What LLWore: Lira Leirner the Portmanteau goes Vintage

You have voted and I have followed suit. If you don't know what I'm talking about go read this article. - I present to you Lira Leirner transformed into a vintage 1946 post war - um - something that doesn't involve me being a wife but still being "totally minted" as the make-up artist at Nina's Vintage Retro Hair Salon put it.

I'm wearing: Vintage tweed Yves Saint Laurent skirt, caramel satin Burberry short sleeves jacket on top of (not visible) velvet halterneck ball gown corset, caramel patent Miu Miu low heels, Yorkshire Pearls bracelet with feathers (there's feathers in my hair at the back, too, real furvintage neckwarmer (yes, that's what I'm calling it), vintage pearl and cristal jewelry, and a vintage leather portmanteau.
The one event party, here I come!

Portmanteau List: Hairy Vintage Choices - I need your help to make a decision!

Tomorrow I am going to be covering the charity event called The One Event, which is a collaboration between Amy Wilson from The One Foundation a global organisation that funds clean water, health and sanitation projects and Laura Kate Bradley from Love Miss Daisy with the theme "Fashion through the ages" aimed at raising enough money to fund a PlayPump in Malawi.

In order to do so I have run around town to find myself an outfit and bought a few pieces only to return home and discover they didn't look very vintage at all. I did not despair, though and rummaged through my bigger than life wardrobe and the fashion god shone happily on me when I dug out my low calf length vintage tweed and velvet skirt and a black velvet Subsidio halterneck corset and 5 inch velvet pumps (and other stuff I don't want to give away) - an outfit which reminds me very much of Kirsten Dunst in LV as photographed by Alex from AlexLoves (which is the only reason I even know this outfit).

Image taken from website AlexLoves

However, I am writing this because I need YOUR HELP!! I am absolutely useless when it comes to hair an make up - I can do ONE look, and that's it. I have therefore decided to treat myself and booked an appointment at Nina's Vintage Retro Hair Salon, where thery will also be doing my make-up. Now, I need to know what I want. I can't show up like Kristin Dunst in a little bob. Hair is what will make it vintage! Since I myself have to make the decision, and as you know am totally useless, I'm leaving it up to you to decide FOR me. My hair is roughly at bust length if you don't know me, so I hope that helps.

There you go, here are the choices! I'll have to take the picture with me to show what I want, so it's LITERALLY up to you:

1. 2.
3. 4.
5. 6.
Images can all be found in image google search under "vintage hair" - sorry I'm not more precise, if it's your image please let me know.

I'm counting on you! Please comment below and put the number you think would suit me best... um... this is what I and my hair look like:

Thank you! And remember, write now - it's tomorrow.

Portmanteau Diary: Jacques Townhouse, a fairytale reality

What a beautiful neighborhood to have a whimsical and magical townhouse pop-up to introduce the centuries past within a setting where time seems to have stood still. Jacques, Sophie Ellis Bextor (who I saw dash by before realizing it was her - dear lord, she's tiny! She might even be as small as me!) and most importantly, the mastermind of 40Winks David Carter joined forces to create this magical pop up townhouse. Fashion Foie Gras, Stylecartel and the Clotheswhisper have covered the event with further, and nicer, images than my soon to be updated little grainy camera managed to do, so pop over to their blogs and have a look as well.

I had a truly amazing time - the vintage, whimsical, girly, dreamlike interior and atmosphere was only enhanced by the insanely sweet and faintably tasty cupcakes, lovely people and dress up antics. Thank you so much, Charlotte from Stylecartel and stunning and (honestly!) equally sweet Zahra from the Society Doll (and Exposure PR) for inviting me!

David, the creator and founder of 40 Winks hotel once again created a wonderful experience in connection with the interior, hotel service and soiree fun. Just look at the staff adoring him at the end of the day when he was congratulating them on a job well done. I know a caring boss when I see one!

"Would you like pear or raspberries?"

Portmanteau Diary: I don't care about getting old *Cough*

My 25th birthday, a quarter of a century, the big one, the LL Portmanteau Blog launch... you may call it what you like - in the end it was mainly two tables of food (one sweet, one savory) and a new bar's worth of alcohol.

