Thursday 30 June 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie | VÍDEO : Official HD Trailer #1 | 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie review – absolutely fatuous, thank God
3 / 5 stars
Some were trepidatious about this belated big-screen outing for the fashionista sitcom. In fact, post-referendum, the timing couldn’t be better … and neither could Joanna Lumley

Peter Bradshaw
Wednesday 29 June 2016 22.46 BST

Sixty is the new 40, 90 is the new 70 and Jennifer Saunders’s Edina and Joanna Lumley’s Patsy are back – along with Edina’s very elderly mum, played by June Whitfield. The less-than-dynamic duo make a characteristically wobbly and hungover reappearance in heels, champagne flutes in one hand and cigarettes in the other. No nonsense about vaping.

It’s as if they showed up here through a worm-hole from the 1990s – arriving in 2016 for our summer of non-love, making a game entrance in a country where the recent referendum has caused depression in the hearts of fully 100% of those who voted. Patsy and Edina are here on an honourable mission to cheer us up - bless them. And a fair bit of the time they succeed.

It’s impossible to watch Joanna Lumley’s pursed-lip expression of disdain and suppressed nausea without laughing and the same goes for Saunders’s childlike pout of dismay and incomprehension. It’s always very funny when they have to run. Half-way through the film they make a mad and semi-logical dash to the south of France, using a budget airline. Not needing a visa was a bit of a boon.

This is a broad, silly, likably daft Britcom, made possible by the colossal commercial success of the Inbetweeners films - movies based on British TV shows can do well at the box office. It’s basically 50 minutes of material stretched out to 90 on a daisy-chain of cameos, including Christopher Biggins (of course), Judith Chalmers, Graham Norton and Barry Humphries. Orla Guerin and Jeremy Paxman make their own good-sport contributions. There are also, naturally, as in the Zoolander sequel, heavyweight walk-ons from many a fashion ledge, such as Alexa Chung, Stella McCartney and of course Kate Moss herself.

The fashion people are all absolute kryptonite to comedy of course. The film becomes less funny with every syllable that Stella is allowed to say and Kate is utterly and uncompromisingly wooden in an imperious manner that commands a kind of respect. Her recent IRL contretemps with the “basic bitch” easyJet flight attendant clearly inspired the scene here in which Patsy faces off with a dead-eyed budget airline stewardess played, inevitably, by Rebel Wilson.

The situation is that Patsy and Edina are in a jam. Eddie’s handsome West London home may have to be relinquished due to financial embarrassments and Edina does not have any of what Patsy vaguely calls “hand money”. Saffy (Julia Sawalha) still lives with them, and she has a teenage daughter by an ex-partner that our unscrupulous heroines try to exploit for fashion purposes.

And in 2016, no one cares about PR any more. It no longer has the cachet it once had. And poor Edina has yet to grasp that in the world of Instagram and Twitter people are increasingly doing their own PR. Edina is stuck with a dismal client list that is confined to Lulu and Baby Spice (cameos, naturally) and a “boutique vodka”.

Their ultimate crisis arrives on attending a party where Kate Moss is to be found, chatting to Jon Hamm. Patsy makes a leering approach to Hamm, who looks at her blankly and then flinches when he remembers how they first met: “You took my virginity, leave me my sanity...” he whimpers. But there is a catastrophe involving Kate Moss and Edina and Patsy have to go on the run.

Basically, Joanna Lumley saves this film: she has an imperishable hauteur and comedy-charisma. She is the garden bridge that stops this film from collapsing into the Thames. You don’t need silly cameos when you’ve got Lumley. The scene at the beginning when she injects her face with Botox is a showstopper. Nicolas Winding Refn must be kicking himself he didn’t have that in his fashion horror-thriller The Neon Demon.

Absolutely Fabulous is reasonably good fun – although I would have liked to see a dramatisation of the classic Kate Moss anecdote, doing a dystopia-chic fashion shoot in a ruined building and being told by a timid assistant that the only toilets she could use were ones with no doors. Moss replied: “Well, how am I supposed to get in, then?”
• Absolutely Fabulous is released in the UK on 1 July, in the US on 22 July and in Australia on 4 August

Why Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a better fashion satire than Zoolander 2
It’s got fewer Hollywood stars and a much lower budget but the sitcom movie nails fashionista desperation much better than Ben Stiller’s laboured sequel

Benjamin Lee
Thursday 30 June 2016 12.55 BST

March 2015 saw the splashy beginning of Zoolander 2’s relentless buzz-building campaign as stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson appeared in character at Paris fashion week. It was covered extensively by both film and fashion press, and kicked off an exhaustively well-sustained assault on anyone with an internet connection all the way through to its release in February this year.
Some were trepidatious about this belated big-screen outing for the fashionista sitcom. In fact, post-referendum, the timing couldn’t be better … and neither could Joanna Lumley
Read more
Given the first film’s cult following and how surprisingly well it stands up to repeat viewings 15 years later, expectations were high for another quotable combination of well-measured silliness and sharp fashion-industry satire. But it was a washout, a tiresome and aggressively unfunny mis-step, the sort of lazy rehash that makes you question whether you even liked the original.

Five months later and we have another couple of fictional fashionistas dusted off and resurrected for those blessed with a good memory. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie brings back Patsy and Edina, originally on the BBC in 1992, and catapults them to the big screen following in the footsteps of The Inbetweeners and, most recently, Dad’s Army. The campaign was far more modest, cheap even, and the buzz was notably less feverish, not helped by the film’s first press screening taking place just two days before its release.

Yet, against all odds, it works. The comic timing of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley has been curiously underutilised in the years since Ab Fab went off air, and the film, wonderfully short, scrappy and snappy at 91 minutes, gives them free rein to remind us of their skills. It’s imperfect (the plot is almost an afterthought), but it’s far funnier than it should be, given how unnecessary it all seemed on paper.

The pleasure of watching the pair drunkenly embarrass themselves across Europe far outweighs watching Stiller and Wilson uncover new levels of idiocy in a glossier transatlantic trip. Both films posit their characters as relics, struggling to keep up with an industry changed irrevocably by social media and populated with those far younger and sharper. But Patsy and Edina were always in this mode, obsessed with remaining current, aware of their sell-by date and failing, miserably, to succeed in the fashion world. Alternately, Derek and Hansel were, bizarrely and comically, at the top of their game in the first film, only to be brought back to earth in the sequel.

When your film receives a green light on the basis of fan service, you’d be wise to make sure your most loyal fans are well-served. By changing the dynamic, we lost the joke of seeing two middle-aged, above-average-looking men touted as gorgeous supermodels and instead in the sequel, they ended up playing fortysomething dads failing to comprehend selfie culture. Ab Fab doesn’t deviate from its original setup, it merely exaggerates it, an understandable decision given the increased gap between the leads and the youthful culture they hope to dominate.

There’s also a confidence in the characters in Ab Fab thanks to a wealth of material, 39 episodes in fact, that have proved their longevity and also the actors’ skill at playing them. Zoolander 2 proved that Derek and Hansel have less mileage, and despite both films having largely nonsensical and haphazard plots, only Patsy and Edina manage to rise above.

The poor box office of Stiller’s sequel was a sign that the fandom wasn’t as strong as Paramount had anticipated. On the same budget of $50m, similarly belated comedy follow-up Anchorman 2 managed to make almost four times that, while Zoolander 2 just about broke even. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie won’t play to huge numbers abroad, but surprisingly strong reviews and a fanbase that’s stuck around since the early 90s might make it a modest domestic success. By never pretending to be in style, Patsy and Edina have remained more fashionable than Derek and Hansel could have ever dreamed of.

Khaki / Chino

Khaki is a color, a light shade of yellow-brown. Khaki is a loanword incorporated from Hindustani (Urdu or Hindi) and is originally derived from the Persian: (Khâk, literally meaning "soil"), which came to English from British India via the British Indian Army.

Khaki has been used by many armies around the world for uniforms, including camouflage. It has been used as a color name in English since 1848 when it was first introduced as a military uniform, and was called both drab and khaki—khaki being a translation of the English drab light-brown color. A khaki uniform is often referred to as khakis.

In Western fashion, it is a standard color for smart casual dress trousers for civilians, which are also often called khakis.

Khaki was first worn in the Corps of Guides that was raised in December 1846 as the brain-child of Sir Henry Lawrence (1806–1857) Resident at Lahore, and Agent to the Governor-General for the North-West Frontier. Lawrence chose as its commandant Sir Harry Lumsden supported by William Stephen Raikes Hodson as Second-in-Command to begin the process of raising the Corps of Guides for frontier service from British Indian recruits at Peshawar, Punjab. Initially the border troops were dressed in their native costume, which consisted of a smock and white pajama trousers made of a coarse home-spun cotton, and a cotton turban, supplemented by a leather or padded cotton jacket for cold weather. For the first year (1847) no attempt was made at uniformity. Subsequently in 1848 Lumsden and Hodson decided to introduce a drab (khaki) uniform which Hodson commissioned his brother in England to send them – as recorded in Hodson's book of published letters, Twelve Years of a Soldier's Life in India. It was only at a later date, when supplies of drab (khaki) material was unavailable, did they improvise by dying material locally with a dye prepared from the native mazari palm. Some believe the gray drab/khaki color it produced was used historically by Afghan tribals for camouflaging themselves. The mazari could not, however, dye leather jackets and an alternative was sought: Cloth was dyed in mulberry juice which gave a yellowish drab shade. Subsequently all regiments, whether British or Indian, serving in the region had adopted khaki uniforms for active service and summer dress. The original khaki fabric was a closely twilled cloth of linen or cotton.

The impracticality of the traditional scarlet coat, especially for skirmishing, was recognised early in the 19th. century. Khaki-colored uniforms were used officially by British troops for the first time during the Abyssinian campaign of 1867–68, when Indian troops traveled to Ethiopia (Abyssinia) under the command of general Sir Robert Napier to release some British captives and to "persuade the Abyssinian King Theodore, forcibly if necessary, to mend his ways". Subsequently, the British Army adopted khaki for colonial campaign dress and it was used in the Mahdist War (1884–89) and Second Boer War (1899–1902).

During the Second Boer War, the British forces became known as Khakis because of their uniforms. After victory in the war the government called an election, which became known as the khaki election, a term used subsequently for elections called to exploit public approval of governments immediately after victories.

The United States Army adopted khaki during the Spanish–American War (1898). The United States Navy and United States Marine Corps followed suit.

When khaki was adopted for the continental British Service Dress in 1902, the shade chosen had a clearly darker and more green hue. This color was adopted with minor variations by all the British Empire Armies and the US expeditionary force of World War I, in the latter under the name olive drab. This shade of brown-green remained in use by many countries throughout the two World Wars. Khaki was devised to protect soldiers against the dangers of the industrialized battlefield, where the traditional bright colors and elaborate costumes made them vulnerable to attack. A response to surveillance technologies and smokeless guns, khaki could camouflage soldiers in the field of battle.

The trousers known as "khakis", which became popular following World War II, were initially military-issue khaki twill used in uniforms and were invariably khaki in color. Today, the term can refer to the fabric and style of trousers based on this older model, also called "chinos", rather than their color.

Chino cloth is a twill fabric, originally made of 100% cotton. The most common items made from it, trousers, are widely called chinos. Today it is also found in cotton-synthetic blends.

Developed in the mid-19th century for British and French military uniforms, it has since migrated into civilian wear. Trousers of such a fabric gained popularity in the U.S. when Spanish–American War veterans returned from the Philippines with their twill military trousers.

The etymology of the term chino is disputed. Some sources identify the root as the American Spanish language word chino, which translated literally means toasted. Because the cloth itself was originally manufactured in China, the name of the trousers may have come from the country of origin.

First designed to be used in the military and then taken up by civilians, chino fabric was originally made to be simple, hard-wearing and comfortable for soldiers to wear; the use of natural earth-tone colors also began the move towards camouflage, instead of the brightly colored tunics used prior. The British and then American armies started wearing it as standard during the latter half of the 1800s.[

The pure-cotton fabric is widely used for trousers, referred to as chinos. The original khaki (light brown) is the traditional and most popular color, but chinos are made in many shades.

Saturday 25 June 2016

Mourning the Death of Bill Cunningham / Bill Cunningham ... "on the street" .

Mourning the Death of Bill Cunningham

William J. Cunningham (born 1928/9) is a fashion photographer for The New York Times, known for his candid and street photography.
Cunningham dropped out of Harvard University in 1948 and moved to New York, where he initially worked in advertising. Not long after, he quit his job and struck out on his own, making hats under the name "William J." After being drafted and serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he returned to New York and got a job writing for the Chicago Tribune.
During his years as a writer, he contributed significantly to fashion journalism, introducing American audiences to Azzedine Alaïa and Jean-Paul Gaultier. While working at the Tribune and at Women's Wear Daily, he began taking photographs of fashion on the streets of New York. As the result of a chance photograph of Greta Garbo, he published a group of his impromptu pictures in the Times in December 1978, which soon became a regular series. His editor, Arthur Gelb, has called these photographs "a turning point for the Times, because it was the first time the paper had run pictures of well-known people without getting their permission."
Cunningham photographs people and the passing scene in the streets of Manhattan every day. Most of his pictures, he has said, are never published. Designer Oscar de la Renta has said, "More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It's the total scope of fashion in the life of New York." Though he has made a career out of unexpected photographs of celebrities, socialites, and fashion personalities, many in those categories value his company. According to David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor asked he be invited to her 100th birthday party, the only member of the media so honored.
In 2008 he was awarded the title Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
In 2010, filmmaker Richard Press and Philip Gefter of The Times produced Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about Cunningham, his bicycle, and his camera, The film was released on March 16, 2011.

