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.

Silk – the story

Silk – the story background

Since time immemorial, silk has been coveted by common man and  royalty alike. Known for its luster and drape, silk derives from the larvae of the silk worm that feed on the leaves of the mulberry tree. Silk originated in China. The Chinese kept the technique of making silk a secret for a long time. As per folklore, the secret was smuggled out of China by Byzantine monks and taken to Constantinople. Silk was soon available in Europe, the Middle East and India.  The routes associated with silk trade came to be known as the famous silk route or the Silk Road.

silk – the story features

Silk is soft, smooth and lustrous and absorbs dyes brilliantly. Hence, it has been popular with dressmakers for formal and bridal wear and accessories like  designer silk scarves or for beaded clutch bags. However, like all natural fabrics, silk reacts to elements. It shrinks, catches mildew and fades in sunlight. To make it more sturdy and suitable for everyday use, silk is blended with viscose or man made fibres. Blended silk scarves are strong. Silk and wool scarves are warm and have less static.  Polyester silk kaftans can take the rough and tumble of travel, daily wear and beachwear.

silk – the story process

The silk worm spends part of its life cycle inside a cocoon it spins from its own secretion. Commercial silk is made by boiling the cocoons while the worm is still inside. For this reason, commercial silk is shunned by vegetarians, vegans and anyone against cruelty to animals. Wild silk or peace silk is a non – violent alternative to commercial silk. Termed non – violent or Ahimsa silk by Mahatma Gandhi, wild silk or tussar silk is made by collecting the cocoons after the silk worm has emerged out of the pupa. The cocoons are not commercially farmed but are collected by tribal communities residing in the forests. Wild silk, thus sustains the environment and the communities. Wild silk lacks the luster of commercial silk and shows slubs or impurities. These characteristics add to the handcrafted look and the understated elegance of tussar silk. Tussar silk fabrics are sought after by eco friendly designers. Tussar silk scarves are an ethical and fashion forward alternative to silk scarves.

Next time, more on how to follow fashion with a conscience.

Deidaatip how to dress up this New Year’s Eve

Caught up with the Christmas festivities? Did not realize when the New Year’s eve party snuck in on you?

Here are some quick and easy tips to get you sorted for the big night tomorrow.

Glam Up this new year’s eve:

Flick the switch back to the ‘70s. Dress up in psychedelia. Sequins are the way to go this New Year’s Eve. Bring back the disco fever in neon dresses and fluoro pants.  Before you go completely overboard, a word of caution. Sequins reflect light and can easily make you look bigger than you are. If you are on the curvier side, opt for black or matt sequins.  Select a dress that is not sequined all over but has sequin highlights or accents.  Incorporate the sequin theme in accessories like jewelry and beaded clutch bags. Deidaa’s sequinned beanies are just right for adding the glamour quotient to your New Year’s eve outfit.

Flaunt the bling this new year’s eve:

Wear rhinestones, crystals, diamantes’ on not only jewelry but dresses, beaded clutch bags and shoes. Dress up your smartphones with crystal covers, glitter tattoos and diamante danglers.

Get sporty this new year’s eve:

Luxe sportswear is big this season. Wear shiny jumpsuits and metallic jeggings with funky sneakers. Sneakers are a rage this season and can be a fun alternative to sky scraper stilettos.

Go feline this new year’s eve:

Maybelline Master Precise eyeliner is a great tool for creating the ultimate cat eye. Dress it up further with crystals, glitter gel eyeliners and iridescent eyeshadows.

Strike a balance this new year’s eve:

This New Year’s eve strike a balance between glamour, comfort and safety. Carry a mini bag or crossbody bag with your bare essentials. Dress sensibly. A designer silk scarf, discreetly tucked in your bag will save you from an early morning chill. Embellished ballet flats work very well as party footwear and do not give you sore feet at the end of the night. Last but not the least, go easy on the wine!! Have fun and be safe!! Thank you for your enormous support to our fledgling blog in the last four months! Keep those comments coming. See you in 2015!!

Style Tips for Spring Summer 2014

Style Tips for Spring Summer 2014

Slowly, somewhat erratically, spring is making inroads into the dark days of winter. You are bored with the blacks and the greys, tired of carrying around the puffas and hiding your face under the somewhat menacing hoodies. You yearn for the sensuality of flowing maxi dresses, the freedom of flirty, floaty kaftans and the splash of colour to uplift your soul. But you are not quite sure what are trending this spring summer 2014.

Look no further. Follow the key trends of Spring Summer 2014 listed below and ride the wave of fashion.

  1. The white shirt: The basic white shirt is a fashion staple. However, in 2014, the white shirt is not so basic anymore. It comes with a twist. It can be asymmetric or embellished with fabric manipulations like appliqué. A reverse appliqué white shirt is a good investment.
  2. Geometry: Geometry may or may not have been your favourite subject in school but remembering the geometric shapes will stand you in good stead in 2014. Graphic prints rule the roost. Graphic or Aztec printed kaftans are trendy, versatile and comfortable in summer 2014.
  3. Bling is king: The jeweled look is abundant, in clothes and accessories. Make sure your Aztec kaftan is highlighted with crystals and your beaded clutch bag sparkles with faux gemstones
  4. Ladylike: Voluminous lady like silhouettes like gathered or puffball dresses and tiered skirts are ideal for the spring racing season and lazy summer afternoons
  1. English countryside: The demure damsel look is reinforced further by delicate floral prints in pink, coral and aqua blue. Think coral red poppies and bright yellow daisies.
  2. Lace: Lady like and lace are never apart. Lace in garments like skirts and accessories like scarves completes the Jane Austen look. Finish the look with a lace parasol.
  3. Black and white: Black and white is here to stay. It manifests itself in stripes, graphic prints and chevrons.
  4. Cold shoulder: The ’70 flower power theme is taking over the runways. A flowing spaghetti strap maxi dress is reminiscent of the boho chic of the ‘70s. Complete this carefree look with pompom scarves and crochet kaftans.
  5. Metallic: Metallica and psychedelica bring back the disco fever. Opt for chainmail, sequins and grunge.
  6. Go orange: Go orange instead of going bananas. Orange is the new black. Wear an orange hand tie dyed kaftan and get your Woodstock look right this summer.