horses for courses

Hope you don't mind that I'm posting more shots with Hind in the same outfit - I promise I'm not just milking it because I don't have more streetstyle shots. I do. Tons o' them. And I love them all!
I wanted to show this look from the back because I love the jacket's details, and the little flower in her hair. Although she bought her Manoush jacket two years ago I've found a similar one - also by Manoush - on sale here). Hind wanted to show me the window at Hermes because she's taking a fashion course and chose Hermes for a project on shop window design. They were originally equestrian suppliers (bridles, etc). Hence their motifs on the scarfs and these fabulous carousel horses in their Sloane Street windows.

Gotta run. We've just been up to the Hay Festival & had a gorgeous perfect weekend with friends. Lots of Literary Festival Style shots, and I even got to swim - bliss! Later : )


artist and muse

While I was with Hind on Sloane Street, we saw this couple pass very quickly, and ran after them. He's a photographer, she's his PR - and muse - and they were late for a photo shoot, but they kindly stopped to pose for me. We exchanged cards & I can't find his - or remember either of their names - so if you know these people, please let them know to contact me, and I'll send them the pics & a big thank you!


biker boy

Alex, from Hammersmith, on Kensington High Street. When I told him what I was shooting him for, he asked 'And you think I'm stylish?' in a tone that implied if I thought so, how sad am I, but was obliging none the less.
His shorts are his dad's, (i.e., vintage), from Hang Ten.


hind sight

Hind, outside Harrods. Sorry: Mr. Dot & I had an 8:30 a.m. dentist appointment across town - we walked thru the park at 7:30 - and I've been out shooting all day so please bear with me: just walked thru the door. There's more to this story and it has to do with macarons. Just didn't want you to come to my blog and see the same old same old.
Thanks for understanding!
p.s. A bit on Hind's outfit: Patent leather Dior bag (new collection), shoes, RAS, bought this year in a boutique in Primerose Hill, jacket: Manoush, (bought 2 years ago in Primerose Hill too), and skirt, Levis, new collection.


new girl in town

Inma, Gloucester Road. She's just moved here from Spain. It's funny how every time I think someone is too cool to shoot, they turn out to be the nicest ones.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, Inma. We've got the same Converse, by the way!

hat of the day (fit for a Queen)

I've got a bit of a conundrum. Perhaps you could help me. In the process of running around shooting streetstyle, I often find other fashion-related fun things to shoot & talk about. My husband, Mr. Dot, is really adamant I stay on topic & every time I wander off the reservation, it's a whole Thing.

What do you think? Should I keep this blog strictly to streetstyle shots, and do the rest on a separate, sister blog? Or can I continue to combine the two under the same umbrella?
For example, I shot so many of these floral hats at a great competition at the Chelsea Flower Show. Even the Queen was inspired, as it says
here in the Times. I'd like to feature a Hat a Day til I run out of shots (it was really hard - I wanted to shoot them all!) but is that going to put off the punters?

I've really been struggling with this. Please tell me what to do: stay on topic, or widen the net. Leave a comment if you'd like, or email me (jill@haybooks.com - it's on my profile). Your vote counts! Many thanks.


fair trade

Just when I started thinking 'I've got enough friends' I've discovered that one of the best - no, truly, the best- things about doing this blog the past few months is the astounding number of real friendships I've formed in such a short time. Some with people - fellow bloggers - I haven't (yet) met, due to geographical logistics, but others - like Carry Sommers, shown here - who, with her husband Mark, below, and a friend, have been literally mobbed at their stand last week at the Chelsea Flower Show. I'm glad my husband met them both, too - we all just got on so well.

I first met Carry & their daughter when I shot her at Spitalfields market last month and we became instant friends: one of those generous spirits who you just feel you've known forever. If you compare the two photos you'll see a great example of true style: she's wearing a different dress, cardigan, even different red shoes, but this is a woman who stays true to her personal style.

As for the hats: they were literally flying off the shelves at the show. It was a feeding frenzy and difficult to get a clear shot of the couple. I can't wait to buy mine, I'm going to wear it with everything this season: floaty nude dresses, everything. (I knew hats would be huge this spring, even before I shot Peony in a fedora last March.)

