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The UK top feminist icons were recently announced and Angelina Jolie has been crowned the number one spot. Actress and fellow UN Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, who had recently launched her HeForShe gender equality campaign, ranked 2nd in the poll conducted by Fashion house Rose and Willard.
One positive message this poll shows is that gradually the image of a feminist is changing which can only be a good thing, I am a feminist and not ashamed to say it, I also shave my legs, don’t have a vendetta against the male species or refuse to wear a bra. Stereotypes are what make the term feminist have such negative connotations, why I believe some women are afraid to call themselves one, feminists are no longer bitter women writers but public figures, carrying themselves with grace and strength.
With Hillary Clinton hinting at a second attempt at the Presidency I must say I for one am excited, more so than one usually would be regarding politics. Could this generation see the first black president and the first female president? Madeleine Albright was appointed the first female secretary of state in 1997, paving the way for a string of women reaching one of the highest powers a person can hold. Hillary Clinton’s game changing speech in Bejing September 5th 1995, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women was unforgettable wearing nothing other than a pale pink suit and pearls. In my opinion strategically chosen, underneath the pastel exterior was a woman on a mission a tactic to mislead those who felt she shouldn’t have been there especially with the tension with China at the time. However, with the poignant words spoken we have to question what has been achieved since and a full 20 years on the amount of women at heads of state around the world is still just 14 out of 192.
Fashion and feminisim, feminism and fashion, polar opposites, contradicting things? Not in my opinion, like I said a feminist isn’t what some people perceive them to be. I am a wizz with the nail varnish brush and spend my free time reading Vogue, finding new blogs to follow etc….. But can also talk for hours about the state of women in society.
We have work to do in society, but we are getting there. What we need to focus on is the bigger picture, I recently watched a documentary on Hillary Clinton’s speech (BBC iPlayer), which I recommend, no easy watch I assure you but it will make you want to get off the sofa and do something.
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Madeleine Albright – First ever female US Secretary of State (Keynote speech at Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA’s All-Decade Team, 2006)”
This quote has to be one of my favourite of all time, women who say ‘I’m not a girls girl’, ‘Women don’t tend to like me, I think it’s jealousy’, ‘I get along better with men’, all well and good but I don’t know where I would be without the support of the women in my life, so can’t imagine how these women do without and seem to openly admit that they do without. Help each other don’t hinder, I’ll openly admit you cannot help feeling jealous, especially when on a beach, getting ready for a night out, we all know the feeling of Why isn’t my skin like hers? Why aren’t my legs the same as hers? But for women to succeed to where we want to be whether it be a stay at home Mom that makes the best Sunday roast or the next VP of Google, we have to quite simply help a sister out.
Hi there! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from my blog as I’ve been pretty busy with other commitments, such is life ay!
However, for this edition I want to talk about one thing and one thing only, the wonder of Valentino. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in fashion, everything from the Haute Couture to the accessories. I’m lucky enough to work on the marketing for Valentino Eyewear in the UK and part of my job is to know the brand and fortunately this is far from a chore.
The brand was established in 1960 by now legendary designer Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino S.p.A. in recent years celebrated a major cornerstone, its 50th anniversary further consecrating its heritage and success story. In October 2008, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were named Valentino Creative Directors, which has proved to be a game-changing move for the brand as the duo have been credited with re-inventing the brand with an astonishing success. They have an unparalleled attention to detail and focus their attention on every element of the brand, they’ve also become household names in themselves as any designer does with a brand they revolutionise, as Karl Lagerfeld became a part of Chanel and Stella McCartney became a part of Chloe. This has just been further recognised as the designers have won the CFDA International Award, which has been won in the past by the likes of Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo. As a brand Valentino in the past were known for its high society female customer, opulence and pure luxury, now the brand has edge, a younger following and designs which we have quickly seen replicated down to high street level. The Rockstud is now an iconic element the brand, the Camu is now synonymous with the brand whether it be on the leather goods or the trainers.
