Chutzpah’s Barometer

by Katie on September 2, 2016

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We’re back, BACK, BACK BABY!!!

LOVING

September – Can people just stop flaunting tans and get back to the normal black clothing and layers that we all really should know is good for us, AT ALL TIMES. Ta.

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USA Pro by Matthew Williamson – One of Britain’s most successful fashion designers dips his toe into the exploding athleisure market with stunningly vibrant results.

Paula Knorr – The Royal College of Art graduate is bringing sexy back to this season’s London Fashion Week NEWGEN line-up.

Salvatore Ferragamo – Footwear designer Paul Andrew is rumoured to be joining the historic Italian house, best known for designing Marilyn Monroe’s heels, as the brand’s first Creative Director of Shoes.

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Les Parfums Louis Vuitton – When Vuitton launches a new product it launches BIG! A collection of seven fragrances, billed as “a journey of emotions”.  We can’t wait to try them. Available from September 1st.

Blood Orange ‘Freetown Sound’ – Coming on like the 21st century offspring of Sly and the Family Stone and Prince, one of this summer’s most exceptional albums is a shoo-in for end-of-year “Best of 2016” lists.

HATING

Gigi Hadid – Looking stiff and awkward in almost every collection and fashion film she appears in. Instagram followers isn’t a substitute for talent.

High-end Hipsters – Oh the irony! Between Gosha’s Eighties terrace hooligans and Vetements’ crazy homeless person “chic”, fashion contrariness gets ugly this winter.

Microbeads – More of a creeping terror than those Body Shop Japanese Washing Grains in the 80’s, it’s time to switch to a sealife-safe scrub or toothpaste.

Gucci – Dionysus bag, bomber et al.–  There’s a difference between oozing style and wearing a label as a signifier of ‘dollah’. A kick in the pants away from ‘Michael Kors’ proliferation. Put that credit card away and back out of the store slowly.

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Joe Wicks – If Jamie Oliver and Russell Brand had a son, then sent him to Fat Camp for 18 years. The kind of person who thinks an avocado shake is a tasty treat i.e. AWFUL.

DON’T CARE

Beckham kinder – Are you really in bits with the news of Brooklyn’s (17 ) breakup with Chloe Grace Moretz (who?)? Can’t you live without seeing Romeo Beckham’s (14) ‘style evolution’ as touted by a top fash mag?  No, us neither.

Barometer compiled by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) & @katiechutzpah

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intothevoid

Juliette Has A Gun’s Romano Ricci isn’t averse to playing with ideas nor ingredients. With his latest limited edition release*, Ricci has played with the enigma of space and time, querying what it’s like to be ‘out there’ in deepest darkest space, toying with a trip into an all encompassing darkness, the lure of the black hole and of embracing the void.

Much like Timothy Leary and his forays with the mind and expanded consciousness (swayed by the use of LSD), Ricci uses perfume as his muse and microcosm. The Void, whether internal or external, should not be avoided (see…it’s even in the language), but to be experimented with. To draw us out of our comfort zone and expand our experience. While ‘the void’ may be feared, Ricci imagines the sweetest, soft, intense trip. A spray and sprinkling of velvety smooth, amber infused, golden droplets leads the way into Ricci’s imagined comforting blackness. Like a talented perfumer’s catalyst to induce a state of blackness and reflection, rather than a trippy Reichian orgone box.

Built around the mystery of black holes, Into the Void sucks you into its sweet, honeyed, trail, like a spray of golden hued light in deep velvety blackness.

A tiny spray catapults the wearer into a stratospheric sphere of indulgence. Engulfed in Into The Void’s cocktail of sexy, heady guiac wood, cedar, ambroxan, patchouli, sandalwood and papyrus. This is a big leap, that leaves a vapour trail like thick expensive incense, of black orchid absolute and a tonka bean & liquorice mix. The fragrance is so thick and rich that the wearer almost feels it as a presence. A comforting, guiding one that embraces the body.

Into The Void’s intensity weaves and coils into the ether, its trail of other-worldy promise, hip-swaying its appeal.

Dark mysterious and supremely soft, Ricci’s latest addition to his luxury collection is a voyage of discovery that’s worth risking. Even with its £200 price tag (75ml).

*Available exclusively at Harrods from 4th September.

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Ah, well, it would take me till late August to discover one of the best, most emotive, Summer-in-a-bottle fragrances. I blame ‘the North’, it’s distance from London and new release launches as well as the stony-cold, weather-beaten city of my birth for making a soul forget what it’s like to be sun-kissed.

A hint of sun (like today) causes all sorts of madness. Namely ‘taps aff’ i.e. males remove shirts revealing bare bods as well as the multitudinous exposed (non waxed) legs of the female variety. And that’s only with 21 degrees. Imagine the folly if (like London) we reached 30 degrees.

I stumbled across a sampler of Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc that hit the OMG spot and to begin my clamouring for foreign shores. Interestingly, this latest Ford incarnation has female nose, Nathalie Gracia-Cetto as it’s creative. Which may account for the overwhelmingly feminine sweet wafts of honey, coconut milk and creamy expensive amber that acts like catnip to all and sundry once sprayed. Soleil Blanc manages to capture the allure of a faraway, more-than-I-could-afford resort with the hint of baking sun, ocean waves and scorching sand.

Like liquid gold, it drips it’s magic. Soleil Blanc should be worn with expanses of tanned skin and not much else. there’s a brief hint of spice in the cardamom and pink pepper but oh, the waves of ylang ylang, that white temptress, toyed with Egyptian jasmine and tuberose for a huge floral centre. However, it is the sultriness of the dry down that makes the fragrance. Like dry oil sprayed on parched skin, benzoin, tonka bean and golden amber mix with the coconut nectar to ensure a heady mix.

Worth waiting for and available throughout the year, don’t just wait for the sun to appear to experience Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc.

Available as 50ml (£148), 100ml (£215) and 250ml (£345) Eau de Parfum at Tom Ford counters in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and selected House of Fraser stores.

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She may be better known for her acting roles and for her face and grace fronting the campaigns of Givenchy make-up and fragrance cruelly replaced by Amanda Seyfried in 2013. But Liv didn’t let that get her down. Instead, she’s worked closely with the brand that is the epitome of British biker chic, Belstaff, working hand-in-hand with Belstaff’s creative director, Delphine Ninous, a woman who knows how to turn around a brand and build on subtle changes to heritage for that nuance of femininity, even in leather.

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Ninous and Tyler, acting as ambassador and creative contributor, dove through the brand’s archives to curate a collection that is independent in spirit and moulds to the character of the wearer.

Says Tyler, “I’d always wanted to create a few timeless classics. Things I have in my closet but wished I designed myself. I sought to express strength through the outerwear and leather pieces alongside a more feminine sensual side through the softer materials like silk, and via the more fitted silhouettes of my styles. It’s a celebration of the feminine and masculine rolled into one.”

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A fine leather jacket with a removable collar and a quilted interior is contrasted with blush pussy-bow blouses and fitted under-the-knee riding boots. A new, more fitted take on the Milford (the coat Belstaff originally created for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock) has been created in three fabrications, while two nylon parkas come with removable shearling gilets. New technical fabrications for Belstaff include a protective coated treatment and water-repellent cotton and a lightweight nylon.

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Delphine Ninous, Belstaff Collection Creative Director, says: “Working with Liv has not only been fun, but also invigorating. It enabled us to interpret our design point of view and archive through her lens. Her style is unique and personal, and her approach to designing is refreshing as it is unrestricted by previous teachings. Our capsule with Liv is timeless, effortlessly elegant and feminine whilst also embodying the Belstaff spirit of functionality and style”.

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Together, Delphine and Liv introduce 13 key pieces that blend easily into most women’s wardrobes.

The capsule was shot on up and coming model Greta Varlese in Brooklyn’s Red Hook Docks, with eight-month-pregnant Tyler art directing. She gave birth to Lula Rose, her first daughter, just under a month ago.

The 13 style capsule is available now from Belstaff stores, select department stores and independents and on Belstaff.com. Her second capsule with Belstaff will follow for Spring ‘17.

Earlier this year, Liv worked on a campaign film with Belstaff, Falling Up (www.belstaff.com/falling-up/)  in which she retraced the footsteps of 1920s aviator Amelia Earhart, one of the first women Belstaff dressed. In addition to starring in the film, she reprised her role as Executive Producer on the project, following her same role on Outlaws for Belstaff starring David Beckham last year.

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BOY CHANEL

Being off the boil for a while re. the ol’ perfume reviewing malarkey, it took a brave scent and a braver perfumer to get my juices flowing again. Before  this starts becoming far too Frankie Howard* by far (*Millennials, ask your parents), this is about Chanel after all. And such a classy, demure and newly-old feeling perfume release that perfectly manages to straddle the essence of Mlle Chanel and her wilful difference with the appeal of a contemporary vibe that’s going to woo a global market.

What’s so appealing is the fact that perfumer, Olivier Polge, takes a different route to greatness by eschewing the normcore. Let’s face it, to be crude, Chanel could take the easy route, developing easy-appeal, sweet orientals and aldehydes (obviously in keeping with the brand name) that would rack up millions of dollars of sales due to the Chanel name.

What’s way more than impressive is that Polge chooses to eek out a finesse that’s rare, especially with a brand as monumental and grandiose as Chanel, and make the subtlety of the scent ‘a thing’.

I wrote about Polge’s taste and refinement in his first release for the label and Les Exclusifs, Misia, a beautiful, powdery soft chypre. In Boy, named after Boy Capel, Coco Chanel’s great love of her life, tragically killed in a car accident at 38, we see a fragrance that straddles genders and types. Boy is no hard-hitting, masculine baiting essence. This is a nod to Chanel’s classic 1970s imagery of the blonde in the tweed suit heading into the gentleman’s club and letting down her hair. This is the perfume of choice for the palazzo pant wearing, boyfriend shirt donning woman who likes to mix it up.

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Les Exclusifs de Chanel Boy Chanel is too subtle and discreetly sensual to be gender-bending and too unique to be typecast. A sexy, powdery hit that breathes of softness, sand and sunlight, as a fougere it’s quite, quite different. The juicy sharp opening whiff of lemon and grapefruit seems to merge with a green tinge of rose geranium. A burst of freshness that soon opens to a creamy, warm soft sandalwood and vanilla with heliotrope, coumarin and musk thrown in, to boot. Boy manages to balance freshness with warmth, masculine with feminine, sexiness with androgyny. A perfume essay in balance and restraint that’s the very essence and class of Chanel. It’s already on my ‘go-to’ perfumes roster as an easy, distinctive wear.

I’ve no doubt Mlle Chanel would be mad about the Boy. Legions of her followers will be, too.

Les Exclusifs de Chanel Boy Chanel is available from Chanel boutiques and counters in House of Fraser Glasgow & Bluewater, Selfridges and Chanel Covent Garden & Burlington Arcade. Prices are £130 (75ml) and £230 (200ml)

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Mix-LGBT-retouched

Way back in the mists of time, sometime in the mid-Nineties, someone coined the term “The Pink Pound” to describe the purchasing power of the UK’s gay community. As brands cynically tried to plunder this estimated £6bn market, we got wise – some wondered whether the tsunami of gay financial products, professional services firms, “gay vague” advertising and blatantly homoerotic fashion campaigns were holding back equality, whilst most demanded more integrity, or at least an authentic synergy with the community. It’s also worth mentioning that, during this time, lesbians were mostly ignored, unless they were of the lusty, lipstick, photogenic variety, and Trans people didn’t actually exist in the minds of media agencies, unless it was as the butt of a joke.

Fast-forward twenty years and the landscape may have shifted somewhat, especially in terms of equality and gender politics. Many global brands now accept that equality is more about championing diversity and celebrating difference than token gestures, or a one-size-fits-all approach.

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If nothing came between Brooke Shields and her Calvin Klein jeans, then even less comes between gay men and their Levi’s. Since the Fifties, Levi 501’s have remained the foundation of every queen-of-a-certain-age’s butch drag, shrunk-to-fit with their secret button-fly code. It’s no surprise then that Levi Strauss is a long-time supporter of LGBT equality, and San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Foundation. For this year’s Pride season, Levi’s have released a capsule gender-neutral range of T-shirts, cut-off denim shorts and a trucker jacket, featuring Rainbow Flag embroidery and Milk’s famous “We will never be silent” quote. With prices from £15, the Levi’s x Harvey Milk Foundation Pride Collection is available from Levi’s stores and online.

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Some Pride cash-ins are less obvious. Take the Adidas Originals Pride Pack, which splashes rainbow colours across its sportswear and the Superstar and Stan Smith shoes. Okay, so on one side you have Jeremy Scott’s bondage harness track jacket, but at the same time the Adidas brand has greater associations with hip-hop and serious sports events, such as Team GB’s Olympics kit. A portion of the cost goes to charity, so there’s that, but we’re not in love with the product or the rationale.

Nike-owned Converse has a slightly more successful range, although the woven Chuck’s probably aren’t suitable for our notoriously inclement “British Summertime” (pictured above).

The only thing we possibly love more than dressing up for Pride parades is dressing up and getting drunk at Pride parades, so thank Kylie that Absolut is on hand with some limited edition bottles, all customised by the crème-de-la-crème of London’s queer counter-culture, including HRH Princess Julia, designer Henry Holland, and knitwear demigods Sibling. Scarper over to auction site Givergy, where these bottles are being sold off in support of LGBT charity Stonewall. Don’t worry if you can’t afford one of these unique objets, Absolut will also be donating a percentage of sales from bottles during Pride in London this weekend, 25th-26th June 2016.

So, get drinking, but please do so responsibly – and if you can’t drink responsibly remember to stay safe!

Article by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for katiechutzpah.com

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It takes a while to take in and deconstruct a Gucci show by Alessandro Michele. And by a while, I mean a LONG while. I think I need a lie down after Gucci Resort ‘17. And that’s before I even mention the ‘Scarborough Fair’ choral soundtrack.

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Rather than attending the show (yup, got it, thanks…what’s the next show?) or flicking through the first reams of catwalk images (yup, got it, this is what’s new, where the designer’s going etc), my immediate response (usually) to Michele’s work is, “What tha’ holy feck is this? To, “Oh, that’s really quite nice.” And, “That would really work on a young Japanese girl. But really? On a middle-aged, elegant woman who has £££s to play with?” To finally, “Now he’s just taking the p.”

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Michele, however, can do no wrong in Planet Fashion as he does, truly, push boundaries and inject newness. It’s fodder for stylists and pages and pages of editorial story inspiration.

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If anything, as I’ve mused before, it’ll keep clever Ebayers busy, scouring vintage (much like Michele has), replicating the looks or those buying into the heaving branded accessories line. ALL of which was shown, neigh, heaped to the gunnels in multiples, on the catwalk at Westminster Abbey in today’s Resort ‘17 show. Well, as Brit doyenne Patsy Stone is wont to say, “You can never have enough hats, gloves shoes.”

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On a serious note, the setting and the feel may have been influenced by the British but rather than ‘English Eccentric’ with a mix of country and city kudos, the collection seemed far more ‘foreign’ with its feigned British folly. Brexit voters will be waving their little Englander fists and crying, ‘”See what happens when they steal our culture!”. Less Florence Welch and more Parisienne stylist, Catherine Baba, as muse.

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The collection trooped out the usual maximalism that Michele is known for. I was surprised there was no militaristic trooping of the colours slant, though there were plenty references to Her Majesty in her 90th year with headscarves, kilts and handbags clutched on the arm. Then there were Eton’esque boaters and Gucci rain hoods, as well as 1960s Carnaby street hippie tinges. Painting by numbers Britishness blurred the more beautiful pieces such as the frou-frou candy pink evening dress or the see-through gossamer black frill cocktail dress. As I’ve mentioned, it takes a while to sink in and sift out the outstandingly good from the simply playing-to-the-masses. It leaves one with a taste for a clean sorbet plainness to cleanse the palette and digest.

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The gender blurring worked to great effect with Gucci Menswear being the strongest in terms of hip, casual, street-meets-nightclub wear – studded leathers, tie-dyed tight jeans, hoodies, branded sweats, preppie blazers. Women could work this easily and sexily. And I guess that’s Alessandro Michele’s point. Blurring the distinction between men’s and women’s collections is the true message. One that he’s excelled in, in fact. As an opener to next week’s LCM shows, this was setting the bar high.

Catwalk photos kindly supplied from WWD (Please click on the link to see more).

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nikelab-collection (3)

Wondering why everyone seems to be on their way to an Ashtanga Yoga-themed cocktail party these days? That’ll be the rising influence of ‘Athleisure’, a more casual extension of the Sports Luxe trend pushed by designers like Alexander Wang and Christopher Shannon.

As aspirational as green juice and Pret protein pots, Athleisure can simply be defined as sportswear too expensive to actually sweat in. More and more of us are buying into Athleisure as a lifestyle, one that says “I care about my body, and I’m not going to iron a shirt every morning when I wake up because I’m way too busy”. Athleisure wearers might list Instagram Influencer, Digital Prophet or Global R&B Superstar as their profession. Damn right, it’s better than yours.

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Adidas stole an early lead on its competitors, following the Y3 partnership with Yohji Yamamoto, and collections designed by Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney and Mary Katrantzou, but now Nike is fighting back. Following a breathlessly lauded hook-up with Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, Nike is now unleashing its most eagerly awaited collaboration to date. Allow me to present ‘Football Nouveau’ by NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing. Yes, him from Balmain.

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Now suspend your disbelief if you will, and try and imagine that the great love of the titular Parisian’s life is not self-promotion, or strapping Kim Kardashian into yards of cantilevered couture, but football, which forms the basis of this capsule collection of gold, as in medals, and black – because what else are you going to wear to a yoga-themed shindig?

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There’s all the usual form, function and technical performance palaver you’d expect from a brand like Nike, but most of you will be thinking how this’ll look trotting up to the goji berries in Whole Foods. A reimagining of the iconic N98 jacket is billed as “versatile enough to be worn either as a dress or a jacket”, but only if you have spectacular legs or a total lack of shame.

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Of course Rousteing is front and centre of the associated campaign, flanked by actual real sportspeople, Blaise Matuidi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Laure Boulleau, adding to the authenticity of an Athleisure collection more suited to football than marketing pitches. As with Balmain’s collaboration with H&M, don’t expect it to be around long. Like football, aspiration is a national pastime.

Written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com

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Design duo Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux at Dior seem to be doing a Vetements at Dior while hot-sitting at the helm. Which is to say, coming out with some new and much needed trend and proportion direction, as well as causing a degree of confusion.

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Layering it on, sometimes too much, gave the collection an over-styled vibe when it’s aiming for its co-joined, hipper-than-though-twin description, directional. It’s always tough when the rules of a design house alter. Meier and Ruffieux (who both worked under Raf Simons) seem to be finding their Dior feet while eager to make their mark. Less elegant satin pointed stiletto and more heavy patent platform ankle boot. One-upmanship styling in the haute house yelled a ‘we-can-do-it-too’ sign to Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga by way of Vetements.

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Puffed sleeves and prints, lots of layering and juxtaposed fabric pairing, skirts over trousers, ribbon-like ties as detailing and chunky heels, say to the buyers, ‘please deconstruct this collection before placing an order’. Much better were the dresses and the tailored jackets, even if trying to be a bit too hard ultra-contemporary. Still, no one can say this design team haven’t made their mark even if they may soon be replaced by a more nameworthy creative director.

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Gucci Menswear Cruise 2017

by Katie on May 22, 2016

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I couldn’t let Alessandro Michele’s latest menswear outing pass without comment. Having been quite vocal about Gucci’s new direction, if you can call Michele’s particular brand of faux vintage “new”, I’ve had to eat my words. Not much, a bite-size portion of attrition.

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Apparently inspired by the English eccentricity, and Gucci’s forthcoming Cruise show in London’s Westminster Abbey, the collection runs the gamut from Brideshead toffs to Brighton mods, via the sartorial snarl of punk bleachers and bovver boots. I guess that Vivienne Westwood is the archetypal shorthand for English Eccentric these days.

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At first glance, this collection seems a lot more “street”. Not the contrived “street style” that’s informed Michele’s everything-with-a-hat-and-a-bag dressing, but actual looks that me and my friends might wear. Recognisable Michele-isms, like the now ubiquitous souvenir jacket and those silly fur slippers, make another appearance, as do those louche, loose silk shirts, but Gucci’s creative director would be a poor businessman if he ignored these Instagram-baiting items. Still, sweatshirts and hoodies seem fresh for a designer who swans around a Roman palace looking like Charles Manson let loose in a jumble sale.

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Of course, there’s far too much of everything, although Gucci isn’t in the same position as Burberry, which has announced its intention to cut back product lines, and some of the suiting harks back to Frida Giannini’s aimless pilotage. Unsurprising considering Michele was her head of accessories. As for said bags, expect to see everyone who thinks they’re anyone carrying one next summer, such is their white-hot covetability.

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Beyond the excess, there’s still no identifiable Michele signatures (you would think that Givenchy and Kenzo had already rinsed military stars and big cats to death by now), but this collection feels like a step in the right direction for a brand overwhelmed by hype at present.

Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) exclusively for katiechutzpah.com. Images courtesy of Vogue Runway.

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