PONDEREL

INSANE MANES: HIGHLIGHTER HAIR
By now, even those least observant among us should be well-aware of the ever-increasing passion for pastel that has become common among those seeking a means of breaking the mould in a way that extends beyond the bounds of sartorial adventurousness. Having had quite an extended time to develop, the past couple of years have allowed the embrace of mint, peach, lilac and fairy floss locks to become more and more widely embraced, and at times one would be forgiven for mistaking their surrounds for a My Little Pony paddock. While the array of colour-kissed locks have provided a refreshing point of interest atop the heads of the more daring, all things must reach their eventual grave, and anyone who has been aware of the accelerating trend from its point of conception would naturally be pondering its imminent expiry date. It is only to be expected then, to experience an insatiable curiosity about what the natural progression onward and upward may be. Certainly as I have continued to spot the baby-strength colours bobbing around the streets of London, I have wondered what will eventually become of them… should the trend die a sudden death, will the streets be rapidly flooded with rivers of watercolour pastels as a dark stormy cloud of over-dyes rolls in, washing away what was a peaceful pastel period?
About a month ago, my questions were answered, and one could say that it came as rather a shock…  shocking pink, that is. Yes, I was met with a full, vibrant head of pink, orange and yellow territories that could only be described as HIGHLIGHTER tones: neon, almost to the point of glowing. It became quickly apparent that this look, so much bolder and brighter, was set to be the replacement. How silly of me to have thought even for a fleeting moment that the adv-hair-nturous would even be satisfied returning to platitudinous natural tones so quickly!
Following the first sighting, I have felt rather like the David Attenborough (if we’re talking hair, shall we settle on David Plait-enborough?) of the hair world, spotting a growing number of highlighter root-to-tip tones on hipster heads… admittedly I’ve been carrying out the role with perhaps more enthusiasm than is publicly acceptable, with stealthy attempts to snap photographs to shoot through to friends whom I’ve been trying to convince of the trend’s legitimacy. Living in East London, I am in the natural grazing grounds of the creatures, so I could not be more perfectly placed to carry out my field study.
Thinking about the practicality of the craze, I feel like its initiators have been quite timely in terms of the ability to use electric locks to enhance the present day’s fashion trends. When creating a top-to-toe look, the highlighter hair has the capacity to make for some incredible pairings with the currently popular double-pattern ensembles that seem to be popping up left, right and centre. And where pastel hair combined with the myriad pastel garments that are filling the racks of every High Street store could become a little monotonously same-same, a vibrant highlighter tone in its forceful contrast may have the power to create an image that is instead admirably daring in its atypical abstractness.
In a world where fashions are notoriously recycled, it is undeniably refreshing to witness fashionistas wading into previously unchartered waters, at least where daywear legitimacy is concerned. Certainly one could not say that fluorescent hair has never before been worn, however it is encouraging to observe such a degree of boldness being explored as an external-to-editorial look.
Just as traditionally designed, these highlighters are set to draw some serious attention this season.
Jun 12

INSANE MANES: HIGHLIGHTER HAIR



By now, even those least observant among us should be well-aware of the ever-increasing passion for pastel that has become common among those seeking a means of breaking the mould in a way that extends beyond the bounds of sartorial adventurousness. Having had quite an extended time to develop, the past couple of years have allowed the embrace of mint, peach, lilac and fairy floss locks to become more and more widely embraced, and at times one would be forgiven for mistaking their surrounds for a My Little Pony paddock. While the array of colour-kissed locks have provided a refreshing point of interest atop the heads of the more daring, all things must reach their eventual grave, and anyone who has been aware of the accelerating trend from its point of conception would naturally be pondering its imminent expiry date. It is only to be expected then, to experience an insatiable curiosity about what the natural progression onward and upward may be. Certainly as I have continued to spot the baby-strength colours bobbing around the streets of London, I have wondered what will eventually become of them… should the trend die a sudden death, will the streets be rapidly flooded with rivers of watercolour pastels as a dark stormy cloud of over-dyes rolls in, washing away what was a peaceful pastel period?


About a month ago, my questions were answered, and one could say that it came as rather a shock…  shocking pink, that is. Yes, I was met with a full, vibrant head of pink, orange and yellow territories that could only be described as HIGHLIGHTER tones: neon, almost to the point of glowing. It became quickly apparent that this look, so much bolder and brighter, was set to be the replacement. How silly of me to have thought even for a fleeting moment that the adv-hair-nturous would even be satisfied returning to platitudinous natural tones so quickly!


Following the first sighting, I have felt rather like the David Attenborough (if we’re talking hair, shall we settle on David Plait-enborough?) of the hair world, spotting a growing number of highlighter root-to-tip tones on hipster heads… admittedly I’ve been carrying out the role with perhaps more enthusiasm than is publicly acceptable, with stealthy attempts to snap photographs to shoot through to friends whom I’ve been trying to convince of the trend’s legitimacy. Living in East London, I am in the natural grazing grounds of the creatures, so I could not be more perfectly placed to carry out my field study.


Thinking about the practicality of the craze, I feel like its initiators have been quite timely in terms of the ability to use electric locks to enhance the present day’s fashion trends. When creating a top-to-toe look, the highlighter hair has the capacity to make for some incredible pairings with the currently popular double-pattern ensembles that seem to be popping up left, right and centre. And where pastel hair combined with the myriad pastel garments that are filling the racks of every High Street store could become a little monotonously same-same, a vibrant highlighter tone in its forceful contrast may have the power to create an image that is instead admirably daring in its atypical abstractness.


In a world where fashions are notoriously recycled, it is undeniably refreshing to witness fashionistas wading into previously unchartered waters, at least where daywear legitimacy is concerned. Certainly one could not say that fluorescent hair has never before been worn, however it is encouraging to observe such a degree of boldness being explored as an external-to-editorial look.


Just as traditionally designed, these highlighters are set to draw some serious attention this season.

TROPICOOLWhen it comes to the world of bold and splashy prints, the fashion industry is currently riding a wave of palms and all-things-Troppo. So often people spend their days craving escapist island adventures, as a means of fleeing the gloom and drizzle playing out on the other side of the window, or that relentlessly unforgiving stack of paperwork sitting smugly atop one’s desk. So much more enticing and appealing is the thought of losing oneself in the lax ways of chilled-out islander locals: the dismissal of schedules, the comfort of the sun’s rays, the soothing of crashing waves and the absence of disgruntled corporate pedestrians fighting for their share of footpath, equipped with threatening umbrella weapons. Given that not everyone has a boss who would be receptive to the taking of a spontaneous surfing sabbatical, the decision to let your dream vacation take place on your clothing may be a safer and somewhat cheaper alternative (entirely dependent on whether you opt for a Dries Van Noten interpretation or a sneaky ZARA equivalent, naturally).
Be it lagoon blues, wise old bending palms, vintage boys hanging ten on wave print-repeats or tropical blooms bursting open amongst the warp and weft of your garments, this sizzling new look is an easy way to inject that holiday vibe into your every day. There is always an unmissable aura given off by individuals freshly returned from vacation: it is that lingering, remnant easy-breeziness that allows one who has been recently rejuvenated and recuperated in balmy lands to so coolly glide past their colleagues and friends, head stuck firmly in the clouds that refused to make an appearance during their luxurious leave. How much more easily they seem to drift through the day, all stress-free and glowing golden-limbed. Given that chartering the private jet for a last-minute dash to Thailand, Hawaii or Indonesia isn’t an option for all of us, embracing the look with all the ‘tropassion’ you can muster just may be the easiest way to save yourself from being caught in a dangerous rip of the seemingly never-ending Winter misery. Whether you choose to wade in the shallows, allowing small splashes to show up in your ensembles, or should you relinquish all qualms and find yourself dunked and drenched in showy splays of palm fronds from hibiscus-covered head to toe, the island party welcomes all those who wish to dance on its pristine sands.Go on,  you know you want to be one of the TROPICOOL kids… who doesn’t?
May 26

TROPICOOL



When it comes to the world of bold and splashy prints, the fashion industry is currently riding a wave of palms and all-things-Troppo. So often people spend their days craving escapist island adventures, as a means of fleeing the gloom and drizzle playing out on the other side of the window, or that relentlessly unforgiving stack of paperwork sitting smugly atop one’s desk. So much more enticing and appealing is the thought of losing oneself in the lax ways of chilled-out islander locals: the dismissal of schedules, the comfort of the sun’s rays, the soothing of crashing waves and the absence of disgruntled corporate pedestrians fighting for their share of footpath, equipped with threatening umbrella weapons. Given that not everyone has a boss who would be receptive to the taking of a spontaneous surfing sabbatical, the decision to let your dream vacation take place on your clothing may be a safer and somewhat cheaper alternative (entirely dependent on whether you opt for a Dries Van Noten interpretation or a sneaky ZARA equivalent, naturally).


