Category Archives: Fashion

Style inspired by Marilyn Monroe

My Nan tells me that, “back in day”, the clothes you bought in store were also tailored to fit you in store. And if not, you’d go immediately with your new dress to the tailors, and have it pinned and sewn exactly to you. The personal fit of a garment will make or break an outfit, and I envy the mentality that my Nan’s generation had about clothes. They would never even begin to consider buying a piece of clothing that didn’t fit them exactly, made to measure.

All of this has come to my mind after watching the movie ‘My Week With Marilyn’. It happened to be on BBC the other evening, and engrossed me just as wonderfully this time as it did the first. Michelle Williams is riveting as Marilyn. I romanticise Marilyn Monroe just like almost everyone else does. Is it because we can see now, in hindsight, the sadness in her smile? Her melancholy made her only more beautiful. I wonder if, whilst she was alive, people could tell that her heart was broken or that this was the reason for the depth of her eyes, within which everybody fell. She reminds me of the Nat King Cole song, ‘Mona Lisa’.

Marilyn’s style was absolutely sexy, oozed with class, effortlessly hugging her in every gorgeous place. Her feminine figure is famous, we know this. But I do believe that, with the correct outfit architecture, a similar feel can be achieved. High, belted waists; tight skirts or ankle-grazing trousers with heeled pumps; and perhaps my favourite part, wide, curving necklines to reveal pretty collar bones and soft décolletage. Mesmerising.

It would be marvellous to have a life that allowed for dressing like Marilyn Monroe everyday. However, even for a current celeb, our culture isn’t that same kind of glamour anymore. You could pull up to Tape or Roka in a tangerine chiffon Swarovski crystal gown if you wanted to – really, you can do what you like. Realistically though, most people won’t, including myself. So how do we channel Marilyn’s grace and style to work in the 21st century? I’ve been having visions of a modern-day Monroe and how she walks into the room.

The style board above was obviously inspired by vintage eras although the outfit is still contemporary, and the current Brigitte Bardot, off-shoulder trend lends itself well to the Monroe look. Typical of me, the blouse and skirt are both solid black, but are accessorised with tropically coloured Dolce & Gabbana pumps, and deco gold and onyx drop earrings by Signature Gold. Playing to the palette of the heels, a slick of moisturising, burnt orange lipstick by Ellis Faas finishes everything so beautifully.

Isa Arfen’s tulle, knotted-front top bares some skin beneath the sheer, providing temptation, yet the fabric is so light and precious, a paradox that could be used to describe Marilyn: both naughty and nice. The Isabel Marant mini skirt sits there on the waist, with tight buttoned tabs like warm hands. It’s asymmetric shape is modern and the black silk-chiffon is almost gothic with its dull shine, yet a close fit around hips and bum that then playfully flits into frills and curls, has that wondrous, enticing element of the Hollywood star. Look but don’t touch!

Featured image/style board by me: full size image on my Flickr
Marilyn Monroe photo source

Five red heels for an LBD

I came across an image months ago now of a beautiful blonde girl wearing a black off-the-shoulder tiered mini dress, paired with startlingly red, lace-up high heels. She looked effortless – by teaming an otherwise quiet looking LBD and black studded clutch with fuck-me pumps, it appeared that she had put the heels on just because she loved them. She wasn’t trying to make her outfit work, she was just enjoying herself and fashion. Of course, I have most likely been entranced by her chicness and the outfit in reality took many nights to think up so well. The fantasy is far sexier in the moment though, so we all go with that.

With this image in my head for weeks, and no opportunity as of yet to sport a fluorescent red stiletto, I found myself surfing Lyst for flame-coloured high heels that I couldn’t afford. They are as follows (from left to right):

Women’s Red Sandals by Sebastian – £278 down from £377
These have the toe-shape made popular again by Saint Laurent’s Classic Jane sandal, but I have always desperately loved a sandal with a square toe. They follow the foot far more closely, and the blunt end of them is also trendy, so they are simultaneously elegant and cool. These Sebastian heels also feature spaghetti thin straps akin to candy store strawberry laces. They are catwalk meets bananashoes.com (take a look) and I love it.

Women’s Red Sandals by Le Silla – £107 down from £325
A bit more metal, a little less tart, these Le Silla sandals have a nice amount of attitude. I became so serious in my mission to find red heels I could not afford, that I began thinking practically too, and was enamoured by this pair’s calling for some URL-blue jeans. Vicious and versatile.

Women’s Red Sandals by Pinko – £206
These are here firstly for the sexy steepness of the sole, and secondly for their subtly flared stiletto heel. They are movie house-wife gone awry, or a college prom ankle waiting to break, but either way they’d look bloody fantastic with a tan, as would the teeny tiny LBD. Add plastic, oversized sunglasses and hoop earrings to further cheapen your look, until you appear to be rather somebody with too much money to care.

Women’s Red Sandals by DSquared2 – £219 down from £468
This is the pair that I can’t take the piss out of. Elaborate, refined, endlessly detailed and soaked in historical influences. Of all things, I appreciate the elasticated slingback strap. Anything that slips on instantly bumps up effortlessness levels which we all know positively correlates with glamorousness.

Women’s Red Pumps by Le Silla – £115 down from £289
Le Silla appears again, and these pumps are rather devilish, with their sharp, pointed toe and caged straps. Otherwise however, what more can I say about these? Well, that is exactly their charm: scarily casual for a red patent 4-inch stiletto heel, an overlap of outrageous and ordinary is always sexy and intriguing.

Summer Legs

A leggy summer collage, ideas brewing. Putting together turquoise, greens, orange and black. Gucci buckles, Jimmy Choo sandals. Glamour glamour glamour. Thigh high boots. Palm trees poolside, all-in-one pieces, throw-on, effortless.

fashion collage summer legs

“Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity.” – Marilyn Monroe

“Glamour is an imaginative process that creates a specific emotional response: a sharp mixture of projection, longing, admiration, and aspiration. It evokes an audience’s hopes and dreams and makes them seem attainable, all the while maintaining enough distance to sustain the fantasy.” – Virginia Postrel

Colourful glamour, glamorous colour

A few original designs by myself. Heavily beaded pieces, ruches of chiffon, figure-hugging bandage, jet hardware. A bold palette of blood orange, red, black, candy pink, eggshell blue and dark turquoise. Waist belted tightly and décolletage exposed. She is glamorous, dry, open-minded, and wants a hard drink a.s.a.p.

Click on the images to enlarge.

yasmin leigh fashion designs
Left: Caviar beads embroidered onto double-layered, lined fabric; block colours of beads seem to melt into each other; black spaghetti strap halter-neck; mini length; gathered, cowl drop back, backless. Right: Orange bandage cropped trousers, belted over a sheer, plunge, chiffon blouse; pink bikini with jet, rectangular chain detail.

 

yasmin leigh fashion designs
Clockwise from top – 1: Black crystal mesh hangs from the lower ankle of a square platform stiletto sandal, with suede platform and satin heel. 2: Same as above, shows detail of cowl back. 3: Tight red chiffon ruche, wide and low neckline, suede buckle belt, mini length, chiffon wrapped around arms; white cut-out swimsuit with jet ring hardware. 4: Black bandage flared trousers with high-waist and black crystal inserts above and below knee, to show flesh through the crystal mesh, and a chiffon bralet wrapped around chest and stomach to tie into huge bow at front; nude chiffon ruche, tight against body, cropped length trousers and long, square-neck vest with crystal double straps. 5: Jet and crystal drop earrings; red suede extreme point heeled pump, with crystal anklet attached at back and draping across foot.

 

yasmin leigh fashion designs
Same as above but with idea of colour

McQueen ‘Dante’ Show – Live Blog

I am writing this as I watch McQueen’s show ‘Dante’ – my mother is passive-aggressively banging things around the living room. The lights at the show have come up – the drums have started so I have just paused the video so I can go and get my headphones. I think this will make the experience more intense…

The headphones are on.

First look is out on the runway. Second and third, looking around as if stumbled upon this throng of old people, poorly-dressed people. Arrows pointing up and down the body and sheers revealing the very finale of the back, McQueen’s famous bumster. I love the long hair like thick rope swinging across the back. The fit of these trousers is perfect, how is that? The fur collar and cuff coats are so sexy but I hate the shoes. Although it also helps me understand how McQueen wanted to portray women.

A model has come down the runway in mini skirt with her legs bare, it’s so attractive. And horns and lace are beginning to show up on the pieces. The loitering males are all shorter than the women and staring at the women. I love the mix of grey and sheer nude.

6:09 – the skeletal mask clasping across a lace face, maybe the most iconic look of this show. I love her. I love the grey and nude so much.

The first black model of the show appears like a flame and sticks out her red tongue as she strokes the low arch of her back – power. McQueen obviously directed the women to hold and stroke their bodies throughout the show, as they have all been doing it.

A female model has just clutched the face of a male model like he is a sorry child and she has no sympathy.

There are pieces here I don’t like but I think that’s the idea.

The purple is garish and even more so used as a pinstripe fabric – but pale lilac corset. These women look like the sadistic office workers of the underworld. They file your sins into alphabetic order.

A purple arrow clearly points down into the floor, down to the woman’s vagina, down to hell. Am I reading too much into this?

The lights have gone down again, flickering around the church window depicting Christ, there is bizarre shouting and an out of tune concert seems to play. Oh my god.

Satan’s imp stumbles down the runway with black unicorn horn – grey faces. Does this model realise what jumpsuit she wears? Pointed spikes boned corset zip back. The tight denim mini splattered with bleach, the high neck sleeveless vest like sex on legs!

A woman hides her hand beneath her blazer onto skin – sheer nude backs look like nothing. There are people in the audience talking???

That bare back again, bare chest on sheer embroidery. It gets better and better. Another woman handles a male model like a flea in her way whilst more arrive with their knees and thighs and lots more flashing out from trailing coats – they hold their space between their legs, in her hand over her fishnets, made you look!

I can’t get enough mini skirts.

Lace face arrives again to eat your heart.

It’s going too fast for me now and I can’t keep up.

This beaded piece at 20:47…. overtaken by the roaring priestess in black widow lace! Lace drapes her horns! She has stolen the show. Her fingers curled as she raised her head like a bull witch, matadors flooding the runway to tame the beast! And a high-collar corset clenches at a woman’s waist and breasts and slows her steps to…

Has a man ever felt the pain of corset and heels? I mean the pain to hold it in? Hold in your body, hold in your toes. Strings are playing. Final call. McQueen walks out. I have shivers from the top of my brains down my thighs, shins, back to my eyes again.

Work/Life Experience at GLAMOUR Magazine: Fashion Career Advice “to all struggling fashionistas”

You hear over and over, “follow your passion, be true to yourself”, and frankly I am done with such phrases. What if you don’t yet know your exact passion? What if you don’t yet feel that you absolutely know your “self”, and you’re not convinced that it’s even possible? Because your “self” is always growing and changing, and you’re pretty sure that you were channeling Jessica Rabbit yesterday but have woken up this morning 100% Coachella-chic? It is difficult to be in limbo. Even if you’re failing at doing something, well – at least you’re definitely doing it.

What I know for certain is that I love fashion, truly, madly, deeply, and that as I stare hopelessly into glossy mag editorials and at online snaps of catwalk looks, I am my most inspired. But it’s all very vague. Where do I go from here? At my graduation, as I shook the hand of the university chancellor on stage in front of hundreds, she asked me, “What do you plan to do with your English degree?” My answer?: “Fashion!” Oh, Yasmin. How do you do fashion? She summed it all up in her reply, “That’s an interesting development”.

My work experience at GLAMOUR was one of the steps I took in trying to pinpoint how exactly I was going to “do” fashion. I’ve always read GLAMOUR, and the chance to become a part of the UK’s number one women’s magazine cannot be topped, so, I jumped on the opportunity to temporarily join the team. And the time I spent with them ended up being a much-welcomed eye-opener.

GLAMOUR creates for their reader, first and foremost. They don’t throw whatever they fancy in; they are always considering their audience. This has forced me to look at my own ambitions from another viewpoint. The question isn’t “What do I want to do?”, it’s actually, “What do I want to do for others? What can I offer them?” I don’t mean you should compromise on your vision to please everyone else. I’m saying consider the wider perspective. I’ve realised I will never find fulfillment if my purpose is directed nothing but inward. “I want to create for myself” versus “I want other people to recognise and be effected by this creation”. Which one will take you further?

Sitting in the GLAMOUR office, observing the team, and partaking in their creation of a magazine for the outside world, a world that rushed obliviously past their huge first-floor windows, was quietly inspiring. My experience with them, short but sweet, shook me a bit from my anti-climatic, “just-graduated” stupor. The copious amount of mail, product samples and event invites that the team receives each day is just one example of the fast pace of the industry. As I handed each parcel and envelope out around the office, as I transcribed interviews with globally successful actors, writers and icons, I was reminded that there is a lot more going on than totaljobs.com, perfecting our CV’s and making ourselves as “employable” as possible.

Although I haven’t exactly set myself up as a girl to take life-tips from, can I suggest: don’t worry so much about identifying your passion, or your “self”. Spend your energy ensuring that whatever you’re doing gives you a purpose that you believe in. It doesn’t have to be curing world hunger, however, if that is your purpose, please go head forth as soon as you can. I’ve done my best to quit the mindset that I am in a “limbo” state, and instead repeat the words of poet Ahunnaya, “I’m not lost, I’m on my way”. GLAMOUR was a stop off along that way; I had a wonderful time there with a wonderful team. To all struggling fashionistas, beauty product hoarders, writers, artists, unfocused and frustrated drifters – you are not lost, you’re on your way.

EDITED and PUBLISHED by GLAMOUR MAGAZINE ONLINE in APRIL 2015
Featured image credit