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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Baby Insomnia medicated by Style

Rochas S/S 'll
Today I left my baby boy to cry in his cot for ten minutes- it felt like an hour and the guilt was almost physically painful. This is the first time I have ever tried to get him to sleep (his afternoon nap) without a dummy and let him carry on crying.  I feel awful but the fact is at night he spits the dummy out, then wakes up without it and then won't go back to sleep- he definitely isn't hungry as have been feeding him every time he wakes up. I haven't had more than four hours uninterrupted sleep for about a year (including night time loo trips when heavily pregnant and restless leg syndrome). I am literally obsessed with sleep and feel I have to make a decision to get rid of the dummy- I think that cold turkey is the last option left.

This led me to thinking about how my baby insomnia isn't alleviated at all by the incredible volume of information out there for mothers on the web, which is so confusing, contradictory and overwhelming-  dummies good, dummies bad, controlled crying evil, sleep training (the same, different name) good, comfort feeding bad, demand feeding good, routines good, baby-led weaning good, expressing milk bad, drinking out of cups good, spouts bad, swaddling good, rocking bad, formula bad, breast-feeding good, leche league, lanolin, latch etc etc etc. All the options having reasonable justifications, all the different answers to my questions putting my head in a whirl.

I'm starting to think that bringing up a baby in a complete information vacuum (or at least without the internet) would be better. In general my mum's generation seem a lot more laid back about parenting and would laugh at the idea of 'Hot-Housing, ''Baby Sensory Development Classes' and 'Nappuccinos'- I honestly think that they were able to make decisions and stick with them because they didn't have such resource. They were more able to think for themselves without the reflex action of typing into the search engine for answers. It seems that instead of really being to enjoy parenting, we are hyper-anxious to seek web-affirmation for our every decision. Don't we just need to have more faith in ourselves? I do realise that diminishing actual communities are being substituted with online communities and that access to the web can for some, ensure that mums aren't isolated. But I am still led to pose a shameful Carrie Bradshaw-like question about life in general- Is it the fact that we have too many choices, that limits us?

So what is the link to fashion? Well happily, having too many style choices, in opposition to the 'philosophy' of Gok Wan, is never a bad thing. Being able to switch on my laptop and browse the latest collections, is an immediate happiness boost and must be a contributing factor to me not having hit the bottle to counter my sleep deprivation. The online fashion community may be critical, sometimes chi-chi and extremely demanding but designers are never overwhelming, only inspiring and at least twice a year, everything changes and positively! If Dolce and Gabbana shows feminine white frippery, that's fantastic, if Rochas presents granny chic that's lovely too. There is room for oversizing, bodycon, minimalism and embellishment. If I make a bad style choice, the only ego I will be damaging is my own (not worrying about child psychologists years later), if I seek fashion advice, I need not worry if I decide to change my mind a day later. Contrariness is almost lauded. Fashion is purely subjective, brilliantly shallow and any guilt I get from a fashion choice relates to my bank balance only. Fashion to me is mental caffeine and fits around my baby boy, providing a welcome diversion from my parenting choices, its genius is that within fashion, there are no real contradictions, just concoctions.

Anyway, he bawled for ten minutes, making noises like a goat being strangled and now is sound asleep- an hour and a half so far and I can't wait for him to wake up. I have posted up a little 'caffeine', for you to enjoy.

Limi Feu S/S '11


Anne Valerie Hash S/S '11

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Battle against the Flowers continues: Nicolas Andreas Taralis

Nicolas Andreas Taralis S/S'11
More sheer fabrics and more black! Sighs of pleasure from those of us who live in mainly dreary climates, whose wardrobes are a pathetic fallacy, whose optimism is expressed through words and not signs, who had to wear floral tents throughout their pregnancy (and who were goths in their teens).
Nicolas Andreas Taralis S/S'11
Nicolas Andreas Taralis S/S'11
Nicolas Andreas Taralis S/S'11
All photos credited to style.com

What a baby would wear to Berlin via Paris:Tsumori Chisato for children

Tsumori Chisato, whose adult collections already bring out the inner child in me, has collaborated with Petit Bateau to make a special line of whimsical pieces for little girls and boys. The clothes will be available in shops from October 2010, especially for the Christmas period.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Safari to Berlin via Paris

 Today I have a horrible limbo-like feeling (trying to get from D Squared to Dries Van Noten safely, navigating through a lot of Cavalli fringing and some other stuff I'm not really interested in) and this, combined with a queasiness normally experienced after over-eating (web overload), as well as lack of inspiration (tweets and tw*ts destroying my brain), means that this post will be even more tenuously linked to my Germanic journey and motherhood, so apologies in advance.

Look at this amazing original  '80s safari style jacket by Sonia Rykiel (well it would look more amazing if someone under 80 with 20/20 vision had taken the picture) on Oxfam online for only £50.00 (with maybe £10 discount)!! Shall I get it?  I could go on about the 'Urban Jungle' or 'Fearless City Warrior' a bit but I am too jaded today. Fin.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Top 100 Men's Haircuts: From the Silver Screen to East London's Streets

 After spotting a person of dubious taste sporting a plantagenet* haircut outside the Prince George last night (after hoping that the style was back in history where it belongs), it set me to thinking where the young men of E8, really got their hairstyle inspirations from. After all, Blackadder 1st and Fido Dido aren't the only hair style icons of today. Fortunately I haven't had to carry out any extensive research at all, as Vogue Paris has conveniently tweeted this GQ France online article, which purportedly shows the top 100 most stylish haircuts from cinema. I have picked a few that have clearly influenced the follicly fresh young men who hang about in Hackney (my baby' hair is already taking on disturbing Hackney hair elements- shorter at the sides, longer on the top and a 1930's parting).

*The House of Plantagenet (pronounced /plænˈtædʒɨnɨt/), a branch of the Angevins, was a royal house founded by Geoffrey V of Anjou, father of Henry II of England. Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Queen Elizabeth II and Jeans- Mongrels in Common?

 I always love reading choice pieces from press releases and finding out what designers have been 'channelling' each season. Favourites so far have included 'Princess Anne on acid' (Christopher Kane), 'Heritage Biker' (Burberry Prorsum), 'Rigor with Sensuality' (Versace-not my spelling, accidental necrophiliac connotations from style.com) and 'Minimal Baroque' (Prada). It was with amusement therefore, that while re-browsing throught the Spring/ Summer collections shown at Berlin Fashion Week in July to compare with the September shows, I spotted this statement from 'Mongrels in Common':

'Mongrels in Common stand for merging different cultures and consequentially creating a cosmopolitan, urban and unique look – mongrelism.  With the upcoming collection the two designers combine the timelessly elegant hunting style of HM Queen Elizabeth II. with sportive influences of Jeans.' Are they saying that our dear Queenie is a mongrel? Or is there some kind of 'blue-jeans-blood-corgie' inference. I'm a bit confused.

So I was expecting a Moschinoesque or Giles-like cartoonish collection but was pleasantly surprised by the elegance of the designs, which sort of, slightly, not really actually, justify the reference (fortunately). Here are a few picks:
 
Long live the Queen!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Qvest for Genderless Fashion: My Gender

I don't normally like the idea of blogging editorial shoots, as it just seems like a lazy way to tart up your website visually. However I really love this one and the clothes remind me a lot of the style of a certain friend of mine, whose ability to carry this look off, is a source of great envy.  Qvest by the way, is a directional German fashion magazine which is a goldmine for fantastical style imagery.

I personally am in a state of rebellion about post-fecundity bumps, so am all about rejecting gender at this current time.

Photography Kati Lanhe Chala
Styling Juanma Granero





Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Uncommon Matters- Effortless jewellery from a German designer


I am not big on wearing lots of accessories. Shoes I love and a couple of good leather bags and belts are invaluable but when it comes to jewellery more often than not, I will remove all of it last minute from an ensemble, as I am about to leave the house. I always find that it seems to distract and detract, rather than compliment and my carelessness means that much of my jewellery ends up on the pavement, in pub corners and on cloakroom floors anyway (as a mother, earrings and necklaces are a bit of a hazard, to me and not the baby). I was delighted however in my search for Berlin style, to come across the collection Uncommon Matters, by Amelia Rich, a Berlin and Paris based designer who makes her pieces from porcelain. Her designs are outside of trend, statement pieces and the strong but elegant forms of the pieces bely their fragility (while being hard to lose).  The collars in particular, really enliven a simple white t-shirt or black camisole therefore providing more options for a stream-lined wardrobe.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A little neon light laughter

Christopher Kane S/S '11
I was overjoyed to see the Christopher Kane S/S '11 collection, as I am always excited about really beautiful work that inevitably will be twisted by the high street into something cheap and horrific looking, thus providing endless amusement when seen on gullible fashion obsessives. The prospect of even more neon-toting hipsters (one of my reasons for wanting to leave London), traversing Broadway Market on Saturday mornings, is making me rub my hands together in glee, especially as the likely resulting glare will no doubt lead to the need for even bigger, bug-eye sunglasses to be worn with.

Hurray, hurray, hurray! Well done to Christopher and Tammy Kane for producing another lovely line, which will be imitated but cannot be mirrored, due to it's delicacy and finesse.
Christopher Kane S/S '11
Christopher Kane S/S '11
All images credited to style.com





Monday, 20 September 2010

Less is Better- Barbican - Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

Yohji Yamamoto A/W '10
This fascinating upcoming exhibition at London's Barbican Gallery promises to be a truly brilliant offering, with the work of inspirational designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Jun Takahashi, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe on show. I wish I could wear the Yohji Yamamoto dress above from A/W '10 to the private view, or wrap up against the cold night air afterwards in one of Jun Takahashi's designs, like this snuggly coat, also below, from the Undercover A/W '10 collection.

With Takahashi's mantra apparently being 'less is better', I certainly feel in tune with his ideals. I will be wearing a scent by Comme de Garcons in tribute to Takahashi and Rei Kawakubo though, as that is all I can afford!

Barbican - Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

Undercover A/W '10
All above photos are credited to style.com  

Is breast-feeding stylishly possible?

Thinking about my post-baby body and new curves on holiday, has reminded me of the struggle to find bras that are easy to breast-feed in, look sexy, are supportive and also fit well under clothes. None of the 'purpose built' bras I have bought have ticked all of these boxes and that includes bras from Elle Macpherson Intimates, Cake, Hot Milk, M & S and Agent Provocateur (and the list goes on). Once on, these bras make me feel like an armoured vehicle and the frills, lace and diamante they are often embellished with to compensate, ruin the line of most clothes. Surprisingly, after six months I have finally found a bra for £10, that does what I need and in a million colours (not quite but close).

The Nylon Spandex Micro-Mesh Triangle Cross-Back Bra by American Apparel, is supportive, easy to slide across for feeding and feels barely there. The simplicity of the cross back, I think is the secret to the support and although all the models in the pictures are tiny-titted, the bra gives great shape to my DD breasts in a medium. The black looks amazingly similar to the mesh bras worn by the models in the Richard Nicoll S/S 'll collection too!

Vacation vacillation

Have to admit, no time whatsoever was spent thinking about the move to Berlin while on holiday, although Greek Island fun, with cheap food, beautiful scenery and beer definitely highlighted why London is not value for money. However some regrets about my wardrobe while away- I am still not managing to dress to my new post-baby figure and in hot weather need to reassess. 

My ideal wardrobe for this holiday would have been provided by PPQ. As although I am not usually a huge fan, the shapes in S/S '11 were ideal for some tummy coverage and accentuating new curves- although in complete conflict with my new minimal ideal. 
Great for those with breasts
Even better for those with breasts and no hips!

High-waisted tummy coverage and hip enhancement
All above photos are credited to style.com 



Here are a couple of photos of my baby boy enjoying his holiday, relying on innate cuteness and not giving  a damn about what to wear.



Spring Simplicity

A quick review of the S/S collections so far, has revealed that the A/W harvest is not entirely over for sheer fabrics combined with unfussy lines- and in black too! Although florals have been seen as usual and prints will no doubt dominate the high street, it will be easy to continue any aesthetic aspirations for sexy simplicity and mixing and matching monochrome already in muy wardrobe- I also love the button downs for breastfeeding!
Charles Anastase S/S '11
Charles Anastase S/S '11

Richard Nicoll S/S '11
Hannah Marshall S/S '11

Hannah Marshall S/S '11
All above photos are credited to style.com

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A break from London

I'm off to a Greek Island for a week with my partner and son and it will be good opportunity to get perspective and reflect on what I love about London, what I am jaded about and the next steps in actually moving to Berlin. All the decisions I take will bear this quote in mind (which incidentally I read in an interview with Maison Martin Margiela).

'The head, when used in support of the heart and an informed sense of good, will rarely lead astray'

Photo by Marcio Madeiro, firstview.com

 Looking forward to the S/S collection when I return, with an expectation of exquisite design purism to inspire and until then I'll just have to endure the beach!

Friday, 10 September 2010

New Minimalism- the desire for cleaner, lighter living

This season's new minimalism synchronises with my current obsession with losing the physical luggage accumulated in the last eight years in London- with a view to arriving in Berlin cleaner and lighter. The result of the inspiration? Three more bags for the charity shop, no need for a separate S/S and A/W wardrobe and a few less heavy (and unreferred to) texts on the bookshelf. Unfortunately, also nothing to wear. To compensate for the weight loss,  two key new wardrobe building block items from American Apparel, this airy sleeveless lawn button shirt in white and a positively feather-light black lace T - (which is more minimal in it's coverage).


Too cool for schule

Another reason why the little one might want to go is educational options like the Erika-Mann-Grundschule. Somehow I think unless I become very rich in the next few years, I would not be able to get this standard of education in London. Although I have just been totally sucked in by the website aesthetic and my German isn't good enough to really understand their values or teaching methods. Looks good though eh?