Thursday, 28 May 2009

Another summer day out idea: I feel like Blue Peter!

Cast your mind back to the shadowy world of December 2007, when I wrote about the importance of textile recycling AKA why I loved shopping in TRAID, A segment of which I noticed during the course of my research for this piece actually appears on the TRAID website!

Now roll yourselves forward to today (hello, welcome back!) because i'm going to do it again!

This year is TRAID's tenth year (happy birthday!) and continuing with this weeks theme of things to do throughout the summer, TRAID is running free remaking and reuse workshops in London throughout 2009.
Simply bring a garment that you no longer wear and the TRAID team will help you to transform that damaged jacket, dated skirt or unspeakable fashion mistake into a gorgeous and completely unique piece of clothing. As well as learning easy clothes remaking skills and basking in the glow of having made something yourself, you will also make your clothing last longer - reducing waste and diverting textiles from landfill.
I think this is a genuinely ruddy marvellous idea! Although I keep making pathetic attempts at DIY at home, it will be great to have a TRAID expert show me how to do it better - and all for free!! I have a battered denim jacket that I will be taking down - I tried to do the jemstone epillettes make and do in UK Vogue on it this month , but it just looks like Dolly Parton threw up on my shoulders!
So, as the Loreal advert always says, here is the science bit:
2009 // 11am - 3pm // 30 May, 27 June, 25 July, 22 August, 26 Sept, 31 Oct, 29 Nov
All workshops take place at TRAID Shepherds Bush shop 154 Uxbridge Road, W12,
Lyla Patel at TRAID on 020 8733 2591 or email her to register your interest. You can also just turn up on the day!!
I've got the 27 June and the 25 July ones pencilled into my diary (so I can definitely go to one!) Hopefully I'll see you there!
Love, Tor x

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Who will sell you if you don't sell yourself?

Flicking through the street chic at the Chelsea flower show section of, I came across 2 pictures that started a curious train of thought:
Daniella Issa Helayel says "I'm wearing Issa, a Philip Treacy hat, a Chanel bag and a clutch by Corto Moltedo."

Meanwhile, Julien Macdonald says "Today I'm wearing Dior Homme, American Apparel and Gucci."

Now, whilst I am aware that Macdonald doesn't design menswear, this got me thinking about what designers do wear. Is it OK that Issa is wearing Issa? Should/do we expect designers to wear their own collections or does it seem too self promotional and, well, naff?

Yup, i'm thinking about you, Donatella Versace!

I think this is a tricky area. Issa is wearing her own collection, but she isn't wearing it head to toe and the overall look is very chic. To me this is self promotion that works. Donatella on the other hand seems to wear Versace head to toe, day in and day out, and therefore we stop admiring the gowns/resort wear and see the clothes instead as a stereotypical extension of her persona.

Karl Lagerfeld always wears his own sunglasses, whilst Marc Jacobs is also famed for wearing his own collections. However MJ also drew the attention of the world press to the Commes de Garcons kilt for men by wearing it onto the stage at the fashion show showcasing his own collection back in 2008. I wonder what people found more shocking; that he was a chap wearing a skirt, or that he was drawing attention to another designers garment which seemed set to overshadow his own collection?

I am all for shameless self promotion (have you read about yet, by the way?) but I also respect designers who wear other designers clothes; they must love fashion (or they wouldnt be in the business!) so it seems natural to me that they would want to wear beautiful things, as well as have variety in their wardrobes. However I think a designer would have to be very stupid (or too famous for it to matter perhaps!) not to wear their own clothes occassionally, simply for that priceless red carpet moment when someone asks what you're wearing, and you can say yourself. I bet Daniella Issa thought all her birthdays had come at once!

What says you Karl?

An interesting point well made!

Love, Tor xx

Friday, 22 May 2009

Prepare to bling: London Jewellery Week is coming!

8-14 June 2009 is London Jewellery Week. I know so because I saw a poster telling me all about it on the tube this morning. Maybe it's because I skim quickly over the ads in my plethora of magazines, but I find it odd that I hadn't heard of it before. Maybe i'm losing my touch!

The poster promised jewellery making classes, fashion shows, exhibitions and "much more". And so as soon as i'd dealt with the obligatory Friday morning emails, I hot footed over to the website to see how I could get involved. And find out what "much more" actually entails.

First I downloaded the printed guide. (Is this a contradiction in terms given that you're actually downloading it online and all? Who knows!) And do you know, when they said "much more" they were actually right! That almost never happens! In fact, they were a 52 page booklet full of activities worth of right.

Here is a summary of the events I think I will try to attend. These ones might not be the ones that float your boat (does anyone else simultaneously love and hate that phrase!?) But I think whatever your interests (as long as they're jewellery based of course!) you'll find at least one that your desperate to attend!

Holts Academy of Jewellery
Saturday 13 June 10 - 11am
Langdales, 5 St Cross Street EC1N 8UA
Jewellery Through the Ages.

Hatton Garden Festival
Family Day
Saturday 13 June 11.30am - 6pm
Hatton Garden EC1N
Street festival with jewellery-making demonstrations in the street, children’s workshops, costumed actors, musicians, a fine-food market and a host of jewellery themed walks, talks and workshops – fun for the whole family!

Cockpit Arts
12 June 7 - 9pm
13 - 14 June 11am - 6pm
Holborn Incubator, Cockpit Arts, Cockpit
Yard, Northington Street WC1N 2NP
Open Studios
Make a Difference by supporting talented jewellers and designers making work in London. Find exciting new jewellery pieces and more from £5 - £5,000. See behind the scenes and enjoy fabulous free attractions Star Buys trail, Quick Collect tours, Makers Makes activities, Design Shorts screenings, Love Your Stuff evolving gallery, Meet the Team sessions and Pop-Up caf├ęs.

And if you have a flexible job/don't work for a living (damn you all to hell!!) this seminar on the Friday (12 June) sounds really great:

The Goldsmiths’ Company
9.30am - 7.30pm
Goldsmiths’ Hall, Foster Lane EC2 6BN
Day of Knowledge: A series of illustrated presentations by jewellers featured in The Goldsmiths’ Company’s summer exhibition, CREATION II: An Insight into the Mind of the Modern Artist-Jeweller. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the speakers directly. Tickets £10 (includes catalogue and refreshments). For tickets email or call 0207 3675 907

And why should we all love jewellery? Well I don't need any persuading (my collection of rings and bangles is out of control, and the bigger the better) but for all the doubting thomas's amongst you, here is the blurb from the back of the guide: Jewellery is a symbol. Whether it is a fashion statement or a work of art, it is often the focus of, rather than the accessory to, an outfit. With wedding bands and anniversary jewels such as rubies or pearls, jewellery has come to symbolise eternal love – and as such, its sentimental value far exceeds the initial cost.

So there you have it; beautiful sparkly beautiful jewels and the implicit promise of a true and eternal love. You'd be crazy not to get involved!!

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

One man's rubbish...

...Is another man's treasure, as my nan is fond of saying (often at carboot sales and in charity shops!)

I love anything with an animal on it: tiger T shirts, wolf vests, lion necklaces and snake rings - If you can name it, chances are I own it or covet it!

When I saw this Kate Spade owl bag on that's my immediate thought was "wow, this bag is would look so good with my summer floral dresses...I really want that for my holiday...."and so on!

Deka of that's hideous instead wrote: "was just browsing in the kate spade store over the weekend. i love that the line has gotten more creative from their standard box, but i dont love this. i can definitely see a slightly older generation digging it though. available this fall"
It just goes to show that great minds definitely don't think alike. And if you ask me, that's one of the best things about fashion!

Love Tor x

PS - Sorry for the tiny post but my sisters op is today and i'm on my way to the hospital! Wish us both luck (but mostly her of course!!)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sh-ust (Or Shoe Lust to the uninitiated!)

Hi Guys,

My love for topshop is well documented, but this season they seem to have really excelled themselves on the shoe front. I don't think there is a single pair of heels on their website or in their stores that I don't covet.

I so genuinely struggled to find my favs to show you that I thought it best to create a serious montage of them all!!
And finally there are these Emma Cook platform sandals for £95. Flowers and ruffles made from zips: Oh my!! Birds are tweeting (not on twitter) and angels are singing and playing trumpets, and whatever else angels do, when I look at these shoes. It was love at first sight, and the moment I slipped my foot into them in the topshop in brent cross it was love at first touch:

Three birthdays ago the lovely bf bought me Emma Cook @ topshop shoes, and they are amongst my treasured possessions: crazy high black heels with a black and blue suede cage weaving across the foot. If only these had been nestled in the lovely pink cupcake paper this year!
The problem with heels this high of course is their wearability. I pride myself on being the kind of girls that can wear heels to work (on occassion) and doesn't need to pussy out with trainers on the tube: I say if you're comitting to heels then commit to them! But no matter how beautiful they are, the thought of the pain in my arches means that I dont want to commit to them every day; in fact, after a long day at work and a hard night of dancing, I look at the most beautiful shoes like satan's own traps, and long to put on comfy flats, any comfy flats. So how dare topshop design all these stunning heels, when they should really be out there designing pumps with cushioned insoles. Don't they think about practicality? Dont they care for our foot welfare? Think of all the pressure we are putting on our toes, you heartless shoemakers, you!
Of course, this could all be a lie because i'm jealous and broke...
Maybe the real problem I have isn't one of practicality at all; i've never been one for that. Maybe my main problem with topshop shoes (apart from the price which sadly is a little rich for me over the next month or two) is that with all these lovely shoes to choose from, i'd have struggled to settle for just one pair.

