Friday, 16 August 2013

Who says orange is dangerous?

 Why are certain colours considered more dangerous than others? Why are some colours genuinely more dangerous than others? There is no doubt that, in the animal kingdom, certain colours will be a warning. Take the wasp (vile things which should be eliminated, or at least controlled/domesticated because I know they get rid of parasites. One landed on my upper lip today while I was eating outside and it wouldn't go away. I almost cried) which is striped yellow and black, as a warning to potential predators. On the one hand, this is where nature genuinely proves it can highlight danger. On the other hand, this yellow and black striped shell (metaphorically) is also favoured by the generally less foul tempered Bee and those flies you always think are wasps, as a way to trick potential predators.
Above all other colours, I think orange must be a dangerous colour, though we'd often consider black or red more so. By that, I do not mean that that orange can be a risky style choice that doesn't suit everyone, which is true. There is something about Orange that does not entirely feel quite right, something vibrant and eye-catching and unwilling to blend. If you've ever seen a field of Oranges or a house painted orange, you might understand what I mean. It is not mellow but bright like yellow. Or as popular as red. Or a timeless as black

Anyway, today (or rather yesterday, but *shrugs*) I am wearing orange, with black. Yippee! In line with the current fashion for crop tops and a high-waist black skirt.

With this, my lovely (if I do say so myself) union jack heels, orange bag, necklace and orange ribbon.


I really wish this were longer and, if I can, I will edit it tonight to make it longer and it should have been longer if I'd been less flippant with time, but this is me literally leaving right now for Carcassonne and I don't think they have internet in that part of France (fine, fine, in the house we're renting) Apparently, with a deep sigh, this is one of the busiest weekends of the year for road traffic... which should be fun.

Thanks for reading, do comment and please follow.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Is Fashion self-destructive?

Is Fashion self-destructive? Oddly enough, it is a phrase that has never much been used much in conjunction with Style and Creation, but is arguably fitting. Anything else which completely broke itself down to its core every season, or every couple of seasons, for no apparent straight-forward reason would be considered unhealthy and non-viable for good business. In any other field, when something works, you push it until sales stop dwindling to a economically unsure level. Somehow, fashion is a bubble which has missed out on this area of good business in a most spectacular way for, in Fashion, if you don't re-create yourself constantly, you don't sell. In some ways, it is an anomaly.

It isn't so much the fact that the Chanel Resort 2012 plastic shoes made even the most experienced model's feet bleed, that Sisley scrawled 'Fashion Junkie' (In other words, fashion victim) across their clothing adverts or that openly provocative practises are linked with fashion in self-made adverts.

 Fashion has a funny way of embracing those who actively, whether ironically or not, seek to destroy it. It is a sort of dark glamour that the fashion crowd keep begging for - Punk and anti-fashion taken to the forefront. Take, for example, Moschino. His designs were very innovative and unusual, parroting things such as a quilted black denim miniskirt with plastic fried eggs decorating the hemline, quilted jacket decorated with bottle tops, plug-socket drop earrings, and bodices made out of safety pins. He was dubbed the Jean-Paul Gaultier of Italian fashion but their styles are different; while Gaultier experiments with different fabrics and shapes, Moschino used basic forms and traditional methods. What makes his rise to prominence in Fashion interesting is his apparent disregard for it. He spoofed high fashion lines through his clothes. For example, "Expensive Jacket" was embroidered in gold across the back of a cashmere jacket, and "Bull Chic" on a matador-styled outfit. He also mocked the fashion classics such as the Chanel jacket with garish trimmings and details. Ironically, many rushed to wear his clothes, thus becoming successful and famous in the industry he satirized.

On the other hand, it's possible that, quite the opposite, IT IS JUST IRONY. Let's not forget that Moschino was made rich on the back of fashion. Let's not forget either that disturbing or even counter-productive advertising (Shockvertising) is a very effective way of selling clothing. After all, United Colours of Benetton is famous for it and Sisley is rather prone to using it too. If Jean Paul Gaultier made him name as an 'enfant terrible', it was not by sitting around, calmly accepting fashion. It was by getting up, wanting to change it and, yes, maybe throwing in a few inflammatory and paradoxical phrases on the subject of fashion now and then.

If Moschino campaigned to "Stop the Fashion System." Vivienne Westwood promoted Punk, essentially anti-fashion. How strange that these should both become recognised and beloved brands!


"A style or movement characterized by the adoption of aggressively unconventional and often bizarre or shocking clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc., and the defiance of social norms of behaviour, usually associated with punk rock musicians and fans."
"Conventional usage in dress, manners, etc., especially of polite society, or conformity to it: the dictates of fashion; to be out of fashion."

PARADOX? You'd think so... What if Fashion adopts that which seeks to destroy it as a means of neutralising it, and any danger it may cause the system? If that be the case, I must apologise to Punk because Fashion would then have won one over it. Punk has been assimilated and turned into another branch of high end and high street fashion. Trying to destroy fashion has been turned into a part of fashion... and if any more proof of this is needed, take the way that at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, a tribute to British Fashion involving Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell was paired with David Bowie's song 'Fashion', which is far from reverential on the subject of 'La Mode'. Take a listen if you don't remember.

"It's loud and tasteless
And I've heard it before."

(Or was it the other way around? Did Punk win by forcing its way into the mainstream and thus changing it? Ideas, anyone?)
Oh, and I know there are many other areas of this subject which I could have explored and didn't when constructing a conclusive argument. However, there are too many of them right now. I might re-do this argument from a different perspective on a future post.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Walk like a pink (not quite) Egyptian


A couple of months ago, I realised that my childhood home, my real enduring home where I found myself from my earliest years to the present, where I've been through joy and strife and every shade of emotion in between, was not the one I thought it was. To clarify: the first home I lived in, or rather I remember living in, was somewhere called Tixover Grange in the middle of nowhere in Rutland. It was a sprawling spider of a house with tentacles going off in random directions, hailing playrooms, conservatories and a mess of a dining room, study and garage. It was there I lived from the age of three for the next eight years of my life. In a narrow meaning of the term, for the whole of my childhood. Of course, being a very literary person, maybe I leant (and continue to lend) this more value than it's worth... in books, childhood homes seem to affect the person people become to such a great extent. For example, Jane Eyre spends her childhood in Gateshead Hall and Lowood School. If this dismal beginning could be enough to sanction the emergence of a bitter and even cruel character in any child, Jane disproves this. Instead, her beginnings taught her resilience, modesty and honesty, honour in the face of everything that is thrown at her. If this is perhaps more due to the people she encounters, the value of place can't be wholly ignored. Other examples from literature could include Pip in 'Great Expectations',  and Scarlet in 'Gone with the Wind'.

I am seventeen and, looking back now, I see that my childhood home is not wholly Tixover Grange with its nooks and crannies and apple trees that have never given fruit and that I must have climbed a thousand times. It is actually somewhere across the English channel in a village not far from Paris... once my grandparents' house, now my grandmother's, somewhere I have spent some of every Holiday since I was an squealing red gargoyle of a baby. I've jumped from the bathroom windows here, broken more things than I can remember, stained the sofa, spilled 'J'adore' Dior over a rug, grown into clothes and out of clothes, drawn on the walls and sat on the roof. I even have my own room of a very generous size that I shall soon paint Olive and Gold and cover with posters of Theda Bara and Musidora. If anywhere is my childhood home, this is. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love my French half as much as I do.

That was my supposedly deep thought for the day... onto what I'm wearing.

Pink and turquoise-y blue are not well-known as a good combination. It is a combination which has been known to cause a vicious and often irreversible overdose of sweet/cute/ostentation or it clashes dreadfully. Ignoring all that, I wore pink (three different shades of it - Oh, the horror!) and turquoise together today. Well, it wasn't exactly a crime against good taste. Personally, I thought it rather worked, especially with the whole Egyptian vibe I sort of had bubbling under the surface. If you disagree, you can ruddy well beat it express your opinion honestly and I will make a voodoo doll of the perpetrator and stab it with pins acknowledge that we all have the right to pull a face when we see three different shades of pink.

What exactly am I wearing?

A)Top depicting pictures of birds and cherry blossom - Oasis.

B)Colour Block Pink Maxi-skirt - Ted Baker.

C)Necklace Collar thing - Noa Noa.

D)Two bangles, one dark blue, one turquoise.

