Portmanteau List: Merry Christmas, may your sleighs reach their destination

The story starts with me overdosing on caramelized chocolate sweets this morning. After wringing with tummy aches, the sugar high kick started my need to listen to German Christmas songs because although I'm at home in London and will only utter the words "Heathrow is hindering me from getting home" if said airport has lost my baggage. Which is likely, and why I prefer flying from City Airport anyway.

However, although this Christmas I am staying at home in London instead of visiting relatives spread across the globe (a wise decision, seeing as the half inch of snow is hindering everyone from leaving), there's nothing - not imagined crowds of shoppers that I stayed away from, not any possible overload of Christmassy TV shows and films on TV since I don't own one, and not even the tepid snow - that brings me into Christmas spirit more than German Christmas songs! I guess that's my own little tradition, reminding me of those times I'd move my mouth along just like most pop stars today and make sure to not let my voice raise above non-use in case the other were not loud enough to cover up my atrocious singing.

So I am sharing it with you all. Please ignore the imagery, which can be quite poor at times, and simply enjoy the choirs!

Merry Christmas, may you reach your destinations and receive your online present shopping deliveries!










Portmanteau Commentary: Journalists in shock - Roitfield leaves French Vogue vs BBC covering for police brutality

As the fashion world is shocked and going into jitters at the news of "the end of an era" - the resignation by Carine Roitfield from French Vogue, I myself am still caught up in as story that is actually shocking. Hmm, let's see... someone (sure, that someone is very fabulous) decides to leave their job. Oh blood and horror. She seems pretty happy about it and it's not like she's dying, she'll still be doing her projects we can see. Have a look at the following, and muse about the situation we live in, where police brutality is covered up and justified by the BBC. Now that's a story that should "shatter the reality" of any journalist. Having said that, I wish it was Ben Brown leaving his job, not Carine Roitfield.

To start you off in the "get your priorities straight" journey, have a look at this interview. What follows, is my letter of complaint to the BBC, it's the first one I felt I needed to make.

In the interview Ben Brown conducted with Jody McIntyre there were so many points that this actually fits into several complaint categories - bias, offense, and standards of interviewing.

There are so many things wrong it's difficult to know where to start, so I'll go through it step by step.

1. The topic of coverage, which was an interview with a VICTIM of police brutality, was not addressed in any of the questions. The entire interview was conducted in the manner as if the person being interviewed had in some way something to answer for.

2. Instead, Jody McIntyre was repeatedly posed leading questions on the assumption that he must have provoked the police to attack him even after clarifying that he had in no way done so and even clarifying to a clueless interviewer that he is physically incapable of having done so.

3. I am deeply annoyed by the fact that throughout the interview Ben Brown is not bothering to take into account the very straight forward and clear answers by Jody, which rendered following questions ridiculous. What kind of biased, unprofessional and bullying idiot asks someone with cerebral palsy, who just TOLD YOU that he can't operate his own wheelchair, whether he "threw rocks at the police"?!

4. If that weren't enough, implying that "rolling towards the police", which considering they were everywhere would be a) not an act of threat in any way and b) not exactly something he could have avoided - rolling in any which direction, aka "moving from the spot" would have been in the direction of police.

5. Questioning his belief as if they had anything to do with the incident was particularly annoying considering, may I point out once again, the issue at hand was POLICE BRUTALITY. Unprovoked. I do wonder whether that method of questioning would have been applied to, say, Camilla and Prince Charles, to wonder why they were there, and how their beliefs could have had anything to do with provoking anybody to an attack and that it may just have been their own fault?

6. The interviewer was insensitive and rude. Instead of reacting to the clear answers being given to frankly ridiculous and irrelevant questions, as I pointed out earlier, answers were clearly not listened to or acknowledged and in some points an apology would have been in order - for example when Jody points out that he can't "roll" towards anything due to his condition, Ben Brown's reaction seems to imply a wordless "whatever", which I must say makes him look like an idiot.

7. Throughout the entire interview Ben Brown did not once acknowledge the fact that police brutality is out of order - the issue actually at hand. The line of question was merely to establish that what the police had done was appropriate while it doesn't take a lot to realize that not "even" shouting or rolling would justify tipping someone with cerebral palsy out of their chair and dragging them across the street.

8. I've seen this clip a while ago and waited with my complaint because I was hoping to see a swift and immediate apology by the BBC. Instead, I have watched a meager attempt at defending an inappropriate approach to interviewing a victim as "equality of treatment" by Kevin Bakhurst. Would anyone ask a victim of rape whether they might have provoked the attack, repeatedly, even after the victim had pointed out that it was physically impossible for them to do so? Treating people EQUALLY does not mean treating them the SAME. It means treating them with respect and a genuine interest to finding out what actually happened. None of which was done in this interview.

9. I have in the past respected the BBC and their ways of reporting but have been ashamed to say that their coverage of the student riots have been atrociously one sided and biased - and this interview is the pinnacle of the entire coverage. However, I am still hoping that the BBC will come to realize that they need to distance themselves from poor interviewers such as Ben Brown, who not surprisingly covered a lot of the riots, in order to regain their respect in many, many reader's view.

10. I am still waiting for an OFFICIAL APOLOGY from the BBC and hope that if Ben Brown cannot see the error of his atrocious approach and resign, that he shall be sacked.

11. I am happy to see that the outcry against this interview has been so widespread and hope that the BBC editors will apologize for condescendingly implying that a widely spread and appropriate outcry against a dreadful interview where, I am sure, many reasons were given in each complaint had Kevin Bakhurst bothered to read them, is merely a herd of sheep following the crowd without realizing what they are talking about.

12. Where is the "hard hitting", "firm" and "equal" interview with the police officers in question? At the end of the clip itself one can see another officer pulling away the officer in question - very clearly showing that even police officers were very aware of the immoral and unnecessary brutality happening. Is the BBC really covering up for this violence against humans, while painting unarmed minors in a broad brushstroke of rioting, which may I point out is directed at BUILDINGS and not humans? This is what was being done in this interview, and without a formal apology, this is the line the BBC is taking.

13. The only person so far who has had an inkling of decency so far is commissioner for London Deborah Glass from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and I truly hope the BBC will follow suit with an apology and the resignation of Ben Brown.

Portmanteau List: Books I want to read

While I see people buying left and right and creating wish lists of materialistic value front and center, all I want is read. And by want, I don't mean "be gifted books" but merely that I shall be reading them. However, I enjoy creating lists as much as the next person, so this is my reading list for January since I won't be creating a wish list nor a shopping list to succumb to the man-made holiday (I mean shopping) festivities. Just leave me with a personal heater on a sofa (or a hammock in a warm climate, while we're at it) and these books, somehow pay my rent and check up on my stack of food (I mean chocolate) every few days or so... oops. The list is mounting, but in the end they are merely details. In the end I'm OK with just knowing I will be reading those books this month, and probably some more...

Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

The President’s Mystery Story by Franklin Roosevelt and seven other novelists

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

War and Peace by Tolstoy

The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Portmanteau Commentary: Why the law isn't always right

It really shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that the meager two page spread on White Collar Crime that I came across in my first year of Sociology within a, I distinctively remember, 60 page depiction of all forms of absurdly dated theories on street crime, made me very, very angry. Angry enough to kick start a now eight years openly personal anger, which at times can get irrationally obsessive.

The earliest memory I have of deep set moral outrage following the manipulation of numbers was when I was dragged as a ca. 10 year old to sit in the hallway while a certain family member, to whom I am no longer in contact, discussed how to best avoid tax with his accountant. The door was open, and they really should have known better.

Every fashion blogger I know also harbors an unspoken other, often more intellectual, entirely separate set of deeply rooted interest. This manifests itself in the form of their job, which is in many cases fully unrelated, or in their area of study. In my case, this is white collar crime. Throughout my childhood from before I was even in kindergarten to ca. sixth grade, I read three four books a day. But they weren't exactly children's books... they were mainly detective, spy (and fantasy) novels, most of which I wasn't allowed to read due to the ageist censoring system of my local library, which I managed to avoid merely by striking up a weird competitive friendship with the librarian as a result of making my rounds there daily.

Once I got to the teens, I had moved onto philosophy and bone dry published sections of the German bylaws and legal system. Yes, I was 13, 14, 15, 16 and quite frankly, some of it went straight over my head. But that didn't hinder me from carrying around a small version of Das Deutsche Grundgesetz (The German constitutional law) in my wallet for years, and I'm sure I still know some passages by heart. It was only much later that I realized how weird that was. In my environment, the fact that I was reading instead of smoking in a corner of the school yard looking bored and classified Leonardo DiCaprio as a wanker made me weird, so the technicalities and details of what exactly I was reading didn't really make me that much weirder. I just read whatever interested me, as one does.

After studying Sociology in college in Cambridge and then in Goldsmiths where I managed to find a way to include white collar crime in every essay I could chose a topic to, I worked as a content and marketing manager for an international accountant for two years, keen to see the other side and never ceasing to make notes as I went along. Needless to say, I despised my colleagues (with two, three exceptions) who embodied some of the worst traits of humanity I have come across in the five countries, eight cities and numerous boroughs I've lived in. And no, I was never secretive about what my intentions were, even my boss knew of my interests and in no way did this hinder any of them from speaking loudly and frankly about their views and doings.

Whenever I brought up the topic in any (appropriate) conversation, even with sociologists, I would receive reactions ranging from an amused, condescending smile to offhand silencing "I simply don't care". Trying to explain, to make people understand how big the impact of white collar crime really is and my utter despair at people simply not caring that a single white collar criminal had stolen more than the top fifteen most wanted at most any given year yet never make it onto the list was a lonely endeavor for ca. seven years until the downturn kicked the public in the head. My final year dissertation, in fact, focuses on the reaction of the public, in which I state that a moral panic would be most likely the only way to truly get the public to realize what was going on.

That same year, recession struck.

It had been building, but it truly struck a few weeks after I handed in my final year dissertation, after the summer months and I remember the day like yesterday that I first saw the replacement of B with W in "Banker". With mixed feelings as to the realization of my statement, I saw the effects of a moral panic slowly rippling through the media, yet still with an immense restraint of opposition oozing from the conflict of interest that had so rarely been in place for any of the previous relentless moral panic that the British media rid like two horny horses on Prozac and Viagra. In the last decade only can count, from the top of my head; teenage violence on the rise, pedophilia, and worst of all, islamophobia. A few decades ago it was Aids and homophobia, and the British media roots in moral panic, racism. How confused the British media must be, the white collar workers knowing that - truly - they have finally come across one of their own. Of course, that can't be. When you look closely, it's still very distinctively blamed on an OTHER. THE BANKER. We don't like to identify the inherent thirst for greed and trust exploiting advantage taking that is inherent in certain fields and areas of professions more than others.

Now, I am proud. I am glad. Because the single worst realization I have come across is the classification of crime, and that was also the sentence I heard most throughout my discussions with the accountants and sales consultants. "It's legal. What do you care what the impact is?" I care, because I know it SHOULD NOT BE LEGAL. And I also know that it is only legal because the only people who know of its legality are THOSE IT BENEFITS.

White collar crime is only a crime if the law defines it as such. IF THE LAW DOES NOT, it is NOT a crime. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it's not. May I refer to the expenses scandal? Just because it was LEGAL to claim thousands for a duck pond with public funding while the country is in debt, did not mean it was RIGHT. This has always been the most difficult point for me to bring across because quite rightly, it is difficult to set a limit if it is based on such an ambiguous and personal entity as "morality" and "common decency". To some of us, the implications and wider impact are immediately obvious.

When one major company can avoid to pay the majority of its taxes because it can afford not only to pay the equivalent of a dinner allowance to a strategist accountant but also to set up whatever the situation requires in order to avoid said taxes, do you really think THE GOVERNMENT suffers? Think again. With every SINGLE major company that can afford to not pay, the tax needs to be somehow found elsewhere, namely increased and spread across those who cannot even afford to pay for an accountant, let alone set up offshore accounts or ensure their wives live in Monaco. Spread like a sticky layer of dust over Ryveta, the single tax avoiding rich jerk gets extracted in far wider impact from those hundreds to whom the "few" quid actually matter.

For instance, as @Anticuts points out, "TAX DODGE BY OWNER OF OXFORD ST TOPSHOP WOULD HAVE PAID FEES OF 32K STUDENTS". That's thirty two thousand students. And that's merely a few billions, which that one specific individual would not even be able to grasp or ever spend but is merely shifting because HE CAN. It doesn't take a genius to realize this might be legal but is wrong.

To some of us, the implications and wider impact are immediately obvious, especially since more people have opened up their minds to see that just because it says "democracy" on the package doesn't mean the contents aren't fake meat. Does anyone else still remember that the original concept of democracy was based on the system of voting ON A SUBJECT? Voting for someone who coordinated the process was merely a means to an end, which, oh surprise, has been twisted into entailing more power. "We're here to represent you" is no longer good enough if it is clearly followed by "You fell for MY bluff, now deal with my decisions". In Switzerland the public still gets to vote on major subjects. The rise of student fees would have been one of the issues voted on. Yes, this system comes with complications but in essence, it holds the idea of democracy to its roots.

Now, unlike what many of us believe, Tories and accountants know exactly what they are doing. It's not a case of bad apples, they know what benefits those in power and those who are rich and are quite aware of which measurements need to be taken in order to make sure the system whereby this order is stamped upon remains. Make no mistake about it, and saying that "the bottom 25% get to go to uni" is a thinly veiled sack of crap for those who like to swallow easily. You really think they don't know the increased debt of the highest public university fees in the world will put "those 25%" off? Do you think it'll put off those who can afford it anyway, who also tend to be the ones who can afford to get drunk and stoned throughout university while everyone else is working? I can see so many say "Why can't they see... why can't they understand... why can't they realize..." Oh, they do. They just think it's totally OK. It's exactly what they want, to not have the university system be accessible to anyone but those who are either prepared to really suffer for it or are rich. Please don't tell me you believe the "it will benefit the poorest", because it does not.

Now, as I am writing this, I am starting to hear of those "condoning violence". In many ways, I am finding this very ironic because what is being done is in fact a very understandable response because the introduction of 80% fees increase for the second time within a decade can only be described as an extremely violent impact on many, many people's lives. Much like the "criminal" is only what is defined by law to be but does not mean is right, the violence debate applies. One of the issues I discuss in one of the many essays I wrote during the University degree I would not have been able to afford were I a few years younger, was the question of fear being disproportionate to the actual rate of violent crime. In fact, at the time of writing, violent street crime had decreased over the years while the fear of it had increased. Similarly, the fear (or dare I say ANGER) at having a banker round down the third decimal of any given transaction and hereby making millions while you barely notice, people just didn't care. Although I can understand that, I don't accept it.

After I got mugged on my street during which my head was repeatedly smashed onto concrete so that I passed out for the first and only time in my life and had to go to the hospital with a concussion I got asked whether I still thought white collar crime was worse than violent crime. You have to ask?! Of course it is! Violent crime is immediate, I know it's happening and the tangibility of it is by far less infuriating than knowing that merely because it is legalised by those who benefit from that act being legal, there are cuts where there shouldn't be and increases where they aren't afforded. I know from experience that I am alone in this, but these past few days have made me feel a lot less alone, and for that I am thankful.

There's one thing I still don't understand. Whatever happened to those who used to vote Labour that voted conservative this time round? Are your memories really THAT short? Is anybody really surprised at the fact that THIS happened? Of course we saw it coming. And the riots were only a matter of time, and as proud as I am, I am also frustrated and I don't think we should accept the decision that has been made. There must be a way to reverse it, and I'm sure we can achieve it if we continue or at least aim to have it reversed by the opposition when voted back, before it actually gets implemented.

If you're interested in this topic you should read Amelia's Magazine's Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.

Portmanteau Commentary: Alexander McQueen Coat Sold Out at £28,660 - Wrong or Art?

As day-night, week and end merge into each other unrecognizably, it is difficult to battle within the constraints of accepted forms of measurements such as the idea of 24 hour regularity, divided up into the realms of accepted divisions of life. As I have to work in a "normal" environment tomorrow, I should be sleeping now. Instead, I find my fellow workers asleep and myself very much awake and browsing the pages of the world book from the click of warmth in bed.

And then I came across the coat on netaporter.com. Instead of pressing the usual "low to high" button I misjudged the mouse click and pressed the reversed only to come across a £28,660 Alexander McQueen coat that has been sold out. So I'm wondering... is this a one off? What could possibly allow a piece of wear to amass such levels of value?

As I was arguing earlier on, and McQueen certainly is great proof, fashion can be art. And in this case, for that price, surely the coat is no longer utilitarian but a collection piece, historic, intricate and detailed. More an object to be admired, framed if possible, than worn as an everyday piece of clothing.

The question remains, however... is this a one off? You tell me. Because art, as far as my personal value is concerned, needs to be unique. And I don't mean limited, I mean unique. That's where fashion as art gets it wrong, and the distinction should be clearer, allowing the artists to escape the stigma of utilitarianism. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter. In fact, it's an art unto itself, but not what I am talking about here. What do you think? Is £30K an apropriate amount for this coat?

Portmanteau list: Fashion Bloggers in Front of the Camera

Although the Portmanteau is officially hibernating during the wintry months fittingly alongside the claim to hedgehog-hood in case someone prompted me to a choice in an animal existence, I am continuing to write behind online doors.

However, the one aspect which does not slow down as much as my breathing is my reading so this week I simply couldn't resist sharing that I'm proud of my fellow fashion bloggers who brace the cold to plough on with their Louboutins on crispy, crunchy, crystallised early morning frost and a sharp wind blowing into the weaves of their cashmere berets.


Kristin Knox aka The Clothes Whisperer during a Style Whispering Session at United Colors of Benetton, donning the ultimate early winter look. Image by Darrel Hunter

Today, as I am behind the scenes, behind barely open doors and generally in a state of not-in-front, I'll show you those who made that leap from writing behind a screen and taking images from behind a camera to speaking on screen in front of a camera about what they do when they are behind the camera.

Emily from Fashion Foie Gras, my daily Bible, discussing the power of fashion blogging and how much we love what we do in an interview for Crane.tv in true business-like fashion, looking simply amazing. I look forward to witnessing the Fashion Foie Gras in five years (and all the time until then)!

A while back I got invited to attend the inspiring "Shape What's to Come" event on the day I was flying across the Atlantic, an event I wouldn't have missed for anything if I'd been in the country. Kristin from The Clothes Whisperer joins an inspiring panel and belts out the now famous "Canape and Champagne diet" comment that has been quoted across the fashion blogger world, which I had so far only heard of in written form. Just this morning she shared a clip where that moment is captured on camera! Leave it to Kristin to lighten up the mood with her frank and witty ways.

A bit behind on the reading here, I've caught up with Alex Loves posts and came across a clip in which she talks about her year from unknown blogger to Chanel front row first ever featured blogger with many close ups of her cute board and a lovely pony tail do. This was an interview with Crane.tv as well albeit in a different, more personal direction, making a very interesting point about the choice between self-preservation and anonymity in contrast to putting yourself out there.

Well done, girls! I'm proud to know you.

Portmanteau Diary: Shoes, Chocolate and Rock n' Roll

Remember that classic bonding game where you ask "What would you rather do..." and the better you know the person, the meaner the choices are? Well, if someone made me choose between anything and shoes, the answer would be quite easy. In fact, my fashion motto should get changed to that consession of words I cheekily placed in the title. And I'm sure many of you agree, are quite easily given the same weight to a fashionista as the original Drugs, Sex and Rock 'n Roll. In fact, that's exactly what it is. Shoes are drugs, chocolate sex and Rock 'n Roll just keeps on rolling.

Oops. A trunk full of new drugs. (image by Lua L.)
More than a square mile of neatly organised leather heaven.

Portmanteau Diary: People and fashion watch in Sao Paulo

I guess we're not all that different... Except from small details here and there. You know, chains as a belt and smiles that must hurt.

Portmanteau Diary: Spot the Fashion Blogger in Sao Paulo

When one has the pleasure of being involved in events heaped with fashion bloggers, their particular breed of style, attitude, photography, posing and even interest becomes quite distinctive and pops up into one's eye as much as a gaydar or the instant knowledge of shared home country, and sometimes city prances our conscious mind. My blogdar is quite strong, if I may say so myself, and I ran across three - four fashion bloggers who had "I AM A FASHION BLOGGER" screaming across their existence. I plan to keep this series alive. Let's blog spot and then share it on our blogspot.

LL Travel Photography: Graffiti Drive By in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Portmanteau Diary: 29th Bienale Sao Paulo 2010

Black vintage felt hat
Black bandeaux dress
Caramel satin Burberry blazer
Caramel patent Miu Miu pumps
Black Proenza Shouler sunglasses
Black Yorkshire Pearl bracelet
Brown check Lira Leirner bracelet
Black rubber Longchamp bag

The Sao Paulo Bienale is the second oldest Bienale in the world and takes place every two years. I vaguely remember attending several when I was younger and was happy that my visit in Brazil coincided with the Bienale. The exhibition spread over three massive floors and the quality of the work exposed was equally as varied. While some was barely worth mentioning, there were pieces that were extremely provocative, beautiful, questioning... I didn't feel there was much coherency visible apart from the separation between amazing work with a beautiful finish with "not-so-well-made" pieces, which is a bit strange. I went with my sister and my old friend Andre (who is an actor)... my camera broke, so most of the following images were taken by my sister.

What LL Wore: Purple Phase at the Ballet

Image by Lua L.

Brown vintage Fox fur
Purple and magenta satin silk Karen Millen Cut Out dress
Black Yorkshire Pearl bracelet
Black velvet clutch
Purple, Magenta and black "Sweets" suede Prada pumps

What LL Wore: Flowers in the City

Image by Lua L.

Black hard bow tiara
Black Proenza Shouler sunglasses
Purple silk Armani dress
Black silk knit Zara cardigan
Black rubber Longchamp bag
Gyvenchy tights
Plum Miu Miu heels

Portmanteau Diary: Johnny Blue Eyes the new generation of stylists

After a quick hot chocolate at Starbucks with Kristin of the Clothes Whisperer for whom I was standing in to hear her friend Johnny Blue Eyes talk in front of an intimate group of fashion students and fashion photographer extroidinaire, none other than Mr Fashionographer, I darted off to American InterContinental University London, which had me find my way through the backstreets of Oxford Circus and Bond Street - somewhere I hadn't been before, delighting the explorer in me.
I waited at the entrance with two other bloggers to be escorted to the talk, which was already in full swing.

Portmanteau List: Dress Crush - Chanel Pearl Dress

A few posts back you saw me swooning over a Rochas dress from the Paris Fashion Week and today I've come across another of these dresses that I have drawn up before in a similar concept and wished I had the funds to make myself. It's always surprising to see something you know more than anybody else has come from your own mind, placed on paper (badly, I'm no drawing genius) and then, suddenly, it has actually been created by someone else, sometimes even decades ago. It's a strange strange sensation, one I have come across a lot as a teenager when I was discovering all these thoughts and concepts I had though of on my own had been thought of centuries before. I had to learn to acknowledge that the cultural situation in which I have grown up were based on the knowledge of the piece of thought or idea I had come up with on my own and therefore laid an easier train of thought for me, but I will never get over hating the fact to an extent that because I didn't think of it first, no matter how much I actually thought of it without outside help, it's rendered void.

To get back to the topic, I came across another such dress in the form of a Chanel dress on Keira Knightley. As most of you know, I'm a pearls girl. I've included pearls (salt water or fresh water, never plastic) in my pieces as features but have from the very beginning dreamed of making a dress like the one I've come across today - made entirely of pearls in a cut that was modern and fresh, exposing certain bits of the body under a layer of loose pearls hanging heavily upon the skin. But could I afford it? No. Here, feast your eyes on the dress I've dreamed up but couldn't afford to make. Some of you will even recognize the features I consistently use - exposed back, cap sleeves, v-neck bust line, buttoned skirt back, contrast hem lines, knee length skirt. For now I guess I'll just have to make do with the thought that I came up with a dress on my own that Chanel made.


Keira Knightley in Chanel at the 'Never Let Me Go' Premiere at BFI London Film Festival. All images taken from Styleite.com

Portmanteau Commentary: Taylor Momsen doesn't shock me

Across the fashion world online I've been made aware of a cover that I would normally never even know exists, as I am sure most girls everyone seems so worried about wouldn't either (refer to roughly the 99% I outline below).
Taylor Momsen - FIRST LOOK! Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen?s shocking cover shoot - Taylor Momsen Revolver - Revolver - Celebrity News - Marie Claire
The argument is that she is only 17, having people wondering "where her parents are" and how any magazine could be OK with sending out a message like that to "young confused teenagers". The message being that wearing stripper heels, sheer tops and underwear with some guns is cool (and shouldn't be).

Now... um. Am I the only one not bothered by this? I'm a pacifist (considering some of the people I've seen being upset about this cover are not) but there are much younger girls handling guns in cinema left and right, and it's merely a role. And yes, I know that a role is different to having a girl being photographed as herself in guns.

Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl in Kick Ass

Natalie Portman in Leon the Professional as Mathilda

No, it's not a good message to send out to teenage girls, but it's not like she's the first one. As a teenager you take "inspiration" in what resonates with you. A cover more or less makes no difference, especially one on a magazine I didn't even know existed (sorry) and that I'm sure the MAJORITY of teenage girls don't either. I think people forget that any teenager who actually knows or would pick up that magazine would be resonating with that image already. Yes, it's reinforcing and that's "not good", but I do have to say growing up with these tough young female roles in popular culture and thinking they are mega cool didn't make me any less of a pacifist and I do think helped me be a the woman I am today. No, it's not hypocritical because there's a difference between reality and fantasy and guess what, even teenagers know that. We have to stop holding all teenagers accountable for the daftness of 1%.

On my way home yesterday I saw a poster that pointed out exactly what I keep thinking when I see a scandal such as the above being blown out of proportion. 99% of young people in London are making a positive and real contribution to London community.

I don't find Taylor Momsen's cover very cool or inspiring. I find it quite bland, actually (especially in comparison to these other two I've shown). And I think it's impact or importance would have been a hell of a lot less if so many hadn't been so close mindedly outraged by it and spread the image across the internet. You're just helping spread the message, in case you hadn't noticed. And by the way - young girls are much more likely to see the image ON YOUR BLOG (yes I'm talking to you fashion bloggers), than actually see the magazine itself. I don't mind having it on mine because I know only a certain type of teenager will actually like it, and that won't change with or without this one cover.

Portmanteau List: My favourite Vintage Vogue covers

Yesterday I was taken aside by my granddad who showed me images that made me very emotional. Ranging from beautiful vintage to modern advertising in the fifties, sixties and seventies of his designs, to catwalk show images, private pictures of models wearing his pieces, and most amazingly... several pages editorial shoot in the first ever Brazilian Vogue featuring his designs... and him, incidentally.

As I am trying to source said cover, at least, I got to scour the archives of vintage Vogue covers, some of which I love too much to pass by so here they are...




Portmanteau Commentary: In the beginning there was beauty

Anyone involved in social media I'm sure would agree that posters and banners as an advertising form is becoming less and less relevant (don't want to quite jump on the word "obsolete" yet) as a marketing medium in terms of their impact and becoming more and more a form of art. Referred to as "visual pollution" in the late 90s their visual beauty is an issue that is becoming increasingly important.

How much I was going to miss the five storey tall slip clad models gracing the walls of Sao Paulo only became apparent when they introduced a ban to public advertising - the city looked like a wasteland of skeletons, often exposing slums that had been buried behind the walls of perception.


Luckily it was not long until Brazil, the country with one of the top three amounts of international advertising and visual marketing awards in the world, was allowed to bask in the glory of its public visual genius.

Apart from the miraculous disappearance of beggars at every stop in certain areas of Sao Paulo during the election period as well as an incredibly unusual possibility to be able to breathe and not want to itch your nose until they bleed inside out upon arrival from the airport, which forces you to drive past the (now clearly cleaned) polluted rive, something else really struck me in Sao Paulo this time. Something I can vaguely recall having registered in bits and pieces, held in images as I passed them by but never really registered as a whole.

Much like the clean slate allowing new, more thought through, beautifully designed posters to grace their yellow, half ripped off older cousins on the billboards, the walls of the tunnels and streets of Sao Paulo bear a beautiful platform for the graffiti artist of the city.

And I mean graffiti ARTISTS. Whole murals that are clearly commissioned, beautiful and intricate historical depictions of the landscapes, historical processes or simply strange creatures and beautifully painted abstract objects are visible across the city and delight the dreaded "transito" which gets you stuck in the car for hours upon hours to get only a few meters further (OK I'm exaggerating).

What has now become Banksyfied, lifted and glorified in museums, has been done for a while here. Unlike in most cities I've been to where names and thin, hip-hop type illegible writing is etched without imagination as a signature of protest is the predominant coloring of graffiti "stained" walls, those are quite rare. Here it is all about real art. About a block away from where I am staying, having seen it every day of every day I have stayed in Sao Paulo throughout my life - for all that time, I never managed to actually stop the car or walk that block to actually see and touch the Anglo-Brazilian mural that is, as I discovered in shock, 28 years old, had its own circuit surveillance cameras and lighting at night and guess what - it was sponsored by the British Council.

Portmanteau List: Rochas, come over here and sit by me

The last few weeks, as most of you know, have been awashed under fashion weeks across the fashion capitals of the world. NYFW was spent in delirious preparation for LFW, LFW was spent in my own pop up shop or on the plane to Brazil and MFW as well as PFW was witnessed vicariously through blogger friends, online fashion magazines, visual scrapbooks and live streamings. Sometimes, especially when working on my own collection and putting down the blogger hat which sort of drops down the side, just hanging off my hairdo whilst my designer hat firmly sits on top, girlfriend needs a helping hand.

You know those theater pieces, films and such, that are meant to be comedies but can get your mouth to curl at most? It doesn't mean you don't enjoy them, but you're not pissing yourself either.

That's how I have felt about most of the collections that have been shared with my second hand eyes. Some gorgeous pieces, many classic and clean lines just how I like them (hint hint). However, whilst following another of the daily updates by The Clothes Whisperer my heart stopped only to catch up again at double speed. The equivalent of actually peeing yourself with laughter.

And since girlfriend was not able to attend said collection, which is good as I may have created a scene trying to steal it, girlfriend is in need of other girlfriends to borrow some visuals to support my musings. Voila, here's a piece of my heart, images courtesy of Kristin Knox who did all the work to share with me (*cough* and the zillion other readers *cough*) that piece of genius. Oh, and by the way, Rochas can sit by me for as long as they like.

Perfection. The color, the hem, the volume, the length... *sigh*

I like the way you move!

Ouch my heart.

Portmanteau Commentary: Sample Sizing - Let's start a revolution

Most of you know I am tiny. I am five foot one (and I insist on the one!) and not exactly thin but still a size UK6. In fact, that's how the fashion line Lira Leirner started in the first place - I could never find things to wear that fit me.

However, Lira Leirner has evolved and explored and is no longer a petite only dress hub but includes a range of sizes, styles and different garment types. The sizing issue in the fashion industry is one that will always be very close to my heart, though.

Now I've been planning a collection of 28 pieces (so far) and have it drawn up and ready to go. However, that's where I came across a hurdle I could not jump myself on my own.

What should be the sample size of my collection? Unlike other big or medium designers, I can't afford to make a collection which exists merely to be looked at on the runway on models. I need to actually sell this stuff and I don't remember models being exactly rich or falling in love with pieces they've worn during work enough to buy them.

My point is, creating an entire collection to FIT MODELS and then to be merely looked at by buyers, PR's, journalists. stylists and bloggers is something only the rich and mighty (or those with a loan) can do. I know it's a vicious circle, but why are we meant to create stuff to fit people whose job is to fit into whatever it is we make? How about we use a better size and the circle becomes the same but on a better scale?

I want to go with a size that won't require TOO MUCH pinning that it would effect the garment but is also a size that fits those who would actually buy the pieces. Surely the fashion industry can "understand" and like a piece just as much when it's a few inches bigger?!

I am thinking a size UK8 or UK10 / US6 or US8.

This, I know, is still relatively small but I think is also the widest used size.

Please help me and tell me your thoughts on this matter by commenting below or sending me a tweet with #NewSampleSize. I do want to stick it up to the man but am I shooting myself in the leg? Which size would you suggest I use?

I'm going to count the votes, so make sure to leave a concrete size either UK or US. I created a poll as well to make it easier, please vote!


Image of Chrystal Renn taken from Adventures in Heels, image of skinny model (gross) taken from Komo News

Portmanteau Diary: My last few weeks in Twit pics

This last week, as you may have noticed, I was virtually absent from this blog. There were the two announcements - "Lira Leirner introduces new collections" and "Lira Leirner Pop up shop during London Fashion Week" but that was about it.

This was mainly due to the fact that this week saw me extend my usual 20 hour days onto 48 to even 74 hour "days" at one time. I created twenty pieces to make four new collections, completely restructured my website to offer 22 options of shops which I had to create individually as my CMS is still Dreamweaver, painstakingly photoshopped over a hundred images, organized and had the photo shoot with the fabulous photographer Terence the Fashionographer and prepared the pop up shop.

I do have some catching up to do but until then here's my last few weeks in twitpic or iPhone pics, whichever you prefer.

Gabby Young comes to pick up her Lira Leirner stage dress
Wearing the Charlotte Taylor scarf I won in the Young British Designer competition
Amazingly simple yet effective marketing strategy
Observing my muses in their habitat (Clothes Whisperer and Fashion Foie Gras)