Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Hallowe'en/ Housewarming party: 31 October 2007
Last week I celebrated the first year anniversary in my new home by throwing a Hallowe’en-housewarming party. I wore a black couture Vivienne Westwood floor-length skirt with bustle and a sleeveless corseted bodice complemented by a top hat and riding crop - half bondage, half funeral director! What started out as a intimate gathering of mates and rellys quickly escalated into fashion folk, most of whom I've never met, asking to be added to the guest list with a plus one!
As flattering as this was, the thought of my newly restored floor / humble home being stampeded by designer stilettos was too much to bear! The only thing stopping them from getting in, however, was a glow-in-dark plastic skeleton and a good old Banham lock- an essential requirement for South-East London! The homemade mulled wine, along with a play-list including the Ghostbusters themetune, ensured that it was possibly the politest of Hallowe'en parties keeping any self respecting fashionista firmly at bay.
I was excited, honoured, and secretly very nervous to be invited to talk about couture fashion as part of the Couture exhibition currently taking place at Londons V&A (I was also very keen to recycle my Hallowe'en costume. See above!) I was in conversation with the renowned fashion illustrator David Downton, and we explored - as only best friends can - the ins and outs, up and downs, trials, tribulations and sheer elation of what is sometimes a hilarious insight into the imaginations of the world's most renowned fashion designers. The audience were wonderfully receptive, and I would to like say thank you to them for spending their dollar.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
First of all I would like to say my recent stint in Facebook rehab was very successful. May I also take this opportunity to thank the soulless maggot of a person that got me hooked in the first place - my best friend and fellow addict Mrs Robinson.
(Funny, whilst I'm sitting here writing this blog my flatmate's cat Rizzo is ***** footing on top of the Aga to the theme tune of Chariots of Fire - he was left outside last night poor cow/cat…) I'm wondering if any one else is feeling mucus-infested, near head-exploding death? I am sporting enough layers to make Rick Owens and any credible fashion editor at Vogue PROUD… (Kate Phelan)
So with the British Fashion Awards imminent, I was glad to receive a text from the lovely girls at Marchesa offering to make me a gown. If it's as gorgeous as the feathered number I wore at Fashion Rocks then I will feel as proud as a blooming peacock in it!!!
Let's show our support to Samuel Knight, a student at The University Of The Arts London and a fashion maverick in the making. I recently had the pleasure of contributing to his final photographic dissertation, a portrait of me through those that I know. To view his work visit www.samiknight.com. More importantly Sammy has become an inspiring friend that has reignited my enthusiasm in all things Bright and British!
Posted by Erin O'Connor
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
After what was probably the most magical weekend of my life, I returned home to find my house flooded with not one water stained floor, but two (sodden ceiling that had collapsed in between two rooms ensured that). Rizzo (mon adopted cat) is about to enjoy a stint in rehab as we believe (me and the flat mate), that he is depressed. You see, he took it upon himself to sit on both taps over hanging my bathtub until it began cascading a powerful jet of water, which led to the plug somehow attaching itself to the hole…. Bla bla, need I go on? Rizzo, clearly mesmerised by this, decided not to meow for attention (disappointing and simply unheard of), and instead left the scene of the crime. Was it merely an attention-seeking exercise or did he feel the need to unwind whilst the house slept unwittingly? Needless to say his very sorrowful purrs were forgiven the following morning when I realised he'd shown some consideration by leaving enough hot water for a shower... As for my water-logged house, half of it remains out of bounds until I'm assured all the electrics have dried out. For total decadence and a little slice of heaven I'm off to the Agua Spa at The Sanderson for some relaxation and a bit of rehabilitation of my own.
So whilst I'm on the subject of decadence I mustn't forget the British Fashion Awards last week. Sort of like the Fashion Oscars, it's the one event of the year that encourages us to cork the finest of quirky British fashion - with designers ensuring that only the most eccentric of modern muses are poured into their creations. Memorable moments of the evening included myself and Stuart Rose on stage, nervously chatting about M&S figures whilst we waited for Dame Vivienne Westwood to come out of the ladies loo! She made up for it in her acceptance speech by telling her audience that she had never been interested in fashion or indeed following it (GENIUS).
Model Of The Year Agyness Deyn gave an endearing acceptance speech whilst chatting on her mobile phone to her mother. She moved every inch of me and I couldn't wait to tell her as we danced the night away at the afterparty hosted by yours truly… oodles of fun and a tad hazy past 3am!
Oops, gotta go… MAN friend coming over and much promised dinner in packet in fridge! Kisses
Sunday January 13, 2008
After school, as a teenager in Walsall, I devoted endless hours to hard slog around the house: I ironed, I vacuumed, I cooked dinner... I even attempted a brief stint as an Avon Lady round the estate. I did all of this in the interest of earning enough money to fund a return bus trip into town - with an added budget reserved for clothes shopping. McDonald's was the destination du jour; and, in fact, the clothes were never bought, just ogled at by me and my mates. Hours were wasted, while we tried on and pined over the clothes we couldn't afford. Cerise-pink jumpsuits from Clockhouse at C&A, and dickie bow ties worn with Eighties-style jackets - cropped and studded with badges celebrating the work of Wham! or Duran Duran - at Tammy girl. We were inspired by the original girl band Bananarama, with a little bit of Salt'n'Pepper sass thrown in. Every teenage girl's fashion bible was Just 17. I wasn't actually allowed to buy it, mind, my parents thought it too racy. Instead, I devoured the pages of Jo Harding's copy (she was the hardest girl in our year); my friends and I would mark the items we coveted most with Tipp-Ex at breaktime.
I was 12 when I first became style-conscious. I was in the fortunate position of having a big sister who could ensure I was ahead of my classmates in fashion terms. My sister was a rock chick; she had a perm and a feathered fringe, and wore big bows in her hair, in the style of Madonna, or maybe Boy George. She was the very first in her year to wear rock T-shirts under her school uniform, anything from Bon Jovi to Mötley Crüe. She was a great inspiration to me. Then something wonky happened to me at 14; my friends and I evolved a look that (we thought) proudly proclaimed: 'I don't give a ****!' The basic uniform involved tie-dye gypsy skirts, crucifixes worn upside down as necklaces, and piercing in inappropriate places (although I was never allowed to get one of those, either); we dyed our hair pink with food colouring, and developed a passion for stripy tights, Doc Martens boots, and everything purple. These grubby-looking, salvage-effect items were all shop-bought and overpriced, but - oh, how happily my friends and I wore them, and danced to the folky diddly-di music of the Levellers, or dreadlocked each others' hair, while hanging out in the back of the bus. (NB, all photographic evidence of this time has since been destroyed and I find it hard discussing such a painful and unfortunate period.)
My first year at high school was split into two definitive tribes - the ravers and the indie kids. I hated the ravers, I hated their permed hair, Naf-Naf jackets and Reebok trainers - and they hated me. I should perhaps point out that, at the time, I played flute in a rock band called Sub Kulture; and I was deeply offended that they had the audacity to call me sad. In those, days, the sixth-form girls never carried schoolbags. They'd rejected them presumably because such cheap canvas fabric rubbed against their legs and played havoc with their champagne-coloured, 70-denier tights. Instead, they opted for River Island plastic bags, which fastened with a drawstring. This was a flagrant display of status. A River Island carrier distinguished the rich from the poor, and was evidence of an endless capacity and appetite for conspicuous consumption. In theory all you had to do was buy yourself a River Island keyring to secure another carrier; although those of us brazen enough asked for a free one, feigning some disastrous ripped school-bag scenario or other.
Jeans were another huge marker of status - and, accordingly, a fashion minefield. Until I was 15, my mum bought my jeans from the local indoor market. At that time, the indie band and fashion icons Nirvana were wearing barely-there jeans: over-sized, low-slung, slouchy round the knees, and slashed around the crotch. I got into the habit of leaving the house to go clubbing, dressed in not one but two pairs of jeans. My mother-bought jeans would be layered over a sluttish ripped-up pair, which I'd stolen from my big sister's boyfriend. Operation Removal was performed around the back of the bus stop; the offending indoor-market jeans were stuffed into a Topshop bag, and handed in at the coat-check. I'd dance the night away on bars and tables, flaunting Calvin Klein undies - which were visible through strategic Kurt Cobain-referencing rips in the jeans - and which cost three times my weekly allowance.
