Recently I wrote a post about my gorgeous friend, Miss Monique Sweet, who is competing for the inaugural title of Miss Moonshine this Sunday at Trentham – you can read all about it here.
Anyway … I know she is slightly terrified about the competition, but I also know she has put lots of effort into it and has the MOST RAD outfits, so if you’re in the Trentham area – get along and show her some love! And, of course … vote for her in the People’s Choice Award.
And, just ‘cos I can, here are some more beautiful pics of this classically gorgeous, pinup babe.
And one more for luck …
So as you can see … she is TOTALLY deserving of the Miss Moonshine title!
GOOD LUCK MISS MONIQUE SWEET!!!!
Sending big hugs and luck!
Last year I was lucky enough to do an interview with the world’s leading body paint artist, Joanne Gair. Joanne (aka Kiwi Jo) is an amazing Kiwi woman at the pinnacle of her field as a trompe l’oeil and makeup artist – we did a two-part interview – read part one here and part two here. She also does some incredible fine art – check out her Instagram details at the bottom of this post.
Anyway … I thought I would just highlight a few of things I learned about body painting in this edition of “five quick facts.”
1)Sports Illustrated is perhaps the most famous publicity vehicle for body painting – Joanne did her first campaign with Sports Illustrated in 1999 and has been working with them ever since.
2) A full body paint generally takes anywhere between 8 and 12 hours – leaning toward twelve, particularly if there’s hair and (face) makeup involved as well.
Body painting is also known as trompe l’oeil.
3)M.A.C has a good aqua line that you can use for body painting – it’s available in pancake and liquid colours. They also have a colourful grease stick and a silicon-based line you can airbrush to achieve different looks (try their Auckland store.) Kryolan also does some excellent products as well – they opened in Auckland last year as well.
4) Joanne says you don’t have to have all the expensive products to attempt body painting – essentially if you can use a product on your face, you can use it on your body – it’s all skin and there’s no right or wrong, particularly when you’re colouring in. The most important feature of a product is its ability to mix and to stay on the skin without slipping or fading.
Fun fact: sometimes models get to sleep while they’re being painted! Initially, Joanne says they need to be standing vertically while she’s drawing the image up, but once she’s working on the fine detail, the model can often sleep for a couple of hours on a beanbag, or propped up in some way. Considering most of her sessions start at 1.00am (to ensure the 12 hour window allows for models to be ready by the “magic light” time photographers need) that’s definitely a good thing!
5) Preparation for body painting? The body is the canvas, and it simply cannot be slippery! Hair follicles must be removed as best you can before a body paint; otherwise it will be done on the day. Hair follicles show up when you start airbrushing – they stand up and they get coated with colour. If you’re going to be body painted you need to be shaved or waxed and there can be no moisture on the body at all. Also, if you’re getting a spray tan it needs to be a few days before you get painted as there can’t be any residue on the skin.
I love this disappearing models shot! Sooo clever.
A while ago I decided to do a little series of posts on what I’d buy if I had $800 to spend in certain places, ‘cos I’m shallow like that! Sadly, I don’t actually have $800 to randomly spend on unnecessary things, but I’m not going to let the facts get in the way of a good story! The first in the series was Pinup Girl Clothing and since then I’ve done Louis Vuitton (but I had to change it to $8,000 for them!) and Sephora.
Sooo … today’s lucky faux-shopping venue is Lush – fresh, handmade cosmetics (this is the NZ version – if you’re not an NZ reader, you’ll have your own local version!) I am a BIG fan of Lush; I love their values and philosophy, but even more, I love their products! I am fortunate enough to have received this fabulous little booklet (below) in my goodie bag from the recent Makeup Obsessives meetup in Auckland and I do feel it is destined to become rather dog-eared and “used” with little ticks and circles and folded-over edges, as I add to my wish list! As a marketing-type, the other thing I must admit to loving with Lush is their product names – “Dream Steam” (steam a little dream of me) anyone?!
So anyway … here we go with my picks:
♥Pick number one – Gorgeous (face) – $85 ($715 left)
This stuff is rumoured to be a miracle-worker – it simply melts into your skin and moisturises the hell out of it via the six organic oils and butters Lush have used. This lovely light product is definitely a summer treat – not cheap though, so remember to luxuriate in the feeling whenever you grace your face with it! ♥ Pick number two – Dream Cream (body) – $35 ($680 left)
This one’s recommended for “easily upset skin” – I don’t actually have easily upset skin really, but this cream comes highly recommended by Kirsty of Makeup Obsessives, and that’s enough for me. Chamomile, lavender and oat milk combine to calm irritation and reduce redness and blotchiness.
♥ Pick number three – Shimmy Shimmy Massage Bar/Body Tint – $15 each – x 5 = $75 ($605 left)
I tried this in-store a while ago and it’s GORGEOUS (and not the Gorgeous cream mentioned above!) It’s a beautiful, silky smooth texture that just slides onto your skin imparting a subtle golden glow. It leaves you with a slight pinky-gold sparkle and a scent of vanilla, laced with lavender – soooo perfect – in fact, so perfect that I’m buying five ‘cos I need to share this one with my friends.
