Category Archives: book reviews

Book review: Boutique London A History: King’s Road to Carnaby Street

I picked up Boutique London A History: King’s Road to Carnaby Street by Richard Lester ( ACC Editions) last weekend and pretty much read through it in one afternoon. Starting off in the later Fifties, the book chronicles the gradual rise of Carnaby Street and Kings Road as the two most fashionable streets of the 1960s.

Featuring shops such as ‘Top Gear’ and ‘His Clothes’, as well as more famous ones such as ‘Granny Takes a Trip’ and, of course the Biba Boutique, the book really captures what made these shops such a success: the youthful determination of the designers and shop owners, who – bored with the old – decided to make fashion on their own terms.

I loved reading about the people behind the shops – what motivated Ossie Clark, how did Mary Quant set up shop – and found it quite inspirational to read that most of these people had nothing – no experience, no money – and yet through utter determination and hard work somehow made it, simply because of their love for fashion.

Boutique London also contains some great photos and illustrations again very inspirational to me – as well as interviews and quotes from retailers and shoppers.

If you’re interested in the history of British fashion or if you’re a modern-day shop owner in need of some inspiration, this is an absolute must read.

Tried and tested: Style Me Vintage

I’ve been wanting to buy the new vintage hairstyling book  Style Me Vintage by Belinda Hay ever since I stumbled across her  East London vintage salon The Painted Lady.

Belinda’s book promises easy setp-by-step techniques to some of the most popular vintage hair styles from finger waves, the peek-a-boo and Victory Rolls to the beehive and bouffant. And it doesn’t disappoint.

For starters, the book design is great, it’s a proper hard back and each hair style is accompanied by several pictures showcasing how the hair style was originally worn and its modern counterpart.

Then the styling instructions are easy, clear and illustrated with pictures for each stage. Thank goodness also that  all models are wearing period make-up and clothes – clearly a lot of effort has gone into getting each era just right.

While there aren’t that many styles in this book – only about ten – the highlight for me is that Style Me Vintage includes several Sixties styles such as the beehive, bouffant and Joan Holloway-esque up-do that are often neglected in other vintage hairstyling guides. I’ve tried out a Bardot inspired up do, which took me all of 15 minutes and turned out great the first time – result!

My verdict: a beautifully designed and illustrated book with excellent instructions on how to re-create classic period hair styles. My new vintage hair bible.

£9.99 on Amazon