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?
It’s not often you find out about events like Thursday’s talk at the Horse Hospital. Luckily for me I read about it on Style Bubble just in the nick of time and got my ticket request in fast. Alas, not fast enough as the next day an email pinged back saying the event was massively over-subscribed and entry wasn’t guaranteed, but to turn up anyway and they’d try to accomodate everyone.
We arrived with time to spare, which was good as it afforded us a nice fashion show in the form of the arriving punters. Having expected a pride of pushy fashion students and a few Hoxton hipsters I was happy to see a majority of veteran London dandies and friendly faces from the last forty years of fashion and clubbing. We had quite a lot of fun playing ‘guess who he is’ until the doors opened and we were all ushered in.
The Contemporary Wardrobe at the Horse Hospital in Russell Square is celebrating its thirtieth year as London’s quite astonishing fashion and street-style archive. The event consisted of a very cool fashion show, rare footage of a Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood interview together from 1993 and a talk between journalist Paul Gorman and Contemporary Wardrobe’s owner Roger K Burton. We heard about Burton’s adventures in fashion from his early mod days growing up in the Midlands to outfitting the cast and 300 extras from Quadrophenia, to designing Vivienne Westwood’s World’s End shop.
After the talk, there were drinks and chat as well as lots of photo-taking of the exhibited skinhead, punk, hippie and rocker outfits. I managed to buttonhole Paul Gorman, who gave me the lowdown on the assembled fashion faces who included Mr and Mrs Terry de Havilland, Topman design director Gordon Richardson (how dapper is this man, Phillip Green, please take some styling tips from him!), Soho suitmaker Mark Powell, Max Karie from Shop at Maison Bertaux and Marian Buckley from FUK.
A word about Paul Gorman. If you’re interested in the history of music-influenced street style, I highly recommend his book The Look, Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion, featuring never-seen-before (by me anyway) photos and insightful interviews with key fashion players. Check out his blog here.
When I first happened upon the revamped Fortnum & Mason store in Piccadilly, I practically recoiled in shock. What had they done? In their effort to modernise, all the character had been sapped out of the poor shop. A few months on and I decided to give it a second chance. To my surprise I discovered a gem. Parlour Restaurant on the first floor is a darling little ice-cream parlour, designed by David Collins (Madonna’s decorator no less) and decked out American diner style with a 50s Italian twist.
The pistachio-green chairs work beautifully with the fondant-coloured china and floor-tiles, while neopolitan-hued lampshades coordinate very nicely indeed. But it’s not just about the decor. There’s a choice of fabulous ice-cream sundaes including a few alcoholic ones and great attention is paid to presentation. My favourite touch? The mini-sized ice-cream cones served with the capuccinos in their own little holder! Absolutely adorable.
A shocking spate of fashion robberies has hit London in the last couple of weeks with Luella, Christopher Kane and Brora all being burgled by moped-mounted mobsters within days of each other. The question is, who could possibly be responsible for these mysterious boutique break-ins? Let’s see… someone with a taste for sensible cashmere twinsets, avante-garde frocks and grandma-style handbags? Come out, come out wherever you are Miuccia Prada, the game’s up dear.