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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Roundup - favourites, highlights and everything in between

It's that time again.  Sluggish bloggers, slowed down into a cosy Christmas chrysalis are sloughing off the excess of too many mince pies and slices of blue cheese and evaluating the year in order to burst into 2011 a beautiful blog butterfly.  Like the alliteration?  I wrote it just for you.  Here's my 2010 'best of' blog mixtape.

Blog Highlights:  I started this blog in March with the aim of sharing what I liked and meeting a few like-minded people.  In the space of a few short months, I've racked up readers from around the world, landed a fashion column, learned a hell of a lot about the fashion industry, joined the Vice Blogging Network, went to London Fashion Week, networked like a mad thing, was mentioned as one of Ireland's most influential bloggers and made some truly exceptional, hilarous and supportive friends.  All of this due to blogging aspersions.  So, to my readers, I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU!  You guys are the best.  Seeing all your comments really brightens up my day.

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Click 'Read More' to, ehm, read more, look at nice pictures and watch some fashion films...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Get yo' swag on

Was Santa good to you this year?  I must have been a good girl, because I got a mighty sack of Christmas swag, mostly in the form of some excellent fashion books.  To be honest, I could have done with a sack of coal too because It. Is. Freezing.

Here's what I got book-wise, in no particular order.

Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow by Detmar Blow.  This biography of the famed and much mourned super-stylist purports to be her definitive biography.  But really, it's not.  It's not particularly well-written and her husband goes into too much detail in some places (he paints Alexander McQueen as an egocentric, cruel megalomaniac) and not enough in others (Blow's heroin use and both his and her extramarital affairs are casually touched on or barely acknowledged).  It's distinctly unbalanced, but I feel as if I know Blow a bit better after reading it.

The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion by Paul Gorman.  From Elvis to Gwen Stefani, this book charts the intermingling of fashion and music.  Where the musos bought their clothes, what the trends meant and what people thought of them at the time - it's a supremely interesting read.  And there's introductions and forewards by Paul Smith AND Malcolm MacLaren.  AND a free CD.

Style Wars by Peter York.  Published in 1980, this book is now sadly out of print.  If you're a fan of subculture, then buy it second hand on Amazon.  I got a nice clean ex-library copy.  Reading about the different style tribes in the 80's and thinking about how radically different the world is now after only thirty years is a bit of a mind-melt.  A good mind-melt.  Chapter on Sloane Rangers = Hilarious.

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A photo from Take Ivy.  Gotta love those preppy boys.

Take Ivy by Teruyoshi Hayashida.  Loads and loads and LOADS of iconic pictures of preppy men (and a few women) at Ivy League universities.  All of the photos were taken in the early sixties, so it's collegiate cool at it's most distilled, before Woodstock and Women's Lib changed the face of the common college uniform.

Face Hunter by Yvan Rodic.  Enough said.

The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970's Paris by Alicia Drake.  I cannot wait to get my teeth into this book, which tells the story of the friendship and rivalry between Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld before they achieved their godlike statuses.  It's reassuringly thick, which is always a good thing when it comes to non fiction.  More pages equal more juicy details.

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Knitting Masterpieces via etsy - buy it!

Knitting Masterpieces by Ruth Herring.  This (also out of print) knitting book shows you have to make jumpers with some of art's greatest works emblazoned across the front.  I will not rest until I figure out how to knit a Mona Lisa sweater.  It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.

Style and the Man: How and Where to Buy the Best Men's Clothing by Alan Flusser.  Everything a person could possibly want to know about how to buy a suit, how to wear a suit, the best proportions to suit a man's figure, how to tie a cravat - basically every GQ fashion article ever written that never actually appeared in GQ.  I'll be passing it on to the boyfriend according.

Great Fashion Designs of the Sixties: Paper Dolls in Full Colour: 32 Haute Couture Costumes by Courreges, Balmain, Saint-Laurent, and Others by Tom Tierney.  Sixties.  Paper.  Dolls.  Marrying my love of sixties fashion and cutting shapes out of paper.  The words 'childish glee' were made for this book

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A plate from Portrait in a Velvet Dress - a beautifully composed and considered shot

Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida's Wardrobe by Carlos Phillips Olmed and Magdalena Rozenzweig.  Many people love the art of Frida Kahlo, but equally fascinating was her attitude to clothing.  This book is full of pictures of her flamboyant outfits (found in a trunk in a disused bathroom in her house, still smelling of her cigarettes) and essays about the artist's relationship and attitudes towards her wardrobe.

Coco Chanel:  The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie.  Coco Chanel was so protective of her own life story that it seems that there will never be a totally truthful and authoritative biography written on her.  Justine Picardie grapples admirably with what she has to work with and the book is printed on gorgeous glossy paper with some seriously great, insightful images.

It's going to take me a while to get though these.  Wish me luck.  Did you get anything nice for Christmas?  Got any fashion-type reads that you fancy sharing?

Monday, December 27, 2010

And the winner is...

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Hello all. I hope that you had an excellent Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/ Festivus/Whatever and that all your wild gift dreams came true. I got a mighty haul of fashion-type books. More on that later.

Here is what happened at the Licentiate household this festive season.

1. The water was cut off.
2. Then the pipes in the bathroom burst. So, on the upside, we had water. It was just leaking through the light fixtures and onto the kitchen floor.
3. Then I got food poisoning. On Christmas Eve.
4.  So Christmas was spent in bed and in dire need of a shower.

Anyway, enough about me.  How was your Christmas?  Not too stressful, I hope.

It's a less then smooth segue from food poisoning to the giveaway I held last month, which ended on Christmas Eve.  The winner, chosen my my sister from a lot of tiny pieces of paper in a bowl is Zoe of Vagabond Language.  Check out her blog - it's very interesting indeed!

Major congrats to Zoe and all who entered!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Licentiate Column 23/12/10

OK, deep breaths. We’ve nearly got through it.  The festive season is upon us.  It’s almost over.  All the legwork has been done, the presents have been bought and distributed, champagne has been put in the icebox (and in my house, for some reason, the vegetable crisper) in anticipation of the stroke of twelve on New Years Eve.  You can do it.  We’re on the home stretch now.
The last column covered the problem of clothing as Christmas presents, the one before that, the problem of dressing for the wintry weather, the one before that, the problem of dressing for Christmas parties.  Sometimes I wish that Christmas was three months long just so I could write about how problematic a combination Christmas and my clothing is, not least how hard it is to fit into my impulse-buy leather pants after yet another mince pie too many.

Yep, I’m a Scrooge.  At the very least, I am an amped-up modern Scrooge, like Bill Murray in 80’s tacktastic remake, ‘Scrooged’, where he plays a bepermed television executive who eventually learns the error of his ways... or at least I think he does.  I was definitely not paying attention.

I don’t hate Christmas - I love it.  I love seeing my family and reuniting with homeward bound friends, I love giving (and receiving) presents, I love that it’s an excuse to eat as much breaded, deep fried brie as you can physically handle while glued to a Judy Garland marathon.  All of these activities are best undertaken wearing a ratty, too-big t-shirt of your dads and a pair or droopy treggings (bonus points for fashioning a little red Snuggie into a cape, extra bonus points for going to the pub in such an ensemble).

Christmas and New Years are times to be comfortable.  That’s my problem.  I know that, once the 6th of January has come and gone and a million Christmas trees are slowly turning brown after being shunted in a million back yards, I will have to put on the skinny jeans again.  And when I realise that the skinny jeans won’t go past my kneecaps, the party really will be over.  It’s not for nothing that the average weight gain over the Christmas period is seven pounds.

And then, the New Years resolutions.  The juice fasts.  The pilates.  The expensive gym memberships.  The rice cakes, an endless stream of them, all masticated methodically in order to fit back into those impossible jeans again.  First the binge, then the purge.  It’s a cliche to call it a vicious cycle, but it really is vicious; it’s a snarling beast that wakes you up every day at 6am to go for a jog before work and forces you at gunpoint to put down that Galaxy Caramel - now.

All the same, humans have a short memory and are remarkably resilient creatures (or incredible masochists).  We put ourselves through this torture because we know we’ll get to do it all again in a matter of months; and we love it.   If that seven pounds doesn’t slide off so easily and the jeans remain a bit tight, so what?  That’s what the January sales are for.

LICENTIATE FESTIVE NOTICE!   There will be no column next week.  The next Licentiate column goes up on the 7th of January, so stay tuned.  From the second of January, there will be some very special posts from very special Irish bloggers - more on that in the New Years.  
As you may know, this humble blog has been listed as one of Ireland's most influential fashion blogs!  You can vote for me by clicking on the link, finding my blog (I'm number 42) and clicking the vote button.  Thanks so much to everyone who has supported my blog so far, all you comments and emails are much appreciated.  HUG!
P.S And if you're not going to vote for me, please vote for one of the other superb Irish blogs out there, who are all super nice, very talented and equally deserving of your vote.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde '10

Thankfully, I'm not referring to Jay-Z rehashing 'Bonnie and Clyde '05'.  Oh no.

If 2010 was a series of 'moments', the story of Bonnie and Clyde (or more specifically the 1967 film; the real Bonnie had a limp and severe scars from burns towards the end of her crime career) has definitely had it's moment within the past twelve months.

The real Bonnie and Clyde - Phographer unknown

This year has sprouted not one but two editorials that pay obvious homage to the public's favourite outlaw couple (Mickey and Mallory Knox from Natural Born Killers coming a close second).  The first to appear was shot by Peter Lindbergh for the March issue of Harpers Bazaar, the second shot by Aram Bedrossian (no idea which magazine though, let me know if you know please) this month.  Inevitably, people are writing that Bedrossian's shoot is 'following in the footsteps of Lindbergh', which is fashion code for 'might be blatantly copying Lindbergh'. Though, with such iconic source material, how could they not be equally derivative?

Spot the difference 1 - Lindbergh

Spot the difference 1 - Bedrossian


Spot the difference 2 - a still from Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Spot the difference 2 - Bedrossian


Spot the difference 2 - Lindbergh

I'm not trying to be a party pooper or the girl who cried plaigarism.  As I said before, it's hard not to come to the same aesthetic conclusions when you're drawing inspiration from a film with such a strong image.  Both editorials have some amazing, totally original images.  They also have different moods.  The Lindbergh shoot is full of movement, while Bedrossian's work is more contemplative and static.

A super cool action shot from Lindbergh


A beautifully composed shot by Bedrossian

It's a very close call, but I prefer Lindbergh's shoot. Which one do you like best?


All photos via Fashion Gone Rogue

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Style Icon - Wallis Simpson

Today started well.  I found out that I was a nominee for Ireland's Top Fashion Blogger.  This is a total surprise, because I didn't solicit a nomination, but now that I've got one, I'm going to cling onto it until my fingernails fall off and pimp myself out for votes like an underage Jodie Foster.  Can you tell that I was the kid who never won any prizes on sports day?

I don't for a second think that I'll come out on top with so many excellent blogs nominated, but if you like this blog and don't want me to be Sad Sack Sarah at the bottom of the pile (fingers crossed!) please do vote for me by clicking here.  Go to my pic (I'm number 41), then press vote.  Easy as pie!

Then I popped down to The Fair Alternative to find a super-cute prize for my QUESTION! post and bumped in the lovely Lorna of Loladee (check out her etsy here) who gifted me an amazingly cute zipper brooch that I want to keep ALL TO MYSELF.

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The winner, with an exhaustive list of blogs is Anne-Marie.  Congrats!  I'll tweet you with details. 

Now onto the blog post at hand...
My mother very thoughtfully bought me a copy of Any Human Heart by William Boyd a few days ago. I'm a bit of a pedanto at times, so I decided to watch the entire Channel 4 series in one go before reading the book. Sometimes I read the book before watching the TV series/film, but my reasoning was that it wasn't so much the story that I was looking forward to as much as Boyd's writing itself.  I'm so glad that I watched it now, because the series is so immaculate and well made and the characters so finely tuned and nuanced that I can't wait to read the book just so I can replay every episode in my head, complete with the fleshed-out details that the book provides. 

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Gillian Anderson and Tom Hollander as Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward
One character who definitely didn't get enough screentime was Wallis Simpson, played by Gillian Anderson.  She plays Wallis as an abrasive, self entitled social climber with a dress sense as sharp as her cheekbones and one liners.  Paris Hilton - start taking notes.

Historical accounts of the real Simpson's personality run the gamut of bad to just plain evil.  She was characterised as a control freak with OCD (definitely) gold-digger (possible), a Nazi sympathiser (probable) and a pseudo-prostitute trained in the sexual arts in a brothel in China (eh, I'll get back to you on that one).  I remember reading that people thought that she was a hermaphrodite (or intersex, if I'm being very PC) in a bid to explain her childlessness.  Not very likely.

Whatever you want to say about her, the woman had charisma.  People are still boggled by her life, her personality and her political motivations.  I'm boggled by her wardrobe.  Wallis was exceptionally long and lean.  Her wedding dress was copied into the hundreds of thousands and she was (and still is) lauded for her personal style and attention to detail.

In an article for The Telegraph, the author Rose Tremain says:

"She, who is said to have coined the statement that "You can't be too rich or too thin", was stigmatised as being too ambitious, too ruthless, too greedy, too mannish, too sexual, too cruel, too divorced, too pro-German and too American. In the brilliant Irving Penn photo-portrait of her, which hangs in my study, she is backed into what appears to be a narrow cell, from which the only escape is towards the camera, into the glare of the flash and the click of the shutter."


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Portrait by Irving Penn

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Portrait by Cecil Beaton

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Portrait by Cecil Beaton
What Tremain sees in the Penn portrait is a look of abject fear.  I, and many others, might disagree.  That's the allure of Wallis Simpson, who didn't just dress well, but was totally unknowable, and always will be.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Licentiate Column 16/12/10

Christmas shopping is hard. I don’t just mean the physical act of shopping, which is a test of endurance dreamed up by a wrathful god who makes a daily habit of getting up on the wrong side of the bed each morning. I’m talking about the preamble. The wracking of brains to come up with the perfect gift and the sifting through endless websites and gift guides. The pressure to be thought of as the most thoughtful (and cunningly frugal) gift-giver on the planet.


Sometimes the brain get so wracked it starts to resemble a plate of grated cheddar cheese. Combine that with the over-sifted gift ideas and your plan is now starting to resemble the ingredients for a nice savoury scone as opposed to the perfect shopping trip.

The worst Christmas gifts are invariably the clothes. The very nature of buying clothes for another person is illogical and deeply flawed,so it comes to pass that only the very smartest or foolhardy will buy such things.

This goes for all items of clothing, no matter how large or small. Want to buy your significant other a tie? Think you know him that well, do you? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. There is no accounting for taste, so you may find that your choice of an ironic burgundy kipper tie will find you out in the cold this festive season. Think that you’re dodging a bullet by buying a plain tie? Then think again; the plain tie marks you out as a thoughtless gift giver. The tao of ties dictates that the busier the pattern, the more thought you evidently put into buying it.

On the gender flip side, we have the glutinous minefield that is lingerie. Like Father Ted, many men will get lost somewhere in Debenhams on Christmas Eve and be spat back out into homewares sometime before Valentines Day. The lingerie section is the Bermuda triangle for confused and indecisive men everywhere.

Bra and knicker sets are a perfect example of the ‘smart or foolhardy’ customer dichotomy. A person will either know their significant others cup size and preference for lace over leather, resulting in a very merry (triple) Xmas or they don’t. They make an ill-advised stab in the dark, which is exactly what will happen once the significant other unwraps a red rubber and latex creation that Lady Gaga would find just a tad too risque.

Maybe the worst thing about Christmas shopping isn’t the preamble. Maybe, just maybe, the worst thing about Christmas shopping is the fact that we have to do it at all. We’re all adults here. We know that Christmas is ostensibly about Jesus and not about rampant, Godzilla-like consumerism. We buy presents to show the people in our lives that we care about them. Why do we insist on expressing that love with ill-fitting, badly chosen garments that are going to be on sale anyway in a matter if weeks? Is that truly the measure of care that we take for other people?

This year, my mother offered to knit me a jumper of my choosing. While this gesture doesn’t cost the earth, it’s still infinitely better than an expensive shop bought, machine-made offering in colours I don’t like with too-long sleeves. When it comes to Christmas and clothes, it’s the thought that counts. And if you get stuck, a book token will do nicely.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Catalogue Shopping

There's been a lot of controversy this week over the Elle.es blogging scandal (click to read about it here) which, if anything, has taught us bloggers to be more conscious and aware of the legal implications of reblogging pictures, especially the work of others  If you're like me and have a serious aversion to posting pictures of yourself in different outfits leaping all over the place, then your options are limited and images are sourced from elsewhere.

All images that I take from other blogs or websites are credited and linked appropriately and if not they're usually my own, stock photos or in the public domain (just an FYI).  Here's some images that I came across the other day that I'd like to share with you.

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These images are from the back pages of the NME from about '81 to '85 respectively and I think they are pretty darn cool. If the NME still had these kinds of ads I would probably still be buying it and not reading Pitchfork and The Quietus (so good, Google it if you haven't heard of it) online instead. Winklepickers and mohair and bowling shoes, oh my!

This ties in with sourcing photos, I swear. Here's the long journey I took to source these pictures properly.

I saw one of these ads on Self Constructed Freak , one of my daily reads...
which linked back to the Tumblr, Now This Is Gothic, which is chock-a-block with great 80's goth photos...
which linked back to Tin Trunk, a blog with a concurrent vintage shop on Etsy...
who scanned them in from old copies of NME!

Phew.

You don't have to go through this complicated rigamarole whenever you source a photo, I just thought it would be good to illustrate how many places a picture can come from.  If you're ever in doubt about how to source a picture, a good rule of thumb is to remember the photographer and/or where the image first appeared.

If you want to know more about crediting and finding public images, click here.
If you want to know more about photo crediting for bloggers, click here.

And is you want to show me some love on Facebook, click here (gratuitous plug alert).

And a big PS - I'm going on my holidays on the first of January.  While I'm hungover in a series of airports, I'll need a few guest bloggers.  My email address is in the sidebar if you're interested.

Friday, December 10, 2010

QUESTION!

I'm trying to reorganise my blog reader and do an overhaul on my reading material.

Here's where you kind readers come in.

What blogs do you enjoy reading? What eye candy lights up your day? Which bloggers inspire you? Whose photo blogs make you think? Who's the funniest or smartest fashion blogger out there? Do you have any guilty pleasures tucked away in your reader?

Let me know in the comments box below. No blog is too obscure or too obvious. Give me one link or a directory, a broad street style blog or a Tumblr of Turgistani interiors; it's all good.  The submissions I like the best will get a wee prize of, well, I haven't thought of what I'm giving away yet. But in case you're worried, click here to see how good I usually am at giving away stuff.

And because no post is complete without a picture, here's an unrelated fluffy bunny.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Licentiate Column 09/12/10

I’m no Martin King (a blessing in disguise) but I don’t need to switch on the weather forecast to know that it is pretty darn cold outside. Freezing, in fact. If everything isn’t covered in a few feet of virgin snow, then the roads and footpaths are covered in a gleaming membrane of ice, like a mirrored pool of glass.
We Irish are not well equipped for cold weather. We’re used to rain and clouds and mild temperatures. We are not used to spending half an hour gingerly clopping on frozen paths to the shop next door with the careful stride of a dressage pony, just to avoid slipping gracelessly on our behinds in hopelessly impractical shoes.
Worst of all is the total standstill of the country’s transport system, due to a complete lack of snow tyres and grit for the roads. We are just plain ill-prepared. But that’s a story for a different column.
I have no solution to the transport problem (except maybe to recommend investing in shares in salt) but I can help with the clothing issue. Here are a few tips for dressing appropriately for sub-zero weather.
1. Hat, scarves, gloves. All in a colour that suit your skin tone. You’re going to be wearing these all the time, so the general rule is that it’s better that they match your face rather than your outfit, even if your nose is now the colour of a bowl of cranberry sauce. Once you have your hat, scarf and gloves, buy some spares. Donate them to your local SVP, because there are a hell of a lot of freezing homeless people out there who desperately need them.
2. Thermal underwear is your friend. It is no flaky friend either. Thermal underwear is the kind of friend that you can ring up in the middle of the night right after a break-up and moan to ad nauseum without judgement or complaint. Thermal underwear is the kind of friend that will always be there for you. If you want a super-retro look, then go for lumberjack long johns. It’s best to wear these in bed, because going to the bathroom in long johns is the kind of gargantuan task that Bear Grylls would find difficult on a good day. Failing that, thermal tees and leggings can be found at reasonably cheap prices in many of the larger clothing chains. Some thermals also act like full body Spanx, which is no bad thing.
3. Always, always layer your clothing. Layering isn’t a fashion buzzword; in cold weather it’s a vital component of dressing. If you go out in a t-shirt and huge coat, get too hot, then take off your coat, your body will cool down much too fast, making you more susceptible to colds and flu. This would be why I am currently typing with one hand, the other now glued to a Kleenex which, in turn, is glued to my runny nose. Learn from my mistake. Dress in many thin layers, not one huge one.
4. Look to the Scandinavians for inspiration. We’ve already taken our economic cues from Iceland, now we should think about the way they dress. Tailored trousers, warm, thick tights, waterproof boots with sturdy soles, chunky knits and lashings of fur, faux or otherwise are all great options. Up the glamour ante with your hair, jewellery and accessories.
5. Tread very carefully. Full body casts are so last year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Odds and Sods

I've spent this weekend travelling (one and a half hour wait on a freezing platform, thank you Irish Rail) and working while sick, so I'm a little bit burnt out and uninspired.  I'm going on an enforced blog hiatus (I'm away from my computer and photos and such) and I'll be back on Thursday, hopefully reinvigorated by some family get togethers, cups of tea and plates of shortbread.  Ok, ok, I'm going to stop moaning... now. Here's a few bits that are looking mighty good to feverish ol' me at the moment.



This is my favorite Christmas song. When the horns come in...

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My new shoes. They are fakey fake fake Miu Mius but they rock my socks. Incidentally, I should probably think about wearing socks with them. My toes are still sore from the last time I wore them out.

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It's the End of the World as We Know It

Conor Walton is my favorite Irish artist.  His still lives are amazing, done in the style of the Dutch Masters - exploring similar themes using modern, everyday objects.  Sinister, sexy, funny, amazing.  He'll be giving a lecture on the aforementioned Dutch Masters in the National Gallery on December 14th.  He has stopped painting and taking commissions for the time being due to a personal matter (my mom is on his mailing list, feverishly waiting to snatch up a still life) so this will be a rare opportunity to interact with a great artist.

Have a great week everyone.  Hope it's a festive one!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Licentiate Column 02/12/10

If there's one thing that a recession is good for, it's separating the wheat from the chaff. The positive from the negative. The naysayers and apocalypse invokers from the Plucky Pollyannas. The... well, you get my drift.


Since the introduction of the government's four year plan, I have heard nothing but pronouncements that the country is doomed and declarations of intent to move far, far away from this aforementioned doom-addled island and towards a land with slightly more milk and honey (or jobs in IT, accounting and the media).

This is an unremarkable, yet unwelcome side effect of the Irish recession. The Irish diaspora stretches back for almost two hundred years. It is not surprising. Both the positive and the negative people evaluate their lives and feel that they have to move on.

What is surprising is the ability of this negativity to consume a person, to the extent that it affects the lives of people around you.

As a fashion writer, it's not my place to comment on the four year plan with even one iota of authority (even though there are others who know much less than me who are willing to give their two cents). This column is supposed to be full of jokes, off-the-cuff comments and observations about the shopping habits of the average women. Yet, somehow, I managed to visibly offend several people when I revealed to them that I was NOT going to tackle the four year plan/the budget/social welfare cuts/Brian Cowen's jamjar specs.

On revealing publicly that I would not be writing about these issues, I was immediately asked why by a petite brunette with an appropriately pointy nose. "Because it's a fashion column," I said. "It has nothing to do with politics. Why should I devote the column to scaremongering about rent relief when I should be devoting it to scaremongering about huge credit card bills brought on by online shopping sprees? What do you want me to do - critique Brian Cowen's three-button suits (and a side note to an Taoiseach; I'd go double breasted if I were you - your chest is less Biffo, more barrel) and Brian Lenihans droopy, sad sack side parting?"

"Ugh. You are so shallow" this particular harridan rasped as she retreated back in the shadows, no doubt to suck the will to live out of another person who had the gall to be thinking about pretty flowers or teddybears.

To this women, I give you this message. I may well be shallower than a fresh puddle after fifteen minutes of drizzle, but fashion is not. While it may not be as profound as a Shakespearean couplet uttered from the mouth of Mother Teresa, it has it's place in the world, just like this column has a place in this paper.

Fashion is the most universal mode of self expression. Fashion tells people who you are. Fashion is an industry. Fashion utilises techniques that have been honed for hundred of years. Some fashion is equal to great art, except fashion is for everyone and not just those who understand it. Fashion is tied in to sex, power, jobs, money, cachet and life-changing events (think marriages and funerals). Fashion is even tied to politics in a Gordian knot that Alexander the Great would find hard to cut through. It runs parallel to all things, not in second place.

I may be shallow, but I am not shallow for refusing to express my opinion on the IMF situation in this paper. There are others who do so more eloquently and logically within these pages. They have a place and I do too; in the Health and Beauty section, talking about shoes. That's the way it's going to stay.