Thursday, 26 February 2009

Diffusionistas: Opening the Doors of Fashion for All

After reading a blog by Susie Bubble where she raved about The Look, a six part fashion documentary series that aired on BBC 4 last December I decided to have a peep myself. I tuned into the last part, The Power of the Press, which delved into the relationship between the designers and journalists. Halfway through watching I had a sense of deja vue; then it dawned on me that I had seen this programme before. Circa 1995 and fresh out of University I watched this same documentary which featured a very young and glam Lowri Turner – check her out with the Veronica Lake look – I instantly fell in love with the fashion industry. So this show was kind of pivotal to me. The Look was about the psychology and the business of fashion and it touched on issues such as catwalk and modelling, the power of labels and diffusion lines.

A diffusion line is a collection that a designer creates specifically for a store. Pieces from the catwalk cost a fortune and not many people can afford it so the designer makes a line that is cheaper and more affordable. This line goes into the shops but sits as a second, third or sometimes ever fourth line of the brand. Successful diffusionistas are DKNY, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu by Prada, D&G, McQ by Alexander McQueen and of course Armani whose is the master of this. Previously diffusion conjured images of cheap and badly made garments but now they have earned a certain amount of kudos and are often the designers’ bread and butter. We all know that collections do not sell but diffusions do and like hot cakes. Look at Debenhams who introduced lines by a cohort of designers such as Julien McDonald, Betty Jackson, John Rocha and Ben de Lisi into the store. H&M got in on the act in a big way a few years back by commissioning Karl Lagerfeld to design a collection and although the store were left with racks of clothing left the collaboration did a lot to raise the profile of the store. Since then H&M have collaborated with designers such as Viktor and Rolf, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli and Comme des Garcons and sold bucket load of clothing.

This quote from the book, Fashion Babylon written by Imogen Edwards-Jones in 2006 sums up the whole designer and high street relationship perfectly.

"There isn’t a British designer who doesn’t have a high-street store behind them, except McQueen but then he is backed by Gucci so he can afford not to. But for the rest of us, high-street backing buys us freedom. It pays the bills and gives you a more constant cash flow than if you had only two collections and two drops a year. All you need to do is walk past the designer stores in the West End on a Saturday afternoon to see how much ready-to-wear needs the high street. The big designer stores are empty. There are just not that many people in the world who can afford to pay £1,500 for an unstructured cotton jacket."

Well if diffusion lines are not your bag but you still fancy a slice of the action you can buy the perfume, sunglasses, bag, cuff links, underwear, scarves etc. Designers have no qualms lending their name to products other than their collections. Following the lead of Pierre Cardin who started this trend off back in the 60s by selling his name to 800 products that turned him into a household celebrity. This is why perfumes are so popular; those who cannot afford the brand can buy a slice of the lifestyle and feel like they are part of it. The designers are happy because they do not have to invest any money into the production, distribution and marketing and yet they are exposed to a mass global market. Basically it is a win win situation for all parties involved.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

London Fashion Week @ 25

Can you believe that London Fashion Week (LFW) has been going for 25 years? I can’t get my head round it; I feel that the event has been going forever and I really cannot imagine a time when it never existed. I was also surprised to hear that LFW was more ore less created by PR guru, Lynne Franks and that the first ever show at LFW in February 1984 took place in a tent in a car park. The launch of LFW also coincided with the introduction of Virgin Atlantic and since then both brands have created a huge splash in the British cultural consensus. 1984 was also the year of Torvill and Dean the LA Olympics, Madonna mania, Band Aid and Thriller was the best selling album. Remember this was the era of the Miner’s strike where hardcore socialist battled with intolerant Thatcher regime and public morale was very low so the launch of a creative hot bed such as London Fashion Week was a breath of fresh air. According to designers such as Betty Jackson, showing at the inaugural LFW was like painting on a blank canvas. “It was really unorganised but we didn’t care because we were all so excited about it,” she enthuses. This is a far cry from the slick operation that the LFW now employ; it is all top notch security, elegant looking staff (dressed in black of course) at the reception and a very classy press area with complimentary hairdressers in the shape of Toni and Guy and MAC stand giving make overs.

The British Fashion Council is commemorating this momentous occasion by hosting a variety of events around London as well as legacy initiatives. The BFC have a brand new spanking website which is set to become an essential industry portal and act as a resource for designers. LFW will be moving to a new home and from September they will be based at the swish Somerset House. These celebrations will culminate in November at the British Fashion Awards where the good and great of British fashion will be honoured. The anniversary has been represented visually; all the publicity material for LFW has 25th logo emblazoned on it, including the corporate buses that ferry the journos and photographers between shows. So after an amazing 25 years what is next for LFW? Well the first thing is to maximise the exposure that the 2012 Olympics will bring to present the energy of the fashion industry. Also to maintain and grow London’s reputation as the birthplace of exciting talent and culturally diverse fashion industries. So roll on the next 25 years.

LFW in 1984

Designers: Betty Jackson, BodyMap, Jasper Conran, Arabella Pollen, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, Vivienne Westwood and Caroline Charles
Venue: Olympia
Sponsors: Murjani
Celebrities: Boy George, Samantha Fox

LFW in 2009

Designers: Vivienne Westwood, Luella Bartley, Ben de Lisi, Basso and Brooke, Jenny Packham, Eley Kishimoto, Betty Jackson, Nicole Farhi, Jaeger and many more.
Venue: Natural History Museum
Sponsors: Canon Europe, London Development Agency, British Airways, Chambourd, Drapers, Evening Standard, Evian, Lavazza, LG, M*A*C Cosmetics, The May Fair Hotel, Monsoon, Moet & Chandon, Red Bull, Renault UK, Selective Beauty, Toni&Guy, TopShop, ToyWatch and UKTI.
Celebrities: Kanye West, Samantha Cameron, Alexa Chung, Roisin Murphy, Peaches Geldof and numerous others.

Images provided by the British Fashion Council

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Links a la' Mode: 19th February

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

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic

So I finally got round to seeing this movie and I was pretty excited. I have read all the books - no I stand correct - I own all the books and I love them to bits. Rebecca Bloomwood is most definitely a girls girl. In fact I would go as far as to say that most ladies out there have a bit of Rebecca Bloomwood in them. She is a journalist who feels unfulfilled in her job on a homes and garden magazine. She is also a shameless shopaholic who is in total denial about her financial situation. She racks up thousands of dollars on her credit card to satisfy her urges and is dodging debt collectors. Rebecca yearns for a job as a journalist on glossy mag Allette but ends up getting a gig on Successful Savings (I know the irony of it all) from the same publishing company. The job does have its perks though and in the shape of super cute boss, Luke Brandon. In many ways Luke is the opposite of Becky; a minimalist, savvy about life and passionate about the financial industry. The article he commissions Becky to write about seductive marketing is so on point that you would have thought that director, PJ Hogan might have had an inclination about the credit crunch.

There has been a lot of outcry from Shopaholic fans about the decision to make Rebecca (or Becky as she is referred to in the books) American as opposed to British. I admit I was pretty annoyed when Isla Fisher was cast in the role because she is completely different from how I imagined Rebecca. I was puzzled about this choice but I guess the big Hollywood machine played it's hand here. I do feel that the quintessential Becky has been eradicated and what we have in its place is a quirky American lady with next door appeal. Kind of like a much younger Carrie Bradshaw who is now so famous that she has her own wikipedia page. Isla is brilliant in this film and brings a sweetness to a character who some might have found grating; also her comic timing is excellent. She demonstrates a lot of chemistry with Hugh Dancy who turns out to be very good as Luke.

The cinematography is amazing and reminiscent to that of The Devil Wears Prada. Now onto the outfits which were styled by Patricia Fields who made the clothes pop in Sex and the City. Rebecca's outfits consists of designer and vintage and they are full of colour and flavour. There are lots of pretty dresses, skirts, blouses topped with some cool coats. Yes it is a bit Sex and the City(ish) but Isla manages to pull it off and make it her own.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Kardinal Offishall and Keri Hilson

Now Canada is not exactly renowned for producing a huge number of successful hip hop artists in fact the only ones that come to mind are Dream Warriers and Rasclaz. These acts are worth their weight in gold but are just a teeny fraction of the number that come rolling out of the United States. An artist that has made a big splash is Kardinal Offishall, a hip hop artist and producer who has been burning the dance floor with his monster song, Numba 1. The song features Keri Hilson who dueted on Timbaland's smash hit The Way I Are. Numba 1 borrows the chorus from Blondie's 80s classic, The Tide is High. Now when Atomic Kitten covered this a few years back it was scoffed by purist as being cheap and lame. With due credit this song is a hard one to carry as Debbie Harry owned it for such a long time but Keri Hilson does an amazing job here and really sells it. God does she have a great career ahead of her. Kardinal Offishall's ragga/rapping and production skills are pretty cool. However, the selling point is the video which is full of pulsating energy and full flavor and the dancing is simply to die for. Kardinal Offishall aka Jason Harrow was born in Toronto but raised to Jamaican parents hence where the reggae influences in his music hail from. His talents have caused him to be dubbed Canada's hip hop ambassador and boy is he doing them proud. Check out the lowdown from good old Wikipedia.

"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" is the latest version of "The Tide Is High", performed by Kardinal Offishall featuring Keri Hilson. Produced by Supa Dups, the song was released in September 2008 as the second official single from Kardinal's album Not 4 Sale. It was released by iTunes on October 14, 2008. Aside from the album version, which features Rihanna, there are three other versions of "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)". The second is the original version, featuring Nicole Scherzinger. The third version features Rihanna and Nicole Scherzinger. The fourth version is the official single and features Keri Hilson. There is also a mash-up version which features Rihanna, Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson. The music video premiered on October 24 at Yahoo! Music.[18] The video is directed by Gil Green, and Akon makes a cameo appearance.[19] The song "Nina" is featured at the end of the video."

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Running in Heels

Spring is rapidly approaching and with a new season brings another reality show about a glossy magazine. Remember Stylista, the cut throat show that saw ruthless interns fight tooth and nail for a position at Elle? This time it is US Marie Claire with the appropriately named, Running in Heels. The documentary stars Project Runway's Nina Garcia, her colleagues and her minions and it exposes the world of editors, assistants and interns who work on the monthly publication. The angle of the programme is to show the culture of Marie Claire from different perspective. So each show will focus on a different person; from the lowly intern running tedious errands to the fashion editor attending a grueling schedule of fashion shows and the high powered stance of the editor-in-chief who has the final say on which picture makes the front cover. A real life version of The Devil Wears Prada? Of course! Will I be watching? You bet! For a fantastic pre-cap of the show check out this article on Girl With a Satchel.

Running in Heels airs on 1st March on The Style Network.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Marie Claire: On Tour with the Fashionistas

No fashion show would dream of starting without the following people on site: models, the designer, fashion editors and buyers. These people more or less are the shows in particular the models who show off the clothes and the designer who works through night and day to make them. Also whilst the buyers are fanned over and treated like gods the editors of magazines and newspapers are just as vital as they provide priceless editorial coverage that is worth its weight in gold. Good old Marie Claire have produced a feature that delves into the lives of these insiders in their March issue. Just to put a spin on things they travel round the fashion circuit to capture all the fashion weeks to give us a taste of New York, London, Milan and Paris. The featured fashionistas are model, Emma MacLaren, designer, Markus Lupfur who works for Armand Basi One, fashion editor, Arabella Greenhill who writes for Marie Claire and buyer, Holli Rogers who is employed by Net-A-Porter. I don't really buy Marie Claire that often as I think it has been looking a bit samey but that article really stood out to me. Not a bad read and a really fantastic insight into all the different elements that surround fashion week.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Wanderland Boutique

Pop up stores are all the rage these days and have been a firm favourite with fashion brands since 2004. The concept is just like a moving exhibition; find a venue, set up shop, display items artfully and then set off to the next venue. Smaller niche companies have all been there and done that with pop ups placed in cosmopolitan cities in Europe. So it was no surprise when large lifestyle brands such as Comme des Garçons, MTV, Nike, Sony Ericsson, Adidas and Levis decided to give the idea a try. However, beating them to the punch was Wanderland Boutique, a wandering pop up boutique that has been created out of a love for fashion and all things that a little bit different. The brand has been trading since 2003 but have now launched a shop in Manchester at the ultra trendy Afflecks Palace and are set to tour other cities such as Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Derby, Doncaster, Birmingham and Dublin. I met up with founder, Barbara Ojeogwu to find out the ins and outs of brand new, vintage and handmade clothing.

What is the concept of Wanderland Boutique?
The concept of Wanderland Boutique is to provide fashionable & one off items at great prices. We're able to do this by handpicking all of the products that go into the boutiques. We're also able to do this by reducing our overheads. The pop up boutiques are a unique and inexpensive way for us to attract new customers and provide them with clothes that would otherwise cost that bit more. The fact that we are a pop up means that we are able to set up in unlikely places such as bars, park greens and even possibly even double Decker buses.

How did you come up with the title of the shop?
The title is based on two factors. The first being that we pop up all over the UK with the boutique. The second is that we also travel far and wide to find stock for the boutique. We wander the land.

Where do you source your clothes from?
The clothes are sourced from all over the world. An example would be handbags from wholesalers in Japan and New York. Dresses from Dublin and Morocco. Shoes are made up in Manchester. We also mix this up with hot vintage finds or great pieces that friends or family have found on their wanders.

Describe to me a typical Wanderland customer?
Our typical customer wouldn't be described as the most affluent of people yet when it comes to style and creativity they're rich. These girls and ladies don't buy their style, they put it together. They're not the clones that you often see as a result of high street marketing campaigns.

What is your work background?
I actually come from an IT Background, I worked as an IT trainer for a sofware company up until December 2008.

Who are your fashion influences?
My main fashion influences are mainly my mum and sisters; between them those ladies have style. I also take a lot from what I see on the streets, whether it's fabrics, items or just how certain items are worn. It's good to try out new things and and maybe mix them up a little. Today I went to work in one of my own tops that was missing a belt so I used the velvet lace from my ballet shoes. A belt would have been too bulky and the result was good.

Are there any celebs out there who you would like to dress in Wanderland style?
Kate Nash came into my shop in the first week of opening and loved it so much that she made a second trip up the three flights of stairs to make another purchase in the same day. So I suppose you could say I already have dressed a celeb. I'd happily do the same again for Kate or Lady Gaga.

You can find Wanderland Boutique at the following venues:

Afflecks Palace
Wanderland Boutique
3rd Floor
Short Street

Mon-Friday 10.30am-6pm
Saturdays 10am-6pm

Dry Bar
28-30 Oldham Street
M1 1JN

Saturdays 12pm-6pm

More dates will be added soon!

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Voguettes

So the Fashion Week marathon kicks off this Friday which will be a mega fest of fashion shows, launches and parties. Such a hard life eh? Who would want to be a fashion journo? New York, London. Milan and Paris hosts four of the most prestigious fashion weeks where the best designers across the globe take part in. Journalists from all over the world attend the shows to check out the latest trends; from indie websites, local bloggers to upscale glossy magazines. Of course no self respecting fashion show would start without the editors from Vogue(s) present. The magazine's influence on style and fashion is immense and a nod or shake by a certain bobbed editor has been known to break or make a designer's career. Anna Wintour (American Vogue), Alexandra Shulman (British Vogue), Franca Sozzani (Italian Vogue) and Carine Roitfeld (French Vogue) are the ladies who everyone will have their eye on during Fashion Week.

American Vogue - the commercial title that brings in the cash
Editor: Anna Wintour
Age: 60
Editorship: Since 1988
Previous: British Vogue, House and Garden
Trademark: Her razor sharp bobbed hair, sunglasses worn inside and clip British accent
Highs: Turning American Vogue from a flagging and staid publication to a very successful one. Being the subject of documentary, The September Issue.
Lows: Controversy over the April 08 issue with Gisele and LeBron James. Rumours that she is on her way out. 
In a nutshell: Anna is simply the most powerful woman in the fashion business and over the years has become a fashion icon. She is also known for her icy nature which makes her revered by her staff. The character, Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada is rumoured to be based on her. Anna expanded the Vogue brand by introducing  Teen Vogue, Vogue Living and Men's Vogue

British Vogue - The girl next door
Editor: Alexandra Shulman
Age: 51
Editorship: Since 1992
Previous: Columnist for Daily Telegraph and Editor of GQ
Trademark: Alexandra Shulman is probably the most ordinary and down to earth out of all the Vogue editors. If she walked into a room you would probably not look twice but she has a dry sense of humour and is not scared to voice her opinion.
Highs: Taking the magazine's readership to a million due to the legendary Gold issue that celebrated the Millennium.
Lows: Criticisms that she is making the magazine very bland by putting B list celebs such as singer and X Factor star, Cheryl Cole have been fired her way. Admitting to buying a dress from Victoria Beckham's collection was not her finest hour either. 
In a nutshell: Alexandra has proved herself to be a very savvy business woman who understands the publishing industry very well. Also she is always up for a fight hence her snarky remarks about Heat magazine in their hey day.

Italian Vogue - the arty one out of the bunch
Editor: Franca Sozzani
Age: Late 50s
Editorship: Since 1988
Previous:  Editor of LEI 
Trademark: Long flowing blonde hair, black coat over a black dark dress.
Highs: The all black issue that sold out immediately that they had to reprint more issues.
Lows: Although her All Black Italian issue was well recieved, The Africa Issue in L'Uomo Vogue was not so popular and Franca was accused by a journalist at The Washington Post for running magazines that are politically incorrect. 
In a nutshell: A woman who is not scared to take risks and put her money where her mouth is. Italian Vogue is testament to that as it is the least commercial out of the Vogues and often contains provocative images. 

French Vogue - the kooky cool one of the group
Editor: Carine Roitfeld
Age: 54
Editorship: Since 2001
Previous: Consultant for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
Trademark: Just got out of bed hair, Brooke Shields eyebrows dressed in outfits with straps and buckles.
Highs: Persuading Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola and Charlotte Gainsborough to guest edit the magazine. Styling a model in a shoot that paid homage to Anna Wintour here, not sure if it was a compliment or if she was simply taking the piss.
Lows: An interview in the New York magazine where she declared her desire for her staff to be skinny and beautiful. 
In a nutshell: Carine breaks conventions in fashion by putting edgy and dark images in the magazine. Her approach to the magazine is pure abandonment with no concern for conventions. 

For more info on the four Queens of Fashion then check out this funky guide here.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani

A while back I reported that a real life version of Gossip Girl would be hitting the big screen and that it was based on a book called Schooled which delved into the world of the elite private schools in Manhattan. The book is written by Anisha Lakhani, I also promised you a review and well here it is. Schooled is based on Anisha's own experience as a teacher at a snooty school in New York. Her alma mater, Anna Taggert enters the system all bright eyed and bushy tailed planning to enrich her students' lives with the prose of Shakespeare. Unfortunately, instead of being greeted with gratitude she is faced with hostility from her students, parents and fellow tutors. The unwritten rule at Langdon Hall; the school that Anna teaches is that there is no level playing field and grades are dependent on a student's surname and postcode as opposed to their efforts. After all this is a place where students have designer clothes, handbags, iPods and Blackberrys and as much cash as they desire. Meanwhile Anna has to struggle to meet her rent payments on her tiny apartment in the wrong end of Manhattan. So it is no wonder that she jumps at a gig to privately tutor one of students after all she needs the cash right? Her delight soon turns to horror when she realises that 'tutoring' is just a coy term for blatant cheating and that her role really is to do the work of the privileged student to make sure that they graduate and go on to an Ivy League college. Anna is initially disgusted by the immoral life that she has moved into but the lure of the money is too irresistible. Pretty soon she has clocked up several more clients and is taking home more money in a week than she does on a monthly basis in her full time job. I think it is safe to say that Anna gets totally sucked into her new lifestyle which now consists of Lanvin suits, Sass and Bide jeans, Chanel clutches to go with her all new $1,000 haircut. She also trades her shabby apartment to a sleeker one in Madison Avenue -Anna is going up in the world. However, as we know all good things come to an end and while she is raking in the cash it is at the expense of her social life and morality. Suddenly she has to choose on which route to stay on.

I came across Anisha Lakhani in an article in Gawker and was initially drawn to the obvious comparisons to Gossip Girl. A few chapters in I realised that there was more to this book than the lavish lifestyles of the rich Manhattanites. What Schooled brings to us is a tale of ideals and how easy it can be for those ideals to be corrupted. Not only does Anisha's tale explores the underworld of an unfair private education system where money seems to buy anything it also concentrates on the kids who have been failed by their thoughtless parents. Schooled is a compelling read due to Anisha's narrative which is very accessible and I would say that her constant dropping of designer names and her student's opulent lifestyle is very Gossip Girl (esque). No surprise to hear that it was the Gossip Girl books that inspired her to write Schooled and get the story from the other side out. We all love a good kiss and tell story and this is one in it's finest form. Move along The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries, there is a new kid on the block called Schooled who is after your crown.

Links a la' Mode

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network.
  • - We are fierce, fabulous, fashionable women; now show us our freakin money!
  • A Few Goody GumDrops - A Few Goody Gumdrops scoops an interview with famed fashion editor, Lien Ta about Oscar Style and Fashion!
  • Calgary Fashion - Calgarian Up and Coming Designer raises the bar for Project Runway Canada contestants.
  • Couture Allure - An open letter to Blumarine about body image in their advertising.
  • fashion in my eyes - Tour de Paris
  • féte à féte - Givenchy spring beauty colors!
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers - IFB wants you to DRESS UP for a global soirée
  • Iwanttowearit. - Karl and Katsyua Kamo rock the paper and scissors for the Chanel couture show. Arts and crafts never looked so glam!
  • LeCityKitty - An even edgier option of blacl polish, Flatte Black by Knock Out. Oui Si Chic
  • Little Black Book - Exploring the fusion of fashion and music through singer songwriter Lady GaGa
  • Mademoiselle Robot - Worshiping John Waters & getting inspired by his films
  • Modelizing - bergdorf goodman 5f window display
  • Or False Glitter - Pondering negative male perceptions of my style!
  • reLYME - Smashbox’s new spring live brings out your inner muse.
  • Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found Angelina Jolie’s Hippie Chic black dress for Spring 2009.
  • Solo Lisa y Nada Mas - Menswear-inspired looks for the ladies
  • Style Symmetry - Eyeliah sits for 10 artists to paint her portrait… not naked!
  • Style With Anna - Valentine’s Day Contest - Win This Fabulous Necklace!
  • Technology Starlet - Journey of a Pro Fashion Techie and her HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition
  • THE COVETED - Packing light for the compulsive over packer.
  • the musings of ondo lady - Meet Chanel Ward, the fabulous blogger who brings us Hip Candy as well as six other blogs including Michele O. Style.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Review: He's Just Not That Into You

Someone described He's Just Not Into You as all the lost scenes from Sex and the City merged into one. I think that is a bit of a cheap shot. What it is is a tale of twenty and thirty-somethings who are at critical stages in their lives. Gigi played by Ginnifer Goodwin is a sweet hearted lady who is searching for the love of her life but in her search to do so misreads all the signals. She is befriended by cynic Alex played by Justin Long who begins to advise her on the traits of men and utters those immortal words; He's Just Not Into You. Janine played by Jennifer Connelly who is Gigi's best friend is married to Ben played by Bradley Cooper and are going through a rough patch which results in him developing a relationship with Anna who is played by Scarlett Johansson. Meanwhile Anna is having an on and off thing with Conor played by Kevin Connolly who is quite clearly crazy about her but sadly for him it is not mutual. Anna finds herself confiding in Mary played by Drew Barrymore who is also looking for love and has joined the online dating scene. Then there is Beth played by Jennifer Aniston and Neil played by Ben Affleck who have been together for seven years but Neil is in no hurry to pop the question.

After seeing the trailer I was really looking forward to seeing this film but despite the hype of the book I was not sure what to expect. I was not disappointed because the film proved to be even better than I expected. All the ingredients for a great film were there; wonderful believable characters, a great script and funny dialogue. Yes the ending was a bit inevitable but trust me there are some surprises along the way. The relationship between Gigi and Alex is superb and very entertaining to watch. I have never heard of Justin Long (according to Wikipedia, he is the guy in those Apple ads) and I have no idea who Gennifer Goodwin is but they really make this film the wonderful piece of work it is. The film borrows from the scenarios from the book such as; why has he not called you? Why is he not sleeping with you? Why he has not asked you to marry him and uses them as a basis for the outline of the plot. You would think that a movie with quite a lot of characters and entwined plots would end up being a tad bit cramped but director, Ken Kwapis does a great job of keeping things on track.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

ShopRuche - A Modern Boutique with a Vintage Touch

Over the last few days England was hit with a snow storm that brought the country to a standstill. Trains and buses were left in limbo, the tubes were few and far between, schools were closed which meant that millions of people were snowed in. There was only one thing for it; go out and have a huge snow fight or do some serious online shopping. Retail analysts reported that online sales almost quadrupled over the last few days as people took advantage of the free time by indulging in a bit of retail therapy. Online shopping is certainly booming what with defunct store Woolworths opening up an online store. Enter, an online boutique with a vintage touch that is crammed with pretty cute things. Floaty dresses in floral and chiffon cut in all sorts of cool shapes that you can wear over jeans or alone. There is also an amazing selection of tops that are cute enough to wear to work and funky enough to dress up when you are going out after work. also has a fine line in bags, jewellery and shoes which is just what every stylish lady needs to complete an outfit. Everything about the boutique reeks of sublime style and it is no wonder considering that every piece is handpicked by Mai Olivo, the chic founder of the store. She creates the Ruche look by carefully selecting items from small boutiques, flea markets and thrift stores. Keeping in touch with the modern times, she also believes that you do not need to break the bank to look good.

Get your 10% discount
In order to celebrate the opening, Mai is offering you a 10% gift voucher on your first purchase at the shop. So get shopping and get yourself all ruched up.

Win a $50 gift card
She is also running a competition for a $50 gift card. All you have to do is add shopruche on Facebook, Twitter and/or MySpace and you will be entered in draw.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Adidas House Party

Now we all love that T-Mobile advert with people getting down at the train station but another commercial that has grabbed my eye is the Adidas house party. The three striped brand is celebrating 60 years in the business by throwing a huge house party and inviting celebs such as David Beckham, Estelle, Russell Simmons, Kevin Garnett, Missy Elliott, Katy Perry, The Ting Tings and skate boarder Mark Gonzales. Performing at the event are Norwegian hip hop band, Madcon with their hit single, Beggin. I really love the pop cultural references in the ad such as the graffiti, kids on skate boards and also on motorbikes. The ad is directed by Nima Nourizade who has made music videoa for Lily Allen and Mark Ronson. The advantage to Adidas not being as huge as Nike is that they hold a sense of allure and individuality. This gives them a sense of coolness that Nike could never match hence their strong affiliation with hip hop. The concert where Run DMC got everyone in the crowd to wave their Adidas sneaker in the air is legendary.

Check out the prologue of the advert below where we see the celebs being invited to the jam.

This scene below is where Kevin Garnett is challenged in a card game - the break dancing scene at the end is wicked.

It does make me wonder where creative agencies will go next with their concepts, they seem to be pushing the boundaries a lot and coming up with amazing stuff like the Virgin advert that never fails to blow me away every time I see it - which I wrote about here. Combine that to the T-Mobile ad that always makes me smile and the glamorous Marks and Spencer ones and adverts have become a lot of fun to watch. Spot al the celebs in the adverts and let me know if I have missed anyone out.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Chanel Ward: The Hip Blogger

Fabulous blogger, Chanel Ward is a busy lady, not only does she run a successful design publishing company and dabble in real estate she also finds the time to run six blogs. Chanel Ward Designs, Cute Dresses, Baldwin Hills 911, Top Model 911, the ever popular Hip Candy and new kid on the block, Michelle O. Style. She has been blogging for almost three years and was a top ten finalist in Project Runway's Fan Blog contest. Chanel took time out of her hectic schedule to answer a few questions.

Describe the concept behind Hip Candy?
The concept behind Hip Candy is just fun. When I created Hip Candy, it was out of a need to share my views on what was happening in fashion. But it quickly turned into more than that. Hip Candy now covers fashion, entertainment, celebrities, and current events. All in a fun, sometimes very opinionated way.

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media?
Wow, that question is super loaded! Bloggers have obviously been making a huge impact on the media, just in the sense that blogs can get information out in the public domain much quicker. Magazines, entertainment shows, news outlets and the like are on schedules and timelines, whereas blogs can acquire information and have it posted days, sometimes weeks before traditional media gets a chance to report on it. It's because of this fact that bloggers have also been met with resistance from some traditional media as well. A blogger with a good site that is putting out solid and credible content is threatening the very fabric of traditional media in that it kind of levels the playing field. For example, there are more and more bloggers now that are invited and who are actively attending Fashion Week, whereas before Fashion Week attendees consisted of strictly industry insiders (fashion editors, boutique owners, stylists, etc.) Public Relations firms as well as up and coming designers recognize the strong collective voice (and growing audience) that bloggers are bringing to the table.

You went to the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing (FIDM), what was it like there and how did it affect your outlook on fashion?
It was much harder than I thought! I was a sketcher from childhood, and growing up, I was under the impression that design was just sketching beautiful silhouettes and then handing them over to someone else to figure out, complete and finish. I quickly learned that that wasn't the case when I got to FIDM. It was intense! Fashion Design majors had to learn how to put together a garment from start to finish. Not only did we need to know how to sketch, but we also had to take pattern classes, sewing classes, grading (sizing garments) classes and more. I hadn't sewn a stitch before attending FIDM. Now, I absolutely love it. And the pattern classes were probably the hardest and the ones I liked least. But to this day, I'm very appreciative of the knowledge I gained from those classes, because whether I'm altering a store bought pattern or making one from scratch, the pattern teaching I received was invaluable. And to this day, I am still a much better sketcher than I am a sewer, but I'm continually improving! I'm currently working on a small and simple dress line that I'm sewing together myself to be available on Etsy soon. I'm super excited about it.

Describe a typical day in the life of Chanel Ward.
Lately I've been blogging, sewing, and doing a bit of consulting on a local lifestyle magazine. I also run a desktop publishing business that I've been operating for 9 years now and I work with my husband who does Real Estate and Property Preservation full time, so my days are pretty full.

Who are your favourite designers?
I love the simplicity, polish and wearability of a Michael Kors line, a Tracy Reese line, Isaac Mizrahi or Jason Wu. But I also like more girly, bohemian and romanticized designers, like Milly, Rebecca Taylor and Anna Sui. I can appreciate the artistry in more complex lines, say like an Alexander McQueen, but I wouldn't call them "favorites". Cleaner lines always win me over.

Name five blogs that you read religiously.
Some of them aren't really blogs, but these are my regulars:
What made you set up the Michelle O Style blog?
Because she is absolutely fascinating. Michelle Obama is highly educated, smart and accomplished, yet with all her accomplishments and education, there's a bit of whimsy and unexpected flair in her style choices. So far I haven't been able to box her into one style lane, because she keeps changing lanes and I love it. She is a designers dream with her height and stature, and I think it's wonderful that she has a real woman's body because she's making women realize that they can still look good not being a size zero.

You have six blogs; how on earth do you manage to find the time to update all of them?
That's a good question! I honestly don't update all six daily. I try to keep Hip Candy updated regularly. Michelle O. Style saw a surge in traffic around the inauguration so I tried to keep that updated around that time. The rest of my blogs I just update when I have new information or news on the subjects. So it's not as hard as one would imagine to keep up with.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Links a la' Mode: 29th January

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