'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

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

In New York...

I never intended this to be one of those blogs that rips celebrities to shreds because of what they wear, but today I'm making an exception. I'm unashamedly looking forward to Sex & The City 2 despite its bad press (mentioning no names, Hadley Freeman ). I'm not getting into a debate about it's superficiality and shallowness and the fact that in the films the characters go against everything they set out to achieve in the series (I am definitely with Hadley on that), I'm talking clothes. Because I still get excited about what Carrie and co are wearing (even though, as Hadley rightly points out in The Mail they're mainly clad in Halston Heritage thanks to SJP's chief creative officer role...) and equally excited at what the actresses choose to wear when the film premieres, as it did last night in New York.

Except, I was distracted away from SJP's sherbet yellow Valentino dress, barely glanced at Kristin Davis' vintage candy pink Jean Desses gown - for all the wrong reasons, I couldn't take my eyes off this...

If you were a rising Brit star with a cameo in one of the most anticipated movies of the year, why would you choose a matron-style dress that looks so stiff it might cut off your circulation, on the red carpet?? I know Alice Eve plays a nanny, but she doesn't have to dress like one. There's nothing wrong with the design, by L'Wren Scott and there's certainly nothing wrong with Alice Eve, she's gorgeous, I just think if I was 28 and about to potentially break Hollywood, I would wear something uber glamorous to make SJP quiver in her Halston boots (or at least trip over her Valentino). Hang about, I am 28. I don't have a burgeoning film career and now I just sound like a green eyed monster. Damn.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

There's something about Mary


Ignore the enormous 'Living & Giving' sign above the first rail of clothes you're drawn to on entering and Mary's Living & Giving Shop for Save the Children (catchy title, Ms Portas) could be any other exclusive high fashion boutique on London's effortlessly stylish Westbourne Grove.  Only it's not. And precisely because it's the latest charity-chic shop in the retail guru's drive to get everyone (yep, even you, sloane ranger) erm, living and giving, there's nothing, thankfully, snootily exclusive about it. At its launch on Saturday, the place was awash with people who had heard about it and those who just stumbled across it. The volunteers were friendly and welcoming and the stock, largely donated from designers and fashion magazines like Grazia, was plentiful, making high-end labels accessible to the masses. There was something for everyone. And if all proceeds go to a charity like Save The Children, then all that's left to say is, why hasn't this been done before?

It follows the success of Mary's pop-up shop in Westfield last year and she's also launched one in Edinburgh. I've not checked out that one (it was hard enough going all the way from North to West London in the sweltering heat) but had been looking forward to this opening for some time. Especially after enduring my boyfriend's moans that it was 'just another shop for rich f**ks to spend more of their f**king money.' I was determined to prove him wrong. I didn't get to see Mary at the launch but I interviewed her a few weeks ago for TV Times. 'They’re the most profitable of the Save The Children shops,' she said. 'The one in Orpington is looking fabulous (the one featured in BBC2's Mary Queen of Charity Shops) they’re taking from £900 a week sometimes up to £4000!’ I hope I've proved him wrong. 

As someone whose only hope of owning designer clothes is to buy them cut-price from a vintage shop, or better still a charity shop, the pieces on offer didn't disappoint. Among the rails, I spied sparkling new Chloe, Acne, Betsey Johnson, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, among high street brands like Coast and French Connection. Shoes ranged from Miu Miu to erm, Red Herring as did handbags, save for the emaculate cabinet filled with vintage Chanel handbags (sigh), many still in their original boxes. Oh and this Burberry trench, that failed to be snapped up. I blame the aforementioned weather...

My favourite sighting of the day though had to be the jumpsuit in the window. Mannequin look familiar? It's Erin O'Connor. Well if she came alive a la Kim Cattrall in the 1980s movie, it would be. She was brought in especially for the launch, and when the volunteers told me that the printed maxi jumpsuit (in my size) wasn't actually for sale today (so as not to ruin the window display, duh) I was quite relieved. Not because I didn't think it was beautiful - Mauvette Philips designed it exclusively for the shop - but because it was ever-so-slightly over my budget. So I'll leave that one to the sloane rangers. I just hope, in some way, I haven't just proved my boyfriend right...

Monday, 17 May 2010

Not-so-great escape

I'm all for escapism but The Great Escape, naeeeeh, not so great. And I will put on my best ever cynical/never impressed Larry David voice, because this year, it was shocking. Admittedly I only had a ticket for the Friday and arrived late, but I only wanted to see Fiery Furnaces followed by Wild Beasts who weren't on until 10.30pm. Is that too much to ask? Well, yes, since we didn't get in. We didn't see a single band. I think that's a record. I had hoped to blog some pictures of Eleanor Friedberger on stage at the Brighton Pavillion. Instead, I give you Sunday Girl (in the toilets at The Coalition)...

Real name, Jade Williams, 21, and certainly one of the best dressed on Friday night. I want to say that isn't hard in Brighton, but I'm convinced there's more sartorial prowess in that town yet to be uncovered. And, well, Jade, sorry, Sunday Girl, is a good start.  Except she's not from Brighton, she's from Hertfordshire. Anyway. Didn't realise she'd been performing at the festival when I approached her, not that I would have got into the venue to see her...

Here's the fashion bit: jacket, French Connection; trousers, Zara; shirt, her mum's; over-sized pendant, charity shop.

Having done my research post-encounter (maybe that's the way forward), I see she's been likened to Alison Goldfrapp and Bat for Lashes. She's already done press for The Observer, where she described her style as 'scruffy Chanel' and already has a Dazed shoot in the bag. Nice. I detect another little fashion icon in the making. Just don't start selling lipbalms at your gigs, not a good look. Yes, Bat, I'm referring to you.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

A New Look

Prada did it for A/W09. John Galliano for Dior followed suit in S/S10. From Land Girls to Film Noir, 1940s style never seems to go out of fashion – which is why you don’t need the excuse of a Blitz Party to set your hair in rollers or paint your lips pillar-box red. Although it doesn’t do any harm… 

Ahead of this weekend’s monthly East End Blitz Party, UKTV threw a Blitz Party to launch their Yesterday channel’s ‘Spirit of 1940’ season. The dresses. The diamonds. The coiffure. The pork pies. It’s not very often that fashion and TV collide, and when you spy an enormous hog roast being carved into a white bun with lashings of stuffing and apple sauce for a long line of hungry journos (with platters of ‘wartime’ doorstop sandwiches and scotch eggs if you’re still hungry) you can kind of see why. Rationing? We’ll leave that to the catwalk.   

In the foyer of the Shoreditch studios there was a dressing box full of pearls and costume jewellery, an assortment of hats, dainty gloves, military jackets, scarves and erm, novelty moustaches.

The crowd was a real mixture of people who had turned up kitted out and those who created an outfit on arrival... Lucy (top left) fished her five-year-old Primark skirt out of the bin for the occasion, having recently chucked it. You'd never believe Sarah (above right) was wearing jeans and a t-shirt minutes before this picture was taken. Or maybe you would.

I gambled on wearing my navy dress, t-bars and fur coat that could easily pass for 1940s but picking up the first hat I could find when I got there. As more than one person observed through the evening, ‘but you’re just wearing what you always do!’

But that was before I realised that UKTV had employed The Powderpuff Girls for the evening, at which I hastily threw off the hat, as hastily as I had put it on...

Et voila. 

The End. 

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Like you've just stepped out of a salon...

If there’s anything that gives me a bigger kick than buying a new dress, it’s getting a new hair cut. I’m probably a nightmare for my hairdresser. Not because I have unrealistic ideas of how I want my hair styled or awkwardly wave about torn out pictures of celebrities from a magazine which is usually the case, but because I like him to experiment. He (Steven at Dapper) knows I love the sixties and works with that. Even when it’s 6.30pm on a Friday evening (or worse, 9am on a Saturday morning) - he’s a keeper!

Many of the styles he’s emulated are reminiscent of the work of the great Vidal Sassoon, seen here working his geometric magic on Mary Quant. 

Vidal Sassoon: The Movie has just previewed at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, and yesterday there was a really nice interview with Vidal, now 82 (and currently writing his autobiography) published on Dazed Digital.

The film was made by Michael Gordon, founder of the Bumble and Bumble salon, and alongside interviews with Vidal and his family and friends which chronicle his journey from the Israeli army in 1948 to fashion forward hair cutting techniques in the 1960s, is an interview with Mary Quant. Apparently she’d just had a hip operation and it was touch and go whether she’d be able to talk. After agreeing to ten minutes, it lasted an hour and a half. From one visionary to another. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall.

‘I hope such projects will not only inspire but also help a lot of young people thinking about their lives,’ Vidal told Dazed. ‘And realising when they feel down that the possibility of rising again and doing something truly worthwhile with their life is in their power.’

For the full article, click here.  

Can’t wait for the film now. If you can’t wait, try going to your hairdressers and asking them to experiment. You might end up with a dodgy perm, but you could encounter the work of the next visionary. I’ve just booked another appointment.