Print Envy

Top: Variety Hour

Skirt: Modcloth

Belt: Sportscraft

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Since 2008 (!) when I first started Frocks and Frou Frou, the offerings available for plus size women has just grown and grown and grown, but there’s still some glaring gaps in the market.

I love local indie designers Obus and Gorman (and Miranda Murphy, and Wolf and Mishka, and about eleventy hundred more hipster-cool brands that pop up at design markets) but one of the main things that they seem to share – apart from great prints and contemporary cuts – is the inability to go above a size 14.

Guy, I love prints, but I’ve reached a point where I need more than polkadots, stripes, and florals. I want abstract shapes, and geometric lines, and textile designs not just prints, and honestly, I’m finding them very few and far between.

There’s a girl who works in my office (with the most magnificent tumble-down, golden-red curls you’ve ever seen – if you know her, her you’ll know who I’m talking about). She’s absolutely lovely, and wears all the amazing kinds of cool prints and cuts that I wish I could squeeze myself into. There’s one particular top that she wears with some regularity, and when I told her how much I admired it she told me it was from Melbourne-based textile designer Cassie Byrne. The name rang a bell a few weeks later when I stumbled across Cassie herself at the Finders Keepers Market.

Cassie graduated RMIT in 2014, and has since worked as a freelance designer for clients including Beci Orpin, Milk and Sugar and Kuwaii. Her own brand, Variety Hour, offers cushions, bags, scarves and clothing printed with her bold and beautiful artwork which is often inspired by rock formations and natural fauna and flora.

I couldn’t resist trying one of the tops on… just in case… and was totally delighted to discover that the XL was forgiving enough to fit the Rack of Doom. It’s a boxy, flowing fit with a tapered waist and cuffed dolman sleeves and I wanted it in all of the prints, but limited myself to one – the Tropica.

Inspired by the sub-tropical rainforest of Gondwana, the print was hand painted using pigment inks, then printed in Melbourne on a lovely silk crepe de chine that drapes beautifully, and has held its colour and shape brilliantly over repeated wears and washes.

It’s has the colour and print that I’ve always loved, but with a bit of uniqueness and maturity that late-thirties-me appreciates. It’s definitely one of the more expensive pieces in my wardrobe, but has already proven itself worth the investment.

It was pretty exciting to see that earlier this year Variety Hour was picked up by US cult favourites, Anthropologie (including this top!), and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for this wonderful, local designer.

 

Save

Life Gets in the Way

Top: DIY from Marilla Walker top

Skirt: City Chic

Shoes: Rockport

Oh God, I’m a terrible blogger and it’s been over a month since I last posted. I’m still here, and happy, and well, and wearing clothes (believe it or not) but I’m afraid life has a way of getting in the way.

It’s been a wonderful life though. The Mister and I have started looking at potential wedding venues, and we’re also madly saving up for a house deposit. Work is a joy – I haven’t felt so enriched and rewarded for years – and the team that I work with are divine.

I’ve been sewing, and baking, and reading, and writing, and catching up with friends, and doing jewellery-making courses, and basically everything but blogging. You’ll forgive me, right?

At least today’s outfit is current! This skirt is available right now from City Chic, but I basically had to wrestle another shopper for the size (I’m joking of course), so you might want to get in quickly. I’ve been looking for a permanent-pleat midi skirt for a while, and this one’s a delicious ox-blood colour that will go with a slew of my wardrobe; including the boxy Maya top that I made from a Marilla Walker pattern earlier last year. It also comes in black, and pleather, if maroon isn’t your thing.

Speaking of sewing, I’m hilariously delighted to tell you that I’ve actually sewn a stack of pussy hats that are now available to buy from Readings Bookshop.

We wear our feminist bias proudly at Readings – it’s hard to work with such a remarkable bunch of amazing and talented women and not feel a little bit in awe of them – and we put our money where our mouth is, so $1 from the sale of each of the hats will go to our Readings Foundation to help promote literacy programs, and further 10% from me to Women’s Community Centres. Readings ships worldwide, so if you’ve ever wanted a Lilli original (LOL), this one will keep your head warm AND support some good causes.

Save

Save