In my humble opinion, London is the real fashion heart of the world and so I try to make as many trips as being a mom to Baba allows. One of my most unmissable London events is the Proms in the Park, which takes place in Hyde Park each September. Luckily Nanna Diane and Grandad Mick were on hand to look after Bab for the weekend, so Fashion Mommy and hubby were able to enjoy a fashion filled fun weekend amongst the grown up world!
My BFF Dawn relocated to London three years ago and is currently living in a fab Georgian Style flat in Putney. This is within easy walking distance of Putney High Street and a whole range of interesting shops, bars and restaurants. We arrived at Dawn’s flat on friday evening, and after admiring Dawn’s brand new Mulberry Mags bag (£208 bargain from Bicester Village Mulberry outlet) and comparing it to my white beaded vintage handbag (£9 from an antique stall on Tywyn market) we decided to enjoy a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio and a lovely Southern Indian meal at the Cochin Brasserie on the Richmond Road.
Saturday was time for a shopping trip in Putney. Putney has one stand out store that is well worth a visit for any budding fashionista. The TK MAXX store is completely amazing for a range of reasons.
- It only stocks items for women. There are bags, shoes, clothing, scarves, toiletries, accessories, but these are strictly for the girls only.
- The store has a pretty boudoir feel to it, with lots of pretty wall mirrors, velvet seats and chandelier style lighting.
- It’s a mecca for fashionistas stocking Lulu Guinness bags, Versace, Stella McCartney, Ronit Zilkha and BCBG Max Azria. I had a fabulous Lulu Guinness bag for £79 (rrp £199), a fab black 50’s style frilled cardigan for £20 and a Julian Taylor New York shift dress in grey flannel style with ruffled neckline for £25. I seriously regret not buying a pair of gold BCBG Max Azria pointed, buckled flats for £40.
- The changing rooms are funny too. They are labelled as fashionista and bargainista. Guess where I ended up?
We spent ages in TK Maxx, frankly I could’ve spent the whole weekend in there, it is truly that fashion fabulous. However, shopping needs sustenance and so we decided on a spot of lunch at Hudsons. However, disaster struck when the heel fell off hubbies shoe. Now, hubby is funny about shoes. Despite having almost as many pairs as I have, he tends to wear the same pairs all the time, notably Gucinari shoes. Todays said, now broken pair, had been brought on a shopping trip on the KIngs Road before Baba was born. However, no simple trip to Office for a new pair was on the cards for Hubby. That would be far too easy. Instead we had to visit the cobblers in the Putney Exchange shopping centre, and hubby then walked around the shops for 30 minutes in his socked feet whilst Dawn and I laughed uncontrollably and thought of all the different words that could be substituted for scruffy, shoeless, tramp. Luckily hubby saw the funny side, even when I dragged him into Waterstones to look for fashion books whilst he was shoeless in Putney!
We just had time then to hit the Putney British Heart foundation shop. This was a veritable Aladdin’s cave of fashionable bargains – Coccinelle handbags for £15-£30, Dkny newspaper print bag £20, Joseph shift dresses for £11 and KG bags for just £4. The most amazing section of the shop housed the shoes, with bargains from Hobbs, LK Bennett, Kate Kanzier and Dune for less than £5. I feel in love with a glittery pair of flat. pewter ballet pumps that were just £3, but by this time we were running against the clock. We had an appointment at Hyde Park and we needed to get ready so I lest empty-handed. It was not the last I was going to see of the glittery pumps!
Dressing for Proms in the park is a tricky thing to do. it was still gloriously sunny as we arrived at the flat, but when he sun sets it can be cold under the stars. Footwear needs to be chosen carefully too. It can be quite a trudge through the park to get to the concert venue, and then another trudge through the masses of blankets to find a good picnic spot. The first year I had gone to the park I wore a gorgeous geometric print maxi dress and wedge heels and looked frankly great. Nobody had told me we were going to walk from Green Park to Hyde Park in my new heels, nor that it would turn so cold when the sun went down. Dawn, who was wearing a fab pair of royal blue suede wedges on the same night, managed to fall from top to bottom of the stairs at Hyde Park corner tube station, so it was not a great fashion night for either of us.
This year we got it right. Jeans, with tunic style tops. Dawn had a pewter grey sequined tunic top from Wallis, whilst I had a long-sleeved peasant style frilled tunic in ditsy floral print.Dawn had her trusty Barbour Jacket for the evening cool, whilst I took my new frilled cardigan. The key accessory was the Union Jack flags for Rule Britannia.
Fashion is on display everywhere at Proms in the Park. Denim DIY hot pants and Wolford tights, soft charcoal jersey harem pants with mannish 1980’s style blazers with rolled up sleeves, 1940’s style chintzy teadresses with chunky knits as the night turned cooler. My favourite look of the night was a vintage 1980’s style black dress, thin straps, ra-ra style net layers, very Cyndi Lauper in styling and totally fun. The other fabulous look on display was offered by the Renee Fleming, the American soprano taking the role of Britannia herself, who had been fabulously dressed by Vivienne Westwood. She looked totally amazing.
The concert was enthralling and life affirming, as it always is, and we decided against trying to get a cab back to Putney and got on the number 14 bus instead. This offers a trip through nighttime Knightsbridge, when all the shop windows are lit up and Harrods shines like a beautiful beacon in the dark. I was absolutely enchanted by the fantastic window display in the Mulberry store which featured large, glittery panthers amongst its array of goodies. Harvey Nicks also looked amazing.
I then started to admire the styles of some of the females on the bus. One girl looked particularly lovely, with a black fluffy cardigan and large corsage over a simple black dress. Then a young girl got onto the bus and I felt my gaze drawn to her feet. And there they were, the pretty glittery pewter pumps from the charity shop that day. They looked so pretty, and so dressy for the evening that I decided that I would go back the next day and get them, if they were still there.
After getting off our bus, we had a nice walk to back to the flat. It was still a lovely evening and people were out in droves, but I was quite disappointed to see so many identikit girls in little black dresses and heels, all resembling a dodgy Robert Palmer video from the mid 80’s. Very Herve Leger and figure hugging, but hardly new and original. Dawn then decided that Sienna Miller(and hubby for that matter!) were not the only people who could walk the streets of London barefoot, and so abandoned her wedges for the walk back to the flat. I later found out from Dawn’s flatmate Lee that Dawn does this on a regular basis, which might explain all the Liz Earle foot products in the bathroom!
We took a long lie in the next morning, and after enjoying the papers, walked back into Putney so I could check out the rest of the charity shops. I crossed my fingers about those glitter pumps from the British Heart Foundation and was in luck. They were still there! So they became my first purchase of the day. Cancer research yielded yet more bargains. I got a pure new wool sequined pashmina in the softest greys and pinks for £10, a copy of Simon Doolen’s Beautiful people for £2, a great goldtone n with large jade stones for £4, and most amazingly, a pair of beige suede Salvatore Ferragamo kitten heels for £20. I was almost in tears, especially when they fetched the individual dust bags from the back of the shop. Everyone in the shop was applauding my luck at being able to get my feet into them, I felt like I’d finally brought a winning lottery ticket that wasn’t just for £1.
Dawn also managed to get a fab faux wrap style dress in Diane Von Fustunberg style for £5, and then our shopping trip was over. We had to go home. After loading the goodies into the car we set off for the M25. And as we drove away, I pondered the fact that, to me, London will always be the home of truly great fashion, with style to be seen on every corner. And just at that point, some new shiny office buildings came into view. And be damned if they didn’t resemble Holly Fulton’s fab range of art deco inspired jewellery and dresses…
- 5 Tips to Avoid the “Mommy Fashion Slump!” (thefashionablebambino.com)
- Fashion’s Night Out – Street Style in New York City (stylelist.com)
- “OK!’s Fashion Week Blog: BCBG Max Azria” and related posts (okmagazine.com)
- PARTY-ON: Mulberry celebrates Fashion’s Night Out (runningwithheels.com)
- Curves ahead: Fashion Week embraces ‘real women’ (today.msnbc.msn.com)
- BCBG Max Azria Spring 2011 – Runway Review (stylelist.com)
- The Weekender: Fashion’s Night Out Outfit (stylelist.com)
- Fast Fashion or High End Style? Try Designer Deals (blogher.com)
- Fashionista Favorites at Fashion’s Night Out (therecessionista.blogspot.com)