Monday, 31 October 2011

Stijl + Haleluja

Two of the most inspiring places I got to visit as part of the Modo Parcours were the stores around the Dansaerstraat area owned by Sonja Noël, the Belgian equivalent of Brown's Mrs B. Stijl houses a collection of established Belgian brands along with a few newbies, whereas Haleluja focuses on high end designs made in a 'green' fashion. Charlie and I were so taken by both stores that we ended up going back twice and had to be restrained from fondling the racks of black and feathered Demeulemeester or the cosy winter knits by Raf and from peaking under the plastic sheeting that housed Sofie D'Hoore's 'Shocking Pink' installation in the window of Stijl.  

Haleluja itself seems like such a novel concept considering that (despite several trips around the Estethica exhibition during LFW) many ethically produced clothes are more suited for hippies than hipsters. Sonia, however, has tracked down those brands that can stand individually as beautiful fashion houses and has stocked the shop with an international mix where London is more than well represented – the two biggest names were Christopher Raeburn and Ada Zanditon. There were also designers I hadn't come across before such as Quentin Nghiem, a former member of the Margiela Artisanal team who I will certainly be blogging about soon (I may have slipped and purchased!). We didn't mind seeing the live photoshoot going on in the entrance space at Haleluja, nor the male model who changed behind a transparent glass screen...

Sonja Noël wearing a pointed-shoulder Margiela top that was so chic Stasie wanted to cry:

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Modo Parcours

The Modo Parcours (more information here) in Brussels is something I think London and the BFC could learn from.  Whilst Fashion Night Out is about commercialism, extravagance and "non-fashion" people (despite the preponderance of VIP or secret parties in the store back rooms this time around), the Parcours is more like a giant 'doors open day' and is about drawing attention to young design talents.  It works in collaboration with existing brands or stores who tend to give their window displays over to the next generation or host parties for them at night.  There were 62 such installations all across the city, covering womenswear, menswear, accessories and jewellers.  Naturally we didn't have time to cover everything but the Modo team guided us (Alex, Charlie and Isabelle as well as new blogging buddies Tala from MyFashDiary and Sarah the "fashion raccoon") around a selection of stores during the day and then left us to our own devices for the evening.  I think this worked out well given that we all have different interests and passions when it comes to style.  I'm so glad the weather stayed nice for our fashion exploration, and how thoughtful it was to put some bunting out for us ;-)  

A jaunt to Brussels

This weekend I was very lucky to be invited to Brussels to take part in the Modo Parcours, an event a bit like a cross between Fashion Night Out and Fashion Week when many stores and venues open up their premises to showcase the work of up-and-coming Belgian designers.  It was pretty exciting, not just because I am a big fan of Belgian design (Hey there Demeulemeester, Branquinho, Margiela, van Noten, Simons...) but also because they shipped Alex, Charlie, Isabelle and me over in Eurostar Premier and put us up in a boutique hotel in the city centre for two nights.  Not bad for my first press trip :-)

I'm not sure the staff were prepared for three bloggers papping the hell out of everything on the train, especially after a glass or two of rosé champagne, so it's a good thing the rest of our carriage was almost empty.  They probably also weren't ready for our oversized luggage what with Alex's GIGANTIC Balenciaga travel bag.  Note to self: next time only take baggage with wheels.

You can expect a slew of posts to be hitting your Google Readers any moment now documenting the many wonderful things I got to see in Brussels, but it just remains to say a great big 'DANK JE' to Elke Timmerman from Modo Brussels for organising our trip.  Best guide ever!  

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Franck Boclet A/W

I can't believe I forgot to post these photos I just found lurking in the hidden recesses of my Blogger account.  They've been in there since January when I went to the menswear shows in Paris and I dropped by Franck Boclet's studio to scout out the A/W collection (he had moved his runway shows to Milan...).  Oh well, I guess this post is at least seasonal given that London is getting colder and colder - underfloor heating is most certainly ON this week - and the endless drizzle has begun.  Some of the best bits of this collection were the outerwear like leather jackets, coats and gilets either trimmed or completely shrouded in super silky beaver fur (*sadface*).  I also liked the rough hems on cosy double-layer t-shirts and belted linen harem pants.  The black and white colour palette means most of these pieces could slide quite easily into my wardrobe, but because of the insane prices - the majority of stockists are in Russia - I'm afraid I shan't be making any purchases this season!       

P.S. I'm off to Brussels today on the Eurostar for the Parcours Modo (along with Alex and Charlie) so there will be a short blogging hiatus until I return on Saturday.  À bientôt!


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The dolls are watching you

This was possibly the strangest 'fashion' event I have ever attended but there is something oddly beautiful about these dolls, sorry super dolls, that I saw at the private view for the Superdoll Collectibles couture show: Social Monstrosities.  Apparently cult collectible items, the fragile-looking ladies (actually made from resin) are fully posable and come with fabulously detailed outfits and accessories.  There's a creepiness factor, though, that's going to be giving Stasie nightmares for weeks... 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Under spiced

Last night Anna and I went for dinner at Spice Market underneath the W Hotel, encouraged by the glamour of the location and Bianca's rave reviews about the New York branch.  Recently I've been eating out in Asian restaurants more and more in my endless pursuit to find satisfying dishes that cater to my pretentious pseudo vegan diet.  Thai/Japanese/Indian places are perfect because their cuisines lack almost any use of dairy products and this is the kind of food I cook at home quite frequently anyway.  My last Asian adventure in the Dock Kitchen didn't work out so well - the Sri Lankan menu lacked spice and seasoning for us, bizarre for a traditional style of cooking that actually produces some of the hottest curries on the Subcontinent.  I really should have learnt my lesson.  

