Monday, 31 January 2011

Hooray for Edina Ronay!

Back in the eighties, Edina Ronay's designs were a regular feature in all the glossy magazines, and a young That's Not My Age was the proud owner of one of her vintage-inspired-hand-knits in a lovely shade of primrose. Sadly, I've absolutely no idea what happened to that gorgeous cotton cardigan but I do know that the knitwear designer has launched a fabulous new website featuring bespoke cashmere pieces.

Here are some archive pictures and some new designs:

And here are five things you need to know about Edina Ronay:

1. She studied at Central St Martins and RADA and has worked as both an actor and a fashion designer.
2. Her knitwear is worn by the likes of Nicole Kidman, Jerry Hall and Kate Moss.
2. The first thing Ronay knitted was a brightly coloured jacket and Peruvian hat for her baby daughter, Shebah.
3. Edina Ronay's work is inspired by forties films and impressionist painters.
4. She is the daughter of restaurant critic, Egon.

The website currently sells sweaters, cardigans and scarves but accessories and homewares will be arriving in autumn/winter 2011.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Close to the wedge

Got the maxi skirt, got the flared jeans, now all I need is a pair of tan leather wedges and my modern-day seventies wardrobe is complete. These leather espadrilles are Canvas by Land's End, cost 60 English pounds and are available online in March. Get behind me in the queue.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Helena Bonham Carter

Forget the Golden Globe shoes and the Amy Winehouse hair for just a minute and let's think about Helena Bonham Carter's singular style. Thankfully since making the Vanity Fair best dressed list, 2010, HBC seems to have ditched the Victorian bloomers for Vivienne Westwood's cleavage-enhancing corset dresses and Lulu Guinness' bags. And wait for it.... on days when she doesn't look too eccentric or contrived, or like she's walked into a jumble sale and come out wearing all the clothes, at once, I actually quite like the HBC look. It's very English. Vanity Fair admired her 'exquisite self-expression' and even if the mismatched shoes were a step too far, it is refreshing to see someone who doesn't do Botox, or Marchesa. Oh and HBC is a splendid actor too; brilliant as Nigel Slater's chain-smoking stepmother in Toast, perfectly cast as Enid Blyton in the BBC biopic and - it goes without saying - superb as the Queen Mum in The King's Speech. Not to mention Fight Club, Sweeney Todd, A Room With A View.

The 44-year-old has an excellent pedigree, she's the great great grandaughter of Prime Minister, Herbert H Asquith and has an incredibly stylish mother:

Helena Bonham Carter, bonkers-tastic or badly dressed? What do you think?

Photos: Contact Music. Toast photo: Julieta Sans

Monday, 24 January 2011

Harland Miller, Manbags and Memories

Here's Harland Miller, 46, author, artist and one of the real men in the latest Dunhill Voice campaign. Founded in 1893, Dunhill suits have been worn by all the best-dressed British blokes, from Winston Churchill to Daniel Craig. For spring, the menswear label selected three successful English chaps, of varying ages, to celebrate achievement - the others are journalist and broadcaster, Sir David Frost and young violinist, Charle Siem - and allowed them all to dress themselves, in the latest Dunhill kit.

Manbag sales are on the up (Burberry recently reported a 27% increase) so it's no surprise to see both Frost and Miller carrying this increasingly popular gentleman's accessory...

And, hooray! Harland Miller's novel, Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty (published eleven years ago) is being turned into a film. Set in Yorkshire in the 1980s, it tells the story of a teenage boy's friendship with David Bowie impersonator, Ziggy Hero. I may be from t'other side of the Pennines but this funny, poignant book brings memories of all those Saturday nights spent in crappy pubs and clubs flying straight back, like David Beckham in the LA Galaxy off-season. And obviously, I completely agree with Jarvis Cocker's comments, 'Right up my strasse, the shittier the circumstances the bigger the dream. Smashing.'

The talented Mr Miller is an artist too. That's Not My Age is particularly fond of his paintings inspired by 1930s Penguin book covers:

There's one on the wall at Soho House, LA:

Who said it was grim up north?

PS Dunhill have made videos to go with the campaign too. My favourite is Not Yorkshire where Miller talks about what it feels like to come from a small town, click here to see it.

Soho House photo: Remodelista

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The New Festival of Britain

Exciting news, people. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain the Southbank Centre is throwing a big party in July (29th- 31st). That's Not My Age is thrilled to hear that amongst the celebrations - including afternoon tea with Heston Blumenthal - the Vintage Festival is coming to town. This is the shindig organised by Wayne Hemingway, we missed last year's bash at Goodwood but as the Royal Festival Hall is the Blog Widower's favourite London building and it's just down the road from That's Not My Age Mansions, this summer we'll be paying Vintage a visit.

Here are some photos of vintage-lovers at Goodwood:

And here's some wallpaper designed by Robert Sevant for the Festival of Britain Group:

I do love a fifties print, this furnishing fabric is Lucienne Day for Heals (1951):

This Ernest Race Antelope chair was featured at the Festival of Britain, if only we had room for more furniture...

As Wayne Hemingway says, 'At a time when we need some good news, this is a good news event.'

Royal Festival Hall print by Paul Catherall
Fifties prints: V&A
Antelope chair: Race Furniture

Thursday, 20 January 2011

I Heart Secret Shopper

January just got a whole lot better... my Old Best Friend, Mary Portas (OBFMP) is back. And for the first episode of the new series, Secret Shopper, the focus is on fast fashion. Portas visits high street fashion stores, H&M, Zara, Primark and Pilot - the brand we thought was dead and buried but is clinging onto life in a dreary shopping outlet in Braintree, Essex. In a seventies wig - and flat shoes! - the Undercover Queen of Shops goes in-store with a hidden camera to find out what customer service on the high street is really like. Wearing mostly ACNE, a Burberry trench (spring/summer 2011 collection) and a fabulous fuchsia Roland Mouret dress, some may argue that shopping on the high street is not an experience OBFMP is familiar with but I think that's a bit unfair. Portas is the Telegraph's shopping columnist after all, and during the course of the programme, in a move that would make Sam Cam proud, she dons a red shirt from Whistles. Here's Mary in disguise. Personally, I quite like the seventies/Joan Jett vibe.

Anyhow, unsurprisingly the customer service is shoddy. Shop assistants are either bored stiff or too busy to help customers and Portas is horrified to find that they don't know an aviator jacket from a pair of harem pants - what's wrong with these people? Don't they read Grazia? With her three golden rules: smile, speak and serve, OBFMP persuades the owner of Pilot to revamp one of his stores, turning a cubicle the size of a toilet into a fabulous changing hub complete with Twitter mirror and celebrity names above each door, guaranteed to make any shopper feel like a star - are you feeling Gaga/ Cheryl/Rhianna today?

Fast fashion may be an easy target but this is entertaining stuff. The show ends with Portas charging down a pedestrianised street with a flash mob of peaceful protesters heading for Primark where, in their 'Smile, Speak, Serve' logo t-shirts they offer bemused shoppers the customer service they truly deserve. And at the end of the day, Portas is right. Sadly, in fast fashion stores like this, service is stripped back, employees are given very little, if any, proper training and are bound to feel disaffected because to some retailers a hefty profit - rather than the people who work or shop in their stores - is all that matters. But, as David Mitchell pointed out on The Graham Norton Show last week, 'The nation's misery is the show's strength.'

Next week I'm hoping for a posh accent and a Kate Middleton wig.

If you missed The Graham Norton Show, check out this hilarious discussion on rubbish shop names.

Did you see Secret Shopper - what do you think about service on the high street?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Not the Golden Globes

Today we're going to say congratulations to Colin Firth - well done Colin, I'm pleased this award is going to help you get through the mid-stage of your life - and then take a swift look behind the scenes at That's Not My Age Mansions. Yes, let's talk about me and my globe collection. This is my latest orb, a Christmas present from Mr TNMA (it came carefully wrapped in toilet paper, which was a nice touch). The inscription on the side says Deutsche Eisenbahn Versicherungskasse, so my elementary translation skills tell me it's probably from the German national railway's insurance company - and it looks like a 1930s design to me.

Welcome to my Globe Cabinet...

One day it will be completely filled with globes. I've got my eye on this gorgeous black one from Lassco, beautiful but very expensive.

At Christmas, I made the frightening connection between the family faux-teak cabinet filled with ceramic bird ornaments and general nick-nackery and my own fabulous arrangement. This was accompanied by a general feeling of horror and fear of the possibility that I might actually be turning into my mum. Ah well, guess it had to happen sooner or later.

Do you collect stuff?

Friday, 14 January 2011

Limited Edition

Should being spotted in Cornwall this summer in the same printed Boden tunic top as every other London mum be a sartorial concern, worry not. The brand's new and exclusive, Limited Edition collection is available from 11 February 2011. This is a premium line with a 'quieter colour palette,' a focus on luxurious fabrics and a panic-in-the-heart-of-Fulham-inducing slogan, 'Once it's gone, it's gone for good.'

The silk tunic top and printed silk dress are both £95, and the knitted sequin jacket below comes in at £250 - and to give you an idea of quantities, there are only 300 sparkly pieces in existence.

Now, some may think that going upmarket is just another attention-grabbing story designed to gain extra press coverage and if they're lucky, appeal to royal-bride-to-be and potential MObama-style, money-spinner, Kate Middleton. But M&S have a Limited Collection and Hobbs have a Limited Edition range, so what's wrong with 'Posh Boden?'

And now for an admission. I like Johnnie Boden. One of my really good friends worked at Boden back in the early days (when there were only five people in the office, including the boss and his wife) and I've always found him to be charming and friendly. He once told me that his style icon is David Niven and his hero is Paul Smith, and frankly say what you will about the overtly middle-class, Boden lifestyle but you can't fault a charming man with discerning taste.

Anyhow, I'm not really a Boden-wearer myself, I have a black jersey maxi dress that I take on holiday every year and I quite like the kid's clothes (on other people's kids, I don't have my own) but that's about it. So, people it's over to you. What do you think of Posh Boden?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Your purse is on fire!

Haven't done one of these posts for a while, so let me explain. This is where I imagine I have the money to hang out in Klosters with George Osborne and still have some change - actually I'd rather eat my own vomit than go skiing with Tory Boy but you get the picture. And so, to this week's most-wanted. A pair of lovely woven leather shoes from Camper. The shape, a 1930s-style silhouette (can't wait to see The King's Speech) and the neutral tone feel quite timely. And as I live my life in a blur of khaki, camel and grey, this little lace-up will blend in seamlessly. Finally, it's a bit of a Mum Shoe - and whilst other women totter around in high-rise platforms and wedges, That's Not My Age is happiest in the footwear of a grown-up lady.

Switch the pointy stiletto for the Camper Mum Shoe and this is the kind of look I'm thinking of, for spring:

What will you be wearing this spring?

PS the Camper shoe is available in February and the other picture is from Comptoir des Cotoniers.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Model Diatribe

The latest Vogue catwalk report introduces us to the new Model Tribes and tells us that, The loveliest girls fell into four categories this spring.... Pouty Girls, Tough Girls, Smiley Girls and Black Girls, with an accompanying quote from model, Jourdan Dunn, ' It was good to come back from two seasons off work and see a lot more black models being used - and not just one shade of black either. I still think there need to be a lot more but I think we're getting there!'

Getting there? With this kind of patronising nonsense, when being black is just a quirk, like being pouty or smiley or tough? Can models not be black and pouty, black and smiley, black and tough? Is it just me or does anyone else think that this is completely inappropriate and more than a tad offensive?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Quote of the week: Inés de la Fressange

In the week when Romeo Beckham, aged 8, made a surprise entry into GQ magazine's Most Stylish List, it feels right to turn to an older model for some sensible advice. Reminiscing about her on-off-back-on-again relationship with Karl Lagerfeld, Inés de la Fressange, 53, recalls a promotional tour in America, in the eighties, when the pair stopped their limousine at a hot dog stand for sustenance. KL (dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a fan, of course) only had a hundred dollar bill, so came back to the car and sent IdlF (full-length dress and pearls) back to buy the hot dogs:

'Never go out with rich people - you always end up paying!'

Wise words.

Photo: Eric Ryan
Quote: Harper's Bazaar

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Colour Therapy

The sky over London has been pretty murky of late, there's a general greyness that - much like the red wine stain on our tablecloth - just won't budge. Anyway, on New Year's Eve (that's my birthday, if you're interested), Mr & Mrs TNMA went to see the Bridget Riley exhibition at the National Gallery. It's only a small show, just the one room, but a quick look at Riley's brilliant waves and I immediately perked up. So, whilst pondering the effect a blast of colour can have on both the soul and the wardrobe, I found this lovely quote from Christian Dior which sums things up quite nicely.

'Even the prettiest colour if you wear it every day will lose its effect. Colour needs change. We wouldn't appreciate blue skies if they were always blue, it is the clouds the ever-changing scene, that makes the sky so beautiful.'

Bridget Riley Paintings and Related Work is on at the National Gallery until 22 May 2011

Shirt dress photo: Hobbs

Monday, 3 January 2011

What to wear to work

In between episodes of Coronation Street and a spot of Stargazing with Professor Brian Cox, That's Not My Age has been mulling over the early January, back to work conundrum. After a week of long lie-ins and a fair amount of lolling on the settee, knowing what to wear to face the public isn't easy. But, I've come to the conclusion that velvet is the perfect antidote to grey, mid-winter mornings. A post-Christmas pick-me-up, it looks fabulous combined with other textures, such as tweed, lace and satin. So, the Boden velvet tunic (top) looks lovely teamed with charcoal wool pants, and though the Ralph Lauren velvet jodphurs (above) are probably not the simplest trouser to er, pull off, paired with a roll neck sweater and a classic overcoat, they exude easy winter style. This melange of textures reminds me of the nineties Gucci ads when Tom Ford first grabbed our attention with a heady combination of jewel-coloured silky shirts and velvet disco pants...

That's Not My Age has a vintage velvet jacket that gets wheeled out every festive season, usually teamed with a sequinned tunic or a ruffle shirt but this year I'm seriously considering it as a daytime option...

Not quite as luxurious as the Ralph Lauren fabric and it looks quite flat in this picture but black velvet is notoriously difficult to photograph - not as tricky as the Northern Lights but you know what I mean.

Haven't spent my Christmas money yet, so I could be tempted by this silk/graphic lace dress from Jaeger (now £135) and a midnight blue smoking jacket (25% off) from Isabella Oliver:

Sumptuous, warm and sleek. Velvet. It's not just for Christmas.

What will you be wearing on your first day back at work?

Ralph Lauren catwalk photo: