Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Odori Park, Sapporo

Yay, I am finally back on line and life is almost back to normal.  The last few weeks have been a bit all over the place as my man got transferred with his work to Sapporo which meant packing up the old house (man do I have a lot of junk), hitching it onto a freight train, a few days with the in-laws then 20 hours on a boat north.

Yep Sapporo is REALLY far away and freezing!  Mid March and my garden (yes I now have a garden!!!!!!) still has 3 1/2ft of snow.

Sapporo is most famous for its beer, the oldest in Japan.

and the snow festival which is held in February.

Less well know but amazingly interesting are the Ainu people of Japan.  These are the native people of Hokkaido, the large island on which I now live, and, like most aboriginal cultures today, due to years of oppression, racism and forced assimilation, are close to being extinct.  The last 10 years however have seen policy and attitude changes that are helping the Ainu people re-establish themselves in their native lands.

Ainu are bigger than most Japanese with big bushy beards and their mix of European and Asian physical traits has left a question mark over their origin.  When I visited an Ainu village a few years ago I was struck by how Celt like not only their artwork and clothing was but also their music which reminded me of my oldest sister singing in Gaelic. They are most famous however for their unique patterned clothing, which gives me endless inspiration, and the facial tattoos worn by Ainu females.  These tattoos, due to a very old law designed to oppress Ainu culture, are now nearly non existent.

Note, very funky hats.

I however have not yet seen much of Sapporo as the snow and below 0 temperatures have kept me wrapped up in my nest.  On the upside this means that unpacking is nearly done and my new workroom is up and running.

Lucky since I have had a slew of custom orders in the last few weeks.

In other Millinery news it appears that Phillip Treacy is on the hunt for a new head milliner.  The first time ever that I wished I lived in London! Anyone with more hats under their belt (or on their head I guess) interested in applying just follow the link below.

Talking of Philip Treacy, a millinery competition is being held across Ireland this summer.  Heats will be held at various Ladies Days. The 1st heat will be held on the 9th April at Fairy House. If you want to enter just go along with your entry. One hat per milliner. Philip Treacy will Judge the final, the Irish Times are the media sponsor and the finalists hats will go on sale in Arnotts.

Good luck to anyone applying for either of these.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oscar Gowns, Eco but Hatless

So the Oscars have come and gone in a flurry of chiffon and silk (I know I am a bit late but I live in Japan, it takes a while for things to make it this far round).

Out of all the dresses on show my favourite was that of Kelly Osbourne who, although I wasn't loving her hair, looked gorgeous in feminine 1920s elegance, not too much flesh on show and not too much bling makes this the dress I would most like in my wardrobe.

I also loved the cape that Gwyneth Paltrow was wearing, I seriously think capes should be worn at all times.

And I loved how chic yet funky Glen Close looked in her dress and jacket, a look I hope is adopted by mothers of the bride the world over. 

A special shout out however has to go to all those who participated in the Green Carpet Challenge.

We believe in fashion as a great communicator. The fashion we communicate promotes social justice, environmental integrity and brilliant design.

Started in 2009 when Livia Firth (wife of Oscar winner Colin Firth) was challenged by her friend Lucy Siegle to wear eco friendly fashion to the worlds top red carpet events, three years on and the Green Carpet Challenge has been taken to nearly every major film event in the world, gained support from designers and actors alike and moved in to the field of ethical jewellery with Livia wearing the first ever fairtrade, ecologically certified gold and responsibly sourced gemstones. 

This year saw Livia wearing a Valentino dress made from recycled polyester and plastic bottles, while the King of last year's Oscars donned his Tom Ford tux for the second year running.  Supporting Actor nominee Kenneth Branagh and Leading Actor nominee Demian Bichir were both wearing eco friendly non mulesed wool suits and Natalie Portman donned a vintage Dior gown meaning she gets to join the Eco gang by virtue of recycling.

But the critics choice award without a doubt goes to the gal of the evening Meryl Streep who not only got crowned Queen of the Oscars but came dressed like the man himself in a shimmering gold Grecian gown with an Eco friendly cherry on top.

But this isn't a pretty dress blog (well ok sometimes it is) it is a hat blog and so I must ask why none of the ladies decided to add a little extra to their outfit in the form of a hat.  Maybe it is because the Oscars is an inside, evening event.  Maybe it's because people think their hat may obscure the view of the person sitting behind them but just in case its because they think hats don't go with evening gowns I have rounded up some of the best examples to give the ladies confidence in the idea that hats and gowns look amazing!  Her's hoping next years Oscars will be more millinerytastic.