Inspired by my Marrakech Wardrobe!

Inspired by my Marrakech Wardrobe, the SS2012 trends, Carrie Bradshaw  and the Sex and the City 2 wardrobe…

Easy Breezy...

Up until three or four blog posts ago I had been slightly reluctant to post photos of myself on Charms of a Dandizette – I suppose because this blog isn’t really about what I look like. Having said that, as well as being concerned about fashion,  Charms of a Dandizette is also about my personal style. So, I thought my next Marrakech inspired post, this one,  should be about my wardrobe approach to my week in the Moroccan city.

I set myself a little fashion task for my trip, which was to implement as many of the season’s trends into my holiday wardrobe as financially, physically and tastefully possible. So neatly packed away in my powder pink Marrakech suitcase was a white Broderie Anglaise top, of course inspired by Marc Jacobs’ sweetly designed spring summer 2012 Louis Vuitton collection. Bravely I purchased three bra-lets, borrowed from the midriff baring trend that filtered across the catwalk’s of Italian fashion houses, from Dolce and Gabbana and Prada, to Versace and Miu Miu. I say ‘bravely’, because I didn’t do not even one sit up or even attempt to decrease my calorie consumption in preparation for midrif baring – but c’est la vie! My bra-lets were cleverly selected to nod towards several trends; a mint green bra-let  lends itself toward the sherbet pastel colours currently being donned all over the high street, most commonly in the form of skinny jeans. And a scarf print bra-let, the pattern taking inspiration from the ancestral Versace patterns, which D and G also took inspiration from for their ss2012 collection, which saw tiny skirts and makeshift bra tops appear very 90s Versace.

I did a significant amount of research into appropriate dress for a Marrakech visit, to find out what was suitable to wear in this particular Muslim country. Of course, a lot of the information I found online was conflicting – some sites advised to cover shoulders, others said cover legs and others said you could wear whatever you liked. I thought best to cover my legs – I suppose because of my belief that legs are a far more overtly sexual than arms.

I took most of my inspiration from Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe in Sex and the City 2 and invested in lots of jewellery, even more eyeliner and lots of long flowing skirts and dresses in beautiful materials. The wonderful thing about billowing floor length dresses and skirts is, I felt no pressure whatsoever to wear heels and therefore I never – not once – the entire holiday. I stress this, because this is somewhat of a revelation for me! I packed two pairs of heels and didn’t remove either of them from their shoe bags. The other wonderful thing about length is, when worn in beautiful materials, it’s instantly glamorous! So with the glamour volume turned up, heels probably would have been overkill! Yes, me, the queen of bling can even identify overkill!

So for my discovery of overkill, for my week in flat shoes, for my courage to don a bra-let and for my time in Marrakech  I feel proud!

So, here’s some snaps of the Marrakech wardrobe!

AZAR in Marrakech
At Azar in Marrakech, wearing a black open back strappy top from Zara and patterned skirt from River Island
At the Palais Charhamane Marrakech
At the Palais Charhamane Marrakech wearing black Miss Selfridge skirt and medallion scarf print crop top from Topshop
Le Jardin Majorelle - YSL Love Post Cards Marrakech
At Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech wearing my mum’s Broderie Anglais button back top from Next (this top is 30 years old!) Floral shorts from H and M
Atlas Medina Resort and Spa Marrakech
At the Atlas Medina Resort and Spa Marrakech, wearing pleated Primark maxi dress, woven clutch bag from Primark and earrings from Primark too! (Good old Primark!)
Atlas Medina Resort and Spa Marrakech
At the Atlas Medina Resort and Spa Marrakech, wearing royal blue Topshop dress and enamel peacock chain from H and M.
Sahara at Atlas Medina Resort and Spa Marrakech
I am sure my sister won’t want to be on my blog..but she looks so nice I had to put this pic in. She’s wearing peach sheer trousers from Forever 21, bangle from H and M and watch by  Michael Kors Watch
Gueliz Marrakech
Wearing royal blue dress from Topshop in Gueliz. This is a great picture! I love the striking blue and the whimsicality of the dress against the city…

Make everything in life inspirational! Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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.

Bag, Borrow or Steal

The handbag has become an essential accessory for women since the 1920’s, there’s something extremely powerful about this exclusively female relationship with her luggage.

The luxury handbag possesses a hypnotic force that has the ability to turn the most average, sane and grounded woman into an embarrassingly obnoxious victim of capitalism, so far she will go as to rent a handbag as she would her home. It was in Sex and The City when I first became aware of the borrowing of luxury handbags; Jennifer Hudson, playing Louise from St Louis carried about her rented Vuitton denim patchwork bowling bag and seemed just as excited about this bag she was paying rent for as if she’d worked blood, sweat and tears for it and it were hers to keep.
Admittedly, luxury is not available to us all and we may possibly never afford an Hermes Croc Kelly, let’s be brutally honest here, most of us won’t ever afford an Hermes bag period, let alone any crocodile, python or ostrich skin bag – regardless of the designer. We can dream, we can aspire and we can admire, there’s honestly nothing wrong with that – but when we begin to fool ourselves and the world with ‘Bag Borrowing,’ do we need to aspire or dream anymore? Luxury is no longer a lifestyle, but a borrowed experience. Avelle, the online luxury rental site Louise rents her patchwork Vuitton from, prides itself on opening up the gate to luxury fashion, “It gives customers greater access to a vast inventory of luxury accessories and the opportunity to indulge in more, more often,” says Lynn Ridenour, senior vice president of marketing.
Economist, Veblen theorised that the increase in accessibility and availability of a product eventually diminishes its desirability. Isn’t the whole point of the luxury handbag its rarity and expensiveness, the fantasy and the great sense of pleasure we feel when we finally get to have a slice of that luxuriously fantastical pie? We love the luxury handbag for its longevity, the stories it will tell when it’s thirty years old, the new life it will have when we hand it down to our daughters and the sheer ownership of a piece of art and fashion history. The luxury handbag doesn’t seem so whimsical or substantial when we have to hand it back at the end of the lease, hundreds of pounds poorer. In actual fact, all this bag rental phenomenon does is kill the luxury for everyone – the borrower, the luxury bag owner and the bag itself. Of course there’s one link in the chain that strengthens and that is of course, the bag lord or lady.
I adore luxury handbags and spend hours figuring out how I can alter my lifestyle temporarily, in order to save for a beautifully crafted, calf’s skin handbag with cold, gold hardware. I have to compromise the Gucci tribute bags or the Judith Leiber bejewelled clutches for bags that are timeless and suitable for most occasions, but I always feel good about making and owning my purchase. Louise from St Louis waltzed around New York City, unemployed, with a rental, gimmicky Vuitton bag in tow.
In my opinion, a penny spent on this kind of bag, rental or bought, is an ultimate waste – fashion theorists believe the exhibition of waste and uselessness is an occurrence familiar to the wealthy or those that wish to appear so. Maybe this is the beauty of Avelle, the opportunity to display wealth and luxury with the woman’s most significant and indicative item of dress, without ever having to be too pragmatic about the purchase. However I’d always rather commit to just the one bag, that will dent my bank balance and reduce my social life – a bag that I can be proud of because it’s a luxury, it’s expensive and it’s mine.