I think it’s been established thanks to my previous lust post that I’m a big admirer of Saint Laurent since Hedi Slimane took the helm. Saint Laurent’s SS15 collection was amongst the numerous ones to channel the 70s trend which has dominated the catwalks over the last few Fashion Weeks and has been responsible, along with a desire to dress like Sydney in American Hustle, for the contents of my wardrobe seeing a 300% increase in lurex, polyester and other no doubt highly flammable fabrics.
The other thing I love about the current Saint Laurent collections is that they’re also very easy to pay homage to on a budget. Now, this might not be considered a positive attribute for a certain designer or fashion house and it has made me think whether what I actually admire is Slimane’s ability to style his pieces rather than the pieces themselves. Yes of course they’re beautifully cut, use some gorgeous fabrics and a large part of the price tag is the ‘concept’ behind them but, being lucky enough to own a couple of pieces bought when sale prices have been slashed to ridiculous amounts, if I swapped the label for one that said ‘Topshop’ I’d challenge you to tell the difference. On the other hand, every season I lust after Miuccia Prada’s designs viewing them as exquisite works of art that, unless I can afford to purchase the real thing, I will never manage to convincingly emulate on a budget and any pieces I may end up owning will be treasured forever as relics of fashion history. Fundamentally, being a Saint Laurent girl is an attainable goal should you wish it. Being a Prada or Miu Miu girl is something to aspire to. Style versus substance in the most basic terms?
Fashion philosophising aside, having been a teenage fan of Pulp and Manic Street Preachers my wardrobe consists of enough glittery tops, velvet blazers and assorted accessories gathered from charity shops to be able create my own version of Slimane’s ‘Studio 54’ look. The top came from Peacocks many moons ago and sat languishing at the bottom of a drawer until I recently rediscovered it, deciding it was the perfect accompaniment to the vintage 70s denim hot pants that used to belong to my very stylish mum.
I think my favourite bit of the outfit however are the accessories. The leather and metal buckle belt is a charity shop find that I’ve worn so much as it goes with everything that I now live in fear of either 1) losing it or 2) wearing it so much it falls to pieces. The shoes are a recent sale purchase from Yoox and were created by the ‘Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s’ Terry De Havilland for Anya Hindmarch’s AW12 collection and come packaged so amazingly that they will no doubt get their own blog post soon (it’s completely acceptable to buy shoes on the strength of packaging alone isn’t it?!). The necklace, another sale purchase, is part of Alex Monroe’s exclusive ‘Verity’ collection for ASOS and adds a finishing touch of sparkle.
Sadly Manchester is just a bit too cold of an evening for me to ditch the 50 denier opaques in favour of oh so fashionable sheers as I dance off into the night in search of the North West’s answer to Studio 54 but hey, there’s always room for improvement…
Festival fashion. The two words guaranteed to create content for blogs and magazines during those slow months between Fashion Weeks. Festival fashion. The two words also guaranteed to set me off on a rant more epic than any delivered by Kanye at an awards ceremony.
I’m not quite sure when festival fashion became a ‘thing’. When I started going to festivals back in the rose-tinted days when a Leeds ticket cost less than £100 and King Adora were higher on the bill than The Strokes I honestly can’t remember deliberating over my wardrobe choices. My ‘festival fashion’ pretty much consisted of my normal ‘fashion’ (a term in itself a stretch considering my early-noughties wardrobe) but with added eyeliner and glitter, as befitting a MASSIVE MANICS FAN. Much higher up my priority list was how many bands I could possibly see across the weekend, why did everything HAVE to clash and what the cheapest, yet most potent, combination of alcohol to take was (Vermouth FYI. Cheap vodka may seem like a good idea but it generally equals death. Death and vomit.).
