>> Be prepared for the onslaught of Ballet Russes-themed posts in the run up to the biggie Diaghilev and the Golden Age exhibition at the V&A in London.  I don't think I've ever mentioned an exhibition so many times before it's actually opened to the point where I'm practically forcing people outside of London to plan a trip to the city during the exhibition dates.  I very much doubt I'll be disappointed given the track record of V&A exhibitions but add to that the subject matter of Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes and it's pretty much a… SURE WIN with a big ol' eye wink and a double thumbs up.  The shop is hotly on the heels of the exhibition, and already has a section up dedicated to all things Diaghilev.  The first of many (I'm sure…) of the specific products is this scarf designed by Erdem, featuring costume designs by Leon Bakst.  I'm not sure why I haven't done a "Bask in Bakst" post considering the sheer volume of imagery that this painter and costume designer has done… a quick Google search makes 'prolific' seem an understatement for Bakst's output.  Using the costume designs from the 1911 ballet Narcisse, the scarf is an arrangement of figures that dance across the 90 x 90 silk.  I'm hoping perhaps Erdem will take it a step further and get some Russes-inspired simple silk shifts or better yet, recreate a Bakst piece in a wearable form to go into the store too given that V&A does occasionally step into the world of apparel…

Still, a scarf is a good start and there's over a month to go yet…


>> It took a pair of eyelet shorts to get me into the broderie Anglaise mood that now makes me go "Ahhh…I geddit…" at Joseph Altuzarra's S/S 10 collection that is ridden with the stuff.  It also took some sun to realise how GOOD the material looks when light is dancing around the eyelets, sometimes casting some pretty shadows on your thighs.  Whilst I'm not one to commit resort/pre-collections to memory despite their supposed importance in the retail seasons, I did glimpse at Preen's latest resort collection, inspired by the done and undone nature of Brigitte Bardot's costumes in the film Shalako and think…"This stuff RIGHT NOW would really be the perfect icing to add to the cake of my holiday August".  Yes, it's approaching that time.  I haven't really had a proper shut down period where I've gone without posting for more than two days at a time.  I'm not even sure if I'm going to be doing that in August but as it stands, there are trips a-plenty for the next month.  Undoubtedly, less of you will be looking at the page because if there was a dead period in the cycle of fashion, August would be it.  So holiday August on the blog is sort of pending.  We'll see how it goes and where the trips take me wi-fi-wise…

But back to Preen's prettiness that sees broderie anglaise and thick white lace adorning the edges of their famous power bandage dress (I can almost close my eyes, cop a feel of that material and instantly go "Ah… Preen bandage…").  Better yet the floral-based crochet motif runs across a bustier top with straps that fall down the arms as well as a bra that has layers of ruffled lace trimmings… all with the right level of 'undone' that makes them undeniably right for the sort of blinding white heat that I'll be experiencing in August…



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Annex - Bardot, Brigitte (Shalako)_03

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Talk of setting up a 'gentlewoman's club' on my Twitter has spawned from my current life as a freelancer that occasionally goes doolally in her own home.  Put it down to having too much of my own company.  With no one to bounce things off of, you somehow get into a state of mind where at one part of the day you'll think it's totally normal to be creating t-shirt art out of smeared Marmite.  At a less extreme and yeasty end of the scale, you just suddenly start going all "artsy" and think that playing around with acrylics, a sponge and a spare silk slip is a fruitful outcome of the day, a form of compensation for all those hours you spent on a Wikipedia trail which started off at Lance Bass and ended up on Bruce Forsyth.

Still, whatever creative japes I get up to in my hours of procrastination, will never result in the free-fall anger-pent drawings that Natalie B Coleman has come up with for her S/S 11 collection 'Damaged Goods', which I first saw in Berlin's Projekt Galerie showroom during their fashion week.  The 'damaged' part comes to play in the girls that Coleman depicts looking a wee bit broken.  Transferred onto curved seam dresses, simple crop tops and vests though and they provide the perfect solid foundations for Coleman's  weakened beings and ghostly watercoloured femmes to live on quite happily.  Some of the titles of the drawings ensure everything is pretty transparent… no prizes for matching up the drawings to these…

Isn't it sad when a dancer gets fat…
Hairdryer Job
I took it like medicine
I cut it off to spite you









Along with the hand painted and printed whites, Coleman has also supplemented the collection with a lot of that sheer stuff.  I'm not going to read too deep here because I may have the wrong end of the stick but perhaps there's some meaning to the amount of exposure in these clothes, especially when paired with the drawings.  There's a 'Same Old' leotard that again, provides a more literal clue.  Is it wrong that female-based disgruntlement plays out into clothes that I'm calling cute?




Stay-cationing in London has taken on some weird and wonderful forms with escapism becoming a key theme.  First you have Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace, themed with complete conviction?  Now you have London's first pop-up hotel that doubles up as an evening girly retreat and has also gone bananas with its decor.  Its creative inception is down to David Carter, founder of 40 Winks, dubbed as the "world's smallest most beautiful hotel", though technically it's more of a bed and breakfast with its two rooms.  With it being in London, obviously I haven't stayed there myself but I've heard many raving reviews about it.  Carter has teamed up with Jacques cider to create the Jacques Townhouse which opened up yesterday at 33 Fitzroy Square.  La-di-da address in the bag.  They're also going to be fleeting as it will only be open until the 6th August with events lined up every night and with the private boudoirs only being made available to competition winners. 


What of course struck me which was then confirmed by David Carter's moodboard for the interior design of Jacques Townhouse was the amount of Tim Walker-isms injected into the house.  No bad thing of course, seeing as I can't quite live in the fashion spreads that I have collected over the years or jump into the book which I also have (kind gift from Steve…).  On top of those dream-like injections of quintessential English-isms, is an aesthetic retrogading to anything pre-1950s that also permeates the house.  It's all  charm, charm and more charm, perhaps to the point of being overly girly but then again, when you have a house that is complete with a vintage dress-up box, a Benefit Lash bar, cupcakes and a drink that Steve proclaimed as "Urgh…that's NOT cider!" (I actually don't mind the fruitiness…), of course the primary demographic is going to be gaggles of girls looking for a night out that feels like a lush night in. 

The entrance hall…


…I loved this wall of cases done in plaster relief…


The concierge who handed us a handkerchief map and a 'key'…



David Carter himself who was guiding proceedings…


Up the stairs and into the Jacques bar of course…


Then it gets particularly Tim Walker-esque here with the table full of treats that have been provided by Vintage Patisserie – did anyone squirm for that woman who was on Dragon's Den last week?



I particularly liked this cake where legs and a froth of tutu randomly sits on top of the cake…



Into the 'Forest of Dreams' which is more like a indoors picnic area where some people were having their tarot cards done…


I thought it was a young Stephen Campbell Moore here…



Silver birch trees dangling with teacups… people kept asking us if we wanted to have a our picture taken in there… ah… they know bloggers too well with their set-up photo antics…


I thought there was something both pretty and creepy about these rabbits sitting in the pot…


Down in the basement was another photo shoot set-up alongside the Benefit lash bar (they've designed lashes with little pearl droplets at the ends especially for the townhouse…) complete with props.  There may be a deranged picture of me and my friend holding parasols going up on their Facebook page…


Down the corridor is the vintage dress-up room where they have gathered a good array of decades and colours to have some fun with.  Apologies if I'm whizzing through photos quite systematically – I only had 15 minutes to run around the house though of course if you're one of the few peeps who are checking out the townhouse for real, a much more elongated period of fun can definitely be had.  Still, I wish something like this existed for a longer period of time, going against the 'pop-up' culture that has infiltrated a lot of London's events.  Who's up for setting up a new breed of gentlewomen's clubs with me that perhaps has a more affordable membership structure?




**EDIT** Tsk tsk to and a lack of credits in the official literature given to us… Cordelia Weston who very kindly commented is in fact the set
designer/prop stylist for the Jacques Townhouse with David Carter as creative director – she's done many wicked art direction/set designs for shoots.  She made the large cake props and pom poms which were especially enchanting.  Come on now, I love a good credit – give them to me, and I'll put it up here.  If ya don't tells me, I wouldn't have known!