Monday, December 19, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Hat

Saturday saw my pink Aka Tombo hat being auctioned off in LA for breast cancer awareness.  The event was organised by my friend Celine and was a gathering of artists and art lovers to raise money and awareness for a good cause.  More photos of the event will follow but for now here is my hat.

Of course I am not the first milliner to donate a hat to a breast cancer charity.

These hats were created by top Irish milliners, Philip Treacy, Martha Lynn, Lina Stein, Suzie Mahony, Edel Ramberg, Catherine Cooke and Tahnee Morgan to support Action Breast Cancer.

These big toppers were Kentucky Derby creations by American Fashion legend Betsey Johnson, herself a survivor of breast cancer, to help raise awareness.

This amazing creation was made by Australia's Torb and Reiner for a local breast cancer awareness event and raised an impressive $850.

And it's not just fashionistas getting creative for the cause. 

This pink fire engine accompanied by pink firemen rolled in to Austin Texas.

And here is my gorgeous cousin Colin all dolled up in pink on his construction site in London where he is building the future Olympic village.

Of course donning a hat isn't the only was to raise awareness as these girls from UCLA proved with a game of prom dress rugby!

And who loves boobs more than Dolly Parton!

Dolly Along with country stars Tim McGraw,Taylor Swift, Gretchen Wilson and Carrie Underwood had all signed a pink Harley Davidson Sportster motorbike that was intended to be auctioned on behalf of the Lexington Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and was expected to bring about $100,000 to help cancer victims.  Unfortunately the bike was stolen during transit.

The bike was later recovered during a meth lab bust, but it had already been stripped of paint, sanded to remove the autographs and chopped to part it out. However, Wildcat H-D stepped up to the plate and again donated their time and talents  to restore and custom paint the recovered bike. The Pink Lady was unveiled at Wildcat on April 26, and is now known as “The Survivor”.

While scouring the internet for all of the above images I also came across these gorgeous gals

who are both wearing incredibly funky hats from GAiLA.  The Gaila Fund for Women with Cancer is a non-profit organization that provides chemotherapy and other medical patients with stylish hats at no cost.  They have some very funky hats indeed (me being a huge turban fan) and if you buy a Gaila hat all proceeds are used to fund the free hat and other programs for cancer patients.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Gothic Bride

Tales from Scotland part 2:

Trying to revive my weary body with coffee and eat away a hangover in Edinburgh I managed to all too briefly see my friend Anya and finally meet her soon to be husband.  Anya is doing what I recommend all brides do and giving herself a mere 14 weeks to plan her wedding (Ok maybe 14 is a bit fast but the average engagement period is 16months and usually a year is spent planning the wedding, by month 5 you are guaranteed to be bored of dresses and flowers).  Not only is she planning her wedding fast but it is going to be a Gothic wedding. Awesome!

Gothic wedding tend to go one of two ways.  Subtle dark romance that everyone swoons over as was the case with the wedding of Marlyn Manson to Ditta Von Tease.

or horribly not.

I am more than certain that Anya's wedding will fall into the former category.  For anyone else thinking of adding a Gothic twist to their wedding I have put together some hatty options from the less traditional genre.

It seems that a lot of Gothic brides are following in the footsteps of Miss Von Tease and opting for a tricorn hat in colours to match their dress. Ditta's hat was made by British milliner Stephen Jones (who is fixing her dress in the picture) to match her Vivienne Westwood gown.

Not too far a stretch from the tricorn is the trusty top hat which has always been a favourite of off beat brides.

A veil is still an option just with a bit of a twist on convention.

However black is not a given for the Gothic bride.  Gothic culture was born in medieval times of the Middle ages and thus anything relating to costumes of that time are by definition Gothic. The veils below may be in the traditional white of brides but have a romantic Gothic feel to them.

Of course the Gothic touch of your wedding doesn't have to be quite as in your face as some of the above, thus below are some smaller, subtler options.

And to finish the not so subtle options for the not so subtle bride!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Over the sea to Skye...then a wee bit further up the road and across some more water to the Tweed Mill

So way back in March I showed you all the treasure chest that is my kimono supply shop in Shibata (kimono hunting post) so today I thought we would go to the other side of the world to show you where I source my tweed.
It may seem a little unnecessary to travel all the way from Japan to Harris to get tweed when you can simply pick up the phone and talk to the mill (crazy high phone bills and time differences aside) but being an Island girl at heart I use any excuse to get out to the Hebrides thus when planning my last trip home I dropped the idea of a wee tweed gathering road trip to my mother, inception style, and mid November found myself making my way to Stornoway with not only my mother but Island virgin and through and through city slicker Sarah Thoms in tow.

mist rolling down the loch on the road to the islands
Cal Mac's finest to take us over the water
Random views of Harris
Callanish Standing Stones Isle of Lewis

This is the 100th year anniversary of the Orb mark being registered.  The orb mark certifies that the tweed is Harris Tweed meaning:
       "The Harris Tweed is cloth that has been hand-woven by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and                Barra in their homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides."
and it has been a good year with celebrations being held at the V&A, close to 1 million metres produced this year and being named Vogues textile of the year
Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: "Our phones are red hot. We have three mills producing tweed, they are selling to overseas markets and going to all the right shows. It's very exciting, especially during the economic downturn.
"There is a renaissance in handmade quality products, exactly the box Harris Tweed ticks. There is still a discerning customer out there who wants quality goods, handmade in Scotland." - stolen from the Guardian
This means that tweed has been showing up on everything from cushions to bags to shoes and of course hats.

This increase in production means that there has been a flood of new colours and patterns coming out of the mills which means even funkier hats for you in the very near future.  For anyone who has a chance to take in the islands at least once grab your wellies and a waterproof coat and GO.  For those that can't I give you some photos below of my tweed lined Aladdin's cave and a link to a lovely book all about the life of tweed and its relationship to the land and people of the Outer Hebrides.