I always thought it was a little naff to give multiple things from one brand/label…. goes back to my distaste for crap gift sets from Boots/Superdrug/Bodyshop and the prepackaged thought-less, dumbed-down sets that most chain stores like to put together.  I labour over gifts, seeking things from all kinds of places, in the hope of giving a menagerie of loveliness (I’m not into giving ONE big thing, rather I like assembling packages made up of lots of things…. the same approach  extends to my love of dim sum/tapas/meze…).  However at Uniqlo, in the tights section, somehow they’ve made this exact selection of tights look particularly appealing and I can already see them wrapped up in some brown paper and tied up with string (can you tell that I’m a bit of a gift Nazi?)…

The colours in particular are striking for the hoisery selection at Uniqlo.  In general whilst wandering around the store running my hands over everything, the rainbow co-ordinated store layout is conducive to buying things for no particular reason… knitted ties in the mens section taking my fancy, rainbow fleeces and heat tech t-shirt packages… err… not giving away what Crimbo pressies people are getting here or anything…

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If I’m honest, I can’t say I frequent West London that often, not because I’m addicted to the East but because it is a crowded area on the days that I can be bothered to take the problematic Hammersmith line there.  Venture further from crowded Portobello though and as Fred Butler pointed out, there’s a trio forming around the ugly but iconic Trellick Tower on Golborne Road.    This trio consists of oh-so-famous vintage emporium Rellik, the new Kokon to Zai store that was converted from an old Butchers and a peculiar new start-up The Convenience Store.  In particular I was intrigued by The Convenience Store having discovered it QUITE a while ago and not having had the chance to venture to this slightly surreal bit of Notting Hill. 

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Andrew Ibi, the store owner (I love that on his business card it says Andrew Ibi – Storekeeper….) was kind enough to talk me through everything, not that it needed too much explaining… Ibi has been involved with labels going into the likes of bStore, Pollyanna and the now sadly dead Pineal Eye (sob sob…) so his varied and exciting selection didn’t surprise me…. the best of new and established really… sequin parkas of Sophie Hulme, structured LBDs from Hannah Marshall, twisted seams in Brazilian designer Gustavo Lins, can’t-fail-to-please Rick Owens, the more statement pieces from Christian Wijnants, the conversational shoes from Camilla Skovgaard, Clare Tough‘s patchwork AW08 knitwear… that’s just for current season starters with next season additions including the VENTED SS09 pieces from Gareth Pugh. 

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The Convenience Store being a few doors down from Rellik might also be a strategic decision as Andrew sees pieces from his store one day landing on the rails of Rellik, implying that the Convenience Store has an agenda of stocking seminal pieces.  He also warned against the quick turnaround cycles that fashion has developed.  He’d like to see pieces constantly being reintroduced in The Convenience Store.  In 2010, you might see pieces from the 2008 collection, something that I nodded with as I’m personally have nothing against things that are ‘oh-so-last-season’ and find renewed interest in a piece that has stood the test of time.

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Yesterday when I went, it happened to be a flash 40% off sale day (I only got the news via a Facebook msg… I’ve finally succumbed to being semi-active on that odious site…).  So it wasn’t going to just be a case of poking my nosy nose around…

Camilla Skovgaard’s shoes were tempting when I saw them in a showroom  back in February…especially the hair adorned sandals (yes, I’m  continuing my hair rage…)

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A rucksack/backpack is what I’ve been after for yonks and this Sophia Hulme one was also a tempting one… you can always make me love something if you add grey sequins, a most unusual sequin colour to something…

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In the end, the cage got me instead and this Bordelle elastic cage corset with the most beautiful ruched cups (sounds wrong doesn’t it?) caught my eye immediately.  Andrew explained that Bordelle did start off with lingerie and have now developed their line into more of a bodywear thing and that SS09 is meant to be superb (oh well more Bordelle come Feb then…).  A ‘convenience store’ style paper bag reveals something you’d be hard pressed to find in an actual convenience store…

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Had to go and wear it with my other cage…. Angie, your skirt needs another good wash soon…

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The Convenience Store, 1a Hazelwood Tower, Golborne Gardens, London W10 5DT, Tel: 020 8968 9095.

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I know it’s terrible to be doing the head to toe thingy with one label and whilst I am coveting EVERYTHING that Natalia Brilli is making at the moment (and possibly in the future…she might…sweet jesus…venture into SHOES…).  Whilst I’m wearing her leather bangles, leather beads, carrying a slouchy bag complete with the credit card imprinted wallets in the bag… I might as well go the whole hog and get the rock band as well…

Every season Brilli goes all out covering an object expertly with black leather, last season it was a black leather skateboard but this season she has outdone herself and possibly the extent of her patience, as she covered three skeletons, a drumkit, a guitar, an amp and a mic with black lambskin leather.  Natalia Brilli’s silent rock band took 500 hours of work just to do one skeleton and during Paris Fashion Week, it was playing a silent gig in the windows of Maria Luisa (where I should have snapped some pics at night…).  It now goes onto Miami for Art Basel in December and will then go onto New York, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Vienna, Montreal, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singpoare (details here).   

Every piece of the band is available for sale in their limited editions and if only I wasn’t cursed with the apartment the size of a cardboard box and a poorly bank account… oh what YouTube video fun I could have with a leather rock band, iTunes and too much time on my hands….

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It struck me when I was looking at those crunchy old photos of me that my mother back in the day broke the rule that she imposed on me in my teens when buying warm clothing "Don’t buy things in white/cream – you’ll only get it dirty!" – by wearing her very white and fluffy ski jacket.  There’s something in the brain I’m sure that makes people turn to darker colours in colder climates.  Today was the first day that I felt a proper London city CHILL, yet I opted for something that didn’t look all that practical at all… Pringle cashmere jumper, Tao peach wooly shorts, vintage tie dye tee, nude over the knee crochet socks over grey tights and Forever 21 heeled brogues, Topshop pale satin swing jacket, vintage knitted white shawl and a cream wooly beanie.  It’s as if pale colours in the cold might attract grime, city fumes and god knows what else because it felt like I was the only one dressed in this pastel palette that is best shunted to warmer weather… and the mothership’s words were ringing in my head as I headed home huddled up in peaches and cream…

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