It’s funny how often you can end up using the phrase ‘riot of colour’. If there is a spring fashion show, it’s going to be plastered across every review and blog post across the Internet. However, using it to describe Notting Hill would be just a simple understatement. The festival is like a warmer, happier version of a Sonia Rykiel show with dancing models. It literally feels like London has been ripped out of the ground and transported onto the spicy shores of Mexico or Brazil. Walking, slightly disorientated from the station you get hit with the smells first- the jerk chicken, smoke and ripe fruits, and then you start to hear the first buzzing of the music. Entering the area around the Portobello market, seeing Cara dashing around, searching for the parade just like everyone else and seeing the speakers piled up like Lego bricks in front of the nailed up bars is so refreshing- it’s why Notting Hill comes before Fashion Week for sure! Nothing gets rid of excess stiffness from heels better than a session of jumping up and down like a mad puppy just to see that biggest costume.
For many, this is the street version of Victoria’ Secret- the wings, glitter and jewelled bikinis are all there, and though the models might not be strutting on a catwalk, they are certainly proud of their bodies. Gok Wan would certainly have trouble finding self conscious women for his show! This is my kind of acceptance- every race and shape, baring all and enjoying every second. Celebration is something that fashion does grudgingly- worried that it will make its world sound unprofessional, shows stay stark and uncompromising. This is why shows like Vuitton S ’12 blew such a hole in the routine that even in august people were still talking about the collection and the carousel. Going to events that mean so much emotionally lets you think positive. After all, it does only come once a year, doesn’t it?
After what felt like months of planning, boxing and moving, I have managed to remove all of my little boxes and my whole shoe collection from the modern flat in Warsaw to a charming Victorian semi detached house only a train ride from my city of dreams- London. I even have a couple of glazed fireplaces that I hope to expose with a beautiful armchair at some later stage.
For all those people who don’t quite know that London is, and will always be my favourite city, I re-visited the amazing Burlington Arcade in Mayfair. It is by far the most enjoyable part of London, as it stores a collection of small boutiques selling a range of items, from cashmere sweaters to vintage jewellery, which I had already shown in a previous post.
This time, pleasantly surprised, I stumbled on the just-opened pop-up boutique of my favourite graduate shoe designer, Sophia Webster. Apart from sharing a name, this lady also shares my passion for shoes with a story, that are fun! Just looking at the candy coloured darlings is enough to see that she is inspired by the simplest of things- from plastic beads that I strung on a string when I was little, to the blue striped exercise books that I wrote in, I felt that this collection really spoke to me. Of course, there was another detail that I was envious of- a graduate of Central Saint Martins, Sophia interned at Nicholas Kirkwood, and his influences are visible in her work. I hope that her future collections will also let possible shoe buyers indulge in their childhood visions of stilettos…
The thing with visiting other places is that you can never truly alienate yourself from the people around you. Travel is a means of escape from what you already know into something more exciting, new. But the truth is that being around people who you know are always the same is much more comforting than anything else out there. That is why I would love to make Tokyo my home.
Europe, on the whole, is quite monotonous- there are different cultures and different food, but there are no differences (or very little ones) when it comes to the mentality and the thinking. In Tokyo, I could see the visible differences everywhere and it was the best feeling ever. Apart from the amazing food, the fact I could drink good green tea at every meal and that the culture and surrounding art and fashion was actually beautiful, I could see that people from Tokyo (and most probably, all of Japan) are much kinder, more polite to each other than in Europe. There seems to be a general awareness when it comes to looking out for others, whether it is in the trains going to Shibuya or in the streets where no one seems to knock into each other, yet the rush is far bigger than something that would be seen in London or elsewhere.
The fact that I miss this daily life from Japan, not its touristy attractions, shows me that there are places you only think about in dreams, and that those dreams can become reality. There is nothing stopping anyone exploring the world, and for some, discovering new places to settle down. I miss the meat buns from the Shinagawa Aquarium, where I can imagine taking future kids to (hopefully) and the rush of the streets. The smallest things, like the wrapped up manga books in convenience stores made me smile and truly forget about the dreary times I pop into the shops downstairs.
Is this something I should be looking out for when I come to Japan? I do not know. I spent my time enjoying the best of what there is to see in Tokyo- visiting Shibuya at night, the Sensoji temple and the fabulous street leading up to it where I bought the most beautiful silk robe I could imagine, eating sushi at the two Michelin star Kanesaka, staying at the Park Hyatt where “Lost in Translation” was filmed and drinking Bellini‘s at the New York Bar… The whole experience was out of this world. I could not have imagined, or even dreamed of the kind of trip I would have there.
I would like to thank my boyfriend for letting me experience something I never had before in a country I had never been to- a feeling of coming back home. And also for the never ending packets of sembei that he let me buy during the trip!
After laboriously trying to keep on top of both the real world and the fashion world, I have started to see potential similarities and patterns when it comes to behavior concerning clothes and politics, or general knowledge perhaps. Right now, with the recession still fully active, it feels like designers are not only economizing on the amount of money spent per show but also on their creative ideas and visions. These seem to have been shut away with the rest of the S/S 2012 fashion shows which encouraged princessy styles and the ‘happily ever after prospect’, exactly like the Louis Vuitton carousel parade.
P.S- New posts coming as soon as I get back from Tokyo!
Bracelets, bangles, pendants, necklaces and more… The never ending, constantly glittering world of the queens and kings of the diamante world is usually too dizzying and terrifying to venture into. Seeing as reality can sometimes punch you in the face reminding you of what happened to your last pendant/necklace/expensive pair of gloves (where did that come from…?) that these glowing jewels become a little less dazzling. Even if they do make you feel like you’re standing in front on Tiffany’s with your morning latte, the twirling and the dancing would probably have to be put back in its pristine box before being taken out for an equally official occasion. Recently, shuffling (wishfully) through the hordes of jewels (ahem…), I dusted off one of these pristine cobalt boxes and took out the green eyed monster inside. Obviously, I could not be out done by it and instantly took to wearing it. And after much prancing about thinking of a would be cat without a name, I put it back in the box so I could keep my little green eyed monster for when I feel particularly extravagant and my personal economy is not in the best shape.