Sunday, 25 September 2011

Candy Floss Days of Summer

Before I start, I would just like to point out the fact that, yes, I know it's not summer. As much as I might wish it was- as much as I wish I could bury my head under my duvet and pretend that the stifling air in my room is drifting in through the window from a sultry, hot night instead of from my blow heater- even I cannot ignore the inevitable signs that the seasons are changing. The leaves are steadily turning gold, a bowl of freshly-collected, glossy brown conkers has taken pride of place on our living room table, and there is that definite nip in the air that demands the first trip up to the loft to uncover last season's fur coat and vintage Christmas jumpers.

OK, I am not denying that there is not some excitement in this. The musty scent of vintage knits and the new crispness in the air carry with them that back to school feeling that has you hankering for the scent of new text books and high denier ribbed tights, and that gives you the urge to go to WH Smiths and buy a new pencil case, no matter how many years ago you left school. Autumn is a time of promise; the dry leaves on the pavement whisper to you of that smoky scent mixed with the taste of red toffee apples that can only mean bonfire night, and the echoes of fireworks resounding through the brilliant cold of black, November air. It all has a touch of magic to it, yes. Even I, eternal child of summer and running barefoot on the beach, have been a little affected by it's sparkle. And yet.

As much as I look forward to winter and the promise of Christmas, I lament the loss of summer like the loss of a dear friend, or an intense, all-consuming holiday romance. For those short, fleeting summer months that we are (sometimes) blessed with in this country, there exists a time of endless possibilities; reading in the garden, camping by the sea, the smell that rises from a hot, sun-baked pavement after the rain has fallen. My memories of childhood and adolescence are a continuous steam of golden, sunlit flashes and hazy summer moments; of water fights in the garden, the faded pastel stripes of Neapolitan ice cream, toasting marshmallows with my little brothers and Adam Crossley from down the road, and then later: making up dance routines to Beyonce's Baby Boy, laying beside my best friend on the trampoline one cool summer night, looking up at the stars and laughing til our bodies shook and we could no longer breathe.

So, while I do look forward to the coming of the colder months and the fashion opportunities that arise from them, I still look back to summer and its somewhat haunting beauty. I say haunting because for me, summer is the time of year that holds the most poignant memories, and although those memories are happy and golden, I have always thought that there is something about happy memories that is incredibly and overwhelmingly sad. Because- as happy as they are, as much as they represent a time of beauty and freedom and youth- they are gone. So it is with a bitter sweet feeling that I welcome in this season and say goodbye to the old.  

But anyway, I have gone off on a ridiculous tangent that I totally didn't even plan to go into...What I really wanted to say was that right now, I am kind of liking the idea of hanging onto a remnant of those hazy, candyfloss days of seaside pier wanderings and summertime fairgrounds via my wardrobe. The person that originally inspired me to do so was the beautiful Marina Diamandis, who I mentioned in my last post and who is my celeb style crush of the week. When searching online for some sartorial inspiration for an outfit to wear at London Fashion Weekend (which I attended on Friday with my close friend Leah, as is our tradition) I came across Marina, dressed for the shows in a concoction of candy pink pieces, teamed with pale pink curls and matching lipstick. Finally, someone who wasn't draped in the predictable autumnal hues of September, but someone who was rocking an unashamedly sugary mix of shades teamed with none other than bare legs. I took note.

As well as Marina, though, I have recently been reflecting on the fact that I have a rather extreme style crush on Kirsten Dunst, and that she is possibly one of the most beautiful women in the world. This is probable due to the fact that I watched The Virgin Suicides for the first time ever this summer (I know, it pains me that it took me 22 years to discover such an amazing and visually stunning film) and was taken aback by the haunting images, teenage nostalgia and hazy summer feeling that I always try to capture in my own creative writing. For me, Kirsten, with her laid back sun bleached waves, subtly suggestive smile and far-away dewy-eyed look, is the perfect embodiment of all those things that the film captures so well.     

Film stills from The Virgin Suicides

Getting back to my outfit though, I ended up ordering something in dark colours and edgy jewel tones with a flash of leopard print thrown in just because it went so well with the most amazing shoes the world has ever seen, which I simply had to order from Topshop the second I saw them. But alas, it wasn't to be. Although the shoes arrived on time, my vintage outfit arrived a day too late, and I was left desperately rifling through Absolute Vintage near Old Spittalfiels Market on my lunch hour in a big sweaty mess at the last minute. However, with Marina Diamandis in mind, as well as the lingering of summer vibes I was evidently clinging onto, I somehow found the perfect outfit. The thing is, the pictures I took at London Fashion Weekend are not majorly impressive, given that I'd been at work all day and had rushed there straight after on the tube, was horrendously hot, sweaty and disheveled. Not to mention that there weren't really many posing opportunities. Therefore, I decided to recreate the look today with a photoshoot in my room, and have a little fun reveling in girliness with my mum's set of hot rollers while I was at it. I hope you enjoy my attempt at clincing onto the fading days of summer with a little candy floss chic...

  Me in my London Fashion Weekend Outfit.

Hope you enjoyed the post guys! xoxo

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Vintage Barbie

Okay, I am going to start this post with a plea, to any one who has been kind and loyal enough to continue following me despite the fact that, recently, I have been so entirely rubbish and negligent. Here goes. Please remind me never to leave it this long before posting again. Not only have I a) neglected all the followers that I've been so happy, excited and, most of all, grateful to acquire over the last nine months since starting this blog, but b) my head has been so full of ideas since my last post over two months ago, that it is now near to exploding, and I feel like I don't even know where to start.  Nevertheless, I will start somewhere, because it is my intention to turn my full commitment back to writing Porcelain Princess, so prepare yourself for the cathartic, sequin-spangled avalanche of ideas, inspiration and probably slightly hysterical sounding style-related sentences that are to follow. 

In my defense, I must explain that I started a three month internship at Groupon UK as a creative writer in May, and have now secured a permanent position (yay!) As great as this is, never before did I appreciate just how much having a full time job and lengthy commute into London zaps up pretty much all of your time and energy. Oh for the uni days of getting up at noon, dreaming up outfits all day long, writing whenever the moment took me and attending the occasional lecture or Zumba would be pretty safe to say that leaving the house at 7.40 in the morning and not getting back until 7.30 at night has made it a little difficult to find the time for this blog. However, in my moments of rest, the ideas have been brewing, words have been dancing tantalisingly in my head and my pink lap top has been calling...and so I am determined to make time to get in at least one post a week, and to get back to doing what I love most: writing about fashion. In an attempt to spice things up a bit and motivate myself not to return to my blogging days of silence, I have given the blog a bit of a makeover, which I think is a little more fresh. Please let me know what you think :-) Anyway, that's enough rabbiting on about that, so here's a pretty picture to get things started, and then let's get on to the important stuff...

 MAC Barbie-themed ad campaign 

So. Having reflected recently on my love for sequins, metallics and all things that sparkle, I have come to the conclusion that I perhaps lean a little towards Barbie-like tendencies of dressing. Now, don’t get me wrong - you won’t catch me wearing a vomit pink Big Brother contestant-style outfit complete with an OTT spray tan any time soon, but lately, I’ve been rather inspired by this whole notion of ‘Vintage Barbie’. It was actually a fellow Lookbooker and blogger (the very stylish Zee F from">ZiZi's Secret Wardrobe who I am going to credit for coming up with the phrase. After Zee very kindly commented on a photo I'd put up of myself in a black sequin vintage shift dress, over-sized doll lashes and bright pink lips, pointing out that the look was rather 'vintage Barbie,' the term stuck with me and I realised just how much it sums up the kind of style that is giving me the fashion goosebumps right now.

As Barbie can be perceived as the very epitome of conventionality and even female objectification, it would seem odd that she is now a figure that I can draw inspiration from, given that her stereotypical, busty/blonde/skinny brand of beauty is one that the media constantly shoves down our throats, and which causes both women and men to aspire to a narrow-minded ideal of what it means to be beautiful. That said, there is simply something about Barbie and her mannequin-like perfection and overt 'girliness' that I belive can be used in an ironic sense to inspire, and to create something that is actually entirely fresh. Take Lily Allen in her ironic 'chav' get up, that she made her trademark when she first erupted onto the music scene, and which still inspires artists today like Gaga and Jessie J. Huge gold hoop earrings and thick ghetto-tastic chains fresh from the Argos catalogue may scream 'tacky' when teamed with a lurid-hued velour tracksuit or when adorning the lobes and neck of Vicky Pollard, but when taken and worn in the whimsical, fun, self-aware wat that Brits are so good at (in my opinion), it becomes something quite different indeed. Take Agyness Deyn, who arguably reinvented the whole 'bottle blonde' look, using her eccentric, urchin style to take it from page three glamour-model territory to the ultimate in quirky cool. You can't swing a beaten-up vintage satchel these days without knocking over sereval peroxide-blonde hipsters, who all manage to make the look contemporary with edgy hair styles, bold make up and nonchalantly thrown on faux-furs, battered leathers or studded denim jackets.  

Speaking of bleach-begotten hair colours, I am currently obsessed with the idea of bleaching my hair blonde and dying it a pale, pastel pink. It is simply a fear of ruining the condition of the hair I have been painstakingly growing and caring for for the last four years that stops me (plus the fact that my hair is dyed bright red, and naturally brown.) However, I have never been more inspired by Polly-Pocket shades of softly falling curls and tumbling waves, and I highly suspect that by 2012, I'll be welcoming in the new year by finally succumbing to the bleach bottle.   

