Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Brush Strokes - Dior Paris Spring/Summer 2011

I would never describe myself as a high fashion person, in fact I think the most I've ever spent on an item of clothing was around £180 on a beaded 1920's style dress for a ball. I find the world of high fashion quite intimidating but enjoy how it trickles down into the high street, in some cases quickly and on mass (swallow print from Miu Miu, Shearling from Burberry). With Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011 in full swing, one show in particular has caught my eye, Christian Dior. Which can be summed up by the quote from one collections inspiration Rene Gruau.

“Elegance is aura (…) it is composed of will and knowing, of grace, sophistication, perfection and distinction.” - RenĂ© Gruau, Fashion illustrator for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (in the 50s)

The inspiration for the Paris Haute Couture: Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2011 show by John Galliano was the acclaided illustrator Rene Gruau and his sweeping impressions of fashion. Rene was around in the golden age of fashion, where volume and detail were key. Dior's 'New Look' in 1946 outraged most post-war citizens with it's use of excess fabric to create a voloumious silhouette reminiscent of a flower, round shoulders, a wasp waist and a full skirt.

What Gailliano has done in this collection has combined the fullness and feminine classic 'New Look' with the wispful and fluid illustrations Gruau produced during the time. With Gailliano's own eye for detail the the result is a masterpiece of colour, shape and detail.

The colours harked back to the post war era with rich crimson, creams and ivory. On the darker crimson pieces a graduating shadow of black swept the pieces, maybe a representation of the modern adaption 'coming out of the shadows' into the light.

The models posture and walks oozed elegance with a twee twist. The girls wore long opera style gloves reminiscent of the great movie stars of the mid 1900's and mirrored the hand movements and pointed fingers seen in many perfume adverts decades earlier.

Keeping with the show's theme, the make-up was a twist on a classic look. Red was the centre colour with lips bathed in a crimson to match the pieces. However this was then incorporated into the eyes, making a striking brush-like stroke which one model described as 'flames'. This was accompanied by bright red eyebrows, which follows a season of bleached eyebrows. The red palette was intensified by the pale base colour used both on the face and body. On a personal note, I am always excited to see pale skin emphasised in the fashion world. Red is such a great colour and is a notorious lip colour for those of a paler complexion and dark hair(think Dita Von Teese, Camilla Belle, Eva Green).

The accessorises for the collection were the most symbolic of Gruau's illustrations. The fluid movement of the hats/hair pieces were elegant and delicate in neutral colours against the vivid red's or calmer ivories, pastels and greys.

It is no wonder that there have been so many comparisons between Mad Men and the recent catwalk shows. It is easy to see from the styling to the classic waist fit that this is back to the glamorous post-war era, where volume, seduction, etiquette and feminine were the words on everyone's lips.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Don't be blue....

So, as I'm sure you've seen/heard/read today is Blue Monday. Supposedly Blue Monday is scientifically the most depressing day of the year, and to quote The Metro
According to psychologists, the combination of post-holiday debt, dull winter weather and the fading of the Christmas and New Year cheer, leads many to think of the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year.
So I thought I would give you some blue related items to put a smile on your faces.

Blue Monday - New Order

An obvious choice from my adopted Mancunian self. Have a boogie to this tonight and forget your worries.

Pique Chelsea Scalloped Shift Dress in Navy from ASOS

Hello Scallop cut! This cute 60's shift dress is given an updated edge with the delicate scallop cut above the waist. Perfect for the office or a meal out.

Diesel Livier Super Stretchy Mid Wash Skinny jeans

This mid-wash colour is amazing, very bright yet casual at the same time. I have a similar pair from Topshop, but sadly they've started to fade after a fair few washes. The best thing about skinny jeans (as we all know) look good with any shoe from converse to shoe boot or sandal to platforms.

And to end with....a cat!

This photo was taken by Crazy Ivory and I found it on Flickr whilst browsing. It's amazing in both the the context and colourings. The night sky is so vibrant with the city below, but what the HELL is that cat doing?! I know they have nine lives but that is taking the saying to the extreme....

Thursday, 13 January 2011


Somewhere - Elle in action

Monday, 10 January 2011

Big in 2011 - Part Two

Sleigh Bells:

You're in for a treat(s), excuse the pun, when you take a listen to this creative duo. The debut album from Sleigh Bells is currently making waves amongst the English shores. Based in Brooklyn the pair met in 2008 and the distorted angst rock partnership was formed. With guitarist Derek Miller's hardcore roots and singer Alexis Karuss's earlier pop attempt make the pair seem an unusual coupling.

I first became aware of Sleigh Bells when Nick Grimshaw chose Infinity Guitars as record of the week back in September. The song has a riot grrrl sound to it and an unfinished edge which some how sounds so polished at the same time.

When I got my hands on the album Treats I was pleasantly surprised by the variation of styles amongst the tracks. Not only does singer Alexis Krauss posses an riot grrl snarl but her softer side can also be heard on the track Run The Heart. The song still managed to keep the distorted synth/riff sound they have won so many fans with. Sleigh Bell's album opener Tell 'Em has an odd Americana tone which one would associate with a teen movie opening scene of girls walking down the corridor. But yet again the distorted synth sounds bring back an edge back to the track and takes something that could be repetitive to a whole different level.

After taking a glimpse at tweets and youtube comments it's seems the band have been labelled 'Noise pop' which I agree with to a certain extent, but hopefully the band are big enough to overcome being labelled amongst bands such as The Naked and Famous and MGMT and keep their somewhat soft punk/hardcore edge.

(photo credits: google and express Milwaukee.com)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Big in 2011

Elle Fanning:

Recognise the surname? That's because the little girl on the right is the younger sister of Dakota Fanning, who at 12 years old makes Dakota look like an OAP at the ripe old age of 16.

So what is it about these Fannings? Hard work is a big factor. In a recent interview with Interview magazine Elle discusses her already established career including her first film I am Sam (2001) in which Elle, then three years old, played a young Dakota. Ten years on Elle is working with big names, starring in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere (2010) a semi-autobiographic film where she plays the daughter of Stephen Dorrf's bad boy character. The film has already won the Golden Lion award (the highest accolade at the Venice Film Festival) and was released in Britain on limited screens last December.

This lovable gap toothed gal has also begun forging a name for her in the fashion world as well. Dressed in a Marc Jacobs suit (left) and wearing one of his dresses to the Venice Somewhere premier, she is already a fan of his designs, explaining ' I wore the Marc Jacobs dress, so I love Marc Jacobs. He has a vintage flair.'

Elle can also list Valentino as another designer in her wardrobe wearing an amazing pair of vintage mules to the Hollywood premier. Admittedly this will be down to a stylist, but the fact she can pull these pieces off at such a young age and look relaxed on the red carpet shows she is a designers dream for the years to come.

Looking at images and her catalogue of films it is easy to forget that this girl is only 12 years old, but it's reassuring that she is still down to earth and a typical tween who worries about the normal things such as school and boys to quote Interview magazine again, Elle explains

'I just started seventh grade, so, I'm like, "Oh, my god!" I was really nervous at first about the whole thing with getting to your class on time, because now we have so many different classes-that freaked me out.'
With three more films in the pipeline for 2011, I'm sure this is only the beginning of Elle Fanning's time in the spotlight and she is firmly tipped to be a future 'it' girl of not just 2011 but the whole decade.