This, my friends, is an alpaca scarf. The Barrister brought it back from Bolivia for me. It's incredibly soft, and a splendid colour. But, best of all, it's about as ethically sound a piece of clothing as you'll find.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I am so very, very disappointed with Boden. When I posted back at the beginning of November I was very enthusiastic about their offer but, because of my peripatetic lifestyle, I had missed the UK AW07 press day so hadn't actually seen it in the flesh.
I made an order for two pairs of boots and a leather satchel on 08 November. They warned me that the riding boots had a 2 week delay & the satchel a 1 week delay, but that the other boots were in stock. On 16 Nov (8 days later - far, far too long) I received an e-mail telling me that the pair in stock had been dispatched. As of today, the 29th, still no sign of them. However a couple of days later, the riding boots arrived, out of the blue (no dispatch email). Unfortunately, their sizing is completely f**ked up, and a size UK6 was enormous.
Today, the 29th, I finally received the satchel. What an enormous letdown. Although well-made, it looks extremely cheap. The leather is floppy, which is not how it was shown on the website. The web image purports to show a more structured bag with a flat bottom - but instead it is just completely shapeless. A classic example of catalogue over-styling.
And what really, really galls me is that I now have to schlep to the post office, with two heavy, unwieldly boxes, & have to pay quite a lot of money to return both the (very, very heavy) boots and the bag for mistakes of Boden's making. (Their sizing is inaccurate, and the photograph on the site erroneous.)
I emailed customer services the day before yesterday, querying the missing boots and still no reply. In this day and age it is ludicrous that customers cannot track & trace their orders after purchase. If Boden is to succeed in the US it seriously needs to pull its socks up and invest in both a decent inventory system, and a meticulously accurate on-line track & trace system. Frankly, their technological offer is antediluvian. They also need to post more accurate product images: the lifestyle stuff is all well & good, but is ultimately misleading.
My advice? Avoid like the plague. Enormously disappointing.
Leather satchel as shot for catalogue.
Leather satchel as arrived chez LLG
Topshop have just confirmed that they will be opening a 40000 sq ft store in Soho in September. Two more stores are planned for New York, with flagship roll outs planned in Miami, Los Angeles and Boston. That should shake up the moribund under $150 fashion market in the US.
Let's just hope they don't use the useless UK press office to handle the PR.
WGSN reports today that Gap WIlL be launching the covetable Pierre Hardy shoe collection in the US, three months after the European collection made its debut in France and in the UK. The collection will be available online and in Gap stores nationwide beginning February 2008. It's not clear yet whether this will be the same collection that was available in Europe, as Hardy has been tapped for a second collection to launch in the Spring in Europe.
Lest you are unfamilar with Pierre Hardy, apart from his blissful eponymous line, he has also designed some of the most iconic shoes for Balenciaga and for Hermes. He's possibly the most exciting, and stealth, shoe designer working today. He's a super intellignt choice for Gap: instead of using a marquee (and somewhat vulgar) name like H&M did with Cavalli, they have gone for a designer whose work speaks for itself, rather than screaming off the pages of gossip rags.
It's interesting that they are launching here, as the European Gaps are run separately from the US ones: they have their own design team, producing vastly superior and more fashion forward pieces than the US team. Back in August the UK PR told me that the US team were visiting London imminently to talk about buying from the European collection. Let's hope that the Pierre Hardy collection is the first step in this direction. (Especially for me: Gap is twice the price in the UK.)
The US collection will range from platforms to flats priced $78-$98, which is a damn sight cheaper than it was in England, where the black platform heels retailed for £70/$140.
I, of course, am feeling smug as my pair of Pierre for Gap arrive today, courtesy of my fabulous ex-managing editor who offered, yes, offered to go buy me a pair and send them to the US after reading on here of my desire for a pair of Mr Hardy's diffusion shoes.
Pop up shops which appear for a week or maybe a month, then close for ever have become increasingly popular from Tokyo to London. Especially in London. The latest is from Comme des Garcons which has been conceived to celebrate the launch of the new 88 8 perfume. It won't sell an an awful lot but a limited number of 8 88 Fragrance, T-Shirts and Candles will be available, well before they launch in regular shops worldwide in February / March 2008. There's also a downstairs section selling vintage CDG Parfum T-shirts and collector CDG Parfums, all from Comme des Garcons.
The pop up is at 5 Burlington Arcade, London W1. It's open from 1.00pm on 29th November to 8th December. (So you can pop into Ladurée for a (several) macaroon(s) afterwards.)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I am now so sleep deprived that I am finding it hard to function. I stayed up 'till 6.30am on Monday & then got in a scant four hours, didn't sleep at all last night, managed a three hour cat nap this afternoon, and am still up at 2.20 now...(Now I know how Miss P feels after young Master Edward's refusal to sleep.)
Deadlines are the problem, plus a rewrite. Not only do I blog 2-3 times daily for a paid anony-blog for a creative network elsewhere, I also have several overdue features for them, plus I'm filing for a super prestigious UK glossy. I am feeling the pressure somewhat: it's a muli-layered piece, involving having interviewed several Hollywood A-list, so I can't screw it up. ("You'll never work in this town again", rings through my head from time to time.)
Thing is, my real life continues: the barrister flew in from Bolivia this am and requires my attention before he buggers off back to Blighty tomorrow evening and I had to go interview Lydia Hearst this morning, plus attend her party at 60 Thompson this evening.
Still, the only thing worse would be no work, no friends, no social life at all...
(And the barrister did feed me cup cakes and dim sum in Chinatown for lunch)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Goodness: the party season is starting up. Globetrotting P flies in from Bolivia tomorrow for one night, before hotfooting it back to London. I'm taking him out for supper to The Stanton Social, and then as my date to a small party Lydia Hearst is hosting at 60 Thompson in the evening. Wednesday is the gala opening of The New Museum on The Bowery, and Thursday sees Paper Magazine & Adrien Brody hosting a party for Miss Sixty in the Flatiron. (Better than London, where the equivalent party would see Patsy Palmer hosting).
Then there is a temporary respite until Sunday when some New York Times friends throw a tri-birthday party at a bar in the East Village. Then it's my birthday week, with plenty of shenanigans planned, and lots more parties. This is why I need a continual supply of sparkly party frocks. Although I am starting to feel exercised about a lack of amusing walkers....
I am haunted by the clothes that I have mislaid around the world: a Jaipuri silk embroidered scarf bought in India when I was nineteen, and dropped at a London bus stop; the Florentine silk lined glove that blew away over the Charles Bridge in Prague; the cerise patent dancing shoes I left in the back of a cab in Miami...And now my favourite winter accessory.
After covering my friend A's charming and really rather attractive neighbour in bright pink lipstick two weeks ago, I managed to leave my absolutely most favourite, most irreplacable, searched for for ages, brown wool hat at his place. I'd been making bad jokes about leaving odd earrings lying around for other girls to find, then went and promptly left my lovely hat behind.
My chances of retrieving it seem slight as he appears to be ignoring me. Somewhat irritating, not least because he's the one who tracked down my number the next day, texted to say it was great to meet, and that he hoped to see more of me.
'Of course', I replied. (Not mentioning the hat). But then silence for a week. My ears were cold. So I suggested an after dinner drink - and a hat reunion. He SMSd at 2am to say he'd been in Mexico, and wld hat hunt. And that was that.
Eventually I texted a gentle hat chasing message yesterday, a week later. Quelle surprise: silence from his end.
I remain a little confused. Is "May I have my hat back please?" code in Ameri-English for "I'm a psycho bitch stalker. Ignore me."?
I REALLY WOULD LIKE MY HAT BACK.
Gah. How far does a girl go in order to retrieve her possessions? My pride is feeling a little damaged: by ignoring me, he's making ME feel stalker-y, dammit, merely for chasing my beloved, if somewhat unprepossessing to the un-fashion eye, hat.
Dearest H has gone all John Le Carré on me, suggesting I should capitalise on the stalker vibe for amusement purposes, by hamming it up with odd, foreign language requests for le chapeau via SMS, cyptic blurred photographs and oblique references to bribes, followed by the suggestion of a Cold War-style dead letter box drop. (I think maybe his & my English sense of humour is too, well, English.)
I suspect that, being a boy, he has no idea of the attachment girls can have to their clothing. Sure I could go out to buy a replacement, but it wouldn't be the same hat, the one I searched for for ages, that fits me perfectly and doesn't make me look like an elf on acid.
BY Malene Birger & American Vintage Sample Sale
Thursday 6th of December 2007 9-19pm
Friday 7th of December 2007 11-19pm
124-128 Barlby Road
W10 6BL London
Nearest Tube: Ladbroke Grove
Payment: CASH ONLY
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I am starting to realise that if I am to stay in Manhattan, then I will be staying single for the duration, & will only be socialising with female or gay friends. (I only ever meet gay men through work, and they tend to be of the extremely camp variety. That's fashion, dahling. Which is not always very relaxing altho brilliant company if one's brain is working at razor sharp levels.)
