Sunday, 30 October 2011

Remembrance Poppies - Patrick Wolf keeps the trend alive

[Image via the Patrick Wolf Palisade Tumblr site].

Here in Britain we have a great tradition of wearing paper poppies as a sign of remembrance for those who fought in wars since WWI. It's not necessarily about patriotism, more about the recognition of courage, peril and loss, with the poppy being chosen after its prevalence in the fields of WWI battle sites. I wear one every year, with particular thoughts for the members of my family who were involved in WWI and WWII, with traumatic and life-changing consequences. The singer Patrick Wolf, who is a favourite of mine, posted an image today on his Tumblr blog of his poppy being proudly worn for his 'soldier ancestors and all those who never came home', and he encouraged others to do the same - 'be sure to wear yours this November'.

I'm glad that Wolf has shown his support for this cause and promoted it to his fans, because it's slowly becoming more and more difficult to raise awareness and for people to properly acknowledge Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. When you buy your paper poppy you are not provided with a safety pin to attach it to your clothes because that was deemed too risky by the health and safety police a few years ago, so now you are responsible for your own pin-related injuries. Luckily the Poppy Appeal has been gradually moving towards fashion alternatives so that people can incorporate the cause into their everyday wardrobe more effectively, and without a safety pin problem in sight. I also wanted to explore poppy-inspired looks that take the strong colour or image and use it with stunning results, because I felt it's important to translate this theme to daily life and fashion (the very angles that the Poppy Appeal has taken).

[Image via the Poppy Appeal's Shop].
This large crystal brooch, £25, by Buckley won't get damaged in the rain (a danger of the paper ones) and it's glitzy enough to make an impact. Brooches have been having a major resurgence in fashion over the past couple of years, due to the demand for vintage-inspired clothing and the return to a British heritage look. You could wear this well with a tea dress and brogues.

[Image via the Poppy Appeal's Shop].
At secondary school I used to pin two poppies in my hair, to make them stand out more. These Kleshna enamel hair slides feel like a more mature version of my idea, and they'd also be useful for coaxing your hair into pin curls. Setting you back £12.95 for two, they're more expensive than normal hair accessories but you won't find them anywhere else and you're also helping out the Poppy Appeal with your purchase.

For the ultimate in poppy-inspired decadence, get some inspiration from this Acne Moorea evening dress with eye-catching asymmetric straps. In 'poppy red', it's a stunning colour that would be complemented nicely by the hair slides. Available from

Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania range has made use of 'Poppy tartan twill' fabric to create a selection of pieces that would give you the figure of a wartime sweetheart. This blouse (£295) is curve-creating and celebrates the beauty of a feminine figure. It would look great topped off with a poppy necklace and a faux fur tippet. Available from Net-A-Porter.

For a more literal interpretation, Topshop has this ombre-dyed blouse (£40) that contrasts vermillion with inky blue. It's a sophisticated piece, with bell sleeves and a high neck, though you wouldn't want to pin a poppy through the delicate fabric. As an alternative, the Kleshna hair slides would continue the theme, or you could opt for a poppy phone charm from the official Appeal Shop.

Lastly, Jonathan Saunders has gone print crazy with this poppy scarf at Harrods, which takes the motif and uses a variety of colours (everything from turquoise to moss green). It's a very modern take on this traditional flower, but somehow the mix really works. At £289 it's pretty pricey, so you might prefer to make a donation to the Poppy Appeal instead.

Armistice Day - 11th November.
Remembrance Sunday - 13th November.

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