An intro from Amanda, The Editor

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Welcome to this week’s episode of Amanda Zips It Up.

I don’t really want to use the word ‘episode’, because as a Londoner, we have had an awful ‘episode’ in the capital this week, so it seems strangely inappropriate.

I had initially (and excitedly) researched and written a piece about our Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her Vogue feature interview with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour plus photo-shoot by Annie Leibovitz. Which is truly beyond WOW!

That was on Weds AM.

Then Weds PM happened in London.

With much horror at the Westminster atrocities (considering I live and work not a million miles from any of this), I curled up to my husband and mused – “Is it right that I should run with a ‘fashion ‘ piece regarding Prime Minister May in view of the serious atrocities?”

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He reckoned I should, and I agreed.

So I kick off this week with the PM, Vogue and so much more.

And so we say with a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of Victoria Sponge – Keep Calm And Carry On.

Prime Minister Fashion Icon

As we now start formal (and lamented by many) divorce proceedings with The EU, Theresa May becomes the unlikely Vogue star this month, posing for the hugely respected photographer Annie Leibovitz in a revealing photoshoot, giving an intimate portrait of marriage and life inside number 10.

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Vogue Ed, Anna Wintour interviews May as she speaks about her first meeting with US President Donald Trump and all that hand holding nonsense.

In this photo, taken at the Prime Minister’s Chequers country residence, she wears an L.K. Bennet coat and that dress.

She is pictured in a £450 Egg coat, a £470 Sine for Egg sweater and black boots walking in the countryside with her husband. She praised Philip in the interview she gave to the magazine, revealing he makes an excellent mushroom risotto

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Although Mrs May did admit that she and husband Philip argue about the same things other couples do, such as what to watch on TV, with Philip preferring history documentaries, and she opting for crime drama.

The Tory leader, 60, is pictured in an L.K.Bennet coat and dress.

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In December last year, she sparked a row in Downing Street after wearing £955 Amanda Wakeley ‘bitter chocolate’ leather trousers during a similar photoshoot for the Sunday Times magazine. Her choice of clothes was criticised by Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who said she had never spent that much on a piece of clothing apart from her wedding dress.

Speaking about the episode in her latest interview, the Prime Minister said: ‘Throughout my political career, people have commented on what I wear. That’s just something that happens, and you accept that.

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Spring Has Sprung

The daffodils are out, it’s light until later (thank God) and the evenings smell of blossom. Spring has sprung. It’s still chilly, mind, which makes choosing what to wear complicated. To help, here is a handy guide to the new season “standing” of the items you already have in your wardrobe.

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Tights

Good news for those who enjoy warm legs: tights are a big deal this season. Not black opaques, obviously, but plain sheers of the kind worn by Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (20 deniere). The most 2017 way to wear them is styled awkwardly with little white ankle socks and trainers, or with strappy sandals in a contrasting colour. On the Céline catwalk, they were paired with mismatching sandals – one black, one white. It’s a bold look, but fashion was never going to make the rehabilitation of tights simple. Just leave out the perm and hairspray.

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Jeans

Don’t shoot the messenger – this is an unbiased report from the front line – but in style circles, right now, skinny jeans are boom! Should you consider getting divorced from yours, the alternatives are confusingly disparate: the kick-flare crop is still riding high and the indigo worker jean is coming on strong. Bear in mind that with a new jeans shape comes a new silhouette: a baggier jean often requires a top that will tuck in. Basically, go to a shop and try some on, because this one is going to be complicated. Choose heels wisely!

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White trainers

Most observers pinpoint the genesis of fashion’s obsession with trainers as occurring on 6 March 2011, when Phoebe Philo took her post-show bow in a pair of Stan Smiths. We are well overdue something new. The new white trainer fashion types are into is the Reebok Club C 85. Where Stan Smith was 70s tennis clubhouse, this is 80s aerobics class. The ankle-scoop looks a treat with a cropped-hem jean. Whether its Reebok, Adidas or Nike, which takes your fancy – go for it.

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Jumpsuits

Last week, Ascot announced that jumpsuits had become part of its official dress code, and a perfectly useful trend was jeopardised. We say: keep wearing them but, as with so many things, this is all about context. So, with high heels, a blow-dry and a manicure, a jumpsuit feels sufficiently Ladies Day. Worn utility style with a battered pair of converse, is excellent. Just forget the hat. Please.

Mothers Day

WHAT A NIGHT-MA

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, we’ve zipped up the naffest gifts around, from washing-up gloves and loo roll, to DIY floor dusting slippers.

These presents for Mum are total tat. So here’s hoping she has her tongue firmly in cheek (and a glass of champers in hand) whilst opening her gifts.

The washing-up gloves and loo roll are likely to bring a tear to the eye for all the wrong reasons. And don’t even mention the mermaid tail.

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So, unless your mum has a good sense of humour, it might be best to steer clear. A bunch of flowers may be a wiser “pick”, but that would make this piece more boaring, so pardon the exercise of my journalistic licence and here goes.. 

Bottom line Loo Roll… from Amazon

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Mermaid tail, £20.99 from Amazon.

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Washing-up gloves for that ‘Special Mum’, £3.99 from eBay.

You’ll make her heart sink…

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Get Cosy And Dust The Floors With These DIY Dusting Slippers.

(Here’s how, kids…)

DIY Slippers

Instructions:

  1. Trace the bottom of the slippers on microfiber using a maker.
  2. Cut out as many bottoms as possible using fabric scissors.
  3. For each bottom, sew strips of hook-and-loop fastener onto the non-fuzzy side of the microfiber piece. Cover the edges with no-fray glue to prevent any unraveling.
  4. Glue the other side of the hook-and-loop fastener to the bottom of the slippers; let dry.
  5. Stick microfibre dusting pads to the slippers. When they’re dirty, toss them in the wash basket and replace with another pair. Machine wash on gentle with dark colours.

Oh to be a Mother. The most important job in the world.

Happy Mothers Day to you all.

… a word from Amanda, the Editor

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Welcome to this week’s instalment of Amanda Zips It Up. Well, choices abound – we can either discuss the UK Budget or International Women’s Day, both of which dominated the headlines this week.

No brainer.

I’m all for feminist values and equality for girls, nevertheless stopping short of supporting those age old stereotypes of burning my bra or cessation of shaving my armpits.

Watching Piers Morgan interview a horrific sexist dinosaur on TV, who chatted from within the European Parliament the other day, I was horrified to hear this idiot claim that women disserved to earn less than men, because we are shorter, weaker and less intelligent. All apparently “scientifically proven”.

Well, as you can imagine, Piers shut him down and humiliated the chap big time. But it got me thinking about those female A-listers who use their position to fight for female equality on the centre stage. Such as Emma Watson (AKA Hermione, from Harry Potter).

However, Emma Watson has been hugely criticised on social media this week for her appearance in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, posing in a white capelet. Here it is.

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Critics hailed the revealing image as “hypocritical”, in light of Emma’s forthright feminism. After The Sun reproduced the image on page 3 with the headline ‘Beauty and the Breasts’ (she was promoting her latest movie – Beauty & The Beast), the Daily Mail chipped in, tweeting “Feminism, feminism… gender wage gap… why oh why am I not taken seriously… feminism… oh, and here are my tits!”

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Thankfully, several others leaped to Emma’s defence, questioning the suggestion that posing for a revealing photo was incompatible with speaking out on feminist issues.

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In my view Emma has every right to wear what she wants, no matter how revealing, AND say what she wants. It’s the weaker women and men amongst us who can’t handle a woman who’s lucky enough to possess both credentials. Tops Marks Ms. Watson. Gold star.

Anyway, this week in Zips It Up we find heaven on earth in the form of wine coffee – yes really – and The Weeknd models for H&M.

Happy International Women’s Day!

The Weeknd For H&M Menswear

The Weeknd’s highly-anticipated collaboration with H&M was released last weekend. Pardon the pun.

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We all know that the brand collaborates with A-listers and top designers every year, but this is the biggest scoop for H&M Menswear since David Beckham. The capsule wardrobe campaign starring the singer is so good that even I would wear most pieces.

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The MJ soundalike chart-topper—whose real name is Abel Tesfaye—narrates a campaign video for H&M, titled “Spring Icons Selected by The Weeknd. He sports various pieces from the range, like bomber jackets, hoodies and trousers, as he explains what the collection means to him: “Every piece is both effortless and fresh, which is just how menswear should be.”

In addition to having a chart-topping new album (and possibly a new girlfriend – Selena Gomez), this range of menswear apparently reflects Tesfaye’s personal style.

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The collection includes jersey tees alongside minimalist shirts, trousers and even a double-breasted coat. There’s even a pleater moto jacket in the mix and plenty of XO logos, referencing the singer’s record label.

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This is only the beginning of Tesfaye’s fashion conquests. The pop star also has an apparel and footwear collab with Puma in the pipeline for 2017.

Spring Icons Selected by The Weeknd at H&M retailers selling menswear and on www.hm.com now.

Inspirational Women

This week was all about International Women’s Day 2017, as the world celebrated female achievement and highlighted the plight of global women’s issues. A UK poll revealed 48% of women believe their mothers are the most inspiring woman they know. Also, the majority of us agree that this decade is the best time yet to be a woman.

But which women topped the list as the most inspiring of the last seven decades?

The most votes were received by Princess Diana, earning her the title of ‘most inspirational woman of all time’, ahead of formidable female figures in history, like Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most influential women of each decade, over the last 70 years.

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1950s – Rosa Parks

In 1955 Rosa Parks prompts the Montgomery bus boycott and becomes “the first lady of civil rights” in America.

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1960s – Twiggy

The poster child of the swinging sixties, Twiggy became the world’s first supermodel, and a cultural icon of the changing times and fashions in Britain.

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1970s – Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer’s seminal work ‘The Female Enuch’, published in 1970, became a watershed moment for the feminist movement and an international bestseller.

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1980s – Princess Diana

A woman who needs no introduction, dubbed the People’s Princess, she was known and celebrated worldwide for her humanitarian work for a number of causes.

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1990s – The Spice Girls

Girl power became cool when the Spice Girls burst onto the pop scene in the 90s, paving the way for modern day pop singers like Adele (yes, she’s a fan).

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2000s – JK Rowling

She’s sold millions of books worldwide and created one of the most well loved fictional characters of all time.

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2010s – Malala Yousafzai

A young woman who has overcome tragedy and terror, at the tender of age of 17 Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her work as an activist for women’s rights around the world.

But we’re all a multi tasking genius, so a “girl power” fist pump to each and every one of you. x

Wine Coffee

You might enjoy starting the day with a strong cup of coffee and rounding it off with a glass of red, but have you ever thought of merging the two together?

A cafe in California has created a new blend of coffee infused with red wine, carrying a double helping of antioxidants that could help you live longer.

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The magical mix-up was concocted in Napa Valley, California, where a coffee shop took red wine from local vineyards and roasted it with coffee beans. The end result is a rich, full-bodied coffee, which is best served with milk or chilled with ice for a bracing morning pick me up.

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The brand, Molinari Private Reserve, took two and a half years to create.

Molinari comment that the coffee can be drunk black, but the addition of milk makes the red wine flavour, with an additional hint of blueberries, more pronounced.

Both red wine and coffee contain antioxidants, which are thought to combat cancer, so drinking the creation will give you a double dose.

Coffee beans have also been found to cut the risk of heart attacks and stroke in scientific studies.

wine cof 4It should be noted that most of the alcohol is burnt off during the roasting process so a morning cappuccino won’t get you smashed.

Drinking excessive quantities could have a financial effect though, as it costs £16.20 for a half a pound bag. The first stocks of the blend have already sold out and the company is roasting more as we speak.

Who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it?

a word from Amanda

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Welcome to this week’s instalment of Amanda Zips It Up.

So, I won’t bore you too much with the normal ‘Best & Worst Dressed’ polemic from the Oscars, because we all know that everything was overshadowed by the calamity of which movie actually was ‘Best Picture’.

Whilst announcing the wrong winner was a big embarrassment in 2017, on a wider level the Academy has juddered from issue to issue in recent years. 2016 witnessed a complete absence of African American nominees. I enjoyed this year’s “Best Movie”, Moonlight, but had a sneaking suspicion that it dislodged La La Land because of the “racism” accusation echoing from last year’s Oscars.

Sadly, racism and abuse also reared its ugly head in this week’s Paris Fashion Week.

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The mistreatment of dozens of models behind the scenes at fashion week threatened to overshadow the glamour in Paris, where the world’s top designers presented their collections on Wednesday.

On the same day that models took to the catwalks, Balenciaga – one of the most influential labels –announced that it had sacked its casting agency after a prominent casting director reported that models had been subjected to “sadistic and cruel” treatment. 150 models had been made to wait in a dark stairwell for hours while a pair of casting directors calmly ate their lunch.

In other less than satisfactory news, the French label Lanvin was accused of discrimination against black models. Apparently, several agents, some of whom are black, said that they had received a mandate from Lanvin announcing that they do not want to be presented with women of colour.

Lanvin vehemently denied this accusation. A representative claimed that the casting of Lanvin’s last show was diverse and this is completely untrue. Hmmm. As my mother taught me, there’s no smoke without fire.

The problem with fashion is that it’s a very informal industry, allowing people to behave in ways that would not ever be accepted in any other ‘work’ environments. It is also a closed system. Speak out and you are faced with the very real threat of never working again.

Sad face emoji.

So I’ll leave you with that thought and crack on with this week’s instalment, and what we touch upon….

Were the Oscars about the performances, the red carpet outfits or the eyebrows?

Which colour combo stormed London Fashion Week and we make some serious statements with our earpieces.

It’s all here. Enjoy.

 

 

Hollywood Brows At The Oscars

So after the hysterical Oscars fiasco, cynical old me reckons that Moonlight won at the last minute due to Academy Voters wishing to appear ‘less biased’ than last year.

La La Land, as lovely as it is, portrays a finicky and fragrant Hollywood, but in this Trump era, it needs to toughen up. Enter Best Gritty Picture: Moonlight.

But have the luvvies of actual La La Land really toughened up? They’re constantly in a pickle protesting about Trump and current political issues. Especially last year’s Best Male Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, who campaigns as an environmental activist, hell bent on curbing pollution and green air miles.

But get this.

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Leonardo DiCaprio flew his personal eyebrow artist 7,500 miles to do his brows for the Oscars

It got me thinking. How much effort do you put into the appearance of your eyebrows? Tinting? Threading? Penciling in? Plucking the strays? Or perhaps nothing at all?

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Well if you’re an A-lister with the entire world watching, it seems no length is too extreme to ensure your brows are perfect.

Who is this magnificent artist I hear you say?

Australian eyebrow-artist to the stars Sharon-Lee Hamilton was flown from Sydney to Los Angeles to tend to a select few celebrities’ brows before the Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are reportedly two members of the Hollywood elite who insisted on Hamilton flying the 7,500 across the Pacific Ocean.

Hamilton’s website states that the treatment offered includes: “A full face read, followed by an all-inclusive service that comprises any tints, stains or lightening required in conjunction with your full expert shaping.

“Included is an eyelash tint as well as a glycolic infused collagen eye treatment plus a full heated paraffin hand treatment followed by a light eye makeup application.”