Party-a-Porter : Dressing-up with Alber Elbaz in the new PORTER Magazine.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best kind of days within my working week. It’s not because I’m keen to ‘get back on it’ on the Monday or that I receive a reassuring “you’re halfway through the week, babe” from Wednesday and a “Sod it, it’s practically weekend; let’s have a chocolate éclair” on Friday. It’s because Net-a-Porter updates it’s ‘What’s New’ on these days and I can have a sneaky look at lunchtime on my iPad.

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Procrastination.

Monday afternoon had me scanning through planning what i’d wear for a night out in Manchester on Saturday if I was worth £1 Million+ and could afford the Alexander Wang clothing of my desire. My friend, Lucy, celebrates her 20th birthday today and she’s feeling old. So, naturally, we’re going to go out at the weekend and be irresponsible. I thought this meant too much cake. It means clubs, appaz.

I don’t know what to wear.

For those of you that follow anything remotely fashion-related on Instagram, like me, you’ll have had PORTER Magazine (‘powered by Net-a-Porter’) rammed down your throat everyday for the last month. It’s everywhere.

Natalie Massenet, both glamourous face of and brain behind Net-a-Porter, has suggested that the women reading this magazine will have an annual income of £170,000+.

*Silence*.

Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, however, has allegedly said that it “sounds like a grand Sainsbury’s Magazine”. Fortunately, I like my Sainsbury’s Magazine on a Sunday morning with a sugary coffee and a bagel. So, I parted with my FIVE POUNDS (it’s okay because there’s only going to be six issues a year) and bought myself a copy. Yes, it is for manicured women that earn an eye-watering amount of money each year. But, these women have their own careers and children, they commute each morning and they’re educated. Basically, it’s written for superwomen that don’t exist. But, I like it.

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PORTER Magazine, £5.00.

I touched on this in Monday’s post but, again, I like the tone in which it’s written. It’s not stuffy or authoritative. There’s not a hideous amount of ads, but, instead, a subtle note at the bottom of each page; reminding you that everything you see can be bought online.

Some of the articles are fascinating. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ is an account of, photojournalist, Lynsey Addario’s kidnapping in Libya in 2011 and the aftermath. Harvey Weinstein has written a piece about his latest film ‘Grace of Monaco’ and the political crisis that inspired the film. Photographer, David Bailey, provides an account of his encounters with Andy Warhol, also.

There’s some beautiful portraits of Uma Thurman which is reason enough to read it, really.

My favourite article, however, was a write-up about Amanda Staveley; “gatekeeper to the fabulous wealth of the Middle East”. Being familiar with the stock market and a regular trader, this one piqued my interest. She is an inspiring woman who brokers deals between western companies with powerful figures in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai; areas where women holding positions of such responsibility are few and far between.

The magazine doesn’t present fashion as disposable and faddy. Within it’s pages, PORTER presents clothing and accessories as purchases to be treated as investment pieces; treasures that you can pull out of your wardrobe and wear many different ways for years to come.That wouldn’t make me feel that much more comfortable about spending £195.00-£1,070.00 on a blouse but, y’know, it’s aspirational.

I found weekend outfit inspiration via “The Rules of…Dressing Up by Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz”.

Cursed with the measly height of 5″3, I am resigned to the fact that i’ll have to wear heels when i’m out to at least be at eye-level of my companions. But no more.

Short women everywhere! Throw off the shackles of your height-complex, because ‘baz says that ‘comfort is imperative’!

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More realistic in every sense… These flats are £29.99 at zara.com. I love the gold detailing on the ankle strap; making these pumps evening appropriate.

For his SS11 show, Elbaz had the models walk in flat sandals because the titanium heels he had designed were too uncomfortable. In his interview, he says that ‘the girls walked with such strength that it didn’t matter’. I haven’t asked anyone, but i’m not convinced that I ‘walk with strength’. In these beauties though (above), I could glide and not hobble across the city, crying inside. I’d pair them with cropped, slim trousers and a chiffon blouse. Maybe a loose tuxedo jacket?

Can you wear trousers to go dancing?

Oh God, start again.

Writing this blog, I don’t claim to have any authority. I know that Saturday evening will see me hopping around in front of the mirror, trying to brush my hair and teeth simultaneously, one shoe on and the other off, cursing. I’ll have changed my mind twice about what i’m going to wear and, you know what, I still won’t be happy with it. But, it’s okay because PORTER tells me so…

Perfect is the end. Perfection is what scares me. When you see photos of those perfect ladies , you realize it is as far away from perfect as you can imagine. Perfect people, perfect scenarios, perfect moments, perfect clothes, for me, are boring. I like imperfections; I like the tension.

-Alber Elbaz being a babe in PORTER Magazine, Spring 2014.

Cool, Alber. Yeah, I’ll go for that. Got any Lanvin cast-offs for this weekend you can hook me up with?

J.

Musings : A trip to London, wanting to be ‘that girl’ and a new jacket from Bolongaro Trevor.

To me, the March issue of British VOGUE is always like the Yellow Pages. Not surprisingly, this year, the ‘International Collections Special’ is £3.99 of mostly adverts. However, it made for ever-so-slightly cramped reading on a car journey to London last weekend. Normally, I hurtle through image after image of Cara & co until I reach text but a particular Saint Laurent ad captured my attention and now has me enthralled.

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Saint Laurent SS14.

There’s something great, I think, when a single fashion image can instil feeling or desire within the viewer. The Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, for instance, always make me dream of summer holidays and sun kissed skin. The women are SO sexy and the landscapes and scenes in which they are shot make me want to dab on my red lipstick in an “I’ve had too much red wine” kind of way (Chanel Rouge Allure in 104 Passion or, failing that, some Benefit Benetint), throw on some heeled sandals and a flippy skirt and dance with my friends. Preferably, it would be somewhere in Scilly and not…erm…the North-West of England. Think Apollonia in The Godfather before she drove Michael’s car. I love the Chloé advertisements this season, also. Dream-like and hazy, printed on a thick, matt stock in the new PORTER magazine, the models in these images are beautiful and dishevelled and make me want to run through a field barefoot, too.

But I wasn’t in the Med or frolicking in long grass. I was in the front seat of a 4×4 with my boyfriend’s band and a drum-kit on the way to some bar in Camden for the evening and I was looking at the model in the Saint Laurent ad.

I loved her nonchalance. The tailoring was loose and masculine and I liked how it was balanced with side-swept hair and a single drop earring. The whole thing was achingly cool.

What appealed to me most is that the clothes seemed easy to wear. There’s nothing worse than not being able to move in what you’re wearing. That’s where I think some fashion magazines come un-stuck, I feel. They fail to translate these fashions into the every day lives of their audience. Whilst many of the readers will lead extraordinarily privileged lives; the rest of us are dancing at a gig, squished commuters on the Underground, running for a train at Manchester Piccadilly, wiping goo off our four year-olds or splashing M&S puttanesca all over our counter tops with the majority on our new Whistles purchase. You can’t do that in couture.

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Crush.

No, I want to be like that girl. I want to cut a fringe like Freja Beha Erichsen and dance like Haim. I want to wear skinnies from J Brand and steal my boyfriend’s shirts because they just fit better. I like the French insouciance. I want an Isabel Marant trophy jacket. Hell no! Not new! Have you seen how much they are?! Vestiaire Collective is your new best friend as of now.

The Kooples offers fabulous alternatives to Saint Laurent. Whilst the pricing is still steep (you’ll pay around £350.00 for a jacket), the clothes are great quality and would be investment pieces that you could wear season after season. A thrifty click around VC (above) could net you similar for less than £100.00. See Sandro and Maje next time you’re in Selfridges for similar.

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Zara Lookbook SS14.

Fantasies aside – the star of the High Street for this aesthetic has to be Zara. I was in the Manchester branch with my friend, Helen, some weeks back and I wanted EVERYTHING. I tried my damned hardest to argue that black waxed jeans and a mock-croc shoulder bag would make great in-direct Valentine’s Day presents for my other half, but she wasn’t having any of it. I staved off buying anything in lieu of my up-coming London trip but I will be back.

I went to London at the beginning of Fashion Week. Covent Garden was dotted with the overspill from Somerset House. There was too much millinery on the cobbles that afternoon. Anyway, I was on a mission…

Background – It is becoming Christmas tradition that my Dad will buy me an extravagant yet sadly misguided gift. My wardrobe is littered with unwanted presents that I don’t have the heart to stick on eBay and so they just languish, unloved, on the top shelf. This year, on Christmas morning, my Dad bounded up to me with a worrying: “you’re either going to love this or hate it”. He’d bought me what could only be described as an Adam Ant cast-off. It was a Bolongaro Trevor woollen military jacket with two rows of brass buttons and gold detailing and was a little snug.

It was beautifully made and being familiar with Bolongaro Trevor, I knew it would’ve been pricey and that, whilst some of their clothes are a little too alternative for me, I could find something I liked. So, I did the unspeakable and asked if he would mind if I exchanged it for something I would wear.

Khaki Biker, Bolongaro Trevor £270

Khaki Biker Jacket, Bolongaro Trevor £350.00 £225.00

I returned from the capital feeling pretty smug. I unearthed what I believe to be a gem on my visit and swapped my jacket for a khaki biker that was on sale. It was reduced to £225.00 in the sale from £350.00. Yes, it’s expensive, but the quality is second to none. It’s made of lambskin and is gorgeously soft; the kind of garment that i’ll wear for years and should age really well. Bolongaro Trevor only manufactures in small quantities and so it feels nice to have a unique piece. Whilst All Saints and the like have some lovely jackets in store, you know that there’ll be ten other women walking down Manchester’s Deansgate in exactly the same.

I feel that I should mention the sales assistant in Bolongaro Trevor. I recognised her as a model from the website and she was a perfect ambassador for the brand. She was chatty and attentive without being overbearing and she had impressive product knowledge which I feel is an essential for good customer service. If you want an individual, high quality product then I definitely recommend.

Did I get the fringe? Yes, I did. It’s too long and it keeps getting in my eyes but it makes me feel f*cking cool though.

J.