So lets be honest diamonds are passé (on men and the young); now Jimmy Choo’s are forever and it so happens I have had two particular pairs of Jimmy Choo’s from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection stuck in my head. I may not know where I am going in life but I do know I need a better job and consequently some more Jimmy Choo’s in my wardrobe.
Jimmy Choo’s Sloane is an evening slipper with a twist; not known for conventionality the Sloane is certainly a statement shoe in all the various reincarnations of it from porno prints to glitter. My favourite is the scorpion pair as divine as the wasp pair may be there is something about the more potent sting .
Both shoes are £550 each – available at Jimmy Choo
“You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo’s.” …yes I did and I want more!
There is something definitely luxurious about snakeskin even if it is slightly amoral (well any leather is amoral technically) – exotic hide is something to be coveted. When it comes to shoes I am quite infatuated with texture and these high tops with suede, snakeskin and leather result in the perfect mix of finishes and texture. The downside to exotics is the cost but fortunately I grabbed these YSL high top trainers in the Matches Fashion sale. They were the last pair left and in my size, if that is not destiny then I do not know what is! This is my third pair of YSL/Saint Laurent shoes and certainly not my last, the quality and attention to detail is second to none.
What I like most about these YSL trainers is the contrast of the bordeaux snakeskin panels against the black leather and suede. Paired with a pair of skinny jeans, a tshirt and maybe a leather jacket for that perfect ‘off duty’ attire that is relaxed, directional and definitely luxe. YSL are very good at the little things; notice the subtle perforated Y on the suede front section, the sheeen to the laces to complement the snakeskin, the small YSL on the back of the shoe and the YSL logo and snakeskin panels on the tongue of the shoe. I seem incapable of buying a pair of shoes without suede panelling, you would not think I live in England! As always; thank god for Collonil waterproofing spray – no really.
On the subject of YSL/Yves Saint Laurent. What do you think of the Saint Laurent rebrand?
Some of the best things in life come in blue boxes. For instance Tiffany & Co’s robin egg blue, Smythson’s nile blue and in this case Lanvin’s forget-me-not blue. Founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, Lanvin is France’s oldest ‘maison de couture’. Today Lanvin is under the creative control of Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver and is still one of the best fashion houses in the world.
I have a confession to make. I have an ‘e-savings’ account to help me save up for things I want; it helps with my terrible self discipline. I transfer any spare money over and when I am ready to make a fashion purchase I transfer the amount back into my current account to buy whatever I have my eye on. I find this helps me balance my money better and realise how much I am spending. Well it works for me . So seeing as my ‘e-savings’ account had reached a certain figure I decided to buy myself something off my wishlist; Lanvin trainers.
Lanvin’s trainers have gained quite a cult following and it is easy to see why. Somehow they encapsule the perfect balance of smart and casual. Team them with some tailoring, or with your favourite pair of jeans and you are good to go. I picked my pair up from Harvey Nichols Birmingham. I was served by Mark (thank you) who is consistently one of the most helpful sales associates I have ever encountered (and patient – I did spend a long time discussing pretty much every shoe there). The hardest decision was which Lanvin ones to get; most people get the suede and patent leather toe cap combinations. I opted for this textured suede pair and coated toe cap pair as they are a little more unusual and I rather like the colour combination. Lanvin trainers make the perfect stylish yet comfortable shoe which is perfect for this transitional season weather.
One of the biggest trends to carry over season after season is printed tshirts. Printed tshirts make me go weak at the knees; I have quite the collection. Recently the printed tshirt has moved on from the trompe l’ oeil esque crisp images and has taken on a more Jackson Pollock agenda. It is less about patterns per se and more abstract or as ethereal as possible yet retaining structure or a clue to what the print developed from or was inspired by.
one: Lanvin – £250
two: Maison Martin Margiela – £180
three: Christopher Kane – £180
four: McQ by Alexander McQueen – £115
The Valentino tshirt is a nod to camouflage and is quite the tonal delight. When it comes to patterned tshirts colour is your friend and I am particularly fond of this Maison Martin Margiela one which is reminiscent of Claude Monet’s later paintings (particular his lily pond and garden pieces) and the impressionist pointillism movement. I am a big fan of Christopher Kane and this paint stroke tshirt is on my wish list right now; there is something about those brush strokes and mix of colours that really works. What I like about the McQ by Alexander McQueen tshirt is how you can see it is inspired by a dragon fly, moth, butterfly or some sort of bug yet it is not overtly obvious… that and a spot of nostalgia; it reminds me of when you used to finger paint as a child, fold it, open it up for a symmetrical picture.
If you told me a couple of years ago that I would own a pair of trainers I would have probably laughed in your face because until quite recently I simply did not believe in trainers. Well no, I believed in their existence but I did not believe in wearing them per se and prided myself on not owning a single pair.
Maybe it was something in the water or was I unwittingly seduced by the sports luxe trend, who knows, but slowly whatever the reason trainers came into my life and I cannot help but lust over more. Practicality and style for those off duty days (we all have them – well at least I know I do).
one: Valentino – £430
two: Moncler – £298
three: Lanvin – £295
four: McQ by Alexander McQueen – £242
five: Saint Laurent – £340
six: Balenciaga – £295
seven: Maison Martin Margiela – £425
eight: Pierre Hardy – £300
As much as I love the classic trainer (see five: Saint Laurent), I do prefer trainers which have an extra touch; be it a spot of leather (patent or textured), suede, paint or mix of all them. I call this textural paradise . I am also developing quite a thing for high tops at the moment and I find the hand painted gold panels on seven (Maison Martin Margiela) really do it for me.
My favourite pair out of the above is one, the Valentinos. Such a haphazard mismatch of trends, texture and colours but it just works. Particularly love the understated camo and the plastic red spikes with the complementing red suede (but please don’t forget your Collonil, I refer you to an entry I did on clothes/shoe care).
Since a relatively young age I found myself enraptured by the world of fashion and currently I really do not know anything else that quite fascinates me so. As a child I used to want to be fashion designer since I can remember and I spent my time painting Marchesa Princess esque dresses. Much to my brother’s dismay I once even made his action man a dress out of the netting in which you buy your oranges in – oops.
Every once in a while I do admittedly become a little jaded and wish I preferred other pursuits in life but then I always fall back in love with fashion all over again without fail. This interest grew and I grew up and I first started to become interested in designer fashion by reading Vogue. Some of the haute couture editorials simply blew my mind and so I fell in love with the fairy tale; the unaffordable, the dream. The word phantasmagoria springs to mind. To me these fashion editorials were a window into a different world and a way to escape the every day grind of my other wise ordinary life.
Photograph of Kate Moss from Vogue US April 2012, shot by Tim Walker, styled by Grace Coddington at the Ritz Hotel, Paris
Whenever I see someone impeccably or dazzlingly dressed my face lights up and I have what I like to call a ‘fashion moment’. Whether it be a women in the perfect tulle dress or a man in an immaculate three piece tailored suit; these moments are nothing short of euphoric and although they tend to be brief they have quite a lasting impact. To this day I have yet to find anything that kindles a similar response in me. I feed off these moments, I find a new bounce in my step and at times find myself genuinely inspired. I find myself attached to brands and I love watch them grow and develop in time – there is a connection there that is unlike no other. The brands, the history and the future of the brands are important to me.
This love affair took a more active role in my life as I went from admiring fashion to creating my own fashion moments. I discovered the experience. The marble floor boutiques and department stores which used to scare me became my playground and I discovered that I could get the same kind of euphoria wearing clothes. The moment I put on my first pair of Jimmy Choos something inside me changed and I felt for the first time in my life like a million dollars. I was wearing something visually I adored and I felt good about myself; it was if a whole new world had opened up for me.
I love how with clothes I can be who I want to be; one day I can be dressed to the nines and the next I can be lounging about in old cashmere. This expression of myself soon became an extension of myself and I am known for how I dress and what I wear (or in some instances don’t). I never think of myself as a dictator of style so to speak but I know what I like and I know what I don’t like and when I love something, well, then I really cannot help myself. I genuinely enjoy my clothes, I love wearing them, I love dressing up and I even enjoy putting my shoes away in their dust bags and boxes. I collect clothes like an art collector collects art; each piece is special to me.
I am ashamed to admit at times that I breathe for fashion and yes I do dream about finding perhaps a more high brow vocation (perhaps investment banking; it would certainly be friendlier on my bank balance!). A fair few of my acquaintances think fashion is a very superficial thing – perhaps it is; but at the same time fashion is an important part of our lives. Fashion is also a very important factor to our economy here in England; fashion week each season alone brings in over £100,000,000 and our fashion industry in England was valued between £2.5 and £2.9 billion in 2010 and has no doubt increased since then. …but more importantly it makes me happy and one lesson in life I have learnt is to never taken anything for granted if it makes you happy. So my affaire de coeur with fashion continues; the fairy tale continues – I just need more excuses to wear ridiculous shoes than other because I can .
The best part of Sundays? …no one will judge you if you dine out for lunch. Sundays I usually find myself in Birmingham lunching and it is these little indulgent lunches that really round off an excellent (or not so in some cases) weekend and leave me feeling ready to take on a new week. Lets face it you are not exactly going to find me at a ‘Toby Carvery’ but one of the many things I love about Birmingham is it has a wealth of quality food establishments which are exceedingly good value. Hotel La Tour invited me to try their Sunday lunch menu at their restaurant Aalto – which was very fortunate for me as they were next on my list of places to try for Sunday lunch anyway.
