VAMFF


Photo by Xiaohan Shen for Pages Digital

Rick Owens Leather Biker Jacket (buy here) / Glassons Milk Merino Knit (buy here) / Et Al Distressed Skirt (buy here) / Rick Owens Geobasket Sneakers (buy here) / Alexander Wang Handbag (similar here)/ Alicia Hannah Naomi Jewellery (buy here)

I’ve learned over the years of blogging that there’s very little for me to cover at fashion weeks here in Australia; especially the commercial ones. The few aesthetically-appropriate designers we have here that appeal to my style I would prefer to showcase independently of the hype of a fashion week. However I was recently coerced into attended a VAMFF runway last week, which I did mostly on the promise of getting to see some friends who were visiting for the event from interstate.

Edit Evening would say the pained expression on my face in this street style photo taken by the lovely Xiaohan Shen is a manifestation of my disdain for these fashion weeks; but actually it was just a windy night and my hair was whipping in my eyes, causing me to squint. Either way, it’s a pretty amusing contrast to the rest of the gallery full of smiling fashion-week-istas who all dressed for the occasion, whereas I’d come straight from work.

Hair and Harness

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Assin Dress (similar here) / Scanlan & Theodore Harness (similar here) / Rick Owens Boots (buy here) / Alicia Hannah Naomi Jewellery (buy here)

Aesthetically speaking, I have a tendency to get completely obsessive over very small details. As I’ve been growing my fringe out, my cowlick has been driving me crazy, but I’ve finally decided to stop fighting with it.

Speaking of my hair, I’m trying to find a way I can be kinder to it when I blow it dry. A lot of people don’t realise my hair is naturally curly from the root, but it’s also very fine so I feel like I’m constantly torturing it.  A few months ago I noticed that I actually have an entire (thin) fringe of what appears to be broken hair around my hairline. I was pretty shocked and upset since I’ve spent so long growing my fringe out – almost two years (see below) – and I decided after some research that maybe the brushes I use are contributing to this breakage and the hair-fall I’ve been noticing. 

After lots of recommendations I bought a Denman Classic Styling brush but I can’t seem to get enough tension to get my hair straight as I blow it out! I feel like every blow-out tutorial online is for girls with moderately straight hair to begin with. Blowing out curls is a whole different game and I need to create some pretty extreme tension to get it to behave. Right now I’m using one of those clamp straightening brushes and a round brush. They work well but I’m concerned about how much damage their doing. If anyone has any advice on how to use the Denman to blow my curls out I’d love some advice in the comments!

Completely coincidentally, the last time I wore this harness and boots combo on the blog was in May 2012, the very last time I cut my fringe in. I had my lengths cut off really short so it would be easier to get my fringe to the same length as the rest of my ends but I still have a gap of about 2 inches between them.

I bought this dress on my birthday this year from Assin in Melbourne. It’s by their house brand, a heavy double-layered jersey with a twisted, asymmetric bubble hem. I usually hate bubble hems but this works I think because the fabric is so weighty. It hangs like perfectly draped sack, which is a silhouette I’m really enjoying lately; but it still looks great cinched with a belt or harness.

Hugh’s Ring

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A dear old acquaintance recently got in touch with me about commissioning a ring; it was her long-term boyfriend’s upcoming birthday and she wanted to get him a special piece of jewellery without giving the suggestion of marriage or proposal. She liked both the Elcho Falling Ring design and the Anthracite Ring, but felt the peak on Elcho Falling was too high and jagged, but the Anthracite ring didn’t have enough dimension.

So we worked together to create this design, keeping the texture of the Anthracite Ring, but giving it a rough, rocky peak sitting slightly off-centre from the top so it didn’t look too uniform. She opted to keep the inside black and industrial-looking; so I finished it to the point just before final polish, then blackened the piece which gave the inside a rough and masculine matte finish.

I love working on commissions because it breaks up my routine; but also because creating unique pieces for people to mark special occasions is very rewarding.

It was delightful to hear that Hugh loved his gift and it fit him perfectly.

To enquire about a commission of your own, head over to aliciahannahnaomi.com.

Talking with… Melanie Katsalidis of Pieces of Eight

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Melbourne-based fine jeweller and gallery owner Melanie Katsalidis (Pieces of Eight and Edition X) and Melbourne-based fashion label Alpha60 have collaborated on a new range of jewellery, UPALA. From the Sanskrit meaning ‘valuable stone’, UPALA draws inspiration equally from the sparse Australian deserts and the great primary forms of classical geometry.

Melanie was kind enough to take some time to chat with me about her work and the collaboration.

It always fascinates me to note how many contemporary jewellers started off with creative training in another field. You originally studied Art History and Cinema, what pushed you into changing direction and why jewellery?
I always had a love of art and design, but when I finished high school, I embarked on a Bachelor of Arts degree at Melbourne University. I majored in art history and cinema but found that while I enjoyed the intellectual and analytical aspects of the course, I missed making things. I started producing and selling jewellery pieces and being self taught, I explored lots of different techniques. I found that, to my surprise, that I was finding an audience for my work and making good sales! This opened up a whole new path for me and as I contemplated my next move, I decided to pursue jewellery by enrolling in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT University. I’ve never looked back.

You established two important retail initiatives in Melbourne; Pieces of Eight Gallery and Edition X, both of which support the work of a wide range of emerging and established contemporary jewellery and object artists as well as your own work.  What drives you to champion the local industry?
I think I have always been someone who is good at driving projects and also at seeing opportunity- I have a lot to thank my dad for in that area! After RMIT, I enrolled in the NEIS course to develop my business skills. As often occurs in life, a series of decisions and happy accidents lead me to establishing a group studio for myself and 5 other jewellers in North Fitzroy in 2005. As the building had a shop front, I made the decision to also launch a gallery and Pieces of Eight was born. I think my years of retail experience and entrepreneurial nature gave me the confidence to dive in and create a special space to profile my work and the work of my peers. I grew up around galleries and many of my parents friends were in the arts, so to establish a retail/gallery space felt like the best and most exciting way to connect artists with an audience.

Edition X is something I launched a couple of years ago as a compliment to Pieces of Eight. It was a way to create what I call the “affordable-collectable”, that is limited editioned inexpensive works that would be perfect fit for a gap I saw in the market. Pieces of Eight had grown to be more high end, showcasing unique art jewellery and fine precious jewellery, while Edition X was a way to connect with a younger clientele and also create offerings for our clients who were looking for an inexpensive gift. Created as an online store, I also wanted to reach an international market and move beyond bricks and mortar.

When you do get time at the bench, what are your favourite materials to work with and why?
I especially love working with gold – it is a very pure, and beautiful metal to work with. I lament it has become very expensive these last few years, I wish I could just work with it exclusively sometimes as it has less issues than silver. But I do love oxidised (blacken) silver too… I also enjoy working with materials that are in someway linked to conservative or ‘bad’ jewellery and casting them in a new light, like pearls and opals.

Your collaboration with  fashion label Alpha60 – UPALA – has just launched in time for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. What are your feelings on the relationship with fashion and fine jewellery?
I think there is a long standing historic relationship between fashion and fine jewellery. I think immediately of the fine jewellery created by Coco Chanel through to the incredible avant-garde jewels by fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli from the 1930’s to 50’s. It’s a pleasure to work with Alpha60 on Upala, our aesthetics are so aligned, it was an easy and natural exchange of ideas that lead to the exhibition.

Recommend one book, film and/or album that is inspiring you right now.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading at the moment and can recommend The Art of Thinking Clearly by  Rolf Dobelli. I also have been listening to a beautiful album, on vinyl, that I received last week by my friend’s band- Magic Mountain Band. They raised the funds to create ‘Wilderman’ on Pozible and their music is so evocative, it’s the perfect music to play while making jewellery and being creative!

The collection will range from one-off specialty pieces (with a feature piece valued at $70k), to production pieces (starting at $160), all of which feature opals from Lightning Ridge. The UPALA exhibition is currently being held at Pieces of Eight gallery on Russell Pl, Melbourne, and will run until April 19th, 2014.
Calf Hair Boots

Rick Owens Calf Hair Wedge Ankle Boots

I stare at these ankle boots every time I walk past Zambesi on Flinders Lane where they have them merchandised in view of the street-facing window. I make Edit Evening stop and stare with me, and as much of a dedicated Rick lover as he is I think he doesn’t care enough to swoon on the street with me through a window.

My breath caught in my throat when I saw them reduced by 60% at Barney’s Warehouse, but I let my common sense prevail and will continue my admiration through a window of a different kind, because I know deep down that wet Melbourne winters aren’t conducive to calf hair boots.