Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Artist at the Oscars

It is the Oscars in just under a day, incredibly exciting in terms of both fashion and film, and it looks like Michel Hazanavicius's 'The Artist' is going to sweep the board. I posted about this film here all the way back in October 2011, and I am so happy that it has got the recognition it deserves. In light of the (inevitable) success of this black-and-white, silent ode to cinema, here are a few more silver-screen icons to inspire your dramatic side.
Greta Garbo
Louise Brooks
Mary Pickford
Rudolph Valentino
Buster Keaton
Lillian Gish
Anna May Wong
photos courtesy of guardian


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Basso and Brooke capsule collection for The Cambridge Satchel Company

Basso and Brooke does a capsule collection for the Cambridge Satchel Company at London Fashion Week.

This moment will go down in history as the most zany and irresistable collision of two very up-to-the-minute brands.

It's headed straight to the top of my 2012 Christmas list.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Topshop Unique A/W 2012

I think, as a British teenager, and in terms of fashion shows, the most immediately relevant label for me has to be Topshop Unique. It is the one label I can feasibly afford (just), but also the one which will directly influence everything else in the most popular shop in the country, and thus will influence everything I and my friends buy in about six months time.

If you didn't watch the live stream, you should probably do so now. It can be found here on their website, or here on their Facebook page.

If I had to sum up the collection in one word, it would be SLINKY. There are slinky-silky blouses, slinky-smooth midi skirts, slinky trouser suit and bralet combinations, a black jumpsuit which I could actually own and die happy knowing I was in possession of the most beautiful piece of clothing. I think I counted about one thick patterned knit in the whole collection, a huge step away from last season's jumpers-with-everything look. Watch the video and concentrate on the way that the materials seem to swim around the girls' bodies.

If I could add one more word to my summary, it would be LEGS. These aforementioned midi skirts are designed in such a way that one sashay of a model's leg and, well, pretty much everything is revealed. Couple these with pants-as-shorts, a fair amount of minidresses, and slinky pyjama-style trousers which serve to accentuate what one cannot see. Simple hair and plain makeup draw all the attention to the models' pins, clad in some pretty hefty (but none the less desirable) shoes.  I think the Topshop blog described them as 'stiletto creepers', which is pretty apt.

I rather like this new collection, and can't wait to get my hands on some silk shirts (or wannabe-silk shirts, knowing my student budget). One drawback is that I won't be able to hide my post-Christmas belly under a thik woolly jumper, nor forget about exercise and cover my legs up with jeans. Though I guess this is Topshop Unique, so neither will anybody else.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Vogue Italia - imparare la lingua con la moda

On the way home from il supermercado this afternoon (after buying a kilo of spaghetti for 80cents) I stopped to buy Vogue Italia. I am going to prove that fashion is good for one thing at least - learning foreign languages! I plan to read it from cover to cover, bearing in mind that I only learnt the present tense yesterday. Then I'm moving on to Elle, Marie Claire, etc and so on. Are there any Italian fashion magazines or sites out there, in the style of Dazed and Confused, or Wonderland, that anyone can recommend me?
There are words as well as pictures. That is a huge article on the actress Ursula Andress (Bond girl in Dr No). Maybe it'll teach me how to wear a white bikini without looking like a pale English ghost. That would be ideal.

(Note to self: paint fingernails gold like the model on the front cover...)


Friday, 17 February 2012

The Curious Case of Kate Moss and Lara Stone

I'm sure by now many have seen the cover for the new edition of Katie Grand's LOVE, with Lara Stone, Kate Moss and photographed by Mario Testino. Grand is known for her risk-taking, boundary pushing covers when it comes to editing LOVE (cue Beth Ditto). I suppose this could be seen as something of a departure. Kate and Lara, hugging, not making out with androgynous models. Wearing comfy denim jackets, not trippy angelic getups like Hailee Steinfeld, Elle Fanning or Chloe Moretz. With FRECKLES and CAT EARS.

As much as I like this portrait, the more I look at it, the more I can't escape the feeling that it is completely false. Testino seems to have forgotten the age difference of his two models: Kate is 38, while Lara is basically a whole decade younger. Yet here they look like twin sisters. I'm not saying that Kate is old and grey and wrinkly, I'm sure she isn't (I've never laid eyes on her) and 38 is not old! I'd happily sign up to the statement that she is the greatest British model of my generation. And yet, and yet. I do think that a photograph should be a true representation of a person's image, and while I admire Testino's work, I think that in his last few shoots he has become overly enamoured with photoshop, especially in his latest shoot with Karlie Kloss in this month's Vogue UK.
Again, I like this picture, if not the whole shoot. It is almost disgustingly lavish, and a strong antidote to the whole 'recession, thou shalt not spend any money' schtick. But after looking through several pages of a grainy Karlie 'falling' onto various sofas and chairs, I began to get bored. I missed the clear-cut photography techniques that Testino had used with Lana Del Ray earlier in the magazine.

I think that it is after watching a BBC4 documentary on David Bailey that I have suddenly become critical of over-photoshopped fashion plates. I'm not against tweaking the light and shadows (don't lets get technical because I'm not THAT clued up) but please stop before it becomes obvious! The finished LOVE cover is slightly ridiculous. I prefer these portraits taken by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot. Harder and harsher, but more impressive.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Like Crazy - no ordinary romcom

So it is Valentine's Day today, or 'la festa di San Valentino', as I'm in Siena at the moment trying desperately hard to learn some (any) Italian. I'm here for three months, and hopefully by May I will stop muddling up French, English and German every time I order a pizza. I digress...

Somehow, I know not why, every time the year rolls round and 14th February looms ominously into view, lo and behold I find myself single. While this is something of a drag when my various friends are gushing about which restaurants their boyfriends are taking them to, and what new piece of heart-shaped jewellery they hope to acquire, it does mean that I'm spared the agony of watching the traditional Valentine's Day romcom. You would have to drag me screaming and kicking to watch this year's offering of 'The Vow', starring Channing Tatum as resident hottie (otherwise known as the-man-who-has-no-neck). Don't even get me started on the Love Actually-style absolute carcrash that was 'Valentine's Day' with oooooh Taylor Swift doing acting! And Ashton Kutcher working in a florist! How romantic!

The sort of film I like to see, when it comes to love and the comedy of romance, is a film that doesn't try to buy into the Hollywood 'love and life and everything has to be alright by the time the credits roll'. Which is where 'Like Crazy' comes in. A short description of the plot is: Anna, a British girl, and Jacob have a relationship while Anna is a student at uni in the States. She overstays her visa, goes home for one week, then is barred from reentering the US. They try to make their relationship work and overcome the ban, to the extent that they marry so that Anna can obtain a marriage visa. When even this fails, they return to their respective jobs and form new relationships. When Anna's visa finally comes through and she returns to LA to be with Jacob, their lives no longer match, even though their feelings remain.

Reasons why I like this film:
The dialogue is improvised, so everything is suitably real and awkward, especially their date ('this cup is bigger than my face')
It presents a thoroughly modern view of marriage, where it is not the happy ending at the end of the love story, but just a step along the way in the life of the couple
Jacob and Anna's respective other halves, instead of being bitchy boyfriend/girlfriend stealing jerks, are actually decent people who can't help the fact that the people they've fallen for do not love them back. You actually end the film feeling rather sorry for Jennifer Lawrence
Anna's parents are totally English and very hilarious. They play Balderdash
Jacob and Anna have just the right sort of aspirational hipster-type life. He's a furniture designer, she's a general do-everything at a fashion mag. They have nice clothes and nice houses, but it isn't shoved in your face, and it doesn't grate or seem too unrealistic (achievable with a lot of luck)

Most importantly, the ideas that it is possible to find your soulmate, and that true love can and will cross over boundaries of time (zones) and space, they have been updated for the 21st century. While classic romcoms present the boymeetsgirl situation as wildly romantic and highly unrealistic (although I personally have nothing against Bridget Jones running through the snow in her knickers) the, well, realness of 'Like Crazy' and naturalness of the actors, their credible emotions and difficult situation and absolute relateability... It makes me believe that absolute, enduring love does actually exist and is still possible nowadays. And so maybe there is a non-commercial reason to celebrate love (and sickening coupledom) on Valentine's Day. 
 David Shrigley's idea of relationships (source)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Eighteen Year Itch

don't have to runaway and live in the street. I can runaway and I can go to the ocean, I can go to the country, I can go to the mountains. I could go to Israel, Africa, Afghanistan.

That moment in your life when, actually, what you want to do is just get the hell out of home and do something, anything, in order to make your stamp on the world, or leave your mark on other people's lives, whether for better or for worse, just so long as people actually care. In the words of Tallulah in Bugsy Malone 'You may forget I've been here but you won't forget me'.

Actually that sounds vaguely threatening, so to tone it down, I'd like to mention how I have won my coveted place at university, and now I would like to just GO THERE ALREADY and not have to wait until October. Which is such a long time away. And yes, I am doing things in the mean time like, um, going to Italy on Sunday (such a hard life, right) but really all I'd like to do is start living. 

And so we come to The Breakfast Club, John Hughes' brilliant film about high school cliques, genders, preconceptions, and breaking all of the above. I think the beauty of it is that everyone can identify with multiple characters and, unlike Ferris Bueller's Day Off which is just about the freedom of life (deep statement alert), it actually asks questions of teenagers, about why we act how we do, whose perceptions of ourselves we are conforming to, wittingly or unwittingly, and whether we can actually break from the mould and live for ourselves, making our own decisions. 

I think the images and styling of this film are absolutely to-die-for, with 'good' vs 'weird' clearly marked out in the jock clothes and fingerless gloves, but one of the most poignant scenes in the film is when lovely Molly Ringwald gives Judd Nelson's character her earring. Just this idea that a small diamond earring can stand for so much and so many different things in different settings, wholesomeness with Molly and rebel attitude with Judd... It's brilliant.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Make like Madonna at the Super Bowl

I have neglected this for the longest time - not exactly my most brilliant decision ever, as I have come to realise. Just when I have acres of free time on my hands and am about ready to apply for various fashion mag/site work experience type-stuff. My plan was to impress 'them' with this uber-cool portfolio of my absolutely amazing writing style, fashion skills and general all-round greatness and hireability. Instead, I have an amateurish, horrendously un-uptodate corner of the internet, which I would be embarrassed to show my mum. Oops.

However, after wasting a day on YouTube, I have decided to make like Madonna at the SuperBowl and just go for it with every sort of glitz and glam and fireworks and crazy futuristic Egyptian americana sports-style Cleopatra madness, which shouldn't work on so many levels, but somehow, just DID. I think.

If you haven't watched it, it is necessary that you do so now. I don't even know what sort of sport the SuperBowl is (or whether this is even how you spell it, or if I have just created this new word).

Here we go then, blog take II.
And if I can get round to it, I will think about changing the name and/or web address, or whatever, since this is CLEARLY not a gap yah blog any more.
And now I need to stop talking about myself in overly-knowing sentences. And start creating. If html can be creative.