The Model and Me: Blue Illusion spring 2013

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, The Model and Me 52 Comments

Sponsored by Blue Illusion

My eight-year-old son came home from school last week with a line drawing of the Eiffel Tower.

Presenting Exhibit A …

Win a Weekend in Paris France with Blue Ilusion

I’ve been offering all the right noises in regards to the kids’ artwork presented to me over the many, many years but this one stopped me in my tracks. I mean, it actually looks like the Eiffel Tower.

In one simple sketch (I think the stars really add something, don’t you?), my youngest transported me back to the my childhood and my first – and only – trip to Paris.

I was 12. It was Easter time and we were staying as a family just outside of Paris at Versailles, which sounds terribly romantic and exciting doesn’t it? Except until I tell you we were camping.

Now, I think my loathing for camping actually originated that Easter of 1980. Sub-freezing temperatures and no air mattress will do that.

What I didn’t loathe was wandering the streets of Paris, eating petit pain au chocolat (the only French I mastered), walking up Montmarte and climbing two stories of the Eiffel Tower, the very thing my son drew and came home with.

He has been studying countries and their landmarks this term and this one clearly resonated with him. I’ve vowed and declared to take him to Paris before he is the age that I was.

It’s about time I saw this beautiful city again through the eyes of obsessed adult, don’t you think? Oh, and a little FYI, camping will not be on the agenda.

Win a weekend in Paris France with Blue Illusion

So when Blue Illusion asked me to share with you their latest capsule collection – the Art Series Riviera Galerie – I jumped at the chance to get my French on.

Blue Illusion has long connected the dots between fashion and art and the philosophy of the stores celebrates the love of all things French.

Designer and owner Donna Guest (she’s in partnership with her husband Danny) is a self-confessed Francophile. She loves the way French women – of all ages – exude style.

The spring-summer 2013 fashion collection uses the French Impressionist movement as inspiration – and the campaign was even photographed in Monet’s famous Giverny home and garden.

I didn’t go to Monet’s garden for my shoot, so you’ll just have to squint your eyes and imagine.

The focus for the Riviera Galerie capsule collection I’m wearing is very much about colour – aqua, cornflower blue and white. It’s fresh, and in my opinion, just begging for another pop of colour.

I’ve chosen two Model and Me looks to feature – one a frock; the other a capri pant and knit.

The frock is one of those summer frocks that can be dressed down with flat sandals or dressed up a little for work or a girls’ lunch. The model wears the former. I chose the latter.

The model

Blue Illusion Riviera silk spot dress

and me

Blue Illusion Riviera Galerie collection spring 2013 3

Blue Illusion Riviera Silk Spot Dress  (size 14) $199 | Blue Illusion Scallop Trim Bolero (size L) $129.95 | Kors by Michael Kors kitten heels (bought in NYC last year) | Mikimoto pearls (my late mum’s) | Alex Perry for Specsavers sunglasses

Blue Illusion Riviera Galerie collection

Now, I know that you know that I don’t do three-quarter pants. No Siree.

What I do do (if I’m not doing shorts) is the cropped capri pant. There is a difference, so please bear with me while I explain.

With three-quarter pants, it’s typically a wide leg dropping from your hip (your widest point) straight down to your mid-calve (your leg’s widest point). The cumulative effect of all this wideness is, well, more wideness … and stumpiness thrown in for some non-flattering measure.

Capri pants, on the other hand – or leg – are slim fitting, follow your leg’s natural shape and end near to the narrowest part of your leg … your ankle. Even on one of my cankle days, my ankles are still the business.

The model

Blue Illusion capri pants

and me

Blue Illusion Rivera Galerie spring 2013 collection

Blue Illusion Asymmetric Hem Knit (size L) $149.95 |  Blue Illusion Bengajean Capri Pant (size 14) $129.99 |  Blue Illusion Clara Scarf $79.95 | Misano Shoes ballet flats | Samantha Wills ring | Uberkate bracelet

Blue Illusion Riviera Galerie collection spring 2013

A word on the knitwear. Yes, I live in Queensland. Yes, apart from one day this week, it’s pretty much go-time for steamy summer temperatures.


There are still nights when lightweight knits are just what you need if you’re out and I’m also very aware that you may live somewhere that won’t fully warm up for some time. If that’s you, now is the time to stock up as you can still look like you’re dressing for spring but in garments that keep you warm.


Win a weekend in Paris

Did anyone just squeal at the thought of this? Can you imagine?

Blue Illusion is giving one lucky person the chance to win 48 hours in Paris. The prize is valued at $10,000 – hop on over to enter. You have until October 14 to come up with and submit an answer to this question: You have 48 hours in the City of Lights: what would you do?


So tell me, do you love a bit of French chic? And if you’ve been to Paris, what’s your favourite memory?

PS. The lovely people at Blue Illusion have given me a $25 discount code to share with you if you want to buy online. Just enter stylingyoublue at the check to save (code is valid until October 14, 2013).

Coordinated by The Remarkables Group


  • Dianne

    Paris won my heart in my 20s… I recently bought an Eiffel Tower necklace which I wear as a reminder ‘I will return to Paris’ ! 2015 when I finish studying.

  • yep I love a little bit of french chic, I am a bit fan of the 7/8th capri- they suit me much better than the mid calf or just below the knees one, but they are a bit tricky to find when you are on the tall side! Ps I loathe camping too and my family insists on me camping at the DENI ute muster every year for their whipcracking! and it’s on in 2 weeks! arghh!

    • Brace yourself Mummaducka … I hope they realise the lengths you go to while supporting their interests and talents 🙂

  • Housewife in Heels

    Favourite memory of France is the Moulan Rouge and the food. And the Louvre. Actually I loved it all. We have a French au pair, so tonight we’re having an authentic French picnic at Mt Cootha whilst her French friend is visiting.

    • Oh what a fun thing to do. My parents are in France right now. Not jealous at all.

  • Janice

    I was in Paris for the first time last year……loved it so much, although I didn’t purchase much in the way of clothing as, at a size 14, I was way too big for most. The Parisian women are very petite. Favourite memory, spotting my 23 year old son sneakily eyeing up the gorgeous Parisian girls, and his quiet comment to me that they are very good looking. Also, morning coffee and pastries from our local boulangerie (hint, if you go, book an apartment rather than a hotel). Worst memory, Parisians are notoriously rude to tourists, and I found that to be the case on a couple of occasions. You just have to shrug your shoulders and accept it and enjoy their city your own way.

    • I guess I’ll have to just shop for accessories when I go back Janice 🙂 … so funny about your son!

  • Oh! You look fantastic in both the outfits, but I’m super in love with the scalloped bolero, and they go up to a 3xl! WINNING!
    And no, sadly I’ve never been to Paris, but my dream since I was around 13 is to visit the UK & tour some of Europe while i’m over that way!

    • Hold on to the dream and go for it Natalie … and yes, very impressed with size range. I’m wearing a size 14 pant, usually a 16 so keep that in mind too.

  • Evelyn (cottoncandydiva

    You look great in both outfits, Nikki! I adore that blue dress!

    I have never been to Paris, but I am obsessed with all things Parisian…clothes, home-wears, food (especially Macarons & Croissants) and anything Paris/french themed really!

    • Oh I hope you have a plan to get there one day – I want to go back!

      • Evelyn (cottoncandydiva

        Me too haha…it sounds just as amazing as I imagine it to be

  • It looks like white pants are definitely a thing this Spring/Summer!

  • Janet@PregnancyPanache

    Love those red ballet flats – tres chic and tres Audrey

  • Julie

    Ooh how I loved Paris! We were on a backpackers budget many moons ago, but eating baguettes and fromage in city parks watching the chic locals walk by are some of my happiest memories. We walked everywhere (not a hardship) and I remember crying at the beauty of it all, crossing a bridge on our way home at night. Paris certainly exceeded all my expectations. Seeing the Rolling Stones perform at Stade de France was pretty cool too! Can’t wait to return one day xx p.s you look gorgeous in that blue dress!

    • Thanks Julie … the dress is beautiful and suits my feminine wardrobe personality that I do allow out from time to time! Rolling Stones in Paris, now that would be something!

  • Aisling

    I love paris and went there a few times when i lived in london. I also worked there for 4 months doing a weekly fly in fly out from london – we stayed in the Sofitel for 4 mths! It would have been great but the job was very difficult and stressful.

    However, i think my best trip to paris was when i took my dh to paris for lunch for his birthday! He had no idea! I told him we were going out to lunch and sneaked his passport in my handbag. We got to london’s waterloo station and he still didn’t click… He tried to tell me i was getting on the wrong train 🙂 he finally got it. I had booked a michelin starred restaurant and we walked along the seine afterwards and back to london by 7pm. I even had first class tickets for the train which i got with a coupon in the paper :))

    • Oh Aisling, that is one beautiful story of romance. Paris makes you do that stuff, doesn’t it!? Amazing.

  • RosyPink

    My husband and I honeymooned in Paris for 3 weeks 🙂 We rented an apartment in Le Marais! I still talk about the coffee, the baguettes…the desserts! Our dollar was really weak at the time – a coffee cost AUD$10. Totally worth it!

    • Oh it would have been worth it – couldn’t go without. And it was Paris!!

  • The Plumbette

    I loved Paris when my husband and I visited 4 years ago pre-children. We stayed at a gorgeous Chalet near Disneyland and we had the BEST week. Having dinner on the Eiffel Tower was a highlight as was walking into Claudia Schiffer (as you do) while doing a spot of shopping. The cafes, the sites and a visit to Versailles were all done on that trip. I still remember climbing the stairs at Arc de Triomphe and seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance and thinking how blessed I was to visit this beautiful city. Can’t wait to go back and buy a Chanel clutch or a Louis Vuitton Handbag. I’m going to share this blog post with my mum who was only telling me this morning that she LOVEs Blue Illusion.

    • Yes. I’m definitely going to treat myself to something of that kind IN STORE. Has to be done. And hello to your mum!!

  • mary_j_j

    Ah, Paris! We stayed in a apartment on the Ile de la Cite with a view over the roof tops to Notre Dame – many memories!! Honeymoon part 2 and the first child was making her presence known first trimester style some of the day,though that wasn’t a highlight! We went out to Giverny one day too – it was lovely. That dress is lovely. I am trying to rein in my spending (this week) but I have noted that your discount lasts for a little while!!

    • LOL – yes it does Mary … and you’ll have to go back when not pregnant. The champagne!

  • Nic

    French was my favourite (and best) subject at high school and it’s ALWAYS been my ambition to get to Paris. My boyfriend lives in England, and when I visited in July, it was our plan to visit Paris – we only had about 48 hours available. However it was the time of Wimbledon, the grand prix, The Ashes, Glastonbury etc, and while we could get out of England cheaply, it would have cost a fortune to return to England. SO WE DIDN’T GO! Just couldn’t justify the expense… I was devastated – to be so close and not go! I joke that if I ever get the chance to go back again, I’ll land in Paris first and then go on to England just to make sure! (England though was very lovely and the weather was unexpectedly superb.)

    Nikki, you look gorgeous – so fresh and spring-like! I particularly love the dress on you. I’ve got the brochure and whilst I loved the dress on the model, these stick-thin models can look fantastic in a sack. It’s so great to see you, a normal person in the dress looking fabulous! I think I’ll try it on myself now! I love these Model and Me posts – thanks! Nicoll x

    • Thanks so much Nic … I’m wearing the size 14 if that’s a guide for you. And your story … NO!!!! I very much approve of your plan to go back and land in Paris first … boyfriend can be there waiting!

  • Anita

    I love your site and your pics – my best memory of Paris was, yes another wet and windy morning on the Champs Elysee but then a marvelous afternoon trip to Monets Garden at Giverny in the afternoon sun, such a magical place!

  • anastasiaC

    you look gorgeous! I love Paris – the loveliest memory was on a very rain and wet afternoon hubby and I went to a delicious cheese shop and then onto a bakery, we also grabbed a bottle of wine and sat in our quaint Paris apt eating good french bread and cheese and drinking their delicious wine whilst hearing the rain pour down…it was very memorable!

    • See, that is exactly what I would love to do! Memories like that last a lifetime!

  • Sally

    I have those very capri pants in Black and Denim…they are amazing, so comfy and stretchy. I bought them for travel but have ended up wearing them constantly.
    I love the blue dress…think I might need to head instore for a little look at it in real life!

