5.09.2014

Off to Uzbekistan!!!

Tomorrow Sasha and I shall be leaving for a  tour of Uzbekistan! We will visit Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Urghenk, Shakhrisabz. Here's our itinerary:


So, finally, the boys and girls shall stay home and we will go around the world! LOL



See you all in fifteen days!!!

5.06.2014

Travelling Dolly 7: Odette in China part 3 - The east: Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou



Well in my imagination Shanghai was like this, perhaps I've seen too many old movies or too many new ones set in the 30's, anyway the modern Shanghai is everything but a disappointment!
But before that a few words about Odette's outfit: it is a reproduction of a fashion from Kenzo's 2013 Spring-Summer collection. Her shoes and bag  are by TheVogue HK.


I picked several ideas from this collection, more Urban Safari to come!!! Carlo is wearing an IT t-shirt and a beautiful pair of jeans by HazelStreetDezigns on Etsy, I bought this and a couple of corduroy trousers before I tried my hand on male fahions. She sews beautiful clothes!
Thanks to his new hands Carlo can now hold his camera, as I wrote on his profile in the Mad about the boy page, he is a photographer. I found this lovely Canon Eos reproduction on E-bay. It is extremely detailed, in perfect scale and it came with several lenses and removable caps!!!! Of course this lovely object comes from China!!! LOL
Enough for the trivia. With their new clothes and accessories Odette and Carlo are ready to enjoy the last part of their trip to China.

Shanghai is a fascinating metropoli with its skyscrapers, the Bund with all its history and glamour, the elegant Nanking Road, the restored Old Town and in the midst the remnants of old and shabby houses (I couldn't take pictures of those). This is an exciting place, and Odette and Carlo didn't miss a thing!
But this is a place with at least two souls: and  the Huangpu River flowing between the Bund and the Pudong Disctrict works as a very effective rappresentation of this. In fact the whole Shanghai has been undergoing a huge restiling since the 1990's, when the new urban planning was developed. A whole museum is devoted to this urban plan, and is very impressive!
Another museum not to be missed is the Shanghai Museum of Art and History, an amazing collection!

Shanghai Pudong skyline view from the Bund - Picture by Billa

Shanghai - The Bund - Picture by Sasha
Nanking road is the most elegant place in town, and Odette and Carlo went for some shopping, but came back empty handed....everything was soooo expensive!!!

Shanghai - Nanking Street - Picture by Billa
This is a view from the old town, this place is amazing, filled with little shops. In fact it is a big shopping center where you can find everything: green tea, dresses, wooden or jade artifacts, this the souverin's paradise! But the thing that impressed Odette is the feeling of modern Shanghai looming just outside the doors!

Shanghai - The old town - Picture by Billa
The last part of Odette's visit to China will be under the insigna of the Chinese Gardens, and in Shanghai she visits the first of them. Actually she already visited one in Beijing, but the Imperial Summer Garden is just too huge to understand the meaning of this kind of gardens in the ancient Chinese culture.

Shanghai - Yuyuan Garden - Picture by Billa
Gardens were intended as places to meditate, relax, listen or play music and of course they had to be build accordingly to the rules of feng shui. Chinese gardens are really different from European gardens, they look natural and they are a sort of miniature representation of a perfect world: with their small apartments, pavillons, mountains, rocks, lakes and rivers filled with lotus flowers and colouful fishes!

On their next stop Odette and Carlo are visiting the Huangang Park in Hangzhou on the West Lake (one of Unesco's World Heritage Sites) and everything looks as it is ready for a photographic session. Carlo is so thrilled. Now, this is a place to try his new camera!

Hangzhou - Huangang Park - Picture by Billa
Hangzhou - Huangang Park - Picture by Billa
Hangzhou has got its old town with shops and stands, and a picturesque network of channels. This town is renowed to be, along with Suzhou, one of the most beautiful cities in China.

Hangzhou - Old Town - Picture by Sasha
Odette and Carlo also visited an ancient pharmacy, where one could buy any kind of ingredients for the Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Hangzhou - Old Town - Picture by Sasha
Just outside Hangzhou is the Lingyin Temple, wich means the soul retreat temple. At the entrance of the Temple are the Feilai Feng grottoes, where several Buddhas are carved. This smiling and happy Buddha is absolutely amazing. Nowadays the Temple is filled with Chinese pilgrims (very young ones) as it looks like the younger generations are redescovering religion (while Buddhist Monks are discovering the I-Pad LOL)
Odette and Carlo were very lucky to take this picture alone, as the place was buzzing with hundreds of people! As you can see they're trying to "pull an Avedon" (that's the reason why the Buddha is laughing so hard)

Hagzhou - Lyngin temple - Picture by Billa
Shuzhou is really one of the loveliest places on hearth. And here Odette and Carlo are going to visit what is the apotheosis of the Chinese garden, but first they are going to visit a very intriguing place: the Tiger Hill. To reach the pagoda at the top Odette has decided to try yet another mean of transportation, while Carlo prefers to jog a little to keep fit (Chinese food is very tempting).

Suzhou - Tiger Hill - Picture by Sasha
The Yunyan Pagoda's lean is just 3 degrees, but it looks like it's quite a lean!!!
Odette believes she's in Pisa and tries to straighten it up!

Suzhou - Tiger Hill Pagoda - Picture by Billa
At the foot of the Hill, is the Wanjing Villa with its huge collection of  Penjing (literally "tray scenery"), also known as penzai, which are  potted landscapes. This  is the ancient Chinese art of depicting artistically formed trees, other plants, and landscapes in miniature from which the  Japanese Bonsai originated.

Suzhou -Penjing garden - Picture by Sasha
Odette and Carlo having some fun with this scenographic door: The Vitruvian Dollz

Suzhou - Penjing garden - Picture by Sasha
And finally they visited the Humble Administrator Garden. I think these pictures give a rough idea of what I was talking about speaking of a perfect miniature world:


Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
This is a female room in one of the Pavillons, Odette can't really figure out how to play this instrument, I believe it is called a Guzheng.

Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
There's a wonderful book, one of the great classics of Chinese literature, which takes place almost exclusively in a garden like this. It is called  The Dream of the Red Chamber, I would highly reccommend it, is a great reading!

Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
Before leaving China, Odette and Carlo can't miss a visit to Tongli, the Venice of the East. The town is built on seven islands and is crossed by 15 canals. Wooden tour boats ease down the waterways, duck under bridges, and glide past residences, stores, gardens and restaurants. Most canals are no more than 30 feet across affording intimate views of the passing scene.

Tongli - Picture by Billa
This is extremely romantic, and by now it is clear: Odette and Carlo are an item!


Tongli - Picture by Billa
of course they pay a visit to the local souvenir's market.....last minute shopping

Tongli - Picture by Billa
As she really loved everything about China,  Odette  wants to leave you with this beautiful traditional song played on the Guzheng: High Mountain and Flowing Water, listen and just imagine slowly boating down the Li River.....



Previous instalment: Odette in China part 2
Their next destination: Oman!!!


5.03.2014

A kaftan for Cecilia

I've bought this lovely scarf some time ago in my favourite fabric shop, it was on a sale, I immediately thought its pattern had a summer/safari feel and I grabbed it. I've been thinking about what to make of it when our friend Pabboo at the Dollobserver forum came up with this contest about making a dress out of a scarf, and "BANG", I knew that the first dress I should have made shall be a Kaftan for Cecilia!!!

Here's Cecilia wrapped in the scarf just to show you what beautiful colours and patterns it has:


and here's the pattern of the Kaftan I used to design mine:

Cecilia looks almost happy with it (I said almost).....


I also made her a necklace and a matching handbag, she looks ready for a stroll along the seaside. Luckily enough "Roman Holiday" Barbie's sandals fits (more or less) FR2 feet, so she also has the right shoes!



Thanks again Pabboo for this great idea!

See you soon
Billa

4.29.2014

Colours of Springtime: featuring Giada

To celebrate Springtime, Giada grabbed Odette's new dress and decided to pose for these colourful pictures, she likes a lot to be wrapped in silk......
She's nearly as happy as I am that the warm season has come back, we couldnt' stand those rainy days any longer!!!!







See you soon!
Billa


4.22.2014

Little Black Dress 4: 1950 Sabrina and Edith Head (courtesy of Givenchy)


The 50's were not such a great decade for the LBD, in fact in the movies of the era only femmes fatales or "bad girls" used to wear it.
With rare exceptions. And for me This is the exception of the exceptions. Because it was Haudrey Hepburn in Sabrin, and because the dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who will be the main drive for the incredible rebirth of the LBD in the 60's.
There's a story about this dress, which I love very much. Maybe everybody knows about it but I can't resist telling  a good story, even if it's 61 years old.
Edith Head's "original" design for the cocktail dress
In 1953 during pre-production of Sabrina, Billy Wilder wanted her to come back from Paris with a real parisian haute couture look. So he told Haudrey  to go to Paris a choose some outfits. But there was a problem. The problem was called Edit Head, she WAS the costume department and in house designer at Paramount pictures since 1938, and she expected to design the dresses for Sabrina. So a compromise was reached. Head would design the exact models that Hepburn should choose in Paris (with Givenchy's agreement) and she also won an Oscar for them!!!

This is the only dress actually designed by Head, she won an Oscar for this

Givenchy dind't disclose this story until  after Head's death. Even though the rumor had been circulating for some years (Wilder was a notorious loudmouth). Anyway, Edith Head won a total of 8 Oscars in her career and for 7 of them she was the actual designer! And she did design some wonderful outfits, think Grace Kelly in To Catch a thief or Rear Window.

One more bit of trivia: Givenchy was thrilled to hear that Miss Hepburn wanted to visit his atelier for the costumes for her new movie. But he expected Katherine not Haudrey (who had made only Roman Holidays and had not yet received her Oscar for it). So he was really disappointed and being busy with his new collection, Haudrey had to choose among the dresses of the previous season.
Anyway, this was the beginning of the incredible working relationship between Givenchy and Hepburn!!!

Now, this is the dress I choose to represent the LBD in the 50's, in one of his rare but defining appearances of the era:


Of course mine "in house" Haudrey is Virginia so she is modelling it.For the dress I used satin black linen. The shoes are by The Vogue HK and the little hat is by IT (courtesy of Mafalda). As you shall see this is not quite a perfect scale reproduction of the dress. I love Givenchy and tried several times to reproduce his designs but I found out that his dresses look simple but ARE NOT!!! And I need to improve my skills wit full skirts......

I'm happy to have finally Virginia in a post all for herself, I think she deserved it, she's the sweetest thing in my collection!

This time instead of doing a photomontage I tried to put together a little diorama with some Thai's jewel boxes and Burma's laquers and pottery, 


Virginia is holding a Burma's pottery wistle, in a shape of a little bird





This issue's soundtrack: "Isn't it romantic" of course!!!! I picked the original rendition by Harold Stern Orchestra of this 1932 standard by Rodgers & Hart


On the next issue: The 60's the golden era

4.18.2014

Hommes Fashion 2: Alessandro in L.A.

I've been browsing the net a lot lately, to find some inspiration for my hommes fashions, it's not easy finding something feasable and not boring, yet something one can actually use.....I've  found some very weird things, and then I discovered something it's going to be a big hit around here: Urban Safari!

Among the many things, the first that caught my eyes was this beautiful outfit by Diesel as I thought it would be perfect for the guys!

So, Alessandro can finally leave his hotel room and  do some wandering around L.A!
For the sweater I used a piece of polyester scarf (which happened to have a diamond pattern very similar to the one of the original outfit) and wool jersey for the sleeves, the same scarf and jersey for the jacket. The trousers are made of a gabardine fabric. Boots by Paul Zangby.

Rodeo Drive - Picture by Billa
Hollywood Blvd - Picture by Billa
Hollywood Blvd - Picture by Billa
Santa Monica Pier - Picture By Billa

Los Angeles Pueblo - Picture by Billa
Alessandro feels like a star, so he's going to spend the afternoon at Universal Studios!!

Universal Studio - Picture by Billa
Well, this outfit was real fun, and I like the fact that I shall interchange pieces with other things I'm working on....more hommes fashions to come!

Ps. will Alessandro meet some of the girls around Universal Studios?

See you soon
Billa

Phantom Planet: California here we come