Sunday, 23 March 2014

Mint Tea Punch with Nonna Chong

Our friend Monica - a brilliant cook who blogs about food as Nonna Chong - recently came over to show us how to make her Mint Tea Punch. You can find the full recipe over at the Lonely Hunter blog: here.

We took a ton of photos, so these are some more shots from the afternoon...
Thanks heaps for sharing your recipe with us Mon! x

More photos after the jump...

Friday, 14 March 2014

West African Inspiration: Omar Victor Diop

I was thrilled to meet Omar at an exhibition held at a swanky new hotel in Dakar in December - I had seen his images online, and was particularly struck by the African remake of Frida Kahlo's 'The Two Fridas'.

Omar is relatively new to the art of photography, but has quickly developed a huge following in Senegal and abroad, and is in demand for designers and artists when it comes to promoting their new creations (Senegalese fashion labels Bull Doff and SERAKA have both had their recent collections shot by him).

 SERAKA by Omar Victor Diop

There is a real depth to Omar's work - he has a masterly eye for composition, and a wonderful aesthetic for all things textile and texture. He describes his work as lying somewhere between fashion and conceptual art, with a very modern edge. Working with French photographer Antoine Tempé, Omar created a series of cinematic posters which reference classic American and French cinema for the 'Onomollywood' exhibition. The below shot is an 'African remake' of the poster for "American Beauty".

Whilst my meeting with Omar was very brief, what struck about his work is how dedicated he is to promoting 'africanity' and 'normalising' the African continent by steering away from cliches images often associated with the continent. He acknowledges that 'Africa' suffers from a deficit of positive images, and even though it is important to be clear about the realities of life, it is equally important to show the normal, less-dramatic side of life on the expansive continent. He underlines that for him, it is important to highlight his experience of living in Senegal, because it means his work is authentic, and it gives a voice to the country, and to the continent in whole. 

Omar Victor Diop

Below are some photos from my favourite collections - Wax Dolls, which cheekily references the growing popularity of wax print fabric amongst the 'afropolitans' of West Africa. Given the history of wax, particularly in Senegal where the bright fabric is generally reserved for day-to-day wear, Diop cleverly plays with wax print's recent reemergence as a contemporary fashion staple.

All photos from Omar Victor Diop Photography

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Peekaboo Dress with Sarah

As my mum pointed out “this dress is nice but it has a great big hole in the back!”

The backless feature is in fact by design, but I can see what she means. The soft, drapey fabric of the Peekaboo dress is lovely and comfy for summer, but if you want to wear it backless and without a bra showing like in our photoshoot you may encounter some visible nipple issues. I think the options to get around this are:
  • Wear it without a bra, but buy these things. (Or - thrifty tip - wear criss-crossed band-aids on your nipples instead)
  • Wear it over a bikini to the beach
  • Wear it with a pretty bra, leaving the back of your bra visible
  • Layer with a fitted top underneath
I've been wearing the Peekaboo Dress with a bra and fitted black crop top underneath. Also I add a belt to pull in the waist.

photos by me and mum

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Style Inspiration - Elise

NAME: Elise Perriel 
HOMETOWN: Nante, France
CURRENTLY LIVING: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
OCCUPATION: French Teacher 

I met Elise last year when we shared a house together in Hanoi. It was Elise who helped to first spark my interest in tailoring clothes in Vietnam - she would often go on trip to the fabric market, where she would come home with these beautiful patterned fabrics, which her tailor Van would make into beautiful dresses. Elise has a fairly diverse wardrobe from casual sundresses to funky jumpsuits to ornate and elegant dresses. One of my favourites though is Elise's version of the peekaboo dress below - very modest from the front but slightly cheeky from the back! And, if you are flipping through these photos are wondering about her beautifully smooth skin - here is Elise's beauty tip - using old coffee grounds as an exfoliate!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Snow White Chemise with Sarah

Hello everyone.

Much of our blogging so far has looked at production – but now that our clothes are finally ready for sale, we thought we could also blog about the end part of the process – wearing the clothes!

I’m going to pop in to the blog now and then and write about being the consumer in Melbourne.

I’ll do some outfit posts on our Madame Tây stuff, but also want to look at shopping from other ethical brands available in Melbourne or online. Since we started Madame Tây I’ve realised there are actually heaps of interesting clothing brands out there that are trying to be ethical and sustainable, and it’s not all hemp and twee-ness. I’m by no means any kind of consumer saint - my current wardrobe is filled with stuff from the usual chain store suspects. But if there are beautiful, well-designed alternatives available (which there seems to be more of these days), I think I could start shifting my wardrobe towards more ethical/sustainable companies pretty easily.

So, about the Snow White Chemise.

I recently went to Malaysia to visit my grandparents for Chinese New Year, and got a lot of wear out of this shirt in the hot weather. It's breathable and light-weight, with a loose fit, so it's a great basic for keeping cool. I like undoing the lower buttons and then tying a knot, to give the shirt more of a cropped shape. Here are some snaps from around my Ah-Ma's garden and the Taiping lake gardens.

Happy Lunar New Year of the Horse!

When I was flipping through old photographs I found this one of my grandparents, with my Ah-Ma wearing a sleeveless shirt similar to our Snow White Chemise! My Ah-ma tells me she made the shirt herself. She has always loved clothes and learnt tailoring when she was young.

photos by me and mum

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Madame Tây Launch

Thank you to all our friends (old and new!) and family who came and supported us last Sunday at Madame Tây's Afternoon Tea and Clothes Viewing in Melbourne. It was a lovely afternoon, with the sun shining and plenty of delicious punch (thanks to Nonna Chong) and yummy snacks (thanks to Kheng and Anna). We were so happy to finally share with you everything we've been working on over the last few months. For those who couldn't make it - we're looking forward to seeing you all over the next few months when we begin selling at markets around Melbourne.