Vivienne Westwood speaks out for Azza Suleiman

Amnesty International UK have just finished producing a video with Vivienne Westwood. Every winter, they ask people to send letters to those imprisoned unfairly, targeted for speaking out or seeking justice against all odds. A simple letter can bring hope, comfort and support to those suffering such human rights abuses. But it also shows those in authority that we will not stand by as they try to oppress such individuals or communities.

This year, Vivienne Westwood has come on board to support the campaign. Together they have made a film highlighting the injustice and abuse experienced by Egyptian woman Azza Suleiman, who was beaten unconscious simply for trying to help another protester. No one has been held accountable for the assault.

In the video, Vivienne talks about how it was a sense of injustice that first got her involved in punk.

You can find more information on Azza Suleiman here: http://action.amnesty.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1194&ea.campaign.id=17021 where you can find details on how you can help, be it signing the petition to the Egyptian president or sending a card of support to Azza.

Those of you who know me already know of my connections with Egypt so this is a cause close to my heart in many ways. I think it is wonderful that someone like Vivienne will lend not only their support but their celebrity to highlight cases of injustice.

Street Style: Westwood Darlings

Had to share this photo I took of my wonderful friends Chris and Christine, both head to toe in Vivienne Westwood – except Christine’s Dr Martins boots which are from the new Agyness Deyn collection, though we have doubts about how much designing she did. Christine is always being stopped by street style photographers, she says it puts a smile on her face. Love you guys!

Even the socks are Squiggle! With bright blue shoes.

Outfit: Uniqlo Heattech + 100 Giveaways

 (Wearing Uniqlo HEATTECH polo-neck and leggings, Marc Jacobs jumper, Vivienne Westwood skirt, Guess shoes, Fendi Clutch, vintage belt, Roberto Cavalli H&M ring)

Because the folk at Uniqlo are very nice and also because they believe in their product so much they have decided to giveaway 100, yes 100 items of HEATTECH clothing away to my readers!

If you have no idea what HEATTECH is well it’s a really great concept, clothes which retain the heat but without the bulky layers of traditional thermals. The designs are also really on trend and fun, ranging from lace trim leggings to vibrant print bobble hats. You can take a closer look online to see the full range and learn about how HEATTECH works. So, does it work? I hear you ask, well in a word yes. I’ve been living in these leggings which are so comfy paired with Keds and an old baggy plaid shirt. I layered up this outfit here to purposely show you just how fine the HEATTECH is, you could invisibly wear the leggings under trousers when it gets really cold. What else I was impressed about was that if you get hot the HEATTECH doesn’t cling or go all sweaty, it really breathes, leaving you comfortable at all times. What can I say I’m sold.

So if you would like to try out HEATTECH four yourself, for FREE no is your chance! All yo have to do is send me an email to:

fashionpearlsofwisdom at googglemail dot com

and the first 100 will receive a code which they can take into Uniqlo and exchange for a free item! Easy as that. There are a few T&C’s which are outlined below. The main thing to note is that they code can only be used in the Oxford Street, London store by the 18th Nov 2012 – so if you can’t make it down there by then please don’t take a code which someone else could use.

You can also interact on Twitter with the #HEATTECH tag and on their Facebook Page

Enjoy!

Giveaway T&C’s
1. codes issued are redeemable at Uniqlo 311 Oxford Street ONLY
2. Each code entitles the participant to one item of HEATTECH clothing only.
3. Codes can be redeemed until 18th November 2012 ONLY.
4. Offer only valid until stocks last.
5. Uniqlo (UK) Ltd maintain the right to withdraw this offer at any time for any reason without notice.
6. Uniqlo HEATTECH clothing will be distributed randomly based on size and gender of successful campaign participant. Participant’ HEATTECH samples can only be redeemed from valid in store redemption points. Participants cannot swap their given item with any stock on the shop floor, and cannot exchange their sample once redemption in compete. Nor can the sample be refunded for any monetary value in any Uniqlo (UK) Ltd store.

Have you tried HEATTECH before? What do you think of the concept?

Tiaras – Not Just for Princesses?

I always figured the best part about being a royal, or about getting married for us mere mortals, would be the chance to wear a tiara. They are perhaps the one remaining thing which remain traditional and have never quite entered mainstream fashion. The Queen’s tiara collection has a fascinating history as well as be strikingly beautiful. The Burmese Ruby Tiara has “96 rubies set into the tiara were a present from the Burmese people. The number of stones represent the number of diseases that the Burmese people believe can afflict the human body. They credit the ruby with prophylactic properties guarding the wearer not only against illness, but also against evil”. Whilst speculation was rife for week regarding which bridal tiara Kate Middleton would wear to wed Prince William. The tiara she did wear was the Cartier Halo Tiara, lent to her by the Queen, herself inheriting it from her mother on her 18th birthday. Today’s bride might not have a valuable heirloom to call on, but a stunning array of handmade and vintage tiaras can be found. Bejeweled hairbands, hair combs and facinators are also an option for something a little more subtle.

What started me off on this topic was seeing Vivienne Westwood in a tiara from her new Gainsborough Palladium collection using the precious metal. Yes Dame Viv can get away with wearing anything she pleases. In fact she is often seen wearing her little horn tiara. But I find myself wondering if it really is time for the tiara to make it’s way into more informal dress? Georgia May Jagger fronts the Palladium jewellery campaign, donning tiara, chandelier earrings and a slouch t-shirt, she looks cool and nonchalant.

Dame Viv wearing a horn tiara to collect her OBE at Buckingham Palace

Since our Viv’s Palladium tiara probably retails out of my price range – it available by special order, I can’t say I see myself wearing one down to the supermarket any time soon. I have pondered a pair of the horns a few times however so you might see me in a pair of those soon. I do seem to take any available opportunity to wear a tiara, I had a flashing tiara on my desk whilst I was doing my PhD which I would sit and wear around the office on a Friday – eccentric maybe. I also seem to go for the Halloween outfits which involve a bit of tiara action, hence fairy coming out a few times. Well who could resist a pink fluffy tiara and matching wings?

Being a fairy in 2007

(Image credits: all Vivienne Westwood courtesy of Vivienne Westwood Ltd, models wearing tiaras all Rosie Willett designs, Royals via Hello Magazine)

The Climate Revolution

What a crazy week this has been, I feel like it has ran away with me. I have been trying to sort out about 50 different things all at the same time, hopefully I can tell you about some of them soon. Last week Vivienne sent me this campaign badge, to support the ‘Climate Revolution’. I remembered I hadn’t yet shared with you my story of when I went to hear Vivienne speak at the Friends of the Earth conference in September.

The conference was held during the late afternoon of the second day of London fashion week. Having had a day packed with shows it was like escaping to another world getting the chance to wonder around University Collage London – so peaceful! The conference had all sorts of wonderful talks and exhibitions taking place, but since I had been working all day I didn’t get the chance to see any of them, I was grateful the rally was being held at 5pm. I arrived early, thinking there would be a massive queue to get a good seat but as it happens everyone else was running late so I started to question if I was indeed in the right place. Dressed head to toe in Westwood I started to wonder if I looked too much like a groupie, that was until I spotted a young man with bright purple hair also head to toe in Westwood, his name was Mike (Mike with the hair) and we decided we could relax, safety in numbers and all that. It wasn’t long before the lecture theater was full to the brim, everyone eager to hear what the speakers had to say on the topic ‘Seeing things differently’. The first speakers were Caroline Lucas, former Green Party MP and ‘freedom from debt coalition Philippines’ campaigner Lindy Nacpil who spoke of the devastation caused to her home in Manilla. They both gave really inspiring speeches.

Dame Vivienne began her speech by describing how she had come up with the idea of sneaking her ‘Climate Revolution’ banner into the Paralympics closing ceremony. If you missed it, Vivienne arriving as Boudicca on a chariot, whipped off her gown, wearing┬á below tights over boxer shorts and chunky platform shoes, to reveal a hidden banner, the TV crew and organisers didn’t know what she had planned so her message was aired, what a success! Only Vivienne and her husband Andreas knew of the plan, they had to get her students to applique the banner in secret, without knowing what it was for. The letters were sewn on to the inside of a cloak dress which was 7ft long, it wrapped around Vivienne’s body like an elegant taffeta gown. Hidden pockets were sewn into the ends, so when her accomplices (Andreas and son Joe) inserted spears into them, Vivienne untied the ribbon under her chin and the cape was lifted into the air to form the banner. Smart, dramatic and with a prominent message.

“There are only two types of people in the world: Eco Warriors and idiots” Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne’s message is quite simple really, get people to stand up and listen, do something, even one thing to make a difference. She noted how young people like to have something to fight and rebel against, well maybe they can get rallied up and fight for something so worthwhile like this. You can read in depth about the Climate Revolution on Vivienne’s blog but in brief here are some easy things which you can do to make a difference:

How to join the Revolution

Many people are changing their way of living. The more this happens, the greater the Revolution, the greater the chance of saving our planet.

1) Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. ÔÇ£I never waste money I spend itÔÇØ- Oscar Wilde. Maybe youÔÇÖll give a donation to an NGO or charity. You can give your support in other ways. Just by following one you will learn a lot, this is support.
2) Quality v Quantity
3) Buy less, choose well, make it last (we donÔÇÖt want the ÔÇ£latest thingÔÇØ just for the sake of it.)
4) Prepare and cook your own food.
5) Cut out plastic.
6) Inform yourselves.
7) Consider the responsibility of not having or having children. Chances of survival will be clearer by next Olympics.
8) Take an active part in events of the Revolution as it starts to build.
9) Engage in art and culture.
10) Your own idea.

– Vivienne Westwood

There are other small things you can do such as turn off unnecessary lights, pick out the fruit and veg in the supermarket which doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. The plastic thing really get’s me, during my work I have carried out analytical chemistry on the effects of plastic wrappings on organic museum objects and just having something in a plastic bag over night allows plasticizers to contaminate. It doesn’t necessarily do you any harm so far as we know but just the thought of it I find very scary.

After the rally Vivienne had to rush off, I was disappointed not having chance to ask her a few questions. But luck must have been on my side as I bumped into her int he bathroom! Thank you Vivienne for taking the time to have a chat with me when you were so busy. I happened to be wearing my beloved Gaia tree dress which I got in the sale, it has the family tree that Vivienne drew on the front. It represents out world, what happens when Mother Earth marries Science, they have two children Quantity and Quality, which are represented as the right and left branches of the tree. When Quantity marries Progress however they produce unlimited Profit and unlimited Consumption and lead to disaster. We need to shift the balance back to Quality and Stability. The back of the dress shows a map of the world and the parts of it which will become uninhabitable if the climate is raised by +5 degrees, these countries are listed on the skirt – it is food for thought. I changed my own habits a long time ago, I stopped shopping for cheap, bad quality clothes which I would do on a weekly basis only to still be left dissatisfied. Now I save up for less, well made things be it designer or a charity shop find. I also recycle clothes on eBay and donating them. You don’t have to change your entire life to help the environment, but just changing one small thing can really make a huge impact. Vivienne uses her power as a celebrity fashion designer to give her voice a platform, she infuses her fashion with her messages and slogans.

Here I am wearing the ‘Gaia Tree dress’, pink suede boots and accessories of beaded ‘Africa’ collection clutch bag and ‘AR’ cap, all Vivienne Westwood.

One last word, Vivienne asked me to tell you. It would be her ‘honour and pleasure if you could read her blog Vivienne Get A Life

Outfit: How to Wear a Crop Top!

Wearing: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label ‘Wild’ jumper and lace skirt, Vivienne Westwood Limited edition ‘Bag’ boots.

┬áThis is the second part to my last outfit post, revealing what I wore beneath my sweeping cloak … it’s a crop top! Oh yes, I can’t say I would ever have been convinced that my 31 year old self would ever wear anything that could be called a crop top. When I was 14 I wore crop tops and mini skirts all the time alas I’m not a skinny little thing who doesn’t feel the cold any more. What I do like however, are very high waist skirts and trousers, the higher the better – but not quite as high as Simon Cowell. What goes well with high waists? Crop tops as it happens! The trick is, to just have the top sit on the waist band, so only half an inch is bared. You can even wear a body underneath for the same effect without baring any skin – essential in colder months. If like me you don’t have abs of steel, try layering another, looser layer over the top too such as a shirt or coat. Or vise-versa, wear the crop top over a longer top. Another way to try the look is to go for an asymetric or hi-low jumper, anything which hit at the natural waist. Autumn Cashmere have some perfect hi-low knits, whilst Moschino do some cute cropped cardigans.

I bought the top and skirt in World’s End, the top is called the ‘Wild’ jumper, its beautiful soft mohair and from the current Gold Label collection. There is a dress version too which Dame Vivienne herself has been wearing, here she wears it to receives the Harper’s Bazaar ‘Inspiration of the Year’ award accompanied by husband Andreas. The skirt is from a few collections past, it is gold lace over black wool so pretty as well as warm.

 

The Wild dress and jumper on the runway, AW 2012.

Worn by Stella Tennant in this seasons campaign.

Do you crop top? Bare all or bare an inch?

You can check out my Pinterest board for some crop top inspiration!

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?

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?