Just Be Cause

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouTop: The Cause Melbourne

Pants: Jacqui E

Shoes: Carla Milani

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the launch of a fantastic new retail space in the basement of Melbourne’s Causeway House.

The Cause (naturally) is partly a retail space that showcases a range of upcoming local and independent designers, and also a small-scale manufacturing hub that boasts 14 industrial sewing machines, a fully operational sampling production floor, pattern drafting tables and plenty of cutting space. Basically everything you need if you’re an up-and-coming designer or fashion student looking to get a foothold in the competitive fashion industry,

It’s the brainchild of Dale and Sharmaine Cornell of New Model Beauty Queen; a independent Melbourne-based label that campaigns for sustainability, ethical manufacture, and body positivity (the brand is sized from a 6 to an 18, and the designers are happy to custom-size), and in true Melbourne fashion it’s down a laneway, behind an unmarked door, and down some mysterious looking stairs.

The CauseThe fashion show itself was great though a lot of the clothes were a little too avant garde for me (in keeping with The Cause’s ethos of creating “designs and wearable art pieces that move away from standard mainstream fashion”). There were seven designers profiled – The Cause, Straker, New Model Beauty Queen, Coco and Max, Designed In Brunswick, Jenny Robinson Creative Design & HID – and I loved that they sent models of a variety of sizes, shapes, ages and ethnicities down the runway.

Cause 2Theoretically I was just there to LOOK. I have a lot of clothes, y’know. But when I spotted the Magyar Top I couldn’t resist trying it on… and one I’d tried it on I had to buy it, of course.

Frocks and Frou FrouIt’s a divine shape: Batwing sleeves which taper elegantly into a 3/4 length that can be scrunched up the the elbows, a wide neckline that has a feature V at the back, the volume at the top counter-balanced by a fitted waist. The fabric is a wool blend, but it’s soft enough to wear next to my skin, and it keeps its shape admirably over repeated wears.

Frocks and Frou FrouIt’s become a wardrobe staple in the few weeks that I’ve owned it, and it teams as nicely with skirts as it does with today’s Audrey Hepburn inspired skinny-leg/ballet-flats ensemble.

 Plus – it’s sustainable, locally manufactured, independently designed, bought from a hidden boutique, and it’s BLACK. How much more Melbourne can you get?

An Apple A Day

Dress: Jacqui E

Shoes: Poetic License

What’s the most important item that I’m wearing today?

Is the cute, but simple navy dress from Jacqui E? The much-loved patent pumps from Poetic License? My… smile?

Give up?

It’s this:

Apple Pin

I haven’t really talked much in the past few months about what’s going on in my personal family life. It’s been too close and too raw to share, but I asked my sister if she was OK with me talking about this on the blog, and she said it would be, so here we go.

In July my sister Mae was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

God I hate that word. Cancer. I know it’s ridiculously common. I know that almost all of you will have had brushes with it in the past. Perhaps you’re still dealing with the fallout of a diagnosis right now. It’s a part of life. I guess I just never expected to have to apply it to my baby sister.

Bowel cancer’s very common – it’s the second most common cancer in Australia – but it’s very rare among young people. Very, very rare among young women. And it’s very, very, very silent.

Mae was only diagnosed because it had spread, causing irreparable damage to her ovaries and uterus. What began as a frightening diagnosis of ovarian neoplasia (requiring my twenty-eight year old sister to undergo a full hysterectomy) rapidly snowballed into a frankly terrifying diagnosis of stage four colon cancer.

And the bottom dropped out of my world.

My sister has the most generous heart of anyone I’ve ever met. She has a breathtaking capacity for love and kindness, and is the bravest, strongest and most empathetic person I know.

She doesn’t deserve the hand that’s been dealt to her.

But in typical Mae-fashion she’s meeting the battle head-on. Her recovery from a ten-hour surgery was awe-inspiring, her courage and fortitude as she undergoes pretty full-on chemotherapy amazes me. And on top of everything else, she’s now planning her wedding.

So to my brave, beautiful, loving and dearly loved little sister: I am SO proud of you, and I love you more than I can say. I wish I could fight this battle for you, but I’m walking with you every step of the way.

And to you, my readers, bowel cancer isn’t the most glamorous of cancers. There are no glossy bowel-cancer themed products in the supermarket aisles. GHD isn’t lining up to do a bowel-cancer hair straightener. OPI hasn’t done a line of bowel-cancer nail polishes. Witchery isn’t encouraging everyone (well, everyone under a size 16 anyway) to wear a white shirt to promote bowel-cancer awareness.

Bowel cancer DOES have a really cute fundraising pin though. Do me a favour and buy one, OK?