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Incredible India

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I've travelled to India many times over the years and often experienced fascination and frustration in equal parts. And with India being such a vast and diverse country, you really cannot talk about it as a whole. Each state and even every town has such a unique character.

In January I went with my daughter, touching on a few places in Rajasthan. Travelling overland by car (time was short and train booking procedures bureaucratic and looong) meant that we got to see a lot of the countryside. Both of us animal lovers, we were enthralled by the sheer volume and variety of creatures who play such a big part in the everyday life of the people, villages and bush of rural India.

We saw herds of camels, goats, cows, pigs, deer, sheep, monkeys, elephants, and a dog asleep on every sunny corner, flocks of birds and a snake. Admittedly the snake was a cobra coming out of a basket swaying to the music of a snake charmer. And despite being charmed at the time, I've since learned that for our amusement, the snakes suffer the removal of their fangs, and that animal activists are trying to get snake charmers retrained to relocate dangerous snakes from populated ares. I also didn't know that snakes are actually deaf, so the cobra weaves about following the visual cue of the charmer's pipe, and only emerge from their basket in response to the vibrations as the owner taps their foot on the floor. At the time we knew it was touristy, yet somehow also quintessentially, magically Indian.

Add to that the amazing people, everywhere. So many people, mostly kind-hearted and outwardly always so polite, but also sometimes tough and shrewd. Then top that off with squats and palaces, lakes, temples, huts, trucks, cars, motorbikes, trolleys, pushbikes, and the incessant tooting and blaring and blasting of horns (our driver was particularly good at this) and the effect is colourful, vibrant, magical, noisy, chaotic, surprising, overwhelming, and yet, delightful.

I of course loved visiting anything to do with fabric and India has the most amazing fabrics and extraordinary handiwork. We visited a little town called Pipar, which seemed populated by twice as many goats as people. The goats were sitting or standing languidly in doorways and on the road. In Pipar, we also visited a block-printing factory which, having been owned and used but the same family of artisans for generations, boasted a large and beautiful collection of patterned blocks. 

I think it is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the experience of a visit to India.

Shintennoji Temple

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Im just back from Japan and for the first time stayed in Osaka for a few days. Enjoyed the 

lights and energy of Dontonburi, the incredibly tasty food and a visit to the oldest Buddhist 

temple in Japan. Shintennoji temple is over 1400 years old with a raked garden and ponds 

full of tortoises.

Im always fascinted by Jizos and there are hundreds of them at Shintennogi. Jizo is a

bodhhivisatva loved in Japan .Traditionally seen as a guardian of children particularly of 

children who died before their parents .The statues are sometimes seen wearing childrens

clothing put there by grieving parents in the hope the Jizo will especially protect their child \ 

or as a thank you for saving their child from serious illness . 

Jizos are also seen as saviours of souls who have to suffer in the underworlds , protector of 

travellers and also fire fighters !!

Mr Yamamoto

Friday, June 24, 2011

If only I had a week off and a ticket to London!

Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at the V&A is on now and continues til 10th July.

image used for show via V&A show curator's blog

Yamamoto is the charismatic and talented Japanese fashion designer whose work I very much admire.
His Paris debut in 1981 was quite revolutionary. He uses unconventional fabrics and shapes that are oversized and deconstructed, challenging the usual ideas of femininity, of sexuality and indeed of fashion itself.
He features decorative elements such as embroidery, shibori and yuzen.

the V&A space is dotted with life drawings of a woman's body on the walls, which he drew himself over two days from a live naked model. via id-online

I like that his clothes are somewhat contradictory; intellectual yet playful. Strong and seductive yet androgynous. 
Yamamoto designs for Opera yet has partnered with Adidas to make very cool sportswear: Y-3.
He dresses businessmen like vagabonds.

Y-3 F2011 RTW via

He starred in Wim Wenders 1989 film Notebook on Cities and Clothes.
In 2008, he launched a charity called Yohji Yamamoto
Fund for Peace to sponsor Chinese fashion students and models.

His involvment in the Wapping Project Bankside entitled Yohji's Women showed the photos of seven artists who have collaborated with Yamamoto to produce images for his catalogues- which are themselves amazing and artistic.


Yohji's Women, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 1999, Wapping Bankside, March 2011

via V&A

What an interesting designer!

Cambodian Children's Trust

Thursday, November 11, 2010
I’ve just recently returned from a trip to Cambodia, feeling recharged and ready for a busy summer.

We stayed at the fabulous Pavilion d’Orient in Siem Reap and the customer service there was remarkable; we had such a great time and felt so well looked after. Of course, we visited Angkor Wat, the main city temple which is so famous, built for the King in the 12 th Century. The architecture is wonderful; the towers remind me of newly sprouting lotus flowers. I felt so inspired by the relief sculptures and have developed new fabric prints for the winter 2011 range based on these.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Cambodian Children’s Trust in Battambang.  CCT is a not for profit organisation, which runs many projects seeking to help Cambodia’s most vulnerable. The Children’s Home, particularly, is a huge inspiration. CCT not only house and educate these kids but provide them with a family environment, many of them being orphans.  

Proceeds from the sale of our Red Flower hand printed canvas bags were donated to CCT and I was able to give the money directly to Tara Winkler.

Also, since my trip away I have become completely Buddha mad!! Below is just some examples of the Buddha paraphernalia we will be selling in stores for Christmas.