book-free zone


vintage | goodwood | fashion | retro | style

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16th August 2010

This weekend we took a trip to Sussex for the magnificent Vintage at Goodwood festival, where visitors pay homage to five decades of British cool. In honour of the event, here’s a few of our favourite pieces from each decade:

40s – The Fascinator

THEN: After the war, hats experienced a bit of a dip in popularity, so the millinery industry set about making their hats more extravagant to entice buyers. They soon became established as the essential accessory to complete your look.

NOW: The fascinator is a fashion favourite with stylistas like Paloma Faith and Jaime Winstone, and is perfect for giving a retro nod to an other wise modern look. Vintage stores have impressive selections, but it’s also worth checking out the new range at M&S.

50s – The Hour Glass Silhouette

THEN: 1950s fashion was characterised by its ultra feminine silhouette, with plenty of waist-enhancing dresses creating an hour glass shape.

NOW: The fact that it’s sexy without being overtly provocative has made it a style favourite. Use Mad Men’s Betty Draper and the Sandy from Grease (pre make-over) as your inspiration.

60s – The Mini Skirt

THEN: The 60s was the first time that youngsters wanted to perpetuate their own sense of style to break away from dressing like their parents. Stylistas wanting to create a little controversy rushed out to snap up Mary Quant’s mini skirts.

NOW: The mini is still a statement of youth and confidence today, some 50 years later. The calf-length skirt might overtake it in the style stakes this season, but look out for new take minis in leather and black lace for A/W 2010.

70s – The Hippy Headband

THEN: The decade of free love was all about looking effortless. The first Woodstock festival took place in 1969, cultivating a laid-back look that soon took off over here.

NOW: Instantly evoking the spirit of free love, it’s no surprise that the hippy headband made a serious comeback at this year’s summer festivals. Best accessorised with mussed up hair and bare feet. Peace.

80s – The Power Shoulder

THEN: The 1980s were a decade defined by the art of power dressing. With more and more women in the work place, style got serious. To reflect the feisty nature of the 80s woman, pads were sewn into shoulders to create a sharper silhouette.

NOW: Where to start! Strutted up and down on multiple catwalks and rocked on stage by Rihanna and Gaga, the mighty shoulder has been a style wonder for most of this year. Next season look out for a more subtle shoulder on military and luxe jackets.


13th August 2010

The UK has gone completely bike mad. No longer is the humble bicycle restricted to the domain of the scabby-kneed child or the gym enthusiast – the bike has in fact gone full cycle (sorry…), and is way up in the cool stakes.

London is a key instigator in the turnaround, having just spent an impressive £500m on implementing its new cycle superhighway, where users can pick up a bike from numerous points around the city. Cyclists can then return the bikes to any docking point in town, meaning the bike is now a perfect alternative to tubes and buses for getting around.

As seen in this month’s Company feature On Yer Bike, cycling has gone from geek to chic. Agyness Deyn, Chloe Sevigny and Helena Christensen are just a few of the celebs who love their bicycles. Whether you’ve got a rusty old Rayleigh or a suped up Ridgemaster, the time has come to dig out your two wheeler and hit the streets. But what to wear? We’ve come up with a couple of pointers…

1. There’s definitely something quintessentially French about riding a bicycle. I instantly get images of stripy Breton trops, cropped tailored trousers and elegant ballet flats. Accessorise with a freshly baked baguette peeking out of the bike basket (magnifique). This look is effortless chic at its best – try Zara and Mango for classic basics.

2. Don’t make the mistake of trying to pedal in heels, you’ll only feel uncomfortable and look like a wally in the process. It is impossible to fall off a bike in a dignified manner, fact. Aggy wears flat brogues when she’s on her bike – you should too. Topshop has a great range of lace-ups and tassel loafers.

3. Embrace your inner girl scout and Be Prepared. We’ve had our two weeks of sunshine this year, so we should fully expect to be plunged under a rain cloud very soon. Pack a lightweight hooded parker (ASOS do a good one with fur trim) to fend off showers, or get one of next season’s capes (check out River Island) – perfect for keeping you cosy without restricting your arms.

4. Bags are getting practical. Bite the bullet and go for a full-on rucksack (Stella McCartney has done a range at Adidas that you might like to check out), or get yourself a removable basket for the front of your bike where you can pop your bag.

5. Remember your sunglasses. You don’t want to be suddenly blinded by the sun (or a suicidal fly) as you round the bend. Not cool. For a newer twist on classic Raybans, try the Clubfarers, a genius middle ground between the Wayfarer and the Clubmaster.

Happy cycling!

*Check out this month’s Company to see some of the coolest cyclists who are whizzing down a road near you…


9th August 2010
Last night Katy Perry hosted the Teen Choice Awards over in the US. As you’d expect, the style chameleon was at it again, this time rocking an impressive six different looks throughout the evening, ranging from an uber-geek (specs and braces), a prom queen (complete with tiara) and a pom-pom wielding Glee-style cheerleader.

But the best look of the night had to be her Eclipse-inspired moody vampire. Sulking around in black leather, heavy studs and fishnets, Katy may have been a bit of a fancy-dress box vampire, but her style was actually ticking several of the trend boxes for one of the most important looks of A/W 2010: the glam-goth.

As seen on the catwalks of Balmain and Givenchy, the glam-goth look has to have transpired from our current obsession with all things dark and twisted. Edward Cullen and co have a lot to answer for, even Lady Gaga seemed to give a nod to Twilight in her Monster Ball tour (the grisly vampire-like bite scene caused major controversy). Plus, with king of goth rockers Alice Cooper back in London for his infamous Halloween Ball, we clearly can’t ignore the allure of black leather any longer.

If you’re keen to channel glam-goth, slink into plenty of black lace, sexy leathers and luxurious velvets. You could even take inspiration from Count Dracula and don one of the high-necked capes that will be infiltrating the high street ASAP. Don’t forget the obligatory blood-red lips and definitely chuck out the fake tan – with this look, we won’t have to worry when our holiday tans have faded away into a distant summer memory, as pale is definitely more interesting (finally!). Then just work on a brooding, pensive pose… et voila!

All that remains is to find a suitable Edward Cullen lookalike…

Don’t forget to check out this month’s Company mag for the best glam-goth style buys on the high street!


8th August 2010

Twitter was flaring up yesterday following an exciting tweet about a new fashion line from the president of Marc Jacobs. According to comments from Robert Duffy (“We are in the very beginning stages of talking to a partner about plus sizes”), the brand could be set to become the first top fashion label to create a plus-size fashion line. About time, I reckon!

The news is the latest in a string of recent events that suggest that the super super skinny look is fast losing fashion favour. In July, US superstore Saks Fifth Avenue confirmed that they will be working with some of our best-known designers (like Chanel, D&G and Alexander McQueen) to extend their ranges up to a size 18. Back in the UK, the voluptuous rock vixen Beth Ditto is set to release her second fashion collection at Evans in September. And the curvaceous Crystal Renn has been selected by Jean Paul Gaultier for his Autumn 2010 ad campaign.

It seems that when it comes to high fashion 2010, curves are cool. With the average dress size in the UK now a size 16, your normal girl on the street is becoming further and further removed from the waif-like models that are sometimes seen on the catwalks. Most designer labels’ collections only go up to a size 14. Maybe we’re entering a new phase of fashion. Or maybe designers have twigged that by limiting their sizes they’re restricting their potential sales…

Either way, I’m all for lovely clothes being available in a bigger range of sizes. But until I win the lottery, I’ll be reading High Street Edit and copying all the catwalk looks at a fraction of the price. Brilliant!

Now…anyone fancy a biscuit?


2nd August 2010

So Gaga has got the fashion tongues a-wagging again. Nothing new there, you might say. But this time it’s not because she’s wearing a giant piece of bubble-wrap or because she’s spattered in blood. This time she’s stealing the headlines because she’s on the cover of Vanity Fair rocking the latest bizarre hair trend that has been slowly taking over the world recently: grey hair.

Ok ok, I know that other celebs probably got their first. Kelis had grey streaks back in 2009 for gawd’s sake. Since then, Kelly Osbourne, Pixie Geldof and Pink have been spotted with greying ‘dos. Model Kristen McMenamy even appeared on the front cover of Italian Vogue with a slick silver crop.

I’m all for grey hair. Men seem to be ‘allowed’ to go grey and still be sexy, implying a sort of wisdom and suaveness. Just look at George Clooney, Dr McDreamy, and, um, Philip Schofield, who are all working the silver-fox look. But when I try to think of sexy females with naturally grey hair the list is pretty damn sparse… (does Cruella de Vil count?… Is the Queen hot these days?!).

