Why Not Try...?: A Statement Hat

Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to be a hat person. I went through a phase in middle school of regularly donning floppy 'Blossom' hats, complete with faux-flowers, baseball caps, and bucket hats, but for some reason , the practice didn't stick with me after the age of about 13.

However, I'm hoping this season will change that. Hats are an integral part of the "old Hollywood" aesthetic we're seeing at the moment, and there's certainly no shortage of them to choose from.
Am not really talking fedoras or beanies - unless you want to look like one of LC's hangers-on from "The Hills" - but elegant, vintage-inspired pieces that are unusual and individual, like the ones below:

The Portrait:
This is probably my favorite style of hat, similar to the ones shown on the Marc Jacobs AW07 runway. It reminds me of the seductive, mysterious heroines of old detective movies. The hat below is the "Smith Larson Portrait," by Portland-based Pinkham Millinery (http://www.pinkhammillinery.com/) - I love the unusual plum shade of the felt & think it would be gorgeous with a black trench.

The Cloche:
As a minimalist at heart, it's only natural that I would love cloches - there's nothing fussy about them, but they're still totally feminine & romantic. They're a good fit with this season's Poiret-inspired coccoon coats - and I love this one from Boring Sidney (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7515031), for its soft, yet steely simplicity (excuse the creepy mannequin head).

The Beret:
When wearing a beret, there's always a slight risk of looking like you should be riding a bicycle with a baguette sticking out of the basket - but the cableknit detailing of this one, by Eugenia Kim, gives it a more collegiate feel. Get it from Satine (http://www.satineboutique.com/), to wear while wrapped up in chunky knit sweaters and scarves.

The Feathered Headpiece:
If not styled properly, these can look a little costume-y - so it's probably best to stay away from any vintage clothing while wearing one. I think they're the perfect compliment to a little black dress, since they're really the only accessory you'd need. Boring Sidney also does a great one of these (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7289985) - and for just $35!


WTF: Fashion Calling?

In the ultimate branding exercise, the L.A. Fashion Awards team have created an official ringtone for this year's event. Am not entirely sure what rationale is behind this, especially as it's not really an event paid any attention by anyone other than local fashion insiders - is not as though it's the Oscars or anything, and is not really targeted towards the pre-teens who normally download ringtones. Perhaps is a way of giving loyal followers a chance to make the event last longer than one night, giving them a reminder of the festivities long after they've passed? Who knows.

Either way, the main problem with it is just how awful the tone is - I mean, the stock ringtones that come with most phones are on the same level as this. It reminds me of a theme song attached to one of the Saturday morning NBC teen shows back in the early '90s - think California Dreams, Name Your Adventure, Saved by the Bell, et.al.

The tone can be downloaded here if you're curious...


One to Watch: Rami Kashou

The L.A. Fashion Awards are nearly upon us again - on Friday October 26th, to be exact - and along with the usual suspects, there's a name on the nominee list I really think is worth watching.

That name is Rami Kashou, a Palestine-born designer and Project Runway alum who has worked on both sides of the fashion business - first studying design at Brooks College, then working as a retail buyer and merchandiser, then moving back into design.

Because of this bredth of experience, Kashou has the unique perspective of knowing what women want to buy - and also how to create those things with technical elan. What's remarkable is the fact that he's largely self taught - he didn't finish his degree at Brooks - given the intricacy and detail of his pieces.
Take his Spring / Summer 07 collection, for example - full of razor-sharp pleating, complicated corsetry and skirts with the perfect pitch of volume, it's full of the technical wizardry that would be expected from a St. Martins-trained designer. My favourite pieces in the collection are his tailored flutter-sleeved blouses - it's no secret to most that I'm having a sleeves moment this season, and these capture the mood perfectly without seeming too fussy or fairy-princess.

Rami Kashou - available at www.letrainbleu.com

Talking Shop: Jenni Kayne

I feel a bit sacriligious saying this, seeing as I am now an L.A. resident, but I think Jenni Kayne is massively overrated - have seen it all before, and usually done better for half the price. Even so, I thought I'd drop by her new shop in West Hollywood - the first devoted solely to her own designs - in hopes that I'd be pleasantly surprised.
It's filled with the typical Hollywood pretension that normally deters me from the area - lack of signage out front; window displaying a red carpet gown and taxidermied leopard; parking lot filled with Porsches, leggy girls with fake smiles, and the luminescent-sneakered men who love them. Inside is more of the same - all dark wood minimalism and shouty emo music serving as a backdrop to Kayne's unremarkable fall collection and a halfhearted collection of art books, which looked as though they were added as an afterthought to bring some color to the place.

The one upside to the shop is its jewelry collection - an impressive collection of vintage-looking Tiffany watches mixed with chunky statement necklaces and bracelets. I would have asked a bit more about them if Kayne and her shopgirl had been paying any attention to me -however, a visiting friend (who I think may have been the guy who plays the bitchy assistant on Ugly Betty) was taking up all of their attention, and I guess pointedly gazing into the jewelry case for several minutes was not enough of a hint that I was a potential paying customer.

The shop will probably appeal to the customers of Holiday and Maxfield, which are just around the corner on Melrose - but I prefer my shops with a bit more personality, in both atmosphere and merchandise.


New Title, New City, New Beginning

If anyone is still bothering to read this, I apologize for the...er...six month delay since my last post. You know how it is - things like school, working, moving to another country getting in the way.

Long story short, I recently made the extremely difficult decision to leave London and move back to the US. It just made sense, as my money, visa, and lease on my flat were all due to run out at the same time. Plus, since I'm setting out on a totally new career path, I figured it would be easiest to do it in a place where I can work legally...

Which brings me to the new title of the blog - Maid of Melrose (sorry, David Bowie). Yes, am currently in L.A., for how long am not entirely sure - as am really an East Coaster at heart - but the opportunity came up to live here all-expenses-paid while I try to break into writing. And now that things have calmed down a bit, I'm going to give the blogging thing another try, as it's proved to be a good outlet for me to try out new ideas in the past.

So, from here on in, you can expect to see more of what I wrote about in the past, but with a distinctly L.A. slant - the fashion industry is really starting to grow out here, and I already have a massive list of new shopping destinations, trends, designers and more to tell you all about. So watch this space, and I promise you won't have to endure another half-year wait for new material again..!