Fashion, Inspiration

Links I Love 2

>Some inspirational links…

The BF should take note here.
Sixties and Seventies hair pics, iconic women and pin-ups that are apparently never ending.  Note to self – buy hot rollers and gallons of hairspray.
I usually go to London for Arsenal matches and stopovers.  Emirates no longer – I’m going to Kensington Palace!  Must have a look at the fares on Ryanair very, very soon.
Some samples of my work (cuz I’m like a real journalist and like, write about fashion and stuff)

The launch of Cork Fashion Week (getting very excited about this, really looking forward to covering some events for the Cork Indo – fingers crossed!) 
The BT Cork Spring /Summer preview
And one blatant plug for some friends…

The boyfriend is a stand up. A stand up guy that is! That’s a terrible joke and he won’t be impressed when he sees this. Er, anyway, the boyfriend is a stand up… comic and he and my pseudo step-cousin Brendan and a host of others have made a sitcom pilot to be screened in The Pavilion. 10 euro entrance fee – all of it is going to charidee!

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Fashion

Changeable Weather

>So, it’s spring and the weather goes from sun so bright I wake up with spots dancing in front of my eyes (really should get blackout blinds) to torrential rain in a matter of minutes.  This makes dressing for the day even much more of an arduous process.

But then again, sometimes it’s nice just to throw on a few classic basics in uncomplicated colours, like Converse, jeans, a Breton striped top and a nice mac, sit down on a bench, soak in the sun and let the world pass by – until it starts to rain again that is.

cas landscapr

Ray Ban Wayfarers, mac – Uniqlo, red cardigan – American Apparel, black cardigan – Agnes b, striped tee – Topshop, jeans – Topshop.

hands ext

Things are just better when they’re symmetrical, aren’t they?

feet deet

I’ll never apologise for loving Converse, although there are so many reasons why I should (poor arch support notwithstanding). 

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The view from my vista.

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Licentiate Columns

The Fear

>It’s always nice to be woken up to find yourself invited to a social happening. A movie, gigs, the beach… the permutations are endless. However, it’s a sign of the economic times that for every text message I get inviting me to a gig I get another one inviting me to an event in a totally different country and wouldn’t I like to move there altogether?

Alright, friends, you want me to leave the country. I get the picture. Thanks a bunch. In the past month alone I have been invited to New York and London (and, inexplicably, Tokyo), but, through the fatal combination of inertia and a paralysing fear of change, I find myself unable to leave. We daydream endlessly, but all we seem to do is play a weird cyclical game of Chinese Whispers, where we start out in Sydney and end up in Beirut, then decide that it’s too confusing and that we should just stay where we are.

I would love to go to New York or London (The main incentives remain a subterranean train system and the ability to buy cheap food from a tiny silver cart on the street), stay there for a year or two and return with a richer life experience and hopefully, a nice fat wallet. My friends, generally speaking, are all the same.

Most of us have been traumatised by the economic goings-on of the past year and have been working very hard. So hard in fact, that if we even get the slightest sniff of a better job prospect that we cling to it for dear life like a limpet to a slippery rock in a hurricane. What if we left, then came home to find that every job in Ireland had evaporated and we were due to die alone (and poor) because we made the foolish step of emigrating?

If we as a nation are emerging from a recession hangover, then people of my generation all have the Fear. For the uninitiated, the Fear is the paralysing anxiety that usually accompanies a queasy stomach and an inability to remember what happened the night before.

Unfortunately for us, we remember all too clearly what insalubrious happenings we were subject to. Ironically, it is the past that is holding us back from barrelling into the future head-first, and any other country that might hold a different future for us.

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Art, Film

I got Lark on my Go Kart

>Ahhh. This is the last Cheap & Nasty post to grace these pages. Mmm, cathartic. Doers anyone think that this is prophetic by the way? I wrote it in June of ’09.

Like OMG BFF *falls down dead*

Dazed Digital bills Charlie White’s animated collab effort OMG BFF LOL, as ‘slightly disturbing’. And it, like, totes is (ahem). What’s most disturbing, apart from the delightful responses that it has been getting on Youtube (example – ‘what the fuck i type in lol on youtube and this comes up theres nothink funny about this’. Groan…), is the fact that it holds up a mirror to people and their shopping habits – and you really won’t like what you see.

There’s a lot to be said about art that has a global message, but does anyone think that the theme of consumerism as an inherently Evil or Wrong thing is a bit, well, overdone? It is true that life, and thus shopping apparently, is a merry-go-round of wanting, getting, wanting again… until what? There’s no end! Sound the Doomsday alarm! Our lives are meaningless!

Don’t mind me. I spent a lorra money today on clothes that I can’t afford, so this just makes me feel truly awful. I must have NO soul.

On a more vacuous note, is it just me or does OMG BFF LOL remind you of every single episode of Saved by the Bell where Lisa Turtle (aka Lark Voorhies) spends way too much money on her credit card, times a million. Although if I’d been in this Always ad, I’d probably try to shop away the pain too.

“You mean I can wear them with shorts?!?”

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Art, Fashion

Might as well get it over with…

>… and import my older posts and just delete the old blog altogether. Out with the old, in the the new. That’s how it goes, isn’t it? Let’s hope so. Since this post from last October (I think) I’ve since bought Nina Chakrabarti’s book and it is amazing . Amazing. I might buy another copy. One to keep pristine. The other one to look at and doodle in on rainy days.

Nina Chakrabarti’s line drawings straddle the line between whimsical and intense and incredbly fun. Her series of fashion sketches that come with the Sunday Times Style supplement always manage to while away a few minutes of doodling fun, but the results always stick in the mind for much longer.

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The above pages are from her book My Wonderful World of Fashion, which I ordered not two minutes ago while waiting for my Dad to finish watching the tv (Oceans Twelve, I ask you) so I can see Dawn of the Dead. I’m already slavering in anticipation. That or I might have fashion rabies. Her designs, tips and suggestions are a million miles away from the likes of Trinny and Susannah, which is definitely a place where I want to be. And she positively encourages you to go mad with the ol’ felt tips. It’s a good thing.

The bottom picture is taken from a spread from the inaugural issue of I Want You Magazine, which is available in toto online and as part of a limited print run. The spread, which can be seen here, reminds me of the Mexican Day of the Dead iconography… but that might just be because I have Dawn of the Dead on the brain. Eerie and amazing. The work here marries perfectly my love of fashion and also of squiggling elaborate moustaches on the women from the Littlewoods catalogue, although I think i’ll leave the intricate and carefully-thought pen and ink work to Chakrabarti herself…

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Fashion, Film

>Another bad boy pulled from the ranks

>This is another of my favourite old posts culled from the old blog (to be deleted very very soon) published on Karl Lagerfeld’s birthday last year.  Thats 09/09/09.  Spooky…

Happy Birthday Karl Lagerfeld, er, Lagerfeldt

To quote the big K himself:

“I hate birthdays, … It’s more like a new starting point in New York. For me, it’s an evolution. I don’t celebrate the past. I like the present and tomorrow.”


Above are links for the curious mid 90’s doc “Karl Lagerfeld Is Never Happy Anyway”, which must have the worst soundtrack of all time. The audio for the last part is disabled, ostensibly because of copyright, but we all know that it’s really disabled because the world would be a much crueler place if it was not. Plus there are subtitles for those short on brain and/or German language skills. We all know what happens in the end anyway; he loses a pile of weight, becomes the voice of Fabu in the new Totally Spies film and also becomes the subject of the fantastic ‘Lagerfeld Confidential‘.

Happy Evolution Sir Lagerfeld.
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Fashion, Inspiration

Lady Cops!

>Here’s a post I really should have put up earlier from this month’s Paris Vogue.

Once upon a time I actually had reasonable French but all my parlez-vousisms have dribbled out of my ears and I just buy French Vogue to look at the pretty pictures and to look quizzically at the Antonia Fraser interview her life with Harold Pinter. I really wish I knew what she was saying.

French Vogue reminds me of Playboy. Playboy from the 50’s and 60’s, not spreadeagled plasticky smooth women. Sometimes you think that Vogue is all editorial, then you get hit with a treatise on the motivations behind working the camouflage print or that Antonia Fraser interview. It’s a bit like opening an old copy of Playboy and seeing a short story by Nabokov or an interview with Malcolm X. It’s weird and incongruous and totally cool.

Speaking of weird and incongruous and totally cool, there are my favourite pages from the Lady Cops spread starring Brooke Shields and shot by Bruce Weber. Salty goodness.

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The scans for the whole shoot can be found here.

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Fashion

A Licentiate backstory – A Graduate’s Graduation.

>Today I went to my brother’s confirmation. Since my brother is the youngest of four, it inevitably doesn’t have the same amount of ceremony as it used to. I also feel like I should add that in the past ten years since my confirmation, circumstances have somewhat changed when it comes to religious ceremony in Ireland. It’s sad but it’s true. For the confirmation my parents wore suits, my sister (who was my brother’s sponsor, a kind of moral compass – ha!) wore a leather jacket and skinny jeans and I wore a polka-dot minidress, which my mother said was indecent.

Consider the below photo. This is what I wore to my graduation. This was the second university that I attended (but the first time that I managed to get a degree… long story).

