Thursday, 27 May 2010

Penny for a flower

I recently turned fifteen - I'm looking forward to seeing what adventures and challenges there will be this year.
I recieved some amazing presents, including Tim Walker's photography book which I have been lusting after for months. After reading it I've decided I want to spend my life taking pictures like his! Seeing his his work is like looking at dreams mixed with childhod adventure. I also got Richard Avedon's book - he is one of the photography greats.

Anyway,  part of my birthday involved an 'M.G.M Starlets' morning, organised by a family friend - complete with silk pyjamas and delicious brunch (cupcakes to die for!) I think this year I have found my own fairy godmother. As well as organising this fantastic morning this wonderful person also gave me a Chanel dress. Yes, Chanel! I was completely flabbergasted (in the best possible way.)
It is currently sitting on my mannequin, as though it has already taken on its own life.. And I shall showcase it on the blog asap.

Anyway, that forties film star morning was the inspiration behind this post - the beautiful technicolour effect in films such as 'The Red Shoes' and 'The Wizard of Oz' gave me the idea for some very colourful photos.

This gorgeous dress is Betty Barclay - another wonderful British brand I've accidently started collecting. I bought it at a vintage fair in Bath. If I had more money, then oh the things I would have bought from that stall! However among all the bold colours and fur coats, I noticed this nestled away.
I like the fact it is one part Scarlett O'Hara, one part Covent Garden flower girl (from My Fair Lady.) It has this great row of buttons up the front, which although laborious to do up, look perfect once finished. It also came with the original fabric covered belt, a detail I always appreciate.
I put an underskirt underneath to get the volume..

The sun hat is vintage Laura Ashley I bought from a charity shop and the little black vanity case was from my grandma. My mum bought the shoes today from a charity shop for £1! I leapt on them the minute I saw them. Funnily enough, I used to hate wedges and have suddenly had a change of heart and embraced them. And for five or so inch heels, these are surprisingly comfortable.

My mum took the photos this time - we went to a nearby field full of buttercups. I love all these vibrant colours of late spring - all around the gardens have sprung up in full bloom.

So as this is a rather film oriented post- do you have any favourite vintage films? I love Funny Face, and the much mentioned Red Shoes at the moment. I'd love to hear suggestions and opinions!

Oh & I forgot to say in the last post, thank you for all your supportive comments on my photography!

Edit: I'm now away for a few days, but I'll look forward to catching up when I get back!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

May Day! May Day!


I adore May: flowers a'bloomin, birds a'singin... Oh wait, I'm not in a Disney film! However, the fact that it is now sunny has just made it even better.

I know that my blog has had a bit of a floral overload recently, however these dresses have been waiting patiently for the sun to come out. So I give you article 4 - the purple/ blue roses (vintage) day dress. (Whenever I see the expression 'blue roses', I automatically pronounce the word 'roses' in my head with a lisp - like the character of Laura from Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.)
I have a thing for day dresses - maybe it's just the concept of having 'day' and 'evening' dresses. I think it's also the fact that said dresses are always beautifully made, supremely comfortable and wonderful to look at. In fact I added yet another one with lovely big pockets to my collection today. I seriously need to find my own Narnia, if only to maximise my wardrobe space!

The one I'm wearing here was bought at a local flea market stall - the owner, Rosie, has a really good eye for vintage at amazing prices. I was really attracted to the complimentary colours, and the fabric feels very cool to touch. I think the material is satin finished cotton?

My dad took the photos in front of a usefully co-ordinating patch of aubretia flowers, and the close up was next to some climbing wisteria. What you can't see in that shot is that I was precariously balanced atop a stepladder to reach the inaccessible flowers. Oh, the places I have been in high heels!

The theme of this shoot was 'joy'. From jumping around (imitating all the spring lambs in the fields around us!) to using the flowers to play 'hide and seek', I really enjoyed doing the photos and it was great to experiment with some different poses.

With the dress I put a black belt my mum bought ages ago from a jumble sale, and over this I added a pale blue curtain tie I found in a junk shop. The grey Mary Janes are from New Look and the necklace is comprised of three very cheap strings of faux pearls that I twisted together. I bought the little bag with a chain handle from a charity shop.
The gloves were my great-granny's. I love the thought that she now lives on in the drawer next to my bed, which is stuffed full of her fabulous fifties gloves.
That is how I know a lot of the members of my family who I never met or don't remember - through their clothes.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Old Curiosity Shop


Finally - part 2 of the pictures I took of  my lovely friend Emma, (they've been languishing on my computer for a number of months!) I think I might have subconciously been avoiding editing them down to a 'post-able' number. Does anyone else have this problem? I do manage to whittle my photos down in the end, but it's a hard task.