American, straight, platonic and male friends are impossible as single, interesting men with half a brain don't seem to choose to live here. (They have to be single, as Manhattan women are freakishly territorial and will bop you one if you so much as glance at their man. (What do they think I am going to do? Jump them in the middle of a restaurant?)
And, regarding potential boyfriends, if a man in this city is single and over 30, then he is generally a player, probably enjoys the company of stunningly beautiful & frighteningly stupid women, is possibly harbouring a communicable disease or two, and is so dysfunctional that you'd be fighting with his therapist for quality time.
Frankly I'd rather remain single than sink to their level. Yes, of course, being in a mutually satisfying relationship is splendid, but engaging in games,(outside of the bedroom), no thank you. I'm not twitching to be part of a couple: I complete myself, thank you very much and, after all, if husband hunting were top of my agenda, I'd have stayed in London. I'm not saying no to dating, but if I'm going to give up my time it had better bloody well be worth it.
No, what I want, what I really, really want is a nice boy with whom I can play. No, not like that. You know: for hanging out, feeding, dancing, wingman-ing each other: the stuff I did with my male friends in London.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
ran this piece of retrograde chauvinism from the ex-husband of Jimmy Choo maven Tamara Mellon today. It is truly mind boggling that in this day and age a man feels threatened when his wife is fiscally successful. Then again Mellon is an ex-addict with a trust fund...and of course the marriage breakdown was nothing to do with his well-publicised falling off the wagon....
November 20, 2007 -- MOST men don't find high heels very macho, but for Matthew Mellon, they took away his entire manhood. The ex-husband of Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon tells next month's W magazine, "When your wife makes $100 million during the course of your marriage, it's quite a shocker . . . I felt like my masculinity had been stripped from me. I feel like my b - - - s are in a jar, like a Damien Hirst artwork on the mantelpiece."
Yellow patent leather sandals by Jimmy Choo from Netaporter
Friday, November 16, 2007
I did a LOT of shopping today, blissfully fuelled by breakfast at Dean & Delucca on Broadway and then a full works lunch at The Mercer Kitchen. It is fun when my parents come to town. I just wish it hadn't poured ice cold rain all day.
I had the usual dilemma of whether to buy one great cocktail dress or lots of pieces. Although I tend to veer towards investment dressing,(I certainly don't buy Primark any more), I just have such an over active social life in Manhattan that one dress will simply not plug the gaping holes in my wardrobe.
Astonishingly, I bought five things in Banana Republic, which is most unusual. Annoyingly, the Banana Republic sequin dress has sold out in every store in Manhattan in all sizes, so I will order it on-line & trust it will fit me. Am ecstatic as I haven't been shopping for a month or so owing to pressure of work, and I appear to have dropped at least a dress size, and even two in some styles. Very gratfiying. Obviously hard work & bicycling is a good weight-loss combo.
Still, I bought this instead which will gratify my inner sequinned princess for the time being.
Truly terrible photograph. I also bought a black silk ruffle front shirt, a wool siren LBD, and this rather beautiful silk backed necklace.
And these earrings:
which will feed my inner Sloane. (I am so turning into my mother as my thirties progress.)
I have to sleep now, but will post my DKNY purchases when I get a moment - taking my mother to The Cloisters in the day, & then both my parents to The Waverly Inn for supper. (Last time I had a fabulous view of Zach Braff's bottom as he walked to and fro past my table.)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Buried away at the bottom of a Temperley press release yesterday was the following statement,
"We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the last bag manufacturers in the UK, enabling earlier deliveries and the development of exciting new bags and concepts. Part of the accessories will be produced at this factory going forward."
I find this more interesting than the bag collection: with fashion production increasingly being outsourced to the Far East, it's highly commendable that one of Britain's most ambitiously expanding fashion companies is choosing not just to source its leather goods in the UK, but is actually invesitng in the bricks and mortar to make this happen.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
My flat in London has so much MUJI kicking about in it. My taste runs to the clean, neutral & minimalist and, when I redesigned my bathroom and bedrooom storage last year, I filled it with MUJI's polypropelene storage boxes. I work in MUJI's simple brown card notebooks, and all my beauty supplies are kept organised in their simple perspex pots and containers. Thrilled they are opening here.
This blog entry is more in the manner of a public service announcement: MUJI SOHO, the first MUJI store in the US, opens at 12:00 noon on November 16 at 455 Broadway.
With approximately 3,200 square feet of retail floor space, MUJI’s first store in the US will offer over 2,000 items of MUJI products, including about 570 items of Stationery, 40 items of Furniture, 190 items of Fabric, 590 items of Housewares, 270 items of Health & Beauty products, 20 items of Outdoor supplies, 30 items of Electric Appliances and 330 items of Apparel. After the first day of opening, the store will open regularly from 11a.m. to 9p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and 11a.m. to 8p.m. on Sundays.
In the midst of my work horror last week, I took a break to hop on my bicycle so I could freewheel down Broadway to Exposure US's press day down in Tribeca. After A plyed me with a glass of Laurent Perrier and a Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery cupcake, (alcohol AND sugar - can you tell this company is English-owned?!), always elegant HH took me through the SS08 collections.
Lots of lovely stuff: Dr Martens was partic strong: Yohji ones, with a bonkers floral design impregnated into the leather & an eyebrow raising price point, and a whole range of neon patent 8 hole boots, which have rather grown on me after the initial shock. And some rather gorgeous silver, & gold, ones too. Piles of covetable Globetrotter luggage and some pretty womens' T shirts from Mahirishi.
Nicholas K's SS offer looks wonderful, with some beautiful dresses, and a muted, yet bright, colour palette directly inspired by the designer's trip to India. Designer Caroline Priebe popped in briefly with a wonderful black, feather soft knit with an appliquéd white spine on the back from her ethical & eco friendly line Uluru - more of this later.
Fred Perry continues to collaborate with some wonderful young British designers. So many collaborations of this type fail to mesh the chosen designer's particular aesthetic with that of the larger, more corporate company, but Fred Perry manages it successfully every time. I loved the fabulous black polo material dresses from Emma Cook with the Fred Perry logo blown up and used as embellishment. But the standout is Jessica Ogden's delightful tennis dress, which is an absolutely perfect melange of her artisinal viewpoint with the Fred Perry sportswear raison d'etre
A close family member in her early 30s has relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis. It's impossible to understand what this dehabilitating disease is like from the outside, but this very good piece from The Guardian which she found on the internet today is the best attempt I've read in the media yet. As the writer Michelle Mullen (who has MS herself) explains, MS robs your life of the simple pleasures we all take for granted. I don't apologise for posting this on my blog. I'm not sanctimonious but I do think it does us fashion people all good to realise that for some people, "even putting their knickers on is like going ten rounds with Mike Tyson."
(A much nicer name I think than bleaders, which the author of Julie on Julia uses for her blog readers)
A bit slow on the old blog updating of late owing to a veritable flood of commissions, the imminent arrival of my parents and the WW3 that occurred ten days ago whilst we were planning their trip - my mother is, um, challenged, in the tact & diplomacy department where her family are concerned, plus an in-tray the size of Everest and a hangover to match on Saturday when I actually went out for fun for the first time in a fortnight and poisoned myself. Getting sick two weeks ago and being asked to edit a project in the Far East which meant staying up all night did for my memory & sleep patterns too.
Anyway, I have a LOT of outstanding posts, so I am going to try to play catch up this week. Just wanted to apologise for the slowdown in blogging over the past fortnight or so. xx
Monday, November 12, 2007
I could rant for quite some time about big name diffusion collections, designed by their studios, produced in horrible fabrics, and sold in High Street chains, but I;ve written about it at length elsewhere, so here I will content myself by pointing out that if I want diffusion designer on the High Street, then I look for the new and interesting designers who I know will have designed tiny capsule ranges themselves, which support their main line and raise consumer awareness of their nascent brand not their over-priced handbags and umpteen licences for fragrance, cosmetics, sunglasses and the like.
Topshop Boutique is good at this: Preen, Jonathan Saunders and Emma Cook have done stand out collections of maybe ten or twenty pieces for them, and I’m particularly looking forward to Next Big Thing Osman Yousefzada’s SS08’s collection of twelve little black dresses for Mango.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Why on earth are we supposed to give column inches to yet another anodyne collection in artificial fibres, masquerading as high end designer, made in a Far East factory and sold at H&M?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Typical: I can spend several weeks painting my nails and rearranging my wardrobe then, the moment I get simultaneously ill and homesick, I get innundated with work. Last week was a pig, but now I'm better-ish and, joyously, the work is still rolling in. Today I was innundated with calls from across the BBC networks asking me to comment on Vogue's top fifty glamour list - no one could quite believe that the Queen had been called glamorous by a fashion magazine. Usually I can get away with doing phoners, but the World Service wanted me to go into the studios late afternoon for a live feed into Newshour. In London they send a car, but here it's so close it's hardly worth it so I, glamorously, hopped on my vintage bike and rode up to 33rd, arriving pink of face with very cold ears. Good thing it was radio. Very pleasing tho: work & exercise in one neat package.
