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!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Oxford Street Tattle

The beauty of the London College of Fashion is our little portal on Oxford Street. Step outside of the library and your in a small walled garden - the perfect place for being a voyeur. Last night when I should have had my nosed pressed to my Hitchcock book I went outside in the lovely cold November evening to watch the Oxford Street lights being turned on! I couldn't see it all and the photos aren't great from my crackberry but it gives a sense of the crowd at the least!

Before the lights were switched on whilst the Sugarbabes sang!

After the lights went on!

I left the library at 7pm with a gorgeous brand new book which I'd cunningly reserved, Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, if you haven't got a book on your Christmas list then make it this one! I didn't get my Vogue H&M Comme De Garcon invite so instead I skipped to Reiss who tempted me with a 20% off purchase and a glass of champagne. I'd been converting a black patent belt and lost all will power and raided my purse to buy it saving £14, if you add the cost of a glass of champagne at £7 I felt I done good! The belt is beautiful and very extravagant at £69 given I'm a student but it will dress up all my items and save me heaps!

Then no sooner had I left the bright lights of the West End last night I was back bright and early to take a client shopping. I gave the Comme De Garcon collection the once over. Now with the exception of one jacket, a shirt and their signature flat pumps I was not impressed. The polka dot gave me Johnny Boden and middle England shudders down my spine and the material is quite frankly tat. Sorry, low grade. The injection of design is offset by quite nasty material.

I really liked this wool jacket at £69.99 it has holes under the armpits. The wool isn't a good grade but the design is fab on this item.

They'd produced two white shirts this one with peter pan collar and another with lovely ruffles on the cuff. My client and I had a coffee and popped in at 10:30am and I made her buy the pointy collar shirt with ruffled cuffs which at £35 was good value despite the cheapo polyester material.

I do like designer collaborations as it always creates a buzz and injects something to the high street but I just can't stomach the lower grade material used. I'd rather it was priced slightly higher and had a better grade of cloth.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Whose spending less?

Is it just me? I started to question my consumerism way back a couple of years ago but it wasn't until I really became a student again that I've reigned my spending right in due to nothing to spend.

The reason I'm asking the question because tomorrow H&M will do record trading on their Comme De Garcons collaboration and I've yet to see evidence of people not shopping.
Firstly friends excitedly tell me about going to Westfield to do their Christmas shopping - it's the joy of not having to carry bags back on the tube or overground train apparently. Then I'm still doing personal shopping sessions and my clients are spending £1k plus in 4 hours! Unfortunately not on me.....

But bookings for personal styling are down but that's partly due to my studies and lack of availability. Commercial shoots are on the wane due to my availability, I'm in no position to undertake them due to my studies.
Everyday I see hordes of people on Oxford Street buying and carrying their goods.
If M&S and others are reporting downturns, doesn't this say more about what the customer wants?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

New range new direction

image: net-a-porter APC cotton smock dress £150

Net-a-Porter have added APC to their wide selection of clothes, shoes and accessories in keeping with their expansionist policy! Are they attempting to take over the clothing distribution empire. Well for those of you in London town don't forget to shop local and find a lovely selection of APC at Shop Maison Bertaux

Monday, 10 November 2008

Criminal style

Now I'm being a bit naughty and duplicating my Fashion and Film post on Make Do Style not because I'm particularly lazy but it was worth sharing.

The film set in Italy made me fast forward to S/S 09 hence my previous bag post. So here is the edited version (you only miss my preamble of what I normally do on a Saturday, so you are saved the vanity of all about me!) On Saturday, I drove over a 100 miles to Warwick Arts Centre to attend a screening of Plein Soleil (1960) a French film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley. Highsmith commented that Plein Soleil was "very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect", although she took issue with the ending.
Adapted and directed by René Clément, Tom Ripley is played by Alain Delon. The screening of this film was in the context of a talk by Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson on fashion and film criminals entitled 'If Looks could Kill'.

Alain Delon is pure evil in the film but equally he is pure male beauty. It is a stark contrast to Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) as Tom Ripley is extremely cold and also the most beautiful person on screen, compared to Minghella's where Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Dickie (Jude Law) are the eye candy.

The talk focused on the typical cinema criminal most notably the gangster and their appropriation of the suit, how a gangster is obvious with their flamboyant use of dress and the vanity associated with dress. The gangster always admires himself in the mirror and will always see his tailor upon release from jail before his 'gal'. The narcissistic quality of dress is integral to Plein Soleil and Alain Delon's portrayal of Tom Ripley, being a French film you can imaging the quality of the style right down to the very Italian Riviera white leather Gucci loafers which are so soft and delectable you can almost feel their quality from the screen. The cinematography and colour is outstanding in this film

Highsmith was disappointed with the film's ending, calling it "a terrible concession to so-called public morality." However Clement had constructed such a cold, evil, narcissistic and beautiful Ripley in Plein Soleil it seemed the creator needed to reign him in.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Start saving for spring!

I will never lose my love for designer handbags and this one is top of my Spring 09 wish list given I'm already over A/W 08!

Bottega Veneta Multicolored leather crochet bag (image:

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Suits you!

The first criticism of Michelle Obama's dress in the UK surfaced in the Daily Telegraph, which is hardly surprising given the Telegraph's right wing leanings.

