Sloane Style and the World of Jilly Cooper

Jilly Cooper is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, novels, and romance.  But it is her stories centering around the fictional Rutshire countryside and character Rupert which are the ones I love the most.  I always have one of these books on my bedside table and even though I may be reading other books at the same time, like an old friend, she keeps me comfort.  
Jilly Cooper with her husband Leo.

Jilly has been the single most important influence on my writing since I was 22 years old.  A flat-mate gave me a copy of “The Man Who Made Husband’s Jealous” because after completing my final university exams I was desperate to read something other than pre-18th century literature.  I passed on my copy of “The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous” to another friend, and then went about searching book stores for copies of her other books in the series which, in the end, were all passed around from friend to friend as we all became obsessively hooked on Jilly’s stories of Rupert Campbell-Black – her most infamous character and the descriptions of life in the English countryside which she so beautifully depicted.

I picked up my very tattered copy “Polo” last week and began reading it for what is most likely my tenth time.  True!  She is always the writer I turn to in times of need.  When my gorgeous girl friend Kirsty moved recently she had a copy of “Riders” with her because “It brings me comfort in a time of stress and uncertainty”, she said.  

So in love with her stories, I once wrote to Jilly because I just had to let her know how wonderful she was and how her books made me laugh, cry and wish for a life in the English countryside.  I never believed that she would even get my letter, but she did and she wrote back too!  She loved my letter – you couldn’t imagine how it made me feel!

My letter from Jilly Cooper.

My friends and I all agree that we feel that Jilly’s characters are close friends so well we know them, often referring to them in conversation and even naming our pets after them.  

When writing this post I realised that I could inject a style note here after all because in her books, Jilly often refers to the ladies at the polo matches and the horse jumping shows that all remind me of a look that I became all too familiar with at University.  

Girls who were called Sloan Rangers there where so because of their Laura Ashley and Liberty print blouses, antique fob necklaces, RM Williams’ riding boots and an air of snobbishness about them.  Their hair was almost always long and thick and perfect.  They had a family with money and had spent their highschool years at exclusive boarding schools in Sydney where they built up a vast network with other Sloane Rangers.

Dolce & Gabbana

The term Sloane Rangers originated in London’s Chelsea.  The girls were named after their main shopping address – Sloane Street.  Sloane style is typically conservative and usually features tweed, velvet, blazers and headscarves – all trademarks of the look with a predilection for the countryside. 

Trends recently have seen a throwback to the styles of the 80s, among them ballet flats, bows, blazers,  head scarves and pretty blouses, even Liberty has a collection for Target in America.

Kate Middleton has become the poster child for the return of the Sloane Ranger (but really, did they every actually leave?) and she is right up there with Trinny Woodall, Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller, Jemima Khan, Elle McPherson and even Gwyneth Paltrow (some people might think I’m wrong here, but oh well).

But it was Princess Diana whom essentially brought the Sloane Ranger style into the mainstream by wearing her traditional country style from the early days of her engagement to Prince Charles that made her the archetypal Sloane Ranger.  Those pictures of her taken at Balmoral on after returning from their honeymoon show her in true Sloane Ranger style.


Sources:  Jilly Cooper’s ‘Polo’, , The Sartorialist, The Guardian Newspaper, Garance Dorè,

Who is Catherine Baba?

A year ago, I didn’t know who Catherine Baba was, but now I am beginning to understand that this a woman who marches to the beat of her own drum, and  you should know that her drum will be the most original and stylish drum in town.

Aside from Anna Piaggi, I don’t think there is anyone more daring and bold with her personal style out there on the fashion radar right now.  Catherine is wild!

There is not a lot of information available out there about Catherine.  She has a website, but her biography section is still in production, so what I have found so far is all here for you.  Catherine is a freelance stylist.  She was born in Australia and has lived in Paris for about 15 years.  

Photo by Ahli Madahvi

Catherine’s style is all her own.  She has a penchant for old style hollywood glamour right out of the 30s but she mixes it up with a dash of Stevie Nicks gypsy and 70s disco diva hair and make up with barely there brows.  Turbans, furs, cigarette holders are all affectations that make up her style.  Baba has styled for fashion houses including Chanel, Givenchy and magazines such as DAZED & CONFUSED, VOGUE, GIOELLO, STILETTO and VANITY FAIR.  

Not for nothing has Catherine been called “the most stylish woman in Paris” many times.

I believe that it is purely her aura of confidence that allows Catherine to carry off her style.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Confidence is key.

Catherine has confidence that oozes out of her, most notably in the way she dresses, but also with the ways she walks and holds herself posing for pictures.  She is no stranger to making an entrance or a statement in all that she does, even bicycling her way around Paris in her gorgeous killer heels no less! 

This confidence is obviously an attribute that has added to her talent as a stylist.

“Know who you are, be prepared for everything, drink every experience to it’s extend and expand!  It can be a bumpy ride, trust me, it’s worth it DARLING.” – Catherine Baba

Catherine defines a Fashion Stylist as thus:
“Evoking a language from a style that exists and taking it further.”

“For me is is as much to be inspired as well as to inspire! What would be the ideal breakout for you? To continue …MORE MORE MORE!”
 – Catherine Baba

“I don’t believe in unexpectencies in general. Everything happens for a reason and all our encounters are pre-destined. A lot of my “unexpected” encounters have all lead to greater exchanges and collaborations. For instance, a major example is with the photographer Ali Mahdavi, with who I have met through Jeremy Scott, whom I met through another lifestyle, quite spontaneous 13 years ago, when we were all “giving birth to ourselves” Today we have a great collaborative vocabulary that is completely inspiring” – Catherine Baba 

“J’adore, darling.”
Yes, J’adore.


Sources: ,, Jak&
Quotes from an interview with Catherine Baba by Filep Motwary,

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Picture of the Week

I just had to share this picture with you.  God I love W, they always do such risquè shoots, promoting coupledom controversy (read: Brad and Angelina before they came out).
Don’t these two look hot?  I love Gerard Butler, he’s sooo delicious!  And Jen, well, who doesn’t love her, or at the very least, envy her in this shot? 

April W Magazine cover photographed by Steven Klein.

Who cares if they’ve been photoshopped to the hilt, it’s still one smokin’ photo-shoot!
Can’t wait to see their movie they did together, “The Bounty Hunter”.

View more from the W website here.


Source: W Magazine

Oscar’s Best Dressed Ladies of 2010!

Ok, so really this is one of my favourite times of the year because my best friend Kirsty and I have made watching the Academy Awards a tradition since we were about 14 or 15 years old.  I don’t think we have ever actually watched them in the same room together but boy oh boy, the dissection we gave it the next day, it was easy to waste a lot of time talking about it!  Only in recent years has the gowns and the fashion become as important for us and perhaps probably now a more talked about aspect of the awards then the awards themselves.  

And so, here is my top pick of the best-dressed ladies on the red carpet at this year’s Oscars.

Carey Mulligan in Prada with Swarovski crystals. 

One of the simplest gowns of the night, and probably my favourite.  Why?  It just looks so darn cute and comfortable!  Carey wears it well and her cute pixie cut suits her choice of gown so well.  

Zoe Saldana in Givenchy Couture by Riccardo Tisci.

Love it, love it, love it!  The frills, the bling on the bodice but most of all, the colour, or should I say colours!  Zoe chose a daring gown, and her instinct didn’t fail her.  Heaven!

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Dries Van Noten

Maggie always manages to make a statement with her red carpet choices.  She is daring and bold and doesn’t shy away from going outside the lines with her choice of designers either.  I love this dress for it’s beautiful print, the blue is so pretty and with the pink lips, just perfect!

Kristen Stewart in Monique Lhullier

While we are aware the Kristen is obviously uncomfortable with the whole red carpet scene, she looks like a million bucks here.  The dress and the navy blue compliment her complexion and her figure to a T.

Meryl Streep in Chris March.

Meryl looks like elegance personified in this simple white gown.  She knows how to dress for her shape and wears it well.  I cannot believe the woman is 60!

Rachel McAdams in Elie Saab Couture

Perfection.  Rachel looks divine, no need for expensive baubles for her, no way, Rachel’s smile is all she needs to finish off this beautiful gown.

Sigourney Weaver in Lanvin.

I hope I look this good at her age.  I love this woman, she is just the best.  This classic red compliments her colouring beautifully.  

Cameron Diaz in Oscar de la Renta. 

I was impressed with Cam this year.  Most years she turns up with messy hair, chipped nail polish, and well, looking less than fresh.  

Jennifer Lopez in Armani Privè.

Mrs Marc Anthony looks glamourous, and surprisingly youthful, don’t you think?  Such a beautifully constructed gown, it would look good on anybody really, but it’s nice to see Jen looking so classy.

And now I must add a dishonourable mention to my list because I cannot not mention it.  

Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel Haute Couture.

I am so disappointed with SJP.  The dress is a failure, it just doesn’t work.  She looks dreadful and I just don’t know how this gown made it past the initial sketching phase.  Harsh, maybe.  But when you compare this gown the others above, well, I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.



Fall Is Called Autumn Where I Live

The Burberry Trench, classic denim and white button down shirt (photo by The Sartorialist)

A new season is upon us!
Although with the weather here lately, I think that mother nature has maybe forgotten that little detail because it has been raining for over 24 hours straight, and it is still hot and muggy (balmy you might say).  

Even so, I am not complaining because today I got to wear my first pair of jeans in 5 months! It’s just been too darn hot here to even look at a pair of jeans, so today was a real treat.

I am excited about the coming months of cooler weather.  I am not going to have to bring out the big heavy winter coats (a plus actually), but I will get to wear my scarves and hats, which I adore!

Layering was huge in the Northern Hemisphere this past winter, so I cannot wait to experiment with one of my favourite ways to dress over the coming months.

Photo by Garance Dorè

And so with this little post, I just wish to whet your appetite because as it is only the second official day of Autumn, there are 3 months of the best season of the year still to come!


Sources: With thanks to The Sartorialist and Garance Dorè

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