The little beetle that could…

When I previously mentioned Philip Lim’s holiday collection I didn’t touch upon the accessories…not because I didn’t like them…but because I know that whereas you may be able to find plenty of stores that ordered a designer’s clothes it’s sometimes hard to find the little things...and it can be insanely frustrating to see a picture of something and then not be able to find anyone who actually sells it. But, as I’ve managed to find retailers for a couple of the items, I feel confident that I won’t be creating an unscratchable itch.

For some reason Christmas, to Lim, says beetles...I’m not sure why, but it does make a pleasant change from snowmen, holly, or the other assorted standards. The beetles in question are created from peacock feather and beads and appliquéd onto silk headbands or turned into brooches. My mother was convinced that peacock feathers were unlucky...once again, I’m not sure why, and it’s something that I only discovered after I had followed a couple of peacocks around for a few hours and picked up several discarded feathers (ah, childhood). If you’re not superstitious, or just want to push your luck, either piece will add a luxurious, dark, 1920’s quality to the upcoming festivities.


Do not adjust your sets...well, okay, go ahead...

I wasn't going to say anything...honest...but I've reached the stage where if I see one more picture of the black and white striped dress from Kate Moss' latest collection for TopShop surrounded by words like "classic" or "must have" without saying anything I shall, in those immortal words, "Scream...and scream...and scream...until I make myself sick".

It's not that I have anything against stripes, per se, it's the fact that stripes going in multiple directions...undulating and swerving across the one dress...are not going to look good on anybody. Okay, maybe Kate Moss...but I think by this point we're agreed that supermodels can look good in anything, aren't we?


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

I was in my local Louis Vuitton store the other day (just browsing) when three, small, snowflake-shaped plastic pins in one of the glass cases caught my eye. In the current climate of global warming and the associated uncertainty regarding how cold it will actually get this winter, they seemed cute in a “these could be the only snowflakes I see” kind of way.

I just came across the pins on eLuxury and, they’re still cute...but now I know how much they cost...$390. Suddenly, they seem a lot less adorable...I'm glad to see the spirit of the season is alive and well in, what must be, the horrific mark-up on the cost of moulded plastic.


Love Me or Leave Me

Some inspiration for this winter, courtesy of the November issue of French Vogue...Carolyn Murphy, one of my favorite models...and the alluring outdoorsman look. I was going to say "sexy outdoorsman" but as every Halloween costume I've seen this year has been pre-fixed by the word sexy (sexy cop, sexy firefighter, sexy maid...the list goes on) that I am so over the word at this point. Note to costume manufacturers: a lack of clothing does not necessarily equate to sexy.

But back to the "alluring" outfit on Ms.'s the whole high/low mix that I love so much...this time the City Mouse raided the Country Mouse's closet...and haircare products. Note to self: unearth vintage Ralph Lauren khaki pencil skirt from wherever it is hiding...


Oh Doctor, can't you help me...

When do you realize that you have fashion-related "issues"? Well, it's probably when you get on a crowded bus for your evening commute wearing a pale wool skirt with crewel-work embroidered flowers on know that the embroidery has a tendency to when a woman stands close to you with a backpack slung perilously close to your skirt it drives you over the edge.

Worry #1, as mentioned, this particular skirt is a the assorted zippers and metal fasteners on the backpack seem to have been designed purely to unpick stitches and unravel nerves.

An additional concern is that I think of backpacks as the kind of bag that gets dumped anywhere and everywhere...dirty floor, throw the bag down...dubiously damp sidewalk, let's put the bag down here shall we? So, even though I know there are probably incredibly clean backpacks out there I never seem to come into close contact with them. So, worry #2...pale skirt rubbing against dirty bag...

Nowhere to move in the crowded bus...and, of course, I wouldn't actually verbalize my I spent 40 minutes leaning at an exaggerated angle so as to distance myself from "the bag". This is, quite obviously, not normal...I need help.


Practically Impractical

Much as I love Les Prairies Des Paris' Lainette coat I have to admit it's not the most practical winter warmer out there. On the pro side...tweed and length. On the con...three-quarter sleeves and a split sideseam. In this case, the con's win...I'm trying to imagine walking down the street on a windy winter day with my coat blowing in four directions at one time. Potentially photogenic, "the wind blown look"...realistically "bag lady in a storm".


The long and the short of it...

