Twin Peaks

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Top: Friends of Couture (now Princess Highway)

Skirt: Ivanka Trump

Tights: Sonsee Woman

Shoes: Aerosoles

Many years ago I missed out on one of the great cultural zeitgeist moments of my generation.

In 1990 when the TV show Twin Peaks hit the screens I was twelve years old: My parents had just split up, and I was starting high school in an unfamiliar new neighbourhood. I had been a keen student at primary school, friendly with teachers and shy with strangers; I was feeling very much the fish out of water – inexperienced enough to wear the uniform to the first day of school, and foolish enough to think if I was nice to people, they would be nice back.

And I, um, developed early.

The combination of posh, square, timid and STACKED (for my age) proved to be too much fodder for some of the rougher young men in my grade, and with the popularity of David Lynch’s new series I scored an obvious new nickname pretty quickly.

Unsurprisingly it turned me right off watching the seminal series.

Recently The Sophisticate decided that my wilful ignorance as to “who Killed Laura Palmer” had gone on long enough, and since I arrived we’ve been gradually working our way through the series.

I have to admit it’s pretty good, in a part-hilarious-part-compelling-all-weird kind of way, and some of the preppy fifties-cum-eighties fashion has caught my attention.

I bought this little pleated skirt at Macy’s big one-day sale (which has been going for a few weeks, as far as I can tell), and while I would normally avoid anything with the Trump name attached I tried this on and fell in love with it before realising what the label was.

The skirt’s got a lovely fit (I bought the 14) – fitted to the hips before falling away in knife-edge pleats. The fabric’s a silky polyester with a decent amount of weight. It’s swooshes most satisfactorily when I swing my hips.

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Of course, that’s still snow under my boots, so under the Sonsee tights I’ve got thermal leggings on. And you should probably get used to seeing these boots. They’re the Duble Trouble ankle boot from Aerosoles, and they’re the most comfortable shoes I think I’ve ever worn.

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They’re not my usual style at all, but I’ve discovered that in a lot of American shoe shops when a salesperson comes back with the shoes you’ve asked for in your size they’ll often also bring a few other pairs they thought you “might like”. I didn’t like these at all…. until I tried them on. Then YUM. They’re soft, incredibly flexible, and have good grip which is invaluable when you’re picking your way over icy pavements.

Of course the great irony of blogging my fashion in New York is that 90% of the time I actually look like this:

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THIS is the favourite item in my wardrobe right now, a big down-filled, fur-trimmed coat from Canada Goose, which The Sophisticate bought for me when I arrived, and thank God for that, because when the top temperature is forecast to be minus five even I would rather be warm than look like a fashion plate.

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Heart in Hands

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Top: Friends of Couture

Skirt: virtu

Shoes: Poetic License

Bag: Hart Bags via Kickstarter

The internet’s a marvellous thing, isn’t it?

Once upon a time, if you had a great idea for a product or a service you also personally needed the cash to get it off the ground, which meant taking out a second mortgage, or selling everything and moving back in with your parents, or managing to convince a bank that you were worth taking a chance on investing in.

These days, if you have a great idea for a product or a service you can take it to the people through crowd-funding networks like Kickstarter or Pozible, and invite them to help you make your dream a reality.

That’s what Lavina Joe of The Hart Matters did.

She had an idea for a product: a cute handcrafted leather bag in the shape of a love heart with a detachable shoulder strap, so that it could be worn as a clutch or a shoulder bag.

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She designed and produced a prototype over a seven month period, then when she was happy with the product listed the company The Hart Matters on Kickstarter, with the goal being to get enough funding to produce at least 100 bags – enough to launch the brand.

Tabs, a Frocks and Frou Frou reader, emailed me about The Hart Matters when she spotted them on Kickstarter, and I’m so glad she did.

I jumped on board immediately, choosing the $149 pledge, which (when, and only if the project reached its funding goal of $7,500) made me eligible to receive one of the large size bags in a dust bag, a mini coin purse, and a t-shirt.

Within two weeks Lavina had made her goal, and by the time the project had closed they had 174 backers who had pledged a total of over $20,000. The bags were definitely going ahead!

Over the next few months the backers were kept up to date with the production progress. Every step of the way from manufacture to shipping was communicated through blog posts, photos and videos – it was lovely to feel included in the process by which a product I had helped make a reality came to exist.

And then – bang on schedule in mid-July – a courier delivered a box stamped with the Hart Matters logo. My love-heart handbag had arrived.

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It’s a lovely piece of production, well made in good quality leather with a slightly textured finish. It’s definitely an eye-catching accessory, and I always get people commenting on it when I carry it.

It’s definitely not a workhorse of a handbag, and the amount I can carry in it is quite limited (given how prone I am to carrying everything but the kitchen sink, this is probably a good thing!) The gusset of the bag is quite shallow – about two inches wide – which means that it sits flush against the body, and the clean lines aren’t compromised.

DSCF2169The bag has a zipper fastening that I’m thankful for, but it does make the depth of the bag quite shallow. It’s basically the size of a clutch purse wrapped in a gorgeous, red, heart-shaped casing. I can fit my iPad Mini, my purse, my phone and car keys, some pens and a tube of lip balm though, and really what else do you need?

The interior’s well organised with a pocket for my phone, a zippered pocket for security, and a larger pocket for bits and pieces. it’s lined with a soft red suede, and stamped with The Hart Matter’s motto “Love Is Not Selfish”.

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The Kickstarter Project was so successful that The Hart Matters has already sold out of their first run of bags, and they are still in the process of opening up their online shop, so if you’re interested in getting one for yourself you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled on their website for updates.

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