COLUMN 1: IT HAS RECENTLY COME TO MY ATTENTION: ICE BUCKET MADNESS
I’m used to ice. The frosty looks you get from industry big wigs when you enter a room where less than 30% of the people know who you are, but still don’t care, or the feel of it on your butt as it seeps through your jeans when you slip over on the street trying to manoeuvre around with a enormous Sophie Hulme bag strapped to your arm in the mid November rain.
But alas, I am referring to neither of these when I talk about the Fashion industries current fascination with ice. The world has gone ALS Ice bucket challenge crazy.
Let me first state that it is an incredible cause and well worth donating too, but I wonder if the purpose has gotten lost somewhere along the line.
I really started paying attention earlier this week when Bee Schaffer challenged her mother to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. “Wow” I hear you cry...”Shock horror.....WHO?”. Although they don’t share a surname, Bee’s mother is none other than Queen of the Icicles herself, American Vogue EIC and Creative Director of Condé Nast, Anna Wintour. Now, I admit, I freaked out a bit on hearing the news. The idea of seeing ice-cold water being poured over the most important figure within the industry was rather exciting. The chilly water sliding off her bob like a downpour on a fresh gabardine Burberry trench, pooling on her Oscar De La Renta swathed lap as she sat, menacingly, glasses superglued to her face. I also didn’t think she would do it.
However, I was wrong and Anna is a good sport. She accepted with grace and dignity, letting out only a little wince as her family drenched her. Victoria Beckham fared less well, literally being hurled from her knees, face down into the Astroturf, as her boys poured gallons of water over her petit frame. After seeing this I wonder how Mrs Beckham deals with the shower? Probably like an upturned ladybird, wriggling frantically as the droplets fall onto her petrified boy, screaming for someone to come an turn it off.
But it makes me wonder, its all very well watching your favourite celebrities as you’ve never seen them before, erect nipples and all, but how many of us actually donate because they have seen someone do it? Are we all waiting for an excuse to be nominated to show how well we handle having a bucket full of ice cubes hurled at our heads, and then donate the £10 we would normally spend on Wednesday-Night-wine-for-one? I for one am looking forward to Donatella Versace accepting the challenge (nominated by Mario Testino), as watching any liquid that isn’t 90% proof (and pumped through a straw directly into her gullet) hit that face, will be a medical marvel for scientists to analyse for years to come. Whatever happens, If I get nominated, all I know is that you’ll have to give me more than 24 hours to grab some Fall 2014 Miu Miu, because that show was waterproofed to the extreme. Thanks Miuccia.
COLUMN 2: IT HAS RECENTLY COME TO MY ATTENTION: SAY MY NAME
Personalised gifts are few and far between but they are slowly making their way back into our lives. You can now prepare a birthday card with a humiliating childhood image months in advance to appear on your beloved’s doorstep on their exact birthday, accompanied by their mug splashed over a balloon (Happy Birthday, have a hot plastic sack of my breath).
But in fashion, personalisation has taken the form of monogramming. And now, you can get EVERYTHING emblazoned with your name, left right and just off centre.
Once revered for the likes of Lord Grantham’s socks and imported cotton handkerchief, Monogramming is the ultimate in sophistication and glamour. It conjures images of Marilyn Monroe slipping out of her “MM” silk bathrobe or Grace Kelly reaching for her “GK” embossed Hermes bag. Current designers, however, are taking this to the new extreme.
Christopher Bailey’s ‘Bloomsbury Girls’ were sent out in the finale for the Burberry Prorsum Fall 2014 show, each sporting a classic check shawl elegantly strewn over the right shoulder, each monogrammed in block capitals with the models initials, Miss ‘CD’ herself leading the way. Valentino recently launched their personalised bags and accessories, threaded with your choice of letters around your ankle strap of your “Absolute Rouge” deep scarlet pump or on your new ruben-coloured boot-lets. And lets not start on the extra £250-ish you have to shell our for an artisan to hand paint your initials in dual-tone onto your new Louis Vuitton luggage, in a selection of colours, any of which I cant choose form because I always think ill regret choosing orange in three months.
But it makes you wonder, what is the point. Does one believe that once monogrammed, thieves will deter from trying to snatch your new £1500 bag on a crowded commute because it sports your initials, or that the sales assistant will take more notice of your new wallet, only because it has your secret middle-initial stamped neatly in Times New Roman on the inside? Or that anyone cares your IPhone is encrusted with faux-crystal droplets, neatly screaming your name for the world to see when you answer your mothers sixth phone call in one day?
Don’t get me wrong, personalisation is just that little extra you pay on something you really love and cherish. An engraving on a ring or bracelet is sweet, £5 extra on a Cambridge satchel to get your initials stamped by the sexy, instore ‘monogram-man’ is a no brainer, even if he only knows your name begins with a ‘J’....but when are too many letters one too much? In a world where every thought is shared through some portal for all to ogle, is there not something quite nice about wandering the streets anonymously, without people guessing what your middle name may be, or am I just jealous that most stores go upto three letters, and my name has four....
Yours Anonymously. J.W.K.L
COLUMN 3: IT HAS RECENTLY COME TO MY ATTENTION: CONSUMERISM CRACKDOWN
People like buying things. There is a joy that comes from skipping down the road from your favourite store, flashing the bag to every passer by to let them know you can actually afford something, and its amazing, and you deserve it. Consumerism has been a hot topic for what seems like forever now, but it’s only on a rolling boil.
I assumed the extreme misfortune surrounding Rana Plaza disaster in early 2013 would have shook a few feathers but it seems to have, again, simmered to an unsightly scum, resting on top of fashions clear, filtered Perrier spring waters (probably much to the pleasure of the outed brands involved).
But is consumerism a new trend? Chanel’s Fall 2014 collection was situated in an enormous, lustful “Double C” emblazoned, Supermarket haven, stocked with over 100,000 Chanel Branded items with of Karl’s Stepford Second-wives, clutching £22,000 Chanel chain supermarket baskets to hold their “Coco Cola” and “Rue Cambon-bons”.
By now every man, woman, child, household pet and feral animal has seen, been seen or wants one of the “highly lusted” and “highly ironic” Moschino by Jeremy Scott “McDonalds spin off” accessories. What went down like a tasteless lead balloon in my eyes was lapped buy by fashionistas across the globe as the new “It” thing to own, but what is this really implying about fashion today? Do we understand that consumerism is taking over our lives more than we care to admit? By deflecting with a novelty designer “French fry” iphone case, does it mean we can all laugh it off? The branded sweaters, emblazoned with a modified “M” sit above the “Over 20 Billion Served” slogan coined by the fast food restaurant. Is making light of the extreme and constant need to be surrounded by brands, high or low, a way people get over the fact that over 1000 people lost their lives to produce knock offs of high fashion irony? Or do we all find it charming that the closet Anna Dello Russo will ever get to fast food is a handbag in the shape of a Happy Meal Box?
“Logo Mania” was coined in the mid 90’s as a wave of affordable fashion hit the high street and everyone from movie trailer to trailer park could be seen in Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren or Hugo Boss emblazoned on every surface or orifice when need be. This idea snuck back into the pages of our magazines recently with Alexander Wang’s take on it for his Spring/Summer 2014 Collection, where his logo was used to be laser cut, printed, stitched and sequinned onto pretty much every item in the show. But does the fact these logos are attached to high-quality outfitters mean consumers are becoming blinded by the luxury, and not realising what it takes to make a Ralph Lauren Shirt for under £75...
The fashion-landscape is changing, and is venturing into untested waters. It will be interesting to see, if and when more incidents like the Rana Plaza travesty happen, how this affects the purchasing and moral standing of the consumer. But right now, Ill take my chicken McNuggets to go...preferably with some barbeque sauce.
COLUMN 4: IT HAS RECENTLY COME TO MY ATTENTION:
Fashion month is in full swing and after New York and London have passed, its onto Milan. Last week the Italian fashion capital kicked things into swing with Gucci and Fendi.
After the Karl Lagerfeld headed brand, famed for its furry goodies, and after I looked through the crafted leather and denim jodhpurs and the smallest embellished bags ive ever clapped eyes on, I realised that behind the pretty pastel organza and printed orchid culottes, there was an underlying edge of rebel teens, ready to light up a cigarette behind the bike sheds or sit at the back of the bus and intimidate the new kids.
The more you stare at the shredded leather jackets, you realise its not a degrade fade, it’s a bold stroke of black spray-paint, or the metallic gladiator sandals, reminiscent of the gaggles of girls in London’s East End.
This isn’t something just seen at Fendi. Marc Jacobs closed NYFW with a parade of military women, each of their looks becoming more adorned with cabochons, luxe materials and couture silhouettes. Selection of patch worked looks bandies together from swatches of fabric in oversized military jackets and nurses uniforms enforcing the idea of rebelling against the regime.
Although it’s the spring season, there is something very dark and broody about the collections we have seen. Back in Milan, Roberto Cavalli produced denim jackets, slit and slashed, worn and fading to reveal a punky, sequin covered second skin.
Could the new trend for Spring 2015 be “Unleash your inner rebel” or are these girls just pseudo rebels? Is the spray painting, the secret embellishments and the anti-normcore ideas of it all a little too…twee in itself?
Donatella went full out Punk a few seasons back, all PVC and spiked chokers. This season she did something we never would imagine, Sports (or at least, Donatella’s version of ‘Sports’). Underwear waistbands on slit skirts and a million miles of Swarovski adorned fabric later, you have to wonder if Donatella has rebelled against her own aesthetic. Does the Versace customer want a pair of ‘Medusa head’ track pants, or do they prefer the snake-headed dominatrix where she is normally seen, on crotch grazing mini-dresses (There were still some of those to be fair, the world hasn’t gone mad).
I can see how the idea of undercover rebels could be alluring to some. The ‘Park Avenue Princess” convincing her mother to buy her the Ralph Lauren black organza shirt, not letting slip that the leather ties really do completely unlace…
But who am I to judge rebels? Anna Wintour just answered VOGUE’s now infamous ’73 Questions’, which she stated shehates seeing “All Black’. I’m comfortable enough rebelling against Anna, by continuing to wear the same uniform I have for several years, but who knows, maybe next season I’ll pull a Karl at Fendi and spray-paint myself for the gods.