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.

Chloƫ 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.