French Dressing: How it Can Boost Your Confidence.

There is a truth universally acknowledged: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Coco Chanel

I experience this truth first hand every morning when dressing for the day.  How I am feeling or how I want to feel during my day is reflected by what I choose to put on.  If I wake up in a foul mood (a not uncommon occurrence) I can pull myself together by dressing in something that makes me feel confident and sexy.  I can then face the day ahead when I am dressed according to my feelings.  An example of this dressing with feeling is illustrated in “One”, episode 12  from the sixth season of Sex and the City.  Charlotte, devastated after her miscarriage, pulls herself together (in a very Audrey Hepburn moment) with a candy pink strapless Eric Way dress, black strappy heels, sunglasses and her hair pulled into a chignon.  Her clothing gives her a new outlook, making her look and feel sexy, alluring, together and most importantly, confident which gives her the strength to face her fears.

Vicki Archer wrote about confidence on her wonderful blog French Essence.  Please do read her post Confidence  because it will make your day.  Somehow she has tapped into the very essence of what it means to be a woman.  C’est magnifique!  I was so inspired by her insight that it led to this post.  I began thinking about how it is that French women convey confidence so easily through their wardrobe.  I didn’t want this post to be a guide per se, or filled with all the “how to” information that is all over the web – because there are plenty of blogs and websites dedicated to the art of French style and how to attain it.  I wanted this post to be about lifestyle and how confidence is a part of that and how it can be attained through the way we choose to dress.  It just so happens that French women seem to do this innately, without even trying.  So why not learn what we can from them?

While there is no doubt in my mind that if you peek inside a French woman’s closet, you will find a wardrobe that is elegant, stylish and minimalist.  You needn’t worry if you don’t think yours is up to scratch.  It’s how you feel on the inside, the intention behind your choices and what you wish to convey by the way you wear your hair, which belt you choose, the shoes you put on, how you tie your scarf, even how you walk.  A French woman is most likely thinking about looking sexy, even if she is simply out walking le chien.  If you think confident, you are confident… food for thought, oui?

French women assess their assets and make the most of them. They know themselves and their bodies well enough to trust their own instincts.  It is not so much what is on the outside, but what is on the inside and the French woman is therefore self-assured, feminine, sexy, and alluring from the inside-out.  Nothing is over-complicated and this shines through when it comes to dressing because they focus on simple clothing, and they know that they don’t need the latest trends to look good.  True, they do have their beloved Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, but they get a lot of mileage out of these expensive pieces because they know what to buy for their body.  And for everything else, they mix vintage with high-street fashion.

After much research, reading, discussion and looking at hundreds of pictures of French women, I have come to the conclusion that if you highlight your best feature you will achieve the very essence of dressing like a French woman.  If you have a gorgeous hour-glass figure then enhance it by highlighting your waist.  If you have long legs, then it’s short skirts for you.  The key is to remember to keep it simple.  Whether it is your waist, derrière, legs, or dècolletage, only draw attention to one thing.  It’s all about simple.  Less is more.  Don’t brush your hair, wash it less often.  If you want to your makeup to look à la Française then all that it required is a good foundation, a little mascara and some lip gloss.  It’s true!  Take a good look, these women have bed head hair and very little make-up on but don’t they look incredible?

The simple, elegant beauty of Eva Green and Francoise Hardy.

Something else I feel I must highlight is the French woman’s aversion to dying her hair, or in fact leaving the grey in and using it to her advantage.  A woman who does this has to be supremely confident, in my book.  Don’t misunderstand me, French women do dye their hair.  They just don’t talk about it.  When I lived in Sydney, my French hairstylist, Pierre (yes I know, the irony of it all) was adament about not dying my hair.  I didn’t have a plethora of greys, but to me, they were all I saw when I looked in the mirror.  He of course would say to me (in a very thick French accent) “What grey ‘air ‘eidi? I cannot see any, you are crazy!”  After moving away I found a hairstylist who had no such qualms with dying my hair but a few years later, and a few more grey hairs later, I have gone back to my natural dark brown and I am letting my greys do their thing.  I am proud of them.  They were borne out of a lot of hard work, stress, post-natal depression and dammit, if the French can laud them, why shouldn’t I?  More confidence boosting to boot.

