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Les 100 Ciels Team

The history of utility clothing

By April 1, 2019 EVENTS, INSPIRATION
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During WW2, and more precisely in 1941, a utility clothing scheme was introduced by the British government to aid the economy and help the war effort. This scheme produced cheap clothing for both men and women that were referred to as “civilian uniforms”. This type of clothing (labelled with a distinct utility mark, “CC41”) was introduced for several key reasons:

  1. Raw materials (cloth, wool, leather etc.) were in short supply and had to be conserved.
  2. There were no workers to make clothing as most had left to fight.
  3. Clothing prices needed to be kept low so that the civilian population could afford clothing of a reasonable quality.

 

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The government knew that in order to make the scheme a success, they needed to make utility clothing interesting and appealing. Thus, in 1941, lots of skilled designers were hired, creating the Society of London Fashion Designers. High end designers such as Digby Morton, Peter Russell and Handy Amies contributed to make a remarkable range of clothing. There was an initial period of doubt and dislike by the general public and a concern over wearing identical clothing. However, this soon changed! Over time, there was a newfound appreciation for the minimal pleating, patch pockets and muted colours. The designs were simple yet still very chic and above all the clothing was highly durable in a time when clothing needed to last! Moreover in a time of stringent clothes rationing, the scheme was helping to bring equality to the general public, democratising fashion and making good quality clothing affordable for everyone.

 

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Utility clothing became a real source of inspiration in the post war era, capturing the imagination of designers such as Coco Chanel celebrating a more liberated version of the feminine silhouette. For others, utility clothing inspired a revolt against the austerity of the period and designers like Christian Dior were driven by a desire for excess and lavish expressions of femininity with voluminous dresses starting an era famously referred to as the “New Look”.  

Undoubtedly, utility wear has had a lasting impact on fashion and brought about novel interpretations of clothing and yet is so powerful that we still enjoy wearing this style today!

 

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A mini guide to the Chester Races season

By March 22, 2019 Uncategorized
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Chester Race season will be starting on the 8th May, so it’s only natural that we start to get a little excited around this time of year.  If you aren’t sure what we are talking about, you should know that the Chester races have been taking place since 1539 and are held at what is thought to be the oldest racecourse still in use in England, and it is known as the “Roodee”. Little has changed since then: the “Roodee” racecourse is a tight course and races are exclusively on the flat, which means an even more exciting schedule of races!

The season will start with Chester’s May meeting, considered to be one of the best events of the year. You will be able to attend the three-day Boodles May Festival, including exciting fixtures such as the historic Chester Cup, a two and a quarter mile handicap, classic trials in the shape of the Chester Vase, Dee Stakes and Cheshire Oaks, plus races for older horses in the Huxley Stakes and Ormonde Stakes. This event  is also a must for anyone who is passionate about fashion, socialising and the exhilarating anticipation of watching champions racing.

As if that wasn’t enough, your ticket will also include extras such as live music, access to exhibitions, and even polo matches in and around Chester. With this in mind, if you find yourself around Chester in the next few months, pay a  visit to this beautiful city and enjoy some first class entertainment. If you want to know more about the races, click here to view the full schedule!

 

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1539 Away Racing Teaser Image

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Escape to Cortina d’Ampezzo

By March 15, 2019 INSPIRATION, Travel
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Where in the world is Cortina?!

Cortina d’Ampezzo, or more simply Cortina, is a small town in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Situated in the centre of the Dolomites (part of the Italian Alps), this village has been named “The Queen of the Dolomites” for its natural beauty and wide range of mountain activities. Cortina is also easy to reach from other countries, located only 2 hours north of Venice.

We recently spent 4 days in this lovely town which was the perfect amount of time to visit this ski destination. Aside from skiing, Cortina has an interesting military history, having fought against the Austrians during the First World War, and this is evident in the large collection of bunkers, trenches and tunnels available to explore. The Great War Open Air museum is also definitely worth a visit.

However, the true draw to the town is Cortina’s ski scene which is not to be missed! While you can visit this cute town all year around, the best time to visit is in the winter. In fact, being part of the Dolomiti Super ski terrain makes Cortina part of the world’s largest skiing area. Opting for a single skipass will give you the opportunity to access more than 450 lifts and 1.220km of ski pistes, as Cortina is surrounded by mountains on almost all sides: Tofane to its West (part of the Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti), Cristallo and Faloria to the northeast and Cinque Torri (Five Towers) to the south. On our trip we had the chance to visit every ski station mentioned above!

On our first day we chose to take it easy and spend some time walking around the city centre, renting the ski equipment and having a delicious hot chocolate! The following day we decided to drive to Cinque Torri, as the weather was particularly nice and the landscape just breathtaking on a sunny day! It also deserves to be mentioned that the food we had was exquisite and really cheap! Here are some of the typical dishes you can find: 

  • Knodel
  • Casunziei
  • Barley Soup
  • Patate Ampezzane
  • Puccia
  • Spatzle
  • Strudel
  • Kaiserschmarrn (The Emperor’s Omelette)

The next days, we opted for Tofana, including Ra Valles (2.475m height) and Faloria for exhilarating slopes in crisp, beautiful weather. On the other hand, if the idea of launching yourself down a mountain does not appeal, you can still take the cable car and stop to eat with a breathtaking view or walk one of the Tofana’s snowshoe trails. At a height of  approximately 2.600m, the trails are perfect for beginners and will take around 1 hour to complete. And if you really want to make the most of the mountain experience, you could choose to sleep in one of the many chalets situated on the trail.

Cortina is an ideal place for families, groups of friends or couples to have their first ski trip in rich Italian style! Don’t forget to bundle up though, it’s pretty cold up there!

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International Women’s Day Playlist

By March 7, 2019 Editor's Picks, INSPIRATION

This March we’re celebrating International Women’s Day and we want to take this opportunity to recognise brilliant women, past and present, who have made an impact on all our lives. With an all-female playlist, these songs are for women about women, so be ready to hear them roar!

From Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, Les 100 Ciels has revisited the archives with empowering and inspiring tracks from motivating singers who convey positive messages through the power of music.

These talented singers will leave you feeling ready for anything!

International Womens Day

 

Click here to listen on Spotify:

  1. Aretha Franklin – Respect
  2. Beyoncé – Run the world (girls)
  3. Katy Perry – Rise
  4. Cyndi Lauper – Girls just want to have fun
  5. Rihanna – Diamonds
  6. Lady Gaga – Born this way
  7. Destiny’s child – Independent Women
  8. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
  9. Madonna – Express yourself
  10. Alicia Keys – Girl on fire

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Pancake Day Recipes

By March 1, 2019 EVENTS, INSPIRATION
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Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, is upon us and we are really excited to get our frying pans out and have pancake flipping sessions around the kitchen! It’s the one day in the year where no one can judge you for eating an entire stack for breakfast…. we think. Historically speaking, Shrove Tuesday was the last day to use up eggs and fats before the fasting for Lent began (40 days before Easter). This year we will be celebrating the day with sweet and savoury options, varying from crêpes to American-style pancakes, plus a variety of delicious toppings!


 

Sugar & Lemon crêpes

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 Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 300ml whole milk
  • Butter, lemon and sugar, to serve

 

Method

Sift the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the egg, some melted butter and milk. Whisk the ingredients all together to form a thin batter. Heat a small frying pan and add some butter to prevent the mixture from sticking. Pour in the batter and cook at medium heat for one or two minutes, flipping the crêpes with a spatula to make it cook on both sides. Once placed on a plate, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice.

 

Spinach and Courgette crêpes

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Ingredients

  • 500ml coconut  milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 220g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, plus extra for frying
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large courgette, grated

For the filling

  • 1 fennel, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced

 

Method

Starting with the fillings, drain the chickpeas and add the tahini sauce, olive oil and salt, mix to create a mixture. Separately, bake the fennels for 30-40 minutes, till tender and crisp. To make the pancake batter, add all the remaining ingredients to a bowl, and blend on a high speed. In a small  pan, add coconut oil, and gently drop in the mixture. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Once on a plate, add the chickpea mixture, the fennel seeds and the avocado, and serve with a sprinkle of olive oil and pepper.

 

Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

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Ingredients 

  • 125g plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

For the Blueberry sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoons squeezed lemon juice
  • frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

 

Method

Starting with the filling, pour the frozen blueberries in a pot with some water. Once defrosted, add the sugar and mix until it gets smooth and thick. Leave on a side. To make the pancake batter, drop in a bowl all the ingredients, including the ricotta and blend at a high speed. Take a small pan, add some oil, and gently drop in the mixture. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Once placed on a plate, add the remaining fresh ricotta and the warm blueberry compote. Serve immediately.

 

Quinoa Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup

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 Ingredients

  • 1 X 250g Quinoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 20g cornflour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 50g melted butter
  • 2 tsps lime zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • To serve
  • 8 – 12 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Maple syrup

 

Method

Add eggs, flour, baking powder to a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Heat your quinoa in the microwave and then add it to the mixture together with the sugar, butter, lime and vanilla. Leave it to rest for 1 hour. Take a small pan, add some oil, and gently add in the mixture. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Then set aside and fry the bacon until crisp. Serve with the pancakes and maple syrup.

 


We have willingly tested all these recipes, and they simply taste delicious! Pancakes are the perfect dish to bring together friends and family… and if you have some leftovers, wrap them up and make a long day at the office a little more endurable.

 

 

 

 

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The Culture Edit – London

By February 18, 2019 EVENTS, INSPIRATION
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Looking for the most exciting exhibitions happening  in London right now?

With the end of winter and arrival of spring comes a calendar full of exciting cultural events, from art to photography and beyond! It might still  be a little cold and dark, but our guide to the best events, will leave you itching to get out and embrace all that London has to offer.

 

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (2 February-14 July)

The Victoria & Albert museum is going big this month with their latest exhibition: “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams”. The biggest exhibition held since “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”, the V&A will showcase over 200 rare Haute Couture garments, 500 exquisite jewels, gowns and photographs tracing the history and impact of one of the most influential couturiers of the 20th century. If you haven’t grabbed your tickets yet, do so now as they are selling fast!

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL

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Bedrooms of London (8 February-5 May)

The Foundling museum, in partnership with The Childhood Trust, is presenting “Bedrooms of London”, a new photography exhibition by Katie Wilson, highlighting how themes such as poverty and wealth sit so close together in a vast city such as London, in a comfortable – uncomfortable relationship. A range of stark imagery including the narrow spaces in which entire families are sleeping, this exhibit offers a touching insight into the lives and difficulties of youth affected by poverty across the capital.

The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AZ

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Mandela: The Official Exhibition (8 February-2 June)

What does the name ‘Nelson Mandela’ mean today, in a world where disparity and injustice are still so strong and alive? Celebrating a century since Mandela’s birth,  a new major exhibition takes visitors into the private life of the world’s most famous freedom fighter, revolutionary, political leader and symbol of the struggle against oppression. Photos, unseen film and personal effects are displayed to reveal the secrets of Mandela’s epic story till his final years as South Africa’s first black president. It is the exhibition to see, for now and always.

26 Leake St Gallery, South Bank, London SE1 7NN

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries (5 December-24 February)

Returning to South London after 20 years,  Bloomberg New Contemporaries is presenting an insight into today’s most outstanding works made by emergent worldwide artists. Showcasing at the South London Gallery, 57 artists have been selected for the exhibition, featuring sculptures, drawings, and videos on several current themes such as migration, gender identity and technology use. Just a few of the artists you will find include names such as Chris Alton, Ayo Akingbade, Kara Chin, Camilla Hanney, Mohammed Sami, Rhona Foster! Don’t miss it!

South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH

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Pierre Bonnard (23 January-6 May)

After 20 years, Pierre Bonnard is coming back to London, more precisely to the Tate Modern, with a major exhibition that will bring together around 100 of the artist’s greatest works. Born in 1867, Pierre Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, a French painter who became well-known for his unconventional use of colour, illustrating in his paintings scenes of everyday life and capturing the spirit of the moment through his unique handling of colour and composition. At this exhibition visitors will be lucky enough to discover breakthrough works such as: “Coffee”(1915), “Studio with Mimosa”(1939-1946) and Dining Room in the country”(1913).

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

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Celebrate the changing of the seasons with a heady dose of art and culture. Be sure not to miss these brilliant events that are in London this spring!

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