Friday, 31 December 2010

Say Hello to 2011

Wow another year has come and gone already and can you believe that I have been blogging for four whole years? Today is the fourth anniversary of The Musings of Ondo Lady. First of all let me start off by wishing you a belated Merry Xmas. I never really got into the spirit of Xmas due to not having much money and the really crappy weather. Wishing for a white Christmas. Really? I don't think so - we practically had one and it was lousy. Well onto the next. 2011 is round the corner and before we welcome the New Year let's reminisce on the current one. Well in 2010 I started learning how to drive, joined a gym and finally got round to decliuttering my house and I also set up a mini office. I was invited to quite a few great PR events and experienced some wonderful perks. I don't have any resolutions for 2011 except to enjoy life and concentrate on doing what I love - rather similar to the image above which I find totally inspiring. Bring on 2011, I am sure it will be a good one!

Getting Away With It: The Inside Story of Loaded by Tim Southwell

To me loaded is right up there with Playboy in the 1950s and Rolling Stone in the 1960s. It changed the magazine industry completely and even more than that it weaved itself into the fabric of society.
Derek Harbinson, editor of loaded between 1997 and 1998.
Who remembers loaded magazine? During my weekly browse through amazon I came across a book called Getting Away With It: The Inside Story of Loaded by Tim Southwell. Along with the infamous James Brown (journalist not the singer) and Mick Bunnage, Southwell created loaded which was a publication that celebrated British men having the time of their lives. Unlike their counterparts, Arena, GQ, Esquire and For Him (later rebranded as FHM and found success as a loaded imitation) which took themselves very seriously, loaded took a lot of pleasure in making fun of themselves. The publication launched in 1994 selling just over 59,000 and went on to sell an almighty 400,000 plus in 1997. This was in an era where men's magazines were relatively new so it is no surprise that Southwell has touted loaded as the greatest magazine that the world has seen and of course being a respectable journo he set out to document his experience in a book which was published in 1998.
As a magazine junkie, I just had to read Southwell's memoirs so I could find out exactly what it was like being part of the loaded experience. I will admit that I was no loaded fan, I think I bought an issue when the magazine was at its peak to find what all the fuss was about but it did not speak to me. However, I did admire the spirit of the brand and the way it captured the current era. The mid nineties was the birth of Cool Britannia what with the explosion of Oasis, Euro 96 and loaded were right in the midst of it all and capturing it. The publication was so influential that not only did male magazines start copying them it also inspired the launch of female publications such as Minx that were aimed at ladettes. Tim Southwell and James Brown became friends in 1992 while celebrating their beloved Leeds United defeat Stuttgart in the European Cup in Barcelona. Whether it was the elation of seeing their team win or the high energy of all the drink and atmosphere in Spain but this got their creative juices going and they came up with an idea for a men's magazine.

Southwell takes us through his experience with loaded from working on the dummy in order to test the viability to working round the clock to launch the first issue and recruting talented writers, editors and designers. He also shares with us the highlights of working on a publication which was a huge cultural phenomenon and  gave birth to the lad culture which became a manifest of the 90s. Interviewing many a celeb and being interviewed by the media to talk about the success of loaded or on lad mania. He comments on what it was like being part of the loaded team with the plethora of titles at IPC towers and how inspiring it was to bump ideas with a crazy, wacky, creative bunch of like minded misfits. The book is a compelling look into the world of magazines especially the synergy it takes to run a successful one. Oh and let's not forget the politics that were involved and creative differences, Southwell bumping heads with Brown in the typical deputy editor does all the slog while the editor takes all the credit scenario. There are stories from members of the loaded crew such as Martin Deeson, Michael Holden and Bill Borrows. Southwell"s writing is just right and his prose is totally engrossing and I was hooked from page one. In addition, loaded really takes me back to the 90s when magazines were being launched all over the place and when things were pretty damm cool. loaded is still being published but is now a mere shadow of itself with circulation figures of 50,000 recorded this August.

Getting Away With It: The Inside Story of Loaded is available to buy from amazon.

Check out the clip above with James Brown from the Inspiring Entrepreneurs event at British Library, called Hot Off the Press from a few years back.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Fashion Forward: Making It

Fashion Night's Out is a genius event which was dreamt up by Anna Wintour, the inaugural event took place last year with a handful of cities taking part and this year cities all over the world joined in the Fashion's Night Out fun. Well this event has been captured in the form of a documentary called Fashion Forward: Making It. Ashley Greene who is best known for her role in Twilight hosted a documentary on what it takes to make it in the fashion industry. New generation fashionistas such as Alexandra Wang and Rag and Bone, outside talent such as Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake and insiders such as Tory Burch and Tabitha Simmons are featured. And of course no fashion documentary would be complete without Anna Wintour. Using last September's Fashion's Night Out as a catalyst, Ashley looks at the energy of the fashion industry. We kick off with Alexander Wang and his gradual descendant onto the fashion scene and he takes us through the themes of his collections. We meet Tabitha Simmons, a top stylist who has worked at Vogue and was solely responsible for putting together the huge fashion show that took place at Fashion's Night Out. We see how she got her foot on the styling ladder through a part time job at a shop and then a few years later she went off to NYC and worked on a variety of magazines till she landed the gig at Vogue. We then go to rag & bone aka the Brit duo Marcus Wainwright and David Neville who gave up their mundane office jobs to set up their funky menswear. We get to see the methods in which they create their quality tailored clothing.
So from bona fide designers we moved onto music artists come designers. Justin Timberlake and his best friend, Trace Ayala founded William Rast in 2006 after many hours of dreaming and discussing having their own fashion label. According to Justin Timberlake, William Rast as a little bit country and rock and roll and with leather and jean etching, the label really reflects Timberlake's lifestyle. Gwen Stefani's label Lamb has been going strong for a good few years and is basically an extention of what she wears on stage. What is interesting about Lamb and William Rast is that they have made their labels available in mainstream shops such as Target and at reasonable prices so their fan base can buy into their lifestyle without breaking the bank. There is a also mini feature on Eric Daman who is the costume designer  for Gossip Girl - remember a few months back I wrote about how Gossip Girl were dedicating two episodes of Fashion's Night Out to the show? Well Fashion Forward looks at how the event was seamlessly meshed into the explosive storylines.
The next section looked at three up and coming designers are emerging into the fashion scene. Young talent such as Prabal Gurung who has dressed Michelle Obama, Bibhal Mohapatra is a seasoned designer who has been working on his collection while slogging away for other designers and Alice Witter got hit by the fashion bug when she moved from France to New York. She started running up pieces on her sewing machine and now she has her own label which is inspired by her native Paris. The last section looks at what happens after you have made it. Tory Burch brings us into her life as a successful designer with stores in cities all over America as well as a certain Oprah Winfrey as a fan. She now has her own foundation where she invest in young women with have great ideas for businesses. Fashion Forward is a truly comprehensive look at how to get into the fashion industry with great and vibrant case studies telling us their fantastic stories. Whether you are fashion enthusiast, fascinated by glamorous image of the sector and looking to make a living out of if, this programme has something for everyone.

Those in the US can catch Fashion Forward: Making It on CWTV.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

My Space - Yrsa Daley-Ward from This Will Not Last

It takes a brave chick to up sticks and set up home albeit temporary in another country but that is exactly what Yrsa Daley-Ward did this year when she set off to South Africa. In between modeling and pursuing her acting dreams, Yrsa writes features, short stories and songs. She recently set up a blog which displays her personal and working life home and abroad. This Will Not Last contains Yrsa's random thoughts on drinking, working on a photo shoot and life in South Africa and is really fascinating to read. I caught up with her to find out where she blogs.

Describe the concept of your blog.
There is no real set concept for my blog - it is a very new personal blog documenting my life and experience as a model, woman, traveller...etc. I try to include things which inspire me, annoy me, make me laugh, make me think. Who knows where it will end. As I said, it's very early days but I have posted pictures from shoots and hope to continue featuring things of interest, rants, pictures and accounts of my the places that I go and the people that I meet.

Where do you scribe?
I scribe in my apartment on the sofa, and sometimes in bed.

Why that place?
I am most relaxed when in my own space, in the middle of the day, or on an evening after work.
What is on your sofa at the moment?
My writing pad and my remote control are currently on my sofa. Neither of them have been touched in a while.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall.
My walls are bare. Brick walls actually. Perhaps I will rectify this. Perhaps then I will have more to write in my writing pad.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I am a messy person, but not a messy worker. I always know where my books, laptops and pens are. Everything else...not so much.

