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Lauren Laverne: how dressing up can make you feel "up"

6 May 2012

I have a pair of shoes reserved for particularly difficult phone calls: pink, heeled slingbacks encrusted with a galaxy of Swarovski crystals. I bought them a hundred years ago. Skint, I visited them repeatedly over the course of six months, tortured by unrequited love until – eventually – they were marked down and I made them mine. Somewhat déclassé, they pretty much make my feet look like they've been vajazzled. But they cheer me up, and when I'm having a conversation I'd rather not be, looking down at them makes me feel a bit better. I sometimes also wear Master Laverne's Darth Vader cape to get me in the zone for legal calls – but that's a whole 'nother column.

I mention this because when I saw Meadham Kirchhoff's SS12 show, my Trauma-Phone-Vajazzle-Heels were the first thing that popped into my mind. If you haven't caught up with the London duo's collection yet, imagine swallowing a fistful of MDMA before riding a unicorn through Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. It's that, but clothes.

This was a collection that was clever, funny, simultaneously ridiculous and ridiculing (mocking ideas about femininity, beauty and taste), which refused point-blank to allow anyone to take it too seriously. Rumour has it that even Vogue's glacial godhead Anna Wintour cracked a smile. Possibly literally. So this week I'm celebrating fashion that makes you happy. Because what you wear really should lift your spirits – that's why it's called dressing "up".

I'm a longtime devotee of Moschino – a label with wit to spare. In fact, if you look closely you might clock me wearing their cartoon-print frock in the headshot for my column in the printed Observer Magazine.

Sonia Rykiel's love of colour and bold, graphic style makes her an obvious choice: check out her red and purple star-print shirt at MyWardrobe.

On the high street, try Lazy Oaf at Asos, or Topshop, which has a great moving-eye ring and some very cute brogues that are a non-girly take on this look.

Finally, this iconoclast's tea party would be incomplete without the grande dame of British fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood. I'm rather taken with her "Chaos" weekend bag, which makes you smile twice – the second time being when you learn it's from Viv's Ethical Fashion Africa collection, which supports women in poverty (viviennewestwood.co.uk).

Follow Lauren on Twitter@LaurenLaverne

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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