Special Futures – Behind the Scenes at Manchester Gallery of Costume

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DIY punk outfit made by the donor in the 70’s

Every time you visit a museum you are seeing things picked out for collection and display by a series of curators and conservators, but have you ever stopped to consider why these specific things were chosen? Some might seem obviously beautiful, by a famous artist or designer, others shabby yet with a wonderful story attached. I was lucky enough to visit the Manchester Gallery of Costume archive this week and whilst chatting to curator Miles Lambert we mused how random it can be this collecting of things. Indeed what the hands of fate determine fit for such a ‘special future’ as Miles charmingly put it. Once in the museum collection, each item is cared for and respectfully kept, be it a Charles Worth gown or an H&M t-shirt. Monetary value isn’t important here but the value of knowledge and learning it can bring.

At the gallery you can request to see any item they have if they aren’t already on display, you just need to make an appointment. Anyone can do this, you don’t have to be a researcher, you can do it for pure pleasure. The collection is there for all of us. You can also view the collections online. I’ve wrote about the gallery numerous times, I could never get tired of visiting and if you are in Manchester be sure to pay a visit. The changing exhibition in currently Christian Dior which I reviewed for Style.Etc magazine and will tell you more about soon.

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Jacket with tails by Charles Worth

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Givenchy dress belonging to Audrey Hepburn

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Schiaparelli coat with gilt metal embroidery 

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Incredible TK Maxx Buys – Maison Martin Margiela & Givenchy

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I’ve not really bought much recently, I’ve not really been in the mood. Even the summer sales didn’t really tempt me. Sure if someone said here’s one million dollars I’d say pass me the look books but I’ve not really felt that needy desire. Part having new projects on the go leaving me with less daydreaming time, part undergoing renovations has pretty much beat joy of shopping out of me. As much as the reno’s are driving me crazy, I can’t wait to see the house when it is all done, especially as I decided last week to take the plunge and have a walk-in wardrobe built. I’m sure I will be insanely excited one it is finished but at the moment it just means I have no access to my clothes and shoes for could be the best part of a fortnight, urgh. I am now seeing the flaw in my coping strategy of throwing a few pairs of underwear and three t-shirts in a carrier bag to see me though. Since I can’t work from home at least 2 days this week I will have to go crawl around bin bags and boxes in attempts at constructing an outfit, wish me luck!

In the midst of all this I found myself with a spare half an hour in town and decided to cut through TK Maxx. Without even intending on shopping I inadvertently stumbled upon two amazing finds (isn’t that they way it always goes). The first thing to catch my eye was the Givenchy panther and iris print t-shirt. I’ve been liking Givenchy’s take on prints for the last few seasons, they are quite fun from what I usually see as such a serious brand. Since my Christopher Kane monkey t-shirt is still a firm favourite years later I’ve been looking out for something in a similar vein. Much as I admired the Givenchy panther & iris t-shirts, beautiful with the silky front panel I didn’t want one enough to stump up ┬ú300-400 for one. I couldn’t believe my luck finding one in TK Maxx especially so soon after they were released.

The next thing to catch my eye was this wonderful fuzzy sweater, I loved how soft it was. It looked rather Margiela to me all oversized with deconstructed sleeves. The tag threw me a little as I knew MMM used blank tags but I had only seen them with the four characteristic corner stitches, never the safety pin. After consulting with a few friends and doing a little research I discovered that the four stitches were a more recent move to work as a trademark – MMM had originally set out to be none-branded, the idea of the blank tag was so that you could remove it and thus wear your clothes without being a brand whore. But of course brands sell and so the four stitches, whilst still discrete became the brands trademark. As it has the Staff International manufacturer tag which began production of MMM in 1991 it dates the jumper to 1991-1997, 1997 was when the characteristic numbered tags to distinguish between all the MMM lines came into being. I can’t at the moment say if it is Artisanal ‘D├®fil├® ‘ or Line 1 but I would edge towards Line 1 as it looks more of a RTW piece to me. I hope to find out more about MMM, if you do too here is a great reference. For ┬ú70 and ┬ú30 respectively I really am made up with these finds, beautiful pieces that will stand the test of time.

