Violet Naylor-Leyland, Stylist and Founder of Fancy Dress Boutique Violet’s Box Talks Cinching, Ribbons & Boning and Why Your Wardrobe Can’t Do Without a Morua for Violet’s Box Corset. Exclusive pop-up deal on LUX FIX next Thursday- time to get waisted…

Violet says:

How many women would turn down the offer of having four inches taken off their waist in just 10 minutes without the use of seaweed, mud or clingfilm?

Every woman has at least toyed with the idea of a corset, tried one on, bought a cheap Camden knock-off for a party, borrowed a friend’s or giggled at one in a sex shop.  Yet it’s no wonder they’ve not become a wardrobe essential because the majority of existing corsets are vampy, slutty, uncomfortable, two-tone purple or vastly overpriced and belong either in the bedroom or on a Burlesque act.

Well… welcome to a new generation of wearable, comfortable, affordable and beautifully made corsets –  the Morua for Violet’s Box range!

After eight months of working with bespoke corsetier Gerry Quinton (Morua), Violet’s Box designed a collection of six corsets – three underbust and three overbust. Inspired by well-loved party themes such as  ‘Tim Burton’, ‘Military’, ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Animals’ and ‘Circus’, but always with versatility, shape and comfort at the core, these are corsets that are wearable enough to put with a pair of jeans as well as out to a costume party.

Take ‘The Dauphine’ (blue & cream underbust) for example – imagine you’ve had to stay late at work and were hoping to go home and change before a friend’s birthday party but can’t bear that ‘just left the office’ look… The Dauphine corset’s a lifesaver in these moments – thrown on over a white shirt and favourite jeans or pencil skirt, simply add heels and a light weight jacket and it looks effortlessly chic – almost like a glorified belt or a structured waistcoat that just gives an outfit the edge.  “People always comment and ask what it is, often because they don’t notice it’s a corset until they see lacing at the back!”.

You can do so many things with the underbusts, like adding them over a boring dress where they act like a panel. “I saw someone style ‘The Ladybird’ (red & black silk underbust) over a black chiffon and lace 70s-style maxi and put fake flowers in her hair. She looked TDF! She’d really cinched her corset in too so her silhouette was quite extraordinary – like a beautiful china lamp – but you can adjust the lacing as tight or as loose as you want, depending on how dramatic or casual you want the look.”

But it’s the overbusts that are the real deal in terms of drama. They’re worn with nothing underneath and because of their incredible design and clever boning technique, they mould to the shape of your body, almost acting like a second skin (Violet likes the ‘Victorian Nude’ especially), whilst transforming your figure into the most elegant hourglass shape – “And did I dare mention, the little lift and support you get where it counts? We try and keep this subtle though – the  ‘boob muffin top’ is a look to be avoided!”

For most customers, their Morua for Violet’s Box corset becomes a wardrobe gem, not least because ‘nice tops’ are hard to find but a well made corset can last a lifetime. So, instead of feeling like you’ve bought another throw-away amusement for a fancy dress party, you can rest assured you possess a piece of sartorial artistry and as one customer Colette told us – the best bit was being able to tell her husband sincerely ‘it was a genuinely good investment’. Although apparently, he wasn’t complaining…

Pictures: Florence Brudenell-Bruce for Violet’s Box.

 

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LUX FIX Guest Editor and one of our favourite models, Katia Elizarova gives her pick of our Lara Bohinc exclusive pop-up this week. She had a bit of time backstage this week so has done some sketches too – cute! 

Katia says, here are just a couple of ways I can imagine my favourite Lara Bohinc pieces being worn…

Grecian Goddess

For out and about in the sun, a pale tunic paired with Lara Bohinc’s Saturn earrings and Solar Eclipse bracelet will be sure to catch people’s eyes. Wear your hair up to draw the eye to your neck and earrings – this will keep them watching as you walk by…

Bohemian Chic

Great jewellery doesn’t always need to have too crafted a look to match it. Simply pop a light dress over some jeans with the Solar Eclipse bracelet on and you’ll immediately be transformed into a bohemian beauty!

Structured Summer

Structural looks may be more associated with winter seasons, but who cares! With new faces like Louise Goldin turning out fabulous sculpted pieces across the seasons, there’s no need to shy away from structure for the summer. A dark dress with strong modern lines paired with the Apollo pendant in platinum makes the perfect individual look to contrast with all the summer sameness.

Any questions for our lovely Guest Editor? Katia loves to talk fashion on her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter


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Cult designers and very lovely couple Azumi and David give us the lowdown on the Tokyo. Mmmm it’s making us hungry for 24 hour sushi.

You hit the tarmac in Tokyo – what are you craving and where can you find it?

To eat 24 hour sushi and sashimi by the bucket load at Tsukiji Fish Market.

You get that same craving in London- what’s your secret address for the best Japanese food?

Genuine Japanese food at Yoshino, 3 Piccadilly Place, London W1 

Are you a fan of aperitifs? If so which bar in Tokyo could we find you at cocktail hour?

Somewhere in Golden Gai for an authentic Bladerunner experience!

Where would you go for a dose of aesthetic inspiration?

Tokyu Hands Creative Life Store, 7 floors of everything

What is a must-see or must-hear in Tokyo?

Shiseido in Ginza make-up parlour, art gallery, tea shop/café, touch-screen virtual make-overs to help choose your cosmetic purchases.

 What sorts of trends have you seen recently on the Tokyo streets?

Girls with perfectly ‘natural’ heavy makeup to look like a porcelain doll 

Finally, tell us something about Tokyo we would never guess?

When there’s a massive queue outside Uniqlo in Ginza for some exclusive event, you can bypass it by going round the back of the shop and entering it from the adjoining Dover Street Market store (where you can stop off for some designer shopping with refreshments at their Rose Bakery and enjoy the view from their roof garden oasis!)


 

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The one and only Dita Von Teese talks secret Paris addresses, chic danceable looks and stylish women through the ages with LUX FIX.

Dita by Henry Jaremko

LF: It’s a lovely crisp sunny morning in Paris! What outfit do you reach for?

DVT: A vintage 50’s dress with a voluminous skirt paired with ballet flats.

LF: What (or who!) do you never leave the house without?

DVT: My iphone, a red lipstick, and credit cards.

LF: Where in Paris do you adore to shop, and is there a secret address we might be able to coax you into revealing?

DVT: I don’t often shop for clothes in paris, actually, but I do like a place called Chez Sarah in the Paris flea market. I also love Mariages Frères for afternoon tea, and to buy Violette scented tea.

LF: LUX FIX time machine at your service, where would you love to go to gather inspiration for your costumes?

DVT: Paris during the Belle Epoque, not necessarily for costume inspiration, but because I’m sure it would be incredible to see such glamour and beauty on the streets of Paris.

Dita in Paris (at The Crazy Horse). Photographer: Thomas Lavelle , Stylist : Delphine Dubreuil & Sarah Cohen

LF: Time machine still available, which stylish women though the ages are you most inspired by?

DVT: Baby Paley, Lisa Fonssigrives, Dovima, Isabella Blow and The Marchesa Casati.

LF: Is there any one thing you feel every girl should have in their beauty arsenal?

DVT: I think every woman should find the perfect vibrant lipstick, the many shades of reds and fuschia are always timeless and chic. Even if you cannot wear red, try other shades of bright/deep lipstick until you find the right one. Matte bright colors are especially sophisticated.

Perfect red lips!  Photographer: Thomas Lavelle , Stylist : Delphine Dubreuil & Sarah Cohen

LF: Dancer, author, actress, costume designer, do you have anything you can’t wait to do next in your career?

DVT: I think I’ve dabbled in nearly everything I want to do that I’m good at. Between my lingerie line, my makeup line, my books and my perfume, I stay very busy.

LF: We adored the Keds and playsuit you wore at Coachella. Is that one of your signature summer downtime looks?

DVT: Coachella is always a special fashion moment, I love the challenge of finding comfortable, danceable looks that are chic.

LF: Finally, what in your wardrobe would you save from a fire?

DVT: My Jean Paul Gaultier “Hussard” haute couture gown, it’s incredible, I can’t believe I own it!

Golden Girl. Dita by Henry Jaremko 

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Superchef Fuchsia Dunlop shares Beijing’s culinary secrets, with some of her favourite recipes from her latest book, “Every Grain of Rice”

You hit the Tarmac in Beijing – what are you craving and where can you find it?

I’ll probably have been fantasising about Peking Duck for most of the flight – the gorgeous, lacquered skin, succulent flesh, racy fermented sauce and refreshing leeks, all wrapped up in pancakes.  There are many Peking duck restaurants in Beijing, but I don’t think you can beat the birds roasted at Da Dong.

You get that same craving in London- what’s your secret address for the best Chinese food?

A dim sum lunch at Royal China Club in Baker Street is usually exquisite.

With an unlimited expense account and a space shuttle we’d like to take you to the finest lunch in London and then dinner in beijing – where are we headed? Can we stop for tea anywhere?

I’d have lunch at Dinings, a tiny Japanese place in Marylebone, stop for a cup of tea and a chat at Postcard Teas, and then, in Beijing, go to Da Dong for sea cucumber and the Peking duck mentioned above.

You are a globally renowned chef who trained in China – what one thing did you learn in your training that you never would have expected?

That Sichuanese cuisine has 23 official flavours, 56 official cooking methods, and more than 60 names for different types of chunk, slice and sliver.

Is there any cusine you wish you had time to learn more about?

Japanese – it’s a whole other culinary world.

I hope you dont mind us asking but what’s your hot tip for impressing a date in the kitchen?

There are no general rules: you have to the individual tastes and predilections of your guest. But obviously don’t make anything that reeks of garlic or raw onion, or that requires exhausting last-minute preparations – you want to be able to give them your full attention!

Finally, could you take us through your last supper?

I’ll sit in a paviliion overlooking ricefields and a lake with my nearest and dearest around me, eating fresh bamboo shoots, Dongpo Pork, lightly-cooked Chinese greens that have just been picked, chicken soup and rice. Then we’ll eat peaches and loquats and drink Longjing tea as the sun sets outside. 

Some of Fuchsia’s favourite recepies from “Every Grain of Rice”:

Bear’s paw tofu

Xiong zhang dou fu 熊掌豆腐

This exotic-sounding dish is actually just a version of the everyday Sichuanese dish ‘homestyle tofu’ (jia chang dou fu). It takes its name from the fact that the fried slices of tofu have a puckered appearance like that of bear’s paw, a legendary (and now notorious) banquet delicacy. Most Sichuanese cooks would add a little pork to the dish, frying it off in the oil before they add the chilli bean sauce, but it’s equally delicious without. You can shallow-fry the tofu slices if you prefer: they’ll be equally tasty, but may disintegrate in the sauce. With a dish of leafy greens and plenty of rice, bear’s paw tofu makes a very satisfying supper for two.

450g plain white tofu

200ml cooking oil, for deep-frying

2 tbsp Sichuanese chilli bean paste

3 garlic cloves, sliced

An equivalent amount of ginger, also sliced

3 baby leeks or spring onions, sliced diagonally into ‘horse ears’, white and green parts separated

200ml stock

1/tsp caster sugar

1/2–1 tsp light soy sauce

1/tsp potato flour mixed with

2 tsp cold water

Cut the tofu into 4–5cm squares or rectangles, about 1cm thick. Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame to 180–190°C (350–375°F). Fry the tofu slices in a few batches for a few minutes until golden, then set aside. Pour all but 3 tbsp of the oil into a heatproof container. Reduce the heat to medium, then return the wok to the stove with the chilli

bean paste. Stir-fry until the oil is red and richly fragrant. Add the garlic, ginger and leek or spring onion whites and fry until they, too, are fragrant. Then tip in the stock and the tofu and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat slightly, season with the sugar and soy sauce and simmer for three to four minutes until the liquid is reduced and the tofu has absorbed some of the flavours of the sauce. Add the leek or spring onion greens and stir briefly until just cooked. Finally, stir the potato flour mixture, scatter it into the centre of the wok, and stir until the sauce has thickened. Turn out on to a serving dish.

Beef with cumin zi ran niu rou 孜然牛肉

Cumin is not a typical spice in mainstream Chinese cookery. It carries with it the aroma of the bazaars of Xinjiang in the far north west of the country, where ethnic Uyghur Muslims sprinkle it over their lamb kebabs and add it to their stews and polos (the local version of pilafs). It is, however, found in spice shops all over China, and non-Uyghur cooks use it from time to time. I came across the original version of this sensational recipe in a restaurant in Hunan called Guchengge, and it became one of the most popular in my Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. The only snag with the Guchengge recipe is that it uses the restaurant technique of pre-frying the beef in a wokful of oil. Here, I’ve reworked the recipe as a more simple stir-fry. The texture isn’t quite as silky as in the original version, but it’s much easier to make and still absolutely delicious, as I hope you’ll agree.

 

250g trimmed beef steak

1/red pepper

1/green pepper

4 tbsp cooking oil

11/tsp finely chopped ginger

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

2 tsp ground cumin

2–4 tsp dried chilli flakes, to taste

2 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced

1 tsp sesame oil

For the marinade

1 tsp Shaoxing wine

1/tsp salt

1/tsp light soy sauce

3/tsp dark soy sauce

11/tsp potato flour

 

Cut the beef into thin bite-sized slices. Stir the marinade ingredients with 11/tbsp water and mix well into the meat. Trim the peppers and cut them into strips 1–2cm wide, then diagonally into lozengeshaped slices. Add 3 tbsp of the oil to a seasoned wok over a high flame and swirl it around. Add the beef and stir-fry briskly to separate the slices. When the slices have separated but are still a bit pink, remove them from the wok and set aside.  Return the wok to the flame with the remaining oil. Add the ginger and garlic and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds to release their fragrances, then tip in the peppers and fresh chilli, if using, and stirfry until hot and fragrant. Return the beef slices to the wok, give everything a good stir, then add the cumin and dried chillies. When all is sizzlingly fragrant and delicious, add the spring onions and toss briefly. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.


 

 

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