25 May 2009


Wide-eyed and innocent I walked slap-bang into the middle of the London fashion scene that eventful January day in 1990. I had landed myself a plum job, had a rather dashing brand spanking new boyfriend to go with it, and would remain there (with the job) for more or less 7 years (the boyfriend has lasted longer, he's still here). How fantastic that felt, my own office, my own little department, even my own clothing allowance... oh baby, it couldn't get any better than that, surely? They were formative years, I was so young and impressionable and when anyone said "Jump!" I would reply without blinking "How high?". Never anything wrong with my work ethic, I can tell you (thank you, dad). So yes, fashion darling. The 90's, Katharine Hamnett - KH. She was a force of nature. She inspired me so much with her British, rather posh background and her solid as hell environmental beliefs (the first designer of them all to champion and fight for organic cotton and ban the use of PVC in her collections). The lady who in 1984 went to 10 Downing Street to meet Maggie Thatcher wearing one of her infamous t-shirts bearing the slogan "58% DON'T WANT PERSHING" (note the leggings - SUCH a good look - we've come full-circle once again). The woman really is mythical and hugely interesting so I urge you to leaf through her website and find out more about her work today.
By now you'll be asking: "And what does any of this have to do with the picture above or Diptyque?" Everything actually. Katharine was the one who introduced me (and everyone else in the studio, I'm sure) to the wonder that is a Diptyque candle. One of her personal favourites was 'Baies' if my memory serves me well. They were as much part of her style as her John Smedley jumpers and her black shiny skinny trousers. Over the years, my own absolute favourite has become "Tubereuse". Once I had been promoted a few levels and was able to attend the glamour that is Paris fashion week, a stop at the shop on the Boulevard Saint Germain was always on the agenda, no matter what. The excuse tended to be "Well, Katharine needs one so I simply HAVE TO go!". Now of course you can buy the candles and scents in select department stores and other exclusive boutiques, but there's nothing like visiting the charming shop in all it's old Parisian glory. I still love the packaging (the paper bag is simply wonderful and another fine example of how right you can get it when you use the perfect font). These candles really are in a league of their own, you can't just call them a 'scented' or even 'perfumed' candle - whether lit or not, their scent wraps you in a state of bliss while looking drop dead gorgeous just stood on your dresser - I defy any other candle to look and smell this good. I am totally biased of course; as I'm sure you'll know, scent is one of those senses that plays havoc with your memory. Nothing takes you back 20 years with quite such force, emotion and ease as a familiar smell (although Dr Who does a pretty good job too, I'm told). So leave me here, reminiscing and smelling my little treasure which was brought to me by my very kind angel and roving ambassador (merci encore, ma chère).

18 May 2009

Editor at large

I have a roving ambassador - an angel travelling to places I cannot reach, my very own VIP. Next stop Paris. She will return with a style treasure that you will LOVE... I simply cannot wait! The above picture is but a mere hint, I bet you can't guess what it is that she will bring to me...

15 May 2009

camping it up

Moving within the spirit of the times, respecting the current economic climate, we have discarded the usual frills, pomp and circumstance in favour of a more natural and simple (don't you LOVE those two words?) summer holiday. Yes, we are going to brave the campsite and get down and dirty, right back to basics and finally use those 2 massive (brand) new tents that have never seen the light of the moon let alone a mosquito and go camping. Not for a weekend, not for a week - heck, no! We're totally insane and going it for three...whole...weeks. I'm playing it cool at the moment. So overwhelmed by the mere fact that very soon we'll be back in lovely Sardinia, I won't allow my joy to be overrun by dark thoughts regarding the impossibility of sandfree clothes storage, dirty feet (I have a bit of a thing about those), having to wash dishes by hand and then of course not having en-suite facilities.... Like I said, I will not let myself be overcome by all that negativity.
Instead I choose to open my mind to the possibility that this really could be a pleasurable adventure beyond compare and that with a little bit of organisation and a huge pinch of the 'chill' factor, we can all enjoy an unforgettable, uncomplicated time together. My husband will make me sign a contract in which I swear not to become 'unreasonable' about grains of sand in the tent and that if I utter the words 'I have nothing to wear!' he has perfectly good grounds for divorce. I have promised to take a leaf out of all of my friends' books who have been camping practically every year of their lives, and focus on the essentials of campsite living but make those essentials as beautiful as they can possibly be. So, I just need a few accessories to 'brighten up' our pitch and personalise it by giving it a bit of a style injection. I will start by looking a bit more closely at the Cath Kidston website and I have already noticed with great pleasure, that Swiss retailers take their camping sections very seriously indeed and I wouldn't be at all surprised if I found the bulk of my camping 'style fodder' on my doorstep at either Migros or Coop. And another thing: all that stuff we get fed by women's magazines about 'how to pack the bare essentials' or 'how to make one single garment work a 100 ways' would be fantastic for my camping dilemma IF IT WERE TRUE! It's total nonsense of course and unless you were born around 1941 and therefore frugality is an indelible part of your genetic make-up, you will know that packing the 'bare essentials' means stuffing at least 48 to 54 garments into your suitcase. So in order to make this experience work for me I'm going to:
  • plan out my pitch meticulously, logically and stylishly (I will allow husband to help with this)
  • buy an inordinate amount of tealights and little glasses that will contain them
  • inject a dose of glamour even into campsite life by never looking anything less than effortlessly chic (see pictures above)
  • not get hysterical at the sight of dust-covered sons, in fact I will learn to embrace them in their new, natural state (I use the word embrace not in its physical, but spiritual sense)
  • last but not least, I absolutely promise that I will chillax

    Should be great!

Whilst I do realise that this post contains a ridiculous amount of pictures compared to my usual select few, I really wanted to bring TOAST to your attention once again. Their style and their photography lends itself incredibly well to my camping fantasy! Do browse their current catalogue here and especially here...

All of the above photographs are taken from the current S/S 09 TOAST catalogues (DAYWEAR and HOUSE & HOME)

08 May 2009


There is something about listening to the Beach Boys (oh go on then, Dave Lee Roth!) that just makes me wanna pack a bag and take off on a jet plane headed for California. That's America to me (well, that and New York) but California is slightly addictive once you've experienced its laid-back, hippy ways. I spent three pivotal years there and boy, they were good years. Boy! Boys! Beach Boys! Bleached sandy hair, tanned legs 365 days a year, surfboards, frozen jogurt, marine biology, my first CAR: a gold VW beetle (chosen in favour of a 1968 Mustang - my father and especially Mr R have never forgiven me for this faux pas). And yet some demon inside me told me to leave this sunny paradise and head across the water back to London Town. Totally inexplicable now, but at the time and with the maturity of all my 19 years behind me, it was London or certain death. These days I unashamedly spend hours trying desperately to remember what it felt like to watch the sunset over Del Mar beach or walking into the Pannikin coffee/bookstore and smelling the roasted coffee beans and freshly baked muffins. It would be interesting if I were to endeavour in a spell of time travel and be transported in my current state, to those heady days of 1986 - I would probably keel over and die with emotion. Life in southern California is, in a way, even more remote than it is here in Ticino. You are so (pleasantly) removed from what is real (I don't mean in an artificial L.A./Hollywood kind of way, no sir!) that there really is nothing else but the abovementioned ingredients (Dave Lee Roth, frozen yogurt, surfers, hippies, beetles, pot, marine biology etc). It's its own special little universe where you just live for your immediate surroundings. Sounds shallow to you? It shouldn't. Pure nature all around you, the most fantastic marine life, incredible universities where you can study till you're 90, great music culture, and the knowledge that Mexico lies at your feet. If you get bored just rent a Mustang (not a Beetle) and head north along highway 101. I often ask myself what devil inside me made me leave this place?
A few more haunts: La Jolla and Jake's and finally, for all you academics or parents with kids looking for a superb university, look not further than UCSD.

