Fashion Editorial and the Digital State of Mind…

This blog was supposed to be about Tumblr, but then I found myself staring at my magazine collection, which has remained untouched for months, and realised this is so much more than Tumblr – it’s my digital state of mind…  

There are still many a people out there that simply choose to reject social media.They refuse to create a Facebook Page, deny how powerful Twitter is,  have never heard of Pinterest, they are likely to hate Fashion Bloggers and still do all of their fashion, music and lifestyle reading in print! As a writer before I am a blogger, I respect anyone that still picks up a print magazine and takes pleasure in displaying them in bookshelves and coffee tables – I do.  However, as a fashion lover, I will be as bold as to say – anyone that is still yet to embrace social media cannot be deemed a true fashion devotee – they are missing out on the whole damn thing.

It makes sense that fashion and social media walk hand in hand together. Fashion is an industry that finds its foundation in change and trend – a creative expression of human behaviour. Social media is the tool that documents the change, picks up on the trend and is the platform that displays the behaviour. Admittedly, as much as I love the two,  I struggle to keep up! Fashion is quicker, social media develops at lightening speed, trends change almost weekly, my personal likes and dislikes change almost as fast. One week I’ll be in love with Celine’s lux interpretation of the Birkenstock and can’t imagine having my feet in any other shoe, the next week I’ll hate them, consider them ugly and un-sexy and then it’ll be another shoe, another trend, another hashtag and a new fashion blogger to follow!

At least, with a print glossy, you can take your time, refine your shopping list, shop it and feel satisfied for a whole entire month. And that is exactly what I used to do. But, I have developed a digital state of mind. I consume 99% of my fashion editorial via online content. My magazine subscriptions have subsided and each night before I go to bed, I routinely check the weather on my BBC weather app and then flick through Pinterest, Stylecaster or Who What Wear to research the ensemble I will adorn myself in the following day. I absolutely hate to say it, but a Vogue magazine doesn’t seem relevant in terms of style any more. I say style as opposed to fashion, because Vogue is chiefly fashion focussed; if you’re concerned with runway trends, designer’s inspiration and the opinions of big wig fashion  journos and those in the industry then Vogue is indeed your fashion bible.

However, if your love for fashion is more about manipulating and interpreting trends, piecing together ensembles, finding new and interesting ways to wear your clothes then  there’a whole world of Street Style Fashion out there that changes daily and that should not be missed. Imitating Runway looks is too cliche and for most of us, runway looks aren’t usually suitable for our lifestyles – of course Anna Dello Russo would tell you differently.

And since having to sadly make a conscious decision to stop buying fashion magazines, after realising that I just never read them any more, I have noticed my dress changing. I will always have my own inherent style. I will always be the girl that wears lots of gold and costume jewellery – a little less now since I have my beautiful 1920s-esque diamond cushion cut halo engagement ring -I will always love long Naomi Campbell hair and still love being made up. But with so many trends, so many different styles, so many social media platforms and so many different fashion bloggers so readily available and easily accessible at the swish of an iPhone, the way I am fashioning myself changes from one day to the next.

My daily website reads:

Stylecaster.com

Once you start reading StyleCaster you literally won’t be able to stop! There are endless style concerned posts – many written in list formats, featuring images of Street Style bloggers and icons. The StyleCaster’s editorial style is easily digestible with posts like Ten Ways to Wear the Denim Shirt, Ten Ensembles to Copy, Ten Emerging Street Style Bloggers etc. This is the perfect read on the train to and from work, in the hairdressers or the nail salon. Check out StyleCaster for wardrobe inspiration – I do!

StyleCaster image

Mr. Blasberg

Fashion writer, Editor at Large of Harpers Bazaar, Editor of VMan and Vmagazine and too many other credits to mention, Derek Blasberg is fashion’s ultimate Man About Town. He parties with Naomi Campbell, Giselle and Marc Jacobs, he travels endlessly and writes lengthy blog posts accompanied with the most tantalising of pictures with the most beautiful human beings wearing the most beautiful of clothes for his website Mr Blasberg.com. Derek Blasberg’s success and career is very inspiring for any writer that loves fashion. If you don’t mind spending some time online reading then check out Mr.Blasberg.com. However, Blasberg’s website is less street style concerned and more into displaying the world that surrounds fashion, the parties, the travel, the people – most of which emerging fashion bloggers won’t have access to. I check out Blasberg for an instant insight into the fashion world from a perspective that I quite like, although a little envious.

Who What Wear

Again, like StyleCaster, Who What Wear is addictive for anyone that likes to get a little creative when piecing together an ensembles for a Sunday Roast in the pub or needs some inspiration for a holiday wardrobe or wants to see what Olivia Palermo would wear on a rainy summer’s day – this is the site for you! I use Who What Wear to put together my work ensembles for the week, to see what wardrobe items I am missing or just to kill time whenever, wherever.    

 

ElleUK.Com

Needs no introduction, but the digital arm of this fashion glossy is just as successful as the print version. After subscribing to Elle for many years, I couldn’t get to grip with the new design they introduced last year and once my subscription ran out I never renewed it. But I am glad I can still enjoy Elle.com in digital form. The style section covers street style, models off duty and offers style advice. I think Elle have been really good at interpreting the magazine for online readers, so you might not get to indulge in the smell of a new magazine, but you still get the Elle tone of voice.

Having said all that…how could I not purchase the Victoria Beckham August Vogue edition?

Be charmed, stay inspired!x 

Ayesha @COAD

My Thing About Stilettos…

 

If you’ve picked up a Vogue magazine, scoured the Street Style pins on Pinterest or admired the spring summer 2013 ad campaigns of the major fashion houses in the last six months you will know that the stiletto is back and with a vengeance. These days you rarely spot the likes of Olivia Palermo, Kim Kardashian and the the recent addition to my fashion radar, Miranda Kerr, out and about without donning these ever so simple, ever so classic, yet suddenly ever so chic shoes. In my fashion lifetime, which consists of twelve years, defined by the period of time in which I have been a contributor and a consumer of fashion goods afforded by my own pocket as opposed to my parents – this is not the first time the stiletto has been coined ‘chic’. When I say chic, I am not referring to the days when the stereotyped Essex girl claimed this pointed heeled shoe in white leather. No, the stiletto has reigned once before within my fashion life, with a lot more fashion kudos than the Essex girl was rewarded, and if my memory serves me correctly, this was circa 2001.

I remember it categorically. It was about the time when I was studying Performance Art Management at the Brits School and dating a French man 13 years my senior. The pointed stiletto I owned a plenty, mostly from Faith, a few pairs from Ravels and one pair from Karen Millen, complete with matching handbag. I wore them to feel grown up, elegant and worthy of dating an older man. I wore them in pink with a wooden heel,  black mesh with a leather toe cap, silver with a metallic heel, monochrome with a white toe and black heel (which would have been perfect for the trends of the coming spring) and my very special pair from Dune, in gingham check red and white.  On their debut, I wore these shoes with an asymmetric little black dress from Miss Sixty. It was Monday night and I was at Ten Rooms. Indeed, it was about the time when Ten Rooms was the hot London night club and the ultimate place to be Monday nights. That particular night, the night I wore my gingham check shoes to Ten Rooms, John Legend was just launching in the UK. So fresh out of water was he that he required an introduction from the master of ceremony for his performance, which won over the hearts of me and my friends . That was the era – my era, when stilettos were the only shoes you wore.

However, if you weren’t a fan of John Legend nor a fan of the live music scene in London night clubs in the early noughties, then a better reference point to draw upon for any fashionista will be Sex and the City. In 2001 Sex and the City was into its third year. Carrie Bradshaw, my ultimate icon, idol, maybe even professional guru at the time, was flitting all about the streets of Manhattan in these delicate stilettos. And, like I said, she was my life coach, therefore I flit about the streets of London in stilettos too! During this period I wouldn’t have been seen dead without my stilettos, but like all trends, the day came when the pointed shoe was ‘so last season!’ And after becoming very mindful of getting my heels stuck in drains and in between decking and mastering the art of walking on my tip toes when visiting homes that boasted parquet flooring, the stiletto disappeared. In fact, the stiletto didn’t just disappear or slowly fade out, they were thrown out, considered hideous, unfashionable – those items that you’d look back and think, ‘God, I can’t believe I ever wore those’, and very quickly the world became adverse to the pointed toe, pointed heel and all.

Nothing quite confirms you’ve got a few miles on the clock like witnessing a trend complete a full cycle, however the stiletto is back, and in its second term in my fashionable life.  Although the world hasn’t gone stiletto crazy just yet, by Spring 2013 it’s likely that fashionistas will be getting their heels stuck in drains, sunk into grass and ruining parquet floors left right and centre. But, the stiletto uptake has been slow. Stilettos were on the shelves of high street stores as far back as 2011. That may not sound particularly long ago in real life, but in fashion years, two years ago is a long time. I remember because I bought two pairs of stilettos that year, a pair from Zara inspired by the Christian Louboutin Helmut shoe and a pair from Office with gold spikes on the back of the shoe. But I found I never really wore them and by 2012 I had forgotten about them entirely.

You see, nobody was really wearing stilettos around the time I purchased mine and although I’d delight in spotting a snap of Victoria Beckham or the occasional fashionite in a Tommy Ton photograph wearing their thin heeled shoes, truth be told, the stiletto wasn’t really making much of a presence on the high street and therefore I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I would have if they were totally on trend and all the rage. I’m not a fashion victim, at least I don’t think so, but fashion is a two way street and no matter how proud one might be to be fashion forward or fashion savvy, part of the reason we all follow fashion is so we can be in it. If nobody else is really getting it and nobody else is wearing it – then the trend doesn’t really work. So I hung up my stilettos…. but only momentarily.

Now I am keen to add to my stiletto collection – a leopard print pair, a nude pair, a red pair and a designer pair. I am wearing the stilettos I already own as and when I can, but let’s be honest, with the violent cold we have been experiencing in England and the recent downfall of rain, sleet AND snow, wearing stilettos is a major commitment that I cannot make at the moment. This is my thing with stilettos, you see, as excited as I am that I grabbed hold of this trend and have been donning these shoes before they become populace, I am only able to wear them on very select occasions.  Reason being, I can’t flit around town Carrie Bradshaw style in stilettos the way I once did. I have become way to accustomed to the support and protection a platform or a chunky heel provides.  I am not used to the ball of my foot being so close to the ground, I am not used to being able to make out a pebble beneath the sole of my shoe and I am not used to relying on such a thin heel to hold the weight of my body. In my late twenties I have also realised, I am not comfortable having any of my skin exposed to the harsh outdoors of an English winter, apart from my face of course, and this includes my feet. I wear boots and brogues and that’s as far as it goes.

I recently went to dinner with a friend who wore a pair of red suede stilettos with a metal cigarette heel. When she arrived I was a little sad that I had opted for a pair of black suede wedged boots instead of my stilettos and admired her commitment. Let me tell you about my friend – she’s tiny, about five foot tall and she wears heels relentlessly. Even to walk around Portobello Market she’ll adorn her feet in the highest of heels. However, as we readied ourselves to head home, she slipped off her red stilettos and swapped them for a pair of Converse. I was flabbergasted, a little disappointed even – but I got it. Stilettos are not a commuters friend and they are no walk in the park. If you’re jumping in a cab, driving or doing something that involves very little walking, dancing or time on your feet in general, then by all means opt for your stilettos, but these shoes will not see you through hard times, in fact they might create them!

So, I wear my stilettos as and when I can. I wear them when I am going for mid-week drinks or dinner and am driving or jumping in a cab. I wear them to the cinema – as just like drinking and dining, you do this sitting down. I wear them on house visits and I recently wore them at a work conference, (not to, because I carried them in my bag) which also involved lots of sitting down. They look spectacular with a pair of leather trousers, and with skirts and dresses stilettos really elongate your legs and give your feet that perfect ballet dancers arch (think Victoria Beckham’s feet in a pair of court shoes). If I’m wearing my stilettos in the daytime I generally tend to pair these very elegant shoes, which can be looked upon as particularly sexual, with a more casual look. As someone who isn’t a particularly casual dresser, but has desperately been trying to pull off the casual sporty winter trends, namely the sweatshirt, the stiletto has been my game changer. Since committing to my stilettos I have bought four sweatshirts and am feeling very proud! These shoes will glam up any sweatshirt and skinny jeans ensemble instantly and appear almost effortless.I say ‘appear’, because only you will know the effort you are making to wear these shoes. Whether it’s  paying extortionate cab fares to and from a location, driving on a night out, therefore compromising on the merriment of alcohol consumption and knowing, if the night kicks off and the crowd gets dancing, you’ll be spending most of it dancing with your bottom on your chair. 

So, for those like me, not braving the cold in stilettos just yet, I say we enjoy the spring in our step for the rest of the winter, come Spring 2013, we might not be able to. 

Victoria Beckham in stilettos

 

 

Stilettos
Tom Ford Black Pumps with Gold Lock #heels #shoes

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Redefining A Love Affair with Dresses and Statement Separates

Perfection...

So, first of all I should probably start by saying Happy New Year to you all! So, ‘ Happy New Year’. I hope you all celebrated in style, adorned in your very best. I personally had a small panic attack selecting the perfect dress to make a first impression on 2013. Because I have spent much of my Christmas holidays writing my novel, I’ve had very little time to shop, so thought New Year’s Eve would be the perfect opportunity to don one of the many loved and forgotten dresses that hang patiently in my wardrobe awaiting their outing. After my said panic attack I opted for a Holly Fulton for ASOS black and yellow shift dress I bought a year and a half ago – which, in hindsight, is probably one of the most unique and expensive dresses in my wardrobe and pretty fitting for the occasion. But this dress was selected under the strict instructions of my ever changing body.

It was about the time when everyone was watching The Hills, and I was not only obsessed with my weight, but very much in control of it and a very happy size eight, when Heidi asked Lauren Conrad, ‘Have you been working out a lot?’ and Conrad responded with something along the lines of, ‘No, I just wear dresses’. Immediately I scribbled into the notes section of  my That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham, ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’, this new fashion tip was added to the bottom of my never ending list of how to dress myself skinny. It doesn’t take Karl Lagerfeld to know that black is slimming, so with this in mind and in the light of my newly acquired Lauren Conrad fashion tip I bought myself six black dresses from ASOS all in one pop – it was 2007, my partner was living in Sicily and I was partying frequently. These six little black dresses was merely just the beginning of a frenzied episode in my life where I purchased nothing but black dresses. They were draped or backless, prom or puffball, bat winged or off the shoulder, short or even shorter. I partied attired in black dresses for four years – never wearing the same twice out to a big night out and if so, rarely was it documented on Facebook.

