Friday, 28 June 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Bayside – Masterpiece

Today’s soundtrack is Masterpiece by Bayside, because despite the fact they are probably my favourite band of all time, they haven't had a single mention on this blog over the last year! This is purely because I haven't had a gig to review, so I’m going to take this opportunity to put my pride to one side and beg:

Bayside please, please, pleeeeeease come back to England! We miss you and quite frankly I’m getting Bayside withdrawal symptoms...

Right, now that the shameless begging is over with, let's get on with the song. It was hard to pick just one out of such a fantastic back catalogue, but I went with Masterpiece because it's the very first track from their 2004 debut album Sirens and Condolences, and what a way to kick-start a career.

So here it is – the reason that, despite my incurable indecision, I am able to pick one favourite band above all others. An achievement I will never accomplish with my shoes...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lancôme re-imagined by the wonderful Alber Elbaz

I’ll admit it, I’m a total sucker for packaging where cosmetics are concerned. I just find a new lipstick or eye shadow that much more exciting when it’s all wrapped up in something pretty: the gold casing of YSL, the sleek packaging of Chanel, the quirkiness of Benefit, and as for special editions, well…

So you’ll have to forgive my excitement about the limited edition collaboration between beauty giant Lancôme and Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz. Launched last week, it is available in Selfridges already and will be filtering down into stores countrywide over the coming weeks. A very kind Lancôme sales lady gave me a sneak peak at the collection in Fenwicks and I can confirm that my excitement is justified.

The eleven piece collection focuses on the brand’s existing eye makeup range – a match made in cosmetic heaven given that eyes are almost always a standout feature at Lanvin shows. Four of the bestselling Hypnôse mascaras, three eye shadows, three eye shadow palettes and a set of false lashes, have all been redressed by Elbaz’s whimsical imagination. Think doodled stars, hearts, eyes, pouty lips and curvaceous ladies as mascara tubes!

I adore Elbaz’s illustrations and he has successfully injected a sense of fun and glamour into Lancôme’s typically sleek and sensible aesthetic. Exactly what you would hope for from a man who looks just like he stepped right out of the pages of a fairy tale book himself!

Prices start from £18.50 and Selfridges are currently celebrating the launch with a pop-up space in their beauty hall


Sunday, 23 June 2013

I heart Team Rock Radio!

I have developed three new obsessions lately, all of which are proving to be hugely distracting and are subsequently threatening my livelihood: my shiny new Mk 7 Golf, coffee cake (who knew? I don’t even drink coffee!) and Team Rock Radio. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today, although the way things are going I will soon be starting a Cars & Cake blog just so I can discuss the other two.

I’m not a massive fan of radio, it hasn’t really served a purpose for me since the early 90s when we would listen to Radio 1 for the UK charts every Sunday night, eager to find out if somebody had finally pushed Celine Dion off the top spot, and praying that the DJ wouldn’t talk over the end of whichever track we were trying to record onto cassette tape. (Kids today, you have no idea…)

My personal opinion of radio has typically been, why would you listen to somebody else’s music selection in the hopes that they might occasionally play a song you don’t half mind? Especially when the invention of the iPod means that beautifully tailored playlists and your entire CD collection can fit into your handbag and travel the globe with you.

The arrival of DAB radio and stations like Planet Rock and Kerrang! Radio certainly helped; the music was the right genre and the odds of hearing something you liked were far greater. But still, things tend to become a bit repetitive.

So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a test transmission last month, from a little station called Team Rock Radio. From The Gaslight Anthem, Volbeat and Twin Atlantic to Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and Pearl Jam, it was like listening to my iPod on shuffle with a few bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. To top it all off there are no ad breaks and they don’t go all soft just because it is 7am. After all, what’s wrong with some Iron Maiden with your breakfast?!

Team Rock Radio is part of the Team Rock brand, which has recently acquired Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines. In a statement on their website they say, 'We've spotted a gap in the rock music market, it's called "the rock music market" and we've noticed that rock music fans aren't getting what they want, so we're changing that.'

The station officially launched at two minutes to midnight last Sunday and despite the odd technical teething problem they are looking strong. So if you like your rock, add this station to your favourites, it really is good. Will it become repetitive like most other stations? I guess only time will tell. But for now I’m going to jump into my lovely car, turn the radio up loud, and go on a mission to find some more coffee cake! Or I suppose I could do some work instead.


Friday, 21 June 2013

Benjamin McMahon shoots Henry Holland for Miss Vogue

Whilst flipping through Miss Vogue on the train last month (a new publication that is essentially Vogue's little sister), I saw a name that caught my eye. An article called Fashion’s BFFs featuring Pixie Geldof and Henry Holland was illustrated by some rather fabulous images by photographer Benjamin McMahon.

Pixie Geldof & Henry Holland – Miss Vogue ©Benjamin McMahon 

Pixie Geldof & Henry Holland – Miss Vogue ©Benjamin McMahon 

I had the pleasure of working with Ben on an article for f2 Freelance Photographer magazine a few months back and aside from being a very talented photographer, he is also incredibly patient with incessant requests from demanding journalists. (Who, moi?!)

I want to share a few images with you as Ben is definitely one to watch. In addition to his commercial work, he has produced some fantastic stories, including a series of beautiful b&w portraits of photographers’ assistants, which can be found on his website

Incidentally for fans of Henry Holland, head over to where many House of Holland items are currently on sale. From his graphic slogan tees to the very cool tights collaboration with Pretty Polly (my personal addiction), these will get snapped up quickly – so don’t hang about!

Suspender tights – Henry Holland for Pretty Polly, currently £9.50 (were £12)
Orange stripe socks – Henry Holland for Pretty Polly, currently £5.50 (were £8)


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Taking Back Sunday's TAYF10 Acoustic released today!

Great news for fans of Taking Back SundayTAYF10 acoustic is being released today! The live video/audio digital-only release features acoustic performances from the band's debut album Tell All Your Friends during their 10th Anniversary tour last year.

Below is a little taste from TAYF10 Acoustic with a live performance of Bike Scene, plus the band taking a trip down memory lane and reminiscing about the joys of performing under the influence...

You can buy the film for $12.99, album for $9.99 or both for $20 from

Monday, 17 June 2013

PUNK: Chaos to Couture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Until now I have only featured London exhibitions on the website, but having gained new American readers and with plenty of UK ones who travel there, I felt it was time to broaden the horizons. Punk: Chaos to Couture began at The Met just after I left New York, and I was frustrated to miss it because it looks like a great exhibition.

D.I.Y. Hardware Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Focusing on the relationship between punk and couture since its conception in the 70s, the exhibition features iconic garments alongside contemporary counterparts that have been influenced by the movement. It is organised thematically and divided into seven galleries, each one devoted to a particular aspect of punk and the ‘heroes’ who championed it.

The first space is dedicated to CBGB in New York (the renowned punk venue originally intended for country, bluegrass and blues), represented by Blondie, Richard Hall and Patti Smith. Another space is inspired by punk royalty Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and their King’s Road boutique.

Facsimile of CBGB bathroom, New York, 1975 Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The DIY aesthetic that is so central to punk is also explored, with a gallery dedicated to D.I.Y. Hardware, focusing on couture’s use of studs, spikes chains, zippers, padlocks and safety pins and it’s icon Sid Vicious. Likewise D.I.Y. Destroy celebrates Johnny Rotten and punk’s ‘rip it to shreds’ spirit, via shredded garments associated with deconstructionism.

430 King’s Road Period Room Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Since its origins, punk has had an incendiary influence on fashion,” says Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk’s aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness.”

A whole host of contemporary designers are featured, including Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquière, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf), Rei Kawakubo, Helmut Lang, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Zandra Rhodes, Yohji Yamamoto and Vivienne Westwood.

The Exhibition is described as ‘an immersive multimedia experience’, where the clothes are brought to life by the use of vintage videos and soundscaping audio techniques. It looks like a really unique tribute to one of music and fashion's most influential movements, so if you are in New York why not take a look!

Punk: Chaos to Couture is at The Metropolitan Museum of Art until 14 August

D.I.Y. Graffiti & Agitprop Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Clothes for Heroes Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, 14 June 2013

Cult Perfumes

A lot of fashion books land on my desk each month, but this is the first one about perfume, so I wanted to share something a bit different. My review of it for My Creative Diva magazine is below and I can safely say this would make a great gift for any lady. After all, who doesn't love a good perfume?!

There is no denying the significance of perfume in a woman’s life; the indulgent luxury, the instant connections to the people we love, and the memories that can be evoked in a split second by a fragrance that instantly takes you back to days gone by. Scent is as important as any sight or sound to a memory – it’s personal and powerful.

Cult Perfumes is an acknowledgement of the role that perfume plays in our lives. It is filled with beautiful pictures, from the ornate bottles and glossy ad campaigns, to the opulent stores in which they are sold. The introduction transports us back in time to some of the earliest known uses of fragrance and key figures in its history such as Marie Antoinette and Catherine de Medici.

This is followed by a rundown of the industry’s biggest names, delving into brands’ histories and discussing their significance in today’s market. Cast aside all thoughts of fleeting celebrity efforts, these are the genuine stars of the perfume world, from modern day favourites to brands with incredible heritages.

Creed is a real standout for me, evolved by seven generations of the Creed family. An emphasis on quality and tradition has garnered them an impressive following that has included Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill!

Cult Perfumes by Tessa Williams, £29.95
Published by Merrell
ISBN 978-1-8589-4577-4


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Vodka, Rolling Stones and... Dan Aykroyd?

Here's a little treat for Rolling Stones fans. I call it a treat because at £120 it's definitely an indulgence, but if you love the Stones and you love vodka than this one's for you.

Crystal Head Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Edition Gift Set, £120,

The band have teamed up with Crystal Head Vodka to create this exclusive 50th anniversary gift set featuring a 2-CD compilation of live Rolling Stones hits, a crystal bottle decanter top engraved with the iconic logo, and a bottle tattoo featuring the 50th anniversary logo.

Crystal Head Vodka was founded by none other than Dan Aykroyd (I'll admit that was news to me, but then vodka isn't really my poison!). It has possibly the best packaging of any spirit I've seen thanks to artist and co-founder John Alexander, and it's quadruple-filtered through crystals. It's even additive-free and guten-free, which on some level makes it good for you, right?!

So if you want to drink to 50 years of one of the world's greatest bands, I'd suggest this is a pretty damn good way to do it. I've got my eye on these shot glasses too...

Pack of 6 shot glasses, $35,


Friday, 7 June 2013

Erwin Blumenfeld exhibition at Somerset House

One of the great things about London is that there is always something you can do for free, and one of my personal favourite freebies is the East Wing Galleries at Somerset House. From the Rolling Stones to Tim Walker, it has played host to some fantastic, diverse exhibitions.

Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941-1960 features work by Erwin Blumenfeld, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century, in particular the work he produced in America during and after WWII from his Central Park studio. Over 90 original modern prints have been fully restored in colour and are displayed alongside original publication clippings.

Spring Fashion 1953 for Vogue ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld

Born in Berlin in 1897, Blumenfeld originally worked as an apprentice dressmaker. It wasn’t until he left for Paris in 1936 that his photography career began to take shape. In a twist of fate, his work was seen and admired by the great Cecil Beaton which led to a commission for French Vogue.

Blumenfeld left for America in 1941 and his career quickly snowballed, with subsequent commissions for Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen and House & Garden. His work between 1941 and 1960 is the focus of this exhibition and includes fashion photography, portraits, personal work, ‘war effort’ propaganda posters and advertising work for clients such as Max Factor and Helena Rubenstein.

The East Wing Galleries is a really nice exhibition space, with white walls and small intersecting rooms which provide an ideal blank canvas and an interesting way of organising groups of images as you progress through the space.

My favourite aspect of this particular exhibition is the addition of display cases featuring original copies of publications like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, allowing you to see the context in which the images were used. As a magazine journalist I found it fascinating to see his large prints on the wall and to then see how they were manipulated for use on a magazine cover.

Like many photographers, Blumenfeld wanted total control over the way his images were reproduced wherever possible, and he forged strong relationships with Art Directors in order to achieve this. His enduring relationship with Alexander Liberman and US Vogue saw him shoot over fifty covers, and I was immediately struck by how creatively his images were used for this purpose. They appear much more experimental than the mostly formulaic covers you see today and I was left wondering if editors had more artistic freedom half a century ago or if they were equally pressured by external constraints.

Certainly Blumenfeld is an experimental photographer, embracing photomontage, solarisation and colour slides to create his distinctive images. He viewed his photography as art, even if it was created for commercial purposes, and like all great artists he pushed bounderies and challenged conventions.

For fans of photography, fashion and the history of magazines, I thoroughly recommend this exhibition. A trip to Somerset House is always a pleasure and a visit to the East Wing Galleries won’t cost you a penny. You can’t really argue with that can you!

Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941-1960 is at the East Wing Galleries until 1 September 2013. For more information visit

Grace Kelly 1955 for Cosmopolitan ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld

Lilian Macusson for the cover of American Vogue January 1951 ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld

Monday, 3 June 2013

Vivienne Westwood's Lady Dragon Shoes

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Vivienne Westwood? Yep, I thought as much. Well here is the latest Anglomania + Melissa offering to catch my eye. There's always something so summery about plastic shoes and Vivienne's are the best; they're cute, they smell amazing (seriously!), and the 10.5cm heel and smoky colour make them perfect for day or night.


If you fancy something really kitsch and girly then check out the pink and white versions!
© Rock & Runway

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