I spent a year studying Shakespeare in the British capital when I was still at university. Looking back, it was probably the best year of my life: I was younger, blonder, thinner, better looking and never had had a hangover to speak of. I know I’m still in my 20s (just barely), but I still look back on my days in London with such fond nostalgia. It’s those youthful pangs of longing mixed with the fact that the British fashion industry is one of the most exciting, vibrant and welcoming that make the shows in London my favorite stop on the fashion train. This season didn’t disappoint: I had four days of fashion (favorite shows included Burberry, Tom Ford, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane and JW Anderson), and four days of fun. For some snapshots on the latter, check out my personal snaps below:
My first night in the British capital definitely raised the bar on London Fashion Week. As was already widely reported, the climax of Stella McCartney’s private dinner was a choreographed flash mob dance routine. (I blogged about it HERE, but be warned it’s not viewable from all countries.) This was the finale when all the models ended up onstage, just in front of the head table, where Rihanna and Kate Moss were seated.
Mario Testino and Kate Moss hit the dance floor after the performance, which was just as enthralling.
Alison Mosshart, my date for the evening.
Harlem’s newest hip-hop sensation: Azealia Banks. Here she is at the TopShop show, but the last time I saw her was at Karl Lagerfeld’s house in Paris, where she performed for the Kaiser and his dinner party. (It was an epic performance, which you can watch HERE.)
Alexa Chung with Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, whose real name is Michelle Dockery, at a dinner Mulberry had organized in Mayfair. Because that show has so captivated the fashion world (it was the soundtrack and the inspiration behind Ralph Lauren’s entire show), she was the hottest guest at the Mulberry dinner and constantly being pumped for information. PS.This was Alexa’s first fan photo in years.
Kate Bosworth and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley smuggling at the Burberry show. They are both just impossibly gorgeous.
Front row at the Giles show: Kelly Brook and Pixie Geldof. I was seated on the other side of Kelly, who I must confess I wasn’t aware of before the show. Turns out she’s very sweet and an extremely well endowed bosom, though I think she’s most well known for the latter.
The iconic Kristen McMenemy closing the McQ show. The show, and her appearance as a bride who leads the audience on a walk through an enchanted forest, was unexpected and utterly delightful.
On my last day of shows, I snuck off to the National Portrait Gallery to have a look at the Lucian Freud exhibit. Even better: my friend Alison Mosshart had scored us a tour with Lucian’s daughter, Bella, for sure the best guide ever. The show was sensational. Seventy years of inspiring and provocative work from a certified British icon. This was one of my favorites: A small self-portrait of the artist he did on a hand mirror.
The ultimate highlight of London Fashion Week, especially for an American like myself, was certainly a visit to 10 Downing Street. Samantha Cameron hosted a cocktail party to discuss Britain’s future in the fashion industry, and she proved she knew what she was talking about. Then Anna Wintour spoke about her friend, Phillip Green, the man behind TopShop, and then it was announced that TopShop would continue to sponsor London fashion week for an unprecedented decade. Which is good news for me: That means I’ll be back in my beloved London for at least 20 more seasons!
For more of my personal shots from London Fashion Week, check out my full diary on Harper’s Bazaar’s website. See all the #LFW HERE!
I didn’t exactly disguise how much I missed seeing my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss on the New York fashion week runway this season. But luckily for me and my fellow fashion friends, there have been no shortage of chic betties on the catwalk this season. My two favorites were the sexy South African Candice Swanepoel and the Puerto Rican beauty Joan Smalls. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen the two of them together: I was on set with Terry Richardson and Carine Roitfeld when we shot them together (in Balenciaga, natch) for the November cover of V magazine, and I wrote the piece that accompanied the article. In addition to giving fierce catwalk, they give fabulous Q+A too. To read my chat with Candice, CLICK HERE; and to check out my conversation with Joan, CLICK HERE.
The good thing about both of these girls: They’re drop dead sexy, but also the sweetest little things. They stopped to chat with me about their street style choices following Prabal Gurung, a designer they both count a close friend. Watch the video of our chat here:
Wasn’t that just the most amazing five minutes you’ve ever watched on the Internet ever in your whole life? The woman in the first part of the video, Blanca, who I was sat next to during dinner, turned out to be the choreographer of the whole extravaganza. She wasn’t nervous in the least. (That’s also her who spins around and then gets tossed around like a rag doll around 3:40.) The idea behind the performance piece, besides just being generally bad ass, was to show off some of Stella’s evening wear. And what better way to do that than with professional dancers and a few strategically placed models doing their best to keep up? (And Shalom and Amber, you certainly did.)
One of my earliest memories of a Stella McCartney show is when she played a game of Musical Chairs with her models. It was a cute idea, seeing all those skinny girls fight over chairs that probably weighed more than they did. That was a few years back, but during London fashion week, Stella blew that gig out of the water with this performance. (I didn’t even include the magician that opened this show the above: He made Alexa Chung levitate on the tips of swords. Just that was amazing at the time, but it didn’t compare to what followed.) I’ve always been fan of a the dance mob, and I’ve always been desperate for someone to invite me to do one. In fact, like so many other people, I was hopping in my seat the entire time, itching with anticipation. Well done, Stella. Now everyone please go buy her dresses.
Stella McCartney following the performance
The dancers and models following their performance. You can spot Rihanna and Kate at the table in the front.
Aww, fashion friends forever: Kate Moss and Mario Testino
While we certainly cannot blame street style photographers for the unavoidable pre-fashion show wait time (the term ‘fashionably late’ has been around since Tommy Ton was in diapers), I will say it seemed there was a rather long lag time at a few shows between when we take our seats and the show begins. Not that I’m complaining: I love a street style blogs as much as the next fashion obsessed person, so these chic young ladies had better stay out there and pose for as many pictures as the want. Besides, we editors are a resourceful people when it comes to sitting around and amusing ourselves. (Ever been on a fashion shoot? There’s a lot of wait time.) In past few seasons, as we’ve whiled away the minutes before a show begins, we’ve found a few things to do: Update our Facebook status, Tweet our faces off, and, for those of feeling old school, actually speak to the other people in the room. But, this season I developed a new fashion week time killer: Doodling on my Samsung Galaxy. There’s this feature when you can edit, drag and write on images that you’ve already taken and stored in your phone. What started as a hobby, however, emerged into an obsession. While I don’t think these are exactly Warholian scribbles or Turner Prize-worthy artistic feats, here are a few of my favorite doodles from the shows in New York. Well, here are the ones that aren’t offensive or inappropriate. (What is it about fashion people that our immediate instinct is to draw something profane and use such naughty language?)
Let’s start with my New York fashion week diet. It’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it?
I met Leigh Lezark at the Jeremy Scott afterparty, where she and her Misshapes cohorts were DJing, and she was on fire. Literally. I had to wake up very early the next morning for the Ralph Lauren show, which wasn’t so fun to do. But doing this doodle while we waiting for the show to start sure was.
It’s best when you’re from the Midwest.
Who doesn’t love a fashion week carbohydrate?
I had lunch with Olivier Theyskens at Pastis at the end of fashion week, and it turns out he’s a big Nicki Minaj fan. Who knew?
Calvin Klein brought out some big guns. (Or, in Lara’s case: huge guns.)
My poor puppy gets neglected during fashion week.
WAIT, IF YOU LIKED THESE DOODLES, THERE’S MORE (INCLUDING SHOUT OUTS TO FASHION WIVES, VALENTINES AND KITTEN SLIPPERS) AFTER THE JUMP!
When I first moved to New York, one of the first fashion people I met was Douglas Perrett. Our mutual friend, Teen Vogue‘s Jane Keltner, introduced us at his apartment, which was a small studio on Lower Fifth Avenue that was completely wall papered in Polaroid pictures of models. Some were new pictures, some were old, but all of them were taken when the models were brand new faces. Perrett started his own casting company in 2000, and in the decade since he’s amassed thousands of pictures. He edited them down for Wild Things, a limited edition book. I asked him to pick a few of his favorite male Polaroids and answer these questions about the art of Polaroid photography. (For some of his favorite females, including Abbey Lee Kershaw, Aline Weber, Hanne Gaby Odiele and more, jump over to my Vmagazine‘s story on Perrett.)
DEREK BLASBERG First, let’s start with the inscription on this book: “Dedicated to all the teenagers and their dreams.”
DOUGLAS PERRETT I look at models as teenagers and see very few success stories. I think teenagers should not be punished for a decision they made at 14 or 15, when they decided to drop everything and try to make a career as a professional model.
DB So you hang out with a bunch of kids. Do you ever get sick of it and wish there would be a 30-and-over law for modeling?
DP No way. Models in their thirties are way more annoying then models in their teens.
DB Give me some goss: Who’s the most mature teen model you’ve ever worked with? And who is the most immature? Did anyone show up to a shoot with Barbie dolls or something?
DP I’ve seen it all: A photographer injecting a tired model with Adderall. I’ve heard it all, male model gang bangs on the train from Milan to Paris, a sandbox being delivered on set for an underage girl.
DB Wow. That’s exactly the sort of stuff my mom warned me about when I moved to New York. Now tell me about this book. How many Polaroids do you think you own, and where do you store them?
DP I have over 10,000 polaroids archived in large plastic bins from the Container Store. We made an edit of 281 for the book.
DB How did you edit your collection for this book?
DP I was going for that right-off-the-boat look. Their first day in New York, not knowing a lick of English and all they have a is a subway map. That hunger for fame.
DB What I love about Polaroids is the same thing I hate about them: They’re immediate, and they’re finite. You can’t reproduce them. Have you ever lost any valuable or sentimental Polaroids? Or spilled coffee on them, like I have?
DP I loved the Polaroid. I hate how expensive they got, and even more when they were discontinued. As for regrets: I lost or threw out an Irina Lazareanu pre-muse picture, a beefy Channing Tatum shot, and a baby face Doutzen Kroes. And I think a Daria too.
DB Do you still use Polaroids? Or have you converted to digital? What is the future of Polaroids?
DP It’s all digital photos now, lots more to organize. I want to blow my Polaroids up and do a traveling show.
DB Is there an art to the Polaroid? (Andy Warhol thought there was!)
DP I’m self-taught. My Polaroids at the beginning were all out of focus and cropped irregular. But now all my Polaroids are cropped from the chest up, with little space showing above the head. That’s become my crop.
DB What’s your favorite picture in this book?
DP My favorite Polaroid is probably Katie Forgarty. Her neck is so long. And she was so peppy when she came into the office with her mother. I was obsessed by her right away. And I got so much flack for posting her photo online.
It’s hard to believe New York fashion week has already rolled in and out of town. It’s a lot like New Year’s Eve: All this build up and anticipation, then you get dressed up and before you know it you’ve drunk too much and it’s done. Well, what I don’t remember from the festivities I have managed to document in my pictures. Of all of my must-have’s during the fashion weeks, my digital camera is one of the most important. (The others? Cell phones, wallet, Metrocard and hairspray.) So, without further ado, here are a few snaps from the recently wrapped New York collections:
The first picture on my camera: Strolling down Washington Street with my friend, Elisa Sednaoui
My date for the evening, Lily Donaldson, with Alexa Chung at the AmFar gala
One of the coolest families that New York has ever bred: Annabelle Dexter-Jones with her twin older sisters Charlotte and Samantha Ronson at a dinner at Le Baron celebrating the launch of her clothing line
Alison Mosshart, one-half of the rock band The Kills, performing at the Boom Boom Room
The Kills cheering section: Matt Hitt, Poppy Delevingne, Alexa Chung and me.
The supersexy South African stunner Candice Swanepoel on the runway at the Prabal Gurung show. To see me chat with Candice and my other favorite catwalker, Joan Smalls, about their street style, click HERE.
Lindsay Lohan in Le Bain after evacuating the Purple Party
Me with the sexiest Canadian and Columbian Cover Girls in the world: Jessica Stam and Sofia Vargara, respectively. We’re at the Boom Boom Room (again) for the Purple Magazine party
Sky Ferreriera telling Olivier Theyskens what she thought of his collection for Theory at the Park Avenue Armory.
Matthew Mosshart and Kelly Osbourne taking a shortcut through the kitchen of the Pierre hotel following the Kills performance in the ballroom for Marc Jacobs’ party.
The wondrous Leighton Meester at the Vera Wang show
I blame Leigh Lezark for this entirely. She somehow talked me into joining her for a meet and greet with Eden Wood, the bull headed princess from Toddlers and Tiaras.
My favorite 1970s supermodel Patti Hansen and her daughter Alexander Richards sitting front row at Michael Kors show. In the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I interviewed Patti about her career, her life with Keith Richards, and growing up amongst the world’s most hardcore rock and rollers. Read the article, which was one of my favorites of 2011, HERE.
It’s true: Anywhere Ricky Martin goes, I’m sure to follow. Here I am with the Latin Pop sensation and Tinsley Mortimer at a MAC event. April 5th: That’s the day Evita opens on Broadwday!
The coolest people I know: Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough with Gia Coppola at Le Baron
And last but not least, me with Liya Kebede. That reminds me: Never have your picture taken with a famous supermodel.
For the complete slideshow with even more of my personal snapshots from New York fashion week, click HERE.
The fine folks at WhoWhatWear phoned me up in the start of the New Year to ask me if I would be willing to talk about a few things I love for a video series they were putting together with the fine folks from Samsung. Since talking about myself is one of the things I love, I immediately said yes. So, what’s on my list? Well, there’s Visionaire‘s Larger Than Life, the Nike bomber jacket I have already gushed about here, the New York City subway system, and my Schwinn bicycle. (And, as it turned out, I actually love the fancy pants new cell phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note, too.) It being near the Valentine’s season and all, and since I was born and raised a Momma’s Boy, I couldn’t help but send My Mom, Carol Blasberg, a little love not too.
First of all, yes, that is Celine Dion. In the flesh. Even if it looks like a wax figure. She’s just that good.
A few weeks ago, when I was in Las Vegas for Chanel’s store opening (see my pictures from the fete here, and watch my interview with girls like Alexa Chung, Jessica Alba and Jessica Alba here), I had the good fortune of seeing Celine Dion in concert at Caesar’s Palace. Before the show, I was invited to meet Celine (I brought my friend Douglas Friedman, who is in the above photo), and she looked divine, smelled great and was extremely personable.
It was a fabulous show. It opened with a montage of her on a far flung world tour and some very personal footage of her with her family after she took some time off her tour and had her twins. Then, for the next two hours, she serenaded a crowd of mostly Asians, Canadians and gay men.
In the weeks after the show I bragged to my friends about seeing Celine. But mostly I meant it as a joke. I mean, Celine in concert is pretty ridiculous. She makes bad jokes, does goofy faces, and she over emotes at any given opportunity. But, in the wake of Whitney Houston’s tragic and untimely death, I couldn’t help but have a new found respect for Celine and this performance.
I’m not debating who had the better voice here. (I’m sorry, but nothing will compare to Whitney’s performance in The Bodyguard, and I scan still muster a good cry in the shower when I listen to Celine’s ‘All By Myself.’ So it’s a toss up.) But to see Celine still today is to see a woman still firmly in her element. There is nothing that could stop her from belting out those songs: Not a husband with bad prerogatives or a crack problem, both of which were probably factors in Whitney’s post-superstardom life.
Celine’s entire life is built for that stage presence. There is no line between the woman and the performer; her whole life is her performance and her existence is either on tour, on a private plane, or in her Nevada manse. On the other hand, Whitney Houston had had some ups and downs. Many had said the voice was gone.
Like everyone else, I was sad to hear that Whitney had died. Yes, she was an icon and genius and her music will stand the test of time. But, in a way, she was already gone. Yet Celine is still here, and so is that voice. When I walked out of Caesar’s Palace and snaked through the casino full of fat people chain smoking menthol 100′s cigarettes and past the official Celine Dion merchandise kiosks, I figured this is what Celine was born to do. She was designed for that performance, and she has never tinkered with her wiring. So, for that reason alone, as we celebrate the passing of a legend, I can’t help but pay homage to the existence of another icon.
And then, just for fun, I found this video which made me love Celine for a whole other series of reason. Girl is talented, but sort of insane.
On set with Naomi Campbell: It’s a dream come true. It’s like watching an artist at work. No one knows the art of modeling like Ms. Campbell. She finds how to move her body, how to find the right lighting, how to sell a garment. And she should: This original supermodel has been working in the fashion industry for more than a quarter of a century. Bazaar shot Naomi in New York, and I went on set for this video. The full story is below, and go to Bazaar.com for more.
Naomi Campbell is living proof that some bad habits are hard to break. The inimitable fashion icon, currently celebrating more than a quarter century as one of the industry’s most in-demand (and infamous) models, has fought many demons in her 41 years. She’s beaten drug addiction, anger issues, and ethical scandals. These days, her personal e-mail bears the following signature: “Love & Light, Naomi.” Yet, as we soon discover, one last diva trait still lingers: her trademark tardiness. She’s nearly two hours late to her Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot. That’s the bad news. The good news? She’s so worth the wait.
When Campbell arrives, traces of the notorious Hurricane Naomi of years past — a swirl of entourage and phone-throwing attitude — are nowhere to be found. She arrives alone, barefaced and gorgeous, smiling behind big sunglasses, draped in mink. She is energetic and talkative. She’s flipping through photos on her BlackBerry of dresses that Alexander McQueen’s creative director, Sarah Burton, has sent her to consider for Mick Jagger and L’Wren Scott’s upcoming Christmas party. Then it’s on to the Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s, which Campbell viewed privately the night before. “Now, that woman had some jewels,” she says. She’s mum on which were her favorite pieces but lets it slip that she sent her boyfriend of four years, Vladislav Doronin, a handsome Moscow-based real estate entrepreneur, back for a second look. “It is the holidays.” She winks.
Next, Campbell is on to the clothes. She finds the stylist to approve the racks of clothes for today’s shoot, flicking through garments from friends like Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci (which please her) and a few from other designers that she deems too referential to Azzedine Alaïa. “He’s like my father,” she says. “I’ll be in trouble if he sees me in a rip-off.”
In an age in which most models roll onto sets resembling raggedy street urchins and put on whatever they’re told to, Campbell is, as she puts it, “old-school.” She’s an original supermodel, a woman whose Amazonian beauty has inspired an industry for generations. She needn’t wear something she doesn’t want to. And once the camera is clicking, she puts herself in the hands of the photographer; she doesn’t even look at the monitor between shots, which is unheard of in modern modeling.
The fact that Naomi Campbell is still working today, fronting high-fashion campaigns (including Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana) and walking top-tier designers’ runways while many of her 1990s supermodel sisters are nestled into domestic lives or high-street fashion gigs, is not lost on her. “It’s always surprising to get asked to do a job I did 20 years ago,” she says of the recent Cavalli campaign, which was shot by Steven Meisel. “I’m very blessed, and I know that.”
Cavalli likens her to a goddess. “I compare Naomi to Venus — her beauty is indescribable,” says the designer. “She’s never fake, and basically she’s perfect.” Her “take that” hauteur and touched-by-God beauty have rendered her a designer favorite since she was a teenager. Just ask Dolce and Gabbana. “We met at the beginning of her career, more than 25 years ago. From the very beginning, she was special, had great personality, and was determined and smart,” Domenico says. His partner, Stefano, chimes in: “She never rests on her laurels and always reinvents herself. She is a volcano of ideas, just like us!”
Campbell’s personality is magnetic. “People flock to Naomi because of her larger-than-life persona,” says designer Marc Jacobs. Today she’s the nucleus of a swirl of international movers and shakers. Pat McGrath, the celebrated makeup artist and a longtime friend, remembers Campbell’s 40th birthday in Cannes two years ago. “There are no words to describe that night,” she says. Who was there? “More like who wasn’t there! The Black Eyed Peas, Grace Jones, Marc, Riccardo, Domenico and Stefano, Carine Roitfeld. Everyone on the dance floor was there till 6:00 A.M.! People had traveled from all over the world for that one night.” The evening had such an impact on Jacobs that it served as inspiration for his Spring 2011 fashion show, a modern take on early hedonistic 1970s images. “We were all dancing up a storm. I mean my ankles were literally swollen and I could barely walk by the time I left,” says Jacobs. “There was just this hot summer feeling that felt like those great old days of disco.”
Much to my amazement, this was the sort of people I identified with most in Indianapolis. Go Giants!
The moment the Giants won, when the crowd went wild. Including Spike Lee, who is in the front left of this picture.
I love a marching band. Here’s one at the official pre-game tailgate party in the Convention Center
Lenny Kravitz is a football fan. Who knew? Here is the pierced and tank topped musical artist at the official tailgate.
Me as Tom Brady. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to sleeping with Gisele. (Which I’m OK with. She’s quite a talker.)
The crowd at the Super Bowl. A heaving, drunken, loud mass.
Don’t be sad, my man. You already won the Super Bowl, and you have Gisele, cute kids, the adoration of the entire town of Boston, and all the Ugg boots you ever could want.
Looking back on my Sunday night in Indianapolis, the first thing I think of is the music. I mean, I did not expect to see, within 24 hours, live performances from Jane’s Addiction, Lenny Kravitz, Madonna and Maroon 5. The Super Bowl is the new Coachella. Who knew?
Past the soundtrack, however, was the excitement of the game itself. I grew up in Missouri and I went to a public high school that loved its athletics program. (My brother, Chris, took his basketball team to the District Championships. Go Cougars!) So I know my way around a sporting event. But I could have never imagined the scale of the Super Bowl. Everywhere I looked I saw dollar signs: People had flown in from all over the world and paid outrageous hotel mark ups, beers were $10 a pop, rental cars were thousands of dollars a day and it costs $350 just to park. (I kept asking people why they didn’t just park on the street and pay the ticket? That’s me, being too practical.) The fine folks at Nike generously sorted me out with my tickets, and for that I’m extremely grateful. I will Just Do It forever now.
When the game started I could see that it was all worth it. It was a good game, a nail-biter till the end. The crowd was emotional, the spirit was jovial, and it seemed that everyone was in the mood to be fun, happy drunks, as opposed to macho, idiot drunks looking for a fight. (I love a happy drunk, people.) Unexpectedly, it was one of the most fun Sundays of my life: I ate hot dogs, drank beer, and I didn’t even care when my shoes got dirty. That was something else I noticed at the Super Bowl: In my Louis Vuitton scarf and my Dior Homme jeans and my special customized letterman’s jacket, I thought I was the best dressed dude in the dome. But to the other fellas, in their jerseys, ill fitting Levi’s, New Balance tennis shoes and Starter jackets, I probably was dressed confusing poorly. Is that guy wearing a leopard print pashmina?
Wait, there are more pictures!