Back in Blighty

31 January 2009

So I'm finally back from a crazy 5 days in Florence, with lukewarm showers, early 'continental' breakfasts and an easily filled lift in our cheapie hotel provided by uni (don't even get me started on that). With my weak pound affording me only 9 more euros than what I paid in pounds, I still seemed to think that I could do some major damage in the shops. I was wrong. The Prada outlet was a massive trek, and although the prices would've been decent this time last year, at the moment I seemed to be 300 euros short. I really don't know what I was thinking, and almost contemplated buying a Miu Miu shirt for €70 to make the trip worth it, but managed to drag myself back to some kind of sensible reality. This is what the place looks like:

If anyone wants to know how to find it, extortionate taxi prices, how to trek there from the station etc etc, e-mail me and I'll fill you in. I've decided that with the money I saved (or didn't have in the first price), I can now finance my ASOS spree I was talking about a few weeks ago. Maybe this will help sort out the economy. We'll see.

The whole point of our visit was the Pitti Filati trade fair, where all the swatch, trims, buttons and yarn companies sell their wares. It was apparently a lot smaller than usual, with many companies presenting from hotel rooms, but it was still worthwhile seeing the mini-garment ideas and prints and colours in the trend area. I'm looking forward to seeing who picks up on some of these details, and using them as inspiration for a new project after this mammoth amount of work I have to do.

Expensive trend and collections magazines were also being sold, but after seeing many titles I recognised from my local market, I decided to wait a while for a better and more expected deal. I did pick up a few cheaper magazines, purely for the knitwear techniques and collections at a glance, as well as good old Vogue Italia. I also rummaged in the 'bargain' section, and found some random Japanese street style magazines for €2 each (seems I'm the last person on earth to have heard of 'Fruits'), which makes me want to visit Japan even more. I'll try and post some inspiring pictures once I've waded through them all.

We also got to go to a large vintage fair, but after paying £40 for 30 something items at Angels, I can't seem to comprehend spending €600 on a vintage Chanel bag. Wait, actually I can... I managed to take some sneaky pictures of some stuff I liked, but alas could not afford. Really liked the fastening detail of the trousers on the right, methinks I will pillage them for my next project.

Also managed to pick up some vintage Missoni tights for a bargainous €5 each! I don't think I can go a week without buying a new pair of tights. I'm looking forward to layering the zig zag prints over some other colours.

I am so tired at the moment, and have a mountain of work ahead, but somehow am managing to plough through the 600 odd new items on Google Reader and the total redesign of the Topshop website (I like...I want). I do miss Florence though, its old buildings, fast traffic and strange trend for shiny puffy jackets, but now I've been brought back to reality with a bump after spending the best part of £250 on food, drink, tights and magazines. Now, I really must get out of bed, and sort my room out. I will try not to go on Google Reader for at least two hours in order to do this. You have been warned.

26 January 2009

Have finally got round to packing for Florence, yes I know it's tomorrow, but I'm a night owl. Am flying with silly Ryanair and can only take a measly 15kg, when my suitcase on it's own weighs 5 and my scaled down possesions appear to weigh 10. Am having to do some last minute reshuffling.

Looks nothing like this stylish bloggers wares, I can't seem to understand the concept of a capsule wardrobe.


Braved the cold with my floral River Island tights today, and found this cute grey jersey bow in the Topshop Sale for £2. Teamed with my grey cardi, they look as one, I wish I could have found more to stick on the pockets.


chic on the cheap

Recently I realised that you could search for bits on net a porter by price, so I decided to seek out things that were vaguely affordable (and actually nice). They are mainly basics, but in exquisite materials such as silk and viscose.
This Kain tank has a cute side pocket, and is nice and long with mucho layering potential. Only £58.72! (Gotta love that VAT reduction).
This Vanessa Bruno trapeze tank is the perfect shape, currently £35 in the sale so almost in my reach...
And this Vanessa Bruno dress probably wouldn't suit me, but I love it anyway. Such a shame the postage costs are £10! Guess my window shopping will never amount to anything more, unless someone wants to include my tops in a massive order...

i'm so tired i'm not moving

23 January 2009

So I've finally applied for a placement for third year, after much stress and tweaking of Illustrated CV's on Photoshop. I've gone for one in New York, which I've partly chosen for the location and Gossip Girl stalking possibilities, but also for it's varied role including anything from creating trend boards to sourcing buttons. There is also a really cool sounding design placement in Hong Kong which I'm considering, I love the place, but the combination of these two jobs could mean being away from my beloved Britain for 12 whole months. Not sure what I think about that.

finally wore my zac posen for wolford tights!

I've got a lot of work on at the moment, resulting in me being in Uni for 12 consecutive days (yes, even weekends) so I'm glad for our trip to Florence next week (through Uni). Hopefully I'll have lots of inspiring pictures from the Pitti Filati trade show and clothes from the Balenciaga and Prada outlets (by clothes, I mean whatever I can afford, perhaps a sock). Has anyone ever been before? Not sure about how far my money will go due to the awful rate, but I will try stuff on nonetheless.

Lot's of bloggers have been lusting after the new Topshop Spring collection, and it's not hard to see why. The trends have elements of 80s fun and brashness, with mixed up styles and leggings in every colour and print imaginable, definitely more exciting than recessionista clothing. Uniform is coming up soon, and although the discount is somewhat reduced, I'm hoping to pick myself up some of these treats; leggings, heeled brogues, full skirts and bustiers, reminding me of films like Heathers and even a bit of Clueless. I never thought the 90s was a stylish decade, but now I'm starting to see it's playfulness in fashion today.

As seen on me? Maybe one day...

17 January 2009

I'd given up on ASOS for a while, due to the shoddy quality of their own brand items, and lack of discount codes when I need them. Like the All Saints hitch style skirt which seemed a bargain, but isn't so hitched any more due to ripping it while intoxicated. Or the sailor style top (in the style of Paris Hilton, but I was of course not buying it for that reason) that now has a busted zip and was probably too tight anyway, and don't even get me started on the strapless floral dress which got sent back as soon as it arrived due to the poor quality fabric and print that looked ever more lairy in the flesh. Sure the pictures look nice, and they copy pieces from other brands well, but the clothes in my opinion are Topshop prices for Primark quality. Despite my aversions, I browse the site regularly as they have a wealth of independant labels, and I've finally found something I really like. This gorgeous Public Beware draped grey jersey dress, may well soon end up on my Solo card come payday, long and layered makes me very happy...

This organic v-neck jersey dress is also the kind of thing I want to layer with long cardigans, leggings, scarves and whatever else I may find in that mess they call my room....

May have to sell some more stuff on Ebay to justify this mammoth spend...

i like

16 January 2009

Here's some bits I've found on the internet recently that inspire me:
Lulu's multiple yet uneven layers of black
A two-tone t-shirt found on the streets of Russia, hopefully I can create one of my very own.
Queen Michelle's stylish combo with cream jacket, my forgotten Kate Moss TS jacket is very similar
A ruffle t-shirt found on another trendy Russian
Long layers at La Garconne
Tweed Aquascutum blazer as sported on Alexa Chung
Ruffled grey cardi by Best Behaviour
Vaguely affordable Alexander Wang dress with uneven hem.

Hopefully as my workload lessens, I can put my sewing and knitting skills to good use, to try my own take on some of these looks. For now I have a swatching project (knitted mini garment ideas, which are sold to companies), an outfit (knitted cardigan, vest with screenprinted Rosette and woven skirt), a DVC Visual Product (40 images and quotes, nicely presented, fully referenced, perhaps more work than a 3000 word essay), a job, fashion show to organise and driving lessons to occupy my time with...

shoes of 2009: pair 1

14 January 2009

One of my New Years Resolutions is to expand my shoe collection, to that of Susie Bubble proportions, which is tricky due to my schizo, wide size 8 feet and skinny ankles. Finding the perfect pair of shoes is a mission, and I can almost never find my size in sales except in the wonderful Aldo. This is the third pair of boots I've managed to find in the sale, and I think they fit well, plus they were £30. This means that the amount I had in the shoe fund for the Office patent pair, can now supplement the clothes fund (which is obsessed with stripes at the moment).

And yay, my camera works again! I thought that after accidentally posting it to Casio 2nd class wrapped up in kitchen roll in a jiffy bag, it would never be seen again, but lo and behold it has resurfaced and works better than ever. I think I may need to invest in a tripod though, as my self-timer skills are somewhat lacking. It'll be perfect for taking lots of pictures in Florence. Now I need to hoover my floor...

can anyone speak russian?

8 January 2009

Today I managed to get up at the crack of dawn, to head on to the local charter market to stock up on fashion magazines. You see, I never pay full price for anything, and magazines are no exception. Bromley Market sells slightly out of date (OK I did see a Vogue from April 08) magazines at the bargain price of 75p each, or 3 for £2. You never really know what you'e going to come home with. Sometimes I end up with ID, Pop or Dazed, or some random Collezioni edition, and I've picked up Plastique, Oyster, 10, Tank, Purple, Soon and Another Magazine in the past. The best buy was Self-Service, a massive tome of fashion fun and frolics, but I haven't seen any of those for a while. Today I picked up these beauties:

The Sportswear International Yearbook book retails at around €50 but I got it for 67p! Perfect for any sporty inspiration that I may need in the future. I also picked the Russian Vogue last to get my 6 for £4 deal, but cannot make head nor tail of it. It is obviously an A/W edition, due to it's thickness and the crazy amounts of fur and chunky knitwear on it's pages. Though I am anti-fur, I almost feel tempted in these arctic temperatures to don something as cosy as the fur dress by Akris. I've never really been into fur, real or fake, as the texture kind of freaks me out, but seeing as the wetlook leggings and long tops won me over, who knows what I could be wearing next Winter...

Hopefully something furry in texture, but knitted like the Tim Ryan coats featured on Style Bubble.

It also had an interesting article about CSM students, at least I think it would be an interesting article, as of course, I don't understand Russian. I like an interesting knit as you might have guessed, and these see-through cables look really exciting. Just wish I could make out the names to find out more...

I'd love to have these Russian dolls on my manterlpiece. The bottom designs are by Giles and Marc Jacobs, my scanner didn't take kindly to scanning 500 page magazines you see.

Update 06/05/09: Well I still can't speak russian, but now know the above knits are by Irina Shaposhnikova. Knitkicks has a bit more about her on her blog, she's actually figured out how it's done, but remember, you heard it here first!

angels customisation situation

I've finally got around to altering some of the finds I picked up at the Angels Sale. Out of the 5 dresses I kept, 4 needed shortening and taking in, and one needs re-sewing and a new zip, nevertheless I have finished two completely. My altering skills involving darts have much improved. It's made me fall in love with them all over again now that they fit perfectly. I also shortened my cool skirt with random fruit and bicycles on. It's a bit big, but a skirt keeps it high waisted.

Plus I sold 2 dresses and one jumper I didn't want on ebay, and made just over £20! This now brings my Angels spend down to £20! 30 something items for £20, a bargain. That's what I keep telling myself anyways...

all over the shop

You know you're in the midst of a recession when your friend starts a conversation with 'Guess what happened when I was in Poundland?' (incidentally she got ID'd trying to buy a razor). With all these depressing yet confusing headlines, and limited funds, I decided to take a well earned trip into Central London last week. I'd hadn't really been shopping for a while, plus I needed to buy fabric and yarn for my current project, as well as new clothes for a new year. After coveting the Louise Goldin for Topshop leggings for ages, but not wanting to foot the £100 price tag, then seeing them on sale at £50, then £25, then being disappointed when the completely sold out, I'd been through the full range of emotions. I'd heard on the grapevine there were a few larger sizes floating around at Oxford Circus, so I should expect a rummage, but I literally just wandered over to the sale area, and was greeted by the perfect size small on a random rail. It's like they were calling out, 'buy me, buy me.' Luckily they fit nicely and I consider them research for my future knitting career. Everything knitted is research. Plus they're 100% wool and made in Italy, so pretty good considering.

I also picked up some loose cardigans in the Zara and Bershka sales, perfect for layering with all these long tops I want to buy.Also bought some more yarn for the scarf I gave up on before I started the Yokoo scarf, which I've subsequently now given up on. I've now finished it and wear it as a sculptural piece, I like it because it can look different every time I wear it and of course, it's seriously warm and does a far better job than my checked scarf.

credit crunch couture (in more detail)

6 January 2009

My Luella bag is going to make it's first outing in society tomorrow. I'm going to central London for a yarn hunting/ shopping trip, taking me from Walthamstow, to Islington and ending at Oxford Circus. I'm really excited as I haven't done any high street shopping for ages, so plan to visit the Topshop mecca, as well as Uniqlo and American Apparel (must has to be tried on before I order online) before I head back to Uni.

I thought I'd relive my Bicester purchases again. I picked up these tartan Zac Posen for Wolford tights, and I've fallen in love with them all over again after finally trying them on. I'm thinking about layering cream tights underneath, for warmth etc.

They also come in a posh box, and I'm going to keep them safe in there. I don't want them to have the same inevitable fate as my Primark numbers.

The Luella bag never ceases to amaze me, I discovered a further pocket just recently, nestled near the handles. It's going to fit an awful lot of my crap in, so this is probably the neatest it'll be for a very long time. These are the charms close up, love the randomness of a heart and skeleton combination.

My knitting books have also been providing me with a lot of useful inspiration. Weardowney features this funky Sonia Rykiel Fairisle, which I'll hopefully be seeing more of when I go to her exhibition in Paris. My swatching project at the moment needs lots of this kind of thing, so am trying to conjure up a pattern as we speak.

I wish I could find the time to knit cables like these, but seeing as my Yookoo style scarf has been abandoned at the moment, I highly doubt it. Still, it's nice to dream. I see cardigans galore, just waiting to be knitted.