♥ Pick number four – Toothy Tabs – $3.90 each x 3 = $12 ($593 left) These Toothy Tabs created a massive buzz when they trended through the Makeup Obsessives Facebook group recently – Lush are probably still reeling from the floods of MUO’s swooping into the stores! Anyway, Toothy Tabs are a solid, waste-free, fluoride-free alternative to regular toothpaste. I’ve never tried them, but apparently you chew one tablet until it begins to foam, then you brush as usual. There are several different options – I’m going to try three different ones on this faux-shopping expedition; Breath of God (cleansing and refreshing,) Sparkle (vanilla and black pepper) and Ultrablast (containing antibacterial wasabi (!) for intense cleaning.)
♥ Pick number five – Lip Tints – $11.50 each x 10 = $115.00 ($478 left)
These are gorgeous and come in a perfect fit-in-your-handbag size. Because I can’t decide between which colours I’d like best, I’m going for both “It Started with a Kiss” (alluring, rosy red) and Latte (a creamy blend with a shot of vanilla for bronze-tinted lips.) They both look soooo pretty and come highly recommended by Melanie of The Sweet Painted Lady in her Summer Essentials tag (pssssstttt … you can read mine here.) Again, because I am feeling generous (probably because I’m not actually paying for any of this!) I would buy five sets; one for me and four to give to my friends!
♥ Pick number six – Ambrosia Shaving Cream – $25 ($453 left)
Because I’m not entirely selfish (!) I would get some of this shaving cream for the man in my life. Supposedly the oat milk, linseed, chamomile and honey water in Ambrosia will calm and soften his skin and transform his evenings (he shaves at night!)
♥ Pick number seven – Angels on Bare Skin cleanser ($19), Dark Angels scrub ($19) Ultrabland classic cream cleanser ($20) and 9 To 5 softening, cleansing milk ($20) – $78 ($375 left)
So I couldn’t decide, and you need different cleansers for your skin’s different moods right? So I’m giving all of these a go ‘cos I’ve heard good things about each of them.
♥ Pick number eight – Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion – $35 x 2 = $70 ($305 left)
I LOVE anything that makes me smell like vanilla so this is an easy sell for me! And because you run out of body lotion pretty fast in summer, I’m getting two of them!
♥ Pick number nine – Lovely Jubblies Breast Cream – $35 x 4 = $140 ($165 left) We all need to take care of our breasts right? And do regular self-checks – and sometimes our partners are keen to help out with that! Well anyway … having this gorgeous Lovely Jubblies breast cream in your arsenal is going to make that task just a whole lot easier. It’s also supposed to tighten and firm, so I’m all for that. I’m buying one for my mum and my two sisters as well.
♥ Pick number ten – Melting Marshmallow Moment luxury bath melts $9.7- x 10 – $97 ($68 left)
I’ve tried these, I love these, I love the smell of these and I want LOTS of them! Hence I have put ten in my little faux-shopping cart!
♥ Pick number eleven – Honey I Washed the Kids Shower Gel – 500ml – $30 ($38 left)
I’ve tried this one and it smells divine – and I mean divine. Like toffee and honey divine – am I going on too much? Yeah? Nah?! Try it … seriously.
Who needs Frank to accompany you in the shower when you can have this stuff?! This stuff is sea salt with a hint of lemon juice and the scent of mimosa blossom. The extra-good thing about this stuff is that it dissolves, so won’t block up your shower or bath. So get rubbing!
OK … so I have $20 left … I would spend it on three bath bombs, which are between $6 and $7 each. Here goes:
Phoenix Rising – I thought Lush’s description of this was just too good not to directly quote here: “… He’ll release gentle shea butter, cocoa butter and jojoba oil to leave your skin feather soft, and exotic essential oils of fruit and spices, which take your mind on a flight of fancy to distant shores where you are lying on a beach drinking spiced rum.” All that from just a bath bomb – fabulous, no?!
Think Pink – gloriously indulgent and scented with tonka beans and vanilla – just YUM – and pretty – and cupcakey looking!
Honey Bee – gentle and soothing, Honey Bee smells like caramel and has special mud to deep-cleanse and soften that gorgeous skin of yours.
And that’s it … $800 dusted at Lush!!
What would you purchase at Lush if you had $800? Go check out their site here – like me, you’re likely to be on there for hours trying to decide how to spend your hard-earned!
NB: All images are taken from the Lush NZ website, and at times I have rounded the prices up just slightly so I didn’t have to be bothered too much with little things like cents! For accurate pricing, visit the website. This post is not endorsed in any way by Lush (sadly!) – it’s just for fun.
Ever since I first read about them at the age of around ten, I have been fascinated by the fragile and exquisite beauty of the Fabergé eggs.