Tomorrow is a random day - off to a truffle tasting uptown at lunchtime, and then to a film at Paramount's screening room. I'm interviewing a film director for Harpers Bazaar at the end of the week, which will be a change from the fashion circus.
WWD reported an hour ago that US Condé Nast is to fold the US edition of House & Garden and the accompanying website with the December issue. This follows the closure of Jane and its website earlier in the year.
Prior to Jane folding, industry tactics dictated that the prnt version would fold, whilst the on-line one would continue, Hachette's Elle Girl & Time's TeenPeople for example. Although the clue there is in the demographic - H&G's somewhat silver readership does not, at least for the next few years, represent a guaranteed on-line revenue stream. And whilst Glamour.com & style.com have a fully functioning and rather good web presence, it's hard to not to suspect that the other CN titles' websites are there to drive print subscription sales, and build reader loyalty, rather than produce independent revenue streams.
The closure of H&G has been long rumoured, but this announcement came out of the blue, although it is thought to have been precipitated by the departure of publisher Joe Lagani last month.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I keep thinking about how cold it's going to be here in February. I remember buying a down coat in London for my friend M who lives near Lake Geneva/Lac Léman & shipping it out to Switzerland for her, all the time thinking, no, no, no way would I ever wear something as style-deficient as that. Now, after barely surviving the -10F temperatures during New York Fashion Week last February, I know better. I don't just want one, I need one. Sod style, I can always take it off once inside the tents.
Unfortunately they aren't something you can just pick up at a moment's notice and, after my usual meticulous on-line research I think this may be my baby. It has a 700 down fill which appears to be the down flll gold standard. It's also made by North Face, which my mountain goat friends Nick & Nigel assure me is A Good Thing, & it's an emminently affordable $298 at this site.
Then, of course, I discovered this:
The Canada Goose Arctic-Tech Mystique Parka. I thought it was a particularly naff name, until I read that it was inspired by the jacket made for Rebecca Romijn to wear off-camera during the filming of X-Men 2. As they point out, if the Mystique Parka can keep an actress wearing little more than blue body paint warm in Arctic shooting conditions, it's capable of handling whatever the city can throw in anyone's direction.
Unfortunately it's a bit out of my price range (seeing as it is something I have to have rather than something beautiful I lust after) at $549 on the same site
Friday, November 02, 2007
Yesterday was the SS08 Banana Republic fashion show. Usual slick KCD set up: fashion editors perched on four rows of Philippe Starck Ghost chairs in a concrete floored & rather chilly photographic studio in the far reaches of Chelsea. Rather sweetly they had grouped the four English editors together in the front row: me, doyenne Lisa Armstrong of The Times, and two old friends. (With BR opening in London in the Spring, it behoves them to be nice by not shoving us behind a pillar.)
After years & years of attending the main shows during the fashion weeks where you know at least all the British contingent and, often lots of the international lot too, it's quite odd to cover American market events like this when you know absolutely no one at all. I really need to start engaging with the American side of the industry now that I live here. Problem is that I still write, in the main, for the English market and not often about American fashion.
But I am educating myself, and discovering new (to me) designers is always a pleasure. It helps that I have started writing a by-lined column elsewhere which allows me to profile upcoming American designers.
I will provide some lucid thoughts on the show when my head isn't about explode. My critical faculties are suspended 'till I am better.
In bed with a truly hideous, running river of snot cold, trolling through the US gap.com website for any clue that Pierre's magical dancing shoes are to be sold in the US, and trying to ignore the parade of dull, when this rather lovely piece popped up. I long ago gave up hope that there would be anything I wanted to wear in US Gap, but rather like this. (I actually have two ponchos from UK Gap, brown from last season, and black from this, but they have seamed bottoms with armholes. This looks a bit smarter - and is only $78 in a 95%/5% wool/cashmere mix.) This might keep the cold bugs at bay.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
These are the Pierre Hardy for Gap sandals which launched in London, today, Thursday. I really, really want a pair. £70.
Stop press: I love my blog and I love my old managing editor who has just emailed to say she is buying these on my behalf & can mail them to me here in the States/hand them over to my sis. Words cannot express.