A Shout-out for Shoe Sleuths

I just acquired these fancy  shoes. Perspex soles and heels and a see through vinyl upper decorated with fabric flowers. The insole is floral textile too.

Made by Timothy Hitsman, which I suspect is an American label.

But I just cannot put a date to them. Are they modern or vintage?

The heel has a rectangular ‘foot-print’ (heel-print?) which makes me think 1980s

Any ideas?

perspex and vinyl shoes with floral trim


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtimothy hitsman heels

Posted in shoes, vintage fashion, vintage shoes | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

A Gentle Aid to Beauty (Guess the ad)

a drawing of a 1960s lady looking in her dressing table mirror

She’s elegant, she’s classy and she’s advertising something, but what?

The illustration in this  advert from Woman’s Mirror, 12th June 1969 caught my eye  . Have a guess what the product is . You might just be surprised.

Face cream? Nope

Hairspray? Nope

Facial hair bleach? Nope

Laxatives? Nope

Here’s the blurb;

caption for chewing gum advert as an aid to serenity and wrinkle control


Right-o, I’m off for a private chew. I shall return wrinkle-free and serene.

I may be some time…..


Posted in Fashion, miscellanious, vintage, vintage beauty, vintage magazines | 9 Comments

Victorian Hipster

Kensington, 27th June 1906 2 very fashionable ladies

Kensington, 27th June 1906

I imagined that Victorians were stiff, starchy and very correct but the girl in this photograph oozes sass and style. It was taken by Edward Linley Sambourne who was an illustrator and cartoonist for Punch.

He became passionate about photography and would roam the streets of Kensington taking pics of women often using the snaps as the basis for his illustrations. By that token, he could probably be described as the very first street style photographer.

(He also took saucy nude photos…his wife called them “Lin’s little secret” in her diary but we won’t go into that just now, because after all, it’s Sunday.)


Posted in miscellanious, vintage, vintage fashion | 4 Comments

Vintage , Secondhand, Beautiful Old Clothes

fashion photo of girl in lilac cheesecloth and lace

Lilac cheesecloth tiered skirt with matching v-neck long-sleeved blouse £30.00 from Yak,41 Pembridge Road. W11 and North End Road. SW6. White cotton petticoat with green ribbon trim £12.99 from branches of Dorothy Perkins. Flat Green pearlised shoes with leather thongs, Plum £18,50. Fake flowers from a selection at Fenwick.

Chantilly Lace

Play the romantic heroine in a haze of antique lace. Very Gone With The Wind. Very feminine. Search for lace trimmings on market stalls, and transform your plainest blouses. If the lace looks a bit past-it, you can always dye it, and it may be that all it needs is a good biological wash. And if you can’t be bothered with all that, go to a good secondhand clothes shop, as we did, and find beautiful old clothes.

Scan 1

Peach camisole top with elasticated waist, from a selection of secondhand clothes at Razamataz, 12 North End Road, SW6. Cream lace blouse with lace on front and cuffs, £39.00 from Essences, King’s Rd. £W3. White cotton petticoat from a selection at £42 from Edina and Lena, 141 King’s Rd. SW3. Pink pearlised flat shoes, Plum £18.50. Fake flowers from a selection at Fenwick.

Scan 2

Cream silky long-sleeved elasticated-waist dress with lace frill collar and cuffs from a selection at Razamataz, North End Rd. SW6 White lace long scarf tied round waist, from a selection at Razamataz. White net gloves from Baggage & General, £2.90. Flat green pearlised shoes, Plum, £18.50

Photographs by Alex Henderson. Images scanned from Honey & Vanity Fair, November 1978.

Vintage or Secondhand?

What I like about this editorial is the matter-of-fact use of the word secondhand. Not Vintage with a capital V but secondhand. It made me think about how we now use Vintage as a portmanteau word, stuffing it full of all manner of old clothes from the 1990s right back to 1914. Anything before that would, I suppose, be classed as antique.

Are we overusing the word vintage? Should it be used only for high quality garments from the past or is it okay to use it for any type of clothing just because it is more than 24 years old. I’m pondering on this one…..




Posted in Fashion, vintage, vintage fashion, vintage magazines | 4 Comments

Who will inspire future designers now……..?


It’s a secret language, known to all different people, in different ways, that enables them to read a subliminal message without realising they’re reading it. It affects people on many levels, and even people who think they’re not into fashion or reject fashion are then being informed just in the case of rejecting it. The fact that they had to react against it was a conscious decision.

Louise Wilson O.B.E  (23 February 1962 – ✝ 16th May 2014)

Louise wilson

LOUISE Wilson was unanimously acclaimed as one of the most influential individuals in a highly competitive industry. As head of the Fashion MA Course at Central Saint Martins College in London the list of designers she trained is legendary: from Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan to Giles Deacon, Zara, Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane and Marios Schwab. She also taught many who hold senior posts in the fashion business such as stylists, journalists and editors.

Indeed, the elite of British fashion came under her scrutiny and (often scathing) criticism. There was a saying at St Martins that went: “If you can survive Louise’s comments, you’re ready to go into the world.” But Wilson maintained a balanced and purposeful attitude towards her students. She encouraged them and offered constructive advice when it was deserved.

Her experience, wide knowledge of colours and expert eye was unequalled in the world of fashion. She remained a total enthusiast and was blessed with an infectious sense of humour. She recently said: “It’s a privilege to be around youth. It keeps you young in your thinking.”

During her time in the Eighties as a student at St Martins, Wilson was much influenced by the teaching of Ossie Clark. After graduating in 1986, Wilson worked part-time as head of women’swear at Central Saint Martins. She spent some years in Hong Kong and working for Gianfranco Ferre in Italy before returning to the college as course director of the Fashion MA course. In 1997, she was head-hunted to become design director of Donna Karan of New York but returned to London in 1999 to be the professor in charge of the MA course.

Her influence extended well beyond pure education of fashion and design students. Her teaching was considered idiosyncratic and all-embracing. Wilson would often provide particular assistance to a student’s career and find placements at houses such as Lanvin and Balenciaga.

Her commitment to UK fashion spread throughout the industry and helped make the UK industry – and London Fashion Week – one of the most relevant weeks in the fashion calendar. In 2012, Wilson received the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the British Fashion Awards.

Wilson retained a strong vocal hint of her Scottish origins and was invariably dressed in black – whether teaching or attending a show. “People think I’m rude,” she said three years ago. “I’m not rude, it’s just honesty. In Who’s Who my hobbies are listed as eating, sleeping and voicing one’s opinion. Not,” she added with a smile, “necessarily the right opinion, but it’s mine.”

The respect she was held in the world of fashion is reflected in her being awarded the OBE in 2008 and was in The Lady’s list of 125 of “the most intelligent, empowered and inspirational women”.

Louise Wilson was not only a pillar of the London fashion community, but was also recognised as an institution among colleagues and students. Many of today’s greatest talents were taught and inspired by her: she had the uncanny knack of spotting and encouraging originality. She was often asked who was going to be the next Alexander McQueen. “Alexander McQueen,” she replied with a wry smile, “didn’t know he was going to be Alexander McQueen.”

Obituary by Alasdair Steven for The Scotsman

Posted in Fashion, miscellanious | 4 Comments

Good morning sunshine

Today we’re basking (and hopefully baking our white milk bottle legs into something more golden) as the sun finally shines on the UK. It’s still too early in the year to strip off (ne’er cast a clout til May is out) so a pair of long length shorts might be just right. (I’m afraid that the 1950s styles from the last post might be just a tad too much today. Fickle fashion.)



These are late 1960s vintage Liberty print shorts in a fabulous colour combination and a glorious bold floral print. A couple of pleats at the front and legs which flare out almost make them shkorts (is that a word?) . Just enough leg on show, but not too much.

Liberty prints are so quintessentially quirky and British…the words just flow together like fishandchips. Libertyprints. There was an amazing prog on TV a while ago about the incredibly painstaking process of designing a new Libertyprint, I’ll try and find a link to it. In the meantime, Lizzie from The Vintage Traveler has a lovely post about Liberty prints here.

