Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm always aware that I mention things here that I'm going to do and then I get busy and - poof, they're gone, never to be spoken of again. So this post is a collection of such things; call it a rainy day clear out before moving on (and feel free to not bother reading it)...

* The tagline: You see, it's not there anymore. I still can't decide, I need more cake and pondering time. But don't worry the old one is stored away safely.

*Bed re-upholstery: The Josef Frank fabric I wanted is £100 per meter and I need about five meters. Then I went and bought a half derelict building which needs complete renovation so the bed and all other home projects have to wait. Forever probably.

*The cool old lady in the cafe: After I mentioned her and people encouraged me to speak to her I did.not.see.her for over a month. I was convinced she'd died after asking around and no one had seen her either. How's that for a lesson on seizing the day? It turns out she is not dead. She must have spent August at her country house or something because she's back in her autumn uniform of tweed suits, chunky boots and cool hats - but I'm still too scared to speak to her. I smiled at her yesterday and she scowled back briefly. I think it's progress.

{Here are some pictures I forgot to post in case you're getting bored of reading}

*The Rivoli Ballroom: We finally went there last weekend and it was amazing! I wanted to show it to Anna so first of all we just popped in to say hello, then planned to go back for one drink and ended up staying until the end. Anna took some cool pictures. It was Salsa night - very entertaining to see all sorts: fat, thin, young, old, black, white, professional dancers, two left footers, fully dressed up or in jeans - not caring in the least about who they ended up dancing with. It made for some amusing combinations sometimes but that was all part of the attitude free atmosphere. It's so beautiful there. The plan now is to go there all the time while it still exists.

*The rue Charlot gossip (as someone guessed) was that the entire area is up in arms because the French version of X-Factor/Pop Idol/whatever, Star Academy has set up office in rue Charlot, thus dramatically lowering the tone and causing mass consternation amongst art gallery and trendy boutique owners. I was told about this before arrival (apparently there was to be some kind of emergency meeting while I was there about it). Then, while I was there, everyone I spoke to mentioned it in hushed, disapproving tones.

Ah, that feels better. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, martini nights have commenced chez moi, except mine are totally lethal, thus tricky on week nights. I leave you with a quote from Diana Vreeland; who I feel can be relied upon for a quote about pretty much anything - hence her new status as The Oracle of the sidebar. Ask her advice in the comments and she will respond.

D.V. says: "It was the martini era. In those days people would get out of the car to see you home, and they'd weave around a bit and fall down on the sidewalk; and inevitably the chauffeur or taxi driver would come after them. It was so appalling, the martini of the twenties. If I gave you some gin with a drop of vermouth that wouldn't cover the head of a pin, that would be the martini. The people who drank them were carried home, usually unconscious." {source: D.V.}

Monday, September 29, 2008


Nicholas Kirkwood for Belstaff shoes captured by Jak & Jil, spotted on Yasmina from Relative PR and Sarah Rutson from Lane Crawford: 

I'm so grateful for the shoe obsession of Jak & Jil...

Definitely Emmanuelle Alt in the middle - left Geraldine Saglio, right Melanie Huynh? Or the other way round? EDIT: Hmm, those do look more like Carine's legs in the middle, and Alt hardly ever wears skirts - maybe she lent Carine her shoes?

But here's the real shocker. They're human after all...

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm just zooming in quickly to show you a few pages of the blurb book I made to say thank you to our kind and generous hosts in France earlier this year. I think a book like this is the answer to "what the hell do you give people who live in a place like that because they lack for nothing?" It also helps that their place is so beautiful you can't help but walk around snapping photos 24 hours a day.

I had to take some pictures of the book as I only ordered one copy, believing that there was sure to be some kind of ridiculous rookie layout error that I would have to go back and correct, then order another. But it turned out perfectly - even more amazing since I did it pre-Mac on my ancient dinosaur PC. I had a good time making it and liked using blurb. Apple has a similar doodad for making photo books with text (anyone used it?) but I'm not sure if the quality's as good as blurb - the pages of this are glossy, high quality - I think I could get addicted to making books like this. This one is going off today to be given to its recipients - I'm fully hoping for a bit of grateful weeping, wonderment, that kind of thing...

