Friday, 18 November 2011

The Autumn Queen

If autumn were a fabric, it would be yellow taffeta. Or perhaps orange velvet mixed with brown tweed. Okay, maybe the analogy would be better suited to a whole basket of material scraps in marinated colours.

It’s a tricky season to write about without resorting to clichés or endless tropes. How to sum up the mists, the leaves, the wood-smoke, without parroting what others have already said? I could quote Keats or Elizabeth Jennings – make some poetic reference. But maybe for once I shall just accept the experience of autumn without articulating every little detail. I love it, and shall leave it at that.
However, as with any time of year, it brings its own sartorial challenges. The temperature fluctuates between balmy crispness and downright freezing. The latter is experienced while slowly icing over at the station in the morning, waiting for a train half an hour late. Thus my attitude to outfits resembles  an onion – endless layers. Cardigans, long socks and faux-fur hats are all utilities rather than style statements. Bulky coats can be taken off when I am red-faced from my trek up the hill to college, while scarves are stowed in bags.
However, in my head at least, I would always dress like these photos once the birds start migrating, taking the warmth of summer with them. I'd wrap myself in gold pleats and khaki silks, adding seventies shoes (though in an ideal world the soles would not disintegrate on contact with the outside world, as these ones do – a worthy sacrifice nonetheless). The jackets would always remind me of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox, and I could even artfully arrange leaves in my hair – assuming the persona of an ‘Autumn Queen’ who spends her days drinking home pressed apple juice and jumping in piles of leaves. Hmmm... Maybe. But for now I'll stick to my velvet miniskirts and cable knit jumpers for sixth form.

Just to go back to that Roald Dahl reference for a minute though, the other ‘branch’ to this outfit’s inspiration was the Mulberry AW11 collection. Put ‘British’ and ‘iconic’ in any description and my interest is more than piqued; especially when this is combined with a campaign by Tim Walker (who is still unbeaten in his role as my favourite current fashion photographer) and delectable looking clothes that are one part English aristocrat, one part Owen Sheer’s novel ‘Resistance’ and one part childhood rural fantasy. Famous Five meets Wuthering Heights. (Talking of which – I am really looking forward to seeing the new British adaptation of this Bronte novel in the next couple of weeks. I think it will be worth watching for the cinematography alone).

The two ‘Berries’ of the London/British fashion scene, Burberry and Mulberry, have experienced huge success in recent years. Perhaps I should create a brand called ‘Blueberry’ or ‘Raspberry’ to make it a trinity of labels? A lack of technical skill and general clothes-making ability would be a hindrance though. As would the lack of expertise in fashion design. So, I’ll leave that to the experts and stick to writing and photography and wandering through fields in hazy light...

Finally, if  you haven't already then please take a moment to look at According to Annika. In the last few months I have been honoured to talk to and get to know this extraordinary woman who is stunning inside and out. Annika is immensely encouraging, compassionate and all-round wonderful as well as being an amazing writer. She has already had way more than any fair share of trauma, and so I was devastated to hear that she was very recently diagnosed with cancer. Her situation utterly demonstrates the arbitrary unfairness of our world, and I cannot pretend in any way that I recognize what she will be going through right now. What I do know is that she thoroughly deserves the deluge of love and support pouring from her many, many readers.


Katrina, said...

My heart goes out to Annika too. Hope she will be ok.


Lydia said...

That's so scary to think about someone so young getting cancer. I hope she has a full and quick recovery.

I love your gold skirt. The photo with you holding it up looks really pretty and made me think you should pin it up like that. Also, the last photo is amazing.

The Fancy Teacup said...

Your jacket truly channels the Fantastic Mr. Fox look, and indeed autumn is by far the glorious of seasons.

I was heartbroken as well when I heard about Annika. She is a friend that is beyond amazing, dazzling in beauty, and has the writing that brings people to tears and in laughter. I believe in her, and she will make through this difficult time.

Closet Fashionista said...

I am in love with this outfit! And I know what you mean, autumn is AWESOME but I hate that I never know what the weather is going to do. But then when I go outside on a nice day and I can smell the crispness it is amazing :)
And oh no, I had never seen Annika's blog before but that's terrible! I hope she gets through it!!!

Joy said...

you look incredible here. i always love your writing-you're so inspirational! anyhow, on another note, my heart goes out to annika. thanks for the rec.

Maria Elyse said...

I was so, so awfully shocked and devastated to hear about Annika, as well. She has been such a great friend to me, and I know for certain that she has touched so many people through her writing. Love that lady so much. Praying for peace and strength for her. ♥

I love your blazer. So classic, like a crossover between Sherlock Holmes and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Maria Elyse
First Impressions
Flying Ships Vintage

Old Cow said...

I think I am in love with that tweed jacket. I agree with you, autumn is tweed, taffeta and perhaps even velvet in resplendent hues.

My heart goes out to Annika.

Autumn said...

Oh, that poor girl. I'll be hoping and praying that everything goes well with Anika and that she gets well. Gosh, I'm teary eyed just thinking of her. Please tell her to stay strong and positive.

Isabella said...

This is so terrible to hear about Annika. I love this post. Would you like to follow each other? x

sacramento said...

Only a compassionate heart can recognised another´s beauty.
I adore your photos, That wonderful skirt and your kind words to Anika.
I am off to visit her.
Much love, dear Rosalind

Penny Dreadful said...

I adore the mix of metallic and matte, such a beautiful combination. I have been reading Annika's blog lately too, and though I haven't commented much as I have been so short on time lately, I was very sad to hear of her diagnosis. I do hope everything turns out well for her, she seems a lovely person. xx

The life after said...

That skirt is incredible! Love it!

The Life After

Sasha said...

Cancer = evil I wish it would go home and not harm anybody else.
Love the gold skirt

Kanaho said...

beautiful photos.
beautiful Roz!

Dina said...

Roz, I was going to post a long comment saluting your engaging, vivid-as-autumn-itself writing style, but instead I am left in cold shock at the news about Annika. I was very happy to see that you too knew of her wonderful blog... somehow, I missed her latest post. There's really nothing one can write or say that seems right about cancer, or any serious illness in fact. What you said about parroting others in cliches is true of this, too. So I will just have to hope and support her as much as one can do over such a distance. I'm sure that you will as well. x

daisychain said...

Oh goodness, cancer is such an evil, uncaring disease. I wish nothing but the best for Annika.

styleeast said...

You look divine as ever! Love how the metallic looks in the black and white photo. I bought a Mulberry the other day, eek! I'm still waiting for its arrival and am ridiculously excited to own a classic piece that I hope I'll have forever x ps - i reckon if you turned your hand to design, you'd do a great job!

Sasha said...

It would be lovely if autumn allowed us to dress in the fantastical ways we dream of. Alas, that's just dreaming on my part. Here we've surpassed autumn and have snow.

I don't know Annika but she seems to be an absolutely amazing person and I'm sending hope and good thoughts her way.

Jessica said...

Great post, I love the jacket and skirt!

Please take a minute to look at my trunkshow;

Fay Oberdorf said...

Amazing photo's! You're so beautiful!

Vix said...

Yellow taffeta? What a fabulous analogy. I yearn for smoky shades of cotton velvet and corduroy.
I love your outfit, the foil skirt is perfect with the tooled leather belt.
I don't know Annika but I know the hurt and fear cancer brings. I wish her all the best. x

Fashionistable said...

Just went to see Annika. My love and prayers go out to her. Tim Walker is also my favourite fashion photographer. Didnt know he was filming a Bronte novel. Thanks for the head's up. Love your idea for another British berry label. You should register it for the future. I love your Autumn colours and look. Sorry I havent been in touch properly. Promise to do so soon. Xxxx

lover said...

I do not know how I found your blog.. but I love checking to see how you are dressed and the location....


Irina Lakicevic said...

OMg darling you always look so beautiful! I hope that so of the agencies has some vit to sign you! Love the pleated skirt and layering!

Katrina, said...

Aw thank you for your lovely comment, I`m really glad you like the makeover of my shoes too)


The Foolish Aesthete said...

The shimmering golds warmed up by tweeds truly speak autumn. I love those huge leaves you are fanning in front of your face! It really is my favorite season just for natural beauty.

I was so sad to see your friend, Annika's, post. How devastating, particularly in someone so young and full of life. As you put it, it "demonstrates the arbitrary unfairness of our world". I will light a candle from my heart for her. xxx

Rosa Fay said...

Wow! Thats all I can say.

Particulourly love the first three shots. You look really gorgeous darling!

Lucy said...

Agghhhhh Roz, i adoorre this skirt! it reminds me of one I had when i was little which bunched up in sections at the bottom with a rose like Belle.. it was made by my neighbour and was quite amazing/atrocious! yours is beautiful, was it a charity shop find?, you looked absolutely stunning in carries film, I was constantly gasping!
agree with all the points you made about autumn :) layers layers layers!
Funny you should discuss British heritage brands as im studying Mulberry for my dissertation! :) xxx

sacramento said...

My dear Rosalind, what an honour to be followed by you.
We have known each other since for ever, and I thought we were following each other.
I am so touched, my dear friend.
MIl besos

sacramento said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ( she screams) I am also in your blogroll.
I have just come back from hospital, my bandages are off, I can feel my leg again, and I am walking slowly, and NOW, THESE PRESENTS...
What a day!!!

SymbioticLife said...

Your writing, style, and photographs are stunning as usual. Such a shame about the soles of the shoe's. They look amazing. Heading over now to offer some support to Annika.

Hope Adela Pasztor said...

That skirt is stunning! I love the metallic color! =)

polka dot said...

I came here to thank you for your comment: that was over half an hour ago. Before leaving my comment about how I love the photos, and what you said about autumn, and to ask where you got the gold foil pleated skirt, because I just met the loveliest woman last week, wearing the bright green top and silver foil skirt, and then I read about your friend Annika.

How could I have been blogging this long and have never stumbled on someone as incredible as she is? Just so warm, honest, pretty of course, but also a beautiful person. I've been reading past posts, and feeling like I was getting to know her, and I'm comment #365, or 654.. the flood of love and support pouring in reminds me today, especially today - when I'm learning, and trying to come to terms with, new dimensions to the cruelty and dishonesty and viciousness of some of the women who blog - to see this side, the unconditional warmth, love, empathy and support - in most cases, for someone, as one of the comments said we 'don't know and probably won't ever meet'.. I, too, like Jenny, will be lighting a candle in my heart for her.

Having lost my father to cancer - after a brave, 15 year good fight - and nearly losing my mom, I feel you couldn't have put it better: cancer, like terrorism, reminds us of the arbitrary unfairness of our world. It's not personal, it is random. But it is not a death sentence. Annika coming to terms with this shock now, and she's doing it bravely - I was in tears at her courage, and honesty - and, as she said, she knows she's not going to have a fun time ahead.

But people do win: they do survive. And all this collective prayer: it works.

You are so lovely, Roz. And I think I know the emerald pieces you're describing. And it's well time I shut up now! I really just came here to say hello, and to thank you.

Beautiful post, on so many levels. And I love Tim Walker's work, too.


isa telaraña said...

We use the same expresion in Spain, "to wear as an onion" (my way)

...what a sad story about Anika, why why why life is so unfair?

San said...

Great post as always. The idea of craeating a label called "raspberry" to make it a trinity is hilarious.

And oh yes, train journeys are truly perfect for pondering things. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Have a great week and best of luck to Annika.

AvaPilar said...

Lovely blazer. I like the idea of trilogy with Mulberry and Burberry. I think "Elderberry" or even "Wolfberry" would be a good addition. Knowing that your also a Kate Bush fan, have you heard her newest album yet? I'm enjoying it so far not to mention Stephen Fry sings on the title track!
I feel horrible for Annika, my thoughts are with her.

NRC♥ said...

Lovely shots!
Reminds me of the Tim Walker for Burberry shots.
Kate Bush <3

Izzy/Bella said...

An inspired post-- gorgeous from pictures to prose!

I thoroughly vet your suggestion someone creates another "berry" label ;)


Pull Your Socks Up! said...

My heart skipped a beat at the sight of that glorious green jacket lying on the apples and of you in the golden skirt! Egad these pics of you are electrifying!!!!! xoxoxo

Tatiana said...

I really love the metallic skirt you are wearing in contrast to the leaves and natural tones of your photos. Your outfit turned out great in this shoot!

Fashion Tales.... said...

You have an endearing way about you, my heart goes out to Annika.

These photos I love very much, and the gold colour is gorgeous with the jacket! I was also excited for the adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Caitlin Rose said...

all I have to say is that skirt is heaven!

Ivana Split said...

I'm so in love with this look!