Friday, 28 November 2008

New Toy

I have set this blog up with a view to emptying the creativity that roams around my mind. So far however, I have done this without having time to give it my full attention. This lack of time is mostly due to the fact that I am computer-less at home and have to do postings at work, constantly looking over my shoulder and aware that the IT geeks could be monitoring me all the way to HR! But fear not, as Santa will be bringing my new MacBook and with it the freedom to post day or night.  Hunting high and low for the old style I'm so fond of, I eventually found the model I wanted. Why is it Apple choose to discontinue some of their best designs - the iconic white ipod cannot be found for love or money! The black comes a close second but to me white = apple. Those original ipod adverts were so cool! 




Thursday, 27 November 2008

Etsy love


As an avid reader of The Cupcake Diary, I noticed the lovely Alice Pleasance has a new jewellery range in her store. How fabulous? I'm so tempted to order one of the necklaces but with the usual Christmas/credit crunch budgets going on, I'll have to give it some serious consideration. It's quite similar to a posting Susie Bubble did recently and I loved the concept.


British Fashion Awards 2008











Source: dailymail.com


I had to make a post on the British Fashion Awards 2008, that took place on 25th November. It’s great that there’s an event to recognise the talent within the British fashion industry, here’s a quick scan of the winners:


Swarovski Emerging Talent Award – Ready To Wear
Winner: Louise Goldin
Finalists: Danielle Scutt, Felder Felder

Swarovski Emerging Talent Award – Accessories
Winner: Nicholas Kirkwood
Finalists: Charlotte Olympia, Anna Vince

Designer Brand
Winner: Jimmy Choo
Finalists: Agent Provocateur, Paul Smith

Red Carpet Designer
Winner: Matthew Williamson
Finalists: Giles Deacon, Stella McCartney

Model
Winner: Jourdan Dunn
Finalists: Agyness Deyn, Lily Donaldson

Menswear Designer
Winner: Christopher Bailey for Burberry
Finalists: Paul Smith, Richard James

Bespoke
Richard James

Accessory Designer
Winner: Rupert Sanderson
Finalists: Jonathan Kelsey, Lara Bohinc

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator
Winner: Tim Walker
Finalsists: Pat McGrath, Terry Jones

BFC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion
Stephen Jones

Designer of the Year

Luella Bartley


I love, for the second year running, the renamed Isabella Blow award. It’s great that such an inspiring, revolutionary and memorable person is recognised in this way.

I’m pleased that Luella Bartley won the Designer of the Year Award. Her latest collections have wooed me more than ever. A mesmerising mix of acidic/pastel shades that are feminine and girly with an edginess and coolness that remains ever Luella.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Coco Coins

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Gabrielle Chanel's birth, Karl Lagerfeld has designed commemorative coins - 2 silver and 2 gold. The coins are in the value of 5 euros, thematic throughout the history of Chanel and with a very definite reference to the iconic No 5 fragrance.






The 11,009 coins will go on sale on 1st December and there is already a waiting list. The coin has the head of Chanel on one side surrounded by pearls interspersed with the word COCO and has the number 5 laid over the infamous quilting (matelasse) on the other.

The 99 limited edition pieces of the gold coin, weighing in at 5 ounces, are being produced at 5,900 euros - a staggering £4650. I'm sure I can think of better ways to part with my cash in Chanel than the purchase of this coin!

Yoko Ono @ BALTIC

I was reminded today, that tickets for the Yoko Ono talk at Gateshead’s BALTIC went on sale on Friday. I completely forgot and now they are obviously sold out. How often do you get the chance to hear Yoko Ono talk in person about her 50 year career? What I will remember to do though, is visit the exhibition, when it opens on 14th December.



The exhibition is one of the largest of Ono’s to date, occupying 2 floors of BALTIC. There is also extra outdoor space being used around Newcastle and Gateshead to form part of the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival.

One of the best aspects of the exhibition is where “visitors will be invited to write wishes on paper to hang on wish trees which will be sent to the Imagine Peace tower in Videy Island, Iceland to join our wishes from around the world". What a lovely thought and a great idea for a conceptual art piece. I love art that involves audience participation and in this case it has a remarkable local/global link.
























Source: imaginepeace.com

Which begs the question, what to wish for?



Monday, 24 November 2008

A British Institution

Late night shopping last Thursday, I ventured into the British Institution that is Marks & Spencer - it was absolute bedlam. I overheard one man ask "are they giving away things for free in here?" . You would think so. A 20% discount and the people of Newcastle went crazy. Is this credit crunch such that the incentive of a discount forces people to spend their money like there is no tomorrow? Over at the MetroCentre in Gateshead, people were still going at it right up until midnight. Madness!

Personally, I love M&S, it reminds me very much of being dragged around as a child every Saturday. The Food Hall cannot be beaten, who can resist Percy Pig & Pals at the checkout? And I think they are really trying as a company to get things right. Their Limited Edition collection quite often has some "on-trend" pieces. Recently, event he Autograph section has caught my eye, although I must admit, has not yet persuaded me to but anything. The recent coup of the Patricia Field collection can only raise their profile somewhat. Although I must say that I was a little disappointed by this collection. A collaboration with the fabulous Patricia Field could only promise good things. I'm not sure whether it was a lack of publicity and hype, but when I eventually saw them, the pieces didn't make my heart race. It was certainly an odd combination, the edgy Patricia Field x traditionally staid Marks & Spencer.
















Source: marksandspencer.com






In the long run, I hope M&S remain successful and continue to attempt some forward-thinking tactics, Britain to me would not be the same without them.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Gothic Chic

A major trend and I guess one which has been covered by every fashion magazine is Gothic Chic. I personally don't need too much help in this area, having dark hair and pale skin. I have been called Morticia and Vampira on more than one night out (oh the delights of living in Newcastle). I have always been partial to black clothes, it is probably only of late that I have started to venture into major colour and pastel shades.

I was interested and surprised to see Lula magazine cover this trend early on. I was concerned that they had changed their style ethic but needn't have worried as it is styled in only the most Lula-esque way it could be.





Source: Lula editorial Flickr



The catwalks for Fall 2008 RTW cover this major trend and there is hardly any designer who has not made this a feature.


Chanel

Lanvin


Christopher Kane



Stella McCartney



Stella McCartney



Rodarte


Roksanda Illincic

Source: Style.com


All of the examples above are quite fabulous and a trend everyone can engage in, in some way or another. As well as clothes, the make-up industry is embracing the trend also. This I'm not so sure could be as popular. I don't envisage this being worn on a night on the town without scaring everyone and being severely ridiculed.



Source: Style.com


Thursday, 20 November 2008

Weather forecast

In the North East of England, blizzards are expected to hit from tomorrow until Sunday as an icy Arctic wind is threatened. Temperatures are expected to plummet to -3 degrees with possible snow and sleet forecast. This is not so unusual for the temperamental British weather but us Brits do like to talk about the weather.





No, you haven't accidentally stumbled upon a BBC weather report but rather, although this cold spell is not expected to last past the weekend, I relish the prospect of some cold weather. Especially as it's over the weekend, the freedom is there to do whatever you please.
I love the autumn/winter season purely for the fact that you can wear more items of clothing. I've chosen a selection of winter woolies to keep me warm. The Ugg boots are there, fashion yes or fashion no-no, the debate is of no interest when all I'll be thinking of is my feet wrapped in cotton wool.
I like to think I will be able to venture out to a local place of beauty, Jesmond Dene is a glorious place to walk and given some scenic additions of snow and ice, it will appear more beautiful.



Source: Flickr

Then upon my return, I will be able to cosy up with a nice hot drink in the warmth of my little flat, happy and content.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Fashion Moment

I was listening to the local news this morning and heard that a Steam Locomotive has been built in Darlington, County Durham by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and was taken out for a test run last night along the East Coast Mainline, it has taken 18 years to build. Mark Allat from the trust said,

"This is the type of locomotive from the post war period and sadly not one was preserved, all 49 were scrapped by 1966. "Luckily the drawings were kept in York Railway Museum and 18 years later we have this magnificent beast almost ready to pull passengers on the mainline".

What has this got to do with fashion, I hear you ask. No, I haven't become a "train anorak". I was immediately reminded of the iconic scene from "Some Like It Hot", where Marilyn Monroe is walking along the train platform and a puff of steam pats her on her backside.







From a fashion perspective, bring back those days of dressing up! Why do we no longer wear hats and gloves with crocodile skin high heels and matching handbag. The scene was similarly re-enacted by Carrie Bradshaw in SATC when she and Samantha take a train trip to San Francisco to promote the launch of Carrie's new book (Season 5, The Big Journey). There is something delightfully romantic and old-world, travelling on an old steam train dressed up like a movie start from yester-year.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Eve Lom


"Eve Lom is one of the most respected and sought-after beauty professionals alive today. Born in Czechoslovakia, Eve met the renowned skin specialist Georgette Klinger in Hollywood in the early 1980s and began her career as a facialist. It was here that she acquired a devoted following for her now legendary facial. Eve subsequently relocated to London where she studied anatomy, nutrition and massage techniques. In China she trained in acupuncture. In 1984, the first Eve Lom salon opened in London. Today, Eve Lom skincare products and the signature Eve Lom facial are available in stores and spas around the world. The Eve Lom skincare range evolved from her cult Cleanser, which Vogue called "probably the best cleanser in the world". The pared-down regime Eve recommends is based on deep, thorough cleansing and the philosophy that less is more when it comes to effective skincare".


Source: evelom.com

You cannot beat this skincare regime. I've been using it for about 8 years and would not use anything else. The Cleanser is a cleanser, toner and exfoliator in one and although it may initially seem quite expensive (£48 for 100ml jar), this size lasts me about 6 months. On top of this, you only really need a moisturiser - Moisturiser SPF is also great, I have pale skin and like to wear an SPF all year round. Overnight for added moisture, I will use the TLC, a very rich cold-cream like consistency. I have just run out of the Cleanser and looked again at the website and how much I love the range, so thought I would share it with you, I thoroughly recommend it.



Monday, 17 November 2008

Icon - Zooey Deschanel



Doesn't Katy Perry look more like Zooey Deschanel than Zooey???



Sunday, 16 November 2008

Lovelies




I'm having a beige/Chanel moment today. I have already invested in the Peter Jenson for Top Shop cream boots. The dress is actually a Malene Birger negligee but I think it works just as well as a dress and a girl can never have too much Chanel.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Fantasy High Street

Every month, Elle magazine offers a fashion related celebrity the chance to list their fantasy high street. I may not be a celebrity but here's mine....

Top Shop, Oxford St, London - the UK's best affordable high street shop with many designer collaborations, up and coming as well as celebrity. This shop always remains ahead of the game. Those New Yorkers can't wait for their time of a bite of the TS cherry. Prepare for mayhem in the streets of NYC!!



Apple Store, Soho, NYC - if you love technology and love sleek design, you can't get better than this. Any Apple product is almost a fashion accessory in itself.

Colette, Paris - a store I have never been to but desperately would like to. A definite on my next trip to Paris. A lifestyle store that simply oozes cool.




Chanel, Paris - an absolute dream. I have been in the NY store but my intention is to fulfill my dream of purchasing a 2.55 from this particular branch. One day.....


Liberty, London - A traditional store but selling edgy designers. The accessories department on the ground floor is to die for.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Comme des Garcons for H&M


I'm not sure if Newcastle upon Tyne has been chosen as one of the stores for this collection, it has in the past housed Stella, Karl etc etc, so there's a good chance it will be there. But can I be bothered with the rugby type scrum? I don't think so. The last time I arrived at around 5pm for the Stella McCartney collection and the shop looked like it had been raided big time.


An interesting choice this one, as Rei Kawakubo is a more avant garde designer than mass market. I'm sure their choice is well founded and it will be snapped up quickly and selling on Ebay within a few minutes.



Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Affordable Vintage

In the North East of England, vintage choice is not that extensive. There are a few vintage shops and a few more charity shops and car boot sales. This weekend however, the event Affordable Vintage Fair hits Northumbria University.

Organised by the founders of new ethical online magazine Daisy Green, the aim is to look at ways of buying quality clothes at affordable prices, remaining kind to the environment. Buying cheap throw-away fashion does not give the same buzz as finding a special one off piece for roughly the same amount of money.

There is a Make Create & Customise area, a Vintage Tea Party and Vintage Style Advisers on hand to make the vintage experience that much sweeter! The vintage fair is expected to have a high turn out. Main organiser Nicola Alexander says,

"I think vintage has been creeping into the mainstream for a a while now. Certainly I noticed it this year and with all the credit crunch talk and the suggestion that fashion needs to slow down, I think it's attracting a wider audience who aren't necessarily students".


So if you're in the area, it's a definite must-see, Saturday 10am-4pm.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Recessionista

Grazia magazine have published a report that claims female shoppers have become more savvy in their clothing choices. We have become a nation of "Recessionistas". So despite daily reports that we are heading into a global recession (are we not already in one?), we are not allowing this to stop us from buying but instead it's making us think carefully and do our research prior to buying.


