Posts Tagged ‘British Vogue’

Create your own Vogue editor

In Fashion on February 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Emmanuel Alt via belles and rebelles
A topic that just randomly popped into my head. I’d call her, The Fashion Muncher. She’d walk around chewing the samples in the cupboards, annoying the rest of the staff as they’d have to explain to PRs that the “the dog at them.” Not to mention the mounting expense bills the publishers would have to pay. But she was created to fill the voids of the rest of the Vogue Editors. She’d be the ultimate creation. We may as well considering that everyone’s a critic.

The opinionated Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani seems to always be throwing about her woes regarding the people in fashion media. Then there’s the uproar over Carine Roitfeld’s recent departure. But, the issue isn’t over her, per say, but her successor Emmanuel Alt, fashion direct cum Editor of the fearless French Vogue. And let’s not forget how in “fear” we are over American Vogue‘s Anna Wintour after watching The Devil Wears Prada. The only one who seems to get a bit of piece is the intelligent, trust worthy Alexandra Shulman. But I suppose I’m based having been at the British Vogue quarters once upon a time. And I read of the audacity of some article calling this edition the bland one of the bunch. As if.

Anna Dello Russo, fashion director of Vogue Nippon seems to have been the only one willing to submit to the people by becoming something of a caricature. Planning her outfits and life for the impending collections months in advance. But while she has a fairytale affair with fashion, the other ladies have an extremely strenuous job – running a fashion magazine.

I once had a small stint as a runner of a low-brow publication. And by GOD, that was something I would never do – I mean never – again. The directions you’re being pulled. The question of integrity. Your direction versus that of the financial backers. It’s no wonder that I happily stepped down after the first issue.

I hold strong admiration for the Vogue Editors. Fact is, if we could Create our own Vogue Editor, she’d have absolutely ZERO personality producing a jumble of mess for a fashion publication lacking any sense, or direction.

I don’t expect to see anything ground-breaking from any of the editions this coming year, to be honest. And I say that regardless of changes. But I trust in the decisions of these editors, I always have, and that’s why I collect the magazines in the first place.

Club Monaco crosses the pond… finally!

In Fashion, In the Know on February 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

While doing my daily jones on the fashion news circuit, I was a tad surprised to learn by British Vogue that the former Canadian fashion brand Club Monaco, was being introduced to the European market via UK retailer Browns. To attract the fashion crowd, they’ve teamed up with fashion elite such as Lou Doillon, Lauren Hutton and artist Jade Berreau. Hmm, interesting.

Lou Doillon in a Club Monaco dress via British Vogue.

Club Monaco was founded in 1985 – in Toronto – by Joseph Mimran, a rather local but notorious fashion celebrity, and his brother Saul. The line seemed to be a reflection of the minimalist side late `80s fashion: stark white architecture, monocromatic suits. When the ’90s recession hit, it went into complete severe mode with a strong black and white palette, and its signature crisp-white dress shirts. The Mimran brothers was ‘parented’ by Ralph Lauren, a great financial move with expansion into New York, Japan and South Korea, but a clash with management saw Mimran out the door a year later.

While Mimran went on to enjoy success with his grocery store brand Joe Fresh Style, Club Monaco, for the most part, seems a bit stagnant. The headquarters, its first Queen Street West location, and it’s monsterous bloor stoor are still there, but the brand itself, as an entity doesn’t seem here, nor there. Just there.

When I had told some people at prestigious publishing companies about Club Monaco, the most I got was a doey-eyed stare. I sure hope that upon announcement of its European launch those same people can at least say “I’ve heard of that brand from somewhere.” 😉

via Club Monaco

None the less, I find this all quite funny because, this is a brand that, for me, is the equivalent of walking into a local H&M – not in a bad way, of course. But it’s just so common. It’s one of the stores I make a conscious effort check out regularly, because I always find security in their sever designer-conscious garments. Which tells you a bit of how I prefer to dress. Matter of fact, I’m wearing a pair of their leggings right now. OK. I wear them almost everyday.

via Club Monaco

Joceylyn Short via Club Monaco.

I did however, always find it a bit overpriced for what it is. Mind you, they do tend to use a lot of cashmere blends and silks, but, I always seem to prefer heading to the sales racks as oppose to buying the clothes at full price.

Toronto fashion out: London, UK fashion in

In Fashion, Fashion Heat, In the Know on February 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Despite the emotional roller coaster I experienced while living in London, I couldn’t help but be enamoured by its thriving fashion energy. It is the land of excess –  in a lot of ways – but it’s also an open platform to explore your style identity. Every street corner, every strip hangs on a cultural limb- and that includes fashion. So it is no surprise that  all my favourite fashion magazines – and designers – with the exception of France, are British.

Today, I came across an article on British Vogue announcing a new designer collaboration with the beloved UK-concept brand Topshop. The lucky craftsman happens to be David Koma – a designer I have profiled  on this blog:

David Koma for Topshop via Susie Bubble

and a favourite by the likes of Beyoncé and Girls Aloud front woman Cheryl Cole. I didn’t get to read the article in its entirety, but today, while having lunch, I came upon a piece in i-D by Sarah Mower, an acclaimed fashion journalist and Ambassador for Emerging Talent for the British Fashion Council. I’ve not finished the article yet, but it was an elaboration of the speech she made during the spring/summer 2011 NEWGEN awards late last year.

The article came after a 12-page layout of models all wear young, fresh designers.  The pages highlighted pull quotes from buyers and the like within London’s high-profile fashion world. But what caught me was when Ms. Mower said  the industry in London is known for its keen ability to “share and help one another.”

It may seem like a contradictory to provide a negative review on the film “Dressed,” but the problem that I have with the film is that it’s a director’s bandwagon attempt to cash in on a trend that has already come to pass. Not only that, it doesn’t help the hundreds, if not thousands of young hopefuls who need help furthering their fashion careers.

This is, by far, not the first time Topshop has collaborated with new designers. There are a stream of them:

Christopher Kane (three times)

via Frillr

Mary Katrantzou

Meadham Kirchhoff

Mark Fast

Jonathan Saunders

via fashionologie

Kate Moss for GOD’s sake

And a slew of others lesser known ones.

*All other images courtesy of British Vogue

A lot of times, it seems as though every city under the sun supports new talent except  Toronto. Mind you, we do have the Toronto Fashion Incubator, the Fashion Design Council of Canada (if you have thousands of dollars and should be “Toronto”), and a lot of local local publications show their support. We’ve made an attempt at Project  Runway, it’s true. But it’s not enough.  Not when Canada’s freshest talent, such as the aforementioned Mark Fast, Erdem Moralioglu, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Calla Haynes and Thomas Tait choose to cultivate and carry on their careers in cities that much more expensive than be here. Our department stores, on the other hand ‘showcase’ young designers once they’ve received accolades elsewhere, and seem up for collaborations with even other fashion stores, before taking up  homegrown talent.

Do I digress? No. For I too seem to find it much easier to get on in London, despite its faults, than in Toronto. But maybe it is not Toronto’s fault. It’s simply underdeveloped on the fashion front. And, as it turns out, the problem extends well beyond fashion. Canada, writ-large, is an underdeveloped country. And, as it turns out, this city is going down the gravy train. So, as it seems, there’s no where else to go, if you want to ‘make it’, but…  out.

Icons: Meadham Kirchhoff

In British, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, Icon, London, womenswear on January 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm

It was 2008. I was living in London and my life was about to begin. As an intern for British Vogue, the main job revolved around working Ms. Pippa Holt‘s clothing rack, the fashion features associate at the time. As I unpacked endless boxes, my heart stopped. I unfolded the tissue around one box in particular, I came across the sexiest pair of jeans I’d ever seen. They were black, velvety soft, with immaculate detail; every rip strategically done. I peeped the inside of the tag: Meadham Kirchhoff. It was clear, despite their regular “more dash than cash pages” that said item was targeted to those with 500 pounds to spare.

Throughout the day, I couldn’t stop from stealing peeks at the jeans. And from that day onward, I never forgot the power the brand had over me. I stocked runway images of, and I googled – incessantly – for anything I could find on it’s designers Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff.

Meadham Kirchhoff has been receiving it’s well deserved accolades, but the brand – in my eyes – is still remarkably underrated. And it is possible that it’s because the designs are conceptual (but isn’t Costume National?), but I suppose it also has to do with the designers not jumping ship to more commercial friendly fashion capitals.

Sometimes, it seems as though Meadham Kirchhoff is into bondage. I, have professed to be a fan of the culture – from a distance. why is is that sometimes I look at the clothes and I think of mild references to “Pinhead”?

But it was the duo’s Fall 2009 collection (if you do the math) that gripped me. The blouses were cobwebs on the contours of my mind. The pants resembled open flesh wounds decorated in stardust.

If I wanted the more playful side of punk culture, I can count on Meadham Kirchhoff to educate me. And it works! The duo’s creative genius translated into a well received collection for Topshop.

I’ve never been able to own pieces from the collaboration, but this release was one of the bigger revolutions in fast-fashion.

The Spring 2011 collection was disturbing – something of a fashion circus. It exploded with reds and yellows, and pushed the borders of taste. It was mesmerizing.

It is no wonder the British Fashion Council recently announced that Ed and Benjamin were winners (along with Peter Pilotto and Canadian expat Todd Lynn) of the Fashion Forward Award for the next two fashion seasons of London Fashion Week.

I am watching these guys like a hawk. Their trajectory is steady – let’s hope they kill it for 2011.

Burgeoning icon: Christopher Kane

In Fashion on January 14, 2011 at 12:47 am

A few years ago, while flipping threw British Vogue, the first thing I noticed was Christopher Kane’s sex appeal. And I’m not talking about his line. Christopher Kane, in my eyes, is exceptionally attractive. And it was only then that I became interested in learning more about his creations. The most obvious thing I realized: no collection is the same. Or, there’s no real distinction. Gareth Pugh has a trademark (Goth), Mark Fast (skin-tight knit), as does Erdem (floral, feminine print). Even design duo Meadham Kirchhoff show some consistency with their post-punk flair. But Mr. Kane (with no website, or form of accessible social media) is hard to pin. Just when I thought I liked his Goth-inspired confections of leather and crushed velvet, he then presents a collection of plexi and silk.

I had assumed he was heading the dramatic route, but then he unleashes a woman’s fun-loving side with breezy party dresses. And it was no wonder that Donatella Versace made him the creative director for Versace‘s baby sister, Versus.

Not that I was scratching my head with wonder, but I did not quite get it. And it was also around the time that he teamed up with Topshop to produce some boisterous gorilla print items. It was fascinating. But just as I’d started to get the hang of him, he turns around and presents a collection of plaid, almost peasant looking dresses.

Admittedly, I really though, and still think, hated this collection. Despite the continuous praise it got.
Ah, but he is young (born in `82 – the same year as me). So finding his voice in this saturated world is a must. And it was back to the miracles of leather. But this time, with a touch of whimsy.

This is my boy. But then again, this is what speaks to me. And thankfully, his Spring 2011 collection didn’t stray too far from the shed. And I like.

I appreciate that he’s coming to terms with a woman’s sexiness. It – through his construction – is maturing, and it can be many things. And I have come to appreciate that he is one of the more versatile designers in the cult of rising stars out right now.

He’s had a notorious 2010: his angry gorilla graphic prints were everywhere.

And his intergalactic star-prints were so omnipotent, even British Vogue dedicated their December issue to “stars.”

But case in point: because Mr. Kane is sexy, he therefore, knows what is sexy. And all of his collections, no matter which direction they took, all leads back to that one thing.

Fashion Icon: Robin Givhan

In Fashion, Icon on August 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I’ve had many mentors in my life. And the fashion authority I admire, well, they are as cliché as Tim Blanks, Hilary Alexander, and Godfrey Deeny. But recently, I’ve developed a slight addiction to Ms. Robin Givhan, fashion editor for the Washington Post.

That’s another cliché , as we are both black women. However, in Ms. Givhan’s case, the depth in her stories stem from archaic libraries in that tiny storage disc that is her brain. You can taste the richness of her knowledge; like a slice of red velvety cake. Conservative? Definitely. (That’s okay. I’m an advocate of British Vogue, I enjoy the Financial Times’ Fashion section, and I’m pro-Lisa Armstrong.) Ms. Givhan is a by-product of the 90s. The Princeton graduate started a Reporter covering Detroit’s techno music scene in the late 80s before transitioning into fashion. She’s won a Pulitzer Prize for her fashion criticism, and her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker. She currently reports exclusively on the Obama family – in my opinion, the highest honour in North American standards – among her other journalistic responsibilities. Now, Ms. Givhan should be seen as a role model to women of all creeds. But I digress.

My focus is clearer now than it was yesterday. I don’t want ephemeral respect. I want to be known as someone whose tight grasp of fashion’s history translates into a cohesive analysis of its future. Is it ambitious to aim for award-winning applaud? Perhaps appearances in the publications I so admire? I’m not concerned with being a “wordsmith,” but rather, making you feel full from what I  write. Among the true intellectuals on my radar are Alexandra Shulman, Harriet Quick, Tim Blanks – who cannot be left out of the equation – and Robin Givhan. Particularly Robin Givhan. She gives me what I will one day give you.

Musing: Freja Beha Erichsen

In Fashion Heat, Good Look, Icon, In the Know, model on August 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

When British Vogue’s Sarah Harris asked supermodel Freja Beha Erichsen how she spent her first pay cheque, the Danish beauty jokingly claimed that she “ blew it all on strippers and cars.” Joke?

No matter. Erichsen is the girl/boy wonder stirring envy among guys, and collecting serious lust points from girls. Much like her predecessor Gia Carangi, this girl is hot, hot heat for putting the rock star back on the runway. There’s a debate, though – she’s thin. Probably too thin. But it’s not her fault, she’s just molded this way. And she’s handsomely pretty. The fashion world and beyond could easily build a Bieber fascination with her. She’s a “woman crush” – with the exception of her boyish sensibility. Who are we kidding, it’s because of it. She’s started a haircut craze, too. Unlike the androgynous Tilda Swinton who is sculpted with curves, Erichsen is as “toothpick” as they come. In a movie, she could be a he playing a she.  And she looks vulnerable. That bad boy/girl chicks aim to tame. (Hmmm, once again, Gia Carangi anyone?)

Erichsen has admitted to wanting a family someday. Probably true. But I doubt it will be conventional. And there’s no time to think about that anyway – she’s having too much fun at the moment. (Despite a drink,  smoke and club-free diet. Well, she’s having fun somehow I’m sure.)

So, OK, Freja. Let us not have any of those tragic lives in our lifetime, all right? You’re fun. You may be a bit lame in the flesh – I don’t know – but you’re a symbolism of a bourgeois rebellion that is keeping fashion interesting. We’re experiencing a grunge/punk resurgence, and that’s you. You weren’t just “plucked”, your trajectory is as strategic the marketing campaign for a Chanel fragrance. Your scent is unique. It’s divine. The top note is husky at first smell; but when you get to the base note – it’s a bed of heavenly petals.

Musing: Magazines

In Fashion on July 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Are magazines a dying breed? Never. What about Fashion magazines? Is that even a question? Gen Y is too sophisticated to not read magazines. Gen X is benched between the internet and the ideals of print. And the echelon of taste-makers are too powerful. Fashion magazines are addictive. It’s deeper than the editorial spreads or designer profiles. You’re learning a library of history in the span of an article. To hold a glossy magazine, in your hands, then create a zeitgeist going as far back as 10 years (in my case, I have Vogue from 1984) – that’s a trajectory to the smart stars. When a magazine starts to discolour and pages fall out of the sockets, you hold the power. And if you’ve actually read all of the magazine in your go, even better.

When I started seriously collecting Vogue, I chose the British edition – for obvious reasons. But I had never really read it properly. There was something about it that just went over my head. It was too wordy, to cerebral. So, I went back to my first one – I had a lot of catching up to do – no wait, actually, I started reading back issues of  Flare, Fashion and Elle Canada – Canadian fashion magazines. The Canadian glossies to me were  stepping stones towards my growth to the more coveted titles. Once I got through them, all 50 or so, then I moved on to British Vogue. It was tedious. It was tiring, but I did it. Now, I’m amazed that I can get through British Vogue in one sitting. Well, okay maybe two. But it’s so much more digestible then it was all but a month ago. I’ve even taken to buying all the English-language editions with the exception of Vogue Paris. I’ve also moved on to various editions of Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. See what I mean? To say it’s fulfilling is too easy  a world. It’s more like, emancipation.

OK. magazines don’t necessarily have the depth of books, they’re not supposed to. But now, after reading glossies by the pound, I can read a feature in Vanity Fair and have an opinion on whether the story was shit (like the latest cover on Angelina Jolie). I mean hey, Vanity Fair  – I love you, I really do – is the Crème de la Crème of the mag world, no? Newspapers are now a breeze and I’m curious if books can fill the black whole in the middle of my brain.

Fashion Editors suck

In Fashion, Op Ed., Out vs. IN on May 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Just kidding. You liked that didn’t you… (wink).

I’ve noticed that fashion magazines – particularly Canadian ones – have a knack for enticing readers into the glamorous world of an Editor’s closet with the phrase “Shop Like a Fashion Editor”. Oh you know, they strut into their quarters head-to-toe in RTW, and scour the country for first-rate finds you don’t have access to because , unfortunately, you are not one of them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just cliché, and not true. Fashion Editors, and I say this from experience, are probably the most understated people. Sure, there’s some over-the-top ones, but for the most part,  low-key is what makes the good ones so talented. Besides, this isn’t the 1950s,you’re not deprived; you have access to big cities (if you don’t already live in one), television, public and private transport – the world is virtually yours.

Lets not say fashion editors in general, there’s a difference, but good Market Editors are on point with  trends. And that’s because after dozens of store openings and countless appointments, what makes the pages are considered (in their opinion) the choice of the month. They don’t have access to anything over you – it’s their job. Simple. I read a lot of magazines, and I conclude that the more down-to-earth Editors (shout out to British Vogue) who bring a more “everyday” perspective to fashion , are the most interesting. You don’t need to “shop like a Fashion Editor” because you’re already fabulous. They’re just telling you “here’s what you may have missed,” or “you really need to know about this  because, it’s hot.”

 That’s why there should be a ban on that phrase. Why not something like “Edit”, that’s so much more modern. Living in such a fast-moving world means you, the reader, can easily one-up any fashion editor, but because you’re busy with your own sex in the city life, they’re there to add to your already fantastically wonderful wardrobe.

And yeah I have an issue with Sex and the City too but that’s for another discussion.

In the Know: Hermione de Paula

In designer, Fashion, In the Know, London, News, RTW on December 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm

I have a genuine love for new designers. But as I’m scrutinizing an image of Hermione de Paula, I can’t tell whether her blank stare is because she knows she’s privileged enough to get a break or because she’s jaded by all the bull-crap she’s gone through.

A cute girl with a cute fashion line and a cute little dog to match. This Central St. Martins graduate has got experience to boot; she’s been at Galliano, Giles, Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior Couture. She’s a favorite amongst the “fash” pack at British Vogue online and she’s the recipient of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award for autumn/winter 2010/2011. She’s got her first standalone catwalk show this upcoming London Fashion Week and she’s got a spring/summer 2010 collection at Browns Focus.

All the excitement galore means she’s got the stamina, she’s a hardworking mama-jammer, but I’m not quite fond of her s/s 2010 collection. Let’s not hate; her previous collections are great, but this collection seems to be boggled down by flora print, tie-dyes or something. Don’t get me wrong, she’s got some seriously hot pieces in there, and when she keeps her concepts to a minimum it’s bang on. But maybe I’m just not fond of floral prints. But then again, I beg to differ because I’m a fan of Erdem.