I have to admit, I'm one of those people who is terrible at remembering names, but it's rare that I forget a face. So it was with some surprise, that when reading a press release about a splendid new tome entitled Fashion Fabulous London 2012, that I instantly recognised the "sartorial uniqueness" of milliner Tracy Rose.
I often used to see Tracy (pictured above), a tabloid picture editor's dream, adorned with one of her own, larger-than-life, attention-grabbing creations on the London Fashion Week circuit. All I can say, is that this lady makes Donatella Versace look understated.
But, and this is a BIG but, what I, and indeed most people love about London's fashion scene, is that it's a bit bonkers. Tracy, and indeed anybody else, could quite as easily look at my style of dress on any given day and like, or dislike what they see. One of the privileges of living in this uniquely tolerant, omni-cultural and fashion-forward city, is that to an extent, you can wear what you like without most people batting an eye lid.
I may not like Tracy's outfits, but I do see how much Press coverage she has accrued over the years at horse racing events, and boy is she a smart cookie. It's a brave woman who has obscenely-long acrylic nail extensions painted to match the various colours in her outfit. Talons so long they'd give Freddy Krueger size envy.
To be fair, what fun would the races be without all the champagne-sipping, people-watching and outfit scoring?? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have all adopted ultra-zany ensembles as part and parcel of their cartoonish Pop personae, and they're sitting front row at the couture shows while I type alone in my bedroom. Clearly, someone is having the last laugh, and FYI, it's not me.
Hats off to Tracy, and her husband / co-writer and journalist Russell Rose (pictured above), for their new tome, Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is an accomplished and comprehensive guide to London style. Encompassing everything from the best of the city's markets, quirky independent urban retailers, and high street chains, to the heady glamour of Bond Street's boutiques, the book even advises on the most modish cafes and restaurants. Addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses are all provided. The couple devised a list of their Top 200 destinations, with an additional key serving as an indicator of "wow factor", choice, service and price.
As a fellow fashion insider, I was keen to see whether some of the less obvious shopping destinations I frequent had been documented. Indeed they had been, Aquascutum, Aspinal of London, B Store, Beyond The Valley, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Harry's of London, Jaeger, Kokon to Zai, Liberty, Maison Martin Margiela, River Island, Selfridges, Stephen Webster, Topman, Turnbull & Asser, Unconditional and Zara were all present, not to mention markets such as Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Portobello, Greenwich, East Street and Camden. Even some of my favourite dining spots and watering holes made it into print, with classic haunts such as The Ivy, Claridges, Nobu and the Wolseley all receiving a well-deserved name check.
An Amanda Wakely catwalk shot from the back cover.
A Jil Sander boutique shot from the back cover.
Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is priced at £12.99, available at Waterstone's, Harrods, Selfridges, Oliver Bonas and all major bookstores.