Friday, October 24, 2008

Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves

Aimee Poncho
This is not your Grandmother's knitting!

Did you know that there is a big revival in the needle arts? My favorite needle art is knitting.

I learned to knit, like most knitters, as a young girl from my Great Grandmother. I knit in the 1970's when crafting was really big. Then I quit knitting. I don't know why.

Robin classic beret

It wasn't until I was in my forties that I picked up the knitting needles again. While traveling to England I fell in love with British yarns and British knitting designers.

When I tell people that I am obsessed with knitting, I know what they are grandmotherly! Unless your are a knitter, most people seem to conjure up some grandmotherly image of old-fashioned, home-made knitting. Let me tell you, this is not your Grandmother's knitting. Knitting is quite couture today.

Robin Beret

All of these images are fabulous designs by British designer Kim Hargreaves. The photos certainly look like they could have stepped right out of Vogue fashion magazine!

These examples are from her collection and new book for Autumn "Thrown Together". Her concept with the collection is to mix it up, throw your clothes together and have fun.
Thrown Together

I would love to knit the Aimee poncho and the Robin beret. How about you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Anya Hindmarch for Target

Anya Hindmarch signage is now up at Target
Most styles have already sold out!

So today marks day four of the Anya Hindmarch for Target purse launch here in America. I just happened to be near Target today so I had to stop in and check out the remaining inventory. I promise...I did not buy anymore Anya Hindmarch bags! I am still baffled though why there wasn't a frenzy for these bags like there was in London?

My friend Jodi in Seattle loves handbags and British style, too. She reports that she was probably the only one at her Seattle suburb Target that bought a bag on Sunday afternoon. She bought the black and chocolate 1970's inspired Tote. Her bag was featured in Steals & Deals in the October issue of In Style magazine. Great choice Jodi!

The 1970's decade inspired Anya's current 2008 collection. If you go to Anya's website to the Must Haves page, there is a great mini movie (upper right corner) that talks about her inspiration.

Anya Hindmarch handbag frenzy in London

Yes, shoppers will stand in line to buy a great handbag!

Why haven't there been any lines at Target?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Dibs on Anya Hindmarch

I snagged this Anya Hindmarch for Target
Black Python Satchel
(and a few other purses)

Here's how I did it!

Target at 8:00 am
Where are the handbag lines?

I woke up early this morning and headed down to my local Target store before it opened at 8:00 am. Much to my surprise there wasn't a line outside or any signs of a handbag frenzy. In fact there weren't even any handbag shoppers except for me and a fellow male shopper shopping for his wife. Like me, they knew about the Target launch from for these limited-edition handbags.

Just so you know, there should be a handbag frenzy. According to Vogue Magazine in the UK these handbags sold out in the UK pre-sale the other day in just two minutes! Where are all the Amercian shoppers? Dont' they know about this fabulous purse event?

"The Shipment"

With credit card in hand I am ready for my shopping spree. Only problem is there are no Anya Hindmarch handbags in my Target store. How can this be? Only thing to do was to ask for "handbag help". The nearest stock person couldn't help me nor Guest Services so I nicely asked for a store manager.

Yea..a nice Target team lead manager came to my rescue. I told him about the launch today and that online it says they have the purses here. He works his magic on his hand held computer and checks for me. (Listening to his stock-talk, I get the feeling the purses are still back in the warehouse somewhere.) My retail background pays off here and I beg and plead (nicely,of course) with him to find a way to bring them out for sale today.

First dibs on
The Anya Hindmarch Bags

So here is the only box and shipment of the Anya Hindmarch bags for my local Target store. I got first dibs on it!

I told the store manager what a great team he has and that he has made me and the other shopper's wife very happy. I don't think any of the Target employees even have a clue who Anya Hindmarch is. I don't think any of them really understand what the big deal is behind these bags. That's okay. They'll find out soon enough when the handbag frenzy does hit. More than likely the handbags will be sold out before that even happens!

Anya Hindmarch for Target display

Being the self confessed shopaholic that I am, I couldn't help myself and drove to other Target stores all morning. Hey, I had to check out the other stores to see if they had any different designs. Turns out the inventory was the same at every Target store. There are six design styles available in the stores and the others are only available online at

The handbags are advertised to be available from October 12 to December 26, 2008. I got the inside word from a Target store manager that this could be the only shipment that they get in for this International Designer event. That's why I had to keep shopping, right?

Several Target stores had a display set up for the bags. I was most surprised that there was no special signage or photo of designer Anya Hindmarch on display. After all, she is the "Queen of Handbags"!

Checking out at Target
Never..ever have I bought handbags like this
at a check out stand!

Thank you Anya Hindmarch for your wonderful designs and for making London "high street" fashion affordable to everyone with your limited-edition series for Target!
I love my Anya Hindmarch bags!

Did you get your hands on one?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dress like a Duchess with Extasia

Extasia Antique Reproduction Jewelry

Keira Knightly as Georgiana
 in The Duchess movie

In The Duchess movie, Keria Knightly wears exquisite cameo jewelry.
I have always admired antique and vintage jewelry. I am lucky to own a gorgeous antique cameo pin that I purchased back east over 25 years ago. Most of the time it just sits in my jewelry box. You can be sure I'll be wearing it this fashion season. I am sure The Duchess movie will start a revival of cameo jewelry!

Extasia Cameo Earrings

If you did not inherit your Great-Grandmother's cameo (my sister did) you should check out one of my favorite reproduction jewelry companies, Extasia. Founded in 1991 by Stefanie Freydont in Northern California , Extasia recreates lovely cameos (Rachel Ray is a fan) and stunning colorful glass intaglio jewelry.

Extasia jewelry is sold in some of the finest stores in the world. While shopping in London I have seen Extasia jewelry at Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and the Victoria and Albert Museum shop.
If you can't shop in London...
you can always shop in your robe with a cup of tea
in their online store!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Duchess Movie

The Duchess Movie

Have you seen The Duchess movie? Teased by the movie trailers for weeks now, I could wait no longer. I drove over 100 miles to see The Duchess last Friday when it opened in the SF Bay Area. Let me just was worth the drive!

The movie is based on Amanda Foreman's biography Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. The story of Georgiana was certainly meant for the big screen. You know a movie is good when you are still thinking and talking about it days later. This is that kind of a movie.

The movie is superbly cast. Ralph Fiennes as the cold Duke of Devonshire and Keira Knightly as the beautiful Georgiana are so convincing I was transported right back to the late 18th century. The movie can't help but be beautiful with it's English scenery, classical stately homes and period Georgian furnishings. I loved the Wedgwood-style decor and the exquisite English tea sets throughout the movie.

Since the movie is based on a true story I was deeply stirred by the oppression of women in this era. Trapped in a loveless arranged marriage, Georgiana is forced to tolerate her husbands mistresses and denied herself to be with her true love, Charles Grey. In one scene Georgiana says "I am a prisoner in my own home". The movie clearly delivers the message that women were bound by traditon and had no rights. Any notion of womens rights were tightly cinched just like their corsets!

A cameo revival!

Speaking of corsets...the fashions, hats and jewelry in this movie are gorgeous. My eyes were glued to the screen admiring all the Georgian jewelry designs. I loved the chokers and the cameos. Get ready to pull out your Great-Grandmother's jewelry box...I think this movie will start a fashion trend revival of romantic vintage and costume jewelry.

The movie still in limited release will open everywhere this Friday, October 10, 2008.