Therefore, for all the above reasons, I am currently fascinated by the look of overtly girly, plastic-fantastic elements like bubble gum pink lips teamed with a vintage edginess that takes the look from WAG to cool. Think platinum blonde locks tied into a perky pony, teamed with luminous pale skin and the bedimmed glamour of a tarnished gold trophy jacket. If it’s inspiration you seek, look no further than blogger and Lookbooker Bonnie Strange from">Strange Ambition, whose stunning photography and crazy, sequin-spangled get-ups have me longing to raid her wardrobe and, well, just actually be her. Or, behold the dolly mixture-hued, glittery creations that are Miu Miu’s glitter boots. I kid you not when I say that never have I experienced shoe lust quite like this before. The pastel toned paillettes overlapping scale-like in Prada’s ad campaigns have got me feeling all mermaid Barbie, whilst the softly shimmering diamond-patterned knee-highs call to mind the teenage nostalgia of Clueless. That's not to mention the advert featuring a fresh-faced young model descending a staircase littered with cascades of candy-coloured glitter boots, which literally makes my heart flutter. So, it appears that irony is the key here folks; mixing up a bit of Malibu Barbie's unashamed girliness with a sprinkling of fun, tounge-in-cheek humour, 1980s vintage magic and all-out British eccentricity, Barbie can be allowed out of her dream house and let loose to wander the streets and catwalks ...                

And here are the pictures: 

The look that sparked my vintage Barbie fascination...

Nicki Minaj- the embodiment of hip hop Barbie
I personally think Patsy is a shining source of vintage Barbie inspiration

Mac models exhibiting doll-like perfection and the Barbie and Asos collaboration from a few years back

Marina Diamandis from Marina and The Diamonds, my official new style crush. Here she is at London Fashion Week looking like perfect vintage candy-floss 
Photography from the AMAZING Bonnie Strange, taken from her photography blog: If you haven't checked it out yet, do so immediately!
 Another of Bonnie's amazing pics- I want her blue hair so much!
Picture from an unknown source, but one which I think perfectly demonstrates the vintage Barbie look.

My own interpretation of 80s vintage Barbie (PS check out my new gold Toppers nail polish!)
Below are some of Prada's ad campaigns featuring the adored glitter boots, diamond socks and pailette-covered dresses, as well as a random blue hair picture I found and a lovely picture of girls laughing and carrying clothes and balloons. To me, it captures the unashamed girliness of Barbie and the nostalgia of female adolescence.  I would actually wear that picture on a T shirt.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Purple Rain

Who remembers back in the late nineties/early noughties, when purple was the colour to deck out your room, adorn yourself and paint your nails in if you happened to be a girl aged nine to thirteen with a penchant for Mizz Magazine, lava lamps and wavy, silver-framed mirrors? It was cooler than liking the Barbie-reminiscent, childhood-connotative pink, yet still feminine enough to be girly without having the tomboyish reference of blue. I think my first style encounter with purple as a 'cool', I'm-not-a-kid-anymore colour, was when, aged nine, I persuaded my mum to buy me a sequin-covered, satiny pair of low strappy heels from Tammy Girl to wear at the school disco. The more my mum shook her head at the Spice Girl-esque shoes with their miniture heels and repeated that they were too old for a girl my age, the more I inevitably wanted them, until finally she gave in, making me possibly the happiest nine year old girl on the planet. I thought I would love those shoes forever.

After that, purple was officially my favourite colour. I proclaimed a strong dislike for baby pink, adorned my eyelids with cheap purple eyeshadow from Boots and became the height of cool (or so I thought) by wearing those hideous stretchy plastic neck chokers from Claire's Accessories (remember those, girls??) Like any other self respecting pre-teen my age, when I was eventually allowed to have my room decorated in a colour of my choice, I went to town with an entirely lilac and silver colour scheme (FYI- our house resembled a building site for most of my pre-teen years, when we lived in a tent in the back of our garden whilst the entire roof was taken off and put back on again, before moving back in and living with bare plastered walls and glassless windows covered in plastic sheeting for a considerable amount of time, so finally having an actual room with painted walls was kiiiind of a huge deal for me).

It was about the time I approached the age of fourteen, when I became a teenager overnight, that purple was suddenly no longer en-vouge. No longer content to listen to Dido CDs on my silver stereo whilst I crimped my hair and told ghost-stories to my friends on my purple, star-scattered duvet, I filled my days with reading melodramatic romance novels (The Thorn Birds, anyone?) watching hip-hop stars shake their bootys on MTV and lusting after miniscule items of fabric resembling clothing from stores like Clobber and Jane Norman (I know- the memory still haunts me today!) My desire to fit in and to become 'popular' and fanciable took over, and pink was suddenly acceptable again.  I adorned my planner with stereotypical-heartbroken-misunderstood-teen song lyrics, inked carefully in bubblegum pink gel pen, and drew felt-tipped coloured pictures of Disney Princesses to impress the popular girls (whose year eleven planners were covered in Disney Shop sticky-tape, printed with the pretty faces of Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella). I found a new relatability in the Disney princess films I'd watched as a child, suddenly able to fully appreciate the romance of being whisked into jasmine-scented night air on a magic carpet and into a diamond-studded sky by the handsome Aladdin. When I was sixteen, Barbie pink, Disney Princesses and girly memorabilia suddenly became cool again, whilst my sequin covered purple shoes were probably donated to a charity shop along with the purple dress with black lace overlay that I wore to celebrate the millennium. Having fully embraced my girly side again, I unashamedly sprayed my hair with magenta streaks, built up a collection of candy-coloured tops, skirts and dresses and lusted after boys in pink Hacket polos and pink-striped lacoste shirts. When I was finally allowed to re-decorate my room again, just before my GCSEs, the look was full-blown baby pink and black: think baby pink satin curtains edged with black beading and pink satin headboard embroidered with the outline of a black lace heart. Pink was in again, and I incorporated it into my makeup draw, pencil case, and of course, wardrobe. From the ages of fourteen to the age of around nineteen, I don't think I wore one single purple item.

Since then, purple has slowly began to filter back into my style radar, and these days, being someone who is no longer limited by the desire to fit in as I was in my adolescence, I find that there is space in my closet for anything which happens to be inspiring me at the current moment, weather or not it's 'in'. My re-introduction to purple has began slowly, with a sparkly vintage indigo slip here and a deep mauve, slightly shimmery Mac lipstick there (it's called Violetta, btw, and it's my new best friend.)

Just lately I've begun to be more and more inspired by the colour purple, and seduced by it's mystical, magical connotations. To me, as well as being the colour of my child-to-teen transition years, purple is the colour of night, mystery and magic. It's the colour of a star- filled, inky-dark night sky, a velvety smooth, gently rippling ocean and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's the colour of Dumbledore's moon-and-star covered cloak in the first Harry Potter book. What's more- for some reason- purple to me is also the colour that I feel best epitomizes the whole Harry Potter Series- that feeling of snuggling on the leather sofas on a humid day in our old playroom in summer whilst a thunderstorm rages against the rain-washed windows, that feeling of smelling the summer rain mixed with that distinctive, comforting musty smell of the pages of a book whilst reading about Hogwarts and Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks- that magical, cosy feeling is inescapably and undeniably purple. And since I have been re-reading the entire Harry Potter Series almost every summer since I was eleven as a kind of tradition, I am currently starting again on The Prisoner of Azkaban, which is making me feel in a thoroughly purple mood indeed.

Purple also reminds me of violets, which I think are some of the most beautiful, vibrant-petaled flowers there are. Right now in our garden, an array of lovely, jewel-toned purple flowers have recently burst into bloom, and when you look outside at dusk, it's like this muted lush green backdrop, scattered with dots of bright, vivid, purple that just seem to glow ultra-violet, like gems in the dimness.          

These are all the things that are collectively inspiring me right now, and making me fall a little head over heels for the deep, mystical, night-sky shade. Not to mention that my uber-stylish friend Justine recently wore out a sparkly purple vintage top as a dress which I am a tiny bit obsessed with. As any readers of my previous posts will know, I have a major thing for vintage and also for anything sparkly, so if it's sparkly, vintage and purple, then you really can't get any better. Right now I love the idea of throwing on a sparkly, over-sized top/dress, teaming it with mega heels, tonnes of necklaces and long, wavy, free flowing hair. Here are some pictures that capture my current purple haze:

Our garden at dusk, taken by me just after the rain had fallen:

  There's nothing like getting stuck into Harry's magical world for some mystical fashion inspiration worthy of Professor Trelawny (I get so inspired reading about her many glittering necklaces and strings of beads draped over layered-up, spangled shawls as she gazes into a crystal ball).

From left: sparkly vintage top from Rokit, sheer lace purple blouse- gift from a vintage modeling shoot, purple dress, from a vintage shop in London

These pics are all from the modeling shoot I recently did- sadly none of the clothes are mine, but these potfits were two of my favourites!
Me wearing sparkly purple top, Rokit Vintage, Bomber jacket, Rokit Vintage, levis cut-offs, Rokit Vintage, booys, Topshop

Hop you all enjoyed the post...:-) xxxxxxxxxxx