A Red Carpet night for ‘All or Nothing’ at The New Alex Theatre

Friday night saw a red carpet event and aftershow party for ‘All or Nothing’. the Mod musical which tells the story of the rise and fall of 1960s band ‘The Small Faces’. Held at the New Alex Theatre, where it was coming to the end of a very successful run. the red carpet event included Vespas, lots of wine, and an eclectic audience made up of Mods, celebrities and music fans. They were all in for a treat with a musical that is, by turns, laugh out loud funny, and a sombre reflection of the nature of the music industry in the 1960s, where thugs/businessmen like Don Arden chewed up young musicians and spat them out again. The Small Faces were a perfect example of exploited talent who never got the dues they worked so hard for.

Al or Nothing is written by Carol Harrison, perhaps best known for her role as Louise Raymond in Eastenders. She has produced an extraordinary piece of theatre, it probably is ‘the coolest musical ever’. Carol also plays the role of Kay Marriot, the mother of Steve Marriot, and a real heart of the story, a vibrant East End mother with a posh telephone voice and aspirations that her boy might one day work with Sir Laurence Olivier. Young Steve (Samuel Pope – all cheeky sass and attitude) has other ideas, his heart and soul lie in making music, and a chance meeting with Kenney Jones (Stefan Edwards) and Ronnie Lane (Stanton Wright) sets the wheels in motion for the band that will become the Small Faces. A change of personnel sees the tall Jimmy Winston(Joseph Peters) replaced by the pint sized Ian McLagan (Josh Maddison) and the classic Small Faces line up is complete and set for stardom. But fame does not bring fortune, as the band are exploited by a string of managers, and the charismatic but self destructive Marriot ruins their chances of world wide success with obnoxious behaviour that sees them banned from the likes of Top of the Pops. All or Nothing tells this story in blistering fashion, complete with a string of classic hits that are played live by a talented cast of actors who can also sing like a dream.

 

 

One of the things that makes All or Nothing such a spell binding, and ultimately tragic experience, is the narration from an older, and by now dead, Steve Marriot. Played by the brilliant Chris Simmons, it is like Marriot is looking back at his experiences, enjoying the good times, and wishing he could turn back time as he realises the mistakes he made (his band become the Faces with Rod Stewart after he left abrubtly in 1968.) Chris is exceptional in the role, he noticeably deteriorates as the play continues, mirroring what happened to Marriot, who was killed in a house fire in the early 1990s. It is heartbreaking to watch, and his final scene with mom Kay (Carol Harrison at her most poignant) is almost eerie in its sadness, particularly a final rendition of All or Nothing.

Another thing that I loved about ‘All or Nothing’ is that it superbly recreates the era of the 1960s, from a very funny episode of Top of the Pops with Daniel Beares just hilarious as Tony Blackburn, to scenes including Sonny and Cher and an incredible Dusty Springfield (Sophia Benn – just wow!). Juke Box Jury, Ready Steady Go, Andrew Loog Oldham and Rod Stewart, they are all there, and it gives the musical real resonance, not just looking at the band in splendid isolation, but placing them at the centre of Swinging London.

All or Nothing is the ultimate mod musical, cool, funny and heart rending. No wonder everyone, including the Modfather Paul Weller, is desperate to see this show.

All or Nothing Red Carpet and Aftershow

With thanks to The Ambassadors Group and East Village PR for the invitation.

 

Vintage Fashion Finds

It seems an age since I brought you a post looking at my vintage fashion finds, but lately, I find myself wearing more and more vintage pieces. I don’t have a favourite era when it comes to vintage finds, and I tend not to wear them in a particularly retro style, preferring to mix the vintage and the modern to create looks that could work anywhere, at any time.

Vintage is still relatively easy to find if you know what you are looking for and where to look. Charity shops often have vintage sections now, or the stuff is just nestling on the rails, in particular labels like M&S (look for those St Michael labels) and Dorothy Perkins (this is a store that has been going for years and years.) 1980s fashions are not always classed as vintage, but as 1980 is now almost 40 years ago I think they definitely pass, and these are easy to find – so many large shoulder pads, elasticated waists and belts and large prints to be picked up really cheaply.

I find most of my best finds in charity shops, this month alone I have found a Burberrys (not Burberry until quite recently) classic mackintosh and a pair of lotus brown leather platforms from the 1970s. The Burberrys Mac was £15 and is an amazing buy, whilst the shoes were £4. (You can see both below). My favourite town for real bargains is West Bromwich, where £1 seems to be the average price paid. I once got an Escada polo neck jumper for £1 and almost ran out the shop as I felt I should’ve been wearing a stripy top and a mask, it was that much of a steal.

There are so many preconceptions about vintage. One is that you can only buy vintage if you are size 8. This is frankly untrue, there are some amazing plus size pieces out there, and, as you can see from my piccies, I haven’t been a size 10 in years. Another preconception is that the clothes smell. I find that most of the stuff I find in charity shops has been laundered, and if not, it is worth a dry clean for the saving you are making, and the feel of buying something original, that no-one else will be wearing,

Featured here are some of the vintage buys I have picked up in shops. My fave vintage shop is Ego, based in Lincoln. It’s where I found the lovely Edith Flagg blue dress from the 1960s that is just so lovely. I teamed it with Mary Portas for Clarks shoes (another charity shop find) and a modern Topshop clutch from this season – proof you can mix and match your eras with ease.

Do you ever shop vintage?

Charity shop finds, a vintage blouse (1970s) and a pleated, school style skirt. (1980s?)

Early 1960s Edith Flagg dress from Ego (£14) worn with Mary Portas for Clarks shoes (charity Shop) and Topshop Clutch bag.

Modern outfit from H&M and Day Birger et Mikkelsen worn with 1970s Italian leather vintage shoes.

1970s day dress, £1 from West Bromwich charity shop.

Early 1980s pleated skirt, £1 from charity shop, worn with Carvela 1980s shoes (£1.99).

1970s Bettina of London dress from Charity Shop (£4.00)

More Vintage Finds

Skirt £1.00. 1970s.

Vintage Jaeger Knitwear

Lotus brown leather 1970s platforms £4.00

Instagram feed – follow me at https://www.instagram.com/fashionmommywm/?hl=en

 

Long sleeved shift dresses at Wallis

Long sleeved shift dress styles are a great addition to your Winter Wardrobe. The long sleeved style makes them much warmer than a traditional shift, and they look great with opaque tights and chunky ankle boots or Mary Janes. The shift dress has a 1960s feel, but is also very versatile. Worn with a strappy metallic sandal and a clutch bag, and you have a chic evening look. Add tights, boots and a blazer, and this will work well as workwear. With a chunky knit cardigan and a woolly scarf, this can make a cool winter option. A long sleeved shift dress certainly earns its keep in your wardrobe, and if you can pick one up in the Janaury sales, so much the better.

Celebs work their long sleeved shift dresses

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Wallis has always been a great port of call to find this type of dress, it is one of their style staples and is a design I chose when I did my style challenge with the Fort Shopping Centre (you can find that post here.) This year Wallis has a great range of Long and three quarter sleeved shift styles which come in a range of colours and also in printed varieties. The styles are versatile and also ageless – you only have to look at the pictures above to see that shift dresses can suit everyone, from a 40-something Victoria Beckham, to a 30-something like Michelle Dockery, right through to the barely out of teens Kendall Jenner.

I’ve picked my favourite shifts from the current Wallis collection, I would love to know if you have a fave from my choices, or if this is a look that you ever wear. Some of the designs are now £30 and under, so now is a good time to add a shift to your wardrobe.

Wallis Long Sleeved Shift

 Blue Zip Shoulder Tunic Dress Was £35.00 Now £25.00Click to visit Wallis


Blue Zip Shoulder Tunic Dress Was £35.00 Now £25.00 Click to visit Wallis

Blue And Red Stripe Shift Dress Was £40.00 Now £25.00Click to visit Wallis

Blue And Red Stripe Shift Dress Was £40.00 Now £25.00 Click to visit Wallis

Red Zip Shift Dress Was £40.00 Now £25.00Click to visit Wallis

Red Zip Shift Dress Was £40.00 Now £25.00 Click to visit Wallis

Petite Black Zip Front Shift Dress Price: £35.00 Click to visit Wallis

Petite Black Zip Front Shift Dress Price: £35.00 Click to visit Wallis

Blue Paisley Print Tunic Dress Price: £45.00 Click to visit Wallis

Blue Paisley Print Tunic Dress Price: £45.00 Click to visit Wallis

Blush Floral Tunic Dress Price: £42.00 Click to visit Wallis

Blush Floral Tunic Dress Price: £42.00 Click to visit Wallis

Coral Peplum Shift Dress Price: £35.00 Click to visit Wallis

Coral Peplum Shift Dress Price: £35.00 Click to visit Wallis

Black Panelled Lace Shift Drss Price: £55.00 Click to visit Wallis

Black Panelled Lace Shift Dress Price: £55.00 Click to visit Wallis

Pink Flute Sleeve Dress Price: £45.00 Click to visit Wallis

Pink Flute Sleeve Dress Price: £45.00 Click to visit Wallis

Monochrome Geometric Print Shift Dress £35 Click to visit Wallis

Monochrome Geometric Print Shift Dress £35 Click to visit Wallis