Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fashion Fast Forward

        Exams are over, the sun is finally out and both Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld are about to star in a new adaptation of Romeo & Juliet together, with Ed Westwick to accompany them as Tybalt - life is good. 

       What's more is that it being the end of June can mean only one thing - new collections. For women there are the pre-season collections, which designers such as YSL and Jason Wu are now accustomed to doing, just as we have become accustomed to expecting them and for men the SS 2012 shows are already being held.
       And whilst in the past fashion has always kept ahead of itself, today it is doing so on speed. You will have just tried on this year's collection, when suddenly you begin admiring the one that you'll be trying on next year as it appears before you. It is ever-so wonderfully surreal in that, while to onlookers, it can seem painfully hard to keep track of, it is such a simple and hassle free system for the modern fashionista.
       Firstly, mere minutes after each show is held, photographs of the collection are uploaded onto the internet for the whole world to see on Blackberry's, iPads, net-books and the like. We needn't wait endlessly for a specific time or showing, just gaze and enjoy them at our own will, whenever we want, wherever we want.


       Moreover, you have plenty of time to decide which trends will suit you and your personality in time for the season itself. No sudden decisions need to be made because you can experiment before hand in order to think up and create your own unique on-trend looks for the season ahead. It literally is a case of no muss - no fuss.
      The pace allows you to routinely enjoy the looks of your favourite infamous designers, such as Marc Jacobs (below) and Versace (who's  in the process of collaborating with H&M now - eek!), while simultaneously delving into and discovering newer talent, whether it's that of the delightful Alexis Mabille (below) or the intriguing David Koma. You are then able to decide, which items of clothing will be worth saving up for in the months to come and do so, without having to hopefully wait for a bonus or a birthday. 

       The fact that fashion is on a constant fast-forward conversely allows us to rewind a little and intake the next season before it is over. It lulls you into a sense of relaxation, as there is no clear hurry to see everything, other than that of your innate desire. The pre-collections may seem a little unnecessary but who couldn't use a little (GREEN) tea in between their lunch and supper - who doesn't enjoy a pre-season Erdem show in between those of Prada and Proenza Schouler?
        Fashion doesn't stay still, it is ever changing and mutating, and that's exciting, but what's more so is that in conjunction with this, we have the time to stop, think and purchase as opposed, to purchase, purchase, purchase, stop...think - oh dear. I've got my eye on Raf Simons' new colour-block vests, although they wouldn't generally be my style but the beauty is I've got a whole year to work out whether they are.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The GQ Cover Girl

           For the past 20 days Rosie Huntington-Whitely and her never ending legs have graced news stands up and down the country, as she visits, not only Elle's front cover for the first time, but GQ's for the second. And conversely, whilst the Elle shot is beautiful, it is the Gucci GQ cover, which stuns. It literally transfixes men and women alike.

The shot whilst provocative is demure, and whilst revealing is tasteful - everything the cover shot for magazine attempt ‘Covered’ of last week’s ‘Apprentice’, should have been. In fact, it is the perfect GQ cover, in that whilst it is ‘sexy’ it is by no means ‘slutty’, just as, whilst GQ is a ‘gentleman’s magazine’, it is by no means a ‘lads’ mag’.
The photograph like GQ sells to men, who love women, just not every single part of them, before they've had time to eat their breakfast. Quite simply, it works, just as last month’s Penelope Cruz shot did too, as it followed a similar formula that mixes both sex and class to create undeniable beauty.

However, that isn’t to say that GQ always gets it right – for such an interesting beautiful-looking girl, GQ’s recent cover of Rihanna seemed like a missed opportunity. There was no mystery just ‘sex’ and whilst there is nothing explicitly wrong with Rihanna in a pair of fishnet tights, it is a tad cliché.
For a men’s magazine, which aims to separate itself from the likes of FHM – here it failed. There is nothing wrong with FHM, just GQ imitating it, particularly when it has its own individual style and look to uphold. Clearly when GQ gets its hands on Victoria’s Secret girls, it is entitled to lather them in lingerie, after all that’s what the girls are known for. However, there should be a balance between the magazine’s image and that of its cover star’s – Rihanna may now be known for her love of ‘S&M’ but GQ isn’t.

What’s more is that unlike GQ and other men’s magazines, women’s magazines rarely, if ever, feature a member of the opposite sex on their covers, let alone photo-shoot’s of a man in his tighty-whities. It just doesn’t happen. Instead they create beautiful, memorable photos of women with concepts to their photo shoots other than ‘I want you in my bed’ and ‘this suit looks nice on me’.
Clearly GQ isn’t about to abandon having women on its cover, that would be a massive marketing error. However, it’s about time they spend just as much effort on their cover-boys as they are now doing their cover-girls. It is after all a men’s magazine, which if not wholly, does focus on men’s fashion.
Vogue readers remember a Vogue fashion shoot, GQ readers rarely remember a GQ one. This has to change, as more and more men are beginning to embrace fashion. However, as it stands, GQ's more stylish approach to female covers is a step forward - I have to admit I'm looking forward to the next one.

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Ultimate Power Couple

        It has taken a painfully long time for Net-a-Porter to find her Mr Right - over a decade in fact. She appeared on our computer screens in the early 00s as an independent single woman on a mission to not only change the face of fashion but online shopping as a whole. Without her many women could still be without that treasured ‘Gucci’ dress or a self-bought but oh-so-worth-it Salvatore Ferragamo headscarf - without her fashion would be far less accessible than it is today.


        So why bother with a Mr Right, when she is, quite clearly, self-sufficient enough to survive alone? The truth is she needn't...well she needn't for her sake, but instead for man's. A male counterpart was necessary for us, in order that we might experience clothing in the way in which, Net-a has made it possible for women worldwide. And luckily for us, we now can because, at last, her love has come along. 
         In fact to our knowledge Net-a has actually been in a healthy, happy relationship with Mr Porter since their engagement was announced just over a year ago. The two have been married now for the best part of four months and their partnership is working seamlessly. Mr Porter lives alongside Net-a in a manner so modern and cutting edge, that he has adopted her surname and appears to not only be enjoying his work but loving it - God knows we are.
       The site like Net-a-Porter provides us with the crème-de-la-crème of fashion each season, an immediate pass to looks straight from the FROW - except, one difference of course, they are for men. It literally is fashion at our finger tips, as it means we are just a click away from purchasing a Jil Sander jumper or a Marc Jacobs mac.

     Of course this site does have the potential to be very dangerous: firstly, it is far more expensive and luxurious than the likes of its younger cousin ASOS and secondly it has the power to turn an entire generation of men into clones of 'Confessions of a Shopaholic's' lead Rebecca Bloomwood - BROKE. However, it is  finally giving us the fashion-based attention we deserve, which women are now accustomed to: good service, good quality, good extras.
       Naturally, we want clothes of the same worth and brilliance as women and naturally and we want them in the same hassle-free way. Neither of us really have hours to shop but we all have moments to click, particularly when we know it will result in us receiving these items before the end of the day. As for the quality, the list of designers speaks for itself, from Balenciaga to YSL and Rick Owens to Burberry Prorsum, they are all there, laid out clearly for the modern man to buy instantaneously and wear the following day to the jealousy and admiration of his peers.

       Then of course there are the extras, and boy does Mr Porter provide you with extras. From its very own STYLEPEDIA to its constant emails, you can never get enough of him - whether you choose to buy anything from him or not, he provides the perfect browsing experience. My personal favourite part, is the weekly icon supplement, which displays and compares styles throughout the years to effortless effect. It just works.
The Throne: King Louis XIV, The Silver Screen: Mr Humphrey Bogart, The Street

       The site like its wife is genius and, as it enters its first SALE, I encourage all of those, with a bit of money saved up for something special to visit it and enjoy; it has to be done. Through Net-a-Porter, Natalie Massenet, created a multi-million pound business and through it's new partner she is creating a masterpiece.
       Long may the relationship of the Porters continue - they seriously are the ultimate power couple.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

    Today being Thursday, I went to the gym. I went to the gym, in which a television has recently been installed, and, as in any gym, it plays music videos to amuse and encourage you, whilst you work out. The music spurs you on, whilst the videos allow you to briefly forget the fact that you may be carrying a 20kg weight in one of your hands. It is the perfect, harmless, virtual steroid.
      Yet when I went into the gym today, it seemed that working out was the last thing on anyone's mind. The new videos for Nicole Scherzinger and Jennifer Lopez were being played in succession and everyone was entranced watching them; the two  ooze a sex appeal equal to that of a Victoria's Secret model. It wasn't until the ad break appeared that people actually began to exercise, as they attempted to earn a physique either of or worthy of the two women.

    The current pop-scene itself is dominated by women - talented, well-dressed, sexy women, whose videos exemplify this. Amongst Lopez and Scherzinger, there is of course Beyoncé and her new 'Run The World' video, which features every designer possible from Emilio Pucci to the likes of Givenchy. The star herself looks as if she does, or at least should 'Run The World.' It's a fashionista's dream and a straight boy's other dream, with the result that it's the perfect marketing tool, as it appeals to both men and women alike.

     However, when the latest Lady GaGa movie masterpiece graced the gym's television screen, straight guys all around seemed somewhat disappointed - GaGa to them is not sexy. She herself is noted for saying that she isn't 'sexy' to men because she takes sex to such extremes in some of her videos that they find it weird. Their vision of sexiness really is limited to the Playboy bunny/Legally Bond 'I dropped my pen' bend and snap stereotype.
      One guy said that he thought 'GaGa was sexy in that 'Just Dance' clip but ever since then he's been turned off' - and this left me somewhat bemused. In her 'Just Dance' video she looks as normal as GaGa ever could, if not a little orange, whilst in the 'Judas' cut she looks beautiful, almost ethereal at times and the bath scene, which shows off her perfect figure is 'sexy'. Judge for yourself.

       She's not a Robert Palmer girl but she is sexy. She is confident and it's that which makes anyone sexy - and whilst men may have been offended by or unable to understand it in the likes of 'Love Game', they should attempt to understand it now because quite frankly, they are missing out. 
      And as for you girls out there, who are feeling slightly downhearted by the sex appeal of the women above, adopt a bit of their confidence. We all have the potential to be sexy just not necessarily in the conformist way of yesteryear, it's time for guy's to grow up and girls to get over themselves - sexiness has changed and mutated over the years - it is different.
       You may be sexy in a Charles Anastase 'librarian chic' way or in a quirky Givenchy manner - whatever it is, it doesn't matter, but if you're more GaGa than Scherzinger, be that way and if you're more Stella Tennant than Gisele, enjoy it. Why try to be sexy, when you needn't?

Monday, 6 June 2011

The V&A: Yohji Yamamoto

     Last Thursday was the awkward moment when I got bored of revision and decided to take a day trip to London. Seemingly unproductive - yes, however, despite train delays, it wasn't. I met up with a lovely friend of mine, was introduced to the delights of a Yogoberry frogurt and finally went to the highly praised Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at the V&A - simples.

      Although I can't confess to being a regular, the V&A to me is the Mecca of museums - uniquely British in its quirky grandeur, it contains works of art and design from across the globe - one moment you are in Islam appreciating a 5x10m rug, the next you are gazing at one of Alexander McQueen's SS designs.  As for the exhibitions, they never fail to succeed and intrigue. 
     Thus, having already been unable to attend the much-applauded Grace Kelly exhibition on a previous visit, I was determined to see the current one dedicated to the Japanese fashion pioneer Yohji Yamamoto - so I did and at £5, it was worth every penny. You walk in and before you lies an entire range of his works - his whole career in one room.

        I have to confess before the exhibition, although aware of Yamamoto's penchant for geometric shapes, I knew very little about the designer other than the infamous Nick Knight shoot. However, after the exhibition I felt as though I had followed his career in the way in which I follow Christopher Kane's now - rigorously. The right hand wall of the perfectly chosen 'Big White Room' - the perfect backdrop for his clothes - was littered with invaluable video clips and information about the designer with the result that you cannot help but learn a thing or two about him. 
         Born in Tokyo in 1943, he only began designing after obtaining a law degree, it wasn't until 1977 that he presented his first collection in Tokyo, 1981 that he debuted in Paris and 1984 that he created a menswear collection - with 60 of his designs in one room, you not only read of his creative achievements but see them first hand.
         What's so amazing about Yamamoto is that he upturned the fashion scene, as he created clothes many would deem too large and incomplete for the fashionistas of yesteryear. Yet, they were not disregarded as an artistic failure but praised for their ability to change our perceptions of beauty. They sparked off his ongoing career, not to mention, inspired the experimental work of designers, such as Rei Kawakubo today. 
        What followed was an artistic playground of androgyny, neoprene and pattern, as he creatively mixed the designs of his eastern roots with the western world he lives in. Just look at the gorgeous yellow silk dress of his 1997 collection below - it had both an Asian origami-like shape and a Parisian elegance that would not look out of place on a JPG runway today. It was brilliant.

          And unlike most people, exhibitioned at the V&A, Yamamoto is still alive - he is still brilliant. And as his collections below deem, his talent has far from faded away. So, as the display nears it's end I encourage you to go and see his designs up close, but if you, like I almost did, find yourselves unable to achieve this, have a ponder as to which designer you'd like to go and see on show in years to come - perhaps my dreams of a Kane retrospective will be fulfilled, here's hoping they will.

P.S. - For those of you who do go, W9 is a Keira Knightley worthy dream, enjoy. x

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Three Ms to look out for come AW

       Moschino, Mugler and Mulberry:

      They are three seemingly different brands, whose ateliers lie in all three of Europe's fashion capitals: Moschino in Milan, Mugler in Paris and Mulberry in London. And whilst each of these designer labels are renowned for very different reasons, they all share one aspect in particular, a sense of humour. 
      Moschino has its quirky, young aesthetic, which never fails to delight and amuse, Mugler its mysterious come sadomasochistic elements, which are always a joy to behold and Mulberry its innovative combination of luxury leather and geek-chic. And, as we can see below, they all work: 

      Up until his premature death, Franco Moschino never failed to amuse fashion's elite with his smile-inducing designs; Rossella Jardini's works are no different. In her AW collection, she makes granny-jumper/maxi mixes look divine and us not only appreciate but wish to buy and wear the chicken hat on Coco Rocha's head. Perhaps, most importantly, she creates dresses of the utmost quality: just look at the closing LBD - who wouldn't want to wear that?


        Thierry Mugler's humour is infamous and, like Moschino, he started an empire which lives on even under his partial retirement. With Lady GaGa's stylist Nicola Formichetti as creative director and the talented Sébastien Peigné, as womenswear designer Mugler is a force to be reckoned with. Its androgynous sex appeal, as shown by Kristina Salinovic (above), and playful theatrics, as shown by Coco Rocha (also abovethis girl is good), make this AW collection a must-wear. And having GaGa herself as the brand's newly appointed musical director does it no harm either.


       Now unlike Mugler and Moschino, Mulberry's humour is quintessentially British. A brand infamous for its much-wanted leather bags is now becoming just as famous for its penchant for geek chic. This AW is no different, as the brand embraces both knee-high socks and turtle-neck jumpers, with the result that it looks both prim and playful. And just like Moschino, Mulberry shows that it can create a beautiful black dress also - doesn't Milly Simmonds just look gorgeous.

       So come AW, embrace this humour - just as brands like Prada and Stella McCartney are doing so now. It is this humour, which draws us into the brands and the beauty which they behold; it reminds us that, whilst fashion is both 'art' and 'architecture', it is fun, and who doesn't want to be a part of that?