Monday, 21 May 2012

The real stars of Cannes

As I sit here in my house clothes (oh the glamorous life of a freelance writer), just over the Channel the rich and famous are guzzling champagne on ostentatious yachts and generally living it up at the 65th Cannes film festival.  Not one to be bitter, I thought I’d get in on the action by writing about the real stars of the Cannes red carpet aka. the mind-blowingly extravagant jewellery (all courtesy of long-time Cannes sponsor Chopard).  Sante!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hairy chest heaven!

Don't ask. There have been tree surgeons outside my house since the early hours, and just when I thought my head was about to explode I ended up listening to the ever-bopable sounds of the Bee Gees (via the Grease soundtrack) and stumbled (I promise I didn't actively seek it out) across this truly awesome image of the Bee Gees in their hay (or should that be hair *snigger*) day!  From a stylists point of view this is an utterly phenomenal image.  Can you imagine styling them and thinking, I know what will sell more records, if they get their ridiculously hairy, untamed, un-toned chests out – genius.  How times have changed.  Now it’s all shiny spray-tanned waxed torsos. Shame.  Also, the chest hair is so distracting I almost didn’t notice that they were wearing matching gold satin bombers and crouch-conscious trousers. So shiny. So inappropriate. So wonderfully of it's time. What a look.  What a tuuuuuune.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Made In Britain: The Mission

If you’d have said to your grandparents (or even your parents) that Made in Britain would one day be a niche selling point, they would have thought you were crazy.  My dad has been in the clothes/ retail business his whole working life (and was taught the trade by his dad), and was manufacturing his own small yet affordable line of clothes in the UK as recently as the early 1980’s –  something that wouldn’t be viable today, just 30 years later.  Then came the Primark years, and although many of us felt twinges of guilt at the facts behind the Made in China labels, we were all too easily seduced by the trend-conscious designs at cheaper-than-charity-shop prices.  Now though we’re in recession and all that cheap and cheerful schmutter hanging in our wardrobes doesn’t seem so cheerful anymore now the elastic is starting to droop and the trends they nodded to have long-since passed.  The Made anywhere-but-Britain labels are wearing a bit thin too, and more and more of us find ourselves longing to see Made in Britain sewn into the inside of our clothes…and thankfully we are.  Maybe it’s the 'Mary Portas effect', but over the last few months I’ve become increasingly aware of fashion brands bragging about their Made in Britain credentials, and good for them.  These brands are single-handedly and selflessly, with no support from Government, keeping our once brilliant and world-leading manufacturing industry alive, and I think the least we can do is support them.  So, with that in mind, this is my long-winded and slightly ranty introduction to a new series of blog posts on some of the wonderful brands who continue to manufacture in the UK, and deserve our support and respect.  I really hope you enjoy them, and are able to support these brands in your own way too.

Friday, 11 May 2012

United Colors of Mmmm...

When I hear the name Benetton the first things that pop into my mind are spotty French exchange students and the UN…neither of which particularly makes me want to buy their clothes, and I feel I’m not alone.  UCB don’t have a great profile here in the UK; when it comes to comfy basics most of us head straight to GAP or Uniqlo, and we have the likes of Topshop and Zara for our affordable on-trend pieces, so it’s hard to see where Benetton with their goodwill-to-all-men-cotton-crew-necks fit in.  Get ready to eat your colour-pop berets though, because UCB are under the new Creative Directorship of ex-Levi’s man You Nguyen, and their AW12 collection is about to challenge all your preconceptions.

Just take these rainbow sandals for instance; tonal colour-blocked, chunky heeled sandals, with a slight platform and a midi-heel – bright and fun, they’re true to the Benetton brand whilst also being utterly delicious and bang on-trend.  They’d look absolutely brilliant with a chino or pajama pant, and super-cute with a pair of socks.

Now, we all know times are tough, and with no sign of summer on the horizon it doesn’t exactly feel like the perfect time to treat yourself to a new pair of summer sandals (especially not ones involving suede), but here’s the thing: At £79.90 these babies are an absolute steal, and what’s more Benetton have a special promotion (called ‘use your head’) on from the 11th – 20th May, where they’re giving away a free pair of headphones (see below) with every UCB Adult purchase over £60.  So basically the hard decision is not whether or not to buy them, but which colour to choose….