Jennifer Aniston Lolavie

Jen, how you doin‘? (And yes, Brad Pitt’s an idiot). This Wednesday will see Jennifer launches her first fragrance, Lolavie, which will be exclusively sold at Harrods in London. (Rest of the world can only wait)

Brilliant ad campaign as you can see. But creeping under the facade of these beautiful images lies a phenomenal problem that is facing the perfume industry. The nondescript perfume which thrives solely due to the watts of its endorsement star.

In Jennifer’s own words, Lolavie is “a non-perfume perfume, sexy and clean. Floral, but not too flowery.” Wow, as good as wearing, say, none?! Are you sure you are not talking about Herbal Essences?

So yeah. The bland, souless perfume is currently my biggest problem with the industry. I recently interviewed a guy who owns a vintage perfume shop. He happily sprayed a few old samples on his and my wrists. And those scents were very identifiable and you can almost tell a story of the wearer just from the odour.

The man’s wife told me that, “I love Christian Dior’s Dune. It smells spicy, kicky and fierce”. The word “fierce” is not used in the over-utilised context in 2010. By fierce, the man’s wife meant untamed, wild and Christy Turlington in a cat-woman suit kind of fierce. You can almost imagine a woman in an Oscar de la Renta gown at the Natural History Museum, swigging a neat whisky while cracking witty jokes to senators and presidents.

The husband and wife team spoke of the millennium perfume with such disdain, that “they [the perfumiers] even use orange and cucumber!” This pretty much detailed the laziness of the new generation perfumiers.

Gone were the days when Jean-Paul Guerlain sailed to an exotic island, picked up a bunch of unidentified flowers and transformed them into an elixir. “Mmm, let’s pop down the supermarket and see what’s there”, is the mentality of today’s commercial, fast-result perfume industry.

Would it surprise me if we get Wagyu beef or fried egg  scents in the future? Let’s hope Marc Jacobs stops at fruits and macaroons.

Anyway for now, I am still a No.5 or the original Poison girl.

Mark Fast is Finally Here!

Oh, hello. Hello there. The launch date was May, and then June, and it’s now July. I was in London, and now, no longer. Nonetheless I am equally thrilled to be looking at you. Yes. Mark Fast for Topshop.

When I saw Nicolas Roberts wearing that green frilly skirt by Mark last year, that green skirt that I still have a soft spot for, I knew someday I will have one under my name.

Hence the long drive from London to Bicester Village near Oxford. The British Fashion Council’s pop up store was rumoured to stock Mark Fast. At half price, my precious skirt took the shape of a dress. Nonetheless the sentiment was there. “Size 12 please!”

And the kind man said there was only a size 10, which looked fearfully like a size 6. I pulled the dress up my thigh. Singular – one thigh – and there was no more. And so much for Mark Fast’s putting plus size models on his runway. Anyhow, at £600, I contemplated the prospect of starting my collector’s wardrobe.

Enough about the reminiscence, because here is my chance to get an actual item that I can wear, day in and day out! The long awaited Topshop editions for Mark Fast! Roll the drums, and let’s take a closer look!

Immediately you can see the knitting is less dense than the Mark Fast original. Miles of yarns are used in the original label which probably factored into the high price tag. But it’s safe to say these are apt for summerwear.

Furthermore, these Topshop versions retain a certain enigma of the original spiderweb. The fluidity and the seemingly non strategic placed holes on the SS10 Mark Fast catwalk translated well to the mass-produced products. Albeit a little bit rigid. But the sentiment stays.

So, hello Mark Fast skirt! Let’s travel around the world and come to mama!

Ten Fashion Essentials

I used to impugn her for wearing only catwalk looks. Only recently (shameful) did I find out that she styled those looks.  So whatever she wears off the catwalk, she owns that style. Undeniably one of the greatest stylists of our time, here are her ten fashion essentials. Well said indeed.

THE TEN ESSENTIALS

Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large, creative consultant, Vogue Nippon

“My life is not basic, it is fashionable!”

1. My collection of jewelry
It’s the only personal touch of my style because I just wear catwalk outfits. Flashy jewels personalize your style.

2. My 4000 pair of shoes
Accessories lift spirits. When you don’t feel like getting dressedit means that you are depressed. You need a fashion shower!

3. My YSL nail polish
La laque, vernis à ongles, longue tenue. Number 1 RED, laque chinois for spring. Number 2 RED, intense blood for winter. Number 9 RED-ORANGE, ‘70 for summer.

4. My head pieces
Because nothing succeeds like excess!

5. My swim-kit of Speedo/Comme des Garçons bathing suit,
Speedo/Comme des Garçons cap and mirrored plastic goggles

I swim everyday. Diving in the water means lot to me – to refresh my thoughts,
wash my paranoia, translate my jump into the void, quash my fears.
I love to jump into new experiences with humbleness and devotion.

6. My mattress for Ashtanga yoga
Yoga is my philosophy of life. What do fashion and yoga have in common?
They both are the language of the unconscious.

7. My country house called Villa Villa Colle
I grow bio-organic food, drink fresh water, and live a sunny upbringing…
Perfect to start my endless summer!

8. My Blackberry for twittering everyday
During the fashion weeks, share your love for the shows on Twitter as much as you can.

9. My favorite book “A Wonderful Life” by Slims Aarons
A visionary heaven to live!

10. My love Cucciolina!

– From Self Service Magazine

Anna Dello Russo’s blog here.

Hairless or Headless?

I am one for the nature. Ideally I will be living by the sea, owning acres of land for my liberal soul and expectant legs to roam around the greenery in halcyon happiness.

Now, the perks with being a journalist is this:  sometimes we get freebies. Who doesn’t want some free press, eh? Christian Dior wants it, Megan Fox wants it, Apple wants it. A few words on paper in exchange for a zipper or a button by Christian Dior, a snotty tissue by Megan Fox, and an iPod cable from Apple. Win win, eh?

Yes, life as a journalist is good. But please, don’t punch your fists in the air and point your fingers in my face just yet.

Although the best scenario is that the givee receives some print currency and the poor hack walks away happy with two free grains of rice plus an article (while still pondering their next meal), there are other scenarios.

Most of the time — no pain, no gain. Sometimes it takes ages to sweet talk the givee so that they will let you write about their, harrumph, gems. Effort needed, but still, not too bad. And today I have encountered a nightmare situation, which is the definitive no pain, no gain.

Ministry of Waxing has opened in Hong Kong. Yes, after Ministry of Magic and Ministry of Sound we now have a Ministry of Waxing. It is a cheeky establishment who thinks that painting this sentence on the ceiling — “Brazilians are an essential rule of etiquette” — will suffice in making the procedure legitimate.

I curse, I curse the porn industry and peadophilic perverts. Who likes their garden sans grass? The British call in sick in order to sow seeds and perfect their lawn. And now you’re telling me going bald is de rigueur? Please, don’t fuck with me.

I am now standing at a crossroad, contemplating the worth of it all. Firstly, on a more shallow ground: shall I dig my head in the sand, ignore the pain, spread my legs and let them do me? Next, what is a good article worth? Finally and most importantly, will doing it and writing about it encourage a distasteful trend?

I try to search for the answer. According to wikipedia:

1. American actress Lisa Barbuscia commented on her first experience at getting a Brazilian: “It was so painful I collapsed. I only fainted, but I was nearly carted off to hospital and I have vowed never to try it again.”

So digging my head into the sand probably doesn’t help ignoring the pain at all. Not convinced?

2. There is also a health risk involved if it is not done properly, as well as a risk of infection.

Still not?

3. Generally, discomfort lasts fewer than five days.

What? Still not?

4.  Sometimes bumps or in-grown hair can result.

These four points pretty much answered the first two ponderous bubbles. No amount of anything in-growing can bribe me into writing a bleeding script, OK?

For the last point, I know you will be tempted to be dancing around with joy for someone intelligent to speak your mind. But really? Distasteful? I also thought about waving the feminist flag and go, “I don’t shave, I don’t shag, I don’t… and FUCK YOU for objectifying women”.

But I mean it could be a personal choice. Just like I don’t shave my pits or trim my bits. And it’s always a welcoming alternative when a company offers an  “almost pain free” bikini wax. But when someone tries so hard to push their personal, commercial agenda into my belief system and start devaluing my personal lifestyle choice. I’ll say, shove your “Brazilians are an essential rule of etiquette” up your cleanly shaven ass.

The MBT Conundrum

Hello all, not sure if I’m missed at all… It’s been too long and I’m guessing you know I’ve been busy with work. Fashion used to mean the world to me and now with responsibility to write about Travel, Food and what not, this little indulgent space has been eaten up just slightly. OK, don’t tut. I vow not to neglect Kiwibiwi anymore.

So, I am in the Far East, writing for a cool little magazine known as Time Out (yes yes, chill on the applause). Unfortunately the Kiwibiwi name is yet to suffice for a creation of a little column on the magazine yet, but when that happens, you have my word, I’ll let the world know.

Anyway, I’ll cut out the Bryanboy style self-promotion crap and cut straight into fashion instead. MBT. MBT. Have you not heard of it? Well they are pretty big here on our tiny island. If I call them the sandal companion of the Ugg, maybe you’ll get the gist of it?

Well first, UGG had no medicinal purpose. At best it is only a pair of snug, warm, comfortable and friendly thingy migjig to wear below sub-zero. I personally detest cold, sweaty feet. And so naturally I’ll opt for a pair of Ugly. Yes, fashion is for life, but not for taking my life you know. Cold feet kills.

Here, you have got this gorgeous pair of hydrocarbon by-product which looks like a pair of synthetic soles for the amputated. It is an anti-christ of ugly. It’s fugly.

I try to keep an open mind. I mean, I love Chanel’s clogs. But wait, it doesn’t mean I also love Louis Vuitton’s minging version. So: just that I can lower my standard to love Ugg, doesn’t mean I have to love Fug.

So when you are faced with this Fug every other minute on the street where temperature hits 35 (celcius, not the stupid system the Americans use), how can my blood not boil?

I don’t understand how a pair of shoes which makes you look injured can go centre stage. I don’t understand how an elegant top from Maison Margiela can be teinted with such fugliness. I set out to find a culprit. Who’s this fashion dementor who’s made my street so uninhabitable? Well, unfortunately, the fashion crime mastermind turns out to be a person that I actually like.

Voila, the fashionista who thinks out of the box (for a start, “thinking” isn’t a behaviour known for homo sapiens in Hong Kong. So for her to “think” out of the box is something pretty Bill-Gates-Foundation-extraordinary. PS, Susie Bubble is an exception to this rule for she’s not really a Hong Konger anymore. Don’t protest darling I know your permanant address ends with a postcode).

Her name is Tsui Ho-ying, more narrowly known as Hilary Tsui, owner of the fashion store ‘Liger’.

She schoepentoetered MBT onto the fashion forefront in Hong Kong. And for what reason I don’t know. But she deserves a gold star for fashion thinking. Although you can safely say her style (questo season anyway), is defined by four things and four things only: 1. shoulder pads 2. harem trousers 3. leather leg warmers (in the summer!?) 4. celine (bags, clogs you name it), you must seriously give her a round of applause for 1. creating a fashion brand totally detached from the norm norm in the mass production haven 2. being an independent working mum (unfazed by the pocket money and a tai-tai lifestyle she might get from husband Eason Chan, a creme de la creme pop star in the asia pacific) 3. for propelling such ugliness onto a regional stage (god forBID this MBT business for going global, but if it did, I’ll still be happy for Hilary and I seriously need to rethink my tone of writing)

Hilary’s blog: http://www.ligerstore.com/blog/?p=HILARY&s=1

Liger Store, 1/F, No. 11 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay. (Occupational Hazard. If you read Time Out, you know what I’m talking about)

Fragrance – a scent or a dream

There are tonnes of fragrance brands out there. Many send in generous samples to my work place, in the hope of getting some free press. The no-return policy of cosmetics also applies here. Results? The beauty sale!

Today I bagged an unreleased fragrance (French, an ex-designer who now owns only a perfume line. Clued up enough to guess?), and many haute make-up: 18 pieces from the best fragrance or make-up makers, tallied up a grand total of £19. I probably have over £200 worth of merchandise in that black little bag!

Call me skanky, but who doesn’t love a bargain? And indeed, the fond memories of today will be sealed in the molecules that make me smell a million. So, don’t underestimate the efficacity of scents. Malodourous or aromatic – they can evoke the strongest memories.

It took me sometime to get over Davidoff’s Cool Water per homme: and Boss by Hugo Boss will forever be about the summer spent in Holland Park. I’m sure many out there have similar experience.

Even miasma can transport you out of the current space-time continuum. If you had witnessed a dear somebody on their sick bed. You’ll know.

But the intangible liquid isn’t just about the past. It’s about the presence. The je ne sais quoi of a presence. Tamara Mellon, in a 2006 interview with the ES Magazine, said that as clothes are becoming more casual, it is down to the accessories that add the glam factor. She revealed that she wanted to dress all the accessories on a woman. Shoes, Bags, Sunglasses, Swimwear – and, last but not least – perfume. The easiest entry to the haute lifestyle. A spray of Chanel No.5 makes one feels as if there’s some cosmic connection between thy and the legendary couturier.

Perfume – the ultimate weapon to convey pleasantry, sophistication, elegance and most importantly, mystique. Jacque Polge, the perfumier of Chanel, says, “when a woman disappears, the only thing that is left of her, is her fragrance”. And indeed, the importance is so significant, that a perfume is more than just meets the eye. Guerlain’s retired perfumier, Jean Paul Guerlain, had it so right,”if the perfume smells disgusting, it’ll be a disaster when you turn on the light.”

A perfume is a lifestyle item too. It was said that Elizabeth Taylor’s toilet is full of Chanel’s toiletries. And the significant smell of Chanel’s ubiquitous No. 5 is quite a tough scent to forget. It’s not musky. It’s not flowery. It’s not feminine. Nor is it masculine either. It goes on to say that a woman who wears Chanel No.5 is quite an undefined figure. She is a business woman. She is a housewife. She is 40. She is 20.

This is not the 20s anymore, unfortunately. Perfumes are everywhere. Even Jordan, the tasteless glamour model, can lend her name to something which is traditionally perceived as an item of class and style. To the contrary of popular belief though, a cheap perfume doesn’t necessarily equate a nasty smelling fragrance, as Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, both scent connoiseur with Luca being on the forefront of olfactory science, suggested on a Guardian article.

So what’s to take away from this article? The time has changed, as the old perfume aged, the new wave of scent will challenge the old-school point of view. You may not like Jordan’s lifestyle, but her perfume could potentially be a very unobnoxious smell.

Dior Cruise 2011 – Parisian Chic in Shanghai, Barbie’s Dream

The ideal accessories to Dior’s Cruise 2011 collection will be a doll house and a pink Cadillac. Although the collection was shown in Shanghai, the clothes have  little oriental touch.However, Galliano has his own way of explaining it, that “I didn’t want to come here and present a Chinese-inspired collection to my Chinese friends”. And indeed, Galliano does what he knows best and as he has Godard’s girls on his mind, the clothes exudes every bit Parisienne. The ready to wear are chic, girly and colourful. The thin silhouette will require a diet of fine wine and cheese to pull off the looks.

The heavily 60s influenced clothes also have little reinventing in question. The outfits are pulled straight off the pages of the sixty’s fashion magazines, and put right back on a good cast of models. Nonetheless, the collection will score high marks in the eyes of all fashion lovers, for the series of clothes are beautiful , very very pretty indeed.


The good news is, the collection is very wearable. In the current economic climate when even Alexander McQueen’s brilliant collection doesn’t render a profit in his own house, it is expected that the clothes will sell like a dream. Presented in Shanghai, the cutsey frocks and the reinvented and younger looks of the house’s highly sought after Diamond bags will bid in well with the Asian market.

Although Galliano didn’t bother to do any research on the Chinois look, a remote reference to Shanghai has been paid with the combo above. Styled like a mobster in an old Shanghai gangster movie, a top hat and a tweed coat is followed by a loosely fitted turned-up suit trousers. The weapon of choice is a pair of sky high stiletto and a Diamond bag.

Treading into the evening wear territory, madamoiselle Dior turns into a prom-belle. Some dresses carry the shadow of Dior’s AW08 Haute Couture collection. Nevertheless, the pale palette looks very pleasing to the eye. The collection, no doubt, will expand Dior’s client portfolio to cover a much younger generation.

The wardrobe of Barbie is every girl’s dream. And seems like Galliano has done well in capturing the hearts of the heiresses.

Cannes Film Festival Picture Special

Forgive me if you’re craving for my wise words. But I guess the Cannes gowns are best left for your own eyes to see. The only thing I want to point is the the prominence of the red lips and porcelain skin. Gucci couture seems to have dominated the red carpet as well, as seen on Kate Becksindale, Camilla Belle and Salma Hayek.

Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing below dons a beautifully Empirical China influenced frock, which stands out from the crowd. Let me go and find out who designed it.

My Crazy World List. Brand or No Brand – High Fashion Changes Lanes

The news one hears one day can sometimes be hard to stomach. I am compiling a list of Crazy World news on Twitter (#CrazyWorld), and we’ll see when will the world get sick of the randy brand diversion eh?

1: Valentino designs T-shirt. It’s pretty tough to believe the house which produces £8000 mink throw, £100,000 couture gowns and dresses for Elizabeth Taylor will come to designing accompaniment to mine workers’ jeans. Read more on fashionologie.com.

2. Gucci to design couture gowns. Last time I check a house can only call their products “couture” if they can pass the stringent criteria set by the official couture board in France. I want to know: how much of a gown is handmade and secondly, will Gucci flex their fashion muscles to hoax the strict Frenchmen into accepting their propositions? On a completely different note, Frida Gianni has dressed Selma Hayek, Kate Beckinsale and Camilla Belle on the Cannes red carpet. These are possibly the best walking mannequins you can get to promote your company’s new agenda eh? Crazy, crazy!

3. Ashley Olsen to design furnitures? Running a successful multi-million pound fashion house, The Row is clearly not enough to fill the Olsen twins’ insatiable appetite in world domination. Some has even suggested that they will find somebody else to design their fashion, and the siblings will focus on their furniture. Gosh. What’s next?

4. While we’re on entertainment, Beyoncé has plans to design homewares. Maybe if I were a boy, I’ll want a Beyoncé spoon so I can spoon her whenever I eat. Now seriously… Beyoncé and household chores? Designing a butler maybe a more credible job for you hun, for a doubt you even know how do kitchen utensils fit in the dishwasher…

5. Harrods is sold? I cannot imagine Harrods without al-Fayed. And for him to not mill around the shop floor whenever he fancies and greets shoppers anymore, that just takes away the fun of shopping at Harrods, no? But £1.5 billion, which is £1,500,000,000 if you must, I guess al-Fayed can buy a very nice retirement place indeed!

6. Prada tea? The editors such as Jo Elvin of Glamour, Jess Cartner-Morley of Guardian and Lorraine Candy of Elle have been boasting the calmness a little Prada tea bag brings. Following the brand’s expansion into mobile phone in collaboration with LG, don’t know who makes the Prada tea? Care to place a bet? PG, Yorkshire or Twinnings? Don’t think it’ll be Tetley, if I’m honest!

7. This one must have sunken in already cos this is really old news: Armani and Versace both have their branded hotel in Dubai. The last guest you want will be Ross from Friends, seeing how an Armani bathrobe will set you back £200. And will they security tag every items in their rooms? Armani’s rooms have more to lose, as every items can be purchased… Can I have an Armani toilet roll please? Just one bit of info: is the roll made of silk?

8. The size zero issue: Marie Claire UK appoints a plus size columnist, which is a good sign to combat insecurity issues in teenage girls. After all, all of us are born in different shapes and sizes and as a trained Biochemist, I can tell you there’s nothing we can do about our natural and basal metabolism.
At the same time, the country which has produced some of the finest models of our catwalks today – Abbey Lee Kershaw and Miranda Kerr – has asked a 120lb, Australia’s Next Top Model contestant to lose some pounds. Unless she is 4 foot 3 and aged 3 year-old, I’d say the request is pretty immoral. Having said that, Australia is known to be quite tardy in picking up any new fashion trend. Editor in Chief of Vogue Australia condemned the rise of internet bloggers in an article in The Australian. I hope no one reads Susie Bubble’s tweet as she was the one to link the article. But oops, unlikely, and ranging wars against the man is a futile as crying over spilled water. Waste of effort. There, I’m slashing the Australian fashion world. (Those bus stop adverts, what, Aussie Pants? Who gives a fuck?)

9. Models as writers. Modelina has reported that Miranda Kerr is about to finish her book titled “Treasure Beauty”, or something. This one is about all women have insecurities (including the Victoria’s angel herself. Oh really?!) and recipes for healthy eating etc. If I can eat away to look like Miranda I’ll place an order on the hardback straight away.
Tyra Banks is also penning a book on “Modelland”. I read about what the book is about but I forgot. Forgive me. But I don’t think you should look it up.

I am one item away from collecting 10. If you know any crazy news to complete the list, hit the comment button below…

Aganovich 0.3: Classy and futuristic, clothes that play like jigsaw puzzles

There is a time when you see something so brilliant, you feel ambivalent about announcing the awesomeness to the whole wide world because you may selfishly keep the news to yourself. The Serbian designer who is truly international – grew up in Copenhagen and educated in Rome and now finally bases in London, Nana Aganovich, a Central Saint Martin MA graduate, creates a captivating collection that makes me feel just like that. Nana and her partner Brooke Taylor explains this AW11 collection in their own words:
The collection emulates equal portions of a glamourous old movie as well as a futuristic flick. The protagonist could be a lady, chauffeured around in a Karmann Ghia, exiting the car into flashes of limelight. At the same time she can be a feminine commander, marches into a space shuttle, calling through the tannoy, announcing each andriod’s daily duties.
The couture is simple, and the aesthetic is respectful for the natural beauty of a woman. The forward thinking emulates from these clothes and the excellent craftsmanship adds to my enthusiasm for the label.
There is a mathematical quality about these dresses. A precise and executed curve rests on the chest which is reminescent of a camel back. The colour-blocked fabric juxtaposes each other to accentuate the contrast. Asymmetry is the certainly the keyword here, but having the correct balance in pushing such a design is of paramount too.
The AW11 collection was presented in Paris. The clothes featured in this article center on this collection.
Take Alexis Mabille, the new ‘enfant terrible’ as an example.By no means I am trying to villify Alexis’ creations – and as a matter of fact I’m rather fond of the collection – but the in-your-faceness somehow hinders the masses to stomach the clothes. Aganovich’s Spring Summer 2010 collection, on the other hand, spelt out the key to an auspicious result: be as adventurous as you want, but never tread too far from wearability.
The magic of the SS10 collection lies in its simplicity. The idea pivots on puzzles. The main dress can be topped with an asymmetric ornament piece – a strong shouldered pelerine like a short cape; a part truncated long cloak which can be cinched at the waist or an oversized single collar. This is a nice concept where one or two top pieces plus a couple of dresses give you an assortment of looks.
This is not to say that the dress in itself cannot survive without the decorative ‘puzzle’. Without the funky top-half, the main body is an elegant structure of fluidity and elegance. To inject the funk, some of the dresses are Kruella styled to split in the midriff: both colourwise, and pleat-wise. Clean pleats, clean decorative lines are all exquisitely sewed on. It’s funny how a combo can look so minimalist, but yet posseses so much details at the same time.
Put it simply, I haven’t felt so excited about a collection in so long. Etro, yeah, yeah. Louis Vuitton, meh. Sometimes I wonder why individual designers don’t get more credits than they deserve. This one here, conjures up so much
excitement I can barely contain myself!
Fact file
Nana Aganovich launched her womenswear label in 2005. In 2006, she showed a collection centered around ‘The Dream of Beef’ in Vauxhall Fashion Scout in 2006.
An activist since she was 15, she and her former partner designed a collection of clothes to take part in the May Day Riot in central London, with the models wearing clown make up.
She now designs with partner Brooke Taylor in Whitechapel with an atelier at a factory outside Hong Kong. The CSM MA graduate is a co-founder of the Missing Sock studio in Hong Kong, as well as a contributor on ShowStudio. Her label is now named Aganovich 0.3 and shows in Paris in the form of sculpture/installation and clothes exhibition. Her website is www.aganovich.com but it is currently under construction.

One stop shop for all your summer shoe needs

The French shoe staple Robert Clergerie joined the likes of Chloë Sevigny, Spike Jonze, Pendleton, Levi’s, Timberland and Keds to join force with the global trendy retail store Opening Ceremony. The collaboration results in an admirable laced up espadrille, the bread and butter of the season’s casual wear.
Albeit seemingly under eulogised, the label’s creations frequent titles across America and Europe (Italy, Germany, the UK…) In fact, I’m going to do a lot of praising here!
Truth to be told, prior to the return of this season’s 70s hedonistic shoes, many digital-age kids wouldn’t dream of paying Robert Clegerie’s site a visit. Their priority at producing comfortable shoes is dismissed as a dated approach to shoes. Think high end Clarks, think wedges with a 1 degree inclination and gold buckle fastenings.
But people forget about the real job of a shoe, which is exactly Robert Clergerie’s simple ethos: to produce comfortable and walkable shoes. The inanity of the whole shoe industry hits home when I saw this with my own eyes the other day: a 5 ft 3 woman in South Kensington, outside the porch of her lush pad, carrying bags and bags of shopping, sans shoes… I could understand why the pair of 4-inch Louboutin – worn by the super models in last issue’s Love – were ditched on the roadside.  These are limo-shoes. These are – to put it crudely – fuck me shoes. These are shoes for posing. These are shoes for Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe lounge. There’s only so much love you can give a 2.5 inch stiletto courtesy of Jimmy Choo, Giuseppe Zanotti. The love affair pretty much ends after 100m of walking, when love turns into hatred.
So I’m best pleased when I stumbled upon Robert Clergerie’s catalogue last week. Efforts have been put into attracting a younger clientele. No moral has been forsaken along the way. Painted organza heels, bang on trend, are coupled with a reasonable sized platform and hence a realistic arch. Wedges, one of Clergerie’s best repertoire, veered into a more complex territory. You may argue my fondness for Clergerie’s current season stems from the serious return of the 60, 70s aesthetic, but let’s not deny pretty much every shoe have wished this season can be realised at Robert Clergerie. Clog? Tick. Oxford brogue (with an edge)? Tick. Printed organza shoes? Tick. Grandma’s wedges? Tick. Espadrille?


Innovation and attention to detail has always been on the agenda of the French shoe maker. As early as in 1981, Robert Clergerie introduced a female version of the laced up Oxford. Before then, the shoe had always been a man’s copyrighted shoe. Every year since, the shoes are being polished and revamped. And such is the current season edition of Robert Clergerie’s Oxford. Much deviated from the original staidness, the shoe featured Robert’s best piece of innovation: the sole. It has always been the wedge or the bottom that always get a face-lift… Remember the three-tiered wedge on the black sandals last season?
Some glamazons – who are used to the thin heeled and glossy finished shoes – may scratch their heads when it comes to a face-off with these minimal designs with a chunky flooring. The June issue of British Vogue reinvented the 50s housewife glamour, featuring the sepia styling of the 70s. The sock and sandal combo is the only way forward without looking a retirement home inhabitant. After years of over sexualisation, a bit of demureness surely does make a nice change?
Some of you may scratch your heads when it comes to ‘what do I do with these granny wedges!?’. Fret not, for the June issue of British Vogue has done a shoot featuring the sepia style of the 70s. The sock and sandal combo is the only way forward with these without looking like a retirement home inhabitant.

Clergerie’s offerings are plenty, considering the brand has been around since the 80s. But if your banker will only consent to one pair of expertly made shoe this season, let’s forget about the non-funtional shoe candies, shall we? This pair of organza printed heels is the summer of love. Red socks, blue socks, white socks and no socks. Jeans, circle skirts, pencil skirts, black tuxedo. The possibilities are endless.
As always, I do too much talking. I’ll let you browse Robert Clergerie’s wearable shoe art.


Sexy, Strong and Care Free – Guilty Brotherhood.

While I was sorting the lookbooks in the fashion cupboard, a little catalogue fell from the shelf. It was as if god wanted me to read it. The clothes were striking, very strong and sexy. They are a combination of rock and roll and curiously, serenity. It helps when you’ve got a model who has an enviable body, a very expressive face and a palpable attitude. The eye-catching  clothes – strong and soft at the same time – have schoepentoetered my curiosity.

But try to sequester information about the brand. Aside from the little bits and bobs on variuos blogs that are ripped off from the French brand’s website, not much at all. This is deliberate. Guilty Brotherhood’s designer, a young Parisian called Kevork Kiledjian, created the label 2 years ago. The designer has lived in New York for a few years in the 1990, hanging out with Cypress Hill. He was travelling a lot during this time –  New York, LA and Asia – and it was around this time when he created his first label called Triiad, selling chic streetware, in Paris.

Every bit the rebel he is, the glamourous creations are crafted by a man who has never attended formal art school. But the design juice runs in the family blood – Kevork’s father was a couturier for Lanvin in the 1950s.  As a designer, Kevork draws references from architecture, films and the urban lifestyle.

The clothes – hard-edged, with an undercurrent of elegance; one can possibly draw reference to Yves Saint Laurent’s masculine tailoring, Balmain’s reinvented man-eater style as well as DVF’s Upper East Side casual chic. So is it any wonder that it has already accumulated a celebrity following? Kate Moss, Nicolas Roberts and Doutzen Kroes were spotted in Guilty Brotherhood. The brand boasts Abbey Lee Kershaw on their Spring Summer 2010 campaign. Not to mention the numerous coverage in Vogue Paris, V magazine, Numéro…  Not bad for a brand which is only two years old, and hasn’t even had their a first catwalk yet! But fret not, more glamour is to come, Guilty Brotherhood has already put a catwalk on their agenda and it is likely to be in October this year.

Whether or not this catwalk will happen in Paris – the brand’s birthplace; or New York – where the company’s headquarters locates, remains to be seen. Although it is likely and wise for Guilty Brotherhood to debut in the fashion capital of Europe.

Expect some serious world domination by Guilty Brotherhood. From day one, Kevork Kiledjian has been planning and treading a carefully planned route for the brand to expand. The lack of online and offline information originally has built some intense mysteriousness about the brand. When Guilty Brotherhood’s website launched in August in 2009, the site looked so professional, glamourous and grown up that it is hard to believe the clothes were only available at carefully selected locations. Initially, to get your mitts on these clothes you have only 5 stores to choose from. These privileged places include the USA (Los Angeles for celebrity following and New York for some serious big spenders), France (Paris and Rodez)  and Hong Kong. The fleet of stockists now extend to South America in Domenican Republic and Australia. Now the brand is the Arctic and the Antarctica short of collecting their presence across seven continents.

Guilty Brotherhood’s flagship store is expected to open in 2011 in Paris on Rue Saint Honore. Anything less than spectacular will not be associated with the label. Hence the multistorey store is designed by – none the other – Jean Nouvel, whose bulky and impressive portfolio has led him to an architecture Oscar, the ‘Pritzker Prize’

So much for the intro. Indeed with such a meteroric rise of a label in such a short time span does not happen everyday, a bit of a rambling is needed to emphasise the bravura of all this. So, so much for the clothes eh? But to put it in Kevork’s own words, they want people to ‘see the clothes for themselves’. If the tactic of hush-hushing their press/online presence was to limit any damage bad critics may cause, the tactic may just as well not exist in the first place. Because the clothes do speak for themselves. And without further ado, I’ll let you see them. From AW09/10 to current season SS10.

The Surrealist’s Accessories

 Who says black dresses are not in season at all? With these comedy pieces of brooches, earrings and handbags, you almost forget the need for digital prints and colourful pieces in the real world. Yazbukey is the company that produces all these caricatural 2D and 3D accessories.

Based in Paris, the designers behind the scene are two sisters, who always model their own collections.Yaz and Emel, descendants of Mehmet Ali Pasha King of Egypt (woooooah) churn out two imaginative collections a year – spring and summer. They have done so since 2001. And so far they have 18 collections in the archive. All of them magical and very out of this world.

Enter the magical world of Yazbukey, and you can immediately feel the anti-reality of it all. Yaz and Emel dress boldly in colour-blocks and wear tasteful make up like a MAC advert, tongue poking out, dogs here and there. You’ll know they are in for a good joke.  Much like a Tim Burton film, even a poignant theme like the Corpse Bride don’t channel sadness at all. So a sexual rolling stone lips? Not really that sexual at all. So a serious Karl Lagerfeld? Not so philosophical at all.

The real gem are their 3D pieces. Totally anarchic and poking fun at the staidness, the most genius of it all is their brief case. Luxurious no less, turn to the back and poof, it’s Ratatouille!

 

Their current collection is dubbed Happy Birthday. It centers around the birthday party. Who do you want to bring to the bash? Lady Gaga? Check. Karl Lagerfeld? Check. Barbie? Check! King George the IV? Check! Oh and the best of all… Princess Diana!

How can the fun end there? More brooches and necklaces feature party food: cake, ice cream. Entertainment: clown and endless conversation (in the shape of a speech bubble). Presents: that decorative bow… How ratatouille got an invitation, I have no idea.

 This year, the sisters have launched a handmade collection. Slightly more serious and grown up, the elegant necklaces, bracelets and alice bands are based on winding roads, where a lost commuter struggles to go home but find fun along the way, picking up gems and stones.

The whole web-browsing experience is super exhilarating. If you want to join Bjork, Danni Minogue, Courtney Love, Mick Jagger and the like, Yazbukey’s accessories can be purchased online at shop.yazbukey.com. Alternatively, their UK stockist is at Blue Bird on Kings Road in West London.

A 50s Lover’s Worry

High Fashion enters the Golden Age of fashion. From left, Louis Vuitton AW10; Dolce & Gabbana AW10; Prada AW10 and Bottega Venetta SS10.

Choose a word to describe the new millennium, it will have to be materialism. The age when repairment is costlier than a replacement; it only makes it all too easy to let go of something you think you’d cherish.
One of the worries I had when Prada, Bottega Venetta and Louis Vuitton put 50s dresses on their runways for AW/10 was that they’ll make the golden age of fashion not so polished anymore. While 50s’ glamour dressing has always somewhat received an exclusive following from retro enthusiasts, once high fashion jumps on this bandwagon, the high street will soon follow suit.
Everybody knows that the high street conglomerates such as Topshop and H&M no longer operates in a two-season rota. I wonder how many weeks can the 50s glamour sustains on the track of fast fashion, before the “trend” becomes an tired old cow like the sequins schoepentoetered by Christoph Decarnin a season ago?
The thought of some fervent Heat magazine believers donning throw-away circle dresses from Primark sends shivers down my spine, and not in a good way. What happens when the cheap fashion rota turns? Will the public discard and dismiss the whole post-war glamour as they would with sequin leggings and bodycon dresses?

My cup seems half full here. But my worry has basis. Trends come and go, however, regarding the 50s style as a “trend” is a grave sacrilege. It was an era which gave birth to the best designers the world has ever seen – Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior… Such was an era when the creation of the new look laid the foundation to what we nowadays perceive as “beautiful”. The well-defined waist, the lengthy legs, the demure busts and the elegant and bourgeois demeanour. Tell me which Miss England hasn’t got legs up to there and an hour glass figure?

After preaching about the importance and grandeur of the 50s, I hope you have come to realising the deference you must possess when it comes to dressing The age with a capital T. So instead of being overly patronising and depressive, maybe I can highlight a few dresses that are worth investing this season, as well as finding you the best accessories to go with this style (or trend if you’re not a firm believer)? (Note: Trend, is ephermeral while style can stand the test of time)

The bang on trend dresses are sepia, like a faded and rust-spotted photograph. Choose in the palette of mustard, milk chocolate, off-white and faded navy blue.

All dresses are from Hobbs.com. Verdi dress, £149; Polka dot Rochas £129; NW3 Stripe dress, £169; NW3 Mohair blend shirt dress, £169. All 50s country mama style.

Hobbs have many 50s housewife dresses on offer – from sepia to classic polka dots – prices start from £125. They even have a dress not dissimilar to the £4500 Bottega Venetta one that was worn by everyone and featured on every photoshoot. Carey Mulligey as well as Rosamund Pike posed in the mustard/beige raffia dress. The bond girl modelled for a Guardian 50s style shoot in honour of the late Princess consort of Monaco, Grace Kelly.

Accessories on the other hand, require chunky necklaces, almost chokers like, flamboyantly decorated with large gems and thick ribbons.

Heaven Tanudiredja AW10 Jewelry.

Without a pair of round-ish, thick rimmed glasses in brown, green or ivory, your trendy outfit is incomplete.

When it comes to shoes, the blockier the wedges the better they are. Choose those with demure buckles and minimal décor, in maroon, grey and sepia. Oliver Goldsmith does a range of mixed coloured, nicely crystalised thick rimmed glasses.

Oliver Goldsmith’s shades, received wide press coverage from Vogue Destuche, Heat and Grazia to Fantastic Man and Wallpaper.

Clarks has a good flat wedge in grey patent leather that is reminescent of Marni’s wedgy flats circa 2008.
Bags should be as simple as they can. Ted Baker has a cross shoulder bag in white patent leather for £56 in absolutely minimum decor. To push out the boat, look no further than Céline where they have lots of immaculately made mimimalist handbags.
50s dressing should be fun. So much to be said on the subject but so little time and space. I’ll let you do your own research. Google “50s Trend”, you’ll be amazed how much knowledge is to be learnt on the said style!

The Battle of the Political Wives

Well. The thursday-gone involved some frantic telephoning at the Telegraph fashion desk, and I imagine the same goes with every other dailies.

So what’s the deal? Yes, you’ve guessed it, the reclusive Miriam Clegg. Or the Miriam Gonzalez Durantez as she prefers to be known. Unlike Sarah Brown, who prepares a sheet of paper documenting the clothing items she is wearing for the day for the curious newspaper hacks, the Head of Trade of DLPipers in the city chooses to stay out of the spotlight. This makes it über difficult to pinpoint exactly where her threads and accessories came from.

Praise has to be given to Melanie, my colleague at the Telegraph who taught me a bucket worth of tricks. She alone, in one morning, in three hours, telephoned 10 shops and 10 ethical brands. The choice of those 20 10-digits is surprising logical for the fashion desk. Where do the Cleggs reside? Putney? Phone every shop within a mile radius. What are the Libdem’s manifestos? Green? Phone ethical designers and boutiques.

Mel eventually tracked down where Miriam shops: an ethical boutique in Chiswick; and what she wore on polling day – a patch work dress from From Somewhere.

But I digressed. Where Miriam (Megg as Hilary proposed how Miriam should be known), or Sam Cam or Sarah Brown shop is of no interest to me whatsoever. Nor should it to you. I couldn’t care less about what Michelle Obama wore to whatever event she went to. So let alone the pregant Sam Cam who for the few months ahead will be wearing nothing but stretchy trousers and loose skirts; or Sarah Brown who is forever the soigneé political wife/ professional PR/ charity campaigner/ mum – coding for nothing more than an M&S cardy and 1.5inch wedges; or Miriam Clegg, who mistakeningly chose not to wear a bra for the red patchwork dress she wore to the poll station. (After 3 children and under 40 years of gravity, unless you are Cindy Crawford or McMenamy, one should really consider containing those pups.)

The thing is, there are bazillion style crushes out there. Olivia Palermo (yes… Don’t despise me please), Anna Dello Russo, Diane Kruger… And not to mention the many, many street style heroes. And why has all of a sudden, these political wives, whose style is donned by every other mama on the high street, received so much media coverage?

Have we run out of stories to cover? Nope, not really: how about a preview of the RCA graduate fashion show? How about Brown’s exhitbition next week? Well, how about just give us a break over the who’s worn what? Especially when these women don’t really have much style to begin with?

You can blame my raging youth for not being able to appreciate the extricate combo of flair maternity trousers and a pair of black converse topped with a cocktail jacket. But hey, people dress their mood, and I usually throw the said combination on when I owe some serotonin to my biological system. So don’t tell me she’s particular stylish ok? It’s a trashy casual combo that a two year old baby can put together. You and I both know it.

Secondly, isn’t the whole political wife and their style thing a bit of a sheepish following? Who started it in the first place and why did everybody start following? When Andrew Marr wrote that journalists became lazy down the timeline, I never thought that it indeed rings true that journalists don’t get out of their air-conditioned office anymore… Stories, in the form of a phone call and finding out where did the clothes come from, will suffice the 500 word limit and quota for the week. Those are easy money per word, eh?

Come on, a month of excessive coverage on a story that isn’t even particularly captivating nor inspiring… I petition the spotlight to be turned away from these women, or we’ll be heading towards… The following:

Now Sam Cam is the pregnant wife at No. 10, get ready for another few months of coverage on maternity wear until Mothercare becomes the next Topshop, J Crew or Jaeger on her due day. You watch, the Cameron baby will be the next style crush.

***** Update*****

On the 12th May, Thursday, Sam Cam has announced that she will step down from her full time job as Creative Director at Smythson the stationer. Her husband has previously formed a coalition government with the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. He will be holding a non-constitution role as Deputy Prime Minister. Britain now has two first ladies. Although as a city lawyer, Miriam Gonzalez will not step down from her role as Head of Trade. She was asked before the General Election whether she will forfeit her full-time role should her husband becomes PM. She said she will give up her job only if her husband becomes the leader of the country.

What are you wearing to the Royal Ascot?

These just came through my mailbox and they’re absolutely wonderful. The PR has associated Suzannah’s dresses with SATC2. So not true. I think they are more demure and classy than the typical Patricia Field outfits (not that I have anything against her, in fact, I love her. I just find it bizzare that somebody will associate classic and elegant designs with four sexually charged women. Not that I have anything against SATC either but hey… I’m gonna go on correcting myself so let’s just focus on the clothes eh? LASTLY, while I’m on the topic, why don’t I let you know that Sex andthe City 2 is just around the corner? The exclusive screening is set on the 24th May at the Soho Hotel in London, dressed up and be seen!)

At the first glance, I can immediately associate part of them with Lanvin. Fluid and frivolous, yet totally cocktail classed, not to mention the glossy finish and the exceptional tailoring. Most of the fabric comes from Italy as detailed on Suzannah‘s website. Majority of the dresses are made in the UK. Definitely penned in the UK though!

Suzannah – whose boutique and studio is based in Bristol Gardens in London – has been working in the fashion industry as a stylist, a trend forecaster and not to mention the fifteen years spent as a designer. Her clothes draw reference from vintage glamour, Parisian as well as Upper East Side chic. Her lovely dresses have been featured from Grazia to Easy Living. But I say no matter what magazine features her work, one fact that cannot be denied is that the dresses, from greek goddesses to audrey hepburn inspired frocks,  are all extremely flattering and confidence boosting.

My favourites are definitely her heavily vintage influenced tea-dresses. Colourful prints and playful fabric, wonderful for a summer picnic, sipping Champagne and eating cheese and biscuit on a velvety blanket. Here are a few that I’ll definitely get, should my employer decides that my words are worth more benjamins than they already do! And if you’re going to the Royal Ascot, these are the no-fuss choices for the day? Minimal accessories required, all you need is a nice hairdo and a good lipstick!

The prices for these tea dresses start from £210, and are all available from Suzannah.com. You have a fitting period of 14 days and you may return them if they don’t fit. But the website is kind enough to give you a size guide. And I guarantee you once you put them on, there’ll not be a desire to take them off?

It may be too late for those out there who are enarmoured by these dresses now, but don’t say I haven’t told you that Suzannah’s press day is held today at the Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane, W1. Lo and behold, this shopping event also grants you exclusive discounts for these well-tailored, girly and elegant dresses too! And then we come to the more flamboyant, still very very vintage and Dita Von Teese-esque 50’s dresses. They are tailored like a dream and a pair of vintage Bally mid-heel and a pair of arm length white gloves are all you need.

From the past to the presence, how thrill are we that we are in a position to show off our sexy kitten boudoir dresses, courtesy of Mr. Galliano who’s made garter belts, bustiers once again acceptable in the style scruntiners’ eyes. Some of us are daunted by the sheer and nude colours, laced and overtly exposing dresses that are on the market. Fret not, for there are some very colourful and dignified choices!

And for the girl who needs to work for her diamonds, there are office-friendly designs that set you apart from the high-street gang!

What I love about them is the care that’s taken into draping and folding a very simple silhouette. The seams are seamless, the look is perfect. But beware, if you’re not the every bit perfect perfectionista, maybe more care has to be taken in doing up your hair (lots of hairspray to fix that Beehive as well as the precise application of lipstick!)

Gang Orient

This Monday saw the Hong Kong singer-songwriter Eason Chan performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. His energetic rhythms and quirky lyrics attract a cult of trendy youth followers. The 5000 seats at the home of Proms were at capacity. The spotlight tho, also points to the well-dressed crowd. The Oriental tribe’s anglomania dress sense deserves a round of attention and not least, applause!

The Quirk Factor

You may almost mistake this lady as Tavi Gavinson. The hair is certainly eye catching, but the funky headphones and the frog purse is no less. And where are those sandals from? Don’t they look Marni to me?

One of my most favourite outfits of the day. This gent is from Italy and the gentlemanly green jacket has diffused the shock value of the patchwork cropped chinos. You have to give it to the Italians. Check out the shoes and the crocodile skin bag!

The Reserved Trendiness

What have caught my eyes are the lady-like velvet pencil skirt and the mohair jumper. A cashmere motif-ed scarf? Checked. A Roger Vivier Miss Viv (or Carla, whatever your prefer) handbag? Checked!

Not a Miss Viv, but 1o times more brilliant!

The Imperfectionist

That casual demeanour, the relaxed posture and the look as if it was put together last minute. Nah. The calculated colour blocking and the precise length of the jersey trousers. This man has perfected the imperfect.

Have you got the legs?

You’re given enough warning: last Feburary, all types of above-the-ankle shorts sprung up on runways from Milan to New York. They have given you a year to slim those tree trunks, wax your legs and save up for those heels. Did you take cue?

Thank you for the underwear as outerwear trend that Lady Gaga triggered, now women around the globes are left with no choice, but to wear mini-shorts that threaten to be as revolutionary as the 60s minis. Start from the shortest granny pants, to bloomers; and we have the cycling pants and eventually, the most wearable of them all, culottes.  I blame no one but Prada and Marc Jacobs. They set the catwalks ablaze with all types of imaginable shrunken trousers. And the other named offenders are Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, Chloé…

Well, to be absolutely honest with you, I don’t see granny pants as ever being a practical enough outfit to be worn daily. Do you see yourself queuing in Tesco for that pint of milk, and not attracting any unwanted attention? How about in the office, and not being sent home for ‘more appropriate officewear?’. No. So fair enough, leave the granny pants to Rihanna, Sienna Miller and Lady Gaga alike. Who actually have the guts/the admirable pins to work the impossible.

But if you’re ever so inclined to lead the trend. Don’t just get a pair of black Triumps Sloggi pants. Topshop has some pretty awkward offerings of sequined and floral pants. Promise me: 1) you won’t wear it during the day. Or you’ll truly give the strolling pensioners a heartattack. 2) Do these exercises daily and trim the legs! 3) Sky-scraper heels and finally… the golden rule of fashion 4) Legs or boobs. Not both!

Then cometh the bloomers category. Children’s nappy pants. Alexander Wang has done it so brilliantly that you don’t even feel that pricklish feeling when you look at these pictures (below left). It’s just sports. And while with Dolce&Gabanna’s interpretation, you may treat it as another dominant trend of Lolita. A lot of florals, a lot of blings,  a lot of lace…

To work these off the runway. You’ll need a statement sporty tee-shirt. Baggy and cropped above the navel. Ones with hoods are better as they look more hocky-ish or rugby-esque. If you’re genuinely a public school snob: a navel blue/white stripped Ralph Lauren shirt will do the trick just fine. A short parka will work too. Then you need a warm jumper, grey is the season’s first. If the shoulders are pleated, they are the better as the whole world is still gripped by the Marc Jacobs sporty jumper frenzy… Not to mention the Burberry raincoat, pleated on the shoulder aussí.

Or, if you’re more demure, take cue from Stella McCartney. Take the sandy palette, head to Zara. Grab yourself a hip-lengthed blazer and a pair of mustard bloomer/culoutte. Cinch with a brown leather belt with a plain buckle.

R-L: Topshop, Next

For the Dolce&Gabanna type Lolita floral bloomers. Next does the best imitation with a lace hemline. It’s only £25! Also Topshop does a less boudoir version made of cotton.

R-L: Topshop, Topshop and River Island

Stella McCartney’s look with a plain blazer and a sheer lace top: bang on trend. And the Net-a-porter interpretations of the Chloe classy bloomer shorts.

Here are the catwalk interpretations:

DKNY, Louis Vuitton and VPL

Cycling shorts are more tricky. Even ASOS and net-a-porter can only come up with a full length t-shirt over cycle shorts. But let’s face it – ain’t that a bit unimaginative? Well, let me capture a few best of the best editorials for you…

Lastly, ASOS satisfies all your insatiable shorts needs this season:

On this note, I’ll leave you to do your exercises! How about shopping in heels?

Get Up and Go

When trees start to re-dress themselves, we know that the long gloomy winter is finally over. Finally there are clothes to match the relaxed mode of vivre and the floral summer milleu. Under cherry blossom, on a pale gingham blanket sits chartreuse and pink macaroons; this paints a reflective picture of how our new spring-summer wardrobe should look like.

And now, those sequins, strong shoulders and fierceness must make way for the spring zen. This time around, rather than dressing to please anybody else, we for the first time, can dress for comfort and to please ourselves. Let dedcadence goes into override. Pour as much double cream onto your strawberries as you wish. The flattering shapes of the 50s wraps and flairs. In simpler terms,  A circle-skirt disguses the most stubborn food baby. A boned bustier shapes a woman’s most important asset. Free-will rides this season’s fashion tide. Here’s also a toast to the nonchalant and ‘me’ look… Take cue from these 50s women. Not the most liberal women of any generation, as the idea feminism was yet to be conceived. But with swaying fabrics and a cinched waist that accentuate a woman’s curve, it is easy for confidence to seep from subtlety.

I have been a long advocate of the New Look. I’m so glad I can stove my sewing machine, for there are plenty of high street offerings to satisfy our insatiable need for circle skirts, wrapped dresses, and styles that are inspired by nonetheother, Grace Kelly herself.

This time around, no accessorising needed. If you must, a choker of pearl. Wear minimal make up, look as natural as you can. Carry a basket and pretend to be a strawberry picker. Look nonchalant, and if the weather allows, definitely some Audrey Hepburn RayBan sunglasses.

Lipsy, the online retail store has a £38 white tutu on offer. Cue Grace Kelly’s infamous outfit from the Rear Window, top with a decollete neckline top, widely available from the highstreet. Namely, I have spotted a cotton dress with such a neckline in Primark for £4.

A Lipsy £38 tulle tutu.

And then the type of cutsey little flair dresses that we all begged mummy to buy. It’s pink, it has polka dots on it and an immaculately tied bow! What more can a girl asked for? And I know it’s not gingham, I know. But the palette is so SS10 Christopher Kane that I couldn’t help but fell in love with it. The photo does the dress no justice. As the fabric is soft to touch but its the kind of structured fabric that gives the dress rigidity and its frivolous summery touch. It’s £40, and it’s New Look’s Limited Edition.

£40 from New Look’s Limited Edition

What’s more… the back is heart shaped! This really deviates from what people normally expect from New Look – fast fashion, cheap tailoring, dodgy seams. No… the dress is complete with an under dress!

And it is an open heart back!

And now, it goes without saying that the 50s was all about florals too. The granny’s pattern? Not so much anymore. This season, they’re everywhere. And they’re pretty and subtle:

A 50s woman in florals.

Another floral offering from Lipsy. £35. And the floral sleeveless dress at the top, from Dorothy Perkins, £32.

On this note, I’ll leave you to your macaroons and your cherry blossom. Happy spring! 🙂

The Truth Brigade

Let me bow to you, my treasured audience, for my absence over the past few weeks. I have been busy reading. Lots and lots of newspaper and magazine articles.

I recently went through an interview with Timeout. The process was with such fierce formality, that my heartbeat transpired through my trembling mouth… and then the mouthpiece to the other side of the globe. Anyhow, I was asked to name a few writers of prominent publications, whose style of writing I adore. Without any hesitation, I heard myself uttered Jess Cartner-Morley of the Guardian. Then the food critic of Angie Wong of Timeout Hong Kong. Then I went blank, so we proceeded to the next, equally daunting question.

Having been ambushed by an unexpected question which I could well have been answered for full marks (Just TWO?); I sent a defiant email to my interviewer, in a quest to proclaim that journalism nerd trophy. I, afterall, spend hours a day reading good (and bad) journo articles from across the board. So I supplied the names of Charlie Brooker (who won’t?), Jeremy Clarkson, Hilary Alexander, Sarah Mower and Jeremy Paxman.

See a trend emerging? Those who capture the hearts of the public can be divided into three categories: unabashedly straight-forward and tell it like it is; those whose descriptive writing induces clarity and thrill; finally, the fierce, hardcore Robin Day type journo. Paxman I salute you. But sorry, you’re too heavy a substance to be of subject in a lazy Sunday morning blog like this.

I wrote again and again, that Cartner-Morley’s opening sentence to an interview write-up with Carine Roitfeld was so seductive that, I literally dropped the paper and got sucked into a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of romance.

“Listening to Carine Roitfeld is like having Chanel No.5 drops very slowly, into your ears”. Magnetic voice what? Sexy tone what? Smoky note what? It’s Chanel No.5, now get with the programme. I bet Jess quivered with excitement as she sat in front of the silver screen – bobbling on the keyboard like we all pedantic writers do – and this remarkable opener gripped her brain like a thunderstorm… Wordgasm.

Ever since then, Jess has topped my list of worshippable journo. Up there in the same league as Hilary and Sarah. What’s so unique about Jess tho, she’s less politically correct. And in this industry that journalists are threatened with libel cases all the time, a sense of harmless humour doesn’t hurt anyone.  So there Jess, you now know that there are people like out there who love your edgyness and acidity. Hats off, Japanese-esque bow to you.

Then cometh the food critic, whose slashing comes so elegantly that she can make “you wanker” sounds like “you pleasure lover”. Note, there’s a difference between polishing the truth and telling lies. “The service has been largely non existence”. And if you try to excuse them by “perhaps it’s a busy Sunday and they are mildly under-staffed”. That’s called consideration. At the end of the day, it’s like saying “would you excuse me” rather than “I need a piss”.

Well. Her expertise lies in triggering serotonin release by words. Be it chicken tail (that’s sun-don’t-shine, hello) or a no nonsense 6 course dinner; if Angie loves it, you’ll be sucked into that magical world of culinary pizzazz too. Your mouth will quiver and your tongue will curl. Next, you’ll find yourself smashing your piggy bank, fishing out the last penny and head to that said restaurant, which dinner may cost all yearly salary. But you know you’ll die satisfied and happy, only because Angie told you so, and you now have something worthy to scribble as your epitaph. Well, of course, I do not have that kind of financial freedom to squander on a meal, so there’s no verifying that Angie has malfunctioning taste buds. Nevertheless, to achieve that level of wordgasm takes more than a nice smile and a fit outfit. This, is what makes journalists, or wordsmith as I call them, so sexy.

Now the male counterpart whose literary bravery deserves the Victoria Cross.

Charlie Brooker grimaces. You can see his mugshot on the Guardian site. That’s not because he’s grumpy (or maybe he is). But the world is so full of bull’s excrement that someone has to get lairy about them and sets the record straight. Brooker rages war against multi-national money snatchers’ mind boggling techniques. His aides are us. We multiply his wordy ammunition by tweeting or facebook statusing his articles. The fervent ones may even leave a thank you note: as a comment in an acceptable form of gratitude, such as sarcasm.

Nevertheless, the man was given a truck load of special flavours Walkers crisps (he took the piss out of last year’s special flavours in his weekly column in the Guardian. Results? Walkers saved Charlie the leg work this year, hoping in return they’ll get some free publicity). In the normalest sense of word, freebies such as crisps should only incite the following reaction: “thank you.”

Maybe Walkers has mislabelled the box and thus it’s reached the wrong guy. The only imagainable result as the box reaches Charlie is this: Irish Stew flavour gets one word: “No”; Australian BBQ Kangaroo flavour gets this: “Call it ‘boiled pilot’s leg’ and the effect would be similar”. The review culminated in a high note: “Here’s hoping they steer clear of yet more bastardised takes on national dishes and go for topicality instead. How about American tea party flavour? Iranian uranium? Chinese dissident? Give it your best shot, Walkers, and with any luck you’ll start a war.”

So clearly, the men are better at crafting agression than seduction. Another British staple that finds codswallop impossible to swallow is – roll the drum – Jeremy Clarkson. His grand speeches are visceral. For a country that has been defined by politically correctness, Clarkson is like Jack in the Box, pops out and banishes all the bullshit. In all, he speaks the mind of most Britons.

A human version of marmite, Jeremy’s raffish views can be hard to stomach by some. But neverthless he has been routinely voted by the British public as the “Secret Crush” (Heat Magazine) and “The Real Man” (or something, by so and so magazine); or as the Prime Minister, as thetens of thousands of fans on such facebook group can testify.

So how does a middle-aged journalist from the Cotswolds appeal to young, professional women (who read Heat); and at the same time, adored by men everywhere in the world (minus truck drivers); be employed by the Sun, the Times as well as the BBC?

His boyish take on the world – not unlike the hyperactive Ben from Outnumbered – Clarkson employs an intuitive and an engineering mode of reasoning. His sense of humour also paints a frivolous picture in your head. Tampax as a solution to a water-soaked gas tank, anyome?

And on the matter of airport security. Sod the plane bombers, we have just got to accept the fact that 5% of any population are bonkers. That no amount of strip-searching will deter suicide bombers (because they are bonkers). Such as no one could stop the UCL student to strap some fuming explosives to his crotch. And because of this mathematical 5% of unpredictable event (due to malfunctioning people), the remainder of the population shouldn’t be subjected to unrealistic and unreasonable searches.

Does this resonate with you? Is it reasonable that we all have to arrive at the airport 3 days prior to our departure so that customs can tell us to rid of our 500ml water bottles?

However clever or sound his reasonings might be; however flamboyant and fluent his articles might be. Jeremy Clarkson is my most favourite journo no less, simply because of one fact.

His business card reads: “Jeremy Clarkson, Journalist”. You’ve got to love who you are before anybody else can love you. And damn right, journalist it is then.