Tuesday 31 March 2009

Street Style...We *heart* Marc Jacobs

Have you seen Marc Jacobs lately? Damn Skippy! He is HOT- like not just smokin' hot but roaring bonfire "is this thing under control?" HOT! I came across the photograph of Marc shot by Terry Richardson for US Harpers Bazaar magazine wearing nothing but some Stephen Sprouse-inspired graffiti and a, ahem, strategically placed Sprouse for Louis Vuitton bag. And I can tell you that he looked mighty FINE. How can I have missed his transformation? I must have had my head buried in "how to" photography books for the past year ;-)

And just why am I banging on about how cut Marc Jacobs is? Well this gorgeous girl is sporting a Marc Jacobs coat (I think she said it was Marc Jacobs and not Marc by Marc Jacobs) and I love it! The flirty little spots, the gold buttons and detailing, the beautiful navy colour- so much to love. And her shoes? Pierre Hardy for GAP. We like :)

Monday 30 March 2009

Street Style....Turquoise Accents

If you know me, you know that I just LOVE jewellery - more than I love clothes, handbags, shoes, my camera....ha ha just tricking y'all. 'Course I don't love jewellery more than the Nikon! But only just.

What do I love about jewellery so much? Its ability to transform an outfit, the history that one teeny little piece can hold, the fact that it (and the accompanying memories) can be passed down from generation to generation, the ability of a treasured piece to instantly lift one's mood, its beauty, its meaning to the wearer....mmmmmm and the fact that it fits no matter how many packets of chewy caramel Tim Tams one has devoured in the past few months!

And I especially love turquoise jewellery. And I extra especially love it on this exquisite woman I photographed on the weekend. Okay, so I know that the strap of her handbag isn't exactly a piece of jewellery but it works in the same way. And her rings....do you see them? Oh my, I want them both! The turquoise and silver one? Simply sublime.

I love everything about how this woman is dressed-almost a little Ralph Lauren when he takes inspiration from the Navajo Indians. I would look ridiculous carrying a furry bag like that (on me it would look like I was carrying a stuffed toy gorilla won at the local village fete) but she pulls it off so effortlessly. What do I adore most about her though? Her fabulous smile.

We love a great smile :)

um, and jewellery!

Sunday 29 March 2009

Street Style....Romper Suits and Shorty Shorts

Playsuits, Jumpsuits, Romper suits, Onesies- call them what you will, they are everywhere right now. And these ain't for babies-they are strictly "adults only" wear. Paired with flats for weekend day and vamped up with heels for night, they are a spring/summer must have. Net-a-Porter has a rather gorgeous Stella McCartney black silk tuxedo jumpsuit (and a sublime Yves Saint Laurent sequined strapless number), I spied a sweet striped See by Chloe romper suit in Liberty last week and Topshop even has an entire section on its website devoted to playsuits.

Frankly though, I see a little problem with these "all in one" numbers....there is no delicate way of putting it: how does one use the lavatory when one is wearing such a garment? Well, I mean obviously, being a girl, I can work it out but how excruciating having to undress almost entirely when using public facilities. Just my luck I would be, ummm, sitting* on the loo half naked and a little kid would pop his/her head underneath the cubicle wall and ask (very loudly) "Mummy, why is that lady doing pee pee's with no clothes on?". Oh the horror Most Excellent Blog Fans, the horror! And don't even get me started about having a few (too many) drinks while wearing a onesie!

Anyway, lovely Athena (top photo and below) looked fabulous wearing her romper suit and I am quite sure that she managed to use the facilities in a very dignified manner :)

And I loved Lucy in her pretty blue shorty shorts (below):

*well, my mother always taught me that one should never "sit" on a public toilet seat so lets pretend that all toilets have those little plastic disposable toilet seat covers shall we? (In Istanbul the electric ones were very popular- I could have whiled away a good hour or so just pressing the little button and watching the "new" toilet cover arrive! Small things do seem to amuse me....)

