OPEL WREN blog post

opel wrenopel wren 1As you all know I love online shopping and am happy to waste away hours searching for the perfect items on eBay, but  when searching for the perfect fringed jacket recently, I came across ‘The Stellar Boutique‘, it was a real find as the online shop is filled with vintage treasures and genuine Moroccan accessories. I fell in love with every single one of the bags and couldn’t stop myself mentally designing a new flat filled with treasure from their home section.

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I checked out the about me section of the website and was fascinated to hear more about Stellas life, so I got in contact with her and wanted to share this amazing woman with you guys. The shop was created by owner Stella as an outlet to showcase designers and artists from around the world, she is pretty much living the dream, living in a hippy farm house in the Spanish countryside with in her own words ‘a menagerie of dogs, cats, goats, sheep and chickens’.
After graduating from University for the Creative Arts with a degree in fashion design in 2000, Stella went on to design for Topshop in London; assisted at the Times newspaper’s fashion department; worked in visual merchandising for Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer; and spent time as a stylist both independently and for the BBC. With such a huge range of experience under her belt, she was able to successfully launch her own label in 2002 which was sold in Topshop, Oxford Street amongst others. She spent 3 years on her stall in Portobello Market, selling hand picked vintage to the likes of Stella McCartney and Kate Moss, being able to count Kate Moss as one of your regulars is a huge achievement and something I am very jealous of!
She has spent the last 10 years working in the fashion industry and travelling the globe collecting treasure which has provided the inspiration for The Stellar Boutique, I love this idea because I am such a hoarder I love to pick up bits and pieces whilst away in the hope that one day I could use them. I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces from the website, you can the website out here and I hope you like what you see as much as I did!
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Big thanks to Sophie at Opel Wren blog for this fabulous post!

2011 trends, London and Portobello Rd.

This years PURE fashion trade show for the spring/summer and autumn/winter trends was as eventful as ever.  Here’s a little look at some of the highlights…..

GMTV's Mark Heyes, talking us through some key looks for S/S11

A/W11 Trends
The legendary Zandra Rhodes celebrates 50 years in the business with her new collection.

the original Pink Lady
Katie Price makes an appearance to launch her new fashion label!

Here’s a sneak preview of The Stellar Boutique’s Spring Summer Collection by ‘Maggie+Me’ on it’s way for May.

Topshop at Oxford Circus,  displaying my favourite trend of the moment – Aztec Tribal.

No visit to London could ever be complete without a trip down the Portobello Road, Notting Hill, to visit old haunts and good friends at the  eclectic & eccentric vintage clothing/flea Market.  Picking up a few vintage treasures along the way!

Local legendary graffiti artist, Banksy, decorates the streets of Portobello….

Queens Of Vintage interviews Stella from The Stellar Boutique ….. June 10

After spending time selling her vintage finds in Portobello, Greenwich and Spitalfields markets, Stella decided to set up her own online shop, The Stellar Boutique. Having worked on the idea for two years, Stella decided on the name because it incorporated her name (Stella) without actually being directly about her. The boutique officially opened its ‘virtual doors’ in July 2009. Here, Stella gives Neandra Etienne a glimpse into her vintage world, talks about her love of James Dean and why she’s still a hippie at heart.

Neandra Etienne for QoV: What has been your most favourite item in the shop?

Stella: It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one piece! Some of my current favourites would be the Raj style vintage brooch in the vintage jewellery section for it’s quirkiness, the floral jumpsuit is pure Eighties vintage at it’s best, the Chanel style twin set is particularly cute and I love the Eighties Americana biker T-shirt as it’s so iconic and incredibly current! That’s one item I really wanted to keep for myself!

QoV: If you could step back into time, what decade would you travel to and why?

Stella: Oh, good question! Well, I’ve always been a huge James Dean fan so I’d have to go back to the Fifties at about age 15 and experience the dawning of  ‘the teenager’! That would mean I would be in my twenties to get the very best out of my favourite era – the Sixties. To have been a part of the hippie movement and of course to experience Woodstock would just be amazing. For me, the music, fashion and philosophy of that decade has defined so much of what we are today. Peace and love all the way!

QoV: Describe what a typical day is like for you?

Stella: My typical day starts at around 9am. Feeding the menagerie and walking my dogs is first on the agenda. Next is a trip into town to the post office to send off the customer orders from the last 24 hours. Then, armed with a coffee and a roll up, my laptop (and music) goes on at around 11am and I start by working my way through the mountain of emails from press, customers, designers and suppliers.

This can often take up the majority of my day but I try to keep the afternoon free for photo shoots and uploading new products. I have to prise myself away from the computer at around 6pm for the second dog walk of the day, then it’s back to work which usually ends anywhere between 2-4am in the morning. I am a bit of a night owl and I find I am at my most creative and productive in the early hours.

QoV: How do you feel the vintage market has changed since you first opened?

Stella: It’s very interesting to have witnessed the evolution of vintage clothing over the last 15 years. When I started collecting, it was simply called ‘retro’. It’s only really over the last 10 years that the term ‘vintage’ has been used for clothing as opposed to just cars & wine etc.!  Of course there have always been vintage collectors, but the last decade has seen a massive shift in attitudes towards vintage clothing.

There used to be a lot more resistance towards the concept of wearing ‘second hand’ clothes. Fortunately, it’s no longer viewed in such a way and I am delighted that the rest of the world has cottoned on. Vintage clothing is now very much ‘in vogue’ and has been propelled into the limelight by iconic fashion figures such as Juliette Lewis, Kate Moss and Chloe Sevigny.

QoV: Have you got any advice or tips for new customers wanting to visit your shop?

Stella: The concept for The Stellar Boutique derived from the idea that you can shop for your wardrobe, home and lifestyle all under one roof. I wanted to create an outlet where shoppers can buy something original and one-off that they won’t find in the average high street store. I make it my mission to scour the globe looking for unique items to encourage people to have fun with fashion and experiment with their own personal sense of style.

I try to distance myself from the current ethos of teaching your customers ’how to dress like a celebrity’ like at so many other online shops. This only leads to the death of originality. Look out for the menswear new and vintage collections which are coming soon, meaning you’ll be able to pick up a little something for the man in your life at the same time – perfect guilt free shopping!

Vintage clothing, back with the 80s…….Costa eye Oct 09

costaeye vintage 80s

Fashion is a cyclical thing, and in every new collection there are influences of bygone eras. This winter, it is the turn of the 80s, and with it, the revival of several different looks, from the biker chick to Parisian glam chic to a resurgence in 80s sportswear.

As Europe claws its way out of recession, another trend that was popular in the 80s is also making a comeback – buying second hand. Wading through the immense crowds at London’s famous Portobello and Camden markets confirms that today’s fashionistas are loving the 80s revival, and want to wear the original item.

Just like the forty-somethings today, who with their teenage pocket money chose second hand clothes to craft into the most gregarious punk and new romantic outfits, young people now, who want to look bang- up- to- date but also don’t want to be seen wearing the same outfit as the next person, are turning to second hand.

If there ever was a stigma to wearing second hand clothes, it certainly doesn’t exist now. Not only is it super cool to wear a unique original, people know a lot more about the value of recycling than they did in the 80s. Second hand can also be very cheap, depending on who designed it of course, and often the quality is better than the mass-produced clothing in abundance on our high streets.

Stella McClure, a former Top Shop fashion designer and stylist, who in later years sold vintage clothing to the likes of Kate Moss and Stella McCartney from her stall at Portobello market,  is an advocate of all that is original.

Now operating from Barcelona, Stella has brought vintage clothing to Spain through her online shop, thestellarboutique.com. She said: “Vintage clothing is quite a new concept in Spain. The only place I have ever seen vintage clothing shops is in Barcelona and even here, there are only really a handful of them – nothing in comparison to London and the rest of the UK, which is a real shame.”
“I handpick my vintage clothes to relate to the current trends, and at the moment I have  lots of snakeskin and mock croc chain bags, 80’s shoes, studded rock chick belts and classic wayfarer sunglasses in neon brights.”

“In our consumer society, where so much is wasted, it makes sense to make greater use of what we already have. Turning beautiful relics from the past into iconic fashion pieces enables people to dress creatively, individually and with the confidence of knowing they are the only person wearing that outfit. It’s recycling at its best.”

In some areas of Spain, online may be the only way to purchase that one-off vintage piece. But in other areas, particularly some coastal regions, charity shops are opening up, and rastrillos or car boot sales are also great places to hunt for a bargain.

Here are some tips provided by Stella McClure on the trends to look out for this winter:

Biker chick: Studded belts, biker jackets, studded high-heeled ‘gladiator’ shoes and leather biker boots with lots of buckles.

Boho chic: Loose Tshirts, sequined tops and jackets, leather boho tassel bags, ethnic boho belts with coins, and leather boots with tassels.

Punk: Sparkly leggings or stonewash skinny jeans with animal print tops, baggy Tshirts and denim jackets.

Easy luxe: a relaxed take on early 80s sportswear, soft tailoring and loose tops, and camel coats.

Parisian: Effortless glam chic, Breton stripped tops and skinny trousers, couture- like ruffles and draping, sequins and cashmere, and lots of bright red lipstick.

Anything with square studs, sparkly sequins, animal prints and tassels.

Jumpsuits and playsuits are still big, as are clutch bags and over-the-knee boots. Shoulder pads are back but are more pointed and sharp than the shoulder pads of the 80s.

Jewellery is big and bold, over sized necklaces and chunky jewels and fringing is hot this season. Shoes are either incredibly high or have a court heel.

Colours that are big this winter are luxurious tones of indigo, purples and blues and some opulent shades of green. Black is, as always, very big but also grey, and more neutral shades such as beige and taupe. Grey tweed and ‘dogtooth’ prints are also big news.
For online vintage clothing in Spain, go to thestellarboutique.com.

The Sunday Times: Stella McClure (newspaper article 2004)

The Times Newspaper article

In a world of apparent political and economic instability, a Jennifer Lopez-style image — $10,000 Versace dresses, fake tan and real diamonds — seems not aspirational but irrelevant. So on shoestring budgets, and often with no training, young women are creating their own ad hoc, random subcultures. Don’t like the music that’s on the radio? Start your own band. Don’t like the images being pushed by magazines? Create your own ’zine. Bored with the clothes on the catwalks? Buy second-hand pieces and customise them yourself.

It’s DIY culture writ large, it’s tinged with feminism and it’s fast becoming one of the big cultural forces in Britain.

Also reflecting this aesthetic is Stella McClure, a 26-year-old stallholder at Portobello market in west London. She used to work for Levi’s but found the experience unsatisfying. She now sells customised second-hand clothes and her own handmade range of bags under the slogan “Granny made me do it”.

“When I was at college I did aspire to the whole Prada thing, but now I get much more pleasure from going to a jumble sale and picking something random up for 20p,” she says.

“If you have all the money in the world, of course you can go into Dolce & Gabbana and come out looking great, but that doesn’t take any skill or imagination.”

Her next line of clothes will be a range of T-shirts with political slogans. It includes a picture of the Queen’s face above the slogans “squatter” and ”Head of the British mafia” designs that subconsciously references the Sex Pistols’ infamous “God save the Queen” image.

By Kira Cochrane,  The Times.


See the full article here