Style Watch: Rebekah Brooks Trial Special!

Despite the fact that she’s clearly a hardened, evil criminal, I’ve always had a small soft spot for Rebekah Brooks. Her hair is pretty awesome – like a better version of Vivienne Westwood’s or Grace Coddington’s – and, notwithstanding her current peril, she held her own in a men’s newsroom. She also took on the Leveson enquiry with style, in a black dress adorned with Peter Pan collar. (Of course, those less educated in fashion happenings made tedious comparisons to the cast of The Crucible – proving they really missed the point of that play.)

But the real test is how well she stands up in court. For the courtroom entry/exit has produced some of the most timeless photos of modern time. See Marianne Faithfull stepping out on the arm of Mick Jagger, drenched in fur, or Amy Winehouse turning up to her assault trial dressed like a 1950s Cuban prostitute in 2009. I doubt we can expect the same from Mrs Brooks, but let’s see what she’s got.

Appears initially strong – a classic wool – but no pale skin can truly do the camel coat justice.


Rebekah Brooks and Charlie Brooks, Old Bailey, 29/10/13

A boucle jacket! The separate poised to overthrow the hideous trouser suit! Nice one Becks.


I spoke too soon. Have a terrible feeling this is a trouser suit. Girl needs some blusher and lipstick to brighten up that anxiety-ridden face of hers.


Better. Do not have full bosom in photo so cannot see whether she can pull off the hipster-button-up (there’s a fine line between chic and matron). But a refreshing change of pace.


Oh Jesus Christ. Judging by this cardigan fiasco, I’m guessing that she couldn’t pull off hipster-button-up. STEP AWAY FROM THE MONOCHROME REBEKAH.




The Beckhams Vs. The Bercows

Two couples of Great British refinement – are they really so different?

In terms of style, of course they are. The foundations of Beckingham Palace were built on image, even before Victoria sent out her first collection down the runway. Victoria’s style is encapsulated in that pissed-off non-smile that she always bears: cool, reserved, knowledgeable. Her husband is probably never without a stylist, or indeed a wardrobe full of free clothes sent by designers. Boy can also rock tailoring in a way only bettered by Fred Astaire. John Bercow on the other hand dresses like your average politician, albeit with a collection of flamboyant ties.

And then there is Sally. Sally of Evening Standard fame, an interview in which she tried and failed to make politics interesting simply by putting the word ‘sexy’ in front of British Parliament terms: “I never realised how sexy I would find living under Big Ben”; “The view from Speaker’s House is incredibly sexy.” Draped in a bedsheet and attempting to look like something out of Last Tango in Paris, she quite frankly came across as an uneducated tit. In clothes, she doesn’t fare much better. She’s forever showing just a little too much arm and cleavage, she never seems to dress for her body shape, and her make-up is reminiscent of a deranged, jilted bride from a 1940s film.

This wouldn’t be a problem if her output in public life offset this chaos in her wardrobe. In general, if you are a good person who does good things, shallow people like me tend to leave you alone (see: Mo Mowlam in terrible trouser suits; Steve Jobs in that stupid poloneck; Alexandra Shulman and her penchant for cardigans). Yet Sally Bercow’s lifestyle and image feed eachother. Every appearance she makes in the media serves to inflate her self-caricature further, from her frustratingly brainless disregard for libel laws, her Big Brother appearance and her description of herself as a “a personality.” She is a mess, but worse still, she is a mess with bad hair.

Which brings us to the similarities between the Beckhams and the Bercows in terms of spirit. The crucial difference here is that the Beckhams are a pair of equals. Both are incredibly successful, and hence they complement one another. Their fame has endured past their status as the celeb couple of the ’90’s and is now more a by-product of their professional accomplishments. The Bercows in contrast, appear as two separate entities at war via the media. Poor John seems to just want get on with his job; his wife is hungry for the front page of a paper that berates her husband and his colleagues on a daily basis.

Call Posh Spice a terrible singer, call Becks an air-headed footballer. But they have much more PR sense and grace than Mr and Mrs John Bercow MP.

Sartorially Satanic: The Politics Of Fashion Week

An interesting fact: there are only 6 months of the year that aren’t decorated with an ‘official Fashion Week’.  Another interesting fact: Norwich (home of both Delia Smith and Alan Partridge) hosts a fashion week.

My point – besides the fact that this blogpost may not be as unseasonable as it sounds – is that the term ‘Fashion Week’ is one that is banded around ruthlessly, from the highest offices of the Big Apple to the sleepy towns of rural England. Why? It is a clear publicity spinner. We are living in a time when anyone with a WordPress account can call themselves a fashion blogger, just as anyone with a Twitter account can call themselves a political commentator. And if you are a fashion blogger, then a local Fashion Week is probably the one event on your calendar which permits you to blog about something of substance. (That’s right, your £40 H&M-based haul vlog does not count as substance, neither does your blog about what you wore to your Grandad’s 80th birthday party). Here, the intrepid blogger gains a ‘press pass’ via an online form, and can be spotted a few rows back, iPhone/SLR in hand, taking photos of everything that comes down the runway. Only mental notes are taken, and no true criticism prevails.

So much for the local Fashion Week, but what of the Big 4? Well in this instance, the bloggers have not created a PR storm as much as they have created a monster, or a joke. London Fashion Week is a 3-4 day long event that revolves around a big gazebo erected in the middle of Somerset House, where the shows take place. Of course, the whole of London cannot get a seat, so the real ‘action’ takes place on the cobbles outside. Here, in an extraordinary display of symbiosis, Bloggers take pictures of other Bloggers, and blog about how great all the other Bloggers look. This anthropological phenomena is aided and abetted by the Models: those who aren’t really models but art students and attention-seekers who wear something outrageous, smoke, and look edgy. They provide sartorial food for the Bloggers, who more often than not cannot blag tickets to a fashion show.

And so the Bloggers head home to blog about their ‘amazing time’ at Fashion Week. Of course, having seen a grand total of zero shows, their blogposts should really be entitled ‘My Time at The Circus Surrounding Fashion Week.’ But the circus is really now the main event. All the glossies send photographers to capture street style – which is just about as ‘street’ as Princess Michael of Kent’s parlour.

Notwithstanding the clear PR-ingenuity of said street style photographers, I suppose the politics of Fashion Week is one of democracy, of people power. It is the young, innovative spectators making the front page, not necessarily the millionaire designers. But what’s missing is substance in the form of criticism. Adjusting the process of ticketing for shows could mean that bloggers, free from unbreakable corporate relationships, will also be free to criticise the collections. Bloggers themselves need to become more analytical. The people need to ransack the palace; the bloggers need enter the tent.

Alas, many bloggers these days are tied to commercial contracts just as much as the magazines. But that’s for another blogpost.

They Said What? Rihanna on Diana

“You know who is the best who ever did it? Princess Diana. She was like – she killed it. Every look was right. She was gangsta with her clothes. She had these crazy hats. She got oversize jackets. I loved everything she wore!”

So said RiRi in an interview with Glamour magazine this month.  When Vogue’s Facebook page reported the news, Diana fans amassed and spat in disgust in the comments section (interestingly, despite Vogue’s relatively intelligent content and reputable name, commentators on their Facebook are often akin to those who grace the bottom of the MailOnline Showbiz pages) with insightful views such as:  “Dianna made her mistakes yes, but she didn’t sell herself out like Rhianna who grabs her crotch every thirty seconds….”; “Shes just a complete mess really all that money an she looks old an done in diana was a beautiful person an this pic does not resemble her one bit [sic]”; and my favourite: “Rihanna is a disgrace !!! Does she even know who Princess Diana is ?”

Yes ‘Daniela Likoska’, of course she knows who Princess Diana is. Indeed, quotes such as this are pure testimony to how intelligent Rihanna – and her PR team – really are.  Through all her stunts and shenanigans, risque Instagrams and bad boyfriends, she is demonstrably characterizing herself as someone who is paid for shock value. This ain’t new: Madonna did it, Betty Page did it, Mozart did it.

The hilarious part is that what she actually said in this particular interview is so not outrageous that the backlash from Diana fans can only be put down to their already heightened tension this week: Naomi Watts has assumedly taken a big shit all over their idol and they are now baying for blood. Rihanna never drew a comparison between herself and old Di. She didn’t even infer that they dressed similarly, or that she takes inspiration from her wardrobe.  She merely said that she liked what she wore, because she always looked good. So for some bizarre reason, it must have been the mere mention of Diana’s name from Rihanna’s dirty, nasty lips that had an entire fanbase up in arms. WWP, however, thinks it shows a brilliant amount of fashion-consciousness – God knows how difficult it is to appreciate wardrobe collections that you yourself would rather die than wear.

Diana fans, you’ve fallen right into Ri-Ri’s PR trap. Perhaps it is a lesson to all of us present in the user-generated-content universe: read carefully before you hit that ‘comment’ button.

WAG and Politician Style Watch: Labour Party Conference Special!

The press followed the dwindling amounts of Labour Party supporters down to bonny Brighton this week, who in turn were there to see Ed, Ed and the rest orate just how they will save the country from its current state of mortal peril. What no one banked on was Miliband and his wife re-enacting the opening stills from a soft-core porno.  However joyous I am that Ed has unbuttoned his top button, there was really no need for the photo-op that the Labour Party conference vomited out of its PR-invested underbelly.  Also note: Sally Bercow (they let her in?) looking slightly, ahem, mannish; Sadiq Khan doing it right.



Full marks to Yvette who says no to the trouser suit and yes to boucle jacket

Full marks to Yvette who says no to the trouser suit and yes to boucle jacket

Justine Thornton spotted out of the arms of her sex-god husband (thumbs up for the earrings); Sally Bercow looking like she’s well up for hitting Brighton freshers week after she’s done with this snooze-fest (thumbs down for the make-up and, well, being Sally Bercow).

Is Sadiq Khan our own Obama?!

Sharp: Is Sadiq Khan our own Obama?


"Did I mention I'm a family man too?!"

“Did I mention I’m a family man too?!”


There are no words.

There are no words.