Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Arguably the most influential fashion designer of the 20th Century, Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel knew a thing or two about style, and wasn't afraid to share her thoughts with the world. 
I had started out my first post on this blog of mine with the article that I sent in India Vogue Magazine Young Writers' Competition (For which I sadly did not win!). And I believe I owe to anyone reading this blog, a much more sound research on her philosophy of life. So here I am, typing down these words, trying to hold on to the Chanel Insights...
Chanel remains one of the world's most successful and highly respected fashion empires, and while its founder passed away in 1971, her observations on the world of couture continue to hold relevance: they're so elegant and yet so very simple, just like the designs themselves. Here are a few Coco Chanel quotes that have inspired me; I hope they do the same for you. 

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud."
"There are people who have money and people who are rich."

And finally, the quote that sums up the philosophy of the Chanel brand, and is my own personal favourite: "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."
There is plenty of literature available on the life of this amazing woman, and the most recent film - Coco Avant Chanel, starring Audrey Tautou - is unmissable for any style-conscious person. Coco herself may be gone, but it seems that her legacy, like her designs, is one that is destined to endure the test of time.
Here is a presumed public domain image of Coco Chanel from 1957 at age 73
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in Saumur, France:
The next picture was scanned from "Decades of Fashion" by Harriet Worsley.

From the book: "A well-groomed Coco Chanel poses in her signature style: an easy cardigan suit, two-tone shoes, strings of pearls, and bobbed hair, a look which is still a classic of today".
The following picture was scanned from "Decades of Fashion" by Harriet Worsley.
From the book: "This picture was taken in 1929, when Coco was forty-six, the year in which she opened an accessories boutique attached to her Paris salon. The pearls on the pin trimming her straw hat are extra large. Chanel played with oversized costume jewellery that did not pretend to be real."

The next picture was scanned from "Decades of Fashion" by Harriet Worsley.

From the book: "The little black dress was made fashionable by Coco Chanel and Edward Molyneux and was promoted by American Vogue in 1926. Black dresses had not previously been fashionable for society women, unless they were in mourning. For one thing, they made a good base from which to show accessories. A velvet dress by the House of Jenny (above, left), another dress by Jenny showing off a tasselled lipstick holder (above, centre), and a dress by Madeleine Vionnet (above, right) with signature scalloped panels."
The next picture uis about 1930s dresses, originally uploaded by Gatochy.
"Fashion editor-turned designer Mainbocher's black evening dress (above, left) sets off a diamanté feather at the waist. Velvet was still popular for evening and Chanel designed wide-shouldered evening suits in black velvet. This dress (above, center) is by Robert Piguet who was known for his easy tailored dresses. Black satin trimmed with silver fox was used for this Mainbocher dress with its matching cape (above, right)."
The following picture is Mainbocher dress, 1930s, originally uploaded by Gatochy:
 "Black satin trimmed with silver fox was used for this Mainbocher dress with its matching cape."

“When a woman is dumb she sees in him a weak person, funny to be with but not very dangerous; when she’s smart she finds him to be someone who divines her, understands and listens to her. Since all women, whether stupid or intelligent, love the flytrap of compliments and since pederasts know how to manipulate praise, or have the gall, or the malice, to toss out immoderate adoration, women are their chosen victims. Women are always ready to believe them. They speak the same language, the stinging tongue of implication, heinous gibes, and baffling hypocrisy.
“They put around women’s necks garlands of compliments, necklaces of flowery flattery, with which they strangle them. And their beautiful friends are ecstatic; women no longer dress to please men but the pederasts, and to shock other women, because what the boys like is what is far out, outre. God, the number of young women I’ve seen die under the influence of ’awful queers’ – death , drugs, ugliness, ruin, divorce, scandal, nothing is too much when it comes to demolish the competition and to take revenge on a woman. To triumph over her they follow her like a shadow, everywhere, except in bed. Homosexuals become stage designers, hairdressers, interior decorators, and especially couturiers. They rush into deadly eccentricity, into their own artificial netherworld.
“When I say pedarests, I mean the pedarest mentality, which is even more widespread. We all know nice family men who are ‘inverts,’ fathers who are bent over cribs and, at coming-out balls*, scour the rooms for decent husbands for their daughters. Homosexuals are the escorts of high society, the life of decadence, ans as such the germs of bewitching epidemics. They are the ones who inspire hats no woman can wear, the ones who acclaim unwearable dresses, they are the canny, chatterbox commentators on stilt heels, the lethal publicists for furniture upholstered with satin. They are the only men who love make up and red nail polish. They make up the backbiting and perceptive army for whom cynical pederasts with their beards, dirty knots of hair, gnawed fingernails, and decayed teeth are only the forerunners.** They don’t have the avant-garde tastes of the veterans, but they serve as links between the old guard and womanhood; they are the ones who make up the mood and the climate.”
-Coco Chanel recounting the previous decade circa 1940-1949 to Paul Morand, printed in Chanel: A Woman of her Own by Axel Madsen.
JUSTINE PICARDIE'S new book Coco Chanel: The Legend And The Life is published by HarperCollins.
I have had the opportunity to read Justine Picardie's wonderful new book Coco Chanel The Legend And The Life.
I have read countless articles and books on Coco Chanel and seen various films and documentaries most of which have been on the French Arte Channel. I wondered how Justine could possibly top everything that is already out there. But she has done it, I feel as if Justine has taken me by the hand, out of my duvet, strewn with tissues environment and transported me into the glittering crystal world of Chanel.
I feel I have walked on the stone and cobbles that young Gabrielle walked whilst an orphan living with the nuns in Aubazine Abbey, felt the pain and loss of her various love affairs and friendships, partied with her at her fabulous French Riviera bolt hole 'La Pausa', toasted her triumphs and commiserated her disappointments and felt her presence at The Ritz and 31 Rue Cambon.
I love the way the images and illustrations run through the book rather than the usual few pages in the middle, which one has to keep flicking to in most biographies, every image and illustration has been carefully thought through, which brings each chapter to life.
This book is not just a book for fashion lovers or admirers of Chanel it is also a wonderful walk through the history of the twentieth century, encompassing The Edwardian era, First World War, Russian Revolution, The Jazz Age, Second World War, Post War France and into the modern era.  With insights into many famous characters, along the way.
After reading Justine's book I have a much greater insight of Chanels character and what made her tick. How the abandonment by her father affected her for the rest of her life, causing her to invent stories to blur the truth and how her time at the orphanage in Aubazine inspired some of her most famous designs.   she was complexed with a dark side, inventive, innovative, scathing,  generous, a perfectionist, scheming, but above all she was probably one of the most remarkable women of the twentieth century.
In short I adored Justine's book, it is a beautiful book and wonderfully researched.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alexander McQueen retrospective in Vogue US, May 2011

Savage Beauty,” a retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s stunning work, opens at the Costume Institute on May 4th.

Creative director Sarah Burton shares with Vogue US her memories of working at the late designer’s side. I had posted about this event before somewhere in April of this year. And I know I haven't been keeping myself up to date with the dates... So I just want to share this story again before May ends.

Photographed by Steven Meisel, featuring Coco Rocha, Karen Elson, Stella Tennant, Caroline Trentini and Raquel Zimmerman.

“The collection was about the 1745 massacre of the Scottish Jacobites by the English, which Lee felt so passionately about because of his Scottish family heritage, which his mother had researched. The women were the widows of the slaughtered army. This dress was actually based on my wedding dress—I got married two years earlier. We had to figure out how to make lace work in the round with those ruffles because Lee hated gathering. So we cut out all of the flowers from the lace and reappliquéd it on tulle to make our own fabric. This is the collection most people remember as the one with Kate Moss in a hologram."

“So much of this show was about the collective madness of the world. It was presented in a two-way mirrored glass box in London, and the girls had bandaged heads, acting like inmates of a mental asylum. Lee wanted the top of this dress to be made from surgical slides used for hospital specimens, which we found in a medical-supply shop on Wigmore Street. Then we hand-painted them red, drilled holes in each one, and sewed them on so they looked like paillettes. We hand-painted white ostrich feathers and dip-dyed each one to layer in the skirt.”

“The collection was based on Handel’s ‘Sarabande’ in the film Barry Lyndon. It was held in the round at the Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione in Paris, with classical musicians playing onstage under a giant chandelier. This dress had fresh flowers on it. We put them on just before she went out, and they started to fall off one by one as she walked. I remember people saying Lee timed it. We had a laugh about that. It was an accident!”

“All the girls were dressed as chess pieces, and the show was choreographed as a chess game. It was about the chessboard of fashion. Lee did have foresight and a sense of humor! This is one of the two horse pieces. He made it by commissioning Steve Powell, a hospital prosthetics expert, to make the body. And the horsetails were from the same suppliers who make the plumes for the queen’s Royal Horse Guards.”

“This is a straitjacket, a kimono with the sleeves strapped around the back, embroidered with raised birds and flowers, and the flowers on the hat were real. I saved all the showpieces from every collection because I’m an obsessive, obsessive hoarder. Sometimes Lee would look at them again, just to remember what he’d done with something. It was his dictionary he was building, really.”

Lady Gaga For French Magazine 'Madame Figaro' May 2011

Lady Gaga covers French Magazine Madame Figaro, check out the photos below. Photographed by Mariano Vivanco, fashion director Nicola Formichetti and make-up by Billy B.

Cameron Diaz For ELLE UK June 2011

Cameron Diaz scores yet another magazine cover for June 2011, this time with ELLE UK. Photographed by Jane Welters, she looks absolutely AAAAmazing!!!
On marriage: ‘I think a lot of people are married to people that they’re not romantic with any more. I just didn’t ever marry anybody that I then had to get divorced from. We break up. We move on.’

On working with ex, Justin Timberlake: ‘We're good at being funny together. We know how to do that. That’s easy.’

On her outlook on life: ‘I’ve gotten less cynical. When I was in my twenties I was not very happy. But I’m a realist. I see things how they are and it’s hard to pretend that they’re anything different.’

On her diet: ‘I’m very thoughtful about what I eat. You have to give your body the right nutrients and really think about what’s best for it.’

Harper’s Bazaar Singapore June 2011 : Sun Feifei

Sun Feifei graces the June 2011 cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore photographed by Gan.

Vogue Nippon June 2011 Cover. Naomi Campbell !!!!

Supermodel Naomi Campbell wears Gucci on the June 2011 cover of Vogue Japan photographed by Inez & Vinoodh.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

US VOGUE GRACE CODDINGTON'S "The Twenties Story Fashion Shoot" for the September Issue, 2007!

An old woman is standing on the stone steps of the palace of Versailles, her fiery red hair flying about her face in the wind as she looks out at the beautifully tended gardens... 

“I think I got left behind somewhere because I’m, you know, still a romantic.  You have to go charging ahead; you can’t stay behind.”

This was Grace Coddington, the Creative Director of American Vogue and the star of  The September Issue, a documentary about how the inside environment of US Vogue magazine really is like!

I know I haven't posted anything about my favorite Fashion Editor, the Creative Director of US VOGUE, Grace Coddington. And I have acquired so much inspirations from her. So heres to one of my favorites among her works. Photographed by Steven Meisel, the shoot takes inspiration from the 1920s or the ROARING TWENTIES, to be exact! It was the Jazz Age and these pictures really portray the kind of lifestyles and fashion that had sprung up in those times. I love the free-flowing styles of dresses in the 1920s, mostly because of the rebellious nature that is stitched within them.
The above picture is the one from the shoot that had not come out in the actual issue because Anna Wintour thought it "too much Galliano" as is seen from the documentary film "The September Issue."
The problem is that while Wintour is all about the new, looking forward and crisp clean images, Coddington rightfully describes herself as a Romantic - her shoots revolve around a central story or character and the images created are soft and look as if they've come from some far away fantasy world. In my opinion that effect is much more beautiful than colour blocks, clean lines and hard faces.
I know its 2011 now, but what the heck!! I have a right to feature anything in my blog, right?? So,here are the other pictures from the shoot. Remember, these pictures really tell a story... Hope you all enjoy it!!

Fashion Editor: Grace Coddington.
Photographer: Steven Meisel.
Magazine: US VOGUE.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The beginning of headbands had started from the ancient Greeks who wore hair wreaths. The Greeks and Romans wore these pieces to very special occasions or an important event. Cultures such as the Etruscans and Romans started to decorate their wreaths with jewels made up of gold and silver. While wreaths are certainly a likely beginning of today's headbands, some believe that current day hair bands have slowly taken shape from scarves that were worn around the head or were modified from the band of hats that tied under the chin.
Down the ages, Wearing of these headbands has changed from being worn to special occasions and important events to more of a fashionable accessory.
The Bohemian Vibe is back in the form of head bands!!! So get out there and buy youself a piece or two... Or you can easily make one yourself!! Do check out the pics to get insights into the world of boho headbands.I have collected quite a number of pictures from different sites and these pictures do not belong to me. If anyone is violated, I will willingly remove them.
Hippie Chick Braided Head Band.

Tyrolean Hippie Head Band.

Sparkle Bow Hippie Headband!

this one is very girly and very Chic!

Floral elements to give you a classic and vintage look.

Etsy Hippie Feather Headband. This one is one of my favorites as it is quite tranquil as well as natural.

River Island Grecian/Hippie Style Gold Sequin Head band.

Mischa Barton!!

Our very own Paris Hilton!!

Punky Style!

A Classic Look, very Chic, yet elegant!!

Would love to own one like this!
Headbands are often are part of a larger fashion statement - they can be color coded and matched accordingly to one's outfit.
 Sources: http://3-b-s.eu/

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