Monday, 30 September 2013

Decoratively Battersea

It is once again that time of year: a trip to The Decorative Antiques & Textile Fair, in Battersea Park. The thrice-yearly event is always a feast for the discerning decorator looking to source unusual English and European antiques and collectables. On my last visit, in January, I wore this snugly sophisticated '60s faux-fur and leather navy coat from vintage store, Cornucopia, in Pimlico. Gerry's wonderful emporium closed down a few years ago on Tachbrook Street, but all my purchases are certainly going strong.  A suitably decorative mini-skirt from Paul Smith adds interest, whilst a simple silk shirt from Adolfo Dominguez enriches the colour, in coat and vintage bag, as does the mustard fur. The hand-made earrings on wood are part of The Start Collection from Frase Design, a Sussex-based enterprise whose inspiration is taken from great works of art. This pair comprises details taken from a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A night at the theatre

An invitation to the theatre last night prompted me to get out a LBS (Little Black Suit) for the occasion. This time an '80s classic from Ben de Lisi was in order- though I might add it was not acquired that long ago. It was a recent find at south London's Paraphernalia boutique. I put on another two-piece: a necklace and bracelet of Monet pearls, grabbed my little Cordé bag and reckoned the Alaïa heels would stand up against the pattern in the Jonathan Aston tights. They did, of course. And besides, every woman requires a little elevation! A light supper at The Anchor and Hope on The Cut, after which I took off to see Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Vic. The nothing-less-than-magnificent Vanessa Redgrave played opposite her Benedick, James Earl Jones. Bravo!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

From parlous state to concrete showpiece

London's oldest concrete domestic structure was part of the Open House London weekend event, celebrating architecture, people and place. To be found at 549 Lordship Lane, this innovative building was home, albeit briefly, for its pioneering creator, Charles Drake, who created a standardised method of forming concrete walls using timber shuttering. A ruined shell for nearly 30 years, this unique house has been rejuvenated by the efforts of co-ordinator, Heritage of London Trust (HOLTOP). Conservation architects, The Regeneration Practice, have helped bring it back to life in the form of rescued coving, original paint colours, a gothic iron bell pull and clay ridge tiles, as well as creating five new flats which will be sold by Hexagon Housing Association. The queue for this Grade II listed building, dating back to 1873, was a worthwhile wait. My rose-gold Jonathan Kelsey heels were surprisingly comfortable - as was my Joseph cardigan, jumper and trousers. My shaggy scarf is by Tait & Style, sunglasses by Gucci, and bag by Italian label, Kontessa.

Monday, 23 September 2013

A pearl preview

It was pearls galore at Friday night's preview of the eponymous exhibition at the V&A. I passed under a dazzling custom-made chandelier by designer, Omer Arbel, in the Grand Entrance. Keeping it all vintage and black, I wore a mid-century lace dress, carried a Cordé bag from the same era, and wrapped myself in swansdown by Lois Jaffé. The Azzedine Alaïa heels came out to bring the costume firmly into the 21st century. And, of course, I had to wear pearls: a pretty string of modern kidney-shaped pinks together with a one-off 'sputnik of pearls' ring by the estimable Lisa E Moss. The exhibition, Pearls, runs into next year - until January 19. In the words of Jackie Kennedy: 'Pearls are always appropriate' and I would add... a little Prosecco, too.

Friday, 20 September 2013

By the fire... not yet lit!

Autumn starts officially on Sunday and I am already wearing black and a pashmina. However, the legs are still bare and the Topshop wedges are still Summer. For how much longer...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Blue Mountain

East Dulwich coffee shop, Blue Mountain, officially re-opened for business today, after a smart make-over during the summer. The distinctive front of this long-standing local independent, with its Steve Wright mosaic, remains untouched. The latter's own house, in nearby Melbourne Grove, has been bequeathed to the National Trust and is open to visitors. Inside Blue Mountain, there's a new look and a fresh menu. I went for a delicious carrot and spinach soup and, of course, a coffee. The waistcoat is truly vintage, probably as old as my mother! The bag is DKNY, bought in Bond Street, Mayfair, and the shoes are some 'early' plum platforms from Hobbs, which was set up in Hampstead in 1981. Finally, the sunglasses were a vintage find from Canada.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Blue mood

The last of blue, blue days... an Hermès scarf tied atop, with a voluminous pair of '80s electric-blue silk culottes. The sunglasses, by Miss Sixty, are still for summer and the brightly turquoise necklace is vintage.

Monday, 9 September 2013

An Honest burger

An evening out in Brixton Village Market for one of the best burgers in town - an Honest one, of course. Honest Burgers now has three London locations: Brixton, Soho and Camden, where burgers are served up with honestly good British produce. In Brixton at the weekend, my burger in a takeaway box came with rosemary-salted chips and a Shoreditch Blonde (that's the drink), and water in a jam jar with a handle... very alternative, very Brixton! Comfortable wear: a pretty printed-silk top by Danish label, Rützou; Italian khakis from Question Air; suede wedges by Lola Cruz and my trashed-but-trusty bag by Angel Jackson.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Frankly Friday!

Multi-storey car parks are not exactly my favourite haunt. They always look as if they should feature in some drama, and certainly not my life and not obviously on my Friday night. But that has all changed, because even though it's only a village away, I'd not been to the bar, atop Peckham, called Frank's. Designed by Practice Architecture (Paloma Gormley and Lettice Drake), the cafe forms part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project, set up in 2007. On Friday, I had a rendezvous with friends heading for Cape Town and Paraguay respectively, and decided to glow - red! Frank's was a revelation - from the heady skyline views which could rival a Hilton, to hearty food and smiley service, and a buzz that can't be bettered.
I slipped into the only red silk dress - in my world - a '30s number from O Mistress Mine, New York; a vintage tartan silk jacket; Patrick Cox bejewelled knee-high boots, from Question Air, and carried a beaded patchwork bag from a charity shop. The weather held out, but the rum drink was Dark & Stormy. Frankly, Friday couldn't have been more fab!

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Crystal Palace Market

A fine place to linger for a beer, bread and olives: The Crystal Palace Market, on Church Road, was opened earlier this year and is proving to be a great new destination, whether you're having a meal or just drinks. I'm here wearing my Tom Ford sunnies, a dress from Question Air, and an ethnic scarf, decorated with cowrie shells.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Pit stops... in purple

Pit stops can in themselves offer up picture opportunities, particularly if you're wearing a photogenically purple dress. This one has little provenance... a no-label, floor-length woven raffia piece, purchased at Past Caring, an old shopping haunt of mine on Essex Road, Islington. I can't even recall its price but it certainly was not expensive. All I know is I still love wearing it - most memorably one evening at a French wedding. Today it is a dress in transit - on a bus - enjoying a breakfast of coffee and a croissant, a sit-down pause, and a powder-my-nose moment. Worn with some Gucci sunglasses, a trio of vintage amethyst necklaces and a pair of earrings from Istanbul, the dress requires no further ornamentation. The shoes (worn recently) are by Pons Quintana, and the bag, by Emma Bernhardt, is in the borough of kitsch but that's fine by me!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sundown in September

Sometimes it's not always about the clothes... it's about the scenery which surrounds you - the bigger picture! Simple black dress, vintage scarf, an old basket, Chanel sunglasses and some bronze woven Pons Quintana wedges that you may have seen before.