What I’ve liked – Fashion Mommy’s review of September.


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Well, it’s almost the end of another stylish month, and Fashion-mommy has decided to have a review of all the stylish things she has loved this month. September has been an extremely stylish month, with all the fashion weeks happening across the globe, and launches of the Perfume Diaries at Harrods, The Shoe Galleries at Selfridges, and Biba at House of Fraser. We’ve remembered sadly missed icons of style Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, and have lost Catherine Walker. We’ve welcomed the Autumn collections in all their full-skirted, 1950’s glory. And we’ve celebrated the rise of the curve, with Chanel campaigns for Crystal Renn, and a Grazia front cover for Christina Hendricks.

So, what else did Fashion-mommy like this month?

Firstly, I must comment on the amazingly fabulous, newly launched Biba collection at House Of Fraser. The designs, as modelled by the glorious Daisy Lowe, were reminiscent of the opulence and decadence of the original designs, with leopard prints, velvets and silk paisley prints all represented. I am totally in lust with one full length dress, which has a 1930’s Hollywood feel to it. In addition to the clothes themselves, I just loved Birmingham‘s glamorous Biba concession, with a black piano at the centrepiece.

House of Fraser Biba concession - just look at that Piano!

My favourite Biba dress from the collection.

While we’re on the subject of House of Fraser, I’m just loving their new pink carrier bags.  They are proper Ellie Woods, Legally blonde pink, and are girly and lovely. The new Lola Rose packaging is also pink and stunning. Check out their range at QVC – some great savings to be made.

So girly! So pink!

There were some great fashion looks in September. Sarah Jessica Parker rocked a whole series of looks with her inimitable flawless style, My favourite look was one she wore during London Fashion week. It was in gorgeous chocolate/caramel shades and frankly showed young whippersnappers like Olivia Palermo how it’s done.Kate Moss showed why she remains the style icon of choice for many in the stunning outfit she wore at her Longchamp launch.  She looked groomed and elegant, the total epitome of real style without trying too hard.I loved the various TV and Soap awards that occurred this month. They provided so many giggles, I mean, did you see some of the ‘dresses; (using the term loosely) that the various soap starlets wore. Far be it for Fashion-mommy to criticise her fellow females, but hell, do any of them actually own a mirror? However Nina Wadia from Eastenders retained some fashion dignity whilst flying the flag for curvier women at the inside Soap awards, and for that I salute her.

Nina Wadia keeps it nice and simple.

In terms of shopping, surprisingly Primark has been one of my favourite shops this month. They have an amazing knitwear collection which has been hard to resist. Cute boyfriend cardis, embellished bow front jumpers and 1950’s style cardigans are all key items.

There have also been lots of end of season sales, and more exciting, new season sales at all key stores. Debenhams, New  Look, Coast and Monsoon have all had good sales with items that could take you into the next season. I got a fabulous teal handbag and an unusual black and white beaded collar necklace and bracelet for just over £30. Monsoon has just started its mid-season sale. You can pick up my Tabitha tea dress for half price.(grrrr!)

Tabitha Dress from Monsoon.

Amazing Coast jewellery - just add a little black dress.

How amazing is the colour of this Coast bag?

In terms of style events, the fashion weeks were pretty impressive. Fashion mommy didn’t get to any of the fashion weeks, what with being tied to the kitchen sink and Baba, or slaving over a hot laptop. But I did get to the Perfume Diaries at Harrods, and the Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A. Both were amazing, and I will talk about them in future postings.

Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A.

All in All, a fabulous, fashionable month.

Is it too early for a 1990’s fashion revival?

"Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell

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According to the October edition of Vogue, there is a 1990’s revival occurring in fashion. This made me shudder in disbelief, the 1990’s don’t seem to be far away enough in the past to be subject to a revival. Nor do they seem to be a distinctive enough style decade to warrant said revival. This got fashion-mommy thinking about her 90’s style, and the decade in general in order to try to answer the question ‘is it too early for a 90’s style revival, and if it is not, is it really worth reviving anyway?

My early 90’s style was dominated by Grunge. I loved The Wonderstuff, Soundgarden and Nirvana, and for a while this governed my look. The grunge look, in essence was easy. Dress as if style was a rude word, wear everything too big, and most important of all, abandon all bright colours. Grunge was morose and dreary, and so the clothes followed suit. I remember raiding my grandad’s wardrobe in order to pinch his plaid lumberjack shirts, and I was wearing a dark red one, over baggy jeans and a crop top, the night I met my future husband.  I also lived in Doc Martens purchased from Birmingham‘s famous Rag Market. Frankly I resembled Juno, and in hindsight, in the days when I did have a ‘perfect size 10’ figure, this was not the best look for me to have adopted. Heck, I should have been in lycra at all times, rather than covering up like a docker!

By the mid 1990’s I was out of my grunge stage. Britpop in all it’s glory had happened. Glamour was back. Blur, Oasis, Pulp and The Spice Girls dominated the charts. And I bought a Wonderbra! My already huge boobs were pushed up and pushed together to the point where it looked like I had two-thirds of ‘Right Said Fred’ under my top! I also coveted little black dresses with just a touch of lycra in them, and my River Island Union Jack bag. This was unusual as it was a blue/pink Union Jack, and I’m not embarrassed to say I still have this relic of the 1990’s under my bed somewhere. My hair was long, blonde and poker straight. Other girls had strange attempts at the ‘Rachel’ cut, but I played straight and safe. Not for me the two-tone hair of Geri Halliwell or Louise Wener, I was aiming for something more Dani Behr (whom Hubby loved!).

The late 1990’s saw minimalism at its peak, with Calvin Klein its key exponent. I tried this with polo neck jumpers (which made aforementioned boobs look like a shelf!) and pencil skirts, and black opaques, always opaques, which meant you could leave shaving your legs just a little bit longer. And now I bought a pashmina, and wondered how I had ever survived without it, and bought cheap versions in every colour in London and Birmingham from street vendors. A new style icon emerged, the inimitable Kate Moss, who looked great all the time, and hung out with cool people in Primrose Hill.

So, a brief summary of what the 1990’s meant to me. And, looking back, there were style moments to savour. The late Princess of Wales really hit her fashion stride in the mid 1990’s, wearing Chanel suits, Jackie Kennedy style pillar box hats and stunning Versace shift dresses. Vintage style arrived at the Oscars, and was embraced by Winona Ryder, Demi Moore and paved the way for one  of my favourite dress, Renee Zellweger in a gorgeous canary yellow strapless number by Jean Desses in 2001Then there were the Spice Girls. I loved the Spice Girls, but was a little too old to be a loud and proud girl power fan, so I was a secret Spice Girls fan. But I did love them. They were bright and bubbly, they were fun. I loved Geri strutting her stuff in a Union Jack teatowel which became an icon of ‘Cool Britannia‘. I loved their stupid shoes and Posh’s pout and point. I loved Scary in her leopard print, with her ‘so what’ attitude and her beautiful face. I loved Baby’s dimples and puppy fat, and Sporty’s backflips and real singing talent. I just loved them.

So there were things to savour. But do we really need a revival.  Well, I think not. You see, the 1990’s haven’t really left us anyway. They’re alive and well in 2010. Kate Moss is as iconic as ever, starring in ad campaigns for the super cool Isabel Marant. Naomi, Claudia and the other supers are still in demand, with Naomi’s sultry face all over a t-shirt by Dolce and Gabbana. Geri Halliwell is on the X Factor, whilst the Spice Girls are alive and kicking and now going under the name of ‘The Saturdays’. The top boy/man band is Take That – with Robbie Williams, just as it was in 1994. Doc Martens are having a moment, but never really went away, and now grace the feet of Emma Roberts, Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn. Grunge has morphed into Emo style, but my sister still wear her Pearl Jam ‘ten’ top from 1991. And all is still well in the world of fashion…just as long as that curtains hair cut doesn’t make an unexpected comeback…

There’s nothing as stylish as a wedding?

A 1942 wedding with bride in traditional long ...

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There’s nothing as stylish as a wedding. Think about it, the hats, the suits, the dresses, the flowers, the cake, but most of all, the bride. A bride is a fairytale come to life. The one day when all women should feel beautiful, no matter what they choose to wear.

My sister is getting married in December. She had a dress fitting last week. Her actual dress had arrived and she was going to try it on for the first time. Before this she had tried the dress, but in a different size or a different colour. This was the actual dress fitting and we were all totally excited.

Jodie’s dress is from the Caroline Jane wedding dress department in the Birmingham Branch of House of Fraser.  Caroline Jane  had a successful Bridal business in Tamworth for many years before being head-hunted by House of Fraser to set up a new Bridal Concession within the store. On visiting the bridal department it is easy to see why. The decor, soft lighting, and, above all, the dresses are completely, heart-stoppingly beautiful. There are dresses to suit every taste, from full-skirted fairytale princess designs, to short Grace Kelly -esque 1950’s styles. Long sleeved, high neckline, strapless, sweetheart necklines, all designs are catered for in exquisite style.

Stunning dresses on display in Caroline Jane, House of Fraser, Birmingham

Rows of stunning dresses in pretty surroundings.

Another major plus point about Caroline Jane is that not only are bridal dresses available in plus sizes, they are actually featured on displays on actual plus sized mannequins. Caroline herself says that having a plus sized mannequin on display on the ground floor had attracted many curvier brides-to-be to the department, as they actually felt they would definitely find a dress that would suit them.  Both Caroline and Victoria are very knowledgable about the dresses, correct underwear, petticoats etc, and so you feel in safe hands. In addition, on our first visit there, we sat in the large dressing room with a glass of wine trying on the most amazing crystal fascinaters, so it was a great girly fashionista day.

Plus sized mannequin on display in the store.

My sister’s wedding dress is absolutely stunning. It is reminiscent of a dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore a few years ago, but my lips are sealed on any other details, for fear of the wrath of Bridezilla.  However, I will say that she looks like a young and beautiful Audrey Hepburn in the dress and I am completely jealous of the amazing Dune shoes she will be wearing on her tootsies.

For more information on Caroline Jane bridal wear, please visit the website www.carolinejanebridalwear.co.uk