Sunday, 29 March 2009

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

Yesterday I watched a documentary about photographer, Annie Leibovitz which was a close and intimate look at her life and work. The programme which was made by her sister, Barbara was aired on BBC 1 last June to celebrate her exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which ended it's run last month. Annie is a remarkable portrait photographer who takes images that capture a quality quite unlike any other. Some of her work are not very easy on the eye but there is no argument that they are extremely striking. My first recollection of Annie Leibovitz was her photograph of Demi Moore which appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair - nothing unusual about that as Demi was very hot at the time - except that she was naked and seven months pregnant. The image (which you can see above) caused a real stir and was on the cover of several newspapers and as former Vanity Fair editor, Tina Brown says, "That photo kicked off the discussion of motherhood and the discussion of the way we looked."

Annie kicked off her career in the early 70s at the newly launched Rolling Stone magazine where she carved out a niche for herself by taking intimate photographs of celebrities as well as documenting political rallies. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Ike and Tina Turner and The Rolling Stones were to just a few to mention. She adopted a method like approach to her work which entailed her living the life of her subjects. When The Rolling Stones went on tour she went with them and when they hung out backstage drinking she was right there and when they indulged drugs and alcohol she did so too. As drastic as this may be seem this practice allowed Annie to take some amazing and compelling pictures that would not have been possible if her subjects had not let their guard down. One of her most iconic images is the one of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (above) which was taken a mere five hours before Lennon was killed.

In 1983 she went over to Vanity Fair and with this move came a change from reportage images to much more glamorous and glitzy shots. Keeping in touch with the Vanity Fair remit, Annie's work now consisted of shoots with Hollywood stars such as Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg and Isabella Rossellini. So it was no surprise when she started taking images for US Vogue and she recently raised a lot of eyebrows with her cover shot of basketball star, LeBron James and model, Gisele which you can see above. Today there are not a lot of celebs who have not been shot by Annie and she is simply one of the best photographers of her time. Editors and peers all over the world are in complete admiration of her.

Here are a few of Annie's breathtaking shots:

Whoopi Goldberg - Vanity Fair

Demi Moore - Vanity Fair

Tom Ford, Kiera Knightly and Scarlett Johansson - Vanity Fair

Michelle Obama - Vogue

All pictures taken by Annie Leibovitz

Erica Bartle: The Girl With a Satchel

Erica Bartle is a blogger extraordinaire who keeps us informed and entertained at the same time with her super blog, Girl With a Satchel (GWAS). I stumbled across her delicious blog by chance when I moved to Blogger two years ago and I have been addicted ever since. GWAS basically delves into the world of glossy magazines and pop culture and gives you the heads up on what is hot and what is not. 2009 is shaping up very well for Erica with advertisers coming on board and winning a Bloggie for Best Australian Blog. I caught up with the Brisbane based blogger to get an insight into the goings on at GWAS towers.

What made you start blogging?
A serious case of narcissism. No seriously, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon as I needed a new creative outlet and going online seemed like a good idea at the time. As I was unable to speak HTML and had limited funds (I was deputy editor of a teen mag at the time), so Blogger provided the perfect platform for getting started. My first posts, in January 2007, were about a stationery store, body image, style icons, Jane magazine and Frankie magazine – I've retained pretty much the same content lineup since.

Describe the concept behind GWAS
The tagline is "A daily blog with a girlie slant - pop culture, magazines & pretty things", which pretty much sums up my key interest areas. I like to think GWAS is tapped into the feminine zeitgeist. Glossy magazine reviews and media news are the core of the blog, which gives me the platform to discuss what's happening on a wider socio-cultural spectrum from a female perspective.

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media?
Is there anyone in media who isn't aware of Perez Hilton? Blogger who have found a niche area and unique voice have been most successful in terms of competing with traditional media, while some blogs are now first sources for information for traditional media journalists. Despised by some for their lack of credibility, professionalism and guiding principles, they've undoubtedly become an integral part of the global media community and an important means for democratic discussion (and, unfortunately, also anonymous bitchiness!)

You have had a great career as a journalist can you tell us who you have worked for?
I wouldn't say it's been great, but my career has been nice to me. I've worked in advertising and PR, but got my publishing start working on a kids' magazine. Since then I've worked as a beauty editor and deputy editor on a teen magazine - Girlfriend - and freelanced for titles including Australian Marie Claire, Cleo and Cosmopolitan. I also pen pieces for various websites and media publications.

Describe a typical day in the life of Erica Bartle.
I usually wake around 6am, then spend an hour in prayer/journaling (my faith is super-important to me, though some days it's also a struggle), then it's breakfast at my laptop as I check my emails, Twitter and formulate something to post about. After my first blog post for the day, I either do some research or interviews for any freelance stories I'm working on or start working on a new blog post (reading magazines for review, hunting down information on the 'net, sending off interview questions...). There's usually a coffee run sometime mid-morning and more writing/blogging/researching from after lunch till around 6pm, when I force myself to log off. Most nights I cook dinner for my husband and I, then plonk on the couch in front of the TV if we've nowhere to be

We all know you are a total mag freak but can you name your five fav mags?
You know, most of all I actually relish the free newspaper glossy supplements we get here in Oz - Good Weekend, Sunday, Sunday Life - the features are truly excellent, the bitsy front-of-book pages are always a treat, the columnists are consistently funny and informed, and they provide just the right amount of style and/or beauty inspiration and celebrity. I could easily let my glossy subscriptions lapse and let these publications fill the void (and I've no doubt I'd be a less neurotic woman for it!).

However, if I have to choose my favourite glossies, I'd choose the publication below:

UK Vogue - I think Alexandra Shulman and team do a fantastic job.
Australian Vogue - the features are consistently good.
Frankie - an Aussie young women's mag with a decidedly un-Cosmo slant.
Girlfriend - my former teen mag stomping ground.
Madison - Australian women's mag.
Shop Til You Drop - the Aussie answer to Lucky.

Name five blogs that you read religiously

How do you see GWAS evolving over the next two years?
It's a total cliche, but GWAS is becoming a brand in its own right. I'd love to launch an online shop to coincide with the site's editorial offering and also explore video, etc. As long as there are glossies being printed, GWAS will be in business.

My 200th Post!!

Well, well, well this is my 200th post. After two wonderful years of blogging, I have reached a landmark and I am really proud of myself. Who would have thought that I would still be blogging after all this time. So to celebrate this momentous (hee hee get me being all dramatic) occasion I have revamped the blog a little and will be introducing new features over the next few months. So watch this space!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Dress

Carine Roitfeld is not the only fashion icon to be given the documentary treatment courtesy of CNN. Last year Belgium born, Diane Von Furstenberg aka DVF was featured in a short film that gave us an insight into her glittering career which resulted in the iconic wrap dress. The documentary gave us an insight into her life in the 70s when the knitted jersey wrap dress was introduced and also covered her remarkable comeback in 1997 when she launched her high end luxury collection. It would be fitting to say that DVF has come a long way since her early days and is now a heavy weight in the fashion industry what with her position as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) oh and lets not forget her role in The City. Although she has expanded her empire into a fully fledged lifestyle brand aimed at the young and beautiful who live life to the full, it is the wrap dress that everyone associates her with and it is the wrap dress that is now a staple in every fashionista's wardrobe. "Feel like a woman - wear a dress" is DVF's slogan. Women all over the world certainly felt feminine in the belted wrapped item made in pretty printed material that was inspired by a kimono. What I love about dresses is that not only do they look chic and elegant, they are so easy to wear because you do not need to worry about finding a matching top or bottom. Also they are flexible and can be glammed up or down depending on the situation. Over the last few decades some amazing dresses have made their way onto the scene and passed the strength of time.

The Galaxy Dress
This was created by Roland Mouret in 2005 and worn by almost every celeb on the land. Named after a street in London this dress made more appearances on the red carpet than I care to remember. Sienna Miller, Kiera Knightley, Victoria Beckham, Angelina Jolie, Rachel Weisz were all seen donning the figure hugging creation.

The Mini Dress
This was inspired by Mary Quant who introduced the mini skirt in 1964. The likes of Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy were seen parading in A line dresses and sleeveless shifts. Today it is still as popular as ever with shops from Topshop to H&M to Selfridges stocking it.

The Little Black Dress
What on earth would we do without one of these? This was designed by Coco Chanel back in 1926 and is still relevant today. So iconic that there has been an exhibition on the Little Black Dress aka LBD exploring the history of the piece. The LBD has also been embraced by the music industry with R&B group, En Vogue wearing black dresses in their video Hold On. Robert Plant also had a group of models wearing LBDs while acting as backing singers in his video Addicted to Love.

So it looks like the dress is here to stay for many years to come.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Oh Elle!

Think back to when you were at school and there was a boy who you knew for ages but never took notice of because he was just there. Then one day you looked up and he had gone from being just some boy in your class to this drop dead gorgeous guy. You just shook your head and went - wow - when and where did that happen? Well that is what has happened with UK Elle magazine. In the 70s and 80s UK Elle was the very poor relation to Brit Vogue; not as heavy, not as glam and not as glossy. Then in the 90s and the heyday of maverick, Glenda Bailey, UK Marie Claire started kicking ass and put Elle even further in the shade. Now it seems that has all changed because Elle is right up there making waves. Since Lorraine Candy come to the helm in 2004 she has shaken the magazine to the core by bringing in the popular and much respected Chloe Sevigny as a style advisor and snapping up photographer, Mary McCartney. She also commissioned a new design that would shape the magazine into a style and fashion bible.

The April issue of Elle features the Elle Style Awards with pictures from the event, there is a black and white pictorial of the winners as well as profiles. Donning the cover is Hollywood's sweetheart a la Jennifer Aniston. We are also treated to an interview with Burberry's creative director, Christopher Bailey which is conducted by his close pal and original Pop Idol, Will Young. With wonderful images and great layouts the overall look is extremely fresh. Normally when I buy a glossy I have only found one or two articles that are worth reading but with Elle there have been at least four or five stories that I could sink my teeth into. The next issue in May looks to be a real scorcher with pop kitten Kylie on the cover looking all 60s. So with Brit Vogue getting all generic on us and Marie Claire now getting a touch bland it looks like Elle is here to save the day for glossy magazines.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Love Me, Love My Blog

When you approach a bank for a loan to set up your business one of the questions you are asked is whether you have the support of your partner. I used to think that question was irrelevant after all it is you running the business not your partner right? Well actually wrong; the support of your partner when setting up a venture is crucial and to an extent invaluable. For it is their words of support and encouragement that will get you through the hard times and the same goes for your blog. I set out to speak to several bloggers about their blogs and the support they get from their partners. You can read the full article here on Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Links a la' Mode: 19 March

