Sunday, May 31, 2009


Looking through my photos of places I've travelled to makes me want . to . GO . SOMEWHERE . NOW.

1- Florence, Italy, May '08
2- Champagne, France, June '08
3- Musandam Peninsula, Oman, December '07

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I went to pick up my glasses and um, I don't really like them* at all! But the optician said no, they really suit you, especially with your job being a librarian.

I went, what? I'm not a librarian! Oh! No! I was just messing around when I was trying them on and saying oh these ones, I'm a librarian, these ones, I'm an architect etc etc.

He looked quite dismayed.

That was a little flimsy for a blog post I know. Maybe I should get Twitter?

*I have them in dark mahogany/aqua and they don't have a flipping guitar on them anywhere. I feel cheated now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I went to a screening of Coco Before Chanel last night. (Merci E!)

I noticed a good few women there were wearing ropes of pearls or were dressed in black, and I admit even I re-pedicured my toes with Rouge Noir. Something about Coco Chanel makes you feel she would be perfectly capable of rising from the dead to give you a good bollocking for seeing 'her' film improperly groomed. Thankfully, Audrey Tautou was perfectly capable of inhabiting the role of Coco, almost spookily so. I loved her in it and Benoît Poelvoorde as Etienne Balsan was like a charm missile.

In one of the first reviews of the film I read, Alessandro Nivola (who plays Boy Capel) said that when they were filming in Paris, every time he walked down rue des Archives (gayer than gay street in the Marais) sporting the moustache he has in the film people would keep going "Allo Freddie Mercury!" And that was really all I could think of every time I saw him and his 'tache.

The main theme is Coco's early love life (which continued to be extraordinary - no wonder more than one film is being made about it) but the costumes, even more so than the story, tell you how and why she rose to such legendary status. I have also read her biography by Edmonde Charles-Roux which explains how the strict dress code and the nuns at the catholic orphanage she was sent to influenced her rigorously simple style. Some of those details were more subtly suggested in the film, but may have been more obvious to me because I already knew.

What was really fun for me was to see visually recreated this woman striding about in trousers and a mens' boater or a striped marinière top tied with a simple black ribbon, when all the other women are wearing elaborate hats and corsets with long sweeping dresses; so brave and sure of herself (to all appearances), yet totally alone. She was way ahead of the wave and able to infiltrate high society and convince everyone to follow her way.

As Coco herself said;
'In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.'
Although the film doesn't really focus on the House of Chanel years, it struck me again that what we all still think of as the height of elegance and chic is what she made popular. No one has replaced her.

{1st photo: It's Audrey, it's Coco, it's Audrey. 2nd photo: Coco in the 1920s}

p.s. Thanks for your wishes, Lola is feeling a bit better today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Sorry it's quiet here. Lola has injured herself quite badly trying to jump up from the garden, while the steps that I fell through were finally being replaced. Bizarrely it was the top step that I fell through and the very same top step that she jumped through, which hurt her spine and hind legs. I had to call out the emergency vet at midnight on Saturday night who gave her an injection (and almost got her expensively manicured hand bitten off). Now I have to keep Lola in, make sure she rests and give her painkillers, which seem to help, but we're not out of the woods yet (why do people use that expression?) I might still have to take her to the vet for more tests under sedation (she's more tiger than moggy) - she may have damaged the nerves that enable her to perform daily necessary functions if you know what I mean. And that would not be good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I finally visited the Aesop shop in Mount Street, an area that has undergone a radical transformation from sleepy Mayfair backwater, home to a couple of posh hairdressers, in the past couple of years. Balenciaga, Lanvin, Annick Goutal, the revamped Scotts and The Connaught are the sights, not the quaint old fashioned shops, though the butchers and the tobacco shop still seem to be hanging on. A Goyard store is about to open - and of course there's the man who enticed them all there: Marc Jacobs. Aesop has been open for about a year now but it was the first time I'd seen the StudioIlse designed shop in person, on my way to the new Marc by MJ store.

Now I'm obsessed with the paint colour, the sink, the light fittings, the lightbulbs and Aesop Rejuvenate Aromatique body balm - a blend of vanilla and sandalwood that nearly had me levitating with its gorgeous aroma.

I've always liked Aesop products but the prices always make me hyperventilate a bit too. I shall go for the 120ml as the larger size is over £50 and that's just a wee bit too much, even for something that makes you levitate. If I could I would have a bathroom full of Aesop products and have Ilse Crawford design my bathroom as well, oh go on then my whole flat. It strikes me that many of my peak London experiences have occurred in Ilse designed spaces: Cecconi's on my 30th birthday for one. I will make it my mission to seek out more - spaces and peak experiences in them.

p.s. I'm not going to mention the Marc by MJ store - oh ok, well all I can say is ol' MJ has got to be having a laugh. At us. Cheap, mass produced shit with an MJ label on it is still cheap, mass produced shit. Is it supposed to be a post-ironic comment on Chinese sweatshops or something?

{Shop photos from StudioIlse, products from Aesop site}

Monday, May 18, 2009


I'm in a funny mood today. I either want to go back to bed or buy things instead of paying my parking ticket.

The Piano Shirt I liked from last A/W is half price at Toujours Toi...


*The Evening Standard has suffered a horrific re-design, in particular the ES magazine, which I've been picking up every Friday for god knows how many years, now looks like a free small town gazette or some kind of brochure that sells yachting equipment. That title font: How could they? (They've also given Peaches Geldof her own advice column, but at least you can flick past that.)

*A.P.C. are apparently opening a London shop (again) near Dover Street Market. It's hard to understand their strategy with London - first there was the shop in Draycott Avenue on a Joseph owned site; that closed eons ago. Then the one in Ledbury Road; that closed too, maybe 7 years ago? And A.P.C. is now easier to get hold of than ever in London.

*I chose some glasses, which I pick up at the end of this week. I can't find a pic of them online and the Paul Smith bit of the Oliver Peoples' website is down. The whole *I thought I could see but I can't* thing has been quite unnerving and now I'm completely broke as well.

*The posts that weren't: Due to laziness I often don't post things I mean to. One of those things was how I've ended up dressed like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate for the past six months, thanks to my Sessun desert booties and duffle jacket worn with peg trousers. Now someone else has gone and claimed Benjamin Braddock as their inspiration. This always happens.

p.s. I just bought these shoes to cheer myself up (about being broke! Now even broker, but not much). p.p.s. (I think I may have been Marais USA's first customer - I just realised they opened their web shop at 4am EST, which is 9am here and I bought the shoes at 9.04am!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Well, that is perhaps a slight exaggeration. I had an eye test yesterday; my first in er, cough, oh look over there, um, never. Wow. I'd never needed one before because of my perfect 20/20 vision you see. That was the misapprehension I had been labouring under anyway. But since all I ever do is stare at a computer screen, scroll, type and read I thought I'd better get it checked out. They put me in front of a mirror and projected some letters onto the wall so I could see them in the mirror.

Optician: Can you read the first line for me?

Me (straining): Are the letters back to front?

Yes. So I need glasses, but only for reading and being at the computer. Oh and I have a muscle weakness that, had it been discovered when I was a child at one of the eye tests I didn't have, (dropped the ball there parents) could have been corrected. I can't focus for long or do that thing where you focus on a pencil and bring it closer and closer. No, I am completely unable to perform that task so crucial to everyday life.

Secretly I'm chuffed that a whole new world of accessories has been opened up to me, after years of people making me accompany them as an unpaid spec stylist when they need new frames. I do realise from personal experience that someone blathering on about which glasses they should get is a fast route to being bored witless. But humour me would you, it's my first time.

Should I go the Louise route and put prescription lenses in my Wayfarers, which I know suit me? But I don't want to look like one of those people that wears fake glasses though (Not that she does.)

Of the 387 or so frames I quickly tried on at the opticians, the more out there ones looked better on me than the more normal, trying to blend in ones for some reason. And since I won't have to wear them all the time I can perhaps afford to get something a little different, no? I mean frame wise, not huge glaring logos or anything. Should I buy some vintage glasses and get my prescription lenses put in? Who makes good glasses? Chanel? Lafont? (Ooh look! Good morning Miss Moneypenny.)

Actually I like all the Lafont Re edition glasses:

Maybe I should wait until next month and get some glasses in Paris seeing as French people always complain about how hard it is to find good glasses in London. Oh, all the possibilities. I mean these things are going to be on my face every day so I'm looking for some pretty spectacular specs - and I plan not to lose them very often.

So HELP ME glasses wearers - I'm relying on you. Tell me your secrets.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Then: Charlotte Rampling in Georgy Girl - Now: photographed by Jacques Bosser.

Then: Jane Birkin with Serge - credit unknown - Now: photographed by Carole Bellaïche

Continuing on a theme - I have been pondering this so much that I think I could fill an entire book on the subject. It's hard to marshal my thoughts though.

I'm wondering how it is that (I'll speak for myself at least) Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling are such enduring icons. Is it because they are still beautiful, (I would argue that Rampling has become even more beautiful with age) with no apparent signs of tampering; that they look very much the same as they always have and both have a recognisable simple style? Is it because they achieved that seemingly impossible feat of being English girls who moved to Paris and were able to crack the notoriously hard shells of the Parisians? Is it more than external - to do with the choices they've made in how they live and the work they do? Or are they just lucky? You could say that Brigitte Bardot is an enduring icon I suppose, but she is more an example of how not to age! I am by no means saying it's just about skin deep beauty though - it is something from within. I must say that though I can watch Bardot in an old film and think what a pretty girl, there is not much that really interests me about her (unlike Serge who was with both Bardot and Birkin! Apparently Bardot's breasts "frightened" him so he moved on to the slighter figured Jane.)

Have you noticed how as people get older they kind of set hard? Something about them becomes immovable and perhaps, if you're not careful, the way you set could be an unfortunate reflection of your state of mind and spirit. Or perhaps the secret of Birkin/Rampling is that they've never set, they just evolve naturally while keeping the essence of themselves. That seems like a lot less trouble, and far more palatable than the lengths someone like Madonna goes to.

It's funny to me that when I was a teenager I pasted pages of editorials from magazines all over my walls, as I'm sure many of us did. A way to collect influences to help define who and how we would be. But lately when I look at models I just find they mostly look incredibly frail. Now in my sketchbook and here I am posting photos of women more than twice my age, as if somehow this will help me navigate the rocky path of well, not being a girl anymore. (Arrghh, no Britney, no!)

I call it notes for the future.

Friday, May 08, 2009


She will be impossible to live with now Marc Jacobs has gone and named a perfume after her.

(I do believe Venetia Scott's daughter is also called Lola)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


My mum and my uncle c.1949,
My granny c.1910

My mum and granny c.1960

{family photos ©}


I've been away visiting family far away from London. This photo is misleading: I took it round the corner from my flat before I went. I hardly took any pictures there but it was green, so green everywhere. I saw a lot of cute lambs and then I ate one. Trying to assimilate back into a life that doesn't include doing the Telegraph cryptic crossword every day (as my aunt does, my mum did and my grandmother did) or baking, or big pots of tea. I can't remember why I live in London at the moment. Lola and I have been catching up on reading blogs this morning...