Tuesday, March 24, 2009


...now all I need is for a mystery benefactor to buy me a ticket to somewhere hot and dry so I can wear it.

Birthday present ruffle bikini from Reiss, straw hat from French Connection, (Studio Violet Friends poster in background - birthday present from me to me)

Monday, March 23, 2009


One of the best things, no The Best Thing about my street is that it's lined with huge plum trees. Forget Japan! Each time I step out of my house or round the corner into my currently pink cloud of a street I can't help but gasp. There is a plum tree planted roughly every 20 paces (I paced it out especially for this post!) and they alternate between green leafed (light pink blossom) and dark red leaves (those have the big puffy pepto bismol pink blossoms) At the moment the lighter blossoms are out and the darker ones are budding nicely. It's like living in a fairytale make believe world - at night the blossoms glow in the light of the lamp posts. I wish the blossom could stay forever and that I could capture the magic of it more successfully for you.

Ah, spring...I can feel my bleakness thawing bud by bud. Winter: you did not succeed in killing me.

These blossoms are for Elizabeth* - sadly erstwhile Bluepoppette, but who continues to be a creatively prolific powerhouse while living with 3 feet of snow until May. She is the creator of Squam Art Workshops, now in its second year, which just looks absolutely amazing. Are any of you going? I mean, look at the place:

It would please me greatly if, when asked if I have any travel plans, I'd say, "Well yes, I just happen to be going to a really cool lakeside arts retreat by the White Mountains, how about you?"

I was thinking of going to the fall workshops in September which focus on writing and visual arts (and I'd better make a decision as the classes are getting really full, though there are still some spaces.) I was tempted by the spring workshops in June, which I bet will be buzzed about all over the craft-o-sphere (there are some really amazing teachers at both sessions - they even have Derek and Lauren from The Curiosity Shoppe teaching a workshop) but even though I think I'm so nifty with a needle, a retreat to play with words and art? I could really do with something like that.

*BP forever (waves flimsy homemade flag).

Sunday, March 22, 2009


What's wrong with embedding? Here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Annoyingly, this blog is listed in a blog directory I didn't ask to be in as being about "Shopping, Shopping and more Shopping!" Um, no it's not. OK, I mention clothes quite a bit, but whatever software they used to trawl my site for keywords would not have found "Shopping!" written about all that much; and certainly not in a capitalized manner. Shopping in London doesn't float my boat that much to be honest. I only really enjoy buying clothes in Paris and I can't really do that much anymore with the current exchange rate.

But today they are actually right because I went shopping, sorry Shopping! - in and around Oxford Street no less. I went to: Uniqlo, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Zara, American Apparel, Reiss, French Connection, Muji and Liberty (but only for a browse and a cuppa - their 15% off for cardholders thing wasn't enough when the scarf I fell in love with was £430). You may or may not know that I have a few, um, holes in my wardrobe and since it was my birthday yesterday I decided to do a bit of wardrobe basics replenishment, as cheaply as possible, instead of feeling bitter about having to wear the same three T-shirts in rotation.

First up, Steven Alan at Uniqlo. I had a feeling I might have it all to myself and I did. Pristine rails with every piece in every size available. As I was trying stuff on, a few people drifted through trying on the odd thing but it was in no way designer collaboration mayhem as in days of yore. Probably less to do with the "current climate" than Steven Alan not being heard of here unless you've been Shopping! in New York or were curious after the launch was mentioned in Grazia. But yes, so, all.so.cheap. I mean, everything was roughly £20 and even better had managed to avoid the Uniqlo + me curse whereby everything there is not quite right: the fabric is too heavy, there's topstitching where I don't want it to be, the stripe is too wide etc etc. None of that. Did I mention it was really cheap? This made it hard to choose but in the end I bought the crossback dress (pictured) in black.

And beige. And military green. I couldn't choose. The beige could perhaps be a bit Roger Whittaker, the green a bit Travis Bickle - do you see? Oh no, you can't see actually. The front is button down with two sets of patch pockets. I'm allowing myself to keep two, but definitely the black. I also bought a stripy dress, a stripy shirt and a gingham shirt and still struggled to spend £100. I also tried on a pair of Opening Ceremony mens' khaki trews but the cut didn't work on me.

After that it was all downhill and apart from a new pair of Muji slippers, a straw hat and a bikini top (apparently I'm confident there will be a summer) I didn't get anything else. Liberty is looking AMAZING, or should that be Amazing! at the moment and I saw Ines de la Fressange in the shoe dept who looked exactly as one would expect her too: thin and glossy and surrounded by tanned euro accented men.

But more importantly: beige or green?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


With reserves already weakened from traipsing round the Swedish Hell, I had almost decided to buy the rip off Florence Knoll sofa and the rip off Eero Saarinen table. I had tried to guilt my friend's parents into selling me their original tulip table many times and failed. I had been sniffed at by furniture dealers and had been confused by reproduction tables. Enough. So what if my flat ends up looking like page 68 of the Ikea catalogue. But I wasn't quite convinced.

We arrive at the table on display. Pretty good. Smaller than the real tulip table, a little wobbly perhaps and with a not-quite-right base that reminds of outdoor table parasol stands. But a tenth of the price of a real one. Still unconvinced, I lean closer to be confronted by this:

*In case you can't read it, it says: I am a happy table...I like to be took home...help me...Ikea.

Monday, March 16, 2009


*Steven Alan for Uniqlo (and Opening Ceremony among others) launches INTERNATIONALLY (whoo!) on Thursday March 19th.

*Carine Roitfeld is on CNN on Wednesday March 18th.

*Studio Violet is having a SALE starting on Wednesday March 18th.

...I've been a little forgetful lately...

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I've had this Henry Clarke photo from Vogue saved for so long I can't exactly remember the story I was going to use it to illustrate. One of the dresses is by Marcel Fenez - I think it's on the bird sitting under the tree. I only know this because my Granny worked for Marcel Fenez - one of those long forgotten names - not quite a couture house, more a production house. I remember her saying that Madame Fenez would shout at her all the time in French and she just smiled because she didn't understand a word.

When I worked in Bond Street, I walked down Maddox Street every morning and one day noticed an old brass plaque saying, yes, Marcel Fenez. Then I discovered that my Grandpa's office (he was in textiles - or as went the joke - he travelled in ladies underwear) was in Margaret Street, twenty seconds from where I was living at the time in Wells Street; and that a later office of my Grandmother's had been on the corner of Wells Street itself, three doors away from my flat. These threads make London more interesting to me. I may have only known my Granny as a disapproving battleaxe pensioner (!) and remember my Grandpa only vaguely but hearing that in their prime they hung out at the Cafe Royal (RIP), Cafe de Paris and Le Caprice makes me wonder at their lives back then. (I've just had a spooky deja vu that I've posted this whole story before - oh dear, sorry if I have and tell me because I can hardly remember my own name at the moment!)

I need to get back into reading Something Wholesale - it's about the fashion business in that same era and it's amazing to note how different things were. The coat department for example was called the Cloak and Mantle department and everyone is all Mr this and Miss that.

How different everything is now. Even with most designers going for recession black and safe shapes, with people talking about how it's all ground to a halt and slowed down. Most of the fashion week talk is now not about the clothes, but more likely to be twitter reports of what happened/who was in the front row. And when I see a Dries van Noten coat and think: Ha! That looks exactly like a bathrobe (exit 5) I know something has shifted for me. I don't mean that in a negative way but the former me would never have mocked the Dries, even inwardly. (I mean, come on it totally does.)

All this to say that having just thrown out most of my clothes, the nature of fashion has been brought up close to me. I've always been of the philosophy of buying good things that last (come to think of it that was drummed in to me by my grandparents) but everything changes and you change too. Fashion moves, that's what it does. Hot young labels I believed in just a few years ago are forgotten, the few *It* (ugh) items I have seem ridiculous. It's been a revelation when deciding what to get rid of, how many connotations my clothes have to me, especially when you've been holding onto things for 15 years or more. And when you sit there and go, no that reminds me of such and such, no that always makes me feel not quite right it suddenly seems quite sensible to chuck it out and start again fresh.

There are so few things that stand the test of time: a Chanel 2:55 bag, a YSL le smoking. But that could change and you can't predict accurately. Or is it better (obviously not considering the environment) to buy cheap(er) things and throw them out when you've had enough? The Sessun stuff I bought last September has been pretty much all I've worn all winter and I've loved it. It was exactly right for me, for the time. Though the 3/4 length sleeve jumper is now short sleeved and full of bobbles from being washed, the duffel jacket leaked dye into the lining and the buttons changed colour when I dry cleaned it and the booties took a bit of work to sort out the squeaking, it's been my extremely cost effective uniform. But next winter, I'm pretty sure it won't be. (Ooh am I trying to talk myself into buying the whole Sessun collection each season?)

I don't know, maybe it's a post moth destruction phase but I can't quite see myself buying/wearing designer clothes anymore. Or as my neighbour so cheerily quipped when I told her strangers kept talking to me; "It's because you're more approachable 'cos you haven't got any of your designer clothes anymore." Uh, cheers for pointing that out. When I look at something and remember the extreme lengths I went to in the hunt for it, only to now see it full of holes and going straight in the bin, I feel a little bit sick, a little bit stupid, a little bit like I'll be buying everything at Gap from now on.

{photo: Henry Clarke}

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Still not quite back to normal, whatever normal was. A random seven things tag though = manageable!

I think I've done this one a few times but not for a while and it's nice to be tagged - thanks to Gisele.

1. Every morning I have to drink a cup of PG Tips tea with soya milk and eat a dunkable biscuit, preferably ginger.

2. I love cocktail gherkins, eating mayonnaise out of the jar, Kalles Kaviar from the tube and the cheapest cods' roe.

3. When I broke my arm (age 6?) I thought they re-used the plaster so I kept it pristinely clean and wouldn't let anyone touch it. When I went back to the hospital to have it removed and I saw other peoples' casts with drawings and signatures all over them. I became very upset and there wasn't even a biro to hand.

4. Lola hates going outside on her own so I walk with her in the garden, then run inside once she's occupied chasing butterflies.

5. I have very good eyesight and I can lipread from as far away as I can see (my mum was deaf) - makes for some interesting observations.

6. Often just after I fall asleep I wake up with a sharp intake of breath and find myself standing in front of the bathroom cabinet. (Years of having to take a tablet before bed.)

7. When I was little I had a gang which operated from my conservatory. It was inspired by the comics of Dennis The Menace and you had to earn badges for things like catapulting worms at adults, switching the sugar and salt round and various things to do with itching powder and whoopee cushions. Those were the days.

*edit* Oops I'm out of practice. Forgot to tag anyone else. Well, no pressure but if you'd like to, go ahead...

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I love the bags, I like the shoes; but more than that I LOVE getting even more tantalising glimpses of Sofia's apartment.

This really made my day. I don't know why, it just did. If you don't know I'll let you read it and have the OH. MY. GOD. moment. Ah, love in springtime. And a very classy way to let it be known.

Coco Avant Chanel
is being released much sooner than I realised. (22 April in France). I can't wait.
Here's the trailer...(why do trailers always have such bad music?)