Thursday, 31 May 2012

"I hate fascinators"

"I love working on haute couture, and then coming back and making a hat shaped like a Twix. Or for a horse. One thing informs the other..."

"Hats go in and out of fashion but proper hats are back... People will move away from all these fluffy feather things, which are more of an afterthought. I hate fascinators. Hats will be more demure, sophisticated, less brash."

"You don’t have to spend lots of money to make something beautiful. You can make a beautiful thing out of something that is pretty humble."

Stephen Jones (born 31st May 1957), milliner, genius.

Read about our visit to his landmark exhibition Hats - an Anthology at the V&A in 2009

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Eggs are good for you

Like my own ancestors, a French Huguenot; a refugee from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes under Louis XIV in 1685.

Unlike my own ancestors, the brilliant craftsman of some of the most fabulous, most desired, most expensive jewellery and bejewelled objets d'art in history.

These are just some of the delights created by Peter Carl Fabergé (30th May 1846 – 24th September 1920).

[The anniversary of his birth is today celebrated by none other than Google]

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

"I`ve never chased fame"

"I`ve never chased fame. I came into this business to be a theatre actress. I was nine when I first appeared on stage. But I can`t say I would turn my back on fortune. I`m someone who enjoys the benefits of money. I created a lifestyle for myself. Nobody else did it for me. Everything I have I`ve bought with my own money."

"Age, in my opinion, has no bearing at all, that is unless, of course, one happens to be a bottle of wine."

"I think it has something to do with being British. We don't take ourselves as seriously as some other countries do. I think a lot of people take themselves far too seriously; I find that a very tedious attitude."

"I was thinking, who of the English actresses in the last 30 or 40 years have achieved as much as I have?"

Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE (born 23rd May 1933)

Monday, 21 May 2012


“Dandyism may be taken as the art of selection, practiced by a lover of the visible world.” — Douglas Ainslie

“A dandy does nothing. Can you imagine a dandy addressing the common herd except to make game of them?” — Charles Baudelaire

“I’ve always been backward on morals, but I do know how to dress appropriately for any given occasion, and that’s more than half the battle.” — Thorne Smith

“In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.” — Oscar Wilde

Sunday, 20 May 2012

You shall go to the Ball

Beaded silk satin gown by Norman Hartnell, 1953. Given by Lilli Palmer

Satin and flocked tulle gown by Vivienne Westwood. Created for Lady Bianca Job-Tyoran to wear to Queen Charlotte's Ball, 1994.

Gown by Victor Edelstein, 1986. Worn and given by Lady Heseltine.

State evening ensemble 'Elvis Dress' for Princess Diana by Catherine Walker, 1989.

‘The Carwash Dress’, Giles Deacon, 2007

Yuki Torimaru, 1976

Gareth Pugh , 2011

From debutantes and royalty to charity balls and the red carpet, Ballgowns: British glamour since 1950 charts 60 years of stylish evening wear. The exhibition highlights the styles, silhouettes and colours that have been perennial favourites for many years.

Since the mid-20th century, the occasions for wearing formal attire have evolved from the private event to the public parade. In the 1950s the London season was still organised around established events such as the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and Queen Charlotte’s Birthday Ball.

Towards the end of the century, as these traditions became less important, events such as the charity ball provided a new arena for displaying extravagant evening wear. Today it is the red carpet and celebrity gala that showcase the gowns of glamorous women.

For the most part, ballgowns have stood apart from fashion, while occasionally reflecting current developments in the fashion world. Yet they remain objects of fascination. The luxurious fabrics, intricate work and fine finish demonstrate the skill of British designers in creating dresses that convey splendour and spectacle.
Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950, which opened yesterday, is at the Victoria and Albert museum until 6th January 2013.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Heeere's Grace!

"Models are there to look like mannequins, not like real people. Art and illusion are supposed to be fantasy."

Miss Grace Jones (born, or created, on 19th May 1948)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Vulgarity, commonness and crass bad taste

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, photographed by Cecil Beaton at the Rothschilds' home, Chateau de Ferrières, near Paris in December 1971.

From The Guardian website:
Beaton wrote in his diary: "I have always loathed the Burtons for their vulgarity, commonness and crass bad taste, she combining the worst of US and English taste, he as butch and coarse as only a Welshman can be."

He said Taylor had craved compliments during the brief shoot. "She got none. I felt I must be professional and continued, but not without loathing at this monster... Round her neck was a velvet ribbon with the biggest diamond in the world pinned on it.

"On her fat, coarse hands more of the biggest diamonds and emeralds, her head a ridiculous mass of diamond necklaces."

Ungallantly, Beaton described Taylor's hair as "sausage curls", adding: "Alexandre, the hairdresser, had done his worst. And this was the world's biggest draw! In comparison everyone else looked ladylike."
Cecil Beaton was a bitch.

The photograph is expected to make £12,000 when it is auctioned on Tuesday 22nd May 2012 at Bloomsbury Auctions.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Thought for the Day

You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.
Joseph Stalin

Colleen Miller disagrees...

[for BEB]

Monday, 14 May 2012

Chapeau du Jour

"Time to open up a new chapter in life, and to explore a larger centre..."

...or hat?!

Lillian Russell (4th December 1860 – 6th June 1922)

Your very own Lillian Russell dress-up doll