Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Chartwell, c 1946

Hat - Uni qlo
Dress - Traid, £4 sale
Belt- Jumble sale, 20p
Bag - jumble sale, 50p
Shoes - H&M plus ribbon laces

Listening to ~ Blossom Dearie ~ Long Daddy Green

Prepare for some history geekery because on Sunday I spent a gloriously sunny day at Chartwell, National trust property and former home of Winston Churchill. According to my Father (who knows such things) it's the second most popular National Trust property. It was crazy busy because they were having a special 1940s day, with home guard demonstrations, all the staff in 1940s clothing, a brass band playing on the lawn and also a flyby from a spitfire. All made even better given we only went there on a whim. Chartwell felt quite different to some of the other national Trust places I've been to. I think because there is so much knowledge and information about the people who lived there, unlike others where not much is said. The house felt very homely and you can tell would be a gorgeous place to live, the views alone are incredible. It was quite an inspiring place really, there is a room full of all the accolades and awards given to Churchill over the course of his life in the 'uniform rooms' and also a mini museum. 

In the museum I found a great quote along the lines of -  "I like pigs; cats look down on you and dogs look up to you but pigs treat you as equals." It said he often sketched a little pig at the end of his letters. It's fascinating getting an insight into such a famous mind. As well as the house, you can visit Churchill's studio (well part of it) which contains some of his paintings, and the rose garden/ grounds. I really enjoyed looking around but it was so hot by the end I just had to flop down on the grass and listen to the brass band. I am so glad I wore this new dress from Traid ,during one of their brilliant £4 sales,(eventually it goes to £2.) I love the feeling of all that fabric, and I am a big fan of denim/ chambray any day.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The hard edge of pretty

All images collaged  from Laura Ashley by Martin Wood

A little while ago I got a book out of the library; Laura Ashley bu Martin Wood. I have always been aware of Laura Ashley, when I was younger I was given some of my aunt's 1970's Laura Ashley maxi dresses. You know the one with the high necks and long sleeves that looked Victorian. To my twelve year old self these were very unfashionable, (it was after all the 1990s) and I out them in a box and never really looked at them. When I was 18 I found a rust coloured long smock dress with a matching cream smock. I wore the smock over my mini dresses at uni. The only thing I ever really appreciated about Laura Ashley dresses were the fabrics, all the retro florals and 70s colours. The only other Laura Ashely items I possess are a child's puff sleeved party dress and a sailor style 1980s number with lace collar. Still the brand has always fascinated me a bit, I knew that it was essentially started by Laura Ashley at her kitchen table printing scarves, and that grew into an international business. I have thought for the last few years that the brand should really re-issue some of it's vintage styles in some 1960s/70s fabrics. At least I'd like to buy them. So this book was of interest to me. It has plenty of glorious photos of fabrics and archive catalogue images. Although of real and surprising interest were the top two photos. (The second I have collaged up a bit) The top photo is of Viv Albertine of punk band the Slits with Paul Simon of the Clash. Apparently they were taken by Laura's daughter Jane who was at art collage at the time. I love how the sweet old fashioned image of Laura Ashley was mixed with the hard edge of punk. There is something very modern about the meeting of the two. Just a little inspiration for a Monday.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Blue for a girl, pink for a boy

 Hat - Jumble sale about 6 years ago, £1
 Cupro Shirt - Charity shop
 Jeans - Had since I was 18
Shoes - TK Maxx

~  Listening to  - Fleetwood mac, Landslide ~

So this is the outfit I wore yesterday to go see the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at my favourite, the V&A. I felt like channeling a bit of his aesthetic, with a rather gender neutral outfit. The exhibition was great, I enjoyed seeing so many of his pieces up close, particularly since you could walk around them and see the back/ sides of the clothes, which is rare in many fashion exhibitions. Some of the techniques, especially the gathering and pleating, are just incredible. The sculptural quality and sheer inventiveness of his work always inspires me. Also how he mixes up traditional mens/womens wear and blurs the lines between the two. I have been thinking about gender neutral clothing a bit recently and I found this article pretty interesting, girls in blue and boys in pink being a lot more recent than I realised. It actually used to be the other way round. Speaking of blue, the blue shirt that I'm wearing is made of Cupro, a lovely fabric that looks and feels like washed silk but is actually made of reprocessed cellulose, like tencel and rayon. It's such a bright colour and feels so cool in warm weather. Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Hat - Uni qlo
1950s blouse- Jumble sale, 20 p
Skirt - Charity shop
Shoes - Topshop sale a couple of yesrs ago
Leather clutch - Handmade by my Grandmother in the 1950s

I really need to find some more photo taking locations. I think the old yellow brick wall is going to get pretty boring pretty fast. Still, at least I managed to catch the last patch of golden sun. It's funny that I considered this skirt to be 'long' until I looked at these pictures. I have really been wanting some longer length skirts for this weird in between weather, however I can't seem to find any that aren't either maxi or strangely frumpy round the waist. The hunt therefore continues, unless I can rouse myself to make one. I got this blouse at a jumble sale last year and have struggled to wear it since it's quite short, but I'm glad to have found a way to wear i. Since it's made of lovely thick fabric and has that pretty cut out detailing too. Bit of a slow week, it's always tough going back to work after long weekends. Still I have eaten both courgette and chocolate coco cola cake today, which always makes life a little easier.