Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's that time of year again. This Sunday September 30th is the Annual Abbot Kinney Festival. The street closes off to traffic from 10Am to 6PM. Come down and cruise the street see all we have to offer.

Local Artists and Artisans

Food and Beverage courts

Jewelry, clothing and craft vendors from all over LA and then of course......


The lowest prices on the Best clothes from Britain!
Slashed prices on past seasons ISSA, Orla Kiley, Oliver Spencer, Pringle, Fred Perry, Buckler and much more.....
$10 T- Shirts!!!

Prices Cheaper than Chips!

So come check out the festival - enjoy what is sure to be a beautiful day and visit us at Brick Lane for the crazy Sale!
Note: This year the Abbot Kinney festival is going GREEN! Check out the site for more information: Abbot Kinney Festival 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

London Goodbye

Well it's goodbye for another season - back in the cold rain of February. Fingers crossed my dear friend Laurel has settled in here and I will be staying with her! Yea!

Thanks for showing my such a good time to all of my friends - I don't have pictures of all of you so send me some photos from some of our nights out will you? Thanks Laura Tabor, Kris Searle, Fiona Devine, cousins Grant Channer, Austen Bushrod (yeah seriously that is is his name), Sisters Gemma and Sacha Jenkinson, Claire Dimes, Kathleen Hayes, Simon Barnes, Leonie Murphy who flew in from Dublin and last but not least Laurel Collier - who will be moving here from NYC and who without I would not have met many of these people. Oi! I'll see you all in February!

Oh yeah and you pissers - I broke down and joined
Facebook - so I can stay in touch that way as well. It REALLY is a trend here in Europe huh? Oh and Austen I am so taking you up on that offer fro a trip to Amsterdam next time! CHEERS LUVS!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

London Fashion Week Wrap Up

Well London Fashion Week September 2007 has wrapped up. It was for me as usual a bit of a hectic time. There is NEVER enough time to see everything and because of the dismal US economy vs. the power of the Pound (sterling) there isn't even close to enough money to buy all I would like for the shop - c'est la vie....maybe when things change in the Whitehouse I may have more buying power in the future - or I may go permanently out of business , but I figure I'll jump off that London Bridge when I get to it.

Sadly, London Fashion week is a bit like the bastard step-child of the fashion week circuit with New York and Paris taking the glory and prestige again and again. A bit to be expected really - and for me personally the lack of complete rubbish pretension is one of the things I have always enjoyed. The ability to see some of the beauty and talent without the put-on celebrity filled glamour and glitz that is at times seemingly so forced. I do understand (and support) the LFW's desire to raise the image of London and I do feel it is due for some recognition as there are so many amazing designers that hail from this city.

This particular Fashion Week saw some increase in status and prestige across the board. This is the first time I have seen and heard of more then a handful of "American Celebrities". The Matthew Williamson show had a special performance by none other then Prince. Antoni and Allison debuted their collection modelled by Nicole Kidman. None other then Anna Wintour decided to grace the city with her presence, apparently to view the Gareth Pugh catwalk show - which is a continual hot ticket despite him never once selling a ready-to-wear line in his history of being a designer, however her presence would in fact account for the amazingly pretentious attempt of a red-carpet gala for the international buyers party - which was an obvious attempt to mimic a NYC Fashion Week party complete with stick thin glamazon models manning the door with the force of RFA trained solders.

Sadly the budget uses to attempt to raise the image of the event left a few things lacking. Of course some of my favorite and most talented vendors were still showing at the exhibition, such as Laura Tabor, Babbette Wasserman and Wendy Pickard of The Branch, as well as Anne Luoise Roswald and Lou Lou and Law. The rest of the Exhibition was rather unexciting to me this year. I walked away with beautiful collections from my established designers but sadly do not have all the much new to bring home to my customers. Every time I would see a line that even sparked the slightest interest - I would discover they wanted 75pounds Wholesale for a piece of gold PLATED jewelry that didn't in my opinion warrant a $75 wholesale price tag.

Of course our economy in the US doesn't help matters in my attempt to support and import U.K. based designers - and while I can't blame them for our Whitehouse vs. their strong economy - you would think in the obvious desperation of these labels and lines to increase visibility in the US market they MIGHT work with you on their prices, but alas no. It is the established and continually growing mid-luxury lines that thankfully I have already sourced and been carrying for the past few seasons who understand the value of working with their American buyers. In my opinion the London Fashion Forum should step in and either educate or assist these small designers in this arena - because you can throw all the VIP parties you want and have runway shows from one end of London to the other for a week - but if the American buyer can't justify the prices being set - then parties or not, London Fashion Week will never become the powerhouse they are attempting to be. I still love it here and love attending LFW - I just hope in it's attempt to raise the profile it doesn't destory itself.

I also pray the pound and the dollar find a way to play nicer together in the schoolyeard - or Brick Lane may not be able to continue to be the staunch supporter of British Fashon that it was founded on. Time will tell - and meanwhile it's back to LA for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

London Fashion Week - Antoni and Allison with Nicole Kidman

No Photos Allowed. And they were serious - a few people tried to take photos as the designers introduced the show and the security seemed to appear out of no where - so this one will have to remain in my memory.

This morning I saw one of the most creative and interesting displays of all the Catwalk shows or exhibitions I have seen. The 20Th Anniversary of the artistic label Antoni and Allison was showcased at the Curzon Mayfair Theatre in Mayfair. Upon entering you saw each seat was decorated with Evian bottles that had brightly colored pastel balloons attached and a gift box on your seat that contained a cupcake with yummy sugared pink frosting (yes I ate it later with a cup of tea and enjoyed it immensely)....but I was confused. How was one going to have a runway showing the collection across a theatre stage? Unorthodox yes. However, in the end it was the most delightful of all shows I have attended!

To celebrate their anniversary - Antoni and Allison had a "birthday party" of sorts. The packed audience was treated to a quite a unique short film. In reality it was a film of a simple photo shoot - but with a twist. A women getting ready for a or in this case "the" party showcasing the collection in a whimsical and inspired way. Of course it was not just any woman - but was Nicole Kidman.

The Premiere and and finale at the same time This Film/Photo Shoot/Art Piece/Tribute to the designing duo who has been on the artistic edge of the London Fashion scene for 20 years now - was a gift to the designers from Nicole Kidman complete with her singing "Happy Birthday".

Some may not like Ms. Kidman, but personally I have always adored her and she modeled their clothing in such an elegant way. Part sophisticated women, part giggling girl child, the taffeta water colored party frock collection of 21 different pieces/looks was in a way everything an English afternoon tea party dress should be, part Alice in Wonderland but with a modern edge.

It was a once in a lifetime screening in place of a runway show and in my life it was a fashion experience like none other. The colors and styles spoke to the child inside of me. The child who wants to be a sophisticated woman yet sweet and girlish and dressed in pink bows at the same time. Instead of watching anorexic runway models strut down the runway, hips thrust, bones jutting, scowls galore, swimming in the clothing, we were treated to the gorgeous Nicole Kidman in clothing that fit her, flattered her and in fact seemed to be made for her, enjoying herself and giving us time to experience the true beauty of the clothes. By and away my favorite show so far - I only wish I could share it visually with you.

At the end of the film, Burakowski (the director) asked Kidman why she had volunteered her time. She pointed to the white T-shirt she was wearing, emblazoned with the words in blue type: “Antoni + Alison are Brilliant Genius (es)”

In my humble opinion - as artists - they most certainly are! :-)

London Fashion Week - Betty Jackson and the EJF

So with my rubbish camera - I attempted to take some shots at the Betty Jackson catwalk show but absolutely NONE of them came out - so you will just have to believe I was actually there (with my friend Leonie Murphy who flew in from Dublin to assist me in the SS accessories buying at the exhibition).

Typical Betty Jackson - a collection that is really quite lovely and wearable for the modern woman. Beautiful prints mixed with strong reds and neutral whites and creams - there were definitely a few stand out pieces in my eye.

To see the professional shots of the catwalk: Betty Jackson London Catwalk SS 2008

Co-sponsered by Twinnings Tea - we received little packets of White Tea and mini muffins so we could all go home and have our own tea party. Oh the English......

Interesting of note - Betty Jackson has collaberated in a project with the EJF this season - Environmental Justice Foundation - in a campaign for clean cotton.

Betty Jackson says "We are delighted to be able to support this campaign in its very worthwhile fight against some of the terrible injustices that occur around the world. Exploitation of some of the most valuable groups in society, especially children, should not be allowed to happen in today's modern world."

EJF believes children should not be forced to work in cotton fields and that cotton should be grown organically without pesticides that poison the land and the farmers that use them. EJF Campaigns to end forced child labour in cotton production and promotes alternatives like organic cotton.

Joining designers such as Luella Bartley, Christian LaCroix, Juliette Williams and Katherine Hamnett to help support the campaign Betty Jackson created this t-shirt which is sold exclusively on the website for the EJF.

In order to learn more about the EJF, to see designs by other designers in support of this campaign and to purchase the t-chirts visit the site. EJFoundation.org

Monday, September 17, 2007

London Fashion Week - Amanda Wakeley Catwalk

I was invited to attend the Amanda Wakeley show and far be it from me to deny as she is quite a gem in the London Fashion world - so I eagerly accepted. Now this show was a MAD crush of fans, fashion people, MASSIVE amounts of English celebs (I have to pick up a HELLO! Magazine so I can start to know who some of these girls are the paparazzi goes insane over). I was pretty sure I saw Jennifer Love Hewitt escorted in surrounded by bodyguards into the VIP tent section. while I waited in the lounge making pleasentries with a tall beautiful european women who was attending the show as a favor to a friend at Vogue. This show took place at the BFC tents on the west lawn of the Natural History Museum where the majority of London Fashion Week and the "Exhibition" (more on that to come later) takes place. My seat was not the best angle for photos and then I realized no matter where I was sitting the truth of it is - my little digital camera is crap! Complete rubbish and I MUST get a new one before my next trip. None of my photos on this show really came out I apologize that these are the best I can do.

MS. Wakeley herself as she came out at the end.

To see the beautiful collection I was fortunate enough to preview it is best to see the way the Professionals took the shots: Click the link below to see the footage of the show:

London Fashion Week - ISSA Catwalk Show

Fashion week kicked out Saturday night with a few shows and I got to attend one of the hottest tickets in town ISSA of London. Her Spring Summer 2008 Collection Runway show took place at Lindley Hall in Victor Sq. London. A Glittery, paparazzi joined red-carpet event with English celebrities I did not really recognize (the flash bulbs of the paparazzi gives away when someone of note is in the front row) and our own stateside "sweetheart" Tara Reid was in attendance. (Note that is English Sarcasm I am using)
So I had a great seat - unfortunately I was facing the camera pit so their flashes would make my camera go berserk and the shots are blurry and not that easy to see - therefore I have only put a few up including ones of the spectacular finale with a Cirque du Soliel type performance with a girl riding silks with ISSA print and flying high above the crowd to make the shape of a butterfly - ISSA's apparently new favorite print. She has also launched a new couture underwear collection with her new print the ISSA horny little devil.
This S/S 2008 collection is inspired by the ISSA girl in Ibiza. Calling it the Summer of Love and Freedom for ISSA girls here is an excerpt from the company description of the collection inspiration story:
"Wearing printed dresses or dungarees to cocktail parties or to the beach, the ISSA girl is active and sporty. She can be whoever she wants to be, never afraid to try new things. After all she is on holiday and she deserves it. She makes the world become a Fellini Movie, DOLCE VITA is her motto. Her life is full of love and in her world, naughty is just another adjective for love"
"ISSA is the signature of love, summertime and easy weather. So come and be that woman. With perfect cuts and easy to wear dresses, chic, elegant and eclectic. ISSA's classic jersey dresses and some cotton to match the hot, hot heat of the summer. Yellow, red, turquoise, gold, pearls and crystals. ISSA is every woman. In the day easy and adventurous, the dresses and cuts are short (very short). And because the night is always young with ISSA, cuts are long (very long). The look is clean and still quite open which gives you a matter of choice, because the ISSA woman is first of all free."

Designer Daniella ISSA Helayel of ISSA London pictured in RED.

Interested in getting vintage ISSA London dresses?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

London - Men's Fashion and Favourbrook

An Englishman and quite a dandy - the entrance to the arcade off Jermyn St.

OK - so now it's time for a little something for the men. Oliver Spencer of famed Oliver Spencer label as well as Favourbrook high end fashion and accessories for men, is simply one of the nicest blokes in this fashion world you could ever meet.

Upon hearing I was in town he invited my friend laurel and I to join him out to dinner. We personally opted for his local neighborhood pub. Pub's are of course a large part of the drinking culture here in London, but there is a difference between pubs on the main drag that beckon to tourists, and the ones like the Builder's Arms tucked away back in Kensignton in a neighborhood - that you would rarely stumble upon unless you were a local. This one was of the later - and quite a bit of fun. Laurel's friend Simon who also lives in the same neighborhood met us at the Builder's Arms (incidentally walking distance from where I stay - BONUS) and the 4 of us had a lovely evening out.
Oliver Spencer and I at the Builder's Arms
Laurel and Simon at the Builder's Arms
The next day after meeting more friends of Laurel's for lunch we went into Mayfair to visit the Arcade where the first of the Favourbrook shops are on Jermyn St.
Now the dress is a touch formal for our typical Venice Beach customer but it is important to note that the high end quality of the jackets and vests, cravats and accessories ae something I can source for any man in need of say a smoking jacket, a 3 piece suit with dueling jacket (which I have coming in the Spring), or a full "dandy" regale. Weddings are what initially come to mind - but who knows what occasion one might want to look like a proper gentleman's gentleman?
Oliver Spencer inside the largest of the Favourbrook shops.
In any case - the shops are incredibly beautiful, typically English and remind me of what bespoke tailoring shops of days gone by in this lovely area on Jermyn St would have all been like. I have said it before and will continue to say it - the English Men always has and still knows how to dress! Men take note!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

London - Day 6 - V&A Fashion Exhibit

"After the 2nd world war, London emerged as a major fashion capital largely on the strength of it's ready-to wear collections.
A constant in London Fashion has always been the desire for individuality. " - V&A

The beginning of fashion weeks looms - and today I started to feel the buzz. My good friend Laurel arrived today for the week and after a bit of lunch she needed to settle in and nap off her jet lag so I found myself with time to peruse my favorite museum in all of London - the Victoria & Albert. I only had a bit of time before our evening engagements so I headed straight for exhibit room 40 - my favorite of all. The Fashion wing. Fashion from 1750 - to Today. Please excuse the quality of the photos as the light was quite dim and museum glass causes a wretched reflection - but here is a smattering of a truly enjoyable exhibit of fashion through the ages of the 200+ years. My how fashions evolve - but one thing remains true....
"Fashion is a mass phenomenon but it feeds on the individual" - Cecil Beator
Men's and Ladies evening Wear from the late 1700's

Men's and Ladies Evening wear from the 1920's

Day Dresses from typical London Style. The Green one dates from the 1800's. The 2 to the right date from 1912 and 1924 respectively.

A Suit by (and perhaps worn by) Lady Duff Gordon - renowned fashion designer and survivor of the R.M.S Titanic. - Circa 1913

Typical undergarments, bustle pads, corsets , cages and bustles worn by respectable women of fashion. Egad! How comfortable could any of this luxurious fashion bee - remembering that there were multiple layers on top of this of silk brocades, velvets, muslin etc - and of course no such thing as air conditioning. No wonder women were always suffering from "spells" of fainting!

Here we see the transition of men's undergarments. An undershirt from the mid 1800's - cut to Calvin Klein Boxer briefs of the mid 1990's. What a long way we have come - and so we move forward to fashions designers of the recent millennium.....

Catherine Walker Beaded Dress - 1989

Dame Vivienne Westwood - 1996

Christian Lacroix - 1996

Halston Silk Jersey - 1976

Left - Alexander McQueen - 1995 Right Karl Lagerfield for Chanel "Piano Dress" 1999 both of London

Milan - Left to Right - Valentino Garavani - 1960; Franco Moschino - 1088; Gianni Versace 1997

Cristobal Balenciaga - 1967
Zac Posen - Leather and Metal - 2000

London-Hyde Park & Kensington Palace

On Tuesday I decided to go grab some "take-away" and have a picnic in Hyde Park. Luckily for me where i stay this is not even 2 blocks away and Londoners take full advantage of the massive lawns, paths and beauty of this park any day there is a bit of sun. The weather HAS been lovely but it is important to note that 70 degrees Fahrenheit is quite all Londoners need to sunbathe in the park. That is Kensington Palace you can see in the background. Also interesting was the amount of young "footballers" out in the park. They start them quite young over here and I was watching some practice for a while and they can be QUITE good....for 5 year olds!

I continued on to the Serpentine Gallery which had a quite unique installation next to it. You could walk along a path around and around to the top - and inside was a mini amphitheatre which was really a glorified and overpriced coffee and pastry stop for tourists.

Next off I wandered clear to the other end of the park in search of one of my very favorite spots in all of London. The Peter Pan Statue. This may very well be one of the most photographed spots in the park next the the Princess Diana Memorial.

I can't think of very many people out there who don't have a soft spot for Peter Pan - I actually had to wait a bit to be able to photos without other people in it. Ah Peter - to be you and never ever grow up......

I continued meandering all the way up to the Italian Gardens but was disappointed that none of the fountains were on - for reasons unknown so deciding to bypass that I headed back towards Kensington Palace and the Round Pond....aptly named because - well it's a rather large round pond. Masses of people can and do lounge around this body of water on old fashioned typed deck chairs you can rent for 4 hrs for 2 pound. Now, my family and some of my closest friends know of my severe fear of large birds - PARTICULARLY swans, so of course that is the bird the lives on these grounds in massive quantities. I know I know, who could be scared of such beautiful birds right? Well it could be due to the fact that when I was very small (about 5) I was chased by an angry mother swan protecting her nest - or perhaps she was just in a crap mood - whatever the issue I have been avoiding birds any larger then a hummingbird or a canary for the rest of my life. These birds however are so used to humans feeding them they will walk right up to you and try to "share" your lunch. Needless to say I did not choose this as MY picnic spot.

Now having done a rather large full circle consisting of the entire side of the park on the west end of the Serpentine (I large oblong shaped lake that almost cuts the park entirely in half) I found myself back in Kensington Gardens and in front of the palace - when it dawned on me that I had never ever been inside. So - off I went for the "Official Tour" of the Royal State apartments, as well as the tribute to Diana Princess of Wales. It was a lovely 4 hrs in which I learned quite a bit about the life and times of Queen Victoria, the abhor able conditions that seamstresses in that time had to live in in order to create that detailed lace, embroidery and brocade worn by the women and men of court. Some were literally worked to death and investigations had to start to attempt to change working conditions. I wish I could have taken photos of the displays of the fashions of those who "Came to Court" over the past few hundred years until the practice lost its luster back in the 1940's, but alas fabrics are very sensitive to lighting and continual flashes would destroy the delicate nature of the fibers. I did learn that when Whitechapel was the Royal Palace (before the time of Buckingham) - Kensington Palace was a mere 2 miles away but considered practically the countryside - known for it's clear air and rolling green pastures - so it was when the skies of London were so dark with soot it practically rained flakes of it that the royals moved to the "countryside" of Kensington - hence "The Royal Borough of Kensington". Interestingly, this is still a working palace - and has been inhabit ted by members of the Royal Family for several centuries now and was the home to Princess Diana while she was alive. Diana: A Princess Remembered. The tribute to her was very moving - and it is obvious this nation still mourns the loss of " The People's Princess" to this day.