Wangs of Desire

>> Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am totally crushing on these ridiculous glasses by Alexander Wang for Linda Farrow. They remind me of a pair of red ones I saw at a Ray Ban in Houston once but I didn't buy them because I thought, "Well, what am I going to wear them with?" Everything is the correct answer, but it's too late now.

I love the retro frames, the signature Wang fetishistic zippers, those steel-tipped frames. Not so hot for the third pair, but I'll take the top two any day!

While we're on the subject of Alexander Wang, I've just got to say I love his clothes. They're edgy and stylish and while I guess you could in all fairness say that those two terms are synonymous with pretty much every designer these days, it really is true with Wang's clothes.

I was on the Saks 5th Avenue website yesterday and it turns out that they've now got international delivery (which means India too!) and they were happy to display all the prices in rupees, which I thought was very nice of them.

I had three pieces in my basket, this gorgeous Alexander McQueen jacket:

and two dresses, both Alexander Wang:

and another one that I can't find anymore, but it was gorgeous, one-shouldered with a big billowing sleeve, orange silk, oh my...

And then I whipped my card out and clicked on checkout, and they told me that the dress wasn't approved for international delivery yet and would I please select something else.

No I bloody well would not! Why on earth would they lure you in with promises of international shipping and instant currency conversions only to turn you away at the zippered gates at the very last minute? It's atrocious.

Shame on you Saks. I shan't visit your website again.

p.s. call me when you've got your delivery options sorted out.


Golden Globes 2010 - Rain didn't spoil the ball, satin did.

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

What a thoroughly disappointing Golden Globes it has been. Nobody wore anything risky, there were no real fashion disasters (I love Tina Fey too much to say anything) and worst of all, there was satin galore all over the red carpet! Have celebrities, stylists and designers not learnt of the folly of wearing satin to an award ceremony? It looks great on the mannequin, sure, but once it's on a live breathing human, it's absolutely impossible to keep it from creasing horribly if you so much as move.

Case in point:

A perfectly lovely Alexander McQueen creation ruined - not to mention cheapened. Here it just looks like cheap flimsy satin, the kind you'd expect to find on a dress in Forever 21. Also, while we're on the topic of Cameron Diaz, couldn't she have gone a size up? There's no harm in doing so, you know. Nobody will really know.

See what I mean?

More satin disasters:

Leona Lewis in Roberto Cavalli

I'm sure this isn't the look she was going for when she chose the dress

Lauren Graham - another beautiful dress ruined by virtue of wearer not being a plastic mannequin

If you are a plastic mannequin, however...

Another satin dress miraculously uncreased. I know people are going to go wild over this lingerie peek-a-boo thing Cotillard has going on here, but I can't say I'm a fan. That divine face more than makes up for it though.

Looking at this picture however, I'm inclined to believe that there isn't a thing Cotillard couldn't make work, and work exquisitely. She is the quintessential Frenchwoman and I love her.


Diane Kruger, circa 1988

I've never been a huge fan of Diane Kruger's style as I think she plays it pretty safe so while I applaud the intrepid foray into colour, I hate the fact that this dress seems to have been dipped ever so lightly in an acid wash treatment as the eye progresses down. You may be trying to look all placid and sweet Diane, but I see the anguish through those eyes. And I don't blame you.


Oh hello, Chace Crawford.

That will be all.


Oh, Feather Graham

Heather. Graham. Pull your straps up. No, hold on.

Heather Graham. Wear a bra.

Also: please lop about 15 inches off your underskirt (underdress?- you have confused me). You know what I mean though. Cut that thing off.

And stand up straight.

Was that so hard?


Hello, Jane Lynch

You are also very funny and I love you in pretty much everything you're in although if pressed I would say you were the very best in The 40 Year Old Virgin although I loved you in Role Models too and yes let's get baked together and re-watch Gandhi and please teach me how to do deadpan humour like you do and olive is totally your colour and I love you.


Hello, Jane Krakowski

You are so funny on 30 Rock (funnier than Tracy Morgan) and you provide me with several hours of bewilderment seeing as how you clearly don't have a tiny waspish waist but always manage to look slim somehow, and please would you divulge those magic powers to me since I would also like to look slim without having to lose an inch off my 27-inch waist and I think you always have the nicest eyeshadow and even though it was a front I think you and James Franco would have made a great couple and oh yeah, you are gorgeous.



Why is Calista Flockhart wearing my grandmother's tablecloth? She is going to be pissed.



Oh lord. Fergie's dress (by Elie Saab, who makes me swoon, no kidding) is gorgeous, although I wish she'd have gone up a size on the bodice. Why is squashed boob syndrome not more of a sartorial faux pas?

Regardless of what she's wearing however, every time I see a picture of Fergie all I can think of is this - why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to willingly go from this:

to this?

Plastic surgery: not a good option when you're already gorgeous, Ferg.


Holy Cougar, Batman!

Courtney Cox is almost like the Demi Moore of her generation, given how freaking GOOD she looks at her age. I don't care how much work she's had done, she looks fresh, happy and she wears her skin well, unlike so many other celebrities who look like they've had the whole thing surgically removed, stretched on one of those wooden ringed boards women in the Austen novels used to embroider on, and plastered back on to their faces. I absolutely love her in this Victoria Beckham dress - she's glowing, and the colour suits her so well.

Also, how cool is it that brands like Victoria Bekham and Christian Siriano are now on the red carpet? And to think that just a few years ago Bekham was all fake tan, fake boobs and fake hair. Two of those things may still remain (I always feel like the reason she seems so aloof in pictures is because if she so much as brushes against someone they'll end up covered in orange spots and coral lip gloss) but at least she can turn a decent hand to design now, which is all I care about.

Oh yeah, Christian Siriano. I don't love this dress on Christina Hendricks (although I do love the pillowy, pillarbox red lips) but I'm still just pleased to see Siriano's designs on the red carpet. Hurrah!


All About Sandra

Sandra Bullock look so gorgeous here that I now consider her completely absolved of her sins, including a certain movie starring Bradley Cooper and that hilarious Asian guy from The Hangover that got possibly the lowest rating I've ever seen on Rotten Tomatoes - and rightly so, I might add.

It's sexy and demure at the same time and I absolutely love the colour and the hint of leg. My only gripe though is that while I'm sure Tomas Maier scoured the world for this fabric and found it growing on the bark of a thousand-year old tree and it was then woven together by gossamer and fairy dust by fifty thousand silkworms, it looks a teeny bit - well, synthetic.

You know you think so too.


Queen in Rags

What was Zoe Saldana thinking? Or her stylist, for that matter? While I'm sure everyone's going to go crazy about this dress, I think it's awful. This was Zoe's year, what with starring in the highest-ever grossing movie and all, so you think she (or her stylist) could have come up with something that didn't have quite so many ruffles. Her dress, a marriage between a raggedy tablecloth and tatty curtains dipped in homemade grape juice, does little to flatter her and worst of all, it comes off as twee. I see you, Zoe Saldana and I'm hugely disappointed.



Susan and Robert Downey Jr. look sharp enough in their outfits, but they're still a little boring. I'm getting so tired of seeing men in Armani on the red carpet - I know that the red carpet is mainly the domain of the women and there isn't much choice for men, but it'd still be nice to see other labels besides the regular roster that male celebrities turn to endlessly.

Balenciaga is a gloriously edgy brand that many celebrities turn to when they want to make a statement, even on the red carpet. Admittedly, most of these celebrities are women, but Nicholas Ghesquière can turn out a pretty sharp suit and while it's a little unconvential, it'd make for a breath of fresh air on the stodgy red carpet. So would a brand like Dior Homme, come to think of it.

Balenciaga Menswear

Dior Homme

Dior Homme


Perrey Reeves

I love her in Entourage - she's probably the only person on the show that can give it back to Ari with true panache - but honestly, these are the Golden Globes, not a cocktail party celebrating your ex-boyfriend's engagement. You look bangin' there's no doubt, but did you really have to play it down this much?


And speaking of Marchesa...

This is so gorgeous! Kate Hudson in Marchesa brings to mind marzipan frosting on Christmas cake, which as separate entities constitute a few of my favourite things, but together? Oh my! This dress can do no wrong. The girls at Marchesa truly are the reigning queens of red carpet fashion.

Let's talk about the shoes though. What on earth is going on here? It could be the angle but they look ludicrously small and remind me of a weird Chinese-bound-shoe-modern-Venetian-chopine-Vivienne-Westwood hybrid, which is making my head spin when I'd much rather be thinking about marzipan frosting on Christmas cake. If ever I see the person who designed these shoes on the street, I'll be sure to stop them and tell them as much.


Speaking of Jennifers...

How cute is Jennifer Westfeldt in this dress? With a bearded John Hamm, too. I never got past the pilot episode of Mad Men but Hamm ranks high within my top three reasons to watch the show - my love for vintage fashion and fascination with the cultural norms of decades gone by being the other two.

Westfeldt is gorgeous in an instantly recognisable Marchesa gown (just for one day I'd like to be Georgina Chapman - although that does mean I'd have to share a bed with Harvey Weinstein and his belly - on second thought, maybe not. I just want her clothes). I loved her in Kissing Jessica Stein, which I just watched for the first time a couple of days ago. If ever I was to be a lesbian, lipstick lesbianism would be the way I'd go, I'm sure. I'm also certain that my relationship would take the exact same route hers did in the movie and I saw a lot of myself in her character, so I feel like I know her now, you know?

Also, how cute is it that she's been with Hamm since 1997?


Who la la

I have no idea just who Jennifer Morrison is, but I am currently coveting:

* her waistline
* those banging biceps
* that vixenish red carpet ready smirk


The Golden Globes are Here!

Which means many things - red carpet triumphs and disasters, emerging colour trends, last minute emergencies, boob tape, unpredictable weather and lots of duhrama! Although it'll be tough to beat Zellweger's look from last year.

Still, one can dream.


Cockney Chic? À la Coke? I don't get it!

>> Friday, January 15, 2010

HAS the world gone mad.

Kate Moss, that unholy of unholies, anathema to anything mildly resembling taste, sophistication, class or elegance, is set to design for Longchamp, a French brand of leather goods and accessories that seems to me to embody everything that she does not.


= say quoi?

The noughties were clearly the decade of the celebrity, where we (and by we I mean everyone but me, seemingly) wanted to eat, beautify, holiday and dress exactly the way celebs did. I was hoping that this decade would be about the celebrity backlash, celebrating individualism and all that but so far all we've had in the fashion world is news of collaborations so ludicrously unrelated to each other that you have to wonder if CEO's of fashion companies are all on crack (Tony Blair and LVMH anyone?)

Moss modeled for Longchamp in 2006 has been more or less a permanent fixture at the brand ever since. She helped design the Legende bag (apparently the red lining was her idea - genius!) and has been featured in pretty much all their ads since 2007. Everytime I saw her campaigns I'd just squeeze my eyes shut and hope that she'd have dispersed into nothingness when I opened them but this nightmare is clearly here to stay.

Oui, Kate. I too mourn the loss of style.

I love Longchamp. I have three Le Pliage totes in varying sizes and colours and have been contemplating adding a couple of their leather handbags to my collection but have been precluded from doing so by a) my proximity, or lack thereof, to anywhere that has anything remotely resembling a Longchamp store and b) my inherent vegetarian dilemma about refusing meat but lusting after leather.

Longchamp stands for reserved, understated chic, a way of life that let's face it, is quintessentially French and seems to belong almost exclusively to the Parisienne, but that's never stopped the rest of us from trying to emulate it in any way, much to the company's benefit. The pairing with Kate Moss makes no sense but is regardless understandable - Kate Moss is widely regarded as a fashion icon (pourquoi, je ne sais pas - outfits one can only call braless wonders, a permanent expression of sneery drunkenness and prematurely wrinkly skin doth not a fashion icon maketh). She fits the mould of the nonchalantly renegade mistress of the social scene that has recently become so desirable to women around the world (for reasons, once again, that are completely lost on me). For a brand that's trying to amp up their street cred and appeal to a younger market, she's a villainously perfect fit, I will admit.

What I don't understand is why Longchamp feels the burning need to sell out the way it has.

p.s. In other news, as was earlier feared, it has now been confirmed that Sarah Jessica Parker is indeed set to take on a definitive role at Halston, although the capacity under which she will do so has yet to be announced. The joy.


"Women become sexy when they are bound" - Nobuyoshi Araki

>> Thursday, January 14, 2010


Nobuyoshi Araki, Japanese photographer, known for his often pornographic photography filled with sado-masochistic and feshitistic subtexts.

His images resemble crime scenes and make you wonder about the kind of life this man had growing up

Compare his images to those by Helmut Newton, the iconic photographer of the 80s and 90s, also known for his sometimes pornographic photography filled with sado-masochistic and feshitistic subtexts, and it becomes clear that great photography lies in the nature not so much of the image but the eye behind the lens.

Newton at work while his wife and colleague Alice Springs looks on

I love his work immensely. I once laboured over a three-month project in school that focused on him and his career and he made an indelible impact on my views on photography and imagery in general. He took inspiration from the strangest of places - there is this picture that I've spent hours trying to find, to no avail - it's of a woman in a fur coat with her back to the camera, gazing at a wall in front of which are several men, with their backs to the camera.

He was walking through Paris one day when he had to take a leak, and asked his wife to wait for him while he did so, against a wall where, I imagine, urinating was allowed. Struck by the idea of woman watching man, he decided to explore that in his next photoshoot and the results are incredibly mysterious and even sexy. He could turn the most quotidian occurences into images of great sensuality and intrigue - such was his gift.

His photographs may have featured much female nudity, but nobody could accuse Newton of being sexist. Newton's women were strong, powerful, Amazonian, often representative of the idea of beauty in an era that birthed the supermodel. Nude, never naked, his women never seemed like objects even while they posed without a stitch of clothing on. He loved role reversal too, one of my very favourite aspects of his photography. Like this image, for example, which created waves at the time for turning the traditional urban gender roles on its head.

Woman Examining Man, St. Tropez, 1975

You want subversive, sexual images? Fetishistic, risque, really daring?

This is how you do it.

Araki, you who traverses the fine line between photography and pornography with such sordid ease, take note.


What Certain Beauty is This - Givenchy Pre-Fall 2010

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I spoke to Prabal Gurung, one of my very favourite fashion designers, the other day for over an hour while he was getting coffee, sorting out his schedule, hailing cabs, having a "very New York day", as he put it. I was a little starstruck - OK, incredibly starstruck - and I am so worried that he now thinks I'm a total freak because when he very graciously told me at the end of our conversation that he hoped our paths would cross again one day, I, in a fit of nervous blubbering that always leads to an almost hysterical blurring of the lines between funny and freakish, blurted out that yes, I would be visiting New York in March and yes, I might just stalk him.

Yeah, I don't know. I'm still cringing about it two days later and will probably continue to do so for a while to come.

Nevertheless, I'll post the entire interview up shortly, as soon as I can think about that particular instance without turning red.

During our chat he told me about how he was introduced to Audrey Hepburn movies when he was very young, and how he fell in love with her, and with Givenchy.

60 years after Givenchy became inextricably linked to Audrey Hepburn and classic, understated style, little has changed at this fashion house, as the pre-fall collection lays testament to. The collection is full of looks like this one, hearbreaking in their simplicity.

Solid, clean lines, colours muted yet rich, ay dios mio! This is just heaven.

Architectural stylings add a bit of frivolity and the shoes, while not a colour I'd ever pick, shouldn't really match the outfit, but the look works somehow. Although there is no forgiving that model's hair.

I love the crisp box pleats on this skirt. I'd wear it with about a million different things.

My quiche is here, dinner awaits!


Say it Isn't So!

The net is ablaze with rumors that Sarah Jessica Parker might be taking on the role of creative director at iconic seventies fashion brand Halston (who gave now famous designer Naeem Khan his start). There are so many things wrong with this that it's making my head spin.

First of all, who on earth is Sarah Jessica Parker without a certain Ms. Field? If it wasn't for her incredibly stylings on Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw wouldn't be so much a fashion icon as much as just a whiny, horse-faced, flighty New York City jaded single woman - who, by the way, had nobody to blame but herself for it. Honestly, if you give someone like Aidan up for an ageing, overweight commitment-phobe like Mr. Big, you're not all there in my book.

And girl, please. If you really were all about the independence you'd have ended up with motorcycle guy who threw a fit over the Prada shirt which by the way looked fabulous on him I will give you that OR Aidan, the creative carpenter, was it? That had a house in the woods, was it? I don't remember. I never really saw past the disarming smile and ridiculously nice persona. NOT with Mr. Big because let's face it, you loved being whisked around in a limo and the fact that he said stuff like "I got it" when you were wondering if you could afford the apartment you were looking at together.

Anyway. Real life. Argument for Why Carrie Jessica Parker Shouldn't be Creative Director of Anything, Let Alone a Brand like Halston Number 1:

We all know what her style is like off the sets of SATC:

Just. No. I'm all for experimental fashion and while I can honestly say that I'd make no great haste to get to a Maison Martin Margiela sale, I appreciate the designer's uniqueness. And while indiviudalism is great especially the sartorial kind and hurrah for designers who fly the freak flag high and so on and on, there's just no excuse for cloven hoofed boots that literally look they a) have been shipped to you straight from the bowels of hell or b) pander to their owner's particularly fetishistic taste in well, pretty much everything.

Argument Number 2:

The last time an actress with a flagging career (yes, flagging. Have you seen the trailer for Did You Hear About the Morgans?) decided to install herself as Creative Director of a once-popular fashion brand, this is what happened:

Emanuel Ungaro S/S 10

Which isn't to say that this is any indication that it'll all go pasty-shaped for Parker, of course.

Which leads me to argument Number 3, being that we all know how successful she's been as a designer in the past with her Bitten line, which ended up in discount bins everywhere:



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About this Blog

I've loved fashion for as long as I can remember, so it only makes sense that I write for a fashion magazine. I find however that the experience of working in the industry is quite different from appreciating it from afar. That's why I chose to be a travel writer (I chronicle some of my travel experiences here) while staying at the magazine, albeit focusing more on the lifestyle aspects of the job. This means that I must find another outlet for all my sartorial web crawling - et voila! Monyet in Pearls was born.

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