One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Fancy Mess

Just returned from the Secret Garden Party:

Fancy Dress + intoxicated masses = Fancy Mess.

Unfortunately I did not take enough photos....however this photo (above) was probably one of the best things I saw!! Classic. And there I thought Bieber Fever was officially cured!!

The most ubiquitous trend I noticed. however, was that literally every other guy I saw was wearing leggings - or 'meggings', conjuring up images of Justin Hawkins in his 'Darkness' days. Plain black, gold foil, aztec name it, they were everywhere! This trend has been slowly creeping into the mainstream since about this time last year. Whether this will translate on to the street is hard to tell. It is all very well to unleash your inner Russell Brand at a festival, but it could be tricky to justify wearing them when you are down the pub watching the footie with the lads. My guess though is that rock n roll is here to stay.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

By George!

My favourite thing about Burberry is not the classic trench, nor is it any of Christopher Bailey's creations. Instead, it is the Burberry male models who always capture my attention. The latest campaign for Spring/Summer 2010 featured George Craig, the 20 year old lead singer of indie band One Night Only. The reason I adore his look is that it is as British as Burberry itself. Picture a cookie cutter Abercrombie model (Ken doll) and then picture his polar opposite: tall, deathly pale with chiselled cheekbones and a smouldering, icy glare. Bailey uses Mario Testino to shoot most of his campaigns and to me, Testino's photographs are always evocative and capture the mood of an entire setting to perfection. Just beautiful. That is all.

Treat Yourself

The best thing about the fashion world's consciousness already being steeped in Autumn/Winter 2010 is that it is still high summer and there are some real treasures to be found in the summer sales. Reading any fashion magazine at the moment, it would be easy to forget this fact, thanks to the current focus on pre collections and transitional pieces 'to see you through until winter'.

On my radar at the moment is this adorable striped playsuit from New York label Alice + Olivia. It would work equally well in the city as it would on holiday or at a festival; depending on how you wear it. As it is 100% silk, you know it will fall beautifully and the belt will ensure that you don't completely lose your waist (a common playsuit pitfall), ensuring that it will look super feminine. Make this investment now and watch your style stock soar!

What Katie Did

The jewellery designer Katie Hillier, who is best known for her role as accessories designer for Luella and Marc Jacobs, has just launched her own line featuring this gold paper-clip rabbit pendant with a twinkling, winking diamond eye. The line, which consists of 9 pendants in total, also includes an owl, a mouse, a squirrel, a snail, and 3 more bunnies like this in different golds (black, white and rose). This is one stylish rabbit hole that I would definitely like to fall down.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Cane it like Chuck Bass in Paris

Recently I came across pictures on the internet of Ed Westwick filming the new season of Gossip Girl in Paris carrying what may or may not become the new 'manbag': the cane. I have of course realised that it may not be an accessory at all, more of a prop (as remember he went down in the series finale of Season 3 in that extremely fake shooting scene), but I like to think that Chuck is taking his modern day Beau Brummel look to the next level. A cane is the perfect accessory for Chuck's character as he is debonair, prone to evil and also sort of kinky. Personally, I am loving the cane: there is something intrinsically masculine and old-school about it. The trick for modern dandies is not looking too pretentious or like a school history teacher. I truly believe that the cane would in fact make the ideal accessory for the Dior Homme coat/capes so Chuck Bass, please take note because I am deeply upset by this black trousers/white shirt/waistcoat ensemble in the bottom picture. It looks like when Dan Humphrey had to be a 'cater waiter' at Eleanor Waldorf's Seder. Quelle horreur!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Irish Blood, English Heart

Next weekend I shall be attending the Secret Garden Party festival deep in the heart of the English countryside and the theme is fantasy/fiction. The British (and Americans) love fancy dress and will don a costume at the drop of a hat. However it is actually super difficult to come up with something interesting and original which also looks good, without spending a fortune. If you go on the internet (ebay/other fancy dress websites) the adult costumes for women tend to be tacky, tacky, tacky with an extra large dollop of slutty and mixed with a severe lack of imagination. So despite the wide scope granted by the theme 'fantasy/fiction', I was having serious trouble.

However the other day, inspiration hit me like a bolt of lightening, courtesy of the online Net-A-Porter magazine. The theme was 'Gypset': one part gypsy, one part jet-set. I have always had a fascination with gypsies: the way they travel from place to place, making their own medicines, running around barefoot.... I think it appeals to my romantic bohemian tendencies and my free spirit in that I have little ability to stay in one place for a long time without getting seriously itchy feet.

Gypsies have long featured in musical and literary motifs: witness the rise in popularity of Gypsy bands such as 'Gogol Bordello' and look to the references in the stories of D.H. Lawrence and Jilly Cooper. The sense of movement and freedom associated with gypsy culture are undoubtedly perfect themes for the escapist nature of music and fiction.

Anyway, I digress. I have now found the ideal costume to wear next weekend and the best part about this is that I already had it. When I was last in Vietnam (jet-set) I found a dress which is going to be perfect: it is long and made from scraps of coloured and printed chiffon (so very gypsy). All I needed then was a ton of jangly jewellery and some gold hoop earrings: 5 minutes in Accessorize - done. Easy. This look could work either with heels (more jet set) or flats (more gypsy); but as it is a festival I will choose the latter.

Perfect for the Irish one.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Let's Get Physical

Has anyone else ever noticed how on Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf is never seen without the most divine underwear, even if she's just getting ready for school or hanging around her apartment? There are actually three schools of thought on girls who pay attention to detail like this:

1. They are obviously always prepared for action and therefore potentially slightly slutty.
2. They want to feel fabulous about themselves even if no one else will see or appreciate their efforts in this department.
3. This last one is slightly morbid but I have heard it said that if you have some kind of fatal accident and someone has to identify your body then you want to be discovered/remembered in an entirely positive way.

On second thoughts maybe number three was actually about bikini waxes but I can't remember where I heard it from! Anyway, you don't even need a reason to wear beautiful lingerie, so I am about to let you girls into one of London's best kept secrets: Apartment C on Marylebone High Street.

The essence of Apartment C is less 'boudoir'; more like stepping into your uber-chic best friend's bedroom, complete with art-deco inspired black walls, a Louis Quinze wardrobe, and a vintage chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The very best part however and what makes it so unique is that the store is split in two. At the front, you have a range of beautiful fine lace and silk underwear, bodices and stockings, with designers including Stella McCartney, Lake and Stars and my all time favourite: Princesse Tam Tam. As well as this you can also purchase French perfumes and other gifts such as scented candles and writing sets. After indulging yourself, walk to the back of the store to complete the experience where you can curl up with a trashy novel and drink a gin and tonic (what else?!) out of a teacup.

You'll want to move in and never ever leave.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Mars and Venus on Fashion

As outlined in the previous post, men and women clearly have completely opposing views when it comes to fashion. On the other side of the coin this time: men on women's fashion.

A few months ago, on my way into law school I was photographed in Apostrophe (the coffee shop) wearing a pair of orange silk harem trousers, a military type jacket and a beaded necklace. The photographer wanted my picture for 'the Apostrophist' (a bit like the Sartorialist, she said. Not really at all, I was thinking, but that's not the point here). It wasn't an outfit I loved, or one I have even worn since, but of course girls love being flattered when it comes to their style which is why both my 'Apostrophist' picture and my 'Facehunter' picture form part of my Facebook profile picture repetoire. Other girls also got quite excited by the outfit, proclaiming it 'cool'; boys - not so much. 'So Kate, MC Hammer wants his trousers back', quipped my friend Nick loudly and oh so amusingly in the middle of the library. Undaunted however, I held my head high with pride that day as I strutted around school in this aforementioned outfit.

The cold truth is this: (straight) men do not 'get' women's fashion. Short skirts, tight dresses, high heels: sure. Harem pants (particularly of the brightly coloured silk variety) will never cut the mustard. Nor will ballet pumps (because women fancy Audrey Hepburn, whereas men fancy Marilyn Monroe). Jumpsuits and playsuits continue to baffle. Maxi dresses and leggings are abhorred. However it must be remembered that women do not dress for men. Sometimes we do (on a first date). But most of the time we care more about the opinion of other women - apart from our mothers.

Could modern men cope with capes?

For the Dior Homme Spring Summer 2011 Menswear collection, there was a focus on coats that were cut away from the body to billow out behind the models as they walked like capes. Capes are of course set to be a 'may-jah' trend for Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2010. Personally I have long adored wearing them purely for the dramatic flourish they add to any outfit (and this is despite the fact that capes were the part of my boarding school uniform despised by almost all of the pupils). Indeed, looking at this collection, feminine critics may describe these robes in precisely this sort of romantic manner: dramatic; bold; aloof; broody. However most men I know tend to be wary of anything too experimental when it comes to fashion and I rather think they would still be more inclined to associate capes with comic books and superhero films rather than wearable fashion for the urban man about town.

Who knows though: coats shaped like capes (copes?), coming to a British high street near you next summer? I reckon it'll take a braver man than Superman himself to try out this particular trend.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The contradictions of Karl

In 2009, Karl Lagerfeld said this about the recession:

'Bling is over. Red carpetry covered with rhinestones is out. I call it the new modesty.'

Some might say on first glance then that Chanel couture collection for Autumn/Winter seemingly belied this statement as it could only be summed up in one word: Decadent. Oversize bejewelled cuffs adorned the model's wrists and the collection was heavily embellished with fur and jewels.

Despite this however the collection was far from bling, nor was it modest. It was opulent, certainly, but at the same time supremely elegant. Coats with bracelet sleeves and midi-length hemlines invoked a glamour that was refined; more belle epoque than modern. Black and jewel like tones of gold and ruby exacerbated the sumptuousness and richness of the collection.

All in all it was classic Chanel and classic Karl: oh so modern; but exquisitely timeless.

Image Source:

Monday, 12 July 2010

I wanna be in Wang's gang

I am aware that it doesn't seem right drooling over winter fur boots in the middle of July but LOOK at these boots. I did get rather excited when I saw them this morning on Net a Porter so couldn't wait to post them!!! The boots are by Alexander Wang (the genius) and made of leather and goat hair. I have an addiction to completely impractical footwear and I would wear these with my black leather mini skirt and maybe a pretty romantic vintage shirt. Fiercely cool.

Lovely Legs

I love the tights in the new Miu Miu ad campaign, especially the white and the light pink pairs which look more 60's. What's the betting Blair Waldorf will be wearing tights like these when the next series of Gossip Girl comes out in September?! The advertisement also features the new kitten heel height which is in vogue this winter. All the better for running around town in.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Like a Prayer

(Pictures: 'Karma Sutra' dress; 'Hail Mary' dress; 'Dark Habit' cape and 'Amen' mini; 'Power of Glove' body suit and 'Tiers on my Pillow' skirt)

Antipodium's tagline on their facebook fan page is 'Tongue in chic fashion for the modern girl about town'. I of course am a big fan of 'tongue in chic' (see 'Glamping' post) so this idea appeals to me hugely. Each collection is based around different themes, but the same savage, slightly grungy urban glamour is a constant. Last summer I was very lucky as I received a present of the 'Karma Sutra' dress from the 'Tarot' collection (see above); when I wear it I channel my inner Bianca Jagger (who loved hooded dresses and who made glamour into an art form).

The latest collection is entitled 'Brides of Christ' and features lots of feather-light leathers, and a predominantly black and red colour scheme for a luxe, neo-gothic feel. It also plays wonderfully on the Madonna-whore dichotomy (see for example the 'Power of Glove' bodysuit and 'Hail Mary' dress pictured above). If I was a religious person then I would get down on my knees and offer up my prayers and worship at this most stylish altar.

Superchic: Heimstone

If I had to pick one designer to dress me this summer, it would be Alix Petit, the creative director of French label Heimstone. Heimstone was created in 2007 but suprisingly has remained fairly under the radar. The Spring/Summer 2010 collection is a wonderful mix of pretty dresses in rich earthy tones worn with wooden accessories: perfect for channelling your inner woodland nymph. The clothes are deliberately oversized and worn insouciantly throughout the campaign as though the gamine model (Lolita Jacobs) has smuggled them out of her cool older sister's wardrobe. The overall feel of the collection is extremely free-spirited: these are outfits to have adventures in.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Vintage Eyewear

These vintage black architectural design sunglasses are by Cazal and they are available from RetroSun. Usually I am strictly a Rayban's girl but these are super cool. I would wear them in the city or driving along the Amalfi coast in a convertible Alfa Romeo.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Freckle Monster

As a child I grew up absolutely hating my freckles. I will never forget being absolutely devastated when the boy I fancied when I was 15 nicknamed me 'the freckle monster'. Teenage boys can be so cruel! My hope was that one day they would all merge into one giant freckle and I would look as though I had been blessed with the olive skin I had always wanted so much and that all my school friends seemed to have and take for granted. 'Freckles add character' my mother used to say, invoking a parent's favourite euphemism for anything their children detest! I did not want 'character'; I wanted conventional beauty in the form of an all-over caramel tan. My dilemma was such that I had a fringe cut to cover the dreaded freckles on my forehead and even considered having them removed cosmetically.

Thankfully however, I have learned to love these freckles of mine. I have just come back from a week in the sun, which brought out the freckles on my nose, cheeks and shoulders, and it looks like I have given hundreds of tiny kisses by the sun. The best thing is that unlike a tan, freckles can not be faked. As usual, mother you were right, my freckles are now a part of my character and I can't imagine life without them. Someone said once that 'A girl without freckles is like a night without stars'. I think it is one of my new favourite quotes!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Mini Trend Forecast

Whilst flicking through August Vogue, I noticed in a few of the Autumn/Winter ad campaigns a potential new mini-trend: long chain necklaces with a single oversized, navel-grazing charm, almost like a medallion. The reason this caught my eye was because it marks a change from the recent proliferation of more delicate chains featuring 3 or 4 mini charms.

In the YSL campaign, the pendant features a bold silhouette of a single, glamorous, hat-clad woman on a long thick chain. In the Paul & Joe advertisement, the focal point is a super-size silver owl with jewelled eyes and body.

Such statement pieces are fantastic as they are dramatic, eye-catching, and can be added to any outfit. If wearing a simple black dress, for instance, such an accessory would add a interesting and quirky finish; and if wearing something more casual (such as Paul & Joe's knitted jumpsuit and aviator style jacket), the effect is instant glamour, which at the same time perfectly compliments a relaxed aesthetic. The best thing about trends such as these is not having to spend a fortune; I am excited about the prospect of trawling some vintage shops to find interesting pieces.

My advice is this: bigger is undoubtedly better!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Object of Desire

I absolutely adore this tweed jacket from Moschino with little pearl-clasp purse pockets. I spotted it when browsing the pre-fall collection in the Moschino store on Conduit Street yesterday and fell in love. The antique gold and pearl buttons; gold trim and dusky rose colour go quite perfectly together. I had not originally envisaged it as a skirt suit as I had only seen the jacket in store; but the irony of this idea of a modern day Lady Penelope suits the general playfulness of Moschino's aesthetic perfectly - now all that's missing is the matching pink Rolls Royce and 'Parker' with a glass of Pernod on hand.

Carnival Crazy Colour

This weekend was a carnival crazy one in London. Firstly, on Friday, I attended the World Cup Carnival in Shepherds Bush for the Brazil v Netherlands quarter final. The atmosphere was beyond electric with the entire match punctuated by a soundtrack of samba music and steel drums and all you could see were the the bright crayola green and yellow shades of the nation's football strip. After the match, even though the team lost, the sulking was minimal (English fans could learn a thing or two from this mentality!) and everyone carried on the party dancing samba to a live band, spinning and and jumping and turning and stamping until dizzy and too hot and exhuasted to carry on. Ole, indeed!

Yesterday I headed up to Regent Street for lunch, completely unaware of the fact that it was the Gay Pride March (I have had no idea what has been going on at all lately, as I have not been in the country for the past 10 days). Again the visual theme for the day was colour, but this time, there was a veritable kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes of every colour under the sun. Despite the fact I had had no idea about the parade I had luckily been clutching my sailor's hat when I set out that day, and it inadvertantly turned out to be an ideal accessory and I saw several other sailors and even a pirate. My favourite costumes however were those which involved so many colours, patterns and textures that even Joseph would have regarded his technicolour dreamcoat as a rather too conservative choice.