Category Archives: fashion

Body Modification

Rick, the Zombie boy

Rick, the Zombie boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a slippery slope alright, this whole body modification thing. You start off with one piercing, maybe even go as far as a tattoo, but before you know it bam – you’ve turned yourself into a cat clone or a walking zombie. I’m not condemning these people who feel being human just isn’t enough anymore – but I wouldn’t want to hold a conversation with one.

It’s an art form, its self-expression, its visionary – it’s creepy. Who in their right mind would want to look like a giant cat? Well there’s a few out there. One man has a leopard print tattoo all over his body. He is named Tom Leppard and appropriately adopts his persona by living in an isolated cabin off Scotland and travelling ashore by canoe once a week to collect his pension – oh did I mention he’s 73?

Now as far as cat people go, the least I can say is that I find it unnerving. I don’t like body modification, I don’t get it and I don’t ever want to get it. But there is one guy who throws me off a little; because I think what he has done is kinda cool, albeit crazy. You may have seen him in one of Lady’s Gaga music videos, ‘Born This Way’? Does Rick Genest ring a bell?

Now this guy is known as ‘Zombie Boy’, but he is by far the coolest and best looking zombie I’ve ever seen. Props must go to Miss Gaga for unearthing this modern walking sensation. I can’t say that he’s changed my mind on the entire issue, and he’s probably going to look like a wrinkly skeleton when he’s sixty. But right now he’s young, handsome (you know, in that rugged zombie way) and has caught my attention. While it lasts.

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Audrey Hepburn, Style Icon

Black Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn

Image via Wikipedia

Audrey Hepburn, the woman who created the little black dress. Simple, elegant, beautiful and charming. Her style is one that has been revered throughout the ages, her outfits and poise material for inspiration. Who doesn’t recall that classic black dress, hairdo and pearls in front of Tiffany’s window? It has reached icon status and is right up there with Marilyn’s white dress and Channel’s suit. Granted Marilyn may have been sexy and Channel a fashion powerhouse, but no one has class or style like Audrey.

She is no doubt the only woman in the world eligible to play both a nun and a call girl with effortless beauty and grace. Albeit Julia Roberts was lovable in Pretty Woman, her leather boots couldn’t hold a candle to Givenchy’s dress on Miss Golightly.

What has spawned Audrey into the good graces of fashion was her love of designer Hubert de Givenchy. And he loved her right back, catering to her whim and desires and designing almost every outfit in every role she played.  The two became inseparable, and with Audrey’s charm and Givenchy’s grace they set the trend that rocked through the 50’s, through Vogue covers, the runway and the movies.

When she’s remembered for her fashion style, it’s mostly in those of the films she starred. The dress and pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the towering  hat and parasols in My Fair Lady, her Capri pants in Sabrina and running around Rome in a pair of pumps in Roman Holiday. But whilst the camera stopped rolling, Audrey’s eye for style continued.

Her tight hairdo’s, fitted pants, slim silhouette and basic colours. She refrained from bold colours, preferring instead staples of black, grey and brown which equalled Instant 50’s glamour. She brought Italian demure to Hollywood, with ballet pumps and clinched waistlines we could only hope to get around our ankles. She brought Parisian sophistication to New York, with turtle necks and trench coats. And she brought Hollywood glamour to the world, with satin dresses and long gloves that never looked tacky.

Audrey in her time was never rivalled, and still no one has managed to step up to the plate and remain standing.  She is the poster girl for sophisticated glamour. She was always modest, never self-important or arrogant, and grateful for her good fortune and fame. Even to her lasting legacy and in the face of icon status, she remains refined and effortless – “I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people’s minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.” And we will always love her for just doing her thing.

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Needles are the new Sally Hanson

Hypodermic Needle Stomach Injection 3-1-08 8278

Hypodermic Needle Stomach Injection 3-1-08 8278 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Our country is riddled with the disease of paleness, but blessed be the bottles of fake tan at our exposure or I would never wear a dress again. Those of us who like the bronzed lifestyle buy fake tan by the bucket load, stand naked for spray tans, lie in UV light for hours and pop tanning tablets. We’ll go to pretty much any length to stay glowing, but would you go to the lengths of a drug addict?

Tanning injections are the new black market buzz that’s peeking interest in Ireland. Illegal, dangerous and not even approved for human use, these injections are the worst extreme Irish lasses have ever turned to for a tan. And I am truly worried. So much is wrong with them that I don’t even know where to start.

Let me explain what these injections are. They come as sachets of Melanotan powder, which is a chemical hormone that is being developed for skin intolerance to the sun. It then must be mixed with a “solution”, and injected daily with an insulin needle to the stomach area. Sounding a bit dodgy yet? It’s bought and sold over the internet, and contents can include an already used needle and incorrect dosage. Now I think were past dodgy.

Immediate side effects can range from nausea to increased blood pressure. That might not sound too bad, maybe you’d even be ok with the long-term side effects, a small thing known as cancer and that tingly feeling you get called organ failure. Do you really want to stab yourself to the point of sickness to look darker? The only thing I’ve left to say to this train wreck of dodgy needles, sickness, disease and desperation is thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take mine out of a bottle any day.

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Anything, Anytime, Anywhere Fashion


Image by SarahWynne via Flickr

Let me paint you a picture. Your sitting in a lecture hall with over 100 people you don’t know. The girl in front of you has dreadlocks in her hair and a suede jacket. The girl behind you has torn jeans and a lip ring. The guy to your left has doc martins on with a knitted cardigan. Maybe you, in whatever different outfit you’re wearing to these people, can’t figure out why they dress that way. But say you find their style intriguing, you like it or you just ‘get it’. Then I’m sure you can log onto their blog and appreciate what they wear with their millions of other fans. And that’s the beauty of it.

The fashion world has gone viral, and it’s in the hands of your fellow students. Your fashion fixes no longer lie on the runways of high fashion designers, in the pages between Vogue or at the awards ceremony for celebrities. No matter the look, the person or the price, scroll through Lookbook or explore WordPress and you’ll find someone who caters to your fancy.  For all you know, a 15-year-old girl in Amsterdam, who regularly posts her outfits on Lookbook, has rocked your wardrobe to the core.

Lookbook, for those of you still depraved because you haven’t discovered this gem yet, is “fashion inspiration from real people around the world”. For me, it’s what-should-I-wear-tomorrow heaven. People from anywhere in anything can post a picture of themselves in any style you could possibly imagine. Without this site and all the outfit ideas that go running through my head in one scroll, I’d probably be turning up in a potato sack to college.

We now have countless ways to not only explore fashion blogs and outfits, but make our own. People have gone from zero to hero with one click of a button because fashionistas loved their outlook. Who’s to say you can’t be the next one? And so what if you think your style isn’t mainstream, if your eyeliner is too thick, your shoes too gothic or you jumpers too quirky. Post it, write about it, and you’ll find people who will adore you for it. Where there’s a fashion will, there is most certainly a way.

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The Man Behind the Window

Val Holmes, the man behind the window. That window being Brown Thomas’s ever changing front display windows. And that man being the display manager spanning over 3 decades. He has been the one to entertain Limerick city with scenes of the world, St Patrick’s Day pride, glamorous catwalks and of course, Christmas spirit.

For over 37 years now Val has been with brown Thomas and been working on their windows. A job that suits his talents so perfectly, it’s hard to imagine it’s a job which he got by chance. Thinking back to the start of his career, he remembers simply walking in to Brown Thomas looking for a job and getting landed on the windows. Even without a fancy degree, he made manager in under four years in 1978 – and has loved every day since.

33 years later and Limerick has seen one of the best Christmas display windows in a long time. Working in his team with two others, Anne and Marie who he speaks of fondly, he explains how every month their given a theme from the head Brown Thomas store in Dublin. This year the Christmas theme is “Windows from around the world” and the Limerick store has run with it. Walk down the street and you’ll see Russians hunting in their furs, the French eating expensive cakes, and the Chinese with their porcelain faces and china sets.

You’ll also see the usual arrangement of snow covered reindeer and wrapped up children. They put so much thought into the display that he modelled the French window on Marie Antoinette’s famous proclamation: “let them eat cake!” Hence the frosted pink cakes of grandeur in the window.

