Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Katie of Hollywood

This is a public service announcement on behalf of all you vintage ladies of America. What Katie Did are coming to Hollywood! After months of planning and suspense, the WKD US boutique is opening at 7970.5 Melrose Avenue in a mere FOUR DAYS. For those that don't know, Melrose is a long road (as they all seem to be in LA) and is one of the main shopping streets in the area. One end is full of amazing vintage, the other part is all high end designers. What Katie Did is situated right in the middle, one block from quite a few vintage stores (and Fairfax fleamarket which is a must on Sundays) and a couple of blocks from such inspirational names as Vivienne Westwood and Betsy Johnson the other side. Quite the fabulous location, I'm sure you'll agree!

The boutique opens on Saturday 3rd September at 11am, but the official all-singing and dancing launch night is on Thursday 8th September, 6pm to 9pm as part of Vogue Fashion's Night Out. If you're a California Girl, then do go along! You'll be able to imbibe Hendrick's, apple and elderflower cocktails along with Vintage Patisserie chocolates, and Katie will be rolling out the Union Flag bunting for a truly British feel. What Katie Did's corset company (which is actually American) are busy making a couple of showstopping corsets for their window: one Stars and Stripes and one Union flag - so everyone will feel as patriotic as possible (while still enjoying the thoroughly Britishness of it all, of course)! Katie is going to be there in person for the whole first week, and will have the brand-spanking new AW11 ranges in store. Then she'll be leaving it to the fabulous Hollywood team, all of whom are vintage devotees. Just whet your whistle, here are some previews of the new WKD collection, which will go live on both the UK and US sites on the 1st September.

New Cabaret Velvet corsets.

Beautiful Bernie modelling the new Deco range.

Redesigned Hollywood robe (how apt!)

Vivacious Vicky lingerie and new Torsolette - my personal favourite. All descriptions written by me, same as everything else on the site!

If you're a resident of the good old US of A and want to keep in touch with the goings-on over there, please do 'like' and follow the new boutique on your favourite social networking site. The LA boutique's Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/What.Katie.Did.Hollywood and the Twitter at twitter.com/whatkatiedidla.

Katie would like me to mention that it's her dream to have 1,000 likes by the time the shop opens on Saturday, by which point everyone who is a fan will receive a discount code! So get liking, gals!

For all us pasty English folks, WKD haven't forgotten the UK, and will throw a launch party in the London boutique on Sunday 4th September. This shindig will feature WKD model Miss Miranda, alongside other London burlesque starlets. As well as Hendrick's cocktails and chocolates, London will have the added temptation of yet more delicious Vintage Patisserie cakes.

Last, but not least, here's a nifty little film showing all the new products in action on the catwalk! I only wish I could be there on the 3rd, do let me know if you go along.

Fleur xx

Friday, 26 August 2011

You glow, girl!

You know that old analogy, something about men sweating, but women glowing? It's definitely true about some ladies. I have several female friends who don't seem to have any sweat glands at all, lucky cows. It's not very British to sweat, well, not if you're supposed to be a delicate English Rose or a bastion of society or something. Why do you think those bearskin-hatted soldiers always faint during the Trooping of the Colour? Because in the Army, they even discipline themselves not to perspire and hence overheat and keel over. I'm joking of course, only the lightweights keel over.

But me, well, I'm a sweaty mare. Not all the time! Not running so much – you've seen from my photos that I remain strangely (and some would say suspiciously) unflushed after my usual exertions. But one thing doesn't fail to cause ultra-glowing, abject terror. And last Saturday, I experienced this sensation when standing up to give a talk at Coquette, a new(ish), vintage(ish) afternoon tea and styling type of shindig in Soho.

You may remember I used to co-run and co-host an event called Tart – a vintage-themed affair that took place at Mr David Carter's 40 Winks hotel. Naomi Vintage Secret and I worked hard on that event, she doing organisation, and me doing logistics. It was lovely, but bloody stressful. We parted company late last year, and early this year David became the Creative Director of Kettner's, a glorious old, history-filled champagne bar in Soho. That rogueish King Edward VII himself used to go there and misbehave quite regularly, it's pretty much steeped in mischief and sauciness. So David decided it would be the perfect venue for a bigger and better Tart, and he started up Coquette, an afternoon of sort of vintage-ish themed frivolities – hair styling by Lipstick and Curls, makeup by Benefit, fashion, face and body treatments, palm readers, tarot, angels read by my lovely Mum, all sorts. Not as quirky and vintage as Tart, it must be said. It's a slicker sort of affair entirely. And he didn't invite Naomi and I to be involved with the running of it, but he did ask me back to do a talk on Vintage Glamour. This arrangement of simply turning up, talking and then hanging out afterwards, actually suits me pretty darned well. But oh, the nerves!

It was ironic that I was so adversely affected by my unfounded fear of giving a talk about being fabulous and ladylike, one that I've done (a version of) so many times before. But I did it anyway, and I tried to make it more dramatic, funnier and more entertaining than previous times, and the audience seemed to love it, despite the fact that they were to a woman, looking ultra glam already! If you want to hear said amazebags talk, then you'll just have to come to Coquette yourself... I'll be back again at a future event. Get in touch through 40 Winks if you do! I know I've tempted you with my vivid descriptions...

Here's what I wore...

As you can see, I definitely do glow.

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Delicious literature

Regular readers will know that over the last couple of years, I've occasionally moonlighted (can you moonlight when you don't have a steady job? Anyway) for Angel Adoree's rather lovely company, Vintage Patisserie. Angel is a woman with a passion, a talent and a drive that exceeds that of everyone else I know. I'm proud to call her a friend and colleague. And after a crazy year following her appearance on Dragon's Den, I'm even more proud of her. Because her thoroughly amazing latest project has just come to splendid fruition, in the shape of The Vintage Tea Party Book. See, not content with throwing the most tremendulant tea parties for hen dos, baby showers and engagement shindigs, Angel has now provided the world with the only tome you will ever need to throw your own, from planning, to preparation, to plunging right in and (tea)partying!

This book is a work of art. From its laser cut cover, beautiful illustrations by Adele Mildred, stunning photography and, of course, the recipes.

It helps, of course, if you have Angel's almost incomprehensibly large amount of vintage knick-knackery for presentation purposes, but the food itself is like nothing you've ever seen. Sculptural, creative, and of course, delicious. I honestly can't get over the creativity! There's something for everyone, and it's all quirky and unique.

Alongside the food, there are also some incredible ideas for boozy beverages, and, because the book aims to recreate one of Angel's popular parties, there's a whole section on hair, makeup and clothes!

As if the book itself wasn't truly spectacular enough, I was also honoured to be invited to the launch party! Held in 93 Feet East, where Angel's parties are often hosted, it was a delight to be served the delicious foods and drinks I have so often poured for others! So many wonderful faces were in evidence, including fellow Maf members, bloggers, journalists, friends, and my own mum!

Here are some photomagraphs of the festivities!

The beautifully decorated tables and the beautifully beautiful Sharon.

Angel and the lovely Lauren her right-hand woman!

Birds galore!

Me with my red-haired girl-dem!

Fun with mirrors and dominoes! 

Me again. I love this geometric-y 60s Swirl!

Well, I'll certainly do my best...! ;)

Truly, The Vintage Tea Party Book is a bible for vintage lovers and foodies alike. I have already given my best friend a copy for her birthday! I suggest you all definitely buy a copy for everyone you know.

To your very good health, cheers!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Ginger me up...

Well in the few hours since I posted my last entry, tickets to the first Vintage Mafia Presents night - the Ric Rac Club have started to sell like hotcakes! I'm so excited, I can't even tell you.

But what I CAN tell you is a little bit about one of our lovely sponsors, because actually, I'm going to be working with them a lot over the forthcoming weeks and months. This is great for me, but also for you dear readers, because they're sending me on all sorts of exciting adventures, where I'll dress up and take lovely photos to show you, as well as writing up some (hopefully) interesting, historical posts. So the former isn't much different from my usual bloggy business, but like all my sponsors, their interest and help will ensure I can keep writing all my nonsense for you for the foreseeable. Lucky you!

So, who is this smashing new sponsor? Why, it's the ruddy gorgeous King's Ginger Liqueur!

I love colour coordination so much, I even match myself to my chosen drink!

I've been a fan of The King's Ginger ever since I was lucky enough to get myself invited to their elegant, Edwardian-themed launch party, back in November 2009. This invitation was extended through The Chap Magazine, but since then I've cultivated a working relationship between myself, Berry Bros. & Rudd, and the splendid Marcin Miller of Quercus Communications. I have them to thank for my Glenrothes whisky press trip to Scotland in March and the No. 3 Gin launch do, all of which have been written up on here. Evidently, they appreciate a vintage lady who appreciates a vintage tipple, what can I say. But the King's Ginger is a BBR brand that fits in perfectly with my character and my blog, so I'm truly honoured to be working for them.

Created in 1903 by the aforementioned Berry Bros. & Rudd, it was originally a medicinal tonic, made for King Edward VII by his physician; who was slightly concerned that his Majesty might catch a cold while out driving his Daimler horseless carriage. It's not at all a subtle drink, being a fortified liqueur, so it's lucky his Maj was one of the very few people actually out on the roads in a piece of heavy machinery! While KGL has seemingly been drunk mainly by gun-toting, grouse-shooting country chaps over its 108-year history, its relaunch has made it the perfect drink for vintage folks as well - steeped in history, quirky, fun... and bloody strong. So when they got in touch with me and asked me to come on board as a sort of 'brand champion', I jumped at the chance of getting KGL better known amongst the vintage scene. Mainly by getting more of you lot to try it!

Neat, it's definitely more of an autumn and winter drink - it warms you all the way through (especially mixed with whisky), hence the reason it's so beloved of outdoorsy types. But this summer I've tried it a variety of colder ways - mixed with bitter lemon, tonic, champagne (on my birthday) and my favourite way - like Pimm's with lemonade and chopped fruit. It's got a hint of lemon oil added to it, so it goes marvellously with citrus mixers and juice. Apparently it's wonderful mixed with freshly squeezed lime juice, something I am determined to try next!

The one snag to me telling you how nice it is, is that it's currently quite hard to get hold of, unfortunately. It's sold at shows - I've already spent a day regaling the attendees of the London Foodies Festival of its gingery virtues, and this bank holiday I'm off to Oxford to do the same again. If you're a resident of the city of Morse and other historical excitement, then do come along and try a sample from my art deco tray! And if you're lucky enough to live near a specialist wine-merchants or BBR itself, then you can pick up a bottle there (or online of course). But while the KGL team work on getting it into the supermarkets, I'm going to be giving some away instead!

When I write up my first excursion, ad every month from then on; I'm also going to be offering a bottle to one lucky winner, along with a cocktail to try that's appropriate for the season. I realise this is no use if you're not a fan of ginger, for it couldn't be more emphatically fiery if it tried. But I do hope to convert some new fans to its revivifying charm while also getting some good stories to tell you all.


Obviously you'll have to be 18 to enter, and I think in the UK (I'll check this...). I couldn't live with myself if I let anyone underage drink something so strong. I personally never even tasted a drop of alcohol until I was legally allowed to........ but seriously folks, it'll be adults only.

So do look out for my monthly gingery adventures, and prepare to be regaled with tales of our rather naughty King. I promise they'll be a jolly good read, even if you're bonkers enough to be teetotal (or foreign). ;)

Fleur xx

PS. Don't forget we'll be serving it at the Ric Rac Club as well!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Sales and Socials

Hello and a very glorious Monday to you. I do hope you're well!

This post will be part review and part preview, and if you don't want to know all the gory details about The Vintage Mafia's forthcoming Ric Rac Club, then look away....now!

Firstly, a few pictures. We had our now monthly Sunday Sale & Social at the Love Shake in Shoreditch yesterday. This time, we were lucky enough to have had it promoted on Time Out as one of the top 5 things to do in London this weekend! So we were really busy, and it was excellent. We had positively tonnes of ladieswear, a not-insignificant amount of menswear (thanks to Torquil and Edward Marlowe), as well as some specially invited guest sellers. People came, bought, and stayed for burgers, milkshakes, nachos and beers. In other words, it was truly a sale and a social!

Bethan's amazing mum made this custom bunting for us!

The lovely Auntie Maureen had her shellac cranked up to the max.

Gemma posed with our friend Lena from the Vintage Guide to London, who popped along.

Our gorgeous friend Vanessa come to celebrate her birthday... what a hat!

 It's me... in a soon-to-be-released, limited edition frock!

 Red Legs sold some of her astounding collection of vintage and repro.

Earlier: heaving!

Later: slightly more sedate. Our customers were gorgeous and had lovely hair. We especially loved this 50s girl, who went away with a vintage blouse and jumper. We'll be back again on the 25th September - get it in your diaries!

But now onto even more pressing business. If you missed our sale, or you'd just like to come and hang out with us, dance, drink and generally misbehave... then please come to our inaugural club night!

Once again, I have taken over the Fox in Shoreditch to put on a spectacular party, but this time it's with the VM ladies. I've alluded to it in the last couple of weeks, but now it's really time to launch the event.

Basically, if you want to go out lindy-hopping, or to a vintage costume party, there are things like that on every single night in London. But what we wanted, was to create a vintage party that would work equally for those who wear vintage every day, those who dance, those who have two left feet, those just getting into the scene, those who are old hands, and those who adore the look but who haven't yet braved a vintage night out. This is truly meant to be a social occasion, where we promise you'll be included in everything and have a marvellous time with us and other like-minded folks. We want to bid goodbye to summer and welcome autumn in style!

The exciting things that will happen on the night go as follows.

Two rooms of vintage music to suit all tastes! Downstairs, the tunes will be being spun by none other than me! I'll be playing all my favourites from the 1930s and 1940s from my large collection. Come and make some requests!  
The delightful Miss Gemma will be doing a short set on her Ukelele at 8.30pm sharp, to serenade our guests as they arrive. 
Upstairs we have a super special guests DJ, All Fringe, No Knickers. She's a gorgeous Mod girl who will be playing Northern Soul and giving semi-impromptu solo dancing demonstrations along with her crew. Jeni is also going to do a 50s jive set to get you bopping and strolling.  
We'll be serving a FREE Ginger cocktail to every guest upon arrival - courtesy of our friends at The King's Ginger Liqueur, who've provided sponsorship in the form of boozy refreshment.  

We're going to dig out the croquet set to host outdoors on the smoking terrace! 
And, in an idea shamelessly nicked from The New Sheridan Club, we're going to have the first VM Variety Raffle, in which you will be able to win an amazing array of prizes. Foodstuffs, some rather lovely big bottles of No. 3 Gin, and Glenrothes Whisky, vintage and repro clothing and knick-knacks for the the ladies, chap-friendly items and much more. I'll be updating the list as the prizes are confirmed! Each guest will receive a raffle ticket for FREE entry!   

We have two more surprises to confirm on the entertainment and freebies front, so stay tuned. But do please come along on the night if you fancy it! We're going to open the doors at 8pm and will go until 1am... and the price for all this fabulousness?

It's a mere £8 if you buy in advance and £10 on the door. However, if you would like to reserve an £8 ticket but actually pay on the door, we'll be running a cheap ticket list too.

Buy your tickets now through our brand new (and very simple...for now) website!


email us at talk@thevintagemafia.com right now to put your name on the list.

It really will be so much fun and we really can't wait and hope to see some of the gorgeous ladies and gents I know read this blog there!

I leave you with a shot from one of my previous Fox parties!

Fleur xx

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Feminine Florals

I am unashamedly feminine, as if you didn't know already. I adore anything floral, flounced, ruffled, and downright girly, and, coming from someone who spent the best part of a decade in baggy jeans, boys' skate shoes and hoodies, this is saying something. And I'm tall - taller than the average man. As a teenager with a flat chest, huge feet and gangly limbs, I found it easier to have a slightly androgynous side as alternative fashion wasn't that feminine anyway, but as I grew up it became something I embraced. I will say that I'm not very keen on any of the other traditional womanly pursuits though - cleaning, baking and so forth. But luckily, I don't need to be - thanks feminism! I do, however, take huge pleasure in creating a look of ultra-femininity for myself. Ironically, this has attracted a following of trans-women on Flickr - they all love vintage looks! It does occasionally cross my mind that they think I am just a particularly good transvestite though... ;)

Designing, and picking fabrics for my and Heyday's range of Fleur dresses is a terrible, horrible job. I know you all pity me deeply! But we do try to cater for everyone - we've done everything from huge florals, to relatively plain versions so far, and we definitely intend to do more graphic and novelty prints in the future to please those of you who don't worship chintz as I do. But the latest limited-edition version is definitely something for the real girly-girls.

Presenting the Ditsy Lilac Fleur! We ran across a tiny amount of this floral fabric in a shop and couldn't resist turning it into a tiny run of frocks. The background is a pale pinkish-lilac, scattered with blossoms and blooms in deeper mauves, pale blue, teal and cream. It's pure polished cotton with a gorgeous sheen, so it's lovely for parties as well as every day wear. I've worn matching earrings here, but it looks smashing paired with cream celluloid jewellery! Revlon's Cherries in the Snow lipstick and nail varnish are also a fabulous complement - better than red, I think.

Pockets on this one so you can store all your spare bobby pins and tissues... don't be like me every...single...time and forget to check them before you wash it! ;)

The button is another vintage special from Shona's stash - a lovely pearlised rose.

I'm wearing mine with Rocket Originals Nancys, they're the perfect every day shoe, especially when you've done your knee in, as I have...

Now for the salesy bit... we have only FOUR of these dresses - two medium, one large and one extra-large (I nabbed the small!). Since we sell a lot of frocks to the US and Australia, the chances of seeing someone else in one are as slim as a minty Vogue. The Classic Fruits sold out in less than 12 hours, and we're positive there are plenty of other girly girls out there who'll be all over this, floral delight so if you want one, then do be quick and grab one now!

Yours in unabashed girliness,

Fleur xx

Monday, 15 August 2011

Birds of a Feather

Something that I hear a lot, especially in conjunction with my Vintage Mafia girlies, is how so many people out there wish they could find some like-minded vintage friends to go out with and misbehave. Or behave, but that's less fun.

I won't deny, my friends (by which I mean all the ladies and gents of my acquaintance) have been my lifeline on occasion, and a constant source of warm and fuzzies the rest of the time. I have small pockets of friends from school, college, university and work. All of whom I love dearly but see irregularly. But I'm definitely currently part of a large group of friends, who dress in vintage to varying degrees and these are the ones with whom I spend the vast proportion of my time (and since this is a vintage blog, the ones I'm going to talk about). Much like any group of friends, there are ups and downs, people come in and drift out, contact is made and lost; often picked up again and held fast. The group dynamics change a lot, people move away, meet other people, find new interests or move from the peripheries to the centre. There are those I would go to the ends of the earth for (all the Maf, several other close friends, business partners and sisters from another mister, 'vintage' or not), those whose friendship and advice I value immensely and love hanging out with but we see each other less often, and those who are super fun, lovely people whose company I enjoy, but who I simply just don't know that well. And those who are just not my cup of tea, for one reason and another. But friendship is a funny thing - some people you just mesh with, effortlessly; these are the ones that you never have to worry about. Even if you don't speak for weeks, months, years, you'll always have loads to talk about when you finally do. There are some friendships that do require effort, but it's worth it. And yet more some that despite all the effort, are never going to take off. It's only experience that tells you when to stop.

I've been guilty of many of the cardinal friendship sins in my time. Meeting a boy and disappearing off the radar, particularly. But then, I do tend to fall headlong in love and everything else pales - it's not a conscious thing. I'm also a bad long-distance friend - when people I'm close to move to the opposite ends of the country, or worse, another country, it proves difficult for me to remain close. I only have myself to blame for this. But making friends isn't so hard really. I know some people feel it is, but in this age of social networking, it really is a cinch. How do you think I met all the lovely vintage people I know?

Last weekend was lovely Lisa's birthday. We had a picnic on London Fields, for which lots of our marvellous mutual friends came (all this alliteration is making me sound like the unbelievably irritating copywriter from Groupon... kill me now), and it got me thinking about how we all met. It's a combination of random chance and demon networking, and an interesting story to no one but me (probably), but if it can help some of you vintage lone rangers find a friendly soulmate or two, then so much the better.

I met this beautiful lady on the Fedora Lounge, probably as far back as 2008? We have hung out off and on over the years, 
but this last year has forged our friendship into something stronger. I love this woman.
She's been a constant source of advice, delight and awesomeness.
Her birthday picnic at the weekend was a day of joy!

I got into vintage entirely on my own. My best friend is very 'normal' in terms of fashion and hobbies, and my boyfriend at the time was going away from his rockabilly phase, into a more trendy one, listening to electro and suchlike (disclaimer: I like electro...now!). I was heading further back in time and obsessing over vintage and victory rolled hairdos. I found the Fedora Lounge and the What Katie Did forum, and was captivated by the people I 'met' on there. This led to friendships on Facebook, real life meetups in London, opportunities and more meetings, snowballing eventually into the group of friends and lifestyle (not to mention career) that I have now. And it all started with a Google! The internet is a hugely powerful tool to make new connections, whether you're after friends or love (I'm going to write a bit about online dating as a vintage girl soon, too). Once the connections are made, friendships can begin!

I met the Nomlette in 2009 when we were at a fashion event together. I was invited by a fellow blogger, Mademoiselle Robot.
Naomi was the stylist and I the model. I've always been much bigger than her.

I appreciate that if you live in a small town and there are literally no like-minded people in your area, then it's always going to be difficult to make real-life friends. But I love chatting to people in different areas and countries, and these virtual friendships have often led to real encounters, like the time the New York Fedora Loungers took me on an amazing night out, or when I went to Phoenix in Arizona and hung out with Lolita Haze; or when we welcomed Darhling to London where she'd come on holiday from Sweden. She now lives here, so we must have done something right! But if you're in an area where you know there are others like you, ya freak, then what's the best way to get in on the action?

I first met Gemma when she emailed me about Tart, then I bumped into her at Goodwood. 
I met Bethan at VaG last year. They met when we all went out together...
the same fateful night the VM was formed!  Now look! Aww.


Joining forums dedicated to your passion is a good start. Then you can network and chat about your interests. This applies to anything - not just vintage!

Get involved! Just as quiet people find it hard to make friends, so if you simply lurk and say nothing, you won't be invited into friendship groups. Online you've got no excuses, shyness doesn't count!
Be brave and go out there. If your new acquaintances are publicly organising a night out, then ask and go along. If they haven't specifically invited you, it's probably because they didn't think you wanted to come (or expected willing people to express interest), not for any other deliberate reason. Just ask!

Use blogs, Twitter and Facebook to make friends. You know if they write a blog you read and love that you have the same interests! I know so many ladies through blogging and Twitter now, it's absolutely brilliant. And it always breaks the ice in real life! "Oh you're so-and-so from whatchamacallit aren't you?" "Why yes I am, and you're thingy from whatsit!" This happens a lot at events now.

I met Jennifer when I did her hair at the Rhythm Riot.
We then met again on a Fedora Lounge event, I think... Hannah and Fay are both former FLers.
"Let's look smug while the short ones look sad," Hannah said. It was only a partial success.

In real life

The best thing to do is to find awesome events, convince a friend to get in the spirit for one night and go along. Or, if you're really brave, then go by yourself. The night the VM formed, Bethan tweeted me and asked if she could join me for a trip to the Candlelight Club. She'd only met me once before, and none of the rest of the girls. But we swapped numbers, she came, we had an amazing night and the rest is history. Jeni and Bethan now live together!

I went to the Chap Olympiad for the first time in 2009, completely by myself. I only knew a few people who were there a little bit, from seeing and chatting to them at events. They definitely weren't actual 'friends' by that point. But I went, I had a blast, and now I count some of those folks among my closest friends. AND, I write for the Chap now. If I hadn't mustered the courage that day and gone, then things could have been totally different.

Take up a hobby or class - swing dancing is a perfect one. You don't even need a partner, and you'll meet tonnes of people. It matters not a jot if you have no rhythm, trust me.

Go to vintage fairs, galleries, festivals. You never know when you'll meet a hot boy or a future friend.  If you're there, then stands to reason people as totally awesome as you might also be! I met Shona Heyday because I bought a pair of trousers off her at a Jukebox fair... now we're fast friends and business partners!

So those are my tips for making vintage friends, for what they're worth. They worked for me, so that's the main endorsement! I only hope I get to meet more of the amazing ladies and gents I chat with online. Make sure you do say hello if you see me or any familiar face at events. And (do excuse the plug, but) if you're a vintage fan in London, then do consider coming to our Vintage Mafia event next month - The Ric-Rac Club, brackets Let's Misbehave, close brackets. We're just in the process of confirming all the details before we can give it an almighty plug, but we're pitching it more as a vintage social rather than the usual dance-centric affairs that are so common in this old town! We're planning some solo dance demonstrations, fun and games, and, more importantly, some amusing giveaways featuring booze, so you can acquire that dutch courage if you need it. Come along and make some new friends.

See you on or offline soon!

Fleur xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Baring it all

It's funny how things change. Recently, as I approached and turned 30, instead of feeling more paranoid about my age and the evidence of such in my face, I've actually become less worried. It might be the fact that I think I look better since taking up running (not that I've been able to run properly in three weeks, thanks to two niggling injuries in a row, dash it all), all that exercise and fresh air has done wonders for my skin. I've started to eat better as well - more protein and fresh things tend to improve one's complexion. It might also be that long days working as a film extra surrounded by hundreds of people of all ages without a scrap of makeup has made me less concerned about others seeing me without my slap on.  But whatever it is, I am going easy on the cosmetics at the moment, and I'm also spending the odd day without my hair done, as you've seen here before. Yesterday was (another) one of those days! That morning I put on one of my earliest dresses, a lovely, ruffly 1930s feedsack housedress, and decided to channel my inner carefree farm girl, all wild hair and fresh-faced. Well, OK, I did have eyeliner on. And eyebrows... shh.

I know I've spoken on here about how I treat lipstick and high glamour as my warpaint, and as I've said before, I'd never go out barefaced and unstyled if I was feeling down. This look is a byproduct of feeling content. Happiness is fleeting - it comes and goes for me as it does for everyone. Contentedness is more enduring. I am feeling pretty damn serene, and I think it shows in my face.

Our faces tell a story. If you look at mine closely, you can read many tales. Freckles from a childhood spent in the sun, a raised mole inherited from my moley old dad, old acne scarring from when I came off the Pill in my early twenties. A few spots from coming off the Pill again recently (bloody synthetic hormones, I tell you. Good riddance!). Chicken-pox scars from when I caught it at two years old, and my birthday party had to be cancelled. I must show you the hilariously pouty photo taken at the time! You can see the beginnings of frown lines, and smile lines in my face, and sometimes they do concern me slightly, because really, who wants to grow old? But I do know I'm a long way from actually being old, and even when I am, I hope I'll be too busy living my life to the full to care. Wrinkles give character, and faces with movement and energy are so much better than the smooth, waxen visages of celebrities, don't you think?

My hair tells its own story, too. The perm I had eighteen months ago still gives me a loose curl, and dry bits. The heartbreak I suffered last year and the dramatic change in my appetite and eating habits shows in the wispy ends, my recent health-kick in the regrowth. The blonde streak I put in for my 30th birthday and dyed out soon after glints through in the sunshine. You can, of course see my previously mentioned, scarred earlobes from my days as a metal-loving teenager!

The whole of my body is like a novel already, with its scars, tattoos, stretch marks, cellulite, toned muscles, beauty spots, tan-lines and white bits. Just think of the stories it will hold in twenty, forty, sixty years! When it's my time, I want to pass away, quickly and peacefully in my own home please, powers that be; and for people to marvel at my flintlock pistol tattoos and wonder. Well, actually, since I will of course be have achieved notoriety in my field and have penned several scintillating autobiographies detailing my fascinating life (the one I haven't quite embarked upon yet), they won't be that surprised...

But that's the reason I have never and will never regret the tattoos and piercings I've had, and may even get more as time marches on. Your body is always going to look old when you're old, whether your skin is virginal or rainbow-coloured. That tired old argument put forward by parents and tattoo detractors has never held water with me!

My message for the day is to love yourself not despite, but because of all your 'flaws'. But don't pander to them. If something about the way you look, or about your life is making you deeply unhappy, and you have the power to change it, then do. You don't have to be a workaholic high-flyer, but neither should anyone let themselves be a layabout with no ambition (for anything, work or life). Myself, I am making my dream career happen through dedication and diligence. And I've come to accept that while I'm tall enough, I'm never going to have supermodel proportions; nor will I ever let myself get too overweight or unhealthy. I can be toned and athletic instead of sylphlike and delicate. You know, I may have big, muscly runner's calves, but I have lovely slender ankles. Could be worse - could have cankles...!

It's never too late to take up a new fitness hobby, beauty regime or change your eating habits to make yourself shine from the inside. Change what you can, and make peace with that which you can't. Find bits about yourself that you LOVE to blow the bits you don't out of the water. Your body is a canvas, and your future is an unwritten book. You can paint, shape and write it any way you like, all you need is inspiration and motivation! I know this is easy to say and much less easy to do, but every change begins with one small step. Decide what that is... you don't have to take it, yet. Making the decision to change or to find acceptance within yourself may be the first step!

And if, like me, you're addicted to glamour, try going a little more au naturel for a day. Let the wind blow through your un-shellac'd hair, kiss a loved-one with your naked lips. You might surprise yourself!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Feeling fruity...

This is just a quick one as I've already done an almighty plug this week, but I'm just going to do one more bit of marketing for my namesake dress. Shona and I have just released one of the super duper, ultra, mega, limited-edition Fleur dresses... Classic Fruits!

I can't even explain how much I love this dress.  Putting it together gave me an almost illicit thrill! We paired delicious plain forest green with a super rare fruit print cotton for a classic wrap dress colour combination and theme...

It's a fruity festival! Pears, apples, peaches, grapes and berry clusters as well as blossoms in shades of red, yellow, orange and blush pink are mingled with deep green geometric patterns and Arts and Crafts motifs. It goes perfectly with bangles of coloured plastic, bamboo and Bakelite! We left off the pockets as we wanted it to keep its clean lines and feel more like a party frock.

The peach floral button on the back is from Shona's extensive vintage stash!

I'll get a lot of wear out of mine while it's still summer, to picnic, party and drink King's ginger cocktails, but it's also the perfect autumn colour scheme, don't you think? (Thanks again to Vintage Teatime for the sweet treats!)

This frock is easy-care and easy wear, practical and chic, cute and sophisticated, and will be incredibly rare, for we have only made eight, and one is mine, and one was Bethan's birthday present. UPDATE: They sold out...within 12 hours.


Fleur xx

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