Yesterday I did something quite unusual. I took Saturday off and after my usual exercise classes, I went for a movie, coffee, a walk around Soho and then dinner. The movie was W.E.--preposterous, beautiful and heavily marked by Madonna's world view. I went with Ben and Brynn and await Ben's review as it will likely be spot on and well written as always. Despite all its flaws, it was incredibly useful as an example for at least two chapters of my book. Before the movie, we hit Billy's Bakery for treats--banana pudding for Ben, a red velvet cupcake for Brynn and chocolate marbled cheesecake for me--which we ate during the previews and opening act. Afterwards, we went to a cafe, postmortemed the movie and then headed our own ways.
As I was in Soho, I did a little window-shopping, which reminded me of weekends a decade ago where I'd hit up the same stores and plan what I'd buy in the sales. For the first time in a long while I went to Jill Stuart, a long ago favourite for her well made vintage-inspired dresses and blouses. I was surprised to find some beautiful resort dresses reminiscent of the 1940s that I'll try to buy on sale, along with a few lovely 1920s style dresses for spring (possibly a little too pastel for me but attractive nonetheless). The quality of the clothes and their designs made me wonder why this is a label too often overlooked, not widely carried by online boutiques and generally seen as very different from some of the independent designers like Lyell in its heyday. Certainly Stuart opts for more bright colours and girly fabrics and has at times gone overboard with embellishments but her vintage style day dresses, whether 1920s, 40s or 60s inspired, the craftsmanship of her line and her sometimes spot-on vintage style prints are certainly worth considering as options in a fairly limited market. I'm not interested in her more prom queen offerings or her cheap Jill line which has much of the charm of bridesmaid's dresses, but I'm certainly penciling Jill Stuart back on my list--but only on sale. I'm no longer able to afford or justify $400+ dresses. It's a shame so few of her garments make it to ebay and also a shame that her lookbooks favour a very girlish--juvenile?--aesthetic/styling but the dresses below otherwise have a great deal of potential.