Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Marie Claire China, 'Lil Bakeshop'

Look at the delectable pastels on show in this editorial for the February edition of Marie Claire China.  Showcasing Springs hottest trend in Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada are models Masha P and Anna I. Styled by Guillaume Boulez with make up by David Tibolla, this editorial is perfection. I love the sweet, sugary colours of the clothes and the make-up to match the delicious cakes. The pastel bouffant hairstyle is a favourite, especially offset with matching eyebrows. The accessories are feminine- looks like pearls, big buttons and frills are back for Spring. But I especially love how these models aren't afraid of cake!

Editorial shot by Amber Gray
Marie Claire China, February 2012
Shot on location at Little Cupcake Bakeshop in New York

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Alexander Wang's 'sweatshop' scandal

Edgy American designer Alexander Wang has been rocked by scandalous allegations which suggest that workers in his New York factory were working under unsafe conditions. Internet reports say that a recent lawsuit was filed against him in the Federal Court in New York. A previous lawsuit in the Supreme Court, which was apparently initially seeking $50 million in damages, was dropped after the accusers wanted to take it to a more serious level.

Alexander Wang after his S/S 12 show

The employee who has filed the lawsuit, Wenyu Lu, has made some very serious allegations. The 56-year old worked for Alexander Wang, and his brother Dennis Wang, for 3 years, creating some of the grunge-chic clothes that are such a hit on the catwalk. The factory in which some of Spring's biggest sports luxe hits were made is situated in the Chinatown area of New York. 

Lu says that he and 30 other workers were forced to work up to 25-hour days in 'sweatshop' conditions. He says that they worked in windowless rooms, were forbidden to take breaks and received no overtime pay. According to the lawsuit, Lu was fired after requesting worker's compensation.

According to the NY Post: 

"Lu claims he was hospitalized for several days after he passed out at his work station because he was forced to work 25 hours straight — without a break — and was told he’d be fired if he didn’t follow orders.

Lu, 56, a three-year employee of teh [sic] Wang factory, claims he was also ordered to “knit and perfect a professional grade leather trouser from cut to finish in four hours.”

The job normally takes 12 hours, and results in a pair of pricey pants that can retail for $300, the suit says.

When the four hours passed, Lu claims he was insulted and called names by Dennis Wang, who ordered him to not take a break or go home until the job was completed, the lawsuit says.
Lu was ultimately fired on Feb. 16 after complaining about the labor law violations, bad working conditions, and applying for worker’s compensation, said Ming Hai, his lawyer."
Wang and his company have denied all allegations. They say the factory offers a luxurious working environment for all employees and a spokesperson has claimed that Lu was fired for bullying co-workers. 

The fashion industry is continuously rocked by scandals, but this is definitely one I didn't see coming. Alexander Wang is such a reputable brand and globally recognised label that these allegations could do serious harm. The most likely option is probably that Wang will settle the claims with an out-of-court settlement but nothing has yet been confirmed as the company say they have not been served the lawsuit yet, but continue to "vehemently" defend the brand

Alexander Wang S/S 2012: 

Friday, 23 March 2012

'Blonde Bombshell', Muse Magazine

Retro 50's style is a massive trend for Spring/Summer and the always-fabulous spreads over at Muse Magazine have got it nailed with this Blonde Bombshell editorial starring bikini model Kate Upton. Shot by Sebastian Faena, the raunchy shots are less on the porny side and more on the glamourous side with the fabulous hair and beauty styling by Kevin Ryan and Stevie Huynh respectively. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Inside Karl Lagerfeld's NY apartment

As someone who famously always dresses in black, Karl Lagerfeld's apartment in New York is surprisingly exactly the opposite- bright, white and beautiful. These pictures, from Oyster Magazine , show Lagerfeld's spacious, minimalist apartment in Manhattan which is on the market for a cool $5.2 million. The apartment overlooks Gramercy Park, a prime location for the New York A-list, yet it still has not been snapped up.

The apartment has floor to ceiling windows which means the place is always drenched in sunshine- not somewhere you would expect to find Lagerfeld lurking. The massive kitchen is kitted out in only the finest, top of the range Miele appliances; strange considering Lagerfeld, who lost 6 and a half stone (42kg) in just over a year, is more of a fan of Diet Coke than gourmet dinners.

The immaculate white furniture complements the natural light in the rooms, making it look even bigger than it actually is. The master bedroom comes with a walk-in wardrobe- (of course, where else would Karl keep all of his black suits?) and a large en-suite bathroom with probably the biggest bathtub I've ever seen. The Gramercy Park residents also enjoy exclusives services such as a butler, housekeeping, personal shoppers, room service and access to a private rooftop club. Just as luxurious as we'd expect from Karl the Kaiser.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Rihanna to design her own fashion line

Globally known for her raunchy outfits and promiscuous songs, Rihanna may not be a shy and retiring celebrity, but she is definitely a stylish one. Her well-documented style transition from sweet Barbadian teen to worldwide sex symbol has seen her overcome some horrendous events (I mean you, Chris Brown) to reign supreme over the charts and the style stakes. And now, not content with dominating the music world, Rihanna is attempting a foray into fashion after saying she wants to design her own line.

On Kiss FM with Ryan Seacrest last week, Rihanna said, "I'm really pursuing a fashion line of my own. I want to design... I want to earn it. So I'm working with designers. Designers that I respect, and [fashion] companies that I respect. I want people to really trust me before I just say 'Buy it, because it's mine."

Rihanna getting hands on at Armani

But this isn't her debut. Rihanna collaborated with Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans last November and released a capsule collection with them including skinny jeans, casual t-shirts and sexy lace underwear. Considering the usual outfits we see Rihanna parading around in, it was somewhat understated but definitely still had sexy undertones with garments like the rock-chick biker jacket. It was also personalised with a little 'R' emblazoned on alongside Armani's signature eagle logo.

Some of Rihanna's capsule collection for Armani Jeans

As well as being the face of Armani, Rihanna has also been showing off that famous body in a series of racy campaign shots Spring/Summer 2012, not to mention this video ad, and this behind the scenes footage from Armani.

But this time, Rihanna wants to branch out on her own and create clothes that she would wear, so don't be expecting floaty tea-dresses and lots of pink. She has also made it clear that she wants to be respected as a designer, and get hands on in the design process and the creation of her clothes, instead of just being another celebrity endorsement.

There has been no word on which designers and which fashion houses she is currently working with, but Armani is most probably involved again, and hopefully other names too. After wearing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci at the Brit Awards, rumours are abound that Tisci is involved, but nothing has yet been confirmed. Either way, as she is such a creative type and genuine style vixen, I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

Spring Summer 2012, Armani

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Prada Fantasy Lookbook Spring 2012

Every season, Prada releases its Fantasy Lookbook, showcasing Prada's finest Spring offerings in a fun and playful style. This season it's Retro Fantasy, and the pictures are all vintage-ed up to suit this seasons 50's and 60's fashions. Starring in the Fantasy Lookbook is Daphne Groeneveld, Ginta Lapina, Fei Fei Sun, Kasia Struss and Lindsay Wixson in Prada's hottest Spring styles, including the FROW favourites- the flame shoes. Pastel colours, mid-length hems, drop waists, dangly earrings, body suits and statement sunnies are what Prada are all about this Spring.
Shot by Phil Meech with the incredible collage-style vintage artwork by Jereon Koolhaas and Lok Jansen, here is Prada's Fantasy Lookbook:

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Natalie Portman's Vintage Dior Gown

As always, the red carpet at this year Oscars ceremony was rife with red dresses- that one true badge of the ultimate sex symbol. But there was one red dress in particular which hit all the best-dressed lists around, not to mention caught some prolific media attention- a vintage Dior gown from 1954, worn by the beautiful Natalie Portman.

According to the latest reports, this timeless and elegant dress has just been sold to an anonymous British couture collector- for a cool $50,000. The dress was initially borrowed from Rare Vintage for Portman's Oscar jaunt, where she presented the Best Actor Award to Jean DuJardin. And rare it certainly is. The gown, size 4 and strapless, was designed by Christian Dior just 3 years before he died in 1957. One lucky London-based lady has just snapped up a now iconic piece of fashion history.

The dress itself is so very evident of Dior's style. He invented the "New Look", a style which was radical to post-war women who were not used to clothes that accentuated their feminine shape. They used much more fabric than other dresses, which just screamed luxury as such materials were rationed during the war time. The "New Look" was all about cinched-in waists with full skirts, full breasts and full hips. "I wanted my dresses to be constructed, molded upon the curves of the feminine body, whose sweep they would stylize," said Christian Dior in his autobiography.

Little ladylike polka dots adorned the sultry red chiffon, both eternally stylish elements in themselves but even more powerful when Portman teamed them with a dazzling v-necked Harry Winston diamond necklace and black Charlotte Olympia box clutch. A winning Oscars' look but Portman made sure that it was the dress that did the talking.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Raf Simons' final goodbye

He initially intended to revolutionise the world of furniture design, but instead Raf Simons revolutionised the fashion industry. Creative Director of Jil Sander for 7 years, Simons single-handedly launched the label into bona-fide fashion aristocracy with his unique and instantly identifiable style of tailoring. Last month he unveiled a darling collection for Autumn/Winter 2012 at Milan Fashion Week, chock full of pretty pastel colours and cosy cashmere coats. But the show was tinged with more than a hint of sadness as it was revealed just 48 hours before the catwalk show that it would in fact be his last collection for Jil Sander- and that Jil Sander herself would be returning to the label.

 Belgian-born Simons is the man behind colour-blocking, sleek silhouettes, sharp tailoring and maxi skirts. He took the helm at Jil Sander in 2005, a massive risk considering he had designed menswear for a decade, but it paid off when the label was propelled into the highest rankings of the fashion league, attracting supporters and front row regulars such as Anna Wintour. Simons undeniably worked extremely hard to get Jil Sander into the modern age and into the position it is now, his designs are recognisable the world over. He is so loved within in the industry that at his final show for Jil Sander, the audience refused to leave and stamped their feet until he came out for a tearful encore (see picture above). One model even walked her final lap of the catwalk with a face covering her hand, she was so overcome with sadness. Why then, has he left the brand?

 Internet rumours suggest Simons was dumped in favour of Sander, who until 2011 was at Japanese label Uniqlo. Her name, her label. Other rumours indicate that Simons is moving onto pastures new- namely that coveted seat at Dior that has been absent for a year since Galliano's sacking or the more recently evacuated space at YSL, until today occupied by Stefano Pilato. Neither of these rumours have been confirmed or denied, all anyone knows so far is that Jil Sander once again is ruled by Jil Sander and that Simons is concentrating on his own-name menswear collection.

 Personally, I can't help but think the return of Sander as a step back for the label. Simons presented a forward-thinking, modern woman and was a breath of fresh air. Sander has without a doubt done a fantastic job at Uniqlo, now a much more widely respected brand. But can she now take over seamlessly, a la Sarah Burton, from the man who made her label so critically acclaimed, so globally recognised and so, well, his?

Simons' (emotional) Final Collection, A/W '12: