Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pimp my phone

The proliferation of branded mobile phones in recent months means that soon, you will be able to pick your mobile the same way you choose a pair of designer sunglasses. The latest to join the fray is Giambattista Valli, the former Ungaro designer who has rapidly garnered a Hollywood following for his own label (fans include Victoria Beckham and Katie Holmes).
Image Hosted by
The Nokia 7373 Special Edition Designed by Giambattista Valli

The frou-frou design is very retro, though the little skull charm adds a contemporary edge. Not surprisingly, the Italians are at the forefront of the designer mobile trend (gotta look good when ringing mamma to put on the pasta). The most blingtastic offering comes from Dolce & Gabbana while Prada provides a sleekly minimalist option (while you wait for Apple's iPhone to hit the market).
Dolce & Gabbana
Motorola MOTORAZR V3i Dolce & Gabbana

The Prada phone by LG with touchscreen display

Finally, if sanity is not an issue, there is Vertu's Cobra encrusted with diamonds, emeralds and rubies - courtesy of jeweler Boucheron. This will set you back in the region of $300,000.
The Vertu Signature Cobra

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Marc Jacobs turns documentary star

A documentary aired on French television last night gave an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at U.S. designer Marc Jacobs as he prepared his own collection in New York and the Louis Vuitton runway show in Paris.
Marc Jacobs

Some of the best bits:
* Jacobs, wearing a full-body pigeon outfit, hobbling into a truck to go to his costume party last fall because he was too large to fit into a car
* The designer continually calling for his assistant, Joseph. At one point, Joseph breaks into tears of exhaustion. "Are you crying?" says Jacobs, before blithely going on to spell out his next task
* Jacobs grinning ecstatically as an assistant brings in a bag that is a mash-up of all of Vuitton's most successful handbags. "That is sick in the head," he pronounces
* Interviews with fans including director Sofia Coppola and painter Elizabeth Peyton

I could go on, but you really have to see this for yourself. The film-maker, Loic Prigent, is the same guy who made the "Signé Chanel" documentary about Karl Lagerfeld. His humor comes through in every frame and is a welcome counterpoint to the seriousness of people in the fashion industry. Though Marc Jacobs has the last word on that point. Asked by a journalist: "What is important in fashion right now?", he answers: "I don't think the words 'important' and 'fashion' should be in the same sentence." A visionary, and a modest one at that!
PS: The documentary does not address the substance abuse problems that recently landed Jacobs in rehab. Prigent merely comments that the designer has quit drugs and alcohol, but that his compulsive nature is still evident in the vast amounts of cigarettes he smokes...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Coolest shades

With temperatures in Paris hitting a summer-like 30 degrees, it's time to think of essentials like suncream, hats and a super cool pair of shades. I love the Chloe aviators in white with silver trim, but I'm not sure my obsession will survive into next season, so I bought a remarkably similar pair from Topshop in London.
The Chloe aviator shades

The Topshop version

Mary-Kate Olsen, eat your heart out!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What Not To Wear - Part One

So, the good news for all you curvy girls out there is that skinny jeans are no longer obligatory for summer. The bad news is, they are facing heavy competition from wide leg jeans. Being tall, I love wide-legged trousers, but the denim version just conjures up one word - flares. Yes people, these are bona fide 1970s flares masquerading as a hot new trend.
Exhibit A:
Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes is wondering where her feet went

Exhibit B:
Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz on her way to audition for the Janis Joplin biopic

My advice? Don't do it!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Primark sends London shoppers crazy

I've just returned from a week in London, where the buzz is all about the recent opening of discount retailer Primark's big flagship on Oxford Street. The reason people go nuts about this store is that it offers copies of designer items at knock-down prices, like the Marc Jacobs inspired jacket below, which costs just £12 (at current exchange rates, that is $24 or 18 euros).
This Primark jacket was featured in Vogue, raising the company's profile among fashion-conscious consumers

But nothing can prepare you for the real experience...We arrived to find a queue stretching around the block just to get into the store. There were 10 security guards in the street corralling the crowds. The wait was only a couple of minutes, but once inside, I could hardly focus for the noise and people around me. Everything seemed to blur and all I could do was clutch price-tags and let out the occasional gasp of: "Four pounds!! Eight pounds??" The quality of the fabrics was pretty dysmal, except for the T-shirts which are really practical for summer, but the trick is in finding the hidden "IT" item among the tat.
Primark does the 60s look

Sadly, on the day I was there all I spotted was a multipack of black socks for £2, but when I saw the size of the queue at the till, I put them right back on the rack.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kate Moss for Topshop - look book out!

European fashionistas holding their breath for the launch of the Kate Moss for Topshop line on May 1 can catch a glimpse of the goodies on the mass retailer's website - the look book, featuring Kate and her close pal Irina Lazareanu, is heavy on the waistcoats and skinny pants favored by the shrimp-sized supermodel, but there are also some vintage-style dresses. Image Hosted by
Irina Lazareanu wearing a Kate Moss for Topshop dress

In related news, Gap has enlisted 2006 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners Doo-Ri Chung of Doo.Ri, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and Thakoon's Thakoon Panichgul to design a limited-edition collection of specially designed pieces that will be sold at Gap stores. Rumor has it the collection is based on a white button down shirt.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Naomi's PR coup

Wondering why Naomi Campbell emerged from her stint of community service in a full-length evening gown?
Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell after completing her last day of community service

Rumor has it the supermodel will turn her walk of shame into a megabucks photoshoot for fashion magazine W. Naomi was sentenced to mop floors and scrub toilets for five days after pleading guilty to reckless assault for throwing a mobile phone at her housekeeper during a dispute over a pair of jeans. Various reports say photographer Steven Klein, best known for his recent shoots with Madonna, snapped Naomi arriving at work every day in a different designer outfit as part of a spread for the June issue of W. Knowing that her daily rate is somewhere around $25,000, that makes her the best paid cleaner in town!

Samsonite ups the cool factor

Samsonite has been working hard to make its brand name cool. After tapping Alexander McQueen to design a skeleton-themed luggage collection, it has hired Christina Ricci as the face of its vintage-inspired Fashionaire line.
Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci wearing a Sophia Kokosalaki dress at the launch party for the Fashionaire line in New York City last week

Cameron Silver, the owner of vintage boutique Decades in Los Angeles, acted as consultant on the 13-piece collection of black-and-white flower patterned suitcases, handbags and small leather goods. Ricci won't appear in any advertising for the line, but will act as its global ambassador.
Alexander McQueen
A few samples of the Alexander McQueen collection for Samsonite

Although the two lines could not be more different, I like them both. The idea of having coordinated luggage always makes me think of airport snapshots of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1960s. So what shall it be...romantic, or morbid? Morbid, or romantic? Can I have both?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Perfect Paris Wake-up

This morning, I had the perfect Paris wake-up. I emerged from my sleep to hear a street organist and a singer belting out "Les Amants de Saint Jean" - a classic popular love song. Now, I don't live in a touristy area so this kind of thing is highly unusual. I peeked out the window and saw that the singer was wearing a purple beret. It doesn't really get any better than that!
Yvette Horner