Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Drunken Clothes

(Wearing: all Vivienne Westwood – Gold Label ‘Drunken’ blouse SS10, ‘Mary jane’ shoes, ‘Anaconda’ belt, ‘Lucky’ earrings; Anglomania + Lee Denim jeans)

I admit I am not the biggest jeans fan, never have been I just don’t think they suit me as well as other things. Not that I don’t like how they look, believe me if I had a figure like Emmanuelle Alt or Isabel Marant I would live in skinnies. But I don’t so rather than try and force myself into something that doesn’t suit me I tend to avoid them, every now and then I will try them again but they are never anything I tend to stick with. Saying that there is a a small pile of jeans in the bottom of my wardrobe, you would think that would be omen enough that I should steer clear. So I was surprised when I tried this Anglomania + Lee denim pair of Rich’s how much I liked them. Perhaps it is due to them being more of a Chino fabric than a thick denim, combined with the classic Vivienne Westwood ‘Drunken style‘, a looser fit with a high waist. I don’t know but I liked them so much I went and bought a pair for myself. Whether these will be a novelty that will soon wear off like all the other jeans of my past I can’t say, but for now I am really liking them!

Couldn’t resist adding this photo of Viv and Pammy, Pamela’s dress is the same fabric as my shirt. I wrote more about this collection ‘Act fast, Slow down, stop climate change‘ last time I wore it. I also like wearing the ‘Drunken’ blouse with the ‘Drunken’┬á jeans, makes me feel all wiggly!

This post is dedicated to my number one fan and lovely friend Danny (@dannywozere5), a fellow Westwood addict in the making!

Shoes for A/W focus on Michel Perry

Michel Perry isn’t a shoe designer everyone would immediately recognise, however he has a quarter of a century experience under his belt. The self taught Parisian began working with footwear in his parents shoe selling business, going on to design for numerous Italian fashion houses. Finally setting up his own label in the 90’s. He takes influence from the urban surroundings, beauty and a touch of humor. Perry’s creations have been seen on the feet of many a famous face, seen here on Amber le Bon and Leighton Meester. Having had my first taste of the new A/W 12 collections out shopping yesterday, I have pushed summer right out of my mind and am well and truly ready for the new season. I never buy much in summer but I always end up crazily lusting after things for winter, there is just so much choice from hats and scarves to cosy layers and of course the shoes. Right now Spartoo shoes has an up to 60% off sale, but don’t be fooled into thinking all that is on offer are summer’s left over flip-flops, there are just as many shoes fit for the colder months. Above are some of my Michel Perry top picks from boots to lace up shoes, all totally lust worthy. It is hard to pick out just one favourite but if I had to it would be the ‘Orchid‘ with its chunky 70’s feeling and contrast orange brogue detailing, it sums up the season for me.

Vintage Vivienne Westwood Aqua Shoes

This is a bit of a daft post I know, but I have something in mind which I want to wait and see if I get before I wear these in an outfit post, but I could resist sharing!┬á Of course I like the style but it was the colour that really sold these shoes to me, it is the most enticing shade of aqua, just as inviting as the sea and since I won’t be seeing any of that this summer I may as well look at a pretty pair of shoes. This is my favourite colour right now, could I be getting into the summer spirit? I have a sudden longing for bright colours. I thought this might be a hard colour to find other shoes in but I actually found quite a few pairs, these Rupert SandersonNissa‘ wedges are incredible, perfect for cocktails at a beach-side bar. Whilst for those of you who don’t want to defy gravity and prefer flat shoes might like these Robert Clergerie ‘Ayane‘ ballet pumps.

My shoes come from the Vivienne Westwood ‘Tied to te Mast’ collection S/S1998. The bent heel is characteristic of the collection and was used on sandals with diamontie encrusted heels, buckled court shoes and even pirate boots. Check out this Flame pair I saw at the Vivienne Westwood shoe exhibition. So amazing!

Talking Points: Taking the Special Away, Copycat Items

It was watching UK TV show This Morning, today which got me thinking about this post but before I go into why, I thought I would share a few thoughts. If you buy anything off the High Street you are pretty much guaranteed to see someone else wearing it, sold cheaply and produced in their thousands. With designer items you pay more but know they are made in smaller quantities and thus lowers the chance of you going through ‘same dress syndrome’. With vintage again your chances of seeing an identical item is even rarer and well if you make your own clothes you are guaranteed exclusivity. We all like to think we are individual, that we are unique but there is still the underlying desire to some how fit in, be accepted by your peers, be part of the gang, be admired maybe?

Check me out!!

My own memories of this run deep, from a very young age my mum tells me I would rip out hair┬á bows and smear mud down pretty dresses, in the end she gave up and let me wear snow boots and a fly net over my head (space bride??) if it made me happy. I never really cared too much about clothes in a fashion sense, I just liked dressing up I think. My attraction to ballet and tap were in the shoes more than the dancing and I wore an orange tutu under my school uniform for a whole year aged 8. It was only on reaching High School where fashion really became an issue, wearing the wrong shoes, bag, coat even hairband was a crime! We looked to the older girls to set our fashion standards, we admired them and tried our best to emulate their style. One non-uniform day saw half the school wearing the current trend of flared jeans and an oversized denim shirt – strictly front tucked in and not the back. There was a security in fitting in with the group.

As we grow up we soon realise that fitting in with the crowd isn’t really all that, in fact it is quite boring having someone else dictate what we wear, we experiment and find what we are comfortable with. We have our own look, our own identity, don’t we? Yet in some way we are always part of one fashion tribe or another, because it is sociable! Be it the rock chic who wears a band t-shirt showing allegiance not just to the band but to the whole subculture of that style of music, to the vintage fans who like to have a natter over their latest 1940’s hair roll. I have tons of style influences, a great interest in many different designers and fashion eras and I also have friends who fit in with different parts of this. My friend Florrie and I spend days trawling the vintage shops together, then playing around with our new finds and our looks. Yet if I tried to drag Rich around Oldham St he would have an absolute fit! Instead we spend hours analysing the Vivienne Westwood show images and lookbooks, trying to second guess which pieces will make it to retail and which we will end up buying. My look is very individual, when I throw on the Westwood I get stared at in the street, I stand out. Yet when I am with my fellow Westwood addicts Rich and Jen we look like three peas in a pod.┬á We have so many things the same we always joke we should live together and just have a communal wardrobe!

Friends in Westwood!

But even though we all love Westwood, we share clothes, buy identical things, we turn up in matching outfits purely by chance, there are differences personal to each of us. Those which are unique to us. Most of these things are jewellery, perhaps because it is such a personal thing. By this I don’t mean costume jewellery, but the pieces we wear often and which become part of our identity, not those we pick up every now and again just to match an outfit. Precious pieces of jewellery we may have treasured for years, be it family hand me downs or just something that is so ‘you’ it would feel strange to see it on someone else. We use jewellery to signify marriage, gifts for coming of age and all other important occasions so no wonder it has an extra special notion to it. But the same feelings can be attached to clothes and bags too, that leather jacket we have lived in for the past five years, the first date dress, the bag you saved up for a year for.

There is also that begrudging feeling you get when something you think of as ‘yours’ gets snapped up by one of your friends. Yes it might be a compliment that they liked yours so much but damn it, it takes some of the special away! Mostly I don’t care if I have the same things as my friends, we all wear it in different ways. But sometimes when it is something special it just takes a bit of the shine off it.

Exhibit 1 -Holly Willoughby’s double coin necklace

This brings me back around to what started this post Holly Willoughby’s double coin necklace. If you watch any show Holly is part of I am sure you will have noticed the unusual coin necklace she wears. I had often wondered if it was a precious gift from her husband or someone since she wore it so often, shunning the usual TV presenter uniform of ever changing accessories.

Eventually I read that it was a family heirloom her mother had custom made which she really cherishes. She also told Now magazine she wasn’t confident mixing and matching accessories so felt more comfortable sticking with her beloved necklace.

Holly wearing her original necklace, image Life

So it came as a surprise today to watch the show and see one of the other presenters Zoe wearing the same necklace. For all I know they may be best friends and she could have lent it her? Holly wasn’t on the show today so I wasn’t able to see if Holly had hers on at the same time. I thought it was weird so I Google’d it only to find pages and pages of forum debates from women demanding to know where they could get a ‘cheap copy’ of Holly’s necklace. A few discussed how jewelers could custom make them one by soldering together two gold half sovereigns but at an estimate of ┬ú300 most didn’t want this. As I read more I was directed to eBay and Etsy where people had for sale very similar ones often with different coins to keep the cost down. Then there was the looming presence of a fast fashion ‘celeb style’ website who were flogging exact copies of the necklace in your choice of real gold or plate and in silver too. The cheapest price was ┬ú35. ┬ú35 for owning a piece of Holly Willoughby. I admit it is a beautiful necklace, I would of course have loved it myself but the fact is it isn’t my necklace. I know how quick the fast fashion wheel turns but I have always thought of the more indirect nature of it such as catwalk influenced High Street clothes. But when this was something so personal to Holly and the women demanding they have a “cheap copy” it all just seemed very sad to me. I really wonder what Holly must think of it?

Zoe wearing the coin necklace, image This Morning

Perhaps she is happy to have fired off a trend, perhaps she wishes she had claimed royalties or perhaps she is a bit sad at the cheap rip offs of her treasured family necklace. I always remember Sienna Miller saying how sad she felt when her Boho look was being ripped off by every store on the High Street, she said it was hard to see skirts she had inherited from her mum and accessories from her travels on the backs of every passing girl.

Exhibit 2 – Kate Moss’s Moschino Bag

My vintage Moschino bag

I have had it happen to me personally. As soon as I saw Kate Moss wearing the larger version of my vintage Moschino heart bag my stomach sank. Not because I didn’t like Kate but because I knew what would follow. Soon enough you could by a knock off of this bag all over the High Street. I couldn’t bare seeing girls pass me with their Primark copy so I sold mine on eBay.

Perhaps Kate Moss though she was beating fast fashion at it’s own game when she created her collection with Topshop, all the designs were ‘adapted’ from Kate’s own vintage wardrobe so every girl could dress like Kate. She even included a similar style studded bag to the Moschino one. Perhaps they thought by copying vintage pieces they could get away with the blatant design theft but for those of us with a passion for vintage we knew the truth behind it.

The gorgeous Emma from Get Some Vintage Appeal writes about her experience with the Kate Moss collection ripping off her own vintage Bus Stop dress in ‘Kate Moss at Topshop…What a Joke‘.

Kate Moss with the Moschino bag at Glastonbury and her Topshop collection, images via Purseforum

 We all know the power of celebrity, celebrity sells, but at what cost?

Outfit: A Little Mini Crini Moment

(Outfit: all Vivienne Westwood – Gold Label ‘Mary┬á Jane’ shoes, Anglomania ‘Mini-Crini’ skirt and tartan blouse, Accessories ‘Orb’ belt and ‘Reverse Heart’ earrings)

Just a quickie outfit post, it was one of those outfits that just happened. You know when you just rummage around and throw somethings on. I wouldn’t really have thought to wear a long, loose top over the crini but it just goes to show you never know until you try it. This crini is quite old now and I always thought it was big but it is actually quite a lot smaller than my new one from this season. I was hoping they would do some A/W versions in velvet and lace but alas it was not to be, I can keep longing over vintage ones with the hope of some appearing in the near future.

The Westwood mini-crini was born in 1987 A/W ‘Harris Tweed’ collection: ÔÇ£My whole idea for this collection was stolen from a little girl I saw on the tube one day. She couldnÔÇÖt have been more than 14. She had a little plaited bun, a Harris Tweed jacket and a bag with a pair of ballet shoes in it. She looked so cool and composed standing thereÔÇØ Vivienne Westwood. There is a child-like element to wearing the skirt, it sways around you like a bell and definitely puts you in a playful kind of mood. I’d love a crown too, oh yeah imagine that!

Original velvet and lace mini-crini’s from the 80’s, image courtesy Vivienne Westwood Ltd

Outfit: Double Stripes

(Wearing: F&F striped top and pencil skirt*, vintage necklace and belt, Primark socks, LK Bennett shoes from TK Maxx, nail color Chanel ‘Sky line’)

This is what I wore to go check out the new F21 store yesterday at the Trafford Centre. You may have seen on other posts that I also have this skirt in red and the top in pink, what can I say I like stripes, a lot! It is just nice to have easy to wear basics which you can throw on. I admit I have an attraction to beautiful things and beautiful clothes are often very high maintenance. Half my wardrobe is dry clean only or impossible to iron without an industrial steamer. I am forever sewing back on stray sequins and a lost button causes all out panic. Most of my clothes are really not suitable for my life but who cares so long as they are fun to wear!

I’m not prissy about my cloths, I don’t see the point having them if you are to scared to wear them, but when I buy something I buy it to last.I always look for quality be it a designer, vintage or high street buy. These two garments have me right at opposing edges of the quality spectrum. The top is fantastic fabric it hangs nicely, it has fancy buttons and even better you can chuck it in the washer. The skirt on the other hand is a total let down. The same thing happened with my red one too, after the first wear of only a few hours the fabric bobbled and the printed stripes began to fade. This quite frankly makes me really angry because I would have worn the skirts often and it is such a waste. A waste of money, a waste of all the production that went into making it, sigh. I will try hand washing this one and see if it fares better than the red one going through the machine. I guess that really is the gamble we make when buying so called ‘fast fashion’, we have no guarantee what it will be like. I have things I’ve bought from the high street last for years and other fall to pieces, so it always makes me wonder why we cant have more of the former and less of the latter?

Events: Forever 21 Launch, Manchester

This morning I was invited to the Manchester launch of US store Forever 21. I first visited F21 when I was in the States, there seemed to be one in every mall and it was the go to place for a reasonably priced fashion hit. What I liked about it was that even though the prices were low the products were good, no direct runway rip just cool, trend led designs. I was also really impressed with the boutique feel of the store which I was pleased to see brought over to the UK, checker board tile floors and ornate tables stacked with jars of bright coloured accessories.

It seems I wasn’t the only one keen to check out the new store, as people camped out over night to be first in line, with a chance for the first 300 customers to receive a free surprise gift card – ┬ú10-┬ú200 up for grabs. By midday the check out queue snaked all around the store, proof that everyone was impressed with what they found. My top picks were the faux-leather and denim bustiers – perfect over shirts, a printed pair of orange and blue chunky heels and the stacks of costume jewellery, spiked bracelets and statement collars. I didn’t have time to joint the crazy queue but I will be returning soon to pick up a few pieces.

You can seem lots more in my  FaceBook Album! Forever 21 is also available online.

Have you been to Forever 21?

Sister, Sister – Spijkers et Spijkers

Speaking of tropical birds in the last post reminded me of these wonderful shots I had of the Spijkers et Spijkers sisters, identical twins Riet and Truss. Both wearing the iconic Bird of Paradise which their AW12 collection was named after, inspired by the tragic Edie and Little Edie of Gray Gardens. Two beautiful song birds, trapped in the cage of their own despair, as their house and lives crumbled around them. Yet always dressed to impress, in old jewels and gowns, forever birds of paradise.

The collection featured wearalbe decadence, rich ocher yellow and plum, fringe trim and feathers, dressed up drop waist dresses and sharp trouser suits. Long leather gloves gave Alice bands a grown up feel, all topped off with brilliant electric blue birds of paradise.

You can see more from the collection in my FaceBook Album

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom + TK Maxx for LFW

My Tropical Fashion Beach featuring Holly Fulton AW12

I’ve said it before and I am sure I will say it many times again, I don’t go on holidays. I haven’t been on a holiday since I last went to Ibiza when I was still in my teens. I have traveled the world however due to my job demanding I go to conferences which are often in somewhat exotic locations, they may as well have all been in Milton Keynes for the amount of time spent inside window-less concrete buildings. Unfortunately not involving my butt being anywhere near a beach, not that any of my friends ever believe this. ‘Where is your tan?’, erm probably still at the beach I didn’t visit, ‘But you’ve been in Egypt for two weeks!’ yes working and so I remain eternally┬á in need of a spray-tan.

Of course I could save up and take myself off on a wonderful holiday, sit by the pool and finally read that stack of dust collecting novels. My doctor keeps telling me to take a holiday and perhaps if I hadn’t been off all over the place for conferences I might have that unfulfilled longing for a pina-colada by the sea. Don’t get me wrong if you handed me over some tickets to Barbados I would snatch your hand off but the thing is, the inevitable catch as to why I never book those tickets myself… I would rather spend the money on fashion. So whilst it is great fun going away, I would still rather be sat in my overpriced jacket months if not years later, than I would be sat longing after the fading tan as soon as I step back on home soil and it is probably going to stay that way until I stop being such a fashion glutton.

Which leaves me sat right now on this cold and rainy summer (cough cough) day making my own topical island paradise fun. Perhaps we will get a little bit of a heat wave late August, but until then I am all to happy to skip summer and get right onto AW fashion. Looking at the vibrant blue and pink pallet of Holly Fulton’s AW12 collection really hits the spot, it is about as tropical as you can get without a pineapple and a parrot. Fulton too took her tropical inspiration from our own shores, drawing inspiration from glasshouses and the potential for “steamy hedonism within them”, “Exotic palms and creatures flourishing in the damp humidity”. The AW12 muse is a fun and flirty character “loosing herself in the heady atmosphere of the Estate’s hothouses and her frivolous behavior is written all over her lightly perspiring face” clothes for seducing gardeners indeed!

Whether you are dressing for seduction or a day at the office Fulton has it covered. The prints and the colours are lust worthy, but the shapes are what really pack the punch to seal the deal. Boxy jackets with pencil skirts and this seasons soon becoming ‘staple’ the polo-neck, light sweater tucked in and statement jewels. I want it, I want in on this look so much and hey if it comes with a sexy gardener than I’m not going to say no, but you can keep your palm trees I know where my money is going!

You can see more from Holly Fulton AW12 in my FaceBook Album

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom + TK Maxx for LFW