I have developed a little backlog of photos so if I have taken your photo over the last few days, bear with me. It will probably take me a week or so to post all of them.

p.s. Completely unrelated to fashion, I was excited to see a post by The Digital Trekker (Matt Brandon) showcasing some photographs his daughter, Jessie, had taken with his camera. I am a big fan of Matt's work and his daughter is showing the same remarkable talent. Check out the post here. Guess how old Jessie is? 12!!!

Saturday 28 March 2009

Street Style....Colour, Colour, Colour!

Ultramarine, Oriental Blue, Deep Cadmium, Pimento, Juniper, Scarlet, Acid Yellow and my absolute favourite, Deep Vermilion. These were a few of the colours in my prized Derwent coloured pencils tin when I was a little girl. Despite the fact that I possessed zero artist talent (I had the ideas, just not the ability) I loved drawing and colouring in....and my parents indulged my creative, expressionist side by buying me a monumental box of Derwent colouring pencils*. Oh how I loved those pencils! Just looking at them all lined up so prettily in their tin could inspire a wave of furious sketching, drawing, colouring and shading after which the resulting masterpiece was proudly displayed on my bedroom wall for all to admire (the wonderful optimism of childhood, non?)

I thought of those jewel-like coloured pencils when I photographed these girls (Agatha, above, and the lovely Hannah, below). It is so nice to see some colour in London despite the fact that the weather has turned rather depressingly dreary again. Somehow colour, even just a pop around the waist, on the feet, via a clutch or handbag or even (as with the girl at the very bottom) on the legs, makes an outfit come alive. Colour gives an instant lift- both to the wearer and the observer (and the photographer). I suspect that colour is part of the reason photographers are drawn to places like India, Bhutan, Peru, Cuba- the richness of the colours worn by the people are so stimulating and wonderful to capture on film (well, digital most of the time these days but y'all know what I mean).

Hmmmm all this talk of colour has got me thinking.. I do wonder exactly where those Derwent pencils got to....mum? any ideas? :)



*one of the many benefits of being an only child!

Thursday 26 March 2009

Street Style....Cobalt Blue Wedges

Sometimes I can wander the streets for hours without finding someone, something, anything inspirational to shoot- a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (or just having sore feet and being in a grump). But then PLINK!! out of the blue can fall someone that I know I must photograph....which is what happened here. I spotted this girl and thought she looked like a doll - a fragile, teeny doll (albeit with very long legs) with mussed up hair and a super cute dress. In an instant the wind could blow and she would be swept away....

Ahhh but No! Look at her feet! She is not so fragile....Not with those wedges firmly anchoring her feet to the ground. Anchoring her outfit...preventing it from looking tooooo sweet. A little peep-toe wedge action and no one is getting swept away-not even in this windy, rainy "return to normal" London weather.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Street Style...Inked

Are you inked?

I'm not...inked that is. Nor pierced (well, unless you count a teeny hole in each ear...speaking of which did you see Kate Moss has a whole heap of new ear piercings going on?). I've never been interested in getting a tattoo on any of my fleshy bits.... I am a Mr Wimpy when it comes to needles and, well, what exactly would I get inked with and where? It's all a bit too permanent for my liking. What if I get bored (I am an Aries after all:))? Change my mind 2 years down the track? And oh god, what about when I'm old, grey* and wrinkly? What then?

But other people's ink- oooooo I LOVE tattoos on other people. Whenever I see a tattoo "of interest" I want to find out more: when did you get it?, what does it mean?, who did it?, have you got more?, where?!!

I didn't get the answers to those questions when I took this guy's photograph (sometimes "the moment" is over too quick!) but I loved his ink- and the way he wore his clothes. Tough. but not too tough. Edgy perhaps? Those tattoos though? they were tough.

And this young guy? I liked the way he wore he moved when I held the camera up to my face- its nice when people move a bit when you shoot (not too much of course!)

*Actually, forget grey. I am never going grey (unless I am blessed with that exquisite silvery grey you see on some women). My beloved grandmother dyed her hair into her nineties- I intend to proudly follow suit.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Street Style.... Oui, Hermès!

Oooppphhhhffff....it is only lunchtime and my head is already crying out for panadol and a soothing lie-down in a quiet, darkened ("draw the curtains won't you darling") room. What has caused this pounding fracas in my head I hear you ask? A night out at Claridge's sipping, no, guzzling, copious amounts of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs? A 15km early morning jog around the streets of London followed by a "gentle" pilates session to warm down*? An unfortunate "incident" in Mayfair with Nicola Roberts (from Girls Aloud) and her boyfriend?** Pah! No, our apartment building seems to have turned into a construction site of Candy&Candy-esque proportions overnight- the banging, the drilling, the relentless hammering - all seemingly being carried out directly above my head. Apart from the hideous noise, the high-pitched drilling is a constant reminder that I need to go to the dentist....

And so to today's post... some Hermès to soothe and swoon over. For yes, every time I see a Hermes Birkin I swoon (and probably drool) in a very unattractive manner. For me, IT bags come and go but a Hermes Birkin remains forever: classic, elegant, understated..... and I am quite sure that it can hold a Nikon D200 or, perhaps even a Nikon D3 as well! And a Birkin is entirely ageless: whether you are in your twenties or your nineties it looks appropriate (oh how I would love to photograph a lady in her 'more mature years' carrying a Birkin- a mission for me to complete perhaps?)

Anyhow, this girl was fabulous. Do you note she is wearing fishnets with her little thong gladiator flats? (TopShop if you must know). How does one wear fishnets with a thong toe? Crikey, I have enough trouble with the thong post itself (anyone else need to "break in" their soft, delicate winter skin between Big Toe and Next Door Toe before wearing thongs in summer?Or is that just an Aussie thing?) let alone adding fishnet tights to the mix!

And beautiful Emily Zak of Vogue Magazine- so very, very elegant but with a little "pop" of glorious green studded Hermès around her waist to shake things up a bit. Oh Hermès how I love thee :)

*I hear you snickering- I so could jog 15km if I really tried....okaaaaay, so maybe 15km is a little ambitious...mmmm maybe more like 50 metres

**I still haven't decided whether
to blog about my um "incident" with Ms Roberts lest I come across like I have been sucking too many sour apple and custard sweeties ;-)

Monday 23 March 2009

Street Style: Tom Ford and Westwood on the Streets of London

I spied this gentleman strolling with his beautiful wife and young baby and had to catch my breathe at his impeccably tailored jacket and pants...."And are you wearing anyone in particular?" "Tom Ford" Ahhhhhh, but of course!

Tom Ford is a master of proportion....well, he is, I am quite sure, the master of quite a few other things as well- but that's another story ;) "I don’t believe in playing around much with suit cuts. I like a fairly classic shape that gives a man strong shoulders, a fitted waist, and long legs. Classic simplicity always works". I didn't get a photograph of the back of the jacket but it fitted like a glove- creating a perfect, beautiful line. Is it just me or do bespoke-ish suits make a man automatically stand up straighter? (rather like having an in-built schoolmarm who hisses in your ear to "sit up straight, don't slouch" for 8 hours a day!) London is one of those places where you still see men who really "dress" on a daily basis and this gentleman was a marvellous example- casual yet oh so smart. Luxury that whispers almost....

And the trousers? the length? I love them although it is probably one of those "proceed with caution" trends- not for everyone. In the Spring/Summer 09 campaign, Tom Ford shows this trouser length with no socks, but well, given we are only just getting our first rays of sunshine in London for the season, socks with shoes are infinitely more sensible. Mmmm and did I mention that Tom Ford photographed his SS 09 advertising campaign as well? Arghhhhhhh is there anything this man cannot do well?

I was musing to myself after taking this photograph that Tom Ford should outfit Daniel Craig for the next Bond Film - especially with this new trouser length. A more modern Bond, no? But then I thought there may be problems trying to conceal his, um, weapons with those trousers (snigger, snigger! okaaaay, I admit that I am more than a little childish) Anyway, so then I remembered that Tom Ford DID dress Daniel Craig for Quantum of Solace. Urgh, I am so behind the times it is almost funny. Almost.

And then is Magnus, a designer, in his most fabulous, very Spring jacket by Vivienne Westwood.
A completely different look from the gentleman above (jacket worked back with jeans) but it works equally as well:

I wanted a close-up of Magnus as I loved his bone earring- quirky, cool and, well, I want a pair! Magnus designs for a jeans label (which he is wearing) which I can't for the life of me remember the name of...Magnus, if you see this can you leave a comment re your jeans?!

Thursday 19 March 2009

Street Style: Spring has (almost sprung) and Stylish Faces

I realise my blog looks and feels like it is suffering from bipolar disorder- one minute I am on about travel in Istanbul or whining about our boiler going wrong (and have I mentioned the little mouse situation?!) and the next I am taking photographs of street style. If you, dear blog fan, are a bit dizzy from the lack of direction, then I am positively vertiginous!

Until I figure out exactly what I want/should/need to focus on, y'all going to have to just sit tight, fasten your seat belts and grip your sick bag- the ride could be a bumpy one :)

Which brings me to this post and the emergence of Spring-like weather in London. Damn, and ain't it fine! The sky is azure blue, the air warm (I heard one miserable sod complain it was too hot yesterday- helllllooooo), the daffodils have popped open and trans-seasonal dressing is in full swing. Because while it is wonderfully warm in the sun, move into the shade, hop off the tube or bus and there is still a little nip in the air.

What to wear now? I spotted this woman (above) and thought she looked fabulous....actually I noticed her beautiful hair first (if that isn't recessionista hair- no thrice weekly blow-dry required here- then I don't know what is), then her cute, fresh stripey dress, then her deep caramel trench and then her jewellery. You probably can't see from the photographs but she had a stunning jade and gold necklace and two fab rings. Jewellery can make an outfit, non?

And about that hair....she is a perfect example of how to do loooooooong, loooooooong hair for those of us who are over the age of 29 :):) Not everybody can manage it (there is a fine line between a glorious mane of hair tumbling wildly down your back and looking like a 40 year old High School Musical drop-out): Jennifer Aniston can, Demi Moore can, as can Gwyneth and Tamara Mellon. Check it (below). Oh yes, and she is giving me the thumbs up sign- she was running to catch a cab while on her mobile when I signalled if I could take her photo....

This sun- I love it- but I need to learn how to shoot in it. I am so used to the grey, dull sky in London that each time I try to take someone's photo, I end up either blinding them, blowing out the highlights, or shooting blindly. So the next few photos are the ones I managed to salvage- yeah, they are (almost) all close-up shots....

Karina (who is English but lives in Australia- I thought she was an Aussie at first- her accent was almost as strong as mine...almost!):


Hannah (that gorgeous red hair!):

This gentleman was an absolute delight: funny, stylish and with that terrific moustache. Sure, he might not be wearing an outfit straight from the pages of this month's GQ but he was wearing something which suited him and looked fabulous:

Seoulee from Korea:

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Istanbul Guide- Part 1

I thought I would do this Istanbul mini-guide for those who maybe only want to buy maybe ONE guide book (and not like 5 or 6 like some other people- Messy looks around, whistling) and who only have a couple of days in Istanbul....obviously if you have longer there are a whole host of other websites, blogs, travelogues which will provide guidance on things to fill your stay. This is part 1 of the mini-guide - I haven't quite decided how many parts there will be yet! It isn't meant to be comprehensive by any means...but maybe it will help somebody planning a trip to Istanbul.

I thought I would start with Sultanahmet in the Old City, which is where we spent the first two nights of our stay (I will cover our hotels and getting to and from the airport on the Asian side in another Part). The big ticket items on everyone's must-do list are the: Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii), Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, Underground Cistern. We didn't get to see the Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern or inside the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, mainly because of timing- we only had one full day in Sultanahmet before we moved hotels. The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia were magnificent (I even got up at 6am to take some sunrise shots of both but unfortunately there was no spectacular sunrise so I just got strange looks from the locals going to prayer and a very friendly, stray cat). As for the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, they aren't really my thing (I am more of an open air, fresh food market kind of gal) but were worth a short look-see. Being off-season, neither were crowded but I still felt rather claustrophobic- I can't image what it must be like in the middle of summer with tourists crammed into every nook and cranny. Atmospheric or Hell on Earth...depending on your particular persuasion. The Grand Bazaar is huge so I would try and download a map in order to navigate its labyrinth of streets. For me, the best thing about the Grand Bazaar was the tiny kebab shop called Aynen Durum (which I mentioned in an earlier post) just outside the Bazaar near the informal money market. It is basically a "hole in the wall" set up with room for one guy to cook and seating for about 6 people either side of a stainless steel "condiment bar". You order your lamb or chicken kebab (cubes of lamb not the shaved doner variety) which is cooked over charcoal, wrapped in soft, chewy flat bread with a little tomato and handed to you to load up on condiments - sweet,minty pickles, dried chili, pickled chili, spices and masses of fresh, bouncy flat leaf parsley. Simple, clean, honest (and cheap) food- probably the best we had in Istanbul. You eat shoulder to shoulder with the locals (we were the only non-locals I spotted both times we passed by) and it was always packed. I gave the owner a "that was awesome!" thank you after we had paid (around 8 YTL) which produced some laughs from the other punters. The address for Aynen Durum is "Merkez: Muhafazacilar Sk. No:33 (Ayakli Borsa Yani) Kapalicarsi" Tel: 0212 527 47 28. If you make the effort to track it down, I promise you won't be disappointed :)

If you want to buy something to take home and can't face the prospect of the Grand Bazaar, try the Arasta Baazar which is tucked away below the Blue Mosque. It is just two rows of shops, open air and much less daunting. The Hedonist's Guide to Istanbul lists some of the shops worth seeking out in the Arasta Bazaar, Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) and the Grand Bazaar- bargaining/haggling is de rigueur so, once again, this may be your idea of heaven or hell (I can't tell you how much I loathe having to bargain- give me a fixed price any day!). It might be worth limbering up with a few smaller purchases before bargaining for that carpet or pricey antique ceramic.

Post Grand bazaar recovery? Head to the tranquil, chilled Erenler Cay Bahcesi- a nargile (hookah) cafe. I loved this place- I could have stayed there for hours drinking tea, chatting to the locals (did I mention this place is full of locals?!) and taking photographs. Alas Mr Messy has a thing about me asking people for photographs in his presence so I only managed to get the one of the gentleman (above) smoking his nargile. We ordered Turkish coffee and a cheese toasty- perfect revival fuel. I would have had a shot at smoking a nargile but the embarrassing prospect of coughing and spluttering my way through the experience stopped me (this is when travelling with friends comes in handy).....The sweet, heady smell of our neighbours smoke, listening to him inhale and the water bubbling was oddly soothing. I can't recommend this cafe highly enough particularly as it is so close to the Grand Bazaar but has (so far) escaped being touristy. Mesale cafe near the Arasta Bazaar (and our hotel), also a nargile cafe, is an example of a cafe which appears solely geared towards tourists- and that is all I will say!

Thick, leathery Turkish coffee at Erenler Cay Bahcesi (below):

Stoking the coal which sits in the top of the nargile with the fruit tobacco:

Baubles in the Grand Bazaar:

Once you are refueled and armed with a good map (does anyone else have trouble finding street signs in Istanbul?), head towards the Istanbul University and Mosque of Suleyman The Magnificent and then down into the back streets of the Old City: your destination being Vefa Bozacisi the home of Boza, a curiously addictive fermented millet drink. We got hopelessly lost trying to find the cafe but is was well worth it- for the chance to see life in the back streets of Vefa, to check out the beautiful cafe and to drink Boza with the steady stream of Turkish people heading through its doors. School kids accompanied by their parents, businessmen and women, local workers- it seems everyone needs their afternoon fix of Boza. The drink itself is an acquired taste (although I pretty much acquired it after 2 sips!)... it looks like yogurt but it doesn't taste anything like yogurt- it is thick, "oaty", creamy but with a "spritzy" ending (I guess that is the ferment). It is served sprinkled generously with cinnamon and what I think were crunchy, sweetened chickpeas on top. I saw Vefa Bozacisi for sale in take away bottles all over Istanbul but the cafe is something a bit special.

This little boy's grandfather helped direct us to Vefa Bozacici:

Pouring the Boza:

Inside the cafe:

With contented tummies (the Vefa Bozacisi chaps were keen to point out the health benefits of a daily glass of Boza- it contains vitamins A, B and C) we wound our way back down to near the Spice Bazaar and the intimate, beautiful Rüstem Pasha Mosque. This mosque is tucked away above bustling alleys lined with shops and while you can see its minarets, it is a little hard to find. Just ask somebody for directions or, if you are like us, people will see the confused look on your face and start pointing to the mosque.

If you see this impromptu market:

and spices lining the alleyway:

Then you just need to go up some stairs and are at the Rustem Pasha mosque with its exquisite blue floral tiles:

As for dining out, we ventured to Tarihi Selim Usta Sultanahmet Koftecisi which seems to be very popular in guide books and on forums but which we found wholly underwhelming.

Similarly, Hamdi restaurant (posh kebabs) was very average but the view (below- I think this may be the top of the Rustem Pasha mosque?) from the glassed in top floor dining area was worth the twice the price we paid for our meal. Late on a summer's night I think this would be a fabulous place to digest the day's travel adventures....

Street Style returns tomorrow :)

Monday 16 March 2009


This post, which is very short indeed, was suppose to be Part 1 of the Messy Guide to Must-Do's in Istanbul....for anyone who doesn't feel up to reading loads of guide books and/or surfing the net for hours on end. However the Messy household has been struck down by a virulent bout of food poisoning. Such that we have both been alternating between being curled up on the bed in the foetal position and hugging the porcelain in the bathroom. Not an attractive sight. So, the next post will be Part 1 (not sure how many parts there will be!) of my Istanbul guide.

And as soon as I am feeling up to it, I will be back out on the streets shooting some Street Style...so if you are looking for some street style posts, check back later in the week.

Tonight, I leave you with a George Carlin quote I read yesterday (in an article about some rather um, "interesting" parties which take place in London) which appealed to me as I lay on my (death*) bed: "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy sh*t! What a ride!"

Photographs above and below are from the Hagia Sophia (Aya Soyfa in Turkish) in Sultanahmet. The Hagia Sophia was originally a church, then became a mosque in 1453 and is now a museum. It is worth a visit to the Hagia Sophia for the exquisite Byzantine mosaics alone. The top photograph is a mosaic depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist (I only photographed Christ as I couldn't fit all 3 in with my 50mm lens!). The other two photos I took through the windows in the South Gallery.

In the courtyard of Hagia Sophia:

A boy near the Galata Bridge (on the Sultanahmet side):

A fisherman on the Galata Bridge:

A jumble of deaded fish and what look like 1970's prawn cocktails (complete with cocktail sauce) on the Galata Bridge:

It got lowered down in front of me so of course I snapped it!:

Hot roasted chestnut vendor:

*Google is a wonderful thing except when you are suffering from a "medical condition" and are self-diagnosing (always dangerous). The words which leap out from the page are always the most dire like, oh, for example: can result in death, paralysis, severe dehydration, nervous system damage.....
Proceed to Google (for medical diagnosis) with infinite caution most excellent blog fans!