Saturday, May 31, 2008

Handmade Children's Clothing & Toy's

I'm a big fan of crafty people and although I'm not a mother, I do love kiddies stuff, particularly if vintage inspired or made of vintage fabrics. I'm also a fan of knitted gear and recently, while wandering around one of my favourite art & design online mag's, Indie I came across these little beauties: How cute are they?
Whoever would have thought knitted vegetables could look so tasty?

They come from a children's cooking school called LITTLE KITCHEN, run by a Mebournian by the name of Sabrina, who teaches little kids to cook using organic produce -what a fantastic idea - makes me want to have kids (not really!).

Not only does she teach cooking classes to youngsters she has also designed the cutest range of cooking utensils and toys as well...
Indie states; Sabrina Parrini has developed visually appealing and fully functional kitchenware pieces all made for little hands. She plans to revolutionise the way people look at improving children's health and well being. She regularly features in cooking demonstrations at major food festivals and holds children's cooking classes in the heart of Melbourne.

Brilliant - now we just need her to open one up in Sydney! you can buy her delightful wares on her website or by calling 1300 722 095

Monday, May 26, 2008

Exquisite Vintage Clothing Exhibition in...Cowra!

I have just been reading the Fairfax newspaper on line and I stumbled across this piece of GOLD...
"Two centuries of the latest fashion - Exhibition to give a rare glimpse of a world renown clothing collection".

It seems the local art gallery in lovely little Cowra in NSW's Central West region, is about to play host to one of the worlds most renowned collection of exquisite vintage clothing and accessories. The Darnell collection is made up of around 4000 pieces of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories, spanning from the 18th century to the 20th century, including couture from Dior and Versace!

This is actually quite remarkable (for me) for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was only recently looking at part of this very collection on line at Circa Vintage's Blog (Nicole is my go-to girl for any kind of historical information required on vintage clothing - her blog is choc full of fabulous pictures and information). She had managed to photograph many of the pieces and while scrolling through them I couldn't help thinking how much I'd love to have been in her (vintage) shoes!

The second reason is because hubby and I are in fact heading to Cowra for a birthday party in a week or so and plan on spending a couple of days fossicking around. Cowra is not somewhere we frequent often - although I have done a few collecting pilgrimages through the Blue Mountains and out Orange, Bathurst and Cowra way in the past - but not for a long while now!

So, perfect timing!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I heart vintage dress patterns

For me, learning to sew came from a desire to re-create the past. I really wanted to be able to make the gorgeous dresses of the 1950's that I collect and love to wear. Over the years I have collected a great deal of vintage dress patterns from the 1940's right through to the 1980's but the ones I alway go back to are the 50's style sun dresses. I have been wearing this style of frock for years. To me, the silhouette of a fitted bodice and a gathered skirt is the epitome of sophicated girliness. It's also my fall back option when I'm having a "fat" day as it hides flaws monumentus only to me - ie: bottom half not quite directly proportional to top half.

Fortunately I have just stumbled upon the Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s over at dear old Amazon for the bargain price of $29.95 now I can add to my vintage pattern obsession with an encyclopedic knowlegde of the evolution of 1950's pattern making

Speaking of 1950's style frocks...
Our latest edition to the Rescued by Bowerbird range is a combo of a 1950's dress pattern deconstructed from a (rather ghastly) 1980's disco frock. See I told you the 50's rule!
"Before" shot ...1980's

Rescued by Bowerbird Dress, the final product

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I can't wait for the Sex and the City movie to hit our cinema's next month.

Like the majority of 30 somethings, I am a SEX addict. I still watch re-runs and I still find the fashion relevant - even from the first series, which were rather muted compared to outrageous vintage/designer fashion combo's that were Carries trademark in the final series.

That qurirky Patricia Field is a genius - pure and simple.

According to a recent episode of Oprah Winfrey - dedicated entirely to the movie - Field claims there are over 300 costume changes in the movie. Over 80 for Carrie alone! That, friends, equals fashion utopia! In cinema's in Sydney June 5.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fresh ideas for Bowerbird

I think I have already mentioned that after a few months of trading Bowerbird Vintage (dotcom) is now in the process of undergoing a little face lift. We are working on a new interface to make the store easier to navigate with less scrolling and more drop down menu's and a fab new SALE page.
Although I love the look of the site as it is (after all, it is my baby!), after a while it became blindingly obvious that there are a few functional things that could be done a whole lot better. It's funny how your perspective shifts as you familiarise yourself with a project.

Even though my wonderful friend Kath, whose company built the site, suggested that changes would be needed after a few months I remember thinking "nah - It's perfect". It's not until you really get to know the site and understand where your customers are going and what they are buying that you can see there is indeed room for improvement in terms of functionality, navigation and style.

It's just like owning a retail shop actually. I used to love doing my weekly window displays at Bowerbird in Glebe. Each weekend I'd spend hours transforming my shop window. I loved working on new displays and stories that showcased my new stock. Not only did my regular customer enjoy seeing the new display but it also brought plenty of new people, intrigued by the razzle dazzle displays, into the store to.

One of the frequently changed window displays at Bowerbird - This one was channeling Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's

So, the website, I'm beginning to discover, is similar in many ways to owning a shop. You constantly have to keep it looking fresh, your stock needs to be easy to access, your prices need to be competitive and your store needs to be immaculate, funky and and fun to visit!

Stay tuned for the fresh face of Bowerbird Vintage!

This will be the new look home page with drop down menu's and easy peasy navigation - no more scrolling!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hats off to winter!

I have always loved hats and headpieces but generally have been too afraid to wear them. I usually buy a couple each season but the process goes something like this...

I like the idea because Vogue/In Style/Russh do a number of features on the seasons latest plus Dita/Cameron/Kate/Nicole are all sporting them and looking fabulous. I then see one I like. I buy it. I get it home. I try it on with several outfits. I think it looks ridiculous.I hang it on the hat stand where it stays for the rest of the year.

Nevertheless, I did satiate my desire to don spectacular head wear at my recent nuptials by wearing a handmade vintage style head piece that matched my dress. Actually, I almost didn't wear it. After having my hair done and makeup applied I nervously attached the headpiece expecting it to look completely stupid but was then utterly gob smacked by how well it complemented my dress (and kept my unruly fringe out of my eyes).

So now that I have conquered head pieces, I'm going to give hats a whirl this winter. Of course, I do actually sell vintage hats in the shop - and over the last couple of years have sold a few spectacular ones at that! The thing is, hats always seem to look better on someone else's head...

Perhaps the trick is not to look in the mirror for too long - maybe I'll just pop it on my head as I'm walking out the door.

My beautiful handmade wedding head piece made me feel a million bucks!

...hopefully, I will feel the same about this one when I wear it outside!

Monday, May 12, 2008

vintage sari's

Speaking of the lovely Helena Christensen, it seems she has teamed up with Tocca to re-produce some their famous sari's that she donned in her catwalk hey day of the early 1990's. Accordingly to Fashionweekdaily, Christensen was so taken with the sari's that she worn them everywhere, prompting a new fashion trend amongst her supermodel friends.
Now she plans to sell them in her own fashion boutique BUTIK under the Tocca "vintage" label. they are very cute and I love the gorgeous sherberty colour - but when did the 1990's become vintage exactly?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Style File

Almost every time I read an interview with a celebrity where they are asked who their style icon's are, Kate Moss inevitably pop's up on that list - usually at the top. Now, at the risk of being denounced by fashionista's everywhere I'm gonna voice a long held opinion about that...I don't rate her. Not one bit.

Let's clarify though - she takes a beautiful photo. I give her 10 out of 10 for her career. She is definitely a super model in every sense of the word. But her fashion choices outside of magazine shoots leave me cold. Possibly this is because I prefer a more feminine aesthetic rather than the rock chick thing that she's got going on. Having said that, I think Agyness Dean - that most androgynous of models - does inspirational things with rock n'roll attire (of course, she more retro rock which appeals to me a great deal) .

Kate's love affair with grey skinny jeans is also a little tiring. She must have 3000 pairs of those things. And her penchant for furry jackets and scuffed knee high boots just bores me to tears.
Admittedly, she did look stunning at the recent Costume Institute Ball in her Stella McCartney dress. In fact, when Kate take the time to put a dress on she always looks a million bucks but then 5 minutes later I see her slopping around Glastonbury in PVC pants and accessorising with a cigarette.
Give me Helena Christensen, Kate Bosworth, SJP, Agyness, Sophia Coppola or the wonderfully quirky Dita Von Teese any day of the week.
What, no skinny jeans Kate?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fashionably Overwhelmed

This morning, sitting at my desk, wondering where to start,
I'm resisting the urge to get on the first plane back to
Kyoto to sit quietly amongst the Cherry Blossoms

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Winter Stock

Bowerbirdvintage is undergoing a few changes at present. We have been open since late Jan and things are going really well I'm happy to report! Thank you dear customers!

Having recently become the supremely switched on web guru (ha) that maintaining a online store requires I have learnt a few things about traffic and how navigation and functionality affects the number of people buying from your shop. There is a bevy of fantastic reports that tell you all kinds of important info from how many people visit your site each day to how long they stay and what pages they clicked through to (obviously they are anonymous). When just starting out (and beyond I'm sure) this kind of info is sooo helpful.

By analysing the stats for bowerbird vintage I've been able to see where potential customers might be getting off and where they might be having trouble navigating etc...and from there I have been able to do a bit of work on the functionality to make it easier for people to get around (As well as adding in a SALE page and some PROMO buttons...among other things!)

Anyhow the point of this is just to let you know I haven't been neglecting the blog - I've been busy all weekend doing some home improvements! They probably won't be ready until next week though. I'm also in the process of adding a heap of new stock (Click Whats New page for update) like the gorgeous 60's knitted suit above - I almost want to keep it it's so beautiful - and in perfect condition!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fashion Week Faves

Alex Perry
Lisa Ho
Michelle Jank
Nicola Finetti
Looking at the shows so far there are a number of stand out dresses from a few designers. There also seems to be quite a bit of beige and pale grey on the catwalk. I guess that's par for the course though - these colours are peppered through collections in every show, every season I think - perhaps so designers don't look like they have gone too crazy? Does grey and tan sell better I wonder?

Some of the evening dresses are very colourful though which is wonderful. I'm glad our obsession with glamour and feminine dressing is continuing into next season. The Maxi dress is also staying put, as are high waisted pants and tailored jackets. Nautical is still popular and so are sheer fabrics and frilly dresses worn over tights or pants.

My picks so far are Alex Perry (who is a genius) for his to-die-for evening frocks.

Michelle Jank's Indian inspired collection looks impressive - as does the bespoke jewellery accompanying it.

Lisa Ho's evening wear is bright and beautiful and Nicola Finetti is doing his usual amazing frocks. Finally, I'm not usually a big fan of Wayne Coopers (too modern for my tastes) but he has a couple of gorgeous, very full (draped?) frocks that look very dramatic.

All photos are courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald's on line photo gallery. Check out the shows at SMH on line