Sunday, December 12, 2010

Donatella Versace hosts fashion dinner in London

Donatella Versace gathers celebrities together to celebrate a new fashion fund for Central St Martins.

Donatella Versace, fresh from New York where she was voted one of Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year 2010, hosted one of London's best-dressed dinners at The Connaught, last night, to celebrate the launch of Central Saint Martins 20-20 Fashion Fund.

The fund marks both the 20th anniversary of the 1989 'marriage' between St Martin's School of Art, established in 1859, and the Central School of Art & Design, as well as the new era of fashion which will begin when CSM relocates to its new, state-of-the-art campus at King's Cross next year.
Versace , Gucci , Converse, American Express, net-a-porter, Joan Burstein and John Rocha are among the contributees who have already pledged £20,000 to the fund to secure the future of fashion education at CSM.

Guests at the dinner included a potent mix of designers, fashionistas and celebrities. Donatella Versace was escorted by Rupert Everett, who is currently working on his next book. Daisy Lowe and Shingai Shoniwa were both poured into red plaid Christopher Kane for Versus slinks. January Jones, currently filming 'X-Men:First Class' in London, wore a LBBBD (Little Black Bondage Body-Con Dress), by Versace. Also in Versace were Pixie Lott, Poppy Delavigne, the designer Louise Goldin, and Tom Parker-Bowles and his wife, Sara. Alexa Chung bucked the skin-tight trend in a floaty, white 'angel' dress by the young French designer who shows at
London Fashion Week , Charles Anastase.

The designer roll-call included John Rocha, Stephen Jones, Gareth Pugh, Roland Mouret, Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll and Antonio Berardi, and other celebrity guests included the actor, Dominic Cooper, and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. Central Saint Martins fielded the rector, Nigel Carrington; the dean, Anne Smith; Professor Louise Wilson OBE, course director of MA fashion; and Willie Walters, course director of BA fashion.

One of the most popular 'rooms' - apart from the suite where the dinner was held, and the bar - was the hastily-constructed 'smoking room', nicknamed 'Donatella's Den', in honour of the blonde one and her fondness for a full-strength Marlboro.

Central Saint Martins, regarded as the most famous fashion college in the world, has a blue chip portfolio of 'graduates', including John Galliano, the late Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Luella Bartley, Zac Posen, and Christopher Kane.

Donatella Versace has a long history of supporting British talent, including Christopher Kane, whose potential she spotted while he was still a student, and who is now the designer for her diffusion range, Versus, and, more recently, the young knitwear designer, Louise Goldin.

Costume Institute to exhibit Alexander McQueen at MET.

Next year's Costume Imstitute will honour  the work of the late Alexander McQueen it has been confirmed. The exhibit " Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty" will be on display at the Metropolitain Museum of Art from May 4th to July 31st 2011. It is set to showcase around 100 pieces from his archives.

Curator Andrew Bolton says it is not a typical retrospective, but will be based on the  many themes in McQueens many collections.

After McQueen's death, we wanted to stage an exhibition to celebrate his legacy in fashion history and his contributions to fashion. McQueen had such a singular voice and he was a remarkable technician. He really was one of the most provocative  voices  of the past 30 years in fashion.His catwalk presentations were outstanding and straddle art and fashion.

"We want to get across two elements, the spectacle of the runway presentations and  the beauty of his craftmanship." he said.

Karl Lagerfeld on the legacy of Coco Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld believes Coco Chanel's legacy may not be as great as it would originally seem.Karl Lagerfeld on the legacy of Coco Chanel."

Coco did a lot but not as much as people think or as much she herself taught at the end of her career," he says. "She survived them all - she could pretend things people like Madame Vionnet couldn't because they were not around and they didn't have the personality to say the things Chanel did. She wasn't only a designer - she was a woman of her time."

Talking at the International Herald Tribune's  Luxury Heritage conference on Tuesday, the Chanel legend said Coco made two vital mistakes towards the end of her career.

"The first was when she said 'Not one man I have spoken to likes a woman in mini skirts'. I think no one dared to tell this 86-year-old lady that miniskirts are great and really sexy," he says. "Number two was when she decided blue jeans were horrible. This was the fashion of the world at that partuclar moment - it was the Sixties. No one wanted to be told by an old lady that miniskirts and jeans weren't chic. The result was that she lost her power and in the end no one cared about what she did."

Lagerfeld says he uses the iconic label's key components to construe an aesthetic that is constantly relevant.

"I play with Chanel's elements like a musician plays with notes. You don't have to make the same music if you are a decent musician," he explains.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mens Velvet Clothing: Autumn / Winter Essential.

Mens Velvet Clothing.

Men's velvet is by no means a new trend; it has been a fabric of choice for the most fashion forward gents for some time now. And yet so many still opt for the wool suit, or sports coat, over the velvet one. To their detriment. Wool, no matter the thread count, remains the safe option. Velvet is the sexualised one.

So here's the challenge for  Autumn / Winter 2010: don the velvet. Invest in it. Wear it with confidence. Stand out.

Velvet Suits and Sports Jackets.

If it's standing out and dressing to impress that you want to do, then velvet is your fabric of choice for 2010 / 2011. And it has to be velvet of some proportion. While the velvet bow tie (featured below) is on trend, the coming seasons are about making velvet one of your key statement pieces.

But don't for a minute interpret 'velvet of some proportion' to mean that you can get away with wearing anything made of velvet. Don velvet socks and I'll be the first in line to tell you to take them off, and those standing behind me waiting to do the same thing are likely to be the very people you're looking to attract or impress. Instead look to invest in two key takes on the trend: a velvet sports jacket / velvet sportcoat and, for those with the confidence to pull it off, a velvet suit.

How you interpret these two statement pieces depends on your attitude to life. For those with a penchant for the young-classics or school boy attitude there are those velvet looks below, while those who lean towards confidence of a more masculine or sexual kind will find the top looks, both from Tom Ford, more to their liking.

As for the colour, you'll notice that so far I've only featured a sole black velvet jacket, think dark shades. It's likely to be in the Autumn / Winter evenings that you wear velvet and dark hues will always sit best. But don't feel that dark has to equal black. From navy to plum, the right colours will ooze confidence.
A Subtle Interpretation.
If full velvet suits and jackets aren't for you then, fear not, there is a alternative: velvet lapels. Though an understated take on the suit and jacket element of the velvet trend, they can be as equally as eye catching as the full velvet look. Provided, of course, that they're worn with the right lapel.
And that part is simple: avoid a velvet lapel that is cut into a shawl or notched lapels (unless it's piped, as the Paul Smith piece above is) and invest in a jacket that sports peaked velvet lapels. You're looking for a dominant, eye catching peak, moreover, a peak that is firmly cut and finished. One that says alpha-male.

Men's Velvet Overcoat.
If you're after velvet outerwear, such as a men's velvet overcoat, then you're in luck: the cooler months of 2010 / 2011 are definitely suited to the style. A word of caution, however; an overcoat made entirely of velvet, particularly one with a a high sheen, won't be easy for most to pull off. It's better to be subtle and confident, than standout and be shy. So if you do wish to invest in a velvet overcoat and think confidence might be an issue, aim for something with a low sheen and in a dark hue, preferably black.
If you're after something that plays it safe but still creates a point of differentiation, then consider using velvet as a fabric that adds flair to a wool or cashmere overcoat. An obvious, though eternally refined, detail will be a velvet collar. The Burberry overcoat marries this detail with a Regency-cum-military cut.

The Cut Of Velvet.
Whilst velvet pieces can be liberally spread throughout a chap's wardrobe in 2010 / 2011, the appropriate cuts aren't as wide ranging. Pick a cut too lose or a lapel too soft and you'll end up looking like you've borrowed your father's vintage velvet; yes, your father may have been cool, but it's your job to be cooler. There's a bigger risk of course: velvet in 2010 / 2011 is, in part, about sexual confidence. Thus you're looking for your velvet to convey more trim masculinity and less foppish dandyism.
Most of the tailoring cuts are suited to men's velvet, though I'd personally recommend avoiding the neo-double breasted cut. I'd also be wary of a three piece velvet suit; velvet is not a thin fabric, and the dual layers of a velvet waistcoat and a velvet jacket may add too much bulk to even the most worked of figures. The velvet suit, below, from Dolce & Gabbana illustrates the point, with the trousers particularly highlighting why your velvet needs to be a trim, masculine cut.

If you'd rather a velvet overcoat then many of the fashionable suit cuts will still apply, though my preference would lean towards a double breasted overcoat as a means of conveying a trimmer silhouette. I'd also lean towards a velvet coat that is cut well above the knee, preferably around the mid-thigh level.

Military Fashion: Women's Military Clothing Trend.

Military Fashion.

Military fashion as a trend is nothing new, but while fashion trends tend to burn out within a few years, the women's military fashion trend isn't going anywhere, though like all true fashion trends in 2010 the military trend will evolve. Gone (but not quite) are the decadent lashings inspired by  the military uniforms of the Victorial and Georgian era's. Rather, military is now about functionality and utility. And, if the 18th and 19th centuries originally inspired  women's military fashion, then it's true to say that in 2010, it's inspired by the military uniforms of the  20th centuary.

Think functionality. Think understatement.

Functional military clothing in 2010.

Perhaps understatement is the wrong word for the military trend for Autumn / Winter 2010. After all, there are obvious military connotations - they're just not as obvious as in past years.

Key Elements.

Women's military fashion runs parallel to the new mens military fashion trend in that there are several key motifs:
  • Army green is the colour, followed a distant second by navy.
  • A great coat / military jacket is the key piece for the Autumn / Winter wearing of the style.
  • If army green is the trend's colour, then shearling is it's fabric. And that's because of it's dual use as a an embellishment on aviator boots / military fashion boots and a coat's collar.

How to wear it in 2010.

For the military fashion trend pick from the two key looks: army and aviator.While the army interpretation is all about army greens it can still be broadly interpreted and we've seen it styled successfully with everything from cropped shearling collared coats to loose fitting cargo pants.

A word of warning though: we have the odd occurrence of camouflage print, we'd recommend you avoid it for the time being - it's simply too soon for  a come back.

Kate Moss For Top Shop: Autumn / Winter 2010

Kate Moss will make a personal appearance at the Topshop Oxford Circus flagship store next Monday evening (November 1st) to launch her new 1970's Bohemian autumn 2010 collection.'Mossie' is expected to play 'shopgirl' as she hosts the event, talks customers through the new range and unveils her first vintage jewellery collection using semi-precious stones.

The clothes perfectly capture Kate's personal take on the vintage-boho look and include several of the iconic pieces which have featured in the 14 T collections she has produced since the launch of Kate Moss Topshop in May 2007, such as a short-sleeved, floral-print mini tea-dress, and a one-shoulder LBD.

The mood of the entire collection is very Biba-esque, with delicate chiffon and cotton decorated with daisy and star-prints, romantic bell-sleeves, moody florals and paisley, fringing, and cross-stitch and folksy embroidery details.

A Stevie Nicks-style cream and terracotta, patchwork chiffon maxi-skirt, with a sheepskin and grey suede shrunken bomber-jacket creates one of Kate's key looks, while a dramatic, black playsuit, with long-sleeves edged in fringing, demonstrates her love of dressing-up. Other must-haves include a grey, shaggy, hooded cardigan; a high-collared, gothic-green, feather bolero; midnight-blue velvet hotpants with a cream lace trim; floaty, chiffon 'pirate' blouses; a cream lace smock-dress with a velvet Peter Pan collar; and a plain cream crepe tunic with faux fur collar.

The collection also includes a revival of the hot-selling, backless, sequinned maxi, known as the 'Perfume Dress', which was inspired by the shape of a retro perfume bottle, and which is reprised for this season in gunmetal; lace and chiffon underwear, statement cocktail rings and star and heart gold necklaces.

The event will be something of a 'Goodbye Hello' for Kate Moss, as it marks her last conventional 'seasonal' collection for Topshop, but marks the beginning of a new special projects-based fashion relationship.

"It could be some special pieces in cashmere, for example, or some amazing vintage treasures Kate has uncovered. Basically, it will be whatever takes her fancy," said a spokesperson. "We want Kate's collections to be always surprising, like her - not formulaic and tied to seasons, like a machine

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Alexander McQueen: A Legacy in Fashion.

Alexander McQueen, fashion show king, died from an apparent suicide this year. McQueen (whose real name was Lee Alexander Mcqueen) was known for dressing everyone from Lady Gaga to Rihanna, as well as for his work at Givenchy and on his own Alexander McQueen label. From Alexander McQueen's controversial collections, to his title as 'l'enfant terrible,' his fashion is certainly his legacy. Here's a look back at McQueen's best runway moments. Trust me folks, there's a reason this man was an icon in the gay community, a legend in the fashion community and an inspiration for many.

1.      Bad  Romance.

For his spring 2010 finale, Alexander Mcqueen combined the futuristic with the fantastical, and set the whole thing to "Bad Romance" by his muse Lady Gaga. Between the sky-high, hoof-like platforms, the romantic-meets-robotic tutu-tiered bodices and the over the top theatricality of the presentation, the show was pure fashion magic. And pure McQueen.

2.      The Future.

For fall/winter 2009, McQueen jumpstarted two major trends of the season, black and white and bright red lips. And, he took fashionistas through a retrospective of the best technical achievements of the past few years in fashion. From exquisite Balenciaga-like feats of gravity-defying volume to tight tailoring and Galliano-like gowns, he interpreted the greatest hits of his peers in a way that was still totally true to himself. And, he did it all with a crazy futuristic vibe that combined a massive, black junk pile with plastic-wrapped models in bonnets. Totally unique, and totally McQueen.

3.      Lady Gaga.

Lately, it seems the fashion world has gone gaga for Lady Gaga's outlandish outfits - many of which came directly from Alexander McQueen. Lady Gaga has worn his creations, and creations inspired by his unique aesthetic, all over the red carpet and the stage. But perhaps, the best example of the pair's collaboration can be seen in the singer's video for her single "Bad Romance," in which she rocks signature McQueen pieces - form-fitting bodysuits, towering platforms and imaginative creations that are both futuristic and retro, technical and romantic.

4.      Wierd Science.

Yes, those are robots spraying the paint on that pretty white tube dress. In spring 2009, McQueen capped off a show by having robots spray paint a simple white dress in what was ostensibly a comment on the whole couture scene, and an experiment in the idea that anyone can create the kind of beauty McQueen could. I'm not sure if I wholly buy into the idea, but I certainly buy into the robot paint dress as a gorgeous and fascinating aesthetic experiment.

5.      Kate Moss Hologram.

Way before Wolf Blitzer busted out the hologram trick on CNN, McQueen had a holographic Kate Moss towering over his 2006 show. Moss, dressed in cascading tiers of organza ruffles, floated over the proceedings like a giant sartorial specter. While the show itself went from pre-Raphaelite romance to powerful punk-inspired accessories, it was the Kate Moss hologram that people couldn't stop talking about. Yet another example of McQueen's theatrical flair, and the expert way he combined creative elements from all disciplines of design.

6.      Checkmate.

In 2005, McQueen staged a human chess game as his runway show. As a disembodied robotic voice called out the moves, models were moved and sacrificed in what could be construed as a commentary on fashion, on modeling, on art or on any number of other things. Deeper meanings aside, the chess game was the perfect backdrop for McQueen's collection of Alice-In-Space-Odyssey-Wonderland garb. From the gorgeous gowns to the flirty cocktail dresses to the sky-high hair and theatrical score, the show was yet another example of McQueen's unique ability to turn a fashion show into a real show.

