Wednesday, 18 June 2008

No Pasaran!

I know I'm not posting texts and pictures too often here - to be honest, I guess I lost my heart to this blog somehow. I really like arranging my outfits around a painting and adding a place to it but I don't really enjoy having my pictures taken and it takes so long to create a new post... I'm thinking about closing this blog or it will be as it is: rare updates. I don't want to follow an easy path and just show nicely arranged contents of my wardrobe - that wouldn't be fun for me. Well, I'll think about it.

The outfit I have here is a mixture of all old things. The jacket was bought in Zara (one of very few Zara clothes that I possess) when big, golden buttons were the newest craze (about 3 years ago). The trousers are one of my summer staples - I have the same pair in black and dark blue. Linen is great for hot weather but unfortunately it creases too easily. Shoes are from India - great for that country but not so great in London, where pavements are made for the blind and through thin soles my aching feet can feel the pavement every time I approach a street crossing.

The picture on the left shows a part of a huge painting entitled "Fusilamiento de Torrijos y sus compañeros en las playas de Málaga" by Antonio Gisbert that I saw in the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid and the picture on the right shows one of the beautiful balconies in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin.

Jacket - Zara
Top - Zara
Trousers - GAP
Shoes - bought in India
Handbag - Kookai
Bangles - Miss Selfridge

Monday, 2 June 2008

A rose is a rose is a rose

I've been thinking about an outfit to match this Mehoffer's painting for quite a long time and having seen Polish flowery folk shawls on a number of Polish fashion blogs finally gave me an idea. I remembered that my mum used to have a similar shawl to the ones I've seen on the blogs, probably from Zakopane, bought in 'Cepelia' or some similar place (she doesn't even remember where she got it from) and I nagged her to find it for me. So she did and that's how I became a proud owner of this beautiful piece. This weekend was the first time I wore it with this dark violet dress and patent red leather peep-toes. Later that day I went for a dinner to an Indian restaurant and the shawl looked beautiful with dark navy jeans and a simple tight black jumper. I love the variety of colour on it - it looks good with a dark green dress, with black trousers and an orange or red cardigan, with a completely black outfit or with this dark violet dress. I used two leather brooches in the shape of flowers that I bought from an independent jewellery designer on Spitalfields Market to keep the shawl nicely in place. Finally - spring in full bloom and my garden full of roses made it possible to take a picture exactly how I wanted it to be.

The painting on the left is "Dziwny ogród" ("A Strange Garden") by Józef Mehoffer and the picture on the right shows one of the beautiful roses from my garden.

Dress - French Connection
Shawl - a gift from my mum
Peep-toes - Carvela
Brooches - Spitalfields Market

Monday, 19 May 2008

Alice in Wonderland

It's not a real inspiration by the heroin of Lewis Carroll's books, but this red colour looks as if it came from them, not to mention the fabulous shop at the right of the triptych.

This is one of my most comfortable outfits, the one I wear on a rainy Saturday when it's not very warm and I need to walk for a lunch in a nice restaurant, then a bookshop, then a museum... Hence no high heels but comfortable plimsoles, of which the only vice is that they get dirty pretty soon. White plimsoles are really versatile, you can wear them to a summery flowery frock, to practically any type and colour of trousers, to a long dress etc. The number of combinations is endless.
A bag has to be big to fit in all possible purchases and it has also be light so that my arms don't get too tired. Longchamp is a brand, which I wasn't a fan of for a long time as everyone seems to have at least one bag made by them. I got this one from my boyfriend's mum and now I love it (I even got a second one, a smaller one in khaki). They are the most comfortable bags you can imagine and also a very good quality (I only wish they had some compartments inside because looking for door keys in an inevitable mess can take some time).

The painting on the left is by one of my favourite artists, Egon Schiele ("Selbstbildnis mit Judenkirschen") and the picture on the right presents Alice's shop, one of charming little shops with antiques on the Portobello Market.

Shirt - Benetton
Cardigan - Zara
Jeans - Lee
Plimsoles - Topshop
Bag - Longchamp
Earrings - a gift from my mum, she used to wear them when she was in her 20s

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

American Fictionary

As I'm going to the US this summer the inspiration for this outfit has been the American pop art. I don't like really obvious borrowings, so I'm playing with blue and yellow a bit (not even red as the American flag would suggest). Actually some could say I'm playing more with the Swedish IKEA logo and they would be right too (although none of my clothes in here were manufactured in Sweden) :)

Pop art is a great art movement, especially as an introduction to art for children as it's playful, colourful and can be admired without prior knowledge of art of any kind. It can remind children of comic books and cartoons, can be transported into children's creative subconscience by means of colouring books and thus provide education and fun.

Ok, let's move to clothes :) I bought the top I'm having here last summer in Topshop because I fell in love with the tiny pleats. It was a second piece of clothing in yellow in my wardrobe and to be honest, I just began to like this colour on myself. I also have the same top in grey, which looks great mixed with green and orange. The trousers are also from Topshop (I guess it's my favourite high street shop, there are way too many treasures in so many different styles on the flagship store's four floors), they are three years old and I can't be bored with them. These shoes are quite a new purchase (from my last trip there about a month ago) from Absolute Vintage, I wore them just once and have to get used to them, to adjust them to my feet.

The painting on the left is "M-Maybe" by Roy Lichtenstein and the picture on the right was taken by myself close to Kings Cross Station in London - I like the shop's sigh and a picture of Mao Ze Dong painted on the wall above it.

Top - Topshop
Trousers - Topshop
Shoes - Absolute Vintage
Belt - Ebay
Beads - Primark
Sunglasses - My boyfriend's Ray Ban Wayfarers
Bangles - a gift from my sister

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Out of Africa

Inspired by the film "Moolaadé" by the Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene I suddenly craved clothes in African prints. Safari style is too obvious and it shows rather a white man's yearning for Africa - the romantic, melancholic longing for the colonial times. That was not what I wanted. In London everyday I see women dressed in real African fabrics that can be bought by metre (a fabric, not a woman). The fabrics are later given to tailors or sewn by these women themselves to create a fantastic frock or a top. As I lack sewing skills and don't know any good tailors and also don't have any friends who could bring me original beautiful pieces straight from their homeland, I decided to visit some markets and look for ready to wear African clothes.

I went to the Petticoat Lane Market, where African clothes and fabrics are sold but as I loved the textiles I found clothes way too loose and baggy for my silhouette. I finally found this lovely dress at Spitalfields Market, at a stall run by an Afro-English lady, who just buys fabrics and sews dresses to her own designs. This dress is a 'pregnancy' type of dress, or rather - as my boyfriend calls it - 'when-is-it-due-dress'. I don't care that I look pregnant in it, it's just so comfortable and pretty that I'll probably spend the whole summer in it. The violet crochet jacket is a bit Indian in style and everyone usually assumes I've bought it in India (actually it's from Zara). Ecclectism appeals to me so I was happy to mix and match clothes from different continents for this outfit.

This time there is no work of art as such and no particular place to show you here. There is, however, a book, which I got from my boyfriend for my birthday a few months ago but which I still haven't finished reading. It's by Uwe Ommer, a German photographer, who embarked on a great journey around the world to take pictures of 1000 families for his project. It took him and his assistents 1424 days to travel to most countries of the world and two books were created as a result - one showing photographs of 1000 families and another one, the one I have, describing and illustrating this enourmous undertaking. The book itself is such a wonderful source of inspiration that I'm sure it will serve me for years.

Dress - Spitalfields Market
Jacket - Zara
Wedges - New Look
Bag - a museum shop in Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin
Beads - Primark
Sunglasses - Miss Selfridge

Book - "Transit. Around the world in 1424 days" by Uwe Ommer; Taschen 2006

Monday, 28 April 2008

The Grey Anatomy

I guess you probably noticed that the common denominator on this triptych is the floor. Living in the UK I began paying attention to doors in various colours and often beautifully tiled floor. I especially like black and white tiles like you see here - they remind me of grand, cool, sophisticated palaces. As I'm not a great fan of clean black and white clothes' combinations I chose grey and black for my outfit and a green piece of jewellery. The necklace is from my grandmother. I don't remember her ever wearing it but after her death I rummaged through her jewellery box and discovered it - it is now one of my favourite pieces. The jacket is from Spitalfields Market, from one of many independent designers selling their clothes there. I love the round collar and huge craven-black buttons. I've been looking for proper Mary Janes for quite a while and I discovered these ones on Ebay just by an accident. They're from the 80s but unworn. The brand is Salamander, a good old German brand, also quite well known in Poland.

The painting on the left is "The Concert" by Jan Vermeer and the photograph on the right is "Galerie de Pierre, Chateau de Versailles" by Robert Polidori.

Jacket - Spitalfields Market
Skirt - GAP
Blouse - GAP
Shoes - Ebay (Salamander)
Tights - H&M
Belt - from my childhood
Necklace - inherited from my grandma

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Absolute Vintage

This time I will not post any triptychs or a picture of myself but I'll write about my favourite vintage shoes shops in London. Their names are Absolute Vintage and Blondie and they belong to the same owner. When I moved to London over a year ago and went first to the coolest ever Spitalfields Market (in terms of fashion I so much prefer it to the Portobello Market) I was really shocked with the amount of stalls selling clothes, shoes, food, art, accessories etc. This picture shows just a section of the market, there are also several alleys, in which more stalls are located. I wandered around with my boyfriend feeling really overwhelmed. We went to see the neighbouring market on Brick Lane, which is the most craziest thing you can ever imagine, with people of all ethnic groups and nationalities, buying and selling stuff, eating food from stalls with every possible cuisine of the world. There are so many vintage stores in the area that you can't count them all. We found Absolute Vintage by accident, having not read about it beforhand. Apparently they have the largest selection of vintage shoes in the UK, literally hundreds of shoes grouped by colour on most racks and on some by size (sizes 7-8 have a few separate racks). Moreover, they have a few hundreds of bags, numerous shelves of sunglasses and gloves, long rows of racks with clothes and hundreds of belts. They have also an admirable selection of clothes, shoes and accessories for men. I try not to go there too often as I always end up being upset by my indecision - it's just impossible for me to find one bag that I'd love so I don't buy anything. Today I wanted to find a nice navy blue small handbag and I've seen at least a dozen of those. Obviously I left empty-handed. Oh sorry, not so empty-handed, I bought a beautiful pair of shoes.

It's not allowed to take pictures in the shop but I managed to take three (one of them from outside the shop, which is allowed).
Another shop, Blondie, is smaller and really beautiful, with a smaller selection of clothes, footwear and accessories but it's still an admiringly great selection. I had my eye on wonderful brown and cream shoes from the 40s, they were however too large. If you dream of a particular colour, type of a heel or shoes from a specific time in the 20th century (be it the 40s or the 80s) you can be sure to find them in one of these shops. A visit to them is a must for every woman interested in fashion with a soul :)

Here is also another picture of the shop from my favourite weekly Time Out

Absolute Vintage website

To get a real sense of what these shops are about I recommend these virtual tour around the shops:

Absolute Vintage



Absolute Vintage

15 Hanbury Street


London E1 6QR


Unit 2

114-118 Commercial Street

London E1 6NF

PS. No one has paid me to write this vignette, I did it purely to share my enthusiasm with you.