Friday, 31 July 2009

Fringe benefits

My lovely cameraman for my short film is off to perform at the Edinburgh Festival. On Wednesday night I took myself out of me SW London enclave and headed to NW10 to the Mason's Arms for the Scram Comedy night at the Mason's Arms Pub to view his 1 hour Edinburgh Fringe Festival show 'Wanchorman: Adventures in Tellyland', which is on at the Dragonfly, 52 West Port at 16:20 - almost everyday!

First up for the evening were the Oompah Brass with Max Klein presenting their Fringe Festival offering 'Blow up - the Credit Crunch Musical! It was a comedy version of a Mark Ronson cd. If you love brass instruments and the sound they create then you'll love this performance which is on at The GRV, 37 Guthrie Street. Again it is a 16:20 start and nearly everyday too.

I really enjoyed stepping out on a Wednesday and spending a £5 for a great laugh. I also manage to get free parking which meant a lime and soda to boot! I was driving... Seeing two Fringe previews made me wish I was going to Edinburgh.

Dave made me cry with laughter - I don't won't to give away his set but his TV appearances are real comedy gems. The selection of photos of the evening aren't great but since my blackberry is all I have in the camera stakes at the moment it was the best I could do.

Max Klein and the Oompah Brass

Dave Gibson - Mr Wanchorman

Und moi after laughing so much I was aching.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


For tomorrow Coco Avant Chanel (2009 dir. Anne Fontaine) is in the cinema.The film is based on this book by Edmonde Charles Roux and deals with the early years i.e. pre Second World War and her dubious involvement with a German officer.

The book is a fabulous read and I have high hopes of Fontaine's film.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A lesson in over doing it

It is really important to be a weight that suits you, in terms of health and how you feel. But then body discipline can go too far. I'm sorry but this photo of Madonna in London scared me. I'm always one for wanting to lose a few pounds be more toned but after seeing this in the Daily Mail, I rushed straight for my Nigella 'How to be a domestic goddess' Lawson recipe book and made two batches of fairy cakes!

PS Update to post: I've added a photo of my cake baking in case anyone thought I merely mentioned my fairy cake making for dramatic affect!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Cut price military style

If you fancy a Michael Jackson moment and have £29's to spare then this cut price archive sale number from Toast down from its original RRP of £145 is a bargain statement Summer to Autumn piece. Just add skinnies and thigh high boots but leave the ring master whip at home!

Monday, 27 July 2009

The current fashion

It takes a lot to tip me over the edge. I'm quite ready to display a short fuse over matters of manners (please and thank you requires little) and nothing moves me to greater irritation than people cannibalising their nails and fingers on the train and tube. Yet I've never been over motivated to behave like the fashion police whether on matters of fashion design, art, architecture or performance. Taste, is after all a matter of choice and I'm too philosophical (or too liberal depending on your viewpoint) to make judgemental pronouncements. In fact quite frankly there is enough rent a views or moral fetishists out there to save me the effort.

A recent interview with Louise Wilson the MA course director at CSM (Central College of St Martins) was picked up by Sister Wolf and it took me a few weeks to read it properly (I had a film to make, don't ya know). Sometimes it is good to wait to read and digest things as they take on new meanings or rather relevance. I particularly got the essence of her views with her final pronouncement

"It might be very good for fashion if fashion goes out of fashion, and maybe nothing does happen for awhile and a few companies shut down. When the light turns away that’s when the new work will be done." (New York Times, 26/7/09)

Three things pushed me to think 'bl**dy hell Lou, you are right, the fashion industry is bereft of something and it is actually rather over done and very dull. Firstly I read a Grazia article by the very good Jessica Carter-Morley about Emma Watson's new found style. She has hired a stylist called Caroline Sieber and whilst I'm a stylist, and Caroline (Austrian born living in London) is very stylish and works with Chanel as a style ambassador ( yes I know what an earth...) and styling is an interesting business, I suddenly felt extremely bored by it all. It was an oh yes what's new, blah, blah blah moment. I don't know are you truly stylish with designer garments at your disposal or merely privileged?

My next sunken feeling occurred on Saturday night when I went to a friends 30th birthday bash at the Embassy in Mayfair. It was a perfectly pleasant evening and I had only one drink as I still felt quite weak and plenty of water. I met some lovely people and also suffered my usual pang of guilt because someone worked in the toilet and consequently I over tipped and over talked to them. It's not somewhere I'd choose to go but it was great people watching.
Moi, Violet, birthday girl and Mary

It was the stupid pointless VIP areas that creates a them and us situation that bored me the most. No sooner has I mentioned that the left hand side empty VIP area behind the dance floor, near the DJ booth was waiting for a D lister, then Mutya Buena* and a posse arrived to give the baying throng the gratification the crowds would have felt in a Roman gladiator contest. How fashionable to be out in a fashionable place (for some) and a celeb to boot. Although I did like the fact that Simon Cowell's X Factor bouncer was sat next to us eating earlier! And it was this issue of taste, habitus and aspiration that made me feel flat. I'm not saying the gathered throng were tasteless, although even I could not defend the trashiness of most, it was just the predictability of it all.

Then I had the tipping moment when I opened the Sunday Times Style Magazine to lo and behold a model turned designer! This time Erin Wasson and reading the article one could play substitute the model, location, lifestyle, designer friend, first styling moment blah. Seriously my eyes went into hyper roll and I just laughed at the garments, then I raced to read Louise Wilson's interview.

She has more than got a point! Never has tablecloth wearing looked more inviting....

(*ex Sugababes and I did not know who she was, although I know probably every Sugababes song!)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

The All About Me tag

The thriftiest Sharon-Rose tagged me in the All About Me tag to reveal 7 facts about me.

1. I started blogging because of the sadly now departed blogger Mrs Fashion, who I think really is the blogger who coined the all about me label.

2. I recently got diagnosed as dyslexic, I was a bit shocked and then a big cloud lifted off me.

3. I love tinned peaches and evaporated milk (I share this with Sharon funnily enough).

4. The state of my underwear draw is appalling, more specifically my knickers. I really need to invest in new ones.

5. My life is currently dominated by Ben 10. I was filing my nails and petit garcon wanted me to do his, so I did his thumb nail and he liked it and asked could he have Ben 10 Alien force nail file. I told him he couldn't as they didn't make them. He merely said 'oh'.

6. I can't wait to see The September Issue

7. I don't know whether to choose a Canon or Nikon digital SLR, or even go old school with Olympus!

Please feel free to tag yourself - you can all do mini mes.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Bad Taste Pick of the Week

One of my secret indulgences is a website called Shot Dead in the Head. Please, if you suffer with any slightly disapproving tendencies about taste or as Bourdieu would have defined taste or our social conditioning - habitus, then desist from reading this immediately.

I find them (Shot Dead etc.) very handy for presents for the men in my life. Many years ago my sisters, friends and I referred to my father as DIY Bri. He was forever giving us all handy tips and popping round in workman's overalls to fix things. The helpfulness was undermined by his tendency to explain his undertaking and methodology in detail. Eventually the shouts of 'where's your flip chart' from across the pub by local yobs and the rolling of eyes by everyone else contained his sharing. We got him a t-shirt with his nickname on, in fact sadly we still buy him ridiculous motif style presents like mugs and other stuff, on the basis that it is amusing for 5 minutes.

The original t-shirt incident started a trend of buying poor blokes jokey tees for presents (well it's not my fault they don't have net-a-porter et al wish lists!). Some are witty or clever design takes on their favourite football team. Mr MDS happily sports this one...
My brother-in-law gets this for his birthday next week...

And Mr MDS won't let me wear this one....

Anyway I went too far tonight and discovered a really rubbish make your own t-shirt site and came up with this.... it's a bit small but says 'I survived swine flu'.

And then I realised it was time to get a grip and this is what happens when I haven't had time due to swine flu to do my normal high street pick of the week as I haven't been looking....

Friday, 24 July 2009

Three necklaces I need

Technically I need to write my dissertation and think about my career... However, the beauty of being bed ridden (sorry that should be past tense as I'm now up and about) is the time one has to explore the internet. I've had so little time to do this in so many years, it was nearly a joy. I actually thought I'd like an office job again, especially after I discovered 4OD. I watched all the new series of Ugly Betty that I've missed due to never having time to watch tv. Then I got to do window shopping. Usually I've only got a moment to have a quick check of on-line sites, new arrivals, follow up press information and even that is way down in second place to my MA research.

