Outfit: Caped like Batman

Happy Halloween!

(Wearing: Vivienne Westwood sample cape, Vivienne Westwood Gold Label ‘Wild’ jumper and gold lace skirt, Vivienne Westwood Meg Bag boots)

I actually didn’t get dressed up in fancy dress this year but still wanted to be in the spirit of things so I went prancing around the park with a pumpkin. Wearing my new Vivienne Westwood World’s End buys and the Bag boots I got at the Warehouse sale.

The cape is super special. It was originally designed by Vivienne for her to wear to an interview for Cool Earth, it is called ‘Vivienne’s cape’. Late it was decided to produce just five more, one appearing with a series of capes in the AW 2007 Gold Label collection but never being made available for retail. It is really nice because now the other capes have all ended up belonging to fellow Westwood addicts and friends Joey Ma (photos of Joey in his cloak), Jason and Rich. The last one is currently on display in the Leeds Vivienne Westwood store window, in a special display promoting World’s End but it belongs to Eve one of the managers there.

Image from Time Out feature

On the runway, AW 2007

What do you think of the cape, trick or treat?

Books: David Bowie Style

The first time I ever learnt about David Bowie was seeing him as Jared the Goblin King in Labyrinth. I immediately fell in love with the costumes, the music and the fantasy the film created, like many children of the 80’s I watched it over and over again until I could repeat the entire script by heart. As I got older I discovered Bowie’s music and his passion for using clothes to express himself. Most people it seems take little interest in Bowie’s style after his Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane persona’s, however I think to pigeon hole someone with what they did in their Twenties denies the fact that every one of us changes and grows as we age. In David Bowie Style the author Danny Lewis takes a concise look at Bowie’s style over the past 50 years, from a teenage Mod to a middle aged man who has refined his style to relaxed elegance. The 128 page book doesn’t try to define Bowie’s style into his famous characters, rather comments on his changing look as he experimented with music, traveled the world and met new people. Taking us up to present day ‘retired’ David. This is a very enjoyable book for the Bowie fan but also anyone interested in fashion, to see someones life set out in sartorial choices is a fascinating thing. With an 8 page introduction and 7 conceding chapters the book focuses on the images rather than long lengths of text making it perfect coffee-table reading. I personally find David’s style interesting no matter what period,┬á his collaborations with designers such as Hedi Slimane and Alexander McQueen during later years particularly so. It is also evident just how much influence Bowie has had on fashion, I have a striped Chloe blazer very similar to one David wears as Ziggy and the suit he wears wore in 1972 for Top of the Pops (above image 2) bears striking resemblance to the recent J.W. Anderson at Topshop collaboration. It is food for thought and inspiration for the soul.

David Bowie Style by Danny Lewis is available now from Bloomsbury price £18.99

Sample Jacket – Making it Mine

You might remember I picked this jacket up a couple of weeks ago, it is a Calico sample from the Vivienne Westwood studio. Calico’s are used as the templates for the designs, like a mock-up to check each panel is the correct shape. So this is the sample from a jacket that was made for the AW2011 collection, the final design in a dove grey cotton. The obvious thing to do with raw cotton is to dye it, I toyed with the idea of a lilac dip-dye, which I might well do in the future. For now I decided I quite like it as is. But it was a little plain for me so I added some rubber pin badges and a World’s End ‘Chaos’ armband. I especially like how you can button the edges back for a totally different look.

I was going to take it to London with me, but decided it wouldn’t be warm enough. As always London was so warm and I ended up on shirtsleeves most of the time, only to get back up North to four-layers-required kinda weather. Looks like I missed my gap!

On the runway, AW 2011 ‘World Wide Woman’ collection

What would you have done with the jacket? Dye, studs, leave it alone?

Outfit: I Am Expensiv

Wearing Vivienne Westwood Gold Label SS2007 ‘I am Expensiv’ dress and belt, Vivienne Westwood Union Jack tights and Vivienne Westwood SS 2004 Blue Sky collection ‘Petit-Pied’ lace up shoes, Vivienne Westwood earrings – gift from my gorgeous Mr Griff

I actually wore this with a cardi and a huge old faux-fur coat but it kind of ruined the effect so I sucked it up and froze to death for a few snaps. I think these tights look fab with white, World’s End have some carefree, loose hemmed cotton dresses in right now which look amazing with them. But more about World’s End another time when I have my latest buys to show you. My friend Rich took me on a surprise birthday trip on Tuesday where we also went to visit my Tracey trainers in the Sneaking into Fashion exhibition in Convent Garden. I will share my photos with you soon.

I had a fair few questions about the tights so for anyone else wanting to know about the Union Jack tights you can buy them from World’s End by mail order and in the VW boutiques for ┬ú30. They are very thick, almost like leggings, I’ve had some of my Vivienne Westwood tights for years and I’ve never laddered a pair yet (touch wood), so they are worth the money. They also come in the same print but in bright yellow, green and pink colours.

I guess this will be the last even remotely summery outfit of the year, currently I’m trying to locate a box of scarves and my black wool trousers which have gone missing!

Are you missing summer already or looking forward to wrapping up for winter?

Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Union Jack & Military

Wearing: Vivienne Westwood Worlds End Shirtwaister dress, Vivienne Westwood Union Jack tights, Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Japan Military cap, vintage Vivienne Westwood Heart buckle red shoes, Vivienne Westwood Gunmetal Skull stud earrings.

The Union Jack print has gotten a bit of a bad rep, mainly thanks to the Jubilee and numerous drunken blokes baring all in flag printed boxer shorts! If we forget the Blackpool pier cheesy souvenirs the print itself is actually one of my favourites. I have always liked the flag of the United Kingdom, I always think your countries flag makes you feel at home somehow. As a British designer Vivienne Westwood has famously used the Jack throughout her career, deconstructing the print in an almost abstract-vintage way. She used it again this season in the Gold Label collection in dresses and drop-crotch trousers. For Vivienne Westwood menswear a beautiful pair of smoking slippers were christened with the print. A bank balance friendly option are these tights in the same print, Dame Viv wore them herself in a recent shoot for Interview magazine.

As for the shoes, well I have wanted to share them with you for ages. The are from the On Liberty collection and the highest shoes I own. Yes, they are difficult to walk in, not so much from the height but because the platform is very squishy, it feels very strange. These are very much ‘posing’ shoes, I have a fear of falling flat on my face, must need more practice! You may recognise the heart buckle design as it was recently reproduced for the Vivienne Westwood Melissa range. I’m sure you are all sick of the sight of this dress but I just love it, I have it in red too but wear this one most. I would do anything for one in tartan, I keep pestering everyone about it, surely they will cave in eventually!!

On Liberty AW 1994

Love or loath the Jack? How do you feel about your own countries flag?

Lovely New Slippers

EMU ‘Jolie‘ Slippers

I’m ill again, or still ill I suppose. It is frustrating not being able to share outfit photos – believe me it’s not pretty right now, so I have been getting creative over the last week. It has actually been nice to get to write some different types of posts, but don’t worry I will bring out some extra special outfits to make up for it. After the hacking cough I’ve now lost my voice so I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I guess it must be winter then and with it the fun games you get to play on the commute to work… wrestling with people over who want the window open, using your scarf as a gas-mask as yet another person sneezes without a tissue, blerg. On the plus side I really do like winter fashion, I like coats, scarves, gloves and jumpers. But for the most part I prefer winter viewed from my window, whilst I’m wrapped up warm inside. Last year I got myself a pair of EMU sheepskin slippers and wore them pretty much every day since, they even survived two rounds in the washer. After doing the decorating in them, they started to look a bit sorry for themselves so I treated myself to a new pair. I have to say they are such high quality, I’d usually get through about six pairs of regular slippers over a year so they are good cost-per-wear too. I don’t just wear my slipper in the house either I end up running around the garden in them after the dogs and putting washing out and stuff so having a really sturdy pair has become essential. The sheepskin makes them so snug and warm, I don’t know what I would do if I had to go back to plain old slippers now. The only warning I need to give – make sure you don’t get too comfortable and go out without your shoes on, oh yeah I got half way down the path before realising I still had my slippers on once!

How to Look Chic for Halloween

Witch? Devil? Mummy? Sexy bunny (cringe)?

I absolutely love Halloween parties, I love getting dressed up and going wild for the night. I love wearing masks and fake blood. But seriously there really is only so many times you can pull off evil fairy and that glitter takes weeks to finally be rid of it all! I’ve also been asked a few times, what do you do if you don’t like fancy dress? Well there is no reason at all you can’t go out and enjoy Halloween in something more chic than Herman Munster’s threads. The best option is to just ‘Halloween-up’ a regular outfit. Here I have chosen four purse friendly evening dresses from Next which can be styled up, best of all you still have a gorgeous frock to wear you can wear again.

The easiest way is to start with a dress that has a bit of a Gothic edge, black lace, sequins, sparkle, velvet, brocade. Then you opt for a simple lace mask for an elegant masquerade vibe – perfect with this pumpkin orange shift dress. If you still want to add a dash of fun to your look try a pair of horizontal striped tights, a green and black pair instantly say ‘witchy’ without the hook nose and boils, paired with this glimmering LBD. A subtle look is Vampire, just wearing a pair of fangs with a blood red velvet dress is much more Vamp than funeral -pire! If the sexy-bunny look is still calling out to you, try a more subtle version such as the black lace ears made famous by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen over a sweet pink dress, the Gothic black embroidery detail adds a darker edge leaving people guessing if you are sinister or sweet.

(Image credits: All dresses available at NEXT.co.uk; Mask – venicemaskedball.co.uk; Tights – struts.co.uk; Fangs – fanpop.com; Bunny – cocosteaparty.com)

Which look would you choose?

Whats on – Exhibition: Sneaking Into Fashion

 


If you are in London any time this week I recommend you go down to Convent Garden to check out the Sneaking into Fashion exhibition. Curated by Tory Turk this exhibition delves into the role of the trainer in pop-culture. Featuring many famous designs from Adidas to Vivienne Westwood, a must see.
I will be going down next week and I can let you in on a secret – there will be vintage Vivienne Westwood shoes. You might recognise the Westwood Tracey trainers above? Yep they are mine which I have loaned for the exhibition, so go say hi.

Pearl goes Back to School: Useful Photography Courses for Bloggers

A few weeks ago I decided to put to use a Groupon voucher I had. After stalking Groupon for a while, obsessively checking for new deals each day I thought the best thing to go for would be something that saved me the most money and also take the chance to do something I wouldn’t usually be able to. I toyed with a few offers but when a photography course came up I knew I had to go for it. I’ve never had any professional photography lessons and I hold my hands up, I was struggling to get to grips with my new DSLR. So on a quite Sunday the week before London Fashion Week I found myself in Piccadilly, Manchester at Manchester Photographic (who don’t just have studios in Manchester by the way).

The one day beginners course was just ┬ú29 with Groupon instead of the regular ┬ú90 – suddenly making something out of most peoples price range very affordable. The day was not just educational, but really fun too. I can’t believe how much I learnt. The tutor was very approachable and took time to make sure everyone got some one-on-one time. I had always been a bit suspicious about Groupon, I wondered if you would get a lesser service since you were saving so much money but I would have been happy to pay the full price the course was so good. Manchester Photographic hold lots of other courses and as a blogger I really think it is worth the investment. The courses I think would really benefit bloggers are below but do check out the website to see the full range. Most people on the course I attended were there just to have fun so anyone can go along be it for professional or amateur purposes. If you want to use your skills for blogging or just for getting better holiday snaps.

  • Beginners and Intermediate levels – no point having that fancy camera if you can’t make the most of it!
  • Photoshop – so you can get to grips with post shoot editing and effects
  • Street Safari – all the tricks of shooting street style photography and also a great first step into something that can be rather intimidating
  • Fashion Intro – from creating glamourous images to tackling client briefs, everything to get you started in fashion photography

As for Groupon, it was so easy to use, you just buy the offer you want and they send you a voucher to redeem with the company holding the offer. Ive signed up to receive emails for deals in my area so I don’t have to scour the site everyday, I can just scan an email and see if anything takes my fancy. All sorts of things crops up from weekend breaks, beauty products, eating out and cooking utensils, it is a real mix.

Here are some of the photo’s I took on the course. As you can see just playing around with simple things such as composition and focus make s huge difference to the quality of your photos. For me learning about Aperture and Shutter speed has made the most difference to my photos – creating that beautiful dreamy background effect and capturing action shots without the blur. Also understanding the rules of composition I now understand why some photos work better than others. Getting to put all my new skills to work the next week at LFW was the best part, I’m sure you will agree that my street style and runway shots from this season are so much better, so much so that many have been used for professional purposes outside my blog – keep your eye on my Featured In page!

Have you ever used Groupon? Have you taken a Photography Course?

Would you like a post on photography tips?

Mini Makeover: Updating the Home for Winter

I am really getting into the Winter spirit. The mornings are starting to have that crisp feeling, the Autumn leaves are covering the ground and it is time to wrap up warm. I’ve pulled out my winter coats and still need to go scrabbling around to locate the box my scarves are in. My light and breezy bedroom didn’t feel quite right not reflecting this. With its tropical pinks and turquoise it just seemed, well, a bit too summery. So I though I would give it a mini-makeover.┬á I pulled out my big faux-fur throws, a mink one for the bed and a cream one for my chair.┬á I had a gift voucher for Achica which I had been saving and decided to treat myself to these gorgeous cushions by May Lean. I’ve mentioned Achica before I think, it is one of those members only sale sites, all you have to do is sign up with you email and then you can shop all the amazing sale goods at your leisure. Unlike other sale sites this one isn’t just for apparel but home wear, wall art, beauty, travel, food and drink and all sorts of luxury items. The only slight disadvantage is that┬á products are only sent out after the sale ends (7-20 days depending on the specific sale), so I had to wait 3 weeks from ordering until delivery. But since I was saving more than 50% I thought that was worth it, I mean seriously how much of a rush can you really be in for cushions? Worth baring in mind when buying gifts though. If you are looking for expensive home wear on the cheap I can really recommend it and if you just fancy a browse it is worth a look too, right now they have Tom Ford sunglasses and Elkin jewellery I am eying up for Christmas presents. I also like the fact that they get in brands and items I wouldn’t usually see shopping the high street. If you are stuck for inspiration they have a very good Pinterest page too, lots of lust-worthy home wear boards. I love having the London skyline twinkling at me.

Have you ever shopped with Achica? Do you upadate your home as well as your wardrobe?