The Pleasure of Christmas Books

A fine tradition was revived this year when three fashion history books were found under the tree. A second tradition was also revived - that of my nose buried in a book on Christmas Day.  All three texts are speedy reading but great fun, and photo heavy.
Let's take a look.

Style Book: Fashionable Inspirations , Elizabeth Walker.
All photos. All the time. But a treasure trove of inspiring photos from 1865  to the present, grouped by theme rather than year. Checks, Stripes, Fur, Denim, Flower Power - they all have a section. The subjects range form royalty to Hollywood to the street. There are some inaccuracies and oddities in the captions, but these are few and far between. Most glaring is a photo of Katherine Hepburn in the famous white crepe beaded and sequined evening dress designed by Adrian for The Philadelphia Story (1940) is dated 1935 and called a "peasant shirt...."

for more: Past Perfect Vintage

DEC 19th Fashion Parade: Glitterati

Get ready to dazzle at holiday parties in vintage clothes and accessories that glitter with paillettes and sequins.

A spectacular 70s jumpsuit, fully sequinned, by Oscar de la Renta available at
Mags Rags

60s Does 20s Vintage Beaded Top, Candy Pink With Sequins Beads & Fringe offered by Joules Vintage

Sparkling 1960's D&E aka Juliana Brooch from Linn's Collection

You can find more fabulous vintage items from more sellers at the VINTAGE FASHION GUILD WEEKLY FASHION PARADE!


Posted by Bethan and Melanie

In past twenty four days we have brought you some of the most fabulous and covetable fashion items out there. As people who work in fashion, that's our job and we adore it. Fashion is a part of our culture. But fashion does not exist in a vacuum. This year we have seen riots on the streets of London and more stories of economic woe which are likely to continue into 2012. Today we think it'd be nice to remember that there are many people who cannot pay rent, let alone buy into their fashion fantasies.

Around 4,000 people sleep on the streets of London every night and experts are saying that that number will probably go up next year. That thought is bad enough on any normal night but with Christmas upon us- a time for being cosy at home with our families and friends- it doesn't bear thinking about.

There are a few charities out there who are transforming another bleak day on the street into an opportunity for the homeless of cities across the UK, one of them is Crisis. For almost 40 years they have been helping the homeless, serving traditional Christmas dinner and providing all kinds of activities as well as practical assistance to help guests get out of rough sleeping. Amazingly, for just £23.39 (you probably paid more for your Turkey) Crisis can give one homeless person three good meals, advice, skills sessions and somewhere friendly to be on what should be the friendliest day of the year.

So, we reckon on the final day of advent, and in the spirit of giving shelter and food to those in need (Mary and Joseph were given shelter and food too) forking out for 5 places at a Crisis centre could be the best £116.95 you've spent all year.

Fashion Editor at Large just donated £116.95 on behalf of all of you who read us, helping Crisis give five homeless people a special day on December 25th.

                                            MERRY CHRISTMAS!

“Just as modern motorways have no room for ox-carts or 

wandering pedestrians, so modern society has little place for 

lives and ways that are too eccentric.”

― A.C. GraylingThe Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

The Black Swan ring created by Boucheron

We are reaching the end of our Advent journey. Work at FEAL towers came to a halt at midday today, until 2012. I'm now at home in front of the fire wrapping presents, playing cheesy Christmas songs and putting away home made mince pies. My guess is you are or soon will be doing much the same. I love that Christmas seems to be the only time of the year when we all stop and take time to reflect on the year behind us, and the one ahead. The penultimate advent post celebrates the incredible beauty of Parisian fine jewellery. I'll leave the description to Boucheron...

Not surprisingly, the price is given on request. 

"In nature we never repeat the same motion. In captivity (office, gym, commute, sports), life is just repetitive stress injury. No randomness." 

For today, I'll leave you with an astounding scene from Black Swan in which Natalie Portman demonstrates her awesome power as an actor.  Give that girl an Oscar!


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

I may have said that last week's fashion news was the last of the year but then stuff happened and we agreed that it wouldn't be right if we didn't tell you all about it.

Despite the rest of us winding down, the week has been full of pre-fall collections and SS12 campaign imagery. We'll bring you pre-fall news later in the festive period, for now here are the major campaigns which have been unveiled in the past seven days.

NINA RICCI: Raquel Zimmerman shot by Inez and Vinoodh

VALENTINO: Zuzanna Bijoch, Bette Franke, Maud Welzen and Fei Fei Sun shot by Deborah Turbeville

Very beautiful. I love Deborah Turbeville's work and it's nice to see a major label using a photographer outside the usual band of names called upon for the ad campaign job.

VERSACE: Gisele Bundchen shot by Mert and Marcus

YVES SAINT LAURENT: Mariacarla Boscono shot by David Sims

PRADA: Natasha Poly, Meghan Collison, Elise Crombez, Ymre Stiekema and Katryn Kruger shot by Steven Meisel

This is so much more prim and grown-up than AW11's surreal campaign. It underlines the observation that this is Miuccia Prada's most commercial collection for some time.

GIVENCHY: Gisele Bundchen shot by Mert and Marcus

Gisele also stars in the Versace campaign. Funnily enough, Givenchy and Versace were two of the labels whose SS12 made us think of Under the Sea. For their campaigns, they've gone super modern, super sexy mermaid- the water is there but it's in no way whimsical or mythical.

CHANEL: Joan Smalls and Saskia de Brauw shot by Karl Lagerfeld

Similarly, this could have been so mermaidy, but is instead very riviera. Mademoiselle would surely approve.

BALENCIAGA: Laura Kampman shot by Steven Meisel

All campaign images are from
In other news...

Marques' Almeida (image via
The AW12 line-up for Fashion East has been announced this week. The panel decided to stick with the success of SS12 and so there are no new names to report. James Long, Marques Almeida and Maarten van der Horst have been given a chance to build on the success which their collections shown in September have achieved. Panel member and FEAL favourite Sarah Mower said:

‘Fashion East’s 2012 cohort of designers excelled so remarkably that all their Spring collections have already been picked up by stores. So having them back to show together again for Fall 2012 will give buyers and journalists a second chance to spectate as these contenders take off in [the] Olympic year.’

James Long (image via
Maarten van der Horst (image via
Giambattista Valli has been officially admitted to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The label showed in July as a guest at Haute Couture week but has impressed so much that the usual five year process for acquiring membership has been fast-tracked. President of the Chambre Synidcale, Didier Grumbach said:

“It was clear from his show [in July] that he has caught the attention of a new generation of customers, and he immediately took important orders for his couture ... it’s true that the haute couture appellation gives him legitimacy, but objectively speaking, he is already part of the system.”
A look from Valli's July show (image from

Duchess Kate's five-outfits-in-a-day for Christmas at Sandringham may be causing hysteria among certain sections of the media, but here at FEAL we're slightly more interested in the announcement this week that Princess Diana's dresses are to be displayed at Kensington Palace from 26th March next year. Proper fashion history.

Diana meets Princess Grace of Monaco (image from

Tempted to dress like a panto fairy? Take this Christmas fashion advice from Karl Lagerfeld, via Courtney Love, backed up by Karl's muse Lady Amanda Harlech:

"One time I was standing at the Mercer and Karl Lagerfeld goes, ‘What are you doing in this tutu?’ and I say ‘I have a record coming out.’ So Lagerfeld says to me, 'you are not getting laid in a tutu.' And Lady Amanda Harlech, who I adore who works for Karl, goes 'Courtney, you’re really not getting laid in a tutu.' And I realized, you know, that I did look like Baby Jane Hudson."

Karl says NO (Image from

Everyone seems to be holding their breath for a challenging 2012. This week, Paul Smith announced a 36% rise in profits to £34 million despite the fact that Japan, one of their biggest markets, has had a turbulent year. More pessimistically, Prada's share price has plummeted by 32% since July. Analysts predict that even Chinese consumers will be cutting back on spending in the New Year. Given that over 40% of Prada's revenue came from this market in 2010, that forecast paints a dim outlook for the label into 2012. Hence the commerciality of SS12 perhaps, clever Miuccia. 

We may be awaiting news of Chanel's SS12 campaign but it was revealed this week that Alice Dellal will be the new face of the Boy bag campaign. After spotting Dellal at a photoshoot several months ago, Karl Lagerfeld apparently couldn't get her out of his mind. Chanel said: "Alice Dellal represents the perfect incarnation of all that is unique about the Boy Chanel handbag collection, which strives [to be] far from conformist notions of femininity." In the teaser image which has been released, Alice is looking super girly- where's that undercut?

Image from
Bruno Guillon has been recruited by Mulberry to take over from current Chief Executive and Chairman Godfrey Davis. Guillon is leaving his position as Managing Director at Hermes to take up the position. Mulberry's growth has been nothing short of jaw-dropping but this move makes it quite clear that label has no intention of slowing down. There is plenty of room for Mulberry to expand with more stores abroad. It seems that with Guillon working alongside Davis (who becomes non-executive chairman) there will be the know-how in place to one of Somerset's finest exports a properley global brand. 

Finally, in case you've been living on Pluto then you will know that fashion's favourite TV show, Absolutely Fabulous, is back with new episodes for Christmas after a hiatus of more than seven years. Edina has apparently embraced blogging and tweeting and has replaced her love of Lacroix with a Stella McCartney obsession. Be sure to have the Bolly on ice for Christmas Day at 10 sweeties. 

A sneak peek...

For old time's sake...

Etsy VFGteam Featured Seller

Welcome to our new VFG Blog series featuring members of the VFGteam at Etsy!

You will be introduced to a different Team member in each new post. Please check out our Team Gallery page here.
Today's featured seller is Diana Craig Sparks and you can visit her shop bctreasuretrove here.
1. When did you first get interested in vintage fashion & why?

I've always loved history and fashion, so I suppose it's inevitable that the two would come together. My first love is 19th century fashions and when I had the opportunity to open an antiques shop, I thought it would be fun to offer antique clothing and jewelry. As time passed, customers would ask about other eras and one era led to another and before you knew it, I was offering clothing dating from 1840 to 1980!

2. Do you regularly wear vintage?

No. Larger sizes are hard to come by in vintage, but I do have a few dresses that I like to wear. Interestingly, they're all summer dresses so I wear those in warm weather! I do wear vintage costume jewelry on a regular basis.

3. Do you have a Holy Grail?

Oh yes! A Sybil Connolly pleated Irish linen dress. I was fortunate to have been asked to provide an appraisal of one of these dresses, so I enjoyed the opportunity to actually see and inspect one. I'm absolutely fascinated with and appreciate the construction.

4. If you could visit the atelier of any fashion designer (dead or alive), who would it be?

Charles Frederick Worth.

5. What do you see as the future of vintage?

I think it will be interesting to see what items actually survive long enough to become vintage! So much of today's clothing and jewelry is being made with inferior fabrics and materials that I wonder how much of it will still be wearable after 50 years.

6. What is your favorite item in your shop?

Barrel Shaped Purse with Raffia Decorations

Here are a few more items from Diana's shop:
 1960s Vintage Little Black Dress Party Dress Medium

Peignoir Set Sheer Cherry Red Nightgown and Robe Small

Hat Vintage 1950s Black Brown and Ivory Straw

Antiqued Gold Metal & Rhinestone Filigree Victorian Revival Bracelet


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large
The Row Leather Backpack £2,635
 It was not so long ago that rucksacks represented the anitthesis of what we wanted from a bag. It was all about the arm candy, the It-ness, the glint of a designer tag. There were stories of women developing major back and shoulder injuries as a result of tucking their Lariat/ Alexa in the crook of their elbow for far too long. The inevitable return to a more practical model has seen the rise and rise of the satchel over the past year. And, more and more, the rucksack. Despite the usual connotations of practicality, techy fabrics and a pouch for a water bottle, there are a number of super luxe versions for those of us who can only handle this trend when it is taken as far away from potential Jansport comparisons as possible.

Enter The Row. While all their contemporaries are wearing bargain army surplus finds or battered up vintage leather versions of the rucksack, 25 year-old squillionaires Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have created a rather stunning £2,635 taupe objet de back art. Whether anyone besides themselves will be purchasing it is slightly doubtful but it is a thing of beauty we simply had to share. I went to view The Row's SS12 collection in Paris earlier this year. It was pristine and beautiful, all the materials and details hummed with luxury. I spied Mary Kate and Ashley in the corner of the vast room being interviewed. I can only describe the way they looked as reminding me of toys which had never been taken out of their box- so bright and shiny. Their collection is so covetable yet to have an item from it would really only be of any use if you lived your life away from the hum drum of grimy streets, public transport and well, reality.

'Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing' Dodie Smith

Lucy Rose is a friend of a friend. She works with Bombay Bicycle Club and has been supporting Ed Sheeran recently. If you're feeling the effects of pre-Christmas frenzy, close your eyes and listen to this this. Bliss. 


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

YSL 'Opyum' high heel pump, £440 at Yves Saint Laurent
While out in central London this morning doing the last of my Christmas shopping I couldn't resist popping into Yves Saint Laurent. YSL is the label that most closely resembles my high fashion ideal. If it were possible on a journalist income, which it most definitely isn't, YSL would dominate my wardrobe. 