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network. You can also find the full version of Links a la Mode here in the forums.
  • A Few Goody GumDrop - A Few Goody Gumdrops asks…if you are coming apart at the seems then enter to win torn leggings from LnA!
  • Breakfast at Saks - Still sifting through Paris Fashion Week shows? Be sure to make time for Ann Demeulemeester F/W 09.10
  • Capitola Girl Jewelry Blog - Check, Please!
  • Consume or Consumed - Consume or Consumed Sees Double and Triple: On Buying Multiples
  • Couture Cult - Alison Lewis (formerly of Mooka Kinney), Spring/Summer 09
  • Debutante Clothing - Missoni is Inspired By Vintage Modernist Necklaces
  • Dogmom’s Dish - Desperately Seeking Orla
  • Fashion Daydream - What your didn’t see at Fashion Week: A behind the scenes look into fashion week, fashionistas en route to the shows and models being made up.
  • Fashion Pulse Daily - reports on the latest colors for fall 2009 — the season isn’t comprised of various hues of black or even bright colors for that matter either.
  • Felicia Sullivan - beauty & styling products that work for curly, coarse hair, really work. part 1: frederic fekkai
  • fete a fete - Larkspur & Hawk’s GORGEOUS antique and vintage inspired
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers - Burnout Aversion Tips From Bloggers
  • reLYME - An analysis of the Persian-inspired trend that’s hitting the runway
  • Retro Chick - Top 5 Ways to have fun with no money
  • Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found Gossip Girl scarves bags and jewelry oh my!
  • Solo Lisa - Sunny fashion picks inspired by Freida Pinto’s character in Slumdog Millionaire
  • Studio Purpura Fashion Blog - Shopping Hops in the Far & South East Asia! Photos to Come!
  • Style Symmetry - Check out my interview with Jennine of The Coveted!
  • Style With Anna - Fashion for Guys: How to Dress Like David Beckham
  • THE COVETED - Exclusive Video Preview & Tutorial: Benefit Smokin’ Eyes
  • the musings of ondo lady - Get ready for a retro prequel of Gossip Girl which is about the trials and tribulations of a teenage Lily van der Woodsen
  • what the pros do… - Spring Clean Your Makeup Kit!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Not many people can make the transition from singer to actor successfully but Jill Scott does it with ease and splendour. She shun like a light in the film, Why Did I Get Married where she played an emotional abused wife. Now in her role as Mma Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the only lady detective agency in Botswana she is absolute dynamite. On the quest to help the people of her beloved Botswana, Precious finds herself embroiled in various wheelings and dealings. She occasionally enlists the help her hairdresser pal, BK played by Desmond Dube and local mechanic, JLB Matekoni played by Lucian Msamati who has a soft spot for her. Then there is her loyal secretary, Mma Matuksi played by Anika Noni Rose who keeps things at the office running smoothly.

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency made it's debut last year in a 105 minutes pilot and it was very well received. The series is based on a series of novels written by Alexander McCall Smith and the script has been adapted for TV by Richard Curtis who is responsible for Brit hit films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary as well as the late Anthony Minghella who brought us The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley. With notable talents such as Curtis and Minghella on board combined with the investment by movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein the result is a captivating show with tremendous production values. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see an African country presented in a realistic light where the focus is not on kids dying from famine or AIDS, corruption or civil wars. Also the cinematography is to die for with marvellous images of the Botswanan landscape. The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is a charming and heart warming programme that reflects the fantastic qualities of a Southern African country.

The success of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency has had an amazing impact on the film scene of Botswana as well as the tourism sector who now run a tour based on the series.

Mma Precious Ramotswe

Voluptuous and vivacious, Precious has been obsessed with solving mysteries since she was a child. After the death of her father she decides to fulfill her dream and set up a detective agency. She has great intuition and is not afraid to follow her instinct in order to crack a mystery. However, despite her maverick methods she has an aversion to technology. Her style consists of gorgeous printed kaftan dresses which accentuate her curvaceous figure which is topped off with a matching alice band and funky earrings.

Mma Matuksi

She graduated from Botswana College of Business and Secretarial School with 97%, the highest mark ever. She is secretary to Precious and proves to be an invaluable asset to her and the agency. However, behind her prim and proper demeanor lies a woman who is very feisty, temperamental and who is not afraid to speak her mind. Her style consists of short sleeve shirts worn with a knee length skirt that is topped with cute cardigans and medium pumps.

