we are all connected: six degrees of kevin bacon

This is a collaborative post. Let me try to explain.

While we were in Florida, I finally got to meet my 'blog-friends': '-h', of Pret a Porter P, and Stephanie, of Style Odyssey (more about that later). We'd all never met before, and were such instant friends. I didn't want it to end. Then, we went to a fabulous event that Stephanie, who is a brilliant artist, told us about: ('hollywood glamour').

After a day at the beach, I had changed in the car into a little black sequin number from Topshop, and the moment I saw Stephanie, I just fell in love with her outfit. She was describing how she made it: 'you buy three Hanes wife-beater tees...' and said that she got the idea from another blogger, 'childhood flames' (do it yourself tees). I've bought my three-Hanes packet at Target, and am about to make my own. The core of the concept is you shred one tee and layer it over another.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this look: soon as I post this, while watching Antiques Roadshow, I plan to take scissor in hand, take a deep breath, and start shredding. This is all I want to wear for spring & summer: clouds of ethereal white, and palest pastels. I'm starting now: just extra layers.

Stephanie's accessorised her outfit with a necklace from.. well, here's her post on it.

I love Stephanie's style: she's such a pixie.. you know Kevin Bacon's wife, Kyra Sedgwick? The Closer? She's a bit like that with her warmth and humour and generous heart and honey coated, slightly southern drawl. I feel like we've always been friends, and always will.

And these are shot by Stephanie: her delightful friend, Jenny (their friendship formed through their husbands, sailors & boat guys), with me & Mr. Dot. Story of my life: he's in focus, and I'm a blur.

And this is my hand, shot by Stephanie on our blogger lunch in Boca. Our aesthetic is so similar, although our styles are individually our own. And wait til you see '-h's. It's uncanny: it's like we're all drawn together by something that's hard to describe. A zest for life, certainly, but more than that: we all see beauty in something similarly quirky, and indescribable. Or maybe we're just six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

Stephanie's DIY 'Hanes' dress: one small or medium white Hanes wife-beater tee, shredded as per childhood flames' do it yourself tees instructions. Layered over one XL Hanes wife-beater tee, a white long sleeve tissue tee by James Perse, and leggings by American Apparel. Boots by Fiorentini + Baker, from Barney's website.


almost famous

No, we haven't flown back to Miami. It's just that I"m still there in my head. Today was a first for me: even tho the sun was out, and I was out & about, with my Canon, still I didn't take one shot. There were some good looks.. just wasn't happening for me. All that winter, all those neutrals.

Sometimes I think one can haunt a place when one is still alive. I bet if you went to South Beach, Miami, right now, you'd see a ghost that looked just like me.

Saw this girl at an outdoor table at a Paul on Lincoln Road (yes, they have Paul there! Who knew!). She was with two guys and a huge black camera with a lens about three feet long. I hesitated approaching her - Mr. Dot said don't be shy - and finally I asked 'Excuse me, you're not famous, are you?' One of the guys said 'Not yet, but she will be.'

I didn't like the background at the table so dragged her into this kind of faux tropical island in the mall. We were on our way to the beach so I gave her my card. She asked if I could do a swimsuit 'shoot' on the beach, I said sure. We did see her later, with the guys shooting her, but I was swimming & she was busy posing. When she's famous, I can say I knew her when she was just an ordinary girl. Just like us.

All I remember about her is her kaftan hails from Charleston, North Carolina.

I am so loving bright tropical colours. Sun kissed oranges, the turquoise of swimming pools and the sea. Even tho I'm wearing grey and pale pink today, I've got a hot pink vest hidden under my knit mini dress. California dreaming, on such a winter's day.


the puffa, & the long haul

Having not left home since we returned to the UK, I can't report on any new trends in London for the past two weeks. I can say, however, that before I left - and I assume that things haven't changed that much - the emphasis was on staying warm. And that means fur, faux fur, or the infamous Puffa Jackets.

My inspiration for this blog - Bill Cunningham, who I've been following in print in the NY Times Style section since I was a kid - happened to do his column on it the first Sunday I was in Florida: this is the video, a very charming little film. It was a delight to sit on the sun deck, watching the exotic birds on the water, in a swimsuit, and read this article with my morning coffee.

I loved this couple, who we met at the Tate Modern just before we left. They were visiting from Japan. A rare sighting of non print style, in the Land of the Leopard Print.

Or, not, as it turns out. She found this vintage hat somewhere in London: their English was limited, so they couldn't tell me where. But they were really nice & fun to shoot.

I love Virgin: they have the best entertainment system. I stay up all night watching films, so naturally I'm a bit tired when we land. Still, I couldn't help but notice what the girls were wearing, as we queued for customs. Mostly: knits. On an overnight flight, you want to dress in the closet thing to cozy PJ's. Lots o' knitted mini dresses, and/or knitted ponchos or pasminas which double as blankets. I saw one look - a purple sweater dress with black tights & brown leather boots - that I liked. Just as I was about to whip out my camera, I remembered we were queuing for customs, after all, and if no phones are allowed, I can only imagine what they'd do if I took out my Canon.

So instead, I'm trotting out an oldie but goodie: Joanna, a London stylist I met last July flying over to NYC, where she was going to be working. Her look still uncannily is spot on trend. To see the original post: jet set (sea of hats).

What do you wear for the long haul?


luke & holly @ the luxe

This is Luke and Holly, managers at my new favourite restaurant, The Luxe at Spitalfields.

It's such an amazing space: started by John Torode, my idol (he's half the duo of the BBC series MasterChef). The ground floor is a huge open brilliant cafe/bar, the basement is a nightclub with various shows, comedy & music & stuff, then you go upstairs to the most gorgeous restaurant, with silk hand embroidered Chinois wallpaper from China.. well don't just take my word for it: go see for yourself.

On the top floor is a space for a kind of members only club, where they have private parties. The staff are the type who work really hard but make it look effortless. Holly was very kind to take a quick minute to pose for my blog: she's nice, pretty, cool, and I love her style and energy.

Flew in from Miami Beach not BOAC.. man we had a lovely flight. Not as eventful as our ride over ('virgin barbie'): didn't win any champagne, and I let them do the washing up this time. And it was really hard to leave Florida, leave my mom & all the friends there, and family, and those rich colours, the blues and turquoises and the water.. but there's something about returning to England. Mr. Dot once said his friend described it like sinking into a warm bath.

And considering how effing freezing it is here, that's exactly what I did. With bubbles, and baby oil. And since I ran out of bath salts, I borrowed some sea salt from the kitchen (tip: it does the trick!).

That's why I'm posting it today: going to the Luxe one of the things I'm looking forward to, now that I'm back in the UK. I've got the Lag, and got it bad, and now I can't get that song out of my head. It's worth clicking here cause whoever posted this, it's some great vintage Beatles footage.

Okay, I've posted. Too pooped to unpack, just going to play with the cat and go take a nap.


an american tune

Behind the shopping area called Lincoln Road, in Miami's South Beach, Miami, lies a little back street with a small, much coveted parking lot. We were trying to figure out how the parking meter thingy worked, when Keka was walking through, and kindly offered to help.

I asked to shoot her for my blog, and she was so sweet about posing. I didn't ask where she got her outfit, or where she's from. I've read that yellow is going to be huge on the catwalk this spring (I noticed it on the street a lot, last spring, so I'm not surprised) but I doubt that's why she was wearing it. It was a sunny day, and she's a sunny soul.

Later, after a glorious day in the sea near the Delano hotel, I saw this man in the same spot. He was doing his job, cleaning, with such precision and care. I spoke to him, a smile and a greeting, and he smiled back, but perhaps he didn't understand me. Perhaps he's from Cuba, or perhaps, he's from Haiti. Maybe he has family and loved ones back in Haiti, and he can't call, or email, or fly over to see if they're alright. He's got mouths to feed, and a job to do.

As we pack to fly back to London after a gorgeous holiday here, I can't help but think of the fact that we landed at Miami airport, just miles from Haiti, 15 minutes after the earthquake struck. My mom's community has gathered all kinds of things to ship over, because a lot of the workers here are from Haiti, and have family there. Everywhere I've gone, every shop and public place, there are collection baskets with the word HAITI on it.

The simplicity, and the passion, of the people I've seen, reaching out to help, has really moved me. I have never been more proud to be an American. And now I return to my other home, England.

This is perhaps my favourite song, ever. And this version was filmed on my favourite British talk show host, the beloved 'Parky':

We come on a ship they call the Mayflower. We come on a ship that sailed the moon. We come in the age's most uncertain hour, to sing an American Tune. But it's all right, it's all right, we can be forever blessed. Still, tomorrow's gonna be another working day, and I'm trying to get some rest. That's all, I'm trying to get some rest.


above us only sky

As you might have noticed on some of my South Beach posts, nearly all the girls are wearing faded blue jean shorts and white lacey linen tops. It's clear to see why this is the uniform: one is always just steps away from the beach, and while the weather changes, it's all about sand, sea, and sky. The light makes you just want to wear white, and your softest, most faded, blue jeans.

So, as with my Leopard in London series, I'm finding that I'm enjoying shooting variations on a theme.

This couple, who I didn't have time to stop and introduce myself to, had a kind of celebrity vibe to them. (Watch: it turns out they are, and once again, I'm clueless).* It made me think how easy it is to read thing into a photo taken out of context: in reality, they looked really happy & compatible. I caught a shot of them a few feet apart. If they were, say, Brad and Angelina, could we come to the conclusion they were Splitsville?

Speaking of: do you think the rumours are true? Are you an Angelina girl, or a Jen? Do you care? I haven't met either of them (nor, Brad), but I do hope that Brad & Jen get back together. I love a good fairy tale, and am such a softy for a Happily Ever After Ending.

I'm playing Imagine as I'm posting this. We leave Florida tomorrow and I don't want to leave: it's been so lovely.

It's cold today here in Palm Beach County, but it's our last full day of holiday, the skies are blue blue blue (after stormy weather yesterday) and no matter what, I'm gonna swim. We've had a perfect holiday, and I always feel so close to my father here, and happy childhood memories of visiting friends and family, and a connection with something so simple, and universal.

So here's my little thank you gift today, dear blog-friends, for your visits, comments, and support: click here. Have a happy day.

*Unbelievable! Sure enough: they are. Or at least, she is. Possibly. I've got this fabulous Anonymous Source (see comments) - someone always Anonymously tells me things. I don't think it's a real person: I think it's some kind of fairy godmother/angel/Goddess that watches over me, guiding me on. In this case, She informs me that the blonde in the photo is Lauren McAvoy, winner of Britian's Next Top Model.

You live & learn.


serendipity: ashley

Posting this from stormy Florida, so we've nixed our planned trip to Miami today. AND one of my best childhood friends just flew down from NY: her mom had emergency surgery (she's miraculously doing well). They're minutes away. She & I are like that all the time: the weirdest coincidences, like running into each other in the Hamptons by chance. And we've discovered that yesterday - without knowing either one was in the state of Florida - we went to our beloved re-located childhood bakery Flakowitz, at the same time. Literally missed each other by a minute. And were served by the same guy!

What does this have to do with Ashley, who I met on Lincoln Road in South Beach, Miami? Nothing. Apart from a bit of serendipity (or coincidence). I love her look, and while I was shooting her, right on cue, a little dog got into the shoot. And as I snapped, I asked where she got that great bustier & skirt & she said 'American Apparel: I work there' - and indicated a branch across the street. Which is ironic, considering I'm running their ad (more on this in yesterday's posts comments, if you're interested).

I love her style: her use of colour is so subtle. Can you see the red in her bustier, and the purple-ish tones in her lace up 'brogues' (in British, or 'Oxfords', in American speak)? And the subtle sophistication of pattern mix-up: you'll be seeing a lot more of this trend, I predict. If we get down to South Beach tomorrow, I hope to catch her again, see what else she's got up her sleeve. But of course, only if it's meant to be.

And I love coincidence (or, serendipity): to me it's proof of something bigger at work than just me. It's like that old line: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

Have you had any incidents of serendipity in your life recently?

. . . . update:

I didn't realise at the time, but just heard from Ashley again, who just mentioned she took photos on a recent trip to India. She's a fabulous photographer, take a look here. Why am I not surprised: a good eye for style is usually connected to creativity in other areas. And she's so so nice!


leaping leopards

Saw this girl coming out the door somewhere in Southbank, not far from the Tate Modern. She was 'posed' just like this and I asked her to basically freeze while I shot her. Didn't even give her a card - she told me her name and I forgot it (Holly, perhaps?) and I have no idea why she had a briefcase on a cold, quiet Sunday, or where she was going.

I'm sure she meant to wrap the scarf round, and you'd think I'd be bored to tears with leopard print by this point, but with everyone wearing it, I've become interested in how many variations on a theme I can see, and how they work it. I wonder, when we come back from Florida: will all the leopard prints be extinct?

What are you wearing today? Have you put away your leopard prints yet?


in motion: tate modern

Meanwhile, back in London..

hollywood glamour

After a lovely day yesterday in South Beach, Miami, swimming in the sea and hanging around Lincoln Road, Mr. Dot & I drove up Collins Avenue & A1A to Hollywood Boulevard.

Yes, there is a Hollywood, Florida, and it's got a Hollywood Boulevard. We were meeting my lovely blog friend Stephanie, of Style Odyssey, and her friend Jenny, to see an art event at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. Great art, great people, including the brilliant artist Carol Adrianza, shown here with her painting of another style icon, Marilyn.

I love her ring, 'jajaj'. She was such a calm and focused subject, holding these poses so still, surrounded by the festivities of a wonderful event.

man walks dog past yellow fire hydrant on collins avenue

They're saying that yellow will be The Colour this spring. Which is funny cause I saw it on the streets in London a lot last spring.

Another shot off the cuff, Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami.


palm beach via madrid: manzoni

Postcard from Palm Beach: Stephanie, with honey coloured hair and a warm, southern, honey coated accent to match, who was hanging out on Worth Avenue, outside Manzoni, where she works. She's one of those women you're just instantly friends with: as I was shooting the window, she burst out with 'I LOVE your bag!' (my American Apparel gold one). In that warm, Southern belle manner.

Manzoni just opened their first US branch, as they're based in Madrid. Gorgeous stuff: bright colours, echoes of flamenco dancers and bullfighters. And Stephanie, in lavender and amethyst, her eyes more sparkly and jewel-like then her necklace.

Classic Palm Beach style. With a twist.

snap shot: south beach

Passed this guy on 16th street in South Beach & took this one shot. It's not haute couture, & we've seen this look before, but.. I just like it.


lost in translation (wabi sabi)

Saw this couple at La Provence on Collins Avenue in South Beach, the same yummy cafe we met Leigh of the Gazelle Legs. I'm not posting these shots because their looks are unique, but because they're just such a cute couple with what I felt was quintessential early 21st Century casual style: shabby chic. And so all American.

I didn't want to bother them while we were all eating, but we were finished first (or rather, Mr. Dot was: he's pretty type A, and I'm a slow eater). He was waiting outside, and meanwhile I met & shot Leigh, and still, these two were lounging around, looking beautiful and blase.

Finally I approached them with my card & said blah blah blah, don't want to disturb you, only if you're leaving, and she shrugged: 'yes, sure.' So I waited outside. And waited. And waited some more. Mr. Dot came back & said what's up and I said, I dunno, still waiting. Finally they came out & by this time, I'm starting to feel like a stalking papparrazzi, and when they finally emerged, the guy asked what it was for. I was confused, it was like there was a lag in a long distance phone call. 'Street style. The Sartorialist?' (blank stares, no response). 'Do you know about blogs?' Vaguely. Where were these people from???

Russia, it turns out. Or at least, Julia is. Nick is Italian. And they were absolutely delightful, and we had a lovely little shoot & off they strolled, arm in arm, two beautiful people, happy and in love.

There is a Japanese phrase called 'wabi sabi', which we use a lot, to mean something that is beautiful because it is old, and faded, and has had a life and a history. Beauty that is 'imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete'. That's the appeal to me about these wonderful deco hotels and buildings in South Beach, and, I sense, that's the appeal of a lovely old pair of faded jeans. They've seen so much, they've lived so long. And will continue to live, change, evolve. Just like our favourite faded jeans.

Off back to South Beach again, soon as I post this. Wishing you a perfect day, wherever you are, whatever you do.


neo bankside: winter white

We're still in sunny Florida - and it's getting warmer each day that passes - and in fact I'm about to meet two wonderful 'blog friends' for the first time, '-h' of Pret a Porter P, and Stephanie, visiting from the British Virgin Islands, of Style Odyssey.

Altho I've still got Palm Beach & South Beach Miami shots to show you, I feel I'm neglecting street style in London, which, after all, is the name of my blog. So here's some shots from the Tate Modern just before we left. I've noticed more winter white in the weeks of the New Year - the same thing last year. It's such a fresh non-colour and a great winter pick me up.

Met this really sweet girl, Kewn, who I thought was Japanese, but from her signature in my notebook, looks to be from Korea. I love how her leggings are black in the front and blue on the sides.

By the way I don't know how long the style crusader has been doing her blog, but it's lovely. I'm going to do a 'hats off to' on my sidebar soon, so we can show her our support. While I'm away, she's doing some good reporting on London trends. Maybe I'll stay on in Florida a while longer then.

Off to meet my blog friends in Boca, I'll see if Boca style is any different from Palm Beach or South Beach (which are vastly different from each other).


together we make things happen

Spotted & dotted on Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami, Florida.

My husband, Mr. Dot, is home & trying his hand at unscrewing the thermostat. We're waiting for British Gas to come repair our boiler & hot water heater, which have suddenly broken, and I'm typing this with a scarf wrapped fashionably round my neck (soft white knitted wool, a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, who perhaps or perhaps not knew that I"m so into winter white right now). Mr. Dot is not naturally mechanically adept, so my heart goes out to him. We're pretty sure it's just a battery thing, so the race is on: will he fix it before we have to pay British Gas £210? Will they even show? I'm putting this out there into the ether, because I believe that, together we can make this thing happen.

The cat, who is napping at my feet, and I, have utter faith in Mr. Dot. My Man.

p.s. After a long & rather cold day - but probably even longer for the lovely guy from British Gas - we now have heat & hot water! And the reason was so fixable (something about a fuse, and a switch). He was so nice, and together, we made things happen.

patterns emerging: heathrow to miami

Last winter, I was expecting that spring/summer would be all about patterns, big, crazy, bold, tropical and ethnic and fun patterns, but instead - in London at least - it was quite the opposite: it was all rather Victorian black, even during the summer (which was a cool look), and grey, and nudes and pastel pinks.

So what do you think? Is 2010 the year of the pattern?

Saw this girl in South Beach, dressed pretty much exactly how we dressed as teens, hanging out on Collins Avenue. Baby doll patterned tops, jeans, flat sandals like these. (I've noticed so much more blue jeans here than in London: the only time, it seems, women have worn blue jeans was last spring/summer, as shorts shorts - and the trend that was done to death was to wear them over black tights.)

Also saw this girl at Heathrow, who was heading home to Australia. When I asked to shoot her for my blog, she said 'you're kidding' but happily, patiently posed anyway, to the bemusement of the man next to her. She'd bought her skirt somewhere in Ireland, and it was made of segments of different patterns. I wish I'd asked her to stand so I could show you the whole thing.

If you count her red tweed coat (out of the shot), this is a sampling of some of the patterns she wore.

So what about you? Are you into patterns these days? How about mixing them up? I'm curious if it's a trend in some parts of the world, and not others.