Friday, 30 November 2018

Lounge Leopard

The leopard trend is very hot in fashion right now but it also seems to have influenced the home dec trends too! Although I love a leopard print, I'm not sure how much I could carry off in my home. Whilst braving Westfield last weekend, I popped into the fab new H&M Home shop and was taken by these rather fab leopard plates and trays.

I then spotted the best tree decorations for a Cheeky Leopard christmas tree, these wonderful leopard baubles. Imagine having a whole tree covered in them?!

I decided to look online and see what other lovely leopard home items were on offer. There was quite a choice, but I've narrowed it down to some of my favourites. This lampshade by Love Frankie makes quite a statement and would work well mixed with pared-down decor to make it shine. Check out the flash of hot pink on the inside!

This leopard money box from Audenza is a great gift idea and makes a fab ornament too. I love it on this hot pink pouffe with the dark teal wall behind.

Linen House do a smart scatter cushion and I'm rather in love with the pink chair in the photo too!

If you're looking for leopards to cover your wall this one should do it! It's a border design created by Cole & Son and features leopards above and leopard skin below.

For those who like a little more subtlety in their home, this gold spot wallpaper from John Lewis alludes to the leopard print without shouting it out. Paired with a leopard lamp, also from John Lewis, it makes a nice fresh statement.

Needless to say, Cheeky Leopard has some leopard items to offer. These offerings include a roomy cosmetic bag that could also be used as a pencil case or gadget pouch and is great for carrying smaller items  in your travel bag.

To go with this, we also have sweet little coin purse which can fit small change or is a great way for storing earphones.

Now you can wow future contacts with this business card holder. It certainly makes a statement!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Night and Day

I recently had the pleasure of going to the Night and Day exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey. The exhibition explores the day and evening styles of the 1930s and is complemented by photographs of the stars of that decade.

The 1930s was a period of social change, seeing the end of the excesses of the Jazz Age of the 1920s and seeing the beginning of World War II. These changes were echoed in the clothing of the decade, which was inspired by the Art Deco and Moderne styles, but also by the surrealism art movement as well as the sensuality of the silver screen sirens.

Living in the 1930s meant dealing with extremes, from the depths of poverty for many people, to dazzling parties for the wealthy. The glamour of the era was reflected in the evening wear.

The sleeves of the black crepe gown above drape beautifully and are covered in sequins, while the dress below uses sequinned clusters to create a shiny polka dot effect.

Dancing became a social pastime in the 1930s, inspired by the glamour of the Hollywood movies. Liquid satin and bias cuts helped to create fluidity and drama, with fitted waists and greater volume in the sleeves creating a sculpted effect that oozed glamour.

I was amazed by the fineness of the silks on show and the ability to create such technical gowns with such a difficult fabric to work with, yet with the outcome of sheer effortless beauty.

The dresses were very feminine and the red dress above has pretty frill details that float when you move.

I love the flesh and peach tones of the era. You can see how the bias cut works on the dress below (right) as well as the decliacy of the detail in the criss-crossing straps on the neckline.

As film stars became key fashion influencers, Hollywood costume designers took influence from Parisian design, and Paris designers created fashions inspired by Hollywood, with exaggerated detail.

This heavily embellished jade evening coat is embroidered with white beads and shells in the Rococo revival fashion of the late 30s and was designed by Norman Hartnell.

The 1930s saw the growth of mass manufacture and cheaper ready-to-wear fashion. Printed dress fabrics made of rayon became very popular, having the practical advantage of being cheaper than embroidered fabrics and less likely to show stains.

The brown, pink and yellow leaf print dress below has a pretty cowl neck and long narrow sleeves.

The brown and yellow circle print below has yellow edging at the neckline. The addition of a belt adds a pretty detail to the dress and cinches in the waist.

Home dressmaking was very popular in the 30s and the yellow floral dress below was most probably hand made. The collar has a decorative crocheted edge.

Going abroad was too expensive for most people and by the mid 30s seaside resorts within the UK were popular, with colourful advertisements in newspapers and brochures to lure people in. My favourite outfit in this section of the exhibition was the coat and bathing suit below, which features an abstract marine print by Crysede, a Cornish fabric printing company. The bathing suit is made of wool but uses Lastex, which revolutionised the fit of swimwear.

I also love the stylish outfit below which consists of white cropped trousers with a fabulous red spot handkerchief halter top. Casual trousers became a favourite with active women in the 1930s.

Although this exhibition is small, it is filled with beautiful gems from the 1930s and is a joy to visit.

 The Fashion and Textile Museum is the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to showcasing developments in contemporary fashion as well as providing inspiration, support and training for those working in the industry and was founded by Zandra Rhodes in 2003.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Anni Albers

As a textile designer and someone who is drawn to all things textile-related, I couldn't wait to go to the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern recently. She was an artist who is said to have "combined the ancient craft of hand-weaving with the language of modern art".

Born in Berlin in 1899, Anni started her studies at the Bauhaus art school and, being a woman of the 1920s, was discouraged from joining the painting classes and steered towards the weaving workshop.

She used the workshop, however to begin her creations in textiles which became her key form of expression and led to what she called her "pictorial" weavings, much of which was inspired by the work of Paul Klee. Her art is very abstract and that's what I loved about it.

With most of her works you have to look up close to appreciate the gorgeous nubs and textures. But standing further away creates a whole different feel.

The enormous exhibiton has over 350 objects from small-scale pictorial weavings to large wall-hangings and mass produced textiles.

The exhibition also had painted versions of Anni's creations and the workings out of each piece. I loved the vibrant colours of the two works above.

Albers made many of her pictorial weavings on a handloom that was exhibited in the exhibition. Alongside that was a film showing the loom in action. It demonstrated the painstaking time it takes to thread up the loom, but also the rhythmic action that weaving uses. It was extremely therapeutic to watch!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Leopard love

With a name like Cheeky Leopard, it's a good job I love animal prints! I didn't realise how much I loved them until I decided to sort out my wardrobe. I lined up all the items I own with an animal print on them and there are at least 12 pieces! My collection ranges from shoes, a shirt and even a leopard print coat using the more traditional leopard colours..... the more unconventional colours of red and grey, like the skirt and shirt below.

This t-shirt is the funkiest combination in burgundy and hot pink, but it doesn't come out very often!

And it's not just leopard skin that I appear to be into. I also have some zebra print-inspired items including a sweater with a large zebra skin design and a shirt with mini zebras on it.

Along with wearing the prints, I also love to create animal print-inspired items for my store. This includes a funky multi colour leopard print as seen in the cosmetic bag and fabric pot below, both are perfect for storing cosmetics or bathroom items in.

I love zebra motifs and was drawn to this fabric below of a zebra on a turquoise blue ground. It comes in various products including coin purse, glasses case, card holder and tissue holder.

You can also find zebras on a red ground, with a slightly more novelty-inspired zebra. I love the combination of the red and black and white on this tissue holder and card case duo.

Or you can have the zebra print on its own with this tissue holder and card case combo.

Heres to flaunting your inner animal!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Butlers Emporium

I've been meaning to mention a lovely shop I went to a while ago whilst visiting the south coast. It's based in the Old Town area of Hastings, which includes a lovely pedestrianised street full of independent shops and cafes. You could almost miss this street if you didn't know it was there as it is tucked away from the main road and makes a nice change from the regular seaside promenade. My favourite shop on this street was Butlers Emporium, run by Rose Ratcliffe.

It's situated in a charming building dating back to 1832 and has been a hardware store and iron mongers before Rose took it on and beautifully curated it with elegant homewares and lifestyle items displayed across the shop's old furniture and cabinets.

Rose has always sold products that she loves and she finds joy in combining the old and the new. Modern, stylish crockery items sit next to chipped enamel ware and old teddies.

Every corner of the shop has a surprise element to it, but nearly everything in the shop made me want to buy it! I could have quite happily taken home a pair of these lovely silver Moroccan slippers.

The wall below shows a montage of random items, some found, some made by the owner, all brought together by colour and against the wonderful peeling wall behind.

Needless to say, I made some purchases! I chose these two items below for their packaging. Coco chocolates are so tasty and always have interesting prints on their packaging, which makes for a lovely gift. The goats milk soap has a patchwork of indigo blue Japanese-inspired papers, all wrapped up with a simple piece of string which just works so well!

Whilst I was at the counter, I was admiring these beautiful little bottles of scent. I loved the whole design of them, the bright colours, but especially the brightly coloured tassels.

The shop assistant saw me admiring the tassels and offered to sell me some! So I came home with these four fab colours which I'm going to try using on some of my bags.

I also came home with a lovely selection of pom pom ribbon which I am going to attach to some of my bags. I'm going to have fun working with this, I can tell!

While talking to the shop assistant, I also found out that Rose organises shopping trips to Morocco and my eyes lit up. How amazing would that be?! Rose has been travelling to Morocco for over thirty years and knows the best places to shop. It's definitely on my list for the future....

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Fay McCaul

I recently had the pleasure of doing a wonderful jewellery workshop with textile designer Fay McCaul. It was run from her home in South East London, a lovely double-fronted house with views over the city of London. Her studio is in the front room of her home and she taught us how to make stunning jewellery pieces using perspex. She started off by showing us examples of what we could do. I loved the combination of shapes and designs, and the possibilities seemed endless.

After explaining to us what we could do, we got to play with paints, creating shapes and designs onto paper in a variety of colours.

I chose to try geometric shapes in shades of blue and green.

She also had a selection of wonderful foils to play with.

Once you have decided on your designs, you use a heat press to bond the design or foil onto the perspex. I found that it took me a while to figure out what worked for me but once I had figured it out, there was no stopping me! I gravitated towards the foils and the more crumpled they were, the nicer the effect. Below is a selection of what I made. Now I just need to piece them together to make a selection of necklaces.

Whilst we we at her home, Fay showed us her collection of interior designs where she uses traditional knitting techniques combined with modern materials. They really are stunning and one of my favourite pieces was this geometric sample. It uses copper triangles which are knitted together to create a geometric design using an industrial knitting machine.

This can be custom-made into wallhangings, room dividers or screens, like the one below.

Check out more of Fay's designs on her website or you can see her in person at Decorex in Syon Park, London. Although you'll have to be quick as it finishes today! Alternatively, sign up for one of her wonderful classes at Airbnb Experiences.

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