Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Things & Stuff, Stuff & Things

I have absolutely nothing of value to say today (do I ever?), so instead, here are some photos of stuff I have done, and things I have worn recently.*

Firstly, a trip to the Churchill War Rooms to visit Jeni Yesterday on a hot Friday afternoon.
"Hello, is that Norris McWhirter? What's the biggest leaf?"

Here's Gemma Bake do & Mend and I playing silly buggers with a very serious military mannequin (and the amazing Bakelite pyramid phones). I'm wearing a cheap top from high street shop Primark (because it was sweltering hot and I saw no reason to sweat into genuine vintage to make a point...more on this later) and a pair of high waisted shorts from Vivien of Holloway. I was also wearing red and white Rocket Originals, and red, white and blue bangles. This colour scheme was chosen because earlier in the day I posed for a photo for the street party I'm attending on Friday (Facebook event link), which made it onto the front page of the South London Press! Hurrah!

Jeni had some fun with another chap who had terrible teeth... how stereotypically British!

Also earlier that day, I went to a proper running shop to buy myself some proper running shoes. This is the type of shop where they watch you run and assess what kind of corrective footwear you need (if any). So I jogged up and down the pavement in the above ensemble! After 8 years of yoga (during which I've tried to get as much movement into my joints as possible), it turns out... I have a lot of movement in my joints! Particularly my hips. Running in inadequate shoes was making my knee and my hips a bit sore... not good. But I now have some snazzy new runners... which may possibly be the most hideous things I have ever worn on my feet! But they feel amazing (and my joints have improved), and that's what counts. The training is going quite well if anyone is interested! I'm up to 4.5 miles comfortably(ish) with three months to go. I've also entered my first event - a 5km run around some bluebell woods on the 15th May. Wish me luck! I have stuck to my (pointless) principles of looking retro while running, shoes aside of course!

My somewhat skimpy shorts are American Apparel and the tee is just a cheap high street one. You really don't want to see the shoes... you might experience some dangerously extreme jealousy, and they are some seriously expensive shoes! It's for your own good...

And finally, last Saturday I took Jeni to the wilds of the Home Counties, to visit the hair salon I use. They do cheap and lovely haircuts, and bargainous, effective perms. I got the former, and she got the latter. I'm wearing my equally bargainous lilac wrap dress again. Eagle eyed readers will see Jeni has the same top as I am wearing in the previous post. What a faker she is in her modern clothing...

Why am I being so snarky? Well, I was anonymously vilified through a blog comment recently, for not wearing enough authentic vintage clothing and yet daring to claim myself a vintage girl. So I've decided to try a bit harder. Here I am in a piece of genuine, GENUINE 1990s vintage! It says 'Gold, Girls and Glory' on it, which sums me up perfectly. The jacket is from the 1940s, but don't let that ruin your day! I believe the catchphase is, 'Haters gon' hate'... and to anonymous haters I say: may your supercilious 1940s knickers chafe your bits and your dry cleaning bills ruin you!

Oh, how disappointing: more repro. My AMAZING fan skirt is from my awesome sponsor Pinup Parade, and the shoes are Remix. For the record, although I love to (attempt to) look like I've stepped out of the past, and do this every single day of my life, wearing repro, vintage inspired, and genuine vintage from the 'wrong' era doesn't bother me a jot. And neither should it you... unless you're a total mental. But having said that, not that it matters, but you'll be seeing more vintage on here throughout the summer, because although winter wear is difficult for me due to my height and allergy to paying for dry cleaning; I have dozens of vintage summer frocks. So I'll be wearing them. Well, and repro. And modern things. Who cares! ;)

Hope you are all having a lovely week. Even you!

Fleur xx

* More to say came to me as I was writing, obvs. 

PS. In case this descends into more accusations of snobbery or elitism or double standards or anything like that, let me just say that my viewpoint is as it always has been: while I still dislike people wearing silly vintage pastiches as fancy dress costumes, I love and appreciate anyone who is brave, bold and who has fun with their style. Whether that's high fashion, goth, hip hop, punks, whatever. Wear what you like and do it with pride! I just have a phobia of bland and a dislike of my favourite style being done as a joke. But even that I am softening on, because what harm does it do, really. Get me, being all magnanimous in me old age... I'll be advocating stick-on 'taches for men next. NOT REALLY.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A frock fit for a Queen

