Thursday, 22 December 2011

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and most importantly a Prosperous New Year to you all!!

image: the Petit Garçon 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

Looking back

It is that time of year when people and media start the incessant look back at the year. I have no interest in looking back. I've never harboured any desire on that front. I'm a real going forward person and my moments in a year are the new seasons collections. I like the shows but it is when the drops of collections in the stores happen that gets me excited. Although these days with so many drops it is hard to get that start of a season fix as it used to be.

Never mind the changes and in some respects the lack of set times and drops has freed us all to indulge our dressing preferences and really set our own personal style. And thanks to the power of twitter I can favourite items to my hearts content. It really is a wonderful reference tool. My favourite items are an eclectic mix but if something takes my fancy I just 'favourite' it and can read in depth later. It is a great way to reference images for inspiration.

It was quite good whenThe Telegraph did a neat round up of best street style looks of 2011, although street style should be taken lightly as it was around the streets of the fashion week shows so not necessarily a high street look near you! I like these sort of looking back items.

My favourite 3 looks are below and my number one look has to be the pink suit one - love it. Do you have a favourite look?

All images The

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Normally I do the random generator thing to pluck a winner of any giveaway. This time the Make Do box of goodies was a giveaway based on your tips for saving money or rather making do. I read this comment by Camilla which struck a perfect blend of living within your means and making do and felt she deserved to win! I loved all your comments and am so glad we have a growing colony of peeps prepared to make do!

I've reproduced in full as I suspect your number one read in life is not the comment boxes of blogs!

"Wow! amazing box of very gorgeous goodies!! A lot of incredible tips have already been written out here - I will be using them in time! For me, I have had something of a revelation in the last 4 months. At the end of August I had a baby, Luca. Like many others, I used to travel to work, not thinking about my street or area, and basically buy whatever I wanted, when I wanted without much thought or concern. I would always make promises to budget, but something would catch my eye and, well, you can guess the rest! I used to think I deserved x, y, z. Now I am on a budget as I try to eek out my maternity leave and spend more time with the Lovely Luca Valentine. Here are my top tips:
* Think first. I use the traffic light system in my head. STOP. Do I really need it? want it? every penny helps...
*be aware. I used to spend rather willy nilly - I really really must have those leather shorts from Zara and I don't care whether they are £20 or £50 or £75. they will be mine. Now I look at what I'm spending and really think about. I try to envisage the amount.
*use the community around you. I used to have a good old community spirit in the office, but did not know anyone round here. Now I know the whole street and also lots of local people. This has been amazing and money saving; for example Gary the Gardener cleared my guttering for me with his long ladder (it's not a euphemism) while I gave him a lesson in excel - he has never been shown. We both probably saved about £65 on that one. We share magazines and newspapers up and down the street now and even bought 4 Christmas trees together to make savings. I have made friends with all the local shops who give me discounts for fruit, veg, coffee, all sorts of things that I would never have even thought about before!
*following on from the last point - things that are free are fun!!! We go to our local library for a wriggle and rhythm session once a week (previously I had considered very expensive music classes for Luca), I spend my days at the Southbank, the Science museumn, the V&A, the natural history museum - these things are all free and amazing!!!!
*think creatively with what you wear. I don't have much time, money or inclination for clothes shopping right now. Also breastfeeding is somewhat restrictive on the old wardrobe. I have actually ENJOYED re-thinking my current wardrobe this autumn rather than buying lots new. I go to charity shops and pick up weird and wonderful items to add to my existing wardrobe. items i have purchased so far have been a bow tie, a pearl necklace, a frank usher sequin top!, an old cure t-shirt, scarves etc - all to add to my current clothes.
*enjoy the here and now. It's so easy to always be wishing; wishing you had this or that, a bigger house, a second home, a fancy car and then when you get that you're still not happy and still wishing for things. Instead I feel free from all this cash transaction mentality and instead revel in the moment and the best and free things in life such as family, friends, laughing and interesting ideas and people! sounds a bit hippy? well I feel a bit evangelical about it"

Thank you Camilla and I've emailed you for your address.

Friday, 16 December 2011

High St Pick of the Week

I beyond Christmas and New Year now. All I'm thinking of its the spring summer wardrobe. The colours to think are pale blue, red, pale pink, black, white and mellow yellow with maybe a glance at bottle green. And this handy little knit jacket is a inspired find by yours truly. Perfect for creating nonchalance and sophistication in one go. Wear with jeans, top and a statement necklace and you are good to go. For a real ladylike look team with pleated skirt - very old school.

At £29.99 it will be worth its weight in cost per wear stakes, in fact online it is currently £14.99 which made me weep but they've nearly all gone. Look for one in your local store you'll not be disappointed.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fashion & Celebrity Culture book launch

Mrs MDS loves a book launch especially in the hey days of facebook and twitter and pop up shops, a book launch seems dignified and solid. It was especially wonderful to be back in my old college. Nothing much has changed and I was relieved to find I can still get in with charm and no id card! But don't tell anyone.

En route to launch I had a sneaky peek at the Carmen - A Life in Fashion exhibition all the better for no one else being around. It really is well worth a visit and is on until the 14th of January.

I also couldn't resist sitting alone in room, in the is case the visual merchandising teaching area. I just love the classroom and being there. It is somehow detached from the humdrum of work and feels more expansive and creative.

 What's not to love

In which I place myself back in student mode with a better coat - my See by Chloe pea jacket which seems very Sarah Lund these days
 The book of the book launch! Fashion and Celebrity Culture. A wonderful academic but interesting blast through the gamut of celebrity culture. Most importantly a book that toasts cultural studies and is an example of teaching informing research. A must have if you are studying anything to do with Fashion or you have a keen interest in culture and celebrity culture at that. The Daily Mail would do well to serialise it! The enigmatic author is Pamela Church Gibson, who was my course director for my MA in Fashion & Film 

First year MA Fashion and Film student Wei Chan from Shanghai. Wei was impeccably dressed which does not translate as my iPhone pic is so poor but I must interview her for this blog. I was taken a back that she knew me before we met due to a video I made about the course, that in Shanghai she'd watch it and been interested enough to come and study here! I also need to know where she got her shoes from.

The formidable but brilliant Agnes Rocamora who has widely researched fashion blogs so we had a big catch up on how things had changed since the days when they were a mere blip on the blogosphere. I was never late for her lecturers!

Anna the book editor from Berg the publishers

My old chum photographer Lukas Kroulik 

Pamela Church Gibson & Lukas
Yours truly & Pamela - both of us are adopting the non celebrity pose. I'm gushing and Pamela is above these things! The dignified lecturer and the hapless student.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Fashion and Politics

Although fashion and films are my first loves, politics, books and sport are my second tier of interests. Growing up in a liberal socialist household I could hardly have escaped politics, why even the paper boy once wrote 'commie' in the ice on my dad's car upon his weekly delivery of the News Statesman. He seemed to have overlooked the fact that The Times was the daily. He thought he was being a wit, I didn't speak to him for years. Which was actually a good thing because he was a lothario of the area so my steadfast ignorance of him saved me his so called charms.

In fact fashion and politics have never been easy bed fellows. On the one hand fashion adopts the politics of the street at times to make a social point ( Katharine Hammett) on the other fashion likes to be included in the main stream and upper echelons to be seen as aspirational. Youths or tribes have long adopted fashion to make a statement, mods, rockers, skinheads and punks are easy cultural instances of male fashions setting. But all this pomp and preening is still mainly fashion, the way fashion attempts to change, confront and move things on. After all fashion isn't about committees and treaties is it?

Or maybe it is but not in an obvious bureaucratic way. Fashion does have councils and bodies and these are not completely outside of the wider political machines of governments. I'm not going to go into detail but look how Mary Portas is currently working with the government regarding high streets and the most famous fashion organisation has to be the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

But all administration aside last week David Cameron took a decision which has massive ramifications for the UK. I'm not going to discuss it in detail but it will have a big impact on fashion in the UK - mark my words. Put it another way Paris and Milan. The French are spitting over what he did and the Italians well they won't be happy. If we look at it objectively rapport and cordial relations are key to good trading conditions. Believe me I'm a freelance and only once have I ever fallen out with a company and that wasn't even of my making but they were so rude to me I decided to answer back! I know everyone has their reasons for how they react in situations and what will be will be, but what it means for fashion is probably the death knell for London Fashion Week (again). It has been riding high but Milan is not going to change its schedule now after this and the French will be pulling back the French backed labels pronto to Paris and the rest.

So cheers Mr Cameron, even the City are pretty worried but us fashionistas think you can shove your Smythson's diary up your....

Monday, 12 December 2011


The Make Do Style giveaway is not of course the stuff of conspicuous consumption but rather the cobblering together of freebies saved from magazines and sent or given to me, or my no longer required 'stylist's own' items that I used in shoots. Sometimes I try to make myself miss photography or commercial shoots but I don't. I,d happily do one but I will never look to do them any more. Next year I will mainly be teaching styling but more of that another time.

Back to the booty - all this week I am looking for your top tips on saving money in these hard times. How do you motivate yourselves? What does it for you? At the end of the week I will draw a winner and get the box in the post pronto...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas presents repeat

It is no secret that every year I try very hard not to spend some money with Shot Dead in the Head but invariably fail. They are my go to place for the men in my life's Chrimbo presents. This year the respective brother-in-laws are the unwitting recipients of a t-shirt and a mug. The mug for brother-in-law 2 is very naughty but right up his street. Luckily he'll be able to keep it at his mates flat where he abodes a few nights a week due to work, I'm not sure it will be welcome at home! (this is the link but I have warned you!)

Brother-in-law one is the only person I have ever met who arrived at a cottage prior to a wedding wearing a laptop on either side. He has never lived this down despite it being many years ago so plenty of geek fodder to find. I was torn between two t-shirt this one and this one but felt the latter was a bit cruel but not as cruel/funny as this one - I was crying it is so wrong but ....

And this year I succumbed to a present to myself. I love The Killing and seeing as I can't afford a Gudrun & Gudrun sweater I have consoled myself with this t-shirt!

Don't forget my Christmas bumper Make Do Style box of goodies, posted on Friday just leave your top tips for saving money to be in with a chance to win!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Like a bat out of hell the make do box of goodies

Where did that wind come from?! Yesterday morning at 9:07am I boarded a train on the Durham/ North Yorkshire border and boy was it blowing a gale. The train felt like it was being blown south to London by the wind. I got back to London and thought phew a bit calmer but by the evening the wind, albeit a bit gentler than up north, was blowing a gale around me again. All I can say I was glad of my Moncler duvet coat. I was as warm as toast and felt protected from the elements.

Now I'm safely back home it is on to matters of a giveaway. Not any old giveaway but a Make Do Style giveaway - a box of treats filled with collected samples, gift bag nail varnishes and old costume jewellery used on shoots - you know the bit where it says 'stylist's own'. The Mango plastic link necklace in the box appeared in an Iceland ad!!

Anyway the competition rules are easy all I want from you is to give me your top tips for saving money or tightening your belt or how you live within your means. Simples! Get on your soap box and hold forth....

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Off up North, cuffed and all

I'm very excited as today I board a train at Kings Cross and travel up north. I feel as if I've been stuck down south for an age and relish my small little excursion. I will get loads done on the train, train journeys are totally 'spiffing' for reading or writing. I get lost in the journey and feel free from the everyday.

And tonight I'll be supping mulled wine and maybe partaking of minced pies - but I have yet to develop a real liking for them, although I happily make them at Christmas and feel they are part of the festive season.One is always enough for me.

Travelling to North Yorkshire puts me in mind of Gothic tales and Wuthering Heights. I'm very much in love with this limited edition cuff from Stella and Dot and quickly snapped one up before they sold out as I had some points and discounts to use. I meant to get a replacement cover for my iPhone which they also have but seriously when I could have drama instead......

However there is a gold version of the Chantilly Lace cuff which is equally dramatic and will work for evening and in the summer months.