Feature! Also, a little light reading.

Today I was featured on the blog Love and Inspire Universally!

This blog is written by a girl named Samantha Liu, a 17 year old from California. Her aim is to celebrate inner beauty and to inspire girls everywhere to love their bodies and personalities. Her most recent project is called ‘Feel Beautiful in 30 Days’, and challenged readers to do something each day for a month that made them feel beautiful, or made others realise the beauty inherent in themselves and the world around us. Inspirational interviews and features with girls from the Lookbook.nu community allowed many perspectives on what constituted both inner and outer beauty to be shared with readers.

Samantha’s message is important, and one that every girl (and boy) needs to hear, as simple (or as corny) as it may sound sometimes. You are beautiful. We may hear so often that we aren’t, or believe we aren’t, or can’t be really truly beautiful. It’s important that we take the time to learn to believe in ourselves and our inherent beauty. When you do, that belief radiates, and other people will pick up on it and think you’re beautiful too. The power of thought and belief can change worlds. Don’t forget that.

Spreading love and happiness is a good thing. Bringing a little bit more light into a world that’s full of the opposite can only be a good thing. Now it’s important to note that by this, I don’t mean “go around and act irritatingly cutesy and lovey-dovey to every random stranger you meet” because you will probably achieve quite the opposite. This attitude smacks of insincerity, and will piss the vast majority of people off, making them feel that you deserve a good slap for being so annoyingly cutesy. However. Giving a stranger a genuine compliment on something they’re wearing, perhaps, or how nice their hair looks, or any other small detail that you would normally notice but not mention – that can make a person’s day. The flow-on effects can be huge. That person will remember the compliment for the rest of the day, putting them in a better mood. They are then more likely to treat others in the same fashion – being more considerate, giving other compliments or unrequested help, etc. Each recipient of that kind of attention is also likely to pass on the same, and just think – you could be responsible, though indirectly, for sparking happiness in hundreds, even thousands of people. Which is a pretty Good Thing.

Of course, I needn’t mention that it also works the other way round. If you spread sadness, annoyance or bitterness, that also creates a flow-on effect. The M25 in the UK is a good example of this, as Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman point out in their most excellent book, ‘Good Omens’ (hie thee to the nearest bookstore if you have not yet read it). And now, because it is awesome, and hey, just because I can, I will now proceed to quote a large part of it.

“Many phenomena – wars, plagues, sudden audits – have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A…The thousands of motorists who daily fume their way around its serpentine lengths have the same effect as water on a prayer wheel, grinding out an endless fog of low-grade evil to pollute the metaphysical atmosphere for miles around.

…”I tied up every portable phone in London for forty-five minutes at lunchtime,” he said.

There was silence, except for the distant swishing of cars.

…”And exactly what has that done to secure souls for our master?” said Hastur.

Crowley pulled himself together.

What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all over the city? And that then they went back and took it out on their secretaries or traffic wardens or whatever, and they took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves. For the rest of the day. The knock-on effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger.

…But demons like Ligur and Hastur wouldn’t understand. They’d never have thought up Welsh-language television, for example. Or value-added tax. Or Manchester.

He’d been particularly pleased with Manchester.”

I love Crowley. Like his namesake, he’s a fascinating character and rather a clever chap. HOWEVER. As awesome as he is, let’s try and spread a little love instead of a little hate, huh?  Happy Meals on legs are better than unhappy meals on legs. Makes the legs taste better, anyhow. I know Spike would agree.


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Friday Poem

by John Stammers

There is a short film of Garbo,
somewhere in the reels and rushes
of preserved monochrome that no-one knows about,
somewhere in the last cabinet that Doctor Caligari
would ever look in, right at the back,
seared in black and white, in which, unawares,
she throws her shoulders into laughter, the sky goes dark
and all the glasses on the drinks table shatter to pieces.

I know this because I have seen the remake
as you look across at me when I say that you
could be a big-screen idol,
postmodern Ninotchka, and you laugh
with a laugh that could put broken glass back together,
if you wanted to, that is; I wish I’d never met you.

