Monday 31 December 2012


I can't believe how quickly Christmas has rushed by this year. It has been fabulous having all the family together and to have time to enjoy each other's company. We put the tree up early for once and decorated it in the usual white, silver and crystal. I've always preferred this colour way as it reminds me of my childhood in Sweden. We've added splashes of red and lots of other mad decorations over the years, especially when the children were younger, but always seem to come back to this colour combination.  

I asked our daughter if she was happy decorating the tree with such neutral colours while we were doing the tree this year, and luckily she said she loves it as it is. It will be interesting to see if she keeps the tradition going when she has her own home...

Our Nordic colour themed tree, complete with felted Toby, ceramic, vintage crystal and silver decs,
plus clip-on candle holders


Spotted these inspiring handmade Christmas decorations in the window of a pub in Bermondsey Street, on a recent trip to London. The decs instantly combine the trend for handmade and vintage objects, while also reflecting the pub's hip, yet traditional atmosphere. A great project using heirloom pieces of lace and embroidery, your own sewing masterpieces or Charity Shop finds. I love the simple hand-painted and plain wooden frames and the way the light shines through the sheer fabrics. I'll definitely be making some of these for next Christmas.

A unique and simple festive display at The Garrison Public House in Bermondsey Street, London, that boasts
its own cinema room for relaxed Sunday viewing 

Sunday 9 December 2012


Did my final vintage fair for 2012 yesterday and it was a really good day with a great turn-out. I've taken a stall at the Wanstead Vintage Fashion & Brocante Fair in East London several times over the years and it's always beautifully organised with a great mix of stallholders. Cary Whitley of LoveVintage, who runs the event four times a year, takes a lot of care ensuring that the fair offers a wide range of true vintage fashion, homeware and ephemera. Held in a traditional church hall, the fair is a great destination for anyone looking for vintage haberdashery, small pieces of furniture, menswear, unique frocks and collectable jewellery. There's also a cafe serving hot drinks, delicious home-made cakes and sandwiches on pretty mismatched bone china. 

Some images from my stall, including shots of 1970's BIBA loose face powder and a 1950's musical jewellery box

Cary pulled-out all the stops yesterday, ensuring that the fair had a steady stream of vintage lovers queuing to get in, including a lot of men looking for vintage menswear and Christmas gifts. 

Friday 7 December 2012


There's a fabulous new show in London called Hartnell to Amies: Couture by Royal Appointment, that's perfect for anyone interested in fashion and photography, plus royal- and social history. Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell, the two stalwarts of British Couture in the 50's and 60's, are currently being celebrated in a unique exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum. The show highlights the advent of British couture in the post-war years and in particular Amie's and Hartnell's influence in creating a highly elegant silhouette that attracted the royal patronage of the Queen and was instantly copied by forward thinking department stores and nimble fingered seamstresses. 

Another important element of the exhibition is the photography. The late Norman Parkinson's timeless images effortlessly depict this glamorous era and compliment the sumptuous couture pieces on show.

Norman Hartnell and models, British Vogue 1953
© Norman Parkinson Limited/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

Thursday 6 December 2012


Here are some images of one of my favourite shops in Oxford - Objects of Use. The shop offers a brilliant mix of predominately homespun and European functional household items, including several design classics from Scandinavia which I adore, such as the iconic String bookcase and tactile glassware from iittala. It reminds me of the fabulous Shaker shops that were around in the UK in the 80's.

Everyday household tools and functional items available at Objects of Use in Oxford

Also in-store at the moment are pop-up paper snowball decorations and sheets of those vintage-looking aluminium clip-on candle holders for Christmas trees. The aluminium clips instantly transported me to when I was a child growing up in Kent and my very Swedish parents would always decorated the Christmas tree with live candles held in place with similar clip-on candle holders...I can still smell the heady mix of pine needles and burning candles and hear the endless warnings not to touch the tree!

Friday 23 November 2012


I was recently asked to nominate an object that summed-up 'Best in Authentic Style' and immediately opted for my favourite vase, the Alvar Aalto Savoy vase. I grew up with this beautifully simple vase as my Swedish parents collected Alvar Aalto for iittala designs since the 1950's. This vase is known as the Aalto- or Savoy vase, as Aalto and his wife Aino Marsio originally designed it for an iittala competition and also used it for a commission to create furnishings for the Savoy restaurant in Helsinki in their native Finland in 1937. The clean undulating shape is apparently inspired by Sami (Lapp) women's breeches, but my parents always maintained it reflected the shape of the many lakes found all over Finland. I've always loved the purity of the design, which would be hard to better. It looks sleek and stark as an object in its own right, or takes on another guise filled with beautiful artifacts or simple flowers. 

The Aalto Savoy vase

We've bought, given away and sadly smashed a few over the years. I still have my parents' original transparent Aalto vase and also an opaque white version, that I found at a local auction house recently.  The Aalto vase is a great example of authentic style; it still looks totally modern and has perfectly stood the test of time. You can buy the vase in several sizes and colours at iittala or Skandium.

Thursday 22 November 2012


As a child in the 60's, I can remember being fascinated by my very glamorous mother getting ready for a big party. It was a day-long ritual that started as soon as Andre's of Locksbottom, the local hairdressing salon, opened on a Saturday morning.

I loved it when I was allowed to go with my mother to drop-off her hairpiece for a shampoo and set and always listened-in when she discussed the look she wanted. Her hairdresser would make huge gesticulating gestures around her shoulder-length hair, like a crazed windmill, to demonstrate the effect he was aiming for. It was the time of the big up-do - think Elizabeth Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Betty in Mad Men, and I was very used to seeing my mother's collection of hairpieces, in varying lengths, swaying on the washing line alongside all our clothes.

Tippi Hedren, with serious up-do, and Sean Connery in Hitchcock's Marni, 1964
Photo credit

Tuesday 20 November 2012


Welcome to the wonderful fantasy world of fashion photographer, Tim Walker; whose flamboyant and often dreamlike images grace the pages of British Vogue and other leading international publications. Currently on show at Somerset House in London until January 27th 2013, Walker's photographs are intricate productions; incorporating set- and model makers and a host of spectacular props. The photographer often depicts fairytales in his images and in his words turns, 'Daydreams into photographs.' Walker's fantasies are rooted for the most part in the magical and innocent world of childhood. 

Olga Shearer on a blue horse. Sennowe Park, Norfolk, 2007
© Tim Walker

Stella Tennant and pink powder cloud. Eglingham Hall, Northumberland, 2007© Tim Walker

It's a baroque world where Dresden shepherdesses come to life; princesses take wing in lilac clouds and the swan, symbol of grace, purity and love, sings its sad song at twilight
 Tim Walker


There's good news for vintage lovers!  The Old Flight House in Oxfordshire, where I have a unit, has expanded with two spacious new galleries, which are proving a welcome addition to the vintage and antiques emporium. Since the recent launch party celebrating the extended space, the centre now offers customers even more choice in terms of unique pieces for homes and gardens, as well as quirky gifts. Vintage fashion aficionados are also visiting regularly to check-out what's on offer and several units are specialising in beautiful vintage shop fittings and display pieces which look fabulous in a contemporary setting.

Images from the launch party for the new galleries at The Old Flight House including a 30's papier mache display head and two striking coats from Rebecca at Paton Place. Martin Miller's Gin co-sponsored the evening and ensured it went off with a bang!

Sunday 18 November 2012


Keep an eye out for Northern Women in Chanel - the exquisite and limited-edition tome that accompanies the eponymous travelling photographic exhibition. Shot by Stockholm-based photographer Peter Farago and styled by Ingela Klemetz-Farago, the creative duo behind the luxe Farago Publishing house, the images are a tribute to the ethereal beauty of leading Nordic and Baltic models such as supermodel Freja Beha Erichsen, who features on the book's cover (below). Throw in a fabulous wardrobe of current and vintage Chanel Couture and Ready-to-Wear and you have a haunting series of shots juxtaposing the starkness and traditions of Scandinavia with the opulence of Chanel.

The Classical Edition coffee table book is available as a limited and numbered edition of 2000 copies
through Farago Publishing and selected bookstores

Swedish model Dorothea Barth Jorgensen in embellished and feathered Chanel Couture

Monday 29 October 2012


While the build-up to the launch of Pippa Middleton's first book, Celebrate, attracted mixed publicity, many reviewers and commentators missed that the beautiful images were shot by leading lifestyle photographer David Loftus, who regularly shoots food and interiors for Vogue and other quality publications. Billed as a seasonal guide to simple and creative entertaining, Celebrate features easy-to-follow recipes and decorating ideas that will appeal to creative children and time-poor adults alike. Loftus' evocative shots ensure that every occasion is worth celebrating - even Halloween, which I have to admit I always try to stay clear of as I sadly lost my mother on that day many years ago, but find myself giving-in when young Trick or Treaters knock on the door...

Halloween Table
Photographed by David Loftus 2012

Wednesday 24 October 2012


I know, it's far too early to be thinking about Christmas! But I'm doing several Christmas Fairs shortly and I've spent the last few evenings making gift tags and Christmas cards, in preparation for the events. I have endless discussions with friends about if people still really send Christmas cards, but I have many friends who love to receive them and would be most affronted if I stopped sending cards or, heaven forbid, pinged off an eCard instead. So I'm going heavy on the gift tags, which are always popular, and being a bit more cautious with the cards this year, in terms of the numbers I'm producing. In any event, the kitchen table currently looks like a production line most of the time...

I sourced the 'Happy Christmas' stamp in the States last year and the font looks lovely hand-stamped onto simple luggage tags and plain white cards. I have a weakness for beautiful calligraphy and that's why this stamp fits the bill. Anything I stamp with it always sells well and I'm planning to embellish some stark white carrier bags with this one, too, to keep the theme going.


As luck would have it, a cabinet has just become free at The Old Flight House and I now have the perfect showcase for a good selection of costume jewellery to compliment the clothing and accessories I'm selling from my unit. So everything is under one roof, which is wonderful. I've divided the cabinet into four main stories - Diamante & Sparkle; Shimmering Pearls, Golden Delights and Finishing Touches, which all work well with the heirloom jewellery trend that is so strong for Autumn/Winter 2012. I'll move the items around and add more evening bags and perfume bottles as things sell and hopefully people will fall in love with the vintage pieces as much as I did...

Diamante & Sparkle

When you open the cabinet you are greeted with the heady aroma of Jean Patou's signature 1000 fragrance. There's hardly any of the rich floral perfume left in the collectable cut glass bottle from the 1970's, but it's almost as fresh and strong today as it was all those decades ago. The nose behind the fragrance is Jean Kerleo who created 1000 for Patou in 1972 and the chypre floral Sublime in 1992. Apparently 1000 took its name from the multitude of formulas that were tested before a final fragrance was agreed upon. The bottle would look lovely on a dressing table, displayed alongside show-stopping diamante jewellery and stretch lame evening gloves. 


If you adore Chanel, head to the Saatchi Gallery and catch The Little Black Jacket exhibition, which runs until 4th November 2012 (admission free). Featuring over 100 evocative black and white images shot by Chanel's creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, the show celebrates the universal appeal of the leading fashion house's iconic boucle jacket and the launch of the accompanying coffee-table book.

Model Saskia de Brauw wearing Chanel's Little Black Jacket,
shot by Karl Lagerfeld and styled by Carine Roitfeld
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

The classic Chanel jacket is an integral part of the Parisian fashion house's DNA. It was originated and worn by Coco Chanel first as a revolutionary jersey cardigan jacket in the 1920's and later as a collarless boucle jacket following the fashion house's re-launch in 1953 - when the designer was 70 years old. Traditionally fashioned in fine black wool boucle edged in luxe braiding, the jacket has both evolved and stayed true to its original silhouette since Karl Lagerfeld became creative director almost thirty years ago. The innovative designer has sent the ubiquitous jacket down the runway in a host of contemporary fabrics such as denim, neoprene and hi-shine patent and also in a rainbow of colours, but it is the luxury black boucle version that remains the most coveted. As Coco Chanel said, 'Fashion passes, style remains', which is the reason why Chanel's timeless LBJ graces the wardrobes of so many discerning women (and men, if this portfolio of images is anything to go by!) and always sells well in ready-to-wear, couture and vintage collections.

Monday 8 October 2012


Visited Lord and Lady Heseltine's inspiring gardens and arboretum in Thenford, Northamptonshire, at the weekend and enjoyed a lovely walk around the grounds, followed by a welcome cup of tea in the great barn. With only four Open Days per year, this magnificent 70-acre estate is a true labour of love, featuring over 4,000 species of trees and shrubs sourced globally across the past three decades.

Glorious highlights from Thenford, including the Dame Elisabeth Frink raven

The Thenford estate would be a magical location for a fashion shoot; it's almost like stepping into Alice in Wonderland with its play on proportions, colours and textures, plus numerous secret doors and archways. Think of photographer Tim Walker's extravagant fairytale stories for British Vogue, and you'll get the picture.

Thenford House, built in 1765, plus details from the gardens

The Heseltine's have introduced a huge collection of statues, sculptures and quirky architectural features. Scattered amongst the many formal- and informal garden rooms, extensive arboretum, water features and lakes, plus the dedicated sculpture garden; the sculptures are both inspiring and, in some cases, thought provoking. Ranging from an imposing granite bust of Lenin, rescued from Latvia, to a black bronze-cast raven from Dame Elisabeth Frink's 1952 bird series, the sculptures are an integral part of the planting scheme. 

Monday 1 October 2012


I had a fun if somewhat blustery day at the Most Marvellous Vintage Market this weekend, where I set-up shop next to vintage-queen Cary Whitley of LoveVintage. Despite the wind threatening to blow away all our gorgeous hats and other lightweight treasures, it was a great day out, complete with live music ranging from the 1920's to modern day.

1930's evening bag plus vintage diamante & pearl earrings 

The theme of the Vintage Market was weddings - a subject close to my heart as I was previously Fashion & Beauty Editor of Brides and also edited Wedding Day. Vintage clothing and accessories have always played an important role in bridalwear - both directly or for inspiration, with many fashion-savvy brides opting to mix vintage and modern pieces for their wedding trousseau. Vintage haberdashery, diamante buckles and sparkling brooches are also useful components for customising and upstyling bridal accessories and gowns and for creating lovely embellishments for receptions and wedding stationery. Not surprisingly, sparkling diamante jewellery, shimmering strings of pearls, brocade satin evening bags and sleek leather clutches were all popular with brides-to-be and vintage lovers at the fair.

Friday 28 September 2012


Calling all vintage, antique and interior lovers! If you are planning a day out in search of unique hand-painted furniture, beautiful vintage pieces and antique treasures, then head to The Old Flight House near Oxford. I visited the spacious gleaming white emporium at the beginning of the year and was really impressed with the eclectic mix of the different traders' units. I came away with a clear glass Chippendale trophy vase that became a favourite fruit bowl over the summer. In fact I loved The Old Flight House so much that I put my name down for a space and finally moved in earlier this month.

My unit at The Old Flight House

I've collected vintage clothing and accessories since I was a teenager and I also had a stall at Camden Market when I was at college and we were all running around in Victorian lace bloomers and nighties - we must have looked mad! Fast forward several decades and I've started to sell some of my collection at select vintage fairs, such as the fabulous Wanstead Vintage & Brocante Fair (LoveVintage) - one of the few fairs still offering true vintage.

Thursday 27 September 2012


Here's an image I took during London Fashion Week on leading milliner Stephen Jones' stand. His ethereal designs for his eponymous collection pay homage to the sea and the artist colonies at St Ives next season and perfectly sum-up the mood for Spring/Summer 2012.
Featherlight confections by Stephen Jones

I've watched Stephen Jones' collections evolve over the years and was fortunate to interview him for The National Newspaper in the UAE when he co-curated his exhibition, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones, at the V&A in 2009.  The show was a huge success and paid tribute to many of the ground-breaking millinery designers and silhouettes, including Elsa Schiaparelli's surreal shoe hat from 1938, inspired by artist Salvador Dali, plus Stephen Jones' quirky mini-top hats that he often designed for the Italian fashion maven, Anna Piaggi, who sadly recently passed away. 'I've been wearing hats all my life and Stephen knows I want something light,' Anna Piaggi told me at the exhibition's lavish launch party, 'He's very perceptive and understands what's going on in my head.'

I'll post the full interview shortly.