Filed under: Autumn, Fall, Fashion, Fripperies, Modern Nostalgic, Modern Victorian
Ever since their latest brochure arrived, I’ve been obsessing over Wrap’s Autumn collection. Every time I turn the page, I find a new item to lust after – they really have outdone themselves!
Their silk empire-line dress strikes just the right note of grown-up whimsicality. I would have one of each colour and wear them with my omnipresent biker boots (or, I suppose, Victorian button boots to go with our theme).
The above dress also caused palpitations in my dear friend Melanie (writer of the Madame Guillotine blog and brilliant historical novelist to boot). I mean, honestly – a silk velvet dress styled with fingerless gloves and boots for instant [what we like to call] ‘Victorian prostitute chic’. What’s not to like? Both colours are gorgeous, but smoky grey shall forever win my heart.
Love everything about this outfit. Although I actually (again) prefer the smoky grey option, the mix of colours is winning me over, here. I really like the sprinkling of sequins on this jacket – particularly as they’re matte, so not too ritzy-glitzy to team with jeans, should you wish. And I would.
The dress worn under the jacket is this one… and I want every single option. Again. Yes, I’m greedy; but if forced at gunpoint to choose (an unlikely situation), I would plump for the aubergine. One of my favourites from the whole collection – I feel this would work especially well on those of us blessed with opulent bosoms and chunky arms…
Another combination I covet all examples of – silk, merino, stud and frills: a marriage made in my personal heaven. The cardigan manages to be both cosy and sexy (a rare pairing) and the top (shown below) is the perfect length and reminds me of my grunge days. In a good way. 🙂
These have to be my highlights from Wrap’s Autumn collection, but it’s simply bursting with wearable pieces with something special about them. Go and feast your eyes (and sign up for email alerts – their sales are amazing, too!)
Filed under: Catwalk, Couture, Decadence, Etsy, Fall, Fashion, Fashion Show, Runway, tulle | Tags: Alexis Mabille, Couture, Fall 2010
As we air-kiss and clink champagne glasses, let’s trip along merrily into the frivolously feminine, exquisitely detailed world of Alexis Mabille‘s Fall 2010 Couture Collection…
Ruffles and sparkles and lace, oh my!
I am an absolute sucker for a bit of tulle, my dear hearts, and this dress is pretty close to utter perfection!
The collection is very mix-and-match, as this stunning bustier top and tailored ‘cigarette’ trousers show. Stunning.
Also, I love those shoes!
I suppose there *is* such a thing as “too many ruffles” but this IS couture, dearie, so must be allowed some leeway. Be sure it will filter down into more every-day wearable styles on the high street, but oh how DREARY it would be if designers couldn’t run free with their ideas.
I never understand people who complain that catwalk shows (and Couture in particular) don’t offer anything for them to wear on a day-to-day basis. The entire point is to show the designer at work, the creative process from inspiration to actuality: a creative fantasy.
Mabille’s collection is actually highly wearable, I think. Yes, perhaps only if you are forever parading on red carpets or popping to parties thrown by Elton John; but, y’know, he didn’t design them to be worn at the supermarket I suppose. And thank GAWD for that. There is already an overdose of the dull & drear in fashion, so long live the libertines!
Inspired by this lust-worthy collection – a kind of Grace Kelly meets Scarlet O’Hara at the Oscars kind of a vibe – and especially by the mainly nude/black palette (with lashings of lace), I created a treasury of items at Etsy I felt fit a similar bill, though obviously far more affordable to the majority of us.
I have Couture tastes and a bargain budget, how awful for me. ;p
Do have fun exploring, dahlings! *air kisses wildly whilst spilling champagne down her dressing gown Couture dress*
La Belle Fairy’s overbust Victorian corset is just beautiful – such subtle colours and actually pretty, which isn’t something you always see in corsets. I think you could wear this for a wedding – especially when teamed with one of the spectacular skirts below…
I have featured Bonzie‘s signature bridal skirt once before, I know, but just HAD to include it again: it so encapsulates this look and new readers may have missed it, previously. So there. ;p Thousands of layers of hand-sewn tulle and many hours of work go into this breathtaking piece (which also comes in other colours) – it makes me want to run through fields of poppies in it, screaming with laughter and tossing my hair about as though I were in a shampoo advert. Just because.
Of course we can’t go around trampling fields of poppies all the time, can we? No. For one thing, it’d be murder on the ankles. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that the airy, care-free look can be still be had in an accessory – and one as beautiful as this peach chiffon bloom, by the very talented Percy Handmade, can be either a brooch or hair pin/clip depending on your preference. I’d plump for a brooch, I think, as it could add some frivolity to a severe lapel, be pinned to an existing hair band or hat for a wedding-y look and then used to jazz up a tired looking old bag.
[Any jokes about it jazzing up the tired looking old bag writing this shall be removed at the discretion of the editor. ;p]
Red Doll is also a designer I have featured before, but this coat is so exquisitely tailored, again, I just had to include it. I love the mixture of superb, masculine-inspired tailoring in Alexis Mabille’s collection, paired with the tulle, lace and ruffles – and this coat would definitely work with that look.
Emma Gordon’s bags are to die for – perfect for bridesmaids and weddings, but this sleekly simple, effortlessly chic bag is one of favourites. Love the bangle/handle – I cannot do clutches unless they can somehow attach to me, which sort of does away with their point, I know, but I am forgetful, clumsy and somewhat scatterbrained at the best of times, let alone when attending a ‘do’ and with a few glasses of champagne in me. This one’s just perfect.
Ooh this is so pretty! I think it looks as though it stepped straight from the pages of Vogue. Fab with tailored evening trousers (or a pair of jeans & killer heels, if you go for that look for a night on the tiles) or a simple pencil skirt. The Eliza Shop also has some unusual headbands and other items. One to watch!
The trouble with ‘boyfriend blazers’ is that they are very rarely cut for a woman’s curves, even if actually made for them! Not so this excellent example by Daniella Tello – it looks like it would go with just everything, never date and be a truly great buy. Want!
Adorably simple black and white greetings cards by Hey Old Friend – just right for inviting friends to a glam tea party, I think.
Wonderful use of colors in this handmade flowers and lace bib necklace by Barretty – strikingly gorgeous and so in keeping with this theme!
These organdy shoe clips by Floreti are such a great idea – take a boring old pair of shoes and snap these on: hey presto, a couture pair of shoes! Also a great idea to stash them in your bag if you’re going straight out after work.
Holly Bloom Couture have a number of simply darling pieces, but this silk dupioni bow bolero is the one I chose for this look – it’s simple enough that it wouldn’t dominate whatever you wore it over, but has enough presence to be part of the outfit, rather than that “I am covering my shoulders and tops of arms a bit, please look away!” character that many boleros can have.
This vintage ‘Merry Widow’ corset at Absolutely Riveting is very similar to the Alexis Mabille Couture style, and a mere snip at $17 if it happens to be your size! Wear with tailored cigarette trousers, underneath a tux or over a pencil skirt for the same achingly chic but very sexy look.
Sexy but still covered-up, this black lace dress at Holy Mess is very reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, or some other vintage starlet, all wiggle and lipgloss. I’m sure Dita Von Tease would look divine in such a dress.
I have long been a fan of Ouma‘s breathtakingly romantic designs, and this hand dyed tea length tulle skirt is just dreamy. It truly gladdens the heart, just gazing at the picture. 🙂 Oh for a weekend in Paris, twirling through the streets in this, a cashmere cardi and some jaw-droppingly wonderous shoes. I know, I know, the shoes would pinch and it would probably rain, but we can dream! Lord, I want them ALL in every colour. Dear Santa…[it’s early, I know, but y’have to get your requests in, gals and boys, or he ignores you when it’s too busy].
How stunning, and what a great idea for Santa to use to pretty-up the many, many parcels he’ll likely be wrapping for me! This tape is available from Prank & Dorset in white, too, and can be used on cards or any other paper-crafty ideas you clever people may have.
These high-waisted trousers by And What Else Is There are exactly the kind I’ve been thinking of with many of the looks I have featured here – they would look fantastic with the Tuxedo ‘boyfriend’ blazer, either of the corsets or the peach chiffon shawl top… even a simple t-shirt or tank top. Completely versatile and another absolute steal: custom made trousers for $45!
