Thursday, 29 May 2008

Not exactly Savile Row

It has been going on for quite some time now and considering I’m more about art appreciation rather than art creation, I have managed to stay well away. But with the sudden saturation of the market I felt it only appropriate that I bring the topic to the forefront here at MOMTD.

An extremely popular movement of late in our world of fashion seems to be giving the consumer the opportunity to customize before they buy. Personalization is in demand and of late, I’ve noticed companies popping up daily offering this DIYesque service both in store and online all over the world.

I recently spent a lonely Thursday night cutting off the bottom of an old, unwanted denim skirt, obviously an easy process and I admit no real skill was required. The process became quite reminiscent of something I would have done when I was 15 and bored with my under 18 lifestyle, however, 1995 would have seen me glue a few rows of lace to the bottom and iron on some type of tropical bird appliqué to the back pocket. It seems that by popular demand this process of personalization has returned to our market (without the appliquéd bird thank god) and everyone from start up designers to Nike are getting involved.

I will admit that often I find the perfect bag and wish that it came in a different shade of brown or the cutest pumps ruined by a heel so high a stripper would think twice about parting with the cash. However the pressure and commitment of purchasing my own design makes me more than a little nervous. Fashion Designer I am not. What if the finished product is not all I had imagined? What if I place my order and then change my mind on shape or colour? Can I go back? So many times I have been disappointed when Thai market seamstresses have unsuccessfully reproduced the perfect copy and I’ve had no choice but to pay for it and cart it home as excess luggage (unlucky maybe).

There’s a lot to say for the try before you buy process, especially when you function with the left side of the brain over the more creative right side. Purchasing ‘as is’ may not give you an individual edge, a super sense of achievement or that interactive buzz but it’s safe, you know what you are getting into and the return policy is a magical, magical thing.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Tights On Film

A spotty pair of Alannah Hill tights courtesy of my dear Mother and Australia Post (I just love a good care package when you live so far over the seas). How I’m to wear these spotty delights I’m unsure. I experimented below with the tights and open toe shoe theory - its so wrong its right? I'll let you be the judge.

Monday, 26 May 2008

The Wardrobe Clean Out

You never know what you're going to find.....

Friday, 23 May 2008

A pair of scissors, a denim skirt and the prospect of a sunny long weekend...
(imagine with no tights, a killer pair of wedges and some type of miracle tan)

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

My name is Francis and I have too many pairs of shoes...

I think I need insurance - not the travel type, or the car type or even the life type but a fully fledged designer shoe type (does it exist? house and contents maybe?...)

With space such a major problem in our beloved city, the pretty, transparent shoe box and polaroid option is only available to the six figure+city bonus, huge triple story house in Chelsea women, my sad reality unfortunately involves stuffing as many pairs as possible in the bottom of my dodgy 3 sided wardrobe. Not ideal for a shoe lover such as myself.

Last night at silly o'clock I decided it was time. Time to sort, Time to arrange, Time organise.....and so the task began. After a good 2 hours and the ticker pushing the wee hours of the AM there they all lay, beautifully spread in all their glory on my 'off shade of mustard' bedroom floor. As I cast my style savvy eye across my most adored accessories I suddenly became quite overwhelmed, firstly by their sheer beauty and secondly by their sheer mass. It really is ridiculous and let's not forget the numerous cast asides that sit waiting patiently in tea chests at Ken's Self Storage back in Oz (Mr Ken earns himself a nice $1500 a year to house my beloved heels).

I couldn't bare to think about the ludicrous amount of money that has been spent on these babies; hundreds, thousands (cue: sudden wave of heat over body), unbelievable amounts of mine and (and my Mums - also a shoe lover) hard earned cash. The only thing that made me feel better about this unfortunate realization was thinking about all the lovely parties they had been to, the dresses they had complemented, the dance floors they had carved up and the French martinis they had enjoyed and they never once complained about the copious amounts of champagne I've spilt on them. Troopers I tell you.

I also began to realize how valuable they are and how I really should be paying someone a premium of some type to promise reimbursement in the case of loss, there really has to be some way I can protect them? "Against what?" the boyfriend asked "well you know, bad things....all those bad things that can happen to shoes" boyfriend some what perplexed.

Is it unstable to consider storing them all in a trolley suitcase for ease of escape in a fire? I have a problem.

Monday, 19 May 2008

A small window of opportunity

I’ve always been jealous of those girls who manage hefty discounts on luxury items – you know the type, the girls who work for L’Oreal who get discounts on "like everything", beauty editors who have so many free night cream samples that they complain about not having enough skin or nights to trial it all on (sucks to be them) and even closer to home are those major big gun bloggers who receive random luxury goods in the post in hope of a little free advertising in return. I love love love to hate hate hate these girls and I’m completely aware that this built up angst is generated by pure, undeniable, green with envy, jealously. Sadly, I have always paid the full, fat price for my goods and services plus any extra VAT, shipping, alteration, gift wrapping, steaming or any other ridiculous made up consumer cost.
Last Friday, however, saw me swanning the floors of Burberry's flag ship store on Bond St for the trunk show preview of the AW08 range. This joyful experience included both AW08 Pre collection and AW08 Runway. To die for, I know. How I ended up as a VIP warranting an invite to this elite event is a long “I know someone in head office who knows someone in head office” story, but never the less, there I was faced with 3 floors of luxury ‘not yet for sale’ items and a nice 40% discount on top of a “I know someone in head office who knows someone in head office” discount.

With an exceptional markdown situation staring me in the face, a beautiful display of some of the worlds most extravagant and lavish items I suddenly began to feel a little light headed and hot, really hot actually, the red ears, rash on the neck, Prince Harry pink cheeks type of hot. Was it the bubbly that was served to me by a waiter who was most possibly the most handsome man in the entire universe? Was it the sugar hit my blood system was getting from the most delightful bite sized dessert canapé also served by an outrageously handsome man or was it the fact that for the first time in my life I was “one of those girls” one of the rare lucky ones. Lets keep in mind this was a once in a life time opportunity for me, imagine the pressure, I had no choice but to choose well and to choose smart, the pressure was so intense.

It all started to became too much, should I use this rare, lucky break to purchase the classic double breasted trench? Should I stick with beige or should I risk a seasonal colour, Aubergine anyone? Should I play it super safe and buy an LBD that I will hand down to my ever so stylish (not yet conceived) daughter or should I enter my birthday soiree next week in a never before seen, out of this world Burberry creation that will blow my crowd away with its pure awesomeness and its fashion forward theme. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
It was at this point that I think I began to have a small breakdown. I had to get out, I couldn’t cope, I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, let alone what to buy.

So I left.

With nothing.

Not a single purchase.

.....and now the show is over and I may never again have the chance to be served champagne by the worlds most handsome man or buy an heirloom trench at ridiculous %ages off.

It’s official. I suck.

When Issey met Hadid

Cathedral ceilings and pleating - 2 of my great loves living happily together under one roof, this my friends is exhibition dreamland. I saw Saturday's raining miserableness as the perfect opportunity to wander around Skin + Bones down at the ever lovely Somerset House. With the fear of sounding cheesy and somewhat like a Somerset House copy writer, it really is a must see for design lovers and on a more personal note, the perfect way to kick off my weekend.
This wonderful wonderland of buildings and fabric takes foundation and structure to a whole new level, paralleling never before (in this brain anyway) thought of themes such as shelter, structure, geometry and identity. The links between the two practices are fused in a smooth and easily identifiable curation helping those who may only be concerned with one or the other form to appreciate how they are both linked and complement each other so beautiful.

I'm not a huge advocate of taking pictures inside museums or public houses that clearly state "no flash photography" but I just had to capture what I was seeing. I took the literal term, turned off my flash and happy snapped away bringing you this snippet of what was simply a stunning collaboration of two of the world's most intricate and beautiful art forms.

The final highlight for me was the book shop, always cleverly situated at the exit of the exhibition. Here lay every big gun fashion and architecture book that has ever been published -
this is what coffee table book dreams are made of I tell you. I spent a good hour flicking, mulling and touching the pages, until I was hurried along and taken for a glass of wine underground at Gordon's, yet another piece of London architectural brilliance. Today I love my rainy, grey, terribly fashionable city and tomorrow........ well tomorrow is Monday.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

These are a few of my favourite things

If I was to list the top 3 things I miss most about the mother land it would look something like this:

1.Soft Water (apparently this exists)

2.Vitamin D (the natural type)

I’m a huge advocate of finishing off a look with some type of hair/head accessory. Hat, scarf, ribbon, feather, hell I’ll put a basket of flowers on my head if I think it pulls the outfit together, however, I tend to continually search unsuccessfully for pretty, on trend, special hair attire here in the UK.

