Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

I’ve been thinking about style a lot of lately, possibly because I have been shopping excessively and going out at just as much – requiring the styling of many new ensembles for many different events, locations and situations. When I studied fashion two years ago I was lucky enough to truly discover exactly what it is exactly that beguiles me about fashion. Beyond the delight I find in dressing and dressing up, what I am so curious about and so deeply intrigued by is simple…it’s style. STYLE! That simple one syllable word that has such a weighty significance in terms of self expression. We all know the famous fashion quote ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal…’ But do we truly know how to define it? We know it when we see it -‘That’s stylish, she’s stylish, he’s got style etc.’

We all generally tend to have a universal understanding of who and what is stylish, hence why the world covets and henceforth creates style icons. And style icons vary from classic and sharp Victoria Beckham, to masters of the glam rock chic Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, preened to perfection and always neat Olivia Palermo  or forever casual and cool in a leather jacket, skinny jeans and boots combo Kate Moss.

But asides from using the word to identify a form of dressing, Classic, Casual, Trendy, Sporty etc, what constitutes as style and how can we identify what it looks like?

I like to define style as fashion’s cousin, her much cooler cousin and a trend is fashion’s sister, possibly even twin sister. Without going too deeply into semiology and linguistics, fashion is the object – the signified and the trend is formed by the signifiers, in this case the consumers (us), who with our consumption of said object  eventually make the object fashionable or/ and trendy.

Style, I refer to as fashion’s cooler cousin because it’s more expressive and offers more of a personal communication. If we could all afford to wear runway looks straight off the catwalk of the season’s most coveted look, regardless of how fashionable and on trend it might be, we’d all look like clones, or the alternative terminology, fashion victims. Style is not the possession of, or the monetary strength to, own and dress in fashionable items.  Style is the dance between conforming and rejecting, between being predictable, ironic and unexpected.

We can all wear a runway look and be fashionable, but  we’d have no credit to take for our ability to dress, because the look has already been packaged and parceled by another stylist. In fact, the only thing we might express dressed head to toe in a runway look is our undying love for fashion and our ability to keep up with its capricious nature. Ask Anna Dello Russo, Fashion Editor and Creative Director at Vogue Japan, who’ll tell you ‘I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion’. I have never seen a woman wear so many runway looks, in fact so fashionable is the passionate fashionista that she has been described by Helmut Newton as a ‘Fashion maniac’.  Anna might be considered ironically cool, like wearing nineties patterned  Moschino in the twenty first century or a black woman wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Blondes have more fun,’ but too much irony or too much of one thing is never good.

So, back to this dance of conforming and rejecting. Style is a personal interpretation of the signified object – the fashion item, it’s the way in which we  choose to hangout with fashion’s sister, the signifiers, the masses that form the trends and its how we choose to reject it, by refusing to wear it, altering it or manipulate it. A white shirt might be fashionable, neatly buttoned down and tucked into a pair of jeans, we conform to the trend by wearing the white shirt, but we reject it by tucking only the front of the shirt into our jeans and leaving the back out, wearing the first three buttons undone or placing a statement necklace around the collar and so on and so forth.

In my humble opinion, ‘styling’ is the way in which we manipulate fashion. The most stylish of people in my belief are those that always have their eye on fashion but have the ability to manipulate, to innovate, to be unexpected but respectable, ironic and predictable and know exactly when to conform and when to reject.  Style is formed once we develop a particular method towards the way in which we approach dress, over a period of time this will form a motif which eventually becomes our own unique style.

Here’s to some of my personal style icons at the moment…

Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City movie wearing pink cut out dress and black studded belt.
Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham dressed in grey
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Olivia Palermo in pink
Olivia Palermo wearing pink lace at the Valentino Couture at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild
Olivia Palermo in black and navy blue
Olivia Palermo in black leather peplum top and navy blue shorts with pointed wedges
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney Kardashian dressed in blue patterned dress
Kim Kardashian wearing black and grey
Kim Kardashian wearing staple skinny jeans, heels and waterfall jacket. Dressed in black and grey.
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer with statement necklace
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats and brown hat

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Inspired by: Being Over Shopped or Under Paid!

