Wednesday, January 18

HERE COME THE BOYS

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FRESH FROM SETTING MILAN ALIGHT, WITH THAT PRADA STUNT HIGHLIGHTING AN ALL-ROUND STUNNING PERFORMANCE FROM MILANESE MENSWEAR , THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN. IN DE VILLE. SO I'M SIGNING OFF FOR A BIT TO RESUME MY POST AS PARIS REPORTER-AT-LARGE-OF-SORTS, COMME D'HAB, FOR NOTION MAGAZINE. IN MY ABSENCE, DO CHECK OUT THE INTERVIEW I DID RECENTLY FOR FINNISH MAGAZINE FLINGLY, IN WHICH I WAX LYRICAL ABOUT DIANA VREELAND AND MOHAIR.
PHOTOS BY TOMMY TON AND STREETFSN. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CORRECTLY-KNOTTED SCARF WHEN IT COMES TO MALE DRESSING. CASE IN POINT BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED IN THE SHOTS ABOVE. 

Saturday, January 14

CHURCH'S ENGLISH SHOES

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Next time the rain comes pouring down and you're caught in town without an umbrella, take an opportunity to seek shelter in a luxury store you've never been into and admire the beautiful things inside. That's what my siblings and I did one dark sodden morning in Edinburgh, when we paid a visit to Church's. We may have not looked like the most promising customers, dripping rainwater all over the carpet and trying not to steam up the polished mirrors, but we had the run of the boutique to ourselves - not to mention the impeccable service. Church's ENGLISH shoes are now joint-owned by Prada, and interestingly, investment firm Equinox, and while the firm is based in Milan, the Northampton factory still manufactures an estimated 5000 pairs of these incredible shoes a week, 140 years after Thomas Church and his son's started their family business. At £300-£650 a pair, these are the kind of shoes  you hold in your hand and they enable you to see into your future. We left with a pair of socks between the three of us, but I recommend you go, just to slip your foot into one of those impressive leather shoes and feel what luxury feels like. 
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Hand dyed and woven wool felt 'shoe bag'.
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Not Church's English shoes, rather Topshop's Brazilian shoes - a Christmas sales present to myself.

Tuesday, January 10

WISHFUL FASHION WEEK THINKING

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A VOGUE UK EDITORIAL INSPIRED BY BLOGGERS. I DON'T KNOW MANY ANY BLOGGERS PERSONALLY WHO GET TO CAMP OUT IN LUXURY HOTELS, EAT BREAKFAST IN BED AND SELECT FROM 'HOT-FROM-THE-CATWALK PIECES' EVERY MORNING DURING THE INTERNATIONAL FASHION WEEKS, BUT ONC CAN DARE TO DREAM. FASHION IS AT ITS BEST IN FANTASY, AFTER ALL. I'VE BEEN DOING FASHION WEEK FOR THREE YEARS NOW AND IT'S STILL VERY MUCH A COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE. FOUR TO A ROOM, 2 ON THE COUCH AND ONE ON THE FLOOR, SLEEPING WRAPPED IN A FUR WEARING ODD SHOES AND HALF-INSIDE YOUR FRIEND'S SUITCASE, WAKING UP SPOONING A PIZZA BOX. THEN THERE HAVE BEEN THE NIGHTS I'VE ESCHEWED THE GROUP CAMP FOR A NEW ADVENTURE ; NOTABLY THE TIME ONE YEAR AT LFW WHEN I WOKE UP IN CAMBERWELL ART SCHOOL STUDENT HALLS. OR ANOTHER TIME, IN A 25 ROOMED ARTISTS' WAREHOUSE IN NORTH HACKNEY. OR IN A PARKED CAR IN DEVON. NEEDLESS TO SAY, DESPITE SUFFERING A 100 POUND TRAIN TICKET, I WAS BACK AT SOMERSET HOUSE FOR 2PM.
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Sunday, January 8

A SUNDAY COCKTAIL 08.01.12

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A COCKTAIL OF THINGS WHICH HAVE BEEN ON MY MIND THIS WEEK.
Crystal Renn for Muse magazine (1). So plus-sized model Crystal Renn is certainly not plus-sized anymore, but so what? She looks fabulous. Her shoot with Matt Irwin for Muse mag has me reaching for lashings of black liquid eyeliner - more than ever.  // Bollywood jewellry, in particular tikas, the headpiece worn on the forehead (2) as seen at Chanel's Arts et Metiers pre-fall show, and fêted for some time by yours truly. I'm hoping to find some Indian stores in Paris so I can add to my collection. // These incredible opal and crystal earrings (3) by Kimberly MacDonald. // This week I was confirmed to cover the menswear shows in Paris 18th-22nd January, which I'm thrilled about. However, menswear is not something I have thought much about in recent times, so I am looking forward into getting into some heavy research on the subject before the shows. I am always drawn back to the Hardy Amies quote : “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.” The A/W 2010 campaign (4) was on my wall at university. My first exciting discovery was that of British label Casely-Hayford (4a.), whose lookbook featuring country house libraries and polka-dot pyjama suits has me looking forward to catching their new season when they show in Paris this month.
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Renée Perle (5) , muse and lover of Romanian heritage to photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue in the 1930s. I always think that the 21st century is such a non-event for hair. The 'hair-do' simply doesn't exist. And yet, from the waved silhouettes of the jazz age to the beehives, set-and-perms of the 50s and 60s, and the power-perms of the 80s, not to mention the dedicated hairstyles of centuries before, hair has always been such a BIG (literally) deal. What happened? If I can't take inspiration from her hair, then I will from her immaculate oval manicure, and shaped fur stole. // More potential hair-related tales here, with Julie Christie in the 1975 film Shampoo, but let's stick with the dress (6.) for now. THE DRESS. I first came across this clip as a 15 year old insomniac, channel-flicking in the middle of the night and it has stuck with me. The sight of Julie Christie's navy sequin, floor length, but backless down to here dress gave me a style epiphany, and I have preaching the word of the high-necked, backless dress ever since. // The next best things after backless, has to be the floor-length slashed-to-the-thigh dress. Ultraglam gamma rays beaming down from Louis Heal SS12 (7.) // If Julie Christie in Shampoo was my style epiphany, then that is the concept behind the book Nostalgia in Vogue (8), released last year on Rizzoli following the popular column in U.S. Vogue, featuring storytellers as varied as Patti Smith, Karl Lagerfeld and Edmund White, for whom a particular Vogue image stayed with them for life, and why. The latest novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9.) , The Marriage Plot, brought a great deal of reassurance into my life. I drew multiple parallels with the main character Madeleine, with her disenchantment with her English literature course, and her struggles bearing witness to a manic depressive. As with all of Eugenides' novels, the narrative is written with ringing clarity,sensitivity and hauntingly beautiful simplicity. A must-read for 2012, or any year.

Friday, January 6

EGOÏSTE ADVERTORIALS

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NICOLE WISNIAK: «“EGOÏSTE” N'EST PASBRANCHÉ. JE NE SAIS PAS CE QUE C'EST»
After a FIVE YEAR ABSENCE, FLAMBOYANT, PRESTIGIOUS, DIFFERENT MAGAZINE EGOISTE LAUNCHED IT'S 16TH ISSUE, IN TWO PARTS, EARLIER THIS YEAR. I NAIVELY CAME ACROSS IT IN THE FASHION CUPBOARD AT WORK AND WAS IMMEDIATELY SPELLBOUND BY IT'S SHEER SIZE AND THEN MORESO BY ITS AESTHETIC. THE BRAINCHILD OF NICOLE WISNIAK, EGOISTE IS SWIRLING IN A TIDE WHICH WASHES ASHORE EACH MONTH YET ANOTHER 'AVANTGARDE' TITLE , ANOTHER 1KG TOME OF GLOSSY FASHION PICTURES, TRYING TO BE STILL SOMETHING 'DIFFERENT'. YET EGOISTE IS VERY DIFFERENT, MOST OBVIOUSLY IN THE DISTINCT LACK OF COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING. INSTEAD, TOP BRANDS ARE STYLED WITH THE WAND OF  WISNIAK HERSELF, TO GREAT SUCCESS. tHE MOST RECENT PUBLICATION TO DO THE SAME OF COURSE IS RANKIN'S HUNGER MAGAZINE, but there is something about wisniak's black and white pictures - simply executed, and shot around the paris landscape we know so well -that have a charm eluded by rankin's superglossy studio shots.  ellen von unwerth is the sole responsable for photography, and she and wisniak make quite the team.
at a1 size and costing €35, it is less of a magazine and more of a piece of beautiful furnitUre. but its exciting that there are still people, or namely, a person, who is coming up with things you have never seen before. 