The black dress was my thing, at least I thought so at the time. Occasionally I’d worry whether I had gotten too predictable – friends used to comment that I always wore black dresses, but I was convinced that this was my style and that I was very lucky to have found one – a style that is. I suppose the colour black in itself, although slimming, refined, classic and elegant, can also be associated with being boring, safe, Gothic and worst of all – death. So, one summer I made a conscious effort to invest in a whole array of poptastic brightly coloured dresses in canary yellows, warm corals, floral, striking oranges, emerald greens and a rainbow of prints – even though I love a black dress on a summer evening. So, albeit my effort to rid myself of the black dress, I had moved away from black, but was still very much wearing dresses. I wore dresses to mark occasions, I wore dresses to look glamorous and mostly I wore dresses to feel dressed up – because surely only a dress can do all of these things in good and proper form without each and every time.

After a 2011/12 winter spent dressed in a variety of black midi dresses, by summer 2012 my affair with dresses died officially died. It was around the time that I had split up with my partner – a Sicilian man ten years older than me, a workaholic, very rarely seen without donning Cartier shirts and Hugo Boss suits, who has the utmost appreciation for formal dress. My black dress fitted into all occasions suitably and complimented his formal attire. However, when we split up I began hanging around in Peckham, a setting more art chic than and far more quirky than what my wardrobe was used to. The affair ended also about the time that I started using Pinterest ardently, pinning street fashion photographs by Tommy Ton, admiring the manipulation of garments and  the styling of an ensemble and falling completely head over heels in love with Olivia Palermo’s ability to dress. Magazines were featuring articles that celebrated statement separates as opposed to the statement dress and suddenly the black dress felt so irrelevant. It felt boring.

I wanted to be more interactive and involved with the way I was dressing – I wanted a challenge. I started with skirts and lots and lots of tops in different materials, cuts and colours. I had emerged from the Victoria Beckham-esque dress and was completely inspired by Olivia Palermo and the thought she put into creating one ensemble. It involved the pairing together and experimenting with colours, fabrics, silhouettes, mis-matching, prints, layering, accessorising and most importantly, being brave enough to be totally unpredictable. I had opened up a whole new approach to fashion, which very quickly managed to empty my bank account and burst my wardrobes. I was enjoying a more youthful approach and it wasn’t about being classic or timeless – it was about being fun. My skirts rose from midi-length to short and I purchased a selection of shorts, short shorts, in wool and twill, leather and silk. It was a very special moment when I purchased myself a pair of denim Topshop shorts! I’ve worn them three times now and each and every time I do I have to mentally coax myself into doing so.  Denim shorts have always been my biggest fashion no-no for anyone above the age of twenty four and four years senior, I am prancing around Garage raves adorned  in denim shorts. Oh the irony!

So, after the best part of a year piecing together separates and implementing my new unpredictability styling technique, I was especially looking forward to being plain old and predictably glamorous -stunning dress, skyscraper heels and a clutch bag. The art deco style Holly Fulton dress I ended up wearing on New Years Eve went up against a red peplum dress inspired by Lanvin’s peplum, frilled sleeve dress from the Lanvin Spring Summer 2010 collection and a black midi dress with a sheer decolletage embellished with polka dots inspired by the remarkable  dresses from Stella McCartney’s autumn winter 2011 collection – you know the ones that took the world by storm. Ultimately, I was most excited about wearing the red dress – I hadn’t worn it in at least two years –  it’s hot, it’s sultry, it’s powerful and when I previously wore it to Kensington Roof Gardens the compliments were endless. Let’s just say this dress makes me feel special. Or, more aptly, made me feel special. When I modelled my very special red dress in the mirror yesterday afternoon, during what I like to call my ‘dress rehearsal’ or what my partner calls ‘Ayesha’s catwalk’ I was getting ready to look and feel the most dressed up and glamorous I had felt all year – all for my first meeting with 2013.

However, I quickly realised that the ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’ style tip that I had been swearing by for the past four or five years no longer applied. The very garment that I have always gone to to make me feel protected and safe, glamorous and womanly, refined and special no longer made me feel either of the above. To put the realisation into context, imagine really looking forward to wearing your favourite pair of jeans that you haven’t worn for a while, you know the pair that suck you in, lengthen your legs and go perfect with your favourite pair of boots or stilettos, only to realise they no longer fit or are no longer flattering. Neither my Lanvin or my Stella McCartney inspired dresses, or any of the dresses in my wardrobe for that matter, could hide the fact that in my new found youthful approach to dress, I had also been eating like I had  metabolism to match. The dresses clearly displayed the pounds that I have piled on over the months and have been covering up beneath my statement separates without even knowing it.

 As much as I have enjoyed piecing together separates, and as much as this has become my new go to look, the irony of fashion would have it that I am now eager to look and feel just as confident   being refined and glamorous in my dresses as I feel confident being fashionable and stylish in separates. Fashion isn’t all about dressing ourselves skinny, it’s mainly about feeling good in our clothes. On the other hand, life is about balance and you can get too much of one thing; whether it’s junk food, partying, work or even black dresses. The black dress and the denim shorts are indeed metaphors for the two extremes of my personality and my approach to life. My desire to now find balance in my life between the two extremes and redefine my affair with dresses may be enthused by the rekindling of my relationship with my partner. Of course I am not about to let go of all that I discovered in the four months I was single and I am not going to take away from the great moments that I had playing around in my denim shorts, but I cannot deny my affection  for the black dress, the respect it commands with its elegance and refinement and how powerful, yet safe and protected it makes me feel. With some balance implemented into my life, less junk food consumed, less nights spent partying and a lot more time exercising I’ll get excited about wearing the black dress as a means to show off as opposed to covering up, because let’s face it, there’s no fun in dressing up if it’s just to hide lumps and bumps anyway!

So, to all of us planning to shed those extra Christmas pounds, working to fit into a favourite pair of jeans, trying to tone up to look stunning in the perfect party dress and whatever less fashion concerned ambitions we might have for the coming year – here’s to embracing a challenge and never losing sight of our goals for 2013!

Of course, till the pounds are shed – I’ll still be opting for the stylishly fashionable in street chic separates.

OliviaPalermoLondon FashionWeek
Olivia Palermo

 

London Fashion Week #StreetStyle #Fashion #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #OliviaPalermo

...

OP

Olivia Palermo - Monochrome

Be charmed, stay inspired. x

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

Inspired By: Stylish Thoughts…

I’ve been thinking about style a lot of lately, possibly because I have been shopping excessively and going out at just as much – requiring the styling of many new ensembles for many different events, locations and situations. When I studied fashion two years ago I was lucky enough to truly discover exactly what it is exactly that beguiles me about fashion. Beyond the delight I find in dressing and dressing up, what I am so curious about and so deeply intrigued by is simple…it’s style. STYLE! That simple one syllable word that has such a weighty significance in terms of self expression. We all know the famous fashion quote ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal…’ But do we truly know how to define it? We know it when we see it -‘That’s stylish, she’s stylish, he’s got style etc.’

We all generally tend to have a universal understanding of who and what is stylish, hence why the world covets and henceforth creates style icons. And style icons vary from classic and sharp Victoria Beckham, to masters of the glam rock chic Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, preened to perfection and always neat Olivia Palermo  or forever casual and cool in a leather jacket, skinny jeans and boots combo Kate Moss.

But asides from using the word to identify a form of dressing, Classic, Casual, Trendy, Sporty etc, what constitutes as style and how can we identify what it looks like?

I like to define style as fashion’s cousin, her much cooler cousin and a trend is fashion’s sister, possibly even twin sister. Without going too deeply into semiology and linguistics, fashion is the object – the signified and the trend is formed by the signifiers, in this case the consumers (us), who with our consumption of said object  eventually make the object fashionable or/ and trendy.

Style, I refer to as fashion’s cooler cousin because it’s more expressive and offers more of a personal communication. If we could all afford to wear runway looks straight off the catwalk of the season’s most coveted look, regardless of how fashionable and on trend it might be, we’d all look like clones, or the alternative terminology, fashion victims. Style is not the possession of, or the monetary strength to, own and dress in fashionable items.  Style is the dance between conforming and rejecting, between being predictable, ironic and unexpected.

We can all wear a runway look and be fashionable, but  we’d have no credit to take for our ability to dress, because the look has already been packaged and parceled by another stylist. In fact, the only thing we might express dressed head to toe in a runway look is our undying love for fashion and our ability to keep up with its capricious nature. Ask Anna Dello Russo, Fashion Editor and Creative Director at Vogue Japan, who’ll tell you ‘I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion’. I have never seen a woman wear so many runway looks, in fact so fashionable is the passionate fashionista that she has been described by Helmut Newton as a ‘Fashion maniac’.  Anna might be considered ironically cool, like wearing nineties patterned  Moschino in the twenty first century or a black woman wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Blondes have more fun,’ but too much irony or too much of one thing is never good.

So, back to this dance of conforming and rejecting. Style is a personal interpretation of the signified object – the fashion item, it’s the way in which we  choose to hangout with fashion’s sister, the signifiers, the masses that form the trends and its how we choose to reject it, by refusing to wear it, altering it or manipulate it. A white shirt might be fashionable, neatly buttoned down and tucked into a pair of jeans, we conform to the trend by wearing the white shirt, but we reject it by tucking only the front of the shirt into our jeans and leaving the back out, wearing the first three buttons undone or placing a statement necklace around the collar and so on and so forth.

In my humble opinion, ‘styling’ is the way in which we manipulate fashion. The most stylish of people in my belief are those that always have their eye on fashion but have the ability to manipulate, to innovate, to be unexpected but respectable, ironic and predictable and know exactly when to conform and when to reject.  Style is formed once we develop a particular method towards the way in which we approach dress, over a period of time this will form a motif which eventually becomes our own unique style.

