27 December 2009

An American in Paris

As part of my Christmas residency on the sofa next to my Grandma watching old films, yesterday I watched the charming classic An American in Paris and fell in love all over again with the vivid colours, beautiful choreography and elegant costumes.

I love how old Hollywood studio productions go all out with stunning sets, symphonic scores, visionary styling and clothes and huge ensemble casts, especially when they're headed up by the ultimate song-and-dance man, Gene Kelly.

It swept the board for Oscars in 1951 including Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music, and Best Writing. Gene Kelly also received an Honorary Award for "his versatility as an actor, singer, director an dancing and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film." Unsurprisingly, no statues for best acting, as the plot barely comes into it - an optimistic post-WWII romantic tale of star-crossed lovers who lose each other but - phew! - reconcile in time for the Big Happy Ending.

The climactic finale comprising the colourful dream sequence ballet shows the two leads dancing before huge stylised paintings by various famous French artists, in various Paris locations, with Kelly's daydream interrupted by the carhorn of his girl coming back to him.

For me, Kelly's energetic choreography, the dreamy characters, elegant poise, Leslie Caron's preppy, gamine style and beautiful costumes and Gershwin's fantastic music and lyrics make An American in Paris the best musical from MGM's golden age.

18 December 2009

Top 5 Alexa Chung Looks

Along with half the women in the UK and her ever-increasing US fanbase, I love Alexa Chung primarily for her style. Her low-key, androgynous oh-I-just-threw-this-old-thing-on, effortless chic way of dressing has gone from strength to strength since she sprung onto the screens courtesy of Popworld back in 2006. My favourite looks:

I've always liked harlequin prints, am obsessed with vintage pieces (her dress), adore Chanel (her pumps) and wear absolutely everything with black, so I loved this relaxed red carpet look.

I like mixing midnight blue or navy with black and she looks gorgeous shining in this sheeny Katy Rodriguez party dress.

Casual chic in a Marc Jacobs tee, Sonia Rykiel cardigan and H&M shorts to bring it back down for the high street crew.

With a penchant for one of my favourite designers Luella (boo hoo), Alexa channels her inner prim girly side with this gorgeous floral dress and lashings of black on the red carpet and adds her own quirky touch with a sweet Lulu Guinness (another one of my favourite designers) cat bag.

Going down the well-trodden geek chic route Alexa runs with a cool schoolgirl look in a blouse, necktie and smart, tailored blazer and toughens up her look with a rock chick pair of cutoff hotpants.

She looked fantastic in simple monochrome wearing another vintage dress with white lace and black opaques to inject some much-needed glamour on the NME Awards red carpet back in February.

She's a safe dresser; she knows what looks good on her and what styles are picked up on so invariably looks excellent, but I'd love to see her have fun and try out more experimental looks.

16 December 2009

The Grinch who stole Christmas #1

New editor Krissi Murison (a girl, a GIRL!) quizzes Simon Cowell in NME's excellent cover story in their Christmas double issue. She grills him with questions from readers and artists like La Roux's "How do you feel about ruining the music industry?" Brave, huh?

After 19 million tuned into the biggest X Factor final this weekend, all eyes are on the pop mogul in the build up to the Christmas #1. As much as I enjoyed this year's show (mainly thanks to Jedward), I'm backing the Rage Against the Machine single for #1. Cowell monopolises the music industry, has the Christmas #1 slot every year since he dug his influential claws into the music scene and he has become TV's richest star.

In the interview, Simon admits that he made a mistake not letting artist Little Boots past the audition stage in Pop Idol (erm, not that much of a mistake - I still couldn't name a single Little Boots song…) It's also mentioned in the article that he doesn't have a music system in his office. He doesn't even LIKE music. He's just a machine. Rage against him, people...

Let it Snow

It looks like we're in a snowglobe right now. Nothing brings on festive feelings better than the rarity that is full-on snowfall. I heart this image, from weheartit - I can see right across the city from my building and London looks so magical covered in white.

I had plans to hit Oxford Street tonight to buy my few remaining Christmas presents (all the rest bought, majority of which wrapped - I'm organised and smug about it too) but if it carries on like this I have a date with a snowman.

15 December 2009

The World's Gone Gaga

Ever since Christina Aguilera showed a heavily Gaga-inspired futuristic electro pop look at last year's VMAs (below), the world's media has been quick to point out others inspired by the controversial singer; and there are a lot of 'em.

Rather amusingly, Christina unwittingly gave Gaga's career a boost by defending her new style and dismissing claims it was "stolen" saying she didn't know if LG was a man or a woman. Gaga responded with: 'She's such a huge star and if anything I should send her flowers, because a lot of people in America didn't know who I was until that whole thing happened. What it showed me was… I've really burned graphic images of my visuals onto the irises of my fans.' Bravo; nice way of gracefully turning an insult into a compliment.

Next up was Nicole Richie who was the coverstar of BlackBook magazine earlier this year looking all graphic prints, disco jewellery, spangly sequins, platinum wigs and neon 80s make-up.

This week there have been photos of Rihanna on her latest video shoot for 'Hard' (below) showing her wearing a Gaga-esque Bryce Aime piece with sponge spikes fresh from the Parisian designer's SS10 collection. She also wields a rifle in her new video (similar to Gaga and Beyoncé in Video Phone) - it's a copycat mash-up!

It's great seeing how organic the industry is, with performers inspiring one another: if Christina copied Lady Gaga, who also inspired Rihanna, Nicole Richie, Cheryl Cole in her latest video (below), stylists and fashion teams the world over, provided the soundtrack to numerous catwalk shows, provoked creative types across the board to sing her praises and fronted more magazine covers across the Atlantic than anyone this year, then Gaga is the sound of fashion.

The way she uses music to convey her own sense of style and fashion vision reminds me of Gwen Stefani, who LG is often compared to: they look like each other, sound similar, are both half-Italian and Gaga's middle name is 'Stefani'. Spooky, huh? Well no, not really. But Gwen Stefani inspired Gaga, who in turn seems to have inspired the world.

What started out as contempt for the look-at-me behaviour of a self-obsessed fruitcake turned into intrigue, which led to a tiny bit of respect (around the time of the awesome V shoot, above) which transformed to, well... Deep breath: I'm a convert to Lady Gaga. I liked 'Love Game', I love 'Bad Romance' (both song and killer video with all the dream/nightmare/overdose sequences and head-to-toe McQueen, below), thoroughly enjoy her fashion hits'n'misses and find it very refreshing to see a popstar who isn't afraid to break the cookie cutter mould and fearlessly try out new looks and concepts, even if it makes her look like she's on day release. Belated snaps for bravery, crazy lady.


14 December 2009

Santa baby, just slip a barbie under the tree, for me

Been an awful good girl... Christian Louboutin has just recently created his own Barbie doll line, complete with red-soled heels in the signature Pantone 219 pink similar to those showcased in the Barbie birthday show at NYFW.

As a little girl I always loved Barbie's smooth plastic stilettos so this is a match made in heaven; and the heels even come in little Louboutin boxes... Playing with dolls has never been so cool! Net-a-porter is stocking them for £100 each, but they've already sold out.

So hurry down to eBay tonight.


8 December 2009

So Christian Dior me from my head to my toes


2 December 2009

The Mock Stock Trend: Wolford vs Chantal Thomass

I love Wolford for their wide range of luxurious legware (as they like to call it), gorgeous bodices and thick deniers. They're jumping on the huge suspenders-as-tights trend which is everywhere at the moment with this gorgeous pair of hot dots bow tights.

I'm not sure if I prefer them to the Chantal Thomass pair which Lily Allen's been wearing recently, but I'd rather spend £32 than £42 on something which I'll wear half a dozen times before inadvertently ripping to shreds, as I seem to do...

I've got loads of Wolford tights but the only repeat purchase I make from Chantal Thomass is her divine EDP, so maybe I should splash the cash and invest in a Christmas present to myself a la Lily.


1 December 2009

Jed We Can

I am thrilled to see Jedward in the latest Grazia, out today. I read someone this week likening their X Factor booting to Susan Boyle's "loss" on Britain's Got Talent. These boys aren't going anywhere (I didn't know we needed a new Bros, but I know I find John & Edward immensely entertaining) and I can't wait to see what they do next. Move over Ant & Dec...

I'm pleased Grazia swept in for their first mature fashion shoot, as opposed to one of the tabloid's fashion magazines who'd aim for classy yet fall at trashy. Wearing suits and overcoats, dark shades and ditching their trademark quiffs for more grown-up side partings, it's another Reservoir Dogs-inspired shoot and they actually look pretty good. In the accompanying article, they talk about their love of fashion; they wore some pretty terrible outfits in the shows but at least they have a distinct sense of style and fearless vision.

The X Factor 2009 highlights for me (I can already summarise as it's rubbish without the twins): Stacey Solomon's voice throughout, Danyl Johnson's first audition, Jedward's sick Queen/ Vanilla Ice, er, medley, their Britney performance - which was one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV - and watching Cheryl Cole's perfect face light up each time she "absolutely loved" one of her boys "grow into a little man in front o' me eyes" or something equally saccharine in her number 1-guaranteeing, L'Oreal contract-landing, heart-melting Geordie little accent.

The Mulberry Collection

Mulberry has joined forces with Apple and launched a new range of beautiful leather accessories for macbooks, ipods and iphones. In the British powerhouse's signature luxurious style, the collection ranges from £149 - £750 and focuses on the Daria and ever-popular Bayswater.

My favourite from the capsule collection is this gorgeous and glossy, patent Daria Macbook case in neon fuchsia pink (£350), which I'm sure will become the ultimate covetable accessory for fashion-conscious office workers.

26 November 2009

Victoria Beckham vs Photoshop

Victoria Beckham's going from strength to strength in the past couple of years. Remember how horribly misguided and bereft of style she once was? Shudder.
Anyway, she looks fierce as ever as the December covergirl of the British Harper's Bazaar, modelling some pieces from her own hugely successful range of dresses in the dark and sleek shoot, and talks about refusing to rely on Photoshop.
She does look damn good in photos. Although, the Irving Penn tribute covershot bears a striking resemblance to my profile picture? I'm just sayin'...


25 November 2009

Next Takes on Twenty8Twelve

This turquoise sequinned party dress from Next is a mere snip at £30 and perfect for an alternative to the ubiquitous LBD during every party season...

And the shape, colour and sparkle is a rip-off the Twenty8Twelve design below, as modelled by the gorgeous Jourdan Dunn. I love when the high street delivers on cheap copies of beautiful pieces; snaps to Next.


23 November 2009

Product Profile: Caudalie's Beauty Elixir

I love Beauty Elixir by Caudalie, which is a brightening face spray made from grape, orange blossom, rose and mint. Inspired by the 'elixir of youth' used by Queen Isabelle of Hungary from the 1500s, it promises to smooth features, tone and give a fresh radiant compexion.
Caudalie pride themselves on their eco ethics; all products are colour and paraben-free, with natural active ingredients including over 100 extracts from different plants.

You're supposed to apply between foundation and powder to set makeup, but I'm not a massive fan of caked-on base so I prefer to spritz each morning after toning and moisturising for a refreshing start to the day (see above). I'm forcing myself to be sprightly on a rainy November Monday… Definitely worth the £31.20 pricetag.

20 November 2009


Raquel Zimmermann looked fantastic in the stunning 'Graffi-Couture' shoot in the November issue of Vogue Paris. Carine Roitfeld seems to be obssessed with Zimmermann lately, featuring her in several spreads over the past few issues.

urban fashion editorial


19 November 2009

Lead us not into temptation...