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Rented gown and, er, pennant thing – Arts Faculty at UCC. Shoes – Aldo. Tights – Penneys/Primark. Dress – All Saints. Jacket – Lipsy.

I graduated in September and, as you can see, I’m pretty uncomfortable. I’m really not good with ceremony and I usually end up dressing very inappropriately without really thinking (hence the mini dress in church situation). The shoes clacked on the walk up to the college president. He gave me an odd look due to the studded lapels poking out over the gown. The purple tights were a bit of a standout in the class picture. All in all, it was a sartorial miss for the people around me.

But it was my graduation. It was a celebration of all the hard work I put in. It was a time just for me. And that’s why I love this outfit. Sometime you just have to go with what you like.

That and purple with navy is a criminally underused colour combo. Ahem

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Licentiate Columns

When you least expect it

>

It’s often when you least expect it that things blow up in your face. In my case, something literally did blow up in my face. My computer, to be precise. There, I was, tapping away with no more cares in the world than the average person (so, a lot of cares and preoccupations, but nothing as important as, say, an impending kidney transplant or a hot date with Robert Pattinson) when a slow, insidious wisp of smoke started snaking its way out of the adaptor socket.

At the time, I was writing an article to a very stringent deadline. So I did what any person would do. I just kept on writing and hoping that I wouldn’t get burned or electrocuted, or set my duvet on fire. My house is a tinderbox. I get frightened using the toaster or having an overly-hot shower. I wrote all I could until my computer was on the verge of melting into a large, white plastic blob and calmly shut it, flapped it around the place like a Victorian carpet beater to extinguish the smoke and stowed it under my bed, where it currently sits.

Within three hours of the laptop fiasco, I was delivered no less than three pieces of bad news that affected me directly and the general air was that of a vacuum where the bottom has apparently fallen out of everything.

When you boil it down, my woes are men and money. Both are unavoidable and on a par, inevitability wise, with death and taxes. However, you know when taxes are coming, and death only gets to hit you once (if you’re lucky). Men and money are indiscriminate in their ability to stike as often and as hard as you’ll let them, which works to my disadvantage because I can be incredibly flathiuil with my wallet and, er, my heart.

The man problem is easy to fix. I just have to pop out my contacts and avoid looking at anything not carrying a handbag for the forseeable future. The money problem… That’s something that just seems to follow me around like a bad smell, like Eau de Foolish Spending. Like the smell of a charred G5 Mac smouldering away under the bed. And unlike a mans aftershave, this smell is not transient. It’s built to linger.

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Art, Fashion

Rene Gruau

>This is an old-ish post from the vaults, and one of my favourites. I originally posted it last September but it’s still relevant (or at least I hope so). Well, except for the Lisbon Treaty references…

rene gruau

Like fabric-painting and the scaremongering tactics of oddball political activists in the run up to the Irish Lisbon Treaty Referendum (non EU readers can switch off at that bit), fashion illustration seems to have fallen by the wayside without anyone even noticing it.

At my recent university graduation, my Daddy Dearest’s business partner gave me a very thoughtful card (and Brown Thomas gift voucher – hello, tortoiseshell Ray Ban CATs with a graduated lens… aham, excuse me) featuring the singular illustrations of Rene Gruau.

I have a very sad love of fashion illustration due almost entirely to the even sadder fact that it’s the only way that I can usefully use a degree in History of Art without actually having a job concerning art in any way, shape or form. Gruau’s illustrations can be found in 100 Years of Fashion Illustration but any books on the Man himself are hard to find and retail at roughly £300. Ouch.

What I love about Gruau’s illustration, hopefully without sounding like an Art teacher (which incidentally is another job that I am NOT qualified to do despite a History of Art degree…sigh)

- Firstly, the starkness and sparseness of composition. Gruau rarely if ever used more than a handful of colours and there’s no fore or background. There’s no clutter and no distractions.
- The colours that he did use are chosen very carefully for maximum impact. Every colour seem to offset the other one. he didn’t outline or make overt definitions, which makes you subconsciously think about the clothes (ok, makes me think subconsciously about the clothes)
- A use of line and a woman’s silhouette that makes you think of Richard Avedon’s work in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Both Avedon and Gruau were noted for making Dior’s 1947 New Look even more iconic.

avedon
Hopefully you can see where I’m coming from, though the above isn’t the best picture to prove my point. But you can see how both the photographer and the illustrator same the same preoccupation with line and whimsy. Below are my two favourite Gruau illustrations. Stark, sparse, abstract and totally wonderful. And something that couldn’t be achieved with a camera.
rene gruau 2
rene gruau 1

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