08 September 2007

Style stalking Lauren Davis

{click it}

Here's an article on Lauren's 30th birthday in New York from US Vogue May 2006...

17 August 2007

07 August 2007

Drifting Along with the Jetty Set

It all began at Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, which I am proud to say I can finally pronounce.

Q. But where on earth is Slovenia?
A. In the alps next to Italy, south of Austria, on the Adriatic Sea.

I stayed at my friend Ana's place in the centre of the old city, a stones throw from the slender River Ljubjanica. It was great to hear her distinctive Slavic accent again. Her house was so inviting, some stone walls dated back to the 13th century when the Romans occupied the area, local elderly women tended the back garden that we were free to raid for fresh vegetables, and downstairs was a Bosnian restaurant with the best Turkish coffee in town – sadly discovering it on my last day, noooo.

While Ana was at work for a mere 4 hours each day, I ignored the savage summer heat and walked around the city past animated pavement cafes, their tables spilling out onto courtyards and down the cobbled streets. It was like being at the crossroads of Vienna and Venice, filled with beautiful buildings – a harmonious mix of Baroque and art nouveau architecture. The famous Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik left a lasting mark on the city, as he also did in Vienna and Prague, designing many of the city's beautiful bridges, buildings and squares.

After work Ana would take me out to see some of the lesser known sights, and to meet with her gang of friends at various bistros. The Slovenians definitely like to have fun, and go out and party (well, the fraction that I saw were out every night). And unlike most cities that are crowded with foreigners at that time of year, I really felt like one of the few outsiders, a great feeling, I hate being just another Australian. Ana was hilarious in her introductions, it seemed that everyone we met or she pointed out was a mild celebrity, whether they were a TV presenter, actor, national football couch, eurovision performer, or politician. With a national population of only 2 million people, everyone was someone. In the early hours of the morning we'd walk home in the crisp night air, Ljubljana Castle towering over us, dramatically lit beside the city centre.

One day, a car full of us drove up to the freshwater lakes to the north of Slovenia. There we exhausted ourselves by swimming around the lake, hiked up to a magnificent waterfall, and later sunbaked while I read Harry Potter (oh my, I ended up in the Slovenia newspaper because I lined up for the book at midnight, might I add that was two hours after sunset).

{Find moi!}

Craving a peek at the Adriatic sea, three Slovenian friends and me drove across to the gorgeous Venetianesque gem called Piran with its peeling plaster facades and a dramatic campanile. It's located on the 46.5 km of coastline belonging to Slovenia. Look left and you can see Croatia, look right and there's Italy. Poor Slovenia – after the early 90s conflict, Croatia emerged with a lion's share of the Adriatic coastline (have a look at a map and you'll see what I mean). Piran has an unspoilt medieval structure that we loved to wander around, eventually stumbling across the creamy marble Tartini Square where we ate the local favourite of prosciutto pizza and drank red wine near the waterfront passeg iatta. And oh! the sunset views over olive groves and red roofs! Terribly sad that I only spent a day there.

{Piran, Slovenia}

It was interesting to meet with so many local people and try to grasp even a fragment of their amazingly complex culture. According to the locals, the Slovenians have been influenced by the Italians and their dolce vita lifestyle, but are also strongly influenced by German and Austrians in the north, giving them a strong work ethic. I didn't really notice this too much, but I'll take them at their word! This region has always been controlled other rulers, be it the Austrians, Italians, Napoleon or Tito, but I quickly learnt that the Slovenes are quite stubborn and self-confident, and have always managed to save their own language and identity. It's obvious that their literature helped them achieve this, as Slovenes prize their authors, poets and polymaths more than any European country I've seen yet. Ljubljana is festooned with busts of novelists and playwrights, rather than mere politicians or generals.

Next stop, Hvar. Oh Hvar, my beloved Hvar. How I do love thee, let me count the ways… This place was a PARADISE island, on the Dalmatian coast, Croatia. Hvar town is a car-free haven of Venetian architecture set right on the crystal blue waters of the harbour. Date palms line the marble-paved streets and main piazza. The moment I stepped off the ferry I had a sensory overload of beautiful boys and a vast flotilla of gigantic, shiny yachts, bam! bam! bam!

{On water taxi to Palenki islands}

{Welcome to Hvar}

Twice we took a taxi boat over to the Palenki islands, idyllic and secluded, clothing strictly optional. We hired sunbeds and umbrellas, naively frolicked with "jalebes" and avoided the "mosquitos" *wink*, and spent hours just reading and basking in the sun half naked. Apparently we met some famous DJ that I didn't know, but we went snorkelling together, avoiding the fish that liked to nibble on your feet. Later I got bored after finishing my second book, so swam half way around Jerolim island for the fun of it, stopping only to talk to people on a passing speedboat who ferried me back into shore!

By then I had worked up enough of a tan to walk into a bar without everyone staring at the amazing albino women. "Carpe Diem" was my favourite, albeit mildly pretentious and desperately hard to get into without my local friends, but it had the best atmosphere and music, the craziest crowds and the best cocktails. It was a fresh concoction of young, relaxed travellers just craving fun.

{Speela and me in Carpe Diem}

At this time of the year on Hvar "mosquitos" were to be avoided at all costs, the desperately hopeful Italian boys that pounced on you the moment you glance at them (accidentally) telling you that you are the most glorious creature they've ever set eyes on (even though you know you look like rubbish as you're in the middle of making dinner and have darted out of the apartment to buy olive oil!). On the other hand, "Jalebes" or in English "seagulls" are the local Croatian boys that have a reputation for soaring from girl to girl.

We spent many days on Hvar itself, where families crowded onto narrow pebble beaches and strips of rock. The water was divine and crystal clear. My friend Zvezdra and I took voyeurism to a new level as I borrowed her binoculars and watched people in the distance, entertained by daring young Croatians as they made graceful dives and astounding leaps from the Jetty. Blaring beach parties were scattered along the shores of the island, and we often dropped by them as we walked home from a day of tanning, inhaling the smell of lavender as we went.

After a week it was time to commence my journey back to Copenhagen. I returned to Split again for the day, the main port to the Dalmatian islands. With the help of a vibrant young Croatian called Luka that I met in a hotel lobby, I got to know Croatia's second largest city. I loved its Mediterranean feel, and especially the gorgeously lived in Diocletian's Palace, which conjures up the bygone grandeur of Ancient Rome. Luka told me that the palace was built as a retirement home for a Roman emperor, and pointed out a breathtaking hotchpotch of architectural styles, including Roman, medieval and Renaissance. And I could live on the Croatian ice cream, ledo scoops could cure cancer. Communication wasn't a real problem as most people spoke English, except for once when I finally resorted to performing a locomotive "choo choo" to get to the train station, the taxi driver laughed at me the whole way there.

{Split, Croatia}

{Statue of Bishop Grgur Ninski, in Split - touching the statue's big toe is supposed to bring good luck!}

So that was that, I then made my way back to Copenhagen to my family there. What a brilliant trip! So much extra detail has been skipped in this blog, but I can't write all day and I dare not bore you with more frivolities. Overall, if I reflect openly on the whole trip, what hit me the most was limitless opportunities in life, and the importance of choosing thoughtfully and give weight to the power of chance. Haha, oh yes, that did sound cheesy, but these messages popped up time and time again. I really look forward to returning someday, hopefully soon.

27 July 2007

Never Netherland

Let's begin, how long was I there? Um, 2 + 2 + 3, therefore a week (I'm loosing track of time), but wow, what a week it was! It began with my train journey from Copenhagen to the Netherlands, fell asleep, and woke up on a ship. No kidding. The whole train actually goes on ferry across to Germany but I was oblivious to this until I got off and went upstairs to find myself on the top deck of this enormous ship, with duty free shopping and bars, in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Bizarre!

After 10 hours on the train, foolishly only bringing a book on physics and 'strange loops' that I thought I might like, I arrived at the historic city of Arnhem on the river Rhine. I stayed in a friend's apartment which turned out to be a 3 storey share house/art den, paint and plants everywhere, reggae music pumping. I suppose I spent most of my time talking to housemates, also they showed me around their very green but unusually quiet city, and rode around for a bit trying out their new longboard (fell off, naturally).

{Playing chess in Arnhem}

Next stop: Nijmegen, a small town towards the south of the Netherlands, to visit my old housemate Jonne. I happened to be there during their famous summerfestival, one of the biggest in Holland. Nijmegen is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands, and is renowned for its beautiful village-like qualities – it's a slice of Dutch life without tourists wandering around in joggers and bum bags. By day middle aged people sporting socks and sandals emerged to take part in "Vierdaagse", an annual four day walk, 50km per day, the real reason behind the week-long festival. However, when the sun goes down the movers and shakers from all over Holland descend on outdoor discos set up around the city as some of the best DJs in Europe entertain music-hungry crowds. The streets were littered with Heineken beer stalls and live performances, and music roared into the apartment from all directions. Jonne was a great host: we also drove around the countryside, visited her horse and I rode around the city on the back of her bike – side saddle, that's how the Dutch do it! – to go to restaurants and parties.

Next to ol' Amsterdam, to visit cousins and further explore the city that combines metropolitan verve with a small-town spirit. I spent a lot of time walking along the narrow brick-paved streets in the city centre and Jordaan (my favourite district), framed by a skyline of pretty 17th and 18th century gables, past window boxes bursting with blooms. But I think that the city was best seen at night with the fairy-lit bridges and large-windowed canal houses that looked like lanterns strung along the waterside.

It was great to catch up with family, eating Indonesian (a previous Dutch colony) in de 9 Straatjes, with the occasional black Miss Marple bicycle rattling past. The Anne Frank museum blew my mind, and I was enlightened at the Van Gogh museum – previously I thought he was too faddish, was really limited of me. I loved seeing the flower markets on Spui again, and discovered its cafes favoured by local journalists and the literary set. All around there were constant reminders of the Dutch quirky humour on nouveau-Roman monuments and shop names, and especially from my cousin Pieter.

Even today it's just about having an easy lifestyle. But I once read that that's the problem with Amsterdam, you get so taken up with the ease of the place that you forget why you came. Amsterdam doesn't have the same effortless sophistication of Paris, but why should I even try to compare the two? Amsterdam is the hub of the alternative and social experimentation, littered with the flotsam left by new wave British, American and Antipodean residents during past eras: hippies paradise in the 60s and 70s, gay capital in the 80s, and party haven in the 90s. And today? Who knows?

{Jonne and her horse}

{Amsterdam canal}

{Best blackberries ever, like caviar!}

I have more photos but can't show them due to camera mood swings, but hopefully I'll fix it up when I return to Denmark.

03 July 2007

Paris, je t'aime

{Jessica and I at Musée Jacquemart André}

Maybe Paris has a way of making people forget.

Paris? No. Not this city. It's too real and too beautiful to ever let you forget anything.

- An American in Paris, 1951

Well, a week has passed since I first arrived in Paris, land of legendary art, cigar smoke, and crispy bagettes; staying in an apartment with mum and Jess. I don't care what people say, Paris is my favourite European city – there is no substitute.

The last few days were spent meandering through several Paris neighbourhoods: the Marais, the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, the Palais Royale, rue Saint-Michel. It's so funny because everything here is such a beautiful cliché, you feel like you're walking around a French film set.

We visited the restored Museé de l'Orangerie to see the Monet waterlilies in their original home, and yesterday enjoyed baguettes with brie on the not-so-sunny lawns in Jardin du Luxemborg, but, mostly, we've shopped as if we were engaged in a kind of sociological study of French customs and style. We have rendezvoused with family friends in the 6e and visited the Sorbonne with them, and discovered some fantastic new restaurants in the 1em. Mum and Jess were looking for Napoleonic era antiques, which gave me time to explore some of the markets (discovering a human skeleton and a stuffed two headed sheep, eek!). Each day has ended with complete exhaustion, and it was nice to simply gaze across the seine from Pont Neuf as the sun sets around 10pm.

{Fontaine de Medicis, designed in 1624, in the Jardin du Luxembourg}

{Confections at Gerard Mulot}


{I went to this flower shop when wandering around the 5e, specializes in bouquets that are organized by scent rather than by colour.}

{Antiques and taxidermy at the Clignancourt markets}

{at the Sobonne}

{Jessica at Hotel Costes}

The most alluring thing about Paris isn't just its incredible elegance and die hard fashion, ladurée macaroons, or even the never ending history and customs that ooze out of the wide 19th century boulevards and crooked medieval lanes. I think, contrary to whatever others may think, that Paris is so authentic, that's why I love it here. Intelligence is revered, independence is respected and passion is considered essential. Like most great cities it reveals itself with a myriad of surprises, but in an atmosphere that makes you feel like what you're doing is substantial. Day after day the city unfurls itself, exposing even more prodigious possibilities in life than any other place I've been to yet.

Today was my last full day here, perhaps I'll come back in a few weeks, unless I'm seduced by some other city in my travels. Traditionally France seems okay with infidelity so it will just have to live without me for a while. Haha, man I am so lame. I've been here one week and all of the sudden I think I'm Oscar Wilde exciled to Pari!

{a perfect dinner}

25 June 2007


I go to Paris. Gouache Travel Map

18 May 2007

The African Queen

I love this article from US Vogue, June 2007, featuring Keira Knightley and photographed by Arthur Elgort. Oh the clothes! the landscape!

{The View From Here | From a rock that marks the Kenya-Tanzania border, Knightley takes in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, named for its stewards, the Masai. "I thought I was going to fly off the stone," she writes of this photograph in the journal she kept of her week-long trip. Madewell shirt jacket. Thakoon parachute skirt. Timberland boots.}

{Puss 'n' Boots | Left: Piki Piki, the mascot of Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp, keeps the actress company in the mess tent, decorated with sepia photographs of the owner's family members. Marc Jacobs ruffled smock dress. Frye boots.
Watering Hole | Right: "We drove to this amazing river after lunch, chocolate brown with an enormous tree hanging over it. I felt like a water nymph." DKNY tank dress. Hunter boots.}

{Off-Roading | Left: William Cowell, a Cottar's guide, frees the Jeep from mud left by a recent rainstorm. YSL cotton-poplin dress. Roberto Cavalli hat.
African Queen | Right: Camouflaged by a sand-colored shirtdress among the African grasses, Knightley spots a pride of seven lions. "We watched them as the sun disappeared," she writes. 3.1 Phillip Lim dress. Banana Republic belt.}

{Bathing Beauty | Left: "A good float in some water can be like a gift from the gods," Knightley remarks of a splash in the camp pool. A Louis Vuitton baby doll maillot flaunts feminine details of ruffles and lace.
Serene Pastures | Right: Bushwalking in a Peter Som ivory linen riding skirt. Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons tuxedo blouse. Lock & Co. hat.}

{Nomad's Land | "I had to herd cows with the Masai," Knightley records. "We were expecting three; we got an entire herd." Marc Jacobs tiered dress. Hermès hat.}

{All Creatures Great and Small | Knightley feeds an orphaned elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. "There were three of them, and they were all so cheeky, rolling around in the dust and trying to knock us all over." Bottega Veneta dress. Frye boots.}

{Fringe Benefits | Left: With a flash of crimson, Knightley makes like the Masai, whose warriors wear red. Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière shirt, pants, and shawl.
The Navigator | Right: Playing the governor's daughter turned swashbuckler Elizabeth Swann for the third time this month, London-born Knightley was happy to trade in her breeches and tricorne hat for this Malibu topper and pencil skirt. Rag & Bone jacket and skirt. Plane courtesy of Boskovic Air Charters.}

{The Daytrippers | For a game drive with the Masai and guides, the look is 1930s retro cool. Sundress, Comme des Garçons.}

10 May 2007


18 April 2007

Film | The Royal Tenenbaums

2001 | 108min | Color | USA Drama-Comedy

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when one of their member announces he has a terminal illness.

Wes Andserson

Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Bill Murray

Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson (screenplay)

Wes Anderson Nomination (Golden Bear)

"With a distinctive visual style that steers clear of the gross plagiarism of many post-Tarantino thirtysomething directors, Anderson sets himself apart from most of his contemporaries. His work is as refreshing and visually inspiring as any Coen brothers' film and restores faith in the idea that Hollywood can still produce an idiosyncratic black comedy once in a while."
-- Peter Homden (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)

  • This film changed my life, and it confirmed my desire to become a film director. I have watched it so many times it's ridiculous.
Narration | Non-diegetis voiceover functions as a form of direct address, and allows Anderson to offer explicit commentary on the image.

Costume | The three Tenenbaum children where the same clothing when they're adults as they did when they were growing up - humourously suggesting their arrested development.
  • Ritchie (Luke Wilson), the tennis prodigy, wears tennis sweatbands.

  • Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) wears a fur coat.

  • Chaz (Ben Stiller) wears a tracksuit all the time and dresses his two sons the same way.

Speech | Ben Stiller talks in quick bursts, suggesting the characters' hysterical anxiety. Woody Allen does the same thing.

Music | A lot of the music in the film has vast cultural significance. After Richie Tenenbaum unsuccessfully attempts to commit suicide, Nick Drake's recording of "Fly" plays softly in the background. The fact that Nick Drake commited suicide himself adds poignancy to the scene beyond the melancholy of the actual tune itself.