Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid

I'm going to get through my socio-cultural To Do list sooner or later. One strike off it this evening - I have watched Casablanca. Long overdue, I have had it for a while and just never got round to it. So many immortal lines, I didn't know I knew so many. Will probably be saving them up for some corny post titles (how to kill a classic)... The plot is fairly minimal but Ingrid Bergman is beautiful. It took me a little while to get into her style of beauty but once I had got used to it she is radiant. She glows. She also has some rather natty war-time outfits...





Mmm... Basking in the glow of her loveliness...

Chuck x


Monday, November 29, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

* CONTROVERSY ALERT *

This is probably going to shock a lot of people but ... dun dun duuuuun ... I don't like Oscar Wilde. I know, I know, blasphemy, fire, brimstone, philistine etc. Furthermore I think he is massively overrated. So shoot me.

For some reason my dislike of Wilde seems to scandalise a lot of people. I don't know why, I don't find him a very likeable writer. I'll grant you that An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest are fun enough, in an insubstantial kind of way, if you don't look at them too closely and if they are full of Rupert Everett but that is about it. He talks in sound-bites and hot air. I don't know where he gets his intellectual kudos; his aphorisms may sound clever but they generally mean nothing, they are merely empty syntactical inversions for the most part. Obviously he is a figurehead for gay culture and that is great and he could be very charming when he wished to be but he is not the Messiah (just a very naughty boy) and it grates on me when he is treated as one...


OK, so The Picture of Dorian Gray. I didn't like it - surprise! I found the premise silly and over-literal and too inclined to the supernatural/high-Gothic for my taste. The pacing is patchy and unconvincing; one moment Dorian is an innocent and frankly rather moronic child, he then experiences romantic fickleness and is cruel to an equally moronic girl child, she reacts ridiculously melodramatically and, BOOM, time skips and Dorian is pretty much Satan, committing acts too despicable for human understanding. Where is the characterisation?? For a lead character he is rather vacant. Lord Henry is a rather boring and narcissistic portrait of Wilde spouting predictably 'rebellious' Decadent philosophy in more convenient sound-bites. Maybe I am a massive prude but I don't see what is big or clever about advocating immorality for Art and pleasure's sake. Evil may sometimes be beautiful but that doesn't make it good and I still believe that 'good' has some importance. See also, my problem with the believers in the whole 'beauty is truth' shebang - it just isn't (necessarily)!

Also, probably my biggest issue, it is unbelievably misogynistic. Jaw-droppingly so. And I quote:

"I am afraid that women appreciate cruelty, downright cruelty, more than anything else. They have wonderfully primitive instincts. We have emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for their masters, all the same. They love being dominated..."

Seriously, it makes my blood boil. [Not in a warming way, unfortunately, I am still freezing my sweet ass off - good lord it is so cold!] I know that some people would argue that this is written tongue in cheek but I don't think I believe that or if it was I don't think that denies the underlying sentiment. It is hardly the only example either. I feel cross just thinking about it...

Obviously feel free to read it, I am sure it will always be much praised, but it does not come recommended from me. So there! (Hurrumph).

Chuck x

Sunday, November 28, 2010

(Strange) Egg White Cake

So, I thought I would share with you the really weird cake I made today. This isn't really a recommendation, more an object of interest. Somehow various flatmates have managed to accumulate a lot of eggwhites recently (main perpetrators were my failed chocolate tart and B's delicious molten chocolate puddings) and I felt guilty about throwing them away. Problem - I don't really like meringues, I'll eat them but they don't really interest me. So, I thought I would try one of David Lebowitz's egg white solutions to perk things up. Much as I love macarons they were more effort than I was looking to put in, ditto soufflĂ©s, I wanted something easy. I settled instead on the straightforward-sounding egg white cake from nami-nami. Before I comment let me show you some photos...



Odd, right? So firm, so bouncy... It was vaguely reminiscent of marshmellow in its bounciness, which makes sense given all the egg whites. It is much more solid than I was expecting - I was predicting it would be more soufflĂ©-y but no! Maybe I lost the air when I was folding in the flour. Maybe it was odd because I had more egg whites than I should have had (think I was using more like seven and a bit whites, hadn't labelled the tuppaware). Who knows...

I'm going to leave the recipe over at nami-nami and just let you marvel at this oddity. I am going to try and toast the bad boy - will be interesting to see what happens!

EDIT - I left out the butter! Found it in the microwave today... This might well have contributed to the strange texture although it was only 100g... Oops. Also, it did taste nice, kind of like fluffy almond rubber, bit strange but definitely edible.

Off to watch Any Human Heart.

Chuck x

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Festive Fashion

I am still in a bit of a post essay haze but ebay tells me it is only 28 days until Christmas and I have been greatly enjoying the gift recommendations over at Penny Dreadful Vintage (have a feeling I might be following up on some of those) so I thought I would contribute to the festive spirit. Here is a really wonderful, Christmas-y shoot from the FT's How to Spend it magazine, styled by Damian Foxe...






(FT)

Amazing! I want to go out and buy lots of red now.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

Chuck x

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday - Vampire Weekend

The essay is finally over. I am dead.

I have been cheering myself up this week with this video. How did I not see it when the song came out? It is fab.

Holiday

Vampire Weekend | Myspace Music Videos

Look at all that sunshine!

Anyway, I'm going to go collapse now.

Chuck x

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Doc's Prescription

Oh my lord, I am so over my essay. Seriouslah... Grr. Anyway, on the plus side Doc Martens are spoiling us at the moment. I am completely loving these buckle DMs, amazing with slight S&M undertones...



I am also unbelievably excited by this photo from Anastasia and Duck who recently went to the Exposure press day. LEOPARD PRINT DOCS! This is what one of my charming friends would call Class A Quiz-in-my-Pants material. He probably wouldn't be referring to leopard-print docs but I so am. They are killah! I can't wait to see them in the flesh. Not sure when they are coming out but I will be there stroking them in a creepy manner. I guess the pony hair or whatever it is slightly undermines the traditional practicality of Docs but that is a minor detail. Can you imagine how great they'd look?? Phwoar.



Anyway, the essay continues...

Chuck x

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Borne Again

I was admiring the Borne lookbook images again on Kingdom of Style today. They are totally gorgeous - the colours, the textures, everything. I particularly like the way the cuts, 'inspired by classic menswear tailoring', prevent the collection from looking hysterically, unbearably girly and make it very wearable. I could rhapsodise about it pretty much indefinitely but I have been writing essay all afternoon and I've definitely used up my word quota for the day. Instead I shall give you some images to admire (I'm sure lots of you have seen them before but I think they bear repeat viewing), celebrate the fact the Borne is soon to be stocked on ASOS (they're actually taking over the world) and suggest you read this interview with Elise Berger on Alex Loves.






(All c/o Borne blog)

My main reaction to the lookbook today though was 'God, I really want some hydrangeas for my hair'. Love the styling and love the hydrangeas! I don't generally appreciate them in bush form but individually, in vases and in hair they are fab. They kind of remind me of those flowery rubber swimming caps too. Had a quick look on ebay and I found these, I want to wind them into my barnet:


(ebay)



Anyway, better get back to work...

Chuck x

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roderick Hudson - Henry James

Hurrah! Fiction! From amidst an ocean of poetry, critical theory and 18th century plays finally emerges a novel... I have had bad experiences with Henry James in the past but I have been so novel starved recently that I was excited nonetheless. And it was great - I really enjoyed it. Even taking into account my fiction hunger I was surprised by how much I liked it. I wouldn't recommend The Ambassadors (a later work) to 15 years olds on their summer holidays - what can I say? I read all sorts of odd things - and I wouldn't recommend The Turn of the Screw to anyone who doesn't have a taste for ghost stories but I would recommend Roderick Hudson.

I have heard that his earlier works are more accessible and from my limited experience (I am no Reading Henry James) I would agree. Roderick Hudson sees wealthy American Rowland Mallet taking the titular Roderick to Europe to nurture his skills as a sculptor. There is a beautiful, dangerous woman and a virtuous, intelligent woman. There is an investigation into the nature of genius. There is lots of two of my favourite things - Italy and art. James brings his painterly talents to the book and it is crammed with beautifully, intricately drawn portraits and scenes. The books also has a pace that I found lacking in The Ambassadors - things happen, some unexpected things, some exciting thing, you want to continue reading! There are some very (intentionally) irritating characters, it all gets a bit melodramatic in what I am going to call the fourth act and the ending is rather silly/frustrating but it is, nonetheless, a good read. I just can't decide now whether I want to run away to London to admire John Singer Sargent's in the National Gallery or to Rome to wallow in the shade of the Colliseum...


The book is also jammed full of great quotes so I thought I would offer up a few:
  • On classical Greek sculpture - "An antique as I understand it,' the lawyer continued, 'is an image of a pagan deity, with considerable dirt sticking to it, and no arms, no nose, and no clothing".
  • 'We have really lost the faculty to understand beauty in a large ideal way'.
  • 'Rowland, who pronounced badly but understood everything'.
  • 'He had the great quality of regarding himself in a roughly serious light'.
Anyway, I have another big essay deadline this Friday (where did it come from? what happened to the interim time? who knows?) so I will be bare-minimum blogging in the meantime.

LOVE,

Chuck x

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Label Love

As you might have been able to tell I am not a massive label lover. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of designers but I'm just not really into the label/logo culture. I don't want branding splashed across myself or my handbag. I think it is a strange way of commodifying yourself and a lazy way to create brand identity. Maybe I'm bitter because I can't afford to join in or maybe I just find it brash... Judge for yourself.

That said, there are exceptions to all rules and I wanted to share with you my favourite label. This is literally my favourite label. I find it sad that it is inside one of my favourite jackets - it makes it far too difficult to share with the world! I would happily have this label emblazoned on the outside of my clothes, it is so sweet...


No longer relegated to a life unseen I set you free upon the interwebz, little label! Fly fly!

Getting a bit mad there but it is a great label and generally underappreciated so there you go...

Chuck x

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Siddy Bennett

Last night I saw Siddy Bennett playing at The Old Fire Station. Exactly what it says on the tin it is a great small venue if a bit chilly. I hadn't heard of Siddy until yesterday despite her being a Sou'Westerner, more fool me. Having read her influences I knew we were going to bond; Patsy Cline, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton and Doris Day. Hello! There is a quote on her Myspace page saying that it doesn't do her justice and it is very true. The show was loud and raucous, her band (featuring a wonderful violinist alongside two guitars, bass and drums) was great and Siddy's voice was powerful and lovely. She is also a wonderful lyricist. Definitely feeling the whole country & western folk thing at the moment. Here is hoping that she gets signed soon and I see her again in Bristol in the meantime.




(FB)

Chuck x

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Invisible Line

I'm in a quandary. The invisible line I am talking about is the one between amazing and ridiculous. Or more specifically the line between ridiculous and too ridiculous - I have a lot of love for the ridiculous after all... This boundary dispute has been raised by a pair of tights seen in the Urban Outfitters sale. They are tights with trompe l'oeil knee pads, this is clearly ridiculous but is it too ridiculous? My flatmates would kill themselves laughing but I think maybe I love them. Maybe? I just don't know. What do you think? 


(UO, buy here)

They are from an LA 'legwear company' called Hansel from Basel. They make lots of sweet tights and socks that don't baffle me in quite the same way the knee-pad tights do. These marionette socks are just plain cute (and currently on sale).


(Hansel from Basel, here)

So what do we think of the tights? They certainly look warm and I am never one to naysay warmth but are they too daft...?

Chuck x

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bed of Dreams

Ignoring the implications of the dodgy British television advert this is pretty much my bed of dreams. Mon lit de reves, if you will (what can I say? I am tres elegant and French sometimes). Note the amazing quilt and pillows but more importantly look at all the sheep and the Victorian chocolate box collie! Once more the amazing and the slightly deranged intersect. The heavenly bed is from the Anthropologie November catalogue which I was having a good old perv on today - much loveliness...



Q: How much do I want a cardboard cut out collie? A: SO much.

Chuck x

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Archive


(Credit where it is due, Ta)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My My My My Winona

Sorry about that. My Sharona has been stuck in my head for weeks. Literally weeks. And now it will be stuck in your heads for weeks too. Oops. Anyway, having recently watched Heathers and read Opening Ceremony's blog post about her birthday I have also had Winona Ryder on the brain. Heathers was fairly traumatic and not the light-hearted 80s high school comedy I was expecting but Winona was gorgeous. I am not really old enough to have appreciated her in her heyday, I'm more of the Winona-steals-socks-from-Saks generation, so I am enjoying the discovery. Beautiful, interesting and often pretty stylish, if you ignore the petty shoplifting, here are some of the fruits of my Googling...






 (Source)
 (Can't remember)
 (Source)
 (Source)
 (Source)
(Source)

Chuck x

Monday, November 15, 2010

Draw in More Light

Back in the day (read, June) I wrote about the young label Draw in Light. I really liked their relaxed, elegant, slouchy designs so I thought I would go and see what they have been up to recently. And I am glad I did. For SS11 they have zoned in on the maxi and managed to make it both sexy and still wallow-y (one of the characteristics that first attracted me to their clothes - I get very excited about collisions of fashion and comfort, cos I'm cool like that). These are clothes that just look instantly wearable. Draw in Light have continued to develop their freehand silk-screen painting techniques but have begun to introduce subtle colour. Here are dawns and dusks and abstract sea scapes. The collection, called Open Air, "is about reflecting and refracting ideas of certain elements; light, air and water' (DiL). So there you go.


 (Seriously, I think this skirt oozes sex appeal which is pretty impressive for an awkward midi length)


(Love the laddering around the hem here as well as the colouring)


(This really reminds me of Japanese art - fab)

Stocked at the ever wonderful Liberty these are some more of my favourite pieces. They would slide so easily into my wardrobe...





And... for those of you with access to London, there is going to be a Draw in Light pop up sale on December 4th. Technically this is during my term time but depending on how flush I am feeling (i.e. if I can afford the bus ticket) I will be trying to get myself to the Great Metrop. The poster looks dreamy afterall.



Chuck x

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mixtape 1 - That's Not My Name



Had so much fun doing this. There is glitter EVERYWHERE. I can't wait to send/receive my first CD for The Mixtape Project...

Happy Sunday night.

Chuck x

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Frocktails

Inspired by this lovely cocktail book (wonderfully illustrated by Kat MacLeod off of Michi Girl) and Series 2 of Mad Men, which we are currently watching, it was decided that we needed to host a cocktail evening. So we did. Vintage dresses were wriggled into, heels were dug out, beehives were backcombed into being. R even donned a suit and tie and looked very suave and Don Draper-esque. I spotified some serious tunes - Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Nash, Julie London... We all felt very natty. Although The Cocktail has some amazing looking recipes for things like Kentucky Bluebirds which involve five different fruits and nine different liqueurs we decided to kick it old school and stick to three key ingredients; bourbon, gin and vermouth. Hello old-fashioneds, whiskey sours, bourbon/tom collinses, martinis and manhattans! Keeping it retro.



My new drink of choice is the Manhattan. I feels like well sofisticated drinking it, innit...

Ingredients
  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 1 part sweet vermouth (Martini Bianco)
  • Orange peel
  • Maraschino cherry (optional - not for me)
Recipe
  1. Pour all ingredients into your wine glass, over ice.
  2. Stir.
  3. Wipe orange around the rim of your glass for extra orange-y effect.
  4. Drink.
The actual recipe and ingredients might have been slightly more technical than this but it worked just fine for me! Anyway, after your second or third of these precision just doesn't seem that important anymore. If you are a bit of a wuss like me you will find this considerably more pleasant when cut with soda/tonic water. Probably a travesty to the drink but much yummier in my philistine's opinion.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Chuck x

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thats Amy, Not Annie

I know that Annie Hall is a fashion inspiration to many but, embarrassingly, I have to admit that I have never watched it. I know, I know, fire and brimstone upon my head, classic piece of cinematography etc. but life is busy, you know, and I'll get round to it eventually. Obviously I am aware of 'the look' though and even from an outside-of-film perspective I can appreciate Diane Keaton's general cool ass attitude and individuality. I'm feeling image-y today so I thought I would spoil you with some general Annie Hall based coolness...

 (As Seen On (Found)erie)
 (Source)
 (Amazing poster As Seen On we are all in the gutter)

HOWEVER, I didn't actually intend to write this post about Annie Hall, I just got distracted. Who I really wanted to talk about was Amy Hall - see how my mind worked there? She has nothing to do with the film world or Woody Allen (as far as I am aware!) rather she is a knitwear designer and a rather wonderful one at that. Turns out, on my research, that Susie Bubble wrote about her back in September but since A) I somehow managed to miss this and B) Amy Hall is about to be stocked on the shiny new ASOS Marketplace I think this post is still topical. More to the point, I love her knits and I want to immortalise them on my tiny patch of internet and generally swear my love and enthusiasm. They are so chunky and soft and warm looking... I just want to snuggle up in them. The weather has really turned in the last week or so here and all things woolen are looking very tempting. These would definitely help keep me toasty (my preferred state of being). I also really like the styling, model and photography of her A/W10 look book. Major hair envy.





Also, this Ms. Hall can be an inspiration to us in another way - apparently she is self-taught. Wow! Maybe I could achieve these knitted glories one day... On second thoughts, probably not. Oh well.

Chuck x