Monday, 31 August 2009


This little beauty of a hand dye basin resides in Central College St Martins on Charing Cross Road's female toilets. I took this picture on my blackberry of it a couple of weeks ago when I was hit with nostalgia. I once dyed some sheets for a fashion shoot to create a tie dye effect many moons ago in this basin. And when I popped into the library at Charing Cross I went to the toilet on my way out and thought I needed to capture this basin as it won't be there much longer. CSM is moving to a new purpose built college near Kings Cross soon and Holburn and Charing Cross will be no more.

I was also a bit cross the last person to use it hadn't cleaned it out properly and left the residue of dye in and on the basin, very naughty and selfish. I might sneak in a final hand dye .... the rack above the basin comes down to allow you to drip dry the dyed item.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

High Street Pick of the Week

Being neither a fan nor a foe when it comes to Victoria Beckham, I don't have a strong view on her 'collection'. I do have a view that models, ex-pop stars do not make fashion designers unless they've trained for it. However, retailing is a business and anything goes to sell, sell, sell.

I've found this skirt at Ted Baker which can give you the peplum look at a fraction of the price that VB's stuff is selling for.

Friday, 28 August 2009

End of Summer...

As Autumn fast approaches, I can feel it in the air, I get giddy and quite excitable. I'm a big fan of Summer but Autumn is my favourite time. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of Winter I do appreciate the seasons. The changes in landscapes even in cities create different atmospheres.

Yet surprisingly I'm finding myself drawn to a micro trend for A/W that falls into the first two drops of the season category. The first two drops for stores takes place in late summer to early autumn and then drops 3 and 4 are usually the best coming in late Sept/early October. Hence the need in fashion journo speak for transitional pieces. And you do need them in a temperate climate such as the UK. There are definitely some items if you don't get now they'll be gone, like coats but equally is stock moving as fast as it did a couple of years ago? We'll soon see.

I've noticed a perennial summer piece the stripe enjoying an autumnal appearance and the image below from the Jigsaw A/W 09 lookbook captures this perfectly.

Whistles have a number of key stripy pieces and this purple stripy dress looks like a winner for layering.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

One for the eye

Last year I manage to scope 3 cocktail rings for £12 (with my 10% student discount) from Dorothy Perkins. However this year neither Dotty P's or Topshop nor Oasis, my three default choices for rings (okay okay WendyB is my default choice, and the Marie Antoinette my first choice) have yielded an item to satisfy my ring requirement. Basically big , cocktailish and guaranteed to take your eye out by accident on the tube if you get too close(figuratively speaking).

I always think if you can't afford to buy new clothes there is nothing like a ring or a belt or gloves to add an update to your wardrobe to dress up any outfit. A creature of habit I tend to go to John Lewis for my gloves, Reiss for belts but this year for a ring I'll be getting this Kenneth Jay Lane beauty from my-wardrobe and believe me I double checked at Dorothy Perkins at Bond St tube if they had the equivalent!

PS I did look at the DP jewellery mecca at West One shopping at Bond St tube and zero!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Reiss A/W online

The good thing about a retailer like Reiss, if you tell them something they listen. I don't necessarily mean they listen to me but to feedback in general. Last season and the season before Reiss were very slow to tie in their internet retailing site with the store collection drops. But this season they've managed to beat the end of August deadline.

And this season Reiss is approaching the wow factor. I judge a stores wow factor on the fact one doesn't know what to try/touch first. I can't remember the last time I had wow factor and in fairness it is most usual in the shoe or handbag department, but with clothes I think I'd have to travel back in time to High Street Kensington market, which is now home to Wholefoods and others.

However, Reiss is a brand continually working towards the high street equivalent of the wow factor as are stores like Oasis and in their own way the team that deliver Limited Collection at M&S.**

Reiss has lifted the game with its superb and well timed 1971 collection. Now, I'm not convinced by using a year to brand a collection, and the choice is due to the year Mr Reiss* first began trading, but the look and feel of the collection is mighty fine. It has a nonchalant, yet stylish edge and whilst the reverie of all things Parisian is obvious - not just by the setting of the photo shoot and the video - more the fact the individual garments reflect Paris style, this doesn't detract from the collection.

One could imagine it being the look de jour for style shoots for attendees for Paris Fashion Week. The 1971 collection does reflect this seasons trend details of suede and studs that will saturate the high street but is mixes cut and colour well to create a more sophisticated edge to the look.

This is the choice for injecting freshness and youth into your wardrobe with quality befitting a stylish but knowing fashionista. Now there is just the matter of size 16...

* I once met David Reiss when he was visiting the Bristol store a few years ago and he is a very handsome man!
** PS Sir Phillip Green and Jane Shepard are to be thanked for this - though in my view Topshop is in need of a refresh to be a leader again. And Jane is striving towards excellence at Whistles but it is still to early to say if she's got it right.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Retail Resurrection

Working at the sharp end of the retail industry this weekend at the behest of a shopping centre for one of their retailers, I was faced with the reality of when it all goes wrong. I would like to say that I will have helped in part to turn the business around but one piece of an incomplete jigsaw doesn't make a whole.

When a retailer gets it wrong with target market, stock, quality and the experience people vote with their feet and purses. Whilst consumers love affair with Zara and Topshop continues, Gap suffered a sharp rebuke to their position on the high street across the globe.

Last year even I, a firm friend of Gap was treated to shoddy service and behaviour all round when attempting to buy some biker boots. The story didn't end with my successful purchase of the boots. In fact I haven't shopped at Gap since apart for a couple of petit garcon items and even this was considerable less than I would have before. In addition this meant I didn't take a single client in either. So will I return to Gap as a customer ever again?

Gap has addressed one critical area of retailing, it now has some items available on-line via ASOS

Gap Wide Trim Deep V-Neck £29.50

Also K-Line gave their jeans a glowing report recently and a big thumbs up to Head of Design for Gap, Patrick Robinson. All eyes will be on the sales of the first global collection.

The proof will be in the pudding if I purchase an item in my big shop on September the 2nd. Yes, I've set a date for my wardrobe upgrade shopping session. I do have a bit of a fancy for the slim chinos and the suede boots, so we will see. The deep v-neck sweater looks like a lovely piece too and boy do I need colour in my wardrobe. Are you going to be a friend of Gap this season?

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Busy Bee

Normally I'd be posting my high street pick of the week. However I must confess to slacking this week due to some glorious sunshine, oh and a bit of cricket - yep it is the Ashes decider. For non Brits and Aussies - i.e. the rest of the world, this is where the battle of old and new is taking place.

I'm also off to window dress today. I don't often get asked to do displays these days and I love creating them. I started my fashion work as a Saturday girl in Miss Selfridges and in the school and university holidays I always managed to work full time and worm my way onto the make up counter or window dressing. These days the grand title is visual merchandising but I'm not off to grand pastures today just a jobbing little shopping centre in south London.

Friday, 21 August 2009


When Everyone Says Don't and I met WendyB of Wendy Brandes Jewellery we were so taken with her wonderful rings we ordered a necklace each! Mine is a Little Woolf and I believe it is just the ticket to take a bit of the spirit of Virginia Woolf to aid me in my dissertation writing.

Everyone Says Don't choose the gorgeous Squirrel Necklace for no other reason than the fact she loved it. I love my Little Woolf to but I need to believe in its helpful powers!

Anyway I was postie and delivered the package in exchange for two glasses of rose at Mews of Mayfair. Well we were a bit squiffy and nearly forgot to take photos of our branding. Luckily on way to tube I spotted some geraniums to ensure the new way to pose instead of the passe hands to face.

The cute Little Woolf with a tipsy in charge owner!

Using my blackberry with rose wine isn't the best photography combo

So here's a close up of the lovely Squirrel!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

When it is hot it's Brighton

Whilst I don't want to bore you with family ailments, le petit garcon had a bit of a disappointment when the long planned treat of a trip to Legoland ended in him being a bit sick. Enough.

With the sun shining and spirits restored I took the opportunity to leave the surrounds of London and head to the coast - Brighton. Le petit garcon could barely contain his excitement and upon arrival at the pier he stormed into the madness that is the arcade. What worried me most was his hooligan tendency to try the change areas for spare coins! Without spending a penny in the amusement arcade we attempted to complete the purpose of our seaside mission the ghost train. Except petit garcon was just under the requisite height of 1.1m. He was perfectly composed about the rejection but made me take him on the helter skelter!

I could do this thanks to the helping hands of Delicious Industries who joined us on the pier. The garcon baulked at the top but I told him the only way down was on the mat. I paid for my insistence in the form of helter skelter burns to my hand.

Scooby Doo shout out on carousel bus

Seaside ice cream

Peachy feast on train

Petit garcon at top of bouncy slide, helter skelter in background!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Red Dress (part 2)

My seemingly forever MA comes to an end in December. I have called upon you very recently for primary research on my dissertation. This is my final time of asking (I feel quite weepy).

I present to you four images of 1950s screen icons. You may or may not be familiar with all of them. Please tell me who is your favourite and why. I also have a vote in the right hand of the blog on the same four actresses.

Doris Day

Audrey Hepburn

Grace Kelly

Marilyn Monroe

Monday, 17 August 2009

Satorialist moment sans camera

Yes yes I realise my post title is oxymoron(ic) but yesterday,I really did have street style moment, well actually it was more a supermarket style moment. I was too slow to wipe out my camera phone and get a snap and I really wish I had new camera but that won't be for a few months yet.

I spotted the most stylish woman I'd seen all week. She was easily in her late 70s or early 80s, with Vivienne Westwood coloured hair, a nice black and cream print blouse with an asymmetrical discreet bow teemed with a fab bright red pencil skirt. She had sheer tights with nice pale courts and a typical old ladies handbag, i.e. a proper one before we went large and it bag.

I was a bit worried if I had had the courage to grab and snap her that she might have thought I was
a) taking the mickey or
b) being patronising

But she truly was the most stylish lady, young or old I'd seen all week and at Tesco! I love it when you see people who grow old naturally and with aplomb.

Given I haven't got the requisite street style snap I give you Dame Westwood.

Will you grow old gracefully and stylishly or opt for enhancement?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Stylish things for free

1. Sit up straight! This is good old fashioned advice that means whatever you are wearing will wear well with a straight back and some deportment.

2. Attitude. Here's some more good old fashioned advice from Valentino relating to style and a beautiful woman "She is cool, calm and collected. She knows where she's going and the quickest way to get there. Beauty has nothing to do with perfect features. It's an attitude." From Valentino Garavani: First Name in Fashion - I love this book but at nearly a £800 it is just as well I can go to Central St Martins College to look at it.

3. A Gratitude Journal. An illuminating well being special edition in the Weekend Guardian magazine covered a look at what makes us happy. -Weekend columnist Oliver Burkeman looks at what we have learned from the positive psychology movement in the last 10 years – and confesses to keeping what psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls a "gratitude journal", listing all the little things for which he feels thankful. "Naturally, I am hugely embarrassed to admit this," he says. "The awkward truth, though, is that keeping a gratitude journal has made a detectable and sustained difference to my state of mind."

Saturday, 15 August 2009

High Street Pick of the Week

This top from Topshop is almost three trends in one - zebra print, 80s(ish) and shoulders make for a smart buy at £35.

Perfect in purple for the coming season it has a zipped back with an open triangle. Wear a cami under it by day and use bust tape at night (if you need it) to reveal this seasons fetishism of the female body - the back.

Friday, 14 August 2009


When it comes to all things style I seem to have a competitor too close to home, in fact at home. Last week Mr MDS snuck back home with a beautiful new suit from Aquascutum. Then on Wednesday a parcel arrived for him. I had to wait until we got home from a sojourn in central London to find out he'd had a shoe flutter.

The packet revealed

The brand revealed
The Paul Smith brogue on display
A free gift of Clarins men's face product!
Forced to put them on with socks and pose!

Mmmm I'm not used to being the empty handed one!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Bloggy Shout out!

Firstly, the lovely DisneyRollerGirl is up for an award and though I doubt she needs any introduction, she does need your fingers to do some clicking. Please click on image below and vote DisneyRollerGirl in the Dazed Digital Awards.Secondly, the peeps at my-wardrobe have a nice little fashion blog all of their own. Whilst this is wholly dedicated to their business it is nice to see the blog be a business tool of its own and is a fab quick reference tool if you need some inspiration.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Size matters (2)

An over stacked wardrobe, is a size issue of a different sort. Now I know that for some having lots and lots of clothes neatly hung, stacked and looked after or organised in all manner of solutions is perfectly fine. But...for lots of people there is an endless spend, wear, unworn, sell on ebay, take to charity shop cycle due to flights of fashion fancy, boredom, retail therapy and general overs spending. Consumption is part and parcel of our lives but I'm returning to the idea of slow fashion, the idea that despite the buzz of a new season, the desire created by the editorial in magazines and the newness of clothes in the stores, you need to really think before you buy - the concept of stop, look and listen.

The STOP element is the bit where you check out everything in your wardrobe and have a good look at what you wear, like and want to have. Sort and hang everything in items - i.e. trousers, skirts, cardigans, dresses, shirts - same with folding items. Don't buy anything for a couple of weeks and see how you get on with what you have. Think about your own style, how you like to look and what works for you.

Have a good LOOK at what you have examine its potential - can it be altered? Does it really work for your life. Take a look at what you spend on clothes, how much has been bought on credit. Really evaluate what you spend and why. Again the looking involves how you look in what you have and how you can make sure you are not getting yourself into debt over a fashion fix.

Then LISTEN to the voices in your head that tell you not to buy when you do! Okay, I'm kidding but there is enough noise here on the blogosphere to make you re-evaluate what you spend, buy and why.

I do think that less is more, I'm more of a fan of the capsule wardrobe but like everyone else I'm guilty of overstocking my wardrobe and often on repeats - how many stripy tees does a gal need!
It is really hard when you love fashion not to get sucked into the endless cycle (and recycling of looks) of buying whether its over or under the budget.

I also like the idea often muted as the French approach to fashion which basically translates as a few key quality pieces of fashion purchased per season. It is another less is more but less items for more money provide quality. It was when I started clearing out peoples wardrobes and found mounds of clothes and accessories that I got turned off having too much. Even though I recently cleared my wardrobe out I still feel I have too much. I'm hoping that my shop day (all saved up for) in September will last through until March. I know I'll get tempted along the way but I'm determined to be the person that only buys a few key pieces per season and that means a smaller but beautiful wardrobe.
Updated PS: I've realised I've forgotten to add that your lifestyle and income is the key determinate of what you spend and buy. I know this is stating the obvious but my views and decisions reflect where I am now, not my misspent youth and party animal days of yore. I need to have less as I don't go out as much, because thanks to Mr MDS I've just signed for a delivery of a new 42" HD telly and he's upgrading our Sky box to HD! This does not make for an uber stylish wardrobe to wear out. Geez thanks goodness I've got friends to meet and a new job to secure otherwise I'd have no justification for a single item due to my MA lifestyle. Mind you can't wait to see Mad Men in HD.

Size matters (1)

Yesterday I began to debate the issue of size. I just don't understand why certain high street retailers, however they have positioned their brand, do not stock size 16 clothes.

This allows me to gratuitously use an image of Nigella Lawson -truly the most beautiful person I have ever had the pleasure to meet in the flesh. Whilst I always admire the poise and strict adherence to body discipline for clothes of Ms Wintour and Ms Roitfeld, I can't help but know the allure is due to their fashion credentials, whereas with Nigella it is simply the fact of beauty. She has a sheen due to beautiful skin, flowing tresses and flesh that is well ...flesh.
Whilst this isn't the best photo of Ms Lawson, you get the fullness of her figure and it reinforces the fact that retailers and some designers are failing to provided in ready to wear a size of clothing that is required - in the UK this is size 16. I didn't know whether to laugh (at) or rip up The Sunday Times's Style magazine article on couture week by Colin McDowell - I'll recreate the offending paragraph, where he basically grimaces because 'fat' people wear couture - quelle horreur!

"I visited the workrooms of a very famous couturier. The atmosphere was one of dedication and love as they cut the delicate fabrics and sewed on semiprecious stones. Then I noticed, lined up against a back wall, a group of grotesque figures. A second look and I realised that these were the Stockman mannequins on which clothes are fitted. Noting my look of alarm, my host said: “This is the reality behind the dream — couture is made to the exact measurements of our clients.” I knew that. And yet what a shock to see huge breasts, large bums and dropped stomachs replicated in foam padding. Thank goodness that, for most women, couture is still about dreams rather than reality. It is fashion’s original Cinderella story, offering all women a ticket to the ball, even if only in their imaginations"

Well in my imaginary world, size 16 would be mainstream in retail provision. I'm not going to pretend that size 18+ doesn't have some issues attached because whilst it won't be applicable for all, most people above size 16 regardless of height are entering into the realm of obesity.

I think most women deserve to have access to clothes in the high street, fashion is not about size it is about style, taste and choice.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Size 16

Dear Reiss, Karen Millen and Ted Baker,

Please get with the programme and stock size 16 clothes - why stop at 14? What is wrong with size 16? 6-16 sounds perfectly reasonable. You produce some delightful garments so share the love.


Saturday, 8 August 2009

High Street Pick of the Week

Yes I know it is still summer, but when I popped in to Oasis on upper Regent St the other day to avoid the rain between leaving LCF to get my much needed coffee from Pret, my comfort dressing barometer went to roasty toasty. I was immediately propelled to autumnal country walks, poking the bonfire in the garden and riding my trusty bicycle kicking my feet in the air to avoid puddles.

I'm such an autumnal nymph, nothing excites me more. Praise be to Oasis for knowing my weakness....

Friday, 7 August 2009

Lazy Day

Sometimes you've got to have them! Anyway last week I posted a rather dull one for this little minx of a blog. It was my evening of comedy culture and I rightly realised post posting that it sat in my Fashion and Film blog. My Fashion and Film blog has been a constant source of annoyance to me, as I have struggled to define what it is and therefore be inspired by it.

Then bingo! I realised it was a weekly round up of all matters pertaining to both or either fashion and film. My other blog is not about fashion as a system (i.e. the fashion industry) or garments but more a general term to refer to any change in social life, art, architecture, design or the fashion industry...and this is usually though not exclusively...linked to film.

A weekly round up is a tried and tested format of media communications so why not a blog that doesn't actually suit daily outpourings. Equally it prevents me turning off readers on this one. So, if you want low brow ramblings on style, the fashion industry and life stick here. If you fancy a bit of high cultured discourse then maybe go here.

One final note on a fashion item - how cool is the Sonia by Sonia Rykiel take on a breton striped top. Am loving the sculptured ruffle.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Red Dress (part 1)

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Once again I draw upon you for my academic research! Last time your fabulous form filling helped me get 84% in my contextual studies essay!

My MA dissertation is about the red dress. I won't bore you or reveal my full examination/question just yet, but I would like to ask you to comment on these two photos of Cate Blanchett in a red dress.

What is your reaction to women when they are wearing a red dress?
How do you feel when you wear a red dress?

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Images: Getty Images

PS Post Update - thanks for all the brilliant comments keep 'em coming! Also the dress Cate is wearing is an Ossie Clark and I forgot to thank the wonderful Shrimpton Couture for alerting me to this splendid red dress!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Head to Toe Designer a Fashion Faux Pas?

My favourite thing about fashion journalism is pronouncements. No other form of journalism does pronouncements with such fever or gusto. Being opinionated is usually the preserve of columnists, who have freedom to stimulate debate or use their witty writing skills to induce mirth. Yet in fashion writing amongst the gushing admiration of designer/model/former model/dead designer/retro fetishism/muse/model over coming drugs/drink etc., there are general dictates beloved of the former Soviet and East European communist block countries.

Don't think these are up for debate. They are rules of current fashion and taste, you can be rebellious and break them but you run the risk of being a) slightly uncomfortable in your rebellion or b) snapped by The Satorialist or other street style snapper presenting the viewer with an 'actually no I really don't get that' moment.

I recently found myself slipping into fashion speak when a personal styling course student asked me why I changed her rolled up sleeves on the models jacket to push up sleeves. My pronouncement was something along the lines of 'it's a subtle shift this season and it is the sort of thing you need to be aware of .' Whilst it was probably true and I had absorbed this latest small detail pronouncement through fashion osmosis it did seem faintly ridiculous even to me.

One perennial fashion pronouncements is 'never wear designer top to toe'. Well last Friday I was sat in the cinema, admiring Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel dressed top to toe in, yes you guessed it, Chanel and I thought would I and yes of course I would - who cares.

This liberated me to admit I would if I had the funds wear this complete Miu Miu look top to toe from Miu Miu's A/W 09 ready to wear collection without a care in the world. And you, your thoughts on this matter?

Monday, 3 August 2009

Blackberry picking in style

Every year I pick blackberries. I've started earlier this year as the hot June and the rainy July have contrived to create the perfect blackberry harvest.

I find the colours of berries in stages of green, red and black with white flowers and green leaves truly inspiring.
But most of all the blackberries are so delicious. It is early on in the blackberry harvest and I've picked enough to make blackberry jam. I'll get some more to freeze for a late September early October crumble and then my pickings during the week will be for breakfast and nibbles

Good Housekeeping blackberry jam recipe from the The Cook's Classic Companion edition
I save Bonne Maman jars to use (I love their marmalade and jams).
But I can't help but wish I was foraging in one of these numbers. Truly perfect blackberry picking attire!




All images

Saturday, 1 August 2009

High Street Pick of the Week

This skirt from M&S is a steal at £19.50 and is actually gold (their photo doesn't capture this very well!) The styling on the photo isn't a big seller so think of wearing it more like Emily Watson in the glorious Teen Vogue photo shoot