5 TIPS FOR SPRINGTIME DRESSING

Phew! Now that we’re pretty much over the peak of winter, a lot of us are gonna have our minds fixed on one thing: when will we be able to crack into our spring wardrobe, pleeeease? Soon enough, you’ll be able to ditch the tights, sit outside for lunch, forget the gloom of winter and get on with the year ahead. Hurrah! The days are already getting longer, so get into that fast lane by sorting out your spring style now. Here are five tips for the months ahead…

Discover the Duster Coat, or Something Similar – Duster coats have a lightweight design, ideal for wearing over the garb you have now. Just make a point to ditch your chunky knit jumper, as the extra layers can create too much bulk for a piece of clothing that’s all about looking smart. Various different labels have put out styles that are great for dressing down or going to occasions, and spring usually has a lot of both. A good duster will smarten up your jeans, and present a refreshing change to winter’s short jacket/dress ensemble. If you want something a little more cosy and understated, long cardigans are a good alternative. Here’s a great post on how to style a long cardigan. Whatever your tastes, a duster coat, mac, or similar piece is going to be totally essential for your spring wardrobe.

Stick with Long, Lean Hemlines – Now that it’s getting almost too warm to go out wrapped up in a dozen layers, you’re gonna want a transition, and get used to feeling a breeze around your ankles again; lush. It may sound too simple to be effective, but longer, leaner hemlines are a great way to make the change. The best way to do this is to lose your tights, but keep a long skirt or dress so that you don’t feel too much of a shock. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to start wearing summer’s airy, flirty skirts once again!

Crack out the Florals – Flowers are just totes synonymous with spring. They sum up the fresh starts and beauty we associate with the season, so start digging the florals out from the back of the closet. A floral dress is sure to be the trophy piece, but while the weather’s still warming up, you may want to put it off until you can say with absolute certainty that it’s summer. Still, the weather’s going to be comfortable enough for skirts, tops, jeans and so on. This will get you more tuned to a warm mindset, and get you ready for all the sun that’s on its way, yaaaaaay! 

Let Craft-work Back into Your Life – This is another seasonal tradition that isn’t going to go away any time soon. You know that spring’s arrived when the crochet and lace starts appearing on skirts, blouses, and the hems of dresses. In a few weeks, it will be time to let them all out to play again! While we’re still in the transition period, make sure you’re easing those frills in. Add too much in too short a space of time, and you’ll just over-saturate your outfit. Instead, start off with some touches here and there to give yourself the perfect level of spring dressing. Like, you could go looking for understated decorations on a jacket, and combine the piece with a simple black t-shirt, or a roll-neck. Sleek trousers, either skinny, cropped or wide-leg, but always in a neutral colour, can also be great for balancing out the craft-work in your outfit.

Bare your Feet – You’ve had your feet shut up for long enough. Dip a toe into those fresh spring waters with a good sandal. Gladiator styles are still in massive demand, but these will be better when the summer rolls around. Now, a more standard style will work better, combined with cropped trousers to keep yourself firmly in the right part of the calendar. If you can’t handle these, there are some a lot of boot-sandal hybrids currently on the market which might pique your interest. It can be pretty hard to make these mesh with the rest of your outfit when the days are still fairly chilly. However, they’re always going to beat socks and sandals! Let your feet breathe a bit now, and you’ll be all set for slipping into your favourite heels in the summer.

Getting your spring wardrobe right is all a question of balance. Lighten or lose a few layers, compensate where you need to, and above all else get comfortable and ready to feel a little sun on your face!

Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful

“I don’t dress this way to go unnoticed”

On my recent American road-trip holiday, we spent three days in Las Vegas. I was last in Vegas when I was 21 and this time my memories aren’t as fond; it was busier, stinkier, hotter and tackier than ever. Too many stag do’s, drunken business trips, and voyeuristic tourists have turned this magical kitsch city into a bad night in a sweaty nightclub. Alas, it appears that any glamour has long gone. But, luckily, as I was walking past The Cosmopolitan hotel and casino, I saw a sparkle of the city’s past glamour; in a small but perfectly formed exhibition showcasing the sequin festooned stage outfits of pianist Liberace. Phew.lib15alib16alib20a

In Las Vegas, both now and in it’s heyday, it seems that the bigger, the tackier, the more brash, indulgent and extravagant; the better. And who better to have lived by this idea than glittering entertainer Liberace. I don’t know a lot about him, I know he was a child prodigy on the piano, I know he was camp and theatrical and that between the 50’s and 70’s he was the highest paid entertainer in the world, wowzers. Liberace’s love affair with flamboyance began when, as a younger man he was watching pianist Hildegarde and was told ‘you’ve got to get a gimmick‘. Liberace then went and bought a gold candelabra from a thrift store and placed it on top of his piano whilst performing. This was just the start, his signature style of kitsch European opulence was born. Much of his career was spent playing residencies in Vegas at hotels such as Flamingo where I stayed, and up until 3 years ago there was a permanent museum in the city dedicated just to him. It would seem that Liberace and Las Vegas go hand in hand, this ace pop-up exhibition at Cosmopolitan celebrated the over the top, in your face, bedazzling style that you would expect from America’s most garish city. The title of the exhibition states it perfectly;

‘Too much of a good thing is wonderful: Liberace and The Art of Costume’

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King Neptune Suit

This suit dazzled audiences around the country and was replicated for the recent movie ‘Behind The Candelabra’. The beads elaborately create the look of waves, shells and sea coral.

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‘Rhinestone Suit’

Whoosh, someone went crazy with the rhinestones on this one. As with many of his suits this is made from a sturdy polyester gabardine but the embellishments completely cover the utility fabric. The crystal rhinestones are rim set- a now obsolete technique that encloses the stone within a circular mount and then attaches it to the fabric.

collagelib3‘Purple and Phoenix Suit’   

Liberace sure knew how to make an entrance and at Radio City Music Hall in 1986 he came onto the stage from above- showcasing this suits bird motif and glittering plumage! The birds are outlined in crystal seed beads and pink French curled Ostrich feathers make up their tails. Feathers featured in many of his costumes, making it hard for preserving the collection.

collagelib4‘Matador Suit and Cape’

Crikey this one’s pretty glam! Liberace wore this costume for his 1981 performances in Mexico City. The elaborate sequin work on the cape is accomplished with the now obsolete Cornely machine, a chain stitch machine which allowed the individual application of beads and sequins.

collagelib5‘Hapsburg-inspired Suit and Cape’ 

This rather camp ensemble was designed by Michael Travis in 1983, it features a double headed Eagle associated with the rulers of the Austrian Empire; The Hapsburgs. Heavily appliqued using gold lame and bands of gold bugle beads to make up it’s lavish appearance. The cape is trimmed in Sable fur.

collagelib6‘Red, White and Blue Hot Pants Ensemble’

Woah, it doesn’t get much more American than this! Liberace wore this rather patriotic number in 1986 as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. The embellishments of silver bugle beads and crystals give the illusion of separate garments but it is in fact a jumpsuit, making costume changes easier. Audiences loved how this suit demonstrated Liberace’s wonderful sense of humour.

collagelib7‘Christmas Suit and Cape’

I wish Father Christmas was real and that he wore this. In 1980 Liberace wore this gabardine and white fox cape for his Christmas shows at Las Vegas Hilton. The cape demonstrates the skill of Anna Nateece, a Greek born fur designer, the cape was entirely lined in silver sequins…oh my!

This pop-up exhibition was a delight, a perfectly delivered slice of old style Vegas glamour, the Vegas I treasure, where neon signs were a novelty, people dressed up for the shows and casinos, and when a trip to this city was a glistening indulgence. There are rumours that the permanent Liberace Museum (it was open for 31 years and closed in the recession) will reopen in a new downtown location, which would be marvelous, you gotta admit that this guy had some pretty exciting style and it would be a real shame to hide that away in this sequin-celebrating city.

 

An American Adventure

I’m back! Back from a holiday that was brilliant beyond words! Having had our shop in Norwich for so long, James and I had to always take separate, if any, holidays and so finally we got to take one together; and my goodness it was good! We decided we were gonna take a holiday to celebrate James’ big birthday and then when our beautiful friends who live in NYC announced that they were getting hitched in the middle of Moab Desert in Utah, we decided that a road trip through USA was the only way to go! We flew to San Francisco and spent a few days staying with my long time bestie Kristin, and then picked up our hire car, a Jeep and headed out to the desert! Going via Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas and Escalante before hitting Utah for the wedding! Then a few more days of exploring, through Beaver and back to Vegas before flying home!

I was brought up, very fortunately, with lots of emphasis on travel and so I’ve spent much time visiting USA before as well as having spent time there studying for my Degree, I ADORE America, that place truly has my heart and this trip was a pure delight! My eyes saw things they couldn’t quite believe, the scenery in Utah was other-worldly and the heat was insane…45 degrees in the desert!! Wooosh! The trip was mind-blowing and then the wedding of our brilliant friends made it even more special! A beautiful glamping weekend wedding with the heat and the backdrop of the desert, it was so very magical I cannot even try to describe it. Simply luminous with love.

The trip cost us money we don’t have and I feared James and I would drive each other crazy in a car for two weeks, but, it was worth every cent and squabble, what a wonderful adventure we had, a perfect start to our new non-shop chapter of life! I’m pretty snap-happy with my iPhone when travelling and seeing new things, so I documented the whole trip on my Instagram; lots of you appeared to enjoy sharing my journey with me, such fun! These are just a few highlights, if you wanna, you can see all my holiday snaps here!

What a ride! Now back to reality and pretty dresses! xx

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Prim girl goes Punk; Chaos to Couture in NYC

METBeing a girl who adores fashion exhibitions, and being a girl who was just recently in New York City, it must come as no surprise that, whilst in Manhattan, I headed straight off to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to take a look at the current Costume Institute exhibition; Punk: Chaos to Couture. Concieved and curated by the British Andrew Bolton and designed by Sam Gainsburg, this exhibition was a real delight. Having had some critiscm for not representing the gritty, agressive, druggy and anti-establisment culture of punk, Bolton has instead curated an exhibition of fashion through the years which pays tribute to and embraces the ethos of punk and its visual language. He deliberately didn’t want to do a nostalgic retrospective on punk,  “I don’t want this to be a trip down memory lane”, I think by making that choice he has provided us with a really fresh take on the genre and its enduring influence on high fashion. The exhibition has done exactly what it set out to do, it is a fashion exhibition and not a look at music, politics or the subculture of punk itself.

This exhibition is a feast for the eyes, no glass boxes, no stuffy layout, all the clothes were in the open and perfectly grouped in each gallery, some gallerys were light and modern with a clean monotone pallette while others were dark and loud and multicoloured. Each gallery was totally different from the last and each was stunning. The exhibition looked at the origins of Punk in the 70’s, covering both London and NYC, with cute mock-ups of seedy club toilets and the Vivienne Westwwood Sex shop. It then covered all aesthetic influences of punk with galleries each dedicated to a theme; DIY Hardware, Bricolage, Graffiti & Agitpop, and Destroy. Some of the clothes were beautiful, some were a little experimental, but stunning in their creations none the less. It was great that there was really recent fashion there as well as some older pieces, original Westwood items from the era alongside a 2010 Punk inspired Moschino dress. The clash between the creaftmanship of couture and the ameturism of real DIY punk clothing was both subtle but deliberate, as Bolton himself said, both stem from spontaniety and individuality, therefore embracing the punk ideal. The styling of the mannequins was great, very strong with matching wigs of exaggerated spiked and coloured hair. The lighting in each space was theatrical perfection. I loved this exhibition, I saw fashions that I adored and I saw styling that was humourous and well thought out, the fact it was in my favourite museum in my favourite city on a balmy hot day made it all the more super. I’d recommend this to people who love fashion, if you were an original punk and looking for a representation of the era and all its anarchy then you won’t find it here, this is about fashion and the influence punk has on it; its a pretty kind of punk. Pretty cool.

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  1. Christopher Bailey for Burberry S/S 2013
  2. Original Westwood/McLaren Seditionaries T-shirts
  3. amazing studded skirt from Too fast To Live, Too Young To Die, 1972
  4. general exhibition view
  5. black dress on the left by Versace S/S 1994 (famously worn by Liz Hurley)
  6. black bin bag dress by House of Moschino S/S 1994
  7. outfit of pearls by Maison Martin Margiela  S/S 2006
  8. plastic bag dress on far right by House of Moschino S/S 1994
  9. general view including Katherine Hamnett slogan T-shirts
  10. spray painted Alexander McQueen S/S 1999
  11. general exhibition view
  12. dress by Miguel Androver 2000
  13. the final mannequin gives the finger

Punk: Chaos to Couture is at The Met until 14th August 2013

A sunny Brooklyn flea market

fleaOn my first saturday in Brooklyn, Kristin and I headed up the street to my favourite flea market, it was suuuuuper sunny and so was a perfect morning to mooch around and look at the wares. This flea market is a great size, big but not too big, lots of clothes, furniture and crafty bits; more craft and less vintage than when I was last here and more pricey than my last visit, but, good vintage dresses are becoming harder to find so I totally understood the higher prices. Some stalls did have great prices though as I did find an amaaazing pair of pink and gold 80’s Bally shoes for $20 though which made me squeal out loud on first glance. I also bought a cute cat softy for my nephew and the coooolest handmade card for James.

It was so sunny, I was crazy hot and then…. ta-daaah!… I saw People’s Pops among the stalls….whoop…I haven’t ever seen this cute brand before and I LOVED IT! The branding, the simplicity, the concept and on a hot day, their pure fruit lollies or cups of shaved ice are perfection! The guys were really popular, with a huge slab of ice they shave off enough to fill a cup and add a shot of fruit syrup on top, or you can have a lolly laden with fruity goodness….mmmmmmm!

A good day indeed.

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