While I was gazing at the Eros sweatshirt online yesterday I noticed that Urban Outfitters seemed to have an interesting selection of tights so, as I passed by there earlier today, I stopped in. And, what do you know, they do have a great mix of patterns and textures but can I just say, dear Urban Outfitters, 5'8" is not tall. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying it's short...but, as a woman who stands 5'11" in her bare feet, I can safely say that the 3" difference is definitely something I would notice.

Thankfully I was able to "drown my sorrows" as it were by picking up this green keffiyah with feathers down one side...UO meets Balenciaga meets a chicken farm...tacky, but I love the color and the way the feathers fan out from the body and add a structural element to the fabric. An Urban Renewal piece and, according to the tag at least, "customized by a variety of artists and designers across the country. Each one is unique!". There was actually a black feathered keffiyah in the same store so let's say maybe not entirely unique but definitely limited...which means, sadly, that they are not available through UO's website.


Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I read somewhere that in the early 20th century, when the Captain Kirk Travel Theory of boldly going where no man had gone before was still prevalent amongst the British and people routinely pottered off to take a look at some far-flung outpost of the Empire, that the weary traveler truly knew they were "home" when they caught sight of the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus. I admit, they probably had an inkling at some earlier stage in the proceeding...when they saw the White Cliffs of Dover...went through Customs...or smelt the odor of fish and chips...but apparently they didn't get that zippedy-doo-dah, glad to be alive, uplifted feeling until they saw Eros.

And I have to say, for me at least, the old maxim still holds true. Just one look at the little guy as he gazes down on the assorted tourists, bums, and pickpockets beneath him...and I get a lump in the throat. A sensation which I'm wondering if I could replicate with this sweatshirt from Urban Outfitters...featuring Eros in all his glory accompanied by some snazzy puffed sleeves. As I have what could kindly be called a puff sleeve fetish (never met a p.s. I didn't like) this is a double whammy in the feel good category.

As I was researching Eros for this piece I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, the statue in Piccadilly Circus actually represents the Angel of Christian Charity and was erected to commemorate Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. The Earl was an evangelising Christian who crusaded for reforms to save the bodies, and presumably souls, of the poor...hence the Angel of Christian Charity...which doesn't have the same ring to it as Eros so I'm going to stick with popular belief on this one.


God Save the Queen

I'm not sure what the underlying cause is but I do seem to be following a vaguely punk theme at the moment...first AND's giant safety pins...and now London based jeweler, Scott Stephen's "Vivienne" necklace...a riot of tartan, studs, pearls, and chain. Based on its name, I'd love to assume the necklace is a homage to Vivienne Westwood during her Malcolm McLaren/Sex Pistols days. But whatever the basis for its name really is, the necklace itself is perfect for a luxe punk princess...maybe Lady Macbeth's daughter during a rebellious phase?


Let's do the time warp again!

"It's astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I've got to keep control"

That's right, you are looking at a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (at least as much as you can in this virtual environment of ours). Someone who has seen the film in, amongst other places, a seedy Parisian cinema with a slight rodent problem...and the stage show on the West End of London...and unwisely purchased a "Toucha toucha toucha touch me, I wanna be dirty" t-shirt at the latter (try finding a place to wear that shirt without getting harassed...I dare you).

So you can imagine my feelings when I saw this sequined lip sweater from Marcus Lupfer's upcoming collection for was a case of tacky, tacky, love at first sight. Lupfer's pieces hit TopShop on October 31st...which means I have a few days to talk myself down from the ledge...and not allow "madness to take its toll"...the question, do I really need a giant lip sweater?


Decorating the tree...or me

The eternal conundrum...why does it feel too soon to be thinking about Christmas in general...yet the perfect time to begin thinking about clothes for seasonal parties? And why am I even considering new party clothes when I have a track record of buying something for a specific event and, in all honesty, not exactly wearing it to death? Clearly, given my past history, any potential new purchases should say "party" in a less obvious way to allow for wearability in non-festive times. Which is where Philip Lim's holiday collection enters the picture...

As I'm naturally inclined towards the jazzy skirt/plainer top combo I fell hard for his magenta brocade skirt and off-center, tie-necked cardigan. On a side note, you see very few cardigans in this style but it's one of my personal favorites...I have an off-center, zip-up cardigan from APC and, even though it's plain black, it gets a lot of attention because of the lack of symmetry.

On the dress front, I'm drawn to the pleated cranberry dress with built-in capelet but I know deep in my heart that this would be another one of those pieces that I probably wouldn't get too much wear out of post-party season...I also have a nasty feeling that, in person, all those ruffles and flounce may look more "Sugar Plum Fairy" than "belle of the ball".


Pin-up Girl

The following is a dramatization, actual events may have differed slightly from those portrayed below.

Way back, in the late 1300's, a woman was walking around Greece and thought, "you know, I'd really like to be able to pin these two pieces of cloth together...and it would be nice if there was some sort of shield to cover the pointy bit so that I don't hurt myself". And so, the fibula was born.

Many years passed and the safety pin, as it was now called, made a big hit with the punk community.

Fast forward to the present...and AND's oversized safety pin brooches. Ironic (a non-functional pin, attached to a real pin) and an interesting piece of trompe l'oeil to wear on a coat or scarf. Plus, to be practical, perspex is the perfect material for winter...whatever Mother Nature may throw at it (and you) in the way of rain or snow it will still look as fresh as when you left the house.


Burn baby burn!

We've all heard the old fashion dictum about matching shoes and handbag...but what about matching your dress to your stove? Well, thanks to a collaboration between London based designer Avsh Alom Gur and Brittania cookers you can do just that. Of course, why you'd actually want to coordinate with a kitchen appliance is a completely separate issue...

I'm assuming that if you could afford the dress and the stove you'd probably have a private chef...therefore you'd not be involved in any actual "cooking" which would sully the fabric...and you could move into the kitchen to artfully pose next to the stove when you guests started to arrive. The symbiosis between costume and cooker would naturally imply that you had been toiling away for hours on the boeuf bourginon they are about to eat and "ta-da" their minds you are now a great cook. It's a roundabout kind of method but I suppose if you can't boil an egg, are reasonably well off, and want to impress your friends, it may work for you.

On the flip-side, people may just start calling you the "loser who dresses like a stove"...but that's what makes you a trend setter, isn't it?


Take a walk on the wild side...

If you loved Givenchy's Couture collection for this Fall...but mentally recoiled at the potential may be interested in Eugenia Kim's leopard print equestrian cap. Even though I'm not usually an animal print girl I have to admit there's something rather appealing about the combination of the bulbous shape and the exotic print...worn with an all-black outfit this could be very chic, in an Audrey Hepburn kind of way.


Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's...socks?

On the runway, Prada's two-tone hosiery didn't thrill me...then I saw people wearing them in real life...the majority of the wearers carried them off beautifully...and I became a convert. But, deep down, I knew that however much they started to find a place in my heart it was going to be an unrequited passion. Quite simply, the last thing my legs need are bands of color around their widest point.

And that's how things remained, something to admire on others but not for me. Then I saw these mid-length, color-blocked gloves in American Apparel's "Coming Soon" section...the general feel of Prada's socks...but in a much more forgiving location. Let the stalking of my local AA begin!


"It's her place...where her dreams have room to grow"

Last night I was watching television...flipping through the channels...and was horrified to see a commercial for the "Rose Petal Cottage"...a plastic palace that you can fill with all the plastic stoves, sinks, and nursery sets needed to convince your child that we're still living in the 1950's. The assault to the senses continues with the accompanying jingle...lyrics so cringe-worthy they cause the viewer to wince violently and put their back out.

I couldn't track down the commercial I saw but I did find this alternative version. Once again, the soundtrack is hardly inspiring...and I quote...

"I love when my laundry gets so clean
Taking care of my home is a dream...dream...dream"

Dream...nightmare...they're so close one gets them confused sometimes...


These boots are made for vacuuming

And speaking of furnishing fabric...

I thought the black leather version of Chloe's short boots were fantastic but covered in carpet remnants they're positively genius. Think of all the textural combinations you could put together...I am literally salivating at the thought of a pair of American Apparel's black lamé leggings sprouting out of these puppies.

The additional bonus...for lazy little gophers like need to spend time with a tin of shoe polish and a duster...a quick whoosh of your Dirt Devil and you're good-to-go.


“On a sofa upholstered in panther skin, Mona did researches in original sin.” - William Plomer

I think I have some subconscious desire to look like a 1960's sofa...not that I'm saying that's a bad thing...just mentioning that my love of clothes which look like they were created from furnishing fabric is reaching proportions which cannot be ignored. Take this tie-front, plaid swingcoat from Forever 21's Twelve by Twelve line...I'm completely smitten by the Phillip Lim meets Jackie O shape...add in the thrift store sofa vibe and it's love at first sight...not bad for $89.


