Pink v punk

Golightly

There are two key trends this autumn/winter and while their names might sound similar, when it comes to attitude they’re poles apart. The former is pretty, prim and well-behaved. She is barely-there blush or sweet sugarplum, and never loud or rebellious. Her opponent is exactly the opposite, sporting lashings of leather and hints of tartan. Worn together the trends work surprisingly well, softening and toughening each other to create a fresh and feminine winter look.

The blousepink shirt

Simone Rocha A/W 13/14shinyshirt

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The jacketpink jacket

Zarapunkjacket

Zara

The vinyl skirtpinkskirt2

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Topshop

The minipinkmini

Zarapunkmini

Zara

The sweatshirtpinksweat

Topshoppunksweat

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The coatpinkcoat

Zara

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Topshop Unique A/W 13/14

The scarfpinkscarf

Topshop Unique A/W 13/14punkscarf

Zara

The bagpinkbag

Topshoppunkbag

Topshop

Plastic fantastic

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Melissa has a habit of capturing the zeitgeist.

As the world’s premier plastic shoe company, they have been instrumental in pioneering an alternative to the traditional leather and canvas footwear on offer to the general public.

The more fashion-savvy among us will recognise that Melissa’s contribution extends beyond mere manufacturing breakthroughs. Collaborations with the likes of Zaha Hadid, Vivienne Westwood and Gareth Pugh have pushed the Brazilian powerhouse to the forefront of fashion and design.

In keeping with their handpicked partnerships, Melissa have embarked upon a hook-up with the fashion behemoth that is Karl Lagerfeld.

Karl Lagerfeld once claimed that “looking like an S&M fanatic without being one is grotesque”, by which logic Cara Delevingne loves pain (you heard it here first).

Fronting the designer’s self-shot campaign for his collaboration with Melissa, the bushy-eyebrowed one is seen caressing the plastic creations, clad in shiny leather, studs and a dominatrix-style ponytail. It’s sexy, fun and a little weird, which pretty much sums up the collection and indeed Cara herself.

As far as collaborations go, this one is MASSIVE.

The union of Karl and Cara alone is news enough, but add Melissa to the equation and you’ve got yourself one hell of a publicity stunt. But, hype aside, there’s something very enduring about the line, in the same way that Vivienne Westwood’s Melissa shoes continue to fly off the shelves years after their debut.

When Melissa’s CEO Paulo Pedó announced the collaboration back in December, speculation on how the collection would eventually look was rife.

Given Lagerfeld’s idiosyncratic tendencies, this collaboration really could have gone anywhere. After all, Karl is a known fan of a novelty heel, responsible for sending many a model down the runway balancing precariously on miniature battleaxes, guns and light bulbs.

Melissa x Karl Lagerfeld has launched with a small-but-perfectly-formed capsule collection.

The first design, Ginga, pays homage to Melissa’s native Brazil and what Karl terms its “joie de vivre” with a patriotic blue, green and yellow stripe atop a curved kitten heel; Glam puts a playful spin on the ballet flat with a super-pointed, sphere-topped toe; while Melissima, a versatile Mary-Jane, is sure to prove an undisputed crowd pleaser.

And then there is Incense – a high pump in three shades (black, white or cream) adorned with a glittering ice cream motif heel, giving new meaning to the term ‘cone heel’.

Melissa x KarlLagerfeld is a partnership that looks set to run and run, with Pedó confirming that Lagerfeld will create a complete collection for the brand over four seasons in a bid to “[expand Melissa’s] consumer base and [make Lagerfeld’s] brand more accessible for all.”

Win win all round, we say. 

Written for Ponystep.

Summer sucks

From a fashion perspective, summer is shit. Catwalk trends are not designed for summer. Sunny spring days, sure, but not 25°C heat. It’s just too fucking hot for collarless bomber jackets, leather, metallics and pretty much every other spring/summer trend currently presenting itself as such.

When it comes to summer, people tend to fall into one of two camps: unimaginative or unwise, or both. The problem is a lack of organisation because, despite the fact that we spend the preceding nine months poised for the first glimpse of sunshine, it always manages to take us by surprise. We obsess about the idea of ‘summer’ for so long it becomes this semi-mythical concept, like unicorns. So when the sun does eventually pop out we’re caught short, fat, pasty and with a far-from-appropriate wardrobe.

The response is an overwhelming urge to panic-buy cheap, unflattering crap: A. because you assume that the hot weather will be short-lived and thus so will your wearing of said crap; B. because the hotter it gets the less you care; and C. because sunshine makes people cray-cray. This, however, simply must stop. Everyone knows that cheap clothes look rubbish, especially when they’ve been picked up in a mad, sun-drunk rush to the New Look sale.

So my motto for summer is to be prepared (ok, I stole that from the Scouts but it’s really important) and be yourself. I think people forget themselves and their style when it comes to summer dressing, and just buy stuff because it’s going to keep them cool. Comfort is obviously an important consideration in hot weather but – and I don’t know about you – I never feel comfortable if I don’t feel like myself.

So I’m using these slightly crappy pre-summer weeks to plan. I rarely know what I want straight away and will generally have a pre-season freakout, but right now I’m going for a kind of chic, sporty-cas feel with lots of denim and sweat fabric. I’m thinking rolled-up boyfriend jeans, short-sleeved printed sweaters and frayed-edge shirt dresses. Y’know, like nonchalant…

So I have trawled the internet (I should really start taking my own photos) and found my favourite summery street stylings. Lemme know what you think and what you’ll be wearing if and when the sun makes an appearance!

alexaoiniI know it’s probably controversial to say so but I wish I was as thin as Alexa Chung. I think being really skinny is the only way you can pull off things like dungarees or pinafores when you’re in your late 20s (she’s 29). I once saw her in real life and JESUS she is thin. I will die before I get that thin.

cut-off shirt dressBit of a grungy one but I love the way she’s chopped off the bottom of her dress and just left the threads hanging. I’m also all about the denim jackets and loafers at the moment, although I’m so not hardcore enough for socks.

dogdressThis dress is so cute. It’s covered in dogs. I think it can be quite hard to create interesting looks in the summer but this looks amazing – I love the way the bag and belt match and the buttoned-up collar and necklace. The dress should really have cats on though.

The girl in seasonal mix

I really like this. The other weekend it was really sunny and I teamed a little black skater dress with leopard-print boots. It worked.

paris-prints

I keep seeing these little short-sleeved shirts everywhere and they’re so cute. Good with shorts, good with skirts – what won’t these beauts go with, hmm?

stripytopI’m kind of over long skirts after two summers of them but I really love this outfit. Midriffs are looking really cute – as long as there’s no belly button (vom) – and I NEED those shoes.

Step into the future

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The shoe is powerful.  Shoes can make or break an outfit, add inches to one’s height, slim the calves and make you certain that cutting your feet off at the ankles is preferable to taking another step in them. And yet the excruciating pain we suffer at the hands of ill-fitting shoes is something we’ve learnt to put up with, futilely stuffing our socks with plasters and smiling through the blood and blisters.

shoe1

Now one designer is taking a stand, so to speak. Using a combination of 3D printing, ABS vacuum shaping and carbon fibre lamination, Czech designer Pavla Podsednikova has created a collection of concept shoes that can be individualised to fit each user’s unique form.

shoe2

While developing her “Instant Shoes” collection, which she created for her final thesis, Podsednikova used her own feet as a model, customising her designs to her exact proportions. With this step, the designer realised the possibility of 3D printing shoes in custom sizes by mapping out customers’ feet. In addition to being able to produce the perfect size, the concept would also allow shoe designs to be customised to consumer wishes.

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Podsednikova developed a number of concepts, including a shell-like shoe designed to feel like an organic extension of the foot, which she describes as a kind of “shoe skeleton” that holds the feet only at the necessary pressure points. She also created a shoe that uses the inner part as an exchangeable component so that it can be worn as pumps or wellingtons, for example, inside an outer shell, and 3D printed designs that show shape doesn’t have to be subordinate to function.

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Written for Libertine.

My fashionable family

This weekend I’m at my parents’ house annoying my mum by going through photos of her in the eighties and laughing at her hair. 

Fashion-wise, the eighties is probably the most unfortunate thing that’s ever happened to humanity. Luckily for me I was under five at the time and cute enough to get away with most of the sartorial horrors my mum put me through, but the rest of my family wasn’t quite so fortunate.

One of these days I’m going to embarrass everyone by posting pictures of them – perms, Benetton sweaters, tie-dye shirts and all – but today I’m getting excited about something else. Because, among the baby photos and pre-me shots from the eighties were an amazing collection of OLD photographs of my mum’s side of the family – some of it proper Edwardian shit.

I get unreasonably excited about old family photos – partly because I’m an egomaniac and like looking at people who look a bit like me but also because I find it really exciting seeing the clothes my family and ancestors wore when they were young and cool like I am. 

I’ve also thrown in a few of my mum and dad when they first met in the sixties because they’re amazing! Hope you think they’re as ace as I do.

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My maternal grandad’s maternal grandmother circa 1915. No idea what her name was, but I love her hat.

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Her daughter, Annie Lydia Alice Young – my Grandad’s mum (who had a 17in waist – corset-aided, obviously).

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My Grandad’s dad, Alfred (who died when my Grandad was five), with my great aunties, Freda and Olive. Olive’s hat is insane.

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Freda and Olive again. How amazing is this photo?!! It was taken in about 1917.

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This one’s from about 1922. My Grandad’s the little boy at the front, with his sisters Freda, Phyllis and Olive, his mum Annie and her brother, as my Great-Grandad had died by then. The girls’ bows are so cool.

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I love this! It’s a bit blurry coz I copied it from a really small photo, but it’s my Grandma, Mabel, in about 1930 paddling in what looks like a very cold English Channel. Amazing shorts and look at her legs!

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Here she is again in a summer dress in the thirties. So jealous I didn’t inherit her figure.

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She was purdy.

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Would you just LOOK at that bone structure?

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Grandma and Grandad in the mid-to-late thirties.

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Grandad in his flying suit – he was a navigator in the RAF during the war. I really need one of these.

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Grandma and Grandad working a smart-casual look circa 1940.

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Grandad in his RAF uniform with Grandma in a headscarf and my Auntie Valerie in her pram, 1940-41.

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Grandma with Valerie in 1941. Grandma’s hat is wicked.

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Taken around the same time. Grandma always looked so polished.

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This is so wartime. Grandma, Grandad and Val in about 1943. Another awesome hat.

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My mum at a party in 1964, aged 18.

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Mum and Dad in 1964. Mum’s wearing original Mary Quant boots.

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Same day – Mum in a cossack hat with a neighbour’s cat.

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My parents at a ball in about 1965.

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This one’s about 1966. My Dad was all over black polo-necks in the sixties – think it was a Beatles thing. 

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Nice one of my Mum taken by my Dad.

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Dad making a film with his cousins in 1964.

Hats off to Dr. Seuss

The phrase “mad as a hatter” never rang truer than for Dr. Seuss. Beloved by children and adults alike for his idiosyncratic characters and witty rhymes, Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, was the best kind of nuts.

seuss-and-feather-hat (1)

In fact, as it turns out, the creator of “The Cat in the Hat” was quite the hat enthusiast himself, collecting hundreds of them during his lifetime and keeping them stowed in a secret cupboard behind a bookcase in his home. Just like Geisel, the collection was about as eccentric as they come, comprising everything from Mexican sombreros to authentic Baroque Czech hats and horned toy Viking helmets – the more flamboyant and bonkers the better.

catbehindhat1

But, just like his educational books, Geisel’s hats weren’t just there to entertain. In fact they served a very special purpose: to combat that cruellest of afflictions, writer’s block.

According to “Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel”, a biography of the late author by Judith and Neil Morgan, he would often invite his editor Michael Frith to his house to work on his Beginner Books until the small hours. If the pair got stuck, each would pick a different hat from Geisel’s collection, put it on and then sit on the floor and stare at the other until the right words came to them.

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Geisel believed in the transformational quality of hats, which he began to collect as he was going about his travels in the 1920s and 1930s. This fascination carried through into the artwork he made at this time and many of his early advertising illustrations feature characters dressed in hats. He continued to use this creative device through his editorial cartoons in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as incorporating it throughout the run of his children’s books.

seuss_strawcurly

In 1938, Geisel published “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”, a story about a poor boy who, in accordance with the law, removes his hat in the presence of the king, only to find another hat mysteriously appear on his head. When Bartholomew attempts to remove this hat, another one appears again and this continues, each subsequent hat growing in extravagance and beauty.

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In celebration of this charming tale, which this year celebrates its 75th anniversary, Geisel’s widow Audrey has opened up the estate’s legendary “hat closet” to give the public a peek of the collection. Curated by Robert Chase, co-founder and president of Chase Art Companies, Hats Off to Dr. Seuss will travel the US, visiting select venues throughout 2013.

seuss_painting

As well as a the selection of 26 hats from Geisel’s personal collection, the exhibit will feature pieces from the author’s little-known Secret Art series, a collection of personal drawings, paintings and sculpture that he made for his own amusement. Chase hopes that the exhibit will highlight the connection between Geisel’s headgear obsession and his art, as well as his penchant for the fabulously absurd.

Hats off to him indeed.

Written for Libertine.