Friday, 22 September 2017

Roksanda's Reform

Anyone else swept away by Roksanda's latest offering, a gorgeous, softened up vision of femininity? Shirring and smocking were used to create volume and definition, in a muted colour palette modernised with jolts of yellow, cobalt and fuchsia. Maybe it's because I've just finished reading Heath, Art, and Reason, but I got major Pre-Raphaelite/Artistic/Aesthetic Dress vibes, most notably due to the generous sleeves, relaxed, languid silhouette, and of course the shirring/smocking. The girl in the pink dress above surely just walked out of Liberty's circa 1897, or out of a Walter Crane illustration? There was an earthy, crafty naivety to the collection, with touches of raffia and rope. Embellishment was spare, and when used remained within that realm of subdued, natural beauty so favoured by early Aesthetes. Print was also largely absent, and when it did appear, took the form of simple, abstracted floral, just as Aesthetic dress would avoid the gaudy, ornate patterns of fashionable Victorian dress (and interiors). Naturally, this being a designer collection of elevated quality, the fabrication is perhaps a little luxurious for our original Aesthetic dress proponents, whose mission early on was as much a political statement on democracy and women's rights than mere aesthetics.      

Of course, Aesthetic Dress, off the back of Rational Dress, was one of the first examples of sub-cultural style to attempt subversion of the fashionable and societal norm- in this case of the habitual encasement of Victorian women's bodies within restrictive, uncomfortable, and unhygienic clothing. Fashion has relaxed within the current decade, and there is evidence of the pin-thin ideal losing its grip. Here, Roksanda caters to those less interested in flashing a figure attainable by very few, but offers a view of fashion that is both comfortable and beautiful (without turning to the athleisure trope that has at this point been done to death and clearly never appealed to me). Those exaggerated sleeves may not be for everyone, but her gowns offered the flattering option of gathered natural waists, or the looser empire line. Wear over trousers with heels, or with sandals and hair-undone, the effect is the same- relaxed and elegant. So would I wear any of it? Absolutely. But of course, I'd probably ruin the simplicity with a plethora of jewels, as is my wont; and what is more, the pic'n'mix nature of fashion these days would allow me to do so. Unlike the era of the Aesthetes, Fashion is no longer based on a single narrative, but takes multiple forms. Roksanda is by no means an anti-fashion label (I'm not sure those exist in any capacity), yet clearly she has more than just an aesthetic to thank the Aesthetes for.         








































All catwalk images from vogue.com. 
Other images, from top-bottom: Liberty catalogue, 1905; 1890's velvet dress; 1895 tea dress; Julia Margaret Cameron, Pre Raphaelite study 1870; Walter Crane, The Tempest; Liberty catalogue, 1908; James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs France Leyland, 1872-3; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Monna Rossi, 1867; Jane Morris and daughter, 1874.




Saturday, 16 September 2017

House of Homps



There's a definite chill in the air now, so what better time to share some snaps/outfits from my holiday to the south of France a few weeks ago? We stayed in a little town on the Canal du Midi called Homps, and enjoyed some fantastic weather, wine and scenery. I spent a lot of time wearing as little as possible, and a lot of time photographing the area rather than myself, hence only two outfits to show (but I can assure you I did wear a colour other than mustard). 






Vintage cover-up, 1920s blouse, ASOS trousers, Topshop sandals, antique belt and jewellery


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This is me in 'casual mode', wearing treggings (the absolute worst portmanteau), and flat sandals (!) for a day walking around the incredible Abbaye de Fontfroide. The necklace is a 1920s celluloid and French Jet piece I recently got for my birthday; and the star brooch is an Edwardian paste beauty, a stone from which I lost on the morning of our departure meaning I had to reluctantly walk away without finding it šŸ˜© Tracking down the exact shade and size of paste to replace it is going to be a mission, but I can barely look at it now without feeling sad/annoyed.


Zara blouse, Benetton treggings, SixtySeven sandals, vintage and antique jewellery. 


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Les Halles des Narbonne

Plaque outside Narbonne Cathedral

Gate at the Abbaye de Fontfroide

Ceiling at the Abbey

Another gate at the Abbey

Reassembled stained-glass at the Abbey

The best part of any Abbey- the cloisters

Cloister model facing the real thing

Doing my best tourist pose at the within the cloisters

15th Century painted timber beams at the chateau in Capestang

And lastly shots from the glorious medieval church at Capestang, the Collegiale Saint-Etienne, which was decrepit and lovely with so many details. 











Monday, 28 August 2017

Peachy PJ's


Pretty standard summer uniform for me of skinny black trousers, strappy sandals, and a standout blouse. This dreamy silk blouse is an original 20s/30s piece -most probably worn as an item of loungewear- displaying a typically Oriental touch in its style. I was pretty excited to find it fitted me, as I believe it to be a child's...hurrah for my small shoulders (although wild arm movements are out of the question). The colour is a soft coppery-apricot, with deep blue trims and an applique of lilac and green, and there is a teeny tiny functional pocket to the bottom. The buttoned, asymmetrical high-neck and applique preclude the wearing of a necklace, which is weird for me as a devoted wearer of necklaces; some fancy earrings were therefore required, and these self-made copper tassels did just nicely. A large copper tote and matchy lilac nails completed the look. Can anyone date it more accurately for me? 




Vintage blouse, Topshop sandals, Ted Baker bag, ASOS trousers., self-made earrings, vintage jewels.




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