Monday, 19 January 2009

20th Century Inspiration- Ladies!

70's- Nico

60's- The Ronettes

50's- Bettie Page

40's- Katherine Hepburn

30's- Marlene Dietrich

20's- Josephine Baker

Find of the month!

Every so often I bless my lucky stars that I have a boyfriend who lives in London. We always have a great time going to all the best spots, plus cheap train tickets and no hotel fares means I always have some spare money for buying some good items.

My mom has been harking on about these Melissa for Vivienne Westwood shoes since forever. Available in a myriad of colours, in a washable and very wearable rubber and with the trademark Westwood pawlike sculptured toe, I knew i'd love a pair if they were just that bit cheaper. I bought some flat Melissa shoes in the sale at Urban outfitters more than a year ago, and I'm still wearing them coz they don't perish and any scuff marks can be effectively removed with a little nail varnish remover, which is a definite plus!

This weekend I was pretty chuffed to find several pairs in Kokon Tozai ON SALE for £68 a pop. I bought the magenta ones, safe in the knowledge i'd still have them strapped to my feet in a years time. Wunderbar! If you fancy a pair yourself, Go have a look at the Kokon Tozai website for more details. Pretty sure the shop still has most sizes in a few colours... and if you're unlucky the shop also sells some brilliant porcelain skulls and knitted skeletons to cheer you....

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A brief Introduction to a Fashion Icon- Biba

The iconic Biba label

A quick history
The most glorious fashion retailer of the 60's and 70's, Biba was the totally original brainchild of Barbara Hulanicki, a skilled fashion drawer-turned- designer. Unlike most of the fashion conglomerates of today, the Biba business had humble beginnings. Starting off as a mail-order boutique with a few cheap garments cut all to the same tiny size, Barbara saw her designs take off in a big way. The first dress ever made by Biba- a simple gingham shift, flew off the pages of the Daily Mirror and into the homes of thousands of eager UK girls quicker almost than Hulanicki could have them made. The first store opened, in Kensington in 1964, became a similar hit as the young and fashionable flocked to pick up the cheap, wearable and devestatingly cool fashions.

The Biba label went from strength to strength, and soon moved from the small stores of Kensington to the massive Derry & Toms department store- Here became Big Biba. Big Biba seemed to answer the dreams of young women everywhere- offering a luxurious and unique shopping experience. The Art Nouveau label became intensely desirable, and appeared on everything in the store- from art-deco suit jackets to baked bean cans. The shop had a luxuriant art deco interior more suited to a 30's film set than a 70's store, and floppy felt hats, silk jumpsuits and jersey knits vied for space with ostrich feathers, cut-glass counters and even a giant Snoopy unit. For many, the Biba store was not just a place to purchase- it was something to be seen. Big Biba became a tourist attraction-as worthy a spectacle as Big Ben. There were few products that didn't get given the Biba touch- Big Biba sold everything- Mens, womens and childrens' clothing, groceries, shoes, make-up, accessories, playing cards, souvenirs and more. To add to Biba's opulence, there was also a roof garden with live flamingos.

The Big Biba make-up counter

Sadly, this wonderful dream was not to last. Behind all the extravagance, the Biba label failed to keep up with the times, and Barbara was powerless to defend her invention when there were arguments over creative control. In 1975, Biba closed its doors, and so ended a British icon.

The Biba Look
Made for the impossibly slim tennager and young adult, Barbara described the perfect Biba girls as 'fresh little foals with long legs, bright faces and round dolly eyes'. The clothes themselves were frequently dark, romantic and owed much to the styles of previous decades- Art Deco especially. The colour palette, save for the odd venture into the more sequinned 70's glam look, stayed resolutely dark and rich- plums, rusty browns and inky blues. Some common features of Biba clothes include high arm holes, bishop sleeves and covered buttons. Today vintage Biba clothes are incredibly desirable and reasonable rare- however, if you want a piece of wearable history, they are not unattainable.

A Biba catalogue documenting the specific 'Biba look'.

Some examples of Biba garments

Purchase Biba today
Be warned- there have been two full-on relaunches of the Biba brand- once in the nineties and once in 2006-2007. There were also some fairly terrible Biba concessions in the eighties! None have been designed or endorsed by Hulanicki herself, and neither are as well made or desirable as the 60's and 70's Biba. To find what labels prove the garment is a Biba original, click HERE

Ebay comes out tops again...

Its a unfortunate fact that the small, quality vintage shop is getting harder and harder to find. As prices rise and stocks dwindle, finding a great piece of vintage that isn't tacky eighties, grubby nineties or £400 is becoming more and more like hard work. Where there were once quaint market stalls run by eccentric old ladies now stands pious warehouses of Nike trainers, rotting leather bags and batwing monstrosities.

Which, I guess, is where Ebay has stepped in. Ebay can't recreate the true wonder of walking into a little shop and finding a biba dress or an ossie clark suit right there on a hanger for you to try on, but what it can do is seemingly deliver, every time. Its probably dangerous for a clothes addict like myself, but there's ALWAYS about 50 items that I just want desperately to have.

Seeing as I cant possibly buy it all I thought i'd show you some of the great stuff floating around currently. I hope someone who isn't the person who keeps outbidding me by 50p gets the pleasure out of it. Seriously, ebay makes me hate the bastard!

Here's my first ever 'Ebay-watch' post!
If you've got some pounds to spend...

Ossie Clark dresses are the creme de la creme, but forget that Ossie also designed some gorgeous shirts and you'll be missing out. With perhaps the best combination of materials to ever come out of twenthieth century textiles- Moss Crepe and Satin- on one western-style shirt, this is the kind of gift to oneself that just keeps on givin'! Detail-wise, its also a plus- covered buttons are guaranteed to make me teary eyed, and the rose embroidery on the fabulous floppy collars is a sweet touch. This little lot is currently resting on a tempting £1.64, but if the end bid doesn't see past £100 i'll eat my own arms. Still, its worth it for the label alone!


Sunday, 22 June 2008

Photographed on Portobello Market for STYLE SLICKER

Last time I went on a trip to London a girl came and asked me if she could take a photograph of what I was wearing, which of course I accepted. A few days later she contacted me through my band's myspace. Somebody on her site knew who I was, which I was pleased about because I really like the photograph.

Here I'm wearing a Agent Provocateur t-shirt from a coupl'a seasons ago, Cheap Monday jeans, red shoes from the January sale at Urban Outfitters and lips bag from the Rag Market, Birmingham. That bag is the single item that gets commented on the most of all the things I wear.. and it was only a fiver. All hail cheap tacky bags!

If you're interested, Style Slicker has LOADS of photographs of girls slinking around London. Some of the outfits are worth a looky! Click here

Let me start by introducing myself...

I'm Poppy, I'm 17 years old and I currently reside in a cave in Birmingham, West Midlands.
Nothing much happens around here, unless you're still besotted by the 20 yr old ladz indie scene. Which I stress I am not.
The two main 'interests' in my life currently (the latter by choice) are jumping through the hoops of the modern education system (Fine Art, History and English at college) and my band, Poppy & The Jezebels.
The rest of my time (apart from when I have to like.. eat, sleep, talk to people...) is spent doing the following-
1. Collecting rare/designer vintage, or unusual modern stage costume. When I can afford it, of course. If I can't I just stare at it, silently weeping.
2. Designing, crafting and making stage clothes, jewellery and accessories.
And that is basically what my blog is all abowt. Enjoy!

You can contact me by clicking here