Last week was a BUSY week for me, what with my book being published on Thursday and London fashion week starting on Friday (I admit, I headed out to the shows with a small hangover on Friday), so apologies for the lack of posts over the weekend!
Anyway, I thought I would share with you a few pictures from the launch party which was in – rather fittingly – Grenson’s beautiful store on Lamb’s Conduit Street in London. We drank sloe gin cocktails (courtesy of Sipsmith) and everyone who bought a book got a free pair of socks (thanks to Pantherella). I also banned anyone from wearing heels, so here is a round-up of some of the flat shoes that partied with me last week. Flats are the future!
A very short but very excited post, this one. My book – En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels – is now available to buy in actual shops!! Which makes it all seem a bit more real. You can also still buy it at Waterstones.com and Amazon.co.uk and it’s only a tenner…the perfect gift for your flat loving friends!
OK, this is the last time I’m going to bore you with the Italian tiles thing (well, until I head off to Milan fashion week later this month but really, you’re not ACTUALLY bored of the tiles are you?!). Our final stop was the town of Ravello high up in the hills overlooking the Amalfi Coast – another place you would be well advised NOT to visit in heels (though I spied a girl teetering about in virtigineous Louboutins on her way to a wedding – I dread to think how that ended after a couple of drinks on the cobbles!).
We stayed at Villa Cimbrone, which dates back to the 11th Century AD, although I doubt these tiles are as old as that! It counts among its guests Greta Garbo, D.H. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and the Bloomsbury Group, though it came to our attention on the BBC’s The Trip to Italy with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. The goldfinch tiles in one of the public sitting rooms (above) are just gorgeous, and were particularly fitting as I was reading Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch at the time.
That’s all on Italian tiles for now, and back to reality – my book is published on Thursday – SQUEEEE!!
Welcome to the second instalment in my Italian tile extravaganza! I was delighted when we (eventually) ventured out of our amazing hotel in Sorrento to find that there are tiles literally EVERYWHERE. In this corner of Italy, nowhere is too “normal” for a beautiful floor, even the pavement outside a bog-standard supermarket. It’s a wonder I ever looked up to see the stunning scenery (I did though, obvs!).
At this point I feel I should point out that I travelled VERY light and only packed four pairs of shoes. I know! Brave or what? Hence the constant Birkenshots…
Anyway, after Sorrento we moved on to Positano, a delightful town perched on the cliffs. You wouldn’t want to visit this place in heels, that’s for sure, as it’s impossible to get anywhere without walking up or down steep steps. Our apartment (above) was only accessible by walking up around 70 steps (lucky we’re relatively fit!) had kitsch hand-painted tiles on the floor.
The square outside the cathedral in Positano features a number of quirky mosaics. Not 100% sure what they mean but they’re pretty cool! We also visited Pompeii, which was AMAZING. I couldn’t believe the condition some of the tiles were in – obviously you’re not actually allowed to stand on these ancient relics, but how beautiful?
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be well aware of my unhealthy obsession with tiles (in fact, I’ve written about it a couple of times before on here). It’s only really been apparent since I started taking so many pictures of my shoes for the blog, but it’s got to the point now where Mr Brogue booked the hotels we just stayed in for our 10th wedding anniversary purely on the strength of their tiles (well, for the most part anyway) and I’ve just spent the week in tile heaven in the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast…
I think our first hotel might be my favourite hotel in the world. The Parco dei Principi in Sorrento is AMAZING. Designed by Gio Ponti in 1961, it’s rammed with incredible mid-century modern furniture, Ponti’s hand-drawn architectural plans, as well as thirty (THIRTY!) different tile designs, all in blue and white (not to mention a lift through the cliff to a private beach, views of Vesuvius and a great restaurant). Sadly I didn’t get to see all thirty designs as they’re dotted throughout the bedrooms, but I got pictures of as many of them as I could!
There was also an older building within the stunning grounds that I’d happily move into a live in for the rest of my life! It housed my favourite tiles of the whole trip, featuring a floral design that was worn and chipped in places giving it a beautiful charm, as well as more older tiles within the building and on the terrace that overlooked the sea.
I love Clarks. You know I do. I’ve been wearing Clarks’ shoes for longer than any other brand (school shoes), they’re part of my favourite sub culture (mods and their desert boots) and they even appeared in the best TV show EVER (Walt’s Wallabees in Breaking Bad). I also love Orla Kiely. My house is littered with bedsheets, towels and mugs in the signature stem print; it taps into the bright, retro aesthetic that I’m really drawn to.
So I’m delighted that Clarks’ collaboration with Orla Kiely continues for A/W2014 and the new season designs go on sale today! There are a lot of heels in the collection, but there are two offerings of flats too. The first is Dora, a lovely two-tone loafer with big chocolate buttons that look good enough to eat. It comes in three different colourways including a texture mixed black pair which you could wear with absolutely anything.
I also love Daphne, a simple Chelsea boot with that same luxurious two-tone feel; both designs use pony skin (that’s just unshaved leather, not actual ponies!) as a contrasting texture which I think looks really smart. I would wear these with my fall-back turned up skinny jeans or even my Hobbs tartan trouser suit from a few winters ago. Dapper shoes like this deserve a dapper outfit!
Mr Brogue and I have been married 10 years today! Sadly I don’t have a shoefie (shoe selfie) from our wedding day (though I spent most of the day in bare feet) so I thought I’d celebrate with a few of my favourites from more recent times.
So, it’s getting exciting now. My book – En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels – is published TWO WEEKS TODAY on September 11th. This week I got an actual copy of the book sent to me, which was REALLY exciting!
Up until this point, it’s sort of felt like a dream. The whole process – from getting a book deal with the wonderful people at Saltyard, to writing and illustrating the contents, to proof reading, to it being sent off to the printers – has all happened so quickly that I haven’t had time to stop and think about it! Although the book has been available to pre-order for a while now (you can do that here), until I actually see a copy of it in a bookshop, I think it’s still going to feel like it’s happening to someone else…only two weeks to wait until that happens! SQUEEEE!!
If, like me, you’ve become somewhat addicted to brogues over the past few seasons, you might be glad to hear of a development in the flat shoe department. While I was away at fashion week back in February, I noticed a trend on the catwalk that I’m pleased to say has been picked up by the high street.
Fringed shoes appeared on models at Suno and (my favourite) Marni. The latter took the idea and ran with it, morphing the leather fringe into a solid flap with a metal trim. They make the perfect alternative to brogues (in fact, you can find brogued versions of them) as you can style them up in exactly the same way. They just have a slightly snazzier feel.
The fringe itself is called a kiltie if it’s actually a removable piece of leather, and I think these shoes look their best when it is (or at least, looks like it is). It also means you have the added bonus of wearing the shoes two different ways! They were originally used by golfers to protect their laces from the dewy grass (more on kilties soon). You might also hear fringed shoes referred to as ghillies. The Russell & Bromley pair above comes in five different colours but this shiny burgundy pair best mimics the catwalk versions, as do the green ones below from Clarks and the blue from Office.
I also like the fringe on a monk shoe – I’ve been wearing the pair below from Toast for the last few summers and I LOVE them. Topshop is currently doing a very similar design, which comes in tan and black patent as well as the white shown here.
Well there’s some good news to cheer up a rainy bank holiday Monday if ever I heard it! To celebrate the launch of my book – En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels – on September 11th (read about that here), I’ve teamed up with fabulous shoe brand Lucy Choi London (featured in the book) to give you 15% off selected flat styles from today until Friday 5th September. WHOOP!
If you’re not already familiar with Lucy’s shoes, you MUST look her up. Her designs are chic and sophisticated, and of course, incredibly comfortable. She strikes that brilliant balance between a formal shoe (great for weddings/work) and a smart flat you can wear with a more casual get-up, like jeans and a T-shirt or leather trousers and a sweater.
The 15% off applies to the styles on the Lucy Choi London En Brogue promotional page and there’s certainly something for everyone! I love the Victoria slipper in velvet with its practical metal toe cap (so you don’t need to worry about them in the rain!) and Miami has the wow factor if you’re looking for a comfortable occasion shoe. My favourite is the Shaftesbury – you might have spotted this style on a previous blog post as I actually own this pair – as it’s elegant and cool, and ticks this season’s military trend perfectly. Plus those studs on the heel make me feel like no-one will mess with me when I’m wearing them!
To take advantage of the offer, simply head to lucychoilondon.com and enter the code LUCYLOVESENBROGUE at the checkout. It’s valid from Monday August 25th until Friday September 5th, so you’ve only got a couple of weeks to bag yourself a pair with 15% off. Happy shopping!