Art Style Love

A fashion & art blog written by Jennifer.

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Brit Tech: Gadgets for the Quintessential Brit


   In an ever-developing, technologically advancing world, one might come to believe that little British traditions, such as a quick gab in the kitchen while the kettle is boiling, are beginning to fade. We've already seen some of the more unusual customs slip into oblivion - though a few enthusiastic individuals still keep up traditions - i.e. maypole dancing (I question the point of this, anyway), bog snorkeling (eww) and wife carrying (...ermmm?), but it's not too late to preserve our current daily rituals that make British life that bit more comfortable and familiar.

   In essence, technology shouldn't be seen as a threat; it's a useful addition to our fast-paced lives, and should be used to our advantage. Just look at the excitingly techy gadgets below, which take the notion of being British to a whole new, futuristic level:


1. The Kettle

   Like most Brits, I don't function before I've had a cup of tea. That milk and one sugar starts the day with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and the little kick of caffeine is just enough to get me through the morning commute. But by spending more time getting ready (read: 'filling in my eyebrows') than I care to admit, I often miss out on my morning cuppa and leave the house feeling rather groggy.

   Enter, iKettle.

   Imagine reaching over to turn off your alarm in the morning to be greeted with the one question that can comfort any Brit: 'Would you like me to pop the kettle on?'. Et voila! With the click of a button, your kettle starts to boil while you're still half asleep brushing your teeth, shaving precious minutes off your morning routine which you can then spend mulling over the dilemma of wearing heels or flats.

Available from firebox.com, Amazon and Curry's

2. The Watch

   Ever since the smartwatch, as we know it, pushed and shoved its way into our lives back in 2013, we've seen some pretty ugly versions of the product on the tech shelves, i.e. the clunky Samsung Galaxy Gear and the robotic Sony SmartWatch 2. It's like they were too eager to get these products out into the market that they completely forgot that people don't want to look like they've got an electronic tag on their wrist.

   The Brits are a bit of a stylish lot (though they don't like to brag about it), and these fugly wrist-beasts just didn't make the cut. Thank god that LG and Motorola came to the rescue, with watches that cram all the goodness of a smartwatch into the sleek and stylish display of an analogue watch. The Motorola Moto 360 is minimal in its design, and features Android Wear, which provides everything from traffic announcements to a heart rate monitor, whilst the LG G Watch R is slightly more rugged, but packs the same punch in terms of software. 

   2015 will, hopefully, see a whole host of entries into the new class of smartwatches that cater to substance as well as style; however, I would personally love to see some more feminine designs made available.

Available from John Lewis.


3. The Wheel

   Though we don't cycle nearly as much as the Danish - we're ranked 10th in the list of cycle-friendly nations - you can't go to the capital without spotting a Boris bike, or ten. To help us out, Superpedestrian are introducing a handy device which fits onto the back wheel of your bike, and tells you all sorts of information about your journey via your smartphone, such as pollution levels, speed of travel and calories burned. It even stores up energy from your peddling to give you a boost in particularly tricky areas of your route, and gives you the ability to lock and unlock your bike.

   The Copenhagen Wheel may seem like a gadget fit for dedicated cycling enthusiasts and professionals, but I predict that sporting tech is set to become a huge part of our lives in the next few years!

Available to pre-order from Superpedestrian.

4. The Climate Controller

   One topic on all of our lips, whether we're having lunch with our workmates or making small talk at the bus stop, is the weather. Hot, cold, rain or snow, we always have something to talk about when it comes to climate, and we never seem to be content.

   Dyson's latest addition to its range of no-blade fans is the Hot+Cool, an oval shaped machine which heats and cools rooms evenly and effectively. No more dodgy air conditioning or waiting for your heating to kick in, this changes the temperature of the room almost instantly to your selected degree - and it can be changed using a remote control.

   Now there's no excuse for complaining. Apart from when you go outside.

Available from John Lewis, Amazon and Curry's.

5. The Gloves

   Ever heard your phone vibrate and scrambled to find it in your oversized tote, only to find that you're too late? Yeah, I thought so. And it's even more frustrating when you call them back and get their voicemail because they're trying to call you again.

   With Thinkgeek's bluetooth gloves, you can answer your phone and talk - via your hand. The gloves come with a speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the pinky, meaning you'll have to walk around literally talking to the hand. These 'handy' accessories (sorry, I had to) charge over USB and have a talk time of up to 20 hours. They also have a massive range of 40 feet, as well as touchscreen compatible fingertips.

   The downside? Dry-clean only.

Available from Thinkgeek.
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Friday, 27 February 2015

London Observations: Beautiful Buildings


   Second only to Paris, London is one of my favourite cities for its culture and beauty. It has become a hub of modern innovation, juxtaposed with examples of stunning innovation from eras gone by.

   London is not characterised by any particularly architectural style, so its mish-mash of silhouettes, materials and colours fuse together to produce a truly unique city-scape, rich in the beauty formed by the ideas of many different creative souls.

   Pictured above are Somerset House, Christopher's Grill in Covent Garden, and St Paul's Church (also in Covent Garden).

  Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776 as a grand public building which housed various learned societies, including the Royal Academy and The University of London. Originally a quadrangle, the east and west wings were not completed until 1856.

   Christopher's Grill, a restaurant on Wellington Street which serves rather delectable American cuisine, is housed in a Grade II listed building which was, once upon a time, London's first licensed casino.

   St Paul's Church, Covent Garden's parish church, was commissioned in 1631 and has since been well-known for its association with theater. Nicknamed 'Actor's Church', many plays have been performed under its portico - and you'll often see street acts entertaining crowds just outside.
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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Moda in Pelle x PPQ at LFW

   Last Friday I attended PPQ and Moda in Pelle's second catwalk collab: a wonderful concoction of monochromatic hues and Gothic aesthetic. I felt as if this season's collection, in contrast to SS15, showed a completely different side of PPQ's 'underground London cool' dynamic, and Moda in Pelle really rocked the shoe-game with patent footwear featuring black faux-fur and tassels (or fringing... I can't make up my mind).

   The models looked stunning in a variety of sheer and opaque ensembles, paired with romantic up-dos and slick red lips. The entire show seemed to be a mix of The Bride of Frankenstein and a twisted, PVC-charged Wuthering Heights - in a really good way.

    A revised version of Moda in Pelle's footwear range will be available online and in stores nationwide in late 2015 (can't wait!); in the mean time the photographs below show a slice of what you should be expecting from the affordable shoe brand, as well as from PPQ.

Images via Tangerine PR
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Asymmetric Pearl Earrings


   Since Dior released their 'Mise en Dior' earrings, I've been searching for an affordable alternative supplier of the double-backed pearl earrings. At £260 a pair (and let's just note that this is costume jewellery, not real gold or even real pearls - sigh), Dior's beautiful sets were just a tad out of my league, though I couldn't stop looking at their stunning range of colours: emerald greens, soft golds, fiery reds - they were all there, and taunting me with their prettiness.

   It's only this year that I've started seeing similar designs in high street shops and online. ASOS stock a few different pair including this peachy set, whilst Topshop and H&M also have their own versions, but Dorothy Perkins really stepped up their game and delivered the earrings in the images above. These include a gold-coloured scalloped details around the base of each pearl, and look just perfect sitting on the ear. And, most importantly, they were only £6.50, a far more reasonable price, considering you're getting pretty much exactly the same materials as the Dior pair.

   Although I can't find this particular pair online, for some reason (though they're definitely instore right now), they've also got a pair in shiny black which are also very pretty!
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Latitude Festival Line-Up 2015 - Where to Hear It First

   It may seem like summer is a world away but, really, four months will fly past and before we know it, we'll be well into wearing crop tops and denim cutoffs, and this season's 70s trends (which, by the way, are already creeping into shops if you hadn't yet noticed - Zara has a great collection if you're an early adopter). I'm hoping for an Indian Summer this year - I need a long break from the cold - so to get myself in the mindset, I'm going to talk festivals. In particular, Latitude.
*

   This year is a particularly exciting year for Suffolk's most renowned music festival, Latitude, as it's their 10th anniversary!

   Beccles' stunning Henham Park has played host to a number of successful and talented artists over the years, including last year's line-up which featured 2014's biggest underdog, Hozier, as well as chart favourites and masters of genre-fusion, Clean Bandit - two of my current musical obsessions.

   This year's line-up will be announced on 3rd March 2015 on BBC Radio 6 at 11am - so whether you're listening in your car, at work or on your alarm clock radio, make sure to tune in!

   Of course, alongside the acts on the mainstage, there will be a huge variety of comedians, poets, DJs, local bands and theatre - definitely not to be missed! I'm proud to say that Suffolk has some of the best cultural entertainment outside London, so if you're looking for a weekend escape where you can relax with friends, enjoy good music and great food (Latitude offers a range of organic and Fairtrade food stalls, with cuisines from all over the world), grab a ticket and enjoy the atmosphere.


Images c/o Midas PR
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Why Beyoncé's Unretouched Photos are Irrelevant

   If you've been on Twitter this week, or any tabloid news site, you may have noticed an article or two surrounding unretouched stills from Beyoncé's L'Oreal campaign, which was shot back in 2013.

   The photos, released on her fansite, 'The Beyoncé World', show her in close-up headshots wearing bold eyeliner and red lipstick - sans Photoshop (I'll let you Google the images before you read on, if you haven't already). Of course, the media almost jumped out of their seats at this opportunity to degrade a woman of stature; it was almost uncanny.

   Under the guise of the 'real woman' angle, the Daily Mail posted headlines such as 'Just like us, Beyonce isn't flawless' and 'Female fans rally in support of Beyonce after leaked shots reveal her spotty skin in pre-Photoshop L'Oreal ads'. On the outside, these headlines seem to support Beyoncé, but actually this is just as degrading as leaking the images in the first place. By making a story out of the photos, these news sites are increasing their circulation, and therefore promoting the invasion of Beyoncé's privacy and integrity even further. But what I'm most annoyed about is the contradiction revealed when, sifting through the Daily Mail's archive, I see a post detailing her sister's skin issues, 'Solange Knowles breaks out in angry red hives on wedding day', accompanied by a photo which was obviously taken at the wrong moment and from a deliberately awful angle. Sifting a bit more, I discover a whole host of articles focusing on picking out the flaws of celebrities - and, oh yes, they're all famous females on a night out, or at the beach, or running to the convenience shop in joggers and a hoodie.

   How can you possibly preach about being in favour of the beauty of 'real women', when you're blatantly and intentionally humiliating women at their most real?

   I'm sure most feminists will agree that the use of Photoshop by fashion and beauty brands is a key move in the objectification of women and the promotion of unobtainable standards - but we're all aware that women in magazines, commercials, films and music videos rarely look like they do in real life, because they've been warped into a universal idea of 'perfection'. And I'm pretty damn sure that Beyoncé's aware of this too, having worked in music (an industry just as superficial as fashion or beauty) for just under 20 years. Let's face it, if Beyoncé truly didn't want to be Photoshopped, she wouldn't have starred in that commercial - she's an intelligent woman, and she knows what the industry wants.

   As for bringing out the 'real woman' cards as soon as a famously beautiful celebrity has their unretouched photos leaked - of course they're real women. They were real women before they were Photoshopped, and they are real women after. Using a graphic design tool doesn't change anything. Yes, she may have spots, pigmentation, scarring, and yes we might not always see that because these aspects are usually airbrushed - but that's not the degrading part.  The degrading part is jumping on the back of these photos with the facade of celebrating real beauty in order to gain views for your news site.

   Thus, Beyoncé's unretouched photos are irrelevant to the modern woman, so much so that some of us were rolling our eyes as soon as we saw the headlines. We're not idiots. We know that we're all women, celebrity or not. We know that we have our good days and our bad days. And we don't gasp in shock and cover our mouths when we all of a sudden find out that Beyoncé or Solange or whoever is a 'real woman' because some tabloid told us so. We knew that she was bloody well real anyway.


   On a defiant note, here's an image of Beyoncé as it was intended. Real woman and all.


Image via Purple PR
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bring Me A Higher Love


SUNGLASSES - ASOS / COAT - H&M / DRESS - BOOHOO / JUMPER - VERO MODA (similar here) / BAG - NEW LOOK / SHOES - BOOHOO
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