Have a marvellous weekend and enjoy the sun where ever you are! (No sun? Congratulate yourself on being pale and interesting….and do buy some vitamin D tabs)

Don’t forget to raise a glass of Pimm’s to all those all those fabulous people doing the Tweed Run today … retro folks in tweed suits, plus fours, bow ties &  jaunty flat caps pedalling on bicycles across London on this hot and sunny day, Chin-chin!

The Tweed Run 2014

Posted in Fashion, vintage, vintage fashion | 3 Comments

O to be in Paris now that Spring is here!

In my mind I am craving an elegant and sophisticated silhouette. An hour glass figure with a nipped in waist. I’d wear all the creations in this short film…(yes, even the hat that looks like a cross between something Ghengis Khan would wear and an ice-cream cone) but I doubt very much if I’d be very keen on those 1950s underpinnings. Bullet bras, corselets, waist-cinchers and girdles designed to keep everything in a vice like grip. It couldn’t have been comfortable being lady-like all day.

It was probably the last decade when fashion was truly grown up and glamorous.




Posted in 1950s, Fashion, vintage fashion | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A potted history of Biba

Here’s a lovely little film just released  to tie in with the “Bath in Fashion” Festival

(Bath is a town in the west of England, just incase you were wondering….nothing to do with tubs,showers,plumbing etc)

3rd May-10th May 2014

(http://www.bathinfashion.co.uk) .

Posted in Art Deco, Barbara Hulanicki, Biba, Fashion, miscellanious, vintage | 5 Comments

Reluctant Wallflower


ANOTHER month has gone by in the blink of an eye and I still haven’t been able to step back into the blogosphere. Just a quick skim through the WordPress Reader shows that all my favourite bloggers have been nifty with their posts and I have a PILE of catching up to do.  (******Has anyone heard from Laura? )

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things pronto, because I’ve really missed everyone. I was pleased to see that despite not blogging, my posts have been getting as many (if not more) (hmmmm!?!) views as when I was more active,


 for not giving up on me.

(Flapper Fanny? Only the Americans could get away with this…) the UK fanny is located in a slightly different place 

a slightly oblique addendum;

Back in the 1980s I managed a shop in South Kensington. On the staff was a willowy French girl called Fanny. Twice a year, the company’s accounts manager would come to the shop to do a full audit. He was an elderly gentleman, with old time manners, tweeds, corduroy patches handlebar moustache, monocle (ok I’m making up the monocle but you get the picture)A proper country squire type of chap, terribly proper with a military bearing. Anyway, he used to take great delight in saying “Good Morning, FANNY!”  at the same time blushing puce and trying to hide an involuntary smirk. It was a real hoot to see a 70 year old gentleman revert to a naughty schoolboy.

Nanny would have washed out his mouth with soap. for saying  that dirty word


Posted in miscellanious, vintage | 7 Comments

Decorating tips for the brunette bachelorette

cocktail drinking bright young thing

cocktail drinking bachelor girl




an admiring uncle?

an admiring uncle?

Scan 2

Scan 4

I do <3 love these decorating tips from a big fat 1930s book I found tucked away on mamma’s shelves.

I’m not altogether sure if the author of this piece altogether approves of the bachelor girl this article is aimed at. The tone suggests that she should make time in her  dashing, dancing, cocktail drinking life and cosy down with a bit of needlework.

“Let us first design a background for those embroideries and for a brunette”

Would you ever have thought to decorate your home interior  to compliment your hair colour?  The dull gilt walls and ceiling and black lacquer woodwork is something I could definitely live with even though I’m not brunette

It seems really racy to advise  a bachelor girl to furnish her bedsit with a cushioned divan and a cocktail cabinet. Asking for all sorts of high jinks I’d have thought.  ( I have reservations about the ‘admiring uncle’ too… but if he also stocked up the cocktail cabinet, then hurrah for him ) .

I just wonder if she would have had time or even the inclination to make that  embroidered mural panel……..?

Posted in decor, Fashion, miscellanious, vintage | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments