Monday, 27 June 2016

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain: A Review

Hello lovelies!

Some of you may have already read my post about my invite to the preview of 'Shoes: Pleasure and Pain' at the Bowes Museum (here).  I felt so privileged to be invited as a guest to such a prestigious event, but as the opening night was so busy, I was kindly invited back again to review the exhibition on a quiet Sunday morning when I could really spend time having a good old look at those shoes!  So without further ado, here it is...

Starting just outside the fashion and textiles gallery, I was greeted by that wonderful neon sign once again, before following the red carpet into the amazing world of Shoes.  Imagine the best walk-in-wardrobe you've ever seen for a shoe collection and you'll start to develop an idea of how amazing this beautiful exhibition is set out.  Not to mention the thousands of red shoe laces suspended from the ceiling, creating a homely, cosy blanket feel to the setting, such an ingenious idea.

Following the little trail of footprints on the floor, prepare to be dazzled at the vast array of shoes on show.  Being a luxury fashion lover, on my first viewing, my eyes were immediately drawn to the shoe designers I've come to know and love.  From beautiful Manolo's that Carrie would be proud to own, to those amazing Vivienne Westwood Elevated Gillies, to offerings from Charlotte Olympia, Prada and Dior to name a few, it's difficult not to be enticed by the beautiful structuring and stunning embellishments.  However, I felt as if I looked again this time and fell totally in love with the more historic shoes.  In this day and age, shoes are bought for purpose, comfort or beauty, which I suppose hasn't changed throughout history.  But I was amazed particularly at how many of the historic offerings were chosen for status or empowerment, particularly over women.  It could be the use of embellishments to draw the voyeurs eyes to the feet of the elite, or curly toes to make an entrance, or the simple use of a heightened sole to put a woman on a pedestal-it's fascinating to see how shoes have played such an integral part in both fashion and function over the years.  I suppose even today in the construction of a Louboutin shoe to draw focus to a pert bottom-shoes are still used as a status symbol even though we may not realise it.  But can you imagine being bought white flat slippers like the women in 1851, in order that your husband could keep you indoors?  No, me either (it would be more than his life was worth!!).

 Silver Geta bridal shoes
Italian chopines

Many of the historic shoes required the wearer to walk in a specific way in order to keep them on their feet, either by binding the toes so that the feet appeared smaller or didn't develop correctly like those from China, or by spreading the toes so that the shoes didn't fall off.  And to think that all we have to contend with is whether the heels of our newly bought shoes will survive a trip over some cobbles!

Lotus shoes-binding is essential.

I made so many notes on my second visit to shoes; I couldn't get enough of learning about both the history and function of each piece, there really is something for everyone!  I'd struggle to choose my favourite shoe from the exhibition.  Initially, I fell in love with the Cinderella shoe from Disney's 2015 adaptation of the story.  But I also adore the Roger Vivier for Christian Dior pink embellished shoes from the 1950s (I bought the postcard of these from the gift shop too!).  Other favourites of mine are the Super-elevated Gillies as I've already mentioned, which are the Vivienne Westwood shoes that famously caused Naomi Campbell to fall on the runway in 1993 and the Charlotte Olympia 'Bananas is my Business' shoes, simply for their fun presentation.

 Spot the Super-elevated Gillies-top right
My beloved Roger Vivier shoes sit pretty with other beautifully embellished shoes

It's interesting to visit the exhibition and listen to other people's reasons for their favourite choice of shoe.  My Mam was particularly fond of the Pierre Hardy shoes that were designed for Kylie Minogue, whereas my niece loved the shoes from Ancient Egypt.  I also loved the inclusion of the shoes from Josephine Bowes, a lady that holds such a special place in my heart and had such impeccable taste.

Whether a historian or fashion lover, I urge you all to visit 'Shoes: Pleasure and Pain' during its run (open until October 9th, 2016).  I visited it at the V&A last year and whilst I enjoyed it there, there's something about its setting at The Bowes Museum that makes it even more special-you really feel like you're getting up close and personal with some of the world's most beautiful shoe creations!

I've seen it twice already, but I know I'll be going back, even if it's just to make a conclusive decision on which shoe is my favourite-wish me luck!!

'Shoes: Pleasure and Pain' runs until October 9th and tickets are available here.  All images used in this post were kindly provided to me by the Bowes Museum and are copyright of the Bowes Museum (exhibition shots) and of the V & A (individual shoe photography).  Many thanks once again to the museum staff, particularly Sheila Dixon, for inviting me to review the exhibition.  All opinions are my own-I love this exhibition-please make sure you visit (and also visit the gift shop for some amazing shoe-related goodies!)

My gift shop goodies ('Love' is from YSL: Style is Eternal)


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Look fetching in Safari Chic with Farfetch...

Hello lovelies!

Have you ever thought about going on safari for your summer break?  I love the idea of a safari, but in reality, I'd probably be bitten by insects and spend the whole time being stressed that I might get eaten by a lion!  Okay, well how about embracing safari chic instead?  Effortless glamour and not a lion or a wildebeest in sight!  Sound more up your street?  Yeah me too!  Lucky for us, Farfetch have got us covered by throwing summer's latest trend into the spotlight.

Infographic provided by

Safari Chic

Safari chic had never really entered my consciousness (apart from a doll that I used to own who had a killer safari jacket way back when!!) until I visited a Yves Saint Laurent exhibition last year.  Yves knew style and if it's good enough for him, it's certainly good enough for me, after all he believed just like mademoiselle Chanel that 'Style is Eternal'.  So channelling Yves, Coco and the amazing people at Farfetch, I've decided to throw together some looks that work that effortlessly cool safari vibe but that mean you'll never need to be near Africa (unless of course you want to be!) to stand out from the crowd.

 Styling a statement piece

Could you feel any more out of Africa in this beautiful piece? This screams Safari chic to me and would work perfectly at home or on holiday.  I'm going to give you three looks to choose from for styling this piece, all using Valentino accessories to stay on theme with the infographic.  You want an outfit like this to make a statement all on it's own,  but with Valentino you're always guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.

For a day look...

Valentino Garavani Star Sneakers as trainers are everywhere this Summer and this absolutely gorgeous Valentino 'Rockstud Rolling' Backpack which features elephant print on the straps-what could feel more safari than that?  

For cocktails...

Valentino Garavani 'Love Latch' pumps instantly glam up the playsuit look.  Add this amazing (swoon!) Glam Lock shoulder bag and these rockstud accessories (chain and cuff) and you're all set.  

For that amazing summer holiday...

The very tribal hand-painted thong sandals and embellished tote are perfect for channelling an African vibe.  Pair with this floral bracelet and Rockstud sunglasses for added glamour.  I'll definitely be using this as my style inspiration for my summer holidays!

If I could have one piece that was on trend with Safari chic but was totally my style...

Breaking away from Valentino (even though I love Valentino!) I decided to hunt around Farfetch for the perfect safari inspired piece that summed up my style and boy was it tricky!

In the end I went for this beautiful Burberry Brit Trench.  The khaki colour and style really lends itself to that old school safari jacket look, but I'm a sucker for a trench (I love tailoring!) and find that I tend to wear mine whatever the weather!  Not quite summer chic, but perfect for a Burberry loving gal like me!

This post is my entry for the Farfectch content pack blogger competition.  I really enjoyed styling the looks and absolutely love Farfetch so want to thank them for asking me to take part! All featured looks are currently available from Farfetch at the time of posting and all images are copyright of Farfetch.



Monday, 20 June 2016

Wedding inspiration with Farfetch...

Hello lovelies!

Today I'm addressing the eternal dilemma of creating the perfect look for all of those summer wedding invites, with the help of Farfetch.  If you've never visited Farfetch before, then where have you been hiding?  It's an amazing hub for all of your designer needs, collating four hundred boutiques into one place; a perfect answer to all of those wedding outfit shopping woes without leaving the comfort of your own home! So let's begin...

Okay, so maybe you're not attending a wedding the the Hamptons, but think of an English country garden wedding and you're half way there.  Use the landscape as your inspiration and think floral prints or greenery as your inspiration.  Fancy flats instead of those Giuseppe Zanotti heels?  I'd go for these...

...just make sure you don't steal the bride's thunder!

For those invited to the evening do, or for an outfit which moves beautifully from day to night, neutral palettes are always the safest bet.  And who can resist that elusive LBD? Not keen on bearing those shoulders?  How about this dress instead...

...either way, you're bound to turn heads (especially wearing those beautiful McQueen shoes!).

A 60s vibe, bohemian country wedding you say?  This ensemble screams effortlessly cool and a YSL jacket can boldly smarten up any dress choice.  If like me, ruffles aren't your thing-how about pairing everything with this beauty...

You can always count on Valentino-elegance meets Boho chic in this beautiful floral print pleated dress.

A chilled out affair?  Maybe you're an exclusive guest or you're about to be a witness at a Vegas wedding (you lucky thing you!).  This seventies retro vibe will definitely make you stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons!  Need a bag for the occasion?  I believe that any event is an excuse to buy a handbag, so how about this beauty?  You won't regret it!  After all-there'll definitely be love in the room!

Finally, probably one of the more difficult choices for a wedding guest must be the beach wedding.  Consider the heat (and the sand) but go for understated glamour by choosing a knock-out beach dress but toning down the shoes (you don't want to sink in the sand!)  I love the Rosie Assoulin dress, but here are a couple of others to consider...

What would you choose?  If you need any help choosing the perfect outfit, look to for inspiration-you'll certainly make cut it as the most fashionable wedding guest!



Tuesday, 14 June 2016

London life-OOTD's and Street art...

Hello lovelies!

This weekend I visited London with my best girl and thought you might like to see what we got up to.  Okay, so this post isn't strictly fashion related but I did visit Brick Lane for the first time and wanted to share some pretty amazing street art.  Plus, our London trips are usually spent looking at luxury fashion, so there was lots of that going on for added measure!

We started the day on a bus ride to Spitalfields market, a great place for handmade goods, old vinyl, preloved high-end luxury fashion and masses of vintage clothes.  I came across an amazing pet stall called EdwynUk, selling the most wonderful handmade doggy accessories! I bagged a beautiful Union Jack bandana for Jay-Jay; he posed perfectly for the camera so he must love it!

After spending a good hour browsing the market (and managing to restrain ourselves at a pop up Buy My Wardrobe shop selling the most amazing Chanel shoes!), we headed in the direction of Brick Lane.

The cutest bunting lined the streets in preparation for the Queen's 90th Birthday celebrations.  It was a busy time to be in the big smoke on Saturday, with Trooping the Colour and the birthday preparations all underway.  But we were here to celebrate Natalie's early birthday not Lizzie's 90th-so rather than heading to Buckingham Palace, we perused Brick Lane's finest street art and Vintage clothes markets!

 I wore my beloved Eliza dress and carried my Louis...
 ...and Natalie looked perfectly street chic in her sunnies, Nikes and carrying her Mulbs!

The E1 area of London is by far one of the coolest places that I've ever been.  It's so easy to go to the city and fall into the habit of visiting the same places and doing the same things, but Natalie and I always try and explore and try something new.  I'd recommend you visit for the street art alone-to see it in real life is an experience difficult to capture in a photograph!

After spending our morning in the E1 area, we had to make sure we headed back to Oxford Street, purely to visit the mothership-or Selfridges to everyone else.  A gorgeous lunch and some luxury fashion is always a good reason to stop off at the fashion capital of London-I think we'd quite happily move in!

The day ended at Covent Garden, where I finally managed to get my hands on one of the beautiful boxes Kerrie Hess has designed for Laduree.  There are three to choose from, priced at £17 and filled to the brim with eight luxurious macarons!  The box may be cherished forever-but the macarons disappeared before the end of the day!!  Best eaten fresh!

We had an amazing day! Can you recommend somewhere different for our next visit?
If so, please drop me a comment :)

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