Friday, 13 February 2009

Motorcycle Diaries

Blondes have more fun? Really? Is that the best you can come up with? Okay, so maybe it’s more than just hair colour, but I’ve recently been inspired by a bunch of brunettes who play up to their dark roots. It’s a sort of posh grunge, biker-ready but with a limousine & driver handy just in case. The new 90210 miniseries revival boasts a big dose of preppyness with the plaid-brigade, but the character Silver, played by Jessica Stroup, injects a breath of fresh air, albeit the sort probably infused with cigarette smoke from teenage rebels.

The pieces needed to create this devil-may-care persona must, if not be black, then somehow embody it. At the same time, a cheeky sex-appeal must come through. Not too overt (forget cleavage), but not a nuance so subtle it’s hard to identify: a bit of leg seems the easiest way to approach this, especially when, with Jessica’s lead, you pair with a zippered jacket up top (leather, natch, for biker appeal).

Audrina Patridge, of The Hills “fame”, is forever seen on the backseat of a bike with on again/off again beau Justin-Bobby, so she needs something manageable but ever camera-ready for her close-ups. This invariably ends up as skinny black jeans (seriously, who can remember how we ever lived without these darlings??) with a simple vest top, leather jacket, & a bouffant evocative of Priscilla Presley: half up-half down, long black hair.

Ece Sukan, former model, now owner of a hot vintage boutique in Istanbul, brings a more sophisticated look to the table. Her inspiration comes not only from the Middle East, but also from the catwalks of Paris & Milan (where, let’s face it, we’re not expecting Jessica or Audrina to show up anytime soon). Her over-the-knee leather boots kick ass, & her idea of throwing on a gold chainmail dress in autumn simply rocks us crazy.

If you really want to be daring, get a tattoo.

Just don’t go all Angelina on us.

Audrina with a hard-ass caffeine infused beverage:

Jessica mixes black & yellow & avoids bumblebee syndrome:

Sequins don't have to be all sugarsweet - wear them in black:

Leather bags go with practically everything:

Audrina with a scary-looking tattoo man, gets a tattoo:

Celine, Fall/Winter 2008:

I’ve included some vids this time. Diesel are pretty much a definite source of inspiration when it comes to mixing high fashion with a more street-level leather chic:

Celine may not come to mind initially, but check out the long dark coats, chic yet edgy silhouettes, & funky platforms, especially on model Coco Rocha (the 7th look):

(note from ed: i'm working on embedding these!)

Picture/Video Sources:

Jessica Stroup in yellow skirt:

Jessica Stroup in black dress:

Jessica Stroup in black hotpants:

Audrina with leather bag:

Audrina gets a tattoo:

Audrina with drink:

Celine pic:

Ece Sukan, leading pic:

Ece Sukan/Jim Goldstein:

Diesel fashion show, from youtube:

Celine video, Elle magazine on youtube:

Monday, 2 February 2009

It’s a thin line between love & hate.

One of the many great things about style & its perception is that everything reads as in the eye of the beholder. What one person believes to be vulgar, others see as a refreshing manifestation of all things hip & inspired. Take Vivienne Westwood. Do guys, of the non-camp camp, really appreciate her wonder, her unswerving ability to keep pushing the boundaries of ‘taste’ further & further, particularly with her own personal style? Many artistes create such perfected personas that compliment their lines, their canvas, an image that makes a house.

A shock of red hair & a staple of badges pinned to her body: Vivienne Westwood’s character emanates as if unending from her own essence through to her collections. From her almost humble abode at 430 King’s Road, ‘71, the infamous Sex store was born in ’74, & Ms Westwood caused quite a stir with pieces inspired by S&M, punk & the pirate. Together with her business partner & then lover, Malcolm McLaren, Westwood dressed the Sex Pistols, & from then on, the rest, as they say, is history.

Carrie Bradshaw, heroine of Sex & the City, chose Westwood for the final showdown: The Wedding Scene. Paired with a fantastically courageous turquoise feather, the structured layers and the shaped bustier create an elfin-twisted haute couture fairytale as she exits the cab at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. What I loved was what so many people were drawn to hate: the feather. Yes, it’s turquoise & about a foot in length, but it gives drama to an outfit that for Westwood is relatively mute. It really brings a touch of the 1940s to the modern punk that is brought out in the dress.

Sex and the City breached the gap between what was acceptable & expected of city women, with the world of haute couture & constant innovation that was previously restricted to the catwalks of Paris & Milan. Granted, this may have been taken to extreme on occasion, toying with audience naïveté on what was really happening on the streets of New York between women & fashion. Take the character of Carrie: she evidently relishes the walk of shame after a night at Big’s so much so that her nonchalance brings her to don a large white men’s shirt, secure a black leather belt to give the outfit a waist, & simply add stilettos. Would this genuinely happen in real life? I don’t think it matters. Patricia Field, costume designer for Sex & the City for much of its career, made us sit up & watch. Here was a high-fashion editorial look being played out on the small screen. That’s what made it real, the fact that it was fashion, & it was happening real-time.

Sarah Jessica Parker, as Carrie, revived the corsage, putting it back into everyday vernacular:

Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Noth play their onscreen characters for an Annie Leibowitz shoot for US Vogue:

Wardrobe rails, backstage at SATC:

Vivienne Westwood, true as always to her Punk roots:

Carrie in Westwood wedding dress:

Vivienne Westwood, Paris f/w '08:

Picture Sources:


Vogue shot: original credit to US Vogue.

Wardrobe rails:

Vivienne Westwood:

Vivienne in turquoise:

Westwood Paris f/w ‘08:

Westwood & Mclaren:

Carrie in Westwood wedding dress:

Carrie with umbrella: