Monday, 30 June 2008

The best things in life

When the people from work told me earlier this year that I had to have my summer holiday in June, I was gutted. June tends to be rainy and rather chilly in Finland. As my holiday is about to end, I look back at this past month as one of the loveliest experiences I have had in a long time.

For whatever reason, as a lot of people have been saying that the weather has been crappy, I have truly enjoyed the wide range of weather conditions: from +25 and sunny to +15 with hail storms. The best bit about this holiday has been the fact that I haven't actually done anything. I have slept in a lot, gone for walks and bike rides, done picnics, spent time with friends and family, watched football. That is, really simple stuff, but for some reason having spent my holiday like this feels very meaninful.

I have been told many times that I lack vision and that I should have more goals in life. I am always at a loss when people ask me what I intend to do with my life. What is there to do with one's life, really, but to live it and enjoy it?

This June I have done things that I enjoy the most: just being, living, observing, being a part of the big wheel we call time and space.

Speaking of space, the fact that hardly anyone else has had their summer holiday in June, has been quite wonderful. In July and August the streets and the beaches are packed with people who have all sorts of tasks to perform during their holiday: getting a suntan, losing weight, hoarding all sorts of experiences, doing sports, shopping. They tend to have a set timetable in order to make sure that all the tasks are performed optimally. Everything is scheduled in weeks in advance.

And if you are unfortunate enough to have to spend your holiday surrounded by people of that mindset, all you hear is how their holiday is ruined because of a little bit of rain, or how they still need to drop an extra kilo, and how they only have an x amount of days left and they didn't get to do half of the things they had planned.

Well, I have been fortunate. The best part of all of this is just because I am going back to work tomorrow, it doesn't mean that I have to stop doing any of the wonderful things I have been doing lately. What more could one ask for?

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Strawberry tart on a cloudy day

I have spent most of the day with my sister, my brother and my brother's wife. We all went to a rather big local flea market to pick up some furniture for my brother. Afterwards we went to my brother's house, and had tea and strawberry tart (with a ton of whipped cream) in the garden. The weather wasn't amazing, but we truly enjoyed sitting outdoors, listening to the birds chirping away, drinking tea from delicate Lomonosov tea cups. It is funny how much better tea tastes when it is served in the right kind of china!

This is what I wore today:

On a different note: I have never been totally into the hippie look. Especially when I had long hair, wearing flares and Indian cotton looked a bit forced, a bit time-machine-made. For whatever reason, with short hair, pieces like these look a bit more modern:

Indian cotton dress: flea market, 1,50 e.

Skirt worn as a dress: flea market, 1 e. I was thinking of belting it first, but for some reason I quite love the sack-like shape just the way it is.

Well-suited for the hippie theme: I found these two framed astrological maps at the recycling centre:

And SCORE! The memoirs of Shostakovich! I was so happy to have found this book! I also hunted down Nabokov's memoirs.

All in all, it has been a wonderful day even though nothing awfully special happened. Some days are just better than others, and I don't feel the need to explain why that is. Maybe it's the scarab's doing, but on days like these I feel reborn.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Flying objects

I have been looking for a right kind of scarab since forever. I am not awfully familiar with Egyptian mythology, but I do know that dung beetles were considered the representatives of Khepri, the god who renewed the sun every day. Just as Khepri had created himself out of nothing, the ancient Egyptians believed that dung beetles existed only in the male form, they didn't need females to reproduce, and came into being from dead matter. The scarab, then, symbolises rebirth, renewal and self-creation.

I was looking for scarabs on Etsy, and found Ragtrader. Not only did I find a perfect scarab, but I also fell in love with Beth's Time Flies-pendants.

Especially in my current state of questioning identities and influences, the issues that a scarab symbolises certainly have a special meaning to me. It is important to me to recognise where I come from, where I am now, and where I am headed. Several years ago I was going through a rough patch in my life, and someone told me back then that whatever I do or think, I must understand that I am the most important person in my own life. Essentially, I am the only person who can create myself. Funny, that I have only recently started to really understand what that means.

This is what I wore today:

I simply love this Time Flies-pendant. Time is so palpable, yet so fragile.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Out tomorrow

It's Vogue Italia's Black issue, only featuring black models. I am glad they came up with this.

Identities for sale

The topic of my previous post is still lingering in my head. Where do our style (0r other) identities come from? Why do we want to look a certain way? These are the questions that one can disect in one's own head, one can think of childhood memories, of friends and other influencial figures, of what they wore, of how we chose to interpret the phenomena that came our way. We took it and made it our own. Well, today I have thought about this topic from another viewpoint.
I don't necessarily understand much about "real fashion". But I do understand that fashion designers have some kind of a vision concerning what other people should wear. Whether this vision is based on wanting to make a ton of money or simply being interested in influencing what people wear, is irrelevant. They go public with wanting to offer a look, a style, their vision, essentially their opinion. Historically, of course, women have always been told what to wear, what to show off, what to hide. From this historical perspective, it is fascinating to notice that this coming fall, John Galliano at Dior thinks women should look like Barbie dolls.

