Wednesday, 13 August 2008

journo skills revisited

This is my first adventure into the world of the published word. This is a bit of my handiwork: to be found in the pages of Fused Magazine, on their website or here !


5 decades, 5 dresses!

Fashion and music have always gone hand in hand; indeed they boast a very long, fertile and fruitful relationship. Every genre has its own sartorial counterpart and essence of style but there are five significant chapters in musical history, whose influence on fashion and lifestyle was and remains unmatched. Introducing the Ben Sherman PPQ collaboration, entitled: "Decades of Dresses".

Ever since the company's inception in 1963, when Britain was tapping its feet to Lennon and McCartney at the height of Beatlemania and London was the coolest hotspot on earth, Ben Sherman have been creating clothes that blend with the latest scene. PPQ is equally at home with the music vibe. The high fashion clothing brand, a recent hit at London Fashion Week, has its own record label (1-2-3-4). Therefore it was only natural that Ben Sherman would choose London darlings PPQ to be a part of its first womenswear collaboration. There is an obvious synergy between the two brands and it isn't just restricted to the music front; both are pioneers of British style and have the ability to translate contemporary cultural moods and trends into stylish, wearable and truly covetable clothes.

The result of this inventive new project is a range of five uber-stylish dresses that single-handedly and individually revive the original stylings of the five most important phases in British musical history: Mod, Rock, Ska, Britpop and Indie.

The Sixties - Mod
Ben Sherman was born of the 60s so it comes as no surprise that this dress looks like it was handpicked out of Twiggy's party wardrobe circa '63. The short and swinging shift dress is an iconic shape which instantly conjures up images of mods moving and shaking to the revolutionary sounds of The Who. The dress has a button down feature, which is synonymous with the Ben Sherman brand. Team with immaculate hair, cream opaque tights, Go-Go boots and false lashes for the ultimate Mod effect. Vespa optional.

The Seventies - Rock
Psychedelia is the key word here. The classic Ben Sherman silhouette is fused with the floaty, paisley printed style pioneered by the most influential guitarist of all time; musical genius Jimmy Hendrix. Forget Reading, Woodstock here we come!

The Eighties - Ska
In recent years the 80s has enjoyed a warm welcome back to the forefront of fashion and music. However, the signature styles of the ska movement, established by bands such as The Specials and Selektor, have been overlooked. The key trend centred on "2-tone"; black and white checks and sharp suits. Styles were tailored and smart and this is reflected in this high-wasted houndstooth pencil skirt dress. Brimming with grit and an air of elitist underground cool, this dress epitomises the electric and rebellious atmosphere of the 80s.

The Nineties - Britpop
The 90s was a Brit-soaked affair with bands such as Blur, Oasis, Pulp, The Stone Roses and Black Grape all grappling for the title of Britpop Kings. This quintessentially British dress mixes monochrome stripes with embellished detailing, signifying a wink to the wives of the Britpop army that brought the UK to the forefront of the international music scene once more. It wasn't all about tent-raves and dummies after all. Hooray!

The Noughties - Indie
This dress represents the "Indie in all of us". The musical boundaries of the 00's are far more blurred and much less rigid, allowing individuals to spread their musical interests over a wide variety of genre without the fear of retaliation or judgement (see "Mods and Rockers"). The conflict that can exist between differing genre is at last banished to yesteryear and this dress is indicative of that all-encompassing ethos, combining laid-back bohemia with ethereal frills and Victoriana collar. It is at once gothic, contemporary, mysterious and ultimately, individual.

For PPQ and Ben Sherman, the relationship between fashion and music is both inextricable and unchallengeable. They always have and always will influence each other and mirror the current cultural zeitgeist; in short, it is the perfect love affair. This exclusive and innovative collection pays homage to that notion and captures the very essence of the relationship in five breathtakingly authentic dresses. Transport yourself back to your favourite decade courtesy of Ben Sherman and PPQ.

With only 175 of each dress available globally they are destined to be the most coveted item of the season. Get yours now!

Words: Jennifer Laventine



NOIR: The Black Book of Art and Fashion

Attention all high-fashion followers THIS is the next big thing. Forget Vogue (did I just say that, I didn't mean it, AMEN)... NOIR is an exclusive, brand-spanking new, limited edition book, the sole purpose of which is to exhibit and showcase the works of up-coming fashion designers, artists and photographers along side those who already have their foot firmly wedged in the fashion door. It is essentially a single compendium amalgamating the freshest, most exciting new designers the world of fashion and creativity has to offer, with already well-established favourites. And top it off, it is all pressed together wonderfully in one chic little binding that will compliment your bookshelf as beautifully as a classic Chanel 2.55 does your favourite ensemble.

The book will only be stocked in the four main fashion cities in the world; London, Paris, Milan and NYC and is due for release Summer 2008. We at Fused are finding it somewhat difficult to come to terms with having to wait that long so luckily for us (and you), in conjunction with the book release, the NOIR team are soon to launch The website will be the epicentre of all necessary and unmissable fashion news from new designers and upcoming shows to breaking news on Karl Lagerfeld's latest muse. Keep your peepers peeled for more information on the launch, future publications and general high-fashion gossip.

Label-lusters, fashion-fanatics and art geeks alike will find a new Bible in the shape of NOIR and you should all be literally bursting at the seams to get your little paws on it. With a single peek at the index all of our future fashion fixes will be solved.

NOIR is set to be a one-of-a-kind reference point for industry insiders and mere mortals alike so do your wardrobe a favour and do as the professionals will; invest in NOIR. Putting it frankly, your book (& fashion rag) collection will not be complete without this little gem.

Words: Jennifer Laventine



Enter the 1980s and with it, the height of the portable stereo craze - walkmans were worn on the hip and boomboxes were held on the shoulder or positioned on a street corner for an impromptu breakdancing session. In fact, the terms "boomboxes" and "ghetto blasters" were borne of this period in an attempt to describe the "noise" that emanated from portable stereo cassette recorders.

If you ever wished you could have been part of that Grandmaster Flash-style, slinky adidas tracksuit wearing, street prowling crew of '84? Have you been scouring eBay for that original '84 Panasonic RX-5050? Look no further.

The innovative folks at Parcel LOOP NYC and Suck.UK have created two fantastic 80s inspired boombox items that allow us mere mortals of the modern world to transform our meek little MP3 players into 80s icons.

Introducing 'Audio Couture' from Parcel; the newest rock and roll inspired collection follows their previous range of ghetto blaster tote bags, piano key clutches and guitar-shaped shoulder bags. The newest addition to this highly original line is must have arm (and ear!) candy: a bag that is shaped like a retro boombox, which not only looks the part, but also sounds it.

Simply plug in your MP3 player and the in-built speakers, which run off the battery power of your player, will play your favourite tracks. Perfect for spur-of-the-moment parties, picnics in the park or creating an authentic backdrop for showcasing your break-dancing shapes. Plus you can keep your purse and keys in it too- genius.

Suck.UK have also come up trumps with their boombox-shaped cardboard MP3 player speaker system. Simply follow the instructions to construct the faux-stereo and watch as your MP3 player morphs into an impressive sound system from the past. This is the 80s revivalists dream.

Now for all of you boys and girls who are lucky enough to still have in your possession an actual cassette player in these times of iPod wizardry, brand spanking new tape label 'Stop Scratching' is here to inject a bit of fresh talent into your tapedeck. Debut release from Birmingham duo Benjamin Savva and Cassandra Joy Merrick is from local boys Mirror! Mirror! ( who recently supported LA sextet The Mae Shi. Each tape comes with specially re-recorded tracks, exclusive remixes and limited edition 'Stop Scratching' comic strip-style artwork from Nuneaton-based artist Trav ( Not only that, but when you purchase a tape, the lovely Ben and Cassie will email you the tracks so you can have the best of both worlds. Tapes are £3 plus postage and are available from

Words: Jennifer Laventine

1 comment:

Lizz said...

I have that stereo bag, it is awesome!