Welcome to the White Dress Hunt

I'm jumping on the white dress hunting bandwagon. Everyone is on the hunt for the perfect white dress every summer of every year, from Refinery 29 to Liebemarlene Vintage, and honestly, I'm not sure that anyone ever has their white dress desires absolutely satisfied. My only evidence for this of course is that this search for perfection in crispy white linen seems largely to be an annual one.

Liz Ham for Oyster Magazine issue 85 from oystermag.com

Personally, this is my first year on the bandwagon, and I'm beginning to realise that I've hopped on a couple of stops too late. If other blogs are anything to go by, the hunt begins in April or May, when in Bristol it has barely stopped snowing. June in Bristol has been an unusually hot one however, and that, combined I think with watching more Wimbledon than is strictly healthy has got me running to Zara to see what I can find. Sadly there's a sale on, so of course there's nothing left. Or perhaps there was nothing in the first place, which is the reason that everyone has to go on the hunt every year... personally I think making one is probably the only option.

In the interim, I'll just have to content myself, and anyone who thought that I was going to tell you all about some amazing white vintage find, with the amazing shot above, taken by Liz Ham for Oyster Magazine. I stumbled upon her by accident, but her editorial shots are gorgeous, and this one is probably my favourite. It is styled by Jolyon Mason (which is a fantastic name) and you can see the rest of it here.

Liz Ham for Oyster Magazine issue 85 from oystermag.com

In other news, our Appley laptop miraculously came back to life after a short holiday in the Apple Store, so Photoshop and I can be friends again. Hooray!


A Selection

Lillian Bassman from fansinaflashbulb.wordpress.com

Jean-Jacques Annaud's L'amant

Tucker by Gaby Basora SS10 – Image from Refinery29

Whenever I notice that one of the bloggers I follow has posted something new, I'm always slightly disappointed when it is a 'moodboard' post. This is not because I think it's a cop out or anything, but just because I can never completely 'get' another blogger's moodboard. More often than not, as their name suggests, they are really a product of a particular personal mood,which I can never really understand in the way that it was originally felt or intended. Also it usually means that they haven't written very much, which makes me sad as I like the words just as much as I like the pictures.

This is not really a moodboard, it's just a collection of images that have made me sigh, Zara lookbook release day style, in that way that makes Ben think that there's something wrong with me. I'll try and explain them.

The top pictures are from Lillian Bassman's editorial photography, the main body of which was taken from 1940 to the 1960s. Both images are from 1949, I think for Harper's Bazaar. The one on the right is entitled 'Across the Restaurant' and is my favourite of the two. I particularly like the bow on the dress and the drama in the pose.

The next picture is from the film L'amant, which I have never seen, but which has been referenced quite heavily by Erin Featherston's Resort 2011 collection, which is how, in a roundabout way, I discovered it. I'd like to watch it I think. It is about an affair between a young French girl and an older Chinese man, and is set in French Indochina. I have a strange curiosity about old colonial life – it always seems to have such an unusual atmosphere surrounding it.

The final image is from Tucker by Gaby Basora's SS10 collection. The dress is so 1940s and easy and simple, and is made of something silky and expensive. It just makes me think of hot summers spent reading books on wooden verandas.


St Ives

St Ives

Yesterday we finally managed to go on a weekday day trip. This was one of the things I was looking forward to most when I decided to quit my knitting magazine job and earn money from home. When I worked in an office the idea of going on a trip on a Monday would have seemed completely idyllic, luxurious and pretty much unimaginable. I just got into the car with Ben and went there yesterday though, and it was just as delicious as I hoped it would be.

Breton top: Zara
Skirt: French Connection
Neckscarf: Vintage
Boat shoes: Topshop

Bag: Vintage

St Ives was quite full of tourists, which I (for some reason) wasn't expecting, although it is still a working harbour, which gives it some legitimacy as a place rather than just being a tourist haven. It's curious what they do to their seaside in England – I always wonder at the locals who perpetuate the throngs of karrimor-clad slow walkers with their Cornish pasty shops and other typecast tourist traps.

I am envious of Virginia Woolf's father, whose discovery of St Ives she writes about in her essay 'A Sketch of the Past'. I forgot to take a look at Talland House, but I'll make sure I go the next time:

Father on one of his walking tours, it must have been in 1881, I think—discovered St Ives. He must have stayed there, and seen Talland House to let. He must have seen the town almost as it had been in the sixteenth century, without hotels, or villas; and the Bay as it had been since time began.

I've read a couple of books set around that area of Cornwall and they have romanticised it for me with their descriptions of beautiful light and quiet, simple days. The light was indeed beautiful, and I have never seen such luminous shadows, but I suspect that the quiet, simple days are something rather unimaginable now, which is why, when you are working away at your desk, in your office, they seem so far away.


The Only Downside...

While this rather lean period of my life has been surprisingly empowering, surprisingly luxurious and unsurprisingly amazing, when I see previously-affordable Zara's monthly lookbooks go up I get just a little bit jealous of my (slightly more) monied former self. It's really the only thing that gets me!

June is really no different. I spotted it on my Zara iphone app ((!!) I'm not making any effort to avoid spotting zara lookbooks, evidently) last night and couldn't stop loud-sighing until Ben was convinced that there was something actually wrong with me. Well, there isn't, apart from a bad case of Zara lust.



(All images: Zara June 2010 Lookbook)

The kind of creamy brown dress in the first picture reminds me of a vintage Alaia dress that Garance Dore photographed here a few months ago, and to which I had a similar reaction. I'm not that keen, but quite curious about the white dress, as I've been thinking about white dresses and the possibility of making one for a while now. The last picture makes me a bit happy though as I have a couple of too-longish high waisted denim skirts and plenty white tops already, so I reckon I can copy that pretty safely (for my bank balance). One thing I reckon I might be able to stretch to though – white ankle socks.

I've been working pretty intensely on a book for the last few weeks, the author of which writes out all of his huge numbers and can't use an apostrophe, but the end is in sight. Whenever I do these I come up with a million things that I would like to be doing instead, but by the time I finish the edit and am wandering confusedly around the house with nothing to do, I've completely forgotten all of them. I'm going to try and make a list this time, while I'm editing. It can't fail. First is to go to Zara and investigate – and not spend anything.


Sunny Evenings

My house is lovely but quite dark, almost as if they built it at this angle on purpose so that it would never be sunny inside. Well, happily, if that is true, they failed. In the spring and summer, one room gets bathed in lovely mottled sunshine and becomes my favourite place to sit around and read and listen to things and pretend to work. What makes it better is that the window is excellent for people watching, which I really find quite addictive.


Anyway, I'm wearing a big vintage poofy skirt that I bought by accident on eBay. Everything I buy on eBay is an accident, as usually I just always expect to be outbid eventually, and often am not. It's quite a good system really. The shirt is Comme des Garcons for H&M which I bought a few years ago, starstruck about one of the first designer/high street collaborations, and desperate to own a bit of it. It was quite an anticlimax in the end, as it doesn't really seem any different to any other white shirt, although I'm secretly still quite proud of it.

I'm getting the feeling more and more that poofy clothes are going to be the next fashiony thing. Everywhere I look people are writing and wearing and photographing 'granny length' skirts, radiating outwards from Alexa Chung, just like many things seem to. There really is something about creating an illusion with floaty clothes that is much more alluring than just baring all. It feels more grown up somehow, and that makes you (me, at any rate) feel more assured and happy to just waft and swish around.