Season’s greetings

In Fashion shows on January 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm


So I have carefully examined the Dead Sea Scrolls (UK Vogue and Grazia) and come to this conclusion about the next fashion season we are about to entre: it’s perfect for a period of financial restraint as there is absolutely nothing I want to buy.

That isn’t quite the same as there being nothing I like. If I had Natalia Vodianova’s figure and Gisele Bundchen’s skin there’d be a few things I’d want to buy. Most of them bright orange.

That is actually the one trend I can imagine myself referencing in real life (i.e. from a chain store). I think a bright orange towelling hoodie would be terrific fun for weekends. A jacket and pants not so much.

My stand out look of the whole season is this marvellous orange arrangement above by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. It’s perfect. And if you looked like this model you probably would have somewhere to wear it, like a pool party at the Beckhams’ place. Or drinks on P Diddy’s yacht.

Among the ‘looks’ I wouldn’t be wearing even if I were five foot eleven, size six, caramel-skinned and a close personal friend of the Abramovichs, are the following:

Jil Sander

Colour blocking
It makes my eyes want to cry.




This makes at least four times in my adult life this terrible notion has been visited upon us. The first occurrence, I was 23 and old enough not to know better. I bought a neon lime green jumper. It was a mistake. (It was also 100% acrylic which didn’t help.) The only time this look has ever worked was at a rave in a field in 1990.


Nina Ricci

Fiddly details 

These make the models look wide. I don’t need any help with that. See also, Feathers.

Long dresses with flat shoes for daywear
This is what led to last summer’s terrible outbreak of long dresses in the city. So wrong. So dangerous on an escalator. Even if I weren’t the size and shape of a hobbit I wouldn’t want to wear a flowery moo moo on Regent’s Street. Or MacQuarie Street. Or Madison Avenue.


Puffy puff puff

 ‘Peasant Revival’ UK Grazia called it. I think Helena Bonham-Carter is a better description.



 Flower power

Be they oversized tropicals or mimsy English garden borders, I feel this idea has been around for the last five seasons. And it didn’t suit me for any of them.

Nina Ricci

Frilly frou frou
I can’t bear this. UK readers will be familiar with the Marks & Spencer range called Per Una, which is aimed at the painfully feminine middle-aged woman. Everything has a flipping frill on it. I want to torch the racks every time I pass them. It’s for women who like frosted lippie and nail varnish. And wear skin tone tights with sandals. And panty pads.

Apart from the previously discussed orange these are three trends I can see the point of:

Urban sportswearI loved it when Miuccia Prada first had the idea to incorporate high tech fabrics and ergonomic sportswear details into chic clothes, nearly twenty years ago (gulp, can’t believe it’s that long since I bought my first designer trainers…) and I love it now. It’s flattering, it’s practical, it has a nice narrow cut, you can stuff it in a suitcase.

Dress up white
This is one of those rare things in fashion – a new idea. I like the idea of a white dress for formal, not just for strolling along the Croisette. A bit like a First Communion outfit for a grown up, in the hands of Dolce & Gabbana, it looks sexy not creepy . Of course white can be very unflattering and it’s a magnet for tomato sauces and you could look like a tragic Miss Havisham, but I still like the idea.

This is very selfless, because sunray pleats look absolutely flipping awful on me, but on the right person they are gorgeous. A properly sophisticated femininity.

  1. I have to book into a hotel if I want to wear white. Or lock my children in a dark cellar….

  2. “Panty pads” Oh hell, not looking forward to that one. Made me laugh out loud this post, husband wanted to know what the hell was so funny on my computer at this hour on a Saturday morning. Polo/turtle necks off limits for me (also endowed in the chest department) – mono-boob/continental shelf effect not pretty.

  3. So agree with all of this Maggie! Thanks for making me laugh out loud on a slightly hung over Sunday morning!

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maggie Alderson, lisamareedom. lisamareedom said: RT @MaggieA: Season's greetings: Take note @MakeDoStyle – Maggie is my originial Aussie Style guru […]

  5. I agree with everything. I love orange,but can’t wear it, hate neon, love white. There are so many lovely things out there, everyone should be able to find something they like.

  6. Thank God I don’t have to try and do colour blocking or fluoro next spring and I do worry about formal white after seeing Jennifer Love Hewitt and J-Lo get it so wrong at the Golden Globes.

  7. I LUFF that Lanvin look and was one of the few that I adored beyond words at the you know, last runway season. I’m also a mad keen white wearer – it was actually the colour I wore most in my early 20s and I think it just as chic as black so I’m thrilled to see this new take. I however, am not the lithe 50kg I was age 21 so will not go near any kind of white pant situation. I am with you on the colour blocking and the peasant and too much frou frou…so basically I’m saying that I agree with you on everything. Not much point to my comment really! Happy weekend. x

  8. Oh Maggie, I love the way you so cleverly articulate all that I can’t put into words. That fluro skirt suit literally made my jaw fall open. Will we never learn? I’m even more dubious about the accompanying footwear. Unless it’s a promo for an upcoming special: Peggy Olson’s Gilligan’s Island Adventure!

  9. Re tweet on pic alignment – yeah, that’s a problem. Still, not your fault. Idiot stylesheets are the problem. Do you know any css?

  10. “‘Peasant Revival’ UK Grazia called it. I think Helena Bonham-Carter is a better description”. I die…

  11. Maggie, its somehow good when you dont have a reason to shop – quite cleansing really. Im just glad harem pants have gone far far away not that they really arrived. BTW The women with the panty pads, do they also use buckets of Arpege, drink cup a soup for lunch and like a headband to keep the hair at bay when they go for a walk?

    • I don’t think they would be quite up to Arpege… Some very FEMININE fragrance. ksjdghkdfhgklsdfhgjlkdjfhglkdfg I hate that label in a completely irrational way.

  12. I have always thought the irony of haute couture is that by the time you can afford it, or are important enough to be given it, ya gunna be a bit past your prime.

    Oh how I would like to wear a Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme suit. But then there’s the problem of the pot; I could suck it in, or wear a girdle and be carried from place to place at fabulous parties.

    Orange is for prison jumpsuits and forensics folks on tele.

    Fabulous clothes I can wear and look fabulous in, are in such short supply for this middle aged homo, I am considerig buying the same fabulous jacket in another fabulous colour. I’ve never done that before, I always thought it was cheating.

  13. Spot on. I love wearing white – not off white, but true white. It is one colour I know I suit and I love it.

    If I ever wore orange my mother would faint. I don’t mind it myself, but I’ve grown up with her pointing out anyone wearing orange and hissing at me, “Would you look at THAT?? Urgh!”

  14. Orange only looks good on my Dutch Indonesian friend and others with that lovely skin colour. Not that that will stop the chain stores from filling racks with it, to only be bought by fashion victims and those too young to know better.Or to languish till sale time when more fall victim to the allure of “50% off”

  15. “It’s for women who like frosted lippie and nail varnish. And wear skin tone tights with sandals. And panty pads.”
    I think you just described my secret horror, becoming THAT woman.
    I actually think I could do the neon green skirt of the Christopher Kane suit, in the privacy of my own home of course.

  16. Financial restraint? All for it! Getting older – and slightly rounder – does restrict the purchasing – and my greatest fear (that I will look like my mother) is beginning to be realised! So, what I would previously have spent on the latest fashion (not orange, or white, or green really) I am now redirecting this season into a personal trainer – who shows no mercy, does not take no for an answer and has made every single part of my body hurt! Hopefully the results of this season’s spending will mean I can “say no” to a broader range of recycled trends next year!

  17. I’m having flash backs to what was it- mid 90’s? When that bloody orange was everywhere. I reckon we will find it creeping in. A caddie here. Some strappy slides there. Until we think nothing of a full patent trench! Urhhh

  18. I have never, ever liked orange. It is a color that should be banned by the fashion police. So tell me some good fun books to read as i have read all of yours … desperately seeking more as I won’t be buying clothes. i did score a fabulous handmade pair of blue suede lace up sneakers with sequins – hand made in Italy! Blue is good.
    Book suggestions please.
    It is too quiet and dreary in New Hampshire in January.

    • I replied before! Go back to the classics: Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love. Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle. These are the books all me and all my novelist peers are inspired be…

  19. Hilary Clinton wore an orange trouser suit when she visited Melbourne about a month ago for an official visit.

    OMG I don’t know what she was thinking! She looked truly appalling!

  20. Hi maggie, I enjoyed this and agree with most of what you said, but…I like (some) flowers. I am very picky about which flowers, but I hope they never go away completely. Do you mean they just don’t suit you, or do you dislike them generally, or are you just sick of them? Please explain more.

  21. I so agree with you about Per Una! Blech! Also agree with you about dress-up-white. I might work on some, and it might look gorgeous, but it probably isn’t for me. 😦

  22. My 50 yr old friend wore pantypads to a rock festival to avoid a mosh pit accident last year. I still havn’t stopped laughing.

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