Perhaps not to be is without your being

26 Jun

I’m breaking the silence with Pablo Neruda… using his words to bridge the gap I’ve made between myself and you, my dear reader.

Perhaps not to be is to be without your being.

Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,
without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,
without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:
and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.

Pablo Neruda
Forgive my protracted silence?

art when words won’t do

30 Apr

Well hello there my lovely reader! Thanks for dropping by!

Lately, I have rediscovered the healing powers of art, of creativity.

I want to share with you a work I created last week when I was feeling particularly sad. I was about to dive into the icecream and have a fantastic wallowing session (wonderful, in its place), when my sister sent me message telling me to paint instead of dwell in sadness.

Here it is (and wherever he is, I hope he is happy, and exploring great things).

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Life is exhausting, so take time out — even half an hour — to do what you love  and devote all of your mind to it. Turn off your phone (god forbid) and shut out the rest of your world. So many things and people demand our constant attention: put that on hold, and create something directly from the heart.

Bisous xxx

P.S. Marten has taken a trip for a while, but I’m expecting him back home in the next few days… Can’t wait for his battered old Saab to come rolling down the street. I’ll keep you posted. x

Girl Next Door Went A’Walking

15 Apr

When my manager told me she was attending an “Elvis-themed wedding in Vegas” (in a word: fabulous), I knew I had to design her outfit.

We decided to channel an early 1960s feel with a chic pencil skirt and neck tie; the only guideline I was given was it had to be green. Drawings were done, fabrics sampled and after fittings in the middle of several busy work shifts, I produced the finished product.

I only had three weeks to make the thing, as well as continuing my full-time study and part-time job. But even at 3am, at the sewing machine trying to handle the 100% silk fabric, I kept repeating my mantra: “Make it with love”.

So here it is, the first commission: designed and constructed (with love) by Cait&Marten.


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Model: Charlotte Photography and styling: Cait&Marten. Thankyou also to the Sarah Cottier Gallery in Paddington, exhibiting the beautiful artwork of Huseyin Sami.

If you have any queries or commissions for your own, bespoke designs, leave a comment below and Cait&Marten will happily, enthusiastically contact you.

Visit the facebook page here (like it if you love it).

Also, follow the blog (if you haven’t already… I love all of you, my dear followers!!) via email or on Bloglovin’ (see the side bar).

But most importantly, don’t forget to MAKE IT WITH LOVE!

Empress Theodora says

6 Apr

Have you seen the movie The Holiday? One of my all-time faves, it’s a wonderful piece of chick-flick ah-maze, complete with Jude Law (shirtless) and two beautiful women (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, to die for) who find strength and confidence in their own. If, by some cruel twist of fate, you haven’t seen it, then go: stop reading, make some popcorn and watch it.

BUT if you have already, then you’ll know what I mean when I say “gumption”. How she shrieks with joy because she’s found strength in herself, aware of her worth as an individual, as a woman? Hells yeah: gumption.

I really want to talk to you about a woman (with a whole lot of gumption) who shared her sass and ‘tude with the world some 2000 years ago.

Empress Theadora was the wife of Justinian, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire way back. She began her life in Constantinople as an actress and child prostitute, and as a teenager became known as “the naked dancer of Subura”. She soon became the mistress of Hecebolus, Governer of Pentapolis and returned with him to North Africa. They quarrelled; they parted. She returned to her work in Constantinople where she drew the attention of Justinian, heir presumptive of the Byzantine Empire. He fell in love with her, and she encouraged him to change the law, allowing them to marry despite her roots and profession. At 27, she became Empress.

“The classic rags to riches story is made richer still by Theodora’s achievements in power. As empress, she worked on the paper On Pimps, an attempt to stop pimps making their money from prostitutes. Well aware of the impossibility of marriage and a safe life for such women, she set up a house where they could live in peace. Theodora worked for women’s marriage and dowry rights, anti-rape legislation, and was supportive of the many young girls who were sold into sexual slavery for the price of a pair of sandals. Her laws banished brothel-keepers from Constantinople and from all the major cities of the empire.” (Stella Duffy, in The Guardian, Thursday 10 June 2010. Read the whole article here).

She was intelligent, strong, ambitious and imperious. If that isn’t enough, she was also incredibly beautiful and draped herself daily in pearls, emeralds, luxuriously heavy silks and gold. She had gardens filled with peacocks, ibis, fountains with scented water, mosaics, Chinese lanterns and every luxury imaginable.

I came across this somewhat elusive but wholly inspiring Superwoman of Byzantium a week ago in class, and have been inspired by her strength, intelligence and ambition.

Sometimes, though, I find it hard to imagine how a woman like Theodora can be transposed into today’s world. How would she behave, dress, survive today? How can I take inspiration from this woman of courage and use it to change the way I behave, nearly 2000 years later?

Enter: Dolce & Gabbana. Their latest Ready To Wear collection (Fall 2013) is entirely Byzantine in approach, but transposed for the modern woman (genius, truly). A woman wearing this D&G collection would be able to take over any empire, Byzantine or otherwise.

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See also Chanel Pre-Fall 2011. I sense a theme here..

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Woman of the modern world! (says Empress Theodora):

Don’t take shit from people (especially men). Know your worth. Know your strength (being strong is a conscious decision). Fight: for yourself, but importantly, for others. Be vocal (say what you need to say). Wear rich silk when possible. Also wear D&G when possible. Pearls should and must be draped. Show gumption (using that word in a sentence helps you to act it out). Finally, don’t let ANYONE make you feel unimportant (not in the Byzantine era, not ever).


(Love from Cait, Marten and Theodora… bisous)

the imperfection

31 Mar


As I type, I listen to Playground Love by Air. It makes me want to float away, drinking a martini in the bath, hair clinging to the condensation of my face.

I am in Sydney again, after being in Bowral (my hometown, southwest of here) for several hours. I bought a new book.

On the train, reading this new book, the phrase caught my attention and held it:

It’s the imperfection of actual life.

Yes! yes!

It’s the imperfection of actual life.

I am tired of fashion’s tendency to omit this imperfection. Tired of some fashion and lifestyle blogs that present the idea that beauty is perfectly polished and well-kept (“here’s the latest nail colour, the best skin care, this is what I’m wearing today from this shop, this shop and this shop”). Tired of the refusal to admit that much of life is full of tired eyes, nail-bitten fingers, bad colour combinations and — god forbid — boredom.


I’m tired of the idea that an enriched life must be busy, full and always glamorous. Bloggers never blog about the mundane (obviously). But because of that, there’s the pervading idea that a successful, fashionable life is one that is constantly stimulated, a perpetual high-point, a series of brunches, lunches, dates and dining: all in the finest Celine and Louboutins.

But isn’t there something to be said for the “unglamorous”? Can’t beauty be found there too?


We forget about the beauty in silence, the beauty in darkness.

The importance of behaving, moving and dressing with no regard for cyberspace (that facebook persona we’ve all been conned into creating), or street photographers or that horrible pretence of “fashionable”.

How real are we being? How much of our lives are lived for other people, and how much of that is surface-value?

For me? Far, far too much. But it’s come on slowly: none of us would consciously choose to live our lives according to the dictates of those around us. But we do all want to be liked and approved of, and in order to do that we subconsciously decide to talk, dress, live in the way of those we want approval from.

Ugh. I’m so tired of facades, and pretence.

I want the imperfection of actual life. My actual life. From here on, there’ll only be real.

Instead, I’m looking for beauty in the everyday, even in the boring. Even though I’m a fashion student, I’m not interested in what’s “fashionable” right now. I’m interested in genuine style and personal expression, dictated by nobody but the wearer.

The imperfection of actual life.

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Witchery Fall 2013 Runway

17 Mar


Can you believe how bad a blogger I’ve been?!

This past month has been a whirlwind of an adventure. Fashion school has begun! I have neither the time nor ability to express what those three weeks have involved: the amount I have learnt, the people I have met… I get home at the end of a full day of illustration, design lectures and pattern making and I don’t even know how to channel my thoughts into something coherent. Everything becomes white noise at the end of the day.

But I won’t bore you with the generalisations of my experience. Instead, from now on I’ll let you in on the process as it happens. And from here on I’ll be diligent. No more of this month-long silence. Promise.

To begin:

Two weeks ago, the Australian fashion label Witchery launched their AW 2013 line at David Jones. And as an excited and enthusiastic fashion student, I was lucky enough to volunteer behind the scenes as a ‘dresser’.

See this here?


Look #7, as dressed by me. Sheer skill. Ha.

There were about 25 other volunteers; really all we had to do was iron the clothes and put tape on the soles of the shoes. And then eat the catered sandwiches and be intimidated by the models. Oh, and of course: actually dress the models, in the outfits already prepared and styled. Never have I been within such a high concentration of beautiful people: and these girls really were Amazon women, if a little more thin.

Before the actual show was the dress rehearsal in the afternoon. But because my model didn’t show up, CUE MY MODELLING DEBUT: holding the outfits in front of me, I stomped down the runway looking completely ridiculous but having the time of my life (not really, I was mortified). A total goof and clearly not of the model breed.

Thank goodness my model showed, leaving just enough time for hair, makeup and even a nice bit of reading of her Penguin classic before the show. I know I was biased, but I thought my model was the prettiest. Of course. Meet Kori Richardson (total babe):



So I made sure this pretty lady was dressed in her three outfits at the right time, whilst trying in vain to make some sort of small talk (the latter proved wholly unsuccessful).

The runway show was perfect. No issues whatsoever: the safety pins attached to my shirt in case of a broken zip (!!) or spilt seam (!!!) remained untouched. Kori of course wore all the right pieces of clothing just the right way at the appropriate time, and she with all the other models impressed the crowd in this season’s new colours.

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Afterwards, my Instagram feed was filled with RUSSH, Vogue and Bazaar images of the show, all showering praises on the new designs.

I was like a proud mum: inside, I was shouting “But I saw them first!! I was backstage! I was responsible for looks #7, #27 and #49!”. But outside, I was all cool reserve: I didn’t make a single Instagram comment. So chic.

So my first fashion show is done. It had the same feeling of anxiety and anticipation as before a piece of theatre; indeed it is theatre. But the strange thing is that the ‘performers’ only had to walk in a straight line for 40 metres: in this type of theatre, it’s not about the performers. It’s about the clothes on their backs. Finally! Validation and due attention for the costume designer!! This is totally my scene.

Until next time, I’ll just be practising my catwalk.

(Feet directly infront of the other = ultimate hip swing. Got it.)

Just fricking chase your dreams

19 Feb

This blogger is inspired.

Here’s why:

Number one: I’ve spent the morning reading the memoirs of Grace Coddington. Look her up and you’ll understand.

Number two: I was at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) last night for a writer’s forum (“any theatre that doesn’t try to change their audience is a waste of time” — playwright Steven Sewell) and staged reading of Steve Yockey’s new play, Pluto. Despite a discussion on the writer’s political responsibility, I was most moved by a woman in the audience who stood up to ask a question of the panel. More than sixty years old, she expressed a frustration at not being able to get her own plays produced, and wanted to find some kind of encouragement (annoyingly, they didn’t offer much).

I’ve been thinking about this woman all morning. I want to know her; I want to know what she has done with her life. But I don’t, so allow a little conjecture. This woman is probably retired, has probably raised a family or faced the hardships of the workforce for forty years (or both). She’s at the tail-end of her life (but, as an aside, still undeniably beautiful — what well-kept hair!!), and many would say she has achieved all she needs to, and can now live a quiet old life as a retiree.

But no! She has decided that now is the time to launch her career as a playwright. All the things she has seen, learnt and experienced are being scripted by her for an audience to view on the stage. What courage.

Determination, resiliency, strength of character.

Wow. Imagine being so ambitious and driven even at that age. It’s easy for me to be ambitious and driven now: I’m filled with the naive idealism of a 22 year old. But will I be like that in fifty years? If all of us could live like this woman, constantly striving for more, unafraid of failure and never settling for mediocrity, IMAGINE WHAT WE COULD ACHIEVE!

Number Three: I have been looking through photos from summer, and have found these. I have been a very bad blogger and never shared this amazing experience with you. The show was Concrete and Bone Sessions (created by the Aussie company Branch Nebula: “a ravenous appreciation of so-called low brow culture”), an electric piece of theatre performed at the skate park in Dulwich Hill. A combination of dance, Parkour, skateboarding, BMX, Free Running and break dancing (all to music and the setting sun), this was a display of endurance, crazy-ass skill, and a total lack of fear (the paramedics were on standby).

Take a look. Imagine having this much passion and drive. Throw yourself (literally) into what you love, and this is what you’ll produce:

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(the guy underneath is on a skateboard)

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Until next time: work HARDER, fight STRONGER and above all, STAY TRUE to the essence of your dreams.

There is no limit.