Wednesday, December 26, 2012

gone dotty

Ugh I have descended into one of the least fulfilling internet research holes of my life. Does ANYONE know the name of these beadie doo-dads?:

You've seen this stuff before, right? As far as I can tell the technique has been confined to purses and bags, though why this might be the case is a mystery to me. I would buy the shit out of a t-shirt covered in the things.

Here's what I know:

  • They are not technically beads as they don't have a hole. Rather they appear to be fused on to the fabric, most likely using a heat transfer, I reckon. Don't bother googling that though, lest you be sucked into the Hama Bead universe - as if Hama Beads haven't already claimed enough hours of my life.
  • The earliest examples of the technique that I have been able to find are from the 1940s
  • A brand called Lumared seems to have specialised in the stuff, along with a Hong Kong label called JEM. They are sometime referred to as corde or cordo beads.
  • Finally, and most mystifyingly, the style seems to have struck it big in the land of milk and honey

Seriously, there are, like, a thousand of these for sale on Etsy. I would get one if I didn't think it would look like an invitation for arguments about the Middle East.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


What follows is my third blog post discussing Queen Victoria in as many months. I'm not sure how to explain that, but damnit, I'm not ashamed. It will also be my second Victoria's Secret post of recent times. I've got a bit of shame for that one.

In her book of collected essays, The Water Beetle (1962), Nancy Mitford describes an incident involving Empress Eugénie of France and Queen Victoria, that took place during the mid-19th century:

When the Empress Eugénie paid a state visit to England she went with Queen Victoria to the opera. The Londoners sighed a little as the two ladies stood together in the Royal Box during the playing of the National Anthem; the beauty in her Paris clothes beside chubby little red-faced Victoria. Then the time came for them to take their seats. The Empress, with a graceful movement, looked round at her chair, but Queen Victoria dumped straight down, thus proving unmistakably that she was of Royal birth and upbringing. Had that chair not been in its place the skies would have fallen, and she knew it. The audience was proud of its Queen and never gave the parvenue Empress another thought – indeed, nobody in England was at all surprised when shortly afterwards the Second Empire collapsed.

There was a moment during the Victoria's Secret show in which Rihanna starting doing a strange - but definitely sexy - backwards-walk across the catwalk. Need I say it, dear readers? Girl did not look back.

A bit perfectly, that's Karlie Kloss in the background, doing her famous panther-strut down the runway. Karlie also attempted a Victoria's Secret-y smile. It wasn't... wonderful.

But who cares, right? Because, look, there's Rihanna.

This was all part of the What-If-Georgia-O'Keeffe-Was-A-Deranged-Sex-Robot section of the show. No words will convey the essence of this bonkers yonic bonanza better than this photo does:

Also bewildering but in more of a, "What the actual fuck" kinda way, was the presentation of the Pink collection, a line designed for teens and college girls. In an interesting marketing decision, Victoria's Secret seem to have decided to also use Pink to chase consumers from the rather smaller Filthy Old-Man Pedophile demographic.

I am currently reading the book Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response. It is a non-fiction account of how an American woman had child pornography charges brought against her after taking photographs of her 8-year old daughter naked in the bathtub. With great thoughtfulness the author, Lynn Powell, explains how in reality the photos, and the manner in which they were taken, were totally innocent. This did not save the mother from prosecution and arrest.

I'm. Just. Saying:

Ew. Let's get back to everyday-bewildering. Here is a woman dressed as some kind of sex-leopard.

That's ok! Sex-leopards I can deal with - but why is the sex-leopard holding a dog?

I guess it would be smarter to accept that the VSFS is really just a big ol' shroom fest, and I should really stop thinking and just start experiencing, man. I was definitely getting some high-times vibes from Very Pretty Woman, Doutzen Kroes:

I also sometimes got the feeling that Doutzen was as puzzled by the proceedings as me. During interviews she often tended towards the Ron Swanson school of speech-giving:

"I refuse to lather Marlene up and kiss her ring like everybody else. Instead, I'll be delivering a speech of facts. Marlene is a woman. She has worked in the government for three decades. Thirty years. Properly applied, that's how long a good varnish should last. So Marlene, it is true that you have won this award."

In the same spirit let me conclude: The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - It certainly happened.

Sumatra steez

Photo from the book Ubud Is A Mood, edited by Leonard Lueras

Seriously though, how much is too much to spend on a Sumatran bridal headdress? I went to Indonesia earlier in the year, and let me tell you, their headdress game is just insanely amazing.

West Sumatran bride, photo by Diana Australis

Minangkabau Bridal Headdress from the Yorkshire World Collections

Another Minangkabau Bridal Headdress

And by the way, do you look at these Indonesian headdresses and find yourself reminded of a Russian kokoshnik? Because me too!
Anna Pavlova, photographer unknown

Wow, humans, right? Truly, we are all made of stars.