Wednesday, 19 March 2008

It's bunny & egg time.

Easter Weekend beckons!

I'm planning a lovely, lazy, long four day weekend, and trying to include all of the following:

-lazy hours in front of the telly

-lazy hours with my giant, chocolate egg

-lazy hours with my new DVDs and lovely boyfriend

-a couple of not-so-lazy hours working off the aforementioned egg

-Saturday afternoon film and wine at the Everyman Cinema

-Saturday night revelry at Club Push

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

New Gen - Poltock & Walsh

If you're unfamiliar with British Fashion, New Gen might be an unfamiliar concept to you, so to clarify, New Gen is a British Fashion Council award scheme that recognises and supports new design talent. Since its inception in 1993, New Gen has helped establish many great British designers including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Julien Macdonald, Boudicca, Sara Berman and more recently Giles and Jonathan Saunders.

London-based Poltock & Walsh were part of the New Gen line-up this season, and were possibly my favourite of the new talent at the recent London Fashion Week.
Fiamma Poltock (half English, half Italian) spent her childhood in the North of Italy, moving to Scotland at the age of nine. Katie Walsh (born in Canada, half Irish, half German) grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to London in 2000.Since graduating from Kingston University in 2004, Katie Poltock and Fiamma Walsh first worked for Alexander McQueen and John Richmond respectively, gaining skills, knowledge and experience which they put to good use when they pooled their creative forces and formed Poltock & Walsh.

One of the highlights of the show was the amazing footwear; I've been yearning for a pair of the vertiginous feathery ankle-boots the models sported in the show, clothed in fine pheasant and quail feathers that nicely offset the tough silhouette of the shoe.
The clothes (and the designers) embodied fresh, edgy, youthful London, and Lula stylist Leith Clark (who, as readers of this blog will know, I love) has said of them, "I'm really excited about these girls. I love their enthusiasm."
Destined to become one of London's cult offerings, the collection had an easy elegance, with silky nudes, iridescent shades, plums and almost-blacks.Besides the striking feathered shoe boots (which each took six hours to make), I loved the the duo's use of folding and draping techniques on on silk shorts, dresses and skinny trousers.

I can't wait to see more of their strong, structured pieces next season. But until then, here's my picks of the best:

Monday, 10 March 2008

The F-word

On the, in an article about new fashion line Ohne Titel, I read the line: "It's been the best part of 10 years since I've heard young women in fashion use the F-word. Feminism is so taboo to girly sensibilities that it is almost an obscenity."

That touches a particularly raw nerve with me, one that has always driven me slightly barmy. I have long held that the contention of many young women that they are not feminists is a particularly offensive one, particularly when uttered with pursed lip and an air of contempt, as though the very idea of 'feminism' is distasteful, and in some way not feminine, or worse still, that it may imply that one is a 'crazy' rabid bra-burner who takes offense at the idea of having doors opened for one or chairs pulled out for you by a solicitous man.

To all this is say: pish tosh.

To every girl who expects to be afforded the same education, job and other opportunites and rights as men: I'm sorry to have to be the one to break this to you, you are a feminist.
If you expect to be able to do every thing that a man would do, as well you should: You are a feminist.

Those 'crazy' militant bra-burners did what they had to do, at a time when nothing short of shock tactics would have sufficed, to pave the way for the rights that you now deem your birthright.
If those 'crazy' suffragettes hadn't cycled around in their bloomers, I can assure you, you probably wouldn't be sitting in your office/university library/bachelorette pad scrolling through this blog, with money to burn, sexual freedom and reproductive choice.

Feminism doesn't imply a rejection of men, or indeed, of a girly aesthetic.
You can shave your legs, dress in pink, loll in silk sheets, wear lipstick and be pleased when your boyfriend takes you out to dinner without betraying the feminism principle; it just implies not taking these rights for granted, and remembering that there were women who gave you this choice.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Mighty Suze.

Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune wrote a great article that question whether the new seasons of clothes can ever be only self-referential, without harking back to retro styling; it really got me thinking about whether there can ever be fashion that isn't revivalist or doesn't references the past anymore.

She wrote:
"Is the future shackled to the past? Or can fashion move forward without any reference to previous styles or eras?
That is the fundamental question as four weeks of international collections closed with three powerful shows. Louis Vuitton sculpted a new silhouette, topped with a stylized hat, that emphasized a general smartening up - but also hinted at the bold fashion architecture of the 1980s

Clearly sixties mod styling broke away from the mould entirely, as did fashions born out of the flower-child-hippie movement, and nineties pared-down, stripped back minimalism. But what about now? Now that shoulder pads, belted, empire-waist, simplicity, futurism, short, long, in-between, ruffled, colours, lace, texture, wool, nylon, neoprene, vinyl have all been done - now what?

For me personally the styles i keep cycling back all tend to originate (or were popular) in the late sixties: shorter skirt lengths, shifts, slightly flower-child, beatnik styling and Gallic or Parisian chic. If the styles I favour don't come out that period, then they still tend to have retro references - twenties flapper styling, the pulled-together forties... the eighties never really appealed to me at all, and then nineties actually feel too recent for me to talk about using those fashions as 'references'.

Anyone have an opinion on this? I'd be quite interested to know if I'm barking completely up the wrong tree.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Nice Pins.

I love shorts for summer. They feel really fresh right now (to me anyway); I've been wearing dresses all year round for the last two, maybe three years, and I feel like it's time for a return to separates.

So I've popped out and bought:

a) a simple black skirt from COS, made special by the large bow in front. It'll work well with a tee and gladiator sandals for day, and maybe higher shoes for evening (although I'm a flats girl at heart).

b) These shorts from Topshop:

They look like Luella, but cost a fraction of the price.

c) Also these shorts( from Topshop as well):

They're part shorts, part skirt - great with tights for London in April, and even better with bare legs in summer.

The thing with shorts is that on an Amazonian model with legs up to there, or a pre-pubescent teen with minimal body fat, it's pretty much a no-brainer.
If however, you're part of the other 98% of the population, with legs that aren't a metre long, they may take some effort.

I recommend opaque black tights for as long as the chill lingers in the air, and a hefty dose of swagger when it warms up.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Sonia Rykiel's Gallic wonderland

Sonia Rykiel is, as far as I'm concerned, the queen of quirky, beautiful, enduring chic. The SS08 show in particular has mood-elevating qualities that have until now been limited to large doses of pills/sugar/retail therapy (you pick). I know the fall collections are already out, but with the weather getting warmer these shows feel more... appropriate.

I often look at show pictures/footage and lust after items of clothing, I sometimes am particularly impressed by a collection, but I never look at images and Rykiel sent out models in peachy chiffon and silk confections, who positively skipped down the runway, their lips a peachy tangerine and their pre-Raphaelite curls flowing behind them. They have never looked lovelier.

A strong start to the show, with full-skirted macs that chanelled ingenue-chic, which progressed into high waisted cotton skirts, dotty cancan dresses and matching bikinis and swinwear with the lustre of pearls. The glitterey eye shadow and hairbands provide an accessible way to channel Rykiel's vision. Delicious French eccentricity was displayed in all it's glory at the climax: d
iaphanous nightgowns accessorised with feather chubbies, softly curled hair and Peggy Guggenheim sunglasses.
Giddy, beautiful froth.


After the last couple of years where hemlines only seemed to get higher, and the general mood in fashion was playful and youthful, it feels a little like the mood has flipped on it's head with longer skirt lengths and all all-pervasive feeling of sobriety. Even the Sonia Rykiel show (for spring summer), while the prettiest I've seen in years, was charming and enchanting in a demure and beautiful way, rather than in-your-face sexy exuberance.

As a petite woman, I've embraced the higher hemline for it's ability to make my legs look longer and more lissome, and I feel a little apprehensive about the new skirt-length, worrying that it will swamp my wee frame. But after looking at the new season collections, I don't think the move is towards frumpy or dowdy, but more about best reflecting the times. The womanly silhouette is strong in these clothes, a strong endorsement of femininity. These are clothes that showcase the body, but not in the fetishistic way of body-con. Sophia Kokosalaki sent out dresses that still remained on the right side of flirty, short and swingy, but in more subdued metallics. You don't have to break out the nuns cassock just yet, it's just that the little black dress is looking fresh for the first time in years. (see the Balenciaga dresses below)

Designers are grappling with encompassing the prevailing mood (in both the economies and in fashion) in their collections. Gloomy economic prospects have always triggered sensible chic, and that is what we've seen this season. But is it just me or does austerity chic look very appealing this time around? If the economy's in a downswing, perhaps this isn't the best time to be investing in new clothes; what appeals to me right now is long and lean silhouettes, fitted black lace shifts, neat silk skirts and prim white blouses. It's the idea of sombre grandeur – harking back tot he time when women dressed up everyday, but twisting it so you don't actually spend all morning clipping yourself into suspenders.

I'm still waiting for Chanels' take on the new season, but I've drawn up a wishlist of what I love this season:

Andrew Gn:Sophia Kokosalaki:

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

I want: Sportmax Hair Bows in every colour.

I mean, i LOVE them.

I love them so much I just want to roll up in a little bundle and cry, because I cannot for the life of me locate a shop (online or otherwise) that sells them.
The misery. Sportmax has nailed this bow thing as far as I'm concerned. Winehouse's bows are too skinny-skiffle-rockabilly for my liking, Chanel's are too ingenue, and VV Roleaux just doesn't have anything in at the moment that catches my fancy ( a feat in itself- I could live at that haberdashery).
So when I saw these petal-soft, sumptuously coloured beauties at the Sportmax show I thought, 'sod the shitty salary, I want one of those', and away (online) I went, card in hand, determined to nab one for myself.

I saw some lucky ladies wearing them at London Fashion Week the week before- and they're as lovely in person as they appear on the runway. I now regret not running up to them and sitting on them til they told me where they'd bought them (or given me one, out of fright).

Which brings me to now: Sportmax, why hast thou forsaken me? And where can i buy your bows? It's no good putting something on the runway if you won't let us have it!


Friday, 15 February 2008

This Week:

...was London Fashion Week, where I worked/attended shows and picked up a nasty chill, which brings me to where I am today, in bed at quarter to four in the afternoon on a weekday, in my sloppy clothes, on a 7 hour tv-marathon. Thus far I have imbibed multiple episodes of Greys Anatomy, one splendid episode of Brothers & Sisters, and a couple of not-so-spectacular episodes of Cashmere Mafia (seriously-what is that show?).
The last week was fun though; highlights included my VIP pass, giving me access to all parts of the Fashion Week site, free food and drink, a free haircut, and a fantastic masquerade ball last night (thank you Aganovich). The other thing that kept me going all week was my rediscovery of Blur's Modern Life is Rubbish album, a classic and perfect in every way. I listened to it every day on my journey both to and from the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, and found me listening enjoyment undiminished even on repeated listenings.

Blur's second album saw them finding their feet just before they suddenly became Britpop's poster-boys, and in songs like Chemical World they started to develop those themes of everyday British life that would become their trademark. (Damon Albarn's delicate ballad Blue Jeans has always been one of my favourites, along with Miss America) If you haven't heard this album, buy it, buy it now.

Friday, 8 February 2008

I'm a Lover, not a fighter.

Australian fashion brand Lover, founded by Susien Chong and Nic Briand in 2001, inspires devotion in their fans. The muses that inspire Lover's strong and feminine collections – Patty Hearst for the 'Black Rose Army' (Spring/Summer 06/07); Rolling Stones groupies and biker babes for 'Altamont' (Winter 07) – probably strike a chord in fans of the label.

Their newly launched Spring/Summer line also includes the label's first foray into swimming cossies, and their collection (entitled Electric Ladyland) is inspired by that period in musical history, and the women who were a part of it: female punk poet pioneers, Marianne Faithfull, Patti Smith, The Slits, Poly Styrene and Chrissie Hynde.

Nic Briand had said in interviews of his other half that, "We always describe ourselves as the same record, different song," and it's this meld of different aesthetic sensibilities that dictates the label's blend of temptress and Lolita, siren and separatist. He goes on to say, "We both come from different backgrounds, but we share a similar sensibility and taste level. I like things heavier, Wu Tang Clan, comic books, Hendrix, and Susien is softer, Picnic at Hanging Rock, ballet, Roberta Flack."

They're clearly strongly influenced by the late '60s/early '70s, and their opposing individual influences add to the mix. The duo have produced a collection with a strong, independent presence of restrained whimsy that's sexy (but not overtly sexual) and is littered with irresistible pieces, from a pair of high-waisted denim shorts to a lovely western shirt. Have a look at their lovely understated, but marvelously flirty, swimwear below. Witty, pretty and with a definite narrative, this is a line to love and to fall in love with.

For more information about Lover, go to

Thursday, 7 February 2008

I heart Lula.

Lula's summer issue is out! Published in the UK by ex-Voguette Leith Clark (but it can be found at international magazine shops, or ordered online), this dreamy tome is chock-full of dreamy, color-soaked photography, whimsical fashion and minimal copy. It doesn't hurt either that the magazine has already featured all my favourite girls: Kirsten Dunst guest-edited Issue#5, Zooey Deschanel was featured in a fantastic shoot, Jenny Lewis was interviewed, Ellen Von Unwerth shot a story for them, Valentine Fillol-Cordier's been on the cover and Chloe Sevigney has made an appearance as well (page scan below).

Leith Clark appears almost to have tapped into my brain and put down on paper my exact aesthetic; she once said in an interview of her style, "Lolita is the wrong word, but I guess it's quite playful and eclectic. If I want to buy something, it's usually for some sort of nostalgic reason - because it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland or Little Orphan Annie. I think we are most true to our tastes when we are young and before anyone has told us what we should like."

Packed full of juicy, gorgeous, dreamy fashion editorials, and hardly any adverts, I can't wait to get my hand on this new issue. My only grievance is the spelling, OH the spelling! If something's going into print, you'd think a sub-editor somewhere might cast his/her eye across the text? That's the difference between a magazine edited by a stylist and one edited by a journalist. There's errors galore, something I'm ordinarily a stickler for, but I might let this one slide.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

A little winter sun.

It is the most lovely day in London today; it's the 6th of February, but it feels more like early April. I walked past Cavendish Square this afternoon, on my way to the John Lewis food hall to pick up some cookies for the meeting in the office today and gazed wistfully at everyone who'd spread themselves out across that little patch of lawn smack-dab in the middle of W1.
It took me back to the summer at the end of my first year of university, where every other day saw us (me and the then-boyfriend) on the lawns of Hyde park/Park in front of the Indian YMCA in Goodge street/any little bit of green. It's my idea of bliss, and yesterday I planned my perfect picnic (if London weather obliges it may come to pass quite soon):
Hampstead Heath + bottle of lovely vino + strawberries, grapes and nibblies + a little music & a copy of Lula.

My perfect picnic playlist:
Blur's Modern life is rubbish + Think Tank - the entire albums
Snippets of The Smiths
Maybe some Kooks - they always evoke summer for me

This is a work in progress clearly, sitting indoors at a desk isn't helping. What would be on your list?

Monday, 4 February 2008

Laura Marling

I'm going to see Laura Marling perform an in-store at Rough Trade's Talbot St. branch this evening; if you haven't heard her yet, never fear, you will. Her myspace only has two songs up right now (although they're my favourites), so go have a listen.
Her voice has that trembly but clear texture of a french chanson, and her brand of alt.folk melds old-folk wisdom with modern troubadour lyrics.
Marling's debut album Alas I Cannot Swim is produced by Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink. Destined to be a future classic, this is a strong first album, with warm, inviting arrangements for guitar, sweet horn accents and gentle male vocals backing Laura's own melodic warble. The album is infused with a real intimacy and maturity that belies her young age.

I love in-store gigs (as completely different experiences from proper out-at-night gigs clearly), and I particularly love that you can go pick up the album you've just heard and there isn't any of that restless anticipation that usually follows a great gig.