Archive for the ‘ FASHION ’ Category




Entering into the premises of Psychomoda in the heart of the Old Town it feels as if you have entered into a fantastical secret place which you want to share with those who are unaware of its existence. It is not, however, an opportunistic new arrival occupying the vacated space of a business which has fallen by the wayside as the vampiric fangs of the recession have bit into the jugular of many others in the area. Instead, Psychomoda is a long standing established business of 20 years-it opened in 1992- which is doing very nicely thank you very much.

This is, in no short part, exclusively to do with the forward thinking and integrity of its proprietor, Alison Harm, who has made it a prerequisite to understand and accommodate her customers’ requirements whilst adapting to the demands of the current climate whether it be financial, cultural or the fickle dictates of fashion. The fact that she manages to do all this whilst maintaining the shops-and just as importantly her own- identity and integrity is highly impressive in an era when many others jump to the dictatorial demands of style mags and find themselves in competition with the corporate juggernauts TopShop , Primark et al.

Psychomoda manages to provide clothes unlike any others available and with all garments being designed and manufactured on the premises-there is a workshop in the basement- most are one offs or at the very least a slight variant on the same theme. There is no chance of that embarrassing moment when you turn up to a party and encounter someone in the same outfit and this is due to the individual nature of Harm’s designs and the sense of occasion they engender. Despite this, recent forays into a more accessible daywear collection are proving highly successful especially amongst those desirous of moving away from the high street generic automaton look prevalent everywhere you turn. There is also a children’s range which is flying off the shelves at a frantic pace due to its individual nature and extremely reasonable pricing.

So what does this cornucopia of fashionable delights actually contain?

First to catch the eye and the feverish imagination is the Tartania Collection-considering the ubiquity of tartan, in particular the lauded and seemingly derivative Corrie Nielsen designs, on the catwalk at last weeks London Fashion Week it would appear Harm’s long-time endeavours are not merely streaming the zeitgeist but have pre-empted it- which mixes together an eclectic fusion of the traditional with the more avant-garde to create something unique, exotic and ultimately stylish. The tartan contrasts with silk and satin panels and a further modern take on tradition is followed through with plaid brooches adding another dynamic to an already burgeoning clashing and blending of influences.


Another favourite is the Prom Dress collection which proves popular around this time of year as the Graduation season starts to loom its sartorially demanding head and young girls and women want that special outfit guaranteed to stand out from the highly competitive crowd. The Corset Range has been a stalwart favourite right from the shops early days and although they seem to have slipped slightly out of favour-possibly due to the Burlesque movement being slightly on the wane perhaps- it is still popular enough to warrant its own section. A Vintage Collection-adhering to the theme of nostalgia termed the New Romantics- is a recent addition wherein Harm jazzes up vintage clothes-particularly the eighties on my visit- with various modifications or appliqué to give it all a contemporary twist and capture  simultaneously forward and backward looking pieces.


This method of juxtaposing disparate elements not usually associated with each other is perhaps the thing which makes Psychomoda’s designs stand out from the crowd and the shop such a unique experience and in a climate of austerity and, let’s be honest, conservatism in the fashion world this is highly refreshing. Harm has been expounding this sense of individualism since the shops inception and the fact she is able to incorporate so many distinctive styles alongside each other in such a small space without any one of them feeling incongruous is also an amazing feat which shows she understands fashion and –more importantly- style with an intrinsic depth. This alone should allow Psychomoda to stand its ground whilst others around crumble as they swiftly go out of the fashion they so slavishly follow.

psychomoda is located at 22 St. Marys Street Edinburgh EH1 1SU

Shop opens 11am and closes 5.30pm Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and 6pmThursday and Saturday

Telephone 0131 557 6777


Facebook Page 320133669767


Miss DixieBelle



Fast approaching its second birthday Miss DixieBelle has managed to brighten up the previous dreary landscape of Bruntsfield during its brief tenure with a cornucopia of vintage delights alongside various styling routines and accessories guaranteed to inspire and excite. Dealing exclusively in nostalgia Miss DixieBelle doesn’t just unimaginatively retread old fashions and peddle them as fancy dress or novelty but instead garners them a new lease of life imbuing them with an inherent sense of the contemporary and elegant relevance. Entering into the shop immediately instils a sense of warmth wrapped up in the warmth of familiarity whilst never slipping into the murky waters of predictability or costume style banality  Providing the necessary hairstyles, manicures, lingerie and accessories that complete the looks-several decades are more than covered and catered for- it is possible to leave this exotic bijoux boutique looking as if you have stepped out on the set of Pearl Harbour or are about to guest star in an episode of Mad Men.

The effect is definitely more bombshell than bombsite and this return to an age where women felt the need to be glamorous from head to toe-neglecting nothing in between- is a welcome relief from the Saturday night ‘Look at me I’m a whore’ outfits which have proliferated over the last few years where the vertiginous heels have reached ridiculous heights and the hemlines are even higher. The emphasis is on ladylike with no sacrifice of sensuality instead giving it both simplicity and sophistication which makes women feel better and men appreciate them even more. This new band of women however are not dressing merely to please their men-folk but instead they are very much doing it for themselves and celebrating their femininity by rewarding themselves with an indulgent pampering experience.

At the very heart of making this experience so worthwhile is Emma Dixon who not only runs the shop but is very hands on in her approach to maintaining its high standards as well as being the prime advocate of its own available designs. Available onsite are a hair salon complete with nail technician and make up artists to complete the look to accompany the dresses thus ensuring everything is adequately co-ordinated. Special event nights are also frequent and extremely popular. There is even a photo-shoot service available wherein a guest photographer-along with Miss Dixie Belle’s accomplished styling team can help you create the portrait of your celluloid dreams. So being a Marilyn, Liz, Ava, Jane Russell or even a Betty Grable for even a photographic moment is within the realms of possibility.

A wedding service is also available turning that special big day into something totally memorable as well as original. The look is not all about retro and flamboyance however as many of the dresses are suitable work wear for women who are required to dress smart in the work place but do not want to go down the more traditional suit and blouse road quashing their femininity on the way.  It has certainly come a long way from its humble burlesque beginnings-now that the bottom, figuratively speaking, has fallen out of that trend- and has diversified into something more grown up and sophisticated whilst retaining some of their initial premise of harking back to a more glamorous age.

The designers stocked in this veritable fantasia of a boutique include What Katie Did and La Belle Epoque but Dixon also seeks out and promotes local talent such as Darn It. Although Miss DixieBelle is the ultimate in self indulgence it also sells gift vouchers which allow you to indulge your friends and introduce them to the wonders of the stylistic treats and pampering service on offer. Although the experience is part of the package- I was more than ably assisted by the lovely, effervescent Kirsty looking for all the world like Grease’s head Pink Lady, Rizzo (a look all buttoned up cardigan, stretchy tailored cigarette pants and flats) but paraphrasing that characters signature tune ‘There are Worse Things You Could Do’- there is also an online service available. This would be ideal not only  for those who do not live in Edinburgh but still want to indulge themselves in a treat but also to those whose location or schedule does not allow them to visit the shop in person. Go on give it a twirl- many of the dresses are ideal for such an elaborate movement- and treat yourself to the Miss DixieBelle experience. What Miss DixieBelle celebrates is embracing this very femininity and giving it a treat and an outing all in one go.

Photos by FourthEye photography


Miss Dixie Belle can be located at 19 Bruntsfied Place Edinburgh EH10 4HN and is open Monday to Saturday 11am-5.30pm

Telephone- 0131 629 7783


The next date for a vintage styling event is Thursday 2nd February

 Click on the link below for full details and information about Miss Dixiebelle and to enter the online boutique.