Monday 25 February 2013


There were several strong fashion moments on the red carpet at the 85th Academy Award's ceremony last night, but in contrast to years past, many of the stars played it safe.

Amongst the event's most memorable looks, Best Actress winner, Jennifer Lawrence, looked amazing in her Raf Simons for Dior Couture gown, as did Oscar nominated Amy Adams in full-blown Oscar de la Renta. Anne Hathaway shone in her pared-down Prada sheath dress as she collected her Best Supporting Actress award and Charlize Theron's Dior Couture siren dress, proved that white is always a strong option.

Jessica Chastain looked every bit the screen goddess in her nude crystal encrusted Armani Prive gown, while Kerry Washington provided a welcome pop of colour as she dazzled in a strapless coral Miu Miu column dress, featuring an embellished bodice and demure bow at the waist. The Chinese actress, Fan Bingbing also opted for colour, donning a brilliant cerise satin Marchesa gown to the awards.

Samantha Barks, is a name to watch following her role in Les Miserables, and she looked polished and elegant in a beautifully cut, stark black, Valentino number. Naomi Watts also chose laser sharp cutting, pouring herself into a dramatic gunmetal Armani Prive dress.

Oscar winners: Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway and Best Supporting Actor Christoph Walz
Photo credit


Vintage fashion made its mark during London Fashion Week, with a Retrospective fashion show dedicated to showcasing how vintage design influences current- and future fashion trends. The show focused on the highly feminine hourglass silhouette, the military look, Eastern styling and full blown showstoppers, that all relate to the current shift in fashion styling. 

Held in the decadent Art Deco surroundings of the recently re-opened Bloomsbury Ballroom, the show featured garments from the 1920's through to the 1990's, plus a few from the 2000's. The pieces were sourced directly from leading designers such as Barbara Hulanicki of Biba, as well as from vintage emporiums, including Vintage Modes, Violet's Box and One of a Kind, and from Christie's.

You can read my full Retrospective show report and see more images at: Harper's Bazaar

Barbara Hulanicki lent this fabulous 1970's Biba faux leopard print
 coat for the show

Sunday 24 February 2013


On the eve of the 85th Academy Awards, all eyes will be on the annual event to see who goes home with a coveted Oscar or two.

While Walt Disney won the most Oscars to date, winning a grand total of 24; legendary costume designer, Edith Head, is still the woman awarded the most golden statuettes, with a total of eight Oscars to her name. These include her designs for All about Eve (1951), Roman Holiday (1954) and Sabrina (1955).

Head (1897 - 1981) cut her teeth in the costume department at Paramount Pictures where she became known as one of Hollywood's leading costume designers, designing initially for black and white films, before moving into colour. She created timeless costumes for many of Hollywood's screen legends, including Bette Davis in June Bride (1948), Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946), Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954) and Tippi Hedren in The Birds (1963). 

Edith Head in front of her eight Oscars for Costume Design
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Monday 18 February 2013


I loved Manolo Blahnik's quirky illustrations at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2013. You couldn't miss the leading footwear designer's colourful illustrations at the event at Somerset House - they were everywhere. It was like walking through a Manolo Blahnik Wonderland! 

Specially commissioned for LFW by the British Fashion Council, Blahnik's creative drawings and instantly recognisable flamboyant handwriting adorned the walls of the Courtyard Show Space, and also featured on show banners and other show material. Even the exhibition lanyards were printed with the designer's signature shoe silhouettes and were no doubt doing a roaring trade on eBay within minutes of LFW opening. I'm certainly going to hang-on to mine, as it's rare for such a functional piece to be a thing of beauty.

The portfolio of drawings were inspired by Blahnik's colourful career as a celebrated footwear designer and man-about-town.They also depicted British fashion editors and leading ladies who played important roles in his career, that kicked-off in the 70's. Grace Coddington, Amanda Harlech and Daphne Guinness were all included, wearing Blahnik's killer heels. The English countryside and the designer's beloved Scottie dogs also played a starring role. 

Blahnik's flattering and highly feminine footwear is worn by an endless list of A-list celebrities and coveted by a discerning shoe-loving clientele. The designer recently revealed that the LFW drawings were a tribute to the late-Anna Piaggi of Italian Vogue; a close friend who always loved visiting the UK and adored Manolo Blahnik shoes. In turn, Blahnik affectionately referred to the eccentric Piaggi as, 'The world's last great authority on frocks.' You can see more of Blanik's inspiring illustrations in Camilla Morton's book, Manolo Blahnik and the tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker.

If you are interested in seeing the images large-scale, you can also catch Blahnik's humorous doodles in a special window at The May Fair Hotel in London -  but hurry, they won't be there for long...

