Saturday, 27 February 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

When That's Not My Age posted the other day she revealed some style top tips from Julia Darlington the buying director at Wallis.

I have to confess to liking the term Martini factor - something you can wear any time any place any where. My own take on the Martini factor is it has to be Joan Collins too. Never one to under dress our Joan would be happy to wear this top. It is has the Martini factor for her.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Just add cocktails

As the rain pours and the chilly wind whistles along the Thames my increasing obsession with sunshine knows no sign of abating. Never have I craved the Spring or Summer so much. Daily I see something sparkly or cheery and then my grey skies above dampen my momentary joy. I cannot recall a time when my sunglasses did not feature in my bag. Once this month have I put them on and for two minutes.

With Reiss adding jewellery to their growing retail offering, it was the Corrine gold multi chain sovereign necklace that started me thinking of Miami. Imagine this necklace accompanied by a white dress, sunglasses, bare feet - one foot gently poised in the pool and then a waiter walks over to hand you a cocktail - ah bliss.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Colour not grey skies

This bright orange silk Limited Collection dress at £45 from M&S is just the ticket if you want louche, bright and at a reasonable price.

When the sun comes you'll be glad of it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Spring Anyone?

Lest you've forgotten what flowers growing from the ground look like, I've appropriated/acquired this flash of spring colour from California via Enc of Observationmode. Thank you Enc, we've forgotten what spring looks like even down South.

Pity me I've got to inspire someone today to buy their Spring/Summer wardrobe and we'll be dressed like winter trolls. I think I might dance in the streets when this big freeze ends. But I'm making do with this wonderful image which gives me hope...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Wearable, right now!

Two things have stuck in my mind of late when it comes to fashion. One of which is an important or pertinent theme when it comes to personal fashion purchases. The theme mainly goes like this, only buy things you really love, and these fall mainly into the designer or non mainstream high street world. Plus never throw anything, designer, or an item you love, out. WendyB is the major proponent of the never get rid of your designer pieces and buy quality. Whilst Disneyrollergirl is of the, not buying things off the high street and making key quality piece purchases, ilk. Both of them have a wonderful sense of personal style and are living proof this theme is of much use. (Btw Disneyrollergirl love, love loved your black trench)

The other matter is the desirability of selling. The sad fact is that brand Alexander McQueen was in debt to the tune of probably 32 million euros, now this is not unusual in the world of luxury goods, it was years before Stella McCartney turned a profit. But with two parent companies fighting it out(LVMH and PPR) wearable collections are a big factor in sustaining a designer in the luxe market. Whilst LFW is all about the cool and not all about the big houses, it is ultimately about desire and being able to envisage wearing the garments.

Richard Nicoll is striking the right balance between fashion(able) and wear(ability). He either knows what women want to wear or what buyers want to buy. His show was reminiscent of Marc Jacobs in the simple colour palette and a reliance on cut and drape rather than the spectacle. His show is becoming something of reliable and desirable element in sustaining the worth of LFW on the fashion map.

Richard Nicoll

Monday, 22 February 2010

Thought for the week - football focus

Not since the mullets (haircuts) of the 1970s has football faced such a crisis of identity. My short film Dress Up examined the rise of WAG culture due to the high level lifestyle certain wags lead. It also portrayed a footballer who does not fall into the stereotypical nightclub, bed hopping lifestyle.

Yet the world of football continues in the UK to polarise trends of behaviour and morality. If we segment the high profile people who are papped, blogged about and fill the column inches of newspapers and magazines they fall into fashion, football and music. Whilst America (and the UK to some extent) was paralysed by Tiger Woods news conference where he talked of atonement and transgression; we are facing a football melt down which potentially heralds the end of the WAG and will usher in the next level of football focus, homosexuality.

Ashley Cole has been dogged by rumours for years about being gay and now the papers are running a goal scoring tally of women he's allegedly transgressed with. While Cole is at home nursing a fractured ankle and potentially a broken marriage, his Chelsea team mates will be reading at leisure, in between training, the headlines on his liaisons.

One of those who might be reading the papers is fellow player Frank Lampard. Lamps as he is affectionately termed is in a different league and was one of the inspiration for my film's footballer character (Graham Le Saux, Thierry Henry and David James being a few others). He represents the potential for football to embrace dignity and move away from the lad culture those mullets embodied. It is a lads culture that has no room for sexual orientation other than the bedding of multiple wannabe wags.

images: The Daily Mail

The only fashionable faces of football have been the Beckhams. Courted by all in the fashion industry brand Beckham has provided an almost homo erotic vision with David Beckham's underwear ads for Giorgio Armani. Yet embracing aspects of femininity, the sarong wearing and the caring father are safely position within the union of marriage. With rugby players recently 'coming out' when will it be okay for football to stop lambasting being gay?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Best BAFTA frock

Wow, one of my favourite colour combinations red and pink and who better to pull off this lovely Lanvin number than French beauty and wonderful actress Audrey Tatou. She did tell E! channel that she was wearing Chanel perfume as she walked the BAFTA's red carpet.

image: The Guardian

Tonight it's the BAFTAs

Please don't let Avatar win - that's all I ask!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

What with New York Fashion Week and now London Fashion Week it is hard to remember that there is a high street out there attempting to sell us the now, not the future. However it is to the high street we need to turn to, so where and what does a smart woman buy - well I would say as little as possible given the current economy but then I'm on some no spend mission so ignore me.

A good idea would be to plan your Spring/Summer wardrobe with a clear theme to allow pieces to work hard. Have you usual favourites and necessary basics and then add pure fashion to inject va va voom to perk you up.

This week's selection is a bit of a halfway home but should work well with a skirt, dress, trousers or jeans. A blend of contemporary (digital print) channeling the old (tweed) this cardigan from Oasis will give you a good run until when the sunshines and you start to sweat...(sorry but bring on the summer, I want to feel hot!)

Friday, 19 February 2010

'Dress Up' LCF screening

Last night was the screening of my short film at the London College of Fashion, followed by a panel discussion with Melanie Rickey of Grazia, Ella of Coco's Tea Party and Tamar Jeffers-McDonald author of Hollywood Catwalk and from the University of Kent.

It was a lively debate and a great turn out considering the skies decided to empty upon the streets of London. I have one blurry photo of me being interviewed and a couple more stills from the short.

When I've recovered (I've suddenly found myself exhausted!) I'll do a proper summation and post on my Fashion and Film blog

blurry photo of me being interviewed (I'm on the right)

Stills from Dress Up

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tonight, tonight

If someone was going to ask me what my favourite film was I'd be hard pressed to stop at 20 because I love so many films; but Wise and Robbins's 1961 version of the Broadway musical West Side Story is probably in the top 10. Adapted from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet it won 10 Academy Awards, the only musical to do so and was remarkable for the huge falling outs whilst filming between Wise and Robbins.

Luckily I fell out with no one in the making of my short film and although we were a small team who won't be winning any awards for our effort I would like to thank them for their contribution to making my dream come true. Of course I am apprehensive of showing my film to a large audience and it feels slightly surreal or rather unreal.

On the eve of London Fashion Week and two years on from submitting my application form to the London College of Fashion it does feel like a fad fashion moment to be showing something.

Still from 'Dress Up'

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

My very own Mrs Doyle

Seven weeks (and a bit) in and counting on the no fritter challenge. That means there is only 5 and a half weeks to go. So far I have bought nothing and spent nothing. This means my overdraft/credit card/MA loan are all decreasing. I hope that I will be on target to pay everything off by the end of the year.

To date the weather has been an enormous help in preventing shop browsing and therefore reducing temptation. Sadly the effects of this have probably been counterbalanced by more blog viewing and magazine consumption. I have been building mental pictures of a new wardrobe in my head. However I do feel able to resist temptation and have felt strangely liberated from the cycle of consumption.

I feel my adherence to the no fritter challenge will be helped by participating in The Small Fabric of my Life's Spring capsule wardrobe challenge, although I am hoping the weather gets warmer in March.

But in the midst of keeping going, my very own Mrs Doyle appeared in the form of Mrs Fab of Looking Fab in Your Forties. She hilariously commented 'go on treat yourself' in reference to my MA award. It was a real 'go on, go on'! I will not be breaking my resolve to treat myself of anything, although I did polish off very easily the champagne left over from Sunday (that's how frugal we are being these days!).

Avast Mrs Fab, oh go on then...I might be tempted to treat myself to a great pair of shoes for my graduation in July. I fancy skipping in Westminster in these....

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

It's been emotional...

Finally after what seems a lifetime to me so goodness knows how you lot have borne with me, I can announce I'm fully mastered up. Yep, it's official, I have an MA in Fashion & Film and an MA with a distinction.

Along the way I have had such great support from countless bloggers (they know who they are) and well over the course of my MA, sadly Mrs Fashion is no more but I would like to thank her for her advice in choosing my MA course and blimey LLG has come out - in person! It all happens on a Tuesday.

Look forward to all who are coming to premier on Thursday at LCF xxx

Don't forget to 'Dress Up'!

Serenity rules

Just when I make a plea for less 'fierce', a bit of tenderness to return to fashion, then up steps my favourite designer and delivers. In a collection where the clothes do the talking (styling aesthetics were parred right back) Marc Jacobs gave us his bare aesthetics in terms of cut and colour.

When it comes to clothes I need serenity, I love it when clothes flow and these are real forever wardrobe friends. The fact Somewhere over the Rainbow was playing adds my real emotion about this collection. Mr MDS can testify that I even cry to Tom Waits's version of it. If only I'd been there.

I love that Jacobs has capture a mood and a need in his collection. He has judged well on the time for refinement and stillness.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Quote of the Week

Paula Reed was very complimentary of Victoria Beckham's new collection at New York Fashion Week, stating there were a few items she's have in a heartbeat, but she did come out with a classic line worthy of re-quoting

"It doesn’t pretend to explore anything beyond the world of the red carpet and restaurants with doormen"Still you've got to love a red dress moment! And this one is wearable in many a situation.

image: The Daily Mail

Thought for the week -compassion costs nothing

I promise I'll move on from death after this post. But in my no fritter and therefore no spending world I'm currently living in I can explore other things other than the shops. Although I do have to go and check out new stock next week.

Also it was with a sense of utter disbelieve that I read this article.
What a load of rubbish and anecdotal evidence, it read like a page filler. I'm sure McQueen has mentioned on many an occasion about hating fashion, that is perfectly normal when you work in any industry. What teacher, doctor, lawyer to name a few hasn't uttered the same thing about their professions.

Then the constant drawing upon his drug abuse, blah, blah. Basically I don't think anyone can know how grief will hit them. Any view on the why is speculation, grief was the cause and it manifests itself in many ways.

Equally, I realised that I had no idea what to do when someone losses someone they love. Of course I've lost family and friends but in the main this has been elderly relatives. I haven't lost a husband, mother, child, father, wife, sibling etc. The immediacy of these relationships have a devastating effect. When my grandpa died I lay in bed for 2 days in a darken room far from home at university. I travelled home and found everyone had been paralysed in some way by his loss. I set about finalising the funeral arrangements, signing the death certificate and sat waiting on the wall of my grandparents house for the funeral car on the day of his funeral. I also stayed with my grandma for a week afterwards. But I was free, with no responsibilities no children, mortgage, or job - how would I find the time or mange now? I really don't know. What would anyone be able to do for me if I was in Lee McQueen's shoes. As my dad says you never get over losing your mother.

I found some useful advice on how to listen and this forms the basis of my post. Listening and being there are two important factors in helping with grief and loss, but I also think we can add doing practical things like, washing, preparing food, cleaning the house, shopping - in fact all manner of things. I'm not suggesting for a moment one can prevent an overwhelming response to grief but I do think we can step back from the day to day and take time out for friends or family to help them in times of distress. The bereaved need to feel that their loss is acknowledged, it’s not too terrible to talk about, and their loved one won’t be forgotten.

While you should never try to force someone to open up, it’s important to let the bereaved know they have permission to talk about the loss. Talk candidly about the person who died and don’t steer away from the subject if the deceased’s name comes up. When it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions – without being nosy – that invite the grieving person to openly express his or her feelings. Try simply asking, “Do you feel like talking?”

  • Accept and acknowledge all feelings. Let the grieving person know that it’s okay to cry in front of you, to get angry, or to break down. Don’t try to reason with them over how they should or shouldn’t feel. The bereaved should feel free to express their feelings, without fear of judgment, argument, or criticism.

  • Be willing to sit in silence. Don’t press if the grieving person doesn’t feel like talking. You can offer comfort and support with your silent presence. If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact, a squeeze of the hand, or a reassuring hug.

  • Let the bereaved talk about how their loved one died. People who are grieving may need to tell the story over and over again, sometimes in minute detail. Be patient. Repeating the story is a way of processing and accepting the death. With each retelling, the pain lessens.

  • Offer comfort and reassurance without minimizing the loss. Tell the bereaved that what they’re feeling is okay. If you’ve gone through a similar loss, share your own experience if you think it would help. However, don’t give unsolicited advice, claim to “know” what the person is feeling, or compare your grief to theirs.

Comments to avoid when comforting the bereaved

  • "I know how you feel." One can never know how another may feel. You could, instead, ask your friend to tell you how he or she feels.
  • "It's part of God's plan." This phrase can make people angry and they often respond with, "What plan? Nobody told me about any plan."
  • "Look at what you have to be thankful for." They know they have things to be thankful for, but right now they are not important.
  • "He's in a better place now." The bereaved may or may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.
  • "This is behind you now; it's time to get on with your life." Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to getting on with because they feel this means "forgetting" their loved one. In addition, moving on is easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and works at its own pace.
  • Statements that begin with "You should" or "You will." These statements are too directive. Instead you could begin your comments with: "Have you thought about. . ." or "You might. . ."

The advice on what not to say is taken from the American Hospice Foundation, which I thought was very useful because I think we are all guilty of offering up something like 'he's in a better place now'. I also discovered that if anyone said they wanted to die or couldn't cope or go on then act immediately, don't leave them alone and get professional help.

Reading through the many websites I was struck by a great deal of tenderness and when Chanel said that fashion is all around us and so forth, one can't help but wonder if broderie anglaise is the right way to go! Perhaps a little less 'fierce' would be a start...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

How on earth

Does one shake oneself out of something? This is as much about shock as it is about our patterns particularly when it comes to clothes. I have to admit to never once being shocked nor moved by a 'celebrity' death. But, when one of your peers goes and tops themselves that is shocking. Mr MDS of course is completely unmoved by the death of McQueen and in a move akin to a sniper asked if I had any of his clothes as sales were up by 143%. I told him (politely) I actually had never been able to afford him, which is partly true but also I hadn't really chosen to by anything by him. Which is quite bonkers as we both shared a love of red dresses, oriental classicism of the Paul Poiret sort and are both rebels.

The point is how on earth do we choose our connections. This goes for people we admire, brands we buy into and items we select for our wardrobe. There are limits to our choices based on money and availability of items (those infuriating waiting lists) but Alexander McQueen has not to my knowledge been a subject of waiting list for a particular item, although his skull rings flew out of Liberty et al.

This debate is about the brand, not the person, whether PPR, the Gucci group should or will keep the brand of Alexander McQueen now that Lee McQueen has passed away (I wish he had rather than...but this isn't about the how or why).

My view, and it is just a view, is that the brand should be no more, after a decent period of course. I'm sure there is a something to be made of, or salvaged from the collection, despite the fact the show was cancelled. I also think there is a few years of accessories sales as a concession point in high value department stores. The scarves, the bags and whatever else has a period of longevity. This would be a good move, after all there is the balance of investment verses return.

You see the beauty of the brand is in the drama, the creative spirit. I'm probably a lone soul in my condemnation of the YSL brand without Yves Sant Laurant. I am nothing but a pedant when it comes to fashion lineage. YSL stopped, to me that was the end. All that was bought was a name.

I know many will point to the success of Lanvin and its resurrection under Alber Elbaz and in time we will see regarding Vionnet. I suppose there might be some brave soul out there who would dare to be Elsa Schiaparelli. The difference in the resurrection of a house and the continuation depends on the handover, circumstances and the point. To me I see no point in pretending in the circumstances that there is a natural successor, someone who can take up the reins nor will there be. Paul Poiret and Alexander McQueen are designers whose creative flair and genius comes about every so often.

There are always reasons for things to ebb and flow and whilst fashions is a business, creative talent cannot be created just like that. Countless bloggers have used the Kate Moss hologram as a display of McQueen's creative genius, it is obviously a moment of sheer thrill and amazement. Yet, I've selected this image of Erin O'Connor in his Spring/Summer 2001 because it truly is the nearest thing in a ready to wear collection that one would expect in a couture collection. And no one other than Lee McQueen could have delivered this, nor will anyone else under the umbrella of the Alexander McQueen brand - how an earth could they.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Well more catalogue pick of the week, or rather the ad from La Redoute.

It is a great look and I love the simplicity and ease of the styling. The music is a bit grating and do spot the belt error!

Click on this link to take you to La Redoute to view the video - you can't download it!

I've never order anything so don't know what their clothes are really like - have you?

Stripey tee £13

Friday, 12 February 2010

A single outing

In a solitary moment I went to the HMV Curzon in Wimbledon to see Tom Ford's A Single Man.
It was an enjoyable viewing and there is something to be said for making a film after a career change, however I would say there is a very slight soulless feel to the film, which is either due to brilliant acting by Colin Firth and is intentional, or it isn't.

I also felt there were overtones of Wang Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love with the clock and the use of non digetic sound (the musical score) and the fragmented nature of the story telling. But is lovely to see a film that is reminiscent of homage to other directors when those directors are so brilliant. I felt there were overtones of Antonioni too.

It is stylish but it is not a fashion film, although Ford's aesthetics are stamped all over it. It is well worth seeing and both Moore and Firth are such good actors - their casting is act of genius.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Au Revoir L'Enfant Terrible

1969 - 2010

All images

Loving that....

If you are heartily sick of Valentine Day marketing and products, then quick skip to another blog. But, it is the time of year for hint dropping. I normally partake in such an attempt with Mr MDS but having no funds to spoil him in any manner this year I'm keeping stum and hoping for a Valentine's surprise. However hope is not usually a good method, I find direct action the most useful.

When it comes to Mr MDS I know exactly what he likes but it isn't the same the other way round. He has a vague idea but never exactly the specific thing. I would be buying him this Richard James tie as it is very spring like and fresh, plus I could pat him on his way to work in a Betty Draper manner.

There are plenty of gifts in a range of prices for you or the person in your life if you are feeling particularly loved up and my-wardrobe have handily given me a code to cut out the cost of shipping on accessories, bags and shoes. You can tell they know what folks buy!

Voucher Code: FREELOVE

Validity: 08.02 to 14.02 only

Value: Free UK standard shipping on accessories, bags and shoes only

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Oh my oh my

This week is MA results week and the not knowing is killing me. I had hoped the stress would make me unable to eat but I seem to be addicted to Ritz crackers. And of course next week is the first public viewing of my short film 'Dress Up'. I don't know what is worse waiting or showing a piece of work.

I'm besides myself with nerves but have decided to build the event up (it makes it seem less real in my head for some reason) with stills taken from the film. Apart from this post, these will be put daily on my Fashion and Film blog.

still from 'Dress Up'

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The make do effort increases

Far from falling at the first hurdle, and many presented themselves not least the leather Zara shorts, I've stayed the course. I've not even frittered a penny on knickers or sock and believe me I could so with some new underwear.

I have had to buy beauty products but have stuck to creams for face and body. I've abandoned expensive ones and have settled fro points make prizes purchases at Boots. Anything I get on my Advantage card is splurged on make up. Without this I would not have got the Chanel nail varnish 505 Particulière.

I've opted for Eucerin, Olay and Nivea or Dr Nick Lowe - it depends on the £5 off voucher and any bonus points I might get. All of which have done no harm to my face. In fact I haven't noticed any difference. The Eucerin Q10 one has been my favourite.

Work is slow and although I'm not earning much nothing is being frittered away. I'm hoping I can build on this to extend my good behaviour and stick to it. The longer I go the better my chances are at becoming solvent again.

I know it isn't easy to change habits, I'm still munching those rich tea biscuits and I need to stop but I'm rather alarmed at how good at personal finances I've finally become! Why did it take so long...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Thought for the week - would you buy a £150 River Island dress?

I have no image for this post. I have no link to specific item on River Island's web page but I did find a £99 prom dress. For some reason River Island is all flash and I being non tech whizz cannot grab the image or link it.

The Sunday Times's Style magazine this weekend listed on page 26 list a £150 River Island dress. I'm quite shocked. I think of River Island as a retailer offering £39.99 dresses and perhaps the high end being £69.99.

Sorry but £150 - who's buying and why? Why is it £150? River Island please explain...

If you were expecting a high brow debate, sorry I exhausted myself in one yesterday.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hierarchy and Humility

What is so interesting about blogging is the diversity and can do attitude of all. There are lots of different approaches, differing content and aesthetics when it comes to the fashion bloggers. What is shared is an appreciation and a love of fashion garments, because I'm not talking about fashion here in a wider context, rather the seasonal joy of the shows and the street and the adoption of designs.

What is causing me concern is the hierarchical notion of good or bad blogging. Content aside the main issue here is how fashion bloggers are being used by marketeers and the aspect of product placement, promotion or advertising.

The very charming Jane of The Small Fabric of my Life very politely discussed advertising on a post once as she was concerned by allowing advertising she'd put off people coming to her blog. She was tempted as she's going to do a post grad teaching cert and every penny helps. Believe me I can relate to this with my recent funding of my education. I accepted a my-wardrobe banner on the basis that any sales would provide me with a percentage of money. This is not a great money spinner as my-wardrobe is not the scale of internet fashion business Net-A-Porter.

This clearly puts me in the lower scales of fashion blogger hierarchy. Higher up the scale and I would have been offered the afore mentioned Net-A-Porter gig. I've been blogging since 2006, I abandoned all my posts in that year due to being scared, incompetent and avidly reading the others. In 2008 I finally plucked up courage and started Make Do Style. My blog prior to that is lost for ever as I can't remember my account details. I keep meaning to ask blogger how to get back into it as there is a lot of material in there I liked. My first blog was a story dressed up as a person living her life. It was good fun but it wasn't easy to engage with the blogging community as a fictitious character.

In 2008 bloggers began to be approach in various ways by Marketing and PR peeps or companies, so began a dance of advertorial placement. I decided not to get involved and retracted very quickly from this (after a couple of parties and some dodgy pants!) but decided to keep my banner as all funds help and if someone chooses to visit my-wardrobe that is up to them. I do post items I've selected from there from time to time but that is purely on the basis of all my selection, personal preference or for a specific look etc. I also inform of any offers very occasionally, again in the same way as I would highlight many other offers in the way that papers or magazines do. I'm actually boring myself with this explanation but that is to some extent my point - we don't need one and probably don't want to read one either. This has only come about due to a hierarchy of consumer goods being attributed value.

What is concerning me is when bloggers take the high road and explain why it is okay or not okay to write about certain companies/products/shows/whatever. Quite frankly I don't care how one bloggers moral compass/editorial decisions stack up against another as long as it doesn't involve the exploitation of children/animals/vulnerable people and isn't do with extreme right wing groups/racist organisations or drug trafficking. Shall I throw in paedophilia, Al Quaeda and money laundering to cover all bases.

Lets face it after the rape and pillage of our economies by bankers any minor product placement by fashion bloggers is hardly impacting the tax payer.

So, the crux of this must be 'value' or 'good' - it is a bit like Vogue then InStyle then Reveal, a hierarchy of publications. In newspaper terms, The Times, The Daily Express then the The Sun. Adverts in these are graded accordingly, editorial likewise and promotions. When I do styling work I know the difference in terms of worth when I call in clothes from the PRs. I also know my place in the styling hierarchy as a freelance jobbing one, someone who is no longer attached to a magazine. My best friend was a 'proper' journalist, a war reporting hazard trained BBC hack. She would laugh at us lifestyle softies. She thought anything that involved clothes, interiors, travel or restaurants was a meal ticket in every sense.

But this hierarchy thing is quite pants because particularly in the blogging world it isn't based on any fact other than perceived value or worth of a blog. Blogs gain a certain position due to content, then the ensuing publicity and so on...Many successful ones reach this status due to their previous industry work/standing/relationships etc.

My point is I think there is a lot of danger in determining what is good or bad on the internet in regard of blogging. Firstly there is the matter of freedom, people are free to do as they please. Secondly, this is fashion, which is creative, diverse and is often trail blazing in cultural terms. Finally, hierarchy is a particular British thing - the class system. A country where what school you went to is more important than the quality of your education or your own intellect. A country where how you speak defines the worth of your person. If you wear Chanel and talk like a common urchin then you'll be sniffed at. I'm always reminded how coke snorting Eastenders actress Daniella Westbrook managed to single handedly destroy the value of Burberry check. It still amuses me to this day.

Sister Wolf made laugh with her 'So What' definition of bloggers who posing in fairly ordinary daily outfits and have family photos only of interest to their friends and families. As a fashion academic this interests me no end as it is a representation of fashion as mass adoption. Sister Wolf makes me laugh a lot and is a good example of a leading blogger in terms of content and readership who is either passed over or not on the PR radar. In magazine terms she would be a best kept or insider secret.

Essentially no matter how you dress up a freebie it is a freebie. Some freebies are no better or worth more than others, it is all a matter of perspective. All material goods are a matter of subjective views. Some dream of Tiffany, others think not. Some love an it bag, others deem it beneath them. Snobbery is a treacherous road on the capitalism highway. It fuels the constant hierarchy and affords wealth more status than a life.

I think it would be good for fashion bloggers to show some humility and stop banging on about the whys and hows; the rationale of their judgement. I've been mulling over this issue for a while but AA Gill sealed it for me in Northumberland restaurant review of 'Milan' in a place called Wooler in the Sunday Times - I love his last paragraph which says it all ....

"I have often said that I don’t review rural restaurants because most of them wouldn’t last a week in Putney, and this is true of Milan. But it also showed me I need to eat my words: most Putney restaurants wouldn’t last a week in Wooler. This place serves a community with good food and an occasion. It does it without patronage, without an agenda of education or improvement or social manipulation. It offers warmth and magic and exuberance, and it’s giving local people what they want without telling them what they should have. And that is just about the most you can wish for or expect from any restaurant, be it Le Gavroche or a chip shop."

Saturday, 6 February 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

24, The Good Wife and Mad Men are my can't miss, Sky + (series linked) shows at the moment. I've even started to watch Desperate Housewives again as well. Thank goodness I've no money because come 9pm I'm glued to the tv or playing catch up.

Not content with watching Mad Men, I have to look and look again. The first viewing is for the storyline, gathering the information and character development. Then it is back to examine January Jone's costumes. Then it is Joan and all the bit part female characters for their dresses, shoes and jewellery.

It is a veritable feast of colour and cut. I think the attention to detail is superb and I found this reasonable priced vintage 60s dress at Pret a which exudes pure series 3 Mad Men. The trick with replicating Mad Men is to forgo the late swinging sixties look and look for dresses that sit between the late fifties and 1967, some will be just on or below the knee and others will be rising slightly higher ....remember the mini has yet to arrive even though Peggy's been smoking dope. She is so going to burn her bra!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Bow ties

When perusing for a tie the other evening in Liberty, I was struck by the array of bow ties and though how nice to buy one to wear with a white shirt this summer, hanging loose around the collar in a nonchalant fashion. At £50 maybe not but if I was in the business of splashing the cash I would add a Liberty bow tie to my attire.

Floral bow ties in Liberty

I was accompanied by the petit garcon who can tell you his take on it on his all new very own blog!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

No Cash More Boot

Fellow MA student and make up artist Suzanne Neita is a great inspiration when it comes to no spending. Quite simply Suzanne is a 'if you have no money then you can't buy' type of gal. She choose an education after years of toil at M&S and after an access course, degree, now a Masters (it's ok I made her pay her library fine) she on her way to Phd land.

But more than this Suzanne is uber car booter. She finds the great, the glamorous and the groovy. Whilst those young gals are mildly rocking a harem pant or two, Suzanne is wielding a full leather version circa 1949.

I only had my blackberry handy and I know I'm no Scott or Garance but I had the perfect setting in the banqueting hall at Chelsea Art College. My shot doesn't do justice to the leather and the cut. These leather jodhpurs or plus fours vintage numbers herald from Germany originally and were bought for a few pounds at a car boot.

It was a good reminded to me to keep focused on not spending what I haven't got, and ensuring I keep at the payback on my student debts.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


The new found success of Liberty isn't without staff rumblings. Monsieur de La Bourdonnaye has installed a new regime which to some smacks of corporate Harrods. People tend to leave Harrods for Liberty to enjoy respite from the 'White House'. Oh I love retail gossip.

Liberty did need a retail kick up the backside but will it retain its charm in the process?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

New acquisitions

Technically I had my Vogue subscription as a Christmas present, my newest charm, a starfish, was a prize (courtesy of Tor's Aussie comp on Fabfrocks) and the Chanel nail varnish 505 Particulière is as a result of points makes prizes (Boots Advantage card).

However I've decided that I have acquired these items, I'm above the how I got them for once! What with the flipping cold I'm treasuring anything that doesn't require venturing outside. Shame I've got an editorial meeting later...

My favourite thing in the March edition - Christa D'Souza's article on poo.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Thought for the week - keeping it clean

Dries Van Noten A/W 2000

I was pillaging the show archives of last week for a forthcoming project. I was particularly impresses that the ready to wear and couture archives do go back to 2000 and I'm sure if I put in a request there would be a few for the end of the 20th century.

One thing I got struck by - possibly with the exception of Galliano was how under styled most of the shows were. Now a runway show has to not just sell the clothes but a whole look to boot. I'm not saying that shows didn't focus on hair, makeup, shoes or necklaces before but I was struck how the shift has gone more to creating ideas than garments. Not every designer resorts to this, Balmain is a case in point. The A/W 2009 collection was the most translated to the high street and it is no co-incidence the presentation of the collection was almost peachy clean in respect of the clothes doing the talking.

Balmain A/W 2009

It seems the stylist has blurred the old school routine of catwalk to editorial to consumer. Now its is collection to consumer (partly due to blogging) with magazines having to shoot fashion in more creative ways. Most consumers are not blogging and still get their collection visions from a wealth of fashion magazines, and those who don't read anything other than Country Living or the Boden catalogue, don't. (I did buy this months Country Living, it seemed the right thing to do on a shop in Waitrose) For some clothes and dressing passes them by.

I'm not suggesting for one minute that the spectacle of a show shouldn't happen but I was transported back to a time, not that long ago, when quelle horreur the front row was comprised of fashion editors and buyers and flat shoes were on some of their feet. Although the designer was presenting a collection for you to buy into, there seemed less of a desire to control the overall interpretation.

Don't get me wrong I do like a shift in makeup and hair but I'm beginning to understand why Wintour stays within a look that not only transcends the vagaries of design but enables her to access the merits of a collection with a more dispassionate eye.
Marc Jacobs A/W 2000

Dries Van Noten A/W 2000

I became beguiled by Dries Van Noten's 2000 Fall Ready to Wear collection and was reminded why I fell in love with Marc Jacobs with his collection of the same year. I've failed to embrace 'fierce' and these collections remind me why - I'm just a Bloomsbury set gal meets Park Ave Princess.
Dries Van Noten A/W 2000

Whilst most of you have no need in your daily toil to look back in detail at collections, if you do find a few moments then go back in time and see what inspires you for a clue to your style preferences. It helps to create a wardrobe of style not just high fashion.