The LFW tents were awash with eco cotton totes and quite honestly, I think I’ve had enough. I’ve been using my own eco tote (OK, it’s not organic but it gets lots of use) all week – not out of concern for my carbon footprint but because I genuinely love this well-worn bag, bought on my first trip to NYC fourteen years ago at The Strand Book Store. I love the colour, the font, the fact that it holds memories and the fact that it’s a great size and looks better the shabbier it gets.
In the last year or so I’ve lost count of how many cotton totes I’ve been given at various press days, shop launches and fashion shows. What does one do with them? I’ve never got this thing about using them for groceries because my grocery shopping involves several big bags, not the odd baguette and a newspaper, and I don’t have enough shoulders to carry my weekly shop in those canvas totes. Plus, I know it’s not PC but I need those plastic Sainsburys carriers – I re-use them for my rubbish! What does everyone else do with these eco totes? Are you using them all?
A quick flick through the new Lula reveals a wee article on scrapbooking including a sneak peak at Alison Mosshart’s cuttings and pastings. It reminded me of my own three whopping great scrapbooks that I fill in fits and starts. My passion started at art college when I studied fashion illustration and collage was the medium du jour. I loved the work of Ivan Chermayeff as it had that ‘I can do that’ quality that always appeals to me. Ditto Robert Rauschenburg and Peter Blake.
These days, what tends to happen is I’m good at finding the scraps – torn typography, discarded labels, a deflated balloon – but they mount up in a pile and then get upgraded into an envelope or paper bag of some sort. The next stage, several weeks later, is coralling said envelopes and paper bags into a bigger bag or box file and then on that rare day when the mood strikes and the thought, ‘I know, I’ll do my scrapbook’ enters my head, having a mega sort-out. In fact, the sorting out seems to be the most fun bit where I remind myself of these fabulous treasures I’ve amassed over the years (‘ooh, look at these Fiorucci stickers!’ ‘Hang, on, where did this postcard come from?’ etc etc). Yet by the time the sorting’s done, all my energy’s spent! Hence I now have two groaning box files of scraps but my poor scrapbooks are no fuller than they were two years ago. Hmm, maybe I’ll start again this weekend….
[Double click pics to enlarge]
Shoemaker Terry de Havilland surely needs no introduction. From helping his father with the family cobbler business in the 1950s, to shodding London’s counter culture in the ’60s and Primrose Hill’s finest in the noughties, he’s still doing a roaring trade in sky-high wedges. Now he’s on a mission with his wife and sidekick Liz, to get his teeth into the men’s footwear market.
DRG: How did we get to the point of 6 and 7 inch skyscraper heels?
TERRY: I think this has come about because fashion has declared that women are allowed to wear really high heels without being accused of looking like hookers. The fuss Gwyneth Paltrow caused when she uncharacteristically stepped out in all those high heels a couple of months back was pure genius in terms of publicity.
DRG: What’s the appeal of heels?
TERRY: Once you get used to wearing heels it’s very difficult to give up the height that comes with them. Being taller is very empowering. The Venetian courtesans back in the day used to wear chopines that were up to 24″ tall. They were a sign of wealth because the women couldn’t venture out in them unless they had two footmen to support them.
DRG: What’s your take on all these revivals – wedges, platforms, etc?
TERRY: I’ve been designing shoes for almost 50 years now and I’ve seen heel height fashions come and go. This era is very reminiscent of the 70s. I made some ridiculously high wedges back then which were about 9″ high with a 6″ platform. I put a government health warning label in them. I made them just because I could. I never expected anyone to buy them, but they did! At the moment the most popular shoes from my bespoke range have a 7″ heel with a 2″ platform. Now I’m on a mission to get the boys back into cuban heels.
DRG: Ah, the Archie Eyebrows line. That’s the mens boots I saw that you’re also scaling down to women’s sizes…?
LIZ: Yes, we’ve got two heel heights in them now. The ladies ones are nearly ready, I just wanted to make sure that the last was nice and comfortable before I made them.
DRG: Are you still doing my Alison Mosshart gold look-alikes then?
LIZ: Of course we’ll be doing the ladies cubans in gold. The beauty of it is that we’ll be getting the components in so that we can make the specials here in London. In other words, you’ll be able to come down to the studio and pick your style and your fabrics in much the same way as we make our custom made Terrys at the moment.
DRG: Where are you selling the Archies?
Liz: Archie Eyebrows is much more backstreet than high street. We’ve just set up a shop within a shop selling the line at Sir Tom Baker, 4 D’Arblay St, Soho . You’ll love the shop, Sir Tom Baker is a total nutter and a brilliant tailor. Check out his website. We also stock Stephen Jones hats. It’s a modern slant on a classic gentleman’s outfitters, or as our lawyer calls it “an out man’s gentle fitters”…
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.