Monday, 27 September 2010

Catherine Walker

I was very sad today to learn of the passing of French born dress designer Catherine Walker.  Best known for her designs for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Catherine Walker's designs were always the epitome of style and elegance.  I think the fashion world has lost a wonderful designer.  You may see some of Catherine Walker's fabulous designs on her website:

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A little piece of Hermès History

Up until about 2000 Hermès produced some scarves on a jacquard silk fabric.  Most famous perhaps is the Napoleon scarf with it's bees woven into the weave of the silk.  Bees because that was Napoleon's emblem and I wonder if also because traditionally bees are said to achieve the impossible?
Napoleon 1995

I have been lucky enough to acquire 7 scarves featuring a jacquard silk - lucky because you can no longer buy them from Hermès themselves as the silk is too expensive to produce these days. 

I have 4 Carnevale de Venise/Fetes Venitiennes and these feature a lute and mandolin in the jacquard - Hermès usually reflect a feature of the scarf design in the jacquard.

Fetes Venitiennes
Carnevale de Venise
Carnevale de Venise x 2

L'Instruction du Roi features little horsemen again reflecting the design and I really like this one!

My final scarf is a Christmas scarf called Joies d'Hiver and this shows Victorian skaters and, no surprises, the jacquard is skating couples which you can see in the photo below:

 and here a close up of the jacquard

It would be wonderful if Hermès would reintroduce the jacquard silk as they sell lots of other scarves in what are (IMHO) equally expensive fabrics!

If you would like to find out more about these lovely scarves I found a great web page HERE which gives a background to the jacquard weave and a list of the designs issued by Hermès.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Stockholm Trip

I went to Stockholm the weekend before last to see the exhibition of royal wedding dresses at The Royal Armouries.  I have never been to Scandinavia before and I really liked Stockholm!  Here is a first view of the city.

The Old town - or Gamla Stan - was really pretty with lots of medieval cobbled streets to wander along and lots of lovely little shops.

The main square in Gamla Stan, Stortorget, was the scene of a bloody massacre in 1520 hence why the house you see on the left below is painted red - for the blood that was spilled!!

When we came out of the T-Bana metro station into Gamla Stan there was a nice flower seller and a fruit and vegetable stall - you may just be able to see the red lingonberries, top left in this picture, which are a native berry found in Sweden and which is used to make jams with.

The shops were selling lots of nice things, but it was very expensive!!  Here are some cute trolls and the traditional Dala Horse which I think is like a national emblem in Sweden.
More trolls and Dala horses.
Hand painted Dala Horses
Walking along the road in front of the Royal Palace were some lovely petunias in boxes hanging along the railings - they looked really pretty in the sunlight.
No trip to Stockholm would be complete for me without a visit to the small but very interesting Dance Museum - photos were not allowed but I did manage one of the bronze statue of the Russian ballerina Galina Ulánova (1910-1998) housed in the foyer of the building.  It was lovely.
The royal wedding dress exhibition was housed in The Royal Armouries - there were just 6 sets of royal wedding dress on display but they were beautiful - and wonderfully displayed - you went into the exhibition room in darkness and then sound and light came on and was used to tell you about the dresses - although we went to a swedish display, rather than wait an hour for an english one, so I could not understand much, but really I was just pleased to see these magnificent bridal gowns. 
The Royal Armouries houses a fabulous collection of clothing all beautifully preserved.  Here are a couple of photos I managed to take without flash so they do look more yellow than in reality - you can see more pictures on the Armouries website here (if you cannot read Swedish just let google translate it for you it is quite good!)
Front - Dress of Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte - she married King Charles XIII 7 July 1774.
Back - current Queen Sylvia's wedding dress from 1976.
Far left - Louisa of the Netherlands' dress - she married Charles XV 19 June 1850.
Centre back - Sofia Magdalena and Gustav III  married 4 November 1766.
In front of this you can see Oscar I's outfit from 19 June 1823 (the dress of his wife Josefina is hidden in this picture).
Front right - Fredrik Dorothea Wihlemina's dress she married King Gustav IV.

