Saturday, 30 June 2012

Pretty Passion, Fine Fashion #28

This week I thought I'd try a different kind of layout. I started making my own zine last week (called R.A.V.E.) and I will let you know when I have finished it. Consequently I am loving making inspirational collages at the moment and writing in my own writing in a way that makes everything look homemade because I think that adds an authentic touch to something that is usually so commercialised. I am super duper excited for my work experience at the local paper that starts on Monday so this week's Fine Fashion is based on workwear. I have already sorted my outfits for next week but this is general ideas because most of the things I have to wear are no longer on sale but I will post pictures of each outfit from Monday to Friday. On a more negative note I fell over today; like properly fell over. I know! How embarrassing. I'm going for work experience next week which is a huge step into adulthood/maturity and then I do something stupid and childish like falling over and grazing my chin, my lip, my hands, my knee, and cutting all up my arm (yes, I am vying for your sympathy just a little.) I was out for a run this morning and I fell over whilst running down a hill on a path covered in stones. Nice one, Soph, nice one. So I have proof. Exercise is dangerous. Unfortunately I will continue because I'm going to Portugal for three weeks this summer and that perfect bikini body is not just going to magic itself into existence...
Pretty Passion

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Triple Treat

The pre-fall collections are out and the fashion world has for the most part decided their favourites. There have been reflections of spring/summer ready-to-wear and autumn/winter ready-to-wear. In recent years the importance of these half way collections has grown and they have become a huge part of the fashion industry. They are not bringing the seasons out of sync which is why some people are sceptical about these collections but they are just as much a form of creative output as the main season's shows. These collections keep the fashion industry on their toes rather than leaving everything to collect cobwebs in the months between each season. In some cases, these often smaller shows are better than the major ones. The feeling is more intimate and they always appear less commercialised than the spring/summer and autumn/winter collections which is nice as it feels personal then and they are left more open to interpretation. Fashion is all about change and the growth in the resort collections is one of those changes therefore it should be embraced, not disapproved of. Here are my favourites from the recent cluster of collections;

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1. Chanel
Now, I love Chanel but I did feel slightly disappointed after the autumn/winter 2012-13 ready-to-wear collection because it left me feeling a bit empty. Sure, you could hardly call it lack lustre but is Karl Lagerfeld even capable of doing anything lack lustre? I think not. Nevertheless I didn't think it was anything particularly special; at least not compared to other Chanel collections like this one. I nearly cried watching this show on my laptop. It is just so beautiful; a real piece of art that shows juxtaposition between the beautiful views in the Versailles garden with the Marie Antoinette details and the creepers, the hair, the attitudes and the music (M.IA. and Azelia Banks.) It was beautiful and picturesque but with attitude so it reflected Marie Antoinette in many ways. Live fast die young/Bad girls do it well seems to have some sort of a Marie Antoinette hint to it. The pastel hair and the creepers made for a Nicki Minaj meets hipster theme but the luxurious fabrics and the decadence add the touches of pre-revolution France. Like the most recent Chanel couture show there was a great presence of blue and like many a spring/summer ready-to-wear show the pastels were out on parade. I have a feeling that this trend might be sticking around for a while. Chanel's pre-fall collection had something that the other two below do not have and that is a show. Regardless of whether you attend the show or not I always feel that the show makes the overall appearance of the collection better; especially at Chanel where Karl Lagerfeld's ideas for these said shows are legendary. In the past there have been ice sculptures, aeroplanes and now we have a magnificent garden. Placing these outfits in a creative world makes them all the more beautiful. They are hardly being inserted into real life situations most of the time but to really see the way the designer's mind has thought out the collection there needs to be a fashion show extravaganza to finalise each thought process that the design team have been through and at that point I think everything becomes more than just clothes. You can then connect on a more personal level.

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2. Marc Jacobs
The Marc Jacob's resort collection has a quirky, botanical feel. Each dress brings with it a bucket full of personality. There is definitely a sense of geek chic entwined into the idea; with bold patterns and clunky shoes. There was a play with prints and proportions and an essence of costume that came with that. The exploration of fun and dress up is omnipresent as Marc Jacobs resort 2013 was not about playing it safe but taking chances with florals, stripes, polka dots and tartans all in one outfit; preferably a midi or maxi dress with chunky shoes as well as bright eye shadow and twisted hair. Although the models look towards the camera with no emotions on their faces in the collection's pictures, there is still that feeling of joy that comes with the outfits. It is one that reminds us of how fun fashion can be and how it can make us smile. It is intriguing and daring and ever so tempting to try out and see what varied reactions you will get. It has some '70s aspects to it; the bursts of colour, the platforms. However it also appears to play with the idea of an era before that (the '40s perhaps?) where women tied their hair back prettily and rarely wore dresses that went above the knee but still knew how to and were allowed to have a good time once the war was over. That is what this collection is all about; having a good time. Your body is your canvas. Drape it in experimental clashing patterns and have a good time.

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3. ALICE by Temperly
ALICE by Temperly always exudes a more youthful charm and this collection was all about feminine styles and was very much more wearable than the previous collections I have mentioned. There are looks for evening parties, garden parties, weddings, shopping, chilling out and dinner dates. The versatility is almost endless. Although the creativity is definitely there (hello? white fascinators that looks sort of like bunny ears) it is less of a form of art than Chanel or Marc Jacobs but that is instead replaced with practical elegance. Classy and sophisticated is what every outfit is. However, they are not all formal. As mentioned, some are simple enough to wear going shopping or chilling out at home. It reminds me of high street fashion and is quite refreshing. Although I love clothes like those in the Marc Jacobs collection it is somewhat like a breath of fresh air to see outfits that I can not only imagine myself wearing but my friends too. I probably would create a Marc Jacobs look-a-like outfit and I think I would just die from happiness if I could have the entire Chanel pre-fall collection however, I would probably get more wear out of these ALICE by Temperly clothes. The colours are mostly muted pinks, creams, whites, blacks and browns. However, not dull; this collection is not dull at all.

Which latest collections are your favourites?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman


Another Snow White adaption that we can add to 2012’s Snow White adaption résumé. 200 years after the original fairytale was written and 75 years after the Disney classic was released the bedtime story has had another fierce makeover. Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth this film is worth seeing. 


To have a strong female lead is no longer a rare feature in contemporary culture however, 200 years ago and even just 75 years ago society’s views on women differed greatly. Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is not the sort to stay at home and cook and clean for seven perfectly capable yet vertically challenged men. Her courage and feistiness leads her into battle against the evil Queen, Ravenna with the rest of the villagers on her side. 


As for Ravenna, she is unbelievably vindictive however; one cannot help but pity her at times. Yes, she kills her new husband on their wedding night and sucks youth out of people but whilst she commits each evil deed there are tears in her eyes and sometimes they fall down her face. It seems as though she has got in too deep and just does not know when to stop. 


There is definitely a great emotional journey that the watcher travels with Snow White on. This is a story of jealously, beauty, revenge and bravery. So, what do the dwarves bring to the table? The comedy of course; it was the same in Mirror, Mirror. Meanwhile the huntsmen and Snow’s childhood friend add a bit of eye candy for the female viewers whilst Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Lily Cole showcase their beauty. At least Lily Cole does until Charlize sucks the youth out of her. 


Charlize does look beautiful playing Ravenna until she starts to age and go a little crazy. However, I think her beauty does evoke more pity for the Queen because it seems as though she strives to be beautiful whereas Snow White is the fairest of them all even though for most of the film she is covered in dirt and engaging in androgynous quests. 


The film was aesthetically very beautiful and the idea of light and dark was played with a lot and in Snow White’s motivational speech before she leads the village in to battle verbalises this theme. The light, fresh parts are far away from the Queen’s palace and at the Queen’s palace everything is dark and shrivelled up ready to die. The dark forest is another feast for the eyes but not if you are squeamish. Everything starts to contort itself and turn into all sorts of dark insects and grotesque creatures. Contrasting with that is the scene with the white deer, the floral tortoise and the cute little elves. Here there is a burst of bright colour that is so different from the colour scheme so far that it makes the watcher feel quite emotional.


The film maintained a lot of graphic violence which could be found rather disturbing both visually and emotionally. However, that said, the special effects were superb. It was the gore that really made it and helps the audience to form strong emotional bonds with the characters. It was definitely a dark twist on the tale that also explored the madness behind evil. 


The one thing I was disappointed with was the lack of romance. I do not want to spoil the plot but I will just say that there is a large build up to something romantic happening at the end however, it does not. It ends on a sort of cliff hanger and made me curious like in a celebrity interview when asked about their love life the celebrity does not have an answer or would rather keep it private. Perhaps the lack of romance demonstrates that she does not need a man in her life for her to be the strong, powerful, kick-ass Snow White that she is. 


Another beautiful part of the film is Ravenna’s costumes designed by Academy-Award winning costume designer, Colleen Atwood. Of course, the rest of the kingdom is starving whilst she struts around in lavish gowns but surely that is the whole point of an evil Queen. Either way, the film has made me more grateful for our Queen. The Jubilee weekend is over but the hype has not quite dyed down. Due to the fact that Britain is a developed country and magic does not exist (sob, the illusion is shattered) I doubt we will ever be under the rule of someone as spiteful as Ravenna however, there are places out there that are held under a cruel dictatorship so take a while to think of them and then go and book up to see this film. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

New Couple

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With an atmospheric London backdrop, wet pavements and fog, Burberry stage their autumn/winter 2012/13 campaign featuring Roo Panes and and Gabriella Wilde as their new leading couple; the new role models for stylish, quintessentially British couples nationwide. The perfect blend of musician and actress taking their turn at modelling. Roo Panes mixes folksy vocals with brilliant guitar playing and Wilde is due to appear in thriller, Carrie. Both are undoubtedly very talented and the new ones to watch. The campaign was shot by renowned fashion photographer, Mario Testino and creatively directed by Christopher Bailey. It shows a clear contrast between seasons as the last campaign features summer smiles and strawberries along with a considerably larger dose of colour whereas autumn/winter is darker and moodier in more than one way. Panes and Wilde almost appear sad in the photographs however, there is still that sense of sophisticated beauty in the way in which the pictures are shot and the models' stances.

There can be no better time for such a British label to release its new campaign when the whole country is feeling oh so patriotic with the Queen's jubilee weekend. This time Bailey really has gone all out with smoke machines and special effects that more often appear in movies than fashion shoots.

Roo Panes is definitely my new crush. His dreamy music is fabulous. I'm going to get my guitar out and try to learn some of the tunes. The guitar genre I'm most suited to is quite folksy like his music. He fits the tall, dark and handsome quota. Oh and talented too. He recorded the soundtrack for the campaign. Here, have a listen;

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Time For Tea

The Jubilee weekend is upon us and nothing says quintessentially British like a classic tea party. Throughout time tea parties have held a great array of media interpretations but these are the two that spring to mind for me when I hear the term tea party;
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Tea parties is not just for little girls, old women, tigers and mad hatters though. Tea parties are very sophisticated gatherings (OK, maybe not in the two cases above but I don't think realistically a tiger would ever turn up at your house for tea.) But how do you go about planning this said tea party? 


Now, this is clearly a main factor as obviously for a proper tea party you will need English breakfast tea. Preferably served in delicate cups and saucers and poured from a matching tea pot. If you know that some guests at your tea party do not like tea (I still don't understand why some people do not like tea but there are people out there that do so we better cater for them) then a fresh still lemonade with ice, served in tall, clear glasses and poured from a glass jug or even a decanter is another refreshing alternative. Perhaps try other kinds of tea too such as Lady Grey, Peppermint or Berry. 


For sandwiches make sure they are cut up into little finger shapes. Do not make them too big as remember that originally this was an afternoon snack, not a whole meal. As for the fillings, cucumber and cream cheese is a classic, smoked salmon is a luxurious treat and jam is a sweet alternative. Use white bread and make sure you cut them evenly sized.


It's best to make one big cake (preferably a Victoria sponge) and then lots of little cupcakes. If you like to cook then make these yourself but it is best for everything to look perfect so if there's a 90% chance you'll mess it up; buy them. I think I could trust myself with the cupcakes and the Victoria sponge but things like fondant fancies and Viennese whirls I'll leave to Mr Kipling. Pretty much everything Mr Kipling goes. Just dot around some cakey shit everywhere although it can't look like shit because that would snatch away all the prettiness of this occasion. Pink macaroons add a touch of glamour too. Remember scones are a must.


Personally, I think the best artists to play at a tea party are Lana Del Rey and Daisy Dares You but you can adapt this to your own music tastes as it really depends on what you're into and what you think will go with the sort of atmosphere that you want to create for your guests. Here is a mix that I have assembled.

Dress Code

Cute floral dresses are one option. Boucle suits are another (if you want to do a Jubilee themed tea party then dress up like the Queen in this sort of attire.) I think I would go for cute floral dresses because most people own one of these are they match the pretty theme. Pocket watches are great for a slightly Alice in Wonderland effect. Fans and white gloves are fabulous for a tea party.


Opt for a lace tablecloth, a cake stand, pretty plates, tea cups, tea pot for a classic look. However, if you want to go for a different theme then read below.

The Alternatives

The muck up tea party- 

Lay everything out all pretty but get ready for it to be spoilt. This is kind of a mad hatter sort of party. I'm thinking people walking across the table to get the food they want, smashing cups and alcohol in the tea cups instead of tea. Make everyone dress feminine but with imperfections (smudged make up, bare feet, that kind of thing.)

The seemingly spontaneous tea party- 

Set up a cheap table, throw on a table cloth and some cakes and tea. Oh, and all this is outside. Perhaps in a garden but even better if it's in a public place like a park. You will leave all the picnickers sitting on their little checked mats trembling at your coolness.

Pretty and pink- 

An entirely pink themed tea party would be amazing. Get everyone to wear head to toe pink, have pink tea cups and a pink tea pot. Also have a pink tablecloth, pink fondant fancies, pink macaroons, pink cup cakes and pink wafers. Also serve pink berry tea and pink lemonade. 

The gothic tea party- 

Give everything a dark atmosphere. You can stick with the original decorations just drape fake cobwebs and dust over everything so that it looks kind of haunted and like its been left for decades. I'm thinking like the table with Miss Havisham's wedding cake on in Great Expectations only minus the bugs; that just unsanitary. We need to draw the line somewhere, people. Get everyone to dress in black. I'm thinking black fascinators, chunky boots and netted skirts but that's only if you want to go all out.

The vintage tea party- 

All tea parties have a vintage feel to them however, if you want to take it a step further get people to dress in the sort of clothing they would have worn in the era that you are trying to recreate. Anything from the Victorian era to the 1950s is best. Play music from that era also. 

Woodland Tea Party-

Set up camp in the woods to be at one with nature. Do everything the same way that you would at home just adapt it to a woodland environment.

A Night Time Tea Party

Put candles on the floor outside or hang lanterns from trees. This is an unique way to have a tea party. You could also have tall wax candles on the table for a pretty vintage feeling. 

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

Get everyone to dress in blue with a ribbon in their hair and wear pocket watches. Then make cakes that say "eat me" on the icing and attach labels to all the tea cups saying "drink me."

Friday, 1 June 2012

Wealthy Ladies

In Year 8 we all sat down in a circle and had to say what made the world go round. I said money, as did a couple of others. Cynical? Yes. True? Err, yes. As a class we decided that emotions made the world go round then had to do some dancey activity where my friend accidently punched me in the nose (yes, we are brilliant dancers.) So lots of people said love and emotions make the world go round but love will not buy you a Chanel 2.55 and, less narcissistically and perhaps more importantly love will not save starving children in developing countries. Sure, it would be nice if love solved everything and life was all fluffy bunnies and rainbows but life is more like the Series of Unfortunate Events film where it starts off with a happy cartoon then bluntly tells you that the film will not be about a happy bunny living in a colourful, friendly village but it will be about three orphans whose lives are made a misery by a man who is after their money. So, let’s not all pretend that we don’t want to be rich because, well, most people do. Most people have heard the phrase "Money doesn't buy happiness" but that doesn't stop us wanted to be like these women...

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the world's richest women and is world famous for her highly successful talk show. She had a hard childhood; claiming to be raped age nine and becoming pregnant at fourteen however, her son died at a young age. Clearly, she is a living example of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And my addition; what does kill you makes you dead. But moving on, she teamed up with Anna Wintour for the 2012 Met Gala, has a net worth of $1,500 million is the richest woman in entertainment as well as the only black, female billionaire. 
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JK Rowling

There is almost no argument for saying that JK Rowling is the most successful aithor of this generation. The author of the Harry Potter books has collated a net worth of $1,000 million.The sixth instalment of the Harry Potter series was the fastest selling book in history and she is the only career author on the Forbes billionaire list. Her story is a rags to riches one. She went from being a single divorced mother with no job therefore little money and now she is a multi millionaire.
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Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart oversees a media empire that includes a television show, a magazine, books, housewares and a radio channel which has made her a net worth of $638 million.She spent five months in jail that stripped her of the chief executive title but that has not stunted her success or her wealth. She is now sixty four years old and she had a brief modelling career in the '60s.


Madonna. What can we say about Madonna? She has been labelled the Queen of Pop and is world famous. At the age of fifty three she is still very much active but not only as a singer. Her active music videos and live dancing are still very much present. The star has been in the music spotlight since the '80s but hasn't disappeared off the radar like other '80s stars.Her business sense has got her where she is today. And where she is today financially is with a net work of $325 million. She is primarily a singer but has also done acting, directing, writing and fashion designing.

Celine Dion

Celine Dion had a five year gig at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas which has made her a great deal of her wealth but this alone has not led to a net worth of $250 million. She has also sold approximately 140 million albums worldwide with her single for James Cameron's blockbuster hit, Titanic selling over 15 million copies. I get tears in my eyes every time I hear the song My Heart Will Go On. It is both synonymous with sadness and romance.

Gisele Bundchen

Joint with her husband, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, they are one of the highest paid couples in America. Gisele alone is the highest paid model and she is praised for ending the "heroin chic" era of models that Kate Moss was a key leader of. She uses her wealth, fame and beauty for a good cause as a goodwill ambassador for the UN Environment Programme. Her five year relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio ended in 2005 but whilst they were together in 2004 they made People's annual Most Beautiful Couple list. 

Miuccia Prada

This fashion designer and entrepreneur is not just the youngest granddaughter of the brand's founder, Mario Prada but she also has a Ph.D. in political science. She was known to be a member of the Communist party and fought for women's rights in the 1970s. She has also added her own twist to the eponymous brand that is know globally as well as starting another now global label Miu Miu. With a net worth of $6,800,000,000 she is one of the richest women in fashion.

Sara Blakely

The world’s youngest female billionaire made her fortune through the revolutionary underwear, Spanx. Whilst attending Florida State University she worked part time at Disney World. I love it when wealthy women join together like when Sara Blakely appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2006 and donated $1 million to Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy. 

Donna Karen

Karan grew up already with a slight insight into the fashion industry as her mother was a model and her father was tailor. We are advised to start young, especially if you want to enter a field as competitive as fashion design. Nowadays it is relatively simple to set up a website selling clothes that you have designed and/or made however, in 1962 when Karan was fourteen it was not so simple yet this is the age that she started to sell clothes. Karan said she would never design something that she would not wear herself and is a strong believer in comfort however, has been attacked by animal rights activists over the use of fur in her clothing.

Garance Dore

In June 2006, French fashion illustrator, Garance Dore set up a fashion blog with the same name. Since then her blog has sparked a whole career that involves shooting editorials, ad campaigns, videos and giving talks and consulting for international brands. She posts little snippets of her life- things that inspire her, things that make her laugh and things that get her thinking. I recommend that you go take a look at this blog. As I write this, the most recent post is an interview with a Vogue fashion writer that I find particularly compelling because a Vogue fashion writer is literally my dream job.

Chiara Ferragni

Along with being beautiful with a breathtaking wardrobe and a great sense of style Italian, Chiara Ferragni has a fabulously successful fashion blog, The Blonde Salad, which boasts 104,736 followers on Bloglovin’. I WANT TO BE HER. She started her fashion blog in October 2009 and since then has achieved a number of things. She posts personal style photos everyday with captions in both English and Italian. This is a blog that I visit frequently to admire the photographs and get style inspiration if I’m stuck on what to wear.

Alix Bancourt

Parisian Alix Bancourt has been blogging on The Cherry Blossom Girl since 2007 and described her style as romantic with lots of pastels, embroidery, flower prints and pleats. When she isn’t blogging she designs ready to wear women’s clothing. She also likes to ride her bike around Paris and go for picnics. One of her favourite blogs is Rumi Neely’s Fashion Toast which I have discussed below. She studied fashion in Paris for three years; specialising in haute couture.

Emily Schuman

Emily Schuman’s first book is due to come out August this year. She is a full time blogger on Cupcakes and Cashmere. Her job entails partnerships, design collaborations and web consulting. Whilst she studied sociology and media studies, her top tips on pursuing a career in fashion are 1. Get as much experience as you can 2. Work hard 3. Be focused. Her tips for blogging are different; 1. Post often 2. Provide compelling photos 3. Make sure it is easy to read 4. Write about something you are truly passionate about. She makes a living off her blog by displaying advertisements on the site, selective affiliate links, marketing consultations and collaborations. Image from:

Rumi Neely

This is another of my favourite blogs purely because the photographs are consistently so inspiring. She started her blog, Fashion Toast, in 2008 and by 2009 it was already a great success. She is also represented by NEXT modelling agency and seems to always be travelling around the world (often to Japan) which makes her blog’s content consistently intriguing. In February 2011 she won both the Best Personal Style Blog and Blog of the Year at the Bloglovin’ awards.