Love Lace, Love Outerwear

I can’t believe ‘love it or hate it?’ is even a question when it comes to this sheer Marchesa AW10 ready-to-wear frock. SJP wore it to ShoWest in Las Vegas on 19th March and I fell in love with it immediately. Just looking at its front doesn’t do the dress any justice. Check out its back!

So the lace/tulle/black and white and underwear as outerwear phenomenon has become the high street force next season. High street stores have pumped full throttle on this overtly romantic trend. Even Tesco’s F&F line has pushed a 8 piece lace collection underneath its Womanswear domain. So fret not, you need not be a millionaire of a  girlie girl to work this.

See our Wacky Chief guide to mix and match designer and high street. Cheap chic is the way to go, it doesn’t harm your relationship with your banker, so read on!

And I came across this outfit on a Doll-House website. The dress is made of black tulle and a knitted halter neck blouse. Can’t afford the newsest season Marchesa? Maybe a doll outfit? Read the collage below to work the Lace theme. You don’t have to be obsessed with underwear to love this lace trend! Go fierce!

British Designer Collective! 50% off Hottest Designers!

Bicester Village will be so much more than the average Jimmy Choo and Matthew Williams this easter. The British Fashion Council has started a new initiative to promote Britain’s hottest and brightest designers. The BFC will install a pop up store in the famous designer outlet village, showcasing some of the most talented designers, such as Erdem, Hannah Marshall, Mark Fast, Preen and Todd Lynn. Visitors will be able to purchase ‘key fashion pieces’ at a whopping 50% discount. I have a feeling this trip down Oxford is going to hurt our purses!

There’s yet no news on how the shop is going to look like or what items will customers be able to purchase. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish that these pieces will boast a 50% price tag on the rails?

Erdem

Mark Fast

Todd Lynn

 

The shop opens on the 31st March until the 7th May.

Comprehensive list of designers to showcase at Bicester Village:

  • Atalanta Weller
  • Bora Aksu
  • Emma Cook
  • Erdem
  • Felder Felde
  • Fiona Paxton
  • Georgina Goodman
  • Graeme Black
  • Goat
  • Hannah Marshall
  • House of Holland
  • Jean-Pierre Braganza
  • Julien MacDonald
  • Louise Armstrup
  • Mark Fast
  • Maria Francesca Pepe
  • Markus Lupfer
  • Osman
  • Preen
  • Sykes                                   
  • Todd Lynn
  • Designers for High Streets

    Omg I loathe myself oh so much. Oh so, so, so much.

    How did I completely miss Mary Katrantzou’s line for Topshop? It was released on the 19th Feb, 2010 and a month and a bit on. I only found out yesterday from… an unknown source.

    So I nipped down the closest Topshop to my home this morning. Only to find. They only sell them at the Oxford Circus store. Which is bazillion miles from West London. So ok, the easiest way would be interneting it. Nope, I think the collection has completely sold out on the Topshop site too.

    To be honest they are not exactly the top-top notch trompe l’Oeil that’s so nicely done on her authentic range. But if only I had learnt earlier. And the dress is only… £55…

     

    And then I want to beat myself with a bat. For missing Ashish’s Rihanna inspired spike jacket (above left) for £150. It was lauched on 3rd Feb… Omg. Where have I been? Just, where?

    So it has been rumoured and then confirmed last September that Mark Fast would do a collection for Topshop, due to be launched this Feburary. His collection is nowhere to be seen and when I inquired the shop assistant replied, ‘Who?’.

    So I’m guessing it won’t be soon then. But then, the wake up call is – a Topshop newsletter is crucial. There.

    Another of my favourite designer, Giles Deacon has put out another collection with New Look. Nope, the clothes hardly resemble the mastery you’d get on his runway. So it has been disappointment through and through. I won’t be a penny out of pocket for any of these… pretty simply because…they’re pretty but they’re not Giles. They are branded Giles. But not very much. Did he even pen these blearhhhrerr?

    More news: Stella McCartney has launched her new range with Gap Kids on the 16th March. The collection will hit the stores coming Monday, the 29th. If you’re a petite girl. I’m sure there will be a few bargains to be had! Good luck, folks!

    A New Woman to Put on Fashion Front Page

    Hailed as the Anna Dello Russo of Vogue Turkey, we welcome a new IT girl in the fashion field. While Anna Dello Russo is famed for dressing the best of all runways, Ece Sukan, the editor at large at Vogue Turkey fame for defying the fashion rule book or trends.

    An ex-model turned stylist and now an editor, Ece Sukan also owns an admirable Vintage Shop in her native of Istanbul. The shop only sells top brands like Miu Miu and Yves Saint Laurent, it has become a fashionista’s top agenda in their itenaries in Istanbul.

    She is a heroine of mix and match – vintage and off-the-runway accessories. Her long legs and slender figure takes on anything from a poker-printed dress topped with a fur coat. Vintage Balmain style heavily shoulder padded one piece leather dress with miliatry detailing is just another day.

    Recently she heralded on style.com with a 50s style green jacket cinched at the waist with a brown belt and a fur jacket not dissimilar to the Rick Owens design two seasons ago.

    Ece is almost always photographed in a variety of edgy sunglasses, posing with a long, slim cigarette. Her deep and magnetic voice just adds to her allure.

    She has curated a vintage fashion show in Istanbul, up-beat music accompanies models in maillots and skimpy sequined pieces. The show puts vintage back onto the fashion agenda. For this we need to applause the originality of Ece.

    She told the NYT recently, that “Metaphorically, our connection between the West and the East makes us rich with culture… We are starting to combine our history with Western taste to create our own identity.” Although she was accused of plaigiarising from Carine Roitfeld’s editorials in Vogue Paris, her style differs somewhat in her fearlessness in combining the oriental bling to modern dressing.

    She was seen getting up close to King Karl and Galliano alike during the Paris Couture shows. Do we have a new power brewing in the fashion world? It remains to be seen. All we can say now is that we adore her boundless styling and her fondness in vintage.

    Salute, madamoiselle.

    M&S New Ad Revealed

    Spot the different outfit?

    Today unveiled the highly anticipated M&S campaign, featuring Danni Minogue, Myleen Klass (pregnant bump hides behind Twiggy), VV Brown and sex bomb and Victoria Secret model Ana Beatriz Barros.

    M&S spokesman: “Ana is perfect. She’s sexy and exotic but approachable. We expect her to appeal to men and women alike.”

    I mean really? Does she appeal to woman? I look at her and I immediately think of my own food baby. Note I don’t immediately think – ahh, these lingerie are appealing.

    That’s why designers anti-advocate of super sexy and good looking. You double take the model and then you miss she is wearing.

    So do you prefer the good old Noemie Lenoir – the sweet looking French girl with the perfect corkscrew curls and an amiable smile? Or the new Ana Barros?

    What defines a fashion fanatic?

    Do I care what you think about my dress sense? The powerful and sensible British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman.

    I spoke to a beautiful, glamourous and without a doubt stylish colleague at the newspaper office. In her eyes, Alexandra Shulman is undeserved of being the British Vogue’s editor. She isn’t a fashion fanatic, doesn’t feel the urge to dress remarkably and fashion week is more a duty for her than joy, ‘you can tell from her deadpan expression’.

    Vogue Nippon's Anna Dello Russo during Paris Fashion Week 2010, dressing somewhat toned-down from her usual 'off the runway' look.

    On the other hand, Franca Sozzani’s ex-colleague Anna Dello Russo, the Vogue Nippon’s stylist is someone to look up to. That she lives and breathes fashion. That she owns an apartment solely for the purpose of archiving her 6000 pairs of shoes.
    What has been omitted from the conversation is the talent shared between these two women. Shulman, while not a fashion fanatic, takes a career in publishing. If her sucess is judged by subscription and advertising, Shulman hasn’t done a bad job at all. Dello Russo, has been so successful that she was alleged to be earning ‘obscene amount of money that made the tax man suspicious’. She has styled and polished models and major fashion shows.
    Both in fashion, both have talent. Aesthetically they present themselves differently. That’s all.

    There’s this question circling me lately: ‘what are you going to wear?’ The full story is, I’m due to commence work at a regional publication based on High Street Ken. Working in the features and fashion desk almost immediately incites the aforementioned question.
    ‘I’m just gonna wear myself. After all I might be running around town from shop A to shop Z to collect deliveries like Emily’. But I can’t help and think what could be expected of me? A part of me is glad that I’m more worried about my performance than the clothes. Hettie emailed and said ‘make sure you come with lots of ideas and know the magazine well’. The pressure is on, and I’m gonna inhale every single copy I own as treasure.

    At the same time, all these questions related to external grooming has led me to think if fashion or indeed impression has become too important? We digest a week’s news a 500 words column, decided the fate of Ashley Cole because the media has forced us to… Do we spend time to try and understand a situation anymore? Has face value become more important than what’s inside?

    This is in no way contradictory to my last editorial, which I didn’t give a vote to Donna Karan for her CFDA award because she is more concerned with emancipating women. When it comes to a fashion oscars, having the heart is not enough. Its like a good script with bad directing and photography will not win best picture.

    It all comes back to the lack of heart and the full of shit modern society. Why has Terry Richardson been tolerated till today? Why has Anna Wintour become so fearsome? Why is the Guardian allowed to be sued for publishing a eugenicist’s comment word for word without editing (YSL’s stefano pilati)? Why is there only a few brands that matter? Why did McQueen kill himself? (One speculation was that he has become disillusioned with the Yes world. All the sucking up was too much to bear etc)

    Terry Richardsoon poses naked with Jackass star. It has emerged that he asks vulnerable models who want to cut it in the fashion world to pose naked while touching themselves. And taking pictures of them fellating him.

