22 August 2011

19 August 2011

Weekend Reading List: Excellence is Pretty Fairly Divided Between the Sexes

Because I'm reading the Isabella Blow bio Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion, I've decided to dip into Jane Austen's spoof of the gothic novel Northanger Abbey. The latter sparkles with wit and light compared to the bio, which has the fascination of a car crash. A fashion icon right up to the end, Mrs Blow's life seem destined for tragedy right from the beginning. The bio by Lauren Goldstein Crowe is sympathetic, inspite of the monsters and gargoyles of its story - as A said about A Line of Beauty (Alan Hollinghurst) "all the characters are aweful and repellant". I had skimmed through Blow by Blow previously, by Detmar Blow, and I think A Life in Fashion is the better book, with more emotional distance, and obviously researched by a professional writer. This is a fast and easy read, like a book-length article from a glossy, focusing equally on her work in fashion world as on her personal life and her obsessions with property, the aristocracy, sex and the gothic aesthetic.From Northanger Abbey:

“My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”

“I have sometimes thought,” said Catherine, doubtingly, “whether ladies do write so much better letters than gentlemen! That is — I should not think the superiority was always on our side.”

“As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”

“And what are they?”

“A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.”

“Upon my word! I need not have been afraid of disclaiming the compliment. You do not think too highly of us in that way.”

“I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.”
- Jane Austen

18 August 2011

Dance Macabre

Gruesome... quite Buddhist in a way, no?

Mirror Mirror

Jon Jon with a mirror...(by Terry Richardson). Happy weekend everybody!

17 August 2011


Fashion's own Russian Cinderella Natalia Vodianova, 29, confirmed her split from billionaire Justin Portman, 41, after nine years of marriage in June. The new boyfriend is none other than the son of billionaire and LVMH head Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France, 34-year-old Antoine Arnault. Arnault Jr (below) — serves as head of marketing and communications at Louis Vuitton is also the managing director of Berluti. Ms Vodianova has three children with Mr Portman: Lucas, nine; Neva, five and Viktor, three, which amounts to quite a lot of rubles in child support.

The Watsons

Jane Austen's original manuscript of the unfinished novel The Watsons has sold for over £990,000 although it was valued for no more than £300,000. The Bodleian Library in Oxford has purchased this rare item, the only surviving original manuscript of any of Jane Austen's novels. The manuscript descended from Jane Austen’s sister Cassandra to her niece Caroline Mary Craven Austen (1805-1880), the younger daughter of their eldest brother James. It was in Caroline’s possession when first published in 1871 by her brother James Edward Austen-Leigh. The draft of this unfinished novel is not complete. The Morgan Library in New York owns 12 pages of the manuscript. A few of its pages were lost by The University of London. The manuscript is remarkable in that it is a working draft, with crossings out, ink splotches, and many changes inserted into the lines and spacings.

Models Make Fashion Possible

"Models make fashion possible.
They make the extremes of design seem attractive because of their perfect beauty – the poreless, flawless tans; The zero-fat tautness, the nubile waists and necks and tiny, little pin heads; The dense heads of hair brunette or blond; The magnificent legs and the glossiness of extreme youth. Anything would work on them, even the most outrĂ© of designer fashion. And that’s where accessories come in. For the rest of us mere mortals, with our untidy office-honed physiques, our secret, unbidden bulges and wrinkles, there are shoes, and bags, and sunglasses (and the patronizingly named ‘small leather goods’!). You may not have the stature to wear cropped multi-pleated Hammer pants, but hey, there’s that pair of fancy croco lace-ups that will add two inches to your self-esteem. You may not be brave (or foolish) enough to wear a leopard print jacket with metal studs but there’s a bag for you somewhere in the same collection that won’t make you look like an interesting ottoman.
Colour, too, can be thought of as an accessory in the way that wearing a splash of brilliant colour can really turn a dreary outfit around immediately, and improve your mood considerably. A bold red loafer, a royal blue shirt, a brightly patterned Hermes scarve, are all painless, easy ways to adopt colour into a too-staid wardrobe.
A menswear staple that can work as a figure-enhancing accessory is the jacket. A classic jacket will do the trick if like me, you feel fashion has left you behind, along with a waist, which I last had in 1990."

The Hedgehog

...Well I simply need to watch this movie just because I loved the book!


Wallis Simpson by Cecil Beaton

16 August 2011


I can't quite imagine why anyone would name a magazine Coitus, but there you go! That's the lovely Brazilian 'model' Pablo Morais on the cover - Mr Morais is another one of those young men fated to rarely wear 'fashion' in his career, not that we are complaining of course.

15 August 2011

Book Her!

Two new books to have!

Princess Charlotte

Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco in Vogue Paris. The 25-year-old grand daughter of Grace Kelly shows off her fabulous genes on the cover of Vogue Paris's September issue, captured by the inevitable Mario Testino. This is not without precedent: Her mother, Princess Caroline, has been on the cover of Vogue Paris quite a few times.
(Above) Oct 1977, Norman ParkinsonDec/Jan 1983, Andy WarholMarch 1979, Cecil BeatonPrincess Grace Kelly's Vogue cover, December 1971, Richard AvedonVogue UK, March, 1972

He Said She Said

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” - Erasmus

14 August 2011

The King of Bhutan

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (born 11 November 1955) was crowned the fourth king of Bhutan at age 28, making him the youngest King in the world.

13 August 2011

Venus at the Prow 2

When I blogged about the old BBC series Edward and Mrs Simpson a good two weeks ago, I had no idea that Madonna was making a directorial debut of this very subject. Subsequently, I saw these lush preview pictures (below) in Vanity Fair. It does look promising, even if one rather doubts Madonna doing anything without a very heavy hand!Madonna's at the prow with her directorial debut feature, W.E. The first look pictures of the £18million drama, which stars Andrea Riseborough (too pretty! Wallis is supposed to be a man!) as Wallis Simpson, and the film looks beautiful, and carefully styled. The movie also stars Abbie Cornish and James Fox, and is described as a two-tier romantic drama, looking at both the affair between King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, and the modern relationship between a Russian security guard and a married woman. Madonna said: "W.E. is about the nature of true love, and the sacrifices and compromises that are often made. I've wanted to tell this story for a very long time, and bringing it to life has been a great adventure for me."
It's set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival next month and due for general release in December.The real deal (below).... And CUT!!! This is a rare picture of Madonna without her knees wide open for once - as director on the set.

He Said She Said

"Everyone says you were beautiful when you were young, but I want to tell you I think you're more beautiful now than then. Rather than your face as a young woman, I prefer your face as it is now. Ravaged." - Maguerite Duras, The Lover

Mrs Hince in Vogue

"She dared me to be John Galliano again. I couldn’t pick up a pencil. It’s been my creative rehab." - John Galliano
The September Issue went to Kate! On the Vogue cover, she wears an Alexander McQueen​ gown, promising an exclusive story and pictures on her wedding (by Mario Testino too, like royalty); Hamish Bowles sits us down with the all-time iconic model:I was wondering why Freja was on the cover of British Vogue - they traditionally put Kate on their September issue - and now I know why.