It's OK for intellectual feminists to like fashion

Blog title from Hadley Freeman's book The Meaning of Sunglasses : "Prada styles itself as the label it's OK for intellectual feminists to like".

The author is a bilingual fashion editor, writer and translator with a serious blog, cinema and magazine habit.

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Email: fashionmemex(at)gmail.com

My Favourite Capes from the Burberry S/S13 Show.

All Pictures from the Burberry Facebook page

Posted at 6:24pm and tagged with: London Fashion Week, Burberry, dream shopping,.

  1. Wash and iron entire content of the laundry basket (NB: Find good DVDs to watch while ironing)
  2. Fill the fridge (NB: Only pick things easy to cook/eat late at night, on little sleep)
  3. Plan outfits (NB: No matter what, you’ll end up in jeans and Converse the weekend before)
  4. Find a reliable weather app so you can carry out #3. This is London, rain as good as guaranteed. (NB: Fortune tellers also work)
  5. Take show outfit to the dry cleaners, show shoes to the cobbler (NB: Don’t forget to pick them up before the show, or fear morning panic)
  6. Pick books to read in public transports (NB: Avoid nightmare fashion tales)
  7. Email friends and family to remind them this is fashion week and you’re about to disappear, no need to send a search party
  8. Suggest to friends and family the brand social media feeds as the best way to keep up with your schedule (NB: Get them on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest specially for the occasion)
  9. Email to friends and family: Subject line: Fashion Show Reminder. Dear all, This is a reminder the show will be livestreamed on xxx.com at xxPM. (NB, my dad: “So your shows always are on Mondays?”)
  10. Prepare for a friends and family show postmortem (NB: Take bets on which looks they’ll like and hate, on how many times they’ll say “who would wear that?”)
  11. Write apology letters for all the people you’re going to stand up (NB: Stop making fashion week plans)
  12. Renew your herbal sleeping aid supply
  13. Fit in as many yoga classes as possible to convince yourself your body is ready (NB: No matter how many you go to, this is an illusion)
  14. Mentally prepare yourself to scour all kinds of publications to look for pictures of yourself at the show (NB: The Daily Mail might hold the only proof you were sitting behind Samantha Cameron, make your peace with it)
  15. Make a list of all that went wrong last show (NB: Be prepared for them to go wrong again)
  16. Save £20 for the cab ride home the evening of the show (NB: Take advantage of it to carry out #10)
  17. Book post-show holidays, also known as snoozefest (NB: Booking might be overstating it here. Buying cinema tickets is closer to reality)
  18. Make a list of all things you’ll do once fashion week is over (NB: Hoover, iron, launder, dust do not count)
  19. Accept you won’t read you RSS aggregator for a while and will have no idea of the trends shown in New York (NB: Or Milan for that matter, it’s called catching up on sleep)
  20. Accept your blog will not be updated for a while (NB: Some would say that’s what the queue and scheduling options are for)
  21. Plan a fashion brunch with fellow fashion workers to whine about pre-fashion week dread, during fashion week stress and post-fashion week exhaustion (NB: All the while knowing none of you would switch industry)
  22. Smile every time someone says “you’re so lucky to work on this show and see the collection before everyone else” and its flip side “who cares, it’s just clothes, no one is saving lives here” (NB: Consider turning it into a drinking game)
  23. Remind yourself why you work in fashion.

Thanking @miss_vicki/Girls Do Film for her suggestions

Posted at 8:14am and tagged with: London Fashion Week, list,.

Imagine… Friday 17 February 2012, 9am. The day before, overcome by a wave of snow not witnessed since winter 2009, all London airports shut down, leaving the entire fashion community stranded at JFK and sending shock waves in PR departments throughout London: the front rows were threatening to be empty. Left with no Hollywood celebrity to populate their most coveted seats, PRs started frantically calling every recognisable names in Britain. Cue to a Dailymail.co.uk desk panic attack and Cornelian dilemmas over which Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex celebrity was pouring her curves over the front row best. The snow had single-handedly turned fashion persona non grata and brand damaging figures into the most desired guests in Britain, signalling the start of a new dawn of reality TV.

The d-list stars found, PRs had to find journalists. Most of the Brit pack had migrated to New York which meant dailies and glossies could send little more than assistant editors. With no Anna, no Carine, no heel to photograph, with little more than parkas, UGGs and wooly hats in sight, the street style bloggers verged on the collective breakdown. Some interns even blagged their way to the front rows, threatening to overcome the standing fashion world order. Yet, when the show accounts came out, they were signed by the usual big names. Snow or no snow, live streamings had made it to the other side of the Atlantic. Marketing departments had never been more thankful for the world wide web. Only a few years later did they realise the snow combined with the streaming had made catwalks redundant, marking the definitive end of their power hold over the fashion world via seating chart.

Through live streams, fashion editors discovered new faces, all the never-seen-before-girls model agencies had been keeping aside for really, really slow days. With most star models stranded State-side, A/W12 was to be heralded as the year Britain stormed the catwalks. Casting directors in Milan and Paris, forced to take notice of those new girls, jumped on their phone to book the snow-created sensations. Few of them would make it on the long run, but the ones who did would forever be introduced as “the girls who got a break thanks to a snow storm”.

The BBC announces a mild weather for the end of next week. Breath easy fashion world, the snow isn’t about to turn you upside down (yet).

The D&G snow bunny grphic courtesy of SwideThe D&G snow bunny is the ultimate party animal" 25 February 2012

Posted at 3:30pm and tagged with: London Fashion Week, satire,.

Roksanda Ilincic, best known for her drapés, infused some mythology into her autumn/winter 2011 collection with a Phoenix feather-embellished cropped silk jacket in firey orange. Ilincic named exotic birds as her inspiration for the season with feathers featuring in number on the catwalk. The Phoenix jacket features shades of scarlet and blue, as suitable for Dumbledore’s avian companion. Let’s hope that, like its namesake bird, this jacket will keep reviving on the runway and at parties for the years to come.

PS: It’s now on sale, reduced from £1,710 to £513. Happy Friday

Posted at 10:00am and tagged with: Harry Potter, London Fashion Week, shopping, net-a-porter, Roksanda Ilincic,.

1 - McQ and Stella McCartney coming back to London Fashion Week

Since Burberry made the move back and under Harold Tilman stewardship, London Fashion Week (LFW) has been gathering momentum. All major fashion editors now attend LFW, rather than hoping from New York to Milan, even though recent scheduling problems might have something to say to that. Showing in London will be a comeback to their roots for both the Alexander McQueen diffusion brand McQ and Olympic team tailor Stella McCartney. Both brands have a strong British identity and Britishness has become a marketing USP. With even Kanye West rumoured to join the capital, cool Britannia is regaining its pedigree. Will Alexander McQueen be next to join?


2 - A new designer at Dior and John Galliano’s future

The 2011 fashion year started with a bang with Galliano’s dismissal and ensuing conspiracy theories. Rumours after rumours have given everyone from Marc Jacobs to Raf Simons at Dior, to the extent not being named as a potential designer was a bad sign of your credential in the business. Is the job cursed? Is the house enjoying seeing its name pop up on social platforms too much to make a decision? Can Dior release another collection without proper artistic direction? Could Franca Sozzani get her wish of seeing Galliano reinstated? Is Sidney Toledano making a conscious decision to mark the end of the designer superstar?

As for Galliano, the moment backers decide he is once again a sound investment, I have little doubt he’ll find a new designer position. The industry is already being nice to him, his Internet ranking is on the rise and memory fades at the prospect of money.


3 - The Arab spring going into its second year

I spent some of the best days of my life in Cairo three summers ago. The city was nothing I’d experienced before. I’d been warned about the smell and the noise and that I would hate it but I ended up loving it because of its smell and noise and because it had an identity of its own, so different from all the European cities I was used to. Back at the LSE, I took a course on Nasser and Arab Nationalism which turned out to be the best of my third year. Watching a country fight for its future is very different if you’ve been there and if you know its history than if TV is your only link with it.

On a fashion-related note - the textile industry represents a significant part of the Egyptian GDP, not just as Egyptian cotton but also as clothing factories. The ongoing unrest, the lack of democratic resolution despite the elections and the role of the military and Muslim Brotherhood could mean rising prices on the long term, especially in the UK, the main European Union market for Egyptian apparel and home textiles.


4 - Presidential elections in France and the USA

April and November will be key electoral months in France and the United-States with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama running for reelection. Will France go against the European trend and elect François Hollande, the left candidate everyone dismissed as a joke two years ago? Will Obama’s West Wing-reminiscent administration loose the White House to the Tea Party? Even though the Carla/Michelle effect doesn’t translate in sales as well as the Kate effect, I hope any first lady taking over would have as much fashion taste. As for the fashion repercussions of new elections, they are more likely to be found on price tags following tax choices than in terms of policies. Despite fashion’s importance in the economy, the current economic situation puts us years away from making the craft a priority.


5 - The Artist released in UK cinemas

If you grew up in France in the 1990s, you might take the buzz surrounding The Artist and Jean Dujardin’s mute performance with a pinch of disbelief. Jean Dujardin will forever be Loulou, of 1 gars 1 fille, a long-lived, short-format sitcom about the triviality of a couple’s daily life. Seeing a full page dedicated to Dujardin in US Vogue is somewhat surprising, the possibility of his Oscar nomination difficult to fathom. Not that his acting doesn’t deserve it but because no one would have predicted him this kind of career. Jean Dujardin is the French George Clooney, from ER to The Ides of March.


6 - Another royal year

An exhibition dedicated to the Queen’s portraits at the Victoria & Albert Museum! New Diana, Princess of Wales dresses on display at Kensington Palace! The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations! Many new Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge outfits! The Royals on display for a month of Olympic joy! Another four day bank holiday weekend!

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, A Diamond Jubilee Celebration; at the Victoria & Albert Museum 8 February - 22 April


7 - Aaron Sorkin back on TV with The Newsroom

I loved him in The West Wing, loved him in The Social Network, loved him in A Few Good Men. A year after his Oscar win, Aaron Sorkin is back on TV with The Newsroom, scheduled for broadcast on HBO. Although the topic might be closer to Studio 60 than The West Wing for comfort, I expect dialogues between Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer delivered “while walking rapidly through a work place”* and Dev Patel as the “lone, down-to-Earth black man who brings calming wisdom to neurotic white people”*. Alison Pill could make a great “cute conservative blond woman who exists in a mostly liberal world but everyone ends up loving anyway”* while Daniels will likely keep the role of the “emotionally stunted male lead who is bad with relationships”* for himself.

*All quotes from “4 Things Aaron Sorkin Puts In Every Show”. And yes, I do know Dev Patel isn’t black.

8 - Sherlock and Mad Men back on TV

Contract negotiations meant we were deprived of Mad Men in 2011, while Sherlock's broadcast was pushed back to 1 January 2012. Will AMC and the BBC see a drop or a surge in ratings as a result? Can Don and Betty marriages last? Will Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat go the pop culture way and turn Irene Adler into Sherlock’s only love? Should we expect Holmesian influences and 1960s revival in the autumn/winter menswear and womenswear shows this winter?

9 - Marc Jacobs - Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels at Les Arts Décoratifs

Marc Jacobs will open the fashion season at Les Arts Déco in March, followed in September by jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. Described as “an analysis rather than a retrospective”, the Jacobs/Vuitton exhibition will show how both men influenced fashion and accessories at the end of the 19th and in the early 21st century. Drawing a parallel between the two designers is a new curation angle which should add to the fashion house’s myth and to the ongoing heritage trend. The Van Cleef exhibition should be more traditional with over 400 of the jeweller’s best work on display.

Marcs Jacobs - Louis Vuitton, 9 March - 16 September; Van Cleef & Arpels, 20 September - 10 February 2013, Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris


10 - Carine Roitfeld

Having christened her 2011 liberty by styling the Chanel campaign, posing on the cover of i-D magazine, featuring with her children in the Barneys window displays and releasing instant best-seller Irreverent, Roitfeld should know an exciting second year post Vogue Paris editorship. We know little of her projects for the year, except she will become a grandmother and launch a magazine, and it’s just as well since part of her 2011 appeal was her capacity to rebound and surprise us.

11 - Google’s iPad killer

Fashion brands and magazines have just started embracing Apple’s iPad tablet with platform-specific sites, dedicated apps and targeted subscriptions. Will they be able to carry their strategy and technology over to the Google iPad killer, announced by the company’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt? Google + was slow to release brand-specific pages but fashion brands were amongst the first to publish pages. Will the company follow a similar process, brand-wise, for the new tablet? Will the public be quick at buying the new gadget or shy away from yet another Google item in their life?

12 - Another year of Ryan Gosling

With Crazy, Stupid Love, Drive and The Ides of March, Ryan Gosling managed to be in three of the best films of 2011, in three very different categories. Will 2012 be the year of his first Oscar win? If his two Golden Globes nominations for best actor, drama and best actor, comedy are anything to go by, a nomination should at least be locked. This should be enough to keep everyone waiting for 2013 and his three new film Lawless, The Gangster Squad and The Place Beyond the Pines. Yes, I’m a fan and yes, I struggled to find a 12th reason to look forward to 2012. Not sure I’ll do Thirteen reasons to look forward to 2013 next year.

Pictures: London Fashion Week Begins At Somerset House, Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe; Dior petites mains, Jamesbort.com; The pyramids in Giza, © Fashion Abecedaire; French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Senator Barack Obama, Jae C. Hong/Associated Press on the New York Times website; The Artist, publicity shot; The Newsroom, HBO Watch trailer screenshot; Princess Elizabeth, Cecil Beaton, Gelatin silver print, Buckingham Palace, March 1945, Museum no. E.1361-2010; Sherlock Series 2, BBC publicity shot; Spring/Summer 2008 womenswear show bags from the Toile Monogram Jokes line created by Richard Prince, © Louis Vuitton / Chris Moore; The 9 Lives of Carine Roitfeld, New York Times website; Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone on the set of Gangster Squad

Posted at 5:56pm and tagged with: Classy film, TV series, The West Wing, Vogue Paris, carine roitfeld, politics, technology, Sherlock, Mad Men, dior, john galliano, Alexander McQueen, London Fashion Week, Royal Family, cambridge, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 2012 Olympics, Egypt, france,.

Lock the doors - it’s Style dot com.
Timmy, dear - you must obey!
I need aromatheraphy,
I had such vile reviews today.

Rip the mood boards off the wall
Throw the color charts away.
Burn the samples, trash them all
Look at what the papers say.

Yesterday I was divine!
When I commanded, they wore gray.
I cast my pearls before those swine
And now they say I’m so “passé.”

Tear the patterns of their hooks
Not a pincushion can stay.
Leave their name to history books
I’ll take the bonus severance pay.

Fashion Victims

Michael Roberts

Picture: Radley Scottie dogs at London Fashion Week, Debenhams Blog

Posted at 6:01am and tagged with: poem, book, London Fashion Week, magazine writing,.

Last week, fifteen odd year after Simone Lowenthal’s fictional catwalk at the end of Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter, hat and wig designer Charlie Le Mindu sent naked models down his (real) catwalk.

In Altman’s film, Lowenthal’s naked looks are the ultimate fashion revolt, her way of fighting her son turning her name into a licensed money-making machine.

Le Mindu isn’t a clothes designer - it made sense for his show not to feature any clothes. Having created some of Lady Gaga’s headgear, he’s also no stranger to controversy and fashion-based publicity. Of course, it worked, getting the fashion press and tabloids alike, not to mention Daily Mail readers, talking. No journalist however went as far as Kitty Porter who, at the end of Lowenthal’s catwalk, described it as “so old, it’s true, so true, it’s new, the oldest new look the newest old look: the bare look”.

Posted at 9:09pm and tagged with: classy films, London Fashion Week,.

One week of London Fashion Week: three great shows, ridiculous amounts of rain, one annoying cold and the usual reading list.

I’m looking forward to Milan and seeing what Mrs Prada comes up with for next autumn.

Yours,

Mlle. L.

Posted at 5:09pm and tagged with: London Fashion Week,.