Fabergé jewelled eggs were created by Peter Faberge between 1885 and 1917; the most famous of these eggs were made for the Russian Tsars, Alexander III and Nicholas II, who gifted them to their wives and mothers at Easter – these are known as the Imperial Fabergé eggs. The House of Fabergé made around 50 of these eggs, of which only 42 survive today.
The Hen egg …
The very first Fabergé egg was created in 1885 and commissioned by Tsar Alexander III for his wife. It is known as the “Hen Egg” and was created in gold with an opaque white enamelled shell – this opens to reveal a matte yellow-gold yolk, which in turn opens to reveal a multi-coloured golden hen. Amazingly the hen opens as well and she reveals a tiny diamond replica of the imperial crown, from which a small ruby pendant was suspended – unfortunately both the crown and the pendant have been lost.
The royal family loved this little Hen egg so much they commissioned a new egg every Easter and gave Fabergé free rein to create what he wanted; the only stipulation was that each egg had to contain a “surprise.” So kind of like a dream job for any jeweller I would imagine!
There are forty-two surviving eggs, so I’m obviously not going to detail them all, however I am going to pick my “top three.” So … without further blathering on, herewith my top three utterly exquisite Fabergé eggs …
The “Gatchina Palace” Fabergé egg
This was made in 1901 for Nicholas II of Russia as a gift for his mother. The bejewelled, enamelled egg opens to reveal a tiny gold replica of the palace of Gatchina, which was his mother’s winter residence. The egg is crafted from gold, enamel, silver gilt, diamonds, rock crystal and seed pearls.
The “Alexander III Equestrian” Fabergé egg When I did my OE some of my favourite things were the equestrian statues in the many palace grounds I visited, so this egg was always going to appeal to me. It was created by Fabergé in 1910 for the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II and was a gift for his mother.
This gorgeous thing is carved out of rock-quartz crystal with platinum trelliswork on top – which I LOVE – I don’t think platinum trelliswork is used enough these days – do you?!
Anyway, it also has a large diamond engraved with the year “1910” on top of the egg which is set in a band of small roses, with a rosette border of platinum acanthus leaves. The two platinum double-headed eagles on the sides of the egg have diamond crowns – oooh, I LOVE diamond crowns!
This egg’s “surprise” is the golden replica of a statue of Tsar Alexander III on horseback, standing on a nephrite base and embellished with two rose-cut diamond bands. It is also engraved with Fabergés signature. The egg is supported by platinum cherubs coiled into position on a base of crystal. Exquisite.
And then – last, but not least …
The “Imperial Coronation” egg
This stunning bejewelled Fabergé egg was created in 1897 to commemorate Tsaritsa, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna’s coronation.
The egg is made from gold with translucent lime yellow enamel and a beautiful field of starbursts which reference the cloth-of-gold robe worn by the Tsarina at her coronation.
A large portrait diamond is set in the top of the egg and this stonker of a diamond is surrounded by ten brilliant-cut diamonds. The even cooler thing about the large diamond (other than its size!) is that if you look into the table (i.e. the flat part on top!) you can see the monogram of the Empress.
This egg’s “surprise” is fitted inside a velvet-lined compartment and is an exact replica of the eighteenth-century Imperial coach that carried Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation. The red colour of the original coach was recreated using strawberry-coloured translucent enamel. It has another fabulous large diamond on the top and the windows are made of engraved rock crystal. The tyres are platinum, decorated with a diamond-set trellis in gold and the doors have an Imperial eagle made out of diamonds. It even has C-spring shock absorbers and a tiny folding step-chair!
Unfortunately a few things are missing from this egg – it originally had an emerald or diamond pendant that hung inside the coach and it had a glass-enclosed jadeite stand for the display of the carriage as well as a stand made of silver-gilt wire. Such a shame these things get lost or stolen over the years.
The value of a Fabergé egg …
So what’s the value of a Fabergé egg you ask? Good question – let’s just say that a VERY lucky gentleman bought this egg at a jumble sale for $14,000 (which actually seems like a LOT to shell out at a jumble sale to me) – he was planningto sell it for scrap metal but overestimated its value and couldn’t find a buyer. In desperation he typed in the name that appeared on the face of the clock and long story, short – it turned out to be the missing third Fabergé Imperial Egg and was subsequently sold for $33 million!
So in summary – the intrinsic value of the Fabergé eggs is not actually that much – the intrinsic value of this one was pretty much what he paid; essentially what you are paying for with a Fabergé egg is the name, the craftsmanship – and, of course, the history or provenance behind it.
So what do you think? Are you as intrigued by the fabulous craftsmanship and sparkly beauty of these Fabergé eggs as I am?
This post was inspired by a “winter essentials” tag I saw on one of my lovely, most supportive follower’s blogs, The World of COS. If you want to see her original post, click here. Anyway, because I enjoyed reading The World of Cos’s version so much, I decided to create one of my own … and here it is! At the end I have tagged several bloggers I know, so hopefully they’ll join in the fun!
1) What is your ultimate summer party season lip product?
Lime Crime’s Velvetine in Suedeberry – it’s clear, bright and summery – and here’s a slightly dodgy pic of me wearing it!
2) What is your essential product for summer?
It would have to be Dove Summer Glow … I really couldn’t bare my legs to the world without it! I use the normal to dark ‘cos ya’ know, I am soooo olive! Actually though, the darker version is fine for me. As with any fake tan, you need to make sure your skin is moisturised first and that you are careful with your application around the old ankles, knees and elbows.
3) What’s next on your wish list?
The Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette – gives you all the flawless, glowy skin and who doesn’t want that in summer right?
4) Name one beauty essential that is never missing from your handbag during the warmer months. Nivea Soft Rose lip butter – I HATE having dry lips, so I always keep this around – and the good thing is you can put it over the top of your Velvetines and it stops them being so dry.
5) What are your summer weather skincare saviours?
My Finishing Spray from Skindinavia – helps stop that pretty summer makeup from sliding off!
6) What is summer going to smell like this year?
Well for me it’s going to smell like Rihanna’s Reb’l Fleur because my Mum and Dad got me that for Christmas. And may I say, that for someone who ran out of perfume four months ago, having it back in my beauty kit is awesome!
And if I’m very lucky, the perfume gods may smile on me and I may be blessed with some Viktor & Rolfe Flower Bomb as well!
7) What’s your favourite summer makeup tip?
Spray your Beauty Blender or foundation sponge with Skindinavia Primer spray before foundation to make your makeup last all day long … and night!
8) What are you greatest summer indulgences? ♥ Mini bottles of sparkling Lindauer Sauvignon Blanc ♥ Lime Crime Velvetine in Pansy (whoa … bright!) ♥ A beautiful mini-escape to the Stamford Plaza in Auckland for the Makeup Obsessives meet-up (thank you Wotif!) ♥ Sipping champagne out of a camping cup on a balmy summer’s evening at Stony Bay♥ Sequinned or bejewelled jandals ♥ Summer frocks ♥ A deliciously long summer holiday.
9) Lush summer – your top pick?
Bubblegum Sugar Lip Scrub.
10) Name one (or more) random summer essential. ♥ Air conditioning in my car (recently realised how important this is when my car ran out of air con gas!)
I would like to tag the following ladies as I’d love to see their answers on their blogs:
〉Kirsty from Makeup Obsessives – she’s awesome and I love her writing style. 〉Melanie from The Sweet Painted Lady – I love local blogs and Mel is a Glamilton-based hair and makeup artist, specialising in vintage styles. 〉Charlotte from Miss Charlotte Cake – an Auckland-based blogger/pinup/baker with raven hair and a vintage vibe. 〉And last, but not least, Shayna from Miss Rouge’s Blog – Shayna is a gorgeous, natural redhead with style to burn!
Please ladies, if I’ve tagged you, only do this if you want to! Of course if you haven’t been tagged and you’d like to do it, please join in – all you do is link back to the person who tagged you.
In the lead-up to the very first Miss Moonshine competition in Wellington on the 1st of February 2015, I thought I would take this opportunity to do a little profile on my very good friend, Miss Monique Sweet, who is entering the competition.
The pinup competition is being run by Moonshine Rod and Custom and Glory Days Magazine and celebrates the Moonshine Club’s “Sweet 16th.” It will be a much-anticipated part of the Club’s American Vehicle Day celebrations which are being held at the Trentham Racecourse.
Above is the photo Miss Monique Sweet submitted, and here is the little description she sent along with it:
“With a twinkle in her eye; a flick of her hair and a wiggle in her derriere, Miss Monique Sweet will have you dreaming of the Glory Days. She’s a vintage-inspired vixen and a voluptuous cocktail of modern-day madness. Miss Monique Sweet yearns for the 60’s where fashion was all about big hair and beautiful day wear. Combining her love of the pinup style and 60’s fashion, Miss Monique Sweet has got it all going on. A gold lame pantsuit you say? Why yes please! A wardrobe full of your stylish grandmother’s clothes? Uh huh – yes again! With titian tresses and ruby lips, Miss Monique Sweet is set to dazzle! Could Miss Moonshine be the competition that sets her alight? Watch this space …”
Pretty cool huh! Miss Monique Sweet has been described recently as a “50’s model sensation” and I quite agree – she’s gorgeous and has a vintage style that’s very well-curated and all her own.
Now a HUGE part of the Miss Moonshine competition is, of course, the outfit! Miss Monique Sweet has gone all out with this one and I CANNOT WAIT to see the whole thing put together – she will rock it for sure!
Monique has been very mindful of supporting local businesses in the creation of her ensemble for Miss Moonshine 2015, and has chosen to use several NZ designers to help her create the main components of her outfit. Her beautiful swing skirt was custom-made for her by Devel Men and Women and although I haven’t seen it yet, it sounds divine. To set off her skirt, Monique approached Glamilton designer, Honey L’Amour (check out her Pinup December page) who has created something special to match. Her titian tresses will be accessorised by a handcrafted hair fascinator by Auckland designer, Rebecca of Made with Love. Monique has also gone on a little international shopping spree for more accessories … watch this space!
On the day of the competition, you’ll be able to pop along and watch the models being photographed with some fabulous vintage cars by the Glory Days photographer; there’ll be vintage-themed stalls to browse; a hotdog-eating competition (!) and you’ll be able to vote in the People’s Choice award as well – there’s all sorts of things to see and do! Here’s the poster – check it out.
If like me, all your makeup products seem to run out at once, you’ll know that sinking feeling you get when you have to shell out the big bucks for replacements! Makeup’s not cheap, but whoa … did you know there are false eyelashes out there that retail at $1,350? I mean, seriously?! When I read about those lashes, it prompted me to investigate further into super-luxe makeup products … and OMG, check out what I found – these prices will make your eyes water!
Moisturiser –let’s start with a moisturiser – a million-dollar face needs a good base right? This pretty-looking moisturiser is very limited edition (only three jars were ever made!) Named La Crème by Clè de Peau Beautè (parent company, Shiseido) it retails for $13,213 for a 50 gram jar (that’s five times more expensive per gram than gold!) The handcrafted jars boast three platinum rings and 30 layers of crystal and were designed by French glassmaker, Crystal Saint-Louis. Don’t worry if you can’t afford the limited edition version though, they make a less-luxe version for only $973 – available at Nordstrom – get in quick!
False eyelashes – so … next up on your million dollar baby(face) are the eyelashes. Here we have the aforementioned $1,350 false eyelashes; containing 0.2 carat diamonds, hand set on 18K gold. And if diamonds are not your thing (pffftttt!), there’s always the plainer 24K gold version. These were made exclusively for Barneys in New York by krē•āt beauty.
Mascara – if you don’t fancy wearing the falsies and let’s face it, they could be annoyingly heavy – what with all those diamonds (!) you could try this mascara from the now defunct Couture Beauty. Those wealthy enough to afford the staggering $14 MILLION DOLLAR (OMG!) price tag could choose between an 18K gold mascara tube with 2,500 blue diamonds or the 18K gold lipstick tube with 1,200 pink diamonds. Hmmmm, pink or blue? Or both? Anyway … these gorgeous offerings came complete with a lifetime of concierge services, lifetime refills, 24/7 phone support (?!) and free gift-wrapping! Those who did splash out may now be regretting it though as the company has gone under and those free refills are now pretty hard to get!
Lipstick – the lippy … obviously to top off a face like this, your lipstick would need to be preeettttty special wouldn’t it?! Well thankfully Guerlain (parent company, Louis Vuitton) has risen to the occasion with their shade-customisable KissKiss Diamond and Gold lipstick … a snip at a mere $62,000! The packaging is stunning – 110 grams of 18K yellow gold with 119 diamonds embedded in that gold. Oh … and you get a free lip brush with this one!
Cosmetics gun – one last little piece of expensive cosmetic whimsy is the “cosmetics gun” … designed by Dutch jewellery designer, Ted Norton. You can purchase the white “Dior” version, or the black “Chanel” version. The Dior version, priced at around $11,500 contains a Dior lipgloss, a vial of perfume, an antique hairpin, an 18k gold toothpick (!), a 50 gram 24K gold bar, a USB stick and a Viagra pill!
The more expensive Chanel version retails at around $17,000 and contains similar, Chanel-branded versions of the above products.
So … which of these fabulous options will be on your wish list for this coming pay day???!!!
* All prices are in $US, making them even more outrageously expensive when you convert them to little old $NZ!
Handbags, even more than shoes, (I know!), are one of my biggest passions, so I thought it might be a bit of fun to do a quick handbag version of my “Five iconic” series. Which kinda sounds a wee bit OTT really considering currently my “Five iconic” series consists of “Five iconic fragrances” and that’s it! But hey, I’m getting there – this blog is still but a baby!
Anyway … back to the iconic handbags. These five bags are what are generally considered the most iconic handbags available … there are others of course, but these ones seem to come out on top in most polls. Though they’re numbered, they’re in no particular order.
# 1 – Hermés Birkin
First launched in 1982 by Hermés, the Birkin bag is handmade by artisans in France in leather and is named after the actress and singer Jane Birkin. These bags are EXTREMELY expensive and are therefore a status symbol and very much in vogue with celebrities. They can range anywhere from $13K to to over $365K- actually, the sky’s the limit really!
Hermés distribute these bags on an unpredictable schedule to their boutiques and in limited quantities – this creates scarcity and exclusivity – and the dreaded waiting list! They can be made to order and customers can choose different hides (calf leather, ostrich, crocodile, lizard – the most expensive being saltwater crocodile), colour and hardware fixtures – you can even have them diamond-encrusted – now that, is handy! They come in 25, 30, 35 and 40cm; the smaller-scale versions are generally more expensive.
The Hermés Birkin is one of the most recognisable handbags EVER – despite being logo-free.
This particular Birkin is the extremely rare Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin – encrusted with 245 diamonds, boasting 18-karat white gold hardware and crafted from extremely pale crocodile skin. It cost an eye-watering $365,000 – yes, that’s THREE-HUNDRED-AND-SIXTY-FIVE-THOUSAND-DOLLARS! Gosh! (FYI – Victoria Beckham has one – well she would, wouldn’t she?!) That makes the other handbags in this list seem cheap as chips!
# 2 – Louis Vuitton Noé
It was a bit of a toss-up between the Louis Vuitton Noé and the Speedy, to be honest, but I’ve chosen the Noé because it has a cooler history!
When asked by a champagne producer to develop a sturdy, stylish bag in which he could transport five bottles of bubbly (four upright and one in the middle, upside down), Gaston-Louis Vuitton created the classic Noé design in 1932 – it is now one of the icons of the Louis Vuitton collection. They also now produce the Petit Noé – a smaller version.
As with all of the iconic bags in the Louis Vuitton collection, the Noé is available in various materials; the first photo shows the Noé in the traditional and most popular, monogram pattern; below is the Noé in the beautiful and hardy epi leather.
Which of these gorgeous shades would you choose? I’m very torn, but am leaning toward the mandarin colour (officially called Piment.) By the way … I am a HUGE fan of Louis Vuitton – just thought I’d throw that little fact in! The Noé retails for approximately $1,800 to $2,600, depending on the material used – told you they were cheap compared to the Hermés Birkins!
# 3 – Chanel Classic Flap Bag in quilted lambskin
As we all know, Coco Chanel was a woman far ahead of her time – as early as 1930 she had decided she didn’t want to have to carry her bag in her hand any more, so created a strap. Apparently she drew inspiration for the early models of her bags from the rucksacks of soldiers. The flap bags reached the height of their popularity in 1955 with the introduction of the Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag.
Fun fact: rumour has it that the bag’s zip compartment was used by Coco Chanel to hide her love letters!
They’re pretty expensive, with a starting point of around $3,500 – but again, they’ve got nothing on the Birkin.
# 4 – Hermés Kelly bag
I know, I know .. it’s another one from Hermés. A little bit greedy of them really – but actually, the Kelly just is as iconic as the Birkin.
The Kelly bag – you’ll never guess – is named after the one and only Grace Kelly (pictured above.) It became part of fashion history in 1956 when Grace, then Princess Grace of Monaco, attempted to protect her pregnant stomach from the prying cameras of the paparazzi by using her handbag as a shield.
As I mentioned earlier, all Hermés bags are handmade by artisans in France. Only one artisan at a time may work on a bag and a Kelly bag takes around 18 hours to hand-make. They retail from around $11,900 – eeek! Wonder if they offer an instalment plan?!
Fun fact: Grace Kelly once used an Hermés silk scarf as a sling for her broken arm. Why not I guess?!
# 5 – Lady Dior by Dior
This one was popularised by the late Lady Diana – she was supposedly introduced to Dior’s line of handbags in 1995 by the First Lady of France at the time – Madam Chirac – who was also a big fan of this exclusive handbag. The bag soon became one of Lady Di’s favourite accessories and she wore it to many events, thus helping it make it’s mark as a symbol of class and sophistication. It is rumoured the bag is named after her – I’d like to think that’s correct. Who better to be the inspiration for such an elegant bag really? These bags are also handmade and feature the iconic Dior “cannage” stitching which enhances the lambskin leather. They start at around $3,500 and go upwards from there.
What’s your favourite handbag? Have you scrimped and saved for a designer or a classic version, or don’t you care? Do you, like me, appreciate the heritage and glamour of these classic handbags?
Back in mid-December (and goodness that seems like a long time ago now doesn’t it?!) I was lucky enough to be asked by the fabulous Ms Tittle Tattle to be a backstage helper at her annual Christmas burlesque show; Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge. And, as with all Bombshell Burlesque productions, it was a fabulous night of burlesque, tease and high-spirited fun! I had a blast, and judging by the obvious enjoyment of the audience and their feedback, so did everyone else!
For those of you who haven’t taken yourself along to the The Nivara Lounge in Glamilton … you must! It’s a fabulous, intimate little vintage-styled venue with comfy chairs, a great little bar and although I didn’t try it, the food looked and smelt fabulous.
I was so excited when I saw the lineup of talent; this is the first time I had seen some of these ladies perform, and yay – there was even a boylesquer!
Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge was MC’d by the effervescent and actually, quite hilariously irreverent (!) Miss La Vida. Miss La Vida, of course, is an extremely well-known burlesque performer in her own right and has taken the stage from London to Las Vegas and New York to Sydney! Her MC style is funny, engaging, slightly bossy (believe me you do NOT want to be caught taking pictures or doing any other naughty stuff!) She had the crowd in fits of laughter with her bawdy antics and bogun jokes about Hamilton (clearly someone forgot to tell her we prefer to be known as Glamilton!) Her lightening-fast costume changes between acts were very well received, with the most popular ensemble appearing to be the rhinestone encrusted g-string and bra by New Zealand costumier to the stars, Flo Foxworthy. She posed with a flourish between the stage curtains and sauntered on to much applause – Miss La Vida is, most certainly, a showgirl in the extreme. And that, of course, is what you want in a burlesque MC!
The opening act was the first act of two by the inimitable Pixie Twist, which was later followed by her controversial Lady Cxxt act (if you want to see the pics of that one, visit her Facebook page!) Miss Monique Sweet and I had a rather interesting time helping the Pixie out with her latex and glitter props – ya’ know what – backstage at a burlesque show is never quite as glam as you’d think! I have to say though, burlesque girls (and boys!) are VERY MacGyver-like with their props!
Pixie’s acts were both designed to encourage us to question the wisdom of trying to conform to the mass media’s ideals of physical perfection and what is appropriate behaviour for young ladies. Pixie is very much of the opinion that you should love your body, no matter what it’s shape, and do what feels right for you – and who can argue with that?!
The fiery Ruby Spice was up next with her fabulous Born to be Wild act – I love this one – I remember a while ago when I saw it for the first time with my friend … she said to me “oh, I didn’t know you could do that with burlesque – I thought it had to be all slinky and slow” – HELL NO! Burlesque can be whatever you want it to be! Ruby’s Born to be Wild act is high-energy, raunchy and the audience loves it!
This was the first time I had seen the wonderful Miss Cherry Lashes perform, and what a treat it was … she did a gorgeous, classical routine and I really enjoyed watching her. That girl sure knows how to peel a glove to maximum effect!
And finally … a boylesquer! Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge was lucky to showcase the incredible talents of Mo’ Cachino (Mr Burlesque New Zealand 2013) Mo’ Cachino describes himself as “a velvety hot chocolate, with a double shot of samba for extra shimmy.” Sounds good right? Well he is. You can totally see how he won hearts and the main prize at the Mr Burlesque NZ competition back in 2013. Miss Cherry Lashes – you are one lucky lady!
Fun fact:A “boylesquer” is a male burlesque performer. They’re a relatively rare breed, but their numbers seem to be on the increase on the New Zealand burlesque scene. Hahhhaaaa … I’ve made them sound like a new species that’s been discovered … and perhaps they are?! Anyway, they’re a welcome and wonderful addition to the “scene” – they perform quite differently to the ladies, and it’s always great to have a variety of acts and “new blood” to keep things fresh and exciting.
Well … if you’re ever looking to see a stunningly beautiful, classical burlesque performer, look no further than Coco Valence. Move over Dita … this beautiful girl from Raglan will give you a run for your money! This was the first time I had seen Coco perform and she was a pleasure to watch – fan dances are so beautiful and Coco and her fans were no exception. If you want to find out where Coco Valence and Alegra Fantail are performing this summer, check out their website here. They are both part of the Blue Sapphire – Electroswing Collective.
Seasoned Glamilton performer and audience favourite, Miss Ooh La La Paree – Chic, Unique and Magnifique strutted her glamorous stuff with her lively Samba routine – she’s always so much fun and it’s fabulous to see how much she gives to her acts and how she lights up the stage every time. A true showgirl.
And last, but my goodness, certainly not least (!), was the curvaceous, fabulous bombshell that is Ms Tittle Tattle – producer of Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge. She showed her usual mastery of the audience and gave as good as she got – and managed to ooze old-school glamour all the way. Superb Ms Tittle Tattle – well played!
Guests at Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge were treated to a pre-show and an interval set by awesome Auckland-based DJ Netti Page. She also rounded off the evening with some fabulous after-show dancing – great to see some of the performers – and Netti – kicking up their heels! Performer’s music for the evening was very efficiently handled by the King of the 2014 Burlesque Festival NZ, Mr B Frank.
And would you look at these two huh?! This is a not-so-great photo of moi and a gorgeous-as-always photo of Miss Monique Sweet – we were the stage kitties for the evening, and we had a wonderful time backstage, onstage, around the stage, at the barstage – everywhere really!! Miss Mollie Tov did an admirable job of Door Dollying, and it was awesome to see Ruby Spice, resplendent in Christmas lights and Hershey’s Kisses perched (somewhat uncomfortably unfortunately!) on the bar as a welcoming gambit!
So there you have it … a rundown of the fabulous evening that was Burlesque at The Nivara Lounge – I hope you enjoyed!
All photos were taken by the magical David Rowe from David Rowe Photography. Check out David’s website here and his Facebook page here.
Oh … and here we have a picture of Mumpty on her way to what was clearly very SERIOUS business – I think I look like someone ELF’d me!!
Weird, beautiful and wonderful historic jewellery …
Now I think I have probably mentioned previously that I am a bit of a history geek – if not, well now you know – I am! I love the Tudor age in particular and I am also a rather big fan of jewellery, so when I discovered a Facebook page recently called The Fly on the Wall, I was blown away by the weird and wonderful jewellery they showcased there. It’s not just from the Tudor period, although a lot of it is, which makes me smile. Anyway, I decided to do a bit more research on the things I found there … I hope you enjoy reading about these quirky and beautiful items as much as I did.
Eye miniatures – these were quaint little miniature pictures of the eye of a loved one. They were mounted on rings, brooches, pendants; in fact, any type of jewellery. I guess they were the Pandora of their time! Essentially they were little love tokens and were apparently extremely popular with lovers in the late 1700’s. This is my favourite, as it has a crown and I do like a crown!
The infamous “Anne Boleyn” necklace … did this necklace actually exist, or is it just an iconic, modern-day representation of the jewellery associated with the tragic Queen?
The necklace certainly doesn’t exist today, and in fact it was rumoured to have been broken down and reset for Jayne Seymour (King Henry VIII’s third wife) after Anne Boleyn was beheaded. It was actually customary to make and remake pieces for the next Tudor sovereign so while this doesn’t seem particularly “nice” of Henry, it was pretty normal behaviour.
Some even believe Anne’s pearls are in one of our current Queen’s crowns – I quite like that idea. I also like the fact that the feisty Katherine of Aragon (Henry’s first wife, whom he conveniently cast aside when he decided Anne was “the one”) referred to Anne as the “scandal of Christendom” and was disgusted that Henry stripped her of her jewels to give to Anne. Can’t say I blame her …
Oooh look – here’s an “M” version for Mumpty!
Oh, and by the way – if you’re at all interested in King Henry VIIIth’s wives and their fates, I wrote a little, light-hearted blurb about it here.
Locket ring belonging to Elizabeth I… not to state the obvious here, but Elizabeth was the long-reigning daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (funny how there was ALL THAT FUSS about getting himself a male heir, when in fact, his daughter did a pretty amazing job and turned out to be one of history’s greatest queens.) This ring was reportedly taken from her hand when she died in March 1603 and sent to her son and heir, James V of Scotland, as proof of her death.
I find this ring absolutely fascinating; for one it’s got diamonds in it and I am quite the fan of diamonds; it also has rubies, gold and pearls, and that never hurt anyone either. The fascinating thing to me though is that it opened up (hence the name “locket ring”) and inside were two miniatures; one of Elizabeth I herself, and the other of an unidentified woman; widely believed to have been her mother, Queen Anne Boleyn.
Isn’t it just fabulous? So personal and so beautiful. It was commissioned by Elizabeth in 1575 and never left her finger until her death. Although it hasn’t been proved that it was her mother’s image in the locket, I like to think it was.
And while we’re on the subject of Queen Anne Boleyn … check out this amazing little piece of history.
Golden psalm book belonging to Anne Boleyn
This beautiful little gold manuscript is a book of psalms, richly illuminated and bound in leather and gold. It has a portrait of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn’s husband, and apparently she handed it to one of her maids of honour while on the scaffold in 1536. It now resides in the British Library.
It appears this would have been worn around her neck on a chain – an interesting piece of jewellery don’t you think?
Victorian tear catcher necklaces … and last but certainly not least, the Victorian tear catcher necklace. A Victorian gentlewoman wasn’t just expected to attend the funeral of her husband and then just get on with life like you do today – oh no, she really did have to become a professional mourner for quite some time. (Don’t forget, when Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria went into mourning and wore black from the day he died, until her own death, more than forty years later – so that was a hell of a role model to follow!)
On the day of her husband’s funeral, the Victorian woman would be given a glass vial, pretty much like the one below (obviously the wealthier the widow, the more ornate the tear catcher.) For the next full year she had to collect ALL the tears she cried for her dead husband – that’s why she would have worn it around her neck – so she didn’t miss any. On the first anniversary of this death she would pour her preserved tears onto his grave. Kinda romantic really …
Do you have any special or unusual items of jewellery you absolutely love? Years ago I found a very wide, rose gold wedding band in an op shop, which I purchased. On the outside, in embossed letters, it said “FRED” and on the inside, it said “Mother to Fred.” Unfortunately it was always a little too big for me and it fell off one night in a bar and I never saw it again. Such a shame – I always wonder what happened to it and hope whoever found it is enjoying wearing it as much as I did.
Don’t forget to join the Fly on the Wall’s Facebook page – there’s ALL SORTS of awesome stuff on there – particularly if you’re a bit of a history/jewellery nerd like me!