Films and fashion

It’s Oscar season. Which got me thinking about my favourite fashion films.  Stylist magazine recently published a list of 45 iconic fashion films.  It included the usual suspects such as The Devil Wears Prada and Clueless, but also timeless gems such as A Single Man, A Bout de Souffle, Annie Hall and Belle de Jour.  I would add Iris to the list, although strictly speaking it’s a documentary.  But my very favourite is Priceless (Hors de Prix in its native French).

Made in 2006, Priceless is a lovely little film starring Audrey Tautou as Irene, a young golddigger (a twenty first century Holly Golightly, in the true Truman Capote sense) who mistakes bartender Jean (played by Gad Elmaleh) for a wealthy man.  The setting is the luscious French Riviera.

The film isn’t about fashion, but the clothes are a central element of the story.  Audrey looks, frankly, ravishing as she bleeds poor Jean dry in her pursuit of a wealthy husband, snapping up Chanel, Eres, Gucci, Prada and Helmut Lang in the process.  In one scene she tests Jean’s resolve to the limit, brutally ripping the price tags off her new purchases as the poor man mentally envisages his savings and pension funds deplete to nothing.  She simply drips cool insouciance – which makes her sound awful but you can’t help but love her – particularly when she realises that true love is more important than money and beautiful baubles.  I won’t tell you any more – seek it out and enjoy ! Oh, and have a look at the ‘films’ board on my Pinterest page for some gorgeous images.

First impressions count

This is an edited version of my latest article in Platinum Business Magazine.

first impressions quoteWe all know the saying, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’. Will Rogers was right – first impressions count. Especially these days, when everything is so instant and image driven. Did you know that you only get about three seconds to make that impression?   That’s how long it takes for people to make a judgement about you, based on what you look like and what you’re wearing.

I’m sure you want that judgment to be as favourable as possible whether you are heading to an important meeting, networking event, job interview or meeting your future in-laws. So what are the things you should think about?

First impressions and confidence

Research tells us that when you meet someone for the first time, your eyes, your hair and your smile are the things they notice first. But they also notice your clothes. What you wear conveys specific messages about your lifestyle, status and personal style preferences. How you wear it says a lot about how you feel.

Taking pride in your appearance does not mean that you are vain or shallow. It means that you care about how you present yourself to the world. Dressing well not only enables you to alter your appearance, it can improve your mood and boosts your confidence, which is, of course, vital to making a good first impression.

Prepare, be yourself, and check the details

Whatever the occasion, and whether you are male or female, keep my three golden rules in mind:

  • Preparation is everything. Please don’t leave it to the last minute to decide what to wear to an important meeting or event. Nothing is more panic inducing than discovering a broken zipper, missing button or not having the right socks/jumper/bag etc. Try your full outfit on in advance – this will give you time for any last minute cleaning or repairs
  • Dress as you, for you. Don’t try and be someone else or what you think others expect. Ladies, if you never wear heels, don’t wear towering stilettos – you will feel (and look) very uncomfortable. Guys, if you feel most comfortable in a suit but are going to a smart casual event and don’t want to look out of place, keep it smart with dark jeans or chinos and a blazer.
  • Pay attention to the details. It goes without saying, really, but it’s surprising the number of people who neglect the small details. Clean teeth, hair and nails, please. Enough said.

Follow these and you’ll be sure to make a great impression, every time, no matter the occasion. Let me know how you get on!

 

Mary Quant is 82!

Designer Mary Quant turns 82 today.  Quant was incredibly influential in the 1960s, creating fashion aimed at young people, encouraging them to dress for themselves.

She opened her first shop, ‘Bazaar’ on the King’s Road in 1955.  This led to a second shop (designed by Terence Conran), and to start creating her own designs such as white plastic collars to liven up jumpers, bright stockings and funky lounging pyjamas.  She then started to design and make more of the clothes she stocked, and by 1966 she was working with a range of manufacturers.

Mary Quant is, of course, most closely associated with the miniskirt (although others credit John Bates or Andre Courreges* with its invention).

Quant herself said later:  ‘It was the girls on the King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted.  I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter’.’

Influential journalist Ernestine Carter wrote in the Sunday Times, ‘It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior, and Mary Quant.’

Mary Quant was appointed OBE in 1966 and DBE in 2015 for her contribution to British fashion.

 *Andre Courreges died on 7th January 2016, but his death was somewhat overshadowed by that of David Bowie.

 

Women love shoes

Samantha_in window smilingNext week is Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure many of you will be dining out with your beloved, or enjoying a romantic evening in.  But many women have another love in their lives: shoes.

Women have a relationship with shoes that men don’t quite understand.  There are several reasons for this.  Firstly, women’s shoes tend to be beautiful, with the ability to transform the everyday into something spectacular.  Secondly, they are the one article of clothing that remains constant – no-one has to diet to fit into their shoes! Thirdly, and this is vital, high heels make every woman look taller and slimmer.

But please don’t wear high heels if you are uncomfortable doing so.  I have a theory that every woman has their own personal ‘optimum’ heel height, whether that’s flat, four inches or somewhere in between.  Now that there are so many stylish flat options, (just see Hannah Rochell’s fab blog En Brogue for inspiration) there is more choice than ever before.

When shopping for shoes:

  • choose quality over quantity.  The one and only Marlene Dietrich advised buying one pair of good shoes instead of three pairs of poor quality
  • do not be seduced by a sensational pair of shoes in the sale that you know you will never wear, or that are cripplingly uncomfortable
  • remember your ‘optimum’ heel height – we all have one!

Unsure of what shoe styles and heights work for you? Give me a call – I’d be happy to help.