Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Here come the Fashion Police....

........I always knew that there would come a time when the world would need fashion police. The very first time I saw a kappa jacket, I almost donned a trendy helmet and got to work on it myself! Well the organisers at Royal Ascot obviously saw their metaphorical Kappa Jacket at last years event, and have decided that this year will be different by enforcing a whole host of super-strict rules.

The first rule (which seems reasonable enough) is that ladies have to keep their knickers on. Who can argue with that? The Queen doesn't want to see your snatch (or at least I don't think she does...) Stewards in the Royal Enclosure will keep a closer than usual eye on ladies revealing bare bottoms should their skirts be lifted by a gust of wind... which seems like a pretty good job for any hetro male if you ask me!
Other rules determine that women have to wear formal day dress, with a hat or fascinator, while off-the-shoulder dresses, halter necks, spaghetti straps and mini skirts are all forbidden. They are even advising against the liberal application of fake tan (hallelujah!)
Men have to wear black or grey morning suits, including a waistcoat, along with a top hat.
Do these new rules make any sense? I'm just not sure that they do! But there's one way to find out: Let's examine exhibit A:

Now, believe it or not, the lady with the ashtray on her head would be allowed to attend the event. The lady in the quite pretty (but not to my taste) blue Grecian style dress and the peacock on her head wouldn't. Why? Because her dress is a halterneck. Goddamm her brazen bare shoulders! Hussy! I'm not sure I agree with the "this is the kind of shoulder strap you are allowed" facism. Some girls just don't look good in a thick strapped dress! In this case then, the rules seem a little archaic and not suitable for the fashion-conscious young lady. Lets move on to exhibit B:
And suddenly all doubt is erased from my mind! Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason the new rules were put in place. Look at her in all of her glory (I know, almost all of it!) This isn't the time or the place for cheap cotton gingham. I know its warm and your British: it's been a long time since you've seen the sun and it got the better of you. But Ascot is a change to dress like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, not Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman...although, of course, there is a time and a place for the Pretty Woman look (there must be!)

I love Ascot (although i've never been, maybe next year...) it's one of the few occassions left where you can be picked up by a chap in a morning suit and look truly over the top and fabulous without feeling self-concious, looking a bit silly, or spending a fortune (tickets are only £60) So although the spectacle has only just started, here are the dresses, and of course the fabulous hats, that I am busy drooling over today:

I demand a hat that looks like a jug of pimms! I've never needed anything more!

All this envy and its only the first day of the event! Imagine what i'll be like on Ladies day?! I just hope my head doesn't explode.......

Love Tor x

Monday, 16 June 2008

Virtual Shopping (In every respect)


It's been more than a month since my last post, and yet again i've left poor Becky to pick up the slack. I can't even pretend that it's because i've been working especially hard. I've been 'working' on my thesis for 4 weeks now: total word count to date? Zero. In my defence, I have been reading. But i'm not sure I can hand a book list in at the end of all this and hope it will carry me through....

Anyway, believe it or not, it isn't actually whinging about my thesis that has led me by my nose back to the blog, but a newsletter email that landed in my inbox this morning. asos.com have joined forces with the London College of Fashion again to bring 100 one-off pieces from final year students to sell on the site. I saw the pictures of the asos.cm LTD100 collection in thelondonpaper on Thursday, and I was suitably impressed. When I was reminded this morning that the collection went on sale at 1pm today I headed straight over to start a fictional shopping list.

Now the first downside is that, regardless of my dire dire financial situation, this list would have to be fictional: when you click through to see what offerings they had produced in a size 14 you are taken to the menswear section. Hmm, vaguely insulting and unhelpful. My favourite!! The only thing I could've bought and made use of is this lovely doctors style handbag by Ursula Inglis-Jones: I love the gathering detail and the muted colours, but even if I had the scratch, I don't think i'd splash out £200 for it.

"I'm staring into the future and it doesn't look good. But at least my handbag does."

Now lets confuse the virtual nature of this daydream a tiny bit more and imagine I wear a size 8 for the rest of this post. (it's the only way I can possibly contemplate wearing all of these teeny tiny clothes!) If that were true, these are the pieces I would've chosen from the rest of the collection:
In this picture this dress by Preena Patel looks pretty; sheer and flowing and pink. But not mind-blowing. Until, that is, you see the detail on the collar and bust:

Origami paper-folding heaven! Like a thousand tiny fancy napkins all over your chest! The other item that would be welcome to jump straight into my wardrobe are these high-waisted floral trousers by Sandra Rojo:

I'm not usually the kind of girl to get excited about trousers (unless they're jeans, I don't own any and I just don't wear them) but I just fell in love with these. I love the way the density of the flowers and intensity of the colours graduates down the legs.
So there you have it: if I cut myself in half and times the money I currently have in my bank account by ten then that's how I would've spent my day and the funds. A girl can daydream....
Tor x

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Sexy Stance for the Grads

Hello blogosphere,

My mother was right - I am a winner! Actually, I always have been. When I was a child, I was quite the tow-headed OCD competition freak. I entered everything and I won a lot: boomboxes, little torches, bright yellow stilts, tickets to see While You Were Sleeping... friends, I was little short of a pre-teen Scarface except instead of cocaine, I was drowning in crossword puzzles and a promotional tape of Madonna's Immaculate Collection. Money, Women, Power etc. Fine times.

Anyway, yesterday I received a hand-addressed envelope through my letterbox and lo! it was from Catwalk Queen and contained two tickets to the Education Day at Graduate Fashion Week where these fine people (and others) will be doing their best Q&A:

Lorraine Candy, Editor of Elle UK

Henry Holland

And it's all hosted by that lady what is off The Clothes Show

How exciting, right? I also get free entry into the exhibition at Earls Court so I can peruse the Graduate collections and hopefully talk to some new and interesting designers. I shall have to wear big confident shoulders to give me courage. I was feeling very fancy-pants and high end getting to attend the Q&A and all, until I read this blurb on the website:

The Education Day is primarily aimed at school groups and those at Further Education Colleges. However individual tickets can be purchased, but under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Wow. Catwalk Queen didn't mention that in their competition blurb. Apparently, I'm gonna be rollin' with the jailbait. Not quite as exclusive and fashiony as I first hoped and the focus will be on Higher Education in fashion but you never know what fascinating tidbits could drop, especially if I ask pertinent questions. Either that, or I attach myself to Lorraine Candy like a particularly ardent Giant Squid until she gives me a job at Elle. I could write that Mademoiselle bullshit anyday of the week.

Artist's impression of Becky climbing the career ladder.
Also pictured: Iain R Webb (with axe, moustache)

So, I received the tickets yesterday and I'm going tomorrow. Things move fast in fashion and fashion-related edu-tainment, huh? What does one wear in this particular field? I've half a mind to tear my wardrobe apart. Bear in mind also that I'll be swinging on by the Topshop flagship to check out the Helmut Newton self-portrait machine. My vanity wouldn't allow anything less - plus Susie Bubble made it look so much fun!

When I take my turn, I'll be channeling these Helmut Newton pics:

Elizabeth Taylor, a distorted reflection and a parrot. Yes. Yes.

Paris Vogue: April 1977 cover

Oh Iman, I love you so much. You rock a turban even better than Andre Leon Talley.

In summation: I'm going to throw a hissy fit if Topshop doesn't let me show my boobs. You can make me up with Nars and throw designer/high street collaborations at me, it don't mean nothing without an angry Newton nipple in the photo. Though I ain't got a Newton model body, I love the strength in these women's stance, the confrontation or self absorbation (actually we could argue the socio-political question of 'gaze' and those ankle shackles in the Imam photo, but I'm certain that both she and Newton are fully aware of the fetishistic and racial implications of the image. I like that it's dangerous and ambiguous and they're dancing on that line -it makes me think of an updated version of Manet's Olympia, and what with the direction of the maid's gaze, the curtain and the reiteration of that paisley wallpaper, I wouldn't be shocked if it was a direct influence) and I want to celebrate that.

Olympia by Edouard Manet (1863)

Hmm. Got a bit academic for a second. Don't worry. There'll be plenty of boobs tomorrow. I have to go and pack and practice my power pose. Wish me luck, internet friends.

Your pal,

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Sex and the City - the review, the clothes, the bunions.

Hello blogosphere,

Well, I'm back home from the Odeon, still bedecked in my sequinned finery and sipping daintily on a G&T. Friends, I'm here to tell you that where liquor is concerned, never stray from the classics. I say this as a woman who drank her very first Cosmopolitan this evening. Why would you ruin gin by dumping a fruit cocktail in there?

Check it: me and beloved co-blogger Tor, drinking our fancy £3.90 cocktails. The cinema bar lady took a looooong time to stick the little straws to the side of the glass. I am given to understand that this kind of gesture denotes a joint that is well classy. Still, all her effort was for naught as we were running late and had to quaff our pink ladydrinks like sailors. You see Tor in her tough leaher jacket and Carrie Bradshaw tribute corsage. Underneath was a very fetching green plaid prom dress from Primark. The concept was "Carrie Bradshaw if she was English and all rock-slash-emo." I decided to honour the Pat Field look with a waist belt and the artful juxtaposition of charity shop daisies and gold chains with 1920s-style chiffon miniskirts.

Ah, it wasn't styled with the artfulness of the show or indeed with the elan that other bloggers display, but hey...I felt thin, I felt sexy and if I bent over the world was my gynecologist. Thematic, right? What's not to love?

Now, the film itself.... I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's still looking for the time to go. Instead I shall present you with ten abstract promises of what awaits you:

1) A young Judy Garland
2) Nipple count of 3 vs. Penile Count of 1
3) A gypsy curse
4) Head bird
5) 2.5 seconds of glorious Andre Leon Talley offset by an awful 1.25 of Plum Sykes's SMUG FACE.
6) Poopie pants
7) Glorious alien-queen 1980s dress montage

You won't see this. This scene was not in the movie. Please do not anticipate this scene.
If you expect this scene you will be disappointed. Thank you for discounting this scene.

8)David Eigenberg in multicoloured plaid.
9) Hilarious product placement for Pret a Manger of all bloody things.
10) Two words: Bear attack.

I enjoyed the movie. I thought that the finest moments were in the first 2/3rds of the plot and that there is a noticeable drop in momentum in the third act. People have said that it's just 3 episodes strung together but honestly the structure on the TV eps is waaay tighter. The year timespan felt like a imposed structure on which to hang plot. This is a story, baggier than Samantha's cooch with little set pieces for all the women (Kristin Davis = angry hobbling comic genius) but with the men (with the exception of David Eigenberg as Steve) totally sidelined and wasted. Don't tease a half drunk Becky with one fricking scene with Evan Handler. Dude's a bald Jew king with a New York stage career and charisma up the yin-yang and the movie gives him nothing but a neutered teddy-bear bit? That's some class A b.s. in my book. Also? Smith got old. Again, the narrative gives him nothing and reduces his character to insubstantial prettyboy. But onscreen and blown-up twenty feet, his skin.... oy. Ever slung a leather handbag in the washing machine? All I'm saying.

There are some ace moments and some great dialogue (what other summer movie is going to reference Diane Arbus in a throwaway line?) and yes, it is genuinely moving. I also have an enormous amount of respect for Sarah Jessica Parker's willingness to look like genuine, absolute shit: no make-up, middle aged skin, puffy bags and bad hair. When you've seen as many shitty rom-coms as I have where the heroine's little upset is signified by two mascara streaks and a cute pyjama'd bum, you appreciate an actor taking a risk, putting aside vanity and making an emotional moment real. SaTC is a total fantasy, no question, but it's always put a premium on theatre-trained New York actors and in amongst all the puns and outfits and associated whatnots, there's a commitment to genuine emotion. Jennifer Hudson is wonderful an instinctual actress rather than a NY trained true blue but, much to my dismay, her character was wasted - a plot point with staggering cleavage. She does what she can and looks luscious but she's written off as arbitrarily as she arrives.

Look at her - how was she not in every scene?

Ah, but it's okay. Tor will rip me a new one for being too critical. Some things are sacred and god knows the viewing experience in the cinema was like a big boozy slumberparty with 100 strangers. That's what the shared experience and character investment of 6 years of loyal viewership will give you. It was a feeling unlike any other experience I've ever had at the cinema. I didn't even go ballistic at the girls in the front row texting during the movie or at the pockets of chatter all throughout the screening room (believe me -- usually I'm a Nazi). I was serene - we were all there for the shoes.


PS - Inquiring minds wanna know. Favourite outfit? This one. Gotta love bling and a trailing sleeve. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Perpetual anticipation is good for the soul but it's bad for the heart

Hello blogosphere,

The piece of advice my mother most often gives me is as follows: "Beck, you've got to get your finger out." Well, mum, blogosphere, consider my finger vehemently extracted as, despite the many procrastinatory tools the internet offers, I have much blogging to do. Especially now that "I'd Do Anything" has finished. I don't know about you but my productivity dwindles to nothing in the face of musical theatre. Add a shedload of tack to that equation and you've got me almost comatose with glee.

I'm powerless to resist this. It is my nature.
I also love their shitty 'signature' petticoats and Tyra-branded "catalogue" pose.
Incidentally, this competition was all about the emotion behind the eyes as well. If you wanna be a model or a musical star, ya gotta have the mad retinal skillz of a Streep or a Lady Pacino.

Anyway, like every other blogger in the free world, I'm going to see the Sex and the City film. Me, Tor and my boyfriend are hitting the Odeon tomorrow night and it goes without saying, does it not, that we are dressing up in all our Pat Field-inspired tranny glory. I'm wearing a skirt that is flappy, chiffony and thoroughly too short for me and I'm stealing a pair of whorish shoes from Tor, who will be dressed as a Primark prom princess. Tristan, my endlessly tolerant beloved (who actually loves SATC and demands marathon binges), will be dressed in one of the 5 combinations he wears his clothes but as he's never without a suave jacket, we'll just tell everyone he's Mr Big. Unless he pisses me off, in which case I'll tell everyone he's that dude who kept pooing in front of Miranda in Season Four.

I'm clenching my stomach muscles and floral vagina accessories in anticipation! A review and fashion editorial will follow. Predictable posting, I know but rest assured, There Will Be Jokes.

Your absent friend and People's Nancy,

Monday, 2 June 2008

Hello blogosphere,

Well well well. When Imelda recommends you to the fashiony masses and you've no posted for nearly 2 weeks, that's the time to get off your ice-cream arse and get to posting.