Jo Can Draw, All Right

Why in the world don't more editorials play around with illustrations? When Vogue first began, it only had illustrations for its covers, and some of those were stunning. I get that i-D has a funda of championing portrait-style photography so they can't do the crazy crazy photograph-say-hello-to-drawing thing and I respect that, I just wish the marginally more mainstream publications would try it out a bit.
A lot of people I know find the idea of fashion funny, and editorials showcasing clothes etc even funnier, but the picture on top in an odd way reminds me of why I love it- it might look ridiculous and maybe it won't ever relate to real life, but it's just absurd and mad and funny and spooky and beautiful all at once. Or at least it can be those things. And I wouldn't mind having the top hat (star printed like the picture, if possible) to play dress-up with.
Since credit must be given where credit is due, the pictures are by Jo Ratcliffe, and were published in Lula magazine last year or the year before last. They're asolutely stunning, methinks.


This Isn't Fair!

Why won't my fringe do cool things with itself like the one in the picture? Or is it just the result of picturegirl's being cutely blonde and photogenic? I'll pass on the first since I like my hair being black and blonde Indians just look ridiculous, but I really would not mind being the second.
Note to self: trim fringe more often. Intended effect of it is Emily Strange, but actual effect ends up being more like Chewbacca. And it can't be grown out because then my mad eyebrows will be on display along with my lopsided hairline. Stupid hair...
(picture from Orchid Killer)



London Fashion Week is over (the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection was pure cuteness, but I'm not commenting on it, there are enough people to do that- those flippy little skirts! Those layers! That whole collection, so much more fun than his pointy-collared New York one!). This post is actually just the result of plain surprise at the last show of that week I'd expect to have liked.
I never thought this would happen. Past expressions of my feelings in re: Indian designers and the clothes they put out have, for the most part, been ones of ho hum and plain annoyance at the tacky, over-embellished rubbish that gets put on runways, more often than not grossly overpriced to the level where I once converted some prices into GBP and $ and found that some crappy wannabe-trendy skirt from some idiot out of NIFT was going for the same price as a Chanel clutch. And while I am a skirtgirl to the core (poofy, crazy, pretty, bring ‘em on!), I still know which one of the two I’d rather have. About the only Indian designer who ever managed to fire my interest to any degree was Sabyasachi Mukherjee, mainly because he was the first one to actually acknowledge the idea that a brain might be something a woman would actually like to acknowledge having when she gets dressed. All the others seem to be lehnga-designing Punjus targeting fat cat daddy-of-the-bride types, and while that’s fine, it still means I’m happier rooting around for my clothes on a streetside or in a basement than in a shop because I don’t want to wear anything that looks even remotely like what’s up there. Like ‘Indian design’ has to be synonymous with gratuitiously garish, badly-styled and just plain fugly. Or folksy and ethnic and again, a bit blah.
Which is why I am, to put this politely, gobsmacked on getting a look at the pictures of Manish Arora’s show at London Fashion Week. I wasn’t such a fan of last season’s look or of his work in general, it was a little too calculated and gimmicky to really seem fun, but by George, if this is what a few seasons in London leads homegrown designers (ours) to produce, I can only say: Mr. Arora, STAY THERE! I looked at it expecting more trash, but it’s great to the level of being stupendous- at least on the runway, since I am not looking at the clothes up close and (insert sniff and sigh) won’t have the chance to do so. It isn’t embroidery-piled-on crap, the stuff actually looks potentially flattering not to mention massive loads of fun to wear (grey, nasty winter days can’t possibly seem so nasty if one of those mad prints is on you). He actually seems to be looking at what's going on around him (latex leggings- I swear I saw those somewhere else too) instead of going off on some bizarro aimed-at-Bollywood trip, and the 60s-ish shapes and subdued-but-shiny (subdued compared to last time, anyway) prints are gorgeous. And I covet those gold shoes, though not as much as I do Queen Michelle’s gold Oxfords on Kingdom of Style.
Maybe they should just import the entire Indian design lot to London and keep them there. If they can’t make actual wearables, I’m sure there are enough and more NRIs in the market for a Bollywoody wedding lehnga to keep them all afloat.



