Category: Thoughts

Phluid x

Clothes are so ubiquitous it’s easy to take them for granted: fripperies, feathers and function. Except they unconsciously say so much – they are our inner identities reflected back to the world.  Those moments when you have nothing to wear? It’s really because there’s nothing to express who you want to be that day.

But what if the freedom we believe in is really a myth? What if society has conditioned our thinking so much we no longer notice the rules, the divisions and the assumptions they lead to?

And there are many of them: Blue for a boy, pink for a girl, pretty dresses for girls that look sweet but don’t take into consideration climbing trees and protection against skinned knees, trousers for boys that metaphorically take on another meaning, T-bars for primary school girls, running shoes for boys, Pedestal high heels for women: the literal presentation of an object of desire: Look sexy, feel sexy they shout. Taxi shoes! We laugh, the truth covered by humour, falling for the fantasy rather than admit they’re restrictive, tortuous and totally lacking function.

What about sizing? It’s another hidden form of segregation: There’s the designer labels who don’t make anything above a size 14 – what’s the message they’re giving?  That only the rich are perfect?  Or that designers only want to hang their clothes on hangers, not real bodies, real people? But we still let them, maybe one day hoping that person will be us, another part of our insidious cultural brainwashing. What about the clothes store that allegedly offer larger sizes except they never have any in stock? Is it because they can’t understand why someone with that body would want to wear it? Is that really their choice to make? When what’s available for one body isn’t available for another it’s limitation, restriction, and control.

Gender is another straitjacket demanding clothing conformity, every store with racks of clothes marked out for one type of person only, the changing rooms following suit.  Who has decided these divisions?

Certainly not PhluidPhluid is the first gender neutral store that’s just opened in New York as a place without judgement or fear where it’s the clothes that do the talking, not our mental labels. Phluid says we have the ability to imagine a world without ‘because we do’ traditions and outdated rituals that don’t work.  They say it’s up to us to open our eyes and fix it: Acceptance, balance, integrity, intention are so much more appealing.

 

(All pics Phluid)

Personally, it’s such a relief to see a store that celebrates what makes us different whilst cherishing what makes us the same: We think choice is freedom, but it only is if that choice is available to everyone.

 

Laters, Kate x

That dress x

So this dress has been causing controversy again, although not quite the same way as it’s ancestor did.
When Liz Hurley stepped out in her Versace dress in 1994 for the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral she was an overnight sensation, though not for her acting skills – she wasn’t in the film, her then boyfriend Hugh Grant was – she made the headlines for being an object of desire.
But it wasn’t the picture of Jennifer in her dress that made my eyebrows raise.  It was this one, standing with four men.
Jennifer Lawrence has defended herself on Facebook writing:

‘Wow. I don’t really know where to get started on this “Jennifer Lawrence wearing a revealing dress in the cold” controversy. This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended. That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.
This is sexist, this is ridiculous, this is not feminism. Over- reacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things such as what I choose to wear or not wear, is not moving us forward. It’s creating silly distractions from real issues. Get a grip people. Everything you see me wear is my choice. And if I want to be cold THATS MY CHOICE TOO!’

To Jennifer I say, many of us don’t realise the level of sexism we have internalised. We are conditioned by it, educated in it and live out our lives in it.  You wore this dress because of an insidious undercurrent of rules that dictates female Hollywood stars should wear such dresses, full stop, regardless of the expense, the quality, the label, the fashion statement, the weather, or even what the men are wearing.  You were expected to dress like this, you knew this and unquestioningly fulfilled that obligation.  Where the ongoing problem lies is that you don’t see your behaviour as influenced and that’s where the sadness lies, because every time our daughters see a women, particularly a women proud to hold herself up as a female icon, refuse to acknowledge such an event or puts her well being second, or does something that reinforces the idea that being object of desire/cleaning/childcare is a woman’s primary role, we let them down.  In the words of Charles Boudelaire: 

The loveliest trick of the devil is to persuade you he doesn’t exist.

Open your eyes. The truth is, there should have been five human beings standing there, not four men and a beautifully packaged piece of tempting meat.

Laters, Kate x

100 Years

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for best director at the Oscars.

Marie Curie – honoured twice with the Nobel Prize, in 1903 for physics and 1911 for chemistry.  Between the years 1901 – 2017 only 48 women in total have been awarded the prize.

1984 was the first year women were allowed to run the marathon at the Olympic games. The gold medal was won by Joan Benoit Samuelson.

The Oxford and Cambridge boat race.  First rowed by women in 1927 and then annually since 1964.  The women’s race was only televised in 2015.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of women in the UK getting the vote – but don’t be fooled into thinking this was all women – we’re talking women over 30 with ‘property’..the real equality would take another eleven years.

100 years later discrimination is still rife.  Except it’s not talked about, because it doesn’t happen. In fact there are so many people convinced of their good intentions towards women that they don’t even notice their glaring disrespect for them: Grid girls? Equal number of grid boys please, along with female racing drivers, women mechanics, female engineers, women running F1 teams – and lets add heading up the car companies as well because we still need an explosion of the myth that cars are just for boys.  Time to grow up.

 

Laters, Kate x

Spoonflower x

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One of the truly great things about living in the IT revolution is how it has brought down the cost of printing, whether it be on paper or fabric.

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There are now companies out there that for a small sum are ready to take your designs and turn them into usable art – we’re talking fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper..and you don’t even need a large print run…one roll or 1 metre will do it. What’s more, if it’s good, you can earn money from other people buying your design…win, win.

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It’s something I’m keen to explore and play with.  I’ve found this website that gives a clear, basic tutorial. about pattern repeating.

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And Spoonflower seem to be the biggest/best website for printing…and they also have lots of ‘how to’ videos.

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Now to pin down the design…

Laters, Kate x

Some dreams are made of this..

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The temperature is rising, the bluebells are out! And like the instinct of an awakening hibernating beast, the brain is coming alive with illicit thoughts of cloudless skies and barmy evenings and how best to harness those precious summer months.

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More and more I’m dreaming of hammocks and swing beds.

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That primitive allure of quiet self-indulgence: Peace, tranquility, old soft cotton and a damn fine book.

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If our garden was huuuuge I’d go for one of these…beds on top..potential den beneath…broken bones a given…but just think of the fun!

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This is probably more realistic – and I like the pagoda style..a bit more secretive and tucked away.  Maybe with a curtain to block out nosey neighbours…and with a back support – I hate reading completely flat.  It would eat the space…but in a rather wonderful way.  The truth is we have an urban life: Our garden will never be a football pitch…so why pretend?

 

Laters Kate x

 

Greek Life..

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Anyone else heading to Greece on holiday this summer? Worried about the economic crisis? Don’t be…if I hadn’t seen the media reports before we left, I wouldn’t know there was a problem. Whilst the political events may have been whipped up into a fury in the papers, day to day life, at least for tourists, remains unchanged – ATMs still work, there’s petrol in the pumps and food on the supermarket shelves.

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We were wary before we left and quickly bought cash belts and locks for the suitcases, but, like the dew in the morn, those feelings have long since gone.

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Fundamentally, this is a cash based society – which has been part of the problem – that and corrupt politicians. Ultimately, if you have cash or a foreign credit card, you are fine and rather than seeing poverty some Greeks are still very wealthy…which are the ones we’re more likely to see on holiday, particularly in a place like Spetses.  I will confess to some Marie Antoinette twinges, an openning gulf between those with and those without – a low slung banana yellow Lamborghini roared past us on a mountain road, there was a wedding on Spetses reportedly costing millions for a single day of celebrations, the beach turned into a dance floor with enough lights to resemble an alien landing.  Is it enough for potential civil unrest? Only time will tell. I asked a friend married to a Greek whether there was a growing awareness of this discrepancy, she said no, Greeks didn’t see it as a flaunting of wealth but rather admired it as a show of success, she said I was viewing the situation through envy driven British eyes that like to attack the successful.

Who knows..but it does feel like this country is in the grips of the sovereign equivalent to a Company takeover….where the majority of the employees have been forgotten.


