Friday, January 30, 2009

go disco!

with the increasing popularity of acts like glass candy, sally shapiro, metro area and hercules and the love affair, it seems italo is definitely making a comeback. the new acts evolve from dark electro sounds, but add color and happy housey choruses. i think next summer we'll all be italo discoing (and actually there's a chance to get in the mood at rautatientori ice park next tuesday).

therefore, i will return the favor sugar kane provided earlier today with a disco remix for your friday pleasure by dj-photographer extraordinaire antti hiljá. go dance!


i have to admit that i ain't your regular domestic goddess. i'm preoccupied with projects more important than household work -- or so i want to believe -- and when it comes to solving domiciliary problems i find myself grabbing the latest cillit sh'bangbang (or whatever miracle solvent came out the latest) only to realize that it's probably really poisonous and does not perform as it did in the commercial.

in situations like these, most people grab the phone and call their mothers. the thing is, i was raised by two scientists who share my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to mundane issues like household chores. my mom and dad can kinda cook (read: we were fed as kids) and they clean regularly (read: we did not live in a pigsty), but the house was never immaculate and the meals often less than appetizing. my utmost admiration for my parents is in no way lessened by their shortcomings, but if i need help in stain removal the last number to call is mom. (dad might know, though... he's the one who sews in the family, too.)

for people like me the martha organization is an essential source of invaluable information. the organization is a sort of a stitch'n'bitch club for women who have an interest in domestic perfection. and it isn't about exclusivity because they're more than willing to share their knowledge -- even through a helpline! i mean, how great is that?

while some people apparently fail to appreciate the variability of human interests and how they promote communal well-being, i give two thumbs up to the marthas. we need people like my mother whose groundbreaking research on identifying the mrsa bacteria has helped towards finding solutions to control a significant hospital killer, but we also need domestic magicians who keep our stained stoves in check. variance is for the benefit of all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

epilepsy is dancing.

epilepsy is common as a subject matter in art most likely because of the dramatic seizures involved. imagined both demonic and saintly, the disease carries a stigma often associated with insanity and creativity. pages upon pages in literature utilize the condition to create suspense or transcendental imagery and the basis of the descriptions vary from superstition to empirical facts.

my most important encounter with epilepsy inspired art is joy division's song she's lost control which is said to be ian curtis' reflection on his own condition and the difficulties of living with such sudden crippling attacks.

antony hegarty's take on the subject matter is quite different: his song becomes alive with the video and he concentrates on the liberating aspect of leaving reality. a mystical and magical experience already rooted "one of the worst videos of all time" i must admit feeling slightly torn about the clip. there is glitter and beauty, though. see for yerselves.

neighborhood recommendation #2: hair salon.

finns have a flair for hair. we're brave when it comes to color and cuts and, supposedly, people in the hair trends industry love visiting helsinki for the edgy looks we go for here. how very cool of us.

courage is a double edged sword, though, because we're also very much for diy: spunky hair color out of a box is way too common a sight in the streets, especially when the tone is off and there's barely any makeup to fix the appearance. skimping on salon visits means there are roots shoving everywhere, often blonde roots leading to black ends. lamentably the requests for trendy hairdos at times outweigh the skills available and we see heads with tons of, um, "idea", but haywire implementation. moreover, there are graphic cuts with bold stripes of neon on people who seem to come from the little house on the prairie, and i'm pretty sure not all of them modeled for a hair trend show.

doing hair well is a trade, a learned skill, but also an artistry. it requires incomprehensible psychological skills: in mere minutes the hairdresser should figure out the customer's day-to-day style and preferences and apply them to whatever quality of hair s/he needs to work with. without going to clients who bring photos of celebrities and want a simple perm to create red carpet hair that should settle with a simple blow dry, we normal sensible people usually have a mental image of what we'd like to look like walking out of the salon -- and as we all know, that image is fragile and, oh, so easily shattered. i assume that i'm not the only one who's left a salon crying?

the problem with hairdressing is that what works for someone, does not work for another, and this applies to both cut and color and to the person holding the scissors. when we find the right fit, we stick to it. but the relationship is always tentative: one screw-up can ruin a beautiful thing... and the process of hesitant building of trust must begin from scratch.

nevertheless, i will recommend a salon worth trying if you are on the lookout for your perfect match. i popped in today with my dog (who instantly found a lap to rest on; see her peeping through the coverup on the customer?) at loisto which is a small establishment with a busy schedule, so book early. their philosophy is simple: they're passionate about skill and personal service. the people working are simply talented (like mv, in the pic) and the customers vary stylistically from the trendiest club kids to the family restaurant owner down the street and their common denominator: great looking hair. at a time when many hair salons try to lure in customers with extra pampering services and make a fuss about bringing you a glass of champagne (which in itself is great, in a way, but does not compensate for the end result being less than great...), loisto emphasizes the meaning of great manageable hair as a daily ingredient of a more pleasant life. the atmosphere at the shop is happy and friendly, and while the staff is definitely on the quirkier side, none of your diva scissorhands work there.

and if you enjoy people watching and tend to draw conclusions from behavior, as yours truly does, this might just be a top selling point: i have never seen a customer leave loisto trying to readjust their hair in front of a mirror before walking out... i don't know about you, but i've done it at salons before and seen people do it in other places more than i care to remember. so, go get impressed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

vanity ink.

honey junkie suggested a spring time craze for tattoos, and i must admit to my urge growing with the weather getting brighter. while it is partly a seasonal desire, my quest for the perfect half-sleeve has taken years and there are several reasons behind the delay.

first, i've been uncertain whether i'd grow out of the fascination. i may be spontaneous when it comes to my looks otherwise, but with permanency my binary self reveals its true internal contradictions: tattoos are a lifelong commitment. nevertheless, since the desire to get ink on my arm has not diminished throughout the years, i think i just might be ready.

second, as we all know, tattoo trends come and go. my skin already carries the stigma of early 21st century tribal fad, but luckily situated, ahem, somewhere a bit more private. i fear that whatever i choose as my skin adornment, it will look outdated in a year or two. the thing is, everything you may consider classic nowadays (like cherries, sailors, etc.) should be reassessed remembering what was said about tribal tattoos a few years ago... remember? classic and timeless. sure, at their time. but again, i believe i've finally come to terms with getting stuck in an era and must stay true to my present likes and dislikes. que sera, sera, right?

third, i feel torn between visible and concealable. my other tattoo is on my scalp and, presently, covered by hair which is sometimes very frustrating: i really like it, but to show it off i'd have to shave my head. then again, i feel unsure if i want to be stuck with long sleeves later in life if my tat shows signs of aging earlier than my skin does. this particular hesitation really baffles me since i am not exactly the kind of a person to take aging very seriously. my propensity is to take my fashion seriously, i guess.

fourth, i really wanted mine done completely in white ink. i realized that it would most likely look almost like a scar and would probably be mistaken for one. i didn't mind. the problem is that white tattoos are technically extremely difficult to produce and prone to failure, and no-one would even start designing one for me. it has taken me about two years to grow into imagining colors on my arm.

fifth, and most importantly, i have not found an artist i trust. i am quite sure there are excellent artists out there, but it is my skin, after all, and the only one i have. my friend who's responsible for inking me before relied on my own drawings, but for something bigger i'd need professional help. moreover, his style has evolved towards a direction i do not fancy which means he's out. it is crucial to find the previous work of the artist (and they are artists!) admirable, not only subject-wise but in terms of execution of finer details.

my wait may be over: i found an artist! i asked a friend whose tats i really liked and he gave up the person responsible. her name is saira hunjan and her designs are feminine, intricate and pretty. the problem is that she's in london. i visit the city regularly, but to book an appointment (or several) for sporadic weekend visits may prove a hassle. i will try, nevertheless. and i'll keep ya updated...

Monday, January 26, 2009

neighborhood recommendation #1: deli.

sis. deli+café offers a thoroughly considered deli concept from values to recipes, locales to outfits, and stands out from the rest in helsinki. it still baffles me how many small enterprises start without a clear and focused concept: a great idea or an amazing product is not enough to set one apart and bring about success, but an entire understanding of market positioning and visual identity among others are needed.

sis. deli+café got their focus right: they created a coherent visual concept which is in accordance with the product. it's not extraordinary in any sense, but rather just beautifully thought out and well executed. when it comes to food, they use organic, locally produced ingredients with a commitment to transparency of origin. additionally they serve great coffee and a selection of other items -- anything you need for a lunch or a light dinner. the three shops feel inviting, the staff is friendly and the packaging is a pleasure to handle (yes, it makes a difference for an everyday aesthetician like myself).

go support.


our simian friends never cease to bring a smile on my face.

urban habitation.

i am an urban being by choice. i have never entertained the idea of moving to the countryside: aimless wondering in the forest bores me, fresh air does not thrill me, and i have only recently started to appreciate getting my hands dirty in the soil. i enjoy sporadic moments at the cottage if there is enough nourishment for the body and soul, that is, books and magazines and great food. the suburbs are as close to my ultimate nightmare as may be as living in an environment where i'd have to depend on a vehicle of some sort to get around strikes me as unfathomable: i want to be able to walk everywhere i need on a daily basis. moreover, i do not want a house nor do i need a lot of space around me.

there is an increasing amount of people like me, and obviously, we're found in the centers of the larger cities. many of us are single, but many are not. we (plan to) raise our (possible) (future) children in these centers and not because we have to, but because we choose to. many of us have never owned cars nor wish to, or could possibly share one with another like-minded family or person. we socialize daily over coffee and wine knowing that the price we pay per cup/glass is ridiculous considering the production cost, but we're willing to pitch in that extra euro/buck/quid for the atmosphere, service, freshly ground coffee beans, etc. additionally, we eat out a lot, appreciate and demand quality food and service even with the realization that we could probably cook the same dishes better in the comfort of our own homes. we take our kids to restaurants, galleries and shopping in small specialty stores as comfortably as we arrange playdates and park visits. we do not consider our consuming habits elitist, but rather normal because they result from giving up some of the perks suburban dwellers have, such as being close to nature, silence or having bigger houses.

herein resides the greatest defining factor when it comes to urbanites: while we appreciate the tranquility of our homes, the city is an extended home where we're not visitors but integral parts. no matter how great an apartment we may live in, it really does not matter without the exterior, buzzing world being right there at our doorstep. we take great pride in the blocks we live in, not because of property value (or lack thereof), but because as extensions of our homes they reflect who we are and, moreover, enable us to be who we want to be. we also worry about our surroundings and the changes that take place; we sometimes get anxious about the possibility of gentrification or falling off the income bracket which enables the choice to live where we want to. as unrealistic as we all understand it to be (because we obviously have all sorts of different occupations), a recurring topic of conversation are plans/dreams/hopes to start a small business of one's own to liven up the neighborhood just because something essential is still missing -- i don't think i've ever touched upon the subject with my suburban friends.

my own neighborhood is still one of the liveliest in helsinki: there are bars, restaurants, clothing stores, services, and all businesses are on the small side which alone supports variability and vibrancy -- around the corner, there is a small store selling just vacuum cleaner bags, i kid you not. nevertheless, the neighborhood is a far cry from a couple of decades ago, when almost every street was lined with small businesses from bakeries to butcher shops.

every day there are people walking the streets, popping in and out of galleries and stores, sipping coffee from a local deli, working on their laptops at small restaurants and bumping accidentally into friends and strolling off to some bar for a glass and some good old chit chat. for me, all of this is essential. the survival or, more optimistically, the progress of my neighborhood depends on the appreciation of urbanites and our choice of lifestyle. it isn't uncommon to hear that the way we live is unrealistic and a sign of extended adolescence; our reluctance to settle down (meaning, to move somewhere where the exciting temptations of nightlife are less predominant) is often considered immature. the most significant point of differentiation comes with children: sometimes we're harassed because we're unwilling to provide our children safety and ample room to play in. for many people, we're anomalous and symptomatic of a cultural change that overly appreciates youth and lack of responsibilities.

these basic premises, however, are wrong: an urban lifestyle does not imply resistance to accept life's realities. the preference may be novel in finland, but could be due to the lack of truly urban environment; preferring the city throughout one's lifespan is not unusual globally. the widespread acceptance of the premises is thoroughly damaging, though, because urban development is, undoubtedly, based on the flow of capital. therefore, pedestrian streets, bike pathways and encouragement of small businesses owe allegiance to cars and parking space, because the assumption is that the consuming population resides somewhere outside the borders of the city. while there's plenty of talk about decreasing traffic in the center for various reasons -- safety, pollution, etc. -- the person these changes are meant to please does not live here, but needs to be lured in from somewhere else.

but we are here, we're not students anymore, and we make a good living. our consumption is predominantly immaterial, and we spend so much time in the public space that we do make an economical (and ecological) difference. we should be taken seriously, not only as consumers (which seems like the biggest selling point politically these days) but as part of the adult population who make informed and mature choices. as long as we're considered as people who either need to "grow out of it" or stop living in denial (everyone wants a big house if they only had the means for it, right?), our living environment will not be addressed in our own terms. we deserve to take back the streets we want to consider home.

as an endnote, i want to stress that i am aware of the fact that i represent a rather well-off group of people and, moreover, that the ability to make the choices we make is based on relative wealth, health and education level/career success. lifestyle choices are meaningful only if one is able to choose -- which already implies being luckier than most people in this world.

the justification for writing and ranting about this is that regardless of being lucky our choices do not come without sacrifice, just like everybody else's, and feeling an absence of control over our surroundings can be quite frustrating. especially, if the basis for the lack of control seems unwarranted.

inspired by this rant of mine, i will start listing things which make my neighborhood great.

Friday, January 23, 2009

fall promise.

last night a hefty group of fashion and design enthusiasts gathered to see what marimekko, the most iconic fashion house of finland, has to offer next fall. since changes in ownership, they have taken a different artistic and marketing direction; instead of high culture consuming middle aged women who love to power dress, marimekko has their eye on the fashion sensible young woman who identifies with the hype of finnish design.

since the arrival of samu-jussi koski, who was appointed creative director this year, they've had my attention, for sure; i still fondly remember prancing around their store on the esplanade in my converse high tops, tsubi (presently known as ksubi for whatever reason...) tee and koski's bradshaw skirt (one of five, i was told, although they reproduced a few more next summer...) not knowing what hit me whilst buying baby shower presents. the next year, koski's first small collection was produced for marimekko, and ever since, i've regularly bought something from each collection and praise the wearability.

as marimekko is best known for colorful cotton prints, it didn't come as a major surprise that their fall theme was about bringing color into the darkness. i don't envy the designers who have to work with graphic patterns which in most cases look best as large surfaces, but they seem to succeed quite well. the color combinations were bold: expect purple with yellow (outch, i must say. the use of opposites creates interesting tension in fashion, but entire patterned outfits are a bit too much...), more purple with blues and greens (quite fresh and beautiful), oranges, salmon red and green.

since i am a fashion pragmatist, my foremost attention grabber is what pleases the shopper in me, that is, the dress i want for myself. the show was dresses galore, but i cannot help but wonder how many seasons are they going to reutilize the egg and the tulip hems? there's nothing essentially wrong with those shapes because they are very wearable, but it does get repetitive... then again, some might call it staple style.

ultimately, my favorite was this green velvet dress. judging from the buzz afterwards, i wasn't the only one who enjoyed the beautiful soft sheen of the material and the simple, yet sophisticated cut.

but the quintessential gossip generator was the announcement of a new designer team: rinne-niinikoski. known for their playful collages and bold detailing, their handiwork was instantly recognizable and, i must say, a breath of fresh air. i really look forward to these knit dresses.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

hey champ!

as requested by mv, here's some more music for y'all.

the buzz in the blogosphere around hey champ shows no slowing down. you can follow what they're up to from their own blog. i recommend the chicago group for those of you who like cut copy, killers and mgmt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

diet pop.

in the world of major brand soft drinks, low calorie is the punchline du jour. the market for diet drinks is huge despite the controversiality of artificial sweeteners; it seems strange for an age when organic and natural are increasingly common seducers of consumers. since dieting is considered essentially a female activity, but staying fit is a demand everyone regardless of their sex needs to fulfill, coca cola came up with zero, the light cola for the heterosexual man who is insecure enough to order a low-calorie drink. the advertising clips for zero vary from blatantly sexist to annoyingly stereotypical and, in my opinion, actually demean their target audience. but masculinity can sometimes be a fragile thing...

pepsi max avoids the pits of gender stereotypes by shunning the value laden words "diet" and "light". but they are definitely not exempt from pushing their product and fighting for a cut of the market. their promise to be "the one calorie cola" inspired a compelling campaign that uses visual imagery quite unlike those usually associated with soft drinks. moreover, the german advertising agency bbdo went slightly macabre. the new campaign is based on the loneliness of the poor calorie and the images show the lonely lump desperately trying to end his/her days. it's a brave and borderline vulgar move from the company.

the bird and the worm.

you all know the idiom "the early bird catches the worm", right? when it comes to sales, it seems a guideline most people adhere to and it may be the most sensible thing to do; the likelihood of finding something that fits on sale increases with rushing in to grab the best. common sense.

i admit to bargain hunting and feel terribly pleased with myself when i find something stripped off the majority of its suggested retail price. both my size and my taste help in some cases, because many of my preferred items hang on the racks till the end of sale. it's taken me years to learn not to buy a piece of clothing at full price whenever i am convinced that it will sell out immediately: my judgment on the desirability of items is usually completely erroneous and off the mark. nevertheless, i do miss out on some articles i really want.

but sometimes, i'm really lucky and find items like this one: martin margiela 6 handknit sweater with 3/4 sleeves, 70% off.

i've taught myself to believe in waiting patiently and letting the worm get really, really fat...

hello, my name is stella style.

while my blog is not just a style, fashion or trend blog, but a mix 'n match of everything i feel like writing about, some people have asked me about my personal style and requested snapshots of outfits that i wear.

why i have not posted photos of my own ensembles comes down to a few reasons:
1) i'm terribly unphotogenic,
2) i suffer from essential tremor which makes photos taken by hand very shaky,
3) my camera's autoshoot settings are a pain in the tush,
4) i work from home, which explains the irregular hours of posting, but also means i'm in sweats most days, and
5) when i do get dressed, i'm usually off to somewhere in a hurry or in a party mood which does not translate into taking style photos.

i'd describe my personal style as pretty monochrome, black, white and grey. i go for simple shapes, but love interesting textures and cuts which aren't necessarily flattering for my body shape. i love playing around with androgynity and sometimes get downright jaunty taking either femininity or masculinity to an extreme -- just to mess with things a bit. i combine expensive with cheap and do not care whether something is necessarily in season, i.e. i do not bother with riding the trend wave, but believe in my own style which obviously is inspired by trends. my weakness is accessorizing for which i browse several other blogs (see list on the right) for inspiration, but usually i just fail miserably at applying my inspiration. below is a typical me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

fan death.

one to keep an eye on if you like hercules and the love affair and glass candy. fan death is a project which draws your feet to the dancefloor. these girls will be huge!

oh, the death star is important...

there are telltale signs that you're a nerd. one of them is an ability to talk a fictional language (klingon, check!), another is knowing several sci-fi movies by heart (star wars iv, v and vi, check; the other ones are not considered star wars!! check for being an uptight nerd...). there are several other, rather embarrassing features, but if those hit close to home, you'll find the clip below hilarious...

everybody sweat.

sweatshops are something we all believe should be shunned upon: dark and hot warehouses stuffed with illiterate women, men and children with no bathroom, smoke or lunch breaks and regular beatings. the conditions strike us as unbelievable and cruel. as consumers we expect our purchases to be exploitation-free and many choose to avoid brands which suffer from a rep of disrespect for the ethical treatment of our fellow humans. we feel noble and morally superior wearing american apparel tees.

then there are always voices of dissonance: if we boycott, for example, chinese production because of labor rights, the factories will close and the people will be worse off. children will end up scavenging, parents are doomed to raise their families in shanty towns, their right to work will be removed -- and everyone should have a right to earn a living, however meagre it may be. this is quite true and the results are visible all over asia and africa. the idea can be articulated as
But while it shocks Americans [and europeans, for that matter] to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

there is a problem with this insight, as well. it is likely that the proponent of the above argument, such as new york times columnist nicholas d. kristof, also believes that prosperity will accumulate in places of work and that the increase in living standards that sweatshops provide (in comparison to begging and scavenging) will eventually lead to other improvements. one claim is that because production stability is key, countries with reliable infrastructure will compete stronger in the global market and a better infrastructure benefits all residents of the country. ideally true, yes.

it is the standard libertarian free-flow of capital argument: if the global market is totally unconstrained, standard of living will eventually increase for all. hence, it is important to keep the wheels of production and investment rolling no matter how substandard the point of origin is, and miraculously, wealth for all will be the result. however, for this there is very little evidence, or to put it nicely, no evidence whatsoever. on the contrary, wealth still seems to find its way to the deep pockets of those who already have most of it and, more importantly, control the flow of it: a free market is never actually free.

my main point is: substandard does not change into acceptable only because there are worse options. sweatshops are still cruel and inhumane places of work even if they are an improvement for those who live at garbage dumps. it may be a dream for someone digging for recyclable materials to find work in a maquiladora, but how could they dream of having a decent paying job with basic benefits? it is unbelievably condescending from us to promote inferior living conditions because we can think of examples where a life of misery is an improvement from another state of hell. it is also suspect whether what we have come to appreciate as sweatshop free, such as aa, are really that humane: minimum wage workers cannot support their families in the us.

thus, there is no defense for sweatshops. arguing for something, which is unfathomable and beyond acceptable for us as a decent standard of living for someone else, is patronizing. defending exploitation with arguments that rely on the fact that there are options worse than them is a smoke screen which tries to cover up the fact that we are responsible for the plight in the first place. we fool ourselves into believing that there are only two (both really bad) possibilities for "those people" as if it were true: imagine being offered a beating with a choice of a stick or a whip and having your point that you'd rather not be beaten at all considered invalid or unreasonable...

yeah, as they say with doomsday fires burning in their eyes, if everybody's level of consumption ([sarcasm]which equals standard of living, right?[/sarcasm]) was raised to the same level than ours, the world would be inhabitable. obviously, we could give up some things to allow everyone else at least a tolerable life, now couldn't we? it ain't gonna fix itself, so the change requires action on our part and moving beyond the level of talking boycotts and poor children digging for food. are we ready?

Monday, January 19, 2009

sabina kasper.

swedish jewelry designer sabina kasper makes punky, attitude laden pieces out of silver, gold, pearls and safety pins. and velour and silk thread. and paint.

she displays an ability to lift conservative materials, such as pearls, up to another, street credible level and her courage with color usage shows a sense of humor and laissez-fare attitude often not associated with fine jewelry.

her designs are available at colette and black market in stockholm.

flash mob advertising.

flash mobs are something you're bound to bump into these days. if not personally, at least they'll get news coverage.

originally derived from a type of performance art, flash mobs gather a crowd in public spaces where prearranged action takes place and after a certain, usually short, time, the people stop doing whatever it is they were up to and leave the scene as if nothing happened.

in 2006, harper's magazine editor bill wasik took credit for the invention of the flash mob by revealing how he organized the first two in nyc in 2003. the term was coined by, who other but, some random blogger. the schtick itself is familiar from candid camera shows, but wasik's invention was to utilize people's willingness to be part of something hip and novel, i.e. change the focal point of the joke: for him it was trivial how many people walked off boggled, but success amounted to an eager big group of strangers bringing an element of surprise to perhaps just one person.

since wasik's originals, flash mobs have appeared at various locales around the world. sometimes a deeper message is being conveyed; for example last winter's flash mob in the centre of helsinki where people would stop, put a mask on, and stare at the biggest department store in town was a protest to consumer craziness and haste. oftentimes, the mob is a pure prank. undoubtedly, the appearance of something unusual is a perfect method to distract people from their routine and either provides an opportunity to realize how much time is spent in a kind of an unreflective haze or, as is often the case, scares and annoys people tremendously.

eventually, mobs would find their way to marketing where the craze to utilize unconventional methods to get free coverage is more prominent than ever. the most demanding task is to keep the event positive but effective, i.e. minimum irritation, maximum pleasant surprise, and here's one success story from last thursday. liverpool station in london gets flash mobbed by t-mobile.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

all together now.

it's way too early in the year to think about going barefoot, but daring the cold, we're talking sandals today. i have trouble finding the perfect flat pair to walk around the city on those hot summer days, and even if i got a good deal of use from my ages old gucci gladiators yet again last summer (gladiators just keep on coming back, now don't they...), i seek in vain for the perfect skinny everyday adornment for my feet.

my requirements are simple: allover soft leather with comfortable (and skinny) soles and funky, but not too in-yer-face, details, thank you very much.

bernhard willhelm's spring 2009 rtw show's footwear were an unusual choice: moccasins and sandals with telltale rubber soles, some shaped like duckfeet. the look and feel of camper was obvious although the design was more intelligently quirky than the underlined haha-i've-got-mismatched-shoes-get-it -amusement camper, at least in my mind, normally represents.

willhelm is next summer's designer of choice for camper's new together collaboration line. previous together designers include such names as alfredo häberli and constantin grcic whose names probably ring a bell for finns in reference to iittala.

and i fell in love with the sandals. what's great is that i can get camper comfiness, willhelm detailing and i can get them online (yay!). two of my faves below.

Friday, January 16, 2009

tellier like it is.

in case you missed sebastien tellier at last summer's flow festival, you've got another chance february 5th at tavastia. the steamy king of sensual electropop made last year's eurovision song contest musically worthy (and if that ain't an oxymoron, i'm not sure what is...) as the representative of france with the song divine. he is equally entertaining live, so i recommend putting your bedroom twisting slippers on and showing up.

here's a video for a fragile love song from a few years ago, la ritournelle.

black gold.

my relationship with diesel was, until very recently, somewhat hostile. it was the most sought after brand together with best company (whatever happened to them, i wonder...) when i was in my early teens; anyone remember the wideleg jeans with "diesel" embroidered across the bum? during the years my style evolved(?), diesel became a supermarket brand with cheap sweatshirts sold at citymarket and the slightly more upscale collections almost vanished from retailers in finland. not that i really cared, since their tendency to flaunt the brand (not unlike many street wear brands) was honestly really irritating.

