Saturday, 23 June 2012

The universal language of fashion

Sometimes in the world of a globe-trotting, high-flying fashion worker, whether you are a lowly intern or an editor-in-chief, there are moments when no appropriate words come to mind. Since fashion is all about who you know, socialising is key, and you can't afford to make any faux-pas. By using one of these fool-proof words or phrases, you can save both the conversation and your reputation!

A universal term of endearment which neatly solves the problem of how to address someone when you don't know how friendly to be. This can be used on everyone from your closest everyday friends to people you've never spoken to except by email. However, subtle differences in how long you elongate the 'ah' for can ensure that true friends know they are more important to you than frenemies.
Can also be used when you have forgotten someone's name.

I want a statement (bag/dress/accessory/necklace/shoe/lip/eyebrow/dog/look)
More is more. Just look at Anna Dello Russo. If you need a particular component for your outfit, but don't know what colour, what size or even what kind to go for, just say you want a statement piece. Nobody knows what the statement is. Normally it's: LOOK AT THIS NECKLACE IT IS A STATEMENT.
Also works for make-up.

They're a world-leading designer, their company is worth millions and they are a major source of advertising in your magazine. You simply cannot offend them, but their new collection is completely mental and all the models look like strange toad/shark/flowers. To say 'it's interesting' is such a cliché, which will be immediately seen through. To say 'fascinating' implies that you are not only mesmerized by their creation, but that you have fully grasped their concept and bow down to their superior sartorial intellect.

Not sure if the people you are discussing the latest show with are speaking French, Italian, English or something else entirely? Using 'bellissimo' will save you any embarrassment, since it is perfectly acceptable to use in almost any language. just be prepared for people to start talking to you in very fast Italian when they assume you are fluent due to your spot-on pronunciation. Obvs.

It needs a lift
When a garment, photograph or feature needs a certain extra something to make it the best it can be, but you are actually unsure what that might be, simply say it needs a 'lift'. While unspecific, this enforces that you want it to change and you need it to be made somehow more prominent. Say it with authority and nobody will question you any further. Add a raising hand gesture for absolute confirmation.'s the new black.
When something is so hot right now that simply saying it is trendy, in stlye, ubiuitous or fashionable will simply not do, go for the slightly meaningless exaggeration of saying that it has essentially replaced the fashion crowd's go-to colour. Even though we know that nothing can ever truly topple the chic-ness of black. Never.

If you have enjoyed this post, may I humbly recommend something else on a similar topic which I wrote in March: Skills You Need For A Career in Fashion

Friday, 15 June 2012

I Want It! ASOS Linen Midi Skirt With Belt

No way do I have the legs to pull this off. There's a chance I could get away with it in heels, but I haven't worn anything heeled since I sprained my ankle and don't know when I'll be able to wear them again. These are mere practicalities which can be easily swept aside by my love for the simplicity of this garment. It may only be a plain skirt, but the length of it makes it a statement on its own. Plus, it is versatile enough to be worn in pretty much any season (unless you abide by the whole 'no white after Labour Day' thing, but here in the UK, we don't really know what or when Labour Day is, so we don't tend to follow that rule).

I would love to pair this with a plain yellow shirt and some wedge sandals, then go sightseeing and shopping down Portobello road, ending with a treat from the Hummingbird Bakery.

It also comes in 3 other colours: deep pink, black and light blue


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Winchester Fashion Week Starts Today!

The first event has already taken place, the tickets are being bought and fashion week is GO!

If you are around the area and would like to attend, visit the Winchester Fashion Week website to see a list of events and book tickets.

If you are unable to make it, check the blog regularly for coverage of all the vents. I will mainly be contributing there rather than posting here over the coming week so make sure to check it out.

Happy fashion week everyone!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Links a la Mode

My post about the recurring image of birds in art, literature and fashion made it into this week's Links a la Mode! Always such a privilege to be included and I am particularly honoured to be in such good company on this list.

International Love

Edited By Taylor Davies
Perhaps the greatest thing about the IFB community is our diversity. We bring together bloggers from all over the globe, who want to come together and share and learn and talk about fashion! This week's Links a la Mode selections represent a slice of just how far and wide our bloggers stretch across the world. We have a trend report from Japan, online law and legislation from the UK, a Finnish brand debut in Hong Kong, and more. From the Olympics to the Jubilee, and 3 interviews with stylists and costumers - this really is a stellar collection of links for the week. Enjoy!


Fashion Tees at ShopbopWildfox, Ella Moss, Splendid, Theory, Free People, LNA, Enza Costa, Joie, ALC, James Perse, Vince Tees & Haute Hippie Shirts

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Film Review: Moonrise Kingdom

What's it about?
Two 12-year-olds, Sam and Suzy, take the decision to run away together. He leaves behind a hapless Scout leader and a troop of Khaki scouts, she leaves a pair of distant parents and three rather odd little brothers. Hilarity, whimsical-ness and faded shots of a New England island in Summer ensue.

Was it any good?
I thought I would like it due t its bizarre nature alone, but it turned out to have more of a storyline and wittier dialogue than I had suspected from the confusing trailer. No doubt this is down to the partnership of Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, who manage to build the tension of the film gradually until a climactic storm near the end. The whole thing is expertly shot to resemble a polaroid from the 1960s and I found the use of both originally composed and well-known classical music superb.

In terms of acting, the whole thing would have fallen apart without the understated performances of the two leads, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman. For young actors, they definitely had a certain gravitas, and I think the calmness of their performances contrasted nicely with the rising panic of the adult characters. That said, everyone involved contributed something to the atmosphere with their portrayals. I don't know if there are any ensemble awards this film is eligible for, but if there are, it should definitely win.

But what about the clothes?
It may seem strange to take any sort of style inspiration from a film about children in the 60s, but I have to admit I loved the mock-military aesthetic of the scouts. Plus, Suzy wears the kind of dresses which I think most girls between 13 and 16 would steer clear of for fear of looking too childish, but once you get to the age when you feel you are almost completely an adult, many return to. Or at least, that's how I account for the trend in Peter Pan collars and the majority of Alexa Chung's wardrobe. I also likes Tilda Swinton's dramatic midnight blue outfit, complete with matching hat. The costume designer for this film is Kasia Walicka-Maimone, whose work in the Adjustment bureau was just perfect, so perhaps it is no surprise that every costume detail in Moonrise Kingdom added to the overall feel of the film and enhanced the traits of the characters.

Also, kudos to Wes Anderson, who seems from the behind-the-scenes shots to be one of the best-dressed directors around. But then again, I am a sucker for a good linen suit

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Recurring Images: Birds

Sienna Miller in British Vogue
Some images can stick in the human mind, they can be fantastical things which happen once in a lifetime but, more often, they are everyday occurrences which come to represent lofty concepts and ideas. I felt that this was something which could be explored through a series of posts which track an image through literature, art, film, music and, of course, fashion. Today I'm starting with birds.

Penguin Clothbound Classics
We see birds all the time, they can appear so commonplace that we barely notice them, though if you go to another country, you can often marvel at birds which the locals don't think much of. One of the things these winged creatures can represent is a country with which they are associated. For instance, the Doctor Bird (or red-billed streamertail), a member of the Hummingbird family is the national bird of Jamaica, thus making it synonymous with its country.

"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember 
it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

Birds appear in the creations of so many genius creatives:  Alfred Hitchock, Alexander McQueen, MC Escher, Edgar Allan Poe and Rovio Entertainment - the creator of Angry Birds. But in all seriousness, there must be something which attracts them all, something about the ideas which birds inspire. Freedom? Peace? Luck? Indeed, they have appeared in the stories of mankind since early religions and mythology. The norse god Odin often appears with a pair of ravens, as the Greek god Athena does with owls. The dove who carried the olive branch back to Noah is still a resonant image with modern-day Christians.

"And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was a plucked off olive leaf: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth."
Genesis 8:11 (King James Bible 2000)

They appear in modern stories too. The world of Harry Potter is full of owls, who are associated with the magic in that universe. What happens to hedwig at the beginning of Deathly hallows is perhaps an omen of what is to come and the darkness of that story, considering that she may have represented hope. The Hunger games too features the mockingjay as a symbol of hope, kept secret by Katniss. But why are they so significant?

MC Escher - Two Birds

Probably the most popular connotation of birds is the idea of freedom. People have always been fascinated by the thought of being able to fly - hence characters like Icarus and Superman - and being able to go wherever you like by gliding through the air has to be the ultimate freedom. Perhaps this is what attracts artists, in particular fashion designers. Creative freedom is one of the things which artists strive the most to achieve, wanting to produce what they have to, regardless of the comments of anyone else.

Alexander McQueen dress (Chictopia)
Let's take a look at an example. The work of Alexander McQueen is filled with images of birds: feathered garments, prints on dresses, patterns on purses, bird skull necklaces and sometimes real stuffed birds turned into headpieces and ornaments. Sarah Burton has continued this image as part of the aesthetic of the house, though perhaps giving it her own personal twist. A lot of McQueen's designs feature birds which form part of a disturbing image, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. They can be scavengers or birds of prey which appear to be attacking the models themselves. But in his final collection, the one shown after his death, there seems to be a more positive aura attached to the image of birds. In particular, a coat made from lacquered gold feathers, which rather than attacking the model, transforms her into a phoenix-like apparition. 

Alexander McQueen dress and coat (The Guardian)

It coincides with the idea of a bird as a symbol of hope and freedom, and reminds me of Yeats' poem Sailing to Byzantium. For this collection, McQueen apparently looked to the golden artwork of ancient Byzantium, but the link is more than that. Sailing to Byzantium is a poem about finding immortality in art, though the bodies of both humans and birds can expire, their souls can live on in a captured image. Yeats imagines himself as a bird in the city of Byzantium, an image which seems to match this design almost exactly. Perhaps McQueen knew that he could make his name live on through a creation like this, just as Yeats hoped that he would survive through poetry, and both men were inspired by ancient art. So there you have an example of the image of a golden bird which spreads from art to poetry to fashion.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

-Sailing to Byzantium, W.B. Yeats