15th April 2013
Any previous satisfaction I’ve gleaned from my DIY projects (you know the type I’m talking about – making and wearing your own clothes, and the moment when people ask you where you bought your bag and you say – trying to hide any smugness you feel – ‘I made it’) was completely blown out of the water last week when I had the unbelievable experience of creating transparent accessories for Jamie Ashkar‘s runway show at Sydney Fashion Week. It was so surreal to see my pieces walking down the runway on the models, the mirror like surface of transparent ankle cuffs creating the perfect accessory for a minimal yet sexy collection – aptly titled ‘Reflection’.
I had a great time in Jamie’s studio earlier in the week crafting the ankle cuffs from transparent pvc, made a little nerve racking by the fact that we were being filmed for The Today Show. We decided not to have any leather or plastic attaching the straps to the back of the shoe so they would appear to be floating, much more minimalist than my original design and perfect for the pieces they were paired with.
Although admittedly I’m quite biased when it comes to it, I think the end result looked amazing on the models, adding that tiny bit of detail that caught your eye and brought the gorgeous looks together.
In the process of collaborating on this project I learnt so much – how designers are just a few steps removed from DIYers (dependent of course on the skills of both DIYer and designer), how manic it gets when you’re styling backstage at a show, and most of all, how satisfying it is to go to fashion week with a purpose of more than just hanging with blogger friends (although admittedly that was the second best part of the week) and being photographed in overly thought out outfits. For me, seeing my designs on the runway was one of those awe inspiring moments that reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place – to create and share projects that aren’t out of place amongst designer collections – even super simple ones like this that anyone could do. Thanks Jamie for having me on board and the ladies of Bespoke for helping me with the prep!
Images: myself and Sophia Phan
22nd March 2013
I met Sophie, the incredibly talented designer behind Sophie Monet jewelry, last year while in New York and we instantly bonded over a love of all things DIY. Soph handmakes the gorgeous pieces under her label, painstakingly sculpting them out of wood, and adding stone, chain brass and gold leafing, skills she picked up while growing up in her dad’s woodworking shop (fyi, I have a little studio envy right now). The mix of sanded dark wood, precious stones and hints of gold are a nod to her love of art and nature and her experiences living between LA and New York. I was lucky enough to get to browse through her pieces in person when we had some downtime at our hotel and was blown away by her gilded collection, handshaped wood pieces with accents of gold leaf made into the most unique necklaces, rings and bracelets – the sort of jewelry you can imagine wearing everyday.
Gold leafing is a technique I’ve been forever wanting to try and when Soph offered to give me a masterclass, I knew it was something I would be sharing with you guys. What I love most about this project is that once you have the process down you can apply gold leafing to virtually anything – I sooo want to do it to the inside of a white porcelain bowl. Soph recommends that you don’t skimp too much when you buy your gold leaf, she used 22k yellow gold leaf (not the fake stuff) which is essential for the look and feel of the finished product.
- a popsicle stick or wood bead
- gold leaf adhesive
- gold leafing sheet
- clear wood finish
- paint brush
- jump rings
1. Start by cutting both ends of your popsicle stick so you are left with a wooden pendant shape.
2. Sand the edges of the pendant so they are smooth.
3. Place the pendant on a block of wood and drill a hole in one end.
4. Spray the pendant with wood finishing spray as a base coat.
5. Use a paint brush to add a thin coat of gold leaf adhesive. Let adhesive dry for 20 minutes. The wood will become sticky.
6. Carefully lay the gold leaf paper on top of the wood pendant.
7. Press down to make sure the wood is completely covered and there aren’t any air bubbles.
8. Carefully peel back the paper.
use a dry paint brush to remove any excess gold leaf.
9. Spray Gold pendant with at least 3 coats of clear wood finish.Be sure to let each coat fully dry before applying another.
10. Attach your gilded pendant to chain using an open jump ring and pair of pliers.
11. Use two jump rings and pliers to attach your clasp and chain to one another.
And you’re done!
19th March 2013
You’ll know by now that I love anything transparent (exhibit a), with transparent ankle cuff pumps being up there with the best of the best for me. If you’ve been keeping an eye out you’ll also be aware that more than just an obsession for me, it appears the fashion world has followed suit this season (see here, here and just about everywhere else), doling out transparent pieces like they’re going out of style (which hopefully they won’t). I pondered on the question of transparent ankle cuffs for a while, wondering how I could add them to some pumps without making an irreversible modification. It turned out to be pretty simple using a little bit of super sticky duct tape – not what I would usually do but perfect for a quick update. For those of you who want a more permanent style, you can punch a hole in the back edge of your shoe and attach the suede part of the anklets with another stud, but my Tony Bianco pumps were way too pretty to permanently maim!
- A pair of black heels (my Tony Bianco ones are perfection)
- PCV sheeting cut into rectangles to go around your ankle.
- Four gold button studs
- Four gold cone studs
- Two small strips of leather or suede
- A multi hole punch tool
- Super sticky duct tape or sports tape (I had some left over from this project)
1. Place the transparent cuff around your ankle and trim to the right size, making sure to leave some overlap where it will button shut. Then punch two holes into the plastic in line with where the leather attachment piece will sit at the back of your foot.
2. Punch holes in the leather in line with those in the plastic, and then attach by screwing the studs on.
3. Put the ankle cuff around your ankle and measure where the plastic will overlap, marking with a pen. Make two holes in the other end of the plastic where you marked with a pen.
4. And then punch more holes where you have marked the overlap, adding the button studs.
5. Create the other anklet ensuring you mirror the design so they both face outwards when worn.
6. To wear, as I mentioned above you can either punch more holes and use a stud to attach the cuffs to the back of the shoe, or do what I did and add a strip of duct tape to the ends of the suede.
7. And press well onto the inside of the shoe.
And voila! You’re done. In case you’re wondering, I partied all night long in these without the anklets coming free!
Ps. Ivania made a version of the clear ankle straps a while ago that are super easy too – no longer up at her site but you can see them here!