Tuesday, 30 September 2008

You Know You Love Me

Oh my god, I have just seen the latest episode of Gossip Girl and it was sensational! After a rather shaky return to the small screen it seems that my favourite show about the shenanigans of the posse from Upper East side is back to it's wonderful best. The crafty weeded plots, amazing twists along with the razor sharp dialogue is well and truly alive. When Gossip Girl aired last year it featured a wide division between the haves and the have nots. The haves being Serena Van der Woodsen, her side kick Blair Waldorf, the brooding Nate Archibald and all American bad boy Chuck Bass who spent their trust funds partying it up in Manhattan. The have nots were Brooklyn natives Dan Humphreys and his sister Jenny who were forever on the fringes of social activities. This is until Serena returned from exile back to New York and started dating Dan. Soon Serena became a bad girl turned good and the circle became more open, lines were blurred and before we knew it all the characters became some what entwined.

In a fairytale Serena and Dan would have lived happily ever after with their mates and family looking on but hell this is drama and damm it - Josh Schwartz created this show and one thing we have learned from The OC is that nothing is at it seems. So Dan and Serena broke up, Jenny gave up trying to nab a spot with the inner circle at school, Dan went back to being Lonely Boy and Blair still reigned as the original Mean Girl. However the most dramatic turn round was Serena; we all know that she and Blair had a bit of a competitive thing going on which is stemmed from Blair insecurity. So in order to accommodate her Serena often toned down her vibrant personality. Blair repaid the gesture by being fiercely protective of Serena and woe betide anyone who crossed her. So imagine my shock when I see Serena throw down the gauntlet to Ms Blair and tell her that she is no longer going to hold back so she no longer steals the limelight from her. It seems that Serena wants to sparkle and this time no one is going to put out her bright light. Well that along with Dan enlisting Chuck to help him find his writing mojo, Lily turning out to have a deep secret (who doesn't in GG?) and the secret of Chuck's childhood is revealed, I am safe to say that this episode was a corker. Long may it continue.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Rachel

She's cute, tiny, girly and a total fashionista who lives and dies for her passion; basically a real life Carrie Bradshaw. Rachel Zoe is not joking when she claims that fashion is her drug. The super stylist collects Birkins - which she dubs, The Birk - like some people collect stamps. I could never grasp the whole Rachel Zoe thing since magazines started raving about her a few years back up to when she released her book, Style A to Zoe. So when I heard that she was to star in her own reality show I was very quick to scoff. The twenty minute preview of The Rachel Zoe Project did not do Ms Zoe any justice as we saw her personal and private life full of drama (read my blog post here). Then I watched the first three episodes and somewhere between the first and second, I was hooked. Rachel Zoe's life is like a fairytale; she is like a godmother albeit a petite one and gets to play with clothes all day. Attending fashion shoots, show houses and meeting with designers to find gorgeous outfits to dress her celebrity clients in. Despite the conflict between her key staff members and several dramas, Rachel never flips and instead maintains her composure and treats her staff like they are her equal. Moreover, our super stylist has an amazing home life which she shares with cute hubby, Rodger who is clearly head over heels in love with her despite the fact they have been together for over 15 years. The Rachel Zoe Project is totally compulsive viewing the same reason why people love The Hills because Rachel is living the life that many ladies aspire to.

After 15 years as a stylist, Rachel is taking it the next level by building The Rachel Zoe brand. Whether she pulls this off is any one's guess but I am damm sure that she will give it her best shot. Watching the show does throws up a few questions. Such as does Starbucks sponsor the show? Every character is seen donning a Starbucks cup in practically every scene, so this is either amazing product placement or Rachel and her posse are some of the most caffeine addicted fiends that we have ever seen.

The Rachel Zoe Project is on Bravo TV on Tuesdays

Friday, 26 September 2008

British Style Genius

Oooooh I love a good fashion programme; especially the creativity, glamour, eccentricity and lavishness of it all. The fashion season is approaching its last leg in Paris where all the amazing fashion houses will be showing their wonderful wares. Unlike NYC, Milan and Paris, the fashion industry in Britain does not reek of cash but instead makes up for creativity. Stars such as Dita Von Teese, Mischa Barton, Gwen Stefani flock to London Fashion Week to see original and fresh designers such as Henry Holland, Gareth Pugh and Christopher Kane at work. To capitalise on this pool of talent, BBC are launching the British Fashion Season which is a selection of programmes that make a fashion statement.

