Wool basic in grey

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tailored wool pencil dress in brown-grey

In a tailored wool pencil dress with a broad open collar, reminescent of Dior of the mid-1900s. Accessories are a fur hat from Canada, a Chanel 2.55 flap bag, a gold and diamond bear brooch, a gold bracelet, Karen Millen stilettos and Chanel No. 19.
Photo for CMC © Jan-Erik Nilsson 2009

It was just about two to three generations ago in Singapore, when my grandmother was in her twenties, that women tended to sew their own clothes. How beautiful your outfit eventually became, depended much upon your sewing skills.

Many of my grandmother’s friends would not only sew their own traditional outfits such as cheongsams and kebayas, but made their own accessories too, from floral hair pins to beaded shoes. Those who did not acquire tailoring skills of their own usually had their dresses or outfits made by relatives and friends who could. As things were at the time of pre-WWII, it was much more economical to know how to make your own clothes than to purchase them in the shops.

Eventually social values shifted in Singapore as in the rest of the world and women no longer needed to sew for themselves. Still, I grew up with my mother making a lot of my day dresses, both sewn and crocheted, and come an important event such as wedding dinners for example, we often visited a seamstress with a dress idea roughly sketched on paper.

Today tailored dresses, a once inexpensive and natural phenomena, is becoming a luxury. Still, when the opportunity arises, I find absolute delight in choosing textiles for a new skirt or dress, and drawing a design of an outfit that I miss in my wardrobe.

This pencil dress is one of two new arrivals from the seamstress. It makes for good, basic officewear for the cooler autumn and winter months that is just ahead of us. The material is wool and the dress, whose long and lean cutting is vintage inspired, has been designed so that it would keep the core of the body warm, with three quarter sleeves (so I can accessorize with bracelets / bangles), skirt to the calves, kick pleat to the back instead of an open slit and fully lined on the inside. Added to the outfit is a fabric buckle belt, made in the same material as the dress.

Midsummer’s Eve, between sunshine and rain, 2009

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson in black crochet sweater

Hand crocheted black sweater made by Rita Cordeiro and silk tunic dress by Karen Millen.
Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC 2009

Not wanting to give false hopes for Midsummer in Sweden, the newspapers had, about two to three weeks ago, already begun forecasting a grey and soggy Midsummer for the west coast of Sweden.

Karen Millen silk floral 3

Floral print on black, ending in an asymmetrical hem.

Well, the day proved their forecasts accurate with some strange oscillations between sunshine and rain.

Boho beaded chandelier earrings

Boho bronze beaded chandelier earrings.

But regardless of weather conditions, it’s heartening to know that you’ll always find some die-hard Midsummer fans who’ll spread the festive cheer by setting up the Midsummer pole. I’ve seen how this is done and it’s no task for the faint hearted. The pole is decorated with flowers and blue and yellow streamers that trail beautifully in the wind. The hoisting of the pole and securing it into the ground takes nothing less than cooperative, physical strength. Then comes the sight of little children running around the grounds and that is enough to bring a smile on just about anyone’s face.

Swedish Flags on Midsummer\'s 2009

Swedish flags in celebration of Midsummer.

There were bouts of rain both before and after these pictures were taken, but I’m glad that the rain felt warm on the skin! I never understood how rain could be bitingly cold, almost painful, until I came to Sweden.

In Singapore, you have thick, clashing tropical thunderstorms and when the rain hits you, you’re covered in warm water from the equatorial sky. Rainstorms are almost delicious in the tropics!

As this is the celebration of the summer solstice, the days and nights during these days are long. And I’m all set to enjoy the festivities, preferably indoors this year!

Glad Midsommar to all!

Ruched leggings, beware for beyond bootilicious!

Impromptu shots of me on the phone. I’m wearing a Karen Millen Indian inspired tunic over a pair of grey ruched leggings. The shoes are by Marc Jacobs and the Gobelin backpack in the second picture is from the Epi line, Louis Vuitton.
Photo for CMC by: Jan-Erik Nilsson © 2009.

I have had more than a few fashion faux pas now and then, but I have never had someone literally keel over in laughter because of something I’m wearing – until I had put on these grey ruched leggings.

If there’s any person whose opinion matters to me on what I’m wearing, it would be my husband’s. I’d come home from a bout of shopping in the city, put these on, walked over to him and asked, “So, what do you think?”

My beloved husband’s face was briefly a surprised *blank* and I hardly made a full turnaround when that dude absolutely fell over in laughter! After composing himself some, he explained that there was something in the design of the leggings that visually took off inches from my legs, so that I – lacking better words – ended up looking like a wrinkly sausage!
Continue reading “Ruched leggings, beware for beyond bootilicious!”

Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy: prize giving ceremony and gala event, 2008

The setting makes half the event and what better fitting place is there in Göteborg for a grand dinner than the 350 year old Torstenson Palace, now the private residence of the Governor of Gothenburg and his wife, Lars and Ann-Christin Bäckström.

Every year, the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy holds a traditional dinner in recognition of the most outstanding chefs and all things gastronomical in Western Sweden.

Awards and prizes are given out, after which a dinner that seldom fails to impress the hardiest bon vivants, is served. Continue reading “Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy: prize giving ceremony and gala event, 2008”