On the Sunday we went out to one of the futher parts of Stockholm to Djurgarden and there we happened upon the boat museum and we were able to see the Royal Barge, recently used at the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria in June 2010 - the boat had been restored for the royal wedding and it looked really lovely!

Here is a close up of the "cabin" where the royal couple would be able to sit - it was very basic inside unlike the ornate exterior!

I hope you enjoyed my little trip around Stockhom!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Horses for Courses

The things I bought in Paris all happen to be horse themed!  So here goes with what I found:-

I really like "Ex Libris en Camouflage" but I did not want another 90cm scarf so the gavroche version was the perfect alternative.  I was torn between the monotone black/white/grey version or the lovely pink/red/coral needlesss to say I went for the latter, although I do think I may still end up with a monotone one at some point!  I like red and pink together so this scarf was perfect for me.
Here worn cowboy style and below I folded it in the basic bias and just tied it around the neck at the back.
My next find at FSH was "Pour Sortir" a lovely design of horses in blankets.

This is a 70cm vintage style scarf - I tried two colourways but went for cw01 as the stronger colours suit my colouring better than the muted tones of the dusty purple one I also tried.  However this scarf is great when you fold it on the diagonal and tie it cowboy style - one way you get the black, orange and green and folded the other way you get the pinks and purples so it is almost like having 2 colourways in one!

I tied the scarf like a collar here which shows off all the colours well.

I must just tell you that when I checked my bill at Hermès FSH they had overcharged me quite considerably - I think they charged the gavroche as a 90cm as the design exists in both sizes this season!!!  I had to argue with the check out lady but it was a good job I know my prices - so please, please, always check your bill before entering your PIN number!!!

My final find was at the airport as I had been unable to get this particular colourway of Quand Soudain at FSH so I felt lucky to find this one!  This is another 70cm vintage style scarf.
I really like this design and it is very popular amongst scarf collectors - it is a cartoon strip by Dimitri Rybaltchenko and I love the orange awnings on the shops and FSH!  It is a little difficult to tie this scarf to show the horse so I just wore it cowboy (again)!

Hope you like my finds - I am now just looking for a purple La Vie du Grand Nord and that should be IT for AW10!!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Quick trip to Paris

We went to Paris a couple of weeks ago - the main reason was being able to fly the new A380 there and back!  The plane is very nice and very quiet.  Once onboard it is similar to any other of the large wide bodied jets.  I liked the fact it had nose/tail and belly cameras so you can watch take off and landing on your seat-back screen! 

The leg room was not brilliant and I wondered if maybe they packed in a few more seats on this very short flight seeing as it was sold at a bargain price?!!I only saw Economy and First Class - Business was upstairs.  A nice touch from Air France was a flight certificate handed out to all passengers.

Once in Paris I made a mad dash to Hermès FSH before it closed on Saturday and I did find a couple of things - the Hermès horseman was flying 2 yellow "H Comme Histoires" scarves. 

In the evening we went to Montmartre to our favourite little restaurant and I had my beloved onion soup!

On Sunday the shops in Paris are all shut so we finally made it to the Musee d'Orsay.  I was blown away with the beauty of the Impressionist paintings in the museum.  Sadly the museum is undergoing renovation so not all the paintings are on display, but what we did see were amazing - beautiful Renoirs, Monets, Van Gogh, Manet, Pissaro, Degas etc - I can highly recommend a visit!!  I discovered an artist I had never heard of before - Jean Béraud and I loved his "Une Soiree" painting - I managed to find  photo of it and here it is:-
Photo from

After the museum we had lunch and a rest and then went to a cake shop and bought some cakes which were delicicous!

Coco Dome and Framboise:-

On Monday it was a very early start for the flight back to the UK but the airport has a Hermès;-) and I got lucky again - and no that is not my purchases being loaded into the hold LOL!

Whilst waiting for our connecting flight home we stopped by Gordon Ramsay's "Plane Food" restaurant at Heathrow for lunch - we had a lovely pea, broad bean and Dolcelatto risotto - yummy!

Please look out for my next blog when I shall post pics of the Hermès goodies!!