Ah…the wonders of visual merchandising aka shop display… whoever had the wonderful idea of customising the tights on the shop dummies in the womenswear department of Selfridges in Manchester is a clever one seeing as I was transfixed by the mannequin and spent a good five minutes studying it intently, during which I might have also picked up what the mannequin was also wearing and promptly went to seek it out.
Except, for me, the fascination ended at the tights, the way they had managed to cut up a pair of black tights so expertly so that they achieved a ‘web’ effect, with the strands of yarn/thread in the tights making a wonderful distressed effect, similar to the tights seen at Rodarte AW08-9 but with more opaque parts of the tight interspersed between the ‘web’ sections. Hard to explain and it does make it even harder to demonstrate visually when my own botched attempts with a pair of black cotton tights didn’t really pan out with the right effects. Cutting little slits in the tights made quite substantial strongly round holes in the tights and then it was a case of getting a pair of closed scissors and swiping the tights in a downward motion with the point of the scissors until a ladder appeared. Of course, I had to do all of this tights-jabbing whilst I was wearing the tights so I’ve also got a bit of a gash on my calf to add to my myriad of mosquito bite bruises etc. Oh well… deliberate holey tights it is then… better luck next time… or better yet, Rodarte tights anywhere?
I did something quite hazardous to my health yesterday. I was ‘dream browsing’. No, not the online safe sort. The in-store, with wafty music and in amongst the presence of other shoppers who could well afford the racks of clothes on offer, kind of ‘dream browsing’. I did this dangerous activity in the London department store trio of Harvey Nichols (is it me or has the ambiance improved greatly?), Selfridges (is it me or has the ambiance gotten more dreadful?) and Liberty (is it me or does this store never fail to instill a sense of calmness in you?).
It involved a lot of walking around, touching things, picking things up and putting them down again and basically tricking the mind into thinking one can afford a ¬£400 dress. It’s the sort of shallow meandering in shops that will probably make people guffaw a little. Anyhow, the one label that repeatedly made me deluded to the point of nearly taking a dress to a cash till was 6267. I’ve been meaning to give some sort of a shout out to the labels coming out of Milan Fashion Week that aren’t boring me to tears and are in fact really impressive. Derercuny and Francesco Scognamiglio are part of this brigade too. But in my dream browsing sessions, 6267 dresses were wow-ing me with their choice of fabrics, detailing and shapes. Tommaso Aqualiano and Roberto Rimondi, two ex-Maxmara designers haven’t veered too far away from one’s idea of Italian fashion but it’s the extra edge that they have brought to the table that makes their clothes appealing. Sarah Mower called them on on their blatant ‘homage’ to Nicholas Ghesquiere in their latest AW08-9 collection but a very detailed description of what they were trying to achieve and how they did that with fabrics, colours and inspirations on their website convinces me that they weren’t merely doing lazy nods towards Ghesquiere.
‚ÄúCurvilinear Lines‚Äù follow the body and sudden verticals give the figure a slim but feminine line, seen in the short skirts to the knee, like the tiny women in old music boxes; Degas! Not tulle, but Mikado, faille and simple black and white overchecks, emphasised by touches of pale pink light, faintly echoing an infantile femininity."
Oh well…at the end of the day, 6267 proposed to me something that I very nearly parted 500 quid for yesterday which sounds a little robotic and transactional but I guess it does come down to that business minded building of a clientale and I look forward to what 6267 come up with in the future so I can engage in more dream browsing through their clothes, touching the fine fabrics and imagining ridiculous situations like being able to afford a 500 quid dress.
What sort of mindset was I experiencing to battle the first weekend of London summer sales yesterday? In all honesty, shopping on a Saturday in the West End is hell on earth and I try to avoid it all costs. Still, I felt like a Saturday challenge and I knew that this was the one weekend that I’d have free to swan around the shops before the sales end so off I went, along with about a gazillion people who seemed to be shopping like it would be their last time in their life. Heaving numerous bags, sweaty disgruntled men, bruised legs (that would be the sharp corners of cardboard bags jabbing into calves…) and general kerching-kerching going on everywhere.
As usual, for me, there was a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing…as opposed to going mental at a 50% off sign. Would I get it cheaper in a sample sale? What might eBay throw up? Would they be further discounted later on? All questions that I had to bear in mind. In the end, I ended up with quite a conservative ‘textbook’ fashion combo that together makes me feel like one of those ‘talking heads’ on TV programmes about fashion where they have this forced-chic outfit on… actually that’s too negative because it does all grudgingly work… COS black dress ¬£40 (down from ¬£80) and Marni sandals ¬£147 (down from ¬£300)…
Of course it is in my nature to ruin it a little with some holey tights that I’m painfully and slowly ripping up by hand over some white ones and by taking the dress up a bit, it becomes a little Christopher Kane AW07-6 esque…
No more sales sweating for a while me thinks… only until those 90% off discounts start rolling in….