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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Licentiate Column 30/09/10

Did you ever hear the saying, ‘It never rains but it pours’ or ‘bad things come in threes’? This week, my triple downpour has been doctor, dentist and emergency room, which has literally left a bad taste in my mouth and been a real pain in the, er, chest, not not mention a yawning chasm in the wallet.

It’s easy for life to get on top of you and September is by far the worst month to feel that way. We feel the turning of the seasons and change our lives to follow suit, from going back to college in a new city, seeing children go back to school, or even something as simple as choosing a new winter coat.

The phenomenon of stressing over your wardrobe when you have far weightier things to think about can be neatly categorised under ‘displacement’ - the transferring of worry to less serious things.

But the opposite - when fashion and keeping up with the Joneses is too much to bear, when the sight of just one more shearling aviator jacket makes you want to assassinate Kate Moss from high atop a book depository, well, that has a name too. It’s called fashion fatigue.

As someone who thinks about fashion in the same way that my boyfriend talks about Tottenham Hotspur (in hushed, reverent tones with an emphasis on season-by-season plays - although I must admit that, mercifully, Peter Crouch plays a much bigger part in his talk than Abbey Clancy does in mine) fashion is more than a hobby; it’s an obsession.

Not even my greedy little mind is prepared for the deluge that is fashion month. Now anyone with even a passing interest is expected to know the contents of every catwalk show. Imagine watching your favourite football team play six matches a day for a month and having to watch every single one because there may be a test afterwards. You are now about halfway to understanding fashion fatigue.

When there’s so much to absorb, hobbies can become more like obligations. Add that to a life that is already fraught with social and familial commitments with a sprinkling of financial strain and an emergency room visit and you have a recipe for a straw that would break the back of the hardiest dromedary.

I’ve spent the past few days alternating between watching interminable fashion shows intently and praying that a model tips and falls out of her shoes just to break the monotony of watching skinny girls with nice clothes walk up and down. The action seems utterly pointless. I feel as if I am going mad when I should be outside frolicking in the park with river-blindness stricken orphans from Malawi. Something, anything, to distract me from what by now seems like a more hollow pursuit than preparing a truckload of Hallowe’en pumpkins.

I started with a few glib sayings and I’ll end with another - ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Only the very brave or the very smart realise when an interest is no longer working for them and decide not to carry it any further. Fashion is no different.

As for me, I’m sticking around, but I enthusiastically salute the defectors. They have the brains to realise that, even though fashion is an ever-turning wheel, it’s still easy to hop back on when it's more convenient.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hells Angels - not your typical Old Ladies

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One of those authors that I always felt that I should get into, and yet never did, was Hunter S. Thompson. I studied him as part of a New Journalism class in college and really enjoyed it, but I hit a massive stumbling block with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I read one chapter, then put it down. At this late stage it's like telling a friend that you'll call them for coffee, but you end up forgetting, then when you meet them in town there's this frosty silence... It's a bit like that.

I tried to read Hells Angels too, I really really did. But I just ended up forgetting about it as well. When I think about it I can see Thompson as one of those authors that you're supposed to like, but not everyone does. Case in point - I was seeing a guy on and off for a few years and throughout several house moves he always had a copy of Fear and Loathing beside his bed. As far as I know, it's still there. And I bet he still hasn't finished it.

The photos below (excuse the arrows on either side, the images are screen grabs) have nothing to do with Thompson, but a lot to do with Hells Angels.  More specifically, the wives and girlfriends of the Hells Angels, charmingly titled the Old Ladies. The pictures above and below were taken by Life photographer Bill Ray in 1965, but have never been published or seen by the public until now.  I love looking at the Old ladies and their mix of mannish clothing with bouffants, eyeliner and a smidge of amphetamines.

Maybe this will help me to finish Hells Angels after all... but then again, maybe it won't.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Holly Fulton S/S '11 at London Fashion Week

Something I forgot to add to the litany of woes detailed in the previous post - I somehow managed to lose ALL of my LFW notes in a pub in Dublin while meeting some fellow bloggers.  D'oh *smacks head*.

Luckily, the lovely Lorna had my notebook, so I received it today.  Here it is in my slightly greasy, oily palm (I accidentally put my hand in some wood varnish today... don't ask), complete with my list of LFW notes and all my careless scribblings, ready to be shaped and moulded into something coherent, which might not happen, because I am still whacked out on painkillers.

But perhaps being slightly stoned is no bad thing, especially when considering Holly Fulton's collection.  Don't get me wrong.  Hallucinogens are used in some religious ceremonies to commune with a higher power and her collection is operating on a higher plane. Or, to quote my favourite stoner Jeff Spicoli (Lebowski doesn't even get a look in), "Awesome, totally awesome! All right, Hamilton!"

I was lucky enough to have a good sift through Fulton's current season in The Topshop NEWGEN area and her stuff is amazing, appealing on a sensory level of colour and tactility that made me want to rip everything off the rails and sleep in a big ol' pile of Swarovski-studded fur clutches, acetate collars and snakeskin shift dresses.  Spring/Summer is no different.

Fulton has stayed true to her Art Deco leanings and has firmly established an identity that would make anyone worth their fashion chops know one of her pieces from a hundred paces.  Yet her clothing doesn't just look good in teeny catwalk pictures, it looks even better close up.

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Last season, she introduced fur trimmings and this season she has progressed yet again on the trimming front.  This looks like raffia or maybe hair (or more fur, even.  If you know what it is, please let me know) and it's placed in a flirty way, horizontally across the hips, thighs and hem.  The lines of the clothing are very sixties resort, and remind me a bit of the film oldie Gidget, in which a oh-so-sassy teen goes to the beach with her family and learns to surf.

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Oh, perforated leather.  Has it ever been done so well?  I ended up spending minutes poring over the patterns of perfectly popped out circles on several Fulton garments, so much so that I thought that I was going into a trance.  The best thing about looking at these dresses close up is realising that the patterns that Fulton uses aren't abstract at all but are very concrete things.  Last season it was the telephone that kept popping up in garments (a serious instrument of the technology and status obsessed 30's Deco elite).  This season it's the martini glass, as seen in the pic of the dress above, on the right.

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That's not to say that there's no progression in terms of design, because it's evident that Fulton is thinking of what her next sartorial move might be - to stick or stray away from the Art Deco influence?  These dresses are beautiful, but remind me of the cartoonish motifs of JC de Castelbajac or the sparkly-sequinned goodness of Ashish, which is ironic when you consider that those two labels have pretty much stuck fast to the same design vision and ethos since Day 1.

What do you think of Ms Fulton?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Longest week ever (with added Peg Bundy)

I've been staring at a blank screen for ages with no idea how to start this post.  Maybe a bullet point list would be best.


  • In London, I suffered a mysterious allergic reaction which left me with a severe rash all over my body.  If you think that's gross, then you should stop reading, because this is just the first in a loooong list of ailments.
  • On getting back to Ireland, I started to get mysterious chest pains, which is how I ended up in an emergency room at 4am watching Euronews on a loop.  Interesting side note - I learned that I have relatively few opiate receptors, which means that hard drugs (and the painkillers they gave me in the waiting room) have no effect on me.  Go figure.
  • Then, the day after all that happened, a filling fell out while I was chewing a piece of gum, which was just heaping insult upon insult to injury.

What next, I ask?  Am I going to get ebola to round the week off?  Typhus maybe?  Necrotising fasciitis?  It is literally one thing after the other .  I would not be surprised if I was served with a subpoena impregnated with anthrax or something.

This has left me in bed on a truckload of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and all kinds of wonderful drugs that have no effect on my battered opiate receptors.  I don't want to sound all 'poor me' but I have NO IDEA what to post on this week.  The ideas aren't exactly flowing.  The crystal stream of inspiration has been stoppered up.

With one exception.  Hallowe'en costumes.  Yep, I know it's a while off.  Hopefully you'll forgive me for being so pre-emptory, but this is the one cogent idea I have managed to have in between gobbling Difene and jelly worms courtesy of Aisling (the jelly worms that is, not the Difene) and chats with herself and Dawn .

Myself and the boyfriend will be going as Peg and Al Bundy, which is appropriate, because his name is Al and he works in a shoe shop and I sit on my ass all day watching Oprah and scarfing bonbons while engaging in borderline sex-pestery.  It's a hard knock life.

Scroll over to see full pics.  Ooh collage-tastic.

The formula:  A hell of a lot of animal print, shiny tight pants, carrot-red hair dye , Snooki-style Bumpits and a vat of Aquanett (sorry ozone layer, but something's got to give).



Oh Peg.  You complete me.  Why can't we be best friends?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Licentiate Column 23/09/10


It’s commonly thought that the world of fashion is a closed shop. Or at least it was up until 2007 or so, when blogging started to gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of fashion PRs. Fashion houses started to realise that they could get reams of free publicity and add to their cachet of cool by sending off new items to bloggers, who would style, shoot and publicise their wares, totally gratis and with a minimum of effort for said fashion house.
Blogging has been a phenomenon that has shaped and democratised the world of fashion beyond all expectations. Now, fashion shows can be streamed online, literally bringing New York to your home (and you don’t even have to change out of your PJs, let alone try to figure out the complicated subway system).
One of the happier effects of the trickle-down effect of blog influence is the willingness to offer bloggers a coveted media pass to various events, the Big Daddy being a Fashion Week. There are four main fashion weeks, which take place consecutively, twice a year, in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Yours truly was lucky enough to snag a pass to London Fashion Week.
Five years ago, you would have had to wait until next March to see pictures taken the year before. Now it’s instant. The media is saturated. And yet, fashion is still a closed shop. By that I don’t mean that it’s elitist, or populated by superficial and shallow people (even though it is, to an extent). I mean that Fashion Week is literally like wandering around a shop where the tills are closed. You can touch, but you can’t buy.
A bit more explaining is necessary. London Fashion Week is a double-edged blade. The first blow is dealt by an endless litany of fashion shows that drug the mind with images of so many beautiful girls wearing beautiful clothes, all strutting through the mind’s eye (or conversely, if they fall over in eleven-inch heels, on the cover of The Sun).
The second blade, the fatal blow is the Exhibition. Stalls, manned in some cases by the designers themselves, are weighed down with luxury goods, which you are encouraged to poke, prod and take pictures of. Everything is beautiful and there are no distasteful things such as price tags to distract you from your aesthetic overload.  And yet, I felt as if I was window shopping. Every time a PR came over and asked if they could help, I would nervously trill, “Just looking!”, as if they were trying to foist a massive, unwise, financially crippling sale upon me and then scuttle away like a crab with a bad credit rating.
This would inevitably result in odd looks. After hearing too many of my protestations, one woman said to me, “We know you’re just looking. We’re all looking”.
It was humiliating at the time, but on reflection it makes sense. The Exhibition is a great leveller. From Vogue editor to blogger alike; in the closed shop of fashion, at least all of us are window shopping.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Get The London Look

Our third and final guest post comes from Fiona from Save Our Shoes, who's been living in the capital for a year, so she knows her schtuff about London Looks...

Excuse my quoting of the Rimmel advertising campaign, but after a year of living between Shoreditch and Hackney, I can safely say there is DEFINITELY a "London Look".  To fool people into thinking you are a real Londoner this S/S London Fashion Week do some of the following things...

Invest in shorts; leather hotpants or denim cutoffs (the more holes, the better).

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Be permanently attached to your iphone/blackberry/smart phone. A true London member of the fash pack can twitpic a picture from the back of the Bora Aksu show while maintaining a nonchalant air and bbming their friend standing next to them.

Wear some sort of platform shoe at all times. Some sort of black leather wedge boots. A la Acne (but more than likely from Primark). Another option are clogs. Equally clunky and noisy.

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Master the penguin shuffle, a common problem associated with wearing long clinging maxi skirts.

Have a constantly grumpy demeanour.

Develop some sort of slash talent. Actress/model, musician/dancer. I like to go by the slash talent of Beyonce Impersonator/Blagger.

When possible, grow a moustache.

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There you have it, if you follow these easy steps, you too can act like a you are the bees knees and the cats pyjamas for a week. 'Cause once fashion week is over, it's back to working behind a cash point in Topshop.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hurrah for Winter (Ssh...)

Our second blog post comes from Jennie of What Will I wear Today.  Her post totally echoes how I feel about Winter, so much so that I read it and immediately kicked myself for not writing about it before.  It was sore, but without discipline, I'll never learn.  'Hem. 
You can also contact WWIWT via their twitter or facebook page.

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Wintry looks from D&G, Christian Dior and Anna Sui

Ok, controversial statement, I know. Hear me out though. Some people wait all year round for summer to arrive. I don’t. I find summer oppressive. It is a relentless tyranny of waxing, exfoliating and tanning. We are poked and prodded all summer long under an inscrutable mandate from the magazines to be ‘bikini ready in 2 weeks’. We pander to the media expectation of a fawn-like cherub emerging from the ashes of our wintry old self.

Well here’s a newsflash – I don’t possess a cherubic version of myself. I emerge from the bowels of winter pretty much the same as when I entered: pale, pasty and probably still suffering from a cold. I don’t ‘do’ summer – I get hayfever, I get sunburn, I get frizzy, wispy stress-curls. Winter is like a warm, loving embrace after the tyranny of summer preparation.

Hide those pasty shoulders in a delicious Alpine knit. Celebrate your anaemic legs in a selection of tights and ankle socks. Embrace your gnarled toes and hard-soled feet in any of the splendid boots that are going to be stomping around all Winter. The 2010 Autumn/ Winter wardrobe is a feast of knits, layers, textures and ladylike restraint. Who needs a tan when you’ve got a camel coat? Who needs a toned midriff when you can ooze sexiness in a corseted bustier and a preppy cardigan? Who needs surf-chick hair when your shearing collar will do all the talking? Fierce, heeled military boots absolve your from any pedicure duties and a pair of tailored, peg-leg trousers will keep the lumpy bumpy at bay.

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Jennie's A/W picks from Topshop

 
So yes, Goodbye Summer (it was alright while it lasted) and Hello Winter (my knight in Alpine armour).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Licentiate Column 19/09/10

If there ever was a decade for demoralising experiences, then your twenties would be it.  It’s not the worst decade of your life per se, but when you’re a teenager everything is so desperately unfair that you have no personal standards to be eroded.  By the time you get into your thirties disappointment is too deeply ingrained in the tapestry of your life for you to feel self-righteous or hard done by just because your jeans no longer fit (so my mother, disturbingly, assures me).

In your twenties banana skins are presented, much like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as beguiling opportunities that actually make you fall flat on your face.  The twenties is the time for auditioning for X-Factor and realising that you have the singing voice of John McCririck, getting your heart truly broken (don’t worry, that means you’re doing it right) and sobbing in various changing rooms because a pair of skinnies in your size refuses to be buttoned despite cajoling and midsection torture that goes against everything the various Geneva Conventions stand for.  

I had such an experience yesterday when my mother came to Cork for a visit and offered to buy me a pair of jeans.  I happily tootled into my favourite high street shop and tried on a pair of olive skinny jeans in a size ten.  I say ‘tried on’, but those two little words do zero justice to the gargantuan amount of effort exerted just to get the rigid denim past my knees.  It was the Kilimanjaro of jeans.

