Friday, January 29, 2010

#1057 The goblin in his lair

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Sonny Vandevelde after the last show in Paris, so I just emailed him to say au revoir (I'm heading to the airport in an hour). He replied immediately with a photograph. No words, just a picture. It's me writing backstage at Paul Smith - my final show of Paris menswear. Best photo ever. If you've ever wondered how I work, this picture pretty much sums it up. I'll find myself a seat somewhere and sit and watch the chaos around me, and write what I see. Just like that.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

#1056 Megan Jones - the smarter(er) model

This is my best good friend Megan Jones. I met her in Paris last June and have stayed in touch (spamming her Facebook page and her mobile phone voice mail on a weekly basis) ever since. She's Canadian, she's a babe and she's absolutely hilarious. The Cut just did the above video with her on the street in New York. I love it. BONJOURRRRR!

Uploaded with my Sierra Wireless data stick on Telecom XT.


#1055 Sweaters, explorers, volume and Twi-hards - my picks of the week from Paris

Hermes - Oh my sweaters. Perfect for those days when you can't decide between crew or vee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#1054 Tavi and Alexa - funny faces

Photo: Steve Wood

Tavi Gevinson and Alexa Chung playing for the photographers at yesterday's Chanel Haute Couture show. Where's Tavi's bow!?

Uploaded with my Sierra Wireless data stick on Telecom XT.


#1053 Isaac Likes Diary - heaps of new photos

Photoshop: KatherineisAwesome

Check out Isaac Likes Diary - I've updated it with so many new photos. Including the one above thanks to my main main main woMAN Katherine Lowe.


#1052 Haute Couture Day 2 - the waiting game

Waiting outside Chanel with fellow bloggers Hanne Li and Tommy Ton

It was at the Stephane Rolland show this afternoon that I happened upon one of the few ladies left in this world who can still afford to buy Haute Couture. Sibel Seyhan Shenkartal is the granddaughter of a Turkish princess and spends half her time in Paris and the other half in Istanbul. I didn't dare ask her age, though I'd conservatively estimate it at about 68 or 70. Standing at five foot flat, she wore a glorious fur coat, with jewels literally dripping from every extremity - one finger alone carried four diamond rings. She told me of her life in Paris - "I am part of the society here, many of my friends are Countesses or Baronesses, I go to many parties and dine at the Cercle de l'Union interalliƩe." Her English was near flawless, learned at an American high school in Turkey, but she also spoke perfect Turkish, French and Farsi - as a child, her father was a diplomat and took her to live in pre-revolution Iran.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

#1051 Paris Haute Couture - my life as a photographic assistant

Me and Tavi Gevinson backstage at Christian Dior Photo: Steve Wood

I'm being driven around Paris by a man who thrives on driving everybody around him up the wall. The Haute Couture week has started, and we're enroute to our first show - Christophe Josse. For the next three days, I'll be the world's hardest worked photographic assistant; pointing a remote lamp at models preening and posing while Steve Wood shoots them to bits. At the moment, he's playing a pounding Latin house music track, but only for 25 seconds at a time before rewinding it back to the beginning. We've just listened to it for the fourth time in two minutes. "The problem is," he says to me, "I don't like the singing. I only like the intro." Once again the song is rewound. Loud protestations are coming from his two colleagues in the back seat, but that just encourages him. They've been working with him for the past two weeks since the very first day in Milan and they're fed up. I, on the other hand, am just getting started, so it's still quite amusing to me. "I don't know what they're complaining about," says Steve, "they only have to listen to it another three times before we get there."

Monday, January 25, 2010

#1050 Paris Fashion Week - the final day

Boys gone wild at Paul Smith

"Alright boys, that was good, that was good, but some of you were looking a bit glum, a bit down beat. I want you to be full of energy, you're having fun, you're on your way out to a party. Let's do it!" I'm sitting backstage at Paul Smith, and the man himself has just finished his preshow pep talk. All the boys are cheering. In a corner of the room sits a 20-or-so-year-old English model named Jonny. He's being interviewed by an Italian fashion TV channel. As it ends, they tell him to say hello to the camera. "Who am I saying hello to?" he enquires. "Say hello to whoever you want," comes the reply. He looks straight down the barrel. "Hello to whoever I want!" Then, pausing, "Oh wait, let's do that again. That last bit made me sound like a proper wanker didn't it?" The boys cheer again.

#1049 Michael Whittaker at Dior Homme

Photo: The Fashionisto

My son - all grown up.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

#1048 Paris Fashion Week Day 3 - Third time lucky at Dior Homme..?

Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld arriving at Dior Homme

It's kind of hard to write right now. My housemates are hosting a rowdy and unbelievably stinky fondue party downstairs (those French love their cheese), but I'll do the best I can. Every fashion week has its big show. That one show that everybody wants to see, that everybody tries to see, but only the exclusive few actually do see. Milan has Prada, New York has Marc Jacobs, Paris has Christian Dior. Dior Homme for menswear. It's a show I've wanted so badly to see for the past two seasons, but no matter how hard I've tried, I've never succeeded in getting in. Today was the day. It just felt different. Plus I knew somebody on the inside.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

#1047 Paris Fashion Week Day 2 - Accessibility or inaccessibility? That is the question

The crowd milling outside Rick Owens

We humans are creatures of habit and I am no exception. Every morning I wake up, get ready to go, then stop by the local boulangerie (bakery) to buy two pain au chocolat on my way to the first show. The ladies at the boulangerie utterly despise me. I'm public enemy number one. Alas, I am a victim of prejudice and persecution. My only crime - the first day I went, I asked (in French of course) for a bag to carry the three baguettes, four pain au chocolat and six croissants I had just paid for. "A bag!?" The elder of the ladies exclaimed in shock, "No! We don't have a bag." Then, turning to her esteemed colleague, "Imagine - somebody asking for a bag!?" Imagine indeed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

#1046 A fine day in Paris

Johanes Linder throwing it up for Germany backstage at Issey Miyake

Backstage at Issey Miyake stood 15 male models dressed in dark pants and white lab coats like tall, rail thin, particularly good looking pharmacists. I was ecstatic to be there with them. Not because of the models; nor because of the show; but because I was in Paris, the city of lights, my favourite city, the city that on its worst day still kills Milan on its best. Paris is about as different from Milan as apples and bananas. Milan is flashy, all-business and grey; Paris is sophisticated, open and alive. I'd arrived a few moments before and walked straight backstage without so much as a glance from security. The show was a few minutes from starting and all around, photographers directed models to stand up against this wall, pose with that boy, or jump over this imaginary line. Finally, the designer stepped forward and asked the models to remove their labcoats. Underneath were a myriad different colours, patterns and proportions.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

#1045 Hands down the best backstage photo from Milan

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

Benoni Loos and Marcel Castenmiller share an intimate moment backstage at Gucci. Sonny, you're the man.

Uploaded with my Sierra Wireless data stick on Telecom XT.


#1044 Crops, knits, sheepskin and patches - my picks of the week from Milan

Prada - Midriff cropped knits, camel suits and blue oxford shirts. When your clothes look this good it doesn't matter that you still let your mum cut your hair.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#1043 The Hockey Horror Picture Show

Francisco Lachowski all bloodied up at DSquared2

The final day of fashion week is always quieter than the rest. They pack so much into the first three days that by the time the last one arrives most people are ready to drop. First show of the day was DSquared2. With no invitation to my name and no plan of attack for getting in, I arrived 30 minutes late - two minutes before the doors were about to close. At the gate, the check in desk for buyers was still open but the press desk was closed. Things weren't looking good. I tried the buyer's desk. No dice. The security guards. Nope. The buyer's desk again. No joy. One last ditch attempt at the security guards. The one on the left knew me. He'd denied me from at least 10 shows over the last two fashion weeks. But this time he gave me a resigned smile, stood aside and let me walk through. I made it into the tent as the lights were going down.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#1042 Isaac Likes Diary updated from Milan

Michael Whittaker, Yuri Pleskun and Cole Mohr backstage at Frankie Morello.

I've just added heaps more photos from Milan (backstage, catwalk, streets, models etc) to Isaac Likes Diary. Check them all out here.


