Neate, This. AKA Hic Sunt A Painting.

I really can't draw to save my life, which may be the reason why arty, artsy things have been fascinating me of late. And when I do draw things (usually the same thing) and feel like I've got it right, my first instinct is to keep the evidence, or at least know where it's gone if I give it away- like on someone's good-luck card or some such thing. Which may be why I find the idea of Adam Neate's art so odd- the idea of an artist actually just leaving his finished paintings around the city for people to find and keep, is a distinctly strange, yet appealing one to me. Graffiti art is something I quite like, and also something he's done, but the randomness of never knowing where a bit of your work- pretty good, even great work too, if you ask me- went, would drive me nuts. And it takes courage to do it. Though I do think the idea of the Art of the State experiment in which one of his paintings was taken and photographed in assorted places in London (third pic, go look at the rest) was immensely cool.
There are just too many possible reactions to art (as also to the question: what is art? I've always believed clothing has the potential to be an art form), and given the sheer variety of the things we look for out of it, there's never going to be an easy way for me to write the artsy posts, or to assume that people will agree with me. In any case, that isn't what public spaces- walls, streets, and now the Internet to an extent- are for, anyway.


That Old Chestnut AKA Tagged, Been I Have

Seven interesting things about me? It's more than a slight stretch, and would be so much easier if I had to name interesting things that happened to people I know (which include, among other things: near-arrests, Fear and Loathing episodes in Hampi, and getting driven down a road at 40mph...while hanging on for dear life to the bonnet of the car), but here goes anyway.
1. My favourite smell in the world is wet dust- to the uninitiated, it's the one that comes after summer, when the ground has been all but baked dry, with about an inch of dust everywhere. And then it starts raining. I've never been able to put a name to the smell that comes off those first raindrops hitting the ground and sending the dust flying before soaking it (and this is rain that means business, not a wussy little drizzle), but I settled for wet dust, because it smells the same way when the plants at college get watered on a hot day. There's nothing quite like it.
2. I have a tattoo. I quite like having it, even if it looks like a child drew it with a marker pen. And in the twenty-four hours after I first got it, I had to wear a bandage over the spot, which led to a lot of people asking me what happened. Nosey idiots thought I'd slit my wrist, you see.
3. I also have a weakness for fallen leaves that look like they're dry enough to be crunchy, and have no qualms about going slightly out of my way to stamp on them. Even if I do look around first to make sure that no one I know is watching.
4. Ditto puddles of rainwater- the bigger, the better . Some of them just beg to be stamped in (of course, we do go and clean ourselves up afterwards), which spells doom for pretty shoes. The last time I did it with a couple of friends, we ended up splashing so much water around that when I got back to my room to change, I found bits of grass in my hair.
5. Fantasy movies are a bit of a weak spot for me- no matter how much I moan and groan about how I'm sure it'll never match up to the book, I always get suckered into watching the lot. Though I'm quite excited about the movie version of Northern Lights that'll be out this December- His Dark Materials is one of my favourite series of books ever, and they seem to have got the casting of Lyra absolutely perfect. Ok, enough with the movie plug..
6. I'd be more likely to choose my soap, shampoo and moisturiser on the basis of how they smell than because of whatever they promise to do. That logic has worked fairly well for me so far, I don't intend to abandon it now.
7. I know this isn't really about me, but- one of my ex-classmates from school swindled a bank out of a whole lot of money. This got into the papers when I was starting my last year of school (at a different school), and given that the girl in question had dropped out of my old school several years earlier, the news that she could speak eleven languages and had successfully impersonated a senior adoption society executive to get the money, while the police chased her across four states for the better part of a year, was nothing short of staggering. And we only got to know who it was because one of the local papers printed her name and the name of her former school- not something that's usually done, given that she was seventeen at the time of her arrest. The ultimate kicker is that she happens to have the same name as my best friend (who was in another school altogether, and never knew her at all) - who got slightly freaked out by the fact that a lot of people were calling her up asking if she'd been robbing banks.


Because This Is Just Too Good For Me To Name

It's been a while since I really gave a thought to my favourite fictional femme, but since real-life things have been rather uninspired of late (as C put it, the magic's gone), I could use a dose of her. Or of the film, to be more specific. It just happens to be one of my ultimate weapons in the fight against November-induced mean reds, and between Amélie, Nino, the travelling garden gnome and Montmartre itself, there're plenty of treats for me on any given day. Though, to be honest, I'm in a bit of a screw-it-all kind of mood right now, so Amélie's clumpy shoes- the spitting image of the ones I had to wear through my last two years of school- suit the strong desire to kick something right along with reminding me of her. And it is those shoes (along with her hair) that keep Amélie from looking like a twee little twit, which is great because it matches the way the screenplay portrays her as anything but. Plus, Audrey Tautou wears things with a panache that I've rarely seen on actresses onscreen- be it a turban, clumpy shoes, slipdresses, or even, in the photobooth, a Zorro mask (in fact, the only other actress I can think of who was as good at this is the other Audrey- and doesn't that scene with Amélie and Nino towards the end look somewhat Roman Holiday-esque? I want a Vespa, now).
I'm leaving a link to Yann Tiersen's theme for Amélie, which is one of the most amazing pieces of music ever composed, and I am not being hyperbolic about that. The rest of the score is wonderful, but this is the sparkler of the entire lot. I should shut up now, and let you watch the trailer- or better yet, the entire film (even if you've seen it before, once more can never hurt- and certainly not in this case).
Yann Tiersen- La Valse D'Amélie


That He Who Lives More Lives Than Once, More Deaths Than One Shall Die

Keeping Sisters In A Cage

Don't worry, I'm not getting morbid- just snitched the line off Oscar Wilde via Kimberlee Traub, whose site I stumbled on via a search for tattoo art and hats (I know it sounds like an odd combination!), and I know I make a crappy art reviewer so I'm just going to be straightforward and say her work is amazing. There is, as she states, a distinct 19th-century Victoriana Goth feel to a lot of it, but to me it's more a lovely mixup of things that feel like they belong in certain panels of the Sandman series (check out the one of Death and Dream) or in the illustrations of certain less-kiddy-than-usual children's books/unusually adventurous books for grownups, possible Victor Horta decorations in 2D form, and things that just plain look lovely even if they're more than just that. I've been having a bit of a curly-lines phase of late, so this is the perfect thing to feed my eyes with. And even if my favourite of the lot is Warrior (the picture on top), I think I have a bit of a soft corner for 'Rebecca Batt And Her Wonderful Hats'- what a wonderfully whimsical title, isn't it?
Images from www.kimberleetraub.com, used for illustrative purposes only.


Braid-y Bunch

(picture borrowed from Garance Dore)
My hair and I never really got on very well when I was in school. A natural tendency to frizz combined with annoyingly strict uniform rules that forced every girl with hair longer than collar-length to plait it, meant that my adolescence was basically a bad hair life, since plaits are really unflattering on me and all the hair ended up more outside the plait than in by the end of the day. And I hadn't gotten over thinking of plaits as the hairdo of goody-two-shoes teacher's pets all over the country (which is funny, since we all had to wear them, irrespective of academic status: I now favour rolling the lot into a bun and clipping it up off my neck )- until I saw the picture above, which should be an advert for some kind of Braid Board (if such a thing ever existed) campaign to convince teenage girls that plaits are cool. It's all the things I never saw a plait as - happy-makingly easy and monstrously insouciant being just two of those things.
Hair has been through all manner of trends on the Noughties runways, from dead straight to wavy to frizzy to Heidi-like (for me, that particular 'do will always bring to mind Princess Leia meeting the Ewoks for the first time in Return of the Jedi*) to ponytailed, but plaits are something I rarely see. I suppose I'll just have to try shaking off the conservative/schoolgirl associations now...though I do wonder if that's even possible, given that I hate the idea of even the risk of being perceived as Pollyanna, mk. II (detestable book. By the end of it, I really wanted someone to drown her).
*apologies to people who haven't seen/aren't fans of the original Star Wars trilogy.


Absolute Greatness

When it came to music, I've always been a bit of a find-one-band-and-wear-out-the-tape/CD listening to it kind of girl. And the mid-90s were a great time for bands that ended up being not only every bit worth the time it took for me to listen to them, but are also capable of blowing me away twelve years after I first heard them. I believe it's called aging well.
And perceived coolness (by other people) or lack thereof can go to blazes, I firmly believe Garbage should be up there with the great bands of that time- not least because Shirley Manson (for those who don't know- and there can't be too many of those, she's the redhead in the pictures above) is a kick-ass frontwoman. She's also a long-standing girl crush of mine from the moment she and her red hair showed up in the video for Stupid Girl, but she'd probably be one even if I had no idea what she looked like, because the woman just sounds that good (though it must be said, no one works the hair and fishnets like her). I mean, all these years and Garbage was never boring- that's got to say something for it and her (they even managed to make a Bond movie theme sound good...which was better than Madonna could do). And I'm all kinds of thrilled to learn that she'll be out with a solo album next year, which I fully intend to get hold of and listen to. Even if it does, sadly for me, mean the end of the band...


The Sky Is Falling!

Well, no, not quite, given that a cyclone chose not to hit my city, but I've been on a bit of a comic/graphic novel kick of late (chiefly the former), and this time it's a childhood favourite that doesn't seem to have been mentioned here before.
I speak, of course, of Asterix. I'm a little weary of most things in animated/illustrated form at the moment, what with the rash of overpriced Agatha Christie and Biggles comics that's been everybloodywhere for the last six months. And also a mild OD of manga/anime (more the former than the latter, truth be told). I mean, I still maintain that Spirited Away and Sailor Moon are among the most beautiful things ever to be put on film anywhere in the world, but I do like a slightly brighter background to my illustrated reading material than the average manga uses. I like colour- especially lots and lots of green, which is inevitable in the panels if your story happens to be set in a Roman-era village. I like the illustrations (half the reason I'll never be able to watch a live-action Asterix movie- they belong in 2D paper form for me). And I love, love, love the puns, which are no less amazing because they were translated from the French, sometimes (according to Wikipedia, which I shall treat as an authority since I don't know French) becoming punnier in the process. Goscinny and Underzo were genius, and I don't get why more people don't agree.
PS: The dashboard tells me this is my 100th post. It should probably be more, I don't know, fashiony and momentous, but this'll have to do.


Liquid Liner And Me are Un-Mixy Things

Cat eyes being the single most attempted DIY of the season is really no reason for me to try them, especially since my reference point for the look isn't Liz Taylor's Cleopatra as seems to be the case with the international fashion crowd, but 60s Hindi movie actresses (now, that was a decade whose movies were fun. Costumes ditto). Anything even vaguely reminiscent of that in contemporary India, particularly if you attempt it yourself, means one runs the risk of looking like a potential candidate for Sonagachhi (the red light district in Calcutta) instead of a cross between Siouxsie Sioux and Shirley Manson.
But given that the inside of the house seems to be safe enough, I pinched some black eyeliner and got to work. The (extremely ham-handed: the eyeliner brush is not my friend!) results are below.

That smudge above my eyelid isn't dirt...it's eyeliner. And no, the brush didn't deposit it there. I don't know if it's my eyes that are structured weirdly or if this happens to everyone, but I'd closed my eye to apply the stuff, and it turns out that opening it once I'm done means some of the stuff gets onto other places where they shouldn't be.
And if you think these looked a mess, the cleaning-up process was worse...bloody liner gets literally EVERYWHERE when you're wielding the brush, and attempting to wash it off gives the words "persistent" and "panda eyes" a new meaning.
PS: to anyone who wants to know who the lady in the pic I used for reference is, it's Mumtaz, who was an actress in the 60s. I haven't seen too many of her films, but I believe the picture was taken from one called Khilona.


Happy Birthday To You...Or Not

What would I be without the words "Get lost!"? To celebrate birthday #13, this month's i-D had a picture of Emily, patron saint of disgruntled girls everywhere, in a Maison Martin Margiela cape/dress with rather cool-looking (in cartoon form, not pictured above) pointy shoulders, but it's still the little black dress that she rules, she's my second-favourite LBD wearer of all time (top spot going to Holly Golightly, of course, though Emily's way with it is much easier- chokers do nothing for me). Though the jaunty little scarf is a nice touch.


Fashion blog (OK, that isn't exactly news).
Funny, smart, articulate (not exactly news either).
Written by a girl with fantastic personal style who isn't afraid to let us get a gander at her experiments (lots of bloggers have that, so it's great to look at, but what's my fuss?).
Now here comes the kicker....
*cue loud playing of the Star Wars theme* (what? One of my favourite films it is. Only sorry I am that rolling preludes I can have not. Now revert to normal speech I must).

If her blogger profile info is correct, The Fashion Rookies Jar is written by a girl living in India. It's a bit of a "Whooppee!" moment for me...

I'd given up hope of ever finding a half-decent Indian fashion site after the "little fatty women" discovery of last time's Google search, so finding Indi's blog via a trawl through the archives over at Lipstick Lady was immensely gratifying. Did I mention she's highly readable? Enough people seem to think so, given that I recognise a fair few names in her commentspace.

image from The Fashion Rookies Jar, used for illustrative purposes only.



In case the post title didn't make it obvious, the young man in the picture above is K, one of my best friends at law school and a permanent ID liability thanks to the fact that he looks about fifteen years old on a good day (I'm not exaggerating, the chap at the ticket counter demanded proof of age from him when he attempted to buy tickets to X-Men 3 last year).
The reason I'm posting this, really (apart from my surprise at the dressing-up: it's actually quite funny) is that I've never really had a chance to watch anyone going through the blog before, never mind having someone perch at the computer behind mine and open up the page, which I'm convinced he did just to annoy me (sitting behind me and snarking while I'm trying to compose a post? It's amazing how much I let the brat get away with). I now present, in paraphrased form, K's reactions (snark and otherwise) to the page below:
"Who're these guys?" (note: I'm convinced he was spazzing out, since he's actually a bit of a fan)
(On this): "What's that?"....*reads the post*...."oh, some cat shit."
*scrolls down*
"Don't you have any pictures on this thing?"
*scrolls down further*
*points the mouse at Gemma Ward, here*:
"Who's that?" I tell him.
* scrolls down further*
*looks a bit scared*
"How long are her legs?"
*scrolls down further*
"Ooh, nice yellow dress."
Then- "Why are they dressed alike?"
*scrolls down even further, making assorted disparaging remarks that I can't quite remember, along the way*
*reaches the last two pictures of this post*
"Nice covers". (background info: K likes Mojo and Q, and can actually play the guitar he's holding in the pic above. We're both quite fond of the giveaway CDs).
*scrolls down even further*
*reads the post*
"I'd sit next to her."

That sounded a lot funnier when it was actually happening, and I'm sorry to leave everyone with such a mess of links to follow, but I don't think I'm quoting him wrong (I shouldn't be, given that the conversation took place only yesterday).

Am I ? And Do I Care?

Taking a cue from Susie, I think I'm actually going to try figure out whether I am a fashion victim apart from being a fashion fraud (which I can happily admit to- most days, I'm a mess). So, here goes the survey:

1) You refer to Italy as "Milan" and France as "Paris" and are genuinely taken aback when someone suggests visiting other cities in that country.
To be absolutely honest, my Italian soft spot (not that I've ever been to it) is reserved for Rome. It may have something to do with a certain Ms Hepburn playing a runaway princess in it..

2) You buy a newspaper and turn first to the fashion section. Double points if during the shows yuou buy the Herald Tribune, read Suzy's review and then chuck the rest of the paper away.
Actually, it's the comics. And then the food reviews (if there are any). Given the abysmal quality of most fashion reportage here, I'd be more likely to chuck those pages for my own peace of mind. And I don't get the IHT.

3) When someone asks you, "What's new?" the only thing you can think of is "Well, I managed to swag those limited edition jeans in the Kate Moss range for Topshop."
Going by the looks of it, nothing in the Kate Moss for Topshop range would fit me. And I'm really no fashion barometer, so if someone in real life were to ask me this, the answer would most likely be a very sheepish expression accompanying a shrug (the shoulder movement, not an item of clothing).

4) You go to the shows and are genuinely upset if the Japanese don't take your photo outside.
I've been to one fashion show in my life (it was a charity event), and cameras and me do not mix well so I'd be more upset if someone did take my picture and (as is always the case) I end up looking stupid for half the world or whatever bits of it read the publication in question, to see.

5) The Japanese all know your name and you are not a nobody.
If I had it my way, no one who reads this space would know my name. And I am a blogverse nobody, which is a comfortable sort of nobody to be.

6) It has never occurred to you to buy a magazine that wasn't primarily about fashion.
Do Mojo, Q and The Economist count? The rest just come to the college library.

7) You are reading Vogue and are suffused with vindication, gratification and smugness when the magazine says that green dresses are in and you are wearing, yes, a green dress.
Green is my favourite colour, so if that means there'll be more of it in the shops, whooppee!

8) You notice a male Fashion Editor wearing leg warmers over his black Superfines and you don't fall off her seat and laugh as hard that you break your coccyx.
I've never seen a male fashion editor in person. Or a female fashion editor, for that matter.

9) You would never buy a fake, even if it was the very spit of the original, because you would "just know".
Chances are I wouldn't know what it was a copy of. So "just knowing" is kind of ruled out, isn't it?

10) The only time you go to museum exhibitions is if a designer has taken homage from one and you think you should hone up on it, or a designer is holding a party at one.
The last museum I considered visiting was the Supreme Court museum in Delhi, which I am very sure no fashion designer has ever taken inspiration from, or tried to use as a party venue.

11) Ditto movies. And plays. And reading a book.
My best friend is an actress, so going to plays was unavoidable. And I know this is a fashion blog, but to be absolutely truthful, books are my first true love. If someone offered me a choice between a first edition copy of one of my favourite reads and an item of apparel- no matter how beautiful or hard-to-get- the book would win, every time.

12) You make the effort to "work a look" - possible Balenciaga sci-fi, say - to your (non-fashion) best mate's 36th down the pub.
If the mood hit me, I probably would.

13) You know the names of all the major Fashion Editors and they don't know yours.
Not quite. And as for Part II of the question, N/A.

14) The best party you ever attended in your life was a fashion party.
It was a farewell party earlier this year for my seniors from college, whom I am very fond of. It ended in my shoes getting completely destroyed, a mild bit of scandal involving indecorous behaviour, and a huger bit of scandal when the hosts found some of the caterers trying to steal people's handbags and phones, but I don't think any fashion party will ever be able to match it for fun levels.

15) You're in a shop and all the shop assistants know your name, size, life story and guess (correctly) what you're going to buy.
If it's a bookshop, it's entirely possible. Just leave off the size and life story bit.

16) You're in a shop. Again.
Nothing wrong with that, really.

17) You're in a shop and you find yourself trying on a dress that you realise only after it's actually on that you've tried it before.
I'm not really that fond of clothing shops, so this isn't likely.

18) You're in a shop and you're trying on a dress that you remember (accurately) exactly where it was in the show running, which model was wearing it, how it was accessoried and who did the styling.
I strongly doubt that I'd be anywhere near a shop that sold a dress that ws that recognisable (that has more to do with being a broke student than fashion snobbishness).

19) You're in a shop and you're trying on a dress that does, OK, look a little weird but, you reason to yourself you would wear it during the shows and the Japanese would TOTALLY go for it.
I'm not built like any Japanese girl I've ever seen so that logic just wouldn't wash, and since I'm a blogger nobody, the going to shows bit is somewhat...irrelevant.

20) When someone says "shopping" you automatically assume they're referring to clothes.
Given that I live on a college campus where all my domestic needs are taken care of (ergo, no groceries etc needing to be bought), shopping does tend to mean clothes. I'm not sure what we call the bookbuying process, it seems to be a little above the term 'shopping'.

21) Only clothes shopping counts as financial expenditure. Everything else - home repairs, travel, drugs - is just unavoidable essentials.
Unavoidable essentials that still suck off most of my allowance, really.

22) The only way you can think of to kill time is to go shopping.
I'm shameless about bookstore browsing.

23) The majority of the songs on your iPod are ones you heard at the last round of shows/at BoomBloodyBox / at a designer's studio / in your fashion week driver's car / at a fashion party / at a gay club with the gagys (and you're not, you know, gay) / on a freebie CD given away with a fashion magazine.
I've never been to any of the abovementioned locations, and my iPod is dead, and not that badly missed after the first two months. The contents of my laptop, however, do include 2 CDs' worth of freebie songs given away with Mojo and Q, which are music magazines. Otherwise I'm fairly loyal to circa-1995 Britpop.

24) You notice that a particular model is absent from the shows this season and you're genuinely concerned that something might have happened to her.
I don't really notice, to be honest.

25) You actually think about the models, and, during the shows, kind of think that they think about you too.
No, and why on earth would a model be thinking about a blogger nobody...

26) Fashion over comfort, every time, even if that time is at Glastonbury / in hospital / on a plane / in your flat, alone. You derive a sense of smugness from knowing what this season's it drink is and insistently sticking to it, even on a (non-fashion) girl's night out.
I agree with Susie on this one...can't comfy look nice? And there are It drinks? *raises eyebrows*

27) You know more gay men than straight ones.

28) You are genuinely miffed not to be on the same flight or train as the rest of the "important people" en route to or back from New York, Milan or Paris.
N/A, but if I ever went to any of the cities in question I'd be quite kicked to be on any plane or train at all (especially the latter)- I love travelling.

29) You know exactly what day of the month each of the, you know, important fashion magazines come out.
Some of them, anyway.

30) You write down in your notebook your seat assignment from each show and you borrow clothes from the designers accordingly.

31) You actually care about bloody seat assignments.

32) You read the press releases before the shows.
I'll read the back of a shampoo bottle if I'm desperate enough....press releases have got to be more fun than that, right?

33) You read any press releases.
See above.

34) It's your birthday and the majority of your guests are fashion PRs, journalists and/or students, and you are none of the above.
Every birthday since #19 has been followed by an exam, so really...N/A. If anything, my guests are would-be lawyers.

35) You could, in your sleep, give the first and last name of the PR of ever designer on the schedule.
Clueless here...

36), You could, in your sleep, recite the schedule for every fashion week in every fashion city, and you are properly ruffled when the fashion councils deign to change them.
Clueless again..

37) You are still reading this list.
Oh, ok, rub it in.


Oh, Good Heavens

It's a little odd to find this among the results on the first two pages when you google 'fashion blogs India' (I intend to find them. There has to be someone out there who likes fashion enough to blog about what's happening here). And with all due respect to the person who posted it, my English teachers from school would recommend a good dose of Messrs. Wren and Martin.
I, however, would recommend not using the words "little fatty women" anywhere in an article clearly meant to be read by members of the gender in question. Take some PC lessons, bozo.


Sorry, Everyone

But my interpipe connections took a holiday, and even now they're a bit flighty, so it is with crossed fingers that I hope this gets posted.
I'm not really very good at spotting trends, or figuring out what the look of just now is except to say so when I'm getting a bit sick of it. Added to which, trends aren't exactly the easiest things for everyone, so the staying power of this one should be no surprise, given that anyone with a pair of scissors, a mirror and something of a distaste for the sight of their foreheads can manage it.
If the pictures above didn't make it absolutely obvious, I'm talking about the heavy, blunt fringe. I know we all love 'em (most fashion bloggers who post pictures of themselves seem to have them- can't say we don't know a good thing when we see it), but it wasn't till a conversation in a bookstore the day before yesterday, the subject of which somehow turned around to how we don't really know that the look of a decade is actually the look of that decade till it's over, that something was said about the defining points of contemporary fashion (which, given that we're in the moment, is a bit hard to figure out till later). I was expecting him to name something clothes-related, but to be honest, it was with a good deal of pleasure that I heard the words..."fringes,I think."

It's not exactly as ubiquitous a look as we'd like to believe, but the number of streetstyle pictures that feature them seem to bear out his observation- I certainly recall the 90s as a decade of bare foreheads and slicked-back hair. And honestly, fringes as a hair trend are so, so much better than the horror that was 80s feathered hair. Added to which, the point of never figuring out what the look of a particular time (particularly tough now, especially given that this particular decade, design has gone and referenced every decade of the century) is until hindsight tells us so...makes me wonder what we see it as.

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.