ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME…

Christine's cherry-picked Christmas collectables for a very happy festive season

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In a world overloaded with information, depleted of service and suffering an excess of ill-considered product, there are few shops left where Christmas cheer is more than a worn-out cliché. Thankfully, Christine is a place to both pause and find the perfect present. It is a one-stop shop that offers the country’s best edit of on-trend fashion and accessories made by people who care, for people who care. Have a look at our selection of gifts for the special people in your life (and the things that we would love to see under the tree on Christmas morning!)

1. What do you get when you pitch the brains of a Brazilian land surveyor at the problem of all the ring-pull rubbish of South America’s soft drink cans? You get Paco Rabanne-style beaten silver bags that are both sustainable and super smart (see what a load of old rubbish can be re-imagined into on our Facebook page). The Dalaleo multi-function, cross-body bag/clutch envelope, $250, smart- phone pouch, $79, or small cross-body bag, $195, are guaranteed to excite the eco-warrior in your world.

2. Anya Hindmarch has fashioned the ultimate party bag in her ‘Marano Dancer’ – a glitter-encrusted, gold-framed minaudiere clutch (made famous by Kate Middleton) that, with the trip of a tiny surface switch, flashes a sequence of LED coloured lights, $795.


3. Lanvin’s ‘Les Yeux d’Elsa’ jewelled lips brooch (so named after the poem written by French Surrealist, Louis Aragon, for his paramour, Elsa Triolet), makes a big statement about style with ne’er a movement of its lacquered red mouth, $650. Present with a pair of co-ordinating Elsa ‘peeper’ pins – available as a left or right eye brooch, $650 – to give the dedicated Dadaist in your life a whole new face.


4. Dear Santa, on the subject of master goldsmith, Adrian Lewis, I am all ears. Please package up a pair of his brushed- gold, triple- hoop earrings, $2,950, his quartz-centred horn disc drops, $2,950, or his faceted smoky quartz stones trumpeting from brushed- gold drop hooks, $2,100. Or, be done with the drama of decision-making and just wrap all three.

5. Oh, and Santa, I’d be a bunny if I didn’t register my interest in Maison Michel’s face-veiling, black-lace ‘Heidi’ rabbit ears – as seen sported by Lady Gaga, $495. The black-lace Pussy-cat ears, speckled with light-catching gold leaf, would also make the purrrrrfect party headwear, $795.


6. Aside from a passport and the perfect pair of sunglasses (Cutler & Gross hand-craft the best for both men and women), there are a few things that the stylish traveller should never leave home without: a Herve Chapelier shoulder tote (the chicest, flat-pack cabin bag comes in our favourite iterations of ocelot, orange/pink or purple/yellow nylon) $175, a flat-pack, signature print Swash sun-hat, $125, a Cosi cashmere shawl (we love the Tibetan Red/Persian Orange colour-combo hand-made by fourth generation Mongolian master-weavers) $350 and a lipstick sized 4ml refillable atomiser (that can fill with an air-flight permissible volume of your preferred fragrance), $22.


7. Next season’s ‘haute casual’ trend is all about mastering the mix of high and low. The easiest way to work it is with a pair of super- luxe sports shoes. The best all-black iterations are the Lanvin cap-toe, low-top leather sneaker (faves of Michelle Obama) $595, the Sonia Rykiel patent leather trainer, $350, and the Sonia Rykiel après-ski, shaggy moon-boot, $850 (for those celebrating Xmas on the slopes of Chamonix).

8. “If you’ve got them by their wallets, their hearts and minds will follow”. With minor correction to that witticism, we say: if you buy them their wallet, their hearts and minds will follow. The best are by: Anya Hindmarch – a bow-stamped, black-leather zip-around beauty, $375; Sonia Rykiel – a zip-around or flap-fold pochette in matte and patent black leather, $395; and Lanvin – a ‘Happy’- clasp flap front envelope in black nu-buck and calf, $750.


9. All those young punks who have matured into polite society will love a bit of hi-fashion paste by Tunisian-born, Paris-based, jewellery designer, Shourouk who, before starting her own couture line of crystal cuffs, bib necklaces and dazzling drop earrings, made “luxuriously decadent” jewels for Galliano, Chloe, Roberto Cavalli and Jean Paul Gaultier. Who wouldn’t love one of her star- burst crystal confections stitched onto a long rope of silk, $595.

10. If ‘volume’ is the catchcry of the coming season then Brit designer, Anya Hindmarch has cranked it up to the max. Her ‘Scrooge’ jacket, aptly named for its detachable Christmas-parcel bow embellishment, provides the perfectly proportioned ‘outer space’ for all of next season’s narrow skirts and pants. Like its namesake character in Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’, the ‘Scrooge’, available in holly green or black wool crepe, $2,250, must team up with ‘Tiny Tim’ – a miniature cross-body party bag in navy, plum or black crackle leather, $650 – for the happy-ever-after ending.

11. Local lad, Christopher Graf – the fashion designer who describes his style as “a confectionary juxtaposition of good versus evil” – has designed a stunning series of limited edition, hand-rolled, silk scarves that conceal ‘Grafic’ commentary about a world that is conflicted. Both ‘Esperanto’ – a gilt-framed collage of paint-box colours and birds – and ‘Blue Monday’ – a magical, midnight-mess of diamonds, razor-blades and Raphaelite angels – always fly out the door. A few remain before both editions end – exquisitely boxed in deceptively sweet stripes, 135 x 135cm, $325, 97 x 97, $265.

