Sunday, 28 February 2010

Baklang Bakla

I realise my posts have been very video heavy since losing my camera but just one more for today, please. I am totally channeling this video right now, it's all about becoming the 60's filipina Anna Wintour...


Speaking of PPQ

Just found this hilarious video... Is Amy drunk, do we think?

I'm feeling really passionate,

Pppppick up a PPQ

So PPQ have a problem.  They don't sell clothes.  They don't have a physical shop now, they don't have anymore online retailers, and stores haven't picked up their last two collections.  It's a shame because the 'designers' Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker seem like really nice people, but their brand suffers from being only famous because of its association with certain types of British celebrity (Peaches and Pixie Geldof, Alexa Chung, etc) and because of the chief designers' lack of, well, ability to design.  So what do designers do when they want to be taken seriously for their craft?  Go back to black.

Which is exactly what Amy and Percy have done, showing a collection entirely in black and gold, and using some 'professional' models, eschewing the celebrities of late.  Unfortunately for them, this not only highlights their desperation, but also emphasises their weaknesses as designers.  If you're going to do a whole collection in one colour, you better make sure the cuts and fabrics are as directional as possible.  And they weren't...  In fact, I was discussing this perhaps a little too loudly with a friend when leaving the tent at Somerset House when an editor, who shall remain unnamed, turned to me and said "you've hit the nail on the head there".

I popped into the PPQ showroom (Yes, they are actually having to show their clothes in the exhibition now, usually reserved for off-schedule designers, not headline acts...) to take a closer look at the clothes:

When I saw the collection on the runway, I wondered what the gold fabrics looked like up-close and personal.  Well, I can tell you.  They looked cheap.  Like cheap gold lamé.  And when questioned, the staff admitted that the accessories (which were the only parts of the collection I kind of liked) were designed by someone else.

PPQ has been the hit show for the past couple of years.  Everyone wants a ticket to the show and especially the afterparty, to get themselves 15 minutes of the glamourous lives they supposedly lead.  But you can't base a business on this.  There needs to be solid design and good quality materials to back it up.  Especially if you want to charge £700 a dress...

Wishing PPQ luck,

P.S. I included the last 45 seconds of the first video just to introduce you to my new drunken assistant, Felicity Rose.  I hope you enjoy her commentary :)

Iris Van Herpen

Don't have much to say about this show, I thought it was very similar to last season, except for the introduction of tinsel-like metallics.  Iris herself also looked less tired when receiving her applause at the end, but perhaps you have more time sleep if you're just rehashing a previous collection...

Oooh, no he didn't...

Elliott J Frieze

I was very excited about seeing Welshman Elliott J Frieze's first solo show at London Fashion Week for two reasons - he used to be the director of Qasimi, a brand I absolutely love (which will sadly no longer be showing womenswear, but designer Khalid Al'Qasimi will be continuing to show his menswear in Paris), and the PRs sent out an email just before the show hinting that Jacquetta Wheeler and Erin O'Connor would be in attendance. 

Well, Erin didn't show, but it certainly wasn't a let-down.  Elliott created a sharply tailored collection in arctic greys, highlighted with leather in tans and browns.  I thought the menswear in particular was outstanding, and will be sourcing a few of those jackets come wintertime!  For the womenswear, I'm not totally sure his aesthetic worked (it wasn't as amazing as Qasimi was last season), but I did love the leather hats the ladies were sporting.  And Jacquetta Wheeler did indeed do the final walk for the show.  A star is born?  Maybe for menswear, watch this space for womenswear...


Je n'aime pas Bryce Aime

Bryce d'Anice Aime showed his latest Autumn/Winter 2010 collection as part of the On|Off schedule.  His inspiration was ancient Egypt, and the sultry models walked to an electronic version of music which I can imagine makes up the theme track for The Mummy Returns etc, not that I've ever seen it.  Just a guess.  The Egyptian references manifested themselves in three main ways: the head bands worn by all the models; the 'mummy' bandage-inspired print that decorated legs and arms; and the giant blocks adorning the finale pieces, which looked like they had been ripped straight out of the side of an ancient pyramid.  The palette? Black, purple, white and a wine-red.

This season                           Last season

I'm afraid I didn't really like this collection, especially since I was so keen to see it after his last offering.  Where before he had shown a refined sexiness, now the clothes were cut such that they could only be worn with the ubiquitous leggings and long-sleeves tight tops.  If anyone attempted to try out any of the dresses without covering up underneath, it would just look slutty rather than sexy.  For a collection as a whole, this proved a problem, because Bryce didn't even vary the leggings/tops at all - they all came in either the same graphic print or black, which was extremely repetitive.  As my friend Delphine Hervieu said, it seemed like he had jumped on the McQueen print bandwagon just like the other half of the British designers showing this season.  Haven't we seen this all before?  Even the over-the-top chunky finale pieces, which I would normally love, seemed out of place, like Bryce had just added them because it was his fantastical structures from last season that made his name.

So that I don't end on a negative note, I must say I am keen to see his next collection, because I know he can do much better.


Saturday, 27 February 2010


This is not a post I was expecting to write.  I always thought DAKS was a fairly boring, traditional British company (around since 1894), whose suits my grandfather always wore to work.  Then, over Christmas, I was shopping in Munich and I came across a DAKS jacket that I fell in love with.  It's grey tweedy, with an Austro-Hungarian looking collar, black woven leather buttons and leather suede elbow patches.  It is old-fashion but modern, refined and elegant.  So when I got my tickets to the first London Fashion Week show DAKS had ever had, I had an inkling I might like some of the collection, but I had no idea how much I would ♥ it.

In a season where everyone is trying to out-do each other with more fantastical and colourful prints, or supertight bodycons (as usual...), DAKS presented a collection that was relaxed, playful and chic.  They made great use of their house check, which is far more attractive than a certain other British brand's...  no names...  And the colour palette was truly autumnal and beautiful.  For the women, the knitwear in particular was superb.  I was very impressed by the menswear, especially the use of leather, and I even liked the accessories too.  I was a little taken aback that none of the female models wore high heels (opting for metallic brogues instead), but actually this decision really went along with the relaxed feel of the show.  Even the music was casually up-beat.  Loved.  Apparently also Sarah Harris from Vogue loved it too.  Oh yes, and guess who got to sit in the front row DIRECTLY OPPOSITE ALEXANDRA SHULMAN?!?


On|Off Presents... some very hot men

The much anticipated On|Off Presents... show started off last week with a drinks reception that sadly degenerated into a huge mass of slightly drunken people, crushing against the barrier of BLOW PRs who were trying to shield the models' rehearsal.  However, once we were all happily seated on our pews, the show was worth the wait.

Samantha Cole showed a bold, futuristic white collection to a soundtrack appropriately by Björk.  Some of the shapes were interesting (some also made the models look pregnant...), but it didn't really seem like an Autumn/Winter collection to me.  Lots of white minidresses worn with no socks or jackets?  Brrrrrr.

Spanish Txell Miras certainly presented a collection more suitable for Autumn/Winter, with caps, jackets, trousers galore.  Yet the look was also futuristic, tending more towards apocalyptic, and you could see strong references to other designers like early Rick Owens or Rad Hourani in particular.  I really liked the leather boots/trousers/sleeves, as well as the skin-tight hats which I'm beginning to see as a trend from other collections.

Mr+Mr stuck to the palette of black and white, and showed a sense of humour in their menswear collection, taking the piss out of traditional men's attire such as the tuxedo.  There were eye-patches, bibbed leather jackets and elements of sportswear.  The plastic-y dungarees added a touch of S&M to the look.  Oh, and I forgot there was some doggie couture at the end.  On a side note, Mr+Mr had picked out some very attactive male models, whose bodies they showed off to the full...

Last, but by no means least, Derek Lawlor provided probably the most well-rounded and best-executed collection.  He embellished tightly fitting dresses, trousers and tops with waxed cotton cord, producing patterns reminiscent of Iris Van Herpen's work last season, but toned down and made more wearable.  The cord was also treated like knitwear, producing woven capes and bolero-style jackets.  Perhaps Derek is the next Mark Fast :-)

You can learn more about the designers from this On|Off video which, embarrassingly, also contains a few clips of me being interviewed (don't judge, I was drunk after all the pre-show cocktails!) :

Still uploading videos...

Friday, 26 February 2010

Rocking 70s-Style with Roksanda

If you need a bit of a pick me up after LFW (don't we all?), check out the On|Off TV video of Roksanda Ilincic's Autumn/Winter 2010 show.  Don't you feel happier now?

David Koma: Autumn/Winter 2010

First up I apologise for the shakyshaky going on in this video, and the voices I have picked up as well...  I am new to this video malarky!  Saying that, I'm pretty chuffed I managed to record the entire David Koma Autumn/Winter 2010 show on my handy FlipHD.  Go team Anastasia&Duck!  By the way, if anyone knows the song that starts playing at about 2.50 minutes into the video, please tell me! I have heard it at three shows this week, and also I remember it from the Julien Macdonald show from last season.  This is telling me it must be reasonably famous, but I just can't find the name or the artist...  And I totally need it to practise my model walking, strutting up and down my living room.

The collection itself was a bit hit and miss for me.  Actually, that's not really fair, because each individual dress was what David does best - short, hot, black and decorated.  Structures jutting out from hips and shoulders drew attention to a woman's sexuality.  Zig-zag patterns and spiky embellishments added to the effect.  The problem was, in my opinion, that the collection was too repetitive.  Yes, it is good to have a vision, but really, how many black body-con dresses can a girl own?  I almost got bored watching the fierce models stomping down the runway by about half way through the show.  I think for Koma to succeed commercially, which he is, I'm sure, capable of doing, he needs to add more variety to his collections.  There were some jackets and coats, but more, David, we want more!  Also, where were the hints of colour we saw in his past two collections (particularly Spring/Summer of course)?  Ms Wintour would not be pleased.

Maria Grachvogel Autumn/Winter 2010

Maria Grachvogel presented her Autumn/Winter 2010 collection this season in the atrium of The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, which I had never visited before and was very impressed by.  It was certainly a step up from her last venue, The Hospital Club (vomit).  In many ways, the collections was a step up too.  Maria started with a selection of elegant, refined trousers, blouses, jackets and capelets in black and white, with splashes of vibrant green and yellow for colour.  I particularly liked some of the asymmetric cuts.  The colours then exploded onto digitally printed silk dresses (both mini and floor length), as well as trousers and jumpsuits.  There was a striking similarity to McQueen Spring/Summer 2010, and I might have been tempted to accuse her of copying, had I not previously seen her peony-print inspired collection.  The twisted yet sharp necklines were reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood's, but they were softened by the simplicity of the dresses and the colours, and thus made more feminine.  Luckily, the show managed to run without a hitch - her last presentation was a disaster, with the stage collapsing while the models were doing their runthrough at the end, narrowly missing crushing one of them beneath it...


Final images from


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Glass Magazine Launch

This was possibly the worst party I've ever been to, just thought I'd show you a clip I snapped.  The PRs must have invited half of London, and then decided to restrict the event to the champagne bar in the basement of Liberty, meaning that several hundred fashionistas were crammed into a tiny tiled space.  The sweat was running down the walls and the drinks were far out of reach.  We only managed to withstand it 10 minutes before chucking it...



Just noticed I got streetstyled by the fabulous Rena Smith from Handbags and Fag Hags...  In the picture I'm wearing: black boots from All Saints, black Versace trousers, black and white Helmut Lang T-shirt, pinky-red Clements Ribeiro fur gilet and a black leather cuff by Eva London.  I wonder where else my photos are, I got snapped quite a few times :-)


Orla Kiely Presentation Autumn/Winter 2010

Sooooo I had intended to go to the Bora Aksu show (I had a standing ticket...) in Somerset House, but as you can see from the start of the video above, the queue was ma-ha-sive.  So massive, in fact, that none of the people you see queuing (who all had valid invitations) even managed to get in before the show had started.  This left us looking for something else to do, but luckily we bumped into the lovely Monica Chong (from Cutler & Gross) and her daughter Eloise, in the reception area, who reminded us the Orla Kiely presentation was going on upstairs.  Before we get onto that, I just want to mention you should check out Anna Jewsbury's Alexander Wang dress and vintage Valentino jacket in the video, as well as Vera Janakievska's all-Macedonian vintage outfit, with a really cool red jacket involving lots of red rope attachments...

The presentation was given in quite a quirky way, with the models standing for long periods of time in little booths made up to look like a dated british household.  Cue the patterned wallpaper, black-and-white TVs and brown brown brown everywhere.  The clothes themselves thankfully had a slightly more modern take on the 50s/60s/70s vibe going in the decor, but still they seemed somewhat dated.  It was a look that Urban Outfitters was doing almost ten years ago, and for probably a lot less than Orla Kiely charge.  Like I said about Caroline Charles, I am not sure of the target audience for the Orla Kiely brand...  I can't really see many young people going for it unless they have a particular obsession for vintage shopping.  And if you did, wouldn't you rather buy the real thing?


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Caroline Charles aka The Big Mistake

So I happily received my Caroline Charles invitation last week, thinking, "YAY my first LFW tickets have arrived".  Cut to Friday morning where I am exhausted from the Bluebird party on Thursday evening, and wondering how I managed to get to Somerset house on time.  Standing in the queue to the show, Anna and Vera (who was putting me up in her gorgeous Earls Court flat for the week) and I were discussing what we knew about Caroline Charles.  Which was zilch.  We had never even heard of her before.  That was the exact moment when a reporter from the Guardian website decided to film the three of us and ask us some questions, starting with "What trends are you expecting see in the Caroline Charles show?".


A silence whose length would have been hilarious had it not been tragically filmed by the Guardian reporter then followed, only ending because the journo eventually made some comment about the clothes being "classic".  We then did a few Q&A's about trends from New York, what we were wearing (cue awkward moment when eco-journo realises the Clements Ribeiro fur gilet is indeed real...), etc, etc.

So, Caroline Charles.  "Classic" is not the word I would have chosen.  (Maybe more like "vomit"?)  The collection was split into several distinct parts but it might as well not have been because they were all awful.  I am very confused about who these clothes are designed for - who is the Caroline Charles woman?  They are far too old-fashioned and frumpy to be aimed at anyone under the age of 40 (and looked ridiculous on the skinny 16-year-old models with creepy painted-on grins), but then I also cannot imagine anyone from my parents' generation wearing them.  So whom does she sell to?  I still have no idea what the answer is to this question because I have never seen her clothes stocked in any stores I would go near.  Check out the video I took and make up your minds for yourselves :-)  Personally, I shan't be getting up so early next Fashion Week.  The video also stars Anna Jewsbury, Theo Peterson, Vera Janakievska and Yvan Rodic from The Facehunter.



Yes, it is really that time of the year already - London Fashion Week has finished.  I have to apologise for the lack of posts during the course of the week but getting up at 6am and going to bed at 2am for five days in a row has left me braindead.  But luckily my laptop is brimming with photos and videos I snapped to help refresh my memory... so expect my first properly detailed LFW posts today or tomorrow :) 


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Duck interviews Alexa Chung

Hey, thanks to Red Carpet Fashion Awards for filming me chatting to Alexa Chung yesteday at the Elle Style Awards.  It's my voice you can hear asking les questions...  She's wearing Chanel, of course, dahhhling

More videos and pics to come! But now gotta wash me feathers for Basso and Brooke!


Friday, 19 February 2010

London Fashion Week Day One

Argh this has been a hectic 24 hours!  I moved all my crap across London yesterday night so that I could have a more central base for all the Fashion Week madness.  Since then I have, in order, managed to attend: a party at Bluebird on Kings Road to launch some sort of collaboration between Rika magazine and the store within the restaurant to create a pop-up store that had something to do with Opening Ceremony (don't ask me any detailed questions...); the Caroline Charles show at the BFC tent; Maria Grachvogel who showed at The Waldorf Hilton; David Koma showing as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout; the On|Off Presents party and show at the On|Off space at Victoria House; the Glass magazine launch party at Liberty's; and finally the Lina Ostermann/Metal party on New Oxford Street.

I am afraid I am absolutely shattered and neeeeding to go to bed but I just wanted to give you a few pics I managed to snap today.  I actually took a LOAD of videos on my new Flip, so I will upload those to Youtube probably next week and you can see many of the shows in full.  I will also be doing full posts for all the shows/events.  For now we just have a taste of what's to come...

I chose to wear some ancient Versace trousers, a Christopher Kane for Topshop T, an EvaLondon ring, a Marni black jacket and some blue and black bunny ears from Liberty...
Ann in her Alexander Wang backless dress, vintage Valentino denim jacket and EvaLondon wooden headpiece...
Umm, there's a message board to send notes to Lee McQueen from the beyond... Crass much?


The models at Caroline Charles skipped down the runway with frighteningly creepy grins painted on their faces...

  Maria Grachvogel produced a wearable but still quite fashionable collection.  The models were so thin it was a wonder they managed to stand up.
Spotted, models hiding their cigarettes after the Bora Aksu show...

Orla Kiely decided to revisit the 70s for their presentation.  Yes, again.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Kooples

When I was in France last week, I came across a store I had never seen before - The Kooples.  It had all the makings of a pretentious fashion classic: clinically white walls; young, disdainful fashionista staff; a manifesto...

But, I hate to say it, it was very very cool.  Cool in that ever-so-chic I-don't-give-a-damn-but-really-I-do French kind of way.  Branché.  The shop assistant (do you ever just want to scream at them: "YOU ONLY WORK IN A SHOP, YOU KNOW?!" à la Eddy?) was very keen to point out to me - did she know about my blog? - that "the French, they looove The Kooples.  It is very French.  We have only been open a year and a half and now there are many stores all over France".  Well, having checked out their website, she wasn't lying.  There are bloody millions of them.  Even blogger extraordinaire Garance Doré appears to love them:

So what about the clothes?  Very good actually.  For women they had sexy tailored jackets and skirts, mostly in black.  There were hints of sequin and sparkle, some chiffon here, some silk there.  And some killer shoes.  A bit like a French version of Reiss.  The menswear did let them down a bit, I thought it verged on cheap-looking, but there were also some good pieces.  My mum picked up a cute navy blue chiffony blouse.  I can see why the French like it.

Something else interesting about the brand is their advertising campaign, which focuses on couples as models.  Happily, I noticed they had chosen to use both an all-male and an all-female model couple too, and had interviewed them about their relationships and, of course, their tastes in shopping.  


Bravely, in an industry obsessed with youth and beauty, they have also used an older couple to show off their designs.  It probably works well with their younger customers, it certainly has a bit of shock value (isn't that quite sad actually?), but I doubt many French pensioners will be shelling out for mini-skirts...


Sorry for the crappy quality of the pics, I snapped them from the The Kooples magazine using my phone...

Wondering when The Kooples will reach our shores,

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dear Hairdresser, how do I hate thee?

Let me count the ways.
Whatever time I arrive, I must wait for 15 minutes.
When you wash my hair, the halogen lighting on the ceiling blinds me so that I cannot see what mischief is afoot in front of the mirror later.
Half-way through, you point out you had been up until 8am last night, so you're not totally on-the-ball today.
You completely ignore all instructions as to how my hair should be cut, adding a confusing asymmetry to my look.
You insist on styling my hair like a woman's, and chastise me when I try to style it myself.
You wear a gold necklace with your name in large Arabic script.
And after all that, I end up looking like a graduate from the Cynthia Nixon School For Power Lesbians.  I went from this:

To this:

Can you spot which one is me?  Btw the first picture was just added gratuitously so that I could mention the unicorn headband I fashioned out of a McDonald's toy and a...headband, with my trusty glue-gun.  Shall I wear it this LFW?  I think yes.  Even more gratuitously, look what I just bought:

I saw Diane Pernet uses one, so expect some (not so)expert video blogs coming your way soon!


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

More. Circular. Sunglasses.

They just keep coming.  And I just keep squealing with joy.  This time by Victoria Beckham (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth).


Fashion Squared

Diane Pernet just made my day by posting this picture with ickle TaviMy friend just said, "She's so cute.  I want one".  I wonder if she'll be sold out by Christmas time?


Anastasia & Duck - Now with video!!

Yes that's right, now we have a Youtube channel set up, and I have uploaded the collage-style video I made from last season's London Fashion Week.  With my Flip HD video camera arriving, hopefully, this afternoon, I am all set to record Anastasia & Duck highlights from LFW in full glorious moving colour.  Expect catwalk videos, interviews with designers and highlights of all the party and event fun.  I'm so excited!!


Spotted: Alaïa en France


Who knew Lille was such a fashionable city?  It was literally brimming with unusual boutiques and art galleries which obviously drew me in...  There were the new French fashion staples such as Zadig & Voltaire (by the way, is that Mark Ronson in their ad campaign?) which sadly only stocked womenswear, vintage shops, standard department stores, and there were more up-market design emporiums like the one in which I found a to-die-for Neil Barrett leather jacket (unfortunately so shrunken that even the XL clinged to my arms like, well, cling-film).  I even spotted an Alaïa dress in the window of one lovely boutique (see photo above).  One particular brand I hadn't seen before was The Kooples who have an interesting approach to marketing, and to whom I will shortly be devoting a whole post.  Given that it is now only an hour and a half away from London, and absolutely gorgeous to boot, Lille might become a new weekend shopping haunt for me...


Monday, 15 February 2010

Tastes of Lille


While in Lille I got to sample some excellent examples of Northern French and also Flemish cuisine, which strangely included the almost ubiquitous Le Welsh, i.e. welsh rarebit, which Vlaams has appeared to have appropriated.  But the best delights I tasted were at the Patrick Hermand patisserie, where I found a selection of the cutest and tastiest macarons and cakes.  Especially good were the spéculos macarons, and a chocolate apple filled with chocolate mousse, raspberries and rum.  YUM YUM


By the way, don't you love my new Moomin (and Snorkmaiden) plates that I picked up in Zara Home (who knew??)?


A Weekend in Lille

As I said before, last weekend I took the Eurostar to Lille for a short trip with ma mère.  There are a few fashion and food inspired posts to come, but I thought I'd start with a quick photo-history of the excursion.  

The town centre of Lille is really very beautiful, in the Dutch style more than French.  And it was the birthplace of de Gaulle...

I love me some stationary stores, and this one offered me endless arrays of my favourite yellow paper and Clairefontaine writing blocks.

Even Anastasia came to visit!