Monday, 19 October 2009

What we wore

I feel incredibly uncool when I'm next to Anna. She said today was her 'tramp' day, but I love her outfit. The tartan tights were pinched from the fashion show we organised in february; she made a whole collection and is working on her second. Before I took this photo (taken in our art class) she was pinning sheets of black acetate, printed with photos of stain glass windows, into the ruffled beginings of a dress. If I make it as a fashion journalist, I can imagine myself writing about Anna's latest collection, and no doubt pining after one of her dresses.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Hanna's top. Love is probably my favourite word, (I tried counting the times it appears in my bedroom, from painted letters on my wall to a bag my friend Harriet made me) so I was very jealous when I saw this. I love how the rest of the outfit is really simple so balances a top that I would probably try to make overly cute. This is much cooler. Oh and I also love her boots!
Bee's cherry red coat makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood. I think this bright version of a classic winter coat makes a refreshing change to the blacks and greys that emerge from the back of our wardrobes each autumn. With the weather getting colder I think it is all the more reason to opt for something colourful.
I admired Bee's denim dress and patent bow belt in our french lesson this morning, and I begged her to let me photograph her. Denim is so big at the moment, but I love that this dress is understated: it says yes I'm cute and trendy without screaming LOOK AT ME I'M WEARING DENIM. Anyway, I think Bee looks great.


Friday, 16 October 2009

Seeing Checks

My bedroom is decorated with multicoloured gingham bunting, and my friends' birthday presents usually come tied up with checked pink or green ribbon. I love gingham. It probably comes from my mum; we have checked tea towels and gingham trimmed curtains in our kitchen, and her friends call her Doris Day.

When I saw Christopher Kane's spring summer '10 collection, my heart leapt for joy. Next summer not only will I be able to decorate my life with this pattern, but Christopher Kane has deemed it cool to dress myself in it too. Although it made perhaps its most famous appearance in the form of Dorothy's cute blue apron in the 1939 film of the Wizard of Oz, gingham is back for 2010.

But it has grown up. For starters the tiny squares of Dorothy's dress have become larger checks (what I think of as picnic blanket gingham), becoming less ditsy and more graphic. Take the lingerie references: silk bras peeking beneath sheer fabric, thigh high skirt slits and underwiring and corset details worked into the dress itself, and you have yourself a grown up girl's reinvention of gingham.

Gingham has had a long association with America, and it became one of the most popular fabrics in the states during the 1940s. Christoper Kane was not the only designer to hone in on a typically American fabric for their latest collections; Ralph Lauren's spring 2010 show focused on denim, and a celebration of American style.

I remember when I was younger, summer would always be signalled by a trip to Marks & Spencer to buy a green gingham summer dress, and white socks with a matching green gingham ruffle. Let's hope Christopher Kane's gingham filters through to Topshop in the form of a little shift or sun dress, and I will be snapping it up for next summer's uniform.
The dress above is my absolute favourite of Christopher Kane's designs. To me it is a perfect take on gingham, the t-shirt style top half makes it laid back and not insanely girly, the lingerie detailing is quirky and 2010, but the blue gingham skirt remembers gingham's floaty, summery roots. I am actually in love...

Looking at all these gingham dresses made me so cheery that in a burst of happiness and Libbyness I wrote a poem.

Poem to Gingham

Pastel shade bunting all hung in the trees,
Bright rainbow ribbons that twist in the breeze,
Ruffles on socks that we once wore to school,
Teacups and picnics with raspberry fool,
Pigtails and checks and Dorothy pretty,
I'm dreaming of the Emerald City.


Friday, 9 October 2009

What we wore

I love photographers Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton and how they capture what people are wearing on the streets. To me, that is real fashion. But despite the many photographers capturing street style, it is usually from London, Paris or Milan. I live in a small town in the countryside, and want to show that it isn't just the young things in the cities that love fashion and dress well. When I go shopping or walk around my school, I see so many stylish people. Even when we have our parties in fields rather than trendy night clubs, I love to see what everyone wears. So this is what we wore...

I love Imogen's outfit. The plain jeans work well with the bright shoes and jumper, and her pigtails make the whole outfit look so cute. Imogen was wearing this outfit when she left this afternoon to go to Paris for the weekend. I can picture her sitting in a Parisian café looking the cool and quirky thing she is.
Imogen discovered these incredible shoes in a charity shop, where she finds lots of her clothes. I am so jealous of these sparkly orange trainers, they make my mouth water.
Mel always looks fab. Most of the time when I ask her where she bought her outfit, at least one of the items will be a vintage treasure from her mum's wardrobe. This time it is her 80s belt. I love her white pumps, and the fact that she bought them from Stead and Simpson.
I often see these twins around school, and always admire how they dress. I love their glasses, particularly the big geeky pair.

I loved this quirky outfit, the old school high tops, patterned cardigan and blue scarf. He was a splash of colour and I had to get his photograph.
This oufit, Abercrombie and Fitch top, leggings and purple pumps, is simple but cool. And what more accessories do you need when you have that fabulous Janaissa smile?


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Size-Zero and 'Plus size' at Fashion Week

Mark Fast's stylist quit when he decided to use several 'plus size' models in his Spring/Summer 2010 show at London a few weeks ago. The 28-year old designer chose 3 models from a plus size agency to show alongside the size 8-10s that we are used to seeing on the runway.

I must admit that I have always been so interested in the clothes that I may not have paid too much attention to the models wearing them. Tall, slim, yes, but I have never really questioned it. That is just what a model looks like, as we have been taught to believe by the thousands of images from catwalks and in magazines. When I read about Fast's show on, it was not the fact he used these women that shocked me, but the reaction his decision received. Here is someone questioning the accepted 'norm' of fashion, whereas in fact the three 'plus size' women he included were the only 'normal' sized women on any of the catwalks. I was thinking about Mark Fast when I watched Stella Mcartney's show on the Guardian fashion website this evening. As I watched the beautiful clothes coming down the runway, I made sure to really look at the models. And I realised something. Thighs are not supposed to be concave.

Although I applaude Fast for at least beginning to question stereotypes (he did still only use 3 'plus size' models) I think it should also work on the other end of the spectrum. Skinny equals anorexic is a stereotoype that should also be fought against. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and some are naturally skinny. I frequently hear people describing catwalk models as 'disgusting', and 'unreal'. I don't think it is fair to alienate skinny women, just at it is unfair to alienate 'plus sizes'. And granted, the catwalk models are stunning, but I just think many of them would be far more beautiful if they had a few more curves, and were able to enjoy themselves more without the constant worry of fitting into sample sizes.

I say 'plus size' for a reason. Because it is a term we have created ourselves, based only on our current ideologies and perceptions of size and beauty. Because plus what size? A model would typically be classed as 'plus size' when they are a UK dress size 12 or over. Yet the average dress size in the UK is 14-16. Why, therefore, are models classed as 'plus' when they are below the national norm? Are models not normal? They may be blessed by proportion and nature, but are they not women too?

Above all the main question should of course be about health. You can be unhealthy underweight and unhealthy overweight (although I was surprised to learn that people who are borderline overweight tend to have a greater life expectancy than those who are are closer to being underweight). Fashion is aspirational, but I do not accept that there should be one unanimous view of what aspirational is. Surely the most aspirational things of all are health, happiness and (this is still fashion), beauty. But healthy, happy and beautiful women come in all different shapes and sizes.

Best-selling German magazine Brigitte seems to have a similar opinion, as I found out today when I read the fashion section of the Guardian website. Andreas Lebert, editor in chief of Germany's most popular women's magazine has decided that as of 2010 they will no longer use proffesional models. Instead they will employ ordinary women (promising to pay them the same as they would a proffesional model) as well as women in the public eye who may be interested in modelling. Readers can apply to model in the magazine and as a result Lebert hopes to get a more representational view of women. He said he was fed up of having to use photoshop to fatten up the models they previously employed. "For years we've had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up, especially their thighs, and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse and what has it got to do with our real reader?"

The size-zero debate has been ongoing, and I think it would be unrealistic to say that because of Mark Fast and Brigitte magazine things in the global fashion industry are going to change. But perhaps people will atleast start to readress their aspirations and question what they have come to accept as the norm. I know I have.