Fashion, Film, The Reading List

Things to Read #10

Tears. Tears upon tears.

Tears. Tears upon tears.

Sometimes you mean to get your work done on a Sunday. Other times, you spend your Sunday lounging around in the sun, napping and glugging gin and tonics. Guess which one was done on Sunday.

When not glugging, I was having my heart ripped out by Before Midnight, the last in Richard Linklater’s film trilogy about seemingly perfect couple Celine and Jesse. This scene is why. Linklater kills.

Read every single article linked by this post on Gawker provocateur turned author Emily Gould and marvel at how one woman can provoke (and create) such a sheer amount of bile and resentment from otherwise reasonable adults. Links include a live-tweeted suicide intervention, which is one of the final symptoms of the Internet finally eating itself and an Elle profile that manages to be both cutting and strangely adoring – ironic, since the central theme of Gould’s newest novel, Friendship, is about, um,  female friendship.

The Independent republished Lynn Barber’s 1990 interview with Jimmy Savile and, in light of certain revelations, it’s an even more unsettling read than it was over two decades ago.

Badass bald women.

Arsenic dresses and the allure of poison clothes.

The secret history of Canadian TV show Fashion Television. With clips!

IFB’s look at why we click on a certain website’s links even though we don’t want to. Fall for the clickbait-y stuff every time.

GO AWAY, Robin Thicke. Or at the very least, take a sexual harassment course.

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Fashion, Film, Photography, The Reading List, Things to Read

Things to Read #2

Winona Ryder as Heathers' Veronica Sawyer by Mike Mitchell

Winona Ryder as Heathers’ Veronica Sawyer by Mike Mitchell

Teaching The Camera To See My Skin – Some aspects of photography are racist. I did not know that.

AnOther Loves Tattoos.

Kurt Cobain died twenty years ago yesterday. His vigil was a covert suicide prevention rally as well as a memorial.

Karl Lagerfeld has the be the most quotable fashion designer alive.

A 6,000 word dissection of 10 Things I Hate About You. You’re welcome.

My Dad sent me this review of the new Lydia Davis book, unaware that I already had a copy. Paternal synchronicity (seriously though, it’s a good book). Super short stories that cut to the bone and experiences that are so specific but so common that you think Davis could be writing just for you and your weird little brain.

An Oral History of Heathers, one of the best teen movies ever made. Bonus points for Winona Ryder trying to sell Heathers 2 to Meryl Streep (co-starring Meryl as the First Lady) while filming in an rural Portugal, where Ryder knew Streep would have no escape.

Lest we forget though, Heathers was a biting satire with a serious amount of disgust for its characters.

Sex Ed for Boys. Communication, communication and more communication.

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Art, Fashion, Film, The Reading List, Things to Read

Things to Read #1

Anatomical collages by Travis Bedel (Colossal)

Anatomical collages by Travis Bedel (Colossal)

Things have been a bit, um, stilted on the blog front recently.

Ever since I stopped writing my column, I’ve been at a bit of a loss. Should I still blog? And if so, what should I write about? One of the simplest things to remember about blogging is that you should probably love it. You should love writing or taking photos or making videos and you should love sharing your thoughts, quirks and the cool things you pick up along the way.

I’ve come to a point, after moving countries and going back to university and getting a new job and dying my hair alternately blue, green and a bruise-ish violet, where I’m at a crossroads. One point, four different directions and no real idea where I’ll end up. More to the point, no idea where this blog will end up.

The trick, really, is to find your niche.

The only thing I did with real regularity, apart from the column, was book reviews. So, Im going to keep doing that.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been getting into longreads; real, meaty articles that are the total opposite of the thoughtless, bland, soundbites that make up a huge chunk of internet journalism. Damn our goldfish memories. Every Sunday, I read Ana Kinsella’s clicks and, for half an hour or so – usually over a pot of tea and a jam donut – I get sucked into a Good Reading vortex. I highly, highly, recommend checking her Tumblr out. She’s a smashing writer too.

When I’m tootling around on the internet and I find something I know I’d like to read in real depth, I save it on Instapaper for later. So, in the spirit of sharing, and because Ana is OK with me blatantly copying her, here are some things to read. This will probably be sporadic (as soon as the Instapaper filing cabinet is full, I’ll write another post), but we’ll see how we go.

The Surrealist Ball, 1972 (So Bad, So Good)

The Surrealist Ball, 1972 (So Bad, So Good)

‘The Devil and the Art Dealer’ – Vanity Fair. “The artworks stolen from the Jews are the last prisoners of WWII. You have to be aware that every work stolen from a Jew involved at least one death.” 1,280 works of art, originally stolen by the Nazis, were recovered in an apartment in Munich a few months ago. The billion dollar hoard includes works by Picasso, Brancusi, Otto Dix, Oscar Kokoschka… pretty much every European early twentieth century painter of note, plus a few Old Masters. Because what’s an art hoard without a Canaletto?

‘Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes’ - Wired. Geek Love is one of two books that every person I have ever lent it to, without exception, loved (the other one being ‘Rip it up and Start Again’ by Simon Reynolds). Read this, then read the book. And if you’ve already read the book, read it again.

‘Why are We Obsessed with 90’s Film Fashion?’ – Never Underdressed. An interview with Elizabeth Sankey.

‘Simone Rocha: Just a Little Bit of a Lady’ – The Telegraph. Man, she’s cool.

The Vintage Black Glamour book is one to look forward to (Miss Moss)

The Vintage Black Glamour book is one to look forward to (Miss Moss)

The Detective Wore Prada’ – The Guardian. Guardian writers share their best-dressed of the small screen.

‘Are Celebrities the New Fashion Critics?’ – Style.com. A big, fat, resounding ‘NO’ is the answer here.

‘Showgirls is a Good Movie’ – The Awl. It’s VERSAYCE! Heh. I love Showgirls, though that pool sex scene with Jessi Spano and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper still gives me the the willies.

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel: The Amazing Backstories Behind Ten Memorable Props’ – Paper.

The Irish Boys of Central Saint Martins – The Irish Times. I interviewed three really, properly, achingly talented Irish fashion grads for this article.

‘How American Pageants are Turning Politics into a Beauty Parade’ – The New Statesmen. It seems that the average American beauty queen can easily segue into a career in politics. Hmm. A big, fat, hmm.

‘Amazing Structure: A Conversation With Ursula Franklin’ – The Atlantic. Scientist, feminist and an all-around remarkable woman.

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Art, Film, Subculture

Andy Warhol at The Mac

Family trips are a rare thing. With two siblings not living in the same area as the rest of the family, it can be tricky to get together. When we do meet up, it’s usually six hours in the car, followed by food, followed by food coma. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Last weekend the family went to Belfast. Highlights included food in Made in Belfast and Alley Cat, the cheapy cheap euro to sterling rate in Topshop and the Andy Warhol retrospective in The Mac, to which I dragged my mother and little brother – in his case a little literal dragging was needed.

The Mac is a lovely arts venue, but to call this a retrospective is a bit of a misnomer – there just aren’t enough major works in too small a space to make it a real reflection of the prolific Warhol. It’s really more of a sampling. However, the exhibition is totally free, so if you’re in the area before the 28th of April, when the exhibition ends, it’s more than worth a look. They’ve got great merchandise too (she said, sipping tea from her new Warhol cow print mug).

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Fashion, Film

Prada Candy – A Pastel Daydream

It’s Easter Sunday, and if you’re anything like me you’re forgoing the obligatory bank holiday pub blow out for another slice of delicious, delicious meringue.

The new Prada Candy films are just one more slice of sweetness for the hungry palette. Starring Léa Seydoux and directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, it’s a) very cool and b) very French in that there’s a fair amount of drama but no discernible conclusion but everyone retains their sense of louche fabulousness – feel free to argue with me on that point.

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Fashion, Film, Subculture

The Face of Modern Street Style

TAKE MY PICTURE from GARAGE Magazine on Vimeo.

Have you seen Take My Picture yet? If not, take nine minutes out of your evening and watch it – it’s very illuminating.

Featuring Tim Blanks, Tommy Ton and Susie Bubble, this Garage Magazine-commissioned mini-doc explores the street style phenomenon as it exists today.

