The monastery of S. Francesco,
Fiesole, Provincia di Firenze, Italy
A weekend in Florence to visit a friend. A city that never ranked as one of my favourites but I saw a different side to it this time. Staying in an apartment on the other side of the river, away from the year round hordes of tourists hoping to glance at David’s penis, sardining themselves onto the Ponte Vecchio, or just blocking your way on a narrow pavement whilst you desperately seek respite from the perpetual drizzle. Yes, tourists! Damn you!
The other side is much nicer, much more local. And home to the Boboli gardens and the Palazzo Pitti. We made it up to Fiesole, just outside the city, perched on a hill top. The views of Florence from there are simply breathtaking. And I happened upon this monastery. Serene and minding its holy business as any good ole monastery should. And home to quite a few dishy monks…
Awfully clever, aren’t they those Danes [ — and Swedes?] The Øresund bridge. Have you seen it? Totes amazing!!! It snakes on for like, forever, and then, on the last stretch towards Copenhagen, bridge becomes tunnel. Whoa! All to ensure the safety of flights to and from the nearby airport. Thoughtful, aren’t they?
I like the DESIGN DEMOCRACY that is omnipresent on every street corner of Copenhagen. Its like its in their blood. Visit Illums Bolighus, the royal-warrantied design emporium in the heart of the shopping centre and swoon. It takes lifestyle shopping to another level. I came back with more than my fair share of glassware, kitchen implements and what-a-view!
My Danish mates, and I have a few, all seem to have a natural instinct for collecting ceramics. Their apartments are strewn with esoteric collections of varying forms and colours that are just so damn pretty to look at at.
And those Danes are so tall and blonde and beautiful. Like the palest of pale white beers. Almost silvery hair in the more extreme cases of blonditude! Wow! Can I stroke it? Gliding around on their bikes, blonde locks flapping in the wind. Oh, those Danes…
But for me wood wins out. You should know your design classics and if not do your homework. I came across these chairs and tables in a cafe that I can’t remember the name of. I never said that I was observant! But its a popular chain you’ll come across several times. Its the one just across from COS, on that street that leads to Illums…
They look delightful, don’t they, sunbathing?
Grounded rice, formed into meticulous, tiny balls by rubbing the flour through the fingers and rolling the crumbed mixture repeatedly in a wooden bowl, adding a drop of water at a time. Patience is a must. This is then cooked with lemon, water and sugar to create an utterly delicious pudding.
Dessert. West African style. Serve with searingly hot banana dumplings.
Handwoven strips of cotton thread in ivory and indigo on traditional looms, painstakingly pieced together and passed down from generation to generation. Culture in cloth.
Cathedral, Pantelleria town centre, Pantelleria Island , Sicily
Well, hello there. Fancy seeing you here! I must say it’s been a while. What have you been up to? Tell me…
Well, juggling about a million projects and building up those air miles! If I never saw Charles De Gaulle Terminals 2D, E and G again I’d be a very happy man. Modern travelling requires that you plan your outfit prior to your departure:
– What shoes to wear? The Acnes have those lovely metal bits on the shoelaces that set off the scan. Mmmmm, will most probably have to take them off. Which brings me to the sub-question:-
– What socks to wear? Make sure they’re decent (its almost like going on that first date where you’re hopeful that something might happen later, not that you’re that kind of girl but you never know what state of mind you’ll be in after a few too many GT’s, so best to prepare and pop on the “shag pants”, just in case.)
– Do I pack the shoe horn in my hand luggage just in case there isn’t one available? Those Acnes do need breaking in and thus require some amount of effort to put on. Decisions…
– Fuck it. Just go for the all white, All Star Converses then.
– What about beltage? Not the Margiela’s then. Those beautifully hefty buckles…
See what I mean? It’s hard work. And that’s before we get to what I refer to as Traveller’s Waltz, that pre-security striptease that separates the men from the boys, the experienced traveller from the novice. Simultaneously sliding off belt and jacket whilst elegantly urging hand luggage forwards with a gentle kick-push. All this done with the swanlike grace of Naomi Campbell doing one of her notorious nineties catwalk turns…
Ah ya yay! Drama!
Anyway, I digress. I went on a proper holiday for the first time in years this summer. After much umming and ahhing we decided on Sicily — a week in Palermo and the Gulf of Castellamare followed by a week on the island of Pantelleria, which is part of the Sicilian province of Trapani and is the closest point between Italy and Africa, sort of bang in the middle between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia.
More on Dirty P ,as I like to refer to Palermo later. For now, let us focus our gaze on that other P — Pantelleria.
Languidly stretched out in what seems to be a perpetual sunbathe, gentle waves lapping at her feet and cool winds providing the occasional respite from the scorch, Pantelleria is quite small and it takes about forty five minutes to travel around it by car. The island is all that remains of a sunken volcanic rift resulting in a starkly beautiful landscape of rolling rivers crumbly black lava rock, vivid cactus greens and an endless oceanic stretch of azure. Exotic and strangely lunar.
We stayed in what is called a “dammuso” — traditional huts crafted out of local volcanic rock that belie the north African influence — that overlooked the spectacular Lago Specchio di Venere, a huge saltwater thermal lake in a now-dormant crater. Its a jaw dropping sight the first time you see it, a turquoise disc glimmering in the sun. The lake is also famous for mud bathing – i fanghi . Slathering yourself in the dark, pungent, nutrient-rich clay and sunning yourself until you resemble a not-so-lithe Giacometti sculpture is at once hilarious and deeply soothing.
You will eat well. Very, very well. The local capers are a revelation when paired with tomatoes, potatoes, onion and olive oil. You will also sleep well. The island’s hard to reach location and lack of any real beaches means that it isn’t a tourist trap. Not, perhaps, ideal for a young family but perfect for a group of friends or couples looking to get some QT.
So, if you want to totally switch off, read a few books and recharge your batteries its definitely worth the visit. Oh, and you might get to spot Giorgio Armani going for a stroll in the town centre — he is one of the many celebrities that have summer homes there, attracted by its splendid isolation.
OK. There are enough street style blogs out there — who knew the streets were so stylish? Note to self: GO OUT MORE! Not to worry; things aren’t about to change round these parts. So he says before going all Hanneli on yo ass!
However, in response to my previous tut-tutting at Mr Jacobs-Louis — there goes my chance of ever working for him, ah, well!! — I thought I’d share with you these pictures of my cousin. Gorgeous, isn’t she? And the dress!!! As fresh and cooling as a tall glass of something naughty by the pool. You know, its amazing how something so simple, easy and not at all expensive can pack such a punch. Just a printed cotton dress. Amazing print, though.
I was just totally inspired by her natural sense of ease and style. No air-brushing or knowing, I’m-gonna-do-my -best-Freja pose. No terrible weaves [check out Zina Saro-Wiwa’s inspiring piece for the New York Times on the subject of black women “Transitioning” to natural hair. Click here], no make up, hair beautifully sculpted into a bun, minimum accessories — you can just about make out her printed canvas bag which contrasts beautifully with the blues.
It does make you wonder, doesn’t it? Enjoy_
I really like the tone of red — a weird kind of terracotta — coming through the washed out aqua. It’s quite unexpected but works. The dirty greeny-yellow of the window blind in the second picture makes the mix even more interesting. Its just one of many unusual colour combinations that I came across on my recent trip to the Motherland. Every corner you turned down held a new surprise. Beautiful.
Alessandro Dell’ Aqua N. 21
Yes, him of the waters. It seems a bit nothing, and it kind of is — the slogan tee.
However, I quite like the way it plays with Chanelism. Black on white. N. 05. Etc.
I apologize, once again!
No excuses this time. The Lazy Blogger has sunk further into languor’s apathetic embrace. Well, new year, new beginnings, and all that.
It so happens that I’ve been home. Real home, the Motherland, so to speak. I’ll keep the name of this country anonymous – let’s just say that its somewhere in West Africa. It’d been so long since I last went that I got scared of going – a vicious cycle that kept on spiralling out of control. The longer I left it, the more scared I got. How stupid of me. I had the best time EVER. Don’t get me wrong, it was a shock to the system but it was exactly what I needed. There’ll be more on this later but I’ll leave you with a few images till the next time I check in.
I’m not promising anything. It might be a while…!
The circus has rolled in once more, along with it the usual cast of characters – ringmaster, clown and magicians. As with any circus there is always The Good, The Bad and the Damned. OK, I made the last one up but “ugly” is a subjective thing. One man’s Beautiful is another’s Rodarte, ouch!
Anyway, I’ve got some ideas for posts on fashion week. One of them will be what I call The Barbie Syndrome –– female designers objectifying themselves. A bit like the Mugler fetishization of women in the 80s in reverse_
Talk about ghost-writing!
Yes its been a while for sure. A lot has happened in the last few months since I last clickety-clacked my trusty keyboard. Most of it good. Pretty much all of it good. Moving home, new projects and lots of amazing personal developments. But that hasn’t been the only reason I stopped blogging. To be honest, it had become boring. There’s an information overload out there and it can make your head hurt. I’ll hold my hand up as being a cyber-vulture with the best of them, preying on the “deadflesh” of informed/uninformed writing, the speculations, the egoistical self-portraits of sweet-nothings fawning at their own self-fabulousness, stylists who seem to be more interested in self-styling than styling anything else. I could go on. But that’s a narrow-minded stance to take. There is a lot of good out there: good-bloggers, great design, great people. Sometimes you have to take a step back.
Anyway, I hope my mojo comes back. And my preposition foibles. And my typos.
Kiss all the pretty ones goodbye
Give everyone a penny that cry
You can throw all my tranquil’ pills away
Let my blood pressure go on its way
For my autumn’s done come
My autumn’s done come. Done come
Lee Hazlewood, 1966
A friend introduced me to this the other day and I haven’t stopped listening to it. You may have heard of The Weeknd but if you haven’t you probably would have sooner or later.
It was late at night, and we may or may not have had a dirty ciggie but we had most definitely knocked back a few glasses of “dirty” Pimms. Ah, the rites of spring. Anyway this friend of mine fancies himself as a bit of a master of the decks and was teaching me the basics of deejaying when he put this on.
The House of Balloons album has been causing quite a stir on the internet. For starters you can download the entire mixtape for free from The Weeknd’s website. Secondly, it seems to be breathing life into the jaded, tired world of r’n’b. Having said that, r’n’b seems too narrow a categorisation although Rhianna would give her right arm for opening track, “High for This”.
Fronted by vocalist Abel Testfaye, The Weeknd pour everything from fellow Canadian, Drake, to Massive Attack, Burial and R kelly into some sort of twisted sonic food processor to come up with a dark, seductive blend of of slow jams and electro. What really marks them out are their disturbing, drug-infused lyrics. For instance, “High for This” has Testfaye cooing: Hold tight, for this ride/ we don’t need no protection…. open your hand, take a glass, don’t be scared, i’m right here/ even though, you don’t want, trust me girl, you wanna be high for this.
Like I said, dark stuff.
They offer a peek into a nightmarish world of kinky sex, perversion and self-loathing. Not immediately sexy and definitely not one for the kids but Testfaye’s almost angelic lilt is a Trojan horse that you kind of want to let in_