Here in Sydney we’re heading into a hot and humid weekend with temps around the 38 degree celcius mark – yikes! So I can’t think of anything better than swanning around (a freezing cold air-conditioned mall or cinema) in this bright and sunny one hundred per cent cotton dress by cult Finnish textile company Marimekko. The Käly dress, AU$529, is from their Spring/Summer 2012 collection, which was released in the Northern Hemisphere earlier this year. I love Marimiekko’s signature vibrant and oversized florals in this frock and graphic sunny stripes. You can find it at Funkis in Sydney and online.
Funkis has also reduced some of the Spring/Summer 2012 Marimekko frocks, like this very sweet Nopsa dress (reduced to AU$150 from AU$199), featuring cute pocket details and a contrasting blue trim.
And this smart Sattuma dress is great for those who love Marimekko’s sleek lines and graphic prints, but prefer a more conservative look.
Northern Hemisphere birds who are heading into a bitterly cold winter might like to check out the new arrivals from Marimekko this season, including the Manteliptsi knit dress, the Huuru dress and Matilda shirt.
Marrimeko Manteliptsi knitted dress.
Marimkekko Huuru dress.
Marrimekko Matilda shirt.
Click here for Marimekko stockists.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a really gorgeous little frock for a three-year-old and wished there was a version in my size. And apparently I’m not alone. It was only last week at my local childrenswear shop that I discovered that the lovely tiny wee toddler’s frock in the gorgeous tropical print had also been the object of many a grown woman’s affection. And – hurrah! – word had got around that Zimmermann had a dress in the exact same print. For (much) bigger girls.
So I’m delighted to hear that UK childrenswear designers Poppy Children have responded to popular demand for adult versions of their delightful vintage-inspired kids frocks with the launch of their first womenswear collection. Featuring Poppy’s trademark storybook illustrations, the collection is inspired by a 1950s aesthetic and is available in a range of prints, styles and sizes (10-18).
Naturally, I adore their new London print, which also features on a range of frocks for little girls. Each dress comes with its own story book about Poppy and Fred’s adventures in London. I love that the vintage-inspired design features a thoroughly modern London, complete with the Gherkin, London Eye and a wandering giraffe. The collection is made in the UK and is one hundred per-cent cotton.
My favourite style is the Beatrice dress, which is superbly flattering with three-quarter length sleeves, a wide bateau neckline at the front and a V at the back, which can be worn either way and is available in five colour ways, for £129.99. Ladies can also purchase a matching petticoat for extra swoosh factor, as well as a pair of stripey cotton tights for winter.
The London print is also available on the Millie dress for girls, which features a Peter Pan collar and looks ridiculously adorable with a matching little cardigan. It would make a super-sweet London-themed bridesmaid’s frock, and it comes in sizes 0 to seven years for £62.50. There is also a range of matching fluffy petticoats and darling stripey tights for little ones.
How are you liking A Week of Tea so far? (I’ve got loads more tea finds to share with you, so it might end up being a slightly extended “week”.) I thought I’d round up the working week with a return to Frock on Friday, and my pick of the perfect tea dresses.
Now, before the pedants leap on the “comments” button, I realise the dress above is not strictly a “tea dress”, which according to Emily Post in 1922,
“is a hybrid between a wrapper and a ball dress. It has always a train and usually long flowing sleeves; is made of rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one’s family.”
Right. So far, so confusing. Especially since designers and high-street brands have a tendency to slap any old floral-print frock that falls below the knee with the “tea dress” label. And “ditzy”. But I’ve always interpreted it as a frock that falls somewhere between the knee and lower-calf with 1940s-style shirting, sleeves and prints – and this super-lovely pink silk tea dress by Sessun, £195 from Liberty (above) pretty much fits the bill.
Here are some of my other favourite tea dresses:
1. NW3 Mr Duck Dress, £169 from Hobbs.
2. Summer bloom tea dress, US$150 by Soho Mode on Etsy.
3. NW3 Winter Leaves dress, £149 from Hobbs.
4. Custom tea dress in yellow lila, US$184 from Soho Mode on Etsy.
5. Tea Shoppe Dress, US$397.99 from ModCloth.
6. Vintage landscape tea dress, US$150 by Soho Mode on Etsy.
7. Cute as a Fox wool crepe tea dress, £345 from Orla Kiely.
8. ASOS bird print 40s tea dress, reduced to AU$33.91, from ASOS.
9. ASOS tea dress in floral print with twist front, AU$67.82 from ASOS.
10. Bluebird midi dress, US$158 from Anthropologie.
11. NW3 Dandelion Dress, £169 from Hobbs.
And if you’re after some stellar advice on how to wear a tea dress minus the victory rolls and T-bar shoes (though I rather like them, too!), read this excellent piece by the Guardian‘s Jess Cartner-Morley.
It’s A Week of Tea on Wee Birdy! You might like to also read about:
Don’t forget to enter my competition to win a stunning wooden chest of Twinings Tea!
