Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Last Saturday was a lone, glimmering sunny day and I made the most of it.

More on my flickr...

Friday, July 24, 2009


I looked at this poster for the UK release of Coco Avant Chanel for at least five minutes before I realised the very odd change from the original French one. Yes, it's in English, the avant is now before, possibly in case some bright spark who failed GCSE French thinks Avant is Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel's real name. Some of the other text is also different, but...

When looking at the French poster I was really only compelled to want those pyjamas, honestly...ooh, but d'you know I'm really craving something right now, can't quite put my finger on it. Anyway, just nipping out to the newsagent...

{edit: ok, no one is getting this - nothing to do with the text - look closely at the picture, something has been erased and two things have been inserted which changes the entire thing. You can click to enlarge.}

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



I have a load of torn out pages from nineties Italian Vogues that I couldn't bear to part with when I moved back to London from Italy (and couldn't exactly bring my magazine stash with me). I found them in a drawer today, and though I wonder why I went to such trouble to keep some of the images, others, like this one, still resonate with me more than ten years later. I might post some more of them now and then.

It would be lovely to look and feel like her today; instead I make copious cups of tea and forget to drink them, everything I wear is too hot or too cold ten minutes later and I would simply look ridiculous in a hat like that.

{photo - Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia 1990 something}

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I don't get particularly hot and bothered about the release of new ad campaigns these days. Too celebrity driven, too retouched, too shiny. But I was happy to see that after years of famous faces, Miu Miu has chosen relatively unknown models for autumn/winter 09 and has ditched the strong colours that have dominated the campaigns shot by Mert & Marcus for the past few years. As with the new Prada lookbook everyone's talking about, I'm glad to see ol' Miuccia still isn't afraid to change tack in uncertain times.


Here are some ancient ones, before glossy perfection took hold. (I am also ancient it seems, as I remember/owned most of these clothes.)

Audrey Marnay FW 97, Chloe Sevigny (post Kids so not really that famous then) SS 96, edit: Sara Daykin (thanks Alex!) FW 98, Zora Star SS 98.

{first image via Fashionologie, others via Miu Miu}

Thursday, July 16, 2009



Slowly, halfway through July it began to dawn on me that apart from 3 days in Paris last month, I would not get to travel again this summer. As friends drift off to summerhouses on unpronounceable northern islands, to cross country road trips and to country homes, I wonder how I slipped through the net. I didn't and won't go to Lisbon or Switzerland or any of the other places I doodled in my notebook during the hope of spring. It's ok, there have already been some good barbecues, some fun and games, some small adventures (above). I'm sure I will manage to go to the beach in England and it will probably be like this:


And that will be...ok too.

{photos: me}
{title from here}

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I SAY...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being invited to trundle along to The Chap Olympiad, held in Bedford Square Gardens - in the loveliest of the Bloomsbury squares. This event essentially celebrates Englishness. I will try and explain: Attendees might be wearing a tweed shooting outfit, full morning dress, or vintage lawn whites. They will almost certainly sport a monocle, a moustache, a pipe or all three. And oh so many hats: Homburgs, Panamas, Fedoras, Trilbies, Boaters, Bowlers, Top hats, I lost count.

Since my attendance was somewhat spontaneous I went in chapette mode (my influence was Coco Chanel wearing Boy Capel's clothes, but as we all know, if you have to explain your references, your outfit isn't doing it.) But with a little more preparation time; for the ladies, it's a chance to don your finest vintage tea dress, set your hair and put on matte red lipstick if ever there was one.

The events included: The Martini Knockout Relay (mixing a perfect dry martini without a butler), the Cucumber Sandwich Discus (one spectator was so busy taking a photo she got walloped in the eye by a china plate), my favourite event: Umbrella Jousting (on bicycles), the Pipeathlon and the Three Trousered Limbo. I'll let my photos do the talking... Umbrella jousting.

It was all conducted with a degree of gentlemanly decorum, with the occasional brolly in the spoke (the shields are re-inforced copies of the Daily Telegraph). Until...

Blood was spilled. Refreshments were on hand: jugs of Pimms, G&Ts, that sort of thing. BB, you would have loved it. A few more photos...

The BBC has more (and better) photos here. {photos: © me}

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Ah, the topknot. Something that looks and feels so right for this summer. If this was Grazia magazine I might even say it's a great way to instantly update your look. I've been wearing my hair in a topknot to sleep ever since it got long enough to somehow wrap itself round my neck while I'm sleeping if left loose. And now it gets knotted up in the daytime as well. So easy too - I've managed with just a single bobby pin today. It's perfect if you have a fringe, which also avoids straying into Edwardian laydee territory. In fact, I feel this topknot business is going to get more teased, looser and wider until it resembles just that.

A couple of my favourite recent topknots: The Darling Clementine girls and of course Caroline - who has the best hair anyway (would this be a good time to admit that I basically hair stalked her and took one of her flickr photos to the hairdressers so they'd cut my fringe right? I felt like a bit of a weirdo.)

{top photo: Clare Shilland, other don't know.}

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


You'd think I'd be all shopped out; but not having been clothes shopping for so long, then going for it like it was 2005 seems to have sparked my pre-recession fervour.

Now I'm coveting this jewellery. (via Lena Corwin)

I'm not buying it, just posting it here so I can admire it from time to time.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Vanessa Bruno pale mint blouse, APC Russian dress

Vanessa Bruno off white lace panel linen T shirt, Isabel Marant Etoile thin plaid shirt (nope - not sick of plaid) I used to love coming to Paris and getting one thing from Vanessa Bruno each time. But when it started to become easily available in London (same thing happened with Isabel Marant), well, it became everyone's thing. Then there was the infamous "I make easy clothes for difficult girls" quote which I LOVE. Now I just appreciate the ease of these clothes.

 When I was hitting the Paris sales, I made a conscious effort to stick to casual things I can wear in London. Though I haven't had a real shopping spree like that for a very long time and it felt strange. I also got a few other things in the APC sale and at APC Surplus: This linen jersey dress in charcoal, the sailor top version of this. At Merci, even at sale prices everything was incredibly expensive, although I loved the place. The only thing to do was get the ubiquitous Annick Goutal/Merci candle. The fragrance is Dans Les Foins and its dreamy perfume fills my flat even when it's not lit. (I just read a bio of Annick Goutal and was surprised to learn she had been a concert pianist and model before contracting breast cancer, marrying her childhood sweetheart (if I've got the sequence of events right) and starting her perfume empire fairly late in life.)

 I was also overcome by temporary insanity and bought two really heavy Royal Boch plates at Merci, which I then had to lug all the way home to London. This culminated in a £25 ten minute taxi ride home from London Bridge when I just could.not.go.any.further carrying those and my two holdalls, which kind of cancelled out the sale price. Oh, and I got a sweet little vase and some ceramic letters as gifts at Le Petit Atelier de Paris.

I think I'm unpacked now...

Saturday, July 04, 2009


French breakfast radishes. Yummy dipped in melted butter and sea salt. (Maybe not for breakfast though.)

Carnations! The flower I've spent my life avoiding on garage forecourts.

{my photos}


Two things the French do particularly well are eyewear and underwear. [O.K., also: floristry, shoes, cooking, interior design, bread products, hairdressing, swimming costumes, yoghurt, wine, bicycling in heels, scarves (obviously), small dogs, cafes, and beauty products.]

Let's just stick with two for a minute. Glasses: When I was looking for my first pair of prescription glasses I kept noticing aviator style ones in pictures online, but not in any opticians in London. The following is a verbatim conversation I had with my best friend and recently fired eyewear advisor:

Me: Hey, I really think that normal glasses with aviator style frames in black or tortoiseshell are going to be the glasses everyone wears next.
BFARFGA: What, you mean those massive pilot sunglasses that cover half your face with clear prescription lenses in? No one would wear that, you'd look totally ridiculous.

Fast forward to Paris and wherever I look anyone who's anyone is wearing clear lensed aviator glasses with black or tortoiseshell frames. The manager of the used book cafe at Merci has grey hair, red lipstick and quite heavy black aviator shaped frames and looks amazing. In fact I see many ordinary/respectable/older people wearing really quite kooky specs and carrying them off with aplomb; no doubt thanks to the well trained eye (Haa!) of their opticians. That night I watch Jaws in French and both Roy Scheider and that other bloke in it are wearing aviator spectacles. If that's not a sign I don't know what is. Even The Schwartz (the ultimate barometer) has clear lensed metal aviators. Sigh.

In lieu of getting another pair of prescription glasses when I've just spent a fortune on a pair I'm ambivalent about - and after working out that proper aviators get stuck on my sticky out cheekbones, I plump for a pair of Persol 0649 sunglasses. And in my search for a photo of them online I randomly find out that apparently Jay Z wears this style, as did Steve McQueen (edit: and Marcello Mastroianni! I had no idea.) The lenses are quite light - the woman in the opticians (in Paris) insisted I take the tortoiseshell ones with light lenses when I wanted the black ones with dark lenses. And she was absolutely right.

Underwear: I have a certain style of bra I prefer, that I usually buy in France (sorry if I just alienated my one male reader). For the past couple of years I've been relying on Comptoir des Cotoniers ones: slightly sheer cotton, thin straps, no underwire, but the construction and seaming makes it possible to wear them if you have, you know, boobs. (In England you can only get scratchy push up things or sporty bra-lets that offer no support.) Princesse Tam Tam does the right style but they've gone a bit over flouncy and off the boil recently. Enter Vanessa Bruno underwear, which I'd never really noticed they even did until it was right under my nose in big boxes marked down by 50%. I got one set in really pale pink/nude (which is actually veering into purely decorative bra-let territory) and one in pale pink/nude mesh with black tulle around the ribcage. Here, now I will show you my underwear:

My pictures don't do them justice, but I think we would both feel a little uncomfortable and perhaps slightly violated by a self portrait of me in them.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Chloe multistrap wedges
- oh they had my size, oh they had all the colours. Oh, even half price they were more than 250 euros. Elegance is refusal, elegance is refusal (keep saying it).

Heimstone Bergerac dress. I am in love with the print. I also tried the Roxane at the store in rue du Cherche Midi but it was such a hot day my brain started to short fuse and I had to get out. I now notice the Bergerac is on sale for even less at Amelie Boutique. Hmm.

Later I'll post a few things I actually did buy.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I used my Diana camera for the first time in Paris. It was so easy to take out and about because it's so light. I didn't really believe that any of the photos would come out, so I tried not to use it for anything I'd be upset about not getting. I ended up with nine photos (should have been twelve - ahem, lens cap). Strangely the vignetting is much stronger on the scans. But I love the randomness of it, the feeling that the more you do it "wrong" the more interesting your pictures might be. Not that these pictures are very interesting, I'm just happy they came out at all and I'm encouraged to experiment further with the ol' Diana.