In my moments of wakefulness I got to delve deeply into the many offerings of clothes, bags and accessories. I finally decided that I had to choose three necklaces to add to my potential new wardrobe. Truly I need these necklaces.

My first pick is a Wendy Brandes creation called the Little Woolf Necklace I need this as it will be my writing inspirational aide for my MA dissertation. It will give me the gravitas of Virginia!
The second necklace I need is a gold Maple Leaf by Emilie Hagen I've always loved maple leaves from my days in school at TL Kennedy, Missassagua, Canada. I went there on some progressive experimental school exchange from my comprehensive state school in the UK. I think the experiment was a failure as I have a vague recollection of doing some presentation evening for the Canadian Embassy and most of us who went not doing very well in our GCSE exams. The two schools continued to do a 2 week cultural exchange but the education element was dropped. Hence my nostalgic love of the maple leaf.Finally, a gal always needs a bit of bling and this is the one for me Ora by Dannijo.

Sigh now all I need is a lottery win for number 3, although I think I'll tick number one and two off my list very soon!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

What I've learned about Swine Flu

1. The system in place for dealing with swine flu is actually quite rubbish. Okay given that it is a pandemic and the NHS couldn't deal with everyone that either has or suspects they have it, it is still a bit rubbish. You have two front line options, visit a website that tells you the symptoms or listen to a phone message via a 0800 number that tells you the symptoms. Basically we are in the realms of self diagnosis as the symptoms are quite broad. Then once you've self diagnosed yourself but still need to know what to do - as in can I get a tamiflu thing or do I just put up and shut up, you then re-phone your GP who has to call you back. You could be the 25th person in a panic that day so don't expect niceties or sympathy. The best you can hope for is are you alive, can you breath then stick with the misery until it passes.

2. Wear flat shoes - you get very dizzy and quite confused. Your balance isn't great, they don't really talk about this element of swine flu. I'm guessing if you are a pig then four legs are better than two.

3. Drink lots of fluid - really really drink tons of water or squash and my new friend vitamin water. Vitamin water is probably a pointless indulgence but it feels like a great substitute for tamiflu stuff and sympathy see 1.

4. Drink coke - this is particularly helpful for the tummy/bottom troubles you may encounter. If you have ever considered Alli diet pills then get swine flu first and then you will get over thinking about choosing Alli. Put it this way, if you saw SATC the movie and remember Charlotte's unfortunate incident, then swine flu can cause this sort of thing as does Alli. It is avoidable by sheer will and the skin of your teeth. Coke helps in the battle.

5. Aches and pains - your head hurts, your arms hurt, your legs hurt. To alleviate this you are recommended paracetamol. I say make like a pig, go round on all fours, it stops you falling over and takes your mind off the pain for a moment.

6. Rest - once you start it is hard to stop bed rest as the fatigue is quite chronic. It is worth showering and dressing in the morning just to make the effort and then get up now and again. It makes you feel human and less swine like.

7. Have water by your bed at night - you will cough a lot in the night because your throat will produce flem. In fact you will get a sore throat. The cough is the driest most pointless cough you have ever had.

8. Eat - you will actually eat like a pig. Your body needs calories to fight this virus and you won't lose your appetite. This is why they say it is a mild flu in most cases. Believe me it is not that mild an illneses, though I accept it is a milder form of flu and not as serious as avian flu, you feel like poo and if you are very unlucky you will smell like poo too.

9. Make a film - don't let anyone tell you you can't make a film when you've got swine flu.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Spend wisely

Did you know that Dame Vivienne Westwood was a spokesperson for my Slow Fashion campaign? Well her recent appearance on Jonathan Ross was straight from the pages of Make Do Style until she went into her global warming point - which was well made and heart felt. And she is of course the 'wear your tablecloth' campaigner for Sister Wolf.

The reason I keep banging on about our Dame of late is due to her wonderful Anglomania range. I like the fact the diffusion range she has created loses none of her creativity. I always expect and accept a difference in the construction of the garment but with Anglomania it has a point of its own and is creeping up in my affections and overtaking my Marc by Marc Jacobs fixation.

In short Dame Viv made the point that rather than spend money on updating your wardrobe with the latest fashion, buy one good quality piece if you have to but basically be creative with what you have. If I'm going to follow her advice and mine to the letter then this coat is the one item I should buy.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Grey Propaganda coat £527 from the new A/W 09 range

The coat has it all, name, colour, detail and cut. This is a coat I can wear. Normally a coat wears me (apart from my leopard print one, but that has to go onto the back burner this season as I've worn it to death, although I'm opening to loaning it out!) It does everything I need it to, just sit on my body and perform. I have to say the way it is styled on my-wardrobe is quite bland but it does show that it can be dressed down and still look good. My savings are on target for an end of August shop to spruce up my wardrobe for the A/W and somehow I'm going to have to compromise on what I need to get this!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Filming Day 2

I am completely exhausted and also going through the 'should have, could have, oh maybe if...' post filming thoughts. This is not helped given I am with the flu of swine. If the film turns out like a William Burroughs sick dream then this will in part be due to a large ingestion of drugs, fluids and sheer determination.

My flu could be non specific but then that would mean I got it from Sharon Rose at out bloggy lunch! Luckily my GP is of the common sense sort and realising that bed rest was not an option, gave me all the tops tips, requisite drugs and reassured me that unless I was working with someone pregnant or with chronic bronchitis then I was not being reckless as we are in a pandemic and all hope is abandoned of containment.

I still feel as if I'm having a surreal out of body experience due to the flu but my temperature is down, the expulsions (don't ask) are abating but my body is still aching acutely and the cough is manageable. Thankfully, Mr MDS took petit garcon into nursery today so bed rest is on the cards. The worst bit is the headache which isn't a headache because it is a viral thing. However fever does produce amazing dreams.

If I hadn't been so poorly then today I would have re shot a few things but you can only push your body so far.

I took a few photos on my blackberry during filming yesterday - I'm not giving anything away though! I hope to have a screening at the London College of Fashion in November and will of course invite the blogosphere crew! Now excuse me while I go and die....

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Filming Day 1

Exhausting! It was a long day and thanks to petit garcon my camera has finally died. We've worked out he has broken the lens, so there are only a few blurry ones to share.

Oh and did I mention it was cold, grey and windy - but I still needed to wear my shades!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

High Street Pick of the Week

Inspired by the women in the photographs of Guy Bourdin is the selling spiel of the latest dress offerings from Karen Millen. Now I don't want to blather on about Guy's mother fixation and why but in reality there was only ever one woman in his photographs and this recreation of a child's view of a glamorous woman haunted his brilliant photos.

Still one can't find fault for a high street chain raiding an archive rich in texture and colour for their inspiration. It seems £150 is the price point (ahem) to compete with for your money on a luxurious dress for the season.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


From now until next Tuesday, filming takes over my life! It seems only yesterday I mention my filming ambitions and now it 3 days away. I'm quite tired at the moment in a nice way due to being hectic and a bit of a mind overload. In fact the very nice head of security at the Connaught Hotel just phoned me to let me know I'd put the wrong month on my film location letter. He was worried he'd missed it!

I tell you what I wouldn't mind a stay there to recover! So, have a good time blogging and will catch up on all your fab posts next week.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

3 ways to work your wardrobe - harder!

A while ago I posted in a boastful manner due to mentionitus of matters I had posted about first before the papers did a mini mention. Anyway, in the comment box I entered into prediction mode encouraged by you my dear readers.

One view about thigh high boots is hardly rocket science given it was the easiest and most obvious catwalk synergy(it appeared in lots of shows) for A/W 2009.

My next pronouncements were about
  • wearing cardigans on the shoulder,
  • belts being of ribbon/sash or other material
  • and black being back.

Lest we forget black has hardly had a look in of late other than as tuxedos, leggings etc. Despite Hermes and others having a strong S/S 09 showing in black on all garments, most success in the merchandising of the shows in the designer stores and high street trends has been the bright jewel colours, nudes and of late python, le snake.

An underlying story to the world of fashion has been the resort/cruise collection. In terms of economics, the resort collections are a dream for the business and customer alike. Minimal outlay to show, often just one model and more affordable item which has longevity. The resort/cruise collection is often talked about now as the pre trend transitional wardrobe rather than its original purpose for good going away clothes.

I've picked three looks from the Resort/Cruise (I prefer the old school European word) collections of 2010 as these give credence to my pronouncements and more importantly are easy things for you to do if you want a fashion fix without the outlay.
Celine (sigh Phoebe is back!) I rest my case - wear you cardis, jackets and coats on your shoulders.
Lanvin - just add ribbons or scarves to you trousers/harem pants and garnish with a corsage. Ribbon in varying widths and colours at John Lewis and Accessories sell a multitude of corsages

Lanvin (again) Look black dress and black bag! Just add a colourful necklace and/or earrings.

Oh and for a future future fashion pronouncement - black will never be truly back until Muiccia tells us it is - lets see what her A/W 2010 show brings!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Anya absolutions

Not only was Saturday a wonderful way to while away time in the company of bloggers, but it was the day that Sharon Rose bought her place in heaven. The lovely, generous Sharon gave me so much joy with a thrifted treasure I spent all day Sunday on my knees for her!

My present was a perfect original Anya Hindmarch of which judging by the inner label goes back a fair few years. I will date it and let you know. Anya is my favourite bag designer so I was in pure bag heaven thanks to Sharon.

Oh and Mr MDS earned his absolution's too by putting together our new garden furniture and getting the bed in at the end of the garden to grow vegetables in, while I was in Harvey Nicks! Gosh, I'm seriously going to have to gain mine somehow.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Anyone for Pimms!

The plan had been a few weeks ago to picnic in Hyde Park, when we were basking in our new found Mediterranean weather. Then the weather decided to return to normal, so an indoor venue was required for a super Saturday blogfest meeting. The lovely Wendy B of Wendy Brandes Jewelry was in town from NYC and the opportunity to be one of her London posse was too tempting to pass up! It was lovely to catch up with Sam of Everybodysaysdon't and finally meet my favourite Sharon of Sharon Rose Vintage. And it was nothing short of delightful to meet Wendy and Liz of emma peelpants blog.

Harvey Nicks cafe was the venue for what became a 5 hour lunch, therefore technically not a lunch after 3pm. We did demolish 2 pitchers of Pimms and had the waiting staff not been a) so useless, b)so unfriendly/moody and c) looking like a cast from Prison Break we might have had another one. Thankfully, the lax service saved us from being undignified and tipsy. Although some of my camera work suggests I was a complete lush given the out of focus look I managed to produce on a few shots. Either that or I need glasses!

Samantha and I pretend to be friends - note how she's wishing she wasn't with me!
(Sam you know I'm only joking but I did pinch a chip whilst you were looking the other way)

Wendy post styling of her Francis dress

Here is the retied bow detail in close up - you see I'm handy to have around at times!

Sharon sets us a good example by eating the fruit from the Pimms pitcher

Wendy and Samantha

The gang of 5!

We also found time to model Wendy's rings for her and I have to say I was completely taken aback by how utterly wonderful they were. There is no way I can prevent this sounding wrong but I didn't expect to like or admire them as I did. The weight, the finish (matt is seriously the future) and the design blows most high end jewellery out of the window. What struck me the most, apart from the beautiful matt finish, was the correct ratio of ring to finger. They adorn one's fingers in perfect proportion and by this I mean the ring is bold in the sense it added drama but subtle in that it remained within the boundaries of a feminine piece of adornment.
Very often drama can look clunky, bold but brassy - well Wendy's rings look creative and classy!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Friday, 10 July 2009

New shoes!

My second sale purchase, (truly it is such a joy to buy some new items after months of nothing) were some Studio tmls orange wedges. It's official I love orange!

PS Mr MDS fixed my camera - he has his uses!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

What I wore last night

Now had I not been applying nails inc Hanover Square to my toe nails, giving last minute babysitting instructions and running for the bus, I would have taken a photo. Instead I give you a retrospective of the outfit I wore last night to Mr MDS's works do in a marquee on the Southbank.

The dress: All Saints in sale £55

The back view of dress

The cut of cloth on dress around the derrière

The required coat due to rain - a olive green patent mac from Primark 2 years ago. It was quite pricey for Primark at £22!

The shoes: Russell & Bromley