Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Saturday, 15 October 2011
‘The Great Cleavage Divide’
Language has always been sexist. The terms ‘man’ and ‘woman’ for example: does the fact that ‘woman’ is simply and extension of the word man mean that men are the superiors, the first? And women, therefore, are the inferior, the second? Men are strong, able and competitive; yet women are emotional and are always, always, judged by their attractiveness.
This cannot be denied, even in our age of equality, where women are doctors and managers (although gender identified by ‘woman doctor’ and manageress’). You may only turn to Page 3 of The Sun to see a buxom woman spread before you, for the hungry eyes of men. Or turn to the back, and see Christiano Ronaldo described as ‘a flash of genius’ ‘sensational’ and a wonder’. He is celebrated in turns of his strength and abilities; she is celebrated in terms of her bra size.
My article of choice for study was taken from the Daily Mail. It is titled ‘The Great Cleavage Divide’. Here we are, an intellectual debate of course, on the cleavage of the Home Secretary and the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Apparently we must ‘forget dodgy donations, Northern Rock and missing child benefit data’. The only real debate at Westminster is Jacqui Smith and Theresa May’s busts. Surprisingly a woman, Jill Parkin, has written the overriding opinion on this debate. There is a small man’s view, by Quentin Letts, but you can guess that.
These women are intelligent, that much is obvious. To exude power in the predominantly male world of politics requires mental and oral strength. Maybe, these women believe that the way they dress will aid them. Dressing in suits may help you to believe you have the ability of a man; you certainly blend in. But to wear a bright orange dress, enables you to stand out from the grey suiting. You are seen and heard and remembered.
To focus on appearance is however, is the predictable way of the media. It is as if it is absurd that these women have power in parliament. Degrade them! Make them appear trivial! You can almost hear the deep laughter from men over Britain; let the women try, but they will never stand with us men!
Parkin ‘jokes’ that we really should be interested in what Theresa May was talking about, ‘but all I want to know is: is she wearing a leopard skin bra?’
These politicians are portrayed throughout the article as sex objects, entertaining the House of Commons: ‘Theresa now looks as if she wants them to be the naughty party’. These women have worked hard to be in the positions they occupy, and to portray them in this way offers the public more fuel with which to despise the government. The public feels that issues that affect Britain are being ignored, replaced instead with a ‘squeezed together line of amplitude’. This is inevitably what the media does; it has fun stirring things up for the public eye.
Yet why does this sexism still happen? Surely women like Jill Parkin believe in equal rights, doesn’t everyone inside? Women are generally more compassionate, that much is known, but must it extend to political debate. Must women here still be domesticated and emotional, and look ‘caring and feminine’ rather than commanding and businesslike? To me, this flash of cleavage, gives off some sort of feminine power. It distinguishes them form the men. Maybe more often in-between the lapels of a suit jacket than a cotton top, it says ‘I can talk and think and control like a man, but guess what! I am a woman!’
These women have both: femininity and powerful masculinity. Is this what frightens man? Is this fear of not only equality but role-reversal in power, what drives the continued use of sexism in media and language?
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
There were a few shimmering gems, however, amongst the grey and suiting...
Already from Milan, and now Paris, strong Menswear trends for Autumn/Winter 2011 are emerging and recuring through various high-profile collections. Most commercially viable is the untucked shirts seen at Bottega Veneta, Viktor and Rolf, and Comme des Garcons. I'd love to see those loose, almost Palazzo, trousers from Lanvin, Comme DG and Dior (not shown in this post) filter down too. Yet, like those stabs in the dark by various designers at a mens skirt, I don't believe there will ever be a moment for truely feminised menswear. Despite its beauty.
Much I-Want-A-Parisian-Man Love, Tasha X
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
So. Here are my fave looks from Milan, in no particular order. The 'statement' looks rarely interest me (note a lack of Burberry's big coats) but rather I find myself captivated by the tiny details: a uniquely tied scarf at Burberry, un-tucked shirts at Bottega Veneta, and low belt-loops at Viv Westwood...
There you have it. If all men in my life could pick a look, buy, and wear..? Much appreciated.
Much Milano Love, Tasha X
Friday, 14 January 2011
And thus it occured to me that I must go. Away. I must do something great, in my mind, to forge my path. Something totally apart from the countryside idyll I was born into. London is not enough, not yet.
New York is the plan. I will explore all avenues for placement there in my second year. And then...
Perhaps a case of too much Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, but in my heart New York seems to be IT.
Everyone needs dreams, mine are just bigger than others.
"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them" - Carine Roitfield
Sometimes I forget I study at the London College of Fashion.
The first term of uninspiring project work (the notorious ISHE) and banal journalism basics lectures combined with a burgeoning homesickness and feelings of not quite fitting in, culminated in a strange disconfidence with my chosen path.
I loved my course, I loved London, I loved the people I had met, but something wasn't quite right. A certain satisfaction was missing. Was I really part of a world-famous 'fashion' college?
Embarking on a fresh new term this week, this feeling has shifted. The uncertainty which bubbled beneath my surface has begun to dissipate.
First day of term hit me with a failed alarm and knocks at my door 20 minutes before I had to leave. I thanked my inner organisation for packing my bag, and laying out my clothes the night before, whilst pulling on those lush TopShop clogs: fresh term, fresh new-year new-confident tall me..
The Cultural and Historical Studies unit we were introduced to that day ignited an enthusiasm for my degree which burned brighter throughout the week as we were briefed on the second unit; Research for Journalism. A visual communication unit based on the analysis of a chosen trend, we are to explore and research creatively. Using scissors, pritt sticks, and a whole lotta dreaming.
After a first term grappling with Macs and Final Cut Pro, this came as a happy and much welcomed relief.
I felt again that wonderfully sadistic feeling of standing on the brink, and leaping head first into a project: fearful of the unknown and the complete lack of knowing what you the hell you're going to do. I love that feeling, because at that point there is complete freedom. You can do anything. And you don't worry, because eventually anything will be something.
So, if you couldn't guess. I am very very happy to be back.
During a Fashion Studies lecture yesterday, studying the early greats Worth Poiret and Vionnet, I realised I was in a room of people who shared the exact same passion as me.
I was at the London College of Fashion.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
After four weeks at home, in the quiet countryside, waking up to this...
...I returned to London yesterday. I wasn't sure how I felt about coming back, to be honest. I missed people, obviously, and I was excited to be continuing with my degree, but I had got so used to the steady pace of Devon. I can't say I was looking forward to daily tube treks, rush hour stress, and the lack of common courtesy (I'm a country bumpkin, me).
But as we drove through the city to my halls; through Kensington, Piccadilly, Islington, and Hackney, I remembered why I love it. It was as if seeing it through fresh eyes, I felt as in awe as the first time I visited: the gorgeous crumbling Victorian townhouses overshadowed by great blocks of glass and metal, the weird and wonderful walking the pavements, designer clothing EVERYWHERE. I almost squealed when I spotted the first Burberry trenches, Mulberry Alexas, and flashing Louboutins passing me by. Devon had deprived me of this label-spotting sport I so loved.
Today I ventured out into the bitter cold with a friend, to photograph trends for a project. Despite carrying my camera in my hand, I was so consumed by the wares of Brick Lane I frequently forgot what I was there for. Thank god I was carrying little cash else I may have returned with purple leather shorts, a fur jacket, and a tweed pleated midi skirt...and probably various battered furniture pieces. All were left behind with regret.
From Brick Lane we wandered on to Columbia Road. This is rapidly becoming my favourite place in the city. It is typically East End with flower sellers barking "Two for a fiver" at you from both sides. The blooms make it beautiful, the cobbles make it quaint. The cute vintage and artisan shops which line the market make for brief getaways from the crowd. Despite the bustle, I feel my most tranquil in this London haven: the best Sundays are spent here.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
The last days of every month send me a little jittery as I know that, very soon, a new Vogue will arrive.
February's British Vogue (one of my faves for the stripped-bare Spring collection shoots) plopped onto my doorstep on New Year's Eve and by Sunday I had read the entire thing...bar one interview with a boring looking man. This is the fastest I have ever read Vogue: with time now constantly against me, or so it seems, Vogue reading is no longer a leisurely activity. Its a five-course meal to be consumed in 15minutes.
A few thoughts I had on this issue...
The prevalence of pink on BV's covers is beginning to niggle me a little. I hate to think it, but the covers are all looking the same. We get a treat for December when Vogue annually breaks out the gold foil and fancy type; are tickled in January by a heavily made up Keira; and then its back to the pastel formula. If you feel the same, you'll find this intriguing.
As for Vicky B. Well, I do quite like her. I like her sense of humour, and she works hard. Her collection is honest and well-done, if not a little pricey (but if you're VB, why not?). Now she's calmed down the hair extensions and balloon-boobs, shes pretty alright.
With Prada one of my top Spring/Summer collections, I was excited to see this on the new season stripe. Though I'm not sure I could do the Beano stripes (I'm a breton girl, me), I'd like to see the other Prada delights on the high street. Namely a few baroque monkeys and that gorgeous dropped shoulder.
If I could do jersey bodies, I would. But when you're nearly 6ft, and the majority of that is your torso, those things just don't stretch far enough. It's bloody painful, and inconvenient: I don't own a one-piece swimsuit for the same reason.
Personally I feel you also need sculpted arms, reasonably small boobs, and a gorgeous decolletage to wear one. So that's it for most of us then eh?
When I read Vogue, I like to suspend belief. I like to imagine I can afford these clothes, and I move in those social circles. But articles like this drop me to rural England with a bump: high society women with money they don't know what to do with. Vogue treats this like the norm, praising these women for financing young designers as if they were saving starving children in Africa. With this Vogue ignores the large proportion of its readership that is young, in awe of fashion, and dreaming. It was a sad read.
This made me giggle: typically slow on the uptake, Vogue presents 'breaking' band Warpaint.
I have grown to love More Dash Than Cash. I like the simplicity of the styling: taking one concept/look and expanding it through a mix of designer, high street, vintage and DIY. It's accessible and inspiring, though could be pushed further through emphasis on the DIY.
Oh, hello Spring Collections. Though Elle Collections trumps the lot, I do enjoy Vogue's simplistic round-ups. (That is, those which appear in the monthly, not the pricey Vogue Collections magazine) These are my faves:
I love the luxe maxi/white tee combo. It reminds me of Dr Noki's upside down ballgowns.
Not always a fan but the shapes are lush, and those colours exquisite.
Although Lisa Armstrong repeats how she used to hate VB but now she likes her, there is an underlying scathing in this which leads one to believe Armstrong might be blabbing a few porkies.
Lines like: ' "Well, I sent my assistant round to get them in every colour. It is," she concludes happily - possibly taking the luxury of having an assistant to dispense to Gap into her analysis, possibly not - "all about the high-low mix, isn't it?" make me wonder whether Armstrong still thinks shes a bimbo with too much money.
Whatever is said, you can't deny that shes done well. Not just marrying, and holding onto, arguably the world's most beautiful man, but re-inventing herself from a self-admittedly crap singer, to a designer in her own right. Her collection might not be ground-breaking, but its attractive, well-designed, well-made, and it sells.
These are my top VB S/S 11:
Choosing to separate the British designers from the above-mentioned Spring Collection shoot, Vogue highlights just how eccentric we are as a style nation: neon prevails, as does graphic print, innovative cut, and a large dollop of irony. I particularly like:
I love this clean silhouette.
But why is the model always asleep? If I was surrounded by that much monogrammed, exotically-skinned luggage I wouldn't dare blink.
Other highlights to this issue include a touching interview with Sarah Burton, the new head-of-house at Alexander Mcqueen, and a piece by Alexa Chung on Christopher Kane. Enjoy.
Much Love, Tasha X
Sunday, 2 January 2011
By this time next year I hope to be
I will also be 21. So if I get nibbled by the travelling bug this Summer, I may head to America next year. Legal cocktails in New York ladies?
To start the New Year at new heights, I purchased a pair of gorgeous clog boots on the last day of 2010. I have been lusting after a new pair of boots for many weeks now; my biker boots are in pieces, and I fancied a heel for a change.
I purused over sheepskin turn-downs, lace-ups, and conical heels (no more than three inches, I am 5ft 10 afterall...) before falling in love with these TopShop beauties.
Another TopShop purchase, yes; not exactly a shake-up of mass commercial fashion. But my god are they beautiful. They are my eccentric self, however 'high street' their label may be. Clogs may be last year, but these are more than that: they're not ubiquitous like those worn-by-Alexa-Chanel-clogs.
I love them.
And I can't think of a better way to face a fresh new year than trotting about in these.
Much clip-clop Love, Tasha X
The flowery bedspread is H&M, the home range I praised in my last post. Here it is in it's glory.
The chintz-y flowers reflect the eccentric English rose Luella explores in her Guide to English Style. I have just started reading this and find it adorable, there is inspiration at every page turn. Read it.