I've had my eye on the metallic Mulberry Bayswater since it launched... I do like the boxy silhouette of the Bayswater but I've never been bowled over by the plain totes.

Add some shine and a moc croc finish and BAM top of my want list. I hope Santa reads my blog.

17 November 2009

Beyoncé Video Phone

Beyoncé and Lady Gaga both look amazing collaborating in Queen B's glossy, sleek new 'Video Phone' music video. The extended version, released next week as a remix to her original I am... Sasha Fierce album track, features the two pop singers dancing together in a classic Hype Williams-directed video showing two strong women posing to a stripped down minimal beat, with pin-up styling, high-contrast vivid colours and synchronised dance routines.

Beyoncé kicks off aggressively marching down the street a la Reservoir Dogs with a gang and continues to strut around with a huge toy gun through the rest of the video.

She's the 21st century Madonna; Queen of reinvention, rocking out so many different looks in every shoot/ video/ release artwork - I love the rockabilly 40s Bettie Page fringe and printed sequined tee.

Gaga - thankfully not in upstage mode - ditches the try-hard, sexed-up outfits in tribute to Beyoncé, reportedly saying 'I want to do you in your video, and I want to dress up like you'. She pops up halfway through, wearing a matching white leotard and joins in a matchy-matchy dance routine on some chairs. It's a tried-and-tested formula, and beats B's collaboration with Shakira in 2007.  Tune.

Video Phone was released today from I am... Remix single with Gaga is released 29 November

Prada and Pucci, Givenchy and Gucci

I'm not normally a fan of modern takes on classics (I'm a big old Christmas traditionalist) but I love these cards by Samantha Morris, because they're so ridiculous with their tongue-in-cheek fashion rhymes:

She's a printmaker in London and each card she creates is unique, so she can charge a whopping wad of bills.

If you can afford to drop £20 for four, perfect; 'Fabulously Festive... Christmas Card Couture at its finest. It's what every fashionista will be sending.'

13 November 2009

Friday's ffffound


12 November 2009

Crystallized Guinness

The fabulous Lulu Guinness has just launched this stunning new Swarovski Silver satin Crystallized Lips Clutch. Unfortunately it's £595, so this one's probably just to look at... Besides, I own about 20 clutches and rarely use them so I definitely don't need another one, but it's gorgeous, it sparkles and I'm a magpie.

A very easy way of adding glitz and glamour to any outfit, this would look great just with a classic LBD. Perfect for the party season. Perfect Christmas wishlist material for all bag-crazed ladies.

10 November 2009

Prince Rihanna

Rihanna rocked one of her best looks ever last night on the red carpet of the Glamour Awards in NYC. Currently gracing the December 2009 cover of US magazine as well, the Barbadian beauty (I do enjoy a good alliterative tabloid cliché) picked up the Woman of the Year award wearing a stunning Stephane Rolland dress with a fishtail train.

The very classy, very grown-up white gown is a great way of giving her harsh, androgynous hairstyle a feminine edge whilst still making a big impact with the avant-garde structure and strong ruffles.

Recognised for her strength and resolve over the past year ("f love. Walk away, girls" etc) , she tearfully accepted the award and went on to thank Jay-Z and all her people. The whole Chris Brown ordeal has certainly done her a favour by heralding her as an inspiring role model for women and endearing the world to her as a vulnerable young girl who makes mistakes. Nevertheless, I love Rihanna but I still find her largely terrifying.

In addition to last night's winning sartorial choice, her latest album cover artwork - shot by Ellen von Unwerth in grainy monochrome - in which she, yet again, channels early Prince/ Grace Jones and nails it, shows she's hiring the right help... Snaps to the stylist.

Glamour should have a Celebrity Stylist of the Year Award and it should be three cheers for Mariel Haenn.

Rated R is out 23 November
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