Be it lagoon blues, wise old bending palms, vintage boys hanging ten on wave print-repeats or tropical blooms bursting open amongst the warp and weft of your garments, this sizzling new look is an easy way to inject that holiday vibe into your every day. There is always an unmissable aura given off by individuals freshly returned from vacation: it is that lingering, remnant easy-breeziness that allows one who has been recently rejuvenated and recuperated in balmy lands to so coolly glide past their colleagues and friends, head stuck firmly in the clouds that refused to make an appearance during their luxurious leave. How much more easily they seem to drift through the day, all stress-free and glowing golden-limbed. Given that chartering the private jet for a last-minute dash to Thailand, Hawaii or Indonesia isn’t an option for all of us, embracing the look with all the ‘tropassion’ you can muster just may be the easiest way to save yourself from being caught in a dangerous rip of the seemingly never-ending Winter misery. Whether you choose to wade in the shallows, allowing small splashes to show up in your ensembles, or should you relinquish all qualms and find yourself dunked and drenched in showy splays of palm fronds from hibiscus-covered head to toe, the island party welcomes all those who wish to dance on its pristine sands.

Go on,  you know you want to be one of the TROPICOOL kids… who doesn’t?

CAFFEINE COSTUMES 
London is truly a highly international city. Any ordinary day guarantees the opportunity to encounter a plethora of different tongues, evidencing that the millions upon millions of people populating the city, its apartments and its streets, have crawled from innumerable pockets of the Earth. It is always interesting to see where people will gather: despite differences in culture, there always exists places of communal interest, towards which the masses will gravitate. London’s current cafe boom (inarguably catering to the demanding palates of the copious amounts of Australian and New Zealander imports) is creating multiple hot-spots for anyone even remotely caffeine-inclined to get their single-origin fix, whether they like it from Ethiopia, El Salvador or Guatemala; be it cold-dripped, siphoned or given the magic touch of a Synesso or a La Marzocco machine.
Possibly the most interesting thing about the wafts of freshly roasted and ground beans, and the chicly cool, carefully designed interiors in which hundreds of cups are expertly poured daily, are the crowds that they draw. And to be more specific, the most curious thing (among the younger gabble of 20-something males) is the undeniable uniform that seems to be globally sported. Anyone who didn’t know better may assume that the world boasts its own generous wardrobe department, and that anybody who has been cast as one of these afore-mentioned ‘20-something coffee-enthusiasts’ has been assigned a specific aesthetic, with which they must comply daily.
For the boys of the espresso world, the essential canvas of the look centres around basic casual-wear. Skinny jeans and dull-coloured chinos are a common occurrence, and Swedish brands certainly among the favoured source of a twill weave. Continuing the simplistic theme of fuss-free basics: the old faithful t-shirt; preferred fit being tight enough not to grate against the lightly tailored look, yet loose enough to turn up the nose of a deeply-bronzed, rollerblading Miami resident. When it comes to cloth, denim is undeniably the people’s choice, sported dark, light, neat, worn, pressed, tattered, doubled or alone. For the individuals who favour formality – at least a whisper of it – a button-down shirt is not out of place: long or short sleeved (season-dependent), and most commonly rolled. In text-book cases, said turned cuff or hem will sneakily reveal a smattering of illustrative inking, exposing a hint of the inner being beneath. And let’s not be forgetting: adornment and accessories are a critical component of the success of the achievement of authenticity. Rain, hail or shine, facial jewellery is always a wearable element (rings for the nose, brow or tongue), echoing the tattoos in their strategy to contrast the cleanly presented exterior created by the blocked basics being worn. The old faithful beanie is another additive that seems to disregard seasonal appropriateness, finding its way atop the craniums of blondes, brunettes and hairless boys no matter the weather. The finishing-touch footwear is forever a mix of leather and canvas, depending on the leaning of the wearer: Mr. Long Black in the corner may likely live out his dirty rocker dreams through his friends the pointed toe and the Cuban Heel, whereas young student Mr. Flat White on the communal table may be tapping the toe of his Vans to the tune of the indie band that is undoubtedly echoing through the space.
Appropriately, it is most often the baristas of said cafes that lead the pack and represent this cloth-and-coffee driven lifestyle from top to toe. You can find this one (pictured left) along with clusters of other male caff-fiends at Workshop Coffee Co. (formerly St. Ali) in Clerkenwell, London.
May 5

CAFFEINE COSTUMES

 

London is truly a highly international city. Any ordinary day guarantees the opportunity to encounter a plethora of different tongues, evidencing that the millions upon millions of people populating the city, its apartments and its streets, have crawled from innumerable pockets of the Earth. It is always interesting to see where people will gather: despite differences in culture, there always exists places of communal interest, towards which the masses will gravitate. London’s current cafe boom (inarguably catering to the demanding palates of the copious amounts of Australian and New Zealander imports) is creating multiple hot-spots for anyone even remotely caffeine-inclined to get their single-origin fix, whether they like it from Ethiopia, El Salvador or Guatemala; be it cold-dripped, siphoned or given the magic touch of a Synesso or a La Marzocco machine.


Possibly the most interesting thing about the wafts of freshly roasted and ground beans, and the chicly cool, carefully designed interiors in which hundreds of cups are expertly poured daily, are the crowds that they draw. And to be more specific, the most curious thing (among the younger gabble of 20-something males) is the undeniable uniform that seems to be globally sported. Anyone who didn’t know better may assume that the world boasts its own generous wardrobe department, and that anybody who has been cast as one of these afore-mentioned ‘20-something coffee-enthusiasts’ has been assigned a specific aesthetic, with which they must comply daily.


For the boys of the espresso world, the essential canvas of the look centres around basic casual-wear. Skinny jeans and dull-coloured chinos are a common occurrence, and Swedish brands certainly among the favoured source of a twill weave. Continuing the simplistic theme of fuss-free basics: the old faithful t-shirt; preferred fit being tight enough not to grate against the lightly tailored look, yet loose enough to turn up the nose of a deeply-bronzed, rollerblading Miami resident. When it comes to cloth, denim is undeniably the people’s choice, sported dark, light, neat, worn, pressed, tattered, doubled or alone. For the individuals who favour formality – at least a whisper of it – a button-down shirt is not out of place: long or short sleeved (season-dependent), and most commonly rolled. In text-book cases, said turned cuff or hem will sneakily reveal a smattering of illustrative inking, exposing a hint of the inner being beneath. And let’s not be forgetting: adornment and accessories are a critical component of the success of the achievement of authenticity. Rain, hail or shine, facial jewellery is always a wearable element (rings for the nose, brow or tongue), echoing the tattoos in their strategy to contrast the cleanly presented exterior created by the blocked basics being worn. The old faithful beanie is another additive that seems to disregard seasonal appropriateness, finding its way atop the craniums of blondes, brunettes and hairless boys no matter the weather. The finishing-touch footwear is forever a mix of leather and canvas, depending on the leaning of the wearer: Mr. Long Black in the corner may likely live out his dirty rocker dreams through his friends the pointed toe and the Cuban Heel, whereas young student Mr. Flat White on the communal table may be tapping the toe of his Vans to the tune of the indie band that is undoubtedly echoing through the space.


Appropriately, it is most often the baristas of said cafes that lead the pack and represent this cloth-and-coffee driven lifestyle from top to toe. You can find this one (pictured left) along with clusters of other male caff-fiends at Workshop Coffee Co. (formerly St. Ali) in Clerkenwell, London.

ANIMANIA


The fashion industry is always one for fads and ever-changing trends. Usually this comes in the form of material items, with accessories being the most easily interchangeable currency. However of late, one of the hottest new things to be seen sporting is a little less disposable. Ordinarily, the most covetable new supplementary fashion items are found adorning one of the body’s focal-points: be it bejewelled nooses around elegantly swan-like necks, glittering boulders perched atop lean and slender digits, or luxurious leather capsules being cradled in the crooks of confident arms. But of late, the troupe of trendsters have had their eyes fixed on all things furry: and that does not refer to the plush and voluminous coats that have been so plentiful of late. Rather, the covetable companions of the moment really are companions in the truest sense.
Among they who find themselves in fashionable circles, the latest place to be seen is ‘Pet Paradise’. Contrary to the traditional use of animals in the industry, the present day sees a newfound love for, and obsession with, the living and breathing… particularly of the tiny and infant variety. This trend first barked in SS11 (remember Miuccia’s monkeys and the tigers prowling Marc Jacobs’ runway?), but now it seems to truly have bitten the industry. Fashion editors and eccentrics alike are finding themselves in raptures over heart-meltingly adorable animal pals, and the newly forming friendships have quickly become news items and publication content across both print and digital.
Featured recently in both the ELLE COLLECTIONS SS12 edition (starring adorable illustrations of designers and their ani-pals) and acting as the basis of a VOGUE feature by Jo Ellison, showcasing ANTIPODIUM’s Cattitude Print and some luxury-grade kitties, Pet Central is a growing craze, appearing not only on magazine pages, but so too on fabrics and garments. Printed, motifed, embroidered and plasticised, animal emblems are appearing everywhere: think Susie Bubble’s Opening Ceremony x Glamour Cat Sweater, Alexa Chung’s go-to Charlotte Olympia fancy feline footwear (both flat and heeled varieties) and Karen Walker’s ‘Va Va’ Bunny shades.
Ever observant, Nick Knight has created his inaugural Instagram shoot, Pussycat Pussycat, to be reflective of the current animadness. Inspired by “internet memes” and the current circulation of myriad animal GIFs, Knight built a glittering menagerie of various juvenile mammals caught in a world of sequins, metallic nail varnishes and over-sized rhinestones all sported by their gentle goddess keeper, the rapidly-rising Cara Delevingne. Shrouded in an opulent mass of Valentino, Mary Katrantzou, Giles, Rochas, Prada, Fabergé, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, the young Brit does a brilliant job (quite literally, brilliant, in the lustrous sense of the word) of demonstrating the industry’s obsession with dramatic decadence. Move over Noah, for Knight and Delevingne’s far more glamorous and decadent story has enough sparkle-power to outshine you and your humble arc.Left: Collage featuring photographs from Pussycat, Pussycat
Images from: showstudio.com
Apr 24

ANIMANIA



The fashion industry is always one for fads and ever-changing trends. Usually this comes in the form of material items, with accessories being the most easily interchangeable currency. However of late, one of the hottest new things to be seen sporting is a little less disposable. Ordinarily, the most covetable new supplementary fashion items are found adorning one of the body’s focal-points: be it bejewelled nooses around elegantly swan-like necks, glittering boulders perched atop lean and slender digits, or luxurious leather capsules being cradled in the crooks of confident arms. But of late, the troupe of trendsters have had their eyes fixed on all things furry: and that does not refer to the plush and voluminous coats that have been so plentiful of late. Rather, the covetable companions of the moment really are companions in the truest sense.


Among they who find themselves in fashionable circles, the latest place to be seen is ‘Pet Paradise’. Contrary to the traditional use of animals in the industry, the present day sees a newfound love for, and obsession with, the living and breathing… particularly of the tiny and infant variety. This trend first barked in SS11 (remember Miuccia’s monkeys and the tigers prowling Marc Jacobs’ runway?), but now it seems to truly have bitten the industry. Fashion editors and eccentrics alike are finding themselves in raptures over heart-meltingly adorable animal pals, and the newly forming friendships have quickly become news items and publication content across both print and digital.


Featured recently in both the ELLE COLLECTIONS SS12 edition (starring adorable illustrations of designers and their ani-pals) and acting as the basis of a VOGUE feature by Jo Ellison, showcasing ANTIPODIUM’s Cattitude Print and some luxury-grade kitties, Pet Central is a growing craze, appearing not only on magazine pages, but so too on fabrics and garments. Printed, motifed, embroidered and plasticised, animal emblems are appearing everywhere: think Susie Bubble’s Opening Ceremony x Glamour Cat Sweater, Alexa Chung’s go-to Charlotte Olympia fancy feline footwear (both flat and heeled varieties) and Karen Walker’s ‘Va Va’ Bunny shades.


Ever observant, Nick Knight has created his inaugural Instagram shoot, Pussycat Pussycat, to be reflective of the current animadness. Inspired by “internet memes” and the current circulation of myriad animal GIFs, Knight built a glittering menagerie of various juvenile mammals caught in a world of sequins, metallic nail varnishes and over-sized rhinestones all sported by their gentle goddess keeper, the rapidly-rising Cara Delevingne. Shrouded in an opulent mass of Valentino, Mary Katrantzou, Giles, Rochas, Prada, Fabergé, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, the young Brit does a brilliant job (quite literally, brilliant, in the lustrous sense of the word) of demonstrating the industry’s obsession with dramatic decadence. Move over Noah, for Knight and Delevingne’s far more glamorous and decadent story has enough sparkle-power to outshine you and your humble arc.


Left: Collage featuring photographs from Pussycat, Pussycat

Images from: showstudio.com

B-COS I LOVE YOU
My memory of my first real store crush is so clear in my mind that it may as well be tattooed intricately on the interior of my cranium. It was the European Summer of 2009, and I found myself on a family pilgrimage to Deutschland, a journey to unfurl the deeply rooted origins of my Grandparents and their ancestors before them. Before delving into the payment of family homage, a blissful week was spent discovering Berlin’s loveable Mitte neighbourhood. The modern city struck me like the type of kid in school who is irresistibly oblivious to their own level of cool, yet unwittingly draws people, fascinated and transfixed, into their realm. So genuinely unaffected by the perception of others, are the afore-mentioned genius cool kids, that they have the liberty of channeling all their energies towards exceeding their own level of amazingness: and Berlin seemed to function in exactly the same way. In any case, I had a lot to learn from Berlin, the heart of a country whose shame-kissed past had fertilized new generations of people of strength and resilience, resourcefulness and ingenuity, logic and practicality. 
It was on a day dedicated to pavement-pounding in my new temporary neighbourhood that I encountered COS, first intrigued by their statement SALE sign: a skeletal structure boasting an eye-catching pattern of wooden vertebrae mixed in with solid, grained, knotty panels. My well-trained eye, ever hyper-aware of the tell-tale signs of quality, was immediately on alert upon entering through the doors of the chicly minimalist retail space. I am a strong believer in stores beaming an aura detectable immediately upon finding oneself within its walls – this aura, if off-putting, can easily make for a very short shopping trip. Luckily, COS was a shining example of an environment where there seemed to be an obvious respect for quality and clever curation. I still remember gliding past the racks in a dream-like haze, sighting considered palettes of pure pigments, noting unique silhouettes and subtly daring details that would usually denote a price-point high enough to crush my dreams of exiting the store laden with bags. I was convinced that I had had the simultaneous fortune and misfortune of wandering into the flagship of one of those sleek Scandi brands that I am always prone to falling for… I told myself that MAYBE I would be lucky enough to exit the premises as the new owner of one single, carefully selected wardrobe addition. I believe it was as my fingers wandered over a pair of beautiful Nubuck flats, turning them over in my hands, that I was jolted into a completely different reality. Yes, I had sighted the price sticker – and YES, it was practically breath-takingly affordable. It was almost disconcerting to experience a change in environment so dramatic as this was. Naturally, a rush of adrenaline and an excitement-induced high ensued. I still remember the pure ecstasy.
It was after leaving the store that I was desperate to learn more about the Raison d’être of this new find, and how it came to be. Who was responsible for treating me to items of such aesthetic, fabrication and manufacturing quality, at a fraction of the price that I would be cruelly cornered into forking out on my own Australian home soil? This was truly a dream I thought to be impossible… so who was the facilitator?
Ever insatiably curious, it was not long before I began to uncover the story behind this mysterious cult-worthy COS. My discoveries left me with a mind more blown than ever, learning that my new fast-made favourite was not quite the independent boutique start-up brand I had presumptuously taken it for, but rather, an offspring of a much bigger corporation. Yes, COS was a baby (a very trendy one, at that) of mass megapower H&M, the infamous European fast-fashion engine. Having been so struck by the strong simplicity, the modern minimalism and clean confidence of COS, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was a byproduct of the company whose  stores I associated with an overwhelmingly maddened fashion frenzy.
Started in 2007, COS was a project focused on creating a line of clothing that would be dedicated to a consistent vow to quality on all levels: aesthetic, cut, fabrications, make and finish – all things that would carry through to the retail experience. Reading interviews with COS’ heads of design, Karin Gustafsson and Martin Andersson, the company’s commitment to creating a brand with a personal touch at all stages of the process is clear – as is their insistence on independence in approach and conception. Gustafsson was recently quoted as diplomatically explaining that while logically they as a team are obliged to take note of apparent trends, “the work of other designers is never the starting point for (their) work”. Instead, it is evident that within their own frame of a focus on quality, originality, and a willingness to challenge convention shine through, most commonly through the plethora of re-imagined classics that so often fill the racks of COS’ 40+ Europe-scattered stores. Each season, the collections prove themselves to be geared towards a woman who places great importance on self-presentation, and who values her wardrobe reflecting her own ambitious characteristics. Always with a cheeky smirk of unconvention, COS delivers unfailingly, and by today in 2012, the brand boasts a league of loyal followers, who return time and time again knowing that they will be rewarded with boldly designed, body-considerate pieces at mass-comparable prices (something which is accommodated only through COS’ ties to H&M).
COS speaks volumes about what the future of high street fashion needs to be. Despite its youth, its burgeoning popularity could barely be any more demonstrative of the market’s hunger for the exact type of garment that COS so successfully serves up. It is really all about the identification of the fashion-appreciative client whose likes to feel as though the importance that he or she places on cleverly-conceived, consistently-detailed, high-quality clothing is met with continuously refreshing seasons of sartorial offerings.
And so three years on, with COS as my go-to haven in London for any clothing crisis, and my passion and adoration strong as it was on that fateful day in Berlin, it is only fair to say that perhaps in this case, I may just believe in love at first sight.
 
CREDITS:  tm-digital.de
 
Apr 14

B-COS I LOVE YOU




My memory of my first real store crush is so clear in my mind that it may as well be tattooed intricately on the interior of my cranium. It was the European Summer of 2009, and I found myself on a family pilgrimage to Deutschland, a journey to unfurl the deeply rooted origins of my Grandparents and their ancestors before them. Before delving into the payment of family homage, a blissful week was spent discovering Berlin’s loveable Mitte neighbourhood. The modern city struck me like the type of kid in school who is irresistibly oblivious to their own level of cool, yet unwittingly draws people, fascinated and transfixed, into their realm. So genuinely unaffected by the perception of others, are the afore-mentioned genius cool kids, that they have the liberty of channeling all their energies towards exceeding their own level of amazingness: and Berlin seemed to function in exactly the same way. In any case, I had a lot to learn from Berlin, the heart of a country whose shame-kissed past had fertilized new generations of people of strength and resilience, resourcefulness and ingenuity, logic and practicality.
 

It was on a day dedicated to pavement-pounding in my new temporary neighbourhood that I encountered COS, first intrigued by their statement SALE sign: a skeletal structure boasting an eye-catching pattern of wooden vertebrae mixed in with solid, grained, knotty panels. My well-trained eye, ever hyper-aware of the tell-tale signs of quality, was immediately on alert upon entering through the doors of the chicly minimalist retail space. I am a strong believer in stores beaming an aura detectable immediately upon finding oneself within its walls – this aura, if off-putting, can easily make for a very short shopping trip. Luckily, COS was a shining example of an environment where there seemed to be an obvious respect for quality and clever curation. I still remember gliding past the racks in a dream-like haze, sighting considered palettes of pure pigments, noting unique silhouettes and subtly daring details that would usually denote a price-point high enough to crush my dreams of exiting the store laden with bags. I was convinced that I had had the simultaneous fortune and misfortune of wandering into the flagship of one of those sleek Scandi brands that I am always prone to falling for… I told myself that MAYBE I would be lucky enough to exit the premises as the new owner of one single, carefully selected wardrobe addition. I believe it was as my fingers wandered over a pair of beautiful Nubuck flats, turning them over in my hands, that I was jolted into a completely different reality. Yes, I had sighted the price sticker – and YES, it was practically breath-takingly affordable. It was almost disconcerting to experience a change in environment so dramatic as this was. Naturally, a rush of adrenaline and an excitement-induced high ensued. I still remember the pure ecstasy.


It was after leaving the store that I was desperate to learn more about the Raison d’être of this new find, and how it came to be. Who was responsible for treating me to items of such aesthetic, fabrication and manufacturing quality, at a fraction of the price that I would be cruelly cornered into forking out on my own Australian home soil? This was truly a dream I thought to be impossible… so who was the facilitator?

Ever insatiably curious, it was not long before I began to uncover the story behind this mysterious cult-worthy COS. My discoveries left me with a mind more blown than ever, learning that my new fast-made favourite was not quite the independent boutique start-up brand I had presumptuously taken it for, but rather, an offspring of a much bigger corporation. Yes, COS was a baby (a very trendy one, at that) of mass megapower H&M, the infamous European fast-fashion engine. Having been so struck by the strong simplicity, the modern minimalism and clean confidence of COS, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was a byproduct of the company whose  stores I associated with an overwhelmingly maddened fashion frenzy.

Started in 2007, COS was a project focused on creating a line of clothing that would be dedicated to a consistent vow to quality on all levels: aesthetic, cut, fabrications, make and finish – all things that would carry through to the retail experience. Reading interviews with COS’ heads of design, Karin Gustafsson and Martin Andersson, the company’s commitment to creating a brand with a personal touch at all stages of the process is clear – as is their insistence on independence in approach and conception. Gustafsson was recently quoted as diplomatically explaining that while logically they as a team are obliged to take note of apparent trends, “the work of other designers is never the starting point for (their) work”. Instead, it is evident that within their own frame of a focus on quality, originality, and a willingness to challenge convention shine through, most commonly through the plethora of re-imagined classics that so often fill the racks of COS’ 40+ Europe-scattered stores. Each season, the collections prove themselves to be geared towards a woman who places great importance on self-presentation, and who values her wardrobe reflecting her own ambitious characteristics. Always with a cheeky smirk of unconvention, COS delivers unfailingly, and by today in 2012, the brand boasts a league of loyal followers, who return time and time again knowing that they will be rewarded with boldly designed, body-considerate pieces at mass-comparable prices (something which is accommodated only through COS’ ties to H&M).

COS speaks volumes about what the future of high street fashion needs to be. Despite its youth, its burgeoning popularity could barely be any more demonstrative of the market’s hunger for the exact type of garment that COS so successfully serves up. It is really all about the identification of the fashion-appreciative client whose likes to feel as though the importance that he or she places on cleverly-conceived, consistently-detailed, high-quality clothing is met with continuously refreshing seasons of sartorial offerings.

And so three years on, with COS as my go-to haven in London for any clothing crisis, and my passion and adoration strong as it was on that fateful day in Berlin, it is only fair to say that perhaps in this case, I may just believe in love at first sight.

 


CREDITS:  tm-digital.de

 

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS… WELL, SILVER
There are certain animal species known for their unrestrainable obsession with any object or surface that glimmers, glints, gleams or glitters. If one believes in reincarnation, then it would be a justified suspicion that I may very well have been a magpie… or a racoon, in a past life. Actually, even as I write this, the accusation seems increasingly plausible: after all, my tendency to sport a white shirt collar paired with plenty of black and the occasional cameo by Mr. Grey befits the uniform of these monochromatic creatures rather well. The real communal Achilles’ heel here is the innate attraction to anything capable of sparkling. Easily bedazzled, we are. And this said bedazzling is overwhelmingly Opioid in effect. Inducing an overruling transfixion that numbs the ability to focus anywhere outside the direct view of said brilliant object, this obsession is puzzling in the strength of its power.
It is a curious thing, my own severe case of glitterlust. Incurable, I suspect, however admittedly the prognosis is not bothersome to me. It is, however, at odds with my otherwise somewhat restrained aesthetic. Paradoxical is my hallucinogenic adoration of the dizzyingly ditzy and bling-worthy. I am happy, in my pared-down tailored calm, to step into Glitterland at the slightest hint of an invitation. Heck, forget an invitation, I’ll be turning up whether my name is on the list or not! This gravitation towards the girlishly glittery is not entirely out of character for me, despite the immediate assumption made based on my outward signature style, that is void of anything flirtishly frilly or feminine. Delving into my history, one will easily find evidence of a long-running penchant for all things a girl is traditionally expected to covet. A tragic love affair I did once have with pink: my darling and generous mother has told me of how, against all better sartorial judgement, she would allow the 4-year-old me to grace the streets in carefully self-selected getups of top-to-toe pick-n-mix pinks: apparently I was a fan of the intentional clash from a much earlier age than I thought. And yes, the official count of my private Barbie collection is probably too obnoxious to publish. When it came to girlishness, I would have given Suri Cruise a run for her money – though upsettingly my oversized feet (still the case) ruled out those vampish plastic play-heels that I always lusted after so desperately. I think I still have not managed to recover from the trauma.
In any case, as the years progressed and physically I began to increasingly resemble the lady that I so wished to imitate as a child, my want to dress like one diminished at a parallel rate. Was it a resulting reaction to overkill? Had it been too much too soon too early? Admittedly I don’t believe the psychology of the matter runs too deeply, however undeniably, a few traces of my former self still linger irremovably beneath my androgynous guise.
This child-like weakness for silver sparkle I have come to accept, and even embrace. So how could I possibly resist when recently I came across a glitter plastic pencil case – a smug steal at £3.99 – that I knew would serve perfectly as my long sought-after make-up bag? With eyes widened and knees weakened upon sighting, I needed no further proof that my feelings are not to be fought. Call it garish or glamorous, anything that glitters, gleams, glimmers, glints, shines, shimmers, sparkles or refracts light in an ostentatious manner is almost guaranteed to find its fancy way into my heart. Who knows, perhaps a cumulative collection will result in the gradual formation of my own personal Glitterland… now wouldn’t that be grand?
Pictured left: Aggressive Ring, LUSASUL; Passing Bracelet, GALA CURIOUS; Stud Ring and Stud Bracelet, MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE; Jumbo Bling Chain, HOUSE OF BAULCH; Sunglasses, VICTORIA BECKHAM; Pencil Case, AJAX STATIONERS (Old Street, London)
Mar 28

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS… WELL, SILVER



There are certain animal species known for their unrestrainable obsession with any object or surface that glimmers, glints, gleams or glitters. If one believes in reincarnation, then it would be a justified suspicion that I may very well have been a magpie… or a racoon, in a past life. Actually, even as I write this, the accusation seems increasingly plausible: after all, my tendency to sport a white shirt collar paired with plenty of black and the occasional cameo by Mr. Grey befits the uniform of these monochromatic creatures rather well. The real communal Achilles’ heel here is the innate attraction to anything capable of sparkling. Easily bedazzled, we are. And this said bedazzling is overwhelmingly Opioid in effect. Inducing an overruling transfixion that numbs the ability to focus anywhere outside the direct view of said brilliant object, this obsession is puzzling in the strength of its power.


It is a curious thing, my own severe case of glitterlust. Incurable, I suspect, however admittedly the prognosis is not bothersome to me. It is, however, at odds with my otherwise somewhat restrained aesthetic. Paradoxical is my hallucinogenic adoration of the dizzyingly ditzy and bling-worthy. I am happy, in my pared-down tailored calm, to step into Glitterland at the slightest hint of an invitation. Heck, forget an invitation, I’ll be turning up whether my name is on the list or not! This gravitation towards the girlishly glittery is not entirely out of character for me, despite the immediate assumption made based on my outward signature style, that is void of anything flirtishly frilly or feminine. Delving into my history, one will easily find evidence of a long-running penchant for all things a girl is traditionally expected to covet. A tragic love affair I did once have with pink: my darling and generous mother has told me of how, against all better sartorial judgement, she would allow the 4-year-old me to grace the streets in carefully self-selected getups of top-to-toe pick-n-mix pinks: apparently I was a fan of the intentional clash from a much earlier age than I thought. And yes, the official count of my private Barbie collection is probably too obnoxious to publish. When it came to girlishness, I would have given Suri Cruise a run for her money – though upsettingly my oversized feet (still the case) ruled out those vampish plastic play-heels that I always lusted after so desperately. I think I still have not managed to recover from the trauma.


In any case, as the years progressed and physically I began to increasingly resemble the lady that I so wished to imitate as a child, my want to dress like one diminished at a parallel rate. Was it a resulting reaction to overkill? Had it been too much too soon too early? Admittedly I don’t believe the psychology of the matter runs too deeply, however undeniably, a few traces of my former self still linger irremovably beneath my androgynous guise.


This child-like weakness for silver sparkle I have come to accept, and even embrace. So how could I possibly resist when recently I came across a glitter plastic pencil case – a smug steal at £3.99 – that I knew would serve perfectly as my long sought-after make-up bag? With eyes widened and knees weakened upon sighting, I needed no further proof that my feelings are not to be fought. Call it garish or glamorous, anything that glitters, gleams, glimmers, glints, shines, shimmers, sparkles or refracts light in an ostentatious manner is almost guaranteed to find its fancy way into my heart. Who knows, perhaps a cumulative collection will result in the gradual formation of my own personal Glitterland… now wouldn’t that be grand?


Pictured left: Aggressive Ring, LUSASUL; Passing Bracelet, GALA CURIOUS; Stud Ring and Stud Bracelet, MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE; Jumbo Bling Chain, HOUSE OF BAULCH; Sunglasses, VICTORIA BECKHAM; Pencil Case, AJAX STATIONERS (Old Street, London)

The psychology of fashion is a curious thing. For those of us who see it as more of an extra-curricular activity, hobby, or way of life than we do a means of public decency, the contents of a wardrobe can have a bizarrely strong influence on the mindset. It would be a pointless exercise to even attempt to estimate the number of times the phrase ‘I have NOTHING to wear!’ has been wailed by distraught souls standing facing wardrobes jammed burstingly full with garments appropriate for any purpose, no matter how extreme the weather or how unusual the occasion. While I do not count myself among those of the over-fed clothing archive (my frustrating fussiness has granted me far too many bashfully bare naked coat hangers swinging dully from my rail), I am forever in awe of the power that a lack of inspiration can have over me. No… that must be re-phrased. For my downfall is not commonly a lack of inspiration (I spend enough hours drenching myself in floods of fashion imagery suffice to saturate my mind with ideas-a-plenty), but more so the deprivation of a means to an end. Many occasions are etched into my memory of exasperatedly describing to my mother that suffering an insufficiency in garment variety is like an artist being robbed of his brushes. For she who resides on planet fashion by choice, to dress is to express: and to have a means of self-expression straight-jacketed is embarrassingly debilitating. There is simply no denying the fact. It is for this reason (that is, my awareness of my own susceptibility to momentary-muscular-immobility-driven-by-indecision) that stringent planning has become paramount in avoiding falling prey to this unwanted problem. For one who despises the stress of running late, the doom of indecision must be avoided at all costs: without doubt, finding oneself positioned mind-numbed and limb-locked in one’s bedroom is NOT the suggested method of gaining a reputation of timeliness OR timelessness – unless of course timelessness suddenly becomes about gaining the reputation of being notoriously without-notion-of-time. There is nothing like tardiness tarnishing that well-polished exterior you have worked so hard to maintain. After all, style extends beyond the way you’ve tamed your tresses or massaged your delicate cuticles, or the height of heel you’ve managed to successfully conquer. Really, it’s more about the projection of image… and while your shirt may be perfectly Prada, and your complexion clear (courtesy of CHANEL), a hasty case of misbuttoning and a shameful orange tideline extending along the jaw will instantly undo all those desperate attempts in a flash. And so, to overcome this tortuous and tumultuous start to the day (a pair of prematurely-awoken bleary eyes is not the slightest bit helpful either) pre-selection is key. If a girl has anywhere to be in the morning, the best way to safe-guard against becoming the latest victim of the unforgiving image-destroying beast is to reserve a small pocket of pre-slumber time each evening in which to make your enlightened ensemble decisions in a state of calm. Gone is the wicked element of panic, and time considerately refrains from biting at your ankles in the way that it typically enjoys doing so aggressively between the hours of 6 and 10am on any regular day. I assure you, it is a process that CAN feel very Zen… sort of. Don’t worry, you aren’t about to be sold a week-long health retreat that will miraculously help you overcome your visionary short-comings, as lovely as it is to imagine suddenly being freed from the binds of frantic fashion flaps forevermore. In the interest of becoming a more considerate person, this manageable routine is well worth your while. In all likelihood, you will come to be thought of as far more polite and socially-minded, whether through your newfound punctuality, or your future reputation of ‘she who refrains from the public offence of unkemptness’. Could the situation be any more win-win? 

Mar 23
PLANTASTIC
BYREDOUSED
 
It was sometime in 2011, while systematically working my way through the archive of MR PORTER’s ‘Men of the Moment’ (for I do love the thrill of being granted a personal passport into the worlds of fascinating and colourful characters), that I was struck by the image of Mr. Ben Gorham. Beyond the initial curiosity sparked by his somehow manicured ruggedness and eyes that sang of an exotic ancestry, there was something else that held me in dazed intrigue. Staring at the picture before me, I drank in the most paradoxical juxtaposition. My eyes, wandering over his heavily tattooed forearms, deciphering each piece of imagery and wondering about their meanings and origins, were struck suddenly as they fell on the word ‘Perfumer’ that mysteriously captioned the image.Fascinated by the visual irony before me, I was instantly hungry for more information about this creature who, without progressing any further into my investigation, I knew to be inspiring. As I read further, learning of the 6’5” native Swede, whose ties to his mother’s India were strong enough to paint an exotic wash over his father’s Scottish-Canadian genes, I only become increasingly enthralled in the gentle giant’s story.Undeniably an artist and an entrepreneur, this not-yet-30 year old is the reason for the existence of BYREDO Parfums, a boutique house responsible for sensory creations of the most hallucinatory and transportive nature, each fragrance designed to conjure a time, place, experience or memory close to Gorham’s heart.The more I learned of the perfume puppeteer, the more I was eager to know: who was this curious creature, whose illustrated skin cast an armour of toughness, but whose senses were so gentle and delicate enough to be able to skillfully conduct an orchestra of exotic and precious ingredients, and create surreal sensory symphonies? With characteristic curiosity comparable to a cat’s, I am always only too willing to become caught up in a bit of mystery.Forever favouring interesting and intriguing individuals as illustration subjects, I was immediately compelled to put my Pacer to paper and earn myself a lead Gorham, where he can stay put long enough for me to ponder his mysteriousness. So here he safely sits, a graphite-toned twin of his physical self, as wafts of the dream-spinning Rose Noir that I doused myself with today at Liberty happily float around a contented me.Pictured left: my work in progress… 
Mar 20

BYREDOUSED


 

It was sometime in 2011, while systematically working my way through the archive of MR PORTER’s ‘Men of the Moment’ (for I do love the thrill of being granted a personal passport into the worlds of fascinating and colourful characters), that I was struck by the image of Mr. Ben Gorham. Beyond the initial curiosity sparked by his somehow manicured ruggedness and eyes that sang of an exotic ancestry, there was something else that held me in dazed intrigue. Staring at the picture before me, I drank in the most paradoxical juxtaposition. My eyes, wandering over his heavily tattooed forearms, deciphering each piece of imagery and wondering about their meanings and origins, were struck suddenly as they fell on the word ‘Perfumer’ that mysteriously captioned the image.

Fascinated by the visual irony before me, I was instantly hungry for more information about this creature who, without progressing any further into my investigation, I knew to be inspiring. As I read further, learning of the 6’5” native Swede, whose ties to his mother’s India were strong enough to paint an exotic wash over his father’s Scottish-Canadian genes, I only become increasingly enthralled in the gentle giant’s story.

