Monday, June 21, 2010

Mr. Guy at Mr. Start

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to stop by Mr Start before the end of the month to check out Shot From Above, the latest exhibition from Alistair Guy. Is there more to planet fashion than guest lists and free drinks? Apparently so and Alistair is trying to educate us by continuing his look behind the scenes to show the party peeps in their everyday fashion environments. Following on from last year’s Behind the Seams, which put the spotlight on fashion gals, now it’s time for the boys. This exhibition of dapper gents includes portraits of designers Charlie Casely-Hayford and William Tempest (above), Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, LFW CEO Harold Tillman and milliner Stephen Jones. The next project for this busy Guy will be a set of portraits for the British Fashion Council of menswear designers during London Fashion Week at Somerset House. And now it’s official: Alistair is one of most exciting and influential people in the creative industries! -click here to vote for him in the Emerging section as one of the Hospital Club /The Independent’s top 100 creatives. NOK

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Need To Talk

On Thursday night a panel including psychoanalyst Susie Orbach, Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and Grazia style director Paula Reed will debate the notion ‘Fashion Maketh Woman: Woman is born free but cannot escape the shackles of fashion.’ I wish that I were in town for this talk as it promises to be interesting, enlightening and engaging but alas, I’m in the motherland. This works out well for you though as I am now in the position to raffle off three tickets. Send an email to the to be in with a chance of winning the tickets. If you don’t happen to be the random name I choose when blindfolded but are lucky enough to be in London that evening, you can buy tickets here. LE

Grayson Perry

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Extra, Extra - Read All About It.

Fashion adverts are often as beautiful, eye-catching and talked about as fashion editorials. Madonna for Dolce & Gabanna, the Man and Woman French Connection campaign, Lara Stone for Calvin Klein. But other ads, well I try not to pay attention to them. I don’t go around laughing at the little Simples chipmunk or whatever he is and I don’t even care about the eyebrow-wriggling Cadbury kids. Sometimes an ad is so blatantly untrue, though, that I do take notice. The Peugeot campaign that featured Marina Fogle’s so-called diary is a case in point and something I felt compelled to bring to your attention. And now another bafflingly odd one has appeared in all my favourite Sunday Supplements and I have been forced to sit up and discuss the matter with my other The Portmanteau half.

“Eh by any chance have you seen the Extra ads?”

“Oh my God, Oh my God, thank you. What the eff?”

“Why is Alan Hansen pictured mid-conversation at the golf club?”

“Why is Kirstie Allsop sitting at country pub with a Smythson ‘Yummy Mummy’ notebook in front of her?”

“Why is the copy so weird?”

“Why are the photos so bad?”

And on and on we go. Talking about the new Worth Chewing Over Extra campaign. OK I get it – some copywriter thought that the line ‘Worth Chewing Over’ was a clever little play on the fact that chewing gum should be the subject of frank and honest discussion. Except for – and this is where he or she got it so wrong – it shouldn’t. The BP oil spill is worth chewing over, the cuts in public spending are worth chewing over, even Big Brother 11 is worth chewing over. I mean I chew over everything but I can honestly say that I have never talked about the “stigma” surrounding gum chewing. Yes, stigma. That’s the word Louise Redknapp uses in her ad. She says: “There is a bit of a stigma around it, definitely.” But no, no there’s not. It’s not like having an STD. There is so little stigma surrounding chewing gum that I offer it to friends – acquaintances even – with an easy smile.

And then the ads do that creepy thing that ad campaigns so often do: they equate the product with “confidence.” Alan Hansen counsels: “Look, to speak with any kind of conviction you need to feel confident.” Um thanks Al but I’m not really sure how Extra will boost my self-esteem and public speaking abilities. It’s like when Veet or Always try to make you feel really insecure about “hygiene.”

Now the problem with talking about ads is that there is always that person, i.e. my dad, who says “Aha but you’re talking about it now. That’s what they want.” OK I see your point but I am not talking about it fondly, it’s not like I’m being taken in. In fact, if anything could put me off buying Extra – and I’ve always bought Extra – it’s this campaign. LE

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Olivier at Liberty

Last Thursday saw my favourite designer making an appearance at my favourite department store. Olivier Theyskens was in town to sign copies of his beautiful book, The Other Side of The Picture. Not really a Leona Lewis style book signing complete with punch ups, this was a more sophisticated soiree, hosted by Sarah Mower and attended by fashion names Roland Mouret, Lara Bohinc, Richard Nicoll and Nicholas Kirkwood. Oh and George Lamb. I haven’t been this excited for a celeb encounter since The Portmanteau cornered Mick Jagger at the Brown Thomas Fashion show when we were 14. I was the ultimate geeky fan but OT didn’t seem too freaked out by my enthusiasm. At least, he very kindly pretended not to be. He made sure to spell my name correctly (“ Pour Niamh, Love Olivier”) –you see, he loves me too - and going off to find photog Julien Claessens so he could also sign my book.

It seems the fashion world gets themselves into quite a state regarding the fate of this über talented designer, with rumours constantly swirling around him concerning his next move. But at Liberty, he was the calm at the centre of the intrigue, talking easily about his upcoming capsule collection for Theory out in September. When I first thought Theyskens + Theory, I was a bit worried. Gothic romance meets boring office wear? Hmmm, not sure about that. But he promised me it would be “very Olivier” and was looking forward to bringing his designs to the masses. For someone criticised in the past for not being in sync with economic pressures, he seemed very aware now of making his vision more attainable. And Theyskens genius at affordable prices? – sounds good to me. NOK