>>I knew I should not have blown the trumpet before the goods have even surfaced.  After weeks of visiting shops, taking photos, writing descriptions, I’m still not even HALF way there with getting all the information, let alone putting it all up online into something that is vaguely user-friendly.  I’m peed off with myself for having busied myself this past month and still not really achieving what I set out to do.  Dipping my fingers into too many pies sums it up perfectly.  Nonetheless, I will plough on but it does mean the launch of Style Bubble Shops will be delayed heavily.  I’ll be vague and say DEFINITELY before the year ends…


From Susie… the pie eater…

Crying at the office is just tragic on all kinds of levels.  You can’t weep openly like you would in the privacy of your own home.  You can escape to the toilets for a while and sob silently and not for too long as people will suspect that you’ve gone off to cry.  It’s embarrassing when people do you know you have cried and then start asking condescendingly ‘What’s wrong?’ and nudging Kleenex your way.  Overall, it’s just not all that pro to be bubblering at work. 

But when you’re hassled by people needlessly, spoken to in a derogatory way and basically made to feel about 5cm tall, those tears to start rolling.  I’ll say that in my line of work (digital advertising), unhappy clients aren’t a pretty sight.  Today was particularly stressful. 

A lot of my colleagues turn to the post-work pub ritual or a cigarette or two to relieve the stress.  I rely on my fashion pick-me-ups.  Today, the pick-me-ups were very rightly timed.  At about 11:00am when I could feel my blood boiling, my Etsy purchase arrived.  The personal packaging, the handwritten thank-you note instantly calmed me right down.  From the UK-based KissCurl who sell ‘millinery for the femme fatale’ came a femme fatale piece that I had been meaning to buy for yonks but never got round to it.  It’s the feather fascinator which was instantly imprinted into my mind when I saw the film Brick.  I will be further exploring Kiss Curl’s beautiful head creations but for now, I’ll slip in the feather fascinator as and when I can, without even creating an up-do as to not make it look too ‘done’.

Then to get me through the whole day, I had the Rupert Sanderson factory sale to look forward to as the end of day pick-me-up as opposed to drowning my sorrows in a vodka and cranberry.  I dragged the bf down to a quaint room at the back of a church in Mayfair where women were literally ravagaing piles and piles of shoeboxes.  Not finding anything of interest in my size in the boxed shoes, I started rummaging through the press boxes and found these metallic dark blue sandals with padded straps.  I want to wear them with thick ribbed grey ankle socks and tights to wintri-fy the sandals.

Now, I’ve just also had a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs cooked by the boyf and with one eye on the fascinator and the other on the shoes, my day has been excellently picked-up. 

With the high level of organisation behind Graduate Fashion Week, more and more opportunities are being presented to fashion graduates in the UK to get their work out there faster and their name stamped into the industry.  I spoke of Selfridges graduate pop-up shop which will be up from 1st-7th October and Nina & Lola’s online grad shop.

We talk of the ‘next new thing’ constantly and it is rare that immediately post-graduation, designers get retail backing straight away.  They’ll toil away for a few years, maybe start their own label, present their collection and buyers may or may not come their way immediately.  Two See, in Covent Garden have the foresight to see the potential within fresh grads and will be stocking David Bradley and Karin Gardkvist’ graduate collections.  It does help though that both Middlesex-grad designers have faint reminders of London fashion heavyweights.

David Bradley’s printed collection was beautiful at the show but positively STUNS in these pictures.  His faint reminder is of course London’s printmaster Jonathan Saunders.  Now that Saunders has edged away from print to colour blocking, Bradley could be the perfect new gen print designer to watch out for.  He also already has the added ‘eye’ for colour composition that works so effectively in these geometric patterns and ombre-shaded pieces, as well as an appreciation for the balance of fitted and loose forms.  The patterns remind me of the doodles that I used to do on graph paper with my coloured gel pens at school, except 100 times more advanced and skilled in structure and arrangement.

Me thinks Karin Gardvist won’t mind having carrying the tag ‘the next Preen’ as she works/worked as an assistant studio manager for Preen.  Her graduate collection also shows some Preen-esque traits, whilst maybe being a touch sexier.  Gardvist’s dresses heavily lean towards the body-con whilst having quite deceptively simple cuts.  I’m really loving the off-shoulder straps that a few years ago would have got me thinking ’90’s sexpot’ but now look fresh again, as the fashion cycle dictates.       

I’ll be popping in to get my eyeful and maybe even a taste for Two See’s latest acquisitions by trying something on…  question is, how do graduates price their garments seeing as they are selling their skills/design and not their name….   

Cathy Horyn made a comment on the overall mood of the collections at London Fashion Week being decadent, over-the-top and dramatic.  Is it the spirit of the current ‘Age of Couture’ exhibition at the V&A (I’ve yet to go but will report laden with pics!)?  Is it paying a respect to fashion originals like Isabella Blow that fashion excess was seen at designers like Giles and Christopher (quite literally, there was an excess of ruffles at the latter’s show)? 

These factors may all play a part but how does this impact upon London’s streetstyle then?  I noticed that the overall level of effort put into outfits was seriously notched up this season at fashion week.  Dressing-UP was out in force and there was a distinct penchant for the dramatics.  Pale blue Cinderella gowns with mini-white top hats.  Heels of the most vertiginous proportions worn with luxurious hoisery.  Edwardian dandy looks on guys complete with breeches, brogues and even walking sticks.  My eyes were feasting…preying even!   

We single things out as ‘dressed-up’ quite instinctively – hats, the way a person is made-up (yes, guys and girls BOTH get in on the cosmetics action), shiny magpie things, exaggerated shapes, historical period features.  The list goes on as they all fall under the cateogory of being ‘ostentatious’.  The traditional glossies and probably many amongst you, revere the ‘effortless’, the front row editors dressed immaculately in expensive, on-trend but not overly-so, tasteful outfits and the people who don’t look like they’re ‘trying.’.  I’ve always had a bit of a problem with these oft-used statements of ‘effortless’ and ‘people who try too hard’.  Is it a crime putting effort into an outfit?  Is it wrong to give some sort of calculated though to an outfit?  Are people like myself to be burnt on the fashion stake for scouring vintage stores for the perfect veiled hat, for painstakingly sewing an extra veil on it and then co-ordinating it with a two-toned dress, matching the fabric colours of the two veils (fuschia pink and navy if you must know…).  So that is effort.  When worn, it can have attention-grabbing effects.  It did take thought behind it.  Is that all wrong then?   

Unluckily, whilst sitting down at a show (in my Day 5 outfit aka ‘Circus Extra’), behind me I heard two Taiwanese girls (could tell by the accent) who, thinking I couldn’t understand Mandarin, said ‘She’s just wearing those tights to get attention and get photographed.’  I’ll be honest, the words did sting a little and grate the ears.  I wore those stockings (why is my hoisery always getting stick I wonder…) because I wanted to add a ‘funny’ element to my black dress, something off-kilter.  It certainly wasn’t to get snapped in and if you see the constipated expressions on my face when I do get photographed, you’ll see that I have no love for the camera. 

What I’m really griping at here is that the people I’ve been seeing who have upped the level of ‘dressing-up’ and get inadvertedly snapped for doing so, may be misunderstood by others and seen as ‘try-hards’ or ‘posers’ when they could have been dressing to their tastes, their heart’s content. 

Perhaps what we need is acceptance that what qualifies as ‘dressed-up’ to most is normality to others.  Perhaps our eyes need to be readjusted/retrained into seeing a hat for instance for what it is; a hat and not ‘that crazy accessory that eccentric woman is wearing.’  You might say this is all subjective and dependent on who we are talking about but I know that a certain ‘decorum of dress’ exists and I know people use it to heap judgement upon others.  It is no wonder that fashion is feared when the industry have people that people take pleasure in uttering ‘WHAT is she wearing?’ in disgusted tones, yet those same people will happily declare a John Galliano collection as genius.   

As usual, my rant has become convoluted, but faced with so many points to make, it can’t be anything but confusing.  I guess in my head, I’m thinking that we have nearly reached the point whereby we are ushering in this new mood of ‘dressing-up’ but perhaps we don’t have to call it that anymore when for most, it’s just ‘getting dressed’.