Friday, 21 September 2012

London Fashion Week: Inspired by Minnie Mouse

Today’s Friday fashion fix is devoted to a little something that I found at London Fashion Week – the Inspired by Minnie Mouse Exhibition, where several prominent designers have celebrated Disney with a one-off creation.

Shoes by Terry De Havilland
From Giles Deacon to Katie Hillier, these are some seriously stylish pieces, all incorporating that infamous mouse. I’m not sure I can actually pick a favourite design, but I will say that when I saw these Terry De Havilland peep toes, I wanted to smash the Perspex display case they were contained in, stuff them into my handbag and run like hell! (Take from that what you will.)

Dress by Giles Deacon

Necklace by Katie Hillier

Necklace by Tatty Divine
 This is also a very appropriate post as I am saying goodbye and heading to Orlando for two weeks of fun in the sun. My holiday is perfectly timed, because frankly I don’t deal with cold weather all too well and the last few days the temperature has really dropped. Has anyone else caved and put the heating on or is that just me?!

I was hoping to line up a guest blogger for while I am gone so that my little blog doesn’t stay too quiet, but unfortunately I haven’t had the time and as usual I seem to be working up to the eleventh hour! So I’m afraid you’ll have to sit tight and check back on my return.

In other news, for those of you who haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend heading over to My Creative Diva, a new online lifestyle magazine aimed at creative women. Edited by the lovely Joan Gordon, it is full of food, fashion and all the things ladies loves, plus interviews with lots of creative women. Check out p24-25 for my book reviews – some seriously good reading material has been landing on my desk lately including The Fashion Design Directory which I have reviewed in issue 1.

Have a wonderful few weeks and a big thank you again for regularly reading my ramblings. I would happily write with no audience at all because it’s a pretty cathartic process, but having such a lovely audience makes the whole thing so much more satisfying. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive my posts via email – it requires no effort and who doesn’t love that?!

So long and see you on the other side! Probably a tad exhausted but hopefully with a tan and a big smile on my face.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

London Fashion Week – a mad dash in a day...

Last Friday I went to the first day of London Fashion Week. I didn't have as much time as usual and it was the only day I could go, but I still managed to squeeze in three shows and a mad dash around the exhibition. Over 100 designers are exhibiting this season and I'll introduce a few of my favourites soon, including some amazing up and coming shoe designers and a fabulous Disney tribute!

This was my first fashion week as a freelancer and I must admit it's not quite the same by yourself. For starters, if you are waiting in line for a show to begin you haven't got much else to do but listen to other people's inane chatter! Speaking of which I learnt one very important lesson  – I might be a journalist with a blog but I am definitely not a 'blogger'.

I know it's like most things in life, (politics, religion..) where a small minority ruin a group's reputation for everyone else, but seriously, when did desperately seeking attention by dressing in the most unflattering clothes possible become a good thing? You might think your hair cut is 'edgy' but to most of us it is quite simply a bowl cut. And ugly shoes? Why oh why?! I am all for a bit of outlandish fashion, but it is possible to achieve it without completely losing sight of what is flattering. And the most amusing thing about these so called bloggers was watching them seek each other out to take photos for their blogs in the name of 'street style'! Hilarious.

Right, now that my little rant is over (apologies, I must be getting hungry), let's get back to the shows. Zoe Jordan was first on my list and it was held at Mercer Studios. Zoe studied architecture at Newcastle and is known for her androgynous designs that combine feminine swagger with a boyish insouciance.

Her Spring/Summer 2013 collection referenced Tina Chow, the African desert and a touch of eighties high school varsity. Loosely translated that meant a versatile collection in a colour pallette of muted greys and browns, livened up with with bright shades of fuchsia and orange. Favourite pieces included bright shorts that I wanted immediately for my imminent holiday, some very cute dresses and skirts, and fabulous slim fit blazers that prevented the more typically girly items from becoming too saccharine.

The photo below is a nice example of her very wearable separates – ideal summer shorts that would look great with a simple white vest and a jumper that you could just throw on with jeans.

Next up was Corrie Nielsen. I was a big fan of her show last season, mainly due to her incorporation of tartan which I just can't resist. This season had a very different feel to it, inspired quite aptly for spring, by the the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

It was very easy to see how some pieces will filter down into the high street, but other more abstract pieces were a little far-fetched. I can't say I was the biggest fan of the coat with the sleeves attached down to the wrists that made the model resemble a walking sleeping bag....

However some of the dresses had beautiful shapes and I particularly liked the tulip shaped cream dress (second picture below), but I'm afraid my dodgy photography hasn't really done it justice!

Last but not least was Bora Aksu's show. Bora Aksu has been based in London for 15 years and set up his label after graduating from an MA at Central Saint Martins. His signature style is a real contrast that he describes as "romantic with a darker twist."

His SS13 collection was inspired by Queen Victoria's grand-daughter who became the Queen of Romania in 1922, and the way that she embraced traditional Romanian culture without losing her Englishness. This inspiration led to some quite dramatic regal headwear which to be honest I found a bit distracting, but also some incredibly beautiful dresses – delicate floral prints and very feminine shapes that were often given a structured formal twist with the addition of neat collars and belts.

A standout accessory for me was the pair of printed tights in the last picture. Their semi-transparency and floral designs will make them ideal for that winter to spring transition.

That's all for now but I will post more about some of the talented designers I met at the exhibition very soon.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Betsey Johnson at New York fashion week

I've been keeping a watchful eye on New York fashion week, and although there have been some great collections, none this season have truly made me sit up and pay attention. Until yesterday.

Betsey Johnson, the 70 year old fashion legend, presented what is to be her final show – a total celebration of why she has been adored for more than four decades. The iconic fashion designer, who made a name for herself clothing rock & roll stars in the swinging sixties, filed for voluntary bankruptcy earlier this year, and although she will continue to design her lines for stores such as Macys, this show was a final hurrah of sorts.

It featured several of her iconic looks including the Cyndi Lauper style skirts from her 80s era and her classic cherry print. Betsey rounded off the show performing the splits on the runway instead of her signature cartwheel (seriously, this woman is 70?!), and Cyndi Lauper even performed Girls Just Want to have Fun. Of course.

New York is celebrated worldwide for its fashion; a style which is often sleek, chic and a little restrained. But restrained is definitely not a word to describe Betsey, which is what makes her designs so much fun. From rockabilly to playboy bunnies, her looks are brash, bold and not for the faint hearted. And in a sea of shows filled with clean tailoring and luxe fabrics, there is something quite appealing about that.

I'm off to London fashion week tomorrow to catch a few shows and hopefully discover some new names at the exhibition, so more on that very soon. In the meantime here are a few more treats from the fabulous mind of Betsey Johnson. Enjoy!

Images from


Monday, 10 September 2012

New Jack Daniel's Honey

I know I promised that I would keep my ongoing love affair with Mr Jack Daniel's well away from this blog but hell, news is news right?! And it's not every day you find a new kind of Jack on the supermarket shelf. Introducing Jack Daniel's Honey...

Yep, that's right! The lovely folk from Tennessee have come up with their first flavoured variety and it's a blend of Jack and honey liqueur, now available in the UK. As you can see, it looks beautiful, but the million dollar question is how does it taste?! Well put it this way, if a bottle of Jack Daniel's and a bottle of maple syrup had one very wild night of passion.... this would be the resultant love child.

It's like the dessert of the Jack world. I'm a savoury girl so it's too sweet for my tastes to replace the original, but after a starter of the classic and a main course of Single Barrel, this is the best way to round off your meal. In a word? Yum.

Seeing as I've broken my no Jack on the blog rule, I may as well go on and introduce two more products that every self respecting fan of Jack will enjoy.

Exhibit A (and this is a new one to me) – Jack Daniel's Hickory Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce. I'm not even a fan of barbecue sauce and I love this stuff. It's perfect for a BBQ of course but it will also liven up any culinary situation that ketchup can and possibly do it better!

Exhibit B is a classic and probably the best (only?) reason to visit TGI Fridays – Jack Daniel's Smokey Sweet Barbecue Glaze. A very good friend of mine has a similar obsession and we will happily order this on the side of absolutely anything that TGI's has to offer! Seriously, once you've tried this on Southern Fried chicken your life will never be the same again.

Ok, so that's my food and drink porn done for the week, normal music and fashion posts will resume shortly.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Meeting Brian May at The RPS awards

Last night at The Royal Photographic Society awards, I had a bit of a 'rock' and a 'runway' moment when I shared the room with two living legends; Queen guitarist Brian May and fashion photographer Tim Walker. Also present were Steven Sasson (inventor of the first digital camera), award-winning photographer Joel Meyerowitz, The Hurt Locker cinematographer Barry Ackroyd and many more inspiring characters from the world of photography.

Brian May was receiving the Saxby Award for achievement in the field of 3D imaging;  he is incredibly passionate about stereography and has one of the most extensive collections of stereoscopic images in the world. He also collaborated on A Village Lost and Found, a book about Thomas Richard Williams' stereoscopic cards, and gave new life to the London Stereoscopic Company. The event was sponsored by Macallan and it took a few glasses of their finest before my partner-in-crime Mel plucked up the courage to say hi for us!

Tim Walker, who received an Honorary Fellowship, was lucky enough to escape us however. This was very disappointing as he is one of my all time favourite fashion photographers and I had spent the best part of the day editing an article about him for an upcoming issue of the RPS Journal. Maybe next time...

I'll be posting more about Walker soon, and hopefully some of his stunning photos, as he has an exhibition and book coming out next month which will both be well worth checking out. But in the meantime happy Friday and have a wonderful (hopefully) sunny weekend!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Bush at Koko, Camden

Oh Gavin Rossdale, the only man in the world worthy of Gwen Stefani….

I saw 90s heroes Bush play at Scala at the end of last year and it was possibly the most excited I’d been about a gig in a while. After a seven year break, the new album Sea Of Memories was the proof I needed that they were back on form and finally they were touring – and oh what a night that was! I said at the time, that if they played Glycerine I‘d have got my money’s worth. Well they did, and I did.

So when the opportunity came up to see them again there was absolutely no hesitation at all, and last Thursday we found ourselves at Koko in Camden. I like Koko, it’s a nice sized venue and even when you are near the back you get a pretty good view – as an added bonus you are also near to the bar, not that I was drinking on this particular occasion. (Yep, even I have the odd night off!)

So the first question I got asked last year by a very good friend (with enough years on me to have seen them on the back of Sixteen Stone), was did they play the classic songs from their first few albums. Unsurprisingly this is exactly what I'm getting asked again. I’m not even going to try and pick out any highlights, because the setlist speaks for itself, so I have pinched it off the ever handy for you:

See what I mean?! One of those nights you just don’t want to end. From the opening chords of Machinehead to the epic conclusion of Comedown it was pure joy.

If I have one tiny little complaint about Bush, it’s their name. As you can probably tell I love these guys – they are one of those bands that make you want to wear their t-shirt and proudly proclaim your love to the whole world. And I get it, they named themselves after their former home, Shepherd’s Bush. But would you really want to walk around wearing a t-shirt with the word BUSH emblazoned across the front?! Me neither.

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