Undeniably an artist and an entrepreneur, this not-yet-30 year old is the reason for the existence of BYREDO Parfums, a boutique house responsible for sensory creations of the most hallucinatory and transportive nature, each fragrance designed to conjure a time, place, experience or memory close to Gorham’s heart.

The more I learned of the perfume puppeteer, the more I was eager to know: who was this curious creature, whose illustrated skin cast an armour of toughness, but whose senses were so gentle and delicate enough to be able to skillfully conduct an orchestra of exotic and precious ingredients, and create surreal sensory symphonies? With characteristic curiosity comparable to a cat’s, I am always only too willing to become caught up in a bit of mystery.

Forever favouring interesting and intriguing individuals as illustration subjects, I was immediately compelled to put my Pacer to paper and earn myself a lead Gorham, where he can stay put long enough for me to ponder his mysteriousness. So here he safely sits, a graphite-toned twin of his physical self, as wafts of the dream-spinning Rose Noir that I doused myself with today at Liberty happily float around a contented me.


Pictured left: my work in progress… 

BE A SPORT THIS SEASON

You know that Spring has truly sprung when excited bursts of freshness (a marriage of damp lawns, newly bloomed buds, and rising temperatures) are strong enough to override the polluted Eau de Londres that is so familiar to the city’s residents, filling your lungs with a purer breath and your heart with a happier beat. Confirmed is the new season’s infancy when each day sees citizens wearing confused combinations of Winter and Summer wardrobes, as if unable to really believe that they can allow themselves to shed their coats and come out of hibernation. Lastly, the promise of a happier people in months to come is no truer than when an old man stops you while crossing the street, saying earnestly, ‘I wish the sun would shine every day’, before carrying on in his tortoise-like way… the most joyful tortoise I’ve known.

Experiencing for only the second time in my life this drastic changing of seasons (such a marked change that I feel truly enlightened about classical European composers’ compulsion to translate the emotions of nature’s annual ‘spectaculaires’ onto scores), I feel that cloaking myself in top-to-toe easy-to-reach black is almost offensive… as though not outwardly showing my appreciation for Spring’s offerings is a crime punishable by more bad weather. Goodness knows I’ll do anything to avoid that sentence.
Among the image conscious, the pilates-panic / fitness-flap / workout-worry seems to be an annual occurrence after months of smugly hiding beneath layer upon layer of knits and coats and conveniently distracting statement furs. The impending warmth marked by Spring typically provokes a semi-permanent furrowed brow on those who have supplemented their heating system at home with one too many hot chocolates. And so begins the communal drive to drag dormant trainers from beneath beds, set alarms an hour earlier and coax limbs into a state of readiness to be bravely bared in Summertime strappiness.

With this guaranteed athletic embrace, it is only too fitting that fashion seems to be recruiting a new team of sports-luxe loving members. Those who have made it through try-outs are kitting up in uniforms of a decidedly athletic nature. Never wanting to forget the team mantra of ‘aesthetics above all’, the most elite players work their gear in seamlessly among less sport-specific pieces, the key to maintaining their confident cool. From bombers to baseball caps to novelty sneakers, the ladder-topping pieces find their secret defence in fabrication, allowing satins and suedes and expertly-selected palettes to help boost them into the exclusive premier league.

And so, taking into consideration my own sense of obligation to represent Team Spring and stop warming the bench in black, I will be representing the East London A-Grade (ANTIPODIUM-Grade, that is), sporting Geoffrey J Finch’s winning ‘Game Player’ bomber jacket. A satin-sleeved tobacco-toned dream in Ponte di Roma, its level of luxe succeeds in helping me forget my fearful lycra sport-associations. Maintaining my signature tailored style, my favourite to wear my new all-rounder all-star has been to pair it with my personal team of underdogs… and by that, I refer to the pack of howling hounds appearing on ANTIPODIUM’s ‘Dog Days’ men’s shirt (a special thanks to my dear father for the loan before I reluctantly ship it to its loving new home in Australia). In a mash of multi-scoop gelato tones, the Miriam Ivanoff print is perfect for the pastel palette that looks set to reign Supreme this Summer.

So zip, button and batter up. With print play-offs being staged in the Luxury League, it’s time to get your game on for the upcoming seasons.
Mar 15

BE A SPORT THIS SEASON




You know that Spring has truly sprung when excited bursts of freshness (a marriage of damp lawns, newly bloomed buds, and rising temperatures) are strong enough to override the polluted Eau de Londres that is so familiar to the city’s residents, filling your lungs with a purer breath and your heart with a happier beat. Confirmed is the new season’s infancy when each day sees citizens wearing confused combinations of Winter and Summer wardrobes, as if unable to really believe that they can allow themselves to shed their coats and come out of hibernation. Lastly, the promise of a happier people in months to come is no truer than when an old man stops you while crossing the street, saying earnestly, ‘I wish the sun would shine every day’, before carrying on in his tortoise-like way… the most joyful tortoise I’ve known.



Experiencing for only the second time in my life this drastic changing of seasons (such a marked change that I feel truly enlightened about classical European composers’ compulsion to translate the emotions of nature’s annual ‘spectaculaires’ onto scores), I feel that cloaking myself in top-to-toe easy-to-reach black is almost offensive… as though not outwardly showing my appreciation for Spring’s offerings is a crime punishable by more bad weather. Goodness knows I’ll do anything to avoid that sentence.


Among the image conscious, the pilates-panic / fitness-flap / workout-worry seems to be an annual occurrence after months of smugly hiding beneath layer upon layer of knits and coats and conveniently distracting statement furs. The impending warmth marked by Spring typically provokes a semi-permanent furrowed brow on those who have supplemented their heating system at home with one too many hot chocolates. And so begins the communal drive to drag dormant trainers from beneath beds, set alarms an hour earlier and coax limbs into a state of readiness to be bravely bared in Summertime strappiness.



With this guaranteed athletic embrace, it is only too fitting that fashion seems to be recruiting a new team of sports-luxe loving members. Those who have made it through try-outs are kitting up in uniforms of a decidedly athletic nature. Never wanting to forget the team mantra of ‘aesthetics above all’, the most elite players work their gear in seamlessly among less sport-specific pieces, the key to maintaining their confident cool. From bombers to baseball caps to novelty sneakers, the ladder-topping pieces find their secret defence in fabrication, allowing satins and suedes and expertly-selected palettes to help boost them into the exclusive premier league.



And so, taking into consideration my own sense of obligation to represent Team Spring and stop warming the bench in black, I will be representing the East London A-Grade (ANTIPODIUM-Grade, that is), sporting Geoffrey J Finch’s winning ‘Game Player’ bomber jacket. A satin-sleeved tobacco-toned dream in Ponte di Roma, its level of luxe succeeds in helping me forget my fearful lycra sport-associations. Maintaining my signature tailored style, my favourite to wear my new all-rounder all-star has been to pair it with my personal team of underdogs… and by that, I refer to the pack of howling hounds appearing on ANTIPODIUM’s ‘Dog Days’ men’s shirt (a special thanks to my dear father for the loan before I reluctantly ship it to its loving new home in Australia). In a mash of multi-scoop gelato tones, the Miriam Ivanoff print is perfect for the pastel palette that looks set to reign Supreme this Summer.



So zip, button and batter up. With print play-offs being staged in the Luxury League, it’s time to get your game on for the upcoming seasons.

RAINING KARLS AND MODS
Rain and being rained on is never a glamorous thing. Yet despite the dripping doom being dispersed from Paris’ clouded grey skies on Tuesday (accompanied by an icy air that seemed to have made an appearance just to make the packs of mini-clad twig-legged beauties cringe), nothing could chase away the overwhelming aura of glamour surrounding the ever-anticipated CHANEL show: the house whose namesake is synonymous with what the world has come to define as the height of chic, and whose current, future-chasing father (Kaiser Karl) is inarguably one of fashion’s most influential and controversial characters.At the dramatic main entrance of the Grand Palais, fashion icons, It-Girls, brand-devotees and loyal customers carefully scaled the majestic steps in readiness for one of the most transportive experiences of their month, being blinded all the way by a concentration of clicking cameras belonging to die-hard fashion bloggers braving the interfering conditions. Yet tucked around the corner, in a less conspicuous, more underground setting, existed the less-frequented, more exclusive entrance. A surprisingly small paparazzi posse clustered around a set of impressively oversized-yet-proportionate double doors, their close proximity to one another likely driven more by their diminishing core temperatures than by a lack of available space. Coming up to meet Karl-standards, a small herd of devastatingly handsome boys stood behind the admittedly less-attractive micro security force… their purpose, other than being beautiful, was soon to become apparent. Photographers and standers-by did not have to spend long focusing their energies on shouldering each other in determined attempts to score the ideal hunting position for a perfect point-and-shoot.It was not long before a succession of shine began: shiny, black over-polished private cars, from which shiny, perfectly preened celebrities emerged, who were in turn faced with a shiny light-and-sound show of sequential oversized camera flashes, omitting their biggest and brightest blazes in a bid to successfully earn their keep. The whole affair was an adrenaline-spurred guessing game. The importance of each car was marked by the sudden rush of the otherwise stagnant, chiseled-faced model boys, who would swiftly stride out, straight-backed in a rush to form an instant covered walkway with their canopy of well-logoed umbrellas, beaming boastful double Cs in protest to the ruinous weather. The modest crowd shared an incessant electric hype, anticipating who would slide out from the next chauffeured chariot.Two arrivals were unmatched. Firstly, the Maison’s own royalty: the regal white lion with his infamously beribboned ponytail strode through a chorus of stifled gasps, eyes peeking out from behind viewfinders. The designer arriving to his own show on time with his guests? Few words other than glamorous would suffice. It was only minutes later that there was a quiet scuffle among the pretty parapluie garçons in their haste to gather where the most recent gleaming vehicle had come to a halt. Their sudden attention was a tip-off to all who waited with cameras poised. A cry emerged from a young German freelancer: ‘Anna! Anna Wintour!’, her companion’s fedora falling victim to her excitedly gesticulating arm. Elbows nudged. Necks craned. Flanked by a poncho-sporting André Leon Talley, there it was: the burnished blonde bob, with its power to instantly authenticate the legitimacy of the event (if Lagerfeld himself wasn’t already enough).The doors were soon sealed behind the infamous editor, and the lingering, rain-bedraggled crowd was left outside with imaginations running wild about the alternate universe that had been created inside. Another world, so close in proximity yet so inaccessible to those who had not been extended an invitation into CHANEL’s most recent realm. Being fed only murmurs of the muffled soundtrack was the sole clue to the experience that guests inside awed by. And while the lapsed time had accommodated a hypnagogic journey for the show’s attendees, it was no more than 15 minutes later that the gates were once more unlocked, releasing Ms. Wintour from the temporary escape. Her famed hair bouncing with each step, it was not the plush fur collar or layered jewel neck adornments that caught one’s eye the most, but the glowing smile that she wore: a telling tick of approval.
Mar 11

RAINING KARLS AND MODS



Rain and being rained on is never a glamorous thing. Yet despite the dripping doom being dispersed from Paris’ clouded grey skies on Tuesday (accompanied by an icy air that seemed to have made an appearance just to make the packs of mini-clad twig-legged beauties cringe), nothing could chase away the overwhelming aura of glamour surrounding the ever-anticipated CHANEL show: the house whose namesake is synonymous with what the world has come to define as the height of chic, and whose current, future-chasing father (Kaiser Karl) is inarguably one of fashion’s most influential and controversial characters.

At the dramatic main entrance of the Grand Palais, fashion icons, It-Girls, brand-devotees and loyal customers carefully scaled the majestic steps in readiness for one of the most transportive experiences of their month, being blinded all the way by a concentration of clicking cameras belonging to die-hard fashion bloggers braving the interfering conditions. Yet tucked around the corner, in a less conspicuous, more underground setting, existed the less-frequented, more exclusive entrance. A surprisingly small paparazzi posse clustered around a set of impressively oversized-yet-proportionate double doors, their close proximity to one another likely driven more by their diminishing core temperatures than by a lack of available space. Coming up to meet Karl-standards, a small herd of devastatingly handsome boys stood behind the admittedly less-attractive micro security force… their purpose, other than being beautiful, was soon to become apparent. Photographers and standers-by did not have to spend long focusing their energies on shouldering each other in determined attempts to score the ideal hunting position for a perfect point-and-shoot.

It was not long before a succession of shine began: shiny, black over-polished private cars, from which shiny, perfectly preened celebrities emerged, who were in turn faced with a shiny light-and-sound show of sequential oversized camera flashes, omitting their biggest and brightest blazes in a bid to successfully earn their keep. The whole affair was an adrenaline-spurred guessing game. The importance of each car was marked by the sudden rush of the otherwise stagnant, chiseled-faced model boys, who would swiftly stride out, straight-backed in a rush to form an instant covered walkway with their canopy of well-logoed umbrellas, beaming boastful double Cs in protest to the ruinous weather. The modest crowd shared an incessant electric hype, anticipating who would slide out from the next chauffeured chariot.

Two arrivals were unmatched. Firstly, the Maison’s own royalty: the regal white lion with his infamously beribboned ponytail strode through a chorus of stifled gasps, eyes peeking out from behind viewfinders. The designer arriving to his own show on time with his guests? Few words other than glamorous would suffice. It was only minutes later that there was a quiet scuffle among the pretty parapluie garçons in their haste to gather where the most recent gleaming vehicle had come to a halt. Their sudden attention was a tip-off to all who waited with cameras poised. A cry emerged from a young German freelancer: ‘Anna! Anna Wintour!’, her companion’s fedora falling victim to her excitedly gesticulating arm. Elbows nudged. Necks craned. Flanked by a poncho-sporting André Leon Talley, there it was: the burnished blonde bob, with its power to instantly authenticate the legitimacy of the event (if Lagerfeld himself wasn’t already enough).

The doors were soon sealed behind the infamous editor, and the lingering, rain-bedraggled crowd was left outside with imaginations running wild about the alternate universe that had been created inside. Another world, so close in proximity yet so inaccessible to those who had not been extended an invitation into CHANEL’s most recent realm. Being fed only murmurs of the muffled soundtrack was the sole clue to the experience that guests inside awed by. And while the lapsed time had accommodated a hypnagogic journey for the show’s attendees, it was no more than 15 minutes later that the gates were once more unlocked, releasing Ms. Wintour from the temporary escape. Her famed hair bouncing with each step, it was not the plush fur collar or layered jewel neck adornments that caught one’s eye the most, but the glowing smile that she wore: a telling tick of approval.

MAMMAL TEXTURES… 
Perhaps by some form of genetic mutation, a new species of heavily plush mammal appears to be inhabiting the earth. Spotted on a progressive, cross-continental migration path, these elegant beasts have been documented making their way from New York to London to Milan, reaching a resting place in Paris. In this world, the regular wildlife-whisperer and documenter David Attenborough is replaced by an equally wise and revered, silver-crowned counterpart, Bill Cunningham. Fur is being embraced with undeniable enthusiasm right now… the showier, the more extravagant and the plusher the pile, the better. Running alongside the classic full torso of fur is an interesting isolation ,where wild animal arms border conventionally constructed and fabricated bodies, and many examples of an extreme sleeve has been spied prowling the catwalk.  On the streets, voluminous beasts encircle one another in unspoken competition, finding their point of difference in atypical, out-of-the-box colours or crafty combinations of the coats of multiple beasts. It is a vibrant and playful tribe, brighter and more boastful than species previously documented. An observational creature, the cleverest of the species can be spotted assuming other trends in a near-chameleon-like fashion. Even at times, the Power Prints that are becoming so popular have popped up in plush versions, proving that this beast is a clever and tactical one, likely to only gain strength and power in the Fashion Kingdom.
Images from: Harper’s Bazaar; Mr. Newton; Rachel Phipps; Street Peeper [Phil Oh]; vogue.com 
Mar 8

MAMMAL TEXTURES…
 

Perhaps by some form of genetic mutation, a new species of heavily plush mammal appears to be inhabiting the earth. Spotted on a progressive, cross-continental migration path, these elegant beasts have been documented making their way from New York to London to Milan, reaching a resting place in Paris. In this world, the regular wildlife-whisperer and documenter David Attenborough is replaced by an equally wise and revered, silver-crowned counterpart, Bill Cunningham. Fur is being embraced with undeniable enthusiasm right now… the showier, the more extravagant and the plusher the pile, the better. Running alongside the classic full torso of fur is an interesting isolation ,where wild animal arms border conventionally constructed and fabricated bodies, and many examples of an extreme sleeve has been spied prowling the catwalk.  On the streets, voluminous beasts encircle one another in unspoken competition, finding their point of difference in atypical, out-of-the-box colours or crafty combinations of the coats of multiple beasts. It is a vibrant and playful tribe, brighter and more boastful than species previously documented. An observational creature, the cleverest of the species can be spotted assuming other trends in a near-chameleon-like fashion. Even at times, the Power Prints that are becoming so popular have popped up in plush versions, proving that this beast is a clever and tactical one, likely to only gain strength and power in the Fashion Kingdom.


