Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Luxe For Less

I just heard that when Gucci CEO Domenico de Sole left the company in 2004, he was bequeathed an 18-carat white gold Gucci discount card - with no expiration date - as a leaving gift.

I mean, how do you beat that?

Dresses At Dawn

A lot is being made of Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson's recent similar outfits in the same colour, no less, at an appearance to promote their new film.

This was then followed by them both being dressed by Giorgio Armani in his Couture label Armani Privé, in silhouettes again created in very similar hues.

Who knows if these "fashion malfunctions" were accidental or not, but who - quite frankly - really cares, when  the result is simply stunning?

Gwyneth looked young and fresh, even though she was wearing hand-made Couture, that usually gives off the opposite effect.

Hands up to Armani!

Fashion Plays On The A-Team

The Eighties are one of the most influential decades in fashion, influenced themselves not just by the fashion designers of its day, but by film, art, and even television.

Who could forget the killer shoulder pads and the multicoloured eye-shadows in Dynasty and Dallas? 

The wardrobe of another hit TV series is another big fashion reference, particularly with regard to the current military trend: A-Team.

And now you too can enjoy those combat outfits all over again, as the remake comes to a big screen near you, soon.

Who wants to see a modern take on Mr. T's layered gold jewellery? I do!

Here's a little preview of the updated outfits and soundtrack we knew and loved:

A-team Official Trailer

Shoe Time

How gorgeous are these Valentino shoes by Philip Treacy?

Some shoes are not just impressive feats of engineering, they are also little works of art.

Un Amèricain à Paris

Ralph Lauren has just launched a new store on the boulevard Saint Germain, which was apparently years in the making.

As well as stocking the various Ralph Lauren collections, this new address also boasts a restaurant, Ralph's, which might just be the first place I've found in Paris that serves proper frozen margaritas.

It also has the most gorgeous terrace, which will be the perfect setting for sipping rosé once summer arrives.

Time Out

The luxury fashion industry is on the up, despite the crisis, and yet there is only one fashion designer featured in this year's Time 100 list: Marc Jacobs.

No surprise there: the man is a money-making - and handbag-designing - machine.

In an ironic twist, Time preferred to include fashion's greatest personae on the other side of the pen - as the interviewers rather than the interviewees.

Tom Ford profiles Liya Kebede, Donatella Versace interviews Jet Li, and Donna Karan talks to Zaha Hadid.

Fashion and culture always have been a compatible intermix.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Game, Set, Chanel!

This is quite possibly the chicest pétanque set in the world, having been designed by Chanel, no less.

What's more, you can also use it as a picnic hamper, if you remove the boules.

Love it.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Gossip Girl

Spotted: having early evening drinks on the sun-drenched terrace of Le Fumoir in Paris, Christian Louboutin and fellow designer Andrew Gn.

Both have their studios in the area.

Who knew that celebrated designers are just like you and I, meeting up for post-work, Happy Hour drinks, and enjoying the first rays of summer sun.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Show Me The Inspirers

Yves Saint Laurent is gone, Hubert de Givenchy no longer designs for his namesake Couture House or ready-to-wear brand, and Alexander McQueen has left us.

I look around and I see so much new creative talent: Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, Mark Fast, Louise Goldin - is it any coincidence they all emerged in London? - and yet I see very few great designers in between the established and avant-garde.

Who is left in charge, running the show until the next generation of aforementioned designers have been fully groomed to take over?

I feel like we are currently swimming in a sea of beautiful and desirable brands, but where are the inspirational GREATS, the revolutionary designers that will take us through to the next chapter in fashion's history?

Is it any wonder that the fashion industry feels obliged to continually relaunch old, previously ground-breaking Houses such as Vionnet? Which designer could influence the power-playing luxury groups to open a new House in their name? Clearly none.

Hence we find John Galliano at Dior, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, and now Phoebe Philo at Celine.

Who will define our generation's fashion and style? Who is the Yves Saint Laurent of our day?

Tasty Mango

High street chain Mango has just gone up in my esteem, launching a collection by Oscar de la Renta's son Moises.

The line of jewel encrusted, ribbon and chain decorated t-shirts, which also featured luxurious fabrics such as tulle, is a perfect way to go from day to night without having to run back home for a wardrobe change.

Moises de la Renta is only 25, but he already counts Michelle Obama amongst his clients, who has worn one of his dresses to a White House function.

When Politics And Fashion Don't Mix

Carla Bruni Sarkozy recently guest-edited the weekly French style supplement Madame Figaro.

What one would expect should have been the magazine's most successful issue of the year, if not to date, was surprisingly and notably thin on advertisers.

Is this a case of politics and fashion not making a successful financial mix?

Do the usual heavyweight suspects of fashion branding not like to pick sides (any brand advertising in a publication with a First Lady acting as editor in chief cannot avoid this been seeing as overt support of the acting political party)?

Perhaps so, since the issue in question must have a spectacular seller, seeing unprecedented readership figures...and thereby making that particular edition of Madame Figaro an anticipated advertising record-breaker.

Clearly the fashion industry seems most comfortable on neutral ground, whichever designer heels it is standing in.

From Trash To Couture

Here is a little reportage by American Couture Queen Susan Tabak, on one of my all-time favourite brands, Trash Couture.

They make the most romantic, feminine, and out-of-this-world creations - entirely original dresses, handmade from recycled Haute Couture fabrics, that really are the stuff of dreams.

Fellow collectors include Penelope Cruz, Kirsten Dunst, and the late, great Isabella Blow.

But then with iconic model Veruschka as the brand's muse, how could the result be anything but timeless elegance?

Susan Tabak at Prêt-à-Porter Fall 2010: Trash-Couture from Susan Tabak on Vimeo.

Waxing Fashion

Anya Hindmarch has designed a small collection for Barbour, the 116-year old British label that is the go-to for country outerwear.

My favourite jacket is "The Foxy", which has been rendered a little more glamourous by detachable fur cuffs. I also love the quirky hidden touches, such as inner pockets labelled "lipstick" and "dog and bone" - Cockney rhyming slang for a telephone.

The perfect way to bring a bit of fashion to the hunting season.

Mixing Politics With Fashion

Bernard Arnault, who practically owns the French fashion industry, has managed to persuade Bernadette Chirac, wife of the former French President Jacques Chirac, to join his board at LVMH.

Chirac is a front-row regular and BFF of King Karl, which makes sense of her invitation to appear at Arnault's court. 

The appointment is further made relevant by a new French law currently being drafted that would oblige publicly traded companies to have a minimum of 40 percent female input within their staff of directors.

Being a woman has never been more fashionable!

No Cannes Do

There is a very real possibility that we will be deprived of a high-octane red carpet fashion fix, if the Cannes Film Festival jury lineup is anything to go by.

The only A-list stars on board are Kate Beckinsale and Benicio Del Toro, upon whom one certainly can't count for an extraordinarily glamourous gown.

All style-sensitive attention will have to be centered on the sidelines to the official competition, which are playing host to Woody Allen's film with Naomi Watts, Antony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto, as well as Oliver Stone's sequel to Wall Street, featuring Michael Douglas. 

No doubt the latter's wife can be called upon to inject a high fashion contribution, if all else fails.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Smells Good

Jennifer Aniston has finally put her celebrity name to an endorsement, and will be launching her first fragrance at Harrods in June.

Aniston describes the scent as "a nonperfume perfume", which is of course in keeping with her easygoing, clean, California lifestyle and image.

She describes the fragrance, named Lolavie, as “sexy and clean” and “floral, but not too flowery.” 

A Fine Vintage

I just discovered a great new online vintage boutique, with clothing by some of history's most important and influential designers.

Check out Vintage Academe for original creations by Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Madame Grès...the list of designers is a long one!

It certainly beats trawling through flea markets and musky second hand shops to find that hidden treasure!

Alaïa A Match for H&M?

If I could wish for a fashion dream that would come true, it would be for Azzedine Alaïa to partner with H&M and create an affordable capsule collection.

Apparently, this is also a dream of Alaïa's, who disclosed in a recent interview with Flaunt, that if he had the time he would love to design a collection for the high street giant.

Who knows whether this will indeed ever become a reality, but oh goodness one does hope so!

In the meantime we'll have to content ourselves with Mark Fast's designs for Topshop. The London-based, Canadian designer is the closest thing I've seen to a successor to Alaïa's King of Cling crown.

The Revolving Door of Fashion

It has just been confirmed that Estrella Archs, so fatally paired with Lindsay Lohan to revive the Emmanuel Ungaro brand, has just quit the Parisian fashion house.

No prizes for guessing why, although one can't deny that the whole debacle has very definitely put her name on the fashion map...if she makes a success of her own label, she will be living proof that in this industry, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Rumours of Estrella Archs's departure started circulating this week when established designer Giles Deacon was spied having lunch with the owner of Ungaro at the very public Le Relais Plaza on avenue Montaigne.

Was the designer being interviewed for a forthcoming vacancy?

We'll have to wait until Ungaro's revolving door swirls back around in order to find out...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Is Kate Losing Her Midas Touch?

It used to be that everything Kate Moss touched, turned to gold. Her collaborations with Topshop and Longchamp are just a couple of examples of her Midas touch (her partnership with the latter label earned them a 25 percent increase in sales the month it was launched).

It would seem however, that the Parisian art scene is not in agreement, if the cancellation of the Kate Moss exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris is anything to go by.

Scheduled for March next year, the exhibition planned to examine the Kate Moss myth in advertising, but it has now been shelved due to a lack of sponsorship.

This does seem odd, since Kate Moss is not only a muse to the fashion industry, but to the art world too; she has posed for artists Marc Quinn, Sam Taylor-Wood, Gary Hume, and the legendary Lucian Freud.

What's more, how easy would it have been for either Topshop, Longchamp, or another one of the brands for which Moss is the star of their advertising campaign, to sponsor the exhibition (and in the process, reap even further financial reward from Moss's image)?

De Givenchy's Return

Hubert de Givenchy is to turn curator, for a new exhibition of gowns entitled Cristobal Balenciaga, Venet, Givenchy at Château de Haroué.

The event will take place at an 18th century castle built and still owned by the French Beauvau-Craon family, near Nancy, France. The showcase will be open for three months, starting 6th May.

Only 45 dresses will be exhibited, including designs by de Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn, and a selection of Bunny Mellon's own Balenciaga gowns.

What is interesting about this exhibition, is to see the gowns in the setting for which they were designed, rather than in a white-walled museum, that provides little social background.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

History For Sale

A selection of Princess Diana's dresses are to go on sale in June, at an auction in London. It will include the black taffeta gown with plunging neckline, worn by Princess Diana in 1981, which had tabloid headlines screaming "Daring Di".

The dress is particularly significant, since it was worn for Diana's first official appearance after her engagement to Prince Charles.

30 lots will be sold in total, dating from 1981 to 1986. The clothes are being put up for auction by the David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, who designed Diana's wedding dress. As well as clothes, there are also sketches, and other paperwork, relating to that dress, as well as the petticoat that Diana wore to wedding rehearsals at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

The sale, organised by Kerry Taylor Auctions, will take place on 8th June at La Galleria on Pall Mall in London.

Ever Graceful

The Victoria & Albert museum in London is the latest establishment to showcase an exhibition on the life and wardrobe of Grace Kelly, that has been touring the world for a while now.

Featuring dresses from many of her stylish films as well as the gorgeous aquamarine gown she wore to accept her Oscar, the exhibition follows the evolution of her image as a glamorous Hollywood actress into Princess Grace of Monaco.

Since many of the silhouettes on display are as relevant today as they were in the 50s, it's just another reminder that in fashion, what goes around comes around.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wall Street: The Return

Wall Street must surely be to men what Sex And The City is to women: a fabulous feast of witty and memorable quotes that you wish you had thought up yourself, and a wardrobe that you would die to have hanging in your closet.

Who could forget Michael Douglas's line "Greed is good", or his sharp suits and braces?

So who can wait for the long-awaited return of Michael Douglas in a sequel to the film that so successfully captured the greed and shoulder pads of the 80s?

I for one, will be running to the cinema to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

SATC 2 Trailer

Here's a treat, the second trailer released in the run up to the premiere of Sex And The City 2, at the end of May.

We all know it's going to be a fashion fiesta, but here's a teaser for the suspenseful meantime:

Easter Bunny

Easter may be just behind us, but that is not to say that this very cute bunny ears headband by Benoît Missolin is already out of style.

The glass-pearl accessory is a fun and youthful take on the current tidal trend for headwear.

Lunch In A Box

Colette has launched its very own lunch box, which includes a healthy burger, a bouquet of fresh vegetables, a pudding, and a vitaminwater.

As if this weren't enough good news, Colette will also deliver to you (in the 1st arrondissement).

Karl Quencher

Now you too can own a piece of Karl Lagerfeld.

The designer of multiple talents has turned his attention to the Coca-Cola Light bottle, making it over in light aluminium, and stamping his silhouette on the front.

It is a very fitting collaboration, given that Karl Lagerfeld guzzles the drink non-stop throughout the day.

I'll Have A Scent, To-Go

I love the packaging of Honoré des Prés "New York" collection of scents by Olivia Giacobetti, which is available exclusively at Colette in Paris.

The Parisian fragrances are not only organic, but completely natural.

Each scent is an ode to New York, with names such as I Love Carrots and Vamp In NY, and packaging that resembles Starbucks' legendary "to-go" cups and trays.

Comtesse de Ribes, The First Fashionista

This week Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, the legendary Parisian socialite, designer, and fashion collector,was decorated by French President Sarkozy, as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor at the Elysée Palace.

Apparently she wore an outfit of her own design to the celebratory party afterwards. Since the Comtesse's label was both launched and closed within the 80s, this just goes to show that if you can still look fabulous in an ensemble that dates back thirty years, it really is worth hanging on to all those high-fashion looks that might seem dated from one season to the next nowadays, but are sure to stand the test of time in the future.