Category Archives: History

Exams in Style?

It is so difficult to be inspired during exam months. Y’know, fashion-wise. Waiting to go into the exam halls, surrounded by 100+ other students awash with a disheartening spirit, looking around is a bleak and miserable thing. I personally would rather be sitting down with June’s copy of Elle* and a nice cuppa, as opposed to sitting down with a headache, 3 pens (preparation is key, I found out during the 1 pen disaster during the SATs of ’09) and a history final. I look to the invigilators, walking around in their caffeine-induced zombie-like daze, hopeful for some fashion sense, only to be disappointed by their poor socks-with-sandals effort.

After completing the history test with time to spare, my mind wonders: imagine if our invigilators were über cool people like Zach Braff and Rosie-Huntington-Whitely (who is from now on to be referred to as RHW, as that name is too long to type. Who says teenagers are lazy?). Zach could sing ‘GUY LOVE’** with me while Rosie struts up and down the walkways in something fabulously ‘vomit-pink’. If only.

(*Have you seen July’s cover girl? The aforementioned RHW! She looks stunning. She has a sort of odd-looking face, more striking than traditionally pretty. I love how Elle have used a sort of juxtaposition in the shoot, between the strong, striking features of her face and hair and the soft, romancey-ness (that’s a word, right?) of the clothes. Her cheekbones would cut you like glass and she pulls of a silk Nina Ricci blouse not quite like you’ve ever seen, so check out the issue now. Preview pictures below…)

(**I am a long-term Scrubs fan, therefore Zach Braff (AKA J.D.) being my ideal invigilator is not surprising. If you have no idea what I mean when I mention the song ‘Guy Love’, you’re missing out. The ‘Guy Love’ refers to the bromance between J.D. and his best friend Turk. Check it out below…)

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Golden

Note, this is absolutely irrelevant to anything concerning today’s fashion news, as most posts on this blog are. No, no. Instead, this is a random rambling about a woman indescribably brilliant. My favourite designer, out of many: Vivienne Westwood. A quick simple factfile, for those who live under rocks…

(via MagazineWeek )

Name:  Dame Vivienne Westwood

Born:  8 April 1941 (Aged 68)

Hometown:  Derbyshire (Then moved around all over London)

History:  Opened shop ‘Let It Rock’ with partner Malcolm McLaren in 1970, which is later redecorated and name ‘Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die’. The shop sells leather clothing adorned with zips and chains, tee shirts emblazoned with slogans and pornographic images as well as zoot suits. In 1976, the Sex Pistols debuted, wearing clothes from this shop, now named Seditonaries. 1981 saw VW’s first runway collection, ‘Pirates’. Her shop remains strong, her collection includes asymmetric tee-shirts, petti-drawers, pirate shirts and breeches in rich brocades and ikat fabric. The 430 King’s Road shop is now named ‘World’s End’, as it remains to this day.

There are few people who can really pull off punk and grunge and rock as well as Vivienne Westwood. Marvelled for her ‘out there’ designs, she really pushes the limits to what “older” women can do. Pushing 70, Westwood is widely considered one of the best designers of all time. She basically invented punk rock, enabled difference in the 70’s, made pirates wearable, made herself a Blighty legend with ‘Anglomania’, and basically changed fashion through some 40 years. Her Gold Label is one of the most coveted collections yet. Westwood is out to change the world, and not just through fashion. She’s also a strong protestor, brave feminist, and backs the Active Resistance Manifesto.

I love her because she completely redefines what it means to be a woman. More to the point, an old woman. You look at her designs and think ‘Wow! A person actually made this!”. Its been said before that her designs are more freaky than fabulous. But what people fail to acknowledge, is she is doing what she loves, and she’s doing it well. Westwood doesn’t seem to care about the opinions of others, but knows for a fact what the public wants. Westwood, in herself, is a contradiction. Before I saw the legend that was Westwood, I was expecting some 6ft tall Glamazon woman, waxed to perfection, sporting luscious shiny hair that always stayed in place, with big oversized sunglasses on top of a porcelain, plastic face. What I later saw, was a short old woman with thinning, wild, ginger hair and a wacky, can’t-look-at-without-grinning-too grin.

I bet she could persuade anyone to do anything, just because of her words. She strings together a sentence that makes you just want to sit up and listen, famous for her feisty speeches and quotes. So, Westwood, here’s to you,  not just Blighty, but worldwide legend!

Gold Label S/S ’09

Red Label A/W ’09

Anglomania A/W ’09

It Was Acceptable In The 80’s

Today, I saw a woman, well into her 50’s it looked, wearing bright green tights, a thick white and green jumper-dress, and an odd hairstyle: shorter on one side, with a green tint in the thick fringe that covered her eyebrows. She looked fabulous to be honest, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of 80’s styles…

It’s been questioned before which era was best for fashion. Now or then? The 80’s were a great time for fashion. Girls started developing new styles that changed how we look today. One of my favourite things about fashion, is it’s always changing. Who knew that before, we looked at Aladdin-style trousers with humour, and nobody would think to wear a pair. Now? The Aladdin pants, are big on the catwalk and are known as the Harem pant. So, how has fashion evolved from the 80’s to the 21st Century? Well…

A good example of fashion back then would be the famous crop jacket, worn with long gloves and usually, cut off denim. So, the crop jacket has evolved into…the waistcoat. Now, the new style is a waistcoat with jeans.

Going back to the 80’s again, ballet style tutus were also big back then. The tutu style inspired the new look of the 21st century – the layered look. Only now, with the help of new designers and new fabrics, the tutu style dress has branched out new ideas, the strapless dress, the LBD, and many more. Another huge item of clothing brought back to the A/W 08 collections, was the classic 80’s smock dress.

Rara skirts, frills, ruffles, pixie boots, lace: all from the 80’s, and still relevant today. Along with many other fads from the eighties, the legwarmer was huge for dancing and other sports. So, from the legwarmer comes…brightly coloured indie tights. Instead of the green legwarmers with shorts and pumps, (80’s) we now wear slogan T-shirts, with a skirt and bright coloured tights, this style is big at festivals etc.

It’s not just clothes however, hairstyles have changed and inspired us even in 2008. At one point during the 80’s, there was a craze over short hair, with every teen magazine cover, starring a famous celeb with short hair. It seems that look is coming back, with the likes of Kate Moss, and Victoria Beckham also sporting the short look. Eighties make up has inspired the looks of today too. The classic brightly coloured eye makeup is a big hit today, as well as brightly coloured, or nude lips. The eyeliner from back then, has evolved widely today, with new ways of making your eyes stand out, such as wing tips, and cat eyes.

I think the 80’s was an important time for fashion. And although the looks altered slightly over the years, a lot of inspiration has come from earlier designs. Every design becoming more unique, new designers coming up, and different trends on the catwalk, means that fashion is always changing, always varying and most importantly, always improving!

To Thine Own Style Be True

My Fashion History:

None of my family were ever that bothered about fashion. We didn’t have a lot of money, so clothes would fall bottom of the priorities list. In fact, the only person midly interested, was my grandmother. I remember, she had the most beautiful dressing table I’ve ever  seen. It stood below the window, the white lace curtains draped around it. It was  dark mahogony and had lots of little drawers hidden in it. I would sit on that stool whenever I went there, delve right in and see what I could find.

Grandmother’s taste was very 50s: red lipsticks, green/blue eyeshadows and blackest black mascaras in the makeup drawer. Metal necklaces,big stone rings and an assortment of retro scarfs in the accesory drawer. And in the bigger drawers, classic pieces: black pencil skirts, countless silky chiffon blouses, a mens-like tailored black blazer, and trousers. I would take everything out, try it on, and prance around the room.

On the back door of her bedroom, three or four coats were hung; a green, military-style trench coat, a navy blue bomber jacket,  a long black buttoned coat, they were all beautiful. And even though the sleeves went way past my hands, and the length down to my shins (I was a short child),  I’d feel like a 50s moviestar, in all her attire.

As the years went on, my grandmother passed away, and I couldn’t play 50s dress-up anymore. No, in the years that followed, my mo would dress me. It was in these years, that she taught me the art of colour coordination (as I would want to go out wearing pinks, greens, browns and blacks – she insisted, no).

Eventually, somewhere between the pink sandals and skorts my mom had me in, I wanted to develop my own style. I started flicking through my moms magazines from the 70s and 80s, and I discovered this thing called ‘grunge’. And one day (I was around 8 or 9), I asked my mom if I could become a ‘Rock Chick’. “As long as you don’t dye your hair black, sure!” Was her reply.

So, my first fashion venture was a ‘rock glamour’ look. My outfit consisted of skin-tight grey skinny jeans (I picked the sequin stars of off the pockets), a black vest top, four black studded bangles and, for makeup (as these were the days before liquid eyeliner), I wore a black lipstich from a Witches Face Paint set from Halloween.

I wore this outfit all the time. I think in a way, it was my way of rebelling against the lack of creativity we had. There was never really a way to express myself until I learnt to write, and to dress. And even today, the favourite peice of my wardrobe is the classic, skinny jean.

Mom still won’t let me dye my hair black though…