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A happening in Pittsburgh, PA (I know right?)

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Photo by Cup of Couple

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Mike & Gabi of Cup of Couple

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Gala of Amlul

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Wearing: Cardigan – ATEA. Leather trousers – Raquel Allegra. heels – Alexander Wang. Full outfit coming SOooosooon.

Yonks ago – September last year to be exact – I woke up in a truly irregular setting: Pittsburgh, USA. Kidneys, did I have them? Both fine. I ordered up some breakfast room service, and got dressed to join the rest of the equally puzzled crew down in the lobby. We were going to see a train – one inhabited by artists, musicians and their various instruments – that had arrived at Penn Union Station the night before. Brought together by Levi’s, curated by artist Doug Aitkin, this train (an assortment of vintage carriages dating back to 1914) had originated from New York and over the course of 3 weeks was to travel through the country to the West coast, dropping off and picking up creatives on its way, putting on festivals in celebration of art, street culture, music and food in ten cities between New York and Oakland, California. Much like going West for gold, in fact, especially in how the journey itself transpires to be the more valuable reward. It was essentially a kinetic, modern art installation championed by one of America’s oldest, and most identified brands – an ad campaign, of course, but only technically. I must admit, much of the art was lost on yours truly, to whom the world of contemporary art is a dizzying mystery… I did although enjoy myself all the same as the world of food, is in fact a sanctuary (especially when ghost chili cucumbers are involved). All-in-all, given the similarly dizzyingly mysterious nature of waking up in Pittsburgh one September morning – like some kind of abstract performance art- I remember it all as though I had some kind of an official part in the expedition… Alas, I was no artist, and we – the motley crew (international press of all shapes and sizes) – travelled by air. My only regret is having spent too long checking if my kidneys were there and then gobbling down scrambled eggs that I didn’t allocate enough time to explore the city at all. Classic.

Huge thanks to Levi’s for allowing me to experience a small part of the Station to Station adventure.

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Bag – L.K. Bennett Rosamund

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Gabi and Mike of Cup of Couple, new-found soulmates.

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Hello from NYC! Just a quickie before grabbing some breakfast and diving head-first into the city. I know I kept piping on about ‘going to #NYFW’ on Twitter, but in truth I’m here with Levi’s to celebrate their Station to Station campaign launch and really keen on seeing Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs properly. Because let’s be honest, fashion week is pretty much the same everywhere, but you can’t download a walk in Central Park from style.com. I know you don’t subscribe to this blog to check the latest and hottest, although seeing how much I seem to be affected by this jetlag I can really only deliver week-late and lukewarm… but I have a feeling you don’t really mind, do you. For anything warmer may I suggest following on Instagram? 2-minutes-in-the-microwave warm, but hey, still better than nothing.

Anyway, we spent most of our time in Williamsburg on the first day, and if not for this crippling jetlag I’d have spent more time exploring but all I remember doing that day was half-reclined in a bench in the Wythe hotel garden tracing clouds in between interviews with Levi’s execs. I’m going back next week for a proper sweep through, and please do let me know if you could spare some NYC recommendations, especially good grub spots!


Topshop
Banana-print denim biker

American Apparel
Sunflower-print shorts

DIY Denim painting: gathering inspiration…

All photos with tripod

I was asked by eBay to customize my own pair of jeans in support of a charity campaign involving the pop group B*Witched, who will be auctioning their favourite denim show pieces in aid of the UK charity Jeans for Genes Day. This obviously led me to Googling for ideas, and eventually took me straight back in year 1999. What is it about the internet and painting on denim material that MUST involve a brooding cat/wolf/unicorn or really awkward grafitti? Google Images suggests a mountain of things that either look like the wardrobe for Sister Act II detonated, or Robin Sparkles* is actually a Canadian fashion blogger (oh, is that why we all need to go to the mall) littering the intranets with ‘coul grafitti coat‘ how-to’s. The fact of the matter is, other than the popular two that are bleaching and ripping, there’s seems only so many other modern ways to customize denim without crossing over to the 90′s again. So heck, I decided to give painting a go, if all fails I figured I’ll wear it with roller-blades + scrunchie and do the Locomotion… aaand get braces again, why not.

* The alias of Robin Sherbatsky, a fictional character on the series How I Met Your Mother

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What you’ll need
Victim jeans (mine are secondhand from eBay), a range of fabric paint (For this particular project you’ll need black, blue, green, red, white and yellow), medium & small brushes, a piece of thin cotton fabric (i.e t-shirt), iron, masking tape (optional).

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Sketch the outline of the pattern lightly using the pencil

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Start with the lightest shade. For this particular pattern, I mixed mainly green and white, and added a dabbed yellow to warm up the green, then a bit of red to to desaturate it overall. For the darker leaves, try not to use too much black – instead, add a hint of blue and to deepen the green.

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Tip: Use masking tape to block out the areas you don’t want to paint (i.e the insides of the pocket)
Slide your hands in the shorts for more control while painting.

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Use a skinnier brush to add details.
Leave to dry for an hour or so.

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To fix – iron the denim from the front through a thin cloth at cotton heat setting for 3 minutes. Et voila! The paint should be waterproof and even machine-washable. (Try not to touch the paint-job with the iron!)

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Wearing: Jersey tee – ASOS. Denim shorts – DIY on Levi’s (via eBay). Nail polish – American Apparel.

A couple of tips:

  • I usually source most of my DIY equipment and victims on eBay, but it’s especially good for denim. You can score a pair of previously-worn white denim Levi’s shorts like these for under £5, or choose from a range of new products from certified sellers. Same with materials and equipment – sometimes I purchase a job-lot of random broken jewellery to play with, or buy very specific colours of rhinestones.
  • Fabric paint is surprisingly opaque, almost identical to the texture of acrylic paint. If you find that the paint is too thick while painting, just dip your brush in water to thin the paint out for those tricky corners.
  • It IS actually possible to paint on denim with acrylic paint – but I’d personally recommend doing that only to garments you wouldn’t necessarily wash as often: like jackets, vests or denim rucksacks.
  • Masking tape is perfect for geometric patterns – simply cut strips and lay them out in zig-zag pattern for a easy-peasy paint-job.
  • Last but not least, if all this painting scares you, there’s so many other simpler things you can do with fabric paint and denim – polkadots, stripes, shapes… you can even draw bananas all over your jeans, which would also be very effective in hiding your boner. Yes I have bananas on my pocket and I may or may not be happy to see you.

Please do help Jeans for Genes Day by selling your own denim on eBay (or bidding for one) and donating between 10-100% of your final sale value to the charity. 

Columbia Road Flower Market

Foldable Liberty-print tote by Catherine Memre

Wearing: Shirt, Libery London. Jeans, Levi’s. Shoes, Friis & Company (similar). Sunglasses, Jeepers Peepers. Straw bag, Chloé; Thank you Kit for the shots!

I don’t know what’s worse, not having a TV or relying on Twitter/Google for current issues, because for a few weeks now I’ve been holed up in my flat eating peanuts out of party size bags (hubby is a compulsive hoarder) and collecting rainwater because apparently there’s a zombie mob out there choking the streets and running down innocent Londoners just trying to get on with life. At least that’s what I made out of all the ‘keep out of London’ tweets by the metropolitan police. Apparently the Olympics is on too. Yesterday I managed to sneak away to my happy place that is Columbia road flower market, one of the many bulletpoints on the Sunday to-do list that gets neglected, the other neglected task being ‘water the plants’ – not sure if this is ironic or logical. Peonies were still out so I happily bagged six bunches while Kit scored an armful of hydrangeas for £5, then we had donuts and coffee while observing an unfriendly pomeranian go nuts over crumbs. What a happy Sunday, and not a zombie in sight, Twitter you liar.

Château de Fontainebleu

Neoprene Jacket, H&M trend. Jeans, Levi’s. Scarf, Alice & Olivia. Sunnies, Jeepers PeepersOxford Shirt, hubby’s Ralph Lauren. Chelsea Boots, Topshop

So… remember that giggle-and-titter trip to Disneyland from a few moons past with Jen, Fred & hubby? Believe it or not, there was quite a journey before we reached happily ever after in the land of dreams – no I’m not referring to the Eurostar ride. I’m talking about the shuffle into van and drive down towards the gleaming castle and towards a distant, yet still squeaky-clear, melody of ‘it’s a small world afterall’ and everyone hoots – even the boys – then driver takes sharp left and continues down 45 minutes through French countryside and passengers sulk silently type of journey. Later we found out the Vienna International Hotels team had so gracefully planned an extensive itinerary, which involved of touching four corners of the Disney experience, where three don’t sell princess dresses. Disneyland was first corner, naturally; second was Paris - an hour van-ride from the Dream Castle Hotel, where we got tipsy and watched boobies jiggle on stage. La Vallée Village was third, the outlet shopping village (think Bicester Village) two minutes from the hotel where I was denied purchasing a certain pair of Céline sandals marked £190 by hubby who pulled the leash (mostly expressing disgruntle over unfulfilled one-in-one-out policy). Fourth and last was Château de Fontainebleu, home of many, MANY Kings, Queens, Emperors and Empresses’ over the past eight centuries. Let me first apologize for the amount of photos you’ve had to scroll through and here’s a Gatorade for your fingers. (Olympic spirit!) By the third chamber I gave up with the tourguide and lagged behind, it felt a crime to simply brush by the breathtaking details of each room – the brilliant colours, intricate patterns and rich textures… Heck, I know this sounds oddly grown-up and therefore incredibly unlike moi but I’d actually like to visit Disneyland again and dedicate one whole day checking out the 9/10th of the palace we missed. Dibs on the palace if I ever become King of France.