I was devastated only in the way that an shallow person like myself can be.  No-one likes to go up a dress size, so I refused to go up to a twelve and skulked out of that shop into another one across the road, where I tried on a pair of jeans in a ten.  I looked like a street urchin in a Charlie Chaplin film.  I was adrift in a baggy denim sea.   I took one step forward, and the jeans fell down, puddling around my ankles as if I’d had an indigo accident.  I sized down to an eight and miraculously, the waistband settled with nary a muffin top to be spied.

And so, an experiment was undertaken.  I measured my waist with tape to confirm that I was indeed a size ten, and went on a trek around fifteen high-street retailers to try on fifteen pairs of size ten jeans in a straight-leg cut.  Only a third of the shops had true-to-size labels.  Some chains were incredibly generous with the tailoring, particularly American brands, while other, slightly more ‘budget’ shops (no prizes for guessing which, Sherlock) were evidently skimping on material, so that any pair of jeans I tried on made my stomach look like a sausage roll making a break for the border.

Now that you’ve found out that the perfect ten doesn’t exist, what do you do?  Size up or down?  To tell the truth, it doesn’t really matter.  Eight, ten or twelve; you’ll still be the same size.  And If you feel demoralised, just do what I do and cut the tags off.  Problem solved.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

London Fashion Week - what all the fuss is about

Out first guest outing comes from Aisling of Think What You Like , a truly hilarious blogger whose blog post demystifies Fashion Week for all the rest of us...

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Twice a year, once in February and once in September, London Fashion Week brings in some of the most talented designers the fashion world has to offer as well as models of the most unearthly slenderness. A direct attempt to show us mere mortals why we should rush out to buy their latest pieces, only to realise we’re 16 sizes too big to carry them off. But God, do we still love the fashion buzz.

This year, there are over 60 catwalk shows scheduled over six days of the event. Unmissables for me this year include Nicole Farhi, Burberry Prorsum and Sass & Bide. Obviously by unmissable I mean HIGHLY missable. My flashbulb firepower has yet to reach fashion photographer standard.

LFW is organised and run by the British Fashion Council and is held in Somerset House in London. The event was first held in 1984 and was held in Kensington’s Commonwealth Institute.

Topshop was the first ever high street store to show at LFW. Their first showing was in 2005.

LFW is strictly a trade event, with approximately 5,000 buyers, journalists and photographers making up most of the guests to the catwalk shows. There are exceptions for certain celebs, of course. But sure famous people are above the law anyway, it makes sense that they be above the laws of the BFC.

It was said that during the September 2009 LFW that in the region of £100 million worth of orders were placed.

Because LFW is closed to consumers (regular folk), London Fashion Weekend has been created to appease us. It’s basically a huge designer shopping event where over 100 designers, some of whom will have just finished showing at LFW proper, showcase their ready-to-wear pieces and *joy* the public are allowed to attend. It uses the same catwalk and venue as the Fashion Week, so you’ll feel like you joined the elite club that is the fashion world for real. For more information on either, go to www.londonfashionweek.co.uk and www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

London Calling; fashion-wise tourism

As you may know, I'm heading to London for a few days and, through the miraculous majesty of scheduled posts, I'll be putting up the column as usual on Thursday, as well as a couple of posts from some special guests.

Here's a few things on the itinerary.

1) The Enchanted Palace exhibition in Kensington Palace.  This combines my love of dresses and snooping around stately homes (and by extension, other people's lives) perfectly.  Several designers, including Boudicca, Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones have taken over a part of the palace and transformed it according to their vision and a tale of one of the seven princess who lived in Kensington Palace at one stage or another.



2)  The Fashion market on Portobello Road - If you're shopping for clothing, then your best bet is to hit the Market on a Saturday morning and focus a heavy sartorial assault on the Westway, which is where all the young designers and vintage dealers hang out on their weekends.  You'll know that you're there if you see a massive concrete motorway flyover.  Mmm, scenic.  This would also be the best time to bellow the song 'Portobello Road' from Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the top of your lungs.  Which I plan on doing.



