31 May 2011

Arachnids & Galaxies

Every time I see Maria Nilsdotter's jewellery, I fall in love with it a little deeper. After a few seasons of admiring it at press days, I decided to borrow a few pieces to shoot at home and show you. Considering how repulsed I am by spiders, covering myself in them seemed like a strange endeavour, but as you know by now, my dedication to this blog knows no bounds. 

In the photos I am wearing (top to bottom): Giant Spider Shoulder Piece, Giant Spider Cuff (on loan from Varg PR). Space scarf c/o Maria Nilsdotter (coming this Fall).

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27 May 2011

Monsieur Robot - Smelling Sartorial

Fragrances are big business, but if you think about it buying a bottle of something to mask your own natural scent seems like a bit of an odd thing to do. Having said that I wouldn't want to live in a world without fragrances...We've all been stuck on a crowded bus or rammed tube car with our faces pushed into someone's stinky armpit, so it's not like we don't need to make ourselves smell better. But what does a persons fragrance say about them? Everyone has a couple of fragrances, either perfumes or aftershaves, that they absolutely hate. Getting a whiff of your old boyfriend's aftershave from someone else on the street can bring back a whole host of bad memories. Scents have an incredible capacity to invoke memories and remind us of places, people and times gone past. Ultimately fragrances  impact on our emotional state in a ways we don't really give much though to. I have a bit of a fragrance addiction and I wouldn't hesitate to throw money at something that was going to make me smell good. But I've grown tired of most of the smells I used to love, and nothing really seems to represent me, everything is just so generic and insipid... until I discovered Penhaligon's that is.

The fragrance industry and the fashion industry are deeply entwined. Most perfumes and aftershaves come from the designers and design houses, who make more from selling smells than they do clothes. And like fashion fragrances are just as susceptible to trends and fads. The big fragrances of the 80's like Poison or Fahrenheit are seriously pungent and overpowering smells, a reflection of the shoulder pads and power dressing that typified 80's yuppie culture. My problem with modern 'fashion' fragrances are they don't last very long. The cynic in me thinks perhaps this is on purpose, forcing us to use more of the product than is neccessary, like the "lather, rinse, repeat" instruction on shampoo bottles, with some fragrances costing almost £1 per millilitre, are we being conned? So who do we turn to for something a little better?... the experts, that's who.

Penhaligon's have been around since 1870 and are the official perfumers to the Royal family. William Henry Penhaligon was Queen Victoria's perfumer and the company have maintained that privilege ever since... so at least I know I'm in good company! Their range of frangrances encompasses everything from the original 19th century best-sellers to brand new ultra-modern smells that rival even the biggest fashion houses ranges. They offer a fragrance profiling service that I can't recommend highly enough, you can have it done in store or even online. Their experts take you through their fragrance library asking you what you do and don't like, all the while reading your body language and gauging your reactions. Then when you're done, hey presto, they point out the fragrance that's perfect for you. Mine is called  Sartorial, and if the name wasn't perfect enough I'm totally in love with the smell too. Created by master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, it was inspired by the scents of the workroom at Norton & Sons, Bespoke Tailors at No. 16 Savile Row. Taking in the scent of chalk, fabrics and the inside of sewing machines it's almost as avant-garde as Comme Des Garcons' wackiest smell. It's a complex scent that lasts all day, everyone asks me where it's from and I get great pleasure from teling them every little detail about it. It even looks like the bottle is wearing a little bow tie, how cute is that? So if you see me out and about furiously sniffing my own wrist or the lapel of my shirt, don't be alarmed, ask me if you can smell it too. You won't be disappointed. 

Words by Warren Beckett
Follow me @RobotMonsieur

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26 May 2011

Vintage Shopping in L.A. - Hidden Treasures

Hidden Treasures is one of the last vintage shops I visited during my stay in L.A. with QSW. It is a bit out of the way in Topanga Canyon so you will need a car to get there, but it is definitely worth a visit. I mean it isn't called "Hidden Treasures" for nothing.

If I had a vintage shop, I probably go a bit mental with the decor as well. A totem pole? Yeah, sure. Dinosaurs on the roof? Well of course. Hold on, let's add some skulls on the wall and a few sparkling things. Oh wait... The house doesn't look enough like a pirate ship, let's hang a treasure chest from the balcony!

But it is not all about the outside... Hidden Treasures is absolutely filled with clothes, trinkets, furniture, bed linens, you name it they have it. Everything is laid out haphazardly, it is musty, it is rusty, but it is so much fun. Everything is pretty affordable too. I picked up a postcard print silk blouse from the 50s there for $6 and I tried on a few dresses from the 50s and 60s that were in fairly good condition and all under $15. 

The trinkets and furniture were also really cheap, but I didn't want to consider a purchase for too long as I knew I wouldn't be able to bring it home and I would clearly end up in tears on the side of the road if I paid too much attention to the heavy things. I did take loads of photos though, you know... for posterity.

Hidden Treasures
154 S Topanga Canyon Blvd
TopangaCA 90290

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25 May 2011

Three Ways to Wear... the ASOS Salon Suit

Once upon a time, at the ASOS Press Day, I fell in love with the little suit from the Salon collection. When I received the news that the collection was finally on the site, I asked if I could borrow the short suit for a little home styling experiment - for your benefit, of course, I love you that much.

The short suit spent a few weeks in a paper bag in my room (sorry short suit!) but it is now ready to be presented to you in all its glory. And it will be presented to you not one, but THREE times, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you appreciate my efforts. Please leave the place as clean as you found it when you arrived.

And now, without further ado, roll drums for... 

The Good Girl's Short Suit

ASOS Salon Short Suit, shirt c/o Vivetta, Rachel Antonoff loafers, Forever 21 socks.

The Casual Short Suit

ASOS Salon Short Suit, Converse, Tee-Shirt c/o QSW, bracelets & rings vintage collected through the years.

Short Suit, the Vintage way

ASOS Salon Short Suit, Vintage shirt, Sandals c/o Swedish Hasbeens, rings vintage & Disney Couture, turban c/o Rock & Rose

So now tell me ladies (and gentlemen)... would you wear a short suit? Which style is your favourite? Mine is the vintage one.

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24 May 2011

Mademoiselle Robot loves John Moore

As we walk in the POP Studio in Culver City, we are greeted by its creative director, John Moore. He is wearing perfectly washed out skinny cords, a shrunken denim jacket and brown Havaianas. On his face apart from the glorious beard is the epitome of the Los Angeles glow. It's no wonder QSW newly appointed him to revamp the brand and give it a slightly cooler, more fashionable edge.  The little boy who dreamt of living past corrective shoes and ride a skateboard like Kyle Field is all grown up and has turned into one heck of a super talent (not to mention quite the dreamboat...).

Nothing pleases me more in life than someone who pays crazy amounts of attention to the smallest details, so when Moore started talking to us about rivets, seams, washes and all the personal touches he injected in the QSW collections, I had to refrain myself from jumping on the table and serenading him. In the QSW line, every piece has a story drawn from the brand's rich heritage. Moore tells the tale of "The Story" print - an unidentified bird illustration found in a cabinet at Quiksilver HQ in Huntington Beach - and we are all under his spell. The garish board shorts are well and truly gone and the brand is now ready to enter a new era. 

I asked John Moore a few questions to find out more about the man behind the label. 

Where did you grow up? Did it influence your work in any way?

I grew up in a suburban enclave just north of Los Angeles. I was extremely restricted by the parental units and very culturally starved. So every day since high school has been another day of creative exploration. I’ve been breaking away ever since I left home… 

Tell me a little about your thought process when designing?

Honestly, we just go for it. Everything starts with a conceptual story and the product flows from this spark. I completely shut myself off to magazines and trends and just design from instinct. If it doesn’t feel right in the design room, it doesn’t translate to the consumer.

Where do you find the inspiration?

Emerging artists. I used to say music, and a good soundtrack helps, but today it’s the young emerging artists that are getting my juices flowing. I’m always looking under every rock!!!

What's your fondest sea-related memory?

I have three…1. My first wave, I still remember it. 2. Tavarua in 1999 3. Taking my daughter on the front of my board in Kauai when she was four. 

Favorite places in LA?

First Point, Gjelina and the POP Studio. All a bit of a circus, but always a good time. 

Tell us about your personal style - how do you get dressed in the morning?

Hmmmm? I’m not sure really. There’s not a lot of thought process. Seriously, I get up, pack a lunch for my daughter, and throw on whatever I see first. I will sometimes where the same outfit for three days in a row… 

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23 May 2011


"Would you like to pick a pair of sunglasses from our website and tell us about your favourite sunglasses trends?" Sure, why not, Mister Spex. I am a bit of a sunglasses maniac though, so I am open to pretty much any shape, size or colour as long as my eyes are adequately protected.

I do however keep track of my favourite shapes, year after year in a tiny notebook I like to call "The Sunglasses Bible". I have another one for lovers, but that's another story altogether. One of the previous affirmation is in fact a lie. Try and figure out which one.

Back to the topic of the day: when put in front of a wide choice of free sunglasses (or free anything for that matter) I always think "I must pick something practical, that will last for years to come. See, it is boring to buy practical stuff, but getting it for free makes it okay". Well you see, this time I ended up with a pair of weird day-glo cat eye sunglasses courtesy of Prada. Totally casual, or is it casually mental? I am not so sure anymore. All I know is that they go with everything I own and make my husband recoil in horror while muttering something about "Camden Market... nineties... teenager". To this I generally reply by making a flippant comment about his face. This, my friends is true love and why marriage was invented. Don't believe what other people say. 

If you want to know more about the "Bloggers Say: Wear Sunglasses" campaign, visit the Mister Spex website. Come on, Mister Spex, flex those pecs.

I am wearing a vintage dress & belt, asos scarf as a turban and Prada sunnies c/o Mister Spex.

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20 May 2011

Terry Time

It seems, dear reader, that there is a God. How do I know that? Well he just answered my prayers. You see cult French spectacle makers MOSCOT are making a limited edition range of glasses based on the pair that everyone's favourite pervy Uncle - Terry Richardson wears. You know the ones. If you remember the breakdown-inducing post I wrote about my own personal struggle to find frames, that you may be trying hard to forget, you'll know how much I struggle with face furniture. Well I wish I'd waited until now to get new specs because these are the bad boys that I really want. What could be better than looking like Terry Richardson? Every moment of your life would feel like you were inside one of his photographs, living his life. I think that would make life pretty sweet. Celebrities all day, loads of sex, parties and Kate Moss too? Bring it on.  I guess I'll have to get used to giving everyone and everything 'thumbs up' but that's ok. If he can do it and still look cool then so can I. I may need more lumberjack shirts too.


He might not be to everyone's taste, you need a certain ironic perspective to truly appreciate a picture of some disgusting fast food meal or the more explicit images he makes, but the constant stream of pictures on Terry's blog make it feel like he works 24 hours a day. You'd need really good glasses for that right? 

It's a look that probably should have dated, but somehow it hasn't. I guess that means it really is iconic. Superstar photographers are hard to come by, but David Lachapelle doesn't even wear glasses and certainly doesn't own more than a few lumberjack shirts, so it can't be him. You can have the glasses in different colours and even have sunglasses made with them. What a brilliant idea, I guess I'll have to get two pairs.

Words by Warren Beckett
Follow me @RobotMonsieur

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19 May 2011

Pacific Avenue / Pacific Coast Highway

I believe this is my last Los Angeles outfit post... Three weeks later and I am still sad I am not there anymore. I really have to work harder on that teleportation machine.

I am wearing: vintage top & bag (bought in LA), oasis shorts, asos sunglasses, swedish hasbeens sandals (not pictured).

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Brandalley, a French success story

A couple of months ago, I hopped on the Eurostar to Paris to have a chat with one of the men behind successful French website Brandalley. I wasn't sure what to expect after a similar press trip to their main competitor's offices last year that failed to wow me, despite the abundance of art on display & impressive head office. Learning from my mistakes, I politely declined the warehouse visit (once you've seen one warehouse, you've seen them all) and headed straight for the head office to meet Antoine Leloup and pick his brains. Hidden away in a Haussmanian building in the 9th arrondissement, the Brandalley offices are far from ostentatious, but they feel warm and welcoming. The March sun filtering through the windows and a light breeze snaking between the desks made me think for a second that if I wasn't working from home, I wouldn't mind an office like that. Sure there is no priceless collection of contemporary art, but there is a great atmosphere and people seem happy to work there... Which doesn't come as a surprise, considering their company is possibly one of the biggest success stories of the past few years.

There are currently five or six outlet sales sites of note in France, the main ones being Vente Privée and Brandalley. The latter was created in the Summer of 2005 by Sven Lung with a simple goal: to offer an online outlets for brands. It started off like a catalogue, where people could think about their purchases rather than indulge in impulse buys. The well-known Flash Sales developed later, mostly as a marketing device to generate some buzz around the site and attract new customers.

Brandalley is now a fully fledged Fashion & Lifestyle store offering high street and high fashion collections to their customers. “We work extremely closely with the brands with represent in order to best respect their universe” says their MD Antoine Leloup. This is done in a very subtle and personal way. 
The in-house creative teams at Brandalley produce carefully styled visuals to match each brand’s image while also matching Brandalley’s aesthetics. 

Inspired by the new fashion generation of street style, fashion and lifestyle bloggers, the images produced are high fashion and glossy but also reflect the customers daily life. 
Alongside the outlet and current catalogue, Brandalley now dedicates a whole chunk of its activity to the promotion of emerging designers, in collaboration with French ELLE in “Le Lab”.

Le Lab was launched in France and in the UK simultaneously earlier this year to help promote emerging designers. They sign up to the site and submit their products to the customers. The first designer to reach 2000 votes will get financing from Brandalley to produce a mini-collection on pre-order. Once 300 orders are placed, the collection goes to production and is sold via the website.  

There are currently 60 designers represented on Le Lab. All the information circulates on Brandalley’s French and UK sites as well as on ELLE.fr

All images courtesy of Brandalley

The business is booming for Brandalley with over 10 million visitors in January and profits sky-rocketing. 80 new brands have joined the site recently, obviously trusting this now well established business model... With a brand new social community dedicated to its customers, Brandalley is definitely a growing empire.

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18 May 2011

Vintage Shopping in L.A. - Driftwood


If you find yourself having an iced coffee with some babes at Intelligentsia, don't forget to go next door to check out Driftwood. It is a very well curated vintage and designer store, filled with little treasures and trinkets. Although when I say "filled", please take this in a minimal sort of way. 

The shop also carries a line of furniture made out of reclaimed wood. Each piece of furniture is stamped and numbered, and part of the profits go to Tree People, the nature Conservancy. Pretty sweet, non? I would happily furnish my house solely with reclaimed timber.

The vintage pieces are a little pricey, but they are all in super mint condition and carefully selected, so it is worth paying a premium. When I was there, they had a whole range of Rachel Antonoff for Bass saddle shoes but also clothes from Vessels, American Vintage & Saint James.

I didn't buy any clothes when I was there, but I found some cute notebooks and hesitated a while about a book I really wanted, but would have been waaaay to heavy to bring back to the U.K. Sad.


I was in L.A. as a guest of QSW.

Driftwood - 3938 West Sunset Blvd. Silverlake, CA 90029

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Quiksilver SS11

If you were wondering about the QSW SS11 collection, have a look at the enchanting video below...

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17 May 2011

Black Magic / White Magic



Black Magic: dress c/o Dorothy Perkins, asos collar & socks, gap belt, Opening Ceremony shoes
White Magic: Topshop dress & belt, asos collar, forever 21 socks, Opening Ceremony shoes.

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Beauty - How To: Tousled Beach Waves

Since a lot of my posts recently have been about Los Angeles, surf style, the seventies or all of the above, I thought it was only fair I'd show you how to recreate my 'do of the moment: the seventies surf chick mane.

My hair is naturally curly and I totally had a jew-fro when I was a little girl, but after years of straighteners I am left with what is essentially just big hair, not straight nor curly. I first wore my hair in loose waves for my wedding and absolutely loved it so I have worn the style from time to time since then. At the moment though I wear my hair like this all the time and I can't remember the last time the straighteners came out of their box. 

After years of long blunt fringe, I am also going back to my teenage middle parting and loving it. It makes such a difference when it is hot not to have a mass of hair on your forehead. It is also softer on the face, which helps as I am not getting any younger.

Obviously, the real reason why I didn't take part in the QSW surfing lesson was to not ruin the hair. Ahem.

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16 May 2011

Chanel Cruise 2012 - The Tale of a Fairy

To accompany the Cruise collection presented last week in Cap d'Antibes at the Eden Roc Hotel, Karl Lagerfeld directed a short film infused with French Riviera spirit, starring Anna Mouglalis, Freja Beha and Amanda Harlech. The protagonist being the Cruise collection, bien sur.

I must admit that upon receiving the press release about the film, I was excited. I've been enjoying a lot of the fashion films floating around lately and the perspective of watching one directed by the great Karl himself was exhilarating... and so I pressed "play".

Jazz and close-ups on ripples in the water, art deco-ish lettering for the credits, I was already in the mood for a masterpiece. Fade to black. Fade back in to a beautiful mansion in the French Riviera - my grin is now as wide as the Cheshire cat's. A classic car in the distance, I sit back in my chair, ready for 25 minutes of bliss. And then it happens: a mini-van is following the car. Oh. So this is not really set in the past. Ok, I can deal with that.

Both car and mini-van pull up in front of the house, followed by a few beautiful shots. I am back into it. First dialogue... I see my hopes and dreams crushed and crumbling before my eyes. This is awful. The acting is tragic, the dialogues terrible, the premise is idiotic. I carry on watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of a few more beautiful shots. My teeth start grinding uncontrollably. Sure, some of the images are beautiful. Sure, I love Anna Mouglalis and of course I love Chanel. Then why do I feel like this is going to turn into softcore erotica any minute now? And why do I feel slightly disappointed that it doesn't, as it would no doubt add some slightly ironic value to this otherwise bland short film. 

There is no atmosphere, no chemistry, nothing. This is a bland piece of corporate "art". This is so disappointing, considering what Topshop did a few seasons back in collaboration with Lula and The Belles of the Black Diamond Fields. From Chanel, I expected so much more. 

My advice? Turn the sound off as soon as the dialogues start and hopefully you won't need a gutter to prevent your teeth from grinding.

The Tale of a Fairy by Karl Lagerfeld

Starring: Amanda Harlech, Kristen McMenamy, Freja Beha, Bianca Balti, Baptiste Giabiconi, Brad Koening, Jake Davies, Mark Vanderloo, Oriol Elcacho, Sebastien Jondeau, Seth Kuhlmann and Anna Mouglalis

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