Monthly Archives: July 2011

I admit it: I love a summer blockbuster. I can appreciate the allure of Eric Rohmer-school art-house talkies but, if I’m really honest with myself (and with you, too), it’s the explosive megaliths that get me every time. These are some of the few productions that still justify the whole big-screen-movie-going experience, as opposed to the relax-in-the-comfort-of-your-living-room experience. Surround sound! Flashing lights! The end of life as we know it!

It had to happen, I suppose. Post the huge-public-love-fest associated with the Kate Middelton/Prince William wedding, and the corresponding publicity and sales boost it delivered to many associated fashion brands from Alexander McQueen to Launer, maker of the Queen’s buttercup handbag, it seems every other English designer is hoping a royal nuptial association might have a similar knock-on effect. Any royal nuptial association.  

Women’s wear daily is reporting today that PPR is in talks with Brioni about buying the Italian luxury brand. The PPR folk won’t comment, but I think this makes sense. 

Fashion can make allies of the most seemingly apposite of pairs. Last week, ex-US Secretary of the Treasury, current Harvard Prof and FT columnist Larry Summers announced that: “One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o’clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they’re looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole.” Then, yesterday, Peter Bingle, chairman of PR company Bell Pottinger, revealed in a blog that he had received “a letter informing me that my membership of Soho House and Shoreditch House was being revoked ‘effective immediately… because I have disregarded Soho House’s ‘casual dress code.’ I have been banned for wearing a suit!”

 

Image of tributes to Amy Winehouse

Image by Getty

Today is Amy Winehouse’s funeral, and I hope, but am not convinced, the fashion world will acknowledge what it has lost.

She did, after all, provide the soundtrack to a season: just after her award-winning album “Back to Black” was released, when Rehab was the most popular track at fashion shows. I remember sitting in a Comme des Garcons collection listening to it; ditto Dior. If one song could work for both those brands, which stand for pretty diametrically opposed value systems (clothes as concept vs clothes as couture; clothes as challenge vs clothes as perfect costume), you knew it was something special. 

One of the more controversial, if obscure, practices in the fashion world is “sand-blasting”, the process by which sand is fired at denim at high speeds: pow, pow! While this can make the fabric look cool, it also releases silica dust which experts say can cause pulmonary disease. Good for the catwalk, not so good for the factory workers, as the Clean Clothes Campaign discovered, so last year it started asking brands, luxury and otherwise, to look at their production processes and do the right thing. 

Clamour for British brands among emerging market consumers has been the making of luxury brands like Burberry and Mulberry. The long-established British fashion houses have seen their share prices rise 93 per cent and 500 per cent respectively in the past year as overseas revenues soar.

Now another group of British entrepreneurs is looking to cash in. Known as The Brand Cellar, the London and Hong Kong-based group is busy snapping up what is calls “much loved, but dormant” British brands.

 

I woke up this morning to two pieces of related, and interesting, news (news in my context, that is): first, Rebekah Brooks had NOT worn black after all yesterday in Parliament as I thought when I wrote about her on the day, but rather dark blue (my bad); and second, the heroine of the whole event was the woman in pink. Wendi Murdoch, who leapt to her husband’s defense and wacked his would-be “attacker,” is today’s hit of the blogosphere. Why does this matter? It points out the issues, good and bad, with the science of colour when it comes to dress and public appearance.
 

So: for Rupert Murdoch, dark blue pinstripes, white shirt, blue tie with small pattern. For James, blue suit, white shirt, light blue tie with diagonal stripes. If I had bet on this, I would have done pretty well in the “what will the Murdochs wear?” sweepstakes. 

The thing I’m waiting for today is what Rupert and James Murdoch are going to wear to testify before Parliament. Appearance has played a not insignificant role in this drama: Rupert has, since his re-appearance in Britain to stem the scandal, been described as looking “old”; James as being less charming than his father thanks to his “Marine crewcut” (Newsweek) and little glasses; and Rebekah Brooks – well, let’s just say “hair.” If they were characters in a TV serial, these would be the distinguishing features noted by the script writers to encapsulate character.