Ever since I created a Disneyrollergirl email address (it only took two years!), I have had a steady flow of emails from brands and designers proffering press releases. It’s strange as I prefer to discover things for myself rather than have them presented to me on a plate but I do take the time to check out all the websites to see if any gems await. Shopcurious.com is a newish website carrying ‘a range of unique accessories, unusual gifts, designer vintage items and pieces for wardrobe and home.’ Owner Susan Muncey used to run a lovely eclectic boutique called Fashion Gallery and has brought her discerning eye to the online shopping arena.
The vintage selection is a highlight, from extremely tempting Hermes classic scarves (£95 with box) and bourgeois Celine handbags to an array of opulent but well-priced kimonos (I have actually been seriously lusting a kimono recently). Plus, how now is this Genny dress from 1990? The pièce de résistance however is surely this Fiorucci Minnie Mouse sweatshirt. OMG, it’s so me! Not everything is in the £100+ bracket. In the gift section I love this make-up bag with its mad illustration and kitsch lipstick pen (did I mention I collect kitsch pens?) and there is also a small selection of Bebaroque tights for those who like to lavish attention on their legs (and I know there are a number of you). All in all, I love the feel of this site, it really is like a curiosity shop – addictive and full of charm.
Milliners are like buses, nothing for ages then a whole procession of them arrive at once. Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy were for a long time the only hatters worth knowing. Philip Treacy’s fashion shows were a huge fanfare with fabulous models like Susie Bick and Grace Jones cavorting on the catwalk, dynamic music and an overall party-party atmosphere. Meanwhile Stephen Jones has been busying himself for years, nay decades, without quite so much pomp, yet fashioning hats season after season for Galliano, Dior, Comme and a fleet of other designers to boot. This month he is curating his two-years-in-the-making exhibition, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones and there is certainly a buzz around it. But there’s also a buzz around millinery in general.
When I saw Grace Jones at the Roundhouse last week it was an all-round gobsmacking experience. From the people-watching (Judy Blame wearing a bra…on his face) to the music (I literally swooned during La Vie En Rose) to the showmanship, but the star attraction was the Philip Treacy hat-fest – a different one for each outfit change. But the end of the noughties has coralled in a whole new generation of bonce-beautifiers…
Justin Smith Esquire is an ex-hairdresser whose star is on the rise. His vintage-referenced hats have more than a touch of English eccentricity about them – how special are these bespoke numbers?
I love the theatrical grandeur of Louis Mariette’s fanciful adornments. Not only does he make hats but also jewellery, belts…even eyepatches dammit! Piers Atkinson makes sometimes-macabre-sometimes-cartoony hats. Last season he did a Mickey Mouse ears theme including a neon headpiece in collaboration with Darren West. This season I’m loving his brilliantly bonkers stuffed-toy hat. I’d wear one! Atkinson tells me he has two hats in the V&A exhibition and is currently working on the hats for the Ashish show so I’m hoping for colour and maybe a bit of sparkle.
Finally, my favourite. Soren Bach is another hairdresser-slash-hatter (how many more are there I wonder). I saw these amazing multi-coloured fur hats a few seasons ago at London Fashion Week and have never forgotten them. I think they were from his RCA graduate collection but I’d love to see more from him.
Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones opens on 24th February at the V&A
“We have to lower our prices. For the past month I have personally been on the phone asking our manufacturers, our fabric makers, all our suppliers to give us a better price.” Alber Elbaz on the subject of luxury goods pricing in this very interesting WSJ article
Lovely Joe and Katie from Whatkatiewore.com agreed to be grilled by me about Katie’s challenge – to wear a different outfit every day for a year – while Joe documents it on their blog.
Katie, when did you first discover fashion? K: I think I’ve always had a bit of a thing for it, even when I was really wee. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the floor of my mum’s bedroom and watching her choose which shoes to wear; she keeps all her shoes in their boxes, and knows each pair by name – I’d suggest names to her from the floor. And she also laughs at the memory of me refusing to wear anything other than one of my Laura Ashley dresses to nursery – I think I was the only wee girl in the sandpit in a floral party dress!
You have such a colourful, exuberant look (so nice to see in grey old London), how do you choose what goes with what? K: Hmm, I really don’t know. Generally it starts with one thing I want to wear and then I add other bits and pieces to make up the outfit, but other times it’s just a random assortment of brightly coloured things pulled together by a piece of jewellery or silly tights! I’m really anal when it comes to my wardrobe – everything is sorted by colour which I suppose also helps me pull things together.
Your look is totally unique which is quite a feat these days! How do you do it – do you ever make your own clothes? K: I’m a bit of a hoarder! A lot of the things I wear are things I’ve had since school, or they’re my mum’s – and most of the other bits that aren’t are from TK Maxx, junk shops or sample sales. I like to rummage around for a bargain! And Joe, my family and my friends know me very well – they’ve all contributed lots of things to my wardrobe. I’d love to make more of my own things – I make jewellery and accessories, but my making of clothes normally just stretches to me using safety pins to transform the shape of something (the kilt I wore on Burns’ Night for example).
You seem totally open-minded – is there anything you wouldn’t wear? K: I don’t think so – although I don’t really wear much black, so maybe black head to toe?
Would you be willing to share your top five shopping haunts with us? K: TK Maxx, TK Maxx, TK Maxx, TK Maxx, TK Maxx…! Seriously though? I’d say an out-of-town TK Maxx, Tabio (rainbow tights emporium), Tatty Devine, any number of sample sales on or around Brick Lane, and can I say TK Maxx again?
How do you feel when you get approached for pictures by streetstyle bloggers? K: Embarrassed! J: It’s hysterical sometimes. We’ll walk down Brick Lane at the weekend and often there will be a queue of people waiting to take Katie’s picture. Now when people ask to take a photo, we can just give them a link to the blog!
How did the idea for the different-outfit-every-day challenge come about? K: Everyone always says that they don’t think they’ve ever seen me wear the same thing twice and they always think I must have the biggest wardrobe in the world, but since Joe and I moved in together, my wardrobe has shrunk to about a third of what it used to be (seriously) so this is kind of a challenge to see just how many different combinations I can put together. J: Katie was complaining that I never wrote her love letters (since we live together I don’t have much opportunity to do so!). I thought that perhaps the blog could be something akin to a year-long love letter.
What’s the hardest thing about the challenge? K: Joe not wanting me to wear the same item in the same month – that was never part of the original rules! J: Finding time to post each day. Also, if I haven’t posted anything by lunchtime, I start getting emails to email@example.com telling me to hurry up and post so they can see what Katie is wearing today.
What’s your best tip on ringing the changes to a worn-it-before outfit? K: Wear a statement piece of jewellery (the bigger and brighter the better) and add some brightly patterned tights – no-one will even look at the rest of your outfit then!
Where did the tights obsession come from? K: I really don’t know, it might be because I never really seem to wear trousers (throwback to those childhood tantrums perhaps?) but it’s probably because hosiery adds another option for colour and pattern.
Joe, do you fight over wardrobe space? J: Maybe a little bit. We didn’t know how we were going to manage when we first moved in together – Katie needed to get rid of about 3 double wardrobes full of clothes just so both of our stuff could fit into our new place. I think we’ve pretty much reached capacity now – if anyone buys a pair of shoes we need to decide what to throw out to make room for them.
Joe: Does Katy filch your things as well? J: It’s first-up, best dressed at our place. I sometimes wear Katie’s jewellery and Katie will wear anything of mine that takes her fancy (and invariably, my clothes always look better on her than me).
Do you really think you can keep this up for a whole year? K: I hope so – I’m sure Joe will invent some sort of forfeit if I don’t! J: I’ve already thought of loads!