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Ted Polhemus at the Royal Albert Hall

Last night I had the pleasure of spending the evening in the Royal Albert Hall, not only that, it was in the company of Ted Polhemus, along with about 50 other people, we listened to him discussing fashion, identity and social discourse. Ted Polhemus is an American anthropologist, writer and style analyst, he was born in the wonderfully named town of Neptune, New Jersey but has lived on our glorious shores (Hastings to be precise – which famously can claim that 1066 battle if GCSE history serves me well) for the past 30 years, giving him a lovely lilting British/US hybrid accent. Along with his Andy Warhol style blonde curtains and glasses, he is a charismatic force the second he steps onto the stage with his clip board and flip chart. He gave us a brief history of fashion from 1947 – the year of his birth – to the present day, constantly engaging and funny, he explained how once the rich dictated what was in fashion, designers such as Dior ran the show but this changed through the years and by the 1960’s, designers were looking to young people and what they were wearing, looking to them for ‘inspiration’ i.e. stealing their looks and making them mainstream. He gave the example of Vivienne Westwood claiming to have invented the Punk look – not true the kids on the street were doing it long before she was.

He made me think about the fashion society we live in today, which is extremely fast paced, for example, now in April 2009, we are wearing S/S 09, which was shown in September 08 and in February we saw what we should be wearing come next September, when we will be told what to wear in S/S 10……….confusing?? It seems there’s just never a second to take things in before they’re ‘out of fashion.’

Which is why Ted says the social discourse of today’s society is that we really don’t care what designers are telling us is in fashion, the majority of people cannot and do not keep up with the constant changing fashion season’s, in fact, we strive to look different from each other, “nothing is more important than authenticity.”
That and recycling, vintage and retro clothing have never been so popular; the 80’s are de-rigour at the moment, say the catwalks. This is where the paradox comes in, we strive to be original by dressing like they did 20 years ago. What the designers say we should wear and what we naturally wear from mixing and matching items are merging to be one and the same. It seems designers are still taking their ‘inspiration’ from what they see the ‘kids’ wearing. There is also the added dimension that the ‘kids’ who originally wore those looks are in fact now the designers. Ted’s written many a book about the topic, I think I’ll be perusing them in the near future.

Overall, it was a very thought provoking and interesting talk, accompanied by a wonderful photography exhibition, ‘Unordinary People: British Youth Culture 1960 – 2009’ in the ground floor corridor of the Royal Albert Hall, so you get a chance to see the images and the magnificent building. It was a wonderful evening.

Filed under: Andy Warhol, anthropology, british youth culture, Dior, fashion, identity, Royal Albert Hall, social discourse, style analysis, sub-culture, Ted Polhemus, unordinary people, Vivienne Westwood, writer

Ashish for Topshop A/W 09

We first glimpsed these amazing animal print wedges during the Ashish show in February and press days have revealed that they make up part of the Topshop A/W 09 collection – which means they might be within an affordable price bracket and we can all have amazing shoes come this Autumn. The more dramatic the shoe – prints, studs, fabrics, the better.

Filed under: A/W 09, animal print, Ashish, fashion, shoes, Topshop

Here Are Some Funny Pictures.

They made me chuckle.

Filed under: dog, email, funny pictures

Alexander McQueen Gold Skull Ring? Yes Please!

Dear Friends,

It’s not my birthday for a good few months yet, giving you ample time to save your pennies and pool them together until you have 150,00 of them in fact, meaning you can gift me with this amazing Alexander McQueen ring with lilac pearl eyes, yes lilac pearl…. and a diamond encrusted fly perched on the skull head. I really feel this piece of jewellery in my collection will complete my life.

Love Jennie xx

Filed under: Alexander McQueen, diamond fly, fashion, gold skull ring, jewellery, lilac pearl

Anna Wintour and Kate Moss…

…have a lot in common. Apart from the obvious fashion icon staus, the most enviable wardrobes on earth, a billlion fabulous gay friends and sunglasses, sunglasses, sunglasses. The other thing they share is their shunning of the interview spotlight. Neither lady is quick to sit on Oprah’s sofa and discuss their life, they prefer to play the elusive reclusive card, and it seems to have served them well as they have both been at the top of their game for eons. It also makes watching clips of them talking more special as you know there’s not many of them in existence by today’s celebrity standards. If we’ve learnt a fashion lesson here, then it’s less is more – but only in some circumstances, obviously there are other times when an obscene amount of necklaces is exactly what’s needed to complete a look.

Here’s Anna talking to legendary American interviewer Barbara Walters:

And here’s Kate talking in between modeling her first Topshop collection:

Filed under: Anna Wintour, fashion, Kate Moss

Kate and Justin and Marc.

The new issue of American Vogue celebrates Anna Wintours annual fashion bonanza – The Costume Institute Gala, held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is a who’s who of the fashion world and far more fun to look at than an awards ceremony, where everyone plays it safe, people who attend this Gala are not afraid to make fashion statements. The Costume Institue puts on an exhibition every year and Anna throws a launch Gala to celebrate this, the theme this time is The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion’, so expect to see models from every era in attendance.

Here’s a pic from the aforementioned May 2009 issue of Vogue which features a stunning shoot by Annie Leibovitz with Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake and Marc Jacobs. But what’s the link you might be thinking? Well they are all hosting Anna’s fantabulous Gala! Firstly, I understand Marc and Kate being there but I don’t like the idea of Justin being considered a serious player in the fashion industry, due to his William Rast line……no.
Also, Kate Moss, hosting an event? Talking into a microphone? Surely her talents lie in not talking? Hhhhmmm, we’ll have to wait until the event on 4th May to see how this one pans out. I don’t doubt it’s gonna look good though, and let’s face it, that’s all that matters.

Filed under: Anna Wintour, Annie Leibovitz, Costume Institue Gala, fashion, French Vogue, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Museum of Modern Art, photography

Sharpen The Scissors

Oh, hello and welcome to craft hour.

Pleasure Principles have just made me want to crack out the scissors and do a bit of this…

Filed under: craft, cut out, diy, fashion, pleasure principles, skeleton, spine, tshirt

Amazing Ad

So the new Matthew Williamson for H&M collection is about to hit stores this Thursday and while I’ll be pretty honest that I really don’t care, it did remind me of the good old days of the Karl Lagerfeld collaboration and that EPIC advert. I remember literally hanging off the edge of the sofa the first time I saw it…incredible.
I’m pretty certain that it would be safe to presume that the Matthew Williamson ad will not compare in the slightest.

Filed under: advert, fashion, h and m, karl lagerfeld, matthew williamson

Style Icon of the Week: HRH Queen Elizabeth II

Today is Liz’s birthday!! At 83, she’s only three years away from 60 years on the throne – which would match the record set by Queen Victoria all those years ago. Not only has HRH Queen Elizabeth II done a good job being the Queen of all Queens but browsing through the Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame, which apparently is ‘the highest honour a sartorial savant can receive. Inductees have a style sensibility that withstands the test of time,’ look who is not only on the list, but was actually inducted in 1958 – yes, Queen Elizabeth II. This means she’s been a fashion staple for 50 years! Impressive.

The list makes interesting reading as it doesn’t just contain the usual role call of so-called fashionable celebs; it really does encapsulate characters that have brilliant and very self-assured personal style. There are some famous names on there, such as Coco Chanel, Sofia Coppola and Lauren Bacall.

She does always dress for an occasion and loves a block colour, ever present is her handbag and she is always perfectly groomed. Liz has a superb personal style that alters with the decades but never strays from her recognisable look; she even made it through the 80’s pretty much unscathed. One of her most recent outfits, on an official visit to Slovakia this (middle above) involved fur and leather knee high boots. She’s 83! And pulls it off and looks amazing. Long live the Queen.

Filed under: 83 years old, best dressed list, fashion, happy birthday, HRH, icon, legend, Queen Elizabeth II, vanity fair

"May the FIERCE be with you!"

So…what do you do when you’re a 50 year old drag queen whose entire act was stolen by Tyra Banks?

Well, if you’re anything like RuPaul, then you finger snap your way back into the limelight with a reality show that reinvents America’s Next Top Model for drag queens, and follow that up with a brace of new songs as fabulous as Tranny Chaser. And yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds.

The lead single from the new album “Champion” is fun…

But a bit of a misnomer, and don’t let it put you off. The rest of the album bravely cuts through Ru’s old “You better WORK!” schtick and comes across like the bastard, dragged up lovechild of Madge’s “Confessions on a Dancefloor”, Britney’s “Blackout” and Kanye West’s “808s and Heartbreaks” .

Ergo, it’s quite amazing.

Look behind the improbable weave and lashes and you may have one of the best electro pop albums of the year. Who’da thunk it?

Certainly not poor Tyra…

Filed under: 90s, Champion, Covergirl, music, RuPaul, Supermodel, Tyra Banks, You better WORK