Tag Archives It’s Beyond My Control

Pursuing Andie vintage shop of the week

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Ladies and Gentlemen! Madame et Monsieur! Meine Damen und Herren! As part of the Vintage Shop Of The Week segment of my blog, I present to you Pursuing Andie! A place where you will find a vast selection of vintage clothes and accessories dating from the 1940s-1970s with an emphasis on hats, that integral part of a real vintage dame’s wardrobe and my personal shopping weakness. It’s beyond my control! Some might even say, that I have too many hats but really, how many hats are too many?

 

It’s Beyond My Control: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Pursuing Andie vintage shop: My love affair with vintage started from an early age. As a young girl my father would wake  me up as the sun was rising and we’d climb into his Jeep Wagoneer and go on adventures. I fondly remember the squeak of the heavy car door, the smell of gasoline and junk inside and of course getting to have milk and donuts with my dad. We’d hit every yard sale in town and I always revealed in finding the “free” box at each sale. In my late twenties I was missing a connection with my dad and wanted to spend more time with him and so our adventures started anew. This time it was an auction house. The moment I walked in I felt at home. It was the kind of place that might have some people turning on their heels for the door. It  was dusty, dirty, smelly and perfectly lovely.  I knew within those walls there was magic. I fell in love with the people who attended each Saturday, mainly old men with tiny dogs, a cup of coffee and always a hug waiting for me. One fateful day I placed a bid on an entire rack of clothing that was covered in garment bags. The only piece I could see was a 1960’s dress. No one was interested in the lot of clothing so I bought it for next to nothing. After we loaded the truck and my heart rate returned to a normal pace I went home to see what I had purchased. Was it junk? Was it treasure? I opened each garment bag with a gleam in my eyes (the kind of gleam you see in a child’s eyes on Christmas morning.) The bags were filled with vintage dresses and fur coats. From that moment I knew I had a new business on my hands and I’ve never looked back.

It’s Beyond My Control: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

Pursuing Andie vintage shop: I prefer to stay within the 1920’s through the 1970’s, but occasionally fun pieces from the 80’s and 90’s will be listed. I love fashion, so if I’m drawn to particular piece of clothing I don’t shy away from adding it to my shop because the era isn’t what someone might expect to find there. I have a fondness for dresses from any era and that makes up the bulk of my inventory.

1950s polka dot dress

In love with this lovely 1950s polka dot dress!

1930s gown

This beautiful 1930s gown with cage straps and rhinestone brooch sewn into the bust can be purchased via Pursuing Andie Etsy shop.

It’s Beyond My Control: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

Pursuing Andie: Preserving and restoring vintage garments is something I enjoy and find satisfaction in. I try to buy the best quality vintage possible, but I certainly won’t pass up a beautiful or unique piece if it is damaged. Bringing a dress back to life is a magical thing. Also building a relationship with repeat customers is such a treat, they might live across the world from you or just a state away. Learning what they love to wear and coming across a perfect garment is part of why I love selling vintage.

It’s Beyond My Control: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

Pursuing Andie: Vintage can be found anywhere and everywhere. There are no secrets to my finds, but it is a constant search, and each seller or collector I know will tell you that the hunt is the best part of our job. Estate sales, thrift shops, searching online and luckily I have amazing people in my life that come across vintage and buy it for me. I would say that my very favourite way of finding pieces for the shop is when people call me and have me stop by their home. Spending time with people that can recount when their grandmother, mother, or aunt wore a dress and sometimes even have a photo to go along with the dress is amazing. Eyes light up remembering a dress their mother wore to church on Sunday mornings or an elegant gown that was slipped on     after watching their mother apply makeup and set her hair. When someone is willing  to share these memories and allow the dress to live on, is the ultimate high of my job.

1950s wedding dress

This lovely 1950s lace and tulle wedding dress is still available on Pursuing Andie Etsy shop!

1950s Ellen Kaye suit

Something tells me, that this spectacular 1950s Ellen Kaye skirt suit won’t be in the shop for long!

1950s emerald green dress

Irresistible 1950s emerald green dress made of tulle and satin!

It’s Beyond My Control: What is your favourite period in time and why?

Pursuing Andie: I love the draping and tailored fit of the 1940’s, I would say those dresses are my favourite. But the classic fit and flair of the 1950’s steals my heart. Each era has it’s high and low notes, but honestly I love the evolution of fashion and trends. Mod mini’s from the 1960’s when times and politics were changing for women and civil rights. The 1970’s when disco was alive, the 1980’s mixed with punk and pop culture. Then on to the 1990’s and the grunge scene. Each era has something we can all love and pull style inspiration from.

It’s Beyond My Control: What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

Pursuing Andie: Key pieces are the same as they would be today, you can’t go wrong with a little black dress, a cardigan and a great pair of shoes. The most important thing to know is your measurements. Bust, waist, hips…. As a very tall woman the most important  measurement for me is shoulder to waist, especially with 1950’s dresses. I’ve made my  share of online purchases thinking  this is going to be so cute. But alas I end up looking like an eight year old girl. Dresses with a full skirt can be very short in the torso. A wide belt may create the illusion of a smaller waist and correct fit. But be sure to ask the online seller the shoulder to waist measurement if you are long in the torso. I don’t tend to have this issue with any garments other than 1950’s pieces.

It’s Beyond My Control: What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones?

Pursuing Andie: Having sold over 2,500 pieces online and at my home, this is a very tough question. But I’ve picked three that stick out in my memory. All three were tucked in with modern clothing at thrift shops and my heart raced when I came across them.

The first being a 1950’s Rose Marie Reid “mermaid” swimsuit. Driving home with the suit on my passenger seat, I could barely take my eyes off of it long enough to drive safely. Of course I planned on keeping it, but after much deliberation I listed it on eBay and it sold to a beauty in Australia. That same suit (not mine) was also the winner of the VLV swimsuit competition years before.

1950s swimsuit

1950s Rose Marie Reid mermaid swimsuit.

The second piece was a sheer pink chiffon gown from the late 30’s early 40’s. So feminine and classic. I secretly hoped it wouldn’t sell… I romanticised wearing it while cascading down my staircase.

1930s chiffon gown

Beautiful, pink chiffon gown from the late 1930s early 1940s.

The third was so beautiful I was in awe of the dress. A 1950’s black cocktail dress with a lace overlay.  I would have cut out a few ribs to wear that one. The moment I found it I drove home, photographed it, shared the photo on Instagram and she was gone in a flash. Truly a magical piece. The unicorn of my vintage finds.

1950s cocktail dress

Breathtaking 1950s cocktail dress.

It’s Beyond My Control: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

Pursuing Andie: The pieces I’ve found locally range from anything that could have been found at major department stores in the 1950’s to slightly more desirable labels. I live an area that was a farming community, finding Dior would be highly unlikely here. I have come across a lot of Lilli Ann, Ceil Chapman, Schiaparelli, and Alfred Shaheen pieces. You never know what  you are going to find when you go treasure hunting. If I love it, I buy it regardless of the label.

vintage Schiaparelli hat

Lovely 1950s-1960s navy blue hat by Schiaparelli, which you can purchase from Pursuing Andie vintage shop on Etsy. Click on the image to be directed to Andie’s shop.

1970s Alfred Shaheen kimono

1970s Alfred Shaheen kimono style dress, which you can purchase from Andie’s Etsy shop by clicking on the image.

It’s Beyond My Control: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

Pursuing Andie: My wardrobe is made up of 90% vintage. I wear a dress or skirt daily. I used to get asked everywhere I went, “why are you so dressed up?” eventually those same people who asked became used to my sense of style and realised it’s just who I am. I love a good pair of jeans, but a dress is what you will find me wearing most days.

vintage shop

Beautiful Andie, the owner of Pursuing Andie shop dressed in vintage of course.

pursuing andie vintage shop

vintage shop

vintage shop

Cult Of Chiffon-Vintage Shop Of The Week

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Madame Chiffon is an extraordinary lady with an exquisite taste reflected in all the vintage gems, that can be found in her shop Cult Of Chiffon. She finds and sells some of the most beautiful pieces of vintage lingerie I’ve ever seen, which is why Cult Of Chiffon is the vintage shop of the week.

1. How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

I got into vintage clothing by accident, while studying antique furniture to furnish a 1930’s house in Louisiana.  I would be shopping for antiques when suddenly a vintage handbag or jewelry of unusual quality and beauty would catch my eye.  I’d always be shocked at what good value these items were when compared to the prices of their modern day equivalents.  So I started collecting vintage accessories for personal use, which eventually led to vintage clothing and entire outfits.  Once I noticed how much my knowledge in this area had grown in such a short time, I decided in 2013 to turn a passionate hobby into a small business that I could grow over time at my own pace.  So it’s been a labor of love from the very beginning.

vintage jewellery

A pair of gold wire cuff bracelets by Ugo Correani, which are available from Cult Of Chiffon shop. Click on the image to purchase this incredible piece of art!

2.  What can we find in your vintage shop?

Elegant clothing & accessories from the Victorian era through the 1990’s.  Nothing kitsch and no “ironic” fashions.  I carry all eras, because there is elegance and beauty to be found in every decade if you know where to look.  The items I stock are all very wearable and can easily be incorporated into a modern wardrobe.  My specialty would be loungewear, sleepwear, and lingerie, because these are the items of clothing (besides accessories) that I have been collecting the longest and have the greatest knowledge base in.

Vintage lingerie

Gorgeous 1940’s daffodil yellow satin brassiere. Click on the image to be directed to the shop.

vintage lingerie

1940’s peach rayon crepe & lace hostess coat with attached capelet.

3.  Is there a process you go through when selecting garments?  A list of criteria…?

I look for items that are elegant, glamorous, feminine, and timeless.  Quality fabrics and materials, and condition is of utmost importance.  I love to dress women like goddesses, because I am inspired by strong women with a sense of their own power, and especially those with larger than life personalities.  I would define a goddess as someone who is very comfortable in her own skin, has nothing to prove, doesn’t care what others think, and isn’t afraid to express herself.  She knows her body and wears her clothes well, they never wear her.  She wears things that take self-confidence and self-awareness to wear, and wears them effortlessly.  This is my ideal muse.

vintage riding jacket

My personal favourite antique Victorian black velvet & jet bead riding jacket, which can be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

vintage hat

Beautiful Oscar de la Renta black velvet & feather hat, which can be purchased by clicking on the image.

4.  Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes…?

If I told you, I would have to kill you!  Just kidding, I wouldn’t kill you.  I would pay someone else to do it.

5.   What is your favorite time period and why?

If I had to choose a favorite era, it would be the 1960’s.  Part of the reason being a combination of femininity yet ease of wear for the styles of that decade.  And the huge baubles, huge hair, and dramatic makeup of that time really appeal to the former showgirl in me.  I want my eyelashes to be seen all the way up in the nosebleed seats!  The 60’s were simultaneously a freewheeling time of newfound freedoms for women but also innocence, optimism, and decorum.  I believe you can be wild and decadent but still have good manners and not become too jaded.

Lovely 1960’s chiffon nightdress!

6.  What messages/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothing before?

Invest in a soft measuring tape.  It is indispensable for buying vintage clothing online.  Measure yourself, then memorize your body measurements like you memorize your driver’s license number & social security number, because it will make life easier if you do.  If you want to start building a vintage look, the easiest way is to begin with accessories.  Buy the best quality you can afford.  Start with a quality leather handbag for instance.  It’s a great investment, and you will get much more use out of that than you would a special occasion dress.  Accessories always fit!  If you live in a cold climate, maybe start with a vintage coat.  For instant gratification, nothing is better than vintage lingerie, sleepwear, or loungewear.  You can wear it at home any day of the week, and don’t have to wait for a special occasion.  I wear vintage in the evenings at home and to bed probably 6 days a week.  Everyday, simple luxuries are my favorite as I think they have the greatest impact on your sense of well-being, and therefore your health.

Very stylish 1970’s tapestry coat from England, which can be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

vintage poncho

1970’s wool & mohair poncho by Kay Cosseratcan be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

7.  What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why?

My three favorite items sold are: an exceptional Edwardian cotton batiste dressing gown with very witchy sleeves; a 1950’s Vanity Fair loungewear set; and a 1980’s James Galanos fox fur jacket.  I don’t expect to encounter these stunning, ultra glamorous items ever again in my lifetime, and that is part of what makes them so special.

Antique lingerie

Breathtaking Edwardian dressing gown.

vintage lingerie. Vintage shop of the week

Stunning 1950’s Vanity Fair loungewear set.

Victorian mourning cape

Beautiful Victorian feather mourning cape.

8.  What are your favourite vintage brands and are they are very difficult to find?

Lucie Ann, Heavenly Lingerie by Fischer, and Vanity Fair.  Pieces from these labels are not hard to find, but the best examples are, and they come with price tags to match.

9.  What’s in your wardrobe?  Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis.

Yes, I can honestly say I wear vintage almost 365 days out of the year.  The reason why may seem a little eccentric to you.  My hands never see the light of day, because I wear vintage gloves whenever I leave the house during daylight hours.  I even wear fingerless gloves while shooting inventory for the shop, because I photograph in natural sunlight.  My hands are like Dorian Grey.  They have made a pact with the devil to never age.

Michael Hekmat – Luxury with a Vintage Twist

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“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

If you haven’t as yet worked me out then I’ll give you a clue by pointing in the direction of a black sheep and quietly whispering in your ear “look, a kindred spirit”. It’s not that… To paraphrase Greta Garbo… “I want to be alone”. No, far from it! And to the contrary of what Anne of Green Gables said, I just don’t often come across people who I have a lot in common with or, are as passionate as I am about the same things. Rather, I find kindred spirits to be somewhat uncommon and so, when I do make their acquaintance, as such is the case with the discovery of any rare and precious object, I want to show it off to the world.

Such was my reaction upon an introduction to the fashion designer Michael Hekmat; a true perfectionist who incorporates a lot of time on research with an uncompromising eye for detail, along with an extensive knowledge of textiles and fabrics, and who I only recently met but knew within the first few minutes into our conversation that he definitely was someone who is a kindred spirit and that he is someone who I wanted to write about.

For those of you involved in the fashion industry, Michael Hekmat probably needs no introduction. A graduate of the prestigious Instituto Marangoni University in Milan, he’s worked closely with such designers and brands as Vivienne Westwood in London and Proenza Schouler in NYC. He was the senior designer for Giambattista Valli in Paris and now designs under his own name with an atelier in Warsaw, which is where I had the chance to see his AW2016/17 collection up close.

I fell in love with his designs so much that when I left the atelier, it was with half of his collection in my bag. Just to clarify, I didn’t steal anything, Michael kindly let me borrow some of my favourite pieces  that I could get a real feel for the clothes, be photographed in them and share the results with all of you. What can I say except that It’s Beyond My Control! 🙂

The AW2016/17 collection is very luxurious, classic, minimal in a sense, with a lot of reference to the glamorous, rather than the, cheesy flower-power 60s hangover end of the 70s aesthetic which it is in part inspired by. It’s definitely a collection for a strong, confident woman who knows her style and doesn’t waste precious time on current trends, that will change with a blink of an eye and be last season before you know it. As Coco Chanel once said “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

Michael Hekmat has somehow managed to find the perfect balance between the glamorous and the everyday with designs that are as timeless as the 1940s and Victorian clothes that I collect or as rarified as an Art Deco bracelet bought at Bonhams auction house. These unique and precious objects will never go out of style.

If I had to describe the AW2016/17 collection in few words it would be; luxury with a vintage twist.Immaculate tailoring on the woollen trousers and coat with a vintage fox fur details on the arms (I wear only faux fur but since it was authentic vintage fur I made an exception), was the quintessence of luxury and style and with the right accessory (vintage of course) could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The ecru, aubergine, black and powerful red were the dominant palette and so it happens a perfect marriage of colours. 

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a black lace top from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, La Perla bra, white skirt from the SS2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, Walford tights and Miu Miu shoes. Photography; Gregory Michael King

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a coat from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection, vintage hat and my beloved Hermes scarf. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a beautiful jacket from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing an aubergine dress from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing a black blouse and ecru, woollen trousers from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection and a vintage hat. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

Michael Hekmat

In the picture I’m wearing an incredibly sexy, see through evening gown from the AW2016/17 Michael Hekmat collection. Photography; Gregory Michael King.

The Real and the Inspired By – 1940s Fashion

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The slogan “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!” may well have been familiar to a woman living in 1940s wartime Britain; a time polar to the opulence of my beloved 18th Century and yet a period that still holds an enormous sway over my own personal sense of style.

The real 1940s fashion decade was a tumultuous time, a now-forgotten casualty of war with scarce raw materials to work with and clothing factories that were turned over to military purposes. Of the Allied nations, for those on the Homefront, simplicity was paramount; simple designs, simple fabrics – limited to cotton, wool, linen and some synthetics, while households were given coupons which, when enough had been saved, could be exchanged, in the case of women, for a dress, stockings and other basic garments.

In Britain, the real 1940s fashion, saw restriction after restriction on what could be produced and yet more restraint was still needed. So British Austerity Regulations were introduced in 1942 which sought to narrow fashion choices further by introducing a set of rules for clothing –

  • Jackets and Coats can have no more than 3 pockets
  • Dresses may only have 2 pockets
  • No metal or leather buttons
  • No boys under 13 may wear long trousers
  • No tail coats
  • All braid, embroidery and lace are banned *

As a way to help people adjust to these limitations, the British Government also introduced the Utility clothing scheme in 1942 which offered to guarantee, price-controlled clothes affordable for everyone. Leading designers of the time established the London Fashion Group, who together with the Board of Trade, designed suits, dresses and overcoats, following the rigid regulations which restricted designers to use very specific amounts of fabric on each garment. The 32 designs turned out to be a surprise hit with the public and two looks emerged from these wartime confinements, a military – which consisted mainly of short jackets, knee length skirts, pant suits and matching head pieces, worn mainly by women who served in the war, while the alternative was a utility look with tailored suits being favoured.

By 1943, when austerity had reached its peak, the policy became “Make Do and Mend!” which was the title of a pamphlet issued by the British Ministry of Information that became hugely popular and useful with its tips on how to take care of clothes and make use of old garments. Readers were advised to create pretty decorative patches to cover holes in worn garments, unpick old jumpers to re-knit chic alternatives, turn men’s clothes into women’s, as well as darn, alter and protect against the ‘moth menace!’ Women also learned from the pamphlet that stockings that were very expensive and difficult to find could by created by drawing lines at the back of legs to look like stocking seams.

The seemingly endless rationing didn’t end with the war but was gradually eased, women were increasing desiring of a return to fashion that accentuated their femininity and it comes as no surprise to learn that “The New Look” of 1947 was a huge success, firmly placing designer Christian Dior at the forefront of the next fashion revolution with his use of sumptuous fabrics, fuller skirts that hung just below the calves and fitted jacket which emphasised a woman’s sexuality. To quote from fashion historian Jonathan Walford “Feminine luxury and elegance became a symbol of post-war prosperity and defined the silhouette of the coming decade”

1940s fashion was all about hour glass silhouette; broad shoulders, small waist and full hips. To create the desired look women wore –

  • Wide padded shoulders.
  • A-line skirts of knee length.
  • Sleeves ending above elbow or full-length.
  • Two piece suit consisting of skirts and a jacket with a flare at the bottom.
  • High waisted, wide leg trousers  worn for comfort favourite amongst movie stars such as; Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn. You can read more about the wide leg trousers here.
  • Shirtwaist dress-buttoned in front usually with buttons covered in the same fabric as the dress.
  • Button-down dress.
  • Wrap dress-hugely popular in 1945.

References

“Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look” Jonathan Walford

“The Impact of World War II on Women’s Fashion in the United States and

Britain” by Meghann Mason

* “How Clothes Rationing Affected Fashion In The Second World War”

By Laura Clouting and Amanda Mason

 

40s fashion

“Four young ladies enjoy a stroll in the Spring sunshine along a shopping street in the West End of London during 1941.” Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer  © IWM (D 2937)

40s propaganda poster

Make – do and Mand poster © IWM (Art.IWM PST 4773)

As a huge fan of and being inspired by 1940s fashion, always hunting for authentic pieces on Etsy and vintage fairs, I can tell you with all honesty that even with the surprisingly large amount of original clothes from that period of time available to buy, it still isn’t easy to find something that will be the right size or in preferred colour or good enough state to be worn on a daily basis. Sometimes then I have no choice but look for modern designer pieces that are inspired by 1940s fashion and one such gem that I’ve found is the Austrian designer Lena Hoschek, whose Autumn-Winter 2016/17 “The Brits” collection was inspired by 1940s fashion in Britain, or more precisely, the British countryside. “I treasure the British traditions and the flea market-inspired style that allows for a mixture of spectacularly elegant and cosy, quirky fashion” Lena Hoschek said of her collection. I love the Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes reference so clearly visible in her designs and I’m more than excited to share with you all pictures from her latest look-book.

40s inspired fashion

Berkeley blazer and London skirt in rust by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

Regent blazer, Poetry skirt and Brit blouse by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

40s dress

Mustard Bastard dress by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

40s dress

Miss Marple dress by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

40s dress

Harrison dress by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

40s fashion

My Lady blouse and Campbridge skirt by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection.

40s dress

Earl Grey dress by Lena Hoschek from the Autumn-Winter 2016/17 The Brits collection. Photography: Wolfgang Pohn

Lana Turner 40s fashion

Lana Turner in Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) Costume supervisor; Irene Maud Lentz.

Katherine Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (Play) Costume by Valentina, one of Katherine’s favourite designers and friends although she was not involved in making  costumes for the film version of the Broadway play. The honour went to one of my favourite costume designers, Adrian. I wish there was a colour version of this photograph but I have it on good authority that it’s a red and white gingham.

 

For the “1940s inspired fashion” look I opted for;

KOSSMANN Shirtwaist Dress

WITTCHEN pumps

Genuine Russian WWII Military Pilotka hat which has been customised by me . The vintage numbers on the hat come from British Police uniform.

1940s fashion

1940s inspired fashion. In the picture I’m wearing a Kossmann dress, Wittchen pumps and vintage hat.

1940s fashion. Wittchen shoes and Kossmann dress.

1940s inspired fashion. In the picture I’m wearing a Kossmann dress, Wittchen pumps and vintage hat.

1940s fashion. Kossmann dress. Wittchen shoes

 

 

L’Hotel – The best luxury boutique hotel in Paris.

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Oscar Wilde, perhaps my favourite author, famously once said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Taking his own words to heart, poverty stricken and in Paris, dear Oscar, nearing the end of his days, moved into a hotel above his means and stayed there until his death in November 1900.

That hotel stands to this day, on the site of La Reine Margot’s Pavillon d’Amor, where it has been a fixture of the Parisian South Bank since 1828. In Oscar’s time however, at the end of the 19th Century, it was known as Hotel d’Alsace before taking on the name that we’re familiar with today, L’Hotel, and becoming the place to be seen, in the beautiful area of Saint Germain, for the crème de la crème of Parisian society who so often rubbed shoulders with the Hollywood set that included Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, as well as Spanish master of Surrealist painting, Salvador Dali.

Though it may perhaps be the smallest luxury hotel in the city of love, for me L’Hotel will always remain the best luxury boutique hotel in Paris. I must however warn you though; I have bias, as it’s where Mr de Merteuil and I spent our honeymoon after our whirlwind romance and wedding at London’s Chelsea Town Hall, following in the footsteps of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Nevertheless, I lay down my proud de Merteuil gauntlet to anyone who dares challenge that it is not a work of art, as each of the 20 guest rooms designed by one of my favourite interior designers, Jaques Garcia, can surely testify otherwise and if they don’t convince you then perhaps the underground vaulted-ceiling private swimming pool or the Michelin starred Le Restaurant will.

Be warned however, L’Hotel is like another small Parisian delicacy, the magnificent Macaroon, which once tried it’s taste is never forgotten and it’s longed for forever more. So, simply mentioning L’Hotel’s 13 Rue Des Beaux-Arts address is enough to send me into raptures and writing this now, my head is swimming, thinking of how I can persuade Mr de Merteuil to justify visiting it again… And again.

L’Hotel – the best luxury boutique hotel in Paris.

Entrance of L’Hotel in Paris.

L'Hotel Le Bar

Le Bar is one of my favourite bars in Paris.

The famous Le Bar at L'Hotel in Paris.

 

The reception at L'Hotel.

 

Le Restaurant at L'Hotel.

Le Restaurant at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

Stairwell at L'Hotel.

Magnificent stairwell at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde at L’Hotel.

Oscar Wilde L'Hotel

Oscar Wilde Suite

Oscar Wilde Suite at L'Hotel.

L'Hotel

The Apartment, named after Louis – Antoine, is the largest suite (45 sq m) at L’Hotel with a lovely terrace perfect for a candlelight dinner.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel

Moi photographed by Gregory Michael King AKA Mr de Merteuil at L’Hotel in the de Merteuil room. 🙂 It’s Beyond My Control.

18th century Wig

I was born in the wrong century and every time the opportunity presents itself for me to wear a beautiful film/theatre wig from my favourite period of time, I never refuse. What better place to wear such wig than in Paris or Versailles. The picture of me taken by Gregory Michael King was to advertise “How To Be 18th Century.” show.

L'Hotel

Grand Suite inspired by 19th-century Russia and Belle Epoque.

Bathroom in one of the 3 junior suites. Grand Suite  inspired by 19th-century Russia and Belle Epoque.

The Mignon room.

L'Hotel

One of the Chic rooms at L’Hotel.

L'Hotel

Another Chic room.

L'Hotel

L'Hotel

The romantic and very private pool in the basement of L’Hotel.

Oscar Wilde

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is one of my favourite novels written by Oscar Wilde so imagine my delight when I found a copy of this magnificent book published in 1910, in a little treasure bookshop on Charing Cross.

 

All pictures of the interiors of L’Hotel courtesy of A Curious Group Of Hotels.

How Much Effort Is Too Little Effort?

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Every morning I wake up to an inbox full of invitations, which is undoubtedly a better prospect than a breakfast spent glossing over bills. Nevertheless, the amount of e-mails where I’m asked to RSVP to a party, exhibition, show, opening of a new venue etc. scares me more than just a little, as there’s a lot of effort in preparing for these events.

Don’t be fooled by the glamour, attending a party isn’t all about having a good time, in reality it’s almost always work related and that means dressing in my usual immaculate style, wearing something new or customised, from my previously worn ensembles. That’s hard work, making sure that there will be no repeat of costuming, as you can be damn sure that there will definitely be a repeat of people in attendance! So how much effort is too little effort?

Top 7 make-up and beauty products for the party season and beyond!

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After a long consideration, I decided to deviate slightly from writing about fashion and share my thoughts with you all on the subject of beauty products (which I’m admittedly addicted to). I’m very pleased that the renowned beauty blogger, Merium from CakeFace Makeup (feared by many companies for her honest appraisals of their products), agreed to collaborate with me on this particular post. We decided that CakeFace Makeup who has a lot of experience in testing and reviewing make-up products would focus on what she knows best whereas It’s Beyond My Control will be writing about 7 top beauty products (that I can’s stop buying as It’s Beyond My Control).