Sun, Sun, Sunday!

 

 

ss1

 

Whoop, yesterday was a Sunday full of bright winter sunshine, and so we headed to the coast for a runaround! Zooming off for a bluster of sea air and a blaze of sunlight in our eyes…a good kinda day off. The tide was out at Sheringham and the white stone exposed far out on the beach made us feel as though we had landed on the Moon, brilliant. It always feels so good to get a day away and to explore the coast. We also met a cat which made the day even more perfect. Winter sun is ace. Happy day. 
ss4ss6ss7ss8ss9ss10ss11ss12ss13ss16ss18ss17

A Bellville Sassoon Birthday

Holkham Hall in Norfolk, oooosh what a stunning place! Having intended to go there for ages, my recent birthday meant we finally got in the car and zoomed off for a day of loveliness. We had been meaning to go for ages, firstly because we knew it had a Bellville Sassoon fashion exhibition ‘Glamour and Gowns’ taking place, secondly because I LOOOVE stately homes, and, thirdly, because we were sent a personal hand written invite from the Viscountess of Holkham Hall; Polly Coke. Viscountess Coke had been into our vintage shop and bought two stunning 1930’s dresses, she followed her purchase up by sending us personal invites to the exhibition and hall, super! Viscountess Coke is the daughter of Belinda Bellville, founder of British fashion label Bellville Sassoon and so her own stately home was just the perfect place to showcase an exhibition of her Mother’s work.

The house and gardens were gorgeous, beautiful in their original and well maintained state with knowledgeable staff telling stories and you also got the really nice sense of the Coke family still using a large portion of the house as their actual home, wonderful. The fashion exhibition was a stunning, sparkly and brightly coloured contrast to the dark interior of the house, a delight for my eyes indeed. This small but thorough exhibition was beautifully curated with great information and a selection of dresses that represented the decades of Bellville Sassoon wonderfully. Gold and silver baubles hanging from the ceiling and the beautiful room itself made for an exhibition that was nothing short of enchanting.

Bellville Sassoon was founded in 1953 by Belinda Bellville, originally naming it ‘Bellville Et Cie’, she opened her first shop in partnership with Sydna Scott in Knightsbridge. By 1958 the business was growing rapidly and Belinda had had her first two daugters, the third, Polly, who went on to marry into the Coke family, was born later in 1967. Belinda met David Sassoon and he joined the business, his expertise in pattern cutting and his technical knowledge proved the perfect addition. In 1970 he became a partner and the name Bellville Sassoon was born. At the end of the 1970’s, Tatler Magazine declared that Bellville Sassoon had made more society wedding dresses than any other couture house. This British label had become famous for it’s luxury cocktail, party and wedding dresses, with a host of glamourous ladies wearing their designs, including Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Madonna and of course, Princess Diana. I also saw some of their designs in the Diana exhibition at Kensigton Palace. At Holkham they had on display a sketch and photo of Princess Diana in her Bellville Sassoon ‘Going Away’ outfit; a canteloupe silk dress with bolero jacket, 1981. She adored it so much she wore it on many occasions including her tour of Australia in 1983.

My favourite dresses in the exhibit were the bright pink raw silk skirt with a hand beaded lace top, 1960, a polkadot flamenco style dress in silk taffeta and silk organza, 1987, a pink silk paper taffeta dress with bustle trim, ruched bodice and draped skirt, 1980, and the cutest candy stripe silk paper taffeta puffball dress, 1980.

Such a delight of an exhibition and a super birthday day trip.

This exhibition is on until late October 2013, and Holkham Hall is open on various dates over the year, for more information visit www.holkham.co.uk

Gin in jam jars and the most beautiful bride

lou16Well, what a super summer wedding. One of my most lovliest of friends, Louise, got hitched last Friday and it was nothing short of glorious. This current heatwave, combined with a breathtaking venue made for one of the most relaxed and happy days I have spent in a while. Lou and Andy were the most perfect hosts and my goodness, that little place out in the deepest depths of Norfolk, was just about expolding with love on that sunny day, what a joy to share it.

