A Yoga Brunch with Deliciously Ella.

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Let it be said, I am generally not the sort of girl to get excited about volunteering herself for exercise. Five years of compulsory school sports days saw me assigned that-most attractive of events: shot put. An ordeal so ridiculous (and painful) it scared me off all sports for life. A civilised morning of yoga with a healthy brunch thrown in though? That’s an idea I can get on board with. The morning was hosted by Ella Woodward, babest of babes and the founder of healthy-eating super blog Deliciously Ella.

So, buoyed with an enthusiasm for yoga I have experienced frankly never, I strolled into the idyllic South Kensington mews where Evolve Yoga is situated, got into my yoga gear (last appearance: 2011) and supped on two cups of Pukka ‘Revitalise’ tea and a home-made energy ball before 75 minutes on the mat. Selda, our instructor, was really amazing  and even though I was the only one of twenty to crash to the ground during their downward dog I still ended up feeling as zen as Angela Lansbury in ‘Positive Moves’. Result! The brunch afterwards was where things got super delicious with 26grains providing the almond milk porridge with pomegranate and coconut yoghurt, apple with cacao-dusted nuts and seeds and roasted root vegetables and Mission bringing along a host of juices.

So, is a yoga-practicising me on the cards? If the subsequent two attempts at Yoga with Adriene on YouTube are anything to go by, then it looks likely. As for Ella, her book is out in January and I already have a few more of her recipes in the pipeline for this week. Who knows, maybe it’s tim to dust off that shot put…

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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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London, Paris and back again.

IMG_1561

 

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.

Continue reading

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 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 has scuppered our chances of catching the last few days of the Alaia retrospective, however, we will manage to catch an entire exhibition dedicated to Haute Couture in Paris around the turn of the 20th century. Alaia who?! ‘‘The Novel of a Wardrobe: Parisian Chic from the Belle Epoque to the 1930s’ at La Musée Carnavalet 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]

Brooklyn.

Photograph by Bruce Davidson
Brooklyn Gang Series
1959

 

Barely a day passes without me wishing I lived in New York, specifically Brooklyn. In its own grimy and derelict way it seems rather charmant, which is funny considering Just Kids painted a pretty grim picture of people shooting up in doorways. Maybe I’ve just watched the Girls trailer one too many times. Which reminds me, COME ON VIRGIN MEDIA YOU ARE KILLING ME.

Anyway, when I do eventually live there (hopefully not in abject poverty) the dream will be to visit the Museum at FIT in neighbouring Manhattan as often as humanely possible. Currently directed and chief-curated by the unparalleled Valerie Steele, brilliant fashion historian and one of my absolute LIFE IDOLS, its running a pretty gorgeous series of events/talks this Autumn (Fall if you will) for those of you that are lucky enough to be in the vicinity.

If you’re not familiar with Valerie, this little video is a great introduction, briefly exploring her own relationship with dress (predominantly the colour black) to her admiration for Daphne Guinness, Rick Owens and  Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Speaking of which, the outfits she wears in this video are just too glorious for words.

You’ll now also find some of my favourite Steele tomes over on the reading list, and a link to the FIT online image resources webpage on the Image Resources page (quelle surprise), which although still laughably small, is slowly getting there.

 

 

[Photograph via Life Lounge]