Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Listen Up...

MTFS loves this week’s IFB project,   which is to create a playlist of ( a few of the) tunes we’re tapping our toes to, jigging our hips to, shedding a tear to and even playing a bit of O2 Guitar to ....Enjoy!

Love and Affection ( Joan Armitrading) – Pure poetry

You are the best thing (Ray La Montagne) - We all have someone we’d like to sing this to

Fairytale lullaby (Bombay Bicycle Club) – Sweet  and soporific

That’s How You Know  ( Amy Adams) - TB’s personal fave... and yours too before long

Poker Face ( Lady Ga Ga - as if you didn't know ) - Another  of TB’s favourites

Firework ( Katy Perry) - Again, on TB’s hot list

Never Going Back Again ( Fleetwood Mac) – Love the acoustic guitar in this track

 The Blower’s Daughter   ( Damien Rice).... Heavy Sigh

Don’t go breaking My Heart (Rachel and Finn - Glee Cast) – Upbeat cheese

Running Up that Hill (Kate Bush) – A great track from a genius songster

Better together ( Jack Johnson) - Because two is better than one

Popsicle Toes ( Michael Franks) -A little bit cute and a little bit naughty

Private Universe ( Crowded House) - Simply beautiful lyrics

Baby Jesus Rap ( Flowgo Baby ) - To get us in the Christmas spirit!

Video credits for all tracks
Picture credit:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Tea For Two

Nothing is more quintessentially English than a good old fashioned afternoon tea - a custom said to be introduced by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford and kept very much alive by upmarket hotels  throughout the country. Depending on where one enjoys this gastronomic tradition, the crockery can sometimes be as eye catching as the treats served upon them. And, If you’re lucky enough to be served your cucumber sanga on a ‘Melody Rose’  then you'll certainly be in for a treat, regardless of what's on the menu.

MTFS recently caught up with Melanie Roseveare, the genius behind the Melody Rose brand.  Here’s what she had to say:

What first inspired you to work with vintage china as opposed to other materials?
I have always had a passion for vintage and antique china.   When I began experimenting with 'printing' onto ceramics I decided to try out ideas on my collection of ceramics.  I love the way a piece can be completely transformed with just a small intervention.  
What is your favourite Melody Rose piece?
It might sound mad but I often find it incredibly difficult to part with pieces and have been known to hide things away rather than chance them being bought by someone.  My current favourite pieces are the teapots with the 'Models' design on them.
Which designers and artists do you draw your inspiration from?
I love Grayson Perry's work.  I was very inspired by his Turner Prize winner show, which spurred me onto to learning everything I could about 'printing' onto ceramics.  Vivienne Westwood is a favourite designer of mine.  Her clothes have a wonderful drama to them.  
Does your upcycling extend to your home furnishings?
Yes, I love upcycling! My favourite piece of furniture is a huge old wooden post office cubby hole that takes up the wall space in our living room and is filled with books, ceramics, music and wine.  
What's the most unusual commission you’ve had?
I recently made a series of plates which were to be smashed in a film called 'Swandown'.  They will be on display as part of an exhibition which will preview at the same time as the film.
Would you consider extending the Melody Rose range to textiles?
I love the idea of designing a small wallpaper collection and I would definitely consider a range of textiles.
Birds feature highly in your designs - are you a bird lover/ watcher?
I do like birds. My birds, though, were first inspired by the view from my studio that I moved into last winter.  It looks over a series of very large and woody gardens, whose owners had feeders out.  In the snow, I watched a huge range of birds come for their dinner including 16 parakeets at one point.
Which Independent London shops do you rely on?
I do most of my shopping in and around Portobello Market, where I have a stall on Fridays.  It's been my favourite place in London since moving here from Canada over 15 years ago.  I love looking for vintage clothes and handbags there.
If the Queen popped in for tea which ‘Melody Rose’ would you serve her cuppa in?
I think the upcycled gold skull design teacup and saucer is fit for the queen!

Melody Rose

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Here's Looking At You

Joining the IFB community comes with its many advantages, not least the fun and frivolous fashion projects concocted by  the clever IFB  team  -  Such as Project #21’s  ‘What’s Your Favourite Style Decade’.
Having been presented with the list below, I chose a combo of 40’s and 70’s (although I am also quite partial to the 50’s and 60’s era)
  20′s: Flapper girl.
        30′s: Introduction to nylon and zippers.  Art deco.
       40′s: Old Hollywood Glam.
       50′s: Rockabilly/housewife/sweater sets.
        60′s: 60′s mod/mad men.
        70′s: Hippie/Bohemian.
        80′s: Neon, shoulder pads, electro-chic.
        90′s: Flannel, doc Martens, denim, grunge.
For 40’s Hollywood Glam one cannot go past the triple Oscar winning feature film Casablanca and its seriously glamorous female protagonist, Ilsa - played by the magnanimously alluring Ingrid Bergman.  Bergman oozed a certain grace, elegance and charisma like no-one else could possibly have dared.  If I could borrow just a pinch of her magic for a day, I would hot foot down to every Gin Joint in every town in all the world feeling undeniably smug.

Fast forward 30 years to the ethereal 70’s  and we have the pleasure of  encountering  the delectable Fay Dunnaway – a woman who’s leading men were almost as fine as her large collection of  hats. Miss Dunnaway is a true perennial style icon who even as a septuagenarian continues to grace us with her immeasurable sense of style and sophistication.

I vow, from this day forth, to take the oath of sartorial and millinerial style.... and aspire to grow a collection of hats that would do Miss Dunnaway proud!

Thank you IFB for the challenge x

Miss Bergman Picture credits:   

Miss Dunnaway picture credits:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Treasure Hunt

TB is very fond of maps, especially those leading to the 'Secret Treasure' or to Sleeping Beauty’s gilded castle. 
With this in mind I was very pleased, on our recent visit to London’s Affordable Art Fair, to encounter the most wonderful array of  maps, envelopes, sheet music and newspapers that I have ever had the good fortune of finding. But these were no ordinary artefacts for they were in fact  the wonderful   ‘re-workings’ of  talented artist, Jennifer Collier.

 Tucked away unceremoniously within one of the AAF gallery booths were a selection of  these framed intricately designed dresses, gloves, aprons and shoes (and even a telephone!), all fashioned from maps, letters, newspapers and sheet music.

By incorporating methods such as bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching, Miss Collier is able to produce
unusual paper 'fabrics' which can then be easily shaped without tearing or splitting. She describes the inspiration for her work as such:“The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and the media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms”. 
Selling at around £250 a piece, the works are considerably reasonable for the showmanship and detail involved in their making. I am already planning on taking TB to Miss Collier's upcoming exhibition in Hereford....if only I could find a map!

Jennifer Collier

Friday, 7 October 2011

Toning Up with Ms Toner

No flash in the pan

Despite our evening starting off slightly on the wrong foot (no pun intended...OK maybe just a little one) in which all queries regarding the delightful  Sarah Toner were met with vague stares, we eventually found “The legs”. And what legs they were! Enveloped in a racy pair of fishnets with inevitable teetering heels dangling at the end, this woman was a serious strutter.

With introductions complete, TB and I were immediately herded to a quiet area of the SSG to begin our lesson in Deportment.
First up were a few feet warm up exercises and then a few floor stretches before being shown the art of how to be Fabulous in Heels.
Very chatty, very interesting and delightfully charming, ST could not have been more unlike her counterparts in THAT scary Ballerina movie.

                                        It all starts with the mets

TB sporting Repetto Ballet flats 

Le fabuleux Repetto

After a good hour chatting, strutting and gazing at Ms Toner's truly amazing pegs, we were each bestowed with a parting gift of  Sarah’s “Fabulous in High Heels” book ( a wonderfully illustrated takeaway masterclass) but not before having a quick peek at the divine Repetto concession ( a must for any girl, any age).
With a ballet career spanning over an impressive 25 years, Sarah has spent countless hours treading the boards on tippy toes and now uses her invaluable experience to teach others. She holds regular morning, evening and weekend classes for children and adults in her North London Studio, and hosts “Fabulous in Heels”  masterclasses upon request.

As someone who feels more like Minnie Mouse in drag when schlepping about in heels, I do now feel a little more at ease when walking with a few more inches underfoot.... So, thank you Ms Toner.

