Designer Desire: René Gruau

Mosaic of René Gruau illustrations | H is for Home

Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.

His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.

Portrait of René Gruau

Additional image credits:

Christies | Gruau Collection

Semi-permanent hair colour

Semi-permanent hair colour | H is for Home

This week, I had need of Justin to take a couple of photographs of me for an upcoming blog post. I don’t particularly like having my photo taken, but these were stunning; but not stunning in the way you’d expect though. I can’t believe how grey my hair has become!

I think the time has come for me to bite the bullet and get my hair dyed. I haven’t been to a hairdresser in about 30 years and I don’t really want to start now. A DIY job is what I have in mind. I don’t think I want to take the route where there’s no turning back, so I’m opting for a semi-permanent hair colour. If I hate it, at least it won’t be forever!

Because I’ve not tried this before I could really do with some advice. Do you use a semi-permanent hair colour? What brand do you use? How long does it last?

Here are three that I think may stop me looking like a mad cat lady!

  1. Nice’n Easy Colour Enhancer hair dye Medium Golden Brown 78: £5, Superdrug
  2. L’Oreal Paris Casting Creme Gloss 680 Choco Moccacino: £6.79, Boots
  3. Tints of Nature Organic Dark Brown semi permanent hair colour 90ml: £9.04, Amazon

Price Points: Overnight bags

Selection of overnight bags | H is for Home

We’re off to visit some friends in the Lakes soon. We’re only going for a weekend, but we’re really looking forward to revisiting one of our favourite places… and favourite friends!

We have a massive duffel bag on wheels that holds about a 2 weeks’ holiday worth of clothes, shoes and toiletries. However, we could really do with something smaller like a couple of overnight bags. Something that doesn’t encroach upon the dog’s domain in the back of our estate car. He travels heavier than we do – he has his bed, blanket, 2 food bowls, travel-size bag of food, towel, raincoat, lead and – unfortunately in his old age – prescription medicines. He needs so much paraphernalia, it’s like having a toddler!

  1. UU Family travel tote: from $45.66 USD, AliExpress
  2. Hand-crafted yellow overnight bag by Freeload Leather Accessories: £255, Notonthehighstreet
  3. ASPINAL OF LONDON Harrison leather overnight business bag: £695, Selfridges

Win tickets to York’s Festival of Vintage

Win a pair of Festival of Vintage tickets | H is for Home

We’ve teamed up with the award-winning Festival of Vintage to offer two of our readers a pair of tickets each to attend the upcoming festival. This April 22nd & 23rd it returns for its 7th year to York Racecourse and will once again be showcasing the best in vintage shopping, music, dancing and fashion.

Vintage shelves for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

A fun and nostalgic weekend, it attracts thousands of visitors, giving a feeling of being transported back in time. There’s a packed programme with three large halls of vintage shopping including fashion, homewares and furniture, two dance halls and music stages plus an impressive classic car display outside all focusing on the 1930s-1960s.

Rack of vintage clothes for sale at Festival of Vintage, York

There are so many extra things to see and do over the weekend such as craft ‘Make, Do and Mend’ workshops where you can learn a new skill, dance lessons covering many styles such as Lindy Hop and Jive and a variety of fashion shows. The Marks and Spencer Archive team returns to share their fashion history with everyone in Q&As and talks as well as show casing their favourite designs on the catwalk. There’s even a ‘Best Dressed’ contest where you can wow the judges and win cash prizes.

Couples dancing at the Festival of Vintage, York

With over 200 hand-picked vintage sellers from across the UK as well as 50 top quality vintage reproduction brands, the event is a honey pot for collectors and enthusiasts. Be it fashion, homewares, music, jewellery – there’ll be something there for everyone.

Vintage fabric for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

Doors open from 10am-5pm, both days. York Racecourse, York YO23 1EX. For more information visit www.festivalofvintage.co.uk or call 0113 3458699.

If you fancy this as a great day or weekend out leave us a comment below saying what you’d most look forward to seeing or doing at the Festival of Vintage.

Tickets to Festival of Vintage, York





Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | U Me and the Kids

Price Points: Old skool sneakers

Black old skool sneakers | H is for Home

My (only) pair of trainers are coming to the end of their life. I’ve had them for at least 15 years and the soles are worn down to the thickness of paper and the fabric is splitting across the vamp where the toe joints bend. They’re a pair of all-black Nikes and I’d like to replace them with something fairly similar.

I don’t like trainers that are too high-tech – you know, those made with colourful space-age material, aerodynamic shape, computer-engineered soles and all that. I just want a pair of old skool sneakers. ‘Sneakers’ must be an old fashioned word – my spell-check tells me it doesn’t exist!

I know exactly what I want from my new pair. I’d prefer if they were low-tech canvas or hemp. They need to be black all over, I don’t like black uppers with thick white sidewalls. This kind of style is so They can be worn with jeans, skirt or dress – really versatile.

I usually prefer the look of Pumas over other brands. However, I’m tempted by the £90 Nikes – they’re completely customisable. You can choose the material; the colour of the base, quarter, swoosh, laces, outsole and sidewalls; style of the tongue… you can even have customised text printed to the underside of the tongue!

  1. Old Skool Lite: £55, Vans
  2. Suede Classic+ trainers: £58, Puma
  3. Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski iD skateboarding shoe: £90, Nike

Price Points: Book bags

Book bags made to look like book covers

What’s your favourite book? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Whatever your chosen reading may be, these book bags are perfect for toting it around… along with your keys, phone, purse, tissues, lipstick – whatever!

Back in the day, when I used to have a daily rail commute (and before mobile phones were so ubiquitous), I used to read books voraciously. I read Lord of the Rings entirely on the Todmorden ↔ Manchester train. I was also addicted to crime fiction, long before the advent of Scandi Noir.

Unfortunately, I never seem to find that kind of time any longer – more’s the pity. I think one of these book bags would certainly get me back into turning those pages!

  1. Book handbags and clutch bags by The Literary Gift Company: £30, Notonthehighstreet
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird leather book bag: from £143, Etsy
  3. Dolce & Gabbana book padlock top handle bag : £4,750, Harrods