>> There's no real reason why I've not worn a pair of knee high boots (excepting photo shoots) since I had a pair of vintage ones in the ye olde days of Style Bubble.  Remember when vintage stores made a killing flogging old slouchy boots, deluding many that they could wear them a la Sienna Miller or Kate Moss?  Well, I'm still under no such illusions but I have taken some sort of tip-off from la Moss and gone for Stuart Weitzman's 5050 boot that has being feted in this new #MadeForWalking campaign.  The video is basically Kate doing her classic Kate thing, looking good in Stuart Weitzman's classic over the knee boots – both flat and heeled – and trotting along to Nancy Sinatra's classic hit.  It's a bit schmaltzy but knowingly so.   

The point is that I've been able to discover the wonders that is the 5050 boot, now celebrating its 20th anniversary of popularity.  Stuart Weitzman may not necessarily have the highest of profiles in Europe (although an impressive Zaha Hadid-designed flagship in Milan may change that) but figures don't lie – over one million pairs of boots sold all over the world is impressive stuff.  It's the boot that I wish I had found when I was traipsing around Dolcis and Shelly when I was 17 and hellbent on reaching some sort of over-the-knee boot epiphany.  Once I had given up all hope, I had concluded that it wasn't meant to be and that my calves were rejecting leather encasing them.   That is until I cynically slipped on the Stuart Weitzman 5050 boots thinking that my gams would do their rejection thing and found, that the key to the magic of these flat boots was the micro stretch fabric at the back of the boot.  No zippers required.  Not that I'm any sort of an authority on the over-the-knee boot front and of course haven't tried every pair out there but these 5050 boots have hit the mark, where so many have failed.  

That they're completely flat and shaped in a way that you want a flat boot to be are bonus features.  #MadeForWalking is an apt hash tag.  I chose the razzy black patent ones (new in for A/W 13-4 although the classic leather and suede versions are also available), which with heels would have been a little Julia Roberts in opening scene of Pretty Woman, had it not been 5050's utilitarian slip-on and flat stance.  From London to Milan to Paris, they've already been suitably broken into and my knee boot woes are finally solved.  Stuart Weitzman is an unlikely source but I suppose there's a reason why a bestseller has earned its status.  

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IMG_9912Worn with Versus top, Nike hoodie wrapped around waist, J.W. Anderson shorts, Miu Miu sunglasses

>> I've barely time to go to the loo/eat/remember what day it is so do forgive me if I'm repro-ing content over the next week or so whilst Paris is going on.  I'm banging out show reports left, right and centre but not for the blog which will always be a sacred place devoted to randomness and unstructured tittle tattle.  That's how you like it, right?

Therefore in that scattered vein, with no relation to what's going on at the shows, here's a set of photos I did for Stella McCartney to play around with what is their most famed bag style, the Falabella as well as some of their pre-fall pieces of clothing and shoes.  Not to sound like a spokesperson but as I said in the short interview, it really is the sort of bag that works in many style contexts in that it's both decorative and utilitarian.  Much like a lot of McCartney pieces don't announce their presence by shouting and screaming but by having noticeably unusual detailing, either in the cut or in the fabric choices.  In this instance, black and white satin cut into a Polly Maggoo-esque mini-dress, a feather printed jacquard flounce-sleeved top, a mid-calf and full red skirt, and the snakeskin and tortoiseshell adorned sturdy loafers have those attributes.  All the easier to match up to the Falalalalalabellalalalala.  That's no accidental typo.  That's just how I say the name in my head.   

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>> I've only ever watched ye olde fashion shows of the seventies and eighties on scratchy YouTube videos, where models sashay, twirl, laugh and the front row vaguely look like they're smiling.  Last night at Moschino's 30th anniversary show, I *think* I finally got to see what that experience was like for real when the legendary Pat Cleveland opened the show in Franco Moschino's archive Bull Chic ensemble, faux-flamenco-ing her way down the catwalk, stopping every so often to spin and pose, with an expression that could only endear people to fall in love with her and whatever she was wearing.  The beginning and the finale part of the show skewed in this direction with other "oldies" Violetta, Amalia, and Gisele doing their thang with Gloria Gaynor up on centrestage, singing "I Am What I Am".  

I'm tempted to say "They don't make them like they used to…" but I have no real recollection of what fashion yesteryear was like.  If this was a flashback glimpse, then I'm all for more nostalgia-tinted moments like this in fashion.  It got people standing up (much to the chagrin of photographers in the pit), clapping, and *shock* actually looking like they're enjoying themselves.  Interestingly, for a flashback show, I'd never seen more iPads, cameras and smart phones up in the air as they were all eager to document what everyone knew was a rare treat.     


Instagram video taken by myself for Dazed & Confused

There's always a tasty exhibition or two to check out in Milan and Paris.  They also conveniently open during the hub hub of fashion week evenings.  Fendi's Making Dreams month long exhibition just opened at the stylised 1940s Cinema Manzoni and it was great to immerse myself into a space that would have eluded me otherwise.  The cinema itself was impressive enough all by itself with its inferno red interior, surreal ceiling frescos and dramatic fixtures.  It was the perfect venue to showcase Fendi‚Äôs relationship with the film world, something which isn't immediately apparent until you start reeling off the films that Fendi have contributed their furs too.  

They are cinema moments which are throwaway either. Witness Silvana Mangano swanking it up in plush furs in Luchino Visconti‚Äôs The Conversation Piece, which Fendi have restored to digital HD glory. Or Michelle Pfeiffer in Martin Scorsese‚Äôs The Age of Innocence, Marisa Berenson in Luca Guadagnino‚Äôs I Am Love, and probably more significant to my generation of fash-lovers, Gwyneth Paltrow in Wes Anderson‚Äôs The Royal Tenenbaums – all seminal films in their own right where the furs are key character attributes.  They‚Äôre all presented in the Cinema Manzoni, as an industrial glass exhibition path has been built over the existing red plush seating and a mish-mash of architectural theme park-esque interventions house the furs accompanied by film clips. The co-curators Patrick Kinmouth and Antonio Manfrea took it one step further to ensure people could see these furs in motion, by making a short film on set at the Cinecitt√† studios, with panoramic glimpses of old sets from Cleopatra and Gangs of New York. 

The final ode to Fendi‚Äôs film fur exploits sees the craft of fur making projected onto a blank canvas white coat, with Fendi‚Äôs AW 13 furry bag bugs raining down on us from the ceiling, capturing our imagination and also instilling the unnatural desire within me to cover a bag with Fendi furries.  It's a particularly niche subject that Fendi have picked up on and yet Kinmouth and Monfreda, with their brilliant exhibition design pedigree having designed the stunning Valentino a Roma exhibition in 2007, and yet they really drew you in to those films through the costume fur pieces.  Regardless of the politics of fur (Fendi does at least technically push the material to its outer limits as seen in their latest S/S 14 collection), there's no denying what power it brings to characters on film.    

For a piece on Dazed Digital, I interviewed Kinmouth, co-curator of the exhibition, about making this Fendi film connection work.  

How did you approach the theme – it's quite a unique way of looking at the relationship between fashion and film by focusing on Fendi's furs?

Patrick Kinmonth: It all started when Fendi decided to restore Conversation Piece by Visconti.  We had this conversation with Pietro Beccari and Silvia Fendi (owners of Fendi), where Ms. Fendi said, "We have done more than twenty movies." Nobody really knows that.  Fendi have dressed the films of Visconti, Scorsese and the James Bond film Never Say Never. So we said, let's investigate this as an exhibition to see what happens. It reveals the DNA of this house; it's being made really clear for the first time. 

How did you come up with the design of these different interventions for the exhibition space?

Patrick Kinmouth: There were different architectural ideas coming together. I wanted to emphasise the idea of connection. It was important that the structures wouldn't be claustrophobic. There would be lots of vistas through to other areas and you would get this layering of cinematic impressions. For instance you can see through this replica of the Colosseo Quadrato in Rome to the amphitheatre. It's funny; it turns out that Fendi will be moving their headquarters to Rome in 2015. 

How do you find solutions to bring something like fur to life?

Patrick Kinmonth: It is the first provocation of being a fashion designer that works exhibitions: how do you solve this relationship. This [exhibition] is as far as we've ever been able to push the moving image and the material itself. It's a strong direct relationship; you can really experience the fur. It's that magic thing for example, here's Madonna in Evita and here is the very piece she wore – it's so satisfying, to see the film come to life through the piece.  

Has technology affected the way you approach an exhibition? 

Patrick Kinmonth: This technology is so simple for us to work with; one can use them in a decorative and architectonic way. The moving on of technology makes a lot of things possible, as you see in the final part of the show with the projections.

Do you have a favourite instance where Fendi furs appear on film? 

Patrick Kinmonth: In terms of fashion, The Royal Tenenbaums is the strongest statement.  When you watch the film, you can see why there's such a cult with the way Margot Tenenbaum looks. The contrast between the simplicity of her and the luxuriousness of the coat is amazing. 

Fur makes for memorable fashion moments because it's such a dramatic statement in itself.

Patrick Kinmonth: In the short film we made at the Cinecitt√†, where we try and show the furs in motion, fur is the protagonist. Fur is almost a character and there's almost no other material that can do that. We all know it's a controversial material and it provokes a lot of extreme reactions] but because of that it's also very powerful and highly charged. A woman or a man in a fur coat is always going to have dramatic possibilities particularly in the movies.

Edited in parts and originally published on Dazed Digital

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