{my photos ©}

Monday, September 22, 2008


What do you see when you look at this picture? Do you see a semi derelict, broken into garage full of junk and cobwebs, almost completely obscured by brambles? Do you see somewhere fly-tippers have dumped bags of rubble and some broken wardrobes? Somewhere a man with mental health issues has been sheltering and you have to watch your step in case you tread on a needle? (Well, you can't see those parts.)

I see what is eventually going to be my studio. After longer, more complex and more frustrating negotiations than the purchase of my flat, I finally own the garage at the bottom of my garden (It's where the coach houses used to be and faces into a track).

There are a lot of artists in this area and most of the garages have been turned into studios. The open studios weekend each summer is the perfect opportunity to snoop at the amazing spaces people have created - oh and look at their art, I suppose. I was talking to one established local artist, who has an architect designed, slate clad beauty of a space, and was telling her my hopes to buy and convert mine into a studio as well.

She looked at me with slight amusement and said; "And what are you going to do in your studio?"

"Um, I'm going to create, er, stuff and you know, just like, it'll be good to have a place to make a mess and not have to clear it up and um, I can sew but I don't do it much anymore," was my not very polished answer.

I suppose what I should have said was: I'm going to paint it all white and stick things up on the wall and re-finish all the pieces of furniture I never touch because it's too cold/rainy to do it outside. And I'm going to set up my sewing machine and not have to put it away each time I use it; and I'll store all my magazines and fabric and put all my paints and craft supplies in cute jars on shelves where I can see them instead of in a suitcase.

As fate would have it, I received my copy of Lena Corwin's book: Printing By Hand the very same day the sale was completed. It's full of gorgeous projects; so maybe that's what I'm going to get up to in my studio.

About an hour ago, two eastern european guys finished removing a truckload of crap from the garage and the stuff that had been dumped outside (probably by some other eastern european guys who were paid to remove it from somewhere else - eek). So I now have a very heavily cobwebbed, extremely dark empty space, ready for the real work of converting it into something light and inspiring like the space above.

So that's what I've been doing lately instead of paying attention to fashion shows.

{Other images from Blueprint (R.I.P.) Fall 2006 - photo cos my supposedly compatible Mac and my scanner still won't even talk to each other, hence less pics lately - sigh}

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


These are my little adorable two pairs of boots from Sessun. The brown ones are super comfortable and I love them. I really wanted the brown ones in navy, as I said, because I never ever wear brown for some reason. But they're great, really soft and comfy enough to skip around town in. I've been wearing them with a blue striped A.P.C. shirt under a navy belted short dress with navy tights and I feel all French, except of course everyone in London keeps looking at me as if to say, "And where d'you think you're going love?"

I decided I had to have the flat navy ones too (the delusional power of thinking the euro is like monopoly money when in fact it is almost equal to the pound) as the whole point was to have boots I could wear comfortably every day. Ha. Haha. I think the boots must come from different manufacturers - the brown ones: soft, with nice grey leather lining. The navy ones: sort of hard with what I suspect is black pleather lining. The problem is when you perambulate.

I have a squeaky floorboard just outside my bathroom door which drives me bonkers. It's actually quite a shock if you tread on it because it sounds like you've put a large mouse in a concertina and are playing it with your foot. Now imagine, every step you take your shoes make that noise. This is fine when you're outside, as the noise of traffic etc drowns it out. But when you step inside somewhere quiet, like a fancy boutique or god forbid - a gallery, then you can see people looking concerned that they have a squeaky floorboard that needs to be attended to, until after looking around with a WTF expression their gaze falls upon you and they say to their colleague, "Oh, it's that woman." (If they're Parisian they also snigger a little and roll their eyes to convey the unspoken next words which are: "Cheap shoes. L'horreur.")

But I love the shoes - I'm going to take them to my shoe man and see if he can oil them?! or something. They look tres cute with dresses and skirts. They're sort of desert boots really, which I've always had a soft spot for, but the tassels make them a good alternative to moccasin boots which I can't ever see myself wearing, though I noticed in Paris even though it was still quite warm and every woman and girl was still wearing ballet flats, there were a few pairs of pristine brand new moccasin ankle boots being worn. They were everywhere in the shops; so come November I expect every woman and girl will be wearing those.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I've been very much enjoying Eric Ray Davidson's fashion week diary photos for NYT's The Moment.

{Images: Eric Ray Davidson for the New York Times}

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am back in London and it's cold and raining - just the usual. I feel completely wiped out (though I was fine in Paris) and strangely disorientated - I keep getting confused about which day it is or what time. I meant to post from Paris and go SURPRISE! to convey my excitement at being there after almost a year. But the internet cafe where I had 3 hours credit had closed down and then I got sort of sidetracked...

Paris was lovely, of course how could it be anything else. The warm sun didn't hurt and the fact that it was La Rentree - the first week in September when everyone is back from vacances all tanned and relaxed, eager to catch up with friends. That Times article? Completely unfounded. I have never seen the restaurants and cafes so lively, including Monday lunchtime. I am starting to suspect there is a conspiracy in London to plant articles saying life in Paris is not good, or for the BBC weather to say it's raining in Paris when it clearly isn't, so as to avert a mass exodus. It is so close, it would be so easy to just up and move there, wouldn't it...

Onwards to the expansion.

1. Naomi litters streets of Paris
They were handing out those YSL Manifesto things at the weekend and people kept taking them, glancing briefly at them and just throwing them on the ground. So Naomi was trampled on by all and sundry which I thought was quite funny. Taste of your own medicine, love?

2. The kids are hip(per than thou)
OK I need to switch these two round. First:

3. Cafe Charlot: Convenient and convivial

Since I stay about a minute's walk away from Cafe Charlot it was all I could do to stop myself from going there three times a day. I thought it was going to be much more posey and stuck up, although all the fashiony people are in New York so that probably made a difference. But it was so nice, casual and noisy, relaxed - and thankfully open non stop all day until 2am (I think) so you don't have to worry if you have problems adhering to the rigid French mealtime structure.

If you sit outside there is a strong chance you'll look like you're posing, especially as you'll be staring directly at - and will be stared at by the customers of Cafe du Marche (also new-ish) across the street where the resolutely "normal" people go. (I have ALL the rue Charlot gossip/scandale but I'll save that.) Anyway, I was surprised how mixed Cafe Charlot was (including the toilets! Urinal next to the sink - that is just wrong) no, but really, the waiters were really friendly and I sat next to an older French lady with lacquered maroon hair, then a couple of trendy Italian girls, then a table of six converse and jeans wearing friends, then a father with his daughter who was doing colouring on the placemat. Oh yes, the children...

2. The kids are hip(per than thou)

You know how at Isabel Marant and APC they have childrens' clothes that are basically the same, just smaller? And you know how Paris Vogue has an Enfant supplement? And how French childrens' clothing is generally the most beautiful you'll ever find? At Cafe Charlot and around the 3rd, I started to notice little mini hipsters. Really young kids of five or six, girls wearing say, a greige cashmere sweater, totally understated chic all the way - and little boys in stripey sweaters with mussed up hair, distressed skinny leather biker jackets, jeans and converse. They looked like shrunken models.
I wouldn't have been that surprised if they'd sparked up a couple of Marlboro Lights and ordered a Pastis. I was torn between jealousy (if they're this chic now, imagine by the time they're grown up) and feeling that kids should be allowed to be kids, demand to wear one green sock and one purple sock kind of thing. You have your whole life to blend in and wear greige.

4. Sessun: Tres reasonable prices, paid for slightly avec quality, still bought two pairs boots, a totally cute duffel jacket and a jumper. So far.
The tiny Sessun shop was mobbed on a Saturday, they could barely keep the clothes on the rails. You'd see something, go back to pick it up and it was gone. That's how I ended up clutching two pairs of boots to my chest for half an hour. I really wanted the boots with a heel in navy, but they didn't have them so I bought the brown ones and decided to get out of the madness of the shop and go to the Sessun bit at Le Bon Marche where in the four minutes before closing I bought the flat version of the boots in navy, a fitted navy sweater with a belt and a navy duffel jacket; which will be so perfect for an English winter when it starts raining sideways and I'll grumpily put the hood up and skulk around kicking leaves.

I was able to buy all this because the prices are much lower than you'd expect, which is great but there's a price to pay - I think it's that some of the fabrics aren't quite the quality you want. There is something with the quality that just isn't quite there which I hate to say as I love the design, the cut, the whole vibe of it. I have more to say on Sessun, with pictures. And the malfunctioning boots deserve a story of their own.

5. Vogue Paris: Alt + Daria = Bonheur
Self explanatory. I decided to wait until I was in Paris to buy it and it was sold out in the first three places I tried. Daria is pretty much the only current model I like and Alt, well Alt is, I have no words, she's the best.

*Look, I feel bad. Lots of those words above should have accents of some kind and I really couldn't be bothered to look up how to insert them on this keyboard. Sorry France.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


1. Naomi litters streets of Paris

2. The kids are hip(per than thou)

3. Cafe Charlot: Convenient and convivial

4. Sessun: Tres reasonable prices, paid for slightly avec quality, still bought two pairs boots, a totally cute duffel jacket and a jumper. So far.

5. Vogue Paris: Alt + Daria = Bonheur

...to be expanded on upon return. No more time.

Friday, September 05, 2008


*If you're in London and you haven't already, it's totally worth catching the Viktor and Rolf exhibit at The Barbican before it ends. Even if, like me, you find dolls really creepy and especially if, like me, you never really paid attention to V&R because you were blinded by the conceptual gimmickry. All those collections you vaguely remember as "The Maggie Rizer Russian Doll Thing" or "The Wicker Lattice Masks One" will be revealed as also containing some astonishingly beautiful clothes. It's also kind of funny to look at the models' expressions of humiliation/pain/endurance in the show videos when they're forced to walk wearing high heeled wooden Dutch clogs/a full personal lighting rig on the catwalk.

*This is the most adorable thing I've ever seen. (Must organise for Morran and Lola to have a bloggers meet up one day.)

*Maybe I should've been a little more descriptive with my GOOD NEWS link yesterday? The one about Phoebe Philo being named the new creative director of Celine? Oh, everyone knows now...

*I'm going away for the weekend...

Thursday, September 04, 2008


We are having crisp, autumn days - to me that's preferable to the limping disappointment of summer's cold grey cloud cover. I've been sitting and walking outside while I still can, trying to absorb as much sunlight as possible. Sitting on my little terrace I became aware that it was full of cobwebs, so little had I used it this year. I think I have sat out there less than five times.

The leaves are turning orange already. But of course autumn means there's a long winter of rain ahead, which will only be relieved in six or seven months by a few pretty spring days; then another shitty summer where everyone spends the whole time being hopeful that a burst of warm weather will last longer than two days. And it never does. Sigh. I finally realised, looking at my growing collection of cute summer dresses, that all you need here is two. The one summer dress I bought this year was worn twice; the first time on a bona fide hot day and the second time - in July - with thick wool tights, a wool cardigan and a scarf.

I'm trying to stay positive, use the impending dark months as an excuse to buy loads of winter clothes, which after all are somehow more satisfying than summery things. But judging by the coats bulging out of my wardrobe it's not about needing more warm clothes, or even having the disposable cash to buy them. Buying a thick woolly jumper or scarf makes you feel like you're wrapping yourself up all cosy against the cold, a sort of modern way of putting another log on the fire.

{pic: Sessun}

p.s. and a bit of GOOD NEWS

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Couldn't resist.
{(c) Annabel Mehran via tfs}


I do love the American way of saying fall instead of autumn. Does what it says on the tin kind of thing. I also love Built by Wendy's Austrian inspired fall collection. Especially those two looks on the left hand side...(But maybe not the lederhosen that are also in the collection.)

{pics from Built by Wendy - photographer Annabel Mehran whose work is always beautiful}