71% are worried about the credit crunch affecting their lifestyle
46% are cutting back on their spending
83% of women still shop for clothes, accessories & beauty products at least once a week (up 2% from 6 months ago)
53% are selective about what they buy
58% feel better for researching and thinking twice about what they buy
67% bought an item at least once a week
31% bought something new at least 4 or 5 times a week
32% no longer shell out for risky one season trends
28% choose classic items
65% only use existing money to pay for goods rather than use credit cards


Jane Bruton, editor-in-chief of Grazia, said:
"Reading all the doom and gloom recession predictions it's easy to believe shopping is dead and fashion will never be the same again. There will be tumbleweed blowing around the High Street fashion stores and we'll all have to wear 'safe' black trousers and 'sensible' court shoes for the next five years.
"But our survey proves that, though of course we're worried about the economic climate, it's just turning us into more responsible, savvy shoppers who are becoming more creative and inventive with our wardrobes. Women have always used fashion as a feel-good way of expressing themselves. And no credit crunch is going to change that. Instead it's making us braver, not safer, with our style."
This week also, Barney's New York Creative Director Simon Doonan states,
"We're all doing expense cutting. It's really terrifying. But I think my job is to sustain the idea that fashion is exciting and glamorous.
"When war broke out, Quentin Crisp went out and bought 10 pounds of henna. You don't get it, do you? It means when times are tough, you have to be even more fabulous and more glamorous, and you have to rise above it".

Source: channel4.com, vogue.com

It will be interesting to see just how the current economy affects the fashion industry, if at all, and the way style will evolve. In previous decades, World War II for example had a massive effect, the fabrics available in ration times were so limiting that once the war was over, Dior's New Look created a whole new silhouette and had a massive impact on the industry and the way women looked. In the 1980's, a decade synonymous with wealth and opulence, the style was very over the top. Huge shoulder pads, big hair, bold jewellery - the bigger the better. From what I can see around me, the "credit crunch" we're in is encouraging us to be thrifty. If we want lower prices but still want to maintain quality, we're turning to vintage on a mass scale. Although vintage has been fashionable for a while now, it is becoming more widely appealing to the masses.

Surfing On A Rocket

Time for flying rockets
For silver jets
For surfing bombs
Surfing on a rocket
Don't pray to go
Please take my hand
Don't get me down
Surfing on a rocket
I'll be back one day
Just pray for me
I'm on my way
Surfing on a rocket
5 4 3 2 1 0
No one can stop me to go
You'll never see me again


I just love the lyrics to Air's "Surfing On A Rocket" - hallucinatory, dream-like.....


Icon - Sophie Ellis Bextor

I have chosen Sophie as my first icon, as sartorially, she is someone I most identify with. I love her mix of vintage and high street and together with her dark hair and pale skin, her style choices are similar to my own. She has appeared on a few fashion-related programmes in the UK recently - Frock Me, Frock Exchange, The Fashion Show - her humble and down to earth personality reflect the fact that she doesn't take fashion too seriously and yet achieves an eclectic and individual style. This I love. She claims that she finds fashion intimidating and competitive, by buying vintage she removes herself from the equation. What a great philosophy. In this material age we live in, competitiveness is something I encounter on a daily basis. Individuality should be embraced, instead of trying to keep up with one another. This is why a vintage mix works so well. Finally it is possible to find clothes and a style that become your own. Afterall, what works on one doesn't work on another. To have the confidence to try new things and develop your own style is so admirable. Sophie always looks like she has fun with clothes and isn't afraid to try anything and make mistakes, as she states, "they're only clothes".

Friday, 7 November 2008

The addictive appeal of the blogosphere...

So finally the appeal of the blogosphere has drawn me in... It feels a little bit like a teenager's personal diary - but maybe not so personal as it is available to the world. My ongoing fascination with fashion, style, art, film, music, interiors, architecture.... the list goes on. My eye is constantly drawn to items of beauty and I guess this seems as good a way as any to document it, a kind of real-life scrapbook.

I have been addicted to discovering new blogs for a while - my first foray was with the delightful Style Bubble - her very individual style, musings and overall insight into her personal world of fashion - has had me compulsively reaching for the wonder-web each morning. More recently I have discovered The Cherry Blossom Girl. As I just adore anything French, this is a whimsical insight into her world. Alix has a most creative flair which she uses to excellent effect, her photographs are so beautiful and inspiring.

And while I think photographs are a necessary component of a good blog, I am still at this moment nervous. I hate my picture being taken at the best of times, I am not photogenic at all. But while this will be primarily a fashion blog, obviously outfit posts are quite essential. I have thought about starting my own blog for a long while and all aspects of the content, the aims, the objectives of it have been continuous deliberations. So, one step at a time I think, until my confidence builds.