Saturday, 26 November 2011

Movie Review: Bill Cunningham New York

He’s your friendly old neighbour, the kindly man who always stops to talk to you at your local coffee shop, the elderly gentleman who’ll give up his seat for you on a crowded train. Yes, there’s a certain, likeable familiarity we can identify in a man like Bill Cunningham.

Indeed it cannot be denied that at 82 years of age and dressed in a twenty-dollar blue workman’s coat; bicycle-riding Bill makes for an unlikely fashion commentator and style anthropologist. 

For decades, Bill has chronicled trends in both everyday street fashion and at high society events for the New York Times ‘Style’ section. The eponymous Zeitgeist documentary, ‘Bill Cunningham New York’, presents as a part-scrapbook, part-tribute to the life and photography of Bill Cunningham and his contribution to fashion in the 20th to 21st century. The sheer importance and influence of Bill’s work is made clear from the very beginning of the film, as is the respect he has garnered from some of the industry’s most iconic individuals. 

“We all get dressed for Bill”, testifies the infamously icy, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour; proving that even the fashion Gods bow down to Bill. Wintour alongside other prominent New York personalities, including: Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, Anette De la Renta and David Rockefeller who are all unanimously connected in their mutual love and respect for Bill and his photography. Joined by some of Bill’s closest friends and associates such as: Kim Hastreiter and Editta Sherman - the interviewees in the film paint an endearing portrait of Bill through their anecdotes and affectionate praise, which ultimately work to canonize him as a modern-day legend in photographic journalism.  As poignantly stated in Rotten Tomatoes’ review of the film, “Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair”.  

Perhaps one of Bill’s most remarkable qualities is his inexorable passion for his work and unrelenting desire to share with the world what Harold Koda (chief curator at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) describes in the film as “ordinary people going about their lives, dressed in fascinating ways”. A simple man of simple tastes, Bill leads an uncomplicated, no-frills existence and this transcends in both his professional and personal environments. He works without assistants or camera crew: just Bill, his SLR and his bicycle.

Whilst the subject matter of Bill’s photography and subsequent core of his passion, presents as a flamboyant hotchpotch of models, socialites, eccentrics and avant-gardists – Bill himself maintains a guarded distance from everything around him and remains first and foremost, the humble observer. Despite his frequent declarations of love for fashion, the opulence of elite style and fearlessness of freedom dressing, he is very much a conservative man of routine and modest taste. He seeks beauty and individualism in others’ fashion, yet does not participate in it himself.

Maybe this is the key behind Bill’s brilliance: he is infatuated with fashion but not consumed by it like so many other “slaves to fashion” before him. He gives himself completely to this pursuit, but without losing his sense of self within it.  As Carina Chocano stated in her review of ‘Bill Cunningham New York’, “if the film suggests that there’s something bittersweet about a life dedicated to a single pursuit cultivated with an almost religious fervor, it also stands in awe of its subject’s seemingly inexhaustible, self-abnegating capacity to remain attuned to the expression of others”.

‘Bill Cunningham New York’ is an insightful and evocative portrayal of a dedicated artist, with a pure, impenetrable passion for fashion, which according to Bill, “is the armor to survive everyday life”. 

'Bill Cunningham New York' is currently showing at Palace and Nova cinemas in Melbourne.  

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Rose Gold

Whether it's the studs on a Balenciaga City bag or the band on a man's style Michael Kors watch - rose gold is back and it's back in a BIG way. Make no mistake, all metallics are in for 2012 but the days of not being able to mix silver and gold are gone! Now, we are encouraged to wear all three: silver, yellow gold and rose gold. The best thing about rose gold is it's the happy medium between silver and yellow gold so it will go with any outfit (both cool and warm-tone colours) and will compliment - not clash - with other jewellery pieces whether they be they gold, silver, bronze or gunmetal! Here are some of my favourite rose gold accessories of the season:

Rose Gold

All That Glitters

This season fashion is all about making a statement: bright colours, bold prints, texture and lots of volume. One thing we're seeing a lot of lately is metallics and sparkly embellishments on clothing and accessories. Lurex knits, glitter encrusted wedges and sequin embellished dresses and tops. There's no limit to what you can do when you add a touch of sparkle to your wardrobe! Here are some ideas... 

