Thursday, 29 January 2009

Colour me Quick!

So many people are afraid of a little colour. Truly. An LBD (little black dress)? Why not a navy blue? – easier on the complexion, brings out the rouge in one’s cheeks. Red nails a la Chanel’s shade Pirate? Check out Agness Deyn’s orangina manicur-a in the latest ed of US Vogue. Cute! & all sophisticated at the same time!

One of the best ways to stand out through outrageous colour combinations is to clash, clash, clash. Mix a neon pink silk blouse with tan riding pants. Yeah baby. Or go for preppy red jeans with a summer-rose cashmere twinset. Add pearls if you’re meeting the in-laws. Richard Nicoll has shown real innovation through his use of colour on the catwalk; the ability to blend pastels, nudes & brights without causing offence does not come along often.

UniQlo. Great name (Unique Clothes), great shop for this sort of thing. Heard on the down-low that the store actually maintains a sort of Primarni/Peacocks grade level over in Japan, famed for its inexpensive (read: cheap) pieces more than anything else. A transatlantic marketing boost can do wonders for a brand (remember how Banana Republic came to the UK with an upgrade?)...& so Uniqlo in London translated into innovative style solutions, a rainbow of colours to brighten up the dank and somewhat grimy streets leading from Oxford Circus onwards. Cords in a primary colour palette, opaque leggings, and long button-down cardigans in enough shades to make even your 101 paintbox you had as a kid blush with inferiority.

Whilst the time has approached to replenish one’s summer wardrobe, you may want to hold out a while. Punch through a melee of winter nudes, tans, and neutrals with a shot of high definition vibrancy. Henry Ford? Pfft. You can have any colour, so long as it’s not black.

Richard Nicoll, S/S ‘09:

Elettra Wiedemann wears Chris Benz for the infamous Met/ Costume Institute Gala. 2008 was the year of 'Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy'. (Hop on the Obama-is-superman/Jesus Christ reincarnated bandwagon...)

Alexis Bledel goes for a pink lip:

Chris Benz, S/S ’08:

...more Chris...

Kristen Bell excels in a nude/pink/nude sequence head to toe:

Picture Sources:

Richard Nicoll:

Elettra Wiedemann pic:

Chris Benz pics:;

Kristen Bell:

Leading pic, Chris Benz, spring 08:

Alexis Bledel:

Friday, 23 January 2009

Parker Vs. Parker

We all know what happened to Sex and The City: it became a movie, & then it became a possible movie sequel, & now it’s just fashion folklore from those oft remembered days gone by. Whatever happened to Patricia Field? Zeitgeist, Artiste, Designer; she went to M&S. SATC became a hit through its more hilarious than accurate, but all the same still touching rendering of career women through their thirties, seeking love, sex & money. We all know what really made it stick in the collective was the fashion, the colours, the designers. Samantha’s Fendi baguettes (both authentic & fake), Carrie’s Louboutin’s, Charlotte’s preppyness & Miranda’s suits: they called out to us. & now they’re gone.

Where SATC paved the way, other US drama series are taking smaller, subtler steps. Mad Men, set in the Sixties in a dependably sexist advertising industry where women are valued more for their likeness to a pin-up Coca-Cola ad than a technical education, throws out inspiring ensembles for both men & women. Costume designer for the show, Janie Bryant explains on Black Book that she wanted to create “a sleek style...masculine...that’s also about wealth & personal grooming” for the men, with a pithy “cupcake...hourglass...a little bit prim” look for the ladies. Fashion in the 1960s really came into its own as it began to breach the gap between the conservative white-picket-fence Fifties and the Roxy Music/Studio 54 Seventies. Hair was coiffed & curled while bodices were loosened, skirts began to creep towards the knee whilst twinsets still reigned supreme.

From Sarah Jessica Parker to Mary-Louise Parker, those of the double barrelled names. The unlikely sleeper hit based around a kooky suburban drug-dealing widow, Showtime’s Weeds really hit it off with the young, urbanite professional crowd. Where Mary-Louise Parker, in arguably her best-suited role yet, began with pedal pushers, wife-beaters and static hair, she ended the recent series with a whole array of car-crash-causing bondage stilettos and Roberto Cavalli slip dresses to die for - which, trust me, after coming dangerously close to death several times throughout , she probably doesn’t want to do -

Keep an eye on the small screen, kids.

Behind every glamorous & adoring housewife is a cigaretted man in a sharp suit:

Cutting it fine: smoke & silhouette:

Girl:Boy shoot for Vanity Fair magazine:

Daydream believer, Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds:

Siren on the small screen, & off:

Walking away with a sly smile. Spaghetti strapped black number:


Janie Bryant quotes:

Picture Sources:

Mad Men: girls/boys double shot:

Housewife & cigarette pic:

Smoke silhouette pic:

Red lipstick/blue suit:

Polka dot Mary-Louise pic:

Walk away:

Weeds promo pic:

Red dress:

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

We’ll Always Have Paris...

So, Paris fashion week Spring/Summer 2009 begins on Monday. Are you ready for it? As George Bernard Shaw once said, “A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic,” so be sure to pack your Echinacea. To be stylish is a lot easier than being fashionable. Style is classic, continuity, longevity. Fashion is knowing the trends and the hot spots before they become public knowledge. This can be equated to the illegal practice of holding inside information on stocks and shares. However, instead of trading on the stock markets, we are trading on the social strata, the fashion Stasi, the Mafiosi mode, in an attempt to gain the social favours and recognition that such wisdom brings.

The fashion crowd can be compared to a swarm of bees. Unlike in nature, we have several queen bees, but distance between them has to be maintained otherwise things could really get nasty & stings could appear. Anna Wintour really excels in her queen bee role. Not only does she spot fashion and publish it accordingly, she actually makes fashion: the designers value her opinions. (Whispers across the globe however that this queen bee’s supremacy may be on the wane: American Vogue is getting thinner by the day, and cover leads have resorted to tabloid-y headlines – Jen Aniston: “What Angelina Did Was Very Uncool”. With the launch of India Vogue in September 2007, could this nation’s publication be the daughter queen of Anna’s elder?)

Paris fashion week is celebrated for its haute couture, its attention to detail, and its fantastic displays of self-worth. What have we got to look forward to come Monday? Well, we can expect there will be the usual size zero debate to keep the media hounds happy, but these discussions are considered weary & unfashionable by those in the know: give the models a burger & a BMI test & we’ll all be happy. Attendees of shows naturally have to come dressed in the designer of the day, but the easiest way to approach this is to choose an all-black ensemble. This way, if you haven’t got the contacts to get hold of the collection’s latest wares, at least you’ll blend in & no-one will notice that your clothes may in fact be a few weeks old, or *gasp*, off the hanger.

Being a celebrity, it pays off to choose your shows carefully. The PR doyennes for both fashion houses & celebrities are working top speed to align their aesthetics and synergise their choices so that the final image projected to the international media is apt. Last year, as mentioned in previous posts, we had Emma Watson’s Coming Out Parade, with her attendance at shows such as Chanel, Dior, and Sonia Rykiel. Maybe this year will be the turn of Julia Robert’s niece Emma Roberts, who attended Fashion Week-New York but a few months ago.

Weather forecasts for Monday predict heavy rain in the French capital. One thing we can be certain of is that the queen bees and the fashion darlings will remain dry as a desert in Arizona: only the pack get rained upon.

If the dress fits...

Purple haze: fashion shows never take place on time, & this is one of the reasons why – there’s a hell of a lot of preparation to do...

Is the light right?

Chanel is synonymous with pearls. Coco Chanel herself infamously remarked that a lady should always wear a string or two of pearls around her neck to light up her face. Here, the concept of pearls is revisited through bronzed beads:

French ingénues: Ludivine Sagnier & Julie Depardieu, Paris fashion week 2007:

Keeping an eye on the prize: celebrities front row Spring 2009 include Mario Testino, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Watson and Clemence Poesy:

Lilly looking ladylike for Paris: even the ciggie fits in here:

First time designers premiering their collections in 08/09:

Lanvin, backstage, Fall 2008:



Picture Sources:

Purple backstage & domed light backstage:

Ludivine Sagnier & Julie Depardieu 2007, Lilly 2007, celebs front-row spring 2009:

Turquoise dress, getting prepped:

Chanel “Pearls”:

List of designers:

Lanvin; big hair pic-Dior:

Black dress w/ blue choker:

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Cause Celeb

Yeah, so we get it, Obama may not necessarily live up to all the great expectations that are usually reserved for placing pressure upon Greek Gods, superheroes, and Finchley sixth graders studying for the 11 plus. But you know what? At least he does it in style. Before him, the risks city traders took in gambling away our credit was nothing compared to the risk they could have gone into the office sans tie. Before him, Hart Schaffner Marx was just your everyday all American tailor.

Fashion and choice of suitable attire on the campaign run can always be a fun and experimental time. Come election day, while many doors open, one door gets shoved, locked and bolted. No longer is it acceptable to don clothes in the public arena that have not been designed by the hand of your fellow countryman. In fact, it is deemed positively unpatriotic. Jackie O, née Kennedy, fiercely championed Oleg Cassini, purveyor of shift dresses and kid gloves. In spite of this, one of Jackie’s favourite designers actually resided in Paris: Hubert de Givenchy. "Mrs. Kennedy was the first political wife to understand the power of magazines and television. She loved Paris fashion, but she had to give it up for political reasons,” says Pamela Golbin in the Herald Tribune. Would the relationship between politics and fashion have developed into international bedfellows had Jackie chosen differently all those years ago? Would Carla Bruni-Sarkozy have explored slightly further afield than her beloved Yves? Heck, she was an international supermodel, she surely has the contacts to get hold of some Oscar de la Renta to indulge her 1950s prom queen, or some Miuccia for her quirky side.

Everyone seems to be championing Michelle Obama’s wardrobe du jour, but let’s not get carried away here. She does seem to have a knack for picking some classic shifts, pearls, and bouffants, but to label her iconic so early on may be a little bold. Afterall, Jackie came into her own in the 1980s, reinforcing her love for the big-O sunglasses, crisp white shirts and black capri’s.

Michelle certainly has potential: flair, grace, and panache. But longevity is key. Will she be able to pull it off, ten, twenty years from now? ...To Be Confirmed. Can she pull it off today?

Yes, she can.

Jackie as a Kennedy:

The Later Years: Jackie in New York, paparazzi fodder:

Ron Galella became a furiously dedicated snapper of Jackie, to the point where Jackie bought an injunction against Galella in 1972 after a very public trial.

With the Reagans, 1986:

The New First Family:


Pamela Golbin:

Picture Sources:

Leading Obama pic:

Jackie in Peach dress:

Men’s suit:

Carla with Queen pic:

Michelle in orange:

Michelle with the kids:

Michelle in purple, with Barack:

Michelle in ruffle neck top:

Obama family:

Jackie in check suit:

Jackie with sunglasses, close shot:

Jackie in white:

Jackie with The Reagans:

Ron Galella/Jackie pic:

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Young Lady, You Will Not Leave The House Looking Like That!

Taylor Momsen, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears: all continually lambasted for their age-inappropriate, racy ensembles. But what about the other end of the spectrum? It’s one thing to dress your age and not your shoe size, quite another to dress like you’ve been through a DUI, seen through several minor recessions, and partied through numerous hot nights at (former speakeasy) Club 21 in midtown Manhattan before you’ve even reached your fifteenth birthday. Hang on a sec. What if - can you even visualise this? It might be just a bit disturbing in a parallel vortex sort of way – instead of dressing older than you are in pursuit of presenting a provocative facade, dress as to impress at a board meeting or the school run.

Yup, Hayden Panettiere didn’t let fame go to her head. (Well, let’s put aside the minor embarrassment, say, of her dating Laguna Beach alumna Stephen Colletti, many days did it last? Each to their own). Ironically, she actually gets criticised for dressing like she’s in her mid-twenties/thirties. Hell, what’s wrong with a pencil skirt, a bit of rouge and a chignon?

Over on this side of the river, guess who's soon to graduate from Hogwarts? (- hold your breath, there’s still another Harry Potter film due for the publicity junket this summer). Emma Watson, hoping to attend a liberal arts college in the US next year, currently feeds her love of style and fashion in an extremely grown up way. She even attended last year’s Paris shows suitably attired from head to toe in the key colour of the season & the city. (Black, need you ask?) I hope she has a ticket for this year’s shows. Starting next week, I hear they’re selling out fast...

In Dior, & then Chanel:

Follow these guidelines & you’ll be sure to attain that haute elegance & icy exterior that previously only the elder (read: wiser) of the fashionistas could exert. Of course by then you might want to revert back a few years to a youth forgotten: no one could forget the bikini pic of 2008.

Helen Mirren looking fantastic at 63:

Babe Paley, fashion editor of Vogue and swan of Capote, once said (& I’m paraphrasing here) that a lady should always dress a couple decades older than her actual age. That way, when said age was reached, no-one would be any more the wiser.

Suitable at every age: Hayden in a classic trench

Signing autographs, Emma wears Chanel:

Want to show off an asset? Do it the classy way, from behind. Hayden at the Berlin Film Festival, 2008:

A girl’s gotta keep up with her philanthropic work: Hayden at the 5th annual Innovation and Inspiration gala, hosted by the Alfred Mann Foundation at Vibiana in Los Angeles:

Sorry, how old are you Scarlett?

Picture Sources:

Hayden in Berlin:

Hayden inTrench:

Hayden headshot, red lipstick:

Hayden in Pencil skirt with blouse by Nu Collective; at Vibiana; Scarlett Johansson:

Emma in Chanel, leading pic:

Emma in Dior; & in Chanel:

Helen Mirren pic:

NB: For legal purposes, I can’t guarantee that Emma Watson wore Chanel when signing autographs in Paris, but it sure looks like Chanel to me! Post a comment if you think otherwise!