Thursday, 31 January 2008

Enter the Rat, Enter the Dresses

Starting February 7th, the Chinese New Year of the Rat will be upon us (I am a Rat incidentally) and if you didn't keep those resolutions you drunkenly made on December 31st (I will keep my clothes on hangers, I will iron everything, I wont shop so obsessively....) then now is the perfect opportunity to start again.

There will be Chinese New Year celebrations all over the country (nay, the world, and in erm, China, obviously) and as I spent 6 months living in China after I graduated; a story too boring for me to tell again, and as I enjoy both Chinese culture and tailoring, now seemed like the perfect time to showcase some amazing Chinese talent that was showing at Hong Kong fashion week last week: after all, the perfect New Year celebrations demand the perfect new dress.
We read all about the Fashion weeks in London, Paris and Milan but rarely from further afield, and so I thought it might be nice to break from the pack and have a sneaky peak at the designer I thought put on the most interesting show in Hong Kong-William Tang:

Dresses from Willim Tang A/W08 collection

William Tang has been designing both mens and womenswear since the early 80s, starting his own label in 85. He also designed the uniforms for Dragonair airlines in 2000, and has his own Parisian boutique; Presence II. Tang believes that "fashion itself is an art form that moves and lives with the human body. The fashion business is also art, a form that is based on creative ideas where various commercial aspects are taken into consideration" Tang is known as the 'bad boy' of Hong Kong fashion and in 1997 was surrounded in contraversy following his drug themed show. (That was just for you if you're a fashion nerd that, like me, need to know all the facts and figures!) However there is no sniff of contraversy surrounding his latest collection which, whilst perhaps not being entirely innovative, is obviously beautiful and so ethereal it almost demands to be touched.

Tangs collection for A/w08 was very feminine and dress heavy, focusing on volume, especially on the hips and lower body. All of the dresses were structured to create the illusion of womanly curves and the focus was clearly on the tailoring.

Tang seemed to have no particular colour pallette preferring to mix it up with everything from black to canary yellow to pastal pink. Instead his focus seemed to be on texture with almost every dress using some detail in floating chiffon. Although very modern and wearable a lot of Tang's designs, particuarly those involving the vibrant chiffon, are reminiscent of the 80s new romantics. It seems that Tang is reminiscing about his time as a fashion student in London where he had his first successes designing the flamboyant and glamourous "new romantic looks."

I knew i'd seen that yellow frock somewhere before!

Vivienne Westwood's "New Romantic" designs, photographed at her retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia in 2004. See how the yellow dress looks just like Tangs? Oh yes, I tear up the archives to prove a point to you dear reader. This collection screams new romantic. Screams it so loud it makes my ears hurt.
I really enjoy Tangs collection. And its nice, refreshing to see a catwalk show where you could zip yourself into one of the creations (if your a zero non existent of course) and head to a party: everything he designs seems really wearable. But if you prefer your runway a little more elabourate, and your Asian influence more obvious, HongKong fashion week is still the place for you. Valissi would send you to the pary in vibrant red and looking like an ancient empress. And noone can say that's not a good look. Have a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

Lots of Love,
Tor x

Photos of HongKong fashion week A/W08 taken from (It's a really good read!)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I want Cloth and I want Culture: Now Now Now

Believe it or not, dear reader, as well as scruffy student and blogger extrordinaire I also have a day job or two. Sometimes this means editing 'How to' guides, and sometimes it means writing trashy celebrity gossip. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get to do something pretty cool. Monday night was one of those times.

Monday was the opening of the Cloth and Culture Now exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre Gallery (UEA, Norwich) and feeling particularly underdressed I toddled along, invite in hand, to write a review of the exhibition for the Educational Centres Association. (Day Job #2) Cloth & Culture NOW investigates the links between contemporary textile practice, strong traditional practice and overlapping global influences. In effect, it bridges the gap between fashion and art, with textiles becoming both beautiful and unwearable.

Now, for all my hidden online bravado, this 'exciting' night was actually a pretty scary one for me. You see, i'm not especially good at conversing with large groups of people I don't know (but don't tell anyone, this will do my potential career as a journalist no good at all!) And the thought of walking into a room full of highbrow artsy people, who all seemed to be arriving in groups, terrified me. In fact I had to stand outside texting fellow blogger Becky who gave me an uplifting pep talk (come on Tor, you can do it!) for a good 5 minutes before I could enter the building.

Once inside, I applied my stern "serious reporter" business face and hiding behind my press pack (which contained £25 worth of free book, thank you very much) I meandered around the groups of people, notebook in hand, scribbling nothing in particular to make myself feel vaguely purposeful.

I soon settled into the crowd though, smiling at everyone with a name badge (they must be important, right?) and chatting to anyone who broke off from the crowd: it's easier to talk to one or two people than 20! Once I had found my groove, I was lucky enough to drink 4 glasses of champagne, eat an entire table full of chip'n'dip, and interview one of the artists exhibiting at the show. Freddie Robins works with knitted textiles as her primary medium, and she kindly let me ask her about her textile influences, and, more crucially, what she was wearing, all for your reading pleasure!

My grainy camera work and the stark Sainsbury Centre lighting does Freddie no favours (Honest!)

Why do you work in the medium you work in? Why do you knit?

Well I studied knitted textiles at university. In the late 70s, knitting was very popular, it was a popular way of making fabrics. I was drawn to it because it was big and because my Godmother, who was like a second mother to me, worked amazingly with textiles. Other kids would get knitted sweaters that they hated but she would always create the most fashionable things for me.

Knitting has a bad reputation. Although 'young and trendy' people are beginning to see knitting as 'cool' again, most peoples perceptions aren't that way, and they still see knitting as an outdated old-fashioned skill. I saw an article in the Guardian which was talking about old age and brain cells dying, and the image they had chosen to illustrate this was someone knitting. To me this uncool low status attached to knitting just makes it ripe for subversion.

In the work you are displaying "The perfects" (Pictured below) why do some of the creations have faces and some not?

In fact, all of the perfects have faces, we just chose to display some of them face downwards rather than upwards. The focus of the work is their niformity: they are all exactly the same. Using a machine that can knit these 'people' in one piece meant there was no wastage.Using hand knitting i can replica the technique of the machine: modifying their faces until i'm happy with them and they are perfect.

Is the idea of avoiding waste, of therefore protecting the Environment something that is important in your work?Of course its something I consider personally and politically, but it's not something I explore in my work. It isn't important to what I do.

So what is important to your work?

I think my work is about conformity. It's about the constant persuit of perfection and the repetition of this. This probably has more to do with me than the work- because i'm a real perfectionist.

Finally, I like your sweater, where is it from?

My sweater and my trousers are both from an amazing boutique in Islington called Labour of Love. The clothes are all chosen by the owner Fran Forcolina, and each piece is individual.

Robin is wearing checked cropped trousers teamed with a knitted black sweater with white bow detail. She accessorises this with black and red stripey socks, a yellow over the body bag, and black ankle shoe boots. With her individual styling and bright red assymetric hair cut it occurs to me that if she ever gave up the knitting, perhaps she could give Vivienne Westwood a run for her money.

Ok, so its not 100% relevant, but I love this picture of Vivienne Westwood soo much I had to put it in!

Certainly, standing next to her I wish I'd worn something more exciting than my oldest jeans and oversized navy blue jacket. But still; for someone that was standing outside the building scared to even go in an hour before, I was pretty pleased with myself for interviewing the best artist exhibiting at the event: scruffy trousers or not! And i'm pleased to say that I am in the group of the enlightened that knows knitting was always cool....

......Handmade sweaters coming your way!

Love Tor x

Monday, 28 January 2008

Attend the tale...

Hello blogosphere,

Brace yourself for cliche albeit one well meant: going to the movies used to be an event. When there was no internet, TV or glossy multi-narrative strand based American crime dramas, people used to look most often to the Picturehouse for their Big Night Out.

Yes, yes. I know you know this. You're very smart. I was just writing preamble - it can't all be gold! Damn your black hearts. Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is that on the occasions I can afford the shocking British multiplex/independent smugfest cinema prices (seriously, what's the point of being highbrow if it's not dirt cheap? Those Philip Seymour Hoffman films aren't going to watch themselves) I always dress up. Sometimes I theme it, cause y'know, with all my anger issues, I rarely get invited to fancy dress parties. Also, I think it's genuinely cheering to make all outings, even fairly commonplace ones, little events in themselves.

Two days ago I went to see Sweeney Todd.

Nice poster. Johnny Depp IS Sweeney Todd. Our focus IS his crotch. Anywhoo, I am a huge musical theatre nut and have an especial squidgy spot for Sondheim so I was almost foaming at mouth with excitement to see this particular motion picture Event. Did I block out out the fact that Tim Burton cast non-singers in two of the most difficult musical theatre roles. Yes. Yes I did. I blocked hard. It wasn't too difficult because at least ol' reliable Burton had the good sense to cast Helena Bonham Carter, whom I love very tenderly.

Yes indeed, despite her pipey- girly no power singing, I love her and her crazed fashion sense/hair. Her Sweeney costumes (designed by the ever-present Colleen Atwood) and general off-duty aceness were the inspiration for my cinema-goin' outfit.

Behold my mood boards o' inspiration:

Colleen Atwood's costume sketches

Scruffy hair, black eyes, mismatching Victoriana and eccentric/psychotic attitude with underlying vulnerability. 'kay:

Chiffon sleeved velvet dress: early 90s Laura Ashley, filched from mum
Ratty wool hoodie: filched from sister
Dirty yellow rose top: New Look
Purple tights: M&S
Boots: Nine West
Kitsch heart ring (just seen): Gift from my beloved co-blogger Tor

I tried not to be too costumey so it was goth-lite all the way. I didn't enjoy the movie - I firmly believe that a musical should be populated by actors who can actually sing the material. Call me a snob, but I need my moment of transcendence and Johnny Depp's growlly puppy rock voice, close miked and pitch corrected as it was, is no substitute for the fury and richness of George Hearn, Michael Cerveris or Len Cariou. I'm a broadway girl and I like a little belt.

Scene from the 2007 Broadway revival of Sweeney Tood w/ Michael Ceveris (left) & blessed Patti Lupone (centre,top). See lovely Wendy's blog for more Patti-fied 70s fashion goodness.

Wow. Our last two posts were on musical theatre and Disney. Maybe this is why we're not invited to frickin' Chanel. We have got to get cool somehow.

Maybe I'll take up smoking....that's still cool, right?


Disney celebrates: Celeb style!

With passions as abstract as mine, it's not often I get to write about them both at the same time: In fact, they often seem diametrically opposed. Fashion and Disney. I often despair that fashion has no sense of humour whereas Disney has bucketloads. I love Disney films, and Disney characters, and spending as much time as I possibly can in Disneyworld- In fact, in my desperate bid to combine my 2 first loves i'm like a big kid, I even source out Disney clothes and make people wear them!

Unflattering Minnie Mouse sweater dress £12 from George at Asda (Also available in black) Becky's bemused look: models own.

For all of you non-Disney geeks out there, this year is Disneys "Year of a million dreams", an initiative which started last year and continues all the way through 2008. Basically speaking, over a million dreams will be randomly awarded during the 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway. These can range from meeting your favourite character, to a week long Disney cruise. (And if anyone from Disney is reading this, when I head over in March I really want to be in one of the parades: make it happen!)

To celebrate (and no doubt advertise) the'Year of a Million Dreams' Disney have hired Annie Leibovitz to shoot a celeb-packed series of photos of the same title. Leggy model Gisele Bunchen starred in the shoot which also starred Jennifer Lopez, her husband Marc Anthony, Whoopi Goldberg, Jessica Biel, and Tina Fey.
The only way I can think to describe this image is "Disney for grown ups". Gisele looks ethereal and the wind blowing through her nightshirt transforms it into a beautiful gown. Yet the picture also has quite sinister overtones: the lighting is darker than the usual candy coloured array you expect from Disney, Tinkerbell seems to be casting a spell over Gisele who looks both entranced and unhappy. And rather than stand at the window, the Peter seems to be falling from it, his life balanced precariously on a ledge. This image is a more traditional representation of a classic Disney pose, although my eye is drawn away from the sickening couple, and JLo in gold lame', and towards the beautiful background setting and the way the Annie has caught the sun setting over the desert so beautifully. As an aside, does anyone else think of Jordan and Peter singing "A whole new world" when they look at this image? If not, sorry to put that nightmare in your head!

Whoopi Goldberg as the genie. Pure. Genius. Fact. I love the movement in her hair and that her jewellery is beautiful and subtle: implying the bondage of a genie without resorting to costumes and trickery.

Anyway. If you made it this far, thanks for indulging me and my love of Disney (A love that dares not speak its name) Oh, and one more thing:

Well, all those celebs are indulging in their Disney fantasies, why shouldn't I?*

*Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Chanel - that look is so Mao (couture)

Hey blogosphere - more couture and, more crucially, more Karl.

A great deal has already been blogged about the A/W 08 Chanel couture just shown. Me, I've always had a soft spot for this particular time of year, especially after devouring the amazing Chanel Storyville documentary shown on BBC4 on the talented artisans who actually put the damn clothes together. If I know nothing else, I know this: I'd rather hang out with the housewives/craftswomen extraordinaire in the embroidery room than 20 Amanda Harlechs. We would wear pristine white work dresses, laugh like sailors and collect our Chanel bag on retirement - it is a dream of mine.

You can start watching the whole 6 episode extravaganza here. I'm sure a lot of you have seen it already but if you haven't, I advise you put some time aside and wallow in the sheer lovely crazed Frenchness of it all.

Anyway, back to this year's couture. It seems all the brou-ha-ha centres around the tower o' power or Le Chanel Robe Gargatua:

Hey, it ain't just me thinking along these lines. Even Women's Wear Daily online was muttering darkly about 'Madame Mao' (strangely I can't find that phrase in their new review dated today...mainstream fashion writers have to watch their commercial ps and qs much more then we dirty online independents) and the wonderfully astute Le Style Sauvage reads the big jacket as Chanel's assertion of economic untouchability even as the nature of world economics changes:
"The size of the jacket sent a different message: Chanel is poised to take over the world. Not the world as we know it--that world is shrinking like wool in a dryer--but the new world."
-- Suzanna Mars, Le Style Sauvage (read her, she's ace)

Although a symbol that visually riffs on a Chinese Communist leader's iconography might seem contrary to Mars's reading of the jacket as a paean to luxury's marketplace longevity, it is not as contradictory as it might first appear. Women in rapidly developing countries, especially those with a communist history (Russia, China etc), these children of Mao - these are the socialites and couture customers of tomorrow. And they better have the legs for minis and ballet flats.

Lots of lovely stuff to be seen however. I enjoy Karl's ability to twist Chanel iconography into a seeming endless array of sartorial options. Particularly love the camellia skirt on model #2 and the unexpectedly toughness of model #3. I have an ace Miss Sixty jumper with that kind of tooled puffa sleeve...I shall have to dig it out. I also enjoy every commentator's complaint that the models had trouble posing without their high heels. I quite enjoy a bit of ingénue gawkiness myself - makes the whole thing less rarefied.However, I'm genuinely quaking at the thought that demi-opaque tights are going to be big news again. Stupid trend rumours delivering on their promises...bah.

I'm surprised though that no blogger has commented on the state of the models faces. I was browsing merrily through's detail shot archive and I was shocked to see how exhausted and cracked-out some of our top models look in close-up. I sincerely hope it was the lighting but some of it has to be a sheer lack of a good eight hours shuteye:

Seriously -- click and enlarge and check the bags. I honestly think Vlada Roslyakova (centre) is trolling the front row for brains. Even lovely Iekeliene Stange looks ready to either nut someone or fall forward snoring and drooling on her bouclé. I know models are worked like whippets in couture week but jeepers Karl - let 'em sleep.

That's enough out of you, Kaiser. You're just acting out. No more ipods for you.


The Great Big Tidy

Having a walk-in wardrobe has always been my dream. In fact, that's the reason i'm living in this hovel as apposed to another (no doubt equally untidy) student house, one that might actually have central heating and double glazing: However, I saw this wardrobe and couldn't walk away.

The problem with this dream wardrobe however, is that with all that storage space, I don't have any incentive to tidy up, and my precious wardrobe ends up looking like a tropical storm whirled through it.

This post isn't about how often I clean up my room though, as exciting a story as i'm sure that would be. Instead, it's about that magic feeling you get when your cleaning up and you find a hidden fashion gem you haven't seen for a long time and had forgotten you even owned. Finding these little treats is better than going shopping, because they're unexpected and you don't have to pay a penny for them. (Free is my favourite price!)

During this weekends cleaning misadventures-because my life is so glam- I found a hat, 3 tiny clutches (which for some reason I had stuffed inside each other) and a paper bag topped check skirt.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Couture: Madame X and fetish wear

Okay blogsphere,

I am an ill young woman. I have not been blogging and the glorious Tor has been taking my load. The truth is that I am still ill but there is a time when one has to put aside one's debilitating conditions and mucus membrane disorders to talk loudly and openly about sequins.

I'm not missing couture, no sir, not for no one.

So, we've got the big guns: Dior, Gaultier, Armani Prive, Lacroix and the beloved Valentino. I'm not going to talk about the departure of the big V because he and his chiffon deserve a post all their own. Equally, I'm going to gloss over Armani, even though there were some glorious things on show, particularly his foray into geometric-shapes-plus-pleating. It was, surprisingly, one of the least stodgy collections around *cough* Givenchy *cough*.

Click to make large 'n' pretty, cuz Mr Armani likes it big:

Nope, I want to talk about the triumph of the Erdem collection and the failure (in my eyes) of the work at Dior.

Erdem first - what an awesome display of goth-itude. Truly, this collection was beautiful, youthful, some pieces conceivable as daywear and had all the fun of the gimp suit without the sweaty PVC crotch. I loved it:

I especially found the first look with its leather-queen/Victoriana duality. If Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady went to this sort of Ascot, I'm pretty sure she woulda got her face cut good. Excellent. The Alexander McQueen-y black gown with its lovely organic forms (read: twigs for lashing) sprouting from the bodice is gorgeous - beautiful and quite possibly evil. The onesie/haemophiliac gimp suit is genius. Love the softness of the chiffon bolero. I've covered up the finale wedding dress with Gary the Gimp, mostly because I enjoy him so much but also because the key to the whole outfit is that severe neck ruff. No bride will be biting her stitches on Erdem's watch, that's fo sure.

Dior, however was shocking. Now, I love Galliano as much as any fashion nerd but although his couture was undeniably lovely and beautifully constructed, it felt like so much revisited territory. Now, this was also my problem with Alexander McQueen's 'best of' S/S08 collection. I've already seen this boys - dream me a new dream. Galliano was way into his citrus brights and complex chinoserie AGAIN only this time he has additional reference points in John Singer Sargent's Madame X and in the lacquered updoes of Diana Vreeland's Vogue years.

(from L-R) Look at the difference between A/W 07 couture (little pic) and A/W 08 Dior (big pic). Not an inspiring leap - at least not for me. You can see Madame X giving good neckline inspiration for the sparkly blue gown. I dunno - I feel like when I look at this painting, the Dior dress looks all the more Las Vegas and not in a good way. I really like the final two gown - the cell membrane-y print, the fractured sun (Klimt = another big influence this season) but I don't feel that the collection ultimately coheres and I certainly don't feel that pit of stomach awe that Dior usually conjures. And that sucks.

However, I am obsessed with one factor - the hair.

Crazy anti-gravity Edwardian hair. Yes, Yes and Yes. It's 1.40am now but at 11pm, I felt the Dior spirit rush through me and dear god, I began to style. This was ill advised especially since I was knackered and in my scuzzy mismatched pyjamas. Still, the fashion magazines are all saying pyjamas are practically acceptable daywear now, right? Right? So I backcombed and ratted and hairsprayed until I thought my arm would fall off, et voila:

I just couldn't get the curve right. What's more pathetic is that it took AGES. Forgive me, I am a hair dunce and I deserved all I got. Apparently catwalk styling can't be achieved with an amateur with just Elnett, Boots own make-up and a dream.

If you'll excuse me, I have to get the mascara out of my eyebrows - it's starting to set.


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Be on the cover of Vogue

Ok, so it's only a bit of fun, but it strokes my ego and suits my vanity to show you this site: does exactly what it says on the tin!

Can Fashion Save the World?

On Friday 15 February 2008 at 7pm (thats about a fortnight away)Katherine Hamnett is giving a lecture at the V&A called Can Fashion Save the World? where she talks with the journalist Miranda Sawyer about the challenges of ethical fashion.

Katherine Hamnett is probably best-known for her political T-shirts with slogans such as 'Free Burma'. A percentage of the proceeds of the sale of this t-shirt go to funding scholarships for Burmese students planning to return to Burma

All of the Tshirts are organic cotton and printed in the UK with water-based, environmentally friendly printing ink. Katherine lobbies for major changes in manufacturing and agricultural practices; ethical all the way. And you get the feeling she really really cares: when you visit the shop section of the website not only do you get to look at pretty clothes, you get to read a paragraph about the ethics behind them.

This cute T comes with the message that "We get 98% of our oxygen from the sea; the sea is dying because of pollution. and environmental degradation." See? You can't just wear it, you have to understand it too!

I'm really interested to listen to the lecture and hear what Ms Hamnett has to say (although i am a little afraid that she might put me off my minor primark addiction) And I really want to wear this little T when I accept my prize for winning the Miss World competition.....

Just to make this post sound even more like an advert, entrance is £7.50, concessions available

Monday, 21 January 2008

Dresses and Boobies.....

Instead of selling sex, Amsterdam is trying to sell sexy. Although i'm not sure those ladies need any advice on how they should Bring Sexy Back.

The city unveiled its "Red Light Fashion" project on Saturday, having converted 16 'buildings' (or "lady windows") that used to house prostitutes in the city's ancient red light district into studios for young fashion designers. And rather lovely some of the ladies (the models, rather than the working women) looked too:

The idea was born out of the government's desire to crack down on crime in the area. But many neighbors are displeased with the high-class newcomers in an area that thrives on its seedy reputation; and lets be honest, people head to the red light district in Amsterdam to buy ladies that will take off their dresses, not a new dress for a lady.

Although the 10 up and coming designers are being rented their new studio homes for free for the first year, they say they're are taking a risk. Having said that, I like the quirky mix of sex and sexy clothes. And, has Becky has lamented in previous posts, there's alot we can learn, fashion wise, from those women that walk the street.

Those Dutch really know how to bring new meaning to the phrase 'window shopping' don't they?

The clothes on sale in these new boutiques though, are considerably more expensive than the women. A lot of the stores only offer a "made-to-measure" service and the semi-established designers are creating haute couture in their new homes. But the key question isn't how much the clothes cost or whether they're made in a brothel or not. The key question is whether we like them! Well the answer is I do! In this business your only as good as your last collection dahhling, and the most prominent of the designers, Edwin Oudshoorn's last collection was very interesting indeed!

I am slightly biased, but 6 months in China means i'm a sucker for Oriental styling. I also love Oudshoorn's use of constrasting textures and the way the use of almost cliched textures seemed fresh and interesting. I also think the prom style dress is infinitely wearable.

Although you wouldn't see Julia Roberts wearing any of these dresses in Pretty Woman, I can see why a Dutch set of Pretty (and rich) women would brave a stroll through the red light district for one of Oudshoorn's designs. I only hope that this new initiative doesn't drive many of the women living and working from the safety of their regulated wndows in the red light district and back onto the streets.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

I wanna be a rock chick, but I don't have a guitar!

Has anyone else noticed that it doesn't just rain anymore? It floods.
This weekend is another one of those cold miserable drizzly weekends (standard January in England weather, really) and i've decided i'm not leaving the house. I'm not going shopping, i'm not going to the pub, I can't even be tempted by getting dressed up and going to a restaurant. I'd much rather stay in and play guitar hero whilst eating pizza.

I am a Guitar hero Addict: I needed a fully thought out 12 point plan to wean me off the machine so I could sit down and write this post. There's nothing quite like standing in the middle of your living room with a plastic guitar, the volume of your tv pumped up, your body swaying, feeling like a genuine Goddess of Rock. Which leads me neatly to today's post, and is also my reason for writing it: Rock Chick styling.

The Rock Chick look is so popular it's almost like a cliche. Even GMTV did a 10 minute segment on how to 'get the look'But i'm not talking about wearing red plastic shoes, tearing up your denim mini and sticking skulls onto everything. I could be wrong (I often am) but I think the rock chick look is a trend you have to really like, and commit to with some not neccessarily bankrupting, but certainly better than Primark key investment pieces to avoid looking like a cheap wannabe popstar/Big brother contestant (which isn't a bad think, but definitely not for me)

I turn to style icons Karen O (from the Yeah yeah yeahs) and original queen of rock-chick-cool, Debbie Harry.

Debbie Harry is on my top 5 list of women i don't just admire, I actually want to be (and last weekend someone told me I looked a bit like her- they were lying, but yay!) My attention is imediately drawn from Debbies shock of hair and sultry eyes to her leather jacket: If your looking for a key Rock chick piece then a tight fitting leather jacket is a good place to start. This Alexander McQueen leather biker jacket (£1805,00) is an even better one.

Alternately, in the real world where money doesn't grow on trees and my bank balance doesn't have that many zeros in it this zip detail leather jacket from Topshop (£45) is nice:

And if you're blessed with time rather than money, and have the patience, shopping second hand is a great way to find a gorgeous genuine leather piece for the change in your pocket. Charity shops, vintage fairs, and thift stores always house some treasures, as does our old favourite: ebay.
This genuine leather original 80s style biker jacket was selling for just £10 : a bargain that can be just about stretched to from any budget (even mine if I squint a bit!)
A perfect leather jacket won't just make you look like a genuine rock chick, it will make you feel like one too. In fact, I think i'm going to slip mine over my pajamas and get back to the Guitar Hero........