Just before Christmas, Reiss asked me to take part in their guest stylist programme. They gave me free rein in their fashion cupboard (ie, the entire flagship store – whoop!) and let me dress my model in a mash-up of menswear and womenswear (and some of my own tat ‘archive’ bits). Reiss’s own Jonathan Weatherley shot the pictures in their studio, Sonia Bhogal did the make-up and I was thrilled with my model, Hirschy from Select. Don’t you love her intense eyebrows and Mean Girls stare?
I was lucky to get Hirschy when I did as she jetted off home to Australia for the holidays the next day. But I did manage a quick fire Q&A with her first…
Mert & Marcus, Camilla Akrans and Mario Sorrenti
A brilliant shoot I did with Tank magazine for Liberty – in a completely bizarre set with a load of random props. It was like a crazy jungle!
Zimmermann for their vibrant coloured swimwear, Sass & Bide for their cut-out stuff and Acne for the shoes.
Can you recommend any Australian shops?
In Melbourne I like mostly vintage shops. I’ve bought heaps of stuff from Lion in Love on Brunswick Street – I still wear the little black wedges I bought there years ago.
Forgive me for boasting but I do know a bit about about dressing for the worst of weathers. For one, I’m a bad-weather-phobe and two, well I’m a Brit duh, we’ve seen a fair few downpours and oh how we love debating them. So here I present my failsafe arsenal of wet-n-wild weatherwear.
The Burberry Trench
Sorry to be a Burberry bore but the beauty of the Burberry trench is that it’s functional to the core yet has as much style as a couture coat. I favour the ultra classic knee-length gabardine version in black for my Disneyrollergirl-goes-to-Mallory-Towers look. This shower-proof trench is truly versatile as it’s hardy enough in a torrential downpour yet not too bulky on a spring – or even summer – day. Best of all this is a wonderful day-to-evening coat. I love the idea of wearing my Burberry trench draped cape-style over the shoulders atop a billowing scarlet ballgown (Stella Tennant at Chatsworth much?) or tightly belted with the collar flipped and sleeves pushed up over a mid-calf prom dress – with vintage Vivier slingbacks of course.
OK, I have had a lifetime of £10 Totes brollies which I admit are pretty good; they’re affordable, lightweight and they fold to nothing. But they do eventually go the way of all cheap umbrellas – bent, broken and simply worn out. My last one got to the stage where it developed two leaky holes so in the bin it went. Knirps is a German company and its umbrellas are suitably no-nonense. They’re also indestructable. My Knirps X1 umbrella comes encased in a standard nylon sleeve and a darling little zip-up pochette.
SHOP: Knirps X1 umbrella, £49.95, James Smith & Co
The Woolrich coat
Sometimes when you get the kind of winters that we’ve had, a fashiony coat just doesn’t cut it. Once you’ve added your six sets of thermals, two jumpers, bodywarmer, snood and ten-ply cashmere scarf, the average COS cocoon coat has lost much of its charm (and pretty much all of its shape). When I tried on a Woolrich coat in The Shop At Bluebird last weekend, I instantly knew it was The One. Originally designed for freezing conditions in Alaska these jackets are water-repellent with down and feather padding to keep the heat securely locked in, even at minus temperatures. The pockets are flannel-lined to keep hands warm and the supreme practicality extends to special capacious inside pockets so you can almost live without a bag.
The furry hood is the icing on the cake. Woolrich coats come in many varieties so you can choose whether or not to have fur framing your face but they’re so soft, warm and fuzzy it’s literally like walking around in bed with your head still cosseted in your pillow. I have been attached to my Woolrich to the point that I actually look forward to shitty weather. Can you tell me and mine are still at the honeymoon stage?
SHOP: Woolrich jacket, £615
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Vogue, Burberry, James Smith & Sons, Woolrich
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here
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In only seven days time I will be hauling my ass to Heathrow along with my paltry baggage allowance to head off to Mumbai for eight weeks. I am working on a new magazine launch and need to pack enough clothes to make a professional impression (not easy for a jeans-and-Converse girl) as well as my files, notebooks, laptop and the obligatory bits and pieces that my mum has requested I take over for her (er, six Mum roll-on deodorants??!!!). This is what brought me to the Oxford Street sales. In the last year or so I have overcome my urge to consume, consume, consume. I think it’s because I buy so many magazines. Looking at merchandise in magazines gives me the same buzz as buying the stuff itself, so even though I spend a bundle on glossies, it actually works out as a saving. For this reason I haven’t had the urge to hit the sales although I will of-course browse a sale rail if I’m passing one, I’m not a total freak.
I must be one of the lucky few who has a boyfriend who actually likes shopping. And D knows what he’s doing as it was he who told me that Fenwick has an extra 10% off on the first day of the sale*. So after I gave him a head start at Skandium in the hope that its Florence Knoll sofa would be heavily reduced (it wasn’t even in the sale), we met for a quick butchers in Selfridges before snaffling some half-price Charbonnel & Walker champagne truffles in Fenwick. Up to Kurt Geiger on the first floor where I fell upon some Repetto ankle-tie ballet pumps. This was a true bargain as I had already seen and rejected them a couple of weeks ago at Kurt Geiger in South Molton Street (£130! For ballet pumps!). I’m hoping these will work to zhuzh up jeans for day as I can’t see myself wearing Converse to appointments with the Gucci PR. I’m slightly concerned that the dusty pot-holed streets might eat them alive but I’ve been promised a car and driver so hopefully that will take care of that. After a cursory look at the lingerie (no decent Fifi Chachnil and the Hanro basics were not on sale) we were outta there.
On the way to lunch at DKNY – now wouldn’t it be nice if restaurants had sales? – we passed huge queues at Miu Miu and Prada. I mean, really, who queues for a sale? Don’t even get me started on the ladies who were treated for hypothermia after queuing at 4am for the Next sale. Next?! I just don’t get it. These people clearly have more time than money but even so, don’t they know they can shop online? Post-lunch we took ourselves home with our modest sale buys – chocolates and Repettos for me, shoe trees and a new pair of gloves for him.
Disneyrollergirl’s Dos and Don’t for sensible sale shopping
1. DO make a plan. Don’t aimlessly wander from one end of the high street to another, you’ll give up at the first hurdle. Pinpoint five destination shops then factor in a coffee break to recharge.
2. DO go with the flow. There’s no point being in a hurry if you decide to hit the busiest shopping street in town. Slow down to the same pace as the dawdlers and bring a copy of Grazia to read while you queue for changing rooms and tills.
3. DON’T shop with friends, they’ll give you sale fatigue. If you shop alone you can get more done.
4. DON’T pay and queue in the obvious places. Go to the mens department where it’s less busy or somewhere off-radar like the flower department which is usually quiet.
5. DON’T go to the nearest loos. The ones further away will have shorter queues. Try Mamas & Papas in Regent Street, Selfridges 3rd floor in Oxford Street and Fenwick in New Bond street for the nicest, cleanest and quietest toilets in the West End. Fortnum & Mason has luxurious toilets with an attendant who wipes the seat before you use it and you get fancy soap and your own towel but it’s a tourist attraction in itself so be prepared for a queue. Harrods charges £1 to use its loos unless you go to the one in the basement accessed via the bread department. Avoid TopShop, Oxford Circus and Borders, Oxford Street toilets – nasty, nasty, nasty.
6. DO shop for gaps. It’s more satisfying to come home with something you actually needed than yet another stripy T-shirt.
7. DO be decisive. If you’re not sure, leave it. Don’t get caught up in the sales hype, once you’ve typed in your PIN you know you’ll never take it back.
8. DO go for quality over quantity. Aim for two or three quality bargains instead of ten bags of tat. Believe me, the buzz will be the same.