 

Sometimes you really do just have to see the silver lining…or gold in my case! So here’s my story…

This month I have been fluttering within the realm of social media more so than usual. This of course is fun! It’s great to see what’s out there, I love to be inspired and it’s important to invest into the blogosphere, as I treasure it so dearly.

Au contraire to what internet phobes and pre-historic anti social media characters might say…there really is some good stuff out there and so inspired have I been that much of this months fashion purchases have been enthused  by fellow bloggers.

Most of my social media travels are concerned with fashion and style and I flit between blogs, Polyvore and Pinterest. On my journeys I discover new styling ideas and new looks that I want to try out…I pin them to my  Pinterest board, I blog about them on Charms of a Dandizette and then I look through my wardrobe to see how I can imitate, recreate or incorporate said style into my own life.

The problem, however, begins when in my wardrobe I can’t find the right print trouser, a top that sits the way I want it to or a shoe that says this about me rather than that. I begin to make mental notes, ‘I need to buy this, I have to   remember to buy that.’  Then I come back to Pinterest, to any particular blog post I have bookmarked, Shared or Liked and then I begin to write my shopping list.

The mid-season sales began this month so I made it my point of duty to purchase as much as I could on my shopping list, with a few little extras that weren’t, but were such a good deal that I couldn’t pass them up! As the weather in London has been generally atrocious I have yet been able to wear half the clothes I have bought, so they sit in my wardrobe, tags still hanging off, awaiting their debut!

On Wednesday, whilst listening to a Cafe Del Mar chill out set on YouTube and envisioning myself sipping cocktails on a beach on the continent or at a roof top bar (if I have to be in London) with the sun beaming its rays on me, a promotional email from Kensington Roof Gardens came through, boasting about the great weather this weekend and Roof Gardens being the place to be. Instantly I got excited, if its true, if the weather really is going to be nice…I want to spend the day in some swanky roof top bar, sipping cocktails that are super overpriced, just so I can finally get dressed up in something new!

This morning I woke up, the sun was shining a little, excitement grew a little more, I apprehensively checked the weather forecast, excitement surged through the roof  – lots of sun promised for the capital this weekend! Then I began to mentally plan what I might wear whilst logging onto my online bank account… ‘snake print trousers with purple top, no, black and white skirt with red top Olivia Palermo style, or…’

Low and behold, my bank balance appears on screen and excitement suddenly disappears so quickly it crashes through the floor. All possibilities of debuting ensembles, spending double figures on cocktails and maybe even squeezing in a purchase of a pair of Alexander McQueen wedges I spotted in the sale are out of the window!

As well as laughing at myself right now for spending so frivolously this month and really expecting to afford some glammed up weekend, I am also laughing at the irony o f  it all! Loads of fabulous clothes, nowhere fabulous to  go. Only a few months ago I wrote a piece about my new found love for the court shoe due to its versatility and suitability to my more ‘mature’ lifestyle. It was inspired by my partner who had said to me, ‘What is the point of your money hanging in your wardrobe when you can have it sitting in your bank?’ A comment he had made off the back of me purchasing party dresses and glamazon shoes, which are still boxed away or hanging in my wardrobe unworn because, truth be told, I rarely party!

Admittedly, I didn’t need to shop so excessively…instead of buying everything on my list and then some, I could have crossed a few things off! I put it down to the occupational hazard of fashion blogging and also to my predisposition of seeing the world through fashion tinted glasses.

My weekend is more than likely going to be less fabulous than I imagined…but, the gold lining is, I can stay at home, save on spending, be productive and write! The ultimate question is…can you consider yourself a fashion blogger without partaking in the accumulation of fashion goods?

Here’s what’s been inspiring me…Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Oh to be in Fashion…An Ode to the Sheer Black Black Dress

…and just sheer black…

Admittedly, those of us that not only follow fashion, but enjoy documenting it by fashioning our bodies with adornment that demonstrates our understanding and ability to keep up with the trends, take a self indulgent pleasure when something, someone or some item confirms our fashion savvy-ness. Admit it! We love it! Moments have occurred pretty frequently for me of recently.

Naturally I am going to down play my self praise and my excitement for such moments, because that’s the tasteful thing to do. But I was particularly excited when I saw that the peplum was making a huge comeback this season…before I had even been aware of such a trend I had purchased myself a wonderful black peplum pencil skirt from Zara, in fact I wore it to my Christmas party.

I take pleasure in watching Zoey Deschanel singing and prancing around like a crazy person in the opening sequence of New Girl in a red skater dress that looks as though it is also from Zara and if so, is also another dress that I happen to own. Granted, I was inspired to purchase this dress when I saw Frankie from the Saturday’s sporting it. Unfortunately I can now no longer wear the dress. It seems the whole world and his wife also clocked on to how fabulous and easy to wear that dress was and also went and purchased it (indeed, the irony of fashion).

I was also particularly excited when I saw both Holly, Fearne and Christina Ricci dressed in black sheer dresses with red lips on the Jonathon Ross show recently. God bless the black sheer dress and red lipstick! Black on black on black to me is a playground of sexual obscurity! Now you see me now you don’t! Can you really see what you think you can see? Black velvet embellishments on black lace combined with solid black, a black sheer shirt with a black bra tucked into a black waxed lace skirt. A sheer black body suit with sheer long sleeves and a black net insert to the navel worn with a black long sheer skirt over a solid black mini….I needn’t go on.

So here’s to my favourite trend of a/w, that has set me back a significant number GBPs, but has allowed me to be so in fashion this winter…The Sheer Black Dress…so dolce vita, so Dolce and Gabbanna of Stella McCartney and just so Dolce and Gabbanna. Never underestimate the black dress, just overlay it with sensuous and sultry fabrics – if you have to!


Perfume Adverts 2010 – The Pungent Smell of too much Perfume

How do you sell a smell?

It is a shame for me to admit that in the times of financial hardship the first charm I will compromise is perfume. I came into the wonderful world of scent particularly late in life. When my friend used to display her empty perfume bottles on a glass shelf as though they were trophies and always ask for a new perfume for Christmas and birthdays I was far more concerned with shoes and jewellery.  This never meant however that I would go about town smelling of soap – in fact quite the contrary – I smelt like a woman of great taste and elegance. I  was lucky enough to have my mother who owns or has once owned all the perfumes a connoisseur of smell should own, Elizabeth Arden Red Door, Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Christian Dior Poison, Chanel No 5, Chanel Allure and her now signature smell Bulgari Amethyste – her perfume collection inevitably became my perfume collection.

I have never been lured by faddish or celebrity perfumes and strangely no advert can sell a smell to me regardless of how beautiful and intriguing I find the perfume commercial or how intricate the bottle has been designed. Perfume for me is simple, it’s all about the smell. I like perfumes that are dense in smell, with a rich multitextured scent that lingers and takes a moment to figure out exactly what the perfume is saying. It exhubes an air of sexy mystification and an aura that is effeminately powerful.

Perfume, like everything else I put on my body, is personal and demonstrates my imagined and ideal self.  But when it comes to deliberating the perfect shoe and the perfect perfume why is it that I will invest more time deciding which perfume is right for me than I would a pair of shoes, when the shoe is more financially taxing? Perfume is the least conspicuous adornement, but something about it makes it feel like it’s the most significant. It demands that the scent worn fits like a glove and remains reliable in its reflection.

Perfume adverts have mastered the art of selling an ideology and of course life is better when it smells so. But the scent I spray onto my skin- on the wrists of my arms, the nape of my neck and the collar bone and decolettage  is a highly intimate relationship between myself and my body.  The world can see my shoes, but only those close enough to me can smell my scent and this is why it demands so much attention.

My scents are Christian Dior Hynotic Poison and Kenzo Amour. I have had a relationship with these fragrances for the past four years, should my feelings ever change then as will my perfume, but till then I am happy. They have a similarity in fragrance, but I feel far more powerful being Hypnotic. I have never seen either of the commercials, my selection was based merely on emotion.  Regardless of the times we live in an advert cannot sell intimacy, a perfume commercial simply makes for beautiful viewing.

This is the Dandizette Perfume Commercial List from the most favourite, to the least.

1) Paco Rabbane Lady Million and One Million

Naturally this makes the top of the Dandizette list. A million pairs of shoes? Yes Please. A one million pound diamond ring? Yes, of course…Contemporary, opulent and indulgent. This is the kind of scent that you stop someone in the street for, just to ask, ‘What are you wearing?’ Everyone knows someone who has purchased this perfume this year.

2)J’adore Dior by Christian Dior

Simple, sensational and sensitively sexy, J’adore Dior’s commercial with Charlize Thieron is perfection. The combination of the soundtrack, the crushing of gold jewels beneath a strapy sandal, Thieron’s perfect decolettage and the dress that dreamily sheaths her body is all a genius perfume advert make.

3) Chanel No5

Audrey Tatou is the epitome of french elegance and sophistication. When this commercial feels so right it makes one wonder why Lagerfeld would ever cast the likes of Lilly Allen and Kiera Knightly. Evidently the genius Lagerfeld knows exactly what he’s doing.

4) Beyonce Heat

Has having a second self ever been so attractive? There need be no words for the fierceness of Beyonce’s Sasha, but a reference to the temperature comes to mind. This commercial most certainly is HOT, in fact so hot that viewers complained that the advert was too sexually provocative and petitioned to have it removed from daytime TV.

5) Dolce and Gabbana The ONE Gentlemen

This makes the Dandizette list for the sheer fact that Mathew McConaughey is definitely The One and ultimately, who really cares if he’s a gentlemen or not?

6) Dior Homme Un Rendezvous

Starring Jude Law and directed by Guy Ritchie, the commercial edited for TV by no way does this short film any justice. The famous words ‘ Don’t you worry about that, you’ll know when I’m there,’ said by Jude Law, have grated on me over the past prime time perfume advertising months. However, watching the full length version takes this commercial from one of the Dandizette’s least favourites to half way up the list.

7) Calvin Klein Euphoria

Natalia Vodianova has the sexual seduction of a feline and the innocently youthful glow of sincerity that combined makes the sophisticated woman that she is. Calvin Klein Euphoria makes the list because he chose the perfect model, if after three children we can look half as great as Natalia wouldn’t we too be euphoric?

8) Yves Saint Laurent Belle D’opium


YSL’s infamous perfume Opium was launched in 1978 – her big sister Belle D’opium was launched this year. The commercial is fronted by French model Melanie Thierry who dances to a track that seems to have a resembalnce to Michael Jackson’s Do You Remember the Time?

9) Gucci Guilty

Does this advert strangely look like one of the scenes from Sin City? Gucci Guilty’s commercial was directed by the Sin City Graphic Novelist Frank Miller. Starring Rachel Evan Wood and Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans.

10) Thierry Mugler Angel

Starring Naomi Watts Thierry Mugler’s Angel commercial is by far one of my least favourite. From the man that once designed the costumes of Beyonce, clothes the likes of Lady Gaga and designs perfume bottles beautiful enough to stand as ornaments on a mantle piece this commercial most certainly took the jam out of my doughnut.

Mini Skirts and The Mini Show

Mini Skirts and The Mini Show

 When Mary Quant named the ever rising skirt after her favourite car, the mini, no doubt she had foreseen the ambiguity of the term ‘mini’, in mini skirt. It wouldn’t have been absurd to assume that no matter how short the mini skirt rises, it will always have reference to it’s length or lack thereof, as opposed to this actual region of the female body. Low and behold, once yet again, followers of fashion have thrown caution to the wind and out with it has gone their dignity and in coming, the bandeau skirt (I prefer to call it the spandex skirt, it sounds more offensive). The bandeau skirt, just to be clear, should not be worn by women twenty one and over with; wide hips, a pronounced bum, a saggy bum, shapely thighs, cellulite, ample belly, bow legs or those lucky enough to possess a womanly shape. Imagine lycra stretched across the bottoms of the likes of Jenny Lo and Beyonce, the volume on the sex, crude and overly suggestive radar rings far too loudly for good taste and screams ‘Look at me, look at me,’ for cultivated and gracious style, this is a deterrent.

There are, however, better things to wrap one’s derriere in; skirts that don’t stretch or roll up when you walk, that have an intricate pattern or cut and are well tailored. The spandex skirt’s lack of imagination is reflected in it’s three pounds retail price and unlike a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti shoes or a Robert Deniro, Martin Scorsese collaboration, that are both instantly impressive, this skirt most certainly is not. Of course the sexual power a short skirt possesses is undeniable, which is why, as age progresses, it is paramount to get the balance between length, quality and textile spot on.

It’s not so much the length of the bandeau skirt that disgruntles me, it’s not even the fact that it’s made of spandex – well maybe it is, in fact, the reasons such a skirt aggravates me are intrinsic; It is completely impossible to wear this skirt as short as it intended to be worn and it be made out of the stretchy material it is to be made from and preserve dignity at the same time. There is no way anyone above the age of five could keep their dignity in this thing and should a five year old be wearing such a skirt, then it is the mother’s dignity in question.

At a fifteen year olds birthday party, girls pranced around a bomb fire, dancing to music, drinking cider, wearing bandeau skirts that stretched to their fullest capacity, barely managed to cover their bum cheeks. It was obligatory with every reach for the marshmallows or Pringles to get an eyeful of big white knickers, which was then, followed by the obligatory ‘pull my skirt out of my bum to cover my dignity’ tug.

The point is, this combination of material, length and garment requires the don of a lady and not just in physicality, but by nature and demeanour; the woman who knows to sit with her legs crossed, who ensures that the knickers she wears beneath her tights or skirt are matching or mute, as to avoid striking anyone with lightening flashes of luminous colour, she also knows, if required to, she bends her knees instead of bending over. Of course, it is arguable that women of this kind would actually wear a spandex, bandeau, elastic skirt in the first instance.

It sounds harsh, maybe a little prejudice, but I have seen far too many minis of the past month not be concerned, firstly, by the female’s understanding of the mini skirt, secondly by their desire to wear these obviously malfunctioning crotch and buttock revealing skirts and wearing them as though they are as comfortable as a pair of track suit bottoms, paying almost no attention to the unfortunate discomfort, impracticality and attention required when wearing an insanely short elastic skirt. Of course, the skirt being made of spandex means the material itself is less movement restrictive as opposed to a cotton skirt, so this should be where the constraint of possessing decorum and poise would kick in, you’d think. But I have seen the crux of tights one too many times and am compelled to let the spandex, elastic band wearers know, unless being with your lover or your gynaecologist, not at any other point should I or do I care to see what lies beneath and nor does anybody else. Flashing was hot in Basic Instincts, but as was Catherine Tramell, it’s not so hot getting flashed on the tube, by a girl who wears ladders in her tights, holes in her knickers and has to yank her skirt out of her arse whilst readying herself to get off at her stop. It’s unsightly and quite frankly disgusting, it’s worst than that god awful g-string trend, you know the one when females began wearing their g-strings above their jeans waist line? Of course I am not so anal to know that this crotch flashing thing isn’t a trend, more than it be a fashion faux pas, but again, the surmountable display of this feminine region is definitely indicative of a change in the  female’s attitude towards this part of their body.  

Recently a friend came round, dressed for a night out, she too was wearing one of these bandeau things, truth be told, to see her without one is a miracle. She was sat on my bed trying on a pair of my sisters new Kurt Geiger Kinetic shoes, once slipping her foot in she begins to fiddle with the buckle, struggling to do it up, before she contemplates moving to the edge of the bed, putting her foot on the floor and leaning over to buckle the shoe this way, she cocks her leg up, like a dog sitting on it’s back side itching it’s ear and awkwardly and unattractively and does the buckle up. I look at her in horror and she laughs, ‘So what? I’ve got thick tights on,’ she informs me. Well doesn’t that put me in my place? She also tells me, ‘If you wear big knickers, it doesn’t matter anyway.’ 

So, the new attitude may be that if your genitalia is well concealed, it’s OK to continue to let your lycra skirt roll up to your belly button and to sit with your legs akimbo, should you fancy it. I suppose Lady Gaga and Beyonce wouldn’t disagree much with this new trend or way of thinking. Admittedly, if I had the power, the success and the luxury to dress and henceforth act frivolously, I most certainly wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to wear a spandex skirt and not give a f*, however as I submerge myself further and further into my twenties and closer and closer to thirty, the commodity and art of style has become far more valuable to me than capricious fashions –  this may render me boring, but are fashion victims stylish?

I don’t doubt those sheathing themselves in the spandex skirt that are old enough to know better, might come up with some kind of empowering and liberating women crap, but unfortunately half the females sporting this trend are not old enough or conscious enough for their mini displays to demonstrate anything other than bad manners and terrible dress etiquette. The sheer fact that these skirts are being worn in the first place suggests some form of fashion and aesthetic interest, for such an interest it is the wearer’s responsibility to also know that an eyeful of crotch is definitely not aesthetically pleasing…even if Gaga’s doing it.

 

Cupcaking Crazy

Cupcaking Crazy

I needn’t head to the Hummingbird cafe to know I would take an instant disliking to it, it is not the Hummingbird cafe so much that irks me, more so I would say it’s women that talk about cupcakes as though they have special powers, an ability to change the world or eradicate famine in East Africa – the women who have bought into this Suzy Homemaker cupcakeing affair and the whole designer cupcake phenomena. Of course, I would proudly hold my hands up and say that my love affair with shoes is somewhat uncontrollable and would no doubt irritate a more sensible woman and any heterosexual man. But, I’ve always loved shoes, whether they be from Gucci or Miu Miu, Aldo or Office and anywhere in between – a sexy shoe is just a sexy shoe, it isn’t necessary that gimmicks be employed to remind me of my love for them. Vivienne Westwood most certainly couldn’t trick me into thinking that full grown women should be wearing Jellies, no matter how much I miss my youth, they are in fact a complete and utter waste of money and quite frankly would look ridiculous on any female foot above the age of sixteen. I know it’s the western world all over, get some hot advertising, some cute packaging, create a unique experience and  get a hot celeb endorsement and the masses will soon follow and we, being the masses, so often do – But cupcakes?  Designer Cupcakes? Fashionable Cupcakes? -Come on. Since seeing Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and Miranda Hobbs eating cupcakes outside of the Magnolia Bakery in New York, the cupcake crazy has surged. Does it honestly look like Carrie eats cupcakes? Or even SJP herself. Manolo’s and Judith Leiber clutches I can understand, I can even understand look alikes for half the price, but cupcakes – I just can’t seem to get on board.

Whether it’s the sugary sweet frosting, the primary coloured icing, the hundreds and thousands in the shapes of stars, the penny sweets and marzipan figured toppings or the sheer bliss of customising cupcakes…surely it shouldn’t take the sickly sweet, powder pinks and mint green, nursery looking, candy factory decor of the Hummingbird cafe, Candy Cakes and the thousands of other cupcake kitchens to stir up the love of cake amongst fully grown women. I understand that in most cases, the cupcake experience is like the recapture of youth, the nostalgia of being a little girl, playing with her china tea set and offering cupcakes to her collection of Care Bears, knowing they’d never say yes. But having been a witness to cupcaking far more than I would have liked, this sickeningly sweet, femininely frilly, cupcake consumption has truly started to fascinate me.

