New Vivienne Westood Shoes (in Exchange for Hypothermia)

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Any one who has been reading my blog will know how long I have wanted a pair of Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse shoes for. I nearly had a pair once, an eBay snaffle but they were too small – makes me wonder now if they were my size at all? Why, well because when I tried the pair on I got they fit perfectly, plenty of room in the width and so very comfortable. I got these from Worlds End as a reward for being made to stand outside and have my photo taken in just a dress, in that weather! I was so cold I thought I was never going to get the feeling back in my hands. Well worth it ha ha! I could have got the Clompers which I wore in the shoot but I figured I would wear these more. The Westwood sale is still on so do check it out if you are after a bargain! For other beauty and fashion discounts you can check out NetVoucherCodes a great site for money off coupons. At the moment they have Spartoo and Kurt Geiger vouchers, since we are on the topic of shoes. Anyway I’ve not had chance to wear my new shoes yet, since the weather has been so bad so here is some inspiration, Lisa (manager of WE, image VW Ltd) and a shot from Tokyo street style.

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Kitty & the Bulldog: Lolita Fashion Exhibition V&A

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Kitty, as in Hello Kitty and the Bulldog, as in the British Bulldog, representing the juxtaposition of Japanese and British fashions. The exhibition examines how British fashion influenced the Japanese street-style know as Lolita fashion. On thing to be clear is that Japanese Lolita has nothing to do with the novel of the same name. In fact the two are at opposing ends of the spectrum, as Lolita fashion is every thing to do with cuteness (kawaii) and innocence. The clothing is modest, skirts below the knee and prim blouses buttoned to the neck. In a way it is a rebellion against the overtly sexualised way women are represented, killing it with cuteness. Taking pretty and feminine to the extreme.

Lolita fashion arose in Japan sometime during the 1980’s, the aim to dress in such a modest and elegant way, living a pure, untainted life. Original inspiration comes from Victorian and Rococo eras, the most iconic of Lolita outfits somewhat resembling a Victorian doll. As Lolita became more popular different sub-cultures grew, many incorporating elements of Western fashion.

“A striking feature of Lolita fashion is the extent to which it is influenced by British culture: Alice in Wonderland, Glam Rock, the New Romantics, Gothic, Punk and Vivienne Westwood. Although the attitude and aggression of Punk and Gothic have no place in the world of the Lolita, the movement represents a similarly powerful rebellion against the conventions of contemporary society.”

An interesting aspect of Lolita fashion is how the sub-cultures arise. It is a very much brand lead market, with each sub-culture having one or more main brands who produce the clothing. Though wearing a brand doesn’t immediately put the wearer into a specific sub-culture it is still very much dependent on the full co-ordinate (outfit), some brands can be interpreted into many sub-cultures and others more static. It turn this mainstreamed the fashion and made it assessable outside Japan. The V&A exhibition focuses on the brands and the sub-cultures which they promote.

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Classic Lolita

Classic Lolita is represented by an Innocent Word outfit, the focal point is the Rococo influenced dress which has a red putti (cherub) and rabbit print. The simple colour pallet and softening aspects such as the lace wristlets, shawl and parasol mark out the style. Adding to the look are the sweet little knitted bunnies carried in the basket, reenforcing the innocence being portrayed. Innocent World was founded by Yumi Fujiwara and produces both Classic and Sweet Lolita styles.

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Sweet Lolita (left) and Alice and the Pirates (right)

Sweet Lolita is the oldest of the Lolita styles, originating in the 1980s with brands such as Shirley Temple and Pink House. It is also one of the most popular styles outside Japan. Easily recognisable, the look is all about pastel colours such as pink, blue, purple and green. The pastels are further sweetened with the addition of candy themed prints such as sweets, cupcakes, macarons and ice cream however there are many other prints, anything goes so long as it is cute. Huge hair bows and pastel coloured wigs are also popular. The Sweet Lolita outfit show here is by the mega brand Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (BTSSB or Baby for short). The Tokyo brand was established in 1988 by Akinori and Fumiyo Isobe, however it was in 2004 when the company was launched to fame by the film Shimotsuma Monogatari ‘Shimtosuma story‘ (re-released in 2006 as Kamikaze Girls with English subtitles). In the film the main character Momoko is a Lolita who wears BTSSB exclusively through out the film. The film, based on the 2002 novella by Novala Takemoto, tell the story of a young girl and her trials and tribulations to have her dream wardrobe, but is essentially a story about friendship something at the heart of the Lolita community.

The second outfit shown above is from Alice and the Pirates a sub-brand of BTSSB, created to meet the needs of the growing popularity for more Gothic styles. Whilst still sweet it has slightly darker undertones, influenced by Alice in Wonderland and Pirates (as in the Vivienne Westwood 1981 ‘Pirate’ collection, more romantic than pillaging the high seas). In this ensemble the striped tights and clock handbag hit at aspects from Alice in Wonderland, along with the black ribbons marking it out from it’s Sweet counterpart.

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Elegant Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita is another popular branch of Lolita fashion, most recognisable by the use of black and white. The Lolita Gothic style relates back to Victorian Gothic and though uses dark colours it is still very much related to sweetness and innocence. One of the main Gothic Lolita brands is Moi-m├¬me-Moiti├® created by Mana of the band Malice Mizer in 1999 to define his own style. This sub-brance of Gothic Lolita is know as Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL). for girls and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) for guys. The vivid blue in the above outfit is often used by the brand.

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Gothic Lolita

The above outfit is also Gothic Lolita, this design is by Alice Auaa who established the brand in 1995. This brand is somewhat set apart from other Lolita styles due to the interest in S&M, bondage and Gothic horror. The couture-like designs are now show in runway fashion shows and at price points beyond reach of many, yet the workmanship is exquisite.

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Punk Lolita

Punk Lolita is perhaps the most surprising evolution of the Lolita sub-styles. As a Brit the anarchic ways of British Punk are well know, yet Punk Lolita takes bad-ass and makes it cuddly! Zippers, safty pins, tartan, studs and chains are all combined with the pretty, girly Lolita silhouette. The above outfit is by Putumayo, who opened their first store in Harajuku in 1990. They stock punk items including things suitable or Punk Lolita but are not an exclusively Lolita brand.

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Punk Lolita

This Punk Lolita outfit is quite detached from the frilly, full skirts of the Lolita styles we have already looked at. The outfit is actually unisex and is a real hybrid of cultural styles. The clothing here is from the brands Sixh. and MINT Neko both belonging to the umbrella company KINCS clothing group. It is a much more casual style and something which is very similar to what is seen worn in the UK if you replaced the sandals with Converse.

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Japanese Lolita

Japanese Lolita is a strikingly different look to the Sweet and Classic styles, the most obvious features are that the clothes have traditional Japanese influence rather than European. The first outfit is by Takuya Angel, established in 1995 by self taught designer Takuya Sawada, who hand-makes all of his designs. He recycles old kimono material which is a trademark of his brand. Along with taking influence from Japanese culture the brand has elements of Cyber-Goth.

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Japanese Lolita

The most traditional of Japanese clothing is this outfit by Mamechiyo Modern. The designer who had been a vintage kimono dealer for many years set out to make kimono more wearable for everyday use with her own label. The designer experiments by introducing none traditional elements such as the headdress and lace collar, bringing appeal to the younger market.

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The exhibition was placed amongst historical Japanese displays, giving a wide perspective of the country past and present. I found it particularly intriguing to see in contrast to the Samurai armor and traditional kimono.

The exhibition is on until 24th Feb 2013, more information can be found on the V&A website.

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UK lolita’s visiting the exhibition, image (c) V&A

Street Stye: Rich in Cape

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You will have to forgive these phone snaps but I thought they were too good not to share. We were just rolling up for an afternoon snuggled into the couches at the Richmond Tearooms, the snow was on the ground and well, sensible attire was winning over style on my account. Of course my ultra fabulous best friends turned up looking incredible and Rich wearing his ‘Vivienne’s Cape’. I was just hiding my scruffy old jumper and leggings under my huge coat, feet clad in Pirate boots, hat covering messy hair. Absolutely every stitch of everyones outfit is Vivienne Westwood, what can I say lol!

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Trends: New Fashion Accessory the iPhone

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I don’t know about you but I’ve really noticed how people are using their iPhones as a an accessory. They now rival clutch bags, bracelets and rings as the hand accessory of choice. I’ve seen some amazing street style shots of the fash-pack all matching their phones to their outfits. The bunny ears cases seem to be really popular. I was due an upgrade in November and had my mind set on upgrading to an iPhone 5, even went into phones4u to get it. But didn’t. I love the iPhones but I’ve had a Blackberry for two years and I’m now scared I will choose the wrong phone! What if I can’t cope with having no buttons, I know I would get used to I’ve had touch screens before but I do really like the BB keypad. I do feel like I am missing out on all the cool iPhone app’s especially Instagram. I had a borrow of my mums iPhone and was really taken in with all the apps, you never can tell until you use it yourself though. I can imagine sending emails with a touch pad being quite slow. The BB Bold looks quite good and it is half buttons half touch screen. Hmm I don’t know, there will probably be a new phone out before I decide!

For everyone already with an iPhone you have to admit there are so many amazing covers and cases out there. The pink one above which is like a mini handbag is incredible. I’ve also seen wacky ones with everything from bottle openers to photo’s of ears!

What phone do you use?

(Credits: Vogue.com, Gastrochic.com, StockholmStreetStyle.com)

Man Wisdom: Finding the Right Jeans

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I remember when my brother first discovered what a difference wearing the correct fit jeans could make. He’s never been a fan of shopping for himself and I usually buy his clothes for him (someone marry his please). He asked me one day to pick him up a new pair of jeans to go with a smart blazer and boots outfit, I took his measurements and found a pair whilst out shopping. At first he was horrified, they weren’t the usual great big baggy, underpants exposing kind he usually wore. With a lot of protesting I forced him to try them on with the blazer and boots, it was to go to a posh meal so I said he couldn’t go with his butt hanging out. ‘Oh’, he said, ‘don’t they make my legs look longer’. I said yes that will be because you crotch and hips are in the correct place not half way down your legs! He said he had always worn his jeans baggy because if they weren’t pulled down they were too short. He had a point he’s well over 6ft.

I had to explain about the concept of jeans and other clothing for big and taller men, such as the jeans for tall men at Big Dude Clothing. Larger men stores don’t only have a range of lengths but also a range of waist sizes – no need to tuck you belly over the waist band! A recent trend I have noticed is the popularity for wearing jeans longer than you really need so they can be scrunched up at the ankle, this looks great with skinny jeans. Also having a turn up on jeans to show a flash of bright socks looks cool too. If you don’t want to go for traditional jeans then you could try a chino trouser which give the same smart-casual look. There is no real rule as to what is the correct length of jeans, it really is up to how you feel comfortable and what style you want. But don’t settle for something you don’t want because you think ‘it will do’ be sure to do your research and find out what is on offer.

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Wrapped Up!

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Wrapped up warm in my Vivienne Westwood ‘Vivienne’s’ Cloak which I got at World’s End. I love wearing it, so soft and snug, just like walking around in a blanket really.270811_512941462059901_233210544_n

I thought it was funny to see this photo of Vivienne herself, it looks like we are in identical outfits! In fact it is only the way the photo’s are cropped, for the MAN show Vivienne wore the pink dress with grey suede Clomper ankle boots, whilst I wore the jumper version of her dress with tartan shoes and trousers. Vivienne always looks really cool, she has such great style.

Xmas Secret Santa

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Before Xmas the fabulous Lakota organised a secret Santa for a bunch of us. I was paired up with darling Franca of ‘Oranges & Apples‘ which I was a bit relieved about as I have been blog buddies with her for a while so figured I could find something she would like. The swap theme was ‘Christmas Carol’s’, I picked out a vintage pearl necklace and a snowflake brooch which I attached together – something I love doing to make more of a statement. I also choose a vintage Picasso print scarf which I got in Italy and threw in a bag of chocolate coins – retro I know! It didn’t really occur to me to take a photo of the gifts I was sending but Franca put some up on her blog. From the pearls which looked like little snowballs and the snowflake brooch I decided my gift fit with the carol ‘Let it Snow’.

For my gift I received a really cool book listing 99 – yes 99, different ways to wear a scarf! Who knew! Since I have a lot of scarves this was a great gift for me so I can play around with all the tips in the book. Franca is a lot more crafty than me and cleverly made two of my gifts the pom-pom necklace and beautiful heart brooch. She also made me the most delicious bag of star and moon shaped Vanillekipferl German biscuits but we ate those before I remembered I need to take a photo! We cheated a bit with Franca’s carol and decided on ‘Silent Night’, because erm the sky contains stars and the moon!

Big thank you to Franca for the gifts and Lakota for putting in all the effort to make the swap possible. You can check out all the other swaps on her blog ‘Faith, Hope and Charity Swapping‘, if you are nosy like me and want to know what everyone else got!

Slam Dunked: Take Two

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┬áHere we go then! After my last post where I mentioned the leopard print Nike Dunks trainers I ordered were too small – and last size in stock on Spartoo shoes, I swapped them for these. Pink and lime green Nike Dunk GS! They are probably a bit more on the pink side than I would usually have gone for but I liked the lime and black. Thanks to everyone for voting on my Facebook for which colour I should go for that was fun!

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 I will most likely wear them for walking the dog and stuff, not in a fashion way. Should you be seeking some fashionably ways to wear trainer though have a look at this Pinterest board I did.