Tuesday, March 31, 2015

@ The Lounge...

...Séverine wears Retros by Liz Cole.

A slinky, figure-hugging knit dress is a must and Retros delivers it in a myriad vintage prints. Like being a kid in a candy store. Here's two delicious examples.

Care to join them for a drink?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Retros' Mata Hari

Séverine loves intrigue. She also loves see-through loveliness. Thus, Séverine models Retros' hand beaded recreation of Jeanne Moreau's seductive fashion from the François Truffaut 1964 film. 

The luxury of it all...

Beads, beads, everywhere beads! 

See-through charmer

Only Retros by Liz Cole! Only Séverine!

Like Glass

Saturday, March 21, 2015


The Ursuline Convent is ancient, and has seen many lives. Some women have sought solace here in troubled times, many have received healing and others have found refuge from a life full of pain. Some have been confined, hidden away in shame.

Once past the gates, the edifice is awe inspiring. Attempts have been made in recent years to ‘pretty it up’ but it remains imposing and can cause the lay visitor to shudder uneasily before proceeding further into the solemn interior.

The Rule has altered little since the convent’s foundation; only minor changes over the last hundred years, so those who dedicate their lives to Christ here find comfort and security in knowing that thousands of women before them have lived out their closeted lives in peace - or so they assume.

The abbess is at her private devotions; she has been contemplating going into retreat and is asking for holy guidance. She hears the sacristan’s light footfall and stifles the rising feeling of irritation. Sister Jeanne rises from her knees and opens the cell door. Meek Sister Barbara stands there, her eyes downcast, hands nervous with her simple rosary. Jeanne can hear distant banging and shouting.

‘ Can it not wait until morning?’


 Jeanne follows the sacristan along the corridor and down the winding stair. The only light is the lamp in the hand of the younger nun; it does little to scatter the shadows. It is not unfeasible, thinks Barbara, that long dead sisters might well be awake on such a grim, moonless night, telling their rosaries with bony fingers, and chanting tonguelessly the order of the hour. She shivers.

It is fearsomely cold. Rimes of ice are spidering the bare stone and the cloister’s trees are already white. The lamplight catches a carved face squinting down from above the high arched door. Barbara tries not to flinch under its frozen stare.

She unlocks the door and they pass into the reception chamber. Heavy kicks are being administered to the ancient wooden door and there is the sound of weeping.

A coarse voice in an uncouth accent bellows,

‘Whores of God! Open up! Another slut for your brothel.....’

Sister Jeanne raises an eyebrow and adjusts her veil. Was her face truly like that of an angel peeping through a cloud? She remembers the compliment for a moment and then collects herself.

Violent blows to the door. The weeping becomes sobbing, bereft and despairing.

‘I’m off, whores! Keep her! Do as you will with her, to her...she’s dead to me’

One final kick and then there is the clatter of heavy sabots running down the cobbled street, echoing in the dead night.

Jeanne gestures to Barbara, who selects the key from her bunch and unlocks the door to the outside world. The weeping child is on her feet. Her face is swollen and reddened with crying, but her beauty is striking.

Jeanne smiles slyly at Barbara.

‘Well, what have we here? Look, Sister! A little gift from God.......’

Défilé de mode avec Sylvia Campbell

Séverine comes out! All decked-out and with many places to go, la nouvelle fille Kalinowski is a veritable fashion plate in Sylvia Campbell's hands. The designer - a long-time fan of Lilli, Barbie, and Lalka - is known for her superbly made reproductions of some of the Barbie doll's hardest-to-find fashions. But this time, she lavishes her creative genius on Séverine. The mysterious Séverine...

For day, Séverine models "Flower Bomb", an intoxicating mélange of blooms embellished with Japanese beads galore. 

Afternoon or evening matters call for a suit. "Crudités Cinq à Sept" is a perfect choice for its aqua gold brocade and gold Lurex. 

Au bal! Séverine goes to those? Or is it to the boîte de nuit that she's headed? In any case, she's going to create a sensation in "Pétrole et Diamants", a vintage Lurex halter gown with a long faux-fur stole. 

Friday, March 13, 2015


As evening begins to darken the courtyards and the shadows seep in from all sides, the oil lamps are lighted. This is Saturday night and our quarter is about to hide its ugly, workaday face and put on its party frock.

Gathering in the squalid bar beneath one of the grubby boarding houses in this fine city of ours, is as broad a collection of the denizens and demoiselles of the subterranean life as you could hope to meet. The labourers, washers up, casual workers and honest clerks down on their luck, sit cheek by jowl with the queers, thieves, pavement artists and their cronies. Here and there, a ruby in the dust, sits a gaudily dressed and painted tart plying her trade, and while dashing between tables, the little waitress passes out cheap brandy, cheaper wine and plates of greasy sausages. She flirts shamelessly tonight,the little bird, chattering cheerfully. Everyone is in holiday mood. 

By ten o’clock, how happy we all are and already blind drunk! The benches, tables and rickety stools are moved back, and the accordion player is invited in from the street with the promise of shelter for the night, wine and food for his labours. He is a very old man, and life was never kind to him. The waitress puts a glass of brandy in his hand and pats his shoulder. He smiles up at her and wonders what she looks like. He commences his evening’s playing.

The dancers hurl themselves into the fray. The plain little kitchen maid is dragged in and in smiling becomes almost pretty. The music speeds up and round we whirl, girls scream and giggle, and a glass is broken - we are duly scolded by the grumbling proprietor and we promise to take more care - he retreats, mumbling to himself and we laugh, carrying on with our revels.

Midnight, we begin to fade and the singers have their hour - such sorrow! Lost loves and lonely lives, they wring tears from us all and we become maudlin, weeping into our wine, and calling out for more songs, wine and brandy! It’s Saturday night, tomorrow is Sunday, the only day off for most people.

Around two, many are nodding, some are snoring and most of the girls have slunk away either to their beds or the streets.The accordionist is eating his sausages. Sidonie begins to clear the tables. Her clear voice, with just the trace of a country accent reaches deep into my soul.

‘Move,you lump! Get to bed....I’m tired too, you know. No home to go to? Well, out you go anyway... You sir, accordion player, here, sleep here, by the fire; it’s warm...You still here, H....? OUT!

I raise my head, the cheap brandy beats a drum somewhere behind my eyes. She is standing, hands on hips by the bar, addressing a brutish man stretched out full length on one of the rough pine benches. In the guttering lamp light, she looks lovelier than ever.