Style Inspirations – Esther Quek

I’ve never been the world’s girliest dresser. In my 20s I used to feel like an imposter whenever I wore a dress. Nowadays my wardrobe certainly includes more dresses but I never feel quite as comfortable as when I’m in trousers, heels and a good jacket. Tomboyish style is definitely my go to.

So of course I fell hard the first time I saw Esther Quek pictured on a blog at Fashion Week a couple of years ago. Singaporean born and now Dubai based, Quek is a stylist and the Group Fashion Director of men’s magazines The Rake and Revolution. She can be seen popping up at men’s fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and London, and is a favourite of the street-style photographer pack.

Esther’s personal style is menswear influenced with beautifully cut suits, pocket squares and lace-up flat shoes as staples in her wardrobe. She adds a feminine slant with bright colours, bold prints, the odd pair of stilettos and amazing jewellery. She mixes high end designers and bespoke tailoring with high street finds from Zara and H&M. Her eye for colour combinations is awe inspiring (for example the neutral check suit with neon shirt, blue bowtie and blue overcoat pictured below) and her impeccable grooming (slicked hair, minimal make-up) compliments her overall aesthetic perfectly.

Quek is the epitome of menswear inspired cool and she can rock a suit like no other woman I’ve ever seen. Check her out…

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Photo by Lee Oliveira
Photo by Stockholm Street Style
Photo by Stockholm Street Style
Photo by Citizen Couture
Photo by Citizen Couture
Photo by Tommy Ton
Photo by Tommy Ton
Photo by Lee Oliveira
Photo by Lee Oliveira
Photo by Tommy Ton
Photo by Tommy Ton
Photo by Tommy Ton
Photo by Tommy Ton
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Style Inspirations – Laura Bailey

You can see from looking through the Style Inspirations archives on the blog that there are some very different people and aesthetics that I find inspiring. I love people who have a great sense of their own style, what suits them and expresses their personality even though it may be very different to my own style. I may not be able to pull off the old Hollywood glamour of Dita Von Teese or Anna Dello Russo’s high octane couture looks, but I still admire their commitment to their signature style and can find inspiration in the details.

Laura Bailey is the quintessential English eccentric. She looks like a grown up version of Alice in Wonderland; blonde hair, creamy complexion, and a classically beautiful face. Bailey first garnered media attention due to her relationship with Richard Gere and has since been a model and writer, most notably for Vogue. A muse and friend of many designers, Bailey can often be found front and centre at Fashion Week, and is a brand ambassador for Chanel.

Bailey’s style is almost antithetical to my own. Lots of colour and lots of print! She is an expert at clashing prints and pieces that shouldn’t work, but she makes it look easy. She has an artist’s eye for colour and often combines unexpected hues to great effect. And of course I covet her hair (which apparently is naturally long and lustrous without the need for extensions!).

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At Chanel Haute Couture S/S 2013 Paris
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At the Tom Ford London A/W 2013 private dinner (pic by Fashionologie)
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At London Fashion Week 2012 (pic by Fashionologie)
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Wearing Isabel Marant, London (pic by Zimbio)
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Leaving Claridges (Pic by Zimbio)
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At Burberry SS2012 (pic by Zimbio)
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At Chanel Cruise 2012 (pic by Zimbio)

Style Inspirations – Fred Astaire

If you’ve ever heard of film star Fred Astaire then you must certainly have heard the famous assessment given on his first screen test report:  “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Balding. Can dance a little.” A slight understatement of Astaire’s talent and considerable charm perhaps? Astaire was one of the greatest dancers of his time (here’s just one very famous example) but he also became known for his sartorial elegance which has ensured his status as an enduring style icon.

Astaire preferred British tailoring to American and often got his suits made on Saville Row. He was elegant when casual, wearing beautifully tailored sports coats and trousers in muted hues with his socks providing a punch of colour. And when wearing a top hat and tails he looked as if it was the most comfortable form of clothing in the world.

Astaire gave a comprehensive interview about his style to GQ magazine which is well worth a read. In it he discusses his aversion to “conspicuous” dressing, his love for double-breasted suits, and his preferred way to knot a tie. It is obvious that Astaire is extremely knowledgeable in sartorial matters and the fact that he returned to tailors with the same garment several times to get just the right fit is evident in every photograph.

Pic from Vanity Fair
Pic from fineanddandyshopblog.com
Pic from ilovecherraye.blogspot.com
Pic by Everett
Pic from The Luxe Obsessions

I couldn’t end this post without including the following video which sees Astaire paired with my favourite movie star of this era, Gene Kelly. Kelly and Astaire were considered to be two of the best dancers of their time but they were very different in style. It is perhaps best summed up by Cyd Charisse who partnered with both of them: “As one of the handful of girls who worked with both of those dance geniuses, I think I can give an honest comparison. In my opinion, Kelly is the more inventive choreographer of the two. I think, however, that Astaire’s coordination is better than Kelly’s. Kelly, on the other hand, is the stronger of the two. To sum it up, I’d say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on screen. But it’s like comparing apples and oranges. They’re both delicious.”

Astaire and Kelly admired each other professionally and  Kelly was also a fan of Astaire’s sartortial style, once saying, “I used to envy his cool aristocratic style, so intimate and contained. Fred wears top hat and tails to the manner born — I put them on and look like a truck driver.”

Style Inspirations – George Cortina

It has been pointed out on The Multiverse Facebook page that I don’t often post about men’s fashion and looking back on the archives it’s true! I have previously covered Lapo Elkann‘s impeccable style in one of my first Style Inspirations posts and also did a recent post on Italian style for men inspired by my trip to Rome in September. So in attempt to balance things out a little I thought I’d introduce you to George Cortina, stylist and Associate Fashion Director at Vogue Nippon.

George has a classic, clean style, often wearing simple monochrome and dark shades of blue and green. He favours good Italian tailoring, perfectly fitted with crisp lines. I love his little punk touches like the close-up below of his Balenciaga boots with frayed jean hems half tucked in (a couture version of Bender in The Breakfast Club!). His pairing of a navy velvet tux jacket with khaki trousers is genius, seemingly simple but a great clash of texture and colour. And he always rocks a cool pair of glasses! George is classic with an unexpected twist and I love his style.

Pic by The Sartorialist
Pic By Stockholm Street Style
With Anna Dello Russo. Pic by The Sartorialist
Pic by The Sartorialist
Pic by Vogue Italia
Pic by GQ.com

Fashion Insiders at Fashion Month

This post a bit of a tradition now! I love looking at what the pros wear during Fashion Month, i.e. the four Fashion Weeks at New York, London, Paris and Milan. I have previously covered Spring Summer 2011 and Autumn Winter 2011; now is the turn of Spring Summer 2012. Some favourite fashionistas of mine below: Taylor Tomasi Hill of course, looking amazing in a Thakoon skirt in Milan and elegant with a twist in Paris; Kate Lanphear looking badass as always in Paris; and Joanna Hillman rocking some pyjama style trousers as only she could.

A couple of new faces too: I covet blogger Leandra Medine’s Alexander Wang silver loafers and 3.1 Philip Lim jacket; model Aline Weber off-duty with a perfectly styled velvet skirt; and stylist Stevie Dance’s cutout dress as shot by The Sartorialist is stunningly beautiful.

Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller in New York (pic by Man Repeller)
Kate Lanphear in Paris (pic by Style Bistro)
Taylor Tomasi Hill in Milan (pic by Stockholm Street Style)
Taylor Tomasi Hill in Paris (pic by Style Bistro)
Joanna Hillman in New York (pic by Citizen Couture)
Stevie Dance in Paris (pic by the Sartorialist)
Aline Weber in London (pic by Mr. Newton for Harper's Bazaar)

Style Inspirations – Sandra Hagelstam

I am addicted to fashion blogs. I have about sixty of them bookmarked and am always on the look out for new inspiration. I have been following 5 Inch & Up for the last number of months. The blog is primarily made up of outfit posts by the blog owner Sandra Hagelstam, a Finnish girl living in London and studying at the London College of Fashion.

Although Sandra is a bit of a style chameleon, going from girlie and etheral to edgy in the space of a week, her outfits are always punctuated by amazing footwear. In fact her penchant for vertiginous heels gave rise to her blog’s name (just in case you thought it referred to something else…ahem). Sandra’s very creative in her approach to dressing, as can be seen by the second photo below where she has belted a blanket to create a very Westwood-inspired skirt, and she owns some fiercely covetable jewellery such as the amazing spine ring in the fourth picture.

Sandra mixes pieces from Martin Margiela, Acne and Alexander Wang together with Zara and Topshop, so her blog has lots of affordable pieces showcased on it. I find it a great source of outfit inspiration and look forward to the time when Sandra is designing a label of her own.

Style Inspirations – Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. label has been killing it recently and there is no better model for it than Gwen herself. On her off duty days, Gwen can be seen wearing pieces from her own label mixed with other designer labels. She always looks polished – her hair, nails and make-up are immaculate – yet still retains a tomboyish quality. I love that she takes what is essentially quite a masculine aesthetic  (trousers, few skirts, nothing too revealing) and with the addition of accessories, heels and her own considerable beauty, makes it look enviably feminine. All hail Gwen!

(And if one of the Irish shoe shops would like to start stocking L.A.M.B. shoes, I’d be VERY happy! They’re stunning and only available to buy online from the US, ergo extra taxes to pay at customs. Sad face.)

And here’s a reminder of how elegant this lady can look when she dresses for the red carpet:

Pic from Diane Pernet blog