definitely wasn't an option!

Without ruining the story - Jancee's autobiographical book is a brilliantly enticing mixture of funny, self depreciating stories of her family life growing up in the seriously daggy 80's and landing a dream job at Rolling Stone magazine in New York, as well as a "how to" manual for interviewing famous rock stars and actors.

There are a heap of true stories about various celebrities she has interviewed over the years that offers voyeurs like myself thrilling pieces of useless info on everyone from Madonna to Dolly Parton and Barry White. She's quite hilarious and I highly recommend reading this book. Just make sure you cancel all your appointments for the next 3 days!

If your not sure...check out her blog here . A number of the characters from the book make an appearance too.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Prada Spring 2008

In terms of high end fashion, Prada has to be one of my favourite brands. Muiccia Prada is a genius when it comes to creativity and mixing genres and decades.

I've been looking through the latest spring shows on and it looks like Prada has gone all late sixties/70's for her Ready to Wear show for Spring 2008 which is a shift from her more severe looks of recent shows...I like it though.

But the real winner for me is her nod to 1950's feminine tailoring in her Resort Wear for 2008.

Take a look at some of the fantastic dresses - the beautiful floral's and patterns and explosion of colours. The full skirts with bows and pleats makes me go weak at the knees. I even love the pant suits and don't get be started on her shoes - to die for. I'd like to buy every single piece.

In fact, I'm cooking up a cunning plan...By selling one of my body parts - say, a kidney (having two is just greedy anyway) - on the black market, I'm sure I could afford at least one dress - perhaps the one above?

or this one on the right?

or the bottom one ?

I'm really not fussy

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

more fashion ethics

I've been playing around with some ethical fashion ad slogans for the store...
Ohhhh, You should also check out the queen of green herself,
ethical fashionista, reviver of the 80's slogan tee shirt and darling of the UK fashion scene, KATHERINE HAMNETT
You can buy her funky organic tee's on line at

fashion ethics

Apparently, the average Aussie household produces almost a tonne of rubbish a year! And if we knew the amount of toxic chemicals that go into producing so many of those products we'd be physically sick I think.

How many of you know that clothing fabrics such as nylon and polyester are made with petroleum-based plastic that is initially melted into a thick, syrupy resin before being spun into fibres?

Every year the world spends over a trillion dollars on clothing! And the majority of it is produced in third world countries that have inefficient processes in their transport facilities and waste management control. Huge amounts of toxic waste pollute and deplete their local water supplies and airways annually.

Also, very little of the trillion plus dollars being spent annually on clothing is currently being transferred to those who need it most. Absurdly low wages, unfair and unsafe conditions for garment workers continue to be a huge problem in countries like China and India.

In fact, the more pressure we as consumers put on the industry to produce more of everything at cheaper prices, the worse the situation becomes for the factory workers. They must work even longer hours, children miss school to keep up with the demands of the factories and rather than an increase in wages that is directly proportional to the longer hours and tighter time frames, workers in places like Bangladesh are getting paid less than they were a decade ago!
Take heart though, there is an upturn in the number of clothing manufacturers and fashion houses joining the trend towards environmental and social sustainability and the on-going trends toward vintage garments, recycled and Eco friendly fabrics continues to thrive.

check out some of these websites and online boutiques for more ethical fashion:
Green Is Black Online Fashion Boutique
Rachel Cassar - Aussie fashion designer using recycled fabrics
Ethical Fashion Forum - for designers/students wishing to be part of the global ethical community
The Conscientious Shopper - blog about ethical alternatives to fashion and shopping

It's nice to know that Bowerbird Vintage can also add some value

Monday, December 3, 2007

vision boards for inspiration

Ever since I can remember, I have collected and saved "stuff" - things that inspire, things that make me laugh, pieces of fabric that catch my eye, photos of friends that capture a moment...

Any number of things can come home in my pocket from an outing, I also save ticket stubbs, theatre programs, boarding passes or just about anything that has some kind of significance or meaning for me. Before I toss out a magazine I always goes through it and cut out pieces of info and images of interest. In short, I am a bowerbird (well duh!).

What happens to all this "stuff"? Well I carry an A4 diary around that by the end of the year resembles a oversized scrap book and the rest of it - the things that I might want to check out everyday so I rememeber to remember them - they go on the cork boards in my office, directly in front of my laptop.

I usually find this is a fantastic way to both remember and inpsire. The only problem of course is when I run out of room and can't decide what needs to come down! These days my collecting has got a bit out of control and I put way more stuff up than I take down.

The solution...more cork boards I think!

Young Blood

The Young Blood Designer Markets are on again this coming weekend at the Powerhouse Museum. The last one, back in August, was well worth the visit. The calibre of talent is exceptional and there are all forms of design on display from clothing to home wares and art. and the best part???
It's all for sale - so you can pick up a few Chrissy presents while your there!
My last market purchase? this beautiful silk and feather brooch.

Friday, November 30, 2007

just one wish....

Oh, to look like Grace...if only for a day!
It's time to watch Rear Window and To Catch a Thief again I think.
I've been perusing the Sartorialist this morning and he reminded me
of the joy of watching old movies with his references
to Cary Grant and Irene Dunn in
The Awfull Truth.
Grace and Cary in To Catch a Thief for me though is the
perfect movie star combination

more frocks from the Rescued by Bowerbird label

I have been busy over the last few days deconstructing and redesigning two very beautiful white lace wedding gowns from the 1960's. They are in the process of being transformed from floor length, long sleeved extravagant frocks with trains to short sleeved, above the knee shift dresses - perfect for a balmy summer party or a night out on the town. The lace and beading still in tact - they are really beautiful.

The other two I have just completed include (on the left) a beautiful silk teal blue Ricki Renee of Sydney party frock (circa. mid 1980's). I removed the rather unattractive long puffed sleeves so common around that time, took the (ahem!) shoulder pads out and also raised the hem a few inches to just on the knee - finishing it with the original banded hem to give it back it's bell shaped look which has made a comeback in a big way the last couple of seasons.
And this little number on the right has the most exquisite fabric. An original (circa 1960's - I think, although it's hand made so a little tricky to pin point) ball gown. The tartan teal, orange and green is just beautiful - so eye catching. However the sleeves needed re-adjusting as they were just too huge and it was totally impractical being floor length.
Now I think it's really edgy - I'd wear it out to a posh bar for a night out with the girls!

Both will be available on the bowerbirdvintage web site soon