7.      Deliverance.

McQueen turned the traditional fashion show narrative on its head with his spring/summer 2004 fashion show, inspired by the film "They Shoot Horses, Don't They." He started the show with evening gowns, and gradually progressed to consciously threadbare day-wear and the homespun elegance of a tarnished evening gown. Never one to do things conventionally, McQueen helped kick-start fashion's move towards the Americana-inspired Western styles we still see on the streets today, and once again, did something completely new and exciting at the same time.

8.      Michelle Obama.

Yes, even Michelle Obama wore McQueen this past year. Proving that for all of his theatricality and glamour, the man was also a brilliant designer who churned out the kind of figure-flattering, quality pieces that any woman could wear. From the outlandish to the office-appropriate, McQueen leaves behind a legacy of innovation, imagination and pure, unfettered enthusiasm for fashion in all of its gorgeous, glamorous glory.

R.I.P to a complete genius.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Madonna's New Dolce&Gabanna Campaign

Madonna has once again set out to prove she's not letting age change her ways. 
The 52-year-old has posed for yet another racy Dolce&Gabanna advert, this time while wearing an incredibly low-cut black body suit and hold-up stockings.
Accessorised with sunglasses, a crucifix and a red string Kabbalah bracelet, she prowls around an unmade bed with her cleavage threatening to spill out of her lingerie.
In another frame, she reclines on white sheets accompanied by a black and white cat.

Madonna struck up a friendship with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana while she was filming Dick Tracy in the early Nineties and they were invited to designer her costumes for The Girlie Show tour in 1993.
The Italian designer duo announced their new collaboration with Madonna last year, which came after she spent her birthday with the pair on-board this yacht in Italy last August.
They said at the time: 'To have Madonna in our campaign is a dream come true.'
Madonna has since launched a fashion label of her own with her teen daughter Lourdes called Material Girl.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hottest Autumn Trend: Over The Knee Socks.

Come November this look will feel far too light, but while we're yet to encounter the colder weather of  Autumn & Winter 2010, fine knits are still very much a wardrobe option.
Hence here's a look that indulges in the coming season's trend, over the knee socks and pairs it with a crescent-cut cardigan.

      Coming Next Week: Military Fashion For Men and Women.


Plus Size Models At Fashion Week?

Ever wondered what models might look like if they actually ate?

Fashion lovers got a glimpse at an alternative universe yesterday, as Canadian designer Mark Fast sent 'plus size' models down the runway at London Fashion Week.
While noticeably larger than the average catwalk model, the women were by no means overweight.Instead the models were a size 14 or 16, a healthy dress for their above average height.

The knitwear designer likes to use a mix of different sized models in his shows, to prove that the clinging designs look good on every bodyshape. These include size 16 Crystal Renn, who walked out in a bright red dress yesterday.

But not everyone welcomes Fast breaking the mould.Last year Fast's stylist and creative director walked out three days before his show, apparently in protest at being asked to work with the 'plus size' models.But this year the show went without a hitch. London modelling agency 12+ UK supplied the models.

Founder Sarah Watkinson said 29-year-old Fast was dedicated to using real-looking women.But she added that no other Fashion Week designers had sought models from her.

Call to Legally Label All Post Production Work?

Airbrushed celebrity photos should be labelled to help tackle "damaging and unrealistic pressures" on young women, the UK's biggest girls' group has said.

Liz Burnley, of Girlguiding UK, said "unobtainable ideals" affected young girls "badly", and urged the government to introduce compulsory labelling.
A Girlguiding poll of 1,109 girls found 50% of those aged 16 to 21 consider having surgery to change their looks.Some 42% of 11 to 16-year-olds admitted watching what they ate.

They need to cherish themselves from their heads to their tip-toes, embracing both their beauty and their flaws”
Ms Burnley said: "We know how profoundly they feel the pressure to conform to a particular body image and how badly they can be affected by these unobtainable ideals.

"We are proud to support the calls of our members who believe that it is time that the prime minister addressed their concerns and acted in the interests of girls and young women across the country."
Some 20,000 Guides currently taking part in an annual camp in West Yorkshire are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for David Cameron to introduce a law forcing magazines to inform readers when photographs have been airbrushed.

Body Confidence Boost.

Susan Ringwood, of eating disorder charity Beat, said they were committed to working with Girlguiding UK to make "this important call to action a reality".
"Young people with eating disorders tell us that being surrounded everyday by pictures of unnaturally 'perfect' bodies makes their own recovery so much more difficult to achieve," she said.
"We know the difference it would make to all young people's self-esteem and body confidence if they could be sure which of the images they see are natural and true to life."

Singer Javine Hylton backed the campaign, saying girls "needed to learn to be confident with their bodies".
"They need to cherish themselves from their heads to their tip-toes, embracing both their beauty and their flaws," she said.
Last month, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said she wanted to see an end to airbrushing, or the introduction of a kitemark to indicate where images have been altered.

But she said she had "no desire to impose regulation or restriction on advertisers or others", and hoped they would make changes to their practices on a voluntary basis.

The Girls' Attitudes survey was carried out online in July 2009 and included both Girlguiding members and non-members.

Male Size Zero

Not only waif-like young women are  starving themselves to get the work they crave.
As they sashay along the catwalks for the beginning of London Fashion Week today, stick-thin models will be the centre of attention. Yet not all will be women: boys are now under pressure to achieve "size zero" figures, too. As fashion experts yesterday added to the row over skinny models, male stars of the shows revealed they are coming under enormous pressure to slim down to dangerously low weights. They say designers no longer want a buffed, toned male body to show off their clothes. Instead, they want waifs who can rival women in slenderness and androgynous looks.

One model, Ron Saxen, has written a book about his ordeal. It details how the pressure to be slim led to a battle with anorexia which, he says, almost killed him as he desperately tried to keep himself in work.
"My routine would be to get up, have a cup of coffee, run five miles, have another cup of coffee, cycle 20 miles, have a break and then swim 20 lengths of the pool," said Mr Saxen. "I put a lot of pressure on my heart. I had come down to 205lb, but I needed to get down to around 175lb to be a model. So I did it, and at 6ft 1in I was mostly skin and bones. But I got a contract."

Dior is one of the fashion houses leading the demand for stick-thin young men. Chris Ulyatt, 19, modelled for Dior last year. At 6ft 2in, he weighs only 10 stone."I was approached in the street by the head of Dior Homme," said Mr Ulyatt. "He was on what's called a boy safari. All the lads on the catwalk were tall and skinny and androgynous-looking. It's what they go for."

Health experts are warning of more men developing eating disorders. Janet Treasure, director of the eating disorders unit and professor of psychiatry at Guy's, King's and St Thomas' medical school in London, said that images of male models had an effect on men that was comparable with the size-zero fad among women.
The London Development Agency, which sponsors London Fashion Week, is to look at the pressure put on models to be thin and will examine whether the promotion of size-zero models leads to eating disorders.

The Slim Line
Increasingly, designers want wafer-thin male counterparts to the female size zero. The hot look is tall and gaunt. Health experts say this sends a bad message to men prone to eating disorders.

David Lindwall
Modelled for: Dior Homme, Moschino, Paul Smith
Height: 6ft 2in
Waist: 29in
Body Mass Index (BMI): around 19

Nicolas Bemberg
Modelled for: Gucci, Lanvin
Height: 6ft 2in
Waist: 32in
BMI: 19.3

Chris Ulyatt
Modelled for: Dior Homme's campaign last year, designed by Hedi Slimane
Height: 6ft 2in
Waist: 29in
BMI: 18

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