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Image: island*atelier
Image: R Walker

The boys from Street Ettiquette have done it again.  In their newest post about shawl-collared sweaters, Travis Gumbs was featured wearing a pair of "gaiters", pictured above on his feet and worn over a pair of desert boots.  I have never seen nor heard of such things but they look fantastic.  I could google it, but I hope they do a piece on the history and use of them soon. 

You can read the entire post here.
I have to say that walking around the big city the other day it was like my blog had come to life. I was able to visit so many stores and see firsthand items that I have featured on this blog and seen on others. Even though you can see everything online, it’s so much better to be able to pick up, feel and turn over an item or feel the material of a dress through your fingers.

One of the stores I loved was Jonathan Adler's shop featuring his home wares, ceramics and books. The store isn’t large, but was stuffed to the gills with tsotchkes and things to see. There were lots of creatively designed vignettes (they were in the middle of re-arranging when I arrived) and I loved the bright colours and patterns. It was like walking into a candy store for grownups and of course I couldn't leave without a treat.

We have a few bookstores here but they don't offer the same variety you find in stores in big cities around the world. That's to be expected; there just isn’t the market for that sort of thing. But the other day when I was travelling I spent several hours in a big bookstore chain just browsing both books and the magazine options on sale. I especially love to flip through the different types of magazines that you don't normally see and in the smaller bookstores where I live. These are the really specialist magazines which I'm happy to see are still being printed in this day of online media and second-gen Internet. I mean I love the Internet as much as the next guy but there’s something about the tactile experience of flipping through a paper-based magazine that an electronic version, in my opinion, will never be able to replicate. There’s just so much inspiration to be absorbed at once. Because I’m not used to it, sometimes I find it a bit overwhelming and I can only take it in short doses.
Image: Tory Burch
Tory Burch has once again unashamedly mined tribal cultures for inspiration and produced this strikingly interesting shell bracelet.  I am a lover of statement pieces and bracelets, so it is right up my alley.
Behold parents who are lovers of mid-century modern design, I present to you the most spectacular children's dollhouse that have come across. This dollhouse by Brinca Dada comes complete with beautifully designed furniture, two fireplaces, what appears to be a rooftop swimming pool and views from every window. The house is environmentally-conscious and even has solar panels (powering recessed LED lights) and is made with non-toxic, lead-free paints. 

Is it possible to be envious of the dolls house? I think so. This beauty will set you back a pretty penny and I wonder who will have more fun playing with it: you or your child.

Not sure I'm liking what I see so far.
Images: Imaxtree/Lanvin
Images: H&M
Lanvin *hearts* H&M hit stores last week and I enviously watches scenes of the long lines and then mayhem as shoppers cleaned the place out.  I'm so sorry I couldn't have been a part of it although I am largely ambivalent about high/low collaborations these days and the (lack of) quality of the items however in terms of design, I'd have to give them full marks.
Image: Band Aid/Cynthia Rowley
My love affair with Cynthia Rowley continues.  While not strictly necessary, how adorable are these plasters she designed for Band-Aid?  They're sure to make you feel better the moment to put one on.
Image: Warby Parker
I've been looking for new frames for my prescription lenses (or "opticals" as the Americans say) for the longest while.  Something interesting and different, but not so much as to make me look too crazy.  Oliver Peoples usually has some good designs which are also good quality, but when I had a look at the portfolio online, nothing caught my fancy.  I also spent much of my recent trip to the US scouring every eyeglass store I happened by, with no luck.  I came across Warby Parker, a brand I'd never heard of before this week, and I must say, the glasses have impressed me.  They've got a good price-point and interesting styles (they even sell monocles; how cool is that? ) and I am sorely tempted to try some coloured frames this time.  I can't speak for the quality as I've only seen them online, but I might be willing to give them a try.  They donate a pair of glasses for ever pair they sell, so that can't be a bad thing.  

You can check out their current range here.
Image: Shopbop.com
Is it wrong that I love and want these Marc Jacobs silly bandz?  At $15 a pop, they won't break the bank.  Available here from Shopbop.com.

Well, it's goodbye to the Gap for star collaborator Stella McCartney who introduced the first Stella McCartney Kids wear collection earlier this month. With the success of her collaboration with the Gap, it made sense for her to leave the and forge her own way in the children's wear market as it was obvious that there is a demand. Her clothes for the Gap usually all sold out and quite quickly too. The clothes are currently available online and via a very fun and free iPhone app (you still have to buy the clothes) and the plan is for the garments to be sold through stores in the traditional way eventually.
Image: island*atelier
... and they are just a cute as they looked when I wrote about them here.

One of my favourite accessories is the watch, and over the years I've owned countless watches in different styles and types. I am always attracted to the men's watches as I like a larger, more prominent face, even though I have quite small wrists. I do consider them to be real statement pieces. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I have dabbled from time to time with Swatch watches. Although I haven't bought a Swatch watch in more than five years, I often stop at the shop (usually while I am in an airport) and have a look to see what is new. 

I was pleasantly surprised to realise that Swatch has recently updated its look and rather than the usual kitschy cartoon designs, these are a lot more streamlined and more wearable than what they have produced in recent years. To commemorate this fact, the company has been running a design competition with fashion editors, bloggers and trendsetters including Wallpaper* magazine, to promote the designs which are called the Swatch New Gent Collection. Video of the Wallpaper* campaign is featured above.
Image: Anthropologie
I have been searching literally for YEARS for the perfect pair of aviator shades.  I love the shape, but often the frames were too large or heavy or just plain uncomfortable and so the search continued.  I recently took the plunge and bought a very reasonably-priced pair from Anthropologie after reading the reviews from other customers.  There was talk of people buying two pairs at a time because the glasses are so perfect and inexpensive.  I took the reviews with a grain of salt but due to the fact that they cost less than $30, decided to take the plunge.  Goodness knows over the years I have spent ten times that amount on ill-fitting, uncomfortable pairs. 

And do you know, those reviewers were not far off the mark.  Although they pinch slightly in the nose, the shades are lightweight, flattering and an appropriate size for a woman's face.  I chose the colour above and it suits me, but there are three other colour/tint combinations to choose from so there should be a pair that's flattering for everyone.  The Fly-By-Night shades are available online from Anthropologie here.
Image: The Gap

Gorgeous ruffled trench.
No offence to any Americans out there, but I really love European design. From the clothes to interior decor, the clean lines, simple colours and the restraint has always appealed to me. Take a look at these designs from kalma&violeta, a company based in Madrid, Spain which produces children's furniture, beds and accessories. Using simple materials and basic colour schemes, kalma&violeta have produced designs which will enhance and compliment any child's room.

I love staying in boutique, designer hotels. I enjoy the thought that one day my house too could be like that. So I take the opportunity whenever I am away to live my dream. Therefore when I came across the Ames hotel online, I immediately knew that had to stay there during my trip to Boston.

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Sorry for the lapse in posts.  I've been away but I am now hopefully back on track.  More posts soon.

I've always loved Kate Spade and its brother company, Jack Spade, for being more than just a fashion but a lifestyle brand with lines of handbags, shoes, stationary and other accessories. Great colours, clean lines and quirky takes on traditional looks are the hallmarks of their designs.

I think I must be an uptown yuppie at heart. 

They have just opened a pop up shop in London's Covent Gardens until November 10 so those across the Atlantic have no excuse for not getting on board with their quintessentially New York style.

Image: MariasUSA
I love these bow maryjane flats from MaraisUSA.  I love their aesthetic and the fact that they do only a few pieces and so produce design quality, rather than mass-market quantity.  Other great-looking shoes, which won't break the bank are also available here.

This is a trend that has been featuring on the outskirts of mainstream fashion for the last couple of winters and has now risen to prominence in the winter of 2010. Its a tricky number to wear as the key to having no sleeves means you must always make sure that your arms are warm. Also, due to the fact that the widest point of the garment is around the middle, to avoid looking like you're wearing a sack cloth, it is essential that you choose a cape with some sort of structure or detailing such as a belt or a cinched waist, either of which will streamline the look and make it look more tailored and flattering on the body.
Image: Shopbop.com
The colour of the season is camel, which along with black, grey and purple usually turns up every winter in rotation. Prepare to see it everywhere and the ubiquitous capes, belts, shoes and the like. Camel is a great alternative to black in the winter I however I find it to be very high maintenance. It's the colour that suits blondes as well as brunettes so I doubt its popularity will ever wane.

A company in Denmark has come up with an unusual concept. Snurk (which means snore in Dutch) bedding mimics the sleeping conditions of the homeless with cardboard box printed duvets and pavement printed mattresses. When I first saw the site, I thought they were producing bedding to be distributed to the homeless and to people sleeping rough, but this is a different riff on that. One redeeming factor is that part of the proceeds from the sale of the bedding are donated to the Dutch Foundation for Homeless Youngsters, but I'm not sure that that totally removes the whiff of self-satisfied smugness that someone with a roof over his or her head who buys these must still give off. It's a one-note joke and, even though it's mitigated by an altruistic gesture, I'm still not sure it should be played.
Image: Bensimon

I have been jones-ing for these lightweight, summer sneakers from Bensimon, well, all summer and although the end of warm weather will soon be upon us, I still wanted to feature them here and may get a pair in preparation for next year. We are lucky because warm weather can sometimes last all the way until December, so while we may have to give up the luxury of sandals and flip-flops, we can still get away with wearing lightweight shoes for a few more months as long as they are closed. 

I did not know much about the line and had to do some research. It appears that it is a French company and, in addition to the sneakers, they produce bags and a limited line of clothing. As well as these traditional, tennis sneakers, they also do a ballet style without laces, a hightop version and mini versions for children. The sneakers are touted as being environmentally-friendly and are very distinctive with their large toe cap. Although the pair I was considering in a more muted shade, I love the punchy brights pictured above. They just spell elegant, casual French style to me. 

You can see the full line of Bensimon goods here.
Image: Target
Mulberry's Target collaboration which I wrote about here was released last Sunday, October 10 online and in stores with a line of about fifteen reasonably priced bags.  The bags look typically "Mulberry" with the iconic Mulberry heart tag, and come in four materials: patent, denim, hot pink leopard and pebble.  I love the satchel and the cross-body bags in the blue denim with patent flap, however by the time I logged on at 7:00 am, the smaller denim satchel had sold out.  I restrained myself from buying the larger denim satchel which I know I would never use, and sprang instead for the larger denim cross-body.  I have been notified that it's on the way, so I will report on the quality of the bag when it arrives.  Absolutely hate the pink leopard.  What were they thinking?

Details of some individual bags below.
You can call it a cynical attempt to post his picture on this site, however I have noticed a trend toward brightly coloured coloured men's suits recently. Robert Pattinson is wearing a maroon suit by Gucci and Brad Goreski (Rachel Zoe's ex-assistant) is wearing a red suit by Hugo Boss. I can see why they would be tempted to mix things up a little, as there is very little one can do with the traditional men's suit without looking clownish or ridiculous. Adding a colour in this manner is a great way to update a look and to stand out from the crowd.

When I lived in London, I loved to take walks along South Bank and to hang out at the Tate Museum, so I'm always interested to see what exhibitions are commissioned and installed in the Turbine Hall of the Museum. When the latest exhibit was unveiled on Monday, I was really excited, more so than for the last few installations. The Unilever Series, Sunflower Seeds, by Ai Weiwei consists of 100 million individually handmade porcelain replicas of seeds which have been spread across the floor of the Turbine Hall. The public was then invited to walk and interact with the installation and for this reason the idea captured my imagination, I suppose by appealing to my inner child. I wished I could have been there to experience it first-hand and I definitely would have pocketed one of the seeds to keep as a souvenir.

How pretty are these vitamins?  The bottles are the brain-child of graphic designer Sarah Cespedes and are designed to show the colour of the product inside and the labels highlight the benefit each brings to the body.  While they're just a project and not in production, it got us wondering: why all medicine can't be this beautiful.

Images: Sarah Cespedes

I know I report on high/low collaborations a lot, but this is one collection that has stopped me in my tracks, I love it so much.  Uniqlo and Jil Sander's latest collaboration, Uniqlo + J, was released in the US a few days ago and has been released in the UK today.  I am so disappointed that the clothes are not available online and was tempted to ask my UK contacts to purchase a couple of pieces for me.  I love everything about it: the shapes, textures and colours.  May I have one of everything please ...?  
L-R: Steffe, Derek Lam
L-R: Tibi, Diane von Furstenburg
Images: Imaxtree

My favourite items from Anthroplogie this week: Corinthian top by Deletta, Corset sweater dress by Leifsdootir,  Berrybud boots by Chie Mihara and Pilcro's Cohort corduroys.
L-R: Milly, LAMB
L-R: Alberta Feretti, Rodarte
Images: Imaxtree
There are a limited number if fashion bloggers I follow regularly and Street Etiquette is one of my favourites.  Travis Gumbs (originally from St Kitts and Nevis) and Joshua Kissi are pioneers in urban style.  I love their clean, preppy style which is so far from the usual street wear of African-American men. It is also obvious that they love fashion about as much as I do. Over the past year, I've watched as their profile has gradually risen beyond the blogosphere to mainstream media helped in part by the good work they've done and in part due to collaborations with designers like Sebago (where they designed a line of shoes) and videos like the one these images were taken from.  Black Ivy encapsulates their aesthetic perfectly and I find the images both uplifting and beautiful.
L-R: Milly, DKNY
L-R: Betsey Johnson, DKNY
Images: Imaxtree

As a renter with an interest in stylish but affordable design, this of course is my bible. I was therefore really excited when the 2011 IKEA catalogue was published a few weeks ago and duly went down to get my copy.

