Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My sister, my hero...

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)

Hi everybody, I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently. My lovely little sister* hasn't been very well, so the family has been rallying around her, bringing hugs and treats on rotation. What continues to be so inspiring, is her immense courage and determination, paired with a wonderful sense of humour and gorgeous giggling - which you will immediately fall in love with, if you are lucky enough to meet her. So, my brave and beautiful sis', I wish you a very speedy recovery and, as always, lots of laughter. These are for you...

Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Now and Then (1995)
Little Women (1994)
Pretty Woman (1990)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Mermaids (1990)

How about we all take some time to celebrate our sisters, loved ones and those best gal pals who never fail to make us smile.

*(My sister will always be 'little' to me...)

Friday, 18 November 2011

City Girl Reports: Gilt.com Launches Globally

From Friday November 18, a global audience will have access to Gilt.com's members-only, e-commerce site. Having launched in 2007, Gilt.com has over 5 million active users in the USA, and will soon have many more in the 90+ countries where goods can now be shipped. This is exciting news for those of us in the UK and Europe, who have heard about Gilt.com but couldn't previously benefit. And, what were we hoping to benefit from? The allure of luxury is central to Gilt.com's story and success; many of us aspire to wear designer goods but simply cannot afford them. The solution offered by the site's founders (and founders of the Gilt Groupe) Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, is to acquire merchandise directly from the fashion houses, resulting in heavy discounts for Gilt.com's members. Selected items may be slow-selling in stores, but that certainly isn't the case online, and brands and customers are lapping it up. How does 60% off the retail price sound? Initially an invitation-only site, now anyone can be a member; all you need to do is sign up on the Gilt.com homepage. After joining, you will gain access to the daily 'flash-sales' - every day at 5pm - featuring current season fashion and accessories for women, men and children, not to mention designer treats for your home. Think super-glam sample sales, from your desk, which have been announced beforehand.

Gilt.com's designer tops
Gilt.com works with over 6,000 designer brands, including Vera Wang, Missoni, Alexander McQueen, Versace and Dolce & GabbanaEach sale lasts approximately 36 hours and there is a 'wait list' for any items that are sold out. Importantly, international Gilt.com members can take advantage of free shipping, from Friday 18 to Tuesday 22 November. And, from December, Gilt.com's app's for iPhone, iPad, Android and Gilt Mobile Web, will allow international members to browse and buy on the go. 

Gilt.com's designer shoes

Images) Thank you to Gilt.com

Weekend Diary: Reservoir Dogs Fancy Dress Party, Screen on the Green

As I write, it is almost the weekend, and by the time some of you read this, it will be! I hope you have a lovely time. If you haven't already planned your Saturday night, how about this? Tomorrow, Everyman's Screen on the Green cinema continues it's 'Retro Season' with a special fancy dress party and late-night showing of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. If you haven't seen this film before, you are in for a treat. Reservoir Dogs was the first feature from writer/director Tarantino and stormed into 1992's Sundance Film Festival, winning the prestigious Grand Jury Prize. Suddenly, here was an unmistakably stylish, clever and daring filmmaker, who left his audience wanting more. Of course, 'more' would soon follow, notably with one of my all-time favourite films, Pulp Fiction, in 1994. With a typically Tarantino-esque ensemble cast, soundtrack and tongue-in-cheek, yet extreme violence, Reservoir Dogs has moments of brilliance. The opening scene, showing the group of criminals chatting in a café, becomes one of those quintessential Tarantino conversation scenes; the audience is shocked, amused and fascinated by this unique insight into the criminal underworld. One of my personal favourite moments? When the group are given names - see the trailer below.

So, if you fancy seeing Reservoir Dogs for the first (or hundredth time), Everyman's Screen on the Green cinema is kicking off the party at 11.30pm tomorrow night (Saturday 19th), serving Mr Pink and Mr White cocktails - do you know who's who? From Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, K Billy's Super Sounds of the 70's will be playing, as the competition for best dressed commences. Time for your sharp suit, skinny tie and dark shades! The night is bound to be lots of fun. In the meanwhile, enjoy the trailer below  (sorry if you can't see the full width of the screen; you can access the Youtube trailer here).

Everyman Screen on the Green, 83 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0NP. You can book your tickets to the Reservoir Dogs Fancy Dress Party here.

Images: Thanks to Everyman Screen on the Green.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Daniel Galvin Hair Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

Corinthia Hotel London, Lobby Lounge

While working for British Vogue (on Vogue's Secret Address Book), I discovered many fabulous places in London, uniquely special in their own right and well worth a visit. Narrowing down was no easy feat. But, when we were considering the forerunners for our 'Hair' category, it was clear that the Daniel Galvin salon at Corinthia Hotel London, should be featured. Although I wasn't able to visit personally at the time, I have been desperate to see it for myself ever since. So, it was with much excitement that I entered the opulent, marble-encrusted Corinthia Hotel London on Saturday. A tour of the Corinthia Hotel to start, I gazed longingly at this stylish destination (and smart breakfast laid out for guests). Interiors are stunning from every angle, as natural light floods through the open, reflective and high-ceilinged spaces. Venturing downstairs to the spa, my expectations were high. Needless to say, they were very much met.

Daniel Galvin Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

The Daniel Galvin salon at Corinthia Hotel London, is the first Daniel Galvin salon in London since the opening of the Mayfair flagship. Two years in the making, it bears all the hallmarks of the renowned Daniel Galvin experience: technical expertise, excellent service (and loyal devotees), and a serene, luxurious sanctuary. The Daniel Galvin brand couldn't be more at home in the Corinthia Hotel London. With just nine hairdressing stations - all very slick with equal lashings of marble - exclusivity and privacy are key, without compromising on the 'friendly feel'. Although, if you do want total anonymity, 'The Ultimate Make-Over Room' offers a secret salon, just for you, whether you are preparing for a special date, or movie premiere. Designed by Oscar winning make-up artist Lois Burwell, this intimate space is beloved by actors and actresses, who can be groomed from head-to-toe, while watching TV or chatting on Skype. Impressively, 'The Ultimate Make-Over Room''s Kino Flo lighting can imitate everything from on-camera HD to outdoor lighting, ready for those pesky paps.

The Ultimate Make-Over Room, Corinthia Hotel London

Back to my hair! I had kindly been invited to try a 'Detox Miracle Solution' and blow dry, which were utter bliss. As a pregnant lady who's growing by the day, any pampering is welcomed, but sitting back and having someone bring out the glow in my lacklustre locks, with a head massage and canapés along the way, and I was one happy girl. The Detox Miracle Solution, safe for pregnant women and all hair types (apart from grey), contains pure Vitamin C, entering the hair via the cuticle to remove all traces of London pollution, before closing the cuticle to leave a transparent-like shine. It is also highly effective at revitalising coloured hair, perfect for me right now, as I have paused my colour during pregnancy. Of course, Daniel Galvin gained fame as the guru of the colouring world, so there are many colour services available should you wish, including a pre-blow dry 'Vegetable Colouring/Tint', designed to disguise rather than cover any grey hairs. 

Daniel Galvin Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

After my Detox Miracle Solution had washed away, I enjoyed a blow dry at the hands of senior stylist, Graham Hamps. His years of expertise and enthusiasm for hairdressing were palpable, and despite battling with my very thick hair, it was soon looking more luscious and healthy than it had in a long while. Graham and the team also take appointments for 'up-dos', so I am very tempted to return for the Christmas party season. For some reason, I haven't posted a picture of myself on the blog until now (although you'll now find one in the 'About Me' section), but I wanted to share a photo from my indulgent morning. Please forgive the fuzzy quality... but that may be no bad thing, until the rest of me is looking as beautiful as my hair!

After 'The Detox Miracle Solution' and Blow Dry. What do you think?

City Girl Diaries was a guest of Modus Publicity.

Images: With thanks to Modus and Daniel Galvin at Corinthia Hotel London, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2BD. Tel: 020 7321 3060. danielgalvin@corinthiahotellondon.com

Monday, 14 November 2011

City Girl Reports: Tamara Mellon leaves Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo co-founder, Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon has announced her resignation from Jimmy Choo, the brand she founded with the now world-famous shoe designer in 1996. In addition to Mellon's departure as co-founder and chief creative officer, Jimmy Choo's chief executive Joshua Schulman has also resigned. He will leave in early 2012, whilst Mellon will stay on until the end of November. Both Mellon and Schulman step down following the label's acquisition by luxury goods group Labelux, in May 2011. Sandra Choi and Simon Holloway will continue as creative directors of Jimmy Choo

Tamara Mellon modelled for Jimmy Choo's first fragrance campaign

Winning 'Business woman of the Year' at last week's Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards 2011 wouldn't have come as a surprise to Mellon's fans, who have watched in awe as the driven yet likeable entrepreneur catapulted a small cobbler (and herself) to the heights of fame and success. Having received The Jimmy Choo Story: Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe for Christmas last year, I became an immediate admirer of the strength and self-belief displayed by Mellon. Spying a niche in the market for a luxurious accessories brand, the then accessories editor at British Vogue convinced a then unknown East End shoemaker to team up, start a ready-to-wear shoe company, and focus on growth. In the next fifteen years, Tamara Mellon became the face of the Jimmy Choo brand, from which she seemed inseparable. It was her "leadership and creative vision" (as tweeted by the Jimmy Choo label yesterday), that shaped her success at the helm of what is now one of the most celebrated and coveted shoe brands in the world. Her flair for communication and PR soon led to celebrity and Sex and the City endorsements, furthering Jimmy Choo's popularity still. Mellon, as always, argued that success was due to their product. Yet, whilst no one can dispute the craftsmanship and beauty of the 'choos' themselves, Tamara Mellon was ever-busy in the background.

Tamara Mellon's success has been rewarded in recent years. In October 2010, she received an OBE for services to the fashion industry. And, in January 2011, David Cameron appointed her a UK business ambassador. 

Tamara Mellon receives her OBE, October 2010

Deemed largely responsible for turning Jimmy Choo into a multi-million pound business, there is little doubt that Tamara Mellon will go on to achieve great success elsewhere. Although no reasons for her (or Schulman's departure) have been publicly declared, Reinhard Mieck, chief executive of Labelux, said to the FT: "Jimmy Choo is an outstanding brand with enormous growth potential and the ability to deliver material growth synergies across our group. With a successful transition behind them, we respect their wish to move on to other challenges." It will be fascinating to now observe their careers and the future of the Jimmy Choo brand.

*Check out my recent post, Jimmy Choo Icons at NET-A-PORTER*

Images: British Vogue

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Style Library: I Love Lowie

It's been a while since I last wrote a 'Style Library' post, partly because I've been keen to experiment with different types of posts. Yet, every so often there is a label or shop (and for now, I'm going to keep these posts fashion-focused), which really catches my eye and imagination. So I've decided to continue adding to my Style Library. I hope you enjoy my selections and perhaps all together, they will form a rather stylish London address book - of brands and boutiques that are slightly different.
'Mohair Diamond Beanie' by Lowie, £48

At the Forward PR press day in Soho last week, I encountered the Spring/Summer 2012 collection from Lowie, the handmade ethical clothing and accessories brand with a vintage, 'traveller' twist. Think cute and classy, with a conscience. Started in 2002 by designer Bronwyn Lowenthal, Lowie's philosophy is to "produce beautiful clothing people want to wear as ethically as possible, without jeopardising design". Using only high-quality organic and eco-friendly materials, each collection is compact, but much desired by fans - to include Luella Bartley and Erin O'Connor. After several press appointments over a frantic few days, Lowie captivated me from my first glance and lodged itself into my memory. Pieces look and feel delicious (ever more so, knowing the brand's ethics) and arguably deserve their not-cheap-but-not-prohibitive price tag. After all, wearing one of Lowie's tea dresses, made from soft merino wool and hand-puffed sleeves, that's a special occasion in itself.

'Tea dress' in soft merino wool by Lowie, £235

Dotted about this post are some images from Lowie's gorgeously comforting Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, available to buy online at Ilovelowie.com, or stockists to include Anthropologie and Liberty. Perhaps it's my mum-to-be yearnings for soft fabrics and still-trendy styles, but aren't these perfect for the Christmas list?

'Military Jacket' in virgin wool by Lowie, £178

'Turkish Colourful Socks' by Lowie, £20

And here's a sneak peek from Lowie's Spring/Summer 2012 nautical-inspired collection, featuring woven, jersey, cotton knit and crochet pieces. 

What do you think?

Images) With thanks to Lowie, and my own.

Monday, 7 November 2011

City Girl: Déjà vu

City Girl admires: Style Icon, Audrey Tautou
City Girl's Weekend Diary: London's Halloween Happenings

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Weekend Diary: Shoes for Show, The Sculptural Art of High Heels

Left: Christian Louboutin for The English National Ballet,
Right: Vintage Nina Ricci, owned by Daphne Guinness.

Happy weekend all, and here's to an exciting Bonfire night! If you are struggling to find fireworks in your local part of town, here's a list of all Bonfire night shows, by London area. In the meantime, try to get yourself down to East London's Brick Lane, for Shoes for Show: The Sculptural Art of High Heels, one very special shoe exhibit indeed. Launched by online shoe store Javari.co.uk (the brainchild of Amazon), Shoes for Show fuses fashion and art, showcasing spectacular one-off pairs on loan from the private collections of fashion greats, to include Daphne Guinness, Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood and Gareth Pugh.

Christian Louboutin for Rodarte, A/W 2008

I was invited to the private view of Shoes for Show on Thursday and as soon as I stepped inside, was marvelling at the fantastic flair and force of each design; if you walked in wearing one of these pairs, you would be guaranteed full attention. That's if you could walk in the first place! The exhibition, split into three sections, concludes with 'Innovative Design in Footwear', where the designers  prioritise not practical function, but the shoe as piece of art. The first section celebrates shoes for the catwalks; the second, for couture clients and the stage (including Beyonce's footwear for 'Rule the World', below). Even if you're a ballet-pump addict like myself, these are high heels like none other.

Gareth Pugh for Beyonce's 'Rule The World (Girls)' video
Terry de Havilland for Agent Provocateur, The 'Crystalina' A/W 2009 Superhero collection

Each bespoke shoe is displayed within three commissioned sculptures by artist Jamie Bowler. The box-like structures emphasize the sculptural quality of the shoes within, as well as the precise mathematical proportions shoe designers must work from, when creating a high heel. You will walk out in awe of high-heel wearers everywhere, appreciating the craftsmanship of their designers and the beauty of the final shoe, or should I say, work of art.

Nicholas Kirkwood for Printemps 'Alice in Wonderland' window display, 2010

Javari.co.uk's 'Shoes for Show: The Sculptural Art of High Heels' is free and open to the public, until 8th November (11am-7pm, except for Sunday 6th, 11am-5pm). The Loading Bay, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL.

Rupert Sanderson for Verdi's Aida at The Royal Opera House

Images: My own, and with thanks to Mission PR.

Friday, 4 November 2011

British Vogue December Issue: The Secret Address Book

Vogue December 2011 issue & The Secret Address Book

I mentioned recently that I had worked at British Vogue on a project and that all would be unveiled soon. Well, that time has come, as British Vogue's December issue has finally hit the newsstands. Alongside a dazzling array of super stylish festive features - showcasing seasonal wardrobes, travel and a gorgeous gift guide - there is the usual Vogue celebration of talent and a look-back at some of the extraordinary individuals who have captured our imaginations during 2011. Plus, there is the awesome cover shot of 'gold-plated' Gisele, shot by Mario Testino...

Vogue December 2011 cover, Gisele Bündchen

So, what was I working on? Vogue's Secret Address Book; the glossy supplement released alongside Vogue's December issue (see top pic). Maybe you remember an earlier Secret Address Book, published in December 2008? Whilst the look and format have been revamped, the idea remains the same: inside The Secret Address Book, you will find an A-Z of 'insider' destinations (400+), and there are some real treats, some of which were recommended so grudgingly as Vogue's insiders quite liked the idea of keeping their secrets 'secret'. But, excitingly, they agreed to divulge their coveted contacts - and they're not solely fashion-focused. From 'Honey' to 'Healing', 'Pilates' to 'Pyjamas' and 'Wallpaper' to 'Women Winemakers', it's a diverse compendium, enhanced by the top secret addresses of influential personalities and Vogue Editors from around the globe. Want to know where to buy tiles in Lisbon, or roadside sandals in Mumbai? Look no further. As for the UK, don't worry if you don't live in London, as many places can be found beyond the capital. 

Vogue's Secret Address Book, inside peek

It was lots of fun working on Vogue's Secret Address Book, from selecting, researching, sampling (my desk was covered with smellies and cakes), and writing. I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear which places you may have discovered! 

The Secret Address Book and the December issue of British Vogue are out now.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Spring/Summer 2012: Catwalk Trend Report

To my regret, I wasn't able to attend the Spring/Summer 2012 shows (or cover them on City Girl Diaries), due to a crazy schedule of work and personal commitments, including a stint at British Vogue. Instead, I watched keenly from the sidelines, kept up-to-date by enthusing friends, colleagues and my usual trusty sources: various brilliant blogs, Vogue.com and Style.com. As usual, the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris presented a multitude of 'macro' and 'micro' trends (some typically spring/summer-like, some not) and there will be much to choose from, as they filter down into our favourite shops. Looking back to the shows and looking forward to wearing next year's trends myself, I knew that I couldn't ignore this crucial period in the fashion calendar, nor the influence that it will soon have on our wardrobes. Most Spring/Summer 2012 trend reports (as with other seasons), filter the trends by location or by those most dominant. As I wasn't witness to them all via the catwalks, I have simply chosen a few of my favourites, so here they are...

A Lightness of Touch
From Louis Vuitton's dainty 'doilie' princesses, to glowing versions of femininity at Valentino and to sharp, figure-flattering nude tailoring at Givenchy, Spring/Summer 2012 collections were full of light.

Louis Vuitton, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Louis Vuitton, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Valentino, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Valentino, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Givenchy, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Givenchy, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW

Glamour Redefined
For Spring/Summer 2012, glamour harbours a tough edge. Floaty runway gowns have given way to a stronger femininity. Sarah Burton again wooed Alexander McQueen fans, with her sculptural yet stunning creations. Behind beautiful, flowing silks, was a determined and androgynous vision at Haider Ackermann. Meanwhile, Christopher Kane's shimmering designs were short and sporty. When you go for glamour, wear it with strength. Pretty isn't everything.

Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Haider Ackermann, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Haider Ackermann, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Christopher Kane, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Christopher Kane, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW

Gatsby is Great
The 1920's were celebrated on the catwalks, and it seems we'll never tire of this trend. That's probably a good thing, with the release of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby scheduled for December 2012. Tory Burch's twenties-take was flattering and extremely elegant, while Marc Jacobs' flapper dresses and bold cuts were simply show-stopping. Perhaps the most Gatsby-esque of all, Ralph Lauren (who designed the costumes for the original 1974 film), returned by paying homage to those pretty pyjama pants and Jazz Age dresses.

Tory Burch, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Tory Burch, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW

Marc Jacobs, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Marc Jacobs, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Ralph Lauren, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW
Ralph Lauren, Spring/Summer 2012 RTW

Which is your favourite Spring/Summer 2012 trend?

Images: Style.com
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