Well, there we must leave it, I suppose. I do hope you have enjoyed this toe-dip into the world of (vastly more affordable) Couture alternatives, dear hearts?
Until next time (and not so long a wait, I promise),
Filed under: Accessories, Autumn, Brooches, Etsy, Fall, Fashion, Fripperies, Trinkets
Lately, I find myself hankering after items I used to scoff at and – on occasion – loathe with a passion. Could it be, Gentle Reader, that I am (at the age of 30 cough cough) growing up?
Dear LORD, I do hope not, otherwise I’ll freak out and have a terribly embarrassing encounter with experimental hair dye and inappropriate skirt lengths. Again.
It is more likely (and palatable to your author) that I am finally getting around to embracing things that other people have been already been wearing and loving for decades.
Hence: brooches. I do not own a brooch. My jewellery box[es] are bereft of anything even resembling a brooch, and I feel this must soon be rectified.
I am looking at over-familiar jackets and seeing a well-placed brooch would dress them up no end. I am seeing whimsical brooch-shaped gaps on far-too-respectable cardigans and bags. Even skirts could benefit…
Direct links to items shown, left-to-right:
And by the way, just how adorable is the little mouse brooch in the first row? He looks like he’s done something terribly wrong and only just realised – or forgotten something vital from his shopping list. Two situations I am equally familiar with!
What a relief to be back having been without a power cable for my PowerBook for an absolute age. Well, a few days, but it seemed like forever! *grumbles about Mac power cables for some time*
Until next time, dearhearts
Filed under: Accessories, Autumn, Etsy, Fall, Fashion, Shoes, Shopping, Vintage
There was a time when any self-respecting young gal about town knew she must leave off any hint of sparkle & glam until the cocktail hour approached. Anyone gadding about in sequins & spangles before the sun went down was to be viewed with a raised eyebrow: most likely a dirty stop-out who had woken still-drunk in a ditch, dressed in the previous night’s attire.
Nowadays, it is quite acceptable for even the most virtuous of ladies to be seen at any hour of the day in beads and bobby-dazzlers, though some people feel quite faint – still – at the very glint of a sequin. This is just silly – the trick is to dress down the sparkle with items that just scream I Don’t Really Care: jeans, obviously, but toughen it all up with leather cuffs, vintage boots or other bold accessories.
Direct links to items shown, left-to-right:
This is an excellent idea of how to re-use that sequined blazer you’re wearing to the Christmas do, or that vintage, ‘Jackie O’ style beaded cardi you haven’t worn yet for fear of looking too twee.
Oversized mannish watches and your oldest, most-loved Converse (or your preferred brand of Leisure Shoe!) also work really well and can dress down just about any embellished item of clothing when paired with your old jeans, some leggings and a short skirt or thrown over That Comfy Favourite Jersey Dress That Goes With Everything.
I have about 10 such dresses, all in black, which sort of defeats the purpose. Doesn’t stop me wanting the one above as well…
Let’s face it, dear hearts: I am never going to have a capsule wardrobe. I can never be one of those people who can say – with a completely straight face – “Just add a scarf, twist up your hair and you can go straight from a 14-hour day at work to the Metropolitan Ball!” The people who tell you these things are liars, darlings. ;p But I suppose one should also accrue comfortable day/casual dresses in other colors, too…
As for makeup, well either a ‘natural’, ‘no makeup makeup’ look (which, as we know, takes far longer in reality to achieve than slapping a bit of slap on) or a metric tonne of eyeliner would work equally well.
I’d always plump for the metric tonne of eyeliner, but that’s just me.
I don’t believe I have left the house without eyeliner since I was about 13! The very thought horrifies me.
