On fashion, art and retail relief

So today was one of those fun days. First a 9am meeting at Fresh Britain, a brand consultancy who have had a big hand in the successful rebranding of Dr Martens. My contact alerted me to Marc Hare’s most excellent shoe blog, Mr Hare’s blog. Hare is a mens shoe designer but his background is in retail so he has an interesting take on things. Back in the day, he ran a shop called Something in Westbourne Grove where I remember having a crush on a pair of Bruno Frisoni sock-boots. Hare has a keen eye for a snazzy shoe, that’s for sure.

With a couple of hours to kill before getting a hair cut, I breakfasted in Mayfair, drafted an article and read the supermodel issue of US Vogue. Excellent Lynn Yaeger article – how did I not know about her til now?

Next up I did some retail research (Ok, shopping). I headed to Mount Street as I hadn’t checked out the Marc by Marc Jacobs shop and also wanted to have a nose round Lanvin and Balenciaga. Not sure if it’s a recession thing or maybe I just looked rich today, but I got the ultra-friendly treatment in each and every shop I entered. I can’t put my finger on why but the Marc shop reminded me exactly of being in New York. Jacobs has famously said that he would love to design for Gap and I seriously don’t know why they haven’t signed him up already – get in Gap!

I was all over the cheap knick-knacks – from heart shaped compacts (£3) to lipstick pens, condoms, Oyster-card holders, reversible rain ponchos (I got one…£10), and on and on. Then there were the little bikinis in clear ziplock bags with the Marc logo. Fabulous. And an outstanding edit of art books.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, I came out of Marc and literally stumbled upon an Elizabeth Peyton exhibition at the Sadie Coles gallery

(Just read on the Sadie Coles website that Elizabeth Peyton’s Live Forever show that I managed to miss in New York last year by a matter of days, is finally landing in the UK in July.)

In Balenciaga, a very jolly salesman let me have a good poke around undisturbed while he dealt with a customer fussing over a bag. Can’t wait to go back. Then to Lanvin which felt like the ultimate, expertly-curated fashion museum. I didn’t feel the urge to own anything though, just to look was enough.

Reading Lynn Yaeger’s piece in Vogue – which was all about how she had to learn to budget when she was made redundant – made me reflect on my own circumstances. Like everyone else, cashflow is slow for me, but being on a budget almost frees you from the relentless consuming bug, as you simply loosen up on the habit. It’s quite nice to be able to browse a shop without feeling the compulsion to buy. I wouldn’t want it to last forever though.