Now in my Access to Contemporary Fashion lecture where half the class didn't show post election night, the other half (myself included) were bleary eyed or asleep on the desk (really one person was!) we discussed the dress a lot, after swapping 'our' night stories, everyones included drink apart from mine which was just emails between Observationmode and me. Our lecturer who is wonderful but formidable, she is French, always comments on any late attendees. But after the result she was joyous, all manner of student sloppiness was tolerated and forgiven. In fact at every available moment she wanted to discuss 'that dress'. Why we even dropped Foucault and entered into discourse on the meaning of the choice of dress. Our deconstruction can best be summed up by these comments from AFP:

"The Italian daily La Stampa dubbed the dress "the look of victory" and said the black symbolised mourning for Obama's grandmother, who died on the eve of the election, while the red was for passion.
A contributor to the website of the German newsweekly Focus also suggested there was hidden meaning in the colours, perhaps red for the political left and black for the first African-American to win the US presidency.
"It is more about the symbolic effect of the colour combination red/black. Because the daughters were also in red or black. Very unusual and surely no accident," the reader said."

Whatever meaning we think was intended or speculate about one thing is for sure - she didn't wear a suit! How glad am I. nothing drives me to distraction more than a suit - look what it did for Hillary. I'm sorry but modern day wearing of the suit has too many connotations with the word 'professional'. The suit has been appropriated by white collar workers, the world of business and corporate companies. The suit, a male outfit, that symbolises certain values, values that don't mean kindness or love or care, think money, status and power. There is nothing wrong with a suit, think Chanel, think Jackie Kennedy but it has lost its cache as a style item and become a way of dressing to represent certain values as I've mentioned above. With the collapse of banking, the uncovering of the vagrancy's of so called professional jobs it is time the suit was reclaimed by workers (think teddy boys for those of you able to access Tuesday's British Style Genius) and make it something stylish again that doesn't just mean smart or professional or relate to a job.

Which is why Michelle Obama got it right, a dress was the perfect showcase for the modern women, a woman with intelligence, vanity (come on looking good is important) and a sense of others. Her choice of dress was stunning, it was vibrant and well cut. The cardigan kept it from being showy given the occasion. When Michelle chooses to wear a suit in a formal setting I'll be taking notes because it will convey something.

photo: Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Feel good factor

Fellow blogger Wee Birdy and I met early this evening to eat cake in celebration of the monumental US President election result at Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden. Mine is the chocolate gateaux !


Well there's nothing make do about today nor do I give one fig for fashion today. Today belongs to Barak Obama, to the people of America and to the world. Change is a great thing and humanity has been given a new chance.

Eat cake be merry!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Nail biting stuff

I dunno 'bout you but I'm on the edge of my seat with today's monumental Presidential vote in the USA.

I'm doing anything to distract myself from thoughts which veer from gloom to hope. My view of gloom is McCain and hope is of course Obama. I will spare you all a rant but the historical value of an Obama victory is overwhelming (spare a thought for Hillary today as she too could have been the same force for change).

Instead I give you Kate Winslet's bottom which couldn't be further from the events of today.

I quite like the Catherine Deneuve Belle de Jour tribute not least because I hope to write about the film and Yves San Laurent as the costumier. But it is interesting that a seminal French Film is chosen to portray a Hollywood star. I think the hair styling isn't quite perfect but what do you think?

images: Vanity Fair & The Daily Telegraph

Well it's my own fault...

I suppose the mere whiff of the word slow fashion tends to take some souls along a certain track so it is no wonder I've been bombarded with all manner of emails regarding items to be considered. Now far be it for me to be dismissive I do think the fact something isn't high fashion or fashion of the moment, doesn't mean it is good or stylish or that it is to every ones taste and more importantly as writer of this blog - my taste.

When I received an email and question from Radici - whether I thought their handmade snow scarf would make the grade i.e. is it worthy slow fashion item, I thought no! It doesn't make my personal choice grade. Not least because of the design. Let's be clear it is the design, the cut and the use of cloth that gives an item a certain cache to have design value. But of course I couldn't resist a snoop and thought actually the website has some interesting items that will appeal to some. The scarf comes in white, grey black and a almost YSL use of colour for the red/pink/orange number - at £140 it is hardly a make do item or Etsy prices but if you shop at Per Una then I suggest you go back to basics, wear white tee and jeans and add drama with a scarf like this instead.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Oh go on!

Now you'll know I'm not a big fan of Boden and really Johnny I know you don't give a fig for my views but you need to sort out your sizing and cuts. I also think their catalogue needs an edgier feel but hey ho Johnny is doing alright (currently) and am much as I love a top designer in my alter bank balance world I'm giving you a top tip for the perfect going out coat to see you through many an evening for the next few years. Go on call it investment dressing why not! Seriously this Bright Lights Coat (yeah no gagging over the name) is a winner - it says chic, understated but still keeping up standards despite the c word (that's credit crunch, if only I was Sister Wolf it would mean a whole lot more!) and more importantly won't break the bank.

At £95 its not a steal but it does beat a few others I could name. There's no drama with this coat but it is versatile, you could even wear it as a dress with a statement belt! Three great colours to choose from, black, magenta or marine, I can't believe it's Boden!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Exhibit inspires design

Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aimé Maeght and His Artists is an outstanding exhibition at the Royal Academy until 4 January 2009. This article in The Independent gives more background information but nothing beats seeing it for yourself.

Art was a huge influence on Yves Saint Laurent and his collection was amassed over many years with Pierre Bergé. The influential cubist painting he so loved will be auctioned early next year.

Now if I were a fashion house designer I'd be hot footing it to the Maeght collection exhibit to inspire my next collection and when one does emerge you'll know it was my top tip!