Chinese inspirations

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China through the looking-glass, or fashion’s beady and greedy eyed glare at Chinese inspirations. I have a limited experience with exhibitions inspired by clothing, my strongest memories are of old V&A exhibits of the Supremes glittery gowns and later, of the japanese imperial family’s most treasured kimono, and more recently retrospectives on John Galliano and Dries Van Noten (in the Parisian Des Beaux-Arts and it was amazing) but this was something else. For starters, the sheer scale of the exhibit, three floors, each corresponding to a different element  of either chinese history or a type of garment, the entire thing was larger than Ireland’s national gallery! Then there is the range and beauty of what was on display.
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Leaving aside the obvious contributions from fashion houses such as Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Hermes, Chanel, Valentino and many more, there was also an extensive array of artefacts. Scattered throughout were pieces of pottery, the famous indigo blue scenes of the countryside, that, no doubt, are in most grandmother’s homes. There were also intricate metal and wooden objects, laying beside garments, indicating the various designers inspirations. Later on there were walls covered in ancient calligraphy, delicate 1920’s perfume bottles and posters of the early communist China. My favourite addition was on the lowest floor, housing garments inspired by an imperial China, filled with traditional chinese dress and large screens showing films that were also inspired by this era.
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 There was even a section dedicated to chinese film, detailing what was worn, and displaying those same outfits nearby. Overall the exhibit was a masterpiece, and held just as much worth for myself (fashion obsessed) as for my mum (along for the fun of it all). If you are in New York before September 8th (exhibition closes on the seventh) I really recommend that you see it. The rest of the museum is just as amazing: sketches by Degas, paintings by Van Gough, and the most comprehensive collection of works by 20th Century artists.

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New York Syndrome

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Where the buildings seem impossibly tall and the crowds impossibly big. Coming somewhere as small as Dublin, or even most european cities, this place is so different, that continental jump is really felt. If you are in search of somewhere truly different then, well anywhere else (as far as I’m concerned), come here, the city that never sleeps? I think of it more as the city that never rests, night or day. Every corner you turn you see people working, talking and running, yes running for the subway. Back home where the trains come every twenty minutes, it is fair to run, but there all of our subways were every ten minutes.

Now that I’m back, I won’t lie, I have ran for my trains, attempted to look busy, and tried to walk with the self-importance/ confidence that every New Yorker seems to have mastered. For now I’m trying to readjust to Dublin life, but expect a follow-up soon, complete with pictures, tips and possibly some musings on the grand city.

I’m still alive!

What looms ahead

I am still here… just about. The last few months have been rather crazy, between handing off portfolios, attending interviews and suitability tests and having state exams at the beginning of next month there has been no time! Until now, in reality I should be studying but I can only learn off Bismarckian foreign policy so many times!
I feel like I’ve changed so much since I’ve last been here, I’m becoming obsessed with dancing, not in any professional sense, more of a seventies-ish strut through school corridors. Hopefully this is reflected in my newer creations, which are more attentive to this new side of my personality. And yes I have still been sewing, much more slowly and much less precisely than before. I have rediscovered my love of t-shirts (I have a feeling this will always happen to study-weary students) and I have a new, rather unhealthy, obsession with the seventies. Don’t worry I won’t be wearing flares, at least I hope not, although I have become allergic to my skinny jeans. I have a pair of Levis 501s and they are amazing, plus they make me wear fitted tops which I have far too much of an issue with doing.

In other news I’ve graduated, I’m no longer one of those annoying school kids with back-packs that are far too big (and too heavy, I swear I’m going to break my back before the year is out!) and school skirts that practically trail the floor. I’m now in this weird limbo where I still go to school but I’m an adult… I’ve been treated fairly equally all through the year but now it’s far more obvious. Another final, random note, do you know how weird it is to not wear uniform in school for the first time ever. For a child who has made her way through the fifteen year long education system in Ireland, it is immensely gratifying to never have to wear a uniform ever again! The only problem is what to wear in the mornings… and how to have anything that’s clean…I guess I’ll just have to make a new wardrobe this summer!