Ah, sweet memories.  Although Portobello Market has over 2,000 stalls, I'm fairly sure that they don't have an occult bookseller (though that would be pretty great.  An impromptu multicultural dance-off would also be sweet).

3)  RD Franks

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Five minutes walk from Oxford Circus lies possibly the best and most comprehensive fashion newsagent I've ever been in.  That doesn't say much, but if you're looking for anything hard to get, from Jalouse  (must get a subscription one of these days...) to obscure trend forecasting mags, then this is the place for you.

4)  London Fashion Week (cue a massive and incredibly uncool and unprofessional 'SQUEEEE!').  My press application came through today (massive thanks to Fiona for recommending that I apply), so I'll be spending the best part of Friday wandering around the exhibitions at Somerset House and doing some Licentiate reportage for The Cork Independent and this blog.  Any London bloggers reading this who fancy meeting up for a coffee drop me a line.  I do love meeting new peoples, so's I do.

I'll be in London as you're reading this, but if you have any secret hidey-holes or must-go places food (especially food), shopping or bar-wise, let me know!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mixtapes @ The Glucksman - A closer look at Linder

This post has been a long time coming, and I certainly hope that I can do the subject justice, as I now schedule what must be the millionth post tonight before I head to London.

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Last week I took a wander with my friend Hayret to the Glucksman Gallery, situated smack bang in the middle of a leafy enclave in the UCC campus grounds. Our target was the Mixtapes exhibition, which explores contemporary art through the work of artists who are heavily influenced by music.

It's fairly safe to assume that a majority of art is visual, and so the art involved is not so much involved with music itself as the visual aspects of music, like dancing, instruments, album covers and of course, the fashion that separates out followers of one musical tribe from another.  One of the things that drew me to punk as a young'un (and at a later stage, No Wave) was how different the clothing was to everyone elses.  It might seem like a shallow response, but that's because it is.  In my defense though, ask yourself, 'would Lady Gaga be half as interesting if she wore Clarks and sensible sack dresses instead of JC de Castelbajac and Thierry Mugler'?


Dancehall Danceoff from Sarah Doyle on Vimeo.

Sarah Doyle's artwork plays on a loop (I think her stuff will most definitely merit a much longer post when I have the time), zooming in and out on watercoloured ladies gyrating in tight denim, crop tops and bikinis to a tinny, merry-go-round sound.

The one artist that I came to see though, had her work displayed under glass at a small display table.  Here were a few works of Linder Sterling, an artist I knew from her simultaneously jarring and sexy collages from the late seventies to early eighties.  Like Cosi Fanni Tutti, but less obvious, or Duchamps with a decidedly feminist bent, Sterling succeeds where others have failed.  She manages to create a cohesive feminist statement, but remains a part of mainstream consciousness.  Her early work was concerned with music and her collages were used as covers for Buzzcocks singles, but today her work has been more broadly translated into fashion, with Richard Nicoll using her prints to form the basis of his A/W '09 collection.
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Richard Nicoll's A/W '09 Collection.  Pics - style.com 

It isn't such a big jump from music to fashion and we can see that Sterling's work is easily applied to both.
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Left - Sterling in 1981.  Right - Sterling's cover of i-D, October '09

Take the Punk Ladies series for example.  Sterling takes a photo and makes two different collages, the focus being on the new and different textures that are added to the clothes. 
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The original photo

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One of the resulting collages.

Want to see the other collage?  It's one in a series of three posters promoting the exhibition.  I've got one, which is tacked up safely on my fridge.  If you want to see it, maybe you should check out the exhibition or the Glucksman website (I know, I'm such a spoilsport).  Last I heard the posters were given away for free by patrons who mentioned the gallery's twitter feed, but this may not be the case anymore.  Free swag or no, it's still a must-see and Linder Sterling's work alone makes this well worth visiting.
The exhibition itself is well worth a visit and runs until October, should you want to spent a diverting afternoon learning, getting your fill of culture and generally having good, clean fun.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Licentiate column 09/09/10

I was determined to get that bag. It was black and tan satchel (such a now combo, horrible historical implications notwithstanding) with a briefcase handle and boxy detailing. It lived in the front window of the charity shop I would often pass from my home on the walk to and from town. It taunted me from the window from it’s vintage covetability.

“Buy me”, it said. “I’m such a tart. I’ll go with all your outfits”. Totally ignoring the fact that a talking handbag was an unusual occurrence, I took its word for granted and went to the charity shop early, in order to be the first to get my mitts on it. Only to find a queue of like-minded women who had also been on speaking terms with my bag. Apparently it was a tart, after all.

There’s a common misconception that fashion obsession is some kind of fabulous disorder for people with impossibly glamourous lifestyles. In fact, fashion fans are as fanatical, cultish and partial to nerdish scrutiny and discussion as hardcore Star Wars fans or members of the Bieber Army and, with the popularisation of fashion blogs, spend more time in front of a computer screen than the average World of Warcraft gamer.

Take, for example, the recent announcement that revered fashion house Lanvin would be doing a collaboration with high street giant, H&M.

The lead up to this announcement included several teaser videos of a man and a woman, their faces hidden in shade like anonymous guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show, talking about the implications of style, a tactic which whipped fashion fans all over the world into a frenzy of hype. When it was finally revealed than the man and the women were not collaborators but red herrings, thrown into the mix to add to the mystique, H&M’s tactics were applauded (and rightly so) as genius.

Designer and high street stores alike have tapped into the love of fashion and social networking. if you generate enough hype with inventive advertising, exclusive collaborations and exciting design, then bloggers will do much of the online legwork by advertising through positive posting and public declarations on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Networked Blogs or any other of the ocean of sharing sites that currently exists in the ether.

In a way the internet has not only democratised fashion and opened up a whole new world of information for those who see fashion as a serious interest and not just a way to get into debt. It has forced retailers to up their game. The high street must produce better designs for cheaper prices, or the consumer will go elsewhere. The cachet to clothing is its exclusivity, which is why vintage sellers are making out like bandits with overpriced goods, just because they might not be available anywhere else.

Likewise, high-street/designer collaborations inspire all night camp-outs and riot re-enactments that imagine what Altamont would have been like if populated entirely by post-pubescent girls and young women clubbing away with their clutch purses.

I bought the bag, by the way. The women in front of me baulked at the price tag and left. That's the problem with fashion obsession; you might get the bag that no-one else has, but there's a distinct possibility that you might end up living out of it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blogger night out

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A lovely time was had by all at the Cork Fashion Bloggers meeting.  We ate num num num pizza at Sober Lane and came third in the table quiz despite all my best cheating efforts.  We ladies talked White Russians, London excursions and the state of the Irish magazine industry.  Then Aisling whipped out a box of Celebrations... The rest is a blur.

The more that I think about it, this blog post reads like a parish newsletter so I'll just be quiet and roll out the credits.

From L-R, Lorna, Dawn, Jo, Blau, Aisling, Me (excuse the awkward posture, I was trying to conceal a lipstick I had in my hand for some reason ) and Cathy.  Photo - Jo Lenihan

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prokudin-Gorskii - Pioneering photographer

Where do I start...

Sergei Prokudin Gorskii was a photographer and chemist who invented a method of developing colour photographs that resulted in an unusual vividness and clear colours. The photos below don't look so remarkable by mordern terms,but when you find out that they were all taken before 1915, your opinion might change.

The photographic process was extremely long and involved taking three photgraphs in quick succession under yellow, red and blue filters, and then combining the negatives onto one glass plate, which resulted in amazingly clear colours, but often slightly fuzzy outlines and double (or even triple) exposures if the subject sneezed or was an especially fidgety child.