Images from: Harper’s Bazaar; Mr. Newton; Rachel Phipps; Street Peeper [Phil Oh]; vogue.com 

It is confirmed: the hours spent in front of the screen, eyes glazed over, reflecting endless captured moments of shining treasure-trove embellishments affixed onto the ensembles of street-prowlers has seeped into my seldom-impressionable mind and lured me into applying for a membership to a club to which I’ve never before belonged. A slave to crisp white collars, finding comfort in falling back on statement neck pieces to bring my element of bling, I have ventured beyond my well-memorised formula and bought into a world I’ve only ever before observed. I blame Anna Dello Russo, though I’m not certain that blame is the correct word. Today was a day of firsts for me, for it was during my inaugural visit to mass-fash-monster TOPSHOP (a powerhouse which I have previously shied away from, perhaps unreasonably), that a skirt whose surface was overgrown with myriad shining, mirrored surfaces of a green-y gun-metallic hue caught my eye. Ever one who is childishly thrilled by surprising, minute coincidental coordinations that may occur within an ensemble, my mind immediately wandered to my old faithful Lanvin neck warrior, who has fought for my outward appearance endlessly over the past couple of years. How perfectly the tiny pupil of green would mimic and reflect the sea-like tones of this glimmering garment. An influx of imagery absorbed through the computer screen over the past few weeks flashed before my eyes, and suddenly I saw the fine details of fancification that I have seen sported successfully by others transitioning into my own wardrobe and becoming relevant to the androgynous archive that hangs draped on the rail. Another flash, and I stood on Regent Street clutching both receipt and purchase in my hand, feeling oddly liberated about the opportunity to create my own sequined street sequences.

Mar 7
Chain Invasion

Tomorrow I will pull away from old familiar London town, and hungrily trek to the mecca of chic in search of an excitedly anticipated dose of unreality. I will settle into the protective capsule of my Eurostar carriage (somewhere I have become fond of over the past 6 months as the one place that would afford me 2 hours of luxurious napping in an otherwise oft-sleep-deprived lifestyle), and reawaken in a thrillingly escapist setting. Hailing from an antipodean land, the concept of spending a short pocket of time dipped in semi-aquatic transit, and being granted a passport into a culture so intrinsically and refreshingly different from my own is an indescribable thrill. This journey takes place during a time that is particularly highlighter-worthy on my personal calendar. The rush of the Fashion Week Quad sees my information-hungry internet habits become more frenzied than at any other time of the year, in my shameless attempts to keep up with the incessant action being played out on catwalks and sidewalk stages. From the privacy of my own apartment, I have had the ability to simulate the mad show-to-show dash, thanks to technology’s generous offerings of live streaming. Feeling that my mocked-up fashion week was lacking a certain element, I may be guilty of having slipped on my most extremely cab-to-kerb Alaïa killers while sitting on my bed on one occasion during the last week. You can’t blame a girl for injecting a little drama: pole-like though they both may be, what sort of replacement is a lamp for Anna Dello Russo as a front row companion, after all? So this week, dissatisfied with my so-near-yet-so-far experience to date (save for a lovely ticket to the Antipodium London Fashion Week Show), I am attempting to launch myself into the frenzy of the final, and arguably most-adored week of the global biannual celebration of fashion. Having experienced the Tuileries-trotting in September of last year, I am returning with a keenness that I needn’t even bother attempting to conceal. A long-time monitor of street style blogs, I witnessed the surreal like never before when I stood outside the Issey Miyake show, my kohl-swept eyes widening as I watched on while the still images of Tommy Ton and others’ lenses sprang into action before me: much like a dream in which my carefully archived computer folders packed full of their famous images might blossom with sudden life and cleverly position themselves side-by-side to form a continuous moving scene, fabricating a world that I have so often spent hours wondering about. And so, with a gravitation that I can only describe as feeling magnetic, I am returning for round two, ready to reinstate my position in the stands as enthralled, die-hard spectator. I could not be more ready to witness the battle between the rebels of the rue, outfitted in their prized weaponry of frighteningly fierce footwear, ample accessories and garments with a wow-factor designed to shock the (carefully selected) socks off their street-strutting opponents. 

Mar 4
In Search of PFW, ADR and KL…
POWER PRINTS…
This season, though popping up here and there in playful, funsy interpretive-chic collections (perhaps most notably at Marni), the POWER PRINT is no stronger anywhere else than it is on the concrete catwalk. Industry heavy-weights, bloggers and models have been spotted on numerous occasions swathing themselves in punchy pieces studded with repetitive geometry or new-day florals that abandon the oft-associated whimsies of a woman shrouded in petals, instead springing up with an almost assertive self-assuredness. When the decision to be bold has been made, it has been done so with conviction, and many an example of paired prints can be noted: marrying linear geometry with pop-art petal prints, or going so far as to stage a floral face-off and plant two species within the one earth-plot ensemble. This micro-trend will appeal to the girl who shys away from overt femininity: lending itself to a more tailored aesthetic, this new approach also extends an invitation to a knitwear party of sorts, where one has the opportunity to indulge in a more fun approach.  Forget Fair Isle as your go-to patterned knit, for prints are set to pop on your go-to jersey and woollen pieces… and if we’re being powerful and making statements, what better way could there be to create an eye-catching exoskeleton than to shield your underlayers with skirts, trousers and blazers boasting bold and cleverly conflicting markings of their own?Images from: All The Pretty Birds; Nam [Grazia Italia]; The Sartorialist; vogue.com
Mar 4

POWER PRINTS…


This season, though popping up here and there in playful, funsy interpretive-chic collections (perhaps most notably at Marni), the POWER PRINT is no stronger anywhere else than it is on the concrete catwalk. Industry heavy-weights, bloggers and models have been spotted on numerous occasions swathing themselves in punchy pieces studded with repetitive geometry or new-day florals that abandon the oft-associated whimsies of a woman shrouded in petals, instead springing up with an almost assertive self-assuredness. When the decision to be bold has been made, it has been done so with conviction, and many an example of paired prints can be noted: marrying linear geometry with pop-art petal prints, or going so far as to stage a floral face-off and plant two species within the one earth-plot ensemble. This micro-trend will appeal to the girl who shys away from overt femininity: lending itself to a more tailored aesthetic, this new approach also extends an invitation to a knitwear party of sorts, where one has the opportunity to indulge in a more fun approach.  Forget Fair Isle as your go-to patterned knit, for prints are set to pop on your go-to jersey and woollen pieces… and if we’re being powerful and making statements, what better way could there be to create an eye-catching exoskeleton than to shield your underlayers with skirts, trousers and blazers boasting bold and cleverly conflicting markings of their own?

Images from: All The Pretty Birds; Nam [Grazia Italia]; The Sartorialist; vogue.com

ENCRUSTING EVERYTHING…It appears as if a giant haberdashery store has been upturned and violently shaken, scattering its contents oddly directly over New York, London, Milan and Paris, for the stiletto-stomping fashion pack have been seen making their seasonal style statements, trotting from show to show sporting a dandruff of jewelled, sequined and beaded beauty. Bringing shirts, sweaters and ordinarily-simple tailored outerwear into a new form of the third dimension, this confident tendency to encrust even the simplest of surfaces extends a hand inviting the boring and basic into the land of the luxe. There is no room for wallflowers in this club, for overt and over-the-top seems to be the motto. Looking for a way to liven up an overcoat that would ordinarily conceal the inspiring ensemble you have lurking beneath? Prada will solve that little dilemma for you (their neon jewel-encrusted shoulders and seams have been elegantly sported by Giovanna Battaglia and Anna Dello Russo this month)… and forget a simple, mumsy, stand-alone sequined flower motif: if we’re doing sequins, why not crustily cover the entire garment (I’m looking at you, Michelle Harper)? Perhaps my favourite extension and echo of this dazzling drama has in fact been the highly three-dimensional iPhone cover captured by Tommy Ton’s lens with its rhinestone-smattered My Little Pony projectile, that admittedly sent me into a Googling frenzy in the hope of somehow being able to adopt a fancy brag-worthy baby of my own.Images from: All The Pretty Birds; Street Peeper; Tommy Ton [style.com]; vogue.com
Mar 3

ENCRUSTING EVERYTHING…

It appears as if a giant haberdashery store has been upturned and violently shaken, scattering its contents oddly directly over New York, London, Milan and Paris, for the stiletto-stomping fashion pack have been seen making their seasonal style statements, trotting from show to show sporting a dandruff of jewelled, sequined and beaded beauty. Bringing shirts, sweaters and ordinarily-simple tailored outerwear into a new form of the third dimension, this confident tendency to encrust even the simplest of surfaces extends a hand inviting the boring and basic into the land of the luxe. There is no room for wallflowers in this club, for overt and over-the-top seems to be the motto. Looking for a way to liven up an overcoat that would ordinarily conceal the inspiring ensemble you have lurking beneath? Prada will solve that little dilemma for you (their neon jewel-encrusted shoulders and seams have been elegantly sported by Giovanna Battaglia and Anna Dello Russo this month)… and forget a simple, mumsy, stand-alone sequined flower motif: if we’re doing sequins, why not crustily cover the entire garment (I’m looking at you, Michelle Harper)? Perhaps my favourite extension and echo of this dazzling drama has in fact been the highly three-dimensional iPhone cover captured by Tommy Ton’s lens with its rhinestone-smattered My Little Pony projectile, that admittedly sent me into a Googling frenzy in the hope of somehow being able to adopt a fancy brag-worthy baby of my own.

Images from: All The Pretty Birds; Street Peeper; Tommy Ton [style.com]; vogue.com