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…
Spring has well and truly sprung and whilst the glorious weather makes me think of holidays, all of my allowance this year seems to be taken up by attending weddings (although it has meant I have a legitimate excuse to visit New York in October – outfit planning started before the flights were even booked!). At the start of April I headed up to Glasgow for my cousin’s wedding and my four day mini break not only gave me the chance to finally tour the stunning Mackintosh designed Glasgow School Of Art building but also gave me an excuse to wear my amazing Luella prom dress from the SS09 collection.
I’m a massive fan of Luella Bartley and her now defunct ‘Luella’ label (I’m still in mourning!) and this prom dress was yet another eBay find at just a fraction of what it originally cost. I’ve previously documented my love affair with eBay and regular readers may recognise the Miu Miu heels featured in this outfit as another eBay find (after several years of stalking!).
Along with Luella Bartley, Miuccia Prada is another designer whose genius I can’t get enough of (it’s just a shame my bank balance rather restricts me!). I fell in lust with these heels at first sight and of all the pairs I own, they’re definitely my favourite. The deco detailing on the heels echoed the venue for the wedding reception, House For An Art Lover (yet another Mackintosh designed treasure) and despite the ridiculous height of the heel, they’re surprisingly comfortable and I managed to survive a particularly fast Gay Gordons without toppling over!
Apart from fashion, another great love of mine is literature so anything that combines the two is a bonus! I stumbled across P.S. Besitos’s range of book clutches whilst browsing Etsy and after much deliberation as to which title to buy, I plumped for ‘Dracula’. Unlike quite a few book clutches I’ve seen, the ones from P.S. Besitos aren’t made from real books (I’m not sure fashion ever justifies destroying a book!) and instead the covers are printed on cotton which is not only much more book-friendly but also means that Jessica, the woman behind the brand, can create custom orders if you have a favourite title (keep an eye out on her Facebook and Twitter for more details). The clutch itself is roomy enough for everything you need for a wedding (camera, phone, money, make-up, confetti…) and certainly provides a talking point!
To reflect the colours found in my shoes, I painted my nails in Barry M black with gold glitter tips which also helped to strengthen the tips and keep them chip free all day!
I absolutely love, love, LOVE this outfit and am already wondering if it’d be impolite to wear it to all the upcoming weddings I’m attending. If it ain’t broke etc…
I’m not sure if it’s a rebellion against the dullness of January but I can’t seem to get enough of pastels at the moment (I’m also partly blaming Miu Miu’s S/S 14 campaign…). I picked up this turquoise (or ‘petrol’ as the website called it) leather pencil skirt and fluffy knit jumper from Topshop back in October and have been wearing them to death ever since! I always find Topshop very inconsistent when it comes to sizing, which is a shame as they had some really brilliant pieces for A/W 13, so I almost never tried on the skirt as I assumed, like previous Topshop pencil skirts I’d tried, that it would fit very oddly. Reader, it fitted like a glove (or at least a glove that gives you enough movement to walk and sit down in) and I’ve since bought an identical one in black.
I’ve teamed the skirt and jumper with my trusty Dune brogues, Essie nail polish in Parka Perfect and my Katie Mullally peg necklace. I love this necklace as it’s so unusual and it always picks up compliments whenever I wear it! I’m busy debating whether to invest in some New Balance trainers at the moment (another fashion ‘trend’ I was rockin’ at least 10 years ago along with dip dyed/ pink hair) and I think this pair from ASOS would go perfectly.
It’s that time of year again when Elle, Vogue, et al weigh about the same as a average house brick – yes folks, the September Issues are upon us! Now as well as being full of page upon page of lust worthy objects I can never afford (basically the whole of Charlotte Olympia, Miu Miu and Orla Kiely A/W 13), they also offer a heads up of the trends which, if we’re good little fashion bunnies, we’ll be following for A/W 2013. Now it’s true that very little is ever completely ‘new’ in fashion (as demonstrated by most of my ’90s teenage wardrobe being back in fashion…) but for the last few years all of the A/W trend reports seem to have banged on about the Hitchcock Heroine being the look of ‘de saison’ (ooh la la!).
As much as I’m a fan of Hitchcock’s stylish leading ladies, the ‘Hitchcock Heroine’ when it comes to A/W trends seems to be lazy fashion journalism for ‘there’s pencil skirts, knitwear and TWEED!’. I have absolutely no issues at all with pencil skirts, knitwear, tweed or any combination thereof (as my wardrobe will attest) but rather than channelling their essence, by reducing Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak et al to the status of a capsule wardrobe it only serves to dilute the complex performances that these actresses give.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take style cues from fictional heroines (I’m guilty of it myself – *cough* Suzy Bishop in Moonrise Kingdom) but if you do want to add a bit of Hitchcockian glamour to your look without straying into the realms of fancy dress then this silk scarf from Red Brick is just the ticket.
I’ve only recently stumbled across Red Brick’s amazing range of scarves and jewellery, all of which are designed and hand-drawn by Royal College of Art graduate Karen Mabon, and at prices starting at only £10, I’m trying my hardest to resist buying everything on the site!
As the contents of my wardrobe and book shelves will attest, I have something of a love affair with charity shops. The hunt for a bargain and the thrill of discovering buried treasure amongst the tat is hard to beat although since the explosion in ‘vintage’ fashion emporiums, unless you’re prepared to trek to some far flung towns (I’ve always found Yorkshire east coast seaside towns the best) it’s become difficult to regularly strike gold. Plus, if you’re looking for something specific then charity shops aren’t always the best route (or generally open at 3am in the morning when you decide after a few drinks that you simply *must* own cocktail glasses covered in pink flamingos for example. Drunk eBay purchases are probably a whole different post actually…). Thankfully, since 1995 (which means it turns 18 this year) eBay has been filling all your drunk/ difficult to find purchasing needs!
Although I will confess to not being a hardcore eBayer (I really should start selling as well as buying on it but I find things hard to part with on the basis that I might suddenly need one of the million vintage scarfs/ bags/ necklaces I’ve amassed over the years) I have found myself using it more and more now that the thrill of charity shop treasure is a mere distant memory. So, as a way to celebrate its 18th birthday I thought I’d share some of my favourite finds.
eBay Treasure Exhibit A – The One That Got Away:
We’ve all been there – you see something in a magazine and try to track it down but it either sells out before you can find it or when you do, it’s out of your meagre student budget. This is the story of this dress. I saw, I hunted, I failed. Or I almost failed. Because, dear reader, I not only found it but I found it IN MY SIZE and IN THE SALE. But of course that would be too easy and for some unknown reason (possibly panicked madness as it was nearly closing time) I DIDN’T BUY MY DREAM DRESS – the dress that I then spent 8 years trying to track down. 8 years of trawling charity shops, stalking ebay and buying dresses like this which although lovely still isn’t *the* dress. Whilst some people use ebay to find the most amazing vintage pieces (I just never seem to have the luck with ebay and vintage – where are all these 50p chiffon treasures which people eulogise about?!?), I use it to stalk my lost loves. So after 8 years and pretty much giving up I finally found it last week. For £2!!! And it looks as fantastic as I remember it looking and fits so well I may actually have done a little dance when I tried it on (I always have eBay fear when buying clothes I can’t return which is probably why I tend to just buy brands I tend to know my size in. I’m not sure I could take the emotional distress of finding something amazing and it not fitting…). It just proves that occasionally patience pays off and that if you see something, love it and can afford it, buy it!
eBay Treasure Exhibit B – The Cheer Yourself Up Purchase
I’ve a bit of a love for owls. I’m not sure when it became my ‘thing’ but before the mass of woodland creatures found their way on to clothing last A/W thanks to Burberry Prorsum I had a lot of owls, including the delightful little Lea Stein brooch above. This is a classic eBay ‘stumble across’ purchase (I was probably searching for ‘Owl Brooches’ trying to track down a Topshop copy of this which I didn’t realise was a copy at the time) and was bought as a way of cheering myself up after narrowly missing out on getting a job I really wanted. With hindsight I’ve probably had more joy from the brooch than I would have had from the job!
eBay Treasure Exhibit C – The Nostalgia Purchase
Thanks to a Scottish mother and a granny called Maisie, I grew up reading Aileen Paterson’s ‘Maisie’ books about a feisty Edinburgh-based Scottish kitten (obviously). The illustrations (also done by Aileen) of Maisie and her adventures were beautifully drawn and whilst searching for some copies of my childhood favourites for my best friend’s little daughter, I found this sweet little brooch of one of the characters from the books for sale. Handmade by Aileen herself and dating back to the 1970s it’s a beautiful and nostalgic addition to my wardrobe which reminds me of happy childhood days.
ebay Treasure Exhibit D – The Oh God That’s Rather A Lot Of Money But They’re My Dream Shoes Purchase
Most of my eBay purchases and bids are for small amounts but for these Miu Miu Deco Patent platform heels I slightly broke the bank (but they were considerably less than they’d originally retailed for). From their AW07 collection, I’d lusted after them for years but couldn’t afford then on my student budget. Once I had a proper job and slightly more money for lust purchases I began hunting for them in earnest. I finally tracked down a pair to an ebay seller in the US and after a lot of research to check they were genuine I took the plunge and purchased. Up until that point they were not only the most I’d ever spent on eBay but also the most I’d ever spent on shoes so I was a bit nervous but they’re honestly ridiculously comfy to wear (or at least as comfy as heels that high can be – I’m still convinced I’m going to take a tumble and break my ankle one of these days) and once you see and hold them in real life you can understand why they cost so much to begin with as the craftsmanship is amazing. I never understood when people said an item ‘felt’ expensive before I got these and I love, love, love how they make me feel when I wear them!
So that’s a brief history of my eBay purchases over the years but I’m sure there’ll be many more to come! In celebration of their 18th birthday, eBay have been putting together an ‘eBay Stories’ campaign and Sophie Ellie Bextor (owner of possibly the best legs in pop) has put together a video of some of her favourite eBay buys!