    • I can so see why you could live in them Sally … they are ideal. The white ones are a nice light weight for summer too. The dress is definitely worth a try. I forgot to mention but I’ll go back in the post and give my sizes – I’m in a size 14.

  • Kelly

    You look lovely Nikki! I have been lucky enough to go to Paris twice! One of my favourite memories – on our last day we went to a local cafe for lunch. Using my 5 years of high school French I ordered us lunch (this was the only place where I found they didn’t speak any English) and being is was such a hot day we elected to have a cold drink (Coke) with our meal. Obviously the waiter taking our order thought that was a rubbish idea and served us with red wine instead. I couldn’t work out how to say we didn’t want that so we were stuck with it!! ha ha! The thing I like most about the way French people dress is they are put together. No going out in your trackies!

    • I think the waiter knew exactly what you ordered and served you up what he thought you needed! And yes, Kelly, I agree. Love the way that French people look effortlessly put together. It’s an art, that’s for sure!


    Go. Book your flights with the Hubby and Kids. No camping.

    Love these chic outfits, love the cobalt blue with the pink heels.
    Best memory of Paris – Laduree.
    French styling is so timeless, don’t you think?

    • Mmmm Laduree. And yes, French styling is so timeless, that’s the appeal. We will be going to Paris – and Europe – more in the future as my parents are moving to the UK next year. They can run from us but they cannot hide (especially with free accommodation!).

  • Andy

    We were very lucky to have had 4 weeks in France in 2011 with my then 12 and 16 yr old….we all fell in love with France and often talk about going back to live for 12 months….I could easily spend my time between Paris and the beautiful province’s….and I am pretty sureI could get by with the French language basics too… long as you are courteous and smile, I thought the French were beautiful people….and oh so stylish! My daughter and I had soooo much fun shopping over there….and the food!!! Oh I want to go back now!!!! I do hope you get there soon Nikki……it would be so much fun watching your travels through Styling You

    • 4 weeks sounds like bliss. We will get there as my parents are moving to the UK next year so we will be visiting as much a our budgets/work allows!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    No I haven’t been but yes I would love to go,would anyone say no I think not ,I very much like the idea of wandering down a French street and do some people watching and no I would not camp either! I have read a few French fashion books and I love how the women are so Chic.
    You look lovely in those outfits,blue really suits you and those outfits look lovely ,Thank you for the chance to win this lovely prize Nikki.

    • Thanks Lisa … loved doing this shoot and finding some inner French chic 🙂

  • Johanne Taylor

    I love Paris and as my husband and I have been there together a couple of times together (in addition to my trip as a backpacker) ,we no longer need to do touristy things. Now we spend time sitting in cafes people-watching, enjoying the beautiful parks and gardens, and re-visit our favourite parts of the city like the gardens at the Rodin Museum and Place des Voges.
    Last time we stayed in an apartment on the left bank, and loved the freedom of buying fresh from the local boulangeries, fromageries, and patisseries to really relax and enjoy Parisian life. Next time I think we might stay on the right bank, so we can get to know a different part of Paris.

    FYI: I only speak restaurant French and this with a phrase book is enough to get us around the city, buying what we need to travel around, eat, drink, shop and survive. I have found if you try to speak French, pepper your requests with lots of “s’il vous plait” and “merci”, that people are very willing to help. I’ve never encountered the infamous rudeness.

    • Oh Johanne, this is exactly how I would want to do Paris. You’ve just transported me there in a few beautiful sentences!

  • Dotty

    Just fulfilled my lifelong dream and spent a week in Paris in July. It was everything I had ever imagined and sharing it with my hubby and daughters made it even better. When you go back, I’ll post you Paris tips :). Don’t wait too long.

    • Thanks Dotty! I will. My parents are moving to the UK next June so an SY European vacation will definitely be on the cards!

  • Sonya

    France is so on my to do list – my husband and I are hoping to recreate Rick Stein’s ‘French Odyssey’ traveling on a slow canal boat through the French countryside. Still can’t watch the DVD of the series without red wine and cheese. Love that dress and those shoes!

    • Mmmm … red wine and cheese 🙂 Sounds like an amazing way to see France!