January 2008

January 30, 2008

Why I can’t wait for Spring: Marimekko

When the Swedes meet the Finns, I'm a very, very happy birdy.
As regular readers may already have guessed, I really love my prints. So I'm just about beside myself with anticipation for H&M's Marimekko collection for Spring 2008. If you haven’t already heard, Swedish company H&M have created a 50-piece collection using Marimekko’s patterns from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Apparently we can look forward to the Finnish brand’s distinctive graphic prints in “summer favourites” such as wide ‘70s dresses, tunics, skirts and shorts for women. And there will also be a few pieces for men and kids, all at ultra-affordable price points. The collection will be hitting H&M stores worldwide in April. Roll around Spring, printy please.

Marimekko prints for H&M, illustration by Moa Lindqvist Bartling.

But to satiate my immediate fix for Finnish graphic prints, I’ve been dreaming about Marimekko’s Spring 2008 womenswear line-up. Some really gorgeous pieces here, birdies.






And this season’s Marimekko kids’ range couldn’t be sweeter. Red apple and giraffe prints = too, too cute little girls' frocks.



Marimekko
www.marimekko.com
16-17 St Christopher's Place
London W1U 1NZ
Tel: 020 7486 6454

Nearest tube: Bond Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.


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January 29, 2008

London shopping: Swarovski Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge

I’ve never felt compelled to step foot in a Swarovski shop before. It was always the domain of Nannas and their novelty crystal mouse collections, with royal blue walls completing the outdated and entirely naff package. On the other hand, I’ve happily paraded about and lusted after certain designer accessories adorned with Swarovksi crystals. It’s a brand that always seemed to be at odds with itself.

But the recent unveiling of the world’s first Swarovski Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge on London’s Great Marlborough Street has put paid to any fuddy-duddy image of the past. Indeed, this new store celebrates Swarovski’s various designer collaborations, and the results are quite breathtaking. The royal blue colour scheme has been replaced with layers of reflective surfaces that catch the light in the gleaming white minimalist space.



You can’t miss the tiny clear Perspex drawers lining the walls of the ground floor, otherwise known as The Cosmos. It’s like a space-age Chinese herbalist’s den. But pull open the gliding drawers and you’ll find small clear boxes of lapis lazuli, amber and turquoise instead of dried up bits of animals and roots.


This is where the fun starts. It’s a bit like pick and mix – or an upmarket bead shop – but way sexier and with loads of designer inspiration (by way of plasma screens around the store). The emphasis here is on being creative, and if you’re a dab hand at jewellery-making, you can browse the drawers for Swarovski loose crystals, semi-precious stones and beads. A box of 50 smoked topaz pieces will set you back £4.50, and there’s also all the design components and tools you need for making jewellery, including wires, clasps and pliers.


But if you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, the online tools in store will support you every step of the way. The Personal Stylist program is like jewellery-making-for-dummies, as it holds your hand through the creative process. It’s actually quite detailed, as you select your “style mood”, skin tone, eye colour, face shape, etc. Otherwise the Design Studio programme will assist you in creating your own bespoke piece. Choose from a selection of designs and customise it to suit. Once you’re done, Swarovski will send your order away and after two weeks it’s ready for pick-up. The “Dream” ring, for instance, featuring a delicate crystal and leaf design, can be customised in a range of colours for £20.


There’s also a range of jewellery-making kits, including rings, bracelets and necklaces. They come in three different skill levels, which is handy if you’re just starting out and don’t want anything too fiddly. A basic skill level kit such as the turquoise linear ring kit is £19, and the topaz and gold long earrings kit is £20. The Swarovski team have really hit the nail on the head with the whole urban craft trend, with regular jewellery-making workshops starting in February.

Head upstairs to the Crystallized lounge and it’s a different change of pace, with a relaxed café/bar area and an exhibition space. The current exhibition, Crystal Temptation Shoes, features a long white table adorned with thousands of loose crystals and a designer shoe at each place setting. The line-up includes designers such as Christian Lacroix, Gina, Nicholas Kirkwood, Vivienne Westwood, and Giorgio Armani.




The café has a surprisingly extensive menu, including breakfast, lunch, bar snacks and a traditional afternoon tea for £19.75 (£25 with champers). Crystal-encrusted bottles of Moet line the shelves, and there are a couple of computer terminals to contemplate your creative designs. With comfy lounge seating and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a rare oasis of tranquility just off Regent Street.



Swarovski Crystallized Cosmos and Lounge
www.crystallized.com
24 Great Marlborough Street
London W1

Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

Opening hours to come.

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

Click here for more shops in W1.


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January 29, 2008

Top Bird loves … Etsy stuff

With Valentine's Day next month, you might want to get in now and order a cute card with a sweet message, just like this one:



Even your farts are cute note card, US$3, from The Beautiful Project's Etsy shop.


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January 26, 2008

Where to buy Australian in London


Happy Australia Day, birdies. Just before I head off to inhale a pile of lamingtons, here's where to buy the best of Australian in London.

Check out Australian designers at:

Austique
330 Kings Road
Chelsea
London SW3 5UR

Tel: 020 7376 4555
Rachel Gilbert
Cohen et Sabine
Alannah Hill
Alice McCall
Anna & Boy swimwear
Camilla & Marc
Zimmermann
Fleur Wood
Leona Edmiston
MOR cosmetics
Vani-T tanning and body products

MOR beauty products

Fleur Wood

Liberty
Regent Street
London W1B 5AH
Tel: 020 7734 1234
Mozi homewares (Australia’s answer to Cath Kidston)
Ghost & Lola jewellery
Yeojin Bae womenswear

Harvey Nichols
109-125 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7RJ
Tel: 020 7235 5000
Wheels & Doll Baby
18th Amendment jeans
Metalicus (essentials for layering)

Sass & Bide
Juliann lingerie and slips
Camilla
Flamingo Sands swimwear
Jets swimwear
Becca cosmetics (My make-up bag staples are Luminous Skin Colour foundation and Crème Blush in Wild Orchid)

Becca Luminous Skin Colour foundation (pssst apparently Kylie's a fan)

Mimi London
309 Kings Road
London SW3 5EP
Tel: 020 7349 9699
Collette Dinnigan
Willow

Collette Dinnigan

Collette Dinnigan
26 Cale Street
Chelsea Green
London SW3 3QU
Tel. 0207 589 8897

KJ’s Laundry
74 Marylebone Lane
London W1U 2PU
Carl Kapp
Ginger & Smart

Ginger & Smart

Browns
23-27 South Molton Street
London W1K 5RD
Tel: 020 7514 0063
Josh Goot
Lover
Tina Kalivas
• Michelle Jank accessories
Sass & Bide
Anna & Boy swimwear

Josh Goot

Selfridges
400 Oxford Street
London W1A 1AB
Jayson Brunsdon
Nobody denim
A’kin (gorgeous organic botanical beauty range) at Farmacia

Jayson Brunsdon

No-one
1 Kingsland Road
London E2 8AA
Tel: 207 613 5314
Alice McCall
Ksubi
Elke Kramer jewellery

Alice McCall

Elke Kramer

Get your Aussie beauty fix at:

SpaceNK
Jurlique (I love the Rosewater Balancing Mist)
ModelCo (The Lash Wand Heated Eyelash Curler is one of their bestsellers)

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

And check out Innika, an excellent Australian mineral cosmetic brand which is 100 per cent vegan.

For essential Australian treats, like Iced Vo Vos, Violet Crumbles, Twisties, Minties, Vegemite and Tim Tams, head to:

The Australia Shop
27 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden
WC2E 7JS London
Tel: 020 7379 0723


Harvey Nichols also stocks a range of Australian gourmet food, including:
Maggie Beer
Bird in Hand olive oil
Aunty Joan’s Gourmet Toffee
Byron bay Cookie Company

Head to Waitrose for:
Anzac biscuits
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Dandaragan Olive Oil

Pick up a bottle of Aussie plonk from any Tesco or Marks & Spencer, or look for a boutique wine at:
Aussie Wine Direct
The Aussie Wine Company
Australian Wines Online

And dine out with an Australian chef at:
Pied a Terre, tel 020 7636 1178 (Shane Osborne)
Smiths of Smithfield, tel. 0207 236 7666 (John Torode)
Nahm at the Halkin Hotel, tel. 020 7333 1234 (David Thompson)
The Ledbury, tel. 0207 792 9090 (Brett Graham)
Petersham Nurseries, tel. 020 8605 3627 (Skye Gyngell)

Phew. I can't believe I got through all that without a Walkabout pub, can of Fosters or a flamin' galah in sight.

p.s. try this lamington recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly (another Aussie icon).


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January 25, 2008

Top Bird loves … Fake food

I can’t stop staring at these fake food items on Etsy. I don’t know if it’s the kawaii, clever, crafty or kitsch factor that’s grabbed me … perhaps a bit of all? Or maybe it's the fact that I would have snaffled the whole lot for my Barbie and Sindy dolls when I was a seven. (And *gasp* maybe Barbie would have put on some weight!)

Feast your eyes on this lovely line-up, including felt eggs, crocheted cakes, knitted peas and polymer clay dessert jewellery (surely a tween delight). Fascinating, no?

A Half Dozen felt Eggs with Egg Carton, US$15, from Go Buggy’s Etsy shop.

Handmade felt lemon, US$14 from Go Buggy’s Etsy shop.

Grilled Tofu Dinner D, US$32, from Go Buggy’s Etsy shop.

Three peas in a pod pin, US$9, from KnitKnit’s Etsy shop.

Itty Bitty Cupcake collector set, US$18, from Pukashell’s Etsy shop.

Mocha cappuccino cake, US$18, from Pukashell’s Etsy shop.

Five Scoop Hot Fudge Sundae ring, US$18, from Robin’s Jewelry Box Etsy shop.

Sliced Valentine’s Cake pendent, US$18, from Robin’s Jewelry Box’s Etsy shop.

Cookies and Milk ring, US$14 from Robin's Jewelry Box's Etsy shop.

Oh, stop it!

*Remember that most pieces on Etsy are one-offs and sell quickly, but make sure you check the seller's shop as many items are relisted.


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January 25, 2008

What to take home Wednesday: Jo Malone candles (belated)


Parma Violets Tea, Sweet Almond Macaroon Tea and Eau de Cologne Tea are this week's new covetable candles on the block from Jo Malone's deluxe Tea Collection. The Parma Violets Tea candle, my (no-brainer) favourite, makes a lovely London souvenir that will fill your home with the delicate fragrance of this retro and quaintly English sweet.


£80 for a deluxe 400g candle, available exclusively at Selfridges from 15 February.

Selfridges
www.selfridges.com
400 Oxford Street
London W1 1AB

Opening hours:
Monday to Wednesday 9.30am – 8pm
Thursday 9.30am – 9pm
Friday and Saturday 9.30am – 8pm
Sunday 12noon – 6pm*
*half an hour browsing time

Nearest tube: Bond Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.


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