Monthly Archives: January 2010

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Homeless Chic

Two words you probably never thought would go together, but somehow legendary designer Vivienne Westwood has done it.

Known for her kooky, eccentric and sometimes controversial fashion style, the designer dressed models  in everything from sleeping bags to whitened hair to emulate the homeless look.

The idea of using clothes worn by people who can barely afford to survive is ludicrous, however the audience of fashion darlings seemed pleased with the collection and applauded loudly after the last cardboard boxes left the stage.

Apparently the idea was inspired by Westwood’s Austrian husband who has been involved with a homeless charity.  It is a clever marketing idea, and despite the questionable themes the clothes were accessible, bold and wearable.

The idea to dress the models to look like they slept rough was aimed at sending the message to people to buy less clothes and to treasure each item in your wardrobe and give it a good shelf life before splashing out on something new.

I am sure most of us are guilty of owning the same black dress in slightly different cuts, or five pairs of jeans in varying shades of denim. Most wardrobes are stacked with clothes but as a nation we keep on buying – next time you’re looking for a new outfit it might be worth rooting through your old clothes and with the help of a few embellishments you can create a new item from something old.

Using homelessness to illustrate this is not be the most sensitive thing the designer could have done and buying a dress for £500 is hardly helping the issue. Maybe Westwood could donate a percentage of the profits to a homeless charity, like Shelter, and actually make a difference to the thousands of people sleeping rough throughout the UK.

Westwood’s collection, for Milan Fashion Week, declared: “Perhaps the oddest of heroes to emerge this season, Vivienne Westwood found inspiration in the roving vagrant whose daily get-up is a battle gear for the harsh weather conditions . . . Quilted bombers and snug hoodies also work well in keeping the vagrant warm.”

Most of Westwood’s clothes are priced way above high street standards so most people could only buy a few key items from the designer in their life time. The vagrant was not the only style “hero” to emerge with this collection. One model posed with an orange boiler suit – a Guantanamo-esque-look? and another wore a jumper as a pair of trousers – a reflection on Westwood’s message about recycling?

She said: “I’m saying to people as well, buy less clothes. Only buy things when you really need them and really like them. Wear them and wear them.”

In a  grand finale to this collection of fantastic clothes and contentious ethics, Westwood was wheeled out on a paramedic’s stretcher to rapturous audience applause…fashion gone mad? or just a very effective publicity stunt?

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Pretty Powerful Stuff

Ladies, it’s 2010 and this is a decade for change and celebrating real women. Brigitte started and Sadie followed  and now Bobbi Brown are joining this power list.

The  famously luxurious make up brand is starting a new beauty campaign: Pretty Powerful. The company have taken real women, friends and family of the make up artist, and shot a series of before and after videos documenting how each woman uses make up everyday.

Dove’s ‘real women’ campaign highlighted the issue of using real women as opposed to models and although the marketing campaign is first and foremost, to generate revenue for the companies involved, I think it’s great these multi national companies are beginning to change and celebrate how beautiful normal women are,and showing you don’t need to be a size zero, or stringently photoshopped to be beautiful.

The company is also launching a contest, first mentioned in beauty blog StyleList, encouraging women around the world to record and submit their own before/after transformation videos.  Once loaded the videos will be on the website and people can vote for their favourite. The beauty company will also donate $1 for each vote to a charity that supports underprivileged women in their careers.

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Burberry’s 2010 Look

Classic, clean and British. Burberry has once again found the perfect prose for its new season.

Emma Watson, 19, her brother, and three other effortlessly beautiful models have been picked for the Spring 2010 campaign.

The four men accompanying her are not just any run of the mill models. Along with her brother the three other beauties are; George Craig, frontman of indie band One Night Only, Matt Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, and model, Max Hurd, a grandson of the former Foreign Secretary, The Lord Hurd of Westwell.

Watson has proved she is not just Hermione; after modelling for Chanel, she has been picked by this truly British company because her traditional, English features represents everything about the brand.

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Sadie Bares All

As guest editor for Grazia this month, Sadie Frost has made a bold statement posing naked with no air brushing for the magazine. The 44-year-old model turned actress and ex of Jude Law is proud of her body and unlike most in the fashion world is prepared to show it unedited.

Despite the fact that her body is immaculate, Frost is sending a message to the media that she doesn’t have to go through Adobe’s photoshopping process to show off her figure. She is confident in her own skin and showing a positive image to women everywhere.

The mother of four said it was time for women to stop torturing their bodies into unrealistic shapes and start celebrating them.

“You can be naturally fit, yet feminine – happy and healthy in your own skin. You don’t have to have that perfect body, because that perfect body doesn’t really exist.”

By posing, Frost is telling woman to stop trying to look like the women we see in glossy magazines, as they have all been edited. The perfect size zero figure does not exist and we should be aiming for a healthy, and happy body instead.

The naughties were about an overarching obsession with size zero, surgery and suffering to obtain this unrealistic image.

Lets make the next decade about celebrating having a healthy, feminine body and being happy in our own skin.

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Kings of Leon – The final sell out?

In another sell out, this week Kings of Leon have announced a new exclusive fashion line, available at the ultra chic The Shop at BlueBird, on the King’s road in Chelsea. The band, who are not known for being particularly stylish, have created the line with the company Surface 2 Air. The 12-piece range (as pictured above) also includes a black leather jacket which will only set you back £720…

Fame seems to have overwhelmed the band into thinking their manufactured look means they now have the authority to become fashion designers and they are not the first to try and cash in on this industry. Perhaps they should have looked at Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green fashion label as a lesson in why musicians should stick to what they know best.

KOL are hardly likely candidates for fashion icons of the year. Before their last album make over they hardly had any fashion sense at all. The band are known for their dirty, country look and laid back attitude. Maybe the mistake of their latest album was caring too much  about what they were wearing and not the kind of music they were making.

A band more likely to feature on the catwalk is The Killers. Brandon Flowers’s distinctive style is a frequent tabloid filler and he has even appeared in a fashion shoot for the Guardian magazine. Flowers is known for wearing quirky, one-off pieces (check out the feathers in the video below) and a clothing range could be a good idea for them if the gold supplies are ever running low…

The fact that KOL have no style is shown in this range that basically lets you dress like the band, for a price most people would never dream of paying. Still not put off? You can have your very own red and black checked bandana for £63 or to complete the classic American cowboy meets 2010 rock star there are plaid shirts, skinny jeans and leather belts a plenty in the collection.

The clothes are generic and unoriginal, nothing more than Topman’s finest with a huge price tag whacked on.

Surely the Southern rockers can’t be short of cash? Or have they just lost the plot? Whatever the case 2010 looks set to be a rocky one for the band tipped by bookies most likely to split up this year.

Need a reminder of how good they used to be? look no further….

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Too fat to be beautiful?

The Christmas and New Year period are all about indulgence, just looking at the bombardment of food adverts on TV is enough to induce a heart attack. Mince pies, yule log and all the trimmings are served again and again and as it’s only once a year people tend not to hold back on this guilt free dining.

Not however if you belong to world-wide dating site Beautiful People. The site axed almost 5000 people after christmas because they no longer met the strict requirements of being beautiful. The members were emailed to say they had put on too much weight and would only be welcome back after shifting the pounds. A selection of recommended bootcamps were also sent out.

The website is described as ‘the sexiest in the world’ and promises to only set you up on attractive dates. It is superficial and materialistic but at least upfront.

Members in the US, UK and Canada were voted off the site by fellow members for piling on weight over the festive period.

Robert Hintze, the site’s founder said: “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.”

The US came out particularly badly but the UK wasn’t far behind. It’s a western tradition to over-indulge at christmas and eat on mass while sitting around not doing much. But it is only once a year and surely everyone deserves a break in the holidays?

1,520 US  and 832 UK residents were judged too fat to fit in. The company still has 550,000 members in 190 countries around the world looking for love. The website promises glamorous parties and a jet set global network,approaches by leading film and TV companies and potential contracts from top modelling agencies…

If you want to join this exclusive network be prepared to face the critics. Existing members look at submitted photographs and profiles before passing judgment and if you don’t make it through a banner on the front page says: ” Too ugly to join? browse our beautiful members”.

The fashion world is about beautiful people, you can’t glance at a something like Vogue without being dazzled by the flawless models.

In 2010 is it really ok for a dating website to equate being over weight to being ugly?

Yes the UK has an obesity problem and being seriously over weight is a major issue, but becoming ugly because you’ve gained weight at christmas seems a little extreme.

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