So if this new trend means that women will start to feel more comfortable with their grey hair, then that’s cool by me. But I’m not sure I’d agree with those who reckon that the trend is a kickback against the whole anti-ageing obsession. I think, like a tattoo or a piercing or a crazy Mohawk, it’s just another way for the cool kids to try and bust a fashion taboo, in the same way that geek-chic plastic glasses recently infiltrated our fashion consciousness. Walking round Carnaby Street this morning I saw at least three greying barnets on hot young bods. It’s a little weird, aesthetically confusing and a bit bewitching. In that way I suppose you could say it’s the hair equivalent of the great Gaga herself.

It’s a funny old time when you can channel a pop icon and your gran in the same look…


31st July 2010

Fashion is always one step ahead of the game.  So whilst most of us are still enjoying sashaying around in our maxi dresses, London Fashion Week’s just around the corner and the fash pack are out in force hunting down the trends that will be our wardrobe staples for Autumn/ Winter 2010.There’s some good news. Modern retro (‘60s shifts, bouffant hair, sexy eye flicks) is going to be massive, and apparently we won’t be wearing anything unless it’s leopard print. Easy enough, you might say. However, whereas summer was all about skipping along daintily in Havaianas or a gilded glad, apparently we’ll all be stomping head first into Autumn in a heavy pair of…hiking boots.

I love a boot, me. I love a lush leather knee-high, biker boots are to me a thing of wonder, and yeah I’ll confess… I may have worn the odd Ugg boot here and there. But hiking boots? Really?!

This country chic thing has been filtering into our fashion subconscious for a while now. We’ve had the dungaree trend (strictly for the fashion fierce), Alexa Chung has been festivalling in a Barbour motorcross jacket (so wrong but so right), and we’re all going to be rocking tweed very very soon (just wait ‘til you see the next High Street Edit, a-ma-zing). So maybe it will work?

On the plus side, we won’t get cold tootsies (adios shoe boots), and there’s no chance of a toe-crushing episode on the tube. The hiking boot is surely the shoe equivalent of the 4X4, its wearers able to quite confidently crush any pedestrian problem (Puddles, pah! Broken glass? Crunch, crunch crunch)…

For now though, it’s all a little bit too Bear Grylls for me.


27th July 2010

When you’re in the Company office, it’s an effort just to keep your eyes on the computer screen! The place is literally bursting with amazing clothes and exquisitely wrapped packages of beauty products – I feel like a very greedy fat kid in a candy store. But I’m keen to share the joy, so I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground to let you in on all the latest fashion and beauty whisperings…

Today I earwigged on a conversation the beauty team were having about eye shadow. Ahh, eye shadow. Sometimes I love it (bonjour, magnifique smoky eyes), other times we really don’t get along (you’re called EYE shadow, so what’s with the cheek speckles!). But thankfully, the latest make-up trend, pastel eyes, is a rare combination of beautiful and effortless – eureka!

It all started with nail polish. We’ve been dipping our fingertips into gorgeous saccharine shades of parma violet and pistachio for months now, and the trend has tiptoed its way upwards to our peepers.  Miu Miu are setting the style stakes again (just in case we’d dared to forget about their sparrow print taking over the world this summer), their fresh-faced models taking to the catwalk looking all nonchalant with eyes swathed in delicate puffs of lilac and jade.

Could it really be as easy as it seems? I start to worry that, with my questionable make-up skills, my eyes will come out a little more Pat Butcher and a little less ‘beautiful woodland nymph’ than initially desired. But thankfully, it’s almost foolproof. Just pat the prettiest colour you can find over your eyelid, smudging a little beneath your bottom eyelashes. Go for ultra-girly powder pinks, sky-blues and delicate shades of violet. Pat on some matte foundation (you don’t want to resemble a melting ice-cream cone…), check your eyebrows are under control, et voila!

If you’re feeling brave and want to seriously channel the catwalk, pale out your lips and scrape your hair into a tight pony for the ultimate in cool. I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull that one off  (for fear of looking like a vitamin-deficient My Little Pony), so instead I’ll be rocking it with a scruffy French plait and frayed denim at a festival near you. Delish!

* the above blog posts were written during an internship at Company’s High Street Edit magazine, and appeared on the website. Visit the full site here here

** i have borrowed images from google, if you would like me to remove them please don’t hesitate to get in touch –


One Response to “book-free zone”


  1. TODAY’S UPDATES | noted. magazine - August 16, 2010

    […] magazine duly, daily. Skip to content HomeaboutbrandsfashionVintage at Goodwood: Five Decades Of Coolfresh talenttv ← […]

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