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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

FOUND - Leather With My Name On It

I found this hand-tooled leather bag at the Trinity Hospice near the South Kensington tube station. This bag sings of the Wild West with a harmony that recalls something from my childhood. When I was a kid I imagined the women who carried these sorts of handbags were not only well-healed but well-travelled. I'd yet to venture west of the Mississippi River so an accessory like this whispered, 'I've been there. You haven't.' Every year my family did travel to Lake Erie, essentially the Ohio coastline, to a huge amusement park called Cedar Point. Along with cotton candy, roller coaster rides & giant souvenir pencils, you could buy a custom-made leather ID bracelet. A man with a degree of expertise would 'hand tool' your name into a strap with a snap that you wore around your wrist. The 12-year-old custom was to then exchange the ID bracelet with a boy you fancied. Bill Hunt and I made the swap, although by the end of summer he'd already asked for his back. Early heartache and a lesson in falling too fast. Even though it was £45, I fell hard for this tough but lady-like leather lovely. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

TRY THIS - Big, Beautiful Scarf x 2

This amazing raw silk scarf was given to me by a Cambodian woman who headed a democracy building program in the country. For a month, many years ago, I scurried round the streets of Phnom Penh on the back of a motorbike or wedged into the seat of a pedal powered rickshaw. This colourful woven fabric, a spectacular reminder of the most truly exotic place I've ever been. But I found it was too big. For years I tried to wear it and while the length was perfect the width made it an unwieldy neck piece. Finally though, the light bulb came on and I had it cut in half, the raw edge sewn, leaving me with two long but thinner scarves. I gave the newly created 2nd to my sister. I've now got a wonderful exotic scarf that works, and so does she. 
Huntress is proud to report our necktie project is featured 
as Make of the Month on The Good Wardrobe. Click Here.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

FOUND - Sparkle Made So Simple

I found this vintage sequin top at Bang Bang (CLICK) on Goodge Street in London. It's hand sewn, beautifully made with a light cotton lining. I style it with rolled-up jeans, anything else would leave it feeling overly dated. Paired with denim and vintage heels, it's transformed to low voltage glam. Perfect for a night out with my husband or drinks with girl pals. I work in theatre. Frankly I people watch and get paid, so now and then I long for the days when women dolled-up for an evening at the theatre. Lifestyle changes and the predilections of public transport in London make many high-style choices impossible if not ridiculous. Further, the arts' any-way-is-okay dress-code encourages people to give live theatre a go. But don't sequins, just a few, make the world a better place? This is indeed a perfect West End night-out outfit. The top was £10 - leaving pounds in your purse for an ice cream at the interval. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

FOUND - 2nd-Hand Songstress Style

Not surprisingly, many of my friends are also 2nd-hand hunters - it seems we gather in groups to compare style notes and admire one another's finds. These talented women are also actors, directors, sculptors, painters, illustrators, musician & songwriters. 

Enter Cassie, who found both the hat and skirt above at the Cancer Research charity shop on Portobello Road. A double-bubble hunting hit. (Do forgive the technical jargon.) The hat is unbranded so Cassie embraces its mystery. The skirt - by Fenn Wright Manson - will be transformed on her. Think Stevie Nicks with a dash for Mimi from La bohème for flavor. The skirt was £9 and the hat was £6.   

"With these pieces I'm channeling my love of all things fin de siecle. I think I make that association because velvet always feels so ostentatious and luxurious to me, whatever form it takes," Cassie reveals.

Her artistry? Below a spectacular video recalling, for me, sumptuous fashion illustrations of the 20 and 30s. Listen up - it's Cassie's music, both her voice and song providing the stylish underscoring to these inspiring moving pictures.     

If you're interested in original music for your fashion video, advertisement or artistic project, or just love Cassie's music (like I do) CLICK HERE for more.   

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

FOUND - Back-to-School Brooch

I found this handmade brooch at the Oxfam in Richmond, complete with a standard safety pin cleverly embedded in the back - a nice touch. It reminds me of back-to-school; that time of year when colours go from green to flaming orange, signalling not death, but for me, a new wardrobe. I went to school in a small American town where uniforms were not required but new clothes were; corduroys, turtle neck sweaters, an itchy wool skirt, knee socks and packs of panties were the norm. In August, the tome that was the J C Penney catalog would arrive in the post. My sister and I would thumb the girls clothing section, wearing the pages thin. With the start of school just a week away, off we'd go to the shop itself. We'd parade around the department store for hours trying to find the right bits and pieces. 'Let's put together outfits' mom would say. We argued, laughed, talked at pace and eventually settled on the clothes I hoped would transform me from tall weed to stylish flower. Inevitably the first day of school was still sweltering with summer and the new turtle neck I insisted on wearing left me a wilted dandelion. This brooch at just £2.99 is a perfect autumn accessory regardless of the weather and will look perfect on my beautiful wool jacket from The Rose Online (CLICK). Can't wait to wear both!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

FOUND - Nice Pair, Old Fruit

I found these Jigsaw brand shoes at the Fara charity shop on Bond Street in Ealing. I can remember seeing them some years ago, new, in a Jigsaw shop. I really wanted them then but just couldn't justify buying a pair of 'silk slippers,' upwards of £100, that I could only imagine wearing to 'the ball.' Truth is, I don't mix in Cinderella circles. As is the way, styles move on and hi-low mixing is now essential to a modern, fashionable look. Today I can easily imagine wearing these shoes with rolled-up Levis (my default style piece) and cashmere pear jumper (gift from my mom). This rather nice pair of shoes, destined to be mine eventually, was £15. 
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Monday, 25 August 2014

TRY THIS - £5 Charity Shop Walk

I found this leather, yes leather, bangle at the Fara charity shop in Ealing. Several times a week rather than make my way to work via Ealing Broadway tube station, I walk to Chiswick Station and take the train to Waterloo. A long, lovely walk, part of it along the river, that begins with a swing past several local charity shops. Easily enticed and under time pressure, I could make a purchase that I later regret; grab and go, overspend and under-think. In an effort to self-regulate when walking to Chiswick, I put only a fiver in my purse. It's a challenge; can I snag a small bargain and still have enough leftover for refreshments along the 5+ mile journey. Last week I not only bought this bracelet, a unique addition to my vast collection, but had enough for a cool, fruit smoothie too. The bracelet was just a pound. No regrets. 

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