Monday, 30 April 2012

Keith Haring 1978 - 1982: Brooklyn Museum

The Keith Haring exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is the first major retrospective of the graffiti artist's early career. And one of the highlights of my recent trip to New York. (I will stop banging on about it soon, promise. Well, maybe one more photo of the High Line). Brilliantly curated, the show features Haring's work from 1978, the year he moved to New York, aged 19, to 1982: line drawings, sketchbooks, subway paintings, flyers and videos. Born out of punk and hip hop, this outsider art captured the energetic New York zeitgeist of the time - which, as I was still at school in the north of England, passed me by. And, even though, thirty years on, the squiggles and patterns are very familiar, this early street art still feels fresh and exciting today. I love the concept of 'art for the people,' Keith Haring did his own thing, provided an alternative outside the art world and the art world loved it.


Keith Haring portrait: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Beauty at any age: Isabella Rossellini

Any publication that offers the secret of ageless style or the chance to improve with age, pulls me in like a politician at a News International pyjama party. Even though I know it'll be the usual, same old, same old, I just can't resist. So, on a recent flight back from New York, I noticed the woman next to me reading the April issue of American Harper's Bazaar with a 'Fabulous at every age' cover line. There's so little space in global traveller, I was practically turning the pages for her, and a feature on an up-coming documentary, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, caught my (red) eye. Photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has filmed some of the 20th century's biggest models - Beverley Johnson, Cheryl Tiegs, Patti Hansen, Christie Brinkley - discussing their careers and 'surviving in a tough business.' The documentary is out on HBO this summer, and you can read more about it here.

Let's just say, considering their age, some of these girls look surprisingly taut-skinned. So, I was pleased to see this photo of the fabulous Isabella Rossellini, 59, (can't quite believe this is her first appearance on That's Not My Age, I can only apologise) talking about the pressure to stay looking young and the use of plastic surgery and Botox:

'I don't think I'll do it. It's too late. My mother once told me that growing older was the only way to have a long life. So my attitude is, of course we are ageing. And it's natural, and it's beautiful.'

In an industry obsessed with youth, there's an admirable courage (er, sounds a bit like a pub) in resisting the pressure to iron out wrinkles and re-shape your face. Growing old naturally and with confidence is what That's Not My Age is all about.

And when my neighbour in the aisle seat left her magazine behind, it swiftly found its way into the TNMA hand luggage. Not caring what other people think is one of the best age-related improvements, don't you think?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Penelope Chilvers Dandy Slipper

Behold the Penelope Chilvers slipper shoe, truly a thing of great comfort and joy. Handmade by Spanish artisans, too. Whilst we wait for Jeremy Hunt to go and spend more time with his family, and the rain to stop (funny, eh? It's been like One Hundred Years Of Solitude ever since the government announced a hosepipe ban), let's unwind with some luxurious, grown-up loungewear. You can't beat easy chic. I love a multitasking item that works both day and evening, indoors and out. My goal is to embrace 24-hour style, to cultivate a go-anywhere look. And, in that parallel universe where I can afford expensive things - apparently Penelope Chilvers is making a pair of boots for the Duchess of Cambridge - I'd be lolling around like Loulou de la Falaise...

back in the good old days at Yves Saint Laurent's Moroccan joint. Wearing my dandy slippers with harem/palazzo pants and a simple t-shirt. Or a maxi skirt and slinky jersey top. Might even throw on a kaftan.

Time to plan another holiday, I think (just need to pay off the credit card first) and somewhere that's not in the Eurozone makes good financial sense. Probably pick up a pair of slippers on the cheap too.

Loulou de la Falaise: The Guardian
YSL's garden: Habitually Chic.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Fashion Bin: Pastels

Wishy-washy pastel hues have no place in a grown-up woman's wardrobe. Too insipid. Too girlie. Too mother-of-the-bride. Now, I know my colour palette is fairly limited - camel, navy, khaki, charcoal - and that faded denim is the closest I get to a sugar-coated shade, but then I'm happy in my colour rut. I have no desire to look like George Dawes or an elderly member of the royal family. As Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld have shown, the monochrome mix is the most powerful coalition of all (let's not dwell on the omnishambles). And, a largely neutral wardrobe doesn't need to look dull. Just add a blast of cobalt blue:

Geraldine Saglio: REX
Jenna Lyons photo: Bridget Fleming

Or a punch of scarlet. That's me in red jeans and jaunty scarf:

TNMA in hot pants.

Lemon, pistachio, the word 'sorbet'. Let's dump them all where they belong, in the wheelie bin of fashion. Which is khaki and black, by the way:

Jaeger s/s 12 catwalk photo: Elle

Friday, 20 April 2012

Older models: Daphne Selfe

How beautiful does Daphne Selfe look in this photograph? It's so good to see an older woman portrayed in a glamorous way. The 83-year-old model has been in the news this week, 'I’ve never had anything done to my face,” she told the Daily Mail. 'Not that poison, not a face-lift. I think it’s a waste of money. Anyway, I couldn’t afford it!' Selfe has taken part in the Oxfam Big Bra Hunt campaign. Apparently the average woman owns nine bras, three of which they never wear and Oxfam is asking for donations. Helen Mirren's given some of her old undies and I've sorted out my three bras - which aren't all grey and skanky - and plan to drop them off later this afternoon.

Anyway, the purpose of this post isn't to give you three-day-old news but to take advantage of a trumpet-blowing opportunity. Blogger's good for that, haven't you noticed?  During my magazine days, when I actually mixed with glamorous people and wore heels to work, I organised and styled a shoot with Daphne Selfe (and another model, whose name I've forgotten. That Is My Age!) She was in her seventies at the time, but an absolute dream to work with. Charming, smart and full of vitality. Here are a couple of the images. These are copies, sadly I can't find the originals - and sorry, my scanner has cropped them - but as you can see, I've long been a champion of timeless style and diversity in fashion:

I'll give myself a pat on the back, shall I?

If you have any fashion queries or are looking for style advice, please feel free to drop me an email at

Have a lovely weekend.

First Daphne Selfe photo pic: Nick Ballon

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Rockport gets a revamp

I love it when a tired yet trustworthy old brand gets a modern upgrade. I'm thinking of undergoing one myself. So, American footwear label Rockport are, 'Working towards building the fashion credibility of the brand,' says  senior vice president, David Tschuemperlin. And with the uber-gorgeous Erin Wasson in the autumn ad campaign - shot in SoHo, New York last week - things are certainly looking up. Did I tell you that I was in New York last week? Thought so. Sadly I didn't look as fresh and wholesome as this. My face was more crumpled leather settee than vision of glowing loveliness. Anyhow, enough about me. Rockport is now owned by Adidas and all the styles for autumn/winter 2012 incorporate adiPRENE, special cushioning technology for added comfort. And you know how I feel about a comfy shoe. Particularly when it looks as exciting as this:

Monday, 16 April 2012

Ari Seth Cohen and the Advanced Style book

Ari Seth Cohen shows me his book.

Trying hard not to spill my super-sized sandwich filling all over its pages, I had a preview of the Advanced Style book in New York, last week. Ari Seth Cohen has been working his cotton socks off throughout the editing process and is now finalizing the arrangements for the book's launch (May 22 in the USA, and early June in the UK). He told me of some of his escapades along the way; like photographing Ruth the centenarian who keeps healthy by exercising everyday, and who refused to put her dumb bells down until Ari had got his shot. And how he was chased through the New York subway by a gang of devoted fans (English pensioners), in search of an Advanced Style makeover.

So, this is the book of the blog 'dedicated to capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.' And, as you can imagine, I was absolutely beside myself flicking through 240-pages of photographs of older women who all show a sense of individuality and personal style - some more successfully than others. Ari's idea of street style for the over 60s is genius, and he told me that he hopes to keep on going until one day, he's taking photographs of his contemporaries. The Advanced Style book showcases the beauty of older folks in a very democratic way, successfully capturing each subject's spirit as well as their style. And two of his regular ladies have got modelling contracts lined up. How good is that?

Here are some of my favourites:

As the author and illustrator Maira Kalman says in her introduction to the book, 'Here are people that we should take note of and tip our hats to. And we should tip our hats to Ari. Not only is he looking at what people LOOK like, he is also looking at their soul. And we are better for it.'

And the good news is that Ari Seth Cohen will be signing copies of Advanced Style at Mary Portas' House of Fraser shop, in London, on 7 June 2012.  I'll give you more details as soon as I have them.

Advanced Style is published by powerHouse. You can download a preview here and buy it on Amazon.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Quote of the week: Alexandra Shulman

In a more glamorous previous life, a magazine editor once asked me why Alex Shulman always looked so unkempt. I defended the British Vogue boss, saying I admired her relaxed approach and easy style. And the fact that she hasn't had any cosmetic work done. Not as uptight as Anna Wintour or as rock and roll as a French Vogue editrix, there's something very healthy about 54-year-old Shulman's image and attitude:
'I've got to the point where I don't judge myself on my appearance because that way madness lies. I know so many people who are upset about not looking as good as they used to but you've got to realise that's what happens and find something else to be interested in.'

Amen to that.

Photo: Vogue
Quote: FT

Friday, 13 April 2012

Am I too old for this bike?

Back home at That's Not My Age Mansions with fuzzy-jet-lag-brain and a sore back. Flying is rubbish when you're tall and have to squeeze yourself into Cattle Class. One thing I'm looking forward to this weekend is going for a ride on my lovely bike, a Christmas present from Mr TNMA. So. I traded in the old mountain bike for a more upright European style - to help take the strain off my ancient back. But, round at a friend's house recently a panic attack ensued when, admiring the new bicycle, she said,  'It looks quite hipster-ish'. Oh dear. Do I look like a tragic middle-aged bloke on a skateboard? Is this the vehicular equivalent of dyeing my hair pink and embracing nail art? Am I too old for this bike? Your thoughts please.

And sorry, I chopped off the splendid view of London in the last shot:

One of our favourite bike rides is along the Embankment, past Battersea Power Station, over Chelsea Bridge and back.

Chelsea Bridge and Cheyne Walk (where Mick & Keef lived in the 70s).

What are you doing this weekend?  Have a good one.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Shopping for jeans, and other things.

Whenever I'm in New York I feel compelled to shop for jeans. Probably something to do with America being the home of traditional workwear and all that. Fortunately, this feeling lasts for approximately half an hour (sometimes I even get to try a pair on) before vanishing like the lights on the Empire State Building at midnight. Give me coffee, lunch or a museum trip any day. Much more edifying than being ignored by young whippersnappers in trendy boutiques - hark at me, it's like the 1960s all over again - sales assistants in Rag & Bone on East Houston, I'm talking to you. Fashion Warning: 'cigarette' is just another term for skinny. And I do not want skinny jeans. Does anyone today? Well, obviously they do because the shops are full of the damn things. And denim leggings. Manufacturers it's not 2005. What's wrong with a classic straight/slim-leg style?

So, when in need of a swift pick-me-up, a trip to John Derian's fabulous store always works wonders. Time for some therapeutic drooling over the NY decoupage expert's lovely nick-nackery and gorgeous ephemera.

But this visit was even more exciting than usual because the thoroughly charming Mr John Derian was there, in person. Here he is playing with his doodahs.

Went in hankering after a paperweight, took one look at JD's globes, and I was captivated. Another pair to add to the collection. The one on the left is a 1960s lunar orb and the one on the right, a pencil sharpener:

No jeans, then. But as my new friend John Derian pointed out, there's always Earnest Sewn in the Meatpacking District. Which means another walk on the fabulous High Line tomorrow.

I'm going to miss this wonderful elevated park when we're back in London.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Happy Easter

How cute are these handmade eggs designed by Donna Wilson and Rococo Chocolates? Looks like the poor old Easter bunny cops it, though, in the Food Chain Egg (a carrot, inside a rabbit, inside a fox):

Happy Easter one and all.

Monday, 2 April 2012

New York I love you

No sleep till Brooklyn Bridge: Cecil Beaton.

People, this post comes to you live from New York City. Where me and the Blog Widower (currently patiently playing with his Kindle) are spending Easter. So far, we've drunk far too much coffee, spent far too long standing in a Sixth Avenue gutter, in the pouring rain, whilst hundreds of yellow cabs whizzed by, and been to see the Cecil Beaton exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Which is wonderful, beautifully curated. Even Manhattan Brother, a self-confessed philistine, enjoyed it:

Costumes designed by Beaton for Broadway shows.

I'd quite like some Cecil Beaton wallpaper.

It's only day three of our trip and I've learned so much already:

1. Hell's Kitchen Fleamarket on West 39th Street between 9th and 10th is fantastic. I tried to persuade Manhattan Brother to buy this vintage metal games table but he declined. Might have to go back next weekend. (The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm).

2. That I'm not smart enough to work a Smart TV.

3. The Dyson Air Multiplier (that's fan, to you and me) makes a reasonable replacement hairdryer. Useful on days when you don't have an international plug adaptor, or access to one. I'm working on the prototype handheld Hair Multiplier right now. Sshh. Tell no one.

4. That it's worth paying for decent shoes. After schlepping from one end of the Manhattan street grid to the other, in the old Liberty print Nike hi-tops, my feet are killing me. If only a pair of these fabulous fitflop ballet pumps had found their way into my suitcase.

Elegant, slimline fitflops, who knew? They're from the Capsule 12 collection and I'm besotted with them. This sports luxe feel is just what I need to upgrade my wardrobe and take it from midlife to uptown.

And now we're off for a wander along the High Line which is looking lovely this spring. I'll be dropping in from time to time, please forgive me for not commenting on all your fabulous blogs but New York is calling.