I’m a massive fan of flowers, to the extent that I mentioned to A yesterday that I once considered going on a flower-arranging course. As a keen floral observer, I’ve noticed a sudden trend for that ultimately old-fashioned flower, the hydrangea. Although I like to think that I believe in true beauty and enduring style, I clearly don’t because since time immemorial, the dried bunch of hydrangeas in my grandmother’s hall have been sweet but representative of the olden days.
Now, much as her dark wood furniture suddenly looks awesome again in the wake of Mad Men, I’ve noticed these flowers popping up everywhere and making sense – blogs have started to feature them and I saw a man with a huge bouquet of pure white ones last week. It could just be me but it seems like hydrangeas could be the next peonies.
Flowers and fashion go together – nothing could be more apropos for an industry like that than something beautiful, expensive and that fades away away in less than two weeks. This picture from Sydney Fashion Week shows that the vaguely 1970s pastel shades of the flowers might be making a comeback.
Etsy has several vintage hydrangea-print dresses on sale (AdelinesAttic, SpanoVintage), so it’s clear that in past decades, it’s been a common print, just like a rose-print is now.
A quick bit of research reveals that designers have been incorporating more or less abstract hydrangeas into their prints for the past few years, like this S/S 2010 “Hydrangea” dress by Phillip Lim, which bears little obvious connection to my grandma’s dried plants:
Limited edition Selfridges "men at work" sign. No, of course not really.
This isn’t the most fun but it is the most challenging part of my life to get dressed for. I work in publishing so for most of my working life have been allowed to wear whatever I want but now my job is more traditional so suddenly I am stuck in that smart-ish valley between formal and your own clothes.
In some ways having boundaries set upon your appearance can help you be creative but dressing for someone else really isn’t what I’m best at. When I interviewed for this job they commented on how my clothes weren’t smart enough because I was wearing a denim skirt. I really wanted to reject the job with the words “it’s Chloe, bitches” but I really needed the money, so here I am.
Working in the City, I see a lot of heinously, drably and sometimes weirdly dressed people, and a lot of suits paired with trainers. HIDEOUSNESS. But I also see ladies who have run with the aesthetic and look awesome. It’s much better to embrace the semi-smartness than to look like you’d feel happier in a fleece and jogging bottoms. It’s not about skinniness and beauty in this arena either. It’s about well-fitting clothes than project “give me money” (much more important than you think, for young whelks who still want to follow their dreams all the way to the job centre – that’s a bit harsh, but believe me when I tell you that the creative industries aren’t hiring right now).
In fact, workwear suits a lot of people more than weekend clothes do. If you have sticky-out-bits, then tailoring is your friend. I’ve seen some things recently that I like but would be too smart for my home life. Instead, I picture them upon the better S, who has a swishy ponytail, a steamed milk with caramel syrup, a briefcase full of manuscripts and hopefully an assistant who sorts out all the hard work.
This dress is really nice in real life and has an elasticated waistband, which I appreciate. I’ve only recently look in Warehouse for the first time since about the year 2001 and I was pleasantly surprised:
The rules, based on my current colleagues, seem to be:
- waist belts
- raspberry pink
- built-in shirt/jumper combos
I am totally clueless when it comes to workwear, but I might try and document my dressing process for this most important of outfits.
I spotted this Malene Birger dress in Glamour, the fashion pages of which have really improved in quality lately. It’s about the most ethereal, beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I seriously want to spend £190 on it and wear it all the time, maybe even with the cut-out latex leggings that also featured in her catwalk show (not featured on Style.com, who apparently didn’t attend Copenhagen fashion week). Really I would want to wear tiny shoes and a silk slip underneath and just be as chiffon-y and dainty as humanly possible, wafting around in a flurry of pleats. I really have a soft spot for romantic looks.
I really like the whole collection, which is worth looking at on the website. It’s basically a more modern take on the Day Birger Mikkelson vision, with large-scale prints and a whole mix of influences – it reminds me a little of Marni, but with a Scandinavian twist – by which I mean that slightly unworldly, quirky edge, but a Danish devotion to good times, which shows in the beachwear. I also think that the range is at the top end of the affordable middle-ground.
A little while back, I was introduced to Pollini and got all excited that Jonathon Saunders was about to work his magic on the little known brand. Apparently, he only had a few weeks to get his debut, the SS 09 collection, together but I enjoyed all the playful flourishes of that collection.
And being an Italian brand, Pollini’s Autumn/Winter 09 collection showed in Milan early this week. I have always been a little disparaging of Milanese fashion, and Milan Fashion Week, as I’ve always thought of Italian fashion as a different, more conservative breed. And although I like the new Pollini collection, it feels as if Saunders couldn’t quite escape this quintessential conservatism. The playful flourishes are still there but less bold, a little darker.
Details the outfit doth make
I still like the collection but I’d like to see more fun for the next collection.
I have previously documented my devotion to clothes and accessories with postal addresses on them and so of course when you add my weakness for white cotton dresses to the mix, this dress by Daydream Nation featured on Style Bubble is definitely going to set my radar bleeping. Although you could argue it’s a bit out there, I can really imagine myself wearing this without feeling too self-conscious. The print is so easy on the mind – there’s something romantic about getting things by post and it’s so lovely when something comes through the letterbox that isn’t a bill. Imagine wearing a dress that encapsulates that feeling. This girl apparently came airmail as well. Good choice.
Photo courtesy: Style Bubble
Eva Mendes is known as a sex-kitten, but this dress, probably on purpose, shows a different side to her. I love the 70s-style stylised flower print and this is a rare example of a great yellow dress. I think it helps that they are warm banan-y yellows and not canary (only Rihanna can wear those), which look yummy against her skintone. This is a late entry for my favourite dresses of the year.
How awesome does this taster of New Look’s spring collection look? They have always been good on prints, (not so good on cut) so I am pleased to see them continuing in this vein. I also think those shoes are the most fabulous creatures I have ever seen and I may have to reassess all my thoughts about next year’s look.
Pictures unashamedly piked from Popsugar, who have more pictures of the collection, like the Lolita-themed heart-shaped sunglasses, guaranteed to be seen in jail-bait action on Peaches Geldof.
Look at this stuff, isn't it neat
I can’t believe what a sucker I am for this makeup set. Disney character print is just a shade off Snoopy pyjamas, which jumped the shark about 10,000 pairs of H&M vest/knickers sets ago. But somehow this set, from Paul & Joe (one of my favourite unadventurous designers) just appeals. It’s so neat and cutesome. It would hide in your makeup bag and only you would get to see it, and you wouldn’t have to field any queries about whether you are actually five years old. It has a powder puff! Awesome!
I love prints and patterns but I am very fussy about them. My favourite print designer is Finnish fabric house Marimekko. Let’s gloss over their failed collaboration with H&M, and blame that on the shop. Marimekko has a huge back catalogue of amazing prints and I have them all over my clothes, bags, walls and kitchen. Everything they make is of a high quality so it’s not cheap but the canvas bags are incredibly robust and machine-washable. Sometimes it’s nice to buy something that will last forever and yet costs less than £100.
Every cheerful tray, fabric or set of bedding you have ever seen in Ikea is “inspired” by Marimekko. Their dresses have been worn by Jackie O and Cheryl Cole (on X Factor!) and as you can see in my little gallery, even patterns designed in the 1950s look entirely appropriate today. You can’t get through an issue of Living Etc or Grand Designs without seeing something of theirs. I mean all this to imply that not only is Marimekko to my personal taste, it is an objective classic! They also do the best striped t-shirts you’ll ever own.