Throughout my life my birthday has usually been connected to some form of disappointment. No, it's not material at all. Being in the middle of the summer holidays my birthdays were, in the best case scenario, spent on holidays or with my family. In the worst case scenario I was at home and anybody I would have invited to a party was nowhere around.

Add to that the fact that I've lived in one number less houses than I am now old (I've finally caught up!) across countries and continents, my best friends usually weren't around either. This got worse during college - I went to an international school and of course everyone was scattered across the globe during summer. Either way, so far I was usually the only one whose birthday it was that weekend or week, which helped in some respect - knowing a Leo was rare, I probably met and called my friends about 5 all my life.

Portmanteau Diary: Moving image vs art film - Sean Rogg and The Wolf at the Wapping Project

Image courtesy of PurpleCloud on flickr
I'm ashamed to have to admit to have to introduce a new portmanteau in order to explain the condition of my brain when it comes to names, aka The Failure of Brain Cells which Remember Names, becoming Brellrenail. I quite like the uglyness of that word as it expresses the failure and incapacity for said brain cells to hold in information that has not been written down or remotely visualized, particularly names that they cannot clearly connect with a facial visual. It sounds like the name of a dragon to be conquered by the strength of determination.

You may have noticed I tend to speak of my brain cells in third person format when I am ashamed and do not want to take responsibility, much like children do. I shall try to avoid that. But not this time.

Brellrenail never fails to fail me

This is why I can't remember artists or writer unless I have actually stalked them a bit and bothered reading up on their life on Wikipedia or the beloved 16 volumes thesaurus that used to be in my possession. To cut a long story short and avoid further musings on the capacity of my brain cells et al, I shall swiftly move from my least favourite subject that is Biology to a slightly more interesting subject.

Portmanteau Diary: My favourite shop TK Maxx joins terrible trio plan in center of London

TK Maxx is without a doubt my favourite real shopping store. I can safely say about a third of my wardrobe was purchased in said store as I live only a ten minutes walk from one of their drops and sometimes pools of heaven. This particular TK Maxx, however, is near Picadilly Circus and another of the big stores to join the fight to compete for bargain hunter's love affairs. It is rumoured that soon there is a Tesco clothing only store joining the triangle between TK Maxx, Primark and Tesco.

TK Maxx is my favourite, though. You can therefore imagine my happiness upon discovering their new flagship store in Charing Cross Street and faster than you can say "cheap designer stuff" I was off to attend the opening, happily wearing my new Yorkshire Pearl bracelet and a vintage khaki felt hat, around which my outfit was styled.
Once there I was entranced, for once, not by the clothes but by the beautiful and inspiring women. Seriously, that's a first in a TK Maxx. But then again, there aren't usually these particular women present!

Portmanteau Commentary: Lira Leirner the Portmanteau interviews Teresa de Almaida Cruz for Fashion Mavericks

One afternoon I came across a visionary, exploring fashion designer who studied physics and chemistry in order to understand the fiber and possibilities of fabric manipulation as well as the visual results wanting to be achieved. After a long winding back and forth via email over a couple of months, which turned out to be parallel to the laborious and time consuming process of menswear preparation and creation, we finally found time to arrange an interview.

I encountered a bubbly woman in touch with her male side who seemed in dire need to have someone listen to her. She had discussions and answers for every question thoroughly worked out and was eager to share them, which was great.

Listen to the interview in which we discuss what matters to Teresa when creating, the textile research project she has coming up in Oxford and of course, fashion and creating.

Her shoe designer and model were present as well - ignore the occasional "noise" in the background. Despite months of trying to meet up in advance and double confirming that same day in the morning and an hour before, Teresa decided to not mention that her friend, who is in charge of the studio keys, couldn't turn up so we were located in a cafe nearby. Teresa is still in the process of creating her collection, but here is a little preview of the fitting of the toille, showing you how the pattern of the fabric and garments will look like in the end. Once I receive more pictures I will upload them here, so stay tuned! I'm sure they'll be great.

