26.7.09

Weird Style Icons....

Sorry to desert you for so long, blog fans (or fan; I'm pretty sure my mother still checks this) but I have been strutting my stuff on the streets of London.
Basically, that means I take the most amazing/expensive clothes that I own and give them their first outing in one of the most stylish cities in the world. A combination of good weather and the tube means that I come home and immediately wash the imaginary grime off the items (I'm a clean freak with a penchant for pale clothing to contrast with my 'rocker chick' jewelry and footwear), but when I step out of the house and pound the pavements of the swankiest neighbourhoods and stroll alongside the punks in Camden, it's worth the slight hassle of not being the type who swans around in Uggs and a hoodie. Fashion is effort. Fashion is pain.
Fashion is...weird. Because as usual with my pilgrimage to London, I went shopping. Just a little bit. Because I hate to say it, but I must. Oxford Street's Topshop is not what it used to be.
But it's still worth the trip there for the FANTASTIC shoe selection on the ground floor. I could have spent hours in there, thoroughly pissing off all the shop assistants while I tried on pair after pair of beautiful, beautiful shoes. But unfortunately, I was in a hurry. I was on a mission. I had to come back from London with a pair of shoes.
And weirdly, I was drawn straight to a pair. Well, two pairs. If only I could walk in one of them.
Aren't those babies beautiful? Maybe later...when it's stopped raining and I get paid...


So I had to settle for the other pair; these cute little boots. Part Peter Pan, part 80s throwback.


As I was trotting around in them, I couldn't help notice that they reminded me of the footwear worn by a certain red-haired 80s child icon in a certain iconic 80s coming-of-age film.
Oh yes. Molly Ringwald, my style icon.
Ever since watching it, I've been trawling vintage shops, and basically all shops, for a pink top just like hers. She made wraparound skirts look almost cool again. (Ok, maybe that's a little too far) Or maybe it's just the way it's all accessorised with that amazing red hair. She may be terribly conceited (or so says that annoying dweeb Brian, who to be honest is just naive) and do weird things with her lipstick, and we probably wouldn't want to know her in real life. But c'mon, she taked a packed SUSHI lunch to school! Not to mention sets the precedent of the princess dating the bad boy that got picked up by my favourite show not so long ago....
John and Claire.....to Chuck and Blair! True, every princess had a white knight, but even Claire and Blair needed a little bit more excitement than they got from a pair of Tiffany earrings....

But then again, the film's stars and their characters' styles demonstrate that the only way you can truly own a look is with the right attitude. Who ELSE could have got away with a brown wraparound skirt and huge flying jacket? (Yes, it was leather, but all I could think of was Biggles.) My next mission will be to attempt the kind of pirate-like scruffy yet fantastically cool outfit as worn by John Bender. I've got the boots. I could role down some red leg-warmers. I could find a checked shirt...I could get an ASBO...Ok, let's not get carried away.
After all, I am quite fond of my black Converse too.....

UPDATE - I now own those beautiful, beautiful black lace-up heels. Now the walking challenge begins....

13.7.09

Fancy Footwork - Summer's Statement Shoes

Another thing caught my eye in the Harvey Nichols sale the other day. Well, many many things caught my eye, but as I perused the rails of Balenciaga and Lanvin, I was drawn, like a magnetic pull, to the shoe section.
Louboutins! Marc Jacobs heels! The occasional Blahnik! Beautiful, beautiful shoes, oh-so tempting and....oh God....oh-so extortionate.

I immediately stopped a beautiful pair of delicate pink Louboutins (as I mentioned in my previous post, see below) that reminded me of Carrie's gorgeous pink Louboutins worn in the final episode of Season 4 of Sex and the City (see left). To hold just a little bit of Bradshaw likeness made me feel strangely connected to that fabulous, chic dreamworld, but I was brought sharply back down to earth with the price tag.
But as I looked over the rows and rows of dainty sandals and killer stilettos, as Carrie Bradshaw says I couldn't help but wonder how these were already in the sale, when the summer, season of silly shoes, had just begun?

That's the trouble with summer, especially British summer - what shoes can you rely on when you can't rely on the weather? But I've branched out into accessories of late, so I've given a little bit of thought to what shoes will tide you through the summer.
Three types of shoes seem essential for the summer - a good pair of sandals, some simple flats, and some summer heels, light enough for day and for night.
And thankfully, the fashion pack have been falling over themselves to provide me with some truly beautiful sandals to recommend!

The fashion extrovert in me is lusting after a pair of knee-high cutout gladiator sandals, as seen from catwalk to celeb there on the left. Topshop's pair have had the most coverage, in black for those who always want to bring a little 'rocker' attitude even to summer attire, and a light brown for those who like to keep conventionally and classically boho-casual. Not my personal style pick - boho was ruined for me by Sienna Miller and it's hard to pull off hippy with vampyric skin and short hair. No, really, you can talk the talk but you can't walk the walk.

So I, personally, would go for the black. I've also seen a pair of amazing sandals from River Island. They're sandals on the foot part, but above the ankle they lace up like boots and have patches of zebra-print fabric. They're fabulous - perfect for the little bit of animal print that seemed so popular in the S/S '09 catwalk shows. And having just browsed the River Island website, there's a brown-and-leopard-print version too.

The basic gladiator is well and truly OUT my friends - yes they're classic, and yes my dark brown leather Zara pair will still be going strong many years from now, but there's nothing like some fabulous footwear to spice up a simple summer dress or simple t-shirt-and-demin-shorts combo.
Aldo appears to have come into their own this summer, taking over the style pages like never before - Beyonce has been spotted in a pair of what look suspiciously like their colourful patent gladiator sandals. They come in either a green and blue or pink and yellow colour base, and are just the ticket to keeping cool and comfortable as well as effortlessly stylish feet in the summer heat. Faith has also got a pair of lace-up 'shanbles' - a cross between shoes and sandals - a word an ex-boyfriend of mine was particularly fond of, in several colours. Fearne Cotton has been seen in the snakeskin pair. Aldo have a snakeskin sandal with a wedge heel as well, and Grazia raved about a delicate snakeskin sandal from Next that looks designer in all but the price tag of under £40.

Aldo have also come into their own as far as heels are concerned, keeping the same colour palette of bold, Louis Vuitton-style shades in patent textures. Primark, as per usual, has come up trumps with some sky-high strappy gladiator heels in hot pink, purple and silver - a steal at £15, and a dead-ringer for a £140 pair from Carvela (now £69 in the sale, according to Kurt Geiger's website - see left). Due to the combination of these factors, however, they're probably hard to track down! It is Primarni, and the big scoops stay around as long as the fashion equivalent of a hot cake. A super-hot, designer-a-like cake. Yum.

If you can't get those, head to New Look, who got the summer off to a fabulous start with an incredible Vuitton 'Spicy' imitation sandal, along with loads of other great designs. And between you and me, it's FAR cheaper to buy a pair of their sandals and some beads and fringing from a haberdasher's - make like Gok Wan and produce your own unique design!
But then again....aren't they just AMAZING? Sigh. One day....

(But if you fancy a break from swanning around in fancy shoes, a basic pair of pumps are essential. Topshop always seem to come up trumps with these for me, but all the shops come up trumps with a variant of their own. Vans and Keds, the tried-and-tested labels, are the investment pump for those who can afford to, and as always, I've turned to my trusty friend Converse for a pair of white lo-rise lace-ups - perfect for dressing down a summer dress or to go from beach to pounding pavements on holiday.)

9.7.09

Ooh La La La, We Love Designer....but can we afford to?

In recent days I have been spending rather too much time with dear old Harvey. Unfortunately, I'm not referring to that delightful old chap Dustin, who no doubt could entertain me for many happy minutes before moving on to the next drooling fan quoting Rain Man at him, I could happily spend hours being entertained by this particular Harvey.
Harvey Nichols, that is.
Oh yes, it's that happy time of year. The time of the SALE! Ah that beautiful word that comes second only to 'bank error in your favour', raspberry pavlova and half-price rooms at the Langham (ah what a weekend that was). And when the big guns have a sale, it's ALWAYS worth shouting about.
Or is it?
Having spent the last few weeks watching Confessions of a Shopaholic back-to-back, I have seen the lure of designer clothing played out in much the same way as it is in Sex and the City, but as we all know from watching Carrie meet her credit limit time and time again seemingly without meeting any real consequences (ok, she faces losing her house, but her friends bail her out; she apparently used to buy Vogue instead of dinner, which explains why Carrie looks so emaciated). And with the news that Patricia Field, SATC stylist and champion of all things designer, insisting she won't be a part of the second film if the 'credit crunch' theme goes ahead and the fab four have to (OMG) downgrade a little, it would appear that the iconic show faces as tough a decision as Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions - style or security?
But I can understand, having experienced the glorious, polished and sleek world inside the doors of Harvey Nichols, why it would be such a tough choice. Designer clothing is a combination of beauty, art, extravagance and danger. And it makes for a fabulous combustion.
I casually looked at the label for an Alexander McQueen scarf. Nearly £400. I let go. I looked at the soles of a beautiful pair of pink Christian Louboutin sandals. £300, in the sale. A 50% off sale, no less.
What IS this madness, many of you cry. As my boyfriend said, 'I could buy a Wii for that!' Yes, indeed you could.
But as I finally got my hands on my beautiful Marc Jacobs bag (ah I do love sales - isn't it a beaut?) I finally understand the lure of the designer clobber. Apart from the beauty and craftsmanship put into the work, when I first slung that bag over my shoulder, I felt it instantly perk up my whole image. As experienced by Becky Bloomwood, the designer item elevates your whole outfit, persona, psyche. Walking into every other shop with a HN bag on my shoulder made me stand just a little bit taller, not just because of what it meant to me to finally be able to get my hands on a label like that, but for what it means to other people (oh yes, we really ARE all that shallow somewhere along the line).
And as every good fashionista knows, it's the fusion of the Primark with the Prada that makes the outfit work; that says 'I have money but I know what's worth spending on', or 'I know what's classic and I can keep it real too'.
Let's hope, like Becky's green scarf, it will be an investment.
Just one teeny, tiny investment. That's what money's all about isn't it?
Let's hope, just like Becky's Gucci bag, mine will be worth every penny.
Smile love, it was 50% off!