These days however, festivals are big business and VIP areas and the chance to swap your humble tent for a yurt seem to be the norm. Fashion magazines fall over themselves to offer tips on Glastonbury packing and hold up D-list celebs as pantheons of festival style. Now I’m not against wanting to dress like your idols (Courtney Love at Glastonbury in 1999 will *always* be my go to inspiration) and musical tribes are defined as much by their uniforms as by the artistes they revere but at no point should Daisy Lowe (who in a magazine article last year listed a YSL kaftan as being ‘essential’) be elevated to a fucking festival fashion oracle. The endless articles churned out seem to be written by people who’ve either never attended a festival (or never left the VIP area) and are inane at best. At worst they’re reductive and assume women only go to festivals so they can pretend to be Alexa Chung for the day (a rant better articulated by Gemma Samways’ recent Drowned In Sound piece). Whilst I’d like to think that the lack of similar articles geared towards men is simply down to the fact that Oliver Cheshire hanging out in the V Festival hospitality area will never be viewed as a figure of aspiration, I sadly doubt it.
So, as a seasoned festival goer with over a decade of hanging out in fields under my belt (and surviving two years of riots at Leeds festival) here is my own decidedly non-Vogue festival advice…
1) Never wear open toed sandals to a festival. Even if it’s *really* hot.
Yes, we all yearn for a festival that doesn’t descend into a mud bath within the first 10 minutes of pitching your tent but even if a festival is blessed with endless sunshine and ground seemingly drier than George Osborne’s tear-ducts as he slashes welfare, it will still be damp underfoot in places and that dampness won’t be from rain. Best case scenario, it’s beer. Worst case, wee. Either way, it’s still not something your open toes should be exposed to and even if they survive ‘suspicious mud’, they still run the risk of being jumped on by large, overenthusiastic men in the crowd.
2) Wellies will never let you down and don’t have to cost a fortune.
I’m not entirely sure why wellies which cost more than the price of the festival ticket are now considered de rigueur. I come from Yorkshire where to spend anything over a tenner on wellies would be considered ‘balmy’ and those from Primark, Asda, Matalan or anywhere else budget friendly do just as good a job of keeping your feet dry as the posher brands. Just avoid the ones with heels – you will look like an idiot AND fall over.
3) Bin bags are your new best friend.
Yes it’s fun watching a million bands over the weekend but it’s also bloody knackering and the joy of sitting down without fear of being covered in mud/ suspicious mud/ half eaten noodles/ vomit is pure bliss. Bin bags are also handy as makeshift raincoats or for hurriedly bundling up your possessions in the middle of the night as the campsite has been set of fire and the sight of exploding portaloos signals that it’s probably time to leave…
4) Playsuits are not your friend.
One word – portaloos.
5) But tights are.
They’re cheap. They come in a variety of thicknesses and can be layered if it gets really cold (the hill overlooking the Leeds main stage is the coldest place on earth once the sun goes does). Plus unlike jeans, they dry pretty quickly if you end up drenched in a downpour (or binned and replaced).
6) It’s fine to pay for a VIP upgrade but it’s not actually VIP
The last few years have seen a rise in the number of ‘VIP’ festival upgrades offered. Yes it’s fine if you want to hang out with the cast of Hollyoaks, have a slightly shorter bar queue and marginally better toilets (having attended and now work on festivals, I could devote an entire blog post to the festival toilet hierarchy – the ones in the artistes area are like being at The Ritz) but it’s not really VIP and doesn’t get you a better view of the acts. If you want to pay, fine but personally I’d prefer to spend the money on the entire contents of Lush to rid myself of the festival grime once I’m safely back home.
7) Camping is never enjoyable but you can make it better.
I *really* hate camping and have always camped under duress at festivals. As soon as I get there I’m counting down the days until I can return to my nice, soft bed because I love sleep and camping very rarely equals sleep. I envy people who can stay up all night, have a quick 30 minute powernap and continue on the next day without looking like death because I’m not one of those people. I need at least eight hours a night to feel human and unless you’ve knocked yourself out with an entire liqueur cabinet, you won’t get that at a festival. Over the years, my festival camping kit has expanded to include an inflatable mattress, a pillow and a massive knitted blanket bought onsite for a fiver from Oxfam so I don’t wake up shivering to death at 5am because a sleeping bag never keeps you warm enough during a British summer. Oh and a collapsible wash basin to try and stave off the feeling of griminess as long as possible.
8) A field is not the place for high fashion.
Cover yourself in glitter, stick on a flower headband if you *really* have to (although everyone will judge you and they’ll probably be correct) but don’t bring anything with you that you can’t afford to lose or ruin. ‘Suspicious mud’ will never come out of this season’s must have suede bag and white is never, ever a good choice.
The above is only advice and should not been taken as rules for life. If you want to wear white, do it. Sandals? I will do my ‘told you so dance’ when the ‘suspicious mud’ wins but whatever floats your boat. Wear what makes you happy but please don’t see festivals as an extension of fashion week – go to them to see some amazing bands, get pissed and have a laugh with your mates whilst hurling abuse at Kasabian. The bloggers and ‘celebs’ with perfect make-up, non-greasy hair, pristine outfits and £1000+ kaftans doling out advice are not figures to aspire to and neither are their wardrobes. Dave Grohl and Florence Welsh don’t give a shit what you wear to see them play and neither should you.
I’m not sure if an outfit can technically count as a ‘#TBT’ post if the first time I’ve actually worn it is today but my NYC inspired combo reminds me of the New York trip I had back in October so there’s my tenuous link!
Now I’m a girl who loves a) a good print and b) a bargain so when I found this Peter Jensen ‘Central Park West’ print silk dress in the ASOS sale just before Christmas, it seemed daft not to make it mine. It goes brilliantly with the Orla Kiely handbag I treated myself to which I’d been lusting after since spotting it at Orla’s AW14 presentation. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bag (even at 20% off) but it’s utterly perfect and been my constant companion through autumn and winter, giving a dash of colour to dreary days.
For finishing touches, I’ve added a colour pop of Sephora Cream Lip Stain in ‘Always Red’ and my amazing ‘NYC’ necklace by Virginie Millefiori. I’ve previously blogged about Virginie here (she’s the jewellery designer I Google-stalked and raced across NYC to find as I’d fallen in love with her pieces) and this ‘NYC’ necklace is my most recent purchase from her. You can choose from either the gold or silver plated brass version and the enamel detail also comes in a variety of colours (because choosing which of her pieces you want isn’t a hard enough choice already!). I love how the ‘NYC’ letters have been cleverly combined to create the Statue of Liberty’s crown, making this necklace the perfect souvenir reminder of my trip to New York whilst still being subtle and super stylish!
The question is though, can I get away with wearing a New York outfit in New York? As I’m currently in the process of booking a September return trip to NYC, I feel that’s another tenuous ‘#TBT’ post sorted come the autumn…
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of the year. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
…or not as the blisters on my heels will attest to.
I think in terms amazing/ amazingly daft things I’ve bought in the sales these complete and utter beauties have to be up there with the best of them. Since Hedi Slimane took over at YSL, or Saint Laurent Paris as it’s now known, I’ve been a massive, massive fan of the collections he’s produced. Possibly the underlying reason for this is his ability to create luxe versions of the contents of my late teenage/ early twenties wardrobe (which, let’s be honest, is still pretty much the main bulk of my current wardrobe) and, if I had the money, my wardrobe would consist entirely of Saint Laurent ‘upgraded’ versions of my previous loves. Sadly for me, my budget (or common sense) simply won’t stretch to shelling out nearly £1000 for a pair of boots or the best part of the deposit for a house on a dress, however OMGFHAVEYOUSEENHOWAWSOMETHISIS! they happen to be.
As a result of my fantasy lifestyle being faaaaaaaaaaar outweighed by the financial reality of the one I do lead (Oh hello electricity bill! And water bill! AND rent!), I’ve had to become adept at sale stalking and making sacrifices to the Fashion Gods in the hope that the planets may align to send me some wonderous bargain. Which brings me to the boots. Oh the boots. Look at their shiny, glittery wonderfulness.
*takes a moment to simply stare at the boots*
So, the boots. They’re pretty much identical to a pair I saw in Office about 5 years ago which I’m still kicking myself I never bought. My reluctance at the time was whether I could pull off a pair of 60s patent knee high boots without looking like I’d just stepped out of Austin Powers. I’m still not *entirely* convinced I can but it’s an awful lot easier to find the confidence to dip your toe into the water when something you’ve toyed with suddenly becomes the height of fashion (see also dressing like my mum in the 70s). Most of the footwear in Saint Laurent’s AW14 collection made it onto my lust list but out of all the styles (still holding out for the glitter Mary Janes btw if anyone wants to hook a gal up), the patent knee high ‘Babies’ seemed the most wearable. Sadly with a £900ish price tag, to justify a cost per wear it would have meant wearing them until the day I retired and so the sales stalking began.
Sales stalking mainly consists of me perusing various fashion retail websites sighing longingly at the sale items that, although 50% reduced, still cost more than my entire share of the rent for that month and silently cursing when something sells out in my size. On very rare occasions when I’ve been quick off the mark after final reductions have been announced I’ve managed to bag one or two lust items but in general, and especially with Saint Laurent, my size has sold out quicker than the winner of The Voice’s career. In Manchester however, there’s the added advantage of having branches of both Selfridges and Harvey Nics in the city centre and it was during a Selfridges lunchtime browse that I stumbled across THE BOOTS. AT 75% OFF. IN MY SIZE. Reader, I bought them.
I’ve still not worn them as much as I’d like as they still need breaking in and, as I feared, it’s tricky trying to find an outfit to go with them which doesn’t scream 60s fancy dress but, styling issues and blisters aside, I’m completely in love with them. Whilst £199 is a lot to spend on a pair of leather boots, it’s still probably cheaper than buying a full price, well made pair from a decent high street retailer. And they probably wouldn’t have glitter heels.
Most people when they visit New York probably have a ‘must see/ do’ list that includes icons such as Central Park, the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty. My list however, whilst still including the utter *essentials* of New York site seeing (Grand Central – tick, Gossip Girl tour – tick, sitting on the steps of the Met giving my best Blair Waldorf face – MASSIVE TICK) also had, fairly high up too I might add, a trip to Orla Kiely’s NYC shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, why treck half way around the world just to visit the shop of a brand you could pop to in London?! Whilst in theory this is true, my visits to London over the last few years have been sporadic and so jam packed that by the time I’ve seen all my friends for a catch up, there’s barely time left to marvel at the wonder that is the Waitrose cheese room (trust me, it’s amazing) let alone cram some retail therapy in too which is why I was stupidly excited about *finally* getting the chance to visit Mercer Street and dive headlong into Orla’s world.
I have to admit that up until a few years ago, I was only aware of Orla Kiely as the designer who put 60s style stem prints on a vast selection of homewares and didn’t have a clue that she also designed clothes too. At some point during the cold days of February 2013 however, whilst hitting up Google to keep updated with all things London Fashion Week, I stumbled across a couple of blogs carrying photos from her AW13 presentation (beautifully styled by the amazing Leith Clark) and fell hopelessly in love.
It’s probably no surprise that my love for Orla Kiely started around the same time as discovering Wes Anderson’s films (again, *very* late to that party) as both artists share the ability to create entire worlds around their ideas that are so appealing and considered it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Orla’s Fashion Week presentations (and supporting campaign films) are never merely just catwalks of clothes but instead feel more like snapshots of some wonderful retro dream that the viewer has stumbled upon. This sepia-tinged aesthetic extends to the New York shop where offerings from the AW14 collection sit alongside homewares in a faux-domestic setting that includes a kitchen, lounge area (complete with TV showing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ – always a good thing in my book) and erm, caravan resplendent in Orla Kiely print.
After trying on a few bits and pieces from the current collection, I discovered a rail of sale items including a skirt from the AW13 collection I’d been lusting after and having purchased it, was brave enough to ask the very lovely sales assistant if I could take a few snaps of the shop interior to share on here (is it just me who gets slight sales assistant fear when I’m in shops that my budget wouldn’t normally stretch to?!?).
