Kirribilli Market: Week 208

Secondhand clothing stalls at the Kirribilli Market: Sydney, Australia

Sydney loves its weekend markets. I have been to quite a few so far, but since I live on the south side of the harbour, I don’t make it to the north too often. That’s probably the reason why it took me two years to discover the Kirribilli Fashion Market.

It was established in 1974 and it takes place on the second Sunday of every month. The location couldn’t be better either- a grassy park that at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I arrived there in the late morning and the place was already buzzing with fashionable women with money to burn. The clothing stalls closest to the bridge were more formal booths with sun canopies and business cards.

Secondhand clothing stalls at the Kirribilli Market: Sydney, Australia

The plots further out on the lawn were cash-only operations run by hip college students with crooked racks of clothes and beer-money dreams. Their school friends clustered nearby in felt hats and platform sandals and rolled their cigarettes. These kind of booths were the best to bargain with late in the day.

Kirribilli Art and Design Market: Sydney, Australia

There was also an arts and design section of the market that was held in a massive tunnel under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. All of the food carts were located close to this area, which helped keep Barret distracted while I browsed.

Kirribilli Art and Design Market: Sydney, Australia

I could have stayed longer, but I didn’t bring my hat and I could tell the top of my head was getting too much sun. However, I didn’t leave empty handed- I bought a pink work blouse for work and a sea foam colored silk cape for I have no idea what. I’ve just always wanted a little cape and this is also attached to a vest- sounds like I got my money’s worth.

How to get to the Kirribilli Markets: Catch the T1 North Shore line to Milsons Point. Exit the station in the direction of Bradfield Park or Luna Park.

Sydney Mardi Gras: Week 103

Sydney Mardi Gras Parade 2013, official photo

I did not take this photo.

I could not see metallic fuchsia tassels caterwauling through the air.

I missed the feathered and bedazzled showgirls and the techno music pumping from their float was muffled by a 7 ft tall x 3 ft wide wall of human bodies.

I was at the Sydney Mardi Gras, I just couldn’t see a thing.

“Barret, I can’t see a thing.”

The parade had begun at Hyde Park before heading down Oxford Street. At a fork in the road, the route veered right towards the Glam Stand at the end of Flinders Street.

Sydney Mardi Gras 2013, photo by Ann Marie Calilhanna

Theoretically such a long route should have had plenty of viewing options, but it didn’t. I had completely underestimated the amount of people who would turn up for the 35th annual parade.

“Well,” Barret decided, “let’s keep moving.”

We passed six feet tall drag queens and vendors selling plastic step ladders and neon glow sticks.  Unlike the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, people weren’t able to drink alcohol along the parade route. It made for less drunken antics, but the glitter pasties were just as abundant and just as sparkly under the streetlamps.

Almost forty minutes later we were at the end of the route. There were still no good spots so we settled on a partially obscured view.

Sydney Mardi Gras 2013, photo by Ann Marie Calilhanna

We had already missed the trumpeting Dykes on Bikes motorcade, but we were just in time for the Harbour City Bears.  They strutted past in jean shorts and suspenders, followed by a group of people in matching T-shirts dancing to Rihanna’s We Found Love in a Hopeless Place.

Although I had only seen a small part of what I had intended to see, the energy and excitement was still infectious. For all the people straddling the sickly sweet trashcans, awkwardly dangling from smooth trees, and precariously balancing on marble ledges, a good view of the parade was worth the discomfort. I agree, but maybe next year I’ll bring my own milk crate to stand on.

About: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Fashion Advice From Mom: Week 80

“I have the most beautiful silk shirt for you,” my mother declared as she stroked the polka dotted black fabric.

“Mom, it’s a large. It’s too big.”

“No!” Then, with a tone of gentle persuasion she explained,“It’s a Ralph Lauren and it was only three dollars.”




“Stephanie. It looks stunning on you.”

“I don’t need it.”

“Fine,” my mother conceded as she put the shirt away. “I just don’t know your taste anymore.”

My mother is tenacious though. Despite frequent rejections she sends clothes in care packages, picks out items for my boyfriend, and every guest at our house leaves with heavier luggage.

It was during my last week at home, when my mother was trying to convince me to take her woolen pageboy cap back to New Zealand, that I thought: what if I just went with it? What kind of outfit could my mom really create? I had never given her that much power over my wardrobe, so I decided to throw down the gauntlet and issue a challenge: produce three complete head to toe looks using her personal styling collection. The winning look would be the one I wore for the rest of the day.

Here, in my mother’s words, are the outfits she chose for both Wellington and Manassas, VA.

Our model’s first look addresses nature; taken into consideration are weather and terrain concerns, and the suitability of the garments relating well to frolicking amongst goats in Manassas and sheep in Wellington. The model is at home in her woodland setting, and is stylishly protected from head to toe against the elements; not so the goat who unfortunately disintegrated shortly after the fashion shoot.

The second look, with a nod once again to nature begs the question: what would a young lady wear on a Tennyson’s summer’s day beside the Occoquan River? The answer lies in a light and flowing dress, mimicking the mood and colors of the river. The sunlit sparkle on the water’s surface is captured by the model’s necklace. “And by the moon the reaper weary, piling sheaves in uplands airy, listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott.”

But even fairy models have to earn their keep. Ours must emerge from her forest dwelling, and take that long walk down the road to gainful employment. Our model looks both fashion forward and purposeful in a dynamic, darker color palette. Her hair is swept up, her shoulders and arms unexposed. She wears sensible yet feminine footwear. She is perfectly ready to do battle in a political campaign in Manassas, or to cheer on hobbits in Wellington.


As my mother said, “both cities exude an air of practicality and an affinity for nature.” Considering river nymphs and goat frolickers are an unusual sight at the post office, I picked the third choice. My mom was happy I was wearing her clothes and I was happy I didn’t look like a clown. Maybe she does know a thing or two about fashion, just don’t tell her I said that.

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