#1041 No leopards were harmed in the writing of this post

Matvey Lykov, Benoni Loos and Mark Cox post show at Gucci

First on the board today was Gucci. My invitation was emailed to me at four o'clock this morning, but I wasn't complaining; a late Gucci invite beats no Gucci invite hands down. So with plenty of time to spare, Sonny Vandevelde and I hopped aboard a 1926 tram and made the short trip to the venue, arriving a good half hour early. There were four entrances - one for press, one for buyers, one for staff and one for backstage photographers - each guarded by at least four tough guys clad in uniform black. My invite was handed to me at the press door by a lovely Hong Kong based PR agent named Natalie, who escorted me past the six-man-strong security team and through the front doors.

Monday, January 18, 2010

#1040 Backstage at Frankie Morello

With Michael Whittaker, Yuri Pleskun, Cole Mohr and Simon Nessman.

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#1039 Boys behaving badly backstage

Me and Michael Whittaker, snapped by Scott Schuman - on my camera

There's no better place to be on day two of the Milan menswear shows than backstage at Frankie Morello. It was my first show of the week last season and my first real foray into the revelry that goes on behind the scenes. Walking in that day in June was an eye opener. Kelly Osborne stood in a corner laughing while her male model boyfriend Luke Worrall tapped at another model with a baseball bat. All around were boys jumping on each other and playing up for the cameramen and photographers, most of whom lapped it up as fast as they could get it. There are two types of backstage photographers you see, the ones who do it for the art, and love nothing more than a portrait shot of a model's brooding face; and the ones who do it for the atmosphere, and thrive on the boys behaving badly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

#1038 Ermenegildo Zegna backstage and finale video

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#1037 It's all about the green

The first day of shows always brings with it a period of adjustment. In my case, to the most basic of elements: temperature and local time. It was 28 degrees when I left Auckland, two degrees when I started out this morning. Armed with five layers and four hours sleep, I allowed myself to be directed by Australian backstage photographer Sonny Vandevelde to our first show of the week. A quick 28 minute tram ride later (he timed it), we arrived at Ermenegildo Zegna head office, an austere but quite beautiful concrete and glass building on the outskirts of Milan. It took about three minutes for the excitement to kick in.

The first things you spot are the town cars. Chauffeur driven Benzes, Bentleys and Audis. Then the European editors dressed in three quarter length herringbone coats and extravagantly tied scarves, or new season Lanvin cropped blazers. Then the Japanese buyers in their light grey English-with-a-twist Donegal Tweed suits. Then the street style photographers snapping away at all of the above. It's a visual feast.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

#1036 Follow me on Twitter!

I'll be updating my Twitter account with pics, news and observations constantly (like, all the fricken time) over the next few days. So if you're not already, FOLLOW ME!

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#1035 On the ground in Milan

Photo: James K Lowe

The photo above isn't me in Milan. But it is the outfit I'm wearing as I type and it's too dark and cold to take any pictures so it'll have to do. My trip was good. Especially the 14 hour flight to Dubai. It was the best long haul plane ride I've ever taken. Go Emirates. The six hour journey to Milan, not so much. I'd watched all the films I wanted to see - Fast and Furious, Fame, Angels and Demons, Middle of Nowhere, This Is It and The Informant - and the girl next to me slept with her head on my shoulder just like you could imagine happening to George Costanza. Things started looking up as soon as I arrived at my hotel though. The man at the check in counter remembered me from six months ago when I stayed for the summer shows, and I got two welcome Antipodean surprises - Sonny Vandevelde is staying two rooms down, and Michael Whittaker was there to say hello. But most importantly, the shows start in the morning. Ermenigeldo Zegna, Costume National, Jil Sander, Emporio Armani, Burberry Prorsum. All in one day. I'm invited to 60% but I'm hoping for a 100% clean sweep. Wish me luck.

Uploaded with my Sierra Wireless data stick on Telecom XT.