Manolo Blahnik at work in his studio, holding his signature pointed-toe shoe last. 
Photographed by his close friend Michael Roberts
Picture credit

A Manolo Blahnik shoe design in ottoman silk with 
gold beading for Winter 1998
Photo credit

Sunday 17 February 2013


I smiled when I saw these images of artist and photographer, Aia Judes' witty interpretations of iconic designer pieces made from traditional birch bark weaving. If you've visited Scandinavia, you will know that birch bark weaving ('näver' in Swedish) is used extensively for creating handcrafted baskets, Christmas decorations and diverse household items, so it's interesting to see the technique used in such an irreverent way. 

With its roots in Russia, Scandinavia, Finland and the USA, one of the oldest examples of birch bark weaving is a batch of letters found in Russia, dating from the 1600's, which are still legible today. Through the birch bark projects in her images, Judes explores sustainability, longevity and the value of material goods in today's throw-away society. Collaborating with two birch bark specialists, who have worked with the natural material for decades, Judes juxtaposes this enduring technique with signature silhouettes by Christian Louboutin, Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton; creating designs that are both decadent and homespun. 

With a nod to Christian Louboutin, Aia Judes has included 23 carat gold detail on these 
birch bark beauties
Photo credit

Friday 15 February 2013


Part Two of my Q&A with Tony Glenville, author of New Icons of Fashion Illustration (Laurence King), includes Glenville's thoughts on collecting the works of fashion artists, both as an investment and just for the love of the art form. I've also included an inspiring series of images from the book. Enjoy!

Click here for Part One:

LJ: Is fashion illustration an important part of the curriculum for fashion design students?
TG: Designers are not necessarily illustrators, it is often a different skill. Many designers can "sketch", but not much more. At London College of Fashion we have a Fashion Illustration BA course, which is highly successful. Learning to mark-make is vital to designers, but the art and craft of successful fashion illustrators is a separate learning curve and gift.

LJ: Do you collect contemporary fashion illustration, as well as fashion illustrations by fashion artists from the past?
TG: I am ashamed to say NO, but my collecting has to stop somewhere. Gazette du Bon Ton is still my key illustration collection, alongside the work of the artist/cartoonist/observer SEM, whose work I adore.

Kareem Iliya
Courtesy Kareem Iliya


Readers of this blog will know how much I adore fashion illustration, so I was delighted to discover that Tony Glenville has written New Icons of Fashion Illustration, published by Laurence King.

Glenville is a much respected fashion journalist and commentator and he is also Creative Director: School of Media & Communication at London College of Fashion. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for many years and in his latest book, Glenville explores the new breed of fashion illustrators working across a wide remit of mixed media, including hi-tech and more traditional methods of drawing.

Glenville very kindly agreed to do a Q&A exclusively for this blog, which highlights several of the illustrators featured in his book.

LJ: What was the catalyst for writing the book?
TG: Actually the book started as a commission from Laurence King; but shifted and evolved into the present publication through much discussion of the current world status of fashion Illustration and other books on the subject already available.

Thursday 14 February 2013


Happy Valentine's Day!

I've been busy making cards and gift tags for Valentine's and decided that there's really only one word that sums-up what today is all about...

Luckily 'love' works all year round, so there's shelf-life in these little cards and tags beyond today's celebrations. The white and black versions are simple, yet dramatic, and I also like using the buff luggage labels for gift tags, as well as for labelling vintage clothing and accessories for sales. The tags are also perfect for labelling bottles and jars, identifying seeds collected from the garden and for sorting out collections of keys and other bits and bobs around the house. True multi-taskers!

So if you aren't into the bright red and pink, heart and teddy bear embellished Valentine's cards, that seem to be the norm for the 14th February, then these pure and 
to-the-point designs might be more appealing.

The production line on the kitchen table...

Sunday 3 February 2013


My first blog for is up! The website includes inspiring blogs by Kay Montano, Sara Parker Bowles and Sadie Frost and I'm very excited to be penning the Vintage Spy blog. 

Bazaar boasts such a rich heritage, which is reflected throughout the magazine and the website. The magazine is looking even more fabulous now that editor Justine Picardie is heading the team. The next issue, featuring the beautiful Rachel Weisz on the cover, is the largest yet and showcases the first fashion story from the title's new Global Fashion Director, Carine Roitfeld. I'm looking forward to seeing the fashion story shot at the V&A, pairing contemporary designs with pieces from the museum's extensive fashion collection. It's the first time that the V&A has allowed a fashion shoot to take place in its glorious buildings, so the images, shot by couture photographer Cathleen Naundorf, should be quite something.

Actress Rachel Weisz graces the cover of the March 2013 issue of Harper's Bazaar

A preview of the special subscribers' cover of the March 2013 issue of Harper's Bazaar, shot by 
Cathleen Naundorf at the V&A