07 May 2009


Today was a hectic but good day - busy but hugely inspirational. You know, when you're just walking or in my case driving along and your mind (nevermind the car) is speeding at 180 km/h (that's approximately 111.84 mph) productively coming up with one fantastic whopper of an idea after another. I was on fire. Even the radio station kept playing ONLY fantastic songs, and that makes all the difference. Inspiration and optimism in spades just rushing through the brain. Great stuff. I started thinking about my sister, whom I absolutely adore beyond reason, and immediately realised that the next post had to be about her. It was obvious that I would write about her at some stage, but today it all took shape and crystallised into this perfect image and story which I will now try to coherently present before you.
I'm lucky enough to have gone from being an only child (albeit a happy one, I must admit) to becoming, at the age of 12, a sister to a sister. I never dreamt that I would ever have a sibling and when she was born, it was incredible. It was just the timing of her arrival that was not so good for me; I was at the cusp of becoming the worst teenager ever to walk this earth and spent the following 4 years struggling with my very own industrial sized hormonal tornado ripping its way very impressively through my emotions. So I always felt like I wasn't really there for her, and in fact I wasn't. I left home very early and had a patchy (yet very loving) long-distance relationship with my little sister. We are and always have been incredibly close, an unspoken invisible bond that is just there, no matter what. Now that we finally live in the same country again, I feel much more complete and get an incredible sense of fulfilment knowing that if I wanted to, I could see her at a moment's notice. She inspires me and makes me so proud, my sister. A determined young woman with an amazing heart and huge talent which is so brilliantly put to use in her current career.
So, that's the basics sorted now let me find the style thread... Ah, yes, there it is: The Force is strong in this one.
Apart from being blessed with an amazing physique, she truly knows what works on her and what doesn't. Never putting a foot wrong, she has a very personal and unique style which is first and foremost modern, young, subtle but edgy and incredibly pleasing to the eye. I wish Mr Sartorialist would browse 'round Zurich more so he'd get a shot of her. Her chosen colour palette is warm, earthy and never garish, complemented of course without fail by the most cutting edge hairstyle as well as (and this is obviously a family thing that our mother started in 1972) the biggest sunglasses she can get her hands on. All this is delivered effortlessly which makes it even more powerful and beautiful. How much I love looking at her, absorbing her radiance, her warmth and also her style. You couldn't copy it if you tried.

04 May 2009

nip me!

I remember last summer, lazing on our local beach by the river Melezza. Heaven on Earth as far as I'm concerned. Here, this location, this little village, these people, you see we are so blessed that it can bring tears to my eyes. So many special components make this place unique and very lovely. In the summer it just beggars belief for me. School's out in say, mid-June, and from then on depending on everyone's holiday schedules, we tend to congregate at our very own village beach. The beach is located beyond the football fields and the tennis courts (so if you have sporty kids you can just send them up for footy training or to the tennis coach while you continue working on your tan) and last summer we spent practically every day down by the river with the locals. It's so funny. In the winter and the autumn months you bump into neighbours and local friends at the post office, the bakery, the deli or the bar but in the summer you're lying half naked next to yes, you guessed it: your neighbour and your local friends. It's great. I love it. Sometimes an exotic fish comes along. Like last summer. A friend of a friend appeared, in a white two-piece looking like some sort of mythical goddess. I had never seen anything like this before. Sure, she was maybe a few years younger than me (5 at most) but she was something to behold. Not a single ounce of fat on her, not a rake either though. Toned perfection. No cellulite, skin the colour of honey and as soft as silk, jet black hair all luscious waves and those curves. And she's got 2 daughters under the age of 6! Oh my God. If I was a guy I would have drooled. Being a girl I just pretended not to notice (so glad Mr R wasn't there). Did I mention her breasts? The most perfect things I've ever come across in my life - insanely lovely. I had to really concentrate in order to continue pretending that I hadn't noticed anything at all (one doesn't want to appear rude, it just won't do), especially when she came over to say hello. I felt even more prune-like than normal. A few weeks later I found out that all this beauty was not of natural origin, but reconstructed and the result of several cosmetic surgery procedures. I felt first and foremost relieved and then reassured of course and a bit smug. I'm one of those weirdos that confidently (for now...!) says: Accept your wrinkles, love them, they are part of you - you can look good with them, glamorous, sexy, whatever! Of course never say never but knowing myself as I do, I'm pretty sure I won't be going down the nip/tuck route. Ever. Amazing though, what a surgeon's knife can do. I have since reclaimed my status as a nature girl and proudly picked up my style thread where I'd bloody well left it. That was after temporarily losing my head by agreeing to have a few no obligation consultations with dishy Dr Christian. Relax, all is where it was and where it should be and I have since found my way again, naturally.
photograph above courtesy of NIP/TUCK (FX) showing Julian McMahon as Christian Troy, Joely Richardson (some impostor actually) as Julia McNamara and Dylan Walsh as Sean McNamara.

wibiya widget