Saturday, 31 January 2009

Win a FREE copy of The Meaning of Sunglasses by Hadley Freeman

Hadley Freeman is the diminutive Deputy Fashion Editor of The Guardian whose witty observations have won her the hearts of young fashionistas all over the world. Every fashion desk has their bright spark - you know the person who holds the end up and brings in all the punters. With The Telegraph it is Hilary Alexander, The New York Times have Cathy Horyn, the International Herald Tribune with Suzy Menkes and the shiny towers at Farringdon, London have the New York born Freeman. In her spare time she contributes pieces to Vogue and also penned a book about the psychology of fashion. The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable has been described as "an A-Z fashion for women who love clothes but don't take the fashionista world too seriously." The book will be released in paperback this week and to celebrate this those lovely people at Penguin are giving away copies to five lucky readers. How do you get one? Just send me an email to and we will send the book out to you.

The Meaning of Sunglasses is released on Thursday 5th February.

Friday, 30 January 2009

The Ting Tings

R&B and hip hop is the sort of music I like and occasionally I indulge my appetite for pop music. When I was in States last year there was one pop tune that was continuously bandied about in films, TV shows and on the radio. Shut Up and Let Me Go by The Ting Tings. With the slick production accompanied by a strong guitar vibe I quickly assumed that they were an American act. I was totally floored to find out that Jules de Martino and Katie White are British. Manchester born, Katie is described as being brassy, funny and bold and the type of lass who says it as she sees it. Her partner in crime, Jules is an mellow and cool Cumbrian. The duo have been working together for four years and are united in their crusade to rock the foundations of pop music. They are based at The Mill which is an artist community based in Salford; funnily enough both of them were in different groups when they first met which split. With Jules on the drums and Katie on vocals it is no surprise that The Ting Tings have been compared to The White Stripes.

Their first single, That's Not My Name went straight in at number one last May along with their album titled We Started Nothing. Other catchy tunes followed such as Fruit Machine and the infamous Shut Up and Let Me Go which was used for an iPod commerical here. Now The Ting Tings are being accosted with awards left, right and centre such as the Brit Awards, NME Awards and the XFM Awards. So what better way to celebrate such a fantastic year by jetting off on a world tour. Today the Ting Tings kicked off their first leg of a four month tour where they will visit Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and the UK. Wow that's got me tingling all over.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

90s Fashion: The Era of Celebrity, Glamour and Style

The 80s was very much my era because it was when I discovered wonderful music, TV shows, films and books but when it comes to style and clothes, it was all about 90s baby. I was in my 20s during this time and I came of age by trying out different looks and discovering what suited me. BBC 4's fashion offering, Style on Trial - which is like a chronicle of the fashion decades - had it's penultimate show last night. They covered the 90s and with a panel that consisted of Mica Paris, Pearl Lowe and Ben de Lisi we were taken back to an era that embraced Britannia and celebrity. This was the decade when the country dipped into recession and we spent a good few years rebelling from the 80s and dressing down in t-shirts and jeans. It was also when grunge and acid house ruled the airwaves as well as the catwalk. I didn't like the Seattle born grunge with the matted hair, large over sized jumpers along with DMs. I just couldn't understand why anyone would want to spend all that time looking like a scruff. To me there was nothing chic about it and I was relieved when we moved onto something else.

That something else was high end glamour - ironically the complete opposite of grunge. Up there riding the crest waves was the enigmatic Gianni Versace whose glamorous and sexy dresses lead to the explosion of celebrity endorsed fashion. All the celebs loved Versace and he loved them back and decked them out in his opulent gowns - who can forget Elizabeth Hurley in that black dress held together with safety pins? Genius. This era was also about branding; marketeers reinvented themselves and logos began to symbol a lot more than a slick graphic. However the Labour government took this strategy to a new level and repositioned themselves as the cool party with an ethos that everyone wanted to be part off. Hence the birth of Cool Britannia and all that came with it. Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit on the cover Vanity Fair was just the tip of the iceberg. However, the epitome of the 90s was the trend in pick and mix fashion where fashionistas began to wear luxury labels with high street along with a dash of second hand.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Links a' la Mode: January 22nd

