Lena Dunham, Vogue & The Retouching Debate

17-lena-dunham-vogue

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

Look Du Jour: Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn Jan 14_002

Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

fashion v art

fashion v art

fashion v art

What: Damien Hirst x Alexander MccQueen Limited Edition Scarf (available here), BLK DNM jeans, Pollini 60th Anniversary boots (available here), Coach sweater, Alice + Olivia handbag (all c/o) & Monica Vinader ring.

Where: Meetings in London.

The subject of Fashion V Art is one of which I’m particularly and probably boringly fond. Long term LPA readers may remember my rambles about Parisian collective Each x Other which, FYI, later became a university essay. As I’ve learned during the course of said studies, the fashion and art worlds have a history of collaboration that dates back to the Renaissance if not before. In the interests of not actually chasing you all away for good, let’s not delve back quite that far. From the early decades of the 20th century (See! Practically last weekend…) couturiers have harnessed and nurtured the talents of other artists, ranging from Madeleine Vionnet’s active patronage of a young Thayat to Schiaparelli’s collaborations with Picasso and Poiret’s school of the decorative arts which both served to bolster his reputation as un grand créatif and resulted in the legendary decor of his own atelier and marketing outlets. Getting on for a century later, the collusion between the two creative industries is still going strong. And judging by the shows put on by the likes of Chanel, Prada and Celine for SS14 it only looks to be getting stronger this season. I thought this would be the perfect Look Du Jour to talk Fashion V Art because of the pieces involved. Firstly, the scarf. It’s part of the collaboration between Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen and is the kind of exquisite, painstakingly crafted treasure you’d sooner hang on a gallery wall than around your neck. The entire collection consists of only 30 one off designs, each an adaptation of Hirst’s Entomology series which sees butterflies, bugs, spiders and other insects worked to form kaleidoscopic geometric shapes, laid out to create the signature McQueen skull motif. If that’s not art, I don’t know what is. Then we have the jeans. Brain child of J.Lindberg Founder and Former Diesel CEO, Johan Lindberg, BLK DNM is not your usual denim brand. They don’t do seasonal collections, they don’t sell in department stores. But despite bucking all the sartorial norms, these jeans have become must haves due in part to their cult status but largely because they’re damn good and beautifully, nay, artistically presented. Then on to the boots. Created for Italian heritage leathersmith’s 60th anniversary and signed by the company’s current Creative Director, contemporary footwear extraordinaire, Nicholas Kirkwood these babies are less boots than collectors items.

So what do you think, have I convinced you; can fashion and art sometimes simply be one?

Love Ella. X

Ps) I’m not claiming the jumper is art too, it’s just really bloody cosy and I can’t seem to take it off at the moment!

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 5 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!

Mod Mods 1Mod Mods 2Mod Mods 3

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

LCM AW14: Day 2

LCM AW14

I wore… Skirt & Jumper by Kenzo, Coat by A.P.C, Bag by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Boots by Rag & Bone and vintage hat from Portobello Market

Why, oh why does J.W. Anderson insist on showing at the ungodly hour of 9am every bloody season!? I mean really, it’s just cruel. I know it doesn’t sound that early but when you consider that the Esquire party raged on until the wee hours scheduling a show that no one’s exactly going to miss before midday is a little mean. Mean, or perhaps devilishly clever as if anyone could coax a hungover fashion week-er out of bed and into something chic it’s J.W. Through grim determination I endured 25 minutes with my face in a random man’s armpit on the most crowded commuter tube probably ever and made it in time to join my bleary eyed seatmates at the show.

2013 was a pretty major year for J.W. Anderson. In September it was announced that luxury power house LVMH would be taking a minority stake in his rapidly growing label and the Northern Irish designer would be taking on the role of Creative Director for Spanish heritage brand, Loewe. J-Dubs has made quite a name for himself by pushing the boundaries of menswear to create conceptual, breathtaking collections that inevitably divide opinions and AW14 was no exception. Last season’s controversial frill hems and strapless confections gave way to long line, tabard style knitwear and bold colour blocking styled with oversized bangle eque jewellery, lace up platform shoes and accessories galore.

JW Anderson LCM AW14

J.W. Anderson AW14

The collection managed to be both soft and architectural with graphic, sometimes sculptural pieces and origami folds paired with high waisted, pleat fronted cropped trousers, continuing the gender subversion J.W. Anderson does so well. Exquisite patterned co-ords in almost iridescent woven silk were offset by deliciously understated cashmere, stark, reconstructed cotton shirting and drop-shouldered leather jackets in matt, pastel hues. The effect was one of absolute precision and polish married with fearless creativity. The future sure as hell looks bright for J.W.

We exited the venue to discover that, surprise surprise, the heavens had opened. Naturally I hadn’t brought an umbrella so battled my way through the downpour getting increasingly sodden and angry. My rage was in part, directed at the fact I had to skip the Christopher Raeburn show and go in to college for a tutorial. Having only got rid of submitted my thesis 1st draft the morning before, I was in no rush to start thinking about the next piece of work on our schedule but thankfully it proved to be more of a post-holiday catch up and soon I was back on the road and off to see James Long.

James Long LCM AW14

James Long AW14

For AW14 London rising star, James Long looked to sci-fi and fantastical “costume play” to concoct a collection that was out of this world (sorry, couldn’t resist). There was an urban, streetwear feel to it all, a genre that’s been done to death in recent seasons but Long managed to transform into something utterly original. Padded outerwear came constructed from different size quilting, compartmentalising the body, something that appeared as an important theme through the show. Mesh bombers came woven with ribbon paired with futuristic jogging bottoms which gave off a shimmer under the bright lights of the catwalk. Patchworking is evidently something of a menswear trend for AW14 and James Long delivered a high tech take on it, combining highlighter bright neoprene, embroidery and rubberised panelling to create an almost cubist effect. As with so many LCM collections, behind the fabric innovation, blue hair and runway ready spectacle of Long’s latest offerings were wearable, even practical garments that will transcend the fashion insider market.

Feeling distinctly less grumpy than before, I emerged into glorious sunshine (London weather = bizarre), grabbed an itsu to go and headed home for a few hours actual work. Despite all good intentions, one glance at my overflowing inbox scared me away from my laptop and the afternoon was largely spent reading GQ and fannying around on Instagram before heading back out for the YMC show.

Much as I enjoy marvelling at the conceptual creations of designers like J.W. Anderson and James Long, sometimes it’s nice to see clothes that are just, well, nice and won’t send fashion fearing men running for the hills. However that’s not for one second to say that YMC collections are dull. Every season self taught designer, Fraser Moss creates pieces of such quality they’re always a joy to behold. For AW13 he explored 20th century sportswear resulting in utility cool bomber jackets and slickly tailored tracksuit bottoms in hard wearing fabrics alongside turned up denim, laid back shirting and the delectable knitwear this brand is so loved for. The palette was one of earthy neutrals brought to life with burnt orange and rich blues. Definitely a few pieces in there to buy for the boyfriend, and then obviously steal for yourself.

YMC LCM AW14

YMC AW14

Sadly I ended up missing a day of LCM due to uni related stuff  (infinitely less fun than prancing around town in ridiculous shoes but hey, these things happen) so this will be my last post about the shows. However, there is of course my party round up still to come and there were some pretty incredible ones this season!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LCM AW14: Day 1 Part 2

LCM AW14

With Yu Masui outside the MAN show

After a much needed itsu pit stop it was back to the topman venue for one of my favourite LCM shows, MAN. MAN is the menswear equivalent of Fashion East AKA three insanely talented young designers handpicked by a panel of industry leaders (think Style.com Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks and Lulu Kennedy) and supported through their first catwalk shows. Like their Fashion East counterparts, MAN alumni inevitably go on to big things with J.W.Anderson, Christopher Shannon and Katie Eary among their ranks. As such, the FROW read like a who’s who of major industry players with the likes of Caroline Issa, Natalie Massenet, Caroline Rush and Dylan Jones poised to see what the three menswear prodigies had in store for AW14. On a side note, throughout the day I thoroughly enjoyed retelling my Christmas in the dark horror story which, thanks to the fact it elicited the desired response of shock/sympathy every time, almost made up for missing the Educating Yorkshire special and not showering for 3 days. However I suspect it may have got old for my LCM partners in crime who heard it umpteen times by this point but anyway, I digress. After recanting the tale yet again, I took my seat and the show began.

For AW14 the MAN panel decided to stick with the same line up as last season, kicking off with Dublin born designer, Alan Taylor.

MAN LCM AW14

Alan Taylor AW14

Since making his catwalk debut just last season, Taylor has established a name for himself with his innovative take on tailoring, transcending the Saville Row set to capture the avant guard attention of W Magazine, Vogue Italia, HERO, Dazed & Confused as well as Selfridges who named him in their 2013 Brigh Young Things. The designer combines a close collaboration with a traditional Irish mill to create bespoke woven fabrics with a renegade approach to tailoring which sees his luxury tweeds contorted into powerfully modern objets d’art. For AW14 Alan Taylor continued the masterclass in reinventing heritage staples with an array of pieces that, by some magic, managed to appear both raw edged and utterly precise. Earthy neutrals were brought alive by pops of highlighter bright neon while sleek jackets came paired with enveloping skirts. Collage played a central role by way of tweeds patchworked with dusty pink wool crepes, silk organza, faux fur, leather and even glimmering, coloured metallics. Not a collection for the faint hearted fellow but a fash pack favourite for certain.

Next up came Bobby Abley whose unmistakeable SS14 collection I bumped into fabulous Japanese fash ed, Yu Masui at the AW14 MAN show. If you’ve so much as glanced at his designs then the fact Abley worked at Jeremy Scott and Alexander McQueen will come as no surprise. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a label whose logo bears the shape of a teddy bear to come up with a collection entitled “Phantom Manor” but then, Bobby Abley’s take on playful print is a rather unusual one. The models swaggered down the runway rocking scraped back, dracule esque hair and menacing, grills style mouth. Combined with cartoon prints and baby pinks, it made for a faintly disturbing but utterly compelling array of ensembles.

MAN LCM AW14

Bobby Abley AW14

A glance at the show notes confirmed that Halloween had played a central role in dreaming up a collection that told a tongue-in-cheek tale of playful, pop cultural subversion with a ghoulish twist. Sculptural neoprene and jersey adorned with brain and barbed wire motifs sat alongside tactile furry shorts and mohair jumpers topped off with Piers Atkinson hats designed in homage to Maleficent. As with many a men’s collection I saw this season, it all seems terribly “fashion” on the catwalk but strip away the styling and you’ve got many wearable pieces that will zoom out the stores like hot cakes.

Last but not least on the MAN AW14 agenda was conceptualist newcomer, Craig Green. Remember his sculptural wooden body sculptures last season? Well, Craig did not disappoint this time around delivering faintly post-apocalyptic head gear, proportion distortion and masterfully sculpted silhouettes galore. The fabrics alone were a remarkable feat, think painstakingly worked textures, canvases and labour intensive hand painted patterns splices and stitched together to create truly one of a kind pieces.

MAN LCM AW14

Craig Green AW14

After piling out of the MAN show, Naomi decided that in lieu of working we’d hit the topman pub and make the most of the drinks vouchers left on every seat in the venue. Several hours and glasses of Pinot Grigio later (daytime drinking is totally acceptable during fashion week, rather like Christmas although always remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon) it was time for my penultimate engagement of the day, the Mr Hare presentation. For those that don’t know, Mr Mark Hare is one of the coolest men’s footwear designers/people ever; dreadlocked, stylish, seriously smart and as I learnt at the Esquire party that evening, one hell of a dancer. Known for taking classic men’s shoe styles and luxury fabrics and reworking them to concoct modern, strong and achingly awesome designs that every fella worth his sartorial salt should have a pair or five of. Mr Hare’s AW13 collection was aptly named “everything a man needs disguised as everything he wants” which captured it perfectly. Buttersoft Italian calf leathers, strokeable suedes you just wanted to reach out and stroke, high shine patents and exquisite detailing felt deliciously decadent. But each and every design, from glimmering wingtips to louche leather high tops, were fundamentally wearable and that, I suspect, is the secret to Mark Hare’s phenomenal and thoroughly well deserved success.

Mr Hare LCM AW14

Mr Hare LCM Aw14

Mr Hare LCM Aw14

With an hour or so to kill I headed to the Hospital Club where I found Naomi, Simon and Gurd lounging in the press area pretending to work. Or maybe they were working, but I put a stop to that pretty swiftly after pitching up. A good gossip later it was time for a show I was extremely excited about, Ada + Nik, the brainchild of two very talented people I absolutely adore. Some time last year womenswear wunderkind Ada Zanditon and fashion creative Nik Thakkar decided that their respective businesses and hectic work schedules weren’t enough. No, they needed to launch a menswear brand as well. The duo debuted last season with a presentation of super luxe, modern mens pieces including some of the most sumptuous leather bikers I’ve ever laid eyes on (and have been badgering Nik to make me one every since). This season they took things to the next level for the first I what I predict will be many catwalk shows.

“The Dark Wolf” opened with a specially created fashion film by Ada + Nik in collaboration with Oz Thakkar starring emerging rapper SMITH LDN, model du jour Diego Barrueco and illustrator and model Nikita Andrianova. The dramatic graphic visuals gave way to a powerful soundtrack and an even more powerful collection. A palette of midnight black provided the perfect foil for experimentation with texture and silhouette. Oil slick black leathers were married with slouchy jersey, sheer mesh and bold, geometric cut outs. The models were, for want of a better word, HOT and I can say in all certainty there are a couple of jackets I’ll be pestering Ada + Nik for in the months to come.

Ada x Nik LCM AW14

Ada + Nik AW14

Cracking start to LCM AW14, and the night was far from over! Until next time mes amies,

Love Ella. x

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments