accessories

Swayed by suede, a cautionary tale





Thinking of buying a suede bag? Perhaps YSL‘s mock-croc print number or 3.1 Phillip Lim‘s reversible tote? Well take my advice, don’t do it. Unless you have a full-time driver or live somewhere with extremely agreeable weather. I lusted after Baleciaga’s cherry-red suede slouch bag for, oh months, before I finally came face to face with it in a boutique and did the classic ‘if I don’t buy it now it won’t be here next time’ panic splurge. It first gave me come-hither glances from the back page of US Vogue which I subsequently tore out and carried around with me. I fantasised about what I’d wear it with – a bit Frankie Rayder I fancied, in gently faded Levis and a just-fitted-enough white tee – and what it would smell like (I have an unhealthy obsession with sniffing leather and suede). When you see something like that in the flesh after investing so much time and energy in the fantasy, your real-life logic doesn’t stand a chance. I gave it a cursory try-on in the shop before the adrenalin got the better of me and seconds later it was in the carrier bag and in my hand.

A few years down the line and I can count the number of times I’ve used it on three fingers. The simple fact is a suede bag and unpredictable London weather do not a good combination make. Time after time I’ve rediscovered it, tenderly unpacked it from its dustbag, given it a gentle stroke and a sniff and vowed to use it the very next day. Come the next morning, sensing a hint of darkness in the sky and the threat of a downpour it’s back to the PVC Marc shopper and boring reliability.

We all know that the fashion industry is based on fantasy and this example goes to prove it. Every time I see the poor bag it’s an expensive reminder of that seductive back-page-of-Vogue photo and the promise that it would change my life. Sucker! So what now? The bag has been unpacked for the very last time and tomorrow it makes its way to Rellik, the queen bee of vintage stores. It’s not an It bag and it’s not strictly vintage but it’s Balenciaga so Stephen Rellik has hinted he might be up for a swapsies consultation. We can but wait and see.



London Fashion Week AW07




My first foray to LFW this week. No show tickets today so I went to have a nose at the exhibition tent. What a palaver! No bags allowed in the cloakroom due to ‘lack of space’. They should make more space next time or at least warn us poor suckers in advance. What’s the point in foisting the outsized bag trend on us if we can’t park the buggers in the cloakroom!

The big trend was lots of chunky knits in neutral colours (Madeleine Press, J & M Davidson, Diab’less) and I spotted some fab jewellery –especially French designer Elia Stone and old favourites Tatty Devine (Perspex grand piano brooches and bow tie necklaces –fun!) who are having their shop relaunch soiree tomorrow (236 Brick Lane, E2) and have ordered in hundreds of umbrellas for the event.

Accessories label Lowie (www.ilovelowie.com) has branched out into clothing with a capsule knitwear collection – think leg-o-mutton puff sleeves in bright felt-tip pen colours.

Shoe-wise Lulu Guinness is championing a darling mini-heel next season, especially on a sexy beatnik-y ankle boot which I’m told is in store end of July. I’m so there!

New labels I liked included Nocollection (www.nocollection.com) which has been around in France for 5 years – very Vanessa Bruno – and Modernist (www.modernistonline.com) which was all black and interesting and wearable. I also liked Zoe Tees– a collection of mostly T-shirty type pieces in washed cotton and lots of stripes. I know it’s all been done before but it just looked so cool and easy to wear.

After LFW I headed to TopShop and Urban Outfitters for some teen spotting as it was half term. Everywhere has gone nu rave crazy which I guess should be expected as it’s the biggest street style trend we’ve had for a while.