Monday, 31 October 2011

A memento mori lookbook for your Halloween

As much as I love ruffles and sparkles and prettiness, over the last year or so I've been delving more into the dark, pared-down gothic aesthetic. New Zealand fashion is somewhat known for its black/gothic tendencies, and as you can see from outfits like this, I've been playing with that a little more. And it's Halloween right now, so why not put together a memento mori/gothic inspired lookbook, full of things I own, things I'd love to own and things I think are just plain amazing?

Yes, I own this dress. In both colourways. It is amaze and I will hear nothing said against it. (Lantana dress by Ricochet). The dress above is also by Ricochet and is the Scenario shirt dress. I would further like to point to practically the entirety of Ricochet's autumn/winter 2011 collection. I can't help it. I have a Ricochet obsession at the moment.

Another designer I've been following recently is Salasai ( The two dresses on the left and middle are from their autumn/winter 2011 collection, Sacrificial Grace. The left is the Sacrifice dress, which I own and adore, and the middle one is the Saint dress. The outfit on the right is from the most recent spring/summer 2011/12 collection, A Strange Love Project, and is the Society Skirt and Amour T-shirt. A 'gothic' look, to me, doesn't have to involve blacks all the time - it's more about an overall aesthetic, and Salasai seem to pick up on that fairly well. With the right statement jewellery and shoes, you could easily take that right-hand look to a very gothic place without a scrap of black necessary.

Somewhat backing up my theory about gothic whites is this beautifully-draped piece from Zambesi's spring/summer collection. I want to put a long, creepy pendant on it, maybe a really huge raw crystal ring, and some super-high platform heels.

Possibly, perhaps, some heels like this? The nude pair, perhaps? All three of these are from Ultra Shoes - the first and second pair, of course, I've blogged about before - they're the '70s Living' by Skins. The pair on the right are 'Lucille' by Chaos and Harmony - colour doesn't usually tend to feature in a minimal/gothic aesthetic, but I figure a wee flash of this patent powder-pink with the solid black of the heel works just super.

Oh gosh, jewellery time! This amazing silver ring from BloodMilk over at Etsy adds a true touch of memento mori - it's based on an emblem often used in Victorian funerals for children. Also at BloodMilk is the mini planchette ring, riffing off the idea of ouija and automatic writing.

Claw motifs abound at the moment, and both these examples are lovely. From the Deadly Ponies collection comes this sterling silver/bronze sparrow foot pendant, while again from BloodMilk is this rose gold and amethyst crow claw.

These two rings really push the creepy factor, and honestly they kind of invoke my 'ick' response, but at the same time they're fascinatingly cool. Yes, they're both made with human teeth. Golly. The left is set in sterling filigree by Loved to Death (again, Etsy) and the right is an oxidised sterling silver knuckle-duster from Little Sister Designs, who's on Etsy but from my hometown. Go Wellington!

You just can't have memento mori without a few skulls. I mean, seriously. I am still sulking because I missed out on (read: got into a bidding war and was outbid on) a solid silver crow skull pendant the length of a Bic pen. But it's best to avoid the awful faux-gothic skull jewellery out there, and I think these three really balance a gothic aesthetic with a fashionable 'cool'. The first skull illusion pendant (PEARLS IN VINEGAR I AM LOOKING AT YOU) is again by Charlotte Burkhart at Little Sister Designs and is based on an antique photograph, while both the silver quail skull and carved bone rose-hair skull pendants are from Deadly Ponies. The crow skull hairtie would be an interesting little addition to an otherwise-plain outfit just for a hint of creepiness.

And where would any girl be without her Bag of Holding? These are both from Deadly Ponies - the left is the Mr Bone Mailman, and the right is Mr Stomper. I must confess, I am a wee bit of a Deadly Ponies fangirl when it comes to handbags. I use the Mr Sleepover in solid black as my daily handbag, and it really IS a Bag of Holding - it easily fits a wallet, book, cardigan, scarf, snacks or lunch, magical history books, portraits of former Hogwarts headmasters... oh wait, no, I'm not Hermione. As much as I would love to be. It really does hold a remarkable amount while still being a manageable (if large) daily bag (though I am eyeing up the grey Mr Mini Stomper on sale at Madame Fancy Pants as a smaller alternative). 

Having blogged until far too late a time, I think it's time for me to trot off to bed, dreaming of crow skulls, draped black, white and cream, pops of colour in raw crystal and tarnished metal, and gorgeous leather bags and shoes. I leave you, my darlings, with this:

From Elle Italia November 2008. Go and look at the entire thing. I mean, SERIOUSLY.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Ruffled leather miniskirt: more versatile than you might think

So a wee while ago now, I decided, on somewhat of a whim, to buy a ruffled leather miniskirt from Ricochet. Well. It wasn't really a whim. I'd been contemplating it for a bit, going so far as to ask friends over drinks, "FRIENDS. SHOULD I BUY A LEATHER RUFFLED MINISKIRT, or jeans." Unanimously the answer was MINISKIRT but then the further addendum was a $200 price difference between a good pair of jeans and this skirt. 

AND THEN. AND THEN. My excellent friend from Pearls in Vinegar called me one Saturday afternoon to let me know that said skirt had been reduced from $330 (eesh, a little much to splash out on) to $130, and that she'd taken the opportunity of putting one on hold in my size. Clearly the universe was on my side regarding leather ruffled miniskirts and their place in my wardrobe. (Said excellent friend later took the opportunity to buy her very own leather ruffled miniskirt. She and I have Significant Wardrobe Overlap, which makes for careful pre-event coordination to avoid the terrible awful no-good faux pas of wearing the same item.)

So then I had this miniskirt. And I found myself wondering, "How do I even wear this thing? Is it a party-only thing?"

(Credit to Hyperbole and a Half)

And then I did.

One (one leather miniskirt! Muahahaha!): work-appropriate tailored

This is, I think, the most work-appropriate of my coordinations, involving a cute little Japanese floral cotton jacket belted over the skirt. The jacket is cut with a lovely flared peplum so it sits nicely over the ruffles of the skirt, and with a belt cinching in the waist, it's an excellent emphasising-the-hourglass style. If I worked in a more conservative jacket, I would probably amend this by switching the flat boots for classic black low-heeled court shoes, pull my hair back, and possibly add a black blouse underneath to hide my tattoos, but as it is, it's a lovely crisp look which de-emphasises the sexiness of the skirt while still allowing the leather miniskirt awesomeness to shine through. 

Details (click picture for larger version): Japanese-floral dobby-cotton jacket, DeVol clothing via Frutti. Leather ruffled miniskirt, Ricochet. Opaque tights, supermarket. Black suede boots, Mi Piaci. Black patent belt, Cue. Gold cuff bracelet, vintage via Trademe.

Two (two leather miniskirts! Muahahaha!): party drapery

For a party or going out, keeping the skirt demure isn't a problem, so I coordinated this with a loose singlet and a draped chiffon over-top. Also, a temporary-tattoo fingerstache, because I'm super cool like that. The singlet is actually super-long at the back, so I tucked it up into the waistband of my tights to stop it from showing under the hem (fashion is so hi-tech) and pulled it out from the waistband of the skirt so it fit loosely with a bit of a flash of black bra. I'm a classy, classy lady :P

Details (click picture for larger version): White singlet with black print, Glassons. Leather ruffled miniskirt, Ricochet. Opaque tights, supermarket. Black chiffon over-top, Glassons. Black ankle boots with wood heels, Number One Shoe Warehouse. Amethyst and acorn pendant, Madame Fancy Pants and Trademe. Fingerstache, temporary tattoo, gifted via Ikoiko.

Three (three leather miniskirts! Muahaha... okay I'm bored with this): girly prettiness

This was another work outfit, and I really like the contrast between this delicate, floaty silk/cotton blouse and the leather skirt. Again, in a more conservative workplace I'd probably add a tailored blazer over the top, and possibly switch out the boots for pumps. Also possibly black nail polish might not be appropriate. Sigh. This blouse is adorable, though - it's from Karen Walker, who normally I'm not a big fan of (she overcharges for things made-in-China and not particularly well-made or designed at that, and trades on her big name to do it) but this blouse I love. It's covered in ruffles and a cute little print of wee girls and boys, and I'm always and forever a sucker for a pussy-bow tie.

Details (click picture for larger view): Silk/cotton blouse, Karen Walker. Leather ruffled miniskirt, Ricochet. Black opaque tights, supermarket. Black/brown wedge ankle boots, Mi Piaci.

Four: casual floral comfy

Never let it be said that a leather miniskirt cannot be worn in a casual, comfortable errand-running outfit on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Pearls in Vinegar knows it, and I am totally down with this trend. In fact, because this skirt fits incredibly well over my waist and hips, throwing it on with a pair of tights or leggings, flat boots and a cute t-shirt is actually more comfortable than jeans. It doesn't ride down, it doesn't give me muffin-top, it doesn't have a seam up the inner-leg, and it doesn't wick rain up from the cuffs all the way to the knee (pro-tip: never wear jeans in the rain unless you're tucking them inside boots). You might recognise the print on this t-shirt - I also own a dress version in grey, because when I like a thing, I buy all of it.

Details (click picture for larger version): Black floral t-shirt, Kate Sylvester via Trademe. Leather ruffled miniskirt, Ricochet. Grey marle tights, Glassons. Black suede boots, Mi Piaci. Grey merino draped cardigan, Glassons.

Five: casual Friday cuteness

Why yes, I am coordinating a leather skirt with an adorable Peter-pan collar and pearls. It's how I roll. I probably wouldn't wear this as a normal work coordinate (it's not quite tailored and crisp enough) but for casual Friday it does just perfectly. No jeans-and-a-t-shirt in my casual Friday ensembles, thank you very much.

Details (click picture for larger version): Cream peter-pan collared top, Peter Alexander. Leather ruffled miniskirt, Ricochet. Black opaque tights, supermarket. Black suede boots, Mi Piaci. Gold cuff bracelet, vintage via Trademe. Cream glass pearls, vintage via Trademe.

So what, dear readers, have I learned from my foray into leather miniskirting glory? Apart from the fact that they are awesome, it really is that this skirt is really rather versatile for such a seemingly-niche item. With the addition of judicious tailored items, such as a crisp blazer or jacket, or a demure and pretty ruffled blouse, it becomes work-appropriate, while dressing down with a draped cardigan and t-shirt is remarkably easy. Also, opaque tights or leggings are an absolute must. Ricochet, I am impress.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Daily outfit: grunge fairy with a pop of red

I am fairly insistent on nicknaming this dress "my grunge fairy princess dress". I mean, seriously, it is grey-green-brown ("overcast", according to the tag) chiffon with interestingly assymetrical ruffles and All The Raw Edges. I adore it. Confession: I may have gone back into the shop to layby it again in the black-and-white-acid-wash print version. While wearing this. I couldn't not! This was for a casual Friday, though I'm intrigued about adding a structured jacket over the top to make it a little more business-appropriate. First step: acquire a jacket. I should get on that. Ricochet did have a soft moleskin cropped jacket with an open draped front, but I am somewhat determined not to let them take over my entire wardrobe. Somewhat.

Details (click picture for larger version): Grey chiffon ruffled dress, Ricochet. Black leather belt, Agnes B via Trademe. Black tights, supermarket. Black suede boots, Mi Piaci. Grey layered chain necklace with red beads, Bling, borrowed from my flatmate. Red lipstick, MAC Russian Red.