Friday, 28 November 2008

Which is mostly Zen moaning

There are days I can't bring myself to get out of bed unless I promise myself I can wear something exciting. Since my usual uniform consists of jeans + a faded top from Seed/Padini, my definition of 'exciting' isn't very, but whatever gets you through the winter, right?

I don't like winter :(

I'm slowly growing reconciled to it (winter, that is) on account of having newly a) started to wear scarves and b) started to make scarves. If there were no winter, there would be no real need for scarves, and then where would I be? Crocheting pointlessly, that's where.

But still I keep dreaming of summer ... in Cambridge especially. I haven't summered in the London yet, but I imagine it would on occasion be a bit sweltery and awful -- I find the smell of exhaust about a bajillion times more horrible when it's hot than when it's cold for some reason. It's so gorgeous in Cambridge, though. The green spaces. The trees. I was sitting in class earlier this evening staring sadly out at the grey world and remembering the people who used to clamber out of their windows and sit on the roof.

Happy days!

But I shouldn't just roll around in nostalgia like a dog in a pile of poop; I certainly have a lot more free time now than I did then. And there are lots more vintage shops, where one may find delightful dresses for 10 of the British pounds!

That is five gazillion in Malaysian, but it is not too bad compared to Topshop.

NB. I did not really wear the scarf that-a-way the whole day. But I should have done!

- Zen

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Zen's day out

So there are pros and cons to living in London.

Con: one is always having to deal with boilers and fridges and washing machines that leak. (This is not inherent in living in London, but they never made me deal with this kind of nonsense in Cambridge! Hence it is with London that I associate tardy plumbers.)

Pro: everyone has interesting shoes!

Con: -- and I think this is something peculiar to city life -- one suddenly understands road rage in a way one never did before, because when you're pushing and shoving in a crowd of about 1 million people all pushing and shoving to get on a bus, and it is cold and wet and smells of exhaust (not to mention exhaustion), and suddenly some City dude with an irritating tie steps on your foot -- then you know the true meaning of abrupt fury!

Pro: but you can have such great days out!

The subject of this post is going to be days out, because City workers with irritating ties and boilers are not very interesting things to blog about. Also they are not as photogenic!

Yesterday my nice young man came down from Cambridge and we went to the Royal Academy for the Byzantium exhibition -- highly recommended, particularly if you're interested in Christian art. But there won't be any pictures of that, because probably they wouldn't have allowed it, and anyway I left my camera in the cloakroom.

But what is more relevant to our purposes: I'd been impressed by the too-quirky-to-be-formal chic of this classy lady's outfit on Wardrobe Remix, and was eager to attempt to replicate the look with my H&M lace dress.

(It is such a great dress.) Unfortunately, while it has much in the way of charm and retro quality, there is one thing it lacks significantly, and that is length. And yesterday I checked the temperature and it was 1ºC in London.

How we suffer for beauty! Alas, not only was I freezing whenever necessity drew us outdoors, I did not manage to get any pictures in which both I and the outfit looked nice, so posting to Wardrobe Remix in ecstatic homage will have to wait for another day.

Outside a shop window, yearning to be let in :(
Jacket - Dorothy Perkins; shawl worn as scarf - random London shop; glittens - Accessorize; lace dress - H&M; 2 pairs of tights - Uniqlo and Debenhams; ballet flats - Franco Sarto

This, for example, is rather a nice photo, but it is useless as regards showing you what I was wearing. Nevertheless I have included in tiny font a list of what I was wearing, because I do so love knowing what people are wearing and where each item comes from.

What I was gazing at were these:

Which inhabited a shop fronted by this:

There's a knock-down argument for you!

After admiring Byzantine art and macaroon towers, we went to Patisserie Valerie to have PASTRIES.

but seriously it is ridiculous how photogenic pastries are!

I had a strawberry-and-kiwi tart.

The cream goes right down into the heart of the tart, and it is encircled by a layer of strawberry jam between the strawberries and the pastry. It basically tastes of happiness.

After that we wandered around Piccadilly and down Regent Street, where I poked my nose into shops, withdrawing it in some disappointment when it turned out that there were no sales. But there's a happy ending to this story: discovering to his shock that I had never heard of or been down Carnaby Street, P led me down that street of wonders, where we found Kingly Court, home of Cha Cha Moon and something even better -- vintage shops.

Which is all basically just a roundabout way of saying: I scored a dress in the bargain bin! Woo!

NB. I look slightly less like a hobbit in real life

I'd prefer short sleeves, but long sleeves are so authentic! We shall see. I plan to wear this with a houndstooth scarf, tights for the winter and boots; it will be interesting to see what works.

- Zen

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Proenza Schouler PS1 update

I NEED this bag now! Large Brown Leather PS1 bag, I will call you when I get myself a job.

Bagaholic has more pictures and price info.


The Very Latest Thing, My Dear

What was meant to be good web hopping one fine day led to a treasure trove of inspiration that can only be better than any fashion magazine.

As we all know, androgynous is the holy grail of fashion this season. You ooh and ahh at the select skinny few i.e Agynes Deyn who can pull it off. And for those who can't pull it off, there are several clothing that has been designed to help the god forsaken ones - the boyfriend jeans being one of them. Thus milking more moolah once again from the vulnerable fashion conscious followers.

Then there's the fashion magazines. You spend several pounds a month just to look at people who can wear the most beautiful things on earth and wish you were them but deep inside you you know you will never become an airbrushed beauty. Sigh, the fashion conscious milked again.

But here, it is here on the WWW that inspires me, for free. Anything free is good, no? Yes, yes fashion blogs are a great source of inspiration but have you ever ventured further than that? Ever thought of going back to the actual source of inspiration that the rest of the fashion forward world have been longing after? I give you the original mod 60s and swinging 70s.

Does Twiggy not rock the androgynous look awesomely well? It is so fashion forward too. I would wear that shift down the streets any other day.

Another pretty good example of the how fashion these days are rocking backwards to that era is this lovely picture of Nadia Cassini. I don't know who she is, probably an actress but I do know that she has everything on that is in this season.

Fringes ala Fashion Toast. Check.
Shorts. Check. Well, over tights now since it's winter.
Belt to define waist. Check.
Beret. Check.

If it wasn't for the old skool cars in the background, I would have thought the picture was taken just recently!

Then there's The Ascot. By golly, those ladies would never have been able to get into today's Ascot because of the new maximum two-inch above the knee rule. I really like the mini shift the girl in the far right is wearing and also how she instinctively turned to the camera when the picture was shot. The poser intuition, I call it.

The shocker of all pictures is probably this one. Not because of what she is wearing but who she is. Cher.

Simplicity equals black shift and black sheer tights. Très chic. Jane Birkin rightly deserves to have the world's most coveted bag named after her.

After all these lovely eye candies, I found myself starting to youtube 60s and 70s videos. I found one movie trailer that got me yearning to watch the movie purely just for aesthetic reasons. The Blowup is a movie about a fashion photographer who stumbles upon a murder when he has his films developed. Be prepared for an explosion of 60s fashion in this one.

The obligatory video.

Sue signing off, wishing she lived in the 60s.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Crochet and feathers

I've always had an obsessive personality, and I have just acquired a new thing to be obsessed about: crochet.

Crochet! It's done wonders for my Internet addiction, except when I go on crazy crochet website surfing sprees and turn up millions of things I wish to make when I have honed my skills sufficiently.

Like this sushi roll scarf:
Found here.

And a crazy vintage hat:
Only one of many crazy hats from the year 1944, here.

And handwarmers!
Pattern here.

With the little crochet flower on the side, oh how adorable.

Apart from these mad orgies of wish fulfillment, however, my addiction to the Internet has sat down and shut up. Upon coming home, no longer do I rush to Gmail with a hopeful expression. Instead, I curl up in my armchair with a 4.5 mm hook and wrestle with loops of cotton yarn, looking hazily through the stitches at the future.

The future is glorious, and it looks like a scarf.

I started crocheting all of a week ago, when I went into a shop to buy yarns for a knitter friend and got distracted by all the pretty colours. The textures! The variety! The glorious things you were able to make with them, they said, ranging from sheep-shaped tea pot cozies to fancy-ass dresses! I bought a hook and a ball of yarn and a book --

It is a crappy book, by the way; don't buy it --

And came home and started to crochet. Since the explanations and diagrams in my book were not terribly helpful, I had to consult the Internet at a couple of points, but once I had cleared up the nature of the slip stitch everything was smooth sailing from there.

Well, not quite. With heedless enthusiasm I started on a double crochet (single crochet in American) scarf in strawberry and mint colours, but rapidly came a cropper for various reasons: I was using the wrong sort of yarn; I failed to do extra stitches to make up for it; not only was I using the wrong sort of yarn, I was using different wrong sorts of yarn ...

The long and short of it is, that scarf was not a success.

I look quite happy here (well actually I look like a blank-eyed alien, but never mind about that), but that is only because I was bravely biting down on my anguish. The reasons why the scarf did not work out are many and varied, but I won't bore you with the technical details. I moaned about them in detail to my sister, who said, "It doesn't have to be a scarf! Why don't you use it as an accessory? Like, you know, instead of wearing a necklace and earrings, you could wear your ... thing."

Zen: Right, that'll go down well. 'Hey, Zen, what's that you're wearing?' 'Oh, it's my, you know, it's my ... accessory.'
Sister: Yeah! It could be your trinklet.

So we have taken to calling it my trinklet. I have hung it up on my bedroom door: pretty, resembling coral in its charming curliness, but ultimately useless.

The projects I next wanted to go on to doing were a) a beret and b) handwarmers and c) something cute in the way of amigurumi ... but since I have only yet managed to produce a trinklet and not a scarf, I decided to start over again and do a Proper Scarf, a scarf one could actually wear and not look that odd in.

It is going reasonably well so far! Again I will restrain myself from expounding upon it in technical detail, but there will be pictures if it does eventually turn into a scarf. Wish me luck!

Just in case crochet chat is not your bag of Jelly Babies, I include an obligatory non-crochet related link.

This is a wealthy heiress circa 1911 (probably). Isn't she marvellous? She's just exactly what you'd expect an heiress to look like somehow.

We don't have heiresses anymore, do we? Not simply as a descriptor but as a job description, a definition of a particular identity. I guess if you dream of the Marxist utopia, as surely we must all do, you can't regret the loss, but what a shame people don't wear hats like that anymore.

Anyway, what I was meaning to say was: the Shorpy Photo Archive is a repository of supremely cool old photos, worth a look if you're interested in people and the past. I haven't found that much in the way of glamour so far except in the photo above, but check out the beauty pageant photos; they are absolutely hilarious.

- Zen

Friday, 14 November 2008

Pizzicato Five Revival!

It’s been ages since I’ve listened to Pizzicato Five! They used to be my happy-pills made into song; wouldn’t you love a band singing about Twiggy sitting next to a cat? After being surrounded by all the vintage-talk from the Lemms, I guess I can’t help but close my eyes and jump off sober ground, onto the slippery slope with them. With Comme des Garcons and H&M generating so much hype, and crazy long cues in Tokyo, I followed this thread of Japanese intrigue with what I knew better – J-pop! I soon found myself hunting down Pizzicato Five’s music videos on youtube. Thank God I’m not living in a dorm anymore where they limit your usage so much that after a few videos you can forget about checking your email!

Brace yourselves for Japanese-style quirkiness if you’ve never encountered it before...

Don’t you just love the little white dress and tights? I don’t think I could pull that off but I would put it on Sue in a heartbeat!

Here’s another one to enjoy. Not as exciting as the first one, but I do heart this song too...and I also want a trench coat.

Lastly, another one I like. Just look at the clothes, I would love to dress like that more often if I weren’t so lazy (not sure about the eye patch though). This is proof that Pizzicato Five can also do the classic walk-down-the-street-and-sing-with-a-few-costume-changes routine.

I’ll be watching more music videos till my computer says no....

- Sam

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fashionista kiasuism - my first Polyvore set - cool links!

Maybe I won't swing by H&M to have a look at the Comme des Garcons collection after all. O_O Can you imagine? I hate going to the Primark at Marble Arch as it is; this looks like it would be indescribably worse. (Though at least the clothes would be nicer!)

Today I wore the following outfit!

