26 November 2014

Vogue House Tour: A Touch of Heaven

One thing I couldn't get over was how these four little Dior bags and a Chanel were crumpled on the
floor next to all these shoes j
ust lying there... at foot level... ready and the waiting to be kicked or scuffed.
But who cares right? They're samples. They're just like a rental car...

Today I got to visit the 5th floor. Thats right. The 5th floor of the Vogue house building.
Now believe it or not; our monthly fashion bible is not crafted by 'the fashion God', helped by his fashion cherubs, in a ginormous factory where there are millions of divisions, within which each worker is scrutinizing every square centimeter of Vogue's pages before it's printed.
No; it's just one floor, in a normal office building, with about 70 dashingly well dressed employees, men and women, sat at desks. Who would have known? Now that's not to say that the Vogue office didn't look like heaven; because through my eyes it did. But I think that there are quite a few misconceptions and myths that need to be debunked; or quirky little bits of heavan that maybe media didn't teach us about...

10 Wonderful and Interesting Things I Learned About the British Vogue Headquarters/Office
(Illustrations by me because there was no photography allowed!)

1. No One is Bitchy
Everyone is: kind, gentle, sweet, accommodating, cheerful and as un-bitchy as a person can be. The Devil Wears Prada makes the Vogue office environment look like the scariest office from hell. The reality however is that people are so hard working that there is a professional, concentrated atmosphere. But as soon as you pop that bubble and say hello, the employees all snapped out of their work mode, jump up and cheerfully greeted us. They gave us as much of their time as they could, and when they had to get to work or received a call, politely excused themselves and got back to work.
So nice!

2. Everyone Looks as if they Stepped Out of the Vogue Magazine
Many of the employees at Vogue didn't know 9 of us Condé Nast college girls were coming in, so they weren't dressing up for us: this was how they dressed everyday!

The Advertising Assistant was wearing a beautiful satin 'Patchwork' body hugging dress, glasses, and black stilettos. She looked like Vogue's take on a secretary: cool, quirky but most importantly original. Then there was the Fashion Director who was wearing a beautiful black skirt, but with this beautiful african print blouse: with buttons the size of coasters in thick, shaped, gold.
Even the girl that was wearing jeans: was wearing a Belle Freud sweater with clog like heels that looked like only she could pull off (god knows I couldn't). But it all worked. These girls live and breath the magazine; and my god does it show.

3. The Vogue Closet is NOT as Depicted in 'Sex in the City' or 'The Devil Wears Prada'

No unfortunately the racks are scattered all around the office: organized by each shoot/feature/brand/colour, whichever order the stylist wants really. 
But the main 'Vogue Closet' is situated in a hallway that connects the Features and Fashion departments and looks pretty much like this:

Terrible sketch: but it was a rack that ran down the already squished corridor with (surprisingly) Chanel to H&M amongst it's racks. Who knew?
Ah; more bad news. The beloved 'Shoe Closet'? Doesn't exist either. 
Hats, Handbags, shoes: all get to sit on the pedestal that is;
the overcrowded space on the floor underneath the clothes rack.
One thing I couldn't get over was how these four little Dior bags and a Chanel were crumpled on the floor next to all these shoes. Just at foot level: ready and the waiting to be kicked or scuffed. But who cares right? Their samples. It's like a rental car.

For my peers and I, our experience of walking down that hallway involved us dribbling over the racks of clothes. We came to a blockage in the small hallway when we reached one of the Fashion Features girls choosing clothes for a shoot: she was literally grabbing these fine, expensive clothes and throwing them one the floor. She assembled a earth-tone shirt, skirt, and clogs outfit that was very geometric yet natural.

“What do you girls think we should call this? I mean ‘Native’ is too simple”
We shut up our cooing over the garments and genuinely had a think.
“This could be your big break girls!” said Zoe, our guide.
“Boho?” I said
“Crafty?” Said my friend
“Boho, crafty, I like it. Thanks”
After a little more cooing over shoes this time, we were ushered on.
“You guys will find out which title I finally decided on in the March issue! Thanks for coming!” 
She shouted down the hallway.

Damn. I need to get a job here.

4. Office Designer Ribbon Competition
It seemed to me like on most of the girl's desks in the beauty department: there were ribbons from all sorts of houses tied to their desk lamps or drawer handles. Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Todd's, Dior, the lot!
(There was also a 'Vogue' Nutella jar on a girls desk.. I know where she go that done!)
(You can have your own personalized Nutella Jar at Selfridges, only £3.99!)


4. All the Ladies Go Shopping Just as you Would Expect them to!
So many shopping bags! A huge purple Liberties bag, a small white J Crew bag with a leopard print sheer blouse sat at the bottom, a glaring yellow Selfridges bag! They all had bags worth of shopping sat at their feet. At least they can justify their shopping!!

5. The Beauty Sample Closet is a Thing of Heaven
Above is another illustration of what the Beauty Department looked like: facing desks (absolutely cluttered with beauty goods: one could have guessed) with cupboards surrounding them. On the inside were neatly organized hampers, baskets, and drawers FULL of the latest makeup. There is every kind of gel, goo, or cream you could wish for. Every hairs spray, fake tan, to wrinkle cream. I spotted a Vita Coco (the drink) face moisturizer that hasn't come out yet, Miranda Kerr's new skincare line, and my favorite; the Benefit Majorette Blusher all sat in their respective basket. There was just so much product in these cupboards, god knows how 5 girls try them all!

Get this; the Vogue Beauty Department gets SO many free samples from brands that they often have an in Office Beauty Sample Sale, where everything is priced at £1 and £1 only. (All the money goes to charity)
So from Chanel perfumes to Tom Ford lipsticks, from £250 stem cell rejuvenation cream to £5 maybe line mascara: all of it goes for £1.
Now that's heaven. 

6. Vogue Magazine is being made 4-5 Months in Advance.
When we went to go see the visual dummy (Which is a wall of all of the editorial, features, Vogue crafted pages, without the advertising) they were about to take it down to start the next.
It was the layout for the February Issue of Vogue; practically done and dusted and they were already moving onto the March issue.
The way that the Magazine is made is based on a 4 week rotor: in the first week the advertising department needs to book and allocate the advertisers, in the second week the features department needs to have written their piece and strung together the images, in the third week is the beauty department (and any others) duty to hand in their 'Vogue Spy' beauty pages or their articles, and finally on the last week the fashion department pulls together their work and then the issue is completed and it's on to the next.

7. The Advertisers Have Been in the Same Order in Vogue Magazine for Nearly 100 Years.
The reason you don't notice it is because there is a template for each month that changes.
For example if you were to take all of the December Vogues: the first double page advertising spread would be Chanel.

8. Ladies and Men alike: have been working there for 40 years, or just 3 months.
There is such an age range; so many young girls, so many middle aged women, so many older women, all working together as a team and as equals in this office.

9. Their Intern Looked Really Happy
She wasn't being treated like a slave, or being made to fetch coffee's, or being shouted at.
She was taking two weeks off of university and was working really hard; she barely had time to talk. She had her own desk and a mentor.
Now just let me put those assumptions to the test pretty please...

10. If You want to Work at Vogue... You Can.
The Vogue Office is overflowing with kindness, collaboration, and creativity
If those criteria suit you, and you want to work there, go for it. Nothing is stopping you.
I have confirmed that Vogue is not magical, it's not mythical either, it's a real place with real people, but most importantly it's an office with jobs that ARE attainable.
It is the elite; but if you are willing to work hard to get to a place where you will work hard happy, then go for it!

I hope that was as interesting to learn as it was for me!
Lots of love my sweeties!
-J xxx

22 November 2014

Marc by Marc Jacobs Sample Sale! Lessons Learned

So colorfully yummy! Down from £200 to £68!                    Stylish, huge, cozy, and now part of my Skii Gear!            
Ever wonder where all the seasons goodies that weren't bought go? 

'Marc'-downs in the Menswear for this one!                            Colorful, cutesy, Marc Jacobs Wallets for £55? Yes indeed.

"I would go out tonight, But I haven't got a stitch to wear"
-The lights above the front desk
5 Lessons Learned About Sample-Sales

 1. A Sample Sale is still pretty freaking expensive: 70% off was not as glorious as it sounded. 
Well, looking at what was in my wallet it was expensive. But, I'm sure to any other Londoner that isn't a student these would be some whopping deals. 
The reason for this is that 'Marc Jacobs' is the lower-market line of clothing, of which there were only a handful of garments left (and for good reason, no thanks!), while 'Marc by Marc Jacobs' is the much higher market line of clothing, which although reduced from £1,000 something, was still £400. Looking at what was in my wallet it was expensive. 
I can appreciate the whopping deals but, because I'm a student I can't indulge: I'm sure to any other Londoner this event would be a shopping spree, but for me I have to count my blessings and savor it!

2. There aren't changing rooms; so you have to make do.
Size vary amongst every single jean, things can look awful on but gorgeous off, at a sample sale you can't return it: these are just a few of the reasons why trying things on are still a must.
So when you are in a situation like I was in: make do. 
Embarrassingly, I went ahead and grabbed three rails that were full of garments: sneakily pretended I worked there and wheeled them to create a little space; and went for it.
Jeans were off and trousers were on in a second without anyone realizing. 
Thank god I did; they looked awful on me. I mean take a look:

So off I went on trying the next pair; with James as my lookout. Fat lot of help he did.
What we both failed to realize: was this very concentrated older woman who was furiously flicking through the racks like pages in a book. 'Flick Flick Flick' she was coming closer. 
I fumbled to put my jeans on before she got to my modesty-rack, only to realize they were still inside out. Despite my erratic, panicked frenzy of a situation behind the rack she was looking at; the woman was still so focused on her hunt that she failed to notice. 
Luckily I got both my legs in and just as I was standing up to pull them up; I made eye contact with the now not-so-clothes-focused woman. 
With my jeans halfway up my thighs and my (modest but still embarrassingly) pink kickers on show: I chuckled and gave an embarrassed and sheepish smile, which was reciprocated, and we both swiftly moved on. 
Suffice to say I didn't get the trousers.

