Fashion Consultant, Stylist and Personal Shopper

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personal_shopping_illustration_shoesIf you have come to my blog and not seen my website, here's a bit about me. After a long career in fashion; I started out in the early 70s working for Ossie Clark. Then I was a fashion editor both at Vogue and Harpers and Queen. Later a consultant to the industry with clients like Marks and Spencer. Currently I am a Wardrobe Coach and Personal Shopper and write about fashion for the on-line clothing website Winserlondon. As you can see by this long career I am no teenager. So I guess my blog is more fashion focused on the real than the surreal.        Vanessa

Hollywood Glamour

While editing my hundreds of magazines with a view to a big chuck out I found the picture on the left from 2011 American Vogue the picture is by Peter Lindbergh and the editor Grace Coddington. The image on the right is Yasmin Le Bon wearing a long silk dress from this seasons collection, www.winserlondon.com Isn’t this the perfect dress for supper at home or on hols. I love the Hollywood glamour of times past and well not so good for driving or taking public transport but if guests are coming to you, why not?

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Greek Romance

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Its been a while that I have been avoiding the ethnic trend, particularly the Indian embroideries and prints. Its not to say that I don’t still love the look on holiday but it can be rather ubiquitous.
That said I have always and eternally loved the Greek/Ukrainian/Russian embroidered blouse, usually in fine lawns but also in silk. I prefer the blue on white and find the cross stitch so refined.www.matchesfashion.com have a line called Talitha  http://www.matchesfashion.com/womens/talitha created by the elegant Kim Hersov. In her blurb it says that it is a bohemian inspired collection for the modern jet-setter. Quite so. For this non jet setter, but I live in hope to join, I guess I will be boho in Balham.

The picture on the left has just gone on sale today! the picture on the right is me, gosh so many years ago, in Sardinia. I am wearing a silk blouse with blue embroidery that belonged to my grandmother and was also worn by my mother and me.

 

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SUPERMARKET HEROINES

Chanel’s Fall show in Paris in March was set in a giant mock up of a supermarket. It looked wonderful and witty. Leafing through an old American Vogue I came upon a story by Steven Meisel also set in a supermarket it set me thinking, what do we actually wear when we are doing our food shop?  Recently I had to hide behind the cornflake packets, I was trying to avoid my ex boss from Harpers and Queen. I had walked out of the house feeling invisible. These days there are so many lovely easy at homey clothes there is no need to keep our worst old t shirts and be a mis matched mess. People often have piles of scruff stuff taking up so much room, “oh that’s for walking the dog, doing the gardening” they cry. Actually we only need a couple of things just in case we are going to clear out a garage. What we really need is lovely soft sweat pants, some dreamy cashmere, brand new t shirts. This season there is a wealth of choice for this sort of easy item.  I certainly should spend a bit more time and money on clothes that those of us who don’t go to the office wear day in day out. Clothes that are modern, look good at Yoga, book club, walking the puppy. Note to self look in the mirror before leaving the house.

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SWEATPANTS There have never been so many brands supplying the most lovely easy to wear kit supernaret 3

DENIM Cashmere or cotton sweat pants and sporty blouson. nice worn with skate shoes – trainers – or Chelsea boots.

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TRASH OR TREASURE

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Most of us have some hoarding habit. Or are we just collectors? I am struggling with over 600 magazines and I MUST edit them down into a say manageable 200 – the ones with my absolute favourite spreads.
This is a good time of year to do some clothes editing too. In the UK summer is pretty short, but its light and the evenings are long. Dark cupboards don’t seem so daunting. And there are winter clothes to assess.

If the years slip by and you haven’t managed it yourself; get some help. I have worked with many clients who feel so light after their clothes have been sorted. They realize how the ownership has weighed them down. Surprisingly women often find it most difficult to get rid of things they have never really liked or worn much. Living in the hope perhaps that a mistake will suddenly and magically transform into something delicious. It wont, but at the same time I will put new clothes combinations together that may not have been thought of. While clearing out the old, I list possible new buys to complement what is owned. Also a wish list of next seasons must have newer looks.

May be you own things that will sell on ebay though it’s a bit hit and miss, designers like Isabel Marant easy, that nice Jaeger coat fraid not. So may be a little philanthropy down at the charity shop, we wont miss it. Ho Hum I better get to work on my magazines.

If you are not in a house cleansing mode, here are two treasures that are fun and frisky.
The skate shoe is the flat shoe of the moment at Prada costalot but they are around town at all prices.
A pair of new sunglasses takes up no room and these are a real wiz, by www.sheriffandcherry.com
Also sold at Browns and Liberty
See my web site for my details if you would like a professional wardrobe makeover.

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FINGER FURNITURE April 2014

 

FINGER FURNITURE – RINGS

Before considering buying another pair of must have shoes I was thinking about rings. A client of mine recently was wondering if she liked her rings or was even wearing what she had. She said she rarely took her jewellery out of the house safe and day to day wore what was around on her dressing table. It seemed to be a mixture of rings bought here and there on holiday in Florence or Jaipur – and Estate Jewellery Victorian, Edwardian era.  She felt none of the rings worked together and oh well all a bit of a muddle.2013 12 RINGS

We wear our rings all day, every day. In the 21st century we are dressing for the school run, offices, airports, gardening and often don’t have time to get out something special for going out in the evening. Strange really when we take such trouble to dress well, somehow an Azzedine Alaia dress, worn in the evening and jeans worn in the morning needs jewellery altogether more thought out that will segue between both life zones.

I used this old magazine cutting, above left as a starting point for a group of rings that might look good together for an all day everyday look. On the right is a beautiful ring from www.azzafahmy.com modern and abstract in gold plate these rings cost from £210. Azza Fahmy is such a fascinating jeweller and she created this collection of rings for Matthew Williamson.

 

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During my ring research I met Disa Allsopp at her London studio where she beats her gold into beautiful rings that she will create with you. Her jewellery has a timeless Roman style that seems completely relevant and right for today. Her rings are in 18c gold and cost from £600 www.disaallsopp.com What is also lovely about her rings is the way they can be grouped and stacked together to create the multi ring look all in gold that I am liking right now. ps Disa has an amazing studio why did I take the snap with the kettle?

 

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Ram Chandra, www.ramfinegold.com  I have seen a lot of Ram’s work on friends fingers and I just love his style. He only works in 22c gold which can be expensive. I have been meaning to get to visit him but have not yet managed to. I think he sells under the Talisman umbrella at Harvey Nichols but under a slightly different name. I particularly like the way he sets his stones. Pippa Small I am sure you all know. I just adore all her jewellery and feel she was one of the first to bring back this  traditional setting technique to get us away from the claw settings that though pretty are quite dated and impractical.

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Vintage jewellery is almost my favourite, fun to search for but so very expensive. Its incredible how Andrew Grima rings looks as relevant today as they did in the 60s. Elsa Peretti teardrop ring, sorry the picture doesn’t do it justice, is one of my all time faves. Its fun to collect and I saw some truly divine jewellery Bulgari, Van Cleef circa 1940s-1950s at the BADA Antiques fair last fall.

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Louis Vuitton

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Yesterday 5th March 2014 in Paris Nicholas Ghesquiere showed his debut collection for Louis Vuitton. Undoubtedly one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the fashion season.

Ghesquiere is beloved, respected, and copied and he has been badly missed since he left Balenciaga over a year ago. He is one of the jewels in Bernard Arnault’s LVMH crown.

Lots to like and admire in this luxurious collection. I reckon the short boots will be on everyone’s “wait list” they looked so good with the bare legs and short skirts. Anyway short boots are really working right now with today’s looks. Quite “beat” with denim and will ground the longer skirt.

Time to pension off those wedge boots for something much more stylish. View the runway collection on www.style.com