Lots of love,

Tor x

More to life than being really really ridiculously good looking?

Hi All,

Advance warning; I am about to go off on a tangent and write a post that isn't about fashion!

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite film is I always say something like Dangerous Liasons, Short Cuts, or Some like it hot. And whilst it's true that I really do love these films, when I answer the question this way, I am lying. It is my deepest darket secret (that I am sharing with you all, so I really can't have any secrets can I?!) that my favourite film in the world is in fact, Zoolander.

I just can't get enough of it; it's funny, random, pokes fun at the fashion industry, has Ben Stiller in it: what's not to love?! OK, so it isn't intellectually stimulating, but nonetheless, I love it and i'm saying it out loud! In fact, when i'm in "high spirits" I often conduct a "walk off" with my friends and family in Derek's honour!

So imagine my delight when I heard that they are making a sequel...With the working title of "Twolander" (love it!)

I actually can't find out very much about the movie, other than that it is definitely a work in progress. I do wonder what form the sequel would take: the first film was such a nicely rounded package that ended in a clear and definitive way, so it's hard to imagine where they would take the characters next. However as Zoolander script writer John Hamburg said to the MTV movie blog, “I think to catch up with two male models ten years later, there’s a lot of room for comedy.” This seems especiallly valid given that Derek has approached the end of his career in the first film. Speaking at the premiere of Night in the Museum 2 Ben Stiller also confirmed that the second film was definitely in the making, and that he was looking forward to pulling that infamous Blue Steel pose! This is all exciting stuff, now we just need a confirmed release date!

With this news reverbirating around your fashion consciousnesses, I leave you with the following final thoughts from the first movie. I can only hope there will be more of these classics coming from the second:

Derek Zoolander: "Words can only hurt you if you try to read them. Don't play their game."

Mugatu: "Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique. "

Really, what's not to love.... It's a walk off!

Love, Tor x

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Doing the fashion maths

What do you get if you combine 80s nostaglia and mission space? Well i'll tell you!

80s nostalgia + NASA's left overs = Pam Hogg of course!

It was the launch party for the East End designer's pop-up boutique in London's Soho last night, and as you can see from my picture of Peaches Geldof (who would've ever thought i'd end up putting a picture of Peaches Geldof on this here blog!!) the fashion equation is well and truly complete!

Yup, having not shown at London Fashion Week for 10 years, Hogg is now well and truly back in fashion favour, with such media dahhlings as Peaches, Daisy Lowe, Alice Dellal and Jamie Winstone promoting her wares. Her outfits are like second skins; clinging to every lump and bump and therefore impractical for anyone who isn't a super model or a teenager! (If you are either of these things incidentally you can buy the new collection exclusively at Browns)

Now don't get me wrong. Hogg's stuff is cool! Almost as cool as the lady herself in fact; this lady has some serious (and much deserved!) cult status! But it's just so far from cool for me. Can I see these jump suits/baco foil in pretty colours/play suits looking good on a catwalk model, a dance troupe or an attention starved celebrity? Why, yes I can! Would I ever try it myself? Not unless I was on a mission to look like a pig that leaped off a baking tray and frighten small children!

However I would like to give these wonderwoman shoes from Office, which I think would compliment those catsuits perfectly, a go!
Gorgeous shoes and a nice dress; does anyone else think we might have found our way back to my comfort zone perfectly?! Lets leave those catsuits to the skinny whippersnappers; meanwhile I feel like an old lady with a big wobbly tum!

Love, Tor x

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

(Birth)daily wear!

Hi guys,

This is just a very quick post to say thank you for the birthday wishes (I had a lovely time thanks!) and show you the outfit I wore for my day out with the bf:
The outfit is really plain and simple, but sometimes thats all you want for a casual day out, and especially as a foil for beautiful jewellery. I love this dress with its feminine skirt, made for twirling, which has big pockets at either side:

This is a close up of the ring i'm wearing (a birthday gift from the bf) which incorporates all of my favourite things: it's absolutely massive, has an old Victorian style cameo taking centre stage, and lots of gorgeous gold twills.

Outfit 'deets': dress; topshop, 100% silk jacket; topshop boutique, gladiators; boutique in Florida, bag; vintage, necklaces; miss selfridges and accessorise.Thanks to everyone involved for a wonderful day!
Love, Tor xx

Monday, 11 May 2009

Popping on a party hat!

Tomorrow is my birthday. I have taken the day off work (which is naughty really, as I only went back today after last weeks sick week!) and plan to have a wander around Spitalfields with my boyfriend, eat a square pie, and maybe catch a mooovie. Then it's home to change followed by dinner out with friends. A lovely day, indeed! But what would be even more lovely is if, in lieu of paper party hats favoured by Christmas cracker companies, everyone turned up in a Lolitasummer tiny little mini-hat. Because, of course, it isn't really a celebration without a birthday badge and everyone wearing a hat!

Despite this being dinner rather than lunch, in these hats it would be like the prim-est, proper-est (these hats make me make up words!) little tea party and everyone would look like a porcelain doll! The maker of these fabulous hats claims to have a helpless obsession with Alice in the Wonderland. And it really shows!
Although, there are only 12 designs for sale on the etsy page, that's more than enough for one each with a little selection for me!
I don't know why I fell in love with these dinky hats so much; usually I crave something over the top, with colours and feathers flying out in every direction. But today, just this once, I would be truly happy with a little understated lace and button and pastel coloured whimsy perching bravely on top of my head. Who knows, maybe its a sign that my tastes are getting less garish as I age....but I suspect maybe not!!
Love, Tor xx
PS - Is anyone else wondering whether you could DIY something this pretty and dainty at home? I have a sneaking suspicion I will be raiding my scraps and button boxes tonight to find out!!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Paper jewellery - I feel like Fred Butler!

Two summers ago the V&A played host to a couture fashion exhibition from the sixties, and I promptly trotted down, both for dissertation research and of course personal interest. I have always been interested in sixties fashion and the social and literary influences surrounding it. Time magazine said in April 1966 that "In a decade dominated by youth, London has burst into bloom. It swings; it is the scene. This spring, as never before in modern times, London is switched on." To me London is still "the scene"; the city to look to for fashion innovation, and I guess that's why the sixties are both so important and so fascinating for me.
Although I had read all about them, whilst at that exhibition I saw my first paper dress. I was amazed at the vivid colours, the amazing patterns, and how thick the paper was! Paper dresses were a brief but spectacular Sixties sensation. They were cheap and disposable, and their simple 2-D shape was ideal for the bold graphic prints that were so fashionable. Some were produced as free gifts to promote paper products, and though prone to tearing and creasing, they were marketed as 'instant fun from London'.
What I hadn't heard of though was the paper jewellery that accompanyied these dresses and was popular in its own right. Of course I knew Fred Butler was making popular paper jewels right now, but I didn't realise it was something that had been happening for years!
But apparently by 1967 paper fashioning had become a full blown trend; Hallmark picked up on the trend and produced paper dresses with matching paper plates, gift wrap, napkins, placemats and other party paraphernalia for a complete party theme! Then along came paper jewellery, paper mache shoes and even paper dog clothes!!

Yesterday, tired of reading magazines and in need of more bread to go with my sickness soup, I had to (shock horror!) leave the house. Whilst out I happened upon an amazing book in poundland (of all places!) for just a pound; The paper jewellery collection; easy to wear and ready to make pop out artwear. It comes complete with all the metal findings and instructions and, as well as being interesting from a socio-historic point of view, taking away the status attached to wearing jewellery, it also seemed like a lot of fun! It's such a lovely book that I was tempted not to make the jewellery up and preserve it, however my desire to see how it would look got the better of me. Here are the results of my labours (no face shots of course, I currently frighten small children!):
I'm not sure about the eighties style necklaces and the bracelets feel like they'd break the minute I flexed my arm, but I am really pleased with the earrings and you can also make the matching brooches and hatpins which look great and which I can't wait to soon as i've had another little nap!
I hope you all have a great weekend!
Love, Tor xx

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Bank holidays, Car boot sales, and a whole load of poorly!

Hi guys,

I hope you all had a good bank holiday! Sorry for the long break in posts; I spent the bank holiday weekend at home in Skegness with my mum and dad (and Teddy the dog!) where there is no internet access to be had. Then instead of coming home and making up for it with a series of mega posts as planned, I came home and promptly caught the flu (don't worry, not the swine variety!) and a chest infection. Grrrreat! (As Tony the tiger would say!)

Whilst in sunny Skegness we went for a wander around the local car boot sale (one of the biggest ones I have ever seen, actually!) and because i'm feeling too poorly to put together an intelligent and coherent post, i'm simply going to show you the bargains I bought there instead:
Chain handled quilted/studded bag, £1

Stack of books, (my commuters curse is that I get through about 3-4 books a week!) 20p-50p each
Little red netted hat, 50p

Babysham deer (to go with my collection of babysham glasses), £3

Tiny little mannequin, 50p

Hello Kitty doll (for the collection!) 50p

Not a bad haul for just over a fiver, hey?! I must have my imaginary lucky hat on at the moment because, what with this and my beautiful jacket, I have been on serious bargain hunting form! Lets just hope the luck carries on and helps me off this sofa and back to full health!
Love, Tor x

Friday, 1 May 2009

Fabfrocks interviews: Lindsay from EmandSprout

Hi All,

As i've already mentioned on this blog once or twice, I have a major shoe crush on the etsy store EmandSprout. Their chihuaha shoes have been one my mind at least once daily since the first time I saw them, and they give a fresh take on the phrase "putting the fun into footwear."

So imagine my delight when the lovely Lindsay Gibson, owner and designer of EmandSprout (which was lovingly named after her two cats) agreed to do a short interview with me for your reading pleasure:

How cute are Lindsay and her enviably thick fringe!?

TB: Tell me a little bit about your background:

LG: I've always been a crafter at heart! I know it sounds so cliche but I've just been into making stuff since I was a little girl. My earliest and fondest memories of being crafty were making Valentines Day mailboxes for card swaps in school, you know the kind you make out of shoeboxes? I remember always staying up all night making sure my box was perfect! Fast forward 10 years and I ended up going to art school and graduated with an emphasis in graphic design. I worked professionally as a designer until my interest waned because I wanted to start working for myself instead of for someone else. Plus I'm a terrible morning person, ha! ;)

........................................Lindsay's workspace: where the magic happens!

So about 5 years ago I taught myself screenprinting and created a line of screenprinted t-shirts under the name Kid Pirate. The success of that business allowed me to do extra things with my spare time, and so Em&Sprout was born! Em&Sprout just started as a little side project, but after seeing the response people had to my shoes it's sort of grown into something alot more special that just a side project.

TB: When did you start making your wonderful shoes?

LG: It's been a little over a year now!

TB: Why did you choose to focus on designing shoes?

LG: The shoe idea just popped into my head one day, I didn't really choose to focus on shoes - it just came to me and I went on my whim and made them! I ended up really liking the idea of making cute shoes especially for us grown-ups! Why should only little girls get all the fun shoes?

TB: A bit of a cheesy question, but what is your inspiration?
LG: Animals!! I'm a huge animal lover. Especially my two cats, Em & Sprout (Emily Pussyfoot & Beansprout Sassypants) who the shop is named after! Other than animals I find inspiration in so many things including: Candy wrappers, 80's cartoons, classic arcade games, halloween, monsters, silliness, vintage toys, carnivals and fairs. All things colorful and wacky with a twisted sense of humor :)

TB: What is the most bizarre custom order you have ever received?

LG: Puffer fish maryjanes. They had these huge red fishy lips and I made it's fins coming out the sides of the shoes. They were pretty crazy but the girl loved them. HAHA!

TB: Of all the designs on sale in your store, which is your favourite and why?

LG: Definitely the zombie cats because they're a little cute and a little creepy. How can you not love a little kitty with a gouged eye?

TB: Who are some of your favourite fashion designers?

LG: Betsey Johnson, Erin Fetherston, and basically anyone who has a young, flirty, whimsical aesthetic. An indie label I admire is Kelly of I'm Your Present, she is so fabulous and creative!

TB: As your design style is so cartoon focused, I have to know who your favourite cartoon character is:
LG: This is seriously the hardest question ever, but I have to go with Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons. I watched that show so much as a kid and I have such a soft spot in my heart for her! She was so warm and hilarious, the show wouldn't have been the same without her. I could go on and on about all my other favorite characters but I'd never shut up so I'll stop now! ;)

TB: Describe your fashion philosophy in less than 20 words:

LG: Your personality is your style, be comfortable in your own skin, and don't worry about what others think!

I love Lindsay's style philosophy as much as I love her favourite designer (Oh Betsey!) but not quite as much as I love her fabulous shoes which you can buy here and here.

Happy shopping!

Love, Tor xx
Oh by the way, if you are a designer, illustrator, blogger or creative-type and you would like to be interviewed on the blog just drop me a line at and I will be in touch!