Don't you just love a fashion fairy Godmother? We all have one, a friend, mum, crazy aunt, gay best friend or beloved shop assistant who can always transform something drab into something fab on us.
For Lena Durham its Hamish Bowles (some girls have all the luck). And in this case he shows her how to strike a pose for Vogue.
Move over Madonna...
Carine Roitfeld is such a genius in the fashion industry. For many years she was editor of Paris Vogue during which time she wowed the often hard-to-please fashion world with her portfolio of work. She is know for her arresting images and content; her portrayal of women as strong, powerful and sexual have confronted the more conservative consumer and delighted the modern women of the world. Roitfeld has never shied from controversial content and is unwavering of her view. Currently, she edits her own magazine C.R. Fashionbook as well as holding the unique position of Global Editor of Harpers Bazaar (an unprecedented position).
There is little question why she is muse to the likes of Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld. She lives as she works and exudes magnetism. To see her in the recent documentary Mademoiselle C there is little reason why she is at the pinnacle of her profession. Roitfeld could easily have worked with the masterful Helmut Newton to create stunningly realised images.
To see her in Mademoiselle C is to witness her humour, sex appeal, warmth creativity and emotional willingness. She has none of the Wintour ice-queen about her; she mothers the model, humours the designers and luxuriates in time with her family.
It seems that nothing is off-limits for the camera's, Roitfeld is close to tears as she talks about her grandmother, mother and becoming a grandmother for the first time. The camera sits in on budget meetings and follows her when it seems things will surely fall apart.
If you are familiar with her book Irreverent then you know the Roitfeld style and not much has changed since then. She is still a woman who dresses from the knickers out and emphasises the importance of lingerie.
What does stand out in the documentary is how much admiration she garners from those around her, many of whom are prepared to commit it to camera. Anna della Russo is more than willing to offer her admiration to Roitfeld who accepts it kindly and humbly. If you want some insight into this woman, you must see the film.
Before there was Amelie is all her rose-coloured glory there was two wonderful french films by the same film makers. Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. Jean-Pierre Jeunet has an incredible eye for detail and delights in the worlds he constructs (while they may give some viewers nightmares). He can only be liken to Wes Anderson in terms of his utter commitment to creating a whole, filmic world; with a 360 degree scope of vision.
Delicatessen is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which there is short supply of meat and yet, the owner of an apartment building is able to invite his tenants for lavish dinners. So, just what is the meat they are eating? And why are people going missing?
The City of Lost Children has an equally dark outlook, with a disembodied brain requiring the nightmares of children to keep it alive. As children go missing a gentle giant (Ron Perlman) takes care of a group of street urchins who are at risk from the brain and his mad brother.
While these films sound ghoulish they have a surprising amount of charm and sentimentality to them; they show where Jeunet has been before he alighted on Amelie.
If you are interested, both films are showing at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne on 15th May
As the weather begins to cool and our wardrobes transition from the lights and brights of summer into the more subdued winter colours more and more we reach for jewellery to brighten our outfits.
If you are like me and treat summer as an opportunity to bedeck yourself in arm fulls of bangles, lots of rings and necklaces and even an anklet or two this is a great time of year for you.
As far as jewellery goes, the bigger the better, especially if you are tall and can pull off chunky jewels.
Summer tends to have a distinctly ethnic feel in jewellery with bold, bright colours and lavish embellishment including metals and fabrics. As the transition into winter occurs jewels take on a more serious tone. Now is the time for serious gems. Semi precious and precious stones all look wonderful in winter. Diamonds, turquoise and pearls adoring a simple black outfit are always so good together.
Just the other day I wore black jeans and black shirt with a long rope of (fake) pearls and immediately my outfit was pulled together and complete.
Have a look at some of the must haves below and throw on those jewels. There is no reason for a dark outfit not to provide a wonderful backdrop for gorgeous bright splashes of colour. Bright resin bangles will look great with silver jewellery and big chunks of semi-precious stones will add pops of colour to winters navy's and black's.
Mario Testino is big, brash and bold; and that's just his photography. This Peruvian photographer creates some of the boldest images seen on the pages of good magazines. He pumps up the colour so that it is in your face and saturates the lens with colour. His images are closely contrived and keenly observed by the artist and his audience. The people he selects for his images are often as telling as the images themselves.
His publications are grand and luxurious just as his work is intended to be and realised every single time.
As a photographer he confronts his subject boldly and they equally stare down the lens at the viewer who, in turn, cannot take their eyes off these compelling images.
His body of work is very impressive.
The photographer, Tim Walker must surly be a man trapped in a child's body. His sense of proportion indicates his view of the world and the scale is stunning and slightly grotesque at times.
If you don't know his work he has produced many beautiful images for Vogue over the years, in all it various editions. He is also responsible for many campaigns for Mulberry and Georg Jensen. His work has that typical British irreverence and whimsy.
Take a look; his images speak for themselves.
When penguins are affected by oil spills or unclean fishing practises their feather get covered in poisonous gunk. When they try to remove this dirt, they swallow it and poison themselves. For this reason penguins need woollen jumpers to wear, they act as a barrier to them and prevent them from poisoning themselves.
Wool was the earliest fabric used for human swimwear so, why not for penguins too.
