Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fashi Week Faves

London Fashion Week’s 25th birthday was celebrated in style – some amazing collections, top drawer celebrity attendees and Anna Wintour in the front row. Yup, they did good and it seems like there’s going to be plenty to look forward to in Spring/Summer 2010 (2010 – scary, eh? And what are we going to call that decade? The tennies? The tens? The teens? The tweens?). But before we look at the double denim, sheer blouses and candy colours that we’re all going to be sporting next year, let’s take a moment to remember our fave moments from LFW SS10.

Favourite Accessory – The Claddagh Crown at John Rocha

We’ve never been fans of Claddagh rings and we just don’t get that heart facing outwards if you're single thing, but Claddagh crowns are something that we can get behind. Crowns are always flattering and the Irish connection just makes them extra special.

Favourite Freebie – The Charles Anastase Bag

The Matches pop up shop at Somerset House was selling canvas totes and lovely, soft t-shirts with designs from some of London’s best-loved designers printed on them. At the Charles Anastase show, all the attendees were gifted with his Matches tote, which features a beautiful swan print. Such a chic addition to the stuffed cupboard full of bags-that-you’re-supposed-to-bring-to-Tesco-but-always-forget.

Favourite Party Guest – Sanjay at Mulberry

The Mulberry party at Claridge’s was jam-packed with celebs: Tinsley Mortimer, Lara Stone, Pixie G, David Walliams, Sarah Harding, etc, etc. But Sanjay from Eastenders was our fave. We’ve spied him at fashion bashes before but this time we plucked up the courage to talk to him. We wondered why he comes to these things, especially as he seems to always be alone. The answer’s simple. “I just can’t turn invitations down!” he told us. And what’s he doing these days, we asked. Film, theatre or TV? “Both,” he said emphatically. Okay.

Best Front Row Guest – Anna Wintour/Henry Conway
Sorry, it’s impossible to choose between these two. Obviously it was a thrill to see Ms. Wintour in the flesh (bones?) at Peter Pilotto but spotting the almost-as-skinny-these-days Henry Conway was equally exciting. He’s toned it down style-wise (gone are the huge hats and ruffled cravats) but we like his new spiffing look just as much.

Favourite Model – The dog at the Mulberry Presentation

The all-black casting at the PPQ show was a much-needed nod to diversity and we were also very fond of the beautiful big-browed Maja at Charles Anastase, but top dog for us was the, eh, dog at Mulberry. So so pretty and adorably unsure of her moves. Plus she’s the only one that you know for sure doesn’t have an eating disorder.

Favourite Canapés – Pret a Manger sandwiches and Sprites

Okay so they’re not strictly a canapé but the regular ingestion of crayfish and rocket sandwiches from Pret was essential for our mental and physical well-being. They must, of course, be washed down with a refreshing Sprite. As regards actual canapés, we loved the candy floss and mini-burgers at the Mulberry party. LE

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peter Pilotto RTW SS10

Peter Pilotto was the show I was most looking forward to and it was also where I had my one and only Anna sighting this season. I arrived very unfashionably early but not far behind me was the Wintour herself, because that’s just the way she rolls. She was quickly ushered backstage like the queen for her meet and greet with designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos.

The venue filled up painfully slowly so A-Dubs was left pretty much on her own on the front row while we waited for everyone to take their seats – awkward. She looked so tiny and alone that I was tempted to sit next to her and engage in some fashi week small talk, maybe get to the bottom of her inexplicable and slightly creepy obsession with Roger Federer. Luckily, Sarah Mower took pity and sat beside her. Peeps were also having palpitations at the sight of every blogger's favourite, Kate Lanphear, who I just can’t get excited about. Give me Vogue’s Kate Phelan over La Lanphear any day

So did the clothes get the Wintour seal of approval? – fitted dresses with capped sleeves are definitely her thing but I guess we’ll have to wait 6 months to see if they appear on a jumping Caroline Trentini shot by David Sims against a blank background in American Vogue. For SS10, the duo created softly structured silhouettes by twisting and draping the material around the body. The stunning watercolour prints were inspired by dawn, dusk, fireworks, the ocean and the night sky. My favourite print looked like a colourful yet fading, woven tweed and the perspex belts were another standout. Without doubt, the most polished and assured collection I have seen all week. NOK

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Charles Anastase and PPQ RTW SS10

The Charles Anastase show was held in the Finsbury town hall and the echoey corridors and big empty rooms reminded me of attending school drama recitals. Albeit a very cool school where Alexa and Peaches are the cliquey head girls and Suzy Menkes the stern headmistress. The show had the familiar eeriness and magic that we have come to associate with the French designer but some of the pieces did only serve to underline the point that models look good in anything, even dungarees made of sackcloth and dresses that look like duvets. And yet there were moments of outstanding beauty: a sheer pink blouse with a little white collar was my favourite piece.

And then it was on to the PPQ show where the atmosphere was raucous (probably as a result of the free drinks that everybody had been consuming since midday) and lots of young celebrities - Fearne Cotton, Leigh Lezark - sat front row. The models strutted around in colourful creations – bubblegum pink trousers, polka dot bikinis and dresses with billowy shoulders. There really was a bit of everything in this collection and it was hard not to get swept up in the excited hoopla: all cheering IT girls and complimentary cocktails. LE

Charles Anastase

Away We Go

We had been considering abstaining from LFW this season. Not to sound ungrateful but sometimes it does get a bit much. Being so tired and stressed that you burst into tears in front of your boss (yes, that was my particular highlight of Spring Summer 09). And the flat does begin to resemble a hostel and everyone gets really cranky by the last day.

But in spite of our best efforts to resist, we found ourselves drawn into the circus. We have to admit it, the night before it all kicks off does feel a little like Christmas Eve. First stop on Day 2 was John Rocha at Somerset House – always a must see for The Portmanteau and we were ecstatic to see Henry Conway on the front row. The show was beautifully whimsical and romantic– high points were a parade of dresses with endless tiers of ruffles in peach, nude and turquoise (which reminded me a lot of Giles SS08's shredded leaf dresses ) and sheer blouses edged with pearls. It also featured some incredible structured bell-shaped dresses made of stiff crochet. A catwalk appearance from Iekeliene Stange and Claddagh-inspired crowns topped it all off. As ever with John Rocha, there was a great familial feeling at the show and lovely music, finishing up with a finale soundtracked by Beirut. NOK

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day One

So LFW kicked off today and I set myself up for the day with a hearty breakfast at the Covent Garden Hotel with Ruth Griffin of Matches, who had invited some London-based bloggers and online media types - Grazia, the Vogue blog, Mademoiselle Robot, Net A Porter, The Portmanteau, et al - to help celebrate the launch of the Matches pop up shop at Somerset House. Over Eggs Benedict, French toast, and porridge for the more abstemious, we discussed our schedules for the next four days and plotted to introduce a London version of the Fashion Bloggers’ Brunch. I only squeezed in two shows this evening and I still haven’t gotten around to getting glasses so I’m probably not the best person to rely on for in-depth analysis. But although things were blurry I did manage to spot Michelle Williams (not the cool one; the Destiny’s Child one) at Bora Aksu. And on the catwalk: lots of pink and black lace dresses and sequinned leggings. Twiggy and Kimberley Stewart were the front row VIPs at Sass and Bide, where chainmail and metallic embellishment adorned flowing cream frocks and short bodycon dresses. I’ll endeavour to squint harder tomorrow so as to bring you more detailed reports. Promise. LE

Eggs Benedict

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Posting has been scarce on the ground recently. Sorry about that but we’ve been busy. Back in the halcyon days of June, I’d get up at midday, wander down to Paul for a coffee, slowly make my way to Westfield for a browse and a trip to Waitrose before settling down for an evening of TV-watching or magazine-reading. On really stressful days I might meet somebody for lunch or go to the pub. Well no more. I’ve been interning and freelancing like crazy. (Check out my interview with RJ Cutler, director of The September Issue, here, and be in with a chance to win tickets to Richard Nicoll by reading a Q & A with him here.)

And now Fashion Week is upon us. I feel the bi-annual Fashi Week nervous breakdown coming on – you know, the point where you collapse in a flood of tears, usually in front of your boss, because you’re just so tired as a result of the shows and the parties and the frantic paranoia-about-not-being-stylish-enough-induced shopping sprees. Not to mention that we actually must maintain day jobs throughout. But whatevs, we love it really and will be sure to blog about anything we are lucky enough to get invited to. LE

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Mysterious and dramatic - the addition of a veil to a fashion image instantly adds a degree of intrigue. It has been a visual trope used by imagemakers for years, from the days of fashion photography’s earliest innovators like Edward Steichen who draped Gloria Swanson in a veil of black lace and Irving Penn who used veiling to great effect in his technically perfect portraits. In 2009, the veil has become ubiquitous in fashion imagery. It's everywhere – on covers - Tasha Tilberg on i—D, Chanel Iman on Lula - and editorials. It has also hit the red carpet with a vengeance. Personally, I love seeing it in the right context- to heighten the drama in a black and white image such as this Linda Evangelista portrait by Steven Meisel from the Urban Decay shoot in August’s Italian Vogue. Other times it comes across as a lazy styling trick used to quickly capture the required mood. It you’re looking for dark and alluring, grab a piece of net and the job is done (Kylie in BlackBook). Similarly, if it's light-hearted and quirky you’re going for, a Luella-esque veiled headpiece is all you need. (see countless Teen Vogue editorials). I am guilty of it myself – at college, veils were everywhere in nearly all my styling and photography projects. Sometimes I carried it off, but more often than not, the model just looked like she had gotten lost in a dressing box. NOK

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm your biggest fan....

This weekend, Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi, an exhibition of vintage photographs of one of the world's most celebrated beauties, opens at the James Hyman gallery on Savile Row. It's an opportunity to enjoy BB in her prime, when she was known more for her beauty and less for her extreme right-wing views and animal-rights activism. My favourite is this portrait by Sam Levin where she is the picture of French elegance in contrast to the typical Bardot bombshell. The exhibition also highlights the change in relationship between star and paparazzo - no sneaky upskirt shots, or being captured stumbling out of nightclubs at 3am. Runs until 3 October.

When I heard about Donovan Leitch's John Hughes tribute at the Palihouse in LA, I was hoping someone in London would do the same. Ferris Bueller played on screen, while Leitch spun songs from Hughes classics. Thankfully, someone was thinking along the same lines because tonight Club de Fromage are hosting their own celebration of the saviour of 80s misfits.There will be a screening of The Breakfast Club followed by a night of dancing to Hughes-inspired hits. I'm sure most will be taking their style cues from his brat pack and high school classics but I would like to pay tribute to my own favourite from the Hughes canon - Home Alone 2. Ok, so he only wrote Lost in New York but it's still my fave. I'm thinking mittens and woolly hat à la Kevin McCallister- very timely as Mac was back in the news this week as yet another possible Blanket Daddy or we could think even further outside the box and go as Brenda Fricker's Bird Lady. It may not score you a Michael Schoeffling- look alike but you will stand out in a sea of lace, crimped hair and over-sized blazers. And standing dejected on the edge of the dance floor, ogling the object of your crush - I can't think of a more apt tribute to Hughes. NOK

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There really is a new girl in town....

It’s a great month for mags. We get the big fat September issues of all our faves plus issue two of Love and the first issue of Pop under Dasha Zhukova. A-may-zing. Issue two of Love is basically full of teenagers and as Katie Grand says in her editor’s letter “if you’re over the age of 21, the fact that everybody who appears on [these] pages is younger than you might make you feel a little bit old”. And yes, after almost 300 pages of pouting posing teenagers I did feel pretty ancient, but weirdly I didn’t feel jealous. I wasn’t even jealous of Tavi, the 13-year-old blogger whose site (www.tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot.com) gets a reported half a million hits a month and who is now garnering mainstream media attention. My Portmanteau other half and I always joke that we were actually way more clued in about our careers when we were 10. After school on a Monday we would scour the Guardian media supplement for jobs. (We were really weird.) But looking back at our incredibly boring diaries - highlights of which include descriptions of the tuna sandwiches we ate - I’m not sure that we would have been the media sensation that Tavi is. But yeah - like I said - I’m not jealous. She has all the painful teenage years ahead of her, not to mention the anxiety-filled early twenties. Good luck, Tavs.

I am really jealous of Dasha Zhukova though. She’s closer to my age, she’s really pretty and an excellent dresser, she’s going out with a billionaire and although we were sceptical when we first heard she had been appointed as editor, I've got to admit that Pop is actually really good. The front cover boasts “Where else do you get Ed Ruscha, the president of Liberia, Spinnerette, J.G. Ballard and Jeurgen Teller? Plus a Naomi 25-year tribute, and a stem-cell research celebration by Rodarte” Seriously, where else could you get all that? It’s also filled with beautiful editorials and the paper size and texture varies throughout, making each new story an individual little treat. Tavi (her again) is cover girl and appears in cute and playful editorial that was styled by Tamara Rothstein and shot by Jamie Morgan. LE

Photos from Pop (but taken on my phone so excuse picture quality)