Hefner's Playboy: The birth of the bunny.

“If we are able to give the American male a few extra laughs and a little diversion from the atomic age we’ll feel as if we’ve justified our existence.”
(Playboy magazine. Vol. 1. No. 1)

Hefner (centre) with two of Playboy's most celebrated covers: Lindsay Lohan (left), and initial cover girl, Marilyn Monroe (right).

We want to make clear from the very start, we aren’t a family magazine.” (Playboy, 1953) The initial issue of Playboy reached the newsstands of America in December 1953 and Hefner, unsure of the magazine’s reception, released the publication undated. As a new publication “Playboy addressed, and thereby simultaneously helped to created, the new masculine, always (allegedly) heterosexual consumer.” (Conekin, 429) The Economic boom within post war America created a new middle class within society, or the “new masculine.” (Ibid) This new movement introduced the possibility of the male consumer in place of familial spending. One of the main reasons for Playboy’s success was its time of release. Playboy was allowed to flourish in the 1950’s for a number of reasons, perhaps most significantly being the limited selection of men’s lifestyle magazines. Whilst women had a broad selection of consumer magazines “Male magazines tended to be based on particular leisure pursuits or hobbies, motorcycling, fishing cars or even pornography.

Bunnies: Marketing technique associates the bunny image to Hefner's Playboy.
Whilst Playboy did entertain nudity and is considered responsible for bringing elements of “soft pornography” into the social spotlight, it is first and foremost a male lifestyle magazine. Playboy’s main opposition was Esquire, the same publication that Hefner had first acquired his knowledge of the industry. The demand for new media entertainment in the post war period drove Playboy’s success during a time when the new middle classes of America were looking for alternate forms of entertainment and demand was plentiful.  Playboy also triggered the era of the male as a consumerist figure, not only did it sell as a form of entertainment but the magazine had the capability to sell a “lifestyle” to it’s readers, complete with items that had previously been considered luxurious. The economic boom following the war produced “an era of grey conformism, a time of mass consumption.”  This demand for the latest commodity provided a platform for Playboy’s success, citizens were finally able to afford luxurious items after the frugality of the war but with this new money not only came innovative forms of entertainment but also introduced the idea of a new middle class within post-war society. Sexuality became “one of the key ways in which the new middle classes of the post war period sought to distinguish themselves from the old middle classes” and Playboy provided this distinction. The magazine appealed to this audience predominantly because they had disposable income to spend on the “finer things in life” and had a waiting audience. The sexual content within the pages of Playboy was also well suited to this new class movement as they began to become characterized by their “quest for the new and the latest in relationships and experiences.” 

Market dupes: Imposters or Beauty Pioneers?

A selection of MUA and MAC products

As a recent grad, my current bank balance can’t support the MAC, Chanel, and Clinique of seasons past. I have thought up many a justification for elaborate spending in past. I wasn’t a poor student, quite the opposite in fact. I had a relatively well-paid job to fund a rather expensive lifestyle and the relationship that went with it. I travelled all over the country, attended a range of festivals, and drank in some very nice bars. I bought whatever brands I fancied and enjoyed buying things in pretty packaging. I wouldn’t say I’m overly excessive, I will never be the shopper who has to buy something simply because she has money, that mentality has always made very little sense to me. However, I liked the odd expensive treat, whether it is a nice shampoo, lipstick, or a covetable pair of boots. 
Then everything changed.
I’ve had to get used to a slightly more conservative existence after graduating in July. However, since I have had to think more carefully about my financial activity, I haven’t thought about luxury items. I’ve found myself to be un phased by my lack of change for expensive items. Instead, I’m enjoying finding substitutes, or "dupes" as they are commonly called. I have to say that I am impressed with many of these “impersonators” and some are more affective than their inspiration. MAC’s “Harmony” has been my contour go-to for half a decade but at almost £20 per pan isn’t the cheapest matt bronzer on the market. My replacement? A relatively new brand by the name of the Make Up Academy. August has been the month of MUA, a brand that I initially dismissed as a Color Workshop type deal. In contrast, the products are highly pigmented, long-lasting, and nonsensically cheap. MUA bronzer in “shade 3” has replaced harmony for the sum of 1 solitary pound. MUA’s entire range is £1 with a pro collection for £2 a piece. I can also vouch for the pro cream blush, which has been awarded recognition by my mother (it may as well have won an industry award). The colour “Dolly” is a peachy/pink toned cream blush with strong pigmentation that lasts. I use the brand's brown mascara as a brow gel and their white kohl as a highlighter, both priced at £1. The products that I have tried are easily as good as the GOSH, Rimmel and Collection 2000’s of the market, yet are a fraction of the price. Whilst there are several high-end brands that I will always remain loyal to for certain products, thinking about cheaper alternatives has opened my eyes to the progression of budget brand market.
Now if only MUA could master a version of Clinique’s “Bottom Lash Mascara…”

No Drought? Testing Cruely Free.

I've recently developed somewhat of a "beauty conscience." As a vegetarian, I refuse all meat produce yet pay very little attention to the ingredients in my products. Last weeks "mini epiphany" made me feel like somewhat of a hypocrite and I have decided to start making the transition towards cruelty free alternatives. Whilst I have a fair way to go until my conscious can rest alongside a complete collection of cruelty free products, I feel that any steps towards a more ethical existence signal progress. However, conducting a complete shift to vegan products is a movement that requires patience, dedication and the local money tree. There are no two ways about it, cruelty free products are (in general) incredibly expensive. Take Tarte for example; yes, many of their products are vegan and of a good quality but the price tag suggests that an ethical lifestyle is limited to those who can afford premium cosmetics. Unfortunately, this limitation excludes much of the younger generation who are (arguably) the most important market to target.

Deciding to act upon my word, my journey to a cleaner conscience led me to Lush's "No Drought" dry shampoo. The product claims to provide "a quick freshness boost" of grapefruit and lime for the bargain price of £6.50. Lush's website gives it's own rambling justification of why the shampoo exists which I find discouraging. Despite this apparent justification, i bought a bottle of said dry shampoo at the company's London Victoria branch. The bottle is a somewhat clumsy shape, resembling the  Body Shop shampoo bottles of my childhood. Yet, this burst of nostalgia is about as complimentary as i am willing to be about the packaging. Unfortunately, the bulky and unattractive bottle plays up to the  "cruelty free stereotype," a cliche that needs to be shed in order to become a serious contender within a highly shallow industry.  Appearance aside, the bottle fails at it's singular function; to contain and dispense it's cream coloured powder. The main issue with the packaging is the bottle's unpredictability. The amount dispensed is anyone's guess and tends to vary between absolutely nothing and a snow peak upon one's head. If, like me, you don't have a spare fifteen minutes to play the 'dispensing guessing game," this shampoo would struggle to become a favourite.
 On a more positive note, the dry shampoo smells lovely and does it's job relatively well (once out of the container). I bought this product out of intrigue for a cruelty free dry shampoo and did not expect it to be as effective as my trusty Batiste. The packaging is the real let down here, it signals the failure of cruelty free products to remain contemporary.  I am not overly disappointed with the product itself and i would recommend it, particularly to anyone dressing up as a peak of the Snowy Mountains this winter.

The Book Club.

A collaborative shoot alongside a photographer friend. The model's chino and blazer combination was accessorized with a polka dot scarf and 70's vanity case to give an air of sophistication alongside the shoot's harbour setting. Feminine accessories work well alongside masculine tailoring if this look is what you're after.

Street Style Revisited.

"Soldier" on the streets of Rome, a uniform it may be but the red feather plume from this headpiece could have inspired any hat with flamboyant detailing, particularly those exhibited at last April's Royal Wedding.

Daniella, a student found pounding the pavements of Madrid. Dress, bag and hairpiece are vintage pieces from London's Brick Lane

Rebecca, student stopped on the streets of Brighton. Her preference for a vintage/high street style mix gives an eclectic, yet perfectly polished outfit.

Close up's of the full body shot above. The bag and jacket can be found in H&M and Warehouse whereas the fur stole was purchased from Brighton vintage store Beyond Retro and the shirt from North Laine vintage hotspot Dirty Harry.

A retro Mickey Mouse jumper from To Be Worn Again, Brighton.

Ella favours high street brands, her patterned fabrics and Carvela biker boots complement each other perfectly.
 Casual with Jeans, trainers and a chequered jacket mixed with a vintage band t-shirt.

Naomi's jeans and vintage Ralph Lauren polo is proof that casual can lead the coiffed.

Enter PO19.

Happy New Year! 

