Monday, 28 June 2010

Off on Hols

Above Mrs MDS's bed hangs an Edouard Manet, a print of one of his many oil on canvas scenes of Venice.
One of Mrs MDS's all time favourite films is Summer Madness or Summertime (1955) starring Katharine Hepburn and directed by David Lean. Set in Venice it is a tale of a lonely American woman finding romance. Summertime was the original title of the film and remains so in the UK but Summer Madness became the US release title. However, there was no madness involved merely a beautiful setting and fabulous clothes.

Anyway, Mrs MDS is off to Venice for her hols en famille. Keep your fingers crossed she can lose them all for 5 mins to replicate Katharine Hepburn for a moment!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Midsummer Night alas has passed, but don't let that stop you thinking like Titania. This totally Titania number is at Miss Selfridge.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Nouvelle Queen

Yesterday, I happened to have my toe nails painted in Chanel's Nouvelle Vague and was struck by the Queen at Wimbledon being very on the button. She was nearly sporting Nouvelle Vague all over. Her outfit was wonderful. It was a real coordinated coat, dress and hat ensemble, topped by matching bag and shoes.

I'm no fan of matching anything but this was magnificent. I'm actually no fan of royalty either but the Queen's appearance signified a moment of dignity in the midst of the Lib/Con austerity fest which is beginning to grate. It seems their view of austerity is to deprive women of any benefits and curb their lifestyle. So much for the Liberals. The Tory view of women in the home baking jam in jolly spirits and sacrificing nice clothes for the good of the children is at the fore. For some reason the Queen seemed to be showing off and giving us hope. Perhaps she was saying wear your clothes loud and proud. Have nice skin, slap the makeup on and ignore that Osbourne, waste the housekeeping on gin and lipstick. I do hope so - she can become a beacon for womankind against losing the child benefit to spend on The Outnet or god forbid essentials.

All images of her Majesty off the big screen at Wimbledon.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Project 100 - top tops

Well wasn't that Mr Osbourne a bundle of fun with his 20%VAT rise for January 2011 in the UK. Forward planning is the order of the day because if that doesn't kill a fair few shopping habits I don't know what else will. It means every purchase will have to be key.

Project 100 helps to give you a basis to make those decisions and today is all about tops.Often the icing on the cake - a top needs to balance or accentuate a look, depending on the image to be created. A top will make or break a look. I've selected tops on the basis of capsule, adding drama and detail.

All examples are, just that, examples. I often select designer to show cut and design (and they are better images). These influence the high street and you can always source a similar item within your budget. You'll always find the equivalent in my Saturday' High St Pick of the Week post.

1. The White Shirt - you knew I was going to say this! I know I couldn't survive without one but for some of you, you will have a basic that is your white shirt. When I say white shirt I do imagine some detail whether it is the quality of the cotton, the collar or cuff or that it is all lace. I found the perfect white shirt dress in TK Maxx last week for £39.99 - a DKNY jeans number I intend to wear it to a book launch.

2. The t-shirt - there has to be one. Mine is a grey Top Gun t-shirt. I love it. It says Maverick on the back. For one of my friends it is her Clash t-shirt and another has the most beaten up t-shirt from Greece that looks wonderful because she wears it with attitude. Don't go all Balmain on me with a designer number get something that means something to you.

3. The going out top for jeans
- you know the score something sparkly, you need sparkle in the night lights.

4. The easy breezy day top for jeans - I miss watching Americas Next Top Model. I used to be a firm follower but as with anything formulaic you drop it at some point. My favourite task was the Cover Girl commercial when they had to say 'easy breezy' oh the tears! This top is a great example of an easy top to throw on for no effort styling.

5. The Jumper & 6. The Cardigan - do I really have to give an explanation? Useful, necessary and not exciting. These two items will hardly light up your fashion credentials but where would you be without them. I always think Coco Chanel, the Duchess of Windsor and Nancy Mitford when I wear such items or even Kate Moss. Attitude and spirit to dress up the basics.

7. The Blouse - a wondrous item that can change an outfit in an instance. I love to use a blouse to make me look either Park Lane Princess or a de-constructed rock chic - bed head hair, skinnies and boots with black nails, heavy eye make up and... a blouse. I like to think of blouses as subversive.

8. The Fab Top - the top you love that is nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with your personality. It is a top you buy and just love. It makes you feel good. If you haven't got one find something that fits the bill.

9. The Waistcoat/Gilet - Sometimes an outfit won't work without a bit extra. It either requires a bit of drapery or some structure. I like both but sometimes the structured waistcoat can harden a look and whilst that works for editorial in real life yo might want to convey a softer image. You can't beat All Saints for a bit of drapery that is more from the Maison Martin Margiela than middle of the road.

10. Striped Sailor Top - Come on did you think there wouldn't be a mention of a stripy top. Think Seberg, Bardot, Gaultier - go and watch Breathless and then nip out and get one.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

New season clap hands!

I know it is meant to all be about the sales right now and bargains - but being a flibberty gibbet means nothing excites me more than new season stock... Don't panic I'm offering up one item to dress up your current wardrobe. One won't break the bank the other will enter slightly into strain range.

Deepa Gurnani gun Triple Loop Headband £29.00


Deepa Gurnani Chain Embellished Headband £60.


Monday, 21 June 2010


I'm having a nostalgic moment due to looking forward to career developments. Petit garcon goes to school in September and I must ramp up my work. I've got a few ideas in the pipeline but of course I love being a stylist. I remember when I started out as a junior fashion assistant and then after many years due to circumstances I had to go and work in PR & Marketing to make some proper money. I loved my time in this sector but I did learn I'm not much of an office person so when I got the chance to jump back to being a stylist I did and 7 years later I'm still going.

I found some old (old!) photos, this is a taster. Here I am testing out an idea with the fashion director and photographer. The model is probably getting ready whilst I play stand in. This must be about 1987!

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Bunches of Sweet Williams dress my bicycle's basket up perfectly.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

The sun has got his hat on. Well he's certainly happy with the straw boater micro trend. Get one and picnic in the park with strawberries and ice cream. While you're at it raise a glass of Pimms to Mr Sun.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Get Moth Guarding

Seriously, you need to be vigilant! Moths are having a feast at the moment, it is a good year for them. Whilst I'm actually am quite partial to moths, I'm more fond of my clothes.
Lakeland and John Lewis offer reasonable and effective protectors, mainly natural and nice smelling.


Can you believe it, I've been nominated for an award! I'm up for best fashion blog written by a mummy. A mummy! I keep forgetting I'm one when I'm blogging. I think I'm young, free and only cough, ahem...only 21. I think I'm just a stylist when I write this blog, although I do like to include amusing matters at home occasionally as I like to balance the style element with personal stuff mummy I am. is a social networking site for new mums to focus on issues including fashion and beauty. I haven't been very gurgle of late more lion roar but gurgle is a lovely baby noise that makes you want to squeeze their fat little cheeks.

If I were going to be a real yummy mummy at the moment then a maxi dress would be my choice even for nappy changing. Get one with a good pattern to disguise you know stuff like bits of sick.

These ones from ASOS are really pretty. ASOS is so easy to order from and return to, that it makes sense to do this rather than parade with baby around shops, when you could be having fun or a playdate.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

If it is in the Sale make it fabulous

Sometimes I love sales for bargains but often they hold no interest for me because I wonder am I being canny or just stuffing my wardrobe with more stuff.

I think sales really come into their own if you get an item you really wanted but at the sale price because you waited and stuck immediately. Forward planning is good but risky if you're not quick enough.

Also you could find something unexpected whilst browsing in a store. Bargain!

Or you decide to go for something fabulous, extravagant and indulgent. My money would be on this jacket from my-wardrobe

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Thrift, Trope and Trolls

Being thrifty at first was a bit of a chore. Emotionally it was an admittance of money being tight, physically it was quite time consuming and meant dropping tv programmes or getting up earlier. Of course the budgeting and not buying things wasn't much fun either but gradually a shift took place. The bread making became therapeutic and the nipping out into the garden for produce brings me a sense of joy and has given me some time back.

Freshly baked Spelt bread

The vegetable/fruit patch of the garden

Has it saved any money? I think so. Well apart from basil I have all the herbs I need. My basil growing keeps gong pear shaped. Plenty of rocket means points make prizes and if those strawberries come to fruition then petit garcon will be very happy.
Emotionally being thrifty has changed my view of materialism and also made me more compassionate. When you reconnect with nature (and the Romans - I make spelt bread) you value soil, rain, sunshine and creatures. I love the bees and the worms and I wish the ladybirds would hurry up and come to eat the pesky grubs.

gratuitous shot of petit garon (still in his pjs)

Which leads me on to trope. Trope and hegemony were two favourite words I learnt during my masters degree. Hegemony is quite complex in that it is attributed to power whether political, historical or cultural. I was discussing it in the cultural sense of a dominant presence or ideology.
Hence, and I quote from my dissertation (make a cup of tea/coffee now or find a pillow this is a long unforgiving post).

This hegemony of the red dress as a motif in Hollywood is an external item attempting to interrogate an internal dialogue or representation of women. It becomes a useful indicator of their ‘authentic’ self or their social standing. It is the fashion theory books which provide further insight into the symbolic nature of the red dress on screen."

Of course without hegemony there isn't really a trope. Because in the context of my dissertation the trope was the red dress.

"It is the visual spectacle of the red dress upon the screen, a dress which is a complete garment with a bodice and skirt, fitted upon the body, which alerts the audience to a shift in plot. Stephen Gundle and Clino T. Castelli in their examination of the colour red attest that ‘the association of red with vanity and excess means that it can depending on period and context, take on positive and negative meanings at different times.’ (Gundle, and Castelli, 2006:122) So, no surprises that, when you create costumes in red they have particular potency and that the red dress has associated meaning making it a visual trope for the female character."

a bit of visual splendour and relief!

What an earth does thrift, nature and the red dress have to do with blogging? What is the point of this post!

Trolls and confusion is the answer. A certain blogger namely Sister Wolf suffered a dreadful loss, the death of her son Max. Sister Wolf is infamous for her wonderful writing. She challenges the hegemony of collective acceptance and particularly social matters.

In the UK today we celebrated a report, the longest report ever, into Bloody Sunday that took place in Derry in 1972. 13 males were killed mainly teenagers and Eamonn McCann an Irish journalist campaigned long and hard to get to the truth and to get justice. All those killed were declared innocent. Would this have happened without constant challenges against the political system and the hegemony of power, probably not.

I've said it before and I'll say it again blogging started as being outside the mainstream. Some blogs have become part of the system. This is clear with many fashion blogs. Blogs which are defined by the press as the best or in their top 100. The invites to shows, magazine features and of course advertising. There is nothing wrong with this at all. But a hierarchy has been created. So the cycle of discourse shifts and those in the mainstream become representative of a hegemony and therefore develop as representing specific things. They can then be examined in respect of antithesis, irony, metaphor or hyperbole to name some literary uses of trope. however with language meaning develops and trope tends to mean a common or over used device. Which is why I examined the red dress moment in Hollywood films.

Back to Sister Wolf, she employs many techniques to examine and challenge - and certain individuals become symbolic and are used as tropes to discuss wider issues. It seems that this is a difficult concept for many to comprehend. When it comes to styling I look for visual expression to create a story or props/locations that will place clothes within a context. However this is limited by the client or defined by the 'house style'. Strictures are in place even in fashion but fashion is 100 times more creative than many jobs as is journalism. There is a culture which creates and encourages thought. Thought, that must keep challenging and shifting views.

I accept for many in their work, Mr MDS is no exception, the rigours of 'professionalism' create more conformity. Some families have more structures and differing ideas of behaviour than others. We all carry views created and defined by others.

In my garden and making my bread I find time to reflect, to remember the fun I've had and to be thankful for living and being alive. When I was doing my 'A' levels my late aunt bagged me work experience with Isabella Blow. My aunt was very glamorous and worked in the Foreign Office and had all sorts of arty friends. Isabella was working at The Sunday Times. It probably wasn't the best work experience in respect of structure. My aunt must have known what to expect because she gave me a wad of money for the week. Isabella had a way of saying 'Would you darling, be a love' which was either followed by a hand wave in a direction so I had to make a guess at to exactly what; or coffee/cigarettes/food was mentioned. Off I duly trotted. She never once offered me money. But she did ply me with advice even though I never asked for any and attempted to ply me with gin, which I did eventually grow fond of.

One of my favourite comments was after a bit of a row she had in my earshot. I must have looked like a scared rabbit because she said "If you don't have enemies you can never have friends." She was chaotic and she was quite bonkers but she was one of the many people who have enriched my life by providing a different perspective.

Sister Wolf takes risks in that she challenges, creates debate but it seems some people confuse this with being obsessive or have no understanding of discourse - using people or things as examples to discuss wider issues. I had to defend her this week because she wrote a typical post in the midst of her grief and some people attacked her. They did not unpick the commentary.

Eamonn McCann is a campaigning journalist, he work with facts - he wanted an outcome, justice for the 13 dead. Due to his focus and against the odds 38 years later he got it

Sister Wolf is a commentator/a columnist, she is provoking and opinionated. Like Julie Birchhill or Marmite you either love it or hate it. Normally disagreement or attacking remarks bounce off her or she gives a response, but currently she is a mother who has lost a son. This is why I defended her against trolls. in the same way I choose thrift over debt I choose to be a friend and if that makes for enemies then mines a G&T hey ho.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Weekend Photo Shoot

Up and coming stylist Claire Wacey of WaceyStyle and myself worked on a project on Saturday for a soon to be launched publication. We worked well together and Claire is the younger more energetic one, moi I'm the jaded old trout! However our model Brooke was lovely. She is just starting on her modelling career but completing her schooling first. She was scouted by Storm but it would have meant working for them full time and so she choose education first! Claire recently did some test shoots of her for her agency so rightfully recommended her.

I think she has a promising career and could go far. I hope she does and I made her promise she'd make Claire and I her favoured stylists. I rarely favour a model but Brooke is fresh and learning so guiding her brings out the best out in me. I hope to use her a lot. Here is a flavour of the shoot.

Brooke has lovely long long legs...
The lovley long gown is a Jasper Garvida loaned by Push PR.

Claire has a great pink wig one of the many favoured props that are an obsession of ours! Don't ask about my prop frenzy for 5 mins that killed a few frames. Sometimes experimentation goes wrong - opps.

Monday, 14 June 2010

MDS goes shopping and cleans up her act

I know shopping! It was quite shocking, I'd forgotten what it was like. Normally I'm with a client or getting items for a rail or compiling a list for someone. Not only have I been good but I've had no time either. However the petit garcon was in need of shorts and he made pleasant company while I took items from my rail back.

I've taken inspiration from That's Not My Age and embraced granny chic in the form of wedge sandals from M&S. Having recently product tested nearly every single shoe in their new range I realised that stomping around London in a 'comfy' pair of wedges that give height but cushion your feet seem like a good idea.

The M&S Footglove range (serious granny credentials) and Autograph have some very Chloe-esque wedges. At £45 it makes economic sense to grab some granny action and not blow the budget. In addition I discovered M&S's own range coconut body butter that is cheaper than the Bodyshop and also there was a 3 for 2 offer on. Then ....finally I broke the knicker drought.

I've made no effort in respect of time or parting with folding to get some much needed new knickers. I cannot begin to admit the disgrace that has been my knicker drawer for the last few years. Once again good old M&S (it feels nice to have the love back for M&S) have lovely well priced cotton pants galore to choose from and so I did. Proper grown up now. Don't read on if you have no patience for someone who shares too much information...

The M&S booty, l to right granny wedges, coconut body butter and new packs of pants.

Close up of the soon to be street pounding wedges. I will wear with my flared jeans or khaki rolled up skinny chinos.

Okay, don't panic they are clean but are evidence of how falling apart I was in the knicker department. I feel like a new women now I've admitted to my underwear failing. I did actually lecturer a lovely model on Saturday on the need of having a flesh thong, brief and boyfit short with her for shoots; while crossing my fingers behind my back in the knowledge that knickers really weren't my forte.

Out! Worn out and being dumped. I will use them as dusters first before I bin them. Thrift before wastage.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

All work and too much wine...

Despite being shattered after Belfast trip, I had to go and work on Saturday to do a front cover for a publication. I got home about 3pm and was greeted by the petit garcon sporting my jewellery. He hadn't been in my costume jewellery box but my fine jewellery one.