 

12. Those who have taken to mobile technology will know that stylish casing is a contradiction in terms. Thankfully, Sonia Rykiel has leveraged her in-house design talent to tailor the chicest iPad cover in quilted black nylon, $195 and a cross-body-strap iPhone pouch, $99. But if pattern is the predilection, Swash have had a ‘Garden Party’ go at designing protective casing for the new iPhone 5, $69.

13. So who can’t use a bar of beautiful soap infused with the heady scent of tea-rose, geranium, mandarin or green tea, $10, all hand- made by Murphy and Daughters – a sustainably-minded, Melbourne-based company headed up by the super stylish, Sarah Murphy. We also love her fruit and flower-embedded beeswax tablets that, when stored in closet or chest, work in scent-emitting stealth to repel all cloth-eating nasties – insurance for your wardrobe at a weenie $20.


14. Lanvin’s ‘Happy’ bag delivers on the promise – in a special tenth anniversary edition of black goatskin overstitched with striations of navy grosgrain ribbon, $1,995. Wrap with a pair of co-ordinating anniversary ballet slippers, $595.


15. French fragrance house, Cire Trudon, have decanted three of their most popular scented candles into hand-blown, limited-edition glass flacons, the colours of which will be exclusive to the year 2012 (read: future collectables). ‘Odalisque’ (an oriental mix of citrus, wood-bark and orange blossom), glows in a cinnabar orange glass, ‘Abd El Kader’ (the peppered air of ginger and the perfume of tea) flickers within mint green glass, and ‘Solis Rex’ (a more masculine blend of incense, waxed wooden floors and conifer trees) twinkles behind cobalt blue glass. The Christmas perennial, ‘Nazareth’ (a pudding-rich recipe of spice-scents) still simmers in Santa-red glass, all in 230g volume, $130.


16. “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting,” said couturier Christian Dior. But in this age of conglomerate- owned fashion when the same scents sell in every major store, of every city around the world, even the dabbing of a little Dior says “I’m just like everybody else”. Find the perfect expression of individuality in the fragrances of Robert Piguet. His Fracas eau de parfum – opening with the fresh notes of bergamot, mandarin and lilac before bursting into a fusion of white flowers – plays with your body chemistry to produce a unique-to-you scent, now available in a hand-bag friendly 7.5ml roll-on, $46.


17. Say Buon Natale to the expectant mum with an Anya Hindmarch Baby Bag – a cleverly designed carry-all that comes complete with a change mat and concealed inner compartments for food, bottles and nappies. Available in washable black nylon with black patent trim it will have a life beyond baby, $695.

19. For the ‘nose’ who knows, or the nose who aspires to knowing, ‘Fragrances of the World 2012’, is the gift that impartially informs about the multi-billion dollar global industry that is perfume. Penned by Michael Edwards, the “perfume expert’s expert”, who revolutionised the industry in 1984 when he developed a system of classifying fragrance by genus, this prodigious tome is an annually updated resource that both educates and entertains, now in its 28th edition, $175.


20. A fine pair of 19th century gilt and white Staffordshire figurines in the form of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (currently residing in David Aboud’s cabinet of curiosities), lie in wait for the right pro-royalist mantelpiece, $1,295.

21. As a contra-post to all the grand, faux jewels of the coming season, we have sourced a range of super-delicate gold and silver jewellery that is suggestive of seeds, grasses and clusters of tiny insect eggs. Handmade by Sia Taylor, a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, these organically inspired, minimalist constructs will stay the course of fashion forever. ‘Dots’ will perfectly punctuate any style in necklace form (tiny 18kt gold seeds dangling from a fine chain necklace), $1,200, and earrings: a cascading tassle of multi-gold ‘Dots’ on long hook drops, $795, or two single ‘Dots’ on short hook drops, $395.

22. For those who think that vegan-practice and very cool are mutually exclusive terms, we have one word to say – ‘Falabella’. It’s the name Stella McCartney gives to the group of sumptuous chain-edged, faux leather bags that are seen bedecking the arms of animal-loving celebs everywhere: the grand tote, $1,150, the fold clutch, $795, and the handle wrist clutch, $395, come in new season colours of cobalt & black.


23. Nicholas King has moved his massive, moulded, jewel-rich resin bracelets away from the mannered monochromes of past seasons into a parrot-worthy palette of exotic colour. Gift his glitter bangles, in wild colour combinations of fuschia, yellow and blue, $175, and watch sparrows morph into macaws.

24. Described as “mesmerising” by The New York Times, ‘Aventus’, the new men’s fragrance made by sixth generation master perfumer, Olivier Creed, supposedly celebrates vision and success. With power-laced top notes of blackcurrant and bergamot and strong base notes of musk and old moss it will make boardroom material of any man, 250ml, eau de parfum, $279.


25. But if still stumped for inspiration, a Christine gift voucher is the can’t-go-wrong option – satin-ribbon wrapped in a signature red box.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season.