classic with a cuban twist

Anna, outside the V&A, looking gorgeous in beige jacket, black leggings, and fabulous slouchy black leather cuban heel boots, which are usurping the peep toe bootie , or extreme platform heels like That Acme Boot. At least, on the street. Evening is another thing, but the mood on the street is going for warmth, and practicality, and apart from a ton of Uggs, the cuban heel is an elegant solution.

It was getting dark, and I was dashing past to meet a friend. She was chatting with someone and standing exactly like that, so she gracefully held the pose for me before I ran off. So I didn't get a chance to ask Anna anything, or get her details.

Lately, I'm in a black & beige mood, and this clean, classic look sums it up for me. When Jackie Kennedy was First Lady, she found an American designer who could give her her Paris couture look: Oscar de la Renta. She loved a colour that was between beige and grey, which she called 'griege'. I've thought about that colour lately, as I love the subtlety of beige and grey together, warm and cool tones. In the deepening twilight, I thought about Jackie, and decided she would approve of Anna's simple yet elegant style: classic with a cuban twist.


phoebe, phoebe

When I was meeting my friend Stella for lunch in Camden, I passed Phoebe on the high street, drinking a coffee in a cup that exactly matched her hair and scarf. I was already 5 minutes late but asked to shoot her in that exact position (Stella's bf is a photographer and she knows what it's like: you just can't let a good shot slip thru your fingers).

Apparently she was having 'too much fun', as my friend Daniel would say, the night before, & was basically just waking up. And also, while I was shooting her, some tourist was photographing her with his phone, so she was giving him attitude as well. In her own words:

'The boots were fought for tooth and nail in a Faith sale a couple of months ago, and the bag was from Topshop :) (along with the jacket, although i'm fairly sure for £40 it's not real leather!) Yeah I live in Camden, currently working in a pub in covent garden and getting as much work experience in the music industry as possible!'


musing on snoods, scarfs, muffs, and coincidence

Minutes before meeting Tamzin (below) and minutes after leaving Topshop for the Dress Me Up event (below that), I saw this girl walking down Conduit Street. She told me her name, it was beautiful & unusual, and now it escapes me. I almost thought she was a stylish boy at first, and it's funny because in today's Telegraph magazine, under my favourite section called 'wild life', the theme was on tomboys.

The area around New Bond Street that day - as is often the case - was a sea of crisp black. And yet, within minutes, I saw two very different girls in cool grey with blue. As different as their looks are, each works so beautifully against those cool neutral colours. Tamzin's warm, red hair, and this girl's cool, slightly blue toned mahogany skin are both perfect foils for these tones.

I hope she'll get in touch, but she was quite shy actually, and I'm just grateful she posed. There's something about this shape jacket that can make one look a bit pregnant, which I'm assuming she's not: it's just the way the pockets work. It's kind of an internal old fashioned 'muff' effect.

I wonder: do you think muffs will ever come back? Not ear muffs: they're already seen on London streets. I mean those round tube things you put your hands in. Or what one would, in a Jane Austin novel. I'm just thinking out loud here... I mean, according to Burberry, snood sales have gone thru the roof! Such a funny word... snood. Not to mention, 'muff'. Scarf sounds pretty funny too if you say it a few times, but let's face we've all got tons of scarfs so the word doesn't sound weird. Yet how many of you actually own a snood? Or, for that matter, a muff? My sister & I, as young girls, had matching muffs, in white rabbit's fur with little dolls' heads sticking up. Or were they bunnies... must ask her. Okay, I'll stop now!

. . .

p.s. Thank you to Lydia of roses, tea cups & lemonade for sourcing this jacket: it's Zara, and she's got one, too.

dress me up in versace

The more I post on street style shots - and let's face it, that IS what this blog is mainly about - the more I'm pushing the Topshop Dress Me Up event down the queue. So please click here (or scroll down) to see the original post, and spread the word. And of course: if you click here you can read all about it on Topshop's site, and see each dress & who donated it.

Top, yellow Versace dress, donated by America Ferrara, and below, some more decorations from the Dress Me Up thing, which really is just a small little world of its own, within the giant store, set up like a fantasy dressing room from the theatre. A little bit of warm yellowy sunshine, between two posts of grey. There will be more posts on this event over the next few days (you can try on, and book, til 6th December, on the lower ground floor of the Topshop Oxford Circus branch). I did promise you the shots of me squeezing myself into Jourdan Dunn's gorgeous asymmetrical Herve Leger number, and I'm nothing if not a woman of my word.

more grey gorgeousness

Okay, tomorrow is today, and today has become yesterday: now I can add the other two shots, as promised.

As I was shooting, I asked Tamzin if she was a model. No, she smiled in reply (she's not supermodel tall: I'm assuming that's the only reason, as she is sooo photogenic!). I took a quick glance at her outfit and read the bag's logo: Miu Miu, and I asked, what about anything else... the hat?

Topshop, she replied. (I swear to you, I am not a secret Topshop employee!)

Then she was off to work... at Abercrombie & Fitch. Of course. Ever since it's opened, it's the primary source of employment for models of both sexes, between assignment.

I love the way she's thrown this outfit together: the silver cool grey tones are so gorgeous with her eyes, and just that little bit of brown in her shoes help echo the warm reddish tones of her hair. This is someone with not just an innate sense of style, but of how it works for her.

A note about beauty, if I may: there's been a lot of controversy recently about an online interview Kate Moss did ('The Waif That Roared') - has that made it outside the UK? Besides That Quote, she said some good stuff & it's good reading. I don't know what I'd say if caught off guard with a question like 'what's your motto': I mean, who has a handy motto they can pull out of thin air? She probably just said the first thought that popped into her head, and I'm pretty darn sure she didn't find it reading anorexia websites. So I'd like to leave you with this quote from the piece, in Kate's own words:

WWD: How do you define beauty?
Kate Moss: It sounds really corny, but I think that if you’re beautiful inside, it shows on the outside for sure. You can be a pretty face, but if you’re not a nice person, it just doesn’t work. I’m not traditionally a beauty, but apparently people think I’m all right. If you’re a nice person, it definitely helps.

Case in point: Tamzin with a zed, in grey.


Seconds after snapping Tamzin, my eye was caught by some spectacular shoe displays on Old Bond Street, which I started shooting. Looking up, I realised it was Georgina Goodman, where by coincidence (or, serendipity) my lovely friend Charlotte will be working soon. I love her shoes: pure works of sculptural art, & her signature soles are even better than the red Louboutins (I'm not really a red girl): they're black & white striped!

I'm only posting this one shot: don't want to show too much of a good thing. But trust me: there's more where this came from.


grey gorgeousness

This is Tamzin, ('that's Tamzin, with a zed', she said) looking gorgeous in silvery blue grey, to match her eyes. I was sprinting past her on Bond street after yesterday morning's sneak preview at Topshop (see previous post) and asked if I could shoot her. She was just so so nice. I've got a bit of a conundrum: I took five shots, each one more beautiful then the next, and I can't decide! I've narrowed it down to three as two shots were really duplicates. But the problem is, if I post three large shots, it will knock down the Topshop post, which I really do want to spread the word about, as it's such a lovely cause.

So instead, I'll do this as a sneak preview, and post the other shots another time. Tomorrow, perhaps. After all, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, tomorrow is another day.

you can dress me up, but can you take me out

Actually... yes!

Topshop are doing something that I think is just so inspiring an idea, that I contacted them and asked if I could come shoot it. And, bless their cotton socks, they let me. Yesterday morning, in advance of the public, how cool is that.

The campaign is called DRESS ME UP, and it's for charity. Two, in fact: Help the Aged, and Age Concern. And considering some of my best friends are in their 70s, 80s, even 90s, and considering I'm not getting any younger myself, this is a cause close to my heart.

The idea is: some of the most stylish celebrities & style icons on the planet - Kate Moss, obviously, but also Olivia Palermo, Dita Von Teese, Scarlett Johanson, Peaches Geldorf, Nicola Roberts (with a bespoke dress from the Girls' Aloud tour, shown above & below), are all donating their gorgeous party dresses for the charities Help the Aged, and Age Concern. And, for just £40, you can wear THEIR dresses to your party, from 7th til 23rd December.

On the lower ground floor of Topshop's flagship Oxford Circus store, they've set up the most brilliant fantasy 'backstage dressing room' - just ONE girl can try on at a time - and then bookers will book you in for 48 hours. (In between, the dress will be dry cleaned, and the next girl gets to wear it). Isn't it the most lovely idea? I'm getting teary just typing this! Then, in January, the dresses will be auctioned off, so you'll get a chance to keep it.

Anyway, the longer I take to put this post together, the less your chance is of getting the dress you want for the dates you want, as I gather I'm not the only source reporting this, and word is already out. So I'll just get these shots up & try not to be precious about my favourite dress or shot - as I can always post more!

This is Zoe, Topshop's own vivacious blogger, trying on Alison Goldfrapp's custom made dress for a tour.

And these are Zoe's cool shoes ; )

This was such a fun experience for me, and the lovely young woman I met (Denise, seen in the mirror, below) is so nice, that I"m planning to come back Monday and see her again and shoot some of the public trying things on, so maybe I'll find you & shoot you.

But in the meantime, please don't wait on my account, as I'd hate to see you miss out on the dress you want on the night you want. I mean: can you imagine chatting up that guy in Sales you've always wanted to, in the same dress that, say, Kate wore the night she met Jamie? I do believe that clothes have an energy - we all have our 'lucky' pulling dress (& I"d love to hear what YOURS is).

Better get this up before it's too late. And soon as I do, I'm calling Barbara, who's 96, and then Dennis, and Major Bobby.. and Doreen, who I shall post about very soon. And in the next installment, I promise to shot dressing room shots of me trying to squeeze myself into a size minus 2 Herve Leger number that belongs to a certain supermodel! Not a pretty sight, I assure you.

DRESS ME UP is only at the Topshop flagship Oxford Circus location, on the LOWER GROUND FLOOR. It started yesterday at 1:00 and will run til 6th December. Check with the store for opening hours. It's hard to describe how adorable this little 'dressing room' is, but I'll be posting more shots to give you an idea.

For further info, go to Dress Me Up: Topshop.



I've got to take the pumpkin pie out of the oven in a minute - have already cleaned up from dinner: the best stuffing ever, excellent (if I do say so myself) roasted garlic gravy, perfectly cooked Devon free range happy clappy corn fed overpriced organic roasted garlic chicken, creamed spinach with nutmeg, homemade cranberry sauce with orange and clove... roast potatoes & carrots, braised leeks.. all this just for me, Mr. Dot, and our reincarnated cat. You can't believe the size of the batch of stuffing but let's face it: you can't make just a cupful. And it's so yummy leftover, cold, straight from the fridge!

But at the risk of burning the pie, I just had to say thank you to every one of you who has visited my blog in the past 6 or so months since I've started, and become followers, left comments, spread the word.. I know Thanksgiving is an American holiday but I've just discovered (via a wonderful chat over coffee @ Paul with two strangers, a Canadian couple who had just arrived from Heathrow) that the origins of Thanksgiving actually come from the British concept of basically celebrating getting thru anything successfully.

(Her name is Sidney, named after her grandfather, which was MY grandfather's name, and I always wanted that name for a daughter if I had one. And his name is Kelly!)

They celebrate it in Canada in October, and it comes from a British group arriving there in one piece. So I assume that basically, at Plymouth Rock, it was a one-off 'thank God we didn't get bashed on the rocks or die of scurvy on the ride over', and then the Indians came up with the turkey concept, and the idea stuck.

It's such a lovely concept: to have a day that is nothing about gifts, or bling in any way: just having that attitude of gratitude. And I am so grateful for so very much: a wonderful family who are each celebrating separately this year, with friends, with their own family, but in the knowledge that we love each other very much. Grateful to Mr. Dot, of course, and to happy memories of childhood, and my many wonderful friends, some since childhood, some just found in the past year. And grateful to our reincarnated cat, Pooh Jr!

