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You better work!

I love it. Just when you thought that there could be no more 80s bands left to discover Sister Fate throws one your way.

I won’t go into details as to how I came across this little gem.

All I’ll say is that The Almighty Prince discovered them.

They only had one album. Bless ’em.

The eponymous Vanity 6.

Love, love, love!

Love the Logo.

These girls were on it. They OWNED it before Tyra Banksese was invented. They could have actually given birth to Lady T.

These girls were doing the Pussy Cat dolls when the dolls were still in diapers or not even born yet.

Well maybe not in the case of

Nicole Scherzinger.

Lord only knows how old that pussy is…

Anyway my top tracks must be Make Up, Nasty Girl and Wet Dream.

Go get it. Its so bad its goooood…

See also The Slits, Marine Girls [You can hear Tracey Thorne before she became part of Everything But The Girl]

1. Le Tango, Rue Maire


Edith Piaf used to sing there. Now a Tea Dance/ Cabaret/ Trash Pop Night is held there every Saturday.

Out with the guys last weekend. Lots of odd couples going for it like their lives depended on it.

Good to see. They shoot horses, don’t they?

“G” could hardly contain himself when the Mariah Carey-esque tranny came out, nose shaded in like Beyonce to slim it down, help it stand out. Great fun!

2. Jeu de Paume, Place Concorde

Met up with “B” to go see the Kertesz retrospective. Beautifully sunny day. This city’s so incredibly beautiful.You find yourself catching your breath sometimes.

Looking over the square, with the Jeu de Paume behind me, I loved how the Luxor Obelisk echoed the Tour Eiffel in the distance. There is a precision to the vista of trees outside the museum, a bit like the ones at the Palais Royal. Really like the J de P as a space. It feels a little informal, approachable. The exhibition is HUGE. Definitely going to see it again. Too much to take in one go.


3. On the way to Prada

Stood on the platform at Bonne Nouvelle, waiting for train to Alma – Marceau. The grid lighting overhead reminds me a bit of a movie set. I like the contrast between the industrial design against the white tiles and ornate frames on the posters.

A few smokes at a cafe off Avenue Montaigne overlooking the Tour Eiffel with “N”.

Prada is heaving. A woman that looks like/ might be Shala Monroque is trying on shoes too along with “N”. The winter collection looks great. They know their customer well here at Prada… Clothes that work for monied professionals that want a play on classics without being dull.

Loads of Americans with loads o’ CASHOLA in their pockets swing great big white carrier bags out the shop into the rain.


4. On the Terrace at


Sat with “N” on the rooftop terrace. Its gorgeous up here. The whole of Paris spread out in front of you. The shoes didn’t quite fit at Prada.

We have Ceaser salads out of plastic tubs. Tres chic. Its cold and overcast. But at least its stopped raining.

Later we head off to Uniqlo to check out the new +J Jil Sander collection. There’s a massive queue outside. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll wait till London. Not that desperate.

Lady Sings_

Piano Necktie.


We like a bit of irony.

A funny name but don’t be fooled. From the exquisite monochromatic box with its natty pull out drawer, the lush black tissue paper that unfolds with a satisfying “crchhh”, the grosgrain ribbon that binds together the beautiful printed Tee, Piano Necktie is anything but naff.

This is Serious Tee-Shirt Business with the air of a Collector’s Item about it. Esoteric, refined graphics. Super soft cotton. Wear it till it falls apart.

And then wear it some more.

Go figure_

The Billie Holiday



Bad girl_

I’ve had these for years.

I  can’t remember whether I bought them at San Donato market in Milan or at Port de Vanves in Paris. Anyway, I’ve always found this Little Miss intriguing.

To be honest, she kind of

Scares me!

I saw the Kertesz show yesterday at the Jeu de Paume but more on that later. It reminded me of my archive of vintage photography. I sort of stopped buying them a while back but I think I’ll start again.

The thing with vintage photography is that it leaves you wondering what happened to the subjects, what sort of lives they led, how long they lived, and so on.

Its a

lost art.

Most of us store pictures on our computers and mobile phones and print them out less and less.

I wonder what sort of heritage we’re leaving for the future?

There is something special about this sort of quotidian photography. Its very mundaneness makes it arguably a more honest record of the passing of time than professional photography.

Its spontaneous, tangible, honest

and tells it exactly like it was.

How we were_


A few posts back I mentioned that I had been to Cyprus. About 15 years ago I promised a friend that I would design her wedding dress. Earlier this year I got The Call.

1. Pen to Paper

It was an open brief. I had total freedom. The thing with wedding dresses, especially if you know the bride quite well, an image immediately forms in your mind. You intuitively know what sort of dress she’ll want.

6th sense, maybe.

I knew this bride quite well. Knew her enough to know that she wanted something sexy but simple.

She didn’t want the usual Turkish bride get up – all pouffy satin meringue, evening gloves (even in 36∘+ weather!), and a bit too much sparkle. She wanted to stand out in her simplicity.

She wanted to show the locals how its done. She’s a high-flying exec for BMW after all.

At our first meeting I teased her that I’d done Sweet F A. That “I had a vision”. She looked quite worried and wondered if this was a good idea after all…

I then pulled out a series of sketches, inspirational images and swatches all lovingly bound and tied together with a vintage grosgrain ribbon.

This was going to be fun.

I explained that this was only a departure. The actual dress wouldn’t really start to take form until after the first fitting. I warned her not to get her hopes up just yet. The first toile was going to leave a lot to be desired. It would be a way to start playing with silhouette and working on the corset.

She wanted to exaggerate her waist. And wanted to look as slim as possible. Fair enough. If you’re going to drop a few grand you most definitely want more than a few inches dropped.

I felt quietly confident.

2. The Process.

I think we had about 6 fittings all together. She kept losing weight and we kept on cinching the corset in further.

At the first fitting I basically threw out all the previous ideas. Initially I’d been feeling for drape. It seemed more appropriate to do a modern take on a vintage-y dress.


Inside out corset in silk faille with organza and chiffon finishings that had been left raw. And a layered skirt in washed silk chiffon – to take away some of the preciousness and give the fabric a softer handle – with an insert of sun ray pleats at the front and a train made entirely out of pleated chiffon panels. Or maybe washed organza.

The dress was a technical nightmare. My cutter/machinist – who’s an incredible craftsman that works with labels like Alexander McQueen and Roland Mouret – was put through the paces! Four layers of chiffon. No, two of chiffon, two of satin, shiny sides facing each other. No, two chiffon, two tulle, one satin… It went on.

She wanted the dress “to sway”.

And that sodding train! The pleats kept collapsing inward. She wanted it super long but the pleaters couldn’t pleat panels that big.

In the end I had a Eureka!! moment, one of many, and decided that we do concentric layers of pleats that would allow us to get the desired length of train.

3. The Last Stand.

I didn’t get to see the final dress in the flesh. I was in Italy for work.

We did the final fitting via Skype.

I was a bit fresh from knocking back the contents of the minibar. She seemed happy with it. It fitted well – as well as I could tell from the fuzzy screen. The train worked.

I took the dress with me to Cyprus along with those of the four bridesmaids. If anything happened to me or my luggage en route…

4. The Dress

Doesn’t Fit.

I arrive in Cyprus. Fine. I unpack the dress. Miraculously uncreased. Fine. We try on the dress. Not fine. It will only close up halfway up the back.

Shit. F*ck! Definitely not fine.

My friend’s practically in tears. The bridesmaids want to drag me through hot coals and then slowly peel off my skin.

“Its your job to make it fit!!!!”

I feel like the most useless designer in the world. There is nothing we can do. I need a moment. I need three cans of beer, a couple of G&Ts and a pack or two of Marlboro Lights to think this one through.

We can’t alter the dress. Too complicated. No fabric. And without my trusty cutter I wont let anyone touch it. There has to be a way. What the f*ck went wrong?


God bless her. She came

to my rescue yet again….

The spare buttons!

This could work. Surely it must. The button flap on the outer corset to protect it from the zip of the inner corset. If I could stitch the extra buttons along the edge of the flap it might just give me enough to close the dress. Just about….

I have the exact amount of spare buttons that I need. 15.

We try the dress on again. My idea might work. Might…. I feel sick.

The following day I get sewing. This better work. The wedding’s the next day.

I hate sewing.

Cluck, cluck. The Night of The Hens. We bump into 90s house and garage supremo The Artful Dodger.

Re re-wind, when the crowd say,

Bo, selecta!

5. The Long Walk.

The day of the wedding. It’s boiling. Everyone seems calm but I know that we’re all on edge. Will the dress fit?

It does!!! F*ck, it DOES!

Instead of tracing her spine the buttons now form an elongated “Y”. Almost like tuning fork. Cute.

A Design Detail, darlings!

I am shaking, verging on being emotional.

And I never cry.

This has quite possibly been one of the most stressful things I have ever done.

We are one hour late for the wedding although I think that was pre-planned.

That girl wanted to walk up that aisle, outdoors, the sea to the right, the mountains to the left and the sun just setting.

She knew what she was doing…

My hands were still shaking. I’ll post better pics of the dress when I get the professional pics.

My hands are still shaking.


She looked bloody GORGEOUS!!!

Job well done?  ✔

HELL, yeah!



week musings_


Lace, flowers, rosettes, waft-y outbursts of tulle, crin, chiffon clouds… Somehow, and uncharacteristically so perhaps, I’m drawn towards prettiness. After the 90s-redux overload with its spin on severe intelligence pretty seems well, pretty avant-guard.


Take a closer at this nouveau coquette, presented to us mainly/partly by

Peter Copping at Nina Ricci, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccoli at Valentino, Marco Zanini at Rochas, Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, Stefano Pilati at YSL and MiuMiu

and you’ll notice a darker undercurrent. It might not be immediately obvious but this is what makes it even more alluring.

Be it in the way a lace blouse has been edged in leather or a slit at the front of a ruffled skirt is just that little bit too high. The slit on arguably the skirt of the season at YSL – patch pocket displaced just so, convenient for a discreet scratch if need be!

Or the way a prim trench was slit under the arm, kimono style, or the back of a matronly blouse was cut in chiffon, again at YSL.

The aforementioned collections are all unquestionably individualistic but there is a fine silk thread that links them. There is nothing wallflower-y about this romantic heroine.

She is steadfastly urbane and knowing. And womanly.

She lives in the now and isn’t apologetic about her girlishness_


Its such a simple conceit. No need for a footnote, just an appealing dose of femininity with a gutsy hit of low-key raunchiness. And that feels quite fresh.

Pretty simple,


McQueen’s damsels distressed.

Catwalk images from Valerio Mezzanotti(Rochas) Marcio Madeira/firstVIEW(Valentino, Alexander McQueen, YSL)

1 Chateau Gay


Must have sizeable inheritance. And an apartment in the 8th or 3rd. With a private lift. Top floor. All of it.

Must have parents close to kicking that bucket in.

Must have a Chateau, mais oui, in the country. Somewhere in the Loire Valley or Bordeaux. Good access to wine.

Must wine and dine me constantly.

Must have a busy job so that I can occupy my leisurely days lunching and shopping and hanging out with the gals that déjuner at Le Bon Marsh.

Must be reasonably attractive but not a must if aforementioned inheritance is quite a big package.

Must yacht in the summer.

Must let me do exactly as I please.

Don’t ask for much, do I? LOL.

1. Mickeyland Exhibition.

Organised by the A4 Collectif. Raucous mix of the clever, sublime and downright nonsensical. Kitschy fun and very timely. Quite naughty in parts. Witness Corine Borgnet’s Mickey dildo meets Pinocchio.

Unfortunately the expo closed last week.

2. Andre Kertész Retrospective.

One to definitely see next week. Loves a bit of photographic distortion, me does.

3. Frolic and Frappe

“B” getting up to no good in the Powder Room, chez Little Italy on rue Rambuteau. Head waitress Samantha really needs to smile. I go there for a plate of parpadelle and not her angst.

You’d have better luck charming a smile out of a constipated sow.

4. Le Bon Marche

Lady Boston’s Louboutin contribution to the Numero magazine and Le Bon Marche collaboration during fashion week. A who’s who of fashion had a window each to decorate.

“B” worked out who the man with grey hair and floor length worsted kilt-aloons that we saw at the party was.

Faisal Hassan, owner of Plein Sud. Go Miss Marple!

5. Place des Vosges

Hanging out with “C”. Unexpectedly gorgeous day. She’s collapsed on the grass taking a nap. Post-show fatigue. I mentioned that we should have gone to the Alaïa sample shop in the Marais. I’ve never seen anyone jump up so fast. It was like she suddenly realised that someone had stuck a rocket up her jacksy!

“Let’s GO!!”

Forget the flight she had to catch, girlfiend needs herself some Alaïa.

And she hit it hard, she did. All investment pieces, babes. Its all about looking professional, looking expensive. The Business.

I think I should consider a career in personal shopping. Helping people personally buy things for me…

Gaudy, bawdy

awful, I must say_

I went to my first Indian, or as we Brits say, Asian, wedding a couple of weeks ago – I’ve been to a lot of weddings this year – and I was stunned by the assualt of colour, sparkle and artificial flowers. The air was heady with the scent of jasmine and curry, a potent sensory cocktail. It was quite good, if a tad bit sedate.

It was a Muslim wedding so no booze. No sozzled Great Aunts doing the hokey-cokey.

The new Louis Vuitton collection waxes lyrical about Susan Sontang and is a diatribe directed at Good Taste.

Eye-popping. Chinoiserie. Lurex. F*ck the animal prints, let’s go  Mach 3 and slap on a veritable glitter ball Zebra on it. Woah, steady on Marc J… It was synthetic glamour – is there any other kind? – and while I find it hard to stomach there is something bonkers-ly brave about the whole proceedings. Note the dodgy 80s style catwalk exits when the models came out in groups and did their turns, hands on hip. And the House of Leonard inspired prints.

(I must give it to Leonard. They keep knocking out their house prints and make no apologies. Pucci, anyone?)

There were moments of beauty, mind you. Note Alek Wek’s gorgeous top and Fortuny-style pants being one. And I quite liked the clownish take on Diane Von Furstenberg – the wrap dress, half chic siren, half Bobo the Clown after a hard night, modelled by Freja Better Behave Yourself. The one-legged animal print Kaftan Jump Suit thingy bob, however… Should those words ever consecutively follow each other?!

Mr Jacobs thinks so.

Worrying for the models must have been all those scratchy fabrics. Imagine the crotch-rub on those!



Ouch! Anyway, it all reminded me of the Asian wedding, albeit in a more sped-up, hyper-real, lowdown dirty kind of way. LFN

catwalk images,

Olivier Claisse/firstVIEW