You can check out Yrsa's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Stylelikeu Trailer from Stylelikeu on Vimeo.
I love checking out new websites especially those on style and fashion and it is really cool to read one that brings such a personal touch. As technology progresses and social media blurs the lines between voyeurism and intrusion the web gives us a variety of content to feast on. Stylelikeu is a site that features stylish people and delves into their lives to find out what makes them tick, their influences, likes and dislikes and motivations. The website contains a profile on each person along with great images, a short bio and quote from the interviewee. However the USP of the Stylelikeu are the wonderful videos made which features the interviewees talking about their wardrobe, (they go through different outfits and talk about why they bought them) music, their careers and most importantly why fashion is so important to them. So while The Satorialist and Facehunter capture people on the street, with a Selby (esq) feel Stylelikeu shows them inside their homes.
Stylelikeu was set up by mother and daughter team, Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum in 2008 in order to provide an outlet for people who express themselves through their clothes. The aim of the website is to provide a platform where these people can connect with like-minded people. Stylelikeu now comprise of a team of 15 who work hard behind the scenes. The brand has become so successful that they have extended into book publishing with their first book to be released next April. I really love this website and find it genius and in an era where everyone and their dog is setting up a website this one really stands out. Elisa is the former fashion editor of US Glamour and has worked as a stylist while daughter, Lily is studying film and anthropology at NYU so they both know what they are doing.

You can check out Stylelikeu here.

You can follow them on Twitter.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

In the Editor's Chair - Abubukar Tafawa-Balewa

Remember back in the 90s in the midst of Cool Britannia when The Spice Girls, Oasis, Blur and Brit fashion designers ruled? Well heading the creastwave was a lads magazine called Loaded which set the trend for so-called lad culture which was really an excuse for men to drink loads of beer, smoke lots of cigarettes (or anything stronger) and behave like overgrown chimps. Loaded was created in 1994 by James Brown, Mick Bunnage and Tim Southwell and was so successful that it caused other male magazines such as FHM and Maxim to follow them. Well Loaded is still at large but nowhere near as high profile as it was and the debauchery that was now in men's magazines has now been replaced with a more stylish and quirky feel that is bordering on geek chic. Publications such as GQ and Esquire are aimed at a more culture orientated crowd and focus on fashion and music. A lot of international male magazines are going down this route as well. Take Mode Men magazine which is a publication aimed at Nigerian men, which focuses on style, gadgets and trends. The magazines was set up by Abubukar Tafawa-Balewa in 2006 when he saw a gap in the market.

How did you get into journalism?
I've always loved magazines after a short stint in legal practice, I decided there was a gap in the Nigerian men's magazine market. I knew loads of men like myself who had to buy GQ and Esquire monthly, I felt the Nigerian/Black man needed something of our own. It started off as a joke and we are about five years in the business.

Describe the concept of Mode men and the idea behind the name.
The concept has always been to have a magazine for stylish men who like the good things of life and who want to be up to date on trends and gadgets etc. The name has been something I had in my head from secondary school funny as it may sound... It was an acronym for 'men of distinctive elements'. It was amazing to see the 'Ugly Betty' series a year after we launched.

The design is very slick, how did you decide on the art design of the publication?
Each edition has a theme, that theme determines the cover. This particular issue is our 'men of the year issue', normally we have multiple covers but this year we decided to feature style mentor, Stan Mukoro alone as he had two nominations. Stan is style and class personified so we went with that in mind for the cover and the result was satisfactory.
Who is behind Mode Men?
Myself and my team. I'm the Editor-in-chief and double as a creative director. I have a wonderful, dedicate team supporting me.

How many members of staff work on the magazine?
We have a total number of ten but we are currently expanding as we go monthly, so we will be hiring a few more hands. We also work with a lot of freelance stylists, photographers, make up artists etc..

Describe a day in the life of Abukakar Tafawa-Balewa.
Two days are never the same for me. As a creative person I work at all and odd hours. Inspiration can come at 2.00am or 4.00am. I'm up early most days, pray, exercise (if I'm up to it). shower and head to the office. From there anything can happen: meetings, photo shoots, interviews, presentations, trips to London, Abuja... I don't have a closing time. I've spent many nights at the office also.

Which blogs do you check out regularly?
Bella Naija, Linda Ikeji and a few men's blogs.

What magazines do you read?
GQ, Esquire, Vibe and Vanity Fair. I also read Ebony and Essence.