There is the Twiggy Style Exchange that which shows the diminutive 60s star hosting clothes swapping parties and giving us tips on how to re-style old clothes with Grazia's Paula Reed on hand with top fashion tips. Check out the website here. The Beeb take a blast back to the past by reminiscing on the style from different eras. Men, Women and Clothes: How Fashions Come and Go reveals what it would be like to be stylish through over 250 years of British history.

Last but not least is British Style Genius a five part documentary that provides a fascinating insight into what makes British fashion and style innovative and so influential. The series uses couture houses in Paris which are and have been headed by Brits as an example. Each show is one hour and takes each dimension of British fashion from high street, tailored, rebel, country and street. Designers, models, stylists fashion journos, retail shakers and movers as well as the stars are featured in the show and all agree on one thing; Britain rocks!

British Style Genius airs on BBC2 in October

For all you eco fashionistas, check out BBC's online ethical fashion magazine here.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Women

I saw the original version of The Women when I was in my late teens and all I remember was being awestruck by how glamorous, witty and slick it was. Also the fact that there were no men anywhere to be seen did not go un-noticed. The 1939 classic starred the great Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and Norma Sheerer as wealthy socialites who came to blows when one of them becomes romantically involved with the other's husband. Along with power and gossip, one of the themes in the movie is the comradeship of females and how they bond together during a crisis and this is an element that is displayed in the remake that was released last week. The modern day version of The Women has an amazing cast such as Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett and Eva Mendes on board. Meg Ryan plays Mary Haines whose husband is having an affair with Crystal played by Eva Mendes. Mary's pals, Sylvia played by Annette Bening, Edith played by Debra Messing and Alex played by Jada Pinkett Smith all rally round to provide support and a plan for vengeance.

As the title suggests The Women circa 2008 is a real girlie girlie film and one that you should go and see with your gal pals. It is engaging right from the start and packed full of real laughter moments. If flicks such as The Devil Wears Prada are your type then you will love this. Another thing I loved about The Women is the way they tackle the image of females in the media. You have Mary Haines' young daughter showing the affects of the media's unrealistic representation of women by almost starving herself and you also have Sylvia who is editor of a top fashion magazine trying to break the mould of skinny models on the cover. The leading ladies show wonderful charisma in what is a truly enjoyable film.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Nina's Top Six

Candace Bushnell's face has been plastered all over the place, in magazines and newspapers publicizing her new book, One 5th Avenue and the fact that she has been commissioned to write The Carrie Diaries. Another lady who has been having an excellent week is Nina Garcia, she of Project Runway and fashion director of Marie Claire. It seems that like others, Ms Garcia has caught the reality TV bug and will be starring in a show of her own - Running in Heels. The show will document the glossy and glam life at US Marie Claire by focusing on 15 members of staff (on different levels) with two being highlighted each week. Airing on The Style Network next March, Nina is expected to be one of the lucky 15. Not surprisingly, Running in Heels has drawn much comparison to Stylista which is set at US Elle magazine and stars fashion news director, Anne Slowey. Yes I can hear chants off rip off Devil Wears Prada everywhere but I am liking the sound of these shows especially Running with Heels. Bring it on! If this show makes it big then there is no doubt that it will break Nina as a huge star across the world. With success of her two books what is the likelihood that Nina Garcia will be turned into a brand. In celebration of her second book release and annoucement of her new show, I have compiled a list of Nina's top six.

Elle magazine
This is where Nina got her break, her job is to oversee editors and work closely with designers and stylists. During her 13 years at Elle Nina created the front-of-book Trends, Shops and Accessories page and was responsible for covering all the major shows. However, she and Elle parted ways earlier this year allegedly on bad terms.

Project Runway
This award winning show is in its sixth year and features up and coming designers competing for a sponsorship and a spot at New York Fashion Week. Over the years Nina has gained a reputation of having something of an acid tongue which has caused her to be feared by fashionistas.

The Little Black Book of Style
A bible for all fashion lovers, this book gives you lots of tips on you how to create your own style. Dressing to suit your shape, not following trends, investing in key pieces and having fun with fashion are just a few. This book was published last year and was a huge hit.

Marie Claire
After her omission from Elle, Nina was appointed fashion director of this popular magazine. Elle's loss was Marie Claire's gain as Nina's new stable took over as partner of Project Runway. Whether this was planned or pure coincidence, no one knows but it seems to be a perfect fit.

The One Hundred
This book is an exhaustive list of all the 'must have' things that every self respecting fashionista should own. Clothes, shoes, jewellery, make up, accessories.. it is all here for you to devour. Like Nina's first book The One Hundred contains gorgeous illustrations.

Running in Heels
The show that follows the life and careers of staff on Marie Claire showing the dramas, pressures and responsibilities that they face. It will show what it is like to be a working woman in a cut throat industry like women's magazines.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Getting Carried Away

The Sex and the City film is now out on DVD so here we go again with all the hype. I finally got the film the second time round but still left feeling a tad bit disappointed. The film had it all; love, friendship, clothes, shoes and New York but I couldn't help feeling how cool it would have been if Sex and the City: The Movie had taken us back a few years so we could see Carrie when she first came to NYC and met her ladies in crime. Funny to hear that the children's division of Harper Collins are planning to release a series of books about Carrie in her teenage years. The books will show a young Ms Bradshaw growing up in her native home town and feature her visits to the big apple. S&TC book author, Candace Bushnell has been enlisted to write the books and with a working title of The Carrie Years, it looks like it will be hit with teens as well as their Mothers. However as a good mate of mine stated, it is all a bit much and anyone would think that Carrie Bradshaw was a real life character. So it leads me to ask the question of whether we are truly getting carried away with the immortal S&TC.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

London Fashion Week - September 08

It is that time of year again when we all put on our high heels and fancy frocks and head down to the Natural History Museum for London Fashion Week. That was how I spent my Monday taking in the collections by Wildlifeworks and Olanic, that is when I was not hanging out at the sub zero press office with the lovely Michelle Obi from myfashionlife and checking out the exhibition. It was just what I expected from LFW; original, creative and stylish with an uber cool vibe in the air.

The thing that stands out about LFW are the events that run alongside it. As well as the numerous parties, launches and receptions there are fantastic fashion shows that run off schedule from the main fashion shows. On/Off and Vauxhall Fashion Scout are the main two and the idea of these shows is to allow up and coming designers who cannot afford to show to LFW an avenue to show their collection. So while On/Off takes up residence at the the Royal Academy of Arts, Vauxhall Fashion Scout makes its base on Cromwell Road. Each venue comes with its own press office complete with laptops, publications and footage of the shows.

On/Off events
In it's ninth year, On/Off prides itself in nurturing new talent in the UK and have established themselves as the trendiest designer exhibition showcase. Considering that they have talent such as Sinha Stanic, Jasper Conran and Louise Amstrup onboard this is no surprise. However, On/Off is now much more than a showcase; the brand has launched the On/Off boutique with Oli.co.uk and have also embraced technology by producing video podcasts of all catwalk shows which are available to download from iTunes, Youtube as well as the On/Off website. The brand is also making it's debut at Paris Fashion Week.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout
This is the largest catwalk event in London for emerging designers and features 20 exciting shows over the course of LFW. Designers such as Jens Laugesen, Aganovich, Avsh Alom Gur, Peter Pilotto and Felder Felder have glided through. The most striking aspect about Vauxhall is the funky and vibrant press office that is located upstairs. Taking the theme from Morocco, the press office has drapes made from North African influence with beaded cushions lying casually on the sofas. Trust me it is superfly.

With all these countless activities the mind boggles when you hear the shocking news that the country's finest fashion show may be reduced from six days to four. It seems that our pals across the Atlantic are pushing for New York Fashion Week to be put back so it does not clash with Labour Day celebrations and with Milan Fashion Week refusing to budge this puts the pressure on LFW. The decision is set to be announced tomorrow so you can imagine that the British Fashion Council along with all the Brit fashionistas will be glued to the news.

Well it's smiles all round today as it has just been announced that London Fashion Week will be keeping their five days. An agreement was reached by all four fashion meccas which will accommodate all events.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

He's Just Not That Into You

Do you remember that episode of Sex and the City when Burger gave Miranda a few tips on guys? She'd been out on a date but the guy had not called her and Miranda who is an astute and savvy woman could not work out why. Burger nailed it in six simple words; he's just not that into you. There it was, one sentence that would go on to set millions of women free. Then some clever dickey bird (or two to be precise) decided to put it all in a book. Greg Behrendt (who briefly worked as a writer on S&TC) and Liz Tuccillo gave us He's Just Not That Into You, a book that would act as a guide to women about men and dating. The book is divided into chapters and set out in a Q&A format and every dating scenario that you could imagine is covered. Here are a few:

1. He is afraid to get hurt
2. He does not want to ruin the friendship
3. Maybe he is intimidated by me
4. He did not call because he lost his phone, got run over, was caught in a tropical rain forest etc....

