Thursday, 21 November 2013

Queen Viv To Tell Her Story!

Something I have been trying to keep out of the blog recently is the fact that the Boy and I are buying our first place together. It's wonderful but also incredibly stressful. Right now - it's so horrid that I'm treating the blog a an escape. When it's all sorted, I will update but for now, all I will say is that we're moving to Vivienne Westwood's neighbourhood.  I have seen the flame haired one on her bike rattling along in Clapham Old Town and am harbouring a fantasy that when we move, we will bump into reguarly at the library, local deli and such like. 

Next year, Queen Viv will launch her first ever memoir in October. The fashion veteran is working alongside her friend and renowned biographer, Ian Kelly, to pen her life story in candid detail."The living deserve respect. The dead deserve the truth; Ian and I are working together on this and I am excited that this will be my story, the story nobody ever did before," said Westwood.

The book, published by Picador, will include contributions from Westwood's family and high-profile friends - although names have not been confirmed yet. The memoir will span her career, from primary school teacher to becoming one of the industry's most famous and rebellious designers. As you will be awaree, Westwood is known as much for her passionate eco-campaigning, as she is for being one of punk's key influencers - having helped catapult punk style into the mainstream, with her use of tartan, saftey pins and bondage gear.

"Vivienne is much more than what you first see," said Kelly. "She is passionately committed to human rights and to eco-politics, but as well as that I am keen to tell the truth about a huge-hearted, warm and witty individual, whose face and clothes are known the world over - but who is also recognisably the Derbyshire primary school teacher who met and fell in love with Malcolm McLaren and changed the world."  I cannot wait.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Italiano Style

Valentino posing among his models nearby Trevi Fountain. Rome, July 1967

Whilst Winter creeps upon us, it's good to look forward to the Spring.  In April next year, the glamour and style synonymous with Italy is being celebrated at the V&A and it's going to be a show-stopper of an exhibition.

‘Made in Italy’ has become a global codeword for a representation of style and quality, conveying Italy’s position at the forefront of international trends.  It’s not just Italy’s synonymic designers such as Versace, Gucci and Armani influencing the designers of tomorrow.  Thanks to the online exposure that now surrounds fashion week, fashion editors Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia have become today’s style icons and two of Italy’s best fashion exports, likened to a contemporary Anna Piaggi.  By the way, if you're not following Anna on Instagram, I suggest you do so NOW.  Her outfits are inspirational!

In honour of this fashion movement, the V&A will host the first major exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, to examine the country’s contribution to fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present.  More than 100 ensembles by leading fashion houses including Armani, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Valentino and Versace, from the early catwalk shows held in Florence through to the next generation of talent including couture by Giambattista Valli and Valentino’s new designer duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, will be showcased in the museum.

When it comes to sartorial self expression, nobody does it better or more naturally than the Italians, but the exhibition also highlights the influence of Italian cinema - War and Peace, La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday among others once earned Rome the nickname of “Hollywood on the Tiber”.  Audrey Hepburn, who won the 1953 Best Actress Oscar for her role in Roman Holiday, became not just a major Hollywood star but also a living icon for the Eternal City. Her love affair with the Italian capital is captured in the exhibition, alongside the influence of the many Hollywood films shot on location during the 1950s and 1960s.

If the V&A’s run of previous exhibitions is anything to go by, I’d recommend booking a ticket early at

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, sponsored by Bulgari, runs from 5 April - 27 July 2014 at the V&A. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Katniss Couture

OK pre the craze of it being "acceptable" to read children's and teenage fiction, I'm sure people would have laughed at me for reading The Hunger Games books but as someone who has always had a great love of literature in all its forms, I would have refused to have been cowed by their prejudice. I can happily say that I enjoy fiction across the spectrum - from Tolstoy to Tolkein, Meyer to Nietzsche, Dickens and Rowling to name but a few. However, I did raise my eyebrows when I heard that Net-a-Porter will not only stock the official Lucas Hugh training gear from Catching Fire (the second part of the trilogy - keep up!)but will also host costume designer Trish Summerville's exclusive Hunger Games inspired collection, too.

Comprising of 19 ready-to-wear pieces, Capitol Couture by Trish Summerville features a metallic laser-cut dress, leather bomber jacket, silk and leather jumpsuit, slogan tees and jewellery with arrow detailing.  Launching on November 21, in time for the film's worldwide release on November 22, Hunger Games fans can snap up Katniss inspired couture (see what I did there?!) from a mere £60
Select pieces from Net-A-Porter's Capitol Couture by Trish Summerville collection

Fashion director of Net-A-Porter, Holli Rogers, recalls that the team "jumped at the chance" to work with Lionsgate and Summerville: "Our customers take their style cues from myriad sources, from the latest runway shows and street trends to TV and film.
"Fashion plays an important role in The Hunger Games series and is especially prevalent in Catching Fire, and fans of the franchise will see the film reference in the collection."

Crowned Costume Designer of the Year at the 10th annual Style Awards, Summerville is no stranger to a high street collaboration. Swedish retailer H&M teamed up with her in the winter of 2011 to create a capsule collection inspired by the fantastic Lisbeth Salander, she of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Summerville also bagged herself the Costumer Designer's Guild Award for her work on director David Fincher's 2011 film so thoughts dear readers..Will you be embracing this trend or do you save your embraces for the lovely Liam Hemsworth who has a much more pivotal role in the story this time round....

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Vogue Covers - Jessica Chastain

'Jessica Chastain burns up Hollywood' the December 2013 US Vogue cover line reads. The American actress couldn't have received a more fitting introduction to the style bible with all that flaming hair and a red hot career to boot.  Since winning over our hearts, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, for her role in The Help, Chastain's star has been on the rise...I personally like to think that I first spotted her in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and everyone took their lead from me.....

The 37-year-old landed a gig as the face of Yves Saint Laurent's Manifesto fragrance in 2012 and is considered a regular on fashion show front rows around the globe. She also recently probed Karl Lagerfeld in one of his most revealing interviews to date. This certainly begs the question as to why Anna Wintour hasn't snared the flame-haired starlet for Vogue's covers before now, however what do we mere mortals know?

Shot by Annie Leibovitz, Chastain is pictured reclining in a yellow Theory by Theyskens' gown by the sea; a pose which has been coined as a likeness to Frederic Leighton's Flaming June painting. Vogue readers will also see Chastain recreate other pieces of classic artwork in the monthly fashion tome, the Huffington Post reveals but for now..what do you think of the cover?

Monday, 11 November 2013


We are ALL absolutely glued to our phones. Glued to them. You might even be reading this on your phone. But, I often forget my iPhone charger especially if I'm running around like a headless chicken for work (99% of the time). If I've got a long train journey, by the time I've read Buzzfeed, the Vogue website and all the blogs I follow and finished playing around on Pinterest I've run out of battery and probably not responded to the oh so important work emails.

I want a Mighty Purse so much. As well as looking rather splendid, it'll charge my mobile phone. It would even charge my iPad (other tablet models are available) if I had one. Basically, it's a snazzy clutchbag!

It works with a USB adapter, so you just need to charge your purse before you use it. It's compatible with smartphones and tablets and you'll get two phone charges per Mighty Purse charge. I'm guessing that will equate to one tablet charge. And it only weighs 200 grams. Basically: it's a lifesaver on a train to Edinburgh when you realise you've left your iPad charger at home and want to watch the rest of Party of Five season 1.

Given the apparent witchcraft and wizardry involved this gem, I thought they'd have a higher price tag than £84.99. Now that's a lot for a purse (even a real leather one not horrid plastic), but portable chargers are bigger, clunkier, less useful and not actually that much cheaper. And they certainly don't come in lovely yellow and pink leather.

The Mighty Purse is sold out on their website (there's a waiting list and I'm on it), and Amazon have run out as well. BUT! All is not lost! Firebox have some in. Not for long, though. These are going to sell out pretty quickly and then everyone can carry on watching Party of Five/ West Wing. Downton on long train journeys and be very happy indeed. You might even do some work.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Make Them Pay - and pay this forward

It's not often I hop onto my political hobby horse on the blog, but I do know that most, not all, of my readers are women and one topic that fires everyone up is how much we get paid.  When I read about Elle's Rebranding Feminism project,I thought it was an incredibly important thing to get behind and encourage others to find out more.  It's already had a huge impact (as you can see if you follow them on Twitter) and hopefully will only grow from here as more people join the conversation.  

Three feminist ad campaigns have been created for the project. One in particular, Mother’s call to action to 'Make Them Pay', addresses pay inequality - according to the Office of National Statistics, women working full-time in Britain earn 17.8% less than their male counterparts.

Mother have created a dedicated website so that you can find out if your pay is fair in comparison to your male counterparts.

The results are astonishing – make sure you visit the site - Make Them Pay - and for the record, I'm paid nearly four thousand a year less than a chap in my job. Grrrrrrrr.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Darcy is DEAD!

Oh good lord - BREAKING NEWS! Helen Fielding will be releasing the third in the Bridget Jones book series, Mad About The Boy. The book – which will be available to buy from October 10 – has already attracted much hype, after it was revealed that Bridget's true love, Mark Darcy, has been killed off. Does this mean that the naughty Daniel Cleaver will be back on the scene? Has Bridget finally given up on fags and Chardonnay? Will we all love it as much as the first? We'll know in a week!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Babycakes! - Introducing J Crew 'Crewcuts'

At last, J.Crew devotees can deck their babies out in the same striped T-shirts and Italian cashmere sweaters they rely on for their day-to-day wardrobes. (But obviously the looks are even cuter because they are SO TINY!)

“For Baby, specifically, we are definitely keeping it to styles and silhouettes that cater to the tiniest among us,” Crewcuts head designer Jenny Cooper said at an editor brunch celebrating the new line for newborns to two-year-olds. 

“I know how squirmy and wiggly they are so we’re making everything very soft and moveable and also considering the adult who has to get them in and out of it. One of the perks of adding Baby is that we get baby fit models in from time to time, complete with chubby thighs and tiny toes.” Oh the cuteness!

To accommodate them, she added easy snaps and openings to J.Crew staples from the main line and combined them with fun, colorful prints from the Crewcuts collection. Some of my favorites are the tongue-and-cheek phrases, like ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Tres Cool,’ on the sweaters. The 71 different styles are available in US stores and online at now. We may also be getting them in the UK store when it opens in London later this year but at present I can't find any info on that, if you can, let me know!

I would totally wear both of these items!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Marant for Huh and Muh

Yes, it's going to be a total bun fight. Yes you should probably start camping outside. Yes, you'll probably get a sharp, fashionista elbow to the face but get ready because it's nearly here - Isabel Marant for H&M. From a first look at the pictures over at Vogue, the collection does not disappoint although I will be interested in the quality of the pieces, previous collections (I'm talking about YOU Margiela) have really disappointed in that area.  'I am creating something real, that women want to wear in their everyday lives, with a certain carelessness, which I think is very Parisian,' Ms Marant said in a statement when the collaboration was first announced.
WANT - of course it's one of the most expensive pieces!

In the lookbook, I for one was very pleased to see the beautiful face of  Alek Wek again - a model who has been less on the scene of late.  Accompanied by Lou Doillon, Milla Jovovich and Constance Jablonski the models lounge in pieces that echo Marant's Parisian bohemian aesthetic perfectly. An embellished trophy jacket is worn with leather cropped trousers; a loose peasant top with printed jeans; and mannish outerwear with white trousers and slouchy boots with fringed detailing.

It's landing in stores on November 14. Forget doing it online, the website crashes EVERY time one of these collections launches. Go and get in the queue.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Breakfast With Charles

"Dinner parties are mere formalities. You invite a man to dinner because you must; but you invite a man to breakfast because you want to see him"

Is there anything more lovely than getting to stuff your face lazily on a Sunday morning? A dear friend of mine has been running a fantastic breakfast club for a few months and now, it's hitting the big time! Below are a few images of previous BWC delicacies. Tomorrow I shall be snaffling down a delicious menu of breakfast bites and cocktails at rooftop location somewhere near London Bridge at his new pop-up venture. Unfortunately all the spaces are now taken but like the Facebook page, join the mailing list and keep your ear to the ground for future pop-ups. Breakfast just got serious.
Light and Fluffy Wholegrain Blueberry Pancakes with Grilled Figs, Caramelised Cherries, Plum Compote and "Maple Syruped" Creme Fraiche.

Chorizo with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Yellow Courgettes and Cherry Tomatoes, the "Perfect" Egg with Paprika and a Roasted Red Pepper Puree

Eggs Royale with Gravadlax and Smoked Salmon

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Blow Show

She was the muse and fashion stylist who inspired a generation of British designers, now a new exhibition is to chronicle the life - and wardrobe - of Isabella Blow, from her childhood at her family's estate in Cheshire to her suicide in 2007.

The show will feature more than 100 items of clothing and accessories owned by Blow, who is credited with discovering Sophie Dahl and the late Alexander McQueen.  The collection includes pieces by McQueen as well as Blow's wedding headdress, designed by milliner Philip Treacy while he was a student at The Royal College of Art.

They were bought by Daphne Guinness, the heiress and socialite, after Blow's death at the age of 48.
Blow, who was unable to have children with her husband, art dealer Detmar Blow, and was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer, had suffered from depression.

Miss Guinness is mounting the exhibition at Somerset House in London with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins art college. She said the show was "bittersweet" but that she was putting it on for a "dear friend, in the hope that her legacy may continue to aid and inspire generations of designers to come".
"Isabella Blow made our world more vivid, trailing colour with every pace she took. It is a sorrier place for her absence," she said.
"When I visited her beloved clothes in a storage room in South Kensington, it seemed quite clear the collection would be of immense value to a great many people. I do believe that in choosing to exhibit them we've done the right thing - and that it is what she would have wanted."

Born Isabella Delves Broughton, Blow's father Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton was an Army major and her mother Helen Shore, a barrister. In the Eighties she worked in America as an assistant to Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, before returning to the UK to work at Tatler magazine and then British Vogue.

As part of the exhibition, mannequins will be dressed in outfits worn by Blow. Stylists have studied archived photographs to recreate her look, which often included a McQueen outfit, Treacy hat and Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! runs from November 20 to March 2, 2014.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Mademoiselle C - review

For anyone who watched “The September Issue” and loved the romanticism of Grace Coddington more than the business of being Anna Wintour, the just-released Mademoiselle C will be of interest. I would be lying if I said that I enjoyed it as much as the professional tussle between Anna and Grace but Carine Roitfield has always seemed something of an enigma and I was intrigued to know if we would actually get a proper glimpse into her life.

What we get is a pulsating 90 minutes into the rarefied world of Carine – former editor-in-chief of French Vogue, muse to Tom Ford, and as she calls herself, “queen of porno chic”. Director Fabien Constant chronicles the period between 2011 and 2012 as Roitfeld creates and launches her highly anticipated CR Fashion item which I did not move fast enough to get my hands on, grrrrr.

Constant, the mastermind behind the riveting Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary and Sundance Channel’s “The Day Before” series, was given open access to both the professional and personal life of Roitfeld and the quiet, voyeuristic style he employed in his previous work comes across here in a big way. Whereas many fashion docs feature a series of talking heads interspersed with live footage, Mademoiselle C plays as if Roitfeld had invited you to join her group of style bandits in their quest for the fashion dreamworld – photographers, models, fashion designers, staff, and even family. As she prepares to “give birth” to the publication, her daughter Julia is also preparing to give birth to her first grandchild, we even get a sneak look at THAT famous pregnancy photo shoot. The idea of rebirth is alluded to often in both the film and the magazine, from a Bruce Weber photo shoot with model Kate Upton clutching baby chicks to her not insubstantial bosom, to a Tom Ford directed fairy-tale version of Sleeping Beauty complete with his actually housekeeper dragged into a starring role! Besides Ford, Roitfeld supporters Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci make memorable appearances – one that particularly stands out is a scene of Lagerfeld pushing a stroller containing Roitfeld’s new granddaughter, Romy. For me that was worth the price of the ticket alone - Kaiser Karl's version of Daddy Daycare - his comment on the newborn by the way, "She doesn't have much conversation yet does she?"

“Mademoiselle C” captures the excitement and relentless of Roitfeld’s world – escorting Tisci to the Met Ball, producing a black-wardrobe only fashion show for the amfAR Gala at Cannes, taking private ballet lessons, OUCH – but it also portrays the less glamorous side of the publishing industry. Editors will appreciate the moment before launch when CR Fashion Book business partner and design director Steven Gan informs the team they are six pages over and the decision comes down to cutting words or images. The viewer never finds out what happens and I wanted more.  Also during a crisis where the model for that night’s couture shoot has unexpectedly been called to Poland, Constant fixes his camera on the publication’s fashion editor, who works her phones for a solution while Roitfeld calmly sips her espresso and waits. These moments, as ordinary as they might seem, actually provide a more humanistic dimension to fashion publishing – something often missing from “The September Issue” or “The Devil Wears Prada.” Roitfeld always appears calm, gracious, warm, completely unconcerned with commerce – and refreshing although I did feel for her assistant trying desperately to fix a variety of problems. Perhaps it is easier to stay calm when one has a dedicated minion to hand?

As Roitfeld says in the beginning of the film, French Vogue was her “crown.” What comes next is entirely up to her. Lucky for me, through this film, I got to go along for a bit of the ride.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Summer Lovin'

Adieu mes petits! I will be scampering off on my Summer break to the French Riviera so all will be quiet on the post front for a couple of weeks. I hope the sun stays gloriously shining as it has been for the past few days. See you in September! X

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Breakfast with Wes

Regular readers will know I love all things Wes and now I can play out my fantasy of being in one of his movies by heading to the lovely Fika in Brick Lane. It's had a makeover à la Wes Anderson that will last until the end of August. Sit among Margot Tenenbaum's book collection and some Moonrise Kingdom love letters as you graze on a Tenenbaum's dinner: sliders with goat's cheese, the Beekeeping Society's Chicken, and – one I have yet to try – the Foxy Doughnut, a homemade doughnut with chicken liver pâté and apple inspired by Fantastic Mr Fox! The cocktails are all about playtime. Order The Life Aquatic (dill vodka, elderflower and lemonade) or The Inventory (Cognac, chilli caramel, Absolut vanilla and cotton candy) served in interesting receptacles...If only one could borrow Margot's wardrobe to lounge insouciantly at the bar..