E) No Shoes... on which note:

Taking the hypothetical situation that money was no issue, which pair of shoes from the selection shown below would you suggest to go with this outfit? Tempted by blue or pink? Or a lil' bit o' gold? Kirkwood or Louboutin?

Or something completely different? Feel free to mention other footwear ideas.

1) Believing Red Shoes from Melissa


2) Christian Louboutin Colour-block Sandals


 3) Nicholas Kirkwood Print Platform Pumps


4) Vivienne Westwood Anglomania + Melissa Lady Dragon IX

I'm not unhappy. My face just naturally looks slightly cross/miserable.  Honest guv'nor!

5) Miu Miu Metallic Leather & Suede Peep-Toe Ankle Boots

Thank you for reading, or scanning if you prefer. Not to sound completely void of pride, but please follow and do comment. *Smiles maliciously*
My next post is going to be a retrospective of perfume bottles: namely Jean Paul Gaultier - Classique. You might be surprised by exactly how many different designs there have been.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Getting my act together.

I was considering deleting this blog and starting anew, with all the complexities and early lack of readers that that entails, but A) I have decided I have just invested too much into this. B) I'm too lazy to go through the whole process again. C) What's the point when I can simply re-brand?

I have been going through an intellectual crisis (only a minor one, don't worry) and my mentality was in the wrong place... somewhere in 17th century Scotland where I could live a happy hermit.

In the mean time, since abandoning this blog to the mercy of the wild beasts, I have cut my hair real short, got a perm and got a fringe. Amusing anecdote about the fringe: I didn't want it.  You see, I went to the hairdressers to get a trim and a perm and, before I could say anything and for no reason whatsoever, the hairdresser had started hacking a fringe into my hair. Not a cool fringe like Edna E. Mode or Cleopatra or Jane Birkin, a great big whopping jagged side fringe. When I called my friend Luna to sort it out and sent her a photo to show the extent of the damage, her initial reaction was: 'It looks like someone just chopped a chunk out at random'. Here is the picture of how it looked when the hairdresser first got her hands on it and, I am ashamed to say, I cried.

Oh yes. It was that bad since, as you can see, I don't even want to be associated with it. Luckily, my friend Luna sorted it out and it looks great! Big sigh of relief.

In other news, I had a brief work experience or internship if you prefer with the Fashion Desk of the Daily Telegraph, writing an article on the opening of a new Laura Ashley Hotel, doing the Style Agenda, finding ten pairs of awesome shoes under £100 and developing an irrational hatred of Diane Kruger - you would too if you had to find out what she's wearing in like a million photos of her, her and only her. It's not that she's awful, it's that when you're spending five hours looking at someone's personal style, Daphne Guinness or Marion Cotillard would have suited me far better.

So, what will you be getting out of me if you continue your loyalty to this blog?

You can expect:

More Vintage Fashion Shots

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Personal Style

Runway Analysis

Introduction to Style Icons

Designer Retrospectives
Haute Couture

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Fashion Photography

Fashion News

Beyoncé's new short crop rocks to high heaven!

That sounds worth it to me, n'est ce pas? Because, believe me, I am not a deep and feeling person who writes this only for myself expecting nobody to read it, because that would be pretentious and angst-y. So I hope it's worth it to you, because I do work relatively hard at this blog.

On a last note, before saying goodbye and reminding you to check back soon: an iconic photograph.

On this day in 1969, for the first time on a Beatles album, the front cover had neither the group’s name of the band nor the title of the album - simply the iconic photograph we have all come to know, taken on the zebra crossing near the entrance to the studios in London NW8.

Goodbye! Do comment, please follow and remember to check back soon...

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Bubblegum Clan

Those who know my blog and its contents prior to this post may think that it has taken a decidedly taken a turn for the 'sweet' so to speak. This was not completely consciously done and I can assure readers that I have plenty of fashion grit and dirt ready to dish up. Consequently, my new design (fresh look, fresh start - by the way, if you have trouble reading the font with the background, be sure to tell me and I'll do something about it) choice clashes with my desire to comment on the latest Agatha Ruiz de la Prada collection and perhaps briefly introduce this Spanish designer to those who know but little of her.

Noting my recent disappearance from the blogging world, and not able to say that it was purely down to procrastination and schoolwork and a passing disillusionment, I will blame that which is still on my list of suitable alibis - the weather. Like Mary Poppins before me, I base a lot of my comings and goings upon the wind changing. I am very much the sort one might find attached to a long piece of string going up into the clouds, instead of one's kite, though on the other hand, you would not catch me bursting out of fireworks (Loud and dangerous things at close proximity) What I mean to say is that, I told myself I'd start blogging again when the wind changes... well, when the winter snow finally melts away until next year, which is more than a little bit determined by the wind since all the snow we have had was coming from a strong wind from Russia. Usually, this would ensure me a sabbatical of maybe a couple of weeks at best but the snow went on and on going from a joy and a treat to an absolute nightmare. End of March and I never wanted to see snow again. Whatever people might say about our weather, in Britain, it is generally mild and, until recently, it hardly ever snowed. Now, all I want is the sun. I have so many lovely clothes for warmer weather and grey skies are starting to depress me.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, 12th Marquise of Castelldosrius, is well-known in Spain but less so elsewhere in the world. She presented her first women's collection in Madrid in 1981, simultaneous with and promoting La Movida Madrileña, a Spanish counter-cultural movement which emerged after the death of Franco (see footnote for further details)

  • 1986 - Agatha took part in a collective fashion show in France and began designing accessories. 
  • 1987 - She came out with a line of bed sheets and linens. She likewise took part in the exhibition, "A tribute to Balenciaga".
  • 1988 - Her collection "Pasarela Cibeles" launched in Madrid while "Fiera Della Moda." at Milan Fashion Week. She published her book "La moda cómoda".
  • 1990 - Agatha presented a collection of unfinished dresses in Berlin and Madrid. Put on a show of kimonos in Osaka, Japan, entitled "Lady from Spain.".
  • 1991 - Started licensing her brand name with a new kitchenware line.
  • 1992 - Signed an agreement for a new fragrance with Gal. Designed a collection of "Dress Watches" for Swatch and met Tintoretto, which led her to a new line of work in 1995. Began designing several lines of clothing for El Corte Ingles.
  • 1994 - Agatha Ruiz de la Prada presented her collection at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.
  • 1995 - Organised the road show "Absolut Ruiz de la Prada" with Absolut Vodka and exhibited her work "A tribute to Chillida" at the Reina Sofia Museum.

  • 1997 - Launched her first line of pyjamas for women and men at the Salón Gaudí Show. Launched her second fragrance and designed a line of ceramics and furniture. Took part in Casa Decor and in a collective fashion show in Washington.
  • 1998 - Presented her collection "Canary Islands, the Flowers of Paradise", in Paris. Presented a wedding dress made out of porcelain at the IVAM in Valencia. Launched her first and very successful line of stationary products.
  • 1999 - Opened her first store in Paris and designed her first home clothing and bathing line, including socks, glasses... even radiators and light-switches!
  • 2001 - Agatha participated in the Children's fashion show, Pitti Imagine Bimbo in Florence, and has continuously done so, the only foreign designer to present her fashion show there. Launched a layette and baby toys line.
  • 2002 - Launched her collection of baby, girls and women's shoes and a line of aromatic candles.

  • 2003 - Presented her first two men's collections at the "Pasarela Gaudí" catwalk. Designed a bathroom supplies line, paddle racquet collection, computer games, pet-accessorises and jewellery. Opened a new store in Oporto (Portugal), followed by new store openings in Milan, Madrid and Santiago de Chile. Expanded her distribution to the United States, South America and Korea.
  • 2004 - Agatha Ruiz de la Prada is awarded the Fashion Oscar in Italy, for best foreign designer. Launched her women's perfumes in Moscow and exhibited several of her outfits in a Moscow art gallery. Exhibited one of her picture catalogues at the IVAM in homage to several great artists.
  • 2005 - Presented new collections such as a cosmetic line produced by Gal, teenage furniture, mobile phone accessories and launched her fragrance "Corazón" in France and the United States. Presented her fashion collection in Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, and Florence.

  • 2006 - Agatha Ruiz de la Prada expanded her licenses to paints, mattresses, a collection of children's furniture and children's playgrounds. Presented her collection of bridal gowns at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Designed a mobile phone for Vodafone and collaborated with renowned companies such as Osborne, UNICEF and Greenpeace.
  • 2007 - Presented a collection of ski clothes and accessories in Madrid and Milan. Launched a new line of bathroom items. Received an homage for her 25 years in the fashion industry (in Burgos, Spain) in the presence of 25 of the most relevant Spanish designers. Still in Burgos, she inaugurated an exhibition of objects designed by her throughout the last 25 years.
  • During the NY fashion week 2007, and for the first time in her career, Agatha presented her own show room for her new S/S 2008 collection. Agatha launched a new line of technological items which included an MP3, MP4 and digital frames. She also included a new fragrance, "Beso", to her line of personalized perfumes. Awarded "Colombia es Pasion", for her support of young Colombian designers. Awarded "Prix de la Moda" by Marie Claire for the best professional trajectory. Awarded "Top Glamour" by Glamour magazine for the best designer of the year and the "New Yorker" Award by the Spain US Chamber of Commerce.

    • 2008 - Agatha designed a doll to be auctioned to raise funds for UNICEF. Great brands such as Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton did likewise. At the initiative of Pret a Porter Paris, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada also designed a suit for a themed exhibition that combined High Tech and Fashion. This exhibition was displayed in the windows of Galeries Lafayette until the 26th of December.
    • 2009 - Awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts 2008. Named an Ambassador of Fashion. Presented her new perfume "Oh la la!" in a Vogue event. Awarded the medal of merit in Fine Arts by King Juan Carlos.
    • 2010 - Agatha Ruiz de la Prada received the Spanish nobility titles, Marchioness of Castelldosríus, Grandee of Spain as well as Baroness of Santa Pau after the death of her Uncle (She has been responsible for a proposed law that men and women be equal in succession to titles of nobility)

    This collection is more than a little typical of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (I think, from now on, it shall be referred to ARDLP - we have reached the point where I would believe it impossible that you did not know what I was going on about) Prime example of la Movida Espanol, ARDLP is a beam of sunshine in international design. Eccentric, confident and innovative, the designer deploys all her originality into brightly coloured confections, non-conforming to traditional aspects of clothing.
    Her recurring motifs include crescent moons, suns, stars and, of course, hearts. Her collections are testament to the dynamic and seemingly optimistic world which she presents to her public. With her originality, style and involvement in every element of design, she is one of the great personalities of La Movida espagnole. The designer who defines herself as being of an "independent, creative and idealistic" character, evolves apparently obliviously to the diktats of international fashion. Nothing stops her, she paints a vividly coloured world into every field of creative design!

    If it is not already apparent, then I shall explain my reasoning for calling this 'The Bubblegum Clan'. Although there are clothes of more sobre colours like navy and burgundy, there is overall a great use of pretty pastels (so maybe she isn't completely oblivious to the rest of the fashion world) and the lovely masks on the models faces reminded me of animated children's films I used to watch where the bubblegum would pop in somebody's face, covering them in a thin sheet of pink rubber stuff. Yes, the artistry here is clearly greater, and less spontaneous, but one cannot deny that it bears a strong likeness to those images. 

    I really cannot help really lusting after the big burgundy coat. Not really the style I generally go for... but it's so big and burgundy and plush-y and it looks so comfortable and warm! (And I thought comfort would never be high on my list of requirements)

     Thank you for reading. This is more something to ease me back into posting, but there should be a few personal style posts and cutting wit and fashion analysis coming up.
    (I may also, in passing, introduce you to one of my new procrastination obsessions.)
    Do comment and Please Follow!
    I may do a few more tit-bits of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada collections in the future, so if you want to see more outfits of this type, stayed tuned.

    Footnote: La Movida Madrileña is personified by well-known figures in music, film, design, graphics and cartoon, but it is also felt in other aspects of culture as well as social mores. It represented the emergence of the post-Franco Spanish identity and the resurgence of the economy, from 1975 onwards but most noticeably in the 1980s. Although begotten in the Spanish capital, it emerged likewise in Barcelona and most other Spanish cities. It was characterised by an appearance of hedonism, freedom of expression, defiance of taboos which had been forcibly imposed by the Franco Regime, use of recreational drugs and a new spirit of freedom in the streets. The director, Almodovar is considered one of the figureheads of the movement.