Showing posts with label The Nineties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Nineties. Show all posts

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, 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