Saturday, March 31, 2012

Downton Abbey

For the past few months, I've heard more and more people start to obsess over this television show on PBS, Downton Abbey. From what I had heard, I knew it would be something I would love - takes place in the 1910's, starting with the sinking of the Titanic. Good acting, gorgeous clothes, romance, drama, and of course, an incredible older British actress. (I just love them! Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren - if only Meryl was British, she could complete the group). I just never got around to actually watching, despite everyone telling me how much I would love it.

Casual garden parties outside their giant English estate
This past spring break, I had some free time on my hands, my mom had the first season on DVD, so it seemed like the perfect time to start. From the first five minutes I was hooked. I had heard what people were saying about the show, I expected it to be good, but to be THIS good? I didn't know that TV could even be this good. The show explores the lives of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three daughters (also known as Crawley family). Due to an unbreakable entail (yes, just like Pride and Prejudice), their estate, Downton Abbey, will pass to whoever receives the title of Lord Grantham upon the death of the current Earl, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville). I don't want to give away anything else for those who haven't seen it - each minute is too good to spoil!

Downstairs at Downton - the servants and staff
There's so many elements that make this show special and unique: the dynamics of 'upstairs' (the Earl of Grantham and his family) versus 'downstairs' (their servants); the captivating romances, from every spectrum, whether it's forbidden love (Sybil and Branson), long-lasting love (Robert and Cora), love that comes with many obstacles (Anna and Bates), and the love that everyone has been waiting for (Matthew and Mary, my personal favorites); the beautiful period costumes and the backdrop of the era, and of course, Maggie Smith's hilarious one-liners.

The women of Downton - Cora, Violet, Mary, Edith, Sybil, and Isobel (in the foreground)
If you haven't started Downton Abbey, don't deprive yourself any longer. Although, now I have to deal with waiting until January to see the season of the show (regretting my decision not to study abroad in the fall). It's available on iTunes for only $10 for the first season and $15 for the second, and the first season is streaming on Netflix. Go watch, NOW!

The most perfect man - ever

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinterest Will No Longer "Thinspire"

If the internet has the power to do anything, it's unite people. Especially with the ever-growing popularity of social media, people have the ability to find others who share interests and passions, and use the internet as way of connecting with those like you. As harmless as it sounds, in certain circumstances, it can be unhealthy - even deadly. Nowhere more has this proven to be true than in the world of eating disorders. Social networks everywhere, from Xanga (who remembers that?) to Tumblr, have gathered a large community of 'pro ana' and 'pro mia' (meaning pro anorexia or bulimia).

But now, the newest network that is taking the social media world by storm, Pinterest, has taken a stand against it. The Cut reported today that Pinterest will soon be banning the use of their pin boards in order to promote eating disorders or other unhealthy lifestyles. The official statement read that they were forbidding any content that "creates a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to yourself, to any other person, or to any animal."

While this photo doesn't feature emaciated women, it shows the message that these pictures portray.
Pinterest would have been the perfect outlet for the online community grow, collecting pictures of 'thinspiration' (images of thin women who inspire them to lose weight) on pin boards, so it's good that they're putting a pin in it (no pun intended) early on. Way to go, Pinterest!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vogue to the Netherlands

As a magazine journalism major, I'm always happy to see the industry expanding, countering talks of folding magazines and a 'dying' journalism world. The magazine world's most recent expansion comes to us from across the Atlantic, with the recent debut of Dutch Vogue. The simplistic cover features three Dutch models - Romee Strijd, Ymre Stiekema, and Josefien Rodermans - clad in solid bright colors against a white backdrop, with a cover line that reads in English: "Number One in the Netherlands". The magazine is led by the former editor of Dutch Glamour, Karin Swerink.
I hope that Dutch Vogue follows in the footsteps of its European counterparts and aims for the high fashion, couture vibe that magazines such as Paris Vogue and Vogue Italia embody. I love their edgy editorials, and gorgeous covers featuring models - not celebrities. From this issue's cover, it seems that this is the direction they're heading in!

Photo via VOGUE UK

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life According to Instagram

Lately I've been jumping on the Instagram bandwagon more and more. As mass-used as it is, it's such a cool way to make your iPhone photos gain a little something special. And especially when you don't want to lug around a giant SLR all day, it's great for turning your lackluster iPhone snaps into something more. Here are a few Instagram-ed shots from my Spring Break trip. You'll never guess where I went.


Friday, March 16, 2012

J.Crew and Blahnik

Like any self-respecting Sex and the City devotee, one of my biggest dreams in life is to own a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels (I know, high aspirations for myself). Now, with the announcement of the Manolo Blahnik/J.Crew collaboration, that dream is a little closer to being a reality. The shoes was presented alongside the store's Fall 2012 collection at NYFW this past February. While there isn't much variation in the style of shoe - they are all a basic pointy-toe pump - the variety of colors and fabrics is what makes the collection so exciting (41 of them to be exact). However, just because the shoes are being sold at J.Crew (online and in select stores), don't expect them to be a bargain. The estimated pricing is around 500-700 dollars per pair. View them all at the gallery at Women's Wear Daily.

Images via WWD

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Olsens' Spin on Sneakers

If you're like me, you're still mourning the Olsen twins' departure from the world of acting (those direct-to-video movies defined my childhood and adolescence). However, with their exit from movies came their entrance into fashion design. Mary Kate and Ashley have two lines: the Row, which is ultra high-end and therefore, ultra expensive - it's most well-known for their $34,000 alligator backpack, and the less pricey Elizabeth and James line (although don't expect to find great deals here either - a blouse can be upwards of $300). Despite the affluent audience that their designs are directed towards, all fashion lovers can appreciate the twins' dedication to the field (recently being named the best dressed duo by Vogue last fall) and of course, the beauty of their designs.

The twins recently made a foray into a new sphere of design, with the release of a shoe line by the Row for Superga. The collection, which is to be exclusively sold at the ultra-posh Knightsbridge retailer Harvey Nichols, in London, gives a twist on Superga's typical sneaker. The sneakers come in both linen AND cashmere. Cashmere sneakers - could there be anything more comfortable? However, they also seem to fit into the category of being extremely cool, but not exactly useful. The shoes start at $190 for linen and $250 for cashmere. Visit SheFINDS to pick up your own pair!

Images via SheFINDS

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Baby Fanning Goes to Sleep

As I wrote a few months ago, fairy tale adaptations are all the rage right now both on the big screen and the small. More casting news for the latest fairy tale live action remake has recently been released, with rumors of Elle Fanning being cast in the title role. If cast, Fanning will be playing Sleeping Beauty to Angelina Jolie's Maleficent, which is incidentally the title of the new film, a remake of the Disney classic, Sleeping Beauty (and I'm not talking about that indie movie about sex slaves who are put to sleep) As my favorite film blogger, Nathaniel at the Film Experience noted, no one really knows much about Elle Fanning besides the fact that she dresses better than most 30 year olds at the tender age of 13, and of course, she's child star extraordinaire, Dakota Fanning's younger sister.

Before the sisters discovered the world of Haute Couture

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney animated classic. And I would hardly want the role of Aurora/Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty to be taken on by someone who couldn't properly translate the role from animated classic to modern live-action. (Not that I'm saying that the role is difficult, all she really does is sing and sleep). However, the younger Fanning has been making more of a splash on the big screen, with roles in movies such as Super 8 and We Bought a Zoo. She also has that sweet, innocent look needed to bring the beloved animated character to life. And could there be anyone more perfect to play Maleficent than Angelina? That just might be some of the best casting in Hollywood. And after all, there's still Mirror, Mirror this spring...

Images via Zimbio, Now I Know

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fashion Royalty

Charlotte Casiraghi, Princess of Monaco was recently named the new face of Gucci (just a week ago). Apparently, the royal life just isn't enough to fill her time. However, I guess when you're the princess of Monaco, there's only so many charitable visits you can make in a country that small (although I think she leaves most of that to her new aunt, Princess Charlene). If anything, this just shows the differences in the monarchies: could you imagine if Kate did something like this? The Queen would have a heart attack. Here's the first release of her ad campaign:

Image via The Cut

Monday, March 5, 2012

Who Really Wants to be Front Row?

Part of the allure of Fashion Week isn't just the glamorous clothes, but who you'll see watching them in the rows of seats alongside the runway. Fashion Week is famous for its celebrity attendees, with everyone whose anyone gracing the sidelines of the catwalk, including some of the world's most photographed, such as Pippa Middleton and Kim Kardashian (who'd ever thought you'd hear those two names in the same sentence?). However, British designer Nicole Farhi recently disclosed a little secret about those celebrity fashion-watchers: for them, it's just another day at the office.

The UK's Telegraph reports "Knowing that they can generate publicity by having a star photographed on the front row of a show, some fashion houses or their public relations agents will pay tens of thousands of pounds for an appearance". This is hardly news - celebrities get paid to do everything. Why wouldn't they get paid to attend Fashion Week? What makes Farhi's interview unique is her willingness to talk about the under the rug topic.

Farhi herself disagrees with the practice and told the Telegraph "It is so unprofessional. I have never paid a celebrity and I will never do it. It's stupid." I'm with you, Nicole! Who wouldn't want to go to Fashion Week? I wouldn't just go for free, I'd pay to go myself! However, I am no celebrity. Although, we have to admit - celebrities attract attention - and Fashion Week is all about getting attention. This really doesn't come as much of surprise.
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