What does this have to do with this post? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, apart from the reincarnated cat, with his chocolate brown fur to match my coat. I shot these all within minutes, as I ran from Green Park tube station to Topshop at Oxford Circle, and first thing tomorrow, I will show you why. I just had to do this really fast, because I'm just feeling so chock full o' gratitude to you all. No matter your nationality, I hope that wherever you are on the planet right now, you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.

local colour: girl in the cafe

In Camden: a girl in a cafe with a pink knitted cap, and a self portrait in my chocolate brown faux fur jacket from a great charity shop on Portobello Road. Now running out the door to Topshop for a great event to help the aged (some of my best friends are aged, and I'm fast heading in that direction!). It runs from today til the 6th December, in the flagship Oxford Circus Topshop store: it's called DRESS ME UP & when I get back, I'll explain all about it, girls!


we are all sinners, we are all saints

I've got a real dilemma here: a chance trip to meet a friend for lunch in Camden produced such a cache of shots - and THEN, I went back with my husband, Mr. Dot the next day and got even MORE - that if I just posted one a day, I'd still be working thru the pile come next Christmas. And I got such a yummy take away pad thai with lemongrass chicken in Camden Lock, that I am seriously thinking of going back Friday for more!

The thing I found interesting was, the light felt different in that part of town, and the colour palette on the people was more... colourful, certainly, than I'm seeing in the South Kensington/Knightsbridge/Chelsea area (which, in the shadow of the Victoria & Albert Museum, feels, like the railings, in permanent mourning for Albert). But it's not just bright colour: there is a lot more subtle browns, and greens.. that's it! It feels more organic there. Less crisp black and white, more subtle shades of nature, with flashes of flowery pinks, reds, purples, oranges, yellow: just like in a garden.

Case in point: Becca, who, as I later discovered when I wandered into All Saints, works there. I found her on the street during I guess a lunch break, didn't ask what she did or where she got anything (in hindsight: it does look all Saints, don't you think?). Took a few quick snaps - put her in the doorway of a tattoo parlour to get her out of the crowd passing between us - and she's just so damn photogenic, I couldn't decide. Finally narrowed it down to these two very similar shots, so you're getting both today. It's a duo kind of day. The images feel strangely religious: something about the gesture of her hand, it feels quite Christ-like. Or, Buddha.

I absolutely love All Saints: they've got two very similar large branches, in Camden and also Spitalfields: both on corners, both a real treasure trove of fashion. Before I ever went in, I had assumed it was too punk for me, too scruffy, but it's amazing: have you ever gone? Brilliantly constructed stuff, very well made, original, and something for every style type. I fell in love with some wonderful fitted Alaia-type cocktail dresses, for example. In Knightsbridge black, I might add!

Thank you all for your great comments recently. The new people who have sent links to their blogs, I'm trying to look thru them all & get back to you: wonderful stuff out there! And please do keep giving me feedback on trends... more about that shortly.

Okay, enough chit chat. The sun is out and soon as I post this, so am I. Have a lovely day, all you beautiful people!


another star

Amy, in Camden Lock.

I'm not kidding, I'm seeing leopard prints everywhere: it's like a cult. The variations are so... varied, and truly inspiring, creatively. I love the pattern more than once, as Amy's done here. And love the silver stars with grey and her gorgeous hair & eyes & pale English skin.

Is this just a London thing? Is leopard that big where you are? I'm just wondering where this will go... will there be a day when we'll all wake up and, like what happened to poor quiche in the 70s, we just can't wear it because it's ruined?

What would it take to ruin leopard for you: who would have to wear it?

doing the flip flop

Thank you on Ash's behalf for your comments yesterday (I know 13 might not seem like a lot of comments to some of you - it's hardly 200 - but STILL, I'm chuffed to bits when anyone out there takes the time to write!). There were quite a few remarks about his footwear - the pros but mostly cons of flip flops (but then they excused him since he had only popped out of bed for a cigarette). No one minded that he smokes, but the deal breaker for a few of you was the flip flops.

Which got me thinking: is it true, does a guy's choice in shoes really make or break it for you? I remember, back in my NYC days, my friend Charles (her real name was Cynthia) started working with our mutual work friend, Rob. Rob was soooo cute, looked like a young Mick Jagger, had a great apartment which he OWNED (rare, in our 20s, when most of us rented), & had left the company to be a young exec for MTV, with his own office. So what was the problem? Each of them separately went to dinner and told their side. It seems they'd been shopping, he needed jeans, tried on the boot leg cut.. the way he put it, he didn't get what the problem was, and he didn't CARE. He was happy to buy the skinny cut, if it meant that much to her.

As Charles put it: that wasn't the point. She simply couldn't see a future with a guy who didn't get WHY boot legs are so horrendous. I could see both their points, and tried to tell her he'd learned his lesson, and had no intention of making that mistake ever again. But she moved out anyway.

Last I knew, Charles had moved to Seattle and was living with a fisherman.

So girls (or boys, as the case might be): what is YOUR deal breaker? Would YOU sleep with a man who wore flip flops?


star quality: ash

Last Friday, I was in Camden meeting my journalist friend Stella for lunch and I was so impressed with the local colour - felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, after being in the black & white Kansas of the Knightsbridge/Chelsea area for so long - that I stayed and snapped away.

I don't know if other street style bloggers do this, but whoever I shoot, I give my card, and ask them to email me so I can send them the shots. You'd be amazed at how few respond. I just keep printing more cards. Yet what amazes me is this: it's the most photogenic ones who tend to contact me.

Case in point: Ash. He sent me an email right away, and I asked him if there was anything interesting about his clothes he could tell me, or where's he from.. whatever. Here's his reply, exactly as he typed it (granted, my txt msgs r far worse!). Heed the name Ashley Toweel, boys & girls, because this guy is going to be a star.

Hey Jill
Um the jacket is my dads from the late 80's when he was a proffessional boxer. Ittle bit interesting. The rest is random bits and pieces. I live upstairs so had just gotten out of bed for a coggie..and went straight back there.haha.I'm a singer/actor from australia. Just came over for a few months until I come back next year to stay for a year or so but had a few possible work opportunities with my singing coming up here so just waiting to see if anything happens before i head back.My local in Australia is actually Camden to and have fallen in love with Camden/London. Despite the cold. All good bout the pics whenever your ready.
Hope that's alright

. . . . .

It certainly is, Ash. And as a tribute to your dad, one of my favourite all time songs, ever. The picture seems stuck, just like the lump in my throat when I play it.

Tho isn't it strange: after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same. After changes we are more or less the same.


what's black and white and red all over

Just when I was thinking that my world had turned into a black and white film, because all I've seen anywhere is black, black, black (the most risque look being a bit of brown or beige, or, heaven forbid, a leopard print scarf), I passed this girl, on the phone, on Picadilly. I didn't want to bother her, just took one quick shot. You might have realised by now I'm not personally partial to red, but this flash of tomato on her skirt, under that luxurious looking handkerchief hem black coat.. it just looked so refreshing in a sea of black and beige.

That said.. I recently met Natasha on the street (she lives nearby) with her sweet daughter who I'd have loved to shoot, but I've got a 'no kids' policy. Altho she was in black and white, the wild zig zag pattern caught my eye. She said 'it's only Zara' but of course, we LOVE Zara, and she started chatting about all the things I've been posting about recently, about why is it okay to wear leather but not fur, and how she's half Danish and they're wearing more fur there.. and then she invited me to a private 'bling' event at her home Tuesday night, to showcase her jewelry designs. It's a funny old life.



The sun came out the other day, and so did I, after what felt like a long flu-induced hibernation. It felt like everyone was smiling. Met Severine and her friend Eleonore, both French girls, outside Paul. I asked where she got her striped Breton top and she said it's her sister's, it's a 'kind of political party, kind of an army'. I am so curious! It just felt like it had a special je ne sais quois.

Minutes earlier, I snapped this shot of two different men, wearing different hats, and yet looking like they could be brothers. And I'm putting it in this post because he's wearing stripes, too, and the stripey effect of the railings in the sunshine. Now off on a variety of Saturday adventures with an impatient Mr. Dot, and the camera! Have a lovely Saturday, boys & girls.


wedding party

Yesterday after yoga, I was bolting up thru Kensington, rounding the corner at Launceston Place (where I always like checking out the menu: it's changed hands over the years, we had loved it, then not so much, now it's been revamped, and recently, a chef there - not even the head chef! - Steve Groves - won my favourite cooking contest, Professional Master Chef. He was so nice - they all were. Altho I was rather sad that Marianne didn't win, as my friend Georgie has been taking a cooking course with her and said she's really, really nice.

If anyone recognises this happy bride, please let me know as I'd love to send them the shot.

Here's to living happily ever after.