Sunday, 29 January 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A delightful Saturday evening to you all!
The beginning of this week was of course punctuated with some amazing news - namely that via your fantastic support T.E.A has made the shortlist for the Marie Claire Blog and Twitter Awards - I cannot tell you how excited I am for Tuesday's breakfast shindig! - Monday's wonderfulness seemed to flow right on through to Tuesday when I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Spring/Summer preview for gorgeous online boutique Monica & Joe.
Hot Pink Jacket: Vintage Jaeger, Silk Shirt with Bow Tie: Jigsaw, Red Cigarette Trousers: Zara, Snakeskin Heels: Pontas Quintas (bought in Menorca)
One of the Monica&Joe collection rails
Husband and wife duo Monica and Joe Wahla quite clearly have a serious eye for style; having cultivated their tastes in high-flying positions for Mulberry and Arcadia Group this dynamic duo have made good use of all their previous know-how to launch their very own online boutique - the aptly titled Monica & Joe!
As I bonded with the oh-so-stylish Monica over our shared name (more of a rarity than you'd think!) and her lovely husband and business partner Joe, we were able to have a great tet-a-tet about their online venture and Spring/Summer collection.
MB meets Monica & Joe
MB: Who is the Monica & Joe customer?
M&J: I know it really annoys Monica (quote Joe!), but Monica is the muse, she always tell me off and says 'don't say that'! but Monica is really cool and edgy. Monica is a buyer so she naturally pushes the boundary and everything she wears other ladies want to wear too. We do pop up events and shops and you always see the ladies coming out wearing exactly what Monica is wearing. So, even though she doesn't like me saying it - it is true!
MB: You have a diverse range of designers in your store, from amazing Danish brands like DAY Birger et Mikkelson, to some really cool hip British designers like Peter Jenson, how do you go about selecting your brands with the Monica & Joe customer in mind?
M&J: When we started this business we thought it was going to be very London-centric, we thought that mainly Londoners are going to get it, but it hasn't panned out quite like that. We have made a conscious decision to go after some very cool British designers, Peter Jensen, Olivia Rubin and Simeon Farrar are all amazing and we get customers from all round the UK, however we also have a very large Scandinavian clientele alongside customers from all around the World. Our inspiration is very Danish, we love the way they dress, I mean when you go to Copenhagen you see these girls cycling round in their 20’s 30’s 40’s 5 0’s and 60’s and they’re looking totally effortlessly cool and tasteful, it’s amazing and they like what we do.
MB: Why do you think Monica & Joe is so popular in Scandinavia?
M&J: Geographically the larger Scandinavian cities are well served, Copenhagan and Oslo have some fantastic stores, however move slightly out of those cities and they don't have the shops, they have the money and desire but not the location - that is where online shopping serves them well. I have heard anecdotally that Scandinavian fashion magazines will feature editorial shoots which are then credited with ‘available at net-a-porter’ When it is not available from a Scandinavian store it is just as easy to shop online.
MB: A little birdy told me that you do live web chats with your customers; how important is it for you to have personal contact with your client base?
M&J: It is hugely hugely important, we really love that our customers enjoy our clothes and one of our aims this year is to include photographs of our clients in the clothes they have bought from the site - on the site! We want to give them the opportunity to see the community they are opting to be a part of. All of our delivery is next day - you place an order by 3.30pm and you can expect it the very next day. We are at the end of the phone so we will speak to the customers, it is nice if there is a problem with their delivery that we will sort it out, there is no bureaucratic procedure to go through. We just fall over backwards to make sure our customer gets what they have ordered, we have some really nice customers and we really really trust them so you know if they want to exchange something we just send it out and touch wood we haven't had any problems, we know how important it is if someone wants to go to an event. It is a mutual thing.
MB: How much of the company do you run yourselves?
M&J: We run the whole venture essentially; we have a third party for our warehouse and PR, but largely we run it all ourselves. We upgraded our site last November; once you’ve learnt a skill like managing your website you can do it all yourself. Briefing people can get a bit lost in translation, when you have total control everything is your own exact vision.
MB: Which celebrity would be your ideal Monica & Joe customer?
M&J: Oo that's a hard one! It would have to be someone like Sienna Miller, we would love someone like her! She is quite bohemian and she does the messy hair thing but she is still so gorgeous, stunning. We also love the blonde actress from Gossip Girl, Blake Lively, she has a very cool sense of style and she would make the perfect modern Monica & Joe girl.
MB: What sort of price point do you work with?
M&J: Our price point ranges from about £99 - to £400 or £500. On average we aim for about £160 for a dress - probably a little bit higher than Whistles and that type of brand but still very affordable. We like to have affordable pieces but it is also important for us to include some aspirational items and they do sell. We just got a leather skirt in by Marlene Birger which is £385 and it sold straight away. It is just amazing, it is quite important to have the expensive pieces because they are sellers, having said that we do aim to be affordable so we have a lot for around £100 - £150. In amongst our basics it is the wow pieces that people come to us for.
MB: Can you chose your favourite items from the Spring/Summer collection to share with the Elgin Avenue readers?
M&J: Most definitely! Although we love it all...!
Monica & Joe's Spring/Summer Hits
1. Sequin Embellished Dress: Virginie Castaway £549
2. Tie-dye Maxi Skirt: Munthe Plus Simonsen- £190
3. Oversized Tailored Jacket: Bruuns Bazaar £229,
Black Wide Leg Trousers also available at Monica & Joe
4. Dress: Olivia Rubin £139
5. Tropical Print Blazer: Valentine Gauthier £189
Burnt Orange Zipper Dress with Cut-Out Details: Valentine Gauthier £189
Naturally every item Monica and Joe chose was divine (Virginie Castaway is my new designer lust!), so much so that I was raring to go with my own S/S edit, and so here it is!
Monica B's Monica & Joe Hit List
The oh-so-tricky decision of what to chose!
1. Hot Pink Tailored Shorts: Cacharel: £209
I first fell in love with Cacharel when I interviewed Victoria Suffield, owner of Winchester-based boutique The Hambledon (readVictoria's interview here) in April 2011, at which time I was lucky enough to don one of their fabulous dresses for a T.E.A shoot. Cacharel always exceed in colour and fabric and these fantastic hot pink shorts below were just too good of a match with my jacket to pass by! I am such a fan of all things 'suit' at the moment - whether that be shorts, skirts or trousers - it feels so darn fresh! The great hot pink colour makes them an all-out winner!
2. Mint Ruffle Dress: Stella Forest £269
As Joe talked me through his and Monica's collection it became apparent that some pieces were absolute hands-down 'wow' items that women would treasure for a lifetime and wear 100+ times - this Stella Forest dress is just one of those pieces! From the ice-cream-fresh minty hue, to the delicate silk fabric and incredible crystal button details, this dress could (and I am sure will!) adorn the figure of any number of hip stylish women. I envisage it beautifully dressed down with tights, ballet pumps and a pea coat as much as I do dolled up to the nines with glittery heels and fantastic faux-fur stole. Unlimited options - oh the lust!
3. Tan Necklace Detail T: Valentine Gauthier £109
White Tailored Shorts also available at Monica&Joe
Around this time of year my thoughts begin to drift to sunnier climes and Summer holidays to come. I often spend time in Spain during the Summer where tanned limbs and endless beach bar nights are mandatory! These fantastic Valentine Gauthier separates are the ideal combination for looking relaxed yet polished and the built-in necklace accessorises your ensemble perfectly so you don't have to! Stylish innovation incarnate!
All in all Monica & Joe hosts a milieu of gorgeous designers who comfortably nestle along side each other in a manner which feels as if you have just stepped inside the wardrobe of a seriously stylish European lady. Having a flick through the Spring/Summer collection it was plain to see that Monica and hubby Joe are truly passionate about providing a product which their customers will adore as much as they do, and making the process of shopping in their online boutique as personal, and as much of a treat, as possible.
Spring/Summer will be that much more stylish for having Monica&Joe around!
2nd DAY, Ali Ro, AMbre Babzoe, Attic & Barn, Ba&sh, Blancs Manteaux, Bllack Noir, Bruuns Bazaar, By Marlene Birger, By Zoe, Cacharel, Daisy, DAY Birger et Mikkelsen, Designeres Remix, I love my t's, Madras, Margit Brandt, MiH, Marthe Plus Simonsen, Nobody Jeans, Pyrus, Sarah Wayne, Simeon Farrar, Stella Forest, Valentine Gauthier + More to come...
A big big thank you to Monica and Joe Wahla for being such gracious hosts and entertaining my 101 questions!! Thank you also to Tanya and her fantastic PR team for such a lovely event! And a big thank you too to my darling friend Hollie who so kindly accompanied me and made the endless taxi journeys in the pouring rain so much more fun : )!!
L-R: Monica Wahla, Monica B (yours truly!), Joe Wahla
Check out the Monica&Joe website here to peruse the beauty with your very own eyes!!
Me and the gorgeous Hollie Chapman
A Few More Snaps from the days' goings-on...
One of the incredible lights at the beautiful St James Hotel
Event attendees brushing up on their Monica&Joe know-how
Have a super evening all,
P.S. On a completely style based note I SO loved wearing pink and red!! Are you guys tempted to try some summer-time clashes...?! Let me know : )!!
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A delightful Thursday to you all! I hope you've been having a super week so far - the weekend starts in a mere few hours ; )!
A fly by post this evening as I am due to have dinner with my dear Papa and I am currently snowed under with Fash Pack dealings! The Sun popped its head around the corner this past Sunday just long enough for me to slip in to one of my favourite maxi dresses by fab French label American Vintage. The little Sis and I went on a dash trip to Oxford Circus and so a cropped faux fur jacket was the perfect solution to keep the cold nip at bay!
Faux Fur Jacket: Miss Selfridge, Grey Scarf: American Apparel, Silver Purse: Vintage, Maxi Dress: American Vintage, Nude Ballet Pumps: Russell & Bromley (surprise gift from the beau!)
Have a super evening all!!
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for my super-special post tomorrow featuring gorgeous online boutique Monica & Joe and a preview of their Spring/Summer Collection! x
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Monday to you all! (admittedly as I write it has now crept a little in to Tuesday - details details....!)
This Monday is indeed very verrry happy for yours truly as it was announced today that The Elgin Avenue has been shortlisted for the Marie Claire Blog and Twitter Awards I have been telling you so much about!
I am of course absolutely head-over-heels-leaping-over-the-moon happy and it really is down to all of your amazing support, and the support from my friends and fellow bloggers, that has meant we could get this far so a huge thank you to every one that has voted!
9 other fab blogs have made it to this stage - you can read the full list here - congratulations to all the other nominees - I look forward to seeing you all at the Awards where we will find out who the over all winner is! How exciting!
Once I managed to get my pulse to a normal rate following the announcement, my lovely beau and I set off to celebrate with a lovely lunch at South Kensington's Le Pain Quotidien. I am an absolute Le Pain devotee and today did not disappoint - I think it tasted even better as I was eating through an ear- to - ear grin!
Shoes, Tote and Tux Jacket: Zara, Skirt: Urban Outfitters seen here too, Jumper and Belt: Vintage, Trilby: Christie's seen here too, Fur Stole: taken from my John Lewis Collection Coat seen here
Nippy though it is, I chose to debut my new silver pumps with a flippy skirt and a cosy jumper/blazer/stole combination to keep the chill at bay! I was chuffed as chips when I spotted these silver Zara beauts having lusted after the silver pumps Miss Olivia Palermo wore in this pic below - Miss Palermo's silver wanders are Sergio Rossi but I was lucky enough to get mine for a snip of the designer price on the High Street and I L-O-V-E them!! It is always a pleasure to dress up for a lazy sunny lunch!
Yum Yum Lunch!!
We rounded the day off with a trip to The Natural History Museum which was ahhhmazing - so so much interesting goings-on!
And so as the day is increasingly becoming Tuesday - eek how does that happen?! - I must take myself to bed and get some snoozes before the morning!
Thank you again to each and every person who voted in the Marie Claire Blog Awards I am truly touched by your support!
All my love,
P.S. Keep an eye out for my Birthday post soon to come!
Thursday, 19 January 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Thursday to you all,
If the picture below does not give the game away already these are the VERY LAST few hours you are able to vote for TheElginAvenue on the Marie Claire Blog & Twitter Awards!!
Click HERE to cast your support now
and join those of you lovely readers who have been so kind enough to do so already!!
You can vote as many times as you like so go go go T.E.Am!!
We will soon find out the results....!
Have a super evening all,
All my love,
P.S. Special thanks go out to my other gorgeous blogger friends Nina of Fashionina, Salima of Pippislaughter, Vikki of Hoxtontwenty2 and Liisa of Ponyarts for their amazing support!
Monday, 16 January 2012
Look Of The Day - Camel Cashmere Coat and a Christie's Trilby! X P.S. Marie Claire Blog Awards STILL OPEN TO VOTE! x
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Monday evening to you all, I trust that you have all had a wonderful beginning to your weeks?!
A fly-by post this evening - must get some beauty sleep in time for my Birthday morning!
Ahead of the actual day I was blessed enough to receive an early day of faux-Birthday shenanigans including a shellac manicure, which I l-o-v-ed - no chipping! And a brand new dusty grey trilby from Christies, both from my darling beau, to add to my ever-expanding collection!
The day was beautiful, both in weather and in company and I can only hope tomorrow will be a fraction as fun as today has been!
Cashmere-Mix Coat: John Lewis Collection, Grey Trilby: Christie's @ The Hambledon, Jeans: Topshop, Boots: Jones the Bootmaker
Printed Jacket (worn underneath): River Island, Grey Vest: Vintage, Gold-strand Necklace (just seen) Anthropologie, Turquoise Ring: The Editor's Letter
My delicious and oh-so-indulgent MarsBar cake from my beau's lovely Mama - the card came with a warning "eat this in one sitting and you will require medical assistance!" I took heed!
Have a super evening all! Remember voting for The Marie Claire Blog and Twitter Awards is still open!! Cast your vote for The Elgin Avenue here!!
Love, as always,
P.S. This is the 100th post on T.E.A!!
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy late Sunday evening to you all,
I hope that you have all had a wonderfully indulgent weekend spent pottering around with loved ones and friends? As it is my weeks are often arranged in an unconventional manner with my weekend starting right about...now! Fash Pack School will re-commence on Tuesday (my Birthday!) and as it is I will be pre-celebrating a faux Birthday tomorrow with my beau and family - yay!
Thank you so very very much to every one who has already voted for me in the Marie Claire Blog and Twitter Awards, please continue your incredible support by following this link and scrolling down to TheElginAvenue to cast your vote! Remember you can vote as many times as you like so keep em'coming : )!
In an effort to catch you all up on a few pre-NY goings-on, I am delighted to share with you my snaps and memories of the fantastically artsy and eclectic Illife Yard Open Studios, an event held in a pocket of South East London dedicated to showcasing the works of individual artists and jewelers offering amazing designs - some at a snip of the normal price!
I was fortunate enough to accompany my lovely beau and his fabulous Aunty Claire, of Claire Stratton Jewellery, in her oh-so-sweet open studio sipping tea and chatting with enthusiastic shoppers.
As the beau and I were assisting his super Aunty, I chose an outfit which I hoped would represent her brand accordingly. This peak-shouldered Zara blazer is my go-to item for smartening up any outfit and when teamed with my favourite burgundy Topshop jeans I felt it made a suitably neat ensemble! Having been a little slow to adopt the collar trend I was pleasantly surprised to find that a summer-time polo I had relegated for sunnier months came in handy as an under layer for a Wintery cashmere pullover - the starched collar providing a pleasant preppy touch!
|Burgundy Jeans: Topshop, Chelsea Boots: ASOS, Handbag: Mulberry, Jacket: Zara, Cashmere Jumper: Gift, Polo (worn underneath) Lacoste|
Claire's gorgeous studio - loved the cape of the lady walking in!
|Claire and I admiring the many jewels!|
Almost immediately after beginning to date my lovely beau I was swiftly introduced to his Aunty Claire's work - it adorned the fingers of all the females in his family! Claire's signature pieces of organically worked
silver, gold and platinum have a gorgeous natural aesthetic with worked-in imperfections juxtaposed against
a plethora of precious gems in rainbow hues
Oh to own the lot!
|Some of Claire's heavy-duty statement necklaces! Lust!|
I would definitely recommend checking the Illife Yard website here for the next open studios, along with the fabulous Claire Stratton other fantastic jewellers include fashion-eds fave Alex Monroe and a whole host of independent artists - a great day out indeed!
Have a super eve all!
Love, MB x
|The gorgeous Illife Yard|
Friday, 13 January 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Thursday to you all!
My my what a week it has been thus far! The announcement of The Marie Claire Blog Award (click here to vote for T.E.A!) has made my week, month and year, and naturally has been top of my thoughts! However the Spring/Summer term for Fash Pack School has also commenced and with it a commission for a future-forecastings project for cosmetic giants Proctor & Gamble - very cool! Top all this industry goodness off with an article or two for fab site 50&nifty (read the latest here!) and it is all making for a bit of a whirlwind week - albeit a very welcome one!
Having spent a gorgeously large chunk of the festive season with loved ones I feel I must catch you lovely readers up on a few of the happenings pre-NY! - First up the all-in-one goodness of The OnePiece Party at Shoreditch House!
L-R OnePiece Co-Founder Hendrik, Me and OnePiece President and Co-Founder Thomas
Jumpsuit: Miss Selfridge Petite, Blazer: Zara, Heels and Belt: Vintage, Feathered Clutch: Gift, Earrings: Accessorize, Turquoise Ring: From soon-to-be-launched The Editor's Letter
The View from Shoreditch House Rooftop
For those of you who have not yet been privy to the fashion anomaly that is the OnePiece, it is essentially (with no dumbing-down intended!) a gigantic apres-ski-esque jumpsuit/babygro! Wild though it seems, I challenge any one not to fall for the all-encompassing comfort of been wrapped top-to-toe in thick cotton fleece - I certainly did!
Having been pre-warned that the dress code for this event was a 'one piece' I erroneously rustled around my wardrobe in aid of magic-ing up one of my fail safe tailored black jumpsuits...if only I had known! Thankfully on meeting Mr. Thomas Adams, co-founder and president of OnePiece, I was duly informed that my attire was passably appropriate given that it was an all-in-one! No such luck for my lovely beau however who on returning from a drinks round had been stripped of his dapper gentlemanly attire in favour of a super-snug OnePiece (he quickly grew to love it!)
With a Facebook popularity ranking amongst the fastest-growing in the World it is clear that Thomas and his co-founders, Knut and Hendrik are on to something pretty special, I was fortunate enough to have a tet-a-tet with the lovely Mr. Adams and chat shop...
MB: How did the concept of the OnePiece occur?
TA: Me and the guys (co-founders Knut and Hendrik) were chilling one Sunday, hungover, and Knut was wearing a tracksuit bottom and top, Knut's top was a size too small and he had to keep pulling it down as it was riding up...it was so cold in the apartment and so Knut was uncomfortable, so Hendrik took a needle and thread to sew Knut's top and bottom together to keep him warm! The problem of the cold was solved but there was another problem when Knut wanted to get out of the suit and so I took a pair of scissors and cut right up the centre (of the suit).
MB: And so the OnePiece was born!
MB: You guys are a relatively new company, how are things developing for you?
TA: The past year has been crazy, the business started in 2007 and this year we have opened 8 stores and are stocked in over 200 retailers. In Beverly Hills we are on the same street as Chanel, Robertson Boulevard!
MB: I can see Coco Chanel in a OnePiece!
TA: We'd love that!
MB: Miss Chanel aside, you do have a mass of celebrity followers, I've heard the boys from One Direction are fans amongst others?
TA: Yeah I mean we have some great people wearing OnePieces, I think One Direction are coming along later actually...
And with that Tom and I descended in to general chatter about the OnePiece celeb posse, how ridiculously attractive all of the party guests were (even in fleece jumpsuits!) and just how long the free bar would remain in stock!
L-R Some of my fellow gorgeous party-goers inc. super bloggers Salima from pippislaughter.com (top left) and Nina of fashionina/fashionmansion
The OnePiece party revellers
I have to admit that the OnePiece party at Shoreditch House has to be one of the more surreal events I have been to, rubbing be-fleeced shoulders with the likes of Nat Weller, Simon Astell, Jay Camilleri and Jodie Harsh, not to mention the tidal wave of model-esque attendees, was a ton of fun - made even more so by the equalising uniform of the OnePiece! The fact is, once you put every one in the same top-to-toe hoodie, all self-concisouness evaporates and every one just has a darn good time - and indeed we did!
Our OnePiece's came in pretty handy for the post-party weariness the next day too!
Thank you to the lovely guys at OnePiece for such a great evening, I can only imagine how far you are going to go in your world-wide OnePiece domination!
Have a peep below for my top three OnePiece picks - all in a scrumptious easy-to-wear grey melange:
1. Original Light OnePiece
A lighter weight fabric than the traditional fleece, I can see this becoming my go-to loungewear for writing on the laptop, coffee in hand, snug as a bug!
Solving all my beach-time woes, I will be slipping into this comfy hoodie dress post-swimming. California girl to a T!
3. Girl Pants
A touch of luxe-sportswear, if I were a Parisian chick I would totally wear sky-high heels with a long-length white shirt and a Blake Lively pony tail! As it is I'll probably use these loungewear beauties as posh gym attire!
For a more in-depth look in to everything OnePiece head to their web-site here.
And with that my lovely readers, I am off for some lounge-time of my own, I may even hop in to my very own OnePiece!
Have a super evening all!
Love, MB x
P.S. I probably will mention it about 100 times but please be kind enough to cast your vote once, twice...twenty times for The Elgin Avenue on Marie Claire's Blog Awards, click here to do so!! Lets aim for that shortlist! Woo!!