Sunday, 25 September 2011

Candy Floss Days of Summer

Before I start, I would just like to point out the fact that, yes, I know it's not summer. As much as I might wish it was- as much as I wish I could bury my head under my duvet and pretend that the stifling air in my room is drifting in through the window from a sultry, hot night instead of from my blow heater- even I cannot ignore the inevitable signs that the seasons are changing. The leaves are steadily turning gold, a bowl of freshly-collected, glossy brown conkers has taken pride of place on our living room table, and there is that definite nip in the air that demands the first trip up to the loft to uncover last season's fur coat and vintage Christmas jumpers.

OK, I am not denying that there is not some excitement in this. The musty scent of vintage knits and the new crispness in the air carry with them that back to school feeling that has you hankering for the scent of new text books and high denier ribbed tights, and that gives you the urge to go to WH Smiths and buy a new pencil case, no matter how many years ago you left school. Autumn is a time of promise; the dry leaves on the pavement whisper to you of that smoky scent mixed with the taste of red toffee apples that can only mean bonfire night, and the echoes of fireworks resounding through the brilliant cold of black, November air. It all has a touch of magic to it, yes. Even I, eternal child of summer and running barefoot on the beach, have been a little affected by it's sparkle. And yet.

As much as I look forward to winter and the promise of Christmas, I lament the loss of summer like the loss of a dear friend, or an intense, all-consuming holiday romance. For those short, fleeting summer months that we are (sometimes) blessed with in this country, there exists a time of endless possibilities; reading in the garden, camping by the sea, the smell that rises from a hot, sun-baked pavement after the rain has fallen. My memories of childhood and adolescence are a continuous steam of golden, sunlit flashes and hazy summer moments; of water fights in the garden, the faded pastel stripes of Neapolitan ice cream, toasting marshmallows with my little brothers and Adam Crossley from down the road, and then later: making up dance routines to Beyonce's Baby Boy, laying beside my best friend on the trampoline one cool summer night, looking up at the stars and laughing til our bodies shook and we could no longer breathe.

So, while I do look forward to the coming of the colder months and the fashion opportunities that arise from them, I still look back to summer and its somewhat haunting beauty. I say haunting because for me, summer is the time of year that holds the most poignant memories, and although those memories are happy and golden, I have always thought that there is something about happy memories that is incredibly and overwhelmingly sad. Because- as happy as they are, as much as they represent a time of beauty and freedom and youth- they are gone. So it is with a bitter sweet feeling that I welcome in this season and say goodbye to the old.  

But anyway, I have gone off on a ridiculous tangent that I totally didn't even plan to go into...What I really wanted to say was that right now, I am kind of liking the idea of hanging onto a remnant of those hazy, candyfloss days of seaside pier wanderings and summertime fairgrounds via my wardrobe. The person that originally inspired me to do so was the beautiful Marina Diamandis, who I mentioned in my last post and who is my celeb style crush of the week. When searching online for some sartorial inspiration for an outfit to wear at London Fashion Weekend (which I attended on Friday with my close friend Leah, as is our tradition) I came across Marina, dressed for the shows in a concoction of candy pink pieces, teamed with pale pink curls and matching lipstick. Finally, someone who wasn't draped in the predictable autumnal hues of September, but someone who was rocking an unashamedly sugary mix of shades teamed with none other than bare legs. I took note.

As well as Marina, though, I have recently been reflecting on the fact that I have a rather extreme style crush on Kirsten Dunst, and that she is possibly one of the most beautiful women in the world. This is probable due to the fact that I watched The Virgin Suicides for the first time ever this summer (I know, it pains me that it took me 22 years to discover such an amazing and visually stunning film) and was taken aback by the haunting images, teenage nostalgia and hazy summer feeling that I always try to capture in my own creative writing. For me, Kirsten, with her laid back sun bleached waves, subtly suggestive smile and far-away dewy-eyed look, is the perfect embodiment of all those things that the film captures so well.     

Film stills from The Virgin Suicides

Getting back to my outfit though, I ended up ordering something in dark colours and edgy jewel tones with a flash of leopard print thrown in just because it went so well with the most amazing shoes the world has ever seen, which I simply had to order from Topshop the second I saw them. But alas, it wasn't to be. Although the shoes arrived on time, my vintage outfit arrived a day too late, and I was left desperately rifling through Absolute Vintage near Old Spittalfiels Market on my lunch hour in a big sweaty mess at the last minute. However, with Marina Diamandis in mind, as well as the lingering of summer vibes I was evidently clinging onto, I somehow found the perfect outfit. The thing is, the pictures I took at London Fashion Weekend are not majorly impressive, given that I'd been at work all day and had rushed there straight after on the tube, was horrendously hot, sweaty and disheveled. Not to mention that there weren't really many posing opportunities. Therefore, I decided to recreate the look today with a photoshoot in my room, and have a little fun reveling in girliness with my mum's set of hot rollers while I was at it. I hope you enjoy my attempt at clincing onto the fading days of summer with a little candy floss chic...

  Me in my London Fashion Weekend Outfit.

Hope you enjoyed the post guys! xoxo

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Vintage Barbie

Okay, I am going to start this post with a plea, to any one who has been kind and loyal enough to continue following me despite the fact that, recently, I have been so entirely rubbish and negligent. Here goes. Please remind me never to leave it this long before posting again. Not only have I a) neglected all the followers that I've been so happy, excited and, most of all, grateful to acquire over the last nine months since starting this blog, but b) my head has been so full of ideas since my last post over two months ago, that it is now near to exploding, and I feel like I don't even know where to start.  Nevertheless, I will start somewhere, because it is my intention to turn my full commitment back to writing Porcelain Princess, so prepare yourself for the cathartic, sequin-spangled avalanche of ideas, inspiration and probably slightly hysterical sounding style-related sentences that are to follow. 

In my defense, I must explain that I started a three month internship at Groupon UK as a creative writer in May, and have now secured a permanent position (yay!) As great as this is, never before did I appreciate just how much having a full time job and lengthy commute into London zaps up pretty much all of your time and energy. Oh for the uni days of getting up at noon, dreaming up outfits all day long, writing whenever the moment took me and attending the occasional lecture or Zumba would be pretty safe to say that leaving the house at 7.40 in the morning and not getting back until 7.30 at night has made it a little difficult to find the time for this blog. However, in my moments of rest, the ideas have been brewing, words have been dancing tantalisingly in my head and my pink lap top has been calling...and so I am determined to make time to get in at least one post a week, and to get back to doing what I love most: writing about fashion. In an attempt to spice things up a bit and motivate myself not to return to my blogging days of silence, I have given the blog a bit of a makeover, which I think is a little more fresh. Please let me know what you think :-) Anyway, that's enough rabbiting on about that, so here's a pretty picture to get things started, and then let's get on to the important stuff...

 MAC Barbie-themed ad campaign 

So. Having reflected recently on my love for sequins, metallics and all things that sparkle, I have come to the conclusion that I perhaps lean a little towards Barbie-like tendencies of dressing. Now, don’t get me wrong - you won’t catch me wearing a vomit pink Big Brother contestant-style outfit complete with an OTT spray tan any time soon, but lately, I’ve been rather inspired by this whole notion of ‘Vintage Barbie’. It was actually a fellow Lookbooker and blogger (the very stylish Zee F from">ZiZi's Secret Wardrobe who I am going to credit for coming up with the phrase. After Zee very kindly commented on a photo I'd put up of myself in a black sequin vintage shift dress, over-sized doll lashes and bright pink lips, pointing out that the look was rather 'vintage Barbie,' the term stuck with me and I realised just how much it sums up the kind of style that is giving me the fashion goosebumps right now.

As Barbie can be perceived as the very epitome of conventionality and even female objectification, it would seem odd that she is now a figure that I can draw inspiration from, given that her stereotypical, busty/blonde/skinny brand of beauty is one that the media constantly shoves down our throats, and which causes both women and men to aspire to a narrow-minded ideal of what it means to be beautiful. That said, there is simply something about Barbie and her mannequin-like perfection and overt 'girliness' that I belive can be used in an ironic sense to inspire, and to create something that is actually entirely fresh. Take Lily Allen in her ironic 'chav' get up, that she made her trademark when she first erupted onto the music scene, and which still inspires artists today like Gaga and Jessie J. Huge gold hoop earrings and thick ghetto-tastic chains fresh from the Argos catalogue may scream 'tacky' when teamed with a lurid-hued velour tracksuit or when adorning the lobes and neck of Vicky Pollard, but when taken and worn in the whimsical, fun, self-aware wat that Brits are so good at (in my opinion), it becomes something quite different indeed. Take Agyness Deyn, who arguably reinvented the whole 'bottle blonde' look, using her eccentric, urchin style to take it from page three glamour-model territory to the ultimate in quirky cool. You can't swing a beaten-up vintage satchel these days without knocking over sereval peroxide-blonde hipsters, who all manage to make the look contemporary with edgy hair styles, bold make up and nonchalantly thrown on faux-furs, battered leathers or studded denim jackets.  

Speaking of bleach-begotten hair colours, I am currently obsessed with the idea of bleaching my hair blonde and dying it a pale, pastel pink. It is simply a fear of ruining the condition of the hair I have been painstakingly growing and caring for for the last four years that stops me (plus the fact that my hair is dyed bright red, and naturally brown.) However, I have never been more inspired by Polly-Pocket shades of softly falling curls and tumbling waves, and I highly suspect that by 2012, I'll be welcoming in the new year by finally succumbing to the bleach bottle.   

Therefore, for all the above reasons, I am currently fascinated by the look of overtly girly, plastic-fantastic elements like bubble gum pink lips teamed with a vintage edginess that takes the look from WAG to cool. Think platinum blonde locks tied into a perky pony, teamed with luminous pale skin and the bedimmed glamour of a tarnished gold trophy jacket. If it’s inspiration you seek, look no further than blogger and Lookbooker Bonnie Strange from">Strange Ambition, whose stunning photography and crazy, sequin-spangled get-ups have me longing to raid her wardrobe and, well, just actually be her. Or, behold the dolly mixture-hued, glittery creations that are Miu Miu’s glitter boots. I kid you not when I say that never have I experienced shoe lust quite like this before. The pastel toned paillettes overlapping scale-like in Prada’s ad campaigns have got me feeling all mermaid Barbie, whilst the softly shimmering diamond-patterned knee-highs call to mind the teenage nostalgia of Clueless. That's not to mention the advert featuring a fresh-faced young model descending a staircase littered with cascades of candy-coloured glitter boots, which literally makes my heart flutter. So, it appears that irony is the key here folks; mixing up a bit of Malibu Barbie's unashamed girliness with a sprinkling of fun, tounge-in-cheek humour, 1980s vintage magic and all-out British eccentricity, Barbie can be allowed out of her dream house and let loose to wander the streets and catwalks ...                

And here are the pictures: 

The look that sparked my vintage Barbie fascination...

Nicki Minaj- the embodiment of hip hop Barbie
I personally think Patsy is a shining source of vintage Barbie inspiration

Mac models exhibiting doll-like perfection and the Barbie and Asos collaboration from a few years back

Marina Diamandis from Marina and The Diamonds, my official new style crush. Here she is at London Fashion Week looking like perfect vintage candy-floss 
Photography from the AMAZING Bonnie Strange, taken from her photography blog: If you haven't checked it out yet, do so immediately!
 Another of Bonnie's amazing pics- I want her blue hair so much!
Picture from an unknown source, but one which I think perfectly demonstrates the vintage Barbie look.

My own interpretation of 80s vintage Barbie (PS check out my new gold Toppers nail polish!)
Below are some of Prada's ad campaigns featuring the adored glitter boots, diamond socks and pailette-covered dresses, as well as a random blue hair picture I found and a lovely picture of girls laughing and carrying clothes and balloons. To me, it captures the unashamed girliness of Barbie and the nostalgia of female adolescence.  I would actually wear that picture on a T shirt.