Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Retail weakspots!

Now I don't want to be a doom monger but it has to be said that troubled times are ahead for clothing retailers. The high street and the designers are going to face a tough time if they get it wrong. Women aren't going to stop shopping for clothes but being more selective is going to have an impact. All out more, more, more isn't going to be an option either due to moral choice, lack of funds or a sense of saving. I'm unsure which designer houses are going to be impacted but we'll have more of an idea of this after Q3 next year (June, July, August 2009).

On the high street there are clear indicators already. USC are already in administration with a rescue package underway which won't necessarily prevent the inevitable.
Sadly it includes the wonderful shop at Maison Bertaux.
Many stores have failed to change their customer experience (service, ambiance etc.) or their stock. A proliferation of the high street hasn't helped with the low to high end all competing for the same customers.

Sir Phillip Green is the key person and he seems to have the upper hand with Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. Dotty Ps will suffer but I suspect he has a business model to overcome any downturn. Primark is going to continue to provide that fast cheap fashion fix.

My predictions for wobbles and even the end in the UK high street are:
Jane Norman
Karen Millen
All Saints
Ted Baker (women's)
even New Look

Taking a battering will undoubtedly be M&S
Oasis and French Connection will be put under strain as will Kew and Jigsaw. Plus John Lewis and House of Fraser in their clothing retail, they both carry the same concessions with a few exceptions.

Gosh that's quite a lot. Who do you think will bite the bullet or reign supreme?

images BBCi
PS The breaking news that greeted me this morning was the collapse of Morgan the french retail chain with 33 stores in the UK ... and I'd written this two days earlier opps!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas goody!

Well done Mr MDS - he delivered the perfect Christmas present, my coveted Agnes B t-shirt.

Monday, 29 December 2008

About time...

...I got round to reviewing some socks. I kid you not. When I got an email asking me if I'd be interesting in reviewing some socks, it coincided with Mr MDS having some holes in his and I thought 'oh something new'.
When the 3 pairs duly arrived from Happy Socks they were handily 2 men's sizes and one for me although only just because I've got tiny feet barely a UK size 4. Anyway I didn't like the colour they sent although in the summer it will be quite nice and the ones I forced Mr MDS to wear are bright pink and red so he only wears them at the weekend.

So colour selection aside I have to say they are made from lovely cotton with the necessary amount of polymide and elastane to keep their shape and glide on with ease. They wash well and if you like bright and bold then they are the socks for you! They do have more subdued offering but always with a little twist. I like Scandinavian quirkiness and any sock that offers happiness surely is worth it n'est pas?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Somethings come in to their own

When I bought a Max Mara dress last year, it was for practical reasons. I had a number of style talks to give and needed something bright and colourful.

What I really wanted to buy was a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress which I could have worn lots and lots but was less suitable for my talks (still it is in the sale but...). I still mourn the Marc Jacobs number but found my Max Mara dress was the perfect number for a lovely evening out at The Cliff Restaurant, Barbados (yep still working this one!).

It suddenly came in to its own in a tropical setting. Which sort of proves you need to keep things and have faith in them too!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Damn liberty!

Just when you come to accept your fate in the forthcoming year those buyers at Liberty make you all wistful and depressed by loading the perfect top on their internet front page.

I love stripes and I love bows - HELP!
See by Chloe Navy Stripe Bow Top £175 Liberty of London

Friday, 19 December 2008

We interrupt this fashion blog for...


The wonderful Delicious Industries sent me a parcel which got delivered when I was out. I didn't know who it was from before I nipped to the Royal Mail sorting office to pick it up. When I received the packet in my hands and knew it was from Delicious Industries I blurted out 'fudge!' Luckily it sounded like fudge as the no verbal abuse to staff notice was there before my eyes. Here is the evidence of my love of fudge captured in Roly's in Brighton.

I skipped out and ran to the car where upon I pounced, no I was not going to wait for Christmas Day - it's fudge!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Easy pieces

Finding time to post at the moment is a real effort. Yesterday I hot footed it to John Lewis on Oxford Street to get petit garcon a scooter for Christmas. Before hitting Oxford Street I popped into Fortnums to buy some coffee. Christmas isn't Christmas without something from Fortnums and since there'll be no hamper this year, coffee is the ticket. I love the Sandringham blend at Christmas, even though I'm no royalist it is the fact they all decamp to Sandringham in Norfolk for their Christmas celebrations and walk to church in the morning and generally convey an orderly British celebration of yuletide. I even enjoy the spectacle of the hunt on boxing day although I'm anti hunting. I wished they'd just drag hunt. My objection to hunting is the stress and trauma caused to the animal.
Sandringham, Norfolk in the snow

Anyway back to Christmas! Near to Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly is St James Church which always has a market in the church yard this time of year. I popped in to St James to have a browse, and saw a lovely carved elephant which I fell in love with. The stall holder is quite bonkers, eccentric British gamekeeper totally in love with Africa. He saw me examining the tusks and knew what I was thinking and told me straightaway they weren't ivory. If I was to share the whole conversation you'd still be reading this after Christmas. This one carving was in light wood whilst the rest of the Kenyan carvings were in dark or ebony wood. At £35 I thought it was silly to spend on a carved elephant. I decided to walk away as I've never been one for carvings or sculptures and the money should be spend on college books! Well, I literally got up the steps and eight paces along Piccadilly, stopped, turned around and went back and bought it. Wrapped in a used supermarket bag she was a joy to carry around in my bag and now sits happily in my hall. Isn't it funny how you can completely fall for something and it brings such joy.

My lovely new housemate, Poppet the elephant (yes I know I'm getting a bit gaga!)

Mind you the elephant and Christmas shopping has broken the bank and I've stuck to a £300 budget! With college, chrimbo and an overdraft I realise no new clothes next year is a reality. I feel quite sad about it but know I can do it. So last night I watched an episode of Sex and the City to cheer me up. I quite happily watch them again and again because I love the costume detail, even though I mutter about them sometimes not working with the narrative and a few others things! Last nights one was when Carrie gets back with Aidan, when he's actually hot in his white shirt. What interested me was her white tshirt and the diamante necklace. How simple, how easy and yet two pieces that work well together with no effort or clashing. Phew this look is one of the ones that is going to save my bank balance and make me smug. Shame I can't find a photo to share of the outfit - oh well Aidan will have to do instead!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Trends and influence

I really did spend my days in Barbados reading great things on all matters film and fashion. I intend to do a post on Brigitte Bardot and her influence on fashion trends via cinema but for now I'm encouraging you to pop to my other blog to view this little offering from Barbados.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

Upon my word it is mighty cold and dark in the UK! After 10 days of sunshine and Christmas carols in the supermarket wearing basic attire of havianas, white shorts and a variety of tops (none of which were spaghetti tops or vests - more on this subject in a post to come!) it is indeed a proper Christmas feel now. Although I surprised myself at how easily I could embrace a Christmas of rum punch and flying fish rather than sherry and mince pies.

Still back to the dressing a fellow blogger. I noted an almost request from the super Hammie. If you haven't read her blog then do - I'm torn between Hammie and Sister Wolf being the mother I'd choose!

Once again the budget is £200 and this time I'm taking inspiration from the magic of this time of year to create Hammie the perfect glamorous fairy godmother! The point is for Hammie to walk into a room and light it up not just with her own aura but because she is bedecked in gorgeous fabric and lots of costume jewellery bling. The dress is from a shop I rarely visit but it does produce a great selection of dresses and look hard and you'll find a reasonable priced dress delivering grown up glam.

All the items are available on-line and best of all most of these items will be discounted heavily with varying store or on-line offers with VAT reduced and 25% off offers.

Taffeta Wrap Dress £132.12 Coast
Lace overlay shoe £20 New Look
Jet stretch bracelet £11.74 Oasis
Sparkle flower ring £11.74 Oasis
Crystal Shaker bracelet £13.70 Monsoon Accessorize
Elaborate Gothic necklace £15.65 Monsoon Accessorize

Wear both the bracelets together for maximum effect and leave ears bare with all the other bling to show off - just add red lipstick, some perfume and voila!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Cool Runnings!

I'm linking back to an old post on my whereabouts I posted in July when I was in France.
When you read this I will actually be in Barbados. My in-laws packed us off for 10 days to the apartment in St James we are very lucky that they are so kind and can't believe our luck.

With essay writing and packing I haven't had much chance to prepare more than a few posts so my poor blog will be neglected for a week.

PS Cool Runnings is a great boat that we go out on! Ok I'll stop now!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

The next willing victim for a dressing session is Sally of Already Pretty. Now on Saturday I went to see a friend of mine in an Amateur Dramatic production of an adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I was quite taken with the servants costume in a lovely grey and white fine vertical stripe but luckily for Sally I'll be keeping my flights of fancy to myself.

However it did put me in mind of this dress from Toast which I think would add an easy glamour to Sally.

This Anastasia dress has a soft cotton velvet bodice and a fluid, weighty, glossy silk satin skirt. Now that I've blown the budget on the dress (£132.13 - the odd cost is due to the VAT reduction) I popped to New Look to accessorise.

Multi Jewel Bracelet £10 New Look

These satin flats £15 (available in black, midnight blue or fuchsia)

And in case it's a bit chilly there is a lace bolero £25 from Topshop

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dashing through the snow!

Come on time to get in to the Christmas spirit.

How's about this little number to get you in the mood

Orion black retro-ski knit dress £59.00
Pret A Portobello

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A look back to Saturday

I've often received comments regarding my appearance in apparel. I do prefer to write but realise that visuals are an imperative of the fashion blogger. On Saturday night I met a photographer who'd spent £1000 on a fantastic lens, I only wish I had his camera and lens and the photos might be a bit better. Oh no that'll be the subject matter! Still I give you my Saturday day wear and my Saturday evening attire.

Stripy long sleeve tee Gap
Short sleeve tee with blahy image H&M
Sleeveless navy knit Jigsaw
Skinny jeans Topshop
Biker boots Gap
Cocktail ring Dorothy Perkins
Anchor necklace Accessories
Scorpio zodiac necklace Paul Smith

Dress Vintage (it was long and my mother bought it in Fenwicks in the 70s. I shortened it years ago and added really heavy fringe beading I bought in John Lewis)

Sequin scarf M&S, but several years old

Tights John Lewis

Shoes Roger Vivier

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

Thanksgiving has now passed so we are down to the last three festivals to come. Once again a plea has been entered. This time the wonderful Sharon Rose wants £200 spent on her!

Topshop Indigo Eva Skinny Flare jeans £40

Leaving Sharon Rose £7 for a spot of nifty thrifting!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Dress a blogger for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

Call me a crowd pleaser but when Sister Wolf pleaded to be next who was I to deny!

Still sticking with the £200 budget and retaining the high street as the main source I have branched out a bit to incorporate Portobello Market via it's handy website Pret A Portbello so I thought why not go the whole hog and included ASOS too as I know Sister Wolf likes an internet flutter.

Equally I know that one outfit might not suffice so depending on mood Sister Wolf has two outfits to choose from with accompanying accessories for her gadding about!
Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Teem either outfit with the shoes, necklace, cuff and earrings - et voila!

ASOS V-Neck Cut top £22
ASOS high shine leggings £18
ASOS peep toe slingback shoes £28
Belle de Jour cuff £29 Pret-a-Portobello
Anya black faceted necklace £25 Pret-a-Portobello
Orian peacock dress £65 Pret-a- Portobello
Earrings £12 Pret-a-Portobello

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Quote of the Day

Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, as they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our views of the world and the world's view of us.
Virginia Woolf, Orlando, 1928

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Watching Mrs John F. Kennedy

Whilst I should be really researching and writing one of my two essays, I find myself being a voyeur of Jackie Bouvier/Kennedy/Onassis instead.
I'm seemingly turning my back on modern icons and looking rose tintedly back to the past as I study Classical Hollywood.
On YouTube there are some great fashion news items but my current faves are the White House tours series by CBS.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

They are mine!

Having saved my pennies and some birthday money I hot footed it to Gap to get my much coveted biker boots. I loved them last year but didn't get a pair and this year I waited patiently until I'd saved my £69.
So on Monday November 17th at 9:30am at Oxford Street Gap near Selfridges I skipped through the door to buy the boots. But what no boots on the shelf they'd graced a few days earlier. I asked a seemingly helpful sales assistant where they were. Oh they'd all gone, puff, just like that. I was perplexed, supposedly they'd done an ad campaign on them and suddenly all and sundry rushed in to nabbed them. But hey guess what the helpful one told me - I could go to Topshop and buy some similar ones there!
I spied one left foot boot on the counter and asked if they had the other one, nope it was just a solitary item. Sorry it was one of a two left foot pair! Then ever hopeful I spied a few pairs on the mannequins. Would I be able to have one of those? Oh no, replied the not caring one, they had holes drilled in them be on display.
Now call it natural curiosity but I then went off to examine said boots on mannequin and surprisingly there were no holes. In fact I then counted the number of no holes drilled in the bottom pairs of biker boots on mannequins, at 24 I got bored of my point. Heading back to negotiate one pair of boots with the now really not very helpful couldn't careless one, I met with a no they are for display purposes only and the boots would have been ordered in specially to be ON DISPLAY.
At this point I asked for the number of the store in Kingston, phoned them twice reserving two separate pairs of boots under two different names - I wasn't taking any chances and went to get them the next day.
I also phoned Buffy the GAP PR who did call me back and I relayed the story to her and asked was this their policy to turn paying customers away while mannequins could be well shod. She was very lovely and nicely spoken but never did get back to me about policy. Now I'm officially stomping around in the marvellous boots I'm bored of my investigative journalist attempt on consumer matters. Mind you I did think about a flash mob event to lift the mannequins up and rightfully return the shoes to the shelves to be sold to CUSTOMERS!
I think there is a gap in the market for this - customer service.....

Monday, 24 November 2008

Dress a blogger for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holiday

As we approach the many festive occasions between now and New Year, I could think of nothing better than to dress a fellow blogger for a special occasion. All outfits will be from the hight street and the top limit for a complete outfit is £200!

First up to recieve the dress a fellow blogger treatment is the lovely observationmode!
Her outfit is a fabulous jumpsuit from French Connection

To be wore with a cocktail ring from Topshop and these flats from Dune in silver!

Lady Stardust all in one £100 French Connection

Purple Rhinestone ball ring £12 Topshop

Petty flats in silver £35 from Dune

Friday, 21 November 2008

Screen goddess

Artica, St Christopher's Place (London) is hosting an Eve Arnold photographic collection of Marilyn Monroe from Monday Nov 24th to Sunday Nov 30th. I've had a peek at the collection already and most of the exhibition feature the photos Eve took on set of The Misfits (1961) a difficult and troubled film production not least due to Monroe's increased drink and prescription drug abuse. It was the last film she completed. Eve Arnold worked for Magnum Photos who had exclusive rights to documenting the making of the movie.

If you do have a chance to go and view the photos then you'll be amazed at the composition and subject matter.

It got me thinking, and I've devised a poll (see top right of blog) on Monroe versus Moss on the basis Monroe would have been the ubiquitous image of the 50s and 60s, whilst today we are saturated with Ms Moss. The poll asks you to choose between screen goddess and model goddess!

All the evidence suggests...

If you can hang on and save your pennies then there will be a good selection of items for sale very soon. I'm not a fan of sales - typically lots of stuff that no one wanted but this season is different. Retailers over stocked with stock and autumn trading in the UK was poor.

Mark downs usually reserved from December 24th onwards should take place around the second week of December to boost Christmas trading and clear the rails.
PS don't forget to check out my Lynku ad for latest sale information - I always forget I've got it there!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

All work and no play....

I've have a raft of posts to post on fashion and things but my MA is taking over my life and I seem to be moving away from being a stylist towards being a film director - seriously I kid you not! In my head I'm being drawn more and more to the film industry even though I should know better.
I'm not losing my love for fashion for one minute but I'm embracing new ideas and opportunities. I undertook this MA to enhance my existing work as a stylist given that petit garcon had curtailed my availability. In the fashion world you need to be there 24/7 for schmoozing and the rest!

Now I'm more drawn to academia and films this has taken me by surprise but equally not as I'm an imaginative and creative character. To date I've always been practical and done my bit for the family, put food on table first etc not indulged. My lovely papa spent all his years as a teacher looking after his family too rather than being the artist he is now.

It is interesting that duty/obligation will be a beacon for some creatives rather than the drink/drugs genius indulgent behaviour of other creative people. And yet the flawed genius is valued or prefered more than the steady sober one.

I'm definitely the hard working creative and so now I'm gently marrying the responsible side with the creative side to create a freedom to aim high. I'm truly gifted and talented with ideas and stories I know this as on Sunday (my birthday) I went to my nephews (twins) christening and the Anglican priest gave a sermon on how it was wasteful not to use the talent God had given you. Not to mention I looked good in my Jean Patou coat and drank lots of champagne afterwards.
I took the view that if you don't become your own cheerleader no one else will and there's no point being coy about what you can do.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Bookworm award

The fabulous most nifty thrifty Sharon Rose tagged me on the bookworm award! Rules: Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. Now bad luck for you all my nearest book to hand was Fashion Classics: From Carlyle to Barthes by Michael Carter. As you might realise this is not about garments by designers but serious analysis of clothing and fashion.
"As Veblen comments, 'at probably no other point is the sense of shabbiness so keenly felt as it is when we fall short of the standard set by social usage in this matter of dress'. Because dress is a universal public phenomenon, it enables a set of rich competitive strategies to be engaged in simultaneously. This means that, within one's own class, status can be asserted in relation to that of one's peers in a game of individual competition. At the same time, the superiority of one class over another can be evidenced by the greater quantity and quality of clothing resources the 'Leisure Class' can mobilize against those of its 'inferiors'. Veblen argues that only a small part of clothing is to do with protection and bodily comfort...'it is by no means an uncommon occurrence, in an inclement climate for people to go ill clad in order to appear well dressed'."
Now the five bloggers to be tagged are
La Belette Rouge
Wee Birdy
Dressed & Pressed
Goddamit I'm Mad!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Oh belt up!

I was prompted to reveal my Reiss belt purchase so here it is in my own useless way. I need to up the ante and get a bit better at photographs! The left side of the photo shows the lovely patent leather off best. While on the right side the flash rebounding from the mirror makes it a bit shiny and there is a tiny bit of petit garcon's pyjamas - he was sulking and putting his head on a chair.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Thank you

For my birthday messages. Of course my gluttonous list in reality was the lovely Paul Smith necklace!! Oh and a copy of Proust's In search of lost time vol one, Swanns way.

Talking of lost time I'm extending my apologies in advance for lack of commenting on blogs. I will read but have no time to comment due to huge study commitments this week. I don't mean to be selfish and rude by not acknowledging all your hard work on copy and visuals but I feel like I'm drowning in serious student doo doo so must put nose to grindstone ........

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Birthday wish list

It's my birthday tomorrow and if the elves are blogging perhaps they'd like to provide me with my birthday wish list.

1. These beauties from Bottega Veneta

2. As an antidote to my high heels these flats from Kurt Geiger

3. My Bottega Veneta bag from a previous post

4. This Malene Birger 'Shayla' dress

5. A burnt orange wool jumper dress for COS

6. Wendy Brandes Isobella Wolf Fang earrings (or if they were very nice elves the gold ones instead!)

7. Stella Bruzzi's Undressing Cinema, it is important to receive books on ones birthday to balance out the materialistic mass consumption low brow lust of mine!

8. The Stereophonics compilation Decade in the Sun, nothing like music to lift the soul and my boys the Stereos do it every time.

Now in reality I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mr MDS got my massive hints and pointers to Paul Smith for the wonderful modestly priced Zodiac necklace - Scorpio of course!