At 16, I was forcibly removed from the house on Saturdays by my father, who insisted I get myself a weekend job. The most coveted of all possible Saturday positions was till operator at Topshop - not least because it came with a 15 per cent staff discount. Sadly, I failed that interview - but the management directed me across the road towards Topman. They were desperate for staff! I was told. And yes, Topman hired me - I was folding jumpers neatly back onto shelves that very afternoon. Later, I'd have my first experience with a naked man in the shop - I accidentally wandered into a fitting room and found a bare spotty bottom staring back at me. The shock kept my purity intact for at least another year.
Eventually, I began to enjoy styling and advising the Topman shoppers. They'd walk through the door looking completely terrified, which prompted me to take an assertive role. With a gentle smile I persuaded these poor boys to bypass lime-green matching shirt-and-tie ensembles, and consider the goods on display in the more fashion-conscious concessions aisle - the Fred Perry and Red Label Levi's 501s. Maybe this is why I still love - and wear - men's fashion; I'm a particular fan of the men's section of Gap, and of Margaret Howell's masculine tailoring.
Outside the confines of school and Topman, I spent hours whizzing around my fave high-street shops: The Body Shop (Dewberry perfume - the scent of being a teenager for a generation of women) and Next and M&S (for their underwear, particularly their granny thermal long johns - which were to be worn under ripped jeans, with biker boots. The rule was, you had to roll up just enough of the cuff on the jean to flash a little thermal long john, and also ensure the optimal distance between the bottom of the turn-up and the top of the boots. NB, the boots - my preferred colour was soft pink, but the other girls wore them black.) And there was Tammy Girl for accessories and headbands, and Topshop for the extremely important bargain-bin scram ritual. I once bought a stripy velour Topshop T-shirt in blue, green and purple because I'd seen a picture of Kate Moss wearing it in Just 17. Unfortunately, the only one in stock was three sizes too big for me - I had to customise it with a row of safety pins down the back, an uncomfortable arrangement on a sweltering day in July.
But the single essential piece for all Moss fans at that particular era was a pair of Adidas Gazelle trainers. Kate owned them in burgundy - so I got them in burgundy. When she stepped out in an identical lilac pair, I saved for a month so that I could have the lilac, too. I owned about 10 different variations, before Moss got bored of Adidas Gazelles, and moved on. I still wear the burgundy pair for my driving lessons.
Make-up was always kept to a bare minimum, give or take an excessive amount of blusher, because that was the way the models at Vivienne Westwood's catwalk shows did it. My friends and I applied it to each others' faces with such vigour that we looked like we'd had a two-for-the-price-of-one session on a sunbed.
At 16, I emerged from my indie-girl phase, having decided that more sober attire would be appropriate for an A-level candidate. Enter the grandad look. It revolved around tweed waistcoats, flat caps and collarless shirts - most of which were purchased from M&S menswear department, and Burtons. This phase came to an abrupt end in my final year at school, when I visited my actual grandad one Sunday afternoon and he refused to accompany me to the pub, because we were dressed in matching ensembles. Instead we got hammered on Bell's whisky and watched Songs of Praise. I inherited his favourite flat cap and I still wear it today.
Though perhaps some of my earlier fashion tastes were somewhat dubious, I really enjoyed the wild experimentation of it all. It didn't matter that I got it wrong; that wasn't the point. It was the absolute joy of feeling good - even if I looked very, very wrong. Because of that, I have grown up with a sort of emotional loyalty card to the high street. I get as much satisfaction rushing to Topshop on a Thursday morning - when the deliveries come in - as I do receiving the latest freebie handbag from Prada. · Erin's Model Me haircare range is available at Boots and Toni&Guy from £5.99
CHRISTMAS TREES AND CAROLS
Monday, December 17, 2007
Last Sunday was dedicated to decorating my Christmas tree. Not just any old Christmas tree, you understand, but one that I hand picked (selection process draining… I saw about 5000 trees) from the Covent Garden market at an ungodly hour. When I finally managed to get the sodding thing through the front door I was quickly challenged with the next hurdle - squeezing it down my very narrow Georgian staircase! After a few attempts in exercising calm I threw it down the stairs and what landed at the bottom was a sad, somewhat broken looking animal that had just endured a brutal leg shave.
In an attempt to tame my mood I decided to download some happy Christmas tunes. After my iPod jumped to Black Sabbath's Planet Caravan more than 15 times I gave up and poured the first of many (generous) Irish whiskeys. P.S My new and expensive fairy lights have blown already… after two days!
Today is Monday the 17th and I'm sitting here with my flatmate Aimee sipping Champagne and eating cheesy beans on toast. It is 9.15 in the morning – just a wee pre-Christmas breakfast to ensure we have enough stamina to brave the crowds in Selfridges. Cliff Richards Mistletoe and Wine is whining in the background and we are contemplating tunes to play at our bespoke carol service. So far we have Oh come all ye FENDI – Away in a manger, no MTV crib for a bed and I'm dreaming of a Manolo B Christmas with every email blag I write.. la la!
Well dear friends, though we have only really just met I want to thank you for having me! It has been an absolute pleasure sharing my useless, time wasting mundane private affairs with you – only hope next year will be as jaded!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The remains of an emaciated-looking Christmas turkey carcass stare back at me and I’m wondering why I feel guilty eating a big fat Cornish pasty (brought back by Cornish flat mate), in front of it; devouring its fine plump buttery surface while the little has-been bird looks on impoverished and forlorn. That’s it, time to get fit, I declare as I set about blowing the tyres up on my bicycle and dusting down my Davina McCall fitness video.
I head to the shops with a wobbly, and somewhat reluctant bike bearing the weight of my ever so slightly more bounteous bottom - its joints locking, stiff and weary from the lack of mobility due to abandonment from its once loved owner. I immediately sense the ‘mass detoxification’ process ensuing in the midst of shopping trolleys everywhere. Man-friend and I have a competition to see who can spot first teetotal health fanatic walking around in a blur of regrettable, but somehow unavoidable consumption, clouded by self-fulfilled promises in the form of New Years resolutions. Turns out we win hands down. On the ride home I balance my shopping on one handle and my Prada handbag on the other (I knew that oversized sack would come in useful one day).
Over the coming weeks I will visit both South Africa and Thailand. The latter is a sort of pre-birthday present to myself as the big 3-0 ventures further into my consciousness. I’m happy to say I am celebrating the fact that my thirties are around the corner. No need to pretend anymore that I know what I'm talking about; instead it gives me great relief to declare what I don’t know in the hope that some poor sod will put me out of my misery. Excellent.
Adios dear friends… my lamb chops have defrosted and Davina's fitness tape still frozen. This gal's got things to do !
Posted by Erin O'Connor
Monday, January 21, 2008
Well darling hearts, its 5am and I am sitting in Singapore airport, surrounded by orchids and waiting to board my plane for the final leg of my journey to Bangkok.
Its exactly 18 hours since I left my buddies, Twiggy, Lizzie and Mylene - with the150 strong crew - in South Africa, shooting spring/summer for good old M&S - or S&M as Lizzie and I devised one bored afternoon. (Must have been the heat)!
It feels weird shooting spring/ summer in January, although I'm certainly not complaining about the disciplinary act of bikini-waxing for my fabulous new Missoni bikini (unfortunately there was no time for me to actually wear it)! This has been perhaps the most active commercial to date - who knew I could still do one-handed cartwheels whilst grinning from ear to ear and landing daintily on two feet with a 360-degree spin! (OK, OK it wasn't that good but at least I managed to fall over gracefully more than a few times)! As the shoot drew to a close my thoughts turned to me lying on my back doing nothing other than merely remembering the Krypton style challenge I had just completed.
For my 30th birthday present to me, I have treated myself to 1 weeks stay at the fabulous Chiva-Som resort in Thailand. Upon arrival I called my man-friend and promised to fully enter into their regime of drinking copious amounts of wheatgrass liquids in one hand, whilst flagellating myself with bamboos straws with the other. Not that I'm a goody goody you understand, but with my birthday drawing ever nearer, the need for an industrial strength detoxification is necessary before what will be a celebratory week of intoxication… well you are only 30 once!