Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WHY DON'T YOU...? of course the title of Diana Vreeland's famous Harper's Bazaar column in which she invited readers to wash their child's hair in champagne or to turn an old ermine wrap in to a bathrobe.

It was also the name of a kids TV programme in the 1980s; the title song of which went "Why don't you, why don't you, just switch off your TV set and do something less boring instead" which always struck me as a strange sentiment at the beginning of a TV programme. Maybe that's why it's not on anymore.

If you're in London this weekend why don't you:

* Go to the Cheshire Street and Friends Christmas shopping evening on Friday. I went last year, I think I blogged about it - yep. Mulled wine, mince pies and good design make a lovely combination. Shelf have got some new Shinzi Katoh stuff (pictured) which I get very excited about.

* Go to the Open Studios at Cockpit Arts in Deptford this weekend. On Gridskipper this week I profiled some of the designer-makers showing at the Open Studios, which is on all weekend. Again, I went last year and got loads of inspiration and a few gorgeous, unique Christmas presents - you end up doing that one for you, one for me thing. You can read my piece on it here or browse all the designer-makers and artists at Cockpit Arts here.

* Be in a film with Jude Law on Friday. When I went to see The Darjeeling Limited at the cinema, before Hotel Chevalier (the Wes A. short before the main film) they showed another short with Jude Law buying some fish from Applebee's at a deserted Borough Market, then standing outside and kind of wandering round. The film was quite arresting once all the females in the cinema had stopped muttering about Jude Law being a smarmy git. (Not that he was acting a smarmy git kind of role.) All I got from the short was that it was something to do with Tate Modern and then it said Friday, 30 November 11.30am. That's all. Well after a bit of investigation it turns out that if you go to Borough on Friday at 11.30am (and I'm usually there around then) they're going to re-enact the whole thing with whoever turns up. Clever marketing eh? I'm quite intrigued as I don't know how they're going to be able to film effectively just before Friday lunch time with tons of people spilling out of The Market Porter pub and masses of people visiting the market; as well as the additional people who've come along because of the film and oh, all right then, possibly the Jude Law factor.

DV image
Jude image

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I'll have what she's wearing.
Accessory wise I'd keep the hat, gloves and clutch.
The gun would perhaps be overkill...

And Cary Grant - best wearer of suits in cinema.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


*Being spontaneously invited to a Thanksgiving dinner held by real live US citizens (I couldn't go because I'd planned my whole day to the minute)...

*Making squash soup on Thanksgiving that included honey, sesame seeds, lime juice and cumin seeds in the ingredient list. Nice, if a little like a hot toddy...

*The idea of putting "Or You Better Watch Out" at the end of invoices after the bit about paying within 30 days...

*Getting fresh daily bread, yummy cheeses and superior wine all direct from France from the new French owned deli round the corner. It's just like being in Paris - what, did they read my mind? J'aaadooore gentrification...

*Catching my reflection and seeing that while I bumble on about clothes all the time, I've been repeatedly going out in public (and at night) dressed in old, baggy comfortable slobwear. My nails are now painted, my wardrobe re-organised. Bad knackered yet oh so comfy Ugg boots, keep away!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Well, that is funny. Impatient moi went ahead and ordered the Morning Glory Slate (before I got any of your comments!) Then I woke up this morning thinking how really, the print I'd imagined was something like this Eley Kishimoto print which you can't buy just as a fabric:

And how the colour of the coat looks best against fuschia. So I started browsing Volksfaden again and finally decided on this:

A quickly dashed email was sent to try and change the order before they cut the cloth, making it non returnable. Then, browsing Volksfagen again, which is the perfect relaxing activity to distract one from the pile of almost toppling over papers in front of one, I saw this:

Blue eyelashes, oh my...not for the coat, but...