All Brown Thomas stores across Ireland synchronise their windows, and change them on a monthly basis. But being a Limerick man himself, Val sees no harm in making us stand out a little more and going that extra mile with the windows. It takes them 2 to 3 weeks to do the Christmas display alone. And not only do the windows entertain the city, they give back to the community too. Limerick’s Live 95 D.J lived in the window for 95 hours for charity in September of this year. In that amount of time, they raised €50,000 for charity, and it was their way in helping to give back to the city.

Val has spotted trends come in and out in his windows display, picking and choosing the Brown Thomas labels and merchandise to include. He was the man that brought the beloved animated Santa to Limerick back in the 80’s. However, having developed an eye for trends, he admitted it had run its term and the millennium meant new things for Limericks windows. Val has brought us a little bit of other worldly culture this Christmas. So far the response from the city has been great, with customers in the store frequently offering compliments on the display. So if you’re in the store this Christmas, don’t forget to thank Val and his team for the years they’ve spent making our city look beautiful.


2012 Makeup trends

English: Freehand cherry blossoms and koi fish...

Image via Wikipedia

I bet by now most of you have already forgotten the new you that lasted two weeks on her  healthy diet, gym commitment and new style. I know I have. But in the beauty world, 2012 is bolder and better – with a few makeup trends that are a lot easier to keep than a diet.

Anyone catch the new reality favourite, Desperate Scousewives? These girls running around Liverpool, glitter clad with their rollers still in, are responsible for the newest and funniest trend yet. The scouse brow. Thick and square and dark no matter what the hair colour, these girls are adding powerful frames to their faces. I’m not saying that we should all tattoo caterpillars onto our forehead because they do, but thicker and darker brows are bang on trend this season.

If you’re too afraid to go bold with your eyebrows, then do it with your eyes. We’ve moved on from colour blocking to colour popping. Line your eyes with contrasting colours to stand out from the crowd. If you have blue eyes, go for orange eyeliner. For brown, try blue. For green, inject a bit of fiery red.  I know that black is the makeup safe house, but for once step out of your comfort zone and see how many eyes are winking back at yours.

But the boldest of them all this year is here to stay for life. Yes, tattoos. Tattoos are no longer just for muscly men who love their mother; they have become decorative, expressive and meaningful for women. Even Topshop has gotten its own tattoo parlour for its fashion forward customers. And for those who fear needles and commitment – and dare I say it, eventual sagging – there are transferable tattoos available that are just as fabulous. So go on, this year be bold, be brave, and flash your tat.

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Blinding Boy Bits

Disco ball in blue

Image via Wikipedia

Male grooming. We were delighted when they started shaving their chest and tweezing their unibrows. We begrudgingly allowed them to do the odd sunbed and steal some of our fake tan when needed. We even braved the man eyeliner for god sake. But I can honestly admit that I am truly terrified of the next step I hope only a minority of men will take. It’s a big bejewelled glittering penis and it’s coming our way. Introducing the male version of a vajazzle: the pejazzle.

For those of you manly men that are reading this and shaking to the core but can’t look away, I will explain the nitty gritty details as painlessly as I can. A pejazzle followed from the female vajazzle, which is basically a decoration of a woman’s nether regions with nice pretty crystals. The trend became massive after it was seen on TOWIE, and no, I’m not obsessed with the show. Most commonly used are the Swarovski crystals, which Essex lad Mark Wright is supporting and launching his male version of designs.

If any man is outrageous enough to go ahead and attempt this, you my good man are a brave one. Make sure to prep the area first, as in shave it and then clean it with the provided alcohol wipe. We don’t want any sticky bits getting caught in any hairy bits now do we?  Then simply peel off the design (a pair of lips or a cross – whichever makes you feel well hard man) and stick. Congratulations, you now have your very own disco ball for night time when the lights go out.

Granted there are no harmful side effects from this beauty treatment, and it can be done either professionally or at home. So technically there is nothing stopping men from flooding salons nationwide to bling their bits.  As the spokesperson for this development, and self-confessed pejazzeler, Mark Wright said “each to their own”. He’s absolutely right, if any man gets a pejazzle he will most definitely be on his own. Or at least until the diamanté’s fall off.

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