I know the *insert R word here* is the biggest thing to happen to the western world since global warming but having to read references to it in every newspaper and magazine article I pick up is starting to grate. It’s boring! Inconspicuous consumption may be the new black but it will take me longer than a few months to shake myself out of the ‘I want that’ mindset that’s been ingrained in me ever since, well, birth. So even though I was fortunate enough to be gifted a new LG Netbook for Christmas, it’s not enough, I now need something for the poor darling to wear! I like a shopping challenge so the good thing is this will be something of a project, not simply a matter of walking into Selfridges and slapping down my Mastercard. What I don’t want is a bog standard laptop case. Ew no. I want something chic and sexy and possibly not even designed for the job. (E.G. my Panasonic Lumix lives in a Comme zippy purse not a camera case, it looks better and is a good disguise in places where Cameras Are Not Allowed.)
Enter the Goyard St Marie MM Pouchette ($830 in this month’s US Vogue). I slightly went off Goyard when Vicky Beckham discovered it but the good thing about this is it has double usage – computer case for work, clutch for play. How chiconomic!
[Pic: US Vogue]
I know it’s naughty to gloat but I couldn’t resist sharing… I felt like the luckiest girl in the world on Christmas day. Truth be told I would have been more than happy with just books and chocolates and books and chocolates I certainly did get. D and I decided to give each other stockings and the funniest thing is we bought each other practically identical stocking-fillers – bath/shower smellies, posh chocs, sweeties, books/cds and an interiors mag (World of Interiors for me, French Elle Deco for him).
I also unwrapped the Unseen Vogue book (I recommend it!), a second-hand Fawlty Towers book (genius!) and an amazing Peter Blake alphabet book that I didn’t even know existed. I’m a glutton for art and photography books, however many I have I still want more. Having missed the Elizabeth Peyton Live Forever exhibition in New York by a whisker I was chuffed to receive the accompanying book which I’d hoped for but not expected. Her sensitive portraits of misunderstood neurotic boy outsiders are really beautiful and the book itself is so nicely designed and printed.
Another book I hadn’t expected at all was the whopping great two-volume Peter Beard collection of photos, diaries and collages – utterly mind-boggling – how does someone have the time to create all this stuff? Madly inspiring.
Fashion-wise I was given a Margaret Howell striped blouse/shirt, my Church’s shoes which I have gone on about enough already, two stripy knitted scarves and gloves and some Rykiel stripy socks to add to my collection.
One of my most exciting surprise gifts was a Chanel No 5 factice. I’m obsessed with factices (fake perfume bottles) , in fact it’s one of the first things I ever blogged about. Only problem is that now I’ve got my first one I fear I will want more…
More natty he-she hybrids are on the horizon. This time from old-school footwear brand Grenson, who have hooked up with Kurt Geiger to create these Fondant-Fancy coloured brogues. Whether they are for men or women I have no clue but I would certainly wear them. I’m loving the fact that heritage footwear brands are getting more adventurous with their styling. Prada bought Church’s shoes in 1999 and we’ve recently seen a snazzing-up on the design front from them as I mentioned in my post about these fabulously comfortable Church’s silver/black brogues. I don’t mind spending silly money on a pair of shoes if they’re made to last and the good thing about these old English companies is you can bank on the quality. The Grensons will be available from mid-January at Kurtgeiger.com.
There was I feeling all poorly and glum and sorry for myself and certainly not in any kind of festive spirit when bam, a bolt from the blue changed all that. Lovely Helen at LG Blog, a long-time commenter on here decided to gift me a spanking new LG netbook! Now as you know, I am really not computer-savvy at all – my first reaction was ‘what’s a ‘netbook?’ – but all she had to say was ‘it’s a lovely little thing – 9 inch screen, weighs about a kilo, very easy to travel with…’ and I turned my frown upside down faster than you can say ‘done deal’. As much as I love my MacBook, it’s bloody impractical as anything other than a stay-at-home computer. The MacBook weighs in at 2 kilos which is like carrying the September issue of US Vogue around with you. Not fun. The LG Netbook on the other hand is so feather-light it’s like carrying a copy of Grazia!*
Happy Holidays fellow bloggers!
*Ok, slight exaggeration
A press release came my way last week applauding the success of Oasis-Stores.com whose blog has been named Digital Publishing Solution of the Year by the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA).
First, the blurb:
Post-advertising agency, Story introduced the blog as part of an overall refresh of the Oasis website. Having designed and built the blog, Story handed control to Oasis’ store workers who contribute regular posts to it. Following its launch, Oasis has found that the sales conversion rate for people reading the blog is 17% higher than for people visiting other areas of the site. Story’s brand strategist, Martin Harrison said, “The success of the Oasis blog is a reminder of how important it is to understand your customers. Our research told us that Oasis shoppers appreciate some hand-holding and they actively seek advice and ideas. By building a blog full of interesting stories and useful fashion tips, we were able to give these customers exactly what they want – and help Oasis to build invaluable brand loyalty in the process.”
So have a look at the blog. What do you think?
My feeling is that it’s certainly better than a lot of corporate blogs. For starters, it’s updated regularly and I like how they use input from Oasis’ own staff – particularly buyers and designers – and agree that this does give the customer added value. It’s clever how they link to items that you can buy on the website and to be honest, I really don’t know why more stores don’t have blogs purely so they can do this.
One criticism is that there is no facility for readers to leave comments. If you look at the ASOS blog, it enables comments and ASOS quite often replies to comments and queries which to me is an absolute essential in a corporate blog. Surely it’s all about engaging with your customers and getting them on side? Maybe I’m nit-picking but what would make the Oasis blog even better is if it was well written. It’s not badly written, just a bit lacking in personality.
Matches has also recently introduced a blog and it has much more of a ‘character’ to it. Is it because Matches is more high end? Does mainstream have to mean bland? I don’t think so. Perhaps it’s because the Matches blog is written by one person so has more consistency. There is a mix of personal observations, how-to-wear-it styling tips and cute behind-the-scenes reporting (check out this post on Georgie and Kessy Edewor-Thorley, the Matches ‘dolls’ who work in the Matches stores and have the most enviable wardrobes). And there are comments.
I think it’s time all corporate fashion sites had blogs and I don’t mean token blogs with the odd post here and there. A real blog with decent content, daily updates, feedback from customers and a hefty dose of pizzazz is what would make me keep returning to a blog and possibly even buy something. Don’t you agree?
[Pics - Top to bottom:
A while ago I posted a link to Square Old Soul’s ‘How to Wear a White Shirt and Jeans’ post. Her visuals included Erin Wasson in blousy white shirt and cut-off denim shorts, Kate Lanphear in baggy white tee and turn-up jeans, and Valentine Fillol-Cordier in belted paper-bag jeans and tucked-in shirt.
My default option for the look is a loose Levi’s off-white tee, turn-up straight-leg Levi’s and my new obsession, Church’s silver and black brogues – an early Christmas present courtesy of dear D (double click on the pic to enlarge). The finishing touch however is a huge blingy statement necklace bought earlier in the year on my jaunt to India where I was helping to launch a magazine. The necklace was actually borrowed for a fashion shoot but as is usually the way, having tried it on a number of times I decided it couldn’t go back and managed to strike a deal with the shop for a hefty discount (I’m sure it was overpriced anyway). The funny thing is, my co-workers really didn’t ‘get’ why I was wearing this beautiful piece of jewellery with what they saw as a tatty old tee. They totally didn’t appreciate my studied-unstudied aesthetic! However, Miuccia Prada has given it her blessing, her resort 2009 collection showed a very similar glitzy necklace and plain tee combo with the addition of a stonking pair of shoulder-grazing earrings.
What I love about this look is it’s so easily achievable. Who doesn’t have a white tee? And big vintagy necklaces can be found anywhere and everywhere or you can experiment and make your own by breaking up old jewels and re-piecing together (although personally, I love the idea but would never have the patience). Teen Vogue takes it a step further with clusters of diamante bracelets as well…
Tom Binns at Kabiri
PS: I know posting has been slow this month but I’ve been horribly ill with some wretched hormonal ailments. I’m on lots of medication though so hopefully will be back in full time action soon.
Wow, I knew ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon was a hottie in his day but who knew he had two such beautiful sons? The new Prada menswear campaign features Simonon’s sons Claude and Louis as photographed by Hedi Slimane. How long til Daisy or Pixie try to hook up with them?
Back in July when I pondered over adopting some of the SS09 menswear looks for my own personal use, I had no idea that Stefano Pilati was thinking along the same lines. However, an interview with Pilati in US Vogue’s November issue introduces YSL’s new Edition Unisex collection. Apparently, those selfsame suits, jackets, blousons and sweaters in organza, gazar, voile and crepe de chine (not to mention a scattering of gold sequins) have landed – scaled down of course – in the YSL womenswear stores. Great thinking Mr Pilati. It’s the kind of move I wish Hedi Slimane had made years ago when we were all lusting after his Dior Homme skinny-cut jackets and pants. Not that I can afford YSL or Dior Homme prices but maybe someone (Topman?) might take notice and do something similar for us paupers…?
PIC: US Vogue/The fashion Spot
UPDATED January 13th 2009: The Times has written about the concept here
So there are rumours going round that poor Liberty is in trouble again and may be in danger of closing. This store seems to always have the threat of closure hovering above it but manages to haul itself out of trouble each time – it’s been going on for years. Whether or not the rumours are true, fans will be pleased to know that their transactional site is finally properly up and running. It started selling accessories and smaller items earlier in the year but now you can buy clothing by the likes of Acne Jeans, See by Chloe, McQueen et al online. There is also a sweet little blog which is updated every few days and features newsy snippets as well as interviews with buyers and designers across all the departments – furniture, beauty, fashion… Let’s hope Liberty can overcome whatever problems they are having, it’s one of London’s treasures.
Apart from the fact that I’ve been poorly and mostly housebound, I’ve not been in the mood for shopping for weeks. At first I thought it was the credit crunch holding me back and that I was being subconsciously sensible and saving my money but that’s not it. While in the West End last week I went for a browse in Liberty. There was a special one-day discount promotion for loyalty card customers with discounts up to 50% off throughout the store (although annoyingly, the final prices weren’t displayed). This should have piqued my interest but instead it made me feel deflated. Seeing stacks of Chloe and Marc Jacobs bags, belts and wallets piled high like bunches of bananas on a market stall at close of day only served to devalue them. Part of the appeal of designer goods is the luxury experience of buying them. This is why people get a buzz out of going to the Chanel shop to buy their lipstick instead of buying it at Debenhams. It’s why you’ll find dresses sparingly displayed three-finger-widths apart on a rail in Prada so you have to be looked after by a salesperson. (It’s also why uber-luxe stores like Hermes don’t have sales.) The hushed atmosphere, the pristine merchandise, the personal service are all factored into the price and what make a Prada dress ‘worth’ its four-figure sum. If it’s just going to be treated like a piece of tat like the poor Alexander McQueen sequin leggings at Saks, then we might as well all shop at Primark.