Friday, 16 November 2012

Style Envy: Rita Ora

In less than a year, Rita Ora has captivated the music and fashion industries with her (incredibly) catchy music and offbeat personal style. She's constantly pitted against Rihanna, probably down to the fact that they belong to the same management, but it's quite nice to see someone flying the flag for Britain. I got a little bit sick of Rihanna in recent months so Miss Ora is filling the gap quite nicely: from her kooky street style candids to slick red-carpet appearances, she's definitely taken over in the style-envy stakes.

From Roberto Cavalli two-piece suits to head-to-toe  House of Holland ensembles, Ora isn't afraid to mix things up in the style-stakes; her signature Marilyn Monroe curls and dark-red lippy makes each look edgy and though I hate this word, current.  Her best looks have to be the white Mugler dress and floral McQ Alexander McQueen number (above) from recent red-carpet appearances; opposed to the conveyor of dodgy prom-dress actresses we're so used to, Ora's given the red-carpet a much needed overhaul. 

When Rita stepped out in New York in a pair of tartan J.W Anderson x Topshop Trousers  last month, they sold out and she was recently spotted in another 90s inspired ensemble, tartan and all...

From left to right: Zephyr Hats snapback, Madeleine Thompson Disco beanie, Rokit tartan trousers and Etoile Isabel Marant pants
I'm a bit of a sucker for hats so these Zephyr Hats and Madeleine Thompson pieces are right up there on my wish list this Christmas. Who is your style crush at the moment and will you be donning a beanie à la Rita Ora this Winter?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Milan Fashion Week SS13: Fendi's Fluffy Dice

Of all the accessories in the fickle world of fashion, none get a girl more excited than a good handbag. I'm an absolute sucker for anything by Alexander Wang but for SS13, Fendi's fluffy dice and bold studded totes have come up top trumps.

Whilst I wasn't overly enthralled by the collection as a whole, the accessories really stood out as being the potential 'It' pieces of SS13. The fluffy dice are hilariously cute but the vast array of textures and varying styles that have put Fendi up there with Mr Wang; studded heels, bright geometric designs and the combination of leather and fur makes the whole collection really desirable. It's been a while since we've had some sexy handbags to covet, no?

photos from

Monday, 17 September 2012

London Fashion Week SS13: Battle of the Prints

It seems that we're either going to be embracing a mishmash of colours and designs or keeping it simple next season; monochromatic-minimalism has already dominated several of the SS13 catwalks but head-to-toe prints aren't all that far behind...

 Temperley London


Michael van der Ham

For SS13, prints have been given a bit of a grown-up makeover; knee-length pencil skirts, high-necklines and classic shapes inspired by Dior's 'new look' were all transformed by various forms of print. Michael van der Ham and Erdem are among my favourites from the London catwalks so far although I'm not convinced I'll be wholeheartedly embracing the trend next season; I'm much more of a black and white kind of gal:

Christopher Kane

As much as I love the colourful and aesthetically exciting variety of print, I feel comfortable in a monochrome palette; it requires much less thought in the morning and you know you'll always look half decent. What are your thoughts on the London collection so far? Have any designers already caught your eye for SS13? 

photos from

Sunday, 9 September 2012

New York Fashion Week SS13: Minimalist Modernism

I've not had a lot of time this weekend to poperly submerge myself in New York Fashion Week coverage, however, from what I have seen, there is a distinctly modernist aesthetic running through a lot of the collections. 

Alexander Wang
Prabal Gurung

Alexander Wang, New York's cool-kid and king of sports-luxe, went down the metallic and monochrome route with bold cut-out panelling and simple, clean cut lines whilst Prabal Gurung used light silk-chiffon and silk-satins to create deconstructed biker jackets and sports-inspired shorts. Both collections, though extremely different, are tied together by a sense of elegant feminine modernity.

Derek Lam
Helmut Lang

Derek Lam's collection championed the one of the fashion packs outfit staples: a simple (and occasionally baggy) jumper paired with a knee-length pencil skirt of heavy embellishment/detail. Honor, much like Wang and Gurung, used a lot of white in the collection though instead teamed it with candy-coloured tulip skirts and sheer chiffon tops; the monochrome palette really cleverly emphasised the neat silhouettes without looking dull. 

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham was probably the bravest of the minimalist New York pack in terms of colour - though it was still fairly conservative in comparison to the sorbet-shades that dominated many of the SS12 catwalks. Chic tailoring and sharp design defined Beckhams SS13 collection, the black cut-out jacket (seen above, middle) is particularly beautiful.

New York Fashion Week never really appealed to me as a whole but some of my favourite shows in recent years have been New York based; Karen Walker, The Row, Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler - to name a few. What do you think of the collections so far and who are you most looking forward to showing this season?

photos from

Monday, 3 September 2012

Model Off Duty

I officially have a girl crush on Frida Gustavsson. There are few people whose personal style I'm interested in keeping up to date with but Frida consistently looks amazing; last week she embraced classic tailoring and looked super chic, this week she's whipped out the Air Max and denim shorts and still looks incredible. What a babe.

From left to right: Jil Sander sweater, Kenzo sweater, Thom Grey varsity jacket, vintage varsity jacket from Rokit, Nike Air Max 1 trainers, Adidas Zx 500 trainers

I absolutely adored Kenzo's AW12 collection and have been dying for an excuse to post about this sweater - isn't it amazing?! Varsity jackets are fairly unknown territory for me but I'd really like to invest in one - Frida's jacket is a New York Yankee's jacket but there are millions of vintage options about, it's just finding one that fits! I'm a huge trainer (sneaker, whatever you want to call them) fan and bought several pairs when I was in New York so this whole look appeals to me massively; whack on a decent pair of denim cut-offs and you're good to go!

What do you think of Frida's look; are you more of a 'classic tailoring' or 'sweater and sneakers' kind of person?

photo from Altamira

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Glamour US vs. Glamour UK

It's a case of Glamour US vs. Glamour UK as Emma Watson covers both editions October issue. Looking fantastic in an off-the-shoulder dress with simple pulled back hair, Emma's UK cover is miles ahead of the US version (below left) which looks fairly dated and a tad cheap...

Ignoring the cringe-worthy subheadings ("good sex and loved advice from bad men," oh dear) the UK cover is much more elegant and 'fashion forward' when compared to the US one. It's nice to see the magazine doing something more chic, especially with a gorgeous Brit actress like Emma; unfortunately her US cover just falls a bit flat when it comes to the styling and pose.

It's quite unusual to see the Glamour franchise using the same actress on their October issue but it's interesting to see how she has been portrayed; the Emma that goes to school and dates boys (US) versus the Emma that has become a fashion icon and found love amidst the madness of fame (UK). What do you think of Emma's October covers and which edition do you prefer?

photos from

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Spotlight: Manuela Dack

Manuela Dack is a designer that until very recently, I hadn't heard of. The Central Saint Martins graduate launched her London label in 2010 and her first season was instantly snapped up by uber-cool store The Shop at Bluebird. Dack's tough but feminine aesthetic has become something of a signature aesthetic and I really love her attention to cut and detail. 

Dack's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection was inspired by a selection of carved wooden boxes which translates beautifully into cut-away leather, clever layering and a neat, angular silhouette. I'm really excited about Dack's Spring/Summer 2013, which she will be showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout in September; there are so many incredibly talented designers emerging from London at the moment and Dack is another name to add to the growing list. Bring on London Fashion Week!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Style Envy: Frida Gustavsson

I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to off-duty model style: I'd quite happily spend hours looking at street-style websites ogling at images from various fashion weeks. Stockholm Fashion Week doesn't officially kick-off until Monday but the brilliant Craig Arend from Altamira has already captured this gorgeous photo of one of the most stylish models around, Frida Gustavsson.

From top to bottom: Prada, House of Harlow 1960, Miu Miu, House of Harlow 1960 and Thierry Lasry

The black tailored jacket and cropped trousers are a models style-staple - the statement necklace and oversized sunnies just add that certain je ne said quoi that us ordinary folk don't always pull off so stylishly. With Stockholm and then New York Fashion Week just around the corner, we're going to be seeing a lot more images like this and I for one can't wait. Do you have a favourite model and are you excited about Fashion Week?

Photo from www.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shopping for: Gothic Glamour á la Vogue Paris

The whole 'gothic' trend has been bubbling up from the streets for quite a while now; Underground brothel-creepers, upside-down crosses, ripped t-shirts, fishnet tights and a healthy dose of purple lipstick  recently infiltrated the wardrobes of every cool-kid on the block. However, it all got incredibly tacky and cringeworthy as soon as Rihanna and Topshop jumped on the bandwagon; think Courtney Love meets Hannah Montana. Scary, right?

Saying that, the brilliant Katy England (along with a whole host of talented stylists) has managed to take the trend back into fashionable territory. Gone are the 90s platforms and dodgy dye-jobs - gothic glamour is all about an inventive use of texture and shape, death-defying heels and clever accessorising.

Mert and Marcus photographed the stunning Saskia de Brauw (above) and Kate Moss for the September issue of Vogue Paris and I think the editorial perfectly encapsulates what the gothic glamour trend is all about. There are so many incredible pieces around and the moment, both designer and on the high-street that it's hard to pin down any one look. Always one for a challenge...

From left to right: coat by Mandarin & General, jeans by Nok Nok, sunglasses by House of Harlow 1960, top by Preen, scarf by Beta Fashion, heels by Alexander McQueen, ring by Kat&Bee, bag by Christian Laboutin and necklace by Topshop.

This is definitely a safe look compared to what the East London kids are championing right now but then again, there's a very fine line between looking 'cool' and just looking like you're in fancy dress. I know which one I prefer...what trends are you loving for Autumn/Winter 2012?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Love it or loathe it? Gwen Stefani covers Harper's Bazaar

Terry Richardson is one of those photographers that you either love or hate. When I was younger, I thought he was God's gift to photography and desperately tried to emulate his over-exposed snaps for my Myspace profile picture (this was pre-Facebook, by the way). As the years have passed, I've come to dislike his work more and more; besides making everyone look exactly the same, his photos are predictable and somewhat outdated.

With this in mind, I'm pretty gutted that Harper's Bazaar US chose him to photograph the incredible Gwen Stefani for their September 'Fashion' issue.

Gwen Stefani is, in my eyes, one of the most talented and iconic female musicians in the world. I could still listen to Tragic Kingdom on repeat and I definitely still want to be Gwen. Her style, her attitude, her looks - everything about her is inimitably cool. However, this cover does absolutely nothing for me.  The styling is average, the photography is average and as a result, it makes the gorgeous Gwen look average too.

There are some nice images from her editorial but there's no real 'wow factor'; this whole shoot would better suit some young Hollywood actress, not a musical legend. I appreciate that she's now a mother and isn't the eccentric 90s pin-up she was in her hey-day, but this is just bland. 

What do you think of Gwen's cover? Am I being too critical or should Harper's have done something more exciting with the choice of photographer and styling?

photos from

Friday, 17 August 2012

Spotlight: Mandarin & General

For the fashion nerds among us, there are few things more exciting than discovering new brands; Mandarin & General, the brainchild of New York based designer Peggy Tan, is fast becoming one of my current favourites.

The subtle Eastern influences gives the AW12 collection a chic fluidity; from pussy-bow graphic printed blouses and cropped at the ankle trousers to smart tailoring and luxurious fabrics, Mandarin & General lends New York's fashion scene a glamourous Eastern-inspired edge. I'm a huge fan of a classic Arun-knit sweater so this indigo version is like my idea of heaven; it would look great styled with the oversized asymmetric coat (far left) and a pair of metallic brogues, very 90s and god forbid, 'on trend'.

The Mandarin & General SS12 collection (see below) is still available to buy on their website whilst the AW12 collection is available for pre-order.  What do you think of Mandarin & General and who are you're favourite lesser-known designers?

photos from Mandarin & General

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Kristen Stewart covers US ELLE

When I first heard that Kristen Stewart was to be ELLE's June cover-star, I wasn't holding out any hope that it would be good. For some unexplainable reason, I quite like Kristen. However, she's hardly renowned for being elegant or graceful in front of the camera; whether it's in photoshoots or on the red-carpet, Kristen Stewart is not what I'd call a 'natural'. I quite like the fact that she isn't your average cookie-cutter Hollywood starlet but with that in mind, ELLE have done a pretty good job in making her look like one for their June issue...

When you take the god-awful text out of the equation, this has all the potential of being a great cover. Kristen looks relaxed (a first, maybe?) and the styling is non-fussy and simple - my only issue is that now, she just looks like every other Hollywood actress. You could always count on Kristen to be a little bit awkward and this cover, which is undoubtedly stunning, takes that intrigue away. 

It's probably not normal to criticise something for being too 'good'; Kristen is, after all, just another Hollywood starlet but I'd grown so accustomed to seeing her as this awkward adolescent that now she just looks boring. What are your thoughts on ELLE's June cover? 

Photo from fashionscansremastered

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Broken Laptop Blues

To cut a long and boring story short, my laptop is broken. Not only does this mean that I can't stalk anyone on Facebook but it has also put a halt to posting. Finger's crossed that normal service resumes ASAP because quite frankly, not having a computer sucks.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wednesday Weakness: Cobalt Blue

To some, it might seem rather odd to have a colour as a fashion weakness, however, if you've been paying attention to the catwalks for Fall/Winter 2012, you'll know that cobalt is set to be a massive trend. Along with tangerine and fuchsia pink, cobalt-blue is one of those colours that Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada (aka Anna Wintour) would rave about until it went into the sale. The best way to invest? Buy something now, especially if it's in the sale!

What colours will you be wearing next season? 

Alternative Red-Carpet Dressing with Valentino FW12

None of these dresses are of the traditional red-carpet variety: there are no garish colours, no strapless sweetheart necklines, no silk-chiffon bows and definitely no heels. Saying that, they each have insane amounts of  'red-carpet' potential, especially if worn by the right person. Think along the lines of Elizabeth Olsen, Carey Mulligan, Dakota Fanning, Rose Byrne and Florence Welch and you're on the right track. The difference between these lovely ladies and the likes of other Hollywood starlets (anyone from Gossip Girl or 90210, for instance) is that they aren't afraid of 'worst-dressed' lists and can therefore think outside of the box when it comes to fashion.

Not that any of Valentino's dresses would land anyone on a worst-dressed list, of course. The demure necklines, full-length sleeves and ankle-skimming lengths from Valentino's Fall/Winter 2012 collection are for the more brave of the bunch. Valentino has always, and will always be worn on the red-carpet - it's just that these dresses require that extra something.

Photos from

Monday, 5 March 2012

Paris Fashion Week: Best In Show

Stella McCartney and Kenzo's Humberto Leon and Carol Lim  have without doubt presented my favourite two collections of all respective Fashion Weeks. Paris is known for its extraordinary designer calender and each season, something wonderful happens; I can't confess to previously being a devoted fan of either Kenzo or Stella McCartney but for Fall/Winter 2012 I am more than dedicated.

Stella is a woman's woman: she knows what we want to wear, how we want to feel and what message we want to convey through our clothes. Her Fall/Winter 2012 collection is powerful, elegant and refined without being clichéd or stuffy; cobalt blues and electric pinks are perfectly matched with charming tweeds and more subdued palettes of grey and black, whilst patent ankle boots are boldly worn with above-the-knee skater skirts and oversized jackets. I couldn't give two-hoots about the sports-luxe trend that we're seeing all over the high-street at the moment but for FW12 Stella makes it more desirable than Ryan Gosling covered in chocolate. These are clothes that women want to wear, all of the time.

The big-guns were clearly out over the weekend: Dior, Isabel Marant, Lanvin, Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier, Celine, Hermes and Givenchy all came out to play. Though it was the unlikely Kenzo that really caught my eye. As only their second season with Kenzo, Opening Ceremony's founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim sent out a fantastically coherent and covetable collection for Fall/Winter 2012; dropped-hem A-line dresses were decked out with autumnal grape-vine prints as cropped jumpers were emblazoned with the tiger logo that will inevitably be replicated for the high-street on a colossal scale. Where last season we saw more of a street-inspired edge from Kenzo, this collection was altogether more accomplished and fun. 

Forget the apocalyptic leathers and blacks that have recently permeated the catwalk, these collections are exciting and act as a constant reminder of all that is great about womenswear. 

Photos from 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Lost For Words: Commes des Garcons FW12

Not a single word in the English dictionary can accurately articulate my thoughts on Rei Kawakubo's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection for Commes des Garcons. That's not to say this is a bad thing, in fact, I think it's rather brilliant. "The future's in two dimensions" was Kawakubo's foundation for her latest collection as seemingly two-dimensional outfits graced the catwalk. In a fairly sardonic statement against the industry, Kawakubo's 'flat' outfits were a reflection of the images put out by the industry online and in magazines; therefore stripping them of any detail and quality. Velvet felt, leopard print, florals and even evening wear was given the Commes des Garcons treatment - leaving no satirical fashion stone unturned.

I can absolutely appreciate the message behind the collection, however, as a part (no matter how minuscule) of the fashion industry, I can't help but think it a little tenuous; fashion can only survive as long as the magazines and websites that promote them can permit. Aside from this, I think the collection is...bizarre/wonderful/brilliant/ingenious/ridiculous/captivating - you decide!

Photos from

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Ashley Olsen for Elle UK

It's been a while since I've had a genuine reason to post about the Olsen's so I'm really excited to see Mary-Kate and Ashley featured in (and on the cover of) the April issue of Elle. Before you get too excited (like I did), this stunning shot of Ashley is only available for subscribers, though previews of the girls' feature and accompanying editorial are superb. I used to be more of a Vogue girl but Elle are really upping their game in terms of styling and editorials, especially when the subs covers are so incredibly beautiful. 

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen deserve credit where its due. It is quite an achievement to make the transition from child star to fashion designer, however, the girls succeeded above all expectations and are now mature and well-respected industry professionals. What do you think of the Ashley's cover? Are you as much of a fan of Elizabeth and James and The Row as me?

Paris Fashion Week: 'A Lesson on Confusion' by Dior

When John Galliano left Dior last year, there was a great deal of speculation about the future success of the brand. Some claimed that Galliano was not the cornerstone of Dior whilst others remained incredulous as to what would become of the French fashion powerhouse. Personally, I was one of the sceptics. Though what he did was shameful and entirely inappropriate, there is no denying that John Galliano is a fashion genius; without him at the helm, Dior's collections have thus far fallen short of the creative mark that we had come to expect. Bring that to the present day and Bill Gaytten's Fall/Winter 2012 collection for Dior was really quite uninspiring.

The balletic influence is strikingly obvious whilst midi-length pleated skirts with cinched waists evoke nostalgic images of Dior's infamous 'New Look'. However, the collection felt too safe for my liking. Bold colours and creative designs have been replaced by a predictable colour palette of black, pink and grey. As a whole, the collection is confused; with a theme surrounding the notion of 'soft modernity', Gaytten stuck to familiar silhouettes which in my eyes, translates as boring.

However, that isn't to say there were some really nice pieces. I can't bring myself to use a more enthusiastic adjective so 'nice' will have to suffice. The latter end of the collection presented some interesting pieces that you can see working well in both editorials and on the red-carpet. My favourite item is definitely the horizontal striped maxi-skirt with sheer panels - it's got Tilda Swinton written all over it, no?

I don't want to be critical of Bill Gaytten because he has an enormous pair of shoes to fill; away from the Dior label, this collection would probably be fantastic. However, when the bar has been set so high by such an ingenious predecessor, it's hard not to make the comparison. This is a collection that demonstrates great skill and knowledge, though Dior now needs to reignite its spark and enthusiasm for passion - without Galliano.

Photos from

Friday, 2 March 2012

Shopping for Pastels with Vogue China


I often find that international issues of Vogue are much more exciting than the British version, and this beautiful editorial from Vogue China's March issue is no exception. I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore 50s fashion and think that modern interpretations can frequently be a bit too 'fancy dress'. However, the stylists at Vogue China have done an amazing job at modernising the era; the leather jacket, the pastel shades, the hairstyles - all exude 50s connotations but aside from the props, the clothes are contemporary. 

If you've ever met me, you'll know that I'm probably the least likely person to embrace pastel shades for Summer; mainly because I just don't suit them. With that in mind, using the 50s as inspiration is a great way to flaunt pastel shades without looking too 'sugar and spice'. I'm not suggesting you go out in a head-to-toe 50s look but instead, take a key piece or colour and work from there:

 Cropped trousers are one of the best items to invest in this Summer because they can literally be worn with everything; bright colours and great prints will carry through brilliantly to next season. If, like me, you're quite scared by wearing too much colour, accessories are the next best thing for trying out pastels - shoes, socks, sunglasses and bags are all super easy (and cheap) to integrate into your wardrobe.

Will you be investing in pastel shades this season? Now that Paris Fashion Week is coming to an end, I'll be posting some trend-reports for Autumn/Winter, let me know your thoughts!

Photos from

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wednesday Weakness: Dries Van Noten AW12

I'm going to make 'Wednesday Weakness' an image-led regular here at Bang Bang You're Dead, as well as resurrecting the old 'Spotlight' feature (do let me know if it should remain dead and buried, though). Dries Van Noten's Fall/Winter 2012 collection, which showed at Paris Fashion Week earlier today, is what fashion dreams are made of - I literally want every outfit! Is anyone else as enamoured with Dries FW12 as me?

Darcel Disappoints: '150/50' at Colette

It's not every day that you see a one-eyed portrait of Yves Saint Laurent paired with a similarly unusual interpretation of the late Coco Chanel. However, as part of their 15th anniversary celebrations later this year, French fashion store Colette have called upon New York based artist Craig Redman to give friends of the store his signature 'makeover'. The exhibition immortalizes Redman's 'Darcel Disappoints' character in the guise of 150 portraits, including the likes of Rihanna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga (see below).

Juergen Teller, Susie Bubble, Diane von Furstenberg and Joseph Altuzarra have all previously been given the  Darcel Disappoints treatment and each one perfectly captures the essence of that individual. The exhibition runs at Colette until the 31st of March so if you're lucky enough to be in Paris for Fashion Week or if you'll be visiting the French capital in the next month then it's worth a trip! Check out the video below for more information.


Fashion Week Favourite: The Friendship Bracelet

Friendship bracelets are one of those things that come and go within fashion on a regular basis. There's no telling who sparks the trend each season because it changes so often: Madonna sparked a red-string frenzy with the Kabbalah associated bracelet whilst fictional character Ivy from 90210 spurred every bohemian teenager to pile on as many woven and leather variations as the wrist would allow.

It's nice to think that friendship bracelets are slowly acquired by means of actual friendships but more often than not, they were bought in Topshop because someone saw Abbey Lee wearing some. You get the picture.  Either way, whether you genuinely want to offer someone a symbol of your friendship or if you just want to look insanely popular, there are some really great options on the high-street at the moment:

From top: woven bracelets with silver detail, Lucy Folk. Cobalt Keepsake and Jade Keepsake, Mia Lia. Skull bracelets, ASOS. Silver skull bangle, Alexander McQueen.

Though the term 'friendship bracelet' usually evokes imagery of little girls weaving string hooked around their toes, it doesn't mean they have to be traditional. Mia Lia has some really gorgeous designs that don't cost the earth - these adorable beaded bracelets come in a variety of colours and would make the perfect Mother's Day pressie, no? I usually wear my own friendship bracelets until they break and to be quite honest, the idea of having to take them off scares me a little! 

What do friendship bracelets mean to you: are they simply a fashion statement or do they have a greater meaning? 

Photos by Tommy Ton, from