Monday, 12 May 2014

Emilo Pucci and Liberty - Something Special

Many Australians live abroad and it's not always easy to be so far from home. We miss the highs and lows of everyday life and if you did your travelling in the early Naughties, you lacked the internet resources to communicate easily.
In many ways this distance makes other, special bonds to form. When I was away from home my mother experienced some personal tragedy of her own and I  could not be there to comfort her. So, in an attempt to make up that distance I went to Liberty of London and bought her an Emilio Pucci handkerchief and sent it to her with the simple note "If you have to cry, at least do it into something beautiful."
It was a much appreciated gesture. When I had a sever case of heartache it was my mums turn, she had a package of Liberty handkerchiefs sent to me. Not just one but a whole stack in an array of patterns and colours, again with a note 'Use as many as you need and then wash the sadness away.'

For this reason, Liberty hold a special place in my heart, it reminds me of my mum and holds great nostalgia for a time in my life when I was young, brave, adventurous and learning a lot. I long to return there, with a purse that will extend further than a handkerchief for my mum and a desire to offer her a gift that reflects just  a tiny bit of her value to me.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Got my Nails did at Miss Fox

 Being pampered at Miss Fox in Melbourne is a true girlie treat. From the moment you enter their Little Collin St doors you are in an urban oasis.  The ladies have gone to great effort to offer a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city below. It modern art deco at its finest and shows that old fashioned service and custom care has not entirely left this world.

 They offer everything you could imagine service wise. From waxing and massage to nails and hair. They are spread over three levels and once you are arrive you don't want to leave. I had a nail treatment and got all that I was after and more. Of course they were on time and professional but, more than that, they were relaxed and friendly. For such a vast space the various areas still feel cosy and relaxed.

 If you want to take your visit to the next level you can indulge further in a piccolo or bottle of champagne while you unwind and get beautified.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Be Positive

Tonight Channel 7 in Australia will show the world Charlotte Dawson's last interview. An interview she tapped only days before taking her own life. Charlotte was a presenter on Australian and New Zealand television for many years, she was a celebrity and she was a victim of bullying.
Tonight's program will call for a week long cease to cyber bullying and a for people to take action against those who let their deadly, poisonous, hateful attitudes out into the world via their keyboards.
This is an important message for young and old. Anyone who engages with social media should be aware of it and everyone must understand that the impact of it is very real and sometimes fatal.
Chic Exchange is all about positive media. We make a conscious decision never to post critical pieces that is designed to limit people or diminish what others do. We do not believe in spreading hate or criticism because there is already too much of that of in the world and for most of us, enough of it in our own heads. Never has the adage been more true...If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Monday, 5 May 2014

French Women...Aren't any different to the rest of Us.

So much has been written about French women in the past few years. From the series of books, French Women don't... , to various profiles on Axelle Laffont and Betty Catroux. What is so special about French women? One must ask. The answer is: nothing,
Stylish, beautiful, carefree confidant women can be found anywhere and women reduce themselves and their own capacity by reducing these attributes to some sort of national quality. Any woman can be stylish, any woman can have great confidence and every woman IS beautiful.
This reductive approach to the many positive attributes of a woman prevents women from achieving these qualities themselves. One may simply think 'Oh, I will never be confident, I am not French.' As is confidence is in the water supply for French women to consume.
Any woman, anywhere in the world has the capacity to be anything she wishes. there is no birthplace for motivation and striving to achieve.
What does exist is an environment where women have less negative talk about what they look like, how they feel and what they can do. When women gather in groups and bemoan all their negative attributes they reinforce them. Women need to talk more about what they can do, what they do have and what they are. Not the roadblocks to these achievements.

Badda Bing Badda Blog

The Chic Exchange blog has been very neglected over the past month, with real life taking over and there not being even the moment it takes to post a pic. There are no excuses. nor is their any next website design by way of reason to give. It just didn't happen.
Don't we all have day's like that? Where it just doesn't happen.
I was meant to wash my hair - it didn't happen.
I was meant to go to the gym - it didn't happen.
I was meant to call my mum/best friend - it didn't happen.

What does happen when things aren't happening? Communication stops, we stop talking, we stop texting, we stop emailing and we sure as hell stop blogging.

When all this silence is going on and so much in NOT happening what are we doing? If you are anything like me you are learning about yourself. So, here's what I have learnt this last month:

1. When you argue about money with your partner you look like a greedy arsehole.
2. When you argue about money with your partner nobody wins.
3. You can say 'No'  to anything that feels like too much.
4. You are in control of your own life, you just have to take it.

What have you learnt about yourself that other may benfit from?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Booklist

April's booklist is all about books from other places. Books in translation can often be wonderful or they can magestically disappoint. If a translation is not done well the syntax can be lost and even the most poetic novel rendered a bore. Thus, this month is all about commiting to exploring books that have been transformed.
The new books for the month are: 
How we are Hungry
The Inheritance of Loss
Le Grand Meaulnes
Therese Raquin

  1. Life at the Marmont by Raymond Sarlot
  2. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
  3. The Complete Short Stories of Truman Capote by Truman Capote
  4. In My Shoes by Tamara Mellon
  5. The Untouchable by John Branville
  6. The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
  7. I am Dandy by Rose Callahan
  8.  The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber by Mel Gordon
  9. The Freudian Slip by Marion Von Adlerstein
  10. The World According to Karl Lagerfeld by Karl Lagerfeld
  11. The Flying Mannequin by Freddy
  12. Memos The Vogue Years by Diana Vreeland 
  13. Risotto with Nettles by Anna del Conte
  14. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof
  15. The Society of Timid souls by Polly Morland
  16. C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon by Susanna Salk
  17. Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart  
  18. Junky by William Burroughs
  19. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolf
  20. Confessions of an English Opium Eater
  21. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  22. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol
  23. The Virgin and the Gipsy by D.H. Lawrence
  24. Secrets of a Fashion Therapist by Betty Halbreich
  25. Deviant Love by Sigmund Freud
  26. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
  27. Solar by Ian McEwan  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

How to be a model

Don't you just love a fashion fairy Godmother? We all have one, a friend, mum, crazy aunt, gay best friend or beloved shop assistant who can always transform something drab into something fab on us.
For Lena Durham its Hamish Bowles (some girls have all the luck). And in this case he shows her how to strike a pose for Vogue.
Move over Madonna...

Link to video here.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mademoiselle C

Carine Roitfeld is such a genius in the fashion industry. For many years she was editor of Paris Vogue during which time she wowed the often hard-to-please fashion world with her portfolio of work. She is know for her arresting images and content; her portrayal of women as strong, powerful and sexual have confronted the more conservative consumer and delighted the modern women of the world. Roitfeld has never shied from controversial content and is unwavering of her view. Currently, she edits her own magazine C.R. Fashionbook as well as holding the unique position of Global Editor of Harpers Bazaar (an unprecedented position).
There is little question why she is muse to the likes of Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld. She lives as she works and exudes magnetism. To see her in the recent documentary Mademoiselle C there is little reason why she is at the pinnacle of her profession. Roitfeld could easily have worked with the masterful Helmut Newton to create stunningly realised images.
To see her in Mademoiselle C is to witness her humour, sex appeal, warmth creativity and emotional willingness. She has none of the Wintour ice-queen about her; she mothers the model, humours the designers and luxuriates in time with her family.
It seems that nothing is off-limits for the camera's, Roitfeld is close to tears as she talks about her grandmother, mother and becoming a grandmother for the first time. The camera sits in on budget meetings and follows her when it seems things will surely fall apart.
If you are familiar with her book Irreverent then you know the Roitfeld style and not much has changed since then. She is still a woman who dresses from the knickers out and emphasises the importance of lingerie.
What does stand out in the documentary is how much admiration she garners from those around her, many of whom are prepared to commit it to camera. Anna della Russo is more than willing to offer her admiration to Roitfeld who accepts it kindly and humbly. If you want some insight into this woman, you must see the film.

Friday, 28 March 2014

French Films

Before there was Amelie is all her rose-coloured glory there was two wonderful french films by the same film makers. Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. Jean-Pierre Jeunet has an incredible eye for detail and delights in the worlds he constructs (while they may give some viewers nightmares). He can only be liken to Wes Anderson in terms of his utter commitment to creating a whole, filmic world; with a 360 degree scope of vision.

Delicatessen is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which there is short supply of meat and yet, the owner of an apartment building is able to invite his tenants for lavish dinners. So, just what is the meat they are eating? And why are people going missing?

The City of Lost Children has an equally dark outlook, with a disembodied brain requiring the nightmares of children to keep it alive. As children go missing a gentle giant (Ron Perlman) takes care of a group of street urchins who are at risk from the brain and his mad brother.
While these films sound ghoulish they have a surprising amount of charm and sentimentality to them; they show where Jeunet has been before he alighted on Amelie.
If you are interested, both films are showing at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne on 15th May

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Loving Jewellery

As the weather begins to cool and our wardrobes transition from the lights and brights of summer into the more subdued winter colours more and more we reach for jewellery to brighten our outfits.
If you are like me and treat summer as an opportunity to bedeck yourself in arm fulls of bangles, lots of rings and necklaces and even an anklet or two this is a great time of year for you.
As far as jewellery goes, the bigger the better, especially if you are tall and can pull off chunky jewels.
Summer tends to have a distinctly ethnic feel in jewellery with bold, bright colours and lavish embellishment including metals and fabrics. As the transition into winter occurs jewels take on a more serious tone. Now is the time for serious gems. Semi precious and precious stones all look wonderful in winter. Diamonds, turquoise and pearls adoring a simple black outfit are always so good together.
Just the other day I wore black jeans and black shirt with a long rope of (fake) pearls and immediately my outfit was pulled together and complete.
Have a look at some of the must haves below and throw on those jewels. There is no reason for a dark outfit not to provide a wonderful backdrop for gorgeous bright splashes of colour. Bright resin bangles will look great with silver jewellery and big chunks of semi-precious stones will add pops of colour to winters navy's and black's.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

VAMFF - Highlights

What a whirlwind VAMFF was this year. The offerings were diverse and stimulating. Suddenly, can't wait for winter!

All images are thanks to the very talented Lucas Dawson


Focus on Mario Testino

Mario Testino is big, brash and bold; and that's just his photography. This Peruvian photographer creates some of the boldest images seen on the pages of good magazines. He pumps up the colour so that it is in your face and saturates the lens with colour. His images are closely contrived and keenly observed by the artist and his audience. The people he selects for his images are often as telling as the images themselves.
His publications are grand and luxurious just as his work is intended to be and realised every single time.
As a photographer he confronts his subject boldly and they equally stare down the lens at the viewer who, in turn, cannot take their eyes off these compelling images.
His body of work is very impressive.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Focus on Tim Walker

The photographer, Tim Walker must surly be a man trapped in a child's body. His sense of proportion indicates his view of the world and the scale is stunning and slightly grotesque at times.
If you don't know his work he has produced many beautiful images for Vogue over the years, in all it various editions. He is also responsible for many campaigns for Mulberry and Georg Jensen. His work has that typical British irreverence and whimsy.
Take a look; his images speak for themselves.

Penguins need Jumpers

When penguins are affected by oil spills or unclean fishing practises their feather get covered in poisonous gunk. When they try to remove this dirt, they swallow it and poison themselves. For this reason penguins need woollen jumpers to wear, they act as a barrier to them and prevent them from poisoning themselves.
Wool was the earliest fabric used for human swimwear so, why not for penguins too.
If you can knit please, help these little cuties out by using the link below to make a jumper for a penguin. I challenge the more talented knitters to turn these penguins into stylish fashionistas.