Greggs have been baking cakes for seventy years and no doubt if you have a local bakery, they too bake cupcakes, yet neither have enthused the woman to cupcake on the scale that she is cupcaking now. This is the designer cupcake era, quality and reputation suddenly isn’t enough to do it for this supposed cupcake connoisseur- like they were buying shoes or handbags, they want the whole experience. It’s bewildering to see young stylish women winding down at the end of the day, holding conversation over garish coloured cupcakes in girlishly sweet cafes, as opposed to a good bottle of full bodied red wine in a trendy London bar. Recently, lunching in South East London’s gastro pub, The Talbot, a friend excuses herself from post meal chit chat to attend a tea and cupcake party – no kids were expected to attend this party, nor was anyone over the age of seventy. Women are collectively baking cupcakes together, cooking their way through the Hummingbird recipe book – apparently this is called a cupcake party and apparently this is supposed to be fun.

With all this cupcaking craziness, these cakes most certainly have to be mouth-wateringly delectable beyond their trinkets and accessories, and their charming marketing and branding antics. Fortunately, I never had to pay for my first sample of designer cake; a friend’s boyfriend recently demonstrated his affection for her with a big chunk of Hummingbird’s Red Velvet and she kindly offered to share the calories with me. At Hummingbird, Red Velvet can be bought sliced or as a cupcake. It is classic American sponge layer cake, lined with butter cream and topped with creamy white icing. The sponge is flavoured with cocoa and vanilla and is dark in colour, with a reddish tinge to it. The sponge gets its colour from red food colouring, which during the food rationing of the Second World War was replaced with beetroot juice. My friend, like a child high on sugar, sang and danced about her Hummingbird, Red Velvet cake, ‘Omigod, this is too good.’ Not so good that she wouldn’t share it with me, not that she had to sacrifice much of her beloved cake. A fork full was more than enough. It wasn’t that the cake tasted horrible, it was more the fact that it tasted of nothing, well nothing but disappointment – overrated and definitely not worth my calories. Considering the whole cupcake kafuffle I was expecting something more Alice and Wonderland like, out of this world and if not devilishly moreish then decadently rich.

I had pre-empted that the gimmicks and the delightful charm would far outweigh the cupcakes themselves. Firstly, as far as I’m concerned, good food is good food and needs no gimmicks – (Gordon Ramsay will verify that), secondly, strangely, I am dubious of the fully grown woman that has fallen for the complete cupcake experience. The cupcake is the quintessence of the woman who wears sunflower yellow dresses and polka dot twin sets, small pearls and flat Mary Jane’s, she’s always cheery and just like a cupcake, she’s sweet, innocent and naive to the harshness of the big bad world.

I am not the type to wear flat Mary Jane’s, nor am I likely to ever be the kind of woman who cupcakes. Possessing a somewhat rich pallet, there is nothing sweet and light about my cake consumption – I like my cakes rich, moist, devilishly chocolaty and like the heels on my shoes, my cake needs to be absolutely huge to satisfy me. I am going to be cliché and relate this cupcake crazy to the gloom and doom of the recession – the sprinkles and cupcake frosting is like the rose tinted light at the end of the murky tunnel, unfortunately for me, life has been more than successful at letting cynicism colonise the little girl that I once was. The woman that can find delight in cupcaking, from the baubles and sweeties, to the marzipan paraphernalia, the baby pink walls of the cafes and the beautiful smells of baking in the home is not only a truly refreshing woman, but an incredibly lucky one. Cupcakes, designer or not, just won’t cut it for me – if I can’t afford shoes, I will always revert to drinks in town for my mood lifter.

 And, if I have to eat cake, it won’t wear more accessories or brighter ornamentation than I do.

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