Monthly Archives: November 2009

>The Hamilton House Fashion Bazaar

>Ah, I wish I were in the country for this one! If you’re making a start on your Christmas shopping and are looking for fun, creative gifts, or just a place to avoid weekend shoppers while indulging in a little fashion voyeurism for yourself, then head down to Hamilton House in Stokes Croft for the first ever Fashion Bazaar.

Presented by the Bristol Fash Pack, this free one day event promises stalls, customising workshops, a fashion parade, a clothes swap and a clothing auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the collectives’ two chosen charities; the Bristol-based Malawi Education Project and Cancer Research.
Fash Pack is an all female line-up of local fashion designers and shop owners including Shop Dutty and Madidas Harissa, both of whom featured in the Stokes Croft Fashion Show back in October. The group are looking for volunteers to help out with the event so if you’re interested then please get in touch via their Facebook event page.
The Bazaar kicks off at 1pm and carries on till 6pm, with the fashion parade and auction happening at 5pm. All the action happens in the event space above the Coexist Canteen – see the Facebook page, link above, for more info.
A fashionable event that supports charity, local designers AND has t-shirt customising workshops sounds like a winner to me so make sure you go and check it out this Sunday!

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Filed under Bristol Fash Pack, clothes swap, Dutty Girl, Madidas Harissa, Stokes Croft

>Black and Blue

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In the US there is a Thanksgiving tradition known as ‘Black Friday’, which happens the day after Thanksgiving (which always falls on the last Thursday of November).

But Black Friday is not where families come together to relax after the stress of cooking a big meal, it is in fact the day when they choose to venture out at 5am (!) to shop like crazy in the ridiculously priced pre-Christmas sales. Events take place everywhere from superstores to thrift stores and last the weekend, but all the best sales happen first thing on Friday morning.

Naturally I wouldn’t dream of getting up so early for any of the January sales, but as I’ll probably only be here once for this time of year I figured I might as well partake with the rest of the country. In a bid to be clever and out-smart my body clock, I decided to join my cousin (and what seemed like half of Florida) in going to Miromar, one of the largest outlet malls in Florida at midnight.

There were queues from the highway, queues to get into stores, queues to pay and even queues to get back out again! Luckily I was just on the hunt for a few Christmas presents and succeeded in getting most of the things on my list, but my cousin had to queue to get into her favourite store, Juicy Couture, only to find nothing of interest and left empty handed!
One of the things I love about shopping is the thrill of the chase; the rummaging the looking high and low and the satisfaction of walking out the store with my purchase. Last night I practically had to beat off old ladies with their own walking sticks just to get near any of the stores I was interested in*, and I had to put up with the scary, bleary eyed looks of shoppers desperate for a hit of ‘40% off’. Not an experience I intend on repeating but I’m glad I gave it a try. Now, off to bed…
* No old ladies were harmed in the making of this post.

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Filed under Black Friday, Florida, Naples Fashion, shopping

>Blog of The Week: Polka Dot Bride

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Ok, so this week it is a bit of a selfish BoW on my part but bare with me as it packed full of style. Polka Dot Bride is a blog devoted to, you guessed it, brides, weddings and all things ‘Special Day’ related. Since I’m now in line to get hitched and there is an ocean between me and my intended, the thought of weddings has been on my mind of late. Polka Dot Bride was bought to my attention via Facebook, from Liz, an old waitressing pal who now makes 50’s style wedding dresses.
While I still feel rather overwhelmed at the prospect of themes, dresses and colour schemes, I have been inspired by the stunning ‘real life’ posts of beautiful photography from this blog, based in Australia. And when I say ‘real life’ I don’t mean in a tacky, Chat, Now, Take A Break fashion…

Wicked Brisbane based wedding post, above

Most of the weddings featured are from the US or OZ and I wish I could import half the photographers over as the visual memories they make for each wedding are stunning! Quirky couples pose across New York with matching green RayBan’s, couple pose in front of iconic landmarks and even in from of art galleries, museums and graffiti. The photography is fantastic and the site itself is very simple to navigate, with new posts appearing every day.
The blog is well respected in its home country and comes with helpful lists of photographers, dress makers and everything else one could possibly need for a wedding. Sadly most of these contacts are for Australasia but there are a few tips for UK and US brides too. Creative colour posts give many ideas for a particular colour, be it black, olive or grey, and interviews with wedding specialists (think filmmakers, boutique owners and wedding planners).
Definitely one to check out if you’re getting hitched, but also for those of you who are aspiring photographers or interested in bridal wear in any way.

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Filed under blog of the week, Polka Dot Bride, weddings

>Oh So Sui!

>Yesterday I went back to Target, primarily to get a memory card reader for my camera, but got a little sidetracked first by the Anna Sui for Target collection that I mentioned in a previous post.

The collection had been on sale when I first visited the store at the end of October but there was an even bigger sale on yesterday (I don’t think the older generation of Naples appreciate this hip New York look), so I couldn’t help but have a nosey through what Target had to offer.
Most of the gems I found were from the Anna Sui range, although sadly not in my size. I found a gorgeous retro woolen mini skirt in brown, cream and mustard shades which would have looked great with a pair of plum tights, along with a black lace Wild West inspired dress, both of which were too large. I often find pieces like this and convince myself that I’ll take up the hem or whatever but in reality they all just sit in a pile on my desk (for weeks at a time) so I figured I should leave said items behind.

What I did find however was this delicious blue smock with a black print and pussy bow collar, see above. The dress comes with a waist cinching belt but I’m not sure if I’ll use it or not as I quite like it as is, even if it does make me look like a French abstract painter… As M would say, ‘it just hangs there’ and is not in the slightest bit figure hugging but I just love that print over such a unique blue colour.

Perhaps it is being in a sunny climate but I seem to be attracted to brighter things at the moment. Hopefully an occasion will arise where I can wear it here otherwise I’ll have to fit it into my already bulging suitcase. By the way, after a an hour of rummaging and trying things on I did eventually make it to the photography department and am now the proud owner of a memory card reader, hurrah!

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Filed under Anna Sui, Naples Fashion, shopping, Target

>A trip down Memory Lane…

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As I wondered round the sprawling mall the other day, taking in the stores and swarms of angst ridden teenagers, I found myself travelling back through the years when my love affair with the (at sometimes questionable) fashions of the good ol’ US of A began as a teen. My aunt would give me Old Navy clothing for Christmas and birthday presents that I would wear religiously – the shining American beacon in my boring English wardrobe.
When I came to visit my aunt for the first time in New Jersey, at the age of 14, she took me to Manhattan for the day where I experienced Abercrombie & Fitch for the first time. Taken in by the all-American charm, I walked out of there with a maroon fleece zip-up hoodie that had navy piping and a small navy ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’ embroidered on the sleeve. The day ended with a makeover at Saks Fifth Avenue. A song out at the time called Summer Girls featured the line; “I like girls who wear Abacrombie & Fitch, I’d take her if I had one wish…” I wore my new American hoodie with pride for the rest of that summer and for many months that followed.
I was around 17 or 18 when I went to the west coast for the first time, with my friend L and her parents, spending time in California, Nevada and Arizona, hanging out in Vegas and riding around on the back of a Harley Davidson for the best part of three weeks. Cult shows and fashions were on the agenda and L introduced me to a store called Hot Topic. The chain of band t-shirts, cult clothing and comic books was like a revelation in my teens and I remember finding a Hello Kitty t-shirt and a Rainbow Brite bracelet, both of which were unattainable in England and that I treasured for years until the t-shirt became faded and the bracelet broke.

I don’t know that cartoon/logo tees are really my thing anymore but I love this ‘Nerds Need Love Too’ shirt that I saw in Hot Topic. It is just the kind of thing I would have worn in my teens, when Hello Kitty was, or perhaps just felt, more underground and ‘cult’ then it does today.
I’ll try and dig out some photos of my American adventures, pre-Florida, in fact I still have a pair of jeans I bought from American Eagle Outfitters from the California trip. Straight in the leg and plain blue in colour, they were the jeans I biked around Europe in a few years ago and that I wore so often I got the all-American rips in the knees that I had always wanted, but refused to pay for.
This I think, is one of the reasons I find it so hard to give up old clothes – clothes which have so many memories woven into them that I treasure too much to part with, despite stains, rips and general unfitting-ness. This is why I’m trying to enjoy what I have, using and wearing it now rather than waiting to ‘save it for best’, see excellent post by LLG.
Perhaps you have some treasured tales of clothing you wore to death as a teenager. If so then post a comment or better yet send a photo to shipshape.bristolfashion@gmail.com

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Filed under Abercrombie and Fitch, America, American Egale Outfitters, Hot Topic, Old Navy, shopping, treasured possesions

>Absence makes the wallet grow smaller…

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Since I took leave from Bristol my other half has been keeping himself busy by going to an art exhibition, cooking lots of fish and playing on his new PlayStation 3. On the other side of the Atlantic I have been consoling myself with two of my favourite things: shopping and cake.
The cake was getting a bit too calorific for my liking so today I went to The Mall instead, which turned out to be a bit lethal on my purse.
First stop was the department store Macy’s which was a little lacking compared to the one I visited a few years ago in NYC, but with a store-wide sale I thought it would be worth a look. Before I knew it I was walking out with a Calvin Klein grey plaid shirt dress with a yolk neckline, and a charcoal coloured leather jacket by Sugarfly, an American brand I’d never heard of before.
I’ve always liked leather jackets on other pretty young things, such the Olsen twins but found them a little boxy looking when actually trying any on, so I can only conclude that one of two things has happened. Either I’ve found the perfect leather jacket for me or, as a suspect may be the case, I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and be desperate to take it back – time will tell I guess!

Above: an ill-advised purchase? Sugar Fly leather jacket.

On the search for some reasonably priced Converse I came across Old Navy, a subdivision of Gap which is full of quirky prints and retro advertising. I have a bit of a thing for pyjamas and fell for some yellow flannel boxer shorts covered multicoloured deer, above.

Image courtesy of Fab Sugar

I love all the trashy, cartoon emblazoned pyjama sets and bottoms that seem to be so popular in the US, possibly due to watching too much of Clarissa Explains It All when I was younger, I managed to find a hideously wonderful pair of bright pink bottoms covered with birthday cakes, which I think are fantastic, especially since they satisfy both my clothing and cake needs.
Like I said, in the light of day I might feel differently but for now I’m quite pleased with myself!

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Filed under Calvin Klein, Florida, Macy's, mall, Old Navy, pyjamas, shopping

>Blog of The Week: The Freelancer’s Fashion Blog

>This week I’ve gone not for a British blog nor an American blog as my BoW. Stumbling around in the darkness of Google, I came across The Freelancer’s Fashion Blog, based in Helsinki, Finland.

The blog is run by a tattooed blond bombshell who loves vintage, beehive hair-do’s and burlesque; blogging about her outfits, performances as part of her burlesque group and tips and tricks for everything from 30’s inspired hair to applying fake eyelashes.

Playful photography and confessions of an addiction to ‘fashion porn’ (online shopping) are just some of the highlights and this blogger’s cats and her love of all things vintage can be seen in the photos of her taken against mirrors and other reflective surfaces; evoking a voyeuristic, ‘times gone by’ feel.
50’s pin-ups are obviously a huge influence and as a result the blog is full of girly, lust-have images of vintage clothing, accessories, and cute Finnish shops. FFB is well traveled and should I ever find myself in Sweden or Finland I’ll be sorted for vintage boutiques! And if if she was in Naples, Florida right now then I’m sure sure would love the vintage collection at Audrey’s Attic.
I admire someone so influenced by vintage that it has become part of their essence of style, and not just in a printed scarf or red lipstick, although these feature highly in FFB’s look. Her posts on inspiration are, well, inspirational and I think I might try out my on vintage bombshell look tomorrow…

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Filed under Adurey's Attic, blog of the week, Freelancer's FashionBlog, vintage

>Luella Hit By Recession

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Luella S/S10 image courtesy of Vogue style achieves

As I was browsing on the UK Vogue website this morning, I was shocked to see that the fantastic British fashion label Luella has announced plans to cease trading.
Created by Central St Martins graduate and onetime fashion editor Luella Bartley back in 2000, the Luella brand took the fashion world by storm after its first season and Bartley was soon hailed as one of the ‘bright new stars’ of the design world. Making a name for herself with quirky, feminine designs, Bartley has received many accolades since starting the brand, most notably winning New Designer of the Year in 2000 (Elle Style Awards) and Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2008.

Image courtesy of Le Fabuleux Mia

According to the Vogue report, the brand’s global licence Club 21 has “reluctantly taken the decision not to invest further in its relationship with Luella Bartley Limited.” The rippling effects of this current recession do not seem to discriminate; effecting all businesses and communities alike, even the seemingly unstoppable fashion industry.
If well established design houses like Luella can be hit by such a blow, it is worrying to think about what the future of design holds for graduates and fledgling fashion designers and their peers.
Another one bites the dust as they say, disappointing to see such an eccentric, fun label disappear, though hopefully Luella will return in some form or another.
Liberty London Girl and the Guardian both have good reports on this for further reading.

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Filed under British Fashion Awards, Elle, Luella Bartley, recession, Vogue

>WIN! Tickets to Bath Swap Event!

>Last week I posted about a clothing swapping event in Bath, hosted by the lovely Posh Swaps.


Ship-Shape has a pair of tickets to give away to this exciting event so if you would like a serious session of guilt free shopping then simply email shipshape.bristolfashion@gmail.com with your contact details by 12th November. The winner will be picked at random and sent a pair of tickets in the post.

