Trending for spring: boyfriend shorts, sheer-panelled skirts, barely-there bandeau tops… Um, not in my world they’re not. On rotation in my wardrobe right now is the same thing I’ve been wearing since last September – an endless cycle of jumbo cardigans and polo necks, underpinned by a lifetime’s supply of Hanro vests. Where would I be without my Hanros?
My go-to Hanro is the ‘1601‘ in black or white, made famous by Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut, but otherwise worn by thousands as a pretty spaghetti-strapped vest that works under any weight or sheerness of top. I wear mine under T-shirts, jumpers, silk shirts and sheer blouses. And if it does get properly balmy, you can wear one on its own too.
The adjustable-strapped V-neck vests (and short sleeve tops, my other Hanro addiction – seen on Kate Moss, above) are made in Switzerland from mercerised cotton, wool and silk. Some are trimmed with filigree embroidery still produced in Swiss factories. They’re not cheap – the 1601 costs £29 for the cotton version – but they’re beautifully made and absolutely last. Cost-per-wear wise, they’re a very good investment.
[Images: Kate Moss by Corrine Day for Vogue]
What’s all this talk about craft fatigue? What a load of nonsense, I’ve only just got started! Some might say that the thrill of seeing the skills at the heart of the world’s most luxurious handbags, scarves and watches is starting to tire but I hope that’s not the case. I love getting the inside secrets to age-old processes and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you visit the Hermes Festival Des Metiers exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.
Here you’ll find the skilled workers transposed from the studio floor to a makeshift workshop space in front of a translator and inquisitive visitors. From the gem setter preparing a miniscule stone for one of those fabulous pyramid cuffs, to the porcelain painter, to the bag-makers, this is as close as you could wish to get.
What’s lovely is that as you quiz the artisans, other visitors chip in too, so you learn something from their questions and can engage in some friendly chit-chat with fellow craft geeks. Don’t miss the main attraction, the scarf printing table where you can see a whole scarf being born (read in detail here if you’re intrigued), the techniques explained with great flair by Hermes’ Kamel Hamadou. If ‘craft theatre’ is indeed on the wane, you’d better lap it up now, because it’s rare that you’ll get this close to seeing how these products are made…
Here’s something different from ToyWatch and I like it a lot. It’s a watch-friendship bracelet hybrid and all I can think is, why hasn’t this been done before?
The watch face is clean and classic, a nice contrast to the busy South American-inspired patterns of the woven friendship bracelet. These are pitched ‘for the festival season’ but I can’t imagine them going anywhere near a muddy field, can you? Much more suited for lazy days in the park with a Pimms, or a clubby long weekend in Ibiza.
Club Monaco was an early adopter in curating inspiring content on its ‘Culture Club’ Tumblr. From fabulous architecture to offbeat coffee shops, since 2010 it has nailed the art of curating relevant content without ramming product down our throats. Plus its Tumblr is one of the few branded Tumblrs that I follow. (BTW, my beauty Tumblr is here…) Now it has achieved another first – the first blogger-cast Tumblr lookbook and a Club Monaco-branded Tumblr theme. Continue reading
“It takes two years to make and two minutes to buy!” So says Kamel Hamadou, the affable communications manager of Hermès silk, hosting a rare tour of the company’s silk printing facilities in Lyon. Two weeks ago I was invited on a whirlwind trip to learn the many meticulous stages of making one of those familiar silk ‘carrés’ of which I’m the proud owner of a few, neatly folded and stored in their equally familiar flat orange boxes.
My most astonishing discovery? The utter complexity of printing involved in a silk scarf of many colours. The average scarf has around 30 colours, of which each shade has its own precise mixing process. The printing itself has to be seen to be believed, but next week, you’ll have the chance to see it all when Hermès’ Festival Des Metiers lands on the London leg of its world tour. Continue reading
It’s not just the catwalk getting in on the comfort shoe act (hello Celine Fur-Kenstock), die-hard comfort shoe brands have been drastically upping their game in design. While I’ve never understood the appeal of Ugg boots, I can’t fault the designs of some of Ugg Australia’s recent offers (like its men’s sheepskin-lined trainers) and aspirational advertising imagery. Continue reading
I loved Natalie Massenet’s talk at the Vogue Festival and the way she used Instagram as a modern alternative to a Powerpoint slideshow. Even better, people who weren’t at the festival could follow the presentation independently by viewing her specialy-populated Instagram feed, Nataporter_Mystorysofar (best viewed in the app).
But now Vogue has released some of the videos of the presentations, talks and panel discussions. Watch the Natalie Massenet presentation in full…
There’s something charming, and humbling about a one-to-one session with a true craftsman, not least when it comes to haute horlogerie with one of my favourite watch brands: Jaeger-LeCoultre. I’m a big fan of the Reverso watch from the Swiss luxury watch-maker (have you seen its latest collab with Valextra? Oh my!), that just happens to be celebrating its 180th anniversary with a dedicated exhibition space at Harrods. Continue reading
This Chanel Les Beiges sample has been sitting in its box for weeks because I was too scared to use it. I’ve never used bronzers because I don’t know where to position them, but I finally couldn’t resist this sand-hued compact (a first for Chanel) and went for the plunge.
Verdict: Peter Philips has triumphed again with this elegant Healthy Glow Sheer Powder (with SPF15) which has barely perceptible golden specks that very subtly catch the light (I used shade 30). I’ve found the best way to use this is to be confident with the brush; swish it in a swooping figure-of-three type action along the side of the face from brow to chin, then a bit over the forehead and nose. The results are so impressive – a natural, outdoorsy ‘wellness’ effect.
I think this is going to be my hero product for the summer although the only downside is it’s quite heavily scented so that’s something to get used to. It’s selling fast but Selfridges currently has all the shades.