    Coupled with all the feminist documentaries and articles I have watched and lately, the question has left me pondering the definition of fashion. Do we dress to please the unwritten rules in fashion?
    I love fashion, but the fact that I don’t dress like Lada Gay Gay day in day out, spend all my allowance on Céline or Chloe doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to be in fashion.
    Hilary Alexander said she doesn’t follow the catwalk slavishly. And yet it doesn’t mean that she is not aware of the trends – she enthusiastically attends all major fashion shows. She is still widely regarded as the fashion journalist of britain. THE fashion journalist of britain, and adored by everyone from Galliano to Gabbana.

    So what seems to be the problem here? There’s no problem. People should just believe in themselves and understand that they are as good as everybody else. Sprinkle a bit of originality, enthusiasm and diligence.

    Who will get the most votes in the CFDA Womenswear Designer category?

    Another CFDA awards? No more please! I’ve already got 9 at home!

    To Marc Jacobs’ dismay, he is on the nominees’ list again. The creative director of Louis Vuitton never really wants to be at any CFDA award ceremonies. “I only go to the CFDAs because if I don’t go, Anna Wintour calls up and says, ‘You have to go’”. To be fair, he has nine CFDA gongs at home already. People get bored. We understand.

    The second contender is another fashion hall of fame – Donna Karan – the fashion libber whose design ethos goes against the multi-billion pound industry: ‘Fashion is really about sensuality; how a woman feels on the inside’. Oops.

    Donna Karan on the left hones her inner zen by practising yoga. The fashion libber’s designs aim to emancipate women from uncomfortable clothing.

    Last but certainly not least, we get a choice with a lot more enthusiasm. After scooping $200,000 by winning the Anna Wintour Award for New Tale… No, the CFDA award for Emerging Talent – formally known as the Swarovski Award for Womenswear, Alexander Wang becomes the hotly tipped winner for the award.

    Is it any wonder? And what has the 25 year-old got that the others haven’t?

    Alexander Wang’s SS10 sportswear inspired collection is one of the best I have seen in years. Creating a wearable new silhouette in the 21st century takes a genius to make it work.

    Since his grungy rock and roll styling sowed the seeds for the $15 million brand, Wang has certainly enjoyed an organic growth on all possible fronts – from slouchy tops to off-the-wall suit tailoring; from a crowd of cult, street-chic followers to becoming the best-seller at Barneys. His spring/summer 10 double layer zip detail boot has been so over-exposed that an editor at a prominent fashion magazine has to ban it from appearing in any more photo shoots. So what’s with the hype?

    The very boot that got banned. The doubled-up top line and the zippy open toe has become the season’s most wanted.

    The paparazzi have created this urban fantasy of effortless Hollywood glamour. Frizzy haired and in a jogger, the A-listers are off in their gas-guzzler for a Starbucks and a photographic opportunity. Alexander Wang has fitted his clothes into this bubble. The ideal of being able to just roll out of bed, brush one’s teeth with brandy, casually throw something on and be mistaken for a superstar. Being a rich-and-famous has never been so easy.

    Before the age of papparazzi, we only see the rich and famous in their most glamourous and best dresed. Celebrities’ roll out of bed style becomes the IT look of the 21st century.

    Essential for any star of CCTV, Wang creates eloquent items with a hint of lethargy and nonchalance. His languid cutting banished the old meaning of edginess. Add to his success is that everyone can look very much the Alexander Wang girl, such as Rihanna, Blake Lively, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld or Freja Beha, for under $100 by facilitating his cheaper diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang.

    Freja Beha Erichsen is ‘always in an Alexander Wang t-shirt and Acne jeans’ according to the New York Times.

    In this age of fast-fashion, the prolific designer churns out 4 collections every year. And unlike Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, he’s not linked to LVMH. For this, Wang surely does deserve a fashion Oscars merely on merit that he has cut it alone.

    Alexander Wang at work in his office in the Tribeca area of New York

    Some Girls Overdo The Fashion Thing

    Last Sunday, I received the best newspaper supplement of the year. It was the Sunday Times Style Magazine. This time it came oversized – 120 pages and easily dwarfs a Hello.

    I am shocked by the sheer quality of it. The layout is fresh, youthful and jaunty. The writing is good, of course, it is after all, a part of the Times. The best about it is that it doesn’t feel pretentious.

    Good writing that punches, with a tint of acidity that is just right. It is the kind of publication that isn’t deluded by the hype of fashion. It tells it like it is. The welcome letter penned by Tiffanie Darke and Claudia Croft reads, “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: trends are dead, individual style rules. And that, we hope, is what you’ll take away from our spring fashion issue.” Damn right, I like how you pitch it!
    Inside, several pages were dedicated to personalised look. Two of shinjuku girls; 4 of how celebs wear it (the celeb in question is not Alex Curran – they are Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley… You get the picture); an editorial dedicated to Alexa Chung (if you’re a fan…); a highly inspirational look book, 5 styles, 30 combinations that aren’t patronising like those in Look.
    And check this – I say the best bit – an opportunity for Victoria Beckham to dissect her own collection – in her own words – with absolutely amazing results.
    Finally, I will leave you with an article that resonate deeply. Have a good read!

    “Some girls overdo the fashion thing” – Tom, 39, Stylist

    I am not good with relationships, but I am au fait with style and fashion. I therefore feel entitled to point out that some girls overdo the fashion thing. One in particular. She was my type – leggy, brunette and fashionable. A well turned-out wiman is something I admire. Except that she was obsessed with wearing peculiar – sorry, cutting-edge – outfits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pushing the boat out a bit, but she was paddling herself right out into the middle of Lake Windermere.
    She had a good wardrobe – some nice dresses, some sexy shoes – but she always prioritised fashion over flattery. Maybe she thought being fashion-savvy was attractive? Fine, but it didn’t cut it when her jersey harem pants made her look like she had an inflatable bum, or when her clumpy ‘asylum chic’ shoes made her look like she was receiving orthopaedic treatment.
    And then there was straight-up embarrassing: it’s fun to be noticed, sure, but it was as if she was trying to attract the attention of social services. Casual outfits for pub liasons included an Ashish tracksuit with a to-scale sequined skeleton; a tiny Miu Miu fur jacket better suited to attracting silver gorillas; and leather leg straps that resembled Victorian callipers. I orchestrated a wholesome picnic on Hamstead Heath for us, and she arrived in a Walter Van Beirendonck full skirted dress with surgical truss-like accoutrements. She looked like a hospitalised Widow Twankey. People in the car park tittered. One man’s dog wouldn’t stop barking at us.
    Perhaps this was a feminisit position – not to wear anything for anyone but herself. The problem was that it created an insurmountable obstacle between herself and the outside world. I squared with her. Why deliberately attract comedic attention, I asked. ‘I hate being a high-street girl,’ she retorted.
    What’s wrong with a nice bit of Berardi or Mouret? Why wear shoes so precarious, you move like an AT-AT walker from Star Wars? I blame Topshop for delivering directional fashion for all. It was curtains for us – in fact, she’s probably wearing them now.

    A Trip Down Etsy

    Nobody has ever felt so unspecial since the Industrial Revolution. Every pair of jeans you wear is shared by hundreds of thousands of other people on planet earth. The very artwork you display on your wall has been re-printed at least 1,000,000 times.

    Mass production becomes the way of living. Chains are eradicating all independent stores on the high street, this tornado of consumer monopoly will eventually take its toll on everyone. Landfills will explode with cheap products without any meaning…

    Consumer monopoly also means that the number of people employed in the creative industry will greatly decrease. For those fair few who might be designing for big companies, their creative freedom may be limited by the firms wanting to make products more ‘marketable’, with ‘street appeal’ and bankable qualities. Will everyone eventually have the same tastes? Dictate by shareholders’ bank balance? Will our children lose all ability to be creative?

    Most of you know about Etsy already. Some of you are probably addicts. Etsy is similar to eBay, but sells only stuff made by crafts lovers. Buyers like you and me directly purchase from the hundreds of thousands of craftsmakers registered on the site. The site has a real sense of community and an honest feeling about it. It is always a joy having a stroll around the arty online shopping mall. Paintings, scultures, clothes, shoes, accessories… you name it!

    Could Etsy be the salvation of our civilisation?

    ***

    I have given myself 30 minutes to see what’s on offer. By how much will I be out of pocket after this time? Time starts… now!

    11.21: saw a few paintings by Marisol Spoon… Poised and subtle, they make me wonder if they’ve stories about them. Porcelain skin, beautifully done hair…

    $32.00

    $285.00

    $32.00

    11.31 Saw these brooches in a teacup by lupin! Will look sooo good on a rustic wood table by the window, dried flowers in a vintage vase… Brightens up any writing days!

    $12.75 each

    $12.75

    $12.00 each, not brooch, but moustache ‘disguise’ as Lupin calls it. I reckon you can wear it as a necklace / as an alice band…

    11.41 A Nintendo laptop case! YES!! By SplashingKoi

      $56.99

    11.45 WOAH!!!! A pair of McQueen mutant heels for Blythe dolls!! Sold by TSANFW

    $40.00

    11.51 A of Clarks for babies. For my newphew. By Pliumbum

    $30.00

     

    Fashion Hostility – The Systematic Flaw of Fashion Reporting

    What’s with the grumpy mood lately?

    Firstly Nicolas Ghesquiere got lairy with Carine Roitfeld with no apparent reason – even the legendary editor is a bit clueless as to why Balenciaga has pulled all advertisements from the french edition of Vogue as well as not lending any clothes for shoots in the near future.

    An aide of Anna Wintour... Carine Roitfeld... not so much? Fashion packs are siding with Carine, but most of us want to see the feud ends asap.

    WWD had Carine to elaborate on the matter, “We’re blacklisted. It’s too bad, it’s a beautiful house and it’s French. I hope that it’s not forever.”

    The true reason behind the banning of the Vogue Paris team is beyond many, especially when the house declined to comment. The fact that Vogue French does not run review-type editorials nor commentary columns, the root of the problem could be down to business.

    The lovely Carine Roitfeld. Who is a styling genius, also very friendly and down to earth. She has no clue why Nicolas picked a fight.

    One plausible speculation, according to the fashion community, is that Vogue Paris has been giving excessive exposure to Balenciaga’s rival – Balmain – and not enough photo editorials were dedicated to Balenciaga outfits. It is notable that Balenciaga was not featured at all in the Feburary issue.

    I remember Jo Elvin, the editor of Conde Nast’s British Glamour, mildly resented the fact that she spends most of her time negotiating with advertisers and listening to complaints about the magazine not having featured enough of their advertisers’ products.

    The furious house of Balenciaga is extending its blockade to Vogue Paris personnels. David Sims, a long term photographer for Balenciaga’s campaign, has been replaced by Steven Meisel who is traditionally associated with Vogue Italia.

    David Sims, a photographer for Balenciaga's campaign up to S/S 09, has been replaced with Steven Meisel.

    Vendetta like this is not a first in the fashion industry. In 2008, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times was banned from Armani as a consequence of her unnecessary sarcastic comments against the designer Giorgio Armani and his family, as well as writing a ‘less than satisfactory’ review for his previous show.

    Robert Triefus emailed Cathy Horyn in 2008 to say that Armani has sent a letter to request her absence at their A/W 2008 show.

    And today WWD reports that Stefano Pilati is suing the Guardian for printing a comment he made to the Washington Post: ‘You can’t find [black models] that are beautiful and with the right proportions’.

    Stefano also told Washington post that ‘To me, it is a matter of proportions and the bodies I choose. My fit model was a black model. When I wanted to translate what I put on her, it was a disaster. It would need 13 times more work in the atelier to modify it to put on a more Caucasian anatomy’.

    Is Naomi too black to do fittings for your collections, Stefano? Or is this a comment encouraged by the Guardian article and hence you'll sue me too? (Please don't, I'm penniless.)

    Stefano’s comment sent ripples through the blogosphere and has since been branded as a ‘modern eugeneticist’. Nonetheless, house of Yves Saint Laurent and its creative directors filed a lawsuit against the Guardian of ‘criminal and civil defamation’, seeking damages of 150,000Euros each.

    The Observer, where the article was originally printed, has already removed the controversial piece from its website. Leaving behind a readers’ response:

    ‘Paul Harris’s article (“America’s new vogue for black fashion is all due to Michelle, Focus, last week) was wonderful. I am only 30, but all my life, black women have been portrayed as the ugliest things on earth in the media, particularly the fashion media. Your article was a breath of fresh air and it was all the more refreshing to read such common-sense writing from someone who is so obviously not a black woman!
    Miranda Grell
    London E10′

    I might have always been a fan of the centre-left newspaper, and therefore my stance sways towards them. But Stefano Pilati has never denied having said those words. The comments were already printed word for word in the Washington Post. And why single out the Guardian this time? He claims that the Guardian has taken his comment out of context…

    Oh well, all will be revealed when the case hits the court in June.

    ***

    The ramifications of all of these is: journalists often tread a fine line between being objective and being disrepectful to the brands that advertise in their publication.

    So when a collection is unfavourable, like the one that Nicolas Ghesquiere produced a season ago (and debatably this one too) that could potentially make Cristobal Balenciaga himself turns in his grave, how do fashion journalists express their disappointment with the designs without ‘picking a fight’? And this is suspiciously the exact line that Carine Roitfeld has managed to cross.

    It is this conflict of interest that makes the fashion world a ‘yes’ world. ‘Yes your designs look great’ even if the fur trims pop up at the wrong place and for the wrong reason.

    And so there, journalists are forced to rave about something they themselves don’t even believe in. How do they live with their conscience. Ok, it is all just ‘show business’ – that it is how fashion publishing works. Is this necessary? And by doing so, are they dumbing down their readers?

    How do we solve this problem? It’s indeed a good question. Without advertising revenue a publication cannot survive. But what other ways can a magazine fund itself?

    The Guardian’s subsidiary Soulmate site reportedly generates millions of pounds each year. They are also the proprietor of AutoTrader, another branch that brings in all the zeros every year.

    To be free from the garters and restrains from your advertisers, maybe we have to revolutionalise how fashion publishing works. Start with being less interlocked to the brands we write about?

    It is always a long and hard battle to rebel against the deeply-ingrained system. This is not unlike trying to shake up the financial system that has caused us so much grieve lately. Until the systematic flaw has been eradicated, we still risk making opinions that could be as corrupt as Mugabe’s aides’ positive comments about the totalitarian dictator.

    Oscars Oscars! All the best gowns!

    I stayed up all night tweeting the who wears what (@kiwibiwi) and waiting for the moment for Kathryn Bigelow to beat ex-husband James Cameron’s ridiculously budgeted (and yet a massisive failure) so called ‘film of the year’.

    Firstly, the gowns did not disappoint, many wore Haute Couture straight off the season’s Paris runway. Namely Zoe Sadana (my favourite Givenchy’s final exit, seen on Natalia Vodianova) and J.Lo, Hilary Swank and Amanda Seyfried’s choice of the Moon collection of Armani Prive. It is exhilarating to know I have red-carpet taste!

    Carey Mulligan triumphed in her impeccable bejeweled Prada. The cut complimented her blonde short hair so well and you have to applaud her sensibility in wearing a pair of comfy satin platformed-stiletto. Negotiating the never ending red-carpet in a pair of 5 inch Louboutin can prove a disastrous move that will end up breaking your feet in half… Another Hollywood classics, Cameron Diaz ‘the Body’ donned a Oscar De La Renta beige gown that took my breath away.

    Another round of applaud goes to Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren. The ever elegant Hollywood veterans dressed extremely respectably and lacked no glamour. There are the proves that women can grow old graciously; radiance doesn’t come with Botox, but confidence and admirable attitudes. These two are the most grounded Hollywood actresses. Definitely a different generation.

    Varying degrees of success came about as stars chose Atlier (or just) Versace. Mariah Carey isn’t particularly known for her good fashion sense. The blue frock on the red carpet is what most would suggest a far to safe option. But whatever floats the pop queen’s boat. And rumour has it she is hiding a bump? Are you sure that is a baby bump or she’s just a little…bloated? The winner in Versace has to be Demi Moore! Does this woman ever grow old? Ashton Kutcher is indeed a very lucky man although he was not seen at Oscars last night. Where does Demi’s shoes come from? The satin complimented the chiffon so well. The red-carpet veteran has bags of experience behind her, so what do we expect? A fashion faux pas? Elizabeth Banks also scored top marks in a somewhat similar dress to Demi albeit in a different shade.

    I was also most thrilled to hear Sandy Powell has won best costume for The Young Victoria, which has become one of my most favourite film with the gorgeous Emily Blunt playing the 19th century British heroic monarchy. The costumes were absolutelybeautiful – the gowns, the undergarments (lace numbers), the 19th century casual wear… Even the men’s costumes were breathtaking – definitely inspiring. Maybe next season for a 19th century men’s style’s revival?

    Sandy Powell and Nicole Ritchie, both fashion fanatics, did not go for the safe red-carpet option. The rather unusual colour and ‘low-key’ 20s clingy numbers nonetheless were refreshing from the largely conservative albeit beautiful dresses. Retro rules!

    Please tolerate my mild digression: nothing beats seeing Avatar scooping home three gongs less than Kathryn’s far more superior flick. The Hurt Locker rendered me heart-attacks from beginning to the end, I was clutching my heart, covering my eyes and the film is indeed a thriller through and through. Kathryn Bigelow chose a safe and elegant grey frock embellished with heart-shaped beads. Tina Fey’s Michael Kor evening gown is another safe but dazzling number, comfortable to wear and no worries about fashion disaster. Oprah took cue from Phoebe Philo’s recent runway success and donning ‘navy is the new black’?

    Lastly. How can we forget about the men? Gerard Butler… we prefer you all tucked up in a tux…no more flashing of the flabbing tummy. Tom Ford accessoried with Camilla, Coco Chanel’s favourite flower. Jeremy Runner, in The Hurt Locker.

    Paris Fashion Week Day Deux

    Paris Fashion Week has opened to a rather mundane beginning. While techniques such as digital print and laser cut plus a mish-mash of ideas dominated the runways of London and Milan; Paris’ offerings have been focussing on utility so far.

    When Rochas cranked up the early 60s influence – it did what it said on the tin – 60s’ silouettes and palettes. Behives, straight cut dresses, flaired trousers, velvet suits and Grease shirts. The collection makes wonder why Rochas fans will custom the designer rather than vintage stores?

    Dries van Outen offered luxurious safari inspired threads: leopard print jackets (faux furs?), leafy and palm tree printed dresses and jackets in organza – which are not drastically remote from Erdem’s classics. A weekend hunting in the safari is far off from this collection, but more like the rich sipping champagne in a 4×4, glancing out to the giraffes and lions at a distance. The metallic jackets and dresses however, could jeopradise their lives in an open-top vehicle.

    The only high point of the day was Gareth Pugh, front-rowed by P.Diddy and Rihanna. The audience were treated to a show of space-warrior strong women and some soft, metrosexual male clothing. Women were tucked and bound into leather boots and highly structured cheveron padded jackets.

    Another British crown jewel – Giles Deacon – is showing in Paris. According to reports in British newspapers, the designer is struggling to produce the same resonance he was able to command in England. Nevertheless the clever businessman has crafted another girlie collection – tutu dresses and underwear as outerwear (grey sheepskin bathrobe with huge pockets!) . Giles continued to exact the subtle decorations in his designs, this time cloud like edges – laser cut of course.  Enough about the clothes! It has to be the bags! Fluffy and furry tote not unlike Totoro’s soot monsters with ginormous eyes, bear handbags…

    Giles

    Tortoro’s Soot Ball

    * * * * * * 6

    Skip to the bags! From spiders, dinosaurs to Tortoro’s soot ball! The bag gets Susie Lau of SusieBubble so sqeamish! And who won’t get excited with this cute number? The clothes are classic Giles palette, girly and candy-flossed. Mildly 60s influenced and many bra top tu-tu dresses. Karoline Kurkova opened the show.

    Rochas

    Grease and Cheesy

    * * 2

    Dries van Outen

    Mild New Look Influence on Safari Wear

    * * * 3

    Simply branding the collection as utility safari wear is admittedly an understatement. The modified New Look coupled with a boyfriend jacket; combat trousers top with a sleeveless suit jacket etc etc. Dries van Outen is bringing androgyny to a new level. However the mish mash doesn’t work out as well as it wished to be, the collection looked a bit disorientated and in need of direction.

    Gareth Pugh

    Bullet-proof space warriors

    * * * * * * * 7

    This show reverses the traditional social perception of men and women. The Pugh woman this time is the tough soldier, uncompromising and cold. Cheverons all point to the face with the models wearing deadpan expressions and a dark aura above the brows. The men are vulnerable with barely there or soft clothing. Pugh style make-up and Tom Ford-esque sleek hairstyle. Talk about metrosexuality. The show culminated in a floor length dress decorated with 20s slinkies that are arranged in an old philosopher’s silver hair. A show for thoughts.

    The Return of the 60s

    Seen on the runway, the lovingly missed 60s has seen return on the streets already. The sepia palette is embraced by street strutters world wide. Trousers are loosely fitted and are cropped slightly above the ankle.

    Waistlines are worn high, cinched by colourful belts to add a Teenies’ touch. Hair are best worn ginger; lips gothic brown. The Queen’s silk scarves work as accessories; a simple knot round the neck or as a turban to break off the wind.

    Zara took cue and mannequins in maroon, chocolate and dark beige are already posing on their shop windows. Clogs are unmissable this season, a trend started by Vivienne Westwood, Chanel… The clogs have since repeatedly seen on catwalks such as Marco de Vincenzo etc. Another excuse to visit Holland then? A nice tone-down touch if going full out on clog is too out there – a pair of leather Birkenstock or suede open-toe wedges. LoveClogs.co.uk does a lovely array of comfortable clogs in a variety of colours and fabrics from £36.

    To quote Dita Von Teese, you have to live and breathe your style. Just looking 60s will not suffice. Try to learn from the 60s secreteriats. Light a fag, sprinkle with 21st century’s attitude, blow the smoke in your boss’s face. Tell him ‘I’m not retyping the document, my Olivetti is running out of ink’. Go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea with the hot water from a steel thermos, drink with jade coloured china.

    Clock out at the machine, look at your Tissot watch with brown leather strap. Time for a Whisky. You throw on your cashmere cardigan, put down your black rimmed plastic spectacles. You strut out of the door in a pair of 1-inch Bally court shoes. You turn and airkiss your boss, delicatedly announce with your gothic brown lips, ‘see you next Monday.’

    Milan Fashion Week – A Quick Round Up

    Etro

    East Meets West

    * * * * * * * * * 9

    Huge pea coat plus kimonos mantle was almost reminiscent of the Axis. Veronica Etro has abolished the heavy tribal reference and paisley motif in favour of the oriental glamour – cheongsam tops and beautiful multicoloured furs. Etro also ventured into digital print silk – demure quality unlike the fashion forward Katrantzou or Basso and Brooke.

    Aquilano.Rimondi

    Stir-fry of Lavin and Chanel

    * * * * * * 6

    Manageress or design exexcutive (read Samantha Cameron) will fall over their heels for Aquilano and Rimondi’s business friendly frivolity. A continuum of unfinished trimmings from the SS11 trend, tweed hems are raw and frayed. Despite what the tag-line wrote, this is nonetheless a very bankable collection. Ostrich feathers and swarovski crystal finish makes a nice diversion from the standard dark 2-piece suit. Key item? The thin bow belt in yellow and green.

    Marco de Vincenzo

    70s Faded Photographs 

    * * * * * * * 7

    Printed (?) wintry landscapes of balding twigs and a setting sun against a grey and bitterly cold background enlightens a set of wool cardigans, jumpers, wrap dresses and flair trousers.  70s sepia feel run through the (almost) entire catwalk albeit mini-skirts, the noughties’ uniform, are cinched to the waist with a layer contour belt. Padded jackets and a clingy metallic number refused to be categorised by the tagline.  

    Prada

    Olivetti Typewriters

    * * * * * *

    Secretaries tapping away on typewriters. Catch Me If You Can style women in beehives held in chunky knit headbands. Lots of aran knit jumpers that will make an Irish man proud – except the feminised thin red bow belt. Comical exaggeration of boobs – buttons or blunt version of Madonna’s conical bra. Use of plus size model also.

    Versus

    Upper East Side Fetish

    * * * * *

    Buckles, straps, bras, cut-out brassiere dresses. Shiny turquoise, crimson, sangria. Body-cons, finely pleated tutus and biker jackets will get daddy’s credit cards working. As Christopher Kane puts it – ‘Ballet crosses fetish’. Models look like 2 year old babies in flaming lips.

    Dolce & Gabbana

    Religious Sicilian

    * * * * * * *

    Showered with Maria shaped gold pendants on florals, lace… Call it cheesy, but the Don’s wife sees the collection and draws a cross on her chest. Some Dolce & Gabbana classics sneak in between sheer or lacey stretchy tunics. Bazillions of tailored jackets.

    Time to Take Off Her Tiara

     

    The Milanese’s disdain for Anna Wintour was evident. Several blonde bobbed Wintours donning ‘I Will Only Stay for 3 Days’ t-shirts flash-mobbed the venue of John Richmond and Gucci. Mario Boselli, the Italian Fashion Chamber’s president, told the Telegraph that ‘she’s [Anna] welcome in Milan. But if she only comes for a fleeting visit, perhaps it would be better if she stayed at home.”

    Sandwiched between London and Paris Fashion Week, Anna Wintour told the Italian fashion industry that she could only afford three days for them this year. Many labels such as Prada and Dolce&Gabbana moved their catwalks forward to fit into Wintour’s schedule. As seen in the Milan Fashion Weeek schedule above, almost 20 shows have been squeeze into Friday, leaving only 5 shows on Monday.

     The powerful American Vogue editor also made a similar request to Paris, reportedly to catch a ‘short break’ before the Oscars on the 7th March. Many of the Parisian labels – knowing their true values – refuse to budge.

    Since when has Anna Wintour amassed so much power that she can bring a fashion week down to its knee? The fashion pack struggled to weave through the infamous Italian traffic, often chasing the minute-hand with many shows scrambled between a thin line of 45mins.

    Ostensibly it was a catastrophe for models, stylists, make-up artists and hairdressers. There were also packs of disgruntled reporters and photographers who routinely missed first halves of shows. The most theatrical case of all, masses of people walked out of Etro before the final exits – not out of frustration, but reluctance to miss another show!

    The ridiculousness is not dissimilar to a fictional situation where Patrick Wintour – Anna ‘nuclear’ Wintour’s brother, the Guardian’s political editor – to wave his pen like a wand and sees the parliament dissolved henceforth. Now that the Italian fashion industry surrendered more power to Anna Wintour, the fewer grips they’ll retain with an industry that is so world renounced.

    One has to be blind to be able to ignore the shift and divergence of power. Trend summaries appear on the Fashionspot weeks, if not month before they are plaigiarised by printed publications. The Cut Blog of the New York Times delivers punchy fashion news every 5 minutes.  StyleBubble is the point of call for emerging talents. Net-a-porter, the internet retail giant for luxury goods, reported a pre-tax profit of a whopping £9 million for 2009. Even outlets are going online, designer bargains can be bought at a fraction of their original prices at theOutNet. So why are the Italians fearful of the absence of Anna Wintour – a magazine editor – at their shows? Doesn’t the presence of Tavi generates more free press than the editrix, a dictator herself?

    Fear is what a dictator induces. Power in a democratic world is given by the people. Since when did the designers – who created the bioshpere for Wintour’s reporting niche to exist in – allow a mere editor to reverse the food chain and consume them to the brink of breakage? How does a democratic pack keep faith in a traitor? If we can buy a house through gumtree, surely you can sell fashion through the web? It is time to stand-up for yourselves, Italians. Strip off the tiara you crowned her. The healing power is in your hands.

     Pictures from top: Anna Wintour got pied in 2005 by PETA activists in Paris; AW11 Milan Fashion Week official schedule; show invitations for AW11; Etro backstage this season; Tavi Gevinson with John Galliano during Paris Couture Week; Susie Lau of SusieBubble with New York Times Style magazine contributor Lynn Yeager; President of Italian fashion chamber  Mario Boselli