There was a time when French fashion was all about traditional elegance – YSL, Chanel, Hermes – and was strictly for the women not the girls. How things have changed! The hottest French labels have a much more youthful aesthetic and are more appealing for it. Charles Anastase has been something of an insiders’ secret for a while but is set to go mainstream now he’s showing at London Fashion Week. Vanessa Bruno’s easy everyday basics are a favourite with the cooler LA juniors like Kirsten Dunst, while APC continues to produce its feminine take on utilitarian-slash-collegiate dressing season after season (the autumn-winter collection has just landed at www.apc.fr). My current favourite is Heimstone, a label I discovered on www.kingdomofstyle.typepad.co.uk. This label has perfected the art of girl-woman dresses – every one’s a winner (and the jackets aren’t half bad either).
Marco Zanini, head womenswear designer at Versace has been appointed creative director of Halston. This is definitely a name to memorise, as the newly-resuscitated Halston is owned by Hollywood hotshot Harvey Weinstein. On board already are Tamara Mellon and Rachel Zoe so this is one revival that is almost guaranteed to succeed – with the combined connections of those three alone, they pretty much have everyone in the entire fashion and entertainment industries on side before Zanini’s even sharpened his pinking shears.
Pic: Read more about Halston, buy the book on Amazon.com
“Personally, I think they look hideous. When you’ve got blond hair the number one rule is not to have black eyebrows. I think they’re a lovely shape but just on the wrong person.” So says eyebrow-artist Vaishaly Patel on the subject of Sienna Miller’s bushy brows. Colour notwithstanding, I am totally feeling the strong brow right now. In fact, my mantra is No One Perfect Is Interesting so I’m all for non-standard ideas of beauty in all areas. The French have a phrase, ‘jolie laide’ (ugly pretty) which sums it up. A bushy brow is all well and good but it needs to be intentional. It should be thick but groomed. The stragglers betwixt the brows should be tweezed and the short stubby regrowth needs to be kept in check. The queen of the bushy brow is Brooke Shields of course but model Anouck Lepere comes a close second.
Another jolie laide favourite of mine is a strong nose. My big issue with the current craze for plastic surgery is that if everyone strives for today’s homogenized idea of ‘beauty’ then the character features will become rarer and rarer, thus making those born with big noses or small boobs feel even less ‘normal’. What would Amy Winehouse look like without her statement nose? Or Linda Evangelista? Or Paris Hilton (she may be dumb as hell but she’s sure got a gorgeous nose!)?
Interesting teeth are a third dying breed. Kirsten Dunst and Kate Moss would be oh so boring without their cute snaggly teeth, and as for Lou Doillon’s supersized gnashers? Forget it. No teeth, no model contracts as far as I’m concerned.
Apparently Gap is going back to basics… again. According to the NY Post, Gap is narrowing its focus to 24-to-34-year old shoppers, reversing earlier attempts to appeal to anyone and everyone.
I am forever reading about Gap’s rising/falling sales. What I want from Gap is the ULTIMATE basics. The timeless boy-cut chino – not the comedy-wide one they’ve done this season but a regular boy-cut, but scaled down for a 5’2″ woman. The perfect blazer cut to today’s proportions – slim on the shoulders and through the body, very plain that I can happily wear for the next 3 years. The wear-with-everything grey marl T-shirt without Lycra that won’t cling to the body but sits just so (see American Apparel Summer T-shirt for reference). The plainest white cotton shirt to wear with skirts or trousers that’s long enough to tuck in and thick enough not to show my underwear. Etc etc etc. And then they can throw in some great colours and accessories to zhuzh things up and keep the impulse buyers happy. It’s not about focussing on age, it’s about reliable design that you can depend on Gap for. What’s so difficult about that?