You may or may not remember (that depends how long you’ve been reading) that I visited Danielle Fosters workspace quite some time ago in September 2013, to check out her Spring/Summer 2014 collection of minimal luxury leather bags and was completely smitten by her work. A year and a half later, I visited Danielle again last week and I am now the proud owner of a bag from her latest SS15 collection. This latest set of treasures maintains her signature structured functional yet effortlessly stylish bags crafted from beautiful leathers, yet has also evolved with some more relaxed styles, incorporating gold hardware which now includes Danielle’s very discreet and tasteful branding imprinted into the horse-bit-esque metal.
I was in two minds when placing my first order, mainly because I was spoilt for choice, and in fact, it would not be unreasonable (however it would be very greedy) to have one of each, for they all embody different qualities, which of course I can find an excellent example to justify needing them all in my closet. The bag I chose is the perfect size. I can fill it without it being as heavy as a bowling ball. It will definitely be used as my everyday bag – its too pretty to stay hidden at home for special occasions. Its black, so it goes with everything and its like nothing you’ll see on the high street, because its made in this country and its designed by Danielle, in her studio in Hackney, with her very own brain and hands. Its a true embodiment of home-grown honest talent, making me feel quite proud to be British.
Its official. The 70’s is going nowhere. It’s here to stay, whether you like it or not. But to be quite honest, really, what IS there not to like? You don’t have to be a complete throw-back revival museum piece – mixing it up with your usual attire is more than plenty. And lets face it, its a trend which is constantly on rotation – but when the house of Chloe shared their Spring/Summer collection back in September, most of the fashion world realised it really was time to play some serious dress up.
This little flat-laid look is a feminine take on the retro trend – its a little bit Isabel Marant inspired, with patchwork bohemian florals, it includes the obligatory tan accessories and (very old) platform sandals, Indian tassle beads and of course, the major player – high waisted flared jeans. These particular jeans were featured in Vogue UK’s latest advertorial collaboration with Marks & Spencers, along with a pretty awesome curation of 70’s inspired classics (the high waisted denim skirt was my favourite and sold out everywhere in an instant, though now it seems to be back in stock, so be quick! – never underestimate the power of Vogue). Skinny jeans are now a wardrobe staple, but if you have the attention span and boredom threshold of a three year old child, myself included, you will soon come to realise that you need an option for every style – ripped, skinny, bootleg, slim, flared, ultra flared, cut off, skirt. Flares are a flattering style because they flare at exactly the point where skinny jeans may not flatter your shape – they leave enough to the imagination. They’re also leg-lengthening, because, more often than not, they’re worn so that they kiss the ground underneath your pretty little toes – team them up with some platform sandals or clogs and you’ll soon be in competition with Elle McPherson. Well, let’s pretend that’s the case for the sake of arguement……
True 70s Flare Denim Jeans – M&S (These are now sold out online, though check your local store as they may have them in stock)
Shoes – Topshop (Old) / Bag – Vintage / Indian Beaded Necklace – eBay
Ok, you’re going to have to bear with me on this one, because its highly likely this is a trick only for the brave. Fake freckles. I know, I know – if you have them you hate them – you have curly hair, you hate it – you have straight hair, you hate it – we always want what we can’t have. BUT, this is the 21st century. If you want long eyelashes, you have them semi-permanently attached. If you want brown skin, you get yourself to Boots for a quick fix. We’re getting more and more high maintenance as the years go by, but this is no new revelation. Didn’t you learn about the Georgians and the Ancient Greeks at school, who painted their faces white and got wigged up just so they looked the part amongst wealthy peeps? (Poor women had to work outside therefore became suntanned) – we’ve always done it and we always will. So, after that little lesson in justification, lets get down to the nitty gritty. Freckles have been used for years by well known makeup artists such as Pat McGrath, Terry Barber and Val Garland to add youth to the already flawless face of a model. They’re so well done, us regular bunch would never even know the difference. At Preen S/S15, MAC eyeliner pencils were used to dot models’ faces, necks, shoulders and chests with fake spots for a sunkissed, California girl statement that looked surprisingly realistic – its not hard to do, however it has to be just right for it to be believable. Various colours, sizes and shaped freckles are the key to ultimate fakery, placed randomly across the nose, the cheeks, the forehead if you dare. If you’re keen to try this before the sunny weather eventually arrives, always use an image as a reference point, and gently dab your warm finger over them once you’re happy with your freckle-layout, so they’re not too bright or perfect. And apparently, Topshop’s Freckle Pencil is a good tool for longevity throughout the day – I use an eyebrow pencil when I’m feeling brave, which is generally when I’m at home alone. Why not? If the Georgians and the Greeks could get away with it, then it only seems fair we give Californian sun kissed skin a shot.
Luckily I haven’t had any more cases of Insomnia since the last one the night of the full moon in January, however clearly I’ve been so disturbed by the very thought of losing any sleep again (well, thats my excuse) that I’ve developed a new addition, or, if we’re being kind, preventative measures – bath time treats. I was lucky enough to receive a gift from a good friend a few years ago of this Aromatherapy Associates Miniature Bath Oil Collection and was sold after even finishing my first bath using these oils. They’ve been a firm favourite ever since, which probably explains why they’re also an InStyle Magazine Best Beauty Buy – if you haven’t already seen it, the InStyle Best Beauty Buys is a highly recommended and trusted source of all beauty winners they review every year – I use it as a Beauty Bible/checklist.
This new addition to my slowly growing oils collection from BeautyBay (another firm recommendation) is, in their words, the key to calming a whirring mind, encouraging a restful, peaceful nights sleep and for me, this is no placebo effect – its the real deal. Whether its the heady scent of Sandalwood, Vetivert and Chamomile charming my nose or if its the naturally calming effects of these ingredients, I can’t be sure but what I am sure of, is that it works. Personally, I would advise going the whole nine years at bath time too – twinkly tea lights or candles in storm lanterns, relaxing music or a book, a thick fluffy towel warming on the radiator and plenty of healthy green foliage surrounding you are the pathway to success (by the way, my bathroom is slowly and very satisfyingly becoming a miniature jungle which I would love to show you sometime – virtually, of course). Its a little pricey, but a little goes a long way, so be sure that the fragrance you choose suits you well – the mini set is perfect for exactly that. The days of bubble bath are long gone – soap strips your skin of all its goodness, its a fact – our skin is made up of oils, and my skin is at its best after consistent use, so it only seems right to replenish those whenever we can, especially during this harsh season they call Winter.