Saturday, 26 February 2011

Kid in a Sweet Shop

Heston Bluementhal's Fat Duck desert Kid in a Sweet Shop is served in a scrumptious candy stripe paper bag which taps into the nostalgia of penny-sweet treats of our childhoods. And it feels like there are also lots of confectionary references in accessories at the moment too.

I'll be wearing Essie's candy-coloured nail varnishes (below) with this COS grey jersey dress with wadded skirt (£49) and eagerly awaiting the release of Antipast/Cacharel collaborative confection collection of socks to complete the look. Sweet.

Eye Love You

Photographer, Lisa Eisner, captures the passion and romance of a 1960s Mills and Boon cover, in campaign shots of super cool singer Devandra Banhart and his gorgeous girlfriend Rebecca Schwartz for Oliver Peoples Resort 2011 collection. What I love about it? Stylish photos in palm and flesh tones and sunlit split ends.


I love that stylists are using manly neckties on their subjects in fashions shoots at the moment.

Above: I am infatuated with this atmospheric shot of Inception's Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page. In it, the cutesy Page looks much more sartorially credible in ankle grazing peg-legs, demure heels and tux jacket and bow-tie.

Above here, the full-lipped and luscious Sofia Coppola is dressed in a pleated shirt which directs the look away from looking too austere.

Personally, I would shy away from the whole hog approach as styled by COS (above) but this high street shop is always a good bet for manly accessories if you just want to dip your toe in. Every season they seem to stock a detached white cotton collar here, a leather tie, a bib there... and as long as you wear it with something feminine, a kitten heel (as on Page) a bit of feminine texture (Coppola) or maybe a padded shoulder or fitted jacket, you'll stay the safe side of the Modernist muse without being accused of dabbling in all-out transvestism.

Monday, 21 February 2011

History Lesson: Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson was not popular.

Wallis Simpson was not beautiful.

But Wallis Simpson had great poise.

And Wallis Simpson had great style.

She may have looked like Olive Oyl but for me she is a major style icon.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Nostalgia: Elson and Gallo

Something has inspired me to share one of my favourite shoots of all time with you...

Michael Sanders shot cult icons Karen Elson and Vincet Gallo years ago in this Bonnie and Clyde-flavoured piece. I will never forget it. There is so much going unsaid between the subjects. Leafing through the pages of the shoot hungrily it was easy to ignore the fact that there are hardly any clothes in these pictures at all. Magnetic.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Prints Charming

We are on the cusp of 'Wedding Season' again. Multiple formal occasions and the tattle-tale Facebook shame of wearing the same dress to more than one occasion is enough to make anyone anxious.

The bold prints in fashion for this Spring/Summer are perfect for a formal event like a wedding. The first three looks are from the luxury labels.

Above : Cacharel
Above: Louis Vuitton
Above: Notte by Marchesa

But if you are looking for something smart and formal you can just as easily find bold, colourful prints on the High Street...

Above: Above: The Milano Floral dress by Coast £85.
Above: Sartre dress at Hobbs Outlet £44

Above: Warehouse Silky Poppy Floral Shift at ASOS £65

Make the look your own: Try adding a thin, brightly colored belt like this yellow one at Topshop. Or even better, a thick black ribbon tied in a theatrical bow to emphasise your shape like the built in one on the Notte by Marchesa one above. Shop through the treasure trove of ribbons at VV Rouleaux.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Why So IKBlue?

Artist Yves Klein mixed together a colour he called International Klein Blue (or IKB) for his performance-related work in the 1950s . He applied the bright blue paint to naked women and got them roll on canvases making prints of their bodies. It transferred into voluptuous shapes full of life and movement.

Now I’m seeing this bright blue hue everywhere and what better way to convey Klein's art into fashion than in tight-fitting body-con dresses that emphasise every curve.

Above: Isabel Marant
Above: Full Circle at ASOS

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Trend: The Statement Necklace

I am great believer in making an outfit work hard and what better way than to accessorise with a statement necklace. I love getting away with wearing a really simple black outfit with a distracting bold piece of jewellery.

The Anton Heunis and Mawi pieces below are both eye-wateringly expensive but I have noticed a real trend for necklaces just like these that combine different styles.

Above: Anton Heunis with a chunky chain and fussy settings

Above: Mawi heap it on with three rows of jewels, gems and chain

I was thrilled to discover the Oh Sew Vintage label at a vintage fair recently (see below). It's designer, Emma Golding, incorporates all manner of vintage fabrics, beading and broaches into gorgeous, one-off pieces at much more pocket-friendly prices. Who needs to take out a second mortgage on a Lanvin necklace when you could get one of these pieces for around the £40 mark?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Alter Ego on the High Street

Lest I should be accused of looking only at the aspirational here is an 'Alter Ego' look at a more Earthly price.

I am all apurr about this Pins and Needles shirt from Urban Outfitters (£45) and would love to see it with this seasons staple, the leather mini (Zara £69.99).

Pair it with opaque black tights, your geekiest brogues and a men's watch for an easy work-to-bar outfit.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Alter Ego

It’s easy enough to like a trend when the gorgeous Alexa Chung is wearing it but I have always rather liked the buttoned-up look. See her here in Chanel.

Vintage website Atelier Mayer recently sold a Balmain dress from the 1960s in a similar style (see below). This was a dress I bought in my mind. My alter ego wears this kind of thing to work in a Parisian fashion house with a tape measure draped round her neck. It’s prim, it’s done right up to the top button and it might even make you want to start bossing all sorts of boys around
And they wouldn't be able to do a thing about it.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Foot Fetish

My feet hurt like the Little Mermaid’s.
Solution: Buy custom-fit inner-soles.
Result: Renewed interest in all shoes.

I have been shopping around looking for comfortable, supportive shoes that don’t scream geography teacher. I want beautiful shoes that I can wear all day. There are two labels that I always go to for reassurance that those two must-haves are not mutually exclusive: Chie Mihara and Tracey Neuls.
In fact, these are Chie Mihara’s guiding principles of design too. Her credentials include having worked at an orthopedic shoe shop, learning about foot anatomy and common foot problems.’ I bought a pair of her shoes for when I was out personal shopping with clients so I could spend all day on my feet whilst looking credible.

Below are my favourites from her current line. Shop or browse online at her lovely website Chie Mihara.

Tracey Neuls is another designer that I admire enormously. I was drawn into her Marylebone Lane shop by a gorgeous display of shoes hung with ribbons from the ceiling and have since been a closet fan always aspiring to own a pair of her distinctive creations. The shoes are beautifully crafted and I have always cursed a missed opportunity to buy a hand-painted pair of low heals there.

Below is my favourite pair from her Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. Pony skin. Would look enviable with a vintage tea dress...

Those Mermaids amongst us are also thrilled with the popularity of brogues. I love these white Church Brogues from Matches. Geeky but super good, especially with coloured socks or tights.

P.S. If you are interested in getting some custom-fit inner-soles I recommend Footbalance.
P.P.S. If you have a style-conscious man in your life, he could do worse than a pair of Chie Mihara's collection of men's shoes. Very Sartorialist.

Going Ballistic

Amy Westcott's costume design in Black Swan (Rodarte only collaborated in the design of the tutus) artfully taps into a childhood fantasy of being in a ballet corps; of behind-the-scenes stretches in layers of scooping jersey, shrugs, and leggings. As Westcott found in researching these modes amongst New York dancers, these are not however mere nostalgic notions. The clothing is very functional. It protects, it accentuates, it flatters, it warms and it is easily de-layered as the body warms up.

Where am I going with this? Well, I'm thinking of anyone who wants to get straight into the UGGs and pyjamas after a hard days work. I am thinking there might be a way to feel comfortable and keep warm without abandoning all hope of remaining attractive or indeed presentable.

Staple look, all Swans: scoop-back leotard by handmade dancewear designer Yumiko - as worn by Mila Kunis in the movie and grey/black cropped leggings (Topshop or any).

For the Black Swan.
Above: I know it's super pricey but I am including this Rick Owens grey top (£820 at Net-a-Porter) as an idea. Lovely, much cheaper option available at M&S online for £19.50.

Ballet pumps at French Sole (£85) or get the real thing at Repetto. Both super comfy for padding round.

For the White Swan

Above: Expensive dream option by Vivienne Westwood: Anglomania £185 at Net-a-Porter. For a more pocket friendly option how about the sale price All Saints Clio top (with built-in layering) £26 down from £65.

Above: Splendid waterfall-front cardigan also at Net-a-Porter £79.
Or look up the All Saints Jerry Wrap Top for £60.

For the Duplicitous Swan in all of us; the beauty of this look, Mix and match.