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What the MET Gala 2013 Can Teach Us

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┬áCommenting on trussed up celebs isn’t usually my game but I really couldn’t resist with this years MET Gala having a Punk theme. Having a theme for any event doesn’t usually bode well and the stars out last night fell victim trying to live up to it. Unless you are at a fancy dress party don’t change your style for anyone! Let’s have a look eh…

Starting with Dame Viv and date Lily Cole, if anyone had the right to turn up in pins and rips it was Viv but of course she has been there done that. Instead she chose a sumptuous taffeta dress and cape from AW12, voluminous with a dropped waist. Pinned to her breast was a photo of Wiki-leaks’ Bradley Manning. In a sea of tits and legs it was ironically the most punk look of them all.

Lily wore a Westwood gown of course, the design the same as the iconic Olympic dress however the corset of the MET dress crafted from Amazonian wild rubber, a natural material.When I first saw this dress I wasn’t aware of it’s construction, stating on Facebook how I wished it had been made of rubber! The reason this came to mind being the colour of the dress, recalling the colour of the original rubber and latex punk clothing sold at SEX. The photo I found about just shows up the contrast of the corset and skirts.

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Both Vivienne and Lily wore Clomper shoes which I was immensely impressed with,Vivienne wore a runway version with ribbon ties and intricate embroidery. Had to LOL at the lady in blue carrying her heels down the staircase, not our Viv she can ride her bike in these baby’s.

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Christina Ricci was the only other star to wear Westwood (god knows why, not a bondage suit in sight), her McAndrew tartan gown was incredible, but I think she styled it a little off kilter. I didn’t hate her look but I think she should have worn cobweb or pvc stockings to give it a little edge.

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I think by the far the biggest mistake of the evening befell those choosing evening gloves, both Beyonce and Kim are stunning women but their Givenchy gowns swamped them.

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Katy Perry and Linda Evangelista (Marchesa) look like the went on a journey with Bill and Ted, falling out of the wrong century! I do actually like Katy’s crown and Dolce & Gabbana frock but think the shoes make it frumpy.

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Even when the gowns were that bad, so many of the girls looked like trussed up turkey, overly tanned, hair slick wit gel or stiff with spray. Many translated punk as 80s eye make up, more suited to Halloween.Julianna Moore’s quiff was just ridiculous.┬á Brit chic Cara Delevingne showed how to get it right with soft locks to balance out a smudged, smokey eye. Wanting to stand out from the crowd Jessica Biel donned a fake nose ring and Nichole Richie sported frosted hair – more Rocky Horror Show ladies.

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Ok so I can’t leave out Madonna in her Givenchy outfit, yes it is pure Punk in a costumey sense,but if I’d seen someone wearing this on any other occasion I would have given serious hearts to it. The gilt pyramid studs, the tartan, the pop or fuchsia pink heels, even the damn wig. Gah I love it, I shouldn’t but I do and I don’t know why!

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That’s not to say nodding to Punk fashion without looking like a pastiche is impossible, Miley Cyrus (Marc Jacobs), Cary Mulligan (Balenciaga), Alexa Chung (Erdem), Sienna Miller (Burberry) and Donatella Versace (Versace) all looked sleek and chic. I kind of wish Miley had slashed it across the bust, a la Courtney Love in THAT Dior dress. In fact, why they hell wasn’t Love there!!

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The safest option was to flip the V’s to the dress code theme, Rooney Mara (Givenchy), Anna Wintour (Chanel) and Gwen Stefani (Margiela) all stuck to their tried and tested styles and looked fantastic.

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Last but not least, Sarah Jessica Parker who stole the show, from faux-hawk Philip Treacy hat, Giles gown and thigh high Louboutin boot this was not a look for the feint hearted. What might have looked like over kill on anyone else, frankly looked freakin’ fabulous. She’s SJP and she can wear whatever she damn well pleases.

One thing I always wondered about the red carpet, is how celebs get their hair looking so perfect. Apparently they all wear temporary hair extensions! No wonder I could never get my thin locks to look as good. AmericanDreamExtensions.Com are UK specialists in hair extensions I’ve actually got some and have been trying them out, will show you how to in a post soon.

What’s Hot for Autumn Winter 2012

Bling, bling, gorgeous things! I went to check out what Harvey Nichols had in store for A/W 12 and I have to say it had me wishing it was December already. Looking at all the wonderful party dress – jewel colours of emerald and topaz, had me longing for the party season to get into swing, just add your dancing shoes. Whilst the array of thick, colourful knits made ‘Christmas jumpers’ cool again. The ever so popular YSL ‘Arty’ rings are back in fabulous new styles and colour, gob-stopper cocktail rings are the perfect addition to your party look. Isabel Marant once again reigns as queen of casual Parisian chic pairing Navajo knits with flirty white dresses and tasseled wedge boots. For me the one thing which screams ‘this season’ are the dark florals, wear them in knitted dresses from McQ by Alexander McQueen and Just Cavalli or Alexander McQueen’s satin clutch to feel instantly up to date. What am I lusting after? If I can only choose one thing it would have to be something with the Givenchy Rottweiler print, beautifully wild.

Menswear echoed ladies wear with the popularity of prints, anything from colourful birds to rich paisleys and even a splash of leopard print will add depth to deep tartans and flannels. Deep plums and all shades of blue feature heavily. What really caught my eye was the attention to detail this season, giving a real sense of luxury. Alexander McQueen ‘holster’ shirts, velvet lapels and the Christian Louboutin leopard print studded iPad case add lust worth interest.

Harvey Nic’s are offering a fantastic selection of new designers this season including Ashley B, Kenzo, Lanvin sunglasses, Faith Connection, Mason Scotch, Cut 25, 2nd Day and Temperley for Barbour.

In the beauty department there is the brand new Bobbi Brown make-up studio an the exclusive Florabotanica by Balenciaga. I know it’s early to be talking about Christmas but there were lots of lush things if you have gifts in mind, the new compact sets from Benefit in their quirky book styles, perfumes from Penhaligons and the new Blackberry and Bay scent range from Jo Malone.

We had a fun time trying out the new handbags, here Anna-Louise and Siobhan from Style etc Magazine, model the Victoria Beckham ‘Harper’ and Givenchy ‘Rottweiler’ bags. Whilst we all couldn’t resist giving the new sunglasses from Celine and Prada a whirl.

It is safe to say I’m all ready for the new season, how about you?

You can see more from the day in my FaceBook album

Dog Eat Dog: Micro Trend Dog Print Sweaters



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It is getting to that time of year again, you know when we get tempted by an array of shiny new things! I have been compiling a list of the hottest new season buys but there is, as always one stand out item. This season it is the dog print sweater, a ferocious Rottweiler from Givenchy versus a proud German Shepard from Balenciaga.

Personally I would prefer a Pomeranian, anyone able to knit me one? I guess to get the same effect I will just have to carry one of my dogs around with me at all times, shame in real life that dog fur and black do not a good match make!



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Oh well I succumb, ‘whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I want a ┬ú500 Balenciaga sweater’

Pearl

Key Trends & Pieces A/W 10/11

Just because fashion week is over doesn’t mean you can for get all the A/W 10 shows just yet. I always keep in mind the trends I have seen and pick out all the elements I like, as during the warmer months is the perfect time to snap up winter bargains. Think mid-season sales and eBay bargains – buying out of season is always cheaper. You can also start to assess what you already have in your wardrobe, to wear in different ways or what you need to add to keep your look fresh.
Red
Ann Demulemeester, Givenchy, Alexander Wang
Pastels

Osman, Balenciaga, Roland Mouret
Grey

Stella McCartney, Roland Mouret, Chloe

Denim

Philip Lim, Chloe, Isabel Marant

Aviator Jackets

Burberry, House of Holland, Christopher Kane
Big Furry Coats

Gucci, Burberry, Chanel
Capes

Alexander Wang, Chris Benz, Gareth Pugh

Midi Full Skirts

Dries van Noten, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs
Huge Mittens

J Mendel, Givenchy, Maxmara

Unusual Tailoring


Vivienne Westwood Red Lable, Roland Mouret, Miu Miu

Oriental


Etro, Chanel pre-fall, Etro
Have a great weekend,
Pearl
P.S Dont forget the Reebok EasyTone giveaway ends tomorrow. See:
to enter!!

Givenchy – Shoe Geniuses!


Hello! Just when I have finally gotten over my summer shoe dilemma (I couldn’t decide on Wang or Chanel, Chanel won), Givenchy take the ‘perfect shoe’ image from my mind and create these. The coolest, sexiest and most practical shoes I have ever seen! Though at ┬ú670 they even cross my line on expensive shoes. Right then, how many months wishing these go on sale do I have?

The clever people at Givenchy didn’t stop there, oh no check out these other fabulous offerings! From perfect peeptoe ankle boots, to the chunkiest of studded wedges. I mean if you owned all these you would never need another pair of shoes right!

Hubert would be proud!