Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

With high fashion couture still fresh in the memory having seen The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) a day prior, The Cultured Baby (as he is affectionately named) and I took another trip to Melbourne's public art museum, this time for the opening of a second magnificent exhibition; Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids.

 :: Image c/o Romance was Born on Facebook ::
 
Commissioned by Sydney-based fashion designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the talented duo behind Romance Was Born were invited create an exhibition specifically for children to enjoy.

Synonymous for their flamboyant designs, often psychedelic in nature, Plunkett and Sales have delightfully lived up to their reputation. Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids is a mind blowing exhibition, awash with dazzling colour, sparkle and neon, Australiana related art, magical creativity and interactive fun.

The first room on the right, Rainbowland, presents a gallery space divided into colour segments, with each division containing a collection of memorable items using NGV artworks as well as vintage pieces you may remember from your own childhood such as Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Ninja Turtles alongside Milo tins and Vegemite jars. Plunkett and Sales used items from their own childhood collection and shopped on eBay for vintage pieces (fun!) to add to the installation.

 :: Rainbowland at Express Yourself ::

The exhibition centre, named Bush Magic, features a neon coloured Billabong projected onto the floor with little fish and frogs for tiny hands and feet to chase.

 :: Bush Magic - a big hit for The Cultured Baby ::

Plunkett and Sales invited various artists to collaborate with Express Yourself, and Del Kathryn Barton happened to be one such artist that prepared quite possibly the prized piece of the exhibition. Taking influence from the Australian bush, Del Kathryn Barton's stunning 2m kangaroo and joey painting named 'We will ride 2014' is positioned in the middle wall of the gallery space

:: 'We will ride 2014' by Del Kathryn Barton ::

The Make and Do room invites children to embellish their own Romance Was Born designed beard or necklace, using self adhesive gems, pom poms and googly eyes. I have to say, the adults were all over this just as much as the kids!

:: Beards and Necklaces ::

:: Romance was Born Embellished Necklace Selfie ::

Lastly, the Tomb Room sees a Mummy wearing sunnies and wrapped in neon bandages, surrounded by pieces from her own fictional wardrobe - real designs from Romance Was Born's newest and past collections.

:: The 'Tomb Room' Mummy ::

:: Romance was Born designed gown with vintage button embellishments ::

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV is as fun for the grown-ups as it is for the kids; satisfying the fashion savvy, art lover and Peter Pan in all of us.

Running until 22 March 2015, open 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. The Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV exhibition is FREE to enter.  Even if you don't have children, you really need to go and see this exhibition.  Really. You must.

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier opens in Melbourne

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two wonderful exhibitions mixing art with fashion opened at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Melbourne last Friday; The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, and Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids. (The RWB exhibition will feature in my next blog post)

 


Baby and I went to the media preview of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk last Thursday.  Surrounded by 300 or so media folk were treated to a 'conversation' with arguably the most famed modern day French Couturier of our time, as Jean Paul Gaultier and the Curators of his world-class exhibition graced Melbourne for the opening weekend.

:: Wearing this dress ::

Melbourne and the NGV is somewhat privileged to host such an exquisite exhibition, which started life in Montreal, moved to New York and onto London before opening in Victoria's capital city last week.
 
:: Installation Image c/o National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) ::

Over his 40 year career Jean Paul Gaultier has worked with, and grown fond, of many Australian stars, frequently noting his appreciation for Baz Luhrmann's style and aesthetic, and regularly acknowledging his unlikely friendship with super-star pop princess Kylie Minogue. Last week however, focused on his working partnership with Australian supermodel Andreja Pejic (former androgynous model Andrej Pejic), jetting to Melbourne to surprise the designer on the eve of the opening, appearing as a women for the first time since undergoing gender transition surgery.

Jean Paul Gaultier with his Australian muses, Andreja Pejić & Alexandra Agoston

It would be no surprise to hear The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk is an outstanding exhibition.


Most others I spoke to last Thursday proved to be as overwhelmed as I, and we agreed the exhibition is almost impossible to take in on first visit. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier features some 140 pieces of intricate garments spanning Gaultier's 40 year career. Each piece is displayed in thematic sections which make up the designer's major influences: The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Punk Cancan, Skin Deep, Metropolis, Urban Jungle and Muses.

:: Installation Image c/o National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) ::

One of the exciting features of the exhibition, which is also a little peculiar to the eye when first entering the The Odyssey is a selection of 32 animated mannequins dressed in Gaultier's designs, which appear to talk, sing and look around the room as if they were alive as their real life equivalents. Using high-definition audio-visual projections, a pre-recorded Jean Paul Gaultier talks from a stationary mannequin, alongside Ève Salvail and Smashing Pumpkins/Hole bass player Melissa Auf der Maur.


Each room is filled with mesmerizing pieces taken from various stages of Gaultier's career; from movie star designed gowns to movie set costumes, a moving catwalk, provocative pieces, and a fine selection of corsets and cone bra's, although this merely scratches the surface of the highly acclaimed exhibition, which is why The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier must be seen more than once.



The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, will run from 17 Oct 2014 to 8 Feb 2015. Tickets start from $22 - adult price.


There are additional programs and events running alongside The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier such as the return of NGV's Friday Nights with parties held under the Grand Hall's kaleidoscopic glass ceiling, accompanied by a stellar line-up of live music from musicians and DJs as well as pop-up fashion talks, bar and dining choices. More here.

For further JPG related event details head to NGV's website here.

I know this is a phrase you hear all the time, but The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier a celebrated exhibition that should not be missed before the exquisite collection heads to Paris next year.

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June in July Recycled Bag Designs

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This lovely shoulder bag has travelled more than a few mighty miles to reach me in Australia with a delightful story attached. Claire Patterson makes bags, totes and accessories from recycled leather, selling via her business name June in July, formally Curl Girl Designs. Completely out of the blue, Claire offered to send me one of her beautiful bags because she loves this blog.



Claire didn't ask me to review her brand in return, but seriously, how could I not? Not only is her gesture both kind and sincere, but her bags are pretty darn creative. Claire uses a mix of colourful fabrics with the leather she chooses to work, adding a contemporary edge to her style. Also worth mentioning, Claire's prices are very reasonable too.

I'm always intrigued to learn more about the person/people behind handmade recycled products; their story, their working background, that sort of thing, so I have 'interviewed' Claire to share her 'June in July' story with Recycled Fashion readers:

:: Claire Patterson, June in July ::

Q: Tell us about you and your working life prior to 'June in July'

I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and am still happy to call it home. I live with my super supportive and wonderful husband and my two year old munchkin, June. I am a lawyer by trade, but am currently trying to make a go of this handmade business.



Q: How long have you been sewing for?
I was raised around sewing. My grandmother taught home economics in the 1960s and my mom always made outfits and other crafts for my sister and I growing up. I starting sewing for myself in high school when I wanted to make a purse and things just blossomed from there. I started working with leather about seven years ago and it was really a game changer.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Why did you decide to start 'June in July'?

I started just making purses and bags for myself, mostly because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted at the store. I never dreamed that people would want to buy them or that this would be my business. It's really inspiring that people love my bags as much as I do and want to support my creativity.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Where do you source your leather?

All of my leather is repurposed from vintage coats, pants and skirts. I buy most of it from second hand and consignment shops. Occasionally I do special orders where I transform sentimental leather pieces that are no longer used into bags so they can have a new life.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Is working with recycled material particularly important to you? If so, why?

There is incredible detail in so many of these pieces that are cast aside and forgotten about. It honestly feels like we are doing the original leather crafters a disservice by not continuing to use these items that they have worked so hard to create. I love being able to give the leather a new purpose while at the same time saving us from waste.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Aside from Etsy, do you sell your bags anywhere else?

I currently do most of my business on Etsy and sell in a few local shops and craft markets. My goal is to have an independent store on my personal website and hope to have that up and running in 2015.

Q: What would you say is your greatest challenge working on your business?

I have two major challenges. The first is my want-to-be-perfectionist personality. Working with recycled materials, it is difficult to have the exact size, shape or color available to perfectly fulfill my design vision. I spend a lot of time reworking ideas to make the most of the materials I have. My second major challenge is time. I have a two year old who is adorable, but also very very busy. As I'm sure any mother knows, there is a constant struggle of how to use my free time most effectively and efficiently. It is a struggle for me to make sewing and my business a priority.

Once again Claire, thank you for my gorgeous bag. Keep up your great work and long may your recycled leather bag business flourish!

You can follow Claire's adventures on Instagram, and shop her beautiful recycled creations on Etsy and her blog.

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Op Shop Fail

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I spent a nice morning op shopping with baby Recycled today, in search of a few mundane containers for the kitchen, nothing worth writing about, until ... da-da-duuuuuuhhh, these things caught my eye:

:: Op Shop Fail ::

Is it a wedge? Is it a heel? Who would design such hideous things?

In other news, Mr Recycled spotted a couple of pint glasses on the side of the road that made their way back to our house. Cheers to a bit of curbside hard rubbish style.

