Top of the Shop

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I *think* I am right in saying that Arcadia are the first retailer to oraganise a UK bloggers only event where we got to try on the A/W09 collections and then have a photographer take our pics in a studio set up with props with to take home at the end on a USB stick.  If it's the first, hopefully it won't also be the last.  So tonight after work, and not having had any food, I trooped up to
Arcadia HQ, to the top floor where they had set up an old school
photobooth entrance, rails with all kinds of A/W 09 goodies and suddenly I think food may have left my mind for a bit…

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Ye cynics will of course say that it is a marketing strategy to get us bloggers to namedrop Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans etc….like I just did right there.  And there is no denying that, but the bottom bottom line is it was really, really fun.  Not the 'organised' fun that I had in mind where there'd be awkward silences and people gingerly touching clothes but not actually trying stuff on, but it was actual genuine belly laughing fun.  It did help that I knew some of the press people beforehand but then meeting and re-meeting fashion bloggers was a treat in itself…. names ensue with photos below…

The thing is there aren't actually that many of us British fashion bloggers and when I see other countries having blogger meet'n'greets, I do wonder where are we, the Brits all hiding?  Safe behind the confines of our Macs and Twitter accounts apparently.  I did comment that my weak handshake is a tell tale sign of my internet hibernation habits.  So actually whilst Arcadia made a shrewd marketing move, they also inadvertedly enforced a blogger meetup that needs to happen more often.  

Then there is the fact that so many of us are pretty much pro-Arcadia.  Or specifically Topshop, whose clothes were inevitably gonna get the most wear on the night.  We squealed over the Ashish leopard print wedges (sold out online already apparently), the KTZ statement pieces got loads of 'oohs' and 'aaahs' and big faux fur jackets, studded and riveted pieces and shouldered jackets also got lots of lovin'.

I do realise I'm gushing but beyond the clothes themselves, it was a proper laugh.  We stripped down to our undies in the changing rooms, drank wine, suggested outfits and made silly poses.  Though there was a Topman rail, it was a bit redundant since it was a pretty unashamedly girly affair.  Except the Antony Price for Topman electric blue suit was actually quite popular with the girls.  No strings attached to write about it nor were there press spiels being thrown at you like you.  Enjoy the clothes, take some nicely shot pics of yourself aka a personal style bloggers' weakness and keep the pics.  I don't think I have used the phrase 'in my element' as much as I have
done tonight.  I think people meeting me for the first time might have
thought I was actually a 60-year old trapped inside a gawky 25-year
old's body.  I think I may have also been the embarrassing gal that tried on the most outfits…

I realise a review of a one off event of this nature is a bit pointless but really, with rosy cheeks and a spring in my step, I did want to say a big thanks….

The only slightly dour moment was being told that the Ashish boots are fast selling out and that Emma Cook boots are hitting the stores this weekend. It's all a bit of a wedge boot chase where hopefully I'll emerge victorious…

Of course I have to post the fruits of tonight's err…labour…

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Claire of Young Shields and Stevie of Discotheque Confusion // Winnie of Diamond Canopy

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Scarlett Rose of Little Bambi Boots and ??? // Sarah of Or False Glitter and Jeanie of Fat Fashion Assistant

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Gem Fatale and Michelle of Cheapskate Cheap // Tor of Fab Frocks

If I have forgotten your name….please remind me here on the comments….my brain does know your face but the wine and lack of food has smudged your name a bit…

I posed with many toothy grins and because ppl kept making me laff…

Have established that I'm basically gonna be wearing a LOT of KTZ this season…

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Couldn't get over that this Lanvin-esque cuff was from Evans…

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(Both dresses above and leggings below all KTZ)

Wearing a very pretty lace Topshop dress and strumming a very fake painted white guitar… I believe I was singing Bon Jove's Living on a Prayer…

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Strangley rather loved this one-shouldered green velvet romper suit… the white mannequin arm is coming to give me a slap for grinning so much…

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This jacket had such an amazing shape to it and really needs to be zipped up at all times to retain that structure…

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Liz, the press officer and Zoe from Topshop's Inside Out blog showing off Antony Price's suit for Topman and also teaching me how to do a good jump…

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One to finish the night off…

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Swagga Swagga

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As soon as I clicked onto Swagga and Soul's website, that M.I.A. Paper Planes intro very promptly popped into my head and I was almost imagining the site had that song as background music.  No, that was just my internal stereo blaring that one out. 

Designer Nina Hopkins has created her leather-based label Swagga and Soul to debut for A/W 09 giving us all the expected leather separates that one would ever need.  Save for a leather jumpsuit… Stefano Pilati is slowly convincing me that it's NOT the most ludicrous idea in the world.  Oh and leather shorts, which have been fulfilled by the costume lederhosen I bought at the Angels sale that have served me well.  So, aside from those items, you have yer' jacket in a few variations, decorated with lacing and ruffles as well as the classic motorcycle shape. You have yer shorty short skirt that is deliberately streetwalker-esque. Yer tight leather trews for those days when you cry with gratitude that you can fit into them and thus you get the happy pill buzz all day long.  My favourite piece though are the looser fit trews that come up high and are also slightly cropped… leather as loose as comfy as can be.  It helps immensely that the leather Nina has used has been treated to look softened up and distressed in the least offensive way, as opposed to being sandblasted or injected with artificial looking wrinkles. 

Me thinks there will be an online store sometime soon and perhaps then they'll consider a soundtrack for leather browsing… "Swagger like us, swagger like us…."   
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The Non-Sequential/Sequins/Shoes Post

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After a week or so of umming and aaahing over what was disposable or not, I basically had another blast from the wardrobe past and so ensued a week of shrieking in a geeky fashion "Oh my goooood!  I wore that CONSTANTLY in 20xx!".  When I was selling my old 'tat', I kept bringing up little stories about each piece that someone was about to buy even though clearly they weren't interested.  It was like clothing regression therapy or something because by the end, I had a slosh of memories churning around in my head about first dates, rubbish dates, weird holidays and silly nights out.

So this week, I've been regressing back to really old outfits that began with DIY fraying denim skirts and vintage slip dresses yesterday to layers of vintage slips today.  It was inevitable that as soon as I get rid of some sequins, newer sequins would come rushing in.  Today, with some very very old vintage slips, on went a Reem Alasadi piece that kind of looks like it's a haltertop but is a fabric butterfly necklace…

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(Embroidered circles mesh top from Sunday UpMarket, vintage black and blue slip dresses, Reem neckpiece, LD Tuttle shoes, vintage leather flight cap)

In this part outfit, part new buys, part random musings amalgamated
post, I also feel I have to throw in a QVC-style review of these LD
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'The Faun' shoes, which I had ordered in advance as part of my
A/W 09 shoe plan (I do believe that I made an Excel spreadsheet
especially for the plan…sadness incarnated).  Why?  Because I walked
a long stretch of Highgate Road uphill and down again in them with zero
discomfort.  The heel isn't extreme of course and is visibly chunky so
you would expect them to be comfy as hell, but I didn't realise QUITE
how comfortable.  Now they're permanently attached to my feet and it's
not even autumn or winter yet.  Maybe they should be stickered with
some kind of cheesy "Comfy Heel Award" label.  Oh and they come with these crocodile clasps that make a very satisfying clippy noise and are entirely functional even though there's a zipper at the back to slip the shoes on. 

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Maybe these models in their A/W 09 collection animated GIF could also endorse them with a sticker too…

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The Wolf and the Badger

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No, it's not an Animals of Farthing Wood live action re-enactment or a woodland sartorial tribute site.  Wolf & Badger has a rather more meaningful purpose that will be fully unleashed in November.  It WILL be a concept store in Notting Hill (this growing West-ward shift does mean I'll have to suffer the heat of the Central line) that is out to showcase the British talent across all design disciplines; fashion, accessories, jewellery, ceramics and product design. 

Basically independent designers will be able to rent a space in the store for as little as ¬£35 per week that will include an allocated space in-store, an e-commerce page, marketing and PR as well as all those itty bitty things involved in retail.  It's basically the easy route to an own label/business start-up. 

There's not much to see right now other than the very cute visuals on the website but applications are now open for creatives with their own ranges etc and I have a feeling that there will be a highly rigorous selection process so that this incredibly generous start-up offer isn't just given to anybody.  I'll be round that "neck of the woods" come November to see what baby wolves and badgers they have unleashed onto their shopfloor…

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