Thursday, 30 December 2010

Luella's Guide To English Style

I love reading a fascinating book, and even more so when it is associated with fashion. I greatly appreciated opening Luella's Guide to English Style on Christmas Day, as soon as I began reading the Introduction I knew the whole reading experience would be that of enjoyable as well as inspriational, it also contained great opnions and knowledge that I was not aware of, down to Luella's close friend Katie Grand wanting to start her own magazine and in turn creating Pop and now working as the editor for Love Magazine. And who says you cant make something out of what you love doing? Although Luella's career did'nt end in the most promising of ways, researching her 20 collections under her belt, concluded that she can gracefully say she showed the world her talents as a designer. And with her last collection SS2010 went out with a memorable bang.

From the very beginning of this book it is clear to see that Luella's aim is to figure out what makes 'British women so staggeringly adept in the art of expression through style.' It is interesting to find out that her niche brand of English fashion, was inspired by so many different movements, for example Punk, to grannies, super heroes, Cornish witches all the way to equestrianism and football casuals. It made me laugh when she went on to make another 'important point, which is that English Style doesnt necessarily hail from the notorious square mile of East London that is home to those achingly sublime twenty-somethings whose every waking moment is dedicated to making sure that every centimetere of their attire exsists as validation of their superior style' Someone had to say it...

Its amusing that Luella dedicates part of her introduction for justifying, what makes her such an arbiter? To her credit she has ticked of some of the tedious steps leading to the great 'Fashion World' Attended Central Saint Martins. check. Apprenticeship at Evening Standard, then going on to landing her own desk at ES Magazine. check. Then 'procedding with trepidation to the hallowed halls of Vogue House' Eventually leading to her first collection, 'Daddy, I Want a Pony'

And Ive only just begun the book...My pink ribbon is firmly holding down my first chapter to read..The Seven Stages of Woman... I'll update when I've read more of my beautiful book.

Just finished my first chapter, 'The Seven Stages of Woman' I can conclude that it took me on a predominatly, in some parts. scarily accurate interpretation of a woman's style changing as she ages, and let me firstly introduce the correct name we will now be referring to, 'Miss England' or 'The British Bird' Luella continues to use, I prefer the first. Are we really that predictable? The whole chapter was fantastically knowledgable and captured stages in your life, that I certainly can relate to...Luella's passion for the English Style is heavily emphasied through all the stages, and she puts it, through Miss England's 'seven ages, in common with morning-after-mascara, her style gets better with age.' 'Through these stages the experimental building blocks of earlier decades start to fit together more easily and her very own, personal sense of style properly forms.

Stage One-Childhood. 'As a kid it's all about fantasy' And we know we were all once a parkly tutu'd forest fairy with mum's high heeled sligbacks, then the next day a Power Ranger. 'It might sound a little hackneyed and a little too Hoxton eccentric, but thats only because as adults we are burdened with self conciousness and rules that we spend the next fifty years trying to shake. The summary of this stage 'Two plus two always equals five, ignoring the idea that everything should be correct and proper' Thus the first blissful, unselfconcious stage is over and gone before she even knows what she's got.

Stage Two-School Daze. 'Teenage kicks are a pivotal moment in Miss Englands journey of discovery...this is when self-conciousness begins' This chapter made me smile, due to the accuratly relyed fight with the kind of cruel attire which we were forced to wear, namely the drab, counter-instinctual, school uniform. We are unaware of it at the time but, 'take the worst fabric and cut, put them on a confused girl and make her wear the same combination og grey and burgandy for fived days a week and see what happens. 'The Favourite Customisations of the Scool Uniform' made me laugh, why do we do that? I suppose its our way of individuality coming out, 'but this is in context of being part of the group, dressing the same as her best friend.'
This was descried as 'the most sincere form of lifestyle and dressing she will ever know.'

Stage Three-Recessionista.The third stage of Miss Englands style eveolution (the charity shop years) is the equivalent of going through a personal recession,' and they say England is at its most creative in a recession. Luella describes this is the 'foundation course for dressing' It was a very interesting perception that 'money-is-no-object thinking comes at a price. Too much cash means zero creativity' I can totally see how this is true...'invetion is the key to self-invention' It was also inspiring to find out that many designers find their inspiration from charity shops, the quality of the fabric is better and its possible to learn alot about construction and technique.' Luella beautifully describes this as 'cool, in the properly individual sense of the word. She's hit upon the true wisdom of style;she has cracked the code. she has just been given membership to the odd-looking elite of British Style. Pass Go. collect £200.

Stage Four-Proper Job. This stage 'embraces the world of designer purchases' Is anyone else finding some of this strangly true? She goes on to explain Miss England now has to figure out where 'indivuality fits in once she's passed through the guilded doors of Selfridges, or logged on to the perfect item minefeild that is Net-A-Porter.' And I love this part...when she has eventually purchased her all important designer investment 'she'll wear them with anything that will dress them down. 'There is something absolutly bloody marvellous and incredibly English about attaining that status symbol and then denying its status.' Stage four is summed up with 'feeling cool, uncool, cool then uncool. Anxiety is exhausting, acutely concious of being judged.' Ever read a book where you nod alolng and are completly wrapped up in your own little was happening here.

Stage Five-It Takes Two. This older stage in Miss Englands life was about having them beautiful little creatures, children. She now wakes up 'with the realisation that the trail of ticking boxes is over. Hurrah.' 'Just as her style taste is taking PhD status, life comes and hits her in the face. Oh, how cruel. Oh, how great.' Harder to relate to obvioulsy, but still just as amusing, 'theres a new duchess in town and she feeds her chickens in Christopher Kane,' to take in and hopefully avoid , some of the neglect on style, when the time comes along.

Stage Six-Back in The Saddle. She is now into that 'mix of naive irony and rebeillion has been thrown on huge bit of life experience.' This stage is quite involved with 'deep thought and scrutiny, paring everything down to the bare essentials, shredding her inhibitions and neuroses, shes also shredding pretentiousness and mixed references. And begins to base her dressing-up decisions on who she is.' Although Im definatly not there yet, I do get an understanding of this whole new more mature stage. 'Everything now means something, as opposed to screaming out individuality.' I catergorized my Mum in this stage, and it is definatly true of her, 'lots of things that look very similar, starting to prefer the posh stuff and clever cut becomes a neccesity for practical reasons, not just because of some style theory.' 'Caring about craftsmanship makes her a continuing part of English tradition, quality over quantity.' I laughed at the summarised finish, 'How long before the estblised English Tradition, and its frumpery, that you are mocking becomes the very thing you are?'

Stage Seven-Granny Nirvana. 'Stop thinking, start playing' thats the motto for this stage. Luella strongly believes that 'British grannies do this better than anyone else, the glorious, who-cares, pile-it-on granny style, grannies are the queens of exuberant mismatch'

Luella your Seven Stages are genius!


  1. Thanks for the comment :)
    Cool blog!
    Thanks for following. I'll follow back :)
    Nat xo

  2. thanks for sharing this!i found it really interesting:)xox

  3. No problem! Im still wrapped up in the first chapter but I'll share all when I get to the next one. x

  4. nice post!

  5. Never heard of that book, will have to check it out!

    ps; you have a lovely blog :)

    happy new year

  6. Tnank you! Its definatly worth having a read through, I'm just about to fill you all in on the last chapter Ive read! x

  7. Wow amazing blog, just read all your posts! I love your writing style right up my street :)

    I will be buying this book too.


  8. Thank you so much! I know I do go on a bit, but I couldnt help it with this book, definatly a great read! xx

  9. Hey, thank for dropping by my blog!

    And what an amazing book this is... I think I'll get it for myself ASAP. Thanks for the rec! :)


  10. I really want to read Luella's Guide to English Style :) You've made me want a copy for sure now!
    I must say your blog is really interesting :) consider me a "follower"


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