Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trick or Treat

As a kid growing up in a Jesuit school in provincial Spain, Halloween was a sort of taboo. One just "didn't do" Halloween; it was a pagan, weird celebration. In love with Tim Burton films and horror films in general, I used to be so jealous on 31 October, thinking how Americans were probably having lots of fun, sweeties, pumpkins and all the rest, while I was just sitting down celebrating... nothing. If only I would have known then and there that it was to become such a popular holiday some years later! Alas, now I'm too old to go around the neighbourhood asking for sweets, but I do love being able to celebrate Halloween at last. And I have realized I'm not the only one.
However, I admit I haven't completely made up my mind yet about my costume (I have to get dressed during the next hour and I'm still lazying and blogging!) I have decided against any really modern or original costumes; I just feel like putting on lots of the old corpse-y makeup, a creepy wig and some vampire-like rags.
Still a big fan of Tim Burton (of his old films anyway, I find his latest movies incredibly dreary, except for the fact that Johnny Depp is still in them, but that's another story), my first choice was 1950's TV presenter Maila Nurmi, better known as Vampira, played by Lisa Marie in Burton's film Ed Wood. The costume is simple, feminine and very effective.

Thinking of another one of my Burton favourites, Winona Ryder's character in Beetlejuice is another great option: more black clothes, a huge hat covered in black lace and a slightly sick look: that's me all over! Although maybe people won't even notice I'm in disguise...

I have always thought Salem's witches are a good costume idea, and a really scary one: those puritan XVIIth century black dresses are quite something, and the thought that I might have had to wear that kind of fashion had I been born at that time absolutely terrifies me!
For a truly original yet recognizable option, I totally recommend to get dressed as Frankenstein's bride. Finding a wig like Elsa Lanchester's might be a bit of a challenge, but if you can manage that I can guarantee you'll be the star of any Halloween party (shame I haven't thought of it earlier).
But some of the most classic outfits are actually really cool. Morticia Addams is iconic, glamourous and scary in equal parts.
And who could forget Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams? Wasn't she the coolest kid ever?
I think this year's number one costume is Corpse Bride, I seriously have seen more corpse brides than ever. It can be a really cool outfit, but it has to be really well done.
If you are one of those girls who want to feel always pretty and chic (or if you can't be bothered to work the post-mortem look), you can always get inspired by ever-so-glamourous Veronica Lake in her role in I Married a Witch.
In any case, the most important thing in Halloween is, of course, the athmosphere!

Now I have to go get dressed and light the pumpkins. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cheek to Cheek

Lately I'm really into Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers movies. Shouldn't life sometimes be as easy, glamourous and absurd as musical films?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Since it's all about 3D right now it was only a matter of time for the fashion industry to jump in the tridimensional mania. The fact that a British magazine, AnOther, has led the way is nothing new (why are the British so desperately modern? It makes me so desperately jealous), and it has done so in an all-British glamour style: Alexander McQueen clothes are worn by a Medusa-like Kate Moss. The film is a mesmerizing mix of luxury and despair; Since it was launched on AnOther's website about two weeks ago it's been one of my big favourites. So... Put on your (not at all glamourous) 3D glasses and enter a new dimension in fashion film!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Luxury for the Future

It would be typical of Gareth Pugh's dual mind to work on his S/S 2011 collection from an Eros/Thanatos inspiration. After all, the Platonic, opposed concepts of light and darkness are always the very basis of his designs, being changed, turned around and interpreted under different angles on each collection.
There's no need to say I'm a fan, you all know that; there's no need either to talk about this video (I'm sure most of you have seen it anyway), or Kirsten McMenamy's amazing interpretation, or those fabulous aluminium, mirror-like dresses that I would give my right arm for. But, for me, this collection is a turning point. As Gareth (his brand and his creative point of view) gets established in the fashion industry more and more like a reference for others to follow and his status as an extravagant and somewhat bizarre wonderboy starts to fade away, I can see more and more clearly that he is the Pierre Cardin of our time.
Of course times have changed since the 60's. The space age is no longer a dream but a reality, and the future, as imagined by Cardin and others like Mary Quant or André Courrèges, didn't actually turn out to be quite so "futuristic" (where are the flying cars, the Orwellian dictatures and the trips to Mars?). The future is no longer all about pristine minimal surfaces or the moon (although one might argue to have seen such references in Gareth's collections), but about the digital revolution. And this is just as puzzling and full of possibilities.
The internet has turned the fashion industry upside down in many ways, making style a global matter and democratizing it. Is this good or bad? I'm not sure yet, I guess a bit of both, just like any other kind of democracy. So now anyone can be a style icon, posing for homemade pictures in Zara shoes that look high-end and high-end clothes that look Zara. "La boucle est bouclée", as the French would say. When haute couture shows are featured in every other blog 15 minutes after they've happened, when high-street mega-brands are able to copy a must-have accessory at the speed of lightning, and, above all, when anyone around the globe can have access to that copy and actually recognize it as a copy of a high-end designer...Where does that leave luxury brands?
In order to stay exclusive, dashing and whatnot, luxury has to change with times. And this Gareth Pugh has already perfectly understood. Since fashion shows are now visible live for literally everyone (and it's so much more comfortable to watch them from home, wearing slippers instead of heels), he has chosen to team up with fellow "futurists" such as SHOWstudio, Dazed or AnOther and produce fashion films as a new, perhaps more expressive way of presenting his collections. Since cheaper versions of designer clothes can be bought in any high street of any city of any country in the world, Gareth has chosen to design clothes that will be found nowhere but "chez lui": elegant yet with an edge, ravishingly modern clothes with a concept and a story; clothes that, even at a time when most people seem to think "everything is invented in fashion", never fail to surprise and to somehow look otherworldly and make the person who is wearing them look like she just stepped back from a contradictory prospective time. The future starts here.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Well, at least rainbows. British designers Ed Meadham and Ben Kirchoff have solved once and for all every single one of our hair colour doubts. Sentences like "what colour should I get my hair done?" "Is pink really cooler than blue? Because four months ago blue was way cooler." "I guess pink is more GaGa." "The real it colour right now is deep green." "Yellow is mayj too..." "Yellow is quite GaGa too" were recurring in our everyday conversations (at least in mine) until Meadham Kirchoff came up with its S/S 2011 show. Now we can all stop worrying our pretty little heads, and instead just get a mix of all the "it" colours so that our little heads will be really outstandingly pretty.
I feel so tempted by this... Would you wear it?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Fashion War

People tend to say it in an overexcited tone, like it was Christmas. I guess there is a certain Christmas quality to it: the progressive unwrapping of new collections, the amazement at the sight of beautiful things, that special feeling on the street, the parties... I used to view it as a kind of fabulous holiday too, until I actually started working in fashion.
How come Fashion Week feels now more like the Gettysburg battle? Why is it a sort of whirlwind of crazed frenzy? Here are some things you may not know about Fashion Week if, by chance, you are not a fashion insider. In case you are, then you only know all this too well.
Fashion Week's ambivalent feeling of panic/excitement actually starts a couple of days before the first show, when taking a look at all the invites. In my case, I get delivered all my mail by the magazines I work for on the evening before day 1. It usually comes in a XXL bag that has broken under the weigh of its contents and (to go on with the Christmas parallelism) it makes me feel like an overwhelmed Santa Claus. Everything is there, from covetable, lovely invites I wasn't expecting (Gaultier, Rykiel, Dries), to the classics and my favourites (Rick Owens, Gareth, Yamamoto) to up-and-coming designers, to parties, exhibitions, showrooms and other events. Just one look is enough to feel exhitarated, but also to know it won't be humanly possible to attend everything...
So roll on FW Day 1 (actually, Day 2, as Day 1 is generally kind of laid-back and relaxed).
8:00 AM: I am already up, swallowing everything I can find in my fridge (I know there are chances I won't be getting much food during the day), trying to get some writing done and trying to put together a cooler-than-cool outfit, my very own FW camouflage. I vacantly stare at all my shoes. Do I actually own a pair of comfortable shoes? Not really. After trying on about 30 pairs of impossible heels, some little voice in the back of my head reminds me of the excruciating pain I suffered the last time I spent a whole FW day wobbling 15 cm away from the irregular macadam of Paris. Ok, I will just wear a pair of cute brogues. I know Tommy Ton/Facehunter/Sartorialist won't be very thrilled by my overall look, but I have the feeling that my body will thank me for this gesture, sometime when I'm about 80 years old.

10 AM: One thing I would love to know about Paris Fashion Week is why if the first show of the day took place in Montmarte, the next one takes place in Montparnasse, and the next one in Champs Elysées, and then the next one in Bastille. in other words, why must we spend the day running to the very opposite side of the city? If I had a black Mercedes with a driver this wouldn't bother me at all, but as it (still) isn't the case, I can choose between the "Fashion Bus" (which is pretty much like a school bus except people wear Rick Owens tops and Miu Miu shoes instead of dungarees and Reebok Classics), which gets filled very quickly, or the Metro (which in Paris is not very nice. Actually it's rather nasty, people give you dirty looks if you are not dressed in a completely "normal" way and these days there are constant menaces of terrorist attacks. Cool). Then there are taxis. But you have to be a pretty lucky egg to find one in this city. Oh well.

Once the transport issue is solved and as I finally get to the show's venue, a flock of photographers and bloggers starts shooting in my direction. It's time to strike a pose as if I was the most fabulous person in the world, even if it's starting to rain, I realize I have forgotten my umbrella and I can feel my hair slowly blowing up and making me look more and more like Europe's lead singer. My telephone rings non-stop: do I have a spare invite for the next show? Am I going to the last show of the day? Do I have time to meet with friends who are here from London? That reminds me I have my share of phonecalls to make. Will my battery last for the whole day?

1 PM: Fashion Week is really about the shows, isn't it?
That's the bit I still find (and will always find) incredibly exciting. The moment the catwalk lights up, the music starts to play and the first model appears is really thrilling. Always. Then there are, of course, some extra special shows which have the power of giving you a true adrenaline rush and you actually never forget them. I can remember some of them, like Gareth Pugh's first Paris show, Alexander McQueen's Plato's Atlantis and almost every Rick Owens show. I have no idea what makes the difference between a good show and an unforgettable one. I suppose it's a bit like films.
4 PM: I still haven't had lunch and I'm starting to feel tired from running from show to show. I'd give anything just to have an éclair au chocolat... The telephone rings and wakes me from this sweet reverie. Of course it's one of my editors inquiring about an article I have to submit asap. I regretfully start thinking of the work that's piling up at home. A group of fashionable people to my right is gossiping about a group of fashionable people to my left: "He looks like he wants to be Grace Jones", "he goes around criticizing our magazine", "she's so common", "he's all washed out". Ah good old fashion fauna! Luckily I have a group of lovely friends, so I get back to them... and we gossip.

8PM: as we wait for the last show of the day to start, someone breezily tells me "oh by the way, there are 3 parties tonight, I guess you're coming to all of them?" What!? I'm exhausted and starving, and I have to get back home and write a review on each one of the 8 shows we just watched... By the way, which shows did we watch?

Well, you can imagine after 8 days like this I feel rather dazed and confused (and that not having been to New York, London or Milan). But then the next Fashion Weeks comes and I go on and do it all over again. I guess I can't help it. I guess after all, just like everybody else, I am a Fashion Week-aholic!