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What I Wore

July 4th, 2010

Featuring my new nail polish, lipstick and mascara, along with my new hair colour! Went back to black on Saturday, as I felt the colour I had was a bit too auburn for my skin tone, and not as striking as my natural shade. I think it looks much better this way, don’t you?

I also wanted to channel the vintage style beauty of raven-haired mavens like Hedy Lamarr (one of my favourites) and Dita!

I really enjoyed wearing this as the weather was perfect for it. Can’t beat Wellington on a good day, as they say.

I’m wearing:

Dress: vintage child’s dress, from Japan

Merino: Glassons

Tights: Omsa Design (Italian company)

Ballet flats: Mi Piaci

Bag: Braun Buffel

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Makeup Shopping

Last Wednesday, Kirkcaldie & Staines department store in Wellington held a cosmetics promotion called ‘Girls’ Night Out. The deal was that for every $50 spent in the cosmetics department, you would receive a $10 gift voucher, redeemable on cosmetics untiil the 18th July. A guest DJ would be spinning tunes throughout the night, and cocktails, nibbles and cupcakes would be provided. Not one to turn down a makeup deal or a good cocktail, of course I went along!

I arrived just after the doors opened at 6pm, and was presented with a pamphlet containing all the special offers from individual brands. I was particularly interested in the Chanel special, as I had tried out some products earlier in the week that I intended to come back and purchase at some stage! For every $100 spent on Chanel products, you would get an entry into the draw for a $1000 Chanel gift basket.

The guest DJ was stationed on the landing of the main staircase midway between the ground and first floors. What he was playing sounded slightly more like elevator music than anything else, but let’s face it; we weren’t really there for the tunes anyway.

The cocktails however, were a different story. With bartenders from the Hawthorn Lounge on Tory Street mixing, the drinks queue was backed up almost to the front doors. Flavours were a vodka-lemon twist (with passionfruit nectar, I think?) and a vanilla vodka with mixed berries and lemonade. Gorgeous. I had two.

Anyway. The makeup! I tried many different brands on the night, including YSL, MAC, Sisley and the aforementioned Chanel. Ended up purchasing mostly Chanel products and one YSL nail varnish, in colours that I think are quite classic and that I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of. At duty free prices, it was a great chance to pick up some gorgeous products!

So, onto the goodies:

First up, Chanel’s new Rouge Coco lipstick in ‘Mademoiselle’, as modelled in the promotions by Vanessa Paradis. I also purchased the matching lip liner.

This was the most popular colour in America and sold out nationwide – apparently the same holds true for other countries such as Singapore and Australia. Even here in Wellington, they had run out at the Chanel counter and I had to order one on the night! Same story with the liner – I’m expecting them to arrive in approximately a fortnight.

The colour is very true to the picture – a lovely restrained rose-coral shade. Looks like my lips but better, and extremely chic. Usually, I wear red, but have been on the hunt for the perfect pink for my skin tone! I think this might very well be it.

The Rouge Coco line is Chanel’s new moisturising lipstick line, replacing their old Rouge Hydrabase. From the short time that I wore it, it did seem quite moisturising and creamy, with a fairly lasting colour stain. I believe it should last even longer with correctly applied lipliner underneath. Can’t wait to try the two of them out together when they arrive!

Secondly, I tried on, loved, and bought their Rouge Allure Lacque in ‘Dragon’. This is an intensely blood-red shade, absolutely divine. It’s a cross between a lipstick and a gloss, highly pigmented and long-lasting.

The finish is satiny, opaque, subtly glossy and very smooth (apparently it contains a plant gel extract which gives it the glossy finish) Usually I wear matte finish lipstick (MAC’s Viva Glam I is my signature shade) but this is just gorgeous and a strong contender for everyday workwear! It comes in an opaque black applicator tube, with an applicator shaped like a doe’s foot. Initially I was slightly sceptical about the shape, but it does indeed lend itself to perfect application of the product, as it is grooved and so fits to the shape of the lips.

How it looks on:

(Image from Temptalia)

This colour is not for the faint-hearted; prepare for attention if you’re going to wear it! And always wear a lipliner with the brighter colours, because darling, bleeding is never a good look.

