Showing posts with label London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London. Show all posts

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Need To Talk

On Thursday night a panel including psychoanalyst Susie Orbach, Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and Grazia style director Paula Reed will debate the notion ‘Fashion Maketh Woman: Woman is born free but cannot escape the shackles of fashion.’ I wish that I were in town for this talk as it promises to be interesting, enlightening and engaging but alas, I’m in the motherland. This works out well for you though as I am now in the position to raffle off three tickets. Send an email to the to be in with a chance of winning the tickets. If you don’t happen to be the random name I choose when blindfolded but are lucky enough to be in London that evening, you can buy tickets here. LE

Grayson Perry

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Calling All Fashionable Foursomes

The Portmanteau has some very exciting news to announce. Along with journalist and birthday girl (she’s 23 today) Ailbhe Malone, we are hosting a Charity Fashion Quiz on 15th February in The Book Club, Hoxton. Our compère for the evening is Henry Conway, who promises to bring wit, fun and in-depth fashion expertise (he’s currently writing three books on the subject!) to proceedings. It costs £10 for a table of 4 and all proceeds go to the NIA Project, a Hackney-based charity that provides support to women and children who are suffering emotional, physical and sexual abuse. There is also going to be a huge raffle with prizes from Mario Testino, Alex Monroe, Swarovski and many more. Refreshments will be provided by Love Bakery. To reserve a table, or if you have any queries or questions, drop me a line at portmanteaudaily[at]gmail[dot]com. If you need more time to assemble your ideal team, then you can just pop in on the night but come down early so as to avoid disappointment. So spend the next week revising, i.e. reading old Vogues and perusing The Fashion Spot, and we'll see you on Monday.... LE

Friday, January 22, 2010

The News

So way back in November, we were stunned by the news that Lara Stone and David Walliams were dating. Well now they’re getting married! Yeah he proposed to her by hiding the vintage Tiffany engagement ring in a burger. Obviously this isn’t going to last but I wonder if they’ll actually go through with the wedding. I love that these two seem to be so open. We didn’t get so much as a glimpse of a dress when Sophie Dahl married Jamie Cullum recently, but we’ve already seen Lara and David cavorting around Mexico so they’re bound to show us some wedding pics, no? Who’s going to be best man? Matt Lucas. And what about bridesmaids? Oh this could be brilliant.

Tanya Gold has a vicious piece on fashion in today’s G2. She doesn’t like it and somehow links it to a tragic accident in an attempt to put us all off it too. Stylebubble has already responded, saying: "Gold's hatred of fashion is based on high heels, mal-treated models and gross consumption, when fashion and style (I'm lumping the two together because I'm thinking Gold hasn't made a distinction between the two...) is SO much more than that... "

If you happen to be in London and have cash and time to spare, call into the Connaught where they are selling galette des rois throughout January with proceeds going to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. I was lucky enough to get to try a slice when I wrote about it for Spectator Scoff and can’t recommend it highly enough.

I am now blogging for The Gloss. Check out my first post, and the posts of Caroline Scott and Natasha Sherling, on The Daily Gloss. LE

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Break-Up

Girl gets dumped by her lover via email. He signs off: "Take care of yourself". She then invites over 100 other women, from a ballerina to a lawyer, to interpret the message. Sounds like the premise of a lame Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy. One that I would probably go to see in the cinema because one of my favourite pastimes is torturing myself by watching terrible movies “for the laugh” and then being given out to by the lady in front of me for talking all the way through and saying how terrible it is. Fun!

