I’m not one to banish supposed one-season wonders.  If I like something, I generally will stick with it for a while longer.  This is especially the case with ombre/gradient effects that though I have toyed with in the last months, my experimentation with this colour effect isn’t going to die away just like that.  Not one when I have ordered silk, chiffon, light jersey fabrics for me to get dye happy with. 

In the meantime though, I can dream away with Ostwald Helgason’s SS08 collection entitled ‘Le Tricorne’.  I would not in a million years guess the inspiration behind this collection.  But then again I would not have been bright enough to connect Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes production Le Tricorne with this collection (note…V&A will be staging a major exhibtion on Diaghilev and Ballet Russes…can’t wait!)  Picasso, who designed the costumes for this ballet, returning to his Andalusian roots because the story of the ballet was written by Spanish dramatist Gregorio Martinez Sierra and features Spanish dance.

German-born Susanne Oswalt and Icelandic Ingvar Helgason came together a few years ago and this is the first collection that I got a  personal feel of when I was at Rendez-Vous last season in Paris.  They have taken the sharp tailoring of bullfighting costumes and the flowyness of flamenco dancers but it’s their play with colour gradient prints and and texture that has really got me switched on about this collection.  They mix matt and shiny materials and use digital prints to replicate pleats and the combination of a meadow palette of blue and yellow are all made to work to great effect here.

I may be a slow-mo with my own ombre experimentation but I’m glad some designers are keeping me inspired to be a little slow about it.       

You might have read my About Me section on the left and know that I have three sisters and together we are wildly different in personality but together form a somewhat cohesive sisterhood.  It’s a shame that I don’t go back home very much these days and therefore do not see my sisters that often because I really feel like I miss out on all the deets going on in their lives.  Par example, I had no idea my sister Yonnica is becoming a bit of a fashion-obsessive until I got home over X’mas and was using her computer and found a carefully organised folder of fashion inspiration images. 

I too went through a phase of saving everything in sight that would remotely jog my style brain but I’m showing my age by reverting back to good old fashioned magazine tears and messy wall collages.  Of course I realise my 17 year old sister has her own style intuitions, different from my own, but it is with a bit of glee that I know she’ll understand my love of all things decadently beautiful, whimsical and not of our time.     

(Enlarge for details!)

Prettiful Dress Folder – Nina Ricci, Comme des Garcons, Vivienne Westwood and 18th century mantuas… 

Period Dress Folder – Marie Antoinette film stills, corsets, dreamy girls wafting about in billowing dresses…

Slouchy and Casual Folder – Alexa Chung, Cassie from Skins, Zooey Deschanel, old David Bailey photographs, singer Haley Williams… 

I’m not going to bore you with all the Christmas sales insanity/mess that is occuring in the UK at the moment except that I found it a tad disturbing that a woman proudly holding five designer handbags she had picked up at Selfridges, fronted the pages of The Independent today.  Nevertheless, sale shopping is a chore that must be endured and investigated as I’m not about let a possible bargain slip away from me.  Especially when I have been eyeing up things for a good period of time now, example being these shoes from Kurt Geiger, all with a chunky cylinder heel and gold zip detailing.  Now the original prices all being in the ¬£200 region were shockingly high.  This is Kurt Geiger, a high street shoe store, we are talking about and for the equivalent price, you could easily buy something a little more high-end.  Though the designs are indeed unique and quite a surprise for this shoe chain, I do wonder how people forked over the full wack price.   

Perhaps realising, they were being a tad too greedy, the prices have now been reduced by more than 50% and quite rightly so in my opinion!  Though by no means a bargain even after reduction, at least we’re looking at something sensible.  Banishing silly inflated prices is just one reason why I’ll have to work my way through a some sort of a sales strategy.       

Boxter Рwas £220, now £79

Stocking Рwas £250, now £99

Harlem Рwas £220, now £89

In my last minute pressie rush on Sunday, Beyond Retro in Soho was one of my pitstops and I did actually stop in my tracks when I saw that they had created an  entrance dedicated to Marie Antoinette.  I’d venture to say that the homage was made to the Sofia Coppola film as opposed to the general 18th century epoch because of course on the mannequins aren’t genuine mantuas with hooped underskirts.  Instead, the clever peeps at Beyond Retro have created an 18th century illusion/reinterpretation with their wares of 50’s-80’s dresses, skirts and accessories.  The effect is a little bit more exaggerated, frou frou and candy coloured what one would expect.  It got me thinking about recreating older period dresses with more contemporary pieces. 

Generally speaking, I have always been a staunch believer in the real McCoy where possible.  Why buy a Topshop 20’s style dropped waist dress when I could wear a genuine 20’s delicately beaded flapper dress?  However when I want to evoke elements of a certain period as opposed to looking like I have stepped out of a costume drama, playing with the origins of the outfit can swing in my favour.  An 80’s shoulder padded top with a modern pencil skirt will probably have a better chance of depicting the 1940’s in the way that I’d want, than wearing a 1940’s genuine tea dress which would probably be disproportionate on me anyway.  There’s historical inaccuracy, rose-tinting and distortion involved in the process but it all enables me to make it my own.  Taking clothing from the 20th century to turn back three hundred years is something that I’ll be slapdashing with in the future.