I recently went to dinner with Bruce Oldfield. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just me, but a select gathering of Fashion Group International members...
Coming from his Barnardo's background, Bruce is an advertisement for all that is achievable from a combination of nothing more than raw talent and hard work. Oh, and it helps that he’s a real charmer, who claims to be able to “sell ice to Eskimos.” Plus, he also makes proper party dresses.
Citing Sam Cam’s mother, Lady Astor as his “first nob client,” Oldfield later became couturier to the likes of Princess Diana. He says that Charlotte Rampling is his favourite customer, and Queen Rania of Jordan is someone he’d most like to dress. Curiously, X-Factor judge Tulisa has also been seen wearing some of his rather retro looking frocks, with petticoats underneath for added volume.
Oldfield says he doesn’t pander to fashion trends, “though you have to nod to what’s going on.” The idea of fashion as art leaves him cold. According to Bruce, “fashion should never become an academic subject… it’s just something to make people look gorgeous when they go out in the evening.”
But the times are ever a-changin’… and fashion offerings now range from (un)wearable art and design-led pieces, right through to disposable high street and celebrity inspired items, with some rather nondescript, mainstream stuff in between. Of course, there’s vintage too – which is all the better because it’s recycled and has that much more charm and provenance.
Bruce Oldfield certainly has plenty of classic vintage style, much like these bags from ShopCurious. They’re perfect for Christmas parties (or as unique gifts) – and, much like Bruce, they have the added appeal of a bit of history.
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Sunday, 27 November 2011
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Big bling is all the thing, though not always practical. Imagine you’re in the office, wearing a ginormous knuckleduster (like this one by Kyle Hopkins), that gets in the way every time you put pen to paper – or digit to desktop.
Much like breasts, accessories seem to be getting bigger – possibly because larger is seen to be more curious - but what about more cumbersome? To avoid a disconcerting tangle, it’s advisable to choose jewellery with some consideration for size and practicality.
Here’s a necklace that reminds me of a voodoo themed room divider. However, it’s possible to find shell chokers that are authentic, but also manageable.
As for seasonal accessories, stars and glittery baubles make perfect charms on a chain necklace or belt. But you probably don’t want to end up looking as though you’re part of a Christmas window display.
This jewelled body armour rocks, but how comfortable or convenient would it be to actually wear? A similar effect can be achieved, with the addition of usefulness, in the form of a precious stone and snakeskin clutch from ShopCurious (available in a range of colours – and every bag is totally unique).
Or get the curiosity shop look with a vintage resin necklace - so much more in keeping with an old style dress than contemporary plastic bling, don’t you think?
Saturday, 19 November 2011
It’s dark by 4.0 pm, it’s raining, and the high street is a depressingly familiar sight...
But what would you like to see instead of the bright lights of Poundland?
This weekend ShopCurious has an alternative shopping showcase:
At Curious Trends, we’ve a feature on one of London’s most unique curiosity shops – LASSCO at Brunswick House. This architectural salvage emporium is perfect for anyone renovating a home, or simply on the look out for quirky antiques and retro memorabilia (though probably not for a pound).
Over at The Dabbler, we visit curiously colourful and retro-progressive Brixton Market, where you’ll find slow food, ethnic homewares and fabulous vintage fashion.
And we also take a peek at the hi-tech future of retail – just look at this virtual Tesco Homeplus store in South Korea. People in Seoul are shopping from the walls of the subway…
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Sometimes when I read the newspapers I get a curious sense of déjà vu. Take this evening when I actually managed to get hold of a copy of the Evening Standard – no longer available from any local newsagent I have ever been to, but always a much prized read.
When I saw that Meg Mathews referred to her new home (sadly damaged in a recent fire) as her ‘pop box’ I was reminded of some articles I’d just published (see the previous post). And, of course, of my former boutique Fashion Gallery, as shown in this photograph from 'vintage' magazine Woman's Journal (circa 2000), with its spiral staircase - plus some curiously colourful floral wallpaper in the background.
Decipher eye-roglyphics – ah yes, we’ve covered curious eyes and all things Egyptian in recent Curious Trends posts.
“V&A has a ball with posh frocks of past 60 years” – well, we’ve been wearing posh frocks for ages (though perhaps not quite that long). And what’s more ShopCurious is selling some wonderful ballgowns and dresses by the likes of royal couturiers Belville Sassoon and Gina Fratini amongst others.
As for India Knight’s Passion for Pink in her Chalk Farm home - we did suggest that Barbara Cartland would make the perfect style icon for 2011.
So who is our icon for 2012, and what trends will we be predicting…
Storage containers have become quirkier of late. Unusual vintage chests and trinket boxes are much sought after - and individually customized boxes are seen to be curiously cool. Retro finds are being embellished by designers, like the paper clay porcelain work by Juliette Purdy (right). At ShopCurious, Uoldbag’s upcycled jewellery boxes feature vintage newspaper cuttings with a royal theme.
Japanese artists decorated the insides of tea boxes to create a collection of impressively unique artworks for ICN gallery’s opening exhibition. But, perhaps one of the most curiously fitted out boxes I’ve spotted recently, was at Jealous Gallery’s stand at the Moniker Art Fair - where a fairground candy grabber was turned into this:
Although no less extraordinary, the winning sets in our digital Curiosity Box Contest at Polyvore are, thankfully, a tad more tasteful… (click on the images below to view)
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Does anyone remember the vintage BBC children’s television programme called Tales from Europe? There was a scary Soviet version of The Snow Queen – and the strangely haunting Singing Ringing Tree. I mention this because folk tales have been a major source of inspiration for fashion and home accessories designers’ forthcoming collections.
At ShopCurious, we’ve also got a bit of a folksy theme in the run up to Christmas. Our curiously colourful hand painted Babushka dolls (right) make really unique tree decorations, and would be great as an unusual gift.
We’ve also got a selection of dramatic vintage gowns for dressy Christmas parties – including fabulous, folk-style pieces from Gina Fratini and Thea Porter Couture.
Monday, 7 November 2011
With rain forecast, I was expecting Bonfire Night to be a total washout. But I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the most spectacular fireworks displays ever (well, since the last most spectacular one anyway). And not a drop of rain.
London’s Hurlingham Club fireworks take some beating – especially if viewed from across the river. Best of all, you don’t have to be a member of the club, and second best of all, you get to see twice the fireworks for your money (in fact for no money, as it’s free).
The reason I say twice the fireworks, is because there’s also a reflection in the River Thames. It’s not quite the same as being there, but these photographs, which remind me of something from a Turner painting, will give you an idea…
And here's what the fabulous finale looked like:
By the way, shadows, reflections and outlines are some of the curious trends that ShopCurious predicts we’ll be seeing much more of in fashion and interiors over the coming seasons. It’s all to do with having the curiosity factor…
Friday, 4 November 2011
I bought a Poppy from Gunner George yesterday. Last year he raised £6,278.42 for the Poppy Appeal.
Why did this bring to mind the old fashioned curiosity shops (something of a dying breed) featured in Philip Woolway’s photography at ShopCurious? Curiously, amidst all the clutter of one such junk shop, stands a rather forlorn looking portrait of David Beckham. The image is called A Time for Heroes.
It’s good to remember who the real heroes are... lest we forget.