Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Drew Barrymore Appreciation Society

What is it about Drew Barrymore? I just love the girl, can’t get enough of her (not in a lady-love kind of way, don’t be silly). Some of my favourite films are Drew Barrymore movies. Let’s see…

My top 10 Drew movies (partly compiled in relation to number of viewings)

1. The Wedding Singer

2. Never Been Kissed

3. 50 First Dates

4. ET

5. Donnie Darko

6. Ever After

7. Scream (the first one)

8. He’s Just Not That Into You

9. Charlie’s Angels (original and sequel get equal ranking)

10. Home Fries (did anyone else ever see that one?)

There’s just something about Drew – she’s got that girl-next-door ease with a dollop of quirkiness and just the right amount of glamour. She always looks fabulous (despite what the fashion mags sometimes rather unkindly say). And I love the way she has never got too skinny – she totally owns her curves and hasn’t ever given them up for some dozy film role.
I dunno, but she seems lovely and straightforward, not at all snooty or unavailable, which is amazing really, considering the way she grew up.
Drew, if you ever fancy a Rok Chix bauble or two, just give me a shout.
(Meanwhile, here she is looking amazing in a tight leather dress on the Grazia website…)

Favourite jewellery designers… # 1

How many jewellery designers does it take to influence another jewellery designer? Well in my case, quite a lot actually. First there were my teachers at Central St Martin’s (the lovely Linda Robertson and Liz Olver among them). Then there are those who I learned from (and continue to do so) just by looking – and of these I admit there are many.

First up on my list (but not necessarily number one in terms of preference) is Mr Shaun Leane, Shauny I like to call him (no, I’ve never met him or even had any connection with him, incase you were wondering…).

Why Shauny first? Well because he has a new collection out, available from his own website and for the first time via the Astley Clarke website (both drool-making experiences, to be sure). Best known for his spiky, punctured hearts (to die for) and horn-like bangles (ditto), Shauny is this year’s UK Jewellery Designer of the Year. Ta ra.

The new collection is called Cherry Blossom and just as delicious as his previous work. There are blossom rings, pendants and earrings, all of which are much more delicate than the spiky hearts – but still with an edge. Yum. Love you Shauny.

Of course, he’s not the first (nor will he be the last) to use flowers as inspiration for fine jewellery. My own Flower Power pieces for notonthehighstreet.com (with some soon to be launched on rokchix.com) are equally blossom-influenced. And quite cute too, even if I do say so myself!

Flower Power ringsFlower Power Friendship braceletsFlower Power earrings

Wherefore art thou Siouxie?

A story from the Grazia Daily website caught my eye today… Punk is back, apparently. At fashion designer John Richmond’s show at Milan Fashion Week, the inspiration for the models’ look was – in the words of MAC make-up artist Sharon Dowsett – ‘Suzy Sue [sic] but expensive, Park Avenue, posh punk.’
Has it been that long since punk was kicked off the main stage that nobody remembers the magnificent Siouxie Sioux any more? Suzy Sue, indeed.
For those of you who don’t remember her (or how to spell her name even), here’s a YouTube reminder of what Siouxie and the Banshees looked and sounded like.
Considered to be one of the most influential British female singers in pop history, Siouxie has been praised the likes of PJ Harvey, Beth Ditto (of Gossip fame) and Garbage. The Banshees have been sampled and covered by many, including Tricky, Massive Attack, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and LCD Soundsystem.
Siouxie certainly inspired a generation of punkettes in the hair and make-up department too (I was one of them and often told I looked like her – there again, anyone with the right hair and make-up looked like her: raven black, backcombed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life hair, geisha-white skin and lashings of thick, black eyeliner that went right into the inner corners of the eye and swept out to the outer corners in big, pointy wings. Amy Winehouse, eat your heart out). Ah, the nostalgia.
So back to today’s take on Siouxie’s look. ‘She’s grown up now, she dated the boys in the band but now she owns the record company,’ spouts Sharon Dowsett. So a watered-down version then, in other words. As for the hair at the John Richmond show: ‘tight on the sides with the top middle section elongated with a Mohawk nod’ says Grazia.
Call me an old punk fogey if you like, but give me the real thing any day.

How green is my nail polish?

Apparently we’ll all be doing it this winter – going green, that is. Well, our nails will be at least. Celebs are already reportedly fighting each other for a position near the top of the waiting list for Chanel’s limited-edition Jade nail varnish (which means it’s highly unlikely any of the rest of us will get even a daub of it).
Lily Allen, for one, has been snapped wearing it. And I must say, though the idea of green nail varnish doesn’t exactly get my juices flowing, it did look rather good. Perhaps that’s because I have a huge passion for green jade (jade, incase you didn’t know, comes in lots of different colours, the most precious of which is a gorgeous green variety called Imperial jade – very rare now, hard to get hold of, and even if you did manage to track some down you’d have to mortgage your house to pay for it).
Anyway, back to nail polish. It may well be satisfying to wear the Chanel shade, but for a paltry £2.95 you can get your hands on Barry M’s rather lovely Mint Green nail polish. Not that I can wear nail polish mind you, making jewellery – with all the sanding and filing that entails – is death for well-groomed nails.
So instead I’ll be wearing my Silver Beaten Hoops with Uncut Apatite Nugget earrings (okay, okay, they’re not jade, but they’re a to-die-for shade of electric blue-green…). I’m not sure Coco would have approved, with them not being pearls and all that, but what the hell…

Ice cream, you scream

Sick to death of fashion week already? Me too. If I read another show report by some gushing celebrity or have to look at any more pictures of who’s got seats in the front row, I’ll go insane. And it’s only day four.
So naturally my thoughts have turned to food (preferably the most fattening type of food, sort of anti-fashion food). And I know it’s not quite the right time of year for it, but I have a hankering for an ice cream. Not just any old ice cream, mind you, but an ice cream made by a renegade bunch called The Icecreamists. If you can get down to Selfridges in London before November 1st, you can sample their subversive chilled desserts and bonkers cocktails yourself.
The Chocolate Volcano sounds right up my street: ‘… our eye-wateringly calorific ‘Diet Destroyer’. This promiscuous little number has led to one-night stands, life-long romances, affairs and even marriage proposals. So breathtakingly outrageous and immoral, it could be banned by the Obscenity Laws. Submit to X-rated molten Belgian chocolate sauce poured onto a mountain of Ecuadorean Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and served with fresh seasonal fruit.’ Heaven. Or how about a Champagne Ice Lolly, ‘the most decadent ice lolly on earth’?
Beats a bunch of lanky models wearing clothes no one I know can afford anyway any day.

Shoulder to shoulder

Eeek, I think I’m having an 80s flashback. Now that leggings are not just a fashion throwback but a staple part of our wardrobes (again), another mad, bad 80s trend has been chucked at the great shopping British public. Dig out your leisure pass, because you’re going to need Olympic pool-sized shoulders to look the part this autumn/winter. Or you could cheat by going somewhere you once said you’d rather die than revisit (well, I did, anyway) and splurge on an item of clothing with massive shoulder pads, like this barmy tuxedo jacket from Balmain, as seen on the Elle magazine website.
According to MC, shoulder padded jackets/tops/dresses/coats will ensure that your ‘fashion credentials shine’. Apparently, the I’ve-been-working-on-a-building-site-all-summer look is the silhouette to be seen in right now. Hmm, I remember it the first time around and while it looked rather fabulous to me back then, especially when sported by the cast of Dynasty (Joan Collins always had a nifty line in shoulder-padded sparkly frocks, if I remember rightly), I’m not so sure this is a trend I’m going to jump into quite so willingly again. I mean, it’s okay if you’re pushing six foot tall with legs up to your armpits, but if you’re just nudging 5ft 3in, it can look slightly comical. Okay, scratch ‘slightly’.
So while I’m loving the sounds of the Human League and Depeche Mode floating through the airwaves once again, this is one 80s child who’s going to stay firmly in the noughties. Ripped jeans being the exception, of course.

Studs a go-go

It’s all eyes on TopShop today, as the fash mag girls get in a right old lather over the store’s new designer collection from Christopher Kane (though hang on, there is something else happening… oh yes, it’s the start of London Fashion Week!).
The new emperor of British design talent, Christopher has come up with a pretty nifty collection with lots of black, lots of metal studs (punctures, I think they call them these days) and even some gem-type studs too. We like.
Reminds me of the days when I used to add my own studs to shoes, boots, leather and denim jackets. I would buy the metal studs from a shop in Camden Market (don’t know if it’s still there any more, it was just by the bridge at Camden Lock). Anyway, you bought the individual studs (they came in various sizes, mostly round spiky and square spiky), then you’d have to make holes in whatever you were adding them to, so you could poke the back part of the stud through. Of course, the bit that went through always rubbed on your skin/clothes underneath. But what’s a bit of chafing in the name of fashion, eh? Actually it wasn’t really fashion back then. It was subversion.
I still regret giving my self-cutomised studded leather jacket (real biker style) to an American friend, who thought it was pretty cool. Well it was. A mass of studs on the collar and all down the back. Fab.
Christopher Kane, eat your heart out.

Culture vulture

Now that the nights are drawing in and there’s a distinct ‘bite’ in the air, spending hours at the beach (sorry, don’t want to make you jealous or anything) is becoming increasingly less attractive. Time to look for more indoor pursuits, preferably those that aren’t going to cost a fortune (and, er, for all you singles out there, those that don’t have to involve a partner…).
If you’re a slave to fashion and jewellery, you could do worse than indulging your passion at the same time as gaining a few culture credits. Thanks to an article in The Times on legendary fashion photographer Nick Knight, I was reminded that there are some amazing museums around the country that house fashion-inspired exhibits (scroll down to the end of the article for Ten Fashion Collections to Die For). One is even in my home town of Brighton. Hurrah!
It also reminded me there’s another great reason to visit Bath – check out this enlightening exhibition at the Fashion Museum featuring the designs of legendary 70s fashion meister, Bill Gibb. Out of this world just doesn’t come close.
Other museums to glean some inspiration from include the totally amazing V&A, home to a truly fantastic jewellery collection (one that has bedazzled yours truly over the years), the Museum of London, and, for all of you north of Watford, Hat Works (a hat museum, duh) in Stockport and the National Museum of Costume in Dumfries.
Now that should keep you busy.

Swap shop

Move over Noel Edmonds, there’s a new kind of swap shop in town. Well it’s not that new – clothes swapping parties (or ‘swishing’ parties, as the fashion mags like to call them) have been around since everyone started having less cash (well, this recession around, at least). There are clothes swapping websites, where you can get rid of your old tat and pick up someone else’s, and some enterprising nightclub promoters have even held swishing clubs.
But now, the swish has gone national, or rather gone on the road.
The Big Swish is billed as the UK’s first clothes swapping roadshow. They’re promising designers, stylists, models, make-overs, skin analysis… even burlesque performances (if that’s your kind of thing). 

One thing puts me off though, and that’s one of the raffle prizes (each £5 entry ticket is automatically entered): a signed pair of skinny jeans worn by Russell Brand. Euuuwwww!
Still, it might satisfying your cravings for ‘new’ clothes, shoes and accessories until your next paycheck – and it could give you that smug, I’m-helping-the-environment glow.
The roadshow goes around the UK – tomorrow the first swish is in Leeds (they’re not coming to my home town, Brighton, though…. grrrr!).

In praise of ugly shoes…

Like most women I’m addicted to shoes (but not quite as much as I’m addicted to jewellery). But I’m not really your Jimmy Choo, Gina or Manolo kind of girl. I’m an ugly shoe addict. The clumpier the better. Well I can’t do heels – having such teeny feet makes me fall over when I wear them (have you seen the size of most models’ feet? I rest my case).
I’ve even read Camilla Morton’s book ‘How to Walk in High Heels’ but still can’t manage anything higher than ballet flats.
Then I saw something that threw my mind into total confusion. A pair of shoes so ugly, even I couldn’t wear them. They’re called studded fan shoes. And they’re by Prada. Here they are on a Times Picture Gallery of grungy accessories.
The more I look at them, the more I can’t decide whether I love or loathe them. But then the £1,020 price tag (not to mention the mega tall heels) means I won’t be splashing out on a pair, at least not during this lifetime.
It’s back to the Birkenstocks then, I’m afraid…