Sequin Fantasy

All That Glitters

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Stakes Day Fashion

Alexandria Richards looks lovely in this grape coloured dress, given the 'spawn of a rockstar legend' edge with the indie sunglasses! A huge improvement from her 'dawn of the dead' get on at Cup Day!

Fifi Box has picked a winner with this fitted, bright red dress! The colour really suits her and the cut of the dress shows off her curves! She looks young, fresh and glowing! She keeps it simple with cream accessories, big tick!

Gemma Pranita (left) looks classic and classy in this white, mod-style dress with black and red accessories. However, Jordi Lucas (right) is a little lost in this unshapely blue frock with orange hat and red bag. Something more fitted would've complimented her figure more and the red clutch clashes with the orange fascinator - the colours are too similar they look mis-matched. 

You'd think Melissa Bergland would know by now never to coordinate your hair colour with your outfit. In saying this, while this look is a bit of a red overload, I do love the polka dot print, which is very in right now and fun for this time of year. I also think the shape of the dress is very flattering on her figure. 

Jess Sinclair looks gorgeous in this red and white print dress! I love seeing unusual prints at the races this year, it's a nice break from the onslaught of colour-blocking trends other stars have opted for. Great choice of hat and minimal accessories too!

I hate Lucy Freer's entire outfit. It looks like the dress was the last one left (and a size too small) at Sportsgirl's Summer Sale and that she borrowed Ashley Hart's hat from Oaks Day! Not impressed!

I'm sure many will disagree with me here, but I think Jess Harris looks great in this stripe print maxi and Summery shirt top! Her look reflects her individual style but is still appropriate for the event but not so much so that she looks too attention-seeking. I LOVE her sunglasses!

To summarise Anna Lund's outfit in one word: boring. 

Kasia Z has such a great body, I don't know why she'd hide it all underneath this 80's prom dress gone wrong! It literally looks like an outfit I bought at the Salvo's for a "WTF are you wearing!?" themed party last year!! And that hat? Unless she's getting married, there's really no justifiable reason to be wearing a vale out in public! There's also far too much of the one colour going on here. SHEER disaster!

Nadia Coppolino usually gets it so right every time, but she has failed to win me over with this look. It's a little too plain Jane and lacks any real point of interest or reflection of her personal style. All she needed was a statement belt (perhaps something in rose gold) to change this look from drab to fab! 

Rachael Finch is one of my favourite dressed stars at Stakes Day! The colours, print, coordination of accessories all get a big tick from me! She looks fabulous! 

Like Nadia Coppolino, Rebecca Judd is one WAG who usually doesn't put a fashion foot wrong, however this printed dress is not one of my favourites from Stakes Day. I'm not sold on the colour, the shape, or the print. THere's really nothing specifically wrong with what she's wearing that I can put my finger on... however the look altogether doesn't do the Fashionista justice. She's definitely let herself down at Stakes Day, but in saying that, she has been top of the Best Dressed List at all the other Spring Racing Carnival Days! 

Sarah Hawthorn is dressed for a red-carpet, Hollywood event... except there's no red carpet. And she's in Flemington, which is not even a glamourous suburb! I think this dress is fabulous but highly inappropriate for the Races. She looks ridiculous standing in a floor-length, couture-looking ball gown in the middle of the day. 

Simone Callahan looks much more refreshed and glowing in this white ensemble than she did in brown bandages at Oaks Day. I wonder if she was inspired by Liz Hurley's outfit? Either way, though it's a plain look, she's shown signs of improvement and that's all that counts! Baby steps! 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Oaks Day Fashion

Pia Miller looks so feminine and well polished in this off-white, off-the shoulder frock with violet injection in her shoes and bag. Great colour pop and the hat has all the grandure and femininity one would expect from an Oaks Day ensemble!

Geoffrey Edelsten plays with his pet peacock, Brynne, in the birdcage! You've gotta love these two!

Jennifer Hawkins has been one of my fashion favourites at Derby Day and Cup Day but I'm not sure how I feel about her in this mauve number. It's a pretty dress and she can pull it off, but I can't help but feel she looks too much like a little girl going to a fairy party. Perhaps it is that large flower or cluster of feathers on her right shoulder... or perhaps she just needs a hat to finish off the look. Whatever it is, she could've done better but in saying that, she still looks good. Mind you, it's pretty hard not to look good when you're Jennifer Hawkins... 

Joan Collins reminds me so much of Joan Rivers here! The dress underneath this ghastly Snow-White sleeved violet jacket seems pretty enough... but who's to know? Perhaps there was a miscommunication between her and her dress maker given her inability to frown or show any physical disapproval between her forehead and chin! This outfit is a mess, but at least it's a well-coordinated mess!

Kimberley Davies channels Old Hollywood Glamour in this hour-glass, figure-hugging violet dress! Whilst she has certainly achieved her desired va-va-voom effect, I'm not sure if this look is perhaps too evening for the Spring Racing Carnival. 

Liz Cambage has not dressed well for her height or body shape here. She sticks out like a black and white giraffe in this tribal print get-up. The black ballet flats are an eye-sore and a wide brimmed had would've been better proportioned to the rest of her body, as opposed to this tiny fascinator. The dress is too short and casual looking. 

Liz Hurley reminds us once again, just how much Shane Warne is batting above his average - pardon the pun! Looking lovely in white! Classy, clean lines, simplicity and understated elegance!

Miss Jay is so OTT and so fab! This is avant guard, daaaaaarling! If you're going to dress like a freak (and I don't mean this in a condescending way), carry yourself like a queen ;) 

I love Ashley Hart for taking risks and having fun with fashion! She always dares to be different and often it pays off... this time, not so much. It might be a combination of both her pose and outfit in this picture but she looks a little like a crazy bird lady. Perhaps she is the one who flew over the cuckoo's nest... or perhaps she is just the cuckoo ...

Rachael Finch looks fresh and feminine in this draped white number! A much more glamourous and age-approrpiate choice than her Cup Day ensemble. This look is almost like the younger, updated version of Liz Hurley's outfit. Beautiful! 

Rebecca Judd cannot put a fashion foot wrong! Here she is looking fabulous in this neutral-toned number with gorgeous embroidered flower detail and a perfectly matching floral fascinator! Style books should be written on her... she. nails. it. EVERY. time.

Errrr wtf happened to Ruby Rose!?! Whilst the teal is a great colour choice, there's a giant ghost popping out of her head... those sunglasses look like something you'd expect to see at Summerdayze 2012 and as for her "clutch", looks like she's carrying around a packed lunch in a brown paper bag! But with all that aside, I still can't get past the winged skull attached to her hair... the things some people will do to get noticed! Honestly!

Sarah Jane Clarke + Heidi Middleton are like a 2-4-1 'mutton dressed as lamb' special! Whilst Heidi's fish scale-style dress is really fun and incorporates some great colour combinations, it's just far too short for the races. As for Clarke's fluro yellow and lace number, it would be better suited for sunset champers in Sorrento than a day in one of the prestigious Birdcage marquees. 

Simone Callahan is sadly no match for Liz in this wannabe Herve Leger brown... that's right, BROWN, bandage dress. It's a great shape and it definitely shows off her fabulous figure, but the colour choice is heavy and, well, brown! I don't like her hair either, she looks a bit too "Gold Coast Glam" - which is usually anything but glamourous. Still, not a bad effort and a brave face in spite of Shurley! Keep trying Simone!


Sarah Jessica Parker, no matter what you wore to Oaks day we were all probably going to love it because in our eyes, you'll always be Carrie Bradshaw... In saying that, I love the pastel gown with the contrasting metallic silver coat! The pointed mint green shoes (pointed heels are making a come back, take note ladies!) round it off beautifully as does the vintage inspired hair clip. I would've liked to see a more wow-factor hat, only because I know how much SJP loves to have fun with fashion, but regardless, this is a great look on one of the all time greatest style icons. 

Sonia Kruger looks glowing with her beach waves and sheer, ivory dress! This woman is all class and really knows how to accessorise and dress for her age! Bravo again Sonia!

This was the look Virginia Gay's face when she caught her reflection in the mirror and realised "OMFG! This, is what I'm wearing today???"

Bianca Nicholson looks like a poor man's Dita Von Teese from Derby Day in this fire-engine red Spanish Senorita ensemble. The silk-on-silk black and red outfit is a little too full on for a day on the grass... she appears to have dressed for Flamenco, rather than Flemmington!

Kate Barnett rocks this stunning purple and red fascinator! Simply ravishing, this is what Oaks Day is all about!

Nicole Whyte shows off an abstract-looking feathered headpiece! A bold, unforgettable look which ties in nicely with the colours in her dress. Beautiful!

Rosa Fazulla was sure to get her 15 minutes of tabloid fame in this attention-seeking getup! Oh well, at least she's having fun with fashion! Even if her style is a little "twisted"... (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Oaks Day

It's is officially the ladies' day of the Spring Racing Carnival where women go head to head at the fashion stake! Weeks and weeks of preparation, grooming, research and styling go into this one Thursday in November. Forget the horses, Oaks day is all about the shoes, the bag, the dress and, of course, THE HAT! Here are some style boards to inspire any race goers tomorrow! My advice is to have fun with colour, texture, prints and go for bold, statement-making accessories and shoes to make your mark on the track this year. 

Look 1: Blue Hues 

Oasks Day Look 1: Cool Prints

Look 2: In The Pink
Oaks Day Look 2: In The Pink

Look 3: Get Textured Baby!
Oaks Day Look 3: Get Textured Baby!

Look 4: Colour Saturation - Block + Roll
Oaks Day Look 3: Colour Saturation

Melbourne Cup Fashion


Separately, I wasn't initially a fan of what either Ashley Hart and her boyfriend wore but together, it works. I think she looks fab and he took a big risk wearing this salmon pink blazer and it paid off. Bravo!

Barry Hall's partner, Sophie Raadschelders, bursts into the Birdcage in this explosion of pop colour in this mod-style sequin Bettina Liano mini dress. Whilst the dress itself is very cute, it would perhaps be better suited for the dancefloor at Boutique on a Friday night rather than the Spring Racing Carnival. It is far too short and heavy for daytime wear. Save this one for your next WAGs' night out at Riva, honey. 

Ben Lewis' partner, Melle's dress is just ghastly. The two-toned, raw silk number with embroidered sash is dated and overly conservative on her. She had the right idea with her colour palate - the lime green and electric blue are very on-trend at the moment, but the dress itself completely ages her. A softer hued outfit, such as a dainty peach would've been much more flattering on her complexion. The neon tones against her white skin drains her of all life. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Brynne Edelsten is very much the 'Helen Bonham Carter' of the Australian Football League - we never quite know what she's wearing, but we love her for wearing it regardless. For the Cup, Edelsten pursues a 'Race Day Barbie' personae which begs the question, which is brighter? Her candy-pink dress or her peroxide blonde hair? 

Charli Delaney sports a floral, 50's look in this Monroe-style dress with flared poodle skirt and cherry red accessories. A little too, Alanna Hill-meets-Laura Ashley for my liking but it's a well co-orinated outfit nonetheless. 

While I love her on-air, I have to say, Fifi Box's outfit choice for the Cup makes her look like a secretary who fell into a rainbow. The skirt and jacket - colour aside - are conservative and drab. She really isn't dressing for her age here. Great headwear though!

Jennifer Hawkins is positively flawless. Her sunrise-coloured, floral outfit was one of my absolutely favourites from the Cup. She could've afforded to go bigger for her headpiece but contrary to public opinion, I think the jade green contrasts brilliantly with the hot orange shoes and resists the urge to be too matchy-matchy by sticking to the one colour palate. The bag ties in brilliantly, as does her other arm candy, Jake Wall. 10/10. 

Here, Jennifer Hawkins' green fascinator is further justified when coupled with her matching silk jacket in the same tone. She poses alongside Rebecca Judd, who looks equally as Summery in this white and yellow colour-block dress with royal blue accessories and tribal-looking orange neckpiece. Perfect in every way.

Hey, Kasia Z... who died? This black-on-black-on-black getup is heavy and a little on the morbid side in contrast to the vast array of colour sported at the Cup. Whilst I can understand her logic in wanting to go for a neutral colour ahead of this season's bright trends, this head-to-toe black look is dull, unflattering and lifeless. Very disappointing. 

Whilst Kate Fleighter's dress is a little 'plain Jane', she does partially redeem herself with this statement, turquoise fold over clutch. This look would've been greatly improved had she incorporated turquoise elsewhere in her outfit, perhaps even with a splash of coral - jewellery? headpiece? shoes? A little less prim and proper and a little more young and fun please!

Model, Kate Peck looks like she's wearing a brown paper bag with a cape (that's right, cape), hat and belt fashioned from some sort of fury little creature... Will somebody please call the RSPCA - Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Accessories???

Kate Twigley + Rebecca Judd prove that great style runs in this family gene pool! Great minds, colour block alike.

Laura Dundovic showcases one of my other favourite Cup Day looks. Here she is looking luminous in lemon alongside James Kerley. The splash of orange, particularly on her lips, definitely adds some wow-factor. 

If Joanna Griggs (next to Luke Darcy) had chosen white accessories instead of black, she'd run a high risk of being mistaken for Smurfette. There is too much blue going on in this ensemble and the capped sleeves and front panel frill do not flatter her figure. Love the fascinator though!

Melissa Bergland looks ridiculous in this red and white lip-pint dress. The pattern itself is fit for a cartoon character, whilst the sparkly gold shoes and shiny clutch further enhance this caricature. The green hat appears out of no where and makes absolutely no sense next to the rest of the outfit. A word to the wise: if you're trying to colour block, avoid Christmas colours. One redeeming factor is that the shape of the dress is perfect for her figure, highlighting the thinnest part of her legs and the cut out sleeves give us a playful glimpse of shoulder.... if only it had been fashioned out of something other than **'s table cloth.

Melissa Hetherington, what are you wearing??? That fuscia crown/fascinator thing atop your head looks like it's part of a children's fairy princess costume. The lace skirt is gorgeous but the blue sash and bright pink frill-shoulder top makes you look top-heavy (and not in a Pamela Anderson kind of way). The bag is also completely mis-matched, just like the black nail polish. Add a pair of glittery fairy wings and you could get a job at Disneyland!

Give her an apron, she could pass as a chef. A stethoscope and some surgical gloves and she'd look like my local GP. Emma Freedman, quite literally is, a blank canvas in this pale, off-white suit. The shoes have absolutely no relevance to the look and the bow fascinator adds very little contrast, or sense for that matter, to this bazaar ensemble. The bag almost clashes against whatever colour the suit really is? Ivory?? Mint green??? Hideous!! 

We knew to expect a larger than life headpiece from the infamously flamboyant Miss Jay! The ivory suit and baby blue cravat are very fitting for Spring, whilst the ostentatious, tulle headpiece is playful and avant-guard. An outfit fit for a queen!

Pip Edwards goes for something totally different in this neutral ensemble with silver detailing and leopard print shoes. Despite her hair needing a strong comb through it and her blatant lack of hat or fascinator, I think she looks good. She took a risk and she stands out but not for all the wrong reasons. At first glance I almost mistook her for fashion blog royalty, Rumi Neely. 

Rachael Finch appears to have been going for the same look as Kate Twigley (see above) with this pink, floral dress and orange hat, however, she doesn't quite manage to pull it off. This look is a little too girl scout-ladylike for my taste. She needs a shot of electric blue or a statement belt to edge it up. This is the Melbourne Cup darling, not afternoon tea with grandma!

Sarah-Jane Clarke + Heidi Middleton from Sass+Bide have completely confused me with these looks. Clarke's jacket looks like a 70's nightmare piece picked up from the Salvo's whilst Middleton appears to be wearing a blue wetsuit underneath that navy fold over skirt. However, I do love Clarke's orange, pink and white maxi with rose gold belt. I wonder if Kim K will be ripping off any of these looks for her next "kollection"... 

Sharni Vincent looks fabulous in this royal blue, white and black print dress with understated-yet-elegant accessories. The bright colour, paired with the black and white keep her look simple and not overbearing and absolutely explode against her bronzed skin. Her minimal choice of jewellery is another reason this ensemble works as she allows the dress to speak for itself. Tres chic!

Sofie Vandenakker looks chic and Summery in this stunning black and white print dress. The pattern is unique and modern but still classy. The red lips give her a much needed pop of colour - I can't help but think this outfit would've been better suited for Derby Day. It needs a different hat I think. 

Sonia Kruger looks divine in this watermelon red number, perfectly finished with the contrasting nude accessories. The outfit is warm and youthful without being overbearing! Whilst it is often tricky pulling off two pieces in the same colour, Kruger manages to get away with it by breaking up the dress with a neutral shade belt, bag, hat and shoes. The long-sleave silk trench is a refreshing and unique but not over the top. Brynne Edelstenn, take note!

Tania Zaetta looks like she's dressed for the Logies, or worse still, the Aria awards! The dress looks like it's been purchased from one of those formal events specialty shops - it is an evening number, not race day material. In any case, silver has been overdone to the point of tackiness. This outfit actually reminds me of something Gretel Killeen would've worn in her Big Brother Days.... oh yes, I went there!