Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large from a high speed train going very fast to Scotland

Never travelled first class on a train before, but I am to Edinburgh right now. It definitely beats flying up as you can work, blog!!! wi-fi at 125mph, talk, eat and relax on the way. I'm launching a charity shop with Grazia, Save The Children and Mary Portas in the morning. It's a follow-on from the Westfield one we did in the summer. Doing it felt like a most worthwhile thing. So I'm back for more. Got to give back. Anyone in Edinburgh reading this should come down tomorrow (Dec 1) from 10am - we've got donations from Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Holly Fulton, Graeme Black and Pringle (and more) for goodness sakes! The charity sector and Scotland hasn't seen anything like it. "Mary's Living and Giving Shop" is at 34 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Will post pictures by phone in the morning (another new technique I am attempting to master).
Ooh la la.

A few of my favourite things... III

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education
The weather in London has been miserable, rain, rain, rain and yet more rain. Plus the wind and the general greyness, it's enough to get one down. So I have been utterly grateful for the next in my series of favourite things, my Hunter welly boots. These are the things of magic, they are sturdy, fun and most importantly keep my feet warm and dry.
It's one of those things I've always hated, wet feet, especially wet feet in nice shoes, which are then wet feet in nice ruined shoes. So having wellies has become an essential for me. Plus it means I can behave like a four year old and jump in puddles with glee.
So for those city dwellers who are fed up of wet feet, go get some Hunters! And even if they seem a little pricey they are the best, my last pair broke within about three months much to my upset and so from now on I will be tried and tested!
I am only slightly upset that I went for plain old Aubergine and not something a little jazzier. Maybe for the next pair I can branch out :)

Dorma Pot Pourri

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Upon my return to London I came into the office to find a little bag of goodies waiting for me. Excitedly peering into it I pulled it all out rapidly to explore and found beautiful packages, cream and gold and elegant.

One such package was a box of Orange and Cedarwood Pot Pourri from Dorma. I am not normally one for things like Pot Pourri, we used to have it at home when I was little but since then it is not something I have thought about having. Plus living in rented accommodation one tends to care less about extra details to make it look and smell really nice. So it was a surprise to find myself so delighted at this beautiful box of shapes which smelt so good.

Now it is sat in our living room, spreading it's gentle but natural smell throughout and making me smile when it looks so pretty. And it's also made me think that these are the kind of things it's worth buying quality products for, which this Dorma one definitely is.

And so I shall see what other goodies there are in this little bag and recommend this as something which could be both a great present for someone else and to yourself when you need something a little bit more luxury to perk up a room. Check out the Dorma website for more info!


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education FASHION INSIDER  #2  YASMIN SEWELL

Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large

Following on from last month's Fashion Insider interview with Sarah Mower, this month I bring you one of the best buyers in fashion, Yasmin Sewell.

Yasmin is one of the best respected and well-known fashion buyers in Britain, and is something of a celebrity in her homeland Australia. One Aussie summer I happened to be down in Sydney visiting Yasmin for her 30th when I spotted her in a celebrity magazine labelled as “the other woman” in the break-up of a famous Australian actor!!! Far from being the other woman, she has known said actor since childhood, and they were having fun on Bondi when the photograph was taken. Though, that is not to say she hasn’t had her fair share of actors. She was married to the delectable Rufus Sewell for most of her 20’s. Lucky lucky... But ANYWAY. That is not what I am here to tell you. Yasmin Sewell is a great friend of mine, and her story is an interesting one and not what you would expect. Her talent for picking fashion winners is rather prodigious: she was all over Christopher Kane the second he graduated, and was the first to champion ACNE in the UK. Her latest discoveries are numerous. I also admire that she gives her time for free to young designers such as the wonderful J.W Anderson, a talent of the future to be sure. Yasmin has exquisite taste, and her eye for what women want is up there with the greats. She is the creative consultant for Liberty, and at the Liberty press day last week, I could see her influence as clear as if it were her fingerprint. For the cost of a mere glass of white wine (she doesn’t drink much) and a few nibbles, Yasmin agreed to let me interrogate her about her life and career, how she came to develop her famously good taste and end up exercising her buying prowess in the fabulous fashion stores of London.


I left school at 15. I wanted to be free. I was rebellious. The teachers said “She has SO much potential.” I thought “What the fuck do they know?” The truth is I didn’t know what motivation was.

My teacher Mrs Nichols changed my life. She put me forward for a job with McGrath Partners estate agents. John, the guy who owned it, was a 26 year old self-made millionaire and motivational speaker. I got the job as an office assistant. Within three days everything I thought about life turned around. The job became my higher education. I don’t know where I’d be without it. I learned everything about business and running a company. By the time I left when I was 18 I was helping John run the company. Today he is a billionaire.

I call those days my Gloria Estefan period. I was a Lebanese girl in Sydney. I had waist length curly hair and my figure was more curvaceous than it is today. I wore conservative suits to work.

I shaved all my hair off when I was 19 and became the door bitch of a nightclub. After that only the kind of guys I liked would whistle at me in the street.

The single biggest event of my teens was the moment I fell in love with Rufus (Sewell).

Three days after I shaved my hair off I was sat in the Pacific Blue Room, a hot restaurant on Oxford Street in Sydney when Kiefer Sutherland walked in with this weird looking guy. He had these big big eyes. He was staring at me, and I was like “who is this weird guy?” Then a few minutes later I looked back at him, and that was it. It was love. The man was Rufus Sewell. A week later I had moved into his hotel. He was making a movie called Dark City. We became inseparable. Three months later I moved to London. That was it. I was 20.

London was all about building a career. Interning. I liked fashion, but I didn’t know what aspect.

I worked on the shop floor at Browns. I was just discovering my personal style. Then Rufus and I went to New York. I interned at Harpers Bazaar with Tonne Goodman. Then back in London I worked with Alison Edmond at Harpers and Queen as bookings editor.

Browns inspired me at retail, but I felt they had a snobbish attitude to service that was a bit old-school. Well it was 1995. I thought to myself “something is missing here”. John McGrath trained me in service, he is revolutionary. No pretension. For him good service had to be efficient, co-operative and about making the customer feel fantastic.

My “Eureka” moment came when a Sydney boutique called Museum asked me to buy some clothes for them. So I just made a few calls and did it without thinking.

Buying the clothes was such a buzz. There I was picking a dress someone would want six months later. Someone will buy it and it will make them happy.

That period made me. Within a few months I had found a shop that looked like a fashion design studio. It was upstairs, you had to ring a bell to get in and when you got there you could hang out as long as you wanted. I was 22. It took 18 months to launch. I called it Yasmin Cho. Cho is the name of my best school friend. People called me Yasmin Cho for years. The store was about embracing the avant-garde of the time. We were selling Susan Ciancolo, Imitation of Christ. A.F Vandervorst.

I remember seeing Rick Owens in the back corner of some dodgy showroom in Paris in 1998.

His jackets were just amazing. Now he is one of the best-selling designers in the world.

I was surprised that seeing and spotting and getting these designers seemed so easy to me. Was no one else seeing what I was seeing? After a while I realised I must have a good eye. I had no history as a buyer. How was I supposed to know?

I had no rules, no boss, no one saying “look at the sales of last season.” It was just about love.

With Yasmin Cho I took a lot of risks. Some didn’t pay off. In the end I failed. I had the wrong advisors and lost the business. I was screwed over. I let it happen. Failure was a privilege. Now when it comes to business I don’t let people mess me around.

Experience breeds caution. But it doesn’t mean the cowl neck that didn’t sell in ’99 won’t sell in 2009.

You never really know if something is going to work. But when I was at Browns from 2005-2008, and first saw Christopher Kane, I knew. If something doesn’t look like it will work, you’ve got to push it. Call the top five fashion journalists and the top ten customers and make it happen.

The secret of being a good buyer? Being tuned in. You’ve got to know what is happening. I get inspiration from what I haven’t seen. I can sense when a trend is coming to an end.

I listen to journalists. Big customers are influenced by magazines. Sometimes I buy things I don’t love but that the press love because I know customers will buy them.

My biggest success as a buyer was backing ACNE back in 2005. I had just arrived at Browns and when I walked into my office for the first time there was a pile of about 200 look books. I remember throwing them all away except ACNE. That was a good example of liking it because I hadn’t seen anything else like it. Their aesthetic didn’t exist then, and I knew that as SOON AS I SAW IT that it was going to be huge. And it was.

You’ll never see me in leggings and a tank top. I’m very petite – a size 6 – but I’m pear shaped with not the longest legs in the world, a 23 inch waist and a D-cup. You could say I have hidden curves. So I dress to accentuate my best bits which are my long neck and long, thin arms. Me in a pair of Sass & Bide skinny jeans? Yikes! Me in my long Sophia Kokosalaki dress? Yeah!