Beach bum

2014 Pentax K-5 11 076 For me summer-time is beach time, well weather permitting. I love being able to heading down to the beach with a few friends to soak in the sun, sand and surf (this is Ireland) and this summer, with the added heat, I’ve been able to get in many more beach days, I’ve even swam in the Irish sea! All of these beach days has led me to come up with a routine, since I live a train stop outside of the nearest beach I can’t exactly run to beach in just my swim gear so I’ve been sorting through “beach-appropriate” garments, namely denim shorts and loose jersey tops.2014 Pentax K-5 11 048 To keep my look a little more fashion forward I’m keeping to my favourite neutral palette. In remembrance of this top, which gets more wear then is healthy I decided to squeeze and new top out of it. Yet the three-quarter length sleeves, cropped length and facing on the neckline make it look that little bit more… polished? I still wore it to the beach though, summer solstice celebrations, same night that these pictures were taken as well.2014 Pentax K-5 11 071 This slightly classier style works for me though as it means that I now don’t look like a complete beach bum! (my shorts are very old!) This top has already taken over from my old one which is now reserved for over-classy bottoms and studying (such is my life).

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Have any of you guys gotten to a beach this summer, any celebrations for our year’s longest day?

week three in Sweden

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Our first day in Copenhagen. We spent our time between rambling the main streets and going on photographic excursions towards the outer layers of the city (meaning all around the city!). By evening time we even made our way to the famed Tivoli gardens for dinner, a spectacular lights show and some seriously cool night-time shots.

Wearing this dress.2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 569 Day 16

Another day of explorations lay in wait. We visited the national art gallery which held a rather large collection of miniature Degas statues. Then we tested out the very efficient underground system (think ultra modern Scandinavian design at it’s best) to an even older part of the city for one of the of the most delicious salads I’ve eaten. Afterwards we headed into the city’s tallest tower for the best skyline views, warning this is not for the faint-hearted, the stairs up are fine, but the final ascent is on the outside of the tower,( as seen in the image above ), however the heights are worth it as you are rewarded with a stunning view. We wound up our final night in Copenhagen with some oh-so-touritsty burgers and then took a change of pace to a bookshop-come café for dessert, for our family’s book addictions being able to sit among shelves of books put everyone at ease.

Wearing this top to survive the heat!2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 1122 Day 17

On the road again! (as my dad would say), it was time to return to Sweden, by ferry that is, but trouble was that our ferry was departing from the other side of the country, so we began our drive through Denmark. On the way we saw not one but two very long bridges (I’m officially saying Scandinavia has the coolest bridges), of course we stopped numerous times for pictures, anything else would be unnatural for us! Finally after six hours of driving (a lot of road works at the second bridge) we arrived at Fredrickshavn, our final stop before Sweden. Only once we boarded the ship did my dad tell me the ferry’s more infamous truths. For this I think I need to explain that each Scandinavian country (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) each have their own currency, so prices in certain things will differ from item to item, one such item being alcohol, so the Norwegians head to Sweden, the Swedes head to Denmark, the Danes to Germany and the German’s to Poland, the reason I’m telling you this is that we were on one of the “Swede to Denmark” boats, on a Saturday night, there were plenty of kids and families on board so it was fine but the occasional song and dance on deck to 80’s Swedish pop was rather entertaining, as was their staggering up and down steps as we disembarked. For the majority of the ferry ride I was outside though, catching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. I think I took well over 300 pictures… But I couldn’t stop, it was a classic “sun over sea” horizon shot. By the time we were driving home the colourful lights of the city kept my camera on and led to some pretty “artsy” shots (i.e. blurry and vaguely interesting..)

Wearing this skirt and this hoodie to survive the Swedish dusk.

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Back home, we relished our lie-in and the simple joys of life. In the morning I made Swedish pastries for the first time, under the expert guidance of my granddad, they turned out to be quite delicious as well. After eating a few too many pastries we went on a little excursion to the picturesque housing areas (think colourfully painted wooden-clad homes with lots of flowers outside and around the area), saw a crab and I got the closest to a seagull that I’ve ever been. At home we watched a movie and enjoyed yet more pastries.

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Last day… We decided to spend our last day in spectacular fashion, visiting one local town for a last-stop wool shop, it’s for my yearly fix! Then onto one of my favourite towns in Sweden, Udevalla, the old centre is perfect for taking photos so I walked around with my granddad catching various shots here and there. For lunch we went to very quiet yet very comfortable café that served a ton of loose-leaf tea and my last shrimp sandwich… After some reading we drove on to an amazing restaurant, delicious fish, scrumptious desserts and to-die-for views, can I mention it has a swing, and that I love swings! Since we had a fairly early dinner my dad and I drove about finding a setting for our final sunset. Our night was finished with a movie and some of our favourite Swedish treats.

