Hair 'mares and model stories

On a particularly low 'n' lazy afternoon I was watching America's Next  Top Model, which as we all know is about as representative of the modelling world as The Apprentice is of the business world. A friend of mine, already a successful model, went on BNTM and didn't even get past Boot Camp. I am under no illusions that it is a reality show first, with hot contestants who are often vain as anything. 
My favourite of all the episodes is always the makeover episode, seeing the true bratty vain ones whine and moan about their haircuts and the confident gracious ones who just plain love whatever's done. And this is a truism about radical changes to your look, something I, a person so preoccupied with understanding the true power of a good look, can attest to. 
(Your average modelling show contestant) 

A little story. Last May I achieved possibly the pinnacle of all my achievements, ever. I was, as part of an advertorial for John Frieda's product collection for redheads, in ELLE magazine. Four girls were selected and shot one sunny Saturday morning as part of a one-page advertorial showcasing the products and looks available to redhead girls, and I was LOVING IT. My own Top Model moment.
But people griped. Girls on set complained about their shoes, their clothes (and yes, I'll admit when they initially dressed me as an androgynous mod, I was frustrated that, even at ELLE, the default setting for a girl with short hair is to dress her as a boy) and even their hair. One girl requested that, after her hair was taken out of its flawlessly done high ponytail, they straighten it back into her previously protective curtain. I went out in Clapham that night to the most vile club I've ever been to (Infernos - avoid) with a bunch of traditional-looking friends with my hair still slicked flat on my head. I did it again the next day. I'd cut all my hair that short and slick it again in a heartbeat. 

There are two types of people in the world, I think, when it comes to style. Those who know what look they want to convey early on and adapt it to last through the ages, and the clothes horses, the ones who like to try everything and are known for that. For being the ones who will do what no-one else will. Victoria Beckham vs Lady Gaga, perhaps. Ashlee Simpson is trotted out in one season to demonstrate how so many changes to your look just end up becoming your look, defining how people see you. I don't know why this fascinates me so much, but from being the girl who always feels very different to the norm and the one who is looked at  in a different way in the street, I've got a huge, undefinable chip on my shoulder. But I guess what it boils down to is that I'm not in love enough with any aspect of my personal look that I'd cry in a stylist's chair while they shaved my head. Underneath makeup, hair, clothes and attitude I'm always me. I'm an actress, and part of the fun of fashion is playing all these parts different looks can give you. Confidence despite any look, or fear of actually being exposed? Both are true. But the expression is 'adapt or die'. And life's too short to care that much about your hair. Life is short, but hair grows fast. And there's so much fun to be had in the inbetween. 


A nice song with a guitar

It must be autumn because I have a strange desire to listen to what I would usually view as insufferably fluffy guitar-based tracks. This one is just quite pleasing, sounds like a mashup of Bloc Party's 'Signs' and most of Sufjan Stevens' 'For The Widows In Paradise'. 


A Night at The Emmys

I love me a good red carpet round-up. I especially love doing it for an awards ceremony at which one of my favourite TV shows gets big awards n stuff. No, not Downton Abbey (I must be the only person on the island who doesn't watch that) but Homeland! It's got spies! It's got intrigue! It's got a guy with a beard, a sexy ginger guy who lives round the corner from me (no lie, I've seen him walking around my area) and that lovely girl from Stage Beauty who is actually a phenomenally good actress. 
Claire Danes, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
And who also rocks the best piece of maternity-wear I've ever seen on the red carpet. Lovely Lanvin, and a stunning colour.
Julianne Moore, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Speaking of yellow, I must be one of the few people talking about this who didn't think Julianne Moore looked terrible in her Christian Dior couture gown. Sure, it's not the MOST exciting/daring outfit (that award goes to Heidi 'High-Thigh-Flashing' Klum, with her dress split Jolie-at-the-Oscars-style in a move marked out as 'desperate divorcee' by that pillar of proper behaviour Liz Jones) but it's a great colour for her (I love a redhead in yellow) and it's not bad. It's just...well, lose the sleeves. 
Nicole Kidman, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Now THIS I love - reminds me of a top I used to have as a teenager with a sparkling picture of a Chinese dragon printed on it. Loved that top. Wore it to Girl Guides once and got told off. Knew then I was set to break style boundaries. Nicole's Antonio Berardi dress didn't get much love from the critics either (and I STILL miss her red hair) but I like it - simple and sophisticated but with a bit of punch.
Emilia Clarke, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Another member of the 'white dress with a bit of punch' crowd is Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke (who I totally didn't recognise with dark hair, wearing clothes and not covered in dragons). This is Chanel and it's lovely, though she does look a tad uncomfortable. Maybe it's the shoes. Or the lack of dragons. 
Zooey Deschanel, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Oh Zooey. You are so kooky and adorable. Like a little floaty princess in your Reem Acra fairy dress. It is a beautiful dress, I'll give it that. I do love me some ice queen blue. And Zooey actually manages to look fairly sensible in it. I think it's the lack of kooky hair accessories and tambourine. 
Christina Hendricks, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
PHWOAR that is all. Nice to see Christina letting her hair loose for once and letting her fabulous hair and fabulous shape do the talking in an otherwise nondescript but beautifully cut Christian Siriano dress, that does the near-magical trick of making her ample bust look incredible but not remotely OTT. The bias-cut drape across the hips and the artful ruffle detailing of the fabric keeps the dress interesting while keeping a beautiful shape to it. If only it came in red. And had a less budget-looking belt.
Lucy Liu, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Another out-and-out stunning piece of figure-flattery, this time on Lucy Liu. It's Versace and it makes me want to party like it's 1999. 
Kiernan Shipka, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Speaking of 1999, how lovely does cute-as-a-button Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka look in her custom-made Zac Posen gown? Lovely drop waist, lovely colour(s) and gorgeous cut. I do love a boat neck. 
Ginnifer Goodwin, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
One star who acts cute but deliberately doesn't dress it is Once Upon A Time star Ginnifer Godwin, who once again brings the high fashion fierce to the red carpet in Monique L'huillier. 
January Jones, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Ginnifer is rivaled in the fash-off stakes by the ever-dramatic January Jones, matching her on-screen daughter in Zac Posen. While I loathe her on-screen (as charisma-free Emma Frost in X-men and bratty Betty Draper-Francis) I love her style. 
Michelle Dockery, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
Similarly, while I have very little interest in Downton, I am in love with its star Michelle Dockery (in Louis Vuitton). That skin! That hair! That jaw! That perfect, perfect breeding! She's the new Gemma Arterton and I just adore her. 
Kelly Osbourne, 2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet
But while Claire and Michelle made valiant attempts to be my best dressed pick of the night, that award has to go to Kelly Osborne, in flavour-of-the-night Zac Posen. Matching your gown to your hair? So on-trend berry lips? General nonchalance? Looking this good after that shaky start as a teenage emo with an embarassing family? The Osborne kids have turned into upstanding and reputable adults, and I am constantly wowed by Kelly's high fashion style with a bravery that stays true to her rocker roots. Top marks. 

(All images via Stylist)


My go-tos for AW 2012

Why do designers make outfits that are completely see-through and put them on the catwalk anyway? Wouldn't it make way more sense to show how a modest woman might actually wear something like this than to just put on there for us to marvel at the nice prints over a naked model's body? Put a flesh-coloured lining in there or something.

But I digress. Aside from this, I'm actually a huge fan of Christopher Kane's AW 2012 collection - beautifully cut, incredibly wearable (sheer dresses notwithstanding) and with the right balance of party-friendly jewel notes and dramatic cuts to suit my tastes.

My particular favourites here - electric blue is always a good choice with black and has the advantage, like black, of working with either gold or silver jewellery. I happen to have a vintage pencil skirt in this exact shade (INCLUDING metallic sheen) so I'll be able to channel this nicely. And maybe I'll pick up a leather peplum top to complement it.
Alternatively, I'll opt for something a tad more dramatic - dark drapery as epitomised by Ann Demeulemeester. 
Though I'll leave the hair to Rooney Mara. 

(All images via Vogue)


A haircut that can change your life

Sometimes a girl just need a radical shake-up. Which makes an adventurous hairdresser happy, and which makes ME happy. Going all out, taking the risk that no-one else would, not knowing if it will suit me, if my friends and family will like it and what it'll even turn out on it, reminded me why I love fashion in the first place. It's never fitting it, it's taking the risks and making the unique statements that no-one else will, putting a pin in the map that says that this is you, and your style, and you are totally unique and brave. And even if it DOESN'T suit, if they DON'T like it, then you shrug and walk down the street with your head held high and know no-one will be any the wiser. 
I am so back in this game.



After the horrific amount of idiotic media slut-shaming that has gone down regarding my beloved Kristen, it's good to know that only irrelevant tween obsessives and has-been gossip bloggers are the only ones who are still slamming her. What an epic piece of artwork this ad is. Has anyone tried this fragrance? I'm tempted to buy it for this campaign alone.