Monday, 27 May 2013

Paris trip - Chanel shopping

It's where it all started, 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.  Her first boutique, a salon for her customers and also her home.

The boutique is fabulous, it was everything I expected and more.  The staff were friendly and accommodating and even though I was purchasing an item low in value compared to the majority of items Chanel sell, I could have been buying a £10,000 handbag - the service was amazing.

First of all I looked at the necklaces all the staff were wearing, a long chain of beads in black and silver with several silver Chanel logos, that doubled up when you wear them, they were beautiful but the cost started from 1,500 euros! So it was a no from me, but ladies a hugs incentive to go work for Chanel!

I treated myself to a brooch, something that I know I would wear for many years, the whole purchasing experience took about 30 mins from start to finish, it made me think that when your buying something so special, it should take time, less rushing.  Service you will remember.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

No.5 Culture Chanel - Palais de Tokyo

Gabrielle Chanel in Pierre Galante with the collaboration of Philippe Orsini, Les annees Chanel, 
Paris, Mercure de France, 1972, p.95-96

And so last week, I went to Paris with Carol to go see the exhibition all about Chanel and her inspirations behind the creation of No. 5 - the best selling perfume in the world!

Paris is a great city and what better place to hold this fabulous exhibition.  We didn't know what to expect and we were really pleased that the ambience of the exhibition was just how you would imagine Gabrielle would have designed it.

Firstly, we had our own private entrance with free admission; we were given a ticket and a exhibition catalogue completely free as a gift to remember the show; as we went in, it was minimalist, all in white, very simple design.

Using the audio guide we went round looking at all the artefacts they had gathered, the obvious like the original bottles, adverts and photographs of their time.  But the not so obvious too; about how she mixed in artistic circles, she was very good friends with Salvador Dali and she associated herself with the Dada movement in Paris.

After the first part, you could then spend time looking at books they had selected that associate themselves with five of the key ingredients that went into the scent.

I personally loved seeing all the old photos from the 1920's and 30's, and some of her personal items.  It looks like Paris was a fun and inspirational place to be at that time.  One of the treats we got to experience, and only to guests of this exhibition could, was to a secret recording of Marilyn Monroe who famously said that No.5 was all she wore in bed - the recording is her talking to someone about how she sleeps naked but didn't want to say that to the Press, so she told the truth that she sprays No.5!

Gabrielle Chanel in Marcel Haedrich, Coco Chanel, Paris, P. Belfond, 1987, p.176

The exhibition continues in Paris until the 5th June 2013

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Personal Style Rules

Image from Style Statement

A couple of weeks ago I was asked the question "what's your style?" and I garbled something back that a little while later I thought "that's not my style!!?".

It made me realise that I don't give much thought to what is actually "My Style".

In this month's Glamour magazine, Jo Elvin's Editor's letter is simply that, trying to explain what her style is....just like her I don't have one particular style.  I'm sure my friends would perhaps box me into one style or another; but I do get bored quickly and if I see something else that I like then I can randomly take off in another direction.  But there are a few things that regardless of what's in fashion or on my radar I generally stick to, so here are my personal style rules that I live by:

Make sure it fits
I don't care what size the garment is, it has to fit right.  Not too big and definetly not too tight.  If a larger size upsets you, just as long as you know you are going to keep the garment and not return in - cut the size label out!

If you like it, buy more of them
This can apply to a whole host of things.  If I love a fit of a t-shirt, then I'm likely to buy it in several colours.  Or I will buy exactly the same thing again - I've done this recently with a pair of plain black stilettos; I'm on my second pair and currently considering buying a third to keep in the cupboard for when the heels are worn out.

Jacket, shoes and handbags
For the most part, this is what we look at most when we look at other women.  So I like to make sure my jackets, shoes and handbags are a little bit different; a statement piece - not necessary all three at the same time, but at least one of them.  It's always a conversation starter!

Dare to be different
We are all living to a budget and therefore we tend to shop in the same shops as our friends.  This runs a high risk of duplication!  Every now and then I shop somewhere completely new; a small boutique, a vintage market or a concession in department store that I've have never heard the name of - it's great to own a few things that you know no one else may have.

Dress up or dress down?
For the most part, I don't care what the dress code is - I dress in what I want to wear; so if that means a LBD to the cinema or if I want to wear my evening faux fur with jeans to Hampton Court then so be it! (I've done both of these).  I love dressing up and enjoy the time it takes, but other times I just need to be on the go and my clothes need to be too!

Family Jewellery
It's not until my mid-thirties that I've started to appreciate old jewellery.  Now those old family heirlooms are a little more interesting to me now.  I love wearing a brooch with a jacket or an old family ring that has history.  They need to be treasured but they also need to be worn and not kept in the cupboard!

A staple garment for me - I will not go anywhere without a pair.  Once you find a style you more of them!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Beach Essentials: Swimwear

I have this feeling we are in for a great hot summer, and I don't know about you, but when the sun is shining I love to head to the beach!  Beach time shouldn't be for that one or two weeks on holiday each year.  

With beach wear you can have a lot of fun with colours and relax in causal-wear on days like these. Forget the office, forget the daily routine when that sun hits you want to be beach ready to have lots of good old fashion fun!

So before buying anything you need to know what swimwear you will be choosing to wear this season, all your accessories, bags, flip flops etc will be built around this - so it might be wise if you select a style that has a swimsuit, tankini and bikini so you can mix and match.

I was in River Island this week, and they have a fabulous range called Pacha - these styles are head-turning!  Here are a couple of my favourites:

Bikini Top £16.00 and bottoms £12.00
(This style is available in other colours)

Bikini Top £22.00 and bottoms £14.00

Here are a couple i've been admiring in this month's edition of Glamour!

Starts from £18 to £70
Why not check this out from Biba, one of my all-time favourite brands, also available as a full swimsuit.

The bikini I was looking at from Ted Baker looks to have sold out, but they have the full swimsuit which looks just as great

MARRA - Treasured orchid swimsuit