Roberto Cavalli wants us to be child brides.

Alexander McQueen reminds us that every woman is a queen, but quite disturbingly, looking at Taryn Davidson here, all I can think of is the arranged marriages between royal children in the 17th century.

Gareth Pugh goes Predator. Does he think that women are beastly, or does he want them to be beastly? Or just look beastly? I wonder if the Predator woman wears white ruffled knickers under her costume.
Marios Schwab thinks we should wear stuff that prevents us from walking.

Junya Watanabe offers us masculine coats that look like straight-jackets. Even the woman's face is covered. A modern version of the burqa, perhaps?

Really, what is going on?! Are these people insane? Why would I want to wear these things? Why would I want to choose to look like a child walking down the aisle? Forget about the clothes even (I know that most of the catwalk stuff doesn't end up in production), am I supposed to buy into these "looks", these vibes, these restrained atmospheres, as they are being offered to me by people who don't know me, whom I do not know? Why do they care about what I wear? Why should they be telling anyone what they should look like?Maybe I might just be thinking too much, maybe I find hidden meanings and messages in things where they do not exist. Fashion is supposed to be fun, right? Am I the only one who is not laughing?


Monday, 23 June 2008

Who are we?

I am always at a loss when people ask me to either tell them something about myself, or to describe my style. I hate to put myself into a box, I hate defining myself or anything about me. Just like everyone else, I am nothing and everything. I truly believe in being able to be whoever I want to be, every single day, with or without defining it.

I am sporty, yet I never run.

I am androgyne, yet I am female.

I am playful, yet I am grown up and serious.

I am a romantic, yet I watch football.

I wore this last outfit today, but I could have chosen any of the above, and yet I would have been me. It is as if every day I choose to wear a different superhero costume.

Illusia is a superhero too:

"Don't you dare interrupt my mouse-loving-session. And so what if I dig Strauss? I do polka for breakfast, buddy."

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Another long dress

I have had my eye on a vintage Vuokko dress at the local self-service flea market for a while now. (There are times when you see the same stuff up for sale weeks and weeks in a row.) The price tag (15 e) seemed a bit much, especially because I wasn't entirely sure about the dress in the first place. Yes, it is vintage Vuokko, yes, the colour (pale peach) is fantastic. But I kept looking at the sheer amount of fabric (there is a lot, and the cut is tent-like) and the size tag (extra small, for all this volume??), and well, let's face it, I tend to associate Vuokko with my mother's maternity wear from the 1970s. Anyway, I stopped by at the flea market today and there was a -50% tag on the dress. I took my chances with all the volume, the strange shape, for 7,50 e. Add a belt, and oh deary me, how great is this dress?

I also found these two miniature framed pictures, and the candle rosettes (or whatever they are called in English) below.

This is what I wore today:

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

I am Illusia

I am out and about, playing with leather mice. Me and my humanoid friend are listening to The Cinematic Orchestra.

"This is a place where I don't feel alone - this is a place where I feel at home..."

Laura Ingalls & co.

I am still going strong with faded pastels. There are small traces of change lingering in the air though. I am getting a feel for bolder prints and colours these days. This is what I wore today:

And these are the things I thrifted:

Cardigan: Fida, 1 e, and hat: Fida, 2 e. This outfit might be a bit too Agyness Deyn for my liking, but oh well, who cares. Here is a detail of the hat:

Dress: Flea market, 7 e. I hardly ever wear red (except for shoes and bags), but I really like the colours here, as well as the loose shape and the airiness of the dress. It was way too expensive for a flea market dress, but I figured I could layer it in the winter time so I will get more use out of it.

Skirt: flea market, 3,80e. The label on this skirt says that it is made for kids.

Wrap skirt: Fida, 3,70e. Wrap skirts and -dresses are a bit tough for my shape, but this one has a bit more structure to it than these types of clothes usually do.

Ruffle skirt: flea market, 6 e. This skirt is pure heaven. It was a bit expensive, but I just had to have it. The colours are perfect, and the amount of ruffles is just right!

This is what I am going to be wearing when I host a Laura Ingalls-themed tea party. Dress: Fida, 3 e. I have a feeling that this dress is pretty old. The fastening hooks at the back look ancient.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Music shopping

I spent forever in a record shop called X today. Unlike 99% of the population of the Western world, I don't believe in the death of the album any more than I believe in the death of books. I truly enjoy the experience of touching things, seeing things in the flesh, of hearing the world around me buzz away. This is why I don't really do online-shopping at all. I rather pay a little extra for the knowledge of the store keeper, for the atmosphere around me, for touching and getting a feel for things.

I finally got my hands on the new My Morning Jacket album, Evil Urges. It seems to be a very fine album, although I am not convinced that it sounds quite as good as Z (which is perhaps one of my most favourite albums of all time). I also finally got From Here We Go Sublime by The Field, the Congotronics 2, as well as some Cinematic Orchestra.

This is what I was wearing today:

This is the print of the jacket: