Savage Beauty – Alexander McQueen @ V&A

Earlier this month I got around to seeing the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A. I always liked his out-there designs and I had been in two minds whether to go to this show, but having read some very good reviews I decided it was worth it.

The online advance ticket store appears to be sold out until almost the end of the run (2nd August), but there are at least 200 tickets available daily on the desk at the V&A. We turned up at about 2pm on a wet Sunday afternoon and after just a few minutes queuing got tickets for the 3.15pm slot. The entries are timed, but you have unlimited time to spend in the show, I think it’s just to try and regulate the flow of people a bit.

I’m using the word “show” quite deliberately. Exhibitions to me are inherently static things, and this is a piece of art theatre. Right from the entry room, through the several themed rooms introducing McQueen the designer, McQueen the style and the recurring themes of his collections, into the finale showpieces, the whole thing is an immersive experience of sound and video in addition to the couture pieces on show.

I certainly learnt a few things about McQueen that I didn’t know before, but mostly it was an opportunity to appreciate and marvel at the fashion he created. I was particularly taken by the jackets in one of the early rooms looking at his key design features, and by the dresses in the Highland Rape collection. The fabrics from the last complete collection, Plato’s Atlantis, were amazing as well. I resisted buying a £350 scarf from the shop in one of those prints…

Photo credit: V&A

Quite rightly, photography is banned so there’s no clues here – go and see for yourself!



1940s Office style

I posted about this dress back in June/July, I bought it for a 1940s themed Hangar Dance. I really love it but for some reason I haven’t worn it since. Today I decided to pull it out for workwear, styled with a brown belt, my new bargain Moda in Pelle shoes (£29.99 down from £59.99) and a vintage yellow scarf.

It’s army green in a wool felt fabric and feels very vintage, but it probably wouldn’t have passed the Utility clothing regulations. It has a lovely floral satin lining throughout, and the bow shape across the bust and even the tucks would probably have been considered “excessive”.

1940s Office style

Bletchley Circle is back on TV and I’m loving the styles the girls are wearing, particularly Susan’s maroon tailored coat and Millie’s tall-girl high waisted trousers and blouses (not a look I can ever pull off, sadly!). The series is set in the early 1950s but the style is definitely more 40s than 50s, we’ve yet to see any hourglass figures or circle skirts.

Stepping back to the 1940s

Now I’m not normally one for costumes, I never really did fancy dress properly at uni and always preferred to concoct an outfit that actually looked genuine, something you would plausibly wear out to a non-theme event.

On the day we got back from Italy last week we also had a party to go to – ’40s in 404′ at the Classic Air Force Trust at Newquay Airport. The event was held in their hangar containing vintage aircraft in various stages of restoration, and there was a swing band and dance group that came to really rack up the atmosphere. Everyone made a great effort with outfits and there were one or two genuine uniforms out of mothballs I think!

So this was my outfit, which I was really chuffed with – the centrepiece being the wartime green ‘Amelie dress’ which was in the sale from Collectif. I paired this with a vintage gold bag I had already, and my cream/gold Ruby Shoo O’haras. The neckline of the dress negates a necklace, so it was just a cream/gold pair of vintage style earrings and my green/gold ring.

1940s Green & Gold Vintage style
We also went and got our hair done and upped the makeup – for a start I wore lipstick which I never do! There were a few aircraft outside the hangar so we braved the cold (still acclimatising backwards from 35C) and snapped some photos too.

What I Wore to Work this Week

So remember a few weeks back I said I’d discovered Polyvore, and might be addicted… well, that turned out to not be entirely true, mainly due to usability. On PC it’s great, but then it took a while to hunt down how to add a ‘clip to’ applet so I could add images from anywhere around the web, not just what they had in their library.

Secondly, I thought it would be a great thing to tatt with during my lunch break from work, but as yet they don’t have an ipad app and the website is not set up for tablet functionality – most problematic is the fact you can’t move or resize objects in sets because the tablet gestures aren’t recognised. This is something they need to sort, pronto. There’s just no excuse for lack of tablet compatibility these days, especially with something like Polyvore.

Other than that, it does fit quite nicely with Pinterest. Lately I’ve decided to compile some private boards with images of all my wardrobe pieces, shoes, accessories etc. This was really since I decided I wanted to create an Italy lookbook. It’s taken a bit of tweaking, and I’ve had to photograph most of my pieces as I could only find good photos of the most recent online. Then I found a nifty app called TouchRetouch to get rid of the coathangers and even out the backgrounds – then in Preview I use the InstantAlpha tool to remove the background entirely, then pin to Pinterest. From Pinterest I can clip to Polyvore, and then when adding to sets the ‘removed background’ setting works perfectly, so I can create sets based on my own wardrobe now. It sounds pretty longwinded but now I’ve got it licked it doesn’t take all that long.

So, below is the Polyvore set for What I Wore to Work this Week – if you click the image it’ll take you to my Polyvore profile.

Mint, Navy & Cream / Black, Cream & Purple

Mon / Tues :  Mango cream pussybow blouse + South navy pencil skirt + Mint New Look courts

Weds / Thurs : Soon textured purple vest + South navy & black trousers + Irregular Choice Patty heels.

All days: Per Una Navy trench coat.

Friday’s “dress down” so that doesn’t count!