Kinderwhore – not as original as one might think

>So, for most people, the word kinderwhore brings to mind images of Courtney Love and Kat Bjelland wearing torn, dirty baby doll dresses and thick smeared red lipstick with messy, peroxide-blonde hair. Bad little girls up to no good.

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People might think that Both Love and Bjelland have fought about who came up with the disengenuous combo of clumsy make-up with children’s clothing, Love even going as far as to allegedly say that she got it from Christina Amphlett on the cover of the Divinyls 1982 album, Desperate.

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Erm, yeah. Totally.

But I’d like to introduce you to the granny and grand dame of Kinderwhore.

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Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? She is the result of a dirty battle between mutton and lamb with a crooked referee. Baby Jane is duplicitous, nasty, childish, impetuous and a terrible singer. More than a coincidence that Hole and Babes in Toyland chose to adopt this image?

Vintage: Or, ‘Are You Kidding Me?’

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Pic: Lorna Dollery

I don’t usually put my columns up verbatim, as the people who subscribe to my blog may not be readers of The Cork Independent (but I do link shamelessly).  This week however…

Let me explain.  Last Sunday I went carbooting with Lorna from LolaDee and sold a few items.  One item, a dress (to my immediate right in the pic above, hanging off the car boot) that Lorna had bought brand new in Italy was being scrutinised by a few ladies, who introduced themselves as owning a vintage shop.  I offered to show them my few vintage bits, they politely declined, bought the dress and tootled along on their way.

A few days later, Lorna saw their shopfront and noticed that these ladies were now selling her distinctly non-vintage dress, falsely advertising it as being vintage.  The column below is about the difference between thrift and vintage – maybe those ladies should take note.

The ability for humans to delude themselves is a wondrous thing; especially if shopping is involved and extra-super especially if second hand clothing is your vice. We disguise second-hand clothing, cloaking them with deceptive phrases like, ‘thrift’, ‘gently used’ or even, horror of horrors, ‘vintage’. This humble writer knows her stuff when it comes to second-hand. Stripes have been earned, chops have been developed, cliches have been bandied without a sliver of shame that best illustrate just how much I know.


Here in Ireland, the Celtic Tiger was the wave on which the resurgent vintage phenomenon was borne and with it came a similar philosophy to its feline forefather – that of charging through the nose for inferior products just because the vendor could. There are many excellent handbooks on the subject of vintage, but since you, the reader, has picked up this great paper totally gratis, I’ll give you a cod-version of second hand shopping for nada; the savvy woman’s guide to second hand.



Second-hand is an umbrella term for several different types, all different but easily mistaken for one or the other of the following.


1) Gently worn clothing. You know that time you went into Brown Thomas and bought that leather trench that was sooo amazing even though it fit funny in the shoulders just because the sales were on? How amazing was that jacket? The answer is not very, because you took it home, realised that you looked like a less self-assured Shaft and buried it deep in your closet along with the Crocs, ill-fitting treggings and regrettable one-night stands, then dug it out and sold it at the local car boot. Voila, gently worn clothing. As a rule, gently worn clothing should be sold at about a third of its original price. Anything lower is a distinct bargain.


2) Thrift. The phrase ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’ has never been more relevant here than perhaps at a blowfish sushi convention. Thrift is usually the average stock of the very average charity shop. It is one or a combination of the following; well-worn, less than twenty years old, mass-produced and badly tailored, stained, flawed or ripped in some way. It can also be unusual or unexpected in the best possible way. Scoring a great bargain from a charity shop results in a high and a misplaced short term sense of achievement that the average Big Brother winner would be at odds to replicate. If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine, then thrift may be for you. I’ve seen cosmetic makeovers on oversized, psychedelic print kaftans that would put the average Swan contestant to shame.


3) Vintage. There’s lots of thrift items that aspires to be vintage the way some people vie to join members-only clubs. However, if vintage was a club, there would be a very long waiting list. At least twenty years, to be specific. Vintage clothing should be in a good condition, wearable, fashionably relevant and relatively rare.Because of these factors, good vintage can be expensive. Your cheap vintage buy usually means that someone got very lucky, and that someone probably isn’t you. One man’s meat may be another man’s poison, but there’s no disputing the power of the fillet steak – maybe that’s why it’s so expensive.

Anna Piaggi’s Fashion Algebra

>If you follow my blog you’ll have an inkling of the horrible technology problems that I’m having, so it’ll be no surprise that I’ve turned back to books.

See, books won’t suddenly shut and refuse to open again. You won’t turn a page of a book and find it covered in error messages. Books can still be read even if you’re not near a wireless hotspot. And if you have a problem with a book, the answer usually doesn’t involve calling a hotline where the rep on the phone snidely informs you that you’re chained to a contract even if the provider no longer covers you *shakes fist for the millionth time this week*

‘Hem. Excuse me. That was a bit of an over elaborate lead-up to showing you a few scans from a recent acquisition; a copy of the now out-of-print Anna Piaggi’s Fashion Algebra, published by Thames and Hudson in the 90′s and made of of the most notable of Piaggi’s D.Ps for Italian Vogue up to that point.

The introduction and subsequent chapter title pages have words that are led around the pages or arranged like poems, and are short and sharp.

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This is the Chapter 12; Characters title page. All the title pages are in monochrome to really contrast from the multicoloured, multi-medium D.P’s within.

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Multicoloured Pantone goodness

A very green season with all the shades of a colour chart, from Veronese Green to cinnabar.  To the list of classic greens are added those that are techno-botanical:  the new artificial greens – like the acrylic green of Gianni Versace (left) and the metallic verdigris of hair at Yohji Yamamoto (right, bottom).  The crocodile bags by Anna Molinari are also green (far left).  And there are greens mixed with blue by Missoni.  February 1996, no 546.

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A spread about the beguiling nature of the Gibson Girl.  Ah, to be that clean-cut and have picnics and ride penny-farthing bicycles (I presume that this is all that a Gibson Girl did).  The little text blurb reads:

The return of the old-fashioned picnic, with all the style of Le Dejuneur sur  l’herbe:  wicker hampers from Milan, by Lorenzi and by Eve; tableclothsby Ken Scott; thermos flasks from Hermes.  Even the new bags in fabric and in straw (Jean-Paul Gaultier) have that picnic look.  August 1994, No 528.

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Tweedy ladies taking tea and discussing the local news in suits by John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto.  Then there’s the puritan style of Vivienne Westwood or – for hanging out the washing – the colourful escapism of Clements Ribeiro… November 1997, no 567

This book is fairly expensive (I got a great deal because I bought one without a dustcover) but is well-worth trying to source a copy.  I can’t remember the last time I pored over a book like this and tried to take i every image.  It’s almost impossible to absorb everything, so everytime I come back to it, I find something new and totally wonderful.

Strictly Irrelevant – The Linkage Edition

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The internet in my flat is still broken and Photobucket is still pouting at me and refusing to play nice, so here’s a short and sweet links post on reading, watching, eating and inspiration material that I’d like to share.

I never, ever use the word ‘amazeballs’, but here’s a recipe for some pretty amazeballs, rainbow-y doughnuts (The Dainty Squid)

Ever though it’s, errrr, late July at this point, people are still getting very excited about A/W and all the expensive camel capes that we’ll be buying.  Since I’m a cheap young wan, I’ll be following bloggers tips on how to get next season’s look without spending any money.  At all.  (Fug Girls at The Cut Blog and Disneyrollergirl).

Absolutely endless inspiration in the TFS forum thread for Fashion in Film Movie Stills (TFS)

Anna Dello Russo is apparently going to release a perfume.  But this mini manga novel about her life has nothing to do with that.  (annadellorusso)

Blatant plug alert.  Hem…  You can read this weeks Licentiate column for the Cork Independent here!

My new source of fascination – North Korean synchronised gymnastics a la that new Faithless video.  Pardon the bad quality, but the things these kids do is, frankly, amazeballs (Did it again…).

Halston goodness

>I’ve had the technology week from hell and am currrently tapping away on a tinny keyboard in a slightly dodgy web cafe down the road from my apartment and my Photobucket WILL NOT WORK, hence the slightly dodge collage with repeated images below.

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This shoot for the August issue of US Vogue, shot by Raymond Meier, is shot in American working girl’s New York, where everyone strides around with impossible glosssy blow-outs, probably smelling of Charlie (the perfume, not Chaplin). This also got me thinking about the Halston woman, for if the above shoot is the 70′s upwardly mobile New Yorker by day, then Halston must surely be what they’re wearing by night.

Because I’m a sucker for hidden extras, here’s an episode in a series that Andy Warhol did on fashion, aptly titled Andy Warhol’s Fashion, that is concerned with Roy Halston the man, and Halston the clothing line. This was shot in 1979, so you can really get a feel for what the older Halston clothing represented (for me it’s this dissolute and debauched and so divorced from the vagaries of real life that everything but the more terrible details of Roy Halstons life and death carry a silvery, distinctly glittery sheen). No Halston Heritage, no SJP. Enjoy!

EDIT: After a bit of a trawl on the TFS forums, I found a link to an article about the great and the good recollection of Roy Halston, who may be the first officially fierce/faboosh man (said a la Tyra Banks).  You can read it here.

One TFS user scanned in an old article about Halston from People magazine and it’s too good not to share here.

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One or two of the scans are a bit cut off, but if you want to see them in their entirelty, you can pop along to the forum post here.

Official-ish announcement

>Those of you who follow this column may notice that last week’s column was not published.  That is because I have been offered a welcome change of direction and am now writing a fashion and style column for the Cork Independent.

To my followers, thanks for following.  I don’t think that there will be any further updates on this blog and I may delete it once I gather all the columns into a portfolio.  A blog is nothing if not immediate and this is no longer immediate.

Thanks so much for your support.  If you wish to keep supporting, just unfollow this blog and perhaps follow my blog proper here.  Thanks a million.

Hello Lovers

>I’ve been baiting friends of mine recently, telling them that I had exciting news to be revealed today.  Most of them jumped the gun and assumed that I was pregnant.  Thanks pals.

As exciting as conception is, my news is strictly local and is really more about the gestation of an idea rather than a living thing.  So, in the spirit of sharing, I’d like to introduce you to my new baby, which you can see here.

The Cork Independent, which is the city’s most widely read paper (but don’t quote me on that) recently offered me a new column in conjuction with my blog, which I was only to happy to take.  Now I get to ramble on about fashion and personal style as opposed to rambling about the recession.  I’ll be sad to let the old column go, but eternally happy that The Cork Independent has taken a chance and let me spout on about style.

To read my first Licentiate column, click on the first link above.  Below is the first paragraph for a taster.

Disclaimer;  If you’re not from Cork you might not get the local references.  But if you don’t get the jokes, that’s just poor writing on my part.

Everyone has a Rebecca in their friend armory. Rebeccas are great. Rebeccas are the kind of girl that have long glossy blonde hair, are masters of the mysterious art of smoky eyeshadow, pass their clothes on to you because they never wear the same dress twice and are regular frequenters of that nightclub in town… You know the one. The one that rhymes with ‘banana’.

Why I Blog

>I just returned from a holiday with my family on the Amalfi coast, which was amazing, and suffered a bout of (not so amazing) food poisoning. That, and the kind of existential crisis that can only happen when your plane home is flying through the kind of severe turbulence that makes an otherwise sturdy machine seem about as fortified as an empty can of Pepsi.

The first patch of turbulence was scary.  The second was fucking terrifying.

So, as the plane rolled around in patches of grey cloud, I alternated between praying (no atheists in foxholes and all that…) and coming to terms with the fact that I have NO direction whatsoever career-wise.  This is unfortunate, because I have wanted to be a journalist since seeing April O’Neal prancing around and being generally inept in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a wee one.

Now though, it’s a slightly different story.  I’ve worked in a staff capacity and as a freelancer for some papers and magazines and I love doing it, despite the lack of pizza, light bondage-esque kidnappings and anthropomorphic sidekicks.  Aside from that, I’ve got a few (writing) projects that I tool away on from the sidelines.  A bit of fiction, a bit of research, some scripts, none of which has yet seen the light of day (and might never, I’m not kidding myself that I’m the modern Renaissance woman of writing).  But I’m not a Journalist journalist, or broadly speaking, I don’t earn enough money doing it and I don’t have a formal media qualification.  You could forgo the qualification for work experience, but in the current economic climate and given the geography, even internships are beyond hard to get*

I have a finger in a lot of pies, but (apart from the journalism), it’s largely half-arsed, or filled with ideas that might never, ever come to fruition.  I’m a dilettante, a total amateur who hopes one day to have just one finger wedged firmly into one pie**.

Thing is, I’m now constantly second-guessing myself.  Do I really want to be a journalist, or do I want to write something else?  And if I did, what if I was terrible at it and ended up going back to bartending (which is fun, but not something I’d spend my life doing)?

Alright.  Rant terminated.

I’ve veered off point slightly.  Whoops.  To recap, all that stuff I’ve complained about above, the lack of direction, the indecision, the fear for the future.  That’s the first reason I like blogging.

Why I Blog
  1. None of that stuff matters when I blog.  It has little or no consequence or impact on my future.  I don’t need a masters degree to blog.  I don’t need to have previous experience.  All I need is a bit of enthusiasm and a Photobucket account.  Which is nice.
  2. I get to meet all kinds of nice bloggers and read comments from people who agree with me or have something to add or refine.  Blogging really encourages community feeling and a discourse between people with mutual hobbies and interests, and I really, really appreciate everyone who takes the time to follow my blog or leave a comment.
  3. Blogs are immediate.  My Google reader is a bit like the ticker on Sky Sports, except with shoes and bags instead of Raoul Moat.
  4. Even though blogging involves a lot of writing, it’s still nothing like journalism.  Good journalism is based on getting your point across in the quickest, most entertaining way possible.  Blogging, not so much.  I can ramble on and talk about whatever I want, which is great.  I can even throw in the odd spelling mistake. 
  5. I get to share what I love and find out what other people love too.  I’m like a creepy fashion voyeur.
  6. Reading other people’s blogs and blogging helps me to draw inspiration, to really think about personal style, or what style means to me.  Even though I’ll only do outfit posts very rarely, blogging does help me to dress a little bit better

So here’s the science bit.  If you’ve gotten through this incoherent ramble without chewing on some tinfoil for light relief and you feel like commenting, let me know why you blog and what you like about it.  I’d really love to know (creepy fashion voyeur lurking in again).

*Sorry if I sound bitter but I’ve just had a particularly crushing experience with an internship (or lack thereof).
**If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, then you’re a total smut merchant.

Wanted: Simpsons Vintage

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If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I have a deep uncompromising love for The Simpsons, namely the first handful of seasons.  So deep is this love that I’m going to do a post on Simpsons and clothing, so switch off now if you find this boring…

I was just about old enough to remember the ‘Ban The Bart’ campaigns in 1990.  I also remember my granny was scandalised when she found out that my parents had bought both myself and my sister Simpsons t-shirts.  Mine was blue and had a picture of Bart saying “Don’t have a cow, man”.  Sigh.  Where did it all go wrong?

Right now I’d give my boyfriend’s left nut for an old-school Simpsons sweater or tee (sorry Al) but they must have all been burned on an elementary school principal pyre because finding one of these, in a good condition and in a condition to fit a woman without looking like a tent is as rare as hens teeth (a comparison I never really got.  Do hens have teeth?).

These items are mostly from the early 90′s and so are teetering on the edge of vintage.  I think that once the 20 year mark has passed for these items, they’ll magically become ironic, then cool, then passé again in the hipster fashion wheel of fortune.

Here are some of my picks.

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Available here , here and here .

War Heroes = Wowsa

>I’m not the biggest fan of posting up long chunks of magazine editorials (although I love looking at other peoples blog post on fashion editorials…) but I think that this one, from this months Dazed and Confused, is one of the better concepts for a menswear shoot that incorporates the military trend with some fairly hard-hitting and witty statements.

I am however a really big fan of the notion that, in life, there’s a very thin line between comedy and tragedy, so thin that sometimes the two bleed into each other and that there’s no place that we can see this better than in war.  Three generations of my family have served in the armed forces and, judging from the stories I’ve been told, it’s a theory that might carry an iota of truth.

Wool as blood, the limbs and faces of childish dolls as masks and scars, severe corseting and reining in and vomiting out the trimmings or military costume.  The poses are stiff, full on or three quarters profile, like an actual military portrait. While it’s a bit risky to run in a mainstream magazine, it’s the risks that make life (and editorials) interesting.  If you like what you see, go buy a copy of Dazed and peruse the rest of the editorial *blatant magazine pushing alert*
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Photos from TFS
Photos – Richard Burbridge
Styling – Robbie Spencer