Thursday, September 29, 2011

on jane birkin

I haven't got a lot out of the current issue of Vogue UK. I have a problem with the Style File interviews laying admiration on people for 'having caught the eye of Prince Harry over the Summer' especially when the same subject goes on to describe herself as 'a high-street girl' with the exception of an occasional Gucci shoe purchase. Or a Mulberry bag. Plus maybe a penchant for dresses from Erdem and Temperley. Which is all fine but in my book more accurately translates as a 'high-end girl who also likes Topshop.' I get tired of reading articles in Vogue which present people under the allusion that they're 'just like us' when they feel more suited to Tatler. 

The interview with Jane Birkin on the other hand made my purchase of the issue worth it and I devoured it. It's honest while escaping any sense of false modesty. When asked about her 'high-street secrets', she answers that she doesn't have any. Her daily beauty routine? 'Frankly, I swish my face-and bosoms-with cold water on waking and then on with anything I can lay my hands on while I brush my teeth and put on the radio for the nine o'clock news.' I very much like that Jane Birkin calls her boobs 'bosoms'. The interview is full of interesting tidbits, thanks to the well considered questions. We learn that she buys cashmere socks which always end up heel-less thanks to their ill-suited coupling with her Converse and that fringes are fantastic for 'horse-faced people like me.'

Chances are that for anyone who loves Jane Birkin's style, they also have a soft spot for the wicker baskets which became one of her sartorial trademarks in the 1960s. 'Either she brings her basket or we leave,' Serge Gainsbourg would sternly warn any restaurant or nightclub that they entered and she was faithful to her favourite accessory until her second husband Jacques Doillon became so sick of 'gimmicks' that he ran his car over it, a fact that she relays without the mournful sentiment I would probably attach to a humorous yet tragic episode!

Monday, September 26, 2011

interview: florence sw

Top photograph by Sophie Davidson.

I regard Tumblrs with a wariness, like a cat about to cross the road I understand the extent of the danger I am about to put myself in when I visit one of those blackholes of all things aethestically beautiful. Florence SW's is one of those pages, except that when I visit I feel completely safe. I may visit and muse over bare-faced photographs of Natalia Vodianova and enjoy Florence's funny accompanying captions which read like the naive bursts of a teenage diary. With enthusiastic chronicles of trips to the shop for a packet of crisps, vaguely embarrassing mishaps or tales of recent eBay purchases, she is a Brit with a true Anglo wit and an ability to post picture after picture of some lithe 90s model without any real pretension. I like Florence's tumblr because in a sea of sites which often lack real substance, she will source consistently fresh (and funny) material and inspire and give you a good old pat on the back to help you through that early-morning-getting-dressed funk.

What’s on your bedside table?
My bedside table is more accurately a desk so presently a perennially dying cheeseplant, my radio (to indulge my radio 4 obsession), various magazine tear outs and school books

Some pieces of clothing you have on current rotation?
Raggedy old jumpers in sombre colours, leather trousers, t-shirts under dresses, doc martens shoes and black or grey socks are my style staples. 

Which are your go-to blogs?

What would you like to be ‘when you’re a grown up’?
To be a stylist would be the ultimate fantasy, dressing hot chicks in saggy jumpers and tattered jeans; however I would be equally happy devoting my life to indulging all of my history student desires as a museum curator.

How do you start your average day? (Please discuss breakfast.)
Ideally I’d like to wake up to, my eternal hero, Jenny Murray’s dulcet tones on Woman’s Hour followed by a breakfast of croissants and blueberries/raspberries, however a far more apt description would be my waking up at about 12, missing Woman’s Hour and eating some quavers around 2 o’clock when I finally drag myself to Tesco Express.

Tell us a joke.

Have you heard of anti-joke chicken? “Knock, Knock, Who’s there? It’s the police, your wife has been badly injured in a car accident”. 

If you were creating a moodboard to sum up your own style and your favourite references, what would feature in it?
An excess of a barefaced Kate Moss, Angela Lindvall in Miu Miu turtlenecks and Chloe Sevigny in homemade hats and overalls.

What are your guilty pleasures?
Cigarettes, Halloumi and Glee.

Is it accurate to say you have a frugal approach to clothes? 
It couldn’t be more accurate, the best indication of my clothes expenditure is to say that I usually have to have a serious think if the item is over £1. I am an ebay fiend first and foremost and since starting Uni my charity shop obsession has intensified, it is Deptford that caters to this obsession (the Methodist church, the Salvation Army, the list goes on!)

A couple of songs you’re listening to at the moment?
I remain a committed fan to Dev Hynes and his accomplishments so naturally the Blood Orange album has been one of my priorities, Etta James 'A Sunday Kind of Love', anything and everything by Sam Cooke and 'C'mon Every Beatbox' by Big Audio Dynamite.

Do you have a beauty routine?
I’d prefer to not wear make-up, but in order to avoid the much dreaded “prawn eyes”, I usually wear Rimmel kohl eyeliner, Maybelline Great Lash mascara (because its the cheapest!) and if I am feeling festive I occasionally wear orangey or red wine coloured lipsticks.

Your favourite films to stimulate the sartorial senses?
Amelie for the awkwardly long skirts, perfect hair and chunky shoes and Woody Allen for Gershwin, New York, his passion for Ingmar Bergman and Diane Keaton.

Aside from direct style references, what are your other interests?
The first thing that springs to mind is Joe Strummer and The Clash, an infatuation that I can only credit my parents with. In my opinion, The Clash are the ultimate British band; political, clever, funny and original and Strummer and Jones are my Lennon and McCartney. Seeing Big Audio Dynamite with one of my best friends at Bestival not only made my summer, but my life. Additionally, history lessons with Mr Merriman can attribute to my interest in Cold War era American and the hours spent pouring over books on Civil Rights or the Johnson administration in my former life as a Waterstones bookseller.

Meadham Kirchoff SS12

AWOL for over a week! I've been properly settling into my new house in Manchester and I do very sincerely apologise for the absence. Please find as compensation (while I finish getting through Uncle Tom's Cabin at my typical s-n-a-i-l-s pace) some phone pictures from the Meadham Kirchoff last Tuesday. The show really was incredible, it felt like the visual equivalent of receiving the warmest, tightest hug imaginable and having someone lovingly dust a little icing powder into your head for good measure. Young ballerinas, a troupe of Courtney Love can-can dancers, an old railway platform filled with candy coloured balloons and streamers and a Spice Girls soundtrack left a room full of regular (and often unflappable) show attendees completely weak at the knees and grinning like lovestruck softees. I was so glad to leave London on such a high after that show feeling like I'd been part of something really special. One of my favourite moments was seeing the ballerinas rush backstage after their performance and watching them excitably hugging and jumping up and down behind the screens and out of sight, having their own sugary adrenaline rush.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

christopher raeburn

There's a lot to like about Christopher Raeburn. I like that his surname sounds like the best and crunchiest variety of Apple. I also like that with his Spring 2012 collection he advocates both wearing plain grey school skirts and matching your socks with your vinyl rainwear. And just for good measure, all dedicated chameleons should place themselves against a matching rainbow appropriate backdrop, just as his models did. These anoraks are a prime example of a 'power by numbers' uniform, to be worn by packs rather than individuals. Earlier today I saw Francesca Burns and another of her Love Magazine collegues (can't remember who) strolling out of Somerset House in matching JW Anderson paisley trousers and I'd love to see Team Love each opting for a different coloured Christopher Raeburn anorak in a 'fashion tellybubby' sort of move. 

lfw diary


1. Boris Johnson and Erin O'Connor. Fun facts- Boris does indeed walk around mumbling 'Hullo, Hullo, Hullo, Hi..' in real life (does like he does 'on the telly'..) He also had two builders shouting 'We Love You Boris!' Ironically.
2, 3, 4. The fantastic B.Store Presentation. Lots of braids and sturdy sandals galore. Models sloped about, nonchalantly chatting on the grand staircase.
5. Issue 3 of Hot and Cool! Had a excitable moment seeing the latest issue on the shelves of Wardour News with my two articles inside yesterday. Shamelessly said 'that's me, that is!' to the man behind the counter while pointing at my interview with Turned Out's Maya Villiager.
6, 7. Sheepy Knitwear at the Espirit x RCA launch party.
8. The delicious dalmatiany Unique collection at the Topshop Oxford St store.
9. Vintage crochet dresses at Topshop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

nail envy

Lots of love for these nails, spotted by Refinery 29 at NYFW. So clean, so well buffed, the perfect Pillarbox red and a world away from the current state of affairs where my own fingernails are concerned. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


What I wore yesterday: Topshop Ampersand jumper, second hand bloomer-ish shorts, New Balance 420 for packing and last minute chores before leaving Bristol behind again. I am now just getting settled into my new house in Manchester. This is my first time in a 'real' house of my 'own' which is rather exciting. 

I'm also thinking of doing a 'Freshers' (cool!) related post for those of you who are starting University this year if any of you have ideas of things you'd like to know? I know when I started last year I became a bit compulsive when it came to devouring any information I could find, not because I necessarily needed it but just because I found a bizarre pleasure in indulging in Guardian Student Food guides and hearing how people budgeted. So do throw any questions/ideas my way if this appeals at all.

Friday, September 09, 2011

rachel comey SS12

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Hurrah, Fashion Month is GO! First up on my 'list of appreciation' is unsurprisingly Rachel Comey SS12. Comey continues her love affair with Bucket Hats (which I wrote about last year and still like just as much) in a collection featuring Moroccan sandals, slit skirts, seascape prints, halter dresses and a slight 'gone camping' Spring vibe with large, practical handbags. 

the wild ones

With it's bright mishmash of Missoni, Meadham Kirchoff, Eley Kishimoto and clashing pattern galore, I've fallen a little bit for editorial 'The Wild Ones' styled by Katy Lassen and shot by Mark Lean. I love the innocence of the teenage girls, all lithe and cool, drinking Coca Cola and looking like Upper Class Italians in the 1970s in palazzo pants and intricate knitwear without any hint of precociousness. 

I also thoroughly recommend The Contributing Editor which until now seems to have bypassed me and acts as an online magazine showcasing talent from emerging photographers and stylists. The editorials differ in their style but are all of a high standard, whether shooting Z-Boy reminiscent stories or subtle odes to denim and slicked back hair.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

that september feeling

I know, I know hankering after all the hallmarks of September and that back to school feeling is a cliche. But it's a cliche for a reason and that synthetic smell of just-photocopied pages, the feeling of a chunky pen on a fresh page and new pencils can't be beaten. This novelty of newness goes hand in hand with new-season excitement in the wardrobe department which lives on long after school days. Even though I am no longer confined to a school uniform, I still see September as an opportunity to add some pieces to my very own personalised uniform. And of course, the perfect homage to That September Feeling has to be the school walk-through scene from Donnie Darko, one of my very favourite film scenes for the synchronised playground dancing, goodboy vs badboy, folders clutched to chests and Tears For Fears soundtrack.

'You Look Really Good Today' Jumper, Markus Lupfer/ Leather Trousers, Topshop/ Cable Knit Socks, Toast/ Adidas Gazelle in purple/ Postalco Notebooks, Brookfarm General Store/ Koss Porta Pro Headphones.

Cashmere Rollneck, Margaret Howell/ Metallic Heel Sandals and Tortoiseshell Barette both Topshop/ Mac Lipstick in Morange/  Aqua PVC Clutch, Christopher Kane/ 'What Would Mozzer Do?' pencils, Classic Sigg Water Bottle, Brookfarm General Store.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Some photographs taken from my European trip, these ones from Rome.
I arrived hot and bothered and without anywhere to stay but once I'd found a hostel (after a few 'no room at the inn' moments) a walk to see the colloseum and the city before it got dark seemed like a nice calming antidote to the journey. I hadn't thought a lot about what Rome would be like before arriving but on that walk I found myself thinking 'of course' as mopeds zipped in and out of traffic, horns beeped and the shirts and suits of dapper drivers on their vespas flapped in the wind. All of this with the huge body of the colloseum ahead of me and the moon just coming out above it. It all felt a bit like one of those adverts that play on tv in the depths of winter, commissioned by tourist offices, it was exactly what you'd expect of Rome; loud, hot, busy and wonderful and I felt like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck might as well have riden past in CGI just to complete the illusion. 

I did lots of walking around and reading. I visited the Orto Botanico and climbed up to the top of the hill with it's view over Rome and the multiple Basilicas sticking up and out in the sea of red roofs and I bought a huge, fuzzy peach at Campo Dei Fiori. My favourite moment was probably when I was walking back to the hostel one evening through the maze of alleys in the centre and turned a corner to be completely unexpectedly greeted by the sight of Fontana di Trevi, the gushing sound of cascading water and the swarms of people crowding around it. Italy was constantly crowded (of course, it was the Summer) but standing in front of that huge white fountain, with marble men and horses wrestling in the water while surrounded by a huge crowd of people equally excited to see such an infamous landmark was a really nice feeling. Seeing such a famous sight emerging out of nowhere felt very true of Rome and Italy in general, you could be in what felt like a completely 'ordinary' street and some building, or sculpture, or in this case fountain would pop out of nowhere, extraordinarily decadent and beautiful. It's the sort of decadence that doesn't exist anymore but most of the awe comes from the age of the buildings and relics themselves because you wonder how on earth you can be looking at something that was built in the Roman period. 

Monday, September 05, 2011


Brigitte Bardot having a whale of a time/ Chloe Sevigny in Harper's and Queen, October 2003/ nice workspace/ Underwear on the Staten Island Ferry, Araks Lookbook/ Angora Jumpers in general (this one is by J.W. Anderson)/ Socks and sandals, Rochas Resort 2012.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

style notes for the guys

White tee-shirts, sharp haircuts, rolled up jeans with black socks and polished brogues. Wear this look until you die and ye shall never falter. 
From 'Hackney Road' in Spray Magazine, styled by Charlotte Briere. 

Friday, September 02, 2011

got a girl crush

It's a wonder that a magazine like Got A Girl Crush didn't pop up sooner, as girl crushing now seems to have reached the status of a fully fledged and fairly legitimate pastime for women around the world. As our hunger for 'nosey culture' grows in the form of voyeuristic personal style blogs, websites specialising in informal house visits and in-depth interviews, the girl crush phenomenon is bigger than ever and the everyday woman is just as important and inspiring as those famous idols that smiled down from the posters on our teenage bedroom walls.

Got A Girl Crush Magazine is the brain child of Meg Wachter and Andrea Cheng and it perfectly understands what the girl crush is all about. Guy crushes are nice too but as much as I enjoy smiling at the TV screen when George Clooney's face is stretched across it or laughing at Chris Addison on Twitter, nothing quite beats the proverbial kick up the arse a girl crush will give you for wanting to get your act together. Girls with projects, girls with nice clothes, girls who are funny and proactive, girls who can create something amazing in the kitchen, can say no firmly but nicely and girls who juggle a million things at once are the receivers of my serious admiration and this magazine takes 10 such women from across America and simply hangs out, talks to them and takes beautiful photographs of the whole process. It's sort of like having a lunch with an interesting friend but in magazine form; the interviews ask all the right questions and the result is a wonderful publication that leaves you inspired to enjoy your life as much as they do. It's not all 'isn't she brilliant' gushing over high-flyers, it's about people who spend their time doing things that are enjoyable and completely achievable. Reading this magazine doesn't feel like reading fantasy and it provides little gems like the anecdote from comedian Jenny Slate who was overwhelmed by the desire to fart under the duvet and then waft while shooting love scenes with Jason Schwartzman. Another favourite interview of mine is with Jeana Sohn who writes one of my favourite sites Closet Visit (which I was thinking about when talking about 'nosey culture') and talks about how she juggles her two websites and her painting and who her dream Closet Visit subjects would be (Miranda July, Isabel Marant, Jenna Lyons and Stevie Dance if you were wondering).

If you're all about girl crushing and 'real life stories' that aren't of the incest variety, Got A Girl Crush is a lovely magazine to dip in and out of and I'm looking forward to reading about Meg and Andrea's next spate of crushes.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

cotton fields

I'm really excited to have another vintage store, Cotton Fields Vintage sponsoring Discotheque Confusion. Cotton Fields is a newbie, just started by Jillian Smith in Scotland with a small selection of reasonably priced vintage dresses ranging from the 50s to the 70s. If there is anything that takes your fancy you can use this code (lovediscotheque) to receive 10% off over the next fortnight. Having another sponsor means that I can get the train to London (which I'm about to do right now..) without having to scrape by eating only vegetable soup the week before, ahem to that!