[ QUEEN OF SNOW ] Vogue Korea January 2012

I'm well aware that all these sun-drenched, brightly coloured images I've been posting recently are probably getting on the nerves of some of you back home in what appears to be totally abysmal winter weather. As usual, it seems, the UK is in utter turmoil with all its 5 inches of snow. Typical. But in times like these, its best to remember that things could be a lot, lot colder...so here's one to win that sympathy vote and warm those fashion cockles, eskimo stylie.

Queen of Snow, photographed by Hong Jang Hyun and styled by Jiah Yi for Vogue Korea, January 2012. Starring Korean models Han Hye Jin, Song Kyung Ah, and Jang Yoon Ju.




friendship bracelets, ethnic bands for summer hands, tribal style, SS2012, Bali, Kuta, wandering style, ethnic finds

I've been doing a bit of shopping (surprised?) since I touched down in the beautiful tropical paradise that is Bali. First stop, Kuta. Not exactly your ideal holiday spot thanks to all the drunken Ozzie's and Brit's falling all over the streets but thanks to an over friendly insect and a couple of knife wielding doctors, it looks like it's I'll be sticking around here for the next few days. So, in an effort to make the best of a bad situation, I bring you: ethnic bands for summer hands!

I snapped these little beauties (above) from a little jewellery store round the corner. Stocked floor to ceiling with handmade pendants, bangles and rings, all knotted and beaded, carved and chiselled, threaded and laced into brightly coloured, easy-wearing, beach friendly accessories. And for those of you who like what you see, I did a little online window shopping to bring you few ideas for your own summer hands! Of course you can always get crafty and make some of your own...



[ BUENOS AIRES BEAUTIES ] Anthropologie Homewear

I've always wanted to travel to Buenos Aires, let alone Argentina, and since seeing the colourific new La Boca inspired homeware collection from Anthropologie, I'm shamefully wishing away my Asian days and longing for time spent swirling red wine around a glass in some haphazardly painted, rundown studio in La Boca. Alas, for now I (and most likely you too) will have to entertain the fantasy by indulging in these effortlessly artistic pieces.

A mishmash of colour washed vases, softly swirling, graphic patterned lampshades and hand painted crockery strewn with blooming red pansies, yellow macranthas and blue niles, this collection's a sure-fire spring time table fixer upper. Picnics on the patio with the Dotted Path Measuring Cups  and a nibble filled Toco Habitat Platter - yes please!

{Buenos Aires Beauties} Anthropologie Homewear


[ CEREMONIAL SPARKLE ] Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Ankor Wat Ceremonial dress, Cambodian costume, theatre, South East Asian clothing, 
I came across these elaborately adorned Khmer dancers a couple of weeks ago when I was lucky enough to visit the often labeled 'Eighth Wonder of the World': Cambodia's Ankor Wat. Rather than dancing, they stood around for about 5 minutes looking bored out of their minds before heading off out of the complex but, nevertheless, I thought their magnificent costumes worthy of a few snaps. 

Ankor Wat dancers, Cambodia, Siem ReapThe two female dancers in the middle are wearing variations of the Sampot, the primary garment of Cambodia's national dress (pretty much a glorified sarong) which originated in the Funan era when the Kymer King ordered his people to wear the Sampot at the behest of the Chinese envoys. Made from the finest quality Cambodian silk and traditionally embellished with woven or dyed floral, animal or geometrical motifs sewn with gold and silver thread, the Sampot, as worn by the two female characters in the centre, is wrapped around the waist, pleated at the front and then secured with a gold or brass belt.  

Ankor Wat, Cambodia, ethnic style, traditional culture, wandering places
Check out the ornate headdresses, apparently you can depict each character by just looking at their headwear and the colour of their costumes (usually red, yellow, blue, green and black). For example, the two central characters are female due to the fresh flower tassels adorning their headdresses. The character in red is evidently playing an animal character as depicted by the design of her masked headwear and the girl in yellow is likely a royal character as the silk comes from a worm indigenous to Cambodia whose 'fuzzy' silk gives the finished product a shimmering quality.

embroidered dress, Cambodia, Ankor Wat

If you're interested in traditional dress around the world, check out some of my other posts on Kathakali, Wayang Golek, Indra Jantra, Dhaka Topi, Turbans, and Rajasthani Gypsies.



[ETHNIC FINDS] Jewellery Stories

So as you've probably have guessed by now, I've just jumped on the Instagram bandwagon (hey, I know I'm late but I am traveling around the world with a severe lack of wifi access and a boyfriend who only occasionally lets me completely take over his Ipod). Nevertheless, I thought I'd use my new found skills to show you some of the beautiful ethnic jewellery I've been collecting over the past months. This set comes from my travels around India and Nepal. So from right to left here are the discriptions:

1. Red and white yak bone beaded bracelets, bought off a Tibetan lady who cornered me in Pokhara, Nepal
2. Giant (and very heavy) hand painted statement earrings from a stall in Kerala, India.
3. Turquoise and amber (supposedly) inlaid miniature perfume bottle bought from a little old lady on the corner of the street in Pokhara, Nepal. Apparently her husband brings her all her wares one a month from Tibet.
4.  Turquoise and amber (again, supposedly but more like faux) hollow pendant with Buddhist mantra hidden inside. Bought from one of many very keen salesmen at Kathmandu's Durbar Square market in Nepal.



[ ETHNIC BEACH CHIC ] Holiday Style


In the words of Finley Quay, for some of us right now "the sun is shining and the weather is sweet yeahh". Yehh. I'm currently sunning myself on islands of Thailand, Kao Tao to be precise, and low and behold I'm pining for a beach side wardrobe to put my backpacker glam sack to shame (well, that wouldn't really be difficult). One can only dream...and thankfully Polyvore has once again entertained that dream and voilà, here we are with another compilation of my favorite pieces. This time I've assembled them all into outfits so, if you're sitting by that fire at home on this cold winters day, dreaming of outfits for sunnier days to come, let this help you along. 




 I absolutely love hand-printed stationary. A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to learn how to screen print whilst preparing some ultra minimalist card artwork for Via Design, and ever since my desire to fill a whole page with prints and colour has been thrown out the window in favor of pure, simple, minimalism. It's just good design. So my penchant for crisp lines, skinny typeface and, of course, ethnic patterns, led me to the website of San Francisco based letterpress printers, IN HAUS.

 I first fell for their American Indian inspired aesthetics a few months ago on their Etsy shop and have been popping back ever since to check out the newest additions. Some of my favorites include these awesome ethnic print table coasters and their quirky take on your average greetings cards like 'Lets move to the mountains' - why not?

Mountains Print card, Dwelling: Letterpress Moving Announcements, SALE - Letterpress 'Love' Notes - Set of 6




I've been a LaLesso obsessive since my days trawling through ethical shopping sites looking for chic, sustainable style at Sublime Magazine, when I first discovered Lalesso's beautiful collections of floaty, yet fashion forward, Kenyan inspired beachwear. Ethical ethnic - my kind of label.

After falling in love with the vivid hues and eye-popping prints of the traditional Kanga fabric of Kenya, designers Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway founded Lalesso back in 2007 as a fashion forward ethical brand that not only produces perfect summertime threads but enrolls the help of some of Kenya's poorest, yet undisputedly able artisans and craftspeople

Recruiting beach boys and Masai tribesmen to hand carve beads and buttons from coconut shells, 5 years on and they're still up to the same tricks, but this year they're turning fashions heads with a neo-Afrian chic.

The SS'2012 collection, aptly titled 'The Neo African JPEG Generation' works in the usual bold Kanga inspired digital prints and warming brights into its capsule collection of effortlessly worn shrugs, kaftans, hot pants and maxi dresses, all with a dose of fluorescent detailing. And to top things off, this season the Lalesso girls have teamed up with jewellery designer Jennifer Kinnear whose collaborative collection, designed specially for Lalesso, combines recycled brass, bone, horn, wood, fabric offcuts and of course, that essential dose of neon.

Click below to watch a behind the scenes interview with the designers from their SS'2012 lookbook shoot outside Cape Town.

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