Here's a peek at the menu!x

Thursday, 8 August 2013

September Issues - Harper's Bazaar

Oh we all love the September issues! It's that time of year again when the heavy tomes flood block the letterbox or you rush to your local newsagent to grab it!  There is a trend at the moment for rewarding subscribers (viewed as more loyal than the general public who buy on a whim) with a special cover. When I went to University I saw little point in subscribing as I was travelling about and since I've been in London - I admit it - I've just not got around to it. I will make a concerted effort to subscribe when we EVENTUALLY buy a flat. We've been hunting now for a few months and it's a nightmare, except a dismal post about that in a bit!

But here we are - Harpers's September issues.

Harpers Bazaar US Subscriber version (above) I just love this: the drama, the mirth, the spirit, the geometry. It's clearly SJP and I'd bet my bottom dollar that it's a Philip Treacy headpiece. It annoys me that this isn't the newsstand version as it's my clear favourite and I'd be interested to know your views.

Harper's Bazaar US newsstand version - To be fair, there isn't much WRONG with this but it also looks just like everything else out there, chock full of the same information everyone else alleges to have: better hair, the best pieces for now, price equality, how to look younger. For me, it's blaaah, they could have been much bolder.

Harper's Bazaar UK newsstand version - I feel like we don't get many models on covers these days, apart from Moss who's always trotted out.  There's something fun about seeing a model who might not be THAT known to the younger readers, given that she hasn't worked as extensively in later years as she once did (or at least, I feel like i haven't seen her as much). I certainly think it's a bolder cover than the one across the pond and I love the colour palette and strange angles on the dress.

Harper's Bazaar UK Subscriber version - Again, annoyed that I can't buy this one. I like this alot, the jaunty angle, the slightly masculine tailoring, the fact that there are trainers on the front of a major glossy! Actual affordable Nikes as well! It's clean and crisp and that polo neck immediately makes me think of Winter wear.

Finally, Harper’s Bazaar Australia - This cover is a winner and I LOVE that there are only two cover lines, very rare. The dress is crazy but a great pick for "The Fashion Bible," and ScarJo's serious face is so groovy next to the chaos of her hair; she looks like herself; and the only other cover line is about Karl Lagerfeld. What more do you need?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Goodnight Gandy

David Gandy is my neighbour. I might have mentioned this before..but I seem him pretty regularly running around the park, sunning himself outside the local coffeee shop etc. Yes he does look like Zeus in the flesh. Whenever I see him, it brightens up my day so it was no surprise to hear that when Bionda Castana decided to make a – let’s be honest, really sexy – short fashion film feting the launch of its new shoe collection, design duo Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman knew just the man they wanted for the job: David Gandy.

The result is David Gandy’s Goodnight: a smart three-minute short that was shot in Manhattan and executively produced by David Schwimmer’s production company, Dark Harbour.

‘I wanted to create something which explores the emotional relationship between women and their shoes and the effect that can have on them and also on the men around them,’ explains Barbieri.

‘When the conversation came up as to who the lead should be, all eyes were on David. There wasn’t another male we wanted to play the role.’

Here's why. Drool.

Dinosaurs at Vogue

Sometimes something falls across my desk that is too good not to share. Without further a do, I give you some Thursday fun..

Access Vogue UK.

Then push the following buttons... up , up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a.

Then keep pressing a for more dinosaurs.

Yes really.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Passion for Fashion - Diana Vreeland

If I was going on a robbing spree like the Bling Ring, Diana Vreeland‘s would be near the top of the list. And now her wardrobe is going up for auction on June 25.

The legendary editor of Harpers Bazaar and Vogue was known for her amazing style and inducted to the hall of fame of the International Best-Dressed List for her lifetime contributions to the art of dressing like an absolute legend. Vreeland edited the American edition of Harper's Bazaar for 26 years from 1936 before taking the editor's chair at US Vogue for a decade in 1963. An extravagant taste-maker, whilst at style bible Harper's Bazaar she penned a column entitled 'Why Don't You', in which she once famously suggested: "Why don't you wash your child's hair in champagne, to make it blonder".  I haven't tried this myself but do let me know if you have!

Later this month a group of her clothes and accessories are being sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions, a specialist in antique fashion and textiles. The house writes:

One of the most interesting collections is a group of clothes and accessories that originally belonged to the great doyenne of vintage fashion – Diana Vreeland. Her smart navy YSL pea-coat bears the discreet ribbon of the Legion d’Honneur on the collar – an honour bestowed upon by the French State for her services to fashion, something she was immensely proud of. 

The auction guide reveals that when she received the news of the award she sent a telegram to her son Frederic, who was then a diplomat with the US embassy in Paris, writing: 'darling, buy me five yards of that ribbon'; only a centimetre was actually needed. The item is valued at £700-£1,000.

Also by Saint Laurent is a couture jewelled velvet evening ensemble specially commissioned for her to wear at the Metropolitan Museum’s ‘Royal India’ exhibition opening in 1985. Cecil Beaton painted Vreeland with her favourite art-deco cigarette holder which is included in the sale. The 'Passion for Fashion' lot also features a custom-made dress by Alexander McQueen for the late Isabella Blow.

The Vreeland collection was donated by a friend of the late editor, who had inherited some of the clothes after her death in 1989. Among the more interesting pieces on the block at the Diana Vreeland auction on the 25th is the director’s chair she used in her office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which has her signature DV emblazoned across the back in bright red - I've definitely got my eye on it!

To start fantasy shopping for some truly incredible fashion lots - here is the auction catalogue! Good Luck!x

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hot (Prada) Men - because it's Tuesday!

Prada has scored a pretty impressive line-up of famous men to star in its campaigns so far: Gary Oldman, Jaime Bell, Willem Defoe, Garret Hedlund, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Harvey Keitel, Toby Maguire, Adrien Brody and this blog wishes to be a friend to all!

Never ones to rest on their laurels, the Italian brand has enlisted three more of Hollywood's finest male specimens to front its autumn/winter 2013 campaign. Heading up the trio is Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz, famed for his Oscar-winning role in Inglourious Basterds and recently seen in Django Unchained. Alongside him is the delicious Ben Whishaw, who's probably best known for his role as Q in Skyfall or as Freddie Lyon in The Hour. If you haven't seen The Hour by the way - get on board, it's fantastic!  Finally there's Ezra Miller. I found him weirdly attractive in We Need To Talk About Kevin so I'm glad that Prada agree with me that he's a looker as several people looked at me as though I'd gone funny in the head when I mentioned this.

Shot by famed photographer David Sims, the campaign is inspired by the irreverent world of 60s New Wave cinema with the three actors as the "protagonists in a drama of wit and enigma." That's from the press release by the way.

It's the first fashion campaign for all three of the men - and I think you'd agree that if you're going to start somewhere, start with Prada.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Pop-Up J Crew!

J Crew is a brand that never lets you down - although most people this side of the pond probably became familiar with it due to a certain First Lady being a fan. For a long time, the only UK stockist was online at net-a-porter. I've had many a splurge (especially in sale time) but largely save my buying for when I'm in the States, especially for their beautiful monogrammed pyjamas which are only available over there and the exchange rate makes the purchasing a little less painful.

Good news for Londoners though - J. CREW will open a pop-up store in King's Cross for two days on May 24 and 25, ahead of the label's Regent Street flagship launch in November. The boutique will be located next to Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, with whom the brand are launching a scholarship programme and a special design project. Although full details of the initiative are not yet known, a press release stated that the collaboration aims to "underscore the brand's commitment to nurture up-and-coming design talent".

The store itself - in the Western Transit Shed - will sell the spring/summer 2013 collection, as well as a selection of Italian cashmere pieces that customers can have monogrammed YEAH!!). Bespoke hand-jewelled collars will also be available...and who doesn't need one of them?!
My PJs pre monogram!x

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Belinda Earl for M&S

Save those vouchers you've had stuffed in your wallet since the Christmas raffle - this is Marks and Spencer really upping their game.  Today Belinda Earl (formerly of Debenhams and Jaeger), is unveiling her first collection as style director of Marks & Spencer today.  A hefty dash of bold prints, pretty dresses and blouses and a coat that I've got my eye on - red A-line with a leopard collar (second picture down!)

"We spent lots of time asking customers what they wanted and talking to the staff in store," Earl said. "What they want is the quality back and the trends interpreted to fit and flatter them; they want to look their best."

Upgraded fabrics, attention to detail and an emphasis on mixing timeless classics with newness have contributed to a collection that is so far looking like it could be M&S' most successful fashion step for some time.  With prices from £45 to £85 - get ready! Below is an edit of my favourite looks.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

"The God Job" - Being the editor of Vogue

I've long been an admirer of Alexandra Shulman - not just because she edits the weighty tome that governs the trends, titillations and turbulent world of fashion.  She is one of the reasons I buy that magazine. I have only experienced UK Vogue under her editorship and it will sad and strange day when she eventually leaves for pastures new. She also very rarely gives interviews and I can only assume The Times got this one because it's a neat way of PR-ing the forthcoming Vogue Festival. Now, you can pop out and buy The Times to read this or I have kindly pasted it below. Words by Helen Rumbelow..Enjoy and let me know your thoughts.

The other day, Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue, was trying to persuade one of her employees that women based too much of their self-worth on their appearance. Shulman’s clothes-junky subordinate turned to her, aghast.
This, coming from a woman who for more than two decades has held the “God job” working for the fashion industry’s bible?
“She said: ‘You’re just in the wrong business aren’t you? You edit Vogue; why are you saying to us we’re all mad, caring so much about how we look?’”
Shulman tells me this story in her office in Vogue House, Central London, sitting at a dazzling white gloss table that perfectly matches her white Manolo Blahnik stilettos. So far, so much that you would expect, and yet in person, Shulman is not what you would expect. She is an insurgent in a feminine world: anti-guilt, anti-superficiality, anti-career angst, anti-diet, anti every neurosis that holds modern women back in the 21st century.

She has been singled out as the “normal” one of the elite cabal of Vogue editors, the permanent plain Jane compared to the weird showiness of her counterparts either in America (the imperious, sunglasses-dependent Anna Wintour), or France (the departed editor of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, who had a penchant for S&M chic), but that’s wrong too.
She is far from normal, in that she has achieved and exerts power through a sane, sure and moral sense of self. She sets her own trend, and it’s better than the others.
That, when you consider that she was one of the highest-achieving single mothers in Britain, or that she barely knew a thing about fashion before becoming Vogue’s editor only 12 years after leaving university, is extraordinary. Before I met her, I worried about my clothes. “Don’t,” a fashion journalist I met said, “She won’t judge you on your clothes.”

This weekend is the second annual Vogue Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. It’s a bit like a literary festival, with better cardigans. As well as Shulman interviewing Victoria Beckham, there is a debate that she was determined to include, entitled “Too Fat, Too Thin ... Will We Ever Be Content?” For Shulman, this is an intellectual mission, rather than a personal one.
“I’m still intrigued why people never say, ‘Oh I wish I was much cleverer. I wish I was more intelligent.’ They always say, ‘I wish I had longer legs, I wish I was thinner.’ It’s such a pity that everyone doesn’t like how they look more, because just imagine the happiness it would give them.”
I’m tempted to add: how many fewer magazines would be sold, but Shulman will, later, argue me out of that way of thinking too.

She is the daughter of the late Milton Shulman, the legendary Evening Standard theatre critic, and Drusilla Beyfus, a journalist who had worked for Vogue. By the time she went to St Paul’s Girls’ School in London she had a bit of puppy fat, whereupon the headmistress announced to the whole school: “Alexandra’s mother has said she is not to have potatoes.”
Now she looks to me like a fiftysomething Minnie Driver: pretty, rebelliously uncombed hair. Yet because almost every Vogue editor from Diana Vreeland onwards has been X-ray thin, Shulman encounters a reaction akin to a vague anticlimax when people see her for the first time. Does she like how she looks, I ask. I get a long pause in return. Shulman smiles as often as a powerful man — hardly ever — but she never takes herself as seriously.

“I’m beginning to think I’ve got body dysmorphia the other way. Do I like how I look? No, I think I’ve complained to myself about how I look all my life, but I feel really strongly that you’ve got to just not make that a big issue. It is complicated. Obviously, I don’t want to sound like a complete freak. I do care about how I look and I want to look nice.”
You do look nice, I say.
“Thank you! But I’ve got some odd kind of confidence that means it’s not the sort of thing that bothers me as much as it bothers other people.” But, I say, what about the pressure of living up to the Vogue editor “look”?
“People say: ‘Well, what did you feel like when you became editor of Vogue and you first went to the fashion shows and everyone was looking to see what you were wearing?’ It genuinely never entered my head that anyone would be looking. I’d worked for years in journalism that wasn’t about fashion. I didn’t realise it would be different.
“I hope I’ve embodied some of the intellectual qualities of Vogue, but looking back now I think I made an immediate decision that I wasn’t going to embody the physical ones. I was never going to be able to sell the magazine by being a clothes horse. You do things the way you can, and now I have been here so long, I am the editor of Vogue, and this is what it looks like. The next person can do it their way.”
She runs a magazine that has never featured a diet story. This is more revolutionary than it sounds: there is not a women’s glossy magazine that doesn’t plug an ever-changing roster of diets, usually on the cover. Diets sell magazines to needy women.
Vogue “never” runs diet pieces. “It’s not the kind of thing we do. We don’t do any ‘How to improve yourself’ things here.”