Next purchase was Chanel’s new Inimitable Intense mascara, released in June. I already owned their Inimitable in waterproof black, so I had a very good basis for comparison. I purchased the original because it extended my lashes beautifully without looking fake, and also did not clump or feel ‘hard’. The Intense version ups the ante by also giving a curling effect, which makes the lashes look longer. I feel that they also look thicker as well, but that might be just me. The applicator is made from the same material, but the brush is slightly thinner.

Definitely worth it for me, and I’m barely ever moved to buy mascara (I’m more of an eyeliner girl). I’d say the regular Inimitable is perfect for a daytime/natural look, and the Intense version for more of an evening (but still on the natural side) look. Of course there are the mascaras like Diorshow which give you massive drag-queen lashes, which can look fantastic, but for me, the Intense is enough.

And last but not least, the YSL nail varnish! This is a new season colour, ‘Beige Chiffon’. I saw it on one of the SAs and immediately decided to try it. As with lipsticks, I am always on the lookout for the perfect nude shade – which is difficult, as my skin is a golden brown shade that doesn’t tend to work with ‘regular’ nude makeup colours more suited to fair skin. Most nude/soft pink nail lacquers tend to look too white/pinky against my skin. the only one I’ve found so far that I so really like is Chanel’s ‘Mica Rose’, part of their Summer 2009 ‘Celestial Lights’ collection. It’s a true pink with a hint of shimmer:

(Image from AllLacqueredUp.com)

ANYWAY, the YSL ‘Beige Chiffon’ is below:

It’s ideal for the ‘French mannequin hand’ look, very chic and always appropriate.

Now, I just have to decide what to spend my vouchers on….

P.S. Makeup Alley is a fantastic place to go if you want to find reviews and ratings of most any makeup product you can think of! It’s extremely comprehensive, and people write very informative, helpful reviews of the products that they’ve tried out. I’ve been scouring it over the last week to help with my decision-making process!

Posted in chanel, cosmetics, kirkcaldie and staines, lipstick, makeup, nail varnish, review, sale, shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Alannah Hill: Designer or design stealer?

As mentioned in my last post, I recently discovered that Australian fashion designer Alannah Hill is not only inspired by certain Japanese fashion brands, but is GUILTY AS SIN of blatantly ripping off a number of their designs.

The issues of design theft, copyright, and intellectual property are prominent in the fashion world. The latest collections shown on the runway filter down to the high street as trends, and companies such as Topshop, Zara, and Steve Madden more or less ‘copy’ the current season’s signature pieces. And of course, this is expected, because people want what’s hot, and they want it at an affordable price. People know high street brands are not ‘designers’, and that pretty much everything they make is strongly inspired by what’s been on the runway in the last 6 months or so. Trends couldn’t happen without this process of filtering and imitation. High street brands do this every day, and as long as they make a few changes to the original design, it’s legal. But this isn’t news.

What is news, is when a successful fashion designer does this.

Alannah Hill, a prominent and highly regarded Australian designer with stores across Australia and New Zealand, whose work is self-described as ‘unique’, is ripping off designs from Japanese indie brands such as Emily Temple Cute, Jane Marple, and Metamorphose Temps de Fille. She probably thought that nobody would notice, since the percentage of people who would both know about her, and about the collections of small Japanese lolita and otome (older-sister style) brands, would be incredibly tiny.

But those people do exist, and we have noticed her game plan, which I assume runs something like this:


  1. Go overseas. Find small brand(s) with cool looking stuff in a style which would fill an existing niche in your home market.
  2. Buy stuff from aforementioned brand. Copy it.
  3. Open own store. Sell copies at high-end prices while marketing yourself as ‘unique’ and ‘whimsical’. On no account admit that you have ever visited the country or heard of the brand(s) you nicked your designs from.
  4. PROFIT!

When someone takes all the credit for another’s design, copies it, and mass-markets it for profit, this is called DESIGN THEFT. For a big-name designer to be stooping to this level is completely unacceptable.

The small number of pictures below doesn’t even begin to encompass the number of copied designs. And I only know about the ones which I recognise from the Japanese brands that I’m personally familiar with. I have heard that the majority of her accessory designs are copied from Korean brands, which is unsurprising as I have seen extremely similar ones (such as bow belts, sparkling shoes, ribbon and jewelled headbands etc. in Korean fashion magazines).

Top image is the original design; below is the Alannah Hill copy.

All original designs were released for sale in the Japanese stores AT LEAST SIX MONTHS before Alannah ‘designed’ the copies.

Japanese designer brand Emily Temple Cute ‘Jam Pot’ skirt. The print has the words ‘Emily Temple Cute’ in some of the jam pots, as the print was made by ETC for ETC.

Image from Baby Ribbon Blog (an Emily Temple Cute stockist). It is common in Japan for stores to have their own blogs, in which the sales staff post images of the latest stock they have, so that customers know when to come in and buy the pieces that they want. Some pieces are extremely popular and sell out during the reservation period, so if you want a particular piece, you want to know THE DAY it arrives in store!)

Baby Ribbon Blog entry, dated 14th February 2009.

The Alannah Hill version. She calls it ‘Jam Tart’ print, and it was released in her Spring/Summer 2010 collection.


From the same Emily Temple Cute collection, the ‘Jam Pot’ print dress.

Released mid-February 2009.

The Alannah Hill version, ‘Jam Tart Frock’.

Again, this was released as part of her Spring/Summer 2010 collection.


Emily Temple Cute ‘Alice in Garden’ print dress. Original dress and print by Emily Temple Cute, for Emily Temple Cute.

Released in December 2007.

The Alannah Hill version, called the ‘Play With Me Frock’. As you can see, the cut, embellishments and print are exactly the same – the only thing that’s different is the colour of the base fabric.

Released as part of her Spring/Summer 2009 collection.


Japanese designer brand Metamorphose Temps de Fille cardigan.

Released early 2009.

The Alannah Hill version. She calls it the ‘Doll Girl Cardigan’.

Released as part of her Spring/Summer 2010 collection.


By now, you should probably be feeling something like this:

It should be evident from these photographs and release dates of each item that these designs and prints were originally conceptualised and created by the cited Japanese designers – not by Alannah Hill. As I noted before, each AH piece was released at least 6 months after the release of the original design in Japan.

And clothes aren’t the only thing she steals. Last December (2009), Alannah Hill was caught ripping off a student’s logo design to use for her Christmas campaign. You can also read about it here on ninemsn.com.au.

Graphic design student Tabitha Emma’s logo design, created for the ‘Once Upon’ art exhibition run by the art company LeeLoo, Waterloo, Sydney.

…and on an Alannah Hill storefront for their Christmas campaign, ‘Once Upon a Christmas’ .

And now, back to the clothes. I’ve found some more photographs of Japanese designed clothes that Alannah has copied, but which I don’t have pictures or dates for. If you are familiar with Alannah Hill clothing, you will probably recognise the following designs.

Japanese designer brand Jane Marple knitted vest, later copied by AH.

Bow cardigan by Emily Temple Cute, later copied by AH.

Although to be fair, it seems that the original design was created by Elsa Schiaparelli circa 1927, and was called the ‘Bow Knot Sweater’. So we’ll let this one go.

Turtleneck pullovers by Emily Temple Cute, which AH copied.


“That’s all very well”, you might say, “but isn’t her clothing cheaper and more accessible than these Japanese brands anyway?”

The answer is an emphatic no. Alannah charges just as much, if not more, for her knockoffs (I’m terming them that from this point onwards, because that is clearly what they are) than they originally cost in Japan. A silk skirt by AH will run you around $300AUD, a cardigan around $200, a pullover around $130, and accessories from $40-70. Coats run between $500-700. Shoes will cost around $150-200.

As for accessibility – yes, it is much easier to buy from a store in your own country (Australia/NZ context) than it is from overseas, especially when we’re talking about buying from Japan, which more often than not will require you to use a shopping service as an intermediary (due to the language barrier and the reluctance to deal with foreigners, many -not all, but many, Japanese stores will usually only sell their merchandise within Japan and refuse to ship overseas.) But purchasing clothes from Japan is possible, and not very difficult. I have been buying clothing online from Japan using shopping services and auctions, along with the EGL sales community on Livejournal.com, for three years now. Some of the girls I know have been doing it for a lot longer, for 8-10 years. And it’s not difficult at all. All you need is a Paypal account, and the contact details of a good shopping service.

However. Regardless of whether or not it’s more convenient to buy from your own country, when we bring the issue of design theft into the picture, that’s a different story. Knowing what I do now, (and hopefully, you feel the same way), I will not be purchasing anything from Alannah Hill in the future. Art and design theft should not be supported, and I will not be giving her any of my money for copying somebody else’s hard work.

It is incredibly sad that copyright is very hard to obtain with clothing designs, prints and etc, because it is legal to make very slight changes and thus own the design – even if it’s blatantly obvious where and what you pinched it from. And it is even more difficult, if not impossible, to enforce this overseas – in the vast majority of cases, you are actually unable to do anything under international law if the theft happened outside the country of origin.

As for this particular case, I don’t believe anything has been done to inform the Japanese designers that their designs are being ripped off on such a major scale. My Japanese, I’m afraid, can best be described as ‘mediocre’ and I don’t believe I possess the degree of fluency required to explain the situation well enough. And as I talked about before, even if it were brought to the original designers’ attention, what measures, realistically, would they be able to take in a legal capacity? Probably none, as the designs actually have been slightly changed. It’s legal for her to do this, but the real issue is: how much of her success is based on stolen designs? Are any of her clothes actually designed by her? She is a FASHION DESIGNER. This means that you DESIGN YOUR OWN FASHIONS. It does not mean that you copy other people’s designs and call them your own ‘unique’ creations.

However, public shaming has a track record of working pretty well. There is a Facebook group that you can join, called ‘STOP Alannah Hill ripping off other designers!’ Hopefully this will bring the issue to greater public attention, and perhaps Alannah will realise that this kind of behaviour will a) always be found out and b) will not be accepted by consumers.

So in closing, O Best Beloved, support original design. Don’t settle for anything less, though it might be more convenient. Join the group if you want, and if you love the style of Alannah Hill clothes, please consider buying the original designs, whether new or second-hand – you’ll either be recycling clothing (which is a good thing), or giving your money to the people who actually thought up and created the thing that you like.

If you want to see more of Emily Temple Cute, with suggestions for how to co-ordinate their pieces, here is their blog.


Posted in alannah hill, australia, design theft, emily temple cute, japan, ripoff, shopping | 1 Comment


Pinks, creams and browns, with a little vintage glam…

A little more about this look – 50s inspired, but updated to be a little more modern and floaty. These shots was taken while visiting my sister in Perth, Western Australia, a few months back.

Waiting for the train

Tortoiseshell cat-eye sunglasses: vintage
Pearls: vintage
Bag: Braun Buffel
Cardi: Marilyn Seyb
Belt: Cue, designed by Peter Lang
Skirt: Alannah Hill

Speaking of Alannah Hill, I will be doing a post about her clothing shortly, and my discovery that some of her designs are not just inspired by Japanese fashion – but are directly copied from Japanese brands, right down to the exact print on the fabric in some cases. To say I was appalled at this discovery would be an understatement.

More to come on this topic shortly.

Also, I have a Lookbook! Visit and hype if you like what you see!

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Inspirations for winter.

From top:
Alaia coat, street snap from The Sartorialist, chandeliers at Rodarte ’08 runway show, Lacroix Fall ’09, Dita von Teese looking stunning, Aubrey Beardsley illustration for Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Christian Dior mock-up calico gowns on exhibition, balloons, Richard Avedon image from his ‘Comforts Portfolio’ 1995, Audrey Hepburn, Alexander McQueen ’08 (my favourite collection of his – I would wear every single piece that went down that runway), vintage 1920s photograph, unknown magazine spread, Alaia again – ’10 latest collection I believe, Yoshitaka Amano.

Posted in 1920s, alaia, alexander mcqueen, aubrey beardsley, coats, dior, dita von teese, inspirations, oscar wilde, rodarte, sartorialist, winter, yoshitaka amano | Leave a comment