Some Kind of Shangri-La

Metallics.  Iridescence.  Sheeny shinyness.  Layers.  These are the components that make up the outfit equivalent of Shangri-La for me.  The main facilitator?  A Miu Miu jacket from the current A/W 14-5 collection, looking all delicious and tempting in-stores and online, stuffed with pastels, parkas and plastic brilliance.   How did I get it?  I was very honoured to be asked to be “Girl in Miu Miu” for a few days, leading up to Miu Miu ‘s S/S 15 show in Paris, taking over their Girl in Miu Miu Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr accounts.  Francesca Burns, fashion editor of British Vogue, was the previous Girl in Miu Miu in Venice, and a definite hard act to follow.  I did my artsy-fartsy best to put up some lush Girl in Miu Miu moments.  The reward?  The jacket, which when paired with other equally shimmery things such as Marques Almeida x Topshop‘s collabo taffeta trousers (I know everyone is falling hard for the shredded denim but don’t ignore the awesome 90s silk taffy bits!) and Alexander Lewis’ Palm Springs-inspired resort mermaid tail shirt dress, then becomes my kind of outfit alchemy.  Emphasis on the “my”.  Add a bargain £40 Tao by Comme des Garcons find from Rag Tag (from her debut solo A/W 05-6 collection no less) and some belatedly bought Meadham Kirchhoff x Nicholas Kirkwood glitter wedges from that most beloved SS12 collection (from a recent Nicholas Kirkwood sample sale… ) and there you have all the things that make me beam, beam, beam.  Oh, and thinking I’ll be able to easily convert these Ek Thongprasert bejewelled silicone peach danglies from pierced earrings to clip-ons, they’ll be the final finishing touch to this overly decorated layer cake.










0E5A9311Miu Miu A/W 14-5 metallic jacquard jacket, Alexander Lewis resort 2015 iridescent dress, Marques Almeida x Topshop taffeta trousers, vintage Tao Comme des Garcons knitted top, Meadham Kirchhoff x Nicholas Kirkwood SS12 shoes, Miu Miu sunglasses, Ek Thongprasert earrings

The past is filled with violent joys and broken toys,
Laughing girls and teasing boys.

But don’t try to touch me, don’t try to touch me
Cos that will never happen again.

Tomorrow? Well, tomorrow’s a long way off.
Maybe someday I’ll have somebody’s hand.

I referenced Shangri-La in the title of the post as a nod to the main soundtrack component of Miu Miu’s S/S 15 show.  The American girl group trio Shangri Las and their 1966 spoken word track about teenage heartbreak “Past, Present and Future”, layered over Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is one big telling clue into Miuccia’s mindset for Miu Miu’s latest collection.  As is the way she threw in other jarring sounds from Norwegian noise rock outfit Moon Relay as well as the soundtrack from John Waters’ 1974 classic Female Trouble.  How else to decipher what seemed like a medley of Miu Miu classics – remixed of course.  Cinched in plaid belts and pencil skirts, 1950s housecoats and 18th century Bucol floral silks were prim.  Ruffled lingerie-inspired crop tops, exaggerated bow mules and a drawn on brow courtesy of Pat McGrath were not.  In fact they were decidedly bad.  These ladies slash vamps stalked down the OMA-designed runway underneath misleading church-like wooden arches, with a knowing look in their eyes revelling in their “female troubles” (“They say I’m a skank but I don’t care… I’m a jerk – I like it fine!” so the song goes) The juxtaposition between the two made me think of vintage glamourous mugshots, yesteryear girl gangs and teenage rebellion of every era.  In other words, well versed tropes for Miuccia.  After the questionable faux-feminism of Chanel, seeing Miu Miu the next day was like being brought back on to more stable feminist ground.  It’s almost default for Miuccia to think about the complexities of female empowerment or on the most basic level, be cleverly empathetic to how clothing can make a woman feel.  It’s why Miu Miu and Prada collections are often loaded with subjective references, for the onlooker.    Something is always simmering beneath the surface, which is why I so enjoyed my temporary stint as a Girl in Miu Miu.  At the very least, I was within a five metre radius of the woman herself backstage at the show.  Still not said “Hi!” yet.  Maybe I never will.

Was I ever in love? I called it love…
I mean, it felt like love,
There were moments when…
Well, there were moments when.

IMG_20141006_155510Last day as Girl in Miu Miu in Paris



IMG_20141001_125556From my stint as a Girl in Paris

0E5A0955OMA designed set of wooden arches for Miu Miu SS15



IMG_20141002_062747Taken backstage at Miu Miu S/S 15 – thin brow action created by Pat McGrath

vintagemugshot1955 mugshot




1980scholagirlsHoyo Maravilla gang girls, East LA, 1983 photographed by Janett Beckman

pachucaA “Pachucha” (Mexican-American women in zoot suits) Rosie From Boyle Heights In The 1940s






01175568.JPGWoman in a plaid skirt, 1946 photographed by Nina Leen for Life Magazine

00569797.JPGFrom an April 20, 1942, LIFE story about proper skirt-hem lengths, photographed by Nina Leen







115019426.jpgTeenager in Tokyo, 1965 photographed by Michael Rougier for Life Magazine

hellsangelsHell’s Angels in a bar 1965 photographed by Bill Rey for Life Magazine






teenagegirlgunsGirls with guns c. 1920s




John Stezaker: Pair IVPair (IV) The Approach (2007) by John Stezaker








shangrilasThe Shangri Las

23 Replies to “Some Kind of Shangri-La”

  1. This look is amazing, Susie. With that silhouette and those textiles and the hardware on the jacket, I read this more as a beautiful integration of “gundam robot” and “heian noblewoman,” but I do love a nod to 60’s girl groups. Love.

  2. This is so lovely! What a great post. It was beautiful looking at all the silhouettes and different textiles.

  3. I really love the metallic pastel shades on your outfit. You truly represent a brand like Miu Miu exactly like it should be represented. It is inspiring to watch your pictures as they are evoking a craving for luxury shopping!

    What do you think about the eyebrows in the Miu Miu show this year? I can not help it but they are not inspiring me. But they obviously make me concentrate more on the clothes as they look very awful. 8DD

  4. Your outfit is a beautiful combination of shine and pastels that only you can carry off. The jewel-like colours of the leather pieces in the Miu Miu collection are delicious!

    Love your inclusion of the inspirational photos, especially the plaid skirt and matching booties. I wonder who the designer was for the shoes?

  5. Looks like you got that picture from the small pub Janet Beckman did on the El Hoyo Maravilla gangs–Maravilla being a section of East LA and El Hoyo being a neighborhood within the section called Maravilla that was cut in half many years ago, with some streets lost forever, when Los Angeles decided to run a freeway right through the neighborhood, declaring eminent domain and seizing the homes of families who had worked hard to own their houses. Hmmm, I think Beverly Hills needs a freeway running right through their hood, you know snap up some mansions and build a new 12-laner on top of prime real estate so it no longer takes 2 hours to drive from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. Sriously though, those bad ass girls (from one of ELA’s first gangs) in the image have terrific street style. Also, that image of the Woman in a plaid skirt (and shoes) has a definite Phoebe Philo vibe…makes me think of a line from a song by Mr. Robert Zimmerman (Dylan), “if there’s an original thought out there, I could use it right now.”

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