Fashion

Licentiate Column 26/09/13: On Not Getting in to Fashion Week

Rainy, rainy fashion week. Photo via.

London life guys, it’s like a mixture between ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and a Rimmel ad – the ones with Georgia May Jagger, not Kate Moss. Oh, it’s all frills and ruffles and Beefeaters and Christopher Kane. In no way is it me typing away on my friend’s couch in Wood Green while he plays Pro Evolution at an ever-increasing volume. “RAAAAAAAH”, the crowd goes. “RAAAAAAH”.

London is nine pounds fifty for a packet of cigarettes – I promised my mother that I’d give up anyway. London is a sea of bodies, some more interesting than others – I saw Michael Cera, the gangly, chinless guy from Superbad, coming out of the Apple Store on Regent Street the other day. At least, I think that I did.

London is London Fashion Week. Before I moved over here, I was safe in the inevitability that I would get a press pass. Everything was accounted for. I had been pre-approved. I had my PVC trousers packed in my suitcase and everything. Then, the day before LFW started – the rejection. My application hadn’t been processed properly.

You’d think that this would be a bummer, but it isn’t. I didn’t particularly enjoy Fashion Week the first time around. It is an industry event, and at industry events you go to learn and not to have your photo taken. I’m only glad it happened this time around, when I didn’t have essential work to do.

Fashion week is something you have to go to – there are crowds and queues and long days. Of course, the perks are great. Free make-up, free hairdos, designer trinkets, the knowledge that you have enough clout to actually get in the door. But even then, when you’re in you’re subjected to a barrage of scrutiny by PRs, other journalists and the guy serving you your free espresso in the courtyard.

I had a spare afternoon and decided to wander, minus pass, to Somerset House, the epicentre of London Fashion goings-on. Just a note – I’m five foot nothing and terrible with crowds. I hate them. Thank God for the habit of tall guys to pop small girls on their shoulders, otherwise I would never have had a good concert experience. I prayed for rain, knowing that in Somerset House, crowdsurfing is frowned upon.

The courtyard was cold and rainy – and deserted. It’s usually a heaving mass of streetstyle photographers and people who really, really want to be photographed. In this weather, the heaving mass had decamped to a nearby arch right by the Courtauld Gallery. The result was a mix of flashing lights and slightly confused tourists trying to find an exhibition on Drawing the Figure.

I was watching the photographers. I was watching the people hanging around, smoking expensive cigarettes, waiting to have their photo taken. I was watching them, watching the photographers, looking like I was waiting to be photographed myself.

The rain thickened. The atmosphere was soggy. The last show was long over. And yet everyone was waiting, and not for the rain to stop. No roar from this crowd, just a murmur.

The time to go back to Wood Green was long overdue, and I was glad of it.

Standard
Inspiration, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 30/05/13: Why I Shouldn’t Hit on Guys by Telling Them I’ll Write About Them – But Mostly, Waxing

20130717-104128.jpg

Last week I – drunkenly – promised a man who I met in the pub that I’d write a column about him. Then, today, I was sent an email from our much esteemed editor Deirdre asking me to write something about beauty bootcamps instead. I read it with relief and uttered a silent prayer of thanks to Karl himself.

It would have taken far more than five hundred words to explain to everyone – and unfortunately, to myself – why I’ve suddenly become (and out of nowhere too) so attracted to men with multiple facial piercings. Multiple.

So, instead, I’ll push that thought temporarily to the back of my mind and plough forward with a beauty bootcamp, whatever that is.

Come to think of it, the back of my mind is also where I normally push beauty-related thoughts. I have two make-up looks and, after a decade of trying, have finally mastered the eyeliner flick and a smoky eye that, more or less, makes me look like some sort of semi-sexy, come-to-bed-eyed raccoon.

However, the normal beauty routines go out of the window when it comes to preparing for foreign holidays. Herein lies the beauty bootcamp, the kind of intensive hair-removing, self-tanning, fringe-trimming palaver undertaken, I imagine, by the kinds of women who call each other ‘chick’ on Facebook but not in real life.

I’m not talking about regimented beauty bootcamps, where you pay a professional to help you with your hair and make-up. Those can be constructive. You can learn real skills. I’m talking about the kind of bootcamp where you are your own Ubersturmbahnfuhrer, torturing yourself with botched moustache waxes and biscuity-smelling fake tan. If a professional beauty bootcamp is like a personal training session, an at-home dealie is accidentally kicking your mirror over in a too-cramped bedroom to a dusty Tae Bo VHS. It only works if you’re very very careful – and don’t overstretch yourself.

As you read this, I will be on an actual sun holiday. A real one. I’ll probably bring a razor with me. That’s it. No fake tan (I like being pale), no bikini wax (recoil in horror if you want, but it’s a family holiday and waxing is EXPENSIVE and, y’know, I’m a woman, not a bloody Barbie and it’s not much of an issue anyway and just leave me alone about not getting a bloody bikini wax, will you?), no fringe trimming (fringes and seawater don’t mix). Just a rake of t-shirts and shorts and books and antihistamines. I might not even bring my contact lenses.

Of course, this is just what I’m comfortable with. If this overly worthy rant should teach you anything (and already the family members reading this have learned far too much about my new turn-ons and thoughts on pubic hair), it’s to do what you want.

Holidays are about relaxing. Do you need to have your hair ripped out at the follicles to relax? Maybe call a dominatrix. If not, a nice pre-holiday wax might do the trick.

Standard
Art, Fashion, Photography

A Pop, Op and a Jump – Lacey for Vogue Nippon

British Photographer Lacey was an assistant to Tim Walker – and it really shows. Her inventive use of props (by design pair Craig and Karl) and collaboration with make-up artist Andrew Gallimore have made the pages of Vogue Nippon even more mind-bending this month. Styled by Beth Fenton, it’s part Pop, a little Op and a big, glam wheelbarrow of weird brilliance.

20130330-125026.jpg

20130330-125046.jpg

20130330-125108.jpg

20130330-125130.jpg

20130330-125150.jpg

20130330-125205.jpg

20130330-125226.jpg

Standard
Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 07/03/13: Model Worship and My Big Fat Head

The 90’s supers are even less amused with the size zeros than I am. Pic by Roxanne Lowit.

Does anyone here remember the first wave of Model Mania? It’s the early nineties and Naomi, Cindy, Christy, Linda and the other one are rolling around in a tastefully lit, tastelessly draped room, lip synching to George Michael’s ‘Freedom’. Naomi and Mike Tyson, as a new and weird power couple, do a shoot for American Vogue in front of hundreds of people. Cindy brings out a make-up manual. Christy develops emphysema and, as a consequence, gets into yoga. She brings out a line of yoga and pilates workout clothes. Naomi will continue to throw phones at her assistants’ heads and accept blood diamonds from dictators long after it stops being stylish to do so.

What’s the difference between that wave and the current one? The models are much, much slimmer now. Where models were then expected to be a size eight or even *gasp* a ten (just the tall ones though), many models now are expected to be a six or even a four. For a bit of context, a size four, the fabled US size zero, means that your waist must have a circumference of no more than twenty-two inches.

My head has a circumference of twenty-two and a half inches, and no Superbrain am I. I am, however, smart enough to know that such a measurement is not healthy if you are a woman standing more than five feet ten inches in bare feet, nor is it a particularly achievable thing to look up to. I’m also getting a bit worried about whether I have a fat head or not.

From Cara D to Lea T, women are worshipping models. And why not? They’re all so beautiful and oddly-proportioned; they look like they’ve been manufactured by a group of mad scientists, possibly in the region of Doctor Moreau’s island (I hear that it’s also a great place to get a tan).

In models of this generation, the weird quirk is celebrated. We love eyebrows with no arches, gaps in teeth and protruding eyes. They’re still beautiful, but their beauty encourages more of a fascinated, museum-appropriate stare. People look at models like specimens rather than people. Perhaps this is the natural progression. If so, you wouldn’t be castigated for losing a little more faith in the human race.

The quirkiness and the slimness – that causes worry for women who remember models before heroin chic became, well, chic. It’s far too easy to put the blame squarely for the skyrocketing incidences of eating disorders on the modern model. The psychologies of anorexia and bulimia are much more nuanced and sinister than that. It’s a subject that bears further scrutiny despite the large amount of research that has already been done.

Even my (actually, normal-sized head) can comprehend that.

Standard
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.

Standard
Fashion

Jean Paul Gaultier x Diet Coke Tour Bus Comes to Cork!

So, last week, I wandered along to the launch of the Jean Paul Gaultier x Diet Coke tour, had my nails did, quaffed some no-sugar beverages, snapped a bit of street style (I loved Roisin’s camo/denim combo, which you can see below) and had excellent laughs with fellow bloggers and my Diet Coke co-presenters, Ciara, Katrina and Sue.  You can see all the fun times we had in the video above.

If you want to partake in the fun yourself, the JPG tour bus is stopping in Cork at Mahon Point Shopping Centre this Friday (that’s the 27th). Come along, get a manicure (I went for red nautical nail wraps), some temporary tats (mine were anchors) and, if you’re lucky, some limited edition Jean Paul Gaultier Diet Coke bottles.

Here are some photos of all the fun.

Professional photos by Thinkhouse, incredibly amateurish Instagram photos by me.

Standard
Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 31/05/12: So Much For Bodycon

At the time of writing, Cork is enduring something of a heatwave. People are wearing shorts, men with bad, homemade Bic-blue tattoos are walking around topless, couples are nauseating everyone else with their tandem park-bench-PDA and sharing-the-same-ice-cream activities and bass-bangin’ tunes are blaring out of the open windows of ancient hatchbacks everywhere.

Yesterday morning I sat outside to have my breakfast. Within ten minutes a cherry-red burn had taken over my face, leaving only a sunglasses imprint untouched. I looked like the Lesser Spotted Grumpy Red Panda. Summer is in the air, finally.

Summer means all of these things; advanced stages of friskiness, extremely annoyed pale people, crap dance music and, predictably, less clothes. Much less.

Maybe this week it’s different and we’re pulling on the parkas and doing a Captain Oates on our way to the bathroom, but from where I am right now, it’s very sunny. It must be the extreme changeability of the weather that makes Irish people so wholeheartedly embrace clothes in smaller doses once the sun decides to pay us a brief visit.

Possibly the most depressing thing about summer dressing is bodycon. Bodycon clothing is tight; very tight. It is also small; very, very small. Bodycon has been around for a few years now in its modern incarnation. Herve Leger, the inventor of the bandage dress and thus someone for whom a special place in Hell has been reserved (probably not) has seen his label acquired and relaunched in 2007 by Max Azria, who is the man indirectly responsible for all those self-esteem crushing pictures of Kim Kardashian and Girls Aloud.

Bodycon isn’t inherently dislikeable as a trend. It’s young, it’s fun, it’s vibrant, it’s daring, it’s cliche. The name, however, leaves something to be desired. ‘Bodycon’ comes from ‘body-conscious’, which is a fairly laboured irony when you consider that the most body-conscious people are the ones who would look ridiculous in skintight, Lilliputian dresses.

Bodycon is about perfection. It doesn’t require your body to be the best version of itself that it can be – you have to be uniformly, homogeneously perfect. Bodycon is not for athletic women or skinny straight-up-and-down women. It’s for curvy (yet perturbingly toned) women. You must be soft, but your arms must also be yoga-fied within an inch of their lives. Curves where there should be, no bumps where there shouldn’t. Perfect, glossy hair and a blemish free body add extra bonus points. An ability to deflect the barbs of sour-grapes suffering fashion writers is also an advantage.

There is one caveat. If you’re under 21, then all bets are off. When a trend depends on perfection, then youth is the ultimate prettifier. More potent than a vat of Clarins Flash Beauty Balm, you can be young and any shape and still get away with bodycon. Skin is still elastic and healthy, cellulite is non-existent, nothing has drooped. The perfect storm.

Perhaps the worst thing about bodycon is that it makes everyone look the same – rows and rows of girls in small vest dresses. It makes summer vastly more complicated. Who wants to indulge in a park-bench-PDA if you’re never exactly sure who you’re kissing?

Standard
Art, Subculture, The Reading List

The Reading List: The WAH! Nails Book of Nail Art

The WAH! Nails Book of Nail Art is the latest installment in WAH! owner Sharmadean Reid’s latest world takeover plan – one expert manicure at a time. With their idiosyncratic take on nail art – a little bit ghetto, a little bit tongue-in-cheek and with a helluva lot of pop culture references – WAH! has captured the hipster fangirl zeitgeist that exists somewhere between Kim Deal and Kim Kardashian.

Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of WAH! but have yet to get a famous manicure. But I already love their creations, so it seemed to be that giving this book a rave review would be a total no brainer.

And it’s a lovely book – it’s not just filled with tutorials but pictures and excepts and even a page to colour in your own designs – AND a page filled with stickers. It’s the book with everything. In as far as it captures the spirit of WAH!, it’s done an excellent job. Once you finish reading the book, which contains twenty-five different tutorials, you feel a bit like you’re part of their gang, arseing around Dalston all creative with perfect shiny candy-coloured hair and never-chip nail polish.

So, how do the tutorials shape up? I called in my resident nail-art expert Collette to try the De Stijl manicure. Each tutorial is cleanly laid out, step by step, with both pictures and words. There’s something for everyone here – as a total novice I wasn’t up to painting Sailor Joe letters on my nails but I did manage a fairly nifty Smash Up manicure, which ended up looking a little bit like lava (but in a good way). You don’t need much in the way of tools to do your manicures. If you’re missing something it’s easy to improvise – we didn’t have a black nail art pen so we used liquid eyeliner instead. This is nails for everyone – now if only the book could teach me how to develop a steady hand…

Ta Da! Collette’s De Stijl nails – something Mondrian could be proud of.

If you want to try before you buy, you can find two tutorials from the book right here.

The WAH! Nails Book of Nail Art is by Sharmadean Read and published by Hardie Grant Books. Out now.

Standard
Fashion

Getting Glam in Cork (with super Benefit Giveaway)!

I would LOVE to know what I'm saying here

It’s that time people – time to reveal my debut turn as the face of Diet Coke TV for Cork.  I had a really great time covering the Get Glam event with Benefit Cosmetics at Mahon Point SC.  I got my make-up did, watched a masterclass with Benefit supremo Mark (Jedward’s stylist, fact fans – as a closet Jedhead, I may have had a bit of a moment), drank a helluva lot of pop and texted in a lot of codes.  Alas, I did not win anything (that might have been unethical) but my day was definitely prize enough.

This is the finished video – I love how slick it is.  While the last three videos concentrated on the Get Glam make-up looks, in this video we learn about how to get the perfect base.  Remember, without proper foundations the walls may slide, and so will your eyeshadow.

And also, because I love my readers like I love those Ferrero Rocher Easter Eggs, I have some Benefit goodies to bestow upon you.  Yes, I said ‘bestow’.  The prize is THAT grand.

Drumroll please…

I have

  • A bottle of Posietint
  • They’re Real Mascara
  • A sample of the new Oxegen Wow! Foundation
  • Something About Sophia Fragrance
  • A Creaseless Cream eyeshadow/liner in Samba-dy Loves Me (a nice golden fawn/toasty bronze colour)

You want to win?  You have to be a reader of the blog and have an address in the Republic of Ireland.  There are two ways to enter.

1.  For facebook fans.  Go to my facebook fan page and I shall explain all…

2. For twitter followers.  You have to be a follower of @the_licentiate and tweet the following – I want to win Benefit goodies with @the_licentiate! http://thelicentiate.com/2012/04/11/getting-glam-benefit-giveaway

3.  Leave a comment below – You can enter on both facebook or twitter if you like.

I will be picking a winner by random number generator in a week.  Good luck!

 

Standard
Fashion, Outfit Posts

Diet Coke x Benefit: Outfit Post

The very last Diet Coke x Benefit Get Glam event took place at Mahon Point last Saturday and I was there with the lovely Thinkhouse team to document the impossible, oh the impossible glamour of it all.

I’ll post the video (I’m praying that there won’t be a blooper reel including my incredibly feeble jokes about Special K being the Breakfast of Champions or the bit where I said ‘I’m Sarah Waldron from The Licentiate and I’m here to… completely forget what I’m talking about’) during the week, so this is just a quick outfit post.



Dress: Sister Jane, Boots: Topshop, Pendant: Penneys, Watch: Casio, Fred Perry barrel bag: filched from a friend.

Photos are courtesy of the beautiful Margaret from 4ng2.com.

Standard