Guidelines for Bella & Grace Culture

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Massimo Dutti Icon

Is David Gandy Massimo's best feature?
The new dilemma for us - Zara or Massimo Dutti? We fianlly get Zara to Australia but we really need to have Massimo on our shores too. If for no other reason than those lovely catalogues featuring our IT male for now - David Gandy. We suspect that we may not be the only ones to have noticed how well he represents the Massimo brand. Let's hope someone sees sense and deems the store to land on our shores in the near future. If we are doomed to be the land of the cheap chain store, could we at least add in a little something interesting into the mix. Style requires it! We could do a lot worse than have this one here. Then again - what would we have to look forward to when we travel overseas if we have it all here??
Ciao from B&G

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The new boot for us.

Well dear reader, this week, we've been on the hunt for the best new lace-up ankle boot. Whilst the weather here hasn't exactly turned to Autumn, we can already envisage those skinny black jeans or cargo skinny legs with the new lace up boots. Quite a new interpretation of the old Desert boot, but also in suede. We love these new ones with the crepe sole and stacked solid heel. We can imagine tramping the streets of Melbourne or Florence in these. Now we can't wait until the weather does turn. Spotted a pair which may be reasonable in Country Road or these - See by Chloe - the ultimate.
Ciao from B&G

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Hair Dilemma Finally Solved!

We at Bella & Grace Culture have been on the trail to solve the great hair dilemma - fly away dry hair!
After that recent sojourn in Europe where the water is completely different, we suddenly realised it's all about water, not just about all the treatments and chemicals we've been throwing at our heads to restore its shine & lustre. Couldn't believe it, that even with dodgy hotel room hair dryers we found our locks sat beautifully all the time. Got us thinking, then it must be about water. For those of you who have travelled you will recall that in some parts of Europe you can be tricked into thinking that you didn't put any shampoo into your hair - it really doesn't froth up as much as here. Back in Melbourne town after a week the same old dry frizz returned. Well, we think we've got the solution - Demineralised Water. Head on down to the Laundry section of your local friendly supermarket. Costs about $1.70 for a huge bottle of the stuff - about an Orange Juice bottle size. Use this to do your final rinse - or all of it if you can be bothered. Then finish off you towel dried hair with our other favourite - Moroccan oil. Hair problem solved - sits beautifully and you don't need to wash it again as frequently. For those of you with fine hair - try the Moroccan Light. For those of you who haven't ever used Moroccan oil, try it any way - quite expensive, but worth it - only use about a  5 cent piece worth in the palm of your hand before you dry.
Can't believe we've hit the jackpot on this life changing problem - all those other products are out the door - what a saving!!!
Let us know how you go if you try this trick. Two key ingredients - Moroccan Oil & De-mineralised water.
Ciao from B&G

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting ready for the new season?

Today we've been out spotting items for the new season. No actual buying, just mental notes of things to get ready to add into the collection. Getting very keen on the new season suede ankle boots. Kind of a cross between a dessert boot and a shoe. Saw these in SEED in Armadale and think they would be really good with a pair of leggings or skinny leg jeans. Once the weather cools a little we'll muster up the energy to try them on!
Ciao from B&G

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Monday, February 14, 2011

What's a really good hair cut worth?

Bella & Grace have strayed a little from the path of culture in the past few weeks and onto public transport to get to town. Boy - is that an experience! The best part of the whole thing has been the wonderful conversations one can catch whilst enjoying the travel experience.
Just last week we overheard two lovely ladies discussing a fabulous hairdresser who really got stuck into re-styling one of them. Cut and colour only $600!!!! Really - a bargain, considering she will have to go back in just six weeks time.
She actually needs a trip across town to see Stefano at Avia 170 in Carlton. She can save herself a real packet of money, get a great cut and colour and then head out to snap up some fashion bargains with the change - everyone's a winner.
Snip, Snip & Ciao from B&G

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What's the best thing about a change in Season in Melbourne?

The change of season in Melbourne signals a change in fashion of course! Love it. Here in Melbourne there is a rush to bring us the next season as quickly as possible. Barely have our summer tans faded and out comes the new season fashions, boots, woollens, the lot. We fashion lovers at Bella & Grace culture used to moan about this push, but now we use it to our advantage. Now is the time to start thinking about your own wardrobe. What are the gaps, what is definitely passed it's prime and what do you want to adopt of the new season? Rememember, not everything suits everyone. So the strategy for all of this - start getting out the old season. Dust off the moth balls and have a serious look at your collection. Get ready to cull and then add. Here's the good bit. All of the stuff you spy now will be on sale when you really want to wear it, so don't feel compelled to adopt it right away. Thanks retailers - we love this early bird process you've forced on us. Today we headed down to Hawksburn in Malvern Rd and then over to Toorak. First a little light lunch in Husk, then off to cast an eye over the wares! Starting to warm to a few new pieces. The short leather biker jacket or an aviator one with shearling lining and collar? Now for boots - over the knee - be careful you don't end up looking like some weird dominatrix, or a short suede wedge heel which have those skinny jeans tucked into them. Also lace up desert boot styles with wedge heels in various other shoe shops. For now those cute little wedges are beginning to tempt. Just got to find the ones which aren't perilously high and you can actually walk in them. Saw a lot of these in Europe recently. We took a peek in Seed, Witchery and Giallo for starters.  A little diversion at Simon Johnson in Toorak, for some Marriage Freres tea, which is a must. They have an ample supply of lovely varieties, despite the fact they are not exactly nearby the Marriage Freres tea rooms in Paris. Our favourites are the Vanille and Marco Polo. If in Paris we also like Grande Augustine. Although expensive you only need a little as it best weak and without milk.  Srill saving for that apartment in Paris to drink this stuff permanently!. Over the road to Max Mara who  had their new Winter Collection in store complete with luxurious fabrics and superb tailoring as usual.   Definitely worth a look for the forthcoming season and also to pick up their lovely catalogue to peruse at home.
Don't forget to cast one more glance over those summer sale racks - still might be a little treasure lurking too.
After lunching in our favourite cafe at the back of Husk in Hawksburn (recommendations for the chicken sandwiches and open style sandwiches) and considering the latest leather jackets with shearling collars as featured in all the O/S mags and web sites such as the Sartorialist.  Speaking of which, we can’t get enough of this site for great ideas and vicarious travel to all our favourite destinations.  Style, style, style!
Such a cute village style atmosphere with chain stores and individual stores.  Pick up a lasagne from Donini’s for dinner and all is well. Happy planning readers - plenty of productive days ahead of us yet.
Ciao from B&G

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Felt the need for a new Frock!

Got the urge to have a frock. Haven't felt this way for years. Must be mad or the effect of Madmen! Well we walked and walked the length and breadth of  Melbourne looking for that something special to no avail! The solution of course - the Internet. Found this gorgeous vintage pattern - complete and only used once, then off to The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe for some fabric. In luck, the lovely staff directed us to this cute spotted cotton , really on a roll now! Now back home to the sewing machine - a daunting task after many years of languishing in the back of the cupboard. Needed the specs to thread the thing! But - a few hours later - success - the frock is done and now ready for it's first outing. Total cost $59.95. What a bargain, what fun - don't think we have the energy to repeat the performance again in a hurry though!
Ciao from the sewing machine of B&G

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mango vs Zara - The new dilemma!

Well now readers, have just got back from chilly Europe - crisp days and some light snow - beautiful sights.
The usual first day activity for us is to head straight to Zara - our mecca of retail at a reasonable price. Imagine the disappointment - the whole place looked like a rats nest!
Shuffled down the street to Mango expecting to be similiarly disappointed, only to find the exact opposite. Boy - have they stepped up their game. Too many great choices. Came away with the must have from last season - a cropped leather biker jacket in chocolate. Will look great with jeans and a white T-shirt - the timeless classic. New season stock just coming into the store too. Lots of camel and navy, teamed with a striped breton T-shirt or a crisp white shirt and nice cuffs. Very wearable! Look forward to this hitting our stores here. Life's looking good. Scooped up the bargain Biker jacket, then rugged up once more out into the snow and headed off to the next mecca. Sure beats our "trawl malls" any day.
Stay tuned for more from the northern hemisphere soon. Based on this experience, we've got to conclude Mango beats Zara hands down. Now feeling concerned about the new store in Melbourne - just what will they hit us with? Will they let the store get picked over each day, like a day at the beach infested with sqwawking seagulls? Hope we don't end up with a store full of over priced, poor quality euro trash.

Ciao from B&G