Je vais √† Paris for the weekend and trust me when I say the trip is FAR from pleasurable.  However even as chore-like and routine-esque the trip will be, I will be squeezing a trip to Barbara Bui where I spy boots that are determined to cross all sorts of borders and genres; tough & agressive, elegant & ladylike, sexy, geeky – all of those things in different measures.  The main thing that is grabbing me is the heaving bit of chunkiness balancing on some spindly thin heels.  I have notoriously railed against spindly stilettos that look like they might snap after two steps but under a substantial bit of boot?  I feel myself converting…

There is also the plus factor of feeling like one of those cool girls they feature in Jalouse magazine in their perfectly roughed-up/casual wardrobes, infused with some oopsie-daisy expensive shoes and bags, if I get in on the Barbara Bui thing.  Will they initiate me in their touseled, heavy fring-ed, shorts-wearing (with pins that are never skinny but perfectly toned), trenched-up clicque? 

Ack…eff it…. I’ll just take the boots back on the Eurostar and wear them with layered dresses, vintage slips and granny cardis…   

If I could devote my time to meeting designers in person and talking to them about their work, I would as sometimes, even from the most comprehensive of websites and press releases and most detailed of iamges.  It won’t ever compare with seeing things in person and gauging what inspires the designer. I hope to devote more time to seeking people out and possibly seeing things for myself so that when I write about it on the blog, hopefully I’m giving everything my personal seal of approval as if to say ‘Hey! I ‘m not just talking out of my arse! So and so is REALLY good!’.

Maria Lau (no bias because she shares the same surname as me or anything…) was yet another IQONS find but was someone I really had to speak to in person as her website is so sparse at the moment.  Her background in textiles at the RCA (I seem to be gravitating towards a lot of RCA grads at the moment…) gave her the freedom to explore her real love for jewellery and so in effect she is self-taught. Mer MA collection using cording and macrame techniques:

What I love about her work is the slightly naive simplicity to the materials used but using them in a complex way as demonstrated by the cord pieces. I also think it’s the first time I’ve seen facial embellishment like the one above done in fabric binding which hooks over the ears like spectacles, like a lower extension of a hat.

The idea of the face brace is explored to a more heightened effect for Maki Ichikawa, who Maria collaborated with for her recent graduate collection at the CSM BA show. From this, I do get the feeling that Maria’s jewellery skills lie in augmenting high-fashion catwalk shows with her conceptual pieces that are more than just decorative. Like the face brace of flowers that bloom from the mouth growing into black leaves falling from the sides of the mouth, depicting beauty and death.

Flower Brace // Plaited collar made of nude hosiery, antique chinadoll’s heads, dyed human
hair, copper wire and chains// Belt piece made from reclaimed vintage handbag straps, chain old keys, vintage doll parts

Her use of materials for me is the perfect balance of casual and luxury which for me is the only way that I can wear jewellery on an everyday basis. Materials like jersey encase pearls and are used in place of chains.  I also love how the seams to   Then there’s the play on conventions with the use of chiffon and pearls, something naturally paired together but not in the way of the necklace as shown on the left.

Her new ready to wear collections is called ‘From Winter Blackness to Spring’ and purposefully clashes different stones, beads and crystals on the necklaces.   

Speaking to Maria about her interest in found objects and choice of materials and her desires to work with designers for catwalk collaborations, it strikes me how so little shows take full advantage of using heightened accessorising to style outfits.  It’s careful not to overcrowd the garments but I think for certain designers, prop accessorising like what Maria did for Ichikawa really works.  As much as I like her ready to wear collection as jewellery I would wear on a day-to-day basis, I’m more interested to see what Maria can produce if she works with a designer in that exaggerated context. 

The cover for the autumn issue of Pop has been revealed and you really have to rub your eyes and squint a bit before your realise who it is.  Shot by, Mert & Mercus (naturally), is Lindsay Lohan looking, as for the Miu Miu ads she did last year, decidedly non-specific.  By non-specific, I’m not denying the overall look of the shot which is stark, sultry and altogether a vast improvement from the summer cover (was it me or was that whole issue’s emphasis on nu-rave a little on the forced side of things…?).  It’s just that if it takes me a minute to ponder who it actually is, what exactly is the point of putting her on the cover?  Still, at least there’s a hint more of a recognisable LiLo as opposed to the apparitions we saw in the Miu Miu ads.  The Mert & Mercus magic has worked yet again…   

So I did say I was down for Prada AW07-8 arms and legs and off to Prada I totted yesterday to acquire some legs (er…not actual legs… the leg-warmers/footless socks).  Ok, so if you REALLY think about it, the same effect can be achieved with some knee-length socks and some scissors but at ¬£40 a pop for the wool ones (¬£60 for the silk ones) in a plethora of colour combinations, let’s just say that sheer laziness and immediate post-pay day is at play here.  The thing about any of the colour combinations of the socks is that because there is that element of randomness about them, it bounces back onto the outfits you’d wear with them.  For me, where I would have tried SOME semblance of colour co-ordination, instead, the socks impelled me to try all kinds of different things.  It’s like ‘Ack, red and brown aren’t really supposed to go together….might as well clash a few more with them….’.  So I did the primary colour thing, the matchy-matchy thing, the two tone, the same tonal values and the mixed all-sorts.  A dull afternoon spent colour swatching with the socks is immensely satisfying.   

Red satin shirt, As Know as De Base green skirt, vintage green snakeskin slingbacks, grey wool beanie // Uniqlo blue polo shirt, vintage purple vest w/ circular pleats, yellow skinny belt, AA yellow headband, As Know as De Base green skirt, Topshop purple moc-croc slingbacks

Julien Dossena for 1,2,3 navy oversized pullover, vintage plum satin dress w/ velvet hem, Office navy suede lace-ups, navy beret // Vintage blue lycra dress, Uniqlo scarlet long sleeved top, H&M yellow ribbed tights, blue patent flats

Roland Mouret olive textured top, Sophia Kokosalaki for Topshop brick puffball skirt, vintage red belt, Yves Saint Laurent taupe platforms // Whistles purple cardigan, yellow ruffled tunic, vintage blue sweatshirt skirt, Tabio purple tights, Faith brown brocade wedges

(Background pics from Prada AW07-8 lookbook)