Bill on Bill
Published: October 27, 2002 in The New York Times.

I STARTED photographing people on the street during World War II. I used a little box Brownie. Nothing too expensive. The problem is I'm not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I'm too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I'm not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That's all there is to it.
As a kid, I photographed people at ski resorts -- you know, when you got on the snow train and went up to New Hampshire. And I did parties. I worked as a stock boy at Bonwit Teller in Boston, where my family lived, and there was a very interesting woman, an executive, at Bonwit's. She was sensitive and aware, and she said, ''I see you outside at lunchtime watching people.'' And I said, ''Oh, yeah, that's my hobby.'' She said, ''If you think what they're wearing is wrong, why don't you redo them in your mind's eye.'' That was really the first professional direction I received.

I came to New York in 1948 at 19, after one term at Harvard. Well, Harvard wasn't for me at all. I lived first with my aunt and uncle. I was working at Bonwit's in the advertising department. Advertising was also my uncle's profession. That's why my family allowed me to come here and encouraged me to go into the business. I think they were worried I was becoming too interested in women's dresses. But it's been my hobby all my life. I could never concentrate on Sunday church services because I'd be concentrating on women's hats.
While working at Bonwit's, I met the women who ran Chez Ninon, the custom dress shop. Their names were Nona Parks and Sophie Shonnard. Alisa Mellon Bruce was the silent partner. Those two women didn't want me to get mixed up in fashion either. ''Oh, God, don't let him go near it.'' You have to understand how suspect fashion people were then.
But finally, when my family put a little pressure on me about my profession, I moved out of my uncle's apartment. This was probably in 1949.
I walked the streets in the East 50's, looking for empty windows. I couldn't afford an apartment. I saw a place on 52nd Street between Madison and Park. There was a young woman at the door, and I said: ''I see empty windows. Do you have a room to rent?'' She said, ''What for?'' And I said, ''Well, I'm going to make hats.'' She told me to tell the men who owned the house that I would clean for them in exchange for the room on the top floor.

Bill Cunningham New York Trailer

Saturday 18 June 2016

Isabella Blow: a Tragic fashion icon

Born Isabella Delves Broughton in Marylebone, London, she was the eldest child of Major Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton, a military officer, and his second wife, Helen Mary Shore, a barrister.
Sir Evelyn was the only son of Jock Delves Broughton; his sister, Rosamond, married Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat in 1938.

Blow had two sisters, Julia and Lavinia; her brother, John, drowned in the family's swimming pool at the age of 2. This had a profound effect on her. In 1972, when she was 14, her parents separated and her mother left the household, bidding each daughter farewell with a handshake. Her parents divorced two years later. Isabella did not get along with her father, who bequeathed her only £5,000 from his estate, which was worth more than one million pounds. Blow often said her fondest memory was trying on her mother's pink hat, a recollection that she explained led to her career in fashion.

Blow studied for her A-levels at Heathfield School, after which she enrolled at a secretarial college and then took odd jobs. As she told Tamsin Blanchard of The Observer in 2002:

I've done the most peculiar jobs. I was working in a scone shop for years, selling apricot-studded scones. I was a cleaner in London for two years. I wore a handkerchief with knots on the side, and my cousin saw me in the post office and said, What are you doing? I said, What do you think I look like I'm doing? I'm a cleaner!

Blow moved to New York City in 1979 to study Ancient Chinese Art at Columbia University and shared a flat with the actress Catherine Oxenberg. A year later, she left the Art History programme at Columbia, moved to Texas, and worked for Guy Laroche. In 1981, she married her first husband, Nicholas Taylor (whom she divorced in 1983), and was introduced to the fashion director of the US edition of Vogue, Anna Wintour. She was hired initially as Wintour's assistant, but it was not long before she was assisting André Leon Talley, as of 2008 US Vogue's editor-at-large. While working in New York, she befriended Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

In 1986, Blow returned to London and worked for Michael Roberts, then the fashion director of Tatler and The Sunday Times Style magazine. During this period she was romantically linked to editor Tim Willis. In 1989, Blow married her second husband, barrister and art dealer Detmar Hamilton Lorenz Arthur Blow, a grandson (and namesake) of the early 20th-century society architect Detmar Blow, in Gloucester Cathedral. Philip Treacy designed the bride's wedding headdress and a now-famous fashion relationship was forged.

 Realizing Treacy's talent, Blow established Treacy in her London flat, where he worked on his collections. She soon began wearing Treacy's hats, making them a signature part of her flamboyant style. In a 2002 interview with Tamsin Blanchard, Blow declared that she wore extravagant hats for a practical reason:

[...] to keep everyone away from me. They say, Oh, can I kiss you? I say, No, thank you very much. That's why I've worn the hat. Goodbye. I don't want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.

In 1993, Blow worked with the photographer Steven Meisel producing the Babes in London shoot featuring Plum Sykes, Bella Freud, and Honor Fraser. Blow had a natural sense of style and a good feeling for future fashion directions. She discovered Alexander McQueen and purchased his entire graduate collection for £5,000, paying it off in weekly £100 instalments. Spotting Sophie Dahl, Blow described her as "a blow up doll with brains", and launched the model's career.

Blow supported both the fashion world and the art world. Artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster created a shady artwork which was displayed in the National Portrait Gallery.

Blow was the fashion director of Tatler and consulted for DuPont Lycra, Lacoste, and Swarovski. In 2002, she became the subject of an exhibition entitled When Philip met Isabella, featuring sketches and photographs of her wearing Treacy's hat designs.

In 2004, Blow had a brief acting cameo in the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.[

In 2005, Blow starred in a project by artist Matthieu Laurette, commissioned and produced by Frieze Projects 2005 and entitled "What Do They Wear at Frieze Art Fair?" It consisted of daily guided tours of Frieze Art Fair led by Blow and fellow international fashion experts Peter Saville, Kira Joliffe, and Bay Garnett.

Shortly before her death, Blow was the creative director and stylist of a series of books for an Arabic beauty magazine Alef; the books were being produced by Kuwaiti fashion entrepreneur Sheikh Majed al-Sabah.

Toward the end of her life, Blow had become seriously depressed and was reportedly anguished over her inability to "find a home in a world she influenced". Daphne Guinness, a friend of Blow's stated, "She was upset that Alexander McQueen didn't take her along when he sold his brand to Gucci. Once the deals started happening, she fell by the wayside. Everybody else got contracts, and she got a free dress". According to a 2002 interview with Tamsin Blanchard, it was Blow who brokered the deal in which Gucci purchased McQueen's label.

Other pressures included money problems (Blow was disinherited by her father in 1994) and infertility. In an effort to have a child, Blow and her husband had unsuccessfully tried in vitro fertilisation eight times. She later stated, "We were like a pair of exotic fruits that could not breed when placed together."

In 2004, Isabella and Detmar Blow separated. Detmar Blow went on to have an affair with Stephanie Theobald, the society editor of British Harper's Bazaar, while his estranged wife entered into a liaison with a gondolier she met in Venice. During the couple's separation, Blow was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began undergoing electroshock therapy. For a time, the treatments appeared to be helpful. During this period she also had an affair with Matthew Mellon; however, after an eighteen-month separation, Isabella and Detmar Blow were reconciled. Soon after, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Depressed over her waning celebrity status and her cancer diagnosis, Blow began telling friends that she was suicidal. In 2006, Blow attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. Later that year, Blow again attempted suicide by jumping from the Hammersmith Flyover, which resulted in her breaking both ankles.

In 2007, Blow made several more suicide attempts by driving her car into the rear of a lorry, attempting to obtain horse tranquilizers, trying to drown herself in a lake and by overdosing while on a beach in India.

On 6 May 2007, during a weekend house party at Hilles, where the guests included Treacy and his partner, Stefan Bartlett, Blow announced that she was going shopping. Instead, she was later discovered collapsed on a bathroom floor by her sister Lavinia and was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where Blow told the doctor she had drunk the weedkiller Paraquat. She died at the hospital the following day.

Blow's death was initially reported as being caused by ovarian cancer;[24][26] however, a coroner later ruled the death a suicide. At the inquest, Blow's sister, Lavinia Verney, stated that after she discovered her sister had ingested the poison, Blow had told her, "I'm worried that I haven't taken enough."

After her death, Detmar Blow confirmed that his wife suffered from depression and that she had once declared, "I'm fighting depression and I can't beat it."

Her funeral was held at Gloucester Cathedral on 15 May 2007. Her casket, made of willow, was surmounted by one of her Philip Treacy hats instead of a floral tribute, and her pallbearers included her godson Otis Ferry, a son of the rock star Bryan Ferry. (In 2010, Bryan Ferry dedicated his Olympia album in memoriam Isabella Blow and David Williams.) Actor Rupert Everett and actress Joan Collins delivered eulogies. Opera singer Charles Eliasch sang. A memorial service was held in the Guards Chapel in London on 18 September 2007, where Anna Wintour and Geordie Greig spoke. Prince Michael and Princess Michael of Kent were in attendance. Wintour's eulogy and part of the memorial service can be seen in DVD disc two of The September Issue.

( …) “Perhaps I'll have a go myself. In some ways, she was a monster. She was dismissive of anyone she considered to be unimportant or – worse – uninteresting, and her "eccentricity" was more of a put-on than she cared to admit. If you ask me, she never forgot that she had a lobster on her head, or a satellite dish. Then again, in full sail, she was a wonderful sight: Rod Hull's emu as styled by Salvador Dali, a human triffid who smoked Benson and Hedges, who never wore underwear and whose touchstones in life were good jewellery and high birth, and not a lot else. She was filthy and funny and ridiculous. She was born in the wrong time.”
Rachel Cooke / “Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow by Detmar Blow”

Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow by Detmar Blow
The late fashion muse Isabella Blow could never be called dull – so why is her husband's portrait of her?

Rachel Cooke
Sunday 3 October 2010 00.02 BST

Isabella Blow, the fashion stylist with a penchant for loony hats and a talent for discovering the Next Big Thing, died on 7 May 2007, at the age of 48, having drunk a quantity of the weedkiller paraquat. Two days later, on 9 May, I was dispatched by this newspaper to Hilles, her Gloucestershire home, to interview her husband Detmar Blow, with whom I have a passing acquaintance (I used to work with Issie at the Sunday Times; Detmar was a regular visitor to the office). This wasn't an easy encounter – he was tearful and slightly manic – but it would have been unfair of me to have done anything other than give him the benefit of the doubt. He had suffered a terrible loss. In spite of my better instincts, then, I attributed his weirder comments to grief, and made light of the fact that, midway through our conversation, he lunged at me with such force I ended up lying prone on a sofa, his soft bulk flapping, carp-like, on top of me. I even failed to contradict him when he insisted that Issie had died of cancer, though like everyone, I knew that, months before, she had thrown herself off a flyover, smashing her ankles, and condemning herself to a life of (oh, horror!) flat shoes.

Three years on, and I rather wonder why I bothered. The more I read of Blow's new biography of his wife – I use the word loosely; this book is to biography what a jar of Chicken Tonight is to cooking – the more convinced I was that his inappropriate behaviour on that day was not remotely unusual. Blow by Blow could not be more inappropriate if it tried. It's not only that it is so blatant an attempt to cash in, though he was obviously in a tremendous rush to get it out: the thing is so pockmarked with inaccuracies, I failed to be surprised even when he described his wife's eyes as bright blue (I believe he was right the first time, when he told us they were green). No, it's his tone – whining and solipsistic – that is most repulsive.

Detmar is the sort of chap who would once have been described as a milksop; when Issie met him in 1988 he was 25, but so close to his mother he used to shop for her sanitary towels. Given that he found even part-time work exhausting – in his book, he is forever off on holiday to recover from his shifts as a solicitor – you can probably guess how he coped with Issie's mental health problems. In Blow by Blow, he flips between sickly self-pity and a weird kind of pride, as if he has landed the best role in a particularly juicy melodrama. There is, for instance, something perturbingly gelid about the satisfaction with which he describes the jacket he wore to visit his wife on her deathbed ("punk Harris tweed with a Rhodesian flag on the back and an Umbro label on the front", since you ask) .

All of which is a terrible shame, because Issie's story is a fabulous one. She was born in 1958, the daughter of Evelyn Delves Broughton, whose father was Jock Delves Broughton of White Mischief fame. Detmar writes of a Delves Broughton curse, which might be overstating it. But still, Jock, having been acquitted of the murder of his wife's lover, poisoned himself in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. Issie was fascinated by this. More horrifying, when she was five, her baby brother John drowned in the family pool. The story Issie liked to tell was that her mother had left the children to go and apply her lipstick – which is straight out of A Handful of Dust – but Detmar disputes the veracity of this: Issie, too, could be self-dramatising.

She and Detmar met at a wedding. "I love your hat," he said. By then she was already a minor legend in fashion circles, famous for flashing her breasts and being a friend of Andy Warhol. Detmar proposed 16 days later. Their engagement photograph, in which Issie is dressed like a medieval page, complete with ceremonial axe, and Detmar is sounding some kind of horn, makes me cry with laughter every time I look at it. What did she see in him? Well, for one thing, there was Hilles, his Arts & Crafts house, which stands in 1,000 prime acres. Her own family having been forced to close up their ancestral home, Doddington Hall, Issie had an obsession with grand houses, a fixation matched only by her preoccupation with money. Her wealthy father had left her only £5,000 and she was convinced that she would end up a bag lady. Perhaps she thought Hilles would help clear her overdraft.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Detmar goes on about how broke they were – grand estates being not at all the same thing as capital – but it's hard to sympathise when you find that they can nevertheless afford to snap up a flat in Eaton Square. Ultimately, Issie's profligacy grew to be another symptom of her manic depression, but it wasn't so in the beginning. Money simply passed through her fingers like sand. When she worked at Tatler, she submitted the most extravagant expenses claim its owner, Condé Nast, had even seen: £50,000 for "a very small ruin, which really was a must". Her supporters claim she was badly treated by her most famous discovery, Alexander McQueen; when he landed the big job at Givenchy, he could find no paid role for his "muse". But really, what could he do? Erratic doesn't even begin to describe her methods. If she felt like it, she worked from her bed.

Her husband, from whom she was estranged towards the end, takes the reader through her various jobs, at Vogue, Tatler and the Sunday Times. He details her IVF treatments (her failure to conceive may, he speculates, have contributed towards her depression). There are some good anecdotes – Issie once cleared a first-class rail carriage by telling everyone how her "combine harvester" teeth prevented her from giving oral sex – though laziness (his own and his co-writer's) means the best stories are cut short before they even begin. What, for instance, actually happened when she joined the Prince of Wales at a house party? The mind boggles, but he can't be bothered to find out. However, the crime for which he really cannot be forgiven is his total failure to pin Issie to the page, to breathe life into her for the benefit of those who never met her. How did he render one so flashy so dull?

Perhaps I'll have a go myself. In some ways, she was a monster. She was dismissive of anyone she considered to be unimportant or – worse – uninteresting, and her "eccentricity" was more of a put-on than she cared to admit. If you ask me, she never forgot that she had a lobster on her head, or a satellite dish. Then again, in full sail, she was a wonderful sight: Rod Hull's emu as styled by Salvador Dali, a human triffid who smoked Benson and Hedges, who never wore underwear and whose touchstones in life were good jewellery and high birth, and not a lot else. She was filthy and funny and ridiculous. She was born in the wrong time. I cannot quite believe that she really existed, much less that I once shared a desk with her. The desk was grey, but the woman who sometimes deigned to visit it seemed to be permanently aflame, a dazzling heap of feathers and fur and leather. We laughed at her, but a tiny part of us was in awe. No one else was going to earn the Murdoch shilling while wearing a lampshade on their head.

The incomparable Isabella Blow always pushed boundaries in the fashion world, often using her personality as her most offensive weapon. Famous for discovering talents such as Philip Treacy, Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl and Hussein Chalayan, she also nurtured and inspired many artists and designers across the industry.

A unique stylist, she worked for Vogue and Tatler in the US and the UK, collaborating with major photographers on breathtaking, and often infamous, shoots.

Personal letters written exclusively for this book have been contributed by legendary names in the fashion world, from Valentino and Anna Wintour to Manolo Blahník and Naomi Campbell, and from artists such as Tracey Emin and Noble & Webster whom she inspired. Iconic portraits have been contributed by some of the greatest photographers in fashion, including Mario Testino, Rankin, Donald McPherson and Richard Burbridge.

All combine to paint a vivid image of Isabella that celebrates the ecstasy and tragedy of her astonishing life.

Martina Rink began her career as a personal assistant to Isabella Blow. She is now director of Fashion Spotlight in Berlin.

SHOWstudio: Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! Interview: Amanda Harlech

Blow by Blow - Isabella Blow

Tuesday 14 June 2016

The Dandy: Peacock or Enigma? by Nigel Rodgers / VÍDEO:The Life Of Pitti Peacocks - Pitti Uomo Mockumentary by Aaron Christian

The Dandy: Peacock or Enigma?
by Nigel Rodgers
A look at the phenomenon of the dandy from Regency England to the contemporary Congolese Sapeurs, with stops at Wodehouse, Wilde, Grant, and more
The dandy is not just an elaborately or even well-dressed man, nor is he an exclusively English phenomenon. He is something far more universal and intriguing, and this study explores his cultural significance. It starts with Beau Brummell, acknowledged as the very first dandy, a man whose ancestors had been servants, yet who invented a new paradigm of courtesy, wit, independence, and elegance to lord over the aristocrats of England. Brummell died in exile, forgotten and impoverished—the best dandies often die in debt. But his image lived on, to haunt and inspire generations around the world, from the boulevards of Paris and St. Petersburg in the 1830s to the studios of Hollywood a century later. Byron, Disraeli, Bulwer, Pushkin, Chopin, Delacroix, Balzac, Baudelaire, Wilde, Proust, Boni de Castellane, Hugo von Hofmannstahl, Beerbohm, Noël Coward, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Vladimir Nabokov, Ortega y Gassett, Mikhael Bulgakov, Evelyn Waugh, Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Wolfe, Nick Foulkes—all were bedazzled by the image of the dandy.

The Life Of Pitti Peacocks - Pitti Uomo Mockumentary
Aaron Christian
After working in the fashion industry for over 5 years, and regularly attending the biggest fashion shows in the world I started to notice that there was a small change happening in and around the shows.
Street style by this time had become a huge industry with photographers shooting for the world's biggest fashion publications showcasing the hottest looks on the street to eager consumers.
However, the last few years i began noticing that those attending the shows became all to aware of the photographers.
Unlike the cues outside of the city shows, where photographers have a few seconds to snap their favourite look. Pitti Uomo is a four day long menswear trade- show, in Florence Italy
It’s a vast space where attendees spend all day walking around, visiting stands, eating in the sun or catching up with fellow fashion colleagues - and so consequently it has become a prime spot for the worlds top street style photographers to document and shoot some of the most stylish men on the planet.
It’s become a peacock parade where the men show off their outfits in all their glory hoping to get snapped by the top photographers.
It’s quite comical, the way the fully grown men pace around subtly trying their best to get snapped, and it’s the perfect location for this wildlife style mockumentray to take place.
A light hearted tongue in cheek look at peacocks of Pitti.

Monday 13 June 2016

Colin McDowell Books / In Fashion: Colin McDowell interview

Colin McDowell is a British fashion writer, journalist and academic.
As senior fashion writer for The Sunday Times, in the 1990s and 2000s he became a familiar sight in the front row of fashion shows along with his contemporaries Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes. He is the author of some 20 books on fashion and designers, including McDowell’s Directory of 20th Century Fashion. In 2008 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to fashion.

McDowell grew up in Gloucestershire and was educated at Durham University. While teaching in Rome, he became an assistant to Italian couturier Pino Lancetti.

In 1984 McDowell established his reputation as a writer with McDowell’s Directory of 20th Century Fashion, which became a standard reference work for fashion students. He became involved in teaching fashion in London (his students included John Galliano) and began writing for newspapers and magazines. In 1986 he became fashion writer of The Sunday Times.

A vocal critic of the British fashion establishment, in 2003 McDowell founded Fashion Fringe (also known as Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden), a platform for developing new fashion talent set up jointly with international management agency IMG. He remains the creative director. The competition attracts chairmen including Donatella Versace, Tom Ford and John Galliano. Winners of the competition who have gone on to become regular exhibitors at London Fashion Week include Erdem, Basso & Brooke, Gavin Douglas, Aminaka Wilmont, Eun Jeong and Jena.Theo. The 2010 winner was Corrie Nielsen.

McDowell is a former chairman of the Costume Society of Great Britain. He is a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and has been awarded honorary doctorates and professorships by five British universities.[citation needed] He is creative director of the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore. In 2010 he was appointed Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art.

McDowell received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2005

McDowell’s Directory of 20th Century Fashion (1984)
In Royal Style (1985)
Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Good (1986)
Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy (1989)
Hats: Status, Style and Glamour (1992)
Dressed to Kill: Sex, Power and Clothes (1992)
The Designer Scam (1994)
The Literary Companion to Fashion (1995)
The Man of Fashion: Peacock Males and Perfect Gentlemen (1997)
Forties Fashion and the New Look (1997)
John Galliano: Romantic, Realist and Revolutionary (1997)
Manolo Blahnik (2000)
Fashion Today (2000)
Jean Paul Gaultier (2001)
Ralph Lauren: the man, the vision, the style (2002)
DianaStyle (2007)
Matthew Williamson (2010)