Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decoding : The artist, the editor and the blogger

 Some weeks ago, a picture surfaced on the web have created such a sensation. We could see Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of American Vogue with her iconic pageboy bob cut, except that it has been dyed, and she was now sporting animal print hair with some odd bunny hears.
But soon, viewers have realized that this picture was merely a very faithful painting, coming from the exuberant imagination of a Swiss artist, Saul Zanolari.
This 33 years old phenomenon is an already renowned digital magician, who excels in merging photos and paint and whose world would have amazed Sigmund Freud. Zanolari's creatures are insolent dollies with gigantic plastic heads, fake eyelashes which would make Katy Perry green with envy, and moustaches. Yes, you've read it right, moustaches, even pornstaches, especially worn by the most famous models of the world.
 The surprising vision of Linda Evangelista as a udder with a moustache, which ranks directly after the work of Salvador Dali, will leave you flabbergasted, and quite excited. The burlesque and exhilarating show goes on with Kate Moss as a bird eating a worm, a devilish Marilyn and other funky fashion icons and drag-queens.
But what led the artist to strike at Anna Wintour ?
Sure, after all those years, the boss of Vogue needed a good make-over, she who has already been decked out with horns because she was suspected to be the devil out of the Devil wears Prada. But I am tempted to put another theory forward, purely far-fetched I admit.
Maybe Master Zanolari was celebrating the new Anna, the 2010's live wire vintage. Indeed, this year, the 61 years old editor has let her hair down ( everything is in the hair ) and offered us some memorable times, such as this delicious photo, taken during the Fashion Week.
 But my favourite remains her speech at the Teen Vogue's Fashion University, the last 24 October, in New York. There, the most famous fashionista of the world told the kids that the best thing that could happen to them is to be fired. Ah. Oh, said the world.
But no, Anna Wintour didn't go berzek, nor is developing the first symptoms of Alzheimer, as some tactless journalists have murmured. Neither she is the devil, advising people to loose an insecure job they have struggled to get, in a period of crisis and unemployment. I think that the piece of advice was good and of the best intentions. Sure, life is challenging and the more challenge you get, the stronger you become. But that was working in the 80s, when the population was smaller, when there still was job offers and when the bosses weren't afraid that hiring would ruin their budget. Now that half of the graduates are unemployed after university, as well as almost 10% of the population, I think that Anna's tirade is very outdated.
But don't misunderstand me : I respect her.
I think that Anna Wintour is the grandmother every fashion blogger dreams to have. Ah, watching her knitting a D&G sweater under our Christmas tree, while eating the foie gras ice cream she has prepared just for us ...
But as every grandmother, we are nodding to her pieces of advice with a tender smile which means "That's cute, granny, but the world has changed, things are not the same anymore !".
I'd love to be fired. You know why ? Because it would mean that I have actually managed to get a first job. And by job, I mean a real one, with a salary and health insurance, not another internship. A job that would not lead me to precariousness because I have to pay a scandalously high rent just to live in the city, because all the good jobs are only in big and expensive cities. Being fired would mean that I have had the opportunity to prove my value at work. No, instead, all I can do is the photocopies, and writing the more I can, waiting for someone to have the courage to give me a chance. It is not as easy as Anna thinks. My father is not a tycoon of the British press, I didn't grow up in London nor get prestigious first jobs thanks to my family. I couldn't even pay the school of journalism !
But I don't complain, I am not jealous. I am aware that I have to work harder, to surpass myself everyday. I am an hard liner. Just like Anna Wintour. And I am also an agitator. Just like Saul Zanolari.
So, it is my time to give a piece of advice to Lady Wintour : you should consider following the make over tips of Saul because it would give you a brand new step into modernity and reality.
Oh, and perhaps you could also think about hiring more young writers ? My curriculum vitae can be found in the "Who's Sam ?" section under the header ...
Saul Zanolari's artwork is used with the agreement of the artist.
This article is featured on Saul's website here :

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spotlight : Florrie under the apple tree

 Everyone knows that the competition is fierce in the industry between the models and the actresses to become the face of a brand. The great labels want famous faces in their advertising, in order to touch the fans. But when it comes to women and products dedicated to their beauty, the customers are more picky. Too sexy, an actress will produce jealousy and pique : "I will never look as good as her", but a model is not close enough of the daily women to provoke an identification. But the brands seem to have solved the problem : nearly an unknown person but who can touch many clients, the musician, man or woman, is perfect for the job.
She was no Timberlake, but when looking for a songstress for their new product, Nina L'Elixir, famous French perfumer Nina Ricci have fallen for a 21 years old British pop beginner. And yet, nothing predisposed Bristol-born Florrie Arnold to become a fashion icon. Singer, songwriter and drummer, the petite blonde was first a live musician for bands as various as Girls Aloud and Pet Shop Boys. But quickly, the fan of Jerry Lee Lewis and the Beatles have turned to a solo career in pop and electro music. Her sound, between Kim Wilde and Miss Kittin, seems very promising, and many trendy labels are now betting on her, after the release of her first EF, Introduction, which diffuses good vibes.
 The voice is of velvet, the atmospheres very dancefloor and mind-blowing material, but there is still way to go before Florrie become the new Robyn. She's got time, she's only 21 and a world of possibilities is opening in front of her. For Nina Ricci, she covers a song of Blondie, "Sunday Girl". More fruity and girly than her usual work, Florrie perfectly enrolls the brand's identity. The video is full of that pink and romantic imagery loved by the perfumer, obsessed by the Original Apple. The young singer is touching of freshness : could it be the perfect springboard ?

 But now that she is on the spotlights, Florrie needs to sharpen her fashion style. For the moment, she doesn't seem to be at her ease, hung on to her monochrome Chanel. But she'd better changes for more colorful and poptastic outfits, more adaptated to her music. I am not asking for another Lady Gaga, Kathy Perry, Roisin Murphy or Nicki Minaj ( please, no more Warhol-esque singers, we have enough ! ) but Florrie would deserve a more dynamic wardrobe, with more Versus and Versace dresses, of bright colors and prints. Let's hope she, or someone in her circle, would think about it ( or read my article, who knows ? ). Anyway, I wish a lot of luck and success to this young talent, who also allows us to hope : Fashion is not only for the "happy fews".
photos and Matthieu Zazzo for Grazia.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holidays Shopping : Queen of the Night

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth (2007)
 To end the week in beauty, I will promise you the moon and the stars ... In this 4th part of my shopping for the holidays, you will be the Queen of the night, all in gilt, silver, arabesque, paisley and luxury ... At least, you will imagine you could be.
This theme is inspired by the majesty of British actress Cate Blanchett and her almost divine appearance. It is also directly influenced by the successful resumption of the brand Alexander McQueen by the talented Sarah Burton, clearly the Queen of the year. Two women, two atypical physique, but one taste for precious clothes. I have to admit that it was quite difficult to find affordable dresses for this theme, one point of gold and the prices are soaring. But, I think I have found enough gifts for your eyes to be forgiven ...
Alexander McQueen - H&M £19,99
 Craving for McQueen but having a really low budget ? The genius of the industry, H&M, has got the solution : for less than £20, you can imitate the abounding golden leaves of this expensive piece of the master. Plus, the shape of the bustier dress is sexier and more appropriate for the long nights of holidays. I wonder how the world would be turning without H&M ? It is quite a mystery.
Kinder Aggugini at Young British Designers £650
 This piece is only for the pleasure of the eyes, because, hey ! It is just £200 cheaper than a real McQueen ! I like the designs offered by Young British Designers but they could definitely make an effort on the prices ... Okay for helping young designers, but who is helping us ? Maybe one day, we will buy this dress, when Anna Wintour will stop saying that we need to get fired and will give us a job instead ...
Juicy Couture $378,00
 The prices are lowering and we are breathing easy. Let's forget that we are (still) poor and let's admire the charms of this Juicy Couture dress with its delicate flounces and golden adornements. Yes, I know, you would still need a bank robbery, but in our dreams, we can wear what we want, can't we ?
Corey P at Sears $29,99
 Finally, a friendly price ! But of course, you have noticed the absence of gold ... "The Silver Age" instead of "The Golden Age" : it is a consolation prize, but at least, someone is thinking about us. Corey P, for example, and Sears, who are offering us this delicious paisley V-neck dress for less than $30.
Marc by Marc Jacobs £140,00
My pick of the week is quite a surprise : I first thought that the price was wrong but I double-checked and I am very pleased to point out this gorgeous and reasonnable dress from genius Marc Jacobs. The royal laces print give it a touch of elegance and the shape is very rock'n'roll, perfect for a successful party and night.

Talented designers for a lower price : this dress is the evidence that something else is possible. Maybe the Industry needs to take us, humble customers, in consideration, and stop to sell us cotton at the price of gold. Because we are no queens, no duchesses. We are women dealing with the crisis, the unemployement, the raise of the rent, families, health issues ... Yes, we are not rich enough, but our opinion is counting. We could actually  be the decision-maker of tomorrow ... So, we need to be handled carefully. Like the princess and the pea ...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Interview with : Kay Weston of Push It Magazine ( part 2 )

Ann Demeulemeester - Nilupul Hettaiarachchige
 If you haven’t read the first part of this new segment, I advise you to do it. You will learn more about an inspiring young person named Kay Weston, the Contributing Print Editor of Push It magazine, who has a lot to say about fashion journalism and the industry in general. This second part will incidentally be devoted to Kay’s view on fashion and to her personal favourite things.

In some previous articles, I have already questioned a particular phenomenon of fashion, that is to say the comeback of past decades in nowadays’ collections. So I have asked Kay if she thought that fashion was constantly repeating itself or, instead, if new things were genuinely created. “With fashion, you can’t reinvent the wheel completely,” she answers. “In a certain sense, fashion is quite cyclical. The same trends do keep coming around, but there’s always a different ‘take’ on it each time it re-emerges.”
She also slips in that the trend of vintage has somehow changed the deal, “it’s not so much of an issue if you do wear something from a previous season. It’s becoming a lot more relaxed. It’s not so much what you wear, it’s how you wear it.”

Lina Österman - Hannah Marshall
But, Miss Weston definitely believes that the industry is moving forward. Personally, she is not the kind of person who likes to reflect on the past in terms of fashion, and she doesn’t think that a time period or a country should deserve more attention than another. She is rather thrilled by new designers and she praises initiatives such as those of NEWGEN, Fashion East and the Vauxhall Talent Scout, who are “so important in launching the careers of designers who perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to bring their designs to the masses.”
Kay is confident about the future of United Kingdom in this area. “I do think that the UK has some impressive and diverse design talent, and both London Fashion Week and Graduate Fashion Week really demonstrate this.”
Speaking of young talents, she is glad that they are receiving more support and media coverage, “as it can be incredibly difficult to make your name as a designer, especially right now with the recession.” I guess that she gives her approval to the website ‘Young British Designers’, another initiative that proves that the British fashion industry is looking to the future.

Rick Owens - Laura Theiss
 “What marks out a good designer is [his] ability to take something that has been done before and put [his] own stamp on it”, she says. “The really great thing about emerging designers today is that they are utterly unafraid of pushing boundaries, experimenting with ideas and challenging people’s perceptions of fashion.”

Her favourite young designers all fit that description, and she jokes about how her goth roots influence her picks, who all work incorporate darker elements into their designs. “They’re not exactly ‘new’, but I love Viktor and Rolf for their innovation,” she starts. Following the Dutch famous designers is a list of the rising stars of the moment. Gareth Pugh, of course, and Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester. The other names may be less known for you: there are the avant-gardists Lina Österman and her rock’n’roll rag dolls’ silhouettes, Californian Rick Owens, known for his subversive point of view, the London designer Hannah Marshall and her sharp and aesthetic creations, and also the Finnish designer Heikki Salonen, who mixes a certain solemnity with boldness.
Derek Lawlor - Gabriella Marina Gonzales
 “I love knitwear too,” she continues, “so I’m going to say Derek Lawlor, Laura Theiss, Craig Lawrence and Mark Fast.” She insists on Markus Lupfer’s name being added to the list, even confessing that her dream is “to own one of his sweaters, I’m obsessed with them.”

I can’t help saying that the creations of Lawlor remind me of the liquorice rolls of my childhood, which is not necessarily negative. The sweaters and dresses of English designer Lawrence are truly Dantesque, with some likeness with Sandra Backlund (you can read my article about her ). His fellow-citizen Mark Fast is more obsessed with transparency and crochet. It is pointless to introduce Theiss and Lupfer, well-known in the industry for their cunning and vivid creations, considered as fashion statements. In Kay’s list, there are also the fascinating newcomers Katie Eary and her love for Vanitas ( another of my article you can consult ), plus Cuban-American and London-based futuristic designer Gabriella Marina Gonzalez.
Also quoted : Ziad Ghanem and his ‘creatures’, the promising yet tongue-twister Nilupul Hettaiarachchige, shoemaker Atalanta Weller and Swiss-German Stefanie Biggel.
“That’s loads, isn’t it?!” laughs Kay. Don’t worry- the more, the merrier, and I mean it. The Contributing Print Editor is not skinflint with her answers, and her passion is visible, which is very pleasant to see !

Ziad Ghanem - Katie Eary
Since we were talking of clothes, I took the opportunity of asking her some tips for a warm and classy winter : “Winter is actually one of the best times of year to experiment with your look,” she tells me. “Layering up to keep warm means that you can work several trends at once, and add in extras such as over-the-knee socks, patterned tights, hats and scarves to brighten up an outfit.” Obviously, she is obsessed with knitwear, which she says “is also great for playing around with textures. There’s no rule that says you have to stick to boring jumpers. This year there have been a lot of variations available in terms of fabrics, prints, embellishments and cuts.

Atalanta Weller for House of Holland - Markus Lupfer
 And a good coat is an investment, so choose something to see you through several seasons. Faux fur or feathers are always a winner.” Kay seems incidentally to have her eye on a specific coat : “a gorgeous faux fur coat from Miss Selfridge !” she confesses. Now we’ve got the picture !
I am really glad that Kay Weston took the time to answer my questions in so much detail. I hope you have found this first interview as interesting as I’ve found it. There will be more to come hopefully, if I meet people as open and nice as Kay!
Miss Selfridges

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interview with : Kay Weston of Push It Magazine ( part 1 )

Kay Weston
 Who are those people who will make the fashion of tomorrow? You, me? It is a bit vague, isn’t it? So, I have decided to create a new segment in my blog, dedicated to the persons who are acting, either in the limelight or backstage, to shape the future ofthe fashion industry.

Kay Weston caught my eye, not only for our many mutual interests, but also because of her inspiring career and her smart view on the industry. At only 23, Kay has got an impressive curriculum vitae. “I still find it difficult to believe that I’ve done so much, yet I only graduated from university this year!” she admits.
And yet, she grew up very far from the world of fashion: “Growing up, nobody I knew was into [it] or even reading [...] magazines, so I was never surrounded by it or particularly interested in it. Fashion was of little relevance to me.” Mainstream fashion, perhaps, but the Brit girl already had her own style: gothic, with “the whole black hair, black lipstick and white face look”. She seems to apologize for the “dubious things” she wore, “all of which I did eventually grow out of”, but she doesn’t have to- most of the present fashionistas have roots in the underground fashion : Leigh Lezark, Daphne Guinness ... Not to pretend that I can be featured in that prestigious list, but at 16, I looked like Siouxsie Sioux and was devoted to the 70s punk clothes. Those influences enrich someone, and are still part of Kay’s current style. “I still love heavy metal music and there are a lot of rock-chick elements on my look”, adds the blond beauty, who can easily be seen with “loads of black eyeliner” and her Doc Martens, even if she admits that “on the whole, it’s quite casual”.

Now that you could recognize her on the streets, it is time to tell her adventure, which started at the University of Sheffield, a culturally dynamic city in the north of England. “I loved words and was always reading and writing, even from a very young age. I knew that I wanted to do something with writing.” That’s the reason why she opted for a degree in journalism, but also teamed with one in German, due to a passion for foreign languages. “Learn another language”, she advises. “Being fluent in a second or third language will put you miles ahead of anyone else looking to get into the industry and give you a better understanding of how your own language works.” University was an important time for Kay. There, she explains that she “had the time and guidance to really develop [her] writing skills.” She also started to freelance, from student media to independent magazines, she soon reached national and international levels. Her real first encounter with fashion journalism occured when she started to work with AGENT2, an ambitious digital magazine created in 2009. This first apnoea in fashion was a revelation. “I found that I enjoyed it and was fascinated by the industry and designers, so I started to move more and more into that field until it became a specialism.” She went from Fashion Editor to Director. Soon, things were quickening for the Sheffield student. She wrote for British newcomers Fault and Push It magazines, but also for the website of the famous British newspaper The Independent, and the American fashion magazine Chaos (which might have seduced her because of its metal inspiration, as it recently chose a song by German band Rammstein for its introductory video). She also lived and worked as a writer in Germany, writing in her second language.

Ein Traum in Erdbeerfolie (2009)

 Her travels are also a very important part of her personality. “Travelling has influenced my views on fashion, because when you’re exposed to other cultures it does leave you more openminded, and not just about style. When I lived in Germany, I went to a press screening of a Marco Wilms documentary called ‘Ein Traum in Erdbeerfolie’, which was about the main protagonists of the underground fashion scene in East Berlin before the wall came down. I loved that for these people, fashion became a form of escapism. Even under an oppressive regime such as that [of the German Democratic Republic], creativity thrived and fashion brought people together. I found that really inspiring.”
She has got a lot of those anedoctes you have when you explore the world. For example, she remembers a trip to Macedonia where, she says, the disparities of wealth are startling. “I remember being on a bus in Macedonia, travelling three hours from Ohrid to Skopje, and driving through what could best be described as shanty towns. It was obvious that the people living in them were very poor. But when the bus reached Skopje, I remember looking out of the window and seeing a huge billboard advertisement for Miss Sixty in Macedonian. It’s quite surreal.” But Eastern Europe still holds much appeal for her because of its speed of development. “I’d like to spend more time over there. Armenia, Kosovo and Georgia are next on my list.”

Push It Magazine
Now settled between London and Birmingham, Kay is working as a Contributing Print Editor for Push It Magazine (digital-only at first, it is now a rapidly growing, internationally-distributed print magazine), one of the most promising contemporary publications of this decade in Great Britain. The main goal of Push It is to bring you luxury, a unique perspective on fashion and arts in general, and a sneak peek into the forthcoming trends.

From this enviable position, Kay is now able to give us some tips for success. “Fashion writing is generally regarded as the lowest form of journalism, so be prepared to have to fight hard to prove yourself,” she says. “You need to have an awful lot of patience too. It takes a long time to break into the industry and there are no short-cuts to success. Absolutely nothing will be handed to you on a plate, so be prepared to work hard and work for free.”
She adds that journalism, especially fashion journalism, is not the gold mine we tend to imagine. But don’t be disheartened, she has got some good advice. “The only way to succeed is to intern, do work experience, write for websites and magazines and prove your passion as much as you can. Even when the rejection letters are piling up, persevere. Resilience is crucial in this industry. Put yourself out there as much as possible and make sure people are aware of your work.” She also insists on networking, which is, according to her, a good way to become known. “So much depends on who you know, so talk to everybody, never be rude to anyone- even if they are rude to you- and ask for help if you need it. More importantly, actually listen to feedback and act on it. It’s the only way you will improve. And learn to write properly. So many people are tempted to get into fashion journalism for the freebies or glamorous lifestyle, but the truth is that if you can’t string a sentence together, you won’t get anywhere. Editors don’t have a lot of time on their hands and are under pressure to get jobs done quickly, so we don’t want to have to be spending hours correcting grammar or spelling errors, or having to constantly fact-check details. We also like people who have a steady stream of interesting and new ideas. For aspiring writers, it’s important to devour everything and keep your ear to the ground. Read fashion magazines and blogs, always be on the lookout for exciting new designers, keep on top of trends and get to know as many people in the industry as possible.” Words of wisdom!

Now that we know Kay Weston better and that we have all the insider knowledge to try to steal her job (don’t be afraid, Kay, I am joking!), it’s time for an in-depth conversation on modern fashion. But, in order to read it, you will have to wait for the second part of the interview !

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trend : African Prints

L.A.M.B. S/S 2011
 Prints were back in trend for a while : exotic flowers and coconut trees in Summer 2010, animal prints in Autumn 2010 ... For the next step, it seemed logical to plunge back into our cultural roots and bring back the attention on those people we'd prefer to forget because some said they weren't enough glamour. Native Americans, Southern Americans, and especially Africans are now taking their revenge on our Westerner fashion industry. The pioneers of this mouvement were fashion iconoclasts Marc Jacobs ( Marc by Marc Jacobs Summer 2010 ) and Jean Paul Gaultier. The French designer married futuristic clothes with traditional African headgear.
Jean-Paul Gaultier A/W 2010
 But, oddly, things triggered off because of Gwen Stefani. Indeed, the singer launched her Spring Summer 2011 collection in September and there, it was an avalanche of African prints. Asymetrical dresses, blazer jackets, drapes, hats, jeans, necklaces, the influences are here but still a bit vague. It still could be opportunism more than a real research of aesthetism ( you know how much I consider celebs' attents to make real fashion ). But Africa haven't said its last word. Thanks to designers of all backgrounds, the prints, looking more authentic, were going to invade our casual wardrobe.
3 Suisses S/S 2011
 The most notable finds of the next season are from various horizons. There is new collection of French mail order and online retailer the 3 Suisses ( for International order )with elegant and stylish pieces, adapting ethnic prints for office and rather classic clothes. Back to luxury, you have Haute Couture dresses from Ghanaian designer Christie Brown ( ) who offer a mix of contemporary dresses and girly silhouettes.
Christie Brown
 Let's quote another celeb : it seems that British rapper M.I.A. is also in fashion ( yes, I was suprised too, I who can't do two things at the same time without spoiling one, I am always amazed by those Shiva-esque artists ). You thought that Africa and techno were far away from each others ? M.I.A. streetwear ( ) is proving the contrary. Not my cup of tea, but the leggings are neat.
M.I.A. Apparel
 But, suddenly, I have a dream. I dream of a world where designers wouldn't steal the patterns of some tribes to make money without their knowing. I dream of a world were those tribes, those countries who deserve to have the social dynamism we have, would build fairtrade factories and design studios in order to work with Westerners designers on an equal footing. They could sell their fabrics, imagine new ones, and transform their life in a more honorable one, far away from the misery and the dependance we are plunging them into. I'd love to see an African Fashion Week, and more talented designers such as London-based Duro Olowu ( )  and Christie Brown.
Duro Olowu S/S 2011
 Why couldn't Africa dress Europe and United States ? The only life we've offered them till now was exile, why couldn't we make possible for them to stay in their native homes and live a life equal to ours ? Yes, I know, it is turning to be more political than fashionable. But I don't care, I am like that, seeing further than things.
But let's come back to our shopping tips : for winter, there is the knitwear collection of "king of prints" Desigual ( ), and even if many different cultural prints are mixed together without care, it stays colourful and it's well-meant.
Desigual A/W 2010
 I don't know how much is the shipping for your country, but here in Europe it is okay, and I am definitely thinking about this gorgeous purse from 3 Suisses, with this pattern constituted of sequins and pearls. Very ethnic-chic and looking authentic. Pending the changes of our world, let's pay a tribute to this mysterious and intense continent.
3 Suisses S/S 2011

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holidays Shopping : Lucy in the night sky with diamonds

Tilda Swinton
 The ones who know my other blog "Midnight Blue Hawk" might have guessed my love for dark blue. Indeed, it is my favourite colour, so I have decided to devote the 3rd part of my Holidays Shopping list to navy blue dresses. To my mind, the person who embodies and celebrates the most this colour is independant actress and filmmaker Tilda Swinton. Mysterious, intense, this particular shade of blue that is at the same time elegant, unique and stunning, really reflects the singularity of the Scottish muse. It also reminds me of a painting of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and there again, the woman is seductive and cold at the same time. Add Kate Middleton to the list, and you will be convinced of the power of dark blue ... So, if you want to add a little bit of enigma and fantasy to your holidays, here are some excellent dresses ...
Project D £290,00
 Let's start by the most expensive. Not really if you consider its beauty and quality. This delighting Grecian dress will emphasize any silhouette with its sensual lenght and its naked shoulder. The sober and delicate ornaments are very tasty and fabulously enhance the colour. Project D produces gorgeous formal dresses, and you will find real treasures for reasonable prices. £290 at Harvey Nichols.
Love Moschino at Yoox $195,00
 This one is in sale at Yoox, so you'd better hurry up if you like it. I'm always found of Moschino's designs and this cute retro dress doesn't fall short of the brand's reputation. I really like the narrowed waist and the gold details. Classic yes, but the elegance is timeless. And the price, for Moschino, is really great.
Rare Opulence at Topshop £95,00
 If you wish something a bit more festal and dazzling, you will certainly crush on that marvel as I did. Obviously, the brand Rare Opulence have decided to make our dreams come true. There is everything in that dress : it is sexy, fashionable, smart and sophisticated. Or to make it shorter : WOW ... It is a real starry sky, and you will be the star of the party for sure. What did I say in the last article ? Oh yes, God saves Topshop. Allow me to insist ...
Vero Moda 29,00 euros
 For smaller budgets, Danish ( yes I know, the name doesn't sound Danish but it is ) brand Vero Moda offers a very cute dress for a wonderfully low price. I really like the fact that the waistline is set off by these delicate lines of silver. The petticoat is also very attractive, and, once again, reminds of a constellation. It is simple yet gracious, and for less than £25,00. You can find this pearl in online retailers. If you don't find it, you can buy other beautiful ( dark blue ) dresses on Vero Moda online shop.
Motel £39,00
And, finally, my traditional pick of the day ... This time, it is this gorgeous dress from brand Motel. The alliance between the blue and the golden floral details is perfect. In other colours, the dress is unremarkable, but with dark blue, it turns into a very sexy and elegant party dress. The price is great too, so, let's go !

By the way, if you would like more gold, more luxury, I am sure you will be soon ecstatic : my next article is coming soon, with a lot more marvels to buy, to cherish and to dream about ... Wait and see !

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Decoding : Fashion previews, appetizers or appetite suppressant ?

 The indigestion came as fast as expected. Few days after the launch of the limited collection of French label Lanvin for H&M, Internet is completely phagocytosed by the pictures : every blog is talking about it to such an overwhelming extent that the website Independant Fashion Blogger made an article about the problem of the repeating topics. The effect is similar to these songs which invade the radios and seem to capture our minds for many days. The goal, of course, is to lead us to the closest store to buy the more we could. The principle has to do with the dogs of Pavlov, the post-hypnotic suggestions and the appetizers. The funny thing about Lanvin is that, in France, it is also a brand of chocolates, so the food metaphor is quite appropriate. When we are hungry, just a little bit of food make us want to have more, especially if it is chocolate. It is inevitable : according to writer Stendhal, it's the desire that creates the object of the desire. So, designers offer us collections because we are starving for them. H&M is perfectly aware that most of us have the dream to buy designers clothes, and they have known that their concept will be a gold mine. And we acted just as they expected : every time they launch a designer's collection, we are rushing to their stores to grab little pieces of luxury. But the good question is : are we really starving for Lanvin ? Perhaps we desire it just because it means luxury ( and it is French; it is well-known that all the countries think that France is the ultimate : spend some time in France and you will wonder why ). Philosopher Descartes remarked that "often, passion make us believe some things are better and more desirable than they are". Nothing to add.
The Swedish company is incredibly clever. Not only she drives us to buy clothes we are not genuinely wanting, playing on our desire of possession, but they manage to turn us into free publicists. All that bloggers who have spread the photos have not been paid, whereas they convert the event into the main subject of conversation in the whole world !
But let's come back to our meal. Now, everyone have had chocolate, but too much chocolate as they saw the pictures ten thousand times ... And the appetizers may have turned into appetite suppressants. I don't want to rush to my H&M store to buy Lanvin : indeed, the more I have seen the clothes the more I have thought that they were not that exciting. Plus, the idea to fight with a crowd of lobotomised and overexcited gals over a t-shirt is not my vision of glamour. "If desire blooms, possession fade everything" said writer Proust. I have all the photos ( which are not very good by the way, those models are scary ), why would I buy the clothes, especially if I can buy better ones without stress and agitation ? But maybe am I the worst nightmare of the marketing researchers : of course, I follow my own tastes ...

Now, Lanvin is ( nearly ) over but Tom Ford is using the same process : great, the photos are better and the clothes look gorgeous ... But it is just the beggining : wait to see them in every blog, every mag, and you may change your mind. And who will be next ? Would our years become a stream of previews, spoilers, foretastes ? Hey, we are not going to keep our chin up ! After indigestion, it will be nausea ... That's not chic ! Where's pleasure in that ? We are neither robots nor living Mastercards ... It is time to comeback to a more peaceful fashion before it collapses.
I found the designers who keep their collections secret untill the release much more clever. The effect of surprise bring more pleasure, and fuel our need to possess. Then, we are free to desire. After all, I think that philosopher Pascal will have the last word, he who thought that we were not genuinely searching for the things, but in fact searching for the "research of those things" ... Loving fashion rather than loving buying, isn't it the real definition of a real fashionista ?

Photos Steven Meisel ( Tom Ford ).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holidays Shopping : Swan Lake

Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
 Part 2 of my "Fashionista's Advent Calendar" ... Fiendish, with an aestheticism which mixes the codes of contemporary art, of animality and a bit of Star Wars' make-up art ( take a look at the poster ), Black Swan, of Holywood's next master Darren Aronofsky, stars that fashion-enigma that is Natalie Portman, a girl who seems to have always a leg up ( which seems appropriate for a movie about dancers ... ). So, to stay in the mood of ambiguity, grace and theatricality, here are some tips for fierce "Nutcracker" Holidays ...
Betsey Johnson $214,00
 The theme's colours are black and old rose for a successful mix of rock and romanticism ( "rockmanticism" in sum ). This Betsey Johnson dress is a good example with her classic corset and lace petticoat, at the same time ballerina and victorian waitress. Wear it with a warm shawl or a fur jacket for a bit of decadence, and dare the leather perfecto for a more informal look. Avaible in shops and many online retailers for $214,00. Yes, pricey, but it is the disadvantage of renown labels.
Pixie Lott for Lipsy £75,00
 If you have decided to go for a real Black Swan theme, choose the dark version of this Lipsy dress, created with British It girl and singer Pixie Lott. For only £75, you will have a party dress of quality ( I own many Lipsy clothes and I was never deceived ) which combines elegance and goth. I advise grey pearls and ballerina's shoes to turn into the new Grace Kelly. But if you have liked my article on Vanitas, you can push the dark side all the way and team it with skull jewels.
Rare Opulence at Topshop £165,00
 We are not afraid of the pastry effect and we rush on to buy this astounding masterpiece. This Rare Opulence dress needs to be worn alone, as a statement, barefooted is even better for a baroque Cinderella's manner. I'm joking for the bare feet, don't do that in Winter, darlings ... There is a mix of Lily Allen and Isabella Blow in this tulle. A hat will give it a touch of aristocracy ( 100% British and deviant ), think Philip Tracy and you will have all good. And all that for £165, it's really reasonable. God save Topshop.
Naf Naf 199 euros
 Manet's ballerina would blush of this dress of princess, she who is wearing the same dress since her creation ... I quote the painter and sculptor for a little trip to France : Naf Naf created this piece for its Fairy Tale collection, and it looks really magical. The skirt seems full, nearly "flamenco-esque", and it looks fresh and sweet. Sadly, it is only avaible for France and Belgium.
Sandro 245 euros
 Sandro is also a French brand, but you can easily find shops in Europe ( plus a lot of retailers such as Selfridges and Harrods in UK, and some online fashion websites ). This dress is hot on the heels of my limit of price (250) but I couldn't resist the crossover top combined with nearly transparent flounces and that gorgeous jewelled belt ... Expensive, yes, but it's not Christmas and New Year's Eve everyday ... Or we can decide it is !
Mango top £59,90 and skirt £99,90
Finally, here's my top choice : if the tulle reminds you too much the ballet classes you had in your childhood, opt for the feathers. If you are going for the swan, at least take its appearance ... Or do you want to be an angel ? The combination of the Mango top and skirt makes a perfect dress ( or you can buy a real dress with the same idea ), incredibly romantic and enchanting ... Avaible at and in brand's shops for £59,90 and £99,90, or £134,90 for the dress version ( without the feathers on the shoulders ).

Too pink, too wise for you ? Maybe you will find your happiness in the next part of my shopping tips ... Yes, much more to come ! Don't miss it, follow !

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Featured ! Read my interview on Papercut Magazine

 I had the chance to be interviewed by fashion blogger and editor Christine Mastrangelo for her article on fashion blogging. The article is really excellent and I recommend you to read it, and not only because I am in it !
The questions Christine asked me were very pertinent and interesting, and I hope my answers made the grade ! My only regret is the fact that I misenderstood one of her questions ( South of France is where I was born, not where I live now ) but aside from that, I am really thrilled by the result !
Here are photos of the magazine, you can see my blog on the first and the second is the little introduction Christine did for my interview. To read the rest, you can go there :