Friday, January 15, 2010

#1034 Rumours false - Trelise Cooper still onboard with Air NZ

I've just flown into Dubai and the first thing that popped up on my cellphone upon my arrival was a voicemail message from Trelise Cooper. She was calling to clear up the rumour that surfaced overnight that she and/or Air New Zealand had severed their professional ties. To paraphrase Trelise Cooper, the rumour is entirely false and without substance.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

#1033 Next stop, Milan

Photo: Jordan Rondel

Nothing beats watching movies on planes. The time flies. Fast and Furious was just as good the second time around. Angels and Demons... not so much. I've just flown into Sydney for a 40 minute refuel and stopover before the next leg - a gruelling 14 and a half hour flight to Dubai. From Dubai I take a quick six and a halfer to Milan and then the fun begins. The shows start the morning after I arrive so I've got a few hours to catch my breath before the storm. I'm covering the shows, the week, the people and my experiences for the NZ Herald online and my blog, and there'll be regular updates and snapshots on my Twitter. My plane is boarding so I have to run. Before I leave, something to ponder: I've just heard a rumour (via a commenter) that Trelise Cooper has pulled out of the Air New Zealand uniform deal. Obviously that can't be confirmed but I'll make some calls in the morning from Dubai. THE RUMOUR WAS INCORRECT - see above.

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#1032 Leaving on a jet plane

I'm flying out to Europe today for the menswear shows... Everything's in a bit of a frenzy now but I'll blog properly from the airport. My schedule is as follows: 15 Jan - 19 Jan Milan - menswear, 20 Jan - 28 Jan Paris - menswear and Haute Couture.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#1031 Dressing habits of the NZ man - an addendum

Photo: The Sartorialist

I feel like I should explain. I posted that quote from Andrew Williams yesterday - in all honesty - because I kind of agreed with the point he was making. In my opinion, New Zealand men (as a general rule) don't dress as well as they could. But then I read all the angry comments and realised that Andrew Williams' opinions made him sound like a bit of a pompous twat. A superior, worst-kind-of-Englishman-looking-down-on-the-colonies, pompous twat. Which in turn makes me a pompous twat for reposting them. I take full responsibility.

But I'm not done.

#1030 My new suit

Photos: James K Lowe

Back in October I wrote a blog called My Next Suit. It was a three quarter length photo of a heavy grey flannel three piece. I was obsessed. I'd seen a picture of it somewhere or other and saved it as my desktop image. I used to look at it every day like Wayne and that guitar: 'It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.' A couple of weeks later Working Style called me up saying they were going to make me a suit. I sent them the picture and asked if it could be done. It could. I picked it up way before Christmas but due to all the craziness of the season and that new baby niece and the lack of friends and photographers in Christchurch and the heat and all the rest of it, I never got a chance to take pictures of it. So yesterday I called up my good friend James and asked if he wouldn't mind doing the honours. I paired it with the pom pom beanie my Mum knitted for me, an old American Crew knitted tie and my Loakes. And yes, as the blue sky would suggest, it was 28 degrees outside. Slightly warm in a heavy three piece suit. I'm going to Europe tomorrow though, so I'm sure I'll get good use from it there.

All the photos below.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

#1029 Quote of the day - Andrew Williams on the poor dressing habits of New Zealand men

"...Kiwi men are utterly unrepentant in their desire to dress badly. Indeed, they almost revel in it. Any kind of interest in clothing is viewed as effeminate. It was as though the last forty years in male clothing and grooming hadn’t happened. Something as common place in Europe as a pink shirt is viewed with the very greatest suspicion... So what do I mean by badly dressed? For the most part I’m talking about a complete a (sic) lack of flair, care, quality and above all effort. The antipodean stereotype of stubbies (short short), singlet and work boots was all too common. But even going out to dinner it was not uncommon to see men in flip-flops. At best you’d see an excess of the purely mundane - poorly tailored jeans and uninspiring tops and trainers or work boots... For the most part all I saw were men throwing on cheap, scruffy clothes without effort or care."

A London based fashion blogger tells it like it is after returning home from a trip down under.

