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atimetopretend the elizabeth p. thimble vintage blog of fashion + curiosities.

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on a neon night.

image courtesy vogue australia.

image courtesy russh



sass & bide dress and necklace.


futuristic sound.

sass & bide dress, leggings and neckpiece/ havianas shoes.

Someone stole the keys to a printery and let the designers loose inside and the Spring 2010 runways became awash with patterns, prints + a bonus geometry lesson.  My pick has to be Ricardo Tisci's digital prints at Givenchy.  Just imagine what you could do in a geo-print suit!


image courtesy

then you discovered artsy.

Once upon a time...there was a little mermaid. She slept deep down in the sea, under rolling wave foam blankets. She played amongst spongy sea-cucumbers and forests of coral, she swam with seahorses who's skeletons shined neon purple and green, and, at sunrise, she surfed with the dolphins. And, she thought;

"Who could ask for anything more"?
Until one summer evening, while she was laying in the waves and counting stars in the milkyway, a shadow slightly touched her hair. She turned to see that the shadow was a bundle lying on the edge of the beach, rising, and falling, falling with each passing wave.
She stayed perfectly still, while the bubbles around her softly melted into the water.
She saw the moonlight dance on the shadow, like tiny sparks colliding.
A bone-white length from the bundle rested on her outstretched palm. Part of it was more softer than an anemone. Silkier than the thinnest seaflower. Layered over the top was an organza which felt like crinkly dry kelp, folded and pressed into rippled coral shapes, on a fan of material like the end of her fishtail.
She looked even closer, and there were millions of tiny clear rocks, now glistening stars and rainbows, on a bodice molded like a clam's shell. Neatly stitched on the inside was a word she had never read before: "Valentino Couture".
The little mermaid closed her eyes for an eye-flutter. And wondered about what sort of creature would shed such a skin? None that she had seen before!
She breathed in and it smelled of music festival - dancing and lights... spilled drinks and freshly cut lawn.
But as she mused in her imagination, she noticed that the thing was becoming heavier and heavier, soaking the sea into itself.
"I wonder what this could be for? I cannot see how anything  was able to live in the sea in this"!
Remembering a time she was chased by a blue-ringed octopus and had to swim superfast.
They had fallen laughing upon the sun-bleached sand. And in the morning when the girl awoke to the ocean whispering secrets to the wind, she went to pick up her dress, which had blown away into the tideline. And wondered how it came to have silvery blue fingerprints all over the hem?

mermaid illustration by klaus haapaniemi: courtesy british vogue, valentino couture image courtesy vogue italia.

The little mermaid watched, hidden behind ocean spray, as they put on their frocks. And the beautiful boys and girls ran away, into the beach mist...

Just a short story about one of my favorite Valentino designs, here worn by Natalia Vodianova and shot by Bruce Webber for Vogue Italia(March 2008 - Supplement).I only truly fell in love with Valentino and his designs after watching the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. And now I will finally be able see the incredible designs and couture technique up close: Valentino is coming to Brisbane!!From August 7 to November 7, the Gallery of Modern Art will be hosting the Valentino, Retrospective- Past/ Present/ Future exhibition. CANNOT wait!

images courtesy vogue italia.

some sorta magic.

images courtesy harper's bazaar.

images courtesy dazed & confused.

sass & bide dress, top and neckpiece/ bonds crop top/ converse shoes. 

Maurice Sendak's book: Where the Wild Things Are was HYPE. Fashion editors love hype. And fantastical children's tales. So the editorials in Harper's Bazaar (Dec 2009) featuring Alexandra Agoston and then Abbey Lee Kershaw for Dazed & Confused (Dec 2009) produced some truly enchanting shots, and I just could not resist donning my wolf-suit and running amok in the woods (or pretending to, anyway). The wild things are everywhere!

Ps. Look out. Alice in Wonderland is due to be released soon! I also hear rumors of a Tim Burton remake of Snow White. The vain Queen's version: mirror, mirror...


part II.

sass & bide dress, vintage top and necklace, bonds crop top.

I do remember thinking when I read a feature about crop tops: that they are back (!), “aah May 2009 Vogue, you are funny”.  And now I cannot get enough. I blame the hot weather.

as soon as others play it, it's old.

sass & bide dress & top, vintage necklace.
Crop Top. Bare midriff… normally my thoughts are limited to hard-ass gym instructors or awkward year eight blue-light discos or something left safely behind on 80s Madonna. And then Alexander Wang bought on S10RTW. And it became a music festival staple. Boom-la.


chanel bag, model's own.

sass & bide dress, chanel bag, converse shoes.

Coco and I met at my 21st birthday party. "Mademoiselle", I said,"Why, you do look ravishing".


there is more to see, than can ever.

vintage tribal necklace, sass & bide top.

And so, I was lured, while wandering the African Heartland, by soft clickings of shiny beads, to the mysterious women sitting on the sidewalk creating the most amazing strands and strands of colourful necklaces and headpieces. This incredible bead/shell fringed necklace was hidden half underneath a pile of bracelets. My treasure hunt was over.


...we are the world.

Wow. wow. wow. Wide-eyed and squirming with anticipation I could hardly sit still in my seat, though I was afraid to accidentally pinch myself and find it was in fact a dream that I was really on my way to AFRICA! Six months after booking and waiting. And waiting…

But as I began to think more about exactly what I was setting myself up for by agreeing to do volunteer work with International Student Volunteers in a small community on the Wild East Coast of South Africa, I admit to a biiit of a freak out. And unsureness. Apprehensive to deal with a reality for people which I can only imagine in my head as one of poverty or the desperate need that is flashed on TV or in advertisements asking for child sponsorship.

At the same time, going to actually work and build things(!) and afterward hearing the kids laughing as they fly through the air at their first swing on a brand new playground set, I thought would definitely be an experience I will keep treasured forever. I couldn’t wait to meet the people, to hear their stories.

Arriving in Chintsa East I did think I must have got off at the wrong stop. A very lovely seaside town littered with beachfront holiday mini-mansions gave an immediate impression of The Hills-esque spring break. Oh, and the Township is just over the hill. The contrast between rich white people and poor black Africans was to me nothing short of a major shock and walking amongst homes in the Township, tiny, some having been assembled form random scrap, no running water or electricity, anyone’s initial reaction could have been one of pity. Sadness? Maybe, until I heard Beyonce blaring down the valley and kids running around at our feet singing along to “All the Single Ladies”. Goats and cows roamed the streets freely. It was a little surreal.

And as Mike, one of the founders of Volunteer Africa 32 Degrees talked about the work that the organization has so far accomplished in the township, particularly in developing the local primary school, I became thrilled that I could help to realize their “Township to Village” initiative, which focuses on closing the (very large) socio-economic gap which continues ever present in post-apartheid South Africa.

Our group of 12 Australian uni students, after being given a short tour of the school and briefed on the plan to build a lunch area and a couple of water-tank stands, keenly gripped our shovels, ready to begin changing the world. Digging a few holes and nailing planks of wood sounded great, we all agreed enthusiastically. I started searching for a spanner, with a vague idea that it should look useful for the purpose of tightening bolts. I also thought, apart from having to stand in ankle deep mud, digging a 50cm deep hole would not be an overly difficult task...ha! Drought dried brick-like clay and hole digging are not friends. Nevertheless, determined to complete what I had begun, I optimistically continued hacking at the ground all day. Overnight the drizzling rain became a steady downpour, and finding the site flooded out the next day, we kept reminding ourselves that this was all for the kids, whilst using leaky buckets to drain the water. But day-to-day, the projects began taking form, and I could finally see how a few wooden poles could become a table. I learnt how to use a drill without hurting myself. And goat-proof a razor wire fence.

The local kids, after watching what we were doing out of curiosity, became too eager to help shovel dirt into wheelbarrows. They were super excited when they figured out how to use our digital cameras or when we let them sit in the bus for a ride from the school up to the gate when we left work at the end of the day. Although to them, in most likelihood, it seemed that what we were doing was just another game, in a rural township where 75% of the population are unemployed, it was encouraging to see that our work there instilled in them an inspiration to become involved in change, even if only for a few minutes. But their view of the world was much more realistic than mine was at that age, or even now. I don’t envy them. I think I like having lived childhood in blissful ignorance.

But to people who can do something... can kids be given an education when there is no desk in classrooms even for the teacher to sit at?

Luckily at Chintsa East, VA32 and the volunteers are making amazing progress, and as a tourist town, there are quite a few business investment opportunities for people. But Chintsa is just one Township. One Township out of hundreds of thousands. Some receive no support whatsoever.

Heaving mounds of rubbish and rubble and barbed wire or working with antique tools and limited materials was not fun. But it did give me an opportunity to pause my life for a couple of weeks and see, and think. I tried to understand their lives.

And there was so much that I realised I could take back form the whole experience...just appreciate.

"And I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I can remember feeling a little different. And, no... I'm not the same".