Thursday, April 28, 2011

What does your 29th of April have in store?

Well well well, after months and months of tabloid gossip, dramas and speculations the biggest day of the year (arguably) comes upon us tomorrow when Prince William of Wales marries Catherine 'Kate' Middleton. Is this event going to ruin April 29th for the rest of my years? As much as I'm happy for them, this whole Royal Wedding affair is taxing on my patience and I'm supremely bored of the whole media circus. You honestly couldn't pay me enough to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to watch it. 
Newest Wedding Portrait of the couple by Mario Testino

What will YOU be doing on the 29th of this month? I will be studying the remnants of my French course in preparation for my final exam and then, well I'll be celebrating with a nap, maybe get my helix/ cartilage pierced... and a beer while watching the latest NHL series. Ahhhhhhhhh can't wait.

Anyway, sidetracked. As much as I bemoan this wedding it is on most peoples' minds and so I mention it for the penultimate time. I say penultimate cause I want to see what dress Kate wears... that may deserve a post.

The last Royal wedding of this magnitude was on July 29th 1981 at St. Paul's Cathedral when William's mother Diana Spencer wed Charles Prince of Wales so it is understandable why this one it is such a big deal. Flashback 30 years ago and here is what 750 million people were watching.
The crowd outside Buckingham palace
Her arrival at St. Paul's and her dress with its massive train
Oh happy day, except the story didn't end extremely happily
Right so no-one knows what Kate will be wearing tomorrow as it is the best kept secret in all the land (insert sarcasm here). There has been so much speculation over her wedding dress I'm worried I'll be disappointed. All I know for sure is that it is a royal rule that the dress must be made by an English designer, use nothing but English threads, needles, textiles etc and be touched by only Englishmen (that last part I probably made up, but you get the gist of it). So, if you can't know what Kate is wearing, plan your own wedding get-up. has an amazing collection of looks and I pulled my favorites here.
Vivienne Westwood velvet 'portrait' dress and Chloe gold beaded clutch
Alexander McQueen 'Angel' dress and Young & Ng gold headpiece
Issa silk gown and Giambattista Valli silver cuff
Proenza Schouler 'Sibhori' gown and Lanvin cuff
Erdem 'Alice' dress and Leiber clutch
As I type away Westminster Abbey is being worked on 'round the clock to be transformed and recent images show it to look like a bright forest grove with 12 foot tall trees being installed inside.

Wow much?

And finally the hilarity continues as I found a collection of some of the most tacky wedding memorabilia known to man. Seriously mum put that tea towel with Will and Kate's face down! It's not funny, but it is...

I'm craving candy, but not that much. I'd feel way to cannibalistic
And these haven't sold out online because....?

At least I wouldn't be tempted to go near my fridge and I could be healthier
Downright creepy, on the plus side, all the women who wanna sleep with Will can do it now
Actually Pez I take it back, I would eat you over this hands down... here you go hon, just take a bit out of Kate's face... awks
And that my friends, is all I have to say about that. Have a good day and a good tomorrow. Almost FREEEEEEEE!

- Life is good

Listening to: 'Ocean' (live) - John Butler
Observations: It's so sunny, I want to read by the water
Craving: Chocolate

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Egg A Day

HAPPY EASTER! Hope everything is flatlining as a result of chocolate overload, I can't seem to scrounge up any! Although I did find some wonder decorative treats courtesy of Vogue.
Vogue asked several designers to create an array of edible and in come cases decorative works of art for the less chocolately inclined - pour tu Syl!! Here are a few: 

I'm going to continue my hunt for mini eggs and probably sit at home all day watching Disney movies. SCORE! Hope everyone has a great day.

- Life is good

Listening to: '1979' - Smashing Pumpkins
Observations: Happy happy easter
Craving: Mini eggs, chocolate eggs, fried eggs

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's a Br-It Thing Part 2: Designer takeover

It's high time I tackled the next part of my Brit mania: British designers. There are several high profile designers that have helped launch British fashion into the international circuit but London fashion week is getting gutsier and gutsier with every passing season and there is a new generation of talent that threatens to revolutionize the industry. I'm excited!

The established houses and names
Designers already basking in the baking spotlight of the fashion industry.

