Monday, 27 December 2010

A belated Merry Fat-mas to you all

Dear everyone,

Sorry for the lack of posting in the run-up to Christmas. This has been the strangest Chrimbo of my life, not for any one particular reason, I've just never felt so unfestive and unorganised! I bought all my presents late, wrapped them at the last possible second, did none of my traditional festive baking, didn't even get motivated enough to set off for home before dark, and my dad called me up to say not to even attempt it at night, due to treacherous ice. So I spent Christmas Eve on my own, drinking wine and watching telly. Very strange!

The day itself was as lovely as ever, and I got some splendid presents from my family and my best friend. Here's the one and only photograph of the day: me and my brother in front of (and indeed obscuring) the Christmas tree!

I'm wearing an old favourite dress from last year, by Able Grable, with a ribbon belt (which I took off in preparation for eating. Turns out I needn't have bothered, since for the first time in living history, I failed to finish my Christmas turkey dinner! Nor did a single piece of chocolate or cake (or any further bit of food that day) pass my lips. If anyone has seen my appetite, I'd like it back please! But I enjoyed it nonetheless, and fell asleep in front of Dr Who (which I rewatched last night - ace!), but woke up in time for Poirot, hurrah! A relaxing Christmas all round. Here's a snap of the presents my brother gave me - let it never be said that I am a girly girl!

Can't wait to watch the Expendables!

I'm so ready for 2010, my annus horribilis (as far as my personal life goes), to be over. I will try to post again before the New Year, but if I don't, I hope that each and every one of you has a fabulous time. Catch you on the flip side!

Fleur xx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Winter footwear & a final party plug

I sometimes curse my parents for feeding me so much fluoride and calcium as a child. While it's lovely to be strapping, strong and healthy, I never had any chance of having lovely, dainty feet. If I'd been around in the 1940s, aside from all the other drawbacks mentioned in my earlier post, I'd have been forced to wear men's shoes. It's most unlikely that I'd have been able to afford custom-made ones anyway! So I rely on vintage inspired and repro shoes, of which there are many. Luckily! But it still makes me shed a tear when I see such amazing, original shoes as these...

These CC41, sheepskin-lined, black suede snow boots just sold on eBay for a shade over £100. Worth every penny, I'd say. They are utterly beautiful, don't you think? At size 4.5 (6.5US), there was no chance of me fitting them, even if I chopped off my toes (which I considered)!

Luckily, I was saved from further depression by the fact that I already own some rather smashing, and not entirely dissimilar shoes, made by those purveyors of gorgeous footwear, Miss L Fire.

These Ellison shoes manage to perfectly bridge the gap between 40s chic and old lady slippers, and I absolutely love mine, which are in the above tan colourway. They also come in black and grey... both of which I now want as well!
I bought them from Shudoo, but they can also be bought from ASOS, where they have styled them slightly differently. If you wear them with the sheepskin bit completely unfolded, they look remarkably similar to the original 1940s boots above. Hurrah!

I will admit these fashion shoes are not suitable footwear for those of you who live in places that get serious snow. Nor would I wear them here, if it snows heavily, as the weathermen have been threatening! But they are lovely and snug for when it's cold but dry. If it's icy underfoot, I also have a pair of these, from Clarks; which have a practical, crepe sole and look just as lovely! They are in the sale as well, for just £50 (as well as a couple of sizes in black).

This weekend, I am helping out at the '1940s Demob Ball' being held at posh old London Gentleman's club the Naval and Military (aka the In and Out), but it would be remiss of me not to tell any London-based vintage partygoers about the last Candlelight Club of the year.

Christmas by Candlelight is taking place at a secret location this Saturday 18th. Tickets cost £15.

For this you get:
• A free drink on arrival

• A quirky supper of exotic, Christmas-flavoured gourmet sandwiches, in our basement hideaway specially decorated for the occasion

• Live 1920s ragtime from ex-Royal Flying Corps heroes turned jazz messengers Albert Ball's Flying Aces (if you missed my Hallowe'en event, catch them here! -Fleur)

• Vintage shellac spun all evening by MC Fruity, London's premier vintage DJ

• Our Christmas present for you to take home: a free limited-edition CD of Candlelight Club 1920s music, cleverly fashioned to look just like an old 78 record—this 26-track album will only be available at this event

PLUS a mini bottle of SW4 gin, "The Gin of Champions". In effect, it's a pocket-sized version of the Club, to keep you company this Christmas.

 • A one-off menu of attractively priced Christmas cocktails created by Will Sprunt:

Mince Flip
Homemade mincemeat vodka, sherry, cream, nutmeg
Related to the Alexander cocktail, this concoction is basically Christmas in a glass
Chestnuts on an Open Fire
SW4 gin, Bowmore single malt whisky, chestnut syrup
A fruity, smoky, nutty short
Ginger Snap
Rum, advocaat, ginger beer, Boker's Bitters
Like a spicy Dark n' Stormy cocktail with an extra indulgent richness
Cherry Christmas
SW4 gin, cherry bitters, rosemary tincture, cranberry juice
Long and fruity with an aromatic perfumed twist
Mulled Sour
SW4 gin, port, cointreau, lemon juice, Boker's Bitters
Sweet and sour mulled-wine flavours in a chilled tongue-tingling extravaganza

Do pop along if you fancy it (tickets can be bought here), to support one of London's best and newest nights for vintage enthusiasts... I'm sad to miss it, but I'll be at the first one in the New Year!

Toodle-oo for now!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Partying like it's 1935

'Tis the season to be jolly... drunk on gin and champagne. Attending two rather splendid parties in a week, first the Chap Magazine's second Grand Anarcho-Dandyist Ball, closely followed by the New Sheridan Club's Back To The Futurists Christmas Party, has left me feeling rather in need of a detox. But, oh! What fun they were!

At Christmas time, it's my yearly tradition to work with my best friend of 12 years, in the posh kitchenwares shop that she manages. The downside of this is that I have hardly any time in which to get ready for the big Christmas parties that I wish to attend. But, hopefully, I pulled it off! Let me show you the evidence.

I didn't have my camera for the Chap Ball. Which turned out to be a good thing, because the gin and tonics were so very strong, and I managed to acquire so many of them over the evening, that I would probably have broken and/or lost it. The only surviving photos are by others, and none of them show my (in my opinion) fabulous gown in all its glory. Oh well - this just means I can wear it again, sooner rather than later!

Here I am at the beginning of the night in a photo by Mark Davies, posing with the Chap's designer Michaela and wearing a 1930s gown. It's made from heavy, double-layered black crepe with cream/white (it needs dry cleaning I think) birds woven into it. The thin straps, neckline and hem are trimmed with ruffled, black silk velvet. I wore a black velvet ribbon as a belt, a coppery gold bird in my hair, gold sandals, and my Able Grable faux fur capelet! In the second photo, I'm with the gorgeous ladies Bethan (who organised the event with The Chap and doesn't have a blog), Gemma Bake Do and Mend, Jeni Yesterday Girl, Lisa Snoodlebug and Penny Dreadful. Photo is from Jeni's camera. I think we all look smashing (and tipsy).

And then it all started to go a bit wonky.

In photos pinched from Penny Dreadful and my friend Russell, you can see the rather epic dancing that went on later. The second one I particularly like, with Sara and I dancing to the 'On a Ragga Tip' part of Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer's 'Songs For Acid Edward' ditty. Mr B actually launched his brand-new Album 'I Say' on this very night, and I can vouch for its sheer brilliance (follow the link to his shop if you care to).

The rest of the night was a blur of Top Shelf Jazz, Viv the Spiv's tabletop horse racing, Nickolas Grace and general debauchery. Clayton Hartley took some great photos of the Night of a Thousand Waistcoats, which can be found on his Flickr, so do take a look.

It did take me almost the whole week to recover, which I did just in time for the New Sheridan Party. This was a much smaller affair after the 800 attendees of the Chap Ball, full of friends, and much more reserved (for me!). It had an Avant Garde, Futurism theme, and I decided to wear a fairly plain dress, but with some rather snazzy, snowflake fairy-lights upon my head!

Sorry about the bright flash! It looks like I'm wearing a jumpsuit here, but in fact, the dress was a brand new black '1940s Maxi Dress', purchased from Warehouse. I had planned to add some kind of art deco beading to it, but ran out of time (and energy), so instead I wore a silver ribbon as a belt, and pinned on a sun-bursty brooch (with matching earrings). Since I don't own any silver sandals, I wore my Rocket Originals Esther wedges. (Psst. Have you seen Rocket's new Lana design? Amazing!). The fairy lights had a substantial battery pack containing three AA batteries, and was really quite heavy and hard to disguise! I did this in about half an hour, and I think I can do better for New Year's Eve, when I intend to wear it again! Perhaps with the bird gown this time. I finished off the costume with silver eyeshadow and nail varnish.

New Sheridan parties are always a wheeze. Jeni, Bethan and I played Shoot the Lobster off the Telephone, which Jeni actually managed to do! We missed the Priest-Dragging completely. I also didn't win anything in the Grand Raffle, sadly, but Bethan and I watched lovely Minna aka Red Legs take home the Bespoke Shirt prize, and Jeni snaffle some delicious SW4 Gin. Hurrah!

Again, there are some more photos of everyone, from Matt the Gentleman Juggler (amazing) to Suri Sumatra's Metropolis themed act (breathtaking) to be seen on Clayton's Flickr stream, so do go have a look.

Phew. That's all for now! Pip pip!

Fleur xx

Monday, 6 December 2010

Vintage Snobbery vs Vintage Failing

Oh, it's been a crazy few days in my world. Or, more specifically, my blog world. It all began way back in the mists of time, aka Friday night, when I posted a long and heartfelt post about how 'rubbish' my life is at the moment, I got some incredibly lovely comments overnight, then on Saturday morning, it was deleted. Basically, it was posted without thought, at a time when it could have potentially further damaged the very situation I was referencing. And if you read it, you would know why I wouldn't want to make it worse! I don't really want to bring it up again at the moment, but I realised today that the post is still showing in some people's Google Readers, and so I have continued to get some amazing emails from people, all around the world. I can't thank you all enough.

But apparently, the act of deleting my post and the fact that people then continued to leave me comments on my last post (which was ostensibly about glamorous party frocks), has offended someone enough for them to leave me a rude anonymous comment. This person feels that since I have no backbone (and no stiff upper lip, or is it that I do have a stiff upper lip - am a tad confused), I couldn't possibly have survived the Blitz, nor could I have coped in the 1940s without my precious lip primer. I am, they say, 'no vintage person'. Contrast this to the last time I received anonymous abuse on here, in which I was roundly trounced for being a 'vintage snob', after I was mean about afro wigs and people in cagoules at a vintage festival. So am I in fact a vintage snob, or am I actually a terrible fashion follower who doesn't care about vintage at all?

Let's look at the good things about the past. It was a much more innocent time.

Borrowed from Silent Screen Queen on Flickr

I think you can take it as read that, to me, the 1930s and 40s represent the absolute zenith of style. From Art Deco furniture to the wonderful shapes and silhouettes of the clothes of the time, I worship vintage style. I also love it for its individuality, something I have been devoted to my whole fashion-conscious life. I hate wearing the same thing as someone else. This is why, although I am happy to wear repro on a daily basis, I will only ever wear vintage, one-off repro or something which I am 99% sure will not be seen on anyone else, to a large vintage event. But what about life back then? In the 30s and 40s (if you discount the War), the news wasn't so full of scare-stories, and there is little doubt that generally people were a bit more civil to each other than now. During the Blitz, people came together to help each other, and yes, in rural communities, people could leave their doors and cars unlocked. For many people, life was nice and simple, I'm sure. People didn't rape or murder each other... as much. Maybe it was just unreported. It does seem as though it was quite nice back then for some people. But I don't want to go back to the past. I prefer the present day.

Let's look at it objectively. How would I have coped during WWII. I haven't the faintest idea. How long is a piece of string?

Would I have breezed through it, with nothing more than a few nights in an air-raid shelter and minimal discomfort? Would I have had to leave my family and gone off to work in a factory? Would I have been a lady pilot? Would I have lost everything I own to a bomb? Would I have lost my boyfriend or husband or brother in the fighting? Would I have lived in a lovely rural village, eating way more than my ration book would have allowed? There is absolutely no way to know. I consider myself to be quite a strong person, but the fact that I'm seemingly not immune to depression has made me realise I am not a superhuman with no emotions, funnily enough. But I am still here, just as friends of mine are, who have had broken hearts, lost parents, had serious accidents, suffered abuse, and other such awful things happen to them, far worse than has happened to me. I'm sure that if the worst had happened, I would have got by. And even if it had been relatively painless, I'm sure I'd have had a good old moan and whinge to my friends about sleepless nights and weeing in buckets. And about not being able to get any new lipstick or a new frock. Because let's face it, we'd each have had a couple to our names, with maybe one more for best. And no stockings. And the same amount of cheese that I eat in one bite, to last a whole week. Rubbish.

If I had lived back then, would I have dressed like a Victorian, in order to express my individuality? No - if I had, I'd have been sectioned. People didn't do things like that unless they were vastly wealthy and a lovable eccentric. I certainly would not have fallen into the wealthy category then. I may even, as others of my friends pointed out, been a servant. I wouldn't have been to university, I probably wouldn't be living on my own, making a living as a freelance writer. Well, I *might* have been. Who knows? But one thing is for sure, I don't believe I was 'born in the wrong era'. Snoodlebug just posted an excellent rant on the subject, as have others on my blog roll in the past. Generally, with a few exceptions, most of the people of my acquaintance feel the same. The past would be a nice place to visit (and buy all the frocks, shoes, furniture, whatever, that we please), but most of us wouldn't want to stay there. Not unless we were in the Bertie Wooster set.

I have been brought up to have old fashioned manners, and I always hold doors open, say please and thank you, treat others with the courtesy and respect that I wish to be afforded. Of course I lose my temper sometimes and I can be critical. But being mean about false moustaches or cheap, tacky costumes is part of Chappist culture. I've said over and over that I enjoy spending my time with likeminded folks, just as most people do. When people make a mockery of your lifestyle, it does sting a bit. And as Red Legs points out in the moustache rant, people wouldn't go to a soul event blacked-up, so why come to a decadent, dandyesque event in a joke shop moustache? Before people get critical, I realise it's not in the same league as racism, but I am making a point. None of it is life or death, but forgive us for having a moan about it!

On a serious note, one of the main reasons, perhaps, that I don't have a rosy-tinted view of the past, is that my own relatives didn't have such a lovely, carefree time back then. My maternal grandparents married just before my RAF bomber-pilot grandad was shot down in 1943, and he spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. He came back rather scarred, mentally, from his experience, and when my grandmother gave birth to my mum in 1946, treated her absolutely atrociously. They never divorced, because it was not the 'done thing', but my goodness me, they should have done. My grandmother spent 30 years on strong barbiturates that the doctors told her she should never come off, because they knew of no other way to deal with her depression. My grandad died in debt, leaving a second life that no one knew about, to be discovered later. And his experiences in the war made him like that, I have no doubt.

My paternal grandparents were a little younger during the war. My grandad drove a fire engine in the Blitz. He had a nervous breakdown. He was 18 years old.

So judging by my own family's reactions to their wartime experiences, I might well have not had that purported stiff upper lip after all. I might, in fact, have been a total mess. Just as I am now over something that is in essence far more trivial than going through a World War, but which has nonetheless shaken me to my very core. So I am eternally grateful that there are other, nice things, and lovely people in my life keeping me sane. And that I am not being bombed every night, or lacking in nice frocks and lipsticks. Here's to modern materialism! ;)

I'm not sure whether I have answered my own question about whether I am a snob or a fake, but I'm going to stop wittering on now. To sum up, there are many aspects of the past that I enjoy, the clothes and style being one; the perceived politeness and courtesy towards others that may or may not have existed (depending on where and who you were)... the things we all believe to have disappeared in the modern world. The things I have no time for are primitive health knowledge, lack of civil rights, lack of deodorant, so on and so forth, etc, etc. I like my car, my laptop, my internet, sushi, nice shoes that fit (if I'd lived in the 40s with size 8/10US feet, I'd have been in men's shoes), not having bombs dropped on me. Basically, anyone who is a normal person, and not a troll, will, I am sure, get what I mean. I have no problem with those that hanker after the past, as long as they also realise that they're hankering over an idealised version of it. In the mean time, I shall continue dressing in vintage, reading books about it, and learning about social and fashion history without actually wishing I could go back. Actually, hang on... there were more men with real moustaches back then, weren't there?! I think I have changed my mind... ;)

That is all.

Fleur xx

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Sponsor Spotlight - Foxy Party Frocks

I originally posted this last night and took it down and posted something in its place. That's now gone as well. This is probably not making much sense... basically I'd like to give my wonderful sponsor 20th Century Foxy their opportunity in the limelight at the top of my blog, and will promise my lovely readers that I will ensure this blog is filled with more than just sponsor posts in the New Year. Thanks for bearing with me :)

Ahoy from my snow-bound living room, where I am sitting wearing an outfit that can in no way whatsoever be described as vintage, being made up of many layers and a *gasp* fleece monstrosity that belonged to my Dad... but I am warm, so who cares! I am saving all my glamour up for tonight's Chap Ball, and still need to repair a moth hole in my gown and glue a hair accessory to a clip before I can truly say I am prepared. I hope to see lots of gorgeous Chaps and Chapettes there! But on the subject of parties and outfits, I would just like to draw my readers' attention to a fine emporium, who have been one of my sponsors for a couple of months now.

20th Century Foxy is run by a very savvy lady called Clare, and her shop strikes the perfect balance of dresses and separates that embody the slinky, wiggle skirted vintage-inspired looks, and those authentic reproductions. She stocks pieces by British label Tara Starlet as well as US-based lines Stop Staring, and Trashy Diva, saving you the hassle and extra customs fees of ordering from America. At this time of year, I don't know about you,but I need little encouragement to dress up to the absolute nines, and 20th Century Foxy has so many lovely party-appropriate dresses, that I've decided to do a feature on those!

The aptly named Party Dresses section has some lovely, shiny, wiggly numbers. I love a shoulder detail, and here there are three possibilities! The one-shouldered Ava, the satin swag-shouldered Harlow and Tara Starlet's shoulder-embellished 40s gown in a lovely, wearable shade.  I also added the femme fatale-eque Lolita dress, which can be dressed up with some contrasting red accessories! Stop Staring dresses are very sculpting, and really make the most of one's figure. It's a look I don't often go for myself, but one I admire very much on others!

Regular readers will know that I am particularly fond of day dresses, and have no qualms wearing them to parties. All of the above frocks are in 20th Century Foxy's Day Dresses area, but they would all be perfectly appropriate to wear to any fancy soirees (with the exception of black and white tie shindigs). I think they are all from Trashy Diva's line, one I've mentioned here before. Their designs are always lovely quality. The Jenny dress is the ideal little black number, with the perfect 1940s length, a fitted midriff and some natty seaming. The navy Halterneck Circle dress in resplendant in navy, broderie anglaise-looking cotton, looks super on amply proportioned girls, as the model ably demonstrates. Pair with red and white accessories for a patriotic look, or persimmon orange for a really authentic colour combination! Every girl should have a spotty frock, and the 40s style one above is perfect, taking you from tea to the tiles! And I love the yellow and black bow print of the cleverly draped 40s dress above - pencil-shaped at the back with authentic-looking swags at the front. Really, really, good repro in quality rayon.

Brits and ladies of Europe, please do take a moment to peruse 20th Century Foxy, because in addition to the lovely clobber, they also do some smashing accessories, shoes and even lingerie, to help you get that perfect silhouette under your new frock! And a little bird told me they will be getting in some new styles in a matter of days... happy frock buying!

Fleur xx

Monday, 29 November 2010

Vintage Socialite's Diary - Christmas Edition

I realise I preface about 90% of my blog posts with this, but... I can't believe it's been nearly two weeks since I last posted! So much has happened, most of which I can't tell you, yet; but I've had such a good time doing lots of fun things. I'm feeling genuinely happy again - a great way to end the year.

This will be the last edition of my Vintage Socialite's Diary, because the events I'm going to promote are going to take any elegant, vintage-wearing sort up to 2011 in style. These are all in London, so if you're elsewhere in the country, make sure you check out Vintage Secret's events page, which now has contributors from around the UK (and looking for more, so if you would like to represent your area, get in touch with Naomi!).

Firstly, if going out isn't your scene, or even if it is, but you like something more civilised and unbelievably elegant; try a St-Germain Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Park Lane Hotel this December. This delicious Tea is served in the stunning surrounds of the Art Deco Palm Court at the hotel.

The whole thing is themed around the sublime taste of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, and to start, you're served a festive cocktail containing St-G, vodka, fresh pear, apple and cinnamon. It was absolutely divine! Next, the food: finger sandwiches with smoked turkey and cranberry, honey-baked ham and piccalilli, and egg mayonnaise with baby rocket, then warm tartlet of smoked haddock with soft quail egg and hollandaise (decorated with gold leaf!) and a milk roll with salmon and dill mayonnaise. The pastry of the tartlet was so soft and fresh, I managed to drop half of mine into my tea. Classy as ever, me!

There were fresh scones served with spiced cranberry and apple jam, as well as clotted cream and to finish up, warmed cakes: white chocolate and pear Yule log, lemon polenta cake with pistachio cream and homemade traditional Eccles cakes. I picked a delicious Earl Grey tea (once I'd polished off my cocktail!), served on lovely Deco-esque china.

Honestly, I know I would say this, but I can't remember a more delicious Afternoon Tea, so if you're looking for something amazing to do this Christmas, to treat someone else... or yourself after a hard day's shopping - go for this one! You can do any of the usual suspects all year round - this is only available this December. Here's the blurb: The St-Germain Festive Afternoon Tea at the Park Lane Hotel will be served throughout December 2010 (3pm-6pm weekdays and 2pm-6pm at weekends) in The Palm Court and costs £42 per person. To book, call The Palm Court on 020 7920 7328 or visit Certainly an indulgence, but worth every penny - I could barely move from food over-consumption afterwards!

And if you've never tried St-Germain, I encourage you to pick up a bottle for Christmas - it's delicious with mixers and to make an elderflower martini - try it with gin and muddled mint and grape - heavenly!

On to the soirées - the event of the year is undoubtedly the Chap Magazine's Second Grand Anarcho-Dandyist Ball, which takes place next Saturday 4th December. Subtitled the 'Night of 1,000 Waistcoats', there is no better excuse to dig out your most graceful gowns and black or white tie!

There is a fantastic band lined up, Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer, and dancing and entertainment galore. Tickets are selling lightning-fast, and it is likely to sell out (especially after starring in Time Out), so please, please buy your tickets soon or you'll be disappointed! They cost £20 from TicketWeb.

The following weekend, Saturday 11th December sees the New Sheridan Club's Christmas Party - Back to the Futurists.

Taking place at the Punch Tavern in Fleet Street, this will be as louche as always, with some seriously creative outfits, as well as some very chic ones. The theme is retro-futurism, and guests are encouraged to be as avant-garde as possible. This video is providing inspiration to many!

It costs only £5 to non-members, which is refunded if you join on the night... something highly encouraged as you'll be allowed to take part in the legendary Grand Raffle. There will also be some amusing parlour games and lots of drinking. Hurrah!

Strangely (or perhaps not as it's known that the same creative ideas can strike several people at the same time), there is another event with the same theme coming up, this time on New Year's Eve. The White Mischief Eve Of Tomorrow Ball takes place on the 31st December, in a mysterious central London location.

I'm guessing from the photo above that they sent me, that Vicky Butterfly is doing her new Snowglobe act (I think someone told me she was doing one!), but here's the official lowdown...
London in the 1930s. The First World War is a distant memory and the Second World War is yet to trouble our dreams. This is the dawn of technological consumerism: electricity, the telephone, movies, radio, TV have all made their mark. We stand on the shoulders of Edison and Tesla; of Logie-Baird, of Einstein and Kellogg and Fleming.
You are invited by Ronald Frend’s Electric Corporation, a shadowy company that has risen to international prominence, to the global launch event for a host of products and services that demonstrate the shape of things to come.
Tonight sees the unveiling of a mysterious new invention that promises to revolutionise communications forever. It is December 31st, the date in the year that most symbolises our hopes for the future and a bright new tomorrow. Join scientists and starlets alike and marvel as we welcome you to THE EVE OF TOMORROW.

The magnificent stone and marble entrance of our secret Central London location leads on to period Art Deco interiors that evoke the forgotten grandeur of days-gone-by while hinting at the decadent future to come. The venue details will be revealed by electronic mail during the week running up to the party to those who have purchased their ticket.

The night will feature cabaret, contemporary circus, roving performance, live music and art installations across several rooms – plus DJs playing electro-swing, vintage jazz, rock’n'roll and more until the early hours. An interactive game element will invite guests to unlock the secret of the Eve of Tomorrow.
Expect to see: a Big Band performing today’s hits in the style of yesterday; robotic waiters; anachronistic prototypes of modern inventions; liquid nitrogen ices and other delicacies of tomorrow; dancing girls; illusionists and acrobats who defy the laws of nature. VIPs will be handed a currency to invest in the more bizarre business opportunities. Enjoy a New Year’s breakfast; cabinets filled with dieselpunk and futuristic artefacts; machines which predict the future; and the world’s first pinball machine!
Looks splendid, non? If I do anything big, it will be this. Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you visit the White Mischief site and get yours now!

Hope all my readers are doing fine and keeping warm! Back soon.

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Smashing clobber!

Good people! I'm flying in and out to show off a rather smashing new suit I was sent by the splendid people at Puttin' on the Ritz. This new reproduction clothing label is based right here in Blighty, and everything they produce is made to measure and handsewn on these fair isles. The lovely Andrea, who is in charge, is a fan of this blog, and she got in touch to ask whether I'd be interested in modelling their forthcoming 'Spying for the Allies' suit. I didn't need to give that question a lot of thought, before I replied with an effusive affirmative, accompanied by lots of exclamation marks!

The design of the suit was itself something of a mystery, though it was described to me, and I saw a fabric swatch, so I knew it would be rather special. And when it arrived, dear readers, special it most certainly was. Have a look!

The deep green wool seemed to call out for some very 1940s colour matching, or rather, should I say, colour contrasting. Red 1940s platform shoes from Remix vintage, some red nappa leather gloves and a reproduction hat (with huge feather) I snaffled from a friend gave it an appropriately autumnal look, I felt.

As you can see, the suit is beautifully cut, with a sweetheart neckline, generous peplum, and fitted straight skirt, which features a fishtail drape. I did a shoot with a friend (these photographs being taken by my dear Dad as per), but am awaiting the results so I can show you (and indeed Andrea - sorry Andrea) the back, as well as a lovely silk blouse I also modelled. I do have a shot of the back of the jacket though!

I think you'll agree, this exquisite suit is perfect for the late autumn and winter months. Even the name, Spying for the Allies, gives it a romantic feel for me... I do feel like I could waft around indulging in some espionage! ;)

As the suit was made-to-measure for me, dear Andrea generously let me keep it, and so, Puttin' on the Ritz now have a sponsorship spot over there on my sidebar. I hope you'll have a look at their other gorgeous wares. My favourite is probably the Harlow gown, which would be just the thing for any fancy parties you may be attending over the festive season. Or even as a wedding dress! They also do some stunning skirts and trousers. Even options for the chaps!

Talking of Chaps, I am hoping to post my Chap interest section soon... if I can pin that Bounder who is writing it down...

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Saucy Smalls from a Sponsor (and more!)

I don't know about you ladies, but just like lipstick and good hair, there's something about wearing good underwear that just makes one feel far more confident. I have to confess, that I am not all that rigorous about matching, though I do try to... tone my undies so they at least sort of go. And though I'm more of an M&S girl day to day, I do own some exceedingly gorgeous lingerie as well.

While my favourite brand of all time for vintage style lingerie is my great friend and sponsor What Katie Did, I am an equal opportunities lingerie lover really, and have entered into some great collaborations with other companies over the last year.

This, in turn, led to the kind ladies at Playful Promises, Kiss Me Deadly and Ayten Gasson to invite me to their press day, where I could eat cupcakes and touch gorgeous silk smalls all afternoon long.

I had to try the aforementioned cupcakes, provided by Louby Lou, and they were every bit as delicious as they looked. I also had the disctinct pleasure of seeing, and being photographed by, Nicole of The Hourglass; a lady, without whom, I can honestly say I would not be doing what I am now. She took my first ever photos, which led on to more shoots, which led on to me starting this blog to show them off. So you can put all of this down to her! What a wonderful lady. I didn't take my camera, so all the photos here are taken by her.

Here I am in my Heyday Deco Circles blouse, with an impromptu updo that
actually turned out reasonably well! 

Playful Promises are a sponsor of mine, and they have been kind enough to do a giveaway with me, which went down wonderfully. Their new season collection is lovely - bright colours, a fab sailor bikini, and the cutest little matrioshka knickers, which come in a postcard box. Keep an eye out on the website if any of that tickles your fancy. Their knickers in boxes make perfect gifts! Have a look at the photo I took when I visited the store earlier this year.

Kiss Me Deadly are another super company who've worked with me on a giveaway, and I was delighted to meet the very lovely Catherine who owns the company and designs all the lingerie.

She's posing with the unbelievably gorgeous Mam'zelle Maz, whom I know through working for What Katie Did, where she also works. Check out Catherine's hair! There's no rat in there, it's all hers, and it looked amazing. While Playful Promises has more of a modern pin-up girl vibe, Kiss Me Deadly is totally classic stuff - girdles, six-strap suspenders and luxury stockings. The newest ranges features the ethereal Viktoria Modesta posing in a series edited to look like wartime propaganda posters. It was amazing to also meet the supermodel (in my eyes) and computer whizzkid that is Morgana! She of the amazing photography, who also designed my potfolio website, and puts together the most marvellous themes for Kiss Me Deadly. She is as flawless as she looks in her pictures, and also minute! I felt like a giant next to her. The larger-than-life poster was more what I expected. :)

An ensemble from KMD's forthcoming collection! Do have a look on their site to see everything that's available and due soon... and make sure you drop some serious hints to your man!

Finally, Ayten Gasson is not a lingerie company I knew much about, but I had a lovely chat with Ayten about her love for the finest silks and handmade vintage lace. She proudly showed me some of the most exquisite lace I've ever seen, but confessed some of her supplies are running low. She's working with the oldest Nottingham lace makers to both help them revive the industry somewhat, and also to continue to be able to trim her beautiful, handfinished garments in this way. Here's a shot of Maz in a new style of teddy (and cupcake):

I can't imagine anything more feminine, and buying Ayten's lovely lingerie is also benefitting some of the oldest crafts in the UK - how perfect. It's not cheap stuff, but you get what you pay for, no doubt about that! Time for some more hint-dropping girls... let's face it, the boys get just as much pleasure out of lingerie. It's the gift that keeps on giving back!

I hope you'll take a moment to visit my sponsor and friends! :)

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Stylishly surreal

Hello dear readers, old and new! It seems I was mentioned in the Times on Monday, which has led to more visitors, so if you're finding me through that, welcome! Pull up a pew and make yourselves at home!

I just wanted to show off the pictures from my super amazing (if I say so myself), surrealism-themed Halloween party! This party may prove to be the swansong of The Fox Presents, since though the guests all had a smashing time (or so they told me), it was entirely stressful from beginning to end. Some issues I will not go into, but the main shadow that cast a pall over the whole shindig was the appalling behaviour of Pernod Ricard.

They were, as you might recall, supposed to be sponsoring our event with their Absinthe. I organise, work at, and attend many events which feature sponsorship by spirits companies, and the premise is simple - they supply a quantity of their product, in exchange for the promotion and exposure. After the meeting the team had with Pernod, this is exactly what was agreed. Well, we fulfilled our part of the bargain, with the logo plastered all over our flyers, the website and this very blog; and the sampling of the free absinthe was an important part of the exposure as well. But at 6pm, two hours before the doors opened, our contact at Pernod got in touch and asked the manager of the Fox, 'You have bought the stock for the downstairs bar, haven't you?', to which he replied, rather non-plussed, that they were supposed to be supplying it. Well, she declared, if we hadn't bought in the necessary extra bottles, then she wasn't going to be doing the free fountain for us upstairs. No room for negotiation, and we weren't going to be able to get hold of such a quantity at the 11th hour. Even if we could afford it, which we can't. Absinthe is a very expensive drink to buy, even wholesale. But so is Hendrick's Gin, and they manage to supply a lot of it to sponsored events, in exchange for the promotion. We were happy offering our normal gin (etc) cocktails, and were only doing absinthe ones for Pernod, as they approached us! And so that was that.

Bear in mind that for one hour of free absinthe, plus enough for a small fraction of the cocktails sold (because not everyone likes the stuff and almost no one would drink more than one absinthe cocktail), we would have needed probably five bottles. Six at most. Perhaps two or three of them for the cocktails. So thanks Pernod. Thanks a lot.

Instead, we ran to Lounge Bohemia and got one bottle and to the wholesalers for a quantity of gin, at our own cost, and gave away punches for the first hour. No one seemed to mind, so we thank our amazing and generous guests for that.

If you fancy buying a bottle of absinthe in the future, why not go for something with a bit more class, like La Fee? ;)

Onto the fun bit now - photos! It was a very badly-kept secret that I was going to dress as Frida Kahlo for the night, complete with monobrow (but without moustache - what if there were handsome men there?!). It turned out brilliantly, again, if I say so myself! Here is a self-portrait!

I wore a beautiful reproduction 1930s dress in Halloween black and orange, purchased from the very talented Lauren at Wearing History. Though it in itself was not particularly Frida, the overall look was, I'm told. I was also told the monobrow suited me... not sure I'll encourage that one though! Hehe.

Onto some more photos of the night, pinched with permission from the amazing Agness Lugowska. You may remember Agness took the pictures for my Watercress Line Charity Calendar (please follow the link and buy one, if you so desire!). Agness looked brilliant in her costume, as did her friends, as indeed did every one of our amazingly stylish guests!

As you can see, we did keep the absinthe theme, with green liquid in bottles, surrounded by rose petals and apples!

Our guests looked amazing, especially Redlegs in her Dia de los Muertos outfit! There was a real mix of themed, traditional and downright crazy costumes! That's Agness with Beetlejuice!

The other key members of our team - Emerald Fontaine and the beautiful ReeRee Rockette, who was the perfect door dragon!

I have pinched these shots from the gorgeous (or should that be Gorgon?) Retro Chick, who you can see below right. The Lovecraftian eyes was possibly my favourite makeup job (well done lady!), but my friend Farhan went more topical in his choice. One person on the night told me they found his outfit offensive. But, like I did with 'Heidi Heil' at the Chap Olympiad, I am posting the picture here proudly. People are apparently most afraid of terrorists above all else, at the moment. Nothing reduces their power more than making them a figure of fun and ridicule, and I loved Farhan's costume and the sentiments behind it. He didn't go on the underground with the 'dynamite' strapped on though. ;)

Last but not least, some more photos of me!

Thank you everyone who made it an amazing night - the team, Albert Ball's Flying Aces, DJ Fruity and all the wonderful guests.

I'll be back soon with talk of winter V.I. Buys, lingerie, afternoon tea and more events for your diary!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Diary of a Vintage Ghoul & Giveaway Results

Wotcher readers, and welcome to another thrilling diary entry, on a frankly rather lovely day in the Home Counties. It would seem my posting about morale boosters has finally done the trick, as I'm feeling much more cheerful these past few days. I've even done two photoshoots in two days (though that's left me feeling knackered), and should have some new pictures to show off soon. I did subject you to a slight delay on my Collection 2000 makeup giveaway, for which I apologise. But it's now closed, and I randomly generated the winning number just a few moments ago, so... *drumroll*

The winner is commenter number 221, Gemima! Please get in touch with me, and the lovely ladies at Collection 2000 will send out your prize soon. I must apologise to the winner of my last draw, Klara, as I have not yet put your ring in the post. I am going to do so today, promise! (God, I hate the post office!)

Last week, I was invited to the preview of an absolutely smashing new(ish) show, La Soiree. It was utterly magical, from the minute we stepped into the beautifully warm and exceedingly stylish South Bank Big Top, its dark wood and mirrors making it look just like a set from my new favourite serial, Boardwalk Empire. The show itself was absolutely brilliant from beginning to end, featuring comedy, acrobatics, contortion and glamour. I especially loved The English Gents, who performed some amazing feats dressing in three-piece, chalkstripe suits (before stripping off to Union Jack undies)...

And the hilarious Captain Frodo!

I took my best friend, and she loved the hunky man in the bath tub... I loved the hunky man poledancing to Singing In The Rain... you'll just have to go and see it for yourselves. I really couldn't recommend it more.

Talking of Boardwalk Empire, I also had a truly brilliant time at the inaugural Candlelight Club. Or rather, I didn't, because, it being set in Prohibition times, never happened... ;)

With the most beautiful vintage girls of old London Town (hereby nicknamed the Vintage Mafia after they later kidnapped an innocent young man and absconded into the wilds of East London to feed him gin into the small hours), I didn't dress to the nines, did not drink illicit, ultra strong cocktails, ate no fancy sandwiches, marvelled not a jot at the beautiful Vicky Butterfly, and absolutely never posed with a pair of Jeggings (a hilarious present from Snoodlebug to cheer me worked) until I had to go home painfully early.

Here's a photo, which you're imagining, of me with said jeggings. Go and have a read of Yesterday Girl if you'd like to see more snaps!

The date of the next one has been provisionally set for the 20th of November - sadly I shall be at Rhythm Riot, but save it in your diaries!

I promise I'll post something pretty and vintage to look at in the next few days, but with only a short while to go till my Halloween extravaganza, Don't Dali with the Devil, I'm rushed off my feet trying to get everything ready, and put the finishing touches to my costume. I actually have two dresses that I am dying to wear, and am seriously considering doing a change halfway through! All will be revealed soon. This is (probably) the last time I'll bore you all about the event, since despite the lack of Chap coverage, we've done extremely well on tickets! It's over 75% sold out or reserved by this point, and I have a feeling we'll completely sell out (as we did last year). If you are hoping to come down and haven't emailed us to put your name down to pay on the door, then please do so without delay. I would hate to have to turn any stylish individuals down!

I literally cannot wait to start dressing the venue - it's going to be absolutely wonderful, with a small amount of sadness as a few very important people are unable to come for various reasons. Sigh.

On the day after mine, there's another smashing event, Steamboat Bordello. This glorious-looking shindig is organised by the splendid folks at Last Days of Decadence. Take a look at the blurb.

1840 - 1930 - the heyday of the Mississippi paddle steamer. These floating palaces of sin plied their trade up and down the mighty Mississippi from New Orleans to St Louis. Specialising in unlicensed gambling, prohibited liquor and transactions of a carnal nature, the pleasure boats represent the last bastion of southern lawlessness. Now, step aboard the majestic Dixie Queen as The Last Days of Decadence brings a little of this lost age to the River Thames.
A floating fantasmagoria of rogues, riverboat gamblers, good time girls, snake oil salesmen, fallen southern belles, confederate rifles, yankee doodle dandies, bootleggers, carnies, gypsies, tramps and thieves.

Think Gone With The Wind meets Deadwood with a generous dash of Carnivale and you’ re half way there. Then throw in the roaring delights associated with Saturdays at The Last Days of Decadence, along with an unparalleled lineup of live music, DJs and cabaret. Hubble and bubble over the green flames of a hallowe’ en fire, and you have the intoxicating voodoo brew that fuels the Steamboat Bordello!

The Steamboat Bordello sets sail with 600 passengers from Tower Pier at 5pm sharp on Sunday 31st October, passing through Tower Bridge (opened especially for the occasion) and sailing onwards towards the Thames Barrier before returning to disembark St Katharine Docks at 10pm.
With DJs such as Lady Luck's El Nino, and bands as fantastic as The Correspondents, it really looks wonderful and I'd love to go along if I could find a 'date'. Anyone? I'll have to see how many of my friends get broken the night before, what with all the free absinthe!Tickets for Steamboat Bordello are £35 from Ticketweb.

Hope you're all having lovely Wednesdays!


Fleur xx

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