Sunday, August 31, 2008


I haven't been excited about buying anything from Whistles since about 1994. They used to actually have some cool stuff - they were one of the few London stockists of Martine Sitbon back in the day for example. I'm sure everyone KNOWS all this, hence the title of this post; but at some point Whistles blanded out into Karen Millen territory and I hadn't set foot in there for ages, until a few months ago when the changes brought in by Jane Shepherdson started trickling in. The shops were freshened up and recently the Whistles section in Selfridges, previously an easy to bypass area was moved to prime position and yes, every magazine started harping on about it to coincide with the winter collection, designed by our heroine Jane hitting the stores.

I was drawn in by this coat in the window and proceeded to ooh and aah over a variety of blouses. I bought this one, which is exactly what I've been looking for to go with a flick of eyeliner, black mannish APC trousers and in my imagination fiercely clompy heels, in reality, probably flats because I'm lazy. The detail on it is amazing - and almost identical to that on an antique silk nightshirt I have from Florence that's so old and delicate it rips every time I wear it.

When I was in Selfridges, the music belting out was MIA snarling Where Were You in '92? Ha! I'm really chuffed that the decade is enjoying such a renaissance. I had a veeerryy good time in the nineties, being in my teens and early twenties and totally immersed in fashion - but more importantly I had REALLY GOOD CLOTHES. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for my health I'm no longer a size zero - I think even my bones have grown bigger since then - cue much puzzled holding up of circa 1992 Helen Storey and Katharine Hamnett jeans/trousers I used to wear and struggling to fit forearm in leg opening.

I've been sort of tempted to do a mega nineties post but I think once I unleash it, I won't stop at one. Oh the days when Helmut Lang and Jil Sander owned their own names and Prada took over the world; you could tell models apart and still remember their names now they're popping up again: Tasha Tilberg, Guinevere van Seenus, Kirsten Owen. Venetia Scott's styling...

But as Diana Vreeland would say, if you think the past was better than today you might as well give up now. I think Karl Lagerfeld has said that too. (If you think that he will have you removed because you are demode.) Though it's funny to see a younger generation who were little kids in the nineties appropriating that era when it doesn't seem that long ago to me (pass the zimmer frame).

Ah, now Lula. Again, on everyone's lips. The first issue of Lula came out around the time I started this blog. I was in Paris and literally devoured it - it made me ache for London. I was so naive to the ways of blogging that I didn't dare scan any of that issue, then for a couple of issues I scanned away merrily, thinking well, everyone does it, then decided NO! Lula is a magazine that must be bought and it won't be around for long if the contents of every issue are beamed around the world for free.

But this time something funny happened. Two of the editorials and the 2 covers made their way around the internet before it was released. Did Lula leak them? Not a bad idea since there is so much more in the issue besides, that it's still worth buying. Not that they need any help but it's like a siren call saying it's here, go and buy it. Buy it I did and flipped through with a glass of red at a zinc topped table in Soho it was almost like reading the first one in Paris again.

Cover with Ali Michael: Photographer: Yelena Yemchuk, Stylist: Leith Clark
My favourite page: Photographer: Laura Sciacovelli, Stylist: Elisa Nalin
Subscribe to Lula here (click Keep Me)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


As you've probably noticed, I usually write about deeply superficial things here. But since I am extremely accident prone and also have an immune system that's as much use as a chocolate teapot I do sometimes regale you with stories of broken bones, phlegm and the like. I try to restrain myself - and if you knew how often I was actually ill when you thought I was just taking an impromptu blog break you'd, well, you'd probably fedex me some echinacea because you're nice like that.

I can pinpoint the exact origin of my current cold: till number 3 in the haberdashery department of John Lewis, Oxford Street last Friday. Cashier No.3 was holding a full, damp tissue to her streaming nose which she then cast aside to handle (with her snotty hands) my debit card, the spools of thread I was buying, the paper bag she then put them in and the receipt, before sniffling a thank you and clutching the tissue again. I tried not to touch anything she'd spread germs on, which was clearly impossible. As a result I (and how many others I don't know) now have my own snotty tissues lying all over the place.

I'm going to take a blog break until Sunday...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I took this photo a long time ago on film. Film was lovely.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I become so engrossed in whichever book I'm reading that it begins to seep into my life. Maybe I should read a book where the main character never procrastinates, isn't lazy, drinks only herbal tea and exercises five times a week. I would never bond with that character though.

At the moment I'm reading Tender Is The Night. Between that and my usual bedtime reading of D.V. my imagination keeps running away to the 1920s. The main characters, Dick and Nicole Diver are based on Gerald and Sara Murphy, friends of Fitzgerald (and Picasso, Hemingway, Dorothy Parker etc etc). Weirdly, I had tried and failed to read Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill, the biography of the Murphys which has the largest number of glowing reviews on Amazon I've ever seen. I couldn't get into it and gave it away, but I now realise that was because I hadn't read Tender Is The Night.

In the novel they are painted as fairly frivolous types - although I'm only half way through I feel the portrayal of them contains more than a touch of envy. The Murphys helped the artists they were friends with and apparently invented the French Riviera as a fashionable place to go - convincing the Hotel du Cap to stay open during the summer months. You might think that they were just rich jetsetters, there for the party and the talent that rubbed off from their famous artist friends. But there is so much more to their story - which is where Living Well Is The Best Revenge comes in. Yet another book, written by Calvin Tomkins, it shows the Murphys as crucial to the American expat scene of the 1920s - 30s in both the south of France and Paris. Far from being leeches, they were the core of it. Their way of life seems to have been their art. It also shows that those with apparently perfect, charmed lives are not immune to tragedy. I have a suspicion that anyone brought up in the US who has any interest in art or literature would know all about the Murphys already; but I can't wait to finish Tender Is The Night and start reading this book.

I don't know about revenge, but living well (and that particular era) interests me very much. I feel the thread of it from my grandparents and from older friends of my parents: a G & T before going out, holding doors open, dressing for dinner, that kind of thing. Coincidentally my friend/neighbour and I have been talking about instigating a regular cocktail hour around here (note to self: buy Noilly Prat - also known as Oily Prat). Also, the wearing of lipstick/heels for no particular reason is on the agenda. I'm sure everyone will think we're a bit mad - and I'm not saying that a bit of lipstick and a few martinis makes us experts on the art of living well. But it's funny that the book uses that word revenge. Is revenge a response to envy? My response to envy at living well is closer to disappointment and mostly incomprehension. I suppose it goes back to things I've posted about before - like this. All you can really do is let others live their lives as they do (The Murphys were known to live wonderfully on less money than the Fitzgeralds who lived badly on a fortune) and get on with living/creating yours.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I had got it into my little head that all I need to buy to update my wardrobe for winter is a tuxedo jacket; the specific design of which is etched upon my brain so indelibly but is so unlikely to exist in reality, that I'm going to actually design and have it made - and the Balmain fringed ankle boots. You know what they say, "If it's good enough for Emmanuelle Alt..." They do say that don't they? I forgot all about this until recently when I tried to get on the waiting list at Net-A-Porter for said boots. Full. How pathetic? Trying to get on a waiting list for shoes and failing I mean. The whole idea of a waiting list for anything except a life saving operation puts me off but I do really like these boots. I was all into the justification of buying them (Possibility of resembling ice cool French fashion editor! Leg lengthening! Wear with dresses! Skirts! Jeans!) when I realised they're going to be £725. Seven hundred and twenty five British pounds. I'm all for buying quality things not very often, rather than cheap things often but they are rather seasonal aren't they? And scrambling after "It" items is more than a tad passe...

p.s. I'm sad that Mayle is the latest label to close and I never even bought a piece, despite loving the collection from back when it was called Phare. (Note that Jane Mayle says it's not due to bad sales or debt like the other labels that have sunk recently.)

