The Skype nightmare

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Yesterday I was in love with skype and having fun transferring my files to Thierry for the photo albums. By mid day I was trashing the whole application. Seems that I forgot to put in my preferences to make my number available only to my few designated contacts. I had every pervert from Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, Sweden, Japan, USA calling me up and sending me texts with their photos and wanting to make "friendship". It was a nightmare. Now I've trashed the application and have yet to replace it with another one. Justin suggested aduimx, I might give that a try. It's hard to believe how many lonely wankers there are out there. No judgments of course but I just don't want that in my life. Anina finally got SFR to turn on the GPRS so that I will be able to life blog. More on that later. I still have not even started on that pile of articles.

More later, Diane

no sleep last night

Dear Shaded Viewers,

I really need those shades today. I went to sleep at 5h because my friend Thierry was helping me with my blog. Now you can hear my voice and see a little bit of my fashion history. Over time I will add to the photo album . I just have to find where I put those scans.

DP in Walter Van Beirendonck


I thought that you might want to meet  my blog angel, Thierry Kalimane.  Here are some pics taken the day that we met. We  were visiting the showroom of Walter Van Beirendonck with our friend Justin. We had fun trying on his smile provoking clothes and accessories.

Thierry Kalimane in Walter Van Beirendonck


It is snowing in Paris so all the more reason to stay in and write those articles.

Later, Diane

P.S. Do you all know about Skype by the way? It's free internet calls and you can transfer files, wicked. That's what Thierry and I were doing into the wee hours of this am.

P.S.S. Anina was the one that set me up on TypePad as opposed to Blogger, great move and if it had not been for her I would not even know what skype was much less know that I could transfer files and if I ever get my nokia phone, grace of Anina, to work for the life blog it will again be thanks to Anina. Thank you Anina.

comments on today's papers

Dear Shaded Viewers,

And I do hope that you are not jaded viewers. No time to preview  Paris collections this week as I am in front of my computer with  a pile of articles to write. It's cold and windy in Paris and I just went out to pick up a few things, among them the Herald Tribune. Suzy Menkes wrote a very interesting article today "Which path is best for graduates?". I highly recommend that you go out and pick it up. She was referring mostly to London fashion week but it is a global question. Should designers go out on their own or become a part of a team, etc. etc.

The IHT article referred to  the latest crop of graduates from Central Saint Martins.   I missed the show because I was out interviewing Penny Martin from Show Studio,  Mark and Wakako of Eley Kishimoto and Uscha Pohl of Very and the Very Guides. No regrets because that had to be one of my most inspired days this London trip.

Floriane de Saint Pierre, Paris's leading headhunter also had some rather interesting comments on the subject of resuscitating old houses or just letting them die a natural death.  Could she have been referring to Givenchy among others?

It was also interesting to read the headlines that I receive daily from WGSN. Seems that my taste and that of many of the London buyers is not at all the same. For instance, Selfridges loved Bora Aksu  and the buyers seemed to think that Gardem was sublime, I thought that it was a pale copy of two really talented designers, Rick Owens and Ann Demeulmeester. There is no right or wrong it is simply a matter of taste. We all seemed to like Emma Cook and Preen.

I'm meeting with Anina later to see if we can figure out how to audio blog on this site for the Paris collections. Don't know how that will go but will keep you posted.



Stay warm, Diane

P.S. Thanks to my friend Thierry ///Kalimane I now will be able to post some audio onto my blog, that is if I ever figure out how to get the audio bytes from my nokia or off of my desktop... When I was in London my friend Robb Young thought that it could be fun to have an illustration of me with a megaphone, you know I have a rather soft voice, and call one of the lists  Diane Speaks. I thought that was a fun idea so when I got back to Paris I asked my illustrator/designer/friend, Francois, from  the design team Devastee if he could come up with one for me. You can see that he did, that is a bit more clevage and legs than you will ever see in real life but that is the beauty of an illustration.  I also received the funniest photo of me from Gregor Doll of West East , it is me with artists and old friends of mine from New York, McDermott & McGough.

Peter McGough, DP, and David McDermott shrinking so that I can be the tallest.


The image was taken at an opening with their work at Galerie Jerome de Noirmont. I look better as an illustration.

London Fashion Week

Dear Shaded Viewers,

I had not been to London Fashion Week for several seasons and I must admit that it did feel  good to be back. At the moment London is experiencing a bit of a crisis with so many designers opting to show elsewhere and there is an obvious lack of foreign press and buyers. The biggest loss this season was Boudicca who chose to show in New York. America is their strongest market and in fact the move makes a lot of sense.

The first person that I saw when I entered the Basso and Brooke show was Collin McDowell the man behind the Fashion Fringe. The idea of the yearly contest is to figure out a way to keep London fashion talent at home. In  order to seduce the designers to stay in London they finance their collection for five years. I've spoken to quite a few people about the Fashion Fringe and it seems that there are various opinions on the subject. Some feel that it takes too much attention away from the designers that have paid their dues by being   off calendar for years and then places too much attention on just one new designer a season. Basso and Brooke was the first ever winner of the Fashion Fringe and the first show that I attended this season. Their collection was based on the medieval myth of the succubus, the she-devil and other playful sexual inspirations. These themes  appeared as the subjects for the prints.   My friend Robb was sitting next to me and Hilary Alexander who was recently made Fashion Director of the Daily Telegraph.Both of them really liked it. I enjoyed the spectacle of it and found the clothes to be pretty okay. I must admit that the hair and make up reminded me of Thierry Mugler and the clothes looked like they were appealing to two countries, Russia and Brazil.

Collin McDowell from the Sunday TImes


Basso and Brooke first FF winners



Basso & Brooke with hair looking very Mugler 

I ran into Michel Gaubert outside the  B & B show.

Michel Gaubert


Hamish Bowles and Collin McDowell, Collin is trying to convince Hamish who does not appear to be convinced.

Hilary Alexander Fashion Director of the Daily Telegraphe


Robb and friend

Then it was on to the fashion bus to Battersea to see Bora Aksu. My friends Robin Schulie and Robb Young decided to pass on that show. I was not particularly enchanted by the collection. The tents have moved to the unfortunate location of Battersea which seems so far away from everything. They are trying to compensate for that by having a shuttle bus that takes you back and forth to Sloan Square does  but even that does not make it anymore practical or appealing.

on the bus

Next stop,  the Royal Academy for the Emma Cook show. I  quite liked the collection. It did remind me  a bit of Sofia Kokosolaki but none the less it had lots of good ideas and interesting details. Abstract prints on jersey dresses using cut work techniques  and layering.  I ran into my friends Robin Schulie, buyer from Marie Luisa in Paris, Lilianna Sanguino, the commercial for Eley Kishimoto and Robb Young, journalist and distributor for Diptrics in Japan. This crazy Italian journalist came running up to me telling me how great I looked the last time she saw me when I was wearing a pink dress. Last time I was in London she ran up to me with her camera crew and said how she had followed me around for days. She was mixing me up with Isabella Blow. What is the story with these people, I don't look anything like Isabella.

The Italian Journalist that thinks I am Isabella Blow


Lilianna Sanguino in her Eley Kishimoto coat with Robin and Robb

I noticed that High Fashion's Midori Kobayashi opted for curly hair this season.

Everyone in fashion knows Midori Kobayashi

I also ran into Aldric from Surface to Air with my favorite London PR Mandi Lennard. Mandi brought fashion icon Zandra Rhodes over to meet me and the two of us had a great conversation. It felt like the meeting of kindred spirits. She asked me if I would like a private view of her museum and her retrospective. Normally the museum is closed on Monday's but she would be happy to receive me for a private viewing of her retrospective.   I was thrilled. I also ran into Yorgo Tloupas the editor  from Intersection magazine. He told me that he had his amazing bike parked out front but I missed it. 

Mandi Lennard and Aldric from S2A

Fashion Icon, Zandra Rhodes
Yorgo Tloupas, the dude and editor of Intersection

Next came the Karen Walker show with a bit of a layered vintage look and a touch of Minnie Mouse in the bows. Heathermary Jackson, Fashion Director of America magazine styled the show. The buyers loved it. There I saw stylist friends Karen Binns, working a Joan Crawford look and ~Tamara who nicknamed me the Gothic Marie Antoinette years ago and I must admit I quite like the name.

Karen Walker's finale

Karen Binns and Tamara Cincik
Karen gave Tory Amos her look for the past decade and Tamara assisted Debbie Mason in her heyday

Karen Binns working her  Joan Crawford


After the shows I went to dinner with my friends. The waiter hated us, well, maybe it was just me that he had a problem with.

Day 2

It's Valentine's day and on the way to the B-store for a presentation of the accessory designer Florian Ladstaetter's work I ran into the designer twins Spikers and Spikers. They are showing now with Eastern Block. Never made it over there, sorry to say, but will do when the showroom moves to Paris next week.

I met Florian in Vienna when he was presenting his work in one of the containers in the Museum Quarter during Austrian Fashion week. I like what he does and asked Mandi's assistant, Nova Dando to play model for us.  Nova is multi disciplinary, dj's,  designs sets and is very helpful as a pr.

Spikers & Spikers

Florian Ladstaetter's beads
Off to the tents again for the Ashish collection. Very colorful. I Thought that it was a bit on the heavy side but I know that Hilary Alexander really  liked it.

Outside the tent I ran into Lara Bohinc and my friend Robb.

Robb Young with Lara Bohinc the jewelry and sunglass designer

Next stop was the Eley Kishimoto/Ellesse collection. This show was a real highlight. Last season there were only 12 looks this time it more than doubled. I liked the ski looks with white graphic inserts and the cropped trousers. Wakako and Mark decided to work the penquin logo into the prints. They had a human penquin as a guardian to the ski chalet.   I was expecting the head to come off of the penquin at the end and to discover Mark Eley as our performer.

Eley Kishimoto for Ellesse


Wakako (1/2 of Eley Kishimoto team) and their two beautiful children


Now we had to run to our private showing at the Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile museum. It was  a real treat to have  a private guided tour. When we finished with the tour Zandra invited us up stairs for a tea and chat. I could have stayed forever, in fact we were so under her spell that we missed the  the Jonthan Saunders show .I heard only good reports about the show. I will visit his showroom in Paris. Zandra autographed a copy of her book titled 'A Life long love affair with textiles'. The title says it all. My autograph, "To the divine Diane, love and admiration. Zandra Rhodes Keep being you." To say that I was quite touched is an understatement.

Original Zandra Rhodes
Her collaboration with Topshop which is bringing her looks to a whole new generation

At home with Zandra Rhodes

Next was the Fashion East group show that happened to be in the same neighborhood. My friends Steven, Sebastien and Chrystl decided to kill a little time at the local pub. I had a Virgin Mary . Tracey Emmin was sitting in the front row with a journalist for the Independent. That woman was a bit weird. She came up to me after the Ellesse show and asked me who I was. I turned the question around to her and she got suddenly uncomfortable and said that she wrote for the Independent but not about fashion. It reminded me of another woman playing at being a journalist who was very annoying. At any rate she was sitting with Tracey Emmin.

Gareth Pugh was the finale designer for the show and we lived a bit of a very black and quite 80's moment with a girl's dress ballooning out as she teetered on a step blinded by her dress.


Tracey Emmin at Fashion East show showing a bit of cleavage and the journalist from hell with the red scarf.

Gareth Pugh, ex- Fashion House reality show contender

after the show, my friends Robb Young and Steven Hamon

Robb took me back to my  hotel.

Chilling out with Robb in my dodgy hotel in Kings Cross


Day 3 started with Swash, one of the winners at Hyeres festival last year. You did not need a motorcyle to wear the clothes this season. Looked like their  1 2 3 collaboration came in handy. After that there was a collection called Gardem. The buyers loved it, personally it felt it looked too much like Rick Owens and Ann Demeulmeester and I'd rather stick with the originals. Robin and I went to the Jessica Ogden show. It was a good evolution for Jessica feels like she is becomming a London version of Sonia Rykiel.

Jessica Ogden looking very Sonia Rykiel


Jessica is famous for her comfy quilt looks

While I was in the entry waiting for Robin these two beautiful little girls came running up to me and asked me if I was a model. That made me laugh.


Then Robin Schulie and I took a taxi to the Preen show. It was a big improvement from the past few seasons. Very clean, elegant and well staged.

I got a hold of my friend Paola Piglia, the artist, who happened to be walking her dog in Battersea park. I thought that  we could meet before Jens show. Just as we sat down for tea and cakes the loudspeaker announced that ticket holders should make their way to Jens show. 

