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#TBT – Lace and lashes

Only catwalk models need appliqué?

Lace and lashes

My search for festive styling inspiration left me bitten by the millennium bug of Lancome’s Instinct fragrance campaign from way back in 2000 (yes, I’m aware that through those few words I’ve just shown my age, but hopefully I’ve done so gracefully).

Devilishly dramatic was the order of this upcoming festive season, so far as I was concerned. You might have noticed from certain other recent posts that I’m all for a little experimenting with fabric appliqué on makeup and when it’s so easy with eyelash glue, why not?

I wanted something quirky but kept to a single fabric and a limited colour palette, to avoid detraction from the outfit in question, or onlookers uttering words to the effect of “Yes, Black Swan was a great film but Halloween was over a month ago!” Fabric makeup appliqué made a brief appearance in the intervening 14 years since my inspiration, in Chanel’s spring 2013 shows, again, with a monochrome colour scheme and delicate application of mesh.

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

 

Time

About 20 minutes.

DIY fabric appliqué makeup

Eylure false eyelash
£2.42 – asos.com

Urban decay eyeshadow
£13 – beauty.com

I started with a cheeky lick of eyeliner along the eyelids and some generously-applied mascara. I then covered my eyelids and inside of my eye sockets with a frame of black eye shadow. I used a brush to smudge the eye shadow slightly in the outside corners. Finally, I added a thin sliver of silver eye shadow to my eyelids to add definition (mind screw of a sentence, notwithstanding) and made the brave step of applying the lace along my eyebrows with eyelash glue. Incidentally, if you’re wondering how such a thing is removed without an unintentionally botched eyebrow wax, I’d definitely recommend using cleanser or an equivalent for dissolving the glue first.

tbt4

Rimmel lipstick
nelly.com

Use the darkest dark purple lip liner you can find for the outline and slick some pink liner along the inside of your lower lip, then, add a deep berry or plum and cover your lips with clear gloss. You can also use liquid eye liner to add the beauty spot if it’s the real McCoy you’re going for. Dust the underside of your cheekbones with a rose blusher.

DIY fabric appliqué makeup DIY fabric appliqué makeup

Cyber Monday chic

what I wore cyber mondayFor those of you who were expecting some kind of merchandise sale or giveaway for when this inevitably pops up on my various social media pages, begging your pardons I remain. It just seemed fitting – and perchance fate – that on a day when I decided to debut yesterday’s space age-style iridescent top with my saucer-like leather peter pan collar and geometric black appliqué jeans (not pictured) it turned out to be on a day they call Cyber Monday. By ‘they’ I don’t just mean our dear friends from across the pond but a great number of us, albeit in aid of a sequence of events we borrowed from there. I speak, of course, of Thanksgiving and the infamous Black Friday. Regarding the former, if I were to steal any event from another country, it would probably be the Vietnamese Moon Festival, especially if it’s adopted in the usual superficial aesthetic and culinary style we’re known to love – it’s pretty! As for the latter, forgive the lack of imagination but it’s Black Friday, with its hypocritical premise and obscene savagery of jostling for clearance-standard goods  that should have stayed well and truly put, whatever its commercial or (perish the thought) cultural potential here.

Cyber Monday makes substantially more sense. Accomplishing as much shopping – particularly gift shopping – as is humanly possible in the Zen calm of your lounge or bedroom is infinitely more advisable for your sanity and mental wellbeing. You get a full ten square feet to yourself, it’s quiet, it’s clean (well, you know what I mean), you’re not actively tussling with anyone for the item you’ve set your heart on and the biggest stress you’re likely to encounter is remembering usernames and passwords. It contrasts brilliantly with the claustrophobic pressure cooker presented by its real-world equivalent. Streets and shopping centres are like mosh pits but without the live music, and with frazzled throngs in place of enthusiastic fan camaraderie. It’s the antiquated strain (NB: operative word) of shopping where you race against the clock in a collision course of pavement parkour around slow-moving pavement blockers and toddlers who insist, to the chagrin of their exasperated mothers, on straddling footpaths twice their size, eyes too transfixed by the window displays to notice the snarl-up of raging pedestrians in their wake.

Yes, I know Black Friday sales can take place online but, just to clear up any discrepancies in my observation to all pedants, the pleasure of Cyber Monday sales is hinted in the title. So, please, seek bargains in a distraction-free room, through a medium where you can read spec in full and scan for rip-off potential before buying.

Just to wrap this up and salvage it from the diaristic, off-topic rant that it has become, my love of all things cyber has been expressed and I fancy I have dressed aptly for the occasion. Hopefully, you’d agree.

