Sunday, 28 February 2010

Nightwear as outerwear

My latest obsession, clothes wise, is silk- preferably in dusky pink please! So you can imagine how happy I was when this amazing thirties silk night dress arrived on my doorstep, fresh from ebay. You can just picture the kind of glamourous woman who would have worn this, probably with a quilted satin bed jacket over the top. (Another thing I have been searching for!)  The detailing is just so stunning, from the understated frills to the delicate bows. I always tend to look at things from a design viewpoint, so the little things always interest me.
It took me a while to choose what to put it with, but after seeing this long grey woollen dress in my mum's wardrobe, I knew it would be perfect! I was very inspired by the kind of layering that Susie of Style Bubble does so well.
I have been angling to get this grey dress into my wardrobe for a while, but this is one item that my mum will definitely not let go of! One day, one day...
I then added some ribbed grey long socks. (Me? Obsessed with socks? Particularly ankle socks? No, no- must be someone else you're thinking of..) These shoes interest me because they look really mundane when sitting on a shelf, but suddenly when you put them on with ribbed socks (yep, definitely not me with the obsession) then they look amazing. But they are a little difficult to put on in the middle of the coastal country side, standing on a slightly wobbly rock. The tied belt and grey beret are thrifted, and the silver bangle is a victorian one from a family member.
We shot this outfit on holiday, and it was slightly awkward with lots of dog walkers going past me in my thirties night dress, posing on top of a hill.

London Fashion week is now over, and although I couldn't go, I still got my daily consumption of fashion from the LFW website, the Sartorialist and Jill of The latter two showcased some amazing people with amazing style.
I'm going to give a quick summary of my favourite collections on days 1-3 here, because if I list all the designers of day 4 as well then I will be typing well into the night. So here we go:

Kinder Aggugini for the restrained colour palette and desirable classic pieces I can see exisiting in my wardrobe very easily, especially that tailored khaki/ brown coat-cape with the red detail. I discovered how much I liked capes recently when I found the two family inherited ones at the back of my mum's Narnia-esque wardrobe, and so was impressed to see quite few on the catwalk this season.

Topshop Unique for a collection that totally reminded me of  'Where the Wild things Are'. Seeing it, I had one of those moments when I really wished I was a stylist so I could use some of the pieces in a Wild Things inspired shoot. The long socks + custom made head pieces + delicious looking coats and layering = Yes please.

Betty Jackson for exquisite layering (being able to create leather underwear as outerwear without making it sleazy is quite an accomplishment!) and very cosy looking jumpers and coats. She makes dressing  for winter look very desirable to me, even though I am longing for sunshine at the moment.

Margaret Howell for the fact that I couldn't find fault with a single design. I'd wear every outfit that was showcased. All those skinny belts pulling in coats, jumpers and all other manner of beautiful things... I loved  the shirts too, especially layered under dresses. Every piece looked like it had a longevity, a very classic feel.

Aquascutum for the beautifully structured jackets and coats. You can really see the detail in each one. A very clever idea too, the reinvention of a single item of clothing in many different ways. The fact that the colour range was so minimal meant that you really focused on the shape and design.

What I found really interesting about all the clothes this season, is how many of them:
A- I could imagine myself wearing
and B- looked really classic and chic. If I was talking in fashion speak, then I would probably say that they were 'investment pieces' or some other phrase along the lines of that.

Kudos to anyone who has taken the time to read this whole post full of my ramblings! I'll stop now before this becomes long enough to qualify as a short non-fiction story. Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Snow White and Rose Red

"There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose trees and one was called Snow-White, and the other Rose-Red."

"Snow-White was more quiet and gentle than Rose-Red. Rose-Red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields; but Snow-White stayed more at home..."

"They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no beasts did them any harm"

The above excerpts were taken from "Snow-White and Rose-Red" by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm (The brothers Grimm.) I have had a longheld fascination with fairytales, from childhood. I was read countless tales by my parents, before graduating to reading them myself and listening to taped versions. I have a feeling they have influenced me in countless ways, such as my love of literature and also as a rich source of inspiration. This tale was one I knew, of two young girls and their kindness to a talking bear who turns up at their house.. who then turns out to be a prince. (Obviously! What else do you expect from a fairytale?) The idea of the two polar opposite sisters inspired an idea for a shoot about six months ago. I already had a white dress, but needed to find a red one to contrast it with. Luckily I did, and here is the shoot!

The red dress was fortuitously found hanging in a charity shop. It is Laura Ashley, and I'm assuming it was a bridesmaid's dress in the eighties. Although slightly unnapealing to look at on a hanger, it has that perfect, slightly over the top fairytale/ princess feel- right down to the puffed sleeves and V shaped waistline. It reminds me of the kind of dresses I would draw when I was little! I added a little black vintage belt and red silk shoes from ebay. The pendant is from a vintage market stall.

The white vintage dress was given to me by a friend of a friend. So thanks Clara! I love it.. The detail of the fabric is beautiful, and I love the 'sixties vibe' that it exudes. I have a white top on underneath- though more for warmth. As you can probably tell from the contrast between the white dress and my red hands, it was completely freezing! The shoes are sixties too- thrifted. Slightly too small, but very loved. The ankle socks and tights throughout were christmas presents.

The first and last shots were taken in the remains of a ruined stone cottage that we found. Reminds me of the cottage mentioned in the story!

It was quite a relief to have access to the internet again today. After a web free week on holiday, I was having what seemed to be blog-withdrawal-symptoms! So it was really lovely to log on and find all your thoughtful comments on my last post, I really appreciate it.

Thanks to dad again for taking the photos (& to my family for patience in the cold while the photos were taken!)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Who's Calling?

I seem to be following a bit of a theme here- I featured a telephone box in my last post too. (Though it wasn't intentional.) These photos were taken about a month ago and languished, forgotten, on my computer until I suddenly remembered about them. So Voila!
There is something really beautiful about these bright red phone boxes, often found in the complete wilderness- abandoned and sadly, unused. They are a kind of iconic British symbol.. Though it seems more to look at now than actually use.
This local one actually had a sign in it, announcing that it was going to be taken away as it wasn't in use. However, the date given for its removal is now about a year overdue. But we thought we'd get some photos while it was still possible in case it vanishes suddenly!
I have a bit of an obsession with long skirts at the moment. I know I've talked about them before, and am more than likely to do so again in the future. Maybe it's because nearly all my latest charity shop/ ebay purchases have been mid calf length vintage skirts- Two Jaeger (!) ones and another floral one to add to a growing collection. I was informed by my mum yesterday that I need to stop looking in charity shops, as I have completely run out of room in my wardrobe! I doubt this will happen though. What I will say in my defence is that nearly all the clothes I buy are quite classic pieces that have longevity- I can imagine still wearing many of them as an adult.
This particular skirt is thrifted. I wore it with an underskirt to give it a more fifties silouhette, and I love the pattern. The blue jacket is fifties, bought at a vintage shop, and it came with a matching pencil skirt. The shape is exquisite, and when you look at it closely you can really see all the detail and craftmanship put into it. I added some thrifted grey mary janes and a grey top underneath (more for warmth than to add to the outfit though.) Blue + Grey = One of my favourite colour combinations.
I got back from Paris on Sunday, after stopping over for a fleeting visit over the weekend- more on that soon. I got two gorgeous vintage items that I can't wait to share here... I have decided that I really want to try and learn to speak French fluently. Although I'm already studying it at school, I really want to get a proper grasp on being able to speak and read the language.
Another trip this week, this time lasting until Saturday. I hate to neglect my blog, and I'll miss reading about all the Fashion week posts that I am sure will be springing up in the next few days- again, I regret not being able to go to London Fashion week. Oh well, some day hopefully!

Hope you all have a great week, and I'll look forward to catching up when I get back. Oh, and thank you to the blog awards I've recieved recently, I really appreciate it!


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Blue Roses/ Golden Light

It all started so simply... A family walk in the golden afternoon- intentionsof only taking landscape photos, then my dad asking if he could take a photo of me, leading to another.. and another.. Until we had a whole sequence in different sun-hazed locations.
That morning when I got up, my first though was "Ooh, Sunlight! I must make the most of it while it's here" It has become so rare at the moment, and I am willing Spring to appear and push away all these miserable cold, dark days. So I dressed according to the weather- in gold and blue.
I got this fabulous vintage dress from Beyond Retro in London about a year ago. I love the contrasting colours and the shape, it fits perfectly!
In the afternoon, I was given about 3 minutes notice that we were going on a walk. So I grabbed the first thing I could find, which happened to be a jacket that matched very nicely! (Formerly from my mum's 'drama dressing up box') We have been trying to work out what time period the jacket is- me and my mum think it might be thirties. But if anyone does haveany other ideas, do let me know! (Sixties copy?)  It has that lovely old suede feel, complete with worn buttons and a broken clasp. The addition of wellies is a testament to quite how impromtu the shoot really was! Well, they're kind of in the same colour range.
I could not imagine more perfect light. It is at points like these that I am a little wistful that I don't have someone else to take photos of. But I found a location really nearby to this spot that I am hoping to be behind the camera., with a friend modelling to do another shoot.
Underneath the jacket I have on a thrifted cream cardigan and belt.

I found out a few hours ago about the death of Alexander McQueen. I am so saddened, and I really wish his family peace and a lack of intrusion in this time of grief. I thought his designs were truly amazing.. One of my favourite collections of his was the a/w 08/09- all those beautiful gowns and the elaborate set. His ideas were always innovative and I'm sure the fashion world, among many others will miss him greatly.

Edit: I will be away until monday now, I'll enjoy catching up when I get back!


Monday, 8 February 2010

Select Models News Exclusive: Lucie Jones. Plus inspired by Christopher Kane

First up are 2 images of Lucie Jones of British X Factor fame, who has just been signed to Select Models (my model agency)! They were kind enough to share these exclusive images with me, and singer Lucie looks fantastic. Here, she is photographed by Kristin Vicari, wearing (in the first photo) a Christopher Kane for Topshop dress (A bit of a theme for this post!). Head of New Faces at Select, Susannah Hooker, said, “Lucie's test shoots were an opportunity for her to experiment with different styles and looks and to work with some great fashion photographers so that she can start to create her portfolio and familiarise herself with modelling. She was a natural - very relaxed in front of the camera and at ease modelling clothes … the results are fantastic and we're looking forward to working with her in 2010.”

Huge thanks to Select for lettng me share these images on my blog! It’s always great to see success stories and I really like the fact that these photos are in black and white. I love working with monochrome photography myself as it can create a very timeless and classic looking result. And as you can tell from most of my posts, my dad loves black and white photography too- as illustrated below.

I am aware that London Fashion week is rearing its oh-so-pretty head next week, and ah how I wish I was attending! If anyone has any spare invitations to Burberry/ Betty Jackson/Jaeger or any other fashion show then please let me know! Ha-ha, in all seriousness...

However, in the meantime I am amusing/consoling myself by styling outfits inspired by some of my favourite designers. These two ensembles are my petite homage to the great designer Christopher Kane. I loved his use of ginghams and checks, those pretty pastels, cut out sections and beautiful shapes that featured in his last collection. So my way of showing appreciation was firstly by creating a green, checked ‘skirt’ over a vintage shirt.

We had a bit of trouble shooting these photos, as the light outside and in was really flat, dull, grey and generally miserable. Also every surface and wall in our house is kind of covered in clutter/paintings/ vases/ general stuff. So we had to improvise with backgrounds and shifting stuff around, with dad getting more stressed with each place that didn’t work out!

The first outfit is made up of the aforementioned fabric skirt - formed by wrapping, folding , bunching and pinning a length of fabric to create a kind of pencil skirt/ fifties homage hybrid. I’m wearing it over one of my favourite shirts (I have a bit of a collection now...) It was my great-grandma’s. Then layered over that is a little vintage thermal vest. I really do like this underwear-as-outer wear trend. All the more excuse for dusky pink silk slips and camisoles! I also have on those old favourites of mine, the white brogues.

The second outfit includes a chequered dress, ahem, borrowed from my mum, layered underneath a black lace bodice. You may notice that this is the matching lace bodice to a white one that has been featured numerous times on my blog. The black one is slightly bigger, which is why I had to belt it very tightly to keep it in place! I know I’ve literally just featured these black, thrifted, men’s brogues, but I do seem to be living in them at the moment. And also you can’t really have Kane inspiration without some matching brogues! I added the little black watch at last minute after noticing it lying on the coffee table - it’s my brother’s.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Cable Calling

I have two outfits to share with you today, both very lovely comfy jumpers! When it is cold, there is nothing more satisfying to put on than a cosy sweater.
These two are both recent thrifted ones. Quite a few people have been asking about how I find things in charity shops or vintage/ flea markets, so I'll try to explain.
Firstly I look out for any colours/ patterns that catch my eye, eg floral. The second step is running my hand over a rail to feel fabrics. "Ooh! Is this silk? Ah, that feels like Cashmere..." (Then checking the label to see if my prediction was right.) I also never confine myself to one category or size. I look in every size, as you never know what you might find. The second jumper is a good example of this, being much too big for me in the perfect way. I also look in the men's section. The black brogues are proper men's ones- an advantage of having size seven feet!

I love charity shop shopping for two primary reasons. One- there is a lot more variety under one roof if you are willing to look. And you never know when a gorgeous vintage dress/ Jaeger piece is going to make itself known. And two- the money goes to charity! (Or a small scale stall holder or independent shop.) Totally guilt free shopping that suits my minimal budget as well! It also makes me shop and think creatively. "Ahaa, I could layer this voluminous silk nightie over that long grey woollen dress in my mum's wardrobe.."
On the other hand, I would happily be let loose in Selfridges with a budget to match, pleeeease! And as for aspirations to wear Burberry Prorsum... well one day maybe.

These photos were taken by my dad when the remainder of another unexpected snow flurry was on the ground. I swear I will shut up about it now, it has finally all melted! We went for a family walk, dragging along a rucksack holding the second outfit and a heavy camera around my neck.

The first outfit was the one I had put on that morning. The dusky pink jumper is a thrifted silk and cashmere one. I have had a bit of a love/ hate relationship with pink over the years. I went through phases of practically living in it and others of swearing it would never darken the walls of my wardrobe again. I have now found the solution in a vintage style dusky pink- usually silk please! It is tied with a length of black taffeta, and the skirt is another 'appropriated' piece from my mum. The pocket watch brooch is one of four from a set bought on ebay. The grey leather gloves were my great-grandma's. The tights are my favourite at the moment- being the only ones warm enough to wear outside. The brogues are small mens ones that I got from a local charity shop.

In the second outfit, the cream arran wool jumper is thrifted. I made the skirt out of some old vintage curtain material last summer and I found the faux furry hat in a charity shop last week. (My collection of them is growing daily!) The necklace is family inherited.

Thank you so much for all your interesting and insightful opinions on my criticism debate post. (And also thanks for the praise on my negative dress!) I loved reading your thoughts on this issue.
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