Friday, 26 February 2010

Giddy stratospheres

So kitten heels are replacing vertiginous spikes are they? Not on my watch.

I love an improbable heel, the more jawdropping the better. I still moon after those Chanel gun heels, and in an attempt to move on from the McQueen/Gaga shoes that I posted about a few days ago and will never ever get to wear... I stumbled across the work of Chau Har Lee, as documented by Susie Bubble recently.


The heel-less heel is a much-done thing, yet this feels fresh and jawdropping.

As some shoes look blissfully comfortable, and others make one recoil in horror about how painful they must be to hobble about in... these fill me with curiosity. I can't imagine what it feels like to wear a shoe like this!

Perhaps it is beautifully supportive.

Perhaps it would leave indents and stripes across my feet for days.

I long to find out!


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Perhaps I'm overthinking this it just me that feels the impulse to dress a certain way for a certain part of town?

A lunchtime walk in south Kensington (to gaze at the Chanel, Joseph and Coco de Mer windows in Draycott Street) left me feeling distinctly shabby in my purple H&M coat and stompy brown riding boots. Particularly when a very tall young marquis (probably) strode past in a modish black jacket, floppy ginger hair and, truly, a white cravat.

When I passed two old gents on the same street in impeccable tweed and dapper silk scarves, I felt that I had really let the side down.

And I feel altogether too dull if I don't make some sort of artfully indifferent, clever effort for certain bits of east London. Constructing a look is half the fun of it.

Don't get me started on what happens when I go abroad.

Perhaps I'm too self-conscious - but as I am not the type to cultivate a monochrome capsule wardrobe or breeze through life in one pair of ripped jeans and perfectly rumpled hair (I wish), I always feel as thought I ought to give some sort of nod to my intended surroundings...


Hello new world

This year I turned my back on the career I had pursued for the last three and a half years. They say January is a time for fresh starts - ain't that the truth! Starting anew presents myriad challenges, not least financial. The one challenge I didn't think about is the sartorial.

For almost four years years I've scurried about in performance venues, carrying the amps and guitars of bands from Wichita, Wyoming and Wolverhampton, welcomed terribly posh clients ahead of their 50th birthday gala banquets, told a rather well known broadcasting company where they can and can't film, lugged cases of beer about the place, and looked after music industry from the green & nervous to the hardened - as well as all the accompanying correspondence and paperwork. Behind a bar one minute, behind a laptop the next, be it 8am or 3am. It demanded a very hard-working and versatile wardrobe - it paid to be all things to all people. Well-heeled corporate clients appreciated serious presentation; bands were put at ease by a scruffy chick in jeans, flatties and checked shirt. The more unusual clients (including one fabulous and infamous drag-wearing stylist/designer) were impressed by a more creative and colourful approach to one's clothes - and whoever the client, my clothes had to allow physical work. The only wardrobe style I've not cultivated in the last few years is the most obvious - officewear!

Now I find I'm grateful to have my evenings back - three midnight finishes a week will take it out of you if you do it for long enough, and with a new domestic situation I'm glad to get home of an evening. So I've joined the ratrace, seeking to try my hand at a normal day job. In the search for my next adventure, I am yo-yoing between interviews and the second oldest profession - temping. Every job I go for is of the PA/admin variety. The work is easy, the people amiable. Yet, unexpectedly, the clothes are a challenge - because right now I never seem to be in one place for more than a week.

Initial impressions are the first thing. Interview or first day, you want to look professional. But if you are there for more than a day at a time, you want to be liked, right? You don't want to look cold and unapproachable. I like to look chic and modern, but want to be taken seriously, so fashion's extremes must wait till after-hours. My last temp job was a success, and I was encouraged to apply for a permanent job at the company when such a thing comes up. I want that hit rate with every job - someone give me a permanent job! A sharp suit works for day one, but then my creative juices kick in and I want to introduce my personality into the mix.

And of course every company is different. Sharp-shouldered, razor-haired city slickers populate one office, while the PA in another place trots cheerfully about in jeans and boots. The challenge is finding the right vibe in the few days that I'm there, while trying to look smart and memorable. Of course I want my work to be the thing that sets me apart from the rest of the crowd, but it doesn't hurt to leave a visual impression too... right?

I don't own a suit so for smart days I've opted for black suit-y separates - the McQueen trousers (creased just so down the front) and a Tara Jarmon blazer with a tiny waist and three folded corners at each shoulder. I own two white shirts - a very stiff twill-cotton Thomas Pink shirt with a rebellious that I fear carries Harry Hill connotations (sewing the collar firmly in place diminished it, but still...) and an ivory Chloe shirt with a frilled collar - very pretty but difficult under a suit. A recent swishing event furnished me with two more shirts - a pinstripe one I've decided I loathe and a useful white tuxedo-front thing that I can wear with cufflinks. Otherwise I'm opting for knitted dresses, a trusty black Uniqlo pencil skirt, sorbet-coloured Topshop Unique dresses and Mascaro ankle boots, with bits of posh knitwear (Rykiel/Pringle) to cheer things up a bit. Yet so far I never feel I've quite hit the mark...


Monday, 22 February 2010


I'm sure that every self-respecting writer in blogland will have paid tribute to the late and unusually great Alexander McQueen in the last few days. Quite right, and I'd like to do the same. It's sad when anyone passes but I have not felt so personally saddened by the death of someone I didn't know as I did when I heard the news about Lee McQueen. There are plenty of crassly overused adjectives (genius, artist et al) that fly around when someone well-known dies, but the aptest word I can think of for McQueen was "magician". He took the materials that every designer uses and created entire narratives, worlds, ideas, sculptures and statements out of them, moulded around the female form in a way that made thousands of us want to wrap ourselves in them.

He was totally out of my price range, but I got lucky at a sample sale last year, and my haul included some exquisite, tall nut-brown heels which work wonders on one's ankles...

...a pretty strapless black silk dress with pockets in a tulip skirt, the only perfect black work trousers I've ever owned, and the corsetted black satin pencil skirt to end all corsetted black satin pencil skirts. It was comforting to know that the designer who sent feathered wonders down the catwalk could also produce some of the most wearable clothes I've found - clothes that truly justify the accompanying designer price tag.

My favourite recent memory: the magnificent shoes donned by the equally magnificent Gaga in the Bad Romance video.

I can't think of a better muse for McQueen's fearless work. Too early lost - RIP Lee McQueen.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Hello again

Life has changed a lot in the year or so (!) since I last posted. I miss having an outlet for my thoughts, and I'm going to try and post here more often. Things are in flux a lot for me at the moment but either way, I hope some interesting posts will come out of this.