Once again, I felt let down by the lack "Asian" flavours at Spice Market.  Despite its glorious green colour which looked so promising, my vegetable green curry tasted more like sweet coconut soup.  I can only imagine the few slices of red chilli on top were the sole spices this dish had touched.  It wasn't unpleasant - I do like vegetables and coconut - but a green curry this was not.  Anna's shaved tuna with chilli tapioca was apparently more successful but I obviously wasn't going to stomach fish.  My dessert, Thai jewels on crushed coconut ice, was tasty (especially after I splashed some of my Sauternes into the mix) but I'll be damned if I could find any remaining shavings of ice there - completely melted before it reached the table.  Perhaps I was expecting something more like halo halo than the cendol I presume it was based on? 

So Spice Market - a very glam and luxurious location, but a poor menu and I shan't be going back to eat.  I must say, however, that the cocktails were delicious and I would highly recommend a trip to the hotel bar on the first floor.  The Sir Winston almost made up for the rest of my night!   

Next time I'm heeding Nisha's advice and avoiding Asian restaurants which aren't run by Asian chefs...

P.S. Apologies for the use of Instagram photos, I hadn't been planning on blogging my night out and didn't have my SLR with me.  Bad blogger.  

Monday, 24 October 2011


I usually feel a little uncomfortable going into fine jewellery stores.  I've got over my fear of designer clothing shops - well, the snooty assistants mainly - especially since, more often than not, I find myself wearing their goods anyway (the staff don't have to know I pre-ordered the stuff at wholesale prices or found my items rummaging around on sample sale racks - usually *cough*).  But since I rarely have enough cash to buy myself gold necklaces or diamond rings it's not often that I venture into jewellery emporia because I feel like I'm wasting their time.  I did, however, actually enjoy being introduced to Annoushka's store off Sloane Square with a couple of other bloggers - there's always safety in numbers, you know.  

And now I wish I had been going into these shops all my life!  Annoushka is like jewellery heaven, loaded with fabulous one-off pieces and rocks that made even Stasie salivate with jealousy.  It was all I could do not to slip one of the sumptuous gems into my clutch bag when nobody was looking.  My favourite pieces were designed by Annoushka Ducas in collaboration with Wendy Yue who took the animal kingdom as her inspiration.  I didn't spot any owls but I can just picture myself wearing the grinning crocodile or cutest zebra ring as I file for bankruptcy.  Honestly, when am I going to meet the rich sugar daddy who can support my burgeoning jewellery habit?   

Besides the jewellery, Annoushka's store also displays a collection of paintings created each season with a different artist.  This time around Rosie Emerson has digitally manipulated photographs of rings, brooches and necklaces to transform them into dresses and wings modelled around the likes of Amber Le Bon, Eliza Doolittle, Caroline Issa (Tank) and Virginia Bates.  A golden Daisy Lowe with butterflies exploding in flight from her breast is the most striking of the bunch.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Wanted: Versace for H&M

Many thanks to Robot Monsieur and Sebulous for linking me to the full H&M/Versace collection lookbook (you know when everyone is tweeting about how fabulous something is you can never seem to find the original link that got them all gushing?).  I've had a gander and cobbled together the items making my shopping wish-list.  Unsurprisingly, I've zoomed in on the colourful graphic prints (cut to 000o000: "Are 90s garish prints really back in fashion?") because we all know I don't really do the whole Sartorialist style.  The tropical print works well on a shirt and leggings - why restrict myself to menswear? - but I think my favourite is the long-sleeved tee.  I can just see it under my cropped Marni suit jacket.  The more subtly printed slim-fitting trousers would certainly be fun to play with and the neon-leopard-print-cum-baroque-curlicue bomber jacket IS AMAZING.  So Eddy, apart from the price tag.  Although the idea behind the leathers is nice, the quality doesn't look up to much even in the airbrushed images so I probably won't be going there.  But the embellished pleated those would go well with some chunky black gladiators (Givenchy?) and an oversized sweatshirt.  

Obviously I'll also be taking River Viiperi to go.    


Wooyoungmi: No. 51 Coat

I'm such a naughty blogger, I guess I should have posted about this ASAP but unfortunately life gets in the way and I've been working hard to produce pretty graphs for my thesis due in March.  Anyway, I popped along to Selfridges last week - OK I dashed from the delayed tube and rushed back out of the building again after a few snaps to get to Gabby's concert in time - to check out Wooyoungmi's No. 51 coat project.  She has collaborated with five London scenesters to reinvent her classic coat with 10% of the sales from the pop-up space in the menswear department of Selfridges going to Art Against Knives.  The lucky group is comprised of Steve Salter from Style Salvage, David Hellqvist from Dazed and Confused, Gary Card (a set designer), jewellery and accessories designer Jordan Askill, and, surprise surprise, the menswear buyer from Selfridges Reece Crisp.

My favourites were Steve's (a techno-tweed and leather concoction with an asymmetric collar), Reece Crisp's (I'm not a fan of navy but I liked the fur and leather combo collar) and Gary Card's (such an amazing jigsaw/patchwork/tapestry effect across the sleeves and back).  If I were to buy one I'd probably plump for Steve's for overall wearability but Gary's is certainly the most fun option!