Wednesday Wants…. Mary Katrantzou clutches

I remember hearing the name Mary Katrantzou for the first time, many fashion weeks ago (and wondering how the devil to pronounce it, or spell it!), and I remember thinking ‘here’s something fresh’. Ever since, I’ve paired the name with fun, original and quirky prints, as well as awesome colours and shapes. So, when I heard that the Central Saint Martins graduate had launched a range of clutch bags based on those same fantastic digital prints, I was desperate to see them.

I’ve not been disappointed either…in fact I want them all. No surprise I know, but just look at these beauties…..

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Sorbonne printed leather pouch, £490, NET-A-PORTER

I love me some vintage stamps with birds on. I have stacks of them stashed in my studio, and love making jewellery out of them. So it’s no wonder I’m in love with this vibrant ‘Sorbonne’ print, and would happily carry by stuffs and things about in it.

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I adore this blue print, another postage stamp design printed onto the gorgeous ‘Kathmandu’ pounch. I also love the soft leather and the ‘shove it all in’ size, which would will easily hold an iPad, small laptop, and all your other bits and bobs.

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Pound printed leather pouch, £490, NET-A-PORTER

This one has to be my favourite though. Made again in luxuriously supple leather and lined in super-soft cotton-twill in a stunning shade of green, the ‘Pound’ pouch is just so incredibly pretty and clever. I’m crazy about this print, even though I’ve always found our sterling monies quite dull compared to the notes in other countries. I’d be delighted though to carry this around.

What do you think? Like the over-sized clutch idea? And what about these crazy prints….wonderfully wearable or for dressing up only?
Ems x
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Made in Britain Fashion Installation at BIS with UKFT

As I mentioned in my catch up on Monday, I was very honored to be asked to get involved with a special exhibition at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills recently. My dear friend Melanie at the UK Fashion and Textiles Association (as well as the marvelous Mellie J Show Room) asked me to help curate and design the installation, which UKFT were spearheading with help from the British Fashion Council, the British Footwear Association and the Designer-Manufacturer Innovation Support Centre at London College of Fashion.

The concept was to build awareness for the contributors and highlight the wealth of manufacturing and design talent in the UK. The venue was the BIS public foyer, right next to Westminster Abbey, so it was an amazing opportunity for all involved to show off their skills to the public, as well as those working at BIS and other Government Departments nearby. As part of my ‘pitch’ I came up with this little story….

“With a growing public conscious for supporting British businesses, as well as a greater respect for sustainable and ethical production, ‘Made In Britain’ is this year’s most fashionable label. Representing innovative processes, inspirational design and traditional skills, the Made in Britain banner is one to be proud of and to covet.

Showcasing the best of Britain’s design and manufacturing, this installation will convey the pride and respect felt for the Made In Britain label, creating feature garments crafted from the very label itself, and teaming them with British fashions against a backdrop of heritage fabrics and a narrative of  archive quotations.”

In addition to the props and accessories I made using Made in the UK labels, I got to play with (I mean, professionally merchandise) contributions from Henry Poole, Mannequino, Peregrine, Daines and Hathaway, John Smedley, Dents, Johnstons of Elgin, Lochcarron of Scotland, Fox Umbrella, Moxon, Taylor & Lodge, Begg Scotland, Bower Roebuck & Company Limited, Dr. Martins, Church, Barkers, Gaziano & Girling, Jeffrey West, John Lobb, Loakes, Trickers and CocoRose, amongst others!

I fell in love with all the stunning Begg cashmeres and the incredible heritage fabrics I used to drape the place……not to mention the incredible orange Fox umbrella and the bright yellow Dents gloves! I was also super impressed with the cleverly designed ‘flat pack’ mannequins from Mannequino, which are amazingly light-weight and really easy to dress.

I had so much fun meeting to plan the installation, and even more fun on the day setting it all up. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with how everything had come together, and I was certainly pretty proud to have been involved. We also got coverage in Drapers Magazine, Fibre2Fashion, WWB and Just Style!

It’s open to the public until the end of today if you’re nearby, but otherwise, here are some photos to snoop at…!

Ems x

Photos are courtesy of UKFT and the talented Freya McLeod-Turner.

A little more about me…..

…. I love rainbows and unicorns and fish & chips and crosswords …..

But other than that, well, I thought I’d share with you a bit more about me, as we’re friends now.

  • You’ll find that I have recently updated my About Page to tell you a little bit more about me, what I get up to and what to expect here on my blog.
  • I’ve also added a Shop Page where you can see some of the things I design and make to sell on my Etsy and Folksy shops, and where to find them.
  • And, I’ve added a Weddings and Events Page, where you can learn a bit more about my other day job as a freelance wedding and events producer.

As part of the development of my little site, I’ll be adding new pages and a few more personal posts too, in the coming months. As ever, do let me know if there’s anything you’d like to read about in particular, and do get in touch….I love comments and emails!

Ems x

Living for the weekend….. ideas in London for 4th to 5th August 2012

Had enough of sport yet? Got a numb behind from sitting in front of the TV all week? Need a little fresh air?….. Well you can embrace the party spirit going on in London (and all over the UK for that matter) without fear of your eyes turning into squares or losing your voice from cheering…. I’ve said it before I know, but there is SO MUCH going on this summer, sporty and not-so-sporty….get out there!

Now this is my kind of sport…. the Sacrilege project is a co-commission by the Mayor of London and Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, designed by Turner Prize-winning artists Jeremy Deller. Most notably though, it’s a bally inflatable Stone Henge!!! This king of bouncy castles is making its way around the country, but this weekend you can find it in London!  Check their website for locations, which feature open spaces all over the UK until 9th September.

Now if you’re going to get that kind of exercise, I say you have the right to stuff your face with yums to make up for it. And not far from Saturday’s Sacrilege location at Burgess Park, you’ll find FEAST at London Bridge. Said to be London’s ‘most exciting and daring food experience’, this festival of food features some of the captial’s most coveted food retailers. It’s £6 to get in when booked in advance, or £8 on the door.

Also nearby, within the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre, you’ll find Marcos Saboya and Gaulter Pupo’s ‘aMAZEme’….. A giant maze made from over 200,000 books, the installation is inspired by the writer and educator JL Borges, and will be there until 26th August.

And on the subject of books….. East London based The Book Club is hosting its Base Camp event until 12th August. Expect a very British affair with some sporty bits thrown in…. ping pong, table football, a paddling pool and an ice cream van sound like perfect summer diversions to me! There is plenty of good food and lots of yummy drinks too, screens to watch the Games, plus prizes for the winners of silly sports and activities. Fun!

Just down the road at the Old Truman Brewery, you’ll find the London Designer Sale this weekend. This sample sale will house excess stock and samples from top designers and brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Gucci and Francesco Biasia, all at up to 80% off the RRP!

And if that’s not enough of a designer fix for you, why not head to Harvey Nichols? It’s not just the fabulous array of posh threads that has my attention though, as the department store is currently hosting Penhaligon’s Peoneve Multi-Sensory Terrace. Celebrating the launch of Penhaligon’s new summery Peony-inspired fragrance, the Fifth Floor Terrace has been transformed into a ‘stunningly eclectic and multi-sensory garden with an inventive cocktail menu and dessert menu inspired by the notes within the fragrance.’ I’m super excited about this, as a Penhaligon’s super-fan and lover of peonies (they are always around over my birthday so have been a firm favourite for years), and the thought of menu and cocktail matching to this scent is just amazing. I have my eye on Penhaligon’s Peony Punch which is served in an enormous version of the iconic Penhaligon’s scent bottle, as well as the White Chocolate & Peony Mousse. There are also specially created boozy ice pops in very British and floral flavours. You can see the menu here and make bookings here.

Now we just need the sun to keep shining!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….. From Old Spitalfields Market

I know I bang on about Old Spitalifeilds Market, but it really is the most amazing place. On Sunday, having decided to keep the weekend’s adventures pretty local and undemanding, we took the short wander along to Spitalfields to while away a couple of hours. I really do feel so lucky to have this wonderful market within walking distance, and I know it will be one of the things I miss the most when I one day move out of London.

In the mean time though, I will make the most of it, with trips to the antiques and vintage markets on Thursdays, the special markets on Saturdays and the reliable Sunday markets. And whilst I’m there, it’s inevitable that I find plenty of ‘wants’…. there are so many original designers and producers, with fantastic ideas and skills…. from clothing to jewellery, baked goodies to homewares… there is always far too much to tempt me!

Last Sunday was no exception of course…. here are my Wednesday Wants, all courtesy of some of the amazing Spitalfields traders…..

We spotted the Tina Maas Photography stand for the first time this weekend, and whilst we were initially drawn in by the high quality digital images in mounts and the little photo squares hanging on the walls, it was the amazing ‘Polaroid Lifts’ collection I really coveted. Each image is hand made from an original Polaroid photo, by separating the emulsion from the print, then stretching and crinkling it into a new image. The result is a completely original, unpredictable and beautifully low-tech piece of art…. the images remind me of a very fine patterned silk, and the translucency is just stunning.

I love that there are no sneaky Photoshop techniques involved, and that each one is so very different. They are amazing value to boot, starting at just £8 for a 5×7″ and up to £35 for a 16×20″….. you can also buy them direct from the website. I would LOVE the Union Jack, and in fact all of the wonderful London landmarks!

I’ve always had a fascination for geodes and crystals and shiny, colourful semi-precious stones. And so a stall like Decadorn’s is supremely exciting for me! Decadorn creates and sells stunningly unique statement jewellery, using crystals which are carefully sourced from all over the world. Each treasure is carefully selected and hand made into a striking and wearable piece.

I am crazy about the chunky, but elegant pendants, where the crystals seem to be growing right of the hunk of gold which secures them onto the pretty chain. And the chunkier still rings, which are hand carved around the natural shape of the stone, are straight out of a fairytale!

Pendants start at just £28, with the rings from £52, which I think is incredibly good value, considering the originality and quality of each piece (again, you can buy from their website, AND they do gift certificates). I’d love a stack of the different pendants to wear all at once!

And what with us enjoying this traditional British Summer (read ‘grumbling constantly about the unpredictable weather’, at least on my part), what better to lust after than a good Autumnal coat?! Love and Be Loved boasts a stall full of incredibly original, remarkably well tailored, and insanely covetable fashion. It was really the beautiful tweed coats that caught my eye at first….. they have lovely slanted pocket patches of various soft leathers, and the tailoring is complex and different, with a very classical edge. Their dresses too are intricately pleated, and rather reminiscent of Roland Mouret with their geometric seaming and pocketing.

At £300 + for the coats, they are not a suitable impulse buy, but I think for the quality and originality, they are very well priced and a definite treasure to save up for and keep forever.

Aptly named after Nat King Cole’s wise words in Nature Boy (“The greatest gift we’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return”), the brand also creates incredibly stunning wedding dresses… you can contact them here for more information. Oh and check out this amazing jump suit! Want!

Plans for the weekend…..

After my little trip to Paris, and walking for miles and miles adventuring, the last thing on my mind at this moment is more of the same! Still, I know that after a good sleep, I’ll be ready for action again and wanting to cram as many things as possible into the weekend!

This Saturday sees my ‘official’ birthday celebration (same as the Queen!), with a big picnic in my secret garden with a lovely bunch of friends…. so that will just leave Sunday to fill up with fun. Here are some of the things I’m shortlisting…..

Treasure

Treasure is London’s ‘visionary’ jewellery show, and will be showcasing some of the most beautiful, exciting and vibrant contemporary jewellery in the UK this weekend. Held at the stunning Somerset House, this year’s show will be the largest event of this year’s Jewellery Week, and offers a unique opportunity to meet designers, view their collections and buy some of the very best jewellery design the UK and Europe has to offer. It’s open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are from £10 and available here.

Anifandis Dimitrios

David Nash at Kew: A Natural Gallery

UK sculptor David Nash is exhibiting his work at Kew Gardens until March 2012, showcasing many of his sculptures, installations, drawings and film in place throughout the Gardens, glasshouses and exhibition spaces. In addition, Nash is also working at Kew to create new pieces using trees from the Gardens that have come to the end of their natural life, adding these pieces to the exhibition in October. It’s the perfect setting to thoughtfully present his work, which spans 40 years and shows his deep understanding of the properties of trees. Tickets are £14.50 for adults, whilst children under 17 get in free!

David Nash, Black Sphere at Kew Gardens

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

Some of 
East London’s most iconic venues open their doors to host a fabulous range of classical and contemporary music, family activities, and special tours. Bringing together world class artists and locals alike, the festival draws inspiration from the creative hub of East London, with the aim of bringing people together, changing perspectives and engaging body, emotions and intellect. Tickets vary in price, but you can find out how to book here and there’s a map of the events here….

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

The Shoreditch Vintage Fair

This Saturday 16th, The Shoreditch Vintage Fair is back and tempting us with 40 stalls of mens and ladies vintage fashion. There will also be a vintage tea room, and beauty parlour hosted by Lipstick and Curls. Entry is £2 on the door.

Shoreditch Vintage Fair

The Monocle Country Fayre

This event is a uniquely global take on the English tradition, complete with market stalls, face painting, a mini zoo, Allpress coffee and more!…… There will be games of tombola, guess the button and pirate hunting, as well as prizes donated by Lufthansa, Krug and Ralph Lauren! The marvelous Trio Manouche are playing at 12pm too. It’s free to get in, but donations are welcome in aid of The Committee to Protect Journalists. It’s open from 11.00 – 17.00 on Saturday and Sunday. 

 The Trooping of the Colour

Although The Queen was born on 21 April, it has long been the tradition to celebrate her ‘official’ birthday publicly in the summer, in order to benefit from the better weather! Trooping the Colour is carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public. Tickets are allocated to public via a ballot and of course are all now gone, but you can still turn up at the Mall to see events from 11am, culminating in a fly past at 1pm.

Trooping the Colour

Enjoy your weekend!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….. from now on they shall be in triplicate

So I rather enjoyed choosing three things for my Wednesday Wants last week…. and who can blame me? Three imaginary / virtual purchases are better than one right? And so I figure that from now on, and whenever I have difficulty choosing, my Wednesday Wants shall come in threes…..

Lulu Guinness at Uniqlo

I’ve been crazy about everything Lulu Guinness for the longest time….. I have all sorts of bits and bobs in her amazing designs….. a gorgeous lilac corduroy hand bag…. a cameo fronted compact…. a couple of vanity cases and make up bags…. and the wonderful pop up book ‘Put on Your Pearls Girls’. All have been kind gifts or bargain finds though, as the brand is not at everyday spending prices. However, teaming up with Uniqlo has brought the brand to a much more affordable level…..

One of the latest high streeters to start collaborating with iconic designers, I’ve loved Uniqlo‘s Orla Kiely and Laura Ashley ranges. Bringing adored prints together with their well cut tees, I think it’s a great way to get hold of that designer you’ve always coveted. Of course, they sell out fast though (hardly any of the Orla Kiely stuff left) and I can see that one of my favourites has already gone from the website…. but here are my top three from the Lulu range (all at £14.90, but on offer at the minute at £12.90!)…..

Love knot stacker rings by Ring Binder

As a Folksy and Etsy account holder, one of my biggest browsing dangers are the newsletters they send each day…. there is always something I like that is featured, and some of them are so temptingly well priced! One amazing shop I have found on Etsy is Ring Binder, a treasure trove of clever and beautiful jewellery. I think my favourite has to be her set of three knot stacker rings, which you can have made to size and come in copper, silver plated copper and gold plated copper…. they are an amazing £7.67 for the three! I love the way the shop owner and maker Sarah photographs her items on leaves, and I think she has a wonderful collection….. I adore the little ‘Yes’ and ‘Oui’ rings too, and the cute little bow necklaces.

Trevor Jackson Skull Teapot

So I’ve got some kind of skull obsession going on at the minute….. possibly because of my new interest in everything Mexican Day of the Dead. I’ve been spotting gorgeous skull jewellery and bits and bobs for ages, but when Adam found this beauty I had to scream ‘waaaaaant’! It is currently sold out on the retailer’s website as far as I can see, not that it changes much as it’s a whopping $900! Still, a girl can dream right?

The creator, Trevor Jackson is a Seattle based artist / graphic designer / ceramicist / apparel designer / poet / performance artist. Often a cultural observation, his work uses slip-casting with earthenware and “traditional” Delft painting techniques (a style I have loved for ages), as well as transfer-ware applications. “He has a reverence for the traditions from which he draws, but will often retool those same traditional images and apply them in unconventional contexts”….. such as this remarkable tea pot…..

I want it allllll!!!