Email Address

Saturday, 29 November 2014

BONUS POST - Made in The Shade Of Red

I found Look-at-Me reds hotting up at the Oxfam Boutique in Chiswick. The shop's late night sale is now just days away, in fact Thursday, 4 December, from 5-9pm. If a crimson Christmas is what you're wishing for, then spare your blushes and pop into their 2nd-hand celebration. This blood orange number from LK Bennett is only £38 and the real coral necklace just £40. 

Tree trimming in trousers this year? A Nicole Farhi velvet jacket is like fine wine. Better with age. Pair if with almost any trousers and silk slippers for a smoking-jacket ensemble that would make Noel Coward proud. It's only £80.

The elegant detail of this Diane Von Furstenberg silk shift is spot on. Team it with fab flats for minimalist style under the mistletoe. Over skinny jeans or sparkling stockings, you'll be wearing this racy red DVF long after Santa's returned to the North Pole. Holiday dressing is a piece of (Christmas) cake in this £90 stunner. 

This and so much more at the Chiswick Oxfam Boutique 
Late Night Shopping Event, Thursday, December 4 from 5-9pm. 
Follow @OxfamBoutiqueW4   

Friday, 28 November 2014

FOUND - It Booked A Place With Me

I found this big, gorgeous, fashion book - circa 1986 - at the West Ealing Antiques Fair in a stall hosted by the Cancer Research charity. If you read Huntress London regularly, you know how much I appreciate style inspiration between bound covers for the price of a glossy magazine. If you ONLY pop into charity shops in search of second-hand style bibles, I say bravo. This one features photography from famed snappers Horst P Horst, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Karen Radkai, Norman Parkinson and others. A fantastic find for a fiver. I'll let the pictures speak a 1000 words.


Find more fab fash photos
 at The V&A's Horst Exhibit 
until 4 January

Thursday, 27 November 2014

FOUND - Save-The-Date Chic in Chiswick

I found Chiswick Oxfam Boutique awash in sparkle and anticipation as its staff prepared for the shop's Late Night Shopping event scheduled for Thursday 4 December from 5 to 9pm. Huntress was given a sneak peak at the 2nd-hand holiday style finds that the Oxfam team have been holding back in preparation for this chic celebration. I was especially excited by a See by Chloe silk shift (£90) & vintage, Made in Hong Kong, sequin-encrusted sleeveless top (£60). Rachel, the shop manager, Renata, the shop social media expert and volunteers Mary and Lizzie were welcoming, friendly and helpful. This shop has a great vibe - I've been in repeatedly and it's lovely to see locals taking pleasure in pre-owned clothes for a good cause. 

Looking to do casual elegance over Christmas? Might I suggest Jimmy Choo flats? These studded stunners (£100) are just another of the spectacular 2nd-hand beauties available in a week's time. So MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Thursday 4 December, 5-9pm - Nibbles, Drinks, Smiles and Style. Oxfam Boutique Chiswick is very near the Turnham Green tube station. Out of the station go left and at the main road go right - you'll see the shop next to Whistles. Extra Christmas Cheer? Make a dapper donation - drop off last year's party dress (and more)!

Huntress London will feature more sneak peaks 
from this stylish sale in the coming days 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

FOUND - 2nd-Hand Hats Off To Top Girl

I find friends and colleagues brimming with stylish ideas and 2nd-hand daring. Emily, friend and colleague, is an aspiring writer, comedian and professional gadabout originally from the Canadian prairies. She moved to London three years ago, compelled by the misguided notion that her life would turn into a Richard Curtis film. She's stayed because it turned out far better. Emily, take it away -

After making an atypically pragmatic decision to chop off all my hair in preparation for a trip abroad, I found myself at a loose end in Kensington with a brand new visa in my passport and a brand new style on my head. I’ve always loved hats but as someone with big, curly hair, I’ve found it difficult to find toppers that don’t make me look like a newly-purchased Christmas tree that’s only had its bottom half unbound. However, with a lot less hair I was free to enter the great world of millinery and, when I saw this £10 hat in the Gloucester Road Oxfam, I fell in love. It's the work of Peter Bettley, a man who I gather has been designing for everyone from Selfridges to the royals for the past 39 years. I’m sure my hat is more high street than Her Majesty but I don’t think I could love it any more even if it had royal provenance. I wore it to a friend’s house the other day and she described it as ‘very Mary Poppins’ to which I replied, ‘I assume you mean practically perfect in every way?'

Mark Your Calendar: 
Oxfam Boutique Chiswick ** Merry Shopping Night
Nibbles, Drinks, 2nd-hand Style, 5-9pm Thur 4 Dec
Follow @OxfamBoutiqueW4

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

TRY THIS - I Can't Hear Your F**king Style

I find swearing in public a lot like red lipstick on your teeth. It trumps the thoughtful vibe of your cool, collected sartorial ensemble. Curse in a crowd and you're no longer that woman in the perfect pattern-clashing outfit with shiny hair and ballerina-esque posture. You're just the gal with the rotten potty mouth. Worse yet, for me, crowd swearing is as unimaginative as a twin-set & pearls. Don't get me wrong, I love f**king expletives. Cursing can be therapeutic and has its place, but its constant overuse in public has sadly dumbed it down, left it weak, w**ky and wanting. Weaving my way through a crowd recently I was struck by the loud, dull clunkers falling from people's lips -- " G*d d**n mum..." "...his suit was s**t..." "...she f**king said..." I love the city's sound track and real-life refrains but street-side swearing, like a plastic carrier bag, is common, unnecessary and impotent. Bad language should be like gorgeous silk satin panties, smooth and naughty, your secret, shared with only a select few. Whether whispered with punch or hissed through gritted teeth, swearing should almost always be an exclusive, artful affair. Don't curse creative cursing to a mass grave. Properly privatize your profanity. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

FOUND - A Skirt With Muscle and Bustle

I found this 'selvege' skirt by Lulu & Red at Fara on Bond Street in Ealing. Founded in 2003, the brand quickly set up a concession in Topshop and was a popular seller online. Interestingly Lulu & Red cut size 12 prototypes that were then sized up and down, rather than a tiny initial sample size that had to be sized up. And up. It's a shape-changing starting point that other designers might consider employing. This clever skirt looks as if the wearer has pulled suiting fabric off the shelf and expertly wrapped it round herself. From the hand printed pink front to its bustle-effect back, it feels at once haberdashingly masculine and whimsically feminine. A bit of research seems to indicate the brand is no more, so you'll only find it 2nd-hand, all the better in fact. This was once a pricey piece of kit, but I got it for a snip at just £20. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

FOUND - Sublime & Silvery Postcards

Last weekend I found Brugge wet, silvery and restful. With two friends, I walked the streets, stopping for lots of little cups of black coffee and a rehash of the day's 2nd-hand treasure hunting. I've heaped praise on her in the past, but Madam Mim - vintage supremo - remains the most intriguing, beautifully curated but inviting shop I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. Brugge is a perfect weekend get away - simply, go. In the meantime, enjoy the postcards.  

It's #SecondHandFirst Week @Traid
Why not drop a bag of unwanted clothes
     at your local charity shop? Go on!   

Thursday, 20 November 2014

FOUND - I Felt Like A Little Kid, Again

I found this oddly appealing brooch at Oxfam in Ealing. Its futuristic look typically leaves me peeved, but the funky felt feel enabled me to remember, as 2nd-hand fashions often do, a moment from childhood. When I was in 2nd grade we were required - with parental assistance - to cover a cigar box in felt, filling it with felt circles, squares and triangles. A hands-on way for us to understand basic shapes. I sat imaging the madly multi-coloured felt box I would make as me and Dad drove to Jo-Ann Fabrics. Once in the shop, Dad insisted my box be covered in black felt as a way of showing off the primary-coloured shapes he said we were going to cut out. I was immediately in tears, angry that he was dictating MY project. I wanted a sky blue box, darn it! I wanted shapes of all colours. The car-ride home was a silent protest and as I look back, I suspect my Dad was more than a little amused by my heart-felt fit. The thing is when we sat together assembling the black box, my sulking turned to a smile. What we made was the primary school equivalent of a Mondrian painting; I loved it and reveled in my classmates' subsequent envy. My father hasn't always been right about everything, but at an early age I learned he had a fine, reliably arty eye. This felt future/past brooch was only 99p. 

My brooch adorns a jacket lovingly made by
The Rose in West Sussex, one of the few places
Huntress shops for NEW fashions, CLICK HERE  

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

FOUND - Pre-Owned Pastel Perfection

I found this Mondi cotton blouse at the Cat Charity on Pitshanger Lane, Ealing. Mondi started life as a knitwear company in Munich in 1967. The name comes from the Latin word "mundi," meaning "world." The company expanded beyond knits, growing in the 70s and 80s in large part due to loyal and high-profile customers like Princess Diana.

