posted by: freePOrnaoa in General on June 3rd, 2009
I’ve been thinking a lot about Across-the-Pond differences lately. There’s such a connection between New York and London for business, and yet I was shocked after spending a couple weeks in London to see how different style is there.
On Thursdays, the women wore such tight, short, slitted skirts and clacky heels to work! My friend said they called them “The Clackers” because of the sound their heels make and that Thursday is a big going out night right after work, but I was still American-puritanically-shocked. In New York, midtown business casual means a knee-length pencil skirt and rather staid pumps, perhaps with a bit of Louboutin red peeking out from underneath.
And the women wear such fussy things in their hair! Called fascinators, these fussy objects sometimes struck me as a bit silly, but I loved them and bought them anyways. They are often feathered, sometimes netted accessories for your head that may be attached to headbands or combs.
Women wear them to fancier outings and events such as a fancy night out, black tie event, a kitschy/classy performance (I saw many of them at the fabulous La Clique circus performance at the Hippodrome), a formal party, polo events, race days, church, a funeral or a wedding. Here are a few examples of fascinators, from casual Marks & Spencer ones (somewhat similar to Target) to fancier affairs.
However, for events like polo matches, you don’t want to be wearing the same hat as everyone else, and if you buy yours from a common retailer like Marks & Spencer, you run that risk. Ladies in the know (and the cashflow) turn to the ateliers of Stephen Jones, who recently curated the Hats exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Philip Treacy.
The Brits, as many of you know, specialise in the art of the bespoke, wherein items are tailored exactly to the client and often have small, tasteful details that still somehow flaunt the difference from the norm. For instance, in bespoke tailoring, buttons, seams, pleating or cuffs might be done just a bit off from the expected norm, whether through different colored thread, location off to the side or a irregular style of pleating, etc.
Here is some sample work by the fabulous British shoe designer and creator Carolyn Groves, whose bespoke shoes go for the price of two pairs of Choos. Let’s start with a feathery shoe that would match the fascinators perfectly and has such an intriguing color scheme:
Here is another British bespoke shoe designer.
I’m apprenticing with a milliner to learn how to make hats (and a friend of mine is apprenticing with a cobbler to learn how to make shoes!) and have been thinking about the similarities. Both are very structural, costly, specialised, time-consuming trades that have dwindled away to near-nothingness before experiencing a resurgence. Here’s to hoping bespoke shoes have a long and healthy future!
And a question for you: Would you rather have a couple pairs of very expensive bespoke shoes that fit you like a glove, size- and style-wise, or are you just too shoe-crazy to limit yourself to a few expensive, perfect pairs when you could follow the trends on the cheap?