>> Multiple covers are an old trick in a magazine (mostly bi-annuals) book to try and cause a stir and for the most part, it works when you gather up a bevy of BIG names. Ponystep though have gone for the extreme and have Donatella Versace (shot by Miles Aldridge) in one corner and Dame Edna Everage (shot by Alice Hawkins) in another. 80s mistress of the dark Elvira is pitted in the middle but it's the extreme between Donatella and Dame Edna that really caught me. If there were two people on earth to bi-polar, they'd be it for me. I want to work out in heels and tan prolifically in the morning and greet possums at night whilst scolding them for being too scantily cald. Ok, perhaps that's just the excessive paracetamol talking, but I just love that these two have somehow found a way to converge.
>> Bear with me whilst I've just got into Paris and have naturally fallen ill. Why naturally? Because it is almost a scientific certainty that I get gunked by some sort of misfortune during fashion month. It wouldn't be quite right if I didn't lose a camera/break an ankle/drop a SD card down an elevator shaft. It's just a weird head cold thing at the moment (making no sense in what looks to be an impending heat wave) but hey-ho, there's still nine days left. I'm telling fate to come and punch me right in the face.
In the meantime, I keep staring at this picture I took of a girl in a vintage hat at the Louise Gray show to continue the theme of vintage things that don't look all that vintage. This peachy delight looks to me like it could have a showpiece from anything from Rochas to Henrik Vibskov (now that Jil Sander has done East 17 type beanies with veils for their S/S 12 show, I feel like anything is possible in the show hat department). The girl assured me it was vintage though fuelling the interesting vintage hunt when I get back to London. With my head still in tact I hope.
There are two things that I'm getting smack bang into and I'm determined to combine the two despite the fact that they might be at odds with each other. One is my trainers. The other is my renewed desire to find top notch vintage pieces – as in ones that make you go "Wow! That's vintage? You're such a liar…". This dress from Merchant Archive with its acid pink and lime green stripes is one such specimen. The colours are so neon-brite that you'd think that they might not have existed decades ago because our view of anything pre 1970 is sepia-tinged, black and white or rose-tinted. I still regard Sophie's selection at Merchant Archive as one of the best in the city and a trip up to Kensal Rise a month ago for a shoot earnt me some stripes. Mega stripes in fact. Oh, and another 1930s tea dress that reminded a friend of House of Elliot (yay for repeats on ITV2) which makes me love it more.
The footwear was a solution to a Milano problem of running about for taxis and taking the metro but conveniently slots into what I think will be a trainer redux for S/S 12. Nike will be laughing their heads off. Or they already are because they don't need fashionistas' pocket change. Oh well, either way, they win and I'm making more regular trips into Niketown to ask misguided questions revealing my total lack of knowledge of trainer model/styles – "Where do I go for low tops that are like, neon green and err… aren't too chunky?"
So okay, I don't want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so.
Referencing Cher from Clueless isn't fashion brain surgery. In fact, it can border on inanely repetitve if you've looked at one too many tumblr blogs where the same screenshot gets circulated. Thankfully for Louise Gray, the quote was worked into the opening of the soundtrack and didn't actually permeate the collection in terms of aesthetic influence. Instead, what the quote did bring to Gray's S/S 12 'Trust Me' collection was the message to all, that it's definitely ok to "betray your generation", go out on a limb and not run with whatever the majority style tribe might be into.
Whilst there were no Cher-check ensembles, there were a few opening tweed outfits with neon flecks woven in, that heralded something new for Gray. I hesitate to say 'grown-up'. Do I want Louise Gray to grow up? Well ok, SHE, the person can (female Peter Pan, she isn't…) but the clothes? I'll take evolution or enrichening and this collection definitely felt enrichened. The tweed trench in particular panelled with PVC felt like the perfect segue for someone who hasn't been Gray-ified to go into Gray-land. That's Gray, by name and not by nature as followers of her work will know.
I know season in, season out, I make the case for Lousie Gray, crying out like a crazed banshee that her clothes will make the world a better place. Trust ME, as an advocate and active wearer, the world does seem a whole lot rosier when a bit of Louise Gray is on my back. Then again, I'm that naive that an embroidered dress in an amazing colour palette with lots of jingly jangle bits will somehow makes things ok. Well, it might make SOME things ok. Beyond the clothes, the very thing that Gray sends out are these feel-good vibes that make you think that fashion NOT stuck up its own arse and having a laugh is definitely something we need more of.
Still, if there wasn't a dramatic change-up in the way Gray puts together colours, embellishment and fabrics, then there were definite tweaks in the styling. Gray's S/S 12 collection went HD, where you can very clearly pick out the layers – a shirt from a dress, a jacket from a top, a jumper from a short. All of that can only help Gray go that bit further in making her clothes an on-the-street reality beyond the few that can get hold of her clothes through personal means. I particularly heart ASOS for supporting Gray through both collaboration and by buying her mainline, and long may that continue.
After this de-cluttering process, I somehow began to draw a parallel between Louise Gray and say Dries Van Noten, which only came to me this season. Hold up there whilst I defend that slightly eye-brow raising comparison. Gray's preoccupation with surface detail mixed with a print element has me thinking of a Dries taking a trip or two and getting super tanked-up. Not a bad thing to have going on seeing as there aren't that many that print mixes quite like Van Noten, and there are not that many that have such a boisterous time whilst doing it.
Bouncing about in shoes that don't require Boots blister gel plasters is now pretty much part of the deal at Louise Gray and these ones made by Nicholas Kirkwood should make a lot of flatform fans a happy bunch.