Aztec Style | Warehouse

A few weeks back, the lovely team at Warehouse invited me to take part in their blogger series, Postcards From Shoreditch. After meeting the team at their store near Bank in east London, we went wandering in Shoreditch to find a spot to show off the threads. I selected this amazing print suit - the Black Ikat Jacket is structured but not too boxy - the slightly longer length is much better for my frame! I love print, but deciding to go all out with the matching Ikat Skirt was a bold move. I like to think it works because of the muted, monochrome palette. To tie in, their Faux Snake Pouch Clutch in white was a winner - and since, it has proved the greatest single update to my summer wardrobe! Thanks to Rhian and the team for the fabulous day werking my best angles.

Hadley Freeman and Caitlin Moran at Book Slam | Instadiary

My copies of the books arrive by post: #excited!!!!

You can diatribe all day long about how young women today want more than what Glamour et al have to offer; better yet to actually go and see it in full swing. Last night, my friend Jen took me to  Book Slam at the Grand in Clapham. Covering everything from menstrual accidents to your parents fighting about the washing machine, Caitlin Moran, Hadley Freeman, Sarah Pascoe, Salena Godden and SOAK made for an epic evening of entertainment and enlightenment.

Compare Salena Godden kept the energy charged from start to finish. She opened with a hilarious anecdote about offering to draw a moustache on Patti Smith in Paris. Turns out Patti already reckoned she had one; cue awks recognition of that fact on a drunken Godden's part... Super funny and a great entertainer for the night, she delivered some rhythmic verse on lust and life. Her style is to layer meaning through repetition and to really perform the poetry.

Star of The Thick of It, stand up Sarah Pascoe did her brilliant rendition of why being a drunk woman with a mic is a far better way to go than any other. The pinot grigio fuelled audience were quick to show their approval with lols. She also ripped it out of the beauty industry for some ridiculous campaigns involving giving your younger self a hi five for applying wrinkle cream. Bleugh! Also on the bill, the very sweet SOAK, fresh singer from Derry. She is such a beautiful voice for a girl who just turned 17.

Hadley works the crowd
I was really excited to see the writers, especially because they work at where I'd love to one day and all that. The Guardian's Hadley Freeman opened the readings with an exerpt from her new book,  Be Awesome: Modern Life For Modern LadiesShe started with a Daily Mail headline guide to her day - "is that belly a pregnancy bump?"; "Hadley Freeman leaves the house wearing the same blue pair of shoes for the third day in a row". It's sardonic, self-conscious writing only the highest minds achieve.

Later, she divulged her reasons why everything being wrong with your body (see: what the beauty industry want you to believe on cellulite, baby weight and cankles) is pretty much proof that there is nothing wrong with your body, simply that you are, in fact, a human being. Her slamming of Christian Louboutin was amazing (appazza he told her in interview he can tell what type of shoe every woman is, prompting her naturally to enquire her own imagined model. His response? A Dr Marten's boot. Feminist or no, miaow) For her famous anniversary reincarnations, Louboutin slimmed Barbie's ankles down, not because they were fat, but because they "could be thinner". Ah, what....

Stylist and Times columnist Caitlin Moran's approach was different - she told wicked journalistic jaunts on how she accidentally tried to break into Kate Moss's house while on her way to have Sunday lunch with Bennedict Cumberbatch, on whose couch, by the way, she spilt period blood. Oh, and she also menstruated all over the bathroom and living room floor of Richard Curtis, writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Apparently her first ever period lasted for three months! Never mind that, she was super late interviewing Gordon Brown, but it didn't matter because he was 20 minutes late anyway. One gets the impression life as Caitlin Moran is hella fun but WILD. 

After, I got an autograph from Caitlin in my copy of How to be a Woman and her advice to a budding writer? Write every day, and read. If you see a flurry of activity on the blogosphere, you know why. Hadley had disappeared. I rather tipsily tweeted her on my way home... and this morning she replied! What a truly awesome lady.

Q & A | VV Brown

At the PPQ show at London Fashion Week, it's as much about the front row as the clothes on the catwalk. I caught up with the lovely VV Brown to for a quickfire Q and A on what she made of the collection.

"PPQ is very fun and feminine, and it’s one of those shows where everybody goes, so it’s a nice show where you can not only see beautiful clothes, but you can also do a little bit of celeb spotting as well, because it is quite press packed"

"I love to really sort of go to like Central Saint Martin’s and the College of Fashion where you get to sort of see a lot of the emerging designers, that’s my favourite part, because to find the talent is just really exciting"

I ask if she thinks London is a better place for finding new designers. "Absolutely, I think it’s absolutely great for finding new talent, London takes so many risks, so yeah!"

Thanks VV!

Vogue Festival

Condé Nast held their new fashion geek fest, the Vogue Festival, this weekend at the Southbank Centre. And what a weekend! Just as the sun has finally cracked through that tenacious winter sky, fashion fans were out in all shimmers and shades of glory at the talks with the upper echelons of industry.

I attended the panel with the bloggers that now sit front row, Susie Bubble and Garance Doré, and front rower who blog, Anna Dello Russo. Talk about turning the industry inside out, that these ladies are handed a mic by a Vogue editor and asked their opinion on the media is testimony to the power of that Industrial Revolution of our day, what my uncle still calls "the net" (so cute. So millenium.) 

Anna Dello Russo is a funny one; quite literally, her protracted but enthusiastic accounts of how she dresses, the importance of a "total look"and the fact that she has a whole appartment just for her wardrobe had the audience in (very chic) stitches. As stylist for twenty years before getting into blogging, she finds it to be like girls getting ready for a party together, the chance to dress up and share your experience with clothes.

For Garance Doré, it was a natural process, more of a personal photo diary that got famous. She is one of those achingly stylish women whose ease and elegance seem like they breezed in from another clime. Her blog has the same vibe; I think it's a nonchalant French thing. She spoke about how she recently moved to New York, and how Americans are much more willing to try new things, making her work much easier and more interesting. Appazza in France women work out the jean shape that suits them and wear it for life. French women, conservative? Who knew! 

Well,  if you can find interesting things to snap in that cold conservative clime, I'd say it's great training ground for anywhere. It's like the Romans used to train their soliders with heavy wooden mock weapons so when they got into battle, the steel versions felt so light they became twice as good as they already were. It's a motto I try and live by. Natch!

Intellectual, the original rag mag geek; Susie Bubble is so sweet. It suits her well. She humbly reiterated her line that she still can;t believe she gets to go to all these shows. In a way, I don't disbelieve her. All three women agreed you have to keep a fresh enthusiasm for what you do, and casting yourself in your mind's eye as an outsider must work wonders for your levels of appreciation. One to chew on.

After, I got chatting to blogger and LCF student Monica, (who I suspect comes from the same other world as GD) when someone handed me a spare ticket for the Michael Kors conversation with Yasmin Le Bon. Yaldy! I took my seat.

Michael Kors is testimony to one thing; love for your craft. He is giggly, fun, happy. There is a sense of theatricality about him which made the talk really enjoyable, like his anecdote of styling his mother's wedding dress aged five - according to himself, his grandmother was suspicious of his mother taking the toddler's advice but she knew. Bless. Seriously, though, off the rail I've never found Michael Kors work to be mind blowing, but seeing the way he is in person, it's clear a little personality goes a long way, and his success is probably much down to his sparkle.

Having come from the "blogging is future" chat, it was nice to hear some (very recent) fashion history. Yasmin Le Bon was a model he worked with in the eighties, and they reminisced about the great times they had at the shows. There were no live streams then, hardly any cameras; the shows were set up for experience, not the pictures. According to Yasmin, you had to make sure people remembered them the hard way, so there was a lot more winking, throwing off coats, even explaining to the audience. "We could be so naughty!" she laughed. It contrasts absolutely with the military precision and seriousness which characterises the catwalk shows of today. Oh my god, she fell over? How catastrophic!

We are so connected, so uber-switched on these days, we forget how to really live life. "I'll Google that later" - how many of us forget to live in the here and now? Well, here's the crunch. Condé Nast are on the money again. Live events like this look set to become a commercial outlet for print publications, whose sales are notoriously plummeting where digital takes over.

Two weeks ago I attended a Company "How to Get Into Fashion" forum, which fashion editor Oonagh Weldon told me is something they are looking to develop further. The music industry lost record sales to downloads, so responded by making the live experience ten, twenty, a million times better, and pimping the tickets for a wristbanded arm and a leg.

The Vogue Festival felt like Fashion Week For The Public; the temporary beauty salons, Vogue shop and photo booths had the look of the British Fashion Council tents. People love to love fashion, why not make events part of the Vogue product? And to really compete with digital, the blogs and the online magazines with all of the youth and none of the hang-ups Vogue is held back by, you take it back into the real world. Having said that, with free wi-fi and constant reminders to "tweet with the hashtag Vogue Festival, there was a sense that the internet had become the reality. Meta!

Crucially, Vogue are taking it down the talks route, a much better, more engaging way of thinking than fashion shows. Who knows, with talks such as Too Fat Too Thin? on the agenda, maybe these will start some genuine debate and reflection on an industry which can be all too matter over mind.