Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Heart Betty

Mad Men series 3 starts on BBC 4 tonight and the papers and blogs have been all a flutter about it. Over at the Guardian they asked various media types, like Mariella Frostrup and Rory Sutherland, the vice-chair of Ogilvy, to decide which character they most relate to or aspire to be like. Check out the full list here.

I've always loved Betty. And it’s not just for her outfits. While pretty much all the girls who work on the show are beautiful, I find Betty the most attractive. I also find her the easiest to identify with, which might mark me as out a crazy person but really it’s true. I know a lot of people single Peggy out as somebody that they feel they could connect with, but she is way too controlled for me. Yes, we know she lost that control in one huge breakdown but the fact that she is able to compartmentalise her life so much is pretty alienating to me. Joan was too much of a simpering man-eater in series 1 for me to really engage with but I did think that her series 2 was much more interesting and her relationship with the doctor looks set to be nicely complicated. But, yes, back to Betty. Betty is the one I can imagine having afternoon drinking sessions with. Betty is the one I could go the beauty parlour with. And Betty has an innocence that is completely refreshing in a show crammed full of liars. OK so she treats her son badly and slept with a stranger in a bar and shot at some birds for no reason - the list goes on - but it’s all born out of a complex naivety that I think would be pretty easy to carry around if you’d married a cheating, lying (and incredibly handsome) man like Don Draper, while still in your early twenties. Basically I think we should be friends; I'm really jealous of Francine. And I know I said it wasn’t all about the outfits but, wow, they’re great. LE

Friday, January 22, 2010

The News

So way back in November, we were stunned by the news that Lara Stone and David Walliams were dating. Well now they’re getting married! Yeah he proposed to her by hiding the vintage Tiffany engagement ring in a burger. Obviously this isn’t going to last but I wonder if they’ll actually go through with the wedding. I love that these two seem to be so open. We didn’t get so much as a glimpse of a dress when Sophie Dahl married Jamie Cullum recently, but we’ve already seen Lara and David cavorting around Mexico so they’re bound to show us some wedding pics, no? Who’s going to be best man? Matt Lucas. And what about bridesmaids? Oh this could be brilliant.

Tanya Gold has a vicious piece on fashion in today’s G2. She doesn’t like it and somehow links it to a tragic accident in an attempt to put us all off it too. Stylebubble has already responded, saying: "Gold's hatred of fashion is based on high heels, mal-treated models and gross consumption, when fashion and style (I'm lumping the two together because I'm thinking Gold hasn't made a distinction between the two...) is SO much more than that... "

If you happen to be in London and have cash and time to spare, call into the Connaught where they are selling galette des rois throughout January with proceeds going to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. I was lucky enough to get to try a slice when I wrote about it for Spectator Scoff and can’t recommend it highly enough.

I am now blogging for The Gloss. Check out my first post, and the posts of Caroline Scott and Natasha Sherling, on The Daily Gloss. LE

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bye Bye Observer Woman

So yesterday was a sad day. It was Observer Woman’s last day in existence. Every Saturday night for the past few years, I’ve wondered to myself if it was Observer Woman Day tomorrow. Even on the Saturdays when it had been Observer Woman Day last week so it couldn’t possibly have come round again. I’m stupid like that. So while I was happy as I skipped home from the newsagents yesterday with my Observer Woman nestled in the more weighty pages of the venerable Sunday broadsheet, I was all too aware that this was my last chance to read the funny and smart articles I’ve come to expect from the mag. The supplement is no more but elements of it will be included in the new and improved Observer magazine as part of a streamlining operation that is going on at the paper. The only monthly magazine to survive is the food one. (At least it’s not sport; I really hated it when it was Observer Sport Day.)

What am I going to do without Polly Vernon’s Chart of Lust? I loved that. When an acquaintance of mine once made it into the CoL, I reacted far more enthusiastically than when he’d garnered any boring praise for his actual work. “Wow, he’s really made it!” I noted. And so often it was as if Observer Woman could actually read my mind. When I was in LA a while back I met this ex-male model at a little league baseball game. He became something of a fascination for me and my friend and next thing you know we’re youtubing his 80s Levis ads and reading his autobiography (in which he talks about having sex with Andie McDowell). Well what do you know: a couple of months later, Observer Woman has an interview with him. And that Rachel Cook article with Peaches Geldof - that was one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever read.

All I can hope is that the new Observer magazine will continue to produce the hilarious interviews and interesting features that the team at OW did so well. And at least they folded with an excellent issue that included interviews with Jefferson Hack and Mariah Carey and a Chart of Lust that gave my crush-of-the-moment Aaron Johnson top billing. LE

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Be Adored (By Everybody)

Last summer I wrote about a Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop dress that had very nearly been ruined by its ubiquity but managed to be saved from the never-wearing-again heap by its prettiness. That dress for autumn/winter ’09 was my tba (or To Be Adored) smock. I bought it back in September and saw it on a couple of other girls at fashion week that same month. Then it popped up on a few blogs and I spied it on a friend or two. Next thing you know some TV presenter called Caroline Flack is wearing it. Oh well, whatevs. Everybody shops in Urban Outfitters and if you buy a dress there you have got to be prepared to bump into it on somebody else. And my little mustard smock is so pretty that I don’t really care if it gets around. I still love it. Binbin McNiven, the woman behind the tba label, has done it again with her Mia Farrow-inspired spring/summer collection. Dresses come in baby doll shapes and there are lots of girlish details like Peter Pan collars. It’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice, however, as there are also tougher-looking leather skirts and loose-fitting shirt-dresses. Basically I want it all. Along with everybody else, presumably. LE

My mustard tba smock

A dress from the new collection (available at Urban Outfitters)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome to the 90s, Mr. Bonks

Selfridges has provided the perfect opportunity to use my favourite Franck Eggelhoffer quote from Father of the Bride, one of the films that dominated my tv viewing over the Christmas hols. We’re 90s aficionados here at The Portmanteau – the movies, the plaid shirts, the supers. Now we can pay homage to our favourite decade down at Selfos where, with the dawn of a new decade, they are declaring the 90s, and those shirts, vintage with a month long celebration. Like I really needed another excuse to play Black Box and Urban Cookie Collective.

The beginning of the decade saw me rocking Oilily paisley Hammer pants and a reversible Mickey Mouse jumper from Dunnes with a schoolbag with an actual, working CLOCK on the back. Towards the end, our entire transition year class were sporting the same uniform of rugby shirts, Hobo baggy trousers / O’Neills tracksuit bottoms, Jansport bags on our backs and train tracks on our teeth. Hee-dious, hee-dious. Not great examples of 90s fashion. The definitive 90s look was more my older sister’s generation – Docs, fisherman jumpers, plaid shirts, woven bags with GN'R and Nirvana scrawled all over them and those horrible mustard-coloured Pepe bomber jackets.

The Beyond Retro section at the Selfridges concept store provides the familiar 90s faves: plaid shirts, Carrie Bradshaw tulle skirts, Baby Spice dresses – all now deemed to be vintage not just old tat. But to me, the 90s doesn’t seem very long ago or very vintage. The content of some of the displays is not dissimilar to the content of my bookshelves. I mean, who doesn’t already have a DVD of Clueless lying around, Pulp’s Different Class or, um, a copy of The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown? Or maybe that’s just me. It’s less of a true retrospective of course, more of a clever way to merchandise stock but it’s a fun trip down memory lane all the same with some ugly shizz you’d like to forget - record bags - and gems that were sadly never part of my formative years - the Rellik rail filled with Galliano and Alaia. (He's, like, a totally important designer). And if my dire financial situation gets any worse, I can always flog my 90s Vogue collection - the Kate Moss covers here are selling for £15 a pop. NOK

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bring on the Tennies/Teens/Whatevs

OK so today is the day that I return to the real world. Everybody knows that starting on January 1st is too unrealistic a goal – how are the hungover supposed to recuperate if deprived of continuous access to Johnny Onion Rings and Lucozade? And it’s unfair to curtail TV viewing when there are still so many amazing Review of the Year-type programmes on.

But today has to be the day, doesn’t it? I mean there’s no excuse now. The festive season is well and truly over and it’s high time that I got it together and attempted to begin my New Year’s resolutions, which are: to work more, sleep more, exercise more and blog more while eating, drinking, partying and shopping less. God that sounds boring but I guess it’s necessary after a two week period during which I started each day with a fried breakfast and could barely muster the motivation to write a 140 character tweet. And if I find myself getting blue about my new mature - but very dull - life, I can always cheer myself up by stroking the soft leather of my new Marc by Marc Jacobs bag or twirling around my room in my Luella prom skirt. Thanks Santa! LE

Oh and another resolution: Get camera fixed and start taking proper photos!