Every day’s a style school day

31 Aug

We’re constantly being advised on how we should look and dress, but truth is most of it should be ignored.

This quote from Jane Rapley in her previous role as Head of Central St Martins College, resonated recently.  It describes how she and her team coached aspiring designers at the world famous institution:

“We coax it out by teaching… We try to recognise where their interests lie and where they get stuck.  Then we say “… Have you looked at this for inspiration?  Don’t you think you should look at…?  Who are your influences?”  We’re not looking for uniqueness as there is no such thing.  We’re looking for evolution and distinctiveness.”*

Just prior to reading this I’d been surfing the British Vogue You Tube channel and despite a lovely shoot with Naomi Campbell in Brixton I felt a pang of disappointment when I realised that we’re so forcefully encouraged to hero worship a Made in Chelsea-could’ve-been (Cara Delevigne, it’s true), a nineties pop star with a decent taste in demure dressing (V Beckham) and a super-star-model-come-stylist with a sixth-form attempt at directing a fashion video (Moss). What struck me is how far removed big brand fashion is from the raw creativity and talent of the real designers and artists within the industry.  How an idea or inspiration can be diminished by the pout of a celebrity, a big budget and a hard-nosed sales projection.

I’m not down with the new talent, but I do follow (like a disciple) the work of the legendary Susie Bubble and other bloggers, which demonstrate that there is without question fantastic, fresh talent out there.  It’s just not depicted in our mainstream.

If style floats your boat, then you’ll get your inspiration in a variety of forms – a documentary, a film, a work of art, a holiday, the nice boots the girl ahead of me on the high street was wearing the other day.

We may enjoy what they’re about, but the traditional fash pack isn’t setting our looks any longer. These days style inspiration comes from elsewhere and everywhere and not just the commercial feeds.  Just as the students of Central St Martins are encouraged.

High five, style icons.

Blondie’s New York… and the making of Parallel Lines.

*Quote from Fashion Makers Fashion Shapers, Anne-Celine Jaeger (Thames & Hudson, 2009)

Free places to stay in a motorhome, Europe

17 Aug IMG_4512

As our old friend ‘Jeronimo’ the motorhome drives a new family off into the sunset, here are some of the beautiful spots we woke up to over the last leg of our nine month adventure. All the places in the pics below were FREE to pitch up for a night or two.

If, like me, you mentally planned a trip in a van a few years ago (for me, 2011) and have drawn up a picture of where you’d go, but still haven’t got round to it – then I urge you to prepare, plan, save, buy a van and pack NOW (maybe not all at once) so that your dream is just around the corner.

It really is something to wake up to the calming ripple of the Med, the roar of the Atlantic, the birds singing, the dog whining because he needs to go out for a wee. Having no telly and exploring new places every day.  Reading all day long – those books you’ve had on the shelf for years and some new gems.  Squabbling over the sat nav and what’s for tea a few times a week. Deciding to take a peek down a quiet road to find you’re invited to an independence day party (Portugal’s 40th year) by the locals and are offered a place to stay, right on the lake’s edge. Being with your favourite people (husband and dog, Toto is a person of course) all day, every day and wondering why we didn’t do this years ago.

Too many special memories to name here, but it’s true to say that Jeronimo has been a little metal dream on wheels.  Now for the next adventure.  We rolling Stones gather no moss (I only heard that today!).

Le chic

9 Aug
Le chic


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