Chanel
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PPQ DOES THE MODERN DAY TIARA

For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme READ MORE...
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'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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LFW: BACKSTAGE AND BEYOND AT PAUL COSTELLOE

think we could all use a dose of soft, pretty and innocent right now. Paul Costelloe brought his unabashed femininity to the runway READ MORE...
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CARMEN DELL'OREFICE TO OPEN SINGAPORE FASHION WEEK

Carmen Dell’Orefice...if this is what being in your 80s looks like then I'm looking forward to it! The legendary model, who once declared to Vanity Fair, “If I die, it will be with my high heels on”, is set READ MORE...
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#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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MADE LONDON RETURNS TO MARYLEBONE

The Design and Craft Fair, MADE LONDON, returns to One Marylebone 24-26 October to present the very best in contemporary craft and design. Showcasing over 120 READ MORE...
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October 23, 2014

Chanel Revue Film a Stunning Mini-Epic Retrospective

(Email subscribers: click the post title to view the film)

Trevor Undi has outdone himself in the fashion film genre. Sure, Chanel offers the most dazzling and copious fashion subjects, but what to do with so much history, so much detail (the details!), so much artistry? Well, you pack in as much amazingness (normally I hate that word but here it actually fits) as you can in each second of a four-and-a-half-minute film. And you set it against an orchestral score composed by Gabriel Yared. This exuberant retrospective showcases intimate behind-the-scenes footage, detailed artistry, revisits memorable campaigns, international events and spectacular archival footage from the House of Chanel.

Chanel is a brand I will probably never be able to afford (fate is nodding its head in agreement somewhere). Normally I begrudge a brand a little bit for that and reserve my gushing for something more accessible as I don't like to go all nuts over something I can never have. But Chanel is the exception; what their artisans create in their ateliers is magical, it keeps the tradition of couture craftsmanship alive and thriving, and therefore I see the house's shows and imagery as records of this exquisite legacy. (Sure beats seeing it as a giant tease?)

This rapid and rich film is bursting with so much beauty and fascinating closeups that beg for further investigation, so I went a little mental and looked at each frame of the film and captured the stills. There are so many that are worthy of a longer look that I had to create a second page. You can view the rest here

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And here's the rest 

Review: Meatporter.com

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I order meat regularly online. I also support my neighbourhood butchers. However, the shop closest to me is limited in its range of meats and cuts, so while I do drop in regularly to support the local independents, I tend to use online butchers to buy more adventurous options, and it's also handy for stocking up when times are hectic. So when I was offered a review of meatporter.com, an online butcher offering artisan, British farm-assured meats and poultry, I jumped on it.

When the box arrived I noticed how compact it was - no unnecessary over-sized packing or gel packs to dispose of - and the meat was cold, not cool, but properly cold. It contained two well-marbled, ribeye steaks; 1/2lb of unsmoked, rindless bacon; 9 luxury pork sausages, 3 large chicken breasts, and 2 1/4lb steak burgers. I can say that the quality of all of it was excellent, and I had no problem believing that their producers supply the top London restaurants. This is the same meat but much more affordable (though unfortunately no Michelin-starred chef turns up to cook it for you). Most notably, the burgers and steaks were especially juicy and flavourful, and the chicken got a good testing. I used it in a stirfry, a dish where I tend to overcook the chicken slightly because I have a habit of cutting up my veg while the chicken is cooking instead of doing all the prep before. (I always think I'll be faster this time.) But when it came time to eat I was surprised at how tender it was. So bonus points on the chicken. 

(Why don't I have any pictures of the meat? Because for some reason I didn't think of it when I opened up the paper, and when I cook I make a mess and go slightly mental trying to time everything and so I tend not to go near my camera, but now I feel a bit silly for not getting a shot. Trust me, it looks good.)

Another big plus for going with Meat Porter is that they'll deliver nationwide next day (make sure to order by 3pm) for free on weekdays, so you don't have to plan far in advance like you do with other sites that can take up to two weeks to deliver. (I've had that happen many times with others, and you don't know the earliest delivery date until you go to check out which is a real pain. And it's not free on weekdays either!) 

As for the actual ordering, the site is so clean and easy to navigate and you're not bombarded with pictures of meat coming at you from everywhere. In other words, it reflects the high end quality of the product. You have three options. You can build your own box using their list of meats and poultry (nice and streamlined, you don't have to jump around pages and risk missing something), choose one of three set boxes including Meat for a Month, or take one of the 'surprise me' options and see what goodies turn up (which also saves you about 10% off the cost of ordering individually). 

Meat Porter also offers venison, pork loin steaks and tenderloin, Barbary and Gressingham duck, lamb, and Gressingham guinea fowl. There's a lot of choice to keep your menu varied and interesting, yet it's a nicely focussed selection that makes shopping quick and easy. 

Will I order from Meat Porter? Yes I will, definitely. I'm looking at the site right now. I'm in the mood for shredded duck with Asian spices. 

October 21, 2014

LFW: PPQ Gets Glittery with Toni & Guy

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For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme by the Toni & Guy session team, resulting in a 'modern day tiara' of glitter-painted straight parts. (And I should note that only the model in the tinsel-tinged dress was actually dressed as these were backstage photos taken well before the show!) It was a truly original look of irridescent glitter held in place by gel, tinted by the dramatic deep purple lighting of the Mayfair club venue.

Although it takes a competent hand to execute with style, the idea could be borrowed to create your own version of the look for a night out. 

If you want to give it a go, here's how the Toni & Guy created their unique, sparkling tiara:

  1. Using a label.m Pintail Comb, part hair down the middle
  2. Spritz hair with label.m Blow Out Spray or label.m Volume Foam and once dry spray with label.m Hairspray
  3. Use label.m Titanium Pro 50 Styling Iron straighten hair and add label.m Shine Spray for an extreme gloss
  4. Mix irridescent glitter with label.m Gel and with a tint brush apply a thick coating 2 cm from, and on either side, of the middle parting

And be sure to wash it out before laying your head down on your pillow! (Or don't, you could pretend the tooth fairy visited you in the night.)

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October 20, 2014

'Knitting for Juliet' Competition to Reward Emerging Knitwear Talent

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Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design in Verona, the city of love, and Romeo and Juliet. The competition will bring together emerging talents and established names in fashion to create a tribute to the Shakespearean heroine. Thirty winning designers will share scholarships totaling 80,000 Euros, making it the first prize of its kind dedicated to young creatives eager to make their mark in the world of high fashion knitting.

The competition also includes two sub-sections to its main event. Knit for Opera (in collaboration with the Arena di Verona) will reward the best clothes theme, and Dress Code (in collaboration with b!) acknowledges the best realisations of the connection between clothing and social media. 

In addition, the thirty winning masterpieces will be complemented by thirty unique pieces borrowed from the most prestigious fashion houses for a spectacular show around the theme of love. 

The competition is open to young people aged 17 to 26 years old who want to specialise in knitwear design and have moved to Italy to study. For more information on how to enter you can visit the Fashion Ground website

Kevin-kramp-portrait-7m-4425932_0x440Knitting for Juliet is supported by the world’s leading knitwear companies Stoll and Safil, as well as renowned knitwear designers, including pioneering creative, Kevin Kramp (pictured right), who has been named Chairman of the Evaluation Committee.  Kramp is one of the most important emerging men’s and women’s knitwear designers, recognized internationally for his sophisticated high-concept work, innovative exploration of shape, and beautiful use of colour, pattern, stitch technique, and luxury fiber. 

Back in 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Kevin Kramp which turned out to be an in-depth and fascinating dialogue about knitwear. You can read the interview here.  Since then, he has relocated to Italy and works as a knitwear design consultant for several European luxury brands. Kramp has recently been featured in Vogue Italia’s 3rd Annual ‘New Talents’ September edition, awarded the Modateca Award at the tenth edition of International Talent Support (ITS) in Italy by legendary knitwear entrepreneur Ms. Deanna Ferretti, selected for Antwerp’s Mode Museum fashion knitwear exhibition ‘Unravel,’ featured as installation designer collection in Belgium’s high-concept fashion/art space ‘ra,’ and featured as special guest for ‘Six Talents For White’ at Milan’s internationally regarded fashion exhibition ‘White’ for September 2011 Milan Fashion Week, and White’s February 2012 debut at New York Fashion Week.

How's that for inspiring these young knitwear designers? 

Here's a look at some of Kevin Kramp's more recent work:

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Review: JML Magic Layer Top

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I was recently asked if I would like to review the Magic Layer top from JML, which you may have seen advertised. When I read that the top promises to retain heat yet doesn't feel like you're wearing an extra layer due to the ultralight Tactel fabric, I was curious. I hate feeling cold - who doesn't? - and right around that time we had our first few chilly days of the season and I was not ready. As I've mentioned, I live right by the sea and there's a damp chill in autumn and winter (and sometimes spring and summer) that can't be escaped by going indoors, thanks to the general lack of insulation. (This Canadian will forever lament the lack of pink stuff behind the walls in British homes!) Add to that my grudging resolution to make it to November without turning on the heat because it is just so painfully expensive, and I have the ideal conditions in which to try out the top both in and out of the house. I decided to wear it one morning when my phone was telling me that it's currently 7 degrees but feels like 4, and is windy. You know, those dark, gloomy mornings when you just want to cry but you settle for a huff and feeling sorry for yourself. 

I received my top in black in size Small/Medium (it also comes in white and beige and in size Large/Xtra Large). I would know right away if it was something I would wear, regardless of its heat-retaining capabilities, based on whether it was comfortable or annoying. I've got lots of stretchy scoop-neck tops but I would never wear one under a jumper, that would just feel weird, so would this 'Magic Layer' do the trick without making me look and feel like the Michelin man? I put it on. It is remarkably light, like a couple of layers of mesh, yet it was surprisingly opaque. Maybe the black is especially forgiving and I suppose it depends on how tight the top fits you - mine was snug but not taut - but it certainly didn't leave me feeling like I wasn't dressed. I was dressing for chilly weather and I was going to be walking near the sea, so I put on a wool turtleneck jumper that also fits close. I was very happy to find that I was completely unaware of anything underneath. The top moves with you and adds no bulk whatsoever, and doesn't constrict around bent elbows. I went out and I wasn't cold. Of course I was dressed properly with a coat and therefore it was kind of hard to tell. So I did an experiment when I got home. I sat by a window with just the jumper on. (And pants and socks, I mean I just took off the Magic Layer!) I was cold. Then I put the other top back on under the jumper and sat down again in the same place. I was noticeably warmer. It made a big difference. It's hard to say whether simply having a second layer did the trick or it was the special fabric, but what I did appreciate is that I could be warm and still comfortable. It kind of sucks having to put on a bunch of bulky layers in your own house or trying to fit them all under your coat when going out, so it's worth it for the fact that it really does feel like nothing. However, a few unseasonably lovely days returned but I had already gotten used to wearing the top underneath which is the real test, that you will make it part of your routine, and I immediately felt really hot once I got outside. I had to take it off as soon as I got home, so I think there is actually something magical in that Tactel. 

In case it's not obvious, my verdict is that the Magic Layer does its job of keeping you warm while remaining undetectable. I would advise tucking it in because it does have a tendency to roll up, but you can't even feel it when it does, it's that light. I just noticed when I specifically went to check where it was. I'm buying two more because I can't find where I put mine after taking it off the other day and I don't want to head out on a chilly morning without it! I think it works well psychologically as well as physically, I feel better just knowing it's on. Pretty good for something that costs £12.99. 

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Interiors & Exteriors

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