Saturday, 11 February 2012

There’s room for two Christians in fashion

J’adore Christian Siriano. Just like Dior, Christian Siriano knows how to create drama. My crush on Christian Siriano escalates with every new collection. If you’re familiar with his designs they are mostly avant-garde reminiscent of classic, 1950s Paris couture-no collection is complete without it. Thought I’d rabble on about him as I love how he’s progressing as a designer. A bit of background...He went to design school at American InterContinental University in London, interning with Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Arguably his works seem inspired by both of these, especially Mcqueen. Yet, it was participating in Project Runway that his creativity came to light. I knew he was one to watch from the beginning. It was no surprise he won the competition. His Musketeer couture inspired collection at New York Fashion Week left me breathless. It was very Mcqueen with ruffles, feathers it epitomized his catchphrase. (Fierce!) Top hats, feathers, oversized ruffles and curvy blazers with wide shoulders and flared hips were simply beautiful. The other finalists didn’t stand a chance. Even Victoria Beckham said she’d be honoured to wear a piece. Since then he’s come along way, but coming from a reality show it has been hard to shake it off. Major fashion publications largely ignored him and he applied for membership in the Council of Fashion Designers of America, but was turned down. Despite this, he’s still incredibly successful as probably everyone knows... there is something about Siriano.

His beautiful SS11 collection was inspired by rich cultures of the Africa, China and India. He made use of faux snake leather skin and shades of blue and red in brush print. The explosion of graphic prints came with liquid metals in several looks. His trademark drama queen organza ruffles were not absent though.  The final look was unwearable to the everyday woman but absolutely stunning. The blooming coral-red ball gown swept the model in heavy fluffy chiffon. The highlights of the show for me were the sculpted Siriano's shoes for Payless. Now they were killer banana heels! His fall 2011- was even better. It definitely had some standout favourites - chic looks like the long tulip skirt with a lean poloneck and anything that was sheer. I needed that massive petal pink skirt that was paired with a gray silk tee. The collection proved his versatility as this collection was more dark and edgy. There were tailored jackets and black sheer skirts in this one. The usual avant gowns were present (of course) but were not as over the top. Pieces from the collection were in Italian Vogue and on Sarah Jessica and Taylor Swift. I was left hoping, that I’d win the lottery that night...I desperately wanted SJP’s one. Looks like the Versace Mille Feuille gown in the finale SATC. So Divine. 

Christian Siriano‘s Spring/Summer 2012 ad campaign starred Mena Suvari and was shot at the Soho Grand Hotel, New York. It featured the most gorgeous punchy tangerine red organza number which looked inspired by Oscar de la Renta. His new spring 2012 utterly blew me away. Instead of his chiffon-organza blooms there was a change in silhouette- it was more on trend-sporty. Colour blocking and neons dominated the show so it was the most modern collection he’s presented. There were a lot more use of bright colours in this collection, dresses surprised in bright lime and coral. Tangerines also-the must have colour of the season.

Probably because he’s now working with Danielle Nachmani, whose clean approach to fashion was brought into to tame his flamboyancy. It’s DEFINATELY the needed push in a direction to appeal to the fashion crowd. The merging of simple T-shirts with a ball-gown skirt in acidic hues must be Nachmani’s influence. More wearable separates included maxi skirts, cropped trousers and appliquéd shift dresses, made in crepes, chiffons, and silk fabrics. Peach silk suit and cape blouse with yellow crops were effortless. The elegant pleated floor-length mermaid skirts, the feathery cocktails and sheer dresses were amongst my faves. You know what scrap that. I wanted every look. Sigh. Long waltzing dresses again were paired with bright shoes, available at Payless. Of course it wouldn’t be Siriano without a dramatic finish- in flocked tulle and organza dresses-I wouldn’t expect anything less. It was definitely amongst the top five shows last season. I can’t be the only received a standing ovation. I’m loving his 2012 fall this week. Dark lips, clean lines with overthrow furs, burgundy and satin blacks- breathtaking.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Style Shrine of the Week

‘I don't want to be cool, I want to be fashion,’ says Anna Dello Russo. A sentence which is so true to who she is. Living in a fantasy fashion land, she is known for her fearless dedication to the industry. Not only an icon...but a ‘fashion maniac’, waltzing from runway to runway with her statement outfits which are probably as important as the fashion weeks themselves.  

She’s currently the editor at large for Japanese Vogue, an enthusiastic blogger and after six years at L'Uomo Vogue, she’s created a brand in the most inspiring way.  You can see her being chased by photographers outside a show in Paris or Milan. Fashion shows seem to be her extreme catwalk as she sports straight-from-the-runway outfits making Anna one of fashion's biggest icons.  She faithfully recreates designer looks precisely as seen on the catwalks. I can't help it but I think she's fabulous.  Like myself, she’s a fashion obsessive compulsive (a sickness she realised aged 12) and is never going to go to therapy for it. She quotes, ‘Reality for me is too tough. Fashion is an escape. Is my addiction! Is better than drugs.’  Likewise Anna...likewise.

Born in the Italian provincial town of Bari in 1962, she studied history of art then went to Milan to do a fashion masters under designer Gianfranco Ferrè, and then got a job at Italian Vogue. She lives with her dog, Cucciolina and the DOG is better dressed than most human beings.  I repeat the dog is probably better dressed than you.  She’s modelled for the Lanvin/H&M fashion show in New York, and for Giles Deacon's Emanuel Ungaro.

Admittedly her style is bold....probably not appreciated by ‘normal’ people.  But I applaud her uniqueness. Each ensemble is like a theatrical performance. You have to have a strong personality to wear those extravagant outfits-she’s rarely ever seen in black.  I mean she once wore a watermelon on her head; she loves fruit fascinators- very ballsy. She’s rocked ostrich, sequins, furs, gold leather tassles, organza often at the same time. The 50 year old Italian eccentric gives her outfits life which is far more interesting than any model could achieve.  Whereas most fashion editors, Wintour and Roitfield, are mysterious and controlled, she couldn’t be more opposite. She always looks relaxed and looks like she’s having fun, constantly laughing and wildly waving at photographers and her fans.  Her upfront character is definitely one of her best qualities.  Maybe it's because of her personality, it’s why I adore her. Check out her style tips-they always make me smile. If you read her blog, she’s hilarious; the quotes have had me laughing out loud as it’s what I’m secretly thinking. When she divorced her husband, he said 'Too much clothes, in your house!' He said to me: 'Where is the space for me?' I said: 'There is no space for you.' He says: 'Where is the space in the closet?' There is no space in the closet! He says: 'Are you crazy?' Then he left. No space for him!’HAHAHA I agree....I would have done exactly the same. She has launched a perfume called 'The scent of Anna Dello Russo'-very few people could get away with that.


Dello Russo has been collecting clothes for 20 years, she owns more than 4,000 pairs of shoes (WOW) and her wardrobe is a climate-controlled second apartment next door to her home in Milan. Two apartments? STILL NO ROOM FOR A HUSBAND? CLIMATE CONTROLLED! What a dream. See... I knew my dream wardrobe which has to be fireproof, scan fingerprints and someone be able survive natural disasters was not nuts.  

Known to change five times a day, probably only beaten by fashion editor Isabella Blow, who once changed clothes seven times in a single day. Anna Dello Russo is very rarely in the same outfit- maybe once she wore a little Fausto Puglisi number in New York with Karolina Kurkova four times. That was a rare occurrence.  Let’s not forget each dress is probably at minimum, £10,000. The best thing about her is she‘s not afraid to wear things mostly used at night in the day.  Somehow she makes crazy avant garde dresses look as easy to wear as a t-shirt. She began gaining a profile in 2006 through the as it made a regular feature of her style. She likes gold trimmed matador coats, has worn neo-Versace prints, flouncy and structured skirts, feathery and organza cocktail dresses accessorised with pink cat's-eye sunglasses and multicoloured heels. Whilst she often embodies Balmain or D&G she doesn’t shy from newer designers. Remember this is all as daywear but this all looks effortless. Incredible. Anna dello Russo... you are a God send.