IMG_20141217_210547~2

Iri-decent – how to DIY a basic holographic panelled top

Holographics got a whole lot more graphic.

Milly Iridescent Leather Front Knitted Sweater


I could have sworn that the iridescent trend that we knew so well last year is having not so much a revival but a reincarnation in accent pieces and aquatic hues. Vogue maintain that it’s manifesting itself in “gasoline rainbow” form with sequins and graduating glitter. Perhaps this extra colour dimension, in itself, came to me as a vision of our next stop in the ever-directional journey of fashion. Either way, I thought I’d spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon on an adaptable, easy-to-make interpretation of the trend, like the panelled Milly jumper in the picture.

You will need…

DIY tools, craft materials* I used Cosmic Shimmer Film Autumn Bronze by Creative Expressions, which I bought through an eBay vendor. You can also buy some here. I would also recommend Peacock Blue Shimmer Film for a similar tone and effect.

Not pictured

Metallic lamé fabric (I used gold)

Pins

Paper scissors

Fabric scissors

Sewing machine (optional – this is a quick, no-sew tutorial)

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

I genuinely can’t think of anything remotely taxing about this tutorial, save for a reasonable eye for detail – specifically symmetry, although even then you could use a ruler or setsquare.

Time

An hour, or possibly an hour-and-a-half if you’re sewing (which I actually did but I’m very easily distracted when it comes to timekeeping.

Holo-glam it up

 Method1Use some paper to make a pattern piece for the area you want to cover with holographic material, ensuring you fit it properly along the edge of the neck.
 Method2

Cut the shape out in bondaweb and pin the film to the matte-textured side (not the paper-covered one).
 Method3 Then, place the paper pattern piece on top of the film, so that it is protected from the metal plating of the iron. Iron the three layers on a medium heat.  Method4

Peel the paper backing off the bondaweb, place the film on the lamé and cover the film with paper for protection. Iron it down on a medium heat, as before.
 Method5

Cut the film-covered shape out of lamé and attach bondaweb to the back of the fabric, as before, with the non-paper-covered side facing the material. Peel away the paper and iron it onto the black top. You can stitch around the edges with a sewing machine to help it stick better but this part is optional. That said, I would recommend doing it, as this would mmake it more hard-wearing, especially when it gets washed.

The top

DIY Milly holographic sweater replica

 

The Trends on Wednesday – leather heads

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DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

 

My animalistic urges to emulate Fendi fashion have taken me from cuddly monster fur to leather, in this instance, adding a rebellious edge to the delicate beauty of the hibiscus flower. Flowers have always been worn to denote a quintessentially feminine elegance and sensitivity. Their sweet scent, individual beauty and fragility made slipping them into hair a form of wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve, denoting different moods through the paradigms of different flowers (for instance, jasmine for sensuality and a spider flower to say “run away with me!”). Also, in Hawaii and the south Pacific, the positioning of the hibiscus flower is used to denote relationship status (‘taken’ when worn on the left and single when worn on the right. Instagram pictures always come out in reverse and I’m saying nothing).

My Cleopatra-eyed take on Fendi’s leather eyelid strips, coupled with the Hawaiian side-flower styling with my DIY hair slide was, in part down to the fact that my hair’s too short to wear in a loose ponytail but more so to do with associations. The vibrant colours of the corsage reminded me of the exoticism of Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings, while the drama of the leather streaks, which are dead easy to apply with a generous slathering of eyelash glue, harked back to the tour-de-force make-up artistry of Pat McGrath, especially at John Galliano’s shows. Adding drama with fabric and glue is a surprisingly easy trick and a must for standing out in any crowd.

Flowers are always on trend yet always in flux in terms of interpretations, whether they’re dark oversized or acid bright. I suppose I’d be expected to make some sort of profound and witty observation about the juxtaposition of ‘girly’ flowers in hair conveyed in a typically ‘tough fabric: leather. To be honest, it’s a bit late at night for that so I’m going to be simple in my interpretation and see it as striking a balance of feminine elegance in strong leather fabric, packing an equally dramatic punch  – or maybe just a fun-loving personality – in the vibrant colour scheme. Think of it: beautiful and feminine, but not timid or fragile; strong and bold, without brashness or aggression. How very feminist – how very now.

Sweet Burberry – How to DIY a Burberry hand-painted trench coat

Burberry’s hand-painted coats inspired me to set myself a bit of a watercolour challenge.

Burberry Prorsum Hand-Painted Cotton & Silk Trench


BURBERRY PRORSUM Hand-painted Sheepskin Trench Coat


One of the season’s most high-end and, at the same time coveted items, as Hunting in Heels asserts, it bucks the trend for cheap, mass-produced, breakneck-speed fashion that’s sold across the high street. The label that’s one of the most steeped in heritage and guaranteed A-list fashion darlings at the front row of every show made their statement of exclusivity through luxury fabrics and painstaking handiwork.

The handiwork part recalls an artistic romance of fashion that’s perhaps most vividly associated with the 1970s – dubbed the ‘me decade’ by Tom Wolfe – a time when fashion adopted handicrafts as an expressively individualistic paradigm. It also, in this case, provides a nice, convenient paradox for me: the labour-intensive part for which at least a part of the premium is paid becomes the part you can make at home for nothing. Sure, the trench I used was from New Look and, unsurprisingly, wasn’t real silk but the design that set it apart could be emulated, alright – or at least the idea.

In short…

Pebeo setasilk fabric paints and trench coat

DIY burberry hand painted trench coat replica

 

NB: I used Pebeo’s liquid fabric paints from the Setasilk range.

Difficulty

difficulty02

Easy

It’s very hard to guarantee it because you do need a degree of painting ability but if you’re not especially confident in your  ability to paint neatly or well, I’d recommend choosing a simple design and not worrying about perfection as Burberry’s designs tend to use a messy style.

Time

It can only take an hour or two or, if you chose quite a complex design like I did, it could take 3-5 hours. It shouldn’t take any longer than an evening.

Just paint

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

#FBF – Halloween Special

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street

 

Street art of the east end is the first subject of my festively-themed Facebook Friend… nay, Foul Batchelor Frog… nay for it be Flashback Friday today of course, silly! I couldn’t ignore exactly where we are on the calendar today, however, I thought that rather than trawl out the obvious costume-themed fashion round-ups and spooky make-up and photography fare, I’d go maverick with some tasty. toothy tagging from street artist, Sweet Toof.

The story that sets the scene for this entry happened back in January 2008 (two whole years before the person responsible would rise to the echelons of international recognition), a time of idyllic calm when we weren’t yet in recession, dreams were dreams and it was just about considered socially acceptable to listen to emo, when I came across a striking and terrifying apparition down the east end – and no I’m not talking about those obnoxiously pretentious art urchins they call hipsters!

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street

 

Your eyes are not deceiving you if you look closely at this towering warehouse and notice a teddy bear on a cross – just one feature among this monolithic facade of ominous boarded windows, snaking ivy and artwork skirting the extremes of visual nightmare fuel.
225142_8442758436_5360_n

 

But Mr. Toof’s aesthetic of sunken-eyed cadavers and mangled gums is not so much a paradigm of gratuitous horror as a quirky, conceptual angle on our treasured gnashers. According to an article by Jess Holland in The London Paper, Sweet Toof is quoted as saying:

“Teeth can be really sexy, or aggressive, but they’re also constant reminders of death. They’re how we get recognised by police when there’s nothing else left.”

According to an account by Olly Beck, Toof’s work resonates conceptually with the Vanitas paintings of the 16th Century – a movement highlighting the transience of life and actual meaninglessness of the material goods we hold dear in the process, which was typically signified by juxtaposing ornate items with skulls. Also, Sweet Toof’s skulls are rather close to the Mexican skull iconography about the honour and celebration of death, much like halloween is to the Mexican skullfest, Day of the Dead.
Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater streetSo, there you have it: skulls, teeth, mortality, transience, conceptual craziness, beauty of death and nature and a sugary high that sends gums into a frenzy. Perhaps this Friday flashback isn’t so off-topic, after all!

 

 

 

Train in tweed – how to upcycle trainers in the style of Chanel

 

Revamp old running shoes with some runway chic!
DIY Chanel tweed trainers

You will need..

DIY tools and fabricNot pictured

Neon yellow and green tape

Clear lacquer

Pins

Tailor’s chalk

Difficulty

difficulty02

Pretty easy

I’d hesitate on categorising this as 100% technique-free, so in the interests of diplomatic backside-covering, I’d rate it as moderately easy. You’ll be pleased to know that I can’t think of anything especially taxing about this exercise.

Time

About ten hours if, like me, you like to get your measurements precise.

 

 

Trending on tweed

Method1

 

 

Take the laces out.

I find that it helps to get a mixture of bouclé wool fabrics. You don’t need much, so it’s worth sniffing around fabric shops for samples and minimum quantities (most shops don’t cut less than half a metre but some do and asking nicely enough can earn you a respectable handful of free samples!) You need enough of one fabric to cover your trainers. I’d recommend pinning it to the side, tracing around the edges with tailor’s chalk and cutting around the lines you have drawn.

