Why staying in is the new going out.

I must be getting old! I used to be able to dance the night away, from dusk til dawn, and then get up and do a full days work. I used to like nothing more than a great night out, meeting friends, eating, drinking and frankly being merry. But now nothing makes me happier than a night in, with a great takeaway, a nice bottle of wine and something seriously good to watch on the TV. And I think the TV might just be the key to why I now enjoy this so much.

Television now is a global event, opinions on TV programmes shared on Twitter in live time, plots discussed and dissected, and sometimes even spoiled by social media. Viewers benefit from the range of channels, the opportunity for live pause and rewind and catch up options (check out the Talk Talk TV packages that are currently available), all allowing us to watch what we want, when we want. And with some real classic TV in 2013, and more to come as the year progresses, I’ve become telly addicted all over again.

Here are a few of my current highlights.

The Fall

With the serial killer unveiled in the opening episode, The Fall turned all the usual conventions of crime thrillers on their head. An ice-cool, some would say freezing cold, heroine played by Gillian Anderson totally captivated as she lived her life like a man, using a rather dishy detective for sex, sleeping in the office as the case progressed, all the time giving the impression that she was the only person capable of solving this case. The series ended on a massive cliffhanger, with the killer on his way to a new life, a new destination, and probably new victims.

The Returned

For all those who say you should watch TV, rather than read TV, then please just watch the opening episode of French drama, The Returned. A beautiful village in the Alps suddenly sees its dead returning, starving and with complete amnesia about their deaths. Years have past, but the ‘returned’ are stuck in time, preserved at the age they left, and both terrifying and astonishing their loved ones. So many questions were raised by the opening episode, that I spent the next half hour googling the series.

Burton and Taylor

Set in the early 1980’s, just before Richard’s premature death, Burton and Taylor is a much-anticipated programme for anyone with interest in one of Hollywood’s greatest love stories. Rather than Lindsey Lohan (please!), we have the super talented Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor, and Dominic West as an uncanny Richard Burton. Planned for screening at the end of the year, I cannot wait to see this!

Made in Chelsea

My guilty pleasure, Made in Chelsea keeps me entertained, amused and hooked every single episode. I love the smarminess of Spencer, Millie, Rosie and Lucy and their fabulous sense of style. I giggle at the bromance between Proudlock and Francis, constantly engaged in chasing the same girl, and just love the way the characters/actors, whatever they are, all take off at the drop of a hat and holiday somewhere amazing with all these people they seem to really hate. A real soap opera couldn’t be any more amazing than #MIC.

Baftas fabulous fashion – How to get the look.

The bright and beautiful of Hollywood took a trip across the pond for the BAFTAS on Sunday evening, bringing some pretty serious fashion statements with them. Michelle Williams, Jessica Chastain, Meryl Streep and (swoon! swoon!) George Clooney all took a trip down the red carpet, being accosted by a Louis Vuitton clad Miss Piggy on route. There was also a strong showing from the Brit contingent, with Emilia Fox, Tilda Swinton and honorary Brit Gillian Anderson   shining on a rather cold winters night. Here are my personal favourites from the night.

Michelle Williams drew gasps when it emerged that her classic gown was from H&M. The whole look was one of understated elegance, a monochrome palette with a colour pop of red lips. Some have said it was a little bit ‘so what’, but I don’t understand this. Michelle looked beautiful – end of story.

Get the Look

Short and flirty

John Lewis Contrast Bodice Dress, 

Full length

B. Darlin Strapless Dress

Jessica Chastain continued her run of great looks with this Marilyn Monroe style Sunray pleated gold dress from Oscar De La Renta. Gold was a great colour for the gorgeous redhead, although I would’ve ditched the draped chain necklace for something shorter.

Get the look

Short and flirty

Marilyn GATHERED HALTER NECK DRESS GRAPHITE NOW 

Spell On You flared dress £120.00 

Full length

ASOS Curve Exclusive Maxi Dress In Metallic 

Christina Hendricks proved yet again that no-one dresses a curvy figure like Vivienne Westwood. I loved the black stain fabric and the flattering neckline, but the hairdo was a little bit messy. Still, my husband took one look and said ‘she is  just beautiful’ and I frankly couldn’t agree more.

Get the Look

Short and flirty

So Fabulous Slinky Boobtube Dress £29 

Fiona One Shoulder Structured Detail Dress £15 

Full length

 

MaxStudio One shoulder evening dress 

Honorary Brit Gillian Anderson looked so pretty in a strapless yellow dress by Sybil. I think this dress has a real Christian Dior feel, circa 1955, and the use of chandelier earrings to accessorise was the perfect touch.

Get the Look

Short and flirty

BR Monogram silk Lela strapless dress £140 

Full length

A-line Strapless Floor-length Tulle Satin Evening Dress £128.42

Another beautiful lady taping  into the lush lemon trend was Naomie Harris, who looked ethereal in a floaty gown by Emilio Pucci. Naomie is soon to be a new Bond girl, and she showed why she is the perfect choice on the red carpet. I loved how springlike this dress is, really pointing towards warmer days.

Get the look

Short and flirty

Alice & You Yellow diagonal dip dress £26 

Full length

A-Line Straps Floor Length Chiffon Evening Gown 

 

A few more looks I liked

Emilia Fox wore a vintage style gown from Luisa Beccaria that really reminded me of something that Florence Welch would wear. I thought the burnished, antique gold looked great against her red hair. I was also impressed that she wore a tiered dress that avoided looking like it should cover a toilet roll.

Get  the look

Luxury Lace Dress £165.00 

Tilda Swinton looked statuesque in this simply divine column dress by Celine. It has been called boring, but I think people are missing the point. When you have bone structure as amazing as Tilda, you can get away with the divine simplicity of a dress like this. That said, I am over the Elvis quiff now.

 In the same way that Rihanna seems to be bringing sexy back (HAVE YOU SEEN THAT GRAMMYS DRESS?), Viola Davis is bringing pretty back. On red carpet, after red carpet, she looks bright and beautiful, and now she is taking part in Livia Firth’s red carpet challenge, wearing a custom-made, salmon pink eco dress from Valentino. Saving the planet frankly never looked so good!

There were some looks that I hated.Edith Bowman turned up in what looked like a dodgy 70s wedding dress, whilst her Radio One friend Fearne Cotton looked like she was wearing a 1970s salmon pink nightdress, and has for the candy floss hair, it was just too much. The usually reliable Octavia Spencer resembled a black tie event waitress in her Tadashi Shoji ruffled skirt and white shirt a la Sharon Stone.

So, what did you think? Who were your favourites on the night? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

Wallis Simpson – now a 21st century style icon.

Portrait of Wallis Simpson, 1936

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most celebrated style icons of the 20th century looks set to emerge as a key influence for 2011. Wallis Simpson, the women for whom Edward VIII gave up the British throne, is the topic of the new film WE, which is currently being directed by Madonna. This will follow on from a Christmas radio play, and an appearance in a classy Channel 4 drama.

Wallis Simpson, Nee Warfield, was a true style icon. She was not classically beautiful, but she knew how to dress with elegance, style and impeccable good taste.  Her wit and personality, along with her effortless style,  made up for a lack of  typical good looks, and Edward, the then Prince of Wales, fell deeply in love with the vivacious, but twice divorced American. When he ascended the throne in January 1936, he made it clear that he would not rule without Wallis at his side. This was totally unacceptable, and in December of that same year, he abdicated in favour of his brother, becoming the Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis in France in 1937. Her periwinkle blue suit by Mainbocher became an instant style hit, setting the tone for her future wardrobe with its simplicity and elegance.

Wedding outfit 1937

Wallis was internationally recognised for her sense of style.  A birdlike size 6, she was able to wear designs by the likes of Dior, Schiaparelli and Vionnet. She favoured large print silk tea dresses, calf length pencil skirts, silk bias cut evening dresses. Sleek suits with pencil skirts and jackets with nipped in waists, mid heeled shoes, wide leg trousers and acres of fur – all featured heavily in Wallis’s wardrobe. She wore lots of black and white, which contrasted well with her black hair and pale skin.

She was able to accessorize her fabulous wardrobe with the most amazing jewellery collection that was presented to her by the Duke. Amongst the most famous pieces are the Cartier panther bracelet, and the beautiful flamingo brooch pictured below.Wallis died in 1986, 14 years after the Duke Of Windsor. But the world had never lost interest in the couple, or in the story of their romance. The pieces of jewellery that the Duke gave to Wallis play a big part in their story. They were initially auctioned off in 1987, and then, this November, they came under the auctioneer’s hammer once again. The collection made a total of £8million pounds in the auction, with the sapphire encrusted Cartier panther bracelet  selling fora spectacular £4.5million! Although the winning bidders identity remains a secret, there has been speculation that Madonna herself may be the proud owner of the stunning bracelet.

The auction has served to resurrect interest in Wallis. Copies of her most famous jewels have reappeared on the High Street in stores like River Island. Gillian Anderson played Wallis in the Channel 4 series ‘Any Human Heart, whilst Elizabeth McGovern is set to play the Duchess in a Radio 4 play entitled ‘The Darkness of Wallis Simpson‘ based on the book by Rose Tremain. Perhaps most exciting is ‘W.E’ the production currently being directed by Madonna that will star Andrea Riseborough as Wallis. There are rumours that it is a troubled production, with Vera Farminga and Margo Stilley leaving the film, but it will hopefully be a fascinating film about a very fascinating style icon.

 

Gillian Anderson as Wallis

 

 

Wallis style…

Little Bo's boutique

 

River Island

Wallis style jacket from Wallis of course!

beautiful 30's style dress from Wallis

Just add beautiful jewels - black dress from Wallis

Richard Nicoll skirt Net-a-porter

Moschino cheap n chic cardigan Net-a-Porter

Miu Miu dress Net-a-Porter