Saturday, 29 October 2011

Baby you can drive my car

The character Penelope Pitstop is all about leather, the matching car, clothes and luggage and 60s glamour. And what better muse could you find to inspire the A/W11 collection from Louis Vuitton - a label with all these values at its core?

Also drawing heavily on the quality and palette typical in vintage car upholstery, my new best friend, Burak Uyan also uses strong shaping and beautiful stitching in the boots below.

There is something very mechanic fantasy about the thought of a brutish vintage car enthusiast having to manipulate and persuade thick leather around corners and stitching it authoritatively over the structures of a car to such elegant ends. Despite the strength required to craft these pretties, you can feel the sensitivity required to do so. As such you can see that these boots have probably had the same treatment in production.

Imagine Dita von Teese stepping out of a chauffeur driven, vintage Rolls Royce in a pair. Sheer vintage-lover heaven. Pure purrr.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Josephine de la Baume... sheer poetry

I have to confess that I am a bit fascinated with Josephine de la Baume at the moment.

She is a vixen... Agent Provocateur.

Her pre-Raphaelite tresses and taste for vintage can easily transport her look into a by-gone era... Kate Moss and Jamie Hince's wedding with husband Mark Ronson.

And yet she looks equally gorgeous in contemporary pieces too... this summer's Mango ad campaign.

This is one seriously cool girl.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Alexa Chung is always beautifully turned out. That is not news. But the Yves St Laurent dress she wore to host the 2011 Elle Style Awards back in February was quite fascinating. A break from her usual coquettish 1970s school girl schtick, the dress fused 1950s influenced print with the trend of matching two-pieces from the same period. But it just wouldn't have been the same without the ribcage slash. On a dress like Alexa's YSL, a small flash of skin like this can be very seductive.

But the design principle of the whole piece has to be demure otherwise it will just end up looking cheap. The litmus test is really whether the piece would retain it's class without the peeping skin.

Below, the spellbinding Spring/Summer 2012 collection from the brilliant British designer Christopher Kane also uses cut-outs to create drama in conjunction with vibrant prints on otherwise minimalistic construction work.

Sadly neither the YSL piece nor the Saunders pieces are within the financial reach of most but with a little innovation it is possible to achieve this look by taking a different approach. At a recent premiere, actress Emma Stone wore a Luca Luca dress that used layers to create a peep.

Through simple combinations of high street pieces it's easy enough to get the slash-effect without shelling out. This week I have been experimenting with layers to inject a little bit of keyhole flirting with pieces from my own wardrobe.

Above: Customised, thrifted cardigan over a silk and satin layered camisole by Philip Lim label development.

One of my stock dressing principle is 'always check the rearview' but why just leave it at that? Below I tried out adding a bit of peephole interest to the back of my outfit.

Above: maroon Poleci t-shirt layered over a staple Topshop vest.

Above: Topshop Unique blue cotton jumper and Reiss silk camisole.

This might be one you have to build up to but have a rifle through your wardrobe and see if you can get into the mood.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Miu Miuccia

This 1980s Liberty scarf has just surfaced from the bottom of a scarf drawer that I seldom visit. As soon as it peered from under the other carefully folded silken kerchiefs I had to resurrect it. I think it's a great accessory to put a little fun into Monday. Apart from it's obvious, stand alone charm, what prompted me to pick it up in 2008 was it's almost spooky resonance in the current Miu Miu collection. I couldn't help but feel that it must have been hiding in Miuccia Prada's wardrobe before it found it's way into my hands in a quiet Portobello Road vintage boutique.

Its coming back to the forefront of my wardrobe seems as good a reason as any I'll get to step back in time to extoll the merits of another killer collection from Miuccia Prada's bottomless bag of tricks.

At the time Kirsten Dunst had been employed as the leggy ambassador of Miu Miu to seduce us from the pages of every fashion magazine. The campaign was shot in rich colours mimicking the small spaces behind heavy, red velvet curtains at a circus... or peepshow. Kirsten toyed with us like a pin-up in shrunken doll dresses and curtsied lasciviously in harlequin prints. Miuccia introduced the fashion world to separate collars popular once more in high street shops and with the likes of fellow fashion blogger Susie Bubble.

This collection is my own personal Exhibit A of Miuccia Prada's creative genius and is a testament, if any were needed, to the work of a major force in the fashion world.