Friday, October 26, 2007

Man, I feel like a woman

In the early 1930's, Hollywood siren Marlene Dietrich (left) stepped out in style. Trouser suit, bow tie and a masculine hat. It was certainly a look that shocked the more conservative. It was not long however when this androgynous style was copied by the mass market and Dietrich was cited as a style icon. Of course, Katherine Hepburn (below) was also famed for her androgynous style, preferring wider trousers and natural make up, unlike painted lipped Dietrich, which made her style even more radical.

Indeed the masculine style is one of those things that is ever in vogue. I am all for dresses and femininity but although it may seem like a contradiction I think there is something very feminine for a woman to stand out from the crowd in an androgynous style suit. It has been said for a woman to step out in a man - style suit is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. I guess people, men and women alike, stand up and take notice.

Fast forward to the late 1970's when cult movie Annie Hall reintroduces women to the notion of wearing mannish suits. The costumes designed partly by Ralph Lauren and worn by Diane Keaton of course, are iconic of both cinematic and fashion history. A decade previously, Yves Saint Laurent designed his women's dinner jacket known as Le Smoking. The 80's obviously saw power dressing at it's maximum, as the Marlene style wide shouldered suit returned.

Iconic fashion moment - Annie Hall, 1977

Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking jacket

In 2007, androgyny is still as powerful and fashion foreword as it was in the 30's. Until recently my wardrobe was without a tuxedo jacket, now I can not imagine it without it, especially since androgyny is such a major trend this winter. I'm glad to say too, that it was very empowering to march into the men's section of a department store and purchase a crisp, white, button up shirt. Cue the music for this post's title!

Kirsten works the masculine style, in one of my favourite celebrity looks of the year, bringing the suit right up to the present day. Red lips add extra drama.

Suiting up at Paul Smith Women, Mark Jacobs, Lanvin and Nicole Miller. The suit is one of this seasons biggest trends.
(I apologise for the quality of some of these pictures, as they were scanned from books of mine.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blonde Ambition


So we all love Audrey and Kate, but who else do we consider to be an actual style inspiration? One of my personal inspirations is the bold, Debbie Harry circa late 70's/early 80's, for her quintessential rock - chick style. Debbie, was bold in both her striking appearance and style as well as her music and attitude. Her two tone peroxide blonde hair, wide sculpted face, Monroe pout and endless cheekbones, meant Debbie had one of the most spectacular faces the industry had seen. Indeed it was easy for Debbie to quickly rise to iconic status, as she shamelessly blurred the boundaries between music and fashion.

What I love about Debbie's style is how effortless it is yet it's the up most in cool. Debbie was certainly a trend setter with her avant garde wardrobe; edgy, punk clothes, with a touch of the urban princess, of course. Lots of 70's night time spangle, slogan t- shirts, skinny jeans, tuxedo jackets, berets, ripped tanked tops, slinky diaphanous dresses, one shoulder pieces, leotards, leggings, super short shorts; the look screamed 'Look at me'. Attitude is the key in pulling off Debbie Harry style. Her success with her band Blondie, where Debbie had a string of hits including - Rapture, Call Me and Heart of Glass combined with her unique but startling good looks along with her daring, vivacious style meant that both music and fashion enthusiasts alike were captivated.

Picture this - Debbie's audacious even brazen style has made her an enduring style icon

Make up wise Debbie was a red lipped vixen, but heavy eyeliner, bright, glossy eye shadow and and a generous sweep of blusher complete the look, which mean a dazzling concoction of drama and playfulness. Hair bleached blonde, of course, and messed up for extra attitude.

Although Debbie has been a style icon of mine with quite a while now, I was inspired to do this post after spending a couple of days poring over the simply gorgeous shoot of Sophie Dahl in the November issue of UK Vogue (below). Sophie certainly did Debbie justice with her remarkable visual likeness, as did the wardrobe which was just sensational or maybe even atomic, if you pardon the pun.

Check out Blondie's Rapture here, I especially love Debbie's outfit in this video
Debbie Harry Images courtesy of

Friday, October 5, 2007

Costume Jewellery is a Girls' Best Friend

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with jewellery. Necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches and of course earrings. My taste in jewellery is something that is just as important as my taste in clothes, and far more so important then my taste in bags or shoes. I loved jewellery long before I discovered the joys of clothes and perhaps in some ways jewellery is more important to me then any dress could ever be. I have always been baffled by people by people who don't wear jewellery and that was even more so when was younger. In some ways it has irritated me that people love clothes but never wear jewellery, I mean an outfit isn't an outfit without a pair of earrings at least! Of course there is that tedious argument - 'Less is more', but for me anyway less has always equaled dull. I admit however that these days I don't go out and wear my entire jewellery box (ahem, boxes!) at once and might just choose to wear one statement piece. For me jewellery has always defined the outfit, made it something unique to you only; jewellery is the finishing touch that makes it a masterpiece.

In fact one of the reasons why I personally admire Coco Chanel (right) is that she was the pioneer of costume jewellery, my own personal love, forget all that real gold! In 1924 she launched her first costume jewellery collection, a collection that Harpers Bazaar described as “one of the most revolutionary designs of our time.” Coco herself often in fact wore faux pearls. Chanel costume jewellery covered a wide range of styles over the years. Chanel was influenced by Indian, Baroque, Renaissance and Art Deco styles for her costume jewellery, which was designed with her by many artists. The most recognizable pieces are of course her signature pearl necklaces which have become a longterm fixture on the Chanel Runway.

Chanel's legendary Pearl Necklace

Of course, every fashion addict loves Breakfast at Tiffany's so why not take cue from the glorious Holly Golightly and shower your self in costume jewellery. Add some glamour to those dull everyday activities, life needn't be mundane!

Audrey in her iconic, jewellery loving role
The mantra of this blog is - "A girl should be too things - classy and fabulous' and I can't thing of any thing that can make you more fabulous then great jewellery, real or fake. This season costume jewellery is all about opulent cocktail rings. Very 1920's jazz and very Coco; two things that never go out of style.

Rings Accessorise and Pearl Cluster Ring Topshop

Pearl Chain, Crystal Bow Brooch, Gold bangle, Pearl drop earrings, all Accessorize, Owl Brooch and long, twisted gold earrings Topshop, Gold tassel earrings Miss Selfridge.

Diamonds maybe forever, but costume jewellery is far more fun!

PS. I have just been interviewed by the lovely Izzy over at The Iced Coffee Book Club so check it out here