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

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