Dear nature lovers, this post is dedicated to you. And to all of you who just like me jump high when an ant comes on the horizon, but want to take advantage of the unusually high London temperatures. Head to the park and gather some sunshine, but don’t forget to pack some strawberries, raspberries and a touch of style in your picnic basket. Speaking of baskets, a sturdy straw basket is the basis of a chic picnic look. Whether you opt for a simple style with rawhide leather handles or chose to carry the ultimate carry-all of all times – the Chanel basket with raffia poppies cornflowers is only a matter of taste (not to mention budget). The basket should only accentuate the feminine silhouette achieved thanks to breeze dresses and skirts. Another cute outdoors look would be some neat shorts accompanied with a silky blouse or a borrowed from the boyfriend white shirt. The silk bright scarf is a must as is a beautiful cashmere blanket (replaced in our case by a white paper bag; in my defense I could only say: “At least it was Prada!”) Have a fun picnic!
Legwear, especially black lace tights and bunched-up knee socks is a huge trend this summer. It all started with the spring/summer collections and the underwear outwear look. While it is hard to incorporate a nightie as work uniform, a pair of over the knee socks is just the touch of naughtiness that you need. It may sound easier than it looks though to pick the right ones in the abundance of choice on the market this season. A favorite place of mine for all kinds of underwear and socks is Benetton (the ones on the pictures are from there). Another favorite socks and tights store of mine is Tabio in London. There you could find plenty of black fishnet socks. If, however, pretty lace and classics fishnets are on your radar than don’t miss Topshop’s tights section where among the models with weird graphic patterns there are cute feminine transparent designs with delicate bows around the knee. A glimpse back in the fashion archives and more school girl looks are revealed back in the 70s when DVF wore a pair in Studio 54. One last advice, don’t be shy when pulling that look off. However, bear in mind that lace socks suit evening wear better and add a touch of naughtiness to e perfectly innocent ensemble.
If you happen to be in Paris between now and end of August and you are interested in fashion, art or even history I highly recommend the YSL exhibition at Le Petit Palais. It is a show worth checking out and this coming from a regular visitor at all the V&A major exhibitions. The French have put together a remarkable retrospective of the life of even a more remarkable figure which represents a major fashion designer and influence. Some call him genius, others revolutionary, but for me he was mainly a connoisseur of what women wanted and needed and figured the exact formula of how to transform their style and make it practical in a more masculine way, but still sensitive and provocative.
A few hundred of designs, as well photos and films document the master’s work in the fashion industry which debuted in the 50s with his work for the house of Dior and ended in 2002 with a spectacular show. In case that just like me, you have missed the YSL tuxedo, safari jacket or master paintings inspired dresses époque, the exhibit offers a unique opportunity to enter into the realms of a master designer and a step into the real haute couture.
Ascot is as much a sports event as a fashion scene, a showroom space for Philip Tracy’s creations, where an outfit could not remain unnoticed, neither could stand as complete without a hat.
Taking place at the moment, the Ascot hype made me think about it. Of course, you could not think of Ascot as a horse race, where people bet. As everything in England it has so much to do with tradition as it involves the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. I would be honest with you: hats are positively not one of my strengths. As a result of the lack of practice I’m not very experienced in the area. All that Ascot provokes in my mind is feathers, big chapeaux and striking colours. This is why I decided to post what would have been my option for the occasion in case I ever get the chance to be invited. Another reason why I am spending so much time on an event which I am not even attending is a friend’s recent experience on the field. While being part of the Ascot buzz she was approached by a Vogue editor who liked her outfit and asked her to pose for the upcoming issue. All l can say is Congrats! As to me, I would have opted for a look in the black and white nuances, which are so emblematic of Audrey Hebpurn’s Ascot (not so good mannered) moment in My Fair Lady. So my advice, if being torn by the decision whether to go wild or more lady like at the race would be: leave the fruit bowls on the dining tables and take inspiration from the old school fashion icons. Bear in mind that a few decades ago a hat represented the finish touch of an outfit and going out hatless would have been considered as leaving the house with bare feet. And in case you’re looking for some modernized and young option, I would look no further than boho laced dresses and wide brimmed hats as seen in Vogue on model Anja R. Fingers crossed next year I would see all the horse (and hats) parade!
I wake up in the morning with the intention to get a cappuccino. But no, we are not talking about Starbucks. Nor Nero, Costa or any of the chains of coffee shops on every corner of London. On the other side of the pond, there is a different story. On the corner of Rue Benoit in the magnifque Saint-Germain des Pres, just opposite the cathedral (don’t ask which one, I lost count of all of the religious monuments in the Paris guide) there is le Café des Deax Magots. And just a cote is Café de Flore. Quelle Bonheur! So I dress up (another bonheur pour moi, just give me occasions to dress up, and Paris is an occasion itself) and head towards the café. The waiters are already friends and know my order: cappuccino sans rien. I sit on the table and now what? I look around: stylish women, you could never guess their age, are sitting autour de moi. Reading newspapers, sipping from their coffees with all the graciousness and confidence, which only a French is capable of. And all of a sudden I it struck me: Les Francais are the real women. You’d never see a French nervously checking her Blackberry. She’d graciously sit on the table, her poitrine perfectly straight and have breakfast. Mais oui, ils mangent. But the way they do, enjoying every piece of croissant/baguette…that’s what I believe keeps them in a great shape. About la fame francaise there is more than words could describe (no surprise then that there are so many poems and songs written about her). She’ll finish her breakfast slowly, sans etre en rush…whoever wants would wait. Then she’ll start feeding the birds. And again, the way she does it…so fascinating. With all my respect to all other nationalities, mais ils l’ont dans leur sang. They carry it in their blood. The scarf, the pair of high heels…and black, navy, beige claire… because come on, who needs this splash of colour?!
I wake up the next day and look out the window. Oh, no, I think, raining. But what am I thinking? Rain does not spoil the look d’une francaise! She’s walking down the street in the most amazingly cut trench, bare legs and sandals. Oui, oui! Where else would you see that?! Le chien, obligatoirement, a sa main. But if we leave the appearance apart (cause believe it or not, I’m not all about the appearance); there is a factor, a threat of the character of the French that makes her so fascinating in my eyes: elle ne s’en monque de rien! She simply doesn’t care. She lives life! She’s on top. She looks successful, perfect, avec des bonnes maniers, and she speaks with the fluidity and confidence of which only une francaise is capable. But no, I’m not jealous! Pas, de tout! Simply, because I realize that anyone could have this affaire amorouse avec la vie. I always thought that London was the right place for me. And it is. It’s modern, open to different cultures (not very keen on that, but at least open to Bulgarins), it changes constantly, and is, I believe, the best place for a young student. But Paris… This is the place where I would like to get old, because I want to get old like a French woman. They never get old. Toujours d’un esprit jeun! They gesticulate, they laugh, they contemplain. Ipad? Non, merci! They’d buy their magazines and have a coffee, du baguette ou du croissant. They'd enjoy their breakfast, every piece of it. Whatever is left, they’d feed the birds. Then they’d start chatting with their table neighbours, but not flirting or anything of that kind. Very important thing that you should bear in mind is that a French woman’s heart is already taken and her only real love would be la vie. Vivre la vie, c’est ca qu’elle a appris faire avec l’eccellence. Who needs men? There’s so much more in life! Bisoux de Paris!