Friday, 30 July 2010

Diamond in the rough

Just spotted this sad, lonely Balenciaga bag sitting next to a pile of trash round the corner from my apartment building. I wonder who bought it, or what it contained? I was sorely tempted to take a peek inside but then the crazy homeless guy who always mutters "fucking bastard" to himself was catching up with me...

Ah Oxford,
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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Shopping the weekend away

Strange as it might seem, I don't actually spend all my free time shopping - mainly due to a lack of funds, but also because it can be very very tiring.  Take this weekend for example, when I managed to shop for 8 hours in a row, which was completely exhausting.  But it was all for a good cause...

A colleague and his partner are having their wedding reception next month on a boat in Hamburg's harbour area (so excited, this is the first wedding I'll have been to!) and they asked me to help look for a party frock for Helene.  Now normally my shopping trips are quite spontaneous and I usually do not go out the house with a preprepared plan of attack, but Helene had quite specific ideas.  I generally don't think it's a good idea to go shopping knowing what you're looking for, because then you can miss out on real gems, and you often feel disappointed that you didn't get what you had in mind.  But this is a wedding and the bride gets what she wants...  Unfortunately, since the AW collections are coming into stores with full force right now, finding an appropriate dress was a little bit difficult.  We hit Selfridges, Coast, Reiss, Whistles, Monsoon, stopped for lunch at Côte, before finally deciding that Coast had the best selection of dresses to suit Helene's tastes.  Above I snapped a Coast frock which bears a striking resemblance to one of Christopher Kane's offerings for AW09/10 - hmmmm.... (runway shot from

My shopping trip continued later that day (by now it was 6pm) when I met up with Meera and Anna and headed on over to the new Acne store on Dover Street to check out the AW precollection (I think we're becoming obsessed).  I was quite surprised when one of the shop assistants recognised me from the store opening party - I wonder who he thought I was?  This time I had a chance to go out onto the lovely terrace space, and snap a picture of the shoe and accessories room:

Naturally, neither Meera nor I could be dragged from the chic store without making a purchase or two.  Meera got her hands on these gorgeous silky trousers, which have a slight harem-pant feel to them around the hips and crotch, and then tighten down to legging proportions near the ankle.  They also have a layered texture, with the fabric getting thicker in stages towards the foot, which doesn't really come across in the pictures.  I think they make her look like a very elegant pirate, especially when paired with her fabulous black leather Helmut Lang jacket which I would most definitely nick if she weren't looking. 

In the photos you can also see Meera's new studded leather lace-ups, the chic-er alternative to the men's shoes by Louboutin...

I also got my hands on some gorgeous Acne dropped-crotch sweater pants, which I am saving for another outfit post...  Keep your eyes peeled :)

Saturday evening was finished off by dinner at Busaba (spicy aubergine salad, stir-fried mushrooms and jasmine rice - omnomnom), gelato at Gelatu (such a diamond in the rough on Archer street!), and then 'tinnies' in Soho Square (classy!).  

After spending the night chez Becki (I just couldn't face trekking home that late in the evening) near Shepherd's Bush (HOLLAND PARK!!), I enjoyed a relaxing lunch tout seul at the Liberty café, which included this sumptuous platter of roasted veg, hummus and pitta.  Can you believe, I managed to spend almost two hours in Liberty without even buying a thing!  I must be growing up...  Don't worry though, I'm heading back next weekend to find a birthday present for my mother. 

Feeling slightly deprived from not having purchased anything, Meera, Chris and I treated ourselves to a second helping of Gelatu in Soho Square, where I wore my relatively new (i.e. I don't think I've blogged about it yet) Chronicles Of Never top, as designed by the former creative director for (T)Ksubi.  Shame the humidity is playing having with my hair-do!!

And how was your weekend?


Friday, 23 July 2010

Modular Blocks

Yes, yes, so I don't post for days and then suddenly they all come at once, but sometimes you just feel inspired by fashion, you know?  Anyway, I have been taking a look at some of the entries for Tavi and Diane Pernet's fashion film competition on Talenthouse.  Some of them are crap, of course, but quite a few are very interesting (and not necessarily those with a high number of votes, in my opinion).  I particularly like those which are not so obviously "fashion", like this video entitled Modular Blocks by Azalea.  I like it because at first you are intrigued by the shapes that the people are making, but eventually you find yourself looking more at the individuals themselves - their movements, their expressions, and yes, what they are wearing :-) And obviously I want me some of those damned blocks now!


Defensive Dressing

Oxford is positively swarming right now with sweaty, shiny tourists (so shiny!!) which is making navigating my way from apartment to department and back again an utter nightmare.  The worst are currently the Spanish school kids who choose to stand in rows of five across the pavement and into the road, effectively blocking all foot traffic.  I find crowded streets frustrating at the best of times, but Oxford in summer is Hell.  Seriously, I can't wait to get back to London first thing tomorrow morning.  But until then, I have been thinking about possible outfits I could don which would repel said shiny teenagers and their oversized backpacks.  This, I call Defensive Dressing.

My first thought was SPIKES! - anything pointy which could almost take an eye out (don't worry, I won't actually go as far as assaulting a [semi-] innocent tourist with my ready-to-wear) should, hopefully, encourage people to stand that little bit further away.  And so to Bryce Aime I ran, and to his SS10 collection in particular with it's spikey, poofy shoulder contraptions.  Rihanna wore the middle dress in one of her machine-gun-toting videos and if it's good enough for Rihanna, it's good enough for me. 

My second pit-stop was David Koma's AW10/11 collection, which also was high on the spike stakes.  This time I could also have them on my waist and hips, a further teen-repellent, and perhaps a little more suitable for evening wear (overpacked club anyone?).   

Of course, Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy provided me with some more subtle but still completely appropriate pieces from his SS10 and AW10/11 menswear collections.  Anyone seeing me in this gothic gimp mask would think twice about standing in my way, and if the little blighters do get a tad too close for comfort, my gold barbed-wire necklace will protect me.  It looks so purrrty too...

And the highlight of every girl/guy/owl's guide to Defensive Dressing must be the master of the macabre, Gareth Pugh.  I was inspired by the crazy nail-encrusted catsuit Daphne Guinness wore to the Acne store launch last week to look through his past collections and see what could be appropriated for my needs.  For not only has Gareth given us razor sharp nails, but also giant scarecrow-terrifying headdresses, solid geometric pointed limbs, oversized ruffles so big they could knock someone out AND a full-on bloody suit of armour.


What will you be wearing this summer?


A very relaxed Petar Petrov

I have two more designers left to blog about from Paris Fashion Week (I know, I know...), their photos burning a proverbial hole in my laptop hard drive.  I have a particular affection for the Bulgarian designer Petar Petrov because he studied, and is still based, in Vienna.  I myself am, through a strange twist of fate, the Vizepräsident of the university's Austrian society (remember when I had dinner with the Austrian ambassador?) and so I feel some sort of instant emotional connection with all things Mitteleuropa.  Anyway, the designer's collections for men are made up of modern, wearable sportswear.  There is nothing overtly avant-garde here.  No garish colours or unusual shapes for me to rave about.  But under the intense heat of the sun glaring high above the espace commines in Paris last month, Petar brought us a breath of fresh air.  Into the bright and very white open showspace marched a series of young gents grinning until their teeth fell out (which made a nice, if slightly creepy, change from the usual bored and melancholic look the models have perfected so very well).  

I guess in one photo below you can sum up the feel of the whole collection; it was informal, relaxed, almost beach wear.  A couple of dark slimline suits were quickly replaced by straight-legged trousers worn with slouchy tops and jackets in a palette of dusky tans, pale blues, navy and the odd hit of burnt red for punctuation.  

Petar had clearly taken the simple idea of a real man's summer wardrobe and used it to create a collection that glowed with a joyful simplicity.  Talk about the new minimalism - is Petar Petrov the Phoebe Philo of the menswear world?  Perhaps, although here the simplicity is combined with a childlike insouciance - the shoulders slightly rounded, the fabrics crushable.  This is not a minimalism of strict lines and leather tees.  In terms of fashion week 'trends' (eeew), there were definitely more of the short shorts on offer:

And the short-i-ness was also applied to the upper body, with a series of cropped jackets that I loved.  These feel very 90s to me, and so clearly totally now in terms of my current tastes.  That other great brand which focuses on an edited, minimal look, Calvin Klein, also showed a series of croptops for SS11 which I have my eyes on...

If you are concerned that there is only beachwear here, don't worry - there were also a good number of suits for work and play, all of which incorporated the relaxed, happy attitude either through fit, colour or fabric.  I particularly like the final red suit with a drawstring - I can just see myself slipping from dinner to club somewhere in the south of France in this (that is, if I lived on the riviera or had enough money/time at the moment to go on holiday...). 

Smiley happy faces,

Thursday, 22 July 2010

La la la la la - La la la la la

I love how Tavi's 'about me' includes the lines:

Wears batman capes and oversized hats. Scatters black petals on Rei Kawakubo's doorsteps and serenades her in rap. I wish I was Daria but I get too excited about things like candy to be deadpan all the time.

Right now I am totally connected to Daria Morgendorffer's vibe.  Alright, so I'm not a teeange girl and hence even further removed from the fictional character than The Style Rookie, but her sarcastic and disinterested spirit is at the heart of my soul, despite how bubbly and fluffy it is on the surface.  The only reason I ever watched MTV when a teen...  And I am even starting to dress like her at the moment, what with my obsession with 90s and minimalism and grunge.  Hello, I'm never out of my ripped denim shorts, scuffed up black army boots, drapey tee and the odd piece of disturbing jewellery.  Well, sometimes I am I guess, since I never stick to the same look two weeks in a row.  But definitely, I have that 90s feeling en ce moment.

Somewhere deep inside, though, a little voice is whispering, 'What would Daria think of blogging...?'   



Photo from here.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A sunny afternoon chez Samantha Shaw

Recently I have been invited to a lot of store openings, press launches, etc (I think it has something to do with my email address now being listed on a certain PR website...), but what with Paris fashion week, the blog, a slew of art events and, oh yeah, my DPhil research, I haven't had time to attend as many of them as I would have liked of late.  One such event I missed was a little soirée to introduce some of us to a new store in West London, just behind Paddington Station.  Luckily, however, I had the chance one sunny afternoon earlier in the month to pop across town to take a look at this cute little boutique: Samantha Shaw (27 Chilworth Street).

The dinky, but surprisingly bright and airy, space functions as a pattern-cutting room, bespoke showroom and ready-to-wear retail space for the designer Samantha.  Having trained as both a fashion and costume designer and having many years of experience in the business, Samantha is well prepared to launch a store of her own.  In fact, her brand in previous incarnations was even stocked by the iconic London store Liberty.  Eschewing the faceless shopping experience that a department store can offer, she has now chosen to focus her attention on a more restricted clientèle, tailoring her pieces to specific customers, creating an almost couture-like experience.  Many of the items in the store represent ideas which she can expand upon with a client, and are not simply to be purchased off the rail.  Of course there is, however, some RTW on offer and Samantha also sources the odd piece from other designers around the world to complement her collections.

Looking through the items on show, I got the feeling this was more aimed towards a lady my mother's age (a woman I will certainly be recommending this brand to) rather than one of my contemporaries.  The cuts are classic yet modern, combined with interesting prints and luxurious fabrics.  There is an attention to detail which is not usually present in fashions directed towards a younger market, which tends not to appreciate the clothing they own.  

But that is not to say there is nothing here for a duckling my age.  I absolutely love the cosmic graphic print on this piece below (you know how much I'm enjoying digital prints at the moment...), and some of the colour-ways are quite adventurous. 

As I said, Samantha also trained as a costume designer, and she is still asked to create bespoke pieces like this gorgeous dress below worn by César-winning actress Emmanuelle Béart:

Her creative costume skills also shine through in her bespoke gowns, several of which line the walls of her store.  I particularly liked this long, elegant number encrusted with pearls and lace.  I am sure she would design the most fabulous wedding gowns. 

And of course, the lady herself, Samantha Shaw:

If you are nearby, I would most definitely recommend checking this place out, I think there could be something for everybody here...


Sunday, 18 July 2010

A very Dazed and Confused weekend

Oh oh, I've gone and combined two blog posts into one. It's not because I'm lazy - well I guess it probably is, I don't want to have to publish two posts - but I don't have too much to say about either of these weekend related events so I thought it made sense to put them all together and see if you lovely readers can make sense of my semi-psychotic cranial connections. The first was the launch of a little retrospective of Dazed and Confused back issues being held at the Kingly Court store Material, which usually sells all manner of books, posters, mags and general cool bric-a-brac.  There is a fun display of popular past issues and we enjoyed a glass or three of vodka, pomegranate and tonic.  Dazed is such an iconic magazine, and so many greats have featured on its covers.  It was very interesting to have a flick through what was on offer, and so I was also happily surprised when I found out I could pick one copy to take home with me.

I decided to go for issue #29, with a black and white Beck on the front, because it was one of the oldest as far as I could see (1997) and I liked the stark cover art.  Flicking through it, I see that Katie Grand was still the fashion editor at that time, and there is also an image of a woman cutting herself with a razor.  How 1990s.

Cut to the weekend proper, and I have some fun pictures to share with you. On Friday night I had a really well-needed (if not -deserved) night out with Aaron and Kaitlyn, which involved a lot of dancing:

and some drunken Canadians:

Today (Sunday) I had a very enjoyable trip to the countryside with my work colleagues (YES, I went to the countryside - what did I wear? Barbour and Ralph Lauren dahling, what else?).  Benoît had brought with him a selection of vintage cameras (he geeks out over those kind of things), and I especially liked this one:

I can't look at it anymore as it's bringing back my lustful thoughts for the Leica/Hermès collaborative project... 

After walking for a few hours and spooking some ponies, we trotted back to my supervisor's house for a plate of this:

The macarons, also made by Benoît, were the best :-D  Btw, I took these last few pics with my new iPhone 4.  What do you think?  I don't think they're too bad for a camera-phone.

Hope you too had a good weekend,

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Acne hits London

Swedish superbrand Acne launched their new 4-floor fashion mecca on London's Dover Street (just across from famed Dover Street Market) with a fabulous party on Thursday evening.  The event was extra-special because it marked the company's shifting of their headquarters from Sweden to the UK, and their decision to show their next collection in a presentation at London Fashion Week in September.  I was particularly keen to go to the event because I had missed the Acne menswear presentation in Paris last month (apparently my email found it's way into the press person's spam box...) and also because my new black Acne biker jacket had just arrived courtesy of  On arrival at the store, we were greeted by a huge queue of fashionistas and the party was already packed inside (luckily I had a lovely personal invite from Acne to get me to the front of the queue).  The doors were attended by these cute leather men - I really wanted to take them home with me afterwards (I love a daddy bear - woof!) but I guess they had a job to do...

I'm not sure why but I'm loving leather harnesses at the moment.  I might have to pop into ROB and get me one of them - although I'd wear it over a shirt/tee, since the bod is not quite in such good form at the moment as the Acne gents.  Inside the store, the model-waiters came festooned with floral garlands and served champagne by the gallon full as well as tray upon tray of delicious canapés [although only one of them was vegetarian :( ].  The guestlist was pretty celeb-tastic, hough I'm not one to take pictures of the stars inside the party so if you want to oggle the fashpack in their natural habitat, I'd take a look at The Clothes Whisperer's page, who had her SLR handy.  There were the usual T4/Big Brother presenters (yawn), Henry Holland (yawn), the hi-larious Brix Smith Start, and fashion-world heavy-weights like Dolce and Gabbana model David Gandy as well as heiress and couture-collector Daphne Guinness.  Daphne G was wearing what from a distance looked like a black sequinned dress (to match her iconic Cruella-style hairdo) but which, on closer inspection, actually turned out to be a catsuit coated in viciously sharp nails!  I just can't get over how fabulous she is. 

As I said, I wore my new Acne jacket (which is made of the perfect thickness of cotton for a transeasonal piece) over a graded Helmut Lang tee, dark denim shorts and black knee-high boots.  My +1 for the evening, Meera Chauhan, went for a black Alexander Wang dress, gorgeous Helmut Lang leather jacket and my colourful McQueen printed scarf.

Quite a lot happened last week, so I have a lot to be blogging about at the moment, but I am dreadfully tired from a Friday night of good times...  And I've gotta be up early tomorrow for a hike (eek! what on EARTH am I going to wear??) with people from work, so I guess you are just going to have wait another day to find out what else I was up to...


Welcome to the 21st Century

Well as some of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I received my iPhone 4 yesterday and finally arrived in the modern world. I'm still getting used to it, but it is pretty damn slick. Oh and it's just plain pretty too :) You know, I can even blog directly from it, for those days when I'm too hungover to haul myself out of bed to find the laptop. Like today for instance...

Expect some photos from the Acne party later, when I've managed to sober up sufficiently...



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Oxford,United Kingdom

Monday, 12 July 2010

Good blogger/Bad blogger

Yes, I have been a bit of a bad fashion blogger of late, given that in the past two weeks I have been to two blogging events and not even attempted to write about them until now... The first was the launch of the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards at the Futures Gallery (a swelteringly hot location in summer), where I caught up with lots of other fun fashion and beauty bloggers, including Kristin from the The Clothes Whisperer and Simon from The Very Simon G. Their teeny-weeny doggies, Butters and Dhillon, also had fun at the breakfast event:

The ladies from Cosmo gave us a very inspiring presentation and it really seems like they take their online content seriously, looking to form an online community for women based around their common interests featured in the magazine proper. And so: if you think I'm not actually such a bad blogger, you are free to nominate my URL for the Fashion and Style section of the blog awards here. No pressure or anything though...

The second blogging event was a mini symposium on Friday organised by The Very Simon Glazin himself, which kicked off my weekend of excess (hence the lack of blogging). We enjoyed champers and cup-cakes at Flemings Hotel on Half Moon Street while various PR companies showed us their wares. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of it either. Apparently the management just spent a lot of dosh renovating the place, and it was very purrty indeed (sadly no photos, I had locked the camera up in the flat for the night). While I was there, I also got to try on sunglasses with PR legend and blogger for Colette, Mandi Lennard, who was sporting some cray-cray nails.

I'm not usually into talking about the goodie-bags, but I have to say congratulations to Simon for his PR-working skills – there were some AMAZING gifts in there, including a Barbie and corresponding set of clothes (which I promptly gave to Bianca who never had one growing up, deprived child) and a very generous gift voucher for If only I hadn't already ordered my Acne biker jacket from there (which arrived today, yay!, just in time for the new store opening on Thursday...)! I'm not quite sure how Simon arranged all of this, but again, thank you to him and his helpful sponsors!

After far too many glasses of bubbly at the hotel, I had a lovely dinner at vegetarian hotspot Mildred's with Bianca, before going on to gay clubbing mecca Heaven (where Jodie Harsh and hottie Kris Di Angelis were DJing) with three friends from Oxford.  Thanks for the guestlist, Jodie!  I am ashamed to say I have lived south of the border for six years now and this was the first time I ever made it to Heaven. It wasn't quite the experience I had expected (my friend Nisha recalled very buff barmen in speedos...) but the music was awesome (i.e. the whole new Kylie album, which, btw, you can listen to here) and I danced out all my excess energy until 4am. It was exactly what I needed.

In other news, I spent Sunday enjoying a relaxing read of Introduction to Pyschoanalysis in the park with a half bottle of white and chatting on the phone to Nisha. Unfortunately, I didn't quite realise how long my conversation lasted, and my back has ended up a vibrant lobster red. This is quite shocking to me because I never usually burn, and especially not in the UK! Let me tell you, aerosol aloe vera gel has become my new best friend. My fingers are still crossed that it's going to metamorphose into a gloriously golden tan, but it's not looking good...

Promise I'll be blogging more this week,