Pachacuti hats are fair trade, ethical, made in the Andes, classic, stylish, and beautifully made. They're perfect for staying cool in the much anticipated and eagerly awaited heat wave in London: thank you, global warming. We're all set.


head & shoulders

Went twice to the Chelsea Flower Show last week - once on my own and once with Mr. Dot & met friends. The flowers, as expected, were stunningly beautiful, and I've never seen such an assortment of floral prints in one place - but not all of it was a good look, trust me. The biggest hits (and most photographed) were a contest of hats made out of flowers, and Carry Sommers' fabulous fair trade Panama hats (more on that tomorrow). I did like this combination of spikey hair and bright print top - from the shoulders up.


a paris state of mind

This isn't Paris: it's Rotten Row, in Hyde Park, and the model is a charming American girl studying here, who was strolling with her very lovely parents. They used to say only Parisian women knew how to tie a scarf, but this being a global world, clearly the rest of us are getting the hang of it.


me, me, me

Me at our friends' wedding, somewhere in Connecticut. Pearls and alligator pumps, model's own. Tulip style camilla skirt, Mother Nature.


God Bless the Queens

Another day, another hat from the Chelsea Flower Show. I loved each and every one, and wish I'd shot them all. I also wish I'd shot the people photographing them - it was quite bizarre, and almost spiritual, as if we were worshipping at some kind of shrine. A rite to spring, in a sense. Funny how my two favourite events at the Chelsea Flower Show this year revolved around hats. The other being, of course, Carry's panama ones (see 'fair trade').

I'm not the only one fascinated with these real floral hats, apparently. As reported in the Times here, so is the Queen. Why do I find this article so fascinating? They also talk about a garden for the show, made of scents originally created for a previous Elizabeth, the 1st, made of cloves, purple fennel for its seeds, Pinus mugo, a dwarf piine species for its needles, iris and roses for their fragrance and elegant white cedars. God Bless the Queen, and God Bless the RHS.

yummy plummie

The sun's out, we're finally shedding our Victorian mourning black here in London. I love this plum and lemon combo dotted recently in Spitalfields Market.
Speaking of yummy, my fabulous friend Amanda Diamonstein-Cieplinska, blogger extraordinaire of all things nuptial, has me all intrigued about Violet Cakes, incredible cupcakes by Claire Ptak, a Californian via Chez Panisse. It's all in here her blog, Stellina Events. I realise this isn't fashion related, but a girl's gotta eat!

Off to the Chelsea Flower Show, to shoot the flora and the fauna. Saw a lot of bold prints yesterday, as predicted. And, of course a lot of fashion don'ts. It is lovely, however, to see everyone out in their most flowery attire! Floral prints at the CFS are like hats are at Ascot: not always in the best of taste, but guaranteed to be fun.


the great self portrait challenge

Inspired by Thumblina, I'm starting to post some of my own self portraits, which I've been doing forever. Here's a recent one from the Chelsea Flower Show. Send me yours - as a compressed jpg, but not too lo res - about 2 mb - and I'll post my favourites on this blog.

This just in from Jen, who also lives in London and is ex-pat American. She just sent such a nice note, thank you Jen! I love the shot, love the composition:

Anyone else out there care to rise to the challenge? There are no losers, only winners.. actually, technically, there are no winners either, as there isn't a prize. Or rather, I haven't thought of one yet.

model behaviour (when your own initials are enough)

It was a quiet rainy Tuesday and I was taking a self portrait in the Bottega Veneta window on Old Bond Street when I saw through the lens a silhouette that looked stunning. I turned & ran after Hannah Horn, who, as it happens, is a young model starting out. She was so kind to pose, and I said I'd track her down, but I haven't. So Hannah, if you see this, please do get in touch & I'll send you the shots. 'd love to know where you got that great bubble dress. I like the simple touches like the bow and white collar. It's sophisticated schoolgirl chic, especially with the high heeled brogues. It's weird, I've been running into models everywhere lately.



Liliya, from Russia, looking fabulous on Sloane Street. She has a gallery on Russian Art, Artelia. I can't wait to see a show she'll be in soon in Knightsbridge, as she specialises in Ukrainian contemporary art, and my roots go back to that part of the world. (All about me, again).
I was thinking about something Nicky wrote in her blog, lipsoflondon, and how Chanel seems to have lost its way as a brand. And yet, that Chanelesque mentality has pervaded modern women's references and attitudes to fashion in so many ways, a theme I keep returning to. Is Nicky right: has Chanel become so much a part of the ether that the centre has dissolved, like a aging star in a distant galaxy? Hmm. Something to think about.

P.s. Just heard from Liliya - on her way to the Eurostar for Paris - who has confirmed the jacket IS Chanel, bag by Prada. Memo to self: when she's back, find out what was in the Vivier bag, for Amy of Style Spy (aka Curious in Austin Texas)


grey skies are gonna clear up

Bird watching in Wakodahatchee ('that's easy for you to say', as my dad would say) in Boynton Beach, Florida, with my family. Brittany was there with her boyfriend and happy to pose for me, while storm clouds gathered and my brother-in-law, Rich, shot other birds. Top Tip for city girls in London or any other town: a grey day is no excuse to dress drab: bright colours pop against a gloomy sky.
Let a smile be your umbrella!


because she's worth it

We went back to that fabulous show on Muslim art at the Saatchi and ran into Felicia, who's moving soon to the Netherlands to work with L'Oreal. Her jacket is from Tofu, belt from Filippa K, ring from the Southbank Museum, shoes are McQueen, and her dress from some 'slummy shop.' A nice mix with excellent results.

it's not too late (or, a kind wish for imogen)

I don't know about you, but was having a kinda blue moment.. a bit 'is that all there is'... and then I thought of poor Imogen up in some god forsaken place up North, someplace presumably even colder & darker & wetter than London.. and several unrelated people have emailed me today saying they're sorry it's 'too late' to wish Imogen good luck on her exams.
But it's not too late to wish her well! And as tough as my life might feel at the moment, at least I don't have to face sitting in a room with two examiners, a mic and a tape recorder trying to speak about the michelin guide and stem cell research (true story). So to anyone out there: please, leave a nice wish for Imogen. You never know, the person you cheer up might end up being yourself!

p.s. While we're at it: how about a message as well for Nicky, of lipsoflondon, who's also cramming for exams right here in London Town.


model's own

Here in London, still raining. Good news for the May flowers, but means we can't show off our lovely summer frocks on the street a lot of the time. Instead, we're seeing variations of the belted trench with tights theme, which is why I'm breaking with tradition and showing another version of Frida Gustavsson's rainy day outfit. The colours that April day - and the location, near Harrods..even her hair seemed so London, circa 1946.
As before: Her trenchcoat is from Zara, the sunglasses from H&M, tights from Falke, sneakers from GANT, the small black clutch/envelope-bag is from a really nice swedish brand called WHYRED and the vintage backpack, model's own.

harem rants, revisited

It's a funny old world. Mr. Dot & I were having lunch today on Northcote Road with Robert & Luisa of The Style Scout and I started in on my Harem Pants Rant which I've been holding forth on as long ago as early April (earlier, actually, but that's when I started posting on it). Robert said they'd just posted a shot of a great example of the look working. Then when we got home, I got an email from Vicky, aka The Kitten, who wrote a rather brilliantly worded treatise in defence of harem pants. Not so much a defence, as a 'what is your problem' stance. I especially like when she wrote: 'And although I am really not the defender of them, I just wanted to say, that it really is a matter of taste, and that there really can be people who like them. It is not all just a evil scheme made up by the fashion industry to force people to buy their stuff!'
Point well taken. I love being proven wrong - luckily, because as my husband is quick to point out, I usually am - and The Kitten actually backed her argument up with photos. 
In her own words: 'Oh! and I just went to a Thai-Festival today, and I was reminded myself, and therefore wanted to tell you too (when I was there, I was thinking about your rant ^^), that in some cultures they have been always there and are just the standard piece of clothing, and therefore considered beautiful in their most lush versions.'
Kitten, you've sold me. I'm now thinking I Dream of Jeanie, Anna & the King of Siam.. the circle will only be completed once I have purchased my own pair, at which time I'll just have to put up a self portrait and issue a giant, and rather sheepish, apology.

orange you glad

In keeping with yesterday's black/hot pink theme, a different, more casual, variation on a theme: my lovely friend Amanda (fellow blogger) and Noah (their dog) in orange and black, with a hint of white. It's all part of what I've coined the bullfighter colour scheme. More on that later - I'm late for yoga class, my husband's left for it ages ago but he said I couldn't go until I'd posted : )


pretty in pink

Alex, King's Road, London


bus stop cinderella, revisited

I was at the bus stop near the Ritz in Picadilly (so virtuous of me, using public transport: besides, I love those iconic red double decker buses, it's like a Disneyland ride) when I saw this girl get on the number 19 bus before I had a chance to ask to shoot her, or even her name. This is the second time this has happened: you gotta be quick to get a good shot in this town.



On a street where everyone is vying to get discovered for their street style savvy, Kinga, from Hungary, stood out because she clearly wasn't trying. I met her at Pret a Manger near St. Martins College of Art. She's an absolutely delightful girl. I shoot in film & usually just do one or two shots & hope for the best. I took three, and then truly couldn't decide. Perhaps the one I left out was the best. I have no idea what she was wearing. It seemed immaterial to her, too: the essence of good style is just putting on whatever feels right, and then not giving it another thought.


post punk pink

Chloe, ex art student, St. Martins College of Art, Tottenham Court Road.

I was doing errands near St. Martins, which has now become so much of a destination spot for international streetstyle photography, that the students are literally poised, like celebs, at the entrance, waiting to be papp'd. As I've said from the start, what I look for in my subjects is something more subtle than simply weird or attention seeking. If I ask to take your photo, it is only ever a compliment: I like your style.

And I like Chloe's. Every bit of it, down to and including the ballet pink fishnet stockings with the big hole under her black above the knee socks. It's been pretty bleak and blustery here recently, and I didn't realise til I got the shot back that the wind revealed, in this one fleeting moment that the shutter snapped, a polka dot silver lining on a cloudy day.

Oh my! They're not polka dots, they're tiny pink hearts. Even better. Kind of a variation of wearing your heart on your sleeve, I guess.


back to black

I know I've been banging on about black & white lately, but it's just been everywhere in London so far. I'm sure it will stop soon as it gets warmer and people get tanner, and they embrace bright colours and pastels, and (I predict) lots o' white, but it's a shame. When I got back from sunny Florida all tan (still am), I found that wearing mostly black with a tiny bit of white as an accent is stunning. Case in point, Mystery Woman (sorry - we had a fun shoot outside Harvey Nichols - her white sandals caught my eye - but I forgot to ask her name!) If you see this, Mystery Girl, please get in touch & tell me where you got those fabulous shoes!

A nice alternative bag to wear with her ensemble: Dokkim, of Palm Beach and Nantucket. The most gorgeous bags I've ever seen. Made by the most incredible Korean man, named Dok Kim. More on him later - gotta run, got a meeting @ Carluccios.


hat trick

Line and Anya, lovely girls from Norway, at Spitalfields market. Line's the first person I've met who knew my blog! We're doing something style related when she moves here shortly.
I've got a photo shoot today with a young actress at the V&A, where the theme will be hats (she loves them, too) and which is currently showing Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones. Yesterday was all pants; today, it's hats off to hats!


why are these women so angry?!?

Why, indeed, you may ask?

Could it have anything to do with the fact they're forced to wear HAREM PANTS?

As promised, from time to time I'm taking a break from reporting street style fashion, so I may let loose on a fashion rant. Every season the Industry is all psyched to ram a fashion trend down our throats, and every season we vote with our feet by refusing to wear it. I remember a few summers ago, the shops were full with what looked like pregnancy dresses. And the shop stayed full of them, because we weren't buying.
But no trend has been so relentlessly ignored (in my humble opinion) than 'harem pants', or 'peg leg trousers' as they call them in the UK because pants means underwear. Which is kind of what they look like: giant diapers. I needn't go on & on because I already
have. And as before, my offer still stands: submit a photo of just one girl who looks halfway decent in them, and I'll post it on this blog. 

I haven't seen anyone wearing them, apart from one woman who just looked like she was trying (unsuccessfully) to hide her worst asset, UNTIL this woman wafted down the street like an gypsy moth one recent rainy Thursday. I couldn't get my camera out in time, and was lucky to get this one shot. I wish you had seen her from the front: she was beautiful, and thin as a waif, but in a good way. She was one of those creatures that would look good in anything, which begs the question: why not wear something else?
I'm truly curious how other women feel about this. Is it just me? Do they think we're total idiots? Okay, I've calmed down now and think I'm done with this rant. For now. The offer still stands tho: send me a photo of someone who looks good in their harem pants, and I promise to put it up. I have a feeling the angriest women are those who shelled out big bucks only to have the damn things hanging in their closets with the labels still on. 

Update: Stephanie Clayton of Style Odyssey just rose to the challenge: check out her comment below, and then this.