Donna Karan Departs From Her Label

(Image: makers.com)

(Image: makers.com)

After 31 years, designer Donna Karan has announced she is stepping down from her current role as chief designer of the LVMH operated brand, Donna Karan. There will be no replacement meaning Donna Karan International will suspend its collections and catwalk shows. Farewell to the queen of the capsule wardrobe.

Before starting her own label in 1985, she was the assistant to the American sportswear designer Anne Klein. Karan quickly showed gumption when two days after giving birth to her daughter in 1974, the entire Klein studio was moved to her bedside so that she could carry on designing. Klein sadly died a few days after and Karan succeeded her.

Karan’s vision revolved around form, function and designing for the modern woman. She never wanted to dress women up like pageant girls, instead she wanted to cater to working women who’s desire was comfort and style in clothes that would take them from the office to dinner. Her Seven Easy Pieces was a profound attempt to challenge high fashion. The starting point was her famous black bodysuit which could be worn under skirts or trousers. It was a piece that you could wash and wear or stuff in your carry-on luggage and pull out uncreased at the other end. A timesaver for many women.

Unlike many designers, size zero was not on Karan’s agenda. Admitting that she had issues with her hips and thighs, she knew how hard it was for women to find clothes that flattered them, covered the bits they didn’t like and accentuated the bits they did. Her “cold shoulder” dress, worn by Hillary Clinton, was designed around her theory that shoulders are one body part that women feel confident about as they age. If in doubt, get your shoulders out.

Donna Karan’s decision to step down is a loss for many women. She is a reflection of their wardrobes. DKNY isn’t going anywhere, but it’s not much of a consolation as she distanced herself from the brand a while ago.

All that’s left is the feeling of comfortable pants that, even after a long day and a three course meal, still allow you to breathe.

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Diane Keaton

(Image:nydailynews.com)

(Image:nydailynews.com)

Who wears turtlenecks better than Diane Keaton? Or oversized belts? Or ties? Or pantsuits? She’s been a style icon for forever and a day, namely since Woody Allen’s 1977 masterpiece Annie Hall – Meryl Streep’s hair flip though – and paved the way for androgynous dressing along with Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn. The film is said to be based on Diane’s life and her relationship with Allen. Many of her character’s outfits came from her personal wardrobe.

Now well into her sixties, she is defying the ageist stereotype about women over 50 in Hollywood as she continues to play intelligent, funny and poignant characters. Keep doing you, Keaton.

Side note: The First Wives Club might be the most underrated film ever. Girl power at its finest.

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Call Me Caitlyn

(Image: vanityfair.com)

(Image: vanityfair.com)

The whole world and his wife has seen the Vanity Fair cover of Caitlyn Jenner, so it needs no introduction. But, of course, with a cover as controversial as this it was bound to divide opinion.

Celebrities turned to social media in record time to give their two sense about the image shot by Annie Leibovitz. Daughter Kendall Jenner tweeted, ‘be free now pretty bird.’ Tissue, please. Comedienne, author, actress (is there anything she’s not?) Lena Dunham also expressed her opinion on Twitter tweeting, ‘I just want Caitlyn Jenner to take me out and teach me how to drive a stick shift in heels.’ You and about a million other women. 

Perhaps the best commentary came from Orange is the New Black star and activist Laverne Cox via her tumblr. She ended her post, I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, that the love she is receiving can translate into changing hearts and minds about who all trans people are as well as shifting public policies to fully support the lives and well being of all of us. The struggle continues…

Not everyone had a positive response to the cover. PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill wrote, ‘Let me get this right. Asserting one’s femininity means posing in a low cut swimsuit. OK. Got it.’ while former Drake and Josh star Drake Bell tweeted, ‘Sorry…still calling you Bruce.’ Err, rude.

Those who deem it fit to chastise her transformation are the reason it has taken 65 years for Jenner to muster up the courage to be who she really is. We should celebrate our ever evolving society and support those who choose to be their true self, whether that be a sexual orientation, profession or otherwise.

On a lighter note, one of the most popular look-a-like comparisons, along with Janice Dickinson and Brooke Shields, is Jessica Lange who upon learning of her new doppelgänger graciously commented, “Oh Really? That’s so wonderful. Well, now I’m going to have to look for that picture.” As cool as ever, J Lange.

Taking the fact that she is a part of the Kardashian craze out of the equation, Jenner’s transformation is one of great significance and will help others find the courage to be who they want to be. Appearance isn’t a reflection of who you are on the inside; plastic surgery and makeup does not make her the definition of a woman, but if that makes her feel more like one then Caitlyn, you go girl. 

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Do The Jane Fonda

(Image: fashionbombdaily.com)

(Image: fashionbombdaily.com)

Actress, activist, fitness fanatic and fashion icon would all be viable descriptions of 77-year-old Jane Fonda, who has been thrust back into the spotlight following the release of Netflix’s new series Grace and Frankie. And now she’s on the cover of W Magazine…sans photoshop.

The first season of Grace and Frankie starring Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, aired on Netflix May 8th – if you binge-watched all 13 episodes in 48 hours or less, you are not alone. The series follows long-time rivals Grace and Frankie, who are brought together after their husbands, who have been having an affair for 20 years, announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married.

The series is the first of its kind. It is universally known that once women reach a certain age in Hollywood, the roles cease and the mass media doesn’t want to know. Lily, 75 and Jane, 77 play intelligent, witty and sexy older women – not words you would usually string together to form a sentence about women who are ‘passed it’, for want of a better phrase. The show is an exploration of love, friendship and the realisation that us women get better as we get older. Apart from The Golden Girls, this is arguably the only series that showcases that. It even deals with issues that, according to June Diane Raphael’s character Briana, ‘83% of postmenopausal women’, deal with such as vaginal dryness. But Frankie has a solution; personal lube made from yams. You’re welcome.

Amongst all the celebration, Jane and Lily have spoken publicly about the unfair pay they received for their participation in the series. The pair were executive producers as well as main characters, yet Martin and Sam received the same amount. Tomlin remarked, “The show is not Sol and Robert, it’s Grace and Frankie.” If there are two women you don’t mess with when it comes to inequality in the workplace it’s Lily and Jane, who are both advocates for women’s rights. Come on Netflix, give the ladies the dollar they deserve.

Jane’s W Magazine cover, shot by Steven Meisel was released today. She is the oldest woman that they’ve featured on their front cover. W’s editor, Edward Enninful Instagramed the shot with #nophotoshop. Granted she’s had a few tweaks here and there but we’ve got to hand it to the woman. She’s 77 and still looks incredible without any retouching. Plus, she was a beauty before all of the trips to the plastic surgeon’s office, so they didn’t have much to improve on.

In an interview with the magazine Jane said, “I think it’s a hoot that, at my age, people are calling me a fashion icon.” Many will agree that age is redundant when it comes to having amazing style. She also stated the reason why she wanted to up her game, “I had a vision: I wanted to give a cultural face to older women.” Cue the clapping of women everywhere.

Please let there be more seasons of Grace and Frankie. The world needs to see more of Lily Tomlin in a Ramones t-shirt with chiffon sleeves, drinking peyote and coming out with ‘abso-fucking-lutely’ great one-liners.

Update: Grace and Frankie season 2 is official!

@Janefonda  janefonda.com

@LilyTomlin  lilytomlin.com

@GraceandFrankie 

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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Previously shown at the Met in New York 4 years ago, Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of Lee McQueen’s work ever to have hit Europe. The exhibition showcases some of the late designer’s most famous creations, including pieces from Plato’s Atlantis, Highland Rape, his 1992 Graduate Collection and the spray painted white tube dress from Spring/Summer 1999.

The strong emphasis McQueen placed on death, communicated throughout the exhibition, is chilling, especially now that he is no longer with us. One quote plastered on a concrete wall in the first room read, “When I’m dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen.” Many would vouch for that.

The Cabinet of Curiosities – a great deal bigger than the one in New York – is the star of the show. Floor to ceiling shelves house a plethora of accessories, garments and videos of runway shows. In the centre of the room is a remake of model Shalom Harlow in the white tube dress, being sprayed with paint by robots.

(Image: Own)

(Image: Own)

On what you think is your way out, you are captured by a hologram of Kate Moss, accompanied by instrumental music. Moss floats around for a while and fizzles into several bright white lights, eventually fading to nothing. At this point, you are emotionally drained and potentially in search for a tissue.

Plato’s Atlantis is one of the last sections in the showcase. This was Lee’s final collection prior to his death. It is arguably one of his most innovative, not least because it was the first runway show to be broadcast on the internet. If Plato’s Atlantis taught us anything, it was that Lee was passionate about life and the world we live in. Of course, it’s hard to believe given that he committed suicide, but, like his beloved Isabella Blow and other creative minds alike, his demons got the better of him. In an interview with The Guardian, his successor Sarah Burton said, “It wasn’t really about fashion, with Lee. It was so much more than that. It was about everything that was to do with being alive. It was all the difficult parts, and all the beautiful parts as well.”

The vast amount on show is frankly quite overwhelming. This is an exhibition that needs visiting more than once. Round two, anyone?

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London Fashion Week: Sibling A/W15

Saturday’s Sibling show was an assault on the senses. It may have been a gloomy day outside, but this runway show was far from dull and grey.

Neon orange and pink came strutting down the runway, to Blondie’s Call Me, on models sporting Albert Einstein/Cruella de Vil style wigs. Think Stephen Sprouse meets Debbie Harry meets Chanel on acid.

The Chanel element came from the tweed two pieces that had been given a punk edge. Prim and proper is no longer fun. Embellished broaches and badges were fastened to most looks, and skinny scarves were tossed over the shoulder. From fur, cobweb knits, sequins, fringing and latex, this collection urged you to get up out of your seats and stroke it all.

If it wasn’t obvious enough already that the Sibling trio, Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery, were inspired by Blondie, the band’s lyrics were plastered on shirts and sweaters.

(Image: Own)

(Image: Own)

(Image: Annie Lunnon)

(Image: Annie Lunnon)

(Image: Own)

(Image: Own)

Sat front row was prolific fashion journalist Suzy Menkes, blogger Susie Bubble, US Vogue contributing editor Sarah Mower and Net-A-Porter/Porter magazine founder Natalie Massenet. Side note: Massenet is completely gorgeous and has an almost Princess Diana aura about her #LifeGoals

(Image: Annie Lunnon)

(Image: Annie Lunnon)

Sibling knits are the knits to stock up on for a rebellious and warm AW/15.

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Happily Ever After is No More

(Image: fastcocreate.com)

(Image: fastcocreate.com)

It’s time to say goodbye to Disney’s fairy tale romances as we know them. The perfect, mushy, happily ever after endings will now be replaced with a truer to life depiction of love and romance in future books and films.

Disney, along with the Nicholas Sparks style novels that have been made into films, is partly to blame for our unrealistic expectations of what love is. Us girls thought that if we lost our shoe, then a prince would search the land to find us and return it. In reality, if we’ve lost a shoe then it’s probably because we were drunk the night before. In which case, we won’t ever get that back. Sorry.

The newly released film Into The Woods, adapted from the Sondhiem musical, sees the start of this transition. In the version of the Cinderella story contained within this film, Cinders and Prince Charming end up getting a divorce. Cue the sound of little hearts shattering all over the world. Some day my prince will come…and go a few years later. However, there are more children with separated parents now than ever before. Perhaps it’s a healthy thing to move away from the conventional fairy tale and replace it with something more relatable.

But the whole point of these fairy tales is to give us something to dream and fantasize about. They aren’t supposed to be taken literally. And as Cinderella once sang, in dreams you will lose your heartache.

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Mirren, Mirren On The Wall…

(Image: popsugar.co.uk)

(Image: popsugar.co.uk)

This week L’Oreal revealed Dame Helen Mirren’s first campaign as their leading lady. Mirren joins Jane Fonda as the new mature poster girl for the French beauty brand.

Casting the 69 year old in the campaign makes complete sense. With countless films under her belt, her most notable is Calendar Girls in which the Dame and her co-stars stripped off baring all. The film enforced the idea that older women are still attractive regardless of wrinkles and bingo wings. There is hope for us all.

On being awarded the L’Oreal campaign, Mirren said, “I hope I can inspire other women towards greater confidence by making the most of their natural good looks.” Ageing and Hollywood aren’t words often uttered in the same sentence. You would be hard pushed to find a woman, or man for that matter, in the L.A. area who hasn’t been nipped, tucked or poked in the face with a needle. There was even speculation about Mirren herself in 2012 after being seen with a blue scarf wrapped around her head and what appeared to be a white bandage underneath it. If she has been tweaked, at least she doesn’t possess the ‘wind tunnel’ look.

Many brands are cottoning on to the idea that ageing isn’t something to shy away from anymore. Marc Jacobs, Gap and Nars all used women over the age of 50 to front their campaigns this year.

Let’s just hope the more mature woman isn’t simply a token gesture.

Watch the Ad here

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Trendy Tech

(Image: fashionista.com)

(Image: fashionista.com)

According to social media, 2014 was the year of wearable technology….or so they said. With the year over, we assess whether we have embraced or been disgraced by the trend.

Rami Banna, engineer, product champion and technology evangelist said in his Ted Talk, “Mobiles are so last year, wearable’s are hot right now.” We consumers don’t want to stick with the same electronics forever for fear of being left behind. Brands have cottoned on to our insecurities and are using them to their advantage.

Fashion designers are jumping onto the wearable tech bandwagon and creating technologically advanced items of clothing. Ralph Lauren is the first luxury brand to offer ‘smart’ clothing after pairing up with wearable tech corporation OMsignal to create Polo Tech shirts. The shirts measure the wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate and level of activity. All the information is synced to an app on your smartphone or tablet via a small snap on ‘tech box’. The black nylon compression shirts were tried and tested on the ball boys at the US Open. They are washable – one would hope so – but the only thing is, you have to remember to remove the tech box first. Not suitable for those without a helpful reminder app.

Rebecca Minkoff teamed up with Casemate and launched two bracelets at New York Fashion Week this past September. Both bangles are functional and fashionable; elements that other brands have struggled to marry together successfully. “I think in time technology will get smaller so as to be able to fit into smaller objects/shapes and therefore be able to fit into more aesthetically pleasing items,” says tech aficionado Kate Martin. Minkoff’s notification bracelet syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth to alert you of texts and phone calls from your contacts of choice. You can keep your phone in your bag and still remain connected. The lightning cable bracelet, for iPhone 5, 5S and 5 C, connects to a USB cord and charges your device on the go. The downside is that you still have to carry a USB cord with you. And remember to charge the bracelet.

Stylist Alex Stedman loves the idea of wearable tech that you can use in conjunction with your phone, “As someone with a highly social media based job, I would love something I could wear that would also charge my phone!” She also thinks that wearable tech is still quite niche but has a hunch that it will get bigger. “Just look at the rise of the Moschino iPhone cases – the ultimate fashion meets function.”

The smart watch is attempting to unite style and practicality. Apple’s debut wearable tech, the iWatch, will be released in early 2015. The gadget receives messages and app notifications, removing the need to check our phones repetitively. Basically, it’s a mini iPhone with hands free portability. Gemma Bond from the blog That Belfast Girl isn’t a fan of Apple’s offering, “I don’t think the iWatch is as attractive as the Minkoff ranges. I think if iWatch did a collaboration with a high-end designer it would be more likely to appeal to the fashionable audience.”

The latest innovation in wearable technology comes from WonderRing. This made to measure service provides you with an accessory of your choice that controls your household appliances. Gone are the days of panicking about whether you’ve left the straighteners on or not. A touch of a button will confirm if your house is going up in flames or whether your clothes will be in tact when you get home. Still in the prototype stage, there is no word on colour variations. However, WonderRing promises that their products will fit the requirements of the trendsetters.

High-street brands have entered into their own world of wearable technology in the form of thermal tech, coming up with different ways to rework thermal fabrics into everyday clothing. Uniqlo have developed HEATTECH, a specialist material that fights the cold. Their thermal garments are as thin as 0.55mm meaning no more thick, itchy jumpers in dodgy colours that make you look the size of a house. Result. Marks and Spencer’s Heatgen range for men and women contains more of the traditional thermal items such as vests, underwear and long johns/leggings. Good news for those who are interested in just being toasty, not trendy.

Twenty fourteen might have just eased us into the wearable tech stratosphere. We’ve got a feeling 2015 is going to throw some pretty outlandish inventions at us. Should old technology be forgot and never brought to mind? Watch this space.

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Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent

2015/01/img_1242.jpg

2015/01/img_1243.jpg

2015/01/img_1244.jpg

Today, Saint Laurent Paris published these photographs captured of the legendary singer Joni Mitchell. They were shot by Hedi Slimane himself at Mitchell’s home in Bel Air, California for the brand’s January Music Project. Perfection.

The 71 year old beauty who became a recluse due to mental health problems no longer sings as a result of smoking for so many years, damaging her voice.

Songs such as Big Yellow Taxi and Woodstock defined an era and became part of the soundtrack for a generation. Her album Blue, which includes A Case of You, was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Mitchell’s distinctive voice evokes such genuine feeling and emotion, a rare quality found in only a select few artists today.

Of course, that famous scene in Love Actually in which Emma Thompson puts on Both Sides Now and cries alone in her room is utterly brilliant and arguably the best bit. “Joni Mitchell taught your cold English wife how to feel.” Joni taught many people how to feel.

Slimane, you did good.

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