LWD – The Little White Dress (& the little white room)

Almost all of us have that go-to LBD in our closet.  And if we don’t, we should.  There’s no denying it’s a wardrobe staple and can make the best companion to even the most last-minute invitation.  But recently, the LWD has been appearing at events and on red carpets. It’s so fresh and sophisticated that its got to last. And there’s no better dress for the summer.  Below some great LWD options.

Little White Dress

Victoria’s Secret aptly names this the Date Dress.  Perfect for date night, with a bit of sexy and a lot of classic.  This could easily be dressed up with silver or gold accessories and heels, or dressed down with flats and leather accessories.

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Angelina Jolie works the little white dress above.  Again, it’s sophisticated and classic.  Add a blazer and take this dress to the office.

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I love how this LWD is punched up with vibrant orange jacket, belt and scarf.  The neutral bag and shoes keep it from feeling too matchy-matchy.

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This is such a flirty crocheted lace LWD.  I like that it has long sleeves with the short skirt, so it highlights those leggy assets!

The LWD accessorised

I thought I’d share my virgin run on polyvore (above) of my set for the LWD and accessories.  Of course I incorporated one of Earth, Wind and Style’s gorgeous handbags too!  What do you think?
Of course, fashion can be translated into interiors and I’ve long been a fan of white interiors.  There’s something so serene and relaxed about them.  

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The Barcelona Chair (pictured above) reminds me of a well made suit.  It’s timeless and uncomplicated, yet paired with the right accessories, like this zebra print carpet and the bold black and white artwork, it becomes sophisticated and chic just as a suit you wear to the office would benefit from good accessorising.

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Isn’t this throw and lace pillows reminiscent of the lace LWD posted earlier?  This is a great example of how to bring your own personal style into your interior.  Looking for items for your home that correlate to those in your wardrobe (or vice versa) is an easy way to try to extrapolate your style from one to the other.

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Creating an engaging space centred around one colour can be challenging.  There must be elements of interest, which allow the eye to rest rather than continually seek the space for something to take its attention.  With a single colour in the room, texture and lighting become even more important than usual.  Texture can be brought in through contrasting finishes, such as ceramics and roughly finished furnishings, furs (or faux furs), wool, leather, reclaimed wood, etc.  The room above is successful because of the contrast between the rustic headboard, the glamourous chandelier and the fine cotton bedding, which in combination are a surprise to the eye.

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Again in the above living area, the contrast between tailored furnishings and textured finishes add interest and depth to the space.

So, if you haven’t already will you invest in an LWD?  What about living with an all white interior?  Is it something you would do?

Safari Style

It is entirely true what they say about Africa getting under your skin and getting into your blood.

I was lucky enough while living in South Africa for 5 years to be able to explore some of the southern part of the continent and enjoy a number of safaris during that time.  Each was an amazing experience and on the return from a few of these trips, my husband and I said to each other, ‘ok, I think we’ve checked the safari box now’.  But a couple of months later we would be talking about our next plan to get ‘back to the bush,’ as the locals call it. We could never get enough!

There is something magical about going on safari.  The whole experience from watching those incredible animals – most often up close – in their own environment to the beautifully comfortable tented-camp accommodation to the outdoor lantern-lit evening meals served fireside in the boma that makes it such a romantic adventure.  And a very civilized G&T at sundown out of the back of a landrover could convince any sceptic that this is living!

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So given my love for the bush, I suppose it’s not surprising that I have a soft spot for safari-inspired style both in interiors and fashion.  It seems to have such staying power with its classic prints, neutral hues and casual sophistication. Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller and others have all come out with hits of safari in their catwalks over the last several years.  Below are some examples of how to incorporate this look into either your wardrobe or your home.

Animal print is a definitive safari style print, which can be added to an outfit through accessories or worn from head to toe as your personality allows. Pair it with strappy sandals or boots and a chunky piece of jewellery and you have the look.

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These khaki pants combined with a menswear-inspired shirt, leather accessories and beaded jewellery screams safari.

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Blending into the environment is key when on safari so as not to arouse attention from hungry carnivorous animals, hence the use of many neutral hues reminiscent of the African Savannah.

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The khaki clothing above paired with a hat, sunglasses and a sizeable bag all come together to create a good safari look.

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Belted dresses and clothing with lots of pockets and accessorised with gold jewellery is also quintessential safari.

Earth, Wind & Style has a collection of game skin handbags that will coordinate beautifully with safari style (in fact one of our handbags is almost identical to the one that appeared in Michael Kors’ safari-inspired spring/summer 2012 collection!).

Safari lodge interiors, like fashion, tend towards utilising neutrals as a basis for their design.  Most lodges are inclined to blend into the environment in which they are located. With the use of natural elements, such as rattan, wood and sisal it is easy to bring a sophisticated bush influence into the home.  Layer in textures like cow hide rugs or ottomans, woven hemp or raffia fabrics such as bakuba, and baskets to up the African element.  A bowl of ostrich eggs, a grouping of porcupine quills or some oversized seed pods will also add authenticity to your scheme if you can get your hands on them.

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Lanterns are used generously at safari lodges, which definitely adds to the drama and romance of these venues.

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The carved tables above, zebra ottoman and cowrie shell basket all lean toward this style.

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If you have used a lot of wood in your design, you can soften the look by bringing in throw rugs and mosquito netting, which is almost always found around beds in the bush and definitely adds a touch of romance.  But what could be more romantic than sleeping under the stars as above?

I think I feel another safari plan coming on…

What do you think about safari style?  Do you already wear some of these elements or do you have some incorporated into your home?  What are your favourite pieces?

Steamy style in Laos

As I type this entry it is about 40 degrees and crazy humid in Luang Prabang, Laos. It makes me realise that I am seriously lacking in appropriate summer clothes (particularly ridiculous considering I live in the perpetual heat!), however I’ll save that for another post.

Luang Prabang is a laid-back town full of shiny gold temples (thirty-something the last I heard from a well studied Monk) and Monks who are spotted and dotted throughout the city in their saffron coloured robes.

There is no question that Laos maintains a culture of deep traditions, but it is this along with the mix of Colonial heritage and an obviously blossoming tourism industry that really makes the country so great to visit. It’s chilled. Relaxed. And cool – despite the immense amount of heat being pumped out of the sky on a continual basis. It’s easy to get around and the people are very friendly.

There is an abundance of eating establishments serving a selection of food covering the Laos and European spectrum, with French food playing a key roll – mostly in the form of crepes, though there a few fancy French restaurants too.

But Luang Prabang also boasts a fantastic number of shops and shopping opportunities. Boutiques, markets, stalls and kiosks will sell you handicrafts from small local villages, beautifully designed textiles, silver jewelry, Buddha images and Laos coffee to name but a few of the eclectic items on offer.

There is something really special about buying a silk scarf from the woman who not only dyed the thread with which it is made, but who also spent two or three days weaving it.

I find myself repeatedly trolling the night market stalls looking for interesting items (I’ve always loved a good market!). I’ve purchase some squares of fabric that are hand stitched and embroidered. I have big plans for these so stay tuned.

Below are some snaps of my few days in LP. It has turned out to be one of my favourite holiday destinations.

20120501-000644.jpg Weaver in a small village outside Phonsavan, Laos

20120501-000813.jpg Satri Lounge, one of many shops along the main strip in Luang Prabang

20120502-083429.jpg Anakha boutique selling high quality clothing

20120502-083005.jpg Pack Luck, an elegant wine bar serving the most delicious complimentary peanuts with fabulously cold wine.

20120501-000835.jpg Luang Prabang’s night market on Sisavangvong Street

20120502-084305.jpg Luang Prabang at night

Where was your favourite holiday spot?

Black & Yellow. The More I See The More I Love

There is something about this combination of black and yellow that’s been on the runways, in the shops and on the streets recently.  Maybe it’s because yellow is such an enthusiastic, friendly colour and black is sophisticated that it works so well together.  Whatever it is, it works and it works particularly well with sunny, bold yellows.

This Valentino gown is gorgeous.  The black bow is the finishing touch.

Great vintage-inspired black and yellow graphic dress.

Nice casual look with that yellow top adding the extra cool factor.

This yellow coat elevates this black outfit to new heights.

Look how Jackie Kennedy wore this colour scheme so beautifully back in 1961.

Our own Earth, Wind & Style black and yellow convertible boots.

This Jenna Lyons living room pops with the yellow sofa, while the black chairs keep the space grounded.

This is a beautiful sunny kitchen with the yellow cabinets and accessories. The black anchors the space and keeps it from feeling too cute.

The use of the yellow accessories above is perfect if you’d like to add a splash of yellow to your scheme without committing to an expensive piece of furniture. Painting a wall is also an inexpensive way to bring your space up to date.  The black wall here adds a lot of depth to the space.

What is your favourite colour scheme?  Do you go in for the black and yellow?