Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Does our past dictate our present and transcend into our futures...by Ashleigh Austen

In retrospective: Does our past dictate our present and transcend into our futures?

This is the question I asked myself as I wandered through the exhibition of the famous Valentino Garavani. The Valentino Retrospective Exhibition is being shown for the first time outside of Paris displaying his most celebrated haute couture from the past 50 years. The sophisticated and timeless designs proved to be a fitting analogy for how far women have come today.

The exhibition is a whimsical of colours, textures and patterns draped on the bodies of 100 mannequins, each one no different to the next, supposedly allowing the gowns true beauty shine through, without tainting them with human emotion and characteristics.

The mannequins, although lifeless, were elegant in all their silver glory. The thing that bothered me about them was they were insensible. Each exactly the same as the next, bearing no expression, and certainly no resemblance to the European royalty, Hollywood celebrities and members of high society the world over who have adorned Valentino’s designs. The exhibition includes garments worn by stars such as Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor. Who are all strong and successful women who relished the timeless quality of Valentino’s wearable art.

As Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Kirstie Clements said: “This is more than a history of the House of Valentino, this is a history of fashion through the decades.”
And she is absolutely right. Each gown told a story of the woman who graced it through each decade since the 1950’s. The outfits were quite daring for their time and it was interesting to guess what year each piece was designed.

The women, who wore each piece throughout our milestone eras, perhaps faced the struggles of feminism and oppression of her fashion choices to be stepping so boldly outside of society’s lines. Their perseverance and courage allowed them to claim the rights for women to come to wear such gowns that fully expressed their sophistication and glamour, no matter how daring the statement.

The exquisite haute couture garments reveal Valentino’s mastery of the elegant line, classic form and opulent detail. Valentino’s approach spanning the past five decades included the recurrence of geometric patterns and graphic prints, the skilful use of fabric to create dramatic silhouettes and, of course, the distinctive palette of black, white and ‘Valentino red’.

Running from the 7th of August until the 14th of November, Valentino’s masterpieces are on display to the public at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art. It is not to be missed for any woman who appreciates her choice to adorn wearable art, no matter what the era.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Opportunies to start over.....by Ashleigh Austen

One woman’s disappointment is another one’s dreams?

What happens when the hopes and dreams we had are broken by the very people we thought would make them come true. I was walking through the hustle and bustle of the city when I noticed something which answered this very question.

It was a window full of broken dreams and disappointments. It was a trade in jewellery store.With all of the glistening gold and gems I couldn’t help but wonder what each piece meant to the women who previously owned them. The exhilarated feeling you get when your partner hands you a small box (especially if it’s blue) is short lived for some women.

Jewellery has such a special place in a woman's life. I often recall my very own pieces and the stories which they tell and the memories which they hold of a moment in time.

How each piece ended up in this crammed window is unsure. Every woman would have received their very own box from their special someone and it would have held prized possession on her tallboy. Yet here, in this window is rows and rows of crammed jewels, not a single item had a special place amongst the others.

As my eyes scanned over each piece briefly, sadness washed over me as I wondered of the tainted nature of the gorgeous engagement rings. Why had their owners slipped them off their fingers and into the hands of a shady looking pawn shop dealer?

But now, this jewellery stands for sale, longing for someone to come along and cherish it by adorning it on their slim hand or draping it across a feminine collarbone. Call me a traditionalist, but I’m a big believer that there is method in the means. I just wouldn’t feel right opening a box that my partner has given me with a ring that I didn’t know the story behind.

When I receive a ring, I want it to be special, my very own story, and my very own new beginning. That’s the thing about jewellery: it’s so intensely personal that when you chose to part with it; there is always a reason behind the motive.

With the GFC, perhaps the owner fell on financial hard times and had to part with their favourite ruby ring to make ends meet. Although more often than not, these women fell out of love, somehow or another and everything that special ring, necklace, bracelet represented, is no longer.

Jewellery, amidst its obvious costs is a special engagement. Perhaps not always to marriage, but to I’m sorry, to I love you or to happy birthday. Jewellery represents a celebration and long after the celebration has ended, the jewellery remains, perhaps just in a crammed window downtown amongst other women’s long forgotten hopes and dreams.

But the beauty about fashion and jewellery is that we can begin anew, we can start all over again with every season, collection or moment we wish to capture and there are some designers and brands like Samantha Wills who seem to give us women a renewed sense of hope. When all else has been stripped away and only the memories of the broken dreams remain we have the gift of starting over in style. Now that's opportunity shopping with a new meaning!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend at Raes with Elle Macpherson.....

Some take a vacation to get away from it all, others like to go away and see the sights but my favourite has always been to take a trip and immerse myself in the culture, the environment and more importantly the people that will ultimately create the lasting memory of the place where I had visited.

I've travelled the globe often but what I have learned to love are the weekends away to a place not so far away, just the perfect recipe to renew my body, mind and spirit. My favourite places and destinations have become the ones that are close to home and where you can easily unpack and get into the rythym of the place.

I recently took such a trip to a place known all over the world, a holiday spot that ten years ago when I was there seemed to be the spiritual home for those who did not want to be part of the world of consumerism but instead wanted to run away from it. We tend to believe as I did many years back that being spiritual cannot exist with the material.... It has taken me some time to blend the two worlds but what I found on my recent trip courtesy of Raes on Wategos was a merging of the very two worlds that some say cannot co-exist.

The world that I am referring is the one full of luxury, attention to detail, the most beautiful surroundings and the people who make the very place worthwhile. Some cannot fathom why one would spend $800 a night for a place to rest our weary souls and bodies at the end of a long day and think that any hotel will do. This weekend I found out the real difference, not that I didnt already know it but it was a truth that I had forgotten!!

I've often heard that places dont change but people do and after setting foot into Rae's I certainly realised that since my last visit to Byron I had definately changed!

The place to be seen in Byron Bay, Rae’s was voted by travel bible Cond Nast Traveller as one of the world’s top 25 hotels, and it’s the sanctuary of choice for celebrities such as The Rolling Stones, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Elle Macpherson, Keanu Reaves and Kate Hudson.

From its location on beautiful Wategos beach to its handpainted mosaic tiles and marble corridors filled with works by Australian artist David Bromley, every room of Rae’s screams “glamour”. We arrived on the Friday night our room, a beautifully decorated Balinese, Asian, European style Villa...incense burning, lit candles and aromatherapy oil filling the room with a special scent created by the resorts Spa Manager Marionne De Candia....I was in heaven and fitting since I was spending my Sabbath in such a divine place.

Raes is oppulent, european, eclectic with an LA Bungalow meets Morocco with each room having its very own distinct feel and decor. My partner and I were treated to a stay in Room No.6 - and that meant we slept in "Elle's bed" bathed in the same bath and brushed our teeth standing in front of the mirror where the famous "Body" stood....

Waking up on Saturday morning we headed to breakfast in the Alfresco dining room overlooking the ocean, sounds of the waves, green tea, fresh strawberries, croissants (not gluten free I'm afraid) and my man by my side....what can be better than that? Oh yeh Marionne, the darling of Raes spa, who has worked her magic on Elle Macpherson and Catherine Martin whisking us away for our treatments.

The spa is tucked away next to a tropical poolside, there's a steam room with an oppulent spa, interior with mosaic tiling and Balinese style teak doors. Marionne started with one of her famous lymphatic drainage facials combined with the healing energy of reiki...and if that wasnt enough a deep tissue aromatherapy massage to follow.....so if you're looking for a different kind of Byron experience, different meaning ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE you cant go past Raes!!!
We spent the rest of the day snoozing away in Elle's bed and later ventured to St Elmo's Bar.....cute as, quaint and very Melbourne...not surprising since it's run by two Melbournites. Paul and I sat by the heater and reminisced about Melbourne a place where we both grew up and a place that we both left behind many years ago.. With a few red wines, and Chai Latte (yep thats me) it was truly the perfect weekend and we both realised that living what I call the privileged life is definately one that we should all aspire to.... its far from superficial and starting at $800 a night for a stay at Raes, that I was definately happier and much more spiritual....who said money doesn't buy happiness :-))

Byron has definately grown up and I guess so had I. Who would have thought that a weekend away would be filled with such synchronicity, not only did I experience the most amazing spa treatment but what was even more special was the instant connection and friendship with Marionne which grew out of one weekend. I realised this weekend that the friendships we make on our travels and not necessarily the things we see are what make a difference. I'm definately sounding a little older and a little wiser....places dont change but people do, could also be the company and my wonderful man and the magical energy of Raes....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Loving what is.....

I have learned to let go and love what is. How do we really know if the one in front of us is the one for us?
We all have an idea of what life and love may look like and the "ideal" person that we need to find. I too have a little list and as I get older I become more selective who I spend my time with and who I ultimately will spend my life with. Do we really ever know the answer....

A while back I read a book by Byron Katie called LOVING WHAT IS. Her teachings are profound with simple truths that we all can learn and implement in our lives. If we look around we will see that things happen all the time, things WE the big people cannot control, others do and say things which hurt us deeply, we struggle with "making decisions" but have you noticed that the decision usually gets made anyway. Something shifts, a change comes and you are clear on the direction. You stand in the possibility and the wind takes you to where you need to go. Then why the need for struggle if there is nothing we can do about a situation!! I am now embracing the winds of change that are sweeping away the past which I have held onto for too long and learning to once again love what is and who is right in front of me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

MO Luxury....Win a luxury stay at Hayman Island...

MO Luxury – a dynamic Australian based consultancy specialising in luxury goods and services – is keen to understand what is most important to you when it comes to the service you receive from fine jewellery brands.

MO Luxury, a dynamic Australian Consultancy, has launched its 2010 Fine Jewellery Survey to gain insight into what consumers want with respect to service within the fine jewellery landscape. Entrants who offer the three best 25 word explanations of an ‘ultimate consumer experience’ will win either a Hayman Island Resort stay, a Suzy O’Rourke cuff or a twin pack of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne.

Click here to enter the competition

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It all begins at home.....

I have recently discovered the true importance of a home. Some believe that a house and a home are one in the same but in my jewish tradition we as women are encouraged to create a home where our spirits and those of our loved ones can rest, renew and rejoice. In the past few years I have moved countries, cities, homes and have felt like I was on the way to somewhere, never quite settling or knowing where that somewhere will be.

I have finally found a place where I call home, a place where my spirit can be free, where real friendships are all around me and I realised that it is up to me to create my own heaven or it is definately up to me to create my own hell.

A home is a place that gives us strength to carry out the mission of our soul. It gives us a resting place away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. In the past week I realised that a true spiritual home is not simply a place where we rest our tired bodies but one where we bring God into every corner of our space and into every aspect of our lives. I have had the privilege of spending every Friday night for the past six months with the most wonderful friends and the family of my Rabbi and have seen first hand how creating a true home is important to our state of mind and what we ultimately achieve in our lives.

I had my Rabbi put up a Mezzuzah on my door which blesses my home and protects me whilst bringing spirit and God into my home. This beautiful ritual showed me that the life we have begins with the homes we create, stability, love, beauty and an inspiring space will ultimately lead to an inspiring, stable and beautiful life.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

msn live traffic
Latitude E6500