Category Archives: Travel

40 things about Milan

Copertina Milano01 MIC’S: Great Italian tapas. Via Pietro Maroncelli 15, Milano

02 Fonderie Milanesi: The perfect place for a romantic dinner or a relax brunch with extremely fresh products.

03 Brera, bohemian district of Milan, one of my favorites!

04 10 Corso Como: great fashion concept store and caffè. Corso Como 10, Milano

05Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi is a real treat for lovers of vintage clothing. You can find vintage products from the most famous fashion brands. Via Giuseppe Sacchi, 3 20121 Milano.

06 Fioraio Bianchi: Bistrot parigino nel cuore bohèmienne della città. Via Montebello.

07 Giorgio Armani

08 Casa Museo Boschi di Stefano

09 A Casa eatery, restaurant in Milan

010Bullfrog Barber shop

ellevn-nhung-chuyen-tinh-trong-gioi-thoi-trang-stefano-gabbana-e-domenico-dolce8Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana

011 Osteria “Ex Mauri” | via Via Gaetano de Castillia 28

012 The Saint mariner Tattoo shop, via Carlo Tenca 10, Milano

013  Antonio Marras Milano, Boutique

014 Sheraton Diana Majestic, viale Piave, 42, 20129 Milano

015Nicola Trussardi

016Cafè Trussardi

017Palazzo Clerici

018Salone del Mobile, Milano

019Spazio Rossana Orlandi 

ottavio-missoni-designerOttavio Missoni

021Dry Milano, Pizzeria and Bar.

022Lambrate Design District.

0231380, Via Enrico Annibale Butti, 7

024Club 1930. TOP SECRET!

025Fendi Sisters

026Drogheria Milanese

027Via della Spiga, Luxury Fashion district, Milan.

028Gianni Versace

030Palazzo Parigi, Corso di Porta Nuova 1

FENICOTTERI VILLA INVERNIZZI PER PAGINE ANIMALIVilla Invernizzi Milano

0324Cento, Via Campazzino 14

033Shambala, Via Ripamonti, 337

034Miuccia Prada

035Terrazza Martini Milano

036Bulgari Hotel, Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7/b

037Bar Basso, Via Plinio, 39

038LATTERIA LA CICALA Via Bellotti 13

039Plastic Milano

040Nhow Hotel Milano

041De Santis: one of the Best “panini” in the city

Nyfw day 3

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Day three of my New York fashionweek: as first look of the day I opted for a total black outfit.
The focus obviously was on the hair that, thanks to the Redken team and Sara Weinstock diamond headpieces, shined even more than usual :)

Giorno tre della mia fashionweek newyorkese: come primo look ho optato per un outfit total black.
Il focus era naturalmente sui capelli che, grazie al team di Redken ed ai diamanti di Sara Weinstock, hanno brillato ancora più del solito :)

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I was wearing:

ALEXANDER WANG SANDALS
CUSHNIE ET OCHS DRESS
SARA WEINSTOCK DIAMOND HEADPIECES
PRADA BAG
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Hair by Redken, makeup by Nikki DeRoest
Photos by Leslie Kirchhoff

NYFW Day 2

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Here is another look from my second day of NYFW: total black and white contrasts with a giant hat and the funny Karlito.
PS: Watch how my day looked like on TheScene.com!

Ecco qui un altro look dal mio secondo giorno della NYFW: total bianco e nero con un maxi cappello e il funny Karlito.
PS: Guardate come è stata la mia giornata su TheScene.com!

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I was wearing:
GUCCI STUDDED LOAFERS
VALENTINO DRESS
HERMES KELLY BAG
FENDI KARLITO BAG CHAIN
STYLESTALKER HAT

Photos by Leslie Kirchhof
Hair by Redken and make up by Nikki De Roest

FASHION WEEK ESSENTIAL

Fashion Insiders Guide

Fashion insiders’ guide

The perfect guide if your going to Paris for Fashion Week later this month.

Beijing diary

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Photographic diary of my four days spent in Beijing at the end of July, dedicated to my “babies”, Chiara Ferragni shoes, that were officially launched in the chinese market with two big events at Attos and Shanping (you can also find them online with worldwide shipping on www.chiaraferragnicollection.com)

Diario fotografico dei miei quattro giorni passati a Pechino a fine luglio, dedicati principalmente alle mie “figliolette”, le scarpe della mia linea, Chiara Ferragni, che sono state ufficialmente lanciate nel mercato cinese con due eventi da Attos e Shanping (potete trovarle anche online su www.chiaraferragnicollection.com)

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BEIJING, 25th-28th July 2014

FIND CHIARA FERRAGNI SHOES ON www.chiaraferragnicollection.com

Photos by Angelo Tropea and Chiara Ferragni

40 things about NEW YORK

011. J.G Melon. An upper east side classic. 1291 3rd ave, NY 10021022. 90’s Patti Smith
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3. Ghostbusters film scene, NYC 198405
4. Madonna, rooftop 80’s NY06
5. Ralph Lauren 197007
6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961 starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard08
7. Alexander Wang by Craig McDean, NY journal09
8. Calvin Klein 010
9. Annie Hall film Scene, Brooklyn Bridge011
10. Screaming Mimi’s, Designer Vintage Clothes, 382 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003Tommy Hilfiger
11. Tommy Hilfiger01312. Taxi Driver Film, NY 197601413. Blind Barber Bar, East Village, 339 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009Untitled-114. ABC Kitchen Restaurant, NY. 35 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003hotel_americano215. Hotel Americano Rooftop Bar,518 W 27th St, New York, NY 1000101616. American Artist, Andy Warhol01717. King Kong film 1976, NY01818. Bob Dylan, American singer songwriter01919. American Psyco film, 2000 NY02020. Leon Film scene, 1994 NYParty for the Release of "Cry Baby"21. Marc Jacobs Designer, NY02322. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10005th Ave NY 1002802423. Balthazar Restaurant 80 Spring St, New York, Ny 1001202524. Pearl River store, cool chinese Bazaar in Soho, 477 Broadway, New York, NY 1001302625. Paula Rubenstein NY: is a veritable treasure trove of antiques, interesting objects and unique items02726. Fame Film, 1970 NYC02827. The best place to have a coffee with “FRIENDS” at the Central Perk, NYC02928. Studio 54, Manhattan, NY03029. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen03130. La Esquina, try the mexican taste in NYC. 114 Kenmare St, New York, NY 1001203231. Anna Wintour editor in chief of Vogue America03332. Catch, a seafood restaurant in Meatpacking district, 21 9th Ave, New York, NY 1001403433. Sarah Jessica Parker in her Girls Just Want to Have Fun look, 80’s mood03534. The Ramones portrait: a Punk rock american music band born in the 197403635. 1985: the first collection of the american designer Donna Karan03736. Time square from Andrew Moore’s point of view, NYC03837. Bill Cunningham, famous street style photographer, NYC03938. The Waverly Inn, 16 Bank St, New York, NY 1001404039. Grace Coddington model and english journalist, creative director of Vogue America

Image Makers

Whilst I’ve largely been in Tokyo and Hong Kong purely as a tourist with my rambunctious and demanding family (there’s been more than a few cultural faux pas in Japan and cringe attacks), my sisters and I did manage to escape to go and see the excellent Image Makers exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight Museum.  Jean Paul Goude is the major billing here as a whole exhibition floor is dedicated to both retrospective and new work, with the rare chance to see the infamous Grace Jones Constructivist Maternity Dress installation, created in 1979 in collaboration with the illustrator Antonio Lopez.  Its presence dominates your peripheral vision as it moves mechanically from one end of the room to the other.  It’s eerie, childlike and powerful all at the same time.

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The total sum of Goude’s creative output is hard to sum up in one room but curator Hélène Kelmachter does it admirably and with one stellar example illustrates how multi-displinarian image making creatives don’t have to be defined by one field or skill.  The likes of Goude is a photographer, illustrator, film maker, set designer, art director and graphic designer all at once.  It’s why he has done everything from creating impactful stills of muses like Grace Jones and Farida to designing the Bicentennial Parade in Paris in 1989.  And his latest work, which a highlight of this exhibition, sees three figures, inspired by the wise monkeys (“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”) of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine moving in circular motion, accompanied by interpretative waltz by Jun Miyake.  It’s a spell binding installation, intriguing and inspirational for people interested in any spectrum of design.

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Dotted around the exhibition are examples of other multi-talented image makers.  David Lynch is represented not by his film work but by a series of lithographs, created  with the studio Idem in Paris, which gives Lynch and opportunity to explore a hands-on and tactile technique.

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Theatre and visual artist Robert Wilson‘s video portraits appear out of nowhere, moving with subtle motion.  Subjects like the actor Steve Buscemi, the writer Gao Xingjian and a porcupine named Boris root you to the spot because of their HD (literally) definition and surreal set-ups.

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I discovered the work of Photographer Hal as the exhibition included his series entitled “Flesh Love” and “Zatsuran” – photographs of couples shrink wrapped with all kinds of themed paraphernalia.  There was something quite grotesque and hilarious about them that dazzled the eye.

 

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It was great to see shoe visionist Noritaka Tatehana have nearly a floor to himself as his infamous heel-less shoes are displayed alongside several sculptural works that take his obsession with manipulating the way a woman’s walk to new levels.  The crystal boots which would encase the legs as if in frozen ice were particularly arresting as was the series of stacked platform geta heels, a reminder of Tatehana’s upbringing in Tokyo’s old theatre district Kabukicho.

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With three creatively minded siblings all working in set design, illustration and art direction, we all got to take away something different from Image Makers. The exhibition is on until October 5th if you’re a Tokyite or in town for a trip.

Grand Canyon

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Photographic diary of our three days at Grand Canyon and Red Rock Canyon with Lovers + Friends, between pools between the rocks, rides on the smallest plane I’ve ever tried and cowboy hats :)

Diario fotografico dei nostri tre giorni al Grand Canyon e Red Rock Canyon insieme a Lovers + Friends, tra piscine immerse tra le montagne, giri nell’aereo più piccolo che io abbia mai preso e cappelli da cowboy :)

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GRAND CANYON, 15th-17th August 2014

I was wearing:

LOOK 1
SENSO LEOPARD BOOTIES
LOVERS + FRIENDS RIPPED DENIM SHORTS
REFORMATION TSHIRT
CHANEL BACKPACK

LOOK 2:
CONVERSE HIGH PLATFORMS
LOVERS + FRIENDS BLACK SHORTS
FOR LOVE AND LEMONS BRA
ZADIG ET VOLTAIRE WHITE SHIRT
COWBOY HAT

LOOK 3:
SENSO LEOPARD BOOTIES
CALVIN KLEIN SHIRT
LOVERS + FRIENDS BLACK DENIM SHORTS

LOOK 4:
LOVERS + FRIENDS BLACK DENIM SHORTS
LOVERS + FRIENDS STUDDED BLACK SHIRT

LOOK 5:
LOVERS + FRIENDS BLACK LACE DRESS

Photos by Andrew Arthur and Chiara Ferragni

Roller skates

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In the same photos two of my secret dreams: a pair of vintage roller skates (found in our South California roadtrip) and Volkswagen hippie van (that I wanna buy after I find a house in Los Angeles).

Nelle stesse fotografie due dei miei sogni proibiti: un paio di pattini vintage (trovati nel nostro roadtrip nel sud della California) ed il furgoncino Volkswagen (che voglio comprare non appena troverò casa a Los Angeles).

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I was wearing:

VINTAGE ROLLER SKATES
LEVI’S VINTAGE DENIM SHORTS
VINTAGE SEQUINED TSHIRT
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Palm Springs

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Photographic diary of our stay at The Parker Hotel in Palm Springs: palm trees, swimming pools, flamingo dress and super cool furniture included :)

Diario fotografico del nostro soggiorno al The Parker Hotel a Palm Springs: palme, piscine, abito con fenicotteri ed arredamento super cool incluso :)

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I was wearing:

CELINE WEDGES
IORANE DRESS
TOM FORD SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Salvation Mountain

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During our California roadtrip we couldn’t miss visiting Salvation Mountain: an art installation that covers an entire hill of the Colorado desert.
The artist who created it, Leonard Knight (who died last February) spent the last 40 years of his life to enlarge and paint his artificial mountain, sharing a love message and showing the tourists around.
A magnificent place that is definitely worth a visit.

Durante il nostro roadtrip in California una delle tappe che non potevo perdermi era Salvation Mountain: un’installazione d’arte che ricopre un’intera collina del deserto del Colorado.
L’artista che l’ha creata, Leonard Knight (morto lo scorso Febbraio), ha impiegato gli ultimi 40 anni della sua vita a perfezionare ed ingrandire la sua “montagna artificiale”, condividendo un messaggio d’amore e accogliendo i turisti in prima persona.
Un posto spettacolare che merita sicuramente una visita se siete nella zona.

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I was wearing:

CELINE WEDGES
TULAROSA ROMPER
RAY-BAN SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

High Line

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New York and a walk sunset on the High Line. Wearing a sequined striped dress and the new slipons from my shoeline, Chiara Ferragni.

New York ed una passeggiata al tramonto sull’High Line. Indossando un abitino a righe di paillettes e le nuove slipons della mia linea, Chiara Ferragni.

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I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI SLIPONS (available online on CHIARAFERRAGNICOLLECTION.COM)
ZARA STRIPED DRESS
CELINE TRIO BAG
DIOR SUNGLASSES

Photos by Jeff Thibodeauco

Morocco visual diary: This magical feeling, part 4

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

Hassan ll Mosque, Casablanca - Kit Lee

It’s beautiful isn’t it?  This was my first visit to a mosque in Arab world, the stunning Hassan ll Mosque in Casablanca.  The Hassan ll Mosque is known to be one of the most beautiful and the largest mosque in Morocco and Africa, and the 7th largest in the world.  It was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues, the construction lasted 6 years which involved 35,000 volunteered workers and 6,000 traditional Moroccan artisans to create the embellished interior and exterior to the finest finish, it’s definitely world class.  My favourite tour was the ablution hall located in the basement, it’s where Muslims perform a cleansing ritual before entering the mosque for prayer.  It’s a worth a visit and the experience the true marvel of Moroccan craftsmanship.


Kit Lee was a guest of Morocco Tourist Board.


The post Morocco visual diary: This magical feeling, part 4 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Palm Springs days

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I was wearing:
REINA OLGA BEACHWEAR
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Paradise

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Hi from paradise (and the second largest barrier reef in the world). Can’t wait to share with you all what we get in Roatan, Honduras. Just me wearing my THPSHOP Bound Cuffs and not much else!

Shop the Set Now

Paradise

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Hi from paradise (and the second largest barrier reef in the world). Can’t wait to share with you all what we get in Roatan, Honduras. Just me wearing my THPSHOP Bound Cuffs and not much else!

Shop the Set Now

San Giorgio

Here are a few photos of the hotel where I spent my Mykonos week, the San Giorgio. I loved it. It’s sublime and without showing off, exactly what I like. The staff is adorable and there a little sea access where we spent hours.

You can be lazy there for a whole day without being bored, going from the restaurant to the sea. I would probably go back there, but I think I should mention that even if all the rooms have adorable terrasses, most of them are pretty small (except for the suites, of course – those are wonderful) and the bathrooms are pretty… minimal.

Another important thing to know if you’re going there – the hotel is located near a few of the most important clubs of the island, so in the evening, depending on the wind, you could find yourself falling asleep to the rhythm (very distant for sure, but I am crazy sensitive so I thought I should mention it) of techno music.

I still totally adored it, and came back with a thousand decor ideas… And an idea to adopt a cat, too ;)

Click on the arrows to see more images…

A week in Mykonos

I’m going to talk to you one last time about Mykonos, ok one second-to-last time, and then I promise to stop annoying you until next year.
Yeah, seriously – because I’ve obviously decided to go back.

I came home from Mykonos feeling inspired, in great shape, and with lots of wonderful memories…

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The landscapes

It’s kind of surprising at first — the dry, grassy hills that drop into the blue sea. It’s a kind of pure, almost severe, beauty that you learn to love, and once it wins you over, it’s deeply relaxing for the soul.

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The people

The Greeks are known for their art of living, of course. They’re super welcoming, they like to party, and they love to share.

And then there are the hoards of tourists. I mean, it’s not like I discovered the island myself — it’s a VERY touristy place where you can’t find parking and you hear all kinds of different languages spoken around you. But in Mykonos, it doesn’t bother me at all.

It’s summer, it’s fun, it’s busy. It’s all part of the ambiance.

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The style

Especially since there’s a real nightlife in Mykonos, people take style very seriously. And people get dressed up to go out in the evening — they bring out the dresses and heels.

It’s a thing that’s disappearing at an alarming rate, which makes me sad, because I really love it — spending the day at the beach, going back to take a shower, getting dressed up to go out for the evening, and then staying out all night until early morning.

In Mykonos, people still do that, and I love it.

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The rhythm of life

When someone said “meet you at the restaurant at 10:30!” for the first time, it didn’t quite register. In New York, it’s not uncommon to meet for dinner at 7:00 and to be in bed by 10:30.

In Mykonos, you learn to take your time, and you get used to it really really fast. Shops are open until 3:00 in the morning. You can stay at the beach until 7:00, no problem (my favorite time to go to the beach is between 5:00 and 7:00 or 8:00 to see the sunset). You get to the restaurant around 10:00, you start eating around midnight, and leave the restaurant at about 1:30 or 2:00. Then you go out dancing if you feel like it.

Honestly, having long days like that really changes your life.

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The parties

You’ve probably already heard this, since every time I said I was going to Mykonos, people gave me a funny look, but it’s really The Party Island.

You run into tons of kids risking their lives on scooters to get to the clubs, and depending on which kind of beach you go to, you might end up at a kind of rave party with girls dancing in their bathing suits and guys with big cigars. Not exactly my thing, but hey. The good news is, it’s easy to avoid them if you want to. There are also plenty of very very peaceful beaches.

And the other good news is that the party spirit is kind of contagious. People dance in restaurants and bars, the music is good, people want to have a good time and share — getting together for a drink can quickly turn into a party.

I even almost went to see Bob Sinclar’s DJ set one night. Oh, I also almost went to see Julio Iglesias in concert on a beach on another night. Come on, I said almost.

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The food

I don’t think I have to describe it to you in detail, everyone already knows — you eat amazingly well in Greece, and plus it’s very healthy, very fresh, and very simple.

It’s very relaxing, actually, just like the landscapes.

Between that and my daily swim, I came back with tons of energy. And a little thinner too.

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The sky

There was not even one day of bad weather, and apparently it’s like that all the time. The only thing is, it can be windy pretty often. At first, it’s a little strange, but you get used to it. It cools you off when it’s too hot, and it keeps the clouds from sticking around too long.

It makes the weather kind of like this:

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The sea

There’s not a single jellyfish in the sea, and as a Corsican who was depressed to not be able to go swimming in Ajaccio the week before, I have to say, it changes everything. The sea is as calm as a swimming pool, the way I like it (if you like waves, be on your way) and you can go for really long swims with a snorkel and fins. Sublime, cool, relaxing — pure joy.

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The houses

If you know me very well, you know that the white houses in Mykonos, painted white inside and out, with very simple furnishings, are kind of my ideal decor. Tomorrow, I’ll post photos of the hotel where I stayed and it will give you an idea of the style I want for my next house. Total and complete inspiration.

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The islands

I didn’t go to all the islands, but obviously, a lot of people who are looking for a quieter vacation choose a different island than Mykonos. I only visited Delos, a mythical island where you can visit ancient ruins. We went there in a lovely little fisherman’s boat and then went to see the ruins and we went swimming in the clear waters.

Now I want to visit all the islands one by one, of course.

So that was my vacation! What about you? Where did you go?

Translated by Andrea Perdue.

For a change

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A day with bigger boobies, for a change.
With my Hollywood slippers from my shoeline (that you can find online here), worn in the most appropriate city, Los Angeles.

Una giornata con il seno maggiorato, per cambiare un po’.
Insieme alle slipper Hollywood della mia linea (che potete trovare online qui), indossate nella città più appropriata per eccellenza, Los Angeles.

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I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI HOLLYWOOD SLIPPERS (available worldwide on Chiaraferragnicollection.com)
LEVI’S VINTAGE SHORTS
KELLY WEARSTLER TSHIRT
CHANEL BOY BAG

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Coronado

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Here I am back: after some days roadtrippg in California, with these photos shot in San Diego, on Coronado Island on a sunny summer sunset.

Eccomi di nuovo: dopo qualche giorno di roadtrip in California, con queste foto scattate a San Diego, a Coronado Island in una soleggiato tramonto estivo.

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I was wearing:

SUPERGA X THE BLONDE SALAD SNEAKERS (summer 2013)
STYLE STALKER ROMPER
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK QUARTZ
VALENTINO ROCKSTUD BAG
FENDI SUNGLASSES

Photos by Andrew Arthur

A Montana Vacation

For my summer vacation, I headed to Whitefish, Montana…

…(along with 28 of my family members!) for some mountain view relaxation!

It was the kind of trip that combined relaxing by the lake with some serious activity– exactly what I love. Here are my favorite things to do, eat and see in Montana!

Road trip: The closest airport to Whitefish is in Kalispell, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, I say make your journey a road trip. We drove from Minnesota (18 hours each way!) and it was really half the fun. You can hit a few different national parks on your way out no matter what direction you’re coming from. We passed through Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The badlands (and bison!) are not to be missed.

Take a hike: Head over to Big Mountain and hike the Danny On Trail. The 3.8 mile loop gives you some of the best views of the town and the surrounding mountain landscape. Once you get to the top, take the chairlift back down for more breathtaking views (while giving your legs a rest). If you have extra time, make sure you go to Glacier National Park for some more intense hiking trails.

Hit the beach: I spent most of my time in the water on my trip. Whitefish Lake is gorgeous and the perfect way to cool down in the afternoon (it was 90 degrees everyday). We brought along our kayaks from home and rented paddle boards from Paddlefish Sports in town. The lake is great for swimming, boating and just floating in the sun. The bottom is pretty rocky, so as un-chic as they may be, bring along a pair of water shoes. The soles of your feet with thank you.

Get your raft on: It wasn’t my first whitewater rafting adventure, but it’s definitely my most memorable. We booked a trip with Glacier Raft Company (try to get Jesse as your guide, he was great) and 15 of us headed out on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I fell halfway out of the raft on some wild rapids, but it was by far the most fun I had on my trip!

Eat, drink, be merry: We cooked most of our meals at our cabins but walked in to town for breakfast each morning. The Red Caboose makes scones the size of your head and they serve Stumptown Coffee. Grab a burger at the Bulldog Saloon (a perfect stop after your rafting adventure) and take some time to check out all the photos on the walls (see if you can find my cousin Patrick on the wall by the bar!). If you’re into beer, the Great Northern Brewing Company is a must. Get the Wild Huckleberry Wheat Beer. Speaking of huckleberries… you can’t go without trying some. My dad and I picked them wild while hiking Big Mountain, but you can buy huckleberry everything (taffy, jam, hot sauce) at most shops in Whitefish!


By alex

Coming to Fruition

10467917_242596119262782_1886810974_nSammy and Val fusing all of the elements that have make Fruition, the store an interesting concept

Fruition.  I’m pretty sure that’s one of my top ten most overused words in speech and in writing.  It is after all an uplifting word that neatly sums up the process of design, development and final product and in on this occasion, I finally got to see the “Fruition” of Sammy Jo Alonso, Val Julian and business partner Chris Julian’s eponymous store that is coming up to its ten year anniversary.  The trio started Fruition in their beloved hometown of Las Vegas because they wanted to shake things up in sin city.  Sammy has been reflecting on her close-to-a-decade Fruition journey on Instagram and had this to say: “To many of you, Las Vegas may seem like a barren desert.  But to me, Las Vegas is a city with boundless untouched treasures.  Treasures and undeveloped talents found within myself these past 9 years.”  

From Fruition’s seemingly in-the-middle-of-nowhere LV locale, they’ve expanded to Los Angeles with a store in Echo Park as well as collaborating left, right and centre with brands, like Nike, along the way to spread not just the Fruition gospel but Sammy and Val’s own mantras of living life to the full (see this post for motivating words that will make you get off your arse and well… just do it!).  On my trip to Los Angeles which also included a one day reccie to Las Vegas last month, seeing Fruition in both cities was on my agenda, just so that I could see this store that I talked up on the basis of their look book styling, which popped off the computer screen.  Hearing Virgil Abloh talk about these “Celine and Supreme” modern times, where one can mix and match street, high-end and other sources all together; it made me think of the aesthetic of Fruition.  Back in 2005, they were already recontextualising vintage to mix up authentically crafted “ethnic” pieces from all over the world, with vintage Chanel and Versace and then both new and deadstock streetwear and sportswear.  Back then, that mix would have been a zany one.  Now, we almost take mixing up style genres for granted.  Case in point, I came away from the Los Angeles store with a destroyed and ripped Chinese robe (no ridic London prices here – I paid USD30) and a Phoebe Philo concert tour t-shirt by the brand Modern Man Paris.  I’m not sure how Ms. Philo will feel about her image cut ‘n’ pasted this way but this t-shirt is certainly representative of the way designers are probably a bit uneasy about the way consumer mixes their collections up, styling and restyling until it is very far removed from the original catwalk context.  It’s why brands and houses instruct editors and stylists to showcase head-to-toe looks in magazines.  The very idea of designers ceding control so that “people” can remix brands in their own way is what makes stores like Fruition so refreshing.  They point out the roots of brands with their themed displays of military jackets, bleached-out denim and 80s windbreakers and pair them up with brand new streetwear or designers that link up to these references.  In the background of the LA store in particular, glitched up images of Celine and Margiela collections are spliced with their own references and we’re invited to “surf” the store and “instamoment” a selfie.  Fruition reflects the same kind of glitched up present, whilst recognising the weight of the fruitful past where so many of the clothes in the store come from.  But what of the future?

We live in a google generation.  A microwave culture where we’ve been conditioned to expect instant results and instant solutions. We’re led by bottom line expectations to produce, coupled with our internal pressure to succeed.  These circumstances can easily take the life out of living if not pursued with balance and meaning.  With patience and discipline, we can learn to run the race we have been called to run.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. I promise you, we will surpass our own expectations and set the pace towards our best days ahead.”  From Sammy’s Instagram

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Morocco visual diary: A riad worth visiting, part 3

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Riad de Luxe, Rabat - Kit Lee

Almost the end of our trip, we couldn’t leave Morocco without visiting this delightful traditional riad belonging to our guide’s friend. Riad de luxe Dar El Kebira is a small luxury, elegant riad located within the Medina a short walk from the Kasbah des Oudaias.  The rooms are tiny but the use of exquisite Moroccan decoration, traditional furnitures, and lavish textiles balance the space in a refined  fashion between Berber influence and fine architecture, totally my ideal Moroccan palace.  However stunning in all angle like your own personal gallery space, it’s so Elle Decoration, you wouldn’t sleep in it, I would just stand there admiring its beauty all day long wishing they were mine.  I’ve never stayed in a riad before, I really hope to experience it one day.


Kit Lee was a guest of Morocco Tourist Board.


The post Morocco visual diary: A riad worth visiting, part 3 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Into the Wilderness

I’ve been spoilt with festivals on grounds of English stately homes this summer.  Ok, spoilt might be a stretch but following Port Eliot a fortnight ago with a day trip to Wilderness, in a comparison of two festivals that try to outdo one another with how British and middle-class they can get, does seem indulgent.  I have Mulberry to thank for my Saturday sojourn to the pictoresque  lush countryside of  Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, which played host to the fourth Wilderness festival.  And luckily I was there in the sunny nick of time before being lashed by gale force winds and rain today.

It’s the first time Mulberry have had presence at a UK festival (they previously hosted events at Coachella a few years ago) and it seems like a significant time to rock up at a festival like Wilderness, engage with customers in an endearingly adorned tent and a handy hashtag #MulberryLovesCraft.  Wilderness is multi-faceted, on the one hand revelling in neon-spandex, sequins and feather attired debauchery, best seen late at night when children are tucked in boutique camping tents and adults come out to play in woodland raves and bonfire parties.  And yet on the other hand, it promotes genteel vibes with yoga classes, Swedish lakeside saunas and crafting stands aplenty.

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IMG_5876Two feather-headdress adorned babes inside the Secret Emporium tent – I’ll leave it up to you as to how to judge the PC-ness of their headdress styles

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IMG_5885Dive In, Feel Free people…

That’s where Mulberry came in with their Mulberry Loves Craft tent, set up with workshops to teach people to stitch or monogram their own leather bracelets in countryside-derived shades of pheasant green, oak and flame.  Festival goers could also speak to Mulberry craftsmen from the Bridgewater factory (otherwise known as The Willows) about the processes of making one of Mulberry’s iconic Bayswater bags.  Mulberry’s attempt to reshore their production back to England is not to be sniffed at as they’ve invested over £7.5 million towards The Willows as well as using a government Regional Growth Fund towards recruitment and training in the local Somerset area.  With over 700 craftsmen and craftswomen working at both factories (The Rookery is Mulberry’s premier flagship factory) and an ongoing apprenticeship programme, it’s definitely a positive step towards the overall process of reshoring in the UK, as pointed out in this recent Business of Fashion article.

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Over in a beautiful walled garden, away from the hub of Wilderness, Mulberry and their AW14 ambassador and collaborator Cara Delevigne hosted a picture perfect picnic complete with haybales, shabby chic blankets and custom-made hampers filled with cobnuts, heritage tomatoes and cucumber juice (we grazed like rabbits for lunch but feasted like kings later at night at the Hix banquet – two whole chickens between four people?  More food with fashion displays please…).

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DMB-MULBERRY_CARA_DELEVINGNE_WILDERNESS_EDIT004Photograph by Dave Bennett

IMG_5950I never know what the crap to wear at a festival.  Hunter wellies and sundress person I am not not.  Opted for my marabou-festooned t-shirt from Bubbles Tokyo, Romance was Born top, vintage skirt, a Nike Tech windrunner, Christopher Kane belt, PAM glitter boots, Ray Ban velvet sunnies and of course, a Mulberry bag.  

And of course the woman of the hour Cara Deleveigne was presnet to pull some funny faces, leap about the long grass around her “Cara-van” (geddit?) and get intimate with her own bag by  hugging, biting and kissing it.  It is a bag worth lavishing some love on as a nifty three-in-one style that can be worn on the shoulder, as a rucksack or as a hand-held satchel.  I’m particularly into the monochrome camouflage version.

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DMB-MULBERRY_CARA_DELEVINGNE_WILDERNESS_EDIT012Photograph by Dave Bennett

Cara, lush picnic and craft at Wilderness – what does it all project about Mulberry?  It all speaks of a gentle rebuilding of sorts.  Mulberry’s recent dropping profits, the stepping down of ex-CEO Guillon who was previously tasked to make Mulberry more exclusive, and thus expensive, and then departure of creative director Emma Hill doesn’t make for positive reading.  Back in February, it was then announced that a range of £500-700 priced bags would be introduced to entice back loyal customers (which already has had a positive effect on the share prices).  This is a new chapter at Mulberry as they also seek to reshore their manufacture, investing heavily in their two factories, as the Made in England tag becomes a communicable asset for the brand.  Then of course Mulberry are hoping that Cara’s bag will be an Alexa-esque turning point in the brand’s fortunes, as this former trophy bag helped the brand buck the last recession .  At Wilderness, Mulberry were given the opportunity to re-emphasise their core brand values – craftsmanship, Englishness and in their words “inspired by the cool of the city and the craft of the countryside.”  Mulberry’s participation in Wilderness is not just a jolly opportunity to roll around in bales and blankets, quaffing champers and canapes, but a sign that Mulberry perhaps are out of the woodland wilderness and into a once-again captivating clearing.

picnicPicnic Posers… via @TheOfficialSelfridges Instagram

Sending out an S.o.S.

If you think about our world nowadays and how we’re living and how we’re acting and if you think about our history and how it is repeating itself in the most obvious and horrible manner, it is something to really take seriously and talk about.  I know this sounds very dramatic but I find fashion especially a place where we need to talk about these things because fashion is a global language.  We all speak it more and more.  Less and less people read the news, less and less people are taking alarming news seriously.  In this language and this culture we are all so global and globalised and we’re all so well educated we need to start talking about these things in our time where we actually are and not just see it through a video screen and that’s something I want to do in my way.

Wali Mohammed Barrech, a designer with a mouthful of a name also talked up a mouthful after his tension-strung S/S 15 show held in a car park during Copenhagen Fashion Week two days ago.  It wasn’t just backstage post-show waffle though.  Barrech’s Facebook page is dotted with current affairs concerns - namely the crisis in Gaza – events that are shocking in the extreme, but for most of us, our participation is merely restricted to watching it on the news, reading stories online and retweeting/FB-ing links accompanied by a sad-faced emoji.  Barrech wants to use his collections as a form of dialogue to reflect the world we live in and S/S 15 was an S.O.S. cry for caution on all fronts.  We’re being watched everywhere and our privacy is constantly at risk, hence the surveillance printed imagery on unitards, where cars are seen from an aerial view just as Google street view will one day probably be a 24 hour live camera stream.  We need to be rescued from ourselves and the actions of others, hence the primary hued jackets equipped with elements derived from rescue and survival gear.  The majority of the models were deliberately blonde and tanned.  Barrech, as a Pakistani-born, Croatian-raised designer living in Denmark perhaps was probing into matters of racial supremacy, which ignore as we might, still lingers in strands all over the world.  The words S.S. emblazoned on nylon packaway jackets sends a shiver down your spine at first glance but look again and there’s a tiny “o” in the middle.  It’s an S.o.S. call that is meant to instill fear.  Barrech wanted to establish a sense of alarm at the show and so mid-way through, the lights in the already dim  city car park went out as we watched shadow-y figures stomping about, catching flashes of those S.o.S. and not much more.  Then a Toyota Yaris suddenly swerved in and parked itself in the middle of the runway.  An overhead sprinkler came on and smoky gas tore through.  For different people that danger-filled environment will evoke different things.  I was taken back to 7/7 in London when not too far behind me, the number 30 bus had exploded near Tavistock Square and the air was thick with smoke and an acrid smell.   Most of us are cocooned and safe in our living rooms and on our laptops consuming news from afar.  We can’t even begin to imagine what a bombed-out war scene could even be like.  Barrech’s show pulsed through a difficult subject matter to make us think but moreover maintains a strand of fashion that increasingly, more and more people shy away from - fashion as a medium that can probe and disturb.

Barrech is seeking to join an impressive pantheon of designers who have done this in the past – Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo, Vivienne Westwood to name but a few.  And there’s no getting away from the shades of Raf that can be seen in Barrech’s work.  But what was commendable was the fact that he tried and suceeded, for the most part to combine the aesthetically pleasing with pertinent messaging.  At the end of the day, the main takeaway for most people, who didn’t get to hear Barrech speak about the collection after the show, will be “Wow, cool show.” or “I want those shoes.”  Is that the ideal end conclusion?  Perhaps not.  But what Barrech is critiquing can’t be remedied with one singular fashion show.  We will still be in our safe and comforting shells, passively retweeting and observing.  Engaging in this way and being aware is the most we can do for now.  Barrech’s S.o.S. at the very least is trying to thrust the conversation in your face.

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I was wearing:

BALENCIAGA BOOTIES
REFORMATION LEATHER SKIRT
LNA TSHIRT
CHANEL VINTAGE 2.55 BAG
RAY-BAN SUNGLASSES

Photos by Jeff Thibodeauco

Let it Rock: The Look of Music The Sound of Fashion

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A fashion trade show that is as enormous as CIFF in Copenhagen might seem like an odd place to house a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to one of Britain’s most well-known, multi-talented and culture zeitgeist informing provocateurs.  As you enter Crystal Hall, Virgil Abloh is pitted next to Malcolm McLaren – past and present colliding.  The exhibition Let it Rock: The Look of Music The Sound of Fashion, is really a first and proper look at McLaren’s fashion output and how it interwove with the various musical epochs that McLaren championed.  Structured as a journey through the various guises and guerilla changes 430 Kings Road underwent, we got to see unseen and rare original clothing, photographs, films and audio soundtrack and experience a concise yet simultaneously comprehensive look at how McLaren figured into this ultimately groundbreaking partnership between himself and Vivienne Westwood.

The exhibition is co-curated by Young Kim, McLaren’s partner who lived with him for the last twelve years of his life and the creator of my go-to resource about all things sub-culture, British and London, Paul Gorman.  After a slow process of organising an archive of sorts, gathering up information and ephemera, they’re now ready to pipe up and let it be known what McLaren treated.  In mainstream consciousness, Westwood’s fame has far outstripped her former partner, as her solo career in fashion took flight beyond 1984, when her and McLaren officially dissolved their partnership.  Those formative years between 1970 and 1984 though is easily one of the most fascinating time in British fashion history where political climate, music, youth culture and a do-it-yourself, grassroots level creative expression all came together, centred on that infamous shop on Kings Road.  That’s what this exhibition is focused on and that’s where McLaren can be discussed, not just as a svengali/manager type figure, but as an artistic/creative director with a hand on everything from the collaborators to the clothes to the store design to the show soundtracks and even on what was written on the programme notes.  Much like a modern day creative director at a house, tasked with overseeing all aspects.  Only McLaren got to have the final say in every matter.

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The daily rags are quick to pick up on the more tawdry aspects of the less-than-acromonious fallout between McLaren and Westwood, exacerbated by McLaren’s death four years ago and ensuing dispute about his will.  With Westwood still alive and kicking and with Young Kim fighting for a lasting legacy for McLaren, it can be a deeply touchy subject to dissect the work of the two.

But let’s put down the nit picking “who did what” and just get our heads round the fact it was an equal partnership.  There were two names on those clothing labels – from the Seditionaries period onwards through to the more formal collections they showed under the label World’s End up – and that’s a good enough reason to celebrate and highlight the fact that Malcolm McLaren wasn’t just a “shop manager” as Gorman puts it.  “For some people, as Vivienne continued in fashion they dismiss Malcolm’s design role,” says Kim.  “I want people to understand everything from Malcolm’s point of view.  Everything came from the mind of an artist, there was a reason for it, it was entrenched in pop culture and in terms of the clothes themselves, he had real knowledge.”  

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IMG_4664Clothing and pieces from the Let it Rock period

The first surprising fact to stake claim to McLaren’s fashion nous.  His grandfather was a Savile Row tailor and his mother had a dress factory.  He carried a knowledge of how clothes should be made.  At the age of twenty-five, wearing his bright blue lame suit, which he designed, he happened to hap upon a shop called Paradise Garage.  He was offered the backspace to sell his stash of rock ‘n’ roll records.  Later the front shop was deserted and that became Let it Rock, a retrogazing haven for rock ‘n’ roll aficionados, but more importantly this was McLaren’s expression of recontextualising the past as something “cool” and relevant.  Together with Westwood they sold rock ‘n’ gear, such as some ace ties that could slot right into Prada today, but selling wasn’t the point.  “We agreed that it was our intention to fail in business and to fail as flamboyantly as possible, and only if we failed in a truly fabulous fashion, would we ever have a chance of succeeding.”* 

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Just as publications like the Sunday Times Style were picking up on this rockabilly/teddy boy vibe, McLaren and Westwood volte faced and opened in 1972-4 as Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, where printed slogan and graphic t-shirts were deliberately trampled on and messed up as much as possible.  In the context of early 70s fashion mainstream mod/hippie hybrids, happing upon this Kings Road spot must have felt like a discombobulated trip.  “I created something new by destroying the old,” said McLaren.

“It’s collaging, and combining different influences to create something new,” asserts Kim.  Gorman then adds, “It’s postmodern. Today, we can place him as an artist within the narrative. There’s certain principles that define postmodernism and Malcolm ticks all of them. It was revolutionary at the time.”

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IMG_4658A SEX ensemble from Kim Jones’ private collection 

Then came SEX in 1974, probably one of most monumental shake-ups to the store and one that would coincide with of course, McLaren’s management and creation of the Sex Pistols as SEX customers like John Lydon, Paul Cook and Steve Jones and shop assistant Glen Matlock would come together in this uneasy, sleaze-filled store, fronted by giant pink rubber letters spelling out SEX.  The motto underneath was “Craft Must have Clothes – But the Truth Loves to Go Naked.”  Westwood’s adapted lingerie, fetish and bondage wear were presented on climbing wall bars, adorned with nipple clamps and whips.  “You didn’t know what the fuck was going on,” remembers Gorman about the store.  There was reason behind the provocation though.  “Black expressed the denouncement of the frill.  Nihilism.  Boredom.  Emptiness.  How do you dress an array of disaffected youth?,” said McLaren.  The things we take for granted today as standard “trend” items like a pair of spike-backed black shoes or a printed graphic t-shirt displaying nudity were ground breaking then.  They did shake up the system.  That street fashion of boredom would of course accompany probably McLaren’s biggest claim to fame – the birth of punk – although Kim and Gorman were keen to stress they didn’t want to focus on punk, around which there are so many misconceptions anyway.

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SEX closed and reopened in 1976 as Seditionaries – Clothes for Heroes.  It was to be the store’s most menacing manifestation yet designed by Ben Kelly of Hacienda fame, with a caged-up stark shop front, bombed-out ceiling and walls depicting the Dresden ruins.  This was war.  Jamie Reid’s graphics came into their own and the bondage trouser was born.  From disorder and chaos came commercial cohesion though.  Gorman observed that Seditionaries was a real “commercial” and on the back of Sex Pistols blowing up and media attention, those t-shirts and trousers were commodities.  Sure, the label read “For Soldiers, prostitutes, dykes and punks” but at £30 a tee, these clothes weren’t cheap.  From anti-establishment, Westwood and McLaren were slowly coming into the fold of the establishment, even as people from Vogue were being chase out of the store, as Kim recalled.

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IMG_46661981 Pirate Shirt 

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In 1981, McLaren and Westwood volte-faced again, buoyed by Westwood’s own desire to destroy punk and to sail away from the Kings Road.  The store floated on waves and time went backwards on a thirteen-hour giant clock on the store front.  This was also the beginning of the end for McLaren and Westwood’s partnership even though they arguably created their most cohesive and stirring fashion moments through showed like the Pirate, Savage and Buffalo collections – their originality still looking utterly captivating today as you look at the pieces in glass vitrines or hung up flat in-between perspex.  This wild with abandon, layered and multi-ethnic collaged look was the product of Westwood’s buoyant creativity as well as McLaren’s own interest in influences from the third world.  He connected 18th century men’s shirts to pirates and then to modern day piracy in music, where McLaren was having his own explosion of creation with records like Duck Rock.

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IMG_4687 IMG_4689A top made out of dish rags from the Hobo-Punkature collection

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McLaren’s final expression in retail and fashion resulted in Nostalgia of Mud, a short-lived store in town that pushed the idea that the roots of our culture lay in primitive societies.  It sounds like an extraordinary interiors feat with a formal Regency-style foyer and then a collapsed floor so that you descend into a basement as if on an archaeological dig.  Collections like Nostalgia of Mud, Hobo-Punkature and Witches were to be housed here.

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The final vitrine showcasing the hat dubbed the buffalo hat, now so intrinsically attached to Pharrell’s image is a pertinent ending.  Whilst Pharrell did credit McLaren at the Grammys, it’s Westwood who has profited from the association.  As an idea, it was born out of McLaren’s research of traditional Peruvian dress but it was also a combined realisation, as so much of Westwood and McLaren’s work from 1970 until 1984 was.  As a final item in the exhibition, it leaves us to ponder how do we move forward with this discussion of about this partnership as it can so easily descend into a “Who designed what?” quagmire.

IMG_4648The agreement between Westwood and McLaren to dissolve their partnership in 1984

That discussion wasn’t fully resolved in this exhibition but it did present a somewhat revisionist perspective to the tale, one that not many people will know about.  Is there an absolute and categoric truth to be found in all of this?  Probably not.  But that the conversation about it is carried on by Gorman and Kim’s work is definitely encouraging.  The exhibition will travel to Grenoble in France later this year and to other countries beyond that, hopefully with a book in the pipeline too.  The historian in me says that it will take probably decades after this to uncover an even deeper understanding of this explosive and ultimately game-changing partnership.  For now we can just fully appreciate the importance of their collective output at a time before fashion became product.

I thought I’d end this post beautifully not with a probing question but with McLaren’s 1984 masterpiece Madame Butterfly collaging opera with electro, deftly mixing and recontextualising styles and genres, just as he did with Westwood previously.

*All Malcolm McLaren quotes in the exhibition were said to Gorman in 2006 for his seminal book The Look: Adventures in Rock & Pop Fashion.

On Melrose

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A typical day in Los Angeles on Melrose :)

Un tipico giorno a Los Angeles, sulla Melrose :)

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I was wearing:

ISABEL MARANT WEDGES
MLLE MADEMOISELLE LEATHER SHORTS
IRO SHIRT
LOUIS VUITTON NOE BAG
RAY-BAN SUNGLASSES

Photos by Jeff Thibodeauco

Le Rêve

The code name of this post was “drunk at the bar” but I chose to call it “Le rêve” (the dream) because this place instantly became my favorite in the world to have drinks.

We went there with my friends Carole and Marilena, the evening before we left. The Caprice is in Little Venice, Mykonos. The design is sublime, minimalist and happy, very Greek. The music is perfect, from Billie Holiday to Pharrell, and you find yourself dancing on the tables without even realizing. I mean even more so if you ordered delicious cocktails before.

The Caprice is located exactly in front of the sunset. The idea is to get there a little before and to take your time. When the colors turn to orange and red and the atmosphere becomes softer, everyone gets in the windows or on the small pathway between the bar and the sea and takes pictures, chats and shares drinks. It’s really the best moment ever.

And then, you’re totally drunk and you dance on the tables.

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Le Caprice, Little Venice, Mykonos.
Marilena and Carole are wearing tops and shirts from Wildwood, our friend Melissa’s brand that I will tell you about very soon. I am wearing a dress from Ten over Six.

Details from Mykonos

Ancient Greek Sandals, Thais

Moving Still

Say what you want.  Like it or hate it.  Call it hyped up bullshit.  But if you’re ignoring what a collective wave of designers like Shayne Oliver at Hood by Air, Marcelo Burlon’s County of Milan and now Virgil Abloh’s Off-White is, as a cultural comment on the state of fashion today, then you’re sort of missing the point.  Business of Fashion recently called these trio of designers “Streetwear’s New Guard” much to the predictable umbrage of “for real” streetcar aficionados, who felt that these brands hadn’t been around long enough to earn the label of the much-vaulted name of streetwear.  Rather than referring to it as a new guard, it might be better to give this off-shoot a new term of categorisation.  People wagging their fingers at these designers who apparently don’t yet have the “gravitas” of heavyweights like Supreme of Stussy, perhaps don’t remember that those brands also had their own beginnings.

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We should look at these brands and think about what they’re contributing to the present rather than their value in the future.  And at present, the bottom line is, people are drawn to them in a big way – in numbers, in levels of interaction and in a showing of appreciation and loyalty when supposedly we’re in a fashion landscape where people are fickle about their choices, mixing and matching and well… being a bit blasé about everything.  I think of the way a whole posse of people turn up wearing Hood by Air t-shirts and sweatshirts at their shows, united as thought they were diehard followers of a football team.  As a physical entity they looked like a proper style tribe – as solid as the groups of visual-kei fans in Tokyo.  I look at Abloh’s instagram and you have people pleading with him to make bigger sizes because..”I was barely able to get Pyrex and this vision is so much more focused. So defined. BREAKING THROUGH SHIT. Don’t deny me a consumer the opportunity to be apart of the movement because I don’t wear a small or medium.  Movement.  Break-through.  Those are big words to be throwing around in the age of a the fair-weather fashion consumer.

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At Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, otherwise known as CIFF, there’s an intriguing pairing of exhibitions on until tomorrow (if you’re in town please try and make it over to see this!).  On one side of Crystal Hall (open to the public) at the Bella Center, Malcolm McLaren looms large in an incredibly detailed and well-put together overview about specifically his fusion of music and fashion – Let it Rock: The Look of Music, The Sound of Fashion is the exhibition title name, coined by curators Paul Gorman, the expert of all things Brit-sub-culture and McLaren’s partner Young Kim.  This deserves a separate and detailed post.

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Then on the other side in a darkened corner, Abloh’s wave is presented as a physical video projection with loud crashing audio and a handy metaphor for what Abloh’s label Off White is about.  It’s an installation that goes hand in hand with Abloh’s S/S 15 collection entitled “Moving Still” made up of blacked-out graphics, sewn on badges used like clusters of icons on a desktop and a Baja-inspired floral print.  Here in this industrial space, you do feel a wave crashing over you but it’s not salty or wet.  It’s the feeling of the unknown.

When I spoke to Abloh, he used Tumblr as a reference over and over again – it almost became like an adjective to define a generation of people he feels are likely to understand what he is doing with Off-White.  “If you squint your eyes at it, it might just look like streetwear,” said Abloh. “Clothes with graphics on it.  But if you can see the layers underneath, there is a high level of design.  I’m making current culture clothes for Tumblr kids that can mix high and low.  I’m from that generation.  They know about Raf and Balmain but they also know about the kid down the road printing their own t-shirts.  It’s Supreme and Celine.  That juxtaposition is what Off-White is based upon – it’s being a young designer who is in tune with reality as well as being able to extract reality and create an artistic statement.”

Juxtaposition is another word Abloh uses a lot.  The installation is about that “crash” or “clash”, if you will.  “High, low.  Cheap, chic,” said Abloh. ” I love it when those things crash.  Even the name Off-White is a juxtaposition.  Or like here.  I’m honoured to even be here paired next to Malcolm McLaren – it’s a trip!”

When Abloh speaks, it can often sound lofty and imbued with a slight hint of arrogance even.  But it’s the heightened ambition that is intriguing about this self-confessed fashion consumer turned creative.  Abloh came from a background of having trained as an architect and then of course became Kanye West’s creative/art director but his own path into fashion is a familiar one that most of us can relate to.  It was seeing a Kris van Assche collection in 2003 that sent Abloh spiralling down the rabbit hole of Style.com and then on to collecting Raf Simons.  From observer to hardcore consumer and collector to creator.  You could say that path has been well-trodden by many a person in the industry and certainly by the “interlopers” of this industry (ahem ahem) that have stirred up so much debate in recent years.

“This is a crazy time in fashion.  Editors have to compete with popular opinion.  Before, it was like you’re either on the page or not.  Now you have a genre like streetwear, which literally means “from the people” colliding with fashion.”  When asked whether he thought the current vogue for streetwear within high fashion was a passing thing, Abloh was lucid.  “It’s only going to be relevant for so long – but is it going to be remembered or forgotten about?  Is it credible or is it like Canal Street?”

It becomes tricky when you try and define what Abloh and the likes of Oliver and Burlon are doing but Abloh is adamant that he wants to do is to push a multi-layered and faceted notion of streetwear.  Which to hardcore streetwear enthusiasts might seem ludicrous because to them, it is already at the highest level it can be.  But from a fashion aesthetic perspective, stripping back the attachment of an attitude or lifestyle, streetwear is often reduced to a visual 2D flat planed graphic t-shirt.    “Within fashion, the idea of streetwear is still up for debate of whether it’s credible because it’s generally one-note,” said Abloh.  “I want to still be within streetwear but not be one-note, to have layers of reason and concept.  I want it upgraded on every level from concept to make.  As a designer, you don’t pore over just the ‘look of it’ but the fit and the quality.”

When I poked around Selfridges earlier this year, I touched up Off-White’s inaugural collection and was definitely taken aback by the “upgrade” in quality and also in stylistic detailing in comparison to say Abloh’s previous Pyrex line (which was basically a line of printed t-shirts and tops).  The debut womenswear for AW14 is similarly souped-up.  Entitled “I only smoke when I drink” (how many times have we heard that old chestnut before…?) is again full of contrasts and yes, juxtapositions.  “Chic, plus Air Force 1′s” is how Abloh summed it up to Style.com.  That in itself is a summary of how many women I know dress because they don’t want to be boxed into a cliche or a style trope.  Similarly, Abloh is not keen on just trussing up women in Off-White’s menswear that has been sized down.  “It isn’t a girl dressing as a guy,” said Abloh.  “It’s steeped in the same water but not the same thing.”  Ultimately it’s pieces you’d want to take out Off-White’s equation and into your own.  Like so much of fashion today.  Cut and paste.  Mix and match.  It might feel like it’s all surface for some but at the very least, it’s a jagged and unpredictable surface.  And it’s changing all the time.  That’s the now.

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Details

Glasses, Triwa; Pouch, Smythson; Lotion, Dyptique; Necklace bought on the streets of Mykonos.

Morocco visual diary: Life’s a beach, part 2

Skhirat, Morocco - Kit Lee

Skhirat, Morocco - Kit Lee

Skhirat, Morocco - Kit Lee

Bouznika, Morocco - Kit Lee

Bouznika, Morocco - Kit Lee

Bouznika , Morocco - Kit Lee

I would sit on the beach for hours watching the rolling waves break on the beach with the sun reflecting off the ocean, and listening to the soothing sounds of swirling waves crashing against the rocks, though not as epic as the ones in Azure Window in Gozo Island, nor as stunning as the golden beach in Karpaz, North Cyprus.  I prefer the calmness with its rich seaside culture like the scene-stealing fishing port in Essaouira, I loved it there.  Here are some images of the beaches from Skhirat and Bouznika Bay.

Stay tuned for part 3!


Kit Lee was a guest of Morocco Tourist Board.


The post Morocco visual diary: Life’s a beach, part 2 appeared first on STYLE SLICKER.

Weekend Inspiration #181

The ruins of Delos, Greece.

Weekend Inspiration #180

The ruins of Delos, Greece.

A Cape Cod Vacation

I’m baaaaack!

For the past two summers, I’ve been spending my vacation at my boyfriend’s family home in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. There are lots of beautiful Bauhaus homes, art galleries, and a crunchy-50s-psychoanalyst-vacation-home vibe that’s unlike any other town on the Cape.

Here are a few of my favorite things to do…

The Beaches: We like to park the car at White Crest beach, where all of the surfers go, and (eventually) walk over to Cahoon Hollow beach to have lunch at the Beachcomber. It’s the only restaurant located on the beach and they have a great raw seafood bar and some heavy handed cocktails—the Goombay Smash is their signature drink.

The beaches are all about a 40 foot dune drop from the road, so be prepared to get a good leg workout walking up and down.

The Ponds: Because Wellfleet is towards the tip of the Cape, a lot of the land up there is national seashore and forrest. There are a few big fresh water ponds surrounded by trees that are perfect for a dip after a day at the beach. The water is a lot warmer than the freezing cold ocean, and you can kayak, paddle board or bring pool floats and just laze around. My favorite is Gull Pond—it’s the biggest and has a little beach where you can ditch your stuff while you swim.

The Pier: It wouldn’t be a trip to the Cape without (fried) seafood and Mac’s Pier is hands down the best. They have every variation of lobster, clam and scallop that you could want—fried, on a sandwich, even in a quesadilla. You can hang at the harbor and eat your lobster roll while you watch all of the boats bring in fresh oysters. Then, you can top off your meal with some ice cream, also from the Pier. I treat myself daily with an Orange Whip—soft serve vanilla ice cream and orange juice blended like a milkshake.

Hatch’s Market: If you tire of the fried seafood, you can get it fresh at Hatch’s market, along with some of the best produce you’ll ever find. They were selling organic fruits and veggies before organic produce was even a thing. And as much as I love the Pier, we usually cook most of our meals at home while we’re up there.

Wellfleet Drive In: This place is super old school and I love going, even if we get stuck watching all kids movies. We like to back in for a double feature and bring blankets and pillows to lay on in the back of the car. You have to get there early to get a good spot, but it’s fun to kill time with a game of Scrabble and a huge bucket of popcorn from the concession stand.
On Sunday mornings, they use the parking lot for a huge flea market with tons of great junk.

P-Town: On rainy days, the best thing to do is drive to the Provincetown at the very tip of the Cape. There’s good shopping at Marc Jacobs, hysterical sex toys at Spank the Monkey, and even a theatre production of Snow White and the Seven Bottoms ;)


By emilyn

From Mykonos: A cat playing with Carole’s bag

Carole’s bag, Balenciaga and towel, Pierre Louis Mascia.

Mr.Funtastik

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Playing in Los Angeles with one of my favourite Moschino pieces designed by Jeremy Scott…

Giocando a Los Angeles con uno dei miei pezzi preferiti di Moschino disegnati da Jeremy Scott…

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I was wearing:

ISABEL MARANT WEDGES
MOSCHINO BY JEREMY SCOTT DRESS
CELINE SUNGLASSES

Photos by Jeff Thibodeauco

Melissa / Mykonos

Vacations with friends in Mykonos are wonderful – even more if one of them knows the island by heart. Melissa lives between Athens and Mykonos, where she owns Free Shop, very cool store that carries Sacai and Balenciaga as well as her own brand that I love, Wildwood – I will tell you more about it very soon :)

I’ve been in Mykonos for a few days (it’s going way too fast!!!) and thanks to Melissa and my other friend, Carole, I really feel like I’m in paradise. I thought it could be nice to share, so here is Melissa’s City Guide!

What three words best describe Mykonos?
Wild, dry and full of light.

What is the easiest way to get around the island?
A big old jeep you can trust to take you through tiny, bumpy roads and sandy beaches.

And what is the best way to get to the island?
Airplane, just a 20 minute ride from Athens and super views from above.

Where should you stay?
I just visited San Giorgio this summer which I found quite interesting especially if you are traveling with friends or in love. Belvedere Hotel in town is always a great luxury retreat and a breath away from the busy town. Santa Marina if traveling with family. Renting a house is always a great option too – and there are some spectacular houses in Mykonos you may rent.

The best beach?
Agios Sostis. Unspoiled, full of energy, clear, rejuvenating water and the best little restaurant in the world, Kiki’s to top it all up. There is always a line at the restaurant, because they don’t take reservations – but it’s totally worth it!

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The best restaurant for…

A leisurely breakfast: Early in the morning, any restaurant in ‘yalos’ or else the port of Mykonos town, where you may come across all sorts of local people, fishermen selling produce, lost tourists in need for directions, and vivid colors and sounds.

A big lunch: Alemagoo in Ftelia Beach which is great for lunch with friends as you can combine swimming, eating, or just cocktails and lounging in a really beautiful setting. The tavern in Fokos beach is exceptional, quite simple and raw, with delicious dishes and beautiful ceramics you can buy – a super destination for escaping the buzz of the island. Lamed in Agia Anna is also a great location for a light Mediterranean lunch and a little beach just in front where you can enjoy the last swim of the day.

A traditional Greek dinner: Maerio in town for Greek food, Nikolas taverna in Agia Anna beach for dinning on the sand almost touching the water and Sea Satin for a fun ‘Greek night’ with dancing on tables included.

What is the scene like at night? Where should you go to party? And where should you go if you don’t want to party?
There is a huge club scene in the beaches near Paradise, and in town, which I have no clue about as I am not the ‘clubbing’ type. I prefer smaller venues like Jackie O’ in town, 100% fun guaranteed. Astra is one of the coolest bars in town, it has been there forever and Babis the owner is a must see figure. Interni Restaurant is super fun as it may combine a great dinner and lots of dancing after 12:00. And of course Nammos beach for hardcore partying and people watching.

If you don’t want to party – try avoiding the town and have a lovely dinner at Matsuhisa in the Belvedere Hotel listening to cool music by the most amazing, iconic dj.

Don’t forget that lunch and diner are pretty late affairs in Mykonos. If you go to diner at 8, don’t be surprised to be the only one in the restaurant! People go to dinner around 10 – 11. You get used to it very fast…

A place to pamper yourself:
Don’t pamper yourself, just go to Dhlos island to watch the ancient ruins and take in the most amazing light in the world, swim in the island near by called Rinia, it’s a mystical experience that will do much more than any massage or spa for both body and soul.

The best views of the island:
Kitsch but true: Little Venice for sunset.

Don’t leave without eating:
Sea urchin at Spilia Tavern in Agia Anna.

The best souvenir to bring back:
Greek kaftan dresses from Salachas in little Venice and an evil eye charm from any local merchant.

What time of year is best to visit?
September is beautiful in Mykonos. Calm, less windy than in the summer and full of beautiful people.

Click here for more City Guides.

New sneakers

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Happy to introduce you to my new babies: Chiara Ferragni Cameron sneakers.
In black or white, effortlessly cool and perfect with jeans but also with shorts or a skirt, exactly how I wore them.
Available on my new website/ecommerce Chiaraferragnicollection.com, with worldwide shipping #proudmama

Fiera di presentarvi le mie nuove bimbe: Cameron, le sneaker Chiara Ferragni.
Bianche o nere, effortlessly cool e perfette con jeans ma anche con shorts o gonna, come le ho indossate io.
Disponibili sul nuovo sito/ecommerce Chiaraferragnicollection.com, con spedizione in tutto il mondo #felicissima

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I was wearing:

CHIARA FERRAGNI SNEAKERS (available on CHIARAFERRAGNICOLLECTION.COM)
THE END TSHIRT
CHANEL SUNGLASSES

Port Eliot Returns

From seventeen paying punters at Port Eliot’s first ever edition back in 2003, the festival has grown exponentially.  You felt that growth at this year’s festival, which returned after a one year hiatus to give the grounds of Port Eliot in St Germans, Cornwall a rest.  There seemed to be “more” of everything – more tents, more bustle, more words to hear, more drinks a-flowing, more things to eat, more vintage stalls to rummage through.  Or perhaps the “more” was extra exacerbated with the weekend coinciding with an ultra hot heatwave wafting through this part of the world.

Still, that “moreness” didn’t diminish the feeling that you can still find somewhere to escape to in the extensive grounds, depending on your interest.  On top of the big spiky tents like The Bowling Green, Park Stage and Caught by the River where the “big” acts were on, the bustling Wardrobe Department where there were queues aplenty to get your face/hair did, I love that there are smaller pockets that are more tucked away – The Badger’s Sett for kidult crafting, Ways with Weird and Dovegrey Reader for more intimate talks and then if you don’t want to hear anyone speak, feel free to lie on the lush lands/woods, watching the trains go past on the viaduct and take the a restorative nap or two.

Actually, for the most part of the weekend, I wished I could be in more than two places at once as the timetable had quite a few clashes of talks/words/demonstrations that I wanted to see.  The last thing you want to feel though is stress at a festival that is supposed to be something of a restorative experience for the mind and body.  So I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to… I’ve still taken away an extensive to see/read/do list to ensure the Port Eliot spirit carries on beyond the weekend.

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IMG_4548The Orangery was “poshed” up with Fortnum and Mason’s coming onboard as a sponsor and Mark Hix doing a feasting menu.  Renowned set designer Michael Howells as always has given it his magic touch…

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0E5A5425Under my favourite tree on the grounds which is split in the middle – wearing Loewe sunglasses, Zandra Rhodes jacket and top, Tsumori Chisato top and Prism espadrilles

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0E5A4984Caught by the river – wearing vintage dragon embroidered top and Chinese robe around waist, Phenomenon shorts, Suno pumps, Ray Ban sunglasses

It was good to once again be ensconced in the Wardrobe Department within the walled gardens as Sarah Mower had once again put together a stellar line-up to entertain, entice and charm even the hardiest of fashion naysayers.

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Louise Gray may have put her own label on hold for the time being but she was certainly welcomed with open arms at Port Eliot as she and her ex-assistant current Central Saint Martins MA student James Theseus Buck lit up the MAC make-up tent with prints, pigment and freehand body painting that made most people clap/smile with glee.  Abstract trickles, dots, Haring-like strokes – Gray and Bovan did it all.  I went from van Gogh-esque strokes on my left arm to Yayoi Kusama-type dots on my left leg in one weekend.  It was a real shame to wet-wipe the lot of it off…

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For the face, MAC and a few of their core make-up artists tentatively felt their way into the festival for the first time this year.  Their work was more meticulous and precise with delicate dots and fine brushstrokes around the eyes.

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The lovely Rachel did a colourful Penelope Tree-inspired bottom lash and dotty thing on my eyes this year…

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0E5A4961 Wearing Luke Brooks tree t-shirt, & Other Stories cardigan worn as skirt, Ray Ban sunglasses

For all matters of the head, Stephen Jones teamed up with Bumble & Bumble to hat/hair the more than-willing ladies of Port Eliot.  No wonder people left chuffed.  Jones literally bought boxes of his hats, veils and headdresses to place on people’s heads, according to their personality/look… and they get to keep them.  Erm… I hope people treasure the millinery magic that they experienced with Stephen.

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I didn’t need an extensive consultation with Stephen.  He just instinctively clipped a sparkly black veil on my head and I was done.  Later he revealed that the veil was in fact a first toile/prototype for Raf Simons’ first ever haute couture show for Dior (they went with coloured veils sans sparkles in the actual show).  I had to run away and do a mini-scream.  That’s how chuffed I was.

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Bumble and Bumble peeps were on hand to plait, style and stencil people’s hair with pastel powders.  Here’s blogger Zoe London and her dip-dyed hair plaited up.

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In a rainbow hair-extension festooned teepee, the girls from Bleach London were back, bigger with their own line of extensive products to demo on festival-goers and an anything-goes hair spirit that resonated with most of the tweens/teens present at the festival.  They’ve just recently launched a line of hair crayons which – HUZZAH – do work on my stubbornly temporary dye-resistant dark dark hair (still not plucked up the courage to errr… bleach my hair).  The lovely Bleach girls were on hand to demonstrate how to apply the semi-permanent crayon colours, which I kind of want to talk-up separately once I’ve done a bit of experimentation on my own.

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Bleach co-founder and all-round hair maestro-mistress Alex Brownsell was feeling a bit under the weather but still showed up at Port Eliot to trial her new hair tapestry.  Now I don’t want to inaccurately call it “first” without knowing for sure but it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever seen this done.  Alex developed this especially for Port Eliot to fuse the crafting fads of yesteryear’s friendship bracelets and current craze loom bands with hair.  She made a loom out of a picture frame, carving up notches to separate strands of hair to create the “warp” as it were.  Then she would use a special needle to thread cotton through the hair as the “weft”, creating sections of hair tapestry that she could then embroider over to extra embellishment.  It was a fascinating process to watch as Alex trialled it on fellow hair stylist Lou Teasdale.  The end result is pretty ace, especially in the fading summer sunlight, and you could definitely see girls cementing their friendships and sisterhoods with this hair craft.

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The most popular area in the Wardrobe Department was Haughty Culture where Piers Atkinson was once again on hand to collect up flowers and foliage from the grounds of Port Eliot to turn into festival appropriate head wreaths.  I did fear for flower headband making exhaustion on behalf of Piers and his tireless team and was shocked to hear that people were being a bit pushy and rude when queuing up to have their head kitted out.  Not cool and not very Port Eliot.

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I loved the addition of the seed paper logos which Piers added to the wreaths this year.  Apparently you can plant the paper and the embedded seeds will flower eventually.  I’m very sloooooowly turning green-fingered as my patch of garden at home is now fully planted up and so I took extra interest in Port Eliot’s abundance of greenery and flowers this year.

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By the end of Saturday, my head had been triple decorated with Piers Atkinson’s blooms, Stephen Jones’ veil and Alex Brownsell of Bleach’s multi-coloured hair tapestry.  More is always more at Port Eliot.

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Port Eliot is really a lovely place to encourage young ones to get their creative juices pumping and Port Eliot long-timer Barbara Hulanicki was on hand to teach little peeps a spot of fashion illustration, hanging out Tweeny Fashionista Uni badges and awards in the process to the most promising artists.  I learnt that Hulanicki has just started a new illustrated clothing line Icon Club.

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Scarf designer Emma J Shipley, who designed the poster of Port Eliot  was a newcomer to the Wardrobe Department with her bandana print making workshop.

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Jewellery designer Vicki Sarge also returned to create pretty things out of tin foil and once again turn trash into treasure.

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Jenny Dyson aka Mrs Rubbish and her Pencil Agency crew are pretty much a permanent Wardrobe Department fixture with their Pencil Atelier, teaching kids to do neon potato prints and sew up simple dresses for the culminating Pencil Fashion Show.  Cath Kidston also teamed up with Jenny to lend a hand in crafting these ensembles.

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In other crafting areas, you could create head dresses and do beginner’s crochet in Ros Badger and Christine Leach’s Badger’s Sett.

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The ever-popular workshops in Anthropologie’s tent included mask decoration with illustrator Florence Balducci, jewellery making with Catherine Zoraida and fabric taxidermy with Mister Finch.  Once again, as branded activities go at Port Eliot, the approach is always gently does it.  When they lull you with impressive interior styling and Buddy Holly tunes on the record player, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to ram Anthropologie down your throat.

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The Flower show got a new location inside the basement of the house near the kitchen and there was an added Fodder (food) category too for judges to peruse.  The categories are as ever wildly imaginative – my favourite was “He can take it, but can’t dish it” where flowers, vomit and over-indulgent meals came together and Mrs Peacock in the Library where one entrant created an amazing homage to Great Expectation’s Miss Havisham.

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The Wardrobe Department talks were hefty this year, with Sarah Mower conducting her “If Clothes Could Speak” series.  I’ve already talked up the one with Suzy Menkes, where I learnt a life lesson or two.  The next day, Mower spoke to legendary model Penelope Tree about the Betsey Johnson double-slit dress she wore to Truman Capote’s Black and White ball in 1966.  Tree really entertained the crowd with the minutiae about this incredible night as well as imparting nuggets about her own extraordinary upbringing and life as a model.  There’s an autobiography in the making here.

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I loved that fashion seeped its way out of the walled gardens and on to the larger stages.  At The Bowling Green, fashion historian NJ Stevenson and Mark Butterfield, owner of the infamous C20 Vintage Fashion resource in Devon paired up talk about groovy 1970s knitwear.  Or not so groovy, depending on when you were born.  In lieu of the forthcoming exhibition about fashion knitwear at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, Stevenson and Butterfield focused on 70s knitwear, modelled by teensy tinsy Port Eliot goers.  It was comprehensive for fashion enthusiasts and at the same time and engaging for non-fashion-y people.  More please!

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Back at Five Dials on Sunday, Sarah Mower interviewed Simone Rocha about her rise as a designer in London Fashion Week.  Rocha was endearing and candid when talking about growing up with fashion in her family, her Chirish roots (she’s half Irish, half Chinese) and going from art school in Ireland to studying fashion at Central Saint Martins with the late Louise Wilson.  I loved that Mower got across the special way in which Rocha has created a highly personal “universe” in her brand – in the attitude of her girls and in the types of references which Rocha looks at.  The Warren Sisters – the unofficial go-tomodels of Port Eliot – looked incredible in their various seasons and shades of Rocha.

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What does a fashion show need?  Lots of gin, 6pm summer sunshine and Damian Lewis as a guest host.  The Pencil Atelier fashion show had all those things as all those aforementioned neon-printed frocks were paraded along a haybale catwalk in the Wardrobe Department.  Christopher Kane has nothing to worry about yet but those neon gradiated gingham dresses did look mighty fetching.

0E5A5184Mrs Rubbish hosting Pencil Fashion Show proceedings

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0E5A5185You say Nicholas Brody, I say Soames Forsyte

The fashion show was followed by the inaugural Port Eliot Prom, organised by Sarah Mower.  No left out nerds and jock n’ cheerleader couples here.  Just whoever turned up in their glad rags and wanted to be entered in the prom parade to be in with a chance of being crowned with three beautiful resin crowns, made by Fashion East’s latest addition to their line-up Ed Marler.

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My favourite outfit was number 26.  Just saying.

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There are no winners or losers of course in the spirit of Port Eliot but three lucky girls got to wear and keep these elaborate crowns.  Not that I’m errr… jealous of a six year old or anything…

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I’ve got to say a big thumbs up to my first “glamping” experience thanks to the kind folks at Yurtel.  Electrical plugs inside the yurt, a lockable wooden door (still had the laptop with me…) and a heart-embedded skylight were the touches I loved.

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It was great to discover a new vintage source in Dolly Blue, owned by Lily Walford, who happens to be the wife of catwalk show production expert John Walford.  Lily has a love of Victorian/Edwardian cotton undies and petticoats and she also turns French linen into dresses and jackets.  I bought a sweet Hungarian-embroidered blouse from Lily and hope to see her soon for all my Victorian whites needs.

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On the picture front, I had to end with a trio of rainbow goodness.  Port Eliot really is bursting with colour and it seems to create an environment where people feel it’s safe to express themselves with colour, whether it’s dressing up in silly wigs and hippy dippy clothes or going all out in the Wardrobe Department.  You wonder why that sense of inhibited freedom can’t be felt outside of the grounds of Port Eliot in day to day life.  Apparently real life, normal jobs and judgemental peers all get in the way.

0E5A4483Loved how kids were selling their self-made loom bands as an enterprising business at the festival… this kid was charging 50p a band.  I did say he should charge £1.  

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IMG_4558Easy to picture stalk this girl in her LED lit-up dress…

So we come back to reality.  And back in real land, I’ll be ploughing through a list inspired by Port Eliot’s non-fashion events, which I’ve rounded up here.

To eat…

- I was tempted by Cloud Nine’s marshmallows because I kept hearing people raving about them every time I passed their stall at Port Eliot.  One bite into their strawberry/champagne marshies and I was smitten.  Even veggies who didn’t realise they were eating gelatine were swooning.  Must buy more.

- Port Eliot definitely upped its food game this year with even more choices to indulge in.  My personal faves were The Cornish Fishmonger‘s samphire and seabass, Rum and Crab Shack‘s soft shelled crab burger and everything from The Bowler’s Meatball.  Food trucks/entities that are worth waiting for.

- I missed quite a few of the food talks but now have a foodie book list to get into including the Hemsley sisters’ first tome on The Art of Eating Well and Seb Emina’s Breakfast Bible.

To see/read…

- As I mentioned, Andy Miller’s The Year of Reading Dangerously sounds like a riot as he recounts his experience of reading fifty great books.  Sounds odd to read a book about reading but since I have gradually lost the time to read to “real life stuff”, I think I need this to kickstart my habits.

- Christopher Simon Sykes was incredibly entertaining when reading excerpts from his definitive biography of David Hockney, focusing on his early career at the RCA.  Sykes’ accurate accents and expressive way of reading brought the book to life but this biography looks like a good kindle on-the-tube read.

- I finally got to see my hero Martin Parr, who is a Port Eliot regular, who along with his authoress wife Susie, talked about their book The Non-Conformists.  In the 1970s they had photographed and observed the close-knit methodist community in Hebden Bridge and it’s a chance to see Parr’s lesser known and altogether “quieter” black and white work published in this book.  I will also have to try and catch Parr’s first ever documentary Tinsel and Turkey, which follows a group of coach holidaymakers in the Black Country, as I missed BOTH screenings of it at Port Eliot.  Boo.

- Louise Gray and James Buck emerged from Viv Albertine’s talk at Caught by the River with tears in their eyes.  A sure sign that Albertine’s memoir Clothes…Music… Boys…  must be read.

- I watched Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne’s wonderful film collaged out of BFI archive footage of London, How We Used to Live in rapture.  I hope it gets released online somewhere as it’s really a trip and a half, traversing through the 50s through to the 70s in London and yet feeling like nothing really has changed in modern city life.

- Give me a book about the Russian Romanovs and I’ll devour it rapidly.  Helena Rappaport has written a new one - Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Grand Duchess Romanov - one to add to my extensive historical biography collection.

- I’ll take any excuse to re-read Elizabeth Jane Howard but Port Eliot celebrated the celebrated novelist’s life and work with an appreciative talk this year at The Bowling Green and now I’ll be out buying up old EJH paperbacks where possible.

Port Eliot Returns

From seventeen paying punters at Port Eliot’s first ever edition back in 2003, the festival has grown exponentially.  You felt that growth at this year’s festival, which returned after a one year hiatus to give the grounds of Port Eliot in St Germans, Cornwall a rest.  There seemed to be “more” of everything – more tents, more bustle, more words to hear, more drinks a-flowing, more things to eat, more vintage stalls to rummage through.  Or perhaps the “more” was extra exacerbated with the weekend coinciding with an ultra hot heatwave wafting through this part of the world.

Still, that “moreness” didn’t diminish the feeling that you can still find somewhere to escape to in the extensive grounds, depending on your interest.  On top of the big spiky tents like The Bowling Green, Park Stage and Caught by the River where the “big” acts were on, the bustling Wardrobe Department where there were queues aplenty to get your face/hair did, I love that there are smaller pockets that are more tucked away – The Badger’s Sett for kidult crafting, Ways with Weird and Dovegrey Reader for more intimate talks and then if you don’t want to hear anyone speak, feel free to lie on the lush lands/woods, watching the trains go past on the viaduct and take the a restorative nap or two.

Actually, for the most part of the weekend, I wished I could be in more than two places at once as the timetable had quite a few clashes of talks/words/demonstrations that I wanted to see.  The last thing you want to feel though is stress at a festival that is supposed to be something of a restorative experience for the mind and body.  So I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to… I’ve still taken away an extensive to see/read/do list to ensure the Port Eliot spirit carries on beyond the weekend.

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0E5A4648I have no idea what these tea-dress ladies were doing in front of the house but it looks like fun…

IMG_4548The Orangery was “poshed” up with Fortnum and Mason’s coming onboard as a sponsor and Mark Hix doing a feasting menu.  Renowned set designer Michael Howells as always has given it his magic touch…

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0E5A5425Under my favourite tree on the grounds which is split in the middle – wearing Loewe sunglasses, Zandra Rhodes jacket and top, Tsumori Chisato top and Prism espadrilles

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0E5A4984Caught by the river – wearing vintage dragon embroidered top and Chinese robe around waist, Phenomenon shorts, Suno pumps, Ray Ban sunglasses

It was good to once again be ensconced in the Wardrobe Department within the walled gardens as Sarah Mower had once again put together a stellar line-up to entertain, entice and charm even the hardiest of fashion naysayers.

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Louise Gray may have put her own label on hold for the time being but she was certainly welcomed with open arms at Port Eliot as she and her ex-assistant current Central Saint Martins MA student James Theseus Buck lit up the MAC make-up tent with prints, pigment and freehand body painting that made most people clap/smile with glee.  Abstract trickles, dots, Haring-like strokes – Gray and Bovan did it all.  I went from van Gogh-esque strokes on my left arm to Yayoi Kusama-type dots on my left leg in one weekend.  It was a real shame to wet-wipe the lot of it off…

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For the face, MAC and a few of their core make-up artists tentatively felt their way into the festival for the first time this year.  Their work was more meticulous and precise with delicate dots and fine brushstrokes around the eyes.

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The lovely Rachel did a colourful Penelope Tree-inspired bottom lash and dotty thing on my eyes this year…

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0E5A4961 Wearing Luke Brooks tree t-shirt, & Other Stories cardigan worn as skirt, Ray Ban sunglasses

For all matters of the head, Stephen Jones teamed up with Bumble & Bumble to hat/hair the more than-willing ladies of Port Eliot.  No wonder people left chuffed.  Jones literally bought boxes of his hats, veils and headdresses to place on people’s heads, according to their personality/look… and they get to keep them.  Erm… I hope people treasure the millinery magic that they experienced with Stephen.

 

 

 

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I didn’t need an extensive consultation with Stephen.  He just instinctively clipped a sparkly black veil on my head and I was done.  Later he revealed that the veil was in fact a first toile/prototype for Raf Simons’ first ever haute couture show for Dior (they went with coloured veils sans sparkles in the actual show).  I had to run away and do a mini-scream.  That’s how chuffed I was.

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Bumble and Bumble peeps were on hand to plait, style and stencil people’s hair with pastel powders.  Here’s blogger Zoe London and her dip-dyed hair plaited up.

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In a rainbow hair-extension festooned teepee, the girls from Bleach London were back, bigger with their own line of extensive products to demo on festival-goers and an anything-goes hair spirit that resonated with most of the tweens/teens present at the festival.  They’ve just recently launched a line of hair crayons which – HUZZAH – do work on my stubbornly temporary dye-resistant dark dark hair (still not plucked up the courage to errr… bleach my hair).  The lovely Bleach girls were on hand to demonstrate how to apply the semi-permanent crayon colours, which I kind of want to talk-up separately once I’ve done a bit of experimentation on my own.

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Bleach co-founder and all-round hair maestro-mistress Alex Brownsell was feeling a bit under the weather but still showed up at Port Eliot to trial her new hair tapestry.  Now I don’t want to inaccurately call it “first” without knowing for sure but it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever seen this done.  Alex developed this especially for Port Eliot to fuse the crafting fads of yesteryear’s friendship bracelets and current craze loom bands with hair.  She made a loom out of a picture frame, carving up notches to separate strands of hair to create the “warp” as it were.  Then she would use a special needle to thread cotton through the hair as the “weft”, creating sections of hair tapestry that she could then embroider over to extra embellishment.  It was a fascinating process to watch as Alex trialled it on fellow hair stylist Lou Teasdale.  The end result is pretty ace, especially in the fading summer sunlight, and you could definitely see girls cementing their friendships and sisterhoods with this hair craft.

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The most popular area in the Wardrobe Department was Haughty Culture where Piers Atkinson was once again on hand to collect up flowers and foliage from the grounds of Port Eliot to turn into festival appropriate head wreaths.  I did fear for flower headband making exhaustion on behalf of Piers and his tireless team and was shocked to hear that people were being a bit pushy and rude when queuing up to have their head kitted out.  Not cool and not very Port Eliot.

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I loved the addition of the seed paper logos which Piers added to the wreaths this year.  Apparently you can plant the paper and the embedded seeds will flower eventually.  I’m very sloooooowly turning green-fingered as my patch of garden at home is now fully planted up and so I took extra interest in Port Eliot’s abundance of greenery and flowers this year.

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By the end of Saturday, my head had been triple decorated with Piers Atkinson’s blooms, Stephen Jones’ veil and Alex Brownsell of Bleach’s multi-coloured hair tapestry.  More is always more at Port Eliot.

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Port Eliot is really a lovely place to encourage young ones to get their creative juices pumping and Port Eliot long-timer Barbara Hulanicki was on hand to teach little peeps a spot of fashion illustration, hanging out Tweeny Fashionista Uni badges and awards in the process to the most promising artists.  I learnt that Hulanicki has just started a new illustrated clothing line Icon Club.

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Scarf designer Emma J Shipley, who designed the poster of Port Eliot  was a newcomer to the Wardrobe Department with her bandana print making workshop.

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Jewellery designer Vicki Sarge also returned to create pretty things out of tin foil and once again turn trash into treasure.

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Jenny Dyson aka Mrs Rubbish and her Pencil Agency crew are pretty much a permanent Wardrobe Department fixture with their Pencil Atelier, teaching kids to do neon potato prints and sew up simple dresses for the culminating Pencil Fashion Show.  Cath Kidston also teamed up with Jenny to lend a hand in crafting these ensembles.

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In other crafting areas, you could create head dresses and do beginner’s crochet in Ros Badger and Christine Leach’s Badger’s Sett.

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The ever-popular workshops in Anthropologie’s tent included mask decoration with illustrator Florence Balducci, jewellery making with Catherine Zoraida and fabric taxidermy with Mister Finch.  Once again, as branded activities go at Port Eliot, the approach is always gently does it.  When they lull you with impressive interior styling and Buddy Holly tunes on the record player, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to ram Anthropologie down your throat.

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The Flower show got a new location inside the basement of the house near the kitchen and there was an added Fodder (food) category too for judges to peruse.  The categories are as ever wildly imaginative – my favourite was “He can take it, but can’t dish it” where flowers, vomit and over-indulgent meals came together and Mrs Peacock in the Library where one entrant created an amazing homage to Great Expectation’s Miss Havisham.

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The Wardrobe Department talks were hefty this year, with Sarah Mower conducting her “If Clothes Could Speak” series.  I’ve already talked up the one with Suzy Menkes, where I learnt a life lesson or two.  The next day, Mower spoke to legendary model Penelope Tree about the Betsey Johnson double-slit dress she wore to Truman Capote’s Black and White ball in 1966.  Tree really entertained the crowd with the minutiae about this incredible night as well as imparting nuggets about her own extraordinary upbringing and life as a model.  There’s an autobiography in the making here.

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I loved that fashion seeped its way out of the walled gardens and on to the larger stages.  At The Bowling Green, fashion historian NJ Stevenson and Mark Butterfield, owner of the infamous C20 Vintage Fashion resource in Devon paired up talk about groovy 1970s knitwear.  Or not so groovy, depending on when you were born.  In lieu of the forthcoming exhibition about fashion knitwear at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, Stevenson and Butterfield focused on 70s knitwear, modelled by teensy tinsy Port Eliot goers.  It was comprehensive for fashion enthusiasts and at the same time and engaging for non-fashion-y people.  More please!

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Back at Five Dials on Sunday, Sarah Mower interviewed Simone Rocha about her rise as a designer in London Fashion Week.  Rocha was endearing and candid when talking about growing up with fashion in her family, her Chirish roots (she’s half Irish, half Chinese) and going from art school in Ireland to studying fashion at Central Saint Martins with the late Louise Wilson.  I loved that Mower got across the special way in which Rocha has created a highly personal “universe” in her brand – in the attitude of her girls and in the types of references which Rocha looks at.  The Warren Sisters – the unofficial go-tomodels of Port Eliot – looked incredible in their various seasons and shades of Rocha.

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What does a fashion show need?  Lots of gin, 6pm summer sunshine and Damian Lewis as a guest host.  The Pencil Atelier fashion show had all those things as all those aforementioned neon-printed frocks were paraded along a haybale catwalk in the Wardrobe Department.  Christopher Kane has nothing to worry about yet but those neon gradiated gingham dresses did look mighty fetching.

0E5A5184Mrs Rubbish hosting Pencil Fashion Show proceedings

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0E5A5185You say Nicholas Brody, I say Soames Forsyte

The fashion show was followed by the inaugural Port Eliot Prom, organised by Sarah Mower.  No left out nerds and jock n’ cheerleader couples here.  Just whoever turned up in their glad rags and wanted to be entered in the prom parade to be in with a chance of being crowned with three beautiful resin crowns, made by Fashion East’s latest addition to their line-up Ed Marler.

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My favourite outfit was number 26.  Just saying.

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There are no winners or losers of course in the spirit of Port Eliot but three lucky girls got to wear and keep these elaborate crowns.  Not that I’m errr… jealous of a six year old or anything…

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I’ve got to say a big thumbs up to my first “glamping” experience thanks to the kind folks at Yurtel.  Electrical plugs inside the yurt, a lockable wooden door (still had the laptop with me…) and a heart-embedded skylight were the touches I loved.

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It was great to discover a new vintage source in Dolly Blue, owned by Lily Walford, who happens to be the wife of catwalk show production expert John Walford.  Lily has a love of Victorian/Edwardian cotton undies and petticoats and she also turns French linen into dresses and jackets.  I bought a sweet Hungarian-embroidered blouse from Lily and hope to see her soon for all my Victorian whites needs.

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On the picture front, I had to end with a trio of rainbow goodness.  Port Eliot really is bursting with colour and it seems to create an environment where people feel it’s safe to express themselves with colour, whether it’s dressing up in silly wigs and hippy dippy clothes or going all out in the Wardrobe Department.  You wonder why that sense of inhibited freedom can’t be felt outside of the grounds of Port Eliot in day to day life.  Apparently real life, normal jobs and judgemental peers all get in the way.

0E5A4483Loved how kids were selling their self-made loom bands as an enterprising business at the festival… this kid was charging 50p a band.  I did say he should charge £1.  

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IMG_4558Easy to picture stalk this girl in her LED lit-up dress…

So we come back to reality.  And back in real land, I’ll be ploughing through a list inspired by Port Eliot’s non-fashion events, which I’ve rounded up here.

To eat…

- I was tempted by Cloud Nine’s marshmallows because I kept hearing people raving about them every time I passed their stall at Port Eliot.  One bite into their strawberry/champagne marshies and I was smitten.  Even veggies who didn’t realise they were eating gelatine were swooning.  Must buy more.

- Port Eliot definitely upped its food game this year with even more choices to indulge in.  My personal faves were The Cornish Fishmonger‘s samphire and seabass, Rum and Crab Shack‘s soft shelled crab burger and everything from The Bowler’s Meatball.  Food trucks/entities that are worth waiting for.

- I missed quite a few of the food talks but have a food book list to get into including the Hemsley sisters’ first tome on The Art of Eating Well and Seb Emina’s Breakfast Bible.

To see/read…

- As I mentioned, Andy Miller’s The Year of Reading Dangerously sounds like a riot as he recounts his experience of reading fifty great books.  Sounds odd to read a book about reading but when I have gradually lost the time to read, I think I need this to kickstart my habits.

- Christopher Simon Sykes was incredibly entertaining when reading excerpts from his definitive biography of David Hockney, focusing on his early career at the RCA.  Sykes’ accents and expressive way of reading brought the book to life but this one looks like a good kindle on-the-tube read.

- I finally got to see my hero Martin Parr, who is a Port Eliot regular, who along with his authoress wife Susie, talked about their book The Non-Conformists.  In the 1970s they had photographed the close-knit methodist community in Hebden Bridge and it’s a chance to see Parr’s lesser known and altogether “quieter” black and white work published in this book.  I will also have to try and catch Parr’s first ever film Tinsel and Turkey, which follows a group of coach holidaymakers in the Black Country, as I missed BOTH screenings of it at Port Eliot.  Boo.

- Louise Gray and James Buck emerged from Viv Albertine’s talk at Caught by the River with tears in their eyes.  A sure sign that Albertine’s memoir Clothes…Music… Boys…  must be read.

- I watched Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne’s wonderful film collaged out of BFI archive footage of London, How We Used to Live in rapture.  I hope it gets released online somewhere as it’s really a trip and a half, traversing through the 50s through to the 70s in London and yet feeling like nothing really has changed in modern city life.

- Give me a book about the Russian Romanovs and I’ll devour it rapidly.  Helena Rappaport has written a new one - Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Grand Duchess Romanov - to add to my historical biography collection.

- I’ll take excuse to re-read Elizabeth Jane Howard but Port Eliot celebrated the celebrated novelist’s life and work with an appreciative talk this year at The Bowling Green and now I’ll be out trying to buy up old EJH paperbacks.

Blue Portofino

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Here it is revealed my favourite Condè Nast Traveler getaway for a summer weekend: Portofino. My recommendation is to park your car in the nearby Santa Margherita and take boat to Portofino in the morning, so that you can fully enjoy the view of this little mediterranean pearl from the sea. Have a walk in the little harbour, a little bit of shopping and then go back to the boat towards the San Fruttuoso beach. Don’t forget to stop at the Cala degli Inglesi for a true dive adventure in the deep blue. Spend your day on the beautiful beach, visit the nearby Cloister dominating the sea. At sunset time, be sure to be back to Portofino to enjoy a walk at the lighthouse and.. have also a nice drink on the lighthouse terrace.
Any outfit tip? Wear something blue recalling the rich color of the sea like my blue cobalt Van Cleef & Arpels Charms Gold watch.

Ecco rivelata la mia meta Condè Nast Traveler preferita per un weekend d’estate: Portofino.
Consiglio di parcheggiare l’auto nei pressi di Santa Margherita e prendere una barca per Portofino in mattinata così da potersi godere totalmente la vista di questa perla del Meditterraneo direttamente dal mare. Una passeggiata al piccolo porto, un po’ di shopping e poi di nuovo subito in barca verso la spiaggia di San Fruttuoso. Immancabile la tappa a Cala degli Inglesi per un’avventura nel mare blu. Trascorrete la giornata sulla splendida spiaggia, visitate il vicino chiostro che domina il mare. Al tramonto assicuratevi di tornare in tempo a Portofino per una passeggiata al faro e un drink alla terrazza del faro.
Il look perfetto per una gita fuoriporta? Indossate qualcosa di blue che ricordi il mare come il mio Van Cleef & Arpels Charms Gold watch.

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I was wearing:

ISABEL MARANT SANDALS
PRADA SUNGLASSES
MSGM SKIRT
BCBGMAXAZRIA TOP
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS CHARMS WATCH

Photos by Andrew Arthur

Glasses

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Converse, vintage denim shorts, striped tshirt and maxi bag.. Anything else? Yes, those awesome Celine glasses.

Converse, shorts vintage in denim, tshirt a righe e maxi borsa… Serve altro? Si, questi fantastici occhiali di Celine.

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I was wearing:

CONVERSE ALL STAR PLAFORMS SNEAKERS
PINKO UNIQUENESS BY VIVIANA VOLPICELLA TSHIRT
LEVI’S DENIM VINTAGE SHORTS
CELINE SUNGLASSES
HERMES BIRKIN BAG

Photos by Gregorio Capineri Tosetti

Back for More

We had a loose rule on our second trip to Los Angeles to try and do things that we hadn’t done before on our first trip, which included not repeating food spots and accommodation. In fact we stayed at five different places on our six day trip just to mix things up a bit (there was a meticulous packing methodology). We have still come away feeling like we’re not quite sated and there’s still an arm-long to-do/see list, which means it’s more than likely that we’ll come back for more. LA, we really do heart you. A lot.

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- Trust my British self to moan about the weather on the first day of our holiday. But only because I did feel a bit peeved that for the first few days, it was actually hotter in London than it was in Los Angeles. We had booked ourselves into Shutters on the Beach to spend a lush first night in Santa Monica and woke up to this…

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- In fairness, it did brighten up so that it looked like the above about four hours later so my initial gripes were completely unfounded. Plus Santa Monica/Venice Beach is still awesome regardless of the colour of the sky.

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20140716_081434Breakfast of healthy/not so healthy at Shutters

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IMG_0074Wearing Vika Gazinsakay x & Other Stories dress, Bernstock Speirs visor, Kenzo bag, Tabitha Simmons x Toms shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses

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- As expected LA treated us good food-wise.  Following our rule about not repeating food spots twice we also tried to go for things that are basically hard to find in London.  Our eats included an awesome boat noodle soup at Pa Ord, interesting bacon-imbued and pork-fat-rendered flavour combinations at Animal, ceviche tostadas at El Sietes Mares, sorrel lemonade at Sky’s Gourmet Tacos and a nom nom undressed lobster roll at Blue Plate Oysterette.

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- I really wanted to check out Heritage Square Museum because I had seen pictures of their annual Vintage Fashion Show and Tea online.  Eight historic structures mostly constructed during the Victorian era were saved and reconstructed here by Montecito Heights.  There are more “real” examples of this kind of architecture elsewhere in the city but I loved the odd juxtaposition and assembly of houses right by a busy freeway.

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- Something ultra cheesy had to be on the agenda.  The Dearly Departed tours were all booked up so we headed to the Hollywood Museum in the old Maxfactor Building.  If you’re errr.. into pan-cake style make-up on dusty pink dressing tables and Daryl Hannah narrating a ye olde documentary on the history of Maxfactor, this is the place for you.  I’m a sucker for old Hollywood memorabilia though so I kind of loved it.

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IMG_0124Wearing Clio Peppiatt t-shirt, ASOS Salon dress, tweed slip-ons from Japan, Loewe sunglasses, Loewe bag

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- Unlike London, Los Angeles has a lot of distinctly themed areas dedicated to the many ethnicities that make up the city.  Olvera Street is the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles with Spanish settlers founding the city in 1781.  Today, it’s an ode to its past as a Spanish/Mexican outpost with a ton of tourist-y kitschy market stalls.  Always up for getting any sort of fix of Mexico of course, however cliched.  Nearby, is Chinatown, which isn’t really where LA’s Chinese community live (need to make it to San Gabriel Valley for the good Chinese eats…) but again is a kitschy reminder of the past when it was actually bustling and the centre of the Chinese community.  It feels more like a hammed up Hollywood set than a real functioning Chinatown but it definitely has its charm.  I love that Ooga Booga, an interesting and conceptual zine/book/gift store is nestled in the middle of plaza.

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IMG_0226 Wearing Suno hat, 3.1 Phillip Lim vest, Topshop skirt, Linda Farrow sunglasses and Salvatore Ferragamo slip-ons

- Steve and I kept on lusting after home and garden decorations as stores along Abbot Kinney and Lincoln Blvd were tempting us to overdo it with our luggage allowance (we only bought a few things but still had to plead with the airline to let us go over our limit).  On Abbot Kinney, The Piece Collective, A Plus R, Tortoise General Store and Chariots of Fire were full of lovely things.  General Store on Lincoln Blvd is also fantastic.

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IMG_0105Inside Piece Collective

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- In particular, we got quite obsessed with cool ceramics and little plant pots.  Since we didn’t bring that many back, I’ve been tirelessly searching Etsy for alternatives.  South Willard had an intriguing exhibition on local pottery artists Michael and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess.  Alchemy Works in Arts District and Fifth Floor in Chinatown also had a few names for us to take note of.

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20140718_125141Bits and bobs inside Fifth Floor

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- There seems to be a lot of love for Craig Green in LA which is great to see!  People instantly recognised and ID-ed his tie-dye shorts from SS14, which I was wearing and there was a healthy amount of his stuff at the store 12345.  Go Craig!!!

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- We’re currently in the process of re-doing our garden and a cactus corner is a must because of all the cool cacti we saw out in LA.  It won’t look as cool in our flat grey light but will definitely be a reminder of our trips.

IMG_0183At Olvera Street

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- Every area in LA seemed to have one of these Apolis Local + Global market bags, which originated in LA-based socially motivated lifestyle brand Apolis’ arts district store and have slowly branched out to partner with stores all over the world.  I love the new Koreatown version sold in Poketo inside The Line hotel.  They’re made by a group of women in Bangladesh and as this harrowing BBC2 documentary on the Rana Plaza disaster attests, any initiative to ensure Bangladeshi women get to earn a fair living under safe conditions is definitely worthy of attention.

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- The ridiculous reason why I wanted to go to Las Vegas for a day was because I needed the air miles to top up my account.  The sensible reason was that I’d never been.  Perhaps less than 24 hours wasn’t really enough time to devote to the city of sin but I have to be honest… Las Vegas basically felt like Leicester Square and Macau x 100 rolled together with the added downside of searingly hot temperatures (walking around outside at night was like having a hot fan heater blowing in your face the whole time).  We don’t gamble and we didn’t really know how (yes, I know I’m betraying my Chinese roots here but my dad abhors gambling and likewise instilled that in me) and spent a while just watching people do it.  Then we went to strip club for the “fun” of it and found it to be an utterly depressing experience, watching girls in mismatched bras and panties sidling up to men for dances (I say dance loosely – they were just bouncing up and down to get dudes turned on).  But…

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IMG_0235View from our room at the Bellagio

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…I really did love driving further up the strip towards downtown to see the shotgun wedding chapels at night even if we did have to pay an extortionate fare to a cab driver to get him to drive us up and down the strip.

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IMG_0250Wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses, vintage Vivienne Westwood swimsuit, Marni shorts, Christopher Kane sandals

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- On a food note, the Bacchanal buffet at Caesars Palace defeated me.  One starter plate, one main plate and a few of the desserts were all I had.  I brought shame to my expert buffet eating family.  Thumbs up to the truffle layered potatoes, the clams in chorizo sauce and the dipped strawberries.

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- Back in LA, we opted to spend our last night in a new-ish hotel called The Line in Koreatown.  It had a fab view of Hollywood Hills and the interiors designed by Knibb Design were pretty ace (especially loved the plastered white t-shirt ceilings) but not everything was open yet – looking forward to coming back to check out the Commissary cafe, which is housed in a greenhouse by the pool.  It was handy to be near all the Korean eats though and it was great to eat a really decent tasting funked-up congee for brekkie.  Didn’t get to sample Roy Choi’s food at the restaurant hotel Pot but like I said, this place is definitely one to revisit.

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- Downtown LA is still a pretty interesting area to comb through.  This time we checked out Bradbury Building aka where they filmed Blade Runner in.  It’s an incredible mishmash of architecture inside with Parisian-derived apartment iron fretwork coupled with Mexican tiles and Italian marble, with a central skylight allowing light to flood in.  Across the road, Million Dollar Theatre and Grand Central Market are also worth snooping around.  Especially in the latter, where we tried Salvadorean pupusas.  Plus there’s an eatery called Eggslut.  Yup, Eggslut.

IMG_4482Inside the Bradbury Building

IMG_4484Million Dollar Theater

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- In a shop called Round2, the owner described downtown as “kind of like New York in the 80s… things are just getting started around here.”  Not sure if the analogy is entirely true but DLTA definitely has its own vibe, that’s very separate from shopping in Hollywood or out in Silver Lake/Echo Park.  Round2 felt like an LA version of Cyber Dog and I found great plastic fantasic pieces by local designer Michelle Uberreste (apparently an ex Project Runway contestant).  I also loved The Last bookstore, quite possibly the largest and most well-organised second hand bookstore I’ve been to.  I didn’t get to check out Please do Not Enter, a newish concept store downtown but again, leaving one for next time.

IMG_4496Michelle Uberreste vest at Round 2

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- Outside In ‘n’ Out near the airport (our only repeat eating experience because well… it’s In ‘n’ Out!), a girl yelped my name and repeatedly screamed/hugged me and then ran away without saying anything.  I kind of loved her.  Please make yourself be known if you are reading!

Yo Yucca!

I’m currently typing this up in a Starbucks by LAX airport and holiday blues have already set in.  Me thinks someone up there knew we were about to depart because today has been a non-starter of a day involving, traffic woes, fluffed-up shop/sights opening hours and GPS nightmares.  Perhaps it’s some kind of karmic payback after the utterly beautiful day we had yesterday (one day out in this part of the world and I’m already using the word “karmic”)  After our early evening trip-out into Joshua Tree, we knew we had to come back for more weird and wonderful sights.  We were hooked by the loud cricket noises, the hot desert air blowing in our faces and the drive along Twentynine Palms Highway.  I promise this isn’t all strictly tourist mumbo-jumbo.  There’s some fash-un to be found.  Well, I say some.  In fact, there’s actually a surprising amount of unique vintage wares to be found along this stretch of road.  First off though, some inspiration fodder that will feed the eye…

The number one thing on our bucket list was Salvation Mountain in Niland, past the eerie lake of Salton Sea.  It’s about an hour and a half’s drive from Palm Springs and well worth the trek if you have a car.  This is probably one of the most famous and spectacular examples of “outsider” art, created by Leonard Knight, who sadly passed away earlier this year.  Apparently he would have often been on-site to talk people through this psychedelic mound, made out of adobe clay and painted with uplifting murals and Bible verses.  It was Knight’s tribute to God but moreover, to love, to wonderment and to beauty.  Surrounding it are further caravans, tractors and cars painted in s similar fashion.  Collectively it’s an awe-inspiring sight, made even more profound by its far-out and relatively impoverished location.  The harsh late morning sun was beating down on us but those rays and the intense blue sky did cast Salvation Mountain in the most breathtaking light.  We couldn’t tear ourselves away even though the heat was physically hurting our heads.  And not to diminish the meaning of Knight’s masterpiece but obviously, aesthetically speaking, the colour scheme and I were sort of on the same wavelength…

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0E5A4270Not going to lie, Luke Brooks’ special “Tree Shirt” was a bit of a strategic outfit choice for Salvation Mountain.  Worn with Mother of Pearl skirt, Loewe sunglasses, Lucy Folk necklace and Prism espadrilles. 

0E5A4273Steve’s Craig Green shirt was also an appropriate bit of kit to soak up the Salvation Mountain vibes…

On the way back from Salvation Mountain, we stopped by a deserted stretch along the curious lake of Salton Sea.  It’s beautiful from afar but kind of depressing when you get closer as you see thousands of dead fish washed up on the stone-filled shores.  Moody Top of the Lake vibes aplenty here (please watch this series if you can!)

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After refuelling back at our Palm Springs base, we made our second trip up to Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree to try and eke out another layer beneath the obvious Joshua Tree National Park.  Our primary reference was this High Deserts Test Sites map, provided by a non-profit organisation which supports and curates site-based art around this area.  One of the founders is artist Andrea Zittel, whose home and work space A-Z-West was also on my hit list but sadly it wasn’t available to see.  If we had more time, I would have driven around hunting down all of the sites on the map but in the end wee settled for one  and it was definitely special enough.  The journey was an experience in itself.  You drive past the vaguely theme park-esque Pioneertown and on to a winding dirt track road, which leads you to a curiously named path called God’s Way Love.   Up this rocky path in the high desert nestled in amongst wind-blasted rock formations is Boulder Gardens, the eco-sanctuary and retreat founded and kept by Garth Bowles.  This sanctuary is Bowles’ “act of giving” – you’re free to stay here with a voluntary donation.  People are also allowed to go up there and take a look and so we roamed around, looking in all the nooks and crannies of this breath-taking retreat, lovingly adorned with crystal-scattered spiritual niches.  It’s got all you need really when you’re this high up and far out (in spirit and in altitude) – a sauna, a cool pool, a meditation garden, a tranquil pond, chicken coops built into caves and a picture perfect teepee.  The desert planting all around Boulder Gardens was inspiration enough for Steve and I.  Trying to take a little piece of Garth’s retreat back to N15 with us will be a tough tough task.

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Back down on Twentynine Palms Highway out of all the numerous vintage spots dotted along this road, The End in Yucca Valley was a must-see for me, not least because the lovely Jazzi McG gave it a thumbs up.  I didn’t realise the connection until I got there but it turns out owner Kime Buzzelli is a former fellow Typepad blogger (as in blogger generation 1.0), whose blog The Moldy Doily was on my blog feed back in the day.  Kime was working in TV styling and also owned the concept boutique Show Pony in Los Angeles but decided a few years ago to up sticks and move out to Yucca Valley permanently to open up The End.  Here she’s free to concentrate on her beautiful illustration work – seen dotted around the store – and live what seems to be something of the good life.  You’ll spot the distinct murals painted on the outside by Elena Stonaker from a mile off (Stonaker’s wearable pieces are quite something too…).  Inside, it’s a treasure trove of desert-appropriate wafting around prettiness and hippie finds in the true and good definition of the h word.  I picked up a leather bag dripping with paint, created by a couple who live out in Palm Springs.  If I had time, I’d really look into this seemingly sprawling coven of “folk-based” artists and craftsmen from around these parts as everything from ceramics to jewellery to clothing seem to have this … yes, I’ll say it… RAD… aesthetic that I’m drawn to.  I also loved that in the middle of the high desert seemingly in the middle of nowhere, weirdly I managed to make a stray blogger connection.

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10384676_581410168635805_3979975435337962556_nWearing Marques Almeida top, Balenciaga shorts, Birkenstocks, Thomas Tait sunglasses and the bag I bought from The End

A ten minute drive away from The End, right outside the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, was another spot on my to-see list.  Why, it’s the World Famous Crochet Museum, created by artist Shari Elf, which sits in the Art Queen Gallery.  Nobody was at home but we just let ourselves in, unlocked the door to this green pod of awesomeness and marvelled at the shelves of crochet cuties.  Right next door, there’s also Trailer Court Shops, a mini-warren of vintage and oddities sellers.  By the time we looked to have a poke around, they had already closed.  I like that I’ve left quite a few stones unturned.  It gives me an excuse to come back and I definitely will.  That’s a promise.

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On the way to Palm Springs at Cabazon, you can’t miss Ms. Rex and Ms. Dinny aka The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs aka the best roadside stop off ever where we filled up the car, sampled all manners of meat jerky and got a cheesy snap in the process as well.  I promise my wearing the Julien David “Dinosaur” vest was mere coincidence.

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IMG_0281Wearing Julien David vest, vintage slip dress, Kitty Joseph socks, Salvatore Ferragamo slip-ons

One final note on our accommodation out in this part of the world, in between exploring Joshua Tree and Salvation Mountain, we opted to stay the night at the Ace in Palm Springs.  From what people told me, I was a little bit skeptical about this “hipster” bolthole of choice and no.1 hangout during Coachella, but I found the Ace to be pretty chill.  As in, not the frat boy/hen do madfest I was expecting it to be on the weekends.  There were shibori dyeing and collage making classes going on in the clubhouse and the pool was nicely filled out as opposed to super rammed.  And when all is said and done, I am officially an ageing “hipster” for want of a better word… so ermmmm…

… PEACE OUT…

… until I get back to London.  I will then strike-through that sentence and start moaning about the weather, TFL and BT Broadband.

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IMG_4379Wearing Auria swimsuit, Karen Walker sunglasses

P.S. Unlike Instagram, hopefully this is a safe haven from the fat-hating comments I get (exclusively from peeps from China/Hong Kong it would seem… ) but just in case some people can’t resist, I may as well rebut now and say yes, I’m in a swimsuit, and no, it ain’t a perfect sight because I like food.  And drink.  And lots of it at that.

Valise d’été

Here are a few of my favorite things I took with me for the summer…

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Of course, there is always a lot of white, like this super cool shirt and my Common Projects sneakers and jean shorts that are perfect for throwing on for some paddle ball. But hey, it’s Greece and I needed to add a little bit of color to my wardrobe for this trip, so I went with this pink Isabel skirt and this orange one-piece from Eres.

A simple tote, embroidered pareo, my gold Sonia Rykiel belt that I’ve had forever, those beautiful coral earrings from Aurélie and a travel watercolor set in case I feel inspired! It’s so cool to be able to bring my stationery with me too, I really love it.

Ok, so maybe my suitcase wasn’t really 22.3 kilos by the time I added some of the items not pictured…but these are my favorites that I wanted to share with you!

Just Because

>> My brain is currently emptied of smart, sassy things to say about fashion and nor have I been finding funky fresh shops to blog up here on my very short one week trip to Los Angeles/Las Vegas/Palm Springs.  Therefore, the blog is looking a bit barren, my Instagram feed will clue you in as to why.  I did want to check in though with one entirely gratuitous post in ode to Joshua Tree, one of the most magnificent places I have seen on Earth.  There is no snazzy outfit to accompany it.  There is no beautifully composed picture with hair artfully blowing in the wind.  There isn’t even an insightful travel perspective to bring to this post, other than… please go if you ever get the chance.  All I’ve got for you are wide-armed cheesy smiles, moments of pure magic when you feel like you’re on the edge of the world and the shifting light of a sunset cast across acres of 100 million years-old mysterious rock formations and of course the thousands of spindly spiky headed Joshua trees, which become seductively sinister at night.  Why?

Well… just because.  When I interviewed Luella Bartley recently, she made a comment about there being no time these days just to do things for the sake of doing them – for fun, for larks, for pure joy.  Everything had to have a mechanical reason behind it.  I’m entitled to have a cheesy and cliched mini-epiphany inside this much-visited and famed national park because it felt brilliant for me at that very moment and ultimately, that will feed whatever I do when I get back to the real world.  Reason enough?

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Japanese Wave at ITS

“What can young Japanese designers do to help their careers and make it internationally?”  Loaded question but it’s one that frequently pops up whenever I’m in Tokyo, meeting designers in showrooms and discovering abundance.  It was again put to me at this year’s edition of ITS – International Talent Support – the annual competition for recent graduates all around the world, held in Trieste with prizes of up to EUR25,000 up for grabs.  I was once again part of the jury and a journalist from the magazine SO-EN was probing about the current state of Japanese fashion and without meaning to sound like I was some fashion knew-it-all oracle, the only thing I could muster up was “There’s heaps of talent.  It’s just hard to communicate that to the world.”   I meant it.  There’s no doubt that the creativity and talent is there in abundance.  I see it every time I’m in Japan and come home laden with lookbooks, clothes and general fashion-high because I’ve absorbed so much.  It’s the matter of getting it out there into the wider world – the language barrier, the tendency not to publicise themselves out on social media and snazzy websites and the general unwillingness or fear of making that international step-up.

There might yet be another monumental Japanese wave though akin to Rei Kawkubo and Yohji Yamamoto storming Paris in the 80s but for now it’s about paving the way in small steps for a new gen of Japanese designers to make it to the forefront.  Competitions like ITS are a good start and this year, there was no less than seven Japanese finalists across the fashion, jewellery, accessories and the newly created art categories (as in fashion designers who create art as opposed to bona fide artists).  It was also great that four of them scooped up prizes in the final show ceremony, which is definitely encouragement for similar graduates from Japan to enter similar competitions.  It was also interesting that the thought process of their work was so often incredibly personal and free from overarching and remote concept, which can often be the case with many student projects.  It gave them an idiosyncratic edge that is hard not to be charmed by.  Some were familiar to me, some were not but I thought I’d run through my favourites from this mini ITS 2014 Japanese wave.

Zetsumei, the exhibition of young Japanese designers and their wacked-out installations in Parco Tokyo last year was a real eye-opener for me.  Amongst one of the newbies, two made it to ITS this year, following the guidance of their tutors Mikio Sakabe and Yoshikazu Yamagata, co-founders of the Coconogacco school in Tokyo and themselves unconventional designers.  Noriko Nakazatu was one them and she had her work entered under the jewellery and art categories.  A quick look at her Tumblr and she’s an a jack-of-all-trades, dabbling with image-making, installation, jewellery and fashion with an incredibly complex level of referencing.  Kitsch would be a simplistic way of looking at it.  Sci-fi, psychedelia and strange facets of Japanese culture all feed into her particular eye for the perverse and odd.  Nakazatu’s jewellery won her the Swarovski Jewellery Price of EUR10,000 probably because she charmed the jury with her totally sensical more-is-more approach.  There’s definitely more to her than piecing resin, crystals and toys together though.  I’d love to see her create more all-encompassing installations that blend different fields together.

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Yasuto Kimura’s portfolio was the thinnest of the lot.  It consisted of an exacting newspaper format to talk up his collection about an alternative uniform for the Japanese salarymen.  It’s such an iconic image, seeing Japanese commuters falling asleep on the metro or hanging out in packs at ramen bars.  Kimura is I think the first to tackle this specific aspect of Japanese culture and he does it with a series of distorted, multi-functional and versatile grey suited tailoring.  No boring grey suits here as Kimura declared that he’d love to be the “Thom Browne of Japan” when we asked him about his work in the jury session.  Ambitious but great to see.  The most prominent Japanese menswear has often skewed towards streetwear and casualwear in recent years and so it’s nice to see a tailoring focused menswear designer try and come and do something that feels unique to his experience.  The best thing is that Kimura himself is that Japanese salaryman.  He works as a designer for a corporate apparel company and so is well equipped to give a whole new spin on salarymen attire.  Kimura was selected to create a film with SHOWstudio, which will definitely be interesting to see, judging by his lookbook images.

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Maiko Takeda‘s work is now instantly recognisable thanks to what is known as the “Bjork Effect”.  When I posted a pic on Instagram, somebody said “Very Bjork-esque!”  Errr… well, Bjork did in fact wear  Takeda’s Atmospheric Reentry collection of cut-acetate headpieces, straight after Takeda had shown her work at last year’s RCA graduate show.  Takeda’s phenomenal work is the collection that keeps on giving though as she was belatedly selected for ITS this year and also has had it shot for Dazed Digital.  Takeda currently has a job at Issey Miyake working as their accessories designer experiences like ITS might stir up a hankering to do her own thing, given the extra encouragement of the Vogue Talents Award.

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“Made with naive love” is often something that I think of whenever I encounter Japanese designers who operate within their own world, removed from global trends and outsider influences.  Takafumi Arai definitely falls underthis category.  His Instagram account is brimming with enthusiasm and joy for his handmade shoes, stitched, patched and composed together with an incredible eye for detail.  They’re shoes that showcase craftsmanship in a very overt way so that you can’t help but fall for them, even if they’re not necessarily your favoured aesthetic.  Top stitching, cross-stitching, flecks of rainbow tufted threads and autumnal shades of leathers and suede come together in a sort of homespun craftwork fantasy.  Arai was a revelation for me and it seems he impressed others too as YKK decided to award a special prize of EUR1,000 as a vote of encouragement to this young shoemaker.

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Finally, I can’t not mention the charming project of Ryota Murakami and his mother Chiaki.  I also encounter his work at Zetsumei in Parco last year.  Some mothers draw and craft with their children.  Chiaki sketches out what she deems to be her kind of “fashion” and brings them to live through crochet and knit.  Together Ryota and Chiaki created a knitwear installation that was entered under the art category of ITS.  To go with this rainbow brite mass of fun, is a children’s book to illustrate the tale about the way a mother and son co-create and inspire each other.  It would be sickly sweet if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s so heartfelt and genuine, especially when you meet Chiaki herself.  It brought a huge beaming smile to the proceedings.

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Bonjour from Corsica

A little layover in Corsica to say hello to my family and let my nephews jump on me – the weather is perfect and today, my only goal in life is to read a good book and to get on a paddle board.

Yesterday I spent the day on the beach of Capo Di feno, where there is no reception at all.

It’s actually perfect, you send message before going “Ok, we’re leaving, meet us there!” and then it’s total zen, noone can reach you. No more “emergencies,” no one glued to their phones, no 1000 texts to get you to do something. It feels good and even if it’s only for a few hours, I really call that a vacation.

I had tried last summer to have a fully phone off vacation. I had gotten super organized and everybody around me knew I would be unreachable and you know what? It turned out to be more stressful than anything else.
So now what I do when I’m on vacation is check my emails in the morning for half an hour, answer urgent matters and then not worry about it for the rest of the day. Of course I can’t help Instagramming when it’s super gorgeous – but that’s it.
Oh, and I take advantage of long days at the beach to have mini tech-rehabs.

I found it’s the best balance for me. What about you? How do you deal with your phone during the vacations?

PS – The photo was taken on the Capo Di Feno beach, at Pierre-Tou’s restaurant (Le Pirate), my favorite place to end a long summer day.