Saturday, 23 June 2012

Flowers, frills, feathers and fans


The Queen was dressed simply, in powder blue, for the first day of Royal Ascot. My own curiously cobbled together outfit comprised of faded pastel shades – I customized an old pair of Top Shop shoes with ‘found’ floral embellishment, which I’d purloined from a vintage hat the night before. Thankfullly, I found a pair of 'nude' tights before I left too...

I wore one of the 'mad hatter' creations from my extensive millinery collection, along with a Missoni (thrift shop) dress, a vintage couture jacket and a 1950s beaded bag,which was borrowed from ShopCurious. Amazingly, I didn’t spot anyone wearing anything similar…

Along with the inevitable red, white and blue, hat and dress trends on Tuesday seemed to fall into several categories: Floral hats – ranging from modern, nature inspired to old fashioned bathing cap style.

Frills (and later in the day spills) were spotted on hats and dresses alike.


Feathers were everywhere – occasionally getting in the way.

One lady couldn’t get enough of them and took a spare hat along, just in case her companion didn't turn up for afternoon tea.

Flying saucer hats were also in evidence, like the ones worn by retro girl-band, The Tootsie Rollers (below right). 

And there were Far Eastern style fan-pleated numbers too.

As well as fitted trouser suits. One woman sitting under an escalator reminded me of Diane Keaton. Whilst another seemed to be wearing her pyjamas.

Then there were the fashion mavericks – like Tracy Rose, who never conforms to any style but her own. 

I also noticed a couple of girls with crazy tattoos. And, from afar, saw a fabulous pair of striped-heeled sandals.


After a fun day of fashion spotting, I pirouetted back to the car park. Next time I might even watch the races..

Will you?

PS check out men’s racy Ascot fashions in today’s post at The Dabbler.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Racing towards Royal Ascot...

With Father’s Day almost upon us, there’s still time to order a unique vintage gift from ShopCurious. Seeing as it’s almost Royal Ascot Week too, these1950s mother of pearl and gold horse-head cufflinks would be perfect if your dad’s off to the races.

Alternatively, for a more classic look, choose from our selection of stylish and sophisticated links.

And you don’t have to be a man to wear cufflinks – or to dress up for the races in curious style… Why not take inspiration from Marlene Dietrich?

 Will you?  

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Art, medallions and men's summer fashion

My escort for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Preview Party was charming young interior designer, Romanos Brihi, who was seeking works for his clients, and for his own collection.

In addition to possibly being a good investment, I suppose owning a unique piece of art is a way of showing off your taste or wealth, or both - even if you don’t choose it yourself? Art has become so much a part of the luxury lifestyle that the line between art gallery and concept store has become somewhat blurred (see my latest post at The Dabbler): I’m sure it’s all good for the UK economy, but I do think there's too much focus on pure materialism. Should there be such a symbiotic relationship between contemporary art, interior decoration, high-end fashion and designer goods?

Talking of which, I spotted some finely dressed men at the party. Apart from the Olympics, it’s not everyday you see chaps wandering around wearing medals on ribbons around their necks. The Royal Academicians have different coloured ribbons according to their discipline eg red for painting, green for sculpture – and (I think) grey for architecture.

These gentlemen are wearing the red ribbon. I do hope Anthony Eyton (on the right) remembers inviting me to lunch at Brixton Market, the subject of one of his paintings in the show (see below).

Stephen Cox, whose daughter is the first RA poet in residence, models the green ribbon here, rather dramatically set off against a royal blue linen suit.

His granite and gold leaf masks work exceptionally well with greige, rendering them an instant hit with interior designers the world over.

Elsewhere, other smartly dressed menfolk included cocktail waiters in buttoned-up black, Gareth Pugh in a curiously gothic cutout suit,

Nicky Haslam in a wall-matching grey number... and this jolly fellow in vintage-style pinstripes.

There were sunglasses and hats..I wore recycled vintage cotton lace with a feather bolero - and I borrowed a Bakelite butterfly bag from ShopCurious. Plus, there was one elderly gent who wasn’t wearing anything at all.

Towards the end of the evening, as paparazzi and punters clamoured to get final photographs on the red carpet, things became a little crazy…

You’ll have to visit the show yourself to see the art.

Will you?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Flying towards Father's Day

As well as the boats in the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, I was also lucky enough to get a grandstand view of the Red Arrows fly past – and a few photographs, though the weather conditions weren’t ideal.

After the planes had flown down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace, they suddenly turned around, travelling in a southerly direction across the river…
They got closer and closer…
And then they whooshed directly overhead.

It was quite a surprise to see the planes coming over so low – a tad scary even. As is the fact that I’ve just realized Father’s Day is little more than a week away…

If, like me, you haven’t even thought about it until now, you may be interested in the selection of vintage 1950s cufflinks at ShopCurious. And, if your dad’s an aviation fanatic, I think these curiously aeronautical cufflinks would make the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Do you?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A curiously British Jubilee

It wasn’t jolly boating weather, but we made the most of it. In true British style, and with stiff upper lips, we partied in the rain and battled against choppy waters to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The River Pageant was a colourful spectacle, though I can’t imagine what it must have been like down there on the water. Fortunately, we were able to enjoy the proceedings from some of the best seats in town – in an apartment overlooking the River Thames.
We didn’t have huge flags (unlike some of our neighbours), but I hung up some bunting, and wore an original vintage Union Jack flag fashioned into a dress – plus my nails were painted red, white and blue…
 Even the men dressed up in patriotic colours.
Foodwise, my Coronation chicken (see ShopCurious post above) was a great success. Mounds of sandwiches were consumed, cake stands emptied, and Scotch Eggs scoffed by the dozen. Curiously, my token tin of Spam remained unopened.
Towards the end of the party, I was flagging as much as my dress. I was so relieved to eventually take off my shoes. Unfortunately, unlike the Queen, I hadn’t had anyone wear them in for me. And I’d creatively customized them with red rose hair accessories, which cut horribly into my toes…
But it must have been a good party, because when the flag-waving masses departed I was still smiling… just like Her Majesty.

I’m left thinking how lucky us Brits are to have such a wonderful (and reassuringly resilient) monarch.

Are you?