Easily Suede – Wearing the statement fabric of the season
Ah suede, the second fiddle to the ubiquitous animal hide that is leather, the stuff that dreams are made on. I hastily confess that anything leather-bound or clad makes me weak at the knees, unless we’re talking about that guy who spends his weekends sweating heavily in his mother’s basement, wearing his Matrix-inspired leather duster coat and playing Assassin’s Creed for thirty six hours solid, stopping only to have a Pot Noodle and another can of Red Bull. Him, not so much. Although there was once a brief crush on an artistic type who donned a leather trench day in, day out, drank nothing but Lucozade and liked to say things like ‘do purple.’ But buttery soft leather trousers (not the ones I saw at a dive bar in Flinnsbach, Germany on a lady breathing fire back in the early noughties; you’re safe) stir something deep within my loins and make me want to reach out and stroke them. I’m thinking Belstaff leather trousers, painstakingly hand-crafted Hermes bags, Smythson or Aspinal of London notebooks and Fendi coats. That’s my kind of leather.
Suede has always reaked of 70s nostalgia, harking back to a young Stevie Nicks when hair was long and hemlines were even longer. While I don’t completely abhor the haute hippie style of the 70s, I must admit, it instills fear that only a short, frizzy haired woman such as myself can feel. I have oft favoured the eras of the 50s and 60s for retro glamour, opting for tunics, shift dresses, pinafores and the 50s voluminous silhouettes. But one thing changed my opinon. Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous. That shearling coat with Mongolian shag collar (especially with the red panties), the perfectly coiffed ringlets, the crochet crop tops and vintage 501s. While I won’t be revisiting those lilac velvet hipster bel-bottoms I owned in the 90s, fringed suede is my homage to the fabric of the season and this tasselled skirt is as coquettish as it gets!
I may not compare to the tragic ingénue that was Penny Lane (albeit one who was sold to another band for fifty bucks and a case of beer) but I did once inspire a poem by a lovely lad called Adam about how I was his Juliet, his sun, moon and stars and how he loved me but ‘not because of the dress.’ The dress in question was a sparkly Dancing With The Stars-type number with a fish-tail and sweetheart bodice that I wore when I kissed one of my classmates in Me and My Girl (the transition year school musical in which I demanded I played the actual female role because I was so sick of playing the man with my ‘lovely loud voice’) because we were an all-girls’ school and of course, there had to be a kiss. It took place behind a straw hat but nonetheless there were lips involved – two sets – and they joined together in holy matrimony for lip-on-lip action and there was cheering and whooping as in that time there were no public displays of affection on or off stage and ever since that day I have leaned towards men with beards because Danielle’s carefully calibrated, drawn-on stubble was evoked every time I broached the subject of dating a man with a hairless face. I’ve also had someone hand-write my name in calligraphy in pencil on a piece of paper and Whatsapp it to me – does that make me a band aid, kind of?
So while Alberta Ferretti, Proenza Schouler, Céline and Emilio Pucci sent their models down the runway in fringed leather and suede, I was preparing for my own rodeo in Lutyens’ Gardens, Islandbridge. I’ve always fancied myself in the Wild West ever since I heard Will Smith’s classic hit Wild Wild West featuring Cool Mo Dee and Dru Hill. ‘Be out of that dress when she meets Jim West,’ being one of the greatest lyrics in sonic history inspired an art-imitating-life moment at the BBQ I attended after this photoshoot when, after copious amounts of meat were consumed, my skirt no longer fit, and the tassels acted as a mere modesty belt for what lay beneath. Suffice to say no-one was comfortable with that situation. Luckily I avoided pairing it with the dreaded crop-top combo but nonetheless, my muffin top was restricted within its own sartorial strait-jacket, longing to be set free. An interesting thing about the shoes. They inspired the stigmata worthy of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie after only a brief stint wearing them but if you fancy them, I’m selling them over on depop. Warning: may cause religious zeal.
Skirt, bracelet and necklace: Om Diva Boutique.
Shoes: Enzo Angiolini, available to buy over on my Depop account for €35.