Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous..

I have to admit, I'm one of those people who is terrible at remembering names, but it's rare that I forget a face. So it was with some surprise, that when reading a press release about a splendid new tome entitled Fashion Fabulous London 2012, that I instantly recognised the "sartorial uniqueness" of milliner Tracy Rose.

I often used to see Tracy (pictured above), a tabloid picture editor's dream, adorned with one of her own, larger-than-life, attention-grabbing creations on the London Fashion Week circuit. All I can say, is that this lady makes Donatella Versace look understated.

But, and this is a BIG but, what I, and indeed most people love about London's fashion scene, is that it's a bit bonkers. Tracy, and indeed anybody else, could quite as easily look at my style of dress on any given day and like, or dislike what they see. One of the privileges of living in this uniquely tolerant, omni-cultural and fashion-forward city, is that to an extent, you can wear what you like without most people batting an eye lid.

I may not like Tracy's outfits, but I do see how much Press coverage she has accrued over the years at horse racing events, and boy is she a smart cookie. It's a brave woman who has obscenely-long acrylic nail extensions painted to match the various colours in her outfit. Talons so long they'd give Freddy Krueger size envy.

To be fair, what fun would the races be without all the champagne-sipping, people-watching and outfit scoring?? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have all adopted ultra-zany ensembles as part and parcel of their cartoonish Pop personae, and they're sitting front row at the couture shows while I type alone in my bedroom. Clearly, someone is having the last laugh, and FYI, it's not me.

Hats off to Tracy, and her husband / co-writer and journalist Russell Rose (pictured above), for their new tome, Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is an accomplished and comprehensive guide to London style. Encompassing everything from the best of the city's markets, quirky independent urban retailers, and high street chains, to the heady glamour of Bond Street's boutiques, the book even advises on the most modish cafes and restaurants. Addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses are all provided. The couple devised a list of their Top 200 destinations, with an additional key serving as an indicator of "wow factor", choice, service and price.

As a fellow fashion insider, I was keen to see whether some of the less obvious shopping destinations I frequent had been documented. Indeed they had been, Aquascutum, Aspinal of London, B Store, Beyond The Valley, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Harry's of London, Jaeger, Kokon to Zai, Liberty, Maison Martin Margiela, River Island, Selfridges, Stephen Webster, Topman, Turnbull & Asser, Unconditional and Zara were all present, not to mention markets such as Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Portobello, Greenwich, East Street and Camden. Even some of my favourite dining spots and watering holes made it into print, with classic haunts such as The Ivy, Claridges, Nobu and the Wolseley all receiving a well-deserved name check.

An Amanda Wakely catwalk shot from the back cover.

A Jil Sander boutique shot from the back cover.

Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is priced at £12.99, available at Waterstone's, Harrods, Selfridges, Oliver Bonas and all major bookstores.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Swagger Jagger

Swagger Jagger..

Sir Mick Jagger, The Rolling Bones front man (Rolling Stones) and uber icon of music and style has inspired one of my favourite tracks right now.

"Moves Like Jagger" is a definite departure for Maroon 5, with the band's front man Adam Levine admitting the new sound was a commercial risk (but given the amount of air play the song's getting, it's fair to assume the risk paid off).

A genre-defying blend of funk, R&B, pop, rock and dance, the track's music video concept and direction was left in the more than capable hands of Jonas Akerlund.Akerlund's previous music video credits include the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" and Madonna's "Ray of Light", making him the go-to man for cutting edge and progressive visual imagery.

The track features a Ruben-esque Christina Aguilera, who brings her mega-lung, little-lady-big-sound to the mix. The video itself is a riot to watch, with various Jagger imitators taking to a large stage to strut, prance and rock-out in various 70's style outfits. Levine channels Jagger in a pair of hip-hugging uber skinny black trousers (bare chested naturally), while Aguilera's styling seems to reference Rolling Stones babes Bianca Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in a Biba-esque / Ossie Clark ensemble accessorised with a wide rimmed floppy black felt hat. It's worth mentioning that the majority of the extras look like they escaped from a) Woodstock, b) a 70's Fleetwood Mac concert or c) Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (one of my all time favourite films). The styling in the latter is superb, with Kate Hudson the epitome of bohemian chic in a series of diaphanous chiffon outfits, punctuated with shag-tastic fur trimmed Afghan coats (Yeah Baby Yeah).

Adam and the artist formerly known as X-Tina doin' their thang

Now, a look at Jagger and friends over the decades:

Marianne Faithful and Mick circa the 60's

Mick and Bianca circa the 70's

Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards circa the 70's

Andy Warhol and Mick circa the 70's

A Warhol print of Mick circa the 70's

Mick and Jerry Hall circa the late 70's / early 80's

Mick flanked by Keith Richards (who seems to be spoofing his signature posturing and pout)

The iconic Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo

The Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo immortalised in this equally iconic piece of bijoux from uber-jeweller Solange Azagury Partridge (sigh).

The making of Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund

The official music video of Maroon 5's Move Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund