Friday, 31 October 2008

Le petit garçon apprécie veille de la Toussaint

Yes the petit garcon had a Halloween fest of dancing! He didn't much like dressing up or the ghoulish masks of the older kids but when Thriller came on he hit the dance floor and didn't stop. I wish I'd had a video to capture his moves it was a YouTube dream.

Four thingy tag - Halloween Special

Over a week ago Big City Bumpkin tagged me for the four thingy thing - which I've been tagged about before so I thought I'd do a Halloween special (and yes Sharon Rose, I've got your award thing to mention as well on my to do list!)

The four places I go over and over again:
- the graveyards
- the woods
- the ghost train at the fun fair!
Four people who email me regularly:

Four places I would rather be right now:
- Greyskulls
- the bat cave
- Morticia's chamber
- Transylvania

Four of my fav places to eat:
- Spook and chip shop
- Ghoul restaurant
- Ghost cafe

Four people I'm tagging:
- Frankenstein
- those pesky kids on Scooby Doo
- Ghostbusters
- Skeletor

Four tv programmes I watch over and over again:
- Adams Family
- The Munsters
- Scooby Doo
- He-man

Happy Halloween may it be a spooky one

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Choose Style

I'm wondering if fashion is about to implode? In the sense that too many trends and so many looks means a bit of strict direction is required. I loved it when yesterday one young person on my MA course (being the mature student - I'm still youngish though!!) who I was chatting to during our 10 minute break commented that fashion no longer existed in the decade span that it used to and it was so fast paced and irrelevant you could put something on and step out of the door and be fashionable by complete chance! We scanned our very full lecture room and noted no one apart from 3 shows of tartan/plaid out of 50 were wearing anything similar or even looked similar.

I'm not saying that a fashion used to last 10 years but styles and cuts did last a lot longer than they do now. Admittedly our random research was based on a group of women in London and more specifically the London College of Fashion and it might not have been the same result in an office for example. But diversity and pace has been a massive driver of fashion for clothes, interiors even restaurants for the heyday of our recent consumer boom.

Now we are entering a period of zero maybe even negative growth (we are still not officially in a recession despite media doom mongers as two successive quarters of negative growth must be recorded!) will this bust mentality slow down fashion. Next A/W 09 collections will be a key indicator of what is to come. Luxury brands are currently weathering the approaching storm and even the High Street is not a complete loss, note John Lewis revealed a downturn in all areas but women's shoes!

This is the time to attempt to define your style to make good purchases when you can and to maximise your wardrobe. There are a number of ways to do this, one favourite is the mood board where you pin items you love and this reflects your taste back to you and helps define a look. Another way is to emulate, for example Audrey Hepburn, an obvious one I know but still relevant today. There is no wrong or right way to define you nor is there a style that is better than another.

I limit where I shop based on price, quality and style. Lets put it this way Chanel isn't on my list currently! I have places that reveal little gems and this year Kew still features on it - okay it might be just two items but no one else is wearing them unlike Topshop, so that reveals I tend to like items that are not must haves or mainstream fashion pieces. I'll always have a bit of a tomboy edge to what I wear but that doesn't mean I dress in a masculine way. I'm just not a neat freak or particularly of the Grace Kelly sophisticated mode.

My current style admiration goes to Cheryl Cole and I'm not alone in this but she has honed a style of her own which has a 60s edge to it, almost Mowtownish or other glitzy stars of that era but a very modern interpretation. Define your own style now and you'll see out the next few years with ease.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bear with me

It snowed overnight for the first time in October in London for 70 years. Yes I woke up to a smattering of snow and a very cold day. Then I had lectures from 11 to 5 and if that wasn't enough I got home to my next film to view, Marlene Dietrich in Morocco and December's issue of Easy Living! Can you believe it a) London was like a Dickins novel today and b)I had my first bah humbug moment. I love Christmas but I never want it to start until the 1st day of December.

I want to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire night first, then a bit of a rest before the full assault of festiveness.

Mind you there is a lovely festive sequin skirt by Pink Soda Boutique in December's Easy Living, if I wasn't feeling so grumpy and poor I'd cheer myself up with some retail therapy.

I'll be cheery again before next post and for those of you who missed BBC2's British Style Genius then here's the iplayer link. Now this is an interesting one - very aspirational in terms of the petite bourgeoisie aiming to be bourgeois, very Bourdieu indeed!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Smile through consumption crisis

I have to confess to rather neglecting my Fashion & Film blog and if I could find the extra time I'd be going to the gym instead as I need to! However, yesterday one of my lectures delivers a great insight into female transformation as portrayed by Hollywood.

I'm not going to give away too much seeing as our visiting lecturer has a book coming out about it sometime soon, I feel obliged to wait and go into more depth then!

But one film example we looked at played out the double whammy of transformation and consumption comprehensively in the opening sequence - Thoroughly Modern Millie Now I love this film despite it's 1960s interpretation of 1920s costumes. It is a totally uplifting, fun film. Interestingly musicals as a genre have remained very few and far between since the lifting of the Hays Code.

But back to the opening sequence...Julie Andrews as Millie undertakes a walk, a walk along a street that results in a complete transformation of her look. she loses her curls, long frock coat, big hat and lace up boots to become a flapper complete with cloche hat, bobbed hair, long beads and short dress. At each step of her transformation Millie appears from the relevant places, hairdressers, dress shop etc extremely happy until she spies something else that is missing. She loses the smile on her face and her walk slows down as the realisation of not having it quite right dawns upon her.

And there we have it the perfect juxtaposition of looking good and never being completely satisfied...there is always something else. This is pure consumption. We are caught up in the consumption process and that's why we are never quite satisfied. Always looking for the perfect handbag, lipstick or dress that will make us complete.

Monday, 27 October 2008

A right royal indeed

One of my favourite blogs (you know I love ya all) is the Cherry Blossom Girl. About a week ago she posted a piece about Margot Tenenbaum a character from the file The Royal Tenenbaums, a very funny Wes Anderson number.

I loved the post mainly because I realised I was Margot Tenenbaum, well obviously not completely Margot but put together my top three clothing loves, stripes, faux fur and loafers and well I might as well be.

In fact these little beauts of a tasseled loafer are my fav shoe this season, now all I need is £125!

Not for everyone I know, those who love a taser heel or any heel full stop. But who have you stumbled across recently that fits your bill?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

No masquerading in the house..

Had I really wanted to enter into the spirit of Masquerade I'd have donned a large black cape, spoken Italian all night and never dipped my mask once all evening.

Instead I arrived at the House of Masquerade, thanks to Absolut Vodka, as me and left as me. I dressed up in a glorious golden girls outfit from Mint Vintage, drank and met fellow bloggers Wee Birdy, Dressed & Pressed, The Fabulous Frocks duo, The Luxe Chronicles , Disneyrollergirl and their friends which was a complete delight. I'm sure I should have taken more notice and been uber enqiring but heck I was there to have fun! I'll let the photos do the talking.

Friday, 24 October 2008

The old and the new...

Having ditched the old blog name (sniff) and morphed into the new I feel somewhat phoenix like. Yet this transformation didn't just occur it was part inspiration from my little journey from Liverpool Street station to the House of Masquerade event I was invited to by Absolut Vodka.

I'd finished work, been to the LCF library, had a sandwich at Pret and still I was way too early for the event. I realised I hadn't set foot in this bit of London for years, now I wasn't catching the train to Norwich to go to university I had no need. I admit I've been angling for an invite to Shoreditch House but when all is said and done Mayfair and Piccadilly are my stomping ground more by chance than anything else.

Given my early bird routine I decided to explore. Spitalfields Market was my little adventure and my how it has changed. The market had been fashioned in a new manner to complement the huge new financial temples (cough) and with a few older remaining building incorporated around the old now enclosed market.

Walking back from the stores towards Bishopgate and Shoreditch High Street, I savoured the old. The old buildings and street unchanged save for roads, pavement and electric street lamps since Dickens paced the old town by night unable to sleep.

S & M (Sausage and Mash - I'm coming back here!)

After S&M some champagne will be in order.

Then from the old into the new. The glass, the metal and the bustle of workers, with the Gherkin rising majestically in the distant.

It is amazing how this new mecca of offices sits amongst the old streets and churches. Walk away from Bishopgate and you enter a mix of run down meets avant garde. Juxtapositioned between tat and cool is Caravan at the beginning of Redchurch Street.

And it turns out Caravan has moved from its old address in Spitalfields Market to its new address up the road on Redchurch Street off Shoreditch High Street. Emily Chalmers is the delightful owner and offers a glorious selection of the old and new in her interiors shop.

Beautiful decor and space to browse in sheer delight at Caravan

My favourite find was the stag heads which I intend to pop back for!

It was a sheer delight for top bird blogger Wee Birdy (more of this in next post) with lots of birdy pieces to choose from. I had a lovely chat with Emily before a wander around Brick Lane prior to my almost fashionable late arrival at the House of Masquerade event party (surely 15 mins after doors open is late!)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Time for a change...

Which is not a euphemism for no more's just I've had a re branding thought.
I'm all for new styling and new ways so my thinking is I need to ditch the mend bit of make do.

Now, a while ago I was ahead of the game but with all this recession based quick journalism filling the column inches I want to refine my sphere of interest. Also I'm not nor have I ever been stuck in a 1940s time warp. Whilst I believe the resourcefulness shown is exemplary and many could do with learning some of the old ways skills, this blog is all about now (and me!)

I'm thinking of using the url name 'make do style' as the blog name proper and comment name. Not much of a departure but a timely shift methinks et vous??

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Tell me a story

I know petit garcon I'll tell you a story, while you are eating your enormous cookie which you won't even let me have a bite of.

Yes Mama what's it about?

Well, actually it's another Tom Ford story

Oh durr I'm bored already mama

No hang on for a moment, I know I'm a one trick pony but this is a really specially special old one from his Gucci days, so it's practically vintage.

One day a Gucci PR girl picked up the phone without a care in the world, she barely managed an audible greeting but it mattered not because the caller was already barking at her down the phone.

'Now you all listen in the PR department stop giving clothes to that Beckham women, I don't want her to be wearing them,' said an angry Mr Ford.

'But Tom darling we don't give her any of your gorgeously designed clothes', purred the PR cat.

'What well how on earth is she getting them!!'

The cat rolled her eyes and smirked as she delivered the blow to the uber designer Mr Tom Ford.

'Actually, she buys them from Gucci stores.'

Ah so they all lived happily ever after then Mama?

Well darling it's fashion he's given her tips now on how to dress, personally I'd have stuck with buying his items to avoid his most masterful of tips, dye your hair lighter as you get older, as divested to Carine Roitfeld.

Who is this lady mama?

Editor of French Vogue and side kick for Monsieur Ford. It just makes me want to dye my hair brown as I get older and eat your biscuit!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Feeding the mind

Bizarrely due to my hectic schedule I haven't had a moment to indulge my default behaviour, fantasy clothes purchases, internet browsing a la Net-a-Porter, fantasy suitcase packing, extensive reading and re reading of magazines plus countless blogosphere moments.

The result of being occupied in an academic zone is I couldn't careless what I'm wearing and actually have become more creative. The couldn't careless factor is my previous always on trend or being ahead type fixation. My slow fashion view is because I woke up and smelt the coffee. In fairness there is nothing worse than a preachy convert and I'm not out to convert a nation so you won't find me on a soap box any where soon. Also I don't think I had this thought alone, collective rebellion is more powerful than the individual. If I was rich and it didn't affect me financially would I be rebelling and thinking enough is enough, probably not but I'd be swayed eventually by a stream of change that is slowly evolving around us.

It's just my head is filled with shall I write an essay on Jean Paul Gaultier's film costumes or just do one on La dolce vita for my film and costume unit? How will I write an essay on comparing Truffaut and Luc Besson examining the autuer theory? How can I make a short film as part of my dissertation project?

Enough about the high brow me and back to the low brow stuff - gossip. I was going to give you the high brow definition of a film star as opposed to a celebrity so you could lead the way on dinner party discussions, instead I give you Tom Ford is an ass low brow story instead.

Tom Ford was invite to give a talk at the London College of Fashion, he insisted on certain things. In fact he insisted on quite a lot so much so that he overlooked one small detail in his perfect posing for camera (the talk was being filmed) his forehead was a bit shiny but he'd peed the LCF staff off so much during his chest hair arrangement that neither they or the make up artist bothered to address the shine. Anyway a rather narcissistic interview (by all accounts)conducted by Colin McDowell ensued. At the end students were able to ask questions. Now a rather brilliant but quite introverted young female student plucked up courage to ask him did he have any tips for any up and coming designers, to which he replied 'Oh honey go and out and have lots of sex you'll never be as young and beautiful again.' Enter tumbleweed stage right.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Back on track

Thank goodness this is a blog because if it was an ipod download you'd be getting nothing for quite a while - OK the cheeky one in the corner who shouted hooray will get heavy breathing phone calls from me! I've got laryngitis and I briefly lost my voice completely although Mr MD&M was probably secretly happy until he realised that a mute me was more irritating than a vocal me.

Yesterday I braved the outdoors to celebrate our wedding anniversary which is today. I had a pashmina caressing my neck to keep it warm and snug. It was a suitable low key lunch at Carluccios with the petit garçon in tow. The sad fact about laryngitis is it gives you an aversion to alcohol! I managed one glass of prosecco with lunch and even that was a struggle. The other sad fact was MrMD&M was bl**dy hungover after a stag night. So I fleeced him for a top from Reiss to make up for being abandoned whilst ill and looking after a small child.

That's a mighty fine and large neck muff you're sporting.

The Reiss top is to wear on Thursday to the House of Masquerade in Shoreditch. I refer you to this by Disneyrollergirl. Now my invite from Absolut Vodka was supplemented by a rather nice little parcel which arrived on Saturday.

They sent me a really cool sequin zipped up bottle of vodka and a gorgeous mask. It makes for an interesting display on the book shelf and made me think I needed to make the effort for Thursday night, hence a new top. Although I have to pay him back as technically the money was for our wedding anniversary present - we are still collecting Vera Wang Grosgrain china and need more espresso cups!

The china does only come out twice a year but it is a sheer delight and the only grown up things I possess. This spurred me on to do my most put off chore of the year the ebay listings. Luckily it was free listing day if you set start price at 99p and so I dutifully did the unused items. One is a cocktail dress that I had for a TV presenter, who's name escapes me and she never wore it.

I think I got it because it was very classic and on budget (for mid level TV peeps!). I just have to clear out stuff as I find too much makes me feel stifled. The only items I hang onto for my work are belts and costume jewellery. I can keep these without feeling oppressed by them. If I had a unit where I could store clothes I would keep them. My own personal wardrobe is kept quite streamlined otherwise I couldn't cope with too many clothes. I know some people can have wardrobes stuffed full of things but I have one drawer for t-shirts and jumpers and one wardrobe for my stuff. I have managed to sneak my lbds and a few other evening items into MrMD&Ms one which doesn't seem to bother me for some reason!

The only item of mine I'm parting with is a J Crew blazer. I bought it last September in New York and the first day I wore it was to a meeting in St Christopher's Place, London. It was quite informal in a coffee shop and I bounded in all chipper and was greeted with the sight of another person sat there with the same ruddy blazer on! I never wore it again. Usually I don't mind about someone else having a retail item the same but I never got over this encounter.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Trend consumption

It's official I'm so pooooorly with the most hideous cough that makes me sound like I have consumption! Not to mention my voice which is barely there, all though the girls in Jospeh said it sounded sexy and Spanish.

I'm going to write this blog, comment on as many blogs as I can muster and then join oblivion for a few days to regain my good health.....So I'm continuing with a bit of a discourse on trends in relation to fashion. Now there were a few comment on trends and how you need a trend fix which I completely agree with. I think I should have put 'multiple trends' in the sentence 'only buy things you love rather than get caught up in trend fever'.

The trouble with trend fever is you sort of get sold a trend or feel compelled to adopt a trend to conform. I've been a sponge to cultural studies as part of my MA. I have to attend a unit called 'Approaches to Contemporary Fashion' and this week we study Barthes and semiotics. I won't go into it in great detail but distill the relevant points with regard to my advocacy of slow fashion.

The bit we all forget about fashion (garments, furniture, art) in society is that it is all about marketing. Because in fairness if you produce something you want it to sell. Trends in fashion get constructed, visual pictures of fashion garments and editorial with descriptive words sells us fashion. For example you might see a picture of a dress and think it is nice but an editorial piece might refer to it as a dress for dinner and you then contextualise that image in reference to wearing it for only a dinner date. Same with clothes labelled for summer, holiday, winter, skiing etc.

Barthes would argue that signs, have significance that becomes constructed by society and his argument extends to mass culture as manipulating people. He later revisited his work on Mythologies and gave more credit to the reader of signs choosing how they engage with text/image.

Where is all this going .....well when it comes to making do, you have to be quite brave, quite an individual to step out of mass consumption and the creation of trends which have a short shelf life. It is particularly hard when if you love fashion, adopting a trend gives you a reference for the now. But it is important not to get caught up in trends too easily as you will consume more than you need, so do fall for and enjoy a trend that captures your imagination but don't let trends consume your individuality.

And on that note, I'm ignoring marketing ploys to remedy my cold, all those over priced sachets and reverting to a make do hot toddy. Well I can boil the kettle, squeeze a lemon in and add a wee dram of whiskey from the bottle that sits in the cupboard gathering dust. I'll save my pennies to indulge a fashion trend thank you very much!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fashion is all around

To use the much used quote (one of many) from Coco Chanel 'Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.'

My current obsession is nothing to do with garments, but the views from bridges. In particular, Waterloo and the footbridge alongside the Charing Cross railway bridge across the Thames. I walk over them both a lot and I'm suddenly fixated by the views, the buildings, the skyline, everything you can see from the bridge. I've taken a few photos with my blackberry so they are really quite rubbish but they do convey a sense of something mais non?
Waterloo Bridge looking across to St Pauls and the City
Pedestrian foot bridge looking down along South Bank to Waterloo Bridge and beyond

Pedestrian crossing foot bridge next to Hungerford Railway Bridge into Charing Cross, looking up to the London Eye

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A badge!

The very talented and delightful Delicious Industries has produced a logo to accompany the slow fashion movement.

It can be right clicked on and downloaded! What fun to be officially branded. The brand values of the slow fashion pack people are:-

Quality over quantity

Only buys things you love rather than get caught up in trend fever

Advocate/petition for some designer staples that remain come high or low hems

Reconnect with shops you loved not just ones in the fashion editors radar

Smile! Well clothes and fashion are fun regardless...

Monday, 13 October 2008


Returning to the subject of the slow fashion movement, I decided to investigate old haunts of which agnès b was once on.

The shop in Covent Garden in Floral Street is light and airy with a great selection of clothes and accessories to browse. I felt an old affinity to the logo and would love to have bought a named shopper - that's before I spotted the most gorgeous white faux fur jacket. Oh well. Luckily in my price range is a great slogan tee - perfect for me.

What's one of your favourite old shopping haunts?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Citizen Tagged!

I'm thinking that on my deathbed I'm might issue 'tagged' as my last word, thereby spiralling a huge investigation into what did I mean, or be left with an epitaph which reads 'geez this gal was a blogoholic'.

The wonderful Observationmode has afforded me another opportunity to purge myself of random matters with the four tag thingy!

1. Four Places I go to over and over:
- to the nursery
- to London College of Fashion
- to Caffe Nero
- Waterloo station

2. Four people who email me regularly:
- my course director
- my style booker
- Amazon
- Net-a-Porter (they are wasting their time these days)

3. Four place I would rather be right now:

- New York

-in bed asleep

- a spa

- Barbados

4. Four of my favourite places to eat: (all currently in my head)

-Le Caprice (London)

- Baltazar (New York)

- Ninos (Roma)

- La Taxidermista (Barcelona)

5. Four people I'm tagging:

- Everybodysaysdon't

- Sharon Rose Vintage

- Same cat different spots

- Wee Birdy

6. Four TV shows I watch over and over:

- Sex and the City

- Lazy Town

- Charlie and Lola (I quite like this one)

- and the freakin rest of cbeebies!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Day to Night

Is there really the day to night item? I'm sure we all imagine the perfect selection that takes us from the office to that hot date! The whole point of the day to night outfit is to minimise taking a whole outfit to change into - yeah staff toilets anyone? To avoid pulling a mini suitcase behind you - effort, no what effort? And, finally not to alert your colleagues to your personal life unless you want to! A dress is the best day to night option as you can just take off the cardi and add some glam earrings and lipstick.

This Bette dress from Reiss, available in black online and a purple, which looks more like jet blue, in the stores, looks like a winner for the day to night category.

Reiss: Bette dress £95

Friday, 10 October 2008

How not to scare people with clothes..

Continuing the theme of sorts on dualism, there's a great piece on by Creative director, Joe Zee on trends you can wear well or not! Referencing the impending Halloween, Trick or Treat, Joe uses it to give tips on personal styling on certain themes.

I'll cut to the chase I love this look!


PS I'm a bit late posting today because I might have acquired a minor martini hangover courtesy of Everybodysaysdon't we met up for drinks last night and it was hilarious. It was a lovely night in Covent Garden and great to have finally met up!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Blogosphere enters my head during lecture

Isn't it funny how worlds collide? During my 'approaches to contemporary fashion' lecture yesterday, I learnt something amazing which sort of answers a discussion posed by Skylark and Son in a recent post. Now, it could be argued that I knew this already but if I did I'd would not have been able to put it into context.

The lovely Skylark raised the issue of dualism by debating how to dress as an individual but also to 'fit in' with where she will be living. Dualism denotes a state of two parts, so movement and stillness, production and consumption, feminine and masculine. In fashion and society we constantly look for reconciliation between like and difference. Individuals are caught between dualism and trying to resolve this. Fashion is about being different and 'like'. the like, is a trend, being now, whilst different is individual expression with fashion. Fashion, the same clothes in context of trends (and I'm not talking hot looks, high fashion but similar style) allows us all to be in society, and yet fashion is always renewing and changing - this moves us forward.

The dualism of the individual taste versus societies taste (and value) is the hardest bit when you want to be and are being creative. Wearing items that are slightly autre exposes you and sets you apart except if you are surrounded by others equally autre.

Gosh lots to explore, this was just the tip and as the Marxists say - the dominant culture is that decided by the dominant people in society.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


The ever lovely La Belette Rouge has taken great delight in tagging me to share 11 things about me and I'm afraid I might disappoint!!

1. Clothes Shop: Selfridges, so much to shop and to love!

2. Furniture Shop: Habitat

3. Sweet: Roly's Fudge see evidence below. Luckily it is in Brighton, can't just nip out for it!

4. City: Roma but I could equally put NYC, Paris, Barcelona and London. I went on honeymoon to Rome and it was amazing (I'd been there before).

5. Drink: Gin & tonic with a slice of lemon or lime, the Gin has to be Bombay Sapphire or Plymouth Gin

6. Music: Stereophonics

7. TV Series: The Bill, don't ask I've always loved it!

8. Film: Currently La Dolce Vita by Frederico Fellini

9. Workout: the freaking escalator's at Waterloo, Bond Street and Oxford Circus

10. Pastries: the whole selection at The Wolseley

11. Coffee: Americano, black from Caffe Nero

I now have to tag others but I'm all out of tagging so I'm picking on no one mind you I think I'll pick on Dressed and Pressed!