John Galliano’s Vanity Fair interview

This week has already been hot with fashion news-Emma Hill leaving Mulberry that she rejuvenated and took to wonderfully new, much desired heights, Jason Wu announced as artistic director for HugoBoss, CEO of sportswear brand LuluLemon leaving with no announcement as yet about who will be replacing her and collaboration between Swedish fashion powerhouse H & M and doyenne of French uber-cool Isabel Marrant. However I was most curious to read John Galliano’s interview in Vanity Fair, his first, after his sacking from Christian Dior and the now notorious cell-video that stopped him and his career in its tracks ( there are now rumours circulating that he is getting ready to do a TV interview as well ).

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John Galliano always was and always will remain an amazing creative genius who has made a lasting mark on the fashion scene and I sincerely hope that the fashion world will forgive him and will give him the benefit of a doubt, a second chance, that most people deserve. To survive the pressure of too many collections to produce, to please the management and financial big wigs, to entice the clients and to inspire minds isn’t easy and I don’t know how people do it, as every collection needs to be different from anything else you did before. Many designers descend into drug and alcohol fuelled abyss and leave, as their fragile minds cannot cope with the pressures and egos of the people around them, who place personal gains before that of the man or woman who rejuvenates the brand and drives it forward with talent, creativity and vision for the future.

I urge you to read the interview that John Gallliano gave to Ingrid Sischy ( who is Jewish by the way and so is Annie Leibovitz, who took sadly poetic and melancholic pictures of Galliano. Neither let her nationality cloud her judgement-Sischy in particular, masterfully allowing the voice of Galliano to strongly come through, so the reader makes up his or her own mind on where they stand on this moral, political and human position and views ).

We all make mistakes and its a measure of who we are when it comes down to how we handle lessons learnt-if at all. But it is also telling how people around us react-after all it is so easy to judge others, while being forgiving with yourself.

I hope John Galliano’s talent will shine again and he will rise to new heights, like a magical Phoenix-I have heard from friends that he spends a lot of time in Miami and has a solid financial backer behind him, who will hopefully will Mr. Galliano to create and mesmerise fashion crowds around the world. Supposedly all depends on the designer staying clean and sober-at least I have heard that it is one of the conditions. And I certainly appreciate the supportive position of Titans of the fashion industry like Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar De La Renta and publisher 

Jonathan
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Trialling Baukjen eStylist service

According to press musings, a vast majority of celebrities have stylists, while most women would probably bulk at the price of having one or have been disappointed with the styling they had at department stores-do you blame bad lighting, low self-esteem or the sales driven store stylist for the clothes choices that don’t exactly make you look a million dollars when you come back home and try the purchases on again ?

I have used advise of a stylist in a showroom boutique-a big success, might I add, as I still wear most of the items that I bought from the boutique but I have never used an online stylist-are you intrigued yet?

=&0=&, is a London based British online fashion brand, started by =&1=&, who is the =&2=&( with her husband being another co-founder I presume that the brand encompasses both female & male perception of fashion for women ) and previous to this Baukjen ran Isabella Oliver, which I knew for their easy & comfortable maternity wear. The design philosophy behind the brand ( all the designs are done in-house ) is to create modern design classics with a twist, so each piece is comfortable to wear, stylish and would form part of an easily organised wardrobe, which will work for any occasion, from doing a school run to a day in the office, followed by drinks with clients or a girlfriend. Baukjen wants to help women shape their style but more importantly, =&3=&

Bopeeps underwear-a post Valentine’s Day afterthought

With Valentine’s day safely behind us-red roses past their sell-by date, silly cards or useless trinkets, tacky underwear ads ( I was honestly horrified by the Agent Provocateur ad with Poppy Delevigne ), I actually got thinking about practical underwear that each woman needs on a daily basis. Not too frilly, yet smart, the bras and knickers that actually make you feel womanly, with a hint of sexiness and accentuate your curves without tugging or pinching. That got you thinking, didn’t it?

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BoPeeps aims to achieve just that with the range of soft and practical lingerie. The brand was started by a former music industry executive Bo Macdonaldwho became acutely aware of the need for the comfortable, yet stylish underwear during long work days and extensive travel. As Bo herself says: ” The Bopeeps brand started as a living room launch in 2007. For the first few years, I was a one woman show, spending all of my spare time developing the brand.  I always wanted to use stretch lace and the idea behind the brand was to combine an American sensibility (comfort) and a European aesthetic (pretty). The stretch lace that we use is chosen for its ‘give’.  No one wants their panties to pinch and VPL is as long gone, as the eight track tape’. 

We all want to look smart and underwear plays crucial part in how our final silhouette ends up looking. Bopeeps designs are made from stretch lace, which helps to maintain the elasticity of the garment, yet clings to you in all the right placed. You can order underwear sets ( Butterfly set or French knicker set ) or choose the bra ( Butterfly or Ballet ) or bottoms ( two types of thongs and two types of knickers) in a variety of colours to suit you, if you top/bottom size varies. 

Very recently I ordered ( and promptly received-the item arrives in a slim package that can go through your letterbox without you having to go to the post-office if you are out when the postman delivers your mail ) a Ballet bra. It has scalloped edging and semi-sheer patterned lace which has laser cut detailing and a very comfortable neck-line.

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You can adjust bra straps ( it has no closure, instead you just pull it on and off ) and it has comfortable mesh lining with light support and no under-wire. However, coming from someone who prefers under-wire in general, this offers adequate support. You can wear it during the day or at night or even while lounging around. It feels greatly familiar next to the skin and is one of those bras that makes you feel good about yourself. An underwear that is simple, practical and thought-out. The type of underwear you probably don’t get as a Valentine’s gift, even though I think you should!

www.bopeeps.com

S/S 2013 collection preview from KeyLeaf

I have known Claudia and Adriana, the loveliest women, as well as an amazing design team ( they are sisters but they complement each other so well professionally, it’s always a joy to watch the two of them in action ) behind KeyLeaf for a few years now, but they surprise me every time they launch a new collection.

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Their prints ( Adriana is responsible for them ) are simply stunning, bursting with vibrant colours that wake up your senses by just looking at them , as well as the designs ( Claudia takes care of that side of the business ) that are not only sexy and flattering but well thought out too. You have clever strategic slits, clever skimming shapes that enhance when needed and hide what you don’t want to put on the show.

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KeyLeaf‘s new collection for spring/summer 2013 has been inspired by rainforests and spiders, as well as reptiles and when you enter KeyLeaf’s new showroom in Notting Hill ( next to Cafe Respiro, which makes perfect coffee and has the sweetest staff ) you don’t know where to look, as you eyes dart from tunics to dresses, from blouses to skirts, from kaftans to jumpsuits. And the trouble is ( for your bank account .) not for your on-trend fashion sense ) that you are truly spoilt for choice! The girls design practical, wearable clothes that make you pretty, whatever you are doing-going to the beach, attending a business meeting ( KeyLeaf designs are particularly great for women who work in creative industries, like arts, theatre, design or fashion ) or a lunch with your girlfriend, as well as easily taking you to a glamorous party or making you feel very chic, while out doing the errands or the school run. You have short dresses and long dresses, demure designs and sexier ones, with sleets at skirting level that allow the leg to peak out or exposing your back line. You also find feminine touches, like the dress pockets edged with pretty ribbon detailing or the smart pleating in skirts. 

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You can also find the pieces that would work in autumn/winter, with KeyLeaf blouses not only designed with long sleeves and variety of neck lines to suit both slim, as well as busty ladies, but also by mixing silk with twill or satin crepe-those combinations make the blouses slightly warmer, compared to silk ones, perfectly suitable for spring/summer. You can also have the buttons at the end of the sleeve, as well as the elastic band, so you can pull your sleeves up and feel very comfortable-almost like a two in one design-more demure-long sleeve, slightly tomboyish or flirty, pull the sleeve up a little bit to expose your wrists.

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KeyLeaf designs are hard to resist, because they are colourful and soulful, they make you feel womanly but not pretentious, they flow and caress your read more

Interview with Katherine Hooker

Fashion is notoriously fickle, today it dictates one shape or colour, tomorrow it’s completely gone, replaced by something more current. Trends come and go, but I always look back at the women in my family, both of my grandmothers ( who had style and flare, at the time when it was nearly impossible to find something in the shops ) and I look at my mother who has been and remains a huge inspiration to me. From them I know that you need to listen to your own inner voice and choose the clothes that suit you, your personality and lifestyle and not necessarily ‘follow’ what others are wearing or the fashion style mavens are trying to impose on you.

I have heard about fashion designer ( somehow calling her that already seems wrong, because her designs are timelessly elegant and not just ‘in’ today, ‘gone’ tomorrow ) Katherine Hooker a few years ago. She has a small, intimate shop in Chelsea, in Ashburnham road and makes really beautiful jackets, coats, dresses, waistcoats & skirts. A friend of mine mentioned her name in passing and one day, on a spurr of the moment I wandered in, only to be greeted by a small dog with a loud bark-later I found out that he was Katherine’s dog, called Pretzel who is a mascot and master of the shop. The shop itself looked like an atelier, where you could browse in the front of the store, with light pouring in through the large windows and sometimes even get invited into the studio at the back, to be shown the samples of the fabric-I found it all quaint and fascinating, never having been fitted for a jacket like the ones that Katherine makes, made-to-order, before. To talk about fabrics, buttons, finishes-it sounded surreal, but so much fun!

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Since then, I have ordered a few more jackets and last year I succumbed to the beauty of one of Katherine’s new coats, called the Jackson-luxurious, read more

The Sartorialist new book: CLOSER

Sometimes a person can feel like an old friend, even if you don’t know him or her. In actual fact I have met Scott Schuman once, together with Garance Dore, during the book signing he was doing at Liberty’s of London for his first book a couple of years ago. I don’t remember much about that meeting-well, it was so fleeting, you can’t even call it a meeting. I queued for a few hours, among the crowd of fashionable people, most of which really did want to make an impression on Mr Sartorialist who was very cool and kind, even though there were such a sea of people it must have felt strange. Garance, who sat next to him, looked a little shy but she had such a beautiful smile spread on her face you just couldn’t help but smile back…. I got my book signed and walked home, musing at the phenomenon that I just saw that day.

A few years have elapsed but I still open that book and look at the photographs, reflecting, reminiscing, smiling at the beauty of the shots and personalities that shine from every page-it is a rare skill, to take a picture that is a snapshot of the person in the moment-and it’s not just their style, it’s their character that The Sartorialist captures and you feel the beauty of that moment mixed with the sense of humanity, reality and vividness that never cease to amaze me.

This month saw the release of the second volume of The Sartorialist book, called ‘Closer’ and I felt like a giddy teenager waiting for the book to arrive from Amazon and then I have spent what seemed like hours looking at the next photos, remembering some of them from The Sartorialist blog that is my happy daily addiction, in the same way that a morning cup of Illey coffee with cinnamon, milk & brown sugar is.

Many of the photos in the book were ‘new’ to me and the book felt even more intimate, more wonderfully inspired, taking you by the hand and guiding you around the world, showing men, women, children- more reflective shots mixed with joyous ones.

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When you look at Scott Schuman‘s pictures you learn from them about the light and the positioning but more importantly, you get an education in diversity and style, the sense of flair and pride that people take while putting together their outfit or their ‘look’, which in many instances really do reflect who that person truly is.

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There is a beautiful picture of a little boy, for example, who is dressed like a little gentleman, and he has this shy, adorable smile that makes the whole shot so magical and full of such unadulterated joy-he is still a baby, yet there is no confusion-there is a man inside, slowly developing his fashion sense together with his mother-and it’s not at all imposed, it’s sweetly, endearingly natural. The boy in the picture looks comfortably adorable, not done or stuffy!

Or another photo, by a woman in the Tuilerie gardens, who seems both amused and embarrassed, by Scott taking her picture-you can almost touch her and the hand will fly away from her face, giving way to a flicker of a smile, a knowing look-isn’t it great to just look at the picture and dream or wonder….

Or the photo of Garance, standing in NY city, at the zebra crossing, taking a shot-of The Sartorialist?…of someone else? Her face is hidden behind her camera, but you know it’s her, that wonderful woman, who has her own identity, her style, her flair and her magic touch… Scott Schuman ( The Sartorialist ) has this innate ability to surprise, to have a fresh vision when taking every of his photographs.

His pictures show respect for each individual, they accentuate the beauty of each character and to me, that’ s one of the most amazing gifts that makes me want to check our The Sartorialist blog regularly-to be inspired by the people and the world out there.

Just open that book and let it take you on the magical journey without intimidating you or making you nervous-and who knows, it might inspire you to live for the moment, to enjoy the clothes that you have, to savour the moment of choosing your outfit and be you, the beautifully unique YOU. The Sartorialist ( aka Scott Schuman ), I salute and admire you!

p.s today I caught my little girl sitting cosily on the sofa, browsing the pages of Closer in peaceful & blissful contemplation. I smiled at her, knowing fully well that this is the one addiction that I will definitely be encouraging in her and with that thought, I quietly walked away, allowing my daughter to forge her own inquisitive path.  

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Haute Couture by Cathleen Naundorf-my photographer crush!

I love photography and vivid visuals ( be it in colour or black & white ), so it’s always interesting to see new work and to be surprised. Hamiltons gallery, my favorite gallery representing many well-known photographers like Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, Annie Leibovitz and Herb Ritts, hosted a first London exhibition by a photographer Cathleen Naundorf in March of this year and when I received the invitation to the preview, the invitation itself, one of Cathleen’s photographs, blew me away with its delicate, yet strong beauty.

I couldn’t make the actual opening ( still kicking myself for the missed opportunity to meet Cathleen in person ) but I did go to have a look at her huge and poetic photographs-there is a delicacy about her pictures ( even though they were exhibited in a fairly large size ) but they make such a strong visual impact, that you just stop and observe each one of them for what seems like ages, and time just flies by seamlessly, as you feel entranced by the beauty of her Polaroid images.

Cathleen, who was mentored by Horst P. Horst, just had her book published by Prestel, called

‘Haute Couture the polaroids of
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Harvey Nichols sale add-love it or hate it ?

Sales have started earlier this year and last week I have received a sale card from Harvey Nichols announcing it’s sale from Wednesday, 17th of June,but instead of the excitement, it made me feel puzzled, if not annoyed.

The ad’s slogan is ‘ try to contain your excitement ‘ and it features a slim model with a wet patch on the front of her trousers, implying that the discounts were so good, she actually peed herself.

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Was it a male or female agency team who came out with this ad? Are those people women haters, as I can’t see the male in the ad? Are women considered so fickle and so shattered by the birth of the children, that the manifestation of our excitement is peeing ourselves? 

Harvey Nichols, which for many years had a coolness edge to it-the designers they carried, the layout of the floors, their customer base-I remember how many years ago I went to admire Alexander McQueen designs and at the same time enjoyed looking at the people who shopped there…..I don’t know what customer base this ad will inspire or attract, but I won’t be among those people hunting for sales bargains, even if the discounts go up to 70%, on this occasion.