Friday, 29 July 2011

Leaving on a jet plane


Eeeek, today I'm jetting of the big old U S of A for a week-long conference outside Boston, and then a tour down the coast of North Carolina with my parents, setting off from and returning to Washington DC.  I'm a bit nervous.  OK, I'm a whole lot of nervous because (a) this is a very prestigious, small conference filled with very smart people in my field and I'm going to spend the week saying "Ummm" and "Could you repeat the question?", (b) US immigration officials terrify me even though I've done nothing wrong and (c) I'm going to try to be all dairy-free vegetarian in the one country where often the only thing I can even stomach is a grilled cheese sandwich.  This isn't New York or LA I'm going to...  

ANYWAY, at least throughout the journey my spirits can be buoyed by my brand-spanking new silver document holder which I picked up in the Acne Archive store for a steal.  Lovely, shiny metallic leather on the outside, it has space for my passport and, since boarding passes now fit very nicely inside my iPhone screen, a host of lip-balms, facial mattifying sheets and whatever else homosexual paraphernalia I require for a successful journey.  And it's very pretty. 


See you when I land in Boston!!

xxx
Duck

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Shopping Stockholm: Whyred


Finally having received my SLR and all important memory card back from the weekend's disastrously drunken affair, I can now resume normal blogging procedures as I had planned, continuing with my Shopping Stockholm segment.  I've oft seen Bryanboy tweet about how much he loves Swedish brand Whyred - he's taken a Swede for a lover, don't-you-know? -  but I had never come into close contact with the shop before my trip this month.  At 10am on a Saturday morning I found myself in the cavernous Stureplan store, unusual since most of the other shops in this area are quite dinky inside.  Whyred has rack upon rack of Scandinavian design classics - they like to take a style and work it to absolute perfection, then offer it in a small range of basic colours.  I ended up taking about 20 different items into the changing room with me, but I managed to whittle things down to three pieces: a bold red sweater that is super-lightweight for the summer; a graphite shirt with curved shoulders, a button-down collar and an almost sheer cotton fabric; and - gasp! - a sleeveless navy top with a relaxed fit.  It says a lot for the excellent Whyred cuts that they managed to get me to bare my upper arms.  I don't even think it looks half bad, even if I do say so myself :-)  My only question is: When are they going to bring Whyred to the UK??


xxx
Duck

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Covetable clutch


It might be a while until those wonderful accessories/iPad holders from Jil Sander's S/S 2012 collection hit the stores (and my bank balance takes a proportionate hit...) but I've just discovered through online menswear store Oki-Ni that there is an A/W option too.  Made from the same mottled wool as the incredibly colourful main collection, this black leather-lined clutch is infinitely more affordable than the trousers I'm currently coveting (>£800).  And, according to Oki-Ni at least, it is the right size to accommodate my iPad! I think this bad boy just made it onto my A/W wish-list :)

xxx
Duck 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Professional?

I don't know why Anastasia and I keep going back to watch Dirty Sexy Things on a Monday night (OK, I do really - there's nothing else on at that time slot worth watching, and I have a sneaking suspicion Stasie is more than a little interested in seeing Lord Rob with his top off on a weekly basis) because it always leaves me feeling unsatisfied and definitely dirty, if not sexy.  I'm a big fan of 'reality' based 'fashion' shows - I've long been addicted to Tyra Banks's America's Next Top Model franchise - which are vacuous, but fun and usually well-meaning.  Lately, however, shows like Dirty Sexy Things have appeared which, I do hope unintentionally, paint the fashion industry in a very negative light.  

I just can't get over the rank unprofessionalism that I see on screen every week.  Misogynistic photographers making overly sexual comments about young women's bodies, people getting so wasted they can't make their work deadlines, bitchy stylists who smirk gleefully at the camera as they inflict unneccessary pain on their models as some perverse act of revenge.  The list goes on...  Sure, the girls on ANTM bitch and cry and bully one another or make a fuss at the makeover salon, but usually Tyra steps in as the voice of reason (seriously) to sort them out.  Dirty Sexy Things doesn't have this - the self-centred characters are allowed free rein to embarrass themselves fully for our televisual pleasure.  I may not have worked in the fashion industry and am just an observer from the sidelines, but it seems to me that this kind of behaviour would be totally unacceptable in any other profession.  

I might think this lack of behavioural censorship were just a blip, a creation by the editors to excite E4's audience, if it weren't for other shows of this nature such as The Model Agency, which followed the behind-the-scenes goings on of top UK model management company Premier.  Here we see exactly the same types of behaviour: bookers having hissy fits, crying in the office, disappearing for days when they don't get their own way; a constant stream of swear words pouring out of the TV screen; a boss who is happy to yell at and humiliate her own employees not just in front of other staff, but in front of the entire nation.  I find it truly bizarre that those who work for Premier were willing to behave on television like this unless (a) they are desperate for the money/exposure (b) they really are complete fools or (c) they genuinely believe this is how other people work in an office environment.  If the answer is (c) then perhaps the rest of the fashion industry works like this too?  I'd like to think it doesn't, but then I also can't deny we live in a world where Terry Richardson gets away with, well, ... (see Tavi's excellent post for more details on that one!).

What do you think?


xxx
Duck

Monday, 25 July 2011

Who's Joe Jonas?


OH, that's Joe Jonas!  Stasie almost managed to convince me it was one of the Hansen brothers but he did seem a little too young for that.  I guess we belong to the generation that the Jonas brothers managed to pass by, so thanks very much to Mr Porter for bringing him to my, err, attention.  All styled up by Dan May and photographed for tomorrow's Mr Porter The Journal by Angelo Pennetta, Joe looks rather dashing in his Burberry/Margiela/Givenchy combo.  Or maybe it's just the bushy eyebrows and two days' stubble? We never can resist a little bit of facial fur...


How does that song go again? Oh yeah, mmm-bop...

xxx
Duck

Friday, 22 July 2011

Forever 21 (I wish)


US highstreet brand Forever 21 launched their introduction to the UK market with a massive carnival-themed bash in the Old Sorting Office aka Redbull Fashion Factory aka That weird hangar space on Oxford Street.  There was a carousel inside, a 3D holographic fashion show (amazing technology but it went by so quickly I can't remember what the clothes looked like...), Bip Ling DJ'ing (no big surprises there, she's the face of the brand!), and beers aplenty.  Charlie, Alexxsia, Simon, Navaz and I cut up some shapes on the dance floor until, well, I was so hammered I had to go home.  On the bus.  To Oxford.  How I love my life. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Christmas in Arcadia: The party


The Arcadia press day was an excellent opportunity to catch up friends old and new: the fabulous Nikki and Rachel who PR for Arcadia (amongst other things like judging Miss Universe...), Alex Loves, Charlie à la Mode, Alexxsia, The Very Simon G and Disney Roller Girl.  There were raspberry mojitos, champagne, Christmas themed sandwiches, and a roof terrace with views across the city just a hop, skip and a jump across to the other side of Sir Philip Green's office.  How amazing is Charlie's trailing Ann Demeulemeester skirt? 

Christmas in Arcadia: The clothes


It's well known that the fashion world, when it comes to annual schedules, is beyond fucked up.  I've got used to seeing next summer's menswear in June this year, or the couture shows being one season behind the ready-to-wear, but Christmas in July?  That's going to take some getting used to!  Strangely, though, it seems like all the highstreet stores are showcasing their Christmas 2011 collections this week with festive parties including the usual mince pies, tinsel, giant snow flakes and - eek! - Christmas carols.  Last night I sucked it up and headed over to the Arcadia press offices to see what their brands are offering and it all descended rather quickly into some drunken fun with my fellow bloggers, so I've decided to split the post into two parts and here can you see the clothes! After all, that's what it's really about, right?  

Unsurprisingly, the Christmas collections feature a lot of bling - gold, sequins, crystals, glitter, paillettes...  There's more than enough for the magpies amongst you!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Shopping Stockholm: Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair


Scandinavian fashion brands can usually be divided into two camps: those obsessed with clean lines and simple colours (e.g. Acne) and those who focus on experimental designs (e.g. Henrik Vibskov). Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, a collection founded by designers Astrid Olsson and Lee Cotter, tries to straddle that grey space between the two realms, with avant-garde shapes and fabrics treated with the skill of traditional craftsmen. It's the kind of brand Chloë Sevigny would love to describe as supercilious, terrifyingly à point and joyfully eviscerating (said with a falling intonation throughout).

