Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Jackets

Jackets! It's that time of year when a jacket really makes sense. It's not so cold that you feel like an idiotic floozy putting style above substance and it's not so warm that you inevitably want to take it off even though: "It's part of an OUTFIT doncha know?". These autumny days have thrown two beautiful jackets my way.



1. I bought this lovely check coat for £7 in an anonymous charity shop in portobello. It's definitely too big and the shoulder pads are an unusual choice for someone like I who is so frequently labelled "petite". But...I kind of love it! I guess it's straight out of this month's Vogue jackets page, with a belt and chunky scarf as I've styled it above. It is a bit overpowering as an outfit interest though, might need some kind of toning down.


2. This is currently on hold for me in the Oxford topshop - there's a 20 percent off for students sale on tonight so i'm going back to retrieve it later avec the discount, s'il vous plait! I'm not sure how lasting the snakeskin print will be, or if the dirty rock n roll thing will die out and look naff for spring. On the other hand, my style is generally quite rock n roll. And i DO have a thing for jackets... Well worth my fifty quid in my opinion! (Student...loan...slowly...slipping...through...fingers!)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Ruff

Ever since I saw this picture I was obsessed.



Ruff me up immediately! I have gone further into crazy, fashion victim territory than ever before. I've even set up a little folder full of specifically ruff-centric inspiring pictures on my computer.

Susie B and Fashion 156 have been extolling the virtues of Kapow Wow's versions, which look the absolute business to me: here's my own attempt, using fringing from Shepherd's Bush Market.



My other solution has been a kid's tutu from a vintage shop in Oxford which sits quite nicely across the shoulders and on the neck.



But this sort of experimentation often leads to other musings, and led me to think that my neck isn't the only place volume is required. I have worn the tutu as an actual skirt but it is just very very bum-revealingly short and should not be attempted without a full realisation of your madness and several large glasses of vodka. Instead next I plan to wear my fetish on my sleeve, becoming probably the world's most annoying person to dance next to in a club.



Flapper style indeed...
(p.s. apologies for the lousy background, i couldn't face negotiating photoshop today...)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Wearable

What does the word "wearable" mean to you? To me, when I see it on a fashion show review or collection press release it spells out B-O-R-I-N-G. Obviously I realise this is a hugely biased opinion but I think it is justified from my position as a fashion show consumer. Since I am never actually going to buy the clothes, either on behalf of a store or for myself, wearability matters very little. If I wanted something to actually wear I would go to the high street, a charity shop or ebay.

What I do need catwalk shows for, in my fashion cycle, is inspiration, pure and simple. They remain the ideal way to consume a designer's vision for that season. This doesn't mean that I am not interested in any of the shows that has to make sacrifices to the twin gods of buy- and wearability - I think Christopher Kane, Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu, Lanvin, Balenciaga (there are OBV more...) all manage to keep producing new and exciting collections without disregarding the desires of the majority. Their ideas are not diluted by the financial demands made upon them, which I am certain will prove to be a crucial discriminator between successful and unsuccessful designers as economic disaster appears to loom.

(This post was fuelled by reading Style.com's review of the Dsquared S/S 09 show - "one of their most wearable collections in seasons". I sat for a good few minutes trying to work out whether this was a positive or a negative comment. I am still unsure...)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Bib

Here are some things I have been trying to fashion(ho ho) with my very own hands from before and after my 2 week holiday.
Number one is a bib which aims to look like a sort of sleeveless tuxedo shirt to wear under a waistcoat. A little bit Miu Miu S/S 08, I thought of this after seeing the white shirt cuffs and thinking about how to make them (which I haven't ruled out trying completely!). Surreal circus tuxedo is the look I'm going for! (When will I tire of it? Also wandered past Topshop window - they are clearly not giving up on it either...)

First I made a paper pattern of the shape it would be:



Pinned it to the material:



Cut it out, and some strips that I frayed the edges of to look textured and layery - I wanted it to be as 3-d as possible. Then, dusting off my sewing machine, it was just a matter of sewing around the shape (I wanted to leave the edges raw which made it even easier!)


And then sewed straight down the frayed strips, which needed even more fraying to volumise even more!



I've tried it on with various outfits - but I got scared it was looking a bit too girls aloud, overpolished high street, so I made a black bow tie to go with it which LITERALLY took me about two and a half minutes - two rectangles of fabric, a few stitches, some pink ribbon, and hey presto! I think I will be repeating this method since bows are a crucial part of my circus tuxedo winter theme...



I think my textiles teacher would be ever so proud of my efforts...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Junk

Is it just me or do we all have a plethora of mangy chains, rings, unpaired earrings, charms and whatnot lying around waiting to be played with? Perhaps it's just my magpie tendencies...
Anyway I always found myself irritated to the point of blind rage at Urban Outfitters' audacity in selling off some bits of junk on a chain for 20 quid (even though I secretly couldn't be bothered to do it myself, ah UO, you know us so well!). But why must we stop at our jewellery junk, why can't I have all sorts of unused items on my neck?
Queen Marie's got a tea set around her neck, ruffs seem to be making a comeback, Givenchy's mad for millions of chains this season, surely I can come up with something entertainingly endearing around my neck?
Pray to god I don't end up with a pin-pierced doll's head on some string! Though my 14-year old grunge self would love it, my 20 year old self will be dying inside

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Circus

It's always a bit sad when the seasons move on and you realise you haven't really made the most of all the opportunities it had to offer. I absolutely adored Miu Miu SS08 and yet somehow didn't manage to get my head around buying into it/DIYing some crazy ankle cuffs.



Yet now, on the brink of the new season, I still seem to be seduced by the same images of the dapper harlequin circus girl. Fashion156 does not seem to have given up on this idea yet, either, as seen in their August issue:



I also picked up a fantastic mag called METAL in the Contemporary Art Museum in Barcelona, and, although this issue was intended to last June, July and August, also has some beautiful harlequin images that make me want to run away and join the circus!





Hopefully I can find something amongst this season's bunch to inspire me as much, or who knows maybe I'll commit that cardinal fashion sin and wear something "SOOOOO last season"...

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Print

My favourite print at the moment...

On a silk shirt bought in Berlin, 3 euros.
(Deers! Leaping! On my arms, shoulders and midriff! How much better can you get?!)

And my least favourite...

On a night-dress bought in Berlin, 3 euros.
(The flowers are so hideously 60's but i think end up making the dress more fantastic!)

Friday, 22 August 2008

Necessity



Love transcends all boundaries.

In this case there were several boundaries:
1. My Bank balance
2. The height in inches of my beloved
3. My mother's pronouncement that I "looked as if I had covered my feet in elastoplast".

But for just sixty-two English pounds I was united with the objects of my affection (down from £180! I LOVE Kurt Geiger sales!).

Now, as for walking in them, that's another challenge...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Hair

Once upon a time there was a little girl called word_fashionista, who had the longest hair in all the kingdom. Even when her mother brushed it oppressively hard, almost tearing out her scalp, she never complained because she loved her great long swinging plait hanging down her back. The hair took hold of her, convincing her she needed it to make her look good, and the girl succumbed to its wishes - she thought her long hair was forever, and they would never be parted.
"What would you do without me?" Her hair asked. "I'm the best asset you have!". For years the girl unquestioningly agreed. Eventually, though the girl began to wonder if her hair really was as necessary as she'd thought it was. It did seem to weigh her down, and surely she had some other assets to hold on to as well (her biting wit? her loyalty to her friends?). So she went to the magic hairdressers where an enthusiastically anti-long-hair Alessandro smiled gleefully at her request to "cut it all off please". A snip-snip-snip and a chop-chop-chop later and word-fashionista was free of her long-haired prison. And she lived happily ever after.

Well...Not exactly! Although I love my cropped pixie cut, and still get compliments from it 8 months after the cut, there is a tiny bit of me that does feel slightly wistful when I see others plaiting and ponytailing and chignonning. I can't help but feel I've really cut my options down, and am doomed to look the same no matter what I do with my hair (until i let it all grow out of course!).

