Thursday, 30 September 2010

Things to do when you are unemployed

1. Sell stuff on eBay, it's time consuming, dull and you're mega skint - so you have no choice, as you desperately need the cash. I flogged my London Fashion Week goodies for a reasonable amount this week - useless make-up that will take up space and gather dust and most probably get used once on a whim and abandoned.
2. Waste/lose track of time, it's difficult your sleeping patterns become more erratic, you go to bed later as you get used to staying up because you can, you sleep longer because you can, and you take forever to decide on your outfit as you have plenty of time on your hands (that you could be putting to better use)
3. Write, read, watch telly. You begin to write then feel you must read more in order to become a better writer and what better time to start reading than now. Then your brain gets tired and stressed from the undue pressure and distraction of time with no structure. You turn to telly and find you're began to discover all these amazing programme's on iplayer, after becoming addicted and literally rinsing the whole series in a few days you wonder whether you actually liked the programme to begin with.
4. Discover other friends who are also unemployed to hangout with, you find yourself watching Toy Story 3 in 3D on a Wednesday afternoon in Islington Vue, disappointed by such endeavors you console yourself in Ottolenghi spending £10 on a truly wholesome and delicious salad (something I do not regret, one of the three salads was two types of beetroot with macadamia and griddled peaches, heaven).
5. Plan your future, you are thankful for the reflection period and time to 'put everything into perspective' but seriously, I'm over the down time, I want to get back to civilisation, and quite frankly so does my bank balance.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hackney Council Cribs - Clothes maketh the man

After admitting defeat I finally made the difficult decision to sign on the dole today, I had hoped I’d find a speedy replacement for my previous office based employment. Alas I was wrong. My flight is booked for the early Dec, with minimal funds every penny counts. A phone call later, I'm signed on, subject to appointment and out the door, hotfooting over to the housing benefit office. I arrive and it's closed, relocated to the rear of Hackney Town Hall. I sensed it might be a cost cutting exercise, considering the government cuts post election. My assumptions were way off the mark; in fact the building is a colossal super unit of impressive proportions, with Hackney Council encased within. It conjures up images of Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man, all glass frontage with exposed metal framework, I'm not sure what to think I like that it's tucked away down an unsuspecting back street. Inside is a vast atrium, complete with reception desk, the lady on the counter appears much more chilled out that of the old building perhaps symbolic of her new surroundings and the persona it brings.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Inner Mermaid by Craig Lawrence

Craig Lawrence S/S11 post video shoot, pre-presentation, trying on new season.
London Fashion Week is over, the fashion masses have descended on Paris, my stock of candy acquired from various goodie bags has been depleted I can take time to muse over the delightful encounters. I was enthralled by the new direction and weight of Craig's designs his dresses have become longer and more elegant, a grown up princess with ethereal qualities. For those out of the loop, you can catch his presentation below, excuse the smallness of the view.

Spring Summer 2011 by Craig Lawrence

The show I assisted, styled by the wonderful Katie Shillingford. The trousers are amazing.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Blow the cobwebs away

Our visit to Bath was thwarted by Jane Austin enthusiasts, which had over run the whole town in a once yearly weekend celebration. Poor timing or a subliminal call to visit my second home, after missing our train, purchasing a new single and incurring a hefty taxi charge in the process we finally boarded the train. We sensed the weekend might not necessarily be on the right track, pulling up at a green light, in time for it to turn red. However the moment we hit Temple Meads the sun comes out to greet us, we've left the dreary weather behind. Our first stop St Nick's market, Lucy's flower stall, then over to Arnolfini to catch up with Jess.

I delight myself with the cycle merry go round, easily pleased, all part of Bristol cycle festival.

The beautiful Natalie post pizza, smiles all round

Glen showing us how to roll on a boat, horizontal is good

After polenta chips and delicious pizza in the gallery cafe we began our loop round the harbor, it was a perfect autumn day, we stop off at the Cottage Inn and bask in the sun as we watch the sailing competition. Glen joins us at the Pump House before heading back to the centre via a ferry, being on a boat was the ultimate a holiday vibe, complete with good-looking ticket vendor. Back on the mainland we headed up to Castle Park, stopping off at Boulangerie to stock up on the best vegetarian sausage rolls I know. On a slope near the main walkway we observe a young couple dry humping in plain view, I was confused by chosen the location for said humping, right next to a children's playground, in between a major car park and the centre of town. We sat for a while and observed various reactions of passersby, two elderly ladies, a middle class man, and a family with a little girl, bizarre. Next stop Portland Square for the Bristol Do an excellent little circus themed festival event. Thoroughly entertaining for all ages, we sat on the lawn in St Paul's park as watched two rather talents rope based performances. Heading out of the cozy family festival we hit the frontline of St Paul's, all buzzed up we saw two boys playing with a spade on some common land, we joked, are you doing some gardening? "Nope were burying our pigeon", you couldn't make it up. The Duke was next on the agenda for a cheeky game of pool, alas upstairs had been taken over by a hoe down, a live music session, there were four guitars all going at it, we soaked up some of the sound and headed into the garden for smoking.

Sunday followed on from Saturday night, hung-over, awoken by my phone ringing energetically, we ushered each other into the car and off to Cheddar car boot. Arriving in time to walk to the lake and an take in a sea of stacked up boot tables, we were a tad too late and consoled ourselves with a full english at the Olive Tree. Contented we headed up to the gorge via a steep and rocky path, once at the top my three comrades and I marveled in the view. I miss my walks in the country, it was fantastic to have such a sense of space, with the wind blowing from every direction.

We stood out against the usual walker attire, which isn't necessarily a bad thing

Friday, 24 September 2010

Highs and Lows of Menswear Day

My virus (yes it's a virus, I've decreed it so) lingers whilst the last day of fashion week ebbs by. I meet Sarah for lunch in the park by Embankment I had forgotten about the cute deck chairs tucked away by the station, we opt for the grass maximising the late summer sun. She presents a small plastic box inside my very own business cards, I pretend not to be excited, I hide it poorly. With a fuller belly I head up the strand, clocking the fashion week departees as I go, exclamation marks in a tourist information guide. I arrive and sneak my way into the presentations, snapping merrily as I go, I sneak as they proclaim they're full, they lie. There is a lot on offer, alas none of which I can report on as I was relying on my photographs for names and details. My camera was sacrificed to the gods at the Boateng show later that evening, I spent yesterday in mourning; today is a new day. After too much champagne at the presentation everyone dies and heads back east, I have four tickets to the Boateng show, I ring round those in the vicinity and no one is picking up, I decide to head over to Leicester Square on my own. Alas by the time my friends come back to me it's too late, they are across the other side of town continuing with their evening. I park my bike and gaze at the massive Boateng billboard's which adorn the Odeon facade, it is chaos, there are so many queues to get in I linger at the front and dip in, I watch the tourists lining up hoping to get a snapshot of someone, something. Vanessa Phelps walks by, more celebrities come, none of which I recognise, the paps snap energetically. They begin to let us in 20 at a time, the wait creates tensions and the front is becoming less friendly, more scrum like. I'm in. Leopard print seating and baby Moet await. After a reasonable wait it begins, we watch a film with an American documentary vibe, suddenly hot men of every genre appear, dressed fittingly, every look is catered for. We are experiencing one man's display of everything he has achieved in 25 years and it's bang on cue. I am in awe, I wasn't sure what to expect and I am blown away, there are four collections rolled into one, a 100 guys on stage immaculately presented. I spot a few guys I know, one I used many moons ago for a presentation Luke Waller, he looks dashing, I'm bizarrely proud. Boateng get the delivery right, the crowd are rapturous, he appears on stage with his father to a standing ovation, what a way to mark 25 years in the business, I felt privileged to be part of it.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A sugar filled penultimate day of fashion week.

Wow it's Wednesday already, yesterday I came out of my black hole and straight into the throng of London Fashion week, via Gordon's Wine Bar for a massive cheese fest with the delightful jailbird Kitty Bang Bang and job interview. Once into Somerset House, just off the Strand I secured my press pass and headed up to a presentation on the first floor. It was that weak I made no effort to remember the designer’s name, cheap looking expensive tat, flimsy unflattering fabric cascading tiredly, circa 2001, Kylie, Can't get you out of my head. Zips and tailoring clashed with ineffective urban sportswear. Entertained by the mass of people shooting the collection, I felt no connection with the designer’s vision as I contemplated whom it was designed for.

Next up we discovered the delights of the press lounge, comfy sofas and complimentary drinks provided a welcome respite. There was music coming from the tent, I grabbed Sarah and rushed into Ashish, no ticket, just a few cheeky words and we're in. Oh my, the place is heaving, we scale the side of the seating, clutching onto the railings in order to gain a good viewpoint. My arms ache with the weight of my body, yet somehow invigorated by the discomfort. He sends down fringing, spots, sequins, feathers to a bad ass soundtrack, a pumped up version of Cazwell, Burger King and some dancehall vibes, effective.

Back in the lounge I approach Caryn Franklin from Clothes Show, a business card later, there's an interview in the pipeline. She's a legend. Smudge joins the party and we head out in search of alcohol and entertainment. A cab ride later we're in West London surrounded by cocktails and candyfloss. Dannijo presents Bellatrix at Scream gallery, a cute jewellery collection; there are girls in little leotards some look decidedly glum at being sat on the floor for three hours.

Smudge taking in the collection, ooh look at the concentration

Next we attempt the Dolce and Gabana party, fail, big well-policed queue. We cut our losses and head to Beyond the Valley, it's jam packed, the pub opposite the shop is fighting for outside street space, it's great, inside is a lot of heat, and cognac, we gather the cognac and head back outside. A goodie bag is thrust in my hand and I devour the jellybeans, sugar, sugar and well more sugar.

Perhaps the most humorously bizarre point in the evening is the make up party at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, we enter a carpeted room, our sense are hit with the smell of fried food, Sean grabs two cocktails, takes a sip and immediately discards, I wisely opted for Champagne. The stage is cleared and a girl with a booty in tight black leggings belts out a tune "I can suck my lollipop, you can lick my ice cream" subtle.

We look around at the occupants; some seem embarrassed to be there, a distinct Essex wedding feel. We vote unanimously to exit, next stop Hoxton Pony, not very busy, a little flat; we stay for a drink and push on via Dui Sardi on Kingsland Road.

Craig Lawrence's party at Vogue Fabrics is our final stop of the evening, everything thing is blurry at this point, my shirt comes off and I'm dancing like an idiot in my bustier, high energy finale, my feet hurt, I wander home wishing I had my bicycle, sleep.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dylan tops

About a month ago surrounded by new company, I encountered a trumpet player obsessed with Dylan. I mentioned I was into him also and that I owned 13 of his albums on vinyl, he quizzed me "What's your favourite album?" I froze and blurted out Blonde on Blonde, which of course was a good but knee jerk selection, and so I've given it some thought, searched inside and come up with the following.

Here's my top five Dylan Albums

1. Desire (Hurricane)
2. Blood on the tracks (Meet me in the morning)
3. Basement Tapes 1 & 2 (Open the door Homer)
4. Blonde on Blonde (Sad eyed lady of the lowlands)
5. Highway 61 revisited (Tombstone Blues)

Dylan is really styling it on this cover, love the jacket.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A £ of Glory for One Week Only

Apologies for lack of blogging I have literally been too ill to do anything, save a visit to Bristol for a ‘break’, which left me in a worse state than when I left London. Grr, dam Bristol party scene! Fortunately I am on the road to recovery however swamped with a backlog of promised work and overdue deadlines. There just doesn't seem to be enough energy in me to bang it out. Anyho. I would like to draw your attention to an event that is happening tomorrow and is centered on the ever approaching, soon to arrive, London Fashion Week. Code for London Party Week, or London free drinks week. Fingers crossed a return to full health before it all begins otherwise I'm buggered!

My housemate Noah has pulled out all the stops for the Glorified £ Shop happening downstairs in the basement of Maiden is to be opened by none other than Stephen Jones MBE. The shop is hosted by underground's darling Princess Julia and her A-team Josh Quinton, Hannah Hooper, Felicity Hayward and Lilee Cathcart who have carefully edited a vast selection of specialist pieces to offer something from every era.

The pop-up store runs from the 17th-23rd September and is open 11-7pm, with special events happening daily including a performance from the infamous artist Scottee, hair dressing from vintage stylist Sami Knight, James Main nee Jeanette (ala Boombox) providing catwalk lessons. I'm getting excited just thinking about trawling through the clothes to unearth a piece of retro styling.

Princess Julia

“The interest in retro and recycled style has never been more inspiring; by mixing the traditional with the radical style icons of London have never been more vibrant and varied. At The Glorified £ Shop we hope to reveal the secrets of developing personal style with a twist and with prices starting from £1 they’ll be something to suit budgets big and small" explains Princess Julia.

Members of the A-team

Member of the A-team, con't

Friday, 10 September 2010

It's Cool to be Kind to Oxfam

My friend Craig Lawrence, has designed a limited edition (1000) tee for Oxfam which will be available to buy at the Oxjam event on the 1st October at the Coronet. There will also be a tee by jewelery designer Dominic Jones, an illustration entitled Burning Trees.

The theme for the tee was climate change in response to the recent Haiti and Pakistan natural disasters. The aid required to deal with such events in poorer countries is astronomical. Craig said "my concept is that you have more fun having a family caravan holiday in Britain rather than flying aboard and polluting the environment. Just like I did when I was little, my caravan holidays were the best holidays ever!"

Craig launches his next knitwear collection at LFW on the 18th September, I was lucky enough to try on a few of the outfits, they felt AMAZING! Good luck Craig!

The beautiful Madeleine, the photo doesn't do justice, her eyes jump out at you.

Veronica So shows us her Teeth.

James queen of glamour, handsome chap

Muggins and her new, or rather old wheels

The talented Fred Butler

The adorable Stevie

The photographer Kirsten, very sweet