Things to Read #37

We just sent off The Coven‘s first newsletter! This is very exciting.

“Shirts don’t go bad, they’re not peaches.”

“How do you erase a stereotype? You confront it, and force others to confront their own preconceptions about it, and then you own it. And in doing so you denude it of its power.” Vanessa Friedman on ‘girlie’ dressing.

The disconnect between art and life has never been more evident in the portrayal of Japanese Edo-period courtesans.

All my cool friends have been reading Renata Adler and I’m starting to feel like I’m missing out.

“We went there for the bass, and the trance state resulting from hours of dancing to riddim that stretched forever, the groove a fabric of stacked beats fractally splitting into halves of halves of halves of halves, a tree that spread its branches through the body, setting the governor beat in the torso and shaking its tributaries outward and down through shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, feet so that you couldn’t stop except when you collapsed.” Proustian ruminations on reggae by Luc Sante.

Nine episodes of the X-Files that you have to watch.

Horrible shit happens when you’re a full-time writer.

Good question: Why don’t more women run away to the woods?

All the different ways to be trolled by a misogynist. Great.


Things to Read #36

Read all of Cathy Horyn’s Fashion Month reviews online. She gets it.

“From Barnum’s correspondence it becomes clear that accepted ideas about the Circassian ‘beautiful white slave girl’ were paramount in his decision to add them to his roster.” Circassian beauties and how the freak show was fashioned.

“That Anna was not invited to Bob Marley’s funeral and spent the day inventing that thing where models layer designer vests over T-shirts.”

The New Yorker style issue is out this week, and that means some great fashion longreads are in store. Online; a photographic portfolio of Callot Soeurs’ dresses and an essay about the fashion makeover of the humble Birkenstock.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is doing Vogue’s ‘Today I’m Wearing…’ this month.

Margaret Atwood loves Game of Thrones. Unsurprised.

MIA reflects on the tenth anniversary of Arular and unsurprisingly, Diplo turns out to be a Not Great Person. But Arular is still a great album, so I guess the lesson we can all learn is… Shit happens? Even talented people can be horrible? 10 Dollar is still a total choon?

“The funny thing about time in the OR, whether you frenetically race or steadily proceed, is that you have no sense of it passing. If boredom is, as Heidegger argued, the awareness of time passing, this is the opposite: The intense focus makes the arms of the clock seem arbitrarily placed. Two hours can feel like a minute.” But then Paul Kalanithi got cancer, and time started to warp.

Like most young women suffering from a Girls hangover, I have found a new love in Broad City. That being said, it’s almost heartening to know it’s not universally loved – and with good reason.


Things to Read #28

Hey Girl! It’s been forever. Let’s get drinks! Oh my goodness. Almost a full month has gone by since I’ve posted one of these things. A full month to let the festive dust rise and settle back down again. I’ve just got back to London after an extended stay at home in Ireland, in which I did things that are better not to mention, or not really worth mentioning at all.

But I did do some writing; here are pieces from the Irish Times on 2015 trends and how to craft a wiser wardrobe with a little help from Socrates. And I got street styled for the Irish Examiner! This almost never happens.

On Tuesday, I went to the Egon Schiele exhibition in the Courtauld, which ends today. The Radical Nude is equal parts disturbing and erotic, and the space was full of septuagenarian couples nodding thoughtfully at drawings of women with hoiked skirts and red, pulsing vulvas. It was weird. But the exhibition was amazing.

In the spirit of New Year’s self-improvement (my resolution is to finish what I start this year – also to floss more but that’s never going to happen), here is a link to a jazzy printable to-do list.

John Galliano’s first couture collection for Maison Martin Margiela happened this week, and the reviews are in.

Are fashion models too skinny? Caroline Evans, who quite literally wrote the book on the subject, weighs in (accidental pun and IT STAYS).

Gerry Adams. In Burberry.

Joan Didion’s recent campaign image for Celine has sprouted a lot of think pieces, including this short one by Lynne Segal on women of a certain age, a dissenting essay by Molly Fischer in New York Magazine, and a total humdinger from The Awl by Hayley Mlotlek.

Pearl’s photobook for her friend Sadie.

How the survival issue of Charlie Hebdo was made.

Miranda July’s first novel is out, and she has written an essay for Vogue about falling for a River Phoenix lookalike that evokes a lovely/horrible, nostalgic tummy squishy feeling in me.

Broad City, female friendship and sexing up a stately oak tree. Watch Broad City. Just watch it.

Otherwise, it’s a day for bimibap, this playlist and some sort of inspirational shit.

Woman checking eyelid, in trick one-way mirror, wi

Things to read #27

Andre 3000 discussing tour jumpsuits at an art exhibition in Miami.

“When it comes to love and friendship and the normal things in life, I think I am patient. Fashion, however, does not know patience. It’s an abnormal life.” A snippet from a very very very in-depth interview with Raf Simons for 032c.

People have always and will always love checking themselves out. Views from a two-way mirror in 1946.

I met a man whom I soon became interested in romantically. Nothing physical had happened between us yet, but things were going in that direction. When he visited my apartment for the first time and was gazing up at a beautiful fashion photo of my mother, taken by Irving Penn, he said, “It must be hard to have a mother who’s that beautiful.” ‘The Looks You’re Born With,’ by Amanda Filipacchi.

Champagne glasses unfortunately have very little to do with Marie Antoinette’s boobs (and a little to do with Kate Moss’).

The mind-poking work of graphic designer and artist Barbara Nessim, and how it relates to Nessim’s former flatmate, Gloria Steinem.

Oh, Stewart Lee. You get it.

Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all-time favourite writers, but even the best people in their fields can come up with absolute howlers. Rape howlers.

On women and cancer, and being a woman writer with a woman’s cancer.


LFW Craft 2/3 – Meadham Kirchhoff

Meadham Kirchhoff are notoriously difficult to interview. This is more by rule than by rumour; their distaste for mass media is a sign, I think, that they hate how their message is interpreted.

So, what better way to counter the (usually) well-meaning spin that the media puts on their creativity than to release their own zine? It’s surprising how no-one has drawn on this irony; Meadham Kirchhoff dislikes the output of many journalists, so they craft their own media project.

Their Spring/Summer ’15 cut-and-stick-and-copy ‘zine/show notes are an obvious tribute to riot grrrls, feminism, musician Viv Albertine and pure bloody-mindedness. Full of loves (‘Quentin Crisp’, ‘Jayne County’) and hates (‘cultural appropriation’, ‘Terry Richardson’  – we’re with you there, guys), the Xerox-alike zines have been making the rounds online.

Fashion likes statement, but this zine isn’t a statement. It’s a frustrated, frenzied yowl into a chasm. Meadham Kirchhoff don’t just reject the circumstances of modern living with fashion – they also reject it with words. And tampons.
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(Featured image via)

LFW Craft 1/3 – Claire Barrow

London Fashion Week’s international reputation is that of risk-taking and unclipped creativity, but I think the real theme, especially with younger designers, is that of craft. Not crappy felt-and-PVA craft or horrible faux-naif stuff, but real craft. The kind of stuff that gets your hands dirty with paint, or slightly sticky, or smelling of interesting chemicals.

London has a slightly subversive edge due to the underground-ness of many of its presentations. For Claire Barrow, it was a soon-to-be demolished basement, once the home of the BBC Orchestra. A black void, painted empty space and loose wires. Also, free Jack Daniels.

Barrow’s hand painted visions of nightmarish, anthropomorphic characters are standing at the edge at the end of the world. Stupidly, I was reminded of kid’s TV show Adventure Time, where the world as we know it has blown up and the passing of a thousand years allows magic to grow back again. But much, much more nihilistic. No Bubblegum Princesses this time. Only darkness, with a sheer sliver of hope.





Photos by Kim Rehnstedt and edited by yours truly.

This Pink Flamingos inspired editorial is a bit of fun.

Things to Read #17

Hello hello hello.

Here is a (very) little something I wrote for the Irish Times on Summer trends that’ll carry through to Winter. Ugh, Winter. When did that happen?

This Pink Flamingos inspired editorial is a bit of fun.

Ann DeWitt on Annie Leibovitz on Susan Sontag.

I disagree with an awful lot of this, but it still raises a few pertinent questions, like, when exactly are we going to get rid of all the clichés in fashion writing?

And on the flip side, why isn’t there more fashion writing like this? Side note – the book mentioned in this article, Women in Clothes, is a real treat for anyone interested in personal style over fashion. There’ll be a piece in the Irish Times (and a review up on this here blog) closer to the European release date.

WWD gathers ten high school girls to talk about their back-to-school outfits. I’m aware this is probably filler for a lot of people, but coming from a country where uniforms are pretty much compulsory, this is weirdly compelling.

Rick Owens, his huge sculpture and his non-existent sample sales.

Part 1 of things that annoyed me this week – people who wear Native American headdresses to festival, blissfully ignorant of the fact that they’re being racist. Who cares though when you look this fab, amirite? Nice one, you guys. Get a clue. I’m begging you.

Part 2 – I really love Susie Bubble’s work, but this article for the Independent, exploring whether you can wear designer looks can be worn in deprived parts of London strikes a really odd note for me. I guess it helps that Susie lives in Haringey (as do I, shout out to all my pals on the 242 bus) but it has a bit of a whiff of poverty porn. It’s a little off – though, as ever, the looks are on point.

Part 3 – Some very unfortunate truths about fast fashion that will probably make you rethink ever buying something with sequins on it again. There’s a reason that Ashish stuff is so expensive – because it’s not made with slave labour. (yay?)


Things to Read #14

The 28th of July marked the centenary of the start of WWI. Much of the past few weeks has been eaten up with research into my great-great grandfather,  a career soldier who served at Gallipolli and died at the Battle of Verdun. A lot of Irish people don’t talk about family members who served in the British army during that time period. I suspect that, until now, it’s been a source of shame for a nation whose identity is so ingrained in rebelling against the British and the colonial system. Seeing the minutiae of a soldier’s life humanises the conflict. These men were not traitors. My great-great grandfather was my age when he died. He had four kids.

“His eyes, the one part of his original face still intact, dart like anyone’s eyes, and I find myself chasing them, the only reliable clue as to what might really be going on in there.” An excellent (and very long) look at Richard Norris and his exceptional face.

Fashion advertising – where has the controversy gone?

The curious, sexist world of the Irish model.

‘Beauty as Duty: Patriotism, Patriarchy and Personal Style during WWII’ – excerpted from the rather good Worn Archive book.

The Believer talks to Joan Didion.

Advertising without Photoshop. It’s art.


Things to Read #9

Yesterday, I had to go see a man about a Springer Spaniel and, to edit a very boring story into a mildly entertaining footnote, I thought that it was Monday. Term only ended last week and already freelance work is messing with my brain. I’m going to have to start walking around with my name and address pinned to my sleeve. So, no Sunday post.

It’s doubtful that many people noticed – after all, Sunday is now the day for relaxed reading and there are a lot of websites posting up Sunday links (this particular series being a blatant rip-off loving homage to Ana Kinsella’s Week’s Clicks.

This Richardson shoot for Vogue Paris in 2010 was that first that made me think that something was not quite right. I also might have suppressed a vomit. *burrrp*

This Richardson shoot for Vogue Paris in 2010 was that first that made me think that something was not quite right. I also might have suppressed a vomit. *burrrp*

One of my all-time favourite magazine editors recently  justified (no names, unfortunately; ‘off the record’ is still very much a thing) using creepy-as-hell photographer Terry Richardson  by saying that his work should be separated from his wrongdoings. Which is bullshit, really, as his work is what makes his behaviour acceptable. New York Magazine have released their much-anticipated  feature ofnRichardson, asking if he’s an artist or a predator, perhaps conveniently forgetting that you can be both. The piece itself is … weird. Read it for yourselves and make up your mind.

Speaking of creepy sexual predators, this story of an online romance gone horribly wrong will make most sentient women never use their phones for anything other than Angry/Flappy/Zombie Birds ever again.

This is by no means new, but for people who are curious about what cultural appropriation is (note: eating sushi is NOT cultural appropriation and not just because I ate my weight in mackerel sashimi this weekend) please read this.

Drunk texts from famous authors. Much better than getting the following phone call from Barcelona. “I’m at a beach bar! Do you want to hear my Spanish accent? Ola! Olé… *ridiculously deep voice* OLÉEEEEE (trails off).”

James Franco wrote a weird short story about how he definitely absolutely no way didn’t but maybe he did  kinda sorta have sex with Lindsay Lohan.

Long long loooooooong read about Donna Tartt and why critics are pooh-poohing her latest literary blockbuster, The Goldfinch.

Britney Spears went to Vegas and this is what happened.

The anatomy of school dress codes.

Them Victorian fashions will kill ya.

This Style Bubble post on fashion houses and rebranding is interesting. Typeface love.