Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Boys We Fancy

Obviously we’ve been fascinated by the Battle of the Milibands here at Portmanteau Towers. (Yes, Portmanteau Towers. I know we don’t have an office – like we barely manage a blog a week, hardly enough to warrant an office – but we do live together. In a kind of high-rise building. Well high-rise for somebody from Co. Kildare.) Anyway, yes we’ve been fascinated by the Milibands because, as we’ve mentioned in a previous Boys We Fancy post, we really fancy them. I mean the story is obviously intriguing even if you don’t have a crush on Ed and David but fancying them certainly does bring an extra dimension to our interest. We’re dead jealous of Gillian Duffy, aka The Rochester Bigot, who got to sit in on Ed Miliband’s speech today and is, according to the press association (via the Guardian), going for tea with him later in the week. But we have also been busy developing other, more mainstream, crushes recently.

Michael Buble

OK so everybody fancies Michael Buble. This was illustrated by the fact that 100,000 people went to see him play in Dublin’s Aviva stadium over the weekend. 100,000 people. Ireland’s tiny so that really is a massive proportion of Irish mammies. I like to think that I am drawn to “The Bubble” – that’s what we call him here at Portmanteau Towers (I should really drop this Portmanteau Towers thing) – for sophisticated reasons. Reasons that mark me as different from all the other screaming fans. But, yeah, basically I am the same as the rest of them. I think that ‘Haven’t Met you Yet’ is an incredibly catchy song and I like his smile. I am also strangely endeared by the fact that he seems to be a yo-yo dieter. One week he’s looking svelte on X Factor, the next (like literally the next) he’s looking porky on Graham Norton. But I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to feed him pickle sandwiches (his favourite).

Jon Hamm

I actually fancy Don Draper but obviously that relationship could only ever end in tears so I have decided to fancy Jon Hamm instead. Don Draper is a lying, deceitful cad with a drink problem, whereas Jon Hamm is a sensitive, committed guy who, according to an interview in the Observer, would have been a teacher if the acting hadn’t worked out. Cute. I mean obviously I still fancy Don Draper a bit more (who doesn’t love a lying alcoholic?) but Jon Hamm looks exactly like him and would be less likely to deceive you with a fake background and various affairs. Also – Jon Hamm is funny. Don Draper isn’t actually that funny. Jon Hamm’s funniness can be witnessed in an SNL skit he made with my other boyfriend Michael Buble. They run a restaurant called the Hamm and Buble Restaurant that only serves pork and champagne. You can't view the video over here but check it out if you're ever in America.

Tim Dowling

Tim Dowling is the perfect man. I know this because he writes a column about his life and his family and it all sounds perfect. Yes he could be lying but I don’t think he is. I think that his relationship with his wife really is that nice and that he actually does get into those very minor, easily solved and hilarious scrapes. He is also very handsome. Or at least his byline picture portrays a handsome, tanned man. And he’s American so his family get to go on amazing holidays and they could all get green cards if they ever tire of Shepherd’s Bush. OK so I know I’m coming across as a bit of a stalker now but he happily volunteers this information every Saturday so I feel that I am entitled to know. Here at Portmanteau Towers (last time I promise) we particularly like Tim Dowling’s take on Pop, the Swedish child whose sex hasn’t been disclosed. Having discussed how Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns, he goes on to explain how “Pop has a wardrobe that includes trousers and dresses, and Pop popself mostly decides what Pop is going to wear each morning.” And I just think that’s one of the cutest, funniest sentences ever. Pop popself. I would never have thought of that. LE

Friday, September 24, 2010

LFW Round Up

First stop this LFW was the PPQ show on Friday night. Last time around, even if you didn’t rate the clothes on the runway, at least the crowd was sufficiently sozzled to enjoy it all. This time, there were no free drinks which made for a slightly less merry time. Making up the front row were Paloma Faith, Little Boots, Eliza Doolittle and The Like ( I still remain completely baffled by their reinvention as a Sixties-inspired girl band.. not a good look). Half the audience seemed to be chanelling Issie Blow with bunny and Mickey Mouse ears, boaters, veils and bows all blocking the view. On the catwalk were lots of eighties combinations of tropical colours mixed with animal and mosaic prints, awkwardly accessorised with fez hats.

The fash pack went off the beaten track for the Matthew Williamson show at Battersea Power Station, the first ever designer to host a presentation at the derelict building. I could see the fashion crowd looking slightly panicked as they travelled further away from the centre of the city to this empty shell on the edge of town. A glass ceiling and white catwalk were set in the heart of this empty shell for the show, with the iconic towers an impressive backdrop. Unfortunately, the underwhelming collection failed to match the glorious setting. Matthew’s muse for this season was a girl marooned on a fantasy desert island – who just happens to have a suitcase, filled with cargo pants, safari blouses, and wide trousers and shorts with parachute-like billowing gowns her. Handy, that. Spotted front row: Sienna Miller (finally! – she’s gorgeous and glowing and tiny) Valentine Fillol Cordier, Olivia Palermo and my LFW crush for this season, Josephine de la Baume.NOK

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Queen Isabella

I took a trip to Antwerp this weekend ostensibly to dj at a party - this basically translated as blaring a load of Britpop, Girls Aloud, and Mel & Kim and dancing around like a freak. “Blow by Blow” by Detmar Blow with Tom Sykes made for perfect Eurostar reading and after swotting up on all things Issie, I headed straight to Haunch of Venison for the launch of Martina Rink’ s beautiful book on the celebrated stylist. A mixed bag of celebs were in the house, many wearing Philip Treacy hats - Boy George, Meg Matthews, Rupert Everett and the famed milliner himself. I also took the chance to sneak upstairs to check out Joana Vasconcelos stunning fibre optic floral maze and Polly Morgan’s creepy / pretty taxidermy. With all this Issie action, it was definitely time to dig out my old copy of Vogue from December 1992 to revisit the seminal Anglo- Saxon Attitude shoot photographed by Steven Meisel , my all time-favourite Isabella editorial. These days, the Cool Britannia- themed photo shoot is an overdone concept but this was truly inventive starring Honor Fraser, Bella Freud, Stella Tennant and Lady Louise Campbell as the “London Babes”. It even managed to make Blow’s then assistant Plum Sykes look cool rather her usual Park Avenue perfect self. Sykes recounts how impressed Isabella was with her administrative skills, introducing her by saying “This is my assistant Plum. She is so clever. She went to Oxford and can send faxes really fast”. All the behind the image drams that "Blow by Blow" provides is perfectly complemented by Rink’s book, filled with personal reminiscences from Anna Wintour, Bryan Ferry, Sophie Dahl and many others and stunning portraits. ( I love the picture above of Isabella laughing with Philip Treacy). Get both for the most complete overview of a true fashion original. NOK

Monday, September 13, 2010

The News

Usually the day after a big bash, when all the best celebs have been trussed up by whichever designer whose store opening or show they’re attending, my other The Portmanteau half and I spend the morning sending emails about just how “crap”, “ridiculous” and “overdone” everybody looked. Not so last Thursday after the Chanel boutique opening in NY. Hosted by Karl Lagerfeld, obvs, the event attracted Alexa, Diane Kruger, Rachel Bilson, the Gossip Girls - basically all the peeps you’d expect. And everybody looked amazing. Blake Lively had, thankfully, put away her cleavage for the night and opted for a sparkly lilac and silver dress that was so different – and so much better – than the poor man’s Sienna/slightly slutty looks she usually goes for. Alexa actually smiled in a photo and reminded me of just how beautiful she is. But Diane Kruger – Lagerfeld’s muse – must take the prize for best dressed of the evening. The ruffles, the little boots, the hair (hairband included) – I loved it all. The only dud was Claire Danes who looked like a typical WASP in her mumsy jeans and jacket combo and her too-perfect honey-coloured hairdid. But I guess the weird thing about Danes is that she is, by her own admission, a WASP. She was born to affluent yet creative parents and attended the Dalton School so it sort of makes sense that there she is, turning up to Manhattan openings in Chanel jackets. It’s just strange to think of Angela Chase – who Danes portrayed beautifully in the best TV show ever (well besides Mad Men, Come Dine With Me and Sex and the City) My So-Called Life – heading off to the manicurist and booking bi-monthly touch-ups at the hair salon at Bergdorfs. Angela Chase’s dyed red hair, pale skin and oversized plaid shirts continue to be a style influence sixteen years on and is perhaps a look that the über-groomed Danes could do with channelling.

New York grooming is the subject of an article in this month’s Vogue. Vicky Ward writes about how, after moving to New York from London, she abandoned the opaque tights she was so reliant on and opted for all-year-round waxing and fake tanning so as to show off her legs in cocktail dresses, even when Central Park was enveloped in snow or the rain was pouring down on City Hall. And, yeah, I get it. I mean I love the easiness of tights; I love how your skirt can be indecently short and it doesn’t matter because you have two pairs of 80 denier on. I love tights for their cosiness, their forgiving nature as they bundle and pack up your flesh. But I also think New Yorkers are right: tanned, toned, bare legs are infinitely sexier and compliment most dresses far better than their covered up counterpart. As Ward points out, “many of autumn’s trends just don’t work with tights.”

Alexa – who divides her time between New York and London – has obviously picked up on the NY attitude to tights because I can’t remember the last time she was spotted in a pair. Carey Mulligan – US Vogue’s October cover girl – highlighted the differing attitude that Londoners have to tights when she turned up the Met Ball in a pair. Nobody turns up the Met Ball in tights - well actually Winona Ryder did two years ago and looked terrible – but nobody else. The Met Ball is a place for glamour and unachievable muscle tone and silly LED dresses; it is not an event for dull types who have boring concerns like feeling the cold or inadvertently showing their knickers. And by wearing tights, the usually beautiful Mulligan managed to look kind of dowdy. Think of it this way: have you ever seen Carrie Bradshaw – the apotheosis of New York style – in a pair of tights? No, you haven’t.

Carey Mulligan at May's Met Ball

In the newspapers, there are lots of nice stories about the Mitfords as Deborah Mitford (or Debo or the Duchess of Devonshire or whatever) is publishing her memoirs. Now, I already know most of it but it’s always fun to read about the Mitfords. The Guardian had an especially nice interview today. Camille Paglia took issue with Gaga in yesterday’s Sunday Times, as I’m sure you have been made aware of. I liked Alex Needham’s response on the Guardian website because a) he pointed out that Gaga isn’t trying to be sexy (duh!), and b) he brought my attention to this amazing fax spat that existed between Camille Paglia and Julie Burchill. I was a child living in a small town in Ireland when the row occurred, so this was my first reading but wow! I have never seen such bitchy letters, besides perhaps those exchanged between a particularly loathsome letting agent and myself. LE

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Parlez vous Gossip?

Oh mon Dieu! Here is something to get excited about - the teaser for the 4th series of Gossip Girl – Sacre Blair! Boys du jour! Dan au pair! Vive le Chuck! Girls à la carte! Loves it. This is such a fun trailer. And just to make it even more thrilling, Clémence Poésy is joining the cast as a love interest for Chuck who is looking hotter than ever with the addition of a cane to his look.

I think Clémence and a cane are exactly what I need to get excited about GG again. For me, the series started to go seriously off the rails midway through Season 3 with the whole Chuck’s mother and the necklace confusion. Adding to the fallout were Little J’s nasty rat's tails hair extensions and the increasingly ridiculous “let's get everyone together in the end” scenarios. Things only began to look up when Serena's dodgy doctor daddy Billy Baldwin appeared on the scene towards the end of the series. As well as all the Paris drams, we can also look forward to a couple of eps filmed around Vogue's Fashion's Night Out with editors Hamish Bowles and Lauren Santo Domingo making appearances. Oh you know we still love you GG xoxo. NOK