Alexander McQueen - now helmed by Sarah Burton
One of the original fashion superstars though now a supernova Alexander McQueen's suicide sent shock waves through the industry last February however his brand lives on in the trusty hands of Sarah Burton. The label is doing better than ever there has been an upswing in interest with the recent speculation over Kate Middleton's wedding dress and Sarah being put in contention to design for Dior. The brand is known for it's dark extravagance, dramatic silhouettes and theatrical shows.

Burberry - helmed by Christopher Bailey

One of the most iconic British brands has now become a fully fledged world phenomenon with Christopher Bailey embracing technology to engage with the worldwide market. Some of his strategies have included streaming his shows live, including a live chat and the potential to flag items for purchase as the clothes come out and also recently he restaged his Fall 2011 show in Beijing with holographic models. The brand staples are the iconic camel trench coat and their classic red, beige & black check.

John Galliano & Christian Dior - previously helmed by John Galliano

Galliano, though born in Gibraltar, was raised in London and graduated from Central Saint Martins, the fashion school that churns out more young British designers than any other. While one of the most talented designers in the industry with a head design job at the French house Dior and his own eponymous label, John Galliano but it all came crashing down in a 59 second video. It's a shame (talent wise) but his legacy at Dior will be remembered for elevating the luxury brand to new creative and artistic heights. Galliano was known for his couture shows and his incredible references for collections.

Julien Macdonald
This endearing Welsh man is an uber talented individual whose knowledge of knits led Karl Lagerfeld to hire him to work as head of knitwear for Chanel and then was appointed head designer of Givenchy in 2001, the same year he won British Designer of the Year. He makes sexy, sensual clothes that only a designer of his caliber could imagine.

Matthew Williamson

A favorite among leggy, tanned celebrities Matthew Williamson's return to London from several seasons in New York shows that home is where the heart is. Another CSM grad Williamson has previously worked for Marni, Monsoon and even held the head designer position at Emilio Pucci. While he may not have the notoriety of Galliano or McQueen he is well loved by young hot Hollywood. Some of the brand signatures are the bright prints, flashy colors and short hems that usually accompany his dresses.

Stella McCartney

If that last name sounds familiar it should... daughter of Sir Paul McCartney, this gifted designer has the resume to back her name up. She learned the craft of tailoring at Saville Row and eventually was named creative director of Chloé. At the time Lagerfeld said "[Chloé] should have taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let's hope she is as gifted as her father." Well naysayers better zip their lips because she counts some of Hollywood's biggest stars as close friends and supporters, has had several major collaborations, one with Addidas, and is constantly surprising the fashion world. The label is known for being eco-friendly as McCartney is a vegetarian and the mannish tailoring with feminine edge. 

Vivienne Westwood

Who else could revolutionize punk fashion but this flame haired maven? Vivienne Westwood's unique style and presentation has allowed her to carve her own niche into the mainstream fashion world where her eclectic fashions make some of the loudest statements. As a whole her pieces are beautifully crafted and completely genius, but can often be overlooked because they are so busy. I think she's created one of the most well recognized brands worldwide. The label is well known for the crazy runway shows and make-up and cleverly constructed, wearable clothes with a twist.

The new crop/ Heritage labels
The next great labels and designers who are giving British fashion such a good rep. A collection of young designers with their own brands and heritage labels with new talent.

Aquascutum - under Joanna Sykes as of Fall 2011

Aquascutum is a heritage brand, established in 1851. The name means 'water shield' in Latin because of the waterproof wool that the brand pioneered. They are the masters of outerwear and quintessential English tailoring.

Céline - helmed by Phoebe Philo
Probably one of my favorite brands at the present time Philo revolutionized the French luxury brand that she took over in mid 2008. Yet again another CSM grad and a co-worker of McCartney's/ her successor at Chloé before Céline. Her aesthetic is very clean lines, simple colors and beautifully tailored silhouettes. She is one of the industry's brightest stars and is definitely continuing her meteoric rise.

Christopher Kane
We met Christopher in Part 1 and he is undeniably one of LFW's rising stars. At only the tender age of 28 he has been extremely involved in the fashion industry. Since winning the Harrods award for his MA collection from CSM he has since teamed with Donatella Versace for Versus, won the BFC British Designer of the Year Award in 2009 and was shortlisted for the first BFC/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award in 2010 but lost to our next designer. Christopher is known for his body con dresses though always mixing it up with different textiles, prints and technologies.

Monsieur Erdem Moralioglu is a British-Turkish designer who actually graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto. Knee deep in the fashion industry he interned for Vivienne and DVF and has dressed the stylish Michelle Obama. His most shining moment was when he won the coveted  BFC/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award in 2010. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold and his aesthetic encompasses beautifully crafted, precise clothes and his prints are often teeming with florals, florals and more FLORALS!

Felder Felder
You can't have enough of one good thing, but can you handle two? Identical twin sisters Annette and Daniela Felder both attended CSM and launched their label while studying. They are the recipients of the New Gen Award three seasons running and are poised to take on even more in the coming years. Their brand characteristics are rock and roll yet feminine which gives them a huge amount of appeal to the current pop princesses of the charts.

Holly Fulton
Scottish designer, Fulton won the Swarovski Emerging Talent Award for Accessories at the British Fashion Awards 2009 and her jewelry is only the beginning. Fulton's designs remind me of Art Deco prints and the graphic geometric shapes make simple silhouettes super exciting. She credits decorative surfaces for her inspiration and says that her aim is to create couture worthy pieces... success.

Issa - helmed by Daniela Issa Helayel
Though not born in Britain (she is from Brazil) her label is aimed at iconic British dressing and she is quoted saying that the Queen would be her ideal customer. Her effortless style and feminine shapes are very reminiscent of DVF. 

Jonathan Saunders
Another Scottish designer with an abundance of talent comes in the form of Jonathan Saunders who after showing his MA collection was contacted 48 hours later by McQueen and also consulted for Pucci  and Chloé. He moved to New York in 2008 and then back to showing in London in 2010. I love his use of colors on wearable clothes and his trademark is the graphically engineered print which he is trying to update to fit around well tailored, sleek clothes.

Louise Gray
She kinda looks like a younger version of Vivienne Westwood with the wild hair and the quirky clothing but Louise Gray is her own whirlwind of prints, shapes and colors. Graduating with a degree in textile design her design aesthetic is youthful and fun and very Pop inspired.

Mary Katrantzou
I've devoted many a post to the talented Ms. Katrantzou and so this recap could be short but... She attended RISD and CSM and her style trademarks are strong graphics, innovative prints and shows that manage to take people's breathe away.

Meadham Kirchhoff
A Frenchman and en Englishman coming together and uniting two of the greatest fashion nations. The eclecticism of the city is definitely reflected in their designs which manage to merge both the polish of museums and art galleries in addition to the grittiness of the street style and the vibrant mixture of cultures. You can never anticipate what their next move is and that's their label trademark.

Mulberry - helmed by Emma Hill
Moving back home was a good move for Mulberry, the British lifestyle brand that encapsulates English style so well. The play between sweet and saucy nature of the brand makes it appropriate for a worldwide audience and their trademark is their leather handbag.

Pringle of Scotland - helmed by Claire Waight Keller
Another heritage brand established in 1815 Pringle of Scotland's trademarks are its knitwear and outwear. Think about tweed, twinsets, cashmere, knits, trench coats and you're there, the brand has also begun to explore sportwear and this combination results in a truly cliched British picture. Keller has an excellent resume to match the brand, she has worked for Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, design houses that all have the trademarks that she has carried to this brand.

Roksanda Ilincic
I should give up counting how many CSM graduates we have among these designers, but at least we know they're churning out success stories. Ilincic is known for her luxe designs and her read carpet appeal. One of her famous fans is the first lady Michelle Obama and the wearability, yet classiness of her designs makes her a powerful British star.

Temperly London
And finally, Alice Temperley has a massive fan base and the four collections she puts out every year make her one of the most in demand British designers. American Vogue once called her 'the designer making the biggest waves in British fashion'. Her strong foundation in printmaking has earned her constant praise.

The thing to take away from the epicness of this post (and I mean epic in the Homeric sense) is that British fashion is on the rise, LFW is becoming much more relevant and editors are beginning to pay attention to these designs. Remember these names and covet their clothes if you have them. They're catapulting to fame.

- Life is good

Listening to: 'We Used to be Friends'  - The Dandy Warhols (Veronica Mars phase much??)
Observations: I hate exams
Craving: Nothing! Overdosed on fish and chips