Thankfully my limited American budget meant that I couldn’t walk away with the whole shop (although I’m sure the little brushwood fox would look right at home in my flat…) but it was a lovely excuse to have a glimpse into Orla’s world and add one or two items to my every growing wishlist…
Since hitting the big 3-0 I have officially found myself at the stage of life where my entire yearly holiday allowance is spent attending friends weddings which is how a little over a month ago I found myself and the boy headed to New York for ten days of sightseeing, shopping and a Central Park wedding.
I will happily admit that previous to my trip, visiting New York was never particularly high on my ‘must do’ list. Yes I know it’s meant to be one of the best cities in the world and as a Gossip Girl addict and fan of all things Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Blondie related you’d think I’d have a burning desire to visit but for some reason the urge to jet across the Atlantic had never struck me. An invite to my friends’ wedding in NYC however finally gave me the push I needed to ‘cross the pond’ and I’m now kicking myself I never visited sooner as it’s now possibly my new favourite place in the world and I’m trying to figure out how I can justify another trip…
Having debated going down the Air B&B route when it came to accommodation, me and the boy eventually settled on Yotel which was located only a few minutes from Time Square and proved the perfect base for exploring the city. I’d heard nightmare stories of the tiny amount of square footage to be found in central New York hotel rooms but the clever use of space in our ‘Premium View Cabin’ meant that, although compact, it never felt cramped and gave more than enough space to stash away the multiple outfits, shoes, toiletries and books we’d both bought. Yotel’s bar also served a great selection of food, cocktails and craft beer (oh how I miss the happy hour!) which meant we didn’t have to drag our jet lagged asses too far to find nourishment on the first night. The Yotel was also just round the corner from a supermarket which was great for stocking up on yet more craft beer and nibbles as well as fresh croissants every morning.
Although we did a lot of the touristy stuff – Times Square, Top Of The Rock, Grand Central, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (which we definitely needed at least another day to explore it was so big!), Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, the ‘Ghostbusters’ Fire Station, a performance of Cabaret on Broadway and catching a free gig by the ever amazing We Are Scientists (seriously, those guys haven’t aged in 10 years!), the majority of our time was simply spent wandering around the city taking in the impressive range of buildings and sites it has to offer. We also decided to hit The High Line which is a public park built on top of a former freight rail line which snakes along the West Side of Manhattan and is a great way of getting a slightly more elevated view of the city. I’d thoroughly recommend hoping off at Chelsea Market for great food and even greater jewellery. It’s safe to say we definitely got our money’s worth out of our 7 day Metrocards which gave unlimited use of the subway and made getting around a doddle.
No write up of my NY trip would be complete without a mention of all the amazing food and drink we encountered. Aside from working our way through the US McDonalds’ menu and a good chunk of the Grand Central food court, we also ate and drank in the following amazing places – The Dead Rabbit, Blind Tiger, Hudson Malone, Beer Culture and Flatiron Lounge (fantastic for cocktails!).
Our amazing 10 days has cemented NYC in my heart and this is definitely the start of a beautiful love affair. xoxo
My name is Holly and I am a Tatty Devine addict. It has been several weeks since my last purchase.
I was fully aware that over the last ten years or so I’d amassed a fairly large number of pieces thanks to gifts, my own indulgences, sample sales and a few friends in the right places but I hadn’t realised *quite* how much I had until I decided to take a quick snap of it all for the #TD15 celebration (I say quick snap but it took nearly two hours to set up once I’d retrieved all the pieces from the various jewellery boxes they all normally live in). When I tweeted the photo, comments included ‘wow and ‘holy shit’ and it was at this point that the full scale of my ‘problem’ (and it’s a lovely problem to have) began to dawn…
As part of my ‘TD Addict 12 Step Programme’ and as a big ‘happy birthday’ to all things Tatty, I thought I’d talk you through a few of my favourite pieces from my collection (I had thought about choosing 15 but no one needs to read that much of my witterings!).
Like a lot of people, my first introduction to TD was via their bespoke Name Necklace service and it took me ages to decide on what font/ colour/ charm combo I wanted (the choices have expanded even more in recent years just to make it even more difficult!) before finally settling on ‘billboard’ in ‘bright pink’ with a lightning bolt charm in ‘matt gold’ on a sterling silver chain (an option they sadly no longer seem to offer). I remember counting down the days until the necklace was ready (as each necklace can take up to two weeks) and then impatiently waiting for the postman to deliver the pink and white envelope of joy. I loved my necklace so much that I also bought my sister one in the reverse colour way for her 18th birthday! Over the years I’ve acquired a few more name necklaces, including one blatantly copied from those worn by Girls Aloud in the video for ‘Biology’ as well as what to me, also counts as a ‘name’ necklace – the two small holly leaves from a Christmas collection a few years ago.
From the first piece of TD I ever owned, to the first piece of TD I bought in their iconic Brick Lane shop. As an occasional London visitor, I’d been to Brick Lane before to scour the vintage shops but I’d never quite managed to figure out where Tatty Devine’s original shop was located. On my next visit, armed with a map and a vague sense of direction, I finally stumbled across it and rewarded myself with not only an epic chat with the amazing girls who worked there (and who quite happily talked me through all the pieces they had in stock) but also with this amazing tiger necklace (and maybe a few other pieces) which I’d been eyeing up for a while. As statement necklaces go, it’s grrreat!
For some reason, I’ve always preferred Tatty’s A/W offerings over their S/S ones (maybe I just tend to wear more jewellery in the winter months) and, whilst I loved their A/W11 collection, in my opinion their A/W12 collection is the strongest they’ve ever produced and marked the moment when the brand went from ‘cult and kitsch’ to ‘holy shit these pieces are take your breath away beautiful!’. Although at the statement necklace end of the collection some pieces pushed the £300+ mark, the sheer brilliance and intricacy of the paisley multi-necklaces showed that Perspex could be more than just cheap and cheerful and meant that Tatty Devine purchases could be justified as ‘investment pieces’… Whilst my budget sadly didn’t stretch to the mega jewelled paisley necklace, I did pick up the smaller multi-version as well as quite a few other bits from the collection (thank goodness for seasonal and sample sales!) which are amongst my most worn items.
One of the things that sets Tatty Devine aside from their competitors is the sheer number of people tripping over themselves to collaborate with them. In my collection I’ve got pieces from collaborations with Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Eley Kishimoto and Jean Paul Gaultier and TD have also worked with Peaches, Robots In Disguise, Gilbert & George, Rob Ryan, Disney, Louise Gray and the London Transport Museum to name just a few! Of all their collaborations however, I think my favourite one has got to be the dagger necklace they produced for Charlotte Olympia’s A/W11 collection ‘To Die For’ which was based around Agatha Christie and the Golden Age of crime fiction (and was also the debut outing for the now iconic ‘kitty’ shoes). Aside from fashion, I’m a massive book geek and in particular crime fiction so anything that combines the two goes straight to the top of my ‘must have’ list, even more so if it also has the words ‘limited addition’ attached. As the necklace was included in the goodie bags for those attending the launch of the collection, I had to use the Dark Arts to get my hands on one but it was well worth the effort. I’m now on a quest to track down the mermaid necklace that was produced for CO’s S/S12 ‘Sirens’ collection…
One thing that Tatty Devine do well are statement necklaces but as I’m not the biggest of frames, some of their amazing creations are just a little *too* big for me to wear. Thankfully, as the above multi-strand bunting necklace is made up of smaller pieces, it hangs a long better on me than a lot of their other big necklaces I’ve tried on (although I do run the risk of getting it caught in the shredder when I wear it to work!). I initially spotted it during my first trip to their Brick Lane store but it was sadly out of my price range so I had to settle for the smaller version which has had a lot of wear over the years. Thankfully, the larger version finally came into my possession last year thanks yet again to the joys of ebay stalking so it’s no longer ‘the one that got away’.
My final picks include one of the newest and one of the oldest pieces from my collection. I possibly spend far too much time browsing fashion blogs on the internet so when a couple of these a few years ago mentioned that a TD ‘Charm Club’ was going to be launching I got *very* excited! Sadly, said club never materialised (which is a shame as it would have been brilliant: club + jewellery = WIN) but a revised version of the bespoke charm service was launched just before Christmas at TD’s Birmingham and London Selfridges concessions (but annoyingly not at the Manchester one or online!) and so on my pre-birthday London trip last December I made sure I popped in. I went for the maximum number of charms allowed as I figured I could always swap the selection about and if I really want to mix things up a bit, I can always add in the little pair of sterling silver shoes which I’m pretty sure are the oldest piece in my collection and took a lot of tracking down.
I hope you’ve enjoyed have a closer look at some of my collection and much as I’d like to say my addiction is cured, I’ve currently got my eye on one or two pieces from the new collections including the Pink Poodle Necklace and the Cocktail Umbrella Necklace from their 15th birthday collection. Oh well…
As classic colour combinations go, red, white and blue takes some beating. A good chunk of my wardrobe seems to consist of variations on a breton theme and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect stripe. I love nothing better than teaming these timeless tops with some dark denim and colour popping accessories to create simple, stylish looks which can be worn pretty much anywhere. The above outfit consists of an H&M top which has been a wardrobe staple for many years and is as close to perfect as any I’ve found on the high street (to the point where I repeatedly chastise myself for not buying in bulk!) and a Topshop denim skirt that I bought at the end of last year which looks equally good with tights as with bare legs and has also been worn to death (and it has pockets which I LOVE!).
In my head this look is ‘classic with a twist’ so I’ve tried to keep the colour palette fairly restricted so that the hints of red really ‘pop’. My beautiful barrel bag gifted to me by Cut Make Trim (which I’ve raved about before here. Still haven’t learnt to not overload it though…) is perfect for this outfit as its timeless shape and colour compliment the neutral base pieces of the outfit.
My red Lotta From Stockholm clogs are another piece I’ve previously blogged about and I love the pop of colour they bring to the outfit and the leather ‘buckle’ detail on the toes echo the shapes found in the barrel bag.
If there’s one word that I can’t stand when it comes to fashion it’s ‘kooky’ and even just typing it makes me shudder and want to vomit in my mouth a bit. I’m all for having fun with fashion and injecting personality but for me, ‘kooky’ conjures up reductive connotations (see also ‘adorkable’ and ‘anything recommended by Zooey Deschanel’) that only serves to belittle and infantilize those it is applied to. Thankfully, Tatty Devine’s creations although whimsical, never manage to cross into this territory. Their ‘Dog On Wheels’ necklace whilst cute, is simple enough to be extremely wearable without crossing the line into the dreaded ‘K’ word (and dachshunds are definitely in this season if Orla Kiely AW14 is anything to go by…).
Finally I’ve added slick of MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ lipstick (could there be a better colour for making you looked a bit more with it when you really can’t be bothered?) and a couple of coats of Barry M’s ‘Coral’ nail polish to pull the whole outfit together.
As a bit of a reader treat (it’s Bank Holiday weekend, what else is there to do but a bit of internet shopping?!), the lovely people at Cut Make Trim have offered a 15% discount on their beautiful bags to the first 50 readers who enter ‘highheelsandrecorddeals’ in the voucher code section of the shopping basket on their website (oh and they do free delivery too!).
Now I’m not generally one for overly themed outfits (dressing like you’re a character from a Wes Anderson film doesn’t count) but as a Yorkshire lass, I couldn’t let the weekend pass without a homage to ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ which is dominating the TV this weekend and showing the world exactly why Yorkshire is the best place on Earth!
People may criticise the disposable nature of ‘fast fashion’ but I very rarely buy things that I only plan to wear for a season and so even when buying at the cheaper end of the high street, I try to pick pieces that have longevity. I purchased this bright yellow Primark dress several years ago (and in several colours) and it’s still a wardrobe staple that can be worn with bare legs in the summer and a pair of black opaques when it turns a bit cooler. Primark can be very hit and miss and when buying from there I tend to stick to natural fabrics such as cotton or wool as they tend to last longer than man made fabrics and not look ‘cheap’.
I’ve teamed the dress with cream Topshop heels for a 60s vibe and I’m keeping the yellow theme going with Barry M nail paint in ‘Lemon Ice Cream’. No celebration of ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ would be complete without some snacks and a limited edition bottle of Yorkshire’s finest sauce, Henderson’s Relish, is the perfect accompaniment (it’s seriously good sprinkled over popcorn).
Although I’m not the biggest cycling fan, the last two days spent watching the race travel through some of the most beautiful countryside in England has made me very proud of my home county and for those of you not familiar with ‘God’s Own County’, I definitely recommend a visit – Vive La Yorkshire!
One of the advantages of having very stylish friends as that they’re fantastic at giving tip offs about amazing new designers. Now I must confess that I’ve always been a bit of a shoe girl but since hitting the big 3-0 (not sure I’ve mentioned that quite enough have I?!), I’ve started to think about adding a ‘keep forever’ bag to my wardrobe. The problem for me when making purchases quite a bit over my usual budget (as ‘keep forever’ ones tend to be) is that I end up faced with the tricky balancing act of buying something timeless yet still contemporary enough to not look like I’m dressing way beyond my years. As fashion oxymorons go, it’s a tough one and whilst Chanel continually manage to update their classic bags in a variety of colours and finishes (but eternally over my modest savings), a lot of other designers’ bags tend to be very season led and therefore as redundant as an X Factor winner’s career once S/S or A/W is over. Faced with this conundrum, you can image my delight when Fashion For Lunch arrived for one of our sadly too infrequent weekend meet ups wearing a Kzeniya ‘Dream Bag’.
Kzeniya Oudenot, the talented designer behind the lustworthy range, is a London St Martin’s College graduate and founded the label in 2010. With previous employers as diverse as the Royal Opera House and Alexander McQueen, Kzeniya’s designs have the perfect mix of classic shape with contemporary detail through the contrast of the perspex and brass elements. Curious to find out more about Kzeniya and her designs? Well thankfully she very kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions…
Your biography says that before you started the label, you designed sets and costumes for operas and ballets. How did you make the leap from that to designing accessories?
I originally studied theatre design for set and costumes, so after graduation assisted with the designs for opera and ballet. It was really a fantastic experience, theatre is still my great passion, but I was always leaning towards something slightly more commercial, so decided to try myself in fashion.
I was approached by some technological companies who had amazing innovative materials and who wanted me to create unique costumes with them to illustrate the technology. I did several projects like that, we showcased costumes in museums and galleries and had lots of press, I was invited to conferences to speak about my experience, so it was really fun. My last project was to create 3D holographic prints, the best material for these prints was leather so I started working with leather and decided to create a small range of leather accessories. I enjoyed it so much that decided to focus on accessories since then.
Do you think your previous career has influenced your designs in any way and if so, how?
Perhaps there is something similar to designing theatre sets, when I design accessories, I think of them as 3D objects. Instead of drawings, I love working with patterns and 3D shapes in cardboard.
What do you think has been the biggest influence on your designs and what’s currently inspiring you?
Sculpture, art, architecture and jewellery elements.
When designing, do you have an image of the ‘Kzeniya’ customer in your head and how would you describe them?
Someone experimental, very cultural, educated, who likes to be different, original, to stand out from the crowd and be very attractive.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I am discussing collaborations with various jewellery designers.
As a designer, what’s been your proudest moment so far?
Having seen my designs on so many celebrities and also to be chosen for Vogue Talents and having an opportunity to present my collection to Anna Wintour and Franca Sozzani.
If you could only keep one bag from your collection, which one would it be and why?
Dream bag as you can wear it day and night.
Where would you like to see the brand in five years’ time?
To sell in more amazing stores, perhaps introduce jewellery and maybe open own store.
And finally, what are your handbag essentials?
Notebook, diary, pen and phone.
Having studied one of the ‘Dream Bags’ close up (and then reluctantly returned it to its owner – bah!), I can confirm that the quality is brilliant and the leather has a very subtle shimmer meaning that the bags will see you through from desk to disco (and back again if it’s been one of *those* nights…)! Available to buy through her website and at various online and international stockists, these bags are proving to be a hit with both celebrities and the fashion elite and hopefully it won’t be too long before I own my own dream ‘Dream Bag’!