Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rediscovered Gems

I recently enjoyed an afternoon browsing at a local antiques fair. I'm a bit of a regular at the fairs and often get recognised by the sellers, so I always make sure I'm glammed up as I have a standard to uphold, plus it keeps all the old dears entertained! I was there to collect a ring that was being resized for me; a ring that I fell in love with a few months ago and have been eager to collect ever since... but more on that later.

The turban-esque hat I am wearing has constantly been on my head since I purchased it. The rich red colour and velvet exterior make it the perfect hat for this time of year. I added a little articulated peacock brooch, as no turban is complete without a central jewel! As I was wearing high-waisted trousers, I wanted to keep my outfits proportions sleek with a cropped jacket. Luckily, in the depths of my wardrobe I found this fur collared creation, which I haven't worn in years. Long leather gloves ensured my arms didn't succumb to frostbite.

Jacket (Mango), vintage hat, shoes (Kurt Geiger), gloves (Oasis), trousers (Louise Amstrup for ASOS), vest (Topshop), top (H&M)

And here is the ring I was collecting.... The setting and overall design is nothing too special, however it is the central stone that had me instantly enamoured. The vivid, fiery red glows like lava. My boyfriend so eloquently said it looks like a 'cheap ruby', it is in fact a fire opal. I'd never heard of these before, and found its colour fascinating especially in comparison to the 'common' opal. The couple who sold it to me (who, incidentally, also sold me my Victorian beetle brooch) don't normally stock jewellery from the mid-century, however they made an exception with this ring as they considered it so special, and I have to agree!

C.1950-1960 fire opal and diamond ring

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I'm back in England after my little trip to Scotland. It was cold and snowy, just the way I like it. The main reason for my visit was to try on my bridesmaid dress, as my brother and his fiancée live up in Scotland. Visiting a bridal shop was way too fun.
This is a bit of a lame outfit post, but I just wanted to share the vintage jacket I found a couple of weeks ago. This sort of faux Chinese styling complete with frogging can look kind of tacky (Louis Vuitton's last collection springs to mind) but I love the colours and as long as I show a bit of restraint when styling it, I'm sure its not too bad taste. The jacket is warmer than it looks, being fully quilted.

Vintage jacket, hat (Oasis), gloves (M&S), boots (Blay), trousers (New Look)

Cheeky sneak-peek at my dress. It's a gorgeous purple, in quite a simple, elegant style. Excuse the straggly hair, I got incredibly snowed on just before I went to the dress shop.

The hallway to my brother's flat is full of beautiful antiquated portraits. One lady in particular had her black hair piled high on her head in a massive bouffant. She reminded me of someone...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

HoH 2nd Birthday Highlights

House of Harps is two years old today, so in a similar vein to last years birthday celebrations, I am posting my favourite outfits from the past year. I certainly haven't blogged as much this year, but I am grateful to those of you who have stuck with me. I am currently enjoying my annual jaunt up to Scotland, and should have some suitably snowy photos coming up....

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Triple Fringed

My parents brought me this scarf back from Spain recently. It's dark green, velvet and fringed; they know me well! To keep the scarf in place I added a little silver fringed shoe clip. I paired it with a fringed tunic (too much fringe in one outfit is an impossibility) and leggings and boots for a casual Autumnal outfit. The belt is yet another member of my growing collection of antique EPSN belts. I can only assume this one is of Scottish origin, as it has two thistles incorporated into the design.

Cardigan (Zara), boots (Blay), tunic (boohoo), antique belt.

Black and silver sparkly nails, slightly immature but the magpie in me loves sparkles.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Giorgio Armani sent typically sleek and sophisticated ensembles down the catwalk back in September for the SS2011 collection; nothing too amazing, but look 17 certainly caught my eye. The silhouette reminded me immediately of the 1916 costume below, designed by Percy Anderson, worn by Patricia Olive. Dramatic pagoda tiers over harem pants may not be the most flattering or sensible silhouette, but it sure is enchanting.

Designers in the early years of the 20th century were captivated by the allure of the Far and Middle East. Costumes designed for stage performances of Arabian Nights tales and the Ballets Russes inspired fashion designers of the time, most notably Poiret, who beautifully translated exotic fabrics, cuts and patterns into European tastes. All the examples below are costumes designed for the stage or a party, however the layered silhouette is typical of the era and would have been worn by the most fashion-forward of ladies, albeit in a watered down manner.

I thought I had far more examples of this fabulous silhouette, but alas not. I'm being rather pedantic in not including Poirets lampshade tunic silhouette, which is very similar, but without the distinctive tiers of the pagoda shape. If you have any images to contribute, then please do share!

Chu Chin Chow costume, 1916

Pagoda costume 1914, image from Costumes Parisienes

Paul Poiret costume - 1911

images from style.com and artnet.com

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