Introducing a guest blog from stylist and DJ Laura Campbell (pictured)
(VERY) DEAR DENIM
Bearing in mind you can pick up a pair of jeans from Primark for £11, can you imagine spending over £500 for a pair? J Brand has skinny jeans for around this figure. One design in particular is made out of a special non-sagging stretch fabric and has silk pockets and 24 carat gold rivets. Yours for £525. Could you maybe even stretch to £960 for a leather pair by the same label – available at Harvey Nichols Bristol? For A/W Hedi Slimane has designed distressed jeans for Saint Laurent costing £1,355. The jeans are shredded and feature chains. Really that’s a snip compared to what’s on offer at Selfridges’ recently launched denim studio. Among the 11,000 styles available is a pair of Paige jeans for a jaw-dropping £11,000 (pictured). Seriously. Yes, they are bespoke yadder yadder and decorated with ‘wing-shaped zip pulls embellished with two carat diamonds’ and the customer can try samples on for size (available in 24-32) and expect delivery within 3-4 weeks. While you reach for your smelling salts, consider Secret Circus, the “luxury affordable” label that has designed a pair of jeans with diamonds sewn into the pockets. Price tag a staggering $1.3 million. I kid you not. Presumably they come with their own posse of armed security guards. Perhaps this calls for a regular paragraph dedicated to the most ludicrously priced fashion piece? Kerching!
ANGST ON THE SCHOOL RUN
According to Google, recent searches for “what mums should wear back to school” have shot up 40%. Apparently some women are in crisis about what how to dress for the school gates. To quote John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious?” Supposedly looking a little rough around the edges, or like you are not on the way to a high-powered job/yoga session/very important meeting can be detrimental to your reputation. People might think you’re not up to scratch on what’s hot fashion-wise, you don’t care enough about your appearance and are falling apart. Maybe you even need therapy or a strict round of medication. This can only be in London or New York, surely? There’s something not quite right about women feeling under pressure about how to clothe themselves for what’s essentially a rather dull everyday duty. I can only think this neurosis must come from celebrities – the new gods and goddesses – who steer today’s up-to-the-nanosecond trends. The best advice is to be yourself and wear what makes you feel comfortable and if in doubt, spruce up your outfit with accessories – a bold necklace, pretty bangle, striking scarf or an eye-catching belt. The women who dare to be different and don’t toe the line have got to be more interesting and grounded than the ones who care too much about such minor matters. If it’s pyjamas and a turban so be it. A devil-may-care attitude and a healthy dose of irreverence never got anyone into trouble. The only ones who might well complain are your children.
Hunting for a practical bag that looks good and doesn’t shout its price tag can be tricky if you prefer a more low key look to the all-singing designer numbers out there that can make a large dent in your bank account – and no doubt your shoulder, once it’s packed to the gunnels with all manner of essential and non-essential paraphernalia. Personally I don’t want people, albeit beady fashionistas, ID’ing my shopping destinations. I found this vintage tasselled suede American Indian bag recently unearthed in a vintage shop in Bath and love its size and unique, slightly shabby Bohemian look. Ally Capellino designs quality, simple-looking bags that don’t scream “label” so that’s one place to try if you’re looking for a new, anonymous-looking bag for winter. You could check out the matte leather bucket bag (£89) at cosstores.com or for something more substantial and a bit pricier Plumo have a nice battered-looking, non-bling shoulder bag (£389) in their new collection that will house all the necessary clobber that makes up the contents of the average woman’s ‘holdall’ – of which a male friend of mine rather charmingly refers to as “a whole lot of crazy.”
DYEING TO BE DIFFERENT
When bored of a once favourite top or a pair of trousers, before hurling out the offending article, consider a change of colour. You can dye white T-shirts that have seen better days to revive them or use Dylon’s denim shade to boost faded jeans. So what to do with a pair of unworn white Converse with silver stars bought in a giddy moment, still believing I was a good deal younger than I really am? The love affair with this particular brand of trainer has been dwindling for some time, but I decided to give this pair a reprieve so filled a bowl with olive-coloured dye and immersed their gleaming whiteness into the murky green waters. The result was very satisfying: a pair of khaki high-tops with muted silver stars. The rubber sides and toe have discoloured somewhat and could be cleaned up with a baby wipe but I’m quite enjoying the scuffed and scruffy look. The original bright white laces have been ditched and replaced with a silver metallic pair found in a haberdashery shop. From flash to funky footwear in one easy dunk.
While some people continue to push the groomed, plumped and polished look, it was buoying news to hear some well heeled folk are cultivating “pauper chic” – something us Brits are genuinely good at. American fashionistas have ditched their distressed designer garb and been trawling overpriced thrift shops for the real deal – costly, shabby dresses and vintage finds to complement the gutter of their deliberately grown-out dyed hair. Twentysomething New Yorkers are “dumpster diving” – rummaging through garbage bins in search of appropriate “trash swag.” These fauxhemians are also known as “bobos” (= meaning bourgeoisie mainlining the bohemian look) and spend a small fortune perfecting their low rent style with Mac make-up to get the smouldering night-spent-in-a-crack-den look. Over here it’s safe to say we have been used to hand-me-downs for decades. No pseudo-hippies on parade.
GOING AGAINST THE TIDE
If you’re one of those people who likes to buy in advance – for example, baubles after Christmas when decorations have been discounted – you might want to join the wise women who grab next year’s swimwear now. With summer almost over it’s a good time to pick up designs in the sale. With bikinis, it’s nice to buy both parts and alternate different tops and bottoms. This summer low-slung bikini shorts were popular (you can relax about the wax) but the person who really got it right was Naomi Campbell in her polka dot frill bottoms and white bikini top in St Tropez. Okay, we may not have her Amazonian silhouette but the mismatching is where it’s at. Look out for Pistol Panties for sassy bikinis and Liza Bruce for flattering, figure-holding swimsuits. Also check out nikinis.co.uk, heidiklein.co.uk, bikinishack.co.uk and lifesabeachswimwear.co.uk
The UK has become one of the most ritzy destinations in Europe – and right in the middle of economic uncertainty. Britain has recently taken delivery of more private jets than all its neighbouring countries and the number of people earning over £1m has doubled in the last couple of years. Who knew? Bling Britain alert.