3. It's the perfect place for Marc Jacobs lovers, even through FaceTime.

"Mum, would you prefer this one or this one?" -Girl on FaceTime [to mum]
"I've sent you pictures"-Guy on the phone [to girlfriend perhaps]
"Anything you want me to get you?" -Me on FaceTime to Annie, 
my friend and fellow Marc Jacobs lover.

Don't be surprised: Sample Sales are a surgical event.
No lushy, mushy, interior decor. 
No changing rooms.
Nothing taken out of it's shipping plastic.
No sales people trying to sell you anything.
No one you can ask for help either!
Sample sales and the people that go to them mean business. 
And that's why FaceTime is allowed; don't shy away from it!

4. Follow the people with their eyes glued to Google maps
The whole venue was situated on a dodgy road, where there was hardly anyone, with no clear signs.
When James and I had all but lost hope, we started looking for people, who were looking at their phones, looking for the venue. One girl figured it out and disappeared down an alleyway.
Down said alley way was some red velvet ropes and glass doors and we knew then we'd made it.

5. It's worth it!! 

With all you have just learned on Sample Sales:
If you want to go to a Private Sandro Sample sale next weekend at this same venue; visit http://www.arlettie.co.uk ! 
You will receive you're exclusive invitation, which you bring to the door and then voila!
 Enjoy your shopping!
Night night my sweeties,
-J xxx

21 November 2014

Founder of Rodial: 10 Tips When Launching a Business!


So today I met the founder of Rodial Skincare products; Maria Hatzistefanis. 
(Insert cheesy photo here)


She came to Condé Nast to give a talk on who she was, what she does, and how she got there. Her lecture was inspiring, funny, and full of wisdom. It was so incredible seeing such a young woman with a business and brand as big as Rodial! 
I wanted to share with you all what I learned so without further ado!

Top Ten Tips For When Launching A Business
 (Not just in Beauty!)
1. You Don't Need Experience
Maria [The Founder of Rodial] was armed with just a Finance degree, not a Chemical Skincare Degree, so the first thing she did instead is get a team of scientists to realize her idea's: simple. 

2. Be Different
She named her product "Dragons Blood Sculpting Gel". That's different.
"It isn't really made of dragons- no Game of Thrones, Sorry!"

3. Get People Talking
Her free samples that were given out at the Oscars were Rodial's big break!

4. Embrace Social Media
"Even is it's a sex tape like Kim Kardashian!"
No advertising works better than a friend suggesting to a friend: make this happen.

5. Find Your Brand Ambassadors
Kylie Minogue was Rodial's first celebrity ambassador- and now Naomi Campbell uses it and Victoria Beckham even wrote about Rodial in her book! It gets the ball rolling.

6. Take Risks
She called her anti aging serum "Snake Serum"; even though most women hate snakes!

7. Be Nice
"Being tough is good... but being nice is better"
Because this industry [Beauty and Fashion] is so much smaller than you think. 'Be nice to the people you meet on the way up because they will be the same ones you meet on the way down.'

8. How to be an Overnight Success
"The iPod came out of no-where, Twitter came out of no where, and Angry Birds came out of no-where"
The iPhone game app, 'Angry Birds', was an overnight success. 
But Maria told us about how the company had created over 50 games prior to Angry Birds and that Angry Birds was that companies last shot because they were on the verge of bankruptcy. 
If you keep to your work ethic, you persist, and you trust that even though you haven't had a break yet: it's coming- it will come.

9. Hire People Smarter Than You
Get people that challenge you, get people that make up for your flaws, a team will always do the job better.

10. Have Faith in Yourself
If you work hard and love what you do: it will come.
"Doing something you love is like getting paid to play; it's the best job in the world!"

So with all this advice on starting up a buisness in mind now... go get em' tiger!

Lots of love sweeties!
-J xxx

18 November 2014

20 Days Left Until The 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show!

Ahh!! I'm going to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show!!

Why am I so excited about what is: lets face it, a commercialized,
glorified, over-the-top, exorbitantly expensive, underwear fashion show?
Because... Well.. that's what it is!
...but I have other reasons.
Despite the little fabric Victoria's Secret is trying to sell;
the creations the designers come up with are amazing!
Their 