Cut copy.

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It’s almost worrying how little problem I have with slavishly copying Phoebe Philo’s haircut*. Not yet, but soon. Two years have passed since my last major re-style, a period of time that has seen an untold fortune spent on Philip Kingsley Elasticizer – I stopped short at Viviscal – to relatively little effect. Time for a new approach.

These last few years have not been an easy ride, hair-wise. It’s been red, blonde (ERROR) and every shade of brown.  There was the ill-advised fringe, layers, streaky highlights, feathering and even a John Frieda at home dye kit that caused it to start falling out. In my hands. In the shower. Not one, but two hairdressers, have actually reduced me to tears. Quite honestly? My poor hair has been screaming ”GIRL. GIVE. IT. UP” for years and I have steadfastly refused to listen.

True, a fresh start will start in earnest with the big cut, but I’m extending this hair turnaround to a self-imposed ban on hair dye and continuing to invest in high-quality haircare products (looking at you, Josh Wood). The scene of the big day is still to be decided, but Trevor Sorbie in Hampstead is looking like an odds-on favourite. I really hope there’s champagne to ease the pain, because God knows I can’t make it three in a row.

Funnily enough, Into The Gloss has recently posted some insanely great advice for getting a good mid-length cut and keeping it looking top notch. IT’S LIKE THEY KNOW. Just wait until you read the part about the curvature and heat from your shoulders turning your midi-cut into a flicked mum bob. Oh yes, that’s an actual thing. Wish me luck!

*not quite as worrying as the first time I saw this picture and immediately thought ‘they must be the antique diamond earrings she said her husband bought her in that interview a while back!’. The obsession has absolutely gone too far.

[Image via Keep it Chic]

The New Feminine.

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Net-a-Porter are killing it this week with the latest edition of The Edit: The New Feminine Fashion.

The Edit has long been one of my favourite internet fixtures and a virtual happy place (see also: Into The Gloss, Vivianna Does Makeup, Tumblr). This week, its all babes, beauty and bijoux with a heavy focus on muted colours and delicate feminine adornment. It’s also a timely reminder of the beauty that is Sophie Dahl, the most quintessential English Rose that ever was. So, for your viewing pleasure, here she is melting butter, sugar and OUR HEARTS with a recipe for peanut butter fudge.

 

Un, deux, trois.

Three watches

 

24 is looming large and ominous on the horizon, so it feels like time for a grown-up watch. Before you know it I’ll be buying an electric blanket and listening to Radio 4 on Sundays…oh wait…

(Left to right) a handsome Cartier dupe by Seiko, the Olivia Burton Midi Dial Bracelet in Yellow Gold and the Nixon Rose Gold Kensington. Click the image for shop links!

London, Paris and back again.

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This weekend the boy-thing and I paid a visit to rainy but lovely Paris. First stop, of course, was the local Montmartre boulangerie on the Rue Abbesses – only a five minute walk up the world’s steepest hill from our rented apartment. Nigh-on crimes were committed in that there bakery. A kind of butter-charged GBH if you will.

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Back in the saddle.

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This month sees me get back into the studying saddle – assignments, exams, the whole shebang! Books have been ordered, and true to form, I’m already searching for ’1920s desks’ on eBay. It was in the midst of aforementioned desk research  that I stumbled across these pictures of artist/designer Ana Kras at work in her studio. Yes, she of Kooples ad fame works too!

Did I mention that all of my bookshelves collapsed under their own weight in the dead of night not long ago? Clearly, it was all going a bit too well after we finally got internet and a working light in the hallway. In fact, I fear that the situation here has started to resemble that abandoned apartment in Paris; minus the priceless oil paintings and only slightly less dust.

[Images Nicole Defour Derocher for Curio Magazine]

Penny and Valerie.

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Woeful January has come to a close at last! And on a Friday too; how delicious. I couldn’t really think of a better way to celebrate than with some inspiring words from my two favourite ladies: Penny Martin, Editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman and Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Enjoy!

 

1. Penny Martin’s Reading List - Great Expectations and Subculture: The Meaning of Style both make the cut. I. LOVE. HER.

2. Valerie Steele, PhD  - The 51% Conversation – A very honest and charming interview with the divine Valerie. She now has over twenty exhibitions under her belt and countless books to her name, including the seminal Fashion and eroticism: ideals of feminine beauty from the Victorian era to the Jazz Age.  Not too bad for a teenage runaway.

 

[Images via The Telegraph and Jen Dessinger]

The novel of a wardrobe.

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Photograph by Edward Steichen.
Portrait of Mrs E. E. Cummings (Marion Morehouse) wearing a dress designed by Madeleine Chéruit.
Published in American Vogue, 1927.

 

“…replied Elstir, ‘You see, there are very few good couturiers at present, one or two only, Callot—although they go in rather too freely for lace—Doucet, Cheruit, Paquin sometimes. The others are all ghastly.”

– Proust

 

With less than two weeks to go until a weekend  trip to Paris and the need for a proper itinerary pressing stressing me out more than my City-Pharma shopping list, I finally decided to do some research on how best to fill the hours between breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A February killer-deal on Eurostar scuppered our chances of catching the last few days of the Alaia retrospective. Very quickly though, any semblance of sadness I may have felt was instantly replaced BY SHEER JOY when I discovered that the Paris History Museum – La Musée Carnavalet – is currently displaying an entire exhibition devoted to Haute Couture in Paris around the turn of the 20th century. ‘‘The Novel of a Wardrobe: Parisian Chic from the Belle Epoque to the 1930s’ features the wondrous wardrobe of Parisian Alice Alleaume, the head vendeuse at couture house Chéruit from 1912-1923 and includes creations by Jeanne Lanvin (!), Charles Frederick Worth (!!!) and of course, some beautiful examples from her employer, Mme. Chéruit.

 

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Photograph by Edward Steichen.
Portrait of Mrs E. E. Cummings (Marion Morehouse) wearing a dress designed by Madeleine Chéruit.
Published in American Vogue, 1927.

 

The house of Chéruit, founded by Louise Chéruit, was one of the earliest established couturiers in Paris and one of the esteemed conclave of designers featured exclusively in Parisian style bible ‘La Gazette du Bon Ton’.

With such an exhibition on long-term display, and numerous pieces of Chéruit held in dress collections worldwide, it seems bizarre that no major monograph appears to exist (FUTURE PhD STUDENTS, YOU ARE WELCOME). In fact, the only thing I can find on Amazon is a 1920s version of those  amazing illustrated paper dolls featuring a Cheruit design. Fear not though, for I have dug deep and found a series of ace posts by Beatrice Behlen on the conservation on a Cheruit gown in the Museum of London’s collections, enough to tide you over until the reams of photographs from the exhibition flood the blog. Joyous.

 

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Back to Alice though, and more specifically her role as head vendeuse. I’ve been pretty obsessed with the role and influence of ladies like Alice since watching three series-worth of the House of Eliott back-to-back during a week of annual leave last year. It is, truly, a glorious way to spend an entire seven days.

From what I’ve gathered, it seems to be the case that to be a successful vendeuse, you needed to be not only a saleswoman, but a confidente, a therapist, and above all, a perfectionist with an eye for PR. Officially, her job was to advise  and serve a precious group of women with the funds to buy couture each season. Her main role was to oversee the each and every one of her clients’ fittings, the production of those garments and all of the vastly important ordering and payment details. They were, to all intents and purposes, the public face of the couture house: their discretion, honesty and skill gained the trust, and ultimately, profitable long-term patronage of their prized clients.

 

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[Images via Pinterest and Flickr]

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