They've certainly been successful - they were named Swedish Designers of the Year two years ago - but strangely they haven't really taken off in Europe outside Scandinavia and I don't think I would have heard about them had I not visited Stockholm several times previously. So, obviously, I was keen to check out the store at Stureplan last weekend and was pretty excited to discover they had a large sale going (as did all the other shops I came across in Stockholm! My poor credit card...). I was instantly drawn to the quirkier items in the basement shop and the assistant with a condescending top-knot but friendly demeanour helped me pick out this dark grey shirt with pockets all down one side (see above). It looks like some kind of fabric tumour has sprouted on the front and is slowly working its way up toward my head... Practical too - I'll never be short of a place to put my keys now!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Den svenska bröllop


If you follow me on Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram then you probably know I was in fair Sweden over the weekend for my friend's wedding.  I absolutely love Stockholm (been many a time since my high school exchange there) and so they didn't have to ask twice...  Lisa is never one to be conventional and so the wedding location was kept hush-hush until we all congregated at the docks outside the National Museum to board our ship for the evening.  We quaffed champagne during the thirty minute boat ride out of Stockholm to a nearby nature reserve, where Lisa and Robin proceeded to walk down the aisle to the sounds of Jay-Z's 99 Problems and were subsequently married by the bride's father (a retired judge) while wild swans swam past.  Then it was back on the boat for a short ride to Stockholm's aquarium where we ate dinner and danced amongst the sharks and manta-rays while looking out across the water towards the lights of downtown.  Fantastisk!   


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Swedish style



I'm getting in the mood for tomorrow's trip to one of my favourite cities, Stockholm, by watching fashion shows online made the only way the Swedes know - with painful and ironic style.  I'm planning to hit up Whyred, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, the Acne Archive store and Filippa K when I'm in town - if you have any other shopping suggestions please let me know!  I've made a little Google map too of my planned shopping trip (you may have noticed tasty little eateries have crept in there too, like Råkultur, supposedly the best sushi in Stockholm) in case you'd like to stalk me whilst I'm there.  


View Stockholm 2011 in a larger map

Right, gotta dash to get to London and get myself sorted for the Mr Porter/Dolce & Gabbana bash tonight!

Hej då,

Duck
xxx

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I like to accessorize myself with owls


As Patsy Stone wisely advised the nation many years ago, "You can never have too many hats, gloves, and shoes."  Well, I'd like to augment that diktat from Ye Almighty Fashion Director with 'owls'.  You can never have too many hats, gloves, shoes, and owls.  And thanks to the wonderful people (and by people, I mean Brooke) at Accessorize, my jewellery cupboard is now overflowing with owly accessories.  Rings, pendants, fuck-off bling necklaces and a cute-as-a-button felt hand mirror.  Who knew Anastasia was so on trend?  

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thoughts on couture: Part II


So the couture shows finished a week ago now and here I am only getting around to summing up my thoughts... Well, that's what happens at this time of year what with the incessant stream of barbecues where all I can do is drink (vegan + BBQ = starving Duck), the non-stop sales in London (70% off Issey Miyake? Yes, please!) and my preparations for a very prestigious conference in Boston next month.  Anyway, I'm here now and let's get focused on the clothes.  And what clothes they were! I thought my last post probably covered the best of the shows - Givenchy - but flicking through the most recent updates to the Style.com app on my iPad left me pretty much speechless.

Valentino (above) was simply gorgeous.  Maria and Pier whisked the slightly prim Valentino girl back in time a couple of hundreds years, kitting her out in mediaeval velvet gowns and monastic robes.  Some of these pious looking cuts reminded me of McQueen's infamous last collection, but the designs were rescued from 'costume' by modern cut-outs and appliqué, shimmering embellishment and a sheer fabric which hinted that this girl with the flowers in her hair was not quite a lady behind closed doors.  Even the 'plain' red gown with a plunging neckline would be a red carpet knock-out.       



Sunday, 10 July 2011

Good Evening America, I'm Chloe Sevigny


It has recently come to my attention (via the Twitter comedy resource that is Hugh Wright) that Chloe Sevigny is hilarious, and even funnier than the real version is comedian Drew Droege's take on her.  For those of you mourning the loss of Ab Fab on Youtube, I urge you to take a look at Drew's highly stylised sketch collections, if just for 1 minute 40 seconds of light relief.  From now on I shall only be recounting the fabulous occurrences in my life if they come in threes. 

Please excuse me as I while away the rest of this Sunday afternoon enjoying some sliced yellow crimson watermelon with a guava and chilli reduction, sip a chilled glass of Passito de Pantelleria and reread the early works of Gottlob Frege...







xxx
Duck

Friday, 8 July 2011

RA Exhibition party


It's a good thing I had a root through my memory card yesterday before formatting it because it turned out I actually had lots of pictures from Paris left over I had completely forgotten about! And then you guys wouldn't have got to hear about one of the evenings I spent with my friend from highschool, Claire, and her first fashion party... 

Übercool Antwerp-based concept store ra has build up a reputation for stocking the best of contemporary design - you can choose from labels like Damir Doma and Hannah Marshall to Juun.J. and Rodarte - and recently they have been running miniature exhibitions during men's week in Paris to support up-and-coming talent.  I didn't have any time to take a gander at the collections in January so I was pretty determined to see who had made the ra buyers' S/S 2012 cut.  Unfortunately, it being a party and all, it was difficult to track down many of the designers for a chat and in fact it was almost impossible to figure out who the designers were in many cases.  Sadly the ra website hasn't been much help, so if I don't know the name of anyone and you do, please let me know!  The first unknown would be the creator of these incredible feathered crowns.  The acid-trip fairy tale pieces have Björk's name written all over them, and you can see I was mucho impressed by one which even had the same colour dip-dye as me... 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Client


Client is a new fashion label founded by musician-cum-designer Kate Holmes (not to mention best mate of the exuberant Brix Smith-Start), otherwise known as Client A.  Already available online and at the Start boutique, the Client line aims for a utilitarian look but also manages to be quite sexy in a subversive sense.  Kate sent me over a men's t-shirt from the first collection to road-test which I have decided to photograph using Hipstamatic and Instagram on my iPhone rather than my SLR - not just because I'm totally obsessed with these apps at the moment, but more because I feel it adds to the underground Berlin nightclub/secret spy on a mission connotations that come with the brand (Kraftwerk apparently being one of Kate's major inspirations).  Ihr wißt schon wie viel Berlin mir gefallen hat! :-)  Bainser already mentioned this on his give-away, but I'd just like to point out that the tops run slightly on the tight side so do take that into account if you order one - below I'm wearing an 'L', which fits very nicely indeed but it's a good job I've slimmed down a lot in the past six months!  I'm surviving mainly on a liquid diet, at least until the Dolce party/my trip to Sweden at the end of next week...      

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Happy Birthday Hannah Marshall


Facebook tells me it's time to wish one of my favourite London designers, Hannah Marshall, a great big Happy Birthday!  Purveyor of all things dark (and now light too), she does make some gorgeous and sexy womenswear.  And I bet some boys would love to nick one or two of her sheer blouses as well!  Let's just take a moment to look back at some of her most fabulous recent collections...

xxx
Duck

Photos of the A/W 10 and S/S 11 collection from Vogue.co.uk

Thoughts on couture

My idea of haute couture - a term which is misused more and more, even by those within the fashion industry - is an elaborate fantasy, a showcase for an atelier's practical skills as well as a designer's artistic vision.  It isn't necessarily about creating the most 'wearable' pieces but about channelling a mood and producing one-off items to be worn at the most special of occasions.  Sadly I haven't ever had the chance to attend the couture shows in Paris (jeez, I take enough time off from studying to do men's and women's ready-to-wear...) but that doesn't mean I can't follow along with the aid of Style.com and NowFashion.com.  Here's what I've been inspired by so far!

First things first, let's get the scandale that was Christian Dior haute couture out of the way.  The dresses themselves were a little (OK, a lot) OTT, and Bill Gaytten and Susanna Venegas's collection lacked any real sense of cohesion, but let's not dwell on that and restrict ourselves to the fabulous headgear by Stephen Jones.  Showstudio's Alexander Fury tweeted that he wanted to wear every piece all at once in a physical embodiment of the intro to Saved By The Bell.  I can't wait to see such glossy geometric shapes in pastel colours worn by the extreme fashionistas next season - Anna dello Russo, I'm talking about you! 



Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Rules for the Modern Gentleman

OK, so some of you might be wondering why I'm writing about Dolce and Gabbana since it isn't a name which features regularly on this old blog.  Let me start by saying clearly that this post has been sponsored by the Italian mega-brand (hey, a duck's got to earn some pocket-money, don't cha know), but actually this week I seem to have been overloaded with all manner of things both wonderful and Dolce through and through.  First of all, there was the discovery of these amazing net t-shirts in the S/S 2012 collection.  A true fashion victim at heart, I'm a sucker for any designer gimmick (Hello my Prada creepers!) and I can already picture myself layering a black fisherman's net over everything next summer.  Especially if I book a post-thesis trip to the Italian Riviera...  And then there was the exciting invitation to meet Their Fabulousnesses Stefano and Domenico next week at the launch of their latest collection on Net-à-Porter and Mr Porter, which I have no doubt will be the most glamorous event I'll have attended (although it should be the second time I breathe the same air as David Gandy - cue my fear-induced asthma attack).   


Now the Italian stallions have launched an iPhone app (it's free!) detailing their style tips, and those of Dylan Jones, for the 'modern gentleman'.  Never having quite learnt to be the gentleman that perhaps one might expect of an Oxford student, I did find several of these rather enlightening.  For example, according to these gents, gossipping in the loos is total verboten (I have fallen foul of this rule many a time, much to my chagrin) and care should also be taken when trimming one's monobrow (also slipped up here once upon a hairy time). 

Monday, 4 July 2011

A tale of two cities


This was the first year I've ever been to a Pride event.  I had this idea (probably derived from television) that Pride was all about tanned men in their underwear dancing in public, getting drunk, and then all rushing off to some gay mega-club to screw their brains out.  Not exactly my idea of fun - despite what Anastasia might tell you - and also not my concept of 'pride'.  Then I went to Paris and my worst ideas of what Pride would be came true, right down to the men in jockstraps lining the street!  It seemed like a celebration for a certain kind of person, and the rest of us 'prudes' could go to Hell.  It was also a disorganised mess.

I'm so glad, however, that I persevered with Pride this summer and went to see the London event this weekend.  Such a difference!  The parade was much larger and more organised, and the whole thing seemed really family friendly.  It was also much more political and representative of the origins of the Gay Pride movement.  I might even go back again next year (although I'll try to avoid the Issey Miyake and Acne sales on the way this time - ouch)...

Photos from Paris:

Papped!


Seems like my face is cropping up all over the interwebs now, scaring little children and such-like. I found my latest portrait on fash mag website Status Magazine where I was snapped outside the Henrik Vibskov menswear show in Paris last week.  I'm very happy I found this as I don't actually have a picture of this psychedelic outfit.  I'm wearing sunglasses by Nonnative x Kaneko, t-shirt by PAM, sweatshirt and ring by J W Anderson, trousers by JCDC and my trusty Prada brogues. I thought I should make a modern take on colourful grunge to match the green/blue ends in my hair :-) 

I wonder where I'll be seeing myself next...

xxx
Duck

Friday, 1 July 2011

Loser like me: Glee!


Anna, Bianca and I have been waiting (impatiently) since December but finally Wednesday night came - and it was GLEE TIME!!  It was so awesome I almost have no words; Puck, Kurt, BLAINE, The Warblers, and all the rest of the Glee cast were incredible.  And then to top it all off, Gwyneth Paltrow made a surprise appearance and gave us all a rendition of Cee-Lo Green!  All my wishes came true in one evening :-)  I even got a giant foam hand (just like Friends) and a 'LIKES BOYS' t-shirt...