January is a fine month for inspiration: to be found on every stand at the Winter Decorative Fair which opened on Tuesday in Battersea Park. The thrice-yearly event gathers the great and the good for an extravaganza of extraordinary covetables - from the skeleton of a Bengal tigress, lightly gilded and cased in a former V&A vitrine (stand 118) where Alex MacArthur's theme is 'gold, bling and bone', to Drennan Edinburgh's ornately carved early Victorian table, topped by the loveliest Irish green marble, from Connemara - a real showpiece at stand 12. The six-day shopping event closes on Sunday evening. You can always pencil in your next spree, for Spring, towards the end of April. Our last visits can be found at 'The Decorative Fair' or 'Decoratively Battersea'.
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Monday, 20 January 2014
Don't you just love a place where pretty much everything is for sale? From a slice of delicious lemon loaf and a glass of hot chocolate (complete with marshmallows) to quirky collectables and pieces of artwork on every wall. Where? The Montage in Forest Hill. You may recall a post last year in June. This time I'm sitting in a little wallpapered hideaway within the maze of rooms that is the magical Montage, wearing a silk embroidered Chinese jacket from nearby shop, in Sydenham's Kirkdale: Syd's Vintage, run by Claire Draper. Alongside the jacket: a pair of plum skinnies, a purple John Smedley knit, funky Ras boots, all topped off with a Nicole Farhi coat over the shoulders.
Friday, 10 January 2014
Pale Rider meets Sherlock and bumps into Withnail... on the way. Not! I'm no cowboy/sleuth/resting actor, but I do have a penchant for this floor-skimming vintage leather coat, worn here with a pair of knee-high boots. The super-long coat tallies up with a super-short, thigh-hugging mini from Paul Smith. The 'how does your garden grow?' skirt dates from a few years ago, but for me, is always in full bloom. A faithful cream wool sweater by Chanel never disappoints, and on this occasion, neither does the backdrop, which nods to the tropical... even in these northern climes.
Monday, 6 January 2014
Grey with a chance of sunshine was this morning's forecast... which meant grey upon grey layering of wool and a pair of vintage sunglasses. Even the trees are grey... a small but perfect cluster of Betula pendula (silver birch). The dress with the quirkiest, extra-set of sleeves, tied afront, is by Dolce & Gabbana; a cardi by Nicole Farhi; a frock-style coat by Marni; and yet another coat: a mid-century vintage one from the cathedral city of Canterbury. The double-bobbled faux-fur bag by British-brand, Dents, brings a different hue and the Menorcan-based Mascaró leather boots, from Stella C, cry out metallic! The weather folk got it almost right today... did I?
Saturday, 4 January 2014
I love London brick... particularly on Edwardian houses where rich earthy terracottas prevail. Even stormy grey weather does not cool this colour, nor indeed any of my clothes which layer tobaccos and tans with darkest chocolates and a flash of orange (lipstick by Dior). Newly-purchased Ralph Lauren suede shirt complements my tan suede, Western-influenced Jigsaw skirt as does my tweed jacket from Olsen. A dash of Mongolian lamb to keep me warm, chunky wedge boots by Ash and my new favourite African woven bag bought at a local charity shop, pour more earthy tones into the picture. Backdrop upon London brick is a recent street-art piece, off Lordship Lane. It also featured in May's 'Tea with a bee' when freshly-painted as part of Dulwich Street Art festival.
Friday, 3 January 2014
My old vintage fur, from the '40s, keeps going strong, especially around Mayfair. On this occasion worn with a pair of low-key palazzo-style pants from Topshop, an Oriental-print silk bag and some old leather boots. The cornelian and silver pendants, and cuff, add a little exoticism: out of Afghanistan and purchased a long while back on Islington Green, from a shop called Rau.
Thursday, 2 January 2014
A fine time of year for a Mayfair stroll... there are quiet backwaters, off the main avenues of retail - even in W.1. Cold enough for a vintage fur jacket, a present from my best Canadian pal, worn over a festively red silk dress.