Wednesday, 30 September 2009

It's a Gingham Thing

I was very interested to see Christopher Kane's use of gingham in his Ready to Wear collection for 2010. As if to prove he is not a one-trick pony and to invert people's expectations Kane has taken a dramatic u-turn from frightening larger than life gorilla prints and wildlife images to girlie gingham. Subverting our conservative associations with gingham check and luxe materials such as cashmere by giving us slash neck sweaters and gingham skirts with thigh high slits. Gingham is a thing once ubiquitous in childhood, the embodiment of perhaps a well-behaved little girl. However in adulthood it is a check scarcely seen. With Christopher Kane's influence gingham is set to become as pervasive next summer as the perennial plaid shirt has been for the past few seasons.

It was Acceptable in the 80s

In this flashback sequence, fashion forward Carrie is a dead-ringer for Madonna circa Like a Virgin and Lucky Star. I think the way Patricia Field has worked her magic on this throw-back look is absolutely genius. She has kept the girls so thoroughly in character and I think that Miranda's high-powered New York business woman look 80s style is particularly spot-on, especially with her heinous crop and gold earrings. True to form Charlotte looks like the perfect Hamptons country club wife, while sassy Samantha looks like a groupie for White Snake. The pictures almost make me feel prematurely nostalgic for perms and Walkmans...what do you guys think?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Her name is Rio and she Dances on the Sand...

I let out a squeal of delight when I saw the cover of this week's Sunday Times Style supplement. The front of it bearing the heavenly face of Brazilian goddess Gisele. Officially the first female model I was ever obsessed with. Yeah as a youngster I thought Christy Turlington had wonderful bone structure and Cindy Crawford was the ultimate sexy Super. Kate Moss is the best chameleon and takes an excellent picture. Kate is a great model because she can work around her quirks; not very tall, the bandy legs, lacklustre hair, imperfect teeth and the half collapsed nose but I must say, sorry public, she is not my favourite. When it comes to abundant natural beauty Gisele is number one, the long lithe limbs, the hair of pure spun gold, the long straight nose, the steel grey eyes, the killer teeth and the almighty boobs!!

The article in Style is written in the words of Gisele's Latin American broken English about the last-minute photo shoot that took place between her and uber photographer Mario Testino. She speaks of their mutual fondness for Rio de Janeiro and the connection between them, I wonder why there wouldn't be one - they are surely a match made in fashion heaven; Brazilian beauty and Peruvian fashion photographer. She says

"Mario holds a special place in my heart. He has been there with me from the beginning...I think he understands what I want...He is Peruvian by blood, but I think his heart is Brazilian."
She goes on to describe the electrifying experience that was her first Rio carnival, saying she bumped into Testino there, and they danced the night away together in the magical heat. Does it get any better? This anecdote fills me with such glee, and exceeds my deepest fashion fantasies. You couldn't make this tale up; this pair is tantamount to fashion royalty. And the idea of them shaking their stuff to the percussive beats on Copacabana beach is too much. Cannot wait to buy Testino's new tome 'Mario de Janeiro'. The pictures are sure to be steamier than the Brazilian Heat.

I'll admit, in recent years, I got used to the idea that Gisele's sexy star had started to fade. I started to tire of seeing her in Cavalli and Versace ad campaigns only. I even believe that something about her brand of sun-kissed perfection in the model world that has been ruled by 'edgy individuals' like Alice Dellal and Agyness Deyn and the more classic Lara Stones and Lily Donaldsons started to feel (dare I say) irrelevant. However when I saw her in a wild haired, open mouthed, make-up free, eyes closed revelry I felt immeasurably happy. So I obviously missed her. Here are some pictures to remind us why:

In the PINK

Observing the recent penchant for a 'Smells like Teen Spirit' attitude and indulging my current fondness for the punkier side of style, I found myself looking through the celeb back catalogue of rose tints and full on fuschia dye jobs. Here we have Miss Moss going pink on more than one occasion as well as ever avant garde Gaga, Aggy and Lily. So take a look and see for yourself the good, the bad and the plain dodgy. Makes me kinda wish I had the bottle to reach for the pink dye and go candy floss myself!

Friday, 25 September 2009

All that Glitters is GOLDIE

This fashion week, being as I was, very much on the outside looking in, when a family friend turned designer invited me to see her first show I jumped at the chance. She presented her Spring/Summer 2010 to a party crowd at Jalouse, the blingtastically designed club in Hanover Square. An ideal location given the high fashion associations, steeped in British fashion history and credentials as home to the Voguettes. I thought the venue was well-chosen because while much of the crowd was clearly made up of friends and fashionistas alike, there were a handful of Wednesday night hedonists, merely there for the music and cocktails. This, therefore was a guaranteed way to expand her audience and raise awareness for the brand. The brand in question is Goldie, pioneered by South African designer Michelle Goldie who started off selling customised pieces and costume jewellery on market stalls in Portobello and Spitalfields market. People started to take notice when Mischa Barton was snapped wearing one of her dresses and since then, gained further publicity and enjoyed distribution in Selfridges.

Goldie's designs are always feminine, flirty and very wearable. The classic mold is tunic tops or short dresses in simple colours with a little glitter detail or frills or a fur gilet in winter. I enjoy the rock-romantic ethos of Goldie's designs. They are lovely pieces best paired with a tougher shoe like a black shoe-boot, gladiator sandal or masculine brogue. I best enjoyed the simpler colours, many of the white dresses would be so nice on sun-kissed skin on a holiday evening. I also liked the classy wearability of the grey and slate tunics. The line also featured a few dresses in coral and electric blue stretch cotton overlaid with black lace. Shorter tops were paired with black sequin hotpants, and for me the star of the show were a pair of cropped leggings emblazoned with black sequins, not sewn flat but lovely and textural. Unusually a few floral summer prints were included, but I much preferred the plain whites, greys and brights. Who knows maybe this is because my winter state of mind cannot process flirty summer floral right now. I have been too busy immersing myself in over the knee boots, coloured tights and vintage fur!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Don't Get Jaded

In case you have not already heard the new nail colour du jour is green; not apple or lime but jade. The Chanel ready to wear show for Autumn/Winter 09/10 featured an unusual injection of mint and pistachio to a habitually very monochrome collection. Runway models were sporting this very shade on their nails, and since then we mere mortals have been waiting to get our manicured paws on the polish. The limited edition colour has just launched and is available only at Chanel boutiques so believe the hype and get your name on that waiting list!

Hot Hi-Tops

Urban footwear goes luxe in the shape of elaborately designed hi-tops. Make a statement that you are serious about your sneakers with any of the beauties pictured below:

1. Jeremy Scott for Adidas' winged hi-tops
2. Lanvin trainers
3. Jaime Creepers by Alexander Wang

Monday, 21 September 2009

Wang's World

My favourite young designer to emerge from American turf is without any shadow of a doubt, Alexander Wang. It doesn't hurt that his muse and confidante/partner in crime; Erin Wasson is in my top 3 style godesses (along with Alexa Chung and Chloe Sevigny). The pair look so achingly cool together and appear to be such genuine friends.

Aside from superficiality and aesthetics, Wang seriously delivers the goods where design is concerned. His takes on edgy rocker glam are consistently spot-on and perfectly representative of New York urban living. He seems to have an intuitive understanding of what sort of clothing makes the modern city gal feel sexy. As a graduate from the prestigious Parsons school of design, New York, as a city is clearly proud and protective of Wang as a product of their training and influence. It is clear however from his recent, heavily anticipated show at New York fashion week that the Big Apple's love for him is gratefully received and reciprocated. This can clearly be seen from his most recent Americana inspired collection.

Wang has been hailed as New York's latest wonderkid, and from what I've seen his show definitely lived up to the hype. While this season we are still embracing his penchant for all things black, body-con, leather and studded, he subverted people's expectations for SS10. The focus seemed to lie on comfort and athleticism, doing a contemporary take on the athleticism and androgyny of American sportswear. In line with the massive current trend for angular shoulders, Wang's sporty collection includes dresses with shoulder-pads inspired by American footballers! He updates the traditional trench and the classic breton top with a more wholesome American red and cream knitted version. The collection also includes sheer chiffon flowing from cropped sweaters influenced by the iconic 90s charcter; Cher from Clueless. In an interview with Dazed, Alexander Wang also drops "the bloggers" as a vice for keeping him in touch with the demand of his young audience...what's not to love!?

Ankle Boot Heaven

If you hadn't already guessed, I am nuts about boots..flat boots, boots with fuck-off platforms, biker boots, Dame Viv's pirate boots, over-the-knee boots, riding boots, Victorian boots, fringed boots, suede boots, leather boots, patent boots, boots with buckles, boots with studs, lace up boots and kinky boots. But for some reason I have developed an inexplicable, insatiable thirst for a black wedge ankle boot. Something really sassy, stable and sculptural. I am particualrly obsessed with the 3 pairs pictured below and would love to tower over a room of people in any of the following:

1. Yves Saint Laurent Studio Wedge
2. Atacoma Wedge by Acne
3. Cos

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Wintour Issue

On Wednesday I headed to the Curzon Mayfair with 5 well-heeled girlfriends in a cloud of palpable excitement and intrigue to watch The September Issue. I had eagerly awaited the release of this documentary as Anna Wintour is the fashion figure-head we all love to hate, and I could not wait for her legendarily icy persona to be immortalised on film. The reason why the movie is so great, is that we the audience are fed with exactly what we anticipated. How god-awful and thoroughly disappointing would it be if we were introduced to a smiley, humorous and god forbid remotely approachable Miss Wintour. Alas no, her reputation precedes her and she is every immaculate inch as cold and brazenly tough as is expected, lets face it with that hairstyle how could she be anything but?

I have never subscribed to the idea that fashion gurus have to be monsters; that is goes with the territory or adds to the glamour. Living proof of my dispute to this theory is the simply wonderful Miss Coddington. With the release of this documentary I can virtually hear the sound of Grace Coddington fan-clubs springing up left, right and centre. She is so cheeky and charming in her perpetual antagonisms of Anna Wintour. Their fashion philosophies come from the complete opposite ends of the spectrum and it is a constant battle for them to see eye to eye. The interplay between the two matrons of high fashion made for fabulous entertainment, Grace being the only one bold and stubborn enough to stand up to Anna. Grace Coddington's idealised views on fashion come from a very innocent and personal place. Her background in modelling formed her flair for fashion, so she is all about the relationship between camera, model and overall eventual aesthetics of the page. While Anna Wintour is all names, brands, figures, readers and filling pages. In fact it appears she is single-handedly responsible for everything I hate about American Vogue like endorsing celebrity culture by putting them on their covers (bring back the models)and getting rid of all the best shots! To me it was a no brainer that Grace Coddington was on a constant quest for quality 'stories' and beauty - it is what keeps her going. Whereas Anna Wintour is the big dog because she has a business mind. When you are that high up the American branch of an international tree as big as Vogue - it seems like budget and reputation are your two principal concerns. A male colleague compares her to the Pope of the fashion church, but to me she is less than Holy! To me her role is comparable to that of the Queen - signing off; approving or dismissing the ideas of others.

Grace Coddington is perpetually musing her old-school approach to magazine world. She says
"I think I got left behind somewhere because I'm still a romantic, you have to go charging ahead, you can't stay left behind."

I can see how in a world where Anna Wintour was your contemporary, it would be easy to think that romance was dead. The two strong women could not have more diverse policies; at shows Anna Wintour sits, dark shades intact as if to complete her poker face. At couture week in Paris, Grace is the last man standing on the front row perfecting her notes and annotations. She communicates her visions clearly to photographers and actually handles the clothes. She doesn't call on a scruffy junior assistant for alterations but pins sleeves and hems herself. She is old school in the best possible way and the models must love her! She is all heart full of romantic notions, a real love for her art complete with mad red hair and fiery emotions. I definitely left the cinema wishing she were my friend.

The film was fantastically edited; capturing all sorts of cringe-worthy awkward looks and silences. However I must say, for someone who wants to work in fashion editorial it did not leave my mouth-watering for a slice of the Vogue pie and to be truthful I think I come from the Grace Coddington school of just not tough enough. I urge you people, budding fashionistas and documentary lovers alike - go and see this film!

1. showtime Wintour
2. a young Grace Coddington in her model days
3. Grace Coddington
4. and 5. some typically romantic shots as orchestrated by Ms Coddington

Wednesday, 16 September 2009 HERO

I am re-developing an obsession for Beyonce this year. I am extra loving her for her kindness towards Taylor Swift at this year's VMA awards in New York (when Kanye was being a "jerk"); and of course for her spangly leotard and kick ass performance. She is so talented, one half of one of the most incredible power couples in the world, so fierce yet so gracious, so sexy yet modest. I think she represents the female dilemma; through being one part'Independent Woman' and one part 'If I were a Boy' - you can just tell she dotes on Jay Z but it is equally clear she takes no prisoners! She has outdone her fashion self this year, demonstrating maturity with a series of metallic, sharp-shouldered, futuristic wonders and one-pieces. She has also been sporting a lot of Balmain and making it work, in favour of her volumptuous woman's body. She has been looking amazing! So Balmain, so booylicious, so iconic. Bionic B, we salute you; a modern day superwoman!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Who's Ready for Mum Jeans?

All clothes by Marc Jacobs. Pictures from the denim issue of Nylon (August 2009)

All about Eva

In anything from structured androgynous tuxedo jackets or ethereal floaty dresses, bold prints and old-school Hollywood glamour. Her striking looks enable her to carry off even the boldest trends with ease. The Cuban beauty always has her finger perfectly placed on the fashion pulse and always look smokinn.

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