Introducing Greensitts Heritage Luggage

That Twin of mine is always up to something, be it secretly taking photos of my house or marketing her own brand of dog shampoo (true story!). Her latest venture is selling classic leather satchels and luggage along with buddy Helena.

Greensitts Heritage Luggage store lives on the second floor of Affleck’s Palace in Manchester, or you can shop online on their eBay store. I am assured a new website is on its way any day now but for now – shop in Manchester or on eBay.

Available in an array of summery colours, the stand-out item is – what else? – this season’s satchel. Prices start at £45 or you can pick up a laptop-sized bigger boy for £55.

My choice is baby pink, predictably.

This post was sponsored by Twin, who makes me do things against my will in return for poetry dug out of her teenage diaries (‘Notes From The Compromising Rebel’) – which, by the way Twin, I can’t find. Send me some highlights, I miss that poetry.

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Obsessed with Masonic watches and crockery

Last weekend I fell in to some kind of Etsy k-hole, and although I have no recollection of how… somehow ended up looking as masonic watches. I then wound up looking at masonic crockery. It’s nice, isn’t it? That watch especially… the skull is the second hand!

It’s not totally out of nowhere; the United Grand Lodge (masonic hall) is my favourite building in London – I’ve been to it a bunch of times for various fashion shows/award ceremonies/hair events and it really is incredible, regardless of what you think of freemasonry. I also went last year during Open House London, where they had people showing you around and talking about the history of the building. The best part was that they were handing out Q&A booklets, which included the question; “Why do grown men run around with one trouser leg rolled up doing weird handshakes?” I love their brutality! Nice to see a sense of humour in such a mysterious group. One revelation from the open day was the news that the roof is entirely tiled – in all my countless visits, I had no idea it was tiled, I always thought it was painted. It’s so bright gold IRL, you must go if you ever get the chance. The building is enormous and has all sorts of secret tunnels, star-studded ceilings and all-seeing eyes. I bet they’d appreciate it if I wore my watch.

Style icons: Strawberry Switchblade

When I went out with Emily the other day, she forced me (FORCED ME) to do two things; post more pictures of myself on here, and download the Spotify app. Two quite different challenges, both of which she claims will improve the quality of my life.

I remain to be convinced on the first (and actually think that maybe Emily just likes looking at pictures of me?), but the second? Fair play. Two days in, the Spotify app is the shit. Unfortunately the shuffle play, as shuffle plays are wont to do, seems to have its own favourite artists which it likes to play every two or three songs. Patsy Cline, The Weirdos, and Strawberry Switchblade are my app’s artists of choice, which is fine by me.

Strawberry Switchblade have always been big faves of mine, but I think it’s fair to say they were more of an influence on my earlier, teenage-era style – although, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a polka dot and novelty headpiece? Anyway, after spending a large portion of yesterday listening to the gals, it occurred to me that I hadn’t done any kind of post about them on here. So here it is.

I pilfered most of these pictures from StrawberrySwitchblade.net, and I was really happy to come across lots of unstaged, documentary-style snapshots, as well as posted studio images. Even though Jill and Rose became famous for their monochrome/polka dot wardrobes, it’s always neat to see pictures of musicians wholeheartedly living their look…

… And seeing that their look was perhaps pre-meditated from childhood?

I’m somewhat obsessed with this typical 80s holiday snap, with Jill and Rose just looking… insane, and angry. Pictures like this always make me (as I think I’ve said numerous times) want to go back to university and dig out my ~learning journal~ and make clothes.

So far, so 80s. I know, I know – but can you imagine a time when no fuckers dressed like this, and these two just ponced around looking amazing? We’re so spoilt living in the 2010s, living online, living in London… no-one bats an eyelid! I guess if I went to work wearing this, people might raise an eyebrow, but really, I don’t think that anyone would care. These guys just looked like this and dealt with it! Heroes!

Making the transition to Filofax

Inspired by the likes of Kris and Gala (and egged on by a very sophisticated, list-writing colleague), this year I delved in to the world of Filofax. I feel like I’m cheating on Moleskine, but whatevs, we’re very happy together. And I still use a Moleskine notepad so… all is not lost.

I really wanted a gold leather version (inspired by my beloved Ladydate), but astoundingly, such a thing doesn’t exist. I settled for what appeared to be the next best thing – the metallic bronze Domino Snake, in ‘personal’ size. I say ‘settled for’, and ‘next best thing’, but it was love at first sight really – and the bronze is more like gold really anyway.

Work has only just got back to normal, so my Filofax is still a little lacking in lists and dates, but I did want to share the all-important storage wallet. My research tells me it’s the done thing to keep something of interest in here, so I opted for a Mexican lotería card, predictably featuring ~LA CALAVERA~. I think I will change it around to fit with my mood, as I have an entire lotería kit which doesn’t actually get played with, and I do like La Sirena a great deal too…

It’s not all skulls though, as my Filofax also includes a rabbit with a lil’ bell in it. My cousin lives in Japan, and sent me it for Christmas, but alas my phone doesn’t have space for phone charm, so it lives here. Ah.

I’m excited about filling my Filofax with all sorts of neat stuff over the coming years – here’s some Flickr inspiration (via Gala):

PS I can’t find a suitable pen anywhere. I want a gold one, but Parker pens are stupidly expensive, and no-one else seems to sell nice gold fountain pens. Wah wah wah.

Going hiking in a skirt

J.F Willumsen, En Bjergbestigerske (1904)

I seem to have unwittingly got myself signed up for some kind of walk on Easter Monday. This is problematic for a couple of reasons. First of all it’s a Bank Holiday so I fully expect to be drunk, hungover, or both. This is all well and good when you’re on your Duke of Edinburgh trek and a hip flask of Dooley’s is par for the course (note to ex-teachers and parents: it wasn’t me), but when you’re a grandma like me and you’ve not set foot on a stile for… years, then it’s not going to help matters.

The second and more pressing issue is that of what to wear. I don’t own any practical clothes. This isn’t intended as a brag or anything because I think it’s pretty shameful, I just don’t really go in for trousers or sensible shoes. When I bought my DMs last year I was really proud of myself for owning my first ever practical footwear. When I wore them for a trek to the pub in the snow over Christmas, Mr Fur Coat’s family found it highly amusing that I considered them appropriate walking gear but I was the only person that didn’t fall over and my feet were toasty warm so I win. The heel actually seems to help you on your way through ice and snow, so maybe they’ll do for the weekend hike.

The real problem I guess is what to clothe myself in. I always quite happily do what little outdoor activity I do in a dress or skirt and get the job done fine, but again, people always seem to find that highly amusing. My Barbour is another ‘sensible’ buy from last year but I need to get down to Regent Street and pick up a hood for it before I can really call myself appropriately dressed.

I read a really interesting post on Needled on the subject of appropriate womenswear for walking recently, which included some really interesting anecdotes from female mountain climbers in ye olde days.

Constance Barnicoat, who was apparently a famous mountain climber in the early 1900s is quoted as saying:

“skirts, even the shortest, are almost impracticable. I promptly sent for proper boys boots . . . and generally rigged myself out as much like a boy as possible with sweater, knickers, and puttees to my knees. . . whatever arguments may be urged against a boy’s dress for a woman anywhere within range of civilisation, those arguments do not hold good in such wilds as we went through.”

Fingers crossed my mountain won’t be so wild. The Needled post also happened to be illustrated with some brilliant vintage imagery on the subject which I’ve copied here. Something to inspire me, perhaps??

Style icons: The Tribe

I’ve been intending to write this post for about three years, but there’s just so much to say that it’s hard to know where to start. Phew, here goes.

When I was younger I was obsessed to a frightening degree with The Tribe. Yeah, this is a post about The Tribe, the Australian post-apocalyptic tv show. For some reason it’s been on my mind a lot lately so I figured it was time to take the plunge and just do it. Here’s the opening titles to get us all in the mood;

I think it started when I read The Last Children as a kid. I don’t (and never did) have any desire to live in a world without adults — we’ve all read Lord of the Flies, after all. I think I just enjoyed reading about it. Anyway, the appeal of The Tribe clearly wasn’t just the whole living in a deserted shopping centre without grown-ups, it was about how fucking cool the guys in the show were. Independent, intelligent, funny, self-sufficient… stylish?

Obviously. Amber and Bray were clearly the best characters but even the baddies were awesome, with their braids and Cyberdog silver trousers. Writing about The Tribe today, obviously my focus for this post is on the hair and makeup. The face paint side of things gets a bit much after a while but I still think they look fucking ace and can completely understand why my teenage brain cut out all the pictures of the characters from the Radio Times and kept them on my wall.

Again, the whole look does get a bit Cyberdog at times but it’s not like I’d wear any of this head to toe. Unless I had a Tribe party. Wait, why haven’t I done that? Oh right, ‘cos no-one would come.

So this is Amber. Before I go any further I should give mad props to Tribeworld, which is the most insanely indepth website I’ve ever seen. It makes weirdo Star Wars fans look normal. There are so many pictures, so many videos, so many facts. You could spend all weekend on there. Would you judge me if I did?

Anyway, Amber is the best character for many reasons, one of which is her hair. On this page of the afore mentioned site, there’s even a MAC-style cheat sheet to get her makeup. Yegod! I particularly liked it when she put it in Bjork-ish knots.

This is Ellie. She started out life as a farm girl but by the time she’d spent some time with the Mallrats, she was more stylish than any of them. Kind of a riot grrl thing going on with her wardrobe?? And that hair, the hair so many teenage girls dreamed of in the late 90s… aided and abetted with one of those acrylic hair extension scrunchies.

Cloe and Patsy. Always the best hair and always time for some blue lipstick. Swoon. Both of these guys were supposed to be pretty timid and kind of outsiders until they made friends with each other, but I ask you — how can you be shy when you look as good as this?

Trudy was probably the most 90s person in The Tribe, with her baby bangs/occasional wonky fringe and purple hair and combat trousers. And face stickers. Her baby was pretty cool too, with lime green hair if I remember rightly.

Later when she was a tribe leader she wore a lot of capes and wizard-ish gear. Not so down with that.

And finally Ebony. Ebony the badass with her braids and black and red leather and black bandito eye mask. She is literally the baddest of the bad and although I was vaguely obsessed with her, it was more like that girl from school that you’re scared of and a bit in awe of at the same time. Word of warning, you might want to put safe search on when you Google ‘Ebony The Tribe’. After page one, image search gets a bit confused and, uhm, ‘ racy’.

OK, that’ll do for now. I could bleat more but I’ve spent most of the weekend on Tribeworld and I feel the need to reconnect with the real world. If you want more, just read the pages and pages of in depth discussion here. There is literally an answer for everything.

Reducing my mind to endless nights

Dear Natalie has presented me with some kind of magical internet prize, the Happy 101 Award. I’m not quite sure what this means, but she has told me to tell you 10 of my current favourite things, which I’m more than capable of managing. Here you go!

1. Champagne bottle earrings from GirlProps. Bi-monthly order, done.

2. Jill The Reckless (Everyman edition). Currently reading, catching up on 25 years of wasted time.

3. Tie-dye dress from Whistles. Coral or blue, coral or blue?

4. Jade & Clare’s new blog, I’m Washing My Hair

5. Spotting Rob Halford front row at Louis Vuitton. Maybe. That and watching LV live and enjoying the circle skirts.

6. My new record. Not just a lol! funny cover! but an actual good album that transports me back to Munich and happy, beer-drinking times. Prost indeed.

7. The cheese and meat platters at Deptford Deli. And these IKEA plates, which I want.

8. Glittery orange lip gloss from YSL.

9. This Models Own nail polish which I mentioned yesterday but which deserves a special mention for being amazing.

10. This Merci Maman necklace except CLEARLY without the gross mummy-centric messages, with gold disks and pink string. Those options are available, FYI.

My favourite ever dress

https://i2.wp.com/www.culture24.org.uk/asset_arena/7/98/14897/v0_master.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/www.culture24.org.uk/asset_arena/6/98/14896/v0_master.jpg

Not sure what reminded me of this, but over the weekend I started thinking about The Best Dress Ever. It hasn’t crossed my mind for about 6 months now and while I feel certain I probably have written about it in the past, I can’t find anything. Anyway, it’s here burning a hole in my brain so here goes nothing.

Back in the old days of my Masters, the marvellous Amy De La Haye gave us a presentation on an exhibition she’d just curated; The Messels: Six Generations of Dress. The fascinating show (wow, maybe you could even call it a social experiment?) featured the extensive wardrobes of the Messel family over the decades. Anne, Countess of Rosse (4th generation Messel) realised that her family’s clothes might be interesting one day in the future and preserved them like a stylish, tissue-packed time capsule because she recognised that, ‘they have that meaning of being worn.’  Deep! Anyway, Anne gave the Brighton Museum heaps of her family’s clothes, all packed away and preserved, annotated with notes about where they’d been worn and the reaction they got. One dress (a long green evening dress with a beaded neckline, according to the museum) has a note that (intriguingly!) reads, ‘Had a wonderful time in this dress am ashamed to say. 1941!!’ Hah! Wonder what the minxes got up to?

The collection comprises over 500 items dating from 1870 to 2005, which were worn by six generations of Messel women. You can read about the intriguing family here, but suffice to say their wardrobes largely comprised of couture gowns from exclusive London dressmakers and top fashion houses. The exhibition also featured loads of letters and photographs of the outfits in action. All amazingly fascinating, but maybe irrelevant seeing as the exhibition was in 2006…

Anyway, amongst the wonderful outfits was aforementioned Best Dress Ever. The Snow White Day Dress was created for Anne by Charles James in around about 1937, just after the film came out. I’m by no means a Disney fan (we only had Fantasia on video as a kid, and I think that was a present… still, it was creepy) but this dress is a real thing of beauty. When the exhibition came to Sheffield I spent about 4 hours wandering around drawing everything in anal, fashion student detail. I’d hazard that the bulk of that time was spent in front of this number. What I like most about it is how modern and creepy the print is, kind of like Giles Deacon’s 2008 Who Killed Bambi-ish collection. Without being crass, I remember thinking that the open-mouthed Snow White which makes up the bulk of the print looks just like a sex doll. Not sure whether the honourable Charles James would have intended that, but who knows?? Eleanor Thompson, Curator of Costume at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery (where the exhibition opened) is quoted as saying;

The Snow White dress is amazing – by Charles James, after the film comes out. It’s a fantastic and unusual example of a merchandising twist, I guess. And the cut – you see at the front the faces have all been cut up and juxtaposed with each other. If you look, the faces are interesting – very odd! You think of Snow White as quite childlike but when you look at the actual faces it’s quite strange.

Such an unusual item and such a stand out piece. I remember when Amy was giving her presentation a slide of this dress was shown and all my pals correctly assumed that I would love it. I do, I do, I do! I wish this exhibition (or just this dress) would go on tour again so I could get another good look. Alas I have no photos or a scanner to show you my shit sketches… the only two pics I can find are teeny, but you get the jist.

The exhibition catalogue is available here. Look beyond the awful 90s Textile GCSE cover, it’s good!

Giles and the gonk

OK so they’re obviously totally ludicrous, but nice to see Giles bringing a bit of good old-fashioned gonk love to PFW. Who knew University Challenge was so inspirational? Uhm, everyone, duh. When I was just trying to find a link explaining gonks to the uninitiated I was reminded about Neil from The Young Ones and his gonks… might as well just copy the quote in full because it’s so brill:

I sat in the big hall and put my packet of Polos on the desk. And my spare pencil and my support gonk. And my chewing gum and my extra pen. And my extra Polos and my lucky gonk. And my pencil sharpener shaped like a cream cracker. And three more gonks with a packet of Polos each. And lead for my retractable pencil. And my retractable pencil. And spare lead for my retractable pencil. And chewing gum and pencils and pens and more gonks, and the guy said “Stop writing, please.”

Wish I could find the clip on YouTube! Anyway, while Giles is obviously gonked up, I actually saw something else in that gonk’s eyes… I saw Treacle People. Don’t want to make this a retro lol! post, but I was a big fan of the Treacle People, so much so that my mum made me one. Wonder where he is? It’s all in the eyes, isn’t it?

On the subject of gonks, here’s an interesting piece about what the word came to mean in 60s London. I’m gonna try and bring gonk back. If all this gonk talk (GONK GONK GONK) has been of any interest, check out this 1965 film, Gonks Go Beat. Just look at it, it’s the (and I quote) ‘craziest musical adventure on planet Earth’. How can you not want to watch it now? Here’s a clip to ease you in. Crazy, love how he hits that chick with his drumstick. Nutter. Not gonna lie though, it’s a good film!