The answer is the same - He is just not that into you!

This book was published in 2004 and became a New York Times Bestseller and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

So like all successful books, Hollywood just had to turn it into a movie and with such a catchy title how could it not be. The culprit this time is Drew Barrymore who has bought the rights to the film. As well as starring in it she has a stellar cast of Jennifer Aniston, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlet Johansson, Jennifer Connelly and Ben Affleck. The film focuses on four couples in their twenties and thirties where one partner is more into the other person. I am sure I am not the only one who will admit that the book really did strike a cord with me and it really gives you an insight into the way men behave. The film trailer looks hilarious and had me in stitches and I can definitely say it is on my 'got to see' list.

He's Just Not That Into You is released in February 2009.

The Fashion Show

Not long ago there was a lot of winging on blogsphere about the lack of fashion programmes on British TV. Well someone must have been listening because since then there have been quite a few decent fashion shows on. There was Channel 4's Gok's Fashion Fix which turned out not to be so bad after all and then the return of the wonderful, Mary Queen of Shops - courtesy of BBC. Now ITV have got in on the act by launching a fashion show of their own. Not to be undone by rival channels, ITV have recruited model/WAG, Abigail Clancy to host a show that meshes high street style and glamour. Imaginatively titled, The Fashion Show, viewers will be treated to style secrets from celebrities and a peep into their wardrobe as well as the inevitable make over. Clancey is joined by TV and radio presenter, George Lamb and catwalk model, Michelle de Swarte and the concept here is accessible fashion for the ordinary girl about town. With iconic TV producer, Sebastian Scott on board - he who brought us the legendary pop culture show, The Word and The Big Breakfast - I am sure it will be an interesting watch. Plus with London Fashion Week right round the corner, the timing is impeccable.

The Fashion Show airs on ITV2 later this month.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I read this book from start to end without coming up for air during a flight from Sydney to Tokyo back in 2000. It was captivating, hilarious, and highly topical. I am sure with today's credit crunch it will be even more so. Confessions of a Shopaholic is written by Sophie Kinsella and is the tale of Becky Bloomwood, a working girl who spends her money as soon as she gets it. After accumulating thousands of pounds in debt, Becky refuses to face her dire situation and carries on spending and spending. You can read more about the Shopaholic books in blog that I worte here. A few years and several sequels later I was thrilled to hear that Confessions of a Shopaholic was being turned into a movie. I was less thrilled in hearing that Aussie actress, Isla Fisher was playing Becky Bloomwood and to add insult to injury she would be American and not English as in the book. So, so annoying and my enthusiasm for the film waned. However after seeing the trailer for the film I have softened a bit because it looks like we have the signs of a very good chick flick. Mind you it is directed by PJ Hogan who gave us My Best Friend's Wedding and Muriel's Wedding and he knows a thing or two about chick flicks. We also have the great Jerry Bruckheimer on board as producer and a certain Patricia Fields working on the wardrobe.

This is what Sophie Kinsella had to say about the film on her website.

"The movie isn't a scene-by-scene recreation of the book. It has similar plotlines and many scenes straight from the book - but it also has differences. Of course, there's a part of me that would have loved to see my own creation put up onto the screen word-for-word with not one syllable changed... but the truth is, films are very different from books. They are interpretations. I've had to realise that this isn't my baby any more, it is something different. So this movie will be an interpretation of Becky and her stories - with what I hope and strongly believe is exactly the same spirit and comedy and fun."

Check out the trailer above.

Confessions of a Shopaholic is released on 27th February 2009.


