Fashion

Lena Dunham, Vogue & The Retouching Debate

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Let’s face it, Lena Dunham’s US Vogue cover was an uproar waiting to happen. If they didn’t retouch, the whole thing would have been out of sync with the rest of the magazine’s glossy, fantastical and 100% retouched images. Hell, some might even accuse Vogue of trying to portay Lena in an unflattering light. If they did retouch, which obviously they were always going to, outrage would ensue which of course it has. What I really don’t understand, is why anyone is remotely surprised and frankly, why it’s even newsworthy. Today it’s a pretty safe bet that every single image you see in Vogue, or any other fash mag for that matter, has undergone a spot of editing regardless of whether the subject is a “real woman” (God I hate that patronising phrase) or a supermodel. We all know this, it’s no secret. Being photoshopped is no reflection of the individual in question. Everyone’s seen enough of those shocking and mildly self righteous Upworthy features to know that not even the girl in the advert looks like the girl in the advert. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s healthy, but like the price on request gowns and more expensive than rent handbags, fashion magazine’s are about fantasy not reality. For me, far more distasteful was Jezebel’s $10,000 quest to get hold of the unretouched photos which seemed like a highly unoriginal piece of scandal mongering. As Kat Stoeffel wrote in her brilliant article for The Cut, what exactly did they intend to achieve? We’ve all seen Lena basically buck naked enough times to know what she looks like and she looks very much like that person, albeit with professional hair, make up and high fashion get up in the Vogue pictures. We all know that fashion magazines retouch images. While the retouching highlighted by the oh-so-predictable before and after shots on Jezebel may have confirmed it, the changes were actually pretty minimal. As for the digital placement Annie Leibowitz is so known for and pigeon on head palaver, I’m not really sure if or why anyone would care.

Ultimately I can’t help but feel it’s a positive thing that Vogue are championing talent, brains and unconventionality on their cover and perhaps our collective energies would be better spent pushing for more of that than lamenting the inevitable. Retouched or not, surely this is more interesting than yet another Alexa Chung/Cara Delevigne cover. But enough from me, what do YOU guys think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 6 Comments

Mod Mods Month Of Colour

Mod Mods

I don’t need to tell you that January sucks. A lot. The Spring collections are in all the mags and nowadays, in many shops too but you’re either too cold/broke/miserable to even entertain the notion of wearing pastels or the very idea of shopping is intolerable due to the hideousness of the sales. Add “dry January” (who came up with giving up vino during the most depressing month of the year!?) into the mix and it’s hardly surprising so many of us can’t face wearing anything other than black and grey. But, my friends, the truth is nothing makes you feel less like curling up in a small ball until the sun comes out again (sometime around July in London, if we’re lucky) than BRIGHTS! Be those brights of a rich, Winter appropriate nature or colour popping pastels in Spring ready shades, forcing yourself into clothing that requires protective eye gear will blast away the January blues and make the old complexion look a bit less pallid too, you have my word on it. You’ve no doubt realised by now that I favour a more is more approach when it comes to Winter brights but it turns out that global style hub, Mod Mods share this view too!

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In an attempt to prove the power of hot house hues in cold climes they’ve launched their Month Of Colour campaign and enlisted me as a Colour Ambassador. This basically means that throughout the dreaded January I will be uploading images of myself wearing a whole lotta colour to my profile on the Mod Mods site in the hope that maybe, you lot will too. It’s super simple, just register and away you go. But of course, it’s always more fun to add an element of competition so at the end of the month the person with the chicest take on Winter brights will be selected by a panel of judges including your’s truly.

The winner of Mod Mod’s Month of Colour contest will win:

-An exclusive Google+ Hangout Tutorial on the upcoming ss14 beauty trends from a runway makeup artist

-A starring role in a special Month of Colour newsletter

-A special winner’s photo on our home page and street style galleries

Good luck…

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

Oh To Be A Chanel Girl

chanel

Oh to be a Chanel girl! To travel to far flung locations for the annual Métiers d’Art extravaganza. To be part of Karl’s couture clad coterie of international beauties. Hell, I’d settle for shared custody of a Chanel handbag and be pretty darned thrilled with my lot! Especially if it was one of the drop dead delectable designs Monsieur Lagerfeld delivered for SS14.

chanel

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to Chanel’s London HQ to ogle view a selection from the Spring collection. Getting the chance to pour over the new season pieces was, for want of a better word, awesome. It only further served to confirm what I already knew to be true; Chanel is an extraordinary brand and Karl Lagerfeld is an extraordinary man. As you all know and are probably thoroughly bored of hearing about, for the past two-and-a-bit years I’ve been studying Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins. Learning more than I ever thought possible about dress from the Renaissance through Tudors, Stuarts and Victorians was incredible. But what really had me in raptures was the 20th century stuff, especially in the case of Maisons like Chanel. Over a century may have passed since Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel scandalised and then seduced with the androgynous elegance of her menswear inspired designs. Through a combination of creative vision, craftsmanship and fearless business practices (Coco certainly would not have needed to read “Lean In”) Chanel was born and today it continues to enthral new generations of women, while retaining the impeccable quality and effortless chicness that keeps dedicated customers coming back to brand decade after decade. Nailing this near impossible balancing act is a true testament to the sartorial genius that is Karl Lagerfeld who, in the politest possible way, also cropped up relatively early in 20th century fashion history making his flair for capturing the contemporary zeitgeist all the more impressive.

chanel

chanel

chanel

As everyone knows, Chanel shows are always something of a spectacle. So what do you do when you’ve already done indoor ice bergs, wind farms, solar panels and the life aquatic? You turn your show space into an art gallery, well, duh. And then you fill it with your own creations. I’m not even going to begin wondering how in God’s one finds the time to design 75 art installations on top of running three major fashion brands so let’s just talk about the clothes instead. In the tradition of taking Chanel’s rich heritage and turning it on its head, this season saw the house’s iconic tweeds woven from ribbons of chiffon, organza, lace and plastic threads, frayed or even torn on some occasions.

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chanel

chanel

Stretch knit crêpe de Chine came lace printed with motifs in silicone, while elsewhere garments were adorned with intricate pearl embroideries and painstakingly detailed trims galore. And then there were the colours! Naturally Chanel’s signature monochrome palette was featured but elsewhere there was a riot of eye popping confections. Pastels, neon brights, denim, bleaching, you name it. The iconic jackets introduced by Mademoiselle Chanel herself came reimagined slim and sleeveless and sleek and belted as well as oversized and re-proportioned. Never have I seen a house so seamlessly combine its past and its future.

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chanel

chanel

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

Introducing: Fleming London

fleming london

For a couple of seasons now, backpacks have been de rigeur among fashion folk. And I can totally understand why. Fash-back-packs can look pretty damn cool, especially when paired with Celine skate shoes, minimalist tailoring and other things I’d look ridiculous wearing. However, no doubt unsurprisingly they’ve never been my cup of tea. After all, why carry your life around in a practical way when you could practically dislocate your shoulder hanging it on the crook of your arm? I jest… Kind of. Anyway enough of that and on to the point of this post, the Brit brand making me reconsider my relationship with the stuff carrier style that remains determinedly in style, Fleming London.

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Softest, smoothest strokeable leather, bold block hues and pretty enough to make up for being so darned practical, I love ‘em. Aside from being exceedingly nice to look at, the story of this label’s development is thoroughly impressive. The concept for these luxe rucksacks was conceived in January 2013 and by December 6th, Fleming London was born. Launching an independent, UK manufactured accessory brand is a pretty risky move so I always wonder how one summons up the necessary cojones to give it a go. I quizzed Fleming London Founder, Sophie Fleming, who just so happens to hail from the same area of Sussex as your’s truly, on this very subject as she offered the following explanation…

“I designed this backpack out of a personal need that could not be met from the High Street or Designers at the time; firstly when I became an avid cyclist as a university student, and then when I began commuting to London for my job at Jaeger’s Head Office just off Regent Street. Whilst casual rucksacks were available, I yearned for something that was more formal and structured, with a sense of style and sophistication. Hopefully I have achieved this with Fleming London!”

As a newly converted backpack wearer, I can say with confidence that she has. Find out a whole lot more about Fleming London here.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

New Year’s Fasholutions 2014

It’s that time of year again people… time for my New Year’s Fasholutions! I imagine that many of you were probably in the same boat as me yesterday morning. That is, hideously hungover, curled up in the foetal position watching The Hills/Keeping Up With The Kardashians/Insert-brainless-TV-show-of-choice-here, swearing that you’d never touch tequila again. In light of said over indulgence you might be tempted to make an array of impossible to keep resolutions. Well my friends, listen up. Browsing Style.com and Matches in order to make fasholutions is a far better way to procrastinate away your first work day let me tell you. Or perhaps you’re one of those super sensible people who toasted the New Year with a kale smoothie and have already done two hours of yoga this morning in which case traditional resolutions (i.e. stop smoking and eating Nutella straight out of the jar, start going to the gym) are redundant anyway. In previous years I’ve claimed that fasholutions are more likely to be kept than resolutions. This has not proved to be particularly true… yet. So without further ado, here are the solemn sartorial vows I’m making for 2014…

New Years 23.1 Phillip Lim Souvenir Trim Twill Embellished Bomber Jacket, £1,160 V REDValentino Scallop Trim Coat, £399

1) Dress my age more often. I know, I know I make a similar fasholution every year. But now, at the grand old age of 22, it’s probably time I occasionally began branching out into adult clothes. That is, young adult clothes. When I experimented with age appropriate clothing over 2013 (i.e. suitable for 22 year old working in fashion, not nursery school student or middle aged dowager) it’s been well received so expect more in future. I predict this resolution will last until I encounter anything by REDValentino.

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From left: MAC Candy Yum Yum Lipstick, £15, bareMinerals Ready Eye Shadow Duo, £19 & Butter London Artful Dodger Nail Polish, £12

2) Master make up. Or more accurately, stop being quite so useless and lazy at makeup. Remember my bareMinerals how to video? I promised I’d actually do the white hot smoky thing and never bloody did. But all that’s about to change. There are only so many times a girl can rock a single slick of black liquid eye liner before it gets seriously boring. Prepare yourself for Drag Queen Ella people…

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3) Stop guzzling Starbucks take away lattes on the go. Boring I know and admittedly not a “fasholution” per se but the number of coffee stains afflicting my wardrobe is grows by the day and last year’s dry cleaning expenditure was ridiculous.

new year's

From left: Topshop Balconette Bra and Low Rise Ladypants,£ 26 & L’Agence by L’Agent Provocateur Rosalyn Flocked Tulle Bra, £45 & Briefs, £26

4) Wear better underwear, preferably matching sets in luxe fabrics. After all, it seems a damn shame to wear fancy threads over mangy old M&S granny pants.

smythson

From left: Smythson Panama Collection Passport Cover, £115 & Large Slim Purse, £250

5) Invest in matching, monogrammed Smythson accessories. Yes, this may mean I won’t be able to pay my phone bill or eat anything other than instant noodles for about six months but oh, how GLAM I shall feel!

New Year's

From left: Sophia Webster Leilou stripe leather, suede and canvas sandals, £430 & Penelope glitter heel pumps reduced from £450 to £225

6) Stop destroying shoes. During 2013 I acquired a few truly fabulous pants pairs so I must stop doing what I always do. That is, wearing the ones I love morning, noon and night in all weather conditions and for inappropriate occasions (i.e. hideous club with sticky floor or Christmas in the countryside) so they fall apart, taking a little piece of my heart with them.

New Year's

From left: Heidi Klein Saint Maxime Bikini, £180, Mara Hoffman Printed Voile Playsuit £150, Prism Capri Sunglasses £265 & Orlebar Brown Bichon Cotton Terry Shorts, £95

7) Get my head around “holiday dressing.” Confession time, my holiday wardrobe consists mainly of floral bits and bobs I owned aged 18 and city pieces playing at being casual with the addition of sandals and unstructured accessories. This summer I intend to H-O-L-I-D-A-Y big time armed with a suitcase of bikini cover ups that aren’t actually just old tank tops.

new year's

From left: Topshop Oriental Floral Cigarette Pants, £38, J.Crew Collection Cafe Silk Jacquard Capri Pants, £200, Whistles Camo Jacquard Trousers reduced to £85 & Sophie Hulme Tailored Wool Trousers, £350

8) More trousers for evening. I’m a long term skirt aficionado and still struggle to force myself into a pair of party pants. Whenever I do manage it, I feel like the slickest, sexiest most badass person in the room (evidently great trousers can cause even greater levels of delusion) so during 2014, I’ll be doing a whole lot more of it.

What fasholutions will YOU be making this year?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 5 Comments