He's got good taste and had selected a Wendy Brandes Little Woolf necklace. I bought this to wear whilst I did my dissertation for my masters. I loved that is inspired by Virginia Woolf and it was a very good talisman as it turns out as in a months time I graduate with a distinction.

I suspect that prior to yesterday no one, not even Patricia Field had thought of a teaming a Spiderman t-shirt with a nice necklace.

After this little gem it went downhill. Rather I went downhill. Mr MDS had invited a posse around to watch the football and had done a sterling job of a barbecue feast. I had to cook some extra items and set about laying tables, presenting things in nice dishes and generally embarked upon hostessing.
This meant I spent the whole time amusing kids, clearing and cleaning dishes. Replenishing beer and before I knew it I'd scoffed more wine than I'd normally do. Be aware this is not a problem until one thinks that turning on your laptop at 11pm is a good idea and oh, going on twitter is an even better idea. I somehow thought I could resolve troops in Afganistan and the BP crisis in one go with my well researched opinions. Research conducted via the Metro and radio news does not make for well informed person. And drink is certainly is no friend to intellect! I've banned myself from wine and twitter.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The green poncho goes on its travels

Up I got bright and early Thursday morning to go to Belfast. It was a bit nippy and I selected the green poncho as my accessory to keep the chill off. After all I was flying Aer Lingus and going to Belfast.

Sat in the Aer Lingus lounge

Day 4 of capsule wardrobe outfit is ASOS jumpsuit, Zara flats, Jigsaw belt, Hussain Chalayan tank worn under jumpsuit, Topshop necklace and Chanel sunglasses.

Queen Marie told me that I'd love Belfast and it was just like Glasgow. I've not been to Glasgow properly but I feel I know it inside out due to my father's artwork from his time at the Glasgow School of Art.
Belfast building very reminiscent of architecture in Glasgow

Belfast is a lovely city and so friendly. I got the airport bus in and on the way out. The driver said when myself and Tara the makeup artist got on the bus on Friday morning, 'I's took yous into town.' (That is my best attempt at writing a Belfast accent). I'd asked him on Thursday morning to give us a shout when we got to City Hall and he did. We have never been made so welcome by so many people. We couldn't go anywhere without dispensing makeup and styling advice. We loved that people asked us what we did and then when they found out they were straight in there for advice. Tara is a font of all knowledge and so I'm going to pencil her in for a post on her top makeup tips and products.

The event went really well and all the women who came from all ages were lovely. Having abandoned my attempt to get the women of the UK to feel the Fashion Force on jumpsuits, I set about underwear as outerwear. I've completely sold the maxi dress to one and all but I still want more risk taking. However the underwear as outerwear was another Fashion Force special that met with slight horror, sweaty foreheads and made for much sucking in of stomachs.

Day 4 capsule wardrobe evening wear for event. Topshop jumpsuit, Pierre Hardy for Gap shoes, Reiss belt and I threw on a grey kimono Topshop item from my clothes rail when I realised I had tan marks on my back from swimming outdoors.

Feeling the maxi love

The lovely Topshop body suit that was spurned

My best discovery in Belfast apart from how nice it is and the friendly people was PoppoGoblin on Alfred St. We were staying at the Premier Inn (oh the glamour of it all) despite working at the Radisson and right next door was one of the best café's in the world. Gorgeous juices, smoothies and coffee plus wonderful fresh sandwiches and soups. On Thursday lunchtime I had a cream cheese and salmon bagel with an Iron Boost juice, consisting of beetroot, ginger,apple, carrot and spinach.

On Friday morning I passed on the Premier Inn breakfast and nipped into PoppoGoblin. What a feast greeted my eyes! The lovely owner (whose name I forgot to ask) only bakes fresh scones in the morning. I choose the blueberry and white chocolate one over the raspberry and honey offering. I selected "The Cure" as my morning smoothie, loadsa berries, banana, yogurt and fresh orange juice. I'm not saying I was hungover but I had quaffed a few glasses of vino.

Then I was kindly given the nicest Americano coffee by said owner who loves his café and also plays great music there as he also dj's. Yummy Belfast!

Poppogoblin on Alfred St, the chairs match my green poncho

Good grief Gok is selling crisps now!

My smoothie being prepared

Oh my, look what I spied

The perfect breakfast

The blueberry & white chocolate scone in all its glory