31 July 2009

Friday's ffffound

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30 July 2009

River Island AW09

River Island is fighting fit representing the excellent British high street. They garnered attention this Spring with these tribal lace up heels and they're only getting better - I remember their hideous ranges in the late-90s to early-00s: khaki combats, lemon sorbet yellow tshirts, obsessively plastering every item with zips, buckles and tassels, gimmicky slogans and - horror of horrors - pairing baby pink with pale grey. Some kind of horrible fusion between Gap's plainer little sister and Miss Selfridge's chavvier cousin.

I haven't been in River Island probably since the mid-90s back when, I thought, they nailed "sexy" with black sequinned minidresses (I must have at least 10 of these in my wardrobe now, but anyway) perfect for school discos. Anyway, this past few seasons I've been silently admiring their collections from afar - and their new AW09 collection, out today, has some gorgeous pieces.

They've channeled Balmain through structured shoulders and panelling with this acid wash patterned dress and this purple tulip vision is perfect for easing into the Christmas party season. Still some hits and misses, but that's to be expected of a retailer moving away from their casual comfort zone and venturing into glamorous. I'm feeling brave: I'm gonna gonna hit the store...

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23 July 2009

We love Chanel Iman

Chanel wearing Chanel - would you look at that...
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22 July 2009

Damn.

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21 July 2009

Jimmy Choo for H&M: HURRY UP!

After the success of previous designer collaborations, such as Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli and, er, Madonna - Jimmy Choo is the latest to create a diffusion line for H&M. Interestingly, it's not just shoes and accessories but also clothes. It'll be interesting to see how that one pans out - they sure know shoes, but I'm not sure on Tamara Mellon's style - she may be a multi-millionairess, but she's also a bit basic jeans and simple dresses. The collection hits the high streets 14 November - I'll be skipping around London in these bad boys come the 15th...
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20 July 2009

Latitude

I spent the weekend in beautiful, idyllic fields at Henham Park, Suffolk at Latitude Festival. In its fourth year, and having missed the past three, this was my first and I loved it.  Fighting with the constant threat of downpours aside, it was a roaring success - great music and comedy line-ups, the 25,000-strong crowd very nice, pretty, spacious and green; relaxed and family-friendly.

Well, slightly too family-friendly for my liking - the site was awash with precocious 'Verity's prancing around in eco slogan-emblazoned T-Shirts, achingly hip mini cons or crocs.  A reviewer on the BBC website writes: 'according to one comedian, the three-day bonanza is "so middle class you have to put your kids on a waiting list to get into the play area".' But the whole place was their play area.

Slightly annoying children aside, musical highlights included an electrifying set from New Favourite Band Passion Pit in the middle of a wood: Hot Chip's cooler successors played dancy, electronic pop which got the whole packed crowd jumping, the frankly bizarre Irrepressibles who played their beautiful operatic, orchestral music in the middle of a lake complete with theatrical goth-baroque outfits, a strings section and lots of eerie minor notes at dusk. Goosebumpingly good.

Regina Spektor was reliably excellent playing a mix of old and new to her ever-growing dedicated following, Friday's headliners The Pet Shop Boys were amazing playing poppy hit after hit accompanied by awesome videos, angular set (pictured below) and dancing squares, like an 80s synth dream. Grace Jones was terrifyingly fierce prancing around the stage in a thong and countless extreme costume changes as Saturday night drew to a close, the Guilty Pleasures tent was perfect for dancing until your feet hurt and your dress covered in cider (just me?) and Phoenix and Saint Etienne last night were equally fun.


I didn't really see much in the poetry and theatre tents as I was too busy sitting on the grass, getting drunk. But it's always nice to have the option to do so. The diverse range of non-musical events going on was great - you could stumble up a hill to find puppet shows, art installations, multi-coloured sheep or life drawing classes.  There was loads on at clashing times, so I missed Lykke Li, Little Boots, Bat For Lashes, Nick Cave and most of Editors. Next year, I'm hoping for bigger names during the day, fewer children (please) and if it rains: the sky's in trouble... 
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Christie's Celebrity Portrait Auction

Christie's is launching their celebrity portrait auction, including this gorgeous shot of Cindy Crawford in 1992 for Vanity Fair, taken by Michel Comte. It's expected to go for £6k-£8k, so it should be gorgeous for them bucks. 


Michael Comte's portrait of Cindy Crawford.

Like my brother throughout his teenage years, I have a massive (girl) crush on Crawford circa her 90s glamazonian days as well as perennial favourite Christy Turlington - a portrait of whom is also included in the sale, priced at £8k-£12k. The collection comprises of a large series of sexy, powerful images of strong, iconic women in their prime estimated to generate £1 mill in sales - the art world doesn't do 'recession'.

Christy Turlington
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16 July 2009

I Love Birds

Always have, always will. I blame my ornithologically-obsessed father. I especially love little bright multi-coloured printed ones you can imagine would have a particularly cheerful tweet.


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15 July 2009

Sasha vs Kate for Longchamp

Browsing sunglasses (because the Great British Summer's so glorious, yeah?) I came across this great image of Sasha Pivovarova. I don't know where they're from, but I'm going to find out...


Ah, Sasha. She can do no wrong. I think her strongest campaign is the Kate vs Sasha Longchamp SS09 shoot with Kate Moss - they look like angular, androgynous alien twins. An excellent look and gorgeous adverts; shame it's for Longchamp (not that keen on the featured handbags).

The French brand has paired perma-muse Kate Moss with (an almost unrecognisable) Daria Werbowy for their AW09 campaign and they've opted for a harsher, nautical look with slicked hair, dark lips, black eyes and sailor boys. Fierce, but it's no SS09.


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14 July 2009

Lily Allen Loves Her Wigs

Seeing photos of Lily Allen sporting purple hair at Glastonbury last month and a black wig at T in the Park last weekend, it made me wonder when did she get so cute? Love a girl who dresses up and festivals are perfect for more experimental looks and fancy dress. Although wigs are too hot for summer!
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13 July 2009

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture collection

The Paris Haute Couture shows last week delivered the wow factor as usual. Fashion weeks are the least flashy they've been for a long time, but the couture shows are still a source of unique inspiration and crazy outfits.

Most interestingly, however, was Christian Lacroix's collection: less theatrical, escapist and indulgent, more toned-down and wearable. I never thought I'd see the day Lacroix would show wearable. I love these three looks - blacks, smoky greys and deep blues, detailing and a muted palette suitable for the season and climate. Gone were his flamboyant frills, OTT brights and ridiculous ensembles. In my mind, Lacroix has always been inspiring: great for moodboards, not so great to wear. It's such a shame that this, most likely his last show, could potentially be the most saleable - despite the duller shades, there was still lots of beautiful adornment in the way of sequins, pleats, trims, bows, lace and shimmer and the collection really showed off his craftmanship without the spectacular, blinding glitz the couturier has championed.

Lacroix in his wilder days - the neon gypsies of SS09

Rumoured to be his last show (due to his troubled house going into administration last month) emotions were running high as he received a standing ovation when his intimate VIP show closed. Maybe Lacroix put this collection together in response to the economy and the sensible buyer's demands, or maybe he wanted his last show to be one of integrity - a sombre, funereal finale to an illustrous career of fanciful creations for the eccentric elites. So elite, it was never going to last. Advice for Christian: design things people could wear, then people might buy, then you will stay afloat.
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The Beat Hotel

This photo was taken at The Beat Hotel in Paris where Ginsberg, Orlovsky and Burroughs all stayed - Ginsberg after abandoning the Beat capital, San Fran for his shabby travels. It was a grim hole on a backstreet in the Latin Quarter, but a celebrated creative hub where residents paid rent with manuscripts and art. Photographer Harold Chapman chronicled the Beat Generation's stay there and sold polaroids in cafes to feed himself. The Beat Hotel's guests lived a stripped down, bare but enjoyable existence as the last Parisian 'Vie de Boheme', in the late 1950s and early 1960s and I would love to have experienced it. If it had working showers.

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10 July 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow Diet

Gwyneth Paltrow told her Goop newsletter that she's started a three-week diet called 'The Cleanse' to ensure she's in tip-top condition whilst filming Iron Man 2 (anyone else excited? I was surprised by how much I rated the first one.) Not that I wish to add to the ridiculous amount of attention and column inches from the diet-obsessed media on the topic of her crazy detoxes, but her meal plan is as follows:

Two liquid meals a day with a solid one allowed in-between.
No processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, sugar, or shellfish allowed.


Looks like girlfriend's dropped one of her liquid meals down herself... And how can she muster the enthusiasm to smile?  Whatever torturous diet plan she puts herself through, she looks fabulous. It was the Iron Man red carpet tour in 2008 which prompted her to show off her new-found experimental style, prompted her to dust off the cobwebs with daring lengths and kick-started her new, sexy 'Gwyneth As Yummy Mummy' look. Ding ding, bring on round two.
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9 July 2009

Crinoline Flower by Daryl Banks




Ooh la la, I love these shots - can can tutus, stilettos, hold-ups and hundreds of girls... Daryl Banks has dozens of these shots as part of his 'Crinoline Flower' portfolio.
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8 July 2009

Alto Club

Last night I went to the opening of a new, exclusive member's club called Alto in Soho. It claims to be 1920s-inspired, designed with the Art Nouveau movement in mind credited for bridging a wealth of history, neoclassicism and modernism.

On paper this all sounds incredible, and their press release is a hyperbolic whirl of finesse, luxury, elegance, sophistication, extraordinary etc etc, describing the haven as the perfect escape for their discerning clique. Alto is definitely opulent: lacquered black tables, gilt gold furnishings, low ornate ceilings, and a glossy, expansive dancefloor surrounded by booths in resplendent fabrics. But just to go back to the bone of contention, their overwhelmingly confident press release reads:

Alto London is an international destination representing decadence and elegance conveying the ultimate in luxury relaxation, entertainment, and contemporary creativity. We hope you enjoy the ambience as our dedicated and experienced team unleash inspiration and passion into creating a memorable night for all of Alto’s guests.

Hmm. If you're allowed in, you enter the intimidatingly dark doorway through burly bouncers, go down a black hallway, down some stairs into the darkness. It certainly promises privacy for its beloved clientele.


I appreciate Alto only just opened and yesterday (a rainy Tuesday) was their press night, but it didn't have the busy buzz you'd expect of a brand new club in London - the ambience was decidedly lacking. Vixen waitresses stalked, surly waiters prowled, champagne cautiously sipped and partygoers stuck to their seats… But I'm sure it would be totally different on a kicking Saturday night.

My main problem with Alto is the string of lights hugging the bar, ceiling and booths, constantly changing colour. In stark contrast to the sophisticated refinement the place apparently boasts, needless to say, this looks naff and decidedly seedy stripclub.

All-in-all it, disappointingly, didn't live up to its hype. Excellent location, great cocktails, good champagnes and wine list, open until 4am; but other than that Alto is just another club for the tasteless "elite": for the chavvy boy-done-good, footballers and their Essex girls, oil millionaires, Eurotrash and Russian sharks. Move over Movida.
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7 July 2009

Russell Brand at P Diddy's 4 July Party in LA

Three thoughts:
1. I know it was a white party, but he looks a prick.
2. Why was he there?
3. No, just those two. Prick.
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Terry O'Neill

Tonight Terry O'Neill's photography exhibition opens with a champagne reception at Getty, but instead of their shiny and central Mayfair gallery it's all the way over at Westfield (eugh). So I'm going to have to give it a miss in favour of something nearer...

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6 July 2009

If I were a boy

... Even just for a day, I'd roll out of bed in the morning, and throw on what I wanted (which would be these):


I've got Kanye on the brain as I'm gutted I missed him last night at Wireless... Anyway, last week it was reported that he's signed up for a summer of work experience at GAP in NYC. His main focus is his current fashion sabbatical and apparently he's learning the ropes of the fashion game before he sets up his own brand. His recent fashion collaborations shed some light on his direction.


His Louis Vuitton shoe range launched last month; they're incredibly look-at-me and the least trainer-like kicks I ever did see (hot pink soles, above). If I were a boy, had $700 to spend on some limited edition fringed mocassin-inspired, fresh-from-the-yacht sneaks and had a super-hot girlfriend on my arm at all times (just to ensure the world knew I wasn't gay - merely fond of fuchsia)… Then these babies would be mine.
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3 July 2009

Blur @ Hyde Park

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year and Londoners were out in force with sunhats, spfs and six packs (beers, unfortunately, not abs - this is England) in all the parks. I was in Hyde Park, watching Blur storm through their catalogue of massive tracks.

The devoted crowd sang along to every word and their varied setlist was rammed with indie disco anthems, quieter euphoric songs and Sounds Of The 90's. They helped define the Britpop era and it's great to see them commanding audiences like their old rivals Oasis (playing a string of Wembley Stadium dates next weekend? Overatedsis).

Alex James still looked hot, rocking out the double bass, tossing his foppish hair whilst dancing around with his guitar (mmm, that's enough...) and they were all grinning, energetic, tight and seemed relaxed together. Stripped of the boyish, egocentric arrogance of yesteryear, the important stuff remains: great music and a talented band. The Britpop Boys have grown up!

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2 July 2009

Leni's Models

Last night I missed the launch party of Leni's Model Management at The Met. The weather was too nice to be sat inside, especially with the tennis on... Looked a good soiree though.
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1 July 2009

Karen Mulder (NB not Murder)

Crazy supermodel Karen Mulder has been arrested for making threatening phone calls to her plastic surgeon. Step away from the surgeon's knife...

She was part of the glamazonian supermodel pack of the 90's and had since stepped out of the limelight whilst she battled with addiction and depression (and clearly anger issues).


This was her first Vogue cover, in March 1991. Lycra, massive hair, stripes and spots with big gold jewellery - this is an awesome look for the festival season, although a little Mr Gaga...
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Bon Iver: Serpentine Sessions

Bon Iver played the Serpentine Sessions last night in Hyde Park, to a sold-out 3,000-strong crowd. It was like a mini-festival with a few other folk bands playing - we saw the gentle, dreamy It Hugs Back playing on a bandstand surrounded by a white picket fence - it was all balmy dusk and dappled light, with everyone sat in the evening sun drinking Pimms and cider on benches, blankets and picnic tables. Beautiful.

His gig was amazing - his only London show this year, so I'm thrilled to have caught it - and I'm buying his album immediately.
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