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Personally, I would have like the no vote to mean no, for Greece to take Europe by the cojones and leave the Euro and for Germany to be proudly presented with wheel barrowfuls of freshly printed drachma, which would’ve promptly devalued. Yes, it would cause huge problem….but it would leave Greece in control of Greece.

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But then I’m seeing this through privileged English eyes….

 

Laters, Kate x

7 Questions..

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Favourite Colour: Blue..denim, navy, the sea, the sky..it rocks.

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Best trait: I value the simple things in life..but truthfully, what I hold truly dear doesn’t a lot, but is ultimately priceless.

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Worst trait: I like to think I’m tidy, but I fear I’m not – things just get discarded like the feathers from a plucked chicken so there’s a perpetual circle of chaos around me.  I’m also surprisingly crap with technology – I’m not an obsessive checker and regularly lose my phone.  I see the internet as something wonderful but inherently dangerous and I suspect losing my phone is a Freudian way of trying to keep a distance from it’s pull.

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Oldest item in wardrobe: Hard to say – there’s a fair amount of vintage with unknown heritage, but I do have a cream cape that used to belong to my Grandmother.  It’s a treasure.

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Newest item: Vintage silk dress bought on Ebay and dyed black, otherwise it’s my Miss Hellfire stripey shoes..certainly different and surprisingly comfortable..

Favourite piece of music: Schubert Lieder sung by Ian Bostridge which shouldn’t work because he’s a light, English tenor, but does..maybe because it’s such intelligent singing.

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The last time I laughed: Charlie was asking me about the world’s tallest animal.  I said ‘Giraffe’..he looked at me in surprise, and said ‘But what about the Decondra lizard Mummy? It’s at least 2 metres taller, lives in South African and has the ability to make anything you need – if you’re in the Arctic and you need a coat, the Decondra will just make one for you..it can also make plastic..and toys..basically it’s the best pet ever to have..just a big shame it’s so tall’..deep sigh…..

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Big Day..

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Today will see the 70th staging of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race: Iconic, exclusive, elitist sporting gold.  And for the first time ever, women will be rowing their own race, on the same stretch of water, on the same day and, like the men, it will be broadcast live to millions.

 

The change is due to Helena Morrissey (Cambridge graduate with 9 children and no background in rowing) Chief Executive of Newton Investment Management and their sponsorship.  She found it shocking that there was such a discrepancy between the men and the women..but don’t think it was plain sailing for her to introduce the change.  It wasn’t.

 

Nina Carberry is also riding in the Grand National today (think of all the girls who have riding lessons.  Now think how many female jockeys there are..) – there is Katie Walsh – she won the Irish Grand National this week…but she doesn’t have a horse to ride…says a lot.  Carberry is in red-hot form having won over the National fences already on Thursday in the Fox Hunters’ Chase…it’s a tough, tough race but I’ll be backing her and First Lieutenant all the way to make history and be crowned the first lady of Aintree.  It’s about time.

 

Laters, Kate x

Fashion Warrior x

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A style icon is someone with the power to dazzle by simply being themselves and Gwendoline Christie, (best known for playing the part of Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones) is as bright and compelling as any of the celebrity fashion role models regularly spoonfed to us by the synthesised, visually generalised media.  But with added spice..there’s something powerful, complex and original about her..made all the more special when you take into account her six foot three inch size..

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As someone who has at times felt genderless because of her height, it interests her to challenge our assumptions of femininity and what it is to be a woman.

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The role of Brienne – unfeminine in appearance, an object of scorn, clinging naively to the idealised concept of knighthood but always being treated with contempt and resentment for her gender, despite her considerable skill – is a role she relishes as a gift and the most extraordinary opportunity to portray the type of feminine outsider we rarely see in the mainstream.

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It’s a part that crosses the invisible line between an actors vanity and personal vanity..you have to be prepared to be displayed as unattractive, large and masculine..and for people to believe that’s what you truly are.

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When the reality is very different..

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This is a lady who knows how to dress and is unafraid to push boundaries.

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(All photos Google and Pinterest)

It must be rather satisfying to hear the crushing sound of misconceptions crunching under the designer soles of her stiletto clad feet every time she walks…

Laters, Kate x