Sarah Toner
Studio 45
45 Gillespie Rd
Ph:  07968 891751

Fab in Heels

Repetto Shoes

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

That Lovin' Heeling

Like many of my female counterparts, The Biscuit has a serious Heel fetish. No sooner do the Clarkes come off than the teetering foot candy is slipped on. More often than not the objects of her cordwained desires matching her in height and personality.

 It was with this same enthusiasm that she recently approached (or more accurately, instructed me to approach) a tall, bottle blonde with the all important query as to where she obtained her beautiful cherry red shoes. “Punky Fish was offered in response, as the woman turned on her very high heel out the cafe door. And so it was that “Pucky Fish” stilettos became the topic of discussion for a good half hour following our brief interaction....which brings me to the subject of this very post.

There is something so undeniably alluring about Heels. Women fantasise about them, men fantasise about women in them and little girls teeter down the hallway in them.As an experiment, I once wore a pair of jeans and T shirt with loafers and walked out the door - not one rubber neck or double take between here and the High street. I returned home and swapped my loafers for a pair of  Heels – miraculous! Two wolf whistles, one horn toot and a few “I wonder where she got those”   looks from random female passers-by. 

So, it was with much anticipation that I planned to treat the biscuit to an afternoon inside ‘Shoe Heaven’ aka The Selfridges ShoeGalleries, dubbed “The world’s largest shoe department”.  Housing a total of 100, 000 shoes with 5,000 of them on display at any one time, it was a safe bet that good times awaited.
To add to the excitement, our planned trip would coincide with the SGG’s champagne popping first birthday celebrations; including not least Ex - Prima Ballerina, Sarah Toner’s “How to Walk in Heels" master classes (Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22, and Friday 23 September 2011)....yep, a non CGI Ballerina teaching the art of graceful gliding on designer tippy toes.... Get me my heels!
P.S We promise to take some lovely snaps for you.

Selfridges Shoe Galleries
400 Oxford St

Punky Fish
Unit 3 Gaunson House
Markfield Road
N15 4QQ 

*Photo credit - Selfridges &Co

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hobbnobbing with Their Nibs

After a year’s hiatus MTFS is back with a bang. Or should I say a shoot!

The biscuit, being the unashamed clothes horse that she is, jumped at the chance to be photographed for beautiful designer children’s label, Their Nibs. The added incentive of a free item of clothing did not go unnoticed and judging by squeals and star jumps, I was certain she was going to enjoy her first foray in to the world of fashion.

And so it was that we headed to the magical Willy Wonka style treasure trove that is Dalston Heights.  Despite sounding more like a bad reality programme than a fashion destination, Dalston Heights is a wondrous, magical enclave overflowing with a multitude of nick knacks, artefacts and bric-a -brac from yesteryear; the perfect place to photograph a gaggle of inquisitive pre-tweenies.

After hair, make-up and wardrobe checks by Denise and Rachel, the girls (and boy) were snapped by photographer, Emma, in various locations throughout the enormous warehouse cum studio. They were also treated to buckets of fun (literally, thanks to Cameramen Michael and David who brought along a huge trunk full of bubbles and games) during filming for the behind the scenes video.

Their Nibs burst on to UK Kid’s fashion scene in the summer of 2003, in London’s fashionable Notting Hill. A second store in the very hip Kensal Rise followed six years later (More recently, the two stores have merged into one at the Chamberlayne Rd site). Founder, Fiona Bell, started the company as she felt that children’s clothing lacked colour, fun and vibrancy. The idiosyncratic brand name originated from the nick-name she gave her son “His Nibs”.

Since its fruition, Their Nibs has become the fashion destination for London’s Yummiest Mummy set.  It  has also developed a strong celebrity fan base, including the likes of Jude Law, Kate Moss, Juliette Binoche, Marielle Frostrup and the folks at ‘Take That’  (Howard and Mark).
Aside from the retro styled children’s wear, the stores also offer a unique line of homewares and gifts, featuring the brand's signature prints.

Products are also available online; and iconic Gruffalo PJ’s are now available in most Debenhams stores.

Their Nibs 79 Chamberlayne Road
NW10 3ND

Tel: +44 (0)20 8 964 8444
Dalston Heights

Hipstamatic photo credit - Mimi Van Der Looy
footnote - dress in first image is model's own