Jessica Biel does fashion from the 1910s

Jessica Biel here pulls off one avatar after another from the 1910s. This decade was known for bringing many of the Oriental fashion touches here to the West, all courtesy of Paul Poret and his innovative mind. Rich, exotic, opulent, fur, no matter how you look at it the West went crazy for fashion from the East and there is no reason why you should just stand there and leave yourself out of it all: be bold!

Jessica Biel (1910s) # 1

"My goal now is to work with great directors. Small role, big role, medium-size role—it doesn’t matter. I just want to work with someone who’s going to push me to a scary, exciting place that I’ve never been before."

Amour with JTimberlake…

"He bakes pies. He’s Southern, so he’s got all this influence from his grandma. He does a three-layer pie…and blueberry crunch cake, which is pretty unbelievable. It doesn’t happen all that often, thank God. Otherwise, it would be a big problem.”

Jessica Biel (1910s) # 2
For marriage…
“It means always having someone there to open the pickle jar…to share the ups and downs with, have adventures with.  Someone to go swimming naked with. That kind of thing.”
Jessica Biel (1910s) # 3

A Tribute to Deborah

The Mitford sisters form two sides of a treasured coin here in Great Britain. Their contribution to countryside politics, both in communism and nationalism, their stylish way of living, greatly contrasted with the restrictive and emotionally environment they were brought up in.

And later the six sisters from Hampshire had to make a romantic life out of that same environment, as they were pretty much denied an education despite being throughbred aristocracy - they were expected to be married off to a financially well-off gentleman early on in their lives.

The Mitfords’ contribution to war politics often came at a cost, one of the sisters became suicidal and suffered brain damage, as a result. And these kind of stories weren’t so much few and far inbetween because there were reported incidents of trouble on planes they would use to travel in, as well as pitching in with wartime efforts during the Blitz.

Amongst the many socialites, our country has played home to, the Dowager of Devonshire is undoubtedly one of more famous ones. Deborah Devonshire, or “Debo” as she is often known amongst loved ones, passed away just late last month, with it bringing the youngest Mitford chapter permanently to a close.

Recognized for restoring Chatsworth House, she lived a long and prosperous life as the most quiet of all children. Public perception of this relatively minor noble family in England was quite positive actually, because they continued to interest many people during the forties.

Apart from writing various books on Chatsworth house, she has penned her own memoir Wait for Me! where she wrote about her varied experiences in life, from constantly falling behind her sisters to attending glittering Manhattan societal conventions, where she had play host to local protocol and danced with famous locals, just to keep the affair entertaining…for them, for her it would prove to be far too boring.

Her title as a Duchess came to her in the 1950 through a marriage with Andrew Cavendish, who later inherited the throne to become the Duke of Cavendish. Her life was filled with wartime experiences, such as participating in teatime gatherings with Adolf Hitler, choosing gowns for the Queen’s coronation, and ofcourse becoming a “housewife duchess” as she transformed her home into one of the most efficacious stately homes we have up here.

The Duchess was quite keen on fashion actually, forming a lifelong passion for haute couture, such as Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino. Her heart was always in the right place as campaigning for placing a ban on fox-hunting suggested. Her enthusiasm for life was visible in her chicken farming antics, and the most fabulous aspect of her life was perhaps her spirit and how she handled everything, despite the prejudice that were thrown her way.

Conforming to social norms she skipped school because her parents perceived a school education unnecessary for girls. Debo spent her childhood in a London house, residing with her very own pack of governesses, tutors and servants in country seats, when not spending time in Scotland.

She lived a rather solitary life amongst all the many people inside the house but the bond she shared with her sisters was certainly unique. They would take part in a society they had thought up the “Society of Hons” in a separate stone mansion, in the cold, where they would indulge in sharing their fantastic fantasies - something to pass the mundane days “no education” can bring you as children.

Debo’s family’s wealth wasn’t abundant, exhausting itself during the years of the Great Depression. Perhaps chasing the kids on horseback with hounds, left the Duke with less time to focus on the business instead?

The six Mitford sisters, were certainly a formidable pair, despite the harships life often brough them would lock themselves up in a linen cupboard and communicate with each other in a special secret language only the six knew, something that was more about poking fun at rural Oxfordshire accents.