Death of a blank canvas

In recent years there has been a significant increase in models walking the catwalks with a little extra in the name of art. Once considered a predominantly male art form, tattoos appear to have spread from the Naval base to haute couture in a matter of years. Flick through any high profile publication and this trend will become apparent as designers embrace the inked onto the catwalks, neglecting the perception of the model being a “blank canvas”.

Many designers themselves are in favour of sporting a custom skin. Creators such as Marc Jacobs and John Galliano imprint visuals onto their skin, it is almost expected from a creative mind. The artist’s are also gaining increasingly high profiles in the fashion industry: tattooist Scott Campbell for example, has inked both Jacobs and a string of high profile Catwalk models alike.

When I speak of the “tattooed model” I am referring to the average 5’11” supermodel. I am not addressing the “alternative scene” where fame can be achieved through the amount of imagery one can cram onto the skin. Nor am I specific to those whom have even a couple of relatively large-scale pieces.  Lily Cole for example, has only two small designs, lettering to her ankle and a heart outline on the inner wrist. These pieces are not so to speak “rebellious” nor are they large, but they mark an end to her being a “blank canvas”. Tattoos are specific to the wearer; they leave a mark of personality on the skin, something that will remain when showcasing collections on the catwalk.

Personally, I am of the belief that for certain “contemporary designers” tattoos can complement the brand image perfectly. However, for certain classic lines, heavily inked models may not quite portray the demure image intended. Designers have to consider their audience throughout advertisement, it is crucial to visualize the women who will buy a specific brand and market it towards her. A customer looking to purchase a classic cut YSL tuxedo jacket would not expect the hands extending from the jacket on to be heavily tattooed, especially on promotional material. The advertisement reflects the client’s taste, the expected owner of the piece and their personal style.

Essentially, the model is employed to showcase the given clothing. Stereotypically both catwalk and editorial models are expected to make clothes look desirable, increasing sales. For an item to sell it is important for audience focus to remain on the clothing they are being sold. Whilst having a familiar face model a coveted item can be profitable to sales in certain situations, anything that may deviate attention away from the item could be labeled a sales faux-pas and therefore would be entering dangerous ground (unless of course that is the designer’s intention).

It is also worth considering the reaction to ink by varying groups and ages. Whilst tattooing has increased in popularity drastically within the past ten years, the art form is still frequently rejected as “normal”. Unfortunately this is a viewpoint that I believe will largely remain embedded within society. Stylizing the skin with permanent materials will always be considered a social taboo, regardless of how a tattoo is presented and whom it is upon. Some of the more conventional fashion brands know this all too well, sex sells, yet not if the client rejects overt sexuality. It would be financially endangering for a brand to knowingly go against what the customer requests and expects of them. Fashion brands have a certain reputation to uphold and for certain companies this is significantly more important then others may view it.

Personally I believe there are certain brands, such as Vivienne Westwood, where a tattooed skin can emphasize not only the success of the overall visual but also the profitability of a collection. As fashion adapts to keep up with the contemporary age, followers will generally be of an open mind to adaptation; therefore the presence of inked skin will be embraced. However I believe when considering tattoos, which are a choice, it is important to consider the opposition. Certain brands thrive on a classical image and it would be detrimental to said established brands to adapt their image dramatically. Whilst as an individual I disagree with the discrimination of body art, it has become apparent that the industry is yet to fully embrace it. Essentially, the need for the “blank canvas” is far from dead.

Coveted in fur.

Every so often a piece will come along that completely embeds my psyche. This Topshop fur  jacket is a prime example of such fashion infatuation. I must add to begin with that i hate the way this jacket has been styled, both in store and online, the belt they have teamed with it detracts from a beautiful fit, particularly for a high street garment. I first saw this online a matter of weeks ago and (although it took a while) saw real potential in this piece, which was later confirmed when fashioned- minus the belt of course. Everything about this jacket is fur perfection, the cut and fibre length suggest a price far superior to its £98 rrp. The jacket comes lined in emerald silk and is the warmest i have tried of it's kind. Don't let the belt put you off, this really is worth a second look. A wardrobe staple has been crowned.
Top:Bisque, Satin Taupe.  Middle: Naked Lunch, Patina, Brun.  Bottom: Brule, Wedge, Cork - All by Mac.

Multipurpose products appear to be springing up everywhere this summer. Whilst i like the idea of carrying minimal make up around, it is really realistic to expect one product to fill the shoes of three? These multi products mainly come in liquid stain or cream stick form, suitable for the eyes, lips and cheeks. Nars' The Multiple boasts a cult following along with a £29 price tag, but does the hype match the results? And furthermore, can we expect cheaper counterparts to perform in the same fashion?Searching through the depths of my make up case i have actively tested four multipurpose products within a variety of price brackets. Personally i don't believe these products should be used on the eye area, a red stain will never project glamour, nor will a creased cream colour. The first stain i ever bought was the Bourjois rouge hi-tech stain in Rose Pixel, followed by another cult classic: Benefit's Benetint. Whilst i may not opt for the crimson stain effect on a daily basis, it is the type of product i just have to have within my collection. However, Benefit's pink stain Posie Tint is a must have product, a soft pink that lasts all day, subtle enough for daily wear on the cheeks and particularly good as a base for a pink pout when layered with lipstick ( see Popsicle Pink post). Although it does cost a fair amount to have in your possession Nars' Multiple in Orgasm is the perfect corally shimmer for both cheeks and lips alike, a truly delicate and versatile colour stick deserving of its reputation

Also photographed is my trusty Mac neutral pallette, focussing on my four favoured shades: Wedge, Patina, Cork and Brun.

Coveted: Topshop.

All items current season at Topshop.

After vocally expressing my disappointment at the high street this season it seems that Topshop are beginning to step it up a notch. Recently replaced by ASOS as my go-to for footwear i am pleased to announce that i have been pleasantly surprised by Topshop's latest offerings. In fact, i would go as far as to say i am somewhat "bewitched" by the mock snakeskin jacket pictured above but, as expected, the £160 price tag is a familiar catch to Topshop's "must have" items. These heeled chelsea boots mirror a style that i have been dreaming about for some time now, such a shame that they only materialise now after i have blown my footwear budget (for the entire year). Looks like i've got some deciding ( and possibly selling) to do.

A Forest Affair

First year is over. Done. Complete. So what better way to send out the year then to dance in a field (more fun then it sounds trust me), unfortunately their wasn't enough in the way of light to take any decent snaps on the night, but heres a few pre-party.

Porn star Martini.

The perfect festival up do, not only does this style add an element of the braided boho but the height of the bun allows the hair to look perfect the-morning-after-the-night-before. Although i may be suffering the effects of last nights "porn star martinis"and using a box of crunchy nut clusters as my support system, my hair looks the same as when i hit the hay. Repeat after me: "I will have a productive day" shame the rest of me is refusing to follow suit.

Sticks and bones.

Topshop t-shirt, H&M tights,  Carvela boots. 

Over worn and worn out. This t shirt has been worn to death, so much so that small holes have appeared randomly. The perfect top for when nothing takes my fancy, comfy to sleep in too. I  often throw a leather jacket and boots over the top to shield from the cold but on rare sight of the sun gladiators do the job perfectly.

Dark side.

Carvela boots, Urban Outfitters bag and jacket, Asos camisoles.

A few favourites both old and new. Black is the order of the day, or decade to be more specific and is a firm staple within my everyday look. Or to be specific, often forms my look in its entirety. Black is timeless, showing its face season after season. Not to mention it goes with everything. Within my wardrobe i have exactly one item of colour that is worn on a regular basis, i favour monochrome. I can pick up items from my bedroom floor, throw them on and leave without checking because i know any combination will work.

The photograph above features my beloved harness platforms from Carvela, they go with every combination i could possibly compose from my bedroom floor. Who needs a prince when i have these boots? The bag they're photographed with its an Urban Outfitters find, reduced to a quarter of its retail value for a malfunctioning zip. Another Urban Outfitters bargain is this suede and leather jacket, the perfect length, fit and well, everything. Price on label £180, price on sale £18. And for that, i shan't complain.

HELP me.

So i've been doing this blogging business for just over a week now, and would be ever so eternally grateful if some of you bloggers/readers could drop me a line with some criticism. Half full? I think so. Also on that note i would be happy to consider any requests for content - any trends people fancy, personal style, celebrities and all that jazz. Just thought i'd put it out there. Much love.

Grainy Baby.

Home sweet home.

Just bought a new camera, it is the perfect balance between a digital compact and DSLR. My photography has been waining as of late because, quite frankly, i just can't be bothered to cart my"proper camera" out and about. And i have to say, i am incredibly impressed with how well this tiny camera copes, the print quality is fantastic and it includes manual mode for when i feel too creative to abuse the "auto button". Hopefully this will become a regular occurrence now that i have a camera which is, well, portable.

You could call me snap happy.