At one point in my life I listened ONLY to Marvin Gaye for three years.

Today I’m rocking a “portfolio career”. I work for Liberty, do a TV show for Fashionair, I mentor young designers and consult for designer labels and retail brands. I’m pretty happy.

Thanks Yazzy xxx

Yazzy is wearing a top by TOGA. (Last season, sadly)


Photo credit: Chris Brooks


Kazakhstan Part 1

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education We arrived back late last night after a very long day travelling, I was already pretty tired from the trip but that really slayed me. So I was much relieved to crawl into a warm bed with J last night and drop my head on the pillow to switch off.

Kazakhstan was fun though. We worked hard and it felt like a really valuable trip workwise, plus the people we met were overall absolutely lovely and I was so well looked after.

So to start with below is a picture of the view from my bedroom window in our hotel in Astana. Hopefully it gives you some idea of what the city is like, there's a lot of construction going on, so in almost every view there are cranes. But considering the city is only 11 years old it's doing pretty well!
More to follow soon but a few things to catch up in the office first, hope everyone is well and I shall try and catch up on all the lovely posts I've missed and the news.

Hope you have great weekend's! xx


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large

I really enjoyed the Oasis press day for Spring/Summer 10. The people there are my friends and I was lurking around watching the whole press day get organised, so on the day itself I actually didn't attend like a journalist, more like I had a cuppa and chatted to the design team about how their collection seemed to go down with the press.  Oasis have really raised their game lately, they have an excellent shoe and handbag designer in Emma Christmas and the Creative Director Nadia Jones (sister of Kim Jones) has taken the brand to a new level. Go Girls! And boy - Iain Ewing is the talented head of design there.  Oh and not forgetting Yellowdoor whose art team concieved the lookbook. So because I wasn't marauding around with my girlfriends camera (she put her foot down yesterday, and I bought my own one today - a spanky Lumix G1) I asked the team for a sneak preview of their SS10 lookbook, and in that way chose my Oasis top ten pieces. So here they are.
Black suede pencil skirt with fringe panel. Mmm..this one is as good as the ACNE one I saw in Paris.

These leggings make me happy. They have a Cirque du Soleil meets Pans People thing thing going on

Loving grey suede for SS10. This is a fringed biker jacket. Very Garth Brooks in Manhattan

I'm probably a bit late picking up on this shoe shape. Surface to Air did some similar, and Chloe Sevigny also created some a bit similar for Opening Ceremony. These are my first bet for the fashion shoe of next season.

This is how I will be dressing on next summers jaunt to Patmos. I like how the stylist Fran Burns used the belt of the cotton printed shorts in the models hair. Oh and a denim jacket with fringing and gold chain? Give me some!

This is my favourite piece I think. I'm so into these African prints at the moment. I'm call them Traveller Prints. They are the sort of thing you wear when you've cut loose from urban life and chilled out so much you've got to the point where going to the shop is a big event in your day. I imagine finding a dress like this in a hot dusty street market, buying it, and living in it all summer. Need baggy pants in this fabric too.
Oasis are always doing clever little mini-collections, and this dress is part of their naive Trompe L'oeil range.                                                                                                                                                
I saw Olivia Palermo in a pale grey trouser suit the other day, and it reminded me that a woman can look very sexy in a suit in the daytime, and not at all butch. Olivia has inspired me, and this is two-piece definitely on my shopping list for spring.

One of my Grazia colleagues, Siobhan, is really backing the shift dress for spring. I didn't see the shift dress thing at first viewing of the collections, but now the shows are over I am seeing them everywhere. This is a lovely dress.

Ok, so I will not be wearing spray on jeggings (or in normal speak jean style leggings) next season. Heaven forfend. But I think anyone with a touch of flamboyance about them will be able to carry of this suede tunic with copious fringery. And it is in pale grey suede! Mmmmm.


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education
Posted by the Fashion Junior at Large

So, as you may have guessed from previous posts, much of our time recently has been occupied with attending press days. There has been a great deal of cooing, and LOTS to absorb, mentally compartmentalise and digest.

One trend we noted is tropical birds – camp flamingo pendants and parrot motifs etc (Liberty went all out and had an actual parrot at their press day. How can you not love that?). It’s all very flamboyant – quite the opposite to the current preoccupation with the fiercer side of wildlife. I don’t know if it’s the increasingly cold weather or the fact that I’m broke perhaps, but I’m loving all the stags, tigers, wolfs, foxes, panthers, and anything else fighty and bitey swarming retail at the mo. I am Fashion Junior at Large, hear me ROARRRRR!

 Stella McCartney, £185

 Christopher Kane, £210

John Hardy, £300

ASOS, £30


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large

Last night at the Campaign Media Awards in London Grazia was given an award for the best campaign in the media and home shopping category. Triple yay! What did we win for? The fact that just over a year ago we moved the entire magazine - desks, computers, phones - to a pop-up office in Westfield, and actually created an issue from there. People thought we were mad, (we are) but it was a brilliant, exciting and ground-breaking project and the entire team worked their buns off.  It was a huge group effort - and though I am truly crap at logistics, I have my good points, and one of them is that I came up with the idea to do it in the first place!  This is where I can allow myself a little nod of satisfaction. And maybe a little jig around my office. Oh sod it, I'm gonna do a Jensen Button and spray Champagne around. But think I will save that for the Team Grazia Christmas party....


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education posted by the Fashion Editor at Large

I love Visionaire. Have loved it since day one. I even own a couple. I have the one with a scrap of Madonna's dress in it, which was curated by Mario Testino, but I CANNOT FIND IT! I just looked through my entire bookcase (essentially a room of my house) and it's not there.  I have a storage nook at the flat I rent out, so I'm heading down there later to rummage. Luckily, my Visionaire with the Diana Vreeland Memos is in place on my shelf. DV is one of my all time heroines. I have read her autobiography ten times; even seen the play of it. And her Memo's are inspirational, not to mention her book Allure which can give me back my fashion editor at large mojo when I feel depleted. ANYWAY. A friend of mine in New York alerted me to the new Visionaire 2010 which is an electronic calendar with 52 curators selecting one artists' work for each day of the year. Some of the curators are Natalie Portman, James Franco, Mary-Kate Olsen and Marc Jacobs. I love it, and want it. It would be the most perfect Christmas present to self, and when this blog launches all proper like in January with an office, and our very own email addresses on fashioneditoratlarge.com Visionaire 2010 will be the perfect desk accessory.
For any like minded readers NOW is the time to make your order, especially if you live in the UK, as delivery times are three to six weeks, so I am ordering mine today from http://www.visionaireworld.com/

I'm pretty happy knowing my Vreeland Memos Visionaire is safe and well and living on my bookshelf!

Astana - Kazakhstan

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education It's about -13C here, cold, really really cold. And so dry. But kind of amazing too, so much space compared to London. Busy busy busy to be honest so apologies for not having commented much but I'm taking photos to share when I get back.

Until then, enjoy your weekend's!

M xx

Friday fun photo

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education
Isn't this photo amazing? It took me a little while then I was sat there going wow! What a moment to have got.


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education
Posted by the Fashion Junior at Large

Fashion Junior at Large was flying solo at the Urban Outfitters press day this afternoon, as Fashion Editor at Large was super busy with other important and exciting projects.

I utterly heart Urban Outfitters, and these are the top ten pieces I saw today

I thought I was the only one in the market for bumbags, but Fashion Editor at Large quite fancies this one as well.

Seems a shame to hide this set away under clothing doesn't it? Might not have to though if the underwear as outwear trend continues to gather momentum.

Sheer, simple, pretty - the perfect canvas for some creative inter-seasonal layering no?

Leather shorts are the absolute number one on my spring shopping list, and these tailored ones are definitely hitting the spot.

Umm, AMAZING! French brand Shourouk was created by a former Lanvin jewellery designer, which pretty much says it all.

Loving the bare shoulder effect on this Surface to Air number. Tees with a twist are always a winner.

Wonderful Acne always manage to make the most plain designs lovable. The wide neck line gives it a little something as well.

Plaid shirt from Wrangler - the authentic cowboy brand according to Ms Fashion Editor at Large. It couldn't be any cooler really.

Revamped Cheap Monday jeans with mesh panelling (left), and leather inserts (right). Very special indeed.

Note to self: don't cancel the gym membership yet. Crop-tops ain't goin' nowhere.


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large

My favourite black trousers from Whistles SS10

Last night I honoured an invitation extended by London College of Fashion (of which I am an alumnus) to sit on a debating panel to discuss whether women can succeed in the world of fashion. My fellow panellists were Jane Shepherdson, CEO of Whistles, Zowie Broach one half of Boudicca and Danielle Scutt. The debate was chaired by Professor Penny Martin, who also happens to be the editor of forthcoming new womens's magazine The Gentlewoman (from the same publishing house as Fantastic Man). We had a full house of eager students.

You might think, as I did, when I first heard the topic for discussion "yeah of course women can succeed in fashion, fashion is mainly a woman's arena." I was wrong to think that. When I relayed that thought to Rebecca Munro of LCF she batted the below back at me.

"The talk is timed to coincide with Women’s Enterprise Day on November 18th, which is part of a national campaign, Global Entrepreneurial Week UK (identical weeks run globally) and is all about celebrating successful female entrepreneurs and business leaders to inspire our students (the majority of whom are female) to take risks and be confident in their careers choices. Although I agree women are a dominant force in fashion – the majority of shareholders and CEOs are male and many women in fashion (like many other industries) have experienced some sort of discrimination during their careers. Of the 4.7 million UK enterprises, only 15% are led by women which I think is one reason why we have to encourage our students, especially our female students, to not be afraid of setting up businesses and turn their skills into money making enterprises."  

Very interesting, no?

ANYWAY. The debate turned out to be lively, compelling and I found it genuinely inspiring. Jane Shepherdson had a lot to say. All of it very telling. Here are a couple of her choice comments. All food for thought.

"I had to buy my own business to be a CEO; that's how hard it is to run your own company in fashion."

"I came up from buying and merchandising to become a CEO.  At Arcadia Group 95.5 per cent of the buyers and merchandisers are women. But when you go upstairs to see who is running the business, it is all men."

"Be single minded. There will be shit, deal with it. Think "I'm going to show them". Do it your way. Accept confrontation."

"Women work harder and spin more plates. They tend to be more collaborative."

And while we are on the subject of Ms Shepherdson, here is more from the SS10 collection of Whistles.

The fashion junior at large put these on her wishlist for SS10.


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by the Fashion Junior at Large and the Fashion Editor at Large.

Just came in from the Topshop press day and couldn't wait to report back. Feast your eyes on our favourite things from the SS10 collection...

Love the clogs. Chanel better watch out!

This washed leather jacket with no sleeves made me want to dump my longtime leather love Rick Owens for a spring fling.

According to Karen Bonser the design director of TopShop this jacket uses a technique called cornelli. Don't you love the way the light catches this?

Will DEFFO be buying these boots in SS10

The TopShop press day had 101 ways with a denim short. I really liked the way there was pretty embroidery on roughed up denim. Juxtaposition!

A fairy tale skirt done in urban grey chiffon. Wear with a roughed up T and a shrunken leather jacket for the key TopShop look of SS10

 I've been feeling for a rounder sunglass, and TopShop are on the pulse with this one

 A floral long line bra top covered in gold studs. YES PLEASE!

This high-waist floral mini-skirt was laden with lingerie detailing.A clever way to do the lingerie trend. This is the Fashion Junior at Large's favourite

This is a digitized animal print, blown up. Like it.

Off again...

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education I should be on a flight to Astana, Kazakhstan right now. Off with work to go to a couple of events we're participating in. It should be good, absolutely freezing at this time of year but interesting. I'm back late on Thursday 26th. I will try and blog, comment etc while away but time and internet connections might be few and far between. Hopefully lots of photos for you upon my return! Again apologies in advance and promises of being better again shortly.

Arrivederci! xx

I CAN'T STOP WEARING...Givenchy wedge ankle boots

Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education

Posted by the fashion editor at large

These are things of beauty. I share them with my girlfriend. Oh the joys. We bought them at Joseph on Westbourne Grove at the beginning of the season from a man called Hannibal. Really.  I am properly obsessed with them and will probably wear these tonight to the Prada book launch. Onto wedges in general. I keep trend-spotting girls in wedges. Wedges should not be fashionable. I feel they look a bit medical. But, still, yesterday evening as I walked down into Oxford Circus after a jaunt to TopShop (they have done a fake 80's Versace wall in there which is genius) I trend-spotted a girl in burgundy straight cut cropped above the ankle sta-press trousers, a beige trench (Burberry) with the collar pulled up and black wedge shoes, they looked like ACNE, but could have been Margiela. At that moment I knew the wedge thing is not going away. It's going to get much bigger. By next spring I think it will be a mega-trend. From this moment I am going on a wedge hunt. I have already clutched the three beauties below, also by the lovely Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, to my heart.  It's the TopShop SS10 press day today...  I will be reporting on what I find there later!

Pics: Chris Moore/Catwalking

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