Fashion Fun Under a London Sun
Finally London has seen a little bit of an English sun and the fashion set has been celebrating the summer season. First we had the Vogue party at Kensington Palace’s Orangery to celebrate Ralph Lauren as Wimbledon uniform outfitter for the last decade. Jessica Chastain brought some Hollywood glamour to W8 and Cinderella actress Lily James looked cute in a crisp white shirt dress. Then it was over to the Serpentine Gallery for it’s annual Summer Party, this year co-hosted by hot Scots designer Christopher Kane who provided his gaggle of girls including Lara Stone, Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevingne while Yana Max wore Leon Max Collection. Though fashion maybe fun, the one thing they can all agree on: it’s more fun when there’s sun.
Royal Ascot: The Best Dressed
Royal Ascot is the apogee of the English social season. It’s top hats and morning coats and duchesses in big, flowery Philip Treacy hats - oh, and some people are there for the Racing too. Hosted by Her Majesty the Queen on her royal racecourse just down from Windsor Castle the Tuesday to Saturday of Ascot Week sends the Bold and the Beautiful of the London social scene scuttling - or flying - down to Berkshire for a day of luncheons and picnics and tea parties and betting. And when it comes to these fine fillies and their fashion; well, the bets are off.
The Cartier Polo at Windsor is one of the great set-piece moments of the summer for any English socialite worth her salt. The chicest French jeweller hosting a glam lunch followed by the Queen giving away the cup to dreamy polo players? It just doesn’t get much better than that does it! For the royal play-pack there was only one thing to worry about this lovely June weekend – yes, this is England and so was it going to rain? But the storm clouds gathering over Windsor did nothing to dampen the fashion spirit. James Middleton’s girlfriend the TV presenter Donna Air opted for pale pink and a cute high-necked white shirt, while glamazon supermodel Jodie Kidd, sat next to designer Leon Max at the lunch, was cool in a discreet navy dress and sandals. She sensibly had a leather jacket to hand – a hip twist to pull over the shoulders as the sky blackened over the spectacular hydrangeas that surrounded the pristine white marquee.
LIFE BALL 2015
The 23rd annual Life Ball – The vibe exudes the essence of a neo-classical Studio 54, with wigs and costumes, celebrities, drag queens, models, and the iconic looks of Jean Paul Gaultier. An amazing philanthropic event founded by Gery Keszler to benefit his non-profit AIDS LIFE, Life Ball has become one of the biggest fundraising events for HIV/AIDS research and awareness. This year, Jean Paul Gaultier capped off the night with a retrospective fashion show for the ages as the party raged on at Vienna’s City Hall.
(Photos courtesy of Models.com)
RACING AROUND GOODWOOD
A group of Charles March’s friends were invited to try out new cars around the famous Goodwood racing circuit. I drove a Ferrari Speciale around the track with a racing instructor screaming “Faster, faster, shift, break, downshift!” Other cars included BMW’s electric Batmobile (which was very good but only a 70 mile range) as well as Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG, Bentley, McLaren, Porsche, Range Rover, and Morgan, all of which had several of their models on hand. And of course there was the fleet of Rolls Royces to take the guests (who included Viscount Linley, Matthew Freud, Otis Ferry and Edie Campbell) to the nearby RR factory for a tour. The scariest car in the lineup? A million pound bright blue Swedish rocket of a car by Koenigsegg.
Contributor: Leon Max
Dateline: Geneva - the international Jetset gather at the Hotel Intercontinental for the 15th annual Action Innocence Gala, raising almost 3 million Swiss francs for an amazing cause helping children. A who’s who of Europe were there for the fete organised by Valerie Wertheimer, of the Chanel-owning family. She gathered together an assortment of Chiracs, Ayoubs and Manoukians as well as the gorgeous French actress Clothilde Courau, aka The Princess of Venice. Also in attendance: Yana Max looking heavenly in Leon Max, of course.
America: the land of hope and glory ; England the land of dope and Glory Holes. Cue BritWeek; a celebration of limeys in all their glory in across the pond hosted by the British Consulate. Brit week- now in its 9th year- is 7 day bonanza in honour of the UK-LA alliance, focusing on music, the arts, film and of course fashion. From punk canary haired designer Pam Hogg, to artist Duggie Fields, the presence of the British in California did not go amiss.
Tamie Adaya- Matriarch, figurehead and mother of Santa Monica’s
Infamous art Deco hotel; The Shangri-LA- hosted three events during the week;
A tea party held for British eccentric and national treasure Zandra Rhodes collaborated with UK milliner Pier Atkinson, her Schiaparelli pink hair hard to miss amongst the sea of caramel blondes.
From balancing pink glittered cherry’s, to golden bulldogs on baseball caps, Swarovski embellished veils; Atkinson’s’ hats alongside and Rhodes vivacious prints made a hard impact against the art deco white of the Shangri-LA hotel.
Owner of the peculiar modern art-cum-stately home Aynhoe Park , James Perkins, hosted another party on The Shangri La hotels rooftop-Suite 700.
Other nights saw LA based and English Royalty, Lord Freddy Winsor attending the weeks opening party, sponsored by ye oldy Scottish shortbread makers ‘Walkers’. Obviously –it is LA after all- even the pure butter shortbread biscuits were gluten free.
(Photo: Contributor Harriet Verney at the Shangri-La Hotel in Leon Max)
Tribeca Film Festival 2015
After a long and treacherous winter, New York could use some fun, and this year it comes in the form of Tribeca film festival. New Yorkers come out of hibernation to celebrate the latest and greatest from cinema, and luckily for me, the festival is right on my doorstep. James Franco’s new thriller ‘The Adderall Diaries’, and ‘Bleeding Heart’ starring Girls favorite Zosia Mamet, were among some of this year’s favorite movies. As well as the cinematic events, fashion also has a big part to play this week. While the day is all about casual and cool, the evening is a more formal affair with gatherings such as the annual Vanity Fair party, and Chanel dinner commanding appearances from New York elite, proving there’s a lot to get excited about. Fortunately Max Studio has the perfect attire for all occasions. While checking out the screenings in the day, I felt comfortable and effortless, in a micro suede mini, and lightweight turtle neck, which I paired with my trustee white Stan Smith trainers. In the evening I transitioned my look with black floaty dresses or the brands new on trend sleeveless jumpsuit. Either way with the cultural community in full force, and the sun shining bright, it looks like New York has finally gotten the Spring awakening it deserves.
Contributing Editor: Flynn Rodham
Shop Flynn’s Looks:
LEON MAX x W MAG x AMBER VALLETTA
Friday night, Hollywood: Designer Leon Max, W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi and supermodel Amber Valletta co-hosted the West Coast launch of Stefano’s new book ‘W: Stories’ at a chic house over-looking the Hollywood Hills.
The guests, of course, looked fabulous including Amber Valletta in Leon Max who caught up with Angela Lindvall, also in Leon Max, as well as Alexandra von Furstenberg, China Chow and Vanessa Getty. They all admired the photographic installations - W: Stories is a round-up of the magazines most avant-garde fashion stories, whether it be Steven Klein’s bizarre “One for the Ages” or Tim Walker’s alien “Planet Tilda.” And the guests were confronted with a fabulous three tier video installation and headphones with which to listen while short movies from the editorials played. Inside they were confronted by enormous stills from the shoots on the walls of the house.
All a useful talking point, if Hollywood needs anything so mundane as a useful talking point. Yana Max chatted to Sophie Windsor, and as well as these two beauties other IT girls wearing Leon Max included “Better Call Saul” Actress Rhea Seehorn, Katie Nehra & Sasha Alexander all enjoying a cocktail or two around the pool whilst enjoying the view. And what a lovely view. It could have been a scene from an editorial in W itself, no doubt.
“This is not fashion- this is art.” - Journalist and long time McQueen devotee Hilary Alexander exclaimed-as she gave the opening speech at the V&A’s Savage Beauty exhibition Gala.
Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s lifetime of work; from his 1992 graduate collection featuring barded wire printed silk, to his poignant last and unfinished collection in Autumn/Winter 2010 entitled “Angels and Demons.”
Since flying in from New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art, the show has been the fastest selling exhibition the V&A has had to date and it’s not surprising why. Making one’s way through the labyrinth of rooms brimming with pieces from his shows, collections and a curiosity cabinet laden with pieces from collaborators; Savage Beauty is about as close as you were ever going to get inside the head of a genius. And even then you were far off.
From the transfixion of Kate Moss’s infamous hologram, to the pert bottoms peeking out from his iconic “bumsters” debuted in his “Highland Rape” collection; there was just as much of Alexander’s savage as there was his beauty.
Just before F.K.A Twigs began her McQueen clad set; friend and muse Annabelle Neilson climbed onstage, like a bird of paradise attempting its first steps, in a couture McQueen pink feathered dress:
“If Lee was here… he would have left two hours ago!” (because he’s as naughty as a rockstar)
CONTRIBUTOR: HARRIET VERNEY
“Harriet Verney is the niece of the late Isabella Blow who discovered Alexander McQueen.”
The IT Girl of the Moment
Who would have thought it but Cinderella is the coolest girl of the season. The new Disney film - just out now - is the silver screen accessory du jour and is giving waist-shrinking corsets a fashion moment. Lily James – Lady Rose from Downton - the charming British actress playing the fairytale future princess with the improbably small waist denied that it had been digitally altered but is nevertheless spearheading a revival of the undergarment that spurred one 19th century French writer to quip: “A woman in a corset is a lie, a falsehood, a fiction; but for us, this fiction is better than the reality.” John Galliano, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang certainly agreed in recent collections.
But then the costume designer on this film knows what she’s doing; Central St Martin’s alum Sandy Powell has won 10 Oscars for out-fitting films from ‘Shakespeare in Love’, ‘The Young Victoria’ to ‘The Aviator’. For ‘Cinderella’ Cate Blanchette’s Wicked Stepmother is all fabulous ‘40s, a whiff of a Schiaparelli-wearing Wallis Simpson crossed with Marlene Dietrich while the Ugly Sisters are glorious in their gaudy brights and over the top gowns – “Nouveau,” Sandy Powell explained of them, “ they haven’t understood that less is more.” For Cinderella the girl herself she took inspiration from Winterhalter’s portraits of European royalty; it’s the royal wedding gown with it’s perfectly poised floral details which could have been Elizabeth of Austria’s take on Kate Middleton’s McQueen that is the dress that gets the biggest sighs from the girls in the audience. And what about the shoes? Well, Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo have ‘glass slippers’ out. Why wouldn’t you?
ART BASEL HONG KONG
Last weekend it was all about Hong Kong. The A-list raced to the former British colony for the latest incarnation of the amfAR charity gala (Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Gwyneth Paltrow et al) booked to coincide with the latest edition of Art Basel.
Half of this latest outpost of the art fair favoured by the jet set was made up of galleries from Asia and Asia-Pacific, and surreal works seemed to catch the crowd’s fancy, including this “Untitled: Kneeling Woman” by the Australian artist, Sam Jinks.
Other top picks included “Camel No.1” by Yang Maoyuan and Yunizar’s “Pose Playboy Rooster.”
Also spotted amidst this surreal world: Yana Max admiring some of the works on show.
WHAT TO WEAR IN THE SNOW
Most designers are encouraging us to get our Spring/Summer gear, but with continuous blizzard warning, it seems New York is adamant to remain in winter mode. The question is how does one remain stylish when its negative five degrees outside? Although it requires a little extra effort, it is very achievable, and luckily for us Maxstudio have some great pieces to help you stay chic in the forthcoming winter months. I recently visited their New York [SOHO] store and found the best of both worlds, with clothing that is both fashionable and warm. One of my favorite items from the winter collection is a double breasted black cape that beats the cold and makes a refreshing change from oversized and unflattering coats. Another must have are the Kiva knee high boots that have a vintage “Biba” feel. Last but not least, no outfit is complete with a little accessorizing which is why I’ll be wearing my wide-brimmed felt hat all Winter, transforming any look into cool; looks like a few month of snow won’t be so bad after all.
Contributing Editor: Flynn Rodham
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The Golden Globes
by Emily Maddick
Ah, the Hollywood Awards Season. Just when everyone is feeling at their utter worst thanks to the weather, the over-indulgence of every kind at the end of December and the prospect of the dismal winter months ahead, those super-humans known as Hollywood movie stars dazzle in their diamonds and designer frocks for two months straight. And it all kicked off in Beverly Hills last weekend with the 72nd annual Golden Globes. As for the awards themselves, of course they are a terribly big deal in this town, but secretly everyone is sitting there itching to get to the after-parties. Conveniently most of the bashes are held in tents off the circular lobby of the Beverly Hilton Hotel - a veritable Roulette table of rave-ups. First up was HBO. Jen Aniston – hotly tipped to win Best Actress for Cake, but pipped to the post by Julianne Moore for Still Alice - was seen asking her fiancée Justin Theroux to carry her purse and get her a glass of white wine. Lena Dunham hung out with the music gals, Taylor Swift, HAIM and Lorde and was terribly pally with Lorde. Over at the Warner Brothers and In Style do, Eddie Redmayne – who nabbed Best Actor for The Theory of Everything – was as humble and British and lovely as ever and seemed rather star-struck himself, clinging on to his lovely new wife, Hannah Bagshawe. Diane Kruger was smothering her Globe-winning boyfriend, Joshua Jackson with endless kisses, and taking endless Selfies together. And everyone was rather taken by the genius pairing of Alan Cumming and his date Monica Lewinsky. Harvey Weinstein and Netflix was the best bash of all. As soon as we arrived we ran into a very giddy Naomi Campbell, who’s an actress these days having landed a role in the new hit Fox Show, Empire. Who knows, maybe Naomi’ll be up for a Globe this time next year? Cara Delevingne was racing round hand-in-hand with Rita Ora, who was looking rather overwhelmed by it all, saying she was desperate for vodka. Katie Holmes sat all night on her own with four guards and her miserable looking partner pal, Jeanette Yang who was wearing a woolly beanie. Extraordinary. As for dancing, we really couldn’t decide. Was it James Corden or Best supporting actress winner Ruth Wilson who took the gong? Both displayed some extraordinary shapes – both on their own. Well Ruth had her gong to dance around, which she did with aplomb. Consider this all a dress rehearsal for the Oscars.
Emily Maddick, Contributing Editor, Grazia
Evening Standard Theatre Awards
by Violet Naylor-Leyland
We don’t go to the theatre as much as we ought to (assuming ‘The Bodyguard’ Musical probably doesn’t count…) but having been invited to the Evening Standard 60th Theatre Awards, I couldn’t resist the fun and people-watching-potential. Having decided on my grandmother’s 1950s black silk basque, Mark Fast cut-out tights and a Violet’s Box Vintage velvet hooded duster I made it for canapés. Dinner at the London Palladium was hosted by Anna Wintour (whose father Charles Wintour, the editor of the Evening Standard, started the awards in 1955) Burberry’s Christopher Bailey & the paper’s owner Evgeny Lebedev, all three of whom stood afront a wall of festive pine, rather impressively greeting each of us personally.
On the spiral staircase, we bumped into a twinkly Hannah Bagshaw, whose fiancé actor Eddie Redmayne was presenting an award, then shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood who I nattered to about extremely silly fancy dress. Naomi Campbell, who we decided has the best figure, swept past in a gold Burberry gown while Victoria Beckham looked as sinewy as usual and just before dinner I caught Idris Elba standing outside the girls’ loos muttering to himself, which initially I thought a bit pervy, until I realised the Mandela star was nervously learning cue cards so decided not to accost him.
I had the nice surprise at dinner of sitting next to fashion designer Leon Max, while my husband Charlie was wedged happily between two very pretty models Idina Moncreiffe and Leon’s wife Yana who looked beautiful in a full length black Leon Max gown. Comperes Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon kept us amused all night and apart from Sienna Miller giving them an earful and best actress winner Gillian Anderson swearing at them at one point, once everyone had let their hair down it became a great night.
Violet Naylor-Leyland is a stylist & owner of fancy dress & vintage boutique Violet’s Box
TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE
While there may be mutterings of a new Cold War over at the UN Security Council, there was nothing but love for the Russians in London this week when Elena Perminova - wife of Alexander Lebedev - and erstwhile street style star hosted a chic dinner at Kensington Palace for Russian-owned jewelry brand Sybarite. A ballerina pole-danced to Tchaikovsky - what more could one ask for on a chilly and rainy English evening?
While talk in the news might be of more serious matter it turns out Russia is having a flowering of new and exciting and hip-per than hip underground fashion talent. Last October saw the 29th season of Russian Fashion Week and included buzz brands such as ‘Walk of Shame,’ now in its third year, which held a presentation in a suitably trendy and gutted top-floor apartment - the standout cool piece being an orange maximum security prison bright orange jacket with 'Walk of Shame’ emblazoned on it in Cyrillic…of course. The label has since been picked up by Opening Ceremony.
Back at 'KP’ - former home of the Princess of Wales, now home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - there was nothing underground about the fashion that glittered on the Russian socials of London in Balmain and Balenciaga who were out to support their IT girl friend Elena, along with the British Vogue girls and model Amber Le Bon and designer Emilia Wickstead showing off a baby bump, as well as two Han Christian Anderson toy 'soldiers’ who escorted the ladies into dinner.
MODEL PICKS | LAURA G FALL 2014
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The Brits were back in town for BAFTA’s Los Angeles bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel - and as there’s nothing they love more than a nice, long chat so it will come as no surprise then that the night was one of long and jovial speeches and toasts. Emma Watson stole the show in sharp Balenciaga, and was honoured by Burberry, the brand which landed her, her first modeling gig. Also honoured were Mark Ruffalo, Dame Judi Dench, Robert Downey Jr, Mike Leigh and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
It’s been quite the Brit week for Hollywood; heartthrob Eddie Redmayne was hosting a drinks at the Chateau Marmont the night before. Were the female guests devastated that he’d announced his engagement? Yes, most likely. But there was worse news to come a few days later from London; Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement to theatre director Sophie Hunter via The Times’ Court and Social page. Was that the sound of a thousand hearts breaking? From his female fans, known as the ‘Cumberbitches’, certainly.
FADE TO BLACK
Black is back: it’s official. And not a moment too soon. It’s all Hallow’s Eve, of course, so what better moment to channel some dark inspiration from the Metropolitan’s appropriately timed new exhibition: “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire.” It’s the 19th century, natch. A century presided over by an iconic Queen and Empress - Victoria - who spent the majority of her reign dressed to mourn her beloved Prince Consort, Albert. 1815-1915 was a hundred years when death was so fetishized it virtually kept the dress couturiers in business alone. Would you have looked better in ‘full mourning’ or 'half-morning’? Go see if death becomes you; Happy Hallowe'en from Leon Max and MaxStudio.
ALL THE FUN OF THE FRIEZE
By Oscar Humphries
Frieze and the fairs and events that surround it continue to evolve and this last week saw the worlds of fashion, design and art collide. Gucci came on board as a sponsor for Frieze Masters - adding Italian glamour to this art fair which makes its focus art made before the year 2000. It’s talented young director, Victoria Sidall, encouraged the participating galleries to bring their very best material to London. The result was triumphant with Marlborough Gallery presenting a Francis Bacon solo-stand and Dickinson Gallery doing a stellar wall of ‘rose period’ Picassos… It added a gravitas to a schedule that largely celebrated the new.
It was impossible to see everything but everyone I spoke to was raving about the Sigmar Polke show at the Tate Modern (which you may have seen at MOMA) and Glenn Ligon’s superb exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre. What’s unique about Frieze week is that you can see work by artists - living and dead - in these museum shows and then go to Phillips (their monolithic new building on Berkeley Square opened to much fanfare this week), Christies, or Sothebys to buy work by these artists at Auction. Indeed the collectors and dealers that rule the art world were a presence in both sale rooms and VIP rooms at PAD, Frieze, and Frieze Masters. The new art world is one in which the public, the private, and the commercial co-exist in near (and sometimes far from near) harmony.
It’s impossible to see everything although I know ambitious collectors who were going to seven events per night. The best way to see everyone if not everything was to go to Chiltern Fire House where Larry Gagosian gave one of several dinner and where, on Thursday night, the artist Marc Quinn and Apple’s new hire Mark Newson sat encamped.
I launched my new magazine with PAD’s wonderful and generous fair director Patrick Perrin on the Wednesday night. And whist I lost hordes of people to the Frieze Masters / Gucci party at the Italian Embassy, to the ICA dinner, to the White Cube dinner and the super cool Sothebys contemporary party we were 92 for baked potatoes and caviar. In a week of air kissing and record prices my dinner felt distinctly friends and family, thank God.
Oscar Humphries is the Editor and Publisher of The Art Book.