Some of you have asked for some plus-sized options for Frock on Friday, so I’ve turned to Clements Ribeiro‘s clever new collection for UK plus-sized label Evans for inspiration. This is the London-based designers’ second collection for Evans, after their triumphant Spring/Summer collection earlier this year which sought to slash accepted fashion cliches for plus-sized women. Clearly, they’re on to a winner.
Clements Ribeiro’s (northern hemisphere) autumn/winter collection for Evans sees a return to their signature prints (traditionally a no-no for curvy shapes) with a line-up of some cracking frocks. If you’re after a classic LBD that works between seasons, look no further than this crepe LBD (above). The supremely flattering cut features a v-neckline and a bang-on-trend peplum. It’s available in sizes 14 to 32. Swan by Clements Ribeiro Debra dress, £75 from Evans.
However, it’s impossible to ignore the fabulous prints from this collection, including (below, from left to right) Swan By Clements Ribeiro Placement Print Salome Dress, £95; Swan By Clements Ribeiro Pansy Print Betty Dress, £75; and Swan By Clements Ribeiro Lace Grace Dress, £95. Clements Ribeiro for Evans.
You all know that I love a good print, and Australian brand Gorman has captured my attention in recent seasons with some real beauties. I adored the last spring/summer collection, and the collaboration with textiles designer Rachel Castle was an inspired move, resulting in a fresh pop-tastic collection that was the very essence of an Aussie summer.
The new spring/summer collection arrived in store and online yesterday, featuring another fabulous collaboration, this time with Australian artist Rhys Lee. I remember first seeing Lee’s work when he was with Helen Gory Gallerie in Melbourne and I was expecting to see washy, drippy prints in muted dirty colours with perhaps a pop of neon.
Instead, Gorman and Lee revealed a 21-piece capsule collection rich with candy-coloured harlequin and droplet prints and embellished with beads and sequins. The washy watercolours, however, are evident in a couple of pieces, most beautifully realised in this skirt.
The dress in the top image features a superb handprint with black, lilac and yellow highlights. Typically I’ve gone with a more ‘relaxed’ fit, but the slight tapering at the bottom of the dress provides some subtle definition. Handstand linen dress, AU$269 from Gorman.
I’ve also channeled my inner Gok Wan and selected this second dress (above) with a more defined waistline, which is infinitely more flattering on curvier and larger figures. I can be an incredibly lazy dresser and I’ve fallen into a rather unfortunate habit of favouring ye olde sack frocks, despite the fact they do nothing for my post-baby body. And although this second frock is sleeveless it features wide straps in a pretty lilac colour and a flattering neckline. And look – a hemline that finishes just at the knees. Tick, tick, tick all round. Handstand silk dress, AU$329 from Gorman.
Welcome to a brand new regular feature on Wee Birdy: Frock on Friday.
I guess you could call me a frock girl. Until the birth of my first child, a classic frock was my go-to wardrobe essential for achieving an instant pulled-together look, especially during Australian summers. I love the simplicity of throwing on a frock, slipping into sandals and just GOING – with no tricky separates to assemble or layer.
But when I started breastfeeding I realised that ripping off a dress and sitting semi-naked in the middle of a shopping centre wasn’t feasible, so I had to re-think pants and tops and skirts. It’s only been the last few months that I’ve started to look at frocks again with brand new eyes (and a larger waistline, ahem).
I’ll be welcoming in the weekend with my pick of the best frocks around, and I thought I’d kick things off with one of my favourite New Zealand designers, Karen Walker. The dress above is from her new Spring/Summer 2012 collection, which is in-store and online now. The Bow Tie Renaissance dress is NZ$750 and features signature Karen Walker details such as bows, quirky prints and ruffles and pleats.
The inspiration for this collection was Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, “mixed with the decorative flourish of the Victorian age and a dash of Brian Jones-esque ’60s mod”. Quite. This is apparent in the brocade-look of the fabric, which is actually printed taffeta.
Now, my single-income family budget doesn’t stretch to $750 frocks, but I try to keep an eye on Karen Walker’s mainline collection on eBay, and I look to her diffusion line, Hi There, at sales time. I just wish that designers’ diffusion lines weren’t automatically ‘younger’ versions of the main collection. Some more mature styles inspired by the main collection would be a welcome move for cash-strapped ladies aged 35-plus. I’ve also found that you get to a certain age (and bust size) where you can’t pull off a ruffled bib-front anymore. Know what I mean?
New pieces from the spring/summer Hi There collection have just started to drop in-store and online over the past week. Here’s my favourite frock from the diffusion line:
(I don’t want to come across as a wowser but this frock would be PERFECT if it was two inches longer. I think I’d be pulling at the hemline all day, willing it to lengthen.) Hi There Margo dress, NZ$215 from Karen Walker.
What do you think of Frock on Friday? Is it a keeper?