A daily blog would just about finish me off completely. ~ Robert Plant

shade of Winter Blue

Winter Blue can be a warming hue. It’s the kind of deep vivid blue of dreaming, the kind that you can really sink in to. I love this time of year – time to withdraw, enfold, to seek comfort within.

I found this sense of Winter Blue even in the most humid part of the world during a recent visit to Penang, Malaysia.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The Blue Mansion is a fascinating old house that says a lot about its original owner, Cheong Fatt Tze, and tells a grand story of his time and heritage. You can read more about his life and his house here.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tzecheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The strange and elaborate blend of traditional Chinese and Western architecture and detailing of this home is captivating – blending British and European wrought ironwork, stained glass and floor tiling with Southern Chinese trompe l’oeil frescoes, timber and porcelain works, as well as feng shui elements.

But there are two strong features that draw me back to this place again and again – its colour and courtyard living spaces.

cheong fatt tzecheong fatt tze

The walls of this house are painted a traditional indigo limewash – incredibly stunning especially experienced from its internal courtyards.

Spending an extended period of time and really being in this colour and space made me feel submerged – the kind of dropping-down that I feel in winter. And when the unbearable heat and humidity of the day finally relieved itself in thunderstorm and late afternoon rain, falling and flowing into these open inner places where I sit sheltered and receiving, I felt a beautiful distilled sense of being within. And it has a colour, Winter Blue.

blog-cftraincheong fatt tze

We spent our few days entirely at the mansion, wandering out only for lunch and dinner.

Looking for inspiration along its corridors… Tracking the day as it unfolded over layers upon layers of pattern… Uncovering patina, textures, details… Capturing thoughts, flitting about like sparrows under the eaves there… Listening in on the whispers of wives, floating in hot air pockets… Drawing breath… Waiting for rain…

Languidly, deeply, immersed in the blue of it all.

cheong fatt tze

 

Post by ROBOAT.

2 Comments Category: Escape Landscape

going with Coco.

“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel

There is always an occasion for a dress, or a dress-suit! I love that I always feel classy and fabulous in both.

sound of silence dress 2013

{  2013 – Sound of Silence  }

 

After Five was a terrific curation of The Darnell Collection recently exhibited at the Newcastle Art Gallery. It was a wonderful reminder of why I love dresses, ensembles, attention to detail and getting dressed up.

I identified with it all – from the provenance of the collection, to the many layers of artisans and cultures behind the creation of each dress, to the women who wore the garments and the stories enraptured and captured within the folds of each piece. It was refreshing, like a sweet cool breeze across my skin after a wild night in polyester. It revived the meaning of dress-making and design for me.

We make dresses like “Waiting for Jack” for all time. And boy, have we heard some stories from the women wearing this particular dress – of heartbreak, of hope, and crazy adventure!

waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2005waiting for jack 2009waiting for jack 2013waiting for jack 2013

{  2005, 2009, 2013 – Waiting for Jack  }

 

Perhaps romantic escapism is the way we approach our designs… I don’t think it would matter if we were making an ensemble for a zombie film or for a sci-fi future, we will always want to make fabulous dresses.

madness with the bliss 2010madness with the bliss 2011Madness with the bliss dressmadness with the bliss 2013

{  2010, 2011, 2013 – Madness with the Bliss  }

 

And the thing that holds strong and true is that we never tire of our dresses. Be it 2005, 2013 or 2320, the way we see it, dresses are transcendental.

“Fashion fades only style remains…” yea – we’re with you, Coco.

She sees her own ReflectionShe sees her own Reflection

{  2009 – She sees her own reflection  }

 

Post by ROBOAT.

 

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process, Mrs Woo Women

another spring, new blog spot

Ahoy! Hello! We’re back in the blogosphere!

It’s been far too long, darlings x Life sure is moving along swiftly, with endings and beginnings blooming and bursting all around.

And how not to partake in such joyous motion! We popped and bloomed, twinkled and swayed into this beautiful season in our Newcastle store recently, beholding and celebrating a harvest of Mrs Woo’s Spring Summer fineries.

It was a beautiful turn out with many customers, friends and family for very fine company :) Just love our cosy little store full like this at twilight when it feels moodiest and most enchanting…

Mrs Woo Spring Showing 2013 with Baked Uprising

We invited the wonderful and talented Alice Lees from Baked Uprising to create some beautiful treats with the Mast Brothers Chef’s Tablet dark cooking chocolate we now stock in-store (a new love ;). The results were stunning to say the least! The softest most delicious nougat we’ve ever tasted, and an amazing to-die-for almond date torte with a specially Mrs Woo emblem marzipan crown to dress it.

Mrs Woo Spring Showing 2013 with Baked Uprising

All this with refreshing ginger spritzers, a kickin’ Simon And Garfunkel soundtrack, heady conversations amongst swathes of tailored pleats and sinuous dresses. A really warm and wholehearted evening to remember x

 

Post by ROBOAT.

1 Comment Category: Good Food, Hand Makes Whole Heart

Sisters stitch together.

Patterning, sampling, patterning, sampling, grading, cutting, snipping, piecing, stitching, pressing, stitching, piecing, pressing, stitching, snipping, stitching, pressing, piecing, stitching, pressing.

Making is chaotic, progressive, repetitive, inevitable and essential in the process of creating any thing.

The definitive thing materialises from logically disorderly beginnings. Making beauty isn’t typically beautiful. I’m hard pressed to think of any thing coming into being without firstly having to ramble across a few complex terrains, scramble over a few molehills… pins and needles.

Making our way along the same paths, over and over, again and again, makes each undertaking a little more familiar, more knowable. Though not less demanding.

And it’s comforting that within this pace and pattern, whilst we’re immersed in the snip snip stroke of scissors and the beat beat stitch of the sewing machine, we discover space within the whirring and find small moments to adjust, tweak and improve.

It’s really only in thinking about this that I realise it is what happens.

It was watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi that made me think of our own making process.
“I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit,” says 85 year old Jiro Ono, sushi shokunin (artisan) who has been practicing his craft for more than 60 years.

Daunting… yet strangely comforting.

Early days for us yet. Back to the stitching hearth.

 

 

Post by ROBOAT.

2 Comments Category: Design Making Process

Back to the future.

Taadaa! We’re in the future!

It really wasn’t that long ago we were watching sci-fi films set in the apocalyptic landscape of 2013 where the future is overrun by gnarly humans with big guns and leathery wardrobes. In fact in 2013, we dress like we’re in 1985 – or was it 1995?

Is 2013 really looking like Escape from LA? Or are we Back to the Future II (2015) cut-off and stonewashed, denim-ised and over-sized? Not too far-fetched if we’re on the right Tank Girl (2033) trajectory. However, as our future continues on its increasingly synthesised and complex path, we may just reach The Fifth Element and be glad to have sharply reconstructed wardrobes by Jean Paul Gaultier to take us all the way to the year 2263.

But here we are.
And here’s a sneak peek of our very near future – Autumn Winter 2013.

Coming soon x

 

Post by ROBOAT.

2 Comments Category: Design Making Process

Ending | Beginning

“I am always hoping to find something through the mere act of living my daily life… I do not work from a desk, and do not have an exact starting point…” says Rei Kawakubo, the inspiring woman behind Commes des Garcons.

True, true – when we take a step back to look at the year that’s been.

It’s been a full-blown year of living | dying, seeking | unyielding, making | deconstructing, shifting | accepting, ending | beginning – intense!

And not done from a desk.

Here, here – a photographic digest of the very busy, bumpy and bounteous 2012 we’ve had!

Wishing you softly and easily flowing into the new year x

With love and blisters, from Mrs Woo and her sisters.

 

 

Leave a comment Category: Hand Makes Whole Heart

Seeing spots.

There are polka-dots… and there are spots. And dots by any other name would not be spots. Circles, discs, hoops really don’t quite hit the spot.

For the love of this truly splendid shape, we unleash a stampede of spotty sunday bests this Spring.

Our spots are printed on a truly divine, light natural linen fabric that we’ve unrolled (selfishly delightfully :) into one of our favourite dress designs - Love among the ruins

…and into the wily ways of a double-collared wrap top-jacket – Once over

…and in a fit of dottiness, we wear the spotty wrap top-jacket upside down.

 
 Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

Go back for seconds.

When something is GOOD, we simply want it again… and again :)

In-store this week, we go back for seconds.

In The Second Person - Cape Dress getting stretchier and cleverer.

Second Edition - Cape Top refined and republished.

…and a little more still to come.

 

Post by ROBOAT.

Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process

Turnip for the books – turnip trumps!

It makes complete sense to eat seasonally instead of having broccoli all year round. Local fruit and vegetable harvests are such wonderful and significant gestures of time.

I love that the end of Winter is marked by these wee turnips, and the beginning of Spring offering a bouquet of spinach! Oh! and what can’t I say about baby carrots!

Besides being able to access local produce at local farmer’s markets more easily these days, I must say that Beanstalk is a truly wonderful local community food resource. I know we go on about it but I LOVE the way this works and that every Tuesday we meet and gather, and share our ways with turnips.

 

Post by ROBOAT.

Comments Off Category: Good Food

Writer’s Block

“Easy reading is damn hard writing,” stunningly said by 19th Century American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

His philosophy certainly applies to many forms of creativity – design, architecture, music composition, story-writing, cooking… and the list goes on.

It is often the designs and creations that are seemingly simple, unassuming, understated but with a strong sense of completion that have travelled the most complex and tumultuous paths to reach their final destination. Immeasurable amounts of time, thought and energy spent testing and refining each piece to arrive at a place it is meant to be is certainly a lifelong pursuit.

We’ve certainly chosen our path – indeed we persist!

It is inevitable that, every so often, we face writer’s block.

Months and months ago when we were designing our Spring Summer range of clothing, we were struggling with Writer’s Block but discovered the very thing that impeded us was the same thing to inspire us. Sounds simple enough, but not at the time!

Drawing on some of our favourite tales and genres like existential sci-fi *and making up some in the process, we continue to create characters and stories to wear, like -


Not My Boyfriend’s Jacket an oversized and maverick jacket

On the flipside a bold and brass crop pant

 

Miss Mary Mack sans buttons down the back, but a zipper to unfold you

Behind the sun a top for simple navigation

Now Playing no time like now skirt, pronto!

The Lorax a bold and telling dress

Beneath the moon a dress trajectory into the future and beyond

And these are just the first few of a cast of clear-cut fabrications of our Spring Summer collection Writer’s Block. They’re in-store now for you to encounter, and for them to meet their destiny…

Stay tuned for the next instalment. 

~ Thank you again to Nadine Barry for being our fantastically true to life model xxx

 

Post by ROBOAT.

 
Leave a comment Category: Design Making Process