I slept in my old bedroom at home for the first time in around ten years (I'm normally propped up on the living room couch so that I can watch DVDs until crusts form on my eyelids) and in my "secret" cubby hole in the wall, I found a box of letters from my teen years when me and my friends bullied each other into this pedantic routine of writing to each other.  Losing touch with one another?  Bury the thought!  With the help of Sanrio stationery, glitter pens and sitkcers, we will be FRIENDS4EVA.  It turned into such a competitive bout of letter decoration, so much so that there are numerous paragraphs in these letters, which ramble on and on about having nothing to write about.  I got to squirm and wriggle whilst re-reading a letter that I wrote to a primary school friend, which I forgot to send (so busy was I doodling inane things like "TOP SECRET" and "Warning!  This is genuine Roman papyrus" on the evidently non-papryus letter) – an early example of referring to myself with my nick name Susie Bubble.  CRINGE… 

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These letters have gone hand in hand with a surprise package from Seoul.  I was mega impressed with the Korean label Low Classic's S/S 13 collection, inspired by Beethoven's mysterious love letters.  The Low Classic peeps were kind enough to send me a few things so I could cop a feel for some of the key pieces from this refreshing, sprightly and curiously design-led collection (given the high-street price range that Low Classic currently occupies).  The collection is even more linked with the physical apparatus of letter writing than I thought.  The pleated aertex cotton on an open-side shirt are much like the intricate folds that some of my friends/relatives from Hong Kong would practise when sending me penpal mail.  A cropped sweater contrasts different shades of white like sheets of paper and has been cleverly embossed with a "From Seoul" postmark.  A crisp navy linen jacket with cut-out slits and straight patch pockets resembles an old fashioned postman's uniform or at least what I imagine Postman Pat would wear if he were to get a makeover.  The more overt references to letter writing are of course littered in the colourful postmark print on a double breasted blazer or the mini leather envelope which snaps on to a matching leather clutch.  The words of Beethoven's letter are cut out of a leather shift dress, although the words become more like a graphic pattern more than anything significant in the literary sense.  I know many people have asked how can one get hold of Low Classic outside of Korea and I still don't have a concrete answer yet, other than I'm being reassured that an international shipping e-commerce site is definitely on its way in 2013.  Let's hope that idea doesn't get buried in a cubby hole like one of my daft unsent letters.    

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All clothing Low Classic except for Susana Bettencourt knitted skirt, Prada creepers and a Canon EOS M camera hanging on a customised strap.  

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All clothing Low Classic – worn with 3.1 Phillip Lim Nancy oxford flats

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All clothing Low Classic except for Uniqlo heat tech poloneck, Celine sheer trousers and A. Sauvage Kente Dr Martens 

A-Sauvage

I'm switching blog reading genre allegiences for a while.  Instead of all the fash-y spots that I normally peruse, I'm instead finding myself engrossed with Decor8, Emmas Design Blog and Tapeten Agentur, aka a place where you can lose two hours looking at wallpaper designs.  Choosing fantasy interior options from the Ikea catalogue when I was 16 was fun but choosing light fixtures, kitchen cabinet handles and paint colours for REALZ is about a thousand times better.  Tapenten Agentur, as German and efficient as they come, is currently where I've honed in on wallpaper choices for the living room (for one wall only of course – don't want to walk into a migraine) and unsurprisingly they're all looking sort of similar and reminding me of the Kente woven silk fabric that graces these A. Sauvage x Dr Martens shoes.

You won't have heard me talk up A. Sauvage as creative director/founder Adrien Victor Sauvage, a former pro basketball player and lifestyle consultant, primarily offers menswear.  You can get the blurb and gist of it all via Style Salvage Steve.  A. Sauvage has recently expanded by creating a line of womenswear, which is rooted in the idea of "Menswear for Women".  It's his collaboration with Dr. Martens though that will have piqued interest from both sexes, especially when these silk Kente Steed shoes are plentiful in womens sizing online.  Sauvage explored his Ghanian roots with a nod to the royal and sacred Kente cloth, crafted by the indigenous Akan people of Ghana.  The geometric triangular formations and woven stripes are muted to shades of grey, black and white in this instance and runs as a motif throughout A. Sauvage's A/W 12 collection.  

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(Worn with Ksubi shirt, Dagmar fluffy cardigan, Ayame tights)

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EOS_M_Default_tcm14-945146Note of Disclosure: Pictures above taken with the new Canon EOS M (available on Amazon) using the black and white grainy filter.  

The pattern is transferred across to womenswear which A. Sauvage is beginning to dip into.  

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A. Sauvage runs a slick operation, everything from art direction, branding to store fit (which stopped me in my tracks when I passed the A. Sauvage store on Maddox Street in London) and he has also called on some interesting collaborators to work with, including the actor Craig Roberts (you might remember him as the charming oddball Oliver in the Richard Ayoade film Submarine).  Roberts starred in this engaging short The Student, which introduces the concept of DE – Dress Easy with 1950s-tinged narration.  The film focuses on all the shoes (note the way the narrator says "praline patent leather" – he makes it sound delicious), ending with the Kente woven silk Dr Martens shoes.  "Has the student found a shoe that speaks for him?", the narrator asks.  Why, YES.  I do believe he has!

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>> Old age prudence is catching up with me.  I realised this when I opened a few of my presents on Christmas day and appreciated the tokens of slippers, knitwear and books going around the room.  After years of expending effort trying to think of "unique" or "zany" gifts for people, I've succumbed to the norms.  A nice jumper that isn't too jazzy.  A useful mug for a cup of tea because the ones at home are stained beyond repair.  A book that I've been meaning to read but have not bothered to buy.  And a pair of socks that will come in handy when you reach into your sock box and find you're short on matching pairs.  These are the staples of unexciting Christmas gift fodder, which I'm finding myself appreciating.  

Not sure how many of you out there (especially menfolk) have found socks beneath the tree or have given them to your close ones but for years to come, I suggest that Japanese hosiery label Ayam√© is the sock brand choice to give if you want to combine utility and visual brilliance.  I received a soggy brown papered package bang on Christmas Eve all the way from Japan stuffed full of the most colourful stocking fillers.  The patterns are distinctive and unique to Aya Agaoka, who started Ayam√© in 2007, wanting to create a niche in legwear that would combine the know-how of Japanese craftsmen with the outer limits of her own imagination.  Working with the experienced hosiery factories of the Nara prefecture, Aygaoka pushes boundaries of knit techniques and yarn choices to create feats (*uh-huh-huh*) of technical accomplishment which when you pull on to your feet for the very first time, makes you wriggle your toes and do a little new sock jig.  Ok, just me who does the new sock dance jig.

If I was Agaoka, I'd be tempted to repeat patterns just to bulk out collections, but I've noticed that every pair of Ayam√© socks I own (and that's roughly twenty pairs or so) are all different in pattern configuration.  Agaoka is definitely a master of geometric wizardry as well as being a perfect judge of colour palettes, taking influence from everything around her.  Ayam√©'s dual headquarters in both London and Tokyo provide interesting contrasts for Agaoka to play around with, hence why her customer base is decidedly broad.  LN-CC, Present, YMC and Browns are the main overseas stockists and you can buy directly from their website if you speak Japanese.  Of course, the dream would be to take in the whole Ayam√© experience by observing Agaoka her knit craftsmen in Nara and shopping in her atelier/shop in Tokyo.  That will be a self-indulgent gift to myself next year.

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(Worn with Heavy Machine shoes, 3.1 Phillip Lim oxford flats, SW1 by Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, Cole Haan x Jen Brill x Olivia sandals, Christopher Kane satin heels, Christopher Kane brocade sandals)

>> I'm signing off for a couple of days as I head off home, on the lonesome, not-so-weary 45 minute journey back to Finchley.  Not exactly an impressive trek but I am gearing up for a few days of brain mushing feasting involving copious amounts of beef (we don't believe in turkey in our house), roast potatoes, sprouts and cake, which will render my fingers too inflated and chubby to type hopefully.  Before I begin though, I wanted to pass on a festive message from Meadham Kirchhoff, a design duo that endorses and embraces Christmas with gusto, as evidenced by their wrapping paper design for Far Fetch.  I therefore can't think of a more Crimbo-appropriate designer to wear this year as I unwrap my pressies tomorrow.  It just so happens that their sample sale last week means I have amassed an outfit of tinsel, red and sparkle that will make for a very Merry Meadham Christmas indeed.  

First up is a S/S 12 turquoise jacket trimmed with a neon ruffle and silver metallic tinsel detailing and their signature mis-matched candy drop buttons.  Then there's an infinitely more accessible collaboration with Amazon (a curious collab that I put down to ex-Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart, who I believe consults for Amazon.com), which resulted in this sweet "Mother, may I?" 1930s-inspired kitschy sweatshirt.  Naturally that pairs up with the S/S 11 pinned and tucked red polka dot, lace-trimmed chiffon dress, another constant signature in MK's design arsenal.  Underneath is a pair of their A/W 12 brocade trousers that are the very definition of "Christmas trousers", should such a garment be recognised as standard, alongside the Christmas jumper.  Last but not least are pair of the S/S 11 clompety, clomp chunky open-toe sandals, festooned with sequins and beads, made in collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood's Pollini, which I grabbed as soon as I entered MK's tinsel-adorned sample sale cave last week.  If I was more organised, I would have worn this ensemble out and about to soak up festive cheer, stopping by Christmas markets and sipping mulled wine and eating spiced biscuits, smiling at Christmas carol-ers, with bokeh lights blurring in and out all around me and returning home laden with bags heavy with presents.  That's a Nigella Lawson-esque montage there waiting to happen.  Until next year perhaps.  For now, I'm signing off to wish everyone a Merry slash Meadham Christmas.  

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EOS_M_Default_tcm14-945146Note of Disclosure: Pictures above taken with the new Canon EOS M.  Available on Amazon.