I realised I cannot choose anything because I like them all and it really is such a good way to spend the day avoiding work, as is blogging, hence the blogging frenzy this week. So. I decided to accept my fate. And the nice lady from Volksfagen emailed me back to say that not only had she cut the fabric, she had already posted it to me. So I can attest to the amazing efficiency of the company and I'm sure it will look fine. I'll just have to order some 50cm lengths of my fave prints to satisfy this craving. That or be sent to a home for the textileally insane.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I've been looking everywhere for some cute printed fabric to re- line my old "relegated to dog walking even though I don't have a dog" coat. I was thinking Liberty print but they're a bit expensive to use for lining, ditto Marimekko. And all the cool online fabric places are either in the US or Japan. Stumped was I. So what perfect timing that Jenny posted about Volksfaden fabrics. They're 100% cotton and ship from Germany. The prices are very reasonable (to someone used to paying pounds in London. Maybe the prices are just normal.) The Volksfaden website is very groovy and makes me think of all the things I could do with some good patterned fabric. So now I just have to choose one. They have some lovely Japanesey prints and I was thinking of going for something really mismatching and bold but in a (hopefully) good way. Notice I'm not showing you the coat as it is now. This is mostly because if anyone I know sees it they will think I am insane to still be wearing it after all these years. But you'll see, you'll see...

I've narrowed it down to three (the coat is steel grey/blue)

The Morning Glory Slate would "go" the best, but I really like Chestnuts Lichen and Chestnut Branch Eggplant too.

Eenie meenie minie mo...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it. It's such a warm, fuzzy, good holiday that I've decided to celebrate it tomorrow as well. Yep - just me, the cat and America. This year Thanksgiving falls on an anniversary that is hard for me not to mark with anything other than bleak sadness. Hi-jacking the energy of Thanksgiving and actually giving thanks will make it much easier I hope. A slice of pumpkin pie won't hurt either...

{my photo ©}

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I am talking a load of pants over at Gridskipper. Frankly darling, I am now so enamoured of this lingerie range that I would consider throwing out all my highly sentimental items of lingerie if only someone would buy me this orchid print robe...


I sense the time is near. My very favourite baggy denim trousers that I've been wearing for god knows how many years are finally on their last legs ('scuse the pun). It is quite possible that the next time I wear them on a blustery day, a small gust will render me trouserless, standing in the street in my knickers, shoes and socks with wispy threads of soft denim flying into the ether around me. The trousers are now at the height of soft slubby perfection, but the moment perfection was achieved, the danger of them disintegrating increased. They have reached their peak and now must, like all things, decay. I can't even remember where I bought them - it was somewhere cheap and high streety - maybe Mango. I've looked high and low for a replacement but nothing can match them. Funny how my favourites are not expensive "special" pieces but ordinary utility clothes that just happen to fit, be useful and look exactly right.

Because I only buy things I really, really like, I expect my clothes to last forever. I get weirdly attached to items of clothing - the ones I end up wearing all the time. The Miu Miu coat I've had for ten years with the shredded lining will not be chucked out, it will be re-lined in cute printed cotton. If I can salvage something from having to be replaced then I'm happy, since there is no perfect replacement. I don't know if it's an English thing - certainly not a modern English thing but a throwback to the old make do and mend culture. I know people think I'm very strange for being like this, especially since I like clothes and fashion so much, but I hate to have an excess of stuff I don't need or like. When I make a mistake and buy something not quite right which gets left hanging unworn I get rid of it.

Looking through my wardrobe there's no clear theme, no clear criteria for what makes something perfect. It's not really a fashion thing, more to do with the fit and the cut and the quality. Which doesn't necessarily mean expensive - my favourite T - shirt is from H&M, not The Row. T-shirts aside, I lean towards the Italian way of shopping where you try stuff on and the tailor alters it so that it's just right. I get things altered or alter them myself quite often; but there's something I never knew about until A introduced me to a tailor at one of the shops in Venice. Despite having worked for big Italian fashion houses I'd never realised that the sarta (tailor) would also alter the look of something you buy to make it suit your style. Bloody hell, it's hard enough to get a pair of trousers taken up in London. And in Italy it's of course a free service.

Anyhoo all this to say that these cheapo denim trews were in fact a cornerstone of my wardrobe and now it all makes sense why I got so upset about my bag getting ruined at the dry cleaners, or why I was fully miffed at my Comptoir des Cotonniers coat only lasting one winter before it went all bobbly. Clothes that really work don't come along every day and excuse me coming over all Trinny and Susannah but it seems to me that this is the way to structure a wardrobe: forget about "Apple shapes with big boobs must wear empire line dresses" and "Are you a skittle or a brick shape?"

So, my winter cornerstones are:
Vintage military navy heavy wool trench coat (age: 60, adopted:10 years ago)..
Teal blue H&M T-shirt.. (age: 5)..
Massive Anna Corinna leather tote (will cry when it dies) (age: 1)..
APC wide leg navy corduroy worker trousers (age: 6 months)..
Stella McCartney for H&M black silk tuxedo skirt (age: 2)..
Beige cashmere APC sweater (age: 2 months)..
Stripy Marni cashmere sweater that I hardly ever wear anymore so it'll last forever (age: 6)..
1940s blouse top with little puffed 3/4 length sleeves (age: 60 ish, adopted: 6 months ago)..
Lyell 1940s style blouse top with little puffed 3/4 length sleeves (age: 1)..
Rutzou blue/grey plaid top (age: 3)..
Vintage plaid shirt (age: ?, adopted 1 year ago)..
2 pairs Miu Miu black wool trousers (age: 10)
White leather Converse (age: 4)..
Nubbly blue wrap long cardi bought in Florence (age: 12)..
Bruuns Bazaar metallic brown/bronze cardi and scarf and Naja Lauf satin kimono dress from trip to Copenhagen (age: 4)..
Soon to be R.I.P. denim trousers (age 12?)..
Long burgundy leather gloves (age 1)..
Vanessa Bruno navy wool button down dress (age 2)..

Sounds really boring, eh? Well at any one time or another I am usually wearing at least one of these items. Hmmm, lots of navy. Only one thing bought new this season (APC sweater). And that military coat goes through phases. Some winters I don't wear it at all but it's perfect for now - although it has always vaguely emitted an odour of curry powder.

What are your favourites/cornerstones and how long have you had them?

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The Dec/Jan issue of Paris Vogue guest edited by Charlotte Gainsbourg will be out on 29 November...

Tonight there's a FREE screening of This Is England at The Prince Charles Cinema...

The Darjeeling Limited will be released in the UK on 23 November. I've been waiting so long...have you seen the Wes Anderson short Hotel Chevalier with Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman? I watched it online a while ago but it looks like it's been removed. You can now only see it screened before The Darjeeling Limited or watch the 13 minute short in 4 parts on Youtube ...

On Gridskipper today (Beaujolais Nouveau Day) I encourage the drinking of wine for breakfast. Oh, you already were...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, maybe girlcrush is a little flippant when discussing the idolisation of a ninety five year old woman. She is officially my heroine. But before I finally dragged my arse the short distance over to Tate Modern to see the LB exhibition I knew her mostly as an art world personage - from pictures such as the one above taken by Robert Mapplethorpe in the eighties (and used in a Helmut Lang advertisement in the nineties.)

I thought I would be telling you how I got to the Tate, was strangely underwhelmed by "The Crack" and found myself randomly standing next to Ewan McGregor for the second time in the last ten years. Poor besotted chap; he's obviously been trying to track me down all this time since our first brief encounter and just couldn't find the words once I was within reach. I understand, really I do.

Blah blah blah, everything else fell away as soon as I entered the Louise Bourgeois exhibit. Ten rooms of work, one room in particular that contained the "cells" (rooms constructed out of reclaimed doors, a wooden water tower or metal cages filled with various objects) propelled me back round it three times. I'm not going to attempt to play serious art critic so I'll just leave it at saying it was the best exhibition I can remember ever seeing. Of her sculptures, even those that deal with the most distressing themes and are made of distressed materials are resolutely beautiful.

As I walked out of the exit I felt I wanted to go to Louise Bourgeois's house and have a cup of tea with her, hang out and get a glimpse of her daily life. At just that point I noticed the large video screen just outside the exit where they were showing the 1991 (I think) Arena documentary on her. The part I walked in on was where she's in her kitchen, opens a cupboard that contains ten neatly lined up jars of marmalade, takes one down, then tells the interviewer that all spoons must be cauterised over a flame before use to remove the germs, then proceeds to iron the pages of the NY Times flat.

I love her. She certainly has a special kind of magnetism that a huge crowd of people stood or sat transfixed watching her in the full length documentary being by turns destructive, flirty, argumentative, cute, petulant, wise, funny, serious, vulnerable, tough, but always with this particular stubborn twinkle in her eyes.

{img © The Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe}

Monday, November 12, 2007


Oh dear. Try watching this without pissing yourself laughing...
It's my new catchphrase.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I'm an intermittent and not very committed flickrer. Once in a while I'll put up a few photos and I like to look at those of my contacts but me commenting is rare. I just kind of dip in and out....but I'm pretty happy with it like that. Even happier when I'm contacted (as in made a contact!) by someone whose photostream is as amazing and gorgeous as Marikska's.

From Marikska's Flickr:

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I am being kindly picked up to go and retrieve my car from its post fireworks display/drank a vat of mulled wine resting place. I am still snoozing when the doorbell rings. I brush my teeth and pull on the cosiest clothes I can find. We go outside. I am wearing: bedhead hair, a bobbly cashmere jumper, track pants, Ugg boots (to hand because they now serve as slippers), a pashmina (I swear this is true) and Rayban Wayfarers*. I am not clutching a Starbucks Venti takeout cup or a small dog but I still look like I've just left an L.A. yoga class that started in 2001.

I have no food in the house (as usual) and wonder if I can go to the supermarket looking like this; which I never do on a Sunday as this is when everyone else goes. My entire life in London is constructed (thanks to working from home) around doing things at a different time to everyone else. Work all Friday night, late night partying on a Wednesday, go to the supermarket hardly ever, but at no other time than a week day mid morning.

I decide to brave it, fearing this will be the time I bump into the ex I never bump into. But it turns out, every other chick in Sainsbury's is wearing a variation of my "outfit". We are all wandering round like Stepford Wives played by off duty Desperate Housewives, putting organic this and fairtrade that into our trolleys.

(*Except the Wayfarers should really be Aviators.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007


You know how sentimental I am about my clothes. Can't bear to part with them most of the time. It's a miracle that two pairs of shoes - worn until totally destroyed to the point of being unwearable - and almost unrecognizable as footwear (one pair Marni, one pair Dries Van Noten) have at last been taken out of the wardrobe and unceremoniously chucked in the bin.

But there is method in my shoe hoarding madness sometimes. Biker boots: Proper motorcycle boots bought in a biker shop in ooh, around 1990. They were the perfect companion to dyed long black hair, holey oversize grey jumpers, a sullen expression and a nice little line in door slamming and whining, "No one understaaands meeee." I had a grungy stoner phase and thankfully it didn't last that long. It turned out that wearing kick arse heels and going to clubs was a lot more fun. But the boots, the boots...So well made, such good quality I couldn't bear to throw them away, infused though they were with that "difficult age". Each time the style came round again I'd put them on, then no, no can't do it. The echo of teenage angst was too strong, the memories of where they'd been - if I remember rightly mostly hanging around under slides in the local park having Thunderbird spilled on them. I tried to wear them last winter and could not shake the taint of teen spirit.

Now I am being told by every magazine I look at to wear biker boots. I go out and everyone is wearing biker boots. I take mine down from their dusty top shelf home and look at them. I sniff them. I consider selling them on ebay and buying another pair sans connotations. But I have yet to see another pair as perfect as these and with inflation another pair would cost me around twice as much. So I put them on, I wear them out. I do not feel the urge to kick anything, loiter outside McDonalds all day or buy a ten pack of B&H; though I did buy a My Bloody Valentine CD recently.

The key, I'm thinking, is to pair the boots with clothes that could not possibly be construed as in any way stoner-ish. So opaque black (not woolly) tights, a short dress, an APC cardi and a smile do the trick. Nubbly knits could be problematic if they have anything approaching a "smoking" hole in the cuff to put your thumb through. Unfortunately plaid (yet another renaissance of something I really like) may also have to be avoided in conjunction with the boots. (I'm looking at you, Judd Nelson.)

The look is somewhere between Parisienne slouch and my favourite phrase du jour coined by Fashionista: The '90s Fashion Editor Look - so funny, so true! And the boots are super comfortable since my own feet wore them in for me. But don't talk to me about Doc Martens. Neither Daisy Lowe in the ads or Agyness wearing them will convince me. I am not going there again. Ever.