The location was perfection. A new venue, The Keeper and The Dell, is a good distance from the city of Norwich and allows you to feel like you are entirely in another World. A deep grassy dell with wooden seats and hay bales set into the slope, Lou had dressed the venue seamlessly. An original old handmade marquee, backing onto woodland, a swing in the tree, lanterns hung in the branches; the tranqulity and sense of space was a real treat. A sincere and informal ceremony in front of their loved ones, Lou looked breathtaking. Brides always have this immense glow to them and Lou, well, she truly sparkled. Her dress was a nod to the 1930’s, silky, body hugging and feminine, she radiated happiness. Their cute-as-a-doll daughter is called Iris, so, of course, Lou clutched a bunch of these as she walked to meet her groom.

Afternoon tea in the marquee, oodles of Gin in jam jars, live music and much sitting on the grass barefoot made for a day that dreams are made of. To fill our tummies, a fish and chip van (a classy, award-winning one mind) arrived to serve us and the merriment continued till it got dark, when we all gathered around an open fire with the band playing an accoustic set. Wonderful.

James and I have been a couple for around 13 years, we don’t have any real intention of getting hitched, it’s not something we feel we want to do, but weddings do tend to bring out the very slight romantic in me. Pledging your absolute love and devotion to your partner in front of your friends and family is a really special event and always, momentarily, makes me wanna do it too!

My outfit was a last minute choice, having been busy of late I hadn’t decided what on earth I was going to wear! I had this red lace dress in my closet. This dress has a story of sorts. It was mine, I loved it, but never wore it. So I popped it in the shop window over Christmas the other year, I guessed it would look pretty and festive while we were closed for the holidays. On the first day of opening after Christmas, I arrived a little late to the shop and James had sold it!! I informed him, whilst trying not to look too sad, that I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to sell it. I guessed I’d never see it again, but thought of it often. Then recently, the girl who had bought it mentioned it and said she had worn it once and was finished with it, so, I suggested I buy it back off her! She agreed, and the dress was back in my arms. So, for Lou’s wedding, I decided this dress was gonna be worn. Red lace 1960’s wiggle dress with spagetti straps; I teamed it with some 1970’s gold Russell & Bromley heels, a 2004 Dior perspex cuff and my 1970’s Magazine clutch bag.

A happy day indeed.

lou19lou17lou3lou6lou20lou21lou23lou10lou14lou15lou13lou24lou9lou8lou7lou26lou22lou27lou12Photo 14 courtesy of the lovely Cassie Tillett who has a lovely decluttering website, for more information on the wedding venue visit The Keeper and The Dell, all my clothing is, of course, from Prim Vintage Fashion.

Sunny Side Up

I do rather love a day trip to the British coast and Cromer in Norfolk is a classic seaside destination. You can’t ignore the kitsch irony of an English beach on a dark and cloudy autumnal day. The idea of optimism and fun is there, but everyone is freezing, unexcited and most probably parked up eating chips in their car whilst watching the sea. Decayed and disused rides, battered ice cream shacks, abandoned benches and grey skies. In the amusement arcades; the polar opposite, bright flashing colour, neon glowing, clashing sounds of the machines, forced fun, mini bursts of excitement under the stained ceiling tiles and strip lights. So British, so charming in it’s dilapidated state. Much as I love the kitsch beauty of these kinda places, I also find them ever so bleak, they smack of realism, weathered folk queuing in their wheelchairs for hot chips, obese dogs being carried by their equally overfed owners, plastic flowers in the misted up cafe windows and shops selling sun-faded souvenirs of their town. I love the tone of faded beauty in places like this, I love the neon boneyard in Vegas, I love Coney Island, I love Blackpool….but by gosh, I’m glad I can choose not to live in those places, I couldn’t take the extremes of seasons, the burst of people in the summer, followed by the neglect of winter. It is those extremes that make these seaside towns so wistful and austere. It’s like life and death happens to the town every year. When the sun shines down on this little town, it’s the cutest darn thing, it just seems to die a little when the sun stops shining.