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.
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