Notes on fashion, style and culture

Saturday, 19 October 2019

The 8 Most Stylish TV Shows to Bless the Small Screen

In addition to creating the most talked-about TV show of 2019, Phoebe Waller-Bridge also managed to send sales of black jumpsuits soaring when she unleashed series two of Fleabag on the world. According to John Lewis’s annual retail report, shoppers were inspired by the tailored jumpsuit the anti-heroine wears to attend the most awkward family dinner in small screen history in the season opener. And it’s far from the first instance of a much-loved show becoming a source of sartorial inspiration – as illustrated by eight of Vogue’s favourite stylish TV series below. Stream now, shop later.

The Crown

Sure, Claire Foy won two Golden Globes, but the real breakout star of The Crown was Vanessa Kirby’s wardrobe. Her turn as the fragile, rebellious and impossibly chic Princess Margaret saw Kirby’s artfully knotted silk scarves, cigarette pants and cat-eye sunglasses steal every scene she was in. Full marks, too, for her formalwear (more daring than her duty-bound sister’s), and her commitment to a signature accessory: in Margaret’s case, an ever-present, and admittedly rather elegant cigarette holder.

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Remembering Sophia Kokosalaki

There is a glazed ceramic figurine of an ancient Minoan snake goddess in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on Crete. Two arms outstretched clasping serpents, exposed breasts circled by a tight bodice and wearing a multi-tiered chiton, the statue dates back to 1650-1550 B.C.
“The snake goddess is a favourite. I must have first laid eyes on her age six or seven. She has exposed breasts, a tiny waist and represents power, beauty and also an element of darkness that framed my aesthetic early on,” Sophia Kokosalaki once told me.

The Greek designer, who has died aged 47, was awarded an Honorary Distinction by the region of Crete in 2018. “Crete is a culture that just keeps on giving. Every time I approach by boat or plane, I feel emotional,” said Kokosalaki, who had family roots on the island and spent many holidays there adventuring to archaeological sites, relishing the sea and the wild nature with her partner, daughter, and friends.

Kokosalaki’s guiding motto was: “Why not? We will do this.” She often made the impossible, possible. With her rare creative talent, honed under the late Louise Wilson while studying for an MA at Central Saint Martins, as well as her innate vision and courage, Kokosalaki scaled challenges professionally, personally and embraced life in all its wondrous and fearsome beauty.
Launching a collection at the turn of the millennium was one such feat. She was at the heart of a fearless creative London uprising led by a new generation that freely criss-crossed street and high fashion, music and art. Kokosalaki brilliantly wove ancient Greek culture with British punkish mores, delivering a tantalising portrait of an empowered yet graceful female identity. Intricate pleating, classical draping, slithery silk jersey, supple, appliquéd leather and breastplate-like bodices were artfully combined to create an aesthetic suggestive of the mythic attributes of goddesses, reworked for the modern world.

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

A Look Back at Pulp Fiction's Iconic Fashion Moments: 25 Years On

pulp /ˈpəlp/ n.
1. A soft, moist, shapeless mass of matter.
2. A magazine or book containing lurid subject matter and being characteristically printed on rough, unfinished paper.

When that definition first flashed across the screen, the phenomenon that is ’90s cult action film Pulp Fiction was born, with its punchy dialogue, sorry-not-sorry violence, and smug humour. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film hit cinemas 25 years ago this month; and its rebellious style and whip-smart banter immediately seemed destined for greatness. (Or perhaps that’s the effects of time: Critic Roger Ebert described it as “either one of the year’s best films, or one of the worst” after it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1994.)

Viewers were introduced to a mass of tangled connections: gang kingpin Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) and his wife, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman); hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson); boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) and French nymphette Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros); and modern-day Bonnie and Clyde Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer). A wild tale of guts and gore ensued, with a Travolta dance number to boot.

Needless to say the cast was dressed to kill. To celebrate the film’s quarter century, Vogue spoke to costume designer Betsy Heimann about the lethal ladies of Pulp Fiction and their key looks. Heimann, who also worked on Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, dished on everything from Uma Thurman’s iconic dancefloor look to the importance of a great coat.

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Monday, 14 October 2019

Fahion designer, Sophia Kokosalaki dies aged 47

Sophia Kokosalaki, the London-based Greek designer, has died at the age of 47. Kokosalaki was known for her talent for drapery and clothes that had a female-friendly glamour. They were worn on the red carpet by Chloë Sevigny, Kirsten Dunst and Jennifer Connelly.
The fashion world took to social media to express their grief about the news. Journalist Melanie Rickey, writing on her @fashioneditoratlarge Instagram account, called Kokosalaki: “a brilliant and hugely talented designer who reinvented drape and Greek craft into exquisite high fashion.” Fashion critic Sarah Mower posted a picture of the designer bowing at the end of a catwalk with the caption: “Mourning the loss of dear Sophia Kokosalaki, a great talent, sister pioneer of the London fashion new wave of the 2000s, Greek fashion heroine.”

A Sophia Kokosalaki design from her autumn/winter 2004 collection at London fashion week. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Reuters
Kokosalaki introduced her label at London fashion week in 1999, and was part of a generation of fashion talent in the capital in the early noughties. A graduate of the respected Central Saint Martins MA in fashion, she soon established her aesthetic with draped dresses that felt elegant but also easy to wear. She once said of her clothes: “I like to design functional apparel that also allows you to look interesting.” She brought this look to the costumes for the opening ceremony of the Greek Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
Sophia Kokosalaki, A/W 2004 collection

Her brand was bought by Only the Brave – the conglomerate ran by Diesel’s Renzo Rosso – in 2007, only for her to buy it back two years later. Kokosalaki also designed the high-end Diesel Black Gold for three years, from 2009 to 2012, created collections for Topshop and worked on the relaunch of Vionnet, the French heritage house. She introduced Kore, a cheaper line, in 2012, which was sold through Asos.

In recent years, Kokosalaki had retreated from the show circuit. She launched her first bridal collection in 2012, telling The Guardian: “I thought there wasn’t much on offer for the contemporary bride. By this I mean a modern woman that doesn’t want to feel overwhelmed by her dress and has a very chic approach to how she would like to be dressed for the day.” She continued to create wedding dresses, with her final collection on her website, from 2017, comprising 32 designs.
Kokosalaki is survived by her husband and daughter.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Greek Legend: Mary Katranzou hosts her S/S20 show at Temple of Poseidon

Mary Katranzou S/S20
It’s easy during the seasonal fashion week shows, to feel utterly disconnected from nature, shuttled from show space to show space in enclosed cars, glimpsing esteemed cultural sites, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Duomo in Milan through a small window. But last night, guests at Mary Katrantzou’s S/S 2020 show took in the startlingly azure blue hues of the Aegean Sea from 200 ft above sea level, perched amongst the 16 Doric columns that form the Temple of Poseidon, which since 444 BC has stood majestically on top of Cape Sounion, in Greece.

Here, instead of women in ancient togas, making offerings to Poseidon’s tempestuous trident, and his power to stir up storms and shatter fleets of ships, models walked beneath the temple’s colonnades in astonishingly imaginative and painstakingly crafted creations, barely fit for mere mortals. Greece born Katrantzou is the first designer to have access to the sacred space – one of the landmark monuments of the Golden Age of Athens – a period which also heralded democracy, the Western philosophy of Socrates and the dramatic poetry of Sophocles. Katrantzou’s moment of modern magnificence celebrated her home city, and also in a nod to the possibility of the future, the 30th anniversary of Elpida Association of Friends of Children with Cancer.

Pieces had a couture-level of craftsmanship, which referenced Athens’ Golden Age. A caped dress was hand beaded with lines of numbers, in an allusion to Archimedes’ Pi, a delicately fringed gown was embellished with Aristotle’s tenet ‘Everything happens for a reason’, and dresses were festooned with beaded constellations of the night sky, fantasy world maps, ruffled fronds of silk, 3D florals and swirls of feathers. Delphic pleats cascaded across shoulders, and silhouettes came in straight columns, as layered lampshades or as floating orbs.

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