Sunday, July 31

PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS

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Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” – Robert Frank


Photographs taken of me by my Dad with his Leica, while I struggled to capture the dog with my Lomo. There is a contrast created with a Leica camera that is replicated in no other. There are no 'grey' areas. If only real life was that simple.

FOR THE LOVE OF YVES

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Any long standing readers of mine will probably have picked up by now that I have a huge reverence and preference for the late Yves Saint Laurent, for his gift for luxurious glamour and for how he revolutionised fashion as we know it, forging a bridge from the realms of elitist haute couture to the dressing culture inspired by the street : pret-a-porter as we know it today. In Paris in March, I went to see the retrospective Rive Gauche exhibition at the Fondation Yves Saint Laurent - Pierre Bergé on Avenue Marceau, where 70 of the designer's iconic looks from his 'glory days' between 1961 and 1978 were on show. These were the clothes for women who were independent, active and living during a time of social revolution which inspired them to not just dress, but live entirely differently to the generation before. Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche collections weren't just more accessible and more affordable than couture, but more practical too. Safari suits, Le Smoking, trouser suits and long loose skirt shapes were his signatures that appealed to the youthful woman with a bohemian yet modern edge.


Photos were prohibited at the exhibition (unfortunately, so was trying on any of the looks, funnily enough) but the room was alive with colour from the midnight indigo blue to rich sandy mustard  hues, and my favourite exhibit was a display case of Moroccan jewellry in heaviest silver, enamel and coloured stones. One could have imagined Loulou de la Falaise elbow-deep in chunky bracelets and silver rings, once upon a time running about the very same building we stood in. 


Sadly the exhibition has now closed (I could have written this earlier, I suppose) but the book accompanying the exhibition is available to buy online.

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La Vie en Mode
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Because I have no gift-shop self control, I started my own small collection of Yves Saint Laurent 'Love' cards. Yves  designed a small poster every year and sent out cards to his nearest and dearest as a New Year's greeting. 1978 and 1993 were the only years he did not send cards, referring to these occasions later as 'years without love'.


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"Nothing is as beautiful as the naked body. The most beautiful garment that can clothe a woman is the arms of the man who loves her. But for those who do not have the chance to find that happiness, I am there."

Thursday, July 28

RED DRESS

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The generous souls at SoFeminine.co.uk recently gave me £50 to style a 'bargain' outfit with. Faced with a glorious summer's day in London,  I went for this vintage red minidress (from Rokit, £25), vintage snakeskin belt with silver buckle (Beyond Retro, £9) and wide-brimmed straw hat (Beyond Retro, £16). Then, as if I wasn't fitting enough blogger stereotypes, I put on my JC Litas. 

PS. If you hear that Special K are looking for a new face, please do get in touch.

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Wednesday, July 27

NEW IN TOWN

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The August fashion issues are often overlooked; the trend-heavy September bibles are on their way and everyones gone on holiday to Ibiza or Mustique or ...Tresco. But I find the August magazines are often rich in quirky, trend-free editorials, like this one in Vogue Paris featuring a shabby Sasha Pivarova channelling a cross between Edie Beale and Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp (not to mention rich in 80s Madonna references).  Sasha could be a struggling intern, relying on a trusted charity shop mannish coat and turned-up mens' trousers and vintage sunglasses to create her look. 

The term 'trend-free', or the tried and tested 'style-over-fashion' motto has always been in my greater sartorial interest. I despise the cultural and ecological wastage of much disposable high-street fashion, prefering to buy second-hand clothes of higher quality that I could never afford brand new. I treasure these one of-a-kind pieces year in and year out, and because of the superior materials, they never decay into a misshapen lump of polycotton misery. This quality concept is also on the mind of Tom Ford, I was pleased to read today in Grazia in an interview about his own label womenswear collection.

"These are clothes that are made for women who appreciate the quality [...] They may have a vintage piece of their mother's alongside something from this season and favourites from past seasons. This is how the wardrobes of the women whose style I most admire work. [...] I don't want to be reviewed. I don't want the press to criticize me for not doing a new skirt shape if last season's skirt shape still looks great."


Yes, Tom. And 'hooray' for perennial skirt shapes.

Tuesday, July 19

CARELESS TWITTER COSTS LIVES



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Wearing vintage Bogner silk shirt, my Mum's; Zara skater skirt, River Island sandals, Prada fringed bag

On Brick Lane, London, eerily quiet on a summer weekday. Went with a heart full of hope and a clean notebook to see the Freerange exhibition at the Truman Brewery only to find it was closed on Tuesdays. I consoled myself by eating a cherry rum lolly and running up the teeniest of tiny bills at Rokit and Beyond Retro respectively. I will always have a place in my heart for this mile square of East London; my affections warmed in the summer I lived in a concrete flat with a cracked roof terrace on Bethnal Green Road aged 18, whilst working in the fashion department at Vogue. Sundays spent wearing platform sandals and drinking Desperados at Ninety feet East. Admiring stolen bicycles. Tipsily shopping for stir-fried vegetables on the walk home along baked pavements. 

If you had a chance to see Freerange, do pass on your superior knowledge.

