Notting Hill Carnival
For those of you who havent been to the Notting Hill Carnival - to Londoner’s it’s just ‘Carnival’ - Venice this ain’t. This is when the Leon Max store along with its other neighbours on Westbourne Grove gets boarded up as West London prepares to have a lot of fun at Europe’s biggest street carnival. In fact as the boards go up a strange quiet descends across this swathe of the Royal Borough, it does feel akin to the eve of a war that is about to begin.
Maybe that’s an appropriate analogy. Stretching over Sunday and Monday this is when the Carribean community fill the streets, the police dance with the performers and everyone has a very jolly - if noisy - good time.
Back on its famous corner on the All Saints Road was Rampage, the stage that in past years has always seemed the most - hell - ‘crazee’. But for the West London sophisticats there’s only one stage - Gaz’s Rockin Blues (it’s a night in Soho) which is a slightly trendier version of a posh drinks party. Except with a lot whistles and Red Stripe beer and jerk chicken wafting around. Even though it’s Carnival there is still alot of airkissing and a rock star’s child is always on the decks. Whose though - of course, no one can remember the next day.
So what trends were out for the party? It was occasion-appropriate with cute florals and skirts cut to the thigh polished off with boots or flats so nothing would get in the way of the dancing. Singer Rita Ora kept things cool with a net top when she performed. And is the bandana making a come-back? Oh, maybe that was just us.
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Burning Man: Part 1
by Margo Stilley
My decision to go to Burning Man this year was a last minute booking on a flight by the seat of my pants. Feeling the need to go feral, one evening a week ago in a sushi restaurant on Beverley Blvd in Los Angeles, alone, I called to cancel my 25th of August retreat to a friend’s Italian Palazzo, borrowed a pen from a waitress, and begin writing my check list of must haves on my placemat.
With my categories broken into: Survival, Food and Costume the list read something like this:
Camel Pack, Goggles, Sunscreen, Fur Coat, Giant Bear Head, LED Batter powered lights, Water, Erergen-C, 6 zip lock bags for 6 pairs of washed and pressed crisp linen pajamas dabbed with lavander oil, earplugs, eye mask, valium, a bicycle and some spray paint.
Whether or not you understand a great deal of that list will depend greatly on how much time you’ve spent camping or in a desert, so I’ll skip all the specifics of how I’m going to avoid sunburn and dehydration and move on to the good parts.
For your average fashionista, spending a week camping in a desert will be your worst nightmare, luckily Black Rock City is something different. The bigger, better, brighter and more obscene your outfit, you can rest assured that there will be someone there with more and it will somehow be inexplicably on fire.
As my trip this year is completely impromptu (and all of my gear is in London while I am already on the West Coast) I decided to make a list of all the resale shops in the gayest areas of Los Angeles that mostly cater to cross dressers. Unfortunately for me, the only thing I managed to snag during my trips to Boys Town was a little cultural insight that is this: There is no Queen in the Hollywood Drag. As I found myself shifting through the racks at “Crossroads Resale” shop on Santa Monica, looking the least feminine of all the customers with my eyelashes fluttering without a hint of mascara, I felt more as if I was shopping in my little sister’s closet from high school. Mini skirts and Abercrombie abound for these La Femmes but not a sequin in sight!
Deciding, rather reluctantly, that Less is More, I changed my mindset and decided on a very Out of Africa look with tanned platform riding boots, a selection of cargo shorts, cut into hot pants with the pockets left dangling down the sides of my thighs, a couple of vibrantly coloured pieces of muslin to wear as a scarf, turban or face guard in the event of a sand storm and of course, some multi colored parasols I nicked from a wedding on Saturday.
The unforgiving desert environment sitting 4,000 ft above sea level isn’t exactly the place one would like to arrive for a weeks long camping trip unprepared, but I’m hoping for the giving nature of The Playa to provide.
Originally from North Carolina, before beginning her career as an actor, Margo Stilley started out as an artist and was offered a full scholarship to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design for Photography, which she declined in favor of traveling.
Arriving in London at the age of 20 she accepted the lead role in Michael Winterbottom’s independent art house film, ‘9 Songs’ that suddenly thrust her into the limelight, gracing the best dressed lists and solidifying her name as one of the industry’s most fashionable young stars.
She has most recently come full circle collaborating again with the Bafta Award winning director Michael Winterbottom on a BBC2 improv comedy, ‘The Trip’ co-starring with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Margo currently lives in Hollywood, California.
A Model’s Styling Tips: Zinta
Maxstudio Model Zinta shares her favorite looks and styling tips for the Fall 2012 Leon Max / Maxstudio collection.
Dinner party ready it’s the chiffon pleated maxi and silk detail top. Taking advantage of the sheer trend the skirt adds a sexy edge to an all black ensemble.
For an early morning horse ride, Zinta opts for the heavy stretch twill riding pants and riding boots. To complete the look and protect herself from morning chill she adds the waterproof winter mac coat and a matching scarf.
A night on the town is styled perfectly with the chiffon banded dress paired with black satin evening shoes. The peep of midriff and draping of the skirt create a romantic one of a kind piece.
For a dressy daytime ensemble Zinta looks no further than the printed chiffon dress, she finishes with a belt and brown peep toe mary janes for the perfect day to night look.
Editor’s Picks: Jade Frampton
Jade Frampton, Senior Market Editor of Elle Magazine, shares her favorite looks from the Fall 2012 Leon Max Collection.
Capes are a mega-trend this fall, as well as the Lisbeth Salander leather goth chic look, which is brought to a new level of class with the leather double-breasted cape. For a touch of Gatsby-like glamour the campaign featured lace dress is perfect for everything formal this fall. A more casual take on the cape trend is achieved with wool cape paired with black skinnys, it’s the ideal fall pairing to transfer from office commute to dinner and drinks.
London 2012 Closing Ceremony
It was always going to be a quintessentially British affair. After the grandiose Opening Ceremony had been dubbed ‘quirky’ by the US, then why not give them more of the same? The first thing that had to be made clear to the global television audience of 1 billion was that Great Britain ROCKS. Jessie J in a figure-hugging nude catsuit burst out of white Rolls-Royce, the Spice Girls were reunited and swiftly flung into the stadium on London taxi cabs. And that was all after giant models of London landmarks like Tower Bridge and the London Eye had burst into light before our eyes. Even John Lennon and Freddie Mercury were not going to be left out of the picture returning from the grave to be beamed to the masses of their adoring fans. British ‘quirky’ humour certainly played its part with Monty Python’s Eric Idle leading one of the more light-hearted moments singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ surrounded by rollerskating nuns and an opera singing incarnation of Britannia. Britannia certainly rules the waves when it comes to being jaw-droppingly and hilariously bonkers. Russell Brand even popped up as a Willy Wonker-type leading a Magical Mystery Tour. Don’t think for a moment that the Brits don’t like to keep things fiercely cool though - as five trucks rolled into the arena drawing in vast Nick Knight-shot posters of the biggest British supermodels. Well, biggest might not be quite the right adjective. After two weeks of watching the toned torsos of the female Olympians it was a snappy reminder of a more leggy, languid body-shape, as the posters were ripped down and out strode a McQueen-wearing Kate Moss, followed by La Campbell and their fellow supes, the gilded Lilies (Donaldson and Cole) as well as Jourdan Dunn, Stella Tennant and a Victoria Beckham-wearing Georgia May Jagger. Weird, wonderful - and fashionable too. Case closed. Roll on Rio!
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen
London Guide to Dining & What to Wear
To Olympic or not to Olympic, is that the question? Dining in London this week there are a number of short and tasty choices that need to be made. Does one avoid the morass and stay safely tucked away far into the depths of the crisp coziness of West London, and it’s nirvana of class and culinary delights? Take GRANGER & CO. (175 Westbourne Grove, W11 2SB). You can get into the international flavor of things at this Aussie-owned restaurant that seems to be the hip Notting Hill hang out at the moment for all the pretty fashion girls. It’s the simple and sharp Australian fun set in a bright and airy dining room where plates of deliciousness from the classic modern menu are served. They don’t take bookings and at the weekend the queue snakes down the street. The LEON MAX store (229 Westbourne Grove, W11) is conveniently just a hop, skip and a jump away. If the Olympic Park has turned out to be your thing no doubt it was all about troughing your way through a supersize Big Mac meal in the hope of bumping into Ryan Lochte in the 600 seater McDonalds. If that doesn’t sound appealing in the West End is to be found the cool restaurant of the moment; LA BODEGA NEGRA, (16 Moor Street W1D 5NH) just a short cab ride away from the the kowabunga cheerleading fun being had by the Beach Volleyball viewers at Horse Guards Parade. It’s hidden behind the faux-front of an adult video shop in Soho. On entering you are promptly whisked past the black doors and two sets of clipboard girls and into London’s answer to the hip New York hang out LA ESQUINA. Le-tout Londres can be spotted here, skinny blondes in black sheaths and sparkly party numbers downing frozen margaritas amongst the rough plaster and tiling. It’s all quite Kate Moss and Chloe Sevigny, really. Olympian fun.
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen
Guide to London: Shopping on Westbourne Grove
Why Westbourne Grove? Well, quite simply because it’s the chicest street in town, the epicentre of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Royal? Yes. Good shopping also! Yippee. Want a break from the Olympic madness in East London then head west, and to this smartest of the smart thoroughfares that runs from the Notting Hill hedge funder heaven that is Kensington Park Road in the west, crossing over the famously fabulous Portobello, to the ice skating rinks and souk busy-ness of Queensway in the east. It’s circled by such fashion nirvanas as the Ledbury Road, Clarendon Cross and the Portobello Market, of course. But it’s Westbourne Grove (which takes its name from the River Westbourne now not to be found, hidden instead beneath Ossington Street towards the eastern W2 postcode end of the thoroughfare - now you can wow locals with your insider historical knowledge) which is where the money is. It’s got the best shops where money can buy….whatever your heart desires. To prepare for a hard days shopping, stop by Tom’s (226 Westbourne Grove W11 2RH) the deli founded by Tom Conran in 1990 before the neighborhood was gentrified. This is the place for a cooked breakfast or a healthy lunch in between hitting the shops. The Leon Max store (229 Westbourne Grove, W11) is a never ending cocktail of fashion fun where within its white washed walls you can get everything you need for lunch, dinner, the beach, cocktails and the races. Round the corner, just off on Ledbury Road is Wolf and Badger (46 Ledbury Road, W11 2AB), the concept store including 70 brands that bridge the multitude arts of fashion (men’s, women’s and children) accessories, jewelery and objets d’art. Good forth and browse. Meanwhile opposite the Leon Max store is the divine Daylesford Organic food shop (208-212 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RH) where one can buy the finest foods in the Royal Borough, shipped in from the billionaire Bamford family’s rolling Gloucestershire estate and South of France vineyards. You may have traveled to London for the Olympics, but you’ll want to stay for the shopping.
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen