paris correspondent

I did not take this photo, shot yesterday in Paris. Alex did. Alex, of La Perle a Paris. Alex, who I have not yet met. My new friend Alex, who I introduced to Reid, virtually. Reid Peppard, who is my taxidermist artist jewelry designer friend, Reid of RP/Encore, from California, who dresses Lady Gaga in rat hats & lives in East London with her English artist boyfriend. Reid, who coincidentally, it transpires, lived a few miles from Alex, growing up. Anyway: thanks to a few tweets, they're now friends. And they had already met each other: by mistake! Mistake, of course, or Serendipity.

There's more to this story and I will continue tomorrow - it's late, it's freak summer here, but what I can't get over is when I asked Alex to send me some photos - to be my eyes & ears for Paris fashion week - what I didn't expect is that SHE HAS MY EYE.

This is not a street shot by me, but I wish it was.

checkered presence

'It's a blog-eat-blog world out there, son.. somebody could get hurt.'

That's the quote on Claire Healy's twitter: @young_shields, from her blog of the same name. We met the first day of LFW, and I can't believe we haven't met sooner.

I love when people - who also happen to be attractive, and have great style - have interests that extend beyond self promotion. Whose goals are more than increasing their blog numbers, and becoming famous bloggers. Claire is back in Cambridge now, at Uni, and she's modest, and beautiful of course, but you can also, I hope, see the wisdom, and the humour, and especially, the kindness, in her eyes.

And her outfit? When we finally got round to talking about that, it really was a bit of 'oh this old thing?' She can't remember where she got her boots. Her picnic checkered trousers, granted, are Moschino, but - here's a tip for the fit girls amongst you - they're from the kids' department. Cheap, and chic.

It's hard to even look at leather jackets right now: we're packing swimsuits and goggles and sunscreen and heading to Surrey, bunking off for the day at the wonderful heated outdoor pool. Swim and write, write and swim. A gift from the Gods! And Claire: thank you for letting me post your shots. I know you're modest, and as self critical as the next girl, but you're a delight, and it's precisely because you're interested in so much more than how you look, or what you're wearing.


pumpkin head

I'm in a real pumpkin head at the moment. I noticed it everywhere at London Fashion Week: hair, clothes, shoes.. it's funny, I don't like orange per se (altho, I love orange, the fruit) and I like bright orange with hot pink and something neutral, like tan. But pumpkin... pairing pumpkin with anything, especially blues and greys and blacks, navy blues, pale blues.. yum.

There's something about the weather turning colder that makes me think about pumpkin pie. I've been convalescing at home since Thursday, and have so far made big batches of stew, gingerbread cake (another great colour, btw), the most amazing onion soup.. and when my husband, who doesn't cook but has been doing the shopping, brought home a giant sack of carrots instead of the 'six to eight' I asked for, I decided to try simmering them to a mushy softness and mashing, to make pumpkin pie. Well, more like flan, because I didn't make a crust, just sprinkled brown sugar, cinammon (another great colour!) and crushed Special K. And top tip, cupcakes: it works! No more trawling the streets of London, a lonely ex-pat, in late November, trying to find the last dented tin of Libby's. Who knew!?

I wish I remembered this girl's name with the pumpkin hair and the glittery shoes. She was delightful. The other two, I didn't meet, but the Girl with the Pumpkin Coloured Hair.. I hope you find me. Because I've totally forgotten where you got your shoes. Are they perhaps Miu Miu?

Shot within about ten minutes of one another, Day Six (Boy's Day), LFW, Somerset House, 20.09.11. And now that it's suddenly, magically, turned summer here in London town, I'm going to try venturing outside: wearing a sleeveless, translucent, early sixties inspired button down pumpkin coloured blouse with little peter pan collar, and white pedal pusher shorts. THANK YOU LORD for this glorious warmth.


backstage after bora

This brevity series is really fun. I'm going to take it to the next level and start being mute at social gatherings. Let's see how long THAT one lasts!

Shot at Somerset House after the Bora Aksu show, Day One, 16.09.11. But this is nothing: wait til you see the show!


Part two in the Brevity series.

Shot at Somerset House, Day One, London Fashion Week. 16 September, 2012.


brevity: the stripes of wit

Trying to take a leaf from Kate Lanphear's book - and The Foolish Aesthete's husband ('just because') and trying a bit of brevity, the soul of wit.

How am I doing so far?

Shot a the Topshop Unique show, as before. 18 September, 2011, Waterloo Station, Old Eurostar whatever it's called. That's it, I'm done.

Except just one thing: Is that just me, or are those shoes one size too small for that model's feet?

editor's choice

Kate Lanphear, in my humble opinion, is one of the most talented style icons alive. She is also the style director of Elle USA. She seems, in style, in nature, the antithesis of one of my other favourite style editor/icons, Anna Della Russo. Anna Della Rosso, for example, has a blog. A great blog. Kate Lanphear, on the other hand, does not have her own blog. The thought is laughable. She just has a ton of Kate Lanphear tribute blogs. If Kate Lanphear had her own blog, I bet it would be totally white.

Kate is unique. I have the utmost respect for someone who never, ever, wears colour. Who has the balls to cut her hair short, and keep it short: it is the most iconic haircut, short of Anna Wintour's, another of my favourite editors. It takes confidence - and beauty - to be able to keep a cut that short.

And her style. So simple. A similar white jacket to the one Anna Della Russo wore ('Anna Della Russomania'), but look at the lace texture. And while with ADR it was all about the fedora, the hair, Kate's accessories are her iconic white hair, like Andy Warhol or Edie Sedgwick, and her trademark silver jewelry.

And I've just realised who she reminds me of: my beautiful friend Stephanie, of Style Odyssey. She is warm and talented and chatty in real life, as I'm sure Kate is. But in her wonderful self style posts, she's doing the same minimal, slightly androgynous thing in neutral tones. And when she's just being herself, like in this post: that's channeling Kate.

Kate is an enigma. I have no stories about Kate Lanphear because, while I've met and shot her a few times, we have never had a conversation. I can see her talk and laugh to her friends and colleagues, but when I see her, she is as silent and still as an alpine lake. It's always the same thing: I smile and say hi and quickly - camera ready - ask to take her photo. She always says yes. Or, I think she says yes. She doesn't say no, and she doesn't run off, but I don't know if she actually uses the word, yes. She simply chooses her pose - it's always different - and holds it very still. In this case - also at the Topshop Unique show, which is an ongoing series (and I have so many other shows to get to!), I took the shot, and then, because it's silly to just take one shot with digital cameras, I shot again. She held the pose, like a statue. And held it. We did this four times, and as you can see by the last shot, below, apart from changes in the background, there is no visible change in her pose. Just her eyes, which are getting slightly more annoyed. Her eyes are saying: Jill. Enough. EDIT. Please, go away now.

I have always admired the women who are beautiful, and do not speak. And when they do, they choose their words well. The Greta Garbo thing. There is no greater mystery than to be beautiful, and silent. There is huge power in having the confidence to just shut the f**k up. In my next life, I want to be like that. But it's too late for me in this one. That ship, alas, has sailed.


let's get serious

This model was in the Holly Fulton show, which I loved. She told me her name and I thought I wrote it down, but we were on the Strand while I was trying to get to the Topshop Unique show in time. I had just found the bus with London Fashion Week splashed all over the side, but it was stationary, and empty. 'Hello sir, are you going to Waterloo for the Topshop show?' I asked the dour bus driver, who said 'Yes,' then he looked at my Photographer and Press passes, and said 'but this bus is only for the Buyers.' I looked around and it was clearly empty - and the show was starting in 15 minutes, and the walk alone would take at least that long, so I gave him my saddest puppy dog look, combined with a slight raising of the eyebrow to indicate, AW, come ON, have a heart, buddy, but he wasn't buying it.

'Okay, can you please tell me where the Press bus leaves from, then?' I asked, trying a new tact. 'Oh that's across the street,' he said, pointing, 'But it left five minutes ago.' (In other words, a few minutes after the start of our conversation.) Then I resorted to begging, but he held firm. Buyers, only. I was on the verge of offering him a twenty, but he looked like the type who would happily arrest me for attempted bribery. Sometimes you just gotta let it go.

So I started running. But first, that's when I saw this nice model, and we had a quick little chat and shoot, and I didn't even notice til now when I'm looking at the shot, what a great little nail detail she had going.

Then.. oh! I almost forgot the part where I tried again to find the bus - because the Buyer Driver said it might be circling round the block if the bridge is closed (huh?) and while I was, and thinking maybe, just maybe, the Gods would be on my side and there's be a taxi, but who did I see but my old friend Scott, the Sartorialist, ('I shot the Sartorialist', September 2009). He was standing in the street, watching me. 'Are you going to Topshop?' I asked frantically. 'Maybe', he said.

'Do you have an invitation?', the Sartorialist asked me.

'Yes,' I replied.

'Can you show it to me?', he asked. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking, and there were no buses or taxis in sight, and we weren't getting any younger. 'Of course,' said I, opening my handbag and handing him my ticket, because you don't say no to the Sartorialist. 'Good,' he said, 'because I want to send it to Garance.' (He pronounced it, btw, not GAR-ance, but in a Frenchy way, GarANCE). So here we are, in the street, no taxi, no bus, it's 2:55, and I'm quipping brightly to him about 'Well, I might not be shot by the Sartorialist, but at least my invitation is!'

Either he didn't find me funny, or he was concentrating on shooting it with his phone and sending it to Garance, but in any case, he was done with me, and off I sprinted across the bridge.

At which point I saw this girl, above, with two cute guys with big photographic equipment. They were trying to hail a cab, but there weren't any. I'm gonna just try hoofing it, I told them, but she pointed to her shoes - which were fabulous - but had mile high heels. We exchanged sympathetic glances, I wished them luck - they promised to pick me up if they found a taxi - and I ran to the old Eurostar station, which I'd been to last year. But I still got really lost. And ran in - leaving a line queuing outside - and wouldn't you know: it was starting late. They had really great beef stew (which I'm making now, btw: I've still got this cold/flu/bug) on mashed potatoes, which I inhaled gratefully, and then I saw the girl from the bridge. They'd ended up going on foot, after all, but they, too made it in time!

I didn't see the Sartorialist inside. Or, Garance. But I did see him after, outside. Alone. With his camera. Watching, with a serious face on. And then I walked back, across Waterloo bridge. Next to me on the bridge was the Buyer Bus, returning slowly in the traffic, to Somerset House. It was empty.

My last shot in the Serious Series is my new friend Carlota, aka Carrottline. I love her look. So serious. She's been leaving wonderful comments as long as I can remember, and she's got a lovely blog, but this was the first we actually met. She's in London now for school, and we're planning to meet for a coffee in a few weeks when she's settled in. She wasn't having a great time at fashion week - she didn't know anyone yet - but we've all been there, and know how it feels. Everyone has to start somewhere.

We've had to cancel a lovely dinner at our friends' tonight cause of this bug. But I've made some killer gingerbread and am drinking the best home remedy: fresh lemon, ginger, and honey tea. And if you want to laugh, click on 'I'm not talking', and follow instructions.

p.s. Big thank you to my friend Estelle, Serendipity 2307! The model is, and I quote: 'Sandra aka Suzie Bird very famous frenchie model!' And E should know: she's French, and she's a model, and she's modelled in Paris, so there you go.


shiny happy people holding hands

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The Topshop Unique catwalk show on Sunday, 19 September, was.. what can I say. Unique. Celebrities, normal people who looked like celebrities, models with gilded hair, and the clothes. Did I mention the clothes? Tribal influence, my favourite colours like aqua with shiny gold.. like they were painted by Keith Haring, but he's not in this world any more. But on Sunday, it felt like he could have been. I might have even seen Michael Jackson, in the front row. It's possible. Anna Wintour was definitely there, and Kate Lamphear, and I can't even fit all my photos of them into this one post, so for now, you're just going to have to settle for my old friend Olivia, for now. And Keli. Two of the many shiny, happy people.

Thank you to Liz S, as always, for inviting me, and to Susie Q: hope you're feeling better.

And R.I.P., R.E.M. I once saw Michael Stipe in a small really cool clothing shop in Soho, NY, back when the area was like Spitalfields is now. He was with Patti Smith. I was the only other person there, and was mesmerised. I can't embed the actual video but click here, it's lovely.

unique: i'm not talking

Because I'm too busy laughing my head off. If you have a minute, click here on this vice.com post ('london fashion week.. on acid!') then come back to me, please, and tell me what you think. Am I crazy? Or is that like the most hilarious post you've ever seen?

Unless it's true.. and that would be sad. : (

Photos by me, of Naomi Campbell with Sir Philip Green and what I'm assuming is his daughter, Chloe. Altho you know what they say if one ASSUMES: one makes an ASS of U and ME. Shot at the Topshop Unique show, 18 September 2012.

101 dalmations

Besides Brix and Bip, how many other celebs can you spot in my FROW shot at the Topshop Unique show on Sunday?

(Instructions for viewing this post: click below)

I love when people pay homage to a designer or brand, by appearing in the previous seasons' looks, as Bip Ling and a friend did with the 101 Dalmations theme from last February's show ('http://streetstylelondon.blogspot.com/2011/03/you-aint-never-caught-rabbit.html').

Here's one of my shots from last season, but I can't wait to show you shots from this season's show. They're so good, I don't know where to start. I'm overwhelmed with choice.

So here I am in bed on this gorgeous sunny day, with a mild case of Somersetitis, as Sabine called it: sore throat, the start of a cold.. must be a bit feverish, too, because I'm becoming obsessed with finding the version of Hound Dog that they played at the Topshop Unique show last February fashion week. Does anyone know? My friend Emma Harwood, a wonderful singer, told me that originally it was sung by a woman, Big Mama Thornton, and that's much darker and kind of, you know, man eatin'. Macy Gray did a great version, too. But I still like the original recording version, by Elvis. I was singing it for weeks after that show, and now, having exhausted all these variations, I'll be singing it for the rest of the day.

the long and the short of it

I don't know about in other cities, but this fashion week in London, I was seeing a lot of long skirts. It felt like.. I could be wrong about this, but let's pretend you bought a long skirt. Chances are, you're not gonna wear it to the office, or hanging around - maybe I'm wrong - but when you're dressing for fashion week, and you want to make a 'statement'.. you see where I'm going with this thought.

On the other hand, I saw some really nice short skirts, too. Especially - I didn't shoot them that much, but there quite a few pleated, leather or leather look skater skirts. In black. And while we're at it: a surprising number of combinations of black with orange, which seems influenced by the catwalk last season. As an American, I'm not a big fan - I can't get the Halloween motif out of my head - but I really liked Annie, in the short orange skirt, thrifted vintage slightly transparent white lace shirt, and black bra peeking thru. And her vintage brown leather bag reminds me so much of my old Coach bag, which I bought new in the early 90s, and I'm trotting round with again.

Last but not least, I loved the attitude of the last girl. I simply could not get her to smile. Took about six shots and she was increasingly glaring - yet patient - in each shot. Her lavender dip dye hair so matches her skirt that if I were her, it's the only thing I'd wear.

All shot at Somerset House, Sunday, 18 September, 2011.

oh, baby

First: I am not a Blogger. I am a human being.

Second: Today, like yesterday, is a gift from the Gods, here in London. Hot and sunshine. I'd have paid good money and gone thru all the security crap, to be somewhere else in the world and have this glorious weather.

So the least I can do is get my lovely laptop off my lap, shut this baby down, take my notebook (to write my novel), and my camera, and be PRESENT. Take a break from posting about all things fashion week. Because, having gathered my acorns, having squirrelled those images away, I've got all winter to show you what people wore, on or off the catwalk.

Of course: were I in Paris, that would be another story. But I'm not. I'll leave that to those that are. I've got some lovely shots of some lovely stylish people from yesterday, when I was with a wonderful new friend at the V&A.

But for now, I leave you with this one baby, for whom this imperfect yet perfect world is new, and bright, with infinite possibilities.

what they wore: bold neutrals

From top: Ping, a model who I've met and shot since I believe my first fashion week, Sept 2009, then a really lovely German student whose name eludes me at the moment.* Then Nadia, aka Frou Frou.

*Thank you, Anonymous: it's Mario! Now it's coming back to me.

Trend wise, there really hasn't been any one particular, apart from long skirts (more of that coming up). Just when I'd think 'everyone's wearing black' I'd see tons of bright colour. Or I'd think 'everyone's wearing prints', but I'd also see a lot of solid, confident neutrals - neutral with a twist - as shown here. Clean, confident use of texture, like chunky knits, or lace. Little bits o' colour - like, say, in a red belt, or a burgundy jumper. I love how the student had the confidence to wear black leather gloves, silver chains, and that great bag, and pair it with a classic trench and my go-to favourite sunglasses: Ray Ban Wayfarers.

What I like - what I look for - is people who look more interesting than their clothes.

All shot at Somerset House, LFW, Day Four, 19 September 2011.