Disappointingly, that’s not the plotline for the next Poor Jen turkey but the idea behind Sophie Calle’s installation Take Care of Yourself, currently on show at the Whitechapel Gallery as part of a retrospective of the French artist’s work. Each woman, an expert in her field, interprets the email from their professional point of view: a translator examines its grammar, a composer turns it into music, Miranda Richardson sits on a sofa next to her cat and reads it aloud. There are performances by famous faces Feist, Peaches and Jeanne Moreau but Calle also calls on an accountant, an opera singer, a criminologist and other unknowns for their take on the email. The exhibition continues with earlier works including The Bronx where Calle asked residents of the south Bronx in New York to take her to a place of their choice, and her collaboration with novelist Paul Auster, where she becomes one of his fictional characters. I loved this show – it’s clever and involving, filled with words and feels like you’re reading the artist’s diary. NOK

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Luella Does Liberty

Let's try and forget about the Bah Humbug news that Luella has ceased trading and instead take a trip to Liberty where Luella and her team have dressed the Christmas windows. Bypass the grotto which, although filled with lovely Liberty stocking fillers chosen by the designer, doesn't feel particularly Luella. The windows are the best I've seen this festive season (once I begin blaring Mariah's Crimbo classics and the Facebook event for the annual Holland Park Mansion bash has been created, I can officially say the festive season has begun). The first window has a Royal theme and is crammed with amazing kitsch memorabilia crap. The second recreates a typical seventies Christmas in incredible detail complete with the Queen's speech on the telly, half-eaten Brussels sprouts and Blue Nun on the table and one of those hairdresser heads that I always wanted as a child. Finally, we have Mr. and Mrs. Fox looking fine in their Alexander McQueen hunting threads. NOK

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's a Twin Thing

Continuing our obsession with Jedward and therefore all things twin related, it's the perfect time to welcome new fash mag Twin- they are sooo on the wavelength with that name. Becky Smith, formerly creative director of Lula, is behind this along with Voguette Aimee Farrell. It's quite far from Lula style -wise - sharper layout, cleaner font, larger format. Less Au Revoir Simone and airy fairy editorial which I love in Lula but it's also nice to have an alternative. Closer to a book than a mag, Twin comes in hardback with articles laid out in chapters and no face on the cover, just the logo, again something more in line with books than mags. I'm always happy to see a feature on usual suspects Ryan McGinley and Garance Doré , no matter how overdone they are. Also loved seeing Freja, a bit of poetry in a fashion mag, NY street style captured in a different way by photographer Tom Allen and the page documenting artist Fiona Banner's favourite things. There is a refreshing lack of celebs and more importantly, celeb offspring, something that reached overkill with the last issue of Love. Not one for your next trip to Borders, Twin seems to be mainly stocked in boutiques including Rellik and Dover Street Market but I picked up mine at John Rocha, just another excuse to call into this beautiful store in Mayfair. NOK

Pics: Boo George, Garance Doré, Tom Allen, Neil Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The News

Lara Stone is on the cover of this month’s Vogue and in the accompanying interview she talks about her battle with alcoholism and how she spent 4 weeks in Rehab this year. When we saw her at the Mulberry party at LFW, we did remark that she looked rather serious and sober, but this revelation would seem to explain her abstemious attitude. Also at that party was David Walliams – no surprises there as Walliams loves a good fashion bash – but here’s the surprise: according to the Daily Mail website, the pair have been "have been spending nights together watching TV and going out for secret dinners around London” and are “head-over-heels in love”. WTF? Okay I could deal with David Walliams sleazing on Abi Titmuss and Patsy Kensit, but Lara Stone aka the prettiest girl in the world?! This is the weirdest couple ever. I know that pretty girls often go for funny guys but why didn’t she choose Noel Fielding or my other The Portmanteau half’s crush, David Mitchell. Okay yeah I guess that would be pushing it. That would be the weirdest couple ever.

In other news, Suri Cruise has totally lost it. This time last year, we were so into her. I was obsessed with her little dresses and even cut my hair into a Suri-esque bob. But yeah we’re over it. Sorry Surs, but leggings under dresses are so 2 years ago and the freaking out in the ice-cream parlour incident was so not cool. In fact we have coined a new phrase – Pulling A Suri – which basically means that you go nuts/start crying uncontrollably for no particular reason. I’ll put that into a sentence for you: I was walking down Holland Park Avenue and a bus splashed me and then a cyclist shouted at me and I totally lost it and started bawling; basically I pulled a Suri. LE

Lara Stone in December's Vogue

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh Pur-lease Peugeot

I never check out ads for cars. I have no interest in cars. I have such a poor understanding of cars and how they work that I managed to write off my mum’s one on a rare driving lesson. But the new Peugeot ads that have been appearing in all my favourite newspaper supplements recently have attracted my attention, mainly because they don’t feature boring details of a car but instead cleverly trick you into thinking that you have happened upon the diary of Marina wife-of-Ben Fogle and are being treated to a rare insider’s glimpse of a typical Tuesday for the mum-to-be about town.

She’s an early riser and is up at 7am to walk the dogs. Then she’s off to the office for a meeting but she leaves boring work two hours later to pick up Ben from the airport. Ben, who has trekked to the South Pole, is seemingly unable to make the Heathrow to Notting Hill journey alone. And it’s all go from there on out. There’s pregnancy yoga to go to, a “creative meeting about the website” to attend and an important phone call re: needing a bigger marquee to make. Luckily, the multi-tasking Marina has set aside a whole half hour to make that call. She ends the day by feeding the dogs (an hour and a half is allocated for that particular task) and having dinner with Ben.

Come on, Peugeot. Marina's schedule makes my lazy June days look hectic and jam-packed. And if she wants to save herself even more time, she should probably get the tube. It'd be way quicker. LE

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fashi Week Faves

London Fashion Week’s 25th birthday was celebrated in style – some amazing collections, top drawer celebrity attendees and Anna Wintour in the front row. Yup, they did good and it seems like there’s going to be plenty to look forward to in Spring/Summer 2010 (2010 – scary, eh? And what are we going to call that decade? The tennies? The tens? The teens? The tweens?). But before we look at the double denim, sheer blouses and candy colours that we’re all going to be sporting next year, let’s take a moment to remember our fave moments from LFW SS10.

Favourite Accessory – The Claddagh Crown at John Rocha

We’ve never been fans of Claddagh rings and we just don’t get that heart facing outwards if you're single thing, but Claddagh crowns are something that we can get behind. Crowns are always flattering and the Irish connection just makes them extra special.

Favourite Freebie – The Charles Anastase Bag

The Matches pop up shop at Somerset House was selling canvas totes and lovely, soft t-shirts with designs from some of London’s best-loved designers printed on them. At the Charles Anastase show, all the attendees were gifted with his Matches tote, which features a beautiful swan print. Such a chic addition to the stuffed cupboard full of bags-that-you’re-supposed-to-bring-to-Tesco-but-always-forget.

Favourite Party Guest – Sanjay at Mulberry

The Mulberry party at Claridge’s was jam-packed with celebs: Tinsley Mortimer, Lara Stone, Pixie G, David Walliams, Sarah Harding, etc, etc. But Sanjay from Eastenders was our fave. We’ve spied him at fashion bashes before but this time we plucked up the courage to talk to him. We wondered why he comes to these things, especially as he seems to always be alone. The answer’s simple. “I just can’t turn invitations down!” he told us. And what’s he doing these days, we asked. Film, theatre or TV? “Both,” he said emphatically. Okay.

Best Front Row Guest – Anna Wintour/Henry Conway
Sorry, it’s impossible to choose between these two. Obviously it was a thrill to see Ms. Wintour in the flesh (bones?) at Peter Pilotto but spotting the almost-as-skinny-these-days Henry Conway was equally exciting. He’s toned it down style-wise (gone are the huge hats and ruffled cravats) but we like his new spiffing look just as much.

Favourite Model – The dog at the Mulberry Presentation

The all-black casting at the PPQ show was a much-needed nod to diversity and we were also very fond of the beautiful big-browed Maja at Charles Anastase, but top dog for us was the, eh, dog at Mulberry. So so pretty and adorably unsure of her moves. Plus she’s the only one that you know for sure doesn’t have an eating disorder.

Favourite Canapés – Pret a Manger sandwiches and Sprites

Okay so they’re not strictly a canapé but the regular ingestion of crayfish and rocket sandwiches from Pret was essential for our mental and physical well-being. They must, of course, be washed down with a refreshing Sprite. As regards actual canapés, we loved the candy floss and mini-burgers at the Mulberry party. LE

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Posting has been scarce on the ground recently. Sorry about that but we’ve been busy. Back in the halcyon days of June, I’d get up at midday, wander down to Paul for a coffee, slowly make my way to Westfield for a browse and a trip to Waitrose before settling down for an evening of TV-watching or magazine-reading. On really stressful days I might meet somebody for lunch or go to the pub. Well no more. I’ve been interning and freelancing like crazy. (Check out my interview with RJ Cutler, director of The September Issue, here, and be in with a chance to win tickets to Richard Nicoll by reading a Q & A with him here.)

And now Fashion Week is upon us. I feel the bi-annual Fashi Week nervous breakdown coming on – you know, the point where you collapse in a flood of tears, usually in front of your boss, because you’re just so tired as a result of the shows and the parties and the frantic paranoia-about-not-being-stylish-enough-induced shopping sprees. Not to mention that we actually must maintain day jobs throughout. But whatevs, we love it really and will be sure to blog about anything we are lucky enough to get invited to. LE

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm your biggest fan....

This weekend, Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi, an exhibition of vintage photographs of one of the world's most celebrated beauties, opens at the James Hyman gallery on Savile Row. It's an opportunity to enjoy BB in her prime, when she was known more for her beauty and less for her extreme right-wing views and animal-rights activism. My favourite is this portrait by Sam Levin where she is the picture of French elegance in contrast to the typical Bardot bombshell. The exhibition also highlights the change in relationship between star and paparazzo - no sneaky upskirt shots, or being captured stumbling out of nightclubs at 3am. Runs until 3 October.

When I heard about Donovan Leitch's John Hughes tribute at the Palihouse in LA, I was hoping someone in London would do the same. Ferris Bueller played on screen, while Leitch spun songs from Hughes classics. Thankfully, someone was thinking along the same lines because tonight Club de Fromage are hosting their own celebration of the saviour of 80s misfits.There will be a screening of The Breakfast Club followed by a night of dancing to Hughes-inspired hits. I'm sure most will be taking their style cues from his brat pack and high school classics but I would like to pay tribute to my own favourite from the Hughes canon - Home Alone 2. Ok, so he only wrote Lost in New York but it's still my fave. I'm thinking mittens and woolly hat à la Kevin McCallister- very timely as Mac was back in the news this week as yet another possible Blanket Daddy or we could think even further outside the box and go as Brenda Fricker's Bird Lady. It may not score you a Michael Schoeffling- look alike but you will stand out in a sea of lace, crimped hair and over-sized blazers. And standing dejected on the edge of the dance floor, ogling the object of your crush - I can't think of a more apt tribute to Hughes. NOK

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Show & Tell

I was quite intrigued by the concept of the Showstudio shop , just opened off Bruton St. Nick Knight and his team have curated a selection of one-of-a-kind pieces used in seminal fashion shoots and catwalk shows, all for sale. There is also a live studio space for fashion designers to create pieces onsite for the shop, all filmed by the Showstudio webcams. Showing the creative process behind the final, retouched fashion image is what Showstudio has always been about and this is an extension of that.

I would be totally up for redesigning the flat to resemble the pages of a Paris Vogue editorial. I mean, who wouldn’t want a giant bunch of cherries hanging on their sitting room wall? Walking in, I had visions of a Shona Heath / Tim Walker-created fantasy prop extravaganza, brimming with whimsical wonders, everything there up for grabs. Not really the case. The gallery itself is extremely small with only a selection of the available works on show and having the pieces stand alone against the white walls mean they lose some of their magic. The website provides more choice and context and it is nice to know that the life of these amazing pieces doesn’t have to end when a shoot or show is over. Although the prices mean that it won’t be competing with Argos and charity shops as my main sources of furnishings for the flat.

Slightly more affordable are the books and mags on sale at Idea at St. Martins Lane hotel, a pop-up outpost of Angela Hill’s concession at Dover Street Market. Yet another address to add to the list of great fash mag suppliers in London town. NOK

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Borrowers

At 9 years old, the highlight of The Portmanteau’s sad, barren social life was our weekly trip to the local library. I even did my TY work experience in the county library. And the librarian look is one of my favourites. Eeek – such a geek.

Just around the corner from my office is YCN, a creative agency that has set up shop at 72 Rivington St, a multi - purpose space comprising a public ground floor, two floors of studio and a rooftop. Although for a library lover like myself, the highlight is a lending library on the ground floor. Granted the stock is a bit sparse at the moment, it’s being added to all the time but what I love is the concept – a lending library of purely design-themed books and magazines. They also have reading lists from key figures in design – the latest is Paul Smith’s recommendations. Jiggery Pokery were commissioned to create the rainbow of books in the shop window. Also on display are teasets by Undergrowth Design. It reminds me of my stint stacking shelves at LCF where I daydreamed of having my own custom-made magazine and coffee-table tome archive. Our shoebox flat is bursting at the seams with mags and books so this is a long way off at the moment. For now, visits to 72 Rivington St will have to suffice.

Also recommended for library lovers - the beautiful Libraries by Candida Höfer and Alberto Manguel’s magical The Library at Night. NOK

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Although I am still impressed by Waitrose and all it has to offer - the jam and cream donuts, the excellent variety of mayonnaise, its proximity to my flat - I have begun to expand my horizons beyond Westfield and discover other foodie meccas, my favourite of which is the American Food Store at 2 Ladbroke Grove. This shop stocks pretty much everything I will ever need - lots of good mags and a perfectly edited selection of foods from across the pond. Lucky Charms is my favourite cereal and here it jostles for space on the heaving shelves with Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Crunch and Pop Tarts. OK so some may balk at the £7.48 price tag but normal boring British cereal is around £3.50 and Lucky Charms are way nicer so I think it's worth it. As would be expected the sugary-ness is not just confined to the breakfast foods. There is lots of candy - Twizzlers, Baby Ruths, Marshmallows, etc - and a huge variety of Betty Crocker mixes including the ready-made frosting, a topping guaranteed to render even the most basic sponge cakes delicious. And there is also plenty of savoury food of the just-add-water variety like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Like I said, this tiny corner shop really meets all your needs.

PS - Lucky Charms are on special offer at Selfridges at the moment (two boxes for a tenner) but the American section there isn't quite as well-stocked as the American Food Store. They have also been spotted at Partridges on the King's Road and at Jeroboams. LE

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Cheshire Cat

As a lady of leisure a.k.a. an unemployed person, I get to swan around day in day out, going for solitary walks interspersed with some magazine-reading, cupcake-eating or window shopping and so I am in a perfect position to bring you my expert guide to nice streets in London.

First up is Cheshire Street, a little street off Brick Lane. I went to Cheshire Street to check out the Comfort Station shop and I was not disappointed. The jewellery is beautiful but the shop itself is even prettier. A huge white owl is suspended over the window display, its impressive wingspan taking up most of the window. He’s for sale too but I’m not really sure how I’d feel about taxidermy in our little flat – a big dead animal calls for a proper space, not some table shoved up against a radiator strewn with drying underwear.

We could buy stuff for our house in Labour and Wait though, a gorgeous little shop just up the street, which somehow makes boring things like roasting trays and thermometers objects of beauty.

Across the road is the new Louis de Gama shop, a Portuguese-born London-based designer who has been supplying to boutiques (including the Irish Dolls and Kalu) for many years but just opened his own shop this March. His clothes are intricate creations of chiffon and leather, which are sexy and feminine but tough too. He also seems as obsessed with magazines as we are, especially those featuring early Kate Moss shoots. The shop walls are adorned with pictures of Kate torn from The Face, W and Vogue.

And at the end of Cheshire Street you’ll find famed vintage emporium Beyond Retro. LE

Louis de Gama Shop

Louis de Gama

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Yer Bike

Boris Johnson and various cycling committees urged people to cycle to work today and yesterday in an effort to reduce the transport chaos that was a result of the two day tube strike. That’s all very well and good, but I don’t have a bike in London. Granted I don’t have a job either, but I still have important places to go, like, you know, lunch dates and shops and stuff and so today my thoughts have turned to bicycles. I know the strike is over but wouldn’t it be nicer to explore the city by bike rather than join the London Lite-reading brigade underground, especially as summer hits. Again I am imagining the fake me on the bicycle, you know the tanned long-legged really-into-yoga one, rather than the actual small pale one who has been known to lock a bicycle up and then completely forget where she left it, only to stumble upon the vandalised frame a couple of weeks later.

The street style snappers are obviously in agreement as girls with bicycles have been featured on both The Sartorialist and Facehunter recently. LE

Image from The Sartorialist

Images from Facehunter

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Liberty Belle

I love Liberty. Shopping there is like wandering around a Tudor manor owned by someone with the most exquisite taste. The stock is the best edited of all the London department stores and it's the only one that doesn't make me hot and bothered. No harsh lighting - just a calm shopping atmosphere and lots of wood panelling. Much nicer. The ground floor is the best - gorgeous coffee table books, afternoon tea and Cire Trudon candles. Heaven, basically. This season, there is another welcome addition - a Frederic Malle concession. Oh dear God, where do I begin? All their fragrances are phenomenal but French Lover is the ultimate. I swear, this stuff is unbelievable . One completely unattractive guy + one spray of French Lover = insanely hot. It could make even Ant "nice forehead" Mc Partlin seem attractive. (Sorry. I’m in a bit of a Britain’s Got Talent zone today, but soooo many points - how cute are 2 Grand? / why is Amanda Holden taking style advice from Katherine Jenkins? / how do Ant + Dec still have a career when they have no discernible talent?) And one more reason to visit Liberty at the moment - to see A.P.C's take on their iconic floral print. NOK

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spoiled Brat

My Birthday

The good thing about birthdays is that you get lots of presents; the bad thing about birthdays is that some of the presents come in the form of vodka and tonics or bottles of Taittinger, which could lead to mishaps surrounding important electronic equipment. Yes, my camera is now memory card and battery-less after a birthday night out. And so instead of photographing my loot I've clumsily put together a Polyvore collage which includes my new Alex Monroe mushroom chain (a present from my mum), a Karen Walker sweatshirt dress and a Comfort Station inverted stag pendant (both from my boyfriend).

P.s. I hadn't heard of Comfort Station before, but a quick browse of their website means that I will be hotfooting it down to their beautiful Brick Lane shop, which stocks custom-made crockery as well as jewellery, as soon as I land in London. LE

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rollin' with the Homies

Due to lack of funds, I was intending to be a total hermit this weekend - but there is no way I can miss this. It's FLICK IT - Clueless V Heathers night at The Old Blue Last tonight with a soundtrack inspired by the two classic teen movies. A night of high school bitchiness and free drinks for those who get into the spirit and dress up - I'm so there. So what will it be - Veronica and the Heathers or the ultimate Bettys, Cher and Dionne? Shoulder pads, coloured tights and plaid à la Heathers or knee - high socks, berets and even more plaid in honour of Clueless?

"Ok - I'm outie"
"Great pâté, mom, but I gotta motor if I wanna be ready for that party tonight."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unseen Guy Bourdin

The private view of the Guy Bourdin exhibition at the Wapping Project last week was definitely not your regular, run-of-the-mill art opening. Instead of Asahi beer in a bin and the usual crowd of art students and hangers on, we had champagne cocktails and Bryan Ferry. The venue itself is breathtaking. It’s a renovated power station and the dark, cavernous interior was lit by hundreds of candles for the night. There is also the cutest little bookshop in a greenhouse outside on the grass. The rather excellent soundtrack was provided by Misty Rabbit and Jerry Bouthier and the fashion crowd actually danced, rather than just standing around, looking flawless.

I had always found Bourdin's work a little too disturbing and twisted for my taste but I was completely floored by this show - the photographs glowed in the haunting darkness and the compelling images offer the viewer a glimpse into a private world, inviting them to complete the narrative. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Bourdin's Surrealist-inspired image of a silhouette with a heavily made-up eye looking through a peephole. Until 4 July at the Wapping Project.