Chatsworth is a grand 16th century mansion, surrounded by meadows, wooden hills, and the palace itself is decorated with an enormous number of paintings, rooms, fireplaces, kitchens, workshops, staircases and comforting roofs. Here’s hoping her legacy lives on in Chatsworth, just as much as it does in our memories!

Pop Music, Vintage Dresses & Katy Perry

For anyone who missed the I Kissed A Girl phenomenon taking over our radios during the spring of 2008, Katy Perry and her eccentric, colourful wardrobe might seem like a pretty car-crash just waiting to happen. It’s not too difficult to caricature that portrait of hers in your mind - she dresses in short dresses that are imprinted with pina colada bottles, wears retro curls and carries a guitar on stage.

This is in fact, a step towards belonging in the new wave of music industry chartbusters who have stepped away for traditional glam and opted for a more vintage look in both their stage and real-life style persona. Lady Gaga might seem too outlandish to totally comprehend. Nicki Minaj might seem like she doesn’t own anything in her makeup bag aside from bubblegum pink, and sometimes maybe even her wardrobe. But this is really how music artists are separately, but collectively, pushing the frontiers of fashion these days.

Katy Perry hails from Santa Barbara in sunny California. At the moment she is still on her Prism tour, following her numerous hit singles on the Billboard for the umpteenth time. It might seem a tad little too early to state that she has indeed arrived but her chartbreaking success over the course of just three albums means that her music credentials are indeed very strong.

Perry’s tour dates copiously fill her days post the success of a new album, and because she releases so many of them within the span of a few years only, Perry is one Californian chick who seems to have signed up to the super busy life of a soaring-high record artist. Katy’s working hours are rather odd and self-stylised - her morning hour rush comes in the afternoon, when most of us usually have our lunchbreaks, at around 2pm, and she keeps on working until the wee hours of night at 2am, before hitting the sack.

Her hair colour is a rather off-beat electric green but she manages to pull it off, without looking punky or have it clash with an American flag-printed babydoll. At just 29, Katy Perry has had the most awesome path of success that most youngsters would wish they had a piece of in their own lives too, but in a good way.

She swears by oatmeal, and that shows in her figure on-stage, but her sense of fashion is really low-key. Apart from being an idealistic pin-up girl, a vintage Goddess, she also knows how to appeal to real women, and isn’t shy about it at all. Perry fesses up that she doesn’t actually mind having a pimple - for her it’s not something to lose sleep over, that’s too trivial. It doesn’t matter that her skin isn’t flawless like many other divas, as long as she’s healthy and fit.

I would say, that would work well for women who look for “a real woman” to identify with in Hollywood. Katy Perry is not only totally diva-esque, she actually has her feet firmly on the ground to project and know that she is just another successful music artist, with the good life in her hands. She’s blunt, point-blank forward, intelligent, funny, and knows how to balance the high-life with the ordinary.

One day she is up at the White House, singing for the President and the other day she is tucking into her breakfast served in plastic tubs. She likes to play with variety, because that is the only way she knows how to perform at her best. For the ordinary American, that is more than what most would have ever hoped to see emerge from their infamous Santa Barbara culture.

Her fans come from different parts of the globe actually, from different age-groups, with a wide-ranging taste in music. Katy Perry’s desire to experiment with her music taste means that she has been able to appeal to both the music crowd and the critics.

She is very talkative so when her vocal chords have outlasted her energy she needs to put on a nametag that describes that she is being quiet today. Katy Perry controls her tour like a business magnet, she manages to keep it astride - the crew, the food, the costumes, the dance moves, and relaxes inbetween performing on tour by visiting museums to look at and appreciate art.

With moolah being raked in from album sales, the sell-out tour, her fans would love to know how she manages to stay on top of her enormous empire. She courts fantasy as a way to inspire her to do better work everytime she hits the microphone, with a visual for every song she crafts. Quipping with personality, she is looking forward to the thirties, an age that  leaves many high-flying career women, high-and-dry with trepidation and fear about the uncertainty of life. And all of this freeflows into her writing. She went to a weird school, what wouldn’t fall into her definition of a proper learning environment so the twenties were basically spent dabbling in a lot of learning.

She is great with social media but knows when to stop short of having to “send goodnight kisses” to all her many fans - rather cool about the fact that she has the most Twitter followers in the world. She also loves the Dictionary.com app and would love it if a guy she was dating would speak in the same lingo with beautiful, thoughtful and intelligent words, thrown in, to be around her when its right.

Because of her outspoken nature, she is actually in the ring for the music not for love. She dreams of doing many things at many different times in her life - she wants to maybe someday have a baby, because a home-life would be fabulous, but she also wants to be a music mogul, a thorough-bred professional, maybe even with her own record label? A great tour? Cruising on bicycles? Waltzing around Manhattan? They are all on her agenda.

Speaking of agenda, where does she stand with on counting fashion inspirations? She adores Azzadine Alai, Daphne Guinness, Chloë Sevigny! Katy Perry has dated some famous men in the past, from Russell Brand to John Mayer but her ideal guy would be someone who can genuinely carry a sense of humour, someone she has met through friends (like, a friend of a friend!), someone who understand that she’s not interested in wasting too much time experimenting with men any longer as she zooms into her thirties.

Perry is no longer interested in being with men who are intimidated by her, because that just boils right into the relationship, adding some sort of a negative experience to the whole love-story. She feels that being the strong woman can sometimes be hard on her self-image because it’s difficult to come across men who find her as inspiring as she would do in him, she’s more  of a “sensitive, caring soul for a boyfriend” kinda gal!

 

Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Dress

When we were wondering how Angelina Jolie’s wedding would be we did not anticipate it to be so sudden and rushed. That was surprising because we have had forever to prepare for the day - they got engaged in April 2012, which gave some fashion designers the perfect excuse to decide what kind of a wedding dress Jolie would wear this time around. Given that her past is coloured with very controversial choices, from wedding attires to mannerisms of expressing love through jewellery, it wouldn’t be surprisingly out-of-place to envisage that some shockingly thought a tuxedo would be the best fit.

The papers were abuzz with gossip about the wedding ever since a public announcement was made over the weekend that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had finally taken the plunge. The pictures came a lot later, and were covered by both People magazine and Hello! magazine from the looks of it. It was unusual to say the least - not the sexy edition most lovers of her style would have perhaps wished she had chosen, but a much more demure and elegant empire-waist gown, crafted from fine silk. It looked like an actual ball-gown - it was very flouncy, and proper Cinderella-like. The bodice was well-fitted, the gown was strappy, and there was even a hint of old-school Americana in it - the scrunchie aspect of the gown at the top made for the traditional touch that Jolie’s latest avatar as Mother Earth begets.

The gown came from Versace, especially designed upon request, by Luigi Massi - a master tailor at the Italian fashion house. The most unusual aspect of the gown, however was not the gown itself but the back of the gown and the translucent veil that accessorised the very conservative wedding. Since Jolie chose to have her children decorate the back with a piece of material stitched together, complimenting the striking difference of both materials for the gown and the veil, there was a very adventurous colourful aspect for the gown.

It’s still really hard to break the mould in wedding fashion because the bestselling gowns still tend to be white, even ivory, or fawn doesn’t fare well, let alone green or blue. The separate materials came adorned with colourful crayon drawings from her brood of six children. There’s black, red, blue, yellow childish illustrations of a Marx brothers aircraft, a baker, a happy family holding hands, a cupcake with two candles, confetti, ice-cream sundaes, the Eiffel tower, a spattering of vibrant flowers, llamas, sheep, and what looks like a peacock-bird. Right, as we stated it’s unusual to say the least - so it might take some time getting used to but nonetheless the gown was very spectacular and a tad bit-rebellious like Jolie.

It was so spectacular, reportedly the sight of his bride walking down the aisle made Brad Pitt weepy - we are not sure if it was the illustration by his children or the beauty of the gown, the veil, and the whole look in general, but that must have been something getting Pitt teary eyed on the wedding day.

The relationship Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt share have been well-covered in mainstream news outlets the last few years. Brad Pitt was previously married to Jennifer Aniston for seven years, but the couple parted ways shortly before he embarked on a relationship with Angelina Jolie. Pitt is well-known for his numerous high-profile relationships - he dated Gwyneth Paltrow famously, for some years and that amour even led to an engagement.

Speculation was rife following his split with Aniston, that he had cheated on her with Jolie, which resulted in a breakup for the former couple but all parties involved have been consistently denying this for a very long time now. Although, initially just co-stars on the sets of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, the pair embarked on a relationship very publicly, with a full-blown photographic spread in W magazine, where the story was made official that Jolie and Pitt were indeed dating. Because this came very close at the heels of Pitt’s breakup with Aniston, the speculation surrounding the legitimacy of the romance never stopped coming.

Soon after, as the relationship continued to progress, two factions of fans formed - “Team Jolie” and “Team Aniston” and even t-shirts were being sold to chart who deserves to belong with Pitt more. It would be surprising to imagine that anyone would think “Team Aniston” would ever beat “Team Jolie” but luckily for the couple, incidents such as these did not in any way dictate their relationship.

Brad Pitt still maintains strong contact with Aniston, given the nature of his relationship with her, that of an ex-wife, but Jolie has never really remarked on how she handles this equation particularly? Not exceptionally known for maintaining a dignified silence on matters such as these she has deliberately opted out of commenting on that aspect of Pitt’s liaisons.

Brad Pitt fell in love with Angelina Jolie on the sets of “Mr & Mrs Smith” and now are infamously referred to in the media as “Brangelina”. They are undoubtedly a super-couple, one of the rare ones we have in Hollywood, and both of them have been involved in humanitarian causes in the United States and other countries too. Although this was a longstanding passion for the two of them, they found to have in common, perhaps on the sets of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, their growth together as a couple seems to depend on this.

Pitt and Jolie are both Oscar-winning Hollywood stars - Pitt won as a producer for the very first time this year, after numerous nominations, while Jolie won her Academy Award before too-much fame “Lara Croft” brought her, as a supporting actress in Girl, Interrupted (1999). Brad Pitt’s latest film “12 Years A Slave” is based on the Solomon Northup’s autobiography, and he even had a minor role in the film - the film was produced under his banner “Plan B Entertainment”, for which he won an Oscar as producer.

Being a globetrotting UN Goodwill Ambassador, starring in Hollywood blockbusters, such as the latest Disney flick “Maleficent”, adopting orphaned kids from poor countries, means that Jolie underwent a through makeover suddenly, much like her wedding, as she began to perceive channelling Audrey Hepburn as a very cool attitude to her Red Carpet style. Although her love for tattoos is still there, as is her passion for Africa, Jolie seems like an entirely different woman from the last time we saw her in a wedding dress. Remarking on her choice of gown for her wedding to Brad Pitt, she stated,

“Luigi is like family to me and I couldn’t imagine anyone else making this dress. He knows and cares for the children and it was great fun putting it together.”

Brad Pitt forgot his tie during the ceremony, which took place in the couple’s very grande chateau in France. He wore one of his personal suits, skipping exclusively made designer merchandise for the wedding and the tie was chosen by one of his sons. The children were present for the wedding, given how Angelina Jolie has repeatedly stressed the last couple of years how important Brad was in their lives, and how a marriage would only tie the family closer, rather than drive away the closeness they shared.

Four of the kids - Maddox, Pax, Shiloh (she wore a hat too!) and Knox were dressed in black suits, Zahara wore a dress by a family friend, Adama Kebe and Vivienne picked out a white dress from her wardrobe. The wedding took place in their French chateau, as the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” played out in the chapel as the bride walked down the aisle. After the ceremony, the “Wedding March” was chosen to serenated the few guests.

Château Miraval, the couples’ estate in a French village, has its very own chapel, where the wedding was held. The amount of personalisation standards for such an important celebrity wedding has been startling - even the wedding cake was baked by the pair’s kids, not some fancy chef. The French château has its own pine forests, vineyards, and even a small lake of its own but it’s mostly rustic French rather than regal French, save for what’s mandatory in France - to appreciate age-old structures dating back all the way to the Napoleonic Wars.

The couple kickstarted the tradition of wine-making at the estate once more, that was known to have been quite the thing with its famous precious residents, from Sting to Pink Floyd. In a collaboration in March last year, with the Perrin family, native to France, they launched a number of rose wine bottles - not very surprising to find that the first 6,000 bottles sold out within a manner of just the first five hours. It seemed like one of those picture-perfect Hollywood weddings, as the couple sets sail onto the next stage of their remarkable relationship together, filled with blessings, good wishes and plenty of celebrations!

Supporting Emerging Fashion Designers!

The September Issue this year, celebrates the fashion industry, one of the most difficult industries to make it in, at large. The opportunities that are provided to you as a newcomer arguably, are quite limited, in most definitely a fiercely competitive environment but the fruits of hard labour for those who aren’t afraid to go the distance is truly immense. This place lures in cultures, societies, communities from around the world to try their luck in. It doesn’t matter so much if you identify with cold Manhattan or rainy London, or if you love the new-age fashion of Tokyo. What matters is if you have anything different to bring to the table in a place that prioritises innovation and thinking-outside-the-box. As challenging as that notion sounds, everyday many people dream of doing nothing else and this month we celebrate some of those fine talent who dared to be different.

They dared to be bold and broke free from social conventions, from prejudice in how art chooses to express itself, from perceptions that aren’t always favourable, and made their way onto catwalks, most have only ever so much as dreamed of making. This month is a celebration of human emotions, dreams, and the fire that burns within these wonderful people that helps them to rise to each and every challenge that comes in their path, to present us with the clothes that we choose to wear everyday, romantic stories to cherish during cold solitary autumn days, inspiring tales about individuals who lived through some of the most tumultuous times in history, and yet managed to transcend all of that with such grace and charm, it made you wish you never had to say goodbye.

Mercedes-Benz in Germany is recognised for their automobiles, they produce cars like nobody in the country does. But around the world, particularly in fashion, they are also known for their individual fashion weeks held in carefully selected cities. There are a few ones thrown here and there, such as Tokyo, Istanbul, and Berlin that really showcase breathtaking fashion season after season. Keeping that in mind, we decided to select a couple of those fashion designers, based on their quality of work and what they had to present for SS2015, for Berlin, as well as introduce the newer emerging fashion arena that is Japan. In Germany, couture fashion has been around for generations, starting with the uniforms that the Nazis would wear, that Hugo Boss personally contributed to. However, where Japan is concerned, fashion houses are few and far in between, most can only ever recall Issey Misyake, whenever they want to think of fashion straight off the hottest catwalks in the world - Paris/London/New York/Milan. So it is always a brilliant idea to keep on pushing ahead to break new frontiers with fashion, just as much as the country likes to do with technology.

Other than that because this is always that one issue during the year, that is big, not just on content but also on the numbers of pages of it - you have some scrounging for new, raw talent on the runway, and channelling innovative photoshoots to tap into that market-base, as well as the various fashion photoshoots we have done, a couple of them with a few noted celebrities, political figures around the world. Starting off with Brasil, we went as far and wide as Russia, to scout what’s trending in that particular country fashion-wise and mixed it up with celebrities who have been in the news a lot off-late…be it for their projected Academy Awards nominations or the record number of magazine covershoots and articles they managed to score this year.

Meanwhile, in the beauty department, we celebrated the many ways you can pull off a couple of way-to-go tips and tricks for the early hour morning rush, how to take inspiration from Kerry Washington’s style files and opt for orange nail lacquer, laced with golden decos or the fast, easy, quick touchups before an evening out. The fashion world has been churning out some greats over the last few years in the likes of Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Tom Ford and others. One such noted talent that had been missing until recently was John Galliano, so when news broke that Galliano was making a comeback in a big way with Maison Martin Margiela, I found the news to perhaps be the most positive one I had heard all this month…and that is saying something when you had to curate the top-picks from the Emmy’s Red Carpet.

If you feel the need to look for a particular love story, then perhaps nothing gets more high-profile this month than the Brangelinas getting hitched: Yes, folks Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally took the plunge in late August, and her choice for a couture wedding dress has been special. Although the press has gone crazy for the newly-weds, who got married in a private, intimate ceremony, if there is one more reference to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” taking a turn to become real-life Hollywood, I think I might actually get surprised, why no-one ever correlates public pressure, mass interest, and the stifling need to deduct or dissect a particular news story, with escalating divorce rates everywhere. One of the things, I was interest to see is whether or not the bride took into considerations ideas from any of the couture dresses (or a particular couture dress, with those cuts, entirely!) into consideration. Seemed to me that Jolie has quite fashion creative spunk-feather in her cap, because her wedding dress was as unique to her, as was beautifully designed by Atelier Versace - she managed to pull off the trick to be fashionable from the Red Carpet to the wedding chapel. How amazing is that?

 

Osmi Anannya