Design and cut out the other panels you intend to use, ensuring they’re symmetrical and the same on both shoes, so that the designs are the same on the outer sides and inner sides of both shoes.

Method3Don’t stick your tweed in place yet. Cover the desired parts of the sole with neon tape and add a coat or two of clear lacquer, for extra protection. I actually used acrylic paint and resin, but lived to regret it, as it was so messy. Going on my bad experience, I’d recommend tape as an alternative; it doesn’t require painstaking effort to get straight lines.

Method4

I painted bronze borders on some of the bits of fabric. Again, if you want to add borders and detailing, just make sure they’re consistent on both shoes.
Method5Cover your trainers in fabric and then add panels. Stick them in place with craft mount.

Re-thread the laces.

DIY Chanel tweed trainers

 

 

 

 

 

The Trends on Wednesday: What to make of the Spring 2015 Fashion Week shows

This week, I felt that the time was right not to focus on trends but to catalogue, through my own purely emotional filter, what caught my eye during the spring/summer 2015 shows. The shows might be over in the big fashion capitals but rather than being bogged down by the bitter sweet lull after the storm, I thought I’d draw out the excitement of the shows by re-living the highlights that spurred me on to reach for my scissors and glue gun with a frisson of aesthetic delight, or – as a sane person might put it – I thought I’d milk it with another collection of pretty pictures and inane ramblings that might r might not have something to do with DIY fashion! So, here are my top ten must-make items.

Symphony of deconstruction

symphony of deconstruction

Image: Style.com

One of the more outré and complex DIY project types on the list, I thought, but this is nonetheless worth the outing in the name of sustainability. Think about it – instead of buying a handful of disposable items on the cheap in the hope of breathing some life into your wardrobe, you can make do and amend not one but two garments for a totally unique look!

Make mine a macramé

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19

Image: Style.com

This slouchy Giorgio Armani bag is a brilliant exercise in monochrome macramé chic that made me want to maul a t-shirt like a psychopath so I could knit, knot or crochet a version of my very own!

Customising candy

cartoony

Image: Style.com

You know that excruciatingly jarring feeling you get when a brilliant cartoon motif or a vibrant kooky repeat print just isn’t enough? That urge that overwhelms you to dive sleeves-and-bag-first into a drawer of Mod Podge and diamantés? Come on, we’ve all been there. Rocking lolcore doesn’t mean slacking off!

 

Landing in a tub of buttons

Button me up

Images: Theguardian.co.uk

Some of the most devastatingly-good argument winners are the phrases that just confuse people. As an example, when I used the word “So?” during my stroppier teenage moments, my mum would put me in my place and come right back with “Sew…buttons on your nose.” To this day I haven’t the foggiest idea what that phrase was supposed to mean, so what kind of a chance did I stand then, when such a statement stopped me in my tracks? And now it seems the buttons are back to haunt me, making an equally random but this time much more enjoyable appearance as the fastening-du-jour at the Paris spring 2015 shows, with brilliant contrast and diagonal lines added into the mix.

 

Watercolour my world

Watercolour my world

Image: Style.com

These images transcended me to the whimsical days of school art class (note how I said ‘whimsical’ and most definitely not ‘doss’!) when I would get lost in a haze of watercolours. With the above images, I’m met with the urge to relive those moments with Pebeo silk paints.

 

Flowers in my hair

Tommy Ton’s Best Pics From Fashion Month - Gallery Slide 10

Image: Style.com

With big corsages already making an appearance as a trend this past season, it surely makes perfect sense to carry on the craze with a clip and a cut out corsage.

 

Eye, eye

eye up

Images: Style.com, Barneys.com

Who could not love that jacket? The eyes definitely have it and, considering you only need some fabric or PVC offcuts (depending on what you’re making) and some glue or a sewing machine, this kooky acquired taste might not be a trend for everyone to fall in love with but it’s nonetheless worth copping an eyeful!

 

Pushing the envelope

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19

Image: Style.com

So great is the temptation to nonchalantly pick up an envelope folder, douse it in craft mount and cover it with brocade fabric, as if you got it from Dries Van Noten, just like that. We won’t tell if you don’t!

Appliqué bouquet

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19

Image: Style.com

A great one for experimenting with textured ribbons or chunky threads and glue to make an old, abandoned handbag bloomin’ marvellous!

 

Now and denim

patching up

Image; Vogue.co.uk, Theguardian.co.uk

I love working with denim because if you invest in good quality fabric and sew it well, it can look totally professional and in no way amateurish, cheap or off-the-wall, all while still done on a shoestring budget. So, who said a DIY fashion project can never be a patch on the rather gorgeous Burberry Prorsum coat, pictured above on the left?

The Trends on Wednesday – On with the show and off with the show-offs

LFW trends

 


Continuing in the theme of casually chic abandon,seen elsewhere London Fashion Week went on to prove that fashionistas both on and off the catwalk weren’t taking the peacock any more. No longer was the intent strut of the fierce fashionista in six-inch heels doing the rounds, rather designers were putting their best feet forward in flats. If New York Fashion Week had been all about the flat pumps and winklepickers, the London Fashion designers took the next step in statement trainers, coupled with the statement-du-jour of normcore suburbia, the denim jacket – even at Burberry. The ultimate stake of casual chic’s claim at the height of fashion’s relevance, however, was surely, Christopher Kane’s incarnation of slouchy tracksuit bottoms in luxurious leather.

Long skirts also made more than a fleeting appearance with the rules of hemline dipping as relaxed as the fit – some welcome news for the thigh-gapless, bottom-heavy likes of me. It would, of course prove cumbersome for cycling, my involuntary self-centred instincts tell me, but, realistically, being photographed on bikes is just so try-hard street style blogger – so very 2012! Relaxed fits manifested themselves in the slouchy backpacks set apart by Preen, lightly flared two-piece ensembles at JW Anderson and even the drama of Roksanda (without the) Ilincic’s silhouettes pared down, leaving just the bold colour scheme to make the statements. The relaxed fit held more resonance than mere comfort and practicality; it denoted a freedom from the confines imposed by fashion, in its efforts to mould the body towards false ideals. From the monolithic boxiness of tailoring, to the grandeur of drapes and the sexual and athletic empowerment of bodycon cling, the London Fashion Week silhouette was a hitherto unseen departure from those dynamics, altogether, posing a new question to the glibly accepted relevance of its frenetically competitive poseur ethos. This conceptual resonance echoed at many levels with  “I had this dream, I had this feeling” written on Richard Nicoll’s show seating. The vision, like many among the designers, was one of calm, fitness, escapism and work-life balance – in a word, wholesomeness. Among the designers echoing words of ‘ease’ and ‘effortlessness’ were Alice Temperley and Christopher Bailey of Burberry.

The tottering-heeled pose of looking expensive is now a dime a dozen. Flamboyant posturing can happen at any level – true style, according to fashion’s illuminati is to be stylishly invisible and not to outdo all you survey. Unpretentious elegance is key now, along with quirky nautical rope detailing, Bermuda shorts, Matisse-style colour blocking, pleats, giant circle motifs and, erm, school uniform. The last on the list was incarnated through quirky pencil case clutch bags, as well as standard pleats and burgundy, but if it’s rigid conformity we’re sticking to, I suppose it’s in for a penny, in for a pound (or doubtless several thousand!)

The Trends on Wednesday: What’s New #NYFW?

NYFW trends
Is it the up-and-coming influence of street style or the shift of paradigm to stylish wearable technology that saw the tottering authority of high heels cut down to size, once again, in favour of flat shoes? The paradigm of comfortable chic was interpreted, this time, in the form of winklepickers, most notably the floral panelled offerings from Victoria Beckham’s team of designers. The dizzying heights of ravishing bondage had a reinterpretation elsewhere with Anthony Vaccarello using hipline-skimming splits to cement his vision at his debut show for Versus. It was this statement of extremes with which he interpreted the Versus trademarks of raw sex appeal with copious black leather, after dressing friend and muse, Anja Rubik, in a daring white frock for the Met Ball.
Thankfully, plenty of designers had primly pretty interpretations of the hemline covered with below-the-knee skirts, which were teamed with boxy t-shirts, wrapover jackets and sleeveless coats – a styling statement that drew erogenous attention away from the thinness-worshipping thigh gap and waist and towards the calves.
Fashion took its key trends to, or rather from, the streets, with statement sportswear having a moment (and Alexander Wang ‘fetishising trainers’ in frock form), boxy jean-jackets, plait artistry and scrunchy bucket bags becoming the go-to 90s trend to reincarnate in contemporary sculptural form. If the outré heights of splits at Versus feel unworkable or unnerving, New York Fashion Week at least gave us plenty of stylish reasons to get real! Also meshing nicely into the mix was gingham – perhaps the only DIY idea that really leapt out at me from the bunch. Why not? We’ve been there and done that with the bucket bag and even old tablecloths need a new, loving home!
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