October 27, 2009

It's A New Day..

..it's a new dawn...and I'm feeling good! Finally, things are getting in motion! There is still a long way to go before all my plans have hatched but here is one big-ish change: From now on, you can find me on www.graceandmanners.typepad.com. I won't be posting here any more, so I hope to see you all over at the 'new place', dear readers!

September 14, 2009

Ages of Elegance

While I am stirring and seasoning the concotion that is my future, let me post some pictures that have inspired me lately.
Carmen Dell'Orefice - what can I say? If I am going to look half as elegant as she does at 78, I will count myself lucky! Beautiful. Her personal life is very interesting as well; read about it here.
Fleur de Guerre - Vintage model, pin-up and simply a gorgeous woman. I love people who live, breath and dress the vintage way, not afraid to be different. So elegant! She has a fantastic blog as well: Diary of a Vintage Girl

Pictures from www.fleurdeguerre.com. © Allan Jenkins

September 03, 2009


Back in Switzerland! A little patience, dear friends, before I start posting more regularly again. A few things are in the pipeline and if all goes well, it could be exciting!

August 11, 2009

Eternal London

After almost three years, I am leaving my beloved London to return to Switzerland. Have courage heart, we will be back! I leave you with these lines from Thomas Moore:
'Go where we may - rest where we will, Eternal London haunts us still.'

August 03, 2009

Jumping, Jumping

Jumpsuit - McCall's 5421 Retro, homemade
Wedges - Faith
Pearl Earrings - A gift
Nail Colour - OPI Bastille My Heart
I am really quite pleased with the way this pattern turned out and it was quick and easy to sew. It looks less utilitarian than I thought it would, which is a good thing! I chose a striped shirting fabric for material as I wanted a more tailored, structured effect. The only drawback with this fabric is its sheerness, so I'll have to make sure my undergarments are flesh-coloured or mock up a lining for the trousers! Nothing worse than visible knickers...

July 25, 2009


My Mom is by far the most generous person I know. Not only did she take me to dinner to my favourite, Yauatcha, and tea at Claridge's, she also bought me these beautiful coral and silver drop earrings. When next we meet, I'll treat you to lunch with Sushi Man, Mom!

July 23, 2009

He Speaks in His Own Language

Study for the Lady Clare Small
My Mom and I went to the J.W. Waterhouse exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts yesterday. His paintings are, of course, ubiquitous but there is nothing quite like seeing an artists work in original. The detail and vividness of Waterhouse's paintings is extraordinary; it felt as if one could step right into them. There were also a couple of his sketchbooks on display. It's always fascinating to see how an artist's idea evolved from an initial sketch to the final painting. But even in these 'simple' drawings there is a wonderful richness of detail and texture. Fascinating and inspiring! Picture from The Art Renewal Center

July 16, 2009

More Summer Dressing

Dress - Vogue Pattern 8184, View B, homemade Hat - Marie Mercié Belt - Massimo Handbag - Lulu Guinness Shoes - Topshop Earrings - Christ Nailpolish - OPI in Kennebunk-port Another make-in-a-day dress in red gingham. It's a really simple shape but it lends itself well to accessorising. I love this grey patent leather belt; it's so simple and versatile. The same goes for the peeptoes, a classic that never goes out of fashion!

July 15, 2009

Vintage Heaven

After several weekends just procrastinating, last Sunday I hopped on the 11 bus and visited the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair. It's a bi-monthly event that attracts some great sellers (and eager buyers, of course) with a selection ranging from the 1800's - almost now.
It was so worth the trip! I floated through the wares on display, fingering delicate 1930's silk nightgowns, drooling over stunning, beaded Victorian capes, contemplating the beauty of a 50's vanity case and going into hyperventilation over the most amazing selection of vintage hats I have ever set eyes on. The girl who was helping out at that particular stand was so sweet and gorgeous, telling me the history behind each hat I picked up and urging me to join her in bringing back hats big time. I am all for that!
I didn't buy anything in the end but the whole day was such a wonderful inspiration. It has certainly encouraged me to be more individual in my style of dressing and given me ideas for future sewing projects. I will be back here, to be sure!
And...the above hat seller also has a shop in Islington. So, I will definitely be paying her a visit in the very near future!

July 11, 2009

Let's Go To The Races, Darling!

Dress - Vogue Pattern 8184, View E, handmade Hat - Marie Mercié Clutch - LK Bennett Shoes - New Look Earrings - A gift Pearl Necklace used as bracelet - Vintage Shop Another Vogue Pattern, one of their Easy Options line. The dress went together quite quickly, indeed, this could easily be down in a day. My basic Bernina (or it might just have been me!) struggled a bit with sewing in the boning; still, this was a very satisfying project. I am wearing it here with my beloved Marie Mercié My Fair Lady-ish hat, some pearls, a neat little clutch and my new, perfect mid-heel shoe find. Now, I am not averse to spending good sized chunks of money on shoes but lately I have spotted quite a few good quality, cheapily priced ones and I just succumbed to these purple beauties. £20 well spent, I dare say! Also, I can't rave enough about Marie Mercié, a French milliner who has the most adorable shop in Knightsbridge as well as the original one in Paris. Her creations are absolutely gorgeous and I urge anyone with a love for hats to go and visit her shop. Heaven!

July 09, 2009

Holiday Dressing

Dress - Vogue Pattern 1090, homemade
Shoes - Massimo
This is the first time I have made an exact copy of the pattern cover. Usually, I change the colours, adapt the fit or otherwise have a fiddle with the design. But I really liked the yellow/white combination on the cover photograph and thought it would do nicely for pottering around LA in August.

July 07, 2009

Rubbish Mag

I found a copy of this quirky magazine/book in an Oxfam shop and scooped it up for £2.99. Oxfam's dedicated bookshops are great for hidden treasures; check out the branch in Turnham Green, they have a great selection of Victorian and Edwardian childrens books.
When I first saw the above photographs, I immediately thought of Dorian Gray. I don't mean that in a bad way; there is just something about his style and his beauty that reminded me of Oscar Wilde's novel.
There are some fantastic photographic stories in this book. Another great find to put on my inspiration shelf!
Pictures scanned from Rubbish Volume Two

July 05, 2009

Today I am Wearing...

Dress - 40's Vintage Vogue, homemade
Hat - Charity Shop
Bag - H&M
Wedges - Faith

June 09, 2009

England, my England

This post has taken me much longer to put up than I anticipated. Mostly because I felt very 'raw' when I first came back from Stratford; this short stay has stirred so many emotions and thoughts. It was, above all, a blessed opportunity to spend some time with my parents but it also very forcefully reminded me why I love England so much. There is something about its landscape, ancient and yet moulded by subsequent generations, its language, now coming more easily to me than my mother tongue, its people, eccentric yet so infinitely likeable, that speaks to me. We had a wonderful time (and the weather was kind to us, too), exploring historic houses, blooming gardens, and sleepy towns. And quite a few teas and cakes too... I feel immensely priviledge to have spent most of my summer holidays in this beautiful country and to have lived here for the past three years. My heart will get a seismic shock when we will leave in the summer. Courage, my heart, I will be back...

May 30, 2009

Bookish Pleasures

My beloved is away for two months and to chase away thoughts of loneliness, I headed to one of my favourite while-away-the-hours spot: Cecil Court. This street in WC2 is a treasure trove for lovers of antique books and prints. I spent a happy hour browsing the wares at Marchpane and Storey's Ltd, barely managing to keep my purse shut.
Among the many gems that stood out was a beautiful edition of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's Undine, breathtakinly illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Oh, I had a serious attack of The Want but, alas, it was priced at £1000 and therefore not within my monthly budget...
And now I am back home, missing my deary and day dreaming of unlimited book funds.

Soon she was lost to sight in the Danube

May 28, 2009


I just spent a wonderful week in Stratford upon Avon and will report back soon with a post. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience.

May 11, 2009

A Day in the Garten of England

On the weekend, we spent a lovely, if blustery day at Hever Castle in Kent. It's nice to get out of London sometimes and be reminded why England is so dear to my heart.
Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII. Henry later gave the house to Anne von Cleve, his fourth spouse, as part of their divorce settlement. In the early part of the 20th century, William Waldorf Astor put his time, money and imagination into restoring the Castle, building the ’Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake.

A statue in the Italian Garden.

A cloud of pink rhododendron.

May 08, 2009

Spring Greens

The fabrics for my sisters dress, bought at my favourite Goldhawk Road shop, A1 Fabrics. I know what I will be doing this weekend...

May 05, 2009

Rain Painting On The Balcony Table

April 30, 2009

In A Nutshell

This is what the Grace & Manners spirit is all about. This is clothes perfection to me.

April 28, 2009

Pantry Heaven

After watching a re-run of Nigella Express, I am convinced, more than ever, that one cannot reasonabely live without a pantry in the kitchen. Oh, the very thought of walking into a room specifially built to house comestibles sends shivers down my spine! We all need a dose of 'food porn' from time to time... I have definitely a bit of a crush on Nigella as well. She just seems to be a woman who genuinely loves food and that is, sadly enough, a rarity these days.

Please also note the Swiss Miss Marshmallow pack on the right hand bottom shelf. How appropriate is that? Picture from decoraterschoice.net

April 21, 2009

Weekend Pleasures

I had a lovely few days, pottering around London with my dear friend M. On Friday evening we headed out for a Ghost Walk in the City. It was suitably gloomy and rainy and our guide was brilliant. We walked down some enchanted alleys, passing old pubs, a ruined church and Leadenhall Market, a wrought iron and glass beauty. If you are in London, do go and walk through the City, either early in the morning or in the evening. It is magical.

Saturday saw us bright and early on Goldhawk Road for a spot of fabric shopping. We headed straight for my two favourites: A1 Fabrics and Classic Textiles. I did a bit of scouting for some suitable material for my sisters dress and M. bought these beauties. Afterwards, we schlept all the way to Camden Market where we did some more pottering, browsing and, in M.'s case, buying. I kept my purse shut but was seriously tempted by this donought seller... The sight of his stall made us both hungry and off we went to fill our rumbling tummies with some Chinese deliciousness in Soho. Since the weather was so nice, we decided to drop off our bags and go for a short walk in Brompton Cemetery, one of my favourite places in London. The sun was out, a breeze was teasing the bloom ladden trees and calm descented as we walked among the old monuments. Bliss.

April 07, 2009

A Piece of Bambi, Anyone?

I am all for kitsch at the moment, the sort that fits in with my criterias of elegance, anyway. What?! you will cry out, What a load of nonsense! Kitsch and elegance don't go together! Well, I heartely disagree, dear reader. Just have a look at the Hella Jongerius for Nymphenburg Porcelain dishes below and you will soon see what I mean.

Mix together a dose of cuteness, a blob of adorable protagonist, a sprinkling of sweet colour scheme. Add to that a spoonful of delicateness, a dash of heritage and a helping of tactile beauty. Et voilà! Elegant Kitsch. Enough said.

April 01, 2009

Sister, Sister

There is a natural bond between siblings in general but I think sisters have special ties that hold them together. An invisible, complex glue of similarity and difference, loyalty and rivalry, admiration and jealousy. I found that these confilicting feelings fluctuated during the years, at times withdrawing me from my sister at others pulling me closer. What has never changed at any times, is the deep-rooted love I have for her.
There are many differences between us, some more obvious than others, but I love how a word, sentence or look can carry a meaning that only the two of us will understand, like our own secret language. It unites, fuses together and strengthens two seperate individuals into solid sisterhood.
Happy Birthday my wonderful, darling sister!

March 25, 2009

Label Crush

I have wistfully admired and coveted Erin Fetherston's work since first discovering her label a couple of seasons ago. Her collections always have a touch of the fairy tale and dress-up box, which I adore. The current F/W 09 looks were incidentally inspired by The Nutracker's tin soldiers. Shrunken jackets, tutu-like skirts, whimsical hats = Yes, Please! Capes are a wonderful alternative to coats and I like its slightly costum-y, historic annotations. Alas, my funds will not stretch to a Fetherston original so I will be hunting for a vintage alternative or a suitable pattern.

Stripes on a coat and tights? Horizontally and vertically? I think it works brilliantly, especially with those relentless patent platform shoes and jelly bag-ish cap.

March 23, 2009

Someone, Who Touches My Heart

How can one not get excited when receiving a parcel with such a cutie on it?! It was patiently waiting for me in the hallway when I came back from my daily walk. I was bouncing up the stairs in a glow of enchantment, clutching the eagerly awaited order from The Black Apple. I have been following the crazily talented and lovely Emily on her blog for a comparatively short time but it is the most inspiring world I have ever come across in the vastness of the www. I believe she is one of those rare people who truly love what they are doing and who poures her heart and soul into her work. And what could be more inspiring and happiness-inducing than that, I ask you!

March 20, 2009

A Delicate World

I was skimming through a book on silhouette and paper cutting yesterday when I remembered artist Su Blackwell and the artwork she did recently for British Vogue. Back home, I pulled out the relevant issue and marvelled again at the sheer beauty of it all. Her work incorporates so many things that I love and which inspire me: delicateness, fragility, a certain kind of mistery and darkness, books, fairytales... It makes me want to go out, buy a pair of sharp scissors and delve into the intricate art of paper cutting. Pictures from sublackwell.co.uk

March 19, 2009

Change Is In The Air

My apologies for continuing to fiddle with my blog layout and look. There are changes afoot in my little world and since the blog will be part of it, I am using the time right now to experiment a bit. No improvement without trying!

March 09, 2009

Carpet - Model: Spring

The weather kindly obliged on the last day of my mothers stay here (Friday) and we were grateful for the warmth of the sun after a few blustery days. I love how London is full of green patches, like this one, in all its spring glory, little oases of nature.

March 05, 2009

A Good Days Work

My mother is in London for a few days (straight after a week in Malta - what a jetset life!) and we had a good first day of exhibitions, walking and pottering around shops. First up, we headed for the V&A to see 'Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones'. And what a wonderful exhibition it is! I am infatuated with a lot of things but hats are definitely up there in the top ten of things-to-obsess-over. There were some crazy creations among the displays; molten plastic, huge clouds of feathers, elaborate felt constructions...it certainly inspired me to be more daring with my own hat purchases. As Stephen Jones so perfectly puts: '...It's the cherry on the cake, the dot on the 'i', the exclamation mark, the fashion focus...' With all the gorgeous hats still buzzing in my head, we wandered past Harrods and on through Hyde Park. A rather stiff breeze made us eager to find a warm spot for lunch and after drifting past the luxurious shops and homes of Mayfair, Mom and I ended up at Alan Yau's Yauatcha in Soho. We feasted on delicious, delectable dim sum and sipped fragrant Taiwan Blue Tea before picking out two eadible treasures from the patisserie counter. The sales girl wrapped it all up in this beautiful box, which made me very happy indeed. It is the little touches that make my heart leap! And off we wandered again, past fruit stalls and fabric stores (where I got slightly side-tracked by the most stunning pale pink pearl embroidered silk), picking up Country Life magazine for my Dad and finally ending the day with: a hat! A five pound beauty from a charity shop. Perfect. A good days work, wouldn't you say?

February 27, 2009


The air had a definite hint of spring today. The promising tinge of earthy-ness always cheers me up no end. I wandered through the tranquil and beautiful Brompton Cemetery, as I so often do, and picked up a few budding branches for the living room.
I don't know what it is with old cemeteries but I have a slight obsession with them. Nothing morbid, just a fascination and intererest for the many stories chiselled on those gravestones and an appreciation for the peaceful, timeless beauty of the surroundings. When everything else in my life descends into chaos, I can always rearrange my thoughts here, in the soothing presence of eternal sleep.