Saturday, January 29, 2011


Green tea and chocolate cake in Primrose Hill, with my nails demonstrating the best use of stationery supplies ever invented. (I used this tutorial.)

Left: If this wallpaper could talk and right: the lovely Justin Townes Earle, whose Tennessee tuxedo and myriad charms at the Liberty/Nudie jeans event now has my friend and I trading Twitter gleaned info as if we know him. "Oh, Justin said he's moving to London now. Yeah, I know." I believe this is known as false intimacy.

p.s. Make this soup!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Put roses in every room, and next to your bed, where you can look at them all the time. Eat cake, not necessarily from a teeny plate with an enormous fork - also custard doughnuts. (Couldn't bring myself to post doughnut porn here.) Spend more time at your local historic ballroom, dancing with people you vaguely recognise from walking past them in the street or waiting for the train on the same platform.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I always liked this song and this band, throughout all its various changes in name and line-up. I mentioned them here back in 2007, and this is what they're up to now. Yes, I have stood in many a sticky floored bar singing along raucously. But this, I assure you, is not a me bigging up my mates post. No one asked me to, but I love how they've done this video and the sentiment of the song (pretty easy to deduce) is exactly right for today.

Friday, January 21, 2011


      {Sleek and Pure}

Jil Sander Archive. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've been meaning to write more about the 1978 book The Fashion Makers for ages. I posted last year about its profile on Elsa Peretti, after I scored the book for 72 cents or something ridiculous. As you can see from the water damage on the cover scan, some idiot has obviously left the book out in the rain overnight (that was me). The book was actually in very good condition when I received it.

Written by Bernadine Morris, with photographs by Barbra Walz, the book offers "an inside look at America's leading designers" (in 1978). Of the 50 designers profiled, I knew the names of only 20 (and Cathy Hardwick's name I only knew as the woman who introduced Tom Ford to his partner Richard Buckley.) I wonder which of the current crop of leading American designers will be around or well remembered in 35 years. In a similar future scenario will some blogger or equivalent thereof be struggling to spell Schhhh-ooulerrr correctly and be baffled by Rodarte?

I find it fascinating to look at how the designers are portrayed - many of the male designers such as John Anthony, James Galanos, Charles James, Mr. John, Kenneth Jay Lane and Bob Mackie look as camp as Christmas - delighting in exaggerated bitchy queen poses - in what is still the general outside perception of male fashion designers I suppose; but they make the DSquared twins look rugged in comparison. Calvin Klein looks uncannily like Marc Jacobs does now. Pauline Trigere looks exactly like my grandmother but I can't illustrate that just at the moment. Apart from the fierce and beautiful Elsa Peretti, I love the profile and photographs of a young, just divorced Diane von Furstenberg who "had enough confidence to drop the "Princess" in front of her name. She had progressed enough to go it alone."(Pretty lucky she didn't need the title anymore, since in re-marrying she lost the right to use it.)

She is presented as the ultimate modern, liberated woman. The other really striking profile is of Mary McFadden, who reminds me of Edith Sitwell and Julie Verhoeven reminds me of her (but not of Edith). Most of the women profiled are at least a decade older than women we would currently consider leading American designers. There is no one fresh out of Parsons, or even in their twenties. Edith Head, the legendary costume designer is included at the age of 81 - near the end of her career and life. Edit: I just realised that the women look old because they look their age - they don't have the ageless botox thing. It's also interesting that Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, (both R.I.P.) Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and D.V.F - all of whom continued to be household names - projected exactly the same image we know them for back then.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy this book for its time capsule qualities - but mostly for the very engaging photography by Barbra Walz. It's informal and personal, capturing the mood of the late seventies as well.  Walz died of breast cancer sadly, in 1990, at the age of 39 and Bernadine Morris was the senior fashion writer for the New York Times for three decades.

{my scans from The Fashion Makers,  photos by Barbra Walz. 1. 2. front and back covers, 2. Calvin Klein, 3.  Diane von Furstenberg, 4. Mary McFadden}

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I've got some kind of internet malaise this week, hence the quietness here. My daily internet meanderings are usually inspirational, but recently the amount of information I take in on a daily basis has become more draining than anything, which is no one's fault but my own. I'm struggling to keep up with all the things I must read - but what would happen if I didn't? Not much probably. So I've been limiting my internet time, sticking with reading a fairly tedious and very long book, drinking lots of tea, writing stuff down in a journal and turning this new year round and round, trying to get a feel for what might be good to do with it.
 p.s. here's a pic of Lola's favourite Christmas present.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011



{Prism watch and ring from Unearthen - via Anywho}

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Over Christmas my dad started telling me this story about my grandmother's Wedgwood teapot. (Stay with me.) My granny had this set of Wedgwood china that was for every day use - it contained everything from eggcups to cake plates to butter dishes, gravy boats and toast racks - all in the Summer Sky design, which is light blue with a white border. I think she bought it in the late 1950s. Anyway, one day after years of use, disaster struck and the teapot was broken. So my granny wrote to Wedgwood asking if there was any way they could replace the teapot, as she knew the Summer Sky line had been discontinued. She received a very polite letter from the secretary of the managing director saying unfortunately there was nothing they could do as there was no leftover stock. My granny was left without the most important part of her tea set...

A couple of weeks later my granny received another letter from the managing director's secretary saying that she had been walking through the factory and had happened to notice the factory workers on their tea break (imagine - a tea break!) who were using a teapot exactly as my granny had described. She went on to say that the workers had now been given a different teapot to use, and they were in the process of cleaning and polishing the other one, which would be sent to her. A week later the teapot arrived in a box. There was no invoice with it so my granny rang up to ask what she owed them and they said, oh no, we couldn't charge you for it, it's been used.

The most amazing thing about this (that my dad didn't know or forgot) is that my granny's Summer Sky tableware is what I use every day - I've been using that teapot for years and I didn't even know the story. The odd piece of Summer Sky does occasionally get broken but I've always been able to replace it by searching online. (I once had to tell a very sweet old lady from Florida that the Wedgwood Summer Sky cigarette box her husband brought back from the U.K. after his stint as a G.I. in WWII, that they were now selling online, was in fact a butter dish. They'd been keeping their cigs in it all those years!)

The lid of my/my granny's teapot got broken a couple of years ago and I haven't found a replacement yet - it's glued back together but not very well. I don't think an attempt to contact Wedgwood would produce quite the same results these days - especially as Wedgwood went into administration in 2009 and was bought out by a U.S. equity group who moved the workforce to China. No, I won't even try. To me, this story simply serves as a charming reminder of a lost world.

{I cannot download any pictures from my camera, so here's some Summer Sky in action. You can see the teapot on the shelf in the last photo...And now if you'll excuse me I am going to throw my camera out of the window.}

Thursday, January 06, 2011


*I am going to write this entire post without using the words girlcrush, It girl or power couple

I've always loved this photo taken on a Paris rooftop, which must be one of the most re-blogged and tumblr-ized photos out there, but I did not know until just now that it's actually Binki in the picture.

Of course! I must confess to developing a certain...admiration for Miss Binki Shapiro. It's not surprising she's being labelled...Look at her in this picture below - she looks like an exact hybrid of Clemence Poesy and Chloe Sevigny.

Yeah, she's friends with Alexa Chung, Michael Cera, Devendra Banhart and Beck; her DJing and tattooing skills are in high demand, she's the girlfriend of Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes and is his bandmate in Little Joy - she should be totally pointless and annoying like Peaches Geldof! But here's why she's not: She can play (and here is where I tried to look up which instruments Binki plays and came up with) "a zillion" different instruments, has a beautiful singing voice as one third of Little Joy, raised $50,000 for the Haitian relief effort, has a low key natural style mixing vintage and Isabel Marant/Philip Lim; Scott Sternberg of Boy - Band of Outsiders made her tour wardrobe and, according to Refinery 29, she scored an ever better antique rug deal than I did recently. And if you had friends that were called Binki and Fab, wouldn't you expect a perfectly mixed martini upon arrival at their place? 

{photos: 1, unknown, 2, Lauren Dukoff, 3, Kava Gorna/Refinery 29}

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


People tell me I'm difficult to buy gifts for. Apparently I have extremely particular taste that no one can ever pin down and I'm an aesthetically sensitive flower. Sue me. Anyway, it is generally considered sensible by those who must give me a gift at Christmas to just silently pass me some cash in an unmarked brown envelope. In the past few years this has ended up going towards my tax bill or buildings insurance or something equally thrilling; but this year I made sure I actually did buy some things I needed, er wanted, having all but banished consumerism from my life during 2010. Actually it was just an excuse for me to buy myself a bunch of things during December.

This rug has survived over eighty years of use, has traversed at least three continents and has recently been the subject of a frantic ebay bidding war. But until it met my living room floor, it had not been up against...Lola's claws. I thought I'd better take a picture of it before she destroys it completely. I will make her wear dainty little booties if it comes to it. This rug is the first thing I have ever bought on ebay. I sold things, of course, but I think I always knew bidding would be a slippery slope. One minute I was nonchalantly browsing antique rugs, the next I found myself staying up until 2 am so I could swoop in like a seasoned pro and outbid everyone at the last minute. Antique rug addiction firmly established. And it was a STEAL, even taking into account shipping from the U.S., import tax etc. I felt sure it wouldn't turn up, wouldn't be as described, would smell of camels(?!), would be infested with something - but no, it arrived in four days, it's clean, it's perfect (though anything vintage that comes into this house goes into moth quarantine - two days in a sealed box with moth killing strips - just in case.) I love it.

Anabela had three of these There Is Thunder In Our Hearts totes left when I ordered one. She sent it in a beautiful package with an extra surprise and a lovely note, which is about the best way you could ever hope to receive a tote bag in the mail. It's great and sturdy and gave me an odd feeling when I walked into a shop carrying it and Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill immediately came on the sound system.

Downstairs at Merci in Paris they have all these cool lights that look like the sort of thing you'd find in an old local independent hardware store, when independent local hardware stores still existed. I kept going back to look at this Muuto E27 pendant light and ended up making a detour to buy it on my way to the Gare du Nord and my train back to London. I probably could have got it in London but they had the colour I wanted, so I got it. It's basically an enormous lightbulb with a 4 meter long dark grey cord. I'll show you when I've coerced someone into helping me suspend it above my dining table.

The next best thing to an independent hardware store is the bricolage department in the basement of B.H.V. (or bayachevaye). It's all hardware, all the time down there. There's a bit where they sell all the proper signs that you see in restaurants and public places telling you not to enter or smoke or whatever (in French! obviously), and those blue and white enamel house numbers. It's my favourite place to buy gifts. I bought myself an enamel Privé sign as well, for vhen I vant to be alone. ( And it kind of reminds me of Coco Chanel's Mademoiselle Privé sign).

Uniqlo heattech jeans: These are the jeans I normally wear (skinny straight) but they're like, thermal! The only thing that could improve them would be a bit of stretch - other than that they're literally a dream come true for my once frozen legs.

Anna Sheffield rose gold studs - half price in the Liberty sale!

Sometimes we all judge a book by its cover, and why shouldn't you when faced with these achingly beautiful new covers of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin Classics. I got the Flappers and Philosophers collection of stories, some of which I've read before, some I haven't. I've also always loved the journals they sell at Astier de Villatte but they're so expensive I'd feel nervous about whether what I was writing in them was worthy enough. Luckily I found a gorgeous one on sale at Fenwick's for £6 (on right). I've been having fun writing hopes and plans for 2011 in it.