Here’s to some of my personal style icons at the moment…

Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City movie wearing pink cut out dress and black studded belt.
Carrie Bradshaw
Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham wearing DVB Jeans
Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham dressed in grey
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Rihanna dressed in pink and orange
Olivia Palermo in pink
Olivia Palermo wearing pink lace at the Valentino Couture at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild
Olivia Palermo in black and navy blue
Olivia Palermo in black leather peplum top and navy blue shorts with pointed wedges
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian casual in flats
Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney Kardashian dressed in blue patterned dress
Kim Kardashian wearing black and grey
Kim Kardashian wearing staple skinny jeans, heels and waterfall jacket. Dressed in black and grey.
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer
Kim Kardashian dressed in leggings and longline blazer with statement necklace
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats
Kourtney Kardashian dressed casually in flats and brown hat

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Victoria Beckham on the Cover of i-D Magazine

A sultry Victoria Beckham graces the latest cover of i-D magazine, revealing a tiny disciplined bod after giving birth to Harper Seven just over six months ago.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

Jealous much?? x

Victoria Beckham a/w 2011-12 – A Stylish Journey

From Posh, to Wag, Fashion Icon to Respected Fashion Designer…This is undeniably a very stylish journey…

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 Victoria Beckham Collection autumn/winter 2011-12

It was seven years ago that I employed Victoria Beckham as my fashion icon, during the epoch when she championed the trucker hat, baggy jeans and timberland boots ensembles. At the time I was, ashamedly, an avid consumer of OK! magazine. The publication fitted in well with my major consumption of trash culture and my distinct desire to live my life like a celebrity. In my defense, I was nineteen years old, in the early stages of my university studies and had almost no self awareness. I would pull all the pages that featured Victoria Beckham from the magazines and use them as inspiration for my own dress. Her style evolved and I emulated it; I journeyed with her in the Frye Campus boots and denim shorts, the Rock and Republic bootleg jeans worn with men’s leather belts, sandals, camisole tops and sunglasses outfits, to the dVb skinny jeans that sat perfectly over the almond toe platform YSL Laurent court shoes or the Christian Louboutins, often put together with long line vests or t-shirts that either fell off the shoulder or were part tucked into the jean’s waist band.

Jeans, court shoe and t-shirt ensemble

This was the look she was donning around the time the revised print of ‘That Extra Half an Inch’ was released – which still sits proudly in my book shelf, with pages indexed and my notes written in the back and the last VB look I would ever emulate entirely. Victoria’s style transformed once again, at moments oversexed in thigh high fetishistic boots, bodices with no lower garment and tiny dresses or she was demure, but sexy, in knee length skin tight pencil dresses and skirts. She accessorised her attire with Hermes Birkins and Croc Kelly’s and wore shoes that rendered a woman a cripple.

It was at this juncture I realised the relationship I once had with Victoria Beckham’s style had to come to an end.  I was at the end of my academic career and at the beginning of defining myself as an adult, being functional at this part of my life was absolute paramount.  I couldn’t wear those shoes running for a train in the morning, I couldn’t ‘mind the gap between the train and the platform’ with those pencil skirts that bounded your legs together at the knees and I don’t think I could ever justify purchasing a handbag that costs more money than my car, let alone afford one.

Nevertheless, my affection towards Victoria Beckham’s style has never dissipated. I continue to follow her career, to purchase all the magazine covers she features on and every now and again I Google her attire. I suppose, with my twenty seven years under my belt, a developing self awareness and a deep desire to understand life and the human condition, it is no longer my concern to emulate someone else’s style, but to understand how one’s style is formed and affected by internal and external occurrences.

In Victoria’s interview with Avril Mair in the Elle Collector’s magazine it’s apparent that her style has been influenced by her age, her lifestyle and her self confidence. These elements are likely to have an impact on most people’s style, however, style still manifest differently for each individual. When I realised I could no longer emulate Victoria Beckham I began to explore fashion beyond the OK! magazines. I studied the designers Victoria was associated with, Dolce and Gabbana, Azzedine Alaia, Marc Jacobs, Roland Mouret and I began a journey that was inspired by Victoria, that would eventually form my own style.

Victoria Beckham not only defined my love affair with fashion, but her approach to style lead me to discover my own. She inspired a journey that exposed me to the work and creative processes of wonderful designers and gave me the tools to discover what works for me. Picking, choosing and refusing what works for me and what doesn’t, whether it’s on the catwalk or not, whether she wears it or not. I suppose this is the self confidence she mentions in her interview, the same self confidence that has driven a magnificent fashion career and yet another impeccable a/w collection.

Read Avril Mair’s interview with Victoria Beckham in the Elle Collections magazine a/w 2011

Vagina Boots – The ‘V’ Word in Boot Camp

All hail this season’s supreme and essential boot for the winter rain or feline predator, coined the V boot by fashion bloggers, the V indeed refers to the woman’s genitalia. Could the vagina be any more à la mode?

Propped on the top of perforated, studded, patterned, matt faux or real leather, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli and Gucci models strutted down the runway with their legs wrapped in black, oil slick leather climbing way up their legs. Over the knee boots are so last season, winter 2009 the new boot is Vagina high and proud. With our second Christmas in the recession, 7.8% of the work force unemployed and no prediction of employment increasing anytime soon, the nation’s strength and confidence is vulnerable. Designers kick the recession in the teeth with these strategically powerful boots, although the Gucci V boot is priced at £1560 these boots will definitely pay for themselves – over and over again.
Last year the high streets saw a surge of flat over the knee boots, it was protocol on Oxford Street to do your Christmas shopping donning these, at that moment markedly long boots. But as if that boot wasn’t ferocious enough, the V boot has upped the ante; the heel significantly higher, the leather tighter and the boot longer. Dress would have it that the more flesh the woman reveals the more sexual she appears, this would suggest the more she covers up the more modestly dressed she is. Strangely, this rule doesn’t seem to apply when women adorn their pins in boots – women’s boots hit the top of the sexual radar the closer they edge to the Vagina. Let’s be fair, this boot personifies sex, they’re definitely not for the faint hearted or coy. The V boot is for the woman who has no qualms displaying female sexual power.
Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, perhaps the most influential of the dress and music world today have already been seen executing sexy moves in the V boot. The masses may not have submitted themselves to the sexual prowess of this boot just yet, but it’s not a long time coming. There’s always a distinctive ripple in the fashion ocean when a certain Spice Girl is papped wearing a catwalk key item and like clockwork Victoria Beckham, dressed for a night on the town replaced her uniform YSL court shoes for a pair of the towering boots.Unafraid of the force of these boots, Topshop, Aldo and Asos have taken them from the catwalk and bought them to the high street. The uptake appears to be slow, maybe these epic boots don’t belong on the streets for the average woman, but in the wardrobe of Trinity from Matrix or in the bedroom of a dominatrix herself.
However, the only accessory needed this season is the confidence to be overtly sexy. Commanding? The V boot most certainly is, but designers have it that sexy no longer discredits sophistication. This winter is a special one where women can be sexy, classy and most importantly empowered – employed or not.

 

Naomi Parker’s Send Off – The Hen Weekend

Ciao Ciao London

It started off with The Sicilian saying goodbye and pre warning me of my behaviour as I hauled my powder pink suitcase and Sicilian biscuit package onto the bus to Victoria. Accompanying me was one of my roommates for the weekend, Gi Gi Live – who was making a huge statement with royal blue nails and oversized Victoria Beckham style glasses. ‘I tried to buy some wine,’ Gi Gi says, her nails highlighting her sentences as she waves her hands about, ‘The woman in the shop looked at me as though I was crazy. We don’t sell wine before eight thirty the she told me – don’t you know that – she asked me. Why would I know that?’ Gi Gi laughed, ‘Everyone in the shop looked at me as though I was an alcoholic.’

Purchasing wine at eight thirty AM – this is a hen weekend with good intentions.

McDonalds Calls

Victoria station with an hour to kill, there was only one way to start the weekend. Mc Donald’s! En route to McDonalds I stop in Claire’s Accessories to buy myself one of those plaited hair bands. Then myself and Gi Gi sit down to two Big Breakfasts – man, how I forgot how good a McDonald’s sausage is! In fact the last time I had one I was also headed to Leeds.

Mid gossip, in floats the hen herself, with a suitcase maybe not as bright but as large as mine (this makes me happy). Naomi has attired her long body with a Spanish red floating maxi dress, to accompany her long flowing mane. Behind her is Kimmie Parker, chugging along a rather large Paul Frank bag, Canterbury Parker, mother of Kimmie and the hen and friend, Louise. Like a moth to a flame we have all coincidentally been drawn to the evil lure of McDonald’s breakfast.
‘Thought we might see you bitches here!’ Kimmie, with her affectionate Bitch calling settles down with a Mc Muffin. In her bag are bottles of wine, Cava and Vodka!
‘Can’t believe we’re all early,’ Naomi says, I feel all eyes shootng me knowing looks.
‘When it’s important I can be fashionably punctual,’ I say, between mouthfuls of Mc Donald’s goodness.

The Coach

On the coach, before we hit the road we are informed of how to flush the toilet, we are told not to consume any hot foods, take any hard drugs or consume any alcohol. Of course the alcohol rule irks us, Canterbury has come fully kitted out with plastic cups and screw top bottles of rose.

AC – Why can’t we drink alcohol?
Canterbury – This is public transport, of course we can’t drink alcohol.
AC – Are you sure this is public transport?
Kimmie – Of course it is.
Canterbury – What kind of public transport are you (AC) used to?
AC – I’m just saying, as far as I’m concerned if I can’t use my Oyster card to travel – it’s not public transport.

***LAUGH***

There’s only so much talking about Argentine lovers, the Sicilian, fiancés, boyfriends and fashion we can do to pass the time …so we pop the rose. And with great discretion, fear of getting kicked off the coach and left for the hard shoulder and a good love for alcohol intoxication we consume two bottles in no time.

Now – we are ready for Leeds.

Arrivata

We arrive at the Jury’s Inn, just near the Royal Armouries, let’s call it the Leeds equivalent to Canary Wharf. We are located amongst, the river beautiful bridges, new build apartments and shiny hotels. We are pleasantly surprised at how plush our hotel is.

Readying for The First Night

All gathered in the Hen’s room we drink warm Cava and Champagne, we toast the hen and then indulge in what seems to be a rather long conversation about our bums – or for Kimmie – the lack thereof! We shake our booties for a while, acting like confused Carnival dancing video veterans – then we yet again engage in some more male concerned conversation whilst painting our nails and intermittently swapping nail tips.

