Saturday, 26 March 2011

BLOG BLESS: Here Come The Oldies!

My grandmother has one of the most refined personal styles I've seen yet and the best part? She doesn't even care! I'm not sure if she makes any time in her busy morning schedule; up at 5am to water her gardens and get a good start on the day's to-do list (not that she even makes such list!) - household cleaning, cooking, some needlework before church with a not-to-be-missed break for one of her dubbed South American TV series!

She has a beautiful Singer sewing machine that she brings out now and then, mainly for alterations or to add a lace trimming to a tablecloth, and a stack of priceless-to-eBay-hunters Burda magazines and she makes most of her simple and simply chic shirt dresses herself, often from fabric that her sister in Australia sends to her. In the summer she'll throw one of those on, in a light pattern but never a bright print, with a cardigan she knitted and a pair of flats (always flats), moccasins or slippers. In the winter she'll wear a just-below-the-knee length wool skirt with a sweater, skin-colour pantyhose and lately a grey tweed coat whose rounded sleeves and bell shape scream Balenciaga to me and comfort to her. She'll add a leather purse (for church) or a black nylon bag that once came with a magazine (for her knitting supplies). She has never worn trousers or bright colours in her life, her hair is regularly cut into a boyish short style and she owns not a single piece of make-up. And yet, when I look at her I see a woman with a style that's entirely her own and utterly considered without a single thought having been spared on it. It's natural, it's hers, it corresponds to her beliefs, her ideas of what she should look like and works for her lifestyle. Isn't this what style is, after all?

On the opposite side of the rainbow, smoking a cigarette and sipping a cappuccino is my aunt Noni. A beauty to rival Elizabeth Taylor in her youth, with stunning blue eyes that my sister and I still regret not inheriting (not that we had a say on it but still, the disappointment lingers), a neckline that low-cut dresses were designed to showcase and a chutzpah that has carried her through life when life herself hasn't been kind to her, she's loved dressing up, going out, having fun, dancing, laughing. Having spent a small fortune on elaborate gold crosses, she has a collection of costume jewellery that you cannot help borrowing from and will always be seen in a pair of big, often animal-print sunglasses to make Jacky go, 'O!' In the summer, she'll put a long skirt on and then pull it's elasticated waist to her bust. Ta da! An easy-breezy, Seventies-inspired, eat-your-heart-out-Bianca-Jagger summer dress! Ingenious or what?

Neither of the beauties below is them. I have chosen not to show you a picture of them for two reasons; a) they feel more special to me that way, their image is mine and my sister's to hold and adore and b) they would both KILL me if they ever found out! But I recently saw these two splendid images on The Sartorialist and thought of my grandmother and aunt and contemplated the effect they've both had on me and how I've probably come to dress in a way found in the middle of their two extremes, in the middle of the rainbow. I have my grandmother's tendency for dark colours and simple shapes and my aunt's appreciation for the odd crazy bangle or brooch. In fact, two of my most cherished items are theirs. An oat-coloured shawl grandma knitted and a black woven purse Noni handed down to me.

So, forget the magazines I regularly contribute to and the season's trends we dissect and shop accordingly and look at those around you that have had a lifetime to develop what suits them best, what takes them through life. They aren't a style, that style is theirs. But still, no pictures for my two heroines. Like I said, they'd kill me!

Images by The Sartorialist, Advanced Style: Age and Beauty on

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Francophilia: Sam Sits - Patiently! - For Louis Vuitton!

Earlier this week I went along to a private viewing of Louis Vuitton's latest film project, Double Exposure (a very intriguing name, don't you think?). A series of portraits - styled by Bay Garnett and shot by photographer Tom Craig with the 19th century 'wet plate' photographic process, is accompanied by a very 21st century digital film where the subject - the first being the always-interesting Sam Taylor-Wood - shares some of their dearest, most treasured possessions and the stories behind them.

I wrote in more detail about the project for Grazia Daily so take a look here and scroll down this page for the film itself. A further three subjects will be revealed soon and I can't wait to see who will be next. Frankly, anyone that's already starred in a Louis Vuitton Core Values ad (Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola, Buzz Aldrin, Mikhail Baryshnikov) will do just fine!

Film by Louis Vuitton, images by myself.

AWww11: Too Little And Too Much!

Both of the above is just right for me! In the still-palpable aftermath of Phoebe Philo's arrival at Céline (impressive when you remind yourself that Phoebe revealed her vision for the French label in 2009) and Meadham Kirchhoff's SS11 collection (and their most recent AW11) the discussion in fashion (once the Galliano and Dior musical chairs game has been played to exhaustion and utter mind-numbness! Please, tell me - have you had enough too?) is still about minimalism vs maximalism. What are you? fashion magazines ask, understandably excited that two such distinct...not trends but approaches to dressing and being, have emerged but slightly missing the point that rarely is anyone wholly the former or the latter anymore. I, for example, may verge on the too little camp but would equally like to flirt with the other one if only I tried a little harder. Take the following two designers whose aesthetic and entire identities seem directly antithetical -Louise Gray (you're a maximalist! the mag would say) and J JS Lee (and you're a - yep,minimalist!). To me they share a distinct and utterly believable attitude on who they are, what they like and where they're going.

If your heart didn't rejoice and a smile never formed on your face during Louise Gray's show then I'd advice you to check in to a wellness clinic asap! I loved it all and almost skipped the short trek back to the Grazia offices were I was that day. I had an even bigger smile on my face when I saw the collection up close in the designer's stand a day or so later and found caught myself making a mental shopping list for the fantastic knitwear (sure, I'd wear one of the colourful jumpers with some tailored black trousers - perhaps even from J JS Lee! - but maybe not and that's quite exciting). Louise's wit, and skill, is apparent in the contrasting dresses, where the back looks nothing like the front but both are a fantastic mix of plaids and tweeds and yep - colour!

I first came across J JS Lee last season when I stumbled upon her 'shed' at Topshop's part of the exhibition in Somerset House and although I couldn't make her presentation this time around, I was glad to catch the collection on its rail. Needless to say I fell in love with every single piece and have now developed ridiculously high hopes for the designer and already can't wait to see what she does next season! From the impeccably tailored blazers to the string of pearls on a grey tweed had me at look-at-the-satchel-attached-to-the-back Jackie!

Images by myself.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

We're thinking of you, Japan.


A lucky 7 set of photographs taken on my first trip to Japan. I hope to be back soon.

FOR FOOD'S SAKE: To Crema or Choc-Milk...

...that is the question! I, of course, did or rather had both.

There is nothing more simultaneously refreshing and enjoyable than Nounou's choc milk. My sis says it's all about the bubbles and I, for once, won't argue with that. It also possess the magical power to transport us back to one of our childhood scorching hot summers when exhausted from a day of swimming a glass of these was like manna from heaven. I can still taste the sea salt on my lips the moment I raise a glass!

This is a thing of beauty! In a slightly perverse manner, I actually cherish the fact I can't have it more often as I live away from home. It's more precious this way. A créma dessert as made by the Turkish Stani bakery in Rhodes, it's too good for words and too dear to me to ever it do it justice by attempting to describe it. Truly one of my favourite things to eat, a good snowing of cinnamon and I'm in heaven!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

BLOG BLESS: Postcard from Greece!

Greetings from a universe far far away a bunch of us like to call Greece! The moment London Fashion Week was over I packed a bag and flew home to Rhodes for a break from almost everything. The Milan and Paris shows seem a world away, work something to do as a distraction and well, I wish I could say I left behind the chill and cold of London but alas, I'd be lying. We've had some sunshine and now it's cold but still, the sky seems bigger and bluer here and it will do me just fine!

So, through the last pages of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye and copious amounts of face cream, eye spray, lip balm and water I flew across this....

...and landed here!

Seeing it's Sarakosti here (Greek Orthodox Lent) we flew a kite on Monday.

I caught up with some of my favourite furry friends...

...and caught some of them enjoying the good life!

I marvel daily at the slightly surreal...

...and am thankful that there's always something just round the corner to delight! Is there anything more immediately rewarding and pleasing than discovering small works of everyday art casually and unknowingly thrown together?