I call this, Triptych with Champagne. This is me dicking around after the British Fashion Awards in my new Antipodium dress, bought about 20 mins before the awards. Trust Anti. The night itself was a total joy, with a few tearjerking moments and lots of omg moments. Roll on next year.
My mystical bleatings about being busy? This is one of the projects I’ve been working on, very exciting and the main cause for the blog silence: Skype Collaboration Project
Elsewhere my week(s) have really been a blur of work but here’s my week on the internet:
Lovely, lovely piece by Alex Fury on i-D about collecting, drawing from Anna Della Russo i-D
How hyperstimulation could be making you smarter. That short attention span internet life that you secretly think might be ruining your brain? It could be actually making you more cleverer.
Margot Henderson on why women need to be part of the food and restaurant industry, just in time for my Christmas cooking plans.
How the media failed women in 2013. Fancy getting riled up about sexism in the media? My pleasure.
I sometimes think the life of a freelancer is like that Bjork song. Just when you think you’re gonna get to work on all those niggly little things you keep putting off, a giant stack of work comes your way. Needless to say, this is one of those times but I love working and should be able to share this exciting project soon. Meanwhile, my downtime has been pretty sensible, I’m srsly getting back into Scrabble, sewing and cooking. Also managing to fit in a few (but not many) press days.
I’ve also somehow managed to get through this season without really buying any new clothes. I’m sort of itching for some newness, been obsessively pinning long coats and I’ve got my eye on a few. Love the relaxed, sort of sporty ’80s mum feel. Whadda you think?
Really interesting piece in the New York Times about self-control and certainty.
Choose between a doomed relationship or flatsharing? Harriet Walker on ‘hutching up’, how the housing crisis is leading to retrogressive coupledom.
It’s a bit of a secret, but I don’t really like shopping. It can be kind of ghastly -even at non-Christmas times-, unless you’re going to somewhere like Browns or Cos or John Lewis. Margaret Howell is another store that I count as my happy place, it’s calm, beautifully laid out and it just makes you feel serene.
I was recently invited to go see their latest MHL store on New Cavendish St, which has the same tranquil feel and light, airy look. Just a few minutes from Oxford Street’s jostling crowds, it’s definitely worth coming up for a wander when it all gets too much. Obviously the MHL clothes are a big draw -I’ve got my eye on the kilt and some of the springy knits- but it’s just a great place to go to restore a zen-like state of calm.
It’s pretty much that time of year, where everything feels sparkly and cosy and you think… ‘oh shit, I need to start buying Christmas presents’. I was idly looking up presents for myself because that’s how I roll when I stumbled on Martine Wester at H Samuel. Lucky find because Martine Wester’s jewellery is great and the prices are perfect for a little self-gifting. There are some really nice pieces, starting at only nine quid for earrings. I’m pretty sure this is elements of her main collection and not a collaboration but it’s still an awesome find. I don’t know when this came out but most of it still seems to be in stock, I reckon sod the relatives and buy yourself a treat babes!
Let’s get lost (1988) starring Chet Baker from Icosahedron on Vimeo.
I’m winding down after a super busy week by watching this candid Chet Baker docu, it’s kind of sad because I always think an addiction always makes someone banal and the same as every other junkie, but you still get some lovely glimpses into his talent and there’s some great clips of him playing and singing.
Over the last fortnight (oops) I’ve gotten back into Scrabble, did some exciting interviews for another work project and also got back into my other great hobby, sewing.
If you want to read about love and have a wee cry, you probably couldn’t do any better than read Laurie Anderson’s Rolling Stone piece on her late husband Lou Reed. It’s totally lovely.
Some great tips and reflections on writing by Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings.
One of the many reasons I’ve been busy is you may have noticed I’m working with Peponita, a new shoe brand. We’re having a popup shop on Columbia Road, from Monday. If you can make it do pop along!
I’m usually in such a hurry that I don’t have time for a wrist rendezvous, let alone an arm party (arf!) My accessorising has to be quick, unfussy and make an impact, I’ll often slip some studs or a necklace into my pocket and put it on the way to a meeting. That’s also why I usually plump for a men’s watch. It’s big and showy, but functional and often adds a nice masculine note to an outfit. With a mans watch you never have that horrible overaccessorised feeling.