MIMCO undoubtedly shines as Australia's leading fashion accessories brand and sits sweetly in an exclusive position between luxury designer and high street brands. There is simply no comparison on product design and exclusivity here in the UK. A plastic head band from Claire’s for example, is a bit like a lucky dip, you never know what you're going to get. Generally their £2 bands are so tight and rough around the edges that they leave you with a behind the ears headache and a nasty “I was wearing a head band earlier” line indented in your do - an issue that one doesn’t have to worry about when purchasing an ergonomically designed MIMCO hair accessory. Price of course will double even triple with the purchase of MIMCO over Claire’s, provoking the question – do we only get what we pay for?

Accessorize is a cheap and sometimes nasty version of MIMCO but once again it’s a lucky a dip. I have a lovely beaded clutch I’ve used for years from Accessorize but have found every pair of own brand tights to have laddered in the first 5 minutes or tend to bunch, giving me a bad case of elephant ankles, not great considering height at 165cm is clearly an issue here. I have never been disappointed with a MIMCO product (bag, scarf or hair product) and have always got more than my monies worth out of their high use. What Im chasing now is an answer to this accessory heaven here in London.

At one point I heard a rumour that this retail dream was moving into high profile locations across the UK and Ireland, the first due to open around September 2007, hhhmmmm I strongly believe I have my finger on the London fashion pulse and I'm yet to hear about any MIMCO stand alone boutiques, concession spaces or wholesale relationships here in London, have you?

2 of life's little luxuries - boyfriends and MIMCO hair decoration

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Blow Out

A fifth member of the SATC team seemed to steal the thunder from our 4 favourite New Yorkers last night. It wasn’t BIG or do we now have a license to call him ‘John’ nor was it the ridiculous, out this world hotness of Samatha’s toy boy Smith or do we call him Gerard? more to the point were they even there?

For me, the star by far of last nights red carpet moment was a stunning lime green flora and fauna creation that sat firmly on the side of the ever lovely SJP’s head. Ugliest women alive – I think not. Yet again, artisan Philip Treacy steals the lime light (another outstanding play on words by yours truly) from his client and basks in the glory of his millinery brilliance.

Let's take this moment to view a few of his previous works paying special attention to the late Isabella Blow. Blow, the worlds most eccentric and slightly peculiar fashion director was Treacy's most stanch supporter – even renting out her basement flat to the hat maker for 3 years keeping him on hand to create outlandish and surreal creations at a minutes notice.
  • Butler Check

  • Driver Check

  • Personal Milliner hat making in the basement Check
She is truly missed, however, still manages to steal the show from beyond, quite a fashionable and extravagant achievement really and today we thank her for that – enjoy.

Monday, 12 May 2008

...and so the hunt continues

The weekend saw me experimenting with 2 more sunglass options. I'm not quite sure if they were hit or miss (I'm leaning more towards miss) but here's the evidence. You be the judge.

Article number 1: Saturday - Bricklane on a fruitless adventure to the very overcrowded and steaming hot Absolute Vintage, usually a pleasure but this week I just couldn't cope.

I give to you the £2 Primark oversized plastic numbers. I unfortunately felt like a bad version of the already bad Mrs Victoria 'you cant see my face for my glasses' Beckham. I'm giving them a solid 5 of 10. This surprisingly high average is due simply to the fact that the lens reflects a lovely shade of chocolate over all I see, I imagine this is how Willy of the Wonker Factory fame views his magical world of singing little people and sugar coated goodness. That's what dreams are made of.

Article 2: Desperate to shade the eyes from the scorching sun while blogging & researching at my local beer haunt (so very British), I trialled a ridiculously over priced pair of Chanel wrap arounds with garish mother of pearl CC's on the arms. A truly terrible move and almost WAGGY which we all know is my worst nightmare. I'm giving them a sound 3.5.....however teaming them with those lovely Jeager pearls could have just pushed them up to a clear 4.

.....and so my friends the search continues, when and where it will end we don't know. Daily I dream of summer eye wear utopia and a land where plastic and lens come together in perfect pupil protection harmony. When I finally reach this destination of hope I will no doubt inform you all of where to found this land of promise. Till then we will continue with this tedious trial and error approach. The pain, the pain....

Sunday, 11 May 2008


Dear All,

I would like to inform you that as of today May 11 2008 'Petra the PC' has sadly resigned from MOMTD and is moving on to newer pastures. 

We would like to thank her for all her hard work and especially highlight her integral involvement, hours of hard work and late nights during the launching of MOMTD and wish her all the best with her future endeavours.

We have spent the good part of the last 6 weeks debating the PC Vs Mac theories here in the head offices of MOMTD. We've road tested, hung out at PC world, attended free lectures at Apple Regent Street and as a result would like to welcome 'MacBeth' to our team and hope she will enjoy her time with us and look forward to her contributions and successors.

Kindest Regards,
Francis Girard
Mud On My Tea Dress
Editor in Chief

Friday, 9 May 2008

Negative Ghost-Rider... the pattern is full

Due to the pure awesomeness of the weather here in London this week I have begun the summer search for the perfect sunglasses. Quite similar to the winter coat hunt really, considering it becomes quite a high use seasonal item you really do have to be super happy with your choice, bearing in mind that in 6 months you will detest the item due to its everyday requirement and general over use.

I believe eye wear choice can tell you a lot about a person. Glasses belong in the same category as belts, wallets and shoes, a quick glance south of the shins and I can generally pin personality type, job description and post code – so much for living in a classless society.

There are 2 categories of sunglasses:
1) Cheap, on trend, breakable and easy to replace
2) Prescription ergo expensive ergo break your heart when you sit on them

I unfortunately belong to the latter of the 2 groups and therefore spend a good month (generally May) contemplating size, shape, colour (lens & frame) and price. I’m not fussy when it comes to label however tend to shy away from massive D&G style branding & sparkle on the arms. Eeek.

Due to my prescription requirement I’m limited when it comes to frame and style. The outer rim must be strong and the manufacturing sturdy to hold the thicker than usual lens and the shape can not be too rounded or “wrapped” or my optometrist will refuse to fit the lens. This unfortunately was my problem in the summer of 2007 leaving me with my tortoise shell, over sized, pre baby, Nicole Richie themed sunglasses. The Rachel Zoe days were so yesterday.

I’m just dying (how very dramatic & not at all accurate) to find the perfect pair of aviators (aren't we all?) and was advised yesterday that the best place to find them is in the kids range of Ray Ban. Apparently they are smaller, catering for children’s faces and sturdier catering for children’s clumsiness – perfect. Only problem is aviators are impossible to fit prescription lenses to (rim too thin and shape too tricky) – not so perfect, considering I’d prefer to see the approaching bus, giving me time to step out of its way before it actually hits me.

Yesterday saw me donning my mates vintage R.B aviators circa 1987, complete with warranty and classic old school case, love love love them, the only problem being I can’t see a bloody thing when I wear them – quite a big problem really. I could opt for contact lenses all in the name of fashion but tend to get a severe case of ‘red eye’ after a few hours of wear, prompting parental questions such as “are you smoking pot?” “should we be worried about you Francis?” – also quite a problem. I could simply let the aviator dream go and continue the search for the perfect summer accessory; however, its just such a drag, try on, take off, try on, take off etc etc and so forth…..

Maybe I’ll take a gamble and buy online this year, it’s a risky purchase considering glasses are such a personal statement but considering the sun seems to only make guest appearances here in the UK, a bad, expensive sunglass purchase has nothing on wearing an unfortunate non returnable winter coat for 7 long, cold months.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Reduce Your Carbon Jimmy Choo

In the guerrilla market of retail it seems of late the small voices of Ethical Fashion Groups have finally begun to break through and industry professionals are slowly becoming a little more aware. The big guns seem to be taking time out to think about waste and the negative effects that throw away fashion seems to be bringing to our environment. Honestly, up until recent times I too was entirely ignorant to this greater environmental problem. I'll admit I have an all consuming over indulgent love affair with fabrics and layering and up until this point had never bothered to take any steps towards improving the big picture.
This brings me to the introduction of Miss Mia Nisbet (a friend of a friend) who has taken all of the above into her own creative hands and developed a collection purely based on old clothing that has been recycled, twisted, remade and recreated into her ‘Reclaim To Wear’ collection. Due to her recent success in the ‘Make Your Mark In Fashion’ comp she will show the collection under the label ‘MIAWI’ at Fashion Week here in London. How exciting.

On a recent trip to Malawi, Nisbet was overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of surplus second hand clothing that had been imported from the states and sold in street markets hence giving her the idea of fusing these ‘left overs’ with traditional Malawi dress in the theme of recycling and designing. She proposes to fuse together these hand me downs with “African Clothes, fabrics and prints of Malawi” and show them here in September. Brilliant.

I love the messiness mixed with structure and the hints of the original garment that are still visible in the final product. Due to the recreative (made up word) process that each piece has gone through it seems that each article of clothing has a story, a past, where did the fabric for that bustle come from? Who slept in on a cold Sunday morning in that hoodie before it became a statement piece on the catwalk at LFW?

I am by no means an environmental angel and most certainly a victim of 21st century consumerism. Yes, I have been privy to the odd Battersea car boot sale (3 in total), I have lots of pretty stars next to my name on ebay and have be known to send garbage bags home to be passed off on my younger cousins. I must admit though, of late, I have been taking a little more notice of ethical fashion groups and the awareness they are trying to raise. What I don’t understand is why we don’t think twice about ensuring we turn off the tap when we brush our teeth, turn off our PC at the wall before we go to bed, take care and recycle only the correct materials, yet these ethical groups/labels still have to work so extraordinarily hard just to be noticed?…... Superficiality I fear.


The Met Costume Institute Ball brought us quite an array of glamour this year, there was a slight nod to theme of superheroes, however; generally we saw meters and meters of soft draped fabrics in silk, satin and chiffon. I’m just loving the way folds and pleats are falling with this popular Grecian draped trend, it's giving me an excuse to wrap up and cover all those winter curves.

We also saw numerous one shouldered neck lines (also a Greek influence) bronzed skins and hem lines bunching on the floor, just beautiful for those gifted with height and Mediterranean blood.

Considering I meant to post this yesterday (my day job seems to be getting in the way) I won’t keep you and simply post a visual of my favourites.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Hot off the bakerloo line

In keeping with my "everyday london discoveries" byline (is that what its called?) I discovered a 5 pound discount in the LondonLite this afternoon. I was; however, slightly disappointed that the small print disclosed that the discount was for menswear only but with current trends screaming boyfriend blazers, boyfriend trousers, boyfriend blar blar blar* why not let your fingers do the walking and log onto asos enter LITE08 as the discount code at checkout and until 4pm tomorrow 5 pounds off applies to all menswear orders placed over 50 quid.
If you don't fancy a boyfriend blazer for yourself why not splash out on your very hip and cool dad or your 'needs a stylist real bad' brother, spoil your best male mate or the hot guy you fancy from accounts (so cliche) but have never had courage to talk too - actually that may be a bit weird.

Just thought I would share today's London discovery and spread the online retail joy that is
* p.s.what happens if you're feeling a little down and out because you currently don't have a boyfriend? I bet the copy writers down at arcadia group don't give a flying saucepan about that do they? Insensitive really.

Wrap It Up

Head scarves are a bit like hats – it takes stack of confidence and a really bad hair day to walk out of the house donning one.

I'm quite a fan and over the years I have acquired lots.... many, hundreds even. Silk, cotton, striped, patterned, spotted. Ridiculous I know. They currently live in the top drawer of my bedside table and only get out and about now and then, but when they do they always seem to have the most fabulous time.

The correct shape is super important and separates the high use scarves from the sad, back of the drawer scarves. The old school square shape (very popular in thrift shops and markets - never pay more than £1 for these) are just too difficult to scrunch and tie. I much prefer the long rectangular shape that are made specifically for head or waist wrapping.

Another problem can be width, too much fabric and they become too heavy and the scrunching too wide. Ive done a bit if research and the perfect width when spread out flat should be approx 11cm (head size relevance is also important here). I tend to like them long, I favour the tails hanging out from underneath it gives me that “I have really long hair” even though I don’t feeling.

Now with a bucket full of self assurance and a killer kick ass attitude pull your hair back, shake off your shyness and take a step towards joining the head scarf brigade. Its totally hot right now (apparently).

Monday, 5 May 2008

Clutch It

It just never dies. Our mums carried them, our grandmas carried them, their grandmas grandmas carried them - they are legendary and classic and I have quite the collection lining my top drawer. I’ve over heard and read a lot of late that the clutch is very ‘ON’ trend this season but between you and me I don’t think we ever got over this chic under arm handbag; therefore, I'm not quite sure how we can all of a sudden be ‘on’ it again.

Over time the size may have differed slightly and the shape sometimes twists to give us a more up to date silhouette; however, generally the clutch remains rectangle and closes with a clasp, magnetic button (often used with the envelope style) or as seen with the more modern versions the use of the zipper seems quite popular (quite like a pencil case really).

I do, however, struggle with space limitations and the piling/pulling of fabric underneath the arm (especially when the dress fabric is delicate and the clutch fabric beaded or raw i.e snake skin’s a killer). For best results always carry the clutch in your hand when your dress is made of sheer or fine fabric and where possible get yourself a handsome, well dressed date, there are multiple hidden pockets within the suit jacket even if they always tell you they are full. They are lying. Always limit clutch contents to the bare essentials – nothing screams WAG more than an over packed clutch.