There's oil in them thar hills!

Last night, faced with a collection of vintage beauty books and frizzy hair that wasn't being helped by drugstore conditioners, I decided to try a little "kitchen beauty". I'd read that olive oil worked wonders on hair and, quite frankly, I was I decided to give it a try. First off, let me say that I'm glad I picked a night when my husband was out of town...initially because the hoots of laughter as I smeared olive oil through my locks would have been a little off-putting...and secondly because of the (also off-putting) aftereffects of putting said oil in your hair, namely a greasy looking coif that smells like a tossed salad.

After a night's sleep the smell had dissipated but I still looked like one of Macbeth's witches and had visions of having to wear a headscarf/turban to work. Thankfully, two shampoos later, the grease was gone. And I have to admit that, once my hair dried, it was moisturized like never before...with not a speck of frizz in sight. I am a kitchen beauty out refrigerator, here I come...


“Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.” - Irish Proverb

Something to consider...for $140,000 you could buy:

a) somewhere to live...or at least a hefty downpayment on a home

b) seven Mini Coopers...perfect if you and your six little friends hang out with Snow White

c) a Karl Lagerfeld designed perchskin guitar case containing six bottles of rare Dom Perignon Rose Vintages and three Champagne glasses...insert audible gasps here

Yes, just in time for Christmas, the "Room of Luxury" at Harrods is offering the perfect present for any alcoholic musicians on your gift list. Now I enjoy wine, probably too much, but I have to wonder...if you can afford this is there really nothing else that you would rather spend the money on?


The ring's the thing...

For quite some time now I've been on the hunt for some chunky rings. Partially, I admit, due to viewing one too many pictures of one or other of the Olsen twins looking waif-ish but tough...thanks to the knuckleduster effect of several large rings on one hand. But also because of a love of old movies...where the heroine clasps her martini glass with a hand embellished with a massive cocktail ring...and looks decidedly swell-igant while doing so.

If you've been reading this blog for a while you may remember the winged bolo necklace that, after much deliberation, I bought from Made Her Think. I browsed their site yesterday to see what was new and I found that it had been updated with just the kind of modern take on the cocktail ring that I had in mind. Resin, paired with Swarovski crystals, in satisfyingly chunky forms. A little bit 1920's, with a touch of Victoriana, and a dash of updated take on the classic cocktail ring. One or two of these, and a martini, and I'll be all set.


Trash Talking

I never thought I'd use the words "cute" and "garbage" in any kind of proximity, yet here we are and I'm about to do just that...because these Japanese garbage bags are undeniably cute...the fish, flowers, trees, and dogs printed on them would definitely make taking out the trash less of a chore.

I'd love to be able to give additional information on these bags but the majority of the website is in Japanese so all I can say is that it appears that these are a kind of "garbage as art" project and I believe cost about $3.32 for 10. If anyone reads Japanese and has anything more edifying to add, please leave a comment.

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"Then I woke up and discovered it was all a beautiful dream..."

I'm assuming that everyone, at least everyone as handbag obsessed as I am, has a dream bag. The unaffordable, unattainable, unimaginably beautiful bag that they know will be theirs...if they win the lottery.

For me, the d.b. is the Hermes Constance...structured, but not too much...classic, but not to the point of fusty...and available in any color I desire. The only problem (apart from cost) is that normally when I come across pictures of the Constance the bag is black or navy which, though practical, is a little boring for a dream bag. So when I saw this emerald green, lizard version on Decades site I had to post a picture or two.

I can now dream in Technicolor...


“The crow wished everything was black, the owl, that every thing was white.” - William Blake

A while ago I realized that my handbag collection was following a James Herriot theme...All Creatures Great And Small. By that I mean that I have a good variety of bags...floral, striped, and multi-patterned...but, apart from a shaggy Martin Margiela evening bag, I didn't actually have one that was basic black. Yes, the humble "black, go-with-everything" staple was the hunt began.

My first thought was Chanel but, as I've mentioned before, I have a love/hate relationship with their bags and cannot rationalize their prices. I knew that I wanted that feel though...the dress-y bag that works well with more casual you borrowed your grandmother's bag to wear with your t-shirt dress.

After looking at a lot of bags that had no personality whatsoever...does black necessarily have to equate to dull as ditchwater?...I came across Mayle's patchwork Jeanne bag. The brass chains give the dressed-up look I wanted and the patchwork effect of the leather means I won't mind if it becomes scratched, beaten up, and generally abused by day-to-day use. I'm quietly optimistic that my search is over, though I won't know with certainty until the UPS man comes next week.


Weekly Splendid Reads 10/20 & 10/21

Here are the best posts from around the Splendicity network this week.


The Mineral Makeup Blog reviews MAD’s Exquisite Anti-Aging Mineral Treatment.
Viva Woman says that not all natural lipsticks are lead-free.
Savvy Skin says Bye Bye Botox.
Beauty Secrets Revealed shares a wonderful Sinful Chocolate Spa Recipe.
Spa Beautifully has all of the details on The Ultimate Spa Experience.
Beauty and Fashion Tech shows how beautiful the new Nail Lacquers from MAC's Holiday Antiquitease Collection are.
Shades of U dishes about her beautiful look with Pinks, Lavenders and Meow Mineral Foundation.
NY $pender found a great cosmetic database and has some information behind it.

Adventures in the Stiletto Jungle
dishes on the latest trend of gorgeous Glossy Grey Patent Shoes.
Her Accessories discovers some Eco-Friendly Tote Bags.
Laya's Eye spotted some really cute Foxers Boxers.
Petite Fashionista tells the petite Bootylicious Babes how to dress.
Style...A Work in Progress says that for the new Sexy and the City movie, you can be too rich and too thin.
Between My Peers has Five Fall Trends for even the frugal Mom.

Shopalicious! Blog
found a Gigi agate pendant necklace from Two Sisters Jewelry.
Shoe Blitz keeps us on trend with a bunch of new Burgundy Shoe picks.
The Latest Luxe has Holiday Fever.
Shop Diary says Dress Like A Gossip Girl - with Lorick.
CelebLOOK tells us where to get Renee Zellweger's Viva La Cure T-Shirt.

Enjoy and have a splendid weekend!


A love of jewelry is in the genes....

This next item takes the term "disposable income" to an insane level. Van Cleef & Arpels, the French jewelry house established in 1896, has collaborated with Earnest Sewn on a limited edition line of jeans. The two styles of jeans feature buttons and chains in the jeweler's signature Alhambra design and should sell for between $10,000 and $12,000. My first thought (apart from who would spend that much money on a, rather tacky, pair of jeans) is what you're supposed to do with the button and chain once the jeans wear out, as they inevitably will? Do you spend more money to get the button re-worked into a ring? Or do the jeans just end up in a pile at the bottom of a closet (as my denim cast-offs seem to)?

If you're curious and want to see this, what I hope was originally considered as ironic, marriage of expensive jewelry and closet staple they will be on view at the Earnest Sewn store in New York before being sold at Christie's auction house.


Oh! Mr. Hairdresser

Disclaimer: if you're not British this post is probably going to make no sense whatsoever. Apologies.

But when Polite left a comment on my David Shrigley post, and included a link to their online shop, I found something which roused my sense of nostalgia to an alarming degree. If you were in Britain in the 90's you would have encountered, amongst other things, the humor of Vic Reeves...difficult to classify, absurd is the first word that comes to mind, but very funny. I actually still have a cassette tape of Reeves' album "I Will Cure You"...a hodgepodge of cover songs, original material, and the song that made it to #1...a cover of "Dizzy". After prolonged pleading from my husband the tape only gets played when I am alone...that's the thing with either love his work or hate it.

But back to the reason for my ramblings...the boxed sets of greeting cards and postcards featuring Reeves' art work. There are three sets...Celebrity with Donald Sinden and Elvis doing the ironing...Elvis gets his own box where he goes to the shops or dresses as Walter Raleigh...the triumvirate ends with everyone's favorite theme, Treason. Each box contains six greeting cards and eight "celebrity caravan" postcards (quite literally, if a celebrity was going to live in a trailer what would the trailer look like).

Finally, some greeting cards that I actually find amusing...


1 + 1 = gosh, that many?

I've decided that the people who advocate making an inventory of everything in your closet are a menace...avoid them as you would the plague. Thanks to one such closet inventory I am in possession of the disquieting knowledge that I could, at a conservative estimate, wear a different sweater every day for two months.

Guilt, and the fact that global warming is reducing the number of days I can actually wear a sweater, means that I have sworn off bringing any new knitwear into the moth haven I call a sweater cupboard. So, sadly, it's a case of "look, but don't touch" when it comes to Le Mont's plaid, cashmere, nerd sweater.

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