A Little Piece of Mine

Simply Zensational


Award-winning designer Akira Isogawa is a Paris regular. For the past 12 years he has set up shop on the ever-tony rue Daneille Casanova for a fleeting four days as part of Paris Fashion Week. The Kyoto-born, Sydney-based Akira is a byword for Australian fashion, loved for his use of translucent fabrics, layering, combining of textures, and his passion for recycling glorious vintage kimonos. In Akira’s designs, as with a kimono, all is not as it seems; coats can be reversed so that the lining stars, while lush silky shawls sport a cautious shade on one side and a riot of colour on the other – perfect for a Riviera rendezvous or a swanky city symphony. His mantra of “timeless beauty and femininity” seems tailor-made for Parisian women who, like Akira, always pay attention to the little things…but for the moment it’s a discerning southern eye that has snapped up his creations in France – Paulette Ravier, 1 rue des Pierres Precieuses, Le Lavandou.     

Talking Turkey


Istanbul – home to astonishing mosques and mosaics, and the jaw dropping rocks of Topkapi Palace. Those sultans, and their sultanas, knew a thing or two about serious bling: diamonds the size of a smartcar and mini-cooperish emeralds. Almost! And tiles, miles and miles and miles of glorious tiles. Loved the huge, fine-design room at the supremely laid-back Misafir Suites in Beyoglu (avoid room #2 which faces the ever-thumping nightclub opposite) and the breakfast – Turkish eggs, toast, jam and fresh juice (even pomegranate). Took the #87 bus to Chora Church, or Kariye Muzesi, perched next to a ‘musselman’, a tiny gent balancing a giant mussel-filled metal dish layered in newspaper and dotted with lemons, and thought the luminous Byzantine mosaics in the church (pictured) every bit as mesmerising as the bus trip. Watched the sun fade over cocktails and thin-crust baby pizzas at Beyoglu’s 360 Restaurant with its Bosphorus backdrop.  Peculiar to see car licence plates already adorned with an EU symbol, paused for the go ahead to add a “T” in the for now empty space below. But will the passionate Turks ever be invited to the EU party? A weekend at Ephesus and Pergamum emphasised the conquering Romans’ exemplary masonry skills. Was there anyone more adept at tossing up a temple or amphitheatre and flanking a street with statues of shoeless men. They were just born to roam.

Culture Choc


On a mission to bag some boots I got distracted by a muddy Oxford complete with laces and exalted heel made entirely of chocolate! Belgian choc-jock Pierre Marcolini is in love with the cocoa bean and it shows. Less is more, he claims – not a mantra for every chocoholic admittedly. His feather-light squares of Algerian orange blossoms wreathed in dark chocolate (palets fins fleur d’oranger) will leave you wanting more. Luckily there’s lots besides – white chocolate, milk chocolate, hot chocolate, rounds, squares, chocolate-covered nuts and fruits, even jams. Sugar levels up, I prowled Galeries Lafayette‘s entire lower ground floor to feed my foot fetish, eyeing spiky stilettos and slick sandals and everything in, and out, of the (shoe) box, including the corner stocked with life enhancing chocolates and macaroons by Pierre Hermé, the man with the sweetest hands in all of France. Don’t know about his feet, though!