Luxuriating in feather-soft mohair
30 Aug 2017
By Tilly Smith Dix
Mohair has always been a favourite fabric of mine as it offers all the luxe features I love next to my skin: feather soft, timeless, sheer, beautiful and snug.
Having heard my lament about loving the cold Melbourne winters but being bored and fed-up with my winter wardrobe, Belinda Phillips of La Luna Lifestyle boutique in Sydney has sent me a consignment of her affordably indulgent mohair range of wraps, scarves, mittens, mini-scarves, shrugs and beanies. I’m happy to spread this good fortune to other women in beautiful Victoria.
Speaking of feather-soft, the addition of ostrich feathers for added allure on some of the shrugs smarten up any outfit and this was a popular seller at the boutique.
The colours are a delight, ranging from lavender to avocado to burgundy and luscious pink, which will not only help me luxuriate in the final throes of winter but also stave off the chill in all seasons, not to mention my now looking forward to winter 2018 as my winter wardrobe update is sorted.
I’m not in the least surprised La Luna Lifestyle has had superb sales of this exquisite mohair range in NSW. The fact that it is produced from angora goats that roam the wide, open plains of the Karoo in South Africa, makes it even more desirable for me. I appreciate the fact the goats live happy, free-range lives and are shorn twice a year in a humane way, while the beautifully designed garments are hand-made by rural women of the region.
Most of the mohair is exported across the globe and the women producing the yarn and garments were trained to provide them with life-enhancing skills, affording them independence and the ability to provide for their families.
Belinda, designer and founder of the La Luna Lifestyle fashion brand here in Australia, is a lass who supports fashion with a conscience, from environmentally friendly fabrics and the humane treatment of animals, to skills training and supporting fashion fabric producers in support of previously disadvantaged people around the world.
For more on Belinda’s admirable ethos and stunning designs, check out my earlier blog titled Fashion with a Conscience.
Visit La Luna Lifestyle boutique in Vaucluse, Sydney, where the service is awesome and befriend La Luna Lifestyle on Facebook.
Glam it up in Healesville
By Tilly Smith Dix
The Yarra Valley is renowned for its delicious food, wine and fresh produce. The region is also home to some bespoke fashion boutiques that have local and international tourists flocking for some glamour in the country.
I suggest women unite and plan such trips with their best girlfriends to take a drive into the tranquil beauty of Healesville, take in some fashion and homeware shopping and indulge in a leisurely lunch to reconnect with the fabulous woman residing in all of us.
My husband went to play with his Sling aircraft at Coldstream Flyers Club with his pal Paul, which gave me a licence to go exploring some of the superb shops nearby in Healesville. On a crisp, sunny winter’s morning, the Yarra Valley and its verdant pastures, hills, mountains and surrounds offered much needed solace to a home-office battered soul on a Sunday.
My first stop in picture-perfect Healesville was Alchemy at 242 Maroondah Highway. The quality of the fabrics and designs for women were simply stunning. I love shopping in winter as I’m definitely an autumn and winter person. The feel of cashmere, alpaca and any soft enveloping woollen garment sends me into a happy place – those feel-good serotonin hormones just keep me on a high.
The shammy-soft ankle and knee-high boots in new styles and colours to suit any self-respecting chic gal, had me salivating. I was not the only one, as I’m also a people watcher and the ladies gathered for some retail therapy at Alchemy were having a grand old time! I spotted a glam gran, elegant mom and stylish young woman having the time of their lives, trying on the baby-soft woollen shrugs, jackets and boots, and of course, investing in something every woman should have at least one of: a large, all-purpose handbag to match most of the current winter shades, such as dove grey, sandy tan, and of course, the never-far-from-reach old faithful: black!
I’ve also discovered that black and the current deep shade of navy make for an interesting combination. Round it off with a scarf to complement the chorus and you have a symphony of style going on. Navy, tan and a splash of winter pink for extra pop.
I believe the prices are competitive and worth that scenic drive into the country.
My next stop was Treasures of Istanbul at 202 Maroondah Highway. I have some warm, perfectly insulated winter walking boots, woollen wraps and leather jackets from this stunning store’s sister-shop in Olinda and have my eye on some of the silken Turkish rugs with matching cushions on display.
Again, the prices are most accommodating and the quality of the pashminas, beautifully lined kid-leather jackets, uniquely designed leather boots and gifts, such as hand-painted ceramic serving dishes, make for a veritable feast for the eyes and senses in this aesthetically delightful treasure trove. No need to travel to Turkey, make this a priority stop when visiting the magical Yarra Valley.
As a relatively new arrival in the region, I am still amazed by the friendly, helpful service on offer when entering these delightful outlets; one gets the impression the staff enjoy their jobs, always affording time to chat and offering warm, professional service.
Delighted to call this region home.
As a mature woman of petite stature, I became a slave to enduring fashion ever since earning my first paychecks whilst part-time modelling on Saturday mornings to encourage departmental store shoppers to spend more on fashion when I was in senior school.
No prizes for guessing where my first monthly paycheck went to after board and lodge deductions when commencing with my first full-time job. Of course, working in PR in the performing arts required looking glamorous when dealing with international performers and impresarios. It was fabulous and I ended up on a road of no return when it came to striving to look my best.
Today, I spend less on clothing and one of the many perks of becoming ‘mature’ of age and a hunter gatherer of chic fashion, is that you get to wear garments you’ve carefully packed away for some years when they went out of fashion and become all the rage again.
Without ego we have no drive, and of course, too much ego tips the scales, so, I’d like to think I have attained some balance through my ongoing communications with people specializing in the business of emotional intelligence.
Bottom line, I get a thrill when chic younger women compliment me on my style. When I tell them the sweater and cool jeans are recent but the boots, coat or jacket have lingered in my Pandora’s Box of fashion treasures for some 15+ years, they give me ‘the look,’ of ‘no way,’ as that design is this season’s fashion star.
I then launch into my, by now, well-rehearsed dialogue of, “honey, when you’ve been around for as long as I have, you get to wear the good stuff all over again, and if you’re lucky, in its third round of being fabulous.” I get mixed reactions but, hopefully, when they get to my mature age, they’ll remember and grin when faced with déjà vu!
Growing up with two much older sisters was fun. One of them was a fashion model and the other was a bit of a Jackie Kennedy fashion follower. My darling mom was a sucker for a stylish hat, whilst my elegant father had an eye for long-lasting quality. Lucky me, it’s in the genes, bite me.
Getting back to my first paycheck, I bought a pair of divine imported Italian heels in a rich shade of burgundy, and a tan woolen cape, both of which served me well for over 10 years. Not a bad start in building a timeless wardrobe.
Living in a picturesque village outside Melbourne gives me an ideal balance when it comes to dressing! Jeans and flat boots, cosy jumpers, ponchos, puffer jackets, hats, scarves, these are my daily dress staples in winter in my home office. When I go to the city for meetings, I get to wear heels, coats, hats and skirts to blend in with the sophisticated city slickers.
My recommendations for this 2017 winter? A classic skirt just below the knees; an asymmetric knit; opaque tights or sheer stockings, depending on the occasion, heeled ankle boots and a classic, luxurious woolen coat. I’m still a lover of long, soft boots and, they are back this season, yay!
A tailored white shirt is another hero-piece for me, with jeans, classic pencil skirt or tailored pants, again, depending on the occasion.
Scarves, hats and wraps or ponchos are ideal to spruce up your look and will complement a dressed-up as well as casual look. Play with it and find your signature style. It is fun being a woman at ANY age.
Shopping in the outer-east of Melbourne
Country Road, Witchery, H&M, Nine West, Myer, David Jones, Jeans West and Moskito Blue are my favourite fashion and beauty outlets.
I’ve experienced some of the best service from these stores for some years. I don’t shop often but if I receive their regular updates via email, I have been known to call the Eastland Country Road or Witchery outlets, asking for those items and when they have it in store, they’ll keep it for me for a few days. I like the idea of shopping online, which they offer too, but, being petite, I prefer to try stuff on before I buy – it is also a thrill to interact with the helpful, friendly, informative staff. The things we do when we are self-employed and need to escape the confines of a busy home office…
Myer and David Jones are excellent department stores and I have nothing but praise for their choice of staff and staff training. I received a promotional alert from Clarence recently, offering me a gift pack with the purchase of two items, one being a skin product. As I needed to stock up on winter skincare, I trotted off to do just that and was assisted by the most charming, helpful beauty consultant, who had an accent to die for and I was pleased my husband was safely tucked away at home. I thought she was French but when she informed me she was Polish but trained as a beauty consultant in Paris, where she also acquired most of her English, we ended up having a delightful chat about the glories of Paris, which I’ve not visited for some years, and the beauty of Poland, which I’ve never visited.
Yes, it’s not just about the shopping, it’s about the experience and feeling feminine, and connecting with like-minded women.
I popped into Nine West during autumn to replace some comfortable flat walking boots. The fit was perfect, the style timeless and in vogue this season, which for me, will be several seasons. I loved the sheer disposable socks available to customers trying on shoes in the store, to which the excellent saleswoman kindly slipped a few pairs into my boot box as a token of goodwill.
She also wanted to order another pair from her supply store as the left boot had a slight mark on the leather, which I had not even noticed at first. I assured her I could fix it with my beeswax and leather protector spray, to which she offered the boots to me at a reduced price. This is the formula for creating a loyal following. I’ll be back.
Jeans West is my staple for silky-soft jeans and the new stretch textures are perfect for any shape. I commend their staff for always being on point – and the constant special offers.
Moskito Blue in Lilydale has been a go-to for flattering tops, hats and summer dresses. Ask for Ricky, she is a treasure and it is evident she loves her job of making her customers look and feel fabulous.
H&M has a superb business model. I was browsing for some winter scarves to update my stash and was informed by the friendly, helpful saleswoman I’d get the least expensive of the items free if I purchased three and ‘liked’ their Facebook page on my phone with her as witness at the purchase counter – the promotion was ending that day! What was I to do? You do the math.
Feeling fabulous is part of being a woman and savouring TheGoodLife…have fun!