The second part of this 'story' was inspired by the title of Charles Dickens' book  'The Old Curiosity Shop' - though I do have to admit I've not actually read it yet!
However just the title itself conjured up images of crowded shelves, antique wonders and dusty curios. I styled Emma accordingly, also thinking about book-ish colours and outfits one could sit and read in!

The first set of items comprises of a little crocheted shirt under a Jaeger tank top I bought from a charity shop. (Ha, were you wondering how many posts could go by without me mentioning Jaeger yet again? Maybe I should start a tally..) Then I added some vintage (but thankfully never worn!) silk knickerbockers as shorts/ culottes and my favourite pair of sixties shoes. The patchwork floppy sunhat was given to me by my grandma - I have a big penchant for seventies style hats at the moment.

The second ensemble was partly inspired by an old Vogue editorial in which three stylists had to interpret and style a parka - so I did a dressing gown version!
Don't you love this vintage men's dressing gown? I can just imagine it being worn by Boris Lermontov in 'The Red Shoes', or it being nonchantly flung over a suit in a gentlemen's club by a cigar smoking aristocrat.
Under this I added a men's dress shirt (usually worn as part of a tuxedo suit) and some trousers I got at a clothes swap. The ankle boots are from a charity shop, and the gold necklace was a relative's.

I asked Emma to pose in various locations around my home and in our summer house (basically a tiny shed filled to the brim with junk - perfect setting for a hidey hole retreat!)
Thanks to the gorgeous Emma for being such a willing model and agreeing to wear whatever I present her with!




This is the moodboard I made for this photo story. I've been making loads recently for inspiration..

I'm not sure why, but the month of May always seems to go unbelievably quickly. Between another trip to London, masses of revision for one of my GCSE exams and that fact that my birthday is coming up, the days have slipped past and my blog has been somewhat neglected.
However, I'll rectify that soon.

As I mentioned above, I took a trip to London last weekend and met up with the incredibly lovely Jill of Polka Dot street style. She was just as wonderful in person, and took some great photos of the outfit I was wearing.
Although we only met for a short amount of time (along with my mum), her warmth and enthusiasm were completely infectious! I'd be looking forward meeting Jill, as her comments and communication are always so incisive and thoughtful. You can see the post on her fantastic blog here.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Lady sing the blues so well


The alternate title for this was "If you go down to the woods today..", but after hearing a song by one of my favourite singers (Regina Spektor), I knew I had to steal an opening line of her lyrics!

I have been waiting for the bluebells to spring into action so I could showcase this outfit - and spring they certainly did! So one early morning my dad and I followed the directions of a friend and tramped along a winding country lane, skirted through a farmyard and finally found this perfect little footpath. I think the mis-match of a net underskirt and wellies (an essential for shooting in the countryside) provided a slightly unusual sight for a few bemused walkers!
I love bluebells, they're one of  those beautifully 'British' things; woods full of vibrant colour.

This is what I like to call my 'Paris outfit' - as the majority of  it was purchased in La belle France in 'Les Marches aux Puces' (Which literally translates as 'the fleas'  - I love it!) a few months ago.
If you've never visited these vintage flea markets in Paris, I definitely recommend a visit! Christian Dior bright blue fur coats nestle next to prim forties tea dresses. Oh, if I had more money.. I started to tally up all the desirable pieces. Balenciaga tailored jackets, a pink Chanel suit (although fake, we found out), a Madame Gres draped dress, Louis Vuitton leather monogrammed suitcases, the list goes on. I was in heaven!

Unfortunately, the majority was out of my price range. However, that just meant I had to search harder! I found the tea dress for ten euros, as someone had attached some strange sleeves to it (which took me all of three minutes to unpick.) I love the way it ties at the top, and the squiggly blue pattern.
And the jacket. Aaah, the jacket. It was bought at the most divine vintage store, complete with the owner in perfect period dress. I'm not sure if this jacket was originally military, or some kind of French uniform (bell boy maybe?), but I love both the authenticity and perfect cut. The fact that the buttons are rusting away almost seem to add to the charm!