Preen collection

Then it was back on the bus for the Eley Kishimoto show. I enjoyed the Dark Wood Wander with flame prints, floral prints, no prints and the  romantic trip through an enchanted forrest.

Paola Piglia and Primo just in front of the BFW tent


on route to the Eley Kishimoto show

Flames by Eley Kishimoto

Eley Kishimoto goes animal


Eley Kishimoto


While we were waiting for the fashion bus to take us over to the Aquascutum show,  Hilary Alexander  asked me if I would like to join her for the Elle fashion awards and dinner. I had planned to meet Robb Young at Aquascutum so asked her if it was okay for her to take my collaborator, Chrystl Fischer instead. Aquascutum is trying to have a Burberry moment.  I probably should have gone to the Elle Fashion awards . Afterwards Sebastien Boey, Robb and I went off to dinner before the Eley Kishimoto after party at JoJo's.

Hilary waiting for her driver to the Elle style awards




Eley Kishimoto party,  Mark as dj on the left and Max Carie on the right, he owns SHOP in Soho

Robb and Robin at the Eley Kishimoto after party

Day 4 started out with the Anne Sofie Back show who like her name likes to start her show from the back, finale first. My favorite  looks were the chains and sewing bits. I finally was able to get on a computer in the press room  and ended up missing the Peter Jensen show. Next was a spin around the trade show where I had a chat with hat designers Thelma Speirs and Paul Bernstock. I ran into Sarah from Colette there. She had just arrived today. I enjoyed a chat and a look at the accessories of Tatty Devine. THey always make me smile with their fairy tale collections. THen it  was back to the tent for the  Jens Laugesen show. My favorite piece was a bomber jacket with a bit of shirt attached.

Bernstock Speirs, hat designers-Thelma Speirs and Paul Bernstock
I think she is a client of Bernstock Speirs

Bernstock Speirs hats

Accessory designers Tatty Devine


Tatty Divine's accessories

Jens Laugesen
My friend Steven Hamon and one of his classmates after the Jens show


Robb and I met to go to our friend Mei Hui's show Victim that was held in a really cool loungy type space across the street from Browns.


Meihui1 Her collection was 100% Mei Hui, very romantic, girly, dusty Victorian looks. . After the show the buyer from Curves, a boutique in Los Angeles, was busy packing away pieces from the collection to take back to her shop.

The last show for me was Giles.  Katie Grand did the styling and it was obviously an audition for the vacant post at Givenchy. It reminded me of the Olivier Theyskens collection a few years ago when he was up for the same design position. Lots of volume, luxury, beautiful girls and a great space.

location for the Giles show


Gilesjktb Giles

Anna Piaggi at the Giles show


Afterwards I went off to the Hoxton Boutique cocktail where I ran into Rachael Matthews of Knitting Supremo. I met Rachael through Mei Hui a few years ago, she is trying to bring knitting to a new and younger generation. Last season she had one of her  knitting parties at the Palais du TOkyo.  I enjoy her a lot.

I got to see Mandi for one last time and then it was off to join Mei Hui and William for a quiet dinner after show dinner in Soho. I thought that I'd take the tube to Soho but after one stop the train stopped and everyone had to find another way to get where ever they were going. I took a taxi and ended up arriving about one hour late. We came upstairs to the tea room after a wonderful Chinese dinner and I showed Mei Hui her show video on my camera. Yannick, from Gwand, had done the production of Mei Hui's show and her two best friends were also at the table. Later Robb Young came by and my friend Paola Piglia. Paola is a painter and  used to be a client when I was a designer years ago.

Rachel Matthews-Knitting Supremo who is about to have an expo of her work at The Crafts Council and the co-designer of Hoxton Boutique label, Louise Harries on the right.


Nova Dando as DJ at the Hoxton Boutique


Chrystl Fischer and Sebastien Boey at the Hoxton Boutique party


Mei Hui, Victim, and William looking at the video from her show

Robb Young, Yannick Aellen and Paola Piglia after our dinner

Paola dropped me off at my hotel

Last day in London, no shows just interviews. My first was with the Editor-in-Chief of my favorite website, Showstudio. I've been  a Showstudio addict since it began so it was a real treat to actually step inside that very special world. Penny has to be one of the most articulate people that I've ever met. We spoke about Showstudio's  upcoming blog, the live interviews in the little black room, the studio visits, download patterns,  and her thoughts on London fashion. I was really laughing when she told us about the time Bjork did a live feed and one of the questions came in from Micheal Jackson. Bjork was beyond excited about that. The webcams are on 24 hours in the studio and knowing that my collaboratrice, Chrystl Fischer, called her friend in Brussels and told her to connect to Showstudio if she wanted to see her. She was beyond thrilled. The site is in a constant state of expansion into all and every possibility on how to make modern technology give us all the maximum of benefit. Makes me want to at least get to the level of doing some audio feedbacks on my humble little blog.

This is the public bath on the street of Showstudio


the Showstudio doorbell


Penny Martin the Editor-in-Chief of Showstudio at the very Yayoi Kusama entry


Just inside the door, I'm loving every inch of Showstudio


The live feed room, picture Bjork the look on her face when Micheal Jackson calls in his question. Penny says that music comes out of her while she is thinking.


Penny points out our route to Brixton and our next stop, Eley Kishimoto


This is our last day and after that inspired and inspiring visit with Penny we are off to Brixton to see one of my fave design couples, Eley Kishimoto. We decided to take a taxi from the station to their studio and in the backseat was this little boy. Like a left package. He did not move or speak. I think  it is the worst time to see a designer right after their show. You know it is like you've just had a baby and you are exhausted. Also Mark had been out winning the Drag in a Box contest the night before and  probably letting off a little steam. The design duo now have two shows per season and that must be a bit of a stress. Mark and Wakako took the time to walk and talk us through their studio. We had a glimpse at a few of Wakako's magical drawings and a visit to the print studio where it all comes together and then Mark drove us back to Brixton tube and off to Lancaster Gate and a visit with Usha Pohl of Very and the Very style and fashion guides.

Entrance to the Eley Kishimoto studio


that is Chrystl on the phone and the  lone passenger.


as we were leaving Mark pointed out what looked like a white gun on the roof across the way, he had no idea what it was doing there.


Mark and Wakako in their print studio


Our last stop was Usha Pohl. She is one powerful force and is trying to do her best to support London fashion but is not getting much help from LFW. It makes no sense. What Usha is about is exchange and mutual support trying to help creative talents to survive. How she does what she does and still sleeps at night is a mystery to me. On the one hand she has her Very City Guides and then she has her Very Fashion guides.  Both are meant to be tools for the creative individual to be able to work independently internationally without having to have the vast resources of an international office. They are like your personal key to the city, I use them all the time. She is also planning a designers federation with Boudicca...Creativity vs Corporate activity. It is just in the planning stages. In addition the Very magazine will be coming out in April which merges art with fashion and gives carte blanche to its creative contributors. We could have stayed for hours but as it was I had to run to Waterloo to catch my train back to Paris.

Uscha Pohl in her Very nice apartment



Take care,


Kenzo's Valentine to Paris


Dear Friends,

Paris will be a prettier place this weekend because Kenzo gave the city his own personal valentine in the form of a light projection on the front of the Gare St. Lazare.

the same flower is on the bottle of coke

The project was a collaboration with Coca Cola light and Kenzo designed.  The bottles and cans of coca cola light are  a limited edition.

Kenzo, thank you for your Valentine to Paris

Anina with Kenzo's coca cola light can

The President of Coca Cola France

There was also a gift bag with the limited edition bottle and can. In addition to the product we were given  a  surprise gift of a Brazilian love charm on a green string. The green wooden rooster is the symbol for this Chinese new year and as I am a wooden coq I am supposed to wear something green all year. I have been trying to find something green but very discreet to wear every day and with this little love charm on a green string, I need look no further.

My Valentine to you

Christophe Billet

I was accompanied by my friends. Christophe Billet and Anina. Anina's night was made complete when Christophe introduced her to the icon model, Bettina. Anina is going to interview Bettina and find out how it was to be a model during her career and what she thinks of the way things are going now. Bettina must have endless stories and hopefully Anina will share some of them with us.

Icon Model Bettina, Christophe Billet and Anina

If you live in Paris take the time to pass by Gare  St. Lazare and enjoy the light show. Happy Valentine's day.

Take care, Diane

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