Friday, 30 September 2016

A ton of fun @ Croftfest September 2016

Crofton Park was en fête last weekend for its community event, Croftfest, which is becoming a fixture in our calendar. We have covered this celebration several times, most notably a year ago (September 2015) when we wore a fabulous array of clothes from Brockley's favourite and best-known designer boutique, Paraphernalia. Happily some things don't change - again we were treated to showcasing a gorgeous selection of looks, both vintage and modern, this time around with La Teen orchestrating much of the styling - and modelling too.
My outfits ranged from a couple of Freestyle dresses (the floaty taupe and a tie-dye, both accessorised with jewellery sourced by Paraphernalia) and a khaki combo to a slinky black vintage jumpsuit and a Clover Canyon patterned shirt and midnight-blue satin cigarette pants by Sandro - I couldn't resist the latter and bought them by the time I'd got them on!
La Teen wore a contrasting number of great little dresses from an Asos black crochet dress to a mixed fabric tweed/ sheer piece from Three Floor, all of which looked striking against Crofton Park's eye-catching street art.
Thank you, Mandi, pictured here with your mother -and style maven- Lorna. And a happy 19th anniversary!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tapping into the spirit of Art

I love the Courtauld Gallery, set in one corner of the neo-classical glamour that is Somerset House, and boasting some fine views of the Thames on its uppermost floors. The latter location, part of the Courtauld Institute of Art, is a good spot for the interesting and absorbing shows it stages - the latest being Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings. Earlier in the month, I caught this summer showcase of a most unusual, little-known Victorian artist (1814-1884) whose work is mainly to be found in Melbourne, Australia, at The Victorian Spiritualists' Union. Perhaps the Aussies were onto something... because her work was well before its time.
This collection of abstract watercolours, not seen in the UK for more than a century, capture a kind of spiritual energy (Ms Houghton was also a spiritual medium and this area of interest clearly informed her artistic endeavours) with their magical and heavenly shapes and forms. A truly memorable and other-worldly show.
For ease, I'm wearing a simple linen shift (made in Italy, purchased in Crystal Palace) and my comfortable Supergas, excellent for walk-abouts and those cobbles in the Somerset House courtyard. For essential colour, under changeable September skies, I added a dash of orange with my Parosh top, and lots of ethnic beads and bag. The sunnies are by Moschino. The location are the environs of Somerset House, now a mecca for the creative arts, and with its own fine spirit of place.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Keeper's House

Spoilt for choice in London to celebrate another year on the planet and in the capital... and The Keeper's House has been on my wishlist since it opened a couple of years ago, so La Teen and I opted for its early evening, pre-theatre supper. The restaurant combines fine dining with fine art within the walls of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly. 
I decided to put on my 'alternative' tea-dress, in a lively African print in feral greens and browns, by Osika;  my patent-leather green jacket by BCBG Max Azria; and brown velvet heels by Robert Clergerie. The clutch - a Hong Kong original from the '50s - but purchased in Lewes, East Sussex, featured in my Belair posting. Vintage jewellery and a Mongolian lamb scarf, in baize green, happily complemented the interiors, created by acclaimed architect, David Chipperfield RA. Didn't realised subterranea could be so seductive!
A delicious birthday dinner... roll on another year.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Welcome to Dulwich, MadC!

Here's a new addition to the street art of Dulwich - by MadC - to be found at the crossroads where pub meets library, and bank meets florists, at the top end of Lordship Lane. The recently-finished mural prompted closer inspection (and a photo opportunity). I'm wearing my favourite new combats, authentically Desert Storm indeed with their own NATO number (and a bargain to boot from Frank the Stylist), together with a leather Banana Republic jacket and a shaggy waistcoat from Sugar. The snakeskin boots are by Pura López whilst the sunnies, in the same style zone as Iris Apfel, are French by Francois Pinton, from south London's Paraphernalia. My turquoise jewellery is from Jessica Walker.
The new piece of street art replaces another called Tea with a Bee, created as part of Baroque the Streets, a collaboration between Dulwich Festival and Street Art London. It, along with a number of other works, put Dulwich firmly on the map for street art, back in May 2013. MadC's work also appeared then, most notably in The Street Art House, formerly at 265 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

'Style is Eternal'

The charming northern town of Barnard Castle is a somewhat unlikely location to view high fashion, but the Bowes Museum has achieved a coup - in playing host to the first major retrospective of the late, great Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008). On the outskirts of the picturesque County Durham town soars this grand château-style building, which would not look out of place in Paris, around the Belle Epoque. It was in the French capital that the 25 year old designer established his fashion house in 1965, prior to which he had gained fame as Christian Dior's successor in 1957. But back to the north of England - and Teesdale - where homage to the couturier can be found in just a few rooms of this fine museum which perfectly encapsulate what he said of his craft: "What has always come first to me is respect for a metier that is not quite an art, but which needs an artist in order to exist."
This exhibition is a thematic exploration of more than 40 creative years, with pieces aptly divided into Haute Couture, Masculin/Feminin, Transparence, Art, Spectaculaire and The Alchemy of Style. In each section, there are pieces which highlight YSL's extraordinary contribution to fashion: his compelling style, whether reinventing the suit (a typically male stronghold) for an YSL woman so that it becomes both restrained and sexy; an immaculate black silk jersey jumpsuit, which has something indefinably rock n' roll about it; a Chantilly lace-backed black dress from 1970; or literally flights of fancy - embroidered doves twinned on each shoulder of a royal blue sheath dress, and inspired by George Braque. I loved The Alchemy of Style section: a cluster of prototype pieces, with all the details etched upon cream calico. My absolute favourite: an orange silk satin cape from 1988 with a sun flanked by a pair of doves and embroidered by Lesage. Surely a piece you would never want to hide away in a wardrobe!
This marvellous show was worth every mile travelled from London. For comfort and ease, I wore a navy knit from Comme des Garçons and a pair of jeans by Stella McCartney, notable for the hook-and-eye detail running down to the calf. YSL wished that he had invented blue jeans. He noted that they have 'expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity- all I hope for in clothes'.
The exhibition runs until November 8, and is supported by the Fondation Pierre Bergé -Yves Saint Laurent.
Opened in 1892, Bowes Museum has arguably the best collection of European fine and decorative arts in the north of England including work by El Greco, Goya and Canaletto. It also has a signature piece, a charming 18th century silver automaton swan, which captures an audience every time it is set into action. The museum is open all year, save for three days: December 25 & 26 and January 1.