Ten outfits, ten days

Or even better, ‘The Ten Faces of Sarah’ – squinty face, angry face, sunglasses face, insane face, hard boiled face, slightly groggy face, tired face, happy face, puzzled face and why the hell am I striking this stupid pose face.

Against my better judgement, I’m going to start doing intermittent outfit posts from now on.  It does seem a bit odd that even though I write about personal style, I never post any of mine up (extreme fear of identity theft, not being the owner of modelly good looks and the fact that I spent most of my time in pajamas and novelty tees are major factors).  So, with the help of photog Margaret, you may be seeing more of my mug around this here web page.

These ten outfits are part of the Fashion Diary that I was kindly asked to do for U Magazine a few months.  Full outfit credits to follow.
Mac – Uniqlo, Shirt worn as a dress – ASOS, Jeans – Topshop, Shoes – Nicholas Kirkwood (can’t walk in them, don’t care).
MAc – Uniqlo, Top – Gap, Jeans – Zara, Shoes – Converse, Bag – Cambridge Satchel Company
Sunglasses – Ray Bans, everything else – vintage
Bomber – Laura Lees Label, Tee – c/o Plain White T Shite, Cargo pants – Penneys, Customised Nike Air Max
Dress and shoes – vintage (dress is from Old Age on Etsy – seriously one of the best shops for sixties dresses online, hands down)
Shirt – Penneys, Dress – Sonia Rykiel for H&M (best collab ever), Shoes – Irregular Choice, Bracelet – shop in Sicily
Shirt – boyfriend’s, slip worn as a top – vintage, Jeans – Topshop, Necklace – Girlprops in NY
Jacket and trousers – Penneys, Fur collar – vintage, SHeep top – Vero Moda, Shoes – River Island
Tux jacket – Topshop, Dress – vintage, from Miss Daisy Blue, Shoes – Aldo
Sweater – Calvin Klein Men, Maxi dress – Rare, Shoes – Terry de Havilland

Licentiate Column: The Soft Line

Usually, trends are easy to predict. Florals in spring, sombre patterns in autumn, pastels for sun, dark colours for sleet and rain. It’s a formula for prediction for Mystic Meg would snort derisively at.

There are trends that come out of left field, seemingly for no good reason other than a designer’s well-intentioned need to break us little people out of our fashion funk. That is why we have leggings. It may also be why we had such marvels of engineering as the crinoline and the bustle.

Cartoon by George Cruikshank

‘I know’, said the worlds foremost 19th century couturiers. ‘Why don’t we make women look like gigantic lacy bells instead of bipedal creatures? They’re just dying for a change in style. Or perhaps we should make them wear several pounds of horsehair padding on their behinds? Would their bums look big in this? I should bloody well hope so!’

When designers feel like breaking from the norm, they usually do it not in terms of fabric or pattern, but silhouette. This can have an unexpectedly gorgeous outcome (think beaded flapper dresses or block bright Mary Quant minis), but when the trend involves making a woman look unnatural or like she’s been stuffed into a lifesize sausage casing, then we have a problem.

The newest unwearable silhouette change has been dubbed by Vogue.co.uk as ‘The New Soft Line’. This is probably because it will make you look like the squishy-soft Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Stella McCartney A/W '11-'12

Vogue describes the trend as ‘soft, curvy and rounded – it may not sound like high fashion, but the new soft line is the silhouette for autumn/winter ‘11’. This, also, does not tell us very much.

A quick run through of the designers that espouse the soft line trend reveal a motley crew; Chanel and Moschino Cheap and Chic, Jil Sander and Burberry Prorsum. Stella McCartney leads the way, with a collection of pillowy garments.
All these designers and the soft line can be boiled down to this – it’s supposed to make you look like you have no joints. Wear a cocoon coat and presto! Your hips have disappeared! Bell-shaped sleeves? No elbows for you today.

It’s an unfortunate trend because it’s beautiful. It really does have soft lines, waving, undulating, alluring. The problem is that the human body, while in possession of such lines, also has angles, points, edges and relative straightness (ironically, mostly found on the slim models wearing such clothes). It makes a person wonder whether the human body is the best canvas for such an artistic endeavour.

Burberry Prorsum A/W '11-'12

Burberry’s winter coats have huge, exaggerated, cropped cape-like sleeves that could house a couple looking to get their first step on the property ladder. It’s rather unfortunate that on a cold winter’s eve this coat would be about as insulating as as Tesco Value toilet paper, despite the heft of the wool or the meticulousness of craftsmanship.

Stella McCartney A/W '11-'12

Stella MacCartney’s jumper dresses are a bit of a misnomer. You would expect a woolly dress to be comfortable, but here the fabric is stiffened, almost like card. This preserves the silhouette.

The sacrifice of comfort for a soft line is bordering on Victorian – full of restriction, austerity, exploitation and diminished mobility. It sometimes seems that we’ve already gone back there economically. Is that a time we want to go back to sartorially?

DFF Bloggers Meet – Are You Coming?

Well, are you?

The Dublin Festival of Fashion is happening this weekend with a huge roster of (almost all) free events.  I’ll be travelling up this weekend to lend my questionable public speaking talents to The Fashion Bloggers Bash at Fashion HQ (4.30pm on Saturday the 10th in The Old Waterstones Building).  Here’s the blurb:

Saturday will wind down with a blogger meet up, hosted by Laura Whiston who writes Whisty’s blog. This get together is open to blog readers and blog writers both novice and experienced and will be a laid back chat where blog fanatics can get together to share their thoughts on their favourite blogs, their blog pet hates and talk about how their feel about the blogging world in Ireland today.

Along with our lovely host Laura will be me, Alexandra Donald of Alex Donald’s Multiverse, Blau von T of Blaubushka and Becky of Beckydazzler.  We’ll be talking and drinking coffee.  It will be jolly.

So, this is an open invitation to all Irish bloggers and blog readers, get thee to Fashion HQ on Saturday and come chat to us – or just watch us chat about blogs.  I’ve compiled a list of questions so I don’t look like a total fool if I have to handle a difficult one so if you see me wandering around the city centre beforehand with a huge notebook, muttering angrily to myself… it’s probably best not to talk to me.

If you’re thinking about setting up a blog of your own or you’re already a blogger and want to know more about the nitty gritty of blogging then this is a golden opportunity to get in there, ask some questions and impart some of your knowledge to the rest of us.

On a personal note, I’ve been to my fair share of blogger meet-ups and they are always good fun.  So drop in, it’s free and there’s no need to apply for invites.

Wallis Simpson on Film: Madonna’s W.E. in Vanity Fair

As a person who is fascinated by Wallis Simpson (I’ve blogged about her here), it was with some degree of collar tugging and teeth grinding that I learned about Madonna’s intention to film her life as a biopic, W.E.

I don’t hope that this film will win Oscars, or propel it’s stars to fame, or even get many positive films. I just don’t want it to be total pants. A someone who likes Madonna’s music but isn’t too clued-in on her film making activities, I think that’s a realistic hope.

If this photo feature in this month’s Vanity Fair is anything to go by, then the film will be visually stunning, which is no bad thing. The costumes for W.E. were designed by Arianne Phillips (she of the terminally stylish, Tom Ford-helmed A Single Man) and draws on decades of Simpson’s couture consumption.

Photographer: Tom Munro for Vanity Fair. Photos via Fashionising

;Bonnie and Clyde ’10

>Thankfully, I’m not referring to Jay-Z rehashing ‘Bonnie and Clyde ’05’.  Oh no.

If 2010 was a series of ‘moments’, the story of Bonnie and Clyde (or more specifically the 1967 film; the real Bonnie had a limp and severe scars from burns towards the end of her crime career) has definitely had it’s moment within the past twelve months.

The real Bonnie and Clyde – Phographer unknown

This year has sprouted not one but two editorials that pay obvious homage to the public’s favourite outlaw couple (Mickey and Mallory Knox from Natural Born Killers coming a close second).  The first to appear was shot by Peter Lindbergh for the March issue of Harpers Bazaar, the second shot by Aram Bedrossian (no idea which magazine though, let me know if you know please) this month.  Inevitably, people are writing that Bedrossian’s shoot is ‘following in the footsteps of Lindbergh’, which is fashion code for ‘might be blatantly copying Lindbergh’. Though, with such iconic source material, how could they not be equally derivative?

Spot the difference 1 – Lindbergh
Spot the difference 1 – Bedrossian
Spot the difference 2 – a still from Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Spot the difference 2 – Bedrossian
Spot the difference 2 – Lindbergh

I’m not trying to be a party pooper or the girl who cried plaigarism.  As I said before, it’s hard not to come to the same aesthetic conclusions when you’re drawing inspiration from a film with such a strong image.  Both editorials have some amazing, totally original images.  They also have different moods.  The Lindbergh shoot is full of movement, while Bedrossian’s work is more contemplative and static.

A super cool action shot from Lindbergh

A beautifully composed shot by Bedrossian

It’s a very close call, but I prefer Lindbergh’s shoot. Which one do you like best?

All photos via Fashion Gone Rogue

I’m allergic…

>… to a few things.  Biological detergent and harsh astringents are the first things I can think of.  But I’m allergic to organising my life.

I’m moving into a new apartment in a few weeks and since I’ll be moving in with someone, I have to get rid of all the stuff I haven’t worn in forever, including clothing that I have fairly serious emotional attachment to (but that I can no longer fit into).

I’m allergic to eBay.  This isn’t an attempt to say that eBay is terrible (it’s only bad for my bank account) but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it.  It took me three hours just to put up eleven listings.  Towards the end I thought that my eyeballs might actually pop out of my head like Judge Doom at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 

My listings are here.  And I’ve got more items on my Photobucket, so if you see anything you like, drop me a line and I’ll give you a quote.  everything is priced to move and anything that doesn’t go will be carted off to a car boot sale next week, which will probably suit me right down to the ground.  I just can’t hack online selling.

Inspiration 1 – Club Kids

>With yesterday’s post still firmly stuck in my mind, I can’t help but be reminded of the Club Kids.

My obsession started with renting out Party Monster with my sisters.  We watched it once.  Then I watched it again.  And again.  Anyone acquainted with their brief moment at the forefront of cutting edge cool will know the seedy story that overshadows their outfits (in short, movement leader Michael Alig, along with drug dealer Robert ‘Freeze’ Riggs, killed another drug dealer, Angel Melendez and disposed of his body in an incredibly brutal fashion).  Which makes their appearance on the Joan Rivers Show more than a little bittersweet since the phrase “you’re not hurting anyone” pops up all over the place.

Before the clubs became saturated with drugs, however, the Club Kid ethos was a series of Situationist pranks (scatology, mutilation and lactation were common themes for club nights and outfits) and guerrila parties, which took place in McDonalds and Macys departments stores, amongst other places.  To tap into the Club Kid psyche, just listen to your inner freak.  And maybe have a look at these here pictures.


EDIT – Here’s a few more pictures of Club Kid trading cards, used as publicity tools for Disco 2000 club nights.


All photos from Collection of All That is Good

This is me. Jumping.

>Two days ago, a funny thing happened.  This blog started getting three times the normal amount of hits and I had no idea why.  That is, until I went on Style Bubble and saw that one of my comments had been re-upped on a post about blogger poses .  This is what I said.

“The old ‘mid-air jump’ pose is another pose not for the light hearted blogger. Tried it once. Never again. Think I’ll just stick to the ‘Are those MY shoes?’ pose in the future.”

So, if anyone out there should click on the link and wonder what the one time I tried the mid-air jump and failed miserably looks like, here it is in all it’s anticlimactic glory.  It was taken in a dingy smoking room in an even dingier nightclub and this, believe it or not, is the best of what seemed like twelve million attempts but in reality was probably only five or six.  In my mind, I look like an electrocuted sausage roll.  Hence, sticking to the ‘staring at the shoes’ pose in the future.

Jacket – Lipsy, Cardigan – Agnes b, Top – Ann-Sofie Back for Topshop,
 Borrowed scarf, Brooch – Sonia Rykiel for H&M, Tights, Primark, Vintage roper boots

PS – As you can see, I’ve a negligible amount of links at the side of my page.  I’m going to get on that very very soon.  I’d love to trade links, if anyone wants to, do let me know!

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?!?”

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.




The scans for the whole shoot can be found here.