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Sunday, July 17

A SUNDAY COCKTAIL

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What has been inspiring me this week:

1. Frida Kahlo's use of bold, brilliant colour against dark hair and eyebrows
2. The perfect summer outfit via Tobacco&Leather
3. Studying a map of my soon-to-be new stomping ground - Paris
4. A painting which caught my eye and pulled at my heart at the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Gallery - Venus as a Boy by Wen Wu
5. This shot of Arizona Muse in August's Vogue UK which cements the hype, as well as a newfound  respect for pairing rust red with cornflower blue.
6. Impressive lighting over the dancefloor at As You Like It, Newcastle.
7. Guerilla art has been taking over monuments and stairways in Edinburgh over the last week
8. Interiors which meld fashion, colour and a taste for great art to effect
9. Clusters of hanging lanterns
10. I take off my hat to purveyors of the effortless, smoulderingly sexy sophisticated look, for example Charlotte Rampling

Wednesday, July 13

THESE BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS

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When the lovely folk at Jersey Pearl gifted me the gorgeous 2-metre strand necklace from their Twenties collection (worn above with faux pearl and diamanté necklace from Martine Webster), I knew within a second the perfect occasion for their début: A prohibition-era themed country party. Our 'speakeasy' was a spectacular barn, and everyone seized the occasion in costume - I've gotten so into the fancy dress party trend now that I always get a little disappointed if there isn't one. 
I've read and re-read Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies and the Fitzgerald novels enough times to develop a serious desire to host my own Bright Young Things party for many moons now, and Ned & Jamie's prohibition soirée (wrong continent, right epoch) was the best opportunity I've had to indulge in my Gatsby's party dream, complete with genuine classic car. 
There is something so inherently sophisticated about wearing pearls, especially real pearls (they're my first!). My Jersey Pearls have a sublime lustre to them and are beautifully strung and knotted in silk. I'm bewitched. 



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Tuesday, July 12

EIGHT x PALLADIUM

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Dress 3.1 Philip Lim Leather jacket Balenciaga Headband fleamarket Pallabrouse boots by Palladium

A short while ago I blogged about Palladium's 'Explorer' videos, and the hidden gems idea has been playing in my mind ever since. Having received my own pair of Palladium boots (thanks to Vice magazine), I set off determined to document my own city's hidden gems. Edinburgh is home to me for several months of the year and as undoubtedly one of the most touristy cities in the UK, its many more thoughtful, quietly beautiful or hidden - dare I say 'darker'? This is a city with grim history after all - spots are overlooked. 
That's all very well said, but with the boots on and all, I got so distracted testing their incredible versatility and extreme-sport mode that I got completely carried away climbing on things. Next thing you know, I'll be attempting parkour. 
So 'Edinburgh's hidden gems' will have to wait for now. I'm completely besotted by my boots.


And to prove just what a jovial effect the boots had on me, click here to see a photo of me wearing a candy floss moustache.

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photographs by Kate Woods follow her blog HERE

Sunday, July 10

OXFORD KIMONO

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Wearing Topshop kimono, Zara skater skirt, River Island chain sandals and felt hat and vintage broderie anglaise top from Armstrong's Vintage Emporium. Pearl rope necklace courtesy of Jersey Pearl.

Earlier this week Kate and I made the kind of spontaneous trip you can only make when you find yourself with a good friend, at a mischievous loose end with a shiny car that doesn't belong to you parked in the driveway outside. I had never been to Oxford before, and why not continue my tour of Brideshead Revisited  sets which began in May with my birthday at Castle Howard? A sunny afternoon in July is not the ideal time to visit the university town if you're looking for the genuine Oxford experience; thousands of foreign tourists on walking tours moved in swarms around the colleges, peering in through latticed glass window panes and up dusty staircases. Not that Oxford doesn't still bewitch in the late afternoon sun- my God is it beautiful - that perfect blend of classical and Georgian architecture in the warm sandstone pillars and domes rising above cobbled quadrangles or terrazzas. Too poor to punt or to lunch, we took to walking the streets with a bag of apple bonbons, dodging bicycles and mormon gangs (you get all sorts here, you see) and being chased by a shuffly old man round a rose garden.

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Photographs by Kate Woods and myself

Saturday, July 9

OH HANNELI!

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Dear Hanneli,
Could you be any more dreamworthy? 
This girl is absolutely killing it - and how we love her for it.

Hanneli.com

Friday, July 8

TWENTY-ONE AND UP FOR FUN



MY 21ST BIRTHDAY PARTY

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I'd had my heart set on a bollywood themed party ever since I travelled to India at 18. I bought the pink and cerulean saree in Dehli and have kept it neatly folded in a drawer ever since, awaiting its occasion.
Three months of solid planning did I invest in this endeavour, and when the date finally rolled around, I couldn't quite believe it was actually happening. Guests came from far and wide to Edinburgh: London, France, Italy ... I can't tell you how touching it is when you see someone arriving in full regalia with a big grin on their face. It absolutely poured with rain for days before and for the duration of the party, and 15 minutes before my guests arrived I was up to my elbows in mud, desperately trying to salvage what remained of my set-up for a 'garden' party and on my knees in darkness in the tent, re-fusing a lighting rig damaged by rain. I've never gotten ready quicker in my life - 3 and a half minutes - a new record!
I was completely overwhelmed the whole night: by everyone's costumes, by the divine presents (including my beautiful Taj-esque cake hand baked by my sister) and the divine presences of people who have meant the world to me the last 21 years.  Ten hours disappeared in a bottle of Cobra beer and a waft of incense (I still had time to fit in an outfit change of course) and I woke up the next morning thinking 'Oh...it's over!' and wished I could do it all again, and pay better attention this time.

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photographs by David Hall
The Indian tent is handmade in Rajasthan, provided by Delightfully Lavish Events. I would wholeheartedly recommend.
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