I have been noticing a proliferation of pop up shops recently. It's almost as though with the economy the way it is, retailers no longer want to shoulder the responsibilities which go along with having a real bricks-and-mortar shop but would still like a way to showcase their goods or raise their profile in a way in which having an online presence does not.
L-R: Derek Lam, Tibi
L-R: Derek Lam, Tory Birch
Images: Imaxtree


I used to be way more into television home design shows that I am at the moment. I used to watch them almost obsessively regardless of the quality of the programming or the taste-level of the outcome. I have slowly weaned off of design shows over the years, however I am still a huge fan of Sarah Richardson, a Canadian designer, who used to have a typical design program (that is where you redo a room of a house) but over the last couple of years has branched off into a bigger projects whereby she purchases and remodels an entire property, be it a home, farmhouse or an apartment.

Some time ago I went through a phase where I was obsessed with getting neutral coloured clothes for my daughter, that is to say, no brightly coloured pinks, blues or yellows or anything sparkly, but more sophisticated greys, black and whites.  For some reason a calmer, palette appealed to me.  I felt there was no need to have cute cartoon characters on all of my daughter's clothes.  I found that the more high end European lines tended to offer children's clothes without the blinding colours or sparkles that most of the mass-market lines do.   Companies like Petit Bateau are notorious for classic, beautiful clothes and recently I was pleasantly surprised to come across some lesser-known companies with a similar aesthetic. 

I love the look of a Breton stripe and have quite a few tops and dresses with this pattern in my wardrobe. In the summer they add a particularly crisp feel and I treat them as a graphic neutral that goes with anything. This year I have been rocking a striped t-shirt from J.Crew with navy and white stripes. As I like the idea of a certain French simplicity and a pared down wardrobe you can imagine my delight when I came across Chance, a website offering a limited number of classic items of clothing with a distinctly nautical feel.

I have written about the use of plywood as a medium for making children's play structures and furniture before, and am happy to report that although my designs for the outdoor sandbox I planned to make this summer never came into fruition, someone else jumped on the outdoor plywood bandwagon and has produced this lovely line of wendy houses for children complete with child-sized furniture and textiles to go along with it. They are a fun and stylish addition to any garden and are available for purchase online here.

I am featuring the Prada show solely because it has become so directional and important in the industry - a benchmark which other designers and the high street will riff on in the weeks and months to come - if you will, that I could not in all good conscience omit to cover it although I am all "fashioned out".  I'm not saying I particularly like the looks, but I certainly give kudos to her creativity and influence.  

I am happy to see it was a tropical theme, albeit a very stylised version.  Without knowing the details, I would say pre-revolutionary Cuba of the 50s.  The show featured an unusual drop-shoulder profile and the shapes were boxy.  Cuban guayaberas with flippy skirts?  Don't see myself rushing to the shops to buy those I'm afraid.  The colours were very strong and bright with stripes grounded in black.  Shoes were platformed wedges - strange sporty, and the sunglasses extremely ornate.  Everyone seems to be talking about the unusual monkey and banana print but I don't love it.  Actually the way it repeats itself on the fabric like a mirror image like a rorschach test reminds me of what Alexander McQueen was doing with the patterns in his last collection.  I did however like the dresses with the figure on them marginally more.   Lord alone knows what those furry things the models were holding were and what purpose fur has in a spring/summer collection.

There were some pretty austere dresses at the end.  Again, I wouldn't have picked black as a dominant colour for a spring/summer collection but I guess that's why I'm here and why Miuccia is running the show.

My husband has three bicycles in our storeroom and rides one of them fairly regularly. They are sports bikes built for speed or rough terrain and he has the full kit to go along with them. Occasionally he will try to get me interested in joining him for a spin but the thought of pounding the roads wearing an aeronautically correct helmet while working up a sweat doesn't hold much attraction for me. That is not to say I wouldn’t be interested in going for a bike ride, as I loved to do when I was younger. It’s just that for the ride to be pleasurable for me, the aim would not be to beat the clock but to enjoy the scenery.

I had thought about purchasing such a pleasure bike some years ago, but never did. I love the lines of these Dutch style bikes which are being produced by Papillionaire, a Melbourne-based bicycle company and I would definitely take these for a spin.

Image: Papillionaire