1960's, democratization of design, modern sculpture, norma kamali, pierre cardin, spiegel, target, wal-mart

has democratizing designer clothing EVER been this democratic?


i don’t know how much more democratization of designer clothing i can take. the latest designer spotted: norma kamali. i know what you are thinking. target!! oh, how i wish that were true. no, ms. kamali has jumped right into the deep end with with wal-mart. yes, you read correctly. wal. mart.  

to view the collection on wal-mart’s website, click the link below:


to see kamali’s website  displaying the wares:



to be fair, i went to wal-mart today to inspect the goods at closer range. the quality was better than expected. in fact, the quality of the knitwear was really no different to the ill-fated spiegel catalog collection (now in liquidation.) while the knitwear was credible, the career clothing wasn’t worth purchasing (even though they did line the blazers. the fabric was very flimsy, making the jacket look incredibly cheap.) apparently shoes, accessories and a trenchcoat round out this mass-market kamaliwear.  the verdict? i’m bristled by this development. i’ve been a supporter of kamali’s since the late seventies, i’ve followed the ups and downs of her career. i cheered her goofy ideas that somehow seemed to work. i applauded her sexy swimwear and snug fitting knits (some of which evoke the fabulous futuristic look pierre cardin designed so gloriously in the sixties.)

lycra jersey safety pin modern sculpture dress

lycra jersey safety pin modern sculpture dress



i’m bristled because i know who she is, and have been a fan for decades, yet people who don’t even know [or care] about good design will purchase these items because they are cheap and available. they probably won’t understand how to wear them, or the potential each knit piece might have. kamali’s clothing isn’t easy to figure out; you can wear it so many ways it’s intimidating. it’s difficult for most people to wrap their head around the concept that a easy fitting top can also be worn as a skirt, a long skirt can also be worn as a strapless gown, and so on. some of the sportwear is really nicely designed, constructed amazingly well for the price and i just might buy a few pieces. and yes, i am still bristled. the jumpsuit below (no zips or buttons) can be worn any of the five ways seen or any more the wearer can dream up.

accumulate, consumerism, culling, holiday sales, money, spartan, stuff, too much stuff, toys, utilitarian

post consumerism. rid your life of stuff and you shall be set free.

the first time i saw my husband’s parents’ home, i was astonished. there wasn’t a thing in the entire building that they didn’t need. it was spartan. it was utilitarian. i didn’t know what to think of it, because i am filipina. we are a nation of consumers and he who has the most money, toys and stuff wins. my life efforts in the area of consuming, accumulation and stuff gathering have been stellar over the years.

this is more than anyone needs for a kitch and dining room

stuff is just stuff. it ties you down, it keeps you from being mobile, nimble and flexible. it is typically a waste of hard earned money. it sits around in boxes and does nothing but take up space. just because it’s hella on sale does not mean you have to buy it. consumerism is a bad habit. a very, very bad habit. lesson learned: if you need to buy boxes in which to put stuff, that is a very strong indicator that that stuff is unnecessary and should be donated, recycled, repurposed or given away.

unlike me, my husband does not buy everything in sight. he does laundry every other day [instead of buying new clothes to avoid doing laundry altogether.] he buys what he needs and nothing more. he has no emotional attachment to the vast majority of his belongings. he is thoughtful about items on which he spends money. he compares prices. he looks at price tags. he thinks before he buys.

there is a lot of hope in my effort. i have been able to live for over a month now with no money of my own. i am not out shopping at the post christmas sales. i didn’t go shopping to the pre-christmas sales unless it was something i needed. i am being far more thoughtful about where and why i spend money.


which brings me to culling. i own waaaaaaaay more than anyone needs to own. so, in preparation for our move out of this house and somewhere much smaller, i have been going through my belongings and culling the unnecessary items for donation. to date, i have taken about a dozen giant trash bin liners to “the place.” i have at least that many waiting to be delivered. i have recycled magazines, sketches, notes, and all sorts of other papers laying around that collect dust and waste space. i have shredded the sensitive stuff. during this process,  have realized that i don’t really need 99% of the stuff i own. i like a lot of it, a lot of it is valuable [art collection, etc.], but i can live without it. 

on with the culling, donating, recycling and repurposing! there is much work to be done.

14995758, christmas, christmas carol, consumeristic bandwagon, december gift giving, Ebenezer Scrooge, good energy, grinch, grouch, hannukah, kwanze, mr. marley, plastic, ramadan

it’s not that i’m a scrooge or anything…

i’ve just gone off the idea of christmas, hannukah, kwanza, ramadan, winter solstice and the entire december gift giving thing. by no means am i being grouchy (!), i just don’t care anymore. there is too much expectation, too much commercialism and too much much.

still quite jealous of the child i was when santa still existed and toys were a made with such detail and care, now i look around and i see miles of plastic, colours that do not exist in nature and gifts that are re-gifted or worse, gifted just to be gifted. so, very different from ebenezer scrooge or the grinch, i don’t intend to have a change of heart and miraclously realize that i need to get on the consumer bandwagon. nope, not going to do it.

spreading my charm, good energy and generosity throughout the year should surely be enough. i do hope you enjoy one of my favorite songs based on a very good story by theodore geisel.

acting, addiction, alcoholic, all that jazz, all the single girls, anne reinking, artists, ben vereen, beyonce, bob fosse, catherine zeta jones, charity, chicago, childhood, dance, fred astaire, fucking amazing, gwen verdon, joe gideon, m0d, m0dern dance, m0dernism, ng, pill popping, sexual, sexy, sweet charity, tommy tune

wow! this place sure is crawling with celebrities! i’m the only person here i’ve never heard of…!*

i loooove m0dern dance, uber m0dern dance…a genre in which bob fosse clearly dominates. i took sharp notice when watching sweet charity on the telly in the house that sat next to a cornfield in the cultural desert i call the home of my childhood:

of ALL bob fosse (of which there a stellar collection), this scene has always been my favorite. did you see the young ben  vereen working it?? a doco on fosse mentioned that dancers would practice hand gestures for the nightclub scene for days. no small wonder the chippie with the boneless arms [front and center] is soooo good at flowing liquidy curly smokey bendy springy kind of arms. perfection was always fosse’s goal; if he wanted to create a movement, a gesture, a mood, a story…he would stop at nothing to make it work perfectly, bless him.

many people only think of fosse as a choreographer, but like many great choreographers, he started out as an incredibly gifted dancer. he had aspirations of being the next fred astaire, but his career took him was in a very different direction: a distinctly in-your-face, no holds barred, physical, sexual, sexy and creatively mind blowing kind of direction. i saw dancin’ [a broadway production that showcased fosse’s genius] when i was 17. the sheer athleticism and aestheticism blew my mind. each dancer a star in their own right, together packing quite a powerful terpsichoric punch.

fosse was an alcoholic and swallowed pills to stay awake and pills to go to sleep. he lived fast and hard, and applied the same force to his artistic endeavors. before he died, he wrote and directed all that jazz, a semi autobiographical account of his life, starring a thinly veiled character joe gideon. the movie won the palme d’or at the cannes film festival and various academy awards and nominations. it’s an egotistical, self indulgent masterpiece and save the open heart surgery scene, i could watch over and over. dig this scene pitching a dance for an airline:

with all the hip swiveling, pelvic thrusting, arm wringing, leg splitting, scantily clad dancers that i love about fosse. did you catch a glimpse of tommy tune a the beginning of the video?

no wonder i can put the film version of chicago on a tape loop and be meserized for hours. mind, i still think casting “miss smelly face” as roxy was a mistake. but catherine zeta jones and queen latifah? genius.

*oh, and beyonce…please take you and all the single girls elsewhere. gwen verdon and bob fosse already did that stuff. perfectly.

child training adults, clare atkins, damn you peter jackson!, fantasy, heaven on earth, jude atkins, katikati, lord of the rings, nelson, new zealand, pavlov's dogs, real beauty, sam atkins, silly tourism, tauranga, tolkien

actually, jude, there is heaven on earth.

wow. have you ever heard a 3 year old use the word “actually” in casual conversation? jude atkins has got it DOWN. what a funny wee man. mike and i just met him while visiting our friend clare (jude’s gran) and her son, sam (jude’s dada). it’s really amusing to watch how a 3 year old can train adults like they were pavlov’s dogs. in the defence of adults, we’re powerless. why wouldn’t you want to follow the instructions of a cool kid? and more importantly, do you want to hear same scream, pitch a fit or have a meltdown? no thank you. i’ll be trained. ring that bell.

actually, this is a picture jude atkins.

actually, this is a picture jude atkins.

jude and co. are in nelson, new zealand which is on the northern side of the south island. i love it there. i couldn’t live there full time, but i could certainly spent heaps of time there. we’ve also been taking jaunts up to auckland, and spending lots of time in the bay of plenty [katikai & tauranga] with mike’s family. 

so back to heaven on earth. my belief system (religious or otherwise) is quite simple: i believe in right or wrong, and the golden rule thingie. that said, the idea or concept of heaven, if there is one, exists on two islands to the upper right of australia. new zealand. there is one tiny thing that spoiled this country for me: lord of the rings. damn you peter jackson, damn you!! this lord of the rings smudge has added a layer of silly tourism to an otherwise pretty healthy tourism business. surely a 12 day tour of new zealand focusing on the lord of the rings isn’t a good thing, right? i find it a bit perverse mainly because new zealand is REAL. it’s not the imaginary vision of tolkien. and spending 12 days in this country focused on imaginary things? i dare say the real things wouldn’t be seen at all. a tragic pity, i feel.