The bold and the downright beautiful

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the wonderful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street for the launch of the Gudrun Sjoden exhibition ‘Four Decades of Colour and Design’. I am quite ashamed to say that despite all my years of living in London (and many hours spent on Bermondsey Street) I had never actually been inside this beautiful, multi-coloured Zandra Rhodes owned tribute to fashion. But now I have and it does not disappoint. Accompanying the bold artwork, was a deliciously colourful breakfast of rainbow lattes, flower-filled granola pots and goat cheese and red pepper muffins. I mean… how can you resist when food looks this pretty?!

Breakfast is served:- Juice shots, muffins and granola from Ethos. Rainbow lattes from Black Box Coffee

Gudrun’s work will be displayed alongside the current long-standing Josef Frank exhibition. Both Swedish-based designers are renowned for their use of bold colour and print, with designs translated onto textiles and interiors, and both have a strong affection for watercolour as a medium. This pop-up exhibition celebrates Gudrun’s 40th anniversary, alongside a beautiful hard-back book detailing her years at the forefront of Swedish design. You can view her working process, her inspiration and examples of her playful, childlike prints. When I observed that her patterns are akin to childrenswear, a member of her team described Gudrun’s rhetoric as being – ‘Why stop dressing like a child once you become an adult? Everyone should enjoy colour and print no matter what their age.’


Some watercolour artwork and designs from the exhibition

Gudrun’s mantra remains ‘clothing for women who dare to stand out from the crowd’ and she is her own finest advocate. A cross between British fashion institutions Mary Quant and Zandra Rhodes, with a dash of Cath Kidston, she embraces colour like no other. On meeting the designer, I am drawn to her bold hues, warm smile and sunny disposition, all of which belies an incredibly strong woman who spends her weeks running the business and her weekends ‘painting til she goes to bed’.

The inspirational Gudrun poses in front of one of her prints and outside the colourful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street.

She has won several entrepreneurial awards, received a royal medal from the King of Sweden and has stores all over the world. Despite four decades in the industry she remains true to her concept of ‘comfortable, colourful clothes in natural materials with a Nordic design influence.’ The use of organic cotton and sustainable eco-friendly fabrics has always been of immense importance to Gudrun and her love of travel and exploration – such as her recent visit to India to explore traditional craft techniques – often influence her designs. Here are a few fabulous extracts from her recent book:


If you feel inspired and fancy a trip to the boldest museum in London to view a plethora of multi-hued textile designs you’ll need to be quick. Both shows end on 7th May, which gives your precisely 9.5 days to get yourself along to this fabulous tribute to colour and print. Just be sure to wear something yellow. Or fuchsia pink. Or cobalt blue. Who needs grey anyway? I would much rather view the world in Gudrun Sjoden and Josef Frank Technicolor!

Above: Prints from the current Josef Frank exhibition at Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF. Ends 7th May 2017.

Open Tuesday – Saturday (11am – 6pm); late night on Thursday (until 8pm); Sunday (11am – 5pm). Closed Monday. Tickets for exhibition: £9.90 (adults), £7.70 (concessions), £6 (students). Children under 12 are free.

For more information about Gudrun and to view her collections go to

Main holding image: Seb Higgins


Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou

Another week, another hotly anticipated designer collaboration. Just last Friday I was salivating over the impeccable Alexander Wang x H&M collection, only for another incredibly exciting launch to pop into my mailbox. This time the Queen of Prints, and London Fashion Week favourite, Mary Katrantzou turns her Midas touch to a range of sportswear for Adidas Originals. And where last week’s post featured predominantly monochrome garments, this one is positively bursting with colour.

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou trainers 3

Expect digi-prints inspired by track shoes of the 70s & 80s translated onto fitted neoprene dresses, a fab oversized bomber and some seriously tough trainers (you wouldn’t want to encounter a pair of these in a kick-boxing class).

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou trainers

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou trainers 2

I am a huge fan of Katrantzou and love a bit of Adidas Originals, so this is a dream combo for me. And don’t expect these pieces to be limited to sports events. With designs this strong they’ll be as prevalent on a night out as in your local gym. Let the countdown to 15th November begin…

 Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou 5

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou 3

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou 4

Images courtesy of Adidas Originals.

Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou launches on 15th November 2014.

Label watch: Ruby Rocks

From floral to tribal and abstract to geometric, colourful prints have been making a strong summer statement for several seasons and the trend shows no sign of abating. For SS14 Alexander McQueen, Celine and Mary Kantrantzou all championed the trophy print, with many opting for the matchy-matchy approach of head-to-toe pattern.

Alexander McQueen SS14-Look 21

Alexander McQueen SS14 

Celine SS14 Look 7

Celine SS14

Mary Katrantzou SS14 Look 19

Mary Katrantzou SS14 Look 11

Mary Kantrantzou SS14

Valentino SS14 Look 12

Valentino SS14

All above images:

This is all music to my fashion ears as I have long had a predilection for bold prints (much to the dismay of previous boyfriends I might add). So I was delighted when I was recently introduced to British label Ruby Rocks. Stepping into their showroom is like walking into a vibrant fashion jungle with rails of garments featuring tropical florals, bold peacock feather prints and geometric Aztec patterns. Set up in 2006, the label has been five times nominated by fashion insider Drapers for their Young Fashion Brand of the Year award.

image (5)

image (6)

 image (2)

Head designer Izzy regularly flies to Bali to design all their unique prints and create their fabrics. Cute jumpsuits and Hawaiian print shirtdresses will satisfy vintage fans, whilst those who prefer trainers to pin curls will love their crop tops, bombers and printed trousers -which all tap into the hugely popular sports-luxe trend.







All above pieces from Ruby Rocks current collection

Price points are very accessible with jackets and sweaters retailing at under £40 and jumpsuits and maxi-dresses coming in at £55. With the May bank holiday on our doorstep and vacation season fast approaching these pieces will inject some summer vibrancy into your wardrobe whatever the weather.

Ruby Rocks showroom can be found at: 59 Great Portland St, London, W1W 7LJ. T: 020 7436 1817. Also available at, and as well as independent stockists.

A riot of colour

Today’s blog is about my new favourite place. No, it’s not a boutique selling aggressively reduced Acne and Stella McCartney (although if anyone knows one of those please do let me know). It is a very unassuming fabric store right on my doorstep in South London. If you are coveting all the dramatic prints that have been filling stores this summer, but don’t want to find yourself along with several others in a matching dress, then this store may be just the ticket. Stocking a huge range of gorgeously patterned 100% cotton waxed fabrics, this is a treasure trove of bold daring prints. The pictures speak for themselves. Fabrics are sold in set lengths, but if you don’t want the whole 6 yards there is a selection of 2 yard off-cuts that sell for £5. Yes, that’s £5! This is like manna to a serious bargain hunter such as myself.

3 small

11 small

I have bought 3 different short lengths over the last few months and always pop by for a quick peek or to see if one of my favourite fabrics has made it to the off-cuts rail. With my first 2 yards I made unique cushion covers as presents for my friends’ weddings. This is enough fabric for two 20x20in cushions and then some. Both couples were supremely happy with their gifts (or so I am led to believe). Another length I am hoping to make into a summer dress or top, or even perhaps a pair of harem trousers if I’m feeling brave. The final length has yet to be assigned a plan.

Cushion cover

A home-made cushion cover I gave as a wedding gift

The fabric is very durable and so perfect for both interiors and hard-wearing clothing. The tradition of using batiq to create these wax print designs goes back over 150 years. Produced originally by the Dutch and sold to West African traders, these fabrics soon became synonymous with African culture, and prints were given unique names by the traders based on characteristics in the design.

10 small

5 small

7 small

8 small

A selection of the amazing fabrics available at Sovereign Textiles in Tooting

If you don’t have a fashion degree, or aren’t adept with a sewing machine, then take the fabric to your local tailor and get yourself an original custom-made garment. I highly recommend Andy Piccos of Stitchin Biz (find his blog at ) who I have worked with for years and is a wiz with a pair of scissors and a measuring tape. Otherwise try your local dry-cleaners, who often have competent and reasonably priced tailors on hand. Or be daring and turn your nimble fingers to a needle and thread. At only £5 you can afford to make a couple of mistakes and you never know… you may unleash the next Alexander McQueen.

Sovereign Textiles, 113 Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, London, SW17 9PE. T: 020 8682 1444.
Opening hours 10-5:30pm but call in advance to check as they are quite flexible

For further information about the history of West African fabrics go to