When I was working in India on the launch of a new magazine, Salvatore Ferragamo was one of the international brands that kept pinging up on my radar – their spring-summer shoes were breathtaking and Ferragamo is quite big in India. On my return I proceeded to forget about them, until today. While on my round of appointments calling in for a forthcoming shoot, I came across these purple patent hotties and once home I (naturally) tried them on. Heaven! They have a slightly curved cone heel and a demi platform, yet don’t come under the ‘statement shoe’ umbrella because somehow they retain all their elegance and wearability, maybe because the uppers and ankle straps make them quite delicate. Ferragamo’s Vara bow pumps are already in the thick of a revival, with the baby sister version Varina (the flat one) now a cult hit with New York Gossip Girl wannabes and Japanese O-nee-kei girls alike.
My interest piqued, I decided to have a pootle and see what Ebay has to offer. Sadly, the beauties I’d lusted after on a weekly basis while in India were nowhere to be seen (but you can see a few here), however there were lots of affordable Varas including these AAAA ones (Ferragamos are known for being ultra-comfortable, due to their varied width fittings and going up to a more generous-than-average UK size 9), plus some sweet lace-ups from the quaintly-named Grecia’s Graciously Used Shoes.
Of course, back in the day, Salvatore Ferragamo was as hot a name as Louboutin is now, after all he did invent the wedge…
And in the ’30s and ’40s when the war made it difficult to obtain leather for shoes, he stitched together corks from wine bottles to make cork wedges. An eco early-adopter – who knew! This year is the 80th anniversary of Ferragamo and it’s all change at the house. Cristina Ortiz has taken up the baton as head designer following Graeme Black’s departure so I’m keeping a close eye on proceedings. In the meantime, I’m also keeping a close eye on these lovelies. All in the name of research you understand.
I’m loving this interactive part of The Photographers’ Gallery website. It’s an online exhibition called Can’t Live Without It and contributors are asked to upload their (maximum of) three favourite fashion items and write some blurb about them.
Zigs Black from Germany submitted this well-worn tee, “Summer 1998. I’m buying a pair of jeans from my favourite store for casual clothing. At the till, they give me this horrible T-shirt for free. Summer 2008. I still own the shirt with the silly inscription, and I’ve been wearing and washing it so often it’s falling apart.”
K.K from Estonia posted a secondhand bag, “Bought for about a pound from an Israeli second hand shop, this tiny thing is made of real leather and has a velvet lining. It can be used as an evening bag but it fits a whole world and then some.”
Rather poignantly, Anonymous Lady posted a wig, “I lost my hair a few years ago and so wigs play a big part in my wardrobe. This is one of three wigs that I regularly wear.”
The exhibition runs til 14th September.
Are advertisers slowly warming to the blogosphere? The New York Times has a good article on the subject here.
Nice article on Guido Palau in last Sunday Telgraph’s Stella Magazine
“I love the clothes, everyone is good-looking, the plot line is a riot. I love the show. They called and said, ‘You are very Gossip Girl.’ I thought, ‘Finally, I am a teenager.'”
Michael Kors signs up for a guest role in Gossip Girl
I love reading Fred Butler’s blog about her fab jewellery n prop making and zhuzhy creative life. This photo* was sent to her from a friend who was working on a Tim Walker Vogue shoot in Suffolk (gotta be for the Christmas issue, no?). Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the chandelier?
(*To get a better view, go to Fred’s blog and click on the pic there to enlarge)
The new US Gap pics are out and of course, they’re looking better than ever. Lovely to see Gap continuing its use of non-celebs like The Sartorialist. The European pics are equally stunning featuring the likes of Daisy de Villeneuve, Ines de la Fressange and Camille Bidault Waddington alongside Giles Deacon and Clemence Poesy (wot, no Susie Bubble?). Whether this will get us buying more Gap, who can say? As much as I love a chino and a bit of grey marl, I haven’t seen the new collection to decide. Let’s hope it’s a goodie.
[Pics: Top to bottom]
Camille Bidault Waddington
Daisy de Villeneuve
I know I’ve been going on about autumn’s silk headscarf look for weeks but the trend is just getting out of control and it’s not even September yet. Only this weekend I saw a muslim girl in Oxford Street rocking some sort of Amy Winehouse-derived beehive shrouded in a logo Fendi scarf and oh my gosh, it looked scorchio! Maybe it was the flawless skin and Sharpie-style eyeliner flicks but the fact can’t be ignored, this silk scarf thang has a mind of its own.
Latest news on the silk square front is from Hermès. It has hooked up with the Josef Albers estate to create a limited edition (read: highly collectable) range of scarves* based on his famous Homage to the Square series of abstract paintings. Each scarf is printed in an edition of 200, numbered and sold in a special presentation box. They arrive in the UK this week but brace yourself, they cost £1,600 each!
[*Clarification: The pics above are examples of Josepf Albers' paintings, not the scarves themselves...]
Pics: Google Images
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s bad service. Whether it’s in shops, restaurants, banks or the local council, if you’re dealing with the public I think you should enjoy being helpful, otherwise don’t do it. In my student days I had a Saturday job selling ‘ladies separates’ at Debenhams and I was very good at it. It wasn’t always fun, sometimes it was grindingly boring but I would make the most of it and go out of my way to be helpful – after all, that’s what I was paid for! Customer looking for their size? I would make a great show of checking in the fitting room and even in the stock room several floors down, just so they felt they were being looked after. Customer wanting another department? Nothing’s too much trouble madam! I would escort them so I knew they’d got there safely, rather than waving vaguely in the general direction. Not only was it helpful to them, it made my job less dull and of course, customers appreciated it.
Today I experienced two separate incidents of excellent service. The first was in Paul Smith, a shop with such a sterling reputation for service, I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff are trained by Mr Smith himself. Unbeknown to me, my dear D had been trying to track down this Paul Smith T-shirt for me after I’d expressed an interest. The poor soul had tried both the London branches, online and a branch in Nottingham all to no avail. Luckily, this being Paul Smith, his contact, Ebony wasn’t from the ‘if it’s not there we haven’t got it’ school of salesmanship. No, she did some investigating and managed to pin down the elusive tee, forwarding it to our local branch in Portobello. Result? Two very satisfied customers.
A hop and a skip from Paul Smith, we ambled past Alice’s Antiques, but doubled back after a set of junky canvas chairs (ex-Wimbledon!) caught our eye. £5 each and perfect for our impending barbeque. This shop has been around forever but I don’t think I’ve even been inside. It’s knick-knack heaven! While I eyed up the old hat stands, piles of canvas suitcases, vintage tennis racquets and gently-ravaged Union Jack flags, D went off to enquire about the chairs. By the time he came back two minutes later, we’d got ourselves a deal of seven chairs and a galvanised metal tub for the garden and a lift home in the owner’s van there and then. How can you top that? When it comes to good service it’s really not difficult, it’s all about showing an interest in the customer and the reward is that customer will not only come back, but tell all their mates. Which is why I’m telling you. So now your turn…who’s delighted you with good service this week?