Wrapped in butterflies

Pour M. F. 

A symbol of transformation into beauty and grace, butterflies carry a special spiritual meaning in Japanese culture as the carriers of the souls of the dead and, in that sense, as the key to unlocking the mysteries of life.

Also a symbol of womanhood and romance, the butterfly is a common motif in Japanese women’s clothing both modern and traditional such as kimonos and yukata.

Both the white butterfly as a symbol of selfless and eternal love and the black butterfly symbolizing transition, renewal, rebirth, make this faux wrap Hanae Mori silk dress one of the most elegant pieces I have owned.  I found it on eBay and remember I have waited anxiously for it to arrive, not because of the possible symbolism of the print but because of its meaning in Mori’s beautiful and feminine designs and because it evoked my first fictional style icon, Maddie Hayes. I was a big fan of Moonlighting and Maddie’s easy, soft and ethereal elegance. In my mind the beautiful silk butterfly spiral would envelop me in the same classic, womanly silky chic.

Over time you realize what you are not, and I’m not the kind of womanly woman that can carry a wrap dress or silk charmeuse pastel outfits, for that matter.

I hope this dress has reached M.F. already, I hope she was thrilled when she unwrapped it and I hope that putting it on will make her feel beautiful and true to herself.

I am true to my identity; I keep trying to be myself. I am Japanese, in Japan there is this beauty by itself which has been nurtured by tradition—fashion is an international language. What I have been trying to do is to express the wonderful beauty of Japan using international language.

Hanae Mori

I used to be a Tomboy – a micro collection

Growing up, I never managed to be the pretty girl. My hair always looked messy and my bangs covered my eyes, my knees were always bruised from running and falling or bumping into things. Although I suppose I longed to be prim and polished, I’ve never managed to. This is my little tribute to all the girls that have never managed to be “true ladies” and are happy about it.

[cincopa AkMA5WNaZE6r]


Check the collection here

Anaïs’ Closet

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

Anaïs Nin, “The Four-Chambered Heart.”

Oddly enough, a “great fear of shallow living” has also been somewhat responsible for the unmanageable size of my closet. Although an obsessive interest on clothes would probably point towards a very shallow living indeed, I have always seen clothes as a way to connect to my true (deep) self even when this self is busy living in imaginary spaces.

I could not have been a famous fashion designer (I’ve played briefly with this idea when I was 17 or 18) as claimed by Ms. Nin but, like her, my problem also seems to be that “my imagination created [and still creates] costumes that did not fit my simple life”. I do love clothes far more than I like fashion. I love their power to “evoke the fairy tale” and I’m still not ready to start “dressing more simply”, I took the first step in putting my Closet of Errors out there not as an exercise on downsizing but as a way of dealing with my own stories and letting the ones that were already lived go and find new lives.

Writing about Anaïs Nin’s  “Fractured Identity as Read through Fashion“,Tove Hermanson notes that [she] “grappled with complex self-identity issues that were revealed in her sartorial selections as much as her overtly philosophical prose. It’s unclear if Nin herself realized the extent to which she used fashion to act out her desires: to glamorize herself and seduce, and alternately to conceal and protect herself.” That’s how, I suppose, it all starts. More than a sign of individuality, clothes help to overcome your own insecurities by living the life of the character that more resembles what you have dreamt for yourself.

Someone once told me that I had lots of clothes and a ton of shoes because I didn’t think I was beautiful enough on my own. I remember taking that as an insult. Not anymore.  I am now able to have fun with all that I’ve collected everything remains, as Ms. Nin would put it ” very symbolical” and my clothes still have “first of all, a poetic significance: colours for certain occasions, evocations of other styles, countries (Spanish flavour, Moroccan touches, etc.)” and are, of course “a sign of individuality”. More than I would probably like to admit,   I  still “[want] striking clothes which [distinguish] me from other women. “

When I was growing up Anaïs was just the name of a Cacharel perfume that I was lucky enough to have my mum buy for me. I still recall the ethereal commercial on TV  that made you dream of becoming this wonderfully romantic creature. Today, after actually having read some of the diaries, I still see Anaïs as this unattainable ideal of being both the author and the character.


The Diary of Anaïs Nin Volume One 1931-1934


Last time I was in Johannesburg I met Rosemary at her vintage shop in Melville. I remember thinking that hers was the life I would have wanted for myself in the way we think of the lives of those who seem to be bigger than their own context. This very special Lady also made me feel like a “movie star”, as special Ladies tend to, regardless of who you are.  Because of my two visits toReminiscence that year, I finally managed to open my little virtual vintage corner on Etsy and I’ve called it dreaming of Melville. It was  my attempt at taming my vintage closet and living that life.

Being somewhat of an academic almost by birth / education / unavoidability, the temptation to think about what an ever growing closet means in terms of personal history/identity was too strong and the Closet of Errors was born, keeping dreaming of Melville as the name of the collection representing my imagined life.


photo via SA Venues

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