Search This Blog

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The gift you can guarantee won't be re-gifted? A really stylish book

Jeans, classic shirt and lots of bangles for C'mas style- and why not?
Chanel muse Ines de la Fressange shows how it's done

It was the late Phyllis Diller who said the thing she didn’t like about the office Christmas party was having to look for a job the next day. Looking Our Best has learned over the years to stay a safe distance from the communal party bucket of mulled wine; possibly the most hair-raising experience was once witnessing a former colleague tipsily grabbing scissors and cutting the telephone flex on the reception switchboard,  post party on the night of 23rd December. For some reason, it didn’t seem all that funny come the subsequent 2nd January inquest. 

Although austerity has curtailed the works' parties,  there will always be an Aldi mince pie and glass of Lidl plonk to welcome  festive merry-makers at LOB Towers. As for sharing those other age-old traditions such as putting so much thought into a gift for that special someone that you’ve left it too late to buy it, there are always books. Real books to read on paper, that is,  not on-screen.  And while buying online is all very practical, one of the pleasures of this  pre-Christmas madness is taking time out to browse your favourite bookstore where you are sure to find something to please the woman who has everything – or indeed, the woman who has nothing. 

First off is a new publication one of LOB’s ultra-stylish pals has drawn her attention to: The Killer Detail (published by Flammarion in both French and English). The authors,  real life couple François Armanet and Élisabeth Quin, are well known journalists in their native France, and, as can be seen from their photo here, can talk about style with some authority and confidence.
Don't forget the French Dressing: François Armanet and Élisabeth Quin
Fifty-year old Quin does not dye her grey hair; for an interview to publicise the new book, the New York Times quotes her as wearing
“a short black Vanessa Bruno dress, a black Balenciaga coat and black Prada motorcycle boots."  Mutton monitor, be damned.

Still with La Belle France, LOB was the lucky recipient a couple of Christmases past of Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (Flammarion).  Ines was a former Chanel model and muse – which probably tells us all we need to know. She wears those little boucle jackets, Breton striped tee shirts, skinny cigarette pants and flat pumps with nary a hint of French cliché.  She can even wear a string of pearls without looking like a Sloane. The book includes her top Paris addresses for shopping – both designer and vintage.
Vive la accessories a la Ines

Although no longer a catwalk fixture, Ines (56) is currently brand ambassador for Roger Vivier (check out her video shopping diaries). She has also teamed up with Japanese label Uniqlo for a new collection coming out in Spring 2014, no doubt injecting their bright fun clothes with a dash of her own easy elegance.

When it comes to DVD’s as a gift, anyone, whether interested in style or not, will be intrigued by Bill Cunningham: New York. This documentary is a must see because of its endearing central character.  LOB must confess that she was unaware of this eccentric 80-something-year-old photographer until this film (directed by Richard Press) was screened in cinemas in 2012. Clad in his blue utility jacket (as worn by Paris bin men), cycling through the streets of Manhattan on what is his 29th bicycle (the previous 28 all stolen),  the sprightly Bill shoots using film (not digital) for his regular New York Times features on the city’s most individually stylish citizens.
He's just our Bill

Way before the younger fry thought they invented street fashion, he was taking candid shots showing how people dress the way they do, and what it tells us about human nature.  The mighty of the fashion world contribute to the comments in this charming film, including Anna Wintour:  “We all get dressed up for Bill”.  But while lauded in high society, this modest man does not surround himself with celebrity, and the trappings of glamour, living instead a frugal, simple life in his modest flat and eschewing restaurant dining and lavish receptions.  Near the end of the film there is a surprisingly moving insight into what makes Bill Cunningham tick. In a world of tinsel and sequins, the seemingly trivial world of fashion can have its poignant moments too.

No comments:

Post a Comment