Showing posts with label Alexa Chung. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alexa Chung. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Cambridge Satchel Company's sample sale

The only item from my daughter’s schooldays that’s stood the test of time is her beloved brown leather satchel. I bought it for her when she started school at the age of four - and she still uses it. It’s pretty bashed up these days, but the other week a young woman tapped her on the shoulder in M&S and said: “I love your satchel. Where did you get it from?”

Now an independent student on the verge of moving to Paris, my daughter’s been longing for a new satchel for ages. So when she discovered that the Cambridge Satchel Company was holding a sample sale in Cambridge this weekend we jumped in the car and hared east. Thank you to Liberty London Girl, by the way, for posting the details on Facebook.

The Cambridge Satchel Company was founded by accountant Julie Deane, who loves satchels as much as me and my daughter. “I had a satchel that stayed with me all the way through school,” says Julie, “and the more battered it got the more character it had.”

Looking to start her own business, Julie hit on the idea of selling traditional satchels in zingy colours. The rest is history. Fearne Cotton’s been spotted out and about with a fluorescent yellow satchel and Alexa Chung often sports a navy version. The UK-made satchels sell all over the world and have even appeared in Gossip Girl and Glee.

When we got to the Guildhall in Cambridge, the satchels (above) were selling like hot cakes. I spotted one girl queuing up to buy five, in hues of pale yellow, baby pink, bright green, black and orange. My daughter snapped up a gorgeous silver satchel and even though my student days are long gone I couldn’t resist getting one in navy. The sale (the satchels are selling for up to 60 per cent off) is on again today (August 12), so if you’re anywhere near Cambridge, don’t miss it.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Slippers - this season's most sought-after shoes. Really?

It was kind of inevitable. First the glossy magazines tried to convince us all that floral pyjamas are THE thing to wear this season (and not just when you’ve got out of bed too late to get dressed for the school run). Now the fashion editors are busy telling us that slippers are, as Hilary Rose wrote in Saturday's Times Magazine, “this season’s It shoe.”

Apparently the most sought-after slippers are by Charlotte Olympia (they come with an eye-watering £375 price tag), made of velvet and with a cat’s face sewn on the front. When I had a quick look online, they reminded me of a pair of slippers I wore as a child in the 1970s. But what do I know about cutting-edge fashion?

The article said that everyone from Alexa Chung (who’d look good in anything) to Beyoncé is wearing slippers out and about these days, but I can’t say I’ve spotted anyone in my neck of the woods in them yet.

But then again, they do look blissfully comfy – and effortless to walk in. I wonder if I should pop into the shoe shop up the road and buy a cheap pair there? So if you see me wearing slippers at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival next week, don’t assume I’ve completely lost the plot. You never know, we could all be wearing them soon.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Satchels, blazers and ties - what's the point of school uniform?

The fixation with school uniform is a mystery to me. Education secretary Michael Gove clearly believes blazers and ties are the key to success in schools while lots of commentators reckon uniform improves students’ behaviour, encourages loyalty and belonging and means pupils don’t compete to look cool. But as I’ve written in a previous blog, I don’t see why children can’t wear what they like – as long as it isn’t inappropriate, too revealing or covered in offensive slogans.

I vividly remember the dramatic moment when my daughter stopped wearing uniform and started wearing exactly what she wanted.

Just before her GCSEs, in a bid to mark the last school uniform day in style, she and her pals set about customising their outfits. Even Stella McCartney would have been impressed by their efforts.  Some girls accessorised their school clothes with fuchsia-coloured tights and towering platforms while others wore Ninja Turtle shells they’d constructed from cardboard.

My daughter made a typically bold decision. First she chopped up her navy school polo shirt, closely followed by the kick-pleat skirt she’d worn every day for five years. She then hit on the bright idea of sewing all the ripped-up bits of her uniform back together again and transforming them into a fetching halter-neck and hair-tie. With a final flourish, she painted shiny white stars all over her skirt and wore the whole outfit to her school’s traditional “muck-up” celebrations – the last uniform day before exams began.

When my son arrived home that night, he was far from impressed. He took one appalled look at his big sister and declared: “That’s the silliest school uniform I’ve ever seen...”

As I watched my daughter rip her school uniform to ribbons (it was falling to bits anyway), I couldn’t believe that 12 years had flown by since her first day at primary school. It seemed no time at all since she was excitedly setting out for her reception class in a grey pinafore, purple jumper and matching socks. At four, she was so proud of her old-fashioned leather satchel that she insisted on taking it everywhere she went – even on Saturdays and Sundays. It made a brief reappearance a couple of years ago when, thanks to Alexa Chung and Mulberry, satchels came back into fashion again. Now sadly, it’s been consigned to the depths of the cupboard once more.
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