Tagged: London

Life In Plastic, It’s Fantastic!

Tatty Devine 15

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!).

Tatty Devine Name Necklace

Tatty Devine Name Necklaces

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.

Tatty Devine Tiger

Tatty Devine Tiger Necklace

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!

Tatty Devine AW12

Tatty Devine Paisley Necklace A/W12

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.

Tatty Devine Charlotte Olympia

Tatty Devine for Charlotte Olympia Autumn 2011

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…

Tatty Devine Bunting Necklace

Tatty Devine Bunting Necklace S/S11

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’.

Tatty Devine Charm Necklace

Tatty Devine Charm Necklaces

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…

Tatty Devine 15th birthday

Happy 15th Birthday Tatty Devine!

Barrels Of Fun!

I’ve always thought of myself as a shoe girl and if you were to see the floor to ceiling stack of boxes in my wardrobe, you’d probably agree. Over the last year or so however I seem to have switched my allegiances (or run out of shoes to buy…) and my collection of bags has grown at quite an alarming rate. I think my initial hesitance towards bags stems from my dislike of the whole ‘It Bag’ craze which swept through the fashion world in the early noughties as I’ve always been the sort of girl who once I’ve found something I love, I tend to wear it to death and the thought of spending extortionate amounts on a piece of arm candy (or buying a high street copy) which would then be deemed ‘unfashionable’ a season later just seemed a bit daft. Thankfully the need for statement bags seems to have abated and for those of us who like our fashion to last longer than one A/W or S/S season, the decline in all things ‘It’ has coincided with a renaissance in mid-price, classic, well made bags from British companies. When one such company, Cut Make Trim recently got in touch to ask if I’d like to road test their bags and new website I jumped at the chance.

Cut Make Trim Barrel Bag

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

Based in London, all of Cut Make Trim’s products are made by a small team in their Dalston workshop and their new website is another milestone for the growing brand who also have a stall every Saturday and Sunday at Covent Garden’s Jubilee Craft Market (which is now firmly on my ‘to visit’ list the next time I’m down in London).

The company currently offer three styles of bags on their website – the Satchel (which comes in three different sizes), the Saddle and the Barrel – and each of these come in a myriad of colours including fluorescents and pastels along with more traditional shades which makes it a little hard for the indecisive (i.e. me) to choose which of the gorgeous bags is best! As you might be able to tell from previous ‘OOTD’ posts, I tend to favour an 11″ satchel when it comes to bags (as I think anything larger looks a bit too big on me) but this does mean that I generally have a cloth bag with me too for any overspill. Whilst CMT’s satchels are all very lovely indeed, the style which really caught my attention was their Barrel bag as despite its classic shape, it’s not a style I’d seen elsewhere and I also had a sneaking suspicion that with its 220 x 310 x 190mm dimensions, I might just be able to leave the cloth bag at home. I opted for a dark tan version as I realised recently that I don’t actually own any bags in ‘classic’ colours and as the Barrel bag has such a striking shape, I felt that it didn’t need a bright colour to show it off (plus in my head it reminds me of an old fashion doctors bag and the dark tan will look great teamed with my brogue boots). The website is very user friendly (once you’ve decided on your style and colour options – decisions, decisions!) and delivery was both free and super speedy! I think my only criticism would be that at the moment there is no embossing service offered which is a shame as the chance to have items initialled does make them feel that little bit extra special.

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

The bag itself is made of gorgeous leather and sturdy enough that the bag won’t lose its shape over time. The gold hardware of the buckles beautifully compliment the warm tones of the dark tan and it comes with a detachable shoulder strap which makes it comfortable enough for day to day wear but also gives the option of turning it into a more ladylike handbag for the evening. Size wise, I possible should have ordered the royal blue version to reflect its Tardis-like properties! At the last count it’d not only managed to fit my everyday essentials (keys, money, lipstick) but also the book I currently have my head buried in as well as a small umbrella which is an essential when living in Manchester. My cloth bag days are definitely a thing of the past!

The quality and choice of Cut Make Trim’s products along with their easy to use website are a winning combination and I’m completely in love with my new bag. With a shift back to quality rather than quantity in the fashion world and a growing desire to know more about the ethics and origins of the pieces we buy, there is a resurgence for British made products and Cut Make Trim are definitely a name to watch out for.

*The Barrel bag was gifted to me by Cut Make Trim for review purposes but as ever, all opinions, words, spelling mistakes and photos are my own!*

Krazy For Kzeniya!

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 - Dream Bag

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.

Kzeniya - Dream Bag

Kzeniya – Dream Bag

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.

Kzeniya - Ball Bag

Kzeniya – Ball Bag

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’!

Kzeniya - Dream Bag Large

Kzeniya – Dream Bag Large

New Year, New Jewels!

Wolf & Moon Christmas Jewels!

Wolf & Moon Festive Jewels!

With only a few hours to go until we welcome in 2014 (seriously, where has the time gone?!), I thought I’d share with you the amazing jewels I’ve been rocking over the festive season from a brand who are I predict are going to do big things in the year to come!

Double Triangle Earrings - £24 - Wolf & Moon

Double Triangle Earrings – £24 – Wolf & Moon

Wolf & Moon is the Hackney based jewellery brand of Goldsmiths alumni Hannah Davis and specialises in ridiculously beautiful pieces in perspex and wood. I first became aware of the brand after a tip off from the ever wonderful Fashion For Lunch and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I would genuinely love to own every piece from the collection (and I’m gutted quite a few of the smaller pieces are sold out online) but for moment I’ve had to make do with the double triangle earrings in black glitter and the cluster collar necklace in purple and green.

Cluster Collar Necklace - £48 - Wolf & Moon

Cluster Collar Necklace – £48 – Wolf & Moon

I love the way the deco feel of some pieces is mixed with more contemporary materials creating jewellery that not only looks amazing when worn now but will also still look fabulous in years to come. I’ve been looking for some ‘investment’ pieces after receiving money from my parents for my 30th and I think this crest necklace fits the bill perfectly. Now all I need to decide is whether to get the gold or tortoiseshell version!

Many Happy Returns!

December seems to have flown by and I can’t quite believe we’re only five days away from Christmas! I’ve barely had time to catch my breath over the last few weeks and as well as a fantastic trip to London to see the Meadham Kirchhoff V&A Fashion In Motion show, most of my time has revolved around hitting the big 3-0. Now that I’ve almost recovered from an epic birthday weekend which included a go on a helter skelter (because that’s what grown ups do isn’t it?!), I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous presents I was given.

Rose Necklace by A-England, Leather Purse by Biba at House of Fraser

Rose Necklace by a-england, Leather Purse by Biba at House of Fraser

After blogging about it way back in June, I finally got my hands on an a-england ‘Rose With Thorn’ necklace in rose gold. It’s so beautiful and delicate in real life and definitely a piece I will treasure forever. A grown up birthday also demands a slightly more grown up wallet than my current Liberty Print Hello Kitty one so this Biba leather wallet is perfect!

Babycham gift set and amazing homemade compilation CD!

Babycham gift set and amazing homemade compilation CD!

Once a Manic Street Preachers fan, always a Manic Street Preachers fan so this Babycham gift set from one of my oldest friends (who’s also in the ultracool band Pris) really reminds me of my misspent youth. Coupled with an amazing mix CD (including a cover sleeve feature some of my more dubious outfit choices), this was the perfect nostalgia present.

Scarf - Karen Mabon, Lipsticks - MAC, Perfume - Jo Malone, Owl Necklace - Manchester Art Gallery

Scarf – Karen Mabon, Lipsticks in Lady Danger and Ruby Woo – MAC, Perfume – Jo Malone, Owl Necklace – Manchester Art Gallery

It’s always lovely receiving presents on my ‘a bit too indulgent to justify treating myself to’ wish list so I felt like a very lucky girl this year. I’m a sucker for a good red lippy with MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ being my go to shade (nothing like a strong lip to distract from you looking like death, a trick I employed over the days spent recovering from my birthday!) so I was glad to receive a new one to replace the rapidly running out tube in my handbag. I was also given the slightly darker matte red shade ‘Ruby Woo’ which I always debate buying when the weather turns autumnal but can never decide between it and ‘Russian Red’. I’m glad my sister took the dithering out of my hands and picked this shade on my behalf as it makes me feel very glamorous which is just how you should feel on your birthday!

Another brand I have trouble with is Jo Malone – there’s just too much choice! My friend who really knows her way around the range got me a bottle of the gorgeous smelling ‘Earl Grey & Cucumber’ cologne and my heart leapt at the sight of the little black and white box tied with their distinctive ribbon.

I’m not sure when owls became my thing (although I possibly kicked it off after buying a fantastic Lea Stein Buba Owl Brooch on eBay) but now most birthdays seem to feature them. For my 30th I was given this cute silver owl necklace from the shop at Manchester Art Gallery which matches a ring I have. I love a good art gallery or museum gift shop and my new necklace proves what amazing treasures you can find!

Completing the glam theme is this stunning Karen Mabon silk scarf. Again this is a brand I’ve previously blogged about and I utterly love Karen’s quirky designs. I’ve now got my fingers crossed that the Midnight Feast scarf from her winter collection is waiting for me under the Christmas tree…

The Picture Of Dorian Gray - Pulp The Classics

The Picture Of Dorian Gray – Pulp The Classics

I think it’s fitting that my final gift combines both my love of literature and, er, hot men… Pulp! The Classics is a new imprint which gives classic novels retro looking pulp fiction covers with a twist. Whether you like your Pride And Prejudice with a side order of Colin Firth’s ‘Darcy’ or, like me, the eternal youth of Gosling as Dorian Gray, the eight novels in the collection will not only brighten up any bookshelf but are also guaranteed to raise a smile from fellow commuters during the rush hour slog!

Late Night Vanities

Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery

I do realise I’ve been a shockingly lazy blogger over the last few weeks. I’m blaming a combination of a very busy period at work and weather so chilly that all I want to do when I get home is curl up on the sofa in PJs and a blanket with a stack of magazines. Bliss! When the weather starts turning wintery I have a habit of doing very little but laze on weekends which means on weeknights I try to cram in as much as possible. Whilst late night shopping has long been a feature of our lives, those wanting cultural rather than retail evening pursuits generally only had theatre, film or gigs to choose between. Thankfully several art galleries and museums have noticed this gap in the cultural market and have started offering later opening hours to catch those of us who work all week and don’t fancy facing the crowds at weekends or rush round exhibitions during lunch breaks.

Manchester’s Art Gallery runs a ‘Thursday Lates’ scheme with the gallery staying open until 9pm and giving you the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, explore the exhibits and catch one of the talks or live music performances which are often a feature of the evenings. The Art Gallery is currently exhibiting Grayson Perry’s series of tapestries The Vanity Of Small Differences and I headed there a couple of Thursdays ago to view them.

The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, Grayson Perry, 2011

The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, Grayson Perry, 2011

‘The Vanity Of Small Differences’ comprises of six tapestries which are loosely based on A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth and were inspired by Grayson’s Channel 4 documentary In The Best Possible Taste which focused on class and British life. I’ve been an admirer of Grayson’s work for a long time as I love the way he takes traditional forms of art such as pottery or tapestry and subverts them to offer social commentary. The grotesque humour often found in his pieces juxtaposes brilliantly with their delicate intricacy and to see them up close is visually stunning. The exhibition is part of a wider national tour supported by The Art Fund and I’m so glad I didn’t have to trek to London to see them! The full tour dates are below and I definitely recommend checking them out!

◾ 14 February – 11 May 2014: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
◾ May – August 2014: Walker Art Gallery
◾ 1 August – 1 October 2014: Leeds City Art Gallery

If you’re also a fan of all things Grayson and missed the superb series of Reith Lectures which he gave recently, they can still be found online here.

Deco Delights!

I do love a good statement necklace so when Sarah Angold’s collection for Freedom at Topshop launched a few weeks ago, I knew I had to add one of her Perspex lovelies to my wardrobe!

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop Layered Shape Necklace - £60

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop Layered Shape Necklace – £60

Whilst pieces from her mainline start at around £300, prices for the Topshop limited edition seven piece necklace and earrings collection are £30 – £60! Considering that all of the Freedom at Topshop pieces are still handmade by Sarah and her team in her workshop and come with their own identity number, I think paying a little bit more than perhaps you normally would for Topshop jewellery is justified as these have ‘investment pieces’ written all over them!

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop

I love the nod to art deco which the collection has (and reminds me of the much lusted after Charlotte Olympia Pre Fall 13) and the way the iridescent perspex parts catch the light. The collection is exclusively available at Topshop’s Oxford Circus store as well as through their website and I’m currently online stalking the Line Necklace in the hope that it’ll one day end up in the sale as I’d really love to add another piece to my wardrobe!