I have probably commented on this before but one thing in particular I adore about Hotel La Tour is the welcoming atmosphere. Hotel La Tour encompasses both sophistication and a warmth which a lot of high end hotels lack and it is this ambience which conduces to an outstanding experience. Hotel La Tour still has that edge of formality but the way in which it operates with attention to detail (and to individual customers) makes it all very personal at the same time.
My starter: Dorset crab with apple salad and croutons
My main: Roasted sirloin of beef, Yorkshire pudding and gravy
My dessert: Chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream
The Sunday lunch menu is 2 courses for £18.00 or the very tempting 3 courses for £24.00 (I know which I would go for). Which for food of that quality and a city centre luxury hotel is extremely great value. There were six starters, six mains and six desserts to choose from – so there really is something for everyone.
I found the Dorset crab particularly mouthwatering, the apple salad really complemented it well and the apple really bought out the flavour of the crab. The serving size was decent for a starter and actually surprisingly quite filling. When it came to mains despite some other very tempting options I was swayed by the traditional beef roast; I mean who does not love a proper Sunday roast? Well apart from vegetarians I suppose… Aalto do justice to the roast; the beef was perfectly pink and check out those Yorkshire puddings! Despite finding myself very full by this point I still had to have a dessert (naturally) and much to my amazement I finished every morsel of the gorgeous chocolate tart. I thought at first perhaps it might be a bit rich from looking at it; but I found it went down easily and had a certain fluffiness to it. In my opinion it is worth eating at Aalto just for the chocolate tart alone. I may or may not have washed this down with some Italian wine…
The staff as always were very attentive. Hotel La Tour, Alvah (the bar) and Aalto are some of my favourite haunts in the city centre – particularly on Friday nights for champagne, cocktails and bar snacks (you MUST try Hotel La Tour’s gourmet take on the Welsh rarebit) with the best friend. So if you are thinking of somewhere to go this Sunday for lunch, go on treat yourself – you will not regret it!
Established in 1952 Moncler takes its name from Monastier de Clermont; a mountainous village in France which is near Grenoble. Moncler started off doing sleeping bags but developed from this and quickly became noted for it’s quilted jackets and in turn ended up as a bit of a staple skiwear brand and go to choice of the contemporary jetset. In more recent years following the heritage brand trend Moncler has become a hit among European fashion conscious circles and is no longer confined to the slopes and more often seen out about town and country.
Gilet: Moncler, Jumper: Paul Smith, Hoodie: Polo Ralph Lauren, Belt: Mulberry, Jeans: Nudie, Watch: Michael Kors
I have toyed with the idea of buying a Moncler jacket or gilet for quite some time now and when I saw Ellie Goulding in Harvey Nichols Birmingham the other month wearing a Moncler jacket my interest was rekindled so to speak. The Cheval is a padded down gilet with a classic silhouette. The felt appliqué logo, interior ‘cartoon’ on pocket, two way zip with Moncler logo on the zipper, glossy shoulders and stand collar are all little touches which attribute to the high quality finish of Moncler items – it is all about attention to detail after all.
Moncler is the perfect union of practicality and casual style and with the British weather lately I can see myself getting a lot of use out of my Moncler. I purchased mine on the weekend when I was in Birmingham shopping, I got it from Harvey Nichols (where it is literally flying off the racks).
Every January I always have a little spree in the sales; as lets face it who doesn’t love a bargain? One of my favourite sale buys was this merino wool jumper from Browns (still available online I believe – it is AW12). It is instantly recognisable as Markus Lupfer. Appliquéd sequins are a signature of Markus Lupfer and this navy jumper is a tongue in chic take on tattooed knuckles.
One particular thing I am taken with about this jumper is how the sequins catch the light and as a result sparkle. I wore it on a night out over the weekend and I (juvenilely admittedly) found the phrase ‘glitter tits’ cross my mind haha.
I am rather loving statement jumpers and Markus Lupfer – I have my eye on a few things in his latest collection still…
Recently my Mulberry family gained a new member in the form of the Mulberry Brynmore messenger bag. Words really cannot begin to describe how happy my first Mulberry bag made me and this happiness has not dissipated as I am now on my fourth. Emma Hill and her design team can do no wrong as far as I am concerned.
The Brynmore is a classic bag which embodies all the best bits of quintessential Mulberry DNA. I find the trio of postman locks particularly eye catching. The bag contains two inside compartments (brushed leather inside); a main compartment and a slip pocket which has a small pocket and pen holders. It is the perfect size for a standard laptop and is quite a spacious bag (approximately 12.5 litres). You can wear the bag across your chest with the attached canvas strap, or just hang it on your shoulder (which is what I do). The bag also has a metal Mulberry fob on the side with the serial number on the underneath.
There is something effortlessly stylish about a classic Mulberry bag, the slouchy soft natural leather, and the traditional brass hardware. I tend to always go for oak when it comes to Mulberry as I love the way it ages gaining a natural patina that only gives items more character. I first fell in love with this particular bag in 2008, 5 years later I am still very much in love and so happy that I finally have a Brynmore to call my own.