I'll tell you what's new, Pussycat, this week its all about the sunglasses shape of the season. It's all gone 50s/60s in the eyewear department with emphasis on the Cat's Flick silhouette. It all started last spring last year when we all went mad for Mad Men and then Alexander Wang launched his pointy cat eye shades. A little extreme and out there for some - but for those that could carry off the style i.e. Andrea, who can always be relied upon to push the boundaries of eyewear trends. Not everyone can carry off the fantastic steel tipped Wang like she can ,but it does bring out the 'oooh I like' in those who couldn't dare to wear Wang but fancy the retro shape all the same . This season there are an abundance of cool cats eyes out there in shapes and colours to suit every face . Tom Ford's Nikita's are small and rounded, while Prada's Swing is a slim wrap-around style. Vintage purists should visit The Eye Company in Soho, London and peruse the amazing collection of original and mint condition fifties and sixties sunglasses. This spring I am going to revive from the fashion archives my 1960s Persol mother-of-pearl chip trimmed sunglasses. Supremely on-trend for 2011 plus the added bonus of the winged shape that gives every face a little youthful lift. Purrrrfect!
The international fashion weeks are now all done and dusted and now we have an idea of the trends that will be big come next Autumn ( Catwalk reports coming soon to The Style Eye) As well as scouring through every show of every city on the Internet, identifying every trend micro or macro - one of my favourite things to check out at the fashion weeks are the images from the fash-pappers. Tommy Ton for Style.com, Yvan Rodic from Facehunter and of course, Mr and Mrs original street style bloggers, Scott Schuman of the Sartorialist and Garance Dore. What I love about these candid photographs is that the fashion and style is instant and street ready. Looking and lusting over new, fabrics, cuts and shapes for autumn is all very well but you have to wait six months before you can get your hands on any of it. Photographs of well respected fashion editors from the international bibles of style in current season collections, show not only what will be the big hitters once the season is in full swing but also how to tackle one of the trickiest fashion conundrums - Transitional style. Hence the title Fash Pack News Flash - a quick interim lesson from the front row elite on how to wear summers style picks. Tangerine in February ? Summer sandals and its still chilly? Fab fruit prints on the dullest of days? Sounds crazy? Not if you look at how those high summer pieces have been styled for the front row. Take the photograph, shown here of Giovanna Battaglia, fashion editor of L'Uomo Vogue. She has silhouetted spring 2011 collection silver sparkly ballroom style shoes against black opaque tights. Its a perfect transient look - something new and boxfesh to get the spring wardrobe started paired with the practicality and warmth of the tights. The fash pack have also decreed that the bright colours which were all over the catwalks last autumn will come into fruition starting with a eye-popping shades of flouorange, shocking pink and red. Ditto the bonkers but cool fruit prints from Prada and Stella McCartney. See in the photos here how one fashionista manages to pull the look off in early March with a silk blouse and over sized angora cardy. Street style pappers are now so popular that show guests are having to ditch the traditional 'black is the new black' and step up their game in eye-catching outfits. Getting a feature on one of the above mentioned blogs is now almost a rite of passage for some fashion journalists and stylists. Which is why now watching what goes on outside the shows is now just as important as what happens inside the show.
There's nothing like a bit of impromptu spontaneity to boost the enthusiasm. Especially when it comes to a change of image. Best results when going for a new look are, when procrastination and pondering are omitted and the 'just go for it' attitude is in place. Take for example last Sunday evening. After a session in the pub followed by a party at friend's house, I urged my friend Andrea give me a new haircut once I spotted her hair scissors next to the kitchen sink. Andrea gave me one of her stunning 'half cut haircuts' reshaping my long boring brown hair into something easy yet sexy. I wasn't expecting to start the week with haircut so different that for two days I was unrecognised by work colleagues! I now sport a long, full fringe which covers past my eyebrows and that whispers 'shy but foxy'. Or when flicked out at the sides creates an on-trend 70s Charlie Girl look mixed-up with a jeune Jane Birkin. As well as the refreshing new look, I have also been discovering this week what the 'Fringe Benefits' are . I am worrying less about forehead worry lines since they are now hidden behind the fringe. I haven't had to worry about my eyebrows being constantly plucked to perfection either. I have spent the extra time experimenting with complimentary new make-up looks. I loved the beauty spread in the recent Sunday Times Style Magazine fashion special. Inparticular, the dramatic lower lid false lashes paired with a shocking pink glossy lip look. Vibrant reds, pinks and orange lipsticks were all over the catwalks this spring. My new fringe will allow me to focus my lips and be bang on this season's beauty trends and wearing line of fake lashes below enhances the eyes in an unusual but modern way.
Do you ever look back and think 'Oh I wished I had bought .....( such and such fashion item), because I'd still be using/wearing today with glorious gusto' Well? I often do. What I wouldnt do, still to this day, to actually find a matching pair of Balenciaga ankle strap sandals from the S/S 2002 collection. My heart skipped a beat when I found a single size 37 (my size) in a Milanese outlet shop a year later and for such a good price too!! I thought I had found those sandals that I had lusted over from the catwalk shots and seen pics of Cristina Ricci in a green pair whilst out and about . What you have to understand, dear readers, that while today Balenciaga is widely available in big city boutiques and department stores, in 2002 the brand was more difficult to come by. Even in London. So when I found them in Milan I thought I had it all sorted. But no... while one shoe was a 37 the other shoe to the pair was a size 40. Therefore totally ridic, unwearable and out of sync with the other shoe. Thinking back, I'm sure I threw the sales assistant one of my 'Good Luck With That' looks after she explained the reason for their deeply discounted price. I am ever the optimist and still hope that one day before I die or am too old to rock a pair of f*** off sexy heels, I shall procure those shoes. And that is why I whenever I am passing London dress exchange shops, or Recent Decents as I call them I cannot resist to just have a quick look. Not quite a vintage shop - most of the stock is still too early for that, but all the same full of interesting and gorgeous items. The difference is here is that their stock is bought from consumers willing to sell off recently purchased designer items they've become bored of, no longer fit or need. Pieces are ususally in mint condition ( hence why the buyers of such boutiques are quite picky about how much or little they will give you for your out-of-favour fashion, or even if they will buy it at all) Last week in Bang Bang , a popular clothing exchange in Soho, you could pick up a pair of perfect condition Agent Provocateur red marabou bedroom mules for just 60 quid. The location of this little treasure trove is literally just a stone's throw from the Agent Provocateur Broadwick Street boutique, where a box fresh pair of Pom Pom mules will set you back £145.00. I know where I'm shopping for shoes that barely touch the boudior carpet!!!! The great thing about these shops is that if you do have something that they are interested in buying ( and do be prepared to be subjected to some humiliation - sellers are treated with an air of disdain if they don't like what you have to sell) then the best thing to do is get the double amount in vouchers. You will be offered a cash price for your item or double credit for spending in store. i.e if my S/S 2010 Celine tan sandals that I bought off the internet last summer that don't fit me properly can raise £30 then i'm sorted for the Agent Provocateur mules....
And in the style of London's fictitional yet most charming second hand dealer. I ask you in a Terry Tibbs tone 'Balenciaga strappy sandals, Spring/ Summer 2002? Talk to me'
Also Visit Retro Woman, 20 Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, London. W11 3HK for more designer goods to buy or sell.