I’ve been meaning to edit and post these photos for weeks. The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican Center was phenomenal but unfortunately it’ll be too late to go see it, as it closed a couple of weeks ago. My bad, should have posted these earlier. I took loads of photos and it was hard to pick the best ones or do collages as a lot often the beauty is in the details. Many of the outfits on display had a mention of how many hours it took ‘les petites mains’ to complete them. It was in some cases, mind blowing. For that reason I’ll post the photos over a few days, interspersed with other things so you don’t get fed up. I hope you enjoy the eye candy as much as I did anyway.
Recently Emma, the lovely lady behind Accessorize My Outfit got in touch so I would try out her new website and maybe help her promote it. I had a look and the concept was very interesting, aimed at anyone who needs to (you guessed it) accessorize an outfit.
How many times have we bought a dress for an occasion and have no clue how to accessorize it or simply don’t have the time to trawl all the shops in town? Emma’s idea is aimed at situations like this and all you have to do is upload a photo of your outfit, fill in some details and sit back, while the Accessorize My Outfit team searches their UK artisan database for the best options. I liked the idea a lot because I think it’s very important to support small businesses, after all in rough economic times, they are the life saver of many families. The service is totally free for the user and there is no obligation to buy the suggested accessories if you don’t like them.
I asked Emma a few questions about her project, as I always find it inspirational to hear the stories behind the creative process of starting a new business. I always hope that stories like this help other women feel empowered by these examples of success, to go out and start their own projects.
1- When did you start your business?
Accessorize My Outfit officially launched on the 30th of January 2014.
2- What gave you the idea for Accessorize my outfit?
I have always been passionate about fashion and have a unique style of my own. My sister got married last year and I needed some accessories to go with the dress so I reached out on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the number of responses that I got, and thought what an easy and fun way it was to shop. I ended up with accessories that were designed specifically for me, right down from me choosing what materials and colours I wanted. So from this idea the site was born and I knew I had spotted a gap in the market.
Apart from absolutely loving being a Mum and spending time with my children, my other passion is Fashion. I have always loved clothes and especially accessories. My imagination, creativity and personality are shown in what I am wearing and how I look!
I am also a huge supporter of UK Artisans and I love the idea of being able to promote some of them through my new business venture.
3- How does it feel to make a living out of something you love?
I have had a very successful 20 years career in I.T. On first meeting me though, many people have been surprised by my career choice and have expected me to be doing something in the fashion industry! After having my second child, I took redundancy and looked to find a job that fitted in around family life – almost an impossible task! Accessorize My Outfit not only allows me to work in an industry that I love but it allows me to spend quality time with my young children.
4 – Any advice for other ladies who might want to start their own businesses?
Running your own business is not easy but it is incredibly rewarding. My advice to anyone who is thinking of giving it a go is keep a positive mind. “Where there is a will there is a way” – as they say!
5- What is the next step for Accessorize my outfit?
Although Accessorize My Outfit is very new, I believe I have a unique business, that has the potential to be very successful and I have the ability, enthusiasm and commitment to make this happen.
Why don’t you try it too? Let me know what you think! If you have a small business you can also get in touch with AMO, if you are interested in being part of the network.
Thank you Emma for reaching out and good luck for your project!
These cat ladies and pedicured feet have been inspired by some of my favourite 3.1 Phillip Lim creations. Although I can be a bit loud myself in my tastes, what I enjoy about designers such as Phillip Lim is the ability of doing something simple and minimalist at times but with some surprising details. Those pompoms, are you kidding me????? Get.in.my.closet. NOW!
Elle has the whole catwalk show available on their website and it is worth watching if you enjoy this type of design. If, by any chance you feel like spending some cash and invest in some beautiful things, by any chance you feel like spending some cash and invest in some beautiful things, they are available here.
There is a funny story about these illustrations, though. As I was going through my photo archive I was listening to this song by the Violent Femmes. And that’s why you get the water and the sky as backgrounds. Could be worse. By the way, in the name of transparency I have to add that I’ve been compensated for this post. It is good to do some commercial illustration work again. Maybe one day I’ll have a whole new portfolio of just fashion related illustration. Wouldn’t it be great?
I was talking to my friend Kristian the other day and I asked what was he writing about this time (he’s a scholar and a writer). He told me the theme was the French Revolution and was in need of a bit of inspiration. Jokingly I said I could write a chapter about Marie Antoinette, if that helped and that’s how our little chat turned into an idea for a short essay.
I don’t know all that much about Marie Antoinette and certainly I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter either. The only actual book I read about her was Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, by Caroline Weber . I also watched the beautiful film by Sophia Coppola from 2007 Marie Antoinette, but then who hasn’t, right? Apart from these two things that I remember quite vividly, there’s also a blur of references from popular culture and other films, that resulted in a mish mash of ideas in my head. The image I always had was that she was a frivolous b*tch, who told the starving people to eat brioche if they didn’t have any bread. True but as with anything, there are always two sides to a story and in this case, there is a side to hers that only recently people cared to uncover which is what captivated me the most when I read the book.
So let’s consider a few facts from her life that will help understand her personality a bit better: she was sent to a foreign country as a child to marry a man she had never seen before and was despised by her husband’s family. The only way to fall on their good graces would be to produce an heir and that seems to have taken a long time – her husband probably thought babies were brought by storks and didn’t take much action for such heir to become a reality… We must also remember that this was a time when women didn’t have access to education and when they did, were still treated as second class citizens, it didn’t matter if they were royalty. I’m not excusing her from the fact that the people faced all sorts of difficulties and poverty while she was leading a lavish lifestyle on their expense… She was in a fairytale world in the Petit Trianon, things were as they were and let’s leave it at that.
What seems interesting to me (and other people, I don’t think I am alone in this) is that in her oppression, she found her means of expression and empowerment in fashion and style (and a lot of partying as well, woohoo!). She had the monetary means to access all that her fantasies dictated and that’s what she did (I can imagine her on a credit card shopping spree if she had been born in our era!). She established herself as an influential part of the aristocracy via her clothes and by dictating what was hot and what was not. An Anna Wintour of her day, one might say. What may have started as a way of escaping her depressing life ended up becoming her main strength and her way of exerting power out into the world. I think many of us can relate to this, I know I can. Many of us have very boring 9-5 jobs that although pay the bills, do very little to satisfy us as creative individuals and this is where fashion and style become an important part of our lives.
To me, it all started when I was younger and felt I was different and expressing it via my clothes seemed (and still does), a perfectly valid means of communication. At the time it was done somewhat unconsciously but with time I started paying more attention and making bolder choices in what I wore and it has become a way of saying something about myself. It has become a personal statement (some people might say of craziness but they have no imagination). Some days it looks better than others in retrospective but experimentation is also part of the fun. Picking something to wear in the morning is the escape from the shackles of a boring routine into the Petit Trianon. Sharing this online has become a way of reaching other like minded people and more recently a door to opportunities I never dreamed would have been possible before. There are many others who have become professional bloggers or have established themselves as their own bosses via online business that will concur.
So every time I hear someone accuse women who like clothes and have a strong personal style of being frivolous I tell them to think again. It’s an ignorant statement, for the most part. It may be true in some cases, but more often than not, behind the bold personal style you will find a strong, creative personality. No one remembers the grey suits but they will remember a beautiful dress or a colourful pair of shoes and the confidence of those who wear them. Marie Antoinette is remembered in History for her clothes and creative style, we can do the same. Isn’t it so much better than being remembered for starting wars and causing bloodshed? Maybe those who point the accusing finger should stop being so shallow themselves and look beneath the surface.
A week ago I was sent by Young & Connected to cover the Vodafone Fashion Weekend for a day. This is a consumer event, that follows the Fashion Week and allows regular folks with an interest in fashion like me to have a little sample of what the LFW is like – it is set in the same place (Somerset House) and the catwalk shows happen in the same tents – and do a little shopping.
Shoes by Atalanta Weller. Possibly the best shoes I saw in the event.
This is mainly a shopping event, with a few brands showing and selling their wares to the public, some with exclusive event promotions and pampering sessions. You can also attend catwalk shows as well as talks on several fashion related themes. You will find accessories, shoes, clothes and even beauty products to feast your eyes on and oh boy, did I enjoy it!
I walked around all day, talked to some of the vendors – everyone was extremely nice, it must be said. The only problem I had was that upon entering, my press invite was taken away and the guy said I didn’t need anything else – even after as I asked if I shouldn’t be given a pass. I then went looking for the press office and fortunately they were nice and gave me the press pass without much questioning. Thankfully, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend the catwalk show as those were for ticket holders or press only.
The Holly Fulton Art Deco style bags were all sorts of amazing…
I did see a lot of accessories that I would gladly call my own but being on the shopping ban means I could only swoon over them. These crustacean bags were one of the items I wish I could have brought home with me. They’re by Larissa Hadjio and you can find them here.
Tessa Metcalfe’s jewelry also caught my eye – the pigeon feet necklaces and the whole display had the right balance of cute and morbid. Right up my alley!
Swatch had a saccharine collection on display. I could feel my blood sugar level rise just by looking at them!
Looking at the shiny mylar balloons, I couldn’t help but think of Andy Wharhol’s Factory.
As with any event such as this, there were also a few people dressed in interesting ways and I photographed a few of them. It was my first time doing street style photography and I found it to be good fun. Maybe I should do this more often?
Blogger Stella from Stella’s Wardrobe was there.
Charlie Tuesday Gates, the artist behind Mind Like Magpie bespoke accessories and companion.
I didn’t enjoy the massage but I enjoyed some sitting down moments at the Kinder Bueno Lounge – my phone tells me I ended up walking 8 miles on that day, ouch!
I attended one of the Trend runways shows, displaying items from Outnet.com. The trends shown for the next Spring and Summer 2014 were Metallics, Florals, Lace and Sports. I liked some more than others but the looks presented were all very elegant.
I hope you have enjoyed this, I know I did. Thanks once again to Young & Connected for the opportunity.In the end, it was a very full but fun day. As I went on my own I didn’t have anyone to take my picture but I had a go at the Canon 360: