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Her Outdoors: Herb Outdoors special: Making a mint, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Herb Outdoors special: Making a mint

When I bought my first flat in London in 2004, I fell in love with the garden more than the actual property. It was a one-bed flat in Stockwell and was pretty small – smaller, in fact, than the garden. There was gravel and raised beds shaped into a maze created by the previous owners, [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Tuesday, 10 February 2015 at 9:32 am

Her Outdoors: Are brassicas just a waste of space?, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Are brassicas just a waste of space?

My Dad, a veteran of 30 years allotmenteering and who tends three plots in Liverpool, came to 35a the other day for a critical midwinter assessment. We stared at the patch where purple sprouting broccoli is supposed to be cropping in the next few weeks, and where there are a couple of very small cauliflower [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 9:10 pm

Her Outdoors: You say potato, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: You say potato

As we’re having a proper winter this year (it actually snowed a little in London this morning – though it didn’t stick), the indoor gardening campaign continues – and the list of things to do in January is long. And as it’s February tomorrow, on my allotment there will soon be crocuses and, hopefully, some [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Saturday, 31 January 2015 at 7:54 pm

Making love and wrapping up – the end of haute couture, at Gaultier, Viktor and Rolf, Valentino and Armani, Fashion

Making love and wrapping up – the end of haute couture, at Gaultier, Viktor and Rolf, Valentino and Armani

The couture is over. Long live the couture. Or something. Do we really think couture is going to live forever? Yes, probably. There is enough financial muscle, enough press still clapping (I hope not sporadically), and enough clients to spuriously justify that there are women who demand dresses entirely made out of pieces of ribbon or microscopic feather flowers. And the clothes, at their best, are extraordinary.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Friday, 30 January 2015 at 1:25 pm

Sex, sugar, pins and needles – Versace, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, and a little from Dior and Chanel at the spring couture, Fashion

Sex, sugar, pins and needles – Versace, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, and a little from Dior and Chanel at the spring couture

As I was walking out of Sunday night’s Atelier Versace show – the official start to the spring/summer 2015 haute couture collections – I overheard an exchange between a couture client and one of the house os Versace’s aides. Well, I overheard one part of the exchange. I presume said aide asked said client what she thought of the collection. “That see-through beaded shit,” she barked. “Sexy as fuck!”

That’s not something you hear much at the haute couture.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 11:57 am

Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015: Studious design lessons from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Loewe, Thom Browne, Hermes, Fashion

Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015: Studious design lessons from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Loewe, Thom Browne, Hermes

Perhaps it’s all the uniforms cropping up all over the place, or maybe it was Raf Simons’ opening gambit, glorifying his own university years on Wednesday evening, but there’s been a back-to-school feeling at the Paris menswear shows. Many editors share said feeling – bleary-eyed and pale under recently-acquired holiday tans, with shell-shocked expression as they launched into a fully-fledged fashion month barely a week into the new year. Amongst designers, generally, there’s a studious earnestness, to see ideas through, to cross t’s and dot i’s. But, alas, there hasn’t been much deep and meaningful.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 10:23 pm

Only anarchists are pretty at Raf Simons, gilded youth at Valentino, Fashion

Only anarchists are pretty at Raf Simons, gilded youth at Valentino

Rules are made to be broken. That’s what we’re all taught in our school days. Well, not so much taught, but you pick it up along the way. Raf Simons certainly has. For his autumn/winter 2015 collection, on the first day of Paris’ men’s shows, he once again latched onto youth, his eternal inspiration. Only this season, like the last, felt like it was Simons’ own misbegotten ways. And, in tune with the season as a whole, that necessitated a trip to the archive, and a flick through the garments that defined his aesthetic.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Thursday, 22 January 2015 at 10:54 am

Prada, Versace Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci – it’s a famiglia affair, in Milan, Fashion

Prada, Versace Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci – it’s a famiglia affair, in Milan

Family is a big deal in Italian fashion. When Donatella Versace, for instance, talks about the Versace DNA, I don’t roll my eyes quite as audibly as I do with other designers. I once asked her what the name “Versace” represented to her. “As a label, or as my family?” was her reply.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at 4:02 pm

Her Outdoors: Winter health check, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Winter health check

It’s been snowing in many parts of the UK this weekend… just not in London. Nearly two years without a single snowflake in the capital. My daughter, now four and a half, cannot remember what snow looks like. While I really want her to build a snowman, the upside of the snow-no-show is that I [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 8:37 pm

Her Outdoors: Time to sow sweet peas, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Time to sow sweet peas

For the first time in several years, I didn’t sow my sweet peas in November. Normally I would sow them indoors or outside in a cold frame to give them the winter to bulk up. In autumn 2012, in fact, I sowed them in pots outside in late October and they grew enough to be [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Thursday, 15 January 2015 at 10:23 pm

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