Nevertheless, the black interior of the brands' Old Bond Street store has cocoon like qualities which swiftly lulled me into a trance while flitting between cabinets of (relatively) affordable and striking costume jewellery and recessed areas displaying shoes and bags. To give you an idea, a large gilt pendant on thick black rope was £365 at YSL, while across the road at Prada a fairly standard diamante necklace with rose motif cost an astronomical £870.  

I had absolutely no intention of purchasing anything at YSL until, upstairs, I came across a new line of shoes from its cruise collection.  One of them is above. It is an elegant pump called Opyum (the brands most famous fragrance is called Opium) and it was love at first sight. Heads up: elegant shoes with refined silhouettes are back in favour for spring as fashion's first adopters are slowly moving away from the platforms, wedges and chunky blingy shapes of the last few years.

So, darn it that the Opyum range, in store for just six days so far, and offered in slingback and with different toe tip colours, was already low on stock. 

I did what I had to do. They are available to buy online if you click the link above.

“Did they know why they knew? Not at all. But 

they Knew!” 

British singer/songwriter/musician Anna Calvi is on my radar for 2012. Her eponymous debut album was shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize, and as we close the year both Frida Giannini of Gucci and Karl Lagerfeld are citing her as an inspiration, and she features in this months French Vogue.  Calvi's music is an acquired taste but her look is straight from a Helmut Newton photograph. I love this video for the track "I'll be Your Man." 


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Heaven is Real (Kate eyes shut) 1991 by Corinne Day

Heaven is Real (Kate eyes open) 1991 by Corinne Day 

In my other life I collect fashion photography. Also in my other life I would have these prints on the wall of my study and looking up at them I would feel happy and soothed by the angelic beauty of the Mossy aged 17.  As it is these prints are top of my fantasy Christmas wish list. I gave Corinne Day's gallery Gimpel Fils a quick call just now just to see how much they cost, a step I haven't taken before. I usually just admire them on the website. They cost £10,000 each + VAT.   

"Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity." 
                    ~Frank Leahy, Look, 10 January 1955

En Vogue "Hold On" 1990 


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

I've now been Fashion Junior for almost five months. When I was chatting with the FashEd the other day, it struck us both just how far I'd come. Six months ago, I was finishing my English degree and wondering what I would do with my life. Fashion Journalism had been my first choice of career ever since I saw a documentary about Anna Wintour, on a plane when I was 12- what a cliché.

I did my best to exploit my very few contacts in journalism as soon as I could and so got a couple of internships under my belt when I was still quite young. However, the gloomy picture which my university (a well-respected red brick) painted for me made me dedicate most of my third year to Plan B- The Graduate Scheme. That meant taking part in endless psychometric tests, assessment exercises which ranged from building a bridge made out of Lego with 10 other people to spending three hours dealing with a fictional earthquake. I got further than many with lots of the schemes which I applied for but fell at the final hurdle each time. So, I can well understand the frustration of young people looking for work who have slogged their way through a degree (a decent one does require considerable dedication, contrary to popular belief) as well as doing voluntary work, internships and taking up positions on committees of university societies but finding they STILL don't fit the bill.

Fashion Junior graduating!
All this meant that by the time I was tweaking the final essay of my academic career (further study was something I couldn't face) I was still not sure where my next pennies were coming from. I had joined Twitter as an observer, following people who tweeted about things which interested me. It became better procrastination than Facebook. So as I wrote about post-colonial interpretations of Shakespeare, My Fairy Twitter Mother, Melanie Rickey, tweeted that she needed an intern for a few weeks. I tweeted back and there began my astoundingly swift journey from unemployed graduate statistic to Fashion Junior at Large, a job which not only involves posting on this blog but also helping out the FashEd with all her other projects.

 Around 100 people applied for the job I have and I still have to pinch myself that I am the one who got it. I see internships and jobs advertised every day via Twitter. In fact, you should follow @katie_jane_rose because she is always retweeting opportunities.  You'd be stupid not to be on Twitter if you want a career in any industry which has embraced it. It is a unique chance to connect with the key people. I was very lucky to get a paid job straight away, I don't contest that and don't want to sound like a brat. I was gearing myself up for unpaid internships like many of my friends. I'm lucky that my parents live near enough to London  that I could have done that. It's a travesty that that fact is a prerequisite for gaining experience in capital-centric industries. Even doing paid work at weekends would do nothing to cover rent in London.

I wanted to write about this because I feel despair about the situation which so many people my age find themselves in. On Friday, Dazed ran the first of a series of interviews with young people about the unemployment they face entitled 'Wasted Youth'.Newspapers are full of gloomy stories about the situation with plenty of jobseekers willing to tell their stories; what's shocking and should send shivers done the spine of every person in this country is that these people range from 17 year olds who want to become plumbers and electricians to 24 year-olds with Masters degrees. No path or background is a guarantee any more.

But I do think we can be more positive and more savvy. I loved Celine Cavaillero's website which even made it onto after she recreated their site as her CV. At the time, everyone was talking about her and being entertained by her way of making herself stand out. I gather that since then she has landed a job with Yahoo in France.

But it's not all about gimmicks; I know I wouldn't have been offered my job with the FashEd had I not displayed considerable fashion geekiness. I gave an impassioned monologue about my love of Jonathan Saunders' AW11 collection. I was also able to explain who Ines de la Fressange and Diana Vreeland were. These people are not completely obscure but you do need to have been immersing yourself in fashion news and history to be able to answer.

So, if you are looking for a job in fashion I suggest you do hours of research, looking through the latest collections, reading about designers, see what Fashion Editors are talking about. Learn to make a fabulous cup of tea and think one step ahead of your potential employer (not always easy!). Be endlessly proactive. 'The harder you work, the luckier you get' a very wise editor I admire recently wrote and that could not be truer.


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Start have this on sale for £115 in XS, if you're not XS then Net-Porter is your place for £185
 I write this from my desk, one handed, as the the other hand grips onto my umpteenth cup of tea of the day, made in a desperate attempt to keep warm. I am layered up with jumpers and scarves but it's not helping. I want to be somewhere warm, like lying on sheepskin next to a burning log fire or on a farflung beach where clothes are not necessary and the only tea needed is of the Long Island variety. So I thought it might help (optimistically perhaps) if I wrote about what I would be wearing on said beach. My hands down first choice is a We Are Handsome swimsuit. These first came to many people's attention last year when Rihanna and Diane Kruger amongst others confounded the usual expectations of celebrity beach attire- a super skimpy, frilly bikini- by choosing the label's Amazon Panther print swimsuit. It sold out rather fast after that. However, if you're still interested, Net-a-Porter have an exclusive re-stock. I love the The Amazon but there are also plenty of other fab designs; The Knight Rider shows a staggeringly handsome horse galloping off into the starry night while The Hunter shows a pensive stag. If you're not into the animals then The Carnival (with a very cool scuba zip) and The Garden might be more up your street. If you're lucky enough to be popping off for some winter sun then Start already have a few We are Handsome pieces on sale. And for those of us stuck with the layering and lying in front of log fires option, this is an optimistic future planning purchase.

The Amazon re-stocked exclusively at Net-a-Porter for £190
Rihanna in her panther print (image from

Sunshine is useful for other stuff than keeping us warm on a beach... George Eliot's rather wonderful  metaphor for egotism...

'He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow' George Eliot

Whatever you think of Rihanna, you can't argue that this is one of THE definining songs of 2011...


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Plattan Quilted Earphones £80 from Urbanears
A few weeks ago, the Fashed reported in Grazia about the new 'fashion-ear-stars' (as in fashionistas, get it? She's so proud of that pun). It's not new to use earphones as a kind of fashion statement, especially since that white wire attached to ipod earphones became such a marker of coolness. However, there are now brands which mark you out as being particularly in the loop. Beats by Dr Dre is probably the best example. It seems that posing with some Solos round your neck/ perched atop your head your hip factor goes off the scale. But then there is the retaliatory group which sees them as just too posey. The FashEd and I have become big fans of Urbanears which are sleek and discreet. They come in an array of sharp colours and when displayed look like a big pantone chart. Our favourites are the quilted plattans which have something of the Chanel about them. They appeal to those in the know, but aren't garish or branded with logos like other brands.

Today's quote and video are random things which my friends have been showing me this weekend...

'I am waiting for a really strong and meaningful pig role' Miss Piggy, of course

Dec 12th Fashion Parade: Shopping in the City

This week's Vintage Fashion Parade features our suggestions for what to wear to go holiday shopping in vintage style.

50s Red Velvet Swing Coat with Rhinestone Button available at DeniseBrain

Vintage Hat Italian Brown Wool Fur Trimmed Breton from Alley Cats Vintage

.Vintage 50s Green Red Plaid Wool Jacket offered by The Spectrum

You can find more fabulous vintage items from more sellers at the VINTAGE FASHION GUILD WEEKLY FASHION PARADE!