So much for hope, I guess. The pictures from Biba are out, and all it looks like is as if they stuck the spring/summer dresses in a vat of grey dye and threw on a few random coats and jackets. Though I really do think I love that dress, the sleeves are adorable as is the flippy skirt and tie neck, and the shock of yellow in that black suit on the right isn't bad at all, but I just don't feel fired up or even interested in the rest of the collection- the two pictures here are what I thought were the best of the lot. While Marc Jacobs's collection might have sucked as far as the pointy shoulders and collars went (you could use one of his collars as an assault weapon, it was that sharp), at least it was good for the rest (hats, check. Gloves, check. Shoes, check. I'm not a big fan of bags so we can leave those out of the equation). And lovely yummy garnet-reds and purples, it all looked a bit like Prada/Miu Miu SS 2007 but I liked that. I'd wear the dress with the white ruffle at the collar any day. At least Biba's last collection had lovely shoes. This lot just bores me.

It's Funny

I hate slogan t-shirts. They are among the stupidest things imaginable on this planet, and the only people who should wear them are people possessed of supreme self-confidence or extreme stupidity. And that holds good for House of Holland's 'fashion groupie' t-shirts of last year too. I liked the neon boldness of the lettering, but I don't have the courage to walk around with a request for the big boss at Dior Homme to cause me pain splattered across my chest. But I still think they're really funny ("Give us a tickle, Richard Nicoll"!?)
latest House of Holland show followed more or less the same track, only this time the slogans are ruder than ever and they're about the models. And am I the only one who finds it hilarious that three of the models named on the t-shirts were part of the show? (top left: rude t-shirt about Behati Prinsloo. Top right: Behati Prinsloo) Plus, I rather fancy those shoes of theirs, and the pattern of the lettering across Behati's t-shirt is rather cool-looking. Henry Holland may be, as his t-shirt declared at the end of the show, a one-trick pony, but it's still a funny trick. For now, anyway.
And now I really want to get a look at what's happening at Biba..pictures should be out by the end of the day. I shall just add a gushing/snarky comment as the clothes deserve, and put a few up.


As Requested

Sketchy, highly inadequate explanation of bits and pieces of the last post- namely, the names.
Paul Smith: Brit designer of the old school, has a penchant for making boy-style clothes for women. A little preppy, but I don't think I've liked anyone else's blazers as much.
Margaret Howell: again, Brit designer of the old(ish) school. She specialises in (as far as I can tell) shirts. Especially variations of white shirts. Her clothes are never crazy, loud or unwearable, and neither are they revolutionary, but I still love them.
Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design: Pulp's Common People name-checked this place (specifically, the sculpture programme and possibly because Jarvis Cocker went here) College located in London from which most Brit designers I know of seem to have spent their student years, including the above-mentioned Paul Smith, and a fair few of the names mentioned below (John Galliano, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Hussein Chalayan, Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen). Their student shows are usually worth watching (for me, that's via Vogue or YouTube when I can get that) for general student craziness, shock value, and (their alumni list is ample proof), talent too.
Gareth Pugh: last year's boy ingenue from Central St Martin's. Bases his outfits on 80s performance artist Leigh Bowery, as seen below. Looks highly impractical and flat-out unwearable, but I do like the fact that this man has fun with the clothes he makes. And I think he does make the occasional bit of conventional clothing (very well, too, from what I hear)
Christopher Kane: Central St Martin's latest boy ingenue. Has showed only one collection at (London) Fashion Week so far (Spring/Summer 2007, which happened in September/October of last year), which wasn't bad though I wouldn't dare to put it on anyone without the legs of a baby giraffe. More interesting than the tightness and shortness was the fact of his mixing neons with neutrals (see picture in the last post), I thought. I could possibly translate that to screaming yellow shoelaces on my beaten and abused old blue-turned-grey Converses since that's all the courage and experimentalism I have, but I'd still want to try it.
Vivienne Westwood: That's Dame Vivienne Westwood, the lady in the incredibly short cape and red hair above. Was married to Malcolm McLaren (and here comes the music angle), manager of the Sex Pistols, in the 1970s, and ran a boutique with him in London. I think the band actually wore stuff from her boutique, too. Also (and this is why I admire her) one of the few people working in fashion who is openly political, and puts that into her (very beautiful, if somewhat crazy at times) clothes. I actually can't think of anyone else who would launch a line of t-shirts with the slogan I Am Not A Terrorist, Please Don't Arrest Me on them, and make the lot cool. I mean, I hate slogan t-shirts as signs of intellectual retardedness, but I would wear one of hers. And not because it's one of hers.
Stella McCartney: daughter of the Beatle. Somehow I think it wouldn't have made too much of a difference even if she wasn't. Took over one ailing French fashion house fresh out of St Martin's, turned it around,then quit to start her own label before she was 30- made a roaring success out of that too, and I can see very well why. Her clothes are almost consistently lovely, though she does go a little overboard with the layering and deconstruction at times. Not often, though.
John Galliano: Head of design at Christian Dior. Equal parts genius and madcap, and really likes dressing up. Really, google him. The great interpipe can explain him easier than I can.
Alexander McQueen: Former head of design at Givenchy, former enfant terrible too (the younger Brit art and design lot seem to be a succession of those)- caused a bit of a stir with his student collection, I won't go into the details but he did quite a job (from what I've seen in pictures) with the shock value angle of things (the trousers he made for some early-on collection of his were called bumsters). He doesn't do the shock value so much any more, though- and his clothes are among the most exquisite things I have ever seen up close (one jacket. Don't ask how)
Hussein Chalayan: Designer with ethnic origins in Cyprus, easily one of the great innovators of the modern age. Takes inspiration for the clothes he designs from furniture and buildings among other things, but is still capable of making clothes that look exquisitely wearable even if they're not as mind-boggling. Finished off his last show in Paris with a dress (pictured above) that, using some insane contraptions featuring invisible levers and pulleys and other mechanical stuff, collapsed from being this big poofy-skirted old-fashioned dress, to the next thing to a modern shift. The model's hat changed, too- and she didn't move through the whole operation. I have to settle for putting up two pictures here, but the video of the dress transforming was one of the most amazing things I have seen in years and the kind of thing even my sick, cynical soul would give a standing ovation to if I'd been lucky enough to witness it live.
Biba: 60s London superstore that ended up defining the style of the city back then. Possibly the first store anywhere in the Anglophone world to make sure that the words cheap and cool didn't contradict each other. Opened in 1965, people went nuts about it for ten years and then it shut down in 1975- bankruptcy from selling the clothes so cheap, perhaps? Has now been revived (as of the last set of Fashion Weeks) as a premium-price label whose main function seems to be to feed off the old (and cheap) Biba's retro-cool image and people's nostalgia for it.
Barbara Hulanicki: the woman who, with her husband, set up the aforementioned superstore, working on the funda that you didn't need to be rich to look good.
Irina Lazareanu: the girl with that fringe in two pictures below. Is a model with seriously sharp personal style, and (it never hurts) a face and fringe, not to mention extremely skinny figure, that make her look like a live version of Emily Strange. I don't care for most models, but I do find this one's face rather appealing.


Ah, London

I'm a bit of a nut, to be honest. I like work, but I'd be the first to admit that if someone offered me a job scrubbing the floors at a magazine office (provided, of course, that the magazine in question is one along the lines of Vogue UK or i-D, Nylon, Purple, Another, so on), I'd chuck law school down its drain and head straight for the mops. And I would actually love to have an internship- even a law internship- that places my feet firmly on the pavements of London for this particular week of the year, simply because it means that I'll be breathing the air in which Fashion Week is happening. It's an odd thing, London Fashion Week. While New York and Milan, for the most part, put out pretty, easy, highly-wearable clothes that I tend to covet on sight, London, to be honest, is a bit of a hotch-potch. A hotch-potch that I'd throw myself headfirst at, given the chance, but still really crazy. It isn't always instant likeability, but I love the way the shows get balanced between designers like Paul Smith and Margaret Howell (whose work, to be honest, is ninety percent of the reason I'll always feel my prettiest in a boy's shirt), who are all old-school and not into being revolutionary but who still have their design fundas and stick to them, and the madcaps from Central St Martin's who are out showing for the very first time and who can be amazing if I'm not going "Bleargh, fluorescent yellow!" (prime example of the latter: Christopher Kane (above, right). Neon and lace. Together. Who'd have thought?), and mad-as- hatters looking stuff from people like Gareth Pugh (above, left). It's all a little strange sometimes, but in some ways the place is actually prime stomping ground for genius. Genius that almost inevitably tends to move to other, less random, more commercially oriented fashion weeks or shuts shop in a season or two for lack of financial backing, but mark my words, ye few who read them, pure brilliance nonetheless. Some of the best ones of the last twenty years- including Vivienne Westwood (though she goes back a lot more than twenty years, and I swear I will post about her sometime- if I wore hats more often, I would take off mine in deference to this woman), John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Hussein Chalayan and Stella McCartney got their start in London, either as students or because they opened their first shops there. And even though none of them show in London any more, it isn't a tragedy because there is always new talent to watch. And I would dearly love to see some of that, firsthand. Just one of those 'I was there' things, I guess. And I really do want to get a look at Biba's collection for the season. Never mind that it's so grotesquely overpriced now that Barbara Hulanicki all but disowned it, I still liked some of the looks they had for Spring/Summer '07 and I really fancy the outfit down on the right (or could it be that I fancy Irina Lazareanu's fringe and general air of doll-faced, fascinating coolness? My own fringe is a pale wannabe of that, I just end up looking a bit sheepdog-like but it's too much of a pain growing it out- I like to keep my eyebrows hidden)

I just figured out while typing, why I like the idea of the place so much. London Fashion Week is the fashion week of angle. Hardcore fashion angle, no less, and unlike India Fashion Week, where people know jack shit about cutting or fitting clothes and think the best way to get around that is by piling embroidery on the garments and saying it's a homage to the country's textile crafts, the faff is a lot more fun and I'd willingly wear even the crazier clothes, leg shape and hip width be damned. I have a feeling college would have liked them. And I'm watching for the pictures, A/W 07-08 is only a day and a bit in after all and even the trusty old Vogue UK site doesn't have any yet. And that cleaning job? Make it scrubbing the runways.


Because Old Favourites Are Just Fun

Possibly my favourite piece of music of all time. Just a little different from its usual self though.

The William Tell Overture


We're Creepy And We're Kooky

I loved The Addams Family as a kid (the Cartoon Network animated series, that is- and also the movies), so it was quite a nice surprise to see the following picture on Style Bubble. Like Thing found itself a mate on your shoulder :)

Personally, I'm not that fond of the outfit apart from the hands, I'd have liked it if the top was looser or if the hands came attached to something drapey and not so fitted. Or, if you wanted to be Morticia Addams (with Thing on your shoulder), perching the hands on a long flowy black dress would be perfectly in order.

Blah blah blah

Fashion Weeks are now well underway...the one in New York has started, but I'm not reviewing anything mainly because I'm really bad at it. My appreciation of collections often stops at "that's really pretty, but my ass will look huge so no way on earth am I wearing anything like it" or "I want (but can't ever have)!" so attempting to give angle on the subject just won't work. So I'll just go off into what I want to be wearing today instead of what I actually am wearing (black parka-ish jacket, navy blue t-shirt, black mildly flared and still unflattering trousers, black ballet flats with little cartoon birds on them, and orange socks). So today I would like
1) a Powerpuff Girls t-shirt with Buttercup on the front (the pissed-off looking green-eyed one, remember?), over
2) My black, mildly tulip-shaped knee-length skirt which always ends up turning back to front when I spend an hour sitting down in it
3) My beatup black boots
4) A parka. Like a whopping big, fuzzy-inside-the-hood parka whose hood when put up won't make me look like Kenny from South Park.
5) And, since I'm not out of it yet......fishnets. In pink this time, though. Bright, really bright pink.
6) My mum's nude pinkish lipstick. I've worn lip gloss since the age of eleven, and owned it in every conceivable flavour, but lipstick is just something I can't take because it just looks so like, well, makeup. Except for this particular shade of Clinique (or was it Bourjois??) lipstick, which matched the colour of my unmadeup mouth so perfectly, my friends couldn't tell I had it on. Which is, as far as I'm concerned, an excellent quality for any cosmetic to possess.
7) Sparkly blue polish on my fingernails (also toenails. So what if they can't be seen?), and
8) A parasol. One of the ridiculous decorative affairs in the picture below, if possible- I particularly fancy the blue ones and am feeling a wee bit like Mary Poppins today. Or something frilly and pretty would do just as nicely, I want to twirl it.


Guitar Girl

If all guitars looked like this (scrub the name off, though) I'd have run away from school long ago, learned how to play it and then joined a shouty, sparkly-nailed girl band like the fictional Mellowstar in an attempt to emulate Shirley Manson. But I'd skip the Jolly Roger top, wear my old Harmony t-shirt with the poofy new black tutu-type skirt I bought last week, keep drainpipes on underneath since the skirt is just too short to be seen out in public, and green Converses. Like, moss-green ones, not the achy bright green I keep seeing in the shops. Add a tiara, replace the laces on the shoes with a pair in fluoro green or yellow and we're good to go. Less of the fingers-up and more of the tongue-out grinning raspberry to the world, but still good to go.
(Picture pinched off I Hate Generic)

About Me

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.