If you can knit please, help these little cuties out by using the link below to make a jumper for a penguin. I challenge the more talented knitters to turn these penguins into stylish fashionistas.
The wonderful Hawkeye Vintage recently got their hands on a container-load of new vintage fashion. It tune out that when the French were nuclear testing off the coast of Australia there was a trade embargo put in place and a container bound for our shores was never allowed to be claimed. So instead it sat there waiting for someone to pay it some attention and give it some love.
Almost twenty years later someone did, and all the vintage lovers of Melbourne benefited in a bonanza of Missoni, Courreges and others all at amazing prices.
There was also, an amazing museum room filled with one off pieces from a private collection. All the pieces once belonged to a buyer for Georges so you can imagine that the pieces were so divine. Every vintage lover in Melbourne surely headed the call and found themselves something to take home, some more than others.
In the next few months you will be sure to see a lot of vintage pieces on the street and you can be sure some came from here.
In Betty Halbreich's book Secrets of a Fashion Therapist she talks about how all her clients have body issues. No matter how famous they are or how beautiful they are every woman she meets professionally has a body hang up.
A bum that's too big, hips that are too wide, breasts that are too big/too small, stringy hair and freckles. One of the worst things women can do is create dialogue about their bodies because we compete for flaws.
But, it is important to note that not all of us have these body issues. I can honestly say, I have never stood in front of a mirror and began and monologue of 'I hate my...' Why? Is a huge question.
Firstly, I grew up with males. I am the youngest of four and all my siblings are male. Men don't talk about their bodies in the way women do. They don't critique themselves for the flaws that they perceive. They may discuss muscle and strength and vitality but, never beauty.
Secondly, I was a sick person, I still have serious health issues. And I think that by the attention being on the inside, I never focused on the outside. I am sure the same is true for many ill people.
Really, this is where we should all be focused; on our bodies doing what we need them to do, being healthy, vital and well. Not the lumps and bumps (or lack there of).
I bet any sick person would tell you that if they could change anything it would be their wellness, not their boob size, their waist girth or the frizziness of their hair. Many would be happy to HAVE hair!
Please, the next time you begin a mantra of body woes, stop, take a breath and remind yourself, you are well, able and alive. Relish that and stop thinking about the size and shape you have.
Since The September Issue more and more interest has been shown in fashion documentaries. Feature length documentaries such as Bill Cunningham New York and Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel have led the way for more and more films in this genre to emerge.
Another recent film focusing on the work of Vogue magazine is In Vogue: The Editors Eye. The film is a celebration of the many talented fashion editors who have and do work for Vogue, the people who are responsible for creating those images that stay with us and offer the reader the greatest fashion fantasies.
It is the role of the fashion editor to see the trends on the runways and to transpose them into images that the reader can relate to and aspire to. They detect the common threads from collection to collection and designer to designer. They curate a refined offering to the magazine reader of what the keys ideas of a season are and they inform the reader of what they need to be buying for the latest look.
A fashion editor does all this and more. they work with all the creatives to offer the reader a story, a fantasy world that the reader can dream of entering. They do not simply have clothes on a rack against a white wall. They consult on location, hair, make up, model, photographer and so much more.
As the film shows they all have their favourites and work with styles that are often a highly personal evolution of their own aesthetic and that is what gives the magazine its eclectic tastes.
In Vogue: The Editors Eye celebrates the work of many Vogue creatives including:
Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele
Large stores with a huge range are confusing and often overwhelming. That's why many people prefer a smaller boutique shopping experience that offers a carefully selected range of products that have already been curated by a talented buyer with a good eye. This way shoppers will find a store that they can return to season after season that will offer new interpretations of items that sit well with their own personal style. Christine and Le Louvre are two such stores in Melbourne. Stores like Gorman offer yet another consistent aesthetic that consumers can return to time and time again.
Topshop is the total antithesis of this; it offers multiple trends and a quick turnover of stock to cater to an instant approach to fashion. The stores are vast, loud and so stocked that the racks often have three different styles on them for the shopper to rummage through.
Having a personal shopper changes all this. Samantha at the Chapel St. store in Melbourne is amazing. She takes you around the store, explains the trends and helping you to find what you need. She established your needs first and then guides you to the pieces you might like. Samantha has a great eye, every single item was the right size and there was not an item that was outside the comfort zone.
She spots the customers style and makes suggestions that work with it rather than trying to change it or make it radically different. Frankly, this is the only way to shop at Topshop and it would be wonderful if more stores offered this service. We can't all have a Betty Halbreich in our lives, but, we can try.
So, it turns out that not only are people on drugs boring to the rest of the world so too are books about people taking drugs. The idea was to endeavour to complete a themed month of books and completed it was but, as one of the least interesting book months of the year.
The books were:
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (written during a drug era)
The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test
Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Brave New World
Junky was at least interesting, as was Andy Warhol and as a very late comer to Brave New World it is simply incredible but, the others were just so monotonous and repetitive. So the required reading ended on a sour note but, has picked up since then.
A few random books were required to lighten the mood beginning with The Virgin and the Gipsy bu D.H. Laurence and continuing on with Secrets of a Fashion Therapist by Betty Halbreich. Both books are wonderful and there will be more random books before the month is out. Stay tuned...