Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fighting With Wire Call It Quits

After a week of speculation and worrying Tweets about playing their final shows, the news that Irish rock band Fighting With Wire are splitting has finally been confirmed.

A statement on the band’s Facebook page says:

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped and supported our band over the last ten years, time has come to call it a day. It has been an amazing journey and we are grateful for every opportunity we got along the way. We worked hard and tried our best and we're proud of FWW, we achieved more than we ever thought we could and we enjoyed every minute.
We have a few more shows booked and a final show in our home town Derry in September, we'll post details about these shows soon. A massive thank you to all the bands we've played with and all the great friends we made, keep it tense brothers and sisters ;-)
Thank you for coming to our shows, buying our records and believing in our band. See you on the road.

Jamie, Craig and Cahir

Well I for one am devastated. I’ve spent many years telling anyone who would listen about how great this band are, and constantly feeling like they were on the edge of hitting the big time. Recently this has seemed closer than ever with the much anticipated release of Colonal Blood and tour supporting Coheed and Cambria, so the news that they are splitting up has come as a bit of a shock!

Who knew that when I saw them in Brighton last summer that would be the very last time? All I can say is a great big thank you to a massively under appreciated band. Thanks for the memories, the music, and the gigs that I had the privilege of attending. Best of luck for the future, you will be greatly missed!

Right, I’m off to play Man vs Monster until my ears bleed and drown my sorrows in a pint of Jack….


Prada AW13 at Milan Fashion Week

We all know that Milan Fashion Week will deliver a big dose of glamour from some of fashion’s biggest names; Gucci, Fendi, Moschino, Versace, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, the list goes on…. and much as I would like to write about every show, the day job has a tendency to get in the way. So I’m dedicating this post to Prada’s AW13 show, which had so many great looks that I struggled to edit it down to just five!

The show was staged on a shadowy set that screamed film noir; the perfect backdrop for a steady stream of femme fatales, sporting pencil skirts and lipstick pouts – their wet, somewhat bedraggled hair and metallic peep toes giving them an edge and dragging this nostalgic look into the 21st century.

The strong silhouettes are familiar territory for Prada, and coats are one of the few things I enjoy about winter, so Prada’s were hugely appealing for me, with bell sleeves, belted waists, neat collars and  oversized buttons.

Greys, browns and blacks are obvious winter staples, so it was nice to see them punctuated with emerald green, sugary pinks and bright reds. Gingham was another playful touch, with candyfloss pink and white for the girlier-girls amongst us, or my personal favourite – the more muted version that you can see below. Block colour was also broken up with bold wide stripes in muted shades of red, mustard yellow and turquoise.

The fabrics ranged from lighter cottons to heavier blanket-like tweeds, which made for some interesting layering, with long sleeve tees adding a pop of colour under a more formal dress.

This being Miuccia Prada, an Italian with an appreciation for all things luxurious, it was no surprise to see fur, particularly a rather cosy-looking chocolate brown coat. If anyone knows of a good faux-fur high street version it would make a very useful addition to my wardrobe!

Accessories continued the playful retro feel, with over sized bowling bags and dark, aviator style sunglasses. You never know, AW13 might just be the season that we actually see some winter sun! And if not, we'll just have to hop on a plane and find it elsewhere…

Images from


Thursday, 21 February 2013

London Fashion Week AW13 – runway highlights

As London Fashion Week drew to a close on Tuesday, criticism began emerging from several journalists that with the event's growing success, it is losing a lot of what previously made it interesting. Where London was once primarily a launch pad for new designers it is now competing with the big guns, and bringing with it a more grown up feel – and sadly it would seem that some are reading 'grown up' as 'boring'.

Unfortunately I was unable to make any shows for the first time in many seasons. Instead I have been thanking my lucky stars for the internet, allowing you to stream live shows and view pictures almost instantly. All the information is delivered right to your desk, which certainly helps ease the withdrawal symptoms. You can almost hear the flash bulbs clicking and taste the champagne – plus there's no queuing in the cold to squeeze into crowded venues!

Rather than writing several lengthy posts about various collections, I thought I’d offer up five of my favourite looks, from five designers who continue to embrace London’s offbeat style, and are proof enough to me that London still produces some of the best looks from the world's top designers.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

My love of all things Vivienne Westwood is no secret, and every collection offers something that I'll be lusting after. In the case of AW13 it was this checked skirt – the yellow and purple give it an edge and it can be styled a million ways. I love the zebra stripe jacket too and the sheer blouse underneath; I might not wear all three pieces together but would very happily find a place for each of them in my wardrobe! Might give the make up a miss though...

Clements Ribeiro

I'm a sucker for all things tartan and this Clements Ribeiro dress is a great example of how to do punk for the over 25s! The ankle boots are a great finishing touch too. Although if I'm honest I would probably take the hem up a few inches if wearing it with flats!

Felder Felder

Don't you just want to hug this piece?! It's a really nice alternative to your traditional fur coat, the colour is absolutely perfect and the belt gives it a great shape, preventing the model from getting lost altogether! It may be a little yeti for some, but I for one am smitten.

House of Holland

Well nobody can accuse Henry Holland of being grownup or boring! Still a fan of both graphic prints and the occasional slogan, his AW13 was a riot of colour. This dress was definitely the standout piece for me – another great design from a man who never takes fashion too seriously.

Burberry Prorsum

Ahh the classic Burberry mac... it is forever being reincarnated and while the design stays much the same, it is given a new lease of life with new prints and fabrics. The heart motif is pretty damn irresistible but let's face it, you can see the H&M knock-offs already. Expect to see the high streets awash with hearts very soon!

Images from

Friday, 15 February 2013

Victoria Beckham AW13 at New York Fashion Week

There was a time at the height of the ‘wag’ pandemic, that I never thought I would be writing about Victoria Beckham in terms of five successful years in the fashion industry. Yet the former Spice Girl shed her old image as successfully as she shed those infamous hair extensions, and hushed even the harshest of critics with her first catwalk outing in 2008.

Having found her true calling (let's face it, she was always more enthusiastic about fashion than pop music), this incredibly hard-working fashion devotee is celebrating almost half a decade in the business. She certainly knows a thing or two about silhouettes and creating the kind of unpretentious, feminine clothes that women want to wear – possibly thanks to her own Roland Mouret obsession – and her latest ready-to-wear collection is yet more evidence of this.

Victoria's AW13 collection shown at New York Fashion Week on Sunday was  a lesson in contrasts. The sixties style dresses had short hemlines and high necks, while the calf-length pencil skirts featured seductive slits that kept things just the right side of demure. A palette of black, charcoal and inky blues let the clean lines do the talking but was punctuated at times with flashes of regal purple or lemon yellow.

Skinny waist-cinching belts created sleek shapes, balancing the more voluminous pieces and bell sleeves. The makeup and hair was minimal and the accessories were spot on, with oversized structured handbags and fabulous Manolo Blahnik pointed booties. This collaboration with the king of footwear is clearly a proud moment for Victoria, who says in this month’s Elle:

“The fact that I’m working with him now on the shoes for my ready-to-wear is a dream come true. I mean, who’d have thought? If you’re going to make shoes, who do you want to collaborate with? Duh. Manolo Blahnik right?” Duh indeed!

Standout pieces included an oversized men’s style check coat and YSL inspired smoking number with clever slit sleeves. The diffusion line, Victoria, Victoria Beckham is also worth checking out; it is hugely accessible but still very much in keeping with the Beckam aesthetic.

Victoria Beckham has very much found her fashion feet, and as well as demonstrating the power of understated chic, she has taught us all another valuable lesson – when it comes to fashion, leave your preconceptions at the door. Although really we should have foreseen this career success, after all she was the only Spice Girl smart enough to avoid Buffalo trainers like the plague....

Images from



Friday, 1 February 2013

The Blackout at the Electric Ballroom, Camden

There are some things in life that you can’t help but enjoy, despite knowing you are officially far too old for them (Coco Pops, SpongeBob SquarePants, staying in your PJs until lunchtime…), and it’s exactly the same with music. My personal guilty pleasure is a band from Merthyr TydfilWales called The Blackout, frequently described as ‘post-hardcore’ and a firm favourite with teenagers and readers of Kerrang! magazine.

I first saw them at Download in 2010 and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but admittedly I was fairly drunk. In hindsight I thought that perhaps I had enjoyed it in the same way that one would enjoy 5ive – with great enthusiasm but a serious dose of irony.

I saw them again at Slam Dunk festival last summer, where quite worryingly they put on a better performance than fellow Welshmen Funeral For a Friend! Now that really surprised me. But yet again, I was more than a little drunk (sensing a theme?!), and in hazy retrospect I found myself wondering if my memories were really all that accurate. But a few sober album listens confirmed my suspicions – this was more than just a drunken fling, and now I was confused.

So last Friday at the Electric Ballroom was a revelation, because I learned something that I thought I knew but was never completely sure about  The Blackout are actually good! Maybe not in a Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, going down in history as one of the all-time greats kind of way... but we all know that gigs are about showmanship, sing-along potential and having (beer-fuelled) fun, and The Blackout have that down. Admittedly the average age was about 18, but silver linings and all that – we had an excellent view and there were no queues at the bar.

The Blackout formed in 2003, and they are currently promoting their fourth studio album Start the Party. The album title says it all, because although they might be ‘post-hardcore’ (still not convinced that shoe fits exactly), essentially they are six happy Welshmen who just want to have fun and not sing about misery and bleeding hearts all day – and there is certainly a place for that!

Self-awareness and sense of humour is another plus, and comedy moment of the night came from Sean Smith, in response to a chant of ‘sheep-shagger’ (shame on you teens of Camden!): “Yep, we fuck ‘em and you eat ‘em!” He also made us laugh referring to the ‘heaviest song they’ve written’ before playing It's High Tide Baby, possible their most bubblegum track to date.

All in all it was a very good night, and quite frankly it feels nice to be out of the closet. That’s right ladies and gentleman, my name is Jen, I'm 28 years old, and I like The Blackout. And you know what? I’m not even sorry!
© Rock & Runway

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