February 2009

February 28, 2009

Wee finds: London Fashion Week round-up

Magpie's pickings from London Fashion Week:

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Graphic-pop eyes and hands by Laura Mackness at Central Saint Martins.

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Boys at Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony.

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Everything at Erdem, especially the jewel-toned palette and luscious bell-shaped skirts.

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Symmetric prints at Mary Katrantzou.

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Simple, clean lines and pared-back minimalism at Osman Yousefzada.

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Billowing chiffon '70s-style frocks at Ossie Clark.

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Folky-Scandi details (and the cutest knitted headwear) at Peter Jensen.

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Pearly Queen chic at Sinha-Stanic.

Sources: Style.com; Urban Junkies; Vogue.co.uk


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February 26, 2009

Wee finds: Hats at the V&A shop

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Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones, is the very latest exhibition to open at the V&A museum, and accordingly the rather brilliant V&A shop has stocked up on a delightful range of exclusive hat-themed products. I'm planning a trip to the museum next week, where I'll be nabbing one of these adorable acrylic brooches of ladies in cloche hats, which are quite reasonably priced at £10 each, and come in a variety of colours.
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I'm also loving these clever paper hats, perfect for parties or the kids' dressing-up box. At £2.50 each, both designs are based on actual hats from the V&A's collections. The 'Harlequin' hat is a based on a 1980s design by Chris Clyn, and the top hat is based on an early 20th-century design by Lock & Co.

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And if you're after a genuine Stephen Jones piece for less, you might like to check out the hatpin, £35, (left) and earrings, £40, (right), designed exclusively for the V&A. Jones was inspired by the "beautiful graphic ironwork on the staircase at the V&A" when he made these 'twisted cage' pieces.

Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones
Until 31 May 2009
£5, concessions available
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2R


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February 25, 2009

Wee finds: Eley Kishimoto a/w 2009

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I trust all you clever clogs have had your fill of Fashion Week thus far, thanks to all the rather brilliant coverage on Style.com (for some reason, I prefer the 'details' shots over the full shots), and countless other online sources. So whilst you don't necessarily need my gushing to add to the cacophony of endless gush, I can't help myself but comment on a few wee favourites.

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Now, I know I'm terribly predictable when it comes to personal style, but I had a big fat grin on my face when I spied Eley Kishimoto's homage to retro jetset glamour in London this week. Wheee – it was wings au go-go at the show, just add a few martinis and Jetsons lounges and those dolly-birdies would have been hopping down the runway.

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I love Eley Kishimoto as much for their trademark quirky-girliness as for their amazingly vibrant prints – oh, the prints!, which never fail to set my heart a-flutter.

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And get a load of the hosiery! Just adorable.

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Makes me dream of the halycon days when flying was actually glamorous. You can see the full collection at NYmag.com.

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February 24, 2009

My Secret London with Martina McHowat – part II

In part two of "My Secret London", Urban Junkies Style Editor Martina McHowat tells us her favourite London destinations for gifts, stationery, beauty and food. It will make you dream of Icelandic mud and stationery with tiny beefeaters…

Best for interiors and gifts?

Lifestyle Bazaar on Newburgh Street always has a cool selection of lifestyle bits. Urban Outfitters and Muji are good for knick-knacky gifts, and the Magma product shop next to the book store is great for unusual finds. And I’m looking forward to seeing what H&M does with its homeware offering, slated to arrive in February.

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H&M homewares range.

Best for stationery?
I do love Liberty’s stationery department, as much for their own line of note cards, diaries and address books, as well as the range of designers they stock. Smythson do great correspondence cards and stationery which you can have personalised, and their current Giles collaboration is a fashion-lover’s dream, with design sketches on the front and neon pink and green tissue-lined envelopes.

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Best for beauty?
I get facials at Elemis off Bond Street, which is like a little sanctuary in the middle of potentially the busiest shopping district – not that you'd know it! It’s all quite South-East Asian feeling which I love, and Amanda gives the best tri-enzyme resurfacing facials – sounds hardcore but is really gentle.

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I also love Sjal skincare, you can get it on www.cultbeauty.co.uk (also love their website, finally a site you can believe in completely, full of things properly tried out and reviewed).

And if you’re ever in Iceland, try out the hot springs at Blue Lagoon which have pots of this amazing silica clay mask dotted around – you just slather it on and float about. They’re doing it in tubes now for us poor souls who can’t be there in person.

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I’ve just come back from Compton Hair in Covent Garden where I tried out their Brazilian Keratin Hair treatment, and it may well change my GHD-dependent life – after leaving it in for three days, my usually wavy, frizz-prone hair is down to a quick morning blow dry and it still looks straight and soft. I didn’t think it was possible!

Other London favourites?
I’m a bit obsessed with Columbia Flower Market on Sundays. The prices are just silly compared to what you’d pay in town, and the street is just stunning filled with every imaginable kind of tree, bush, shrub and stem.

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Even better though, is that one side of the street is choc-full of some of the coolest little boutiques in the city; Cerise for jewellery, Suck & Chew for vintage-style sweets in jars and pocket money bits and Treacle for cupcakes and cool kitchen/homewares. I also love Far Global and Nom for the collections of Far Eastern antiques and bits & bobs. They have that lovely incense-y smell and everything inside is authentic and comes with a story. 

Best London souvenir?
I try and stay as far away from the tacky souvenir shops you tend to find down the dodgy end of Oxford Street; nobody needs a Union Jack G-String. Instead, try Muji’s ‘London in a bag’ full of wooden London landmarks like the London Eye and St Paul's, and now they’re doing rather fabulous little ‘London transport in a bag’ containing little painted wooden buses, black cabs and tubes.

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I also like Julie Bell’s stationery, which come in beautiful boxes and have London icons embossed on them – beefeaters, buses or phone boxes.

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Best for food?

Sophie’s Steak House on the Fulham Road – it’s a lovely, homey but chic feeling place with no reservation policy, so you turn up, get given a number which flashes up on a board above the bar, and wait over delicious cocktails. Lots of exposed brickwork, lightbulbs hanging loose from the ceiling and old train carriage luggage racks above the tables. And it’s not unusual to see Sophie herself wandering around serving steak, which by the way, is divine. They’re just opened in Covent Garden too. Go!

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For all addresses and a Wee Birdy map of Martina's secret London, click here.
Check out Martina's London Fashion Week coverage at Urban Junkies, which includes designer interviews, backstage images and a competition to win the Ultimate Swag Bag.


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February 24, 2009

Sunday Times Best 100 Blogs!

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So, so chuffed to discover that Wee Birdy made The Sunday Times' line-up of the Best 100 Blogs.
Here's what they had to say:

"Sometimes it takes outsider eyes to refocus your surroundings for you. Here is
a native of Sydney whose blog registers all things good/unknown about her
new home, London. Wee Birdy pokes around the back streets of the city for
the best shops and sights, so you don’t have to."

And I'm thrilled to be included alongside darling Liberty London Girl. Her beautifully-written blog is totally addictive reading and leaves me dreaming of running amok in Manhattan:

"Rather like having your own — real — version of The Devil Wears
Prada as a blog. An anonymous twentysomething Brit working as the
fashion director of a New York-based glossy gives the lowdown on what her
glamorous life is really like. Both self-deprecating and outspoken, it’s a
tonic if you suspect Sex and the City is all a big lie."

Also making the list is Mrs Trefusis, who recently sent me a rather sweet email about my arthritic toes/shoe crisis. Here's what they had to say about her:

"Mrs Trefusis Takes a Taxi (“because she eschews sensible shoes”) is by a
London woman with a passion for modish footwear and Mr Trefusis
(Manolo-Man). Urbane thoughts from one whose brow is considerably higher
than her subject matter suggests."

You might like to have a look at the whole story here.


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February 23, 2009

My Secret London with Martina McHowat

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To celebrate London Fashion Week, I asked Urban Junkies' Style Editor, Martina McHowat, to delve into her little black book for her favourite London addresses. The good news? The girl with her finger firmly on the pulse of London’s fashion scene doesn’t hold back. In fact, it’s so good, I’m posting it in two parts. Dig in to part one today…

Favourite London shops?
Maison Martin Margiela, where the shop assistants are dressed in white lab coats and the clothes are the main focus in a glassy, futuristic space – though I do miss his old Bruton Street Store, which barely had signage and was practically hidden from the untrained eye!

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Liberty for the fabulous old Tudor frontage and window displays, Dover Street Market for their ever-changing designer spaces, and Partridges on the King’s Road for their American imports, which keeps me in supply of apple and cinnamon Pop Tarts every morning. 
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Selfridges for their underwear department, and Long Tall Sally for their pyjamas, because at 6 foot, my legs tend to get the bum end of the deal with nightwear! Sadly Long Tall Sally isn’t a favourite for any other reason, which is a shame, as I suspect it could be onto a winner with plenty of other young, tall women out there in need of well-tailored trousers and fashionable pieces.

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And I love London’s constant stream of inspiring pop-up spaces; Moet’s Atelier room at Christmas, Monocle magazine’s shop, the currently installed Nowhere space in Dover Street Market; and the PPQ ‘Jackdaw Store’ at number 6, Burlington Arcade for London Fashion Week.

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Best for a bargain?
Get onto sample sales; there’s some seriously good stuff out there, I’m still kicking myself for missing the Lara Bohinc sale last year – amazing gold pieces and leather wallets at a smidgen of the price.



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My favourite Chloe bag is from one of their sample sales at the Music Rooms, again, less than half price. Get onto www.urbanjunkies.com and have a look in our style section; I personally trawl the rest of the web and make sure we always have an amalgamation of the most up-to-date sales, and as we’re constantly updating, we’re a step ahead of sites that only put out a listing at the beginning of every month.

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Apart from us, it’s all about sites like cocosa.com – they’ve had some amazing online sales since they set up last year, stuff like Christian Lacroix, Luella, Peter Jensen and Eley Kishimoto. And definitely keep an eye out for The Outnet, Net-a-porter’s discount sister, which should go live some time in April.

Best for fashion?
I’ve just gotten into All Saints as I love their Westwood-inspired cuts and unusual draping. I’m waiting for the right time to wear my floor length Parachute Dress (unless some terrible air accident forces me to evacuate in style sometime soon, I’m thinking it might never come).

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The new Liberty of London store on Sloane Street is lovely. Independents like Beyond the Valley are always fun for a browse, and The Shop at Bluebird is really cleverly set out, with great denim and first edition books.

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Zoe Lem’s boutique/gallery space, My Sugarland, opened last year and stocks all kinds of new designers, cool accessories and hosts art installations on the side. And The Convenience Store is a bit secret, located in an old cobbler’s shop, but it stocks some hard-to-find labels and has ‘under the counter’ pieces for loyal customers.

Matthew Williamson’s H&M collaboration in April should be great for the summer, as I hear there’s a lot of gold peacockery and his usual boho style involved.

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Matthew Williamson for H&M.

In a dream world, I’d be swathed head to toe in McQueen’s subversive anglophilia, Nina Ricci’s dreamlike gowns, Bottega Venetta’s draped elegance, and Chanel’s pumps, which are my guilty secret. They are seriously comfy, and as they only rarely seem to stock more than one pair in my size at one time, I snap them up and hide them in my cupboard for fear of ruining them on an actual pavement. Rubbish crunch behaviour, I know.

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Nina Ricci.

Best for accessories?
I’m such a magpie when it comes to anything bejewelled – my whole bedroom windowsill is covered in bits and bobs. I go everywhere. Topshop always has the most fun bits, loving their neon collections at the moment. Shanghai Tang keeps my Asian spirit happy; my Louis Vuitton Sprouse scarf is undoubtedly my most worn investment (check out the current Sprouse collaboration for some graffiti-filled fun), and I love Rowan Mersh’s weird material neck pieces and brooches.

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Rowan Mersh.

If I had all the money in the world, I’d be straight on to Chanel’s carousel necklace and Alex Monroe’s bee necklace. I have a bit of a penchant for the whimsical.

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Chanel's carousel necklace.

I love Miu Miu’s shoes and bags for some fun, and Mulberry’s handbags and wallets when I need something more classic, and the only heels I can walk in with any confidence come from LK Bennett – simple black platform pumps.

Tomorrow: Part 2 with Martina's tips for London's best homewares, stationery, souvenirs and food.
For all addresses and a Wee Birdy map of Martina's secret London, click here.
Check out Martina's London Fashion Week coverage at Urban Junkies, which includes designer interviews, backstage images and a competition to win the Ultimate Swag Bag. Have a peek – some very tasty prizes, indeed. There's also loads of info about pop-up shops and places to go and hang out during fashion week.


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