Details of the event are below…

When? 24th November 2009 7.00 -9.30pm
Where? Brunswick Room, Guild Hall, Bath
How? Just bring along 3 items of clothing that someone else would be delighted to own
Why? It’s fun, it’s frugal and it’s eco friendly, plus a great chance to refresh your wardrobe!
Cost? £10 in advance, £12 on the night including…
entrance to the swap party and our fashion and beauty market, a glass of wine and nibbles, the chance for one lucky person to be styled by Personal Stylist, plus a reusable goody bag with fashion and beauty goodies

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Filed under Bath, clothes swap, competition, Posh Swaps

>Interview with Zac Posen @ Saks Fifth Avenue

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Models show off to stunning Zac Posen S/S 2010 dresses in canary yellow and sea green. Print designed by Rosson Crow

This afternoon hip young designer Zac Posen paid a visit to Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples, to meet fans and show off his new S/S 2010 collection.
For those unfamiliar with Zac Posen, he is a US designer who studied at Central St Martins as well as Parsons the New School for Design and made his name in his home town of New York, establishing a cult celebrity following and winning a host of awards for his colourful and feminine designs since he stepped out onto the scene in 2001.
Posen has won both citizen and celebrity fans over with a mix of bright colours, detailed prints and silhouettes that celebrate the diversity of the female form: from 1930s inspired monochrome in A/W 2003 to delicate floral prints in his 2009 Resort collection.
Today at Saks, Posen’s S/S 2010 collection was alive with colour, figure-hugging dresses and exotic prints teamed with bright feather sleeves and cover-ups. The abstract floral prints were designed by Rosson Crow, an American artist and illustrator famous in art circles for her decedent use of paint on the canvas and rich, bold colours.

Yazbukey brooches and jewelery used in the NYFW show are on show at Saks alongside the rest of the S/S 2010 collection

The collection had a mix of short cocktail dresses combined with longer, Grecian-inspired gowns, see top photo. There were also some fun lattice two-tone pieces that looked like chicer versions of cheerleader uniforms. Posen, who has previously favoured tailoring from the 30s and 40s in his collections, has managed to evoke nearly every inspirational decade for Spring/Summer.
The acid yellow colours and shorter mini dresses looked reminiscent of Mary Quant designs of the 1960s while the mannequin sporting the long pink gown embellished with beading could have walked straight out of a 1070s cocktail party. Posen has obviously enjoyed putting together this new collection and collaborating with other artists and designers – something that is reflected in the fun use of colours and choice of fabrics (everything from feather to silk).
The colourful and tongue-in-cheek lip brooches that feature in Posen’s S/S 2010 collection were designed by Turkish design duo Yazbukey, see image above. Laser cut lips and manicured hands came in black, bright green and mirrored pink and blue, reminding me of the London based jewelry company Tatty Devine, a Ship-Shape favourite, who specialise in quirky, fun acrylic designs.

Above: Zac poses for a photo in his rather dapper navy suit
As well as a sneaky peak at the new collection, the designer was also meeting and greeting fans, both the two and four-legged variety! Once the gushing group of high school fashion followers I was with had cornered Posen for a chat, I was lucky enough to be able to pick his fashionable brain about his new collection, Mark Ronson and his list of A-list followers…
Ship-Shape: What inspires you when you design a new collection?
Zac Posen: I am constantly researching. I’m into people who self-style: women who know their character and personality and know how to express it.
SS: Were you happy with your show and all the glamorous parties at New York Fashion Week?
ZP: Well my show was at 9am so I didn’t get much partying before then! The show went well and was mixed by [English music producer and DJ] Mark Ronson who played some fantastic independent bands such as The Like. Ship-Shape also heard tunes by Santigold and Florence And The Machine made an appearance as models sashayed down the runway.
SS: You’ve dressed a lot of celebrities for the red carpet – do you have a particular star you’ve enjoyed working with?
ZP: I could never answer this question!
SS: (with a cheeky smile) Is that because there are too many favorites to choose from?
ZP: Ah, I’ve had so many amazing experiences with every [celebrity] I’ve dressed! I love it when I can work closely with them during the fitting process.
SS: You’re a New Yorker but you spent some time studying in London, what are your favourite things about the city?
ZP: Well I met so many great people there and lots of my friends are in London. I love the British Museum, the John Soane Museum, Sussex…

SS: The people of London and New York dress very differently, what do you think about UK style?
ZP: Oh absolutely! I think England has embraced eccentricity. (SS nods enthusiastically and mentions a potential move to the capital) If you’re going to work in fashion in London you have to make a statement, look at the likes of Isabella Blow – maybe not that extreme but you have to create a look for yourself and stand out from the crowd.

A huge thanks to Zac Posen and the Saks Fifth Avenue team for a fantastic event, and for E for letting me borrow her camera phone!

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Filed under Florida, Naples Fashion, New York Fashion Week, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tatty Devine, Zac Posen