I already own a quite unsubtle day-glo fluoro watch by Nixon, but their new Colette collab has really got me drooling. It’s an archetypal classy mens watch and one I want to get on mah wrist now. The take on their Time Teller classic has a little bit of metal, but overall it’s quite discreet and lets you do the whole showy watch thing without wearing the same piece as everyone else (Michael Kors, I’m looking at you!) Get the Nixon x Colette watch from the 16th Nov online or in the boutique for €120.
Last week I was invited to a talk at Harvey Nichols with Stella McCartney in conversation with Vogue’s Christa D’Souza (who has the most amazing tan and mane btw, totally jealous). It was obvious that they have had a long professional relationship, from Stella’s design debut way back at St Martins and they talked about everything from childhood inspirations to her most recent SS14 collection.
Stella on getting into fashion:
I was always into fashion, very into it. There are these sketches in the attic I did when I was 8 or 9. I grew up on an organic farm and went to comprehensive school but I’d go on tour at the weekend. So it influences my design ethic, there’s the everyday pieces and then the stage pieces. Mum had a pair of silvery glittery boots to the knee, she wore a lot of Savile Row tailoring but tailoring at that time was so much more loose, like Armani.
When I was at St Martins it was known for wild clothing but I was drawn to designing clothes that women could wear.
It is hard to be true to yourself as a designer, you’re drawn to how something will look in your head not how you’ll wear it. I can spend two hours figuring if a skirt is going to be this long, that long. I love pockets, velvet in pockets from when I was at Saville Row. A pocket for me, there’s so much, it’s a friend.
I’m not my own muse but I wear my own clothes. I’m providing a service, I’m not the kind of designer who perhaps thinks they above who they dress. Each piece of clothing, I want it to say so much but not say too much.
On the SS14 collection:
Kissing and hearts for spring it’s the best time to be in love. You can wear the shift dress with tights or in the day with heels. Most of us brave stuff if we want to wear it. I went out last night [in the gathered print tunic] with bare legs. We also developed a bag that you could ship, something that you could flatpack. Like the Falabella, it’s timeless but a bit sharper, more structured.
On being green:
It’s a challenge for us, none of our contemporaries are thinking about this. Our shoes are 70% more expensive to make, this is coming from the heart. You don’t have to compromise to be a bit kinder.
I’m very instinctive, I don’t go on a trip to India and do saris. I’ve been fortunate enough to have this wonderful journey with the brand. I’m not in a mission to take over the world, so for me what’s best is to grow things in a very natural way.
I ran into one of the Cut Out Girls in Cafe Viva, one of my fave local spots where I often hide myself away to finish some tricky bit of work. This Peckham-based duo make a range of bags, totes and purses with a great eye for colour and a modern use of craft techniques. I quizzed them on their label, local haunts -anyone who is a fan of the Plex is ok in my book- and what it’s like to go it alone, together.
How did you meet?
We first met at University in Newcastle where we were both studying Fine Art. We didn’t know one another very well for the first couple of years, as we weren’t in the same studio and our work was very much solo projects and not collaborative. However, in our final year we shared a studio and were housemates, which meant we generally hung out much more. We bonded over a mutual love of early mornings, coffee and studio chat.
What made you start working together?
Having lived in London for a year or so and both attempting various art related jobs/internships, we would hang out in our free time discussing frustrations and lack of creativity within the art routes we were taking. From these chats and using the small spaces that we then lived in, we began using old techniques from our childhood, such as knitting and sewing and old work from uni such as old canvas, to make various creations. This organically developed into more functional accessories. We just threw ideas around and enjoyed using our hands and the process of making things again.
Have you always been arty/makey?
We were both brought up in similar households where making and painting etc were always available to us, making scraps books and doodles were just the norm. In terms of early interest in fashion we were both drawn to Stella Magazine (The Sunday Telegraph supplement) whilst growing up. Actually there’s a funny story in this in that when discussing our favourite weekend supplements it turned out we had both collected Stella Magazine for years on end, so we obviously had a similar aesthetic.
What made you go out on your own (together), what do you think gave you the confidence to do something independent?
We both wanted to establish something of our own, in response to a lack of creative fulfillment in our chosen careers at the time. The confidence to do something independently probably only came from collaborating together and being there for one another, working as a duo.
What did you learn from starting your own business?
It’s been and still is a massive learning curve that needs constant attention and energy, and a new business will take every second of time you give it. We have also learnt there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing something you’ve created yourself reach an audience who respects and enjoys what you do.
What’s your working week like, and your daily routine?
We work from home on Cut Out Girls, and living and working together in the same space provides a continuous design practice together. This is a wonderful way of collaborating and although we live very closely together it’s a an environment that works well for us. We’re definitely morning people – early every morning we start work from our kitchen table together, figuring out the day ahead.
Where do you get ideas and inspiration from?
We’re constantly inspired by our surroundings be it in the city where we live or visiting family in the countryside. These environments all mesh together to create background inspiration for Cut out Girls. We aldo work closely with materials first and the process of how to manipulate them provides inspiration in itself. Designing as a pair means we bring independent ideas and inspiration to the design in question, and merging these concepts as a two allows us to tackle design issues by bouncing off another.
What are your favourite places in Peckham/SE London? We love to walk up One Tree Hill at the top of Peckham Rye Common, to look over city, whatever the weather! We also love some independent nuggets on Choumert Road, such as Cafe Viva. 38b Gallery is a new gem we found, which is on Rye lane – a cute living room turned into a creative space run by local artists. Peckham Plex is also a Cut Out Girls favourite! Where else can you go for reasonably priced cinema outing in London town?!
I never appreciated cashmere as much as I went freelance, light, soft and ultra-cosy, it’s the ultimate material when you’re sat working at your kitchen table. I’ve now got a number of cashmere jumpers in my wardrobe (scour charity shops for vintage bargains) and a prized Lacoste cashmere dress that I have worn to death but sometimes, when it’s really cold, I jut have to bust out the onesie. A lot of people -especially freelancers- are secretly wedded to their onesies. It’s an item I once scoffed at, but after receiving one last Christmas and then getting food poisoning, I slipped into my boxfresh onesie, pathetically grateful to have something easy, cosy and warm. Problem is, fleece onesies are barely even acceptable for opening the door to the postman, let alone going out or feeling like you’re ready to do some serious work.
Marks and Spencer have really come up trumps with this cashmere onesie, combining the ease and let’s face it, brilliance of a onesie, with the luxury of cashmere. This luxe incarnation is posh enough that you could sling on a coat and go to the shops. The Danes are mega fond of a knitted legging and I could totally see this worn Danish-style with some cool trainers and a topknot. Try doing that in a gingerbread-man style onesie with attached feet. Yeah, seriously.
Their cashmere onesie comes in black and grey and will be selling for £199 from the end of November, perfect timing to add to
my your Christmas list.
[Pics above from Le Mont St Michel and Fash n Chips]
Vintage shirt, French Connection jeggings, Nike Air Max c/o JD Sports
Blame a really spectacular two-day migraine, which is still threatening to return, like a distant stormy cloud, on this late edition of Sundries. I haven’t just been lying down in a darkened room this week though, on no! See a sneak preview of a Margaret Howell store visit above, wearing my new Air Max, rather nice dontcha think?
This week I reconciled myself with being too old for wild kooky Halloweens and went ice skating in Canary Wharf, which was awesome. This little guy really helped. I also had a week of really inspiring meetings, I love a bit of a break from the grind and some time for reflection and planning. I’m trying to plough through my hoard of beauty products, hopefully my face is looking better for it! Recently I’ve developed a real addiction for 80s and 90s romcoms on the premise that life is basically all about love and laughter so why watch anything else? Somehow the dated aspect makes it feel less cheesy, see Sliding Doors to get what I’m talking about. Healthy eating is my new constant, been making my four greens risotto and discovered a new favourite snack, beetroot and goat’s cheese on soda bread.
Check out these awesomely radical and bodacious pics of Afghan girls skateboarding. Love it. [via Homeless Dad]
This has totally done the rounds, but worth watching if you haven’t seen. Joss Whedon on how he always gets asked about ‘strong women characters’.
Lake Bell talking to NPR a good while back about uptalking and the fry in women’s voices. Her ‘sexy baby vocal virus’ voice is hilarious. She also does a SE accent, which -slightly dodgy glottal stop notwithstanding- is pretty good.
These mugshots from the 20s make contemporary criminals look like Daniel O’Donnell.
An etymology of words in Europe, including, church, beer and pineapple (which in most of Europe is ananas, meaning ‘excellent fruit’!)