After the interview I was, which is very unusual, asked about who I am myself and what I do. I guess that shows how relaxed the conversation was but I had also awoken the beast that is the "mother gene" once she discovered I'm a designer myself (I was really planning on not unveiling it), which prompted her to let me know that I shouldn't "give up, but work hard and you'll be happy!" Yes... I'm quite aware of that. Or even worse, having the tendency to attempting to be giving a compliment when they're actually insulting, I mean "lovingly criticizing", you such as by saying "You're OK for a beginner." which is the kind of attitude I only tolerate coming from my own mother - and that's because she's my mother! Anyway, luckily Teresa discovered this only after the interview and we managed to get some great information and discussions about her view on fashion and menswear in particular.

Portmanteau Diary: July Drunken Monkey Blogger Meeting

Chitty Chat, so much to talk about!
Planned for a month, hyped and talked about throughout - the July Drunken Monkey Blogger Meeting united some fine fashion power with the purpose of making three dimensional what has been deemed by the mighty internet god that is google to have "a better grasp of social media than any other" (fashionista.com) as well as of course having a good time. Set up and organized by ever partying, awesome bird-plastic-scenery-jewelry wearing Fi from SaveOurShoes (or short: fashion SOS), the combined force of twenty or so fashion bloggers was seen strutting their vintage or/ and fabulous self in Shoreditch, getting stuffed on Dim Sum at the very busy Drunken Monkey Bar. Although Rena from The Fashion Dreamer seemed to have had a bad experience of waiting and service at the bar, mine was wonderful. I got served almost immediately by such a lovey girl I gave her a 15% tip on top of the incredibly overpriced but very tasty Caipirinha.

Wahey, I was sitting with fellow vegetarians. And there's Cillian in the striped mariner shirt!

Portmanteau Diary: When local knowledge is surpassed by tourists - Greenwich Maritime

Despite the proximity of the place of birth and where she grew up, the actress and soprano singer Charlotte recently mentioned that she had never been to a particular space that I have been to as often as I've had overseas visitors. It's a must, not only because of the beautiful park, but because it makes you feel like you're at the centre of the world. Because it points out the powerful position Britain was in to decide upon something such as time and have the whole rest of the world go along with it.

So one lovely afternoon I took Charlotte where many tourists but few locals have gone - the Greenwich Maritime.

Yes, we all know this image gets taken several hundred times per day, but it doesn't diminish the beauty of the view by one bit! Charlotte said the view made her realize how big London is to which I said *cough* Sao Paulo *cough*. I mean, you can see the end of the city. Sao Paulo is like being in the middle of the sea on a boat, you can literally not see the end of it.

Charlotte is wearing a dress I had gifted her about a year ago, which I didn't make myself but is very "Lira Leirner" with its low V back and neckline as well as A-line skirt.

One of the oldest of its kind, this apparatus was as climbable as Tinguely's biggest pieces - in fact, the whole installation was built quite similarly with staircases and a little stool. But of course, with completely different aesthetics or function.
Image taken by and used from http://fabish-hutson.com/switzerland.html

Ahh, how often I've climbed on this... the Tinguely museum almost paralleels Greenwich Maritime's role when I lived in Basel - I've been there as often as I've had visitors from out of the country.

When standing in line is learned. And I can't believe white socks and black ballerinas are still absolutely part of their look. We also encountered a group of boys in the park who were being yelled at by, we assume, their teacher, saying things such as "DO NOT EAT GUM" or "TAKE YOUR HAAAANDS... OOOOOOUT OF YOUR POCKETS!!" He was on qite a power trip and made us realize how little we miss being in school.

Always look on the 'right side of life... No wait. The left side. We should have just stood on top of the line. Classic tourist pictures taken by other classic tourists, and the few hours away in the scorching sun and lovely company and many, many tourists made me feel like I was on holidays. For these few hours, at least.

LL Creates: Jessica Jensen - a dream of beauty shared

At exactly 00:55 I stumbled upon a tweet that led me to the Jessica Jensen page, and my mouth filled with saliva. I kid you not.

After a long stint in fashion marketing, Jessica finally put her beautiful concept into her own collection and label in 2008 and boy, am I glad whenever a creative mind escapes the clutches of office careers, and even more so when they bring to the world something like THIS:
From the dreamy, cloudy and mysterious images to the sparkling blue eyed brown haired models to the subdued background of a much wanted beach to the most amazing of all - the dream clutch.

No, I am not one of those bloggers who say "Look how pretty". This is literally the dream clutch, presented like a dream and perceived like a dream. I find it strangely coinciding that Jessica Jensen has not only chosen the same fabric as I did but also the same type of model! Needless to say I have my eyes firmly placed on that clutch and my heart wide open for Jessica Jensen. I am not a bag girl (we all know I'm a shoe girl) but I can really see myself getting my hands on this - even if it is to wear with the Puddle Dress!

As some of you may know, I am in the process of creating a dress, which resembles the natural phenomena of the ripples witnessed when wind sweeps across a puddle nestled on the background of city concrete.
Doing so, I am preparing strips upon strips of double sided satin - colored dark gray and semi matte soft brown. As it comes across the body, there is a lift which emerges bigger and smaller according to the sweep, tilting up and exposing the shinier, lower level of the fabric - the vertical surface, which reflects the light.
Very initial sketches outlining the distribution of the waves
This will be an addition to the Nature DeLuxe Collection - a collection which aims to point out and translate the beauty in nature we look at before us but which most don't truly see. I see myself as an ambassador for beauty, and nature gives us most of it - right there. It's frustrating how little people see but if they need a reminder - this collection is one. And in the spirit of this, I thank Jessica Jensen - for capturing beauty as I see it, and representing it as I would.

Portmanteau Commentary: Lira Leirner is now the Portmanteau

Hi. I'm Lira Leirner. I'm a fashion designer, but I'm also a writer. The creative processes of fashion (Portmanteau alert: creative + creating= creatingve?) interest me as much as the moral and sociological implications of white collar crime. I am a deeply countryside and nature loving person but am also in need of living in a crazy city such as London. I am Brazilian, German, French, Swiss, English, Polish, Rumanian, Iranian on different levels, ranging from roots to affinity of living to official passport status. There's a little boy called Ciello that provides the male perspective within me to join the feminine expression. I am incredibly uptight about the rules of grammar yet love to play with language itself. My first languages are English, German, and Portuguese. I'm neither this nor that but I'm this and that. In fact, I'm just me.

After a lot of brain racking as well as the one time complete #fail to come up with a blog name that really represented who I am in order to separate my fashion label from my writing, I followed a train of thought triggered by a conversation with Kristin Knox (the Clothes Whisperer). She pointed out that the name should express WHO I am, not WHAT I do, as this might always change. There were a few options that were partly too obvious or too downtrodden, for instance I didn't want to simply place a verb next to my name such as LiraLikes or LiraLoves or LiraWrites as that's been done by big bloggers before (aka AlexLoves -> an amazing fashion blog) and would feel like a copy. Furthermore, it denotes an act of DOING rather than BEING.

This, of course, kicked off a soul searching trip down "who am I" lane. Whichever way I went, there was always Ciello kicking my brains int much reminding of a "but" that I had not considered. Frustrated, I decided there was no connection that could possibly include my weird varied interests because I was a hybrid. A hybrid! Oh.... there it was. Quite clear and simple. With one problem - I didn't like the negative connotation of the word. Not as a selling point, anyway. Sure, when I'm complaining, that word comes in handy. But a name had to be more.

However, I was quite happy I'd decided to go with the concept of non definition, merging and mix, as quite clearly that's the only thing which can incorporate all of the above and more. I went through my trusty Book of Synonyms that had been passed on to me by my poet and artist mother at the age of 13 when I was starting to write my own, firmly to be grasped in my hands and never let go, always part of the ever growing possessions filling the greater and greater numbers of boxes with every move. What I found there was perfect - the Portmanteau word.

Merging two words to become a new word sounded just like what the doctor ordered. My name Li the fire and beauty but also Aurora the rising sun, which was merged (or portmanteaued, if you will) and became Lira. Furthermore, it was a "foreign" word, and a word which describes a language related concept. The "transportable coat hanger" in French, implying a fashion related item as well as travel, I discovered that the word was coined by Lewis Carrol in Alice in Wonderland, a character with whom I share the view on the wonders of the world and especially the wonders of language. And of course, the portmanteau word is actually a portmanteau itself.

I therefore present to you, without further ado, the new blog persona that is me: LL the Portmanteau and leave you with a warning: Expect a lot of words merging ahead. Such as smog (smoke and fog) or motel (motor and hotel) and of course, portmanteau itself (porter, to carry and manteau, cloak).

Portmanteu diary: Teach a woman to net the work and work the net and she'll have plenty of fish

Restructuring already established sayings can be found across history and this one is particularly close to my own philosophy. Implied in the quote that Bono seems to not quite understand is that teaching instead of giving, working instead of taking is what really matters (usually). It was not that different an issue when I got invited to the Glam Network party to celebrate their office move.

They invited and encouraged networking, a word I heard a lot during the few hours I exchanged business cards for business badges, discussed fashion and snapped the big and mighty of the blogging world. Now, I have never been a fan of neither the word nor the concept but realized that I simply had to change my attitude towards the word, take it apart and re-jumble it in order to realize its true meaning and it became a word that represented several layers of success - as a blogger, at least. And the fisher does not go amiss here, either.

NETWORKING results into success on several levels

Work in Net - Working in internet language. That means whatever I do when I have a "real life", I remember to prepare myself to translate this into net- friendly language. As a blogger this means I take pictures and at least conscious mental notes on the event, situation or fashion piece at hand.

Netting the Work - Finding writing work just like a fisher grabs fish with a net. Work relates to material to write about on my blog and opportunities to write for others in equal measure. The smallest slip through and sometimes you find rubbish - but it is still a piece which helped you built your muscle. And every now and then you may find an antique or quirky piece to work with, which you wouldn't have if you'd been fishing with a rod, focusing on a single fish. However, the most important aspect is to get as much as you can - not greedily, but steadily and openly.

Work the net - Networking through social media and understanding your niche, blogging is not about competition - it is about interlinking. To do so organically, the aspect of this is to get online personas, namely people with an online presence no matter how small, to love your work (see above) and link to you. And vice versa, of course.

Networking - Last but not least, actually networking in real life. I simply ignore the negative implication of not becoming friends with people you talk about work with. That is mainly because in fashion, we love what we do, and it's not a business. When I'm talking to someone about their website, I am genuinely interested as a reader and contributor. I don't just want your card although I do love collecting them. And when I give you my business badge I give you a present - something you can wear, enjoy and engage with, not just a link.

To cut a long story short, equipped with my new view of the word, I happily joined the party and met some seriously wonderful people, including some friends, some new people and some faces to already known online personas whilst nibbling away on the mozzarella and tomato as well as the picking the strawberries from the cakes - I could always justify it by saying I was obeying Charlotte from Stylecartel's orders to "EAT EVERYTHING" in case anyone asked me.

Bloggers who you should check out (no, seriously):

LL Creates: Blue Black Royal Mail Bag Stage dress for Gabby Young

Last week I came cross the London Plinth, the website by Katie Antoniou and she told me that she is a stylist for the front singer of Gabby Young and Other Animals and that she'd love to borrow a dress for one of the gigs!

Faster than you can type "Yes please with a cherry on top" I said agreed. Quirky and strong, with character and strong survival instincts, Gabby Young fit into the type of character and person that I want to wear my dresses.

Based on her preferences and the numerous pictures there are of her, I created her this the Gabby Young Blue and black Royal Mail Stage dress. Yes I can see the names are getting longer and longer, but it's necessary!

Since the fraying of such an open weave that is the royal mail bag is unpredictable, the dress turned out a whole size smaller! I will be adjusting it for next week's gig by adding panels to the back, but until then my housemate quickly modeled the dress for me (yes, in the kitchen/ studio), so here goes!

Plunging back line with 2 meter black net trail and soft cotton tweed lining with the same fine weave appearance as the Royal Mail Bag. Navy blue hemline and zipper, V-neck shape and molded bust.