Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Tigercub – Centerfold

Today's soundtrack is Centerfold by Tigercub. As I mentioned the other day, I saw them supporting Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope in Brighton and they were bloody brilliant. I rarely catch support acts thanks to my predilection for prioritising food, but I'm glad this time I did, because they are a great little discovery and it's nice to be championing a local band for once.

Image ©Tigercub

Tigercub has an EP out which I'm devastated I didn't pick up at the gig and haven't been able to track down elsewhere. For the time being all I've found is two songs on YouTube and frankly I want more! They are playing the Green Door Store in Brighton this Sunday so well worth checking out if you are in the vicinity.

Expect big things from Tigercub.



Monday, 29 July 2013

My latest bag crush from YSL

Occasionally something crops up in my inbox that is so beautiful I am instantly smitten, and this little number from Yves Saint Laurent is the latest in a long line of bag crushes for me. In fact it's so beautiful that it has already sold out on Net-A-Porter, although I believe you can add it to your 'wish list' list to be notified if more become available.

I'm not at all surprised it's so popular, it really is the perfect bag. The black leather, 24cm width and shoulder strap make it a practical choice, while the gold logo and tassel ensure that it still has that classic YSL glamour. I can't even be sad that it's sold out either, because at £1,190 it was always way out of my league. Sigh.

I've done a bit of virtual shopping and come up with some very affordable companions for this piece: gold jewellery, studded boots and bright red lips and nails. It's a classic look. Although the beauty of this little bag is that it would go with just about anything... if I only I could get my paws on one!

ONE: YSL cassandre leather shoulder bag, £1190 from Net-A-Porter
TWO: Smashbox be legendary lipstick, £15.50 from Boots
THREE: Stud heel platform shoe boots, £29.99 currently £18 from New Look
FOUR: Revlon nail enamel in Revlon Red £6.49 currently £4.49 from Boots
FIVE: Angel wing earrings, £69 from South West Ten

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope, Brighton

That’s right, I actually have a gig to review! I was beginning to get slight withdrawal symptoms as the last show I went to was Senses Fail way back in May (I kept my promise to see them again in the UK after the drunken LA debacle). So happily on Saturday night I found myself at The Hope in Brighton in the presence of the mighty Dinosaur Pile-Up.

This was made even more exciting by the fact it was my first live Dinosaur Pile-Up experience, and you always remember your first time! Minds out of the gutter people, you know exactly what I mean…

Dinosaur Pile-Up was formed by frontman Matt Bigland (formerly of Mother Vulpine) in 2007 and if Wikipedia is to be believed, he chose the band’s name based on that moment in King Kong where a stampede of dinosaurs trip and roll down a hill, causing what can only be described as a dinosaur pile-up. Matt decided then and there that it would be the name of his next band and he delivered on that promise.

Debut album Growing Pains was released in 2010 and was my introduction to the band. It immediately drew comparisons with nineties grunge (never a bad thing in my book) but was by no means lacking in originality. You may remember Hey Man which I featured as Today’s Soundtrack back in May, well one listen of that and I was hooked.

Growing Pains has been a mainstay on my iPod for a while now, so naturally I had high hopes for its followup Nature Nurture, which was released last month. It had a lot to live up to and honestly on first listen I wasn’t sure it quite cut the mustard. (Trust me that is no insult, it just means it was hovering somewhere around ‘brilliant’ rather than ‘genius’ in my mind). But turns out it just needed a few more listens and now I’m obsessed.

As if the outstanding music isn’t enough, you have to love a band who are selling vinyl and cassettes at their merch table. These guys understand presentation and I’m a sucker for that kind of attention to detail.

So back to the gig. The Hope is a tiny venue in Brighton, in fact the word venue is a rather grandiose way to describe a room above a bar. It was dark, cramped and about 100 degrees – the kind of gig where even propped up against the bar there is only a handful of people between you and the band. You might as well be on stage with them.

The result was an hour and a half of pure unadulterated Dinosaur Pile-Up. A passionate performance that almost made you forget that you were sweating pure beer and had been forced to switch to pints of water – a performance that blew not one but two amps!

The crowd was a sea of topless sweaty guys, the staff was standing on the bar shouting at guys hanging from the lighting rig one minute then moshing with them the next, and regardless of technical difficulties and a crazy audience (largely made up of the support bands I believe) they kept playing like pros.

As you know I’m not a fan of huge venues, and after a few O2 experiences, Brixton Academy seems decidedly cosy, but for once it was nice to re-live the teenage years and see a band play a venue the size of my living room and really give it their all.

I didn’t just see Dinosaur Pile-Up last week, I quite literally lived and breathed them. When we finally pushed our way outside we were sweaty and bruised but grinning like idiots. My god they kicked our arse. And you can call me sadistic all you want, but I loved it.


Ps. We caught some of the support from local band Tigercub and they were fantastic! Well worth checking out. @_TiGERCUB

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Amplified T-shirts and the mythical square-shaped woman

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a big believer that music and fashion go hand in hand. So why oh why are good band T-shirts so hard to come by? Great prints aren’t an issue, all my favourite bands have awesome designs, it’s the fit that’s the problem. Next time you’re at a gig, swing by the merch table and take a look at the women’s T-shirts. I’ll bet you any money you like that you can’t find a flattering one.

Presumably most people are under the assumption that women are either completely square-shaped or that girls who go to gigs plain don’t care about the way their clothes fit. I’m not sure which of these two notions offends me more, but it’s safe to say that no matter how much I love a band, I won’t be wearing their T-shirt if it’s too short, too wide and printed on cheap fabric that will change shape beyond recognition after one wash.

I’ve digressed a little… this post wasn’t meant to be a rant, but a way to share the solution with my fellow non-square band loving women. The first lesson took me well over a decade to learn (not sure why common sense evaded me for so long!) but it was life changing: ignore the ladies stuff and buy a man’s extra small. It will be longer, narrower and so much more flattering!

This solution works fairly well at gigs, but if you’re looking for a few classics, my personal recommendation is that you head over to Amplified Clothing. They have a good selection, a great fit and a range of T-shirts, vests and jumpers for men and women. It also feels much more respectable than when your average high-street chain stocks band T-shirts on a whim.

You know what I mean… you happen to see a great design and you're sorely tempted to make a purchase because for once the fit looks great, but you don’t. Because you know that up and down the country the very same T-shirt is being mass purchased by an army of tweens who have no idea who the fuck Nirvana were, nor an inclination to find out.

If anyone else knows of any places to buy band T-shirts for girls who care about clothes I’d love to hear about them! In the meantime let’s hope bands get their act together. The fact that several guys have thrown men’s T-shirts they bought at gigs my way because the size or fit was all wrong just goes to show…. I’m not just being a total princess, boys care about these things too.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Beautiful Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks

The book that I want to share with you this month is the beautiful Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks. His stylish work is instantly recognisable and his clients have included Revlon, Veuve Clicquot, Vogue and Elle to name just a few.

My review from My Creative Diva magazine is below and if you want to check out more of Jason's work visit www.jason-brooks.com.

Jason Brooks is one of my favourite fashion illustrators, so needless to say I am smitten with this book, which is essentially his love letter to one of the greatest cities in the world. Paris is synonymous with glamour and nostalgia, and both are perfectly captured through Jason’s eyes.

He brings the city’s architectural icons to life in his unique style; the Gothic grandeur of Notre Dame, the proud Arc de Triomphe, the enormity of the Louvre and of course the greatest icon of them all, the Eiffel Tower. Smaller but no less important Parisian icons are here too, from the Art Nouveau style of the Metro stations to the patisserie windows piled high with cakes and macaroons.

This is a beautifully presented book featuring detailed linear sketches, stylish silhouettes, vintage postcards and famous quotes. Further chapters are devoted to travel, shopping – fitting for the birthplace of so many iconic fashion houses – and the many cafes from which he would sit and sketch the world as it went by.

Jason’s style flits from whimsical storybook to high-octane glamour at the turn of a page and although I haven’t been to Paris in many years, this is exactly how I remember it – beautiful, charming and forever calling out to you to return.

Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks, £17.95
ISBN 9781780671055

© Jason Brooks, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Suede by Sophia – a match made in fashion heaven

You may recall a post last year in which I was drooling over some fabulous shoes at London Fashion Week by Sophia Webster. If you’ve checked them out for yourself, you’ll know that her shoes really are something special – so fabulous that they could quite easily tip you over the edge from shoe lover to full-blown credit card crippling shoe-aholic. Her style is fun, bright, and extremely stylish, but my god does this girl know how to work a flamingo! Now there’s a sentence you don’t get to say very often...

So I was very happy to hear that Sophia has collaborated with global makeup brand Revlon. An unusual partnering in some ways (have many shoe designers collaborated with cosmetic companies before?!) but a logical one when you think about it. Shoes and lipstick play a very similar role in a girl's life – they are instant mood elevators and offer a satisfying pick me up, even on those challenging days when a whiskey coffee won’t suffice.

The collaboration is based on Revlon’s new range of ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipsticks, and while I have yet to try these (I must ask my good friend and beauty guru Kay for a review) I am a big fan of Revlon, as it offers amazing products and sleek packaging for drugstore prices. I will sing the praises of their Super Lustrous Lip Glosses to anyone who cares to listen! (Super pigmented, long wearing and non-sticky in case you were wondering.)

The shoes are inspired by Sophia’s favourite lipstick shades – some simply reference the colour, while others use a rather cute lip motif to liven up existing classic styles. The shoes reflect the whole lipstick range, from hot pink and coral to bright red and deep burgundy. My favourites are ‘Kiki’ shown above, which were designed exclusively for the Revlon project and inspired by Revlon’s Muse 005. The clear vinyl makes it look like your feet are covered in nothing but lipstick kisses – strange but very pretty!

For something a little more classic, the gorgeous burgundy ‘Backstage’ pair were inspired by the deep shade 035. Sophia says, “I teamed this suede with rose gold baubles as this is my favourite metallic tone, it's opulent yet elegant and feminine.”

‘Lulu Red’ is a fantastic summery pair of shoes inspired by Revlon’s classic red lipstick shades. The polka dots and ankle strap give them a glamorous fifties feel and you can easily picture a red-lipped Marilyn Monroe skipping round old-school Hollywood in a pair.

For the whole range visit www.suedebysophia.co.uk, where I believe each pair is around the £500 mark and made to order. If you love Sophia Webster but don’t fancy parting with quite that much cash I have good news for you – you can currently pick up some fantastic sale bargains over on her very pretty website for a fraction of the price. I'll post a few of my favourites below, but for more choices visit www.sophiawebster.co.uk.

Peron slingback with rose gold flamingo heel £102, was £340
Flamingo vinyl lace-up bootie £340, was £485

Rio sunrise sandal £170, was £340

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Sugarcult – Hate Every Beautiful Day

Today's soundtrack is Hate Every Beautiful Day by Sugarcult, because I woke up this morning with it playing on loop in my head and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere! Not that I'm complaining.

The grand irony of my unintentional soundtrack selection is that the sun is finally shining – good work England, knew you could do it – and actually, I bloody love every beautiful day! Admittedly it's been a shocking summer, and I'm convinced emigration is my only long-term solution, but in the meantime here's a great soundtrack for yet another beautiful day. Long may it last!

There's no video for this song as it was never a single, so we'll go with a live performance from 2004:




Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Top 5 sale items from Net-A-Porter!

I definitely have a love hate-relationship with sale shopping. I do love a good bargain, but rifling through disorganised rails of sorry looking stock whilst being elbowed by fellow shoppers is not my idea of fun. Why is sale stock always presented so badly on the high street anyway? I understand that most items are in the sale for a reason, and that I'm going to have to look bloody hard to find the sartorial needle in the haystack, but is there any need to make all the clothes look like utter crap?!

Online sale shopping is a whole different ball game, it's far more civilised. The discounted pieces are as well presented as the full price ones, and it's nice to know they haven't been trampled by a horde of bargain hunters during a Saturday afternoon stampede. You can shop from the comfort of your sofa, glass of wine in hand, and with one click your beautifully packaged purchases will be on their way.


I might not have money to burn, but there is something about getting older that means you learn to shop more wisely and would rather invest in a few quality pieces than buy the entire of Primark, only to throw it away when it inevitably falls apart. So high-end sale shopping is often the answer, and you can't beat Net-A-Porter: over 300 amazing brands all in one place, currently with up to 70% off!*

Spending money on high-end items that you will rarely wear makes no sense, even when they are heavily discounted, instead I prefer to spend money on the things that I wear the most; leather jackets, ballet pumps, every day handbags and dresses that can be worn all year round. As for the crazy heels, costume jewellery and trend-led items that won't last more than a season, I'll happily head to Forever 21 instead.

It was a struggle to edit right down, but here's my Net-A-Porter sale Top 5. All of them are a bit of an indulgence but I haven't included any pieces that will completely bankrupt you, because sadly some things are just too expensive, discounted or not! There is a gorgeous black and white stripe skirt by Balmain that I would elbow all the angry shoppers in the world out of the way for, but it is £950 even after taking 40% off, so it just ain't gunna happen...

Textured leather biker jacket by Faith Connexion, £396 was £990

Leather jackets are an investment and something that no doubt I will keep buying every few years, because although I fall in love a lot, I still haven't found 'the one'. The last time I was about to part with some serious cash, I made three phone calls seeking reassurance that I was doing the right thing. And it turns out that I was, because if you wear something at least three times a week then it is clearly worth the investment. Plus leather jackets just get better with age.

Colour block bandage dress by Hérve Léger, £408 was £1360  

I love a good bodycon dress and Hérve Léger truly is the master. If I was going to spend this much on a dress I'd want to be able to wear it with heels or flats and bare legs or opaques. It needs to be just as appropriate for the office or a cocktail any time of year, and this one ticks all the boxes.

Embellished neon silk skirt by Sass & Bide, £154 was £385

Ok, so this skirt is maybe a little frivolous for an investment piece but I'm a sucker for coral and I know that I would love it for years to come. How could you fail to have a good time wearing something as fun as this?! It's another day or night piece too, so good value for money.

Wool mini dress by Red Valentino £273 was £390

I'm fairly sure my sister and I had dresses just like this when we were little, so perhaps that's why I love this nautical number so darn much. I absolutely adore Valentino dresses but they are way out of my price range, so the more affordable RED Valentino line is great, especially with an extra 30% off!

Cotton and cashmere-blend sweater by Sonia Rykiel, £162 was £270
In England a jumper is always a good investment. Unlike other parts of the world, we never pack away our entire winter wardrobe when the seasons change, because you just never know when you'll need a cosy jumper! (Remember that snow in April debacle?!) Better quality will last much longer and this one has a bit of a Charlie Brown feel to it which I love.

So that's my top 5! Head over to www.net-a-porter.com for hundreds more sale items and perhaps next time I will post my top 5 sale items from Forever 21. I'm fairly sure I can find five great pieces and still get change for £50!

*Prices correct at time of publishing
© Rock & Runway

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