Art, Fashion

Hallowe’en Appropriate: Salvador Dali for Vogue Paris

Happy Hallowe’en everyone! I hope you’ll be having a spectacularly spooky evening, or at the very least having one that involves eating all the trick or treaters sweeties (I’m on my third funsize box of Smarties).

While not strictly frightening, this 1971 edition of Vogue Paris, edited by Surrealist supremo Salvador Dali, is just jarring enough to give you proper chills…





Vintage Vogue scans via Youthquakers, which is so fantastic I can hardly bear it.

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Fashion, Inspiration, Photography, The Reading List

The Seeberger Brothers and Real Street Style

Elegance: The Seeberger Brothers and the Birth of Fashion Photography is one of those books that I’ve wanted forever but couldn’t really afford.  It is out of print and second hand copies cost fifty euros and upwards.  The steep sort of upwards.

With photographs as good as these, the prohibitive price tag may be justified.  Caution – this is a very image-heavy post.  To find out more about the Seeberger brothers, click here.

Images via here, here, here and here

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Fashion, Inspiration, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 25/10/12: Better Remarkable Than Attractive

My new do – it’s the latest thing in Man Repelling, don’tcha know?

Working in the fashion industry has a few advantages, the most underrated of which is the ability (or expectation) to dress like a loon at the office without the negative judgement of others. It’s ok to be a bit weird. It may even be par for the course.

In fashion the opposite to good taste in clothes is not bad taste; it is MOR, sheeplike indifference. Dress like everyone else and your ability to work may be called into question – ironic, when you consider that the opposite is true in many other industries.

In school, I was that person who had different coloured hair every month. I’ve been blue, purple, pink – one golden autumn I was (due to a bleaching mishap) blonde, brown, pink and ginger all at the same time. The only colours I haven’t yet gone are green and grey, and since grey is inevitable at some stage, I’ve decided to give green a proper go after years of natural, if slightly mousy, brown.

By the time this column goes to print, I will have petrol green streaks in my hair. It sounds horrific. Just typing that I shudder a tiny bit, half out of anticipation and half out of fear. On telling my mother about my incipient She-Hulk hair plans, her response was, “But aren’t you concerned about being attractive?”

That question stuck with me. I wrote it on a Post It and stuck it to my computer. Am I worried about being conventionally attractive? No, I really am not. I am more concerned about being remarkable, about being smart, about bringing in a balanced budget.

I’m not looking for a boyfriend. I have no obligations to be anyone but myself. Having green streaks will not deplete my already very low charisma and mystery levels. If anything, I am concerned about being ugly. Ugly is remarkable. I would rather be remarkable over attractive any day.

I have a noticeably large nose. It has been broken several times and is home to more than a few lumps. I like it. It gives my side profile a bit of a witchy appearance, but it is what it is – I might as well embrace the oddness. Serge Gainsbourg, owner of a sizable conk himself, once said that ‘ugliness is in a way superior to beauty because it lasts’. Looks fade, what is considered beautiful often changes and looking weird is, at the very least, consistent.

We should all embrace who we are. Facially speaking, flaws should be accentuated just as much as the better attributes. What working in fashion has taught me is that, if you carry anything with confidence (yep, even warts) and make it look deliberate, you will be all the better for it. This advice may be coming from a woman with a big hooter and green hair, but her common-sense is as finely-tuned as the next person’s.

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Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate column 18/10/12: The Merits of the Mom Jumper

There is no kind of comfort quite like the kind you find when, on a cold day, you slip on a jumper that has spent a few minutes warming up on the radiator. It is a kind of comfort only surpassed when it’s rainy outside and said radiator is now hosting a clean pair of flannel pajamas.

It is also a kind of comfort that we’ll have to get used to this winter because it’ll be a cold one, by golly. The average temperature is shaping up to be five or six degrees every day. Come December, that will be even lower. It is definitely time to unpack the winter woolens and banish any tights below forty dernier from whence they came.

Knitwear buying can be a tricky process. There is only one type of body shape that looks good in any kind of sweater, no matter what shape or how scratchy or fluffy the wool. That is the straight up-and-down, modelly type. These women can rejoice in being able to put on an Aran jumper three sizes too big and still look great. We will not begrudge them, because skinny people need extra warmth what with having less insulating body fat than the rest of us, and all.

Especially meritorious for the woman with the in-and-out body shape is the Mom jumper. It’s not necessarily a jumper that mothers wear (mine favours a potato sack-textured Fairisle that she knitted herself) but rather a jumper that gives you the warming, maternal caress that you need on a cold winter’s day. Your jumper loves you. Your jumper will take care of you. It will not judge you if you accidentally slop tomato sauce on it. It does not care about your sexual orientation and will not spoil Downton Abbey for you if you haven’t got around to watching that episode yet.

If you’re looking for a maternal Mom Jumper, then Boden is a great place to start. The British label started business with a mail order catalogue (how mammy-ish can you get?) and specialises in very simply structured, reassuringly classic, untrendy knitwear. It’s the kind of knitwear that, if you take care of it, could last you for several years in both style and practicality stakes. Most jumpers are updated vintage shapes – the Fifties jumper is especially flattering for hourglass figures.

For a non-mumsy Mom jumper, head to Cos. The knitwear at the H&M-owned high-street chain is considered good enough quality to be sold at Brown Thomas. While Cos stands for Collection of Style, just ‘Cos’ is also appropriate – the patterns are finished with mathematical precision that requires a set of tables.

The knits are good quality too. I have my eye on a sheer black alpaca knit that will go with everything and am already living in a grey marl sweatshirt that has been updated with interwoven metallic thread. Note to self – under no circumstances should I put that one under the radiator. It’s comforting enough already without having to endure second degree burns.

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Fashion, Outfit Posts

Diet Coke Fashion Friday: Cork Fashion Week Style

Cork Fashion Week finished for another year last week and I was lucky enough to go along to their High Tea at Hayfield Manor Hotel, which kicked off the event schedule.  Hosted by the loverly Angela Scanlon, we saw the very best that Cork’s shops have to offer, and I got to hang around backstage, interview all the main players and try not to accidentally ogle models as they changed (I’m not so used to being backstage that I can be properly nonplussed yet).  Did I mention that there’s going to be a video?  Oh yes, there is a video – not of models changing by the way; that would be weird and incredibly invasive.

Here’s a few snaps of some very stylish people.



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Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 11/10/12: Do as the Natives Do

Last week, I went to Malta. It was hot. Ridiculously hot. I got on the plane in Dublin in six degree weather wearing a metallic biker jacket and grey marl sweatshirt flecked with silver thread. I got off to twenty eight degree heat and enough accumulated sweat to power a desalination plant.

My make-up immediately slid off my face on to a puddle on the floor and started mocking me for not knowing that metal is a conductor of heat and polyvinyl fabric is not breathable. I was either extremely dehydrated or in possession of a subconscious that is so self-loathing that even my slap talks back to me. It could be both, but if that’s true, it turns out that my subconscious is easily soothed with a glass of water and a change into a fresh cotton t-shirt.

The native Maltese women are different creatures altogether. The next day, while taking a coffee break in the island’s capital of Valetta, I noticed that it was very easy to distinguish the natives from their tourist counterparts just by clothing alone – although it would have been just as easy to identify the tourists by their (and my) wheezy, sweaty honey-glazed ham exteriors.

The Maltese women I saw out and about had impossibly shiny hair and were wearing some great tailoring – breezy white shirts, and pencil skirts the ended a few inches above the knee. Colours were light, silhouettes were flattering and any perspiration, presumably, was absorbed into nothingness like total magic.

Dressing for a holiday is difficult, especially if you come from a temperate (read: my toes have frostbite) country into a slightly sweltering one. Tourists dress like, well, tourists. To call the way we tourists dress ‘predictable’ would be far too predictable, but why call a spade a gardening implement when ‘spade’ will do just as well? We ARE predictable.

I blame the media. I blame fashion journalists and, to a lesser extent, I blame myself. We think we’re so smart, writing and reading articles on how to dress for certain occasions without ever thinking if the context is really correct. The pictures in the magazines tell us to buy floaty maxi dresses, thong sandals and khaki shorts – which is only really just as well if these are the kind of things that you’d wear anyway.

We shouldn’t be reading articles about what tourists are wearing on holidays, we should be reading articles about what the women who live in our holiday destinations are wearing (especially if what you pack will be weather-dependent). Going to Paris? Make it black and expensive. New York? Have impeccable hair and nails and the rest will follow.
Next time I go to Malta, I will be thinking about dressing like a Maltese woman. Not in a weird, cultural-appropriation, ‘I’m going to wear your traditional embroidered costumes’ way, just in a normal, everyday way.

How many times have you seen a tourist in Ireland struggling to deal with the constant oscillation between rain and sun? Irish people know to always have an umbrella and sunglasses on their person if they’re going to be on the street for more than a few minutes. It a reflex that is the product of years of conditioning. For once, we’re out on top.

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Fashion, Inspiration, Photography, Subculture

Teenager on the Telephone

Remember being on the landline at home, having a chat, and being constantly interrupted by your mother going “Are you on a mobile? PSST! Are you on a mobile?”

That still happens to me.

The jeans/white socks/easy-off loafers may just be the perfect combination for a lazy afternoon reliving teenage angstiness.

Photos by Nina Leen for LIFE Magazine, 1944 – click the link if you’re a vintage lover and have a few minutes to spare

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