Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Paloma Faith says she has “messed up” the opportunity to sing the next James Bond theme tune. Speaking at a march to mark International Women’s Day, she told reporters that she was being punished for openly admitting she wanted the gig.
“In the industry that I’m in, if you ask for something or you seem like you want something you don’t get it,” she said. “You’re supposed to pretend that you’re really cool as a cucumber and stuff just comes to you, but I’m not really that type of person. But now I’ve messed it for myself because I’ve told everyone that I would like to do it.”
The 33-year-old singer songwriter has made no secret in the past about her dream to follow in the footsteps of Adele, Shirley Bassey and Tina Turner by singing a Bond theme. Spectre, the latest movie in the 007 series, is due to open worldwide on 6 November, although the artist performing the theme tune has yet to be announced. Rumours suggest it could be Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran or Lana Del Rey.
Faith also found time at the march to talk about her mother’s influence on her feminist beliefs. She said: “My mum was a child of the 60s and was one of the people who burned their bra and made a pact to herself never to be oppressed by a man in her life, and so wasn’t. She has brought me up with those beliefs, so this is way more important to her than anything.”
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Clothes can make people like you!This is the actual point of the red carpet, when you think about it. The red carpet is the only time we watch actors and actresses being themselves. It is their moment to promote their personal brand: fun, kooky, clever, sweet, whatever. The smart ones know that for the long-term longevity of this brand you need people to like you, not just fancy you. Cate Blanchett is brilliant at this. I’ve only ever seen Blanchett being a scary ice queen (Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine) or a kids’ film scary ice queen (The Hobbit; The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe) and, once, a madwoman called Lotte in a German play at the Barbican I couldn’t make head or tail of. And yet she has my lifelong devotion, primarily for the lavender and yellow Givenchy she wore at the 2011 Oscars, but also for livening up every red carpet I’ve ever covered. See also: Claire Danes, who has successfully softened and humanised an image dominated by her stressy black trousersuit-clad on-screen character by joyous, colourful red carpet choices, like the Tiffany-blue Prada dress she wore to the White House correspondents’ dinner in 2013.
For impact, shape matters more than anything elseCorsetry is your friend. Boning is your friend. If your dress lets it all hang out, you have to hold your tummy in. And nobody remembers to hold their tummy in except when they are looking in the mirror, and especially not after two glasses of champagne. This is not just about looking thin, it’s about looking like you have a shape, because shape looks good in photographs. On camera, a dress with a waist looks more dynamic and warm than a loose, blobby shape, which is why every red carpet, ever, is dominated by hourglass shapes. The masterclass: Sandra Bullock at last year’s Oscars in navy blue McQueen. Look inside a really good red-carpet gown and you will find two corsets: an inner one to squeeze you in, and then an outer one that keeps the dress in shape but is fractionally larger than the inner one, so that the dress never looks too small. I am not advocating two corsets in real life, but the takeaway here is that in any situation where you will end up in photos where you want to look nice – from your wedding, to being photographed at work – you will make life easier for yourself if you wear something with a built-in shape.
High collars make you look a bit meanThe thought process behind wearing a high-necked evening dress is impeccable – why should women bare their chests, making themselves exposed and vulnerable, when – at least, since the tragic demise of boyband JLS – a man would never do the same? And anyway, if you’ve been even remotely concentrating on fashion recently, you’ll be aware that polonecks are quite the thing. But the brutal fact is that high collars for evening are deeply offputting. Think of Nicole Kidman in that Balenciaga dress with the raised turtleneck and the red bow at the neck, at the 2007 Oscars. She looked terrifying! (The outsize bow that looked like a mechanical key for a wind-up robot didn’t help.) This doesn’t mean you have to go bare and strapless: both Helen Mirren and Judi Dench always show some skin at the throat, but cover their arms and shoulders.
Pretty-but-blah dresses don’t cut it except on pre-teen bridesmaids
The most common red carpet mistake is to go soft and ruffly and drippy. That lobotimised dolly look is my red carpet bugbear. Also, it is in my experience a bad sign, career-wise. You can basically date the steepening downward trajectory of Jennifer Lopez’s cultural relevance to when she wore a great Southern Belle ballgown to the Met Ball. Can the word “fairytale” be applied to your dress? Have you reached puberty? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you are in the wrong dress.
It’s not just about the dressThe devil is indeed in the details. Like, use fake tan – not too much, but a little – if you are pale. Yes, yes, I know Blanchett and Gwen Close look incredible, but they are otherworldly goddesses. Normal humans always, always look better a little bit tanned. (Felicity Jones, I’m talking to you!) Also, it is impossible to overstate the importance of backcombing and Elnett. Sade was basically the only woman who ever looked really good with flat hair. (Again: goddess.) Also, there is almost no look that cannot be improved by a pair of really fabulous earrings. (See: Sienna Miller at the Golden Globes.)
If it works for you, stick to itJulianne Moore’s colouring looks fantastic in emerald green. Jennifer Aniston’s shoulders look awesome in halternecks. Neither of them are afraid to reprise a formula that works. There is a misguided narcissism at the heart of the idea that you can’t wear a black jumpsuit to Lucy’s birthday party because you wore one to Nina’s Christmas drinks. Your eveningwear wardrobe is unlikely to be constantly on the mind of anyone else, however much they love you. There are many issues to be negotiated when getting dressed, but boring other people is an imaginary problem.
Timeless = good. Old-fashioned = badMy all-time least-favourite red carpets to write about are the ones when I feel like I’ve slipped through a snag in the time-space continuum and landed in 1961. Silver screen glamour is boring and wet and irrelevant if you don’t bring it up to date. This is not about wearing trainers on the red carpet, it’s about referencing modern style in an elegant way. My all-time favourite example of this is the Tom Ford white caped gown that Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the Oscars in 2012. It looked like she was shoulder-robing the cape, which brought a fabulously Wintour-esque front-row moment to the red carpet. See also: Cara Delevingne in a little black dress with a diamond ear cuff.
Your mum was right. Stand up straight!Seriously, this drives me insane. Keira Knightley: fabulous, talented, stylish, but sticks her head forward like a duck. The Duchess of Cambridge: beautiful, enviable height, but ruins it with that round-shouldered slouch. At the other extreme: pageant poses makes you look like an idiot. The one-leg-forward pose jumped the shark with Angelina Jolie at the 2012 Oscars. Reese Witherspoon’s beauty queen hand-on-hips posing, still in evidence at last week’s Screen Actors’ Guild awards, is lagging badly behind her awesome modern-Hollywood-feminist vibe. For tips, study Gwyneth Paltrow (simple, graceful) and Carey Mulligan (as Paltrow, but with an Alexa Chung ankle-crossed thing going on, for extra hipster points).
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
In a refreshing and, to put it mildly, super exciting move, Céline has unveiled Joan Didion as the star of the brand's newest campaign. Photographed by Juergen Teller, the spring 2015 ads highlight the writer's irresistible, cool-girl appeal. Didion takes the reigns from perennial It model Daria Webowy in a close-up shot against a strong flash (a Teller tell-tale), wearing signature Céline sunnies, a simple black dress, and a gilded pendant necklace—hair in a neat, gray bob.
Phoebe Philo creates for the thinking lady, the unfussy, impossibly chic minimalist. For spring 2015, the designer—who has not merely a following, but a flock of near-worshippers—took a trip back in time, referencing the '60s and '70s, decades when Didion published some of her seminal works like Slouching Towards Bethlehem and Play It As It Lays—the years that solidified her as a deity to literary types who fell in love with her in college and remained loyal into adulthood—and the years before Didion's highly personal memoirs like The Year of Magical Thinking launched her to the American masses. And so it all comes together, right on time. Well done Phoebe Philo and Céline, we weren't sure how you could get any cooler—and now we are.