The Great Beauty of Spring Breakers

La Grande Bellezza is one of the most beautifully intriguing films to be seen in a while, drawing the audience in without the usual obvious plot to hold your hand and guide you mindlessly through the images gliding across the screen. Amidst the captivating architecture of Rome, the characters draw you in with their body language, their charm and their nature. As the film explores the pretentions of the Roman upper class, the landscape of one of the world’s most majestic cities unfurls before you, distracting with it’s marble, fountains, sculpture and cobbles. So where better to experience a grand beauty of cinema than under the admittedly stormy skies in Somerset House’s equally recognisable and structurally impressive architecture? As the city of London flowed around us in the audience, we flew around the city of Rome, following the heartbreak, acceptance and search for beauty and meaning of Jep and his friends. The crowning feature of the piece is that each person reacts differently to it and truly sees it with fresh eyes. Whilst I was left with tear-stained cheeks wanting to live forever in the beauty of the film, my companions viewed it as a story of coming to terms with age, the loss of love, the search for happiness. It seems only right to follow that experience up with another night under the stars, this time viewing what is arguably my favourite film ever. It is not a film you could watch every day, but it is superb. Similarly, its key feature is the colours, landscapes and visual aspect of the film, with an ending that has no conclusion, morals that are immoral and detestable characters. A film that has received such negative critique, it makes you question yourself for enjoying it, feeling dirty and ashamed. This only serves to heighten the experience and add another dimension to the many neon layers. What else could it be than Harmony Korine’s infamous Spring Breakers? Do you judge me for defending a film where drugs and arms are glorified, the bad guy wins and anything immoral that could happen, does? Tough. I’ll defend it to the end. It’s fresh, it questions, it doesn’t answer and it’s stunning.

Think what you will, I’m off to see it a third time and will always get something new out of it, time after time. Because, just like La Grande Bellezza, each viewer reacts differently and that makes it all the more exciting. Spring break forever, bitch.

Patty Pitt #3

American BBQ restaurant Pitt Cue Co and the best burger in town came together for the third Patty Pitt collaboration, last night in London.

When mouth-watering meaty burger joint Patty & Bun joined forces with the flavours of Pitt Cue Co for a third round of Patty Pitt, queues on James Street lasted for up to two and a half hours. The much-talked about collaboration melds the succulent aged patties that have put Joe Grossman’s burger joint on the map with the classically smoky flavours of Pitt Cue Co’s American barbecue-inspired dishes, resulting in the Lovechild, also known as the best burger ever eaten. Think perfectly pink meat, piled with red Leicester cheese and pickles in a soft Mangalitsa brioche bun, all topped off with tender pulled pork.

The other two creations on the menu: Beef by Dre, an ode to all things bovine with the addition of bone marrow and ox cheek for some meat magic. And for the larger appetite, a double patty, double cheese and secret sauce Big Patty Mac Stack, described as a “Big Mac on crack”. Sides included Duck Nuggets, Caramel Ribs and a slaw, washed down with your choice of Pineapple Caipirinha, Rumpoldfashioned or a selection of beers.

The excitement and appreciation for the partnership was palpable, with the cosy joint brimming with the most satisfied customers delighting in the flavour explosions. The staff coped with the huge demand seamlessly, bouncing around with huge smiles and taking great pleasure and pride in serving the salivating masses. All round, can you have a better Monday night?

Patty Pitt

Prints, please

How many prints is too many prints? Given that to most, a printed dress is scary enough, the answer is probably just one. However, fellow fun fabric connoisseurs/lovers of potentially bad taste – call it what you will – may agree that anything upwards of two clashing prints, and the day is looking good. Throw in some lurid colours for good measure and you are onto a winner, fashion friends.

Prints, please

The key is to have a classic foundation; pair a white-based Breton with a cropped dark tartan trouser, with flashes of red a yellow running through it, and you have a solid foundation to work with. Now we can start to have fun. On top of this, how about a crazy take on the perfecto with the black given new dimensions by a melange of green, orange and white? This is probably a good place to end, unless you also feel that the addition of possibly Nike‘s most offensive pair of shoes will add a certain je ne sais quoi. If nothing else, a jaunty juxtaposition of colour, print and texture will have you smiling all day long (as well as scaring and shocking Parisians, my current favourite game).

Nike Air

The aforementioned Nike trainers

Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter are all about prints, so now is the time to try, experiment and maybe even fail. That’s where the fun lies and that’s where your style lies. As Lucinda Chambers, British Vogue fashion director, said “You need to get to know yourself and what works for you; it’s all about trial and error“. Style shouldn’t be daunting, it’s a way to express your creativity, passion and energy. You should never be afraid to try new things, because yes, new ensembles may often crash and burn, but somewhere in there you’ll find what you love, what makes you comfortable and what makes you you. What’s the point in being part of the crowd and following someone else’s style? In the end, you won’t feel comfortable or confident, and that’s what you’ll portray to others. London is renowned as being the home of fearless fashion, which is why London will always be the best; it is the nurturing ground of the young and talented, and yes, more often than not you may look twice at someone in the street because their look is so totally alien and wrong, but when people are looking at you twice in the street, that’s when you know you’re doing something good.

If your own outfit inspires you to write, you must be doing something right…or very, very wrong. Either way, I’m happy with that.

Prada Spring/Summer 2011

Prada Spring/Summer 2011

Marc Jacobs resort 2013

Marc Jacobs Resort 2013

Susie Bubble & Other Stories

Susie Bubble & Other Stories

Palmer//Harding papercuts

Autumn/Winter for the Palmer//Harding design duo is all about paper. Fresh, white, crisp, clean, structural yet free paper. Paper with highlighter details. The textures of paper: shredded, fringed, folded. Get the picture? It’s all about paper, sartorially-minded friends. Who knew that paper could be so diverse, delicious and wearable? Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, that’s who.

The pair are based in London, where they both studied at Central Saint Martins; Palmer has a BA in menswear, and Harding both a BA and MA in womenswear, meaning they’re the ideal team to bring a masculine edge to women’s pieces, and a soft femininity to their men’s collections. They debuted back in 2011, using the simple white shirt as a starting block to launch themselves into the world of London Fashion Week. It worked, and the fashion community have taken notice of the young designers.

Their Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 collection showed progression in the creativity of their covetable designs. The white shirt was still a key feature – it revealed its many forms in 12 different looks – but the pair moved onto new silhouettes, exploring flowing silk trousers and structural miniskirts. The forms were made more impressive by the very clear theme running throughout the collection: the aforementioned paper. We saw a strong identity throughout the 28 looks, which showcased the pair’s skills in manipulating fabrics and making a concept effortlessly wearable.

Did you ever think you’d want to sport shredded paper and a paperclip accessory? Think again. With hand-cut suede and leather, a modern look at fringing, and flashes of highlighter yellow, Palmer//Harding have made women want to wear the items found on their desks. Watch the show, and see how in one look the fabric flutters as a sheet of paper does in a light breeze, another shows its more rigid structures and Palmer and Harding explore the humble shredder via a multitude of glorious skirts, including a particular favourite oily purple number. There is huge attention to detail: at the London Showrooms in Paris, Levi Palmer explained that the shred-effect pieces are hand-cut, as lasers leave an undesirable black outline. After this painstakingly meticulous process, they then painted the tips bright yellow  to get the vibrant effect of a highlighter making its neon mark across virgin territories, also shown in the use of strips of neon mesh across crumples of fabric, and in the accessories worn around models’ necks – and it was a refreshingly diverse mix of girls who walked the show.


Hand-cut suede with highlighter detail skirt


Camel, white and highlighter yellow skirt


Hand-cut oil-slick purple miniskirt details

This is a brand to watch. If they can make the humble sheet of paper and a highlighter look this good, I personally can’t wait for seasons to come.

Images from Fashion(Ed) In London’s Instagram.

Fashion full circle

Although fashion is always moving forward – think Alexander Wang’s innovative fabrics that change when heated  –  it always finds itself coming full circle to the same ideas and motifs. Season after season, designers return to their crutch of lace, leopard print and leather, and yes, they (sometimes) do new things with them, but inevitably the same ideas do crop up every fashion week merry-go-round.  Fashion is forward-thinking and reactive, but with pressure to design up to 10 collections a year for some of the biggest players, it is understandable that not everyone can be Wang (who designs upwards of eight collections a year, not counting his recently announced H&M collaboration).

Speak of fashion carousels and you can’t ignore Marc Jacobs’ last show for Louis Vuitton, which revisited his iconic sets, designs and silhouettes from his 16 year reign at the creative helm of the French brand, and never has a collection all in black had more panache. The pieces were, of course, widely shot by fashion publications around the world, their dark sequined allure lighting up the pages of magazines and shimmering sombrely on the red carpet. As with every collection, there were numerous inspirations behind it and a young Kate Moss shot by the one-and-only Corinne Day in 1990 has airs of the show’s feel.

Kate Moss Louis Vuitton Edie Campbell Marc Jacobs Corinne Day

The question is: is this an intentional reference or a classic example of fashion coming full circle? Did Marc pounce upon the insouciance of the picture, or just the general attitude of one of his many muses? And if the latter, then did Vogue Paris use the photograph as inspiration for its shoot with Edie Campbell? Probably, but even so, it is a coincidence, especially considering that when you put Kate Moss and Corinne Day together in a sentence, this is not the image that springs to mind. That’s nothing against the image, but rather a comment of the incredible work these two produced together. In the 24 years since Corinne incarnated Kate’s personality in black and white, fashion has come right back to this place again. Just look at her footwear as a classic example. The only difference: on a Nineties Kate Moss, Birkenstocks actually look vaguely good.

kate moss  corinne day

Fashion Week Recap: Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 Beauty Trends

Click the link below to read my piece on’s Huffington Post blog, all about the big beauty trends for next season, Autum/Winter 2014-2015, direct from the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris.

Fashion Week Recap: Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 Beauty Trends

The Louis Verdict

Yesterday in Paris, a slice of fashion history happened: Ghesquière showed his first collection since leaving Balenciaga as creative director, stepping in to fill those prestigious shoes left by Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton. In the grand scheme of things, what with the Ukraine situation or announcement of a Kardashian-West wedding date, this may not seem the most important event of late to some (N.B. the Kimye reference is clearly a joke). However, with all the buzz going on, you wouldn’t have guessed it. Often touted as the designer of his generation, Ghesquière possesses an incredible talent and did a sterling job at Balenciaga, leaving the house with a near-perfect collection of modern silhouettes with a Cristobal signature. After a period of silence from him on the designing front, during which he conducted a very candid interview with System magazine, it was joyously announced that Nicolas Ghesquière was to pick up where Marc Jacobs was leaving off, at the creative helm of the jewel in LVMH’s crown: Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

Usually, when a designer takes over creative direction of a house, they have access to a wealth of history and deep archives, plummeting the depths to draw inspiration from the core fabric of the brand, as Wang did post-Ghesquière at Balenciaga, or Raf at Dior. For Nicolas though, he came to a semi-clean slate. Louis Vuitton is relatively young as a ready-to-wear label, with Marc Jacobs as his only predecessor since the late Nineties. Marc Jacobs did an unforgettable job at bringing the leather goods brands to the forefront of fashion, creating patent leather and presenting the most elaborate of shows, featuring lifts, elevators, carousels and more, none of which ever detracted from his beautiful collections.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

Wednesday’s show was a total break from that side of the brand, as Nicolas chose a stark, clean space to unveil his first steps. The blinds were lifted and natural light flooded into the room, echoing the new era. From the setting to the music, it was a very carefully thought out show on Ghesquière’s part, with Kelis singing “Oh come here, copycat! You’re my puppet, you know I love it!” as Freja Beha Erichsen stepped out in the first look. As a designer who has entire blogs dedicated to the fact that his Balenciaga designs are constantly being ripped off, it was a humourous and poignant song, including the apt lyrics “How do you keep it so fresh?”.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

As for the collection itself, the French designer kept the brand’s money makers in there: patent ankle boots, little bags, leather belts and the all-new mini trunk bag. He referenced some of Jacobs’ work, bringing a new high-waisted trouser silhouette out in patent leather. There was nothing there to shock or make a statement, instead he chose to quietly say, “I’m back, and these are clothes women want to wear.” And he was right. Ghesquière’s Vuitton girl is cool, laid back, modern and fresh. She wears a lot of leather and suede (of course, they are the brand’s key fabrics), in clean lines with a slight retro feel. The very fact that he chose Freja Beha Erichsen to open the show set the tone immediately. There is no model who can better encapsulate that oh-so-awful word, cool. But here the word wasn’t awful. This isn’t the cool girl in school who everyone pretends to like whilst secretly despising them and their awful attitude, this is the inherently cool girl who is laid back, lovely, effortless and has that edge that we crave. It was mirrored in the beauty look too, or fact that there wasn’t one. She hadn’t quite rolled out of bed, but the models were naturally beautiful, no threatening eye make-up, no unattainable hair. Therein lies the key word: attainable. The collection was a quiet success because we were left wanting to be her and knowing that we can be. It’s hard to be the Anthony Vaccarello sex bomb or Rodarte princess, but you can walk out the house a Vuitton girl, and that’s something to be happy about.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

There was no big finish to the show, no stand out piece to wrap it up, instead a collection of leather skirts, layered looks, Chelsea boots, polo necks (trend alert) and asymmetrical fabrics. At shows these days, designers create incredible fantasy worlds and stories and in some way it was refreshing to have just the clothes, and be shocked by simplicity, and not outrageousness. I’m all for innovation and creativity, but given the choice between the most incredible set for a disappointingly ugly collection and no set for a wearable collection, there’s a clear winner. Whilst some have been left a little disappointed, saying the collection was “nothing”, it’s hard to argue against a collection that is wearable, real and now. An understated start perhaps, but one that will no doubt go down a storm commercially.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

See the show here.
Listen to Kelis here.

Images from

London Showrooms Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

London ShowroomsThe London Showrooms in Paris, a space where the up and coming designers on the eclectic British scene bring their collections during Paris Fashion Week, providing press and buyers a chance to (re)see them post London Fashion Week. Marques Almeida, J JS Lee, Michael van der Ham, Piers Atkinson, KTZ, Todd Lynn, Fashion East, David Koma, 1205, Christopher Raeburn, Sibling, Holly Fulton, Claire Barrow, Danielle Romeril, Nasir Mazhar, Ryan Lo, and a standout collection from Palmer//Harding were all on show in a modern Marais space until yesterday.

Important and enchanting as the runway show is, you get a much better sense of pieces when they’re in front of you and you are able to touch and feel them. The graphic qualities and innovation show through in a way that can only be experienced up close and personal. Take Danielle Romeril for example: she created a collection that had a Christopher Kane circa Autumn/Winter 2011 feel, complete with curved plastic trims that had such a graphic quality as could never be captured on camera or film, hard as you try. Using lenticular, Danielle printed it with polka dots in alternating strips that when looked at, seemed to be 3D and at different levels, but it was all flat. Trippy to the extreme, and a detail that can only be captured up close with the eyes. It gave such a detailed insight into just how innovative, imaginative and thoughtful London designers are. In London, bad taste, clashing prints, loud colours and modernity are all embraced and encouraged, and at the London Showrooms, they were on full display, from Marques’Almeida’s red feathers to Todd Lynn’s neon-tipped fur, all via the colour and ruffle mayhem of Ryan Lo.

It’s meeting some of the designers that is perhaps most valuable reason for popping along: show notes are one thing, but a face-to-face with one of the people behind it, to whom each piece is so personal, is another altogether. The Palmer//Harding collection, for example, was interesting to browse through, full of texture and flashes of colour, however, when one half of the design duo, Levi Palmer, started talking about it and explaining the inspirations behind it, the collection took on a whole new significance. Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding looked to paper for Autumn/Winter 2014-2015, playing with it in all its forms: ripped, shredded, scrunched, smooth. The shredding caught their creative eye, forming a hand-cut white suede skirt, soft, beautiful, 3D. Next, highlighters grabbed their attention, specifically the marks they leave on paper and the way the neon stands out against bright white. Another hand-cut skirt was created, this time with the ends of each strand of suede dipped in highlighter-bright yellow. Strips of neon mesh were plastered over scrunched white fabric like a discarded piece of highlighted paper, and, most subtle and clever of all, a white pencil skirt made of a white stretch fabric with very fine slits featured the same vibrant yellow as an underskirt, meaning that as the wearer walks, quick jolts of lively colour shine through. Would you get all this from just looking at the collection alone? Most likely not. If there is one reason to go to a showroom alone, it is in the hope that the designer will be there, breathing life into his or her collection.

With so many collections together in one room, it’s hard not to pick up on a few trends that appear as a thread throughout the inventive offerings. So, what will the London girl be wearing next season? Pleats, metallics, leather galore and fabrics that make a statement, be it feathers, snaggle fur, plastic or something that looks like shredded paper.

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Paris gems: Chez Omar

ParisSituated on the Marais’ rue de Bretagne, this restaurant really is nothing special from the outside. You’d be forgiven for walking by and not giving it a second look, but you would be making a very poor decision for your stomach if you did that. The red awning bears the description “Sptés de couscous” (specialises in couscous), and it does not lie. Step across the threshold and you enter the home, no, the temple of couscous. Soft pillows of semolina are piled onto silver platters and plonked onto your table, where the little beige jewels overflow onto your plate and entice you. The menu has entrées and plats, but my fellow diners and I ignored all this and looked straight at the couscous menu, as this is the house speciality. Choose from merguez sausages, succulently slow roasted chicken, aromatic lamb kebabs and this turns up to spice up the couscous mounds, all accompanied by one of the most delicious vegetable stews that this writer has had in a while. Cooked to perfection, the soft courgettes, chickpeas, carrots, celery, swede and friends come in a tasty red jus to moisten the couscous. If, like my friends and I, you have a large appetite, it’s the place for you. Whilst scraping the ladle to the bottom of the pot for seconds, the cheerful waiter came over and asked if we wanted more, promptly returning with a replenished pot of steaming goodness. Thirds were had, and buttons were undone.

All this, and I haven’t even mentioned pudding. Again, there was a list of desserts, but there is only one thing to choose: patisseries orientales aka baklava. Piled high onto beautifully painted ceramic bowls, two ceremonial-style offerings of almond and pistachio-based and honey-based sweetmeats are left at the table, leaving you the impossible task of choosing which slices of heaven to pick. This food-lover’s advice: from the honey tray, pick the swirl or the little square parcel, and go for any of the scarily green pistachio ones from the other. They are to die for. Melt in the mouth. Parcels of wonder. Need I continue?

To top the whole experience off, the restaurant has a welcoming and warm ambiance, with jovial and friendly waiters (in Paris, shocking I know) and Omar himself came over to chat to our table, and, having found out that we were a group of Londoners, he proceeded to say “London, great city” every time he walked past the table. It has an old-school Paris feel to it, complete with dark wood, glass details, mirrors and the faded charm so particular of this city. A highlight for me was the tiny kitchen complete with tiny window onto which steaming plates of joy were placed for waiters to deliver to beaming faces.

It really is a great little place, and completely merits the queue inside and outside the door for a taste of Omar’s famous couscous.

Chez Omar, 47 rue de Bretagne, Paris 3e.