Monday, September 26

ONE DAY WE'RE GONNA LIVE IN PARIS

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Paris (Aeroplane Remix) by rodrigosupertramp
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In May 2010 I went to see Aeroplane, a Belgian DJ duo, play Mint Club in Leeds, without a doubt one of the UKs best venues for dance music. I have a huge love for electro music, and although the gig was right in the middle of my Uni exams, I just knew I had to go (I wrote about it here). They finished an electric set with their hit remix of Friendly Fires 'Paris' and in the crowd, surrounded by just a few friends, I experienced a sensation of genuine happiness. A hopeful, excited, knot-in-your-stomach kind of desire. There was no anti-climax to my high, only a continuous moving forward, of making plans for Paris.  
        One day we're gonna live in Paris /I promise, I'm on it /When I'm bringing in the money /I promise, I'm on it...
The song stuck in my head for weeks, which turned soon to months, and still it is the highest played song on my iTunes. At that point, my only memories of Paris were the fleeting souvenirs of a day trip from London with my parents when I was 8 years old: the most vivid being the image of an Indian woman on the metro with hair which grazed her ankles, and I was struck by the beauty of the shimmering black cascade. Then my Mum took me to the Galleries Lafayette and we picked out a whole wardrobe of outfits for me, ALL in yellow and blue.
      And every night we'll watch the stars/They'll be out for us, they'll be out for us/And every night, the city lights/They'll be out for us, they'll be out for us
The outgrown  blue and yellow outfits were folded neatly into a crate for the charity shop, and  suddenly I was 20 years old and I realised I knew nothing of this city, the City of Lights, the toast of Europe. So, on a dancefloor in Leeds, when that Aeroplane song came on, I made a vow to myself: I was going to live in Paris. 
      So go and pack your bags for the long haul/We're gonna lose ourselves/I promise/This time it's you and me for evermore...
     ...And every night we'll watch the stars/They'll be out for us, they'll be out for us/And every night, the city lights/They'll be out for us, they'll be out for us...
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 Photos taken by my Mum, who who visited this weekend, and inspired by the ethereally charming Isabelof Bohemian Musings.
The other night we drank rosé and spoke haphazard Françeutsch to each other (that's French-Deutsch)





Sunday, September 25

CHARLIE MAY SS12

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I was not able to make it to London to see Charlie May's presentation of her first womenswear collection in person, but I instantly fell in love with her vision - simple, pure, insouciantly feminine - just like the girl herself. Charlie, whose craft was honed in the studio of London designer Thomas Tait, includes Anne Demeulemeester in her greatest design inspirations. Charlie May's perfect mélange of pretty and tough appears to me as the essence of today's 21st century girl : empowered, sleek, professional yet playful. Assymetrical sheer skirts evoke dishevelled vintage lingerie, yet a black high-necked vest suggests an armour. There was a medieval charm in Charlie May's studded headbands, but this girl is no damsel in distress. 
The women who colour our history books wore costumes so extravagant that their daily activities were restricted to seated salon parties, reading or at a physical stretch, 'turns around an ornamental garden', dragging their heavy embroidered skirts behind them with deceptively light steps, like a swan. 
Charlie May perfectly captures the point to which we, as women who clothe ourselves for the world, have come. We have adopted the well-cut trouser, the shirt cuff, the leather jacket from men, and made them our own. The Charlie May girl is delicately strong, who captures but also commands a room. 
The models appeared to me as ballet dancers warming up for a performance, supple and fluid but a force of muscle - just like the clothes. 
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Photo credits : Russ McLintock
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The designer herself wearing the piéce de la résistance of her collection - the blush leather jacket. To contact Charlie visit her blog Girl à la Mode. She is now taking orders for her S/S 12 collection.

THIS SPLENDID TABLE

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"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." – Ernest Hemingway

I have now been living in Paris for 45 days. 
When you come to a legendary city as a tourist, you try to immerse yourself in a foreign idealism as quickly as possible - forcing yourself to see as many myths as possible in a day, swallowing language, spitting out clichés. A long weekend is spent treading pavements, denying fatigue and perhaps on the last evening you sit in a half-rate bar somewhere near Saint Michel after gloating  round Shakespeare and Company and say 'Yes, this is it! Ah, Paris - it's mine!"
As a new resident, the city opens itself to you slowly. For the first few weeks I was here, I didn't stray farther than the 11th arrondissement where I live on the East of Paris, Le Marais, the Left Bank and the 1st, where I work.  You begin to realise that going for 'dinner' and just drinking wine is the only way you can afford anything on the menu, and that the Sacre Couer actually looks far more spectacular from the Pompidou Centre balcony than the steps of Montmartre themselves. You learn the opening times, and then the cooking times of the bakeries in your quartier off by heart and that you MUST be seen out for 'aperos' with your work friends on a thursday night but never on a Saturday night. 
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Paris' speciality is grandeur - sheer scale, size and splendour. What other city's Police HQ resembles one of King Ludwig's castles? Paris's Prefecture de Police on l'Ile de la Cité does. Sometimes the landscape can be overwhelming, so I went in search of a different kind of grandeur - one of decay and names lost in time. A personal splendour, to be found in the Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th. My brother came for the weekend, and we went in search of our lost heroes, dressed in black and dark glasses. Edith Piaf, Proust, Chopin, Oscar Wilde are buried here amongst Communists, Jews, Artists, Playwrights, Mayors, Poets, Lawyers and burned out Lizard Kings - yes, Jimmy Morrison also lies here. 

I have always had a fondness for cemeteries. The monuments erected to honour the dead far exceed any praise for the living cast in stone or marble. I could have wandered the cobbled paths for hours, counting stained glass windows and dried purple roses. The tomb of Oscar Wilde has been defaced in the name of love - I don't consider it disrespectful as I know the man himself would consider it all a right lark, up there in heaven surrounded by a harem of young boy cherubs...

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Pont Alexandre - the most spectacularly grand bridge in Paris
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Oh Oscar, you rogue.
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View from the Italian galleries, the Louvre.
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Tributes for the Lizard King
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Parisians are ants

Tuesday, September 13

EIGHT + FRASSY : ACCESSORIES PARTY

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I wear vintage belt, Rayban sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag and Frassy Rags ring
I am always intrigued by the American magazine industry's fascination with fashion accessories. There are always whole departments in the masthead for accessories : Senior accessories editor, accessories market editor, EXECUTIVE accessories director, accessories assistant etc etc. In the UK magazines, accessories are covered under the umbrella of 'fashion' and that's that. (I work in press - hence why I have a lot of time to notice these things.) But imagine being an accessories editor, spending your whole life surrounded by small objects of adornment? - it couldn't be too bad, why, we've all seen those pictures of the Vogue shoe cupboard in New York. Audrey and I, well, we're pretty into accessories I'd say. Audrey is rarely seen without one of her gorgeous signature hats and sunglasses, I am usually sporting some sort of enormous waistbelt and a whole load of bangles (not in these shots though, interestingly.) 
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I wear Topshop leotard and skirt, Alexander McQueen velvet skull scarf. Audrey wears ASOS t-shirt and Native Heart denim shorts. More Frassy Rags rings. 
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Saturday, September 10