Commenting on other magazines, she says: “It just drives me mad when every week it’s another diet. It’s really boring. You know if you’ve got half a brain, that a diet just doesn’t work.”
So Vogue is for pleasure, not admonishment. I admire that, I say: “It makes you an outlier.”
“Most other women’s magazines do feature diets,” Shulman acknowledges, “but quite a lot of men read Vogue. It hasn’t even been tempting. We’ve had fantastic food writers, but that is a celebration of food, rather than being about how to lose weight.”

She does sigh a bit when it comes to the “skinny models” question, a debate that began some 20 years ago and that does not seem to have moved on. Shulman has often been the first, or only, editor to use her clout to question extreme thinness. Only this month, British Vogue was the first to sign up to a code of conduct that, for instance, prevents child models from being used to represent adult women.
She says: “But I’m really bored of skinny model conversations. I can see it will go on. I feel I’ve said everything I can say, I would love to change the world but I can’t.
“We don’t judge ourselves by the way the girls look in the magazines, because we create that look. Actually, I’m doing this programme for schools, how to deconstruct fashion shoots, so that for 12-year-olds, they don’t look at an image,” (she gestures to the recent Vogue covers on her wall), “and think that’s what she actually looks like.
It’s a fantasy; we construct these images for a purpose.”
She said that models did not get out of bed looking that way. “Nobody does.”
Shulman knows, through experience, how big the gap between image and reality can be. She had a baby and then suffered a marriage breakdown just a few years into her editorship. There began a long stretch of a crazy double life, where she felt as if she was flipping back and forward between extremes: editor of Vogue by day, purée-splattered single mother by night.
Shulman said that she’d considered writing about it, depicting the unglamorous reality alongside the image of high fashion. “At one point, I thought about keeping a diary. It would have been very much about the private and professional, trying to get Sam to eat mashed banana at the same time as I’m trying to squeeze into Versace.”

Her experience, having done it the hard way, has made her forthright. She wants her team to hand, rather than working from home; she believes it’s hard for a career to survive long stretches of maternity leave, or working part-time. “For most people there comes a point where you have to make decisions about what your priorities are. You can’t have a really big job and be there when your kids get home from school.”
Would she have had more children if she hadn’t had to be the breadwinner?
“Well, for me, my situation was very specific. I split up with Sam’s dad when Sam was three. By the time he was two, it was pretty obvious another child wasn’t going to make things better. And by that time I was 40, so it was unlikely I was going to have another child.
“I would have liked to have had two children. But, looking back, my life was doable with only one. If I’d been on my own with two I actually don’t know how I would have survived doing this job. I was completely on my own.”
Sam’s father also went to live abroad for a long period of time.
Shulman, who is now in a relationship, says: “I’m pretty positive that if I hadn’t been the sole breadwinner, I would not have worked full-time.”

I say that I find it hard to believe when she tells me she is not ambitious.
“Nobody can [believe it]. But I think I know myself better than other people know me. It’s hard to explain. I am competitive. I want to do what I do well. But there were definitely moments when I thought about not doing this, when Sam was small, but I couldn’t see how to make it work.
I would still have to pay the mortgage.”
If not ambitious, did she feel guilty?
“No. I was brought up by a working mother.
I think I’ve turned into her, really. All the time I wasn’t working, I was with Sam. In some ways I was more with him than a lot of people who don’t work. It was just me, it wasn’t like I was sharing him. That was intense. And lovely.”
Amid the preparations for the Vogue Festival and other plans to promote the brand; along with wooing certain members of the Royal Family, (who would she most like to have for a shoot? “The Duchess of Cambridge”, of course); the thing she loves about her job is that “Vogue has a voice”. Not a look, but a voice.
She stands for creativity over perfection, both in terms of looks and life choices. I ask for her best advice. “Perfection is the enemy of promise. How about that?” she says.
Then, as she leads me out of the offices and past her team, she points to them and says: “See, they’re all normal aren’t they?” I nod obediently, of course, while thinking that to me they all look fabulous.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lost in the US of A

Wow, have I been off radar! Apologies lovely readers. Frantic work followed by some serious family drama and then off on the trip of a lifetime that the Boy and I have been plotting for quite some time.  My lax posting has largely been to the fact that I have been travelling for the past two weeks with rather sporadic Internet. We flew into LA and will fly out of there too but the rest of the journey has been a road trip - we clocked over a THOUSAND miles today.  I will be posting hotel reviews, restaurant write-ups and general travel notes over the next few days but for now, I wanted to brief you on our itinerary. There have been many highlights and hopefully even more to come. If you follow me on Instagram, I've pretty much been keeping a picture diary of the whole trip so far...All recommendations welcome, we hit Carmel today...

Los Angeles
Las Vegas
Yosemite National Park
San Francisco
Big Sur
Santa Barbara
Los Angeles (Santa Monica)

Making new friends in Sin City