Friday, 29 February 2008


I was stuck, after my ramblings on my own sudden need to revamp my look, how Derek Lam's A/W 08 catwalk look is possibly upmarket Amy Winehouse? Whadda ya know!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Style Epiphany

l to r Marc Jacobs, Prada, Derek Lam, Balenciaga, Givenchy

Ok it is far too early to be talking about A/W '08..after all in the UK we've got the summer to look forward to (fingers crossed) but oh my god am I having a style epiphany!
I thought I had it all planned and then yesterday I styled a client who was so adventurous at ..well she won't mind me saying 54 that I got sort of shaken up and out of my little zone. She was a joy to style and I find when someone goes with the flow the results are fab. What I hadn't expected was to get majorily inspired myself.

The result is I want to present a sharper, simpler perhaps more fierce look to the world. I scoured the shows and completely succombed to particular looks from Balenciaga, Givenchy, Derek Lam, Prada and Marc Jacobs - this is without me looking at Marni to mention but one, nor a peek at the viewings of Chanel and the remaining Paris shows!
The great fact is that COS on Regent Street will provide items that will allow me to make a shift now at high street prices. I've replanned the few items for the summer wardrobe and am keeping my fingers crossed my running will let me get my pins into the glorious steel grey Balenciaga trousers come next Autumn/Fall.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

What's in a name

When you get an Anya Hindmarch silver plain loose pocket which had been personalised with 'Kate's Handbag Fund' on it, courtesy of lovely hubbie - the next step is to identify which handbag you are going to buy.

My usual wishlist rears in my head - a Chanel 2.55, and something from YSL. I buy both bags in Paris. Then in New York I snaffle a Marc Jacobs, probably a Stam bag although I would remove the chain! Then off to Milan and a browse for a Bogetta Veneta number before returning to London to the lovely Mulberry shop nestled between Oxford Street and St Christopher's Place to for a black Elgin and probably a mustard Poppy.

Given that so far said pouch is yeilding only a tenner - my flights of fantasy are just that - fantasy. Then, I thought I must check out Ms Hindmarch's offerings, given I've collected a few of her items over the years. I've always refrained from buying a tote with a favourite photo on it, opting for a sublte make up bag instead - but I still have to fight the urge for bold tote.

Browsing the catalogue and the website I was struck by the well crafted bags and the beautiful chosen leather. The Osmond woven bag, above, is a gorgeous shoulder bag and looks a dream. But the name! Osmond! I'm sorry but I can't heart a bag called Osmond, nor Clint, nor Cooper to name but a few. In fact factoring out names, I was left with a Purdey, a Kennedy and a Cagney purse with no objection to a clutch named Spider. Seriously, when YSL have a bag called Downtown why would you opt for a Beverly or Bess?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Bomber wars

Is it just me or has there been an uber explosion of leather jackets? The rock chic bomber has been peeping under the radar for a while but in the last few weeks every other London gal from Edmonton to Tooting or Ealing to Leytonstone has been sporting one!

A weekend visit to Bath and Bristol only highlighted the capital city is weeks ahead with overkill. Tan or Sand numbers seem to be nudging ahead. Being more of a black or chocolate gal myself I'm torn between these two (Oasis- left and M&S - right, try to see beyond their dreadful pic) having failed to locate the cheap as chips number from Tesco's F&F range - I know no shame when it comes to the budget!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Fresh vintage insight – the Style Bubble e-interview

Beg, steal or borrow? Well I choose to steal a Mrs Fashion idea and conduct an e-interview with Susie Bubble aka Style Bubble. I need to be more helpful and informative to those of you who are dedicated to style via thrift or vintage. I'm a tad on the cynical style due to an over indulgence during my university years. Whereas Ms. Bubble is a coup de force when it comes to lovin' it all. Her fresh and free views on all matters is a joy (unencumbered by years of styling lots of personal clients and commercial work) and far better than me sticking my nose up.

Q.Do you think vintage shop over charity shop when it comes to choice or value for money?

A. It really depends because if I could spend the whole day scouring London's charity shops, then yes, it probably would be better value for money and would have a wide array of stuff (especially since charity shopping can mean picking up a brand new Topshop Unique dress sometimes for next to nothing...). However, it is still slightly more convenient and more of a safe bet to shop at a large vintage store like Beyond Retro or all the vintage places in Kingly Court as the picks are bound to be 'fashion-led' even if you are paying more money. If you bring eBay into the question, then it's definitely still the most bargainous option as well as having the wide variety.

Q. When browsing for thrift/vintage/second-hand pieces do you see colour or cut first?

A.I tend to look for detailing actually. If the fit isn't right, it can be altered but its things like unique embroidery, a different texture, the sort of materials that are used and other embellishments that catch my eye first.

Q. Is there a price point too far for a second hand designer item?

A. Beyond the £500 mark, and for me it's silly money. It may be a collector's item for some but I don't believe that vintage clothing will increase in value the way some people think. In any case, I couldn't justify it to myself when I have in the past found high quality vintage designer pieces for less than £100.

Q. Do you set out to find an item i.e. a dress or do you just stumble across them?

A. Definitely not. With vintage/charity shoping, the beauty of it is that you don't know what you might come across, which is why I like smaller vintage shops where the stock sells out quickly and is updated often.

Q. Do you have a good sense of smell and if so how do you filter out mustiness? How quickly does an item lose the smell of the shop? Do you prefer Comfort or Lenor?

A. I don't have a problem with fusty smells and most stores (even charity shops! are pretty good at removing any musty smells before putting it out. I do prefer Comfort though for their scents!

Q. How useful is ebay for designer items?

A. I fare very well on eBay because I'm a bit of an obsessive. As long as you don't get too caught up and end up paying more than you wanted to in the first place, it's still a very good place for buying designer items, that are a few seasons old. Obviously, pieces that are decades old tend to be very expensive still.

Q. How would you convert a cynic like me to be inspired by second-hand items again – how would they add to my wardrobe – what joy could they bring?

A. I'm not going to lie and say that vintage pieces are unique because some of them can be very samey and mass-produced too. However, I can only say that for me, it is essential, I have that mix and match element within my wardrobe because an outfit completely made up of high street pieces (ok, maybe add a few designer pieces if I'm lucky...) just doesn't make sense to me and seems rather one dimensional. With a lot of my vintage items, I hold them dearer to my heart because I simply couldn't replace them.

Q. Have you ever found a love letter or any item in vintage purchase?
A. Alas no! Found some very old bus tickets though...

Q. Have you ever worn an item and felt different perhaps because of the previous owner?

A. Hmm... no eerie spirits lurking in my closet. Maybe when I wore my grandmother's cheung sam dress but only because I was deliberately thinking about her.

Q. If you were to style someone who plays it safe like Kate Middleton(for example) completely top to toe in vintage what would she be wearing?

A. I don't think I'd take her to far out of her comfort zone. She's not completely middle of the road and I think she would actually fare very well in 1940's sharp tailoring. Something like a Schiaparelli suit to add sharpness in tailoring but also a quirkiness.

Monday, 18 February 2008

The regency of Regent Street

Well, isn't it just flagship storetastic these days on Regent Street! Having suffered the dismal shopping of Oxford Street last week I decided to embrace Oxford Circus and Regents Street as the choice du jour. Despite not being hip or well kown enough to be invited to H&M's opening night, I thought a peek would be good.

Client in tow - I mandhandled her from the delights of Topshop to Aramani Xchange, then H&M - which is a pleasure in deed. They have managed to banish the jumble sale look of all their other stores, creating an open and clean shopping space. You can officially breath in H&M Regent Street.

Peeks into Hoss, COS, Massimo and then Zara were all worth visit. Liberty was bypassed for lots of reasons but hey ho! Zara on Regent Street is the only option with both Oxford Steet stores undergoing refurbishment.

You forgo a lot of the high street stores you find all over the UK - which are well represented on Oxford Street - by choosing Regent. What you get instead is a fresh perspective, a change of direction and slightly away from the crowds - not for long!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Technological improvement of sorts

I'm putting my luddite tendancies this year down to a) breadmaking - yes it is going well and b) allotment - not going so well still clearing and digging!

