October 2008

October 31, 2008

London shopping: Westfield

Shoppers
As you’ve probably already heard, London is now home to the largest shopping mall in Europe. With over 265 shops, and 47 places to eat, the new Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush is sprawled over 9 different postcodes.

For me, it just doesn’t feel like London. Bondi? Yep. Birmingham? If you say so. White City? Just down the road from the BBC? Not really. I guess the sense of weirdness (tinged with sadness for “ye olde London”, whatever that is) will fade in time as it becomes an accepted part of London’s retail landscape. Not that I’ve actually had the opportunity to see the new shopping centre in person, as I’ve made a point of staying away from the opening week shenanigans. But I’m an Aussie girl – I grew up with a Westfield virtually on my doorstep, so it’s something that’s not entirely unfamiliar. It’s also going to make trading that more difficult for London’s smaller independent shops, especially in the lead-up to Christmas this year.

But it’s not all bad news. There’s job creation, for one, and surely it will do something to boost the miserable economy right now. And I’m actually pretty chuffed to see two excellent Australian fashion labels, Leona Edmiston and Mimco amongst a premium line-up of designers including Prada, Dior, Miu Miu, Twenty8Twelve, Joseph and Amanda Wakeley. Here are some looks from the latest Leona Edmiston collection for Spring/Summer 2008:

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Her kids' range is very sweet, too:

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The thing about Leona Edmiston is that she knows how to cut a supremely-flattering frock for grown-ups. I remember seeing her first range and thinking that they didn’t look like much on the hanger. But as soon as you slip on one of her signature jersey dresses, something magical happens as the fabric skims the bits you want to cover up, and clings to all the bits you want to show off. Talk about silver linings…

Westfield London
Wood Lane
London W12
Tel. 20 8600 9005
Click here for a Wee Birdy map
Opening hours
Nearest tubes: Shepherd’s Bush and White City


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October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

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More gorgeous letterpress fun from Lab Partners, this time for Hello!Lucky.


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October 30, 2008

Top Bird loves: The Best Of Tatty Devine

I had a sneaky peek at the Spring/Summer 2009 Tatty Devine line-up this afternoon, and it's gearing up to be another winning kitschsy-cool collection with amazing attention to detail. There are some really sweet retro themes, including some rather lovely birds. Stay tuned for pics in the New Year.

In the meantime, Tatty Devine has launched its latest Best Of collection, featuring a carefully edited selection of their top 50 pieces. This year designers Harriet and Rosie grabbed a bunch of their favourite creative friends to model for the campaign, and awarded each person with their own "Best At". Here are some of my favourites, featuring Barbara Ryan (and the record charm bracelet), Mimi Berry (and the birdy brooch), Amelia Gregory (and the lolly necklace), and Eithne Farry (and the red squirrel pendant):

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Harriet and Rosie say that "these inspirational people all work very hard at
creating and organising fantastic things for all of us, whether it's
making music, magazines, art and graphics, designing hats, handbags,
haircuts and shoes, or leading the knitting revolution. They all wear
Tatty Devine in their everyday life as well as when they're on show." It's a really lovely, heartfelt campaign, and shines a light on some of London's best independent creative talent. The Best of Collection is available now at their Brick Lane and Soho shops, as well as from the Tatty Devine online boutique.

Tatty Devine
236 Brick Lane
London E2 7EB
Tel. 020 7739 9191
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11am-6pm
Tube: Liverpool Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

57b Brewer Street
London W1F 9UR
Tel. 020 7434 2257
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 11am-7pm
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Click here for a Wee Birdy map.


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October 29, 2008

You Ask, Birdy Answers: Sew-your-own patterns

The best bit about writing a blog is reading all the feedback, and there has been lots to read recently, especially in response to my post about the slow fashion trend. Here's what a wee birdy called le bug had to say:

“I think the slowest of slow fashion would be if I made my own clothes … know any good sewing pattern shops/online shops?”

Kudos to you for going down the make-your-own route, le bug! I’m always super-impressed by crafty people who dig out the old Singer and knock up a skirt on a rainy afternoon. There are actually some excellent online sources for patterns, as well as some good starting points for absolute beginners (like me). Here’s a list of my very favourite online sew-your-owns and other crafty sources:

1. Built by Wendy
Wendy Mullin (of Built by Wendy) is a New York-based fashion designer who’s designed a line of home sewing patterns for Simplicity called Built by YOU. I really love the simple smock and frock pattern, which has variable sleeve and length options. I know a few birdies who have tried and tested Wendy’s patterns, and give them a big thumbs-up (but warn that they tend to be a bit on the small size).

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2. Paintergirl’s Knicker Making Kit

Pop artist Gemma Jones (aka Paintergirl) has recently launched her own knicker-making kit, which has been selling like hot pants on her Etsy shop. The pattern shows how to make your own customised pair of knickers from an old t-shirt – the ultimate in make-do and mend! The pattern has been trialled by some 20-odd Kaotic Kraft Kuties who have reportedly gone on to “run, dance, make-out and pick up wearing them.” Nice one.

3. Burda Style
It mightn’t sound overly sexy, but Burda Style is actually an amazing resource with a plethora of free patterns, sewing how-tos and a supportive online sewing community. Check out this sweet and simple shift.

ScooterBabe2 4. Sublime Stitching
OK, so this isn’t so much about making an entire outfit, but these too-cute embroidery patterns
will make you some lovely embellishments. They’re a snip at US$3.50,
and can be used to decorate everything from t-shirts to tea-towels.
Check out the vital organs kit
and stitch some ovaries on to your undies. Chain stitch has never
looked so sexy! Great DIY Xmas gift ideas, too. (Londoners can also
pick up Sublime Stitching patterns at the V&A Museum shop.)

5. Sew Mama Sew
Another good resource for fabric and patterns, Sew Mama Sew features some excellent options for babies and kids, like Oliver & S patterns for toddlers. I also like the fabric messenger bag pattern, which would look good in a strong Marimekko print (although IKEA has an excellent range of retro Scandi-style fabrics at the moment, a snip at £1.59/metre).

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6. The Make Lounge

Sewing novices in London can learn the basics with a workshop at The Make Lounge in Islington. I like the sound of the Survival Sewing workshop, which teaches basic hand-sewing skills so you can tackle your own repairs and take up hems and cuffs. Handy stuff. Check out the upcoming workshops, which include fun projects like making a leather cinch belt and Japanese-style stitched journals.

The Make Lounge
49-51 Barnsbury Street
London N1 1TP
Tel. 020 7609 0275
Nearest tube: Angel

Click here for a Wee Birdy map.


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October 27, 2008

Birdy pick of the week

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Lotta Jansdotter 2009 fabric calendar, US$28, from Lotta Jansdotter.


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October 26, 2008

Vodka + vintage = v. good times

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London fashion bloggers descended en masse at the Absolut House of Masquerade pop-up launch in Shoreditch on Thursday night, and it was good times all round. I took along Miss G for the vodka and the vintage, and it wasn’t long before we stumbled across Make Do Style, Disney Rollergirl and Dressed & Pressed. Actually, “stumbled across” probably isn’t exactly the correct term, as I recognised Make Do from across the room and made a beeline for her glorious faux fur coat.

The line-up of vintage was a winning combination of frippery and fun, thanks to Mint boutique’s premium selection of sequinned capes, customised satin prom frocks, and flamboyant ruffled collars. Added to the heady mix were cocktails by Absolut, Daisy de Villneuve’s inimitable hand-drawn illustrations, and swinging show tunes by cute DJ duo, The Broken Hearts (surely a shoe-in for “best dressed” with their harlequin cocktail frocks, red ruffles and glittery red lips).

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A fun night out in a fantastical dressing up box, House of Masquerade is only open for another two days. Be quick!

House of Masquerade
Friday 24th October to Monday 27th October, 5pm – 11pm
68-72 Redchurch Street
Shoreditch, London

Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street and Old Street
Click here for a Wee Birdy map


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