Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Michelle Williams for Louis Vuitton: The Lockit, The Capucines and The Alma

I absolutely adore the combination of Michelle Williams and Louis Vuitton. She makes iconic LV simultaneously accessible, beautiful but totally unattainable. It's her fragile, exquisite countenance. That's what does it. You can have it, but it comes at great sacrifice. Or something like that. Whatever it is, it works. And she is back for them this season.
Obviously I am going to love the more insouciant of the images. That's just how I roll. I am super down with 'undone-doneness' and a bit of tongue in cheek. So obviously the suitcase image is my best.
But bold colour also works so well in this permutation. The red. The yellow. The orange. Stunning combinations and a sense of unison within the clashing colours.
But the neutrals work just as well. And of course it doesn't escape my attention that the 'Victoria-Beckham-hold' of handbag has made it's way over to LV.
I love this campaign - obviously - and I really hope that there is more of this pairing to come. I am looking forward to it already. Wonderful.
Photographer: Peter Lindbergh
Hair: Sam McKnight
Stylist: Carine Roitfeld
Makeup: Stéphane Marais


Click on any of the pics for larger views of these gorgeous images.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Original Swimming Party - The Blue EP

Last week I went to the launch of a new album. I seldom cover music on this blog as it is usually about fashion. However, now that I blog less frequently, I feel that I need to use it for all the stylish things that I do in my life. My food. My exercise. My music. And of course, my fashion. So the reason why this album launch - from new band The Original Swimming Party - was so notable was three fold:
1. It took place at The Fugard Theatre. An amazing and unexpected space that was civilised and beautiful in equal measure. The location leant a lot to the genteel, soporific and lush sounds that we heard. This wasn't something that you could appreciate in a dodgy club, the sophistication in the sound, the production and the resultant output needed a much more suitable venue. Which was found at The Fugard. Well chosen.
2. The sound was gorgeous. Just wonderfully multi-dimensional and nuanced. There was so much depth to the sound that you could literally drown in it. Which is I think something of what is reflected in the name. It felt exactly like a watery party of sound. Also there was a lot about crying in the lyrics. And sounds of waves rolling over rocks at the shore. So, lots of water. And the best thing is - as I sit here listening to it as I write - you can download the EP for free from their website: http://originalswimmingparty.com/ and enjoy it yourself as you work, read, write or drift off to sleep. It is really clever music, but you don't have to be feeling at your smartest to enjoy it. Genius.
3. And rounding out the three worthwhile take-aways from this launch was the really, truly original bit: the integrated animations and visual effects. Oh my goodness, this was nothing like I had seen before, and it was totally charming. Visual effects can get lost in their own smartypants-ness. These didn't. They added to the performance, turned our heads, made us FEEL something. It was the perfect marriage of sound and sight. And if The Original Swimming Party continue to mesh these in their performances then we really have something special on the SA music scene. Something that is going to make every performance worth attending, every new move something to look out for. There were less than a hundred people at the launch, less than a hundred people who know that we witnessed something amazing and fresh and cool. So why don't you download the EP, listen to the music and look out for the next performance, it will be worth it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, Tour of New Zealand Style

It's time to review week one of the tour of New Zealand by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. What has she worn and what are the key trends that we can extract from this show so far? Well, we can start with my favourite favourite. That's the Jenny Packham black dress with the white / silver detail on the shoulder. I love it. It is impeccable and there is nothing I would change. Not even the hair annoyed me. I know. Amazing.
Sticking with the black and white theme, Kate arrived in a Max Mara wrap dress that we have seen before. But quickly moved onto her first official engagement with Prince George in a black and white woven Tory Burch dress that I think is a brilliant. The colour is on trend and a nod to the national colours. The fit is immaculate. The design is modern. This is a real winner.
Then there was the selection of solid, bold colour coat dresses. This is VERY much in keeping with HRH The Queen's style, interpreted in a modern way. Clever girl. There is also an array of hair styles. Hallelujah! Some variety is always good, although of course my favourite is the pony tail. YES!! The pill-box style hats are cool and modern and the hem lines are getting a tiny bit shorter with each successive coat dress. I like this. It's a bit cheeky. The red is by Catherine Walker, the light blue is Alexander McQueen, the green is by Erdem and the bright turquoise is by Emilia Wickstead, a designer born in New Zealand. Most are very contemporary British designers who bring something more edgy to a traditional royal tour wardrobe. Although of course her shoes remain totally classic.
For the more relaxed events Kate has gone formulaic. Her standard J.Brand skinny deep indigo jeans are paired with her navy Zara blazer and those Stuart Weitzman wedges I abhor. I do love the Me + Em Breton stripe top and the new blue and white checked shirt. But the wedges and the Sebago boat shoes are just awful. No?
Let's not forget that Kate is a sporty chick. She participated in coaching a kids rugby team - in a cool Jonathan Saunders knit jumper and Mint Velvet sneakers - and beat Prince William on the seas in a yacht race. Good girl. Not just a pretty face, glorious locks and polite smiles. Kate has gumption. And that's the nicest thing I have ever said about her. Also she has fun no matter what. I admire that more than anything. Bring on Week 2 of the tour. I can't wait to see what she wears next.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Emma Stone in Dior, Balenciaga and Valentino

The lovely Emma Stone is busy travelling around the world promoting her new Spiderman movie. Her outfits have not been completely awe-inspiring but they have been nice. My favourite of which has been this Christian Dior bold fuchsia print dress and matching velvet shoes. Love it. The Valentino mod shift is cute too.
The Balenciaga sleeveless coat look is divine of course, but when Emma insists on being so easy, breezy lovely and happy with everything she does, well, then everything she wears looks good. This, friends, is a life lesson. Be happy and joyous and you will always look good. Perfect.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Quest for Miley-Abs: Welcome to Somersault Pilates

Look. Just like you, I have spent an inordinate amount of good, hard-earned cash over the years on completely wasted gym membership. Then thankfully one day I got a slap upside the head. I got really sick and suffered with terrible rheumatoid arthritis as part of my condition. And so I eventually took the plunge and cancelled my membership. After a year and a half of not going once. Yup. I was one of those people. Idiot. And I swore I would never join a gym again.
But when I went into remission a few years later, I needed to get my body moving again and was a bit stuck on how to go about it. I thought ballet was the answer. And, in part, it is. I love ballet. It is without doubt the most dignified way to work up a sweat. I attend adult ballet classes at the Cape Ballet Centre next door to the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel. But about six weeks ago I managed to tear a calf muscle whilst showing off doing jetés. Again, idiot. But it was all fine. I had a back up plan.
You see, my friend and fitness and Pilates instructor extraordinaire, Justine Seymour was on hand to guide me. And she deserves a MEDAL OF HONOUR for putting up with me over the past six months. I went to her, totally unfit and still recovering from arthritis and demanded that she give me Miley Cyrus abs. I mean if Miley can do a bit of Pilates and then scamper around in next to nothing day after day, well, that seemed a pretty good way to go. Also, with my various aches and pains and, eventually, ballet injury, I needed a lot of hand holding with my fitness regime.
It needs to be said that I am also a pretty demanding exercise client. I like a lot of attention. I like to be excellent, and told as much. I also like to get things right and get very frustrated when I don't. But Justine and her team take all this in their stride. They have been around for a while, you see. Old hands. And I like old hands. Old hands make me feel safe. Old hands make me feel like Miley abs are doable.
She works us hard in Pilates class but you can feel the difference almost immediately. You improve quickly and regularly, which is SO SATISFYING. And everything else in your life becomes easier. Like walking up hills and getting out of bed in the morning. The basics. And whilst I have no clue as to whether I have Miley abs yet (can't tell under my well-nourished layer of plumpness) but I do know that I have started to get a set of oblique muscles that I never had before.
I will also tell you that, Justine, at her Claremont-based Somersault Studio, and her new Kloof Street studio, will also give you guidance on eating well, especially for fitness. For as long as I have been doing Pilates, I have also largely adopted her eating strategy as well. I try to eat a degree of Banting (low carb, high fat) for most of the time as it really serves the exercise. It all works well together. Fitness nirvana.
Anyway, many of you who have met me before will have noticed that of late I am looking a bit different. And it is down to this quest for Miley abs, and all the assistance I have had on the journey. I still have some way to go, but only six months in, things are looking significantly better than they ever did when I was armed with a gym membership. So, if you fancy joining me on my quest for Miley abs, and are based in (or visiting) Cape Town, just give Justine a shout.
Somersault Studio operates from two beautiful Victorian buildings in Cape Town - The White Lotus at 79 Kloof Street and Somersault House at 59 Grove Ave, Claremont. I go to the White Lotus Wellness Centre, where Justine is offering Pilates classes daily and will add fitness and running groups soon. 
Class times are: 
Monday & Wednesday: 5.30pm & 6.30pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 6.30am, 7.30am & 9.00am
The rates are:
1 class per week: R440 per month
2 classes per week: R800 per month
Traveller package: R1200 for 10 classes valid for 6 months
Pay as you go: R140
Individual sessions: R350 per hour

For further info, please contact justine@somersaultstudio.co.za

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dita Von Teese Style Review

This past month has seen Ms Dita von Teese out more than usual. I know many people hated this violet Maria Lucia Hohan gown due to the colour. But frankly I am in awe. Obviously on anyone else it would be an aberration. But on Ms Dita it is a sensation. Just look at the way in which the dress hugs and moulds to her body! Incredible.
Dita was also awesome at the launch of her lingerie collection in the US. Once again she was back in black - strapless of course to showcase her ligit figure, all completely made for lingerie.
And then there was her 40s style perfection of her tweed, leather and velvet skirt suit that she wore to the Christian Louboutin showcase event. I mean seriously. Does it get better than this? Utter commitment and perfection from a style icon. One of my favourites.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Anna Kendrick's 2014 Style Review

I was never really bothered by Anna Kendrick. And then I saw her on So You Think You Can Dance and she was super cool and funny. And then I saw Pitch Perfect. And I was done. But as much as I liked her, I wasn't that mad about how she dressed. Until January 2014. Things really picked up then, culminating in this adorable Kate Spade jumpsuit that she wore this week. And my very favourite outfit she has ever worn as far as I'm concerned - this Hervé Léger by Max Azria with the emerald green accents and accessories. Bliss.
Anna's style revolves around some key designers. She favours Tory Burch for sure, with several of her most recent outfits being from this label. Simple, clean and appropriate for her tiny dimensions.
J. Mendel is another of her favourites, especially for red carpet events of cocktail type. Again, she gets them fitted to her proportions - and considering she is TINY, this is going some. Fit is so important and Anna really has some to understand this and proportion. Brilliant.
Another of her favourite designers is Carolina Herrera, and she has not only embraced the pouf skirt by CH but the black and white trend has made a real impression on her wardrobe of late. Other outfits include Milly and more Tory Burch.
Christian Dior has made it's first forays into Anna's wardrobe this year. I'm not sure it is as successful as the classic American designers, but it is very pretty in a cocktail dress.
And then there is Monique Lhullier - a firm favourite in Anna's repertoire. She has always worn this label and this year has been no exception so far.
I must mention that one of the hightlights of Anna's year so far has been her outerwear. She has taken Miu Miu on board as well as Carolina Herrera. I love these looks and they totally inspire me.
Another highlight of the year was Anna's various outfits for the Grammy Awards. Obviously the yellow Markus Lupfer was the stand-out star. Amazing. And the Azzaro gown was beautiful. I also really enjoyed the gorgeous little floral number from Topshop with the cut outs.
Anna's Oscars dresses (ceremony and Vanity Fair after party) were sensational. The gown for the ceremony was J.Mendel - safe choice - but the after party gown was a phenomenally successful Atelier Versace floor sweeper that was one of the best.
Anna's look at the Sundance Festival was awesome and a red tartan shirt went onto my must-have list for winter immediately. Love this.
And I have to say, a girl that likes a bit of black and navy is one after my own heart. Cute outfits, great attitude always, excellent fit under tricky circumstances, a head of red hair and a fantastic sense of humour. Anna Kendrick just got herself an invitation to guest at my fashion fantasy book club. Good girl.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prince George and His Bestie, Lupo

There are so many things that I love about this photo. First of all the adorable baby blue jumper that Prince George is wearing - bearing his own name. Second I love that it is a little crew neck style that layers over a peter pan collar shirt. It turns out I love this kind of style on people of all ages. Third, I love that Lupo, the Spaniel, is included in the official family picture once again. And fourth, the way in which George and Lupo are looking at each other. Just brilliant. Also Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, looks very nice. As does Prince William. But Georgie and Lupo totally win.

L'Wren Scott for Banana Republic. RIP in Style.

I felt very strongly about the aftermath and media coverage of L'Wren Scott's tragic death. I even told a few people off for referring to her as "Mick Jagger's girlfriend" and leaving out her actual name. And maybe this is the opportunity to explain why I felt so passionately about it. First of all I am an unashamed feminist. You know, someone who believes that men and women are created equal. Simple basics really. And by referring to a talented and accomplished fashion designer not by her name but by her famous boyfriend's - well that just pissed me off. She was such an amazing designer in her own right and didn't need to be downgraded to someone's girlfriend for a headline.
Then there was the fact that her last interview was with the Style section of The Times in the UK. And in that interview she specifically mentioned how much she hated being referred to as Mick Jagger's girlfriend. So, you know. I think it is only respectful to honour that. She deserved at least that.
Then I think it is worth mentioning that I was pretty rocked by her passing. I felt that weird emotional reaction when someone you are completely invested in, but don't know from a bar of soap, dies. You have no right to feel what you feel, but you do anyway. So maybe I overreacted a bit.
But I so loved her work. Especially what she did for people like Nicole KidmanSarah Jessica Parker and Christina Hendricks. She made both look even more magical than they are naturally. That was her special talent. She had such a dramatic and specific aesthetic. It wasn't for everyone. But it was getting better and better. Her last collection was magnificent. And there was so much promise of more to come. What an utter tragedy that she didn't see what we did. Didn't have the same excitement and hope that we did. That is one of the hideous aspects of the fashion industry. The continual and unrelenting seasonal demands can destroy incredible talent like John Galliano and L'Wren Scott. And leave us forlorn and exhausted by the absence of them.
But in all that dark, there was a bit of superficial light. L'Wren's collection for one of my favourite brands, Banana Republic, landed in South Africa. If you make your way to Stuttafords now, you can go and see the wonderful, whimsical, cheeky, sexy, sophisticated, elegant and - yes - celebratory collection that she designed for us. I couldn't help but pick up a couple of pieces for myself while I was there. In fact I got the most celebratory - almost Christmassy - pieces. I love this red sequin cardigan more than anything else in my wardrobe right now. Perfection.
So here we are. L'Wren Scott is no more. But we have plenty of magnificent red carpet looks to remember her by. We have the respect we can show her memory. And we have a wonderful collection that we can shop right now that will keep her alive in our minds and in our wardrobes. I can't tell you how this helps me. I hope it means something to one or two of you as well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Birthday To Style Guide CT: Change Is To Come

Six years ago today I posted my first image of fashion on this blog and Style Guide CT was born. What has followed has been a discipline, a curse, a joy, a motivator, a job, a reason for being. I have got up every single weekday morning in these six years and posted fashion chatter for all of you to enjoy. It has been the longest-lasting job I have had this century. And I am so proud of it.
It has brought me so much happiness and laughter and friendship and opportunity. There have been darker days when it was the only thing that got me up in the morning. And lighter days - especially when I have met one of my readers or received an email telling me that you laugh along with me. That was the whole point. To have a good giggle as we shared chatter about celebrity fashion.
But it has also been a massive discipline. I have spent three-four hours of my life every single working day on this blog. That's what it takes. I have been up at five in the morning for the most part of the last six years to make this happen for you. And for me. And so that has got to change.
I am about to embark on a new chapter in my professional life. A lot of things have been leading up to this over the past 21 years of my career. And now it is time. As such I simply won't have the extra hours in the day to devote to my beautiful blog. So this is what's going to happen: I will blog when I can and supplement this with comments on Twitter. Follow me on @StyleGuideCT to keep up to date with my musings. I will write longer posts when I do blog, covering more subjects. And I will let you know when I have posted them. I hope this works for you. I hope it works for me. Wish me luck.
By the way, that's Sienna Miller's new Nylon cover. She is in Burberry. It's everything I love in a cover. Pretty-punk. Undon-done-ness. Sienna. Winning.

Suki Waterhouse is the New face of Superga Spring/Summer 2014

We call "undone-done-ness" the holy grail of fashion styling. That ability that specific British people like Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller have of being able to look incredible without trying to hard. Of course they have spent hours and tried very hard to achieve the look, but they don't LOOK as if they have tried. It is perfection as far as I am concerned.
The Italians apparently call it sprezzatura and this is the mood Superga tries to capture for its brand and the campaign shots. Which is why they have selected another English model to be their new face. This time it is Burberry favourite and Bradley Cooper's girlfriend, Suki Waterhouse.
I will tell you this: I love Superga sneakers and they are hands-down my favourite casual shoes for the winter months. In fact, they are my only choice. They are SO COMFORTABLE. And cool. A bit like this new campaign. Awesome.
PS: I would like to add these leopard print sneakers to my collection this season. Who is with me?

Emma Watson Promotes Noah in Style

As you know I have recently come around to the stylings of one Emma Watson. And she is living up to the hype as she continues to promote her Biblical movie, Noah in the US this week. I mean you really can't fault this Saint Laurent suit she wore for the Letterman show yesterday. Brilliant.
Also this Peter Pilotto dress that she wore for a photo call is just perfectly suited to her sporty fashion sensibility. I love this combination of couture and casual that she has managed to perfect and own.
If you don't want this Stella McCartney dress from her Resort 2014 collection as much as I do there must be something wrong with you. It is spring in a dress as far as I am concerned and Emma is totally lucky to have it.
And the Osman dark navy high-waisted trouser and pink crop top that she wore on The Ellen Show, paired with a great, classic heel, is a real winner. Four out of four for me, with the first two beating the second two in polish only. What do you think?