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become a magazine editor?
You need to love magazines, information and reading.

The Dec/Jan issue of Mode Men is out now.

You can check out the Mode Men website.

Monday, 13 December 2010

For Colored Girls

There has been a lot of reviews and discussions on this show all (of which I have read) and one thing that has become clear about For Colored Girls is that it is indeed a contentious film. When you have a director as controversial as Tyler Perry making a film based on the iconic play and book (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When Rainbow is Enuf) by Ntozake Shange which is much loved then you are going to have drama. The thing about books is that they lead itself for the reader to have a sense of ownership; for while films are watched with others you are really reading a book alone. This act allows you to create an image in your head about which you hold close to your heart and it is no different with For Colored Girls. To get up to speed, For Colored Girls actually started life as a play back in 1975 and has been performed on Broadway and in 1977 it was adapted into a book of 20 poems. The theme of the book is expressing the many struggles of African-American women. The play features seven women who represent a specific shade of colour aka Lady in Yellow and Lady in White and hence the title.
Now this brings me onto the film itself which has a wonderful cast consisting of Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Kimberley Elise, Anii Noni Rose, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad. Hill Harper, Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick and Khalil Kain play the male supporting roles. All nine female characters have entwining stories that link them to one another and each female represents a particular colour. Gilda played by Phylicia Rashad is the busy body manager of a rundown apartment complex in Harlem which is occupied by Crystal who is in an abusive relationship with her partner and father of two child, Beau Willie who is played by Michael Ealy. The other tenants are Juanita played by Loretta Devine who has given her heart to the wrong man and Tangie played by Thandie Newton, a promiscuous barmaid who picks up men and discards them quickly. Tangie has a really destructive relationship with her mother, Alice played by Whoopi Goldberg who is a sanctimonious bible basher and who has placed all her hopes and dreams on her youngest daughter and Tangie's little sister, Nyla played by Tessa Thompson who is about to go off to college. Nyla also takes dance lessons at a class run by Yasmine played by Anika Noni Rose who is a lady full of passion, energy and a light that is about to be smashed to pieces by her suiter, Bill played by Khalil Kain. Joanna played by Janet Jackson is the editor of a glossy magazine and also Crystal's boss. Cold and intimidating, Joanna rules her office with an iron fist but she is unable to keep tabs on her husband, Carl played Omari Hardwick who steps out with other men. Kelly played by Kerry Washington is a social worker who is concerned about the welfare of Crystal's two children but is struggling with the fact that she cannot have a baby with her husband, Donald played by Hill Harper. Tough issues such as sexual abuse, infidelity, rape, domestic violence, abortion and abandonment are covered here but is it a horrific tragedy that brings all of the nine women together and makes them realise their strength.
First of all I LOVED this movie, I can quite honestly say that I have not watched a film that made me laugh and also make me want to cry.  There are some really harrowing scenes that made me cover my face but Tyler's script really draws you in. I also liked the contemporary feel and look of the film and despite blatantly stealing the character of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada (who Joanna is clearly based on) I thought this addition really helped to bring For Colored Girls into the 21st Century. The main characters are instantly relateable although with nine female leads you do find yourself forgetting about the characters until they pop back onto the screen. There are some truly wonderful performances here especially from Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton and Phylicia Rashad.  Kimberly does the ever suffering woman theme very well and takes this role to another level so I was not surprised to hear that she got grey hairs from playing Crystal because all of her scenes were really intense. Thandie is hilarious and provides a lot of laughs as the neurotic Tangie, Anika brings a level of intensity to her role while Loretta provides a sense of compassion. Phylicia's performance stood out to me mainly because I only really know her as Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show but she really throws herself into this opposing character with amazing results. I thought Janet Jackson was really stiff in the role as Joanna, I do believe that Janet is a moderate actress but I feel that she was really stretched in this film. In the movie each character recites a monologue from the book and while the other actresses deliver theirs perfectly, Ms Jackson leaves a lot to be desired. I personally think that Angela Bassett would have acted the hell out of this role but then Bassett has become rather typecast as the angry Black woman.
Aside from the great characters the cinematography is wonderful with rich and beautiful shots of the women and lush exterior shots of New York. Despite the outcry Tyler Perry's latest offering is not a film about male bashing, it is a story about the perils that Black women face with and without Black men. As for Tyler, he has excelled himself here, I did wonder how he would merge Ntozake Shange's poetry within the film and although in some places it is a bit jerky overall it is not a bad effort and Perry is assisted with the stellar talent at his disposal. However, Tyler excels himself with theme of 'colors' and it is woven into the film subtly through the clothes the women wear along with make up and jewellery.  The verdict is that this is definitely the most mature piece of work that Tyler Perry has done to date.

