Last week I attended a very grand event at The Dorchester Hotel in London. It made a nice change to my usual evening routine; dragging myself to the gym and rushing to get dinner ready. Rushing straight from the office in a floor length gown and flats (function over fashion ALWAYS) on the Tube via Hyde Park, I felt like glamour personified. Not. However, upon arrival at The Dorchester with my heels on and a glass of champagne in my hand, I really relaxed into the evening. And what an evening it was!
Corrie Nielson modelled by the beautiful Jade Parfitt
Fashion for the Brave is an annual event hosted during Fashion Week to raise awareness for charities involved in helping injured soldiers and the relocation of military families. The black tie event was opened by the lovely Claudia Winkleman before a sumptuous three course meal involving the best beef wellington (oh so tender beef) that I have ever had and some never-disappointing Baileys lattes (fast becoming my favourite way to take coffee). A grand auction followed, plus another silent auction and direct donations using tablets on the table and a fashion show. The runway show, organised by the fabulous Hilary Alexander of The Telegraph, was a showcase of amazing British design from Burberry and Erdem to ASOS and TopShop. Particular oohs and ahhs were heard as a couple of canine companions appeared on the catwalk. Top marks go to whoever did the hair too. (Possibly the Laura Mercier team, who did the make up?)
The true stars of the event were of course the brave. They were of course the reason that we were all there and the most decorated man in the British Army WO1 Mick Flynn CGC MC gave a hugely amusing yet emotive speech about his experiences in the field before cheekily introducing (yes he brought that mishap up) Lord Archer for the grand auction. Lots included some gorgeous Boodles jewellery, a one-of-a-kind Corrie Nielson Union Jack dress (above) and a custom made Aston Martin, snapped up by the one and only Sir Philip Green (via Harold Tillman’s telephone – you can’t make this stuff up.) All in all, it was a fabulous evening with some fabulous people.
Special thanks go to Baileys, Fashion for the Brave and KetchumPleon for their hospitality.
Last night’s On|Off presents exhibition in Bloomsbury Square was a thrilling affair. The venue was the basement of Victoria House and it felt modern and fresh with simple white walls and lighting. People chatted and cameras clicked in a hub of anticipation, taking in the mini exhibitions and shop floors of designers who have been previously presented by On|Off. These includedMichela Carraro whose work is exhibited permanently in Vienna, Prose Studio who are now stocked in Topshop, Oxford Circus thanks to representation from On/Off andYang Du who has even dressed Lady Gaga.
The show itself was modern and minimal, yet with lots of detailing and structure. Colours were very monotone, in fact almost all black and white with a touch of navy. We also saw leather, military looks and lots of texture. Highlights of the runway would have to be Samantha Cole’s strong looks combined with the gorgeous knitwear of Derek Lawlor, whose looks were stylish and wearable. The Txell Miras collection was also beautiful. ESVIE was positioned right behind the Catalan designer’s people who were whooping and clapping as well as chatting away in Spanish! MR + MR was the only menswear collection on the runway and showcased lots of tuxedo inspired pieces in many different ways, including a fur hoody and leather shirt. You can check it all out here.
Also worth mentioning was the tribute to Alexander McQueen positioned on a wall on the way into the catwalk area. People were buzzing around an installation of 40 iPods containing each of his 40 collections for Givenchy and for his own label. Visitors flicked through pictures of each outfit on the runway. As one, the pieces showed what an artist he really was.
Recently, a small phenomenon has hit the world of fashion. One by one, fashion designers and magazine editors have taken note of the outcry of the public and have started paying attention to larger models. Just last year designer Mark Fast sent size 14 models down the runway at his catwalk show. He has since clinched a deal with Topshop. Newly engaged model-of-the-moment Lara Stone has hit the headlines many a time for being “the fat one” at a healthy size 8. When Madrid Fashion Week decided to weigh all girls before shows and ban any with a BMI of below 18 from walking down the catwalk, society rejoiced in appreciation of the fact that the skinny model obsession, which markedly cost the lives of Uruguayan sisters Eliana and Luisel Ramos, was finally being recognised. And Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue UK sent a letter to designers accusing them of forcing magazines to hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” due to “minuscule” garments provided for use in photo shoots. She even added that Vogue now frequently retouches pictures to make models look bigger. The letter was not intended for the public domain, but The Times squeezed a look at it and the story reverberated around the world.
But these few examples are not yet widespread across the fashion world. When Lizzie Millerbore all for US Glamour, stating that she was considered too big to be a plus-size model, despite being 5ft 11ins and 12½ stone, there was outrage. She has since been booked for many jobs, as readers spoke out against the prejudices of even the plus-size side to modelling. To further back up the situation, American model Crystal Renn made headlines with her book “Hungry”, detailing how her struggles with eating disorders coincided with her career success, showing that a super skinny model will always get more bookings that a larger girl. V Magazine in America has also recently featured four plus-size models in a designer spread to raise awareness of the issue.
However, these recent positive steps do have their counterparts. In 2009, Ralph Lauren airbrushed a model to the point that her head was bigger than her waist. The original plus-size supermodel, newlywed Sophie Dahl famously lost all of her extra weight to become the slim icon she is now, and Lara Stone has stated that she is “fed up” with being “the fat one” and has made a new year’s resolution to tone up. And with super slim icon Kate Moss stating “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, it seems that we still have a long way to go before society can change. Moss’ throwaway comment was snatched up by pro-anorexia websites as an excuse not to eat. Yet, whilst it may be unfair to blame the supermodel entirely for this, it simply goes to show that the war against skinny rages on.
It’s week two of my mission to find clothing for tall women relevant to this season’s trends for Amazona and this week, I am tackling the 80s. Yes, big hair, big even bigger shoulders and lots of sequins! Check out the monochrome clutch above from Amazona Style – perfect for storing your essentials on a stylish night out!
Tall Black Cowl Neck Jumpsuit £38 Dorothy Perkins
Or, even better, you can pretend that you’ve walked straight out of Dynasty with this amazing black jumpsuit from Dorothy Perkins’ ever-faithful Tall range. Team with a pair of killer heels, a clutch just like the one above and a perm for the ultimate in 80s chic! Or try this fantastic tunic with a pair of leggings for an equally stylish look!
Tall Silver Belted Tunic £30 Dorothy Perkins
Brogues are the perfect androgynous look, yet adding heels make the look more feminine. Team with big shoulders and wide leg trousers for the perfect casual 80s sports look.
Black and White Heeled Brogues £111 Amazona Style
When we saw this in the Amazona office, we all went seriously crazy! Sequins? Check. Shoulders? Check. Body-con? Check. Suitable for tall girls? CHECK!! Topshop have reigned supreme here with this absolutely gorgeous sequin tunic. If you’ve got fab legs, team with heels and deniers for a sexy 80s siren look!
Tall Sequin Shoulder Pad Tunic £45 Topshop
If you’re noticing a lack of colour here, don’t worry – so are we! Luckily black and white monochrome was oh-so-hot in the 80s, so you’re not missing out this time! Though, we do agree that it would be nice to see some brights on the tall racks soon! And, no! Plain t-shirts do not count!
Topshop mogul Sir Philip Green is all over the news this week. First with the news of his new business venture with Kate Moss and Simon Cowell (below) and now his gesture to Whitney Houston to honour the release of her new album. Green kept the Oxford Street store open exclusively for the singer who grabbed a million things for her daughter, plus a single union jack cardigan for herself. It’s alright for some, eh?!
When H&M announced their collaboration with Matthew Williamson for SS09, we knew that something amazing was going to come of it! Forget for a second Madonna’s leotards and Comme des Garcons crazy designs of H&M collaborations of the past. Here is something that we can all actually wear! Matthew Williamson is known for prints and that is what this summer is all about: bright, block colours, colourful print dresses and elegant casual. By the looks of these photos, he has certainly delivered! The peacock print above is to die for!
A bright blue suit is perfect to jazz up a work look, or even a new take on party wear if you dress it right! And who could create a SS09 collection without the obligatory jumpsuit? He included it, and he got it oh so right! I may be converted to the look! The collection is in UK stores on 23rd April. Form an orderly queue, experts are expecting a big rush to the the stores and only seen once before: when Kate Moss first collaborated with TopShop.
I never used to really get Kate Moss. I didn’t know who she was and was probably too young to get the hype around her when she first hit the fashion scene. Plus, when I did start to finally read and learn more about her, it was during the Pete Doherty years which, if we’re honest, weren’t her best. However, the rise of Kate Moss since hitting rock-bottom and losing many good contracts is nothing short of extraordinary.
I cannot open a magazine without seeing her adorning the pages in articles about her Topshop collection or in adverts for Just Cavalli and DKNY. When I turn on the television, there’s Kate encouraging me to “Get the London Look” with Revlon cosmetics. Just recently, she jumped on the catwalk for her friend, designer Johnny Blue Eyes, in an impromptu first return to the catwalk in
four years, giving him more publicity than he could ever have dreamed of! Kate Moss is truly a British icon. This iconic status was recently set in concrete, or gold more appropriately, by Mark Quinn with his statue of the supermodel at the British Museum. He said he wanted to use someone who represented modern British beauty. Good choice, I’m a Kate convert!