Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

Why I love Coco Chanel, on her birthday

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Coco Chanel was perhaps not a nice woman. There are rumours of an abandoned child, and accusations about Nazi collaboration. Murky episodes that may or may not have been vital to her survival. But then the world already had plenty of nice women. Coco was different. She was a woman who challenged the status quo.

All too often when we think of Coco Chanel we think of boucle suits, pearls, and Karl Lagerfeld at the helm of the multinational Uber brand that carries her name. All of these things are part of her legacy, but she was also instrumental in liberating women. The Belle Époque era, when Coco started out as a seamstress, saw women constrained, restrained and weighed down by crinolines and whalebone corsets. Just as they had been for most of history. Coco thought this was nonsense, opting instead to dress like a Tom Boy.

Through Coco’s designs, often based on her own style, she pioneered: the discarding of corsets, women wearing trousers, and women cutting their hair short. Those more used to the current freedoms of expression we enjoy may view these as a trifling list of trends in the ever-changing game of fashion, but they signified monumental social change. They revolutionised the way women dressed. They revolutionised the way women were seen. They revolutionised the way women saw themselves.

Coco herself achieved something during her lifetime that was beyond most of her femal contempories’ grasp: she was a businesswoman. Financially independent. Unfettered. Her life spans a period in history when women were still viewed predominantly as ‘only’ wives and mothers. Mere decoration for a man’s arm. Coco helped free women from the shackles of society’s expectations. She gave women the (literal) freedom to run, jump and stride forwards. Those aren’t just a pair of slacks and a stripy jumper she’s wearing, they’re a political statement.

Happy Birthday, Coco.


Credit: Coco Chanel with dog from Baudot, Francois. A Century of Fashion London: Thames & Hudson, 1999.



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Impulse Buy: Topshop’s Leopard Cutout Back BodyCon Dress

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 Topshop Dress

I don’t usually do animal print, but the colour popping blue of this dress won me over. I am a fashionista, hear me roar! It has a cutout back I imagine would keep the more svelte among you cool, but as I don’t want to share my back fat with the world (it doesn’t seem fair), I wore it with a black body underneath.

In the photo I’m posing (duckface) in vintage orange snakeskin pumps – oh how I wish I could still wear you! But I actually bought this to wear with my blue Nike high tops. My recent ill health means my feet currently have to be firmly flat on the ground, and in very attractive orthopaedic insoles. This dress fits in perfectly with both my sensible shoes and my current wardrobe vibe of 1990s children’s TV presenter. I styled it up with a (fake plastic) gold metal chain also from Topshop and an orange clutch from Zara. Up next I’ll be introducing Fun House, Round The Twist and Sabrina the Teenage Witch while making a lunchbox out of sticky back plastic. Orthopaedic footwear be damned, I’m still going to have fun with fashion!

Topshop’s Leopard CutoutBack BodyCon Dress costs £35.00 and is available to buy here.

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The Lulu Guinness Paint Project

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It’s been a while, and several months of ill-health-induced immobility, since I’ve been to a fash bash. So it was with a mixture of delirious excitement and nerves that I received my invite to the Lulu Guinness Paint Project – a fusion art and fashion event where Lulu Guinness and uber cool Beautiful Crime artist Joseph Steele decorated bags with controlled paint explosions (yes, really!) What’s a girl to do when she has to stand next to fountain of youth nymphs (the fash pack) with a walking stick? Style it out with yellow high tops, a two tone Lulu Guinness clutch and a hot friend to take photos of against the giant backdrop screens.


Held in the Old Sorting Office, New Oxford Street, the cavernous warehouse space was filled with Lulu’s iconic hanging neon lips, a stage upon which Lulu James performed, and retro camper vans serving Lobster rolls and artisan chocolates. Topped off with a neon bar offering a plethora of Red Bull based cocktails and a thumping DJ soundtrack from Jameela Jamil, I soon found I no longer cared about my walking stick. The vibrant energetic space was intoxicating (so were the drinks).


Joseph Steele, Lulu Guinness – holding one of the limited edition bags – and guest.

As we gathered round the roped off area to watch the high-pressured cylinders fire paint at clutches fixed to a round target, I revelled in the creative rush cutting edge fashion can deliver. Where else would you find a street artist and a fashion icon exploding paint across gorgeous bags for charity? The party definitely went with a bang.


Celeb spots: Lauren Laverne, Laura Whitmore, Olivia Lee.

To bid on one of the limited edition paint splattered clutches please visit Ebay here. All proceeds to The Art Room charity.

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The Italian edition of Confessions of a Fashionista: I Love Fashion!

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Hungover, I cursed the courier who rang my doorbell early this morning, waking me up. I cursed my husband who’s order of printer paper was no doubt the cause of this disturbance to my (much, much, much needed) beauty sleep. Oh how wrong I was! Instead of dull stationary I was the joyful recipient of a copy of the gorgeous Italian edtion of Confessions of a Fashionista titled, I Love Fashion. Like the sexiest Italian sports cars I went from grumpy to gleeful in 0.2 seconds. I could have kissed the courier. Luckily for him I resisted, nobody wants to be embraced by an old t-shirt wearing walking hair ball with morning breath. Now the super stylish Italians are on the case I’ll have to buck up my ideas. Shopping trip to Milan, anyone?

Italian Book

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Holiday reading: free smaple chapter from Confessions of a Fashionista

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Looking for a holiday read? Fancy a bit of glamour, fast paced funny fashion, real life romance, and juicy gossip? Take a gander at this *FREE* sample chapter of Amazon’s number one fashion bestseller, my humourous memoir Confessions of a Fashionista (click on link below):

Free sample of Confessions of a Fashionista by Angela Clarke.

“Sharply observed and extremely funny.”

                                                                                              Hello! magazine

“I read this in one sitting. It made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend Confessions of a Fashionista.”

                                                                                                  Lulu Guinness

“An excellent read … it’s a very enjoyable, eye-opening foray into the (mad) world of fashion.”

                                                                                           ChickLit Reviews

Published by Virgin and available from all good bookstores, or to order from here:

Happy holidays! 


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A shameless act of self-promotion: why Confessions of a Fashionista is the perfect Mothers’ Day present.

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COF packshot

In the brazen pursuit of trying to launch my book-writing career, here is my argument for why Confessions of a Fashionista makes the perfect Mothers’ Day gift. Confessions of a Fashionista is a mum-loving book. It features a real life mum (mine), who is always ignored and always proved right. It is even dedicated to my mum, ‘who didn’t want me to write about [her] but let me do it anyway.’ How mumtastic is that? It is also, allegedly, funny. Here are three mum bits in my book for you to enjoy.


Mum picks clothes off the floor and drops them neatly folded onto my legs. They say genius skips a generation, but in this family it’s tidiness. Mum cleans instinctively, obsessively, like a Stepford Wife on speed. She has declared jihad on dust. Our house is free from books, ornaments, excessive soft furnishings and, often, people. She’s a pioneer of OCD. The say minimalism began in 1960s America, but I have a strong suspicion it was born in 1950s north Hertfordshire.



‘That’s a nice top, where’s it from?’ Mum appears with more newspapers.

‘Specialist shop. Only a hundred and fifty pounds in the sale.’

Mum grips the sideboard to steady herself. ‘You spent a hundred and fifty pounds on a cardigan?’

I forgot I’m not talking to fashionistas. ‘It’s cashmere.’

‘It’s immoral!’



[On discovering my mum trying to throw away the one of a kind Elizabethan costume I bought from the English National Opera].

Mum is shoving the ENO dress into her rubbish bag.

‘Mum! That’s Tosca’s costume.’

‘Well, she can either have it back or we chuck it. It’s covered in white powder.’ She rubs her fingers together and wrinkles her nose.

‘It’s plaster of Paris. It glows under UV light.’ I make a snatch for the bottom of the dress but she’s too quick.

‘Why on earth would you want a dress that glowed in the dark?’

‘I use it for fancy dress.’

‘What’s this?’ She holds up a hot-pink leather skirt. ‘Fancy dress too?’

‘No, that’s Harrods’ own brand.’



Don’t forget to write your own mum loving dedication in the front of the book – your mum will be thrilled. Tell her I said hi. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Hello, Hello!

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Hello! magazine have kindly reviewed Confessions of a fashionista, saying all kinds of nice things about it here: Hello!


You can see the full page, should you be so inclined, here:


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