This post could be construed as being shamelessly timed to swoop into the context of today's unveiling of not one but two dresses by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed for the newly wed HRH Duchess of Cambridge.  Forgive the crassness. 

These pictures taken at the Alexander McQueen A/W 11-12 show and at the showroom in Paris have been sitting on the 'TO GO UP' folder for a reason and today seemed to give a good enough excuse to bung em up if not as a hopeful plea that more DETAILED, and by that I mean inch-by-inch shots of the wedding and reception dress will be published somewhere to really showcase the amount of work that Burton, the team at McQueen and the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court have put in.  Actually, weirdly the Official Royal Wedding website does a darn good job of wetting my appetite for the close-up details and processes of creating the dress with their intense descriptions.  In pure sadact fashion, I've committed to memory the fun facts of the RSN sewers having to wash their hands every thirty minutes to ensure the dress stays clean and the four flowers that make up the symbolic nature of the lacework. 

So I therefore follow up with my just-about adequate close-ups of the A/W 11-12 collection which is of course not at particularly linked to the big tamale wedding dress except there's a few 2-metre-plus trains in the latter half of the collection.  The point of the super detailed close-ups, in addition to satisfying my own perverse curiosity when looking at Burton's relatively short body of solo namesake work for Alexander McQueen perhaps would serve to consecrate her own signature, one that is revealing itself as something more feminine and romantic than Lee's.  Along with dramatic romanticism, micro deets shots would of course reveal the craftsmanship that Burton emphasises over and over again in her press statement about the wedding dress, something that was impressed upon me when I took a good chunk of time to look through the A/W 11-12 collection in the showroom.  Even looking back at these admittedly shoddy shots taken on my little S95, I can't help but be floored by the sheer amount of everything – the flurry of tulle, the jagged pieced-together broken porcelain, the precision of the cut-out tweed contrasted with zip detailing, the concertina and pearl folds of organza, the bird-like embroidery where silver beads, pearls and silk are built up into a texture you're dying to touch.  Let's face it, I just came out with the slightly nauseating phrase of 'flurry of tulle' – a superlative trigger went off somewhere in that showroom as it did today for many people…

My pleas for super-duper close-ups will most probably be answered soon enough but there's no harm in a cheeky request…

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>> I'm almost tempted to leave you today with just these three sole images of menswear designer Carolyn Massey at the fringes of the Wilton Way Royal Wedding street party, wrapped up in a PROPER flag.  Not some cheap Union Jack flag bought from a souvenir shop but a genuine flag that belonged to Carolyn's grandfather who had this flag up at his church where he was vicar.  I salute this proper flag sighting. 

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Then I thought I was going to be offline for a bit as I leave for Sydney tonight so I best leave a few more mementos of the day.  I guess everyone has already bleated on about how brilliant the day was, how magnificent and pitch-perfect the dress was and I can't add anything to all the chat given that I, like 1.9 billion other people just watched it on the box.  Let's just say I got what I wanted out of it, both in the choice of dress and canapes and that's basically, all I was interested in really.  The real fun was of course all the stuff on the fringe of what was going on in Westminster, and the general public responded to a day that could have been just another lazy bank holiday, by making the effort with their street parties and really making it a celebratory shindig (not just an excuse to get out pile on the cakes and booze…).

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Frieda of House of Hackney aptly had her version of a wedding trousseau out on Wilton Way…

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Violet Cakes got into the action with initialed cupcakes…

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…as well as rigging up patchwork bunting…

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I covered up my slightly disrespectful white vintage dress which has a gazillion covered buttons running up the sleeves and the back with some slouchy layers and a pair of trainers to schlep around in, taking in little bits of street parties around East London.  Suffice to say I definitely don't regret staying an extra day in London, sacrificing jeg-lag recovery time in Sydney but enjoying genuinely good bunting time… vaguely gushy end note over. 

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>> Alright, so 90s nostalgia is starting to feel like a bit of a broken Tumblr record when you've sifted through image after image of Courtney/Gwen/Shirley Manson and the repetition instigated by the reblogging action is also making me feel like people are being Tumblr-pressured into liking something because liking the 90s gives you cool cred.  That said, when all that nostalgia is put to use and out comes a useful Etsy store such as Philadelphia-based A Buck and a Broken Smoke who are intent on selling the chunkiest shoe oddities that you might overlook in a jumble sale but in the orderly context of an Etsy page, somehow you can see past the fact that you may or may not have owned shoes like these not that long ago (well I'm speaking as someone with a 90s childhood… but I suppose those that are younger will have fresher eyes) and look upon them as the nice bit of chunk that you could wear out and about and even… to an underground party if you really feel like reliving some smiley face days. 

In all seriousness, the awkwardly chunky shape of these shoes are actually right up my street in terms of walkability and general juxtaposition against more contemporary clothes.  Or should I wish, I could also fall right back into the 90s trappings and pair floaty/pastel/delicate attire with chunky-clad-feet that go clumping about…

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Their Tumblr page is actually more engrossing than what I've just described at the beginning of those post.  At the very least, they helpfully put sources of their images and I do like that a nice lot of vintage Versus pops up every now and again…

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What was the best cure for easing out of my Easter Weekend no wi-fi, no blogging mode and back into reality?  Why, visiting Moody & Farrell hat makers of course!  Since my last visit though, there's been a few significant strides made.  For a start, if you take a gander at the website (thumbs up on the design!), if you didn't know any better, it would have you believe that Moody & Farrell are a long established duo…

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As explained in my last studio visit post, Moody & Farrell is in fact lone and solo hat-maker Eloise Moody and her deceased grandfather Michael John Farrell is cheering on Eloise in spirit, waving his hat from up above…

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When I last saw Eloise, she was working on a comissions-basis, one-off, bespoke sort of scale, selling only to My Sugarland in Angel, which boo hoo, has mysteriously closed down.  Now, Eloise has decided to take it up a notch and will be doing seasonal collections and when I saw her on Monday, was actually busy making a set of pigskin leather boaters for Notting Hill boutique Wolf & Badger so she's intent on making a go out of turning her hats into a ready-to-wear operation despite the fact it's just Eloise toiling away at making what is an impeccably turned out and finished product…

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I still have Mary Poppins-themed dreams centred around these leather boater hats especially in the pale powder blue that is an exacting perfect shade…

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For her new collection, she has been experimenting with wooden oak veneers and this boater is an early experiment…

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… which then evolved into this beautifully shaped hat that is sort of like a compressed take on a cowboy hat but really takes advantage of the flexibility of the veneer as the crown of the hat curves right round to form part of the front peak given the hat a proper sense of fluidity.  Eloise is hoping to take her woodworking skills to the next level by experimenting with marquetry inlaid into the hats.  The mere thought of it already wets the appetite given that I'm an Antiques Road Show nut.  I want 16th century Florentine patterns on my hat and I want them now…

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Wooden closed done

Moody & Farrell's ten-piece collection was inspired by the British directing duo Powell and Pressburger (directors of the The Red Shoes) film I Know Where I'm Going (1945), tracking the tumultuous journey of a woman who travels from Manchester to the Hebrides in Scotland.  Clearly Scottish and landscape-derived motifs are at play in this series of hats but more importantly, Eloise has really pushed the structures of her hats, warping conventional shapes whilst ensuring there's still something familiar about them. 

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Mountain green closed done

What I love about Moody & Farrell is that she doesn't make the hat into a freakish entity and tradition and historical context is very much instilled into the designs.  You can just about see strands of the Scottish Balmoral bonnet hat (accompanied by a subtle bit of tartan) and a forage cap in these designs but of course the shapes are slightly altered and proportions are rejigged…

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This 'banana' to me is like a cross between some sort of Medieval headdress and a 1940s hat with veil removed…

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These conical shaped hats are derived from the Pierrot clown hats…

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The 1940s setting of the film leaves its mark on this shape in particular where I'd feel the pressure to have some sort of 'set' hair to go with the hat…

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My favourite out of my Easter Monday hat trying session is this sideways wide-brimmed leather hat that sort of doesn't serve too much of a sun-shielding purpose but rather it's a dramatic structure that floats to the side of your head, causing a few stares.  It's unapologetically large but I love the subtle palette of grey with a flash of yellow…

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Through some clicking around, I also found that Moody & Farrell is currently being sold in the newly revamped Savoy Hotel's not-so-generic shop which has selected the best of British craftsman and actually admiringly, encourages people to seek out designers' studios for custom/bespoke options.  I love this fez hat adorned with a fan of vintage paper map backed by fabric seeing as I'm keen to lose my fez virginity outside of trying a silly one on when I was in Istanbul last summer.   

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