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louis vuitton - this story ties in all those traditional heartpullers -the plight of the polar bears, the story of paddington bear and how he was lost and found, even those ellis island immigrant stories and the boats to new york - and somehow it sells you a suitcase more than if some skinny beautiful girl was holding it. frankly speaking, it will take a long long time for luxury goods companies to actually start benefiting the plight of the polar bears,  unless they stop all that ritual burning of stock and show accessories nonsense, but it's a romantic idea.
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RUINART CHAMPAGNE - THIS SMALL FOUNTAIN POND, THE FOUNTAIN NOW EXTINCT, IS IN THE TUILERIES GARDENS JUST BEYOND THE ENTRANCE AT JUST WHERE RUE SAINT ROCH MEETS RUE DE RIVOLI. I OFTEN WALK BY IT ON MY WAY TO WORK, AND COME RAIN OR SHINE THE OLD MAN WITH HIS CART OF WOODEN SAILING BOATS WILL BE THERE, WAITING FOR AN EAGER YOUNG BOY TO RATTLE HIS MUM'S WRIST FOR A TEN MINUTE STOP.
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LACOSTE - IT'S THE TENNIS-NET VEIL THAT DOES IT FOR ME. IF THERE IS ANYTHING I'VE EVER FELT BITTER ABOUT, IT'S TENNIS. I'VE TRIED MY HAND AT MANY AND VARIED SPORTS IN MY TIME - ICE DANCING, GYMNASTICS ON HORSEBACK, SKI RACING, LACROSSE - BUT THE ONE THING I COULD NEVER MASTER, NOT EVEN GRASP, WAS TENNIS, THE MOST SOCIALLY IMPORTANT AND WIDELY PLAYED OF THEM ALL. YEARS AND YEARS OF LESSONS HAD MY COACHES STUMPED AS I FAILED TO EVEN HIT THE BALL. TENNIS IS TRULY MY ACHILLES HEEL. SO THAT'S ME THERE IN THE NET-VEIL, JUST THERE FOR THE FASHION, AND FOR THE SAKE OF CAUSING TROUBLE...
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CARTIER - MY FAVOURITE OF THEM ALL. ISN'T IT JUST GENIUS? NOW, A DIAMOND ALLIGATOR - SURELY THERE IS NOTHING MORE FLAMBOYANT? AS A CHILD WHO GREW UP IN A BED CUSHIONED WITH SOFT TOY SNAKES, LOBSTERS, WHALES AND PLATYPUSES IN LIEU OF THE USUAL TEDDIES, I THINK I WOULD RATHER HAVE A JEWEL-ENCRUSTED ALLIGATOR THAN A BAGUETTE-CUT ENGAGEMENT RING ANYDAY. 

Wednesday, January 4

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

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What is a Winter's Day? Never lasting more than a couple of hours, it is but the decaying remains of a day. The light never lifting more than a dull haze over a corpse-like landscape, laden with the sodden scar tissue of forgotten summer. At least, such is a winter's day in Edinburgh, Scotland. A Scottish winter is no friend of mine. A Scottish winter is the friend of dead black trees, and rain and wind and ghosts. A Scottish winter demands a wool coat with runs from neck to foot, like this one, by Paul Costelloe. A Scottish winter demands a pair of boots to last out a gale, like these ones by Daniel Footwear. A Scottish winter does not demand last night's vintage cocktail dress and a pair of twisted rabbit ears, but inside by the wood fire, you see, we Scots like to dream...
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