The recent PR stunt during the Fall/Winter 2015-16 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week at the Jardin des Tuileries, where two stars of the upcoming Zoolander 2 film took centre stage on the runway was a resounding accomplishment. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took over the runway in a mix of custom suiting and pieces from the Valentino 2015 Collection and then took part in a photo shoot on the streets of Paris in head to toe Camu (I’d especially like to note the Valentino sunglasses worn by Ben Stiller). The stunt once again proved the brands new direction and was talked about on everything from Vogue to Buzzfeed.
The brand is a perfect example of what fashion is best for, expression, designs you can only dream of, re-invention, I may not have a Haute Couture gown or a pair of Rock Stud heels but my Valentino sunglasses and my Camou glasses are my little piece of Valentino and hopefully just the start of my collection.
As I spent part of my weekend watching the splendor and genius of the one and only Pharrell Williams killing it at the O2 my love for him and all he stands for only grew. I organically found N*E*R*D at the tender age of about 13 or 14 and by organically I stumbled across them on MTV and from then on I was hooked. For any music lover you can often remember one piece of music, band or artist that turns you from a chart listener to a music enthusiast. From then on their albums were on repeat, their merchandise was on order and I was a complete fan, including being at the front row of one of their concerts in Brixton as a teenager and as you know I am short now, so you can imagine the size of me then and skill it took to be and stay at the front row!
Pharrell has always been in different whether it was through his Neptunes productions with his musical partner Chad or through N*E*R*D (with Chad and final third member Shay), however he now promotes this idea and aims it towards women. His incredible album Girl exudes this and no better than one of the hits from the album Marilyn Monroe in which he quotes ‘Different’ at the start of the track. Whilst at his concert he put so much emphasis on the strong female dancers he calls the Bae’s who are impressive in every way and continually said to the crowd ‘I want all the different girls to put their hands in the air’.
My gushing over Pharrell does have a point I assure you, being a feminist, slight tomboy and a subtle activist for racial equality and women’s and animal rights it’s important to hear such an influential person and not just a person but a man encouraging women to be different. If all your friends are listening to Rihanna and getting excited for the new series of Made In Chelsea (or worse TOWIE) and you would rather be listening to the new Defected Records podcast and watching documentaries about serial killers, well there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s different people that have made our world what it is today and it is those people who are making the word a better place day after day, take Malala Yousafzai, having been shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for being an activist for female education, she has now won the Nobel Peace Prize and is going on to do simply incredible things. She is an exceptional case but even a simple thing like going out your way to sign a petition against angora fur is making a difference and being different. I only hope there are more albums, books, films and people which help the younger generations see the beauty in being that little bit different.
It’s a Friday morning and to my surprise the sun is out and gleaming, as I look out the 6th floor window of my office I’m happy to see the sweet candy blue sky and wispy clouds, could this be the start of our Summer?
If so there is one thing that springs to my mind, one thing that I love dearly and by no stretch of the word could do without and that is (however dull and safe) a pair of black jeans. If our Summer is upon us, I must begin to say my goodbyes for another season.
I must admit that no matter how much I love the Summer months, filled with beer gardens, festivals and friends I hate saying goodbye to my black jeans, they’re always there like a good friend.
I think fashion is for experimentation, expression, controversy, anything you want as a matter of fact, but sometimes an old faithful can be the simplest form of style.
If you’re anything like me there is a shudder down your spine as you see the first denim thongs (a phrase myself and my friends have coined) walking around the streets of London town at the first break of sunshine. For me a fashion enthusiast who isn’t a size 6, let’s say, this is often where I feel tested both mentally and physically, of course I don’t wish to take part in the hot pant parade championed by the fresh faced 18 year old’s of our great nation, I would however like to be able to enjoy Summer in a shift dress and ankle boot without the immense anxiety at the thought of ‘getting my legs out’.
Needless to say, I will and do return back to my blessed black jeans throughout the Summer months, I just will have to face the music as the temperature rises and force myself to break out, or should I say purchase, the summer dresses….. Or we could start off with maxi skirts and see how we go from there.
Seven countries in four and a half months, all offering new experiences, new opportunities and new life lessons. The beauty of South East Asia is undeniable and by beauty I don’t just mean the postcard beaches and screen saver sunsets, but the beauty within the people of these countries and the strength they show. The Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot regime, S21 were all things I am slightly ashamed to say I had never heard of before I decided to travel to Cambodia. The Cambodian genocide was a travesty and only happened a few decades ago yet my generation seems completely unaware of what happened. Half the population were wiped out and therefore in some way everyone still in Cambodia has a connection to the tragedy that took place, although you wouldn’t think this upon visiting the country and meeting the people.
Poverty is an inescapable realism you face throughout all these countries and yet some of the major topics of conversation between myself and friends were ‘I need a job when I get back’, ‘I need to pay off my overdraft’ and so on. The pressure of working and earning was still with us when we were thousands of miles away. I was having a conversation with my parents just the other day and they described what their work ethic was like when they were my age and it was more I’ll get money when I get it, rather than I need to get money now. With debts hanging over most of our heads and the ideal of being a successful 20-something always in our thoughts, I don’t think we can help the way our generation now thinks.
I have been lucky enough to land myself a fantastic job and will be starting next week, and thanks to reading up on New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks my need to go shopping and spend the money I have earned doing a temporary job is growing simply too great and will be heading to Westfields to get my own pieces of the latest trends (military and biker are looking like the favourites at the moment). Earning money is a great feeling but when I’m thinking about what I am going to spend my pay cheque I want to try to remember walking round the killing fields of Cambodia in the blistering heat, listening to the stories of what happened there. It is only a little something but for the first time in my life I have set up a regular donation to both the WWF and RSPCA and that at least gives me a small amount of satisfaction that some of my pay cheque is going towards better things. I don’t mean to preach, however I can’t feeling like we need to let go of some of this pressure and sometimes just sit back and take it all in, before we get to 50 and wonder where the fun, excitement and spontaneity stopped and all consuming work began.
So it’ s been a long time since my last post and I’ve done a lot in that time. New Zealand was beautiful beyond words, a stunning country with so much to offer. From the skydiving, bungy jumping (obviously Nevis, go big or go home!) to white and black water rafting it was an incredible month, not to mention all the great people I met. The Maori people have an incredible history, I learned about them on a trip and my personal highlight was hearing about their tattoo traditions and how their tattoos paint a story of their lives, on their body. I went to an exhibit in the Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington and was able to learn about the short but great life Vogue New Zealand had for 10 years, a few decades ago. The sample gowns were incredible and it was interesting to see what New Zealand brought to the fashion table all those years ago. I have now been in Thailand for a month and what a culture shock. The country is brilliant and you are never short of a good night out or beautiful beach or interesting character!
By making the decision not to bring out my beloved iPhone 4gs I made the decision to be relatively separated from what i know and love back home, (bar sharing my friend’s phone on the odd occasion). It made me realise that even though I am the ultimate phone addict I can go without for what will be four and a half months. I have struggled with is the separation from family and friends, needless to say it’s natural. However one other thing i struggled with is the separation from BBC Radio 1 and Annie Mac’s Friday night show, or Vogue news and updates daily in my Hotmail and general news. You become so consumed with what you are doing you forget about what is going on elsewhere. Traveling is incredible, exciting and you learn so much, along with university I sincerely recommend partaking. It tests you in ways you can’t imagine from bursting a blood vessel in your eye and looking like a zombie for 3 weeks, courtesy of a bungee jump, to breaking a toe courtesy of a drunken night in Koh Phangan, you learn to focus on what’s important and loosing something like a top is so insignificant compared to being able to contact home.
The next stop is the crazy place that is Lao, then onto Vietnam and Cambodia, to be filled with museums and war memorials, which I am so excited for. Then home. Four and a half months soon to be over and I am curious to see what that feeling will be like.
As Fashion week is in full swing in Milan and London fashion week has now come to a close, I have two reflections on my mind. Looking back over LFW and some of my personal highlights, including the British influence throughout many of the shows and the eye catching and mouth watering colour combinations. Emelia Wickstead created an English infused, lady like collection; the collaboration of scarlet and blush pink was neither garish nor over-the-top,
instead it slipped in perfectly with lady of Britain theme. Continuing this British influence Corrie Nelson’s A/W collection with the beautifully crafted designs and beautiful over flow of tartan patterns onto the models faces, bought some drama to the catwalk and the gorgeous use of collars and bows in Bora Aksu (collars being a personal love of mine) with the stunning flower patterns, as a stark contrast to Nelson, were simply beautiful. Both Zoe Jordan and PPQ stood out for me for the great use of texture, the designs were all rich with detail and luxury, with the embellished tights of PPQ and the fantastic Spanish hats of Jordan, the collections did not disappoint. The beautiful prints, colours and fabrics applied within the Moschino Cheap and Chic show, were an absolute highlight to LFW, the colours were pieced together in such a fun and elegant way that you could feel as if you were watching some of your grown up dress-up fantasies come to life. One show to be commended for its signature architectural design is that of Holly Fulton, in three words the designs were intricate, rich and stunning, and one would expect nothing less. Of course, I wouldn’t feel right commenting on LFW without the mention of Vivienne Westwood Red Label. A show with such a great range, with influences ranging from British punk to tribal, androgyny to draping dresses, it was difficult to find fault. Since the last Red Label show Westwood has raised £1.15 million for Cool Earth, giving the show a deeper meaning and influence, that reaches further out from the beautiful fashion.
However my second reflection upon LFW sprung to my mind when going through the Mulberry A/W 12/13 Ready-to-wear collection and that was fur. All my life I have been an animal lover and along with being a bit of a self-confessed feminist, I am a firm fighter for animal rights and this is the dilemma. I love fashion and culture and every element, the expression the unique ability to portray your mood, feelings and attitude through the clothes and accessories you adorn, however in the 21st Century we are still resorting to using fur as a statement of luxury and wealth. Faux-fur has come a long way from the costumes you would find in the drama cupboard at school; it can make the same statement, create the same image and portray the same glamour without the slaughter (to many this may seem a strong word, but for me it is quite apt) of beautiful innocent animals. On safari at seven years old I was lucky enough to see in the flesh a majestic elephant with incredible ivory tusks as big as me at the time; I hope that this elephant stayed how I remembered it and was not the victim of poachers, after its tusks to be made into someone’s grand piano keys. I plea that the ‘I would rather go naked than wear fur’ campaign created by PETA, continues to flourish and that more designers follow the path of Stella McCartney in going against the grain to create fashion without suffering.
1928, 82 years ago, all women finally recieved the vote, all thanks to the incredible women of the Suffragettes. Founded in 1897 by Millicent Fawcett, the Suffragettes fought for the right to vote for women, by 1918 women over 30 obtained the right to vote however it took a further 10 years for all women to recieve the vote under eaual terms as men. The Suffragettes achieved this by using any means necessary. Emmeline Pankhurst said in her autobiography,
‘this was the beginning of a campaign the like of which was never known in England, or for that matter in any other country…we interrupted a great many meetings…and we were violently thrown out and insulted. Often we were painfully bruised and hurt’.
In some cases they were more than just bruised and hurt; during their hunger strikes whilst incarcerated they were force fed through tubes and most famously Emily Davidson actually lost her life when at the June 1913 Derby she supposedly through herself under the kings horse and died.
Through all this it must be said that in our current culture we have the responsibilty to vote. I personally am still undecided, however when i do make my descision i will be making the most of this power we now have.
One of my passions is film, especially the signature films of the 80’s, such as those directed by the late John Hughes, an incredible and innovative director, i even plan on doing my disertation on this era of film.
Unfortunenatley in recent news Corey Haim, half of the famous 80’s duo ‘The Coreys’ died aged 38.
Haim was found dead in the early hours of the morning of March 10th having passed away from a possible accidental overdose. Haim hit the peak of his career during the 80’s when he was teamed up with Corey Feldman in such films as Dream a Little Dream and License to Drive. I grew up watching all the films of this era and when i read that Haim had passed away and so young i was deeply saddened. His career may have been short lived but the work he did will always be remembered along with his signature smile.
For more information on Corey Haim visit the official website http://www.coreyhaim.us/