I have to admit that my plan to...well, have a plan...in regard to prospective purchases took a slight knock yesterday. It was completely my fault...I should have realized that popping into Barney's sale "just to look" was probably a bad idea. Though if I'd made a bolt for the exit after drooling over the heavily reduced (though still way out of my budget) Alaia and Christopher Kane I would have been fine. But no, I had to "just look" at the Co-Op selection as well.
In rapid succession my eyes alighted on a vaguely 70's plaid smock top from APC...one of the floral skirts that Cacharel created from Liberty fabrics as part of its 50th anniversary celebration...and, most guilt-inducingly of all, a heavy cotton motorcycle jacket from APC. I say "most g-i" because the one thing that I probably don't need in my closet right now is another black jacket...even one with silver zippers and a very high cool factor.
In an attempt to rationalize this transgression I'm going to hide behind two well-used lines of defense...1) they were reduced by a rather hefty percentage...and 2) they're all, in their own way, classics that will stay in heavy outfit rotation for years to come. Actually, I'm also going to include the third, and infinitely less successful line of defense, "Your honor, I just couldn't help it..."
|“They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.” - the Bible|
Back at the end of March (egad, how time flies) I knew that I wanted some kind of golden tooth or talon to hang around my neck...I just couldn't decide which one. After (probably too) much deliberation I finally decided on Erica Weiner's raptor talon...and, thanks to a quick visit to her blog, got it for 30% off. The code's good through June 2nd so if you're in the mood for some vertebrae, talons, or other items (and can make a decision considerably faster than I can) check it out.
Though they're not exactly twins there's a distinct similarity between Heimstone's beaded square necklace and Urban Outfitters' collar...call it 30's tribal...the kind of thing that Josephine Baker might have worn when she wasn't up to her ears in bananas (though, admittedly, little else)...or a last minute addition to my summer wish list. Or, potentially, yet one more entry on my constantly growing "DIY projects" list...
For quite a while now I've been on a sort of magazine diet...the ever-rising cost (especially of those from distant shores)...and space concerns (i.e. the piles of 'zines rising from the floor like stalagmites)...didn't stack up (sorry, bad pun) against the actual content...I just didn't need to read another article on the latest cure for cellulite...and the majority of editorials felt a little...stale.
But then...yesterday...the craving came upon me. I wanted a magazine...a French magazine...preferably Jalouse or l'Officiel. I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble (okay, not actually my "local" B&N because the one down the street closed last winter...let's just say the closest B&N within a 2 mile radius) and found...
The April issues...of both.
I went to the Service Desk...there was no one there...I went to the register...
"Can you let me know when you'll be getting the May (or, heaven forbid, June/July) issues in please?"
There was a pause...then a sigh...then a request for each magazine title to be spelled (thrice)...then another sigh...then...
"We don't carry l'Officiel any more. We might have the May issue of Jalouse in the store room...oh, wait...no, we don't."
I walked away feeling discontented (what kind of store has no product?) and guilty (if I'd been buying these magazines on a regular basis perhaps they wouldn't have had to stop stocking them). And still craving a little French 'zine action. I decided to look into subscriptions...visited Jalou's website...and stumbled upon their archives...l'Officiel, Jalouse, muteen, La Revue des Montres...dating as far back as 1921...and all available electronically...and free. Even May's issue was there in glorious, click-able, Technicolor.
The guilt is still there, though it's been assuaged slightly...
It's the old question...if you see something orange-y red in the sea...and, in your mind, you imagine it to be a sea anemone whose tentacles are wafting lazily back and forth in the current...is it any less beautiful once you get closer and discover that, in reality, it's an empty soup can that someone threw over the side of their boat?
At first glance...from a distance...when I looked at the dress below...I saw waterfalls of gold...a difficult-to-put-my-finger-upon shimmer against a crash of coral. Then I made the mistake of clicking on the detail shot...and the shimmer revealed itself as 70's pre-school wallpaper.
The illusion was gone and, in this instance, reality just wasn't as alluring...
According to Webster's a fetish is, amongst other things, "an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion"...and that does seem to sum up my feelings for (sorry, I'm going to say it twice in one day) stripes and...erm...rubber footwear. I blame a childhood spent squelching around Scotland (and least for the footwear part of the equation)...I don't care if the rest of me gets drenched...somehow having warm, dry feet makes everything alright. These particular boots...a sort of rubberized take on the Chelsea boot...are virtually indestructible and a carryover from a (very) short-lived bout of girlish enthusiasm for horse riding.
“The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms.” - Oscar Wilde
Whatever Oscar may have said, I've always had rather a soft spot for the classics of the clothing world...the trenches, blazers, and what-have-you that add a touch of familiar comfort to an outfit. And yet, at the same time, I get a childish thrill from finding a twisted classic...a mild version of which is this striped t-shirt. "Yet another striped t-shirt" as Mr. Heb would cry...rolling his eyes...throwing his hands in the air...and gazing accusingly at the massive pile of stripe-y shirts currently nestling in my closet.
Well, yes...and no...for while it is, undeniably, one more s.s. the addition of the band of lace adds a whole new element. And while my inner miser recoils from the $275 price tag attached to this particular shirt I do plan on creating a DIY version once I get my hands on some lace.
“By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. By proletariat, the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.” - Friedrich Engels
I haven't complained about aggravating advertising emails for a while now...mainly because nothing has hit my Inbox that has really overwhelmed me by the sheer inanity of its marketing spiel...until, that it, I read Barney's latest little missive...
I can see it now, can't you? A clandestine Marxist meeting...a rousing discussion has just taken place regarding the exploitation of the masses...the speaker rises, and says "Brothers, let us cast off this yoke of oppression by...lighting a nice, soothing, scented candle".
|Today's ensemble is a bit of a floral battle...in the left corner, the veteran fighter, a skirt whose pattern always makes me think of Russian nesting dolls...in the right, the newcomer, a Liberty print scarf (otherwise known as the length of fabric that I picked up when I was in London). Will one of them win, probably courtesy of a crafty left hook...or will they learn to live in harmony?|
Denim jacket - Gap, t-shirt - Uniqlo, skirt - H&M, scarf - Liberty, flats - Jones the Bootmaker
At this time of year I usually find myself scanning the images from the photocalls at the Cannes International Film Festival for a little warm weather clothing inspiration...the attendees usually going for the casual/dressy mix that I'm especially partial to. But this year the pickings were slim...actually, that's an overstatement...there wasn't one outfit that caused that sensation of envy, avarice, and rapid mental closet inventory that a really interesting "streetstyle" picture can induce (and, yes, I'm using the term "streetstyle" incredibly loosely here).
Until, that is, I wandered over to the purple DIARY and came across this picture...
Not one, but four, perfect outfits...though I'm especially partial to the gondolier ensemble on the left...
The looks in LaGarconne's latest edition of "The Ensembles" aren't typical summer fare...they're dark...slightly moody (in a petulant, rather than gothic way)...and begrudgingly acknowledging the heat by way of a pair of shorts and a lack of hosiery. And, from an inspirational standpoint, I love them...
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skillfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
|In Dante's Divine Comedy the seven deadly sins are slightly different from those used today and include extravagance...something that could probably be defined by the purchase of hand-engraved glassware featuring...you guessed it...the s.d.s. |
Does anyone actually need to gorge on gin and tonic from a Gluttony glass? Or lounge around in slothful abandon drinking their whiskey? Well, probably not...but it would be a lot of fun.
|This is one of those items that I love the concept of...but can't help feeling is a little over-priced. Would I like to wield a bright orange, raffia covered, Hula dancer worthy, bag this summer? Yes, yes, I would. Does it remind me of playing my mother's old records as a child and singing along to "She Wears Red Feathers (And a Hula-Hula Skirt)" aka "the bizarre tale of an English banker's love for a hula-hula girl"? Yes, yes, it does. Do I want to hand over $295 (plus tax) for the privilege? Well, no.|
I've got a feeling that I'm going to be in the minority in professing my attraction to this 1940's horn vanity mirror. It is, admittedly, a tad ugly...a collision between abstract expressionist sculpture and a bull. But it's also strangely lovable...someone took the time to assemble this (presumably for their wife/lover/sister/mother)...it has meaning...and a history...and I'd rather stare into it's (slightly murky) depths than the pristine clarity of any modern mirror.
|For some obscure reason I appear to be in rubber shoe mode this week...which is odd as it's not been particularly rainy lately...it's either my British-ness coming out (i.e. the assumption that, whatever the weather may be doing at that second, it will surely rain in the next ten minutes)...or I'm developing a fetish. Either way, how could I resist Melissa's take on the traditional Dutch clog?|
Today's quote...for the curious...is courtesy of swimmer, and MGM movie star, Esther Williams.
|"We are the clouds that veil the midnight moon;|
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:"
- Mutability - Percy Bysshe Shelley
I've written about fashion schizophrenia before...and my inability to put together an outfit that follows only one philosophy. Thankfully I'm getting more comfortable with the knowledge that my ensembles will never be "pure"...something will always be, ever-so-slightly, off. After all, I tell myself, life itself is full of contradictions...shouldn't my closet be the same?
Keira's leather and satin wrist bow is a perfect example of this ambiguity...it's tough...a pin-up girl kind of sexy tough...but it's also cute (in a thankfully non-cloyingly saccharine kind of way).
I always feel slightly "schoolgirl" in this dress...not in a naughty kind of way...more "oh look, I found my old uniform in the closet". Having said that, it's one of my favorites...easy to wear and, dare I say, classic. Plus, it's much nicer than the grey, mustard, and maroon that I actually had to wear to school...
|Of the numerous items that I obsess over, in my conspicuous consumer way, I can honestly say that very few are what could be termed as wholly practical...until that is I came across Mr.PS' shop...and his hand screen-printed tea towels and tote bags featuring items that are quirky and nostalgic and quintessentially English.|
My personal favorite is the Full English breakfast tea towel...which can be accesorized with a matching mug (and tote bag)...or maybe I should be a tad more subtle in proclaiming my love of a fry up?
When you Google "thermoplastic technopolymer" 436 results appear, covering (on the first page at least) everything from modular staircases...to something called the Gnomes Napoleon stool...and, perhaps most disturbingly, "hose solutions". What you don't see are these very snazzy shoes...the result of a collaboration between one of the world's most innovative plastics manufacturers, Kartell, and Italian fashion brand, .normaluisa.
The only thing, in my mind at least, better than the selection of colors...and ability to keep feet dry, yet cute, in the rain...is their name, the Glue Cinderella ballerina flat, which takes them into the realm of footwear for heroines of fractured fairytales...
"No Cinders, I don't care how nice your shoes are, you can't go to the ball...but I will let you huff solvents in the kitchen before you get on with the dish-washing..."
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Heb I am currently content...and filled to the brim with Whole Foods' Backwards Cookies and Cream gelato. Consequently I feel a little like Mrs. Tiggywinkle here...if only it was as easy to roll me home...
Actually, I feel a little ashamed of myself for making light of this poor hedgehog's weight problem. Hedgehogs, much like the rest of us, will eagerly eat foods that are high in fat and sugar and are actually prone to obesity (one in the eye for all those who suggest that if humans foraged for food like their animal counterparts...and went back to the whole hunting and gathering way of life...we'd never need to diet again). If a hedgehog will forage for a McFlurry (McDonalds had to change their containers in 2006 to be more "hedgehog friendly" as so many of the little guys were getting their heads stuck inside when they tried to lick the final remains from the bottom of the cup) you'd better believe that mankind would do the same.
|Two skull related posts in one week is probably too much but, in this instance, the skulls are cleverly concealed within a mass of blooming pansies...so let's call this an ode to spring and overlook the whole "skull thing", shall we?|
If I wasn't the proud owner of several overly floral vintage scarves from Kenzo I'd be filling in my credit card details as we speak...especially in view of the Alexander McQueen vibe coming off this little beauty...and the constant allure of "colorful black"...but, once again, that practical little voice is yelling in my ear.
Just in case anyone is feeling less level-headed than I (at least in the sphere of eyelashes)...but is equally klutzy (in that same sphere)...I wanted to add an addendum to my earlier post...in the form of a tutorial that appeared on Grazia's website today.
For me, the video reinforced my concerns...visions of myself, staring at the world with one eye...the other being glued shut and decorated with a mis-aligned set of lashes...roamed through my head right around the two minute mark...
After visiting a Cy Twombly exhibition earlier this week I longed to put together an outfit using the lilacs...reds...orchids...and blacks of the piece below (Untitled, 2001). Sadly, when I got home I realized that shades of purple don't currently reside in my closet (something to be rectified). So, instead, I'll took an abstract viewpoint...and focused on the fact that, in general, his work uses little (or very few) color(s). Lack of color being something that my closet has in abundance...
I'm going to gag my practical inner voice for a moment and profess my love for Shu Uemura's (insanely impractical) latest lash collection, "inspired by the infinite wonders of nature". From the real skeleton leaves covered in gold...to the numerous shades of blue and undulating wave-like shape of their homage to the sea...to the frosted, "ice princess" edifices built from wire and crystals...there are a pair for each season...as Fall is my favorite it's probably unsurprising that the ones constructed from feathers in pleasingly autumnal shades inspire the deepest feelings of longing within me.
However, at this point, my p.i.v. breaks free from his restraints and points out that...
- Two things which should never be in close proximity to each other...at least for someone who's a complete klutz...are glue and eyeballs.
- Following on from that...even if I could summon the required level of manual dexterity and general un-klutziness...I am a woman who manages (at most) powder and lip gloss. A lone tube of mascara has been lurking, unused, in my bathroom cabinet for about three years (I know, I know, I need to throw it out)...this calibre of eye embellishment is clearly beyond me.
- And finally...depressing though it may be...there are a limited number of times when one can leave the house with an eye full of feathers.
|I'm having one of those weeks...where it seems like every little thing is conspiring against me...either things don't work...or plans go wrong...and there's a general sense of ennui hovering around like a massive, dark cloud in the sky (the kind where there's no rain at the moment but you know that the second you set foot outside the door there'll be a massive cloudburst).|
It's at times like these when I need something darkly humorous in the clothing line...like Pleasure Principle's Die Laughing t-shirt. The icing on this particular cake, for me at least, is the Duck Tape-esque font...if I was ever going to write a threatening anonymous letter to a clown, this is the font I'd use...
I admit that I have a slight fascination with skulls...actually given the number of times I've mentioned them here it would be impossible to deny it...but I thought that the one place that I would be safe from spotting anything skull-related to lust over would have been the liquor store. Yet, when I popped in to pick up a bottle of Tio Pepe sherry (egad, I have drinking habits that rival Miss Marple) I noticed something unusual in the vodka aisle.
After I returned home (and was safely ensconced with a glass of the nutty nectar at my elbow)...I began wandering aimlessly around the internet...and came across some pictures of Julia Restoin-Roitfeld's apartment. There, on a marble table, was a not dis-similar crystal skull...well, apart from the hole in the top and the libidinous liquor sloshing around inside.
More disturbing than this six degrees of skull separation was the ad that I found for the alco-skull, aka Crystal Head vodka. Personally I couldn't make it through the whole thing...being too weirded out by the concept of Dan Aykroyd trying to sell me Canadian vodka whilst using phrases like "positive projections" and "common universality"...I believe he also referenced aliens, ghosts, and mystical powers, but I may have been hallucinating by that point...
|Does is say something horrific about my psyche that instead of thinking "aw, look at the cute little bunny?" my mind was actually imagining the damage that those little bunny ears could inflict upon any potential muggers/bag thieves/bogeymen who came my way?|
If it's in any way a mitigating factor this was closely followed by overwhelming feelings of cuteness...
"But the Sensitive Plant which could give small fruit
Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root,
Received more than all, it loved more than ever,
Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver,"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Last year's experiment with an indoor herb garden having worked rather well...oh, alright, everything died in the end...but they did last all summer...and worked out a lot cheaper than buying those plastic packets of "fresh" herbs from the supermarket. Anyway...as last year's effort was a (partial) success...I decided to step up my gardening this year...so, in addition to parsley and rosemary, I've added a tomato plant to my window box. Whether, realistically, I'll see even one tomato from this experiment...or if the plant will commit suicide long beforehand...waits to be seen...
Rather infuriatingly Mr. Heb...who, it turns out, has a much greener thumb than I...has leapt several rungs up the ladder of one-upsmanship by buying a terrarium and installing a cro-magnon looking shrub in it. It's incredibly beautiful...in a Victorian Gothic kind of way...but is just the thing to give a poor little fruit bearing plant an inferiority complex.
“In the nineteenth century the camera made a realist of the man on the street. Now the computer can make anybody a desktop Cubist. Technology may or may not be destiny, but I doubt that machines will replace art any more than wheels have replaced feet.” - Brad Holland
I don't think there's too much that needs to be said here...decent weather...a long walk...a camera...a poster that appears to have no reason other than just to exist...and a mailbox with words to live by...
In one of those drastic climatic changes which are part and parcel of the whole Spring experience yesterday's "muggy and sticky" became today's "cool, and are those rain clouds I see in the distance?".
I'm not complaining though as it meant another opportunity to pull my "essentially useless in virtually every temperature" fingerless suede gloves out of the closet...and, for a few brief hours, gloves and weather meshed in perfect harmony...
|Is it wrong that only a couple of weeks after returning from what was, admittedly, a bit of a binge shopping trip in London I am now starting a wish list for the sales? Well...probably...yes. But my guilt is assuaged (slightly) by the feeling that, as the economy is still in a state of turmoil, reductions will be plentiful...and of a hefty percentage.|
Of course this may be wishful thinking but, if that is the case, at least I'll have been able to indulge in some pleasant daydreams. Reverie number one takes the form of this padded floral jacket from Les Prairies De Paris. Though the print is immensely summer-y we are fast approaching temperatures where the thought of anything more than the lightest of fabrics makes me ill...unless I'm going to spend the entire summer in an air-conditioned icebox (a tempting, though unattainable, plan)...which makes this a perfect "let's see if I can find this for a pittance" addition to my list.
No matter how long you live somewhere...unless you were born there...you never fully become one with the foibles of the weather. At least, speaking personally, it's a skill that I know that I will never attain. Today started perfectly...mild temperatures...a light breeze...the kind of day when you can wear a light dress and jacket and feel almost giddy through sheer joie de vie.
Until lunchtime...when the humidity hit...and left me feeling as lank and limp as a piece of wilted lettuce. As I remove my jacket, I admit defeat...
Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.)
`I'm glad I've seen that done,' thought Alice. `I've so often read in the newspapers, at the end of trials, "There was some attempts at applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court," and I never understood what it meant till now.'
I admit it...I'm a sucker for any combination of "ladylike" and "punk"...I suppose that because I don't fully reside in either category I feel most at home when I'm sitting on the fence between the two...so it was pretty much a sure thing that I would be smitten by Acne's feminine sheath tagged with lyrics from Swedish jazz legend, Monica Zetterlund.
And, because I couldn't decide which song I preferred to go along with this post, here's a second little something...
I always feel like there’s something very Animal Farm about rain...because while it’s all equal...in that it falls from the sky and can cause you to attain varying levels of wetness ranging from mildly damp to depressingly sodden...summer rain is infinitely nicer than its counterparts from other seasons...and is therefore, ever-so-slightly, more equal.
Though I've been remarkably quiet about it, the "great travel bag search" is still taking place. In part my silence has been thanks to the lack of bags that met my criteria but also, I have to admit, due to the fact that it's slightly demoralizing to have this big of a problem tracking down a bag that can a) be used for carry-on, b) doesn't have wheels protruding from it, and c) isn't hideously ugly.
The latest "I could have been a contender" is this rather snazzy dress Stewart plaid bag...courtesy of Yuketen and their Japanese take on traditional Americana...a view of America which explains the company's Western boots and native American fringed varieties but fails to align plaid and America in my mind (unless you count the tartan trews beloved by golf playing Americans who visit the UK).
However, overlooking this slight anomaly, the mix of tartan and leather in a duffle bag is enticing. The only voice of dissension coming from my practical inner voice which questions the sanity of even considering a woolen bag which would act like a sponge when it came into contact with rain, snow, or any of the other liquid substances encountered when moving between points A and B.
I'm always torn when I happen across the cheapo knock-off version of something (usually considerably more expensive) that I've had my eye on...my frugal side is dancing a jig...but I can't help but feel bad for the designer who came up with the original (and generally much nicer) concept.
Case in point...Katherine Sturgis' bracelets which, with their sterling silver chains, hand-painted leather, and vintage rhinestones, strike me as spiffy versions of the humble friendship bracelet...
Compare these with the (several hundred dollars) cheaper versions from Free People...
All of which begs the question, what price "friendship"?
* - today's quote is courtesy of Eric Bentley