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?

Kate Moss, Diamond Girl

Kate Moss has been hailed as a fashion icon ever since she first walked the runways as a teen. Women and girls from all over the UK and all over the world have strived to look like her. Everything she wears sells out instantly from Levis cut off jean shorts to Mukluk boots, even a cheap Superdrug cotton grocery bag! When she launched her collection in collaboration with Topshop thousands of people queued up to own a piece of Kate. But what is so special about her style, why does everyone want to be her? Looking back over the years Kate has always followed one style rule, comfort. Wearing Adidas trainers with everything from smart grey tailored trousers to long black evening slips. She would layer on jackets and coats, a short denim jacket a firm favourite. She says that when she was a teen she shopped at jumble sales, upgrading to Portobello market buying second-hand before it was ‘vintage’. Kate was happy to do this even though forced to shop second-hand as new clothes were so expensive. She said that the designers weren’t doing thing she wanted anyway.

In the whirl of the 90’s the soon to be super model fell in love with thirty year old Johnny Depp, their romance blossomed in a New York hotel room where they got snowed in. Going to more parties and flash events, Kate’s style too blossomed into evening wear. Her style to this day has stayed true, simple yet classic. Long silk slips, elegant little black dresses and beautifully beaded pieces, her shoe of choice always a Mary-Jane. Her love for Depp was not the only thing to come out of their relationship. After raving to her boyfriend about a stunning Tiffany diamond necklace she had worn on a fashion shoot. Depp the romantic went out and bought it for her. From then on her love affair with diamond jewellery was only to grow. I like the way she wears her diamonds, lets not forget they are probably worth thousands of pounds. They are never in your face, either worn for evening or with her jeans. Just adding that little bit of sparkle to her outfit. No matter what she pairs them with diamonds are Kate’s best friend!

It is both easy and difficult to analyse Kate’s look. On the one hand it is very simple, very easy to copy. Kate likes jeans, she wears them with ballet pumps or knee high leather boots. She likes a fur coat, long shaggy Mongolian, cropped grey fox, spotty leopard print. Worn with everything from jeans to evening dresses. Kate also likes sequins, full length and fabulous for her birthday party or trims on a cape with muddy pants and boots at Glastonbury. In theory it would be easy to dress like Kate, but then even in a very Kate white vest, blue skinny jeans and black French Sole flats I cannot imagine any other girl looking that good. Kate always looks comfortable, I can never imagine seeing her in a too tight Herve mini dress or perched atop of sky high Louboutin’s she couldn’t walk in. I think perhaps Kate’s secret is that she is only ever being herself.

Shoe Saturday: Kate’s Turquoise Boots

Kate Moss and husband Jamie Hince

Kate Moss has long been a style icon, but more so in recent years for her casual skinny jean wearing ways. This recent outfit reminded me of Kate from her runway modelling years when she embraced the boho vintage chic look, all silk layers and beading. Her gown is stunning of course, yet it is the combination with the turquoise boots which makes the look so striking.
Here are some of my favourite Kate style boots:

Regard Riani, Patrick Cox Nolan, Fornarina Guendalina

I really like the jewelled detailing on the Regard boots, they look like amethysts and tourmaline encased in silver for a real lux take. The Patrick Cox boots have a Victorian style with the lace ups, whilst the Fornarina boots have that laid back slouch vibe. I think they would all work well with vintage dresses like Kate as well as being paired down with jeans.

(Images Rex Features, Spartoo)

Rocking Horse

(Wearing: Vivienne Westwood shoes, Zara dress)

Please excuse the wild hair, I had just got a soaking in the rain, but I had to quicky get some shots of these shoes whilst the sun peeped out briefly.

The are the famous Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse Shoes.
Unfortunatley they aren’t mine, well they were for a few hours but unfortunatly too small for me so off they have gone to a new home. The foot part is very narrow, I have this problem a lot with shoes especially Manolos (it broke my heart to discover this), so I doubt I will ever own a pair of rocking horse shoes, oh well at least I got to try them!

The rocking horse shoes are very rare, you can still buy them at Worlds End special order but they aren’t cheap! However in collaboration with Melissa the shoes can now be bought in plastic, modelled here by Kate Moss (in a slightly creepy photo).

Do you love these crazy shoes?


There is just something about her isn’t there, could anyone else have resurrected a 20 year old pair of boots and cause such a phenomena that they went back into production? What, you don’t know that story? Well the pirate boots were first created in 1981 by Vivienne Westwood in her Pirate collection. But when Kate stepped out in a vintage pair from Relik in 1999 it prompted the ‘Moss’ effect, with such a high demand for them Relik was receiving 50 enquiries a week. Hence the boots went back into production and are now one of the most highly sought after fashion classics. Don’t you just love that story?
P xx