Tag Archives: design

Victorious Vintage.

23 Jan

I have a massive penchant for vintage, so whenever I find myself back in the little town I grew up in, Blackheath up in the Blue Mountains, I like to go to a shop called the Victory Theatre. I have no idea what the history of the place is, I assume it was once a theatre, perhaps with silent films early last century, but today and for as long as I can remember, it has been an antique shop.

Over the years this place has changed a lot. I remember exploring in there as a child, through musty clothes on racks, staring at delightfully horrible old paintings and testing out dust cover chairs. I remember listening to the creaking old floorboards emanating from the level above, wondering if it was going to collapse. I also remember going there late at night, heading right to the back of the shop to dine in the ‘restaurant’. I couldn’t tell you thing about the food there, except that I always used to get mushroom soup but the place was kind of scary to a 7 year old.

They had what I believe was a mixture of faux and real cobwebs draped over the décor, and ancient rusting candelabra hanging over the tables, that swung dangerously if anyone walked along upstairs. It had a dishevelled ancient old mansion thing going on. With mismatched everything from plates and spoons to chairs, well worn rickety old tables and candles everywhere dripping wax into strange contorted slightly creepy looking shapes. I remember thinking it was just like the scary old castles I saw in cartoons, and that surely at night, when everyone was gone, that it must be haunted.

These days, it has had a facelift or two, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a few spirits floating around looking after their prized old possessions. However it is and probably always has been really, a fabulous place to shop for things out of the ordinary. If vintage and antique are your thing, this is well worth the trip.  When I go there, just as I always have, I start off gazing at the antique rings, and subsequently begin day dreaming about the antique wedding ring I want one day. I love that rings tell a story, and that they are so personal. Every single one has a story. I like to try them on and wonder who they belonged to, and how they ended up in a shop and no longer on someone’s finger…

There is plenty to look at from home wears, jewellery, clothes, art, books, general junk and some other stuff. Seriously! Its crammed with bits and pieces, a mixture of real antiques, priced as so, and vintage/second hand pieces, at a more purse friendly level. On my most recent trip one of the guys who works in café that is now out the front, and makes quite nice coffee and excellent risotto, was trying to pick me up in the most hilariously ridiculous conversations I have had in a long time. It put a smile on face for a long time after that.

On that particular shopping trip, which started just as coffee, resulted in browsing, and ended in spending, I got a gorgeous floral dress that I love to bits and have lived in this summer, and a sweet little musical jewellery box. Which wasn’t so little, and is actually kind of heavy, as I discovered on the long journey home to Sydney, and a gorgeous red leather bag.

The dress isn’t the most ancient of dresses, probably 80’s I’d say,  but is actually gold! It is so effortless and light. The pleats are so sweet, and I love the print. It was in pristine condition, and cleans really well. It doesn’t even have a hint of old lady/charity shop smell. I think I paid something like $15 for, and it didn’t need any adjusting to make it wearable. That’s what I call a good buy. No stain removing, hemming, sewing, replacing buttons, or altering sleeves. Good to go. As a bonus it is ‘sensible’ enough to wear to wear to work and still look like me. Yay.

The jewellery box cost me a little more then that, and is completely cute. Its mint green and hand painted with scenes of the European country side. It reminds me of an illustration of the Spanish hill sides in an episode of Maddeline! I thought twice about buying it, because it is broken in one part, but tried to walk away and couldn’t. I just felt an undeniable connection with this thing. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I think maybe that sounds weird, unless you have a moment like that of your own. Belieive me, I’m not crazy!

Anwyay, it’s a musical box, that plays a tinny tune I don’t recognise, but feel drawn to none the less. It also had two little figures inside that turn – a bride and a groom. The bride has met an untimely demise somewhere along the way, so a lonesome groom stands tall inside. I feel bad for him, and want to find something to replace the empty gap, but have not so far come up with a feasible solution. So for now he stands as my little guardian groom.

And the bag – I think that speaks for it’s self in that glorious rich red tone. In perfect condition. Real leather. Stunning.

Hope you enjoy my purchases as much as I did. It’s a place I recommend you check out yourself!



Dear London, please excuse my self indulgence…

22 Jan


Today I spoke to my friend Jessica, who is on an adventure in Europe right now. It was some ungodly jetlagged hour in a grungy London hotel room, when sleep evaded her. But she told me something sweet that couldn’t contain her awe and wonder. She said to me, ‘Oh my god Crystal, nothing prepares you for how beautiful London is! The buildings – wow! I love London.’ And then I wanted to cry.

I have a strange and lusty fixation with that city. Not something that can be justified considering the limited time I have spent there – two weeks surely doesn’t count for much. And yet I have always had an affinity with London, even before setting foot on the ancient streets. Going there only made me love it more. It felt like home. It was overwhelming.

So many things are different there, and yet so many things the same as here. London made a huge impression on this impressionable young girl, who has been yearning to go there since sometime before childhood (forever!). I don’t even think I can quite explain why I love it.

It is somehow magical. And quirky eclectic. It’s old and historical; full of stories. It is full of photos waiting to happen. It is fashion. Its colour and noise. Old meets new, and the future. It is old weathered brick walls. Its people and things from everywhere and some other places too. It is the gateway to Europe. It is the rain and the light. Art and design. The snow and the greasy spoon cafes. All that architecture. It is the city that makes other places make sense – the ‘motherland’ of a once far and wide empire. It makes me happy and makes me smile. And it’s mainly that this isn’t even the half of it. But it also makes me cry. And I would like to think it needs me there. It fills me with inspiration and exploration. It makes me feel like a better person.

After having done my own pilgrimage around Europe, it felt like a homecoming returning there, for just one more fleeting night. It felt right. It truly made me weep to leave. On a Finnair flight headed for Helsinki, silent tears streamed down my face as the wheels of the plane left the tarmac, and we flew out over London just waking up to the morning light, and another day. I cried and I wanted to have my own another day. I guess it may have been partly because I had barely slept in three days (blame Amsterdam), and it may have been because I was a little homesick too.

But I don’t cry in public. Ever.

So dear London: (And everyone else of course!) Please excuse my self indulgence. It’s just that I love you. For real though and not like a stalker.



Ladies at Lunch.

17 Jan

On Saturday I went to lunch with four of the most amazing girls in the world and one of the cutest babies out – Zoe and her gorgeous little girl, Nat, Sarah and Jess. These girls are some of the amazing people I met at fashion college, save for Nat, while still being amazing, is an old friend from school and one of the best people I know.


The dress I wore, I recently designed and made with my holiday-induced free time. It’s sort of a bit reminiscent in silhouette of Dior’s New Look; it has a certain vintage feel to it. But I think all at once it ended up a bit dressier and a bit edgier then I had anticipated. Which sounds like a strange combination, but have a look – what do you think?

| Dress – Original design, fabric from Jack Textiles, Marrickville | Shoes – Office Shoes, from Topshop Oxford Circus |

| Bag- Thrifted vintage leather | Belt – Vintage leather, thrifted from St Vinnies |

I got an amazing book for Christmas that I found in Kinokuniya (the website looks a bit dodge, but seriously the store in the Galleries Victoria, is the best bookshop in Sydney), called Pattern Magic. Sounds naff, but have a look at it! It’s really not. Apparently it is a Japanese book that has been published in English. It’s a little bit lost in translation, but beautiful and it really got me inspired to go back into designing my own clothes after a very long time of feeling stuck after I finished fashion college; it felt like I was in a creative black hole.  Anyway, this design was influenced by one of the techniques featured in this book, called deppari. Basically it uses the unevenness of the body to make fabric stand up. The book is full of techniques that are a little bit different , and often very sculptural. They certainly have no been seen in any other pattern making tomes I have come across. Most of which are riddled with 80’s aesthetic, and make for general hilarity.

Anyway this is my first ‘what I wore’ post and I am kind of nervous about it. I am no fashion model.


that handbag will still love you, when no one else does.

22 Dec

The bag you wear defines who you are, shows watchers what you are about.

The other day I bought a Luella Bartley handbag.

It is beautiful.

There is nothing quite like the smell of a luxury leather good.

I saw three other people today wearing my faux Chanel styles, five quid handbag. That’s ok, because I didn’t want Luella to get rained on.

It’s crazy, the relationship a woman has with her handbag.

No matter what size or style bag you have, no matter how many pre-designated functional pockets it may have, no matter how regularly you remove accumulated clutter, it is a universal fact, that you will never be able to find anything in your handbag.

A bag is all in the detailing.

Jimmy Choo on New Bond St London at Christmas, offers complementary cocktails upon entrance to their store.

Handbags can make or break an outfit.

We are told that a designer handbag will last you a lifetime, but I am happy if I use it for a year.

That handbag will still love you, when no one else does. I love you Natalie, the Burberry bag said. It’s true.

Where did you get your Invader tote? Just down by Camden Lock, from the markets we were lured into by the peddling Santa Claus, wearing matted fur of red and white.

That handbag will still love you, when no one else does. I love you Natalie, said the Anya Hindmarch bag, with gold stud detailing.

Mulberry. Mmm.

Marc Jacobs shit crazy bags with the fluro coloured abseiling rope accents. Mmm.

Truth: sales assistants take you more seriously when you have to walk into their shop sideways, like a crab, due to the large nature, and number of your designer shopping bags swinging jauntily from your elbow.

In Winter, your handbag is even more critical. It may be the sole thing, breaking up the block of colour and texture that is your coat.

It’s ok to see two dream bags on one day.

Please shoot down the next person that you see with that hideous sequin leopard print shoulder bag. I thought I left them behind when I left Sydney, but there is, to my horror, even more of them in London.

I will always love you Natalie, squealed the Prada hobo.

Yes I just used the words Prada and hobo in the one sentance. Oh look, I just did it again.

Oh, and yes handbags can talk. They do it all up and down Conduit St.

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