Saturday, 26 January 2013

Top 5 Winter Wellies

Seeing as it’s been such a snowy week, it seems like a good time to offer up some practical yet pretty footwear. After all, everyone knows that it’s not snow that’s the real problem – it’s the slushy, icy mess that follows. And there really is no reason for waterproof footwear to be ugly! So whether you want designer wellies or boots on a budget, here are the five brands you need to know. 


Hunter is the go-to brand for stylish wellies, having been brought to the fashion forefront by the likes of Kate Moss at Glastonbury. Personally I love them for their narrow fit and huge range of styles – they have kept my feet dry and smug at more than one Download festival! They are understated and if you're not a welly person, you can always rely on Hunter for something that doesn't make you feel too ridiculous. They come in a huge variety of colours but I opted for black. Pictured here are my black gloss pair (on the right) and the rather fabulous Jimmy Choo versions, that neither my budget nor my conscience could stretch to.

Original black gloss, £89


Vivienne Westwood & Melissa have a rather impressive way of making plastic stylish, so it is no surprise that they make a rather stylish selection of waterproof boots! These ankle boots are perfect for rainy days in the city, keeping your feet dry without you having to embrace that ‘long walk in the country’ look. They were heavily reduced on many sites and are now largely out of stock, but the black versions can currently be found on Nonnon.

Vivienne Westwood & Melissa Booties, £72


Ever since Burberry successfully managed to detach itself from that nasty 90s chav association (God bless you Christopher Bailey!), they have returned to the height of country chic, and that iconic check has once more become stylish. These boots are a great example of what they do best, fusing classic style with a quirky twist. Gotta love that owl detail!

Aberdale wellies in black, £315, available from Selfridges


Joules is a great brand for wellies if you want something a bit stylish but without the Hunter price tag. Shades of red are generally a pretty good call and the wellies on the left are a fab coral that will brighten up the dullest of winter outfits.
A bit of humour is a great way to acknowledge the ridiculousness of wellies, and as it seems impossible to get hold of those awesome childhood frog wellies in adult sizes (believe me, I’ve looked.) I plumped for these beauties on the right. Green is a classic welly colour and the fox print is inspired!

Premium Glossy Wellies in red, currently 20% off, only £51.96
Green Fox Wellies £37.95

Trust Gucci to make the most un welly-like wellies on the market. These babies are shiny, sleek and almost don’t look like wellies at all! Their brogue style is tasteful and understated and a weekend wardrobe essential, especially in this vile English weather. Thank you Gucci!

Brogue-style Wellington boots, £200, available from Net-A-Porter

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail 1700-1915

Fashioning Fashion is one of the books that I've reviewed for the latest issue of My Creative Diva magazine. I’m a sucker for glossy fashion books but this made a nice change as it looks at the history of fashion and the way it has influenced some of today’s biggest designers. For more of my reviews and lots of interviews with some creative and inspiring women head over to

We live in a world of fast fashion, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye and affordable high street clothing means that we can clear out our wardrobes each season. Eighteenth and nineteenth century fashion was much slower and therefore greater attention was paid to detail, resulting in some fabulously intricate clothing that would have been treasured by their owners.

Fashioning Fashion highlights a major collection of European dress acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from two of the foremost dealers in the field, Martin Kamer and Wolfgang Ruf. It is a celebration of the beauty of fashion from years gone by that takes you through the evolution of European fashion, including significant pieces such as an embroidered man’s vest emblazoned with powerful messages relevant to the French Revolution. The text provides historical context to show how political events and technological innovations have influenced style, whilst the beautiful large images combine paintings from the time with photographs from today’s catwalks.

It is wonderful to see how these beautiful items from the past have inspired contemporary designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Bailey, and to admire the silhouettes from centuries ago that remain just as stylish and desirable today.

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915, £36.00
Published by Prestel
ISBN 987-3-7913-5062-2

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Tim Walker: Story Teller at Somerset House

With Christmas, flu and all manner of other inconveniences well out of the way, I’m officially back to work, and I’m aware this blog’s balance has tipped heavily in the favour of ‘rock’ in recent months, so I fully intend to give ‘runway’ the space it deserves. First up is the Tim Walker exhibition in the East Wing Galleries at Somerset House, that I promised to review way back in September when I unsuccessfully stalked him at The RPS Awards.

Giant doll kicks Lindsey Wixson Eglingham Hall, Northumberland, 2011 © Tim Walker

In a world where creativity is increasingly computer generated, there is something refreshing, and indeed magical, about the fantasy world that Walker captures using a spectacular array of other-worldly props. From an elegant swan boat to a giant doll with blonde ringlets, he conjures up a dream world where anything is possible, and if a prop looks real, then that is probably because it is.

My obsession with Walker’s work began many years ago whilst writing my university dissertation, an exploration into the relationship between fashion magazines and body image in women. It was more specifically a defence of the fashion magazines that I love so dearly, and an attempt to demonstrate that fashion is such an elaborate myth that it cannot possibly have a negative effect on a woman’s body image unless there is an underlying issue already.

Walker’s work was the perfect example. The beautiful shoots that I would pore over in Vogue often showed little of the clothes, or even the female form, focussing instead on telling a rather stylish yet fantastical story or capturing a beautifully lit scene. I had discovered a true artist and not someone whose primary focus was the hard sell (although there is no denying that the end product was, and still is, always very desirable.)

Tim Walker: Story Teller is a celebration of some of his most memorable work to date. It is an incredible well-curated exhibition, with a selection of prints displayed alongside installations and some of his most iconic props that bring the images to life. Almost as soon as you enter you are greeted by the near life-size Spitfire thats tail can be seen bursting through a door behind which stands an immaculate Lily Donaldson.

Lily Donaldson and Blue Spitfire Glemham Hall, Suffolk, 2009 © Tim Walker
The Blue Spitfire in place at Somerset House

What struck me the most whilst wandering through the gallery is a fact that I already knew but that became clearer than ever when standing face to face with such a beautiful collection – that Walker is the complete package. He is not simply a technically gifted photographer who can take the best possible shot of a given subject, he is a visionary, someone with the ability to conceive an amazing idea in preliminary sketches, turn it into a reality then capture perfectly the original story that he wanted to convey.

If I sound a little obsessed with Tim Walker it’s because I am, and have been ever since his work first jumped out at me from the pages of Vogue. He doesn’t just take a picture, he quite literally creates it, and in the glossy world of fashion his work always stands out thanks to his ability to consistently create something colourful and new. There are only a few weeks left of the exhibition, so if you are interested in either fashion or photography, I recommend you take a trip and see for yourself exactly why, for me, Walker is the most distinctive fashion photographer of his era.

Tim Walker: Story Teller, until 27 January at Somerset House, free admission

Karlie Kloss and broken Humpty Dumpty Rye, East Sussex, 2010 © Tim Walker
A fabulous installation featuring giant snails used in a shoot
Alexander McQueen with skull and cigarettes Clerkenwell, London, 2009 © Tim Walker

© Rock & Runway

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