Spring's Must Have Pieces

Top of the crops

This time, like me, shy away from just wearing crop tops at festivals or lazily half tucking them into trousers. It’s the season to bare that stomach. But fully baring the midriff at 22? I tense up with anxiety. It’s a look I haven’t pulled since dancing to the Spice Girls aged 7 and wouldn’t rock now unless in the confides of my own home. And even that is a push. Yet designers have decided to embrace the crop top as a key season piece. I adored bra tops shown at Versace and Roccobarocco.  So.....unless I work my body to the bone at the gym and lose my hourglass figure by Spring... it’s one I will have to avoid. Saying that, remember the Emilio Pucci gothic black ensemble Gwyneth Paltrow wore at 2011 Emmys? It’ll make you think that crop tops are definitely wearable if paired with high-waisted maxi skirts. Or even a palazzo pant for a 70s look. I’m thinking Topshop lace bralets and high waist chiffon maxi would be a chic evening outfit-baring a little skin yet not giving off the wrong impression. For a subtle look, reveal skin through a window of fabric instead. For a casual look, cropped jackets and matching dress, à la Oscar de la Renta. Jeggings, bra tops, mohair cardigans and converse would look gorgeous together also. But if you are lucky enough to have a figure like a model, copy trendsetters Rooney Mara and Solange Knowles. Rooney made headlines wearing a Miu Miu crop top and skirt on the red carpet-it was very cute. If’ll have to get a personal trainer.

Grace me with your Cold Shoulders

Shoulder-baring looks had a 1990′s influence during the SS12 runways. Cold shoulders were seen at Ralph Lauren and Carlos Miele with floor-sweeping dresses and blouses at Fendi and Temperley . Shoulder cut outs were refined at Mcqueen with an armoured sorbet dress and at Alberta Ferretti with a fuchsia sporty one. Eyes were fully drawn to the exposed shoulder with scraped back hair and a strong lip ala Donna Karan and Jen Kao.  Last year, Rachel Zoe’s Resort and BCBG’s interpretation were astounding. Back in S/S12, Prabal Gurung’s gauzy take reminds me of Renee Zellweger's sheer cold-shoulder black fishtail dress at the Golden Globes 2009. Both were relaxed but seductive.  

Donna Karan said, “The only place you never gain weight is your shoulder” Perfect!  If you’re going to embrace peek- a-boooing a bit of skin but you don’t have the confidence, the shoulders are your best bet. I suggest sticking to relaxed chiffony or crepe materials from high end stores or simply go vintage. Avoid lycra tight materials as you’ll look like every girl on a Saturday night at your local nightclub.  Many versions on the high street look a bit unfortunate. (Sorry ASOS. Please stick to exposing shoulders the strapless dress way.) Dressed down?  A cut out tee or white blouse with high waist studded denim shorts with Jeffrey Litas and a fedora. Nasty Gal’s white hot 80s-inspired bodysuit featuring cutout shoulders which will look perfect paired with a shorts and wedges. Easy need to diet for this one. Good thing too....I just ate some profiteroles. 

Put on your Pretty Poufy Peplum

Derived from 1950s, and overdone in the 1980s, peplums are here to stay for Spring/ Summer 2012. The Peplum is spring’s hottest silhouette probably because it does what everyone wants. It’s a short ruffle attached to fitted item. It nips in the waist and then the extra material covers your hips creating the perfect body shape-the hourglass. Lucky for me, I have that anyway. But thing is I’m one of those people who would do nearly everything to get rid of extra inches on my hips so adding to the area sounds a little stupid. But curvier women are no longer afraid of looking a little bigger. Think Beyonce’s Beckham dress worn at Harrods and Liv Tyler in McCartney. Adding a voluminous flair is THE detailing accessory. The objection of my affections were the exaggerated peplums on the catwalk, I’m drooling over Marchesa’s version.....and my newly favourite designer Mary Katrantzou’s peplums on Miranda Kerr.

Spotted everywhere on the runways, peplums became bigger and bolder and more avant-garde. Celine and Dries Van Noten combined structured white and mesh for a clean sharp look. Who’d have thought Noten’s peplum trouser would work?  Zac Posen and Dior added peplums to their suit collections. Peplums were reworked at Givenchy and Cushnie et Ochs-metal shines and dark gothic glamour for a space age look. Alexander Wang took a sporty route of the silhouette on jumpsuits and bodysuits. But I fell in love with the prettiest incarnations. Badgley Mischka, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang and Jason Wu.  Peplum lilac jackets and dresses with intricate lace detailing at Burton’s Mcqueen under the sea collection was breathtaking. Jason Wu, and Badgley Mischka chose a feminine 50’s look with pops of neon made in more voluminous peplums. I loved Wu’s monochrome flair dress- it had such a vintage feel.

Whether you choose to play up your feminine side with a pouf in a blouse or jacket, or use peplums to add structure to dresses, whether the look is sported on hips or the waist-the look is edgy.  For curvier bodies, pair your peplum with a pencil skirt and a fitted top with platforms for a slim look.  Keep it simple....The peplum should do all the talking. No need to add excessive accessories. I think colour blocking like Emma Stone in her hot pink Giambattista Valli skirt is the route to take. Or find an imitation of Emma Watson’s Marchesa neon dress. That looked divine with her bright orange lips.  I’m hoping Zara do a frothy version like Jason Wu’s pink skirt. Off I go then to frantically search.

Pyjamas? Maybe Kid n Play and Hugh Heffner were onto something....

And im not referring to stocking night caps and onesies emblazoned with moons and stars.  Perhaps the craziest trend this summer is wearing pyjamas in public. I reckon many will shy away from this...which is good news if you embrace individuality. But for many students your probably thinking designers have simply been watching them leave halls hungover or do their shopping. Everyone wears pyjamas in public as a student. In 2001, Prada dressed models in grandad-esque pyjama tops and Preen sent pyjamas down the runway in 2008. But this season it’s about creating the ultimate evening look with seductive slouchy silhouettes which is far too stylish to keep in the bedroom. Stylish pants and dressing-gown jackets in silks and satins scream easy luxe glamour.  This was popular on the catwalks: monogrammed airy ones at J.W. Anderson, Paul Smith gentleman scarf-print trousers, Stella McCartney's high waist block-printed silky pyjamas and loose blazers offered an alluring alternative to her usual trouser suits. Whilst Clements Ribeiro teamed easy looking PJ pants with racer tanks. PJ’s incorporated micro trends at Jill Sander and Antonio Marras. Oriental prints covered a two piece at Marras, meanwhile Sander worked with the paisley print. Jonathan Saunders look was chic yet low maintenance using polka dot separates with colour block platforms. On the high street, ASOS have gorgeous velvet slippers that are too good to keep inside.

Hugh Heffner said wearing pyjamas is sensual and comfortable. And who could forget Kid n’ Play having the time of their lives in House Party. Now I’m not saying you have to full on copy Hefner...the man has 200 silk pairs....that’s going a bit far.  Yet elegant slouchy silk trousers, button-front shirts like Arizona Muse in Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection will be good enough.  Embrace the trend with dressing-gown wrap jackets for evenings with shell tops underneath like JW Anderson. Pair with loose French plaited hair and dewy makeup- and you’re off! To literally copy this look without looking insane, you’ll probably have to be tall and skinny, couple with a heel and forget the teddy bear.

Need a subtler inspiration? Draped loose jumpsuits and silk palazzo trousers.  Or even do a Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss with silk slips like in the 90s. I did this myself with white silk slip worn as a dress coupled with tights and a loose blazer. So will you be wearing pyjamas this spring? Go on join the party. However, bad news though if you live in Louisiana. The state wants to ban PJ wearing in public. Apparently, "its pyjama pants today, it will be underwear tomorrow." And your point is?

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I like my money right where I can see it....hanging in my closet

My sister shamefully reminded me I have two feather skirts already. Yeah... but not in a punchy red! In Zara, Covent Garden, I picked up the bouncy skirt, when my sister informed me that my perfect ideal man was leaving the store. It was him or the skirt. I picked the skirt. The fact it was discounted from £79 to £20 made this victory all the sweeter. An Elmo red feather skirt... I’ll admit it's pretty ballsy. My sister is not a fan and the fact that it’s been reduced loads screams that it’s unpopular. Who cares?! I think it’s the perfect interpretation of the avian print that is going to be huge this spring. Why wear a bird when you can be one? Matthew Williamson said "The woman in a feather dress is confident in her fashion choices and exudes is reminiscent of the Twenties, a time of prosperity and luxe." I’ll fit right in then. Joking.

The Little Feather Dress (LFD) is a hit with many. Olivia Palermo at Giambattista Valli wore a feather-trimmed dress. Meanwhile, Kate Moss climbed off Marc Jacobs's carousel to close the show in a feather mini-dress. At D&G, over fluffy feather skirts in rainbow hues were paired with bright T-shirts and wedge-heeled trainers. Not sure whether to wear it like feather trim dress with a long tank with a few feathers poking out at the bottom. Or copy D&G and dress it down team with a tee. Probs both.
Oscar de la Renta