I then added one of my grandma's belts (from the seventies) and white shoes from a charity shop. I bought the little leather bag last weekend from... a charity shop, and the little straw boater is also thrifted - it's a child's Laura Ashley piece! And finally, my 'mint imperials necklace' (my mum nicknamed it!)

Finally, un petit question - this jacket is now one of my complete favourite items. So do you have a single favourite item of clothing? Or is it impossible to narrow down? I'll look forward to hearing some answers..



Sunday, 9 May 2010

Woodland Wanderer

First of all, apologies for a general lack of posting/ replying to comments. I've been dealing with some problems, and life has generally been very hectic and at times overwhelming - and it doesn't show any sign of slowing down any time soon!

Anyway, carrying on with the floral theme from the last post, here is another flowered acquisition of mine! I found these floral shorts in.. let's guess, hmmm...Could it be? A charity shop!
 I love the fact that they look like they could have easily been made from my Grandma's curtain material! (More on recycling of curtain material in a later post).
I added a charity shopped soft teal (or is it pale blue?) Warehouse blouse- as the colour matched the rose leaves on the shorts perfectly.
The belt is one my mum bought at a jumble sale when she was a teenager, and one of the first items of hers I ever appropriated. I mislaid  it for a while, but lo-and-behold, here it is.. Back from (under) the bed - ready for waist cinching duties!
The necklace is another piece of costume jewellery from the shoe box of treasures that came from one of my great-grandma's.

Yes, I am wearing the white brogues... again. AGAIN! (Sorry.)
"Judge, I plea not guilty of repeat offending by wearing these shoes in practically every other post - they just happen to be very versatile."

Talking of brogues, I visited Topshop yesterday and salivated over almost every shoe there, especially a brown brogue/ loafer hybrid. That slightly strange, fringed shoe needs to be mine so I can pair it with floral Jaeger skirts and dusky pink thirties camisoles.
I was thinking about how I always wear brogues and loafers, and this footwear kind of stands out where I live - rurally. However, when I visited London last weekend loads of people were wearing them, so my feet just blended in!

So here's the question-  Do 'trends' filter down to different geographical areas of a country at different times? Do you think we are often influenced by the environment around us when we dress? I'd like to hear some opinions.

Photos taken as per usual by my lovely dad, with the accompanying patience of my mum and little brother while supposedly having a 'family walk' through ancient Welsh woodlands.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Rain drenched blossom


Spring blossom! Oh wait, I feel like Mary Poppins - about to launch into song about some of my 'favourite things'. But really those little blooms are like signposts saying "Haaha winter, begone! You are hearby banished and will not face parole until at least, ooh, November."

I bought this dress last year, but waited until blossom time to feature it. I found it in a little vintage shop in a nearby town, and was immediately attracted to the intricate pattern and classic shape.
I'm not sure of the origin of this piece as it's handmade, but I'm assuming it may be sixties. Looking at it conjures up a picture of Japanese blossom (surely some of the best in the world?) and exquisite landscapes.
Talking of spring flowers, whilst doing a little research online I discovered the wonderful concept of  Japanese regional 'Cherry Blossom reports' - a little like weather forecasts. Japan is near the top of my 'places I want to visit' list, and I can imagine it being stunning at this time of year..

I puzzled for a while over what to put this blossom dress with as I wasn't sure whether I wanted to keep it simple, or give it some kind of persona. (I often choose a character to be inspired by when dressing, it makes the whole process more entertaining!)

In the end, I felt it was kind of a mix between a gardener and the blooms she tends. A dark olive cardigan and a straw hat were the cultivator/ practical side, contrasting with the 'flowery' dress and necklace.
The cardigan is my mum's (It's more of a woollen blazer) and I borrowed both the straw hat and long pearls from my grandma - thanks Babi!
The olive belt is Jaeger, the white brogues make yet another appearance as do the old favourites - the grey Topshop boots!

This was photographed by my dad in London - while we were visiting my grandma for the weekend. The picture locations are a mixture of Primrose Hill (another of my favourite places) and a communal garden.
Unfortunately it rained for a lot of the time we were there, but we managed to hurry out during a brief, dry interlude.
While we were in London we went to the British Museum - the Mummies weren't really my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed looking at the clock exhibition. From jewel encrusted pocket watches to grand father clocks, the fact that they have continued keeping time long after their creators passed seems extraordinary to me. Real inspiration!