Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Listen Up

It’s not the clothes that stop me from shopping on the high street – in fact my little River Island sundress that cost 25 quid garners as much praise as any of my more expensive pieces – but rather it’s the squish. The sweaty messiness of people trampling over me to get the last pair of size 7 espadrilles, the interminable wait at the fitting rooms and the tropical climate that means I have to take off all my clothes just to have a quick look around. But I could actually deal with all of this; I could grin and bear it if it weren’t for the music. The banging, tuneless so-called dance or techno that H & M and Mango pump out. Nope, sorry, that’s where I draw the line. I immediately retreat from the humid swamp of a high street store when aggressive trance blares from the speakers. Yes, I know that Urban Outfitters is overpriced but I can browse to the strains of Lady B. And over at Liberty what’s that I hear: ah yes a remix of Noah and the Whale’s Blue Skies. Perfect for trying stuff on to.

It’s not that I’m a snob though – just last week I was in my local Poundland (Quick aside: Poundland is amazing. Everything is a pound. Toffifee, kitchen paper, pregnancy tests, Pride and Prejudice on DVD. A POUND!) when I heard a song that sounded like a happier version of Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma. “What’s this amazing song?” I asked the checkout girl. “Dunno,” she shrugged. You don’t get great customer service when everything is a pound. But anyway my point is that if Poundland can manage to play decent music that makes me want to dance around the aisles then surely H & M can work on their playlist.

The peeps at Urban Outfitters are slightly more helpful than the Poundland staff and have put together a LSTN feature on their website where you can listen to the tunes they’ve been playing recently. And a girl who worked at Topshop lovingly collated a blog that featured the store’s playlists. She left Topshop last month and the blog is now defunct but it’s still worth having a quick look through. LE

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old School

We take models very seriously at The Portmanteau. My other The Portmanteau half did the best project on models in second year – I don't recall what the relevance was to our Civics class but it was A-MAY-ZING. Anyway, we have our all-time favourites and it’s always good to see one of them coming back. Back in the Carmen /Gisele / Frankie days at the turn of the millennium, there was an alternative to the bombshell brigade. All these bronzed babes were balanced out by the Belgian intellectual guard - Elise Crombez, Hannelore Knuts, Anouck Lepere, An Oost, Ann Catherine Lacroix. My favourite of this lot was Delfine Bafort. From 2000 to 2002, there was no escaping her – she could do punky and androgynous or goddess glamour. Here’s how we remember her - beautiful in Corrine Day’s 2002 Hidden Treasures’s shoot for British Vogue and on the catwalk for Marc Jacobs Spring 2002 – incidentally one of Joanna Newsom’s fave collections ever. Delfine seemed to fall out of favour for the rest of the decade but she’s back on the radar big time right now– she opened Mark Fast’s Autumn / Winter show and was photographed by Laurie Bartley in swimsuits for Harper’s Bazaar’s July issue.
So who would we like to see next in line for a comeback? – I say bring back Iris Palmer. NOK

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boys We Fancy World Cup Special

Apologies are due. We have been off the radar for a really long time but in our defence, it has been really, really hot and the world Cup has been on. How we are supposed to concentrate on fashion when we are busy cultivating crushes on various World Cup participants?

Paul the Octopus
OK so Paul may not be the most traditionally handsome but what he lacks in good lucks, he makes up for in sybilline talent. How amazing would it be to have a boyfriend who could actually predict the future? A normal boyfriend, when drafted in to advise on a conundrum, suggests doing logical stuff like writing a boring list that “weighs up the pros and cons.” But I don’t know if the pros outweigh the cons. I can’t figure out if it’s best to stay or go. The lists just confuse me further and end up in angry, little crumpled piles. Paul could actually tell me what the right thing to do is. And anyway, I think he’s kind of cute. For an octopus. L

John Terry
John Terry is hot. It’s as simple as that. His many detractors claim that he “looks like a hedgehog” and is a “crap defender” but his lean body and crumpled face mean that he was one of the most handsome players taking part in the World Cup. OK he has a knackery hair-did but hello – makeovers are what being a girlfriend is all about. His pirate costume on recent trip to Disneyworld highlighted the fact that he has the potential to be devastatingly attractive when you take away the strip and the spitting. Alright, there is that “affair” with Vanessa Perroncel but she has told Grazia and FHM that “nothing happened” so I’m willing to overlook it. And yes, his parents have been in trouble with the police – dad Ted for dealing cocaine, mum Sue for shoplifting – but you can’t pick your family, eh? He's gorgeous. L

Joachim Löw
We were devastated to see Germany knocked out on Wednesday as this means no more drooling over manager Joachim Löw. For the entire tournament, he kept us swooning with his well-cut suits, retro mop and v-neck blue jumper. The trademark jumper was as much a star of the World Cup as the vuvuzela with German fans begging him to wear it believing it was a lucky charm for the team. I don’t know much about the jumpers’ talismanic qualities - all I know is Mr. Lurve looked damn good in it. The jumpers have flown off the shelves of Strenesse in Deutschland with everyone clamoring for the Löw look. But the ultimate Löw style follower is assistant Hansi Blick (best name ever) who mirrored his boss’s OF for every match. Aprés the World Cup, I can see Jogi ‘n Hans getting their own show on Living, a Deutsch version of Trinny and Susannah for men. N

Diego Maradona
If Löw brings the style to the touchline, then Maradona brings the crazy. From coke addict to tax dodger to almost dying six years ago, he staged a remarkable comeback at this World Cup. His campaign was endlessly entertaining, providing many moments and quotes to cherish. It began with him running over a photographer’s foot on the way to the Argentinian FA HQ to announce his team ("What an arsehole you are!How can you put your leg there where it can get run over?”). "When asked about his new beard he said "I grew it because my dog almost ate my mouth and left me a big scar."And who could forget his affectionate embraces for his players although The Portmanteau was relieved when he insisted "No! I like women! .. so people, don't think I've turned over." Such a pity Argentina won’t get to lift the Jules Rimet trophy– Maradona had promised to run naked through Buenos Aires if they had won. N