Tag Archives: fashion

Black is the Colour

It’s a sign that winter is coming. Members of the black brigade alight from Transperth buses and disappear into the lengthening shadows on the streets of Victoria Park. They come in different shapes and sizes. Behind the black-coated young man striding swiftly down the road trundles a pardah-clad woman flashing glimpses of psychedelic colour as her robe flaps at her heels. One young woman, impossibly skinny, wearing a mini – rhyme intended – clicks past. Her only concession to colour is the bright (bottled, I’m sure) blond of her hair.

In India, they are marking the start of spring with Holi, the festival of colour. Surely, this means autumn has begun at the bottom of the world? In a month or so, we shall see fall colour in Australia – trees, not people.

I still haven’t figured out the code of black. How is a colour that’s de rigueur for funerals also appropriate wear for weddings, office meetings, and waiting tables? In India, it’s red for weddings and white for funerals. I’m not very sure of the place black has in Indian cultures. I have fallen in with the Australian trend though – sort of. I have the regulation black woollen coat, black shoes, black stockings. I can’t do the black dress though – been there, done that, gave it away with a huge sigh of relief. I have friends who can do the black though – cool, classic, and stylish. It’s not me.

Signature Red: A splash of colour on a winter's day

Signature Red: A splash of colour on a winter’s day

One day last winter, an acquaintance from work ran into me as I was coming up the stairs. “I saw you waiting to catch the bus,” he said. “I thought I recognized your signature red.” I didn’t realize I had a signature at all – coloured or otherwise, or that it was red. It’s just a happy result of my avoidance of black.

I’ve been to the city this afternoon, and I’m on the Transperth bus, on my way home. A woman with long bright red hair and flapping black trench coat gets on. She gets off a few stops later, bat-winging her way down the street. I imagine I will cut quite a different figure when I get off the bus. My cardigan is not designer wear and my black curls are crushed under a beret – beanie. I am, however, wearing them in signature red.

A Happy Holi to my Indian readers and a farewell to summer here in Australia.


The Melbourne Cut

This week Tiger Woods is playing golf in Melbourne. This is a matter of great importance, especially for Australian fashion. One news reader announced, in that tone of amazed awe that only news readers can have, that his entire wardrobe is planned a year in advance. Very annoying of her, because now I keep checking to see his latest outfit – I couldn’t care less about the golf. It must be horribly tedious to know what you’re going to wear all next year. What happens to your dress schedule if you have a wardrobe malfunction?

Apparently Melbourne sets the fashion for the rest of Australia. A few weeks ago ladies dressed up in feathered hats, and hats that were just feathers in honour of the Melbourne Cup, the nation’s most prestigious horse race. There were kiss-deterring wide brims, nifty nets and plumed affairs that looked like a mid-air collision between two birds. Of course, the ladies of Perth also dressed up in similar fashion to follow the race on the big screen. Champagne breakfasts and chocolate fondue were the order of the day. Wonder what will happen when tennis season comes along.

Of course, not all Australian fashion is fine feathers. I’d say if you own a few t-shirts, thongs (I’m talking footwear, not…well, you know what), and an indecently short pair of shorts you’re on your way to being one of the best-dressed persons this summer. Of course, a strappy maxi-dress is a must for the evenings – preferably one that is a mass of colour. I still can’t figure out why summer dresses often look like they’ve survived a paint shop explosion, when winter clothes are only black, grey or black.

Naturally, beauty is skin deep. In Oz, this means you’re truly trendy if you sport a tattoo. My neighbour has a magnificent eagle on his right arm – probably the logo of a local footy team. This isn’t just jock fashion though…girls can have tattoos as well. The doctor who did my medical test before I arrived was rather disbelieving when I told him I didn’t have one. No doubt I’ve committed a fashion faux pas, but I think tattoos have become the brand of this generation, and I refuse to be branded.

I’ll leave the feathers and frills for other girls. No sunshine on this girl’s shoulders – I’m slapping on the sun block and sticking my sunnies on my nose. After all, in Oz these are fashion accessories too, and you never leave home without them. I may not be Aussie, but you can’t  say I’m not fashionable!