then something quite miraculous happened. a flagship store opened in helsinki and, needless to say, i wasn't all that excited although i was curious whether their style lab line would be sold there. i always believed diesel's creative department was talented, but i just disliked the überlabeling that seems such an intrinsic part of the essence of diesel. style lab was imaginative and quirky, but labeled less blazingly, priced significantly higher and, oftentimes, way over-the-top. so, intrigued, inside i wandered, doubtful and inquisitive -- only to find a beautiful store.

despite my enjoyment of the shopping environment, i was unlucky and unable to find anything i wanted to buy for years. nevertheless, i returned regularly to admire the work of the helsinki visualist team (and i suggest you do that, too, in case you've missed paying attention to the amazing windows and arrangements inside the store).

last fall, on one of my walkabouts, i strolled in and found a lubricate that instantly had me slippin' and slidin' towards the cashier: black gold had arrived. i guess (dunno, not sure) it replaced style lab as the higher end line, and what a replacement it is: high quality, beautiful materials, innovative design and not a label in sight. needless to say, i was sold.

i instantly treated myself to a sequined tee with 3/4 length sleeves and made of soft delicate wool. in reference to my older rant about washability, i confess to washing the shirt in the machine repeatedly and it's as good as new.

today, i got myself this pair of loose, tapered, low crotch woolmix man pants. 50% off at beam they were something i've looked for all over all winter. combined with heels (here a classic tiger of sweden pump) they provide a retro femininity i sometimes long for and with dr martens they're just fun and comfy.

to my excitement, the spring line looks just as promising. never thought it would come to this, but diesel is back to being my oil of choice!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

gingerbread to rule the world!

the finnish shoe designer minna parikka has opened a webstore. she's known for playful, feminine designs and her pin-uppy personal style.

her shoes don't exactly occupy my style niche, but her product line easily surpasses the needs of a 50's chic chick. she has incredible and rare talent, uses a local footwear producer for one line in addition to quality manufacturing in spain for other items and, additionally, seems like a really sweet person. and that's all it takes to get some promo from me.

this beautiful item just ready to take off is called polly, and i really like the version in nude leather.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

confession of a corpse bride.

i have a confession to make: i sometimes wear fur. i own three coats in total and only wear one i bought over four years ago from uff; the other two i've owned for over 12 years, they're vintage and stored at my parents' storage room. additionally, i have a hat from three years ago. i am not sure what animal they are made of, but i am pretty sure nothing endangered is involved.

i've x-ened my coat tuija which discloses three things about how i relate to this piece of clothing. first, i think even a corpse deserves a name to retain dignity. second, the name and the coat's date of origin coincide -- they both enjoyed their prime in the eighties -- and third, they are both at the same level (i.e. quite low) on the unofficial, but intuitive attraction scale. (and i forward my humblest apologies to all you beautiful tuijas out there; this is not personal.)

i know there are various arguments against wearing tuija that i fail at giving comprehensive answers to. then again, there are a myriad of other actions on my part which i cannot explain convincingly, but still believe i have a decent enough explanatory path securing my back. for example, if i acted in concordance with my deepest beliefs i'd be vegan instead of following a pseudo-vegetarian diet containing dairy, eggs and fish which i can only defend with my taste buds and the amenity of having more choices. the main reason for wearing tuija is unsurpassed warmth, and if you were to describe me wearing the coat with pride, it could only be derived from defending the poor ruglike debris.

because tuija is not a luxurious fur coat, but more of a wreck, i don't believe it would allure anyone to buy fur. thus, it is a broad shouldered or, ultimately, a square carcass with bygone days of glory that i take out and expose to the brutal cold of city life. needless to say, my relationship with my coat is filled with tensions. so be it.

pre-fall perfection.

it is incredibly rare that i come across a runway photo i completely relate to and feel like copying in its entirety. the effect of such a look with the familiarity of knowing "that is so me" and the potentiality of "that is me as i want to be" can be quite disarming. i am surprised to find such a flawless combination from balenciaga pre-fall 2009 (via, a fashion house i admire for the avantgarde visions of ghesquière, but hardly have felt the desire to wear.

here it is: i love the bag and can see myself wearing every single item. the problem obviously is that i want it now. anyone have a clue as to where i could get my hands on pants like these?

the duel for the children.

the extremely binary world of fairytales is replicated in american mainstream politics between the liberals and the conservatives. political alliances are more pronounced across the atlantic and while, obviously, the realistic monochrome picture of american politics does have shades of grey, political speech is almost exclusively black and white.

hence, what would be a greater environment for overly simplified political argumentation than stories directed at little kids. a while back i stumbled across a series of children's books for parents who wanted their children indoctrinated as early as possible to the realities of the political world.

one of the more impressive examples was help! mom! there are liberals under my bed with the following synopsis:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.

on the other side are such gems as why daddy/mommy is a democrat which
brings to life the core values of the Democratic party in ways that young children will easily understand and thoroughly enjoy. Using plain and non-judgmental language, along with warm and whimsical illustrations, this colorful 28-page paperback depicts the Democratic principles of fairness, tolerance, peace, equality, and concern for the well-being of others. The book can also serve as kid-friendly introduction to important social and political issues. It's a great way for parents to gently communicate their commitment to Democratic principles while helping children begin to make sense of the complex world around them. A portion of the book's profits will be donated to Democratic candidates and party organizations.

and my personal favorite, mama voted for obama!, directed at babies and toddlers claiming that
This colorful book of rhythm and rhyme is a fun and playful way for parents to let their kids know how they voted in 2008!
and isn't that such a happy way to spend one-on-one time with your little baby?

in the conservative camp it is crucial to raise fear of taxes early on. democrats, on the other hand, instead of talking about jesus, try to convince they are him. unfortunately, sometimes it seems the level of argumentation the adult population portrays has not developed significantly from the caricatures pictured in these books. in case these are not enough, a sarcastic new york times article explores the penetration of socialist ideals in children's stories.

which side of the sandbox do you play in?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


my love for the knife is immense: they are out of this world. the musical project of the dreijer siblings blows me away with every single listen. they are genius.

when karin lent her voice to röyksopp and they created the most hauntingly beautiful song what else is there i started to suspect the girl had something hidden just waiting to burst out in the open. and here is fever ray, her solo project. here's the video for her first single if i had a heart and it is a masterpiece both visually and musically.

these remixes are worth a listen as well: one by familjen and another by fuck buttons of which the latter will be released as part of the 7" out feb 10. the album can be downloaded from klicktrack.


inspired by honey junkie's post on jewelry and realizing there are others with similar taste when it comes to body adornment, i want to introduce a brand i like: alkemie. all their jewelry is made of 100% reclaimed metals and they only use leather produced at cattle ranches which use 100% of the animal.

normally i prefer grey metals to brown ones, but i really like the cuff below.

alkemie is available online at shopbop (right now with extra 20% on all sale items. that's worth paying for the additional customs charges, me thinks.)

shooting matters.

isn't it great that an increasing number of people take photographs as a hobby? what's also great is that some (online) magazines hold competitions and publish the greatest photos submitted. wired holds a bimonthly contest with a changing subject matter. the quality of snapshots that make their top 10 lists is nothing short of spectacular; obviously some are there more because of artistic credit and some due to their appealing (humorous or otherwise) content.

this time around it's animals, and with photos as cute as this one of a beagle and a lizard, it's a worthy regular visit. readers' selection of top 10 here and the editors' picks here. enjoy.

making contact.

richard renaldi is a photographer who has mastered the art of capturing regular people he does not know. his photographs are beautiful and portray an intimacy rarely found in pictures which aren't prearranged. it is quite easy to forget to really appreciate the difficulty of approaching strangers and winning their trust.

the increasingly common street fashion blogs everywhere from helsinki to london/paris/beyond rely on the photographer to convince a random passer by that they should submit their image for web content. creating the bond between a total stranger and the blogger requires a multitude of social skills -- especially if the object is unfamiliar with the blog. it is nerve-racking to stand and pose for someone you don't know with an awareness that your face will be publicly exhibited; i can imagine it would be worse if the photographer was doing artwork (rather than a style report), since the tendency to relieve an artist from traditional conceptions of beauty are quite predominant. for someone who is unfamiliar with being in front of the camera and generally does not photograph well (like myself), the experience can be absolutely daunting.

renaldi's newest project, touching strangers explores trust issues even further: he has taken pictures of complete strangers together and convinced them to pose as if they knew each other. respecting personal space hits close to home with finns, but the intimate arrangements in his photos force me to suspect a universal human reluctancy to comply.

undoubtedly, it is true that personal space and the strength of it varies from individual to another, but he has grabbed people off the streets of new york city, one of the most paranoid places on this planet. like finns, people strolling the streets of manhattan are incredibly protective of their personal area: one of my most striking memories of living in nyc was a ride uptown on the 4 train which was so packed i found myself stuck between people unable to grab anything and bouncing abruptly at every jerk of the train. a middle aged man in a puffa jacket next to me said nothing, but offered his arm for me to hold onto and i remember feeling gratitude and a strange, disquieting intimacy with him. he provided me with a random act of kindness which simultaneously made us both feel (and, most probably, look) incredibly awkward.

yet renaldi succeeds in making his objects look natural and as if they know each other. therefore, the triumph of his photos is not about proximity, but that these strangers are in physical contact. truly amazing, i think.

Monday, January 12, 2009


first of all, with a name like choccywoccydoodah you cannot go wrong. secondly, when the couturiers of chocolate are revealed behind that name, expect nothing but greatness. they make cutesy little animal figurines, but the really impressive stuff are the sculptures and chocolate flowers they produce.

available in brighton and at liberty of london.

scientific bull.

as i was browsing through the news, i came across a headline: stem cell correcting cream [edit: they have actually corrected the headline: now it states "stem cell protecting cream". i'm wondering... might this little thing have something to do with the editing of the article? i'm joking; surely the company itself corrected the misleading promise...] and a short article on how the new stem cell technology can preserve and correct your skin's stem cells. wtf, i thought. knowing the scientific skills of beauty journalists, i had to check out what the manufacturer claimed the product could do. as i suspected, the reporter was slightly clueless about the facts.

the news-breaking product is a new skin cream from lumene called excellent future. the site raves about the product as any cosmetics company would:
Innovative and powerful Lumene cream that utilizes modern stem cell technology. Skin contains cells that play a key role in preserving its youthful appearance, stem cells. By protecting these vital cells the cream helps to promote the skin's ability to repair itself.
a while ago i stumbled across a cream called amatokin that was marketed as using stem cell technology to stimulate the activity of endogenous (meaning: present in your own body) stem cells. one of my pet peeves is pseudo-scientific bullshit cosmetics firms love to promote, and these two, albeit different, seem so ludicrous i just have to do an exposé of a sort.

stem cells 101 it is then. first of all stem cells are unique because they can undergo two kinds of division: symmetric and asymmetric which means they can self-renew and have a potency to create progenitor cells which differentiate to either embryonic cells (i.e. every single cell of an organism equaling totipotency) or almost every possibe cell (pluripotent). sometimes cells which are multipotent, i.e. have a potency to differentiate as several cell types which are limited in number, are referred to as adult stem cells, but strictly speaking multipotent cells are progenitor cells. there are some researchers who believe unipotent stem cells can exist, but obviously it contradicts the accepted definition.

the vagueness in terminology facilitates providing misleading information. what cosmetics companies are talking about as stem cells are progenitor cells, a cell type which is usually unipotent i.e. has one target mature cell it will develop into, and skin cells are a prime example of such unipotent suckers.

the thing is, we know quite a bit about stem cells (and the controversy they create because of their main source, the human embryo), but scientific articles about progenitor cells are still at the stages of suggesting that there may, in fact, be multiple classes of progenitor cells maintaining skin. i stress that we are talking in terms of "may" and "possibly". (and here my clever reader will note that my claim about skin cells being "unipotent suckers" depends on whether the newest research is accurate or not...)

the thing is also, that stem cell therapies are a novelty which creates tremendous hope for the future of health care. their potential is huge. this means they're the hottest sh*t science has to offer and, naturally, cosmetics companies are all for sounding as scientific as possible. the problem is that stem cell technology is not developed enough for such commercial applications. therapies are still in developmental stages although there have been significant breakthroughs. therapies utilizing adult stem cells are even quite commonplace: for example, bone marrow transplants to treat leukemia is a form of multipotent progenitor cell use.

in other words, the stuff they're promising is not quite out of the lab yet. there is no scientific evidence provided for amatokin and they're required to submit their advertising to asa in the uk due to misleading information. and while lumene takes it a little easier by only promising protection for the precious cells, i'd like to see some kind of scientific proof. more accurately, i'd like to know how the application of "apple extract and arctic white peat" on your skin becomes stem cell technology if you're neither applying stem cells on your skin nor affecting the stem cells' activity? [edit: now the article claims that the apple extract has apple stem cell extract so they are using plant stem cell technology.]

as far as i can tell, it utilizes [human] stem cell technology only as a reference, that is saying that there are stem cells (which are actually progenitor cells) in the skin of your face, [edit: and you're adding the apple stem cell extract] because whatever "protecting" the cells actually means (promoting hibernation which means less activity? increasing activity which may, at worst, mean cancer? no, only "protection") it basically amounts to nothing new. supposedly, apple stem cell extract could guard against uv-rays, but we've got sun screen already, don't we girls? and i actually prefer one that protects all my skin cells (hahahahaha). the cream itself may be an ok moisturizer, as probably amatokin is, but the sales pitch is bull.

i hate it when they act contemptuous. we're not suckers, now are we?

[edit: wow! it took somebody at the company behind lumene about 30 minutes to find my posting after their web-solutions company tracked my little rant... well, perhaps they'll provide some extra info for us, then.]

green cleaning.

anu wrote about how washability is a key component of what she believes good quality consists in, and i could not agree more with her. the increasingly common labeling of clothing as "dry clean only" seems unrelated to the quality of materials used or common fabrics suddenly becoming non-washable, but rather appears to result from a reluctancy to take responsibility for the garment's quality in long term use. as a consumer, i have learned to read dry clean instructions on cotton tees as do-as-you-please-but-don't-come-crying-at-our-door-if-the-seams-twist, which, first of all, irritates me and, secondly, seems totally foolish now that manufacturing techniques and materials available should have improved, especially in higher-end products.

the daring interpretation transforms into daring action on my part: i tend to wash items which explicitly state that i shouldn't. wool, silk and cotton are materials which should, in my opinion, survive water. my trusted, four-year-old tiger of sweden peacoat has been to the washer (in low temperature and wool wash) so many times i've lost count because of constant wear and, luckily, it still looks flawless. but i have not been as fortunate with everything and despite materials and technique improvements should have taken place, we all know it is not entirely true: high price neither implies quality workmanship nor material.

dry cleaning is a hassle, environmentally suspect and, in finland, also fairly expensive, which acts as a hindrance to leisure-washing motivated by mere laziness. the finnish market seems also less competitive and the biggest selling point is low price rather than other qualities of the service, whereas in new york city there is a growing business of "green" and "organic" dry cleaners. as with everything marketed as eco-friendly, the description "green" is used comfortably when even a slight ecological improvement can be displayed meaning obviously that the process or product sold to the customer may be a far cry from environmentally sound. what seems incredible is the equivocation of the term "organic": dry cleaners use it in the sense of organic chemistry (carbon based) rather than organic produce (toxin free). in the ny times article alan spievogel, the technical director of the cleaners' association, is quoted saying:
Under that standard, [--]I could clean garments with nuclear waste and I could call myself organic.
i am quite sure this sounds appalling as a marketing strategy to most of you.

despite knowing what horrible toxins are used for cleaning our everyday surroundings and the things we wear, i cannot claim my consumer choices are honestly motivated by ecological considerations. i still believe the main reasons i try to steer clear of "dry clean only" is the hassle and the price rather than toxins. i still, like many people, associate the smell of artificial fragrances with clean laundry which is one of the reasons i do not use soap nuts. nevertheless, were they more readily available, i might consider them again since they worked ok.

which brings in mind my main belief when it comes to making sound choices: they need to be easy. we're all a bunch of sloths.


stephen sprouse (1953-2004) retrospective at deitch projects, the publication of rizzoli's the stephen sprouse book (out tomorrow) and louis vuitton's limited edition line marc jacobs calls an homage to sprouse's talent, means graffiti is all over the place again.

sprouse started his work in the 80's styling and dressing musicians, such as debbie harry and duran duran. his collections got great exposure, but due to extreme pricing because of expensive materials, they (mostly) sold poorly. he inspired numerous designers throughout the 80's and 90's with his graffiti prints -- often painted by hand -- and, moreover, remember early 90's fad of replacing buttons with velcro? blame sprouse.

his biggest commercial success was with louis vuitton in 2001 when he painted the (in)famous monogram canvas, and he is also responsible for the leopard scarf i crave for. the new collection is based on the earlier collaboration, but this time it's bright and neon. since i'm not fan of the monogram canvas, there was only one item i'd consider wanting for meself: the bracelets in gold and neon. timeless!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

delicious on a slow sunday.

1. smoked almonds.
2. dean and deluca soho blend coffee.
3. non-sugared lingonberry juice.
4. bolla amarone red wine.
5. leftover from last night's dinner party: lemon risotto with tons of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.


there are several great features for the iphone which give it that extra bit of oomph regular phones just don't have.

the decisive application for me is the smule ocarina. created at stanford university (which actually has the most beautiful campus on this planet; if you're ever in the bay area in cali, pay it a visit. i used to go skateboarding there when i lived in palo alto...) center for computer research in music and acoustics (ccrma) the program transforms your iphone into a flute: you just blow into the microphone and "cover" the virtual holes to alter the flow of air and, thus, the tone, and out comes music. genious!

hiltunen squared.

two of my friends had openings last week. incidentally, both are named hiltunen. tatu and jenni. (not related, as far as i know.)

tatu hiltunen's video explorations into the phenomenology of masculinity titled jamais vu are shown at hippolyte gallery. it's a very small space and, therefore, i recommend visiting at an unpredictable hour rather than a saturday afternoon.

jenni hiltunen's make your own paintings at korjaamo is a combination of video and painting. jenni paints her friends and herself as creations of art, art personified, as people who become projects of art and artists simultaneously.

the hilarious and rather racy video is itself worth the visit.

Friday, January 9, 2009

dutch talent.

i visited amsterdam last spring to see madonna. i'm not a huge fan, but she is an icon and the sticky and sweet tour may be her last one. judging from the lack of activity on stage -- who wants to see madonna stand half of her concert playing a guitar rather than dance, i ask -- she's definitely getting old regardless of her age-defying appearance.

while in amsterdam, i took a day trip to the nearby town of utrecht where a friend had graduated with a master's in fashion design. his graduating class had a thesis show there and, naturally, i wanted to see his work, and there was one particular designer who made an impact on me: renske versluijs. her thesis is an exploration into muslim women as objects of the male gaze (which theoretically strikes me as rather uninventive and simplistic, but the main point are the clothes, anyway...) and a collection of beautifully crafted garments (not necessarily practicing muslim approved, i'd say). i was especially struck with the dress in the middle (you can see close-ups of the technique on her site) which was constructed of ribbons which created an interesting surface: the dress looked finished and unfinished simultaneously. one to watch, she is.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

recollections from brazil.

unsure how i ended up at the website of a mulher do padre, a sao paulo based streetwear retailer, but i instantly remembered the impact their products had on me years ago. i visited brasilia, brasil in 2002 for a conference and while the city was architectonically impressive (and strangely surreal), the shopping was nonexistent. most of the few items i brought home were a mulher do padre. i remember trying to look them up some years ago, in vain, and am happy to see they're still in business. i wish my portuguese was, ahem, better to be able to figure out what exactly they're up to.

amp is all about quirky pleating and colors: think css at their least cassette playa, i.e. slightly over the top, but lacking the neon craziness. therefore, i believe my baby blue minidress and off-white dress with bonsai trees were the most subtle items in the collection.

since my visit brazilian music acts, such as bonde do role in addition to cansei de ser sexy, have made it big, but here's a little jewel of a pop band i encountered on my visit: pato fu with "sobre o tempo."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

intelligent life?

my current favorite lifestyle magazine is the economist intelligent life. the title of the magazine is slightly pompous, but nonetheless pretty much at even with my previous choice, the monocle. the follower of wallpaper* in the promotion of brûléian world of modernist interiors, sleek exteriors, bespoke fashions and exclusive lounges with cool music, the monocle offered interesting viewpoints into countries one hardly heard nothing of, in addition to a coup or a natural disaster. unfortunately, the world of tyler was still slightly too luxurious for me to relate.

the economist to the rescue. intelligent life offers quality writing, insightful reviews and a variety of topics to fit a lifestyle magazine worthy of buying repeatedly. it's highbrow enough to be taken seriously as a magazine and, simultaneously, entertainment rather than challenging.

in every number there is something baffling, though, such as the main article, the age of mass intelligence by john parker in the latest winter 2008 issue. while reading it, i was constantly bothered by the equation of intelligence with (any kind of) consumption of high culture, i.e. the author assumes that reading plato and listening to mozart will increase the intelligence of whoever does the deed while this clearly is not the case. reading a book that one does not understand (anyone? hands up! i'm here waving admission...) does not make one any smarter. it may inspire thoughts, but the capacity and skills one has for dealing with them is another case altogether, and some of these you're born with, some you can learn and cultivate.

moreover, the distinction between high and low culture was not questioned which seems incredibly ignorant in this day and age: what a simplistic and anachronistic claim to think enjoying classical music and the canon of western novelists are "high" culture and popular culture is not and cannot be intelligent! the author used statistics which inform us that an increasing amount of people attend classical music concerts and museums than ever before as proof for mass intelligence growth.

to put it simply: if i visit the prado and walk around enjoying the art, am i smarter as a result? no. i have additional experiences. if i get a great curator telling me about the paintings of hieronymus bosch and i have more information as a result, am i smarter? no, unless we use a very limited sense of the word. does the fact that i've been trained in classical violin and can discuss bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin at length imply that i am smart? no. i have a skill and some knowledge that may impress someone, but it does not suggest intelligence on my part. and since when was it more than a simplistic question begging assumption that being interested in dvořák was a sign of higher intelligence than being interested in, for example, krautrock? oh, please.

a few days ago i realized i was not alone with my disapproval of the thesis of the article. plenty of people had been engaging in a heated debate with some pretty intriguing ideas going as far as wanting to restrict access to high culture only to members of the intelligentsia and their heirs. the preposterous idea of limiting access to cultural events and establishments to protect the elite from the banality of lower classes feels quite out of place to someone in scandinavia. or anyone believing in equal rights to participate in culture... interestingly, somebody suggested the article was written only to provoke, which is a thought that did occur to me, too. at the same time, several commentators suggest the claim of the article does not seem as implausible to everyone.

there's more in a blog entry by emily borrow on the same site, and a continued debate on the economist site. go enjoy.

g. i. jane.

continuing on the trail of great xmas gifts, i finally received i know why no id-tags. aino was sweetheart enough to let me mix-and-match until i got just the right combo. they're a utilitarian take on the classic military ornament and just perfect when you feel like arming yourself against whatever is threatening your peace of mind. in my case, the cold. add a heavy sweater dress (samu-jussi koski for marimekko) and a pair of trusted dr marten's boots -- mine are in metallic blue -- and you're just about feminine enough to go fight the freeze.

clueless beauty pageant.

when it comes to make-up, i am utterly clueless. when flipping through glossies, i skip the pages where make-up tips are given and, therefore, look basically the same every day. my face is not my canvas, to say the least.

here's my arsenal of make-up. really. all of it.

(oops, my pressed powder is not present, but in my purse...)

there are a few good reasons behind my reluctance to experiment with cosmetics:

first, and foremost, i have (really) oily skin which is prone to breakouts. because of that, i cannot really wear foundation without it starting to "float" on my skin in a few hours. the same reason prevents the use of dark eye-shadows. finding a mascara that does not venture up on my browbone is a nightmare: i used kanebo38 for a while but my eyes got teary, moved onto diorshow, but at the moment am happy with mac zoom lash. every powdery product i must buy at least a shade lighter than i want it because the color will darken in a matter of hours because of oil. i have not found a base that would prevent the oiliness, so i deal with doing without multiple basic beauty products.

second, i have sensitive skin and have been known to develop random allergies to products i've used for years. therefore, cosmetics with added fragrances are a big no-no and brands i am unfamiliar with i approach with skepticism.

third, i have a, whatshouldyacallit, unusual face (hah, euphemism of the day!) which does not easily transform to different looks. it does not take much make-up to turn me into ronn moss...

so why am i writing about this? i realized that i am thirty-two (yeah, i kinda realized it before, but this time the revelation arrived with a mirror...) and i've never owned a skin-highlighter pen or any other product supposedly everyone over 25 should have. although i have felt infantile pride over being such a low maintenance kind of a chick, i could use some upkeep from time to time. and, naturally, i'd love to look as dewy and pretty as possible and i do have to admit that at this age having next to nothing on your face does not translate into just-out-of-the-shower freshness but rather a lack of sleep.

for some reason all the tips women with vivacious sebaceous glands seem to get from magazines are for skin care and acne prevention. i've got my buffing down put and my pimples in check, but it does not translate to my face lacking shine and my makeup staying on where it's supposed to. when i visit cosmetics counters the salespeople never seem to take me seriously: i am offered a base product after another until i tell them i've pretty much tried them all. the most common completely useless suggestion i constantly get is the recommendation to use waterproof products; correct me if i'm wrong, but is it h2o oozing from my pores? what is the substance used for waterproof make-up removal? correct answer to both questions: oil, and you do the math...

i'm sure i am not the only butter-face with these problems although it seems my blogging colleagues only suffer from perfect skin or, in some cases, overly dry complexions. in other words, i would love to receive your tried-and-tested make-up and base tips for oily skin. (ja saa kommentoida ja vinkata suomeksi, jos tuntuu, ettei englanti taivu...)

Monday, January 5, 2009

lanvin + acne.

i'm sure all of you know about the acne-lanvin -collaboration. it's been available for pre-order for a while now (correct me if i'm wrong, since the beginning of december?) and it is officially fab. while i've felt frustration over acne's constant price accumulation which hardly seems added value driven, i still think their denim line captures cool urban chic at its best. at a time when collaborations are so fashionable we're forced to think they're passé and when most of them hardly live up to the great expectations (such as recent h&m flops with madonna and, to my detriment, comme des garçons), i am thrilled to see something great come together.

here are my faves of the line: the denim dress with lantern sleeves and a visible zipper at back, the shirt with satin buttons and shoulder flaps, and the trousers in soft denim with pleats. what are yours?