Saturday, January 27, 2007

Kind of blue

Looking at some of the shoes in the shops recently, I can't help wondering whether they're a manifestation of some sort of conspiracy by designers against women foolish enough to buy and wear them. I'm all for unwearable shoes if they are, at heart, beautiful, and have a few pairs in my cupboard to prove it; but when I'm wandering round Lane Crawford's shoe department, frequently I'll pick up a pair that look wonderful only for the nasty aftertaste to hit straight away - the Lanvin shoes above are a classic example (from the excellent Browns website). Elegant in almost every way, and strangely compelling, but then your senses are assaulted the deplorable uber-wedge under the toes, and it's all over.

One fall-out from the year-long hangover of the Marie Antoinette film starring, risibly, Kirsten Dunst as la reine Marie, has been pre-revolution style excesses all over the catwalk : crinolines anyone? Designers like to think they echo what's happening in the wider world, but draining ideas from a Hollywood movie is just fashion eating itself. Perhaps it's just a rehash of the Christian Dior "New Look" subterfuge of 1947: post-war austerity startlingly countered by dresses requiring acres of material which, coincidentally of course, required the services - and consequently revived the fortunes - of France's struggling material manufacturers.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Able was I, ere I saw Hong Kong

Picture from Divetrip.

On a trip to Palau in 2004, I went snorkeling for the first ever time, in the most amazing clear blue waters, in idyllic conditions, in the sunshine, and with a group of really lovely paddlers who were competing in the Micronesia Cup outrigger competition.

Palau is where one of the Survivor series was filmed and is reputedly the only place where they didn’t have to clean the beaches to make the islands look deserted. I’ve seen the detritus first hand elsewhere – empty water bottles, plastic cartons and, for some reason, flipflops by the thousand, cast aboard from dirty, careless international industrial ships - floating heedless in the sea until it arrives somewhere, anywhere, to lie on previously unsullied sand everywhere there’s a tide.

Palau’s not really made for tourists, being too remote (fly to the Philippines from Hong Kong and turn left … then keep going), and thronging with Taiwanese sightseers who snorkel in lifejackets because they can’t swim. It was all we could do to buy suntan lotion at the local store. But the sea is sparkling blue and the fish are abundant, and I couldn’t have had a better place to learn to breathe underwater.

The Napoleon wrasse is a big, ugly, unhappy-looking fish, so named presumably because of its enormous proboscis-like snout and its weak chin. I met one in the water and couldn’t help being drawn to its huge despondent presence - a justified despondence, because it’s on the verge of extinction – Hong Kong imports 60% of world supplies and it’s just been listed by the World Conservation Union as being endangered.

Poor old Napoleon wrasse – not an especially tasty fish (and I confess, I’ve eaten some, in a Japanese restaurant in Palau, before I realised how endangered it is), in fact, downright bland; but victim to the Hong Kong consumer’s insatiable, irrational, self-perpetuating appetite for anything rare, for which read expensive, for which read sought-after, for which read rare…

(A palindrome based on Napoleon's supposed last words: Able was I, ere I saw Elba.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Testino times

This bombshell courtesy of Catwalk Queen: Super-nepotist and friend of the famous Mario Testino is now photographing the usual suspects for Burberry's new campaign, Otis Ferry (Bryan's son and enemy of the fox) amongst them. This reminded me of the alleged exchange between Ernest Hemingway and starstruck F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different from us!
Hemingway: Yes. They have more money.

Interestingly, I've never had more hits on this blog than from people Googling Violet Naylor-Leyland (who was kind enough to write in to take issue with my scathing comments about last autumn's execrable VOGUE piece). Violet, who seems like a nice enough person, aside, I still take issue with the assumption that just because you're rich and well-connected, you're automatically interesting.

(The Wilbert Harrison version of Stick Together, which coincidentally just came on to my iPod, is light years better than Ferry Senior's efforts (thanks, Peter; and so there, Ferry!).)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Vaut de mieux Miu

Somehow this should be wrong - the avant garde shape of the sleeves, the disorientating vertical slash of red, the uneven neckline - but it looks so right. I think you might need to be precisely 20 to wear it.

The po-faced expressions of the Chinese women behind the equally po-faced model are priceless.

Miu Miu, Spring 2007, from Vogue France.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ashes to ashes

Crass stupidity of the week award: 50% of smokers (as opposed to 27% of the general population) think that the occurrence of cancer is down to "fate".

Hong Kong has just banned smoking in pubs and restaurants (with a few weaselly exceptions such as mah-jongg parlours). Since smokers clearly don't know what's good for them, as evidenced by the above, it's the only way to be sure.