Cavalli Countdown

Is anyone waiting with baited breath for tomorrow? Roberto Cavalli’s animal print fest is set to drop at H & M and I for one can’t make my mind up. From what I’ve seen it really is a jungle of flammable leopard print and clingy Lycra jersey but in amongst the horror is a gold pleated Oscar-worthy gown (£199) and a fake fur chubby (£49.99) for wannabe Siennas.

Animal print is really hard to get right. Call me a frump but the print itself is wild enough without adding sheer, clingy or mini to the mix. For me, leopard spots and tiger stripes work best downplayed in a casual slouchy tee, a pair of high-top trainers or skinny jeans in an early-80s post-punk statement. ‘Sexy’ animal print is just too obvious unless you’re rocking a vintage fur coat and throw it on over something scruffy and even then you need the face of an angel to pull it off. As for leopard-print bustiers, sheer cardigans and kick-flare pants, they’re strictly for the suburban slag contingent. And Nancy Dell’Olio.

The Power of Marketing

Uniqlo has opened a new Oxford Street flagship store and revamped one further up the road and boy do they want you to know about it. I popped into the opening last night and a bigger fash bash I haven’t seen in a very long time. The store was wall-to-wall models and I don’t mean the naff Kimberley Stewart variety. I’m talking about uber-cool club kids with messy hair and shabby-chic outfits. I arrived towards the end so I missed the live band but there was plenty of DJ action and ‘look at me’ dancing, not to mention celebrity style eye candy in the form of Alexa Chung and The Kills’ Alison Mosshart.

While the guests were mostly interested in the free flowing cocktails, I thought it would be polite to check out the clothes. As I thought, it’s still all cashmere sweaters and badly-cut trousers with the odd directional piece thrown in (I saw a tweed cape). But really it’s all about the marketing and Uniqlo are streets ahead of Gap on this count. From the too cool party crowd to the collectable Uniqlo magazine full of gorgeous photos depicting aforementioned models styled by Dazed stylist Nicola Formachetti, perception of the brand is everything. A bash like this costs a fortune to produce but when the results will be on pap pages in every daily paper and in next Tuesday’s issues of Grazia, Look and Heat, as far as Uniqlo is concerned it’s worth every yen.

Have you missed me?

Sorry for the protracted absence. I’ve been moving house and have been without internet for 2 weeks! And I’m too tight to pay to use it. I have however just found a local pub with free wi-fi so I’m frantically checking my 200+ emails and blogging as fast as I can before my laptop runs out of power. Normal services should be resumed shortly. In the meantime, here’s something I prepared earlier…

Well stone me. There was I, browsing the art bookshops of Charing Cross Road and what did I stumble upon? Only the book that I thought was but a mere figment of my imagination. Tim Walker, a photographer whose bonkers indoor-outdoor settings always makes me smile, who creates surreal assemblages and colourful fairytale-like fashion shoots for Vogue has at last published a book! Well, not quite. He actually has an exhibition on at this very moment in Hanover, Germany called ‘I Love Pictures!’ The book is the accompanying catalogue that goes with the exhibition and has somehow found its way to Koenig Books in Charing Cross Road. The exciting bit is that the exhibition is still on at the Kestnergersellschaft gallery until 4th November 2007*. Do I dare wish that the exhibition might make it to London?

*Eek, that’s today. Sorry German Tim Walker fans, I should’ve posted this sooner!

Never mind the photographers, what about the stylists?

I’m a complete sucker for art and photography books (and am very proud of the Bruce Weber ‘Branded Youth’ book I received for my birthday from D – total gobsmacking surprise) but have been wondering why no-one’s done a book celebrating stylists? In my ideal book there would be a profile on my favourite stylists (Venetia Scott, Joe McKenna, Lucinda Chambers, Caroline Baker), alongside pictures of their work, maybe an interview with them and I’d love, love, love to see what their house looks like (although you can see Venetia Scott’s in the current UK Vogue, and very nice it is too).

Well, some of this has been addressed in Sarah Mower’s book, Stylists: The Interpreters of Fashion which comes out on 30th October. Featured stylists include Paul Cavaco, Grace Coddington, Carine Roitfeld, Venetia Scott (yay!) so it should be a goodun.

Another book that is reportedly in the pipeline is one by Alex Michon who was the unsung heroine responsible for The Clash’s styling and quite possibly the person to thank for our unending passion for all things military and punk. Not safety-pins-through-noses punk, but the heartbreaking androgyny of army surplus, boilersuits, overcoats, berets and the like. Michon is apparently working on a book about her time with The Clash and I am hoping to interview her for this blog in the not-too-distant future.