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is on Sundays at 9.00pm on BBC 1.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Rouge Noir

There is nothing like a manicure to make you feel really glam. I tend to go for dark browns and browney reds (I'm sorry but I just can't get into black nail varnish) but my favourite colour is Rouge Noir by Chanel. This colour really came into it's heyday back in 1994 when Uma Thurman donned it in the cult classic, Pulp Fiction. Playing coke snorter, Mia Wallace, she made a fashionable presence in movie dressed in a white crisp shirt, black pedal pushers and loafers along with her razor sharpe bob. Her look was modelled after Danish actress, Anna Karina who was very big in the 60s and possessed a sultry look that was all big dark hair with lots of mascara and eye shadow. After the huge success of Pulp Fiction a lot of brands came out with blood red nail polish however, no one did it better than Chanel. Rouge Noir has been raved about by beauty journos and all round fashionistas.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


So it seems that CW along with everyone else cannot get enough of Gossip Girl. They love it so much that they have ordered a prequel which is based on the romance of Lily van der Woodsen nee Rhodes and Rufus Humphreys. The channel that is home to popular teen shows, 90210 as well One Tree Hill will be airing a retro version of Gossip Girl. The spin off series of which is yet to be named is set in the colourful 80s and tells the story of the teenage Lily who is the mother of protagonist, Serena van der Woodsen. Young Lily is forced to move in with her sister after falling out wth her parents when she is kicked out of her posh boarding school. She turns to big sis Carol who is a free spirited actress based in San Fernando. Unfortunately Lily is not happy for long; it seems that sleepy San Fernando is a tad bit boring for our Lily and it is not long before she is up to her old tricks. She goes in search of fun and excitement in LA and finds it in the fast paced life of Sunset Strip. Gossip Girl Retro sees Lily hanging out in restaurants, bars, clubs and totally living the Jackie Collins' 80s Hollywood life where she eventually bumps into a certain Rufus Humphreys. The show will showcase the fashion, music and pop culture of that era so you can imagine what they have in store - over the knee boots, leggings, stilettos, shoulder pads, teased hair and lots of blue eye shadow. It all kicks off on 11th May when instead of the regular GG we will be treated to a back door pilot to the spin off. Brittany Snow plays the young Lily, Krysten Ritter (who we last saw in Confessions of a Shopaholic) plays her sister Carol, Andrew McCarthy plays their father, Cynthia Watros as their mother and Serena's father, Keith van der Woodsen will be seen for the first time played by Matt Barr.

Hmm. To be honest I am not really looking forward to it. I like Rufus a lot and I find him to be a very funny, quirky yet warm character but I find Lily to be a total bore. Unlike her daughter who is charismatic and engaging, Lily comes across as being a total stiff and a snobby one to boot. I find it hard to imagine her smoking a cigarette let alone anything stronger so I am finding it hard to buy this so-called wild childhood that she experienced. I personally would have preferred to see Jenny in a spin off which takes place when Serena, Blair and co have gone onto college. Rather like the book series The It Girl but instead of trying to fit in with a cool crowd lil Jen would be Queen Bee of Constance Billard. Now that would have been riveting with Eric as her morale conscience and big brother Dan making guests appearances. GG creator's, Stephanie Savage (who I wrote about here) and Josh Schwartz's explanations for not going down the Jenny route was because they did not want to lose any of their talented cast. Now I love Steph and Josh dearly but that is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. We all know that Serena and co are off to college in the next season so what they should have done was follow their escapes on campus and launch Jenny in her own spin off. But hey what do I know? I just watch the show religiously.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Mean, Meaner, Meanest

"Women would run the world if they did not hate each other." Interesting words uttered from the mouth of Chris Rock but also very true. Where ever you look examples of girl on girl hate is prevalent; books, TV, film and music, we are all party to seeing young women treating each other badly. These are issues that author and educator, Rosalind Wiseman tackies in her book, Queen Bees and Wannabees where she looks at ways of handling aggressive girl behaviour. She also goes into the secret world of school cliques and breaks them down into six categories: Queen Bees, Wannabes, Messengers, Bankers, Targets, Torn Bystanders. Queen Bees and Wannabees is an important book because not only does it give us an insight into the socio-political inside of girl world it is also the inspiration for Mean Girls. Defined as a combination of Heathers meets Clueless, Mean Girls was released in 2004 to critical acclaim and is now regarded as one of the best teen films of all time. The success of the movie might have had something to do with the hotness of Lindsay Lohan at the time but Mean Girls is truly all about Tina Fey and her brilliant script writing skills.

