Deidaatip how to survive Boxing Day sales

Boxing Day sales work around two myths.

Boxing Day sales are an annual event:

They perhaps used to be. Since the economic downturn, markets have not recovered fully. Retailers are capitalizing on every opportunity to declare a sale. Ranging from Boxing Day sale, Easter weekend and Anzac Day celebrations, Mothers’ Day sales, Valentine’s Day sales and EoFY sales, they have it all. Boxing Day sales have lost much of their sheen.

There are genuine markdowns on full priced goods at Boxing Day sales:

This may be partially true, at best. Many stores create a ‘seconds’ lines for sales and factory outlets..

How do you shop savvy at Boxing Day sales:

Buyer beware:

Shop prudently.Make a list of things you really need and stick to the list. Inspect the goods at point of sale. A sale is seen as an opportunity to bump off defective pieces, shop soiled items, one off samples. It is illegal for retailers to sell defective or substandard goods unless explicitly declared at point of sale.

Know your rights:

Most shops put a ‘no refunds, no exchange disclaimer’ on sale items. In reality, sale items should be governed by the same refund policy as full priced items. Do not shop at stores that put up notices like ‘no refund, no exchange on sale items’. Many online designer stores like Deidaa offer no questions asked refund, even on sale items.

Avoid herd mentality:

There is no reason for you to jump into the fray, because half a dozen women are hunched over a pile of stretchy t- shirts, which are disappearing at an alarming speed. Do you really need half  a dozen cheap t- shirts or would you rather spend your dollars on an investment piece like a designer silk scarf?

Get a shopping buddy:

Do not shop alone. Ideally hire a personal shopper. If not, take a friend, sister or daughter who can give you an informed opinion. Daughters can be brutally frank at times, but come up with some very valuable suggestions.

Do not shop on an empty stomach:

An empty stomach has a nefarious connection with some shopping disasters.

Do not shop when you are upset:

Retail therapy is like chocolates. It has the ‘feel good factor’. If you are having an emotional downturn, chances are, you will do binge shopping.

Do not shop in a hurry:

Take time to try on garments and footwear. Brave the serpentine queues in front of the trial rooms during sales. Right fit is critical to garments and footwear. How many near new garments do you have in your wardrobe, practically unused because they are tight around the bust or hips or the fabric is not soft and breathable. Shoes that look good in the store turn out to be too narrow or too high, giving you blisters, bruises and broken ankles.

Make Boxing Day sale shopping a relaxed affair. Do not get into a frenzy. Pick up right clothes and accessories in the right sizes. Take a break at mid – day. Have a leisurely lunch with your shopping buddy. Who knows, at the end of the day you may have unearthed a few hidden gems!



Holiday tips 2016 – how to recharge your batteries

Holiday tips 2016 – How to recharge your batteries

End of year holidays mean different things to different people – for some it is ‘we time ‘ with family and friends, while for others, it is recharging the batteries to face the year to come. While my other half likes to fill his holidays with activities, I like to soak up the atmosphere, explore local cuisine, culture and crafts, stimulate my mind and get the creative juices flowing. At this time of the year we are loath to talk schedules and planning, however if we avoid some ‘silly’ mistakes this silly season, the recharge and unwind exercise need not degenerate into a nightmare.

Holiday tips 2016 – Do your homework:

If you are traveling to hitherto unexplored territory, it pays to do some homework. Familiarise yourself with local culture. Learn about protocols you need to follow and precautions you need to take.  Carry a smart traveler booklet with you. Make photocopies of your travel documents and credit cards carry one set with you; leave the other set with a trusted friend or family member at home. Get sufficient travel insurance. Notify your bank about your travel plans. Buy a local SIM card (available at most airports) or use mobile apps to stay connected. Roaming facilities on your mobile phone can cost you an arm and a leg.

Holiday tips 2016 – Pack savvy:

Pack colorful, light weight and crease resistant kaftans. Rolled up, these little numbers can fit the nooks and crannies of your suitcase. Kaftans are perfect as daywear or beachwear. They can be dressed up and down. They are compatible with most cultures. Carry sturdy and comfortable shoes like ballet flats. It is a good idea to wear sneakers while flying. If you are changing flights, the trek from one gate to another can be a good 5 km walk. No kidding, I did that just yesterday at Changi International Airport and ended up feeling very sorry for the woman who was walking ahead of me, wearing a pair of high boots. Another travel friendly accessory is a sling bag. A sling bag holds your essential documents while leaving your hands free for the trolleys.

Holiday tips 2016 – Travel light:

It is wise to travel light. The fewer luggages you have, the less vulnerable you are to loss and theft. Think before you pack the evening dress or the fancy pair of shoes. Beautiful indeed, but do you really need it on a hiking trip? Carry minimal or no precious jewelry. Costume jewelry is fun and if you lose an earring or two it does not weigh on your conscience or your purse.

Holiday tips 2016 – Carry a scarf:

Carry a scarf, in fact two. I cannot highlight enough the versatility of the humble scarf. At the beach, a scarf is a pareo, a bandanna and a throw over bathers. On a sunny day, it is an effective headscarf. If it is nippy, a scarf tied in a dead man’s knot around your neck protects you against the chill. Some religious monuments require you to cover your head, shoulders or legs. Scarves are handy on such occasions.

Holiday tips 2016 – Expect the unexpected:

Go with an open mind. If you have seen ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ you will realize those that enjoy the most are the ones who embrace and accept. Explore local cuisine, crafts and culture. It helps though, if you make sure that the local signature dish does not contain seafood you are allergic to.

Last but not the least, unwind. After all, this is about recharging the batteries.



Giftophobia how to combat the fear of exchanging gifts

Are you affected by giftophobia around this time of the year – the fear of giving and receiving the wrong gifts? We know it is the thought behind the gift that matters. However, won’t it be nice if your near and dear ones actually find your gifts useful?

Here are the top 5 tips to master the art of buying gifts.


Get to know the people you are buying the gift for. Observe their lifestyle, hobbies and interests. Your favourite aunt is Scottish, crafty and crotchety (pun intended). She is an active member of the lacemakers’ guild and loves all things handmade. Will she not love a paisley pashmina scarf or a kaftan with a hand crochet yoke?

The colleague who sits next to you loves the neutral palette. However, she does wear a statement scarf when attending boardroom meetings. Pick up a digital printed scarf that will add an accent to her understated elegance.


Be a good listener. What has your bestie been talking about lately? The big wedding she has to attend shortly and how she is desperately looking for some beaded clutch bags to go with her spectacular outfits. Or how she can’t wait for the holiday in Bali, where she will do nothing but soak up the sun. This one could definitely do with some kaftans and beach bags.


Your little niece is not that little any more. She is taking baby steps towards adulthood. She is experimenting with beauty and fashion. She will perhaps love the cotton pompom and fringed scarves or the sequinned beanies.


For your other half, who also wins the title of the ‘Barbeque King’ hands down, you could pick up some cooking aprons with funky slogans.

COMBAT GIFTOPHOBIA – Go by the stars:

Follow astrology. I am a typical Virgo and love organizers and memo boards, while my charismatic Libra friend loves flamboyance and colour.

You could do all of the above or take the easy way out by giving cash, gift cards or vouchers. These are practical and quick, but lack the personal touch. And most of these gift cards simply sit in our wallets, till they are past their use by dates!

If you are still in trouble over buying gifts, write to us and we at Deidaa, the good samaritans, will come to your rescue.




Is your summer wardrobe beach and travel ready?

Is your summer wardrobe beach and travel ready?

Thirty Four sleeps to Christmas!! The holiday season is nearly upon us. After working hard throughout the year, we are ready to spend a few days soaking up the sun at the beach, catching up with friends and family at backyard barbeques or packing the bags and traveling to exotic locales.  Are our wardrobes keeping pace with our holiday plans? Is our summer wardrobe beach and travel ready or festive enough?

Summer wardrobe – beachwear

Australian beaches are pristine and Australia is famous for its beach culture worldwide. Beach culture goes hand in hand with beachwear. Beachwear should be flirty, floaty and feminine. Lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton, chiffon and georgette are ideal for beachwear. Silhouettes like wrap dresses, drawstring tunics and kaftans in floral, graphic and animal prints are on trend this season. Quick to dry and water repellent beachwear dresses can double up as cover ups over bathers or swimsuits.

summer wardrobe – travel

If you are traveling, pack lightweight clothes. Blended georgette dresses and tops are sturdy, crease resistant and take the rigours of travel well. If you are heading off to Northern hemisphere you may want to carry tops and dresses that can be paired with cardis, worn over pullovers or under blazers.

summer wardrobe – maxi dresses

Maxi dresses can double up as casual daywear and beachwear. They come in a wide variety of fabrics ranging from floral cottons to georgettes in vibrant colours. Maxi dresses can be dressed up and down and are ideal for poolside bar be ques.  Accessorised with hoop earrings, stacked bangles and espadrilles maxi dresses make that easy transition from casual to party wear.

summer wardrobe – scarf

Carry a lightweight scarf. Scarves can be worn as sarongs over bathers, can be wrapped over bare shoulder or tied around the neck for some added warmth.

During the holidays, your little ones can be quite a handful. Why not try something different this season?  Replace the usual toys with eye catching kids’ apron sets as stocking fillers and your little will soon be engrossed, decorating the Christmas cake or roasting corn cobs at the bar be que, leaving you with some ‘me time’.

Last but not the least, if you are planning the great outdoors experience do not forget your slip, slap, slop kit – a box of wet wipes, a spritzer, a lip balm fortified with UV protection, a sun block and moisturiser. Carry a floppy hat. Complement your sexy summer clothes and beach wear with comfortable flip flops and have a blast!!


Deidaa reviews masterpieces from the hermitage exhibition

Masterpieces from the hermitage exhibition – background

Masterpieces from the Hermitage exhibition from the National Gallery of Victoria featured a unique collection of paintings, sculptures, cameo jewelry and filigree artefacts, from the collection of Catherine the Great, the tsarina of Russia from 1762 – 1796. Catherine the Great believed that decorative arts had a civilizing effect on society and fostered international diplomacy. We may take a leaf out of her book, in these trouble times.

Catherine the Great collected European masterpieces, especially the works of Flemish and Dutch painters. She acquired a Leonardo da Vinci painting from the collection of Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first prime minister. Her interest in art was not confined to Europe alone. She had deep interest in Oriental art and had collected an exquisite selection silver filigree and enamel work.

Masterpieces from the hermitage exhibition – textiles

What are interesting from a textile enthusiast’s point of view are the glimpses into the elaborate clothing, the rich fabrics and the different forms of embroidery techniques used to embellish the garments and furnishings.

In one of the paintings, two girls are working on what appeared to be the precursor to tambour embroidery as it is practiced today.

In another painting, crewel embroidery adorns the elaborate robe of an obviously wealthy man.

There was a very engaging painting of a group of card players. What caught my eyes was the table cloth that was reminiscent of embroidered textiles of South West and Central Asia.

Several paintings including one of Catherine the Great herself, offered an insight into the elaborate silhouettes of the garments, the fine fabric – rich silks and lush fur and fine detailing on the garments.

Such exquisite craftsmanship is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Deidaa makes every effort to keep traditional craftsmanship alive. Handcrafting does not come cheap, but would you rather buy half a dozen disposable t- shirts or an exquisite handmade piece that may become an heirloom in due course. The choice is yours!


David Bowie – popular fashion icon

david bowie a popular fashion icon

‘He has an unusual face, neither man nor woman… which suits me as a designer, because most of my clothes are for either sex’ – this is how Kansai Yamamoto described David Bowie.

A trailblazing singer, songwriter, actor, David Bowie was as much a  fashion icon as a musician.

David Bowie was ahead of his time. He questioned gender and social norms before it became de rigueur to do so. Bowie was outrageous and provocative.His androgynous alter ego was Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy’s flaming red hair and skin tight sparkling attire created by sewing together costumes from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ became etched in public memory. We have, since, seen many Bowie clones on the runway with earrings, colourful wedges, cosmetics, glitter and hair dye.

david bowie and japanese fashion

David Bowie discovered Kansai Yamamoto at the first Japanese fashion show in England. Kansai went on to create many memorable costumes for the singer, including the celebrated ‘Tokyo Pop’ vinyl bodysuit and the one legged knitted catsuit, the pattern for which appeared in Elle.

David Bowie borrowed heavily from Japanese design aesthetic. This was manifest in the cloak decorated with Kanji characters, the embroidered suit and Japanese sandals inspired by Kabuki theatre. In oriental theatre genres like the Japanese kabuki or the Indian kathakali, it is commonplace for male actors to perform female characters. Bowie’s androgynous persona found resonance in the kabuki onnagata. With David Bowie’s support, Japonism became central to Western fashion.

david bowie cultural and artistic diversity

Bowie’s love affair with fashion continued with the black suit with pointed shoulders or the iconic polka dot jumper. He co-designed the Union Jack coat with Alexander Macqueen. Macqueen created several outfits for David Bowie, including a distressed brocade tailcoat and a brilliant tyre print suit. Collaborations with Issey Miyake and Georgio Armani followed. Bowie combined a Thierry Mugler suit with kitten heels. He was also designer Thierry Mugler’s first celebrity client.

Bowie embraced cultural and artistic diversity. Some of his costumes had a sinister tribal aspect. He went beyond Japonism to embrace Puerto Rican style. A prolific painter, he was influenced by Andy Warhol. The wallpaper he designed for Laura Ashley, was censored. Bowie called it the ‘third castration’. His deep interest in Buddhism led him to protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet. Post his ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour, Bowie turned to tailoring and monochrome, wearing a powder blue tailored suit by YSL or sporting the celebrated ‘thin white duke’ look.

The Pierrot or the blue clown costume for the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video and Scary Monsters album cover epitomised what Bowie stood for. ‘I am the last person to pretend I am a radio. I’d rather go out and be a colour television set’ , said Bowie.

As Kansai Yamamoto said, ‘I love his music… but most of all there’s the aura of fantasy’. Inspired by David Bowie’s ‘aura of fantasy’, Deidaa celebrates life and colour. Like Bowie, Deidaa is unfettered by stereotypes. Deidaa embraces cultural diversity. Deidaa is committed to the cause of artisan wellness and works with artisans to produce a unique range of fashion garments and accessories.

Acknowledgement: David Bowie Is exhibition, V&A Museum, London and  ACMI Melbourne

Frockaholics’ Guide to Race wear

Caulfield Cup this afternoon heralds the beginning of racing season and your ultimate nightmare is almost coming true – you have nothing to wear!! The frocks you have a re a size too small, they look tired or, worse still, the prints on them are outdated. How do you revamp your race wear wardrobe?

PROBlem 1: Your RACE WEAR wardrobe is overly populated with jeans, t- shirts and tracky daks.

Solution – Get your tracky daks out of the way. Tracky daks, though comfortable, are slob garments. They are ok to take your pooch out for walks, but are a definite no – no when it comes to dressing for the races.

Dresses and hats with coordinated clutch bags for women and suits with roses on the lapels for men are part of a time honoured dress code. Caulfield Cup has a reasonably relaxed dress code. For men, a tie and a jacket are not mandatory, smart trousers, shoes and long sleeved shirts are. Women are encouraged to wear summer dresses or tailored coordinates. A formal fascinator can be replaced with sequined hats or floral headbands.

Races are as much about dressing right as they are about horses.  By dressing right you are only showing your respect for the tradition and etiquette of horse racing.

Problem 2: RACE WEAR Dresses are out of date.

Solution – Invest in frocks that do not date. A well tailored LBD in a classic style is a good example of this.  Make sure the dresses have ample seam allowance (extra fabric inside the dress) which can be taken out or in response to a fluctuating silhouette.

Invest in over jackets in medium weight, all weather fabrics. Thrown over the dresses, these jackets can define or camouflage your contours. Long  jackets have a slimming effect and can effectively conceal the extra kilos you may have gained.

Problem 3 – Cannot select colour or print

Solution – If you have the adventurous streak, opt for the bold and the beautiful – bright reds, tangerines, cobalt blues and emeralds. Opt for feminine frocks, clinched at the waist. Floral dresses work well as racewear. Go wild with African animal motifs or leopard print dresses.  If you want to celebrate all things Polynesian, wear the frangipani or the hibiscus print with gusto. Replace the traditional fascinator with frangipani in your hair and usher in Pacific rhythm in racewear.

It is a myth that black and white suit most women. Black clearly outlines the body contours. It is recommended for women with perfect body shape. White is an advancing colour and makes you look bigger than you are. If you still prefer solid colours, opt for not black, but charcoal and not white, but ivory.

The trick to wearing solid colours is to accessorise correctly. Read more about how to accessorise racewear in the next post in Deidaa’s ‘Frocks and Fillies’ series.


Melbourne Spring Racing Festival wrap up

deidaa reviews melbourne spring racing festival

What a grand spectacle! The roses were in full bloom, the frocks were a feast for the eyes and the fillies were faster than lightning. That was Melbourne Spring Racing Festival 2015. It was a riot of colour, tangerine, cobalt blue, marsala, fluorescent yellow, hot pink, vivid red and coral. Floral prints vied with the spectacular roses of Flemington Race Course for attention.  Slim ‘6os shift dresses, lace sheaths or tiny off shoulder numbers were everywhere. Shoulder barred or spaghetti strap maxi dresses reinforced the spring summer theme. Headwear ranged from bold fascinators to floral wreaths.  Turbans, hair jewelry and tiaras were cheek by jowl with fedoras and wide brimmed sun hats. Clutch bags with side slings were popular because of their obvious convenience.

The six top fashion trends that emerged from Melbourne Spring Racing Festival were:

 Lace in racewear:

Lace and mesh took the centre stage this Melbourne Cup carnival. Lace sloppy joes teamed up with palazzo pants. Lace tie up tops were worn with gently flared skirts. Lace sheath dresses and maxi dresses dared to bare.  Mesh overskirts and pouffy ‘50s dresses reinforced the lace theme

 Colourful racewear:

This cup season was about colour. Tangerines, hot pinks and corals, cobalt blues and teal dresses stole the thunder from the blooms at Flemington Race Course.

Horizontal striped dresses in fluro colours made a statement. Cobalt blue appeared to be a popular choice for menswear

 Off shoulder racewear:

Off shoulder or shoulder barred dresses were popular. Jennifer Hawkins made a spectacular entry in a fluoro yellow shoulder barred dress complemented by stark black accessories.

 Statement head pieces as racewear:

Traditional fascinators faced stiff competition from wide brimmed sun hats and bowler hats. A few avant garde shapes were spotted, as were fedoras, pixie hats, miniscule pearl numbers and spiked tiaras. Fresh flowers in headwear epitomized the spirit of spring.

 ‘70s revival as racewear:

The boho trend made inroads into the strict monochrome dress code of Derby Day. Tiered peasant skirts in liberty prints, midi skirts, bell bottoms and gentle flares appeared now and then.

 Beaded Clutch bags as racewear:

Race wear is incomplete without accessories. Melbourne Spring racing festival 2015 was no exception. The frocks were complemented with boxy minaudiere clutch bags and envelope bags with side slings. Ethnic bags with pompoms and danglers infused boho chic into the racewear wardrobe.  When it came to silhouettes for clutch bags, boxy minaudieres and envelope bags won hands down.

The Melbourne Spring Racing Festival 2015 relived the era of elegance and gaiety. The rain came, as predicted, but was not enough to put a damper on the festive mood. On the contrary, it added to the fashion with a few brollies, not to mention the Bunnings brolly that was spotted somewhere! We forgot our worldly worries these few days and lived in times where carefully coiffured ladies partook of high tea served in sliver service and bone china and dandies roamed the streets of London.




How Deidaa practises cultural diversity?

How deidaa practises cultural diversity?

A while ago, many of us were celebrating the Pride weekend and talking about social inclusion and cultural diversity. That’s what set the ball rolling. Lunchroom discussions veered towards how inclusive we are at Deidaa?

Deidaa practises diversity and community spirit at many levels. The Deidaa team itself is a microcosm of the wider world. We owe our origin to Asia, Polynesia the Balkans and the Mediterranean. There is a common thread that binds us all – all of us call Australia home. Needless to say, Christmas lunches at Deidaa match a royal repast, flavours of different cuisine combining to provide a rich culinary experience.

Our story boards are a medley of global textiles, crafting techniques, trims and baubles. We blend vintage with avant garde without destroying the inherent qualities of either. At Deidaa, the English Rose dwells cheek by jowl with the oriental paisley.

deidaa and the artisan communities

We do not pay lip service to community spirit, indulging in rhetorics from the sanctified environment of air conditioned cubby holes. We live and work among the communities, sharing their joy and sorrow. We travel high and low to communities dwelling  in the hills and to women’s groups in deserts where the sun scorches everything to a dismal shade of brown. We participate in traditional feasts and abide by social protocols.

We are not social reformers that descend on artisan communities for their ‘upliftment’. Most artisans are highly skilled and intelligent people. They have a well entrenched social fabric that has stood the test of time. It is likely that they interpret any kind of external input as intrusion. At times, willy nilly, we have to address the minefield of social maladies like gender bias or segregation on the basis of race, religion or caste – often to our own peril. But first and foremost we have to make sure we are accepted as part of the community and do not work from outside.

We believe the basic objective should to alleviate the economic exploitation inextricably linked with the social fabric in most artisan communities. We address this by working with the artisans directly through our own workshop or collaborating with non governmental organisations who share Deidaa’s vision.

Deidaa celebrated Pride this weekend

This weekend Deidaa celebrated Pride. Deidaa is a proud champion of cultural diversity, inclusive society and freedom of choice. Deidaa has been involved with the communities since a long time. Deidaa fosters traditional skills and gives priority to sustainable methods of production. Read more on how Deidaa champions the cause of equality, tolerance and fraternity in the next post.