Sunday, 29 January 2012

Transitional Trends

With the winter winds swirling around our frost bitten toes, and the January blues weighing heavily on our shoulders, all we want is to wrap ourselves up in layers of heavy winter clothes and retreat to the safety of tried and tested trends.

However, as much as the sight of yet another dank, dreary, rainy day makes you want to reach for the same bobble hat, thick knit and leather boots, resist the temptation and instead embrace Spring’s brightest trends- guaranteed to alleviate those winter blues!

Firstly, there’s no reason to completely abandon those warm, snuggly knits- it is January after all! However, it’s time to ditch those oversized vintage jumpers and adopt the huge fashion- as- art trend, as seen on the Picasso sweaters at Jil Sander. Homages to this look can be found at Topshop with their brilliant graphic knit, (£44) and polka dot sweater (£38), a design very reminiscent of the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kasuma (who is coincidently featured in this month’s Vogue).

Luxe daywear. As seen at Matthew Williamson, Lanvin and Prada. A perfect antidote to the heavy layers of this season, this trend can easily be integrated into your outfits to give a whole new twist to your wardrobe. Pair sumptuous, silky shirts in pastel colours with this season’s ¾ length trousers, or choose a decorative midi skirt to wear with opaque tights and grungy winter boots. Try Asos for a great selection, topped off by this lace and peplum number (£28).

Furthermore, pair your midi with a couture tee for an easy way to introduce Summer into your wardrobes. The more embellished the better: choose sequins, brocade, print, luxe fabrics, added peplums… Great options can be found all over the high street, but the best are in River Island. Gold metallic scalloped- edged top (£30)

Gatsby Glamour is a mega trend for summer, so why not get a head start now? Perfect for jazzing up your eveningwear, the Daisy Buchanan look can be achieved by simply decking yourself in fringing, feathers, sequins and gold bugle beads. The best modern take on the trend can be found at Topshop, with this Ralph Lauren- esque silver maxi (£38). For true flapper credentials, pair art deco designs with slicked back hair and pared down makeup. I’ll see you on the dance floor.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Are You Being Serious?

Reading earlier today of Cindy Crawford's decision to let her 10 year old daughter become the face of Young Versace's debut ad campaign, I was reminded of an article I wrote a couple of months ago for my university newspaper. The article was a reaction against Marc Jacob's scandalous advert for his 'Lola' perfume, and the arguable sexualisation of child stars; the recent campaign for Young Versace, using Kaia Gerber (Crawford's daughter) brings similar sentiments to mind.
'Scandal and fashion: two words that have always been synonymous. Galliano’s racist slur; Naomi in her furs; size zero models; and not least Cocaine Kate. However, as Marc Jacobs was forced to chuck his ‘Lola’ perfume ad, featuring a 17 year old Dakota Fanning holding a perfume bottle between her legs, the world has had to acknowledge that this scandal is a little seedier.

In recent years there have been frequent protests against the sexualisation of children, a debate that came to a head when Primark was forced to withdraw its padded bras and bikini tops for children as young as seven. Today, the scandal rages on with the Marc Jacobs advert branded ‘sexually provocative’ and accused of ‘sexualising children’: an accusation that the ad definitely achieved. A blonde, young- looking Dakota Fanning leans back with a provocative look in her eyes, and an enlarged perfume bottle clutched between her legs. The tag line reads ‘Oh, Lola!’ an arguable reference to Nabokov’s paedophilic classic ‘Lolita’; Dakota’s pink, translucent chiffon dress and blonde hair could have been lifted directly from the text.

So what prompted Marc Jacobs to believe for a second that such an advert would be acceptable? In this case, it has to be said that the roots of this scandal are part of a deeper malaise, a complaint that is affecting the fashion industry as a whole. It can be argued that the sexualisation of child stars within fashion has become so common place that it is now unremarkable. The perfume ad may have been taken down, but this month Dakota and her 13 year old sister Elle are featured in countless fashion magazines, including Vogue, and front the December edition of W Magazine. Are they wearing clothes meant for children? No, they are wearing this season’s most expensive couture: Chanel, Valentino, Dior. Undoubtedly beautiful, but should they really be worn by children? These clothes are designed and produced with a woman’s body in mind; to flaunt it, adorn it and especially to celebrate it. However, by putting a 13 year old and a 17 year old in such clothes embodies them with the same sexuality as that of a woman, giving them the same sexual appeal.

There is one image in December’s W magazine that haunts me the most. Elle Fanning pouts prettily in a figure hugging, low cut Rodarte sequined gown, her chest only just covered by flimsy panels of chiffon. This child star is 13 years old, and yet she looks about ten years older; of all the scandals currently rocking the fashion industry, it has to be said that this is the most shameful. Hopefully, with the uproar that the disastrous Marc Jacobs ad and the Primark bras have caused, there will be soon a widespread realisation that the sexualisation of children and child stars is not okay. Our fondest memories of childhood are often the most innocent: splashing through puddles in your wellies; covering yourself in mud building dens and ripping your clothes climbing the tallest tree. Only when the fashion industry realises that such memories are more precious than any Valentino dress will it stop dressing children up in such provocative clothing.'

The same argument can be applied to this current campaign. Although Kaia is wearing clothes designed for children, and Elle was styled in outfits far too mature for her, in my mind the Versace ad is in no way better than that of Marc Jacob's 'Lola'. Kaia looks not one of her ten years, and can be seen as at least double her true age. The wide legged pose, hips askew in a super short skirt, seems to me to be an incredibly sexualised image; furthermore, although as a ten year old Kaia has no female curves to display, is there much difference between this shot and that of a super skinny adult model?

She's ten, for God's sake. Let her have a real childhood.

Crawford picture and story from:

Fanning picture from:

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Winter Skin Remedies

With January's wildly reknown reputation as the most depressing month of the year, it is not always easy to see the brighter things ahead (namely, summer). It's freezing, wet, dark, and you're in a perpetual spiral of feeling fat and comfort eating, to while away those mournful January nights. So, to combat these winter blues, I've decided to start a mini series of tiny, everyday things that you can do to put a positive slant on your day. First up: skin care.

The cold, wind and dry air of January do absolutely nothing for your skin. Combine this with the after effects of Christmas indulgence, and the chocolate that you self- prescribe to get through the winter months, and the outcome is really not good: tired, blotchy and dried out skin. As I am by no means an expert on this, (just have a look at my skin!), I have compiled an expert test group (my friends and flatmates) to reveal their ultimate winter skin remedies.

1) Avene's Skin Recovery Cream, 12.50

Apparently the wonder moisturiser, according to my flatmate. As a lifelong Clinique devotee, I find it hard to believe that anything could top their Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion. However, said flatmate has tried both and pronounced Avene's as being the definitive skin rescuer. Plus, it's less than half the price of Clinique's wonder lotion. I think I may have to abdicate from my single- minded view of the benefits of Clinique!

2) Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion 27.00

That said, I adore Clinique's wonder moisturiser. It feels both light and concentrated, glides on like a dream and evens out all sorts of rough bits and red marks. Heaven in a bottle, as far as I'm concerned! The only problem is it's ridiculous price tag, which renders it out of the monetary reach of poverty stricken students (i.e. me). I have to wait for my mother to buy it for me as a birthday/ Christmas gift, and since I ran out last month my skin has really been struggling. That shows you how good it is, I suppose. But with my birthday is in exactly a week, my fingers are crossed...

3) Palmer's Coco Butter 5.70
Another flatmate smothers this classic cream all over her body, including her face, and swears that it's one of the only things that keeps away her eczema. In fact, most girls I know swear by it to give their legs a soft, delicious smelling sheen. So, use liberally all over your body to combat that dried out, dull winter skin, as well as perking yourself up with the irresistible chocolate smell! Yum.

4) Garnier B.B. (Blemish Balm) Cream 9.99

As yet untested (by my test group) if this does everything it claims to do , then it really is 'miracle' product. Apparently this will "even, cover, hydrate, illuminate and protect" your skin from the ravishes of winter weather. A combination of both a light coverage and skincare, this can be used as either an under- foundation primer, for a flawless finish, or as a light tinted moisturiser on its own. Ideal for both protecting your skin from the cold and wind, and providing the light, dewy, spring- like base that you so long for in winter.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I watched this documentary a couple of nights ago, and it's safe to say it blew my mind. Although it's not exactly my taste in music, the dedication, sincerity and love of what they're doing, that every person featured this film displays, really should act as motivation to the rest of us. Even if drugs, heavy metal and tattoos aren't your thing, then the ambition and curiosity to experience the world to its very limits really should be. Maybe that's my resolution for 2012, to go out and really achieve everything I've set my mind and my heart on (I have big dreams, by the way), and find new places, faces and adventures to really broaden my horizons. Here's to 2012...