Friday, October 16, 2009

The Apfel of My Eye

Granny chic is constantly being reworked by the younger generation and with the wide accessible vintage pieces on offer in every city in the world, it seems old clothes are becoming the new garments that don many a fashionista back. Not many people can pull the look of successfully, but one that certainly can is ‘Geriatric starlet’ Iris Apfel. At 82 years of age, this style icon has a collection of clothes that would fill hundreds of these everywhere vintage stores and markets. However, she did not buy to collect, she bought to wear, and this is the attitude that has catapulted her into the limelight.

At 12 years old, she was forced to do her own clothes shopping as her chic mother was too busy running a small chain of boutiques to help her. Working as an intern at Women’s Weekly Magazine did not suit her bubbly personality and wanted to make her (unusual) name known in the fashion industry. Along with her husband Harold, the started a textile company out of a suitcase, which counted Dorothy Draper as their first big break, and from then on their fantastic silks and antique fabrics became must-haves in the interior design industry.

With closets that house 70 years of clothes and accessories, it’s no wonder the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York asked Apfel if they could borrow some accessories to use in an exhibition. The few accessories they needed turned into outfits, 10 mannequins they wanted her to style multiplied to 82, and the it soon became her show, entitled ‘Rara Aris’ meaning rare bird, and a rare bird she is as her anthology of feather loaded pieces turns her wardrobe into somewhat of a nest. From a floor length beaded Ralph Lauren overcoat to a faux fur balero from H&M, the show that spans her long fashionable life champions every fashion trend and famous designer of almost a century.

What she brings to the fashion industry is a mind set many people cannot grasp, that clothes are to be worn and enjoyed, not put on display in a vacuum packed bag so nothing could ever penetrate it. She is an avid fan of comfort also, and mostly wears men’s Levi’s. Her iconic black rimmed circular specs can be spotted at the odd fashion week show, but with this new status coming so late in her blossoming life, she’ll be sure to get invited to many more. If you have Ralph Lauren wondering if you’re looking for a job or Lindsay Lohan demanding you to be her stylist, you’re a shoe-in!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Touch of Sparkle

As the nights start to get longer, it’s always nice to have something bright and shiny to cheer us up. This season follow red carpet fashions by adding some sparkle to your outfit with sequins and glitzy embellishments. The great thing about this look is that there’s two ways to wear it.

The first is go all out, like Lily Allen’s outfit performing at the Chanel Spring Summer 2010 show in Paris. Wearing a fantastic gold and black sequin dress accompanied by matching shimmering shoes, Allen stood out from the usual pastel and monochrome garments that decorated the Chanel models. Another celeb who has this glittering trend right is Emma Watson earning her wages as the face of Burberry in a beautiful golden Burberry Prorsum.

The second way to wear this look is the more casual and toned down approach, by simply accessorising with something sparkly or wearing one shimmering item in your ensemble. For this style, look no further than the ever trendy Fearne Cotton wearing a plain black dress and a pair of glittering tights to effortlessly brighten up this grunge inspired outfit. Make sure you keep the sparkle in your wardrobe this winter.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Forty Years of Festival Fashion to Mark the End of the Festival Season

1969 marked the start of the festival revolution with the founding of Woodstock. Forty years on and the vibrations of the momentous music event are still being felt today, not only in the thriving music industry but the fashion world also. On its anniversary, it’s time to draw inspiration from the magic mud that covered the White Lake hills of Bethel, New York, and pay homage to the festival and it’s style icons that inspired music lovers for the past forty years, and will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of festival goers.

The hippie aesthetic was motivated by the freedom music possessed, thus creating a freedom of fashion allowing people to wear what they wished in order to express themselves. There were no labels, just style, and that mantra is still witnessed today. Hippie chic infected fashion so much that it still permeates the catwalks today, and come festival season people imitate their favourite style icons; from Joplin to Hendrix, Karen O to Pete Doherty and everyone in between.

The come-as-you-are ethos of the Woodstock era was witnessed throughout the 70’s and continued on into the working class industrialised era that controlled the early 80's when people went straight from work to gigs, and couldn’t afford to purchase new get-up for the summer festivals. Ecological fashion was the main idea behind such festivals, to be able to recycle your old clothes into something durable and looking extremely fashionable without trying at the same time. The 80’s also paved way for the shoulder-pad which has been sewn into every garment on the High Street this season. By choosing either harsh or faint silhouettes, swinging your shoulders at the gigs might get tiring with this new addition, but it is definitely worth it.

The 90’s saw the neon trend reach its climax with trance and dance followers swarming to huge open fields to consume whatever it was that made their body to move in a hypnotic bounce, and let’s hope the multicoloured furry boots will never, ever, grace us with their shuddering inducing presence again. Artists such as M.I.A revived this neon trend in recent years and the explosion of House Of Holland saw everyone, including its labels model, Agyness Deyn, don its sight blinding colours mixed with stone washed denims. There is guaranteed to be some of that haze of colour illuminating from Simian Mobile Disco’s and Orbital’s crowds.

Not all outfits at festivals were made from textiles as mud and body paint seems to have been a hit back in the day. And with the unpredictable weather of our fair country, one would guess that by Sunday of Electric Picnic, everyone will either be strutting in mud encrusted clothes or whacking on the face paint on to cover their unwashed faces.

The trick is to partake in the festival spirit by being comfortable and not too fashion conscious, but still keep an element of your regular style as not to feel completely out of your own skin come day two. By mixing 501’s and blouses, the Woodstock crowd effortlessly, and unconsciously, paved way for the festival uniform of today. Denim shorts are a must, as made famous by Sienna Miller, but for us everyday women, pairing them with tights will look just a chic. Janis Joplin was lucky to have had Vivienne Westwood design for her when she mounted the stage at Woodstock, and many artists such as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who has her good friend Christian Joy design her outrageous and colourful get-ups, and Blondie don designer gear on stage. This however can all be easily mimicked as the High Street stores have had designers such as Mathew Williamson and, well, model-turned-designer apparently, Kate Moss, doing clothing lines which are sure to be seen on the fashionistas of EP. If, like me, those lines are far too expensive to afford for a festival that already has you in the red, vintage stores contain key ethnic pieces to sparkle up your haversack. And who knows, you might find a dress that was once worn to a music festival back in the sixties or stumble across a pair of boots Patti Smith would be jealous of.

Men seem to have the luxury of not caring what they are wearing after a few pints, whereas we ladies seem to become more aware or thother peoples' clothing, including our own. Flares have almost been completely abolished in favour of skinny jeans, and there might be the odd paisley shirt floating around on a long haired bearded musician, but there is no denying that bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix made every man who attends festivals wanting to look like them. Folk five-piece Fleet Foxes channel the hippie hay-day eloquently, both with their harmonies and their flannel check-shirts. Natasha Kahn, a.k.a Bat For Lashes, is sure to have an impressive stage get-up at this year’s festival as she models her look on that of Nico and Cleopatra.

One thing that has consistently been at the forefront of festival fashion over the past forty years is accessories. Anything goes at festivals and be either as subtle or as outrageous as you like. Headbands and hats hide the greasy hair, necklaces and scarves conceal the curry-stained dress, clothes the un-manicured nails, and coloured leggings or tights can distract anyone from your hangover state. The key is to derive inspiration from past icons, and indeed the icons of today such as Chloe Sevigny who always looks effortlessly cool at festivals, and experiment with clothes; that’s what they’re there for. Sunglasses are a pivotal accessory at any festival, even if it doesn't stop raining all weekend, the should be at the pinnacle of anyone’s check list. Not only do they block the rays but they are brilliant for hiding bloodshot eyes the next morning.

Clearly the Woodstock fashion beat goes on. Fashion has the habit of repeating itself, but with this season’s extreme shapes and body-con style dresses, mixing and matching previous festival styles with these new pieces will be sure to get you a few compliments, and stay comfortable at the same time.


Published on the Meath Event Guide website.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Irish Designers causing an Up-Rising

Meeting House Square was all dolled up last week as it hosted this seasons Fashion Breakthrough event for up and coming Irish designers. Each year it showcases home-grown designers who are in the transition from leaving college to having their own label, and the designers vary from each end if this fashionable spectrum. I had the pleasure of assisting stylist Angela Scanlon once again, and helped her style each of the 13 designers' collections. The Spring Summer 2010 Press show in the afternoon showcased some amazing pieces that had Xposé and Style Nation on the edge of their seats, with designers such as Lisa Shawgi and Sinéad Doyle stepping out of their A/W comfort zones and flourishing the catwalk with some bright and crisp designs that were fit for any Fashion Week.

The theme of the main catwalk show in the evening, presented by actress and journalist, Holly White, was Uprising and the models in big boots donning back-combed afro's and dramatic eye make-up set the scene effectively. Other designers for the evening show included Beibhinn Flood showcasing her dramatic florals, Sophie Rieu and her delicate Unicorn label and Heidi Higgins undoubtedly wowed the audience with her iconic sky blue dresses that contrasted against her stark black designs.

These designers are sure to make headway in the Fashion industry over the coming years, and Zoe Boomer already counts Natasha Beddingfield as a dedicated follower of her fashion. Fashion BreakThrough "aims to create an accessible, unique platform for fresh design expertise via a vibrant fringe event that accentuates all that is exceptional in the art of Irish Fashion" according to the Dublin Enterprise Board's reporter, and I feel it has accomplished just that. Photographs from the catwalk show are soon to follow this post, hopefully they'll be worth the wait if last years' ones are anything to go by.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Channel Your Inner Chanel

I don't know if anyone other than Miss Mary-Kate could pull of the latest extravagant Chanel sunglasses, but I would sure love to try. The two-tone detailing might cause some sight confusion whilst modelling them but we're used to impractical fashion at this stage! These would complete my festival look fabulously. Sadly, the price of my pending Electric Picnic ticket denies my urge to don these beauties, and anything else new for that matter. One can dream...


Monday, August 10, 2009

Quack, not Duck.

I have previously blogged about this particular little store but after a recent visit I felt it needed another mention. Quack & Dirk houses a mixture of vintage gems, handmade pieces and imported garments under its cute orange roof. Located just off the bustling traffic polluted Fairview Road in a renovated garage, Q&D is a breath of fresh air. Once inside, the drones of buses and horns of cars are immediately muffled by the swinging tunes coming from a laptop tucked away in the corner. The vintage line named Auntie Maureen caught my eye instantly. The owner, Deirdre Cantwell, pays homage to her Aunt’s Narnia-like wardrobe she used to raid as a child housing wonderful vintage finds and at a great price too. On location, Deirdre also tailors and makes her trademark duck-egg blue pieces in one of the cutest offices/till areas I have ever seen! The prices are undoubtedly reasonable giving the extravagant boutiques in the City Centre some stiff competition. Open Wednesday to Saturday, this hidden gem is definitely worth a visit on the way home from a High Street filled day of shopping. You’re guaranteed to find something new and unique each time you venture down the concrete grey lane and step into the bright orange and white interior of Q&D.


(Image taken at Q&D Fashion Show, this was my favourite piece by far!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Prepare the Pearls

This year we will witness the release of two major cinematic and fashion combination experiences. The first of which, Coco Avant Chanel (Coco before Chanel), will be released nationwide this Friday.
Already somewhat on trend, this film should provide us with inspiration for the rest of our summer wardrobe with styles of English tweeds, simple loose jersey dresses, twin set jacket cardigans, sailor stripes, monochromatic accessories and men’s tailoring. And let's not forget those iconic draped pearls.
Starring the effortlessly beautiful Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel, I think this film should act as a reminder to put down that fake tan, steer clear of the nasty neon fad, and inspire a more simple, yet glamorous trend that Coco herself epitomized.

The second film is, of course, the much anticipated “The September Issue”, a documentary following Editor of world renown Vogue Magazine, Anna Wintour. Humorous, scary or envy inspiring, Anna Wintour is in a league of her own when it comes to the fashion industry. Favourite line in the trailer is definitely “September is the January in fashion”. Release date is in early September.


Friday, July 24, 2009

New Model on the Horizon

Lisa Madden, to my amazement, lost out to a pregnant Carrie-Ann Burton whilst competing for a modelling contract on the TV Series The Model Agent. That did not stop the 16 year old Cork-born beauty as she has recently signed with Assests model agency and she is already causing a stir amid the Dublin fashion industry. She was one of the best models I have had the privilege of styling, and also the youngest! Be sure to check out her first editorial shoot in Stellar shot by Lili Forberg which will be out next month. I would reccommend getting a copy, this girl is going to be a star!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Freestyler, rock the microphone.

I recently helped the ridiculously stylish Angela Scanlon on a portfolio shoot for a couple of models from Assests and B-Scene agencies under the photographic direction of the lovely Lily Forberg. It was an amazing experience to be working with two of Irelands most influential and well-known fashion faces and I learned a lot working with them, mainly to just be confident at what you do and you'll make it. Here are some of the shots from the shoot at The Beacon Hotel in Sandyford; there was actually a bathtub in the middle of the room which came in handy for the swimwear shots! I'm definitely digging this styling buzz!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Sequel was a bad choice

Can we all just please recognise that this is a disgrace


Monday, June 29, 2009

"Seriously, we’re not just being nice"

Having only momentarily listened to White Denim before attending their gig Friday night in Academy 2, I was blown away by the phenomenal performance and musical talent of this three piece Texan band. The band started out with what could have easily been a jamming session of the Jimi Hendrix band, the psychedelic rock sounds were electrified in the small and intimate venue of Academy 2. This then ascended into the band’s hit song Shake, Shake, Shake, played to perfection, which appeared to be a theme for the band that night as they continued with the rest of their set. Marred only by slight technical faults and temporary pauses between songs, the band played an outstanding gig to an enthusiastic audience. Highlight of the night was definitely the finale, where the band played a previously unreleased track claiming “We won’t be playing this in any other city…. Seriously, we’re not just being nice”. And from the exceptional response of the audience, I think they might want to reconsider playing it again. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of cowbell?


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fashion Ace

Week One of Wimbledon is almost over and we've seen our fair share of fashion faux pas, and mainly by the unbelievably muscular Serena Williams (her older sister Venus has a much better figure for the outragous outfits the doubles partners wear). But we have also witnessed some pieces that will definitely be imitated on court this summer.

With Nadal's skin tight t-shirts out of the picture this year due to a knee injury, others have had to step up to show off their style on court as well as their skills. Roger Federer, the number 2 seed and tournament favourite, darned a waistcoat during warm up on Centre Coat on Day One which set the bar fairly high for the other players to follow. White and Gold are his signature colours for Wimbledon, and his crisp white t-shirts are subtly embroidered with his initials beneath the polo's buttons; co-ordination is key for his footwork and attire as he matches his headband, wristbands, runners and sportsbag together. Unfortunately he has left his knitted cardigan back in Switzerland this year, but hopefully it will be available on ebay soon enough! His initials were also vivid on his reworked jacket from 2007. It has been described as a suit jacket with utility styling as it featured three front pockets and one on his left arm's sleeve.

"It's kind of a little bit more of a modern look with the military, but staying true to Wimbledon with the white," he has said of the new jacket that will no doubt be a signature look in sport-stores around the world.

Speaking of military, Maria Sharapova has also wore a military inspired jacket as she strolled onto court for her first match, and seemed to stroll swiftly off as she won quite comfortably. She has the modelesque features of a catwalk Queen, and she certainly has the legs too which make her a great canvas for new styles of tennis gear. Her tuxedo jumpsuit from last year was indeed fashion forward, but not practical for the court and it's good to see that she has reverted back to the classic white dress. Pity her groaning doesn't coincide with her innocent beauty though!

I look forward to seeing what fashion forces Week Two will produce. Let the most fashionable win!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Rocks Socks

Move over Asos, there's a new website in town. Motel Rocks is a fabulous little find, with stunning dresses perfect for summer sun and festival madness. Prices aren't ridiculous and there's even a great little section on the website dedicated to "under £20". Don't expect to find much more than dresses here, but the range of frocks suffice. Personal favourite is this little number, ideal for my festival wardrobe.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Recommended Resort for 2010

Alexander Wang’s latest Resort line, which can only be admired from afar by us poor students, has been inspired by his newfound interest in all-American sportswear. His use of t-shirts and cotton tracksuit tops are easily accesible and he is keeping with the blue denim, nudes and muted colour palates that were witnessed on the S/S 09catwalks- thus meaning these styles and colour schemes are in high street stores already. The structured shoulders reminiscent of the fabulous 80’s (minus the perm) and the tailored skirts and trousers are a business woman’s dream. I love his new take on the dungaree and the ubiquitous playsuit has been reworked for his collection. Pairing a midnight blue sequined wrap-around skirt with a nautical-esque top seems barbaric, yet it is possibly the highlight of the collection. Followers of Wang include Chloe Sevigny and Alexa Chung, and I believe there will be many more to come due to his collection for Gap which is available as of now (Stateside unfortunately, but there is always mail order!) Wang’s signature laid back elusive style is reverberated throughout this new collection and one not to be missed!


Hold on to your hats ladies

If last years rain at the Galway Races has put you off dressing in your most stylish outfit for this year, think again. Philip Treacy, milliner of hats for the likes of Naomi Campbell, Camilla Parker Bowles and Victoria Beckham, has offered to give away one of his designs to the woman deemed to be wearing the best hat of the day at this years Ladies day in the Galway Races. Not only that, but it just so happens to be one of his most memorable designs, being the hat worn by Sarah Jessica Parker at last years premier of Sex and the City the movie. Start planning those outfits ladies, because the competition will be fierce! Ladies day is Thursday the 30th of July at the Galway Races.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Out with the New and in with the Old

Vintage clothing seems to be causing a stir amid the fashion industry at the moment with many designers and high street stores jumping on the band-wagon and opting to derive inspiration from past eras. I myself have always love the idea behind vintage clothing, wondering whether a swinging 60’s shift dress was worn to a Beatles gig, and what song a battered pair of shoes danced to. Spearheads in the vintage revival include Alexa Chung, the Olsen twins and Morrissey; however he does seem to just wear the same stitches he did back in the Smiths hay day, including the ubiquitous nerd-glasses.

The vintage stores in Dublin have never been comparable to the ones in London, Berlin or New York, but have recently stepped up their game. Because of the unique nature and handmade quality of vintage clothing, it tends to be fairly expensive, but it’s a sure bet that no one else will have anything remotely similar. Vintage virgins are put off by the fact that they must trawl through an abundance of rails in order to find something decent. However, vintage has become more accessible to the adoring fashion lovers of Dublin and I wish to impart some of my wisdom and experience as to where you can get the vintage look.

The Harlequin is home to some of the best vintage pieces in Dublin. Sequins, florals and groovy patterns from every era line their colour-coded rails. The basement houses the men’s section that is filled with check shirts as far as the eye can see and here lies the British mod label, Pop. For your convenience, their leather jackets have already been broken-in and their old school tracksuit tops are a hit with the indie kids.

Quack & Dirk is new to the vintage clothing scene and is situated on the Northside of Dublin down an intriguing alleyway off the main Fairview Road. Against a backdrop of red and white walls, the vintage pieces on offer here give a refreshing youthful alternative to the typical ‘vintage’ dresses. The Loft Market, a New York-style indoor fashion market located in the Powerscourt Centre is known for its vintage stalls that are exploding with obscure prints and well preserved jewellery. It is perfect for one-off pieces and the in-house DJ provides an eclectic soundtrack your day of shopping.

In the cobble locked epicentre of quirky that is Temple Bar, lays two unsuspecting vintage abodes. Epoch is a new cranny in an old house on Crow Street that stocks clothes spanning the decades from the ‘50s right up to the early ‘80s. The men’s collection includes jackets, suits, denims and the all important headgear; for the superfly and the super-styled. For ladies there is funky day wear, flowing chiffon pastels, crisp summer whites and a plethora of pearls and beads to accessorise your vintage find. Wild Child, which used to be situated next door, now resides in Georges Street Arcade but you can still find Wild Child’s signature pieces amid a purple haze of far out tunes that will certainly get your shopping senses tingling. My personal favourite are their paisley printed dresses that can be tailored to perfection no matter how wrong the size may be.

Surprisingly, A-wear has recently launched a vintage range in its Henry Street store in a space known as The Attic. In a sectioned off area similar to a desolate house filled with antique chairs and dressers bursting with little trinkets, this new clothes line is conveniently dispersed so there is no need to rustle through rails or wrestle the person beside you. Unlike typical vintage clothing, this line offers a handful of each item along with a size range; a luxury you won’t find in authentic vintage stores. The unique element of vintage is removed but the juxtaposition of these cute pieces against the normal Awear get up offers a fresh outlook to the high street. Their budget-friendly prices are a wonderful prescription for the recession stricken fashionista.

Urban Outfitters has always catered for the vintage look by incorporating it into their usual stock. They take inspiration from second hand pieces and offer alternative looks, but much like A-wear, they tend to reproduce a lot of it to cater for their demanding customers. A Store is Born, to the working students dismay, only opens on a Saturday, but is small enough to whip around on a lunch break. It provides a more elegant side to the vintage look with their stock mainly consisting of gowns and frocks for special occasions.

It is easy to recreate the vintage look without digging out your parents dusty flares. Reinvigorate your wardrobe economically by mixing vintage garments and high street buys. Try wearing wet-look leggings with a paisley printed dress, and the boys can team their skinny jeans with old school cardi’s and jumpers. The world of fashion is head over heels for all things retro and I suggest you follow suite, or at least just start with a tattered vintage blazer.


Not as fun as Cotton candy

Trendy style icon and Radio 1 (UK) DJ, Fearne Cotton, has just launched her first official website. Cute dress give away competition Fearne, but unfortunately this blogger feels the website falls into the Z category. That is, the zzzzzzzzzz zleep category! Oh ok we’ll give you a few more days before we officially judge you.

Check it out for yourselves:

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Top of the Shops

Hold on to your wallets people, there’s another Topshop in town! Located in the former River Island spot in Arnotts, it appears that crunch time has not hit the fashion industry in Ireland. With River Island moving to its new enormous location on Henry Street, a brand new Topshop and Topman opening in its old spot and the impending opening of American Apparel opposite Trinity College, it seems there is a new reason to be broke that has nothing to do with tax increases.
Topshop and Topman are celebrating the new store in style giving away free cupcakes from the organic home-baking store, The Cake Cafe, and a free potted African Violet when you spend €50 or more in Topshop Arnotts and Stephen's Green.
Although it is a crime against fashion to slander the opening of a shiny new Topshop, having four Topshops and three Topmans in a one kilometre radius seems a bit like overkill. Of course, this will never be a factor in my conscience if they have those fantastic summer dresses in store as modelled by Lily Allen during her performance at BBC 1 Big Weekend in Swindon. *swoon*


They're On Fire

I was mesmirised by the new Sony Bravia advert recently, and not because of it's HD Ready quality. Kasabian have put together an amazing new album to add to their previous two, the latter, Empire, being quite a disappointment. The obscure title, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, can only permit one to get completely lost and go insane for this album. Featuring on this ad is album opener Underdog, probably one of the catchiest tunes this year. An acoustic version of this song shows that Tom is actually a decent singer, except the constant flicking and touching of his newly grown hair can get a tad annoying.

I then proceeded to check out the other songs on the album, and was very amused by the video, and indeed by the title, for Vlad the Impaler, with the 'Impaler' being none other than the lovely comic Noel Fielding. Why anyone would run away from being impaled by him I will never understand.

These two choons are sure to be a hit amongst the mud-covered shivering fans at Slane tomorrow; I am extremely jealous of them, if only for the music!