Thursday, 27 May 2010

Objects of desire - Mulberry

Before Christmas I posted about how I was cross at Mulberry for being all sexist with the sizing of its Mac book covers. But now all is, almost, forgiven. Why? Well...

These lovely new bags are known as The Neely, come in red, black and nude and are Mulberry's latest offering. For me they tick all the boxes right now; practical straps, simple shape, proper anti-tube-pickpocket clasp, beautiful coloured leather, not too 'it', completely unaffordable (£450 in case you were wondering. The kind of price that makes me cry into my newspaper, along with the smell of anything containing sugar thanks to this ridiculous attempt at eating only protein having read about the Dukan diet in Grazia - today was going well until I found an untouched bag of coconut marshmallows left over form South Africa) and make me a little bit drooly. Yes, I am easily swayed but I refuse to apologise for it this time. 

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Things I have learnt since my return

I'm back! Did you miss me? I have returned from my spontaneous and rather glorious two week holiday in South Africa where I visited the lovely EDF and her supremely warm and welcoming, and occasionally a little scary, family. I'm not going to bore you too terribly with the details of my trip, just give you a few edited highlights;

1/ I stroked a BABY LION. I wanted to bring one home with me, but having been involved in a nasty dog/car interface the day before I thought I'd better not do anything further to invoke too much bad animal karma.

2/ Cape Town has the most beautiful pub crawl I have ever seen. I am not usually a big drinker, but that doesn't seem to be an acceptable thing in South Africa and EDF's uncle George is extremely persuasive when it comes to drink. In LA, almost every South African I met would be considered an alcoholic. In London they'd just be those people who you think are really cool because they can hold their drink and be funny while all you can do is try and stop the room from spinning and grin.
George took us on something he calls 'the deep south tour' around the southern coast. I went green and threw up before we finished, but it was tremendous fun and drinking mini bottles of jack daniels as shots while looking at views like these is an unforgettable experience in the best kind of way.

3/ There's nothing like a bit of attention from a good looking younger man to make you feel a bit better about yourself. Of course I would never actually do anything, I am a one man woman, but it's still nice to feel attractive.

4/ My closest friends are some of the best people you will ever meet in your whole life. EDF is one of them. If you ever meet her know that you are in the presence of good stuff. She also makes an awesome mix CD.

5/ If your beloved camera dies, an HTC Desire phone is not a bad alternative. All the photos above were taken on my phone after my Canon G9 died in the first couple of days of my trip.

Things I have learned since returning to London;

1/ Being able to walk around the city is really very wonderful. I don't want to live for too long in a place where you can't amble around aimlessly and have to drive everywhere.

2/ Cheap maxi-tube skirts from Topshop might be fun, but they do tend to go baggy at the knees after half a days wear. It's my own fault for attempting to channel Daisy Lowe in the Vogue supplement I suppose - I'm old enough to know better, but I have decided I need to just dress the way I want to as much as possible while I'm still young enough to wear stupid things.

3/ Topshop makeup is ace. Kind of makes up for the skirt thing. I'm in love with the lipsticks - Narsesque crayons that glide on super easily and don't dry your lips out.

4/ Navy blue suede vintage Celine waistcoats are awesome and surprisingly versatile. Mine was discovered in a vintage shop on Long Street in Cape Town - a place highly recommended for vintage shopping - but has really come into its own with the maxi skirt and the warmer London weather.

5/ The perfect pair of sandals doesn't exist.

6/ Hot weather can be extremely disturbing for someone sensitive to bad clothing choices.

7/ It can also reveal some pretty awful things, like the woman on the tube who saw it as an opportunity to flaunt her toenails which she had grown long and pointy and had painted in a burgundy colour with an intiricate cream pattern to match her fingernails. This is the kind of sight that can scar you for life.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

At the Dover Street Market Market

Having been holed up at home for most of the bank holiday weekend with an evil chest infection that is still lingering on, I finally braved the outside world for the promise of affordable Lanvin.
The Dover Street Market Market was really quite something, and possibly goes down as my favourite sample sale yet. The first one took place two years ago at art dealers Phillips De Pury and was basically a way for DSM to shift its old stock in a fun, and relatively cheap, manner. They saved up enough stock to run the sale for three days and obviously did well enough out of it to want to do it again so have been squirriling away loads of Commes des Garcons (of course) as well as some of the other fine designer goods that have failed to shift on, or possibly never even made it on to, the shop floor.
The main bonus of this for me, aside from the clothes actually being vaguely within my price range and the event appealing hugely to my general love of market rummaging, bargain hunting and beautiful clothes, is that the sale takes place in much less intimidating surroundings than the actual DSM shop on Dover Street, which, as we have discussed before, is quite a scary place as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, I was there on the final afternoon and worried that a lot of the best stuff would have gone. On the plus side the queue wasn't too long, on the minus side the queue was outdoors and it began hailing just as I arrived. Of course the sun came out just as I was about to step inside.

The queue

The queue's shoes

The queue jumper

Inside was a treasure trove but sadly my camera battery died so I can't prove it to you.
I spent three hours rummaging through and trying on and more money than I could afford, naturally. No Lanvin, and sadly a number of gorgeous Boudicca dresses were still too expensive even at 80% off. The saddest moment of the day was giving up on a pleated pale chiffon goddess dress by Giambattista Valli  which would have necesseitated having a rib or two surgically removed if I was ever going to get it to fasten all the way up. Realistically it was too expensive anyway, and also very very impractical. One of those occasion dresses you fall in love with even through you know that you are deeply unlikely to ever be invited to that kind of occassion (for me this is summer weddings - I have never ever been invited to one but have at least two 'summer wedding' dresses).
But I did come out with a beautiful bright red, knee length, stiff silk YSL for Dover Street Market skirt with round pockets on the front and a tie string waist (£80), a swishy short Alma Aguilar black skirt with a thick balck velvet wasitband tied with a bow (£60) and a transparant, beautifully light and palest pinky lavender Phi (RIP) top (£20), all of which I completely love. And there was no fighting, no flinging of clothes and no elbowing.
I wish all sample sales were as civilised and successful as that.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Bad blogger

I know, I know. I am a bad blogger. I have been to all sorts of places, done all sorts of things and had some pretty heavyweight conversations in the past week, but I couldn't get my head around writing about them.
I apologise.
In my defence, I did get half way through a post about baring legs in the spring weather, but it started raining and suddenly the post seemed a bit irrelevant.
Anyway, here is where I play catch up. In the last week my relationship has gone to the edge and back. Maybe not quite all the way back, but back enough to be able to breathe. There have been some tears and some heart rending moments, but there have also been some pretty lovely moments for the two of us this week as well and things feel generally much better.
Moving swiftly on, I have a rather good story about getting eyed up by Orlando Bloom at the ballet. I shall hopefully be dining out on this for a while because it makes me feel rather better about myself that I have for quite a while.
It is rare that I get any good perks through work, unless your idea of fun is attending a lecture by a semi-world famous architect in your spare time, so I jumped at the offer of two tickets to the ballet at an evening hosted by Audi. Yes, Audi the car makers. No, don't ask me why they invited an architecture journalist to a performance of Cinderella, because I have no idea. But I am very grateful they did. I took JFK as my date and decided to get my legs out in my black Acne sack dress and Topshop heels with my hair scraped back into a ponytail, lots of black eye liner and red lipstick. I even ditched my glasses for the dreaded contact lenses.
We had amazing grand tier seats. We were surrounded by tv celebs of the nicer kind. There were canapes of steak on a single chip and crab cakes and champagne during the intervals and a lobster buffet after the performance, which was fun, but a bit patchy. The principal dancers, cinderella and her prince played by Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares, were very good in my humble opinion so I was thrilled that they came back to meet the celebrities meaning I could get them to sign my programme. She was scarily sinewy up close, he was a bit of an old-fashioned hunk of the type that belongs on the cover of a Mills and Boon bodice ripper.
And I am fairly sure Orlando Bloom eyed me up. And then gave JFK a wink. So either he is gay, fancied us both, thought I was a prostitute or just through JFK had done well. I'm plumping for the latter as it is much better for my ego. The upshot of all this is, although I have never previously fancied Orlando Bloom, I now have filthy dreams about him.
Last weekend I also had my feet nibbled by fish in a bucket in the name of smoother skin.
Possibly the weirdest beauty treatment I have ever tried, it simply involves plonking your feet in a bucket of warm water with lots of tiny cleaner fish in it which then proceed to eat the dead skin off you feet. It sounds pretty foul, but feels surprisingly ok, especially when administered by a man with extremely nice arms and that traveller-bum thing going on that is, occasionally, more than a trifle attractive to look at (as long as you don't start asking him about his travels because anything he says is pretty much bound to be completely tedious).

(Nibbly fish)

The stall with the nibbly fish is in the newly opened and revamped stables market in Camden. Not what it once was, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite liked it. There were some interesting stalls and it had a nice atmosphere and I may even go back. Could this be the re-birth of Camden?
Although Camden makes me feel old, and brings back a disturbing mixture of memories from my teens and early twenties, I do hope it does have a renaissance because I am very fed up of East London. 
On Wednesday I attended a Science Museum Late which focused on the issue of beauty. Aside from meeting some very interesting people, including the editor of and the curator of the museum's new gallery of sustainable fashion, the event was also unexpectedly fascinating. Sponsors L'Oreal assembled an impressive group of speakers for a round table discussion on why beauty matters and what beauty is.
Sadly, the panel neatly sidestepped some of the more interesting audience questions about skin lightening in india and the use of parabens in cosmetics, but there was a lot of talk about the importance of self esteem and identity that got me thinking. No talk about the flip side of course, the feelings of inadequacy beauty can engender in both the young and old, the frankly sinister spectre of plastic surgery or the fact that my little cousin feels that without a thick cake of make-up she is invisible.
Fashion and beauty have also always gone hand in hand, and there was no discussion of how our notions of beauty have changed with fashion or why. But it certainly got me thinking, and I shall be coming back to this at some point in the future.
Other things that have happened - I gave my cousin a make-under and she gave me a make-up, the result being that she looked like a less intimidatingly perfect version of Gwen Stefani and I looked like an oompa loompa that had an accident with the blusher. And today I went to the final day of the Dover Street Market market and spent too much money. More on this tomorrow. I promise.