Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Summer dreaming

Tim Walker's photographs sum up the season perfectly. Dreamy and whimsical they conjure up lazy afternoons spent lolling half in the shade, half in the sun, sipping gin and tonic, nibbling charred food piping hot and fresh from the barbeque.

They might evoke summer's that you've never experienced but feel deep in your conscious like half-remembered dreams or a book read long ago.

Fashion is intertwined in all these memories. From my old school summer dress (blue and white check – very Christopher Kane) to bikinis, jelly shoes and favourite vintage dresses.

Summer to me means lager shandies, daisy chains, picnic rugs, standing at the top of Primrose Hill and seeing a heat haze over the city, that delicious feeling of warmth as the sun heats up your skin, the smell of suncream, cricket, Wimbledon, cream teas and ice lollies, cool, crisp early morning air, and stifling evening heat that clings to buildings and the ground, lavender, peonies (see earlier blog), the summer solstice, fields full of baled hay and soft golden stubble, horses lazily swatting flies away with their tails, my dog laid out on the warm flagstones white belly raised to the sun, fighting over whose turn it is to refresh the drinks ...

We might no longer get the school holiday sense of excitement, waking early, sun already streaming through flimsy curtains, the stillness of the house before anyone else is awake, looking out of a bedroom window at a mist-filled valley, or being called in for bed as the light dims in the evening, swallows swooping over the valley, catching insects like tiny arrows across the blurry shadows beyond.
(All images Tim Walker)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Something for the weekend

Paul and Joe's new cat face lipstick. Freaks me out a little ...

My week's findings

I've spent most of this week looking back over the trends for A/W10, dissecting the looks and themes as well as checking out the resort shows for S/S11. Here are my favourites:
The Dries Van Noten show was a triumph. You can't help but want the entire collection. I love the styling, the way a slouchy jersey top has been "thrown" over a printed silk skirt and the hair left a little undone. The sunglasses and leopard scarves were the perfect companions to the prints and simple basics. I love, love, love the camel jacket with the collar turned up just so, bag casually carried under the arm.
The Celine show has been much commented on so I won't add to the volume but the navy pea coat and slim trouser combo is divine. Phoebe Philo can do no wrong, carrying her clean and serene aesthetic forward into next summer...

Burberry Prorsum was another A/W10 hit with the shearling coats and jackets instant lust-haves.
My resort favourites ...
Chanel's turquoise jumpsuit is beautiful. Impossible to wear unless you're Abby Lee Kershew but still ... The perfect black Chanel suit, the classic investment. Aaah.
Erdem's distinctive prints either overlaid with lace or worn alone are beautiful takes on summer florals, more graphic, darker, almost animalistic.
I love this look. It's like a modern take on the Mad Men style. It's ladylike with a twist, somewhere around the colours and prints. Perfect garden party/ wedding material.
Marc Jacobs' fifties sunglasses and colour palette of the look (top) make me want to be holidaying in a glamorous resort with a perfectly coordinated wardrobe of clothes. And possibly monogrammed luggage. The shape of his halterneck dress is beautiful (and probably a devil to sit down in).
The key to this Marc by Marc Jacobs look (for me) is the simplicity of it. The soft neutrals, the tailored short and luxe, loose tee with Mary Janes spells out a carefree summer, just avoid the grass stains.
Trust Peter Dundas at Emilio Pucci to bottle the hippy luxe seventies vibe. Part Mick and Bianca, part Linda and Paul, the soft tailoring and colour palette create a great look for next summer's globetrotter. How cool would the look on the left look on the plane?
Roksanda Ilincic (top) and Oscar de la Renta (bottom) are two diverse looks. Oscar's boater, pretty print and jacket combo is the go-to for summer events dressing, perfect for just about any age, while Roksanda's acid lemon maxi, camel outfit clashed with the peroxide halo of curls and slash of red lips is the ultimate juxtaposition. It just works.

Have a great weekend, over and out x
(All pictures style.com)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The art of the perfect trench

It might seem like a silly time to be thinking of coats but the classic trench is a coat for every season (even summer in England). Worn open with the belt knotted behind your back over a simple dress or jeans and a t-shirt for spring or with knits layered under it for cooler days it's the go-anywhere staple.

Burberry is the pinnacle of trench design ...

... and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's the ultimate icon.
The perfect trench works for any age. Just check out Audrey in later years for a lesson in chic style for the over 30s.
My recent obsession with tracking done the ultimate version stems from my birthday trip to Paris. I've been planning the perfect wardrobe for my jaunt ever since I booked it two months ago. Barely a day goes by when I'm not planning my outfit for fizz in first class on the Eurostar or dinner at Chez Georges and dancing at Le Baron.

With this in mind, I hit Banana Republic's sale last night. Banana Republic have long been my go-to for classic staples and I wasn't disappointed. Well, I was slightly disappointed because there were no beige trenches left in any size under an XL in the Regent Street store. Instead I picked up a rather natty black version with a cool stripey lining for under £100.

It has the right details and an extra long belt, brilliant for tying in a knot (it's important not to nerdily belt your mac, instead tie a louche knot like a true Parisian). Hopefully I won't need a mac in July but at least I'm prepared ...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Sale tips

Harvey Nichols sale starts tomorrow. My best tips are:
1. Buy things you love
2. Select pieces that work for now but with a bit of clever layering will also work for autumn/ winter.
3. Take a look at the big, key shows for A/W10 before setting foot in a store: Celine, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Stella.
4. If there's leather in your size and you can afford it, buy it (see the Celine show).
5. Ditto anything in camel.
6. Have fun. If picking through rails of tat on the off-chance that you could find hidden treasure isn't for you, stay home.
7. Revisit the sale after a few days. People will have returned impulse purchases and you might strike it lucky.
8. Check the store's returns policy.
9. Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to take off and put back on. Vest and leggings under a simple dress are a good move. Tights are no for trying on shoes.
10. Be honest with yourself. Are you buying it because it looks good in the ad campaign? Are you buying it because there's 70 per cent off? Are you buying it with the idea that it's almost right and you can change it? Ask yourself - if you haven't worn it within 14 days are you ever going to wear it?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Weekend plans

Playing in the park with a very sleepy hound.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Animal Magic

My love of animal pendants shows no signs of abating. My quest to create a personal (jewellery) zoo is becoming obsessive.

At present swinging around my neck, in no particular order, are an owl, an elephant and a unicorn. I’d like a lion and a giraffe (maybe even the safari Big Five).

As something of an animal lover (I have a basset hound and elderly horse living with their grandparents in the country) there’s something about my golden menagerie that’s comforting and talismanic.

And there's definitely something about the rise of personalised, charm necklaces. They’re easy and pretty plus they’re cheap to make – you just need a longish chain (mine’s from Banana Republic) and then you can hunt out little personal charms in vintage fairs and thrift shops (even the high street – I pulled the elephant charm off a too-short necklace from Accessorise) for a totally unique piece.

My elephant charm is pretty timely. London is awash with decorated baby elephants (statues not real ones) for the Elephant Parade (http://www.elephantparadelondon.org/) in aid of endangered Asian elephants. Artists and designers like Lulu Guinness and John Rocha have decorated Nellies in aid of the charity. My favourite is the gold one in Golden Square (see what they’ve done there) but this tusky little chap is sweet too.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Flower power

Peonies are easily my favourite flower.

They’re only available for about one month of the year (June) so they have that tangible quality. Here today, gone tomorrow – kind of like summer itself.

They start off as tight spheres of pink before bursting out into the size of dinner plates with crimped edges to their delicate petals.

I bought my first bunch of the year this weekend. With the hot weather on Saturday, they’d fully opened out overnight. So beautiful.

I can’t help but feel melancholic when I look at them, something to do with the fact that they won’t last ....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The new issues

For all those who think Kate Moss has had her day – check out this Mario Sorrenti shoot in Vogue Paris, styled by the uber cool Emmanuelle Alt.

Karen Elson and rocker husband Jack White appear in American Vogue, shot by Annie Leibovitz in Nashville to promote Elson’s debut album, The Ghost Who Walks.

British Vogue have shot tennis rising star Laura Robson ahead of Wimbledon for their Ageless issue (Cameron Diaz looks great on the cover). I also love this picture of teen model Edie Campbell by Jason Bell. It reminds me of my childhood bedroom, festooned with rosettes and colour.