Wearing these shorts (cause I can) and this hoodie (cause repetition is good right…?)

week two in Sweden

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Our last day in the rental house. I took an early morning wakeup as a photo-shoot opportunity. Later on we went to the beach for our annual pilgrimage of crab fishing, we don’t eat them don’t worry, when we’re finished we return them to sea by racing them down the beach! Then we watched the football finally with pancakes and pizza.

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We began our journey to Karlskrona! Along the way we stopped off at these beautiful gardens outside of Malmo. We also passed by miles of stunning countryside as well as some pretty awesome bridges. Omce in Karlskrona we relaxed in our room until temperatures somewhat cooled. By sunset hour we wandered the streets to gawk as the C18th architecture and the gorgeous seaside sunset.

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Another Karlskrona day. My dad and I got up early to visit the maritime museum which was actually kind of cool. They had an old nuclear submarine and a huge array of ship busts. Later that day we went on a boat trip to a nearby military base. The scenery was beautiful but the 4 hour long descriptions, in Swedish were a little bit boring, particularly as whenever you thought a particular bit of information was over you’d then hear “och so..” (meaning “and so”). The boat ride home was nice though and that day’s sunset was particularly spectacular.

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My mum and I decided to actually see the town, walking around little cobble-stoned side streets and passing through little shopping centres just for the air-conditioning. Eventually (after some fabric was bought!) we found this quaint café hidden in a little shaded courtyard, serving the perfect raksmorgas (shrimp sandwhich) and thin biscuits. We may have stayed slightly longer then was necessary… Dinner featured sushi (very nice sushi too) and our last night of street rambling.

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The tired expression is somewhat dignified, we had to leave karlskrona and continue on our way. Our trip featured a visit to Kalmar, a large town (or small city) near Oland. A place that matched Karlskrona’s beauty. There were even more C18th buildings and every house was at least a hundread years old. There were plenty of comfortable cafes (expresso house im looking at you!) and a ton of places to explore. My dad and I went on a photography exposition for a good two hours and found no end of things to photograph! After some more fan apprecitation we drove on to another town of Carlstad, near Skana to rest for the night.

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Another travel day, although our trip was littered with pit-stops, photo opportunities and sandy beaches. After navigating around the walls of a castle we headed to a coastal town to find a beach by the Baltic. Always going to the west coast of Sweden, we never get the chance to swim in the Baltic, so at the spur of the moment we took a dip. Granted it meant beachy waves all day and stinging eyes I’m glad I went in. Our next stop was a medieval tower, which was, admittedly, kind of cool. With several flights of stairs, stain glass windows and some tapestries it really brought you back to the C14th. After that we went to a really really sandy beach (see photo above), with lots of sand dunes and a light house, which gave a pretty good view of the beach and the sea.

Wearing these shorts.

Last week coming soon!

The Perfect Blue

2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3544 The return of the Kate Bush frizz! I know that my hair is a large feature of my photos but “if you’ve got flaunt it!”. This is my last set of garment photos form Sweden. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3551 This dress was origionally made for my birthday, back in….May. Sorry about not posting sooner but when the sun is out I just want to run to the beach and eat ice cream. These photos were taken just outside our rental house, amid the trees. I quite like the light green hues of this backround, and the subtle shafts of sunlight. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3569 The fabric is a lightweight poly knit from Paris. I wanted to make a simple jersey dress, as anything less then this casual is not worn. The fabric was also used in this top. I didn’t like the white in a dress so I dyed it. That was a fun experience… I had an indigo dye kit but Im still not great on chemical percentages and as such so I used the entire bundle, which was to dye 25 t-shirts. So I dyed this top, two meters of linen and over 1000g of yarn, except the chemicals made everything in my bucket look green.. A horrible bright green. Thankfully I just needed to take the pieces out of the dye bucket and then they turned blue again. But the scare of ruining that much fabric and yarn (it was two meters of gorgeous natural linen!)2014 Pentax K-5 11 Sweden Summer 3561 Well I have yet more pictures but I think I’ll find some non-Sweden ones for some interest. Ill be back soon.