>> It pains me to say as a Londoner, who boastfully praises the city for world class vintage shopping, going to Tokyo and happing upon countless vintage stores that could easily trump the Big Smoke on selection, diversity, merchandising and even pricing is a painful affair.  Sometimes I'll be walking around not even meaning to go into a vintage store in Daikanyama or Shimokitazawa and somehow stumble into a hole that is eye-openingly awesome.  Writing a guide on vintage shopping in London is a somewhat manegeable affair but one on Tokyo would be mind-bogglingly difficult given that they pop up so frequently and deserve sub categories in their own right when splitting up the various different vintage genres that are available (when you have stores that have sections dedicated purely to cable knit shorts, you know you have a mahussive task at hand when browsing through everything).

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a Japanese transplant like model Eri Oya in Paris has turned to vintage as her new sideline project.  Eri Oya's little online shop has just gone online with a small selection of quintessentially 70s-80s Parisian-sourced goodies, but it's seductive imagery of Oya, shot by Raphael Desveaux that makes this store worth book marking.  If I was in the mood to splash out, I wouldn't object to pieces such as an Emilio Pucci apres-ski jumpsuit or an eighties Hermes dress are definitely worth looking at.  Eri Oya is enrichening a category of vintage occupied by the likes of House of Liza in Dalston or Vagabond NYC (their site seems to be down at the mo – say it isn't so!) that do a good job at highlighting recent decades of vintage.  Alongside publications like Encens that look back at garments of yesteryear in an alluring way, Eri Oya's image-focused way of curating vintage is much welcome.

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Discovering Ryan Lo's work was like having a gigantic pink flower blossoming in my head and seeing my imaginary big manga eyes glistening with excitement.  It's a buffet of pink, froth and frou, perfect for gorging on when things are feeling down.  You could substitute the lyrics of Sound of Music's Raindrops and Roses with any number of the things that are in Lo's S/S 13 collection and that would be the perfect ditty to hum under my breath.  Those things include tulle, iridescent sheen, tinsel, brocade, swiss dots, floral-esque clusters of fabrics and of course plenty shades of pink.  There are elements that are recognisable from Lo's previous collections, but they've been re-appropriated and concentrated into a core "starter" collection, fit for Lo's debut at Fashion East this season.  

It was a clever move on Fashion East's part to have the two newbies – Lo and Claire Barrow – start out with static presentations, leaving the more experienced Maarten van der Horst to do a catwalk show.  It obviously allowed Lo to invite us into his world where Wong Kar Wait femme fatales coincided with the exuberance of Christian Lacroix finals, whilst never forgetting that his clothes very much cater to the dreamer girls of today that the collective power of Tumblr, nu-zines and sites like Rookie foster.  The heavy dose of pink is a reactive shock therapy against the tide of well-mannered minimalism that is coming our way from all directions – from high end designers, contemporary ones and the high street.  Lo's unconventional choice of textiles and hand knit techniques that are only evident when looked up close and without a purple disco light shining on the clothes show that he has technical chops to back up the whimsical tendancies, that with further refinement could reach the dizziest of pink heights.  Lo and behold indeed. 

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>> "I joined the fashion blogging party in 2006, awkwardly shuffling my feet with a cup of punch. Over the years the party may have become increasingly busy, but the simultaneously good and bad thing about blogging is that everybody is invited. The blogs we have selected here represent the best of who is at that party, but that isn’t to say that it is a definitive list of the most influential blogs or those with the biggest readership. Style Feed isn’t a hard-line ranking system, but a celebration of blogs we feel have longevity as valid voices in the ever-noisy world of fashion media, and as inspirational forces to be reckoned with."

Noise.  Agents.  This deal and that deal.  Sniping stories about who makes how much and who has collaborated with who.  This is the kind of mould that has grown into a negative fuzzy layer over coverage on bloggers these days.  William Oliver, longterm contributor to Dazed & Confused and AnOther and now editor of District MTV went in the opposite direction and instead celebrated the good that has come out of fashion blogging.  Will and I put together a list of blogs that we feel have contributed to the establishment, evolution and impact of fashion blogging on the media landscape, profiled them and compiled them into Style Feed: The World's Top Fashion Blogs.  The word "Top" is a little misleading of course.  The top paragraph is an excerpt from the introduction I wrote for the book and as stated, the book isn't a hardline ranking system of blogs but instead, we chose the ones that we feel are "top" to us for various reasons.  Some featured have a shit ton of traffic.  Some have teensy tiny amounts.  The common demoninator is inspiring content.

My intro is a bit of a sentimental ramble back into the ye olden days of Style Bubble when I was shaking giddily as I took pics of myself in the mirror for the blog as well as tracking the ups and downs over the years of being a part of this still-volatile media.  The conclusion is a positive one though and it neatly segues into the profiles of blogs that have been listed chronologically just so I can feel all old and haggard compared to some of the newer ones.  

Whilst I'm not-very-subtly plugging the fruits of me and Will's labour, I would also like to thank Urban Outfitters in London for doing a cute little launch for it.  Well, actually it's a thanks and an apology.  Sadly I wasn't there and had to do the cheesy thing of sending over a "Sorry I can't be there" video like they do at awards shows.  I'd also like to thank Prestel for doing such a stellar job of designing the book up.  Then finally all the bloggers who replied to the persistent emailing from both Will and I.

P.S. If there are some notable omissions in the book, in all honesty it was because some people really didn't bother checking their inboxes.  Or chose to ignore our emails.  Or were forgetful.  Or late.  Simple explanations.  No hard feelings *sniff sniff*

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Prior to watching the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, directed by her granddaugher-in-law Lisa Immordino Vreeland, I had re-read Diana Vreeland's autobiography DV and re-flicked through the coffee table book of the same title (also compiled by Lisa Immordino) as well as Vreeland's authored picture-based volume on the quality of Allure.  The documentary visually brings to life the three of those books combined but it's only reading all three in addition to the film that you get the full picture.  

The DVD for Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is coming out in the UK tomorrow, having had a short cinema run and will no doubt making it into a lot of stockings come Christmas but as I already had the three books at my disposal, it made watching the film a little like going over a summary of events in a quickened pace.  I'm going to be one of those annoying pedantic folk who says "The book is better".  That said, for people such as my boyfriend who knew nothing about Diana Vreeland, the film was an enthralling peek into a world of a woman who had vision by the bucketload.  It's loosely chronological and takes us from the beginning of Vreeland's enchanted life as a girl who had people like Diaghilev and other luminaries waltzing in to her life.  As a young society wife, she was dressed by Coco Chanel and flitted between London, New York and Paris soaking up the twenties with gusto.  

Her calling came when Carmel Snow, then editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar noticed Vreeland for her style and made her a contributor in 1937 with the noted "Why Don't You‚Ķ?" column.  Vreeland of course then became fashion editor and after a tenure of over twenty years, she then jumped ship to Conde Nast and was editor-in-chief there from 1963 until 1971.  Her final years as consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art until her death rounded off a career where she had orchestrated the transformation of fashion publications into things that made people like you and me dream and visible gasp.  She created the role of style visionnaire, muse and talent nurturer  (David Bailey, Richard Avedon, Penelope Tree and Lauren Bacall are just a few of the names that she bought to the forefront).

That's the short summary of the documentary with plenty of supporting talking heads from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Angelica Huston and Vreeland's two sons Tim and Frederick.  The film also brings to life some of the cinematic influences that Vreeland had inspired, in characters like Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) in 1957's Funny Face or the hilariously ridiculous Miss Maxwell (played by Grayson Hall) in William Klein's Qui √™tes vous, Polly Maggoo?  

As good a job as the film did in summarising Vreeland's life, I still think that the best way of immersing oneself in all things DV is through her championed medium of print – through the many images of the magazines and shoots she styled, through the long essays in The Eye Has to Travel (the book), through the collation of imagery that inspired her in Allure and also through her own exaggerated way of speech in her autobiography.  You'll never get the full picture of what Vreeland achieved and experienced in her illustrious life but you'll get pretty damn close.

There are images in Bazaar during the Vreeland years that are still supremely startling.  The covers for a start didn't necessarily have a smiling white-teethed face staring back at you.  It could be a woman's back, a striped dress or the wink of an eye.  Vreeland's radical ideas coupled with Snow's shrewd editing and Alexey Brodovitch's art direction formed a powerful trio.  In particular, Brodovitch's effective use of white space make the busy editorials of today look crowded and over thought.  The imagery from Vreeland's era of Bazaar editing, don't make you feel like you're looking at clothes that are well over fifty years old.  You're not just retrogazing at golden eras of haute couture but also looking at portrayed attitudes that feel just as relevant today.  She even manages to take the stiffened sheen off a family as perfect as the Kennedy's in an iconic shoot for Bazaar when they were newly installed in the White House.    

Then when she moved over to Vogue as editor-in-chief working with Alexander Liberman, she had the explosive decade of the sixties on her side.  She was quick off the bat in observing that "Society is d√©mod√©.  Today, only personality counts" early in her career at Vogue and so she went out of her way to eke beauty and dynamism out of what seemed like unlikely sources – from the models of the flower generation like Twiggy and Penelope Tree, from exotic locations that have come to inform the Vogues of present day, from talent like The Rolling Stones and Rudolph Nureyev and even from the world of nature such as flowers photographed by Irving Penn or white horses galloping through the snow that would never get page spaces in today's advertising-bound publications.  That was most likely her ultimate downfall.  The conclusion in the documentary is brushed over but the truth was that Vreeland's Vogues were costly and that Conde Nast wanted a very different magazine by 1971, aimed at the "real" working woman.  This obsessive search for the "real" hasn't ceased.  Aren't we jumping from one "real" bandwagon to another still?  The Bridget Jones types of the early noughties.  The bigger woman in a Dove ad campaign.  The woman photographed naturally on the street.  The older women featured in ad campaigns.  The Girls characters penned by Lena Dunham.  

It's hard to decide whether we have truly advanced in fashion publishing from Vreeland's time because of this acknowledgement of the "real".  Judith Thurman's essay in The Eye Has to Travel nails the dichotomy in Vreeland's work between escapist and fantastical vision and then the lack of regard for what's actually going on in society made for often garish viewing.  It's very easy to romanticise Vreeland's work into an oblivion of rose-tinted nostalgia because the images are so extraordinary and inconceivable to the modern eye.  We may miss the presence of this ultra directional imagery that paved the way for editorial to come but it's good to have the foresight to see that fashion publishing and particularly Vogue today straddles between observing what's "real", "preserving the fantasy of fashion as well as maintaining its position as primary tastemaker and pleasing the ad dollar buck that keeps people employed.  It's an equation that perhaps Vreeland never fully understood but we're grateful that she didn't.  

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