Only Anna Dello Russo – Fashion Week A/W2014

Anna Dello Russo

Anna Dello Russo is queen of the zeitgeist. She is my go to street style superstar when trying to gauge the key trends of the coming season. She might be extreme and conspicuous with her fashion, but that’s what makes the trends so easy to decipher. So, if like myself, the coming of Spring and the glorious freak weather we’re having in London is making you start to ponder your new Spring wardrobe, use Anna Dello Russo’s Autumn Winter Fashion Week 2014 street style looks inspire you.

And just look at how much fun she makes fashion look!

Street Style at Milan A/W 2014 Fashion Week (part 3)

Street Style at Milan A/W 2014 Fashion Week (part 3)

Anna Dello Russo

Anna Dello Russo Paris Fashion Week a/w2014

Anna Dello Russo wearing letterman jacket

Anna Dello Russo wearing letterman jacket

Anna Dello Russo wearing Lanvin necklace and Celine dress and shoes

Anna Dello Russo wearing Lanvin necklace and Celine dress and shoes

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

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The One – Oscar Winner Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey most certainly is the One (‘…and only true gentlemen’- in the words of Dolce and Gabbana) this year. With his incredible performance in Jean Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers club, an incredible award season has followed and rightly so. Having already won the Golden Globe’s Best Actor, the SAG and Critic’s Choice Award for his portrayal of character Ron Woodroof, the sexy southern actor is now the proud owner of that ultimate gold statue.

Last night Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role, in a very tough category, up against the likes of Wolf of Wall Street’s Leonardo di Caprio, American Hustle’s Christian Bale, 12 Year’s a Slave’s Chiwetol Eljifior and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern. And of course, the Dolce and Gabbana gentlemen accepted his Oscar dressed head to toe in Dolce and Gabbana, from the New Bond Street Dolce and Gabbana boutique concept store in London. This was McConaughey’s first Oscar nomination and his first win, but no doubt this is the start of many more to come.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Matthew McConaughey and have a commitment to watching the films he features in, like I have to watching the films starring Robert DeNiro and Denzel Washington. Of course McConaughey doesn’t quite have the universal status that DeNiro or Denzel has – yet. But there is something about him that does it for me, that has drawn me in and kept me watching his films over and over again, even when the themes haven’t been that deep – possibly the exact same something that does it for Dolce and Gabbana.

I first fell for the Texas born actor in A Time to Kill, a film I watched everyday for six weeks during my summer holidays many a years ago. Of course this was a very serious film and McConaughey played the fair and just lawyer, Jake Bragance. It could have been the moral and ethics of the character McConaughey played that made me develop a weak spot for him, but I think his perfect body, his sexy southern drawl and his spectacular looks at least had a little something to do with it.

Then I went on to enjoy him in romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner alongside Jennifer Lopez,  How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days alongside Jennifer Hudson, Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker and Fool’s Gold with Jennifer Hudson again. I even loved watching him in Surfer Dude, him being shirtless for ninety minutes will definitely have everything to do with that.

In recent years I have been taken away by his performance – and that accent again, in films outside of the Rom Com genre, especially the super sexy Magic Mike, the sad and touching Mud, the strange and slightly disturbing Killer Joe (that chicken scene),  his brilliance in the Wolf of Wall Street as Mark Hanna and now, last but by no means least, in his immense award winning performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

When I began this article Matthew McConaughey had 50, 600 social mentions, according to the Oscars Social Mentions counter – at the time of completion, he now has 64,964 and it’s rising by the second. I just had to be one of the thousands talking about Matthew McConaughey online today. So, to Matthew McConaughey, I salute you and am so looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill

Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill

Matthew McConaughey Surfer Dude

Matthew McConaughey Surfer Dude

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe

Joining the Club: Matthew and his co-star looked delighted after scooping the prestigious paperweights

Touching moment: Perennial loser Leonardo DiCaprio embraced his rival following his win

Matthew McConaughey with wife and mother at Oscars 2014

Matthew McConaughey with wife and mother at Oscars 2014

Backstage romance: The affection was obvious as he met with his other half after collecting his award

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

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Dolce and Gabbana Milan Fashion Week AW 2014

Dolce and Gabbana Milan Fashion Week a/w2014 -15

Dolce and Gabbana Milan Fashion Week a/w 2014 -15

Once Upon a Time in Sicily…

There’s only one way to describe Dolce and Gabbana’s A/W 2014 collection and that is a beautifully told fairy story. With such a decadent and indulgent colour pallet, a beautiful mixture of fabrics and textures, bejeweled, embroidered and adorned, with lots and lots of brocade looking – royal in gold and refined in black, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume yourself thumbing through the illustrated pages of a giant fairy tale book.

Maid Marion meets Little Red Riding Hood immediately comes to mind as you imagine outer -wear made spectacular embellished with giant golden skeleton keys and sumptuous hoods made from velvet and fur, in that ever so striking blood red or the deep and sensual purple.

For those a little less intense, billowing floor length dresses that fluttered were dreamy, sheer midi length corseted dresses were ever so damsel in distress and chic shift dresses were toughened up with metal boots of armour.

How could we help but imagine our own ‘Happily ever afters’ when the models appear so proud and protected in this ever so opulent and rich collection of armour, tough enough to shield us from reality.  

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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A Social Media – Existential Crisis…

she has pretty girl fabulous life social media syndrome

So today I woke up with a desire to write. I mean, I live with the dull ache to write, everyday.  Ayesha, why aren’t you writing that book? Leave Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Charms of a Dandizette alone – stop digitising and just put pen to paper and write that book. OK, so I am not putting pen to paper now either and I have turned to WordPress to pour out my soul this morning. But the beautiful thing about this digital world, which, ironically, is heavily dependent upon one of the greatest elements of the human condition, is how simple it is to share and self express. I am not talking about the over sharers whose only dealings with social media is to put cringe worthy or tasteless narcissistic posts on Facebook. I am talking about artists and illustrators, poets and playwrights, the – creatives that use social media as a tool to offload, as a platform to produce something. With a click of a button it’s published or posted, shared and exposed for the world wide web to see and just as quickly you have offloaded. Of course, there is using social media too freely, offloading a little too quickly, not employing enough thought and ending up with a Facebook page full of moments you wish to forget and posts that are far too personal to be broadcast on a ‘wall’ or alternatively, with a Facebook page full of ‘Hashtag look at mes’ and ‘OMG I am so fabulous’. I have two friends who fall into each category.

A friend going through a break up that documents the pain and heartache she is experiencing with posts written in riddles as cleverly as the Khloe and Lamar drama has been written into season 9 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This particular friend  thanks her family members, that she claims have  ALWAYS BEEN THERE for her on her Facebook wall, with responses like ‘You’re a strong woman, you just don’t know it yet’!! (I just threw up in my mouth a bit!)  Surely her family’s constant presence in her life would suggest she have their telephone number, their email address, their home address and should all else fail, what is so wrong with a private message? Surely that is the  level of respect these amazing people deserve! Surely that is the level of privacy such a PERSONAL issue deserves! That’s one friend.

The other, she works in Events and  has mastered the art of the Selfie. Of  course, since the digital camera we have all learnt how to position a camera and take photos of ourselves. However, at twenty nine I am not quite sure I will be adopting the term Selfie. It sounds like an alternative word for masturbation, rubbing one out, self pleasure and I just don’t like it. This friend’s Facebook page is full of HASHTAG Selfies and pictures of herself eating burgers, pictures of herself taking pictures of herself (not technically a selfie), pictures of her shoes, pictures of herself and her office dog, pictures of pictures of her in magazines, yes, with a caption ‘Oh there I am!’ feigning surprise. Surely she had enough time between the taking of the photo, to the printing and publishing process for the surprise to falter. I sound ever so bitter – but have you seen this Facebook page? Her posts are ultimately photos of her doing anything, captioned with hashtag #lovemylife #lovemyjob #myfabulouslife #myfabulousjob. She’s my best friend – it’s hard.

On Valentine’s Day just gone, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with a beautiful red rose, the status read ‘Not sure what’s worse..not receiving flowers on Valentine’s Day or receiving a pity flower!!#FML’. Make of that what you will. I say she has pretty girl, fabulous life, social media syndrome and wants to show the world just how good she looks DOING EVERYTHING and how good EVERYTHING SHE DOES looks – even when she’s pretending to show real emotion beyond being ‘Fabulous!’. But the truth be told, aren’t we all a little too well versed in the likes of Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr  to be fooled by the best edits of life on a social media site? A site that also preys upon less attractive human traits, like vanity and narcissism. And isn’t she too old (29) and too well versed in REAL LIFE to think she might actually have the world fooled? It’s very hard to listen to your friend’s worries and their concerns, engage in deep, meaningful and frank conversations with them and then get an update on your Facebook page a day later #LOVEMYLIFE. So, who is actually being fooled here?

I am irked by my friend that uses social media to pour out her soul and deal with her sadness, although she is honest – lack of control of emotion in the public domain is generally unattractive and unrefined. Then again, I am also irked by my friend who uses social media in a far more contrived and strategic way - documenting the best times in her life, disguising the truths behind hastags and fabulousness. It’s not really a big deal how anyone uses social media really, is it? It’s not that deep, unless you work in content marketing or online communications and even then it’s not that deep. But I suppose I am more concerned right now, about the way I feel about social media and online communications, because I do work in the aforementioned fields and I am concerned about the significance of social media for my ultimate career and how it has and will continue to impact my dreams. The both needn’t be synonymous with the other.

Although I never document the lows of my life on Facebook – ever, I too am known to engage in a little of the bullshit from time to time. Pictures of me and my partner out and about on the town, with the general essence of, ‘Look how loved I am’, ‘Look how good we are together’, ‘Look how much fun we have’ blah blah. But I stop there and I am conscious of it. Why? Because I think social media used at its best are by those that use social media as a means to display creativity and any creative aspirations they happen to have. I used to use Facebook to share my love for fashion and promote my blog, but it turns out that Facebook users aren’t interested in anything that requires them to invest more than a second of their time to engage with. It just isn’t that deep.  It has to be funny, fabulous, inspirational, personal or depressing and it has to be any of those things quickly! That is it!

Indeed, blogging is also part and parcel of social media, however, I feel there’s more of a therapy to the whole thing. Especially for writers, that take to their blog as a means to put pen to paper, to offload or to share inner thoughts. Charms of a Dandizette is my solace. It allows me to continue to write the way I enjoy writing, on the subject matter that concerns me and it allows me to do something with all the inspirations and thoughts that I have. I can retreat to my blog and feel better about myself for knowing that I have done something productive and creative with a thought or  a visual that I had the other day. Admittedly – for the likes of J K Rowling, a blog post may well be just as significant or as insignificant as a Facebook post. I am sure a completed blog post is nowhere near as gratifying as finishing a novel – not that I have ever finished a novel. But I know what it feels like to finish writing a play or a short story and something just feels better about that than this.

But that needn’t undermine the therapy doing this gives me and millions of others. And those of you that usually read Charms of a Dandizette will know that this post is a little different than my usual posts, where I’d usually share my style notes, fashion stories or trend reports. Today, I just wanted to come on here and write from my soul, to try a little automatic writing – an exercise I was told to do everyday by my Creative Writing teacher all those years ago at uni, and find out what’s really going on in my mind without being contrived or strategic.

I realise, after the way I have written about my friend’s desire to take to Facebook to express her vulnerable and sadness, I appear a little hypocritical. And the truth of the matter is, I probably am. I think I am mildly undergoing some kind of existential crisis. Because right now, I am as conflicted as I have ever been.  It is in my character, my nature to be conflicted.  My personality is extreme. I want to read and write and be quiet and creative or I want to be dressed up in the latest trends, in somewhere glamorous and expensive and I want to party and spend loads of money till the party ends. All human beings are conflicted, right? Surely we all live with that quite murmur within us, with that feeling that at a moments reflection rears its head and says, ‘Surely there is more to life than this.’

For me, I believe there is, but I just don’t know whether I am brave enough to go out and get it. I suppose I am at a point in my life where suddenly everything feels like it’s up in the air and I am trying to figure out how much control I have over the things in my life I want to change or progress further in and whether I should change these things. Would I be happy in a high powered or well paid job? Or a job that is artistic and I am passionate about? I am trying to buy a house with my partner, but I am not sure whether I should be buying a house when I am hoping I will grow the balls to step out of the rat race and do what I love. I am not sure whether I should be buying a house with someone I am not yet married to, nor even engaged?

I am trying to figure out, with my thirtieth birthday approaching ever so rapidly, will I ever want children? And should I decide to have children, do I want them before or after I have achieved my ultimate goal – which is to complete my book? If I spent less time writing my blog, could I have completed my book by now? Should I start writing plays again, rework my short stories and start sending out my film scripts?  Should I stop blogging and write?Really write. And at what age do you stop blogging? When you no longer have the time? Why haven’t I found time to write creatively? Should I start going out less? Isn’t this my reward for spending eight hours a day in an office? Should I be working in an office? Should I be embracing social media and content marketing as much as I do? It’s my career, it’s my day job and I enjoy it, but  do I really love it? Is it a talent? Can it be considered creative? Is this the career I am meant to have? Should I be working harder? Am I happy with my work ethic? Am I settling in life? And is this ever OK?

My writing is my passion, my self expression, my form of vulnerability – its success, at this moment, dependent only upon me. My desire to conform, to acquire materials and wealth, is my protection, dependent upon my job and my current career. Do I want to be protected by Hashtags and Acronyms and Likes that have no emotional affiliation nor meaning ? Do I really want to hide behind the likes of selfies and these so called fabulous lives, so much so that it clouds my vision from reality and truth – from My reality and My truth.  When is it time to start being honest about the things you aren’t happy with and when is it the time to do something about them?

So, indeed, conflicted I most certainly am. On the brink of an existential crisis? Possibly. Feeling the pressures of turning thirty? Definitely. Needing to write that book? Yes, yes and yes. Feeling better about writing this blog today? You bet!

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

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Kim Kardashian’s Style, Improved?

Whilst reading through my list of favourite blogs this morning I came across a post on Style Snooper Dan’s site, in which he refers to Kim Kardashian’s style evolution of 2013 as the ‘Most Improved’. Of course style, like beauty, is subjective. Whilst the general consensus would have it that, since the reality TV star has been linked with Kanye West, her style has seen many better days, the fashion world appears to be embracing her more so than ever.

Needless to say, having a ‘Fashion God’ as a fiance, who has a very special and personal relationship with the likes of hash tag worthy Givenchy designer Ricardo Tisci, won’t hurt your fashion career and presence in the industry. Let’s be honest, Kim’s beauty, body and sex appeal are what put her in the face of the media. She’s no Miroslava Duma or Anna Dello Russo or any other street style star papped to popularity by street style photographers because of their strong sense of style. So, besides the fashion god fiance and the acceptance from fashion’s cream of the crop, such as the aforementioned Ricardo Tisci, Carine Roitfield and praise from the likes of fashion bloggers such as Style Snooper Dan, my ultimate question is, has Kim’s style REALLY improved?

As Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s began to establish itself as a staple on Channel E and Kim’s face slowly and miraculously began to change its shape, her style also took on a new form too. In the first series or so of KUWTK, Kim would showcase her life hanging about the cluttered and mis-match Kardashian-Jenner home wearing the tacky Clobber, Jane Norman and Bay Trading (remember Bay Trading?!) type garb we all stopped wearing when we left secondary school. At this point Kim definitely needed to revisit her image. Girls dressed head to toe in Primark could have put together a more chic ensemble than what she was rocking at this point in her career. 

However, as expected, as the fame and the money came rolling in, no doubt a stylist rolled in with it and this would be when Kim became ‘stylish’. She started to adopt a far more stylish approach to her dress, which would see her papped  throughout the day in a simple top and jeans ensemble with a statement jacket and shoe. The jeans were skinny, sometimes ripped, sometimes sleek, the jackets were smart, the shoes were edgy, admittedly sometimes a little too high for day wear, but this just added a little frivolity and glamour to the whole thing.

In Kourtney and Kim Take New York, Kim’s style danced between the polished, sleek and put together with precision approach to dress – similar to an approach you’d imagine the likes of Olivia Palermo or Victoria Beckham might take and the excessive glamorous, dressing to display wealth; wearing luxurious fur stoles and coats with large floppy hats, clunking gold Hermes bangles and pave diamond earrings, a style typical of Jennifer Lopez. Later on staple Kim K ensembles were shirts and camisole tops tucked into high waisted skirts – usually stopping above or just on the knee, leather trousers worn with a blouse and a pair of stilettos and the occasionally piece of statement jewellery.

And when dressed for the night, club openings and appearances, because let’s face it, before Kanye West there weren’t many red carpet events or front row opportunities, Kim dressed in body con dresses and towering heels that would display her well honed hour glass figure perfectly. This would be when the true Kim Kardashian emerges. When Kim shows the world exactly why she has found a place in the world of entertainment, why she is not only a Reality TV star, but the queen of  Reality TV, and that is  for no other reason than the fact that she happens to be the most impressive to look at and of course, because sex sells. Kim is dazzlingly beautiful, she’s ridiculously hot and she has a body so womanly and overtly sexual that no matter what she wears, no matter what she might do with her career, her greatest talent will always be her body.

Of course, the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Cara Delevigne, Rosie Huntington Whitely or any model for that fact, have all come to fame for the genetics they too have been blessed with and we enjoy their to be looked-at-ness just like we enjoy Kim’s. But the difference is, models circulate in a world that is considered far more cultured than Kim’s. Models embody the vision of  some of the most creative, talented and influential artists on the planet (if you believe that fashion is art). What does Kim embody? Fame, celebrity, sex, glamour, vanity, excess…?

Kim may shed her fake eyelashes, the hair extensions – that were at least twenty inches long and a few layers of make up, so we might see her actual skin tone and the fashion industry may well and truly embrace her. Carine Roitfield may feature her on her Fashion Book cover, Ricardo Tisci may be her new GBF and her boyfriend may even be a fashion designer himself, but the bottom line is, Kim Kardashian does not translate in the world of high fashion. The effortless chic look that she is currently championing with the bed head blonde hair and the barely there make up is refreshing, if anyone ever doubted whether Kim would still be pretty without all her glamorous armour, now they know. Nevertheless, style is a personal expression, it’s what makes fashion and trends unique to its wearer and I can quite confidently say that this new image is no personal expression of Kim’s.

Whilst she might try to play down her sexuality with the way she is fashioning herself, her actions say something different. She’s still laying across a motorbike faking an orgasm in Kanye West’s Bound Two video and she’s still posting almost naked pictures of herself on Instagram. Unfortunately neither the video or the post baby body Instagram picture appear artistic or fashion, like an exposed breast on a catwalk would. They serve no other purpose than to be sexual, as she is, and there is nothing wrong with this. Kim is sexual and sexy and it’s this that is HER style, she does it well and it’s ultimately what she does best. She made the most style mistakes by far in 2013 trying to deny herself of this.

Since becoming a mother it would appear that Kim seems to have re-established her style a little more. Full length coats, jersey tees tucked into pencil skirts and delicate stiletto heels seem to be her go to look. Yes the full length coats are chic, would I personally style someone of her height and shape in such a coat? No. The pedal pusher type leggings she has been wearing of lately are a complete fashion faux pas, mostly just in general, but again because they just aren’t flattering for her shape. The latest Paris ensemble that was the black long sleeved leather peplum top and velvet midi skirt, worn with black heeled sandals and tights (yes Kim wore tights!) wasn’t a bad outfit – if it was worn by Victoria Beckham and definitely without the tights, however, worn by Kim it’s just not working.

 Admittedly, Kim’s world has changed and being ‘fashionable’ definitely includes knowing how to style and dress yourself appropriately, as well as fashionably. No, the lashes, the big hair, the eye makeup fit for an Arabian princess and the towering platforms Kim once wore, aren’t exactly Parisian chic. Her new world, her frequent trips to Paris, her consorting with the fashion aristocracy – most of which are European and with a European sense of style – and motherhood should change her style and it has. Albeit, I might argue that this evolution seems a little too tactical to be deemed as personal style, unless social climbing is what she is trying to convey in her dress.

So, in answer to my question, has Kim’s style improved? Does she dress any better? I can quite simply answer ‘No’. Her style has undeniably changed, yes. But why would we think it has ‘improved’? Because Carine Roitfield says so? Because she’s now attending red carpet events that are a little more significant than a new club opening? Kim is dressing for the world she aspires to and as she is welcomed by the world of high fashion, she is alienating the fans that supported her in the world she’s leaving behind. No, Kim’s style hasn’t improved, she’s just dressing for a different audience – a more cultured, more elite and more powerful one.

allblackerrthingus:Everything Hip-hop/FashionJanuary 6, 2014 - Kim Kardashian shopping in Beverly Hills.-

Before…

Be Charmed, stay inspired!x

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London Collections Men’s: 2014 – 15 in Pictures

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street Store – London Collections – Bella Italia

Frequent Charms of a Dandizette readers will be shocked to see that I am covering the London Collections Men’s fashion week – as I have never thus far. Admittedly this can be an event that can pretty much go unnoticed for me, but as my partner kicked off the week at the Dolce and Gabbana London Collections event on Sunday night and gave me a firsthand run down of the events that took place the following day, how could I couldn’t not cover it? So here are my favourite looks of the people at the parties and on the FROW’s of the London Collections 2014-15, needless to say there’s a fair few of Mr David Gandy. But I’d like to take my hat off to Wretch 32. What a dandy he looks in that heritage check suit ensemble, with the floral shirt collar and those oxblood shoes – Perfection!

Tine Tempah and David Gandy - London Collections

At the launch of the London Collections event looking very similar in geek chic glasses, the jacket and the low cut white tee.

Tinie Tempah and Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Messenet at the Tommy Hilfiger and Jonathan Newhouse dinner, Emin Room at Restaurant 34

David Gandy and Tommy Hilfiger

Tinie Tempah

Louis Smith at the Men Esquire party, which was hosted at the Rosewood London

Wretch 32 at the Men Esquire party at the Rosewood London

Kylie Minogue and David Gandy guests of honour at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street store London Collections event

Kylie Minogue and David Gandy at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street London Collections event

Marvin Humes at Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street London Collections

Alistair Guy and Jack Guinness

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Thom Morrel

Naturally, there were some bloggers there too…

Fashion and beauty blogger Tanya Burr

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Of course Miss Susie Bubble

A closer look at the Dolce and Gabanna New Bond Street store’s setting…La Bella Ita

Dolce&Gabbana party for London Fashion Week 2014 with Kylie Minogue, Roberto Bolle and David Gandy - Italian monuments

Dolce&Gabbana party for London Fashion Week 2014 with Kylie Minogue, Roberto Bolle and David Gandy – Italian monuments

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Celebrities attend the Dolce&Gabbana event La Bella Italia in London

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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Sicily, Dolce and Gabbana and Papini

The 2013 Winter Visit to Catania, Sicilia

IMG_2164

If there’s one thing I know fashion lovers absolutely adore, as well as everyone else, it’s the opportunity to travel. So I am going to deviate from my usual fashion writing to share with you some memorable moments from my recent trip to Sicily. Needless to say, my four days in Sicily was not completely void of fashion and fabulousness – how can it be when in Italy?

My partner and I went back to Sicily last week to celebrate his birthday with his family and friends – frequent readers of Charms of a Dandizette will know that my partner is Sicilian and I have been travelling to and from Catania, Sicily for the past eight years. No matter where in the world I travel, no matter how inspired and rejuvenated I feel on my escape and on my return, there is something very special about the way I feel when I am in and have returned from the wonderful island that is Sicily. Admittedly my affection for Sicily may well be because of my emotional ties with the island and the great family and friends I have gained through my partner, but no matter how many times I return to Sicily, it never fails to fascinate me.

We flew to Sicily the morning that the Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street Menswear store had their Sicilian Christmas table installed on the shop floor. My partner, being Sicilian and working for Dolce and Gabbana, as you can imagine, was extremely excited about all the typical Sicilian sweet treats featured on the table – it was indeed the perfect little send off for our Sicilian pursuit. On our arrival we unpacked the Christmas gifts we had bought for his family and instead of wrapping in nondescript wrapping paper, we placed the presents in Dolce and Gabbana paper bags – which his family absolutely adored – not because they are Dolce and Gabbana, but because these bags are pieces of art work in themselves (I myself have started my own little collection). These bags feature elements of typical Sicilian culture and folklore, some of which you will recognise from the collections, such as the Sicilian puppets, the Sicilian ceramics, the Moorish head and the Sicilian cart. For admirers of Dolce and Gabbana these bags are a perfect representation of the collection, however for my partner and his family, these bags are a small token of Sicilian heritage.

Once we had embellished the Christmas tree with our Dolce and Gabbana bags we sat down to eat. Needless to say we ate and drank extremely well, in fact we did so for five hours! With course after course of Bruschetta, Artichokes and grilled courgettes and aubergine, a fennel, orange and pomegranate pallet cleansing salad followed by swordfish and pistachio involtini, savoury pastries filled with ricotta and sundried tomato pesto and so on so forth, all washed down with Nero D’avola and followed by a selection of Limoncello and cream liquers and Prossecco. Yum!

Aside from drinking, eating and socialising, there was also some shopping and an acquaintance with my partner’s cousin Chicco – an acquaintance I have been particularly keen to make the eight years I have been with my partner. Chicco is one of the owners of Papini, the Eastern region of Sicily’s go to fashion department store for the luxury shopper.  In Catania there are two Papini stores, both located on Corsa Italia, the ultimate fashion and luxury shopping strip – think Sloane or Bond Street. One store is dedicated to Men’s and Womenswear and the other dedicates itself entirely to shoes, handbags and accessories. The third Papini store is located on the small island of Ortigia, the historical centre of Siracusa, Sicily, the very same location of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 2007 film Malena, starring Monica Belluci. My partner tells me Chicco has a particular talent for picking up on designers and trends before they have blown up. Among many other operations for Papini, Chicco does the buying for the business, he attends fashion week, he circulates in the industry and builds and maintains relationships with the suppliers.

Although having been to Papini many a times, this time I meet Chicco. He asks me what’s hot in London right now. We talk about the Celine Phantom bag and the just as coveted sling back Valentino stiletto, all of which is stocked at Papini. I admire the array of Givenchy printed sweatshirts, the myriad of leather and fur from Gucci, hand woven classic Bottega Veneta bags and the Saint Laurent punk boots. And after deliberating between the Alexander Wang Rocco bag and the Givenchy Nightingale bag for my own purchase, I leave with the Rocco bag. As if I could avoid all of that gleaming gold hardware. 

Please enjoy my Sicilian break in pictures…

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The Sicilian Christmas table at Dolce and Gabbana New Bond Street store

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The Christmas tree in Sicily

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The Dolce and Gabbana bag collection

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The Arrancini Dolce and Gabbana bag

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Aubergines, courgettes and artichokes

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Bruschetta and ricotta cheese

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pastry filled with cheese and pesto

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a fennel, orange and pomegranate salad, swordfish involtini, prawns, stuffed squid

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Chocolate birthday cake

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Apperitivo at Spinella, wearing Tom Ford sunglasses, Zara leather and lace insert top

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Prossecco, pizzetta and arrancini at Spinella

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The rose gold Rocco bag by Alexander Wang from Papini Catania

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Apperitivo with Chicco and Giorgia at Bonu, wearing Biba earrings, necklace from Primark, coat and top from Zara, bracelet from Marc by Marc Jacobs, leather trousers from Topshop, bag from Marc Jacobs

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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An Ode to the Black Leather Skirt

All hail the black leather skirt…

Although this garment is hardly breaking new ground, it has found its second wind and seems to be the new go to  leather item after the much loved leather trousers we’ve all been rocking since last winter. It’s a fact, the black leather skirt will revolutionise our wardrobes this winter which is why I want to write an ode to it, so it might find itself beneath my tree this Christmas.

Although I own two pretty impressive leather skirts already, a wine red knee length skirt and a black leather tasselled shorter skirt, both from Zara, neither of these skirts quite have the ‘je ne sais quoi’ the black leather mini skirt has. You see the wine red skirt and the black leather tasselled skirts mentioned above are game changers, statement makers that need very little styling to look impressive.

Whereas the black leather skirt is impressive because of its massive impact albeit its simplicity. It has just as much versatility and wearability as the trusted black skirt, be it cotton or wool or even velvet, but with loads more style kudos and loads more edge. It’s what the leather trousers did for the black jeans last winter, you’d always just rather opt for the leather, wouldn’t you? At least I would.

The LBS  (leather black skirt) can translate from day to night and is an easy garment to opt for when jeans feel a little too predictable and familiar. Wear the LBS with a pair of tights and boots in the rain, a high platform shoe for a glamorous night on the town or a loafer or brogue to nod towards the youthful back to school trend. Pair it with a blouse or shirt of any colour or print, make it casual with a jumper or edgy with a t-shirt.  

You can’t go wrong with your simple black leather skirt in the winter. Not too dissimilar to your favourite pair of leather trousers, your favourite LBS will see you through your best and your worst days, through job interviews and first dates, meetings at work and dinner with friends – it will never let you down. And although you won’t be the trailblazer of a new fashion trend, if your LBS is conspicuous enough, it will never go out of fashion either.

Olivia Palermo black leather skirt white shirt black cardigan black tights black clutch bag

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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COAD Loves i-D Magazine’s A to Z Guide of WINK

i-D Magazine’s A to Z Guide of WINK…

If you’ve seen i-D Magazine’s  A to Z Guide of WINK….

Cara Delevigne wearing Bape hoodie gif  for i-D Magazine's A to Z Guide to WINK

Being witness to the works of creative genius and talent is always an extraordinary moment. It’s like hearing our favourite X-Factor contender sing for the first time, then seeing the camera pan around to confirm that the nation feels exactly the same as we do, because not only is the entire audience on their feet and teary eyed, but as are Gary, Nicole, Louis and Sharon. It’s that moment when you know you’ve stumbled upon something brilliant.

Within a few very short seconds we get that familiar chill, followed by the goosebumps that raise the hairs on our arms. Then we grow warm with pleasure, we start to feel ourselves glow. A sensation of electricity confirms we’re still so alive and that inward smile beams outwards. We feel proud that the human race, our being, is capable of such a feat. We feel perplexed by the creator’s genius or talent and we momentarily wish we could be part of that genius, own that talent, have conceived that idea.

…If you’re a creative and you’ve seen i- D Magazine’s A to Z Guide of WINK you’ll know exactly what I mean – if you haven’t seen it, feast your eyes on director Jérémie Rozan and fashion director Charlotte Stockdale’s genius.

It’s like witnessing a a cocktail of creativity, featuring amazing fashion pieces from the world’s greatest fashion designers, twenty six words and phrases written in carefully selected type fonts, each word closely linked to its letter in the alphabet; C for Chic, how chic is that Celine coat and how clever is that link? Or Georgia May Jagger, representative of the letter E, so expertly expressing herself in that famous Elizabeth Hurley dress.

And amidst all that word play and the creativity, the models are thrown into the mix. Miranda Kerr donning not much more than a pair of Chanel nipple covers, Joan Smalls looking very old school glamour and of course Cara Delevigne, the grand finale, the piece de resistance. Unveiling herself from beneath the confines of a Bape hoodie, how much justice does Cara do for friend Pharrell’s Bathing Ape clothing line? Indeed, she is the piece de resistance and you will rewind and playback so you can watch her a few times and maybe even consider rocking that eye make up.

It was all of this creative genius, these two minutes and twenty two seconds, these twenty four models, Rick Owens and J W Anderson that inspired me to write this post today and that will inspire a change at COAD!

I’m excited to try something new…

Watch this space!

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Model ABC Words Wears
Carolyn A Ask Me wears all clothing Jean Paul Gaultier spring/summer 10.
Miranda B Babewatch wears visor and bikini Chanel spring/summer 96. Earring Delfina Delettrez.
Sam C Chic Céline autumn/winter 13.
Xiao Wen D DIY in ID Font wears make-up Chanel.
Georgia E Express Yourself wears dress Versace spring/summer 94. Bracelet Chanel vintage. Ruler Coco de Mer.
Chiharu F Flash  wears cape Dior autumn/winter 13. Dress Fendi autumn/winter 13. Earring Delfina Delettrez.
Joan G Girl Power wears all clothing Balenciaga resort 14.
Malgosia H Heroes wears all clothing Ashish autumn/winter 13.
Lara I Icon wears all clothing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci autumn/winter 13.
Anna J Just Do It  wears Nike.
Lily K Killer wears jumpsuit Rokit Vintage. Earring Prada.
Grace L Let’s Dance wears gloves Alexander Wang. Shorts T by Alexander Wang spring/summer 14.
Lindsey M MAD wears all clothing Christopher Kane spring/summer 14.
Natalia N Number 1 wears all clothing Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 13.
Liya O Original  wears dress Louis Vuitton spring/summer 13. Helmet Ruby.
Hollie-May and Ondria P pretty Young Things  wear dresses Christopher Kane Resort 14. Cuffs Dior autumn/winter 13.
Ashleigh Q Quick wears all clothing Fendi Resort 14.
Amanda R Rebel wears dress vintage. Necklace Prada autumn/winter 13.
Nadja S She’s Electric wears Maiko Takeda 13.
Jamie T Tear it Up wears all clothing Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane autumn/winter 13.
Sasha U Up wears dress Valentino autumn/winter 13.
Rick V Visionairy wears all clothing Rick Owens.
Isabeli W Wet N Wild wears all clothing Neon.
Binx X  

XTRA HARD

 

wears all clothing Miu Miu autumn/winter 13.
J.W. Anderson Y  You’re Gorgeous Joséphine and Malaika wear all clothing J.W. Anderson spring/summer 14.
Cara Z Zip wears hoodie BAPE. Necklace Rodarte autumn/winter 13.

 

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

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An Ode to the Givenchy Bambi Sweatshirt?

Charms of a Dandizette takes a look at what the Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt says about its wearer…

The sweatshirt gained its advancement from gym garb to key wardrobe piece in 2011, emerging as a simple grey sweatshirt. In 2012 the sweatshirt was still trending, however it became bolder and braver, establishing itself as a refined and investment worthy piece of vesture, hence the Kenzo Tiger sweatshirt. Everyone that was anyone was either coveting this tiger headed sweatshirt or were pounding the fashion week pavements adorned in said sweatshirt with the bold Kenzo letters emblazoned across their chests.  Now the world is coveting the Givenchy neoprene Bambi print sweatshirt. The ‘It’ sweatshirt of the moment, with a price tag of £750, worn by the likes of Beyonce, Milan street style queen Anna Dello Russo and Lilly Collins. You know you’re a member of the privileged fashion community if you already own or personally know anyone that owns the Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt, the t-shirt, the tote or the clutch.

As fashion’s only promise is change, it could not have been predicted that the sweatshirt would remain so a la mode three winters in a row and wrack up such an expense (for a sweatshirt?). However, to remain as coveted as it is, it was only expected that the sweatshirt had to be changed up a little, evolve and push the boundaries. Of course stranger things have happened, but I am pretty confident in saying that nobody ever expected to be on the waiting list for any fashion item that concerned Bambi, let alone a sweatshirt. Having said that, Ricardo Tisci’s idea to place the adorable Disney character on the front of t-shirts, sweatshirts and even handbags was clearly a phenomenon we didn’t know we were all waiting for. The likes of Matches, Selfridges and Net – a – Porter could barely hold on to the ‘It’ sweatshirt – in fact retailers across London have all sold out of the wistful and warm Givenchy item.

Funny that, isn’t it? That this wistful and warm sweatshirt, ultimately as sexy as a Disney film, has within seconds become the wardrobe piece of the season. Who’d of thought we’d want to wear Bambi printed garb? Admittedly we’re accustomed to seeing Disney icon Mickey Mouse printed on t-shirts and sweatshirts every now and then, usually of the vintage nature. Nevertheless, this is still a pretty bold move in itself. No matter how respected the Walt Disney company might be, most wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing garments with Walt Disney’s anthropomorphic mouse friend printed on them.

Mickey Mouse ultimately acts as an emblem for the Disney company, a company with such a strong sense of branding that it can overpower any outfit and communicate messages we might not be prepared to express via our clothes. Disney is magical, whimsical, a little childish,  appeals too easily to the masses  and therefore  isn’t necessarily considered high culture or high fashion. We want our clothes to say that we’re stylish, socially and fashionably aware, sexy, serious, individual or confident. So what are we communicating when we wear Walt Disney’s Bambi on our clothes?

Let’s be truly honest, we’re not wearing Bambi on any old piece of clothing here, are we? Wearing a Bambi sweatshirt from the Disney Store communicates something very different to wearing thee ‘Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt’. Of course the Bambi print on this garment evokes a sentiment, a sense of nostalgia, memories of our childhood and a cause to recall this sad Disney tale, but this is all an after thought. First and foremost this sweatshirt is Givenchy and its wearer will wear it for no other reason than that it is Givenchy, it’s fashion and most significantly because this item is totally and utterly frivolous – Anna Dello Russo wearing this garment is evidence to this. Only those that can afford to be totally frivolous with their money would pay £750 for a sweatshirt with a Disney character printed on it, the Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt, that will be just as recognisable ‘as so last season’ next season as quickly as it has been recognised as the ‘It’ sweater of this season.

As I have demonstrated, this sweatshirt fascinates me and peoples reactions to it has fascinated me just as much. I don’t get it – why Bambi? Would I wear this sweatshirt? Do I even really like this sweatshirt? The truth of the matter is I love the concept, probably moreso than I actually like the sweatshirt. I love how creative and unpredictable the design is and I like the fact that I find it so thought provoking – so I suppose fashion is art, then? And for all those reasons I do like this sweatshirt. Having said that, I gave up on conspicuous consumption after my Chloe Paddington bag was no longer deemed the ‘It’ bag and wearing the ‘It’ sweatshirt says exactly the same thing the ‘It’ bag does, ‘Look at me, I’m part of that club. I can afford to spend ridiculous amounts of money on fashion because I’m privileged.’ Do I want my clothes to say that about me? It’s just as crass as the nineties logo mania, but it’s also just as fashionable as Anna Dello Russo.

I sit somewhere between the two – I like fashion for its language, it’s power and it’s beauty and for these very reasons I enjoy dressing and like to look as though I enjoy dressing. If my wearing the ‘Givenchy Bambi Sweatshirt’ secures my fashion savoire faire then I’m all for it. And of course I want to be part of ‘that’ club. I’m just as aspirational as the next person and my dress also communicates that too.

 

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

The Givenchy Bambi sweatshirt

Keep checking back at Charms of a Dandizette for more fashionable charms.

Be charmed, stay inspired!x

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