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Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Dressing up at the shows. Image by Tommy Ton, via
Suzy Menkes is a fashion industry doyenne who has been attending shows and commenting astutely on fashion for decades. Her latest controversial writ came as a precursor to this fashion month and has set the tone for the season.  Just in case you haven't heard about it, it is called The Circus of Fashion and bemoans the fact that show venues are now populated by "peacocks", by which Menkes means all the boys and girls who dress up to the nines in bright, clashing outfits, often comprised of pieces loaned or gifted by designers.

The piece reads as a kind of eulogy to the past; a distant memory of a time when shows were attended by only a small number of editors (she calls this black-clad gang "crows") and nobody else really registered that they were going on, until the designs on the catwalk appeared in magazines and shops several months later. Those days are gone and it's hard, nay impossible, to see how fashion could ever retreat into such a crysallis again. While Menkes acknowledges the inevitability of the situation and recognises some of its merits. She says, "While fashion pros tend to have personal agendas related to their work, bloggers start a critical conversation that can spread virally." This is somewhat ironic given the viral responses which her piece has sparked.

So many bloggers have come out in their own defence of Menkes' piece. I've read so many eloquent and thought provoking responses that I thought FEAL's small contribution to the conversation could be to gather together some of the opinions which have been expressed since The Circus of Fashion was published. All we would add is that it is difficult and dangerous to plonk editors and bloggers in two completely different boxes. There's plenty of crossover. There are many editors who accept gifts and trips and who dress up for cameras. Menkes' article is accompanied by photos of French editors Virginie Mouzat and Emmanuelle Alt cast in the role of arbiters of the old school chic, but aren't they some of the most photographed street style subjects? And I know plenty of bloggers who attend fashion weeks and hardly have their picture taken or dress up too much for the occasion.

Anyway read on to get the lowdown on how bloggers really feel about being labelled "peacocks"....

N.B These are only excerpts, follow the links to read their whole posts.

Man Repeller- Blog Is a Dirty Word

Fashion week has become something of a circus. With a myriad of photographers moonlighting as paparazzi, waiting ambitiously to catch the familiar faces of the plethora of websites that have allegedly made them famous, it seems street style stars are our generation’s newest contribution to the phenomenon of reality star culture. The photos are inspiring, the clothes are magnificent and the conversation street style has incited is vital for the fashion dialogue–but this is only when authenticity bleeds through. In the current climate, I can understand why it might seem like “getting the shot” is less about the credibility factor and more about how far along the spectrum of crazy a subject can sway. But then again, style is also a function of personality. If the girl has got the proverbial balls to strap live vertebrae to her head and loves how she looks, well, good for her.

She is the rare fashion partisan who has subsisted long enough to observe and shrewdly, unapologetically comment on the evolution of fashion week and that which occurs outside the velvet ropes. Noting the previous formula as one that worked, how could she possibly accept the democratization of something so historically exclusive with overwhelming positivity? This is my generation, my vocation, my moment that she is reprimanding, and I, too, have a sincere problem with the notion that front row squatting may be based less on excellence in trade and more on social following density.

But what upset me most about the piece wasn’t even really her fault–it is the cynicism and skepticism that has made a home for itself in the field of blogging.

Last week, because of a comment on my favorite beauty product (which I have been purchasing–not being gifted–every two months for the last three years,) and the response to it, (“we get it, you’re sponsored by X,”), I found myself wondering if we, the bloggers, have entered an era where we can’t like anything without having our motives questioned.

Yes, I concluded. Unfortunately we have.

It has always been the subjectivity of fashion blogging that resonates so well. The raw portrayal of an unedited opinion will likely always command ample attention but there are only really a handful of bloggers who have been able to canon true influence and respect. It is at the point where readers can smell the sponsorship that integrity gets lost. And in this day and age, it seems that sprouting blogs are founded on principles of self-aggrandizement.

StyleBubble- The Sad Clown

A well-known PR recently said to me, “Oh we don’t even think of you as a blogger. You’re an online editor in chief.” Medine hit it in one when she titled her post “Blog is a dirty word.” When blogging is supposedly a full-time legitimate profession as my peers like Medine, Bryan Boy and Rumi Neely have proved, for me, it has never felt enough to say that it’s all that I do. Because the b word has been tarnished - asking us how much money do we make, suspicions that every blog post is sponsored, outfits that have been littered with gifts, accusations that we’re poseurs and not fashion critics, lack of journalistic standards - things, which, I along with others have been guilty of to some degree or another. If I was more positive, I could defend the content on my blog and say that 99.9% of is absolutely NOT sponsored/commercially related to anything except for my genuine love of what I’m writing about, but even then once you commit one instance of gift or trip accepting, how can I get all high and mighty and say that I’m something of an exception.

Then I think about all the outfits I’ve worn this week at London. A London Fashion Week designer featured in every instance - Jonathan Saunders, Meadham Kirchhoff, James Long, J.W. Anderson, Simone Rocha - things I’ve bought with my own money or someone was gracious enough to lend me knowing that I genuinely wanted to wear it. They’re badges of support for the people that we are writing about, exalting and celebrating. They’re the designers making and creating the feathers for the peacocks to don. Are the clothes supposed to stay confined within fashion editorials and PR press days? Who gets to make that judgement call as to who has “genuine” style or who is dressing up for the cameras? Who even cares when an outward celebration (and economic contribution, I might add) of fashion at its most creative is on display? The doubts that I carry, however strong they may be or however low I might feel during fashion weeks, aren’t enough to push me into a uniform of a sleek black blazer, a neat button-down shirt and some discreet but still insanely expensive Alaia shoes. I’m just sorry that convention, as dictated by the inner sanctum of the industry, weighs heavy on me. I could get all angry about it but what’s the point if I just grin and bear it, trudge along in my lilac marabou, neon trainers and pink pastel dresses - clothes that make me giddy most of the time, but inadvertedly drive my spirits down in a fashion week context.

DisneyRollerGirl- The Changing Landscape

Alas, Menkes does come across as slightly jaded in her disapproval. Flagging up the common practice of ‘bloggers’ (read: the Fashion Week style blogger elite) who get photographed in next season’s looks, often gifted by designers in exchange for coverage, she reminds us that real reporters don’t play the gifting game (or ‘bribery’ as she puts it). It’s a funny one I admit. On the one hand, why not help give young designers exposure by wearing their clothes, if it will give them a leg-up and boost your visual presence as well? On the other hand, when the pre- and post-show peacocking starts to get more attention than the shows themselves, then that clearly signals a change in how things are working. Is it dumbing down though? or is it just an evolution in how fashion is seen and consumed now?

Elle La Petite Anglaise- Take Me To The Circus

You don’t just start a blog and overnight find yourself showered with international fashion week invites and free designer bags. I can say from experience that it takes time and a hell of a lot of hard graft to prove your worth to PRs and brands who, with God knows how many thousands of fashion bloggers out there, have to be extremely selective in which ones they work with and invite to their shows.

Cliched though it is to say, it seems to me that since the dawn of blogging the fashion world has become a far more accessible and democratic place than it was during the days of Menkes’ “black crows”.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t like seeing myself pop up on now and again, of course I do. Being papped for a street style site is also beneficial to me because ultimately, the more “out there” I am the more people are likely to come across my blog. While I do love blogging for its own sake, when you spend virtually every waking hour working on something you do want people other than your mum to see it.

The Very Simon G- Am I A Peacock, Suzy Menkes?

She knew what she was doing. She was probably told or asked to write the piece, ticking it off her 'feature check list'. Just like Liz Jones - though I daren't compare the two writers - they have to be seen commenting on certain topics. Getting a reaction is great journalism after all. What makes me laugh though is that just like Jones, Menkes is about, oooo, erm, six years too late to this particular party (Jones wrote a feature at the end of last year about how FANTASTIC eBay is, that she couldn't believe it existed. Laughably late). Sorry love, some of us have been tapping away at our keyboards and sometimes, yes, actually getting paid for it for years.

To bung all bloggers in the same knock-off Celine tote is totally unfair too. Some of us - me included - are trained journalists. I have an NCTJ diploma, as do other blogger friends. We've done our unpaid work experience time at publications and gone on to work at other high profile magazines or newspapers, freelance or full time. It just so happens that the online world exploded massively a few years ago, and like any normal human, you follow the money and try to carve a niche for yourself. Just like Suzy has.

Outfit | Rockin' the Boots


As I mentioned before, I have been shopping lately and in my last post I told you Balenciaga had to do with it. This is it: THE magical boots.
I thought I'd pair them in a simple and classic way: with an oversized black coat, skinnies, and a beanie, as you see mostly composed of basics. These boots and I will be the bestest friends in the time to come.
By the way, you can buy them here, and from what I know they will be discontinued, i.e. they will not produce them anymore, which is sad because they are already an iconic shoe.


Como os mencioné un tiempo atrás, he andado de compras últimamente y en un  post anterior os dije que Balenciaga tenía mucho que ver. Pues es ésto: Las botas mágicas.
Pensé en ponérmelas con algo simple y compuesto de básicos: un abrigo oversized, pitillos, y un gorro. Estas botas y yo seremos las mejores amigas en el tiempo a venir.
Por cierto, las podéis comprar pinchando aquí y de lo que sé no las producirán más osea que éste será el último chance de comprarlas, lo cual es triste por que ya son un zapato icónico.


Wie ich euch früher erwähnt habe, habe ich in der letzten Zeit einiges gekauft und ich hab euch gesagt, dass Balenciaga damit viel zu tun hatte. Also, das ist es: DIE magischen Stiefeletten. 
Ich hab mir gedacht, dass ich sie ganz einfach un klassisch kombinieren sollte: mit einem übergroßen Mantel, Skinny-Jeans, und einer Mütze.
Diese Stiefel und ich werden beste Freunde in der kommenden Zeit werden. Übrigens, ihr könnt sie hier kaufen und das ist die letze Chance, da sie nicht mehr hergestellt werden. Schade, da sie schon ikonische Schuhe sind. 

I am wearing Cut out Derby boots by Balenciaga(similar and more affordable ones here and here), an H&M men's department Beanie, a Mango oversized coat, a Cos turtleneck, and Zara jeans and lunchbag

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MFW F/W 2013 - Salvatore Ferragamo/ Missoni


Very minimalistic, subtle collection without surprises.
I didn't find it interesting, sophisticated yes, but not something
I'm dreaming about having in my closet.
There were some great pieces such as white fur coat and coat + pants
on the last photo, but all in all I think that Ferragamo had better collections
than this one.


Absolutely beautiful and wearable collection, more darker than
usual, with interesting pattern and some bright colors throughout the
collection. I liked this collection very much and would gladly wear some
pieces such as nude long vest, ombre black patterned suit and black maxi dress.


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Crunching through the substance and hot air of London Fashion Week post-event is a task almost equal to attempting to do the thing itself. Despite spending half of my time in a car (thanks Mercedes, I worship at your altar) crawling in traffic between Somerset House, Tate Modern and grand avenues behind Pall Mall I did manage see a lot before getting home to put baby Horatio to bed. And then I was able to watch live streams. Ahhh. Loved them. My favourite kitchen table shows were J.W Anderson and Simone Rocha who I will be seeing in person with their clothes this weekend in Paris, and I can't wait. With an uninspiring Milan Fashion Week just wrapped, I am still discovering layers of London Fashion Week that gave me goosebumps.

One recurring theme was that of young designers looking to their grandmothers way of dressing for inspiration.  Henry Holland named his AW13 House of Holland range 'Nana Rave' inspired by a fictional teenager from 1989 who herself gets inspired by her grandmother's wardrobe of funny patterned skirt suits, clunky shoes and tunic dresses; a sort of 60s fashion hangover viewed through the eyes of a bored teen from the 80s. How a guy born in 1983 can channel this fashion vibe in 2013 gives it (intentional) ncomedy value; his is just an idea of a perceived memory and that pretty much sums up modern fashion ideas, even the best ones.

Brazilian NewGen designer Lucas Nascimento (whom Bethan recently interviewed)  is obsessed with old women in general. "I love watching them walk down the street," he told her when she previewed his AW13 show, "what fascinates me is the proportions of the clothes, the way their skirts hit below the knee, how they colour block peculiar colours and generally the way they put their outfits together."

Simone Rocha said this of her collection for Autumn/Winter 2013. "The collection is inspired by my grandmothers: my Irish granny Margaret Gleeson and my Chinese grandmother Cecelia Rocha, my relationship with them and my relationship with clothes. It is a story of respect that is rendered in the fabrication, the consideration and understanding of cut and detail."

Her words made me think of my own Irish nanna, Janie Clynch of Lathaleere, Baltinglass, County Wicklow, a mother of seven and independent woman whose catchphrase was "Don't vex me child" said with a loving smile and a discreet whisht motion with her hands. "Out of my way. Go and play." She was never a fashion plate, but she loved a periwinkle blue cardigan and a sensible skirt, always worn with her St Christopher medal, a discreet crucifix and very often a jazzy hat and well tailored coat.  I can't help seing shades of Simone Rocha's show when I look at Nanna in this photo with my cousin Marita. Miss you Nanna.

Janie Clynch circa 1971

Simone Rocha AW13

Simone Rocha AW13

Lucas Nascimento AW13
Lucas Nascimento AW13
House of Holland  'Nana Rave'


LE FASHION BLOG OUTFIT COLLAGE SHOPBOP SPRING SALE EVENT DISCOUNT CODE COUPON Equipment Shane BLACK WHITE SLEEVES Colorblock Cashmere Sweater Linda Farrow Luxe Snakeskin Square Corner Sunglasses ALC SPIKE Marlo Earrings Iosselliani Fused Stone GREEN STONE GOLD SILVER Ring Set Three Floor BLACK WHITE STRIPE Frenzy Skirt Rebecca Minkoff Craig Camera Cross Body Bag Nixon The 42-20 Chrono Watch Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish Happy Birthday CONFETTI MULTICOLOR GLITTER Nails 31 Phillip Lim PJ Cutout Flat Booties SS 2013 Sandal Boots

Super pumped for the spring sale at Shopbop! Use code 'SPRINGEVENT' at checkout.
I created a look with some of my favorites from the site. Hope you like...

1. Equipment Shane Colorblock Cashmere Sweater
2. Linda Farrow Luxe Snakeskin Square Corner Sunglasses
3. A.L.C. Marlo Earrings
4. Iosselliani Fused Stone Ring Set
5. Three Floor Frenzy Skirt
6. Rebecca Minkoff Craig Camera Cross Body Bag
7. Nixon The 42-20 Chrono Watch
8. Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in 'Happy Birthday'
9. 3.1 Phillip Lim PJ Cutout Flat Booties

MFW F/W 2013 - Dolce & Gabbana


Definitely my most favorite collection of them all that
I have reviewed so far. This is just amazing!! Every piece
is either piece of art or super wearable yet you feel like the most
special woman around, or at least I think that that's how women
feel wearing these astonishing designs.
Playing with icons and crowns that could easily represent Vatican
and intrigues that were brought up not long time ago.
Very daring, glamorous and one of the best D&G ever.

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