Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Voting in the Fabbies

After several technical glitches last weekend, the Fabbies have been relaunched. These are the fashion blog awards, and I'm delighted to have been nominated in the Best New Blog category, but there are many more to choose from. You can vote at the button on the right. If you voted last week, you may want to do so again on the redesigned site. The voting will be live through midnight GMT April 30, 2008. Here's what the organisers say:

The Fabbies are the first-ever, blogger-organized awards to recognize the top Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blogs from around the world. Various prestigious blog awards have existed for some time, but they repeatedly snubbed the Lifestyle Blogosphere, deliberately ignoring the growing power, influence and prestige of this group of bloggers. So, in typical entrepreneurial style, three bloggers decided to take action: The Manolo of Manolo's Shoe Blog, Tina Craig of Bag Snob, and Lesley Scott, Fashiontribes…with crucial assistance from Christina Jones of eBeautyDaily and Sam Francois of Papierdoll. One of the best features of the Fabbies is that it's a democracy. Rather than a few judges determining which blogs are "best" in 12 different categories (which showcase the impressive breadth and depth of the Lifestyle Blogosphere), it is the real experts – the blog readers, fans and supporters – that determine the winners with their votes, highlighting the deliciously freewheeling spirit of blogging.


You need to register on the site before you can vote.

Valentino on the model

"My dear, what can I tell you?" he sighs. "For a designer, models are never too thin, because when you have to present something in the right way, you are not obliged to see a full woman. It is like when a painter has an exhibition, the walls have to be white and perfect. For designers, when we present something, we don't want to be worried about proportion because the girl is too big or too fat."

Finito is Finto

Reader, she saved them

Today, in Britain it is Holocaust Memorial Day. There will be an event in Liverpool this evening. Jason Isaacs will be present.

The Observer has a remarkable little story of two British women who throughout the war wrote Mills and Boon romantic slush fiction, better known in Canada as Harlequin Romances in order to raise money to rescue Jews from the camps.

The mild-mannered spinsters became expert smugglers, regaling border guards with tales of the previous night's performance, switching labels in fur coats, and wearing real diamonds with outfits so dowdy that customs officers would presume the jewels were paste.

Desperate both to fund their trips and to assist refugees, Ida left the Civil Service and began as a romance writer, becoming one of Mills & Boon's most popular authors. For many decades after the war, Cook's writing supported her two passions: refugees and young opera singers. Her flat in Dolphin Square at various times housed homeless European families, Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi.

The sisters helped 29 people escape certain death, funded mainly by Ida's writing. In 1965, they were honoured as Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel.

If you have a strong stomach, you can listen to the authentic voice of survivors recorded only a few days after the liberation of Belsen. It is the most eerie and disturbing recording I have ever heard.

That Armani Prive show

And that skirt again

Desperately seeking vintage

For the past couple of months I have been working an on-going piece about the revival of the Ossie Clark label. The Observer today looks not only at the revival of Ossie Clark but his American counterpart, Halston.

While tycoon Marc Worth, founder of fashion information business WGSN, has funded the Ossie Clark London revival which kicks off on 11 February with a show at London's Serpentine Gallery, the team behind Halston is far more glitzy. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's Weinstein Company (TWC) bought the brand in a deal with private equity firm Hilco Consumer Capital, and Tamara Mellon, founder of the Jimmy Choo shoe empire, will oversee the relaunch, which starts with a show in New York on 4 February. Mellon will be helped by, among others, Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe, who has dressed actresses including Demi Moore and Cameron Diaz. Jude Law is rumoured to be playing Halston in a forthcoming biopic produced by the company.
Halston with party girls
She goes on to explain why two defunct labels should be revived:
Sienna Miller in vintage Ossie Clark
The A-list interest in two labels from a bygone era is due to fashion's obsession with vintage clothing. Auction houses report sale prices of designer vintage have more than quadrupled in the past five years, and stores as diverse as high-street favourite Topshop and London's designer emporium Dover Street Market do a roaring trade in vintage clothing. Steven Philip, co-owner of London's top vintage boutique Rellik, said: 'Both labels spanned culture in a way that nothing has since. It's difficult to find another label that is associated with celebrities, clubs and music. Halston and Ossie conquered all three.' That affiliation endures today because stars who epitomise those values wear the labels. Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Jennifer Anniston are regularly photographed in vintage clothes from these designers.

I don't know much about Halston, but having examined several Ossie Clark originals in the Islington atelier, what is evident is that they were designed by a man who knew something about the shape of a woman's body.

Thought for the day

Fashion must be the intoxicating release from the banality of the world. Diana Vreeland