For Colored Girls is out now in the UK.

Check out the official website.
If the trailer has wetted your appetite then check out the behind scenes mini documentary about the film below.

PS: I saw this film at The Empire with a wonderful group of Black women and I was not impressed with the fact that it was screened in the smallest cinema (approx 30 seats) which was tucked away at the top floor. Not cool Empire cinema!

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Passionistas

Last week Chuck D went off on one while describing his disgust for the music industry and this week, fellow blogger, Wendi B Writes talked about the demise of the industry and frankly how boring it is. However, it is not just the music business that seems to be dying a slow and painful death the film industry is not looking any better either. There is a famous saying that there are only ten original scripts in Hollywood which are recycled year in year out  and add that to practically every book and vintage TV series being turned into a movie then this all adds up to a creatively dire film scene. Despite all this nothing gets my goat than an actor, writer or singer (or all three)  who decides to embark on a passion project. A passion project is a book or TV show that an actor or writer falls in love with, snaps up the rights quickly and then appoints themselves as producer or director. This means that they have a say on the casting and the script and pretty much everything else. It is beautiful to see a person fulfilling their potential and getting out of their comfort zone but when is too much too much? The danger with passion projects is that they too often turn into an act of vanity and cause the person in charge to lose all sense of reason.
Take Terry McMillan, the film adaptation of Waiting to Exhale was superb but sadly her second adaptation, How Stella Got Her Groove Back was not. Why? Well simply because Forest Whitaker directed the film and exercised his critical eye to edit out all the crap but with How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan was a bit more involved and let's say her passion led her astray and what we ended up with was a self indulgent movie that overstayed it's time. My most memorable passion moment was having to endure Drew Barrymore in Charlies Angels. Now I like Drew and I admire her for the way she has rebuilt her career since her drinking and drug days. But seriously do you really think she would have got that role in Charlie"s Angels if she did not own the rights to the film which she produced under Flower Films  - her production company? The same air of delusions of grandeur applies to Queen Latifah. in Just Wright (read a review of the film). She plays Leslie Wright who is the best friend of Morgan played by Paula Patton, a sexy basketball groupie who has her eye on NBA star Scott McKnight played by Common. When Scott is injured Morgan runs out on him and Leslie and Scott get closer. Then Morgan comes back leaving Scott to choose between the two ladies. Guess who wins? Yep, Leslie does which led to a lot of laughter in the cinema because in real life we all know that would have never happened. But hey when you are the joint owner of the production company behind the film then your character can end up with any guy you damm well please.
Passion projects don"t just have to be carried out by actors, those behind the screen can be just as lethal. Brad Pitt was so in love with the memoirs of Elizabeth Gilbert that he decided that he had to turn the blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love into a film (read the review here). No surprise there as a lot of successful books have been made into films (some more better than others) but to me Pitt got too ahead of himself by persuading Julia Roberts to play the lead role. I have not got round to reading Eat, Pray, Love but a lot of people have told me how great the book is and what an impact it made on their lives. This film really had the potential to be a really insightful and moving piece of work but what we ended up with was a glorified, pretentious chick flick trying to be all deep. The main problem with the film was the lead character - a film like that needed an actress who could throw herself into the role and let it take over her. To me Julia Roberts was all wrong because the movie became all about her and not the message that was being conveyed. However there are times when passion projects can be very successful hence Charlize Theron with the mega hit film, Monster which she co-produced and earned herself a Golden Globe and Oscar in the process. Sometimes passion projects do work but you need to keep your head in tact. The next passion project that I have my eye on is Getting Rid of Matthew by Jennifer Aniston. The book was written by Jane Fallon and is about a PR lady who in embroiled in a love affair with a married man. Jennifer bought the rights of the book two years ago and is producing it with her Kristin Hahn with whom she has set up a production company with. Watch this space.

The picture at the top is of Drew Barrymore at her offices of her production company, Flower Films.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Luella's Guide to English Style by Luella Bartley

Being English is not about being obvious or sexy - it is about being interesting and illogically brilliant.
Luella Bartley, 2010
After a good few years of collecting style books I have finally grown weary of them, I mean there is only so much you can gain from reading about how to be chic isn't there?  Last year I kept hearing that hip designer, Luella Bartley was writing a book on English style which intrigued me as I am an admirer of her work but then it went all quiet. Last week while having my weekly browse through amazon I came across Luella's book which is called Luella's Guide to English Style so I snapped it up. Luella actually started off working in fashion journalism before she launched her collection so I was actually expecting the book to be along the lines of The Meaning of Sunglasses which is written by popular fashion journalist, Hadley Freeman which is an A to Z of fashion. In contrary, Luella's book is comprehensive and historic look at English style.
The book is divided into 10 sections which include a lengthy introduction on what English style is. According to Luella the English rose is a "multi- faceted dresser with an unrivalled eye for irony and English grannys for their quirky and batty style. She refers to them as fillies and gives a shout out to Agatha Christie, the fictional Miss Marple, Vivienne Westwood, The Queen and Maggie Thatcher. Luella takes us through her years at Central St Martins and onto her beginnings in the fashion industry where she was assistant at ES magazine to Lowri Turner. She also talks about landing a column at Vogue and eventually following her dream of launching her own fashion label. Then we are moved onto the seven stages of women which explores how the English lady gains her sense of style from her early years and then we move onto the great British Bosom. The next section delves into Birds of Britain where Luella talks about her favourite British birds (stylish brit women) who she defines as possessing all the traditional Brit qualities but are also inspirational. The birds include Princess Anne, punk icon, Poly Styrene, Marianne Faithful, Melanie Ward, Kate Bush, Justine Frischmann (lead singer of Elastica), the Duchess of Devonshire, Vivienne Westwood, Paula Yates, Vita Sackville-West, PJ Harvey, Mary Quant and Lily Allen. The next chapter, Love, Sex and Tomboys looks at the way the English figures deal with intimate things such as underwear, puberty and sex. This takes us to Tribes of Britannia and their different looks and cultures; punk, grime, Teddy Boys, New Romantics, post-punk as well as Hoxtonians where she gives us a fascinating look into the birth of Hoxtonian coolness. We are treated to a directory of English garb which is the lowdown on pieces of the English wardrobe from tea dresses to parkas to duffel coats and much more. Pretty in Pink talks about how iconic the colour pink has been in English fashion from punk, Thomas Pink, preppy pink and princess pink. Luella also looks at the sub cultures in England such as the creatives from art colleges, graduates of street style and the users of taste and irony. Last but not least is a list of iconic shops all over England.
Reading this book makes you realise exactly how well embedded and connected Luella is to various arms of brit creatives. Katie Grand and Giles Deacon were her class mates at Central St Martins and Justine Frischmanm used to be her landlady. These people are some of the most important figures in pop culture in the UK. Well connected or not there is no doubting Luella's knowledge on English style. Her philosophy is interesting; that any decent English fashionista cannot find their real self in a chic department store like Harvey Nicks unless they have served their apprenticeship in markets, high street, charity shops and jumble shops. She raises some really great points such as that young women pick the wrong icons to follow as oppose to following independent and original ones. At last someone who is not afraid to speak up against the invasion of the plastic princesses. There have been complaints that this book is too London centric but I think that is a bit unfair as Luella is London based. Luella's Guide to English Style is a fantastic gem of  a book that covers nuts and bolts in English style as well as the innovators and shapers that lead the way. The look of the book is very clever and is designed in an olde English style with a slightly distressed golden brown cover, there are gorgeous illustration of various English fashion icons but the image I like the best is of a country pile with a St Georges flag raised. The back of the book has words of David Bowie "They'll never clone ya." Which I think says it all.

