Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Outfit Post: Repeating Outfits & The State of Blogging

This outfit might seem a little familiar. I posted an almost identical outfit a couple of months ago with the same pretty, demure skirt and a very cropped tee. I absolutely adore the skirt and I’ve worn it dozens of times, so it seemed like a natural choice to shoot and share it again. But I have to admit that I’ve been doubting myself, debating whether I should post the outfit as it’s similar to the previous one. I’ve even shifted dates so there’s a sufficient gap between the two posts. Talk about overthinking it! I’m not Kate Middleton and it’s not going to make headlines if I repeat an outfit. Yet, the fear was there.

As an old timer in the blogging world, I’ve seen the blogosphere change a lot over the years. Back when I started, it was very personal and a little rough around the edges. It was a rebellion against the super glossy monthly magazines; an authentic and accountable voice. We wrote about what we loved rather than kowtowing to advertisers. It was genuine. But as blogging has evolved into a form of mainstream media, it’s become much more polished and professional than it used to, which had both good and bad points.

On the plus side, I have seen countless people use their blog as a platform to launch a really successful career. A blogger is essentially a one-person publishing house and as such, bloggers build up a plethora of skills from writing, shooting, art direction, branding, editing, social media management, the list goes on! The online presence bloggers build up is so invaluable to brands and it can become a full time career. I met Matthew Zorpas long before he started his blog, The Gentleman Blogger, and I couldn’t be more pleased that he has become one of the most in demand menswear bloggers in the world. The evolution of blogging has also created in-house roles as well as entire agencies to manage influencers. That is the power of the blogosphere.

I also love the democracy within blogging; anyone can use it as a platform and it’s been incredible to see so many different types of women gain a following. Women who don’t look like they just stepped out of a magazine or off a runway. As a woman of colour, it’s so heartening to see women of all shades thriving. It’s so dope that Kaushal of Kaushal Beauty is a L’oreal ambassador! It’s also brilliant to see plus-size bloggers like Nadia Aboulhosn and Danielle Vanier absolutely slaying. There’s still a long way to go for true equality but I feel like the blogosphere is more than doing its part to help give equal prominence to all minorities.

However, there can’t be positives without some negatives. I’ve been blogging for long enough to remember when it first started, it felt like a community. Most of us knew each other and we would be rooting for each other. The blogging landscape in 2017 is quite different. It feels so fractured with lots of different blogging tribes or cliques and there seems to be a Twitter brouhaha every other week now. The negativity is almost deafening.  

There are also the totally unrealistic expectations that blogging sets. The lifestyle portrayed has become such a contrived view of perfection. There has been lots of talk about bloggers photoshopping their blog and Instagram images, not just to punch up the colour but magazine-level airbrushing where the images are tweaked so much they barely resemble them. I’ve also heard of bloggers who have a separate credit card to order designer pieces to shoot and then return. There’s an immense pressure to have the latest pieces to shoot. But going to such lengths only to buy and return something while providing free publicity is ridiculous!

I feel like enough is enough. Blogging started from a good place, a genuine voice fighting against the sea of airbrushing, photoshopping and unattainability. But in an effort to evolve and refine blogging, we’ve now become what the magazines were. Pushing the envelope and striving to be better are great but I feel like we also have a responsibility to be accountable to our audiences. Things like excessive photoshopping or creating a fake lifestyle just feel deceitful.

It’s easy to call our the negative aspects but I have to admit, I also feel the pressure to create editorial-style images and have a constantly updated wardrobe. But I try to stay grounded to who I am. And if that means shooting the same skirt a couple of times then so be it. I’m a real person, I saw this skirt on ASOS, bought it and absolutely adore it.

Skirt - ASOS
Bag - Chloe

Photography: Adorn Girl.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

CFDA Best Dressed 2017

Monday night saw the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, AKA the second best fashion red carpet in America – second to the Met Gala. As usual the style set was out in force, many championing American designers for the awards ceremony. I have to admit, while I do love a princess gown on the red carpet, when it’s a fashion event or awards ceremony I love to see envelope-pushing, edgy looks rather than a gorgeous gown. For this reason, my top five looks are all slightly cooler and more effortless. Here are my favourite looks:

Diane Kruger in Monse
I adore Monse and give a little whoop of excitement when I see the fledgling label worn on the red carpet. Designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia cut their teeth at Oscar de la Renta and are joint Creative Directors at the eponymous American brand as well as their own label. I love the unexpected electric blue velvet with a gold paint splatter effect. Their bold and feminine perspective looks so refreshing on the red carpet.

Hailey Baldwin in Cushnie et Ochs and Brother Vellies
Cushnie et Ochs is another brand I love seeing on the red carpet, their minimal, sexy dresses are often overlooked I feel. I love how Hailey has offset the clean lines of the dress with pretty, frou-frou accessories from Bother Vellies – definitely a label to keep your eye on.

Janelle Monae in Christian Sirano
You can always rely on Ms Monae to dress for the occasion, crowd and dress code. While we witnessed plenty of flouncy gowns which don’t quite seem right for the CFDAs, Janelle knocks it out of the pack once again with an edgy, monochrome look.

Brit Marling in Sies Marjan
Straight from the AW17 runway to the CFDA red carpet in top to toe dusky pink, Brit Marling is a millennial dream. I love the relaxed, undone vibe which still looks appropriate for the fashion awards.

Martha Hunt in Milly
This is the closest I will get to liking a traditional red carpet dress at any fashion awards. The slightly awkward cut outs and subtle asymmetric hemline adds a much needed edge to a classic va-va-voom red carpet number.

And of course, the actual winners are…

Womenswear Designer of the Year – Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
Menswear Designer of the Year – Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
Accessory Designer of the Year – Stuart Vevers for Coach
Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent – Laura Kim and Fernando Garcio for Monse
Swarovski Award for Positive Change – Kenneth Cole
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award – Rick Owens
Founder’s Award – Pat McGrath
International Award – Demna Gvasalia for Vetements and Balenciaga
Board of Directors’ Tribute – Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem and Janelle Monae
Fashion Icon Award – Franca Sozzani

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Outfit Post: A Little Boho Never Hurt Nobody

It was the summer of ’04. Boho fever had struck and Sienna Miller ruled supreme as Queen Bohemia. Gorgeously undone hair, low-slung leather belts, teeny floaty dresses, grey jeans and the Balenciaga City bag were her style stables and the looks we all clamoured to copy. While her red carpet looks from the likes of Marchesa, Roberto Cavalli and pal Matthew Williamson were hard to replicate, subtler Sienna-inspired accents were all over the high street from Topshop to Zara.

Eventually, boho reached saturation and 13 years later, it still hasn’t managed to cycle back. Aside from Chloe, but Chloe girls are always boho babes. I for one really miss the carefree boho days. Nothing says summer like like a pretty floaty dress, fuss-free locks, a stack of gold jewellery and soft tan accessories. Happy-go-lucky, easy and breezy.

This is exactly why I’m making a case for luxe boho to return. I spied this dress while hunting down some pearl-embellished jeans in Zara and it just reminded me of those chilled summers wafting around Covent Garden and Carnaby Street like a free-spirit. I just had to have it. I paired my dress with a blush pink Chloe bag and Seventies-inspired strappy platforms from Medwinds. The only thing missing was a studded leather belt picked up at the souk in Marrakesh. Oh and my favourite upside to channeling boho? The relaxed, floaty silhouettes are perfect for over indulging in gelato on a hot summer’s day. What more could you want?

Dress – Zara
Bag – Chloe
Heels - Medwinds

Photography by Adorn Girl

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Cannes Best Dressed 2017

This year, Cannes’ glittering film festival has been a delight to witness. I must confess, this is my second favourite fashion moment of the year behind the Met Gala but I think Cannes has really outdone itself this year. There have been some incredible gowns and I love seeing a broad spectrum of looks, from barely-there gowns to full blown princess dresses. Here’s a round up of my favourite looks from the festival.

Aishwarya Rai in Michael Cinco
Forgive me for dumbing down for a second but for those who may not have heard of Aishwarya, she is queen of Bollywood, ex-Miss World, Cannes judge and a UN Ambassador. She’s one of the most famous people in India and frequently referred to as one of the most beautiful women in the world. She absolutely slayed in this beaded Cinderella-esque Michael Cinco gown. Queen of Bollywood and queen of Cannes!

Bella Hadid in Ralph & Russo
I personally prefer Aishwarya’s princess looks for Cannes but Bella arguably wore the dress of the festival. This custom Ralph & Russo gown is barely there but also so breathtaking, I’m sure it will go down in fashion history as one of the most memorable Cannes dresses of all time.

Lily-Rose Depp in Chanel Couture
I’m a huge fan of Chanel’s Grecian-inspired Cruise 2018 collection, classic and cool all at once it’s such a dreamy collection. Lily-Rose looks like a goddess in this gown, fresh off the runway. She’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of gowns.

Uma Thurman in Atelier Versace
Uma has an enviable statuesque presence on the red carpet but her stylist really knocked it out of the park with this Atelier Versace gown. She is the epitome of a bombshell, chanelling old Hollywood glamour. The simple, strapless silhouette is complemented with a dusting of embellishment and some feathers.

Diane Kruger in Dior
I’ve been waiting for a real red carpet moment after Maria Grazia Chiuri took the helm at Dior seven months ago and for me, this is it. The beautiful soft scalloped layers, pretty dove grey colour and subtle beading are so beautiful and feminine – much more Dior than the sheer tulle gowns worn with Dior-branded pants underneath. Love this look.


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Outfit post: Florals for spring, groundbreaking

Springtime, florals… cue ubiquitous and overused Miranda Priestly quote. I roll my eyes every time I hear this quote trotted out by anyone who has ever seen The Devil Wears Prada, ever. Florals are an inevitable spring/summer trend but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring.

This season, florals have been amped up. Less straightforward and pretty, they now pack a punch. Neon at Balenciaga and Rococo-style jacquard florals at Marques’Almeida, SS17 florals have an attitude. Pretty floral tea dresses still have their place, just look at Erdem, but I like the new punchier take on florals. It’s all about unexpected pairings, bold colours, abstract prints and a very much maximalist take on classic florals. More is more.

I channelled this high octane energy with this look. It’s a bit of a mish mash of boho paisley mixed with sheer, frills and florals. Pretty much every SS17 trend thrown together in one outfit. In a way, it feels like a very London look. London fashion isn’t polished like New York or super classic like Paris. It’s deconstructed, a bit messy and imperfect. It’s not inspired by the pages in Vogue or any particular runway look. Fashion in London has always been about self expression. And isn't that what fashion should always be about? 

Dress – Boohoo
Sheer tshirt - Zara

Photographer - Adorn Girl
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