Fashion style muse

World Cup Fashion – vintage WAG style

It’s nearly time for the Football World Cup, which I am rather excited about. According to Betfair, my team of choice (um, Germany) is looking like they have a strong chance to win it all this year.

While I’m looking forward to all the, hopefully excellent, football, I also really love going through the archives and looking at past styles, both old-school football shirts but also the vintage WAG fashion of the Sixties and Seventies.

If you’re thinking of supporting your team the retro way, I highly recommend Austrian online shop Klang & Kleid for a huge variety of vintage-inspired shirts for both men and women as well as UK-based site Toffs, who stock an equally impressive range of retro shirts.

But back to WAG fashion and style inspiration – point in case, the amazing Tina Moore. Married to England legend Bobby Moore, Tina was one of the first footballer’s wives the media took an interest in, particularly during the 1966 World Cup. With her strawberry blonde hair and Carnaby Street finest, Tina looked every inch the cool Sixties dolly bird.

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Also high on my list of best dressed is Pat Labone. Her wedding and honeymoon to Brian Labone fell right in World Cup 66 phase so Brian turned down his place in the England squat and went ahead with the wedding. Ah the romance! I love Pat’s amazing Sixties bouffant and mod-ish knee-length skirts, a great example of Sixties every day style.

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Last on my list is actor Susan George, who dated legendary footballer George Best during the late Sixties and early Seventies. The talented actor, who also dated the likes of Prince Charles and Rod Stewart, famously starred in controversial thriller Straw Dogs alongside Dustin Hoffman. Her glamorous late Sixties style epitomises the jet-set WAG lifestyle while still looking natural and cool.

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Fashion shoes

Making my own bespoke shoes with The Colour Studio

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Last week I was invited for an evening of bespoke shoe design with Colour Studio, the bespoke colouring service from British bridal shoe brand Rainbow Club.

We could not only choose from trimmings such as lace, feathers or glitter but could also pick a colour which was then custom mixed for us. I came up with a rather random red shoe with little toddles and a tiny black bow, inspired by the Sixties.

Lucily Colour Studio had also prepared a pair of shoes we’d previously chosen. I went for these point flats in a deep orange. They are fab!

designers I like Fashion wish list

New favourite brand: Little White Lies

little white lies

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Little white lies

Little White Lies is fast becoming my favourite brand. Not surprisingly given that designer Donna quotes Biba and Ossie Clark and peter pan collars as top style inspirations.

The uber cool fringed Talita dress is top of my current wish list. Bring on a sale soon. Please.

 

 

places I've travelled to

Marrakech honeymoon

Marrakech

Marrakech

Marrakech

Essaouira

Casablanca

My honeymoon in Morocco was wonderful – although we stayed in Marrakech, we went on plenty of trips around the country and explored everything from the Atlas mountains to Essaouira by the coast and the Art Deco splendor of Casablanca. I utterly loved Morocco, it’s a brilliant place. Absolutely everyone we met was extremely welcoming and needless to say, I loved the local crafts. We not only brought back plates and a tagine, I also bought some shoes and a saddle bag, the souks in Marrakech are a hippie Sixties heaven! 

Culture

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

what I see

It’s such a simple question – “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” and yet, at least for me, such a difficult one. It’s also the key question of the What I See Project, a global online platform aiming to amplify women’s voices by asking women around the globe to record their answer to the question above.

It was an easy decision to say yes when I was asked if I wanted to contribute myself, as the project brings together two topics that are very important to me: feminism and body image.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve massively struggled with my own body image for many years. It is still difficult for me to look at myself at all in a mirror or accept the way I look. Have a look at the video (which, point in case, I find nearly unbearable to watch) I recorded for What I See to find out a little more.

As the project is also about female diversity and different voices, head over to the next embassador of the project, brilliant blogger Ashanti Jason aka Adorn Girl.

Also, why not contribute your own voice? You can still record your own answer, simply record a video via your phone or webcam, or write down your story or simply send a tweet.

book reviews Culture

Book review: Gear Guide

Gear Guide

Gear Guide

Gear Guide

Gear Guide

Gear Guide

Little booklet Gear Guide – “who’s who in Carnaby Street & Kings Road” – was originally published in 1967 to chronicle the explosion of hip clothes shops in the early Sixties which had catapulted the capital from drag post-war greyness into an all-swinging shopping heaven by the middle of the decade.

London shops of the Sixties are a particularly favourite topic of mine, and this little guide book didn’t disappoint in supplying lots of interesting facts and a small glimpse into the world of fashion retail back then.

Gear Guide starts out by telling the story of London ‘gear’, from legendary shop Vince, which sold tight, colourful clothing to a largely gay but increasingly mod clientele in the Fifties, to John Stephen’s empire of boutiques, Mary Quant’s international brand success and the mid-Sixties love for all things Victorian.

It then details every shop on Kings Road and Carnaby Street, describing its stock (about Trecamp: “PVC macs, trouser suits, slacks and hanbags”), commenting on customer service (about Bazaar: “No one presses you to buy here but the service when you want it, is patient and prompt”) and decor (about Topper: “This boutique has a beautifully cool interior in weird purply shades.”)

Lastly, it offer some rather funny predictions of future fashion “It’s quite likely that soon you’ll be able to get a couple of mini-dresses and a pair of shoes, all in paper.” Well, not quite.

Packed full of maps, illustrations and black and white photographs, this is a fantastic insight into a really interesting point in style when mod fashion had been taken over by psychedelia and American hippiedom, and Swinging London’s peak had already passed.

An absolute must for anyone interested in Sixties fashion.

Gear Guide is currently £4.99 on Amazon.

Culture what I got up to

American vs British English blogger party!

Lost and found

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Gaya

Englishtown blogger party

Englishtown blogger party

Lena Weber

My day to day job is actually in social media, and last week I got to co-host a blogger party in Rome for the company I work for, online English school EF Englishtown. To celebrate the launch of our new Android app, we invited Italy’s leading fashion and lifestyle bloggers to come and pick their favourite version of English – British vs American.

After three days of running around in the sweltering Roman heat, my colleague Daniela and I were finally ready to welcome our guests. Needless to say I went for British English and chose a psychedelic 60s outfit, hello Swinging London, while Daniela went for a very American cowgirl look.

Hosted at the amazing New York-style loft gallery Lost & Found, we’d put together a feast of hot dogs and fish’n’chips, two giant flag cakes and a bar menu featuring classics such as vodka sour and gin and tonic.

Much to our relief the bloggers came, enjoyed their customised good bags (I’ll be writing a separate post about our sponsor Gaya as I was so impressed with their products) and danced the night away to the fab DJ duo who – much to my delight – put on a very 50s and 60s song list. Ace night!

Culture Style High meets...

Style High Club meets – Steve Strange

Steve Strange

Steve Strange

Steve Strange

The latest fashion exhibition at London’s V&A Museum – Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s – has rightfully put the spotlight back at a decade many dismiss as an era fashion forgot. Yet, just a quick glimpse at some of the outfits pictured on the V&A website and you’ll know why the 80s made such a lasting impact in London: New Romantic, Goth, Club Kids, High Camp – never again has subcultural style had such a direct impact on high fashion, including designers like Betty Jackson, Katharine Hamnett, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano.

Imagine my excitement then when I was offered to talk to one of the decade’s most influential style makers, Steve Strange. From his punk roots working for Malcom McLaren to hosting legendary club nights at Blitz and the Camden Palace, to forming 80s band Visage (their latest album Shameless Fashion has just come out), Strange has been at the epicentre of the 80s club scene.

Steve, have you had a chance to see the exhibition yet?

Steve Strange: “Yes I have! It’s such an important exhibition. People sometimes think it was all a bit of freak show but it wasn’t. We mixed classic styles with really creative elements, often home-made. It all had substance though, so many people who went to the clubs were artists, musicians, it was about expressing ourselves, a comment on London, even Thatcher if you like.”

Looking back, what was your favourite ever outfit? 

Steve Strange: “It would be a Galliano and it would be from his degree show at St Martin’s School of Fashion, based on the French revolution, customized with a Steven Jones hat. It’s a Galliano with a ‘Jones a la Strange’ twist!

Do you still have any of the outfits you wore to the clubs or to perform?

Steve Strange: “No, sadly I lost everything in a house fire in the late 90s, I was devastated!”

Do you think a subculture like the 80s club scene can ever happen again given that fashion-wise nothing seems to be new anymore?

Steve Strange: “Fashion has always looked back towards history. The only designers that have been on the cutting edge have been those deconstruction fashion – trousers worn inside out, or made to look inside out -  the methodology favoured by a young up and coming designer from Antwerp who dressed Visage on a few occasions, Frederic Jaquemann. Generally most of the big designers have always looked back and got their inspiration from history books.”

Back in the 80s, did you have a very strict door policy in your clubs?

Steve Strange: “I was noted for being the strictest door whore in clubland. People were very bored with the way punk had become mainstream – with the Mirror and the Sun telling people how to rip their clothes and safety pin them back together. I was part of the Bromley contingent, the original group, and we were supporters of the Sex Pistols long before they outraged the nation!

They swore and called Bill Grundy a pervert and it got so many complaints that the national press called them ‘Britain’s most filthy loudmouthed band’, but we’d been following them for a good three to four months before this. I was working for Glen Matlock, he saw my portfolio in South Wales, and sensed generally that I wanted to get out of this small town ASAP. He offered me a job working for Malcolm McLaren. He and the Pistols were doing the Anarchy in the UK tour and after the Bill Grundy incident, most of the venues cancelled!

I felt like I was definitely Vivienne Westwood’s muse for a bit and she gave me a job in SEX selling early bondage trousers, loads of stuff like that, and it really gave me so much inspiration for my own designs.

After the punk thing went sour, me and my partner were looking for a venue for really creative people, and we found our first club. The club got us known for playing great music -  we were really getting into electronic things – and that’s kind of where Visage came in. We needed more electronic stuff to play and so we headed into the EMI studios and made some! We recorded four tracks and played them in the club.

Eventually we moved from Billy’s to the Blitz Club. The owner there let us even turn members away if they weren’t thinking in the same way as what we wanted for the patrons of our club. One night, I remember there was a guy who was from head to toe half white, half black and wearing flippers. I pulled out a mirror and just said ‘look at yourself’.

It was very much ‘club to catwalk’, and we had to make people think about what they were wearing, and make them be creative about it!

The press tried calling us loads of stuff, including the ‘Blitz Kids, even tried to refer to us as a nameless movement for a bit, but the reason I think the name ‘New Romantics’ stuck was that the clothing we were wearing was taken from history books, and we were basing our outfits on characters from novels: big ruffle shirts and cloaks and girls in bustles and little Victorian boots, so definitely harking back to the romantic era.”

Was there ever a point when you became aware that punk started changing into something different like New romantics/Club Kids?

Steve Strange: “Yes, I’m a huge Siouxsie fan and sometimes at their gigs the British Movement and the National Front started to be introduced into that scene. When the skinheads – who were out for a fight – started getting involved, it started making the scene really ugly and that’s when we started realising we wanted out. I think Siouxsie wanted to distance herself from that movement too. It had swerved off from anything we really wanted it to be.”

Club to Catwalk is on until 16 February 2014.

Lifestyle Uncategorized

Tried and tested: Printic

Printic

app 2

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Fashion

Review: Luxury Legs

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After my recent ode to tights, I have to confess that I sometimes cheat on my opaques – with leggings. I know, so not vintage, unless maybe you’re Edie Sedgwick kind of cool, which I am not.
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Beauty

Cool nail decals by Harriet Grey

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Being really picky about my finger nails – they have to be super short, and I can’t stand chipped nail varnish – I rarely paint them. Admittedly I’m also too lazy to go somewhere to have them done professionally, so, instead I’ve been contemplating nail decals.

My current favourites are these fab animal illustrations by Harriet Grey. As as dedicated crazy bunny lady, I love her rabbit ones but am just as impressed with her dog and cat motifs.

£8 for 40 decals 

Fashion wish list

On the hunt for a retro swimsuit

50s swimsuits

As much as I love Sixties fashion, when it comes to swimwear I can’t even pretend I’d ever be wearing a Sixties-style, skimpy bikini. I would love to, trust me, but with all my body hang-ups it’s hard enough to convince myself to wear a swimsuit at all.

After years of avoiding all situations that could require me to wear one and staying well away from pools and beaches, I’ve thankfully finally found a type of swimsuit I actually like: the retro Fifties swimsuit with high legs, a halterneck and flattering ruching details.

A few years ago I found such a number on some online shop or another but much to my dismay, it quite literally fell apart after just a few leisurely swims in the local pool.

Now with summer well and truly here, I’m on the hunt for a suitable, equally retro replacement. Yesterday, on my lunchtime-salad-run to M&S, I actually found one I really like, a simple black underwired halterneck. I like that it has proper boobage support rather than just flimsy strings, yet it doesn’t look like a sports swimsuit either. Plus it’s suitably plain to be dressed up in all sorts of styles, I can see it looking good with a big, late Sixties kaftan thrown on over it.

retro swimsuit

 

M&S didn’t have this particular one in my size in shop, so I’ve been browsing the Marks & Spencer swimwear section to see if I can order it from there.

While having a look, I actually found another swimsuit I like – and maybe even prefer –  this blue and white spotted number which makes me think of a young Bardot , you know –  a straw hat, big beach hair and red lipstick. This swimsuit has much thinner straps than the other one but comes with handy ‘tummy control’, ehrm. I normally stay well-away from anything polka dot, to me it has become such a vintage cliche on the same level as say, bunting or cup cakes.

 

So what to do? Which one would you go for?

 

spotted 50s style swimsuit

bardot straw hat

 

 

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