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Monday, 14 December 2009

Summit to write home about

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an event in Copenhagen, centred around climate change. When did I become a political player you ask? Well, actually it was the Nordic Fashion Industry's 'Fashion Summit', so more fashionistas than politicians around.

It was however, very interesting and I had a great time learning how to be 'NICE' (Nordic Institute for Clean and Ethical fashion), listening to prominent fashion bods, taking in a 'sustainable' fashion show and erm, *trying* to network.

The fashion folk converge on the Copenhagen Opera House:

I shan't bore you with all the details, but there were some very interesting presentations indeed. My favourites included:

- Laurent Claquin, SVP of CSR for PPR Group
PPR group includes Gucci, Puma, Stella McCartney, Valencia, YSL so Laurent gave an interesting view on how luxury and eco does not have to mutually exclusive - indeed luxury should 'lead the way' according to him.

- Christian Kemp-Griffin, CEO of Edun Group
Edun was started by Bono and his wife as an attempt to create a viable and commercially sound sustainable clothing line, created exclusively in Africa.

- Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor for the Financial Times
A sharp-tongued lady who no-one in their right frame of mind would like to get on the wrong side of! Made a very interesting point that fashion needs to be consistent with the wording they use. Does 'eco' mean the same as 'organic'? Is 'sustainable' the same as 'green'?

- Julie Gilhart, SVP & Fashion Director of Barney's New York
A very sweet lady, showcasing past, present and future sustainable initiatives of Barney's - all in her captivating southern drawl.

After a couple of breaks (during which I attempted to launch into conversation with anyone unattended) we were also treated to a little opera music which was delightful!

Here are some pics from the fashion show at the end of the day to give a taste of how 'eco fashion' actually can be fashionable.

Lovely and floaty (on a comical note, notice how the commentator on the left of the picture is frantically trying to retrieve her notes which somehow ended up all over the floor):

Power shoulders - part 1:

Power shoulders - part 2:

Something for the fashionable eco-gent:

*Love* this dress!

More floatyness:

The cupcake fascinator I can't help but want:

Yes, not sure about the bunched up knitted trousers look:

Lovely dress again:

A rather far-away shot of the contributing speakers. If I've managed to pique your interest, you can listen to the speeches here:

Is it me, or does the Opera House look more like a pumpkin wedged in a ventilation shaft?

Anyhow, I left feeling very much inspired and pleased to have been given the opportunity for an insight into the challenges currently facing the fashion industry.

Happy Lucia!

The 13th December marks the celebration of the 'return of the light' in Sweden. This involves ladies dressing in white gowns, holding candles and singing the traditional Santa Lucia song. The one lady chosen to be Lucia herself, wears a red sash and a crown of candles in her hair in addition to the white gown and gets to lead the procession.

Usually this ceremony happens in most schools and/or churches and is one that I have always liked (any excuse to dress up). Indeed, I think we still have a small gown and plastic wreath with electric candles which I used to wear when I was little - real candles are a bit hardcore, as I can only imagine that picking wax out of your hair afterward cannot be fun.

Anyway, to the most interesting part - the baking! Lussekatter (saffron buns) are very traditional and below is the most commonly shaped version which gets handed out after the Lucia ceremony.



They weren't as hard to make as I remember, so perhaps I am getting more patient with the years. You do need to leave them to rise twice for 30 mins each, but it's rather satisfying seeing the little backwards 'S's slowly becoming more and more bold.

As with most of my Swedish cooking, the recipe comes from the good old Rutiga Kokboken. I got this from a friend at my graduation in Sweden and it became indispensable pretty much straight away. It tells you how to cook *anything*, and has something of a cult following. I am relying on it for next week when I need to tackle my first vat of rice pudding ever..gulp.

Friday, 11 December 2009


Oh yes, The Beret is now complete. This is one of the first things I've made for myself and worn (in public) more than about once. I'm rather pleased with the resulting symmetry of the thing, although it did take *much* ripping back and unknitting to make sure it was just right.

Oh and there was rather a lot of swearing and being grumpy too. Still, I think it was worth it in the end.

Not sure if I'm really a hat person in general, but I think I can just about pull it off. Here's a moody pic for you to decide

Monday, 7 December 2009

The making of..

Now that L & P are happily married, it's getting harder and harder to remember all the work and preparation that went with making their wedding day so perfect. Obviously the lion's share was done by the lovely couple themselves, but we tried to help out where we could too.

As a rather belated wedding present I therefore decided to collect all the photos I had taken during the course of the 'wedding build-up' and collate them in an album. It was rather fun to sit and reminisce about that marathon wedding experience which was The Wedding Show, recall the creation of the sparkly bouquet and relive the hen night extravaganza - one afro at a time!

In order to personalise the album, I decided that who better to adorn the front of it than L & P themselves. But no cheesy couply photo here. No it should be Victorian silhouette style, I had decided.
Thankfully I took so many pictures at the wedding that I found a good profile of each of them fairly quickly... and set to work.

I used bits of metallic-coloured leather from Spitalfields market which worked out well in the end thankfully.

May they carry on living happily ever after, with their wonderfully unconventional way!

Friday, 4 December 2009

What's in Secret Santa's sack?

It's a Yeti made of yak!
This is Mr Abominable. He has existential issues - hence the sad face. I fell in love with him nonetheless, so felt a small twinge of sadness when I had to let him go the other day, during our Wednesday Night Knitting (WNK) group secret santa Christmas party. But it quickly passed when I realised that he would have a good home with P. Despite the anatomically suggestive arms. He is made from super soft Shokay Orient Collection - 75% yak/25% bamboo.

I got some very pretty silicone cupcake cases as well as a piping bag with a whole myriad of nozzels. Will I be taking up the tip we learned at our cupcake decorating class and practice piping with instant mash? I think not.