Despite the new offspring of Beverly Hills 90210 gaining record ratings of 4.9 million viewers on its debut night, the show does not seem to be liked by all and sundry. Numerous bloggers have declared their disappointment with the new rehash and popular culture website, Gawker dismissed it as completely bland. Well I will throw caution to the wind and say that I liked it - a lot. I thought 90210 was funny, very glam, heart warming and very relevant to today's pop culture. The show kicked off with a two hour special on Tuesday night where we saw the Wilson family moving from Kansas to start a new life in the swishy Beverly Hills. The Wilsons consist of Dad Harry played by Rob Estes (from Melrose Place), Mom Debbie played by Lori Loughlin, daughter, Annie played by Shenae Grimes and adopted son, Dixon played by Tristan Wilds. The family take up residence in a mansion with Harry's mother, Tabitha played by Jessica Walters. Harry who was born and raised in Beverly Hills is now the new principal of West Beverly Hills High and has to juggle his role as father and head of school to Annie and Dixon.

Any teenager will tell you that switching schools is never easy and more so when entering a school as cliquey and snobby as West Beverly Hills High. After a few minor setbacks, Annie and Dixon begin to settle in and make friends and take part in activities. Shenae is very endearing as Annie and the 'Brandon' of the show with her eternal optimism while Tristan turns in a great performance as Dixon. Other notable characters are Queen Bee, Naomi played by AnnaLynne McCord and her on and off boyfriend, Ethan played by Dustin Milligan. Yes ok the interracial adoption with Dixon does seem a bit off key and not at all well developed and the fashion is nowhere as good as Gossip Girl but hey what it loses in these categories it makes up in other areas. For a start the soundtrack is slamming and meshes really well into the scenes. You can tell that the producers have taken a leaf out of The OC creater, Josh Schwartz's book. Also the side kicks are top notch, unlike other shows that throw in unforgettable characters who do not detract from the main protagonist, 90210 gives us the super cool Navid played by Michael Steger and funky boho Silver played by Jessica Stroup; half sister of Kelly Taylor and David Silver for you Beverly Hills 90210 veterans out there. Even the adults get their own story lines with Harry having to deal with a secret from his past. Also with trendy school teacher, Ryan and fellow alumni Brenda and Kelly thrown in to the mix I think this will help to shape the show into a fantastic post modern teen soap.

BTW I am totally loving the knee length socks that are donned by the girls, if I was a decade younger I would be wearing them.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Chick Noir

Since its inception chick lit has often come in for a bit of a bashing. Many people dismiss it as fluffy, vapid, disposable and even badly written works of fiction. I will be the first to put my hand up and agree that a lot of books in this genre are not worth the pretty paper that they are printed on but on the flip side there are some very good books out there. Authors such as Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, Louise Bagshawe, Mike Gayle, Robyn Sisman and Lisa Jewell turn in amazing stories and serve chick lit well. There is a new modern fiction category on the block; chick noir which is post modern chick lit with an edge. This differs from chick lit which is all about getting the guy and living happy ever after while chick noir is much more dark and features single women who grow to be happy in their own skin and not obsessive about being married. The pioneer of this exciting genre is Jane Fallon, author of Getting Rid of Matthew and Got You Back. Fallon's talents do not just lie in fiction, she is an established TV producer and has worked on fantastic shows like EastEnders, This Life and Teachers which are infamous for their portrayal of strong women.

Both Fallon's books, Getting Rid of Matthew and Got You Back cover the tales of infidelity and unravels the lives of the wife and the mistress. Getting Rid of Matthew was released last year and secured itself on Richard & Judy's summer read and went to become a bestseller. I am sure that the eye catching cover with a lady in a pencil skirt and stilettos cannot have hurt. However there is no denying that Getting Rid of Matthew is a great piece of fiction. The book tells the story of Helen whose lover, Matthew turns up on her doorstep and announces that he has left his wife. From there you expect the story to take the conventional approach of focusing on the couple and their trials and tribulations but remember that this is not chick lit but chick noir and that calls for a few twists and turns. Hence the entrance of Matthew's wife, Sophie who is picking up the pieces of her broken marriage. Then there is the small matter of Helen deciding that Matthew and her are not right together and hatches a plan to return him to his wife.

Fallon manages to turn Helen who some people would define as a self centred cow into a very sympathetic character. Compelling and extremely funny are the words I would use to describe this book as the writer takes you through the story with style as well as a lot of substance. It is so good that a certain Jennifer Aniston has acquired the rights for her production company, Plan C with plans to turn it into a film. Fallon's new book, Got You Back offers more of the same with two women; wife and mistress colluding to plot the down fall of husband James who has been leading two separate lives. So just as women are leading their lives as they please on TV shows such as Sex and the City and films like The Women, it seems that we have now reached that place in books.

To find out more about Jane Fallon, check out an article in The Guardian here.