Mean Girls was Tina's debut as a writer and actor in a feature film and I supposed you can say that it was also a semi bio project as the movie touched on a lot of things that she experienced at high school. The cast also includes performers from Saturday Night Live of which Tina is an integral part of. This teen dramady is the story of Cady Heron played by Lindsay Lohan, a teenager who moves to a new school after having an idyllic upbringing in an African country. New to the social rules of high school she finds herself an object of interest by The Plastics ie the Mean Girls who run the school. The Plastics are headed by Regina George played by Rachel McAdams and they take her under their wing and she finds herself escalating into the school popularity ranks. However, unknown to The Plastics, Cady is secretly plotting with social outcasts Janis Ian played by Lizzy Caplan and Damien played by Daniel Franzese to bring down Regina. As she becomes immersed in life as a Plastic Cady usurps Regina to become the new Queen Bee but pretty soon she gets addicted to her new found power and starts to neglect her real friends.

The character of the Queen Bee runs similar in a lot of films and TV shows from Heather Chandler in Heathers, Taylor Vaughan in She's All That and Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. Rosalind Wiseman defines the the Queen Bee below:

"She holds the combination of charisma, strong will, looks, money, force and manipulation. She is the centre of the group not because she is well liked but because of the fear that she holds over the group. She sets all the rules and changes them to suit her own purposes."

As enjoyable and funny as Mean Girls is, the film also has a steely edge that is a tad bit disturbing. As Tina Fey describes, the film shows how girls know how to mess with each other. Talk about art imitating life.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Retro Review: 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You totally slipped under my radar when it was released back in 1999. I 'missed' the release hype that took place ten years ago and have never got round to watching it on TV. Silly me because last weekend I realised exactly what I have been missing out on. 10 Things is another Shakespeare update that is based on The Taming of the Shrew and is the tale of two very different sisters. Kat is the elder sister played by Julia Stiles and she is an anti social feminist who is best known for her extremely sharp tongue. She spends her time listening to Riot Grrrl music, reading feminist books and sneering at teenage school life. Her sister, Bianca played by Larisa Oleynik is a total contrast. A complete and utter Valley Girl, her life consists of shopping, make up, boys and more boys. Both sisters are forbidden to date by their over protective Father and while this may suit Kat it infuriates Bianca who has her eye on lothario, Joey Donner who is played by Andrew Keegan. However their Father relents and comes up with a new rule that Bianca can date as soon as her sister starts dating. Meanwhile Bianca is also pursued by newcomer, Cameron James played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who comes up with a plan in order to get Kat dating. He enlists the services of Patrick Verona played by the late Heath Ledger, who is as much of a misfit as Kat and a rebel without a cause. He is hired by Joey to take Kat out on a date after negotiations with Cameron proved fruitless.

While 10 Things has does not steer from traditional romcom values it proves to be an utterly charming film. Julia Stiles is surprisingly brilliant as the kick ass Kat while Heath Ledger shows early signs of the amazing acting that led to his Oscar win. The scene where he serenades Kat with the song, 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You' is hilarious. Larissa Oleynik is kind of ok as Bianca and it was nice to see her working again after her show, The Secret World of Alex Mack. However, the success of the film really belongs to Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger who show a lot of chemistry.

Now this cute film has a TV series follow up which will hit the small screen this year. Gil Junger who directed the film is back onboard and newbies Lindsey Shaw and Meaghan Jette-Martin play Kate and Bianca respectively. I am a bit sceptical about this as I was not a fan of the TV version of Clueless but I do think it is kind of cool that they have waited 10 years before they made the show and sort of poignant.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Me, My Blog and I

A couple of months ago I was feeling down and a sent a text to a mate and she replied saying "You have a fabulous life; you go to great fashion shows and you have a great blog." I was like huh? Blogging is just a thing. Then I thought deep and hard; my blog may not be life and death but it is a lot of fun and makes me happy. I wonder how many other bloggers feel the same or maybe blogging is just something to do when they are bored. So I decided to interview five bloggers and ask them what part their blogs play in their lives. You can read the article here on Independent Fashion Bloggers. Tell me what you think.

Links à la Mode: 5th March

Check out the latest offerings in the world of style and fashion from the Independent Fashion Bloggers network. You can also find the full version of Links á la Mode here in the forums.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Carine Roitfeld Revealed on CNN

Just in case you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms after watching Running in Heels on Sunday and you really cannot wait till The September Issue hits the screen late this year then you will be delirious to know that a new fashion reality show is coming your way. CNN are airing a fly on the wall documentary about the charismatic Carine Roitfeld, the editor-in-chief of French Vogue. The show is part of CNN's Revealed which is a TV and Web program that delves into the world of iconic figures. Revealed offers a glimpse of the private people behind their public profiles in the run up to important moments in their lives. Personalities that have been featured are Venus Williams, Diane von Furstenberg and Roland Emmerich. Coming up later this month is Carine who will be seen attending shows in New York and Paris during fashion week. She has been described as a genius bordering on lunatic but everyone just simply idolizes Carine. The dynamic editor wears many hats; Tom Ford's muse, Mario Testino's favourite stylist as well as mother to Julia Restoin Roitfeld (who is the face of Mango) and Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld (who is a budding photographer. Carine's name is often mentioned in awe by fashionistas around the world who all love her for her edgy fashion spreads and slightly punky covers.

CNN: Revealed on Carine Roitfeld airs during the following dates (GMT):

Wednesday 18th March @ 0930 and 1830
Saturday 21st March @ 0830 and 1900
Sunday 22nd March 22 @ 0530 and 1830
Monday 23rd March @ 0400

In case you miss it, do not worry because the show will be posted on here on CNN:Revealed.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Review: Running in Heels

I am in love! I have fallen hook, line and sink for the brand new series, Running in Heels. My past loves before that were The Fashionista Diaries and Stylista but trust me, this is the real deal. Running in Heels is a reality show that documents the lives of the staff on US Marie Claire. The show made it's debut on the Style Network last Sunday and judging by the messages on Twitter, has been a raging success. I tuned in for my fix courtesy of iTunes tonight and was completely and utterly riveted. There has been a lot of media mutterings about this new reality show because of a few reasons: firstly, it has been dubbed as the real life version of The Devil Wears Prada, secondly, the appointment of fashionista Nina Garcia as fashion director and thirdly, the comparison to Stylista which was based on US Elle. Running in Heels focuses on the journalists and editors at the glossy magazine in particular Joanna Coles who is editor-in-chief. You will be in no great shock to hear that she is a Brit who is juggling marriage and motherhood along with a hectic career that she loves. Joining the high octave staff on the publication is Project Runway's Nina Garcia who was previously at Elle. However, the real stars of the show are the interns - Ashley from Washington DC, Talita from LA (along with Chanel her Chi-whatever dog) and Samantha from Wisconsin. The trio are vying for a position at Marie Claire and are all ultra competitive and as luck would have it they are sharing a trendy apartment in Manhattan. Roll on the drama and with Chanel peeing all over the place it looks like it won't be long before the sparks fly.

The first episode kicks off with New York Fashion Week where the staff not only have to attend as many shows and parties as possible but also need to host a welcome party for Nina Garcia. This is no ordinary bash because the purpose is to raise the profile of Marie Claire and the only way to do this is by gaining media exposure and column inches. Hence the courting of many celebrities such as Heidi Klum and Lindsay Lohan who happens to be on the latest issue. Despite all the gloss, Running in Heels really depicts the complexities of producing a magazine. You are shown the anxiety of the staffers when they await Nina's arrival. We also see the politics that come into organising Nina's party; getting the goody bags right, the perfect guest list, the celebs there and going to great lengths to make sure that the right issue of the magazine is placed casually on the tables. Then there are the interns who from the word go prove to be a competitive and feisty lot. There is no holding back on the back stabbing and the bitching as they vie for that coveted spot. After the whole hype surrounding Stylista, I was not sure what to expect from this show but I was intrigued about the ambiance between the junior and senior members of staff and how this would translate to TV. The result is a resounding success and a well rounded show that is exciting to watch yet without the over zealous continuing drama. I cannot wait to see the next installment.

Across the pond UK Marie Claire is celebrating entering Spring mode by getting all happy on us. The April issue is dedicated to happiness and features a sunny Blake Lively from Gossip Girl, looking all radiant. The issue is wrapped in a large sexy package which also contains a tub of Neal's Yard Remedies face cream. So go out and buy it and grab some happiness.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Retro Review: Clueless

So now I know where the phrase, 'My Bad' came from. After years of hit and miss I decided to watch Clueless today and I am so glad I did because I feel like I have just fitted the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Clueless is based on Emma which is a novel written by super scribe Jane Austen and it features Cher Horowitz played by Alicia Silverstone, a sweet natured Beverly Hills princess who is just a tad bit pampered and self involved. This film is one of many adaptation of novels penned by Jane Austen and William Shakespeare that hit the scene in the 90s. Remember Romeo + Juliet and 10 Things I hate About You - films that were based on popular period dramas and were given a modern twist. Well Clueless led the pack of films aimed at the MTV Generation and is now revered as the ultimate teen comedy.

Cher and her best friend Dionne played by Stacey Dash are the most popular girls in school which is fitting as they are both named after the singers. Cher lives with her lawyer father in a big mansion and her life is picture perfect although it is marred slightly by a short visit by her former step brother, Josh played by Paul Rudd. Josh and Cher are poles apart as he is a deep thinking intellectual while Cher's deepest challenge is sussing out which pair of shoes to wear. The banter between the duo is very entertaining and serves as a focal point for the film as Josh's comments about Cher's superficiality leads her to become less involved. She becomes something of a match maker by setting up her two teachers on a date and while doing this she develops a taste for helping people. So when new girl, Tai played by Brittany Murphy joins the school Cher takes her under her wing, giving her a makeover which escalates Tai's popularity. Meanwhile she becomes so wrapped up in sorting out other people's love lives that she does not notice that she has an admirer of her own.

I will admit that the reason why I did not rush to see this film when it was released back in 1995 was because of the title which sounded like a lightweight comedy. By god was I wrong, Clueless is iconic in so many ways and way ahead of its time. Without this film there would be no Legally Blonde (which is really the naughties version of Clueless), and there would definitely be no Mean Girls. That snappy dialogue that had everyone keeling over set the benchmark for how teen comedies should be. Director, Amy Heckerling certainly did her homework here and conveys pop culture in the most accurate form.

It was the first film to portray how teenagers spoke to each other. Hence phrases such as 'Whatever,' 'Totally,' 'As If,' and of course 'My bad.'

The film was full of cute plaid suits, baby doll dresses and over the knee socks, all of which became the rage in the mid 90s.

TV Series
The success of the film led to a spin off TV series which starred a few of the key characters. Cher was played by another actress.

A collection of books were released after the film came out.

There is no doubt in my mind that Clueless is a pop cultural phenomenon.

In case you are a Clueless fanatic you can buy the special DVD edition, Clueless Whatever holds interview with the cast and delves into the fashion and trends from the film. You can purchase it here.