Thanks to the community that is fellow bloggers I have been shown the light in part - am now able to group items. This is progress. However small the image - I'm working on that!
A set of clothes to pack for Maine, Breton, Cornwall or Vancover - just add pair of jeans and heels.
Clockwise from bottom left white button sleeve t-shirt, lydia dress, Aegean shirt dress, kimono top, navy ribbed sweater, slouchy linen trousers, storm lantern (smugglers about!), tennis shoes, ticking scarf, heidi sandals. All Toast


Overrated and over here - yep the reality of showmanship over form is a dominante force of Gareth Pugh. Is he destined for great things - who knows? Can his work translate to commercial success? Is he really talented and 4EVA?

I know one thing, no designer can afford to gloss over a dreadful set of affairs that was and is Paul Gadd aka Gary Glitter. To end your show with 'Do you want to be in my Gang' suggests Mr Pugh is from another planet hence the homage to Star Wars that was his fashion offering; or he's sold his soul to the devil and can gloss over the fact the song played, is by a convicted child sex abuser currently serivng out his sentance.

I couldn't care less about his collection but I do care about fashion and whilst I don't expect it to be setting moral codes and values, there are some lines you don't go over.
Watch out for karma Gareth .....

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Toast, less butter more jam

There was a time when I couldn't wait for the new Toast catalogue. How I would drool as if eating warm buttery toast. Now, I still enjoy the arrival but my toast needs jam added to get that hit. I always have loved the brand of Toast because it is quirky, has a bygone era feel and the quality was/is top notch for high end high street. The rational of letting your imagination dictate how you wear your clothes not your clothes wearing you is why I love Mr Jacobs and why I used to really love Toast. I fell out of love with them when the marketing and PR peeps couldn't even be bothered to tell me the opening day of the new shop in Bath - after I'd got them a piece in the local magazine. Manners costs nothing so for quite a few months I didn't use them for me or clients. I calculated it cost them about £3k in sales.

I'm over the slight now but it has impacted on my love affair - I see the imperfections! The styling and photography has lost its edge and the collection is less the original owners and more the spawning of French Connection - still I give you my toast of Toast....

Well I would if I could do this!! Honestly my adding images skills are rubbish, Mrs Fashion and StyleBubble have nothing to fear from me!

Kimono top - will look great with jeans and make one feel all grown up!

Aegean shirt dress - if you want to embrace hippy chick then add ticking scarf and heidi sandals, keep fingers crossed for invite to Barbados

Go to to view complete new collection and when I've figured out image stuff I'll do this properly - any tips!!??

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Kew-ute enough

Now the other day I alluded to my surpise High Street shop as of February 08. It was of course Kew, the little sis of bigger brand Jigsaw. I've dallied with Kew once in a while particularly for older ladies who need a bit of injection into their wardrobe with some nice items but nothing too OTT.

This season they've got some great pieces in. Pieces that make you think APC, even MJ and at prices that make your bank balance sing. It is very French louche and avant garde - you can imagine being in the 7th and 6th arrondissements of the Left Bank sipping your cafe and reading Simone De Beauvoir or actually more pleasurable The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (how wonderful is this book!).

Skittish and yet stylish - you can embrace this look even after the age of 35 - it's Kew don't ya know. Go on be an artisan and for attidude add some Tom Ford sunnies

Pick up their mini brochure for their key offerings as the website is rather HOPELESS!!

Monday, 11 February 2008

It’s a good f***ing read

Janet Street Porter's latest publication 'LIFE'S TOO F***ING SHORT' is an easy and interesting read. Now, I'm drawing breath as I say this but it is a lot like mine. The genre is exactly the same – get on with things, get organised and stop wasting time and money. The difference between Janet's and mine is vast - she has got a beautifully presented and well edited little number. Mine, it's a real little basic model when it comes to presentation. I saw what my book would be like with a publication team to turn the excellent subject matter into something more visually pleasing.

Both Janet and I adopt a talking to you style of writing, and of course JSP is absolutely hilarious. Her style of straight talking is brought to life because as you read you can hear her distinctive voice. This book will keep you amused on the bus, tube or sitting enjoying the pleasures of a solitary coffee. It is useful and does prompt you to think. Her best advice is on careers. Her no nonsense approach and useful tips are inspiring. You can't go wrong with this sort of book if you want something to make a bit of a shift in your approach to a host of day to day matters.

Where I think JSP is borderline with her advice it's because the disparity of her income and choices are different to those who might not have the same disposable income. For example, yes the personal shopping service is good in Liberty but you need to have saved for an age to buy items if it is a special occasion or have quite a decent budget to buy items even though there is no pressure to buy. I think you might get away with not selecting a single item once but twice.....

Also Janet does the no ... her never to be seen dead in list was a poncho, wedge heeled shoes, pvc trousers and a jumpsuit. Well, it's just a view and not necessarily useful to make someone uncomfortable because actually they might like to wear wedges or ponchos/capes etc. I think throw away don't aren't necessary. In her holiday section she pointed out why choosing spa getaways aren't really holidays or travel. Her views and insight were interesting, funny and thought provoking. Her style section is good but has less substance. Her bit about altering designer clothes is great!

Overall you will get a lot out of reading 'LIFE'S TOO F***ING SHORT', however Make Do & Mend will really get you sorted on the money front, whereas JSP is more about cutting dead wood, saving time, making choices that get you to optimise your life.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Worn out

Phew, today was my first day back at school! Well actually on the shopping front. Had a lovely personal shopping client and after quite a few hours on Oxford St etc. am a tired bunny.
The good news is that the high street seems to be shaping up quite nicely.

The good - GAP, Topshop, Kew (yes a surpise entry)
A mixed bag - H&M, Zara, River Island (a few numbers that will suprise), French Connection, Reiss (it is starting to make its way again since its expansion over the last few years), Oasis, Warehouse (very hippy chic with some other trends)
Walk on by - Laura Ashley, M&S

Oh and the Selfridges window is glorious not to mention the Marc Jacobs shopper for £545.00 in white, black, orange or red. Start saving.....

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Hitting the mark

I tend to make fun of Boden due to Johnnie Boden's shall we say enthusiasm!
Overall he produces a wide selection of clothes, with the most improved award going to the children's section. Great quality items at not too bad prices. Wash well too - always a bonus

So after playing my pretend spend game with the Boden catalogue - I applied myself to properly checking the content for my clients. Just in case...

My favourite item and my top tip for S/S 2008 is this belt. At £29.00 you buy a bit of old fashioned Hermes in either tan or orange.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Rebel rebel

I'm officially slacking today by not going to the allotment. Well, it is bitterly cold although very sunny and I've got a ton of housework to do!

Last night I busied myself with cutting and sewing as I altered a few unworn items for springtime, when it comes. I also learnt how to tie dye a t-shirt courtesy of Henri Holland and March's issue of Vogue. I'm not sure that it will work or where to get the tubes of dye he recommends but I'll give it a go, it will be funny if nothing else. I don't actually like the nu-rave colours he uses, I'll be going more for a blues, lilac and beige mix - more understated, somewhat similar to D&G's painterly dress fabrics.

I'm completely lovin' the new use of painterly in all manner of copy to describe the ecletic use of print and flowers for the coming season. It is so high brow and replaces fashion forward as the new de rigeur word for the fash journos. Although my favourite examples of fashion journalism is when we are told firmly that we can't wear something anymore. Pashminas and Uggs were great cases of this and we all ignored it. The latest no no is wearing your skinnies inside your boots. In fact wearing skinnies is quite borderline don't ya know.

I'm torn between getting out of the habit of such easy dressing and making the most of my nice boots. I'm down to one pair of skinnies, new ones from Uniqlo, risky v.pale blue denim ones. I'm heartin' 'em but only time will tell if I'm fashion forward. Now, if only I could lose the boots and embrace the tie dye........

Friday, 1 February 2008


You don't get more fierce than this!

If your planning on wearing a floral jumpsuit this summer think WWII heroine not ditsy hippy chick. Wear it with attidude and resolve.

I love a women who can say off her experience "I have so many memories of that time but reminiscing is tiring."