Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Pink o'clock

I have found my dream watch. Unfortunately, said watch happens to be from Cartier and costs £24,000. With a soft pink crocodile strap and a white gold face encrusted with diamonds it is perfect. Just a shame about the price tag...

If you (like me) don't have £24,000 to splash, here are some pink options that are a little more purse-friendly. From quirky to girly to sporty, these aren't for watches for wall flowers, but demand instead to be worn with a smile. Watches are a great yet practical way to make a statement and add some colour to your outfit.

With the skater girl print and the lack of numbers on its face, this is a watch for a laid back lady who is to cool to care the PRECISE time...

How could you resist this loved up watch from Swatch?

This sleek fuchsia and silver number from Armani Exchange is modern and stylish.

I think this hot pink watch from Nixon Rubine is my favourite. It is simple yet bold, and if I can't have the Cartier, I can imagine this one sitting very comfortably on my wrist instead.

Chunky, fluorescent watches are big this year, and this bubblegum version from Toy Watch is perfect.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Libby loves.. Columbia Road and Rob Ryan

Walking down Columbia Road today with the sun blazing, the flower market blooming and glorious shops beckoning me inside, I was happy. Very happy.

I had never been to the flower market before, so on a trip up to London to visit the V&A's quilting exhibition for my textiles project I couldn't help but take a look. It didn't disappoint. The street was a mass of tulips, gerbera, roses and people: some pushing prams and nursing ice creams, others cradling bunches of paper wrapped buds. Every now and then someone would push through the crowd with a potted plant in their arms. One man was carrying a twisted tree nearly twice his size. The hustle and bustle on this Sunday morning was one of the reasons I can't wait to live in London. I could just picture myself in my fantasy life, living in a pink clad apartment nearby and coming here early on Sundays to buy flowers and the odd vintage treasure from one of the pretty shops. Then off to Hyde Park in the afternoon for a picnic and Pimm's sipping afternoon with my friends. Bliss.
One of the blossom trees on the edge of the road was adorned with red apples, tied to the branches by threads. From a distance it looked as though they floated there as if by magic.
With so many different stalls the air was buzzing with the sound of offers being hurled back and forth. One stall was manned, or rather 'boyed', by a young lad who must have been no more than 12. Despite his young age it was a middle aged man's holler that escaped his lips, enough to rival any of the other stall holders.

Of the flowers my favourites were the tulips, tightly packed in shades of peach and pink and the gerbera, so bright and joyful - fitting for such a beautiful sunny day.
One of the shops flanking the market was 'Treacle' a cupcake shop from heaven. I loved its window display of hanging pink and yellow flowers. With enticing aromas wafting into the street mothers and children were drawn inside for mid morning treats.
This door caught my eye as I wandered down the street. The shop was called 'Jessie Chorley and Buddudg Humphreys' and home to a trove of handmade, vintage inspired treasures. Brooches, journals and trinkets made from old newspaper, hand embroidery and infinite care were beautiful and completely covetable.

Visit the websites of the delightful design duo: Jessie Chorley and Buddug Humphreys
In the entrance to the shop hung this chandelier bedecked with old journals and books.
This door caught my eye. I like the old fox knocker and think the peeling paintwork and mix of colours is unexpectedly beautiful.
As well as the flower market, my main reason for heading to Columbia Road was the fact it is home to Ryantown, the shop of my all time favourite artist Rob Ryan. I had read about the shop and longed to visit for a while, but never had. 

When I saw the words 'Ryantown' scrolling across the blue fronted shop my heart leapt inside my chest. Stepping inside the small but bright and airy shop I had to fight back tears. Crazy I know, but my heart couldn't contain my happiness. All around me were Rob Ryan's painfully beautiful, hopelessly romantic cutouts making homes of bags, tiles, t-shirts, even a calculator, or simply (and most impressively) framed in their whole and perfect glory. Rob Ryan's artwork expresses a longed-for world of love, happiness and optimism, and to me walking into his shop was like walking into that world.
After browsing for a disproportionately long time considering the size of the shop, I decided I had to buy something. Unfortunately nearly everything was well out of my price range. 

However, I couldn't leave empty handed. In the end I settled on a wooden key that I had been pining after since I saw it for sale on the Yorkshire Sculpture Park's website as part of their recent Rob Ryan exhibition. In the shop these keys were hanging from red ribbons from the ceiling, each one feauturing a cut out message. "The key to my heart will one day be used only by you" reads mine. Perhaps it is silly (or plain sad) buying such romantic things for myself (I already have a whole host of his cards, each featuring a similarly soppy message) but I don't care. 

My key makes me happy; it now hangs in front of my mirror so I can see not one but two images of it every time I do my make up. When it is raining or I am simply having a bad day, Rob Ryan reminds me that as long as there's love and happiness around we're doing all right really.

Lying on my sheets emblazoned with 'Love Love Love' my key feels right at home in my room.
Even the packaging was beautiful, so much so that I almost couldn't bear breaking into the bubble wrap and tearing the tape that says 'The star shine all day too!!'.
For the rest of the day I carried my bag with pride. "Everything's going to be ok,"; the pretty and cheerful message makes me say "Yes, it is".
And even the receipt is so pretty!
And here are the things I couldn't afford...

I nearly, very nearly bought myself one of these hand printed cushions, before I convinced myself that spending £65 on a cushion was probably not justifiable. Alas.

Rob Ryan's cutouts sell for thousands, and no wonder. They are completely and utterly beautiful. "We had nothing, We had not much, We had enough, We had everything. P.S. Please don't ever let me have too much." Oh to one day be rich enough to have one of these cutouts hanging on my wall. It may take a while to save up the pennies, but it WILL happen.
"You are my universe. Moons circle planets and planets circle stars, Stars and galaxies rotate eternally and you and I circle eachother, For you are my universe entirely and I will always be yours."

I read in Vogue recently about a woman whose boyfriend proposed to her with the aid of Rob Ryan, who was a friend of theirs. When he got down on one knee and opened the ring box, inside was a tiny Rob Ryan paper cut out that read "Marry me Shadow" (her nickname). Who could refuse? Despite telling myself I don't particularly want to ever get married, I know I couldn't.
Rob Ryan has collaborated with Urban Outfitters to produce this amazing fish eye camera. See the world through Rob Ryan's optimistic eyes with this fabulous and fun creation.
Not on sale in Ryantown, but I couldn't help but mention them... Rob Ryan's collaboration with Tatty Devine showcases his style in jewellery form. This necklace is £210. But it is so lovely. And it is only in a limited edition of 25.

Columbia Road is now one of my favourite places. Flowers, cupcakes, and Rob Ryan. 3 of my favourite things.


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Today's love...

This reconditioned phone is retro chic as well as functional. It comes in shades from sky blue to bright orange, but I prefer this baby pink version. I can imagine it in the kitchen of my dreams, right next to my pink Aga and pink Smeg fridge.

Pink in the 80s

Amongst my stacks of Vogues and fashion books lie a pile of magazines and catalogues that I inherited from the mother of one of my mum's friends. With their tattered covers these 80s editions (mainly French) are some of my most treasured. I love flicking through them and seeing how vastly fashion has changed in a mere 30 or so years - in fashion terms this could be centuries. Some of the advertising campaigns seem laughable nowadays, whilst clothes that spark a "why would anyone wear that?" make me wonder what the magazines I read now will look like in the future. Will we look back at the outfits of today and think - what were we thinking?

This outfit was classed as casual day-wear. In today's world of tracksuit bottoms and jeans what was classed as casual in the 80s looks formal and dated.
Patou Haute Couture
Christian Dior Haute Couture
Nina Ricci Haute Couture

Both of the above dresses sport a cord tie that looks as though it has been borrowed from a heavy pair of curtains, evidently a popular look of the time.

Despite the recent resurgence in 80s style looking at these genuine outfits from the era they still look a far cry from what we see on the high street today. Although styles have been stolen from the 80s, they have clearly been adapted in a modern way. Even though fashion looks back from time to time (cue a 70s revival abrewing) it is with fresh eyes for fresh times. Because ultimately fashion is all about the today and tomorrow.


Today's love...

Miss Dior Cherie is my favourite perfume - the beautiful bottle with its frosted glass bow sits on my dressing table and gets opened only on special occasions. However, my classification of a 'special occasion' has become dubious as I love the scent so much; example: the sun is shining = definitely a special occasion.

Perhaps even more than the actual perfume I adore the Miss Dior advertising campaigns. This latest pink spectacular caught me in my tracks as I was flicking through my magazine. The mouth watering roses, the puffed cerise skirt, the sunshine, the hat, her hair... all in all I want to be Miss Dior.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Michael Van Der Ham - Cut and Paste Fashion

Michael Van Der Ham, fledgling designer of London's Fashion East, is one of my favourite of the moment. Dutch born and a graduate of Central St Martins he already has internships at Alexander Mcqueen and Sophia Kokosalaki under his belt as well as two season's support from Fashion East and a L'Oreal design prize to his name. His designs are a quirky collage made from vintage look Liberty prints, sheer fabrics, flashes of colour, wool, femininity, cool and a pair of scissors. With a thrown together aesthetic he brings a refreshingly light-hearted approach to the runway.

Liberty prints are very much a la mode, perhaps because their heritage is a comfort in today's uncertain economic climate. However we have all seen the ditsy floral prints a thousand times before; by piecing them together with contrasting fabrics Van Der Ham flaunts Liberty in an updated and unique environment.
Van Der Ham's collections are on sale at Liberty, and attract a style-savvy clientelle looking for something a bit different. In his own words, the Van Der Ham woman is "someone who's not afraid to wear something a little more bold".
The mix of homely wool and luxe fabrics creates an alternative take on pretty, bringing it bang up to date and making his creations covetable for 2010. These are clothes for a modern woman who is not afraid of flaunting her femininity (gone are the days of straight forward power dressing where prettiness equaled weakness) but who wants to do so with attitude.
Above: Autumn Winter 2010
Below: Spring Summer 2010
The surprise of a spangly bra underneath the sheer top of this dress is the kind of detail that adds edge and modernity to the cut and paste, pretty vintage feel to Van Der Ham's designs.
It is the surprise of contrasted patterns, fabrics, shapes and lengths that makes these clothes so exciting.
The mismatch approach seems very relevant today when fashion is less about dusty rule books and more about having a good sartorial eye and a personal sense of style. Nowadays you show your fashion credentials by pulling together high street and designer, modern and vintage, hard and soft instead of sporting head to toe designer brands. Van Der Ham's style embodies this 21st century way of dressing.
With catwalk collections to swoon over and an approach to dress-making that is quirky and completely his own, Michael Van Der Ham is one to watch.