Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fashion Favourites of 2008

We’ve spent the last week eating turkey sandwiches, drinking wine, making small talk with people we went to primary school with and flicking through old Grazias. Gosh, I love Christmas. Between tales of plucky singletons and weirdly incongruous pieces on disadvantaged children is Grazia’s best dressed list for 2008. Top of the list is Gwyneth, praised for her short dresses, tuxedo jackets and incredibly high heels. Whilst I do sort of like some of Gwyneth’s 08 OFs, I find her whole transformation a tad try-hard and sterile. It’s too obviously the work of a stylist. Ditto Cheryl Cole who also makes an appearance on the list. Don’t get me wrong – I love Cheryl as much as the next person but I get the feeling that those cute little dresses might have something to do with Victoria Adcock, her new stylist.

Katie Holmes is also praised, mainly for her denim choices. Now this I don’t get at all. I know she wears a lot of different styles of jeans - baggy, skinny, boyfriend, rolled-up, etc - but blah. There are only so many photos of Katie wearing a beige t-shirt and a pair of jeans whilst on her way to All My Sons rehearsals that I can take. Instead it’s her little companion, Suri, who comes top of our list. I know she’s kind of a robot-child, but she’s a very cute and fashionable robot-child. I love her lady-like dresses and patent Mary Janes. Toddler Suri is actually the inspiration behind many of my own 2008 looks, including my brunette bob!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carine & Co.

So, our award for the most stylish workforce of 2008 goes to Carine and the crew at Vogue Paris. I always thought my co-workers were semi-stylish, but compared to this lot, we are complete slobs. The VP gang are intimidatingly stylish with their uniform of leggings, biker jackets and shoes that can only be described using one of the most irritating and overused terms in fashion-speak, popularized by Tyra and now hijacked by Beyonce’s rubbish alter-ego: yeah, although it pains me to say it, I have to admit those heels are definitely fierce. No £6 Penney’s flats for these ladies, that's for sure.

Although she looks kinda mean, my favourite must be Carine’s right hand woman, fashion director Emmanuelle Alt. She looks like she was born to work at Vogue Paris. Alt and her army of clones - her mini-me assistant Geraldine Saglio as well as stylist Ludivine Poiblanc and accessories editor, former model Claire Dhelens, always look impeccable. They clearly must never get the Metro to work. Yeah, although The Sartorialist won't be overly concerned with capturing us on our way to the office any time soon, I am pretty happy that I don’t have to work with any former models – it's tough enough getting out of bed in the mornings without having to compete with that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fashion Favourites of 2008

The end of 2008 is drawing near and I still can’t speak French, I still spend way too much money on lunches and I still can’t drive. In fact, I haven’t managed to keep a single New Year’s resolution. In my defence, I did try to learn how to drive but quickly aborted the idea when I wrote off my mother’s car by accelerating into a tree. I did go to French classes and you can’t blame me if the class’s progression was tortuously slow. And I did make a packed lunch. Once.

Along with ruminating over our failed resolutions, we’ve been thinking a lot about our favourite fashion people of 2008 recently. Over the next few days we will aim (I say aim because we’re very busy these days what with parties, present shopping and work) to bring you all of our '08 picks.

First up is our Favourite Fashion Moment 2008. And the winner is…..Carla Bruni Comes to London. Nobody had really mentioned Carla Bruni for a decade, save perhaps Barry Egan in the Sunday Independent, and then she marries Monsieur Sarkozy and she’s back on the front covers with a bang. Things reached a peak when the newly-wed couple visited London and Carla turned to John Galliano for some nice little outfits to wear on the trip. Out went her folk singer era jeans and bare feet and in came belted grey coats, little pillbox hats and boring chunky flats. It seems that Bruni thought that by dressing like a drabber Jackie O, she could detract from the nude photos and husband-stealing headlines that she is best known for.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rue the Day

Times are tight at The Portmanteau. First came the recession, then the pickpocketing incident and now Christmas. What little money we do have is being spent on presents and there is none left for party dresses or any other luxuries. We are still expert window shoppers though and did our fair share in Paris; ogling the wares at Colette, Lanvin and Chanel.

But even when window shopping, I like to aim for something that is semi-affordable, i.e. out of my reach now but attainable when there’s a sale on and I’ve just been paid. And so I hit three of my favourite streets in Paris – Rue des Martyrs in the 9th, Rue du Jour in the 1st and Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th.

Rue des Martyrs is primarily a street for food lovers and we most definitely fit into that category. There are lots of little cheesemongers and greengrocers at the bottom and as you walk up towards Montmartre, you will come across Rose Bakery, my favourite breakfast destination. Further up the street lies the No Good Store, a great shop that stocks both menswear and womenswear, vintage and new. The staff are really helpful and have been known to knock a few euro off vintage stuff if you ask nicely.

Le Mont St Michel is one of my favourite labels and Rue du Jour is home to their little flagship store. Big knits jostle for rail space with delicate silk dresses while simple leather boots and bags perch on shelves. A few doors down you’ll find the cutest haberdashery in the world – La Droguerie. It’s filled to capacity with spools of colourful yarn and jars of buttons and beads. Rue du Jour also boasts branches of agnès b., Zadig & Voltaire and Manoush. Oh and there’s an Irish pub called Quigley’s Point!

Rue Beaurepaire is a little street off Place de la Republique. There are several plumbing supplies stores but in amongst these, you will find a brilliant boutique called Renhsen. Renhsen stocks well-known labels Junk de Luxe for men and Sessun and Nümph for women and their own range of jeans. The Kooples is a new French label with 12 stores in Paris, one of which is located on Rue Beaurepaire. Based on the idea of couples and sharing clothes, The Kooples has lots of unisex cardigans and blazers but still stocks quite a few dresses. The Cobra Snake-style photos of ridiculously too-cool-for-school twosomes adorn the walls and the shop assistants are suitably stylish.

Friday, December 12, 2008

La Femme Rykiel

When we finally got over the trauma of the pickpocketing incident, we made our way to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs to check out the Sonia Rykiel retrospective. Rykiel is one of The Portmanteau's favourite designers so it was a real treat to see the lady's best work from the past 40 years. Her catwalk shows are some of the very few where the models seem to be enjoying themselves rather than looking like they're marching towards their death and there is lots of entertaining footage here. All of Rykiel's signatures are on display - the stripes, the marabou feathers, the sweaters and the not so chic velour tracksuits. The show ends with the hilarious - well, hilarious for the fashion world -  homages from renowned designers that appeared at Rykiel's anniversary show this autumn. For the finale of the event, 30 models came out wearing Rykiel-inspired looks and they can all be seen here including my two personal favourites - Martin Margiela's dress made of frizzy orange hair and Gaultier's stripy dress teamed with giant knitting needles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Non, je ne regrette rien (well…)

The Portmanteau really try to avoid spending useless time regretting things that can’t be changed but we make an exception for our decision not to learn French in secondary school. Our twelve-year-old selves really messed up when we ticked the German and Spanish box on the subject options form. At least it helped contribute to the fact that we were in each other’s class almost every single year for the first 14 years of our education (senior infants being the only exception), but it’s still our number one regret. Evening classes undertaken in the last couple of years have proved a little fruitless, mainly because the really slow granddads-learning-it-in-preparation-for-their-holiday-to-Britanny have held us back. And we may have missed a class or two….. Nevertheless, we still like to try out our bad French and got the perfect opportunity when we decamped to Paris last weekend. People always responded in English so I don’t think we were fooling anybody but at least we made the effort.

Shopping was curtailed somewhat due to the fact that all my money was stolen by a gang of twelve year old girls and it took the best part of Saturday afternoon to fill in the Victime statements and attempt to pick out the perpetrators in an incredibly badly-organised identity parade. We did manage to fit in some window shopping, exhibitions and macaroon-eating so it wasn’t all bad. And the French policemen were kinda hot.

Pic pocketed from Roger

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vogue's Russian Dolls

I had promised to stop harping on about all things Russian, but I just have to give a quick mention to something I spotted in Russian Vogue while I was there. To celebrate the magazine's tenth anniversary, top designers were each asked to design a matrioshka doll which was then auctioned for charity. The results are too cute for words and a little more shapely than the stick insects that usually appear on the magazine's pages. My personal favourites are the mini-Miuccia in Prada lace and the YSL babe with her blunt bob. Needless to say, they are all infinitely chicer than the rubbish dollies I bought on a market stall in Moscow for 80 roubles.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Starry Starry Store

A Store is Born is a little treasure trove filled with vintage wares that has been opening its doors (well mechanical shutter type thing) on Clarendon Street every Saturday since the '70s. It's not cheap - vintage in Dublin rarely is - but the quality tends to be top-notch. There are lovely cashmere cardigans, amazing furs (both real and fake) and plenty of decadent evening dresses.

Whilst browsing last week, the very friendly proprietress told me that from Saturday 6th December, they are throwing their usual Saturday only opening hours out the window and are open every day to accommodate the throngs of Christmas shoppers who are on the look out for something a little more unique to wear to the annual Christmas party. Top of my wish list would be an amazing mink jacket if only I could only banish my sense of guilt at the thought of wearing a jacket that cost the lives of over 60 little minks. Eek.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shopping Secrets of Mother Russia

I promise to stop boring everyone with my Russian exploits soon but before I do, I must give you my shopping recommendations. At first glance, shopping in Russia seems to be a choice between a) old Russian babooshkas selling kittens by the roadside b) depressing, abandoned Soviet-style department stores and c) Louis Vuitton for the oligarchs. However, there is actually more to shopping in Russia than this. First stop in Moscow has to be Cara & Co which is a little bit like Dover Street Market in London and stocks designer labels and vintage alongside books and magazines. Also worth a look is Magazin-Zing which showcases a great selection of labels like Whyred, Acne, Peter Jensen and A.P.C. Then in St. Petersburg, Maison Martin Margiela has to be on the itinerary - if not to purchase the gorgeous but expensive brogues, satchels and cashmere scarves, then to just ogle the hot shop assistants in their cute doctor's coats. For some shopping sustenance and to escape the cold, head to the Dostoevsky-inspired Idiot Cafe or La Borsch (11 Fontanka Emb.) for some modern, Russian cuisine and then pretend you're back in the nineties and knock back the cheap vodka at grungy basement bar Fish Fabrique (53 Ligovskiy Prospekt). 

                                                                                        Cara & Co


                                                  Maison Martin Margiela

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mulling Things Over

The Christmas season is well and truly upon us – shops have started staying open late, the Brown Thomas Christmas window has been unveiled and Christmas party invites have been popping into the mailbox. Along with the mulled wine and mince pies, comes the inevitable what-will-I-wear conundrum. In this Facebook age, it’s hard to get away with wearing the same dress to different parties because although there might be a diverse crowd at each bash, chances are they are all on Facebook and have seen the photos of you in the black dress with the red shoes already. Maybe I’m just being stupid and nobody notices what I wear in my various Facebook photos but I still feel the pressure to pull a few different OFs out of the bag for the festive season.

The high street is heaving with party dresses at this time of year but the thing is they all look kind of the same – satin or sparkly, above-the-knee, tight and a bit blah. I’ve seen lots of ladies in trousers on The Sartorialist recently and have got to thinking that perhaps that’s the way to go this Christmas. I did try trousers earlier in the year but abandoned the idea when the two pairs I tried on in Topshop just didn’t fit properly. That was during London Fashion Week and the canapés and free drink had combined to make me a bit too porky for the Tuxedo trousers I was desperately trying to stuff myself into. Disheartened, I returned to my smock dresses, tail between my legs. Three months on, I feel that perhaps it’s time to try the trousers again. I’m never going to abandon my wardrobe of dresses completely but it would be nice to seem nonchalantly sexy, like the chic Parisians below, in amidst the crowds of trussed up Christmas party goers.

Images from The Sartorialist

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Date with Mikhail & Mario

                                             Merce My Way - Mikhail Baryshnikov

Struggling to entertain ourselves on a 17 hour train journey from Riga to Moscow, my friends and I resorted to doing lame impressions of Carrie Bradshaw's Russian lover, Aleksandr Petrovsky, to pass the time ("Is that a banana in your purse or are you just happy to see me?", "Call me Bob" etc. - continue ad nauseum for hours and you get the picture). Yeah, we were pretty bored and going slightly insane as the crazy Russians around us plied us with vodka and red caviar. If this kept us entertained, you can imagine our excitement when we encountered Aleksandr himself on our last night in Moscow. Well, not Aleksandr himself exactly, but an exhibition of photographs by legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov - who, as well as doing a nice sideline in arrogant Russian lovers on TV, is also a fine photographer. The exhibition, "Merce My Way", consists of colourful, blurry images that manage to capture both the movement and stillness in the work of choreographer, Merce Cunnningham. 

The show took place at Winzavod, an amazing collection of galleries, shops and bars housed in a renovated 19th century winery. The centre is now at the heart of Moscow's art scene. On our way in, we bumped into an uber-friendly Mario Testino, in town for Russian Vogue's 10th anniversary party, who greeted me like a long lost friend even though I have clearly never met him in my entire life. If Mario approves, it really must be the place to be in Moscow.

                                         Natalia V in Red Sq  - Mario Testino

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Strangers in Moscow

I have been off regular The Portmanteau duty for the last few days as I head east on my travels to Mother Russia. A combination of night trains and hostels have allowed me to spend a couple of days in one of the most expensive - and dangerous - cities in the world. From the outset, Moscow seems harsh and intimidating. It's quite difficult to navigate with no knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet and the Muscovites we encountered spoke little English and had no time for tourists. After being shouted at by nine different people at Leningradsky Station, I finally managed to purchase a train ticket. And when one of my friends almost got knocked down by the side of a road, a passer-by just shrugged and said "It's Russia". But if you get a good map and persevere, you shall be rewarded for your efforts. The usual suspects - Red Square, the Kremlin Wall, St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum - are all amazing and I was completely blown away by the interior of the underground which is so beautiful and a must-see attraction in itself.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boys That We Fancy

People magazine recently crowned Hugh Jackman Sexiest Man Alive 2008, which I just don’t get. I actually don’t think that I’ve ever seen one of his films but I gather from his People interview that he’s Australian and unusually muscular so that’s enough to put me off. Michael Phelps also makes the list so I don’t think People were taking things very seriously. Anyway, here’s our Boys That We Fancy 2008 list. (Yeah we’re kind of obsessed with end-of-year lists this week).

Nick Grimshaw
Nick Grimshaw or Grimmy to his mates (and to us) is a DJ, we think. We’ve seen him on the decks at parties and he also pops up on our telly sometimes so I think he has that covetable job of DJ/whatever. He’s not the best-looking in the traditional sense but his soft squishy cheeks are pretty adorable and he just seems really nice and down-to-earth and like he might actually consider going out with you. The only downside would be his posse of really annoyingly pretty friends-that-are-girls. We’d get insecure at the prospect of him hanging out with Aggy, Alexa or Alice Dellal but I guess that’s the price you pay for going out with a DJ/whatever.

Ole Scheeren
Architects are hot – the job is creative and yet requires a kind of masculine good-at-maths-ness that we just don’t possess – and Ole Scheeren is the hottest architect of them all. We admire his stunning work, such as the Scotts Tower in Singapore, but most of all we admire his amazing bone structure, imposing stature and well-cut suits. Marriage rumours surround him and long-time girlfriend, actress Maggie Cheung, but she’s been quick to dispel them so hopefully that means we’re still in with a shot.

Jarvis Cocker
We’ve fancied Jarvis since his earliest Pulp days and luckily for us, he hasn’t changed much in the intervening years. The trademark corduroy jackets and glasses are still present and the lyrics from his latest album, Jarvis, are as intelligent and eccentric as any of Pulp’s offerings. He’s been off the market since his 2002 marriage to French stylist, Camille Bidault-Waddington, but that just makes us fancy him more. The thought of him taking his little son Albert for walks on the cobbled streets of Paris is just too hot to handle.

Chuck Bass
I would like to make it clear that I do not fancy Ed Westwick (who incidentally is number 7 on People’s Sexiest Man Alive 2008), who plays Chuck Bass, but I am madly in love with the character. Yes, I know that he wears too much make-up in season 1, I know that his thighs are a little chunky and I know that he’s an unscrupulous womaniser but I still adore him. Chuck is the best-dressed man on television and he is the inspiration behind the silk scarves that litter men’s shops this season. He was initially only supposed to be a minor character but has developed into an integral GG player and hopefully there is even more of Chuck to come in season 2.

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Magazine Covers

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) announced their favourite US magazine covers back in October. New York (magazine) was the big winner, scooping the top award - Cover of the Year 2008 - and the fashion cover award. The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and GQ were all featured too. Click here for the full list of winners and finalists. We have been obsessed with mags since the days when we were forced to pool our pocket money in order to afford American Vogue and have our own list of favourite 2008 covers.

First up is Audrey Marnay on the cover of Lula. We love Lula and are eternally grateful to Leith Clark and the gang for letting us into their dream world twice a year. This season they gave us a choice of covers – we could opt for eighteen-year old Ali Michael or French super, Audrey Marnay. Both covers had a harder edge than previous Lula offerings but we had to plump for Audrey in the end. The red hair, strong eye make-up and haunted expression combined to make her the most interesting cover girl of 2008.

Fantastic Man is the ultimate antidote to the lad’s mag. One for well-dressed men or indeed anybody who cares about beautiful pictures and people, such as previous cover boys, Stefano Pilato, Tom Ford and The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman. Our favourite though was photographer, Vinoodh Matadin. The black and white portrait is simple and classic – just like the magazine itself – and the typography and layout are supremely elegant. FHM it is not.

The autumn issue of POP tapped into my love for hot nuns and put Agyness Deyn, Jourdan Dunn, Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova, Amber Valletta and Oluchi Onweagba on 6 different covers styled by Miuccia Prada and shot by Sebastian Faena. It’s hard to pick my favourite but I think I have to go for Agy. I rarely find her sexy but the Prada lace jumpsuit and red lipstick make her the hottest nun in the convent.

There has to be a booby prize and there could only be one winner this year - Keira Knightley on September’s American Vogue. The outfit (although Balenciaga) is incredibly ugly and terribly confusing - it looks like a velvet dress...tucked into a belt...tucked into another belt...all over a denim skirt? Don’t get me started on that fluffy hair and what’s with all the bling? The only explanation is that Anna Wintour is getting revenge for Knightley’s low-selling June 2007 issue.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Transatlantic Trip-ups

I’ve been back on home turf for almost a week now but I've only just stopped moaning about my jet lag and the time difference and all the other hideous effects of long haul flights! In my defence, I did suffer more than most due to the violent food poisoning I contracted on my last night after dining at supposed Hollywood hot spot, La Poubelle, but I still marvel at celebrities’ stamina. Yes, they travel first class but they have to step off the eleven hour flight looking as refreshed as ever unless they want to face the wrath of the tabloids.

When Kate Moss arrived at LAX for a holiday a couple of weeks ago, The Daily Mail remarked, “Her complexion was blighted by spots and a cold sore appeared to have surfaced on her upper lip.” Whoa there – I mean I arrived home in a Venice Beach hoodie with cracked lips and crazy frizzy/greasy hair - flying is hard work, you know. Victoria Beckham was also papped at LAX recently but her look was slightly more put together - a weird Sherlock Holmes-style ensemble that looked somewhat ridiculous and seriously uncomfortable. Obviously I don’t recommend sacrificing style completely and I feel obliged to point out the hoodie incident was a once-off but I think that there should at least be an nod to comfort when flying.

And so I think we must look to the jet-setting Olsens for inspiration on fashionable flying. They are photographed at airports more often than at parties and have the whole just-stepped-off-a-plane-but-still-look-like-myself thing down pat. Yeah sure some would say they look a little bedraggled but give me that over the über-groomed VB any day.

Plane Stupid

Olsens at the Airport

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas Shopping with all the Trimmings

In these dark, depressing days of credit crunch chic and the recessionista, shops are doing all they can to get us through their doors, especially in the run up to jingle bell time. And if they’re offering free wine and burlesque dancing to entice us inside, we’re more than happy to oblige. This week sees Paper Dress on Curtain Rd throwing a soiree to celebrate its new late night openings. Paper Dress is one of my favourite vintage stores – simply on account of its close proximity to the office; I am lazy in the extreme when it comes to shopping. This Thursday from 7pm you can browse the party frocks and furs to rockabilly tunes, have a drink and get 20% off.

London also loves pop-up shopping experiences at this time of year – basically, these establishments want you to feel the pressure to get there before they're gone forever – the “BUY THESE SHOES NOW OR YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE TO KILL YOURSELF” kind of vibe that Grazia specializes in. My favourite this season is Swanfield Inn. This group of designers are setting up shop near Brick Lane in the weeks leading up to Christmas and providing a delightful shopping experience, with silent films projected on the walls and the designers themselves on hand to offer advice, as well as tea and cake. I paid a visit last Sunday and am glad to report that I did not feel panicked, pressured, hot or bothered once - my usual reactions to shopping. My favourite discovery was jewellery designer Karin Andreasson's nautical themed necklaces and bracelets. Yes - I think we have established that I'm not the best shopper. So basically, if a store isn't offering alcohol and/or baked goods along with my purchases this festive season, I think I'll be doing my shopping online.

Jewellery by Karin Andreasson

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My So-Called Style

I was watching old episodes of My So-Called Life the other day and thinking that the clothes didn't seem so dated - because these days, the whole of Hollywood seems to be taking its style cues from Angela Chase and co. - although, sadly, I have yet to see anyone sporting a poodle hairdo and tank top combo a la Brian Krakow. When they aren't scrubbing up for appearences on Oprah and book signings at Barnes and Noble, the Olsens seem to wear little else but oversized check shirts. In the case of MK, she literally wears nothing else - more often then not teaming her shirts with opaque tights or bare legs. Indeed, with her messy hair and biker boots, sometimes my dear MK seems to be heading into Rayanne Graff territory. Check out this pic of MK and her plaid clad beau Nate Lowman doing his best Jordan Catalano impression. I love 1994.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

LA Luxury

While in LA, I've been enjoying the finer things in life - lunch at Asia de Cuba at The Mondrian, cocktails at The Peninsula and some of the best cakes ever at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills and Joan's on Third. All of this luxury is a far cry from the Spar sandwiches and cheesy beans on toast dinners that I enjoy in Dublin and I feel the need to adjust my wardrobe accordingly. The beautifully crafted Cloud Cake (an amazing creation consisting of a cupcake topped with marshmallow and coated with chocolate) at celebrity haunt Joan's on Third deserves a special outfit but in keeping with my new penchant for luxury, I don't want to just hit H&M or Urban Outfitters and pick the first cute dress I see.

Instead, I want something whimsical and unique to match my frothy cocktails and fancy confectionery and I've found the answer in Miss KK's amazing feather necklaces. Miss KK is an LA-based designer whose handmade creations instantly transform a plain black dress into something infinitely more exciting. She doesn't have any European stockists yet but is in talks with people in London and Paris. In the meantime, you can buy the necklaces from Miss KK directly on her website and she ships worldwide.

Cupcakes at Joan's on Third

Miss KK's Feather Necklaces

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Under the Influence

There was a real treat in store for me this week - a treat that combined my love for coffee table books and the Olsens. Yes – the big day finally came – the release of their book Influence. I had high hopes for this and I have to say that they did a pretty good job. The book is a series of conversations between one or both of the twins and someone who has apparently inspired them in some way. The big fashion names are present as expected: Karl Lagerfeld, Giambattista Valli, John Galliano etc. but I found some of the other interviewees more interesting: Alexandre De Betak, Lazaro Hernandez & Jack McCollough, and Peter Lindbergh in particular. As well as many beautiful images (the Olsens seem as obsessed with Polaroids as The Portmanteau), there are lots of insights into the Olsen’s lives – we learn that Ashley is a fan of Jane Austen and Picasso and would like to live in France. MK prefers Plato and Basquiat and doesn’t feel the need to get married. Fascinating, I know.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blame Chuck Bass

Usually I feel quite lucky to be a girl - we get to wear dresses, high heels and make-up - but recently I've been becoming increasingly obsessed with menswear. I suppose my fascination with menswear began around the same time as my love affair with GG's Chuck Bass. Never has the word dapper been so appropriate and I would choose his outfits over Serena's or Blair's any day. The boys here in LA are generally not quite as well-dressed as Chuck - there are a lot of flip-flops and Ed Hardy (don't get me started) accessories - but the menswear in Fred Segal and Opening Ceremony is absolutely beautiful. I haven't quite figured out who buys these amazing clothes (besides the shop assistants and maybe some out-of-towners) but I know if I had the money I would snap them up.

Thom Browne
is one of the menswear designers stocked at Fred Segal and I have completely fallen in love with his cardigans. They are made of beautiful grey cashmere and have a blue, white and red trim. At over $1800, they are three times the cost of my flight and therefore a little too expensive to bring home to the boy but maybe I could try to justify it by saying that we would both wear it! Browne's tiny blazers and ankle-skimming trousers are also on my if-I-were-a-boy wish list. Opening Ceremony has gorgeous Raf Simons for Fred Perry t-shirts and the Opening Ceremony own label jackets in hues of grey and beige are perfectly autumnal.

Luckily, both stores also stock Boy, Band of Outsiders' sister line. Boy is for girls who want to dress like dapper boys and I want everything in the autumn/winter collection. The shrunken blazers, the crisp shirts, the corduroy trousers, the lot!

Michelle Williams in Boy

Thom Browne

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Fashion Life of Ryan

If you are familiar with photographer Ryan McGinley, I'm sure images of naked, downtown NY hipsters spring to mind when you think of his work. McGinley, along with friends Dash Snow and Dan Colen, make up a threesome of media-friendly enfant terribles who have dominated the NY art scene for the past 4 years. However, more recently, McGinley's work has gone beyond downtown New York and is increasingly being seen in more mainstream areas - he provided the artwork for the last Sigur Ros album and also lensed the 2008 Oscar Portfolio in The New York Times Magazine, the current Wrangler "We Are Animals" campaign and will apparently be behind the camera for Stella McCartney's Spring 2009 campaign.

For me, his most beautiful work has appeared in fashion magazines - Kate Moss as McGinley's Dream Girl for a June 2007 W shoot, Agy Deyn falling from a Manhatten fire escape in this season's Pop and this month's road trip editorial in Paris Vogue with Raquel Zimmerman. I'm a big fan of the hazy, soft-focus fantasy worlds that he creates. Certain McGinley hallmarks appear again and again - besides the aforementioned nudity, there are often fireworks, figures floating through the air, faces half hidden by the branches of a tree - I don't really mind if he is getting lazy and reusing the same tricks - it results in some of the most beautiful fashion editorials I have seen in a long time

NY Times Magazine -Feb 2008

W - June 2007

Pop - Sept 2008

Paris Vogue - Nov 2008