Wednesday, 30 April 2008

When you're finally done beating a trend to death, point and laugh at it

Ubiquitous as they are [and not especially attractive] I've never understood the appeal of those Anya Hindmarch bags and their numerous descendents. Perhaps it makes me terribly snobbish but I feel weary just typing the name. Everyone could, of course, just use any other decently sized non-plastic bag out of the hundreds of thousands [millions?] of different decently sized non-plastic bags available to our greedy paws, rather than feeling the need to point out what our bags are not. There are after all an awful lot of very attractive bags around that I certainly wouldn't care to throw away. Who knows... maybe I could even do my shopping in them. There's a thought.

[Image: Fashion Indie at]

But I suppose this version is briefly more amusing than all the other ripoffs.


Can they all go away now, please?


New coat

I meant to post about this last month, but didn't. As per a couple of posts below, I've been seeking a good knee-length coat for a while now. The only long one I had is a very lovely but now rather beaten up black wool-cashmere belted 40s-style coat by Tara Jarmon - too heavy for spring weather.

I wanted a delectable, unusual trenchcoat with proper buckles - none of this cheap slide-buckle/tie-belt absurdity. Sadly it's not easy finding the coat of one's dreams when one doesn't have the budget of one's dreams.

I had finally accepted that I wasn't going to find my coat on the high street, when I was directed to Burberry's factory store in Hackney. Unsure of what to expect [a striplit room full of people hunched over boxes, rummaging furtively? A chilly railway arch with one row of last-season stock? A high security facility to which one could only gain access by invitation or staff privileges?] I took the two and a half hour round trip it takes me to get to that end of London, and wandered in.

It's huge and well-lit, on one floor, the size of a big high street store, and everything's very well organised. They have everything - coats, dresses, bags, umbrellas, shoes... The tops start from £9, but that was not what I came for.

I found this:

I tried on every trenchcoat they had. I had been after a beige one, but none of them fit quite right - too big in the shoulders, belted too low on the waist. This one was the only one that fit me like I really wanted it to, and happy coincidence of happy coincidences, it turned out to be the cheapest too, at £195 - not pennies, but far less than I expected.

I love it. Not too warm, not too flimsy, goes with everything, and dry cleans well - your slovenly correspondent managed to stab it with an inky line of black kohl one day, and it dry-cleaned out perfectly.

Also it folds up into a travel pillow. With its own bag. Amazing.

I now never need to buy a coat again. Maybe.


Sunday, 27 April 2008

Spring cleaning

Since I started cleaning out the room I use as a wardrobe, I've found all sorts of stuff tucked away in cupboards and corners. Like a whole drawer of my mum's old shoes [nearly all quite dusty and worn out, so they got chucked out], mad old computer bits from the 80s [with plugs the size of Venezuela], gossamer-sheer Liberty scarves [that refused to be photographed identifiably] and and boxes of my dad's old brass cufflinks.

I also found these little treasures:

My mother's old Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, from the early/mid seventies. I showed them to her and she spent ten minutes waxing lyrical about them - "they're like bones, they're so well-structured, they've lost nothing since I bought them". She's not wrong. They're really nice, firm-looking patent, the straps and buckle still look great, and you can't see it in the photo, but the gold printed logo on the sole is still very visible. I wish I could wear them but they're two sizes too small for me. Sob.

And an odd bag from Harvey Nichols, circa 1978. She said this was actually a men's bag [!] with a sort of wrist-strap on it, but she had a new strap sewn on so she could use it as a handbag. I am definitely keeping this one. Really nice clasp on it too, and a good zippy pouch inside.


Saturday, 26 April 2008

Clothes swaps

I shop a lot. More than is good for me, and of late, I'm cutting down. One symptom of my overshopping is my running out of space for my clothes. I haven't enough hangers. I have not-right-now clothes stuffed into cupboards, simply because I can't bear to throw things away. And I stubbornly hang onto clothes that categorically Do Not Suit Me because I kid myself I bought them for a better reason than "oooooOOOOoooh pretty colours!" or "one day it'll suit me"...

I don't want to join the madding crowd on eBay, I'm not generous enough to just give them away, and I don't really want to get into selling them and faffing about with Paypal or over-the-counter 'vintage' store negotiating. What I want is more clothes - clothes that will suit me better. [You can see I'm making progress with my behaviour].

Anyone done clothes swaps? How did you organise them? Did you do them online or in a friend's living room? I'm not going to insult anyone by foisting worn-out clothes on them, but I thought about picking out the few things I've bought and just regretted, barely/not worn, and offering them up on here.

All thoughts welcome... this whole 'getting rid of things' lark is new ground to me.

Maybe I'll just make a 'sartorial mistakes - why did I do this?' post, and you can stick your hand up if you spot anything you want to swap something for.


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Tea for two

I wouldn't normally gravitate towards white shoes.

But these Miu Mius are the greatest thing I've seen... well, all week anyway. I wonder if they can still be bought.

I wonder how long they'd last on London's pavements though...


Sunday, 13 April 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

Following below's mention of the upcoming film adaptation of Winifred Watson's Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, I found this very lovely new edition of the book - Persephone Books have re-released a string of books in this format, and the little brother's staff discount in Waterstones encouraged me to buy this one.

I was looking forward to reading it before I even opened the cover, but then I flicked through, and saw that I shall cherish this book for a long time. Mary Thomson's illustrations are splendid and very charming, and if they're anything to go by, Miss Pettigrew's going to be a far less sedate read than I expected - copper-bashing, cheerful drug use and drunken OAPs. What larks!

[Images: scanned. Copyright Persephone Books Ltd]


Thursday, 10 April 2008

Little black dresses

It's a sickness. I've got to stop buying them. They're just so appealing.

The sweet...

Reko @ Pop Boutique

And the not-so-sweet...

Osman Yousefzada @ Mango


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

'The other woman has fresh-cut flowers in her room...'

What fashion-enthusiastic woman doesn't want a dressing room of her own? Somewhere to shut herself away from the world, surround herself with her most beautiful possessions and style herself as she wants to look.

Old novels and period films always make me hanker after such a thing. The only modern movie I can remember that celebrated the dedication of personal space and time to one's wardrobe was Clueless - everyone remembers Alicia Silverstone's modern miracle of a computer that mixed and matched her outfits for her, and that ridiculous circular, colour-coded closet. It was a bit Clarissa Explains It All though.

What I'm really talking about is Glenn Close, stalking about her mirrored and gilted rooms in Dangerous Liaisons, exuding puff powder and spiritual venom. Emily Mortimer in Bright Young Things, hiding behind the telephone in her beautiful apartment with its interior railings and curved walls, covering her eyes in glitter and kohl. Colette's aging but still graceful Lea, with the incorrigible Cheri running amok within the walls of her home.

missbondage's post on The High Street reminded me of it, as did the photos of Dita Von Teese's vanity room in Fur Coat, No Knickers.

This is mine - it's an optimistic mess, marred by awful yellow and terracotta [!] walls [not my doing], dodgy laminate flooring [also not my doing] and a woeful lack of space. The redeeming features [beautiful old wooden furniture, pretty trinkets, my desperation for it to be better than it is] fight frantically with the sheer dreadfulness of the room.

[Two] [more] images

Interior design blog Brilliant Asylum provided me with plentiful inspiration though.

From Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - I shall certainly be seeing this, as much for the magnificent Frances McDormand as the delectable set design

Katie Lee Joel's dressing room in New York. Covered in gilt. Gosh.
[Images: Town & Country]

I've been inspired to take action. I will blitz my sorry looking 'other room' with paint and whatever gilt, crystal and lacquer I can lay my hands on [albeit in moderation - there's only so much a small room can take].

I WILL surround myself with beauty. I will.


Saturday, 5 April 2008

And now for something completely different

"If the semicolon is one of the neglected children in the family of punctuation marks these days, told to stay in its room and entertain itself, because mummy and daddy are busy, the apostrophe is the abused victim."

John Humphrys in a moment of typically sardonic brilliance, on the endangered status of the semicolon, in Friday's Guardian. God bless the delightful old bastard.


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Autumn 2008

I'm impressed, as ever, by Sonia Rykiel.

Her Fall 08 collection is as elegant and playful as ever. And while I love her simpler looks, like the boyish black suit below, I'm really keen on some of the patterns and prints she's using. Feminine and unusual, deeply wearable, and I love the colours she's using, offsetting autumnal shades with her trademark shots of bright colour.

I also love Anna Sui's collection. My wardrobe is one of block colours and easily mixable prints; I usually stay away from manic prints, not least because they remind me of my ill-advised love for anything hippy-ish in my teens. But hers are so gorgeous and wilful and eye-popping, and enhance rather than distract from the shapes she's using. There's nothing dingy or throwback about any of it. I'm not sure how print-happy I'll get with my own wardrobe, but this does make me want to play a little, and I just want to dive into each of the colours, they're jawdropping.