I can’t get through the day without…

Uh oh, I have a new obsession. As if spending most of my free time blogging isn’t bad enough, now there’s a new plaything on the scene. www.shopvogue.tv is the new interactive site from US Vogue. You can click on any number of high end ad campaigns (eye candy in itself) and then shop from the ads by clicking on the pictures. Ooh fun!! There are also behind-the-scenes shoots at the ad campaigns (check out the Chloe one and…how gorgeous does Christy Turlington STILL look filming the Roberto Coin ad?) and, my favourite, the SHARE channel where you can upload your own pics and share with other users. And in true Vogue style the whole thing is slick as shit and beautifully presented.

Headbands vs hairbands

Hair accessories have been a big trend for summer there’s no denying it but I do have one issue with them. As a pendantic Virgo I am frequently irked when people use the incorrect haberdashery term. As I understand it, a hairband is something worn halfway across the head. Whether it’s made of fabric or something stiff like plastic or metal it’s essentially channelling the neat and sweet Alice In Wonderland look.

A headband on the other hand (or head) is something different entirely. A headband is worn across the forehead Bjorn Borg style and is almost the opposite of the groomed Alice band in being more relaxed and hippi-ish. I’m really liking the headband look for now as it’s still relatively rare. Find them at American Apparel or fashion one yourself from a thin rectangle summer scarf…but please don’t everyone wear them at once.

Pics: American Apparel, www.corykennedy.blogspot.com, www.vogue.com

Trendwatch – Pop Luxe

As much as I adore fashion and popular culture I have to admit I have no clue about contemporary music. Pardon me but I’m still catching up on all the old 60s soul, 70s disco and 80s punk music I haven’t yet listened to! So even though I’ve heard of Kanye West I wouldn’t actually recognise his music if I was to ever come across it. All this mattered not one whit when I witnessed his apartment in US Harpers Bazaar recently. Oh. My. God. This gaff is stuffed to the rafters with pop-tastic furniture, fashion and ‘objets’. A stack of Louis Vuitton luggage may not sound that original to you but this guy has like, a tower of ten multicoloured monogrammed LV cases piled several feet high and the effect is totally museum-worthy. Then there’s the neon-green outsized Marc Newson Dom Perignon bottle grazing next to a Maurice Calka white fibreglass Boomerang desk (am I impressing you with my name-dropping? Well I’ve never heard of this dude but Google the desk – it’s SICK !)

Did I mention the bonkers-sized Takashi Murakami flower-shaped pillows? This is my fantasy apartment and it all looks totally authentic. Even if it’s been interior-decorated you can absolutely believe the ideas have come from West when you see his collection of sci-fi-style sunglasses and OTT-print Bathing Ape sweats. West describes this look as Pop Luxe and I think he’s onto something. Next in the pipeline is his clothing range Pastelle – if it’s anything like his apartment I await it with baited breath.

Pen friends

Last Friday I happened upon an adorable new book called The Age Of Feminine Drawing. I started out in life wanting to be a fashion illustrator but what with one thing and another never fulfilled that ambition. This book reminded me of that bygone passion. There are pages and pages of whimsical, girlish and sometimes sexy sketches. Here are some of my favourites:
Jeffrey Fulvimari – This prolific illustrator has collaborated with top end designers including Louis Vuitton, Anna Sui and Helmut Lang and has a number of merchandising ranges including one called Bobbypin Girl. I actually met him once and he paid me the ultimate compliment by proclaiming me ‘a real live Bobbypin girl’. Ooh what a charmer!

I like the sketchiness of Australia-based Rebecca Wetzler’s illustrations. They make me think ‘I could do that’ (if I wasn’t so lazy).

Tina Berning makes drawing look so easy! These illustrations inspired me so much I went straight out and bought a Rotring pen (eek, £20!!!). Have I used it yet? Nope.

Pics: www.jeffreyfulvimari.com, www.rebeccawetzler.com, www.tinaberning.de


The newly redesigned US Elle is out and everyone seems to be raving about it. Out go the cheesy Gilles Bensimon shoots and in come some stylish new ones. I haven’t seen it yet but I nabbed these pics of Charlotte Gainsbourg photographed by Tom Munro from the website. Hot no?

Just an illusion

The autumn collections are pretty much in full flow on the high street, cue the usual hoo-hah about the budget brands copying designers. Today’s Evening Standard has an impressive array of pictures from the new Peacocks collection along with a handy ready-reckoner of its equivalent designer ‘inspirations’. And pretty good it looks too. There for starters is a cute approximation of Balenciaga’s blazer – possibly the definitive piece of the season – a steal at £18. There too is a dead ringer for Christopher Kane’s leather skating skirt – again a mere £18. And look! A doppleganger for Matthew Williamson’s beaded silk shift dress – only £16!

The high street and value sector are extremely good at producing samples and visuals that almost make you gasp out loud. But as we all know, fashion is but an illusion. Those pictures are frequently styled by Vogue-quality stylists who are experts at pinning and accessorising, not to mention big name hair stylists and make-up artists and top-level photographers. In fact, those megabuck campaigns that make cheap catwalk copies look a million dollars are the bread and butter jobs that enable photographers to do the Vogue and Harpers shoots that otherwise pay very modest fees.

And the clothes on the models? These are the top-notch one off samples that are shown to the press several months before they hit the store. They are beautifully finished and often in far superior fabrics than you eventually find dangling off the rail in your local high street. And wanna know something else? Sometimes these key pieces don’t even make it to the shop floor. I kid you not, some stores are worse than others but many high street brands habitually produce a hot piece, proudly photograph it and show it to the press in the full knowledge it will never see the light of day. Why? Because it gets them column inches and that’s good enough. They also know that in your fruitless search for that piece, you’ll find yourself settling for an alternative once in the shop. Money in the till, mission accomplished!

The moral of this story is keep your wits about you and don’t get caught up in the hype. Sure it’s great to find a near-exact copy of your favourite Dior dress in your local cheapy shop but remember once all the glamour and gloss has been stripped away, you’re looking at one of several thousand identical dresses. The glossy campaigns do their job to keep the dream alive but in the end a £20 dress is still a £20 polyester dress, not a £700 silk Matthew Williamson one.

Pic: Matthew Williamson/www.vogue.co.uk


Apologies for the randomness of this post but my desktop is getting overcrowded with pics so I’ve decided to put them here. Stuff I’m loving this week:

Cesare Paciotti has been around for yonks but it’s never really been on my radar… until now. Love this quirky-but-classy pic

How cool is this picture of Andy Warhol? He’s totally working that bow tie…

More bow ties at the Phillip Lim show. I know bow ties are so a/w 06 but frankly, who cares? Not me…

If you go down to Spitalfields today…

…you’d be a prize fool not to pop into Caravan. The brainchild of interiors stylist Emily Chalmers this cave of curiosities is a must-visit. Whether your personal fixation is vintage suitcases, retro lamps or homemade skirts you won’t leave empty-handed (and you’re bound to pick up some rather good home styling ideas too).

Caravan, 11 Lamb Street, E1, www.caravanstyle.com

String for spring

It’s taken me a long time to get my head around Cruise, Pre and Bridge collections but last week I think I finally nailed it. At the preview for Stella McCartney’s pre-spring collection the PR helpfully explained what it’s all about. The Stella pre-spring collection is on sale from November to February. It’s a taster for the mainline spring collection at the same price point so it’s not a diffusion line. What it does is satify the hunger for newness so while the rest of the store prepares for the sales, there is still some semblance of ‘new’ to satisfy the forward-looking fashionista. It also serves as a transitional collection to bridge the winter and spring seasons so there are pieces for layering, a few knits, plenty of jersey and jackets galore.

Stella’s pre-spring was big on tailored shorts and blazers (Stella’s signature look), metallics (again), embellished sporty knits, and slouchy knits in muted tones. Jeans are still a big seller with high waists continuing and a classic straight leg jean on the cards in collaboration with Notify. Other highlights were sequin crop evening jackets and patent-look bags in Caran D’ache colours.

And finally…string shoes! Stella is well-known for her anti-leather stance so these raffia-knitted sandals are an innovative and surprisingly chic take on animal-friendly footwear.