Rush Shoes


Whilst on holiday in Ibiza, sun shining, breeze blowing any thoughts from my mind, I stubbled (literally - there was a large basket in my way) of shoes. 

Not typical holiday shoes, i.e rubber flip flops, canvas pumps but rather simple looking flat mules made from a dried reed or grass-like material. 

Obviously its hot and more importantly dry! And so with a romantic notion of living in a dry, dusty environment, I bought of couple of paris. Note to self - when home in England the weather is significantly wetter and said shoes cant be worn outside (or at least only for perhaps a week of the year!) however they make excellent house shoes or slippers. 

I popped a photo on Instagram - they were well received but I knew very little about them. Until I was browsing through the magical book - Craft Traditions of the World. It turns out they aren't just located from Spain but world wide. In Africa and the Americas they are produced using the grasses from the savannahs and prairies. In China and Japan, the straw from rice plants are used. They can be found in Russia, Romania, Nepal, in fact anywhere that has access to dry flat grasses or rushes - these tend to have a spongy middle.  

The shoes are literally woven using basic warp and weft structure. Creating a top or circular piece before the edge is bound with twin to give a finished edge. 


Iconic Style - The Trench Coat


Always a fail safe for the British weather... a trench coat.

The trench coat was created as a means to keep mud off the uniforms worn in the trenches of WW1 - mostly must I add by the Officers. This would explain the epaulettes which we identify with the trench coat as they would have originally have been used to signify and to display ones rank. 

The trench coat has gone on to signify strong women esecpially in films such as A Woman Of Affairs and The Iron Petticoat. Further in time to Audrey Hepbrns' use of it for Holly Golighlty in Breakfast At Tiffanys - where it stops being a masculine statement and is in fact totally feminized by Audrey Hepburn - either way mascuijne or feminine the trench coat is a diverse garment that transeeds stereotypical sexualities to be something that is pure class. 

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Below are a section of trench coats on the market today and which show the diversity of how the humble trench coat has involved. Including the amazing Valentino pink leather trench coat!


ULTRA VOILET - Colour of the Year 2018


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Officially the colour of the year - Ultra Voilet - the colour chosen by Pantone as their colour of the year. 

And, the world has followed. Fashion is embracing Voilet - it makes a welcome highlight from black and red as seasonal Christmas colours, bright enough to cheer up a lack lustre dull day - with the promise that the sun will shine...

 Even food is embracing the colour purple in the form of the bus (yam), you can even try Ube Ice cream at Romulo Cafe Kensington... 


The Age Of GLAMOUR


There are a mirage of reasons why January is the month that we are most likely to stay in doors - Christmas excess, dry January, cold weather...  

But there is a good reason to stay in or just have some simple time to yourself - The Age Of Glamour, a colouring book published by Thames & Hudson and with contributions from the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

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A spot of doodling, one eye on the television can do wonders for switching off the brain. This colouring book defines the age of glamour, hence the name - full of images from the 1920s and 1930s, the fashions, the music, the style and grace - pure inspiration.

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Murder, Mystery and Vintage Clothing


When I have the time, there is nothing I love more than a good read. Curling up with a book and a cup of soothing cup of tea - Mariage Freres being a tipple of choice but equally a good camomile tea would also be a treat. 

Books of choice at the moment are from the incredibly talented writer Angela M Saunders. 

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At first glance the covers are super sophisticated, pretty colours and glamorous fonts. The stories are interesting on their own merit as great thrillers and then there is the added bonus of huge amounts of vintage clothing and fashion designer interest and facts. For anyone who's look a good 'who done-it' and had an interest in vintage and retro clothing - these are for you.


PARIS Through a Fashion Eye - Megan Hess


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Paris, Pink, Pretty... just a few of the words that sum up this delicious book.

Paris Through a Fashion Eye by Megan Hess - crosses the line between a factual and informative book and a book so pretty that it holds its own on the coffee table. A delightful and iinformarive guide around Megan's Paris - the places she loves, places to go to for food, fashion, fun and highlight with most fantastic of illustrations. 

A book to enjoy and treasure. 

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A Chance to Delve into The Versace Archive

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The William Vintage Gianni Versace Arvhive Collection is available to for us to look at from 10th October on the Farfetch website - and - at the William Vintage Boutique London.  

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Versace is back. 

I'm not sure that it ever really left... its like marmite. It's one of those brands that stands strong whether you love or hate it. 

The London vintage emporium William Vintage has joined together with the amazing e-commerce website Farfetch to sell - yes sell - a 500 piece collection of Versace. The collection ranges from 1977 through to 1997. 

Prices range from £195 (Similar to a high priced H&M - bearable at a  push) through to an amazing £38,995 price point - for this you would be able to purchase a dress from the renowned Bondage Collection. 

But... whether you can afford to purchase or not - what we can do is look. 

One not to miss! 

Chanel PFW Spring Summer 2018


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The fashion weeks come and go - everyone has a favourite bit, a favourite show and if your lucky enough you might get to go to the show. 

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The fashion weeks come and go - everyone has a favourite bit, a favourite show and if your lucky enough you might get to go to the show. 

For most of us, there is much hope and to be truthful even if we could get in, would we be FROW... most likely not. 

This is where the internet, blogs, websites, social media, camera phones suddenly come into their own - because within seconds now we have the ability to see what is happening almost front the front row. 

New York, London, Milan and Paris. 

And then this year - Chanel. 

Love it or hate it - this is the boot of Spring Summer 2018.

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The Classic Wrap Dress


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Created by Diane von Furstenberg in 1974, the DVF classic wrap dress is a classic - its easy to wear, can be dressed up or down. A dress that has lasted the test of time and today 2017 it is just as flattering / popular / versatile now as it was in 1974. However what I didn't know was that the DVF wrap dress started off as a wrap top and skirt. According to Diane von Furstenberg "I thouguht it would make a simple and sexy dress." 

Which certainly is true, as shown in press clippings of Diane herself...

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Style Inspiration - Ava Gardner


As much as I love jeans - obviously, as I design and make them - and wear them - it is also nice to feel a tad glamourous.

Which is I love adding a little Hollywood glamour into an outfit - be it simply over the top earnings, leopard print, a silk blouse, a statement necklace or even (on very tired days) cats eye sunglasses! 

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The simple stripe jumper.

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The classic black swimsuit will never be out of fashion.

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A perfect off the shoulder top or...

add a statement piece of jewellery (or both).

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'Catseye' sunglasses anytime anywhere.

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Walking the dog...

with glamour.

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Simply a shirt,jeans and classic white trainers.

''If I had my life to live over again, I'd live it the same way. Maybe a few changes here or there, but nothing special. The truth is, honey, I've enjoyed my life. I've had a hell of a good time.” 

- Ava Gardner


Refresh Colour


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As much as I love (and I do) trawling charity shops. Sometimes the clothes can be a little tired and worn, a little faded. But never fear...

It's super easy with the help of the Dylan washing machine dyes to refresh items of clothing. Dylan dye now has produced the most handy 'pod' with are easy to open and store (meaning that you ca get a way with using a portion of the dye rather than the whole pot. Nowadays there is no additional salt needed, so simply you can add as much dye as you require in relation to the weight of your clothing. 

Recently I bought a pretty Indian cotton blouse and an 80's (on trend) tired dress, both cotton (natural fibres take dye easily) but slightly faded in places. Both were a delicate shade of pink but could do with some extra colour, so I simply selected the Dylan colour I thought best - Powder pInk and added placed the colours and half the dye from the pod into the washing machine. I turned the machine to a 40 degree wash and simply that was it.

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The Indian blouse now has an even colour, a tad darker than before but just as pretty and fresh. The dress has become pinker than the tired beige and again has a new lease of life.

Another great tip is to refresh black t-shirts with a black Dylon dye rather than throw then away. For less than ten pounds you can refresh at least 5 t-shirts and a pair jeans!


Beach Style


The summer holidays are well under way. Every year the same wee thoughts - keep the swimwear I already have or buy new...

I find myself flicking through the magazines for inspiration but just get wildly stressed over how young or skinny or young again the models are why do they have to look so perfect... but all this changed when I read the following statement in The Lady magazine (my guilty pleasure).

When it comes to genuine chic as opposed to fickle fashions, perhaps things haven’t changed that much’.

What a genuinely lovely and comforting thought because lets be honest the human body maybe more athletic, healthy or not, perhaps even taller but essentially we are still human with arms, leg, a body and a head. 

If we look at the styles of swimwear or resort wear over the last few decades fashions may change but the 'stylish' swimwear is fairly consistent to the present day.

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1930

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1940

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1950

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Present day....


A Bee's Knees


Summer has started, in fact gets be honest the summer holidays have started - fun, friendships, frolics and long summer evenings (if the British weather holds out...). 

So, whilst reading a fantastic 'vintage' themed thriller (more of that later) I came across the cocktail  - Bee's Knees. I'm not a big drinker and in fact I think I've only drunk gin once but there is something about this cocktail I like the sound of - or maybe its idea of a laungishing parent holding fought with a vintage cocktail in hand...

A Bee's Knees cocktail os from the Prohibition Era. Made with Gin, fresh lemon juice and honey - super simple. It is best served shaken (so 007) and chilled with a twist of lemon.

Historically the honey was to sweeten home made Gin that perhaps didn't taste so sweet. The name Bee's Knees derives from the prohibition slang meaning 'The best".

2oz Gin

3/4oz Fresh lemon juice

1⁄2 oz Honey syrup


The Beauty of The Breton Stripe


We think we know all about The Breton Stripe but do we...

Its a blue and white stripe top, generally with long or three quarter length sleeves and a boat neck.

Or is it...

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The History of the Breton Stripe

The Breton stripe originates from Bretagne the french for Brittany on the North West coast of France.   A decree in 1858 on the 27th March to be precise - introduced the striped shirt as the seaman’s uniform. The stripes were white for 2cm and then blue for 1cm.  The style of the top was designed to be practical with the length of the top being intended to cover the lower back of the seafarer and the top was not too loose so as not to get caught on anything during work - pretty sensible to me - which to this day The Breton Stripe can be described as a practical item of clothing.

Somewhat ironically, the garment usually has a boat neckline.  The distinctive striped pattern made them easy to spot in the waves in emergencies.

The stripe pattern is so closely linked with Brittany that their flag, designed in 1923, also contains the Breton stripe pattern, albeit in black and white rather than navy blue and white.  The nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional Brittany dioceses

Its not hard to see why this became such a poplar and well loved item of clothing even to this day.


Whatever Happened To Wash Day?


As I look out the window its raining again...

and I think mmmm maybe that's what happened to having a fixed washing day. What did you do when it rained and your only means of drying your washing was a breezy, windy day?

I love washing by machine and hand. I find hanging out the washing relaxing and standing and assessing the fruits of my labour satisfying. I don't however like folding washing or putting it away.

I love the idea of allowing myself time to enjoy such some pleasures in life but with the humdrum of life jobs, responsibilities and the advancment of washing machines, dryers and a laundrette service - Wash Day has become a lost art. 

It only took a quick 'google' to see that historically much has been created washing our clothes such as river scenes incorporating washing, poetry and nursery rhymes.

I don't always have the time to stick to a fixed 'wash day' but given any opportunity I'm all for hanging the washing outside, nothing beats clean laundry dried outside even with London pollution. 

Wash on Monday Nursery Rhyme lyrics

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Bake on Wednesday,
Brew on Thursday,
Churn on Friday,
Mend on Saturday,
Go to meeting on Sunday.

Or perhaps the more updated version

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday


DIY Your Own Asymmetric Hemline


The 1990's are back - fashion is embracing body-con dresses, bias-cut slip dresses and trainers and dresses.

Add to this The Asymmetric hemline. Everyone from JW Anderson to Topshop Unique 

An asymmetrical hem looks fairly simple to do yourself especially when the trend is to leave the hem raw - no sewing needed!

And - it is very simple to do.

  • I choose a maxi, floral dress just perfect for the spring.
  • I hung the dress up and decided where the shortest point on one side seam should be and them the longest point on the other sides seam.
  • Then with confidence I simply cut a sloping backwards 'S' shape between the two points. It doesn't have to be a sloping backwards 'S' shape you can also cut in a straight line from the high point straight to the low point - all this does is give a more dramatic slope to the hem.
  • At this point I hung the dress back up to admire my handy work and make the choice of whether to hem or not - i have decided  not t hem the dress but it would be easy to by sewing machine, hand or even taking to your local dry cleaners / tailors.

All thats needed now is a little sunshine *wishful thinking but the real beauty of the asymmetric hem is that it can easily be worn in the summer with bare legs or in the cooler months with tights and ankle boots - win win.


 

 

A Natural Flare


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Originating from the Naval uniform in the early 19th century, The Flare went onto become one of the most adopted and popular style of trouser leg.

Popularised in denim it has become synonymous with the 1960's and 70's,, with cool, laid back culture. 

Its not hard to see why they are constantly coming back into fashion. Worn with heels or platforms they are leg lengthening, worn with sneakers they embrace an air of cool effortlessness. Not only do they look good but worn as high waisted jean and skimming the thigh they are one of the most comfortable styles of jeans to wear.

Which is why yet again I'v raided the back of my closet to pull out my old flared jeans and I'm back in them again - and yes I bought myself a Chopper bike. as the saying goes 'When in Rome...'


Simple Updated Jeans


Distressed, revamped, chopped, slashed, patched..

You name it - denim is it - there isn't anything you can't do to denim at the moment. So when challenged with 'what can you do to update 'mom' jeans?' I actually had a very quick idea, that is super simple. 

Create a pin-tuck down the centre front of each leg. Simple yet attractive. I also chopped the hem's off of the jeans to allow them to fray wash by wash...

Simple instructions below and feel free to experiment - coloured threads, lurex thread, stitch width...

 Take a pair of 'Mom Jeans'.

Take a pair of 'Mom Jeans'.

 Fold the legs in half - side seam to side sea creating a fold down the centre front go the jeans.

Fold the legs in half - side seam to side sea creating a fold down the centre front go the jeans.

 Place the folded jean leg under the sewing machine, allowing a small seam allowance go 3mm and sew straight down the fold. 

Place the folded jean leg under the sewing machine, allowing a small seam allowance go 3mm and sew straight down the fold. 


Colour by Flowers


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As a family we are finding it hard to agree on any colours to decorate our home.

The more colour palettes I bring home, the more home magazines we sit and pour over - it only seem to heighten our likes individually rather than be interested or understanding what other people like. 

Probably plating Monopoly at the same time doesn't help the competitive nature of our family...

But on-one thing that we do love as a family are fresh flowers the home and none does them better (for us) than Petalon

Petalon deliver flowers than are not only stunning but by bicycle (so envirmantly supportive) and they donate £1 from every order to The Bees Collective to support bees for the Lononders - and as we live in London and we love honey - its a no brainer!  

So far we are have narrowed our colour pallets to the two bouquets below... now all we have to do is separate the colours into our individual likes and then into paint / furnishings / textures...

but hey its a good starting point.

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