Friday, 30 December 2011

V Ave Shoe Repair - Sorry I'm late...

People who know me personally are probably aware of my former, and sometimes still evident, love of the little known Swedish brand H&M. Not just anything from there, mind - I only had eyes for the aptly named Trend label - with its use of slightly better materials and cuts, clean shapes and muted palette. With some clever styling, I was ready for the scrutiny of others, who were often amazed when I told them truthfully where most of my ensemble came from. Back in the day when I was predominantly a high street shopper, H&M Trend gave me something that the likes of Topshop or Urban Outfitters couldn't - an early and rudimentary appreciation of minimalism and design amongst the sea of cute florals and lace tops.

So the natural progression from those humble beginnings was H&M's classier sister brand, Cos. Using better materials and cuts still, I find this to be a good (but derivative, yes) alternative to pricier Scandanavian fashion houses.

Now that the brief history of my personal taste is over and done with, let's talk about V Ave Shoe Repair. Founded in 2004, this label has that extra edge that I always look for in whatever style of design is being practised. It still has the features which define Scandanavian design but tones down the functionalism - minimalism with an edge. In this case, I just adore the modern and unique twist to simple pieces that can be the staple of your wardrobe, or become a statement piece in its own right.

The stunning drapery (my favourite feature) and smart use of fabcrics will keep me coming back for more. Isn't it convenient I discovered the label during the sale...?
These trousers are on their way!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Styling Stuff

So it's been a while since I posted any of my styling work, possibly related to the fact that I haven't done much recently. Between working fulltime now (boo) and trying (and failing) to work on my blog, as well as learning all about the exciting world of English law (equity - I hate you) I have been otherwise engaged. BUT since some of my work popped up on my radar recently, I'd frankly be doing everyone a disservice by not blogging about it.

I was really pleased when I saw one of my few mens shoots published in Slave in their recent issue, along with my regular fashion week updates. I was really excited to work with Goodstead and their collection of simple, clean Scandanavian style designs. I really loved the muted colours with the gorgeous Victorian classroom setting and Ania's delicate camera work.

You can find the full spread in much better detail in the latest edition of Slave Magazine and I'll be covering Mens Week in Paris for the January edition - excited to go to my first AW collections in Paris!

I'm not sure how many people watch that little known show called X Factor on Saturday nights (don't know what I'm talking about? Look here), but I was glad to see that one of my favourite acts was back... and what she had on her back was no other than a stunning design by one of my favourite native designers - Obscure Couture!

That's one hot mess. On the right.

When they're not lending their garments to Dione Bromfield or Russian Vogue (to the detriment of MY shoot), they are allowing other fellow creatives' visions (namely the very talented photographer and long-time collaborator Sam Williamson) come true by letting us take their clothes to 'Scotland's finest stately home', more commonly known as Hopetoun House, and injecting some Victorian punk.

Also featured in the shoot was the lovely Jennie Lööf with her original, ethical and quirky designs, as well as pieces from the charming tea/cake/vintage clothes shop Made With Love Finnieston. Amazing!
Dress from Made With Love, Floral jacket is by Jennie Loof and the sexy rings by Euan McWhirter. Yum!

The stunning setting and the beautifully crafted ornate jewellery by Euan McWhirter was the, er, final jewel in the crown, so to speak. They weren't Scottish Style Awards nominees for no reason! Each room in the house seemed to come alive with its own theme, and I will try and upload the full series if and when I have time but in the meantime, you may enjoy the spread with keen Canadians in the latest issue of Zeum Magazine!

Early night for me tonight, but I feel a serious and potentially ranty post coming on. Stay tuned!

Monday, 31 October 2011

What I wore last night...

After taking a year out from dressing up last year meant that I was absolutely gagging to get my swag on and have some dress up fun! October swept by so fast that Halloween literally crept up on me and I pretty much only realised it was time to find a costume this week! After spending most of Sunday scrambling around town and dying some lilac feathers black (with black ink, no less), here is what I came up with!
Eyes almost done...
I had no red contact lenses due to the aforementioned last minute-ness of the costume, so I proceeded to rim my waterline red to give my eyes that all-important evilness..
Sadly I could not find a large silver tiara for true authenticity.. Although I think my Swarovski swan necklace helped!
 As for the dress itself, I could have bought the original Rodarte number, but a quick tutu purchase from Armstrongs and feathers down a corset and I was ready! The ink eventually transferred mostly to my hands but they did give the feathers an interesting colour and texture...

So that was this year's effort - still looking forward to catching up with what everyone else decided to do. Remember, there's nothing worse than a half-arsed costume. Happy Halloween!

Just a quick note to say that Michelle Phan's Youtube channel is teeming with ideas not just for Halloween but everyday looks too - I learned a lot of basics from her back in the day...

Monday, 10 October 2011

What did Anna Wintour think of Kanye's Collection?

Sadly, the only person that can answer that question ultimately chose not to, and while we could probably have some fun trying to speculate why the sudden reluctance to comment, it's probably more fun to discuss the subject matter at hand.

No surprises, then, that Mr West's debut didn't exactly get rave reviews all round. If we are to utilise a Rotten Tomato style system, there'd be a lot of green splats amongst the gleaming red tomatoes. The problem with reviewing a collection like Kanye's is that his situation makes it impossible for anyone to make an unbiased assessment.
To begin with, everyone has preconceptions, good or bad. Most new designers have the advantage of the mystery and excitement of the unkown, but of course, the reverse is that, well, no one knows who you are. This prior knowledge of your talent, calibre and skill as an artist in a different medium means no one can form a separate opinion based soley on your new chosen medium, even if the person makes a conscious decision to ignore any other aspects (even the most single-minded, cave dwelling fashion critic is subject to basic psychological rules, and will know a few of his tunes and have seen his abuse of Taylor Swift on Youtube).
So the expectation of the qualtity of your work will be raised considerably because people assume that you will have exhausted all the help and advice available to you due to your superior connections (and personal wealth), and at the same time they will not expect you to have made a siginificant personal contribution due to your other commitments. An accomplished and well excuted collection will result in spectators concluding that the ghost designers did their job, while a poor collection generates a knowing "back to your day job, love"/"we all saw that coming" quip.
But should he be judged on his dress-making skills alone? Let's see...

I will demonstrate why separating the collection from the rapper is not only difficult, but also undesirable.So let's start with a clean slate, Kanye the designer. His collection is a tribute to his late mother (who died on the operating table for plastic surgery - OK, it's already getting difficult pretending he is a poor, struggling designer) with references from all his favourite designers. Already, the attempt at separation of his artistic pursuits falls apart - the charm of an awestruck newbie paying homage to his idols as he shows off-schedule in a small space in a dodgey area of Paris generates excitement as their full potential may be realised by further exposure to the industry and financial support, which means concessions can be made for the quality of construction or the execution of ideas. This is a rather difficult stance to take when you are Kanye the rapper/designer and your first collection is on schedule right in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. Some have suggested that all designers, new and old, suffer from the odd last minute hiccup which results in ill-fitting garments being shown. I shall humour them and assume that that Kanye is bringing back the bumster, then..

So Kanye may not be the perfect seamstress, but surely we should be concentrating more on his ideas and concepts? Kanye the designer, as already mentioned, is so inspired by the giants of design like Celine and Balmain that the whole collection is positively choc-a-block with references. Scattered among them are lashings of fur trims and shrugs and backpacks. The reason why fur is inappropriate for the Spring Summer 2012 collection is so painfully obvious that I'm not even going to go into it, just say that it was the definitive "WTF" moment.   The also abundant use of heavy leather means this collection could easily be Autmn Winter if he decided to slap that label on it. Maybe he found that thicker textures and trimmings like fox fur coupled with long sleeved dresses and jackets are more fun to play with than season-appropriate materials and designs. I can't help thinking that starting off with an AW collection would have at least avoided the comments about its overall heaviness and the much-mocked pelts. Kanye the rapper/designer has attended enough fashion shows to get to grips with the season cycle and the importance of a cohesive collection with some sort of identity.

Every mistake made in this collection by Kanye the designer should have been addressed because he is also Kanye the really famous rapper with a dream team of designers - the concessions we'd make for a real unknown cannot be applied here. His celebrity has granted him access to an internship and inside help, and transformed him from fan to designer. Of course, I am not so unreasonable as to have expected a perfect collection, but even using the least judgmental part of my judgment, this was a poor offering.

Suffice to say, I respectfully disagree with Kanye's desperate pleas for commentators (admittedly he doesn't give two shits about what I think) to: "...Please be easy. Please give me a chance to grow. This is not some celebrity shit. I don’t fuck with celebrities..." This is celebrity shit to the core, but if you are humble enough, then it may be a good idea to take a leaf out of Victoria Beckham's book, and at least start at NYFW, showing your first collection off privately, in a hotel room.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Playing PFW Catch-Up: Ann Demeulemeester

So the always promised and seldom realised Tomorrow's Post did not materialise this weekend. A number of contributing factors made it physically impossible to get to blogging, namely the insanely amazing weather (22 degrees C is like high summer in Scotland) and the boyfriend's last minute taxation homework crisis (don't ask).
With the personal life update out of the way, let's talk shows!

Perhaps a good starting point would be an assessment of Ann Demeulemeester's show. A quick skim through the pictures and I noticed an uncanny, if not somewhat expected, similarity to her men's show back in June (pics here). Unfortunately, I'm not in Paris attending the women's shows this season, so no blurry/side on photos from me. Not being present at the show also means I didn't get to hear the soundtrack, and if it was anything like the SS12 men's collection, it would have added great depth to the atmosphere. Obviously music is  in all shows to accentuate the mood/aesthetic/theme/etc, but not all soundtracks can create the most evocative effect.

The first thing I noticed about this collection is that the wide brim hats are back (yes), as well as the desert/nomad references which she executed so well for her menswear collection. This could be the perfect accompaniment to the male traveller - a woman who's not afraid to take on harsh yet beautiful landscapes - all in exquisite yet practical clothes. Demeuelemeester's androgynous and sometimes effeminate men's collections meant I often found myself drooling over the jackets and trousers. The liberal use of long, flowing, draping mesh (tulle?) sweeping down from under jackets and sweaters creating the perfect sahara silhouette in this offering is drool-worthy enough.

The somewhat heavy black ensembles soon make way for yet more meshy tulle and lighter drapery with cardigans and blazers, in SS signature white, and the last few pieces of inked black and white create a delicate pattern.

What strikes me most about this collection is that it contains all the elements of recent trends I detest: fringe details, bohemian/hippiness (well, basically anything that reminds me of Sienna Miller) and a sheer long skirt over shorts or a shorter skirt. Maybe it's the Ann effect or maybe I'm getting soft, but I found myself getting that familiar twang of longing, and drool threatening to seep out (excuse the imagery), when I saw all those elements. Weird...

IN OTHER NEWS, take a look at Slave Magazine's latest issue for my article on LFW and some styling work in a beautifully shot editorial at an old Victorian school in Glasgow. Plus there is a ridiculous amount of other quality editorials and articles. A must read. May do a separate blog post...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Paris Fashion Week: Damir Doma

I know it seems like I have bypassed London Fashion Week show stuff, but rest assured, it will appear elsewhere. In the meantime, Paris Fashion Week is in full swing so get ready for some related pictures and words. It also serves as a good break from all the patriotic stuff I've been doing recently.

Damir Doma
So the robes are gone, well, more or less, to be replaced with something rather more decidedly...Grecian. The progression from robe-like garments to togas isn't the overhaul of the century, but his latest approach is interesting, especially when combined with modern jackets and even city shorts - mixing the new with the old. The long, drapey elements still make an appearance here and there, although definitely outnumbered by the torque-collared dresses paired with wrap around sandals. Although originally a menswear designer (I remember attending a show and imagining how his garments would look on a female form), he has a fine grasp of a good female silhouette, but there are still moments where he prefers to stay loose and billowy, rather than form fitting. Of course, that is not necessarily an indication that he shies away from accentuating womanly curves, but just a manifestation of his aesthetic.
The staple black pieces mixed in with white, gold and a lush olivey/yellow colour worked well for the collection, and the odd gold embellishments further accentuated the Grecian feel.
What is interesting is that this collection is definitely a more commercial affair than previous offerings (especially compared to his menswear), but it may also just be that Grecian/floaty/robe elements are more common for mainstream womenswear compared to its use in commercial menswear.
Still, there is plenty more room for development for this relatively new designer to womenswear. Not too many compaints, here, though. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Scots at LFW

So my attention has been particularly drawn to all things Scottish and fashion-related recently, stemming from my recent discovery of the Design Collective Scotland. Another contributory factor may be the low I often experience when returning to Scotland from my fashion-laden trips. Reminding myself of the good things here helps to ease the pain...

While wandering through the massive maze of an exhibition at this season’s designer exhibitions, I was lucky enough to stumble across the Design Collective room, featuring four Scottish designers who have teamed up to take on the fashion world. Their sartorial expertise varies from knitwear to shoes and aesthetically they all have their own distinct look. Watch out for them around Scotland and beyond...

Di Gilpin
With a collaboration with Meadham Kirchoff under her belt, Di’s unique knitwear is being noticed as innovative and striking by all the right people. Being surrounded by the beautiful landscapes around rural Scotland has definitely influenced her designs, and her technical mastery means she is able to create pieces with varying types of construction and pushes the boundaries of what can be done with knitwear. I really loved what I saw at the exhibition - I particularly enjoyed her fisherman/fishing nets inspired knits and the way she uses wool to mimic other materials. Unique,wearable and beautiful.

 A sexy fisherman's wife vest? Yes please.

I would definitely replace denim shorts with knitted ones..

Iona Crawford
Soft cuts mixed with masculine silhouettes, Iona’s SS12 collection is a contrast of inspirations with great execution. Feminine prints and the best fabrics like silk, merino and cashmere make the garments look (and, no doubt, feel) luxurious to wear. Her self-designed prints are the perfect complement to the ultra-refined creations. I especially love the delicateness of the bird print on the V cut of the dress and on the subtle upturn of the tux jacket. Divine!

Marc Ross
With a love of leather and strong looks, Marc Ross is the definition of edgy chic from Scotland. His roots in pattern cutting are channelled through the expert use of brave designs throughout his pieces. His creative flair allows him to make garments that are both striking yet well structured and wearable. After learning and perfecting his craft outside of Scotland, he returns to work on new things with his eponymous label. As a fellow lover of leather (try saying that fast), I'm definitely excited to see more.

Due to my lack of new shoe designer discoveries, I was delighted to ‘discover’ Emily Lamb. Her beautifully hand-crafted shoes are understated yet timelessly elegant, with intricate details such as cut out sides and multi-tonal and multi-texture leathers. Each shoe is made to order so patience is required to get your hands on them. Shoes so delicate and precious, I want to put them all on display.
 One of the rare mid heels I've seen that I actually like!

The Design Collective is jetsetting to more global fashion destinations and are setting up shop in Glasgow very soon. Details to come when I know more, as I'll definitely be visiting...

And even more Scottish fashion stuff is happening this weekend in my very own Edinburgh! The launch party of the Edinburgh Fashion Fall/Winter Event is just in time for the Indian Summer we are having. I know next to nothing about the launch and the event itself so am quite excited to get acquainted with the fashion show that's closest to home.

You bet there'll be pics to come.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Pre-Fashion Week Shakes

So it is a week before London Fashion Week (yes, I know fashion month has started already but I ignore NYFW because 1) it's really far away and 2) it's a bit MEH) and the fretting has begun. Whose shows will I be invited to, or will I have to jump the (not so) proverbial fence. How am I going to get there and stay for as little money as possible to maximise potential spending (Greyhound - YUCK and spare room of sympathisers). Obviously the most important question is, what the fuck am I going to wear???

Living in Edinburgh, I rely heavily on the internet for a lot of my special sartorial needs, which has developed in me a keeness for comparison shopping. An usual evening looks like this:
8pm: Feeling the need to revisit /renew interest in a specific item - usually shoes or bags
8.15: Scrolling through eBay and the millions of fakes, find a few good bargains but too impatient to wait the 4 days when the auction ends, annoyed at stupid BIN prices.
8.30: Proceed to trawl through the vast expanses of Google with lame key words that either turn up too many or not enough search results.
8.45: Reconsult eBay, then back to Google, eBay. Repeat.
12.30am: Pretty knackered at this point, watching an extra 10000 items on eBay, similar amount in wish lists on various websites.
Repeat the whole process for weeks, at a bit more frantic pace when fashion week approaches and the only option becomes next day international shipping...

Sometimes it does seem I would be happier without the "choice" of internet shopping. I often find myself being much more spontaneous when I shop in person - once I try those shoes on...there is no going back and I'm determined to walk home with them. No time to worry about where else I can get them, or whether it's free delivery over £100. No wallowing in inexplicable grief when the internet taunts me with the ghosts of shoes and bags already sold out, at sale price..

And my recent results and achievements?
The one I'm most excited about and ashamed to have only discovered them recently is LD Tuttle. An American designer with an impressive range of interesting footwear, with dark names like The Hunt, and The Empty. After a chance encounter with an amazing pair of mummy-like wrap wedges on Matches, I proceeded to investigate further, and came across a pair of shoes that stirred something in my, er, heart.
The Haunt definitely sent a chill, but of the thrilling kind. The blood-red layers of bandaged leather, the concealed wedge and the back zip is the most exciting combination I've seen in ages.
The bad news is, I couldn't find any European retailers that stock these, so to get the from the US, one would have to pay a whopping $200something customs fee. Ouch. The internet giveth, and it taketh away..

This next label I was very reluctant to like, due to the fact that you can't turn the page quick enough to avoid Cheryl Cole's over-exposed face and not notice that she is in one of these. All the time, seemingly. I wouldn't be surprised if she sleeps in them.
So with all that in mind, I tried very hard to look away from the slim-fit, washed and aged lamb leather variations, with cut and style inspirations from Rick Owens to Julius.
Will I be able to resist the pull of lamb leather and raw edge seams at reasonable prices..?
See what the fuss is all about at the Muubaa website.

So what have we learned from this analysis of my shopping habits? Ignorance is bliss and the virtual knife that twists as you realise you've just missed out on a flash sale, or that you want something that was discontinued months or years ago is a difficult pain to bear.

On the other hand, where else would you get a 6 seasons old bag you've wanted ever since you discovered its existence 4 seasons ago, with the added bonus of yanking it from the clutches of a few dozen other women who you know wanted it just as much, in the comfort of your own home?

Internet shopping - 1, Physical shopping - 0.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Noir's McQueen

In a seamless segue from the last post to this, I shall continue as if I never left my keyboard and get on with talking about the latest Noir event, which saw Summerhall transformed into a quirky and slightly macabre setting for the McQueen-themed evening. The old university vet building is a great addition to the ever-growing list of Edinburgh Festival venues, and the many different rooms of all shapes and sizes could be utilised to great effect. The deliciously named Dissection Room was a fab choice for the event - a spacious hall with bar (woohoo), winding raised catwalk installed and an overseeing balcony. Huge projections of images of McQueen's past collections were emblazoned on the wall for the whole evening, just in case you got too drunk to remember where you were.As this is a fashion-oriented blog, I shall start talking about that, mostly. The exciting flyers promised a night of cutting-edge-everything and as they expressly said the event would be a tribute to the late legend, I was not surprised when I saw that nothing on the catwalk was McQueen. So I wasn't expecting a Savage Beauty-esque collection of garments but I was still intrigued as to what Harvey Nichols and the creative team behind the show could muster, due to the outrageously bizarre and wonderful source material they were to take inspiration from. Well, one thing I couldn't fault was the music. Composed especially for the evening, it was haunting, creeping and melancholic as only a cello could be, and the models shuffled along at funeral march pace, while the audience observed them under spotlights. So the scene was set and while the atmosphere was definitely impressive and the clothes beautiful, I could not help thinking it really didn't deliver on what was promised. The garments were solely from Harvey Nichols Edinburgh, with a few millinery additions from Joyce Paton. Nice dress after nice sweater after nice coat after a few nice dresses, it became clear that the tributee's creativity was nowhere to be seen. A lot of black looks were sent down the walk to reinforce the solemness of the show but compared to the guests that were present at McQueen's funeral (yes, I'm thinking Daphne Guinness), these looks were decidedly less tribute-like, especially given the now-obvious premise of the event. Understandably, the stock available at an Edinburgh store limits the extravagance of the main pieces for each look but there was no accessorising or styling that would tug at the corner of my mouth into a smirk of recognition of a reference to one of McQueen's quirks or traits, or make me even begin to utter even the teeniest gasps of awe. Essentially, this was an assortment of clothes from various designers strung together with the heavy reinforcement of the surroundings that this was, indeed, a tribute to McQueen. If walking in blind to the event during the darkness of the show, without the visual aids, you would be hard pressed to know the reason for all the fuss.

photos from the Noir Blog, by DN Anderson and Mike Byrne

So taking the event as a whole and sweeping aside the inadequacies and disappointments of the show (which is, arguably, the central attraction to the event), the DJs, people and even the wee exhibition right at the very back (pics below) helped to make the evening enjoyable (for pics of the party people and the rest of the pics of the event, go to Noir's blog). Perhaps this whole experience is quite a good warning against overblowing the awesomeness of the content of your main attraction, but it also shows that at least Edinburgh is trying to compete with the multitude of fashion gatherings happening most weekends a mere 40 miles away...

Ferret heads in your beaded fur stole, anyone?