Thursday, September 15, 2011


I love Brussels.. I do. I loved it even more than I expected I would because in all honesty I didn't expect much. I left home after much airport hassle and delays and with a couple of friends' suggestions about where to shop and what cup-cake filling I should opt for at Lilicup. I left Malta with the sole intention of enjoying my hospitable friends' company and instead, came back overwhelmed and, surprisingly enough, a convert. This is a city that brings together the efficiency of large and inhospitable cities and the general smiley-ness and generosity small island nations pride themselves (often falsely) for championing. It's a city built on good design standards and initiative at every level, a city which makes you realise (to the detriment of all around you) what bad service you've come to accept over the years - yes I expect good chocolate in my hot chocolate now, and decently sized sugar crystals on my table - a city of good sense. The specialization of the small designer shops is truly enviable. This city has marble mosaic zebra-crossings, neon-painted cast-iron manholes and a cultural calendar jam-packed with treats. Brussels has restored my faith in human-kind.

I had such good hosts.. they knew exactly where to take me.. At Nijinsky second-hand book shop, not only did I get to listen to Piero Ciampi, I was also given a generous discount on this beautiful first edition (new synthesized and serialised editions of which have just come out and will hit a haberdashery near you in no time) .. as well as the 3-colour graphic design magazine below. Ryanair hand luggage = very flat souvenirs!
I have come to a point in my life where I find it impossible to resist a well made silk shawl.. my circumference may fluctuate but a shawl will always look good. You see.. staying away from the highstreet proves to be so much more worth it in the end, this is where a 50% off matters because your bargain is made of real silk and love and you're bound to never want to part with it since it carries with it a story. I find it very difficult to find stories at H&M. So yes.. from 4 euros I got this for 2.

These are the boots that shall replace the much detested cowboy boots I've been accused of not having enough personality to carry off. The 80s-deco suede pattern is reminiscent enough of the open desert without being too conspicuously 'oh she so wishes she was part of QOTSA'. The boots I got from Foxhole where the guy manning the cashpoint insisted on gracing us with a bit of boogie before giving me my change.

Foxhole is a good place I shall miss on those days where I feel like a round of a good couple of shops but MODES is my kind of place.. this is a place to rave about.. it houses all of my favourite eras and for decent prices.. The worst kind of place to go to if you have a feeling that you may never return or if you're living from a 40x50x20 bag cos it's an obsessive-dream-inducing place. If I'm ever pregnant I will probably crave MODES.. (or the rose-water sorbet I tasted yesterday.. a dream in a cup!)

In fact I only treated myself to this lovely kimono in a favourite colour-scheme with original printed ribbon enforcement at the sleeves and an extension belt and..

.. an opera trapeze coat with a part-gathered asymmetric collar and one beautiful button which puts all the buttons in the world to shame. I shall wear this coat to a ballet in Russia, the tickets to which I shall never be in a position to afford.

I was also taken to Antwerp where all my plans to visit (and possibly take a look through the course lists) the Fashion school and museum had to be postponed indefinitely. Instead I found solace in the well-stocked book shop.. yes.. full of volumes too thick to carry.. so I proceeded to buy the silliest thing under the roof.. a paper-doll book which manages to make McQueen's designs look like absolute shit and for that the publishers deserve some sort of credit since it never would have occured to me that such a thing was indeed possible. Often, I find, that disappointment is easily quelled with a healthy dose of kitsch or a good bowl of Thai noodle soup.

Two exhibitions I got to visit; I repeat.. my hosts know me to well. It is indeed a special feeling to have come across such lovely and diverse exhibits in a span of less than a week: lovely needle-point fans, yellowing professional tailoring patterns all hung up nicely in a row and wax casts of Piotr.

This is the first time I brought back something from my holidays for my machine.. (for any machine come to think of it) here's a postcard of encouragement for a sewing machine I secretly (and at times also openly) think is shit!

How can I refrain from declaring my love for this city? .. in under 24hours I encountered the curtain material I've been looking far and wide for and an ideal well-lit work space plus balcony..

without even trying!

and in between waffles!

Thank you Jacks and Karol for taking me round and fuelling my suspension of disbelief whilst visiting your city. The possibility of finding myself a decent studio and setting up my own business sounded so real and do-able, if only for an intense short-lived moment. And your couch is da shit!

Note to self: do not travel to Brussels with just your handluggage.. you masochist you!!

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