Milan Fashion Week : wrought iron staircase for Alberta Ferretti

Gucci: From Sexy to Sensual

What! No more sex in the saddle or rocking through the night? Just love in the afternoon, hair flowing loose, a cuddling velvet cape, a moss green dress, wispy black chiffon shaded with embroidery and the blue green of peacock feathers?

Frida Giannini did a volte face at Gucci on Wednesday, from sexy to sensual, making a bold and beautiful start to the Milan winter 2012 season.

Reaching back to the Art Nouveau period, with its “greenery yallery” colors, its wild orchid patterns and its wistful decadence — but bouncing that against a previous Art Nouveau revival in the 1970s — this Gucci show had as much depth and variety in the decorative clothes as in the music, which ranged from light romance to grand opera.

“Romantic — the 19th century, looking at tapestries, playing with transparency — and a lot of the 1970s,” said an emotional Ms. Giannini backstage.

She might also have added to her definition of an androgynous Bohemia — “clothes not handbags” — for the show was as light on its fetish accessory as it was rich in jewelry. It dangled in twinkling drops from ears or sat on the crown of the head, buried like a treasure in a bale of straw.

Last season Ms. Giannini riffed on Art Deco, but that stiff rendition of an earlier era did not seem to have much relevance to the Gucci aesthetic.

The idea of bringing the lush romance of the fin de siècle worked so much better. The artistic research and its elegant application went back to the original idea of a male-female crossover in an era when it suggested daring perversity.

Velvet suits with low-crotch pants never looked like costume party clothes. Nor did long dresses — half-flower child, half-Edwardian maiden — presented in off-shades of green or mingled with blue, and with orchid prints or made from peacock feathers.

Black was the shadow cast over flesh, as the designer revived the 1970s peasant look with the laced-up blouse of the Yves Saint Laurent period. But as windows on the body are now so familiar, there was no sense of daring or sauciness. Instead all was sweet and soft, as though Ms. Giannini had let loose her womanly side.

Alberta Ferretti , another woman designer, went the opposite route. She toughened up from her signature delicate prettiness. The backdrop of a wrought iron staircase and a palazzo window looking out from beyond the mosaic catwalk summed up the story: delicacy with strength.

The fashion conversion was to turn those iron curlicues from another era into lacy dresses for modern times.

Add an ankle-length pinstriped mannish coat and inserts of supple leather and the hard/soft, feminine/masculine message came through beautifully.

“I wanted a very poetic woman — but it is important that she has a strong personality,” said Ms. Ferretti.

She used monochrome colors, a lot of black, occasionally with a dab of scarlet and a few fuchsia dresses with the delicate decoration that is a feature of the house.

Significantly, the designer, known for airy red carpet dresses, also focused on tailoring — but however strict the lines they were cut on a curve.

This man/woman thing is not exactly new to fashion. But there was something convincing and compelling about the Ferretti iron lady: Her dresses so delicately wrought, but her attitude steely.


Hoa Vien Viet Nam : Vietnamese temple of Diggers Rest is un decay

Mystery Diggers Rest temple in ruins


A VIETNAMESE place of worship on the outskirts of Diggers Rest is in decay. Behind gold wrought-iron gates and a decorated concrete wall are a garden and temple called Hoa Vien Viet Nam.

A series of large religious sculptures line the driveway of the Edwards Rd property, while several other marble statues remain in their tattered plastic wrapping inside broken wooden shipping crates.

Scattered around the grounds are crates of Vietnamese-style roof tiles, ponds, fountains, huts, lanterns and two high statues.

There are also three buildings on the property with metal shutters covering windows and doors.

In a small temple on a metal pole in the middle of an empty pond, a statue surrounded by plastic flowers sits behind glass doors.

But plates of fresh fruit placed around one statue indicates the property may still be used as a place of worship.

In 2003 the Leader reported the property’s owners had applied for a permit for a house and then applied to Hume Council with a landscape plan in 1998, which the council refused because it lacked detail.

Despite many attempts, Leader was unable to contact the property’s owners.


Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville

Johnny Cash Museum Planned for Nashville

by Erin Duvall

Johnny Cash fans may soon have another destination to add to their travel plans. The Tennessean reports that Cash biographer, William W. Miller Jr., is spearheading an effort to open a Johnny Cash Museum in a former warehouse in downtown Nashville.

“He’s been an incredible supporter of my dad and one of the largest collectors of memorabilia,” Johnny’s daughter Rosanne Cash says of Miller. “If anybody has the whole structure to put up a museum, he does. So I have a lot of trust in him, and I think it’s great at this point. I think he’ll do something with dignity and class that’s historically important, not some kitschy thing. I’m very interested in seeing what he does.”

According to the facility’s Facebook page, it will include items from Johnny and wife June Carter Cash’s former home in Hendersonville, Tenn., such as timbers, wrought-iron gates, railings and a portion of a small wall. In addition, the original sign for the ‘House of Cash,’ which was posted outside the Man in Black’s childhood home in Dyess, Ark., as part of a Cash family-operated attraction, will also be on display.

In the past, William W. Miller, Jr. had expressed plans to find a permanent place for items from his personal Johnny Cash collection.

“There’s some fragile stuff here and every time it’s transported, there is a risk of something getting broken or something getting lost,” he told The Press Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., in 2006 (quote via the Nashville Tennessean).

There have been several speculations that lyric sheets for ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Walk the Line’ as well as gold records, guitars, tour posters and artwork made by Johnny will be included.

An official announcement regarding the museum is planned for the week of Feb. 13, 2012.


The wrought iron gates of Landsborough’s Peace Memorial Park weren’t enough to keep them from ripping up the turf

Hoon rampage rips up sport field

Anthony Brand

HOONS have gone on a rampage at a Coast sporting field, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

The wrought iron gates of Landsborough’s Peace Memorial Park weren’t enough to keep them from ripping up the turf with a vehicle on Friday night.

The ground is home to the Landsborough Cricket Club and maintained by volunteers in conjunction with the council.

Cricket club life member David McIntyre said the offenders removed the bollards from in front of the fence and drove through it before smashing through a separate piece of fencing on their way out.

“They lifted the bollards and drove straight through the fence,” Mr McIntyre said.

“They then proceeded on to the ground and drove all over the grass, ripping up a lot of the turf.

“As they left they drove through another part of the fence.”

Mr McIntyre said the vandalism was a slap in the face for volunteers who worked tirelessly to maintain the once-immaculate turf, mowing the ground themselves.

“When I saw the damage my immediate thoughts were with all the volunteers that help to keep the ground in such great shape,” he said. “We’ve had so much support from those volunteers and to see the damage done is very disappointing.”

Early estimates put the damage bill at more than $2000, with the club having to dig into hard-earned fundraising dollars to foot the bill.

“We don’t know exactly how much it will cost at this stage,” Mr McIntyre said.

“They’ve done at least $2000 to $3000 worth of damage – maybe more.

“Along with ripping up the grass, they ripped up the artificial turf on the wicket as well, which adds to the cost and we’ll probably have to replace that too.”

The damage comes in the middle of the cricket season, forcing matches to be moved to other fields.

“It means the ground will be out of action for some time,” Mr McIntyre said. “We’ll get it back as soon as possible but in the meantime the matches will be shifted to other grounds. We’re not sure where yet.”


Wrought iron beds for The Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel in Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden City cat hotel looks to expand

By Ross Logan

A WELWYN Garden City entrepreneur is looking for franchisees to continue the phenomenal success of her luxury boutique hotel business… for cats.

The Longcroft Cat Hotel has proved a hit with owners and pets alike
DOES you dream job consists of working from home and looking after cats?

If so, then a WGC businesswoman may be able to help you achieve it.

After two hugely successful years in charge of the Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel – a “five star” cattery in Longcroft Lane, WGC – owner and founder Abi Purser is looking for franchise holders to take the company county-wide.

The 36-year-old launched the unique business from her home in Longcroft Lane, in 2010, in response to what she believed to be a dearth of quality catteries in the UK.

With “guests” treated to wrought iron beds, individually decorated suites and a gourmet menu all served on bone china, Abi’s eccentric business model quickly attracted the attentions of both the media and cat-loving customers looking for a safe place to leave their moggy while they were away.

The concept has garnered mum-of-three Abi with a host of award nominations, and bookings are currently being taken for Christmas 2013.

In order to meet the ever-growing demand for spaces, Abi’s looking for partners to join in Longcroft’s success – and has already received interest from a number of potential franchisees.

“Running a business from home and looking after cats is my dream job,” said Abi.

“When we first set up the business, we knew there was a demand for a truly five-star cattery dedicated to looking after much-loved feline guests while their owners are away.

“We just massively under-estimated the level of that demand and are excited about offering our business formula to others who want to be cat hoteliers in the region.”

Each potential franchisee will be vetted by Abi herself, with successful applicants receiving full training in order to meet Longcroft’s precise and exacting standards.

They will be given help with the planning application and building materials for the hotel, and help and advice whenever needed.

“We are looking for partners who want to run their own sustainable and profitable business from home, which fits perfectly around any type of lifestyle or family commitments,” said Abi.

Franchisees can apply for hotels of up to nine suites, with each hotel carried out to Longcroft’s specifications.

“You can only give a great service with small numbers, particularly when what we are offering is a far cry from just a feeding and cleaning exercise,” said Abi.


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