Fashion

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter everyone! Few things make me happier than swapping the fabulous but frenetic pace of London life for a few days of eating, drinking and generally chillaxing en famille in the countryside. I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful long weekend and apologise in advance for the barrage of Instagram shots of Spring flowers, chocolate and sheep that will be coming your way.

Love Ella. X

Ps) Not the most traditional Happy Easter card I know but let’s face it, Miss Moss is far chicer than any four legged, floppy eared bunny!

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

Women Who Eat On Tubes

women who eat on tubes

Before we go any further with this post I’m going to state my opinion on this right now, Women Who Eat On Tubes is abhorrent. On the whole, I think it’s great to start a debate (rhyme unintentional) regardless of whether it’s over the Kimye Vogue cover, Miley’s twerking antics or the ongoing hubbub about peacocking at fashion week. All totally unnecessary occurrences that spur some pretty strong opinions. Whatever side of the fence you fall on, you’ve got to admit that things, be they fashion, music or pop culture related, are that bit more interesting when get people conversing, discussing and arguing. Hell, even angry, most likely misspelled tweeting is infinitely less dull than a nonchalant “meh”. But no matter how many people hold forth about Women Who Eat On Tubes, I refuse to even entertain the notion that, as the site’s founder Tony Burke claims, it’s any form of art, observational or otherwise. It has not “thrown up a number of little tributaries of discussion”, it had caused understandable offence and anger.

I take two main issues with the site. Firstly, that it’s purely women. I’m not saying that it would be all fine and dandy if it was People That Eat On Tubes (although I suspect that site might be rather less popular) but the fact that its focused solely on catching women in the act of snacking makes the whole thing particularly unpleasant. Many, if not most, women’s relationships with food are complicated things involving a fair amount of guilt and dress size anxiety. Again, I’m not saying men are immune to this by any means. But the fact that the guilt/food association is both so widespread and so openly discussed among women – ever opened a women’s mag without at least three features in some way relating to the subject? – highlights the fact that whether the individual in question is mostly healthy person who endures the odd fat day/regretted pack of peanuts, or suffering from something more serious altogether, it’s a loaded and often painful issue. With this in mind, how could taking and publishing surreptitious snaps of women eating not have the potential to make them feel like complete shit? Especially when you factor in the inevitably vile barrage of comments that will follow. And, call me old fashioned, but isn’t knowingly inflicting shitty feelings on an absolute stranger for no reason other than your own amusement and validation as a harbinger of LOLS a bit, well, wrong? I also can’t help but feel that Women Who Eat On Tubes rather ventures into women not being allowed to eat in public territory which harks back to an age of “her indoors” that none of us want to go near. Poorna Bell wrote a far better piece on all this than I ever could for the Huffington Post, you can read it here.

My second major issue with the site is the extent to which it seems to believe that social media makes us all fair game. This is something that particularly gets me as a) I heart social media and b) I know that this has a hefty element of truth to it. If we’re constantly uploading images of ourselves to the World Wide Web, how can we take issue when someone else decides to do it on our behalf? Doesn’t that just reflect an innate vanity? i.e if a snap’s not taken at the most flattering angle known to man and sexified with an X Pro II filter it’s not going anywhere. I suspect this isn’t an entirely baseless argument, but that’t not really the point here. Being mocked, critiqued and generally not treated like a human being online is one thing – and still a bad thing – if you’ve willingly uploaded selfies and belfies and art directed breakfast trays to your social media pages. But if you haven’t, it’s infinitely worse. There are some people, I’m told, that actively dislike the idea of social media. Hard to believe in their existence, much like unicorns or the Loch Ness monster but they’re out there and effectively forcing them to participate, against their will and their knowledge is a massive violation of the basic human right not to have your face plastered all over the Internet while you’re simply making your oblivious way to work. Even if you’re as much of an Instagram addict as I, that just doesn’t make it ok for people you don’t know to do this in order to publicly ridicule. How is that not the most obvious thing in the world?

That’s not, however, to say that the rest of us our blameless. I’ve lolled harder than anyone at Jeanz and Scheuxsss. I know several other sites where men are snapped unawares on the daily commute for us gals to ogle, rate and pick over like T.M. Lewin clad pieces of meat. Perhaps the real reason Women Who Eat On Tubes gets us so riled up is that it hits a little too close to home and makes the Internet population (i.e. everyone ever) feel a little uneasy about their own online ROFLS. In an age of paparazzi insanity and street style celebrity coupled with our almost universal compulsion to share every second of our day with thousands of complete randoms, the lines are admittedly rather blurred. But ultimately, if you’re playing the fame game or getting your gladrags on to parade around Somerset House you have, to some degree, given your consent to have unapproved pictures of yourself published online. If you’re simply on your way to work, you really haven’t.

Maybe the moral of this story is really just about not taking and publishing photographs of strangers without their consent, something that should perhaps be more of a given than it is. Women Who Eat On Tubes is the tip of the iceberg, not the entire problem. Nonetheless, I still think it’s appalling. There’s something about the idea of capturing women-only on camera at a moment of potential vulnerability to post online for laddish idiots to leave sexual and/or abusive comments that is both distasteful and cruel. It just can’t be validated with the argument that we should all get a bloody sense of humour. Does anyone really believe that a woman who discovers a snap of herself eating breakfast wraps alongside her fellow commuters, captioned “three little piggies” and followed by a barrage of body related commentary, would simply chuckle and get on with her morning? Maybe some would, personally I’d struggle. And as for Burke’s pathetic assertions that his cheap gag site “cherishes its subjects in the way a wildlife photographer cherishes a kingfisher in a river”… pull the other one, luv.

That’s about enough from me! What do you lot think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 14 Comments

Spring Style Rules

spring style rules

A couple of weeks ago Sunday Times Style dubbed me a “controversial blogger”. Obviously my first thought was: controversial, moi? Seriously?! I’m about as controversial as green juice pics on instagram. Then I realised they meant that I wasn’t wearing Carven to a Carven party, which I totes was but that’s not really the point of this post. The point is that I may in fact actually be about to blog something semi controversial because in this day and age, the idea of style rules seems completely ridiculous. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of them, my view is more throw it all together – prints, patterns, sparkles – with reckless aplomb and then add knee socks and novelty sunglasses for good measure. Prescribed good taste is a ridiculous notion and would make the world a very boring, and rather oppressive place. However, since the sun tentatively peeked it’s head out I’ve spotted a number of sartorial crimes so heinous I reckon a few guidelines wouldn’t hurt anyone. Plus, writing them was pretty fun.

1) Too short shorts: thank you topshop for ensuring that as soon as temperatures are no longer sub zero, buttocks will be flying free from London to Aberdeen. Arse cheeks are just not an appropriate city accessory. Vaguely acceptable when sported by a Brazilian Gisele alike on the beaches of Rio de Janiero. NEVER ok for a pasty teenager on the platform at East Croydon station. I spent years breaking this rule myself so I do speak from experience.

2) Ugg boots: in April, WTF on so many levels. Especially so when paired with too short shorts.

3) Swimwear as underwear: totally A-OK and deliciously liberating on holiday but if you’re more than 5 miles from the beach it’s just wrong. Same applies to board shorts, confusing on so many levels.

4) Clear bra straps: you’re not fooling anyone… On that subject I kind of feel boob tubes (note: differed to bandeau’s and bralets both of which are très on trend) should also be banned. Aside from anything else that might discourage clear bra strap wearing.

5) Flip flops in the city: This is especially the case on the underground/metro/subway. The dirt, the sweaty foot smells, the potential broken toes, the fact they might flip flop right off and trip up a fellow commuter… There are so many ways this can go horribly wrong! Strangely the same doesn’t apply to a fancy pair of sandals, weird that.

6) Extreme Outerwear: Ok, I admit, unless you hail from certain climatically blessed places it may still be bloody cold. But seriously, it’s April people! Therefore in fashion terms, Spring started two months ago. So pack those parkas away and invest in some pastel shades. Top tip: if you really can’t deal with the chill factor don’t stress get Uniqlo thermals and wear them under your biker jacket/floral shirt combos, you’ll be toasty and no one will know you’re secretly wearing a lycra onesie!

7) Unintentional open toes n’ tights: I’m using the term “tights” to mean socks here too, hope ya don’t mind. As you’ve probably spotted, this season the fash pack have taken to wearing sports socks with their peep toe stilettos. While I can’t entirely bring myself to do this (yet) I am planning on digging out the Juicy Couture knee high pink trimmed “sports” socks I bought aged around 14. I’ll wear them with some form of high heeled footwear for an attempted Prada-meets-Clueless vibe. This is ok, it’s deliberate. What’s not ok is trying to sneakily get away with a pair of nude tights under peep toes which gives the unsightly illusion of webbed toes.

8) Christmas jumpers: Wearing your ironic Rudolf knit beyond January (February at a push) is strictly verboten, even if you possess a banging beard and live on Hoxton Square. In fact, especially if that’s the case.

9) Preemptive semi nudity: I think this is very much a British thing. The sun comes out, we all get over excited. That’s understandable, it only happens about once a year. But while wearing Winter fare in April is a bit rubbish, forgetting the basic laws of common decency and getting your kit off will just traumatise your fellow man. I swear to God I saw a man on the tube with his shirt off the other day. You just don’t get over something like that.

10) Self doubt: Somewhat paradoxically, the final style commandment I’d like to impart is to wear what makes you feel good! Not a fan of logos or sports luxe? Don’t force yourself into high fash track pants and Wang inspired boxy tops. Outraged by Phoebe Philo swapping minimalism for painterly prints? Why not try Altuzarra esque shirting instead. Or just keep rocking the clean lines you snapped up at Zara last summer, if it suits you we won’t judge! Whatever anyone says, fashion is meant to be enjoyable after all. Self doubt is out so indulge in whatever sartorial treats leave you feeling most fabulous. Y’know, unless they’re any of the above.

What style crimes do YOU wish would be made illegal?

Love Ella x

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

Introducing: Malone Souliers

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Serrrrrrrriously hot shoe brand alert! Actually make that haute, Malone Souliers is less “it”, more eternal. After all, when would a purveyor of fine footwear crafted using age old artisanal techniques and offering a made to measure service (#dreams) NOT be something every sartorially obsessed individual wants? And if you think all that bespokeness and tradition sounds stuffy you can think again my friends. They may be concocted in collaboration with italian experts who’ve been creating beautiful shoes since they had to do so by candlelight but Malone Soulier’s creations fuse tradition with modernity in a way that feels entirely new.

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Take their current mules. One of the must have styles for SS14 yet there is a sleek, timelessness to these babies which simultaneously harks back to days gone by and nods to the future. I was slightly dubious about whether I’d be rocking mules – how on earth do you keep them on? And after cocktails? – but regardless of potential to fall off, Malone Souliers elegant incarnation of the shape is too damn good not to. The brains behind the brand is also an intriguing one. Creative Director, Mary Alice Malone grew up in the depths of rural Pennsylvania riding horses and even earned herself a spot on the US Junior Olympic Showjumping team. Yep, had she not decided to switch paths we would have seen her competing in Blighty just two summer’s ago. Crazy, huh? But of course she did, swapping ponies for paint and enrolling at Art school in Colorado followed by a Cordwainers degree at London College of Fashion. Then Mary Alice joined forces with globetrotting brand consultant Roy Luwolt and Malone Souliers was born. From the tobacco suede and python skin lace ups to black nappa and tulle pointed toes, these heels are seriously luxe and unashamedly feminine. I’ve fallen hard and my wallet will no doubt be hurtin’ as a result once they’re available to buy this June.

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It can be difficult to walk the fine line between ladylike and matronly, or seductive and Kardashian for that matter, when it comes to shoes. But Malone Souliers manage it. Regardless of whether you give a toss about quality or craftsmanship, this alone should be enough reason to love the brand as much as I do.

Love Ella. X

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Kimye, American Vogue and Starbucks Schnappucinos

kimye american vogue starbucks

I promise this won’t turn into one of my essay length rambles posing as opinion posts but how could I not respond to La Wintour’s divisive choice of cover star, or rather stars, for the April issue of American Vogue? Responses have ranged from delight to outrage to sheer, unbridled, bloodcurdling fury. For me, yesterday was something of an emotional roller coaster. First up we had the unveiling of the aforementioned cover. Then came Starbucks’ announcement that they’re going to start serving booze. On both counts, I made a snap judgement which was then revised several times. The whole experience was pretty confusing. In the case of the latter I initially thought YES! I love Starbucks, I love vino, why didn’t this happen sooner? Then I realised how deeply disgusting the very idea was. Given the myriad of disgusting frappucino flavours already on offer, God only knows what more horrors can be concocted involving alcohol. Peppermint Schnappucino with whipped cream on top anyone? Just urgh.

But enough about Starbucks, let’s talk Vogue. When I saw the Kimye cover my first thought was WTF!? Is nothing sacred anymore? Then I actually engaged my brain which swiftly reminded me that, much as I adore them, fashion glossies are a far cry from purified spaces of boundary pushing fashion commentary. That’s not in any way to criticise. Between advertisers, consumer demographics and the added pressures of reader stealing digital media, it’s the nature of the beast. Many publications respond to these challenges intelligently and entertainingly but no matter how brilliant the writing or beautiful the imagery, fash mags do have their limitations and, of course, the necessity to turn a profit. From a profit turning perspective, Vogue’s Kimye cover is indeed brilliant. Love them or loathe them, you’re gonna buy the issue and thoroughly enjoy the experience of gushing over Kim’s golden skinned gorgeousness or picking every inch of the thing apart. Either way, a sale got made an a couple of hours of one person’s life that bit more enjoyable.

As I said, most of my Friday afternoon was spent feeling very torn about the whole thing. A seriously productive use of time, I’m sure you’ll agree. On the one hand it’s easy and tempting to see the Kimye cover as the epitome of everything wrong with American celebrity culture or, as Bryan Boy put it, #AWondrugs… Awkward moment on the FROW next season impending? But anyway, I digress. Headlines have ranged from lampooning Anna for giving in to Kanye’s demands to sarcastically mourning the death of Amerian Vogue, to basically hailing the forthcoming apocalypse as a result of a “lazy amateur porn star turned fame whore of all fame whores” gracing a cover that should have been reserved for, I dunno, Olivia Palermo. I take issue with this view on several levels. Not least, lazy? This is a girl who has hustled, networked, self branded and shamelessly self promoted her way from, yes, sex tape scandal to fashion’s inner circle via reality TV and one hell of a wardrobe makeover. I’m not saying there isn’t something slightly depressing about that but you can’t deny that Kim Kardashian has worked her infamous derriere off to achieve the impossible. I’m not a particular Kim fan myself, no matter how many sleek Celine ensembles she trots out, but you’ve got to give credit where credit’s due and it definitely is here.

Many of the responses have centred around the idea that American Vogue are desperately trying to get issues off the shelves. Of course, this pop-culture-and-social-media-tastic cover will do that but paradoxically, perhaps putting Kimye centre stage in fact one of the boldest, most boundary pushing moves we’ve seen from American Vogue in decades? Most covers elicit a mildly disinterested “doesn’t so and so look pretty wearing such and such” but this one’s basically made the Internet explode. And once upon a time wasn’t the point of magazines like Vogue to start a conversation, take risks, occasionally maybe even provoke? And there’s no denying, the pictures are utterly gorgeous. Ultimately it’s a clever move from all parties involved and maybe, rather than marking the demise of American Vogue, this cover marks the start of a new and more interesting era.

My main complaint with American Vogue’s April issue is not the cover stars who, however you feel about them, have started more of a conversation than (much as I absolutely heart her) yet another celebration of J-Law. Nope, it’s the hashtag that gets me, #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple may be a worryingly accurate description but 27 characters… Seriously? However, social media misunderstanding aside, there was only decision unveiled yesterday that I found categorically offensive and the culprit was Starbucks.

That’s about enough from me, what do YOU think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 7 Comments