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The Rise of the Fashion Film

When I started this blog in 2008 I would’ve never written about film. I’m the first to admit that I know nothing about the film industry, aside from what I’ve learnt flicking through Little White Lies magazine. It just eludes me. However, as we move into 2014 it’s impossible for me to ignore the prevalence, and importance, of the ‘fashion film’.

The theme of this year’s Costume Society study day was “Shooting Style: Fashion on Screen”. Both Nathaniel Beard and Pamela Church Gibson emphasised the importance of this medium. Nathanial presented footage of early fashion films, whereas Pamela gave an overview of its evolution and current examples. (My friend Lori tweeted throughout the conference, and put together this brilliant Storify thread of the day).

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A working model is a model, remove the plus size tag

This week Chanel unveiled their newest campaign, for the reopening of the brands SoHo store, which featured (Lagerfeld’s obsession) Baptiste Giabiconi and plus-size phenomenon Crystal Renn.

While the Daily Mail unnecessarily griped at the fact the photograph only showed Renn’s face – in the same week Liz Jones decided women with big boobs were sluts – the campaign was generally reported as a change in attitude towards plus size models. If Karl Lagerfeld, who has notoriously outspoken views on larger women, can use and photograph a plus size model for Chanel then there’s no reason why other designer’s can’t do the same.
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The best of Paris Fashion Week

And that’s all folks, Paris fashion week is over and wasn’t it amazing? Here’s a review of the best the city of romance had to offer:

Alexander McQueen


See a full report: here

Chanel


See a full report: here

Balmain


If you’ve been shopping recently you can see the effects of Balmania everywhere, you can’t move for a shoulder pad and those sequin body-con dresses are sitting tight in every high street window. Having carved such a strong and signature look for the last two seasons, where was Decarnin going to go next?

“It’s warrior women and the military with a mix of different times and a touch of Mad Max,” the designer told the International Herald Tribune, concisely summing up the metal mesh dresses, medallion-dotted military blazers, vests and T-shirts with rips and holes in them as though the models had been caught in a crossfire, and sequin carnage camouflage overlays.

I couldn’t help thinking though that Balmain were paying homage to themselves by creating a collection similar to the last two popular seasons; we’ve already seen the military jacket’s and the studded dresses. Obviously, I thought this collection was amazing, I think Balmain are amazing, but perhaps this was just because I’d already seen and adored this collection twice before.

Gareth Pugh

See a full report: here

Hussein Chalayan

Hilary Alexander wrote of Chalayan’s collection: “Navy and white were key in a collection which evoked the Côte d’Azur of the Fifties”. I felt this best summerised a collection which was made for some resort in Deauville or Havana, or any other playground of the rich and idle in the Fifties.

Accompanied by the Italian rumba band, Farniente (which translates to “doing nothing”), Chalayan proceeded to describe the meaning behind each outfit, his concept was the fact that idleness has replaced the ancient tenets of a religious society, I don’t really agree but each to their own and Hussein Chalayan is amazing.

The collection itself began with tailored short suits which had dramatically cutaway sides, and were accessorised with swimming hats and sci-fi sunglasses propped on top like goggles. There was black or white column dresses with circles cut out of the back, which had a sophisticated elegance, and came with wide-brimmed matching hats.

The beautiful jersey dresses had wide, shiny belts and high leg splits and seemed more Chalayan-esque, especially when they featured fake pointed (removable), breasts beneath. Blue and white striped versions had Riviera elegance but then neoprene jackets and bodices with floaty chiffon sleeves and floor-length skirts were a consummate example of Chalayan’s combination of scientific interest with his designer vision.

White goddess gowns, in stretch jersey, featured hands in fabric or plastic, clasping the halter-neck straps, perhaps underlying the grip materialism has on life in the 21st century.

Lanvin


Alber Elbaz presented, what must surely be, his finest collection with what he calls the “new minimalist” look.

The show opened with a black dress boasting a huge ruffle around one shoulder and cinched in at the waist, this was followed by beautifully shaped Tuxedo dresses that were styled with a single black glove. Strapless minis were drawn in at the back to produce a vertical spine of fabric, while taffeta dresses of red and rose pink had a single puffed shoulder and fell in plump swathes from nude under slips. However, nude and black silk dresses and jump suits were the most elegant, single-shouldered offerings of all.

The finale of heavily embellished jumpsuits and dresses (and one show-stopping pair of liquid gold trousers) was an appropriate celebratory end to a show that celebrated a sophisticated female form.

Louis Vuitton


Marc Jacob’s geek chic collection for Louis Vuitton was a melting pot of travellers, hikers, skate kids, dolls and cartoons, with an overall sporty mix of cycling shorts, backpacks and bum bags. Girl after girl travelled down the catwalk wearing gigantic fluffy afro wigs of every colour but throughout the course of this ugly duckling show, the models slowly transformed into enviably sassy and totally original stylistic statements: unconventionally, uniquely cool.

I did like this collection but I think it was just too busy for me, I like my designs to be sleek and the clash of so many colours made it hard for me to actually see the designs, hey, I like my colours to be basic.

Little mini dresses (everything came above the knee) were made with panels of sparkly pink, green or blue brocades. Strips of denim there were tasseled and beaded to match the fur and bauble-strewn accessories of the huge rucksack bags and sandals they were worn with.

Sporty white mesh dresses were woven with neon laces or blue tie-dyed ribbons, with a touch of lamé in gorgeous cropped jackets, with drawstring waistbands or glittering hot pant-aloons, added glamour.
Vogue wrote that they were “pleased to see a younger Vuitton girl after the sex kittens of autumn/winter and the tribal-inspired glamazons of spring/summer 2009, it made us start gossiping immediately about who he’s planning to pick for the ad campaign.

Mui Mui


Fashion may well be fascinated with all things Eighties right now but Miuccia Prada has her sartorial interests vested in the Seventies which, today, proved part inspiration for the designer’s Mui Mui collection.

“It is fresh – about how innocence can survive in this world,” explained the designer to the International Herald Tribune. And so cat, daisy, puppy and swallow prints playfully adorned super-cropped jackets and boleros that barely covered breasts beneath (though the models were wearing shirts of contrasting cute print), narrow-leg trousers stopping just shy of the ankles – which were gripped with golden daisy or raspberry bird print boots – and sweet pleated school skirts. The palette was of midnight magic in soft shades of pale lilac, pink, black, indigo and later tan, beige and gold.

There was something youthful and innocent about this collection; Jean Shrimpton lashes and long tousled braided hair made for Miu Miu’s Lolita girls, who stepped out in beautifully high and stacked platform Mary Janes in golden yellow, baby blue and bright cerise.

Sonia Rykiel


Last week fashion was busy getting excited over the prospect of Sonia Rykiel bringing her sassy Parisian chic to the shores of Britain via a new collaboration with high street giant H&M, this week the industry is excited by the prospect of Rykiel’s spring/ summer 2010 collection.

Models danced, yes danced, their way down the catwalk in long length padded gilets, belted at the waist, transforming them into the chicest of outdoor attire; in sheer black stockings andquilted turquoise brassieres with matching French knickers and sugarplum pink sheer shirts.

They pranced in bobbly woven cardigans and in neat little blazer and skirt suits; in dinky striped tops in shades of yellow and blue and cerise; and in transparent shiny macs with emblazoned “SR” bodies beneath.

And they jived in silky pajama suits splashed in cornflower blue; star-dotted sheer chemises (that showed off big knickers beneath), gathered at the waist and cut away at the cleavage; and Forties tea dresses with falling flowers wafting about their skirts.

Oh, what fun it is to be a Rykiel girl.

Paris Fashion Week – Chanel’s romp in the hay

This year’s Paris Fashion Week has been a-mazing, there’s been so many designers that I want to comment on that I’ve hardly been able to keep up. When it finishes I’ll do a blog with a breakdown on the best and worst (ahem, Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro).

For now, I’m slightly in love with Chanel. I know it’s horribly cliché to love Chanel but you just can’t help it; that Lagerfeld, he’s a genius.

At London Fashion Week Christopher Kane’s collection was described by Vogue as “deliciously pretty milkmaids”, last week at Milan Fashion Week D&G teased us with country style but, of course, these collections looked like warm up acts in comparison to Chanel’s surreal runway.

Karl Lagerfeld’s dreamlike show for Chanel included a custom-built Chanel barn (a reconstruction of the Hameau de la Reine, Marie Antoinette’s play farm at Versailles), with models emerging from between hay bales, three models frolicking in the hay…and obviously a turn by new face of Cocoon Chanel, Lily Allen.

Citing Marie Antoinette’s shepherdess phase as an influence, designer Karl Lagerfeld used the country-chic theme and designed woven bags with appliqué flowers, the raw-edged tweed that is the label’s signature and milkmaid-style high-heeled clogs, which may see a comeback for spring/summer 2010 as they were the dominant shoe for both the Chanel and Celine collections.

When asked about his inspiration, after the show, Lagerfeld told reporters: “I’m from the country, darling.”

“I hear all this talk about organic farming and the environment and things, and I’m all for it. But there must be a certain sophistication, so it’s not used as an excuse to let things go to seed,” he said.

Personally, I think the collection is cute, however it seems to have received mixed reviews, Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian wrote the collection was “more Carry On Up the Farm than Avenue Montaigne chic” and that the shape of the dirndl dresses “made even the skinniest of models look a little lumpy”

However, Chanel’s version of a roll in the hay was a pretty stylish affair and the collection was much softer than last season. The collection had black and white silk ribbons that were woven into tweed jackets with ragged edges, pale tan patchwork suede skirts and fluffy woven chiffon jackets that featured a touch of sparkle at the edge – and carried random strands of straw with them.

There were broderie anglaise jackets, which puffed at the shoulder and over the hips, and rusty orange wool suits with bronze buttons all down each arm. While miniskirts gave party dresses a flirty edge and the occasional Quaker-style headscarf reiterated the theme – though models pretended to use their Blackberries on their way around the barn as if to prove that these clothes were meant for the modern day.

Suddenly, Lily Allen burst through a trapdoor on to a catwalk and began singing her hit “Not Fair”; Allen looked lovely in her gold and black Chanel sequins and did a rather good job of proving that Chanel doesn’t only suit model figures.

Finally, Lara Stone appeared as the Chanel bride with a chiffon veil and two grooms (one of which I think was Baptiste Giabiconi) – all of whom fell upon each other in the hay as Karl walked past to bow.

Lagerfeld talks Lily

To say that I was surprised when I heard that Lily Allen would be the new face of Chanel Cocoon would be a bit of an understatement. I’ll happily hold my hands up and say I just don’t get her. Here’s this relatively pretty, outspoken girl whose debut video showed her as, frankly, a scaly. And now she’s the face of Chanel, one of the most luxurious fashion brands in the world. Well clearly Mr Lagerfeld saw something in her (and I can’t help but think that new BFF Ms. Moss helped) and who am I to question the genius that is Karl Lagerfeld.

With less than a fortnight before the new collection is launched in stores, Lagerfeld talks to Vogue about why he chose Allen. “I love Lily Allen,” Lagerfeld said of his choice. “She looks a lot like Gabrielle Chanel and she is a self-made woman. She is cool, young and extremely witty.” I can’t say I agree.

Allen, who last week became GQ’s Woman of the Year, modelled the luxury sportswear bags for a shoot with Lagerfeld himself. The collection that includes shopping, bowling and trolley bags, purses, wallets, toilet bags and clutches in a variety of colours means that Lily should have no shortage of arm candy for the new season.