'A ball gown is your dream, and it must make you a dream... I think it is just as necessary in a woman's wardrobe as a suit. And it is wonderful for morale...' Christian Dior

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

And this one's for me...

I was kidding myself going 'Christmas shopping' at Paper Dress Vintage's late night opening tonight. Buying presents for other people was as likely as me going home to read David Dimbleby's latest book (which I'm technically supposed to as I'm interviewing him on Friday)

But I could hardly go to one of my favourite shops in London and not buy a dress. Especially when we were plied with mulled cider. As the title suggests, the quaint and colourful shop on Curtain Road in East London, stocks a lot of 1960s dresses. Which makes me... a helpless little insect caught in a seductive spiders web?

This thick winter floral sixties dress would look perfect with a (faux) fur coat, woollen tights and flat Mary Janes in the day time, and gold heeled t-bars for evening. I love that the flower pattern borders on tribal and how the skirt puffs out, making it more shapely. A definite departure from the usual shifts of that era.

Love the ruffled neck, too. Here it is close up.

Considering the dresses are just a fraction of the shop, amid the furs, jackets, skirts, bags and I spied an Ossie Clark brown velvet jacket in my size, I think I was very restrained. Dresses for me, are escapism after all. But enough justifying another pre-Christmas 'present to myself'. Time to get back to David Dimbleby...

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Life's a bitch

Found this pretty shop on Tib Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter yesterday.

The collection of winter warming faux furs, velvet and silk evening gowns, 1940s hats and perfectly fitted jackets provided a welcome contrast to the incessant downpour outside. Typical Manchester, but places like Rags to Bitches make venturing outside with no umbrella on a December afternoon worthwhile.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Saviour Sonia

Designer/High Street collaborations don't exactly rock my world. At the risk of generalising, the clothes can feel a bit cheap. I think making designers more accessible to the masses and steering flocks of sheep away from Primark ought to be a good thing, but at the same time, rails of the same black 'such and such designer for H&M' blouse, for me, take away all the covetousness and the magic. I may not be able to afford the genuine designer article, but that doesn't mean I'm going to lap up the watered down version.

And I'm certainly not going to camp outside the store in this weather - the other reason they're not for me. But maybe I'm just bitter. Maybe if I pretended not to notice tripping up over all the pieces nobody wants on the floor and made it to the cash register without hyperventilating in the queue, things could be different...

I'm tempted to give it a go this weekend when the Sonia Rykiel Pour H&M line hits stores 5 December. It's old news of course, having been advertised everywhere from Vogue to the bus shelter at the end of my road, but I'm head over heels for the fifties boudoir style nude satin basque, amongst others, in the 70-piece lingerie, nightwear and accessories collection.

It's the first time H&M has collaborated on designer underwear and the ads speak for themselves. Newly brunette model-of-the-moment Lara Stone joins forces with Anne Vytalitsyna and one of my favourite models, Caroline Trentini and bam, if we didn't know it already, underwear is officially the new outerwear. Ok, I'm not exactly going to walk down Kings Cross Road in it, but I've definitely thought about it.

It's a gorgeous line, but I wouldn't have expected anything less from 'Queen of Knits' Sonia Rykiel. For those who aren't familiar with the chic Parisian designer, she was the first person to make wooly jumpers look sexy. Back in the 1960s, she was pregnant and started designing knitwear because she couldn't find anything that was flexible or flattering enough to wear.

H&M clearly haven't forgotten this, either. Her knitwear line is the next to be unveiled in the store in February. Plenty of time to eat some humble pie. And dig out that tent.