Friday, August 15, 2008


I have still not bonded with this machine despite spending every waking moment transferring stuff onto it. When I was reading a book last night I kept hallucinating a cursor key on the page. Here are some links from the past few weeks to keep you entertained while I go and rest my eyes in the real world. Bon Weekend!

* Pierre Herme does international delivery. Why was I not aware of this?

* I had heard rumours about Rachel Zoe and now I'm convinced they're true. Watch it. She's like, really nice. *Edit* I just realised that sounded like I was being sarcastic - I wasn't!
[via Fashionologie]

* I do not believe a word of this. They planted that salad on that fake Parisian. I will investigate further when I go next month.

* You mean non shoebox sized apartments in Paris exist? With panoramic views of the city? I've obviously been mixing with the wrong crowd. You probably already have but if not, go and flip though the entire book, which features the abodes of Paris fashion and art's finest here. Rue Jacob is my fave. [via July Stars]

[images from Taschen New Paris Interiors]

Thursday, August 14, 2008


My old, old, old laptop died - it was really past its time. I kept it on life support for years but the error messages became too alarming and the harddrive the size of a clutch bag was full. And now here I am in the shiny world of Mac; which is supposed to be sooo easy and cool and all that. The trouble is I haven't quite worked out how to do anything yet - it's a little like I've been speaking Flemish all these years and now I'm supposed to speak Dutch. The Mac, it scares me. It's all laid back and "chillax man, I'll import all your photos, just drag em - see easy, no Macs don't crash." No they just "quit unexpectedly" every time you try it then jumble your 10,000 photos up so you have to go back and import each of your hundreds of folders individually. Oh I'm sure there's a way, I just don't know it - a Genius (Mac speak for a techie person who wears a t shirt and tells you how to switch your computer on) will tell me at my next retards class. Am I breaking the Mac code of conduct? You're not supposed to complain about Macs are you, they're so pretty.

EDIT* One week later: I think I'm falling in love with it.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Q: Is it possible that I've been wearing APC's clothes for so many years that the very fibres of my Madras dresses and new standard jeans have embedded themselves in my psyche and by harnessing the untapped power of my brain have clairvoyantly communicated with the mothership?

New APC winter 08/09 boots 

random boots I was inexplicably drawn to buy at a random shop whose name I don't remember last February.

A: Probably not, but my boots were approximately 300 euros cheaper and I had them first so I feel smug. Only a tiny bit.

*Thank you so much for your wishes and cake recs. Carrot cake is my favourite too. I am completely intrigued by green tea tiramisu at Saki, which sounds disgusting but I must try it since two of you said you loved it. Tagline wise, I am still undecided - shall ponder over cake.

Friday, August 01, 2008


...Because today we celebrate three years of Lola Is Beauty!

**fireworks, party streamers, smattering of polite applause**

To mark the occasion we're going to have a little competition. See that tag line up there? You may not have even noticed it. It says, "If I could train her to make me a cup of tea every morning I'd swear off humans forever." Now, that is one long tag line I'm sure you'll agree - and frankly, whenever I happen to glance at it I'm reminded of the fact that Lola (who is a cat in case you hadn't realised) is never going to tap me gently on the shoulder at 8am and pass me a steaming cup of PG Tips with just the right amount of soya milk. Also, I seem to be generally less wary of humans than I was three years ago.

So the tag line is moribund, useless, time for a change, eh? I don't even know if I need a tag line but if anyone comes up with a catchy one that I like I will use it. And I might even throw in a signed photo of Lola.

Lola has specifically requested that all you lurkers out there, including friends and family who think I don't know they read this blog regularly and never comment (I can seeee yoooouuuu) join in.

It is her wish.

If you don't want to think up a tag line, then tell us what your favourite cake is (as if we need encouragement). I hope I don't get confused and end up with Battenberg Slice for a tag line.

No pressure! Come on, we don't bite (well I don't).

{top image: Paolo Roversi, bottom image: me using this thing via her}