In the 90s the face of Mondi was Christy Trulington, and by 1995 Mondi sold its wares in 54 countries world-wide, through 2300 specialty shops, 100 company-owned stores, 200 franchises and a capsule collection on the Queen Elizabeth II. But recession hit the company hard and troubles followed. It remains an eclectic brand, cosmopolitan and daring due to the diversity of designers Mondi employed. Lookout for it in charity shops - this double breasted blouse was just £1.  

  @Traid CLICK HERE for Details    

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

FOUND - Scotland's Finest in West London

I found these wool trousers at the West Ealing Antiques Fair, courtesy of stallholder Lynn Atkinson whose stylish offerings included 2nd-hand fashions and vintage. From the House of Bruar, these straight ankle skimmers are classified as 'country clothing,' but I feel certain they'll keep this urban hunter toasty warm in the months to come. The House of Bruar is a throw-back, an independent department store that carries everything the discerning shopper might want CLICK HERE. Located about 70 miles west of Edinburgh, it's often referred to as the 'Harrods of Scotland.' Beautifully made, the trousers suffered from a few small holes. I'm sadly not a serious seamstress (if only) but was nonetheless able to mend the tiny flaws with ease. Keep an eye out for the House of Bruar label when 2nd-hand searching - it's good stuff. These pre-owned pants were just £18.  

Change Your Clothes For Good. 
Tweet @TRAID #SecondHandFirst Week 
Thursday late night opening at the Shepherd's Bush shop

Monday, 17 November 2014

TRY THIS - Won't Leave You Feeling Flat

I found these Cole Haan 'kilties' at Oxfam in Ealing and the book I bought new (yes new!). Author Hannah Rochell's wonderful shoe illustrations make En Brogue a unique read worth the retail price CLICK HERE. Hannah eschews heels in favour of fab flats; she can recommend a no-heel, highly-stylish option for every occasion. My kiltie cobbler Cole Haan was founded in Chicago in 1928 - it's an American favourite I find under-appreciated in Britain. Look out for beautifully made Cole Haans in your local charity shop and scoop them up whenever you find them. Hannah's book is the perfect pressie for the flats-fanatic on your Christmas gift list. And speaking of Ho Ho Ho, be sure to check Cole Haan's website featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' hot holiday version of White Christmas CLICK HERE
FOOT NOTE: 2nd-hand shoes just £7.99.

Friday, 14 November 2014

TRY THIS - Travel Decades Together

I found these suede 'made in Italy' low heeled shoes at Think Twice Vintage Shop CLICK HERE in Brugge. Spotted on my last visit to the Belgium chocolate-box town, their graphic, 80s-style caught my eye. Today Huntress and friends Alice & Susan are off to Brugge for a relaxing weekend of socializing and 2nd-hand hunting. Along with Think Twice Vintage, we'll pop into Madam Mim CLICK HERE, only my favourite vintage shop in the world, and pick over the Saturday Flea Market where I found my cherished Claude Montana sunglasses (Huntress Past Post, CLICK HERE). I'm part of a terrific traveling trio. At 30-, 50- and 70-years-old, our varying fashion flights of fancy, heartaches and dreams are sure to keep us chatting double time all the way to our destination. I highly recommend making friends with women of different generations than your own. Those behind you and in front enjoy points of view that you simply must see. My eyes weren't deceiving me when I found these. The Brugge shoes were only 3 euros. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

FOUND - Paul's Positive Posy Power

I found this soft cotton Paul Smith shirt at the Octavia Foundation charity shop in central Ealing. I've loved Paul Smith fashions since moving to London some 10 years ago. Like pubs that don't sell food and 'riding on the right,' PS is quintessentially British. Everything I read about Sir Paul leaves me feeling nothing but admiration for the long-time designer. He once hoped to be a professional cyclist but a serious accident saw him hospitalized for 6 months. While recovering he met up with students from the local art college in Nottingham and there, a design career was born. THAT versatility of imagination is rare and enviable in my book. Smith says be unashamed of the work you must do to pay the bills in order to also do the thing you love - a realistic but inspiring affirmation for anyone who quietly creates in splintered and stolen moments, each and every day. The shirt was definitely a steal at just £7.99.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

FOUND - No Fence Sitting For My Midi

I found this vintage taffeta midi skirt at The Cancer Research charity shop near Ealing Broadway station. Lined and Made in England, this electric blue skirt lit up my 2nd-hand hunting last week. Paired with my old faves - black & gold sculpted wedge heels - along with a white blouse, lots of jewellery and wide black belt, I've got date night with the Mister well in hand.  

I plan to debut my lady-like skirt at our traditional holiday shopping night, followed by dinner for two at Zedel CLICK HERE. After braving the crowds, he'll be happy to tuck into Steak et Frites and I'm dying to try the Crabe Mayonnaise. A few glasses of wine, conversation and Profiteroles with 2 spoons will do us nicely. Zedel is a wonder under Piccadilly Circus, "a grand Parisian brassiere transported to the heart of London." The 1920s, 30s and 40s greet you the moment you descend the wide, film-star staircase. From the classic coat check to the Art Deco cocktail bar, enjoy the side order of glamour, no extra charge. My Pastella skirt is perfect for the occasion and at only £6.99, I can spring for an extra dessert.     

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

TRY THIS - Shifting Gifts Your Way

My step-mom gave me these pinky vintage bangles. She reads Huntress London faithfully so like you, maybe, learned that I've a penchant for wacky wrist-wear. To date, thanks in part to her, my bangle count is over 60, including stretchy varieties, several sterling silver, 2 hand-beaded and dozens of fat plastic models. Passionately collecting a fashion item has been tonnes of fun. My bangle searches have lead me down so many interesting style streets. And bracelet pressies from friends and family offer lovely little insights into the gift givers themselves. I pair the new/old pink bangles with several blood red numbers from my collection for an evocative colour and shape combination. As the holidays approach, make sure everyone knows what YOU collect. They'll appreciate the helpful gift hint.

Monday, 10 November 2014

FOUND - Watch Out, Big Kids About

I found this rubbery kids watch by Tikkers at the Oxfam Boutique in Chiswick. I loved the bendy, soft feel of it and the childish style that says, "relax, you're off the clock." As a youngster I was a good student, loved school, studied and earned high marks. But there were two activities that nearly eluded me - tying my shoes and telling time. I remember at 10, even 12-years-old sticking my lace-ups in front of my mom to tie in a secure double bow before bounding out the front door to the school bus. Time telling? It was the variety of ways for stating the same time that sent my head spinning. "Quarter after 10," "ten fifteen," "15 minutes after ten." Sure it seems simple now but as a chatty 7-year-old I struggled with the infinite language of time. Of course I finally mastered both tasks but whenever I'm asked for the time of day or tie a loose shoe lace, I smile and feel young again. This kiddy ticker was only £9.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

BONUS POST - Sassy 70s Take To Stage

My friend Alma Costa is a fellow 2nd-hand hunter, a talented actress and now Huntress London's latest Guest Blogger. Over to you Alma --

I'm currently playing Charlotte in a production of Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' at the New Wimbledon Studio. This is my third show with PK Productions and artistic director Patrick Kennedy. Patrick likes the out-of-the-ordinary so his approach to Chekhov's classic was bound to have a twist. This Cherry Orchard is located somewhere around London in 1976. As soon as I heard the idea, I got excited about the potential for the costumes AND I couldn't resist an opportunity to guest blog on Huntress London.

Designer Rosie Motion had a blast (from the past) looking around vintage and charity shops, and this is just a taste of what Charlotte ended up looking like. I have to thank Patrick for making the part of the governess fun for me - he gave me free reign to play her as a real 'free spirit' who prances around with her imaginary dog (actually an old teddy bear), splashing about in a paddling pool. The loud costumes reflect her character. Charlotte loves to pattern clash, but then, who doesn't?

Catch The Cherry Orchard's final 2 shows 
TODAY at 2.45 and 7.45, CLICK HERE for TICKETS

Friday, 7 November 2014

TRY THIS - Have a Laugh & Learn Too

I found this 'paper covered edition' at the Oxfam book shop just round corner from Turnham Green tube station, west London. The funny but to-the-point title caught my eye. The inside cover claims author Gaylord Hauser "...writes in a racy style about such widely differing subjects as sex, anemia, hay fever, varicose veins and forgetfulness." All that? Sign me up, this sounded too kooky to miss. Turns out health guru 'Dr. Hauser' was wildly popular with the Hollywood set but highly criticized in his lifetime (1895-1984). His claim, among others, that wheat germ, brewer's yeast and black treacle are bedrocks to a long-life diet were derided. 
"The Duchess of Windsor wears clothes of great simplicity...the last time I saw her we discussed clothes and she agreed with me..."
The American Medical Association were against Hauser, and the sugar and flour industries feared his ideas would kill sales but the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson and the Duchess of Windsor eagerly sought his advice. Our man Gaylord is the consummate name dropper, making this read like a conversation with a desperate-to-impress cocktail party wannabee. It's a hoot, old-fashioned and occasionally outrageous (women over 50 should never wear red according to Hauser). He was however ahead of his time for over the years the Doc's health ideas were found sound. While it's hilarious self-help, Look Younger, Live Longer is also an informative pep talk in praise of taking care of the best thing you'll ever find - you.                

Thursday, 6 November 2014

TRY THIS - Scarf that's Cream of the Crop

I found this ballet-pink chiffon scarf at Mary's Living & Giving shop in Ealing. On one end, in lovely script it's branded Guerlain. The perfumer is the creator of Shalimar, the scent my beloved grandmother wore and the one I wear now. The truth is this scarf serves as more of a cosmetic than clothes. I wear it at the neck tied in a bow to the side, allowing its soft colour to brighten my face. Lots of us smear on bottles of makeup, lotions and potions but nothing compliments the complexion like a milk white, ballet pink or soft coral sheer scarf. It's an old fashioned idea that still works a treat. The little wonder was one pound. 

Vintage Hot Spots in Ealing 
Revealed on Northfield News CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

FOUND - Slacking in the Men's Dept

I found these soft wool flannel trousers by Polo at the RSPCA charity shop in central Ealing. I'm sure they're menswear but they've a female figure-flattering cut, plenty of hip space and are decidedly high waisted. More and more I hear friends lament the lack of slacks (my mom's word) with waists that begin above or even at the waist. Why hasn't this style desire filtered down to the main stream fashion world? I wonder, is the FFI* listening? Don't wait, just make a point of carefully trolling the men's rails in your local charity shops. If you come upon a pair of quality trousers, try them on, you've nothing to lose. Men's trousers are naturally cut higher in the waist and if you can find a style that allows for your hips (assuming you've got 'em) then you're walking away happy. These Ralph Lauren bottoms are the foundation of an Annie Hall inspired look I've in mind CLICK HERE. Pants - a paltry £3.50.

*Flippin' Fashion Industry

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

TRY THIS - Divide Up The Gem Quarter

I found this metal necklace at the Oxfam just off the Kings Road, London. Its weighty loops pack a graphic punch that really appeals. In my jewellery box there are 4 types of bling, each the stylish finish to my favorite looks. My first trinket type is dubbed simply EXPENSIVE due to its rarity and quality. For me this includes the 10 carat amethyst I bought in Zimbabwe and the Tiffany hoop earrings I gave myself as congratulations on a new job. Next up, SENTIMENTAL treasures. These can be expensive or less so because it's the memories they represent that make them valuable. My mother's class ring CLICK HERE and my wedding ring which belonged to my husband's mother both tick this bling box. The next category is what I call COLLECTIBLE and includes costume knickknacks that have become sought after as well as skillfully hand-made jewellery that's nothing short of art. My small but beloved collection of Lea Stein brooches CLICK HERE typify this category. Finally there's high street ornaments (ideally found in charity shops), those that I reverentially refer to as JUNK JEWELS. These should be irreverent, striking and most importantly cheap. The well-stocked gem box will feature all 4 categories of jewellery. Eye up potential treasures carefully and spend wisely. My loopy junk jewel necklace, just £6. 

Before you head out the door, find an 
Oxfam in the area you're off to - CLICK HERE  

Monday, 3 November 2014

FOUND - A Duo from Daring Double Act

I found these Clements Ribeiro cashmere jumpers at the Octavia Foundation charity shop in central Ealing. While I'm fairly sure they're menswear, these short-sleeved sweaters are this woman's idea of weekend dressing perfection. Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro met on their first day at Central Saint Martins where they studied fashion design. After graduating with distinction the pair married and set up their eponymous label. In 1997 Vogue included CR in what the fash mag dubbed the "Magnificent 7," along with the likes of Tom Ford, Valentino, Miuccia Prada, Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto and Karl Lagerfeld. In 2000 Clements Ribeiro became joint creative directors at Cacharel (Huntress on Cacharel CLICK HERE), a 7-year association resulting in increased sales and critical acclaim for the French fashion house. In 2007, the couple left Cacharel to relaunch Clements Ribeiro. Bold and distinctive, these jumpers wear like warm, well-made t-shirts that look great layered or alone. They were $18 apiece - a bargain at twice the price.