the morning strut's swoonsome Xmas things

'Tis the season to be generous, so I've decided to treat all four of my readers to a little festive swoonage.

Without further ado, I present The Morning Strut's thoroughly useless assemblage of Xtacular Xmas Xavourites!


you can call him ray...

One of my very favourite nuggets of inspiration in the studio is a scan of this article from a 1959 issue of Vogue Pattern Book, featuring "lively teenager" and home sewer extraordinaire Lynda Harper. The piece follows Lynda as she creates a dress for prom night. But enough about her.

Her date's name is Rayford*.

Seriously. RAYFORD*.

Boy is he ever dreamy.

*Sadly, the name Rayford reached its popularity zenith around 1930, 29 years before this issue of VPB was even published! If anyone out there knows anyone by the name of Rayford, please urge him get in contact immediately, as I would like us to be wed.

isle of joy

I'm in New York this week, a town I love to visit if only for the tasty, tasty anonymity it brings (down right irresistible for a journalist who's already used up all her witty repartee for 2010).

I've been dividing my time between trawling antique stores for massive ear rings, watching movies I can't get in European format, personally depleting the world's supply of scallion cream cheese, perving off buff train conductors, taking my book on a bar crawl of Manhattan, justifying everything with "I'm on vacation!" and having a guy on the street make my year by greeting me with a "Yo, what's up, white Rihanna?"

I'm also giving my sister a hand with her new vintage-inspired fashion line Recollection, which makes its ultra glamorous debut in Fall/Winter 2011.

Here's a look inside her ultra glamorous studio*...

*all photos by me


before the freeze

Ireland's weather has always been a little fickle/unpredictable/hysterically evil, but this year the Seasons seemed to change at the drop of a hat.

Ruth took these photos, and a week later, Dublin was spazzing out under a foot of snow and I was suddenly dressing for the coldest temperatures of my lifetime. Bad news for my toes, worse news for my wardrobe. 

Light coats, heavy knits, leather jackets, trenches, stockings, jersey dresses - all totally useless. Thanks to Mama Nature's hissy fit, I'll be rocking the Bolivian housewife look 'til Spring.

It's not all bad, though. The snow makes for a flawless backdrop to my ridiculous print obsession, the blizzards provide a natural wind machine and it's finally acceptable for me to dress like an extra from Dr. Zhivago

...and hey, I always welcome an excuse to watch this video.

threads: {top - asos bandeau and h&m dress} {skirt - vintage} {tights - penneys} {brogues - penneys} {necklace - a gift from the wiley travelers of yearlongbreakup}


out of the fog

I'm not in the habit of interviewing myself but I imagine that asking me to name my favourite item of clothing is like asking me how to get to O'Connell St. - you're after a no-frills answer in 30 words or less, but will inevitably be faced with a lot of incoherent babbling and wild, aggressive gestures.

I associate certain inanimate objects with certain animate objects and for this reason (and a million others), I will never, ever be able to single out just one item of clothing as my most prized.

I may not be able to choose my favourite threads, but this is what I wore when there was a .03% chance I was going to be in the same room as Prince, making it a pretty special get-up. So special in fact, I'm now a tad shy about showing this rather Mildred Pierce suit dress to anyone (this should explain the slightly cautious and perfectly creepy nature of the above shots). 

Mr. Nelson never did turn up to court that day, but when a fellow reporter presumed I was a die hard fan by my furs and heels, I knew I'd gotten it right.

Think tomorrow I'll dress to meet Little Richard...

threads: {dress - vintage} {shoes - farylrobin, who deserve massive love for quoting marge simpson on their homepage!} {ear bling - random store in ny} {finger bling - asos} {wrist bling - vintage and absolut (yes, the vodka!)} {tattoo - found in Chinatown in London}


style swoon - rudolph valentino

He was the original Latin Lover, one of the most graceful men ever to hit the silver screen, a true dandy, a poster boy for all things exotic and one of the sexiest humans ever - today, I'm swooning over silent movie siren Rudolph Valentino.


this ain't england

If I had my wicked way, I'd look like I'd come straight from The Cotton Club circa 1938 all day every day, but believe it or not, I don't have access to a lot of coyote fur coats and gold lame gowns.

'80s-tastic tack, on the other hand, seems to follow me around like a bad rash. Not only am I a 1987 baby, but my 7,000 ft stature allows me to take style cues from fabulous giant birds of the era like Brigitte Nielsen and Grace Jones.

I guess it's no harm to trade the Cotton Club for The Blitz for a while, if I'm allowed have tunes like this, this and this as my soundtrack...

 p.s. a shot that didn't make it to blog is positively going on file as a promo pic for my as-yet-unformed electro breakdance revival outfit. Get your interview requests in good and early, kids...

threads: {shirt - h&m} {shiny pants - aa} {cummerbund - d.i.y.} {jacket - vintage} {shoes - new look} {hugely beat-up clutch - penney's} {finger bling - asos} {scowl - model's own}

style swoon - sheila e.

She led the glamorous life, she was a stone cold fox, she's a guy's girl, she's positively koo koo and she can still drum you into oblivion - today, it's all about funk diva and fearless glamourbird Sheila E.


animal magnetism

Sometimes Ruth and I work really hard - proper back-aching, sweat-making, ass-breaking hard...And then there are those days when we sit around and paint each other's nails.

I had to go all the way to London to get my mitts on this miracle potion by Barry M (don't worry, there were other reasons for my trip - Kelly Brook wasn't going to stare at herself, now was she?), which creates a kind of beat-up graffiti effect on your paws.

I then surprised no-one by trying my hand at some animal patterns and Ruth was happy to play fucked-up zebra to my cheetah.

threads: {my base coat - precious metals nail polish by 17} 
{ruth's base coat - the semen of a million irate stallions}
{top coat - instant nail effects by barry m}


let me 'splain...

If I get a little insane about clothes from time to time, it's probably because there's a genuine lifelong love behind it. Certain pictures were blowing my unspoilt little brain before I could walk, and Lucille Ball darting around her tiny greyscale apartment in a rhinestone encrusted housecoat was one of these images.

I've wanted that housecoat for nigh-on two decades - since the day I first got it into my curly little head and every couple of years since, when I revisited the show for a '50s overdose. Last year, my friend Karen (who's been known to pull a hair-brained scheme of her own in her time) presented me with a book of I Love Lucy paper dolls, which I've been playing with ever since.

Obviously that particular rhinestone cowboy can never be mine, but when I tried on a rather rigid vintage lace dress in Wild Child one afternoon, it practically begged me to take it home and slash it! I took a scissors to it and poof! - she was ready to layer over pants, skirts and dresses.

One day I will replicate every headscarf, pantsuit and potato sack in Lucy's part functional, part eccentric wardrobe, but for now, this mangled find will see me through a zany shenanigan or two.

threads: {bra - asos} {skirt - penney's} {housecoat - mangled vintage} {boots - penney's} {wrist bling - vintage} {ear rings - d.i.y.}


three old bitches

Inhabitants of the city of Dublin will already be aware of my obsession with the canine species - many's the dog owner who's caught me perving off their pooch of a Sunday's eve...

I'm desperate for one of my own, but location, lifestyle and my tendancy to be a complete sham of a human being don't really allow it. If my goldfish Ginger makes it to her third birthday, maybe then I'll think about introducing
a wee mutt into my family. For now, I'll continue to whore myself around for dogsitting duties and secretly hope someone lands a little flea bag in my lap.

I only kinda sorta coordinate with Minnie and Medjie in these shots (does two tone hair count?), but for a masterclass in doggie uniformity, look no further than the character of Nadine Hale in Easter Parade, played by the irrepressible Ann Miller, who I conveniently bigged up in
this post earlier today!

threads: {swimsuit - vintage} {skirt - vintage...note the full-on leopard heads in the pattern!} {furs - M&S} {boots - shady Indian gentleman} {bag - penneys} {belt - vintage} {ear bling - vintage}

{Minnie and Medjie appear courtesy of the haus of Claire and Djamel}


style swoon - ann miller

Today I'm bigging up Ann Miller - the woman with the fastest feet in Hollywood.

She knew how to wear clothes, she loved the company of gentlemen, she danced well into her 50s, had ginormous hair, and was a consummate glamourpuss right 'til the end.


white and cold

I was angry today, so I dressed for combat. For me, this means black, mesh, leather, a little ammo and some ink - as you can see, I got a little overzealous with one of the the address stamps in Ruth's studio!

I'd be a perjurious ho if I said this hair colour doesn't make me feel like icy temptress Kim Novak, so it's been coming in extra handy when I need to give someone the cold shoulder.

threads: {bodysuit - aa} {skirt- asos} {harness - d.i.y.} {scarf - oxfam} {boots - topshop} {tats - studio62photography}


green trash

...after the Gaga show, chanelling the Lady who taught us that nasty, skanky and trashy can be beautiful too.

threads: {dress - mangled vintage from sister's '90s wardrobe} {belt bling - recycled neck bling} {ribbon - eh...it's a ribbon}


that gangsta luvin'

Some days, you just feel like hustlin'...

(more information on gangsta luv can be found here, here and here.)

threads: {bodysuit - aa} {boiler suit - mangled wild child vintage} {belt - cut up corset} {neck bling - some hockster in NYC} {hand bling - topshop} {boots - unidentified Indian man on Meath St.}

what an 'andsome 'ead, they'd have said...

It's but a week 'til the most bewitching day of the year and I'm still no further along with my Hallowe'en costume than I was back in July, thanks to these massively distracting ladies who hang out in the window of my local joke shop. I just can't resist their creepy, creepy charms...

The more I look at this picture, the more I feel like Worzel Gummidge. If you don't remember Worzel Gummidge, it was a hugely creepy children's TV show in the '80s about a tragic scarecrow with an array of interchangeable turnip heads. 
If you do remember Worzel Gummidge... well, bless your heart.

threads: {dress - mangled vintage} {cardigan - mam find} {other - penney's}


tomorrow's threads

what's your favourite colour, baby?

If it wasn't already obvious, I've got a huge soft spot for animal prints. I've been known to set myself the challenge of making it through whole weekends wearing nothing but. 

I love to tell people that leopard is my favourite colour. When they reply that leopard is not a colour at all, I simply scream 
'It is, too! It's a living colour!',
claw them across the tummy and dash dramatically into a nearby jungle to hide in the forestscape.
Thank god for this spotted coat of mine...

threads: {bra - asos} {skirt - penney's} {shirt - h&m} {neck bling - leftovers} {hand bling - asos + topshop} 
{shoes - c/o unidentified Indian man on Meath St.}