Touring London: Radcliffe Demin

London fash is classic and yet, markedly innovative and avant-garde. The city's boroughs, very much distinct mini-cities with their own intrinsic styles, come together to make London one of my fave places. Even more fascinating is the grace and fluidity with which the different vogues merge: think Bond Street fashion punctuated with a Camden flair, an Asprey jacket with high street cut-off denim knee shorts. Too chic!!

Celebrating London, Suzy Radcliffe's denim collection responds to the city and the women in it. It's a functional label cultivated with the bespoke tailoring standards of venerable Saville Row. The pants in the collection are named for the city's post codes, alluding to facets of the style in each named code. The concept is simply nostalgic!! But that's not just it!! The amazing bit is the pants - really, they're more formal-looking denim trousers, chichi chic!! - are made with slits at the bottom hem that come with removable cufflinks allowing the hem to be worn at regular length or folded to cropped or ankle-length. There's a patent pending for this fab twist - "heels2flats." You can fold (and press, you'd want a nice seamed sharpnees, not just a rough fold) the pant hems (in-or outwards) and secure through the buttonholes with a pair of cufflinks for each leg. If you're short like I am, ankle length is really just the right length, and you can get away without having to go to the tailor to get your pants hemmed immediately you buy them. Of course, you'd have to go to the tailor eventually; you want them to fit perfectly, don't you?? And while, I adore my tailor, I always have alterations that needed to be done yesterday that I feel bad sometimes.

Did I mention, these are jean trousers??!! Ok, I did. But, I'm talking super refined and work-suitable. Really!! I'm head over heels in love with them!! Perhaps, I'm going on like I'm being paid to promote Radcliffe denim, but I'm not. Hahaha. But, jeans just doesn't get any sexier than Radcliffe!! So snazzy, you wouldn't believe they're just jeans. I don't even think of them as just jeans!!
Ok. The end.

I love love the W1 (upbeat heart of London - Soho, Picadilly etc) and NW1 (fashionable Primrose Hill, home to Kate Moss and Sienna Miller) pants. I'm waiting for a pair toasting the swanky women of SW1!!

The website offers store (physical and online) locations, so let's tour London together!!

Sweet, scrummy kisses.


The real skinny on skinny pants

Perhaps, singularly responsible for the revival of the slim pants, Alber Elbaz's Lanvin Spring RTW 2006 featured only two trouser pairs, tapered and cut closer to the leg; in line with the sleek simplicity of his high-platformed collection. The designer - delivering an impressive sartorial minimalism - put forth a collection for the modern, super confident woman - a woman with no need for frills, a woman, assimilated, and yet very much her own person, materializing on other runways the following season. Lithe models pranced off fall 2006 catwalks sporting variations of slimmer pants and the trend's skyrocketed to magnificent proportions!! So while slouchy menswear suit pants commanded attention on runways for this fall, skinny pants are not going anywhere anytime soon. I don't think the trend's even plateaued yet!! Hordes of designers have embraced wholly this fashionable tenet of slimmer pants. (Understatement of the past two seasons, really!!)

I've adored and abhorred this widespread trend pant - my sentiments alternating with the wearer.

Morphed into any of its alter egos (inconceivably tight jean trousers, ankle zipper pants, stretch stirrups?!!), the slim pant is almost guaranteed fab if you are a size negative zero and 5'10. Well, except you happen to be decked in coral quilted stirrups with back pockets (hahahaha), or maybe glaring shiny gold plated robotic pants à la Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga spring RTW2007)!! Pretty artistic and wearable but *WINCE*

And yet, the skinny pant really shouldn't be a trend. If they're cut appropriately (and not too tight), skinny pants could give every gyrl mile long legs!! In addition, there's nothing chicer than a pair of (black) slim ankle-length pants; in my opinion, a glam all-year-round staple. Think Audrey Hepburn circa 1957 (Funny Face), the eponymous pants revived in the Gap ad campaigns last year. Ergo, in any of its manifestions, fashionistas everywhere clamor for these skinnier pants. My somewhat embarrassing truth - I haven't gotten any skinnies yet!

I've always loved the Audrey pants (the requisite black, some grey and denim); of which I've two or three of the same styles/brands. But I haven't ventured into purchasing super skinny pants that I could wear pulled over a pair of 4.5" loubous or scrunched at my ankles. Why?? Given my frenzied love affair with dresses, I just haven't cared about diversifing my pants collection. More truthfully, I'm nervous about finding the absolute divine pair of skinnies. I've absolutely no qualms baring my legs in teeny barely-there dresses, but I dislike the look of my legs in considerably tighter pants than my regular straight/flare trousers!!! Also, I find that in my glorified 5'1, I'm not in much of a hurry to shorten my oh-so-tiny frame with a couple inches of thickening scrunch at my ankles. EWWW. So, while I'm quite likely to indulge in naughty little skivvies, I'm almost intimidated by a pair of skinny jeans. Maybe, the ugly truth is that I'm not much of a fashionista, am I??

But you see, it's a very fine line between elegant chic and gauche sloppy when you decide to wear skinny pants. And if you are not on the slimmer side with a relatively non-existent booty, then the holy trinity of fashionable elegance: appearing leaner, longer and chicer is easily violated with this single article of clothing!! It may not matter that you wear 5" heels, adorn a blouson to balance your top and bottom halves, or add a deep V top to elongate your neck; once you cross that line, the only salvation may be taking the skinnies off!!

Double sugar kisses.


A bit of a tête-à-tête... or ramblings...

I don't like the word 'fashion.' It connotes an impermanence, a mere fad - à la mode; a precariousness with which I find myself uncomfortable being associated more and more. I prefer the term 'style.' I live and breathe style; with style.

My style evolves in step with me. It's a part of me (understatement of the year, really); a huge part. So much so, that I expect that some measure of 'style' is a part of everyone else too.
Haha, who the **** do I think I am??

Okay. So what?? Style is ultimately subjective, but, some semblance of style as seen through my let's pretend discerning eyes, really, just makes the world a much more beautiful place. Or doesn't it??

And yet, I struggle with this superficial quality that seems to permeate through my every manner. I'm aware of the conflicts our globe - indeed, my very own neighbor - faces, the sadness of poverty and illnesses, and the obvious deterioration of our physical living space (although, very sadly, the whole green planet phenomenon does get on my nerves. I hope there are more socially conscious people out there...)1 Even still, I'm torn at the overt portrayal of these crises as primarily African phenomena; but, it (whatever western media affirms currently) is happening, and it is cause for concern.

How do I tumble hopelessly in love with a dress - its cut, its feel - knowing instantly I have to have it, when there is a direr need that should be satisfied.

I have no idea.

Maybe I could wish away the hardships many people face.
Very naive??!!
I apologize. Realistically, is it so impossible?? Perhaps, through greater social responsibility and cooperation, rather than excessive competition (my repressed shards of socialism surface). I've been reading Jeffrey Sachs's new book, "The End of Poverty: Economic Possiblities for Our Time" at the same time as Eve Pollard's, "Jack's Widow." Well, not simultaneously; you know what I mean. I pick up a book depending on my mood. But you see, my struggles are externalized even in my reading habits. Ok, it could also be my undiagnosed ADD. Oops, adult ADD!!

What does style have to do with poverty, for instance??
I don't know, but they do coexist in our world.
I'm ashamed to include this picture in this post. I am confirming the destitution of my African continent. I am AFRICAN and my continent remains a core of love and wealth, even as our "super power" countries continue to steal our resources.
But here, click: help.
Wow!! I've rambled on, haven't I?? It's all too political for a fashion post... And it's turned out a difficult post.

Gracious Kisses.

1. I was hurrying into Valentino (on a time crunch), when a man accosted me to tell me something (I wasn't paying attention, but I know it was about the planet.) I said what I thought was a firm "No, Thank you" accompanied with a half-smile and walked into the store. About twenty minutes later, walking out the store, the man approaches me again. After another refusal from me, he says, "So you don't care about our planet??" I reply, "No." I walk away purposefully.

Love in a little square - Ted Gibson Hairsheets™

In the event that you suddenly develop frizzy, unmanageable hair, which - really - given the humidity of the summer months will be every two minutes; you'd be aptly prepared with these revolutionary, yet simple hairsheets™ by Ted Gibson!! If ever simplicity and functionality (in a beauty product) coalesced; they evolved into these decadent hairsheets. Thinking of all the inconvenient bottles and tubes of products I pack for any weekend, it's a relief to find an infinitely portable product - the sachets pack like a dream - and, one that works mini-miracles too!!

Ted Gibson (he works with business partner and noted colorist Jason Backe) is renowned for his prowess and keen intuition for women's needs, having coiffed famously beautiful women the world over. His products - and did I already mention they're oh so divine - reflect the love and attention to detail that one garners from Gibson's intimate love affair with hair care; as well as his philosophy that "beauty is individual."

His patented hairsheet is a towelette with a serum of "amino acids complex, wild orchid extract and natural plant aromas" which revitalize hair structure and texture without any oily feeling. Mr Gibson's hairsheets come in two formulas: one for styling, and the other for treatment. The styling treatment refreshes dull hair and smoothes flyaways, giving it a "brilliant shine" -so true!! Its sunscreen components also block excessive drying of the hair. Oh, the traumas of the summer sun!! The treatment formula is designed for a more intense reconstruction of dry, damaged hair. All you have to do is rub/polish the hairsheets through the entire hair and style as usual (or in the case of treatment, use overnight.)

I don't think I can stop raving about these little squares!!
Visit: TedGibsonBeauty

They make pretty thoughtful gifts too!! Well, they are pretty pretty too.

Sinfully divine kisses.

P.S. In a perfect world, I'd graciously acquiesce to Ted Gibson being responsible for my hair, Ms. McGrath, my makeup and Preston Bailey, my wedding planning; when I get married in five, six or ... years.
Right after I pick out my wedding beau.


A toast to luxe decadence: Alice Temperley's tote for Moët; Piper-Heidsieck Piscine in the U.S.

I can't pretend that I haven't shamefully neglected my writing.
I apologize.
[Semi-readings punctuated by bouts of online text-twists (or, the other way round) and outings are to blame.]

But, without much to-do, let's toast to my recrudescence; of course, my delusions of grandeur never fail:
To Luxurious Decadence1

And 'tis perfect timing for a toast: a third of summer's gone by - the heat sting scarcely survived, albeit for drenching my insides with iced liquids every two seconds. This could explain the cold I have now, even though I'm hot all over. Haha. My dad's just been to see his gyrls - my younger sisters and I - this past week (from Nigeria) in his early summer visit and of course, we've got new fragrances to mark his visit: Délices de Cartier, Kenzo Amour, etc... all yummily intoxicating. Daddy has this manner that rekindles a love and giddiness in his daughters, even when we've been bossing each other every minute that passes and at it forever!! He simply makes us melt.

And, so from our shared rejuvenated joy, rippling into our love for fashion, we celebrate with flutes of Moët bubbly, natch, delightedly at the news that Alice Temperley has designed an elegant canvas tote replete with a detachable Champagne holder for the House of Moët & Chandon!! Apparently it was inspired by the 19th century luxury trunks designed by Louis Vuitton according to Lisa Barnett at Vogue.co.uk. This tote follows her Art Deco-inspired tiara headband for Moët's "Be Fabulous" campaign the previous Fall season (looove them, and adorned by many-a-chicettes during the Fall Shows in New York last February.) Well isn't Ms. Temperley is getting deliciously cozy with the enormous luxury LVMH Group??2

The totes - I'd be surprised if they all haven't been pre-ordered already since there are apparently just a paltry 50 available in U.S. stores - are available Sept 1, each $1600 (£950).
So, sadly, in no uncertain terms, I can say I'll definitely not be sporting this rock-glam, yet distinguished tote; least of all because come Sept 1st, I'll have very little liquid cash - I really am trying so save, even though my 'to-buy' list grows by the minute!! So except Prince William decides on a day at Hyde Park Kensington Gardens and sends it as a gift (because he has fallen for my beautiful smile...)3

Anyway, I found the tiaras (in ivory, black, gold and green) available at Crush Wine & Spirits Co. NY. $250 each.

And speaking of bubbly decadence, designer Shoshanna Gruss showed the swimsuit looks from her resort collection across the gardens at 620 5th Ave, as part of a soirée hosted by Piper-Heidsieck Champagne to celebrate the launch of Piscine in the U.S. The revered Champagne House founded in 1785, with one of its wines dedicated to Queen Marie-Antoinette and presented to Her Majesty by Piper himself, is the official wine of the Cannes Film. This year at the Festival, the Piscine - French for swimming pool, was introduced. In an updated decadent approach, Cuvée Brut is poured over the champagne's made ice cubes and served in a tall, slightly-oversized, red "Piper" glass (not flute)!! I say, add strawberries into the cubes for even more decadence!!

And dare I say avant-garde?!! Considering, champagne flutes were especially designed to preserve the bubbles longer and flowing to the crown as well as concentrate the aroma, the "Piper" glasses resemble a cross between martini and burgundy glasses; pretty to behold!!

Decadent kisses.

1. By Decadence, I infer more the literary movement, especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations; rather than the ugly vulgarity of deprecation and decay that the word usually denotes. I'm all for delicious self-indulgence, without the deprecating part!!
2. For, everyday consumers like You and I, investing in the luxe house makes beautiful sense when one considers how many of its brands one enjoys. What's the mantra... invest in what you love and consume?!!
3. Speaking of which, did you see the princes on Matt Lauer's interview?? *pleased as punch, I was, still am.*