Just a little something for another Throwback Thursday: a shoot I styled back in 2011. It was shot by Mitch McLennan, who has come so far in the last couple of years, taking out prizes here there and everywhere, all the while perfecting and unleashing his amazing talent behind the lens.
Cue W.13 – Fashion of the Near Future
The Cue Winter 2013 collection has finally hit stores. There has been so much excitement leading up to this point – talk of pulling in the big guns; models Meghan Collison and Elza Luijendijk (so huge that their tiny frames have worked for the likes of Versace, Prada, and Proenza Schouler), and much-loved Kiwi photographer (who Australia has obviously adopted as our own, as per any successful New Zealander) Derek Henderson.
For the last few years Cue has produced seasons of quite pretty collections that were, well, also pretty boring. A brand that was once my aspirational beacon of “grown up edgy success” as a teen, had somehow come to the point where if I saw another season of floral printed Stepford wife dresses I was ready to give up on the label all together*. But Summer 3013 sparked within me a ray of hope. Geometric prints. New fabrics. The Stepford wife dress suddenly had a slightly more sporty edge, with racer cut shoulders and high necklines… We’re these the winds of change? Oh yes, yes they were. A few weeks ago I got my first peek at what was to come for Winter 2013. Lo and behold my disappointments were abolished! Such structure, such lush leather! And the brocade! (I know it’s been around for a while now but it’s still such an amazing trend; it makes me feel royal, and who doesn’t love that?) I’m pretty sure those little silk geometrically printed peplum belts have turned me to the dark side and made me love peplum. And now to actually see the whole range in store and try it all on…. My cup runneth over.
So my next question is: who is willing to accept the sale of my soul so that I may own this whole collection? Get in touch. I need your help. Thanks.
*It’s not that those dressed were bad – in fact the cut and prints were actually quite nice – it just wasn’t my style, and to be honest I felt like it had become the fallback piece for many brands across the country. I was bored.
I thought that for Valentines this year I’d embrace Throwback Thursday. I remember being right in the depths of a Keats obsession when putting this shoot together. I was spending my days searching for second hand poetry books, pretending I was wandering beside the Seine, and generally watching the world with the hazy blurred perspective of a Turner painting. Last year I managed to write something so completely honest and heartfelt for Valentines Day and the opinion I had then still rings true now, one year on. I have become tired from it. Therefore this year I simply leave you with some Keats. Happy Valentines Day Lovers.
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; – then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
– From a letter to J. H. Reynolds, 31 Jan 1818.
I’ve noticed something in the past couple of months: it seems everywhere I look on this vast space of Internet I stumble across an interview with Alex Smythe-Kirk, designer and founder of jewellery label Vera Xane. And understandably – the debut collection Dichotomies boasts a sophistication that could rival any well-established and innovative brand. Growing up in a creative household has clearly played a big part in the development of Alex’s design aesthetic. Her father was the founder and editor of 1960s cult music magazine Drift, which Alex cites as a major influence (see below interview) along with 70s rock’n’roll and the many female music icons that were a huge part of that era. Recently I was lucky enough to have my own interview with Alex at her home in Neutral Bay. Only problem was that she is so warm, chatty, and passionate about her work that my 5 minute interview ended up taking 20 minutes! Enjoy…
ALICE: Is Vera Xane your alter-ego? Does she have her own personality?
ALEX: Sort of. It’s very hard not to design for yourself. I don’t see her as an alter ego exactly, but you do have to step away from yourself to design….. She’s like me, but separated!
ALICE: How much influence would you say your dads music magazine (Drift) has had on your style as an adult, and do you think the label would have a different aesthetic without that influence?
ALEX: The magazines influence is kind of glamourised for Vera Xane. I grew up with all of that music and that’s still what I listen to – you get in my car and its Elton John, Rod Stewart from ’65… Without at the label would definitely have a different feel. From a design perspective that’s always been my favourite era – they used to draw everything by hand and thats the way my dad put His magazine together as well. It’s massively influenced my life.
ALICE: If the collection could be a song, what would it be?
ALEX: That’s hard! When I first started the brand I remember I was sitting in the studio and I had a few lyrics up on the wall. One was Billy Joel Always A Woman – sounds really daggy, but there’s this description of a girl who’s strong but weak, really beautiful and fashionable; I loved that. I also love the idea of trying to figure out what Rhiannon [by Fleetwood Mac] would really be like… Stevie Nicks, Jefferson Airplane… That all influenced me. And there’s one Paul Simon song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, which sounds a bit strange but I remember listening to it constantly while I was designing. It reminded me of this girl who is just SO cool that it’s nothing to her to just leave someone.
ALICE: Do you have a favourite piece?
ALEX: The Sunray Bangle. It photographed so well!
ALICE: What has been the most interesting manufacturing process you’ve adopted in creating Vera Xane?
ALEX: Lost-wax casting. I learnt the process under a master jeweller while I was in high school. So all my pieces are done using casting – [that way] the pieces are fully handmade. Basically they carve the pieces in wax, make a mould from that, inject it, then polish and plate it. The bespoke, handmade process has always been important to me. I’d love to explore all of that further – plating. I’ve only just scratched the surface – I think there’s about 500 ways you can do gold! The black colour in my jewellery is actually a rare metal called ruthenium. The only way to get it to be black is to plate it over gold! So the piece then becomes far more precious than just gold or just black.
ALICE: Which designers would you pair with Vera Xane?
ALEX: I was really excited recently to see an image in Grazia where they’ve styled the Sunray Bangle with Dion Lee on Samantha Harris! I love, love, love Dion Lee – he’s the perfect example of when you do something that’s all your own and innovative, people will go nuts for it. I also love Ellery for the colour palette, the soft punks and greens – it’s edgy but romantic, which I love.
ALICE: There are so many opinions on how to style jewellery – as with any thing – what would be your advice/aesthetic? Would Vera Xane be more at the minimalist end or the layered “Pamela Love” end of the spectrum?
ALEX: That’s an interesting question – with my pieces being so architectural they lend themselves to more minimal styling in the sense that there’s line and shape but they’re still quite bulky. I wanted larger pieces that were still very fine, that’s why there’s a lot of hollow space. So the pieces are nice photographed quite minimal. But me personally, I’m more into the layered look.
ALICE: Do you think you’ll ever go back to textile/clothing?
ALEX: I’m not sure. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for the brand as it is. But I want to delve further into accessories. There’s already a couple of bags in this collection. But I want to explore the use of leather, and other accessories like scarves, that sort of thing.
ALICE: What can we expect from Vera in 2013?
ALEX: I’m really excited about Spring/Summer. We’re in the process of sampling at the moment. It’s quite similar in the sense that its architectural, I think it will always be like that. But we’re introducing a bit of colour… In quite an innovative way – not what you’d expect!
For more information and stockists enquiries:
A few months ago I was honoured to have been invited to the launch of Samantha Wills Stationary line, illustrated by the phenomenal talent that is Kelly Smith. The brunch was absolutely divine and it was so lovely seeing Samantha again, and meeting Kelly (finally! I’ve been in secret worship of her for years). And, much like everything Samantha Wills, the stationary was simple yet exquisite at the same time – and all packed in her signature intricately carved wooden boxes.
I was so pleased to find people who adore letter writing as much as I do myself. Anyone who follows the Alice Liddell Instagram will be familiar with the wonderful postcards I have received recently from my friend who is travelling in Europe; I cannot explain the way my heart soars when I see one in my letterbox. I also adhere to the strict tradition of sending my faraway friends Christmas cards, and I have been known to send personalised puzzles as letters on random occasions in the past. I may use technology to blog everyday, but I am a true old-fashioned romantic at heart – snail mail rules.
In celebration of Valentines Day and all the beautiful poetic letters written throughout time, I am giving away a pack of 24 “Girl” postcards from the range, as well as a one-of-a-kind Samantha Wills ring designed by yours truly using the SW Design Studio – pictured above (I was invited for a trial run of the design studio along with a host of other bloggers for a morning of jewellery making late last year – so I handmade this baby all by myself! ….mostly).
TO ENTER simply like the Samantha Wills Facebook page, as well as the Alice Liddell Blog Facebook page and leave a comment below saying you have done so! Competition is open until midnight Tuesday 12th February, with the winner announced on Wednesday.
“Sun is shining, I’m a rainbow too”
The sun has finally shown its face today after a bout of windy rainy weather here at home. I feel like I’m always talking about the weather on this blog, but it really does determine what I wear from day to day. I’m not one to suffer for fashion – sorry to those diehards out there, I just don’t think it’s necessary. I will always dress appropriately for the weather or the days activities, considering all angles of practicality and how far I can push things and still get through my day comfortably. For example, Isabel Marant Beckett sneakers are comfortable enough to wear while running around after a toddler, despite the invisible heel; and jackets are absolutely fine to wear in warm weather provided you pair them with shorts or sandals (Elle and Hannah-Rose I’m looking at you!).
So of course, since the sun has come out and I live near the beach and I finally have a day to myself, I have donned the very appropriate backless top* and swimwear to bask on the sand for a while. And also i have now posted an inappropriate bum shot on my blog….. Hoorah!
Soon I will tell you about my solution to the 4 seasons in one day outfit dilemmas. See, sometimes talking about the weather isn’t just a boring space filler. It’s all relevant.
*Didn’t I say I had an obsession with backless tops?!