Regardless of whether you think street style is the modern runway or a load of old hooey (or, like me, you think it’s a bit of both) there’s a new insight to be gleaned after watching this.

And at least if you don’t learn anything, you’ll get to see Anna Dello Russo briskly walking in circles for Tommy Ton’s benefit. More entertaining than it sounds, I promise.

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Fashion, Film, The Reading List

The Reading List: Katharine Hepburn – Rebel Chic

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I’ve read a few bummer style books recently, so I was relieved to find that Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Chic was, like the woman herself, just delightful – a breath of fresh air during a brisk walk through the professional and personal costumes of a legendary actress and bona fide tomboyish style icon.
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It’s an all-angles approach that permeates this deceptively small book – essays cover Hepburn’s attitude to clothing, her tomboy style (with reference to the blog of the same name), how she was active in the design of her stage and film costumes and an exploration of her relationships with various costume designers.

The pictures selected for the book are divided quite evenly between off-duty Hepburn and her more polished onscreen characters. The latter third of the book is devoted to her costumes, many of which she kept after filming had ended. Hepburn even recycled costumes – wearing a dress from the 1939 stage version of The Philadelphia Story some thirty five years later in The Glass Menagerie (it only had to be let out by two inches, fact fans).
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Katherine Hepburn’s personal style has been the subject of urban myth, which this book busts, but quite gently. The essays are informative but not speculative. It’s not a biography – there are no references to scandalous affairs or scurrilous rumours – it’s just about clothing as pure self expression. Whether to conceal or reveal, Hepburn was adept at using her clothes to convey a message. This book is evidence of that.

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Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Style is published by Skira Rizzoli and is out now.

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Fashion, Film, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 14/02/12: Splat into Spring

Miranda knows the score.

Guess what, everyone? It is now spring. Yes, really.

This is the point where the weather changes from rain, floods, bitter cold and the ever-present prevailing winds to rain, floods, bitter cold, prevailing winds and fifteen minutes of sunshine every second day. It’s not so much a silver lining as an aluminium foil lining, but we’ll take what we can get.

Fashion week is starting in London and the whole industry is going about its biannual process of renewal. Which trends do we dump? Which do we adopt? It hardly seems to matter when the weather rarely changes.

Last year was an unusually temperate one in Britain and Ireland. Hot and cold spells were harsh but fleeting – the rest of the time our isles were cloaked in a grey fug, temperature solidified somewhere in the teens. It’s this strange circumstance that has had far-reaching consequences in places we wouldn’t normally bother looking, like in our local high street stores.

Every spring, the same trends are trotted out by merit of their association to the season, usually pastels and floral prints. This fact is so widely known that when Meryl Streep (as caricature-scary magazine editor Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’) sarcastically drawled “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking”, a million lovers of a frankly not-great film chuckled knowingly.

Something has happened this year. No florals. No pastels. The ground is not barren but it has lost its fecund quality. We have prints, but they are geometric and abstracted. Pastels are more likely to be worn on the nails and no other part of the body. Everything is a little bit off-kilter, a little more jarring and apocalyptic. I like it. It shows that there’s still an element of chaos in the world no matter how hard we try to mould it to our liking.

Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter trends exist for a several reasons. 1) To make people feel hopelessly inadequate about being up to date so they’ll buy more clothes, making retailers and suppliers more money. 2) Because, in Winter it is (supposed to be) cold and in Summer is is warm (or so I have heard) and people need two sets of wardrobes for two sets of weather systems.

The third reason is the most common-sense, but the least obvious. Spring trends emerge even when we don’t particularly want or need them because human beings can’t live without progress. We always have to feel like we’re heading towards something. Spring is the time we slough off our insulating winter shells and emerge, if not as butterflies, then as moths with the best of intentions.

The best approach to Spring trends is to tread carefully. Only buy what you need, and don’t feel obligated to bare your legs just because it’s almost March. Spring into Spring by all means, but don’t push yourself – it’s far too easy to Splat into Spring instead.

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Fashion, Film

WIN! Tickets to the Irish Premiere of ‘The Eye Has to Travel’

Yep, I’ve got a lovely prize to give away to a lucky reader. The Dublin Fashion Festival  in conjunction with Moet & Chandon and Studio Canal are giving me two tickets to the Irish premiere of Diana Vreeland documentary ‘The Eye Has to Travel’, taking place at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin on September 9th – that’s almost two weeks before it comes out in the cinema, fact fans.

For those not in the know, Diana Vreeland was the fashion editor who brought the Swinging Sixties to America proper.  As editor of American Vogue for the decade, she became known for her ostentation, flamboyance and neverending stream of improvised bon mots while also remaining a champion of youth movements and subculture.  She wrote several books and made the Costume Institute at The Met Museum in New York a serious draw for tourists and fashion lovers alike.  Her all-red drawing room in her apartment was styled after ‘a garden in hell’, which says a lot about her personality.

Her’s was a unique eye – her professional and personal flair has yet to be repeated by any other figure in the fashion publishing industry.  Her distinctive voice is only one of three that I can impersonate successfully (the others are Katherine Hepburn and Little Edie Beale by the way, which are pretty much all variations on the same theme).

I’m a big Vreeland nerd, having blogged about her multiple times (here and here) so I’m absolutely delighted to be giving these tickets away. The most fabulous fashion editor ever and free champagne?  You’d be foolish not to enter.

Moët & Chandon, the world’s leading champagne house, has teamed up with Dublin Fashion Festival to give style lovers a first look at the captivating fashion documentary,Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. The film is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of Diana Vreeland, who was one of the most influential women of the 20th century. The influence of this enduring icon forever changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture.

For more than 260 years, Moët & Chandon has been the reference for fabulous celebrations, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary with the pop of a cork. Since the early days of Hollywood, Moët & Chandon has played a glamorous role in the history of film, both on and off screen. With this exclusive screening of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Moët & Chandon will reinforce its love affair with film by hosting a sumptuous champagne reception for all guests before the screening.

Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, the documentary follows the life and career of Diana Vreeland by the people who knew her.

Sound good? There are two caveats. You and your plus one must be able to attend the event on Sunday, September 9th at 4pm (of course). You must also be over 18 to enter.

How to enter?  Just leave a comment below with your email address.

Want an extra entry?  Follow @The_Licentiate on Twitter and tweet ‘I want to win premiere tickets to ‘The Eye Has to Travel’ with @The_Licentiate and @DublinFashion! http://tinyurl.com/8v2gbwl’

Want ANOTHER entry?  Like The Licentiate and Dublin Festival of Fashion on Facebook and tag us in a post on your own wall with a link to the competition – posts without a link to this competition page will not be counted.

PHEW!  A winner will be picked at random on Thursday evening.

Good luck!

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Fashion, Film

About Face: Supermodels, Then and Now

Really want to watch this.  Alas, it will be premiering on HBO which means it’s only a matter of months before More 4 picks it up for broadcasting (if at all).

Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

From the pervasive obsession with youth to issues of substance abuse, self-esteem, race and plastic surgery, beauty is a commodity in society today.

Directed by acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, ABOUT FACE: SUPERMODELS THEN AND NOW explores the lives and careers of legendary models, highlighting the complex relationship between physical appearance and the business of beauty…

An official selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, ABOUT FACE: SUPERMODELS THEN AND NOW was filmed by Greenfield-Sanders in his trademark intimate portrait style, and features interviews with some of the most celebrated visages of the 20th century. Through conversations with supermodels, including Carol Alt, Marisa Berenson, Karen Bjornson, Christie Brinkley, Pat Cleveland, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Jerry Hall, Bethann Hardison, Beverly Johnson, China Machado, Paulina Porizkova, Isabella Rossellini, Lisa Taylor and Cheryl Tiegs, the documentary reveals the roles they played in defining — and redefining — beauty over time.

ABOUT FACE’s look at beauty as a commodity and the pressures of overnight stardom is interwoven with a celebration of the reinvention that can come with aging. Several models talk about the sense of freedom, satisfaction and longevity they derive from learning to age gracefully, whether by focusing on family or new interests and business opportunities.

- via press release

But I want to watch it NOOOOOW!  Excuse me while I have a Violet Beauregarde moment.

Here’s the trailer.  I absolutely love what Carmen Dell’Orefice has to say about plastic surgery.

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