Très cher Biba

Biba_1 For those of you that don’t know what Biba is, it was basically one of the most revolutionary retail experiences in London (kind of like the predecessor to Topshop if you will) and literally catapulted London into the stratosphere of cool when it started in 1964.  It had seven floors of everything from clothes to pet food (oh how I would have loved to have been a Biba shopper….) 

Fans included Twiggy, Cher, Brigitte Bardot and Yoko Ono.  However it’s ethos wasn’t to cater to just the rich and famous, it’s main draw was it’s affordability and accessibility. 


It sadly ended in 1975.  Alwyn Turner, author of the book ‘Biba, The Biba Experience’ said:

‘It fufilled the rock and roll promise to live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse.’

Well the corpse has been dug up and dressed up as an ALL NEW Biba for the 21st century.  They recently presented a collection at Paris and currently, the new shoe collection is being sold at places like Selfridges London, Barneys New York and Colette Paris.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Does this not go against the whole accessible to everyone ethos that made Biba so loved by everyone.  Now they’re planning on a range of cosmetics, eyewear, as well as fully re-launching the clothing line.  No doubt the prices will be ridiculously high if the shoes are anything to go by.  Think you too can now get your hands on some Biba chic?  Think again.

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These shoes will set you back £350 (!)  Lovely as they are, I just feel like the point of Biba has been lost and glossed over just so they can aspire to be part of the high-end luxury designer section in a department store.   

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The Bubble wears Prada…

Prada_gemma_2 For so long a time, these were a lust object of mine and as soon as I started seeing these Prada ads, the fashion cogs had already started calculating how I could get my mitts on them. 

Well, Prada at Harrods made my day when they said they had a few pairs left (apparently, they’re sold out elsewhere….who are all these fabulous Prada knee high wearing people and where can I see them????)   

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My verdict? They are the most perfect texture for summer – a very very thin silk knit which feels lovely against your legs.  They are SOOOPER long hence why all the slouchy bunching as seen on the catwalks.  At £55, they’re hardly a cheap thrill but I think these will take you through the summer and winter (could wear them over tights!) – knee highs don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon! 

The lovely Fashionologie very kindly featured my dodgy attempts at trying to work them into an outfit.  However, I think this will take a bit of trial and error as illustrated here. 

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Why golly gosh…we could be twins!   

Recycle and Revive

The virtues of wearing vintage have been extolled to no end – it’s thrifty, it’s unique, yadda yadda yadda.  But did you know that when you are donning your favourite vintage dress, you are actually doing your bit towards saving the planet?

I am not a particularly green person.  Sure I separate my trash and use recycled paper but I’m definitely not Miss Greenpeace.  So, I’m well chuffed that by wearing vintage clothes I’m actually making an iota of effort towards the good of this doomed place we call Earth!  But, wearing it head to toe, you can run the risk of looking like a BBC period drama extra.


The solution?  Junky Styling, a London based label specialise in eco friendly recycled fashion.  They turn fugly finds from jumble sales and charity shops (flea/thrift to non Brits!) and with their Junky magic deconstruction wand, turn them into twisted, tailored, amazing looking pieces. 

Their boutique in the fash-pack infested Brick Lane is just a joy to browse.  You can buy pieces already premade or you can use their wardrobe surgery service.  From the Junky Styling website:

"Straight out of your wardrobe into ours.  Bring your old ill-fitting, worn out clothes into the Junky Wardrobe Surgery for a complete overhaul, customisation or small alteration.  Allow us to breathe new life into your discarded items or simply make something previously un-wearable into an everyday favourite."

Look, even Gwen’s a fan:

Junky1_1 Just think, nasty old jeans, your grandpa’s old suits, hideous floral skirts and other wardrobe horrors all turned into something amazingly unique – all for the good of the planet!  You can most certainly give yourself an ethically correct pat on the back! 

Some more pics:

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There are two kinds of people: the skirts over trousers people and everyone else

I bumped into my colleague last weekend at Foyles bookstore whilst browsing travel guides and as I caught her eye I saw them doing something that I haven’t seen EVER – it was the London Once Over.

People in London give shifty glances here and there and then if they know you know they’re looking, they quickly look away in flustered embarrassment but NEVER do they stare without any qualms about doing so. People in Hong Kong however will unabashedly give you the HK Once Over, which consists of a googly-eyed scrutinisation from head to toes and back up again. The look my colleague was giving me in the travel section was not too dissimilar.

I was wearing this:


No, the London Once Over is not a look of appreciation or admiration, it is in fact a look of shrewd disdain. Technically, I’m her superior at work but standing there clutching a Time Out guide to Athens in my hand I managed to feel about 2 feet tall. I loved what I was wearing but I was burning up from knowing that my colleague was thinking ‘Oh….dear….god……what is this insane woman wearing?!?!?’ I momentarily panicked that suddenly I had lost out in the work professionalism stakes but then caught and checked myself: it’s a Saturday, I’m free to wear what I like, why is this woman looking at me like a jaundiced monkey (at least the monkey gets the cute factor vote)?

A long long time ago, a school friend said to me ‘You are a skirts over trousers kind of person’ which at the time was supposed to mean someone who took fashion risks. (Gosh, those days were so simple….) Well then, I am proud to live with that tag. Skirts and trousers on their own are fine but skirts over trousers – well, doesn’t your wardrobe seem more exciting already?* Viva skirts over trousers and join me to overthrow the once-over looks!

*FYI – This is supposed to be metaphorical so please do not worry yourselves silly about wearing a skirt solus style.