Rebecca Taylor, naturally

Rebecca Taylor may not be the most radical of designers and sometimes she errs on the side of ‘safe’, but she also creates clothes that are sweet, feminine and realistic – and although that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it’s not.

I was underwhelmed by Taylor’s F/09 RTW collection, which I was lucky enough to see at New York fashion week last year (albeit from the back row!), as it seemed like the New Zealand-born designer was trying a wee bit too hard by layering floral dresses over woollen knits and then pairing the outfits with coloured socks.

Her F/10 RTW collection, on the other hand, is much more relaxed and natural – it’s as if she has created looks that bring together pieces from Lanvin, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Chloe; with her signature statements, such as delicate leopard prints and flower motifs, trickled throughout. What this says to customers is that you can combine one of Taylor’s knits, for instance, with a pair of slacks from Target and vintage accessories – and still look chic from head-to-toe!

These are my favourite looks from the collection, and the pop culture references that inspired them (well, in my mind anyway):

Inspired by: Rick Deckard in Blade Runner.

Rebecca Taylor F/10 RTW

Inspired by: Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl.

Rebecca Taylor F/10 RTW

Inspired by: Penny Lane in Almost Famous.

Rebecca Taylor F/10 RTW

Inspired by: Audrey Hepburn from the waist up.

Rebecca Taylor F/10 RTW

Inspired by: Annie Hall in Annie Hall.

Rebecca Taylor F/10 RTW

Tribute: Clothes fit for a Queen

Alexander McQueen, the provocateur designer who passed away yesterday, created clothes that transported wearers to a fantasy world. Whether it be the whimsical deep sea (S/10 RTW), an Indian palace (F/08 RTW) or the set of Dynasty (a grey patterned McQ dress I purchased in 2008) the man had a knack for theatrics.

As a tribute to Alexander, or ‘Lee’ to those who knew him best, I’ve compiled my top five McQueen Moments:

1 Cate Blanchett. Vogue. 2005.

Cate Blanchett does Vogue

2005 was the year I fell in love with Cate Blanchett’s acting prowess after seeing her in the small Australian film Little Fish. I knew up until this point she was good, but I didn’t realise just how good. It was also the year Alexandra Shulman decided to put Blanchett on the cover of UK Vogue wearing this Alexander McQueen masterpiece. Exquisite.

2 Alexander McQueen. Environmental conscience. 2009.

Alexander McQueen FW/09

Alexander McQueen explored “an ironic and illusory exploration of the concept of re-invention” with his F/09 RTW collection that had models sporting nylon dresses made look look like garbage bags and wheel rims for hats, and used past collection props for the setting. Yes it was ironic, but what made his statement so clever was how the clothes were still sumptuous, feminine and decadent.

3 Carrie. SATC: The Movie. 2008.

Carrie and the girls in SATC: The Movie

Seconds after Carrie stepped onto the screen wearing this dress I knew it was an Alexander McQueen number, thanks in part to Net-a-Porter’s strategic placing of it on their website. A dress that dreams (ones set in Mexico, no doubt) are made of.

4 Cate Blanchett. Golden Globes. 2007.

Cate Blanchett at the Globes

Cate Blanchett has made no secret of her love of fashion, and particularly her love of ‘out-there’ fashion – one need only think of that crocheted Romance Was Born monstrosity she was spotted in last year to realise this. So it comes as no great surprise that she’s been photographed in many a McQueen gown; like this one she wore to the Golden Globes in 2007. This is a personal favourite of mine, as Blanchett shows how black needn’t be boring on the red carpet.

5 Racquel Zimmerman. Alexander McQueen campaign. 2010.

Alexander McQueen SS/10 campaign

Raquel Zimmerman, the closest thing the world has to a supermodel right now, stars in this Alexander McQueen campaign for his S/10 RTW collection. This is one fashion advertisement I find myself staring at for stretches of time. Whether or not I’ll buy these shoes, that’s another thing.

The long and the short of ANTM

Oops, I did it again!  I let my curiosity get the better of me and I Googled the latest season of America’s Next Top Model, even though we’re only up to episode 3 in Australia. In cycle 13 Tyra’s up to her usual tricks and has rounded up, like a herd of cattle, America’s most psychologically unstable, abused, disillusioned and narcissistic beautiful women. However, the formula was getting a bit, well, formulaic, so Tyra’s thrown a spanner in the works, restricting the competition to women 5’6” and under.

Whether it’s her intention or not, Tyra’s show proves short models look just like tall models in photos. It’s only when you put a short person next to a tall person that you fully realise the extent of their height. The Navi looked much more impressive in Avatar when standing next to the puny humans, didn’t they?

So for winner Nicole (below), all she needs to do to secure a stellar career is avoid standing in close proximity to Daria Werbowy and keep her mouth shout, a la fellow shortie Kate Moss.

ANTM winner Nicole

Apocalypse NOW!

What’s hot in fashion right now? Army get-up, that’s what. And the brand doing Platoon– and Apocalypse Now-inspired pieces best is Balmain. The dramatic shoulder is out (Rihanna is yet to get the memo, however) and khaki green combos are in.

Balmain

You can find this outfit on Net-a-Porter, but at $5000 no one would blame you for ‘re-interpreting’ it.

Keep in mind Balmain is very relaxed and, dare I say it, trashy. 1979’s Apocalypse Now is the perfect reference point for this trend as there are so many layers to the film, so to speak. Set during the Vietnam War, the film sees Captain Willard (Martin Sheen)  sent on a dangerous mission to assassinate a renegade Green Beret (Marlon Brando) who has set himself up as a God among a local tribe.

Martin Sheen stars in Apocalypse Now

Martin Sheen stars in Apocalypse Now

Watch it to inspire your wardrobe, or maybe just to catch a glimpse of some of Hollywood’s veterans when they were hot, young specimens; Brando excluded – he’d already begun his downward spiral into obesity and reclusiveness by 1979, which probably explains why he was so darn good in his role.

Swiftly does it

The American music industry’s obsession with the frightfully dull Taylor Swift continues, with the 20-year-old country singer winning four Grammys at this year’s awards, including album of the year – the youngest artist to win the award … ever.

Swift, it seems, is the antidote to the changing face of America (evidenced in the appointment of President Obama), reminding us that conservative values still run rife though the country. From her contrived hairstyle and minimal jewellery to her stately dress, she was a vision of conservatism:

Taylor Swift at the 2010 Grammys

The dress is beautiful, but if you’re young and you’ve got a figure like Swift’s why not show it off?

(Snooki you do not have a figure like Swift’s).

Snooki strikes a pose

Avatar attracts plagiarism

One minute James Cameron is accused of plagiarising the work of writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in his latest film Avatar (which I haven’t seen yet – I know! – but I’m planning on catching it this weekend) the next Jean Paul Gaultier  is “inspired” by Avatar for his latest Paris haute couture collection. (His admission not my inference).

Jean Paul Gaultier Paris Haute Couture 2010

I’m all for sharing the love, but I hasten to point out that rules surrounding plagiarism in the fashion industry are much murkier than in cinema and literature.

Clues are in the clothing

Could 2010 mark the demise of the skinny jean, the narrow tie and the tight-ish blazer? Robert Pattinson certainly added some leg room to his wardrobe last year, stepping out in jeans that didn’t look like they were painted on at the Cannes Film Festival:

Robert Pattinson at Cannes 2009

And then we have two of Hollywood’s biggest (and best) actors, Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr, starring in films where the men’s fashion is altogether slouchier – period films, yes, but we all know trends are cyclical.

There was Depp’s turn as John Dillinger in Public Enemies and Downey Jr’s excellent portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the film of the same name. In terms of fashion, what we’re seeing with these films are high-waisted pants, with a snug fit around the crotch and bum and plenty of leg room from there on down. Sleeves are also baggier. As are shirts in general, but they’re often cinched in with a waist coat. But you can’t go past the bare chest with pants look Downey Jr’s character sports during that memorable fight scene. I wonder how that plays into the slouchy-meets-snug trend?

Robert Downey Jr in "Sherlock Holmes"