Guilt free shopping – step this way!

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 21st, 2010

Every once in a while you come a cross a gem in life, and Mary Portas and her shop, ‘Living & Giving for Save the Children’ is a perfect example.
It is – as the name suggests – a charity shop with the proceeds going to Save the Children.
If you hate second-hand shops because you think they smell musty and you can never find anything you like, this is the charity shop for you.

You see, at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking it is just another in the long line of expensive designer shops running down Notting Hill’s very popular Westbourne Grove, but look closely and you’ll soon realize that even though all the labels are there (I saw Chanel and Marc Jacobs) the prices are much less than the neighbouring shops and of course it’s pure guilt-free shopping as it’s all for charity.

The smartest charity shop I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, and yes, I did buy something, a vintage brown leather bag for my mum (she’s very happy!)

177 Westbourne Grove
London W11

Check it out next time you’re in London and enjoy!

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 I Am Because We Are

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 17th, 2010

The World Cup has meant a massive spotlight and emphasis has been placed on South Africa but not necessarily on the sartorial treats that the country has to offer. I recently discovered the Smarteez DIY fashion crew from Soweto who go around expressing themselves through their outfits that quite often try and mix African textiles with contemporary dress. I’m wondering what this new generation of post-apartheid stylites are doing right now as World Cup mania has descended onto their country. I’m hoping they’re wearing suitably themed outfits fashioned out of flag colour fabrics…

Then we have this new collection from knitwear design collective The Inoue Brothers. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Japanese brothers Satoru and Kiyoshi Inoue have travelled the world and previously having worked with Andrean knits of Bolivia, they have now turned their attention to the township of Khayelitsha in South Africa. Working with beading ladies they have transferred this craft to organic hemp material t-shirts, making pieces that are 100% made in and around Capetown.

The Inoue Brothers have collaborated with South African music collective Gazelle on the art direction and photography of these look book images that really convey the fun sense of the collection as well as the more serious and earnest intentions of the collection…




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 England vs. USA?

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 14th, 2010

I’m watching this as we type and as it stands the score of the first group match between England and USA stands at 1:1. I have zero interest in the final result of the match or whether England progresses beyond the group stages. I’m not even that aware of the supposed anti-Brit feeling that some people are feeling in lieu of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the spirit of all things shallow, I’m more interested in playing off fashion graduates in these games of patriotism. Graduate Fashion Week has just finished up in London. It’s an event where schools across the country come together to show their latest crop of fashion design students in a week of shows, exhibitions and portfolio displays.

The aforementioned battle was played out between Sara Wadsworth of Central Lancashire University and Lucinda Ailes of UCA Epsom. Wadsworth turned to iconic places of London like Big Ben and the Millennium Eye as well as the Union Jack for inspiration for her prints. No sign of red, blue and white though as the colours were kept quite neutral which makes things a whole lot subtler.


Ailes created a collection where those familiar stars and stripes were also subtly worked into outfits with chunky knitwear in subdued greys, ending though with a statement coat that is the flag all over.

Unlike a football match though, there is no clear winner. Aesthetics are of course highly subjective and instead, I’m happy just to observe these thematic allegiances that some of the students have chosen to take.

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 Hatted and Batted

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 7th, 2010

I’ve recently had to write a portion of text dedicated to Hats and it got me most riled up WHY it is people don’t wear hats that go beyond the realms of woollen beanies, berets and caps. I guess I’m semi-biased because I was a born hat person and from the point where I had a lace cap on as a baby, my destiny as someone who has an affinity with hats was sealed.

That said, it depresses me that hats have become a sort of outmoded freakish form of attire. An accessory that brands you with certain tags (quirky, eccentric, odd or worse…) even though it wasn’t that long ago when hats were daily essentials, to be worn as a way of conforming to decorum.

How do you feel about hats?

All hats here from My Sugarland in London

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 Dictionary of Dress

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 5th, 2010

There aren’t that many ‘quiet’ fashion-related exhibitions in London. We’re lucky that we have institutions that curate some amazing exhibitions to do with fashion but of course the media love to make a big noise about everything resulting in queues, sold out tickets and packed-out exhibitions.

However, I think I’ve come across the QUIETEST exhibition there is and it’s very very hidden away. Well actually it’s more like a walk than an exhibition. Famed fashion curator Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips have come together to create a series of definitions with accompanying installations entitled The Concise Dictionary of Dress.
These installations have been set up in Blythe House which was originally the Post Office Savings Bank and now houses V&A’s Archive of Art and Design.

These definitions are supposed to re-describe clothing in terms of anxiety, wish and desire and so it isn’t a conventional ‘dictionary of dress’ as you would expect and along with the installations, it really explores the psyche of how we as human beings relate to dress and all its codes of conduct.

For example, to illustrated the term ‘Armoured’, there is this resin sculpture sitting on top of Blythe House

A series of images and pieces illustrated the term ‘Essential’… mostly depicting Grecian draped pieces and the classicism of those lines…

Then to illustrate the term “Pretentious” you get a collection of antique gowns (Chanel, Vionnet, Madame Gres…) from the early part of the 20th century and across from it is a plaster impression of the dresses…a comment on the ‘hollowness’ of fashion perhaps?


You’re taken through a derelict Blythe House up through industrial goods lift and through staircases, eerily silent corridors and so I deem this the quietest exhibition I have ever encountered which of course gives you the opportunity to think and reflect.

Here is a video trailer of the exhibition to give you a better idea…

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 Different Settings

by United Blogs of Benetton on: May 23rd, 2010

Show Me Your Wardrobe touched on the different codes of being stylish in varying cities and I’ve recently been thinking about the same. Except by even going an hour or two outside of London, already, I have to re-assess what I’m wearing which technically means, my style could be changing as I physically move outside of the M25 (the border motorway that surrounds London).

Very often I have to go to a little sleepy place called Westgate in Kent where there isn’t much going on apart from pretty beaches and elderly people taking their dogs on very slow walks. There, I feel compelled to keep it fairly simple; all the layers are shed and I just reduce it down to a pretty dress with some sensible shoes. I’m rewarded when the old folks comment “Well, that’s a pretty frock!”.

Recently I was in the countryside in New Forest in a pretty village called Brockenhurst where wild ponies ran and everything was very green. So I too ‘countrified’ my outfits for the occasion. Bring on the cliches of bourgeois country dressing…. tweed, riding boots, lady like scarves… the star here is of course the New Forest pony in the background

Moving further afield to New York where the ‘It’s My Time’ casting shoot took place, given that I ended up staying a bit longer due to the volcanic ash incident, my wardrobe ended up being rather limited and influenced by the slightly more ‘laid back’ and ‘slick’ spirit of the city, I opted for letting pieces like these Loewe leather trousers and vintage shades do the talking…


That said, with all of this environment and adaption to surroundings, I would still maintain that all of these are facets of my style. To be boxed into one specific genre or style is something that severely depresses me and it actually throws up pleasing new challenges to go to a different place to tweak your style. Afterall, I have plenty of time in my home city London where I can go in whatever direction I wish so some constraints outside of the city are sometimes, more than welcome…

Does your style change as you travel the world or move about within your own country?

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 Now Let’s Look at the Clothes

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 21st, 2010

Let’s forget about the volcano ash that has made our New York trip a bit longer than we had anticipated for a minute. Let’s instead look back to happier times. The shoot in New York was really 50% about the people and 50% about the clothes and whilst I found it quite interesting seeing the people bring the clothes alive, showcasing their own spirit and style, I was primarily also interested in the clothes from a selfish point of view…

Whilst from my perception, United Colours of Benetton isn’t about pumping out catwalk trend copycats but instead creating their own go-to staples with a sense of fun, I did spy inklings of the A/W 10-11 trends that were seen in February/March…

Here, Natalchou and Magali wear the hiking outdoors-y looks really well complete with chunky boots and socks, furry hats and lumberjack plaid jackets. Ok, they’re not actually fit for hardcore hiking but at least they’re sartorially spot on…


The ensembles of the day had to go to the mixed and clashing knitted checks that Tereza and Patricia wore. They loved it so much, they didn’t want to take them off and even when they were off the shoot, they were giving out model-esque poses.
Melanie wearing some of the lovely Fair Isle knits that Benetton have lined up for A/W 10-11 had a great energy on set…



More of the Fair Isle…

Sheepskin and checks… you won’t be able to escape this stuff come winter…



Ben is looking particularly ready for A/W 10-11 with this sleek camel coat. Call it whatever you want; tan, beige, camel, fudge-brown… these shades are going to be running rife… all responsibility goes to the collections by Phoebe Philo at Celine and Hannah McGibbon at Chloe…

Then there are more colourful elements which for me sum up the spirit of Benetton, that a tried-and-tested staple is offered in every colour under the sun… like these puffa jackets as modelled by David and Plastic is Fantastic, who also is sporting some very cute leopard print ear muffs…



Then there’s the signature knitwear, the jumpers and cardigans that again comes in a plethora of shades… I love the colour combinations of coral, blue and purple layered in an unusual way on Soraya. Elizabeth wears a pink on pink combination that looks stunning with the whimsical roses in her hair…



And the final unique Benetton touch? Some bling bling Benetton logo earrings that were custom made for the shoot and modelled very poorly by me but very well by Janelle

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 I am in love with I am love

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 20th, 2010

I Am Love (Io Sono L’Amore) finally got its release in the UK and given that I’ve been hearing about the virtues of this film by Luca Guadagnino for months beforehand, it was possible that I could have been crestfallen upon seeing it.

Starring Tilda Swinton (who was also involved with the production and conception of the film…), this is a film set at the turn of the millennium in Milan which depicts an upper class family and follows Emma Recchi (played by Swinton) and her pressure to uphold a powerful dynasty and subsequently, her new found love and freedom via an affair with her son’s chef friend Antonio (played by Edoardo Gabbriellini). Ultimately, it’s about love lost and found as well as family values that is tied to wealth.

It is the aesthetics of this film that separates it from any other Lady Chatterley’s Lover-type storyline. Guadagnino, with the help of costume choices such as Recchi’s character being entirely dressed in Raf Simons’ Jil Sander clothes and production consulting from style figures such as Silvia Venturini Fendi (creative director for the accessories at Fendi), has created a sumptuous visual gorgefest where everything from the interiors of the Recchi house, the carefully shot Milanese backdrop, the clothes, the food cooked by Antonio and the characters themselves hold a raw and visceral kind of beauty.

Recchi’s character particularly resonated with me. Her life as a bourgeoisie housewife may have trapped her spiritually but her natural sense of style and taste conveyed, connecting, food, fashion and interiors made me wonder whether the three are intrinsically linked. If you love one, do you also take care in those other two areas? I’d like to think this is the case, just because it seems silly not to try and apply one’s taste levels to your surroundings and what you eat. I may not be able to consume all three to the highest of levels like Recchi but I can try with all my might.

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 Style and the City

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 3rd, 2010

All this talk about style has got me thinking about what it means to be stylish in a particular city…Can you be stylish in Milan but fall flat on your face in London with the same look?

Is it possible to be stylish in one city and not in the next? I’m from London, could definitely be more stylish – no, I’m not being all British and modest here, I really could do with having a bit more style in my life, but on the whole I scrub up okay.

In London I even get compliments and have been known to be photographed for the odd street style blog here and there but (of course there is a but) when I am in Brooklyn, for example, I feel like a square.

In Paris, I am not chic enough and in Milan not sexy enough.

Does that make my ‘look’ London-centric or am I just being silly?
Answers on a postcard please…

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 The best of IMT – by Style Bubble

by United Blogs of Benetton on: March 31st, 2010

Ok, so it’s a bit of a cop out to be patriotic and start searching through the profiles submitted from the UK. That said, 5000+ pages worth of profiles is a lot to sift through so I thought I’d narrow it down a little and pick out my personal best from this ickle island of ours…

jessamine

Jessamine has already taken it into her own hands at creating a Benetton advert quite endearing. I love the natural qualities that shine through her photos. Apparently, she can “act, dance, write, paint…” and she wears Benetton jumpers. Yipeeeee!

ida

Ida clearly has a love of the dramatics looking at her photos. It’s quite strange yet amazing that she manages to convey a different persona in every picture.

  • IDA

    IDA

    26-year-old girl,
    United Kingdom

andrea

You can’t beat a good smile and Andrea has a pretty infectious one. There’s a modern Louise Brooks vibe going on too which I love.

  • andrea

    andrea

    18-year-old girl,
    United Kingdom

joshua karl

I’ll commend Joshua Karl if he has indeed styled himself as there’s this striking contrast between the debonair and playfulness in his attire.

emma low

Emma Low had me with her panda bear costume and the cute cropped hairstyle that I myself could never pull off.

  • Emma Low

    Emma Low

    20-year-old girl,
    United Kingdom

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