Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Silver clay jewellery from Powder Butterfly

Occasionally, peeps email me about their fashion businesses and it really captures my imagination. Powder Butterfly is one such concern and I've been meaning to write about it for aaages.

The reason this one jumped out at me, as well as having beee-youtiful designs, is prolly that the designer, Corinne, is based in The Shed - Creative Studios, an initiative run by Gateshead Council, but that was originally championed by Wayne Hemingway; how I love that Wayne.

So, Corinne is all about wearable art, and as well as working on individual pieces, she produces bespoke corporate gift sets, the kind of business-savvy idea more fashionistas need to embrace. Corinne promotes her business via her blog (smart) where you can read about her inspiration, projects and collections, including the just-launched Silver Clay Collection, stunning designs made using "precious metal clay", small particles of metal held together with an organic binder and water. Check out my fave pieces...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pre-holiday panic

Question: who else is going on holiday at Easter? We booked our break last night and, on account of the Easter hols falling so early this year, I was traumatised by the "Innocent Smoothie style" marketing copy attached to the booking telling me that I only have 34 sleeps to go. 34 sleeps!

How can I transform myself into the bikini-clad vixen above in 34 sleeps? Can I shed 7lbs and seven years in that timeframe? Can I add four inches (to my height, tsk) and several shades of reliable self tan?

It's a problem.

Also a problem is the weather. We're off for some Turkish delight (never been there before) and in early April it seems the threat of rain and chilly temperatures is quite real (at least that solves the bikini problem). So what the hell am I going to pack?

Such questions keep me awake at night, but in an effort to soothe my psyche, here are some of the spring 2012 high street holiday looks I've considered so far...

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vero Moda midi dress at ASOS

Naughty ASOS. Emailing me on a Monday morning, dangling a carrot of 20% off and free next day delivery. And then they go and stock a delicious midi length print dress by Vero Moda, very similar to one I already own but this time avec a horse print.

After the swish, I managed to rid myself of about seven bin bags worth of clothes. I wonder how quickly I will go about systematically replacing it all?

Images from ASOS

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A low key birthday?

The problem is, when you threaten to have a low-key birthday weekend, this happens...

Friday evening - happy hour cocktails were enjoyed at Venn Street Records, Clapham
New fringe, new hair length, new cat print dress (£25 by Red Herring @ Debenhams)
If you're in Clapham, deffo check this place out - and you must drink a Rock 'N Roll Star (vanilla-infused Eristoff Vodka, fresh cream, butterscotch Schnapps and honey, topped with flamed cinnamon - cor!)
Saturday night; Gordon Ramsay's beautiful pub, The Narrow in Limehouse for dinner
Delicious delicious - smoked haddock on parsley mash topped with a poached egg = heaven
Sunday; a private dining room at The Old Sergeant, Wandsworth
A little bit of everything
This will always be known as "The Mallette" (long story)
Everyone got something they wanted today
Mr. Fashion Detective done good this weekend

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Feeling a Zooey Deschanel blazer moment coming on...

The ol' birthday celebrations started last night (it's official: I'm ancient) but we were home in time for New Girl because, well, it's the TV highlight of the week innit.

I'm sure that my new fringe (maybe you'll see it later, if I can rouse myself from a state of deep birthday meltdown) is in no small part influenced by Zooey Deschanel. And today I'm feeling in a blazer mood thanks to last night's Bad in Bed episode 8 when she wore a gorgeous blue colour block jacket with green cuffs and zip pockets from Zara.

As per bloody usual, it's all sold out, but it's blazer season at the mo and here are a few of my spring faves, all with a Jess twist...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Serious hair choices (with Garnier Nutrisse British Blondes Collection)

I've got butterflies. No, I'm not about to have a tooth drilled or do some scary work thang - I'm off to the hairdressers. My hair is getting me down. It looks too long when it's straight and takes hours to curl. I need something new. I've been dreaming of a style sported by one of the ASOS models, who has a similar hair colour to mine, but do I dare have a fringe?

Last time I had a fringe, I was blonde. Hard to believe, I know. But one of my style icons is Kate Moss (definitely my favourite blonde of all time), and her lovely blonde locks were then sporting a blunt fringe that I wanted to copy as well as her colour, which constantly changes, subtly, to suit her style. Love that.

Me (centre) avec blondeness and fringe - I'm wearing Kate Moss at Topshop pinstripe trousers, illustrating my devotion to the lady herself

My transition from brunette to blonde was a slow one - I wasn't quite as brave then as I am now. These days I'm willing to march into a salon with a photo and say "do that!", and I trust the good advice of my stylist who has refused to meet my whims on occasion. If he knows that a style just won't suit me, he's honest about it, downing his scissors when necessary (I am more than prepared for that to happen today).

My last blonde spell took ages to achieve as I kept getting highlights until I was pretty much there with a Kate-esque level of golden lockage. If I ever go blonde again, I'm not messing about. Having discovered the benefits of having my ridiculously big barnet done with a permanent colour, rather than spending hours having highlights/lowlights applied, I ain't going back.

And if I was doing the colour myself, I'd definitely need some coaching. As per the in-depth bangs discussions I'll be having this aft, I'd want to know exactly which shade is going to suit my style, my skin tone and my (gulp) age.

If you're thinking of changing your shade, this colour consultation vid for the new Garnier Nutrisse British Blondes Collection is very handy. Love the advice on matching your jewellery to your shade - the kind of stuff you wouldn't necessarily consider (well, I wouldn't anyway).

Wish me luck today!

This post has been sponsored by Garnier Nutrisse Crème hair colour.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kurt Geiger sky blue Class high heel shoes

I fell in love yesterday. I wanted them so badly (to go with my pink dress) that it hurt. They are slightly (!) out of my usual shoe price range, and I prolly wouldn't be able to walk in them, but by Jimminy Crickets, Kurt Geiger's ridiculously beautiful sky blue Class heels are my new dream shoes...

Class by Kurt Geiger, £210

Images from

Hybrid and OK! Magazine London Fashion Week Party at Jewel

Was the pink streak too much?

Ooh readers. My head hurts. Continuing my one woman mission to keep the fashion scene "real", last night's celeb-studded Hybrid re-launch fashion week party (sponsored by OK! Magazine - skillz) resulted in a gigantic hangover and the following misdemeanours:

Saying "Hey up, Strictly's James Jordan, will you have your picture taken with me mate in a raunchy dance pose?" to James Jordan.

Talking far too loudly about bad cosmetic procedures in a room full of "enhanced" beings.

Drinking too many vodka and wine-based beverages.

A spot of ill-advised Wednesday night "club style dancing".

My beautiful friend Jane ending up flat on her back in the middle of Jewel after a drunken altercation with a stool (she was laughing her head off about the situation, to be fair).

A Big Mac on the bus home.

Oh dear.

We did, however, meet the fabulous Hania McIntyre from Beau Boutique in Carlisle, and her amazing mum who sure looks good on the dance floor.

We were also rubbing shoulders with the likes of Louisa Lytton, Sarah Cawood, Funda Onal, Josie Gibson and (surprise!) Nicola McLean (told you I was on her "circuit"), but the only thing our photos will really tell you is that we drank far too much and got a bit giddy...

Energy drink? Check. Pink overdose? Check
Too much wine? Check
Cosmopolitans? Check (God, we look like Patsy and Eddie.)
Obligatory awkward celebrity moment: Jane tango-poses with Strictly James Jordan
I got to wear my new-old owl bracelet from Miss Millie in Liverpool - do you love it like I do??
And a new asymmetric dress by Ci Ci London (observe Hania's mum going for it there on the dance floor)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

When Fashion Detective interviewed Anna Dello Russo

After my mammoth post on London Fashion Week, I think I'll keep it light today if that's OK with you?

Although when I say light, that doesn't really do my subject matter justice. Occasionally, my day job leads me to very interesting places and people, and thanks to a project I've been working on with The Guardian and Peroni, all about Italian style, I've had some pretty impressive encounters.

I got to write profile pieces on Missoni and Antonio Beradi, I met the awesome bloggers Susie Lau (aka Susie Bubble), Navaz Batliwalla (aka Disneyrollergirl) and Emily Johnston (aka Fashion Foie Gras) along with the designers they collaborated with for Peroni's "Collaborazioni" project.

But probably the highlight was interviewing the inimitable Anna Dello Russo who spoke to me from Milan and was as passionate and eccentric as you'd expect - but as warm, self-deprecating and funny as you wouldn't.

As well as having a real admiration for Anna's "straight from the catwalk to the street" fashion attitude, I also love a woman whose ambition and working attitude is not shaped, curtailed or intimidated by age and cultural change. She's a legend and, while I might not agree with every one of her sartorial choices, if I'm even a fraction as brave and bold as she is in 10 years or so, I will be well happy.

Not sure about that hat - but that's why we love her! (Venturelli/Getty Images for Louis Vuitton)

Lead image: Anna Dello Russo at the Fashion for Relief Japan Appeal Red Carpet hosted by Lancia, May 2011 (

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My London Fashion Week February 2012 Exhibition highlights

I spent hours traipsing around the London Fashion Week February 2012 Exhibition so you didn't have to. (Seriously, you get blisters, back ache and Fashion Week ain't about dressing for comfort.)

Put the kettle on, kick off your killer heels and prepare for a visual assault featuring James Long, Victim, Tatty Devine, Sister by Sibling, JW Anderson, Yang Du, and the marvellous Michael van der Ham...

Anna Popovich at London Fashion Week

You may have noticed some radio silence yesterday; well that's 'cos I was unchained from the shackles of my desk (again) and finally embracing the best that London Fashion Week has to offer.

My highlights from Somerset House will follow, but fresh from The Exhibition I zoomed off to a v cool Off-Schedule show courtesy of model/designer Anna Popovich. As you well know, I'm not into dangling unaffordable (if delicious) designer garms like a golden carrot beneath your noses, so you'll be pleased to hear that Anna's debut ready to wear collection is colourful, crisp and not beyond the realms of possibility if you fancy treating yourself.

From colour pop maxis to simple gold pencil dresses (and a camel coat to get giddy over) Anna's AW12/13 collection - much like its designer - is fresh, pretty and graceful, with a glint in the eye. Uber-friendly, and flanked by her lovely parents, Anna mingled with the audience after the show - as did her models. Walked to very laidback, classically-tinged tracks, in flats or wedges, this collection looked effortlessly cool. And the post-show buzz from the crowd at a bustling urban venue in the depths of Waterloo would suggest that Anna Popovich is well on the up. Good on her!

Here's my view from the front row...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A last love letter from Liverpool

I'm ready to stop banging on about Liverpool now, but before I move onto all things Fashion Week, here's one last look at some more of the fabulous things Beatles City has to offer....

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Grand Central Hall Liverpool: Fashion & accessories with Miss Millie and Preserved Vintage Clothing

One of the (many) things I love about Liverpool is that on each of my flying visits I've discovered something new and brilliant. One visit, Alma de Cuba. Another time, Jimmy Coburn.

This time my most exciting discovery (in addition to The Dressing Room) was Grand Central Hall - what a place. I'd never even heard of it, and we just happened to stumble upon it, but as soon as I saw the mad exterior, which has a sort of Moulin-Rouge-beaten-up-by-Gaudi appearance, I was through the doors...

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Beatles Story Liverpool

As well as browsing beaut boutiques, we also took time out yesterday to visit The Beatles Story on Albert Dock. It was a seven-year-old Beatle fan's dream (I've been many times before, but still) and the Fab 4D film added to the excitement for him.

The film shows at the second Beatles Story site on Pier Head (watch out for a stiff breeze off that Mersey if you walk over, as opposed to hopping on the shuttle bus) right next to the mighty new Museum of Liverpool (which has a few of Lily Savage's costumes in the foyer, borrowed from The Walker's Savage Style exhibition - hilarious).

Anyways, we got all damp (!) in the Fab4D theatre, and all enjoyed the Elvis and Us exhibition (u-huh) too.

After all that fun, there was just time for lunch at The Pumphouse before some shopping (and I found myself a fab little dress for Fashion Week at another vintage shop on School Lane, Flashback Boutique - tasty).

Here's the obligatory photo album...

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Dressing Room, Liverpool - one-off vintage and designer

Let's have a break from the travel and talk fashion, shall we? One thing you know I love about oop North is the vintage shopping. I avoid it in London (overhyped) but in the North it is cheaper, more creative and doesn't have the same Shoreditch snobbery attached to it (sorry, London).

Today I went to visit a gorgeous boutique bang in the heart of Liverpool, run by a fabulous and glamorous young lady called Stephanie Rooney. The Dressing Room has been established for five years and like all the best independent shops you have to climb a couple of flights in a quirky old building to get there; it's worth every step.

A mixed upmarket vintage and upcoming designer collection, cherry-picked by Stephanie from locations including Paris, London and New York, this is luxury (but affordable) independent fashion at its best. You'll probably need to spend at least £60-£100 on a piece, but as Stephanie only stocks one of each design, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone else wearing the same. And her taste is impeccable.

Have a peek at some of the delicious designs in stock at the mo - and if you can't make it to School Lane (mere minutes from Liverpool One) for a browse, The Dressing Room website launches in around two weeks...

The Hard Day's Night Hotel, Liverpool: Beatles are go

It's my third stay in Liverpool's brilliant boutique Hard Day's Night Hotel but the novelty refuses to wear off. From the round-the-clock Beatles soundtrack to the well-presented art and memorabilia in every nook, it's a Beatle fan's dream.

If you wondered how deep my Beatle-love goes, let me tell you that I got married in Gibraltar (near Spain) and my son's middle name is Jude. I even share George Harrison's birth date, but that may have been more by luck than design (better ask my mum about that).

But this hotel isn't just for the Beatleheads. Slick, fashionable and chic, it's bang in the centre of Liverpool, seconds away from Vivienne Westwood's shop and the celebrity-favoured Cricket Boutique (more of all that later). It's around the corner from Liverpool One, handy for all Liverpool's great bars, attractions and restaurants, and the hotel itself has a lively Beatle-themed bar and Blake's, a hotel restaurant with a Beatle twist...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A night in the Cavern...

The Cavern Club, Liverpool
Liverpool's own indeed
Who needs Mount Rushmore?
Next best thing to JL: Jimmy Coburn
Any guesses what this jukebox specialises in?
The 'tache (for one night only, so I'm told)
Under Lennon's nose
The matching outfits are an utter coincidence
In me new boots - £6, charity shop. I love The North.
That Lennon statue, Mathew Street
Back to the Hard Day's Night Hotel for a cheeky nightcap
The 'tache: Should it stay or should it go? (I love that El is the best photographer in the family)
Rarely spotted together: Good times
Just look at all that Beatle bumph!

All images by Johanna Payton - please do not reproduce without permission/credit