June 3rd, 2010
Firstly, here is why I have been absent from blogging for a little while. Secondly, I must blog:
I adore summer; ‘tis my favourite season of the year (most would agree as our fair isle gets flooded with more light* than usual) As the light increases my pallid skin starts to crawl slightly. I’m not built for this weather. I was created in a Gollum style mode; meant for damp and darkness. I tan EVER so slightly (after 6 months!) and the required effort often doesn’t feel worth it. I freckle in the heat of a log fire, the sun catalyses this process waaay too much. From a distance, I may look tanned; up close, the freckle feast is revealed. I am also not a porcelain-skinned beauty. My paleness unfortunately equates to sickliness. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked recently if I am, “feeling 100%?” Please do not extol the virtues of fake tan to me. I have tried and failed with many brands. I refuse, point blank to remove all clothing and be sprayed like a Cuprinol-ed fence by someone I probably babysat for 15 years ago! Instead, I mask my pallor with bright clothing and prints. Unfortunately some days I may leave the house looking like a Magic Eye construction, but this confusion on the retina seems to work for me.
A second thing that summer brings is a proliferation of hair growth. I have fine, light hair but Jesús Cristo does the sunlight speed up growth. I wax my underarms and legs but summer regrowth occurs approximately 3 days later! Regrowth for me brings with it a beautiful heat rash and ingrowing bewilderment. I saw someone questioning on Twitter why anyone would wear opaque tights or leggings in June? My excuse – I am averting the eye from my wax nightmare! Garance Doré offered a very honest post that included her appreciation of laser hair removal. I would LOVE to offer this gift to my underarms but I still cannot justify the expense (I think each leg would cost £2000 too – I am quite tall!)
To balance out this post, I must convince you that I do love summer in some way!
1. I adore eating outside. Even if it is just a sandwich in the garden, the meal seems infinitely more tasty and exciting al fresco.
2. The beach makes me smile. A winter beach conjures up morose images of melancholic days; the summer beach, makes me smile even from a distance. The waft of saline air must release huge amounts of serotonin in my little brain; as I find my cheeks hurt through all the happiness.
3. I love the freckles. I secretly moan about them but they make me, well, me! I once played join the dots with them and made an awesome giraffe on my arm.
4. BIKES. I love my bike and the summer means he gets a good airing. I do have a bike obsession though. I am going to purchase a beach cruiser from my cousin but have spent several hours redesigning this beauty from Urban Outfitters. Bikes appeal to me a lot more than shoes. Luckily their price curbs my ownership to one pair!
If you have any advice to ease my very trivial summer woes, I would greatly appreciate it. Is there a light self-tanner that doesn’t make you vomit? A hair removal idea that has worked for you? I am sitting with my pad and pen ready to make summer that little bit better.
(*light does not always equal sunshine!)
Beach hut image from Paul Mannix on Flickr. Illustration (left) Garance Doré
April 15th, 2010
As the years have progressed, my hair has shrunk. It is now officially short. What I have found strange while rocking this shorter look is the reaction of other people. My Mum is verging on disgusted. For her, hair length is synonymous with femininity…mine therefore has gone. My hair has made me into her 14-year-old son (in her mind!) Like Samson, my feminine strength has disappeared with my locks. My father-in-law has had a similar reaction. He sees me on a slippery slope that will see me bald or with a shaved head within the next year! The “young” seem to love it. As they begin to feel comfortable in their looks they seem to exude a certain admiration for those willing to take a risk with their style. As they straighten their hair to within an inch of its life and wear jeggings with pride to fit in with the uniform of the day, anyone prepared to step outside of that box elicits a certain admiration.
Of course I get hair envy. As I brushed my niece’s heavenly locks yesterday and plaited and pruned her hair into many varied styles, I briefly considered a regrowth plan. But then my 10 minutes in the shower and 5 minutes drying time (with no straightening or curling requirement) quickly changed my mind. Who knows, I may look back at this period of my life with disdain. Heaven knows I feel that way about my basin cut of 1982 (I was but 4) and my blonde with black under colour of 2000..but so what! Hair always grows; I have sobbed after certain disaster cuts of old and TRIED to repeat this like a mantra! Trends and styles continue to change and once you release the comfort blanket that is your hair, you sometimes feel set free.
(Photo credits: Jak & Jil Blog, Facehunter and Vogue)
March 21st, 2010
I have a problem, I’ll admit to it but only here on my blog. I get VERY excited about things very easily and then obsess over them a little bit (well quite a lot.) I guess that’s why the blog suits me so much; it can be an outlet for all my gushing madness! If I think something merits greatness I want to shout it from the rooftops.
Two things have caught my eye this week. One is thesixtyone. It’s an online music-streaming interface that showcases new artists. What I love about it is its aesthetic appeal matches the pleasure it offers to the ears (aural pleasure just didn’t fit there!) The artists offer little pop up bios and info as you listen as well as submitting their own photos and artworks. These little snippets, sometimes given by the artists themselves, offer a great insight into who they are and what inspires them musically. Often, a musician’s external influences appeal to me more than their actual work, revealing a truer picture of who they are. (Thanks to Appendix Magazine for pointing me in thesixtyone’s direction)
The second thing is a set of city guides, which would adorn any shelf with their beauty. Portraits de Villes by be-pôles may look good but their appeal lies in their content for me. Photographers/artists are asked to photograph a city through their respective lens; the result – a photo-log of their experience. The ensuing shots may not be what you’d expect to see of that city but it sheds a whole new light on what the metropolis means to that person. A personalised view of a city holds so much more than a banal, “visit this” “do this” repetitiveness of some (not you Wallpaper or Le Cool guides.
There endeth the discoveries for today. See more of what catches my eye over at AnOther Magazine.
March 2nd, 2010
This may be my first post dedicated to children’s wear but after seeing Muchacha’s designs, I felt almost compelled to post about them. I have never before wished to be young again; there were no Tom Hanks BIG moments for me as a child either. My age has always been just a number indicating my amount of time on earth. I don’t feel particularly wiser or more mature as the number steadily increases. The visible signs of my years are creeping in and age envy may join them soon but I hope my age acceptance remains.
Muchacha’s clothing contradicts my usual balanced attitude to age. On seeing their dresses I wished to be 8 again (just for the day) or for them to make their dresses in giraffe adult sizes. Pearl Lowe posted a picture on Twitter of her beautiful young daughter wearing a Muchacha dress. It was Alice in Wonderland themed (as many things appear to be of late and extremely unusual. A tweet back from Pearl and some further investigation led me to the Japanese brand’s VERY unusual and beautiful website. It is super kitsch and fun to play with; the only downside is my complete lack of Japanese (maybe the Felt Mistress could help me.) So if you are a miniscule adult, the proud owner of a beautiful daughter or a lover of beautiful things (the latter is me!) look at Muchacha’s website. You can also purchase some of their gorgeous designs on Alex and Alexa in the U.K. or Little Fashion Gallery in the rest of Europe. I just downloaded their super-cute desktop wallpaper – if you love cats, you’ll adore it too.
I think the main reason I’m drawn to Muchacha (apart from the overwhelming kitsch!) is the fact that they make clothes for little girls to be just that…children; not mini-adults or over-sexualised tweens. Muchacha means little girl in Spanish and that’s just what the brand allows them to be. I know that comment may come across all blue rinse and Daily Mail but I feel the rush to be a grown-up is slowly eating away at the happy, carefree days of childhood. (Sensible lady hat is on for the next few days!)
February 16th, 2010
s I sat waiting for the new Grazia to land on my doorstep and reveal the “real” Liberty London Girl, I was left contemplating the concept of identity. I spent today sat in my flannelette pyjamas, with an old ski hoodie and M&S f-UGG slippers. Is this who the readers of my blog perceive me to be? I remember chatting to the lovely Catherine Kallon, the creator of Red Carpet Fashion Awards. At the time GMTV had asked Catherine to follow her around for a day, watching the creative process as she blogs. Catherine told me, “I don’t want them to see me get up at the crack of dawn, lumber over to my desk with a coffee and blog in my PJs all day!” I remember thinking how refreshing it was to hear that her reality of blogging was very similar to mine; despite the fact that GMTV believed it to be very different. The irony now is that Catherine now has an office from which she blogs full time and an extremely hectic but enviable lifestyle.
Anonymity in the blogosphere is quite commonplace as it allows the freedom of speech that open magazine journalism often curtails; not through desire but necessity. The last thing a magazine wishes to do is anger their advertisers. The revenue they bring in is essential to the existence of any magazine. I’ve been forced to ask myself of late if the thin veil of anonymity makes me immune to any influences and totally free to speak my mind. The answer, truthfully, is no, not really 100%. If a brand invites me to a lovely meet-up, which I subsequently write about disparagingly, do you think they’d ever invite me in my blogger guise again? If I want to remain in the loop, at times my opinions must be censored. I haven’t yet been forced into that situation as I have chosen instead to remain positive and only write about the experiences I have enjoyed.
How does knowing Liberty London Girl’s true identity change her blog for you, or does it change it at all? For me there is no difference as I do not know Sasha personally (yet.) For those who work or have worked with her, without knowing her nom-de-plume and her online persona, today will have come as a shock. I don’t think that simply because of what she has written, but because they weren’t privy to this important part of who she is. Very few people with whom I work or am acquainted know about my blog and I feel that this would be the element of shock for them. My Mum used to think a blog was a part of an online gaming community. When I sat her down and showed her the blog last week, she said, “Who does the pictures for you? Who publishes the articles? What magazine do you work for?” I think her shock lay in the fact that I could be so independently productive!
I too today was forced to verify my own identity. As a “semi-anonymous” blogger most of my work is annotated as Random Fashion Coolness. I spent a glorious 6 hours (not in a row; emails back and for) trying to prove that my real name was associated with my blog. Eventually I managed to demonstrate that I was…well, myself!
Therein lies what I love about the bloggersphere. It’s not who you are but the contribution you make that is judged. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a magazine editor, a housewife, a full-time blogger or a business professional. Your blog is your persona and your opinion and work is what is scrutinised and respected, not your salary or perceived standing within the industry.
February 12th, 2010
The future is deprived…
I need to get this post down before I give in to the lure of Twitter. Usually when EVERYONE blogs about something, it’s the last thing that appeals to me. But the death of Alexander McQueen however, is something I feel I MUST write about.
I was reminded of the artistry of McQueen a few months back in the superb BBC 2 series, British Style Genius (See McQueen’s Rebel profile here.) One episode blew me away and reminded me of everything I love about fashion – the flamboyance, the drama and specifically the ART of the designers. It was entitled, “Breaking the Rules: Fashion Rebel Look” and delved back into the archives of Galliano and McQueen to chart the beginnings of their fashion rebellion. The first thing that hit me was the fact that McQueen’s work remained equally pioneering, exciting and innovative, even 10 years on. My eyes hadn’t become accustomed to his showmanship as the decades had progressed; quite the opposite, I still looked upon his work with the wonderment of a small child.
The production of his 2001 Spring/Summer collection stands foremost in my mind. Nick Knight describes it best in an interview with Grazia and I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it better myself,
“My favourite, simply because it was so clever, was the mirror box show. He put all the models inside a huge mirrored cube. Before the show all the lights were on in the auditorium and the cube was a huge mirror reflecting the audience. The shows are always about 45 minutes late to start, and I remember I was on the front row between Alexandra Shulman and Gwyneth Paltrow, so if you looked up you stared at your own reflection, if you looked sideways you stared at your neighbour, so after a short time you ended up staring at your feet. Lee had managed by the use of this simple trick to have the whole of the front row, some of the most important people in fashion all sitting, heads bowed, humbled. Once the show started, the house lights went down, and the audience were released from this. And then it was the models inside the mirrored box who could see only their own reflections. Voyeurism was swapped to vanity.” (See Nick’s full interview here)
I would have LOVED to have been there or even to find a video of the whole show. I have found a snippet here by Iconiamag on Youtube (at 41 secs)
I hope the BBC repeats this episode of British Style Genius, simply to honour the passing of a genius that had contributed so much to the industry. It is sorrowful that the future of fashion will be deprived of Alexander McQueen.
February 10th, 2010
Scents, Smells and Hotels
Once again, idle chit-chat on Twitter has inspired a post. Marian Kihogo and Susie Erskine were discussing their mutual admiration (and Marian’s worrying obsession) with candles. I butted in, as over the last few years the importance of smell has become more apparent to me. I’m not going to quote scientific statistics proving how smells can make you feel a sense of comfort, anxiety etc but just how smells affect me.
Of late bad smells have infiltrated my existence. There are two VERY ripe camemberts in the fridge that kindly remind me of their presence ever time the fridge door opens. Their smell is not abhorrent to me but I have found it strange how they like to make themselves known. Our home (a.k.a. the building site!) has a plethora of strange, unfamiliar smells lurking around each corner. Cement, plaster, paint all tickle my nose hairs each morning.
Perfumes evoke a huge sense of nostalgia in most people. I’m not necessarily referring to fragrances alone – natural, floral scents have the same impact. The Hotel du Petit Moulin in Paris is one of the most phenomenal hotels I have had the pleasure of staying in. The hotel is a design masterpiece and I have extolled its virtues many a time on this blog. It is a hotel that holds many happy memories and I can be transported back there in an instant thanks to a smell. The first time I stayed there it was my perfume of choice, it was also their room spray of choice. No, I did not douse myself in Glade!…Jean Paul Gaultier 2 was sprayed throughout their halls and more ingeniously the lift. In the confined space there was no escape from it; the smell permeated every little corner and (I know this sounds SUPER ostentatious) and a little bit of my soul too. Please delete that last comment from your brain, especially if it made you throw up a little in your mouth!!
Smells are important, thank you for reminding me of that fact Marian and Susie. I now feel the sudden urge to go out and buy a Diptyque candle and I hold you both personally responsible!
February 8th, 2010
Indicative of the meteoric rise of Lara Stone has to be her standing in Google. This year she has surpassed Lara Croft on the search scale! LOVE magazine has forced me to choose between 8 naked icons of the industry and without hesitation I will choose Lara Stone. I had to ask myself why I was so decisive on this issue. Is it her voluptuous, every woman curves? Is it her quirky, toothy gap? (I share that gappy grin) Is it her striking resemblance to Brigitte Bardot? In short I felt her freshness, in an industry that has championed a definitive waif-like look for over a decade, was the key. Plus sized models have been offered a moment in the spotlight of late but unfortunately, once any marketing opportunities subside, I don’t believe the trend for plus sizes on the runway will endure. A look like Lara’s however, will. She is healthy and more importantly, overtly sexy, without venturing too close to the line of smut. This advert for Versus by Versace sums up her appeal for me. She is loved by men and women alike. She oozes confidence and sexuality from every pore, yet still manages to maintain an editorial feel. Jak & Jil blog and W Magazine have captured some of my favourite images of Miss. Stone, featured above. My hope now is to watch her walk at Fashion Week and see for myself if the charisma translates live on the catwalk.
February 2nd, 2010
Marketing, Bloggers and Editors
Bloggers seem to have put a fly in the proverbial ointment of late. We have “allegedly” disgruntled magazine editors with our appearances at shows (specifically the young Tavi at Couture Fashion Week) Questions are being asked on how our heads may be turned by free products that impede our true judgement of brands. The Cut Blog cited this quote, written by Robert Johnson at GQ,
“Bloggers are so attractive to the big design houses because they are so wide-eyed and obsessed, but they don’t have the critical faculties to know what’s good and what’s not. As soon as they’ve been invited to the shows, they can no longer criticise because then they won’t be invited back.”
Magazine editors have had to curb their true opinions to suit their advertising accounts for years. Do they have free reign to criticise a top fashion house’s show if that brand has a 4 page spread in the front of their magazine? The blanket statement, “they don’t have the critical faculties to know what’s good and what’s not,” is so sweeping and disparaging of a whole emerging industry that it is truly insulting. Here I do not refer to myself but to fellow bloggers that are also well respected journalists. Does that mean to say that what they write in print is worthy but the stuff on which they blog is not?
Integrity and intelligence is they key. I was recently asked to take a look at some hosiery for a website. Everything was arranged the tights were on their way. I then received and email telling me which blog they like me to write my review on and how. I may have misinterpreted their email but I then felt I was being dictated to, so I declined their offer.
A brand that seems to have got it right is Stolen Thunder. Here in lies the irony and possible contradiction of this post. They asked for my address, they sent me one of their beautiful necklaces. There was no pressure, no demand, no compulsion to blog about them. For that very reason, they’ve made it on to my blog. Are they running the slickest marketing campaign out there? Their kindness, coupled with a lack of intimidation offers the most persuasive argument to post about their products. I love their jewellery, admire their marketing strategy and have therefore chosen to blog about them (in a very round-a-bout way Does that mean I lack “critical faculties” or am I promoting a product the same way that the industry always has? A sample is received, it’s looked at, reviewed and if liked, written about. Just because I blog and am able to express my opinion more freely, does that mean my view is clouded? I would say not yet…but if I feel the fog descending, I’ll try and let you know.
January 25th, 2010
I’m sorry I have neglected my little POP blog over the last few weeks. I’ve been busy with Random Fashion Coolness bits but now I am back. My thoughts have been distracted from fashion over the last few days. We are currently renovating our house while living in situ. This means my thoughts revolve around renovations and refurbishments of my home rather than any self-decoration! My evenings, post dust-busting, are spent flicking through sites searching for inspiration and trying to remember where and when I might have seen that elusive something I thought that was cool. My gorgeous street in Paris, Rue du Poitou, offered me two delights when I first stumbled upon it a few years ago. One was the little gem, L’Hôtel du Petit Moulin, the other was The Collection, a gorgeous little boutique showcasing the home design pieces of a select group of creatives. I was directed there as I fell completely in love with the wallpapers in the aforementioned hotel. They were stocked in The Collection and were by Deborah Bowness; I’ve coveted them ever since. Now, as we recreate our home, some surfaces worthy of Deborah’s designs have started to emerge. I’ve seen her bookcase designs in several places, every time feeling envious and desperate to rip a little piece off (I of course wouldn’t!) Now we’re left with the dilemma of which pieces to chose and where to put them. Take a look at Deborah’s website for yourself and let me know which one’s you’d choose and why. I shall keep you up to speed on our project. So far there are no walls on the upper floor…and we may keep it that way!