Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jewellery & Interview with Susan Caplan

(Left: Source Right: Source)
As I am sure you know, I have recently become much more interested in jewellery than I ever have been before. I have always known how big a role it plays in fashion, but only now have I started to realise just how important the right accessories can be to making an outfit feel 'finished.' Since starting to work some Saturdays in my favourite Hirst Antiques I have really begun to notice how much small details like earrings or a brooch can make to an outfit, and how they can really contribute to making a look as realistically vintage as possible.
Jewellery is of course still just as big in modern fashion as it is in vintage, but I have a feeling that with the start of a 60s resurgence becoming increasingly more apparent (cough Gucci A/W14, Prada A/W14, Miu Miu A/W14 amongst others) classic shapes and styles will start to pop back up on the market again. This is of course fabulous for us vintage fans, as it means the beautiful one off pieces we like to find in costume jewellery stores and antique markets will actually be coveted in the high fashion world too, and hopefully make us all the epitome of on-trend (we can only dream). With that in mind, it seemed perfectly coincidental that I was able to do an interview for the lovely Susan Caplan, who sells her wonderfully selected vintage and antique costume jewellery in places such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason, and of course in similar stores around the world.

 The Susan Caplan website is full of amazing vintage finds, but also organised into seperate sections so you can easily search by designer or by era, making finding the perfect piece a lot less of a hunt.
At the moment, I think the 60's pieces (pictured above) and pearls are the ones to watch, as both have been seen everywhere during last fashion week (and I'm sure will make an appearance at the next one too). Chanel even combined the two, adding bulky pearls to a very 1960's esque skirt suit at their latest show (pictured left: source). They are actually surprisingly versatile to wear too, as their neutral colour means they go with pretty much anything. The colour itself is definitely a good enough substitute too, so if you aren't up for wearing a typical string of pearls you could easily opt for jewellery made from mother-of-pearl, which has the same shimmer and shine but comes in a wider variety of shapes and is often easy to find in antique and vintage jewellery stores.
Below: Pearl drop necklace, Susan Caplan

1. What started your love of jewellery, and led you to creating Susan Caplan? 

"My sister and I were brought up to appreciate art and design. My father made a lot of the furniture in our house by hand (some of which I still have today) and my mother encouraged my passion for collecting. A year travelling the world on the QEII as a beauty therapist made it possible for me to nurture my hobby and I started to pick up trinkets and treasures from wherever the ship was sailing to that day. I read every book on antiques and vintage jewellery that I could and started an antiques business (when I didn't have room anymore at home for my purchases.) I realised that there was a real gap in the market for a quality edit of vintage jewellery and the brand, Susan Caplan, was born out of that."

2. Do you feel that Vintage is making a resurgence recently? Or is is always going to be something that is fairly in demand?

"The popularity of vintage has absolutely increased recently and I think it is something that will be part of the fashion arena permanently. Originally the demand for vintage was most notable among collectors but I believe that the understanding behind the quality of vintage pieces has allowed its popularity to transcend the collector market and move towards a more mainstream audience."

3. What is your favourite Vintage era, and what is it in particular that makes you like it?

"I'm asked this a lot and I wish I could give you a specific era but I really have an appreciation for all periods. With what I do I would find it hard to single out one era because I have seen spectacular pieces from each decade. I will say that my favourite pair of earrings are from the 1970s though."

(top left: source top right: source bottom left: Susan Caplan bottom right: source)

4. How do you source your pieces? Do you pay attention to fashion forecasts, or do you just sell what you like?

"When I buy for our collections I think about our customers - from the fashion forward to the vintage enthusiast. So yes, I'm buying some of my pieces with catwalk trends in mind but I think it's very important that our ranges are always very diverse. I'm a firm believer that we should always have something for everyone because I want to make buying vintage as accessible as possible so more people can enjoy it."

5. With London fashion week coming up, do you have any plans? Are you going to be attending any shows, or hoping to have your jewellery worn by people that are?

"I actually won't be in London during Fashion Week, so I will catch the shows from my laptop this year but there will be people wearing our brand there - see if you can spot them!"

6. On your website, you say you 'grew up in a world of style.' What would you say your style is like now?

"I would say that my style is very comfort based. I wear a lot of Cos and Zara pieces and I'm rarely seen without a pair of silver statement drop earrings (the ones I have on today are 5 inches long)"

7. What would you say is your 'pearl of wisdom?' (The one piece of advice you have learnt that you now live by and would pass on to others)

"Follow your heart and be true to yourself."

I am sorry I have had a little blogging break recently - I got back from France and had only a few days to get my GCSE results (which I am very happy with!) and then go off to Reading Festival with my friends to celebrate. I of course had the best time in the world (what could possibly go wrong when you get to wear glitter and flower crowns 24/7?!) but am pleased to finally be home...especially as I have returned with the worst cold ever. And I'm starting college next week (eep) which I really do not feel prepared for. I'm sure I'll survive though, as I've been put into a form with people who are all also taking Art so I'm sure we will have fun and all be like the art freaks in Mean Girls (which has been my ambition for years).
I hope you are all having a good week...and here is a little Reading realness for you (sorry to the people in these pictures hehe)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

one day I'm gonna write a poem in a letter

It feels like absolutely ages since I last sat down and wrote a post for this page - it's only been about two weeks, but for some reason the lack of twice-a-week blogging has really affected me. It's been a real break being able to walk around pretty streets without feeling that it is compulsory to take outfit pictures; to get dressed without trying to wear something I haven't worn before or recently; and of course to take pictures for myself and myself only, and not just to post straight on the internet. Ironically, those pictures are exactly what I am now posting straight on to the internet - I took my Zenit film camera to France with me, and thoroughly enjoyed trying to improve my photography a little (and trying to make sure I didn't use the film up too quickly!) It used to belong to my Dad, and is surprisingly good still...or at least, it is when you focus it correctly (something that still takes me a few tries each time to perfect). I thought I may as well post them here as I quite like how most of them turned out.

We have started staying each year in a really beautiful, green area of the Dordogne region in France, which not only has lots of pretty towns and beautiful scenery, but also a fair few antique and bric-a-brac markets and shops. The markets are actually quite well-priced, and I accidentally ended up buying a shelf, two paintings of wild birds and the rose cloth in the photo above. Markets really are lethal. I also blame recently buying Apartamento magazine, which is full of amazing interior inspiration and has made me just as interested in furniture and objects as I am in clothes. 
I also love French markets just for the atmosphere - full of busy locals buying their groceries, speaking with the most wonderful and ear-pleasing accent; the smell of cakes, warm breads, olives and flowers filling your senses; stall holders offering you pieces of sweetbreads, tarts or pastries to taste. One of my favourite days was definitely market day, as I wore the red-themed outfit above (Topshop flower crown, socks and shoes, Beyond Retro skirt, charity shop top). There was a baker at the market who sells amazing cookies, breads and pastries and always wears a straw hat with big sunflowers attached to it, and we sort of silently acknowledged each other's flower adornments and he showed his approval by giving me half a chocolate croissant for free with a wink. It felt like we were in some kind of secret pro-flower-wearing society. I loved it.

Another holiday shop top, Beyond Retro shorts, gold jelly shoes from Author in Spitalfield's. I sort of gave up with my hair and started wearing it in a half-up topknot to hide my awful messy gingerness. I quite liked the way it made my hair feel bigger and fuller, compared to it's usual light, flat feel...I am definitely considering it for Reading Festival (two days oh my god).

The house we stay in is really close to Aubeterre, which is a really lovely village-y town with many of it's shops and houses built right into a cliff (so they are all basically caves). The above outfit is the same Beyond Retro shorts, same Author shoes and a top from a charity shop (it's Topshop and was £3 and I was so so so happy to find it).

I was unexplainably happy when I saw this picture had come out - I passed the brave little cat in Bergerac and couldn't help trying to capture how carefree and sleepy it was despite it's precarious position. It was just asking to be photographed really, and even closed it's eyes for the shot.

It was definitely nice to be away from everything for a while, but now I'm home I kind of can't wait to get back into everything again. I want to make more of my Etsy site too, and am going to do a discount code next week which should be good. I do miss the pool though - being able to swim all day is something I would adore to be able to do at home.

Also, I'm sure most of you know already that I was in Company Magazine's September issue! We shot the outfits a while ago and I had the most amazing day with the team, and was amazed to actually be given a double page! I am devastated they won't be in print after October, but so pleased to have been able to build up a collection of issues over the years to keep and refer back to when I miss it too much. 
I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, 11 August 2014

do you remember how sweet it used to be

It is so weird trying to write scheduled posts. I go away to France tonight but by the time you read this I will be long gone, and buried deep in the green countryside of north-west France (that is, unless we get lost and end up in Germany...that did actually happen to my parents once). Right now I've just finished a really awesome day working with the lovely ladies at Motel and helping out with their vintage pop up shop (which I hope you went was so lovely!) I am half packed and have four episodes of Orange is the New Black left that I am determined to watch until the channel tunnel blocks out my internet access. I'm not a big series-watcher but you have to admit, OITNB is addictive. I'm also trying something new in France this year as I want to try and go without my phone (and therefore social media) for the whole two weeks. I'm thinking of it as a sort of 'internet detox'. I love keeping this blog but after a while the constant pressure to update so many different websites can get quite tiring, so I am looking forward to a little break from it all for a while.

 This outfit was from a lovely pre-holiday day out to get our nails done in the morning, have lunch and see Matilda on stage. I loved Roald Dahl as a child and so it was really nostalgic to see one of my favourite books of his adapted for the stage. It was a really good production, and has made me want to go to the theatre more often. I wore my new skirt from Pop Boutique, with a white shirt from blitz, a white vest that belonged to my Mum, a bag from Rokit and shoes and socks from Topshop. It was one of those outfits you just feel comfortable in...I loved floating around in the skirt and felt very vintage in the sense that I'm sure my Nan would have worn a similar outfit when she was a teenager too. I also loved layering the white-on-white...I'd never really considered it before but I loved the effect.

I may or may not have matched my glasses to the skirt. I love matching a pair of glasses to my outfit, and it really helps encourage me to actually wear them and not wander about in the sort of blurry haze that is my regular eyesight. I am determined to carrying on growing my collection of vintage never know, one day I might have one pair for every day of the week.

NOTE: This post was scheduled before I left, and now I am on holiday and so will answer all emails, reply to all comments, and update properly when I am back in England! I hope you are all having a great summer!