Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Summer must-haves: the classic & the seasonal

If there are only two things I'll be buying this summer, it's these two: the ankle-grazing dark skinny jean and the white blazer. The skinny jean has become a new classic (pardon the contradiction), and a skintight cut that allows for no ruching (usually seen at the ankles or knees) and that just covers the ankle bone is incredibly flattering and elegant (think: Audrey Hepburn, dancer, French). The white blazer is the new-season piece de resistance, and is surprisingly versatile, lending an elegant air of sex appeal to many an ensemble. It can be worn in a classic fashion, or even cinched with a thin green patent belt - a nod to the sexy Seventies colour-flare look so popular for S/S '11.

Images (from top): ASOS & The Trend Boutique.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

the Socialite

Today on the Socialite: the reason an insistent crying sound perennially emanates from my wallet

AKA Dannijo, the awesome jewellery brand. From top, my favourites, in order of swoonsome-ness:

Adianca, $495
Florence, $545
Cota, $795

All images are the property of Dannijo.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Cambridge Satchel!

After the wonderful bags made by the Cambridge Satchel Company were brought to my attention by some seriously stylish bloggers (including the incredibly beautiful Carolina Engman of Fashion Squad, here), I decided it was high time I jumped on the oh-so-cute bandwagon. I got a 15-inch in my new favourite colour, bright forest green, with blind embossing. It's amazing - it carries all my essentials, including my hefty laptop, and looks great with pretty much everything as it's the perfect blend of trendy (new-season bright) and classic (loving that school-satchel shape and buckles). To quote Rachel Zoe: I die.

Get one here.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

the Socialite

Today on the Socialite: Label whore? Net-a-porter.com gets the Socialite treatment

This evening, I find myself saddled with a somewhat foreign emotion - guilt. Or should that be Gilt? I have just emerged from a five hour online shopping spree. Not so much a spree, really, more like a suicide mission, as in "I've just racked up the kind of debt that can only be paid back by a Mafia mobster so I'm going to have to find a tall building, and jump to it (pun in-fucking-tended), before I get shot in the face by Frank D'Amico".

I'm not kidding. Net-a-porter just got a frickin' capital injection, and are now expanding into Russia and French Polynesia.

Honestly, though, it's all down to the advent of fast fashion. I love Zara et al as much as the next person, but toting a faux leather satchel from Topshop just isn't the same as carrying a Birkin. I tell you, the level of craftsmanship present in one of those is just something that is entirely lacking these days - a marker and element of times gone by, when 'handmade' equalled hours of painstaking, tireless work to produce something of sheer, pass-on-to-your-children (are you fucking kidding me? I'm taking it to the grave! Pry it from my cold, dead fingers if you can) quality, not $14.99 from Etsy.

This is why I spend an inordinate amount of money on clothes when I could easily purchase a replica from H&M: quality. Unlike most of the best things in life, it's something that money can buy, and shortcuts really can't compare.

Plus, the experience of shopping on Net-a-porter really eases the painful experience of maxing out that black AmEx (yes, I spent that much). The website is slick and organized, the service is swift and simple, and customer service is great. I imagine it's somewhat akin to the experience of taking money for sex: you feel sort of sick at first, but it passes when you think of the exciting use of the money.

Image: handbagsgeek.com

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The most awesome magazine ever

I am totally not biased. Not at all. In any way. OK, maybe a little. But even if I weren't, I'd still say The Printed Blog is the best thing since sliced bark mulch. No matter what you're into, it has something to tickle your fancy - there's split-your-sides humour, sex advice, sex humour, sex misadventures, incredible photography, fashion, lifestyle and culture articles...everything. It's a glossy pop culture mash-up.

If, like me, you religiously read every single word between the covers of a magazine (don't ask - I'm convinced it's "improving my cultural outlook on life"), there's nothing in print better than The Printed Blog. The articles, all of which have been sourced from talented bloggers from all corners of the web, are poignant, moving, hilarious, shocking, scandalous and addictive, often simultaneously.

Even the fashion section, I am pleased to report, holds its own marvellously, which might come as a surprise to those who consider fashion bloggers little more than snap-happy self-made street style pimps. The articles are thoughtful and insightful, and have in the past been authored by such respected figures as Tavi Gevinson of Style Rookie. And it only gets better from there - trust me, I know, I edited the next issue. Big and beautiful things are in the works...

If you really needed another reason to subscribe (you hard-nose), just check out the examples of the photography included, below (selected by Photography Editor Tyler Shields, no less. If you don't know who he is, please, just pretend you do and go look him up. Stat).

Oh, and it only costs $24 per year to subscribe to this awesomeness. Case closed, right?

Check out The Printed Blog official website here.
Check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts for regular updates.
Subscribe here.

Images: top two, theprintedblog.com. Others, from top: Boris Ovini, Jens Ingvarsson, Nataliya Peregudova.

Friday, 13 May 2011

the Socialite

Today on the Socialite: The Box, London

Hello, darlings! OK, I really do sound like a plastic-fantastic wannabe baby prostitute. Let's start over. Hi! (Well really, where else do you go after you've walked the baby prostitute line? Come on, cut me a little slack. We're only just getting to know each other.) My name is - oh, wait, can't go there. Sorry. I've sworn to maintain a cloak of anonymity during my time as a guest blogger here at BNB - thanks Laura! - so that I can effortless infiltrate, well, pretty much everywhere, and tear to merciless little shreds - err, sorry, I mean politely expose weaknesses - as necessary. I might be a socialite (although I do so hate that word. I'm an intellectual, ya know. I'm a fan of Murakami and everything. Both of them, in fact), but not for me the aura of untouchable prestige, oh no! If something shit is posing as shit-hot, I'll be the first one to tear it down, baby. And I'll enjoy it.

First on the list: The Box club, London. Dinos Chapman had his surprise birthday bash here (he's quite attractive in the flesh, you know), celebrities adore the place, it's the nightclub du jour, a return to glamour and decadence, blah blah bloody blah. Let me tell you what really goes down there.

Basically, sex, drugs, degradation, and a somewhat vicious crowd mentality. Oh, and a GORGEOUS croque monsieur with truffled ham. What?! Credit where credit's due. But back to the slutty salaciousness. Firstly, I spotted three people getting high quite openly, and a multiple of that number doing it marginally more discreetly. And this was from my front row table (where I had to look over my shoulder and crane my neck rather uncomfortably), and in the roughly 14 second period where I actually managed to tear my eyes away from the horrific scene in front of me.

About that - I came in the hopes of finding something akin to Burlesque (y'know, the cheesy movie? Yeah, I saw it. And yes, I liked it. Stop laughing), only a little more adult. Something glamorous, somewhat sophisticated, empowering even. Something with a little star quality. Instead, I saw a man with a dick and breasts jacking off with the help of a bottle, the contents of which he then took into his mouth and sprayed in my general direction. I almost sprayed something right back at him - the projectile-vomited contents of my stomach.

It wasn't even so much the show that disgusted me as the audience's reaction. People that I had long held in some manner of high regard were whooping and cheering at this degrading bullshit. The crowd mentality took over, and further acts of depravity were welcomed and cheered on with enthusiastic zeal. Honestly, I had come hoping for some glamourized and somewhat dignified dressed-up sex, but what I got was, frankly, a bout of fucking depression over how far our species hasn't come. Long live the Mayan calendar, I say. Or not, thank God.

And to make things worse, as I went to exit the club after the show (mercifully!) ended, I was approached with the intention of being tempted to the private Green Room. And for what, sir? A sordid, glorified 'VIP' threesome based on some hoity toity toff's secret twisted pleasures? Please. If I wanted that, I'd at least make sure I was being fucking paid for it.

Image: fhm.com.

Editor's note: We apologize for the tardiness of the first Socialite column (due to the Blogger outages), but we hope the content was worth waiting for!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gen Z, fashion’s evolution, and how we only talk about sex through clothes

When we think of ‘fashion’, we don’t typically think of clothes as floating, separate entities, but rather as a styled composite reflecting a particular attitude. Trends are really nothing more than an outfit put together to give off a certain vibe, whether it’s that of a particular attitude and personal emotion or of a feeling attributable to a particular decade or moment in time. The most powerful fashion, though, the most powerful feeling that clothes can evoke, is a statement of individual character: what that individual wants to portray to the world in a little show-and-tell. Fashion is the most simple and effective avenue for telling others something about ourselves; we are, quite literally, wearing our hearts on our sleeves, every day.

Fashion used to be employed as a way of fitting in, of identifying ourselves with a group – a way to belong, to conform, to blend in. If we ran in affluent circles, we might well wear Lacoste and Ralph Lauren polo shirts to our friendly tennis matches with friends, whereas if our boyfriends were bad band boys, we might adopt a uniform of tight-fitting jeans and dark leather jackets. It was all a way of showing someone: “I belong with you; I’m just like you”.

While fashion can be – and is – still employed in this way, far more often now in the outfits of Gen Z we see a desire to stand out from the pack rather than to blend into its ranks, to be marveled at as a UFO (Unidentifiable Fashionable Object). Societal evolution and progress can be credited with this, as in times past. Today, with the prevalence of ‘democratic fashion sites’ like Lookbook, where all you need to do to gain instant street style fame is stand out from the rest (fabulously, of course), it’s really no wonder that we’re all searching for marked individuality. We have always, all of us, been striving for the same thing: to elevate ourselves. In the past, fashion could achieve that when used to identify ourselves with those who could elevate our own standings. Now, fashion can help us produce that much desired individuality, a Gen Z-recognized mark of specialness.

Fashion has never been a static, staid medium. Clothes have never been just clothes. As countless people have said, “Even no statement is a statement.” It is such a personal thing, to cover up the shameful nakedness of the story of Adam and Eve – perhaps we are overcompensating, trying to elevate ourselves to hide what lies beneath. And the whole thing extends far deeper into the psyche than simple social ambition.

If we asked 100 people in the street to identify their least comfortable dinner party subject, I imagine it would still be sex. Sure, we all read about it in magazines (how to get better orgasms (wait, what?), how to turn your man on tonight, etc.), we all watch movies about it (not that kind. I’m talking about No Strings Attached. Get your mind out of the gutter), but when it comes down to it, it’s still very hard to talk about it (unless we’re not talking about ourselves or are speaking “purely metaphorically, of course”) face-to-face with other people. Sex is a very personal, deeply affective topic, in a way quite unlike politics, children, even, somehow, marriage. Those other newly-non-taboos actually make quite lively and interesting dinner party topics, especially among friends (while sex, in many cases, especially when pertaining to one’s own experiences, is more easily discussed among strangers).

However, the human being is a creature of expression, as it is a creature of community and social bonds at its most basic core. We may be averse to talking about our sexuality and sexual personalities, but we also, conversely, want to express these things. Perhaps ‘express’ is not really the right word; nor is ‘display’, ‘attract’ or ‘advertize’, but they all relate in some way to our attempt to let others know something about our sexual status. This does not necessarily equal ‘single’ or ‘attached’, but any plethora of others. The emotion does not even have to be explicitly sexual to be referred to in a somewhat sexual manner. What we may be trying to convey could be any of the following: comfortable in my own skin, not comfortable in my own skin, sexually confident, committed to celibacy, religious, married, looking for love, looking for sex… And these are just a few examples.

There is no better medium for this sort of expression than in clothing, in our fashion choices. To illustrate, the HBO series ‘True Blood’ pretty much serves as an extended metaphor for sex: the vampires (sure, they’re undead and drink blood, but you know what that equals in psychological terms? Immortality and a forever of being beautiful (oh, and also being able to fuck like rabbits without being bothered by the worries of STDs and pregnancy), and a fetish), the sensual goddess-like Maryann (representing, and actually enacting in the show, the lust- and desire-fueled orgies of pagan ritual), etc. And in no other way is this more visually evident than in the costume and styling choices.

Much more relevant to real life than the vampires and supernatural creatures, the True Blood clothes reflect the characters’ sexual attitudes in ways that are seen frequently on the street and are an excellent example of our exhibition of sexual personalities. There’s Sookie Stackhouse, a sweet young waitress who has never had a relationship (sexual or otherwise) due to her problematic telepathic abilities, and who dresses accordingly in cute Southern wear (think little cherry-print sundresses and pageant-curled hair for evening dates) that, to her, is sexy and her best attempt at alluring, but actually reflects a lack of sexual experience, although a sense of self-assurance.

Another character, Jessica Hamby, perfectly illustrates her sexual transition from a strict Christian girl (where she wears her hair loose and plain and dresses conservatively) to a freshly made vampire enjoying her newfound sexual and personal freedom (in synonymous smoky eye makeup and poker-straight, sleek hair pulled back into sensual styles).

The true sex symbol of True Blood comes in the form of vampire queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq, a sexually confident character who has a female lover but does not seem particularly averse to other sexual encounters. The opulent and stereotypically sensual costume choices for this character demonstrate her sexual personality perfectly: low-cut and short white dresses, perfectly coiffed ‘Hollywood’ hair, smoky eyes and deep red lips (all sexual but not trashy, i.e. sophisticated, choices).

This is all very well and good, but it might seem obvious that explicit costume and styling choices are made in television shows – after all, how else will the sense of the character be explicitly portrayed to the audience? This is not to say that the same goes for ‘real women’. Yet it is not just on-screen that sex is portrayed through clothes. Many designers are well known for championing sexually confident attitudes, not least Azzedine Alaia, the “King of Cling”, who can perhaps be credited with ushering in this era of fashion in which we now live: the era of using clothing as a costume designer would, and wearing clothing like a screen character; to portray our emotions and individual personalities to those viewing us.

So it may now seem apparent that nothing is personal; that we are all clotheshorses and taboos are fodder for the gossip horses, perfectly acceptable for light-handed exchanges over the dinner table. “Oh darling, would you please pass the salad?” “Of course dear, would you like the sex dressing too?” “No, thank you, I think I’m fine with a side of politics and marriage counseling.” Is this a good thing? While we may think that we at least keep some things private, confined to the closets of our other skeletons and the privacy of the bedroom, this is not really true at all; the skeletons are not dead, but zombies, and have found their way out into the hallway, and are fast approaching the front door. While we think we don’t talk about sex, we do, even if it is, for now, through our clothes. How much time will it take for us to become no more than a confessional society, if we have not become so already? Only time will tell.

True Blood homepage
True Blood fan club
Images (from top): blog.natashabailie.com, juniorslayouts.com, dvrlife.wordpress.com, your-mirror-fashion.com.


While we're not quite fully furnished here (expect a custom logo soon), I'm proud to say we are now up and running! Here's what you can expect from Beauty, Not Bullshit:

- New posts two days per week,
- One of which will be written by me, published on Tuesday;
- One of which will be written by our new guest blogger, published every Thursday.

About that...I am super excited about this... I am very proud to announce that we have a new member joining the Beauty, Not Bullshit team. She will be contributing to the blog once per week; her scintillating and hilarious articles will be posted every Thursday in her own column, 'The Socialite'. While she has chosen to adopt anonymity to protect the not-so-innocent (including herself), you might know her from the back and party pages of Tatler, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar. You can expect hilarious industry exposés in her weekly column as she parties hard, socializes hard and lives fearlessly, writing about all of it and exposing, praising and tearing down, as appropriate, right here at Beauty, Not Bullshit.

Now, how does this apparent frivolity fit into the answer's-in-the-title Beauty, Not Bullshit mantra, you might be asking yourself. Well, while it might seem like our Socialite gets to party for a living (and she kinda does - major. Life. Envy), what she actually does is seek out and infiltrate the supposed best of the best in restaurants, the arts, luxury accommodation etc, and tells the rest of us whether it's worth the hype. If it's not, trust me, she won't hesitate to destroy the reputation and aura hanging around her undeserving subject. It's sort of like 'Critical Shopper', except with attitude: 'Cynical Critical Experience', perhaps.

So, that's my news for the day, folks! Hope you enjoy the new BNB!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Baby, you're a firework!

Welcome to the new, improved, and newly titled 'Beauty, Not Bullshit'!

Some of you may have noticed the changes afoot here. What was once 'Obsessive Coolness' is now 'Beauty, Not Bullshit', and the layout has changed quite a bit. But we're not through yet! More exciting things will soon be bursting across your screen, much like the fireworks above (that was a pretty lame reference, huh? Sorry. The Creativity Fairy is on strike, yet again. Probably off drinking Stoli in a corner somewhere). I'm working on getting a custom-designed logo, and a new series of themed posts will be making their debut for your delight (can't wait to spill about the guest blogger joining the team - she's truly one of a kind...).

So I guess this post is just to say, please bear with me! I really appreciate the time that you guys take out of your busy days to read my blog, and I do aim to please. So, if you will, please pardon the dust while BNB is under construction, and check back soon for more awesomeness!

Image: chicagofree.info