Saturday, 18 February 2017

LFW AW17 - Day II

Today, things started early and hurried. I dashed into the Paula Knorr presentation where she was serving up an essay on the creative process and spangled, vibrant garments - not to mention a gig and collab with experimental pop duo MADSIUSOVANDA. Then I scooted right along to CECI where the palette was decidedly more muted; all navy and black billowing satin, restraint, denim, super-wide-legged pants and cropped faux fur. To cap off the morning, I hurried along to Sabinna's ode to first loves. Little bouquets sat on the seats for the first few rows and things like "be mine or go away" were scrawled across garments and under the eyes of the models. And the clothes? Romantic, corseted, hand-crocheted flowers, silk, velvet, dungarees, embroidered coats and pretty dresses. Love's young dream but with a twist, a little cooler and more than just pretty.

Lunch was prolonged and leisurely and spent with my best childhood friend. It took up the next three hours but it felt like only a moment and then I was back in another queue, waiting for another show. Said show was Katie Ann McGuigan, a young Irish designer that sent swaggeringly confident and vibrant technicolour down jackets, leather dresses, oversize knits and sweeping coats (and a cloak). Upon leaving and grabbing a tea, I came to the realisation that my next to shows were too close in time and far apart in distance to make it to both. As my feet ached, I chose the closer of the two. When I met Trinity students and we bonded over my alma mater, in the line for the next show, it made the forty-five minute wait a little easier to bear - though it was hard to ignore the fact that I definitely could have made it to the other show and back given the extra wait. But the wait was very much worth it as Han Wen's collection is my favourite I saw at LFW this season, so far. Edgy, cool, full of leather, flowing bell-bottoms, trailing ribbons, bold colours and on it styling: it's basically as cool as I want to be and look in a collection.

Right, my eyes are almost falling out of my head. Halfway through now....

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Friday, 17 February 2017

LFW AW17 - Day I

Day one of LFW started off slow and calm, which is great, considering how mad the next few days are going to be. I couldn't sleep in as much as I wanted as I was plagued by dreams of being late for shows, waking up a whole day late. I have no idea why I was so worried about time this season but I was. Maybe it was just general stress catching up with me all of a sudden.

Once I got into the city, I went and checked out the press lounge I'd been invited to use (which is in the incredibly swish ME Hotel) before grabbing lunch. And at this point, I was nice and chilled out and ready to take things a little easier this season. Which was when things suddenly took a turn.

I arrived at my first show for the day, a presentation for Haizhen Wang, and while I loved the industrial-looking set, performance of the models , the silhouettes and styling, the whole thing was rather ruined by the jostling crowd that was largely made up of non-industry individuals. I don't begrudge their attendance of the show but it was very hard to see anything and very frustrating for those of us there to work. I stayed for two rounds of the models passing through, lingering for around an hour total, in order to actually see everything and get some photographs for the social media posts I was required to contribute.

Downing a glass of Prosecco as I left in order to ease my stress, I launched into the madness of the line-up of shows that I had over the course of the afternoon. Next, I hit up the Roberta Einer presentation in the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, an architectural delight. The collection was a game of contrasts; pretty pinks and hot fuschias, leather and satin, power suits and sweet dresses, pouty sex-pots and bashful maidens. Indeed, the strong contrasts and clear characters gave the models the freedom to have fun, rather than merely stand about, and the whole presentation clearly reflected the playful and cheeky ethos of the brand.

After that I scooted over to the Paul Costelloe show at the Waldorf, messing up my original plans, as the lines and madness I'd faced all day had set my schedule right back. But the Costelloe show was just what the doctored ordered, a salve to the chaos: champagne (the real deal), front row, a stunning hotel. And, of course, the collection wasn't half bad either. In fact, Mr Costelloe's little dance with a model as he did a curtain call, reflected the renewed vigour and energy he showed this season. A/W is always more interesting as it gives him freedom to work in the tweeds, knits and leathers he utilises so well but also allows for layering and bolder, edgier looks. This season was a blend of 80s cocktail dresses, Gossip Girl tweed dresses, romantic billowing shirts and high collars, and dramatic hoods, sleeves and silhouettes. All in rich autumnal shades and bright pops of colour. Costelloe's energy and enthusiasm continues to put us all to shame.

From there, I dashed on to the Milo.Maria show in King's College, which presented a very cool office. Devil Wears Prada, eat your heart out. But, also: thank God I don't work in that environment. I can't imagine looking that cool and composed in the office. Think preppy sixties tones and silhouettes, tailored, dramatic outerwear, slinky satins, pussy-bow blouses and glimpses of flesh.

And, then, I finally finished the day with my beloved Sadie Williams, where her signature use of multiple bright colours and geometric patterns in looks, sportswear inspiration and foiled fabrics was still in place, as per, but there was also a more casual, relaxed and streetwear-inspired vibe...

Tomorrow's the long day so I'll sign off now and get some sleep! Look forward to my next post, it's bound to be a good one.

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Monday, 13 February 2017

The internet and style - The Migration of Subcultures

When I was fifteen, I fell madly and utterly in love with the Ramones and, quickly thereafter, The Clash, The Damned, The Sex Pistols and a whole host of other punk bands. The music lead me to the style and suddenly gave me something to focus on. Through my love for punk, I refined my own sense of personal style and found an "identity".

I've discussed this before, but a friend and I once had a conversation about this period of our lives, years later. We hadn't known each other then but both felt that, upon reflection, we had embraced subcultures as shields. When people weren't nice to us and we were lost and confused, stuck halfway between child and adult, these subcultures made us part of something bigger and we didn't have to feel so adrift. When people weren't nice to us, it was because of the music we liked and how we presented ourselves, not because of any flaw in our personalities, not because we were unlikeable. Subcultures fueled our bullies but hardened us against them at the same time.

Subcultures were a way of wearing "who you are" on the outside. They were a way of being able to identify potentially like-minded people at a glance.

But subcultures as we once knew them are dying.

The internet means that you don't have to wait until you go to a bigger town for a day, for a gig or merely dressed in your genre, in order to find like-minded people. It means that anyone, anywhere can find people with similar interests and outlooks - no matter how niche they might be.

And, so, it has been documented that subcultures are dying in the way that we used to know them. People don't need to clothe themselves in their identities anymore and they don't need to focus on one thing, they have access to a world of possibilities and references, even more than I did just a few years ago. When I first read about this vanishing of fashion subcultures as we knew them, I was sad, incredibly sad. Will teen movies no longer have goth kids and skaters and preps and nerds? Will the tribes that created a landscape of visual interest disappear? While they haven't been such a pronounced thing in Ireland for some time now, the idea of them being gone made a fashion nerd like me a little nostalgic and achey. The slow reduction into tropes to be recycled and taken from context on runways, turned me into a grumpy old man, hankering for times gone by (and, in many cases, long gone before I was even actually born, if I'm to be honest).

Yet, while this downturn has been documented by design historians and sociologists alike, even the layman can see that it is not necessarily the absolute end for fashion subcultures. The internet has long been a second home to subcultures, a place where new fashion tribes are bred and born. And, now, Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube mean that physically vocal proponents of subcultures and styles can be given a platform, hone their look, record it to perfection and, even, become a star because of it. Hell, their look might even become their career.

These new and reimagined subcultures may not be spotted lingering outside certain Dublin buildings, causing a nuisance, any more but they are out there, dotted across the globe, crafting a sophisticated image, quoting sources left and right and living on. Take Lolita, for example, a subculture that has divided into endless sub-genres and subcultures of its own and which has moved from the streets of Tokyo to a vast online community worldwide. In fact, in moving online, it has been given new life, perhaps sustained life, and spawned niches so specific that it can boggle the mind.

Subcultures aren't truly dead yet. They've been reborn as something more personal, more professional and more cultivated. They no longer seem to be born of unified ideas and movements belonging to specific and different generations but, rather, are at the beck and call of this generation, who have developed the skills to morph and manipulate according to their own desires. Perhaps the goths and skaters, as we once knew them, are largely invisible on the streets nowadays, but they have not died out. They have merely migrated.

And, maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get to see a rare mass-gathering IRL for a con or event.

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Sarah, a friend and lover of Lolita styles


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Josie, another friend and lover of Lolita


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Gothic themes and inspired makeup being adopted at a fashion show


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Paul Costelloe taking a cue from punk a couple of season back

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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Orange Vibrations - How To Recreate the Makeup Look from Giorgio Armani Prive Spring/Summer 2017

I often get emails from the high end beauty brands I work with, outlining how they did the makeup look for this or that starlet on the red carpet or, more excitingly, looks that are fresh off the runway. Show makeup is always my favourite. Particularly when it treads a careful and thin line between wearable and fantastical.

Giorgio Armani Prive SS17 was exactly that; a peachy pretty look that is not dissimilar to a marriage between the Igari makeup trend and something plucked from a sci-fi film. The dewy skin, rose-petal lips and light brows are all important but the key element is the orangey-pink blush tones carried around the eye and over the tops of the cheeks. For Spring/Summer, it is an incredibly light, sweet, suitable and somewhat fairy-like look.

Best of all? It's actually pretty wearable (IMHO). In fact, I followed the steps and wore it out to a friend's birthday dinner the other night.

Linda Cantello, International Makeup Artist at Giorgio Armani describes it as "A new take on orange" and goes on to say that it offers "a fresh vibrant Summer face."

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@ Kevin Tachman for Armani Beauty

Here are her steps to recreate it for yourself.

1. Prepare and massage skin with the Armani Prima Glow-On Moisturizing Balm (or any rich moisturiser you have on hand), ensuring the cream is absorbed before adding the base.

2. Use a concealer and foundation to correct natural skin tone, matching it to the color of the neck. Cantello suggests pairing their High Precision Retouch and new Power Fabric foundation.

3. For the main action, apply some Lip Maestro Notorious (In the shade #301) or any peachy cream blush widely on  cheeks & eyelid, making sure the angle from the brow bone down to the cheek is clearly defined. If needed, redefine the shape with a concealer.

4. Fill in the eyebrows creating a straight line.

5. Intensify the eye by adding a slight shadow from the inner corner to the brow with a taupe-coloured brown gel product such as the Armani Eye & Brow Maestro in 02 “Wenge Wood”. Then add a thin line of black eyeliner as close as possible to top lashes. Use finger to extend outer corner.
Apply a mascara such as the Eccentrico mascara in “Obsidian Black” to the top lashes only.

6. Mix lip shades in peach and rose tones such as the Lip Maestro Notorious shades 301 and 515 and gently dab onto lips.

7. Finally, powder at the end using a product such as the Luminous Silk Compact for a matte finish.


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@ Kevin Tachman for Armani Beauty


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@ Kevin Tachman for Armani Beauty



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