Thursday, 17 March 2011

Help Japan: What Can We Do?

Watching the events unfold in Japan has been heart-wrenching, shocking and, at times, seemingly unbelievable. That's the view from our homes and workplaces, so drastically removed from the remnants of those replayed before us. Particularly painful is the idea that such places (especially the former), are supposed to be safe, constant locations in which - and as a result of which - our lives can unfold. Watching and wishing and praying we can all do, but is there anything else? Certainly, there are many organisations through which you can donate (see the British Red Cross). In addition, there are various fundraising initiatives, all innovative alternatives to the traditional donation route. Why not try one of these..?

A wonderful idea, bringing together London's professional and budding bakers, plus all of us sweet-treat lovers, Cakes for Japan is a big bake sale, sushi-inspired. Taking place tomorrow (Friday 18th March) from 11am - 7pm, and Saturday 19th March from 12pm to 7pm, you will discover delights to include: black sesame and matcha macaroons, jasmine and green tea cupcakes, sushi cake pops by Molly Bakes and edible Japanese Kokeshi dolls. This popular-before-it's-even-happened pop-up shop has inspired the same event in Edinburgh (26th March), Leeds (2nd April), Manchester (dates tbc) and Munich, Germany (19th/20th March). Run by Miss Cakehead, London's event will take place at Maiden, 199 Shoreditch High Street. All proceeds will go to the British Red Cross. Click here to become a Cakes for Japan helper or baker.

Sushi cake pops by Molly Bakes
Sushi cake pops, by Molly Bakes

KULTE t-shirt
French fashion brand KULTE designed this 'Big in Japan' t-shirt, in response to Japan's tsunami. Support organisations in Japan will receive all funds. You can buy your KULTE t-shirt on their website, for just €20.

KULTE 'Big in Japan' t-shirt
KULTE 'Big in Japan' t-shirt

Lady Gaga: We Pray for Japan
Love her or loathe her, Lady Gaga has been urging fans to donate via purchase of her own-design "We Pray for Japan" wristband. Featuring the simple, powerful words in both Japanese and English (alongside her signature 'claw' design), the red and white wristband is available at Lady Gaga's online store for just $5. In the first two days since release on March 13th, Gaga reportedly raised $250,000.

Lady Gaga's 'We Pray for Japan' wristband
Lady Gaga's 'We Pray for Japan' wristband

Alex Monroe
Already a fond fan of Mr Monroe, for his exquisite jewellery and ethical efforts, I was pleased to discover that he wished to help. For every item sold via Alex Monroe's website over the next 4 weeks, £5 will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross 'Japan Tsunami Appeal'. In case you need any persuasion, here are two of my favourite current designs...

Alex Monroe bicycle necklace
Alex Monroe 'Vintage Bicycle' necklace, £210

Alex Monroe key charm
Alex Monroe 'Little Key' charm, £165

Are you involved in any Japan fundraisers/events? Do you have any suggestions for City Girl (EC1)'s readers? I look forward to hearing from you. X

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Shoe Salon launch party at Harrods

I am so thankful to everybody for bearing with me, throughout my current crazy period. Not much longer to go, until I have plenty more time to share stories with you. Keep those eyes peeled for a relaunch of City Girl Diaries (EC1) too! In the meanwhile, here's a recap of one very special night out...

The Shoe Salon launch party, Harrods
The Shoe Salon launch party invite

After the preparation, exhilaration and non-stop schedules of a typical fashion week, it's wonderful to celebrate the finale by sharing a cocktail or two with friendly faces. On the last night of London Fashion Week, I was invited to Harrods for the launch party of their humongous and super-slick Shoe Salon. If you're looking for a way to occupy your lady for the day, this place is it. Girls - you will need no persuasion. Ultra-rich, spacious and immaculately-designed, the air of exclusivity hits you as you enter from the First Floor. Resembling those high-end, luxury stores found in top French hotels, you wouldn't be surprised if you were offered champagne on a regular visit (here's hoping..!). Either way, this new London destination will appeal to all shoe-loving ladies. Put simply, it's a super-size slice of shopping heaven. From Art Deco-inspired ceilings, to reflective surfaces and shoes contained within glass platforms (no pun intended), the Shoe Salon showcases female footwear as works of art. With designers that include Christian Louboutin, Giuseppe Zanotti, Charlotte Olympia, Alexander McQueen and Rupert Sanderson, who would dare question that sentiment? Unfortunately I wasn't wearing my 'Christmas Louboutins' (aching LFW soles), but I spied several stunning pairs in the crowds. Meanwhile, the display by another of my current favourites, Mr Sanderson, was attracting much deserved attention indeed.

Rupert Sanderson Lightning shoes, S/S 2011
Rupert Sanderson S/S 2011 (Lightning)

Rupert Sanderson Antwerp Fuschia shoes, S/S 2011
Rupert Sanderson S/S 2011 (Antwerp Fuschia)

On paper, the Shoe Salon is no doubt a competitor to Selfridges' Shoe Galleries, however, I suspect customers will visit both, depending on their mood, intended purchase and area of London in which they find themselves. Nonetheless, Harrods has taken luxury to such heights that only Harrods can, and sometimes - particularly when you're about to spend a few hundred pounds on shoes - you desire that devilishly indulgent setting. While most brands will remain 'treat' purchases for you or I, this is one gorgeously girlie place to dream (and prepare those Christmas/birthday lists!). Having said that, you will find affordably stylish options by the likes of Kurt Geiger or Carvela.

A scrumptious Harrods 'shoe' cupcake

The party didn't take long to warm up, particularly once Florrie (followed by The Voguettes) took to the stage with her contagiously feel-good, indie-meets-disco-pop sound. A few berry-infused cocktails, canapés and celebrities later, this wasn't just the wind-down that I was hoping for, but a lot of excitement too. Discovering the games with lovely fashion/beauty ladies (inc. Really Ree, London Beauty Queen and High Fashion Society), my night took an unexpected turn as I won £200 towards shoes of my choice! Amazing. You can actually see a photo of me trying my hand at one of the games, here (4th photo down). To round things off beautifully, I unwrapped my gift bag in the taxi home to discover sweet treats, leather goods, eau de parfum and a pedicure voucher. To Harrods and its Shoe Salon: What a night. I'll be back soon.

The Harrods Shoe Salon gift bag - a few items!

Harrods + Biscuiteers = a work of art

Finally, before I go, here's a video of Florrie, who performed at the party. The song? Left Too Late...

I'd love to hear from you, as always! And, let me know what you'd like to see more/less of, when it comes to City Girl (EC1)'s re-launch..! X

Images: my own, with thanks to Rupert Sanderson.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License