A blog about vintage fashion, vintage jewels and art.....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Biography of Shoes

Loving shoes whilst blogging means looking out for new designs and designers. Discovering Pol Engels, designer of what is so far a little known brand from Belgium called Biography, has been an interesting experience. He describes his shoes as 'a representation of someone's life', born with the desire to be as unique and individual as possible. Started in 2006, the Italian-made shoes are especially designed to emphasise the quirkiness, the magic and the distinctiveness of the wearer. That is quite a statement which I feel explains so much about why and how women choose the shoes they wear on their feet.

Pol Engels graduated at the Antwerp Fashion Academy together with fellow students Martin Margiela, Dries Van Nooten and Ann de Meulemeester. In the years after his graduation he built a solid reputation as an artist and designed costumes for theatre maker Jan Fabre.

Pol Engels in his showroom
Those in the know in Belgium, appreciate that the designer is more of an artist who's not so much into promoting his brand as he is into creating fantasy shoes, even though he's had the opportunity to show them off on a large scale - in collaboration with Galliano and Martin Margiella.

The brand is called 'Biography by Engels-Strijbol'. Biography in fact consists of a designer duo, namely Pol Engels and Katrien Strijbol who is also the co founder of the lovely fashion label 'Just in case'.

Biography shoes are not for sale in shops but through presentations. During these presentations you can try the shoes and have the shoes of your choice made to order. This way of working gives you the chance to order designer shoes at a reasonable price. Pol also designs amazing dance shoes for those who like Tango and Salsa!

Here is where you can find more Biography shoes to enjoy...


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Dala Horse

Thanks to QuiltQuints
I discovered the Dala Horse thanks to my son's Swedish girlfriend, to my trip to Sweden and to the great many times this tiny colourful horse turned up in all things Swedish. This horse represents small carved wooden horses which were actually toys created for small children in Sweden. A legend says that the first Dala Horse toy was created some time in the early 1700s during a war. A hungry soldier asked a family for food and in return he created a little wooden horse as a thank you. For every meal, he would make a horse.....Such a sweet story isn't it? Now the Dala Horse is part and parcel of Swedish tradition and you see this form on so many lovely items. I picked some of the best I could find to share with you....

Thanks to designbirdie

Thanks to QuiltwhinnyTrails

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quality, ladies.... Quality

Remember those round tins of Quality Street chocolates? Which ones do you always pick and choose from the selection? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

With Silver round my Neck

Maltese Filigree is experiencing a slow revival thanks to the creation of innovative jewellery made in the traditional way using sterling silver. This is a small selection of extraordinary hand crafted silver collar necklaces, which, apart from being the latest in fashion musts, are simply too exquisite to ignore. 
Ravishing, original, delicate and sturdy at the same time. 
All the necklaces shown here are made by filigree maker Kevin Attard.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Roaring Twenties

The 1920s, the Roaring '20s as they were called, have inspired me to create this blog post because the fashion styles of the era were simply so very stunning. Such refinery, such delicate hand-made items... Here is what I found on Etsy. You can find the links to more pictures of each item at the very bottom of this post....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Colouring Malta

If you’re in Malta between now and mid-November, make sure you visit the current exhibition of blazing colours that is presently showing in St.Julian’s.

This exhibition entitled 'Transitions' is an eclectic collection of 66 works produced earlier this year by the artist Doranne Alden Caruana.

These works are a ‘transition’ in style from a previously expressionist but figurative method of painting to which the artist is accustomed and more known for.  This new approach is a more 'automatic' and free; but still expressionist style. In this case the artist used no outward references for inspiration, but instead searched inwards. The inspiration became the long stored nostalgic memories of childhood Malta, also some sad times such as years she spent living away from Malta and the long wet winter of this year- all surfacing and becoming the main source for the paintings themes.  One of the main principle reasons for this change in direction and method of working was a new idea that came to her after being asked by a university student about automatism. This question so intrigued Doranne Alden Caruana that she questioned herself more deeply about this method of painting and so decided to challenge herself with this style of work. 

This also was a timely asked question, explains the artist, as she admits that at the time she was beginning to feel that although she had mastered her art and technique she now needed a new direction. As art is in fact a journey Alden Caruana’s choice to change has taken her to paint in a new style and form of painting which she would otherwise have never thought of taking and says that it has been a therapeutic journey of discovery too.

The end result is a bold, and colourful, collection of paintings with a sometimes simplistic but still confident and trained hand. 

The exhibition is now open to the public, all day everyday, at the Cavalieri Hotel, St. Julian’s Bay, St.Julian’s, Malta until 15th November 2012.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cold Shoulders no more....

After a summer spent doing other things elsewhere, Fairyfiligree once again welcomes you all to autumn, a new season and some more blogging about all things vintage and nice, some fantastic art and awesome jewels.

As the islands keep seeing temperatures spike up to beach-going temperatures round about mid-day and early afternoon, evenings and early mornings start becoming slightly fresher as a way of making autumn's approach felt. So all Maltese women think of solutions to cover up shoulders whilst allowing an easy uncovering as the sun starts warming up the day. A quick solution - the bolero. What's that?

The Bolero was an item of clothing which became very popular during the 1950s. It was not used just during the 1950s and not just to complement 1950s dresses. The bolero was also a popular garment during Victorian and Edwardian times. The 
name derives from the very old and traditional Spanish dance Bolero and the jacket was typically worn by Bolero dancers during their performance. 

Today we all call it simply a Shrug.

Image courtesy of Emily Kostrzewa on Etsy.

Find it also on facebook.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flower Pins Lady

Stumbling upon new shops on Etsy is always great fun especially when the sellers specialise in something very particular. Meeting Janice Pope of Nana Joy proved to be a learning experience and a visual experience as well.....I mean take a look at these beauties!

Here is what Janice says......."I became fascinated with vintage jewelry about 10 years ago. I started out with rhinestone brooches and then stumbled into the enamel flowers just this past winter. We live in the Ohio Valley and we are known for long stretches of grey days. I'm okay without the sun as long as I have color in my life. The flowers added color and design that I need. Whimsey and fun is the bonus!

I'm 53 and I can remember seeing people wear the flower brooches when I was little. I was 10 in 1968, although I don't have any real experience with the 60's I can remember a lot of newscasts, fads and phrases. I was captivated by the "flower children" and the way the girls wore daisy wreathes in their hair. 

Turns out flower brooches came out in the 40's. Their popularity peeked in the 60's. For the most part they were tucked away by the early 70's and have just been reborn in popularity in the last year."

"I love God's creation all around me. I'm fascinated by how beautiful our world really is. The flowers are a reflection of His creativity."

"I have an immense collection of vintage costume jewelry. I am working towards having three Etsy sites, each with a different speciality. So yes, everyday I have on vintage pieces, but I mix it up. Today is definitely a flower day. I have a new Lisner flower in pink. It sure is a pretty little thing. I have to show it off!"

"In October of last year I retired from dog grooming and I was lost. I didn't have a clear direction as to what was next. My husband and I have owned businesses for the last 25 years. I don't think I know how to function without having a business. 
At Christmas I was choosing a variety of vintage brooches for myself and the business was born out of that. I was having a great time searching for the perfect next piece. I kept searching and purchasing and NanaJoy was born out of that. 

I love this new phase in my life. I continue to learn about the designers and their particular styles. I am learning that I love the full scope of vintage jewelry. I have a business I am actively a part of and there is a completeness in that for me."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Confessions of a Modern Seamstress

I recently interviewed a seamstress/dressmaker- thought I'd share the interview. Read all about it here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yevonde, Beaton, Freud... all in Malta this month

 Madame Yevonde - 'Machine Worker in Summer' 1937
Permaprint dye-transfer from original negative.

In Malta until May 20, is an exhibition organised by the British Council to commemorate its 75th anniversary on the island. 'Thresholds' includes more than 50 works of British artists from the 20th Century to the present day. Amongst the artists whose works grace St James Cavalier Centre in Valletta are some rare and early pictures by Cecil Beaton, nudes by Gwen John, etchings by Lucian Freud, photographs by Madame Yevonde...... It is all curated by Paula Rego who searched the British Council Collection for the most significant pieces to show. The collection begun in the layte 1930s includes 8000+ artworks from all media, all aspects of British art and design of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Cecil Beaton - 'My Sister Dressed as a Bridesmaid' 1920
Black and white photograph

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother Memories

Yesterday Mothers Day was celebrated here in Malta. And just last week I interviewed some personalities about their mums, getting inspiration from some pretty old pictures. Read more about it here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jewels on Auction

Over the past years, jewellery sold at auction has fetched exorbitant prices while attracting great public attention. Take for instance, last year’s sale of a collection of jewels owned by the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor, which collection fetched $116 million at a New York auction.  Or consider the 2010 sale of a set of jewels once owned by American socialite Wallis Simpson alias Duchess of Windsor - the woman for whom King Edward VIII abdicated from the British throne. Simpson’s collection fetched nearly $12.5 million at auction.

 In Malta, jewellery auctions are a rare event, but a forthcoming auction of unique and period jewellery, organised by 
Obelisk Auctions, will be held this month. The Obelisk Jewellery Department was recently introduced in order to further diversify the range of services provided by Obelisk Auctions. In view of the ongoing urge to melt down gold jewellery, which is allowing valuable artistic and rare pieces to be lost forever, Obelisk Auctions is striving to increase public awareness of the artistic and decorative qualities of all forms of jewellery. One tends to overlook the fact that jewellery in itself forms part of the minor arts and should be respected thus.

The forthcoming auction will be further enhanced by the presence of a very important painting by Jeronimo Jacinto de Espinosa (Concentaina, Alicante 1600 – Valencia 1667) Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, oil on canvas. The painting was previously publicly exhibited at 2007 exhibition of ‘Caravaggio and Paintings of Realism in Malta' held at St John’s Co-Cathedral,Valletta, Malta.

The Auction also includes an outstanding collection of private entries including:17th & 18th C. Old Master Paintings – Rare 17th C. Maltese Furniture (published) & European Furniture - Silver& Gold Coins - China –Maiolica – Jewellery –- Silver – 17th C. Engravings Maps of Malta, Meltensia (out of print), a collection of 20th C. Masters of Maltese Modern Art including Paintings & Drawings,19th C. Maltese topographical paintings, Antiquities, Collectors Items & Works of Art.

Viewing: from Saturday 26th May 2012 till Wednesday 30th May 2012 from 10am till 8pm.
Auction: Thursday 31st May 2012 till , Saturday 2nd June 2012 at 2.30pm. 
Jewellery Auction on Monday 4th June at 2.30pm.