Prokudin-Gorskii used these techniques to take a photograph of Tolstoy, which became very famous. Off the back of that, he was commissioned by Tsar Nicolas II to document pretty much everything that Russia had to offer, including ethnic and peasant costumes, art, architecture and religious paraphenalia. The result is a remarkable document of Pre-Revolution Russia (and you can see all 2606 slides online on the National Library of Congress website - possibly one of the best ways to while away a rainy day)  in GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOUR! Fanfare please...


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Loads more photos after the jump. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

"New York is everything" - Marc Jacobs

LAZY POST ALERT!

Ah, V Magazine. Why can't I buy you in Cork? Is there a V embargo in Easons? Don't you like us enough to ship to Ireland? Why, V, why???

'Scuse me. Here's the main editorial from this month's issue, populated by the great and good (of New York, that is. And even then, no Jay-Z? No Naked Cowgirl ?), including Lady G, Marc Jacobs, Jake Shears, DEBBIE HARRY (so good she's in caps) and Lady Bunny, whom I mistook for Jayne County .

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Licentiate Column 02/09/10

Every Thursday, I will be publishing the Licentiate column, which you can also read in the Cork Independent.  This is a regular series and leads on from the blog, so I hope that you enjoy it!


There’s a recent epidemic that has been plaguing young women all over Cork City. It’s not contagious, but it is dangerous. The main symptoms include incredible lethargy and arms stretched out like an overmasticated leaf of chewing gum. The cause of this as-yet-unnamed condition is obvious. Women have been taking too much on and have been trying to drag a copious amount of September issues back home from the newsagent, testing their sanity and stretching their forearms with more tenacity than the medieval rack.


September Issues are no laughing matter. This is the time when many women begin planning their winter wardrobes with the precision and obsession of serial killers. Which, coat, which cut, what colour are all questions that have to be asked before the first bronzed leaf falls off a tree in the People’s Park and the first pair of woolly opaque tights are grudgingly pulled on. Women put incredible amounts of pressure on themselves to formulate a seasonally transitional range of outfits, then find out to their despair that no-one else has noticed because they’re also too busy looking at their shoes and thinking ‘Hmm, heeled lace-up boots this season’?

This leads people to pick up every September edition of every fashion magazine that they ever bought, no matter how casual or negligible the frequency. Why? Because these periodicals hold the key to the sacred winter trends (the word ‘trends’ should be said in a reverent voice reserved only for rabid followers of the Pope or Justin Bieber). I had the incredibly unpleasant experience of picking up seven magazines in Eason’s yesterday. I would have bought more, but POP and French Vogue weren’t in yet (for that I thank a higher power much wiser than I). They weighed a ton. I needed a mini forklift to get them to the counter and the woman serving me had to divide them into three piles, then double bag. There was a very real probability that the bottom could literally fall out of my fashion life.

On the way home the loaf of Schull that I had bought earlier bounced out of my hands and rolled ahead of me jauntily, goading me on at how fast it could go because it didn’t have to lug about a bushel of Vogues. That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was this; I could not stand to pick up the bread, because that meant that I might have to put the magazines on the ground. I just could not do it. I had to stand forlornly by my bread until someone infinitely more practical picked it up for me. Take it from me, when you’d rather read magazines than eat, you have a problem to be concerned about.

It was worth it though. When I got home I was plunged into fashion sensory overload redolent of a Victorian opium den. The sights more than made up for the lack of sound, smell or taste. For all the slating that magazines receive in terms of body fascism or unreachably aspirational prices, there is no denying the seductiveness and tactility of the paper, or the knowledge that you are in possession of an ever-widening window into another world. It’s yours and you get to keep it, this small sliver of a fantasy world where everyone is fashionable, fabulous and fits neatly in with everyone else. Maybe the overstretched arms are worth it.