King Kong, American Horror Story, Marc Jacobs

Most of us will know Jessica Lange as Dwan from the 1976 version of King Kong, or more recently as her various characters in the American Horror Story series’ – which I am obsessed with. The 64 year old is now embarking on a new role as the face of Marc Jacobs beauty.

Her voice already made it’s debut at Jacobs’s A/W 2014 runway show where she spoke the words to Happy Days Are Here Again, most famously sung by Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland on The Judy Garland Show. Now, it’s her face’s turn to shine. The campaign, which was shot by David Sims, takes inspiration from the make-up worn by Catherine Deneuve in her famous Belle de Jour film. The image was styled by Love editor Katie Grand. Dream team.

(Image: marcjacobs.com)

(Image: marcjacobs.com)

‘Return to Oz’ editorial: Jessica Lange & Marc Jacobs by Mikael Jansson for Love Magazine Issue 10:

(Image: thefashionography.com)

(Image: thefashionography.com)

(Image: awardswatch.com)

(Image: awardswatch.com)

Lange has a natural sultry air about her which makes her a perfect muse for the direction Marc Jacobs has been going in with his recent campaigns. And how amazing are her legs? Cue ZZ Top song…

Mature models are certainly having their moment. Let’s hope it’s not just a token gesture.

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Faithfull

(Image: thetimes.co.uk)

(Image: thetimes.co.uk)

David Bailey’s Stardust exhibition commenced in February of this year at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition is sponsored by Hugo Boss and includes portraits of many famous faces, including Marianne Faithfull.

I am a little bit of a self confessed feminist when it comes to championing certain things, as if you didn’t know already. Age and body image are two of them. Whilst some may think these portraits of Marianne Faithfull aren’t desirable, attractive or flattering – the big knickers are a winner – I personally love them. We are living in a time where old(er) age is deemed as being unfashionable or ugly. Adverts of anti-aging aids are thrown at us left, right and centre. What makes it even worse is that the models used in these adverts are in their 20′s. Does this mean that, as young women, we should be worried about targeting ‘the first signs of aging’ before we have even reached a quarter of a century old?

Aging is something that is inevitable for all of us, albeit some deter the signs with the help of a doctor and a scalpel. Regardless of how you deal with it, getting older is nothing to be ashamed of. In the words of the amazing Sue Kreitzman from Fabulous Fashionistas who I met and interviewed last week, “I look in the mirror and I see a friend, an aging friend, and that’s ok. We are what we are. Let’s be proud of what we are.”

(Image: pinterest)

(Image: pinterest)

I’m off burn my bra now…

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Are Male Designers Empowering Women Or Exploiting Them?

To say that that the fashion industry is occupied with an abundance of male designers isn’t a foreign observation. We are so used to having men tell us what to wear we don’t ever tend to think about questioning it. But what authority do men have in telling us females how to dress?

History tells us that females have always been perceived as the feebler sex, constantly relying on their male counterpart to tell them what to do and how to think. Judith Butler argued that the central issue of fighting against the ‘patriarchal discourse’ is reliant on the very fact that such argument still favors a difference in identity, based on ‘sex’ or ‘biology’. Fast forward to the 21st century and Emily Pankhurst didn’t get trampled on a by horse in 1928, campaigning for the vote, in order for women to still leave it up to men to make the decisions for them in 2014.

Bill Blass’ Michael Vollbracht thinks that, “Women are confused about who they want to be. I believe that male designers have the fantasy level that women do not.” Sometimes it is not about the fantasy element. Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Phoebe Philo have lived the life of their consumer, with Philo even pulling off a runway show when she was 8 months pregnant. This, in turn, has educated the quality, fit and aesthetic of their collections. Vivienne Westwood has set out to empower women by going against the norm, using herself in her fashion campaigns, projecting a positive representation of age and body image. This is what women need to feel empowered and comfortable in their own skin, not some 6’4ft, size 4, aesthetically perfect version of a woman that the majority of us will never be.

Tom Ford has been quoted as saying, “I think we are more objective. We don’t come with the baggage of hating certain parts of our bodies.” You have to ask yourself why the majority of women are wrapped up in self-loathing. If you look at Tom Ford’s campaigns, the answer will stare you right in the face. Is it empowering for a woman to see a naked faceless female model with a perfume bottle jammed between her legs? Here you have a man who designs for women and wants to make them feel good, yet he is using negative imagery of women in his fragrance campaigns, which, are aimed at men. Women look at other women with envy because it is the ideal that designers are using over and over again in order to increase consumerism. Without this ideal, women would not believe that they should be anything else other than themselves.

(Image: Tumblr)

(Image: Tumblr)

The King of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has been throwing around misogynistic, body-slamming quotes for years. Recently, he encountered a law suit from the French organisation ‘Beautiful, Round, Sexy and Okay With It’ for claiming, “Nobody wants to see round women on the catwalk.” This is not the first time that the German born, leather wearing, sunglasses indoors designer has expressed a view much similar to this one. Upon speaking about singer Adele, Lagerfeld articulated that she has a pretty face and a divine voice despite being too fat. Of course, we all know that women of a certain stature cannot have more than one endearing quality. With revenue of €6.3 billion (2012) it is a wonder why women still feel compelled to buy from a brand that has such an adverse figure head.

(Image: oszinta.typepad.com)

(Image: oszinta.typepad.com)

Male designers aren’t all bad, however. Much like Thierry Mugler in the 1980’s, when power dressing was at the forefront of culture, McQueen set out to empower women and wanted people to be afraid of the women he dressed. Yohji Yamamoto wants to protect a human’s body. Hiding women’s bodies is about sexuality and a sense of mystery. Everything doesn’t need to be on show for the outfit to be fashionable or appealing.

Arguably, women, by nature, are more sensitive towards others. Maybe if men were more conscious about women’s feelings instead of thinking of the money that they will make from enforcing their ideals of what a woman should be, women may feel empowered by what they have to offer. At the end of the day, we don’t need a man to tell us what looks good. Let’s just leave the aesthetics of females to the females, shall we?

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Rock On Gold Dust Woman…

A poet, an artist, a style icon. “Personally, I think that sexy is keeping yourself mysterious,” she told Rolling Stone in 2002. “I’m really an old-fashioned girl, and I think I’m totally sexy.”

Stevie Nicks may not be your go-to source of inspiration when it comes to fashion, but the Fleetwood Mac singer/songwriter has been rocking her signature style of Bohemian cool for over 40 years, dressing in billowing sleeves, Victorian lace and dark and draping stage costumes with help from long-term stylist Margi Kent. When she went solo in the early eighties, Nicks further establish her voice and a gypsy style that featured top hats, fringed cloaks, bell-sleeved dresses, and platform boots as well as her signature shag haircut.

stevie nicks

Starting out in a band called Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band which was comprised of Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and his bandmates, Fritz became popular as a live act from 1968 until 1972, opening for musicians Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin – both artists Nicks credits as inspiring her own stage fervour and performances – in San Francisco. After Fritz split, Nicks and Buckingham carried on as a duo, signing with Polydor Records. Using tracks from their demo tapes, they released an album aptly named Buckingham Nicks in 1973.

Nicks and Buckingham made up the new Fleetwood Mac on January 1, 1975 after Keith Olsen played their track Frozen Love for drummer Mick Fleetwood, who had come to Sound City looking for a studio to record Fleetwood Mac’s next album. The band took a toll on the pair’s relationship, ultimately leading to a breakup. Stevie wrote Dreams and Lindsey retaliated with Go Your Own Way – ‘packin’ up, shackin’ up is all you wanna do’…ouch. A whole lot of drugs, sex and rock and roll ruled the band’s foreseeable future. Nicks nearly died as a result. Members came and went a handful of times, leaving the final line-up as Stevie, Lindsey, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

According to the Huffington Post, Lindsay Lohan hopes to buy the rights to her life story and to play her on film. Unmoved, Ms. Nicks responded: “Over my dead body. She needs to stop doing drugs and get a grip. Then maybe we’ll talk.” First Elizabeth Taylor, now Stevie. Enough, Lindsay.

The Fairy Godmother of Rock continues to inspire many, including designers. Anna Sui, who dedicated an entire collection to Nicks in the late 90′s, designs pieces with Stevie-inspired handkerchief hems regularly. Gucci’s Frida Giannini created a Stevie-esque wardrobe for one of Florence Welch’s tours, using pieces from the AW/11 collection and Stevie’s distinctive look – a compilation of Witch, Gypsy and Pre-Raphaelite with a sprinkling of Goth. It is referenced constantly in magazine editorials and by every hipster teen with a Tumblr account or Instagram. SIBLING recently based their model’s hair on Stevie’s famous locks for their A/W 14 collection. She is everywhere without you even knowing.

(Image: fleetwoodmacnews.com)

(Image: fleetwoodmacnews.com)

Listen to some of my favourite Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks songs here

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#PFW – Louis Vuitton

Today marked the first collection from Nicholas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton. The show was held in the iconic surroundings of the Louvre. Ghesquiere gave out a typed note that spoke of the proud Louis Vuitton legacy, the designer’s desire for timelessness and credited his predecessor Marc Jacobs, hoping to honour his work. He definitely succeeded.

(Image: @IAMFASHION)

(Image: @IAMFASHION)

(Images: style.com)

(Images: style.com)

Filled with 1970′s colours on 1960′s shapes, the collection featured high shine leather, suede, front zips, belted waists, subtle tweeds and A-line skirts. “I will not say it was effortless, but it was a much more natural and easy process,” the designer said. “I listened to the girls in the studio a lot, the women around me, what they want, what they need.” Understated, fresh, young but powerful.

(Images: style.com)

(Images: style.com)

And, of course, we can’t forget the accessories. Luggage and handbags are the things that made the Vuitton name. Ghesquiere removed the showy, monogrammed styles of Jacobs from the mix and reinvented the Speedy shape. A more boxy and ladylike handbag is now in play.

(Image: metro.co.uk)

(Image: metro.co.uk)

I’m certainly a fan.

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#PFW – Chanel

(Image: vogue.co.uk)

(Image: vogue.co.uk)

A giant supermarket full of produce is not your usual setting for a fashion show, but, Karl Lagerfeld being Karl Lagerfeld means that this is a logical idea for him. “For me the supermarket is the pop art of today” he says, admitting after Tuesday’s show that he rarely goes himself. Quelle surprise!

Pushing brightly coloured trolleys and pretending to engage in idle talk, models picked up everyday products with tongue-in-cheek labels like Chateau Gabrielle white wine, Coco Flakes and even Coco Carbone – it would be interesting to see how much it would cost to make dinner using Chanel produce. The shopping baskets were decorated with Chanel’s iconic handbag chains making carrying your own food shopping that little bit chicer. Lagerfeld said Chanel had made more than 500 different labels and put more than 100,000 items on display, some of which would be later given to charity…he just didn’t know which charity they were going to.

Lagerfeld’s new autumn/winter collection featured ample oversized tweed jackets which were worn over shiny pencil-thin trousers complete with flashy trainers, because “If you want to look really ridiculous, you go in stilettos in a supermarket.” Yes Karl, quite.

(Image: style.com)

(Image: style.com)

(Image: style.com)

(Image: style.com)

When the show ended, a message played over the PA system that called out “Dear valued customer, the Chanel store is closing. Please pick up complimentary fruit and vegetables as you leave.” Who’s going to want to go to Tesco for their weekly shop now?

It seems as though the set has taken away from the collection. It must have been hard to concentrate on the pieces when you are watching Cara Delevingne and Kendal Jenner hand pick products from the numerous amount of shelves. There is a reason that many designers choose to have minimal surroundings. Genious? Gimicky? The jury is still out on this extravagant showcase.

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#MFW – Prada

Miuccia Prada is known for being much more than just a designer. She is a visionary, an intellect – she studied for a PhD in Political Science along with learning mime at the Piccolo Teatro – and a strong minded individual. Her collections are always filled with smart cultural references from film to politics, giving depth and meaning.

This season, the avant-garde theatre in Germany is said to be the inspiration behind her A/W 14 collection which was reflected in the choice of lighting, music and set. The set up was familiar to that of the label’s menswear presentation in January. The venue’s walls were concealed in natural felt and the catwalk featured orchestra pits, two with string and wind sections and others holding sections of the show’s audience that models were choreographed to walk through – talk about an obstacle course in heels. Art Deco industrial prints in the style of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis posters were seen on dresses and jackets along with wedged heels inspired by the skyscrapers built in that era. A few male models also graced the runway, merging menswear and womenswear together. Thin scarves accessorised many of the outfits. These were also seen at New York Fashion Week in the Marc Jacobs show.

The 1970′s were in full effect through the use of jewel tones. Deep purple and scarlet red were prominent in the collection:

(Image: instyle.co.uk)

(Image: instyle.co.uk)

(Image: instyle.com)

(Image: instyle.com)

Oversized shearling coats will be the source of warmth for the Prada girl in the coming winter months:

(Image: instyle.com)

(Image: instyle.com)

Miuccia created a collection filled with the past that is desirable for the now.

Watch the show here http://www.prada.com/en/live/post?&cc=GB

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Claire McCardell: The Unsung Sportswear Hero

mccardell

Sportswear designer Claire McCardell revolutionised fashion for the women of America. She made clothes wearable and affordable but her pieces were always seductive and desirable. Her take on the silhouette was liberating in a time where Dior’s constricting wasp waist and strong shoulders were prominent features in womenswear.

Attending Parsons and studying in Paris, McCardell drew inspiration from Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Grès and Coco Chanel. Acquiring end-of-season samples from Vionnet she took them apart and examined the cuts of her garments, learning the construct and feel of clothing. During World War II American Sportswear thrived as Europe was cut off from the rest of the world. She used the rationing of leather to her advantage, taking ballet slippers out of the dance studio and introducing them into street wear.

Her method of thinking about women’s apparel and the way they should dress was deep-rooted in modern, intelligent design which made her pieces timeless. McCardell’s clothes were both practical and unpretentious with clean lines. The 1938 ‘Monastic’ dress for example, a Vionnet bias cut, tent-like frock with a rope tied waist, worked for day or night. Women leading busy lifestyles didn’t need to worry about owning separate outfits for different occasions, which together was versatile and kind to your bank balance. She also made use of details attributed to men’s work clothing incorporating large pockets, denim, blue-jean topstitching, brass hardware and trouser pleats. As McCardell said in a 1955 issue of TIME Magazine, “I’ve always designed things I needed myself. It just turns out that other people need them too.”

Claire McCardell is frequently referred to as the designer who has most inspired others. Despite the fact that her life ended prematurely to cancer in 1958, her democratic fashion ideology has had a long lasting effect, influencing designers from Rudi Gernreich to Donna Karan and Anna Sui. With so many houses being re-launched it is a mystery why the McCardell name has not been brought back to life.

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Me Generation

(Image: blog.jabbrag.com)

(Image: blog.jabbrag.com)

Like it or not our generation are all narcissists. We are fixated with our own endeavours and our own self-promotion. We document what we do to within an inch of our lives in an attempt to make ourselves look more interesting than we really are.

With assistance from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other online mediums alike, the whole world is now aware of what we’re having for dinner, what we’re wearing that day – or not wearing as many photos suggest – ,what we’re thinking, where we’re going and who we are hanging out with. It’s as if we think other people genuinely take an interest in our lives. Do you care about a girl you haven’t seen since you left school is spending her Saturday night doing?

A simple ‘be there in 5’ text to a friend has turned into public information, informing our said friend of our whereabouts via Twitter’s 140 characters so our followers can see that we are leaving the house and engaging in social activity.

We have the power to cause an enormous amount of jealousy and unhappiness through the pictures we upload. “You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich, and successful from a photo than from a status update,” Hanna Krasnova of Humboldt University Berlin, co-author of the study on Facebook and envy, has observed. “A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority. You don’t envy a news story.” Although it is often infuriating reading through Facebook statuses and Tweets, seeing what people are spending their money on, and knowing you can’t afford it, is even worse.

These online platforms have also made us believe that we have a right to an opinion, which is a dangerous concept. Due to the rise of the Blogger we all see ourselves as budding journalists, when in fact most of us don’t have much to say. The Twitter ‘#’, no longer exclusive to Twitter, enables you to join in the conversation and voice your view on topics being discussed, regardless of whether or not you truly know what you are talking about.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of self-expression, but we live our lives through an electronic device filled with apps that have essentially taken over. You can’t help but wonder what it will be like in years to come when our children are our age – it is more than likely that they will be much worse than us.

Will our relationships with other people be based purely on technology?

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Italy Takes the Reins: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

blabla

Italy was once at the top of the fashion ranks in terms of design during the post-war era. The country was noted for its ability to move with the times – something they have struggled to upkeep in the 21st Century. In a bid to salvage their legacy, London’s V&A museum will see the first significant exhibition dedicated solely to Italy’s fashion industry, showing from April to July 2014.

The exhibition is sponsored by luxury Italian house Bulgari, a favourite of the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor. In the nine months Taylor spent in Rome filming Cleopatra she only acquired that single word. The display will delve deep into the key elements that planted Italian fashion firmly on the map: Florence’s celebrated Sala Bianca catwalk shows and promotion from Hollywood movie icons.

You can expect to see an abundance of leather, architecturally designed shoes, surrealist movement inspired pieces and offerings from designers such as Schiaparelli, Prada, Valentino, Versace, Emilio Pucci, and Mila Schön. Unrecalled post-war designers and work from the next generation will also feature.

If this exhibition doesn’t bring some additional glamour to our runways in the upcoming seasons, nothing will.

Book tickets here

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