Luella"s Guide to English Style is available to buy on amazon.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Thrift America

One of the many cool things that America are famous for are their wonderful thrift shops which host an abundance of quirky stuff such as home interiors, books, records and of course clothes. There was a time when only the geeky kid or the poor trailer kid ventured into thrift stores to pick up a bargain but ever since the vintage renaissance every fashionista is in and out of those places. I will admit that thrift stores have caught my attention so I was really pleased when I heard that Alexa Chung will be fronting a new show called Thrift America where she will be travelling round the States looking around consignment shops, garage sales and flea markets for objects of delights. She will be co-hosting the show with Maya Singer, editor of and the duo will be stopping off at cities such as Orlando, Detroit, Nashville, Alabama and Brooklyn. They also go to Paris and London which is fantastic but a bit odd considering that the show is called Thrift America. I am not a huge Alexa fan, her charms are totally lost on me but I cannot deny that she is perfect for this show what with her grungy and quirky(ish) style but this show sounds totally irresistible. For a start the first episode kicks off at London Fashion Week with Alexa helping gothic jewellery designer, Pamela Love set up a pop-up shop and you know how I feel about pop-up shops. Ooohh I can feel myself getting excited as I type.

Thrift America will be aired next summer on PBS. No dates have been set for the UK but as soon as I get them I will keep you posted.

Image taken from Alexachungworld.

She Said, He Said

She is..NYC is one of those blogs that is a one stop shop for stories on fashion, music, film, magazines and celebrity. Like Jezebel, Gawker and Mad News, this blog is one of the places where you stop to grab your quick guilty pleasures. She is...NYC was set up by Elle Morlock in 2008 and since then she has amassed an array of followers. Her use of vibrant images and original editorial has brought her to the cusp of pop culture in the wonderful world of blogsphere. It is no surprise to hear that Elle is indeed a stylist as her great style comes out in her blog. I caught up with her to find out more about her and her blog.

What made you start blogging?
Well I've been writing poetry for the last ten years. I used to post some of my writings online and a friend of mine, Brie suggested I start a blog. It started out one dimensional but now its multi-faceted.

Describe the concept behind She is...NYC.
I never really sat and thought about what the blog would be, what it would consist of... I'm a little bit of a lot of things [laughs], I just wanted to convey that. There are so many gossip sites, I knew I didn't want be an outright carbon copy of that... I mean, I myself sift through a few of those, but they don't sustain me or give me something to think about long after the computer is off. I think my site reflects the real me, not the surface me. Even though at first glance it may appear very surface. If you pay attention to the quality of entertainment features, personal writings and more, readers will see its more than gloss. I want my readers to feel like individuals. To be informed (from a credible source) and be inspired. She Is...NYC I am, a little bit of everything...

Over the last year bloggers have really made their mark in the fashion industry, how do you think they will continue to push the boundaries over the next few years?
We rely so much on technology, namely our computers. At this point the possibilities are endless. Bloggers are doing so much more than just sitting behind a computer screen commenting on designer collections. They're being named Newsweek's most influential, hosting red carpet specials, banking over a million dollars in revenue and shooting major ad campaigns. I don't see a sector where a blogger cannot flourish.

How do you keep in touch with all the latest news in music, film and fashion?
Well me, I live, eat, sleep and breathe all of those things and that's something I've been doing well before I started my blog two years ago. I'm a very expressive person. Music, movies, and fashion have always helped me to understand myself. So I read a lot of magazines, watch a lot of movies and buy a lot of CD's... plus I'm glued to the number 1 information resource on average six hours a day.

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2006 with two degrees. I'm a credited wardrobe stylist. I freelance on various styling jobs and work with personal clients. One of my ultimate goals is to win an Oscar for costume design, other than work, I spend a lot of time with the people closest to me doing everyday things.

Describe a typical day in your life.
A typical blogging day goes as follows: I wake up at 7:30am or so and see what I've missed during the late night hours. From 9am to 12pm I utilize the resources of the staff from daytime TV. to see if any of the things they're reporting are 'She is...' worthy. From that point on, I could either blog for one to eight more hours depending on my daily schedule. So usually I'm snacking, sitting on my couch with the television on, various magazines open on the floor, with the computer in my lap. It's all about dedication right now.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?
Harper's Bazaar and Elle are my favorites. Town & Country, Teen VogueW and Women's Health are also on my radar but I usually browse through everything.

Name five blogs that you read religiously.
They're not all "blogs" per se, but I love Trend Land, Just Jared, Red Carpet Fashion Awards, The Life Files and Dolce Vita. All very different site, all inspiring and entertaining.

How do you see your blog evolving over the next two years?
I want it to be more interactive. A couple more useful widgets, nothing too crazy. I always want it to look "clean" but not old fashioned. In the next two years I hope to have a site that people feel they have to read religiously!

You can read Elle's blog here.

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