Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Hitotoki Paris has launched. The site looks beautiful and Lauren has done such a great job. I couldn't turn down the offer of contributing to something as insanely wonderful as a narrative map, could I. The idea behind Hitotoki (meaning something like "small moment" in Japanese) is (as they say) to collect "short narratives describing pivotal moments of elation, confusion, absurdity, love or grief - or anything in between - inseparably tied to a specific place" - in Paris in this case. My hitotoki is here. Make sure to check out all the others' too - I especially like Cath's and John Greiner's.

Monday, July 28, 2008


...enjoying the few days of summer. British people really know how to enjoy the hot weather - it could be over in a day or a week. No apologies for escaping to the sea at the drop of a hat. The slippers made me feel like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

This picture doesn't really make sense unless you look at it BIG. I'm an incorrigible stalker of geriatrics, did you know that? This lady (in the photo) was so exquisitely made up - sporting perfectly applied red lippy to read her book - that I had to take a photo. I was trying to be subtle - unfortunately her husband was looking right at me (from inside the beach hut - can you see him?) which I only realised after I'd cheekily snapped away. I felt like a paparazzo - it wasn't a good feeling.

There's an ancient lady who goes to my local cafe that I always want to photograph or interview - but she's not a cute grandma type. If you hold the door open for her she'll say; "I'm perfectly capable thank you," so I'm too scared to ask her. She's about ninety - but has always got a vintage Givenchy headscarf on or a Belstaff jacket or some other indicator of erstwhile coolness. I imagine she was some kind of adventuress in her day.

Oh, but she was the best...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


*Not at all demode, hmm?

*Ringwald speaks! I was/am still obsessed with her costumes in Pretty in Pink but I always hated that ugly prom dress - and so did she...I am perplexed on re-watching P.I.P. by the male characters though: Duckie is pathetic, Blane is spineless and Steff (James Spader) is an obnoxious slimy bastard - but I'm strangely attracted to him.

*Real Pretty in Pink trailer / Clever re-cut alternative trailer.

*p.s. Molly if you're reading this (which I'm sure you definitely are): These vintage Ferragamo boots from Dulcinee remind me of the Ralph Lauren ones you regret not keeping from The Breakfast Club. (p.p.s. you should do more press - I've been thinking you were married to AdRock all these years.)

*WikiLOL. Proof that wikipedia really does have the answer to everything.

*I finally watched this film. I'm so shallow that I can't stop thinking about how nice her wide trousers and sandals were.

{Dulcinee photo: Rinze Van Brug}

Monday, July 21, 2008


I hadn't realised how much I missed my inner snark. It got a good work out in the Gridskipper days when it was, if not actually compulsory, actively encouraged. So when I sat down to write this piece for webooks I was unprepared for all the pent up tongue in cheek sarcasm that I would unleash on the world.

Webooks have loads and loads of "How To" type books you can read for free online, download or buy in real physical bookshops. They're factual books that tell you how to do things, unsurprisingly. But now each book has a site to go with it, with articles that vaguely relate to the subject of the books. I of course, chose Going to Live in Paris. You know, I was thinking of a helpful, informative piece for first time visitors; how to negotiate the minefield of Parisian etiquette, just the basics. I have possibly ended up offending/alienating/frightening away any potential visitors - though frankly, if it means one less tourist wearing cargo shorts, socks pulled up to their calves and big dirty trainers spoiling the view I will have done my duty. Read it (and weep) here. Oh, and if you feel like clicking on any of those little buttons underneath the article:, digg, reddit, stumbleupon, technorati etc; that's apparently good and all the hip kids are doing it these days.

(If anyone's thinking; "Hang on a minute, how come she's the resident Paris expert all of a sudden, she hasn't even been there for eight months?" Yeah I know what you mean, I'm planning to rectify that state of affairs asap. Also, see my Paris posts.)

EDIT: Read it here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Thank you Grazia, for causing me to guffaw loudly in WH Smith. At first I thought I also had a prime submission for Photoshop Disasters; but then I noticed the sliver of calf behind that teeny weeny thigh suggesting the lower half of her leg. Subtle. I have often thought that Grazia's covers look like they've been slapped together by a six year old with A.D.D. but I began to think, could something so out of proportion actually be an act of nature; caused by the angle of Kate Moss emerging from a car and thus towards the camera at the launch of her perfume in Berlin a couple of weeks ago? (Judging by the dress.) I'm sure Grazia could've chosen a better picture from the thousands taken at that event - perhaps one that didn't make her look like she has an ENORMOUS, GIANT HEAD, JUMBO SHOULDER PADS and SCARY ENORMOUS BLURRED SAUSAGE FINGERS - all precariously balanced atop weeny little matchstick legs, one of which is amputated at the knee.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I see lavender everywhere...

Cushion - Day Birger Mikkelson (sale)
Travels with butterfly lavender from the market - people think the fragrance wafting around is you.
Dress - Comptoir des Cotonniers (sale again, the prettiest dress of the collection in my size and half price - god bless recession shopping). I laid it out with my K.Jacques sandals as a kind of dream of what I'd wear if it weren't winter in July.
Some blueberries from this "summer's" crop.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I've been turning a blind eye to the sales, but then it occurred to me that there might be some Rika stuff going cheap at Browns Focus. I almost don't dare set foot in an area so densely populated with shops...or do I?...Uh-oh...

Oh wow, she's got a shop in Amsterdam now...


A post I did about Anna Karina is up on now. First watch this -

then go and read it!

(you can turn the music on the site off by clicking mute in the top right hand corner)
{photo/collage by me}

Friday, July 04, 2008


I made good use of my Tate membership today (though I did miss my members' bar crew). Not knowing what was on I found not one, but two exhibitions to get excited about. First up, Cy Twombly - and forgive me for being a total cliche and saying that his Quattro Stagioni paintings are my favourite series of paintings ever to grace a wall.
I can see how some might look at his series of squiggles and pencil scrawls and wonder why they're so lauded. All I can say is that for me, the exact placement, colour and texture of those scrawls, daubs and squiggles sort of get me somewhere visceral with the rightness of those choices. Ferragosto, for instance, just looks like being in the fucking unbearable slowly rotting heat of Rome in August. To me it does anyway.

My petit quibble is that the Quattro Stagioni room in particular, where two versions (Otto Stagioni?) were, had really bad unnatural lighting. I did see a man carrying a reel of cables though, so maybe it was just broken. Room 9, containing the watery paintings from the early '80s in Gaeta also made me swoon.

I was hyper excited about the Street & Studio (An Urban History of Photography) exhibition. What was amazing was to see the very earliest ways that photographers documented life on the street. (You can't exactly take a snapshot of a passerby when you have a two minute exposure time or longer.) Listen to this, from Jacques Henri-Lartigue, about photographing ladies in the Bois de Boulogne when he was a teenager (around 1910):

"She approaches...I'm shy, trembling a little. Twenty meters...ten meters...eight...six...and click! The shutter of my big camera makes so much noise that the lady jumps almost as much as I do. It doesn't matter a bit......all that counts is the pleasure of having a new photo."

Anyone who has ever photographed a stranger in the street will know exactly what poor Jacques was going through - and he did all right in the end didn't he?!

When I got to Contemporary Street and Studio I and II I was perplexed not to see a single representation of street style photography or any mention of that new fangled Internet thing. Let's go with the most obvious suspect: Scott Schuman (who has a gallerist and has been included in other exhibitions). Not one photo. I really, really think that if Juergen Teller's Go-Sees are considered worthy, then at least one of the Sartorialist's shots could have been in. Jeff Wall, Martin Parr - we all know those names and we've all seen that work.

After you exit the exhibition, there on the wall it tells you about the competition for Street or Studio in collaboration with flickr and blurb books. It felt to me as if someone had pointed out the oversight at the last minute and they rectified it by getting them involved as an afterthought. I don't know, I may be completely wrong but it seems the curators really missed a trick there - I only hope that when the blurb book is done, they're planning a massive exhibition and that's why it was left out of this one.

I've entered a couple of photos to the competition - you can read about it here and enter here by adding your submission(s) to the flickr group. Hence the above photo taken by me in June 2006 in the days of my extremely regular (ahem) and prolific (ahem) series This Week In London We Are Mostly Wearing. I stopped taking photos of people in the street because, honestly, when I started doing it people would be really flattered and go, "Who me?" After the whole street style photography thing blew up (oh yes it did Tate Modern, where were you?) people I approached would work out fairly quickly that I was neither an American bloke called Scott nor a Swiss bloke called Yvan (being a British female holding a little point and shoot camera) and would sniffily demand, "Er, like, what's it for?" Ah, the terror. You have to be brave to photograph people.

Which leads me to one more thing in the exhibition! (If anyone's still with me.) I loved the photographs taken by Laurie Anderson in 1973, entitled Fully Automated Nikon. She decided to take photos of men who made sleazy comments to her in the street - almost as a way of exacting revenge on them. The photos are printed with captions underneath telling what they said and how they reacted when she asked to take their photo. She says something like, "I realised that taking someone's picture is a little like attacking them."

{photo taken by me June 2006}

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Books are like buses: you wait ages for one to come along, then two come along at once. (In fact, books are nothing like buses really are they, which I never take anyway.) Books are like buses though, when you put them on various wishlists and always see those joyless words next to them: this title is unavailable. Last week two of my books came up at the same time.

Diana Vreeland - Why Don't You...?
Diana Vreeland's memoir, D.V. is my essential bedside reading and was one of the only things that got me through a serious bout of insomnia last year. Reading her words is soothing and not too taxing, like listening to a particularly well lived great aunt recount the stories of her glory days. Except that the people D.V. mixed with were the icons of the 20th century. The funny thing is that though my copy of D.V. is seriously well thumbed, each time I pick it up and open a page at random it's as if I'm reading it for the first time again. Her mentions of her Why Don't You column are self deprecating, as if she knew it was all a load of nonsense but people liked it.

I had always wanted the book Why Don't You? The Bazaar Years but I had to have the one with the (Alexey Brodovitch) typography cover and it was always going for huge sums of money - it was only published in 2001 so I'm not sure why it was so hard to get hold of. Then finally it popped up new on Amazon marketplace for $16.99. It was supposed to have a remainder mark, whatever that is. I imagined this to be a huge stamp spoiling the fab cover design but there's not a mark I can see.
100 Why Don't Yous are reproduced along with pictures of D.V. relaxing on set (relax? on set?) in various locations, many of them taken by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. There are shots from Bazaar of young model Betty Bacall (yet to become Lauren) and quite a few of D.V's famous "garden in hell" red swathed Park Avenue apartment. For all this it's a little book - I felt I had already seen most of the Why Don't You...? snippets quoted all over the place and you probably have too, so I'll try to share the more obscure ones.

Why Don't You...? Paint every door in a completely white house the colour of a different flower - then give each room its name? ...Remember how delicious champagne cocktails are after tennis or golf? Indifferent champagne can be used for these. ...Wear a blue sapphire thistle in one ear and a ruby thistle in the other? ...Tie black tulle bows on your wrists? (quite like that one!),...Have an elk hide trunk for the back of your car? Hermes of Paris will make this.

{photo of Diana Vreeland by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar 1942.}

The other book I finally got my hands on is a photo book by Sofia Coppola:
SC 2003 (some pictures from this past year). Fellow SC geeks will know that this simple 5x7" pale pink tome containing 15 photographs taken by Sofia Coppola of friends and family and published in Japan is extremely sought after. You can find it if you look hard enough, but usually at a scary price.

I discovered my copy randomly via following a link in a comment on a dead thread from about three years ago. It was a reasonable price, with the usual thing of the shipping being three times the price of the book. Again, as with D.V. I had already seen most of the content on my internet travels but it is so lovely to have some of Sofia's work in a real book and not just on my desktop. I love this one of Kirsten Dunst/beret/pink dessert (my name for it!) which also appeared in the SC Vogue Paris guest edit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


White rabbit sweet wrappers - horrid sweets, superb packaging. Pic of Serge from Vogue Paris...both from my sketch book...