Sunday, 28 February 2010

Pictures I love

Photography by John Swannell

This wonderful portrait of one of our greatest actors John Gielgud really shows off his great sense of humour. Taken in 1991 when Gielgud was eighty seven by John Swannell.

Lady Gaga, Issy Blow and Philip's lobsters

Whatever you say about Lady Gaga you have to admit she is one of our fashion mavericks. She's not afraid to wear the most extraordinary and outrageous outfits. Her stylist Nicola Formichetti constantly produces very original looks for her. I like it that what she wears is actually worth looking at.  I saw these pictures of her in the lobster creation and nurses dress this morning harking back in the 1930's when surrealist Salvador Dali featured lobsters in his work and collaborations with designer Elsa Shiaparelli.  Issy Blow caused a stir in an amazing lobster hat by Philip Treacy and a silver lobster necklace. Whether it's been done before is irrelevant, they make fabulous pictures!

Lobster hat by Philip Treacy, Latex dress by Rachael Barrett, Yellow hand by set designer Gary Card

Hat and Lobster necklace by Philip Treacy

Salvador Dali's lobster costume, only for the brave

Dali's lobster telephone

Issy Blow in the Philip Treacy lobster hat

Pam Hogg's fabulous catsuits

How fabulous is this catsuit?

I've been friends with Pam for a very long time now and she's amazing.  Pam is a fashion designer, musician (she has a great voice) and a DJ and I've always loved her clothes.  She has produced some fantastic collections over the years and amongst some outrageous creations most of it is actually very wearable.

Pam has successfully managed to infiltrate the conventional fashion world with her clothes and she has attracted one of the most diverse and long standing followings of any designer since her first show in 1983.

Pam in one of her early catsuits from AW90

I think these quotes from the press say it better than I ever could

"Before grey was the new brown, before Kate Moss, grunge and heroin chic, there was a fashion moment that bore Pam Hogg's signature.  At a time when Britannia was generally considered uncool and fashion stars of the future such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney were still learning to cut patterns, Hogg was one of the few British designers whose clothes could be found in the International pages of Vogue.  But she was more than just a designer... she was one of the catalysts behind alternative London.  She had arrived in the city in the late 70's when punk was in it's prime, Billy Mackenzie, Siouxsie Sioux and Debbie Harry were among her closest friends."

"For her disciples Pam is an icon, the last survivor of the Leigh Bowery/Body Map generation of the 80's club class designers who partied at the Blitz with Boy George and David Bowie."

Siouxsie and Pam look brilliant in Pam's designs

"Pam Hogg is not just one of the most inventive and innovative fashion designers in the UK, she is also one of the most unorthodox.  Pam is original, inventive and creative and really has achieved 'cult' status."

Pam and Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie at her pop-up shop opening in Newburgh Street, May 2009  

Pam looks amazing in one of her catsuits.  I love the fact her hair matches!

Pam's original Newburgh Street shop, 1989

The catsuits are fantastic, I would love one but I know I shall definitely be ordering the gold dress from AW10 which is stunning and will never date.

Liberty Ross shot by Matt Irwin

To see some of Pam's AW10 collection click here

Lady Gaga wears Pam Hogg AW10

Lady Gaga last night after her 02 show wearing one of Pam's signature catsuits from last week's AW10 collection.

Pictures I love

Photography by Ellen von Unwerth

I don't know who the model is in this picture but one of my model agent friends with their encyclopedic knowledge will definitely know.  I adore Ellen von Unwerth and think this picture is timeless and beautiful.

The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate

I shall start re reading The Pursuit of Love this week followed by of course, Love in a Cold Climate.  The two books are often published together.  It's been twenty five years since I first read them and I can't wait to enjoy them again.

The Pursuit of Love is the first in a trilogy of novels about an upper class family, supposedly Nancy's own with names changed.  All her books are incredibly witty, delightful and totally un PC.  Anyone who hasn't read them should start with these two and frankly we could all do with some escapism from our English weather!

I love old books and there have been some beautiful covers, here are some of them.

Photograph by Cecil Beaton

Photograph by Bassano

Photograph by Cecil Beaton

When I've finished reading the books I shall watch the Dvd I've just ordered from Amazon of the TV series starring Rosamund Pyke, John Light, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Sheila Gish and Alan Bates.  I watched another version in 1980 with Judi Dench and her husband Michael Williams, sadly I can't remember much about it as I was only eleven at the time!

Nancy Mitford Exhibition

My favourite bookshop Heywood Hill in Mayfair are putting on a unique exhibition dedicated to the life and work of their most famous alumna, Nancy Mitford.  The exhibition will run from 28th June to 10th September 2010.

Nancy Mitford and Anne Hill

In preparation they are asking their customers to share their pictures, letters and memories of Nancy's time working at Heywood Hill.  Her sister Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire explains "Heywood Hill was at the war... which was why she was there.  Anyone on leave with whom she had the slightest acquaintance would go straight there.  It was the best fun in the world.  She earned £3 a week and lived in Maida Vale and often walked home to save the bus fare."

The fabulous original cover from 1935
Image copyright of The Mitford Archive

I am very much looking forward to reading Wigs on the Green which has been reissued after seventy five years out of print.  I intend to re read my Nancy Mitford collection this spring.  Alongside Wigs on the Green, Penguin are reissuing four more of Nancy's most popular novels with new introductions by Alan Cumming, Alex Kapranos, Zoe Heller and Sophie Dahl.

I love the first edition covers and all the covers with pictures of Nancy best

The blue plaque at Heywood Hill, Curzon Street

To read my earlier post on the new Nancy Mitford novels click here

G. Heywood Hill Ltd
10 Curzon Street
London W1J 5HH

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pictures I love

Photography by David Bailey
Jean Shrimpton

Photography by David Bailey
Jean Shrimpton

Brigitte Bardot

Photography by Brian Duffy
Grace Coddington

Photography by Herb Ritts
Drew Barrymore

Jodie Foster

Friday, 26 February 2010

Feeling a lot better!

I just like this picture

I've given myself a bit of an overhaul this evening and feel much better for it and more like my usual sparkly self.  I used to have a facial every month but I've not had one since October (when I started my Christmas spending spree).  I've always been guilty of buying new products that get left unused in the cupboard and I'm making an effort to use them rather than save them for something special.

First I had a bath filled with Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk, a Christmas present from The Actor which smells good enough to eat. This came with a scented candle which I lit.  The house smells amazing!  Instead of going for the usual glass of red, I had a cup of tea!!  I could pretend it was some sort of herbal detox tea, which I have boxes of but it was good old PG Tips.

I exfoliated with my current favourite scrub, The Sanctuary Kyphi Nourishing Hot Sugar Scrub, £10 from Boots.  If you haven't tried it, give it a go.  It gets hot as you rub it in and leaves your skin really moisturised.

This is the best facial exfoliator I have found, it's £65 but lasts forever.  You should use it twice a week but I usually forget.  Possibly why my skin was looking so dull.  From Space NK.

Then rather than leaving it in the bathroom cupboard I opened my Laura Mercier Creme Brulée Body Souffle, another present from The Actor from Valentine's Day last year!  which also smells marvelous.

I followed this with another product I bought and used once... Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Mask, £32 from Bliss online.  You put it on as as gel and it fizzes on your skin and tingles, turning into a frothy foam, quite bizarre but you can feel it working.

There's more! Last year my friend had a job lot of Decleor products for a quarter of the price from a salon that was closing.  Of course I bought a large box full.  I gave some away as presents and the rest have sat unopened.  First I used Decleor's Clay and Herbal Cleansing Mask which is really very good, my skin was looking noticeably better after all this!

For the last face mask I put on a thick layer of Decleor Brightening Purifying Mask which I can recommend.  My skin looked much pinker, rather than the sallow thing I was greeted with this morning and much plumper and brighter.

Definitely much better... and so I should be after that lot!  I smell like a pudding now!  A thick layer of No. 7 Protect and Perfect Intense and their eye cream followed by No. 7 Lift and Luminate (I'm a sucker for an ad and Miranda Richardson looks great in it. Her skin looked nothing like that when I saw her in Notting Hill a couple of years back... Hmmm).

I have a thing for modal and bamboo nightwear and loungewear, they even make socks in it now.  It feels like thin cashmere.  I bought a brand new nightdress on Ebay recently that again I hadn't even tried on.  It's from Pyjama Room and I think they're about £70, I paid £16.  I've lent my camera to my friend so here are the pictures from Ebay.  It's really soft and comfortable and floor length with sort of gathered Grecian shoulders, you can't really see in the photo.  I feel like something from an Emily Bronte novel!

Changed sheets, changed silk pillowcases.  Settled down and watched everything The Actor won't like (he's at the theatre); Coronation Street, Relocation Relocation, What Katie Did Next (I know! but I can't help it) and now I shall put on a film; The Swimming Pool with Charlotte Rampling, I'll let you know what it's like.

I know I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.  I've just heard the weather forecast - sleet and rain.  How lovely!! xx

Thursday, 25 February 2010

One of those days

I'm having one of those days today... I was woken up by the postman delivering some of my Ebay purchases as I ran up the stairs I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror and I just thought God!  I look really old!!  Normally I'd have opened by parcels straight away and tried them on but I couldn't be bothered.  It another grey and dreary day outside and it was pouring with rain AGAIN.  I had no appointments so I thought sod it!  and went back to bed.

My friend who's a beauty editor told me a long time ago that we don't age gradually, it suddenly happens to you.  I've noticed over the past ten years I'll periodically look in the mirror and really notice my youthful glow disappearing more and more. Today I just thought I looked old.  I thought I'd got away with it until now and considering my lifestyle I've done pretty well.

I rode my horses every day until I was sixteen and rode a push bike everywhere.  Since then I've done barely any exercise at all (I'm thinking of getting a Stannah stair lift...), I don't think walking to the corner shop to get more booze counts somehow!  I drink what I like and eat what I like and I smoke, I used to smoke about forty Marlboro lights a day.  Now I smoke roll ups with filters now as The Actor hates straight fags, he's always going on about extra chemicals!  I don't think I've ever managed eight glasses of water a day ever.  I do drink vegetable juice but I've let that slip in the past month.  My friend Frances and I would force ourselves to make one everyday and take turns in getting the huge bags of fruit and veg the juicer requires.  I spoke to her earlier and we've made a pact that we will start again tomorrow.

I've partied more than anyone should in one lifetime and missed a lot of nights sleep.  My best friend and I worked out that at one point we stayed up for at least two whole nights a week, which means we stayed up for 104 nights longer than anyone else!! ...and had 104 nights more fun!  We figured that if it was boring we would have gone to bed but we had so much fun we stayed up.

I look after my skin, much more in the last five years.  Before I would get drunk and go to bed in my make up but I rarely do that now... although I must admit I went to bed in my clothes and make up one night last week after a fashion party!

When I got up again I had another look and actually it wasn't quite as bad as I thought but I can definitely feel a health kick (or something!) coming on.  I've avoided it this year as the last few months have seemed more depressing than usual and I've consumed tons more chocolate recently.  Luckily I'm not depressed just a bit flat.  My way of dealing with it is to go to bed and I always feel much better when I get up again.

I shall have a long bath with lots of products and put a facepack on then at least I think I'm making an effort towards the constant fight against ageing.

The Actor is totally anti botox, fillers or cosmetic surgery so that's not an option.  I have a few little lines above my eyebrows if I screw my face up but otherwise it's not too bad.  My cheekbones look less prominent and my skin looks less plump.  Looking after myself better would help I'm sure.  I'll keep you posted if I actually manage the heath kick, normally it's a lot of talk and not much action!

I finally opened my parcels and I've bought a lovely black marabou jacket with a waist and cuffs for £35 which looks fab on.  That cheered me up!

Today's quotes are about, you guessed it - ageing.  I was going to do more fashion quotes but I think everyone's fashioned out by now...

I wish I could just grow old gracefully, on second thoughts disgracefully sounds like much more fun! xx

Seven quotes for a Thursday afternoon - Part seventeen

"Age is not important, unless you're a cheese"

Billie Burke

"To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, 
except take exercise, get up early or be respectable"

Oscar Wilde

"There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age"

Sophia Loren
(b. 1934)

"You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older"

Anouk Aimee
(b. 1932)

"I look forward to being older, when what you look like becomes less and less of an issue and what you are is the point"

Susan Sarandon
(b. 1946)

"Beautiful people are accidents of nature,
but beautiful old people are works of art"

Eleanor Roosevelt

"First you are young, then you are middle aged, 
then you are wonderful"

Lady Diana Cooper

Seven quotes for a Thursday afternoon is a weekly series to read part eighteen click here