[Men's Flair]


Monday, January 11, 2010

#1028 Calvin Klein campaign preview - I see red I see red I see red

Image /Fashion Gone Rogue

I'm posting this new Calvin Klein Spring/Summer 2010 campaign preview for three reasons. First, because it features Mark Cox. Mark is the funniest Dutchman I've ever met and so deserving of his new found success. (The girl is Constance Jablonski; current Black Magazine cover star and walker of the most shows last season - 72.) Second, because the red suits are reminiscent of Zambesi's Spring/Summer 2009/2010 red suits for boys and for girls. More so for boys. And finally, because of the buttoning choice of Mark Cox's jacket. The top button is undone, the bottom is done up. The buttoning rules for men's suit jackets are very specific. If it's a two button suit, the rule is top button - always, bottom button - never. Is this a mistake or a conscious decision? I'd love to know.

Pictures of the Zambesi suits below.

Images /Coutorture


#1027 Quote of the day - Tyler Riggs

Tyler Riggs backstage at Louis Vuitton F/W 09/10.

Fashion Rambler: If someone told you 5 years ago that you would become a model and do all these shows and campaigns, what would you have said?

Tyler Riggs: No way, I am going to be in the sickest, heaviest most freakin' brutal hardcore band ever and I am going to live in a van and eat Wendys everyday.

[Fashion Rambler]


#1026 Popular Penguins

Image /Penguin

It was my Dad's lifelong dream to own a secondhand book shop. So in what could be termed a curiously backwards step, the Hindin Miller family was uprooted from its Muriwai Beach life of sun, sand and cinematic success (he'd recently had three film scripts made into features), and found itself in cold, conservative, Christchurch town. The year was 1992. The book shop opened shortly thereafter. Bookmarks, on the corner of Hereford and Manchester Streets. Stocking everything from the rare, the popular, the scientific and the political, Dad once estimated that - between Bookmarks and our house - we were in possession of somewhere in the region of 40,000 books at any given time. I remember the Penguins.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

#1025 ...and all the Trelise Cooper designed Air New Zealand men's uniforms

Trelise Cooper's men's Air New Zealand uniforms have already received praise from one Air New Zealand staff member, who said she thought they were "very professional". Well lady, we'll have to agree to disagree. I wouldn't want Toyota to design a new aeroplane. Why? Because they're car makers. So why did Air New Zealand commission a renowned womenswear designer to design a men's uniform? It just doesn't make sense.

#1024 EXCLUSIVE! Trelise Cooper's new Air NZ uniforms - all the female looks

I feel for Trelise Cooper. Redesigning the Air New Zealand uniforms was always going to be a dog of a job. Just look at what she was up against. First of all, a huge staff body with hugely varying body types. Second, the New Zealand public - hardly the easiest group upon which to unveil anything new. Third, replacing Zambesi - loyalists were always going to disapprove of whatever she did. At first glance, I disliked what she'd designed. But the more I look at it, the more it's growing on me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

#1023 Isaac Likes Diary

Hey so I've started a new blog. It's a photo diary with heaps of pictures taken at home, in my travels, out and about and all over the place. Isaac Likes is very text heavy and I wanted a place to put the pictures that don't always relate to anything on here. Right now I'm uploading lots of photos from the last year or so. The address is go take a look-see!


#1022 The Kiwi boys' showcards

Images /

I've just spent the entire morning requesting invitations to the Milan shows (which start on 16 January), and it reminded me that I should check up on the New Zealand situation over there. As far as I've heard, Michael Whittaker is our only local going over for both weeks - Milan and Paris - though Kiwi expat Aiden Andrews will be sure to make an appearance. There were rumours that Felix Terpstra and Vincent Paunovic were going to head over but those haven't eventuated. Above is Michael's WHYNOT showcard. He's casting for the shows in Paris right now and apparently he's confirmed a couple already. Now all he needs is a Prada/Gucci booking for Milan and he'll be set.

Aiden's showcard below.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#1021 The gentleman's wardrobe

Image /Fantastic Man

The good men over at Fantastic Man posted this image a few days ago and it's been sitting on my desktop ever since. I can't stop looking at it. I honestly don't think it gets any better than this. It's the perfect man's wardrobe. Trench coat, overcoat, car coat, suits, tux, dressing gown, pyjamas, shirt options (including collarless), socks, pocket squares/handkerchiefs, ties and bow ties, wing tips, oxfords and patent tuxedo shoes. Amazing. No extraneous details, no tacky printed tee shirts or cargo pants, it's the bare minimum of what a man would have had in his wardrobe, say, 50 years ago. If we were going to update it for today's man, I'd do it like this. Trench coat, overcoat, leather jacket, suits (navy, grey), tee shirts (white, grey marle, black), shirts, sweaters (crew neck, vee neck, cashmere or lambswool), cardigans, beige pants, blue jeans, socks, pocket squares, ties, wingtips, navy Chuck Taylors. Done.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

#1020 Models are so 09

Image /Fashion Gone Rogue

I like the new Burberry campaign image above for two reasons. First - the guy on the left's collarless shirt. I love collarless shirts and we don't see nearly enough of them. But we should - they're the ideal summer shirt (alongside chambray shirts). Forget tee shirts and collared shirts (and don't get me started on henleys - the wackest non tee shirt/non shirt ever created), every man should own at least one collarless shirt. Second reason, the cast. The guy on the left is Alex Watson, brother of actress Emma Watson (who's in the middle), and the guy on the right is musician George Craig. None of them are models. They're just good looking, English cool kids. And it got me thinking. Why don't we see more of this in New Zealand?

#1019 No Stevie Kemp for America's Next Top Model

Image /62 Models

It would seem the Herald on Sunday got it wrong this past weekend when they ran this story about Kiwi model Stevie Kemp being contracted to Cycle 15 of America's Next Top Model. Quoting an unnamed member of Stevie Kemp's family, the piece states that the 16 year old model has signed a contract; that filming won't begin until next year and that it is unclear what her role will be on the show. Although 62 Models boss Sara Tetro declined to comment in the article, the agency's official word as of today is that there isn't a shred of truth to the rumour, with booker Rhiyen Sharpe saying, "Somebody must have gotten their wires crossed."

#1018 Disturbia - the Stella Maxwell remix

You know how it is. It's winter time, negative degrees outside, you're sitting around in your room trying to figure out how to occupy the next couple of hours. What to do, what to do... Your eyes glance over to the laptop sitting on your desk. Two words appear in the recesses of your mind. Music. Video. So it must have been for Stella Maxwell and Elise Helene Gatschene on New Year's Eve in Paris when they decided to take on Rihanna's mammoth number one single Disturbia. I like it how you can tell they're really feeling the lyrics. Especially Stella. But especially Helene. And the flickering lights, the post production, the facials... The two models have created their own Youtube account, aptly titled pixiesticks215. (Get it? pixie-sticks-215?) Let's hope they get onto their next video promptly. You go girls.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

#1017 Be back tomorrow

Image /The Fashionisto

If you're wondering why I've been so slack on the blogging front of late, it's because I've been summering in sunny Diamond Harbour for the past week. Internet usage has been sporadic, baking banana bread has been constant yet unsuccessful (NB: don't listen to your father when he tells you no baking powder is necessary in gluten free flour), and baby Sofia and BBC's 12 part War and Peace mini series have been taking up the best part of my attention. My favourite part of the day - listening to Noelle McCarthy on Summer Noelle from 10am - 12 noon on Radio New Zealand. Nothing beats that Irish lilt. Top of the mornin' to ya! I fly back into Auckland this afternoon so I'll be back into the swing of things tomorrow. Plus there are a few Isaac Likes developments to come. So watch this space. One last thing - has anybody else noticed that Boyd Holbrook (pictured above) is a dead ringer for Macauley Culkin?


Sunday, January 3, 2010

#1017 That good knit

Nothing beats coming home and discovering that your Mum suddenly has all these knitting skills you never knew about. You walk in the door to find her casually casting off into the deep knitted oblivion on a mini cable stitched cardigan for your baby niece - alongside a half double crocheted blankie and some double pointed needled purl booties. Welcome to my world. And don't you worry, I put those skills to good use. First up, a navy pom pom hat with cream Fair Isle-esque pattern (I made the pom pom). Then, a couple of knitted elbow patches for my grey Comme Play sweater - a combination of chronic leaning on tables plus extra pointy elbows wore some nasty holes in both the sleeves of that sucker. As it happens, the knitted elbow patches were a stroke of genius - they give the sweater even more of a patchworky Comme Des Garcons look. I love them.

More photos below.