WEEKEND READING

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I’m home for the weekend, and whist I should be writing my dreaded Contextual Studies essay, I’ve been catching up with Gaga, Kirsten and Rita. After the brilliant first issue of Porter last month, I was eagerly anticipating this issue; was worth the wait? Hmm…

COUTURE WEEK: IRIS VAN HERPEN SPRING 2013

Other-worldy beauty, futuristic fantasies, tantalising technology, the Iris Van Herpen Spring Couture 2013 show embodied everything that 2013 portrays: Moving into new beginnings, jumping to the future, leaving behind the end of the world and entering into a new one. It is these aesthetics that must’ve attracted Van Herpen fan Lady Gaga into wearing her clothes. Severely shaped, with show-stopping allure just completely encaptures the fierce beauty within each of us. For me, this collection shows another side of a woman’s personality. You can have a fairytale princess side of you in the shape of an Elie Saab gown, and you can have a fierce, go-getting, I don’t give an F side of you in the shape of an Iris Van Herpen number. Yes ma’am.

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FAME & THE CULTURE OF CELEBRITY FRAGRANCES

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I’m going to start this post by mentioning that I myself own a few celebrity fragrances. I have to admit that only one was purchased because of the actual aroma and not the name endorsing it. That fragrance was DVB by Victoria Beckham. There, now that’s been said I can continue… I own ‘L’ by Gwen Stefani and her first set of four Harajuku Lovers fragrances , although I have to admit I wouldn’t have purchased them if it wasn’t for the fact that I would buy anything with Gwen Stefani’s name on it. Plus, the bottles are quite possibly the cutest things you will ever set your eyes on (see above)… But that still doesn’t refrain from the fact that the actual scents of them are… well to quote Janice Ian from Mean Girls, I would describe myself as smelling like “a baby prostitute”, but that is just my nose, for you they may be delightful.
Harajuku cuteness aside, let’s just say I have not and will not, repurchase any of these perfumes. As I said before, I do own a few celebrity perfumes and only one was bought for the scent.

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The most recent fragrance I purchased was FAME by the one-and-only Lady Gaga. Now if you don’t know this already, I love Lady Gaga. Love love love. Love love. So naturally I was excited when it was announced over a year ago that she would be collaborating with fragrance giant COTY to produce a scent of her own. A lot of hype was built up around said fragrance, in part because the Lady herself stated that she wanted it to smell like blood and semen… I’ll let you make you’re own mind up about that. So after a long time of waiting in anticipation (any die-hard Little Monster will be well-accustomed to this), in which time the fragrance would be sent to manufacturers and repealed three times because Gaga wasn’t happy with it, it was release day for FAME. In true Lady Gaga style, this fragrance isn’t just your average DKNY-esque, blend into the background fragrance. First off, the actual fragrance is black. The liquid, according to the smart guys at ‘Haus Laboratories’ is: “First of its kind, this perfume is an innovation of fluid technology. It’s black like the soul of fame, but invisible once airborne.” Trust Lady Gaga to create a black fluid that turns clear. I’ll get into the smell of it in a moment… I want to talk about the bottle.

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Designed by Nick Knight, it looks like a grenade. It really does. Ironically enough, the actual glass bottle reminds me of an old Hollywood glam movie star. The cap however, is where the creative big-wigs come in. Personally it reminds me of one of those mechanical grabber-things inside those machines that you used to nag and nag your parents for at the fair. The cap is like a gold, more glamorous version of that. And I love it. For me, the best part of the fragrance is the bottle, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because I really, really like the bottle.
Now for the actual scent. According to the Haus Laboratories it is: “Tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of Tiger Orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverised apricot and the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.” Got that? Basically it’s a sweet smell with darker, spicier undertones. And that is exactly what it is. For me, after all the hype and the deliciously glam bottle, the scent is underwhelming, certainly doesn’t match the fierceness of the bottle, but it is still a nice, wearable fragrance.
As someone who is not a big perfume wearer, (mostly because I find it to be too expensive to keep up!) it struck me that I have fallen into the marketing trap of celebrity fragrances a few times over and it got me thinking about the origins of celebrity fragrances. Almost everybody in the transcendent world of “celebrity” has a fragrance or a whole line thereof. Ones that currently spring to mind are Britney Spears, JLO, Kylie Minogue, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, BeyoncĂ© and Madonna. There are hundreds more of which I’m sure you are already aware which would mean I would be wasting my time listing them here. After a swift Google session, I was surprised to learn (It’s AMAZING what Google can teach you) that the first ever celebrity fragrance came from socialite Tabe Slioor in Finland in 1963. After that, Elizabeth Taylor released one in 1991 and the rest is history. Taylor’s one however apparently smells like “a stale old lady’s perfume” so I guess the trend for mediocre-smelling celebrity fragrances has been followed for some time…
As I said before, I am not a big perfume wearer. If I like a smell, I like it, if I don’t, I don’t. Simple. I personally don’t like all Chanel perfumes and love all of Roberto Cavalli’s. Don’t even get me started on Roberto Cavalli. I could drown in his ‘Serpentine’ fragrance and not mind because the scent is literally to die for.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that a scent is a scent, a bottle is a bottle and a name is a name. I don’t think there will be a time when all three factors will match up and become the most “perfect” celebrity fragrance. Having said that, I am so relieved (but also paradoxically disappointed) that Lady Gaga’s scent does not in fact smell of blood and semen.

Do you have any celebrity fragrances that you love/hate? Or any that you just bought for the name or the bottle?

ON A DESERT ISLAND, THE PIGEON POST WILL ONLY BRING ONE PUBLICATION EACH MONTH. WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

This piece was the required written article that I submitted as part of my Fashion Journalism portfolio for UCA.

I live in a small town in Cambridgeshire. A slightly nondescript place where cultural diversity is perhaps not as common as, say, a city centre would be. Everyone here fits into a nice little mould. Everyone going about their business, speculating what others are doing, all the while trying (and failing) to move with the times. This, for me, is a parallel predicament to publications such as Vogue or Elle. For myself personally, they do not spark any inspiration. They do not get me excited. They depress me, make me feel inadequate, poor and fat.

My publication of choice would be V Magazine. (Technically it is a quarterly magazine, but I’m hoping that still counts…). The first thing that strikes the reader upon seeing V for the first time is possibly its size. Or the extraordinarily bold cover. Or the fabulously overpowering logo. It could possibly be many aspects of V’s cover format that attracts the reader at first glance. For me personally, it was the size. Being A3, it’s larger than most other “commercial” fashion magazines, I found this to be special. Almost like the magazine was so tremendous that it was worth that extra paper.

The content of the magazine itself is undeniably captivating and full of passion. From the powerful imagery on each page, to the small font that carries an even more powerful stance on the topic in which it’s portraying, V is by far oozing the most contemporary and innovative pieces and photographs. One of my favourite aspects of the V is that each issue, the magazine is heavily themed. The theme is an occurring motif on every single item featured in the magazine.

Last summer saw Lady Gaga become a columnist for V, which for me as a huge Gaga fan, couldn’t be more exciting. If the magazine couldn’t get even more fresh and exciting already, for me it just did. I cannot comprehend how much I adore V for collaborating with a contemporary artist such as Lady Gaga on an ongoing project for the sake of art and fashion, rather than just a celebrity-endorsed empty program.

V magazine, being an American publication, is not particularly easy to find in the area that I live, so when I do find it, I cherish it, reading each issue over and over again to devour every word written and every photograph shot. Having a new issue every three months is thrilling for me and living in such a drab and non-diversified community makes reading V all the more enthralling.