It is pretty daring to say the least for women in our hemisphere and before they’re 60 to allow their hair to remain uncoloured and to show off our grey in all its glory, but these women above certainly look amazing and prove that we can be comfortable in our own skin without all the cosmetic affectations.

The way you hold yourself, shoulders back, head high, walking with purpose all convey confidence.
The natural beauty of Audrey Tautou.

Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.  I promise you, to be daring is exhilirating!  It is a definite confidence booster!

These French ladies have added something to their ensemble to stand out from the crowd.  A colourful scarf or a colourful dress mixed with monochromatic black and white and the neverfail beige.

Whenever you feel like you got out on the wrong side of the bed and are thinking of wearing your oldest trackpants for the school run, don’t berate yourself.  No, no, no!  Let out your inner French woman and hear her roar!  Some lipgloss, a spray of perfume and a gorgeous scarf, Pashmina or beret and you have put a whole different spin on your day.  I promise you!

A splash of colour; red lipstick, red skinny belt, even a simple beanie makes this French lady appear to ooze confidence.  Sexy shoes and shiny pants mixed with a simple black scarf and gloves, it’s sexy and alluring and dare I say it, yes confident.

“French women don’t try to look like anyone else other than themselves,” says Frenchwoman Nathalie Rykiel, daughter of designer Sonya Rykiel. “They know who they are and make the most of what they have. Allure, to them, is more about a statement than physical beauty.”

Frenchwoman Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat  and French Women for All
Seasons says “French women can be stubborn and don’t like anyone advising them about their appearance.”  I read somewhere that stylish French women know their own ‘brand’ DNA and work it.  I know exactly what that means.  How I dress is an extension of my personality.  Accept that how you dress is part of who you are.  If you don’t like the way you dress, then how can you like the person inside?  By paying just a little more attention to even one part of how we dress, it can do wonders for our self-esteem.

I must add however that while French style is obviously innate…

(Because no one can be this stylish at such a young age unless they are French, oui?)

…it has to be said.
If you dress with confidence, you will feel confident and then you will be confident.

love & light xx

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I Am In Denim Heaven!

 Me so happy!

I just wanted to tell you all that I had great success today in finding not one but three pairs of jeans!  Hurrah!
Yesterday I went out with my super lovely and très stylish mother-in-law and we hit the shops to find me some jeans.  It was dreadful.  Nothing fit properly, I tried on so many pairs and they all looked terrible and nothing felt right.  I sulked all the way home feeling very disillusioned.

 

I was not to be defeated though and today I awoke with a new vigour and a new attitude!  I headed on down to Cuba St, I made one stop at Recycle Boutique and bam!  Three hot pairs of designer denim at less than half the price of brand new ones.  To be honest though, the bargain prices were not the drawcard.  I wouldn’t care if I had to pay a lot more for my perfect jeans, I just wanted them to feel like they were mine when I put them on.  And so I took a chance that this fantastic little vintage and recycled clothing boutique would be able to save the day and save the day it did!  I couldn’t be happier with my trois ange de denim!  Diesel, Workshop and Sass & Bide.  All three fit gloriously, all three make my derriere look perky and all three are making me so very, very happy! 

So I guess the best thing to do in a fashion crises, is to just let go…

Images from ffffound!

Sonia Rykiel: Queen of Knitwear

This year Paris’s enigmatic legendary designer celebrated 40 years on the fashion scene with a show that was according to one lucky attendee, (unfortunately not moi) the most spontaneously exuberant and genuinely fun fashion event in recent history.

Sonia Rykiel’s eponymous label was founded in 1968 wither her first boutique opening on the Rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank in Paris.  Aside from window-dressing her father’s shops in her teens, Rykiel had no formal training.  Later she began creating her own maternity sweaters out of necessity when she couldn’t find what she wanted in stores.  In 1962, Rykiel went on to sell her sweaters under her husband’s label “Laura” and when one made the cover of Elle magazine, it brought her fame and in 1970 she was dubbed the “Queen of Knits” by fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily. 
 

“I didn’t have a métier. I was supposed to be a mother, like my mother, who didn’t work. I had two children — Nathalie and Jean-Philippe. My husband had a boutique called Laura. I wanted a maternity dress and I couldn’t find anything I liked. Everything was abominable. So I made one. Then I made a pullover. Elle put it on the cover. Then WWD elected me the queen of knitwear.” Sonia Rykiel to Women’s Wear Daily.

Rykiel is famous for inventing inside-out stitching, no-hem and ‘un-lined’ pieces that reflected ‘la de-mode’ or rather ‘un-fashion’.  This new philosophy  allowed women the freedom to dress for their personality.  She encouraged women to use their head to create fashion for their body rather than be told what to wear and how to wear it.  

Sonia’s Spring 2009 collection in my opinion was the most gorgeous collection of colour, fabric and femininity I have seen in a very, very, very long time.  There wasn’t one piece from this collection that I would not wear.  It was pure perfection, pure girlishness, dreamy, sexy, and heavenly all at once.

The author of several books, Rykiel began to incorporate words into her designs. “I feel more like a novelist than a fashion designer,” she commented to the International Herald Tribune ‘s Suzy Menkes. “Someone who writes a new chapter each season, including everything I see around me.” And what she has seen around her becomes emblazoned on slinky dresses and the fronts or backs of sweaters variously inscribed “Moi,” “Fête,” and “Plaisir,” among others plus English words: “Artist,” “Ready,” “Black Tie,” and “Black is Beautiful” have also been included.

First I destroyed, undid what I had made. I wasn’t satisfied with it, it wasn’t me. It didn’t relate to me. It was fashion, but it wasn’t my fashion. I wanted to abolish the laws, the rules. I wanted to undo, overflow, exceed fashion. I wanted to unfold, unwind it. I wanted a lifestyle appropriate to the woman I was…this woman-symphony who was living the life of a woman mingled with the life of a worker.
I wanted airplane-style, travel-style, luggage-style. I saw myself as a woman on the go, surrounded by bags and children…so I imagined “kangaroo-clothes,” stackable, collapsible, movable, with no right side, no wrong side, and no hem. Clothes to be worn in the daytime I could refine at night. I put “fashion” aside to create “non-fashion.”
—Sonia Rykiel

During the evening-gown section of the Spring 2009 40th anniversary show – long tanks and feathery halters and tiers ruffled to the floor—some of the guests started tossing roses at the models. Soon the runway was covered in flowers the color of Rykiel’s dresses.  The runway then broke into a dance party when they came out again in taffeta mini-dresses. A few even conga-lined it straight into the audience.

Well, maybe I would re-think wearing this Jean Paul Gaultier for Rykiel over-sized knitting needle sweater… but I do love the play on Sonia’s hair, it looks like almost all the models went down the runway with their hair emulating Rykiels famous locks.

In 1996, the French government showed its appreciation by awarding her the Legion d’Honneur. Today, her label encompasses lingerie, accessories, children’s clothing, menswear, and beauty.  It is still a family-owned business with Rykiel’s daughter Nathalie as president and artistic director.

It is not surprising then that Sonia Rykiel has been likened to Coco Chanel, even being called “Coco Rykiel” at one time.  Much like Coco Chanel, Sonia Rykiel fell into designing, she challenged the standards and broke the rules and has become successful many times over because of her innovation, her strength, her intelligence, her flair, panache and elegantly simple style.

A woman to be admired, oui?

Images from Google.

Stuck in the Twilight Zone…

While I’ve been recovering from the worst case of flu I’ve had since 1996, a thoughtful friend gave me the Twilight books to read.

She told me “You need to nurture yourself. Get into bed and rest. Read these so you’re not tempted to do any housework.”

Well, that turned out to be a big mistake! I am now so ensconced in these books that when I’m not reading, it’s all I can think about! I find myself walking around the house with my head in the book, cooking dinner with my head in the book, bathing my kids thinking about the book, going to bed early just so I can read without being disturbed. It’s very sad…

I don’t know how I am going get back into my blog groove because all I want to do is bury myself in New Moon so I can begin reading Eclipse. … sigh…

I know there must be fellow addicts out there – show yourselves!

Image from Google.

’tis moi, I am still fighting the flu…

I am forcing myself to put this post up today to let you all know that I am still here… barely… just unable to think through this foggy flu that has me whipped.

I hope that I will be back on board sooner rather than later… xx

Image from ffffound!

Mario Testino – The Peruvian Magician

If you don’t know who Mario Testino is, chances are you would have seen his work.
I love Mario Testino’s ability to elicit magic from his subjects.  He captures life and light in the eyes of his subjects and is able to make his subjects look as if they are having the time of their lives, so relaxed, so in the moment.  He brings out beauty in a person that we may have not seen before by making a person look more beautiful than thought possible.  That is his magic!  His style of photography has been described as “luxury realism” but for Mario, it’s all about having fun.

 The Jolie-Pitt clan, well one third of them.

He is a master at encouraging his subjects.  But he won’t photograph just anyone (damn, there goes that family portrait I was hoping for).

 Natalia Vodianova and daughter photographed for American Vogue April 2009.

According to British Vogue, Mario is credited with bringing an end to the reign of the supermodel because he refused to pay the fees demanded by Linda, Naomi and friends in the early nineties.  Models like Kate Moss and Stella Tennant became the new favourites of the fashion world as a result.

Kate Moss has always been his favourite model.

His popularity with designers and fashion editors stems as much from his professionalism and good nature as his unerring ability to take beautiful pictures which sell clothes and as a result you would find it virtually impossible to open a Vogue magazine and not see his work either on the cover or between the pages.  There is a tongue-in-cheek attitude in his photographs, even though he photographs serious couture and ad campaigns for serious fashion houses like Burberry (below).

His most famous subject and shoot to date has been Princess Diana who he shot for Vanity Fair in 1997, just five months before her untimely death.

“Playfully he cast his eyes on the cool blonde seated on the couch, wondering what it would take to make her melt.  He wanted her to laugh.  He wanted her to roll around in her couture silks, right there on that big, gleaming boat of a sofa – and laugh.”

“On the day of the shoot, in a studio in South London, he just started talking, about this and that, nothing too personal.  Mario has a marvelous voice – very warm, very satisfying, like one of those macerated cherries you get at the bottom of a good Manhattan.  He just kept it light.  He put on some music – Dalida, a French dance diva… the energy started to percolate.  She got into it, laughing and tossing her head back and throwing off the most languid looks.”

“Not long after lunch she wanted learn to catwalk.  Imagine, the most celebrated woman of our time – glamorous princess, champion fund-raiser, benefactor to the poor, mother of England’s future King – learning to strut like a runway queen!”

What got to Mario was the way the lady dropped her guard, as if it were one of the Queen’s prized pieces of millinery.  She was so open and engaging, in fact, that he jokingly said he didn’t think he could address her properly as “ma’am.”  She just looked up and grinned.  “Then by all means,” she said, “call me Diana.“” – exerpt written by Cathy Horyn from Vanity Fair, July 1997.

His pictures of the Princess are the most enduring ever taken of her.  We had never seen the Princess looking so radient or at ease in a photo shoot before.  She was photographed by Testino in the gowns she had chosen to auction (at the suggestion of her son Prince William) for charity.  The shots of Diana were to become legendary and not just because they were taken so close to her death but also because of the light and love he brought out of her during the shoot that simply radiates from the pictures.

He has photographed many fashion campaigns, some of them including Burberry, Gucci, Zara, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana, Estèe Lauder, Valentino and Versace as well as just about any person you can think of…

 Reece Witherspoon
Madonna
Kate Winslet
Drew Barrymore
Princes Harry and William

Mario has published seven books thus far.  His first book of photography, a raunchy and vibrant collection of images entitled Any Objections, in 1998 then Front Row Back Stage in 1999.  In 2001 he published Alive with a forward by Gwyneth Paltrow.  In 2002 he published Portraits to accompany his exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery.  Later in 2003 he published Kids which featured portraits of children of close friends with proceeds donated to childrens cancer charity Sargent Cancer Care.  Then in 2005, his exhibition of Diana photos, Diana: Princess of Wales, opened at Kensington Palace.  Most recently in 2007 he published his definitive guide and tribute to his hometown, Lima Peru and  Let Me In! with forward written by Nicole Kidman.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

“As an artist he responds instinctively to his environment, it becomes part of his photographs, and you, the subject, become an integral part of the environment. Among his many gifts is the ability to capture something about the sitter’s essence, an immediacy, a shared moment. What’s more, he makes you feel special, which is a lovely way to feel, especially under the scrutiny of a camera lens.” Nicole Kidman from her forward in Let Me In!

The man who once said it was his “greatest pleasure in life” to make people laugh is a consummate professional.  A man who takes photographs that are intimate, timeless, provocative and enduring.

I’ve never wanted to be famous, but I would be, just for one day if it meant I could have my portrait taken with my hubby and my girls by Mario Testino. 

All photographs are by Mario Testino.
Images from Google, British Vogue, Vogue Italia, and Amazon.  I apologize if I have missed anyone here, please let me know if I have.  


Sharp-Shouldered Replicants of Fashion

Don’t Panic, you knew it would happen eventually.  You tried to tell yourself that there was no way that the shoulder pad would reappear on the fashion runway, let alone make it into fashion’s mainstream.  Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true.  And it’s not a recent development either because it has actually been creeping up on us for nigh on two years now.

Some are of the opinion that shoulders are the must have silhouette for Spring/Summer 09.  I think that like all trends, you should take what you want from it or ignore it all together.  Fashion is fleeting and as trends come and go quicker than Britney’s boyfriends, I’m sure it will not take over like it did the first time around.  Or will it?

My question is, can the sharp-shouldered look, aka shoulder pads actually be considered cool?  They were such a hated example of 80’s fashion, no one I know ever wanted to see them again.  I remember removing them from some of my jackets so I could continue to wear my clothes but without the huge stigma of the wide shoulder look.

From Martin Margiela, to Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Balmain and Balenciaga, all these designers and more are sending out square, sharp, broad and even puffed shoulders onto their runways.  We cannot escape that this trend is here and will impact us all.  It’s up to you how much you allow it or want it to impact on your personal style and your wardrobe. 

The gorgeous designs of Michael Kaplan from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) were surely influenced by the sharp tailoring of the 1940’s but he added hidden buttons and used modern fabrics to give a futuristic edge.  In the 1940’s in a time of rationing and war, both men and women wore clothing which featured a structured strong shoulder which was supposed to equate the wearer with a sense of power.  In the 1980’s women used the strong shoulder as powerful tool in the boardrooms to compete against the stronghold of men and to break through the glass ceiling.

A lot of my love of movies is the creation and development of character through wardrobe and costume.  I love to see a character’s development through their costume and how it shapes their inner and outer character.  It is an excellent emotional barometer and is a wonderfully illustrative tool for a film’s genre, a character’s social situation, and most obviously the time in which the film is set.

While researching Blade Runner for this post, I realised that this is only the second post I have written about fashion in film, and both films have starred Harrison Ford.  Perhaps I have a thing for Harrison Ford and am not aware of it?  Is it a Freudian slip?

Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1982 is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019 and is based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick.
Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a retired Blade Runner – a hunter of ‘Replicants’ – androids of the future created by to be “more human than human” by the fictional Tyrell Corporation.  Replicants were declared illegal on Earth, but a group of the most advanced, the Nexus-6 Replicants, have hijacked a shuttle and returned from off-world.  Deckard is forced back from retirement and it is his job to terminate them.

Blade Runner is a visually stunning film and a cult favourite amongst lovers of sci-fi films and while I do not proclaim myself to be a traditional science-fiction film fan, it is interesting how many of my favourite films fall into this category.

Its a grimy and violent world inhabited by the villainous with many eastern references within the art direction you could be forgiven for thinking it was set in a city like Osaka or Tokyo.  The special effects in this film have influenced many subsequent science-fiction film.  But I digress… 

Harrison’s dry humour and rye charm that served him so well in the Star Wars films makes up part of his character as Deckard.  He falls for Rachael, a replicant played by Sean Young (before her career went south) and it is their fledgling relationship that draws me into this film.  She honestly believes her memories are hers, but they aren’t.  They belong to the niece of her creator.  Such a shame, because I want to believe her too.  But her wardrobe, and her hair, ay-ay-ay!

Costume desginer Michael Kaplan won a BAFTA for Best Costume design for Blade Runner and it served him well because he is still designing for sci-fi films today because he recently worked on JJ Abram’s Star Trek and John Turtletaub’s The Scorcerer’s Apprentice. 

Which brings me back to the influence on fashion that this film has had.  Even as recently as the Fall collections Gareth Pugh’s collection of sharp shoulders are a reference to Blade Runner.

Sophia Kokosalaki’s Blade Runner dress of python-skin and studded metal and beads was featured in British Vogue’s March edition this year.

The fabulous and very photographed military style jacket by Balmain has très wide shoulders and is fast becoming a cult item.


Fashion is fun, so if you choose to indulge in the padded or even puffed shoulder, go for it, knock yourself out with it.  Why not, especially if you were not old enough the first time around, I say it’s all about the fashion, n’est pas?

Thanks to Fashion Peach, Jak and Jil and British Vogue for some of these images.

Denim: What Price Perfection?

Back in 1981 Brooke Shields declared that “nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s.” Well I can relate to those words Brooke because I would never give up my favourite jeans.  Never.  They are like a best friend to me.  You know what I mean?  Because when you have found the perfect jean for you, it’s nirvana.

I write today about jeans because I realised recently that I am in a dire situation.  I am desperate for a new pair of jeans.  I want, I need, I have to have them now!  My husband of course would say: “What’s wrong with all those pairs in your wardrobe?”  Typical.  What does he know?  It’s so easy for a man to buy jeans.  They go in to the store, they see a pair, they find their size, try them on and it’s done.  My husband is right though because I do own many pairs of jeans.  You see I find it very difficult to part with them.  I have a pair that I have owned since I was 18 years old and I have some that are currently on hiatus because they are either too tight or too loose on me.  Sadly my absolute favourites which have been a part of my wardrobe since 2002 well, they are slowly beginning to wear out. If I don’t find new favourites soon I fear I will be left with out any jeans to wear – oh the horror!

True Religion.  On my hit list.

Aside from how they fit my body, it’s all about the pockets.  I like a nice pocket, I really do.  Remember that picture of Gwyneth Paltrow in her Blue Cult jeans with the front flap pockets?

I loved this look, the jeans with the collard shirt, loose hair, white clutch.  Perfection.

“I wear jeans all the time, and so I have my favorite jeans that I really love…I have Juicy Jeans and paper, denim and cloth jeans and Levi’s and just all kinds of jeans. I love jeans.” Gwyneth Paltrow

Someone else who knows how to work her denim is Jennifer Aniston.  The woman must own hundreds of jeans… literally.  So jealous because she never looks bad in them.  Never.

Jennifer Aniston in her Degaine jeans.
Jennifer in her boyfriend jeans.

When your jeans are well worn-in, they fit like nothing else.  That is if you can find the right pair of course.  For it is not an easy process, no matter your body shape, one would think there would be someone out there that makes a jean perfect for you, oui?   It is almost diabolical how many denim designers there are out there now.  I found a website called Zafu which claims that by completing their simple 3 minute quiz they can match you to jean styles that are most suited to your body type and your style preference.  Hmm… I was skeptical but I did their quiz.  The results were extensive – I was given 66 styles and brands to choose from and I am now more confused than ever.  

Nicole Richie in her acid-wash denim.  Bohemian chic with a rock edge.

I love jeans because they can be worn anywhere.  You can dress them up or wear them with a t-shirt.  Bliss!  The problem is finding the perfect jean for me and what makes it harder is that looking good in a pair of blue jeans is beginning to feel like an unattainable goal.  For instance, yesterday I tried on jeans at a Max store in town.  These jeans looked cool, they had a fantastic back pocket and they were the right length.  When I tried them on they fit well at the hips, perfectly actually, they accentuated my derriere and hugged my hips and thighs just right.  But the denim billowed around the lower part of my legs.  An instant turn-off.  I was so disappointed!

These ladies managed to find a perfect pair, why-o-why can’t I?

These days there are more styles cuts and finishes to choose from than ever before, which is making finding my pair even more confusing.  I think this is why I have left it so long; why I have not been actively seeking out the perfect make for me and by actively seeking I refer to actually going into stores and physically trying on pairs of jeans.  Instead, I have been arm-chair searching by going through magazines and of course people-watching in the streets.  There are designers that are taking jeans to a whole new level, such as Ksubi and Sass and Bide.  The choices are limitless (well, not limitless in terms of my budget unfortunately).

Jeans by Balmain.

Let’s say I did have an unlimited budget for instance. Would I then go out and purchase these Balmain jeans at £1,000 that are in these times of the credit-crunch in fact selling out?

 Jeans by Tom Ford.

Or would I prefer to opt for Tom Ford’s $US990 jeans?  Now I know that there is nothing special about the Balmain jeans other than they are designed by Christophe Decarnin and carry the Balmain label, but they are essentially just distressed and torn denim.  Tom Ford’s jeans however are made from Japanese selvedge denim that has been pre-washed and pre-shrunken so the dye doesn’t rub off.  They also feature pockets that are lined with the same silk fabric Ford uses to line his suits (nice) and the cherry on top is an 18karat gold-plated front button.  Wouldn’t it suck if you lost that button!  I wonder if he includes a spare?  Worse though is they are only available in black or white.  What? No blue?  Sorry Tom, I need blue jeans.  Well I guess that eliminates Tom Ford’s denim from my list.

Gwyneth, Angie Harmon, Katie and Natalie are wearing the current top faves I am craving.

Diesel, Calvin Klein, Citizens of Humanity, Earnest Sewn, Ksubi, Rock and Republic, Levis’s, Paper Denim and Cloth, Jordache, Sass and Bide, True Religion, Seven For All Mankind, Joe’s Jeans, Superfine… and I’m only just scratching the surface.  So many labels, so little time (and money…) blast.

And so I have come to a decision.  I will gather together images of my favourite jeans and then go to the stores to try them all on.  Each and everyone of them.  Only then will I find my new favourite jeans.  Only then will I come close to finding perfection!

I do wonder though… would the Balmain jeans fit me any better, look any better, last any longer than a $49 pair from a chain store?  Would anyone notice that they are £1,000 jeans?

Thank you to Denimology for some of the images used in this post.

Cool Britannia

The Union Jack has been on the fashion scene since the 1960’s when The Who’s Pete Townsend wore a Union Jack jacket on stage.  In the 1970’s Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren designed the Anarchy in the UK T-shirts and in 1990’s it was worn again as a jacket designed by Alexander McQueen for David Bowie and as a corset dress by Geri Halliwell as Ginger Spice.

 

 Illustration by Lauren Bishop.

I am not British and you might well ask why I prefer another country’s flag to adorn my fashion?  Well the Union Jack does make up part of my country’s national flag so I don’t see any problem.  Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s all about fashion, n’est pas?

Alexander McQueen shirt.

Last year I fell in love with an editorial of Kate Moss in British Vogue that was shot by Mario Testino.  It featured clothing that was made from the Union Jack mixed with couture items.  Kate was of course at her delectable best.

Leather and horsehair had by Soren Bach worn with Union Jack cap. Dior Haute Couture embroidered tulle and lace dress.

Hand-embroidered Elie Saab couture gown worn with vintage Russell Sage Union Jack jacket.

It was these custom made pants by Katie Eary (worn with a Gaultier beaded top) that I really fell for.
I covet them!

Are we seeing an icon in the making?  How will other flags rate if other countries start to use their flag in fashion.

Alexander McQueen appears to be the British Fashion industry’s biggest advocate of the Union Jack trend.

Even the first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is not immune to the appeal of Britannia cool.

In the past year I have seen a trend for more and more use of the Union Jack within fashion and not just in clothing.

After designing a punk T-shirt with Malcolm Mclaren in the 1970’s, Vivienne Westwood has used the Union Jack in her design for The Rug Company

It is making appearances in interior decoration too, from cushions to curtains (as seen in Vanity Fair).

James Merrill chaise.

This chaise has certainly been given up dash of flash with the use of the Union Jack.  However there is a point in which I do believe that designers have gone a little over the top.

 

Oh dear, how long do you think it would it be before you grew tired of this in your kitchen?

Even cars are being swathed in the most fashionable of flags.

Chanel, the first and last word in fashion created a limited edition quilted Union Jack handbag.  I’m not sure how successful it has been.  You either love it or loath it I guess.

Gucci has done the same, but to me it looks more like a cheap knock-off than a high-end handbag.

I am starting to think that when it comes to this trend that less is definitely more because the more I see of this trend, the more I think it needs to be kept to a minimum.  Do not go crazy and start attaching the Union Jack to everything in your wardrobe, or your home for that matter.  It is not the sort of trend that will take to being overdone if you ask me.

Fashion is fickle, oui?
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
I still think Kate looks hot in the Katie Eary Union Jack pants though.

Je Suis Dèsolè…

I am too sick to post today, the flu has hit me and I must give in to it and rest up under my doonah with a box of aloe vera tissues, copious cups of hot lemon and manuka honey and most importantly, my dog Jet for company.

Do not disturb

Photo from Garance… merci!

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