Unless you've been living on Mars for the last year, you'll know that next Friday is the big, exciting EXTRA DAY OFF! I mean...ahem... it's the Royal Wedding! Thousands of people, who don't really give a monkeys about Prince Wills and Kate will be using it as an excuse to have a street party, drink Pimm's and eat cake; and I am no exception. I mean, I am fairly ambiguous about the existence of the Royal Family. I'm not a dedicated monarchist by any means, but I do think they are a big part of our history and culture; and I hope they stick around for many generations to come. Equally, I have not really bought into the wedding fever, though I will confess I have bought one piece of Royal Wedding memorabilia... a Tiffany blue/green tin of shortbread from Marks and Sparks which features tasteful Victorian-style silhouettes of the couple. But mainly, if I'm honest; I just like any excuse to wear a patriotic red, white and blue ensemble and raise a glass or tea cup full of gin to... anyone. And in this case, it's the aforementioned Wills and Kate.

The event I shall be gracing with my presence is this one:

It's being put on by some friends of mine, and, as you can see, they have asked me to 'appear' at it. Though, in reality, this just means I'll be there and might do something like hand out the Best Cake Prize or some such trifle... I'm mainly just there to have a jolly good time.

But since this is mainly a vintage style blog, let me tell you what I'll be wearing... which will both plug this smashing new frock, and give me the opportunity to show off some new modelling pictures... I do like to multi-task!

As you all know by now, I teamed up with Heyday to produce a self-titled wrap dress called the Fleur. It's had a couple of incarnations so far, but this one may very well be my favourite as it's so versatile, not to mention in one of my most beloved colour-schemes. 

The red, white and blue Fleur is the perfect patriotic frock (if you're one of the lucky nations that have this colour on their flags)! It's absolutely ideal for wearing to Royal Wedding celebrations, the Diamond Jubilee, Liberation Day in the Channel Islands, Independence Day on the 4th of July, Victoire 1945 in France, Victoria Day in Canada, the Queen's Birthday in the Antipodes... well you get the point. Even if these aren't your country's colours, it's the perfect 1940s combination and looks absolutely super with matching accessories!

Shoes are by Rocket Originals, and the hat belongs to the photographer... sadly!

These fabulous (I hope you'll agree) photos were shot by the incredible Gordon Ayres, a chap who is famous and much in demand in the vintage and reenacting world. He uses only proper old cameras, with proper film, and the results are vintage-perfect. The shoot was done at Taymount Grange, a 1930s Art Deco former tennis retreat, and home to one of my best friends, fellow VM girl and blogger Gemma (as well as a very bold and photogenic tortie cat called Lizzie)! We could not have dreamed of a more perfect location. And goodness me do I want to live there now!

We had such fun, and 1930s glamour girl Gemma, the gorgeous blonde bombshell Claire and fiery redhead Shona had such fun being snapped by Gordon on a beautiful sunny day. I think these pictures show how these Fleur wrap dresses can be made to suit your chosen era with the right accessories and hairstyles. On Gem the Daisy on Black looks 30s, and on Claire the English Rose on Black looks mid-late 50s! Go and have a look on the Heyday site for more shots of the girls (and more of me, if you aren't bored of my mug already)! Anyway, as you can tell, I'm just as enthusiastic as ever about these fantastic frocks, and I hope you love the new version as much as me. As always, they are limited edition and once they are gone, they won't be repeated... so go and grab your now and if you're in the UK, wear it next Friday with patriotic (or just plain vintage) pride.

I leave you with the whole gang in our best catalogue poses, modelling the whole Fleur range. See you next time!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Weekend of Tweed & Picnics

Sorry for the long silence again chaps and chapettes! It's been a busy old fortnight of work, events and of looking after some lovely French journalists who spent four days following me around recording my life for a future edition of Le Figaro Magazine. It's all been rather exciting, and I can't wait to tell you all about it in more detail!

This weekend gone was a wonderful one. It started off very badly on the Friday though! On Monday to Wednesday the previous week, I was an extra on the new film Jack the Giant Killer. Whilst being enormous fun, this involved getting up before 5am and being on set for almost 15 hours. Thursday I got up early again to go and meet the aforementioned French journos in London; and by Friday I was shattered. I then managed to crash my car into a lamppost in a carpark. It's a borderline writeoff... it's so bad. The ensuing trauma and joy when my dear friends Jeni and Bethan came to collect me from my flat and drive me to London, meant I left behind a crucial part of my documentation for the following day, which was the utterly glorious Tweed Run!

After being one of the incredibly lucky 500 who registered the second it opened at 11.55am on a Saturday back in January (Jeni and I poised to register not only ourselves but some of the other Mafia...alas!), I was worried they wouldn't let me take part without my bicycle number (though I did have my armband, luckily). Thank heavens the organisers are so nice, because they gave me a 'Guest' card to display proudly on my steed. Which, thanks to the fabulous people at Pashley Cycles, was an unbelievably glamorous Pashley Britannia in lipstick red! Being lent this marvellous machine to do the Tweed Run was a dream come true. I also managed to secure Jeni a blue Britannia, and Naomi Vintage Secret used her own powers of persuasion to borrow a sleek black Princess from Tally Ho Cycle Tours. Here we are (technically at the end of the ride!) looking proud of being Team Pashley for the day! I've never sat on or ridden anything more comfortable. It literally glided, and felt like an easy chair compared to my old Raleigh. Poor Ginny. She does seem so dreadfully past-it now!

This photo from the official Pashley photographer!

It was a stunningly gorgeous day - blazing sunshine and warm temperatures meant that, had I even owned any tweed, I wouldn't have worn it! Instead I wore my pride and joy - a multi-coloured 1940s frock replete with stripes, bows and ruffles, paired with my Rocket Originals wedges, armfuls of bakelite, bamboo and celluloid bangles; and a floral arrangement on my head that was part Frida Kahlo and part Carmen Miranda. It coordinated perfectly with my bike, as did Jeni's yellow frock with red, green, white and blue embroidery, blue Keds and her blue Britannia. Naomi looked stunning in a 50s frock and sky-high wedges! We had hoped to win the Most Dashing Dame contest, but alas, it was not to be. I think people appreciated the effort we made to be bright in a sea of tweed though!

Me, the giant.

The Run took all 500 of us from St Paul's Cathedral, on a five-mile jaunt around London, taking in all the sights as we went. Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the Mall, Buckingham Palace and up Regent Street. Everywhere we went, the tooting horns from impatient cab drivers (the ones without fares of course) were drowned out by cheers and bicycle bells, with chaps doffing their hats to appease the poor beleaguered motorists. After a stop for lunch at Lincoln's Inn Fields, we headed off once more for five further miles before ending up at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club for drinks and dancing in the sunshine. The saddest part of the day was having to part with my amazing Britannia. If my car is written off by the insurance company, I am going to have to buy one of my own!

Naomi learned to smoke a pipe, while Jeni and I just posed a bit and drank beer and gin.

The abundance of incredibly dashing chaps in tweed was enough to send us into raptures of delight! The big gossip for the day was that a certain Mr Ewan McGregor was on the Run, and since I'd said hello to him only a few days earlier on the set of Jack the Giant Killer, I had a wee chat with him about the wonder of filming and riding horses in Hampton Court Palace. Twice! He was absolutely lovely, and so handsome. Me and Ewan, we're like best friends now. ;)

Image by Nik Van Herpt!

But, oh. If only every day could be so full of style and panache. It was an utterly smashing day from start to finish, and I can't thank the talented organisers or the lovely Lee from Pashley enough for making it happen for us.

Here are a couple of snaps I pinched from ibikelondon, whom you should visit if you'd like to see more. Also check out Spitalfields Life and Flickr for hundreds more. 

Source: ibikelondon Flickr

And this one by Nik van Herpt is my favourite one of me (& my full outfit) from the day, posing for the French journos with all the Penny Farthing riders!

So that was Saturday, and Sunday, I organised a food and Pimms-filled picnic with La Maf, ostensibly for the le Figaro journalists, but actually just because it was another glorious day. You'll have to wait until the magazine is published to see more, but here is a sneaky peek!

I can only apologise for looking miserable! I can assure you I wasn't, though I was rather sunburned on my neck and chest (as was Naomi, hence the fab hat) from the previous day. Pale and interesting no more! We were all so perfectly coordinated with our outfits and hair flowers. I'm in my biggest bargain dress of the year - it cost under £20 including shipping from the US. It's lilac with a rose print and white piping, wraps at the back but goes very far down and can't be worn with a bra. Gulp! Jeni and Lisa wore Swirls, Bethan a gorgeous pinafore she bought from Adeline's Attic and Naomi was channelling '1930s French peasant chic'. The best accessory, of course, was lovely Winni.

Hope you all had splendid weekends and speak to you all again soon!

Fleur xx

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