VOGUE'S FASHION NIGHT PARIS

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It took quite some energy to will myself to cross town for the Vogue Fashion Night on Thursday, mostly because it was my day off and I quite fancied a day off from fashion, and also because my friend Hugh and I were enjoying some serious animal entertainment from Youtube, namely things along this line. But also because I know that the Paris Fashion's Night Out isn't a patch on the London version; it's a lot more snooty, there isn't really that much going on in the stores and it's isolated on just one street - Avenue Montaigne. In all the stores I went into, I never saw anyone buy anything so I'm not sure entirely how successful it is in Paris as an marketing tool, but hey - it's always fun to mingle with the well-heeled, in any city where there's free champagne. 
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The 7th arrondisement by night // Hugh - a great friend from university - and I at Prada // Super sketchy Prada mannequins which looked like domestic abuse victims with bruised necks // Audrey and Haleigh
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Haleigh's dashing ensemble
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Me snapped by Audrey. I wore Zara fedora and orange fur stole and Andy Warhol print Lisa Perry dress // The Vogue mini coopers // Chloe balloons
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More victims at Prada. I think extreme heat in the store may have been the cause of their death, it certainly caused us to burn up!
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GREAT rock&roll cover band at the Chrome Hearts store. You can't see here, but the lead singer had two cigars stuck in the back of his music stand. This party actually got shut down by police while we were there. 
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Our Chrome Hearts crooner // Prada windows // Model in a bath at Chrome Hearts. I can think of worse ways to spend an evening - she had a full glass in her hand all night!

Thursday, September 8

WE'LL TAKE MANHATTAN

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This 1962 Vogue UK shoot was the beginning of a fashion relationship which challenged expectations of photography at the time and became a legend in its own right. Candid and spontaneous, David Bailey took then 18-year old Jean Shrimpton out of the stuffy photographers studio and onto the streets of New York, armed with just a camera and a teddy bear. Diana Vreeland, editor of American Vogue at the time, greeted the unknowns like celebrities: “But they are adorable,” Vreeland cried. “England. Has. Arrived.” A one-episode drama to be shown on BBC4 later this year called 'We'll take Manhattan' aims to capture the spirit of the pair, their love affair and the art they created together, centred around that famous 1962 shoot Young Ideas Goes West.

I used to have a lot of pictures of Jean Shrimpton around my room when I was younger - it was her coltish limbs and sad, round eyes which struck me as so beautiful. When I was studying at a summer fashion in NYC a few years ago, I picked up a great big paperback from one of the 5th avenue book stalls along the park titled Models. It chronologically documents the modelling industry and the stand-out girls from each decade. The 1960s chapter included a story of a very young teenage Shrimpton being apprached by a sleazy old man at a races, or a polo match, and he invited her to come and sit in his Rolls Royce with him. After a few minutes of his seductive talk, as she sat nervously in silence, he started to 'stroke the tops of her coltish thighs'. And leggy Jean Shrimpton took her coltish thighs with her and ran right out of the car very fast and didn't stop running. I've always advised that beautiful girls keep very fit, because it's always important to be able to run very fast.

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via Iconology

Tuesday, September 6

PARIS, TEXAS

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Photos by Audrey & Haleigh

Saturday night at Frassy HQ: with Audrey back from Spain, Haleigh having returned from the States and designer Michelle Goldie on a long weekend, it was a good enough excuse as any to throw an impromptu wig party. We all wear Frassy Spheres.
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Sunday, September 4

A SUNDAY COCKTAIL 4.09.11


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This week I've been lamenting changing my dip-dye from pink (1) to a very standard blonde back in May and keep experiencing rising temptation to dye it back. However this picture (2) of Jane Seymour keeps me reaching for the argan oil rather than the dye, as I continue in my quest for waist-length hair. In Paris, cheeky street art (3) keeps me entertained on the way to work, while over in the 7th arrondissement at Le Bon Marché, So London – a 1000 square metre exhibition dedicated to all things British exhibition opened this week. Iris Apfel (5) is incredible at 90, a heroine for die-hard 'accessorisers' like myself who has championed a love for beautiful materials and turned her passion into a business which has taken her all over the world (and into the White House under no less than 7 presidents.) Watch the video below for a taste of her charmingly monotone dialogue. My A/W look is all about a 60s french silhouette in burnished colours - red, orange, cream, with high boots, short suede miniskirts and a wool blazer topped with a fedora hat, like in this August editorial in L'Officiel (6). I keep thinking to Jane Birkin (7), who championed the 'English girl in Paris' style by uniting conservative Paris classics like a beige trench with London cheekiness in her super-short skirts. And to end on an art line, I do suggest you admire the photography of August Sander, whose portraits of 20th century folk, including Thomas Mann's daughter Erika (8).





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