What I wore 12/11/08 by lemmsandhems

It's a bit dressier than was really necessary, since all I was doing today was staggering to school, but I woke up this morning and thought: I am not getting out of bed unless I have something to get up for. So I decided to make my new dress from Dorothy Perkins an incentive to get out of bed.

The cardigan's a much prettier colour in the fleshbric, a sort of cross between plum and aubergine -- plumbergine, as the fashionistas say. Once I put the dress on the rest followed without much thought: thick charcoal grey tights because it might be cold, a cardigan, boots because boots look nice with dresses and I wanted to casual up the outfit. But the colours surprised me once everything was on -- they looked really nice together! Subdued but not dull. And I love wearing lined dresses; they make one feel super classy when they swish against the legs.

Neato links of the day:

Retro to Go
A blog focusing on retro design, inter alia in clothes.

Clever Nettle has awesome 1930s photos of a girl and her various outfits. E.g.

So cool, and very inspiring! Several of these are totally looks you could wear today and look awesome in, so go check them out.

- Zen

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Proenza Schouler PS1

My very first post and already the title is so unoriginal and boring. But wait.

See see see! I proved myself and you wrong. Those bags are amazing aren't they? Trust me, I have been hunting high and low for classic school satchels ala gossip girl style. Those that I have managed to hunt down either had too much structure or just looked too public school-ish. Now these. These are love. Especially the tan one. From messenger bag to oversized clutch to top handle bag. Oh the versatality!

I never knew Jack McCollough was a glass blower and Lazaro Hernandez a medic though. Complete geniuses! Can you imagine what the three lemms could come up with if we moved to Parsons? A lawyer, medic and an engineer. We will achieve more than a bag that transcends seasons, our names will transcend centuries. But I digress.

Back to the bag. Named after a New York public school which has been converted to an art house, the PS1 can be yours for a measly £1,179 in suede. Available also in leather and black python. Head to Harvey Nichols now. You will most probably see me sitting there admiring that piece of art and longing for a very very rich boyfriend.

- sue

Comme des Garcons for H&M

So I'm pretty excited right now about the Comme des Garcons collection for H&M. H&M own the parts of my soul that don't belong to Patrick O'Brian and the guy invented Choco Leibniz biscuits. Before I came to London in September I owned 0 dresses from H&M; now I own -- O shame -- three. They are gorgeous and I wear them all the time, but rest assured that I wear them solely to roll around the floor in guilt.

Their prices are very reasonable, though! And the quality is pretty nice, unlike the stuff you get in Primark, which rivals your average potato sack for comfort and workmanship. Hopefully quality will be evident in the Comme des Garcons pieces for H&M, because cheapness isn't their most notable characteristic.

You can, for example, get this charming polka-dotted scarf for £34.99. That is not what I call bargainous. I guess an original Comme des Garcons scarf would cost that times a bajillion, but still ... I'd be interested to see what the scarf is made of; it would make sense if it was cashmere or something.

I really like the piece de resistance of the collection in a "omg that is crazy, I love how crazy it is" kind of way. I wouldn't wear it, but you could imagine a certain kind of girl looking hot couture in it.

Most of the collection is really wearable, though. I love this ensemble that they've put up on the H&M website:

Just your classic black-and-white skirt-and-jacket combo, wearable in even the most conservative offices, but so cool! I love the weird asymmetrical details on the jacket and the frilly cuffs of the shirt.

I just really like the jackets in the collection, actually. They mostly seem to come in black and grey, so very wearable colours, but with that touch of detailing that makes them special.

I like the raggedly scalloped edge. And again, asymmetry in outerwear is always a surefire hit with me.

What are those weird stringy things hanging off the front of this jacket? I don't know! But I like them!

And this tuxedo jacket is just adorable. What I love about it is that it's costumey yet normal enough to wear every day (though of course everything depends on how you define normal!).

The jackets are mostly £60 to £70, so it's unlikely I'll be getting them unless they go on sale after Christmas. Sigh. But an ad in Vogue informs me that the collection will be in stores November 13, so I'll definitely be swinging by H&M in Regent Street next week just to see what the clothes are like in person. It would be delicious if that tuxedo jacket actually had tails!

- Zen