:: Cheers to Hard Rubbish ::

Speaking of pints, Mr Recycled and I graced Melbourne's Princess Theatre on Saturday night for the official opening of Once the Musical, a story based in modern day Dublin, complete with a bar on the stage and Guinness too!  Once the Musical is such a beautiful show, you can read more about it here.  I donned my new-to-me frock purchased from the second Thrifty Fashionista Market held at Westfield Southland last weekend, although I completely forgot to take a photograph of it.  I did however, take a photograph of the Princess Theatre's stunning ceiling though!  Aren't theatre's grand?

 :: Princess Theatre, Melbourne ::

Lastly, I'll take this opportunity to mention my upcoming workshop that will take place at the next Nanna Cool Market in Frankston.  Will you join me in making pretty flower brooches out of fabric scraps? More details here.


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Advanced Style Documentary: Ticket Giveaway

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ari Seth Cohen's beautiful blog Advanced Style heads to the big screen in a documentary directed by Lina Plioplyte covering the lives of seven senior New York women aged 65 - 92. Advanced Style: The Documentary, dispels the myth that style and fashion sense is lost later in life, instead emphasising that with age brings forth grace, beauty and an air of confidence that can be lost in a sea of youth.


Ari Seth Cohen's street photography project captivating older women on the streets of one of the most vibrant cities in the world, inspired his successful blog, a book, and now a documentary that cannot be missed. Watch the trailer for Advanced Style here:


Advanced Style opens in participating Australian cinemas on 2 October 2014:

ACT - Palace Electric Canberra
NSW - Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
NSW - Palace Norton Street
NSW - Palace Verona Cinemas
NSW - Roseville
QLD - Palace Centro
QLD - Regal Twin Cinemas, Graceville
SA - Palace Nova Eastend
TAS - State Cinema
VIC - Cinema Nova
VIC - Kino Cinema
VIC - Palace Brighton Bay
VIC - Palace Como
WA - Luna Palace Windsor*

*Locations may change without notice.

*TICKET GIVEAWAY*

Thanks to Madman, I have two double pass tickets to giveaway. To enter, leave a comment below or on Instagram by Sunday 5 October 2014, and two winners will be contacted. Tickets are valid in nationwide participating cinemas, conditions listed in the rear of the ticket.

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Upcycled Collection on UncommonGoods

Monday, September 29, 2014

An online marketplace specialising in creative designs opened its online doors some 15 years ago. Established in New York and Headquartered in Brooklyn, UncommonGoods sells an interesting mix of merchandise including handmade jewellery and personalised jewellery as well as a collection of upcycled products with an emphasis on gifts created in harmony with the environment.

The range of products made using existing and interesting material available to buy through UncommonGoods includes:
  • Sari's redesigned as bags, scarves, satchels, skirts and robes:
 
 :: Upcycled Fringe Sari Scarf ::

:: Upcycled Sari Yoga Bag ::
  • Old tyre's turned into wallets and bags:
  
:: Upcycled Tyre Wallet ::
  • Bike tubes made into bags and belts:
:: Upcycled Bike Tube Belt ::

As well as baseball bats made into bottle openers, flattened wine bottle platters, snow ski wine racks and even a skateboard stool.
:: Upcycled Skateboard Stool ::

Interesting stuff. Take a look through UncommonGoods next time you're on the hunt for a cool gift for a friend or loved one.

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Cake, Snakes and Heights

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another year has passed and the RF household reached another birthday milestone with the eldest turning 6, and Mr RF and I turning ...another year older. This year undoubtedly proved to be a tad different from previous birthday celebrations.

Deciding to go with something different for Mr 6's birthday party, we hired Animals of Oz to entertain the kids and it turned out to be the best decision we had made. Animals of Oz host Jesse introduced the children to a blue tongue lizard, frilly lizard, a baby croc, a Kookaburra, a python, a bat, two possums and a frog.


Mr 6 wore his gifted Indiana Jones outfit (second hand from eBay) which suited his role as 'Assistant Ranger' perfectly. After the frog wee'd on his Indiana Jones shirt, he changed into his Indiana Jones tee (also second hand from eBay) with the rather ironic caption "I Hate Snakes" - amusing when holding a python with a grin on his face!


I had a turn holding Tinkerbell (the python's name) too. I think Tinkerbell approved of my op shopped outfit.

:: Birthday Snake Cuddles ::
 
A great night followed, celebrating with friends, eating lots of cake and being completely spoiled with great gifts including this cute glass cake plate from pal ILoveToOpShop:

:: Thrifty Glass Cake Stand ::

The following day we ventured up to the top of Eureka Tower, to Eureka Skydeck 88 which is the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. No big deal you might think, except I'm afraid of heights!  I did it though, even ventured out onto the Edge - a glass cube with transparent floor, which projects 3 metres out from the side of the building. Terrifying? Yes. Great views though.


Another year gone and a few ticks off the bucket list.  What else can I squeeze in before the big 30+10?!



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