Not one to let myself mooch about feeling sorry for myself, I decided to rectify this situation. I WILL have plaits and hair clips and backcombing! I am loving using material as a hair substitute at the moment. Ok not in the "extensions" sort of way, but here are two different ways to use material as hair length:







1. Nymph plait
A few strips of white material joined at the top linked into a french plait across the forehead. Nice for summer, makes me think of a blonde floaty goddess running through a sun-drenched cornfield. Just me? Oh dear. Or leave the plait hanging down for a more Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.





2. Netting turban
This is a full-on hair-faking session. I love really stiff netting for this because you can get it to stick up in lots of different directions and twist it into any shape. Up dos, ponytails, hell i'm even tempted to just let it fly loose in a sort of crazy veil kind of way. Also tested has been the heidi round-the-head plaits for the true turban look (You can see how I've started it in the first of the 3 images above - wrap like a head scarf around the front of your head and twist the remainder into a "ponytail", wrap around head and tuck into the back).

Ok I think I might just be a little bit obsessed with netting.
p.s. I also wrote about this a while ago on fashion156.com's blog. You can see it here.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Timewaster

On Saturday I had half an hour to kill in between my tutoring appointment (whatever pays the bills...) and a jaunt around the riverbank, so stopped into Shepherds Bush to scavenge away. I was half-intending to only go through on my way to A1 Fabrics, my favourite cheap-as-chips fabric shop that is clearly popular with fashion students too, judging by the clientele. However, this time A1 really wasn't doing it for me, and instead I was pulled to the stacks and stacks of netting in a fabric stall in the market. The colours were so juicy, so inviting, and all irresistibly stiff and perfect for pulling into outlandish shapes on head, heart or hinie!

So, my netting obsession heralded the start of a "oh-and-this-and-this-and-this" chain of love for lots of other stuff at the stall, and ended up with an armful of stuff suddenly wondering how on earth i was going to afford all this stuff! A few clicks on the lovely man's calculator and all was revealed: £15! For London prices pretty amazing, huh? I have plans for a tuxedo-shirt style bib from the white, with a bow( tie?) from the shiny black, a rosette from the netting perhaps? Watch this space for diy attempts! And look how good I was with picking colours also! Fringing might end up on the back of some tights (yes, like the Bebaroque ones) - would glue work do we think?

ps. totally unrelated to fashion but also noticed this massive street art on a random alleyway wall near the market - what a gem of a surprise!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Crush


Ever since I saw Control(my favourite film of last year by a long shot...Simply Beautiful) I have had a slight love affair with Sam Riley in my head. It's a difficult relationship: I get jealous of his 'real' relationship with Alexandra Maria Lara (who plays Annick Honoré irritatingly well in Control to Riley's Ian Curtis), he works late nights (having to go to showbiz parties and the like), travelling back and forth from Berlin (where he lives - of course he does, my new favourite city, where else?). All in all, it's been a tricky love affair.
However, now I have truly reached the peak of my crush - these beautiful adverts for Burberry, shot by Mario Testino. Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, I am well and truly envious of you in these photos. Not because of your looks, clothes, hair or figure, but because of the beautiful man fawning over you in these photos. (Although, rumour has it that she's SO not good enough for him). If only the boy didn't look so damn good in a suit.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Reflection


In keeping with my new resolution to take in all the cultural delights of London town, I took the opportunity to head over to The Photographer's Gallery this weekend for the "Fashion in the Mirror" exhibition. I went with both a fellow fashion-worshipper and a photographer to get a full range of critical opinions on the work, which was highly revealing. Fashionisto and I enjoyed looking at the pretty images - exuding the instant aesthetic appeal that we are both familiar with from devouring fashion magazines 24/7. What I really enjoyed were the older photos, such as the Norman Parkinson one above, as these were some of the first fashion images that depicted the photographer as well.

All good fun, until Photografisto pointed out that while the photos were good, but didn't really understand what it was getting at. This really got me thinking. The idea behind the exhibition was fashion photographs representing the process behind them: involving the photographer, camera equipment and so on. It was notable that all of the photographers who had included themselves in their pictures were men, and so had the added dimension of the masculine eye viewing the 'perfect' female form of the model. That's what i gleaned from it anyway, but the notable thing about the exhibition was that there was no direction as to what to think about the photos - they were merely laid out for the viewer to look at, as a consumer of fashion magazines might. I think because of this there was little inclination to look at the photos as anything other than aesthetically pleasing fashion photographs, especially due to the lack of supporting material, as disneyrollergirl complained in her review. Nonetheless, there were some interesting connections made between fashion's obsession with itself - such as Mario Testino's shot of a model dressed up as Anna Wintour, and the references made between different photos within the exhibition (the photo of Karl Lagerfeld and his entourage above is based on a similar image of Twiggy from the sixties.) Seeing as it was free, I didn't mind wandering around and drawing my own conclusions, but clarifying the ideas the curators wished to elicit from their viewers would have made it a more interesting experience all around.
As I was thinking about this post I realised there was a whole genre of fashion photography that is hugely reflective and almost always involves the photographer: bloggers' images of their own outfits.

Although these are mostly shot in bad light conditions, in a mirror, and are not the most artistic of photos, there is a growing trend of more interesting, themed, editorial-style photos such as this shoot from Kingdom of Style and Susie Bubble's more recent shots like this.
p.s. posts involving pictures of yours truly on the way - hopefully of the KoS genre but more likely of the bad lighting, dusty mirror variety!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Killer



Gimmick or not, these revolver platforms from Chanel's resort 2009 line are spectacular! Imagine strutting down the street in them - talk about a killer heel!

Read about Michael Gaubert's trip to Miami for the show in Hint mag.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Colours

Top: Preen S/S 08, Marc Jacobs S/S 08, Marc Jacobs S/S 08 Bottom: Louis Vuitton S/S 08, Louis Vuitton S/S 08, Facehunter
Following on from my last post about fashion habits - here's another very bad habit of mine: an inability to buy into colours properly. (it makes my hideous nicotine habit pale into insignificance...)
My way of dealing with the constantly changing fashion trends has always been to keep everything: all the clothes that will still fit me, all the necklaces I can still wring around my neck and the heels i can jam my little feet into. This i count as one of my slightly more insane, but nonetheless useful habits. School satchels and checks, say you Luella? Well it's a good thing I kept my leather satchel from primary school and my dad's lumberjack shirt to chop up.
Black tantalising lace and tailoring, Prada? My makeshift version will be made out of scraps from my mum's material box and whatever boxy shirtiness is still left of her 80's wardrobe. The sheer range I have to choose from means I can approximate as much as possible what those with greater budgets than I can afford.

HOWEVER. All this comes to nothing if I never chose the right things in the first place, and my weakness is colours - i don't seem to own the right options to make it work! I've become obsessed with the idea of a really bright sherberty lemony limey greeny yumminess next to a very primary-to-creamy red.


Or how about a peachy salmony pink with a mid-to-light blue.


I am infatuated! These kind of striking colour combinations are always what catches my eye in the editorials, and I have to find a way to get this look for myself. So far I have unearthed an oversized highlighter yellow ralph lauren polo shirt that is begging for some creamy colour to modernise it...what will come next? I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Armour

Ooh! Check out this dress by Hannah Marshall, who is one of Style.com's Top ten picks for new designers this autumn. The styling of this photo in particular makes it look so luscious, n'est pas? The Mary-Kate Olsen hair and eyes, the fidgety hands and yet eyes that say exactly what that shoulder-piece says ("I will fight you to the death!").
It made me think of Cate Blanchett's dress for the Oscars last year by Giorgio Armani Prive, as well as that perennial style icon(?!), Joan of Arc.
















Dressing up is often compared to armour, arming ourselves for the world outside with the only means we have - self-expression. By making this explicit, I think this dress challenges the world to the duel, and, when you're dressed that fabulously, you're simply bound to win!

Friday, 18 July 2008

BFW














Berlin. Again, again I know, BUT just a quick note to say these pictures on Facehunter are a great expression of the relaxed chic Berlin style I saw while I was there: the presence of the fashion police clearly haven't scared them out of sorts!