The First Evening
We head to Sicilian Salumeria for a six course food tasting meal.
For our Digestivo we go to the Epernay Champagne bar, which is situated in a glass ceilinged court yard called, The Electric Press. Here we meet hair colouring obsessed, dinner party hostess expert, Genevieve Winona Eckhart, who has joined us later due to work.
Once the whole cohort has consumed enough champagne for the bubbles to tingle our feet we head to The Living Room where we dance the night away. Naomi abuses us with her somewhat violent drunken dancing and once we are defeated we walk through Leeds City Centre and make our way back to the hotel.The Drunken Walk Home

We discover a twenty four hour Greggs – yes Greggs! The bakery! Like school kids let out for lunch we bound into Greggs thrilled by this phenomenon. Why don’t we have a twenty four hour Greggs London? I grab a stake bake and relish every last bite of it.

The Hang Over

We force ourselves out of bed at 8.30, having gone to bed only hours ago. On arrival at breakfast we are all impressed with the spread of the buffet breakfast. I greedily and with no consideration to diet, calorie counting or bridesmaid pictures indulge in a three course breakfast.

Breakfast chit chat consists of replaying the night before, we cackle with laughter and to be fair are probably the loudest group of all the young inhabitants breakfasting, henning and staging in the hotel! We laugh until tears are in our eyes and decide we need to get out of London more often.The Burlesque Class

Well … the teacher was a short haired, tiny pole and burlesque dancer who strutted about the class room in nothing but a black vest top and frilly knickers. There is nothing too complimentary to say about my fellow Burlesque dancers – we rolled about the floor like sea lions whilst nursing delicate bellies and thumping headaches!

To make ourselves feel better where better to head to other than Primark? We shopped for an hour or so, bought more food and alcohol and headed back to the hotel.

Four in a Bed

Kimmie infiltrates me, Gi Gi and Genevieve’s room. She climbs into the bed with us where we make jokes, take the complete piss out of each other, reminisce on old boyfriends and contemplate the future. We laugh ourselves to tears and perfect six packs! (We wish).

Sailors – The Second Evening

Dressed as sailors, we head out for the big night! In Leeds City Centre we are one of many Hen crew. ‘Oi Oi sailors!’ a Leeds man shouts to us and we all respond with a salute. We look at each other enthused and like little school girls, we laugh and giggle excitedly!
We enjoy our Tapas and Cava sangria, with great luck our bill arrives without the last two bottles of wine charged to the bill. No wonder Gi Gi and me are the last sat at the table – completely oblivious. We knock back the last of our wine and head out ASAP!

Chilli Whites

Love London exclusive clubs? Then Chilli Whites is the Leeds equivalent – only ten times less expensive than our good old capital raving scene. We spent most of the night dancing to funky house and posing as sailors! Chris Brown’s Forever comes on, when the song hits the bridge we miraculously and completely unchoreographed manage to fall into a dance routine we copied off YouTube!

My shoes slowly but surely defeat me and for the first time in years I find myself sitting in a nightclub nursing swollen feet! It’s all getting too much for me now!Back at the hotel Kimmie pours two glasses of Vodka and pineapple juice? We sit outside and watch the last of the Leeds ravers play fight drunkenly in the street, we voice a few disgusted opinions at their behaviour and then finally head off to bed.

Not so Bright Eyed or Bushy Tailed

Me, Gi Gi and Genevieve manage to force ourselves out of bed for the final breakfast. Nobody else joins us, obviously K.O’d from the previous night. Genevieve decides that we are the true hardened ravers – I couldn’t agree more. My feet are swollen, my head is spinning and I look ghastly but here I am, 10.00 in the morning, drinking a black coffee and eating hash browns. Still no concern of how I’ll fit into my bridesmaid dress and at this minute really not caring.

 
 
My Lobby is your Lobby (or front room)
Our last day in Leeds is spent in the hotel lobby, where we stay for the WHOLE day. The Hen, Canterbury and Louise head to the spa. Gi Gi Live, Kimmie Parker, Genevieve and myself set up camp in the lobby, I charge my Blackberry, we buy herbal teas and hot chocolates and put our feet up. We pass the time discussing our ideal three course meals, recent films we have seen and of course how hung over we are. Kimmie is in and out of the bathroom with self proclaimed food poisoning – she moans and groans at the mention of food. However secretly the rest of us can’t help thinking that alcohol poisoning may have been a more apt diagnosis!5 hours later

We’re still in the lobby, having popped out for Burger King and Nandos (did I ever mention that we were fabulous?). I sink a double whopper and cheese burger with chips –somebody say “bridesmaid dress!!!”Back in London

As tired as hell and feeling ten pounds heavier, we are back in London and we’re all feeling slightly deflated. Pretty little Leeds seems like a lifetime ago.
As soon as I get home I head to my bathroom and jump on my scales to confirm that I am the heaviest I have been in two years!!!! OMG – what about my bridesmaid dress???
To bed I go, depressed as hell!
We will always have Leeds. X x x