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Gossip Girl Addiction

Wow, Gossip Girl just gets more popular by the hour. The show that was created from a popular book series has now turned into serious regular viewing by savvy teenagers and their hipster older brothers and sisters. The delightful, Fashion Addict discussed the male addiction to GG here. Now it looks like lifestyle companies have fallen head over heels with the show and have been snapping up GG stars to become faces of their brands. Taylor Momsen who plays status climber, Jenny Humphrey can be seen in a gritty commercial for Nike where she trys to outmaneuver the paparazzi. It is shot in an underground car park and we see Taylor laying down some serious martial arts and ninja stuff. Then there is Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick - who play the bickering Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass - and are now the faces of Nikon's Coolpix camera. The ad campaign is a series of magazine shots where we see Ed in a suit posing on a Vespa. He is also seen playing with a football (homage to his Brit roots) and singing onstage with his band The Filthy Youth. While Leighton records her upcoming album, chats over pizza and gets all dolled up in a makeup chair. Talk about art imitating life.

Check out the Nike ad with Taylor below.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Mr and Mrs O

What a fantastic week it has been and it is not even over yet. The last few days has made me feel inspired, hopeful and most of all proud. Barack and Michelle Obama have become the first couple of The White House and exemplified that America have come a very long way since the end of slavery in 1865. With Barack we have  found a powerful orator who possess wonderful leadership skills and with Michelle we have someone who combines intelligence with charm and style. Since Obama's victory last October there has been a lot of talk about what Michelle would wear for the inauguration. People even went as far as to design mock ups of various outfits. She went for a gorgeous yellow gold sheath dress suit set off by cute Jimmy Choo brown heels. For the evening ball she chose a sumptuous white one shoulder gown designed by up and coming designer, Jason Wu. She looked like a graceful swan as she glided around the dance floor with hubby Barack. As awesome as the evening gown was it was the outfit that she wore during the day that stood out for me. Standing by your husband as he is sworn in as President of the most powerful country in the world is a momentous occasion of massive proportions and aside from your wedding day and birth of your children, there is no day bigger than that. So the outfit had to be sombre enough for the occasion but funky enough to reflect the Obama spark. By god she nailed it. That suit was perfect in every way - the cut, length and the colour made her look so vibrant and made her sparkle. 

The outfit was designed by Isabel Toledo, I don't know much about her (I am sure that will change) aside from the fact that she used to be Creative Director of Anne Klein. She is also married to artist, Ruben Toledo who created the wonderful illustrations in The Little Black Book of Style by Project Runway's, Nina Garcia - read my blog entry about it here. The Cuban born couple often collaborate on projects together and in 2005 they won the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt Design Award for their work in fashion. So this week has been special in many ways - the election of America's first Black President and the unveiling of two brilliant couples. 

Monday, 19 January 2009

Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo - Life After Sex and the City

Those scary Sex and the City: The Movie sequel rumours just won't go away. I have no idea what there is to gain from making another film. The last one was a huge hit beyond anyone's dreams so I think we should count our lucky stars and move on. Two people who have certainly moved on from their days on Sex and the City are Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo who were writers on the show. In fact they wrote the iconic episode called, He's Just Not That Into You which went on to become a very successful book and has been made into a film which will be released next month. You can read my blog entry about the pending film here. Ok now to Greg and Liz - Greg was previously a stand up comedian who had a show on Comedy Central called Greg Beherendt is Uncool. He now has his own show called Greg's Wake Up Call where he plays an agony uncle who helps warring couples sort out their relationships. Liz Tuccillo went on to work on a show called Related which was a comedy about four sisters living in New York City. She has recently released a book called How to be Single which is about five female friends who have grown weary of the dating scene in the Big Apple. So what is one to do? Well you take off around the world, stopping off at chic places along the way like France, Italy, Australia and Brazil to pick up lots of dating tips. Well this is what the protagonist, Julie does after she experiences the complete date from hell. Interestingly enough, Liz herself undertook the exact journey where she travelled round the world to quiz the women on their approach to dating and she certainly learnt a few things. Check out the webisodes of How to be Single (Around the World) here.  See there is life after Sex and the City - producers please take note. 

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Links à la Mode: January 15th

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network.

Friday, 16 January 2009

The September Issue

Vogue (both UK and US) have received a bit of a bashing over the last few months. UK Vogue has been accused of going over to the dark side and being all bland, boring and predictable by draping its cover with generic stars such as Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham. Whilst US Vogue has been criticised for losing its edge and replacing its wonderful creative fashion spreads with dull and lifeless shoots. Fellow Blogger, Chloe Tejada aka Fashion Journalist in the City ponders the stance of US Vogue here while Michele Obi from myfashionlife discusses the dilemma of the British counterpart in this fascinating piece. This combined with ever growing rumours that Chief whippersnapper, Anna Wintour is hanging up her heels and sunglasses means that life is pretty full on at Conde Nast towers. It is ever so mind boggling that they even entertained the idea of having cameras in the Vogue offices to make a fly on the wall documentary about the magazine. Unlimited access was given to director, R. J. Cutler to make, The September Issue which is a reality film that focuses on the production of the largest edition of Vogue which was published in September 2007. The film was shot over nine months and captured behind scenes at fashion weeks, staff meetings, photo shoots as well as moments with Anna and her family and close friends. The movie also shows the relationship that Anna holds with Grace Coddington, a dynamic redhead who is Vogue's Creative Director and according to Time; the most influential Fashion Editor. I will be honest and admit that I have never heard of the lady but 20 minutes of research later and I can tell that Ms Coddington seems as formidable of icy Wintour herself. Christ how interesting would it be to see those two at work? The September Issue made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival yesterday and the rights for the film have been snapped up. I have not read the review for it so I am not sure how it was received but those who were after a real life The Devil Wears Prada have been granted their wish.

Check out the trailer for the film below and tell me what you think? Compelling or just another reality film?

Monday, 12 January 2009

The Real Gossip Girl

LinkOk so we had The Real OC and The Real Housewives of Orange County so make way for The Real Gossip Girls. A new film based on the book, Schooled (a review coming soon) focuses on the real life Blairs, Serenas. Nates and Chucks. We are brought into the world of a private school in Manhattan's privileged Upper East Side where students sling £1,000 Mulberry school bags over their shoulders. Schooled is written by Anisha Lakhani, a former school teacher at a top private school in Manhattan who bit off a lot more than she could chew when she started tutoring wealthy kids in her spare time. She witnessed first hand a life of debauchery, indulgence and down right greed. Anisha has penned her story about her experience and the rights have been picked up for a movie. Is it me or does this sound like a delicious movie.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Virgin Atlantic - Still Red Hot

Think back to 1984 (for those of you who are old enough) when it was all about the miner's strike, Rubik cube, LA Olympics, yuppies, oh and good old Maggie Thatcher. God, it takes you back doesn't it? Even more pivotal is that 1984 is the year when Richard Branson launched Virgin Atlantic. 25 years later, Virgin is one of the most popular and successful airline in the world. Their attention to customer service and up to date technology - they were one of the first to have TV screens on the back of seats - has endeared them to passengers worldwide. I have flown with them on a few occasions and had a fabulous time, in fact I did want to get off the plane. Celebrating a quarter of a decade in the industry is a big deal and most airlines would be satisfied with a big party and a cake but this is Virgin we are talking about and they love to create a big bang. Hence their new TV advert which is so retro it hurts; it is set to the background of Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and shows all the 80s influences that you can think of. However, the ad has a slight twist as it features glamorous airline attendants and a pilot waltzing through a drab airport wearing the hot red uniform. This really reminds me of the film, Catch Me If You Can where Leonardo DiCaprio's character is escorted by gorgeous flight attendants into an airport. The advert is created by ad agency, RKCR who gave us those delicious TV adverts for Marks and Spencer and the slogan is 'Still Red Hot' which I am sure it will run and run.

Check out the scene in Catch Me If You Can below and tell me what you think.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

In the Name of the Blog

I am addicted to blogging; I find it fun, challenging and therapeutic. There is nothing like banging out a blog to put me at ease and get the juices flowing. I also love talking to other bloggers and finding out their thoughts and experiences and of course reading their blogs. In reality bloggers are a community and we share a bond that others cannot really understand, hence the creation of the Independent Bloggers Forum. This was set up by Jennine Tamm aka The Coveted to assist bloggers with developing their blogs into a commercial venture. While reading the forums I was struck by the originality and vibrancy of a lot of the blog names which led me to pen an article about it. The story has been published in the Independent Bloggers Forum and you can read it here.

Picture by Kevin N. Murphy

Links à la Mode: January 8th

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network.

Friday, 9 January 2009

The 2009 Bloggies

It's that time of year again when the stars come out in full force and decked out in designer wares. From now on it's all about Golden Globes, BAFTAS, Oscars, Grammys, and The Brit Awards. Slightly more low key but just as essential is the Weblog Awards either wise known as the Bloggies 2009. This is where you get to big up your favourite blog and make sure they get their dues. The event is in its ninth year and will be held 16th March in Austin, Texas.

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Girl With a Satchel
Wee Birdy

Best African Weblog
Mrs Club

Best Canadian Weblog
Fashion Journalist in the City

Best Art, Craft and Design Blog
Wee Birdy

Best Photography of a Weblog
The Satoralist
Face Hunter

Best Fashion Weblog
Coco's Tea Party
My Fashion Life
Style Bubble

Best Entertainment Weblog
Fantasy Ride
The Cocoa Diaries

Best Topical Weblog
Girl With a Satchel
Brown Girl Dumbo
Make Fetch Happen

Best Writing of a Weblog
Girl With a Satchel
The Cocoa Diaries
Make Fetch Happen

Best Kept Secret Weblog
Fashion Journalist in the City
The Cocoa Diaries

Now this is where I shamelessly plug my own blog. If you enjoy my musings then please feel free to vote for me in as many categories as you like. You've got to blow your own trumpet huh.

Hurry, nomination closes on Monday 14th January.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Style on Trial

That lot at the BBC have really outdone themselves. You might remember the fantastic fashion series called British Style Genius (how could you not?) that was on a few months back. It explored the impact that Britain's fashionistas had made on the industry. Now they are back with a new lovely gem called Style on Trail. This series looks into each decade from the 40s to 90s and explores the fabrics and shapes that defined that era. Style on Trial is presented by TV presenter, Lauren Laverne and critic, Stuart Maconie and they will be joined by a panel of fashion and lifestyle experts and the aim of the seven part series will be to decide on the most stylish decade. Style and substance galore!

Style on Trial airs on Thursday at 10.00pm on BBC Four.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Stephanie Savage - Queen of Teen Genre

Mention the name Stephanie Savage and you will be greeted with blank looks but if you drop names such as The OC and Gossip Girl you will get a different reaction. Stephanie Savage is the lady behind these two fantastic programmes - forget Josh Schwartz – this Canadian native is it. Stephanie wrote and produced The OC and is currently working as writer and executive producer of Gossip Girl. Her first gig in Hollywood was working for Drew Barrymore’s production company, Flower Films, and she went on to work on the script for Never Been Kissed and Charlie’s Angels. It was here where she met Joseph McGinty Nichol aka McG who was directing the movie and the two of them became inseparable. Five years later Stephanie and McG decided it was time to move on and formed their own production company, Wonderland Vision and Sound.

They hooked up with Josh Schwartz and came up with the concept for a show that would showcase the lives of young people in Orange County. McG, an OC native wanted to convey the contrasts between the Republican values, wealth and gated communities that is very Reagan-esque and, the epicenter of California skate-and-surf culture. During an interview with The OC Insider, Stephanie stated, “You have these really cool bands like No Doubt, Social Distortion and Sublime coming from there and that was the kind of scene that McG grew up in, so we thought that was really interesting. I mean if you go down there, it's like a mixture of country clubs, rock clubs, and there's dads golfing with their sons and kids partying in the streets, and it just seemed like a really great world to explore." That show became known as The OC and went on to become one of the most popular teen shows on TV and set the look for reality shows such as Laguna Beach and The Hills.

The OC ended in 2007 and by then Stephanie had already left Wonderland to concentrate on writing but she was not idle for long because that very same year she was hard at work with Schwartz on Gossip Girl. Alloy Entertainment had approached Schwartz about turning the popular book series by Cecily von Ziegesar into a show. After reading the books his first response was that he would do it only if Stephanie came onboard, “She's really tapped into young women and what's exciting for them. I knew the material was a little female-weighted for someone as ignorant of the female species as myself, and Stephanie would have great insight into it," explained Schwartz.

Gossip Girl is a glossy show about the lives of teen socialites who descend on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The huge success of the books along with the huge fan base that Schwartz had built up over the years meant that expectations for the new show were very high. However, the show fulfilled its potential and has been dubbed by New Yorker magazine as the greatest teen drama of all time. Whilst Stephanie shared production creds with Schwartz, Gossip Girl is all hers and it is she who steers the show. Stephanie describes her role in Gossip Girl as making a magazine show every week and setting the trend.

The 38 year old is still based in LA and writes full time and having secured her name in teen TV, Stephanie has now turned her attentions to the big screen. She is working on a film called The Au Pairs, which is based on a book by Melissa de Cruz. If it is anything like Gossip Girl, I am sure it will be a corker.

Picture taken from LA Times and Seat 42F respectively.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Links à la Mode: January 1st

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network