Saturday, 18 December 2010

Indian Christmas

This is really a quick post to say thank you all so so much if you've taken the time to read my waffle this year as it's nearly at an end. I didn't think I'd have time to do a little Christmas post as it's been frantic this week at work and then today I was meant to be flying to India.  However thanks to the horrific British weather and the inadequacy of Heathrow (grrrr), I spent the entire day at the airport without getting off the ground and have to be back at 9am tomorrow. Giggles all round. I also will be away from the Boy for two weeks which is never fun but we're having a week in the Shire when I'm back and a weekend at a lovely little boutique hotel in Wales which I'll post a review of. In the meantime, I want to leave you with some beautiful images of India, in particular some featuring Lily Cole in South India for British Vogue, July 2005 and some by one of my favourite photographers (and also a lovely chap!) Steve McCurry.  See you on the other side!x

UPDATE!! Did I go to Heathrow this morning? Yes Did I manage to fly? Clearly no. So here is a little bonus of some uplifting Steve McCurry pictures for all my lovely suportive friends and the boy. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, tomorrow is another day!
Hold a true friend with both your hands.  -  Nigerian Proverb      
What is a friend?  A single soul dwelling in two bodies.  – Aristotle
Friendship is a slow-ripening fruit - Aristotle

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Natalie was wondering of she'd overdone the eyeliner...

Although Christmas is on the horizon, my excitement has not yet peaked.  This isn't because I'm being all bah humbug (well..not too much) but this year I will be India for the festive season and it will be a wonderful but very different experience. One of our family traditions has been to take in a pantomime or ballet or both! Ballet, especially leaves me awestruck. The athleticism, the grace and the costumes. Last year, The Boy took me to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at Sadlers Wells, it was magical and he won a whole load of brownie points.  This year the performance that has got my pulse racing in anticipation is Natalie Portman's work in the new big-screen Black Swan. However before you start thinking I've wondered off the fashion piste, the film's forward-thinking ballet costumes by Rodarte, the insider-favourite label by sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy.

Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky said he and the costume designer Amy Westcott wanted to use a contemporary fashion designer "to take it to a new level." "We wanted to reinvent the whole sense of 'Swan Lake,'" he said.  Portman, who has been spotted in the front row of Rodarte runway shows during New York Fashion Week, had a relationship with the designers.
"I remember seeing a dress of theirs at a photo shoot, and just going, 'What is that?'" recalled Portman. "I don't have that reaction to clothes very often. It is not something that I really pay attention to that much. But it was just so beautiful. When we were doing this film, I just knew how balletic their clothes were."

Rodarte had, coincidentally, already tapped into horror films and ballet - the same elements that are the foundation of "Black Swan" - as inspiration for past collections.

"We had an affinity for the subject matter," noted Kate Mulleavy. "We had never done a film. ... This would be a dream job in terms of just getting to make tutus. But, then we had, I think, something that allowed us to add to access the psychology of the film in a different way, which was understanding the darker nature and more of the twisted kind of underbelly of that world."

Nevertheless, producing fashion-forward ballet costumes proved a challenge. "Well, I think that the big question was, 'How do you make something look realistic as a tutu and function?'" explained Laura Mulleavy.
Sometimes style took precedence over function. "You would never go and do 'Swan Lake' and wear a full-on swan outfit without having a strap" to hold the outfit up, said actress Mila Kunis. "Given that it is in a movie and it is a certain form of disbelief. They had no straps. So, the busts kept constantly falling, you know. And so you make it work. You figure it out. But they were beautiful."

The film isn't out in the UK yet but if you've seen it already (I believe it's out in the States this weekend) let me know what you think! The trailer alone gave me chills....also have a slight crush on Mr Vincent Cassell..X

Friday, 3 December 2010

'Never Complain, Never Explain'

"If you're tired of shopping, you are using the wrong shops"   The Duchess of Windsor
For my UK readers, I am sure you were aware of the lucsious Sunday evening drama that was Downton Abbey. Showing the upstairs/ downstairs class dynamic of early Edwardian life it was a feast for the eyes and ears and the perfect antidote to the dread of Mondays, work and real life in general. (For my foreign readers I would suggest visiting Amazon right now and trying to lay your hands on the box set!)

I was bereft when it finished so went to my local library in search of something to heal the wound.  I found it.  Edward and Mrs Simpson , a seven part drama from the late 70s/ early 80s that dramatises the events leading to the 1936 abdication of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, who gave up his throne to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.  The series won the 1980 Emmy award for Outstanding Limited Series, and BAFTA Awards in 1979 for Best Actor, Best Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Series or Serial..and I found a new style icon.  

The way the full-of-pep Simpson looked in London in the '30s — when she was secretly dating the Prince of Wales and future king — would be right on for Phoebe Philo's Céline vision in 2010. "As compact as a Vuitton traveling case," said society photographer Cecil Beaton, calling her "tidy, neat, immaculate." You would not have found this elegant, outgoing, married woman (thirtysomething when she met her prince) in provocative clothes, despite the raging affair that threatened to topple the British monarchy.

 The W and E style was the essence of chic. The duke's look was primarily English: three parts aristo to one part eccentric in his mad mix of Prince of Wales checks, baggy golfing plus fours, and Fair Isle sweaters. Meanwhile, Simpson's style was quintessentially French, from the time when haute couture ruled the fashion world. On friendly terms with designers like Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Dior's Marc Bohan, the duchess worked to reduce every outfit to its essence, even asking the couturiers to dispense with pockets.
A fraction of the Duchess's shoe collection!

"I began with my own personal ideas about style and I've never again felt correct in anything but the severe look I developed then," Simpson told her friend Fleur Cowles, the magazine editor and society hostess, in an interview for Bazaar in 1966. That pared-down, urban elegance of her early days remained her style until her death in 1986.

A rather wonderful montage from Net-a-Porter on we can achieve Wallis style
Her Madge-ness is apparently utterly obsessed with Wallis and frequently channels her style.  There are even rumours that she is directing a film about her life..Watch this space!

Gillian Anderson as Wallis in the current Channel 4 drama, Any Human Heart.

Lastly, I found this wonderful picture and had to include it..Have a wonderful weekend everyone X

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


So I'm back from Edinburgh and London is dull and soooo cold and I have a horrible red eye (due to a weird condition I have that flares up about every 6 months or so AND on top of all this, I am Lanvin-less.  Apparently people started queuing at around 8am the previous evening for store access, so I thought I'd outsmart them, set my alarm super early and do it from my bed.  The collection was available to buy from 7am so I was up at 6.30, fingers hovering over the keyboard in anticipation.  The two specific pieces I was after were these...

Do I have them? No! The collection went live at 0701, I managed to get both the dress and the skirt in the size I wanted. Amazing! Then I clicked through to the checkout, debit card all laid out in front of me, ready to type in the magic digits and have the two pieces I had lusted after for so long delivered to my door. 
Except that after clicking 'Pay by Debt/ Credit Card', the page remained the same but with 'Error Unknown' in the bottom corner. I literally tried to pay by every other means necessary and then (in a separate page) hunted for the online Customer Services number which (of course) didn't open until 8. I kept trying until 8 am then continued to try while I was in the massive queue to speak to someone at customer services.

At 0835 ( I had now been up for 2 hours trying to do this!) I managed to speak to a friendly Scottish lady who assured me that all was not lost.  Apparently the site had crashed due to huge demand (doh! Why don't they make provision for this??) BUT as I had my items out of my basket and was at the second stage of checkout (paying) I would be fine.  I should keep the page open and keep trying in about an hour when things had calmed down.  I asked (in an increasingly manic tone) whether she was 100% positive that the items would not vanish/ the site would time out etc and was repeatedly assured that this would not happen.

I followed her instructions to the absolute letter and checked the site again in an hour.  I did not refresh the page, I simply clicked, 'Pay by Debt/ Credit Card' as I had been instructed. What happened, the page VANISHED and this appeared in its place.

Oh yes..and my basket was now empty. Not even a sorry. Just a smug little note.  By this time I had been trying to buy a dress and a skirt for over three hours, straining my already bad eye over a website that had no compassion.  I had followed the instructions issued by H&M Customer Services who had either lied to keep customers happy or didn't know what they were doing. I decided to give up and start my little saving fund for some actual Lanvin one day, it'll probably make me happier in the long run.  (The Boy already has a beautiful scarf that is one of the highlights of his accidentally wanders into mine sometimes..)

By the way if any of you, my beautiful readers managed to obtain so Lanvin at H&M, please let me know how you did it!xxx

P.S. Good explanation/ rant here of how the situation should have been handled.

Just to be clear, I'm not mad with this chap. I still love him. H&M on the other hand...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A wee jaunt to the North

Linda Evangelista, an Arthur Elgort shoot, 1991.

I am heading up to the frozen wastes for a few days for work come Sunday so may fall off the fashion radar ever so slightly. I am journeying to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital and it is a city I have an immense fondness for having lived in Scotland for five years during my university days.

As well as the general bother of packing for a week away, having to factor in the cold (apparently it's snowing up there!), damp and having to attend some rather smart dinners of an evening, it also gave me pause for thought on a bit of fashion inspiration. TARTAN.
Particularly loving Aggy for House of Holland in the antlers!
 Now the kilt has been popular this season, I got a beautiful grey pleated number from Zara with black leather buckles that I have been wearing with black Yarra wedge desert boots from Clarks and a simple black v-neck cashmere sweater, topped off with my cape for when the days get chilly but I also LOVE the drama of a proper full on tartan number that has been favoured by that fashion Grand Dame Vivienne Westwood. Slightly more high maintenance to pull off maybe, but what an impact! And let us not forget the wonderful Alexander McQueen.  A man who could pull off a kilt himself and raised temperatures in the industry with the infamous1995 Highland Rape show that featured torn bodices and tampon strings hanging from the skirts. At the time, McQueen said that he had been misunderstood; he was trying, he said, to make a point about how 18th century Scotland has been romanticised, and it wasn't all about "beautiful women drifting across the moors in unmanageable chiffon".  Well, whatever you imagine when you think of Bonny Scotland, here is some of my tartan inspiration, let me know your thoughts!x
Marc Jacobs, NYC Fashion Week 2009

selection from McQueen's Highland Rape collection
And finally, a selection of images from British Vogue 2008...

And relax....what I shall look like in my off duty moments!x

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Mind the Gap!

Riley Keough with Thakoon at the Met Ball
Now I know we are all starting toget hot under the collar about Lanvin's collaboration with H&M arriving in a mere matter of weeks, (I'm almost tempted to start queuing now actually) but there's something else to get a bit hot under the collar about. Gap announced its collaboration with Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli in September and I think I read about it then promptly got swept up in Alber fever and forgot!

Kerry Washington in Thakoon for Gap
To coincide with the opening of Italy’s first Gap store in Milan, the capsule womenswear collection will launch in late November and will also be available at Colette Paris, Dover Street Market in London and Gap’s Flagship London store on Oxford Street.

For the US 14.2 billion dollars company the idea of having their items interpreted by famous designers is not something new. In the past Roland Mouret (womenswear), Pierre Hardy (shoes) and Stella McCartney (kidswear) have collaborated on collections, and this year the casual wear group saw some Hollywood stars wearing limited edition dresses at the Met Gala in New York, designed by Takoon, Rodarte, Alexander Wang and Sophie Theallet.  I've illustrated this post with the dresses that appeared that night and I'd love to know which are your favourites.  I'm leaning towards the one on Riley at the top...

M.I.A in gold mesh Alexander Wang with the designer

              Anyway, back to the business in hand...
They say… “We are very pleased that Gap thought of us as a partner for this important project, as it brings together the iconic world of Valentino and Gap's fashion essentials. In this way, Valentino and Gap synthesize the current trend of combining luxury with basics”.

What I'm saying… Form an orderly queue. Classic, sleek basics combined with Valentino’s modern-luxe femininity will be a hit with the fashion crowd and buying public alike. Watch this space!

I imagine a sea of red (not Product Red- Bono has yet to jump on this bandwagon) feminine gowns awaits us
..perfect for the holidays!x
 P.S.  As I mentioned, Sophie Theallet also collaborated with Gap and here are the two dresses on two lovely actresses that night...I remember seeing them at the time and could not believe they were from the same designer...
I'm not sure I would hug the person who made me look like an upmarket German beer wench...


Monday, 1 November 2010

Classics - Leopard Print or Call of the Wild

"I don't want to be cool, I want to be Fashion" Anna Dello Russo
 I am of the belief that not all animal prints are created equal, that one stands shoulders above the rest in the fashion jungle.  Leopard.  A smattering of it can add glamour to the most normal day to day combination.  Looking stunning when worn with simple black, jeans and a t-shirt; as little as a scarf or going all out with a wild coat (or truly going for Ms Dello Russo above!), leopard is one of the classics.  

Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan in An Education
There were two triggers for this post, firstly that it is now cold enough in London to dig out my beautiful fur (faux obviously!) leopard coat from Topshop last season (seen on Alexa below).  I teamed it with a black silk over sized shirt from Silence and Noise, black leggings with leather panels (ASOS), red quilted ballet flats (French Sole) and my black Chanel 2.55.

Secondly, all the beautiful 3.1 Phillip Lim pieces from Autumn/ Winter 10/11..which it must be said are in a variety of animal prints.  I'm particularly obsessed with the leopard print Derby Oxford and the Atomique mixed media trainer, oh and the stunning giraffe and leather biker jacket, but unfortunately do not have a spare £1085 at the moment so I'll be sticking with my vintage style Topshop coat for now.
3.1 Phillip Lim items from La Garconne, Browns Fashion, Neiman Marcus, Aloha Rag and Net a Porter.  With thanks to Susie Bubble for the collage.
I can even pinpoint when my love affair with leopard started, it was seeing Audrey in her perfect leopard pillar box hat in Charade, watching on a Sunday afternoon with my mother and I thought it was the most glamorous outfit I had ever seen....