Beyond the Pale

Disaya: Nutcracker Sweet – Jewellery To Capture Your Imagination

Some people favour jewellery with clean, simple, lines; minimalists who worship all that is streamlined, elegant and pure. I am not one of these people. This surely comes as no surprise.

Who in their right mind could get excited about such dullness when jewellery and accessories can allow you to express your individuality, little hints of your personality glinting merrily on your fingers or twinkling intriguingly around your throat.


One of the most exciting jewellery brands I’ve seen for years twinkled at me from afar, an acquaintance posted a picture of a collection on Instagram, and I HAD to know where they were from… Disaya, came the answer.

Disaya is the brainchild of award-winning Central St. Martins graduate Disaya Sorakraikitikul, including jewellery, accessories, Ready To Wear . She is obviously very influenced by her surroundings, that particular creativity that London seems to breed so well, along with that playfulness mixed with sophistication that perhaps best describes her style.


Launched in 2007, Disaya’s range caused quite a stir, being immediately picked up by over 70 stockists on launching. It’s really quite easy to see why, as everything she designs is so full of eccentricity and has a unique charm. The pieces are designed in-house and combined with local craftsmanship to ensure Disaya’s exacting standards are met – some supposedly whimsical ranges suffer from poor quality and finishing which renders them rather tacky, in my eyes, but Disaya is head and shoulders above all other pretenders to the throne.

Disaya was The next two years saw Disaya’s stockists increase by 50%, and it is now sold in over 20 countries at various prestigious retailers including: Henri Bendels, Le Bon Marche, Seibu, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as well as at the flagship store in Gaysorn shopping mall located in Bangkok.


Quirky and fun without being too childish is a difficult act to pull off, but Disaya have charm and wearability in bucketloads. I covet the entire Nutcracker collection, just launching this month, but so much else besides!

My standout favourite pieces have to be the Nutcracker gentlemen rings and the adorable Teddy Bear Nutcracker costume necklace – reminiscent of traditional folk-ish German Christmas decorations, they make me want to snuggle up in a huge cosy jumper while drinking mulled wine and raiding the festive chocolate box. Not that I need much persuading.



Oh and the stags head pieces, too, topped with matching pearls. And the carnivalesque horses, straight from a fairground carousel!

So beautifully enamelled, too, and gorgeous colours. Leafing through the new SS13 Lookbook I see so many pieces I would give a home to in the blink of an eye. look at that frowning face necklace! Love, love, LOVE.



Disaya also show the same imagination in their other accessories and have the most magical prints in their clothing, too. They look like something a grown up Alice in Wonderland or a modern day Marie Antoinette wold like to wear.

For me the jewellery is the most easily wearable, simply because you can mix it in with whatever you happen to be wearing. Some days I just want a touch of whimsicality, other days I may wish for head-to-toe fantastical. With Disaya, you may plump for that one special piece, or an entire outfit, and I love having that choice within a range.


The whole collection is launching on later this month, but some pieces from previous collections are available from My Flash Trash – my favourites there are the stackable strawberry shortcake rings and the darling little Gentlemen’s Accessories earring set. Great attention to detail for such itty bitty things.



I have seen so many takes on tea cup and cake-inspired cutesy accessories, but for me, Disaya does it best, and with her unique stamp on each piece they make. They are just beautiful ornaments in and of themselves – one could certainly display them in a cabinet – for me they carry a certain air of mystery and intrigue; like little objet d’art freshly plucked from a shadow box.

Disaya are even collaborating their unique style with a tea manufacturer, and of course the packaging is to die for and stamped with their inimitable charm:


“Introducing Disaya’s ‘Tea muskerteers’ ,our special collaboration with No. 57, Comes in 3 stylish flovours, including Macaroon Black Tea, Rice Pudding white tea and Apple crumble Green Tea. They are perfect Christmas present material ! Coming to stores soon…”

Your best bet is to keep an eye on their website, and think about liking their Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest news and pictures from their collections.

I can’t wait to see what they do next, it’s safe to say I am totally obsessed with Disaya. Teacups, moustaches and cats, oh my!


Magpies Fabulous Vintage Fair

The highlight of last week for me was, without doubt, Magpies Fabulous Vintage Fair.


Please excuse the dreadful quality photos – they’re from my phone. πŸ˜‰

Held at Salomons in Tunbridge Wells, within the Victorian wood-panelled Science Theatre, this was the perfect venue for an eclectic assortment of vintage sellers to hawk their wonderous wares.

Run by local vintage & designer emporium, Love is Boutique – who I have previously waxed lyrical about – the Magpies moniker certainly lived up to its name: everywhere the eye rested, a bejeweled creation or fascinating piece of designer ephemera jostled for attention.

Ladies munching cupcakes almost too beautiful to eat (almost!) by Everything Cupcakes, chattered excitedly in glamorous huddles, surrounded by an Yves Saint Laurent couture suit here, a 1920’s feathered boudoir robe there. It was all quite gloriously giddy-making.


Absolutely the only way to browse effectively was by completing several laps, to make sure you hadn’t missed anything. Luckily I was with three hardy companions who’d run away to the fair with me as soon as we’d finished work.

Half the fun of a vintage fair is having a good old rummage. Plunging in and holding aloft some lurid jumpsuit & remarking how your mum used to wear one just like it, or spotting homewares that remind you of your childhood.

It was really interesting seeing how many pieces looked so contemporary – as though they’d just been used in a Vogue photoshoot – which shows you how much fashion still relies on looking to the past for inspiration.

One of the standout stalls, for me, was the breathtakingly beautiful range of wedding & evening dresses by Charlotte Casadejus .

Her passion for vintage designs can be seen in her exquisite contemporary pieces, which echo the past and give the appearance of having been whisked from the very hands of couture dressmakers from the 1900’s right through to the 1970’s.


I plan to do a separate blog piece about Charlotte Casadejus , I was so taken with her designs, but do go and feast your eyes on her website, linked above, for the moment.

Another stall which blew me away was Coucou Heart. It held all manner if enticement in the way of cleverly repurposed vintage bits & bobs strung into incredible pieces of jewelry. [Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the stall. This one is from the Etsy shop…]

My eye was immediately drawn to a long, silver necklace with a tiny antique key hanging from a shorter, central chain and a large – um, lamp? Incense pot? Censer? – hanging from the longer chain, and bedecked with tiny grey glass beads which tinkle merrily as you move. This is a terrible picture, but believe me, it’s a gorgeous necklace!

Having purchased, I had a lovely little chat with the lady behind Coucou Heart herself, about how much we love antique keys. It’s the mystery behind them that gets me going – wondering what doors and locks they once opened, and if that door or lick remains sealed to this day. I then perused the rest of her pieces, and could literally (and quite happily) have taken home one of everything, it was all so in accord with my own taste.

Again, I plan to do a blog post based entirely on Coucou Heart, so shall leave it be for the moment, but I urge you to grab the pieces as soon as you can, because I will surely be snapping at your heels!

As always, there were several items on practically every stall that stood up and waved at me, begging to be taken home.

Tiredness & lack of funds were the twin evils keeping me from going mad. I’ll definitely be attending the next one – it was a delightful atmosphere, and a joy to see so many familiar faces all aglow with the buzz of a bargain, or clutching some cherished vintage piece that now belonged to them.

For FAR superior pictures of the evening’s shenanigans, please visit the lovely Mrs Anke. πŸ˜‰

Loving: Lola Rose Bunny Scarf
February 20, 2011, 5:29 pm
Filed under: Accessories | Tags: , , , ,

I’m having a bit of a patterned scarf moment – practical AND beautiful I keep telling myself, but really I love them for their sheer, feminine frivolity.

It’s surely impossible not to be cheered by the purchase & subsequent wearing of a frothy piece of fun neckwear – most especially when it comes in a BUNNY PRINT!

The new season accessories from Lola Rose include these simply darling ditsy animal print 100% fine wool scarves – my absolute favourite (and the one I’m treating myself to this month) being the above rabbit print. They call it “powder blue” on the Lola Rose website, but in person it’s far more of a soft teal green.

Go to the site (linked above) & zoom in for close-up detail and to see the others in the range, which include horses and butterflies.

As soon as it arrived in store, I nabbed one & put it on hold. Basically, if you aren’t cheered into a Spring-like frame of mind by a bunny-print scarf, you’re dead inside. FACT.


Michal Negrin: Baroque Genius of WHIMSY

From the get-go we know this website isn’t going to be a subtle affair: crimson velvet theatre curtains pull slowly apart to reveal the bizarre, charming and – if one is honest – slightly bewildering – world of designer Michal Negrin

An explosion of colours, overwhelming Baroque pastoral scenes involving plump cupids, frolicking 18th century lovers, random Kewpie dolls, 1920’s flapper girls dangling from hot air balloons and, ultimately, a mind-blowing peek into her world of full-on, turned-up-to-eleven romantic historical WHIMSY. A world, as you may imagine, I utterly adore.

I can’t quite recall when I first came across her designs, but I know exactly which item it was – a sumptuously gorgeous Victorian style skirt with overlapping romantic scrapbook-like pictures and tumbling roses. Love at first sight!

I think it would be fair to say that I rarely come across designers whose collections make me gasp and want one of practically everything, but Michal Negrin ticks all my boxes. πŸ™‚

This is a relatively staid design from the current collection, totally wearable – I’d wear it as a day dress with a little cardi, plum colored tights, black biker boots & lashings of pearls. Just beacause.

I ALSO completely covet the other design in this style… Dreamy, misty, dusk-like colours and a cameo in the centre of the lacey trellis of a Victorian lady wearing a striped bathing suit. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Michal Negrin has been creating a unique lifestyle for over two decades with vintage-inspired designs that include jewelry, fashion, home dΓ©cor, and accessories.

This full-length gown is just jaw-droppingly stunning – I think it looks like something from an Oscar Wilde play. It actually makes my heart beat faster.

Yes, yes, I know the price may also make the heart beat faster, but it’s a designer gown. We’re not doing a feature on supermarket fashion here, are we? (And I’m not being snobbish – I am currently putting together a feature about supermarket fashions I love, as it happens! – there are just different categories of clothing. I think this rivals some of Alexander McQueens last collection, but at a price that, whilst still expensive, is certainly more attainable than couture!)

This design is particularly reminiscent of that Baroque style couture – inspiration surely from cheerfully gaudily painted ceilings and the artwork one finds in those sumptuous palaces that have the power to take the breath away.

I love the colours in this skirt, they remind me of hand-tinted romantic Victorian photographs of famous actresses and noted beauties of the age.

As you can see, these softer colours are probably easier to wear for those of a nervous disposition who shy away from designs and patterns they consider ‘loud’ – this little vest top could be worn classically with a cashmere cardi & pearls, or thrown on with jeans & leather jacket. It’s all about the styling, dahling. πŸ˜‰

Born in Kibbutz Naan in 1957, Michal always knew she was an individual with her own vision and this was despite being brought up in an environment that preached group uniformity.

She was driven to follow her inner passion for self-expression and spent her childhood designing. Her mother was an inspiration and supported her in fulfilling her dreams despite the Kibbutz’s conventions.

Well, there is absolutely nothing that says ‘group uniformity’ in Michal’s designs, that’s for sure. They manage to capture the spirit of those vintage collectible ‘saucy’ postcards – Victorian beauties showing a well-turned ankle or – shocking – gadding about in their under-crackers.

This skirt depicts ladies swimming through a palace as various Baroque items of furniture bob past. If you cannot love such a scene, then I seriously doubt we’d get on. I mean it. πŸ™‚

A dramatic kimono top featuring Victorian ladies in handcarts above a vast city skyline climbing ladders into the sky… Again, I ask – what’s not to love?

It is obvious that Michal is passionate about vintage images, the bejewelled, beribboned world of Baroque, of gilded palaces, the court of Marie Antoinette, intricate Victorian scrapbook pictures, the excess of 1920’s hedonism and those gaily painted barges or gypsy caravans that gleam with brightly painted bouquets of flowers. All passions I share, so no wonder I am so giddy about her work!

Little details like the placing of the curtain-call ladies arm-in-arm, circling the cuffs of this beautiful bolero… literally make me squeal. It’s such fun, I love the sheer exuberance of these images and the way they are placed on the designs.

I have only shown you a tiny proportion of the items I love (I’d have to lead you through the entire website!) and even then have only touched on the clothes… Oh my dears, there are stunning boots & shoes, jewellery and even items for the home, too! But I shall leave you to explore those yourselves. πŸ™‚

Negrin’s designs are more than I could normally spend, but then these are hardly your average clothes and accessories. I shall own some of her pieces one day soon, I SHALL! I long for them. 😦

Oh, I know, quelle melodramatic hand-to-the-forehead – forgive me if I sink, breathless, onto a velvet chaise lounge, but I rather think it suits these styles I so hanker after. πŸ˜‰

Until next time,

Yours entirely made of whimsy,

Miss Nightingale