“I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.”

Normally, as you all know, I'm a big fan of the "designer necklace which lends itself open to interpretation by the crafty little DIY-er" so, theoretically, when I saw these brace-laces...neck-lets...there's really no good word for the necklace/bracelet hybrid, is there? Anyway, when I saw these pieces from Dries van Noten's Fall/Winter collection I should...or at least my inner DIY-er should...have been thrilled.

But, thankfully, the crafty little blighter was looking out for my welfare and said "yes, this would be easy to emulate but...do you really want to look like a walking "everything 50p basket" from a church bazaar?". Um, no...so that's one craft project off the list then...




There is something seriously scary about Prada's cell phone case...probably the fact that you can snap the arms together to resemble a strait-jacket...or maybe it's the staring, sightless eyes...or the constantly smiling (Prada logo-ed mouth)...okay, I'll stop before I give myself nightmares...

On a practical side note...why would you want to zip your cell phone into this thing? I frequently miss calls due to the delay caused by getting my phone out of my handbag (lot of crap in handbag versus small phone)...I can't imagine being bothered fumbling with this...



Half a pound of tuppeny rice...half a pound of treacle...

Normally when I visit an online store I lust over a skirt here...a bag there (otherwise known as "the grazing effect"). But when I visited Built by Wendy's website to take a look at the Spring/Summer collection I fell for everything in the picture on the right...lock, stock, and proverbial barrel.

It's just such a perfect "running errands on the weekend" outfit...from the New Wave sweater to the floral bag (which reminds me of the ones I saw in the South of France but neglected to buy ...opting, for some unknown reason, for containers of Herbes de Provence instead).


Help Me Mary...please

PhotobucketI'm asking you, Mary, please
Temper my hatred with peace
Weave my disgust into fame
And watch how fast they run to the flame
- Liz Phair

Forgive me father, for I have sinned...I tried to turn my back on the muted tones that I have loved for so long...but the images from the last few days in Paris have, quite firmly, shown me the error of my ways.

This time, Givenchy, and its wonderfully lacy, ruffled, embellished...yet severe...collection. Very grown-up Spanish Catholic schoolgirl...but one who took a vacation to India...or am I the only one who sees the Asian influences in the golden necklaces (as opposed to 80's rapper)?




As I was browsing around Aloha Rag's website this "limited edition" John Galliano trucker cap caught my eye. Not, I hasten to add, because I am moving into trucker-chic (despite my post from a few days ago) but merely because it was one of those "I wonder who buys that" items.

Of course, I clicked through, and now I am even more puzzled. Not only is this a trucker cap which cannot be washed...it is a trucker cap which costs $780. Seriously, if you really have nothing better to spend the money on, come and see me...I have dozens of suggestions (and will accept donations).


Then he huffed...and he puffed...and he blew their house down.

Bless you, Jean Paul Gaultier...for creating one of the few Fall/Winter collections that had me drooling over the pictures on my computer...making a mental shopping list...realizing I couldn't afford the items on the aforementioned shopping list...then coming to the swift conclusion that I would have to be devious and look for ways to incorporate the whole "dark side of Little Red Riding Hood" vibe into my wardrobe. Because this is a irresistibly meaner Red...a slinkier Red...a Red who took on the wolf and came out with a hat and some life experience.

For now, I think I'll go and practice my wolf-whistles...


"Octopus's Garden"

The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boating trip with his family in Sardinia in 1968. He was offered an octopus lunch, but turned it down. Then the boat's captain told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens. Starr said that hearing about octopuses spending their days collecting shiny objects at the bottom of the sea was one of the happiest things he had ever heard, inspiring him to write this song. – Wikipedia

It is snowing...yet again...and I am beginning to wonder if Spring will ever grace us with its presence. Yes, I’m despondent and fed up with feeling cold and slushy...it’s almost March for God sake...Gap already has their "Spring pastels" in store windows (an annual sign that spring has sprung)...it should be above freezing (at a minimum).

But it’s not...so I’m going to take comfort in the naïve quirkiness of Tsumori Chisato’s sparkly octopus sweatshirt...my happiness-enducing "shiny object".


"When it comes to desire, when it comes to attraction, that things are never black and white, things are very much shades of grey.” - Brian Molko

After burbling on about adding some color to my wardrobe what catches my eye from the batch of photographs on Elle's website taken at Paris fashion week? Blacks...whites...and greys...that's what. But how could I resist such a cute yet tough combination, even if it is a little monochromatic?



Ain't she a beautiful sight?

'Cause we got a little ol' convoy
Rockin' through the night
Yeah, we got a little ol' convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A

I feel that in order to successfully wear either Balenciaga's panther print dress...or Deborah Sweeney's toucan number from Urban Outfitters...you need to be able to pull-off the 70's trucker movie chic that they will inject into your life. And, much as I enjoy Convoy or Smokey and the Bandit, I'm not a hundred percent sure that I'm the woman to do it. Though, I'll admit, I have been eyeing up the t-shirt version (in black) of the Balenciaga dress...

Oh, the dilema. To trucker...or not to trucker...that is the question...



"Nowadays every baby seems born with a social manifesto in its mouth much bigger than itself.” - Oscar Wilde

It's obviously the Manifesto season...YSL last Fall...then Vivienne Westwood's Opus...and now, Yves Saint Laurent again. Come on, be honest, don't you feel like you should knock up a little agenda of your own just so as not to be left out?

YSL's latest version is smaller than Westwood's, weighing in at a sylph-like 24 pages, and features Kate Moss (also sylph-like) wearing pieces from the Spring/Summer collection whilst leaning against the doors of the entrance to the Fondation Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint Laurent in Paris...I won't go on, you've all seen the ads by this point.

You may have snagged a copy in London or Milan on Saturday...or in Tokyo yesterday...or you may be getting ready to try and get your hands on one in New York or Paris this coming Wednesday. If not, here is a preview of the behind-the-scenes video which should be available on YSL's website sometime today.


Stealth Wealth

I'm not one for great displays of romance...a bunch of flowers from Mr. Heb once prompted the question of whether he'd purloined them from a grave in the local cemetery (I know, not the most tactful question...but if you suddenly spring a bunch of flowers on a girl like that it tends to confuse her).

I much prefer things that have personal meaning...something that can be shared with one other person, not the rest of the world. Probably not the most subtle example of this (though I love it for it's over the top quality) is this yellow gold and diamond dog-tag from Paris jeweler, FRED. The inscription, in braille, reads "I love you". Touch my heart...touch my pendant...read my love.


Brand in old English means "destruction by fire"...

As often happens, an article (entitled "How to brand yourself") on The Times' website got me thinking...because, really, as bloggers...isn't that what we're trying to do? Or, I should say, to be successful as bloggers isn't this something we need to do? For, without a "brand"...a unique voice...what is there to make your (or my) blog different (and hopefully readable)?

It's a take on the idea of first impressions or, to quote the article, “We are branded every day of the week,”...“At cocktail parties, or business meetings, or whatever it might be. Personal branding is about starting to manage your personal brand.” Something which, to be entirely honest, I have never been particularly good at. Even trying to describe my job at a cocktail party leaves me mumbling incoherently about "doing stuff"...the thought of attempting to give a snapshot of me (the total package) is terrifying.

And so, I'm sharing the article's six tricks for creating a personal brand...not because I have any answers, this is definitely something that I need to work on...but because I thought these were useful for fellow bloggers. Though, if anyone would like to respond to question one it would be rather interesting...as the poet Burns said, "O would some Power the gift to give us, To see ourselves as others see us!"

Tricks of the trade: how to build your personal brand

Personal brands need to be four things: compelling to their market; authentic; consistent; and known.

1. Find out how you are actually perceived or what your reputation is. Ask a variety of people.

2. Spend time exploring what it is about you that is compelling to your target market.

3. Ask yourself if what you are offering is authentic. If not, it will breed only mistrust.

4. Make sure that your message or what you deliver is consistent. If it is erratic, it will undermine your efforts.

5. Create a personal brand statement outlining who you are, what you do, how you do it and why it is compelling . . . and use abridged versions of it consistently wherever appropriate.

6. Explore how you can make your personal brand known to your market or audience and then act on it.


Gucci Gucci Goo

I'm somewhat in shock...not being a "Gucci woman", at least not as previously defined by Tom Ford...there were actually a few looks in Gucci's Fall/Winter collection that I could see myself wearing. Yes, I'm feeling a definite urge to pay homage to the Russian nesting doll this Fall...

On a strange tangent, I didn't think that the heavy floral carpet that Balenciaga used on their Spring/Summer catwalk worked with the clothes but Gucci's "hotel lobby" carpet is spot-on. Of course this does raise an issue, as if I didn't have enough things to obsess over, do I now have to worry about whether I'm clashing with the floor coverings?



Some Splendid reading for the weekend...

From the Splendicity community, comes this weeks best!


Viva Woman looks at how to prevent the growth of milia seeds around the eyes.

Shopalicious has hit upon the perfect handbag to pair with spring's almost-neon brights...

Makeup and Beauty Blog brings us a MAC Fafi Makeup Tutorial: A Black and Gold Smokey Eye.

Beauty and Fashion Tech tries the Ten Years Thinner Plan by Dr. Christine Lydon.

Her Accessories has gone to the birds and has the jewelry to prove it!

My Beauty Match asks, Are you using the right skin care cream or are you wasting your time and money?

Savvy Skin tells us The Truth About Beauty.

Sugar Shock tells us about a Supermodel-approved Makeup Remover.

Canadian Beauty is giving away 2 Summer Prize Packs worth $150 each!

ShopDiary discovers that Twenty8Twelve is now at Shopbop.com.

Stiletto Jungle says upgrade your tote bag collection with Marc Jacobs Standard Supply.

Beauty Bento Box attends the local launch event of the Sunsilk Life Can't Wait Campaign.

Tops 2 Bottoms experiments with a black and white sheer and lace dress by Zara.

Style Manila can't wait till HE by MANGO hits the streets of Manila.

Spa Beautifully wants to share a hip skin health spa in San Francisco with you.

Style...a work in progress reads a good book (and gets a good workout) with Vivienne Westwood's Opus...perhaps the ultimate coffee table book (in that it actually is the size and weight of your average coffee table...measuring just over 2.5 feet by 2 feet and weighing in at 55lbs).

NY Spender shares her pink safari fashion.

Get back to basics -- Temptalia tells you what MAC brushes you have to have.

Shoe Blitz loves these sexy and sophisticated Alexander McQueen striped pumps.

Have a very splendid week!


I love Paris in the Winter...when it drizzles...

When I first saw a couple of images of Heimstone's Fall/Winter collection I was a little disappointed...their last two collections have had me raving and wanting every piece while this one seemed to be...lacking. Then I saw the video...

Maybe I'm just overly susceptible to this kind of marketing but having watched the film I'm now feeling a lot more friendly towards the collection. The combination of the model...the music...the location...and the clothes...it's hard to not be sucked in, to want to be Alice tumbling down this particular rabbit hole, to be able to add a little of that world to your own (something which, I admit, is asking a hell of a lot from a skirt or a dress).

And, to top it off, after all the negative things I've said about animal prints I have a strange yearning for their "somewhere over the rainbow" leopard jacket. I'm fickle, I tell you...fickle!



Twinkle twins?

I've been admiring Chloe's golden cornered sunglasses for a while now but had been dithering as far as "needing" another pair of expensive sunglasses that could get lost or broken.

And now I'm rather pleased that my inner voice caused me to wait...as when I was placing my order for a couple of the vintage lucite rings I mentioned a few weeks ago I took a final stroll round day-lab's website and discovered these, rather similar, gold-cornered frames.

Not identical but, for a saving of $280, close enough...and that's not even counting the lack of guilt when I sit on them or leave them in a restaurant...


Bells on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have ruffles wherever she goes...

As you know, I've been looking for ways recently to add a little color into my life...to liven up the sea of grey and black in my closet...and add a little bloom to the gloom. So I really liked the idea of Candace Ang's silk ruffle bib necklaces and the slashes of ruffly color they would add to any outfit. Loved the idea, hated the price (yes, even though my last post may have indicated otherwise, I do have a few frugal bones in my body).

And so, another jewelry-based craft project was in the works. One length of neon-ish pink silk ribbon...a thin strip of leather for the strap...some red thread...et voila! A little more ruffled than the original and on an adjustable strap as opposed to a chain (which I've discovered also means that my necklace can be worn as a headband...a sort of mis-directed mohawk, if you will).

The other benefit...as everything that I used was languishing in my sewing box I saved myself $185...is that a virtuous glow I feel?


What condition my condition is in...

Considering that for the modern-day air traveler the height of travel chic is having a new plastic bag for their toiletries each time they fly I probably shouldn't be enthusing about (rather expensive) travel bags. But then, as I've said before, my mind does not always run along the most practical lines and there is something terribly depressing about bunging all your potions and lotions into a poly bag that you'd usually use for sandwiches.

So, for me, Jo de Mer's embroidered canvas bag is a container for a container...useless, frivolous, and completely necessary.


Trophy wife?

If you’re a Bambi fan, turn away now. If, on the other hand, you’re okay with taxidermy...and what, I suppose, could be termed an homage to the same...keep on reading, because this silver mounted deer’s head necklace could be right up your street (or woodland path as it were).

Depending on what you mentally associate mounted heads with this necklace is either very "rich red-neck" or "stately home/shooting lodge"...or, in my case, a throwback to the Victorian taxidermy of Roland Ward (what can I say, I had a strange childhood).


Faux or shall we call it Moc?

I've been lusting over the idea of moccasins recently, good old nerdy-yet-cool-kid-at-camp moccasins, but I've been stunned at the price...$495 at Jimmy Choo...$225 at Kate Spade...what happened to the humble moc? Even as my head filled with cute moc-based summer outfits I was beginning to think I was priced out of the market...then, like a knight on a white steed, along came Old Navy to my rescue.

Cute...affordable...yes, I bought a pair in chocolate brown and tan...it would have taken a stronger woman than I to resist the (moccasin wearing) Siren's call.



Trainspotting or laptop carrying?

I admit it, I'm not known for buying the most practical items...the feather boa that I picked up on a trip and had to explain to a bemused Customs Officer illustrates that...but I came across lug's parachute laptop sleeve the other day and it called out to my inner nerd in a satisfyingly practical way.

Maybe it's the comforting feeling it gives me...reminding me, as it does, of the sleeping bags of childhood trips. Or maybe the trainspotter-ish fabric convinces me that my laptop will be as coddled as Derek, as he sits in the cold, waiting for the 10:15 from Cheltenham. Or maybe I just like the thought of thrusting this into a large handbag and hitting the road...as opposed to schlepping forth with a handbag and laptop bag hanging off my person like a demented bag-lady.

Whatever the reason, nerd-girl is pleased.



L'amour toujours l'amour


As you could probably tell by this point I have a slight (alright massive-ish) love affair with French Vogue. Okay, every so often a dodgy issue hits the news-stands but I know deep in my heart that the following month it will be back up to its usual standard...inspiring me in a way few other publications do. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across an interview on NY Magazine's website with the editor, and muse, of French Vogue...Carine Roitfeld.

I'm not going to go into massive detail...it's a long article, which you can read here...but there were a few sentences which particularly caught my eye. Words which explain why I will haunt my local bookstore for a new issue of French Vogue but have no enthusiasm for the sea of blandness which is its American counterpart...

"Fashion is the place in the world where Roitfeld is most comfortable and at home. Because of this, Roitfeld’s French Vogue is the polar opposite of most American fashion magazines. It is unconcerned with making fashion wearable or accessible to its readers. It is not inclusive: There is no advice on how to dress if you’re shaped like a pear or about to turn 50."

Because, isn't that the point? It's not a matter of age...or wearing the dress that is #1 in that month's Top Ten...or an actress getting the cover to promote her latest movie...it's about FASHION. Unconventional, sexy, messed-up...fashion. There will always be things that you can't wear...take inspiration and enjoy the things you can (which isn't going to be exactly the same thing as everyone else in your age/weight demographic).

A final thought on styling for the magazine...but equally relevant for us all as we stare into our closets...

When Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue, styles a fashion shoot, she does not start with the clothes. She looks first at the model and comes up with a story: Perhaps this girl has married young and taken a lover. Perhaps she married young, has taken three lovers, and is about to go to Brazil. Perhaps she lives in London and is bored to death with mad cow disease and wants desperately to eat a great, juicy piece of steak. “I do a movie in my mind,” she says. “Who is this girl?”


Shadow and light

Attention Barnes & Noble staff, I will shortly begin stalking you for the March edition of Vogue Paris...mainly for the Romance Gothique editorial by Craig McDean. The lace...the tulle...the 80's jewelry...not to mention a couple of versions of Alexander McQueen's clutch with the skull closure and grandma's floral curtains. Bliss!

And, apart from the eye candy, as I seem to be on a grey t-shirt binge at the moment this gives me a few ideas for luxe-ing my shirts. Or, rather, some ideas for de-luxe-ifying some of my more "dressed up" sheer black tops. "Silk Max Studio top, I'd like to introduce you to grey wife-beater...I think you'll get on rather well together".


"Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself” - Mark Twain

In my search for color in dress-form I found a pink dress...and now, as I continue my way through the color spectrum, I've found a blood-orange dress. Which is a conversation starter, if nothing else..."What color are you wearing?"..."Blood-orange"...beats a plain old "Red" response any day.

Australian designer Helen O’Conner's dress is demure, yet sexy...though I'm wondering if it may be a little too risqué, as the chest detail appears to be virtually transparent. Which means that the color may not be the only thing stopping traffic on a sunny day...


A weighty tome indeed...


Vivienne Westwood's Opus is probably the ultimate coffee table book...as in that it actually is the size and weight of your average coffee table...measuring just over 2.5 feet by 2 feet and weighing in at 55lbs. Each of the nine covers is appealing...each of the designs will be limited to 100 copies, each signed by V.W. herself...it is lavishly illustrated and produced. As a Westwood fan I should be beside myself...hopping up and down in tense excitement until it's release date in March. But I'm not.Photobucket

Mainly because, to me, books are meant to be read and enjoyed. Not insured, stored, and kept until they appreciate in value like stocks and bonds...as Opus' website suggests. And even if you ignore their marketing ploy, are you ever going to settle down for a cozy read with a book that you cannot hold (and may even have trouble lifting)?


Of course, "cozy read" is all a matter of taste as, once again according to Opus' website, the book features "a startling insight into Vivienne Westwood, her manifesto and her stunning designs, which reflect the passion of her collections". Designs and passion...wonderful. Manifesto...not so sure...at least, not if it's the same Manifesto that is posted on her website. The Manifesto's aim is to "encourage all intellectuals in the fight against propaganda". Well, okay then. But reading it reminded me of the studied eccentricity of the 1930's (look at me...I'm fiendishly intelligent and delightfully witty...in an delightfully oddball way).

But what do you think? Interesting idea or pseudo-intellectual ramblings?



Our man in Havana

Normally I'm not a huge fan of white shoes...partially because of the whole white shoes + dirty sidewalk = constant battle to keep said shoes clean issue...and partly because of the unfortunate connotations regarding Essex girls. However, I'd be willing to make an exception for these Peter Jensen white patent moccasins from TopShop.

They're cheesy Vegas lounge singer meets Alec Guinness but, for some reason, that makes them all the more appealing in my eyes.


You hold the key to my heart...

Martin Margiela's leather key holder is one of those "essentially unnecessary, but luxurious, so it actually becomes a necessity as it makes every single day a little bit more special"...things.

Do I need a leather key fob with individual little leather key holders for the keys I'd use most often? No. But, for about fifty cents a day (if I broke the cost down over a year...yes, rationalization), it would make the simple act of locking a door an incredibly chic experience.


Splendid Reads for the Weekend

From the Splendicity community, comes this weeks best in beauty, fashion, and shopping. Enjoy!


A Touch of Blusher
reports on the must-try look for spring 2008.
15 Minute Beauty Fanatic checks out Tarte's Ready, Set, Glow kit, which is perfect for your tropical vacation!
My Wardrobe Today gives honest reviews of some beauty products she has tried recently.
Oscar Blandi shares with CelebLOOK how he gave Faith Hill her gorgeous do for the Grammy's.
Aging Fabulous asks if anyone has tried Freeze & Go products.
Raging Rouge falls in love with the NARS Shanghai Lily Collection.
Exclusive interview with Fafi about her new MAC line at makeup loves me!

Top Model Amy Lemons dishes on her favorite beauty products with Beauty Banter... and her catwalk beauty tips!
Haute & Bothered's Got a Sneak Peek at Jovovich Hawk for Target's Upcoming Line.
Snarkstress has been ruminating on whether Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a foot and would love to hear your uncensored take.
STYLEnosh asks, "Can you really be stylish in frigid temps?"
Style...a work in progress muses on a certain type of fashion paranoia in The (Un) touchables.
The Fashionable Kiffen dares to break a fashion rule by mixing black and deep blue.

Teen Style Lounge wants you to listen to what your tee is saying and also offers another chance to view the Hottest Finds from the b5media Beauty & Style channel.
Let's Go Shopping is giving away Gift Certificate Worth $35 From Heels.com.
Wardrobe Oxygen offers some wardrobe suggestions for those who live in warm climates.
The Latest Luxe enjoys some peep-toe fun with the Gucci Newton Bootie.


If it's good enough for Aldous Huxley...

“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting”

I came across this streetstyle image from London Fashion week on Elle's website and it took my fancy. If it was me, I'd lose the aubergine scarfigan (cardigan worn as scarf) but I love everything else, mostly the idea of all these conflicting elements working so well together...the mix of brights and muted tones...the billowy dress and duster coat versus the tightly strapped shoes...the modern (the geometric pattern of the dress and futuristic shoes) and the rustic (the duster coat that looks vaguely like a farmer's smock and the earthy leather bag).

Perhaps that's what the magnifying glass is for...to search for juxtapositions.


Aarrrrr, matey!

Okay, I have to ask...is there anyone out there who thinks the idea of having a crystal-encrusted fish skeleton on your shoe is a good idea? If so, what vibe would you be going for with any potential outfits?

The mermaid after a hearty dinner...

The crazy cat lady ready to hit the town...

Or Captain Haddock's girlfriend?

I ask because these Giuseppe Zanotti sandals confound me. I can't imagine wearing them, except for a gag. And, at $850, I have a nasty suspicion that the joke would be on me...



The (Un)touchables...

My first thought when I saw Hanii Y's short sleeved suede coat...well, okay, not my first thought. The initial jumbled thoughts hurtling through my brain were..."oooh"..."gorgeous suede"..."and a Peter Pan collar"..."and double zippers down the front"...drool...

My second thought, once I'd composed myself, was "ah, but it's one of those pieces which will cause untold angst because people will have an irresistible urge to touch it". Maybe it's just my inner curmudgeon...my fashion hermit...but I get very uncomfortable when people walk up to me and, completely uninvited, start rubbing my clothes (perhaps pregnant women experience the a similar concern when strangers rub their stomachs). My heart starts thumping...my pulse quickens...beads of perspiration appear on my brow...and why? The countless questions. Are their hands clean or did that cocktail sausage that I just saw them wolfing down leave a thin film of grease on their fingers which is about to be transferred onto my skirt? It's a warm day, and we all sweat, but will I be left with a sample of your DNA once you've tweaked my tulle? Is that a glass of red wine? Back off buster! My rampant paranoia knows no bounds...Photobucket


The Flirt

Oh Nordstrom, you big tease...why send me your February magazine...with these enticingly mod Chanel sunglasses...only to tell me, in very small print I might add, "not available online...selected stores only"?

You were thinking of me, weren't you? Making things difficult so that I would come to my senses and realize that I should look for something similar in thrift stores or hipster hangouts rather than unleashing my credit card to the tune of $325.

Oh Nordie, you do love me...you big flirt...

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