24.3.14

NFW14 - The Vintage Show #nwchfw

I mentioned my involvement in Norwich Fashion Week in a previous post and Sunday 9th March was the turn of The Vintage Show which I coordinated, making it by far the biggest event I've organised yet! Karen of Fabulous Miss K kindly offered Norwich Fashion Week her vintage consultancy skills for the 2014 show meaning Karen and I held many many meetings and yes a few of those meetings involved wine, but pens and paper were always present and action points were made, so therefore they definitely count as meetings, yes? 

Photography by Kirsty Smith
 Lots of elements went in to the show, planning for Norwich Fashion Week starts as soon as the last one ends (the first meeting to start thinking about the 2015 week happened today!) 

The first task really for this year's show was location. Norwich is a wonderful city, but not much happens on a Sunday evening, so I wanted to make it an event which allowed everyone to get dressed up and make a night of it. So an after party along with fun things like a pop up photobooth and a lipstick bar were on my wishlist. Things that make a night interactive, essentially the kind of night I'd want to go to!

Photography by Kirsty Smith
We have some amazing venues in Norwich, one of which is The Puppet Theatre, a grade 1 listed building that is full of quirks and charm, I was so pleased when it was available on the date we needed, because it ticked so many boxes on the wishlist!

To me, vintage is essentially fashion and history so fashion in a medieval building felt perfect! Now I like victory rolls but they have been done, done and done again. Karen and I both have a habit of procrastinating spending valuable time watching fashion shows on You Tube, the big production ones like Galliano,Westwood etc where anything can happen from trains appearing to big cats on leads.....

Obviously scaling back somewhat........ but The Puppet Theatre definitely sparked some great ideas and so the show plans began with an idea of vintage going avant garde.....

Models for fashion week all applied before Christmas and anyone aged sixteen or over could apply. Teams were then chosen by Sandra Reynold's modelling agency who were one of the weeks sponsors. Karen used her fashion show expertise to put the army of models in to their sets and got them booked in for fittings and I used my styling skills to work on hair and makeup ideas. Several weeks before the show I briefed the hair and makeup team and Jackie Hamilton School of Beauty who'd be putting the hair and makeup plan in to action on the day.

Photography by Kirsty Smith
It was a funny feeling talking to the styling team and pulling ideas together with them. The school is aimed at offering flexible learning for beauty industry skills, so attracts a cross section of ages. Having retrained to do hair and makeup as an adult myself, I felt really pleased that we could involve past and present students from the school and give them the chance to be part of it. 

I felt like I should be the one in the chair taking notes and not the one standing at the front doing the talking. I never would have predicted that a few years ago when I was training as a hairdresser in the evenings and working in an office during the day and it's things like this that reinforce my love for adult ed!

The show actually sold out about six days before hand and tickets became highly sought after which was fab but a bit scary as well as we knew we had a full house all expecting a good night out! The day finally arrived and it came together brilliantly. We were there from 10am to prepare for doors to open at 7pm!! Even my husband was roped into help and as he is the most logical/organised person I have ever met in my entire life he was a gem (and an excellent goody bag filler) 

We knew all along that we wanted the stage to be dressed but due to a hitch a few weeks before the show we had to re-work the original ideas, fortunately we had the wonders of Milda Kapaciunaite's creative eye she worked her magic creating a swing out of flowers and a wooden bench and suspending other items (from my house!) to create a set that looked like it was floating (I'm sure you could give her a box of teabags and she'd still manage to create something visually wonderful!) Big thanks to Bo Nanafana for lending us all these gorgeous floral creations too.

Photography by Joe Black
Also adding a splash of colour and drama to the set were two paintings by local artist Simon Pritchard. We wanted the stage to have a quirky/slightly mad house kind of feel and these worked brilliantly. I've actually bought the one in the picture, but a second image is still for sale at the moment of typing....

Photography by Kirsty Smith
On with the show.....
Photography by Kirsty Smith
Photography by Joe Black
Photography by Joe Black
Photography by Joe Black
Photography by Julia Holland
Photography by Joe Black
Photography by Joe Black
The headwear designers took their inspiration from Marie Antoinette and  18th century fashions and hairstyles. I just loved how they each interpreted the brief with their own individual styles. I was so pleased how it all worked out, as this element was yet again something new for Norwich Fashion Week. With sets including beautifully constructed bespoke head pieces and decorations, the audience were treated to a vintage show with a really couture element. 
Photography by Joe Black
We also had prizes for our two best dressed male and female guests and a big salute to Devon who managed to run down the theatre stairs from her seat in the very back row without taking even the slightest stumble and to Ian who wonderfully rocked up to collect his goody bag without putting his pint down! HUGE thanks to everyone who donated items for the goody bags, they were full of vintage loot so well worth winning.

Photography by Joe Black
Closing the show and bringing burlesque to Norwich Fashion Week (something that's NEVER been done before) was the charmingly beautiful Natalya Umanska
Photography by Joe Black
After the show we had an after party with music by vintage DJ Three Bits of Rhythm allowing people to see out Sunday in style with cocktails from Norwich Cocktail Club, chocolates from Madame Deroubaix, plus a lipstick bar by Sarah Swain and a photobooth by Michael Lyons Photography

Photography by Stephen Plumb
Me getting a cheeky touch up with Sarah Swain Photography by Stephen Plumb
A big thank you to our hostesses on the evening who ensured people knew where to get their cocktails and helped showcase the retailers and designers during the show. They looked amazing with the help of Corsets UK who very very kindly dressed our girls in these gorgeous corsets that looked fabulous and really added a cheeky fun element to our Westwood meets Antoinette theme. 

Michael Lyons Photography
You can see more pictures over on the Norwich Facebook page

A massive thanks to everyone who helped/came to the show, I'm looking forward to 2015 already! 

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19.3.14

Norwich Fashion Week 2014 and Lilac Hair

I had every intention off blogging Norwich Fashion Week as it happened but the fact is that organising two events during the week, doing other behind the scenes stuff to promote the week plus attending as many shows and events as possible meant  there simply just wasn't enough hours in the day! 


But what a week! Oh my goodness, the sun shone for us and I've been to some amazing shows (This is where I should probably add a little disclaimer as last year I was invited to join the Norwich Fashion Week board, so I do have direct involvement with the week) 

Deciding what to wear for the opening show ended up being easy. As soon as I tried on a dress from bonprix (which I wrote about here) I knew that was the one. I've also been wanting to play with pastel hair colours for a while. I've used chalks before but have been loving the candy floss colours and fancied a full head of pastelness (which should be a word) but didn't want something permanent. It's taken me months to get to white blonde, I don't want to lose it, just mix up my look a little. 

So after some investigations a few people suggested some temporary colours from Smart Beauty which you can pick up in Savers for £2.99 (a good saving on the RRP of £4.99) Now I note that on the website they say this colour will last 6-12 weeks, but I'm sure that on the box (which I no longer have) the longevity was in washes rather than weeks, I will have to investigate that when next in Savers. 


The colour was out in 3 washes, which was perfect for me but if you wanted something to last a bit longer than that you'd be disappointed. I'm going to try one of the other shades, so will write a full review post, but before you rush out and buy some just note that I needed 4 boxes for my hair that falls just below my shoulders! 


A quick selfie snap before heading out 
I styled my hair in about 5 minutes using my Diva hair straighteners (blog post on those here ) I was washing hair dye off about an hour before I was due to leave the house! As I was rinsing I was taken back to my teen years when this is *exactly* the kind of thing I'd decide to do right before going out. So getting ready at a leisurely pre-show pace wasn't an option (I will get round to doing some of the speedy hair You Tube tutorials I keep threatening you all with....) Lilac hair wasn't going to stop me wearing my new Illamasqua lipstick in Soaked, which is the most amazing shade of orange and I really liked the clash.


No full outfit picture because I met up with some friends for cocktails first and my plans to ask someone to take a picture went right out of my head as soon as I stepped in and clocked the cocktail menu..... (I'm a bad fashion blogger but a good cocktail drinker)



Norwich Cocktail Club created a dedicated NFW cocktail called Orange is the New Black, it was only polite to give it a try, so a few cocktails before the first show of Norwich Fashion Week 2014 beckoned....

The first show of the week was The Retailers Show. This was held in a huge grade 1 building (we have some amazing venues in Norwich that's for certain) This show is all about Norwich's independent retailers and the high street. With some new brands joining the line up including House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer this show was a biggie!

Lots of brights on the catwalks again this year, from bold blocks of colours in outfits to pops of colour in accessories. One of my faves was this orange shift dress. I love the colour on other people but am yet to try this colour on myself in any form other than lipstick or a handbag. 


The Gallery Haircutters team did a great job on the hair again this year, with three different looks being loose untidy curls, sleek low ponytails and this one above which was a fusion of a beehive and a quiff. 

 More for the ladies

Photography by Simon Watson
Photography by Simon Watson

Photography by Riya Chohan

Photography by Riya Chohan
I love love love this ankle cuff from Fourth Avenue. I've seen many ankle bracelets before but never cuffs like this.

And for the chaps? Well I was happy to see plenty of smart tailoring. Red trousers sparked quite a flurry of YES vs NO opinions and I have to say I'm ..............not sure I'm a fan. Also making an appearance were head to toe florals, and whilst model Jake gave a wry smile as he stepped out, I think he was quite pleased with the whoops and applause of the crowd. Someone tweeted that he had "balls of steel" there were quite a few tweets about that floral tracksuit!

Photography by Riya Chohan
Photography by Riya Chohan

Photography by Riya Chohan
As if all those florals weren't enough of a show stealer, many of the men also had painted toenails, so it might not just be us ladies getting out feet sandal ready soon.

The evening was ended with a few glasses of wine and a classy 'in the loo' selfie, where I was tipsily reminded by my reflection that my hair was lilac. Sounds an odd thing, but it did take me by surprise! So here's the selfie in which I'm still unsure if I look amused or bemused....

You can read more about the show over on the NFW blog and see more images on the NFW facebook page.

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15.3.14

The bonprix Style Cases: Packing for a Weekend Away

The last several months have been more than a little full on as plans for Norwich Fashion Week have been somewhat all consuming. I had thought when the week finally got here things would calm a little, but show plans and a daily influx of amazing images that needed to be shared, plus going to other shows and events meant the week was many wonderful things but calm was not one of them!  

A weekend away is in the planning, there's some exhibitions in London I'm desperate to see, mostly fashion related, so I expect my head will soon flood thoughts of Norwich Fashion Week 2015..... 

My constant quest for my London visits is to pack light, so when bonprix invited me to choose two items from their latest collection that would be key pieces in my bag to take away with me, the timing was perfect. 

I know a lot of women who really don't like or just can't get on with jeans, but I'm a huge fan, so I selected this pair, which weren't quite as high-waisted as I was expecting, so the hunt for some vintage style high-waisted jeans goes on, but these ones will be good for a smart casual look. 

As I'm quite short, I nearly always have to roll jeans up, but that's actually a look I really like and it can look cool teamed with a pair of Converse. I'll pair these with a striped t-shirt and a blazer to add a nod to nautical. For me a pair of jeans is always going to be a key piece when packing for a break.



Out of the two pieces I chose from the bonprix new season collection, the absolute star without any shadow of a doubt is this amazing tartan dress.  It's Vivienne Westwood meets Mad Men but with an affordable £39.99 price tag. As a girl who is not shy of repeatedly being seen in the same dress, this has potential to become a key staple.

A really versatile shape and classic pattern, it's easy to dress-down with a long-sleeve black t-shirt underneath, a colourful pair of tights and attitude is added with a pair of Dr Martens. A great little look for a day around London wandering around galleries and stopping at coffee houses for refreshment hits. I'd throw on a biker jacket or a blazer depending on the good old British weather.





The dress came with a black cotton belt but I feel the look is enhanced much more with an elasticated belt to cinch-in the waist.





It's also a perfect dress to wear on an evening out, the shape is truly beautiful and whilst I'm not a fan of the peplum on my own body shape, the layering of the material just over the hip bone area of this dress completely has me smitten. Take this dress and team it with a pair of classic black courts and you have one fantastic outfit.  I've combined it with a 1950s man's dinner jacket, just to add my own touch of vintage style and to protect me from that evening air nip. The jacket is boxy and I'm sure image consultants will say it's totally the wrong shape for me but I LOVE it.




The challenge was to pack for a weekend away with a small suitcase. For my mini-break adventures I tend to use this weekend bag, which is pretty spacious but I'm sure the clothing capacity is much the same as a small suitcase.......




So my weekend away pieces including using items I'd travel to London in......

2 x jeans
1 x biker jacket
1 x striped t-shirt
1 x vintage dinner jacket
1 x statement necklace
1 x tartan dress
1 x belt
2 x black long sleeved t-shirt
1 x red tights
1 x pair of DMs
1 x black heels

My visits to London are pretty on the go so changes are quick and outfits tend to be adaptable from day to evening, so here's a summary of the outfits in days....


Friday: Arrive in London in black skinny jeans, striped t-shirt, converse and biker jacket. For dinner and drinks the converse get swapped for heels, the biker jacket gets replaced by the gents fifties dinner jacket and for some sparkle and interest I'd add a big statement necklace.


Saturday: Tartan dress for some daytime adventures, worn with long sleeved black t-shirt, tights, DMs and biker jacket. Highly unlikely I'd have time for a full evening change so it would be a quick switch of footwear, take off the t-shirt and swap the biker for the dinner jacket and out for dinner and drinks somewhere.

Sunday: The blue jeans, black t-shirt, statement necklace and dinner jacket with converse for a long walk and a spot of Sunday lunch and some vino before planning to head home.


So that's my bonprix style cases challenge. How do you pack for a weekend away?


Written in collaboration with bonprix
Items marked with * are items received from companies and are not personal purchases.
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3.3.14

Hair Masterclass with the Historical Sauces for Norwich Fashion Week 2014


Who are The Historical Sauces? Well one of them is me! We're bloggers, stylists and writers and a few years ago we decided to join forces and do talks and styling masterclasses on all sorts of vintage loveliness from makeup and hair, to fashion and history. 

Pictures by Mat Keller for his Southern Retro project. Take a look at it, it's *amazing*
Up until about a year ago we were running regular masterclasses, which always sold out and reached the finals of the Vintage Norwich Awards in the events category. We decided to take a break because we were all working on our own projects and juggling our three diaries was turning in to such a mission, but for Norwich Fashion Week we're making a special come back with a special class which is a guide to creating simple looks which with practice, will take minimal effort!


So if you're in Norwich on Monday March 10th, join us for an evening of vintage inspired glamour, starting with a demonstration on how to create curls, including tips on brushing out before we take you through a masterclass in which we’ll teach you the tricks for creating your own vintage style hair even on those days when you don’t have time to spend in rollers and pin curls. Using simple techniques for you to take away and practice, we’ll share our style secrets to help you on your way to a vintage inspired look.


£25 per person (including green tea cocktails and light refreshments)

Olives, Elm Hill (opposite The Glasshouse)

Monday 10th March  7- 9:30pm



This masterclass will take place over 2 1/2 hours in the historic surroundings of Olives on Elm Hill, the ticket price includes Green Tea cocktails and light refreshments plus a goody bag. All you need to bring is your hair brush! We keep these classes small so we can ensure you’ll get plenty of one to one attention; this means spaces are strictly limited! 

**There are now only 3 tickets left!**


Wondering what else is going on during Norwich Fashion Week? Visit the events page

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