Until later, my chuckie-eggs,
Filed under: Art, Autumn, Books, Cosy, Etsy, Fairytales, Fall, Hounds of the Morrigan, Knitting Pattern, Literature, Pat O'Shea
Hounds of the Morrigan, by the now sadly departed Pat O’Shea, was 10 years in the writing. It can be classed as a children’s book, but I have been reading it on and off since I was 11 years old, and it still remains one of my favourite books in the whole world. Such imagination, dark humour & a great cast of characters – I just had to honour it with a blog post and – of course – a selection of goodies inspired by fond memories of the novel itself…
Direct links to items shown, left to right:
The story is the age old battle of Good v Evil, in the same rich vein as Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence; but it’s really the cast of characters and the adventures they have together that always brings me back to the world Pat O’Shea created.
I always, always wished for another book from her, a continuation of the story, the chance to meet old friends. There is a tantalising glimpse of what might have been in her obituary, printed in The Guardian newspaper:
The few brilliant chapters of the unfinished sequel are almost worth publishing alone: a Christmas card scene, candelit shop windows, carol singers and a robin… and into this cheerful scene rides the great Irish witch the Morrigan with her wild sisters, bringing mayhem and magic and mischief.
*sigh* How selfish it is of us voracious readers to wish someone alive again merely so they could finish/begin a sequel. It’s all a bit Kathy Bates in Misery for words, but I do sort of understand that constant, gnawing wish for more.
Of course unfinished sequels always hold a power that a published book can never have (much as we mourn the loss of new songs from our favourite recording artists who died too young, or the films we’ll never see of actors who went before their time).
It’s an aching void always begging to be filled with new material from rambunctious upstarts or delving into the classics to see from whence your favourite sprang… but you have to get over it each time the craving begins, or that dreadful self-pitying kind of mourning for what might have been starts to spread, like little spores of black mould in a damp bathroom.
Relish the tangible, that’s the cure!
With this in mind, I feel I must very soon curl up in a cosy nook…
…wearing something scrumptiously soft & a good pair of thick bed socks…
…heaped with blankets and cushions, drinking hot chocolate [possibly with a slug of something wicked in it] and reading The Hounds of the Morrigan for the umpteenth time!
Oh, and don’t get me started on Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – another of my all-time favourites which I hold to my bosom and treasure like a rare jewel. And OH MY GOD – HOW did I not know that she’s written a [proper] sequel?! Ordered it immediately, of course. I may return to this to wax lyrical at length…
Ah, Howl, my first literary crush.
Whatever your favourite cosy read is, I hope you have time to snuggle up with it, soon. I truly believe it’s balm for the soul, and most especially at this time of year, don’t you think?
Do share with me your favourite cosy reads – or the books you keep coming back to throughout the years – I’d be fascinated to know!
We are – in the UK, anyway – in the very heart of that golden period. That time between being really quite pleased to be donning coats and snuggling in scarves, and the moment we are all bored of it and begin moaning at how terribly cold it is “…and we never had a proper summer to speak of.”
Well, I say we should make the most of this golden period of Autumn. I find wrapping up in cosy knits and swathing myself in long scarves to be positively delightful, and I wont have a word said against it! So there.
Direct links to items shown, left-to-right:
I see that Emma Sommerfield’s 40’s style hand-knitted cardigan has already sold, but she does re-do certain styles from time to time, I believe. Worth asking if you desire that particular style as much as I do! She’s on holiday at the moment, but as with all Etsy sellers, you can request to be sent an automatic email when the seller returns to their shop.
I must also mention Le Muse and show you some more of the beautiful designs available in their shop. I just adore this label – the sheer simplicity yet subtle sexiness of the clothes is incredibly appealing.
Oh, how I want one of everything, and to cavort about in the grass with a pitcher of milk, as pictured below.
Um. Perhaps with another layer on underneath the dress on frostier days? Showing my age! People under 30 seem to eschew layers or, y’know, a coat nowadays. Obviously made of hardier stuff than I, your fragile author…
I am very much in favour of the re-emergence of The Shoulder, here. I am fond of my shoulders and they got many outings in the 80’s, but have pretty much remained hidden since then. There is something cheekily sexy about a shoulder peeking out, non?
Of course this also means the re-emergence of the strapless bra, in my case. Lucky those of you who may do without, rejoice, for the strapless bra is a tale of woe worthy of several chapters.
Here are some that didn’t quite fit into my layout, but which I also love, and these seem to also exude that air of bliss that only comes with being slightly cold, wrapping up warm and drinking cocoa by the fire after a kick through the leaves.
Yours blissfully & toasting my tootsies (that’s ‘toes’ for anyone not familiar with the expression, who may have been imagining all sorts of licentious behaviour!)
Filed under: Accessories, Autumn, Boots, Etsy, Fall, Fashion, Fripperies, Necklaces, Trinkets
Every morning is a battle in my wardrobe: what the HELL to wear when – in my little spot in the Garden of England – the Autumn weather currently goes something like this: Misty raining raining raining SUNNY HOT stormy raining WARM blustery COLD misty drizzle mizzle WINDY cold warm raining raining… and all within a single day!
I actually love that kind of jumbled-up weather (good job, living in the UK!) but it can make dressing appropriately a little tricky. The answer is, just as your mother told you, to layer. You can still wear a floaty summer dress, but team it with leggings or thick tights underneath, perhaps even a VEST. Yes, your mother was right about that, too. Or a long sleeved t-shirt for those that wouldn’t countenance the merest vestige of a vest.
Pair up a pretty Liberty print number with a boxy velvet jacket or, to toughen up the whole ensemble and for one of my favourite looks ever: ditzy florals with a leather jacket (even an oversized or man’s jacket) and biker boots. It says effortlessly sexy at just about any age, I think (given the correct proportions) and if it gets a little steamy, take the jacket off. Pile on the mis-matched scarves & floral accessories, too, to cheer up a dull day!
Direct Links to Items Shown, Left to Right…
Liberty prints are forever the queen of florals and have been going strong since the actual Mister Liberty – Arthur, to his pals – began creating the iconic patterned fabrics in London’s Regent Street in 1875. Each season, new fabric designs are produced for the Liberty collection, the designers “…drawing inspiration from art, architecture, lifestyle, personal experiences and the extensive Liberty archive.”
By the way, forgive a gal the whimsy, but I just had to use these cutely aloof dolls/soft toys as the faces of this ‘look book’ selection. I am not generally a fan of dolls and gave up my soft toys some time ago, but these ones have such character I want to adopt them all!
Liesel is a portable little snoot, 7.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide.
Her head is crocheted from a blend of wool and mohair and the front of her frock is a Liberty of London, cotton lawn.
She has two button eyes, accented with tiny embroidered eyebrows and a wool beret atop her head.
Liesel is finished with a wool felt backing, a heartfelt sentiment and a bit of Midori ribbon around her neck.
(Due to the small bits, Liesel is not recommended for young children).
This little lady is looking for a good friend. She loves to tend her flowers. She likes to swing really high on the swings. And most of all she likes to make a fort with chairs and blankets. Her little green pea coat is fully removable, fastens with a snap, and keeps her warm while crunching through leaves.
This doll is made with new and recycled fabrics. She is 19 inches tall and she has orange felt hair, green eyes and black painted shoes. She has a cute green dress with purple and orange flowers, and purple tights. She is safe and appropriate for all ages. Her beautiful face is hand painted with a pensive and kind expression. She is one of a kind and bound to be a devoted friend.
Instead of playing with the other squirrels in the giant oak tree, Bon Bon spends most of her time baking acorn pies and doing crossword puzzles.
Measures approx 9 inches high.
This item is made to order especially for you! Please allow 3-5 days for completion and shipping.
Bon Bon is made from clean recycled tweed wool (wool colors may vary, but they are always brownish/gray), fleece, safety eyes and stuffed with new poly fil.
Of course we shall be wearing our blackberry lip stains or our bright, pillar-box screaming red lipsticks with this look – along with a metric ton of eyeliner, pearls, layered chains (masses of them) or statement bib-style necklaces. Comfort with a raw edge. Wonderful. 🙂
By the way – if you are utterly allergic to any hint of floral patterns – as I was for many years, bearing the scars of a 1970’s flower-patterned childhood – you can still get the look by wearing one of these far more subtle Liberty bracelets or necklaces, as shown above, by Mavis and Frank. I can think of lots of people who wouldn’t necessarily wear a floral dress but would love these accessories…
Yours flowered-up biker-chickishly,