19 Mar 2009

I'm a Barbie Girl

Question: what do you get when you cross a group of creative couture talent with the landmark birthday of one of the world's most famous fashion icons?
Answer: Barbie fever.

Barbie, the woman has needs no introduction, (and no surname), turned 50 earlier this year, and the fashion world has been turning out in full force to celebrate. In February, New York Fashion Week went Barbie mad, with 50 of New York's hottest designers, including Calvin Klein and Vera Wang, sending Barbie inspired outfits down a real life catwalk. And now, a selection of high profile designers, including British talent Danielle Scutt, Roksanda Illincic, and hot London based designer, Henry Holland, have collaborated with Mattel to make swatch size outfits to go on sale as new additions to Barbie's wardrobe.

Though both Danielle and Roksanda's outfits are stunning in their miniature grandeur, my favourite offering has to be Henry's checked skirt suit ensemble, inspired by his A/W 08 collection. Though Henry admits to using his sisters Barbie's for target practice as a child, he says that now he feels that dressing Barbie is an honour, as if he were dressing a famous celebrity. But while Henry loves Barbie's iconic look, he certainly hasn't stinted in dolling out his signature House of Holland style, drenching all of Barbie's 11 and a half inches with Brit cool. Decked in a purple check, pleated mini kilt, with a matching cropped tweed jacket and grey jacket, Barbie looks edgy and cool, her long, painted lashed hidden behind a statement eye patch made from the same fabric as the suit.

Henry even hacked off Barbie's long locks with a pair of shears, transforming Barbie into a mini Agyness Deyn, with a choppy blond bob. Though this style is reminiscient of the childhood hair cuts rebellious little girls treated their Barbies to, the difference is, this is one hair style Barbie won't ask her hairdresser to fix.

Holland's Barbie, along with other designer collaborations with Mattel, and a whole host of avant-garde Barbie memorabilia, will be on sale in April, in a temporary Barbie pop-up shop in Dover Street Market. With Barbie fever spreading fast, resistance to the lure of her charming smile and enviable wardrobe is futile, and visiting this mini Barbie boutique is mandatory. Though with each doll priced at over £180 each, frugal fashionistas might be wise to save their pennies and grab a life size piece of the Barbie inspired action instead.

16 Mar 2009

My Wardrobe My Life

Don't worry, I'm not normally this much of a poser, but when my amazing photography student friend, (who also took these) asked me to model for her portfolio, I was happy to oblige. Asked to dress in a way that was 'casual and laid back', but also 'original and distinctively me', this is what I came up with; one of my favourite outfits that encapsulates my idea of casual.

This collarless white shirt is a Topshop bargain, a go-with-anything wardrobe staple that adds a touch of effortless cool to any outfit. Originally bought to dress down a ladylike skirt from H&M for a university interview, this shirt is a new addition to my wardrobe, but is fast becoming a favourite. I love the chic feel of the bracelet length sleeves and the pintuck ruffles on the bib, while the simple cut and soft, flannel fabric gives a folksy feel. When I wear this shirt I feel a bit like a hippie songstress, teamed with a quirky 'bird in a cage' pendent necklace (Accessorize), natural make up and sixties eyes, all I need is an acoustic guitar ...

I wore the shirt with my favourite pair of Topshop skinny jeans. My first pair of skinnies, I've had these grey/indigo jeans since I was 14, and even though they're starting to loose their shape, they're so comfortable that I refuse to trade them in for a new pair. I love wearing these jeans with this brown mini check waistcoat from H&M, another wardrobe oldie, this waistcoat is a versatile goldie. With mini cloth covered buttons and pocket watch pockets, this waistcoat has a suitably 'old mannish' feel about it, like a farmers flat cap, while the satin inner lining adds a luxurious touch.
To finish the outfit off I added a humbug striped straw trilby. An absolute steal from H&M menswear, this trilby is perfect for giving a masculine, day time touch to flirty, feminine outfits that are a bit too girly for my taste on their own. Despite being permanently affixed to my head last summer and getting doused in beer at Underage Festival last year, this hat still comes up good and has held it's title as one of the most flattering things in my wardrobe. Nnow that spring is in the air, I can't wait to make it a wardrobe regular all over again.

11 Mar 2009

It Takes Two

Previously an outsider in the world of designer footwear, 2009 has signalled the much deserved coming of age for Brazilian shoe label 'Melissa' with two high profile collaborations with Brit queen of punk style, Vivienne Westwood, and Iraqi/British architect, Zaha Hadid.

Known for her wild footwear, perhaps most famously the sky scrapper platforms that a young Naomi Campbell fell over in on the catwalk, Vivienne might have been an obvious collaborator, but, to me at least, her designs are unexpected. If you're expecting post-punk Dr Marten style boots, or stilt like platforms, you might be shocked by Vivienne's lady like heels and pumps. Part of Vivienne's Anglomania label, these shoes comes in four styles, heart detail 'Lady Dragon' heels, t-bar Mary Jane's (shown in green and fuchsia), three strapped flats, (shown in blue), and 'ultragirl' peep toe pumps, (shown in red). All the styles come in a variety of colour combinations, here are my favourite, but for the full range check out the Melissa collection.

While Vivienne's shoes are undeniably gorgeous, (I'm in love with those white heels with the red heart), Zaha Hadid' s are also incredible. A visionary architect, whos most famous projects include the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Ohio, and the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Zaha Hadid is one of the few high profile women in the world of architecture, and certainly the most fashionable. The influence of her deconstructivist architectural style is obvious in her designs, with each shoe looking as fascinating and futuristic as the buildings that have no doubt inspired them. I love the fact that these shoes propose an interesting marriage between fashion and industrial design, but at the same time are incredibly wearable, not to be left unworn in a box, like Hadid's architectural works, these shoes are for living in. And, lets face it, how cool would it be to walk down the street wearing a piece of cutting edge architecture with your jeans?

So futuristic, so brilliantly cool, just beware when wearing them in the sun: side effects may include bizarre tan lines.

10 Mar 2009

A Very Fashionable Weekend

London fashion week has been and gone, and for us lesser mortals, without press badges or socialite status, to only way to grab a slice of the action is through tickets to London Fashion Weekend; and on saturday that is exactly what a very fashionable friend and I did. Held at a specially built site on the grounds of the Natural History Museum in Kensington, LFWeekend is part trade fair, part fashion showcase. With two floors of fashion stalls, selling clothes, but mainly bags and accessories by independent designers, as well as some bigger names, LFWeekend is a great opportunity for style stalker to grab some goodies with a favourable discount.

Impoverished as I am after America, I was a good girl and managed to resist splashing out, and though I was tempted by a pink floral hair clip from Anna Lou of London, and a Lulu Guinness umbrella, (a bargain at £15), I contented myself with my freebies. That's right. Freebies.

Okay, so it wasn't a total freebie, but with my ticket I got a copy of Elle magazine and an Elle goodie bag, which included an Elizabeth Arden eyeliner, perfume sampler, bikini, bag of Lavazza coffee (my coffee of choice and sponsor of the event), a selection of snacks and a twittered about box of luxury tampons ... no, I don't know why either.

Though I appreciated my bag of goodies, a bag of Snack a Jacks proving a useful mid-morning snack, the real highlight of the day was, of course, the fashion show.

Styled by Toni and Guy, and Elizabeth Arden, and held on the same catwalk trod by top designers and globe trotting supermodels earlier in the week, the show featured four mini collections comprised of a variety of pieces by different designers that were styled together to comply to an overall feel or trend.

The four 'scenes' were; American Idol, (think trailer trash, bleached denim and cutoffs), with jeans and shorts by Siwy, tops by Asish and Camilla Starerk and over sized bows by Johnny Loves Rosies. Domestic Goddess (Desperate Housewives with more bright colours and sheer), with shoes by Melissa and Office, and outfits from Osman Yousefzada, Matthew Williamson, Tommy Hilfiger and Ossie Clark. African Queen (tribal prints balanced out with body-con structuring, for which I felt appropriately dressed in an Aztec print body con skirt), with Kurt Geiger shoes, Sam Uni and Malene Birger jewellery, and outfits by Matthew Williamson, Jaeger, Ann-Sofie, American Retro and Aminka Wilmont. Ethereal Nude, (sexy but girly sheer fabrics and nude tones), with nudity expertly de-pornified by Ashley Isham, Areangel, Jasper Conran, Jacob Kimmie and Issa, and balanced out with Swarovski Runway Rocks.

The only downside? There were two queues leading into the catwalks, my friend and I joined the shorter queue early and stood near the front of the line for twenty minutes, only when the doors were opened, everyone in the other queue was let in before us, so people that had only just rocked up managed to grab front row seats while our diligence was rewarded with seats five rows back from the catwalk, and to add insult to injury, I was seated behind the only guy in the audience, a six foot something with spiked up hair. I did manage to get quite good view though, and even grabbed a couple of snaps, though most of them are quite blurry, (considering the shoes they're wearing, models move surprisingly fast), here are a few of my hot picks from the catwalk, in order of appearance.Look out for my favourite outfits of the day, a blue sheer blouse and harem pant set from the 'Domestic Goddess' scene, and a pair of short tribal dresses from the 'African Queen' look:

The show was great, and afterwards we ventured out into a beautiful day, and enjoyed a long lunch at Italian restaurant Zizzi, followed by a stroll along the Southbank that lead us to the Tate Modern. Here we spend the hours between afternoon and evening hanging out on bright blue and yellow metal bunk beds at Dominique Gonzales-Foerster's dystopian installation, discussing art, politics, society, and whether my make up made me look a bit like Julia Robert's prostitute best friend in Pretty Women or not.

A very fashionable day. And a fashionably late write up post.

4 Mar 2009

Gareth Pugh, we love yugh

After wowing fashion week crowds in A/W 2008, with his unique 'tribal-cyber-goth' look, this season hot Brit talent, Gareth Pugh merged 'futuristic' with 'period costume' to create yet another distinctive and astoundingly creative collection. At fourteen Gareth found an outlet for his creative talents working a costume designer for the English National Youth Theatre, and so it's not surprising that his latest collection reflects elements of historical design, with giant over sized ruffs, billowing layers of silk, ruffles, strings of pearls attached to gloves, and armour inspired shapes, mixed to perfection with futuristic fashion; spaceship white platforms, vent like rips, and elbow length claw like gloves.

Most interesting of all is Pugh's use of colour, or rather lack of it. With each of his model's sporting head to toe monochrome, (white on the front and black on the back of each outfit), Pugh took the focus away from colour and print, and allowed the incredible structure and construction of his clothes to take the lime light. And rightly so, these final pieces of his collection are simply amazing.

Though his creations are stunning, Pugh's pieces are not known for everyday wear ability, but a spread in the March issue of UK Vogue should help to change this, showing the versatility of Pugh's eye catching platforms, striped leggings and gloves, and their ability to add more than just a touch of spice to any wardrobe. If my budget would allow it, Pugh's striped mini gloves and fingerless elbow length gloves would take pride of place on my arms this spring, and, truth be told, I wouldn't mind giving those ruffled leggings a go either ...

2 Mar 2009

Lets Get Physical

Spring is coming, and with it so are new season resolutions of getting fit in time for summer. While the idea of getting fit might ring the alarm bells that sound just before an American Apparel blow out, (neon leotards and legwarmers anyone?), getting fit doesn't have to mean getting funky, especially if Chanel has anything to do with it. For the park avenue princess desperate to tone up but wouldn't been seen dead in spandex, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with Chanel's line of sports accessories that promise to keep you looking Parisian chic even when you're breaking a sweat.

We all love Chanel, but aren't CC logo tennis rackets, dumbbells and, wait for it, fishing rods taking it a bit far? Well, if Chanel can make sport look this appealing, obviously not. This super cute pink racket is even more appealing than a sexy tennis coach, and was styled by Vogue with tennis superstar Maria Sharaprova last year, and if it's good enough for her ...
While I can't imagine many Chanel devotees getting down and dirty in a game of American football too often, Chanel gives a nod to all the couture tom-boys, and metrosexual jocks out there with a pig skin American football, adorned with the brand's iconic logo. Created in limited supply in 2007, these babies might be oldies, but as far as brand mania goes, they're goldies.

I taken by the kitch but chic feel of all these sporting pieces, but my personal favourite from the collection has to be Chanel bike, the perfect way for the pearl laden eco warrior to travel from shop to shop. This is the transportation equivalent of a 2.55, as understated as a Bentley and as luxurious as a Porshe, only without the carbon footprint and with considerably more quilting. Right now all I can say is , does anyone know where I can get a Chanel bowling ball?

26 Feb 2009

I love Love

It's official: Clothes Before Hoes is back in town. After a week larging in New York and DC, I'm back. Jet lagged and broke thanks to a trip to Fifth Avenue, I've spend the last few days catching up on coursework and planning my detox, I hate fasting, but after sampling the delights of every deli/burger bar I set eyes on, I really need to. But jet lag and extra pounds aside, I'm still buzzing from the lights of Times Square, the stunning view from the Empire State building, and the culture of DC. A hippie at heart, I love to travel, and after my first trip stateside, I'm itching to go back. So ... any offers to pay for my flight?

The last week as not only been amazing for me, it's also been an incredible week in the world of fashion, with the Brits Awards, Grammies, Baftas and Oscars showcasing the creme de la creme of contemporary couture, and fashion week rocking up on both sides of the Atlantic. I might have missed a lot in the fashion world this week, but one thing I've been certain not to miss is the debut issue of hot new fashion magazine, 'Love'.

'Fashion and fame' is Love in a mission statement, and is brought to us by the Conde Nast publishing house, home of Vogue and Glamour. Flicking through it's first issue, Love is like the cool twenty year old daughter of Tatler and Harper's. Reminiscent of Nylon magazine, Love is a a mixture of fashion, art and pop culture, with more than just a dash of celebrity and society thrown into the mix, served up with Agy D posing as the Queen in a stunning Lanvin dress.I'm loving it's look, lots of bright colours, swirly fonts and beautiful fashion photograghy, as well as its feel, with big, thick pages that make it worthy of even the most fashionable coffee tables. But what I love most about it is it's front cover girl, the punk singer who's known as much for her unconventional image as she is for her music; Beth Ditto. Fashion has long been surrounded by the controversial body image issues generated by the 'size zero' debate, and a world of emaciated models, I think it's refreshing to see a high profile magazine take such a positive stand and place such an unconventional icon on their cover. By the way, did I mention that she's naked?

That's right, daring to bare a few centimetres short of everything, Beth's photo shoot reveals the singer flaunting her body, underarm hair and all. Choosing to adorn her body in with custom made couture by Gareth Pugh and Louis Vuitton, and at times, with nothing at all, Beth's unashamed confidence is the perfect antidote to idolisation of unrealistic, anorexic bodies.

Another reason why I love Love? It features those amazing Loewe hats, not once, but twice; I'm sensing a Love and Clothes Before Hoes style connection! So what are you waiting for, go and grab your copy!