Passage to India, part I

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Only six days til I leave the security and predictability of London and head to the madness of Mumbai. Of course, now the reality check has kicked in and the sleepless nights have started. I have been emailing my boss-to-be in India to ask for the names of photographers’ agents, model agencies and production companies so I can do some research ahead of my arrival. It turns out that ‘they do things slightly differently here to the way you will be used to doing things’. Gulp. What does that mean? It transpires that photographers in Mumbai have a lot more control than they have here. Not only do they pick their teams but they also want to have a say in the layout of the pages. Uh oh, now they tell me. And they name their rates and we then negotiate. Oh joy. I am someone who has very clear ideas and likes to work with photographers who have the same vision as me but who are ultimately under my control. I want to choose the story, location, models, clothes. Yes, I’m a control freak! And much as I would like to use Indian photographers, having seen some of the work of the photographers she has recommended, I’m not sure they will ‘get’ what I want to do.

All is not lost however. I’m going to keep an open mind until I arrive and as a backup I have spoken to the UK-based agent of a US-based photographer who does get what I want to do and it might be possible for him to shoot for us. The magazine doesn’t have a budget to fly photographers out there but apparently he is willing to pay his own way. And then we will have the hurdle of model agencies and production companies to overcome. Let the learning curve commence…

How to be a sensible sale shopper

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

In only seven days time I will be hauling my ass to Heathrow along with my paltry baggage allowance to head off to Mumbai for eight weeks. I am working on a new magazine launch and need to pack enough clothes to make a professional impression (not easy for a jeans-and-Converse girl) as well as my files, notebooks, laptop and the obligatory bits and pieces that my mum has requested I take over for her (er, six Mum roll-on deodorants??!!!). This is what brought me to the Oxford Street sales. In the last year or so I have overcome my urge to consume, consume, consume. I think it’s because I buy so many magazines. Looking at merchandise in magazines gives me the same buzz as buying the stuff itself, so even though I spend a bundle on glossies, it actually works out as a saving. For this reason I haven’t had the urge to hit the sales although I will of-course browse a sale rail if I’m passing one, I’m not a total freak.

I must be one of the lucky few who has a boyfriend who actually likes shopping. And D knows what he’s doing as it was he who told me that Fenwick has an extra 10% off on the first day of the sale*. So after I gave him a head start at Skandium in the hope that its Florence Knoll sofa would be heavily reduced (it wasn’t even in the sale), we met for a quick butchers in Selfridges before snaffling some half-price Charbonnel & Walker champagne truffles in Fenwick. Up to Kurt Geiger on the first floor where I fell upon some Repetto ankle-tie ballet pumps. This was a true bargain as I had already seen and rejected them a couple of weeks ago at Kurt Geiger in South Molton Street (£130! For ballet pumps!). I’m hoping these will work to zhuzh up jeans for day as I can’t see myself wearing Converse to appointments with the Gucci PR. I’m slightly concerned that the dusty pot-holed streets might eat them alive but I’ve been promised a car and driver so hopefully that will take care of that. After a cursory look at the lingerie (no decent Fifi Chachnil and the Hanro basics were not on sale) we were outta there.

On the way to lunch at DKNY – now wouldn’t it be nice if restaurants had sales? – we passed huge queues at Miu Miu and Prada. I mean, really, who queues for a sale? Don’t even get me started on the ladies who were treated for hypothermia after queuing at 4am for the Next sale. Next?! I just don’t get it. These people clearly have more time than money but even so, don’t they know they can shop online? Post-lunch we took ourselves home with our modest sale buys – chocolates and Repettos for me, shoe trees and a new pair of gloves for him.

Disneyrollergirl’s Dos and Don’t for sensible sale shopping

1. DO make a plan. Don’t aimlessly wander from one end of the high street to another, you’ll give up at the first hurdle. Pinpoint five destination shops then factor in a coffee break to recharge.

2. DO go with the flow. There’s no point being in a hurry if you decide to hit the busiest shopping street in town. Slow down to the same pace as the dawdlers and bring a copy of Grazia to read while you queue for changing rooms and tills.

3. DON’T shop with friends, they’ll give you sale fatigue. If you shop alone you can get more done.

4. DON’T pay and queue in the obvious places. Go to the mens department where it’s less busy or somewhere off-radar like the flower department which is usually quiet.

5. DON’T go to the nearest loos. The ones further away will have shorter queues. Try Mamas & Papas in Regent Street, Selfridges 3rd floor in Oxford Street and Fenwick in New Bond street for the nicest, cleanest and quietest toilets in the West End. Fortnum & Mason has luxurious toilets with an attendant who wipes the seat before you use it and you get fancy soap and your own towel but it’s a tourist attraction in itself so be prepared for a queue. Harrods charges £1 to use its loos unless you go to the one in the basement accessed via the bread department. Avoid TopShop, Oxford Circus and Borders, Oxford Street toilets – nasty, nasty, nasty.

6. DO shop for gaps. It’s more satisfying to come home with something you actually needed than yet another stripy T-shirt.

7. DO be decisive. If you’re not sure, leave it. Don’t get caught up in the sales hype, once you’ve typed in your PIN you know you’ll never take it back.

8. DO go for quality over quantity. Aim for two or three quality bargains instead of ten bags of tat. Believe me, the buzz will be the same.

*until 1pm only!

Boombox finale

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

So the rumours are true. New years eve will see the last ever Boombox club night as creator Richard Mortimer has decided to end on a high. In its four short years Boombox has become an astonishing success and while Its critics may suggest it’s just a copycat club in the same vein as eighties legend Taboo, frankly, who cares? It has provided a place for style-obsessed young clubbers to flaunt their fashion skills and meet other like-minded creatives and in today’s celeb-crazed society, it’s quite refreshing to see some fashion inspiration that doesn’t come from the streets of LA or the pages of Heat.

Why end now? Clearly, Boombox has reached its tipping point and kudos to Mortimer for bowing out gracefully. The Boombox ‘look’ has had a big impact on fashion but it can’t continue forever. Best to pack up the PVC leggings and out-there maquillage and let 2007 be remembered fondly rather than limping on for another few years regardless. Sadly, I never got the chance to go to Boombox, I was forever planning potential outfits but the fear of the door policy is something that held me back. When you get to my age, you balk at paying and queuing to get into a club, never mind queuing and then -eek! – possibly getting turned away.

The last ever Boombox will be on new years eve and I’m envisaging a “last night of Shoom”-style roadblock in Hoxton Square outside. And for those interested in what Mortimer does next, check out his new venture, a London-based website covering fashion, music, art and parties at

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Chloe claims Clémence

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Not one but two of my style crushes in Spring ad campaigns? Oh, please let it be true! Clémence Poésy is one of the faces of the Chloe eau de parfum campaign launching in February 2008. And Alison Mosshart is rumoured to be fronting a Miu Miu campaign around the same time. Bring it on…

Pics: From

Quote of the day

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“When wardrobe supervisor Patricia Field’s office calls to borrow something, believe me, you jump for that phone, it’s like winning the lottery.”
A source on the Sex & The City movie set talking about the designers falling over themselves to secure product placement in the forthcoming film.

Photo face

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

This being party season it’s time to limber up those facial expressions for the inevitable flash of a digital camera frenzy. Oh, how bored I am of watching groups of people put on their instant ‘camera face’ with no variety or imagination. To be fair, I guess it’s not something most people think about. But on the other hand, why spend hours agonising over what to wear and painstakingly applying Pat McGrath-standard concealer, highlighter, blusher, mascara, eyeliner, lip balm, lip gloss, ad infinitum, if you’re just going to wheel out your one and only gormless grin in every picture? No, this should be the season when you put some pizzazz into your pose.

My standard party-photo face is big on high camp hamminess – hand on waist, hip thrust out, eyebrows raised and mouth wide open in a big old comedy faux grin. Think Bonnie Langford in her stage school publicity photo and you’re pretty close. Of course, it gets a bit tricky holding this supposedly spontaneous pose for upwards of ten seconds while the photo-taker wrestles with the flash button, but the results are worth it. However, this life-and-soul-of-the-party pose only works if you know the photographer very well, or you’re in a group of close friends. If in a less gregarious setting, I propose the shy-but-friendly option consisting of hands in pockets, weight on one foot, head to one side and a half smile – no teeth. This says ‘I’m nice’ without being over-theatrical and you don’t feel too much of a twit if the picture needs to be reshot.

A good idea for a group photo when the group consists of a number of random characters is the jump-in-the-air pose. How can you not look like you’re having a ball when you’re a foot off the ground with your arms above your head thumbs-aloft? Caution: while this works well if you’re wearing a dress, it’s not great for loose untucked tops combined with paunchy midriffs. If attempting this one, make sure stomachs are sucked in. (I suck my tummy in for all photos but only recently realised that’s just me.)

It’s always worth aiming for one really nice smiley photo of yourself but it’s a hard one to get right. The best solution is to have a photo taken with your best friend. Hug each other tightly and laugh spontaneously at the same time. You’ll need someone who knows you both pretty well to get this one right. If it works, the result is a good candidate for the death photo. What do you mean ‘what’s a death photo?’ A death photo is that one picture of you where you look happy, gorgeous and healthy. It’s the photo you nominate for if you ever go missing and the local paper needs to put a picture of you on its front page. It’s the one where all your ex-boyfriends feel guilty and think, ‘aaaah, wasn’t she lovely’. Doesn’t everyone have a death photo? Or is that just me as well?

Quote of the day

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“They took my phone with all my numbers. What are you going to do? Find them!”
Naomi Campbell barking orders to O2 Arena staff after finding her Blackberry had been stolen

In praise of the LBT

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Being freelance is a funny old existence. On the one hand it’s lovely being able to get up at lazy-o’clock and check emails in my pyjamas and clogs (yes, clogs!), yet when it’s busy it’s hard not to be distracted by domestic stuff like doing the laundry and um, packaging up my ebay parcels. I must admit I do miss the routine of working in an office. What can I say, I just love ticking things off my list and getting things done, whereas the life of a freelancer involves endless meetings and appointments which are obviously still ‘work’ but don’t give the same sense of satisfaction as sending an email or finishing an article. More often than not, coming out of a meeting just means adding more things to my to-do list.

One thing I don’t miss about the old routine however is the office Christmas ‘do’. I’m strictly a low-maintenance girl and it’s bad enough having ‘what to wear’ dilemmas during the summer wedding season when it’s warm, let alone in the bitterness of December when all I want to do is bind myself in thermals and escape under a pile of duvets. I can’t wear skimpy dresses. Not only have I got the thinnest ankles this side of Victoria Beckham, but I need to have my arms and legs covered against draughts at all times. I can do skinny jeans and boots and a zhuzhy top at a push but even I know that’s not making much of an effort. Which is where the tuxedo comes in.

Never mind the LBD, this season is all about a little black tuxedo. And yes, I know that every magazine, newspaper and blog is extolling its virtues but it truly is a winning solution. The beauty of the tux is it can be as versatile as a LBD. No, hear me out. For starters, if you want the full package you can wear the jacket and the trousers and personally I would really push the boat out and add a dress shirt and bow tie. A red bow tie would be a wonderful nod to Alber Elbaz or even a red silk rectangle scarf tied in a floppy bow.

For a sexier slant, a sheer black lace or chiffon top of any description would look damn hot under a tux but you have to go the full Helmut Newton hog and add proper bitch heels and a fuck you attitude – no messing about. Too womanly? Then bypass the jacket and wear the trousers with a tromp l’oeil fitted jumper or bib-front top – there have been dozens of versions this season and they make a witty talking point. A nice pair of patent mannish oxfords would set this off, or a clean pair of high top Converse. Fucked up Cons are a no-no for an office party however cool you are.

On the other hand, you could forget the trousers and do the tuxedo jacket on its own with skinny jeans. This can go a number of ways. Dark jeans are always smarter, especially with heeled ankle boots – Christian Louboutin’s studded confections for Rodarte get my vote. Under the jacket I’d suggest an equally dressy top, perhaps a black silk or satin blouse teamed with a messy up-do and a matt red lip. Or if you want understated then a plain vest top in black or white would look classic-yet-rebellious in an early 90s way but make sure the top is a bit long and loose a la Ann Demeulemeester not tight and cropped a la Britney.

By the way, who says the jacket should be black? Against a pale complexion a gold or silver tux would be suitable festive. And finally, if you don’t feel dressed up without a dress then why not wear a tuxedo jacket over a cocktail dress? In fact, this season’s strapless eighties cocktail frock is simply pleading for a mannish jacket to be draped over it, just ask Alexa Chung.

Quote of the day

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“She was very strong, very assertive. Oh my, she was very hard work. I had to change her outfits twice. She wanted shiny, body-conscious clothes, and animal prints…”
Roberto Cavalli on Mel B

Quote of the day

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“She is a style icon. She is a beautiful, gifted artist. And I very much like her hairdo. I took it as an inspiration. Because, in fact, it was also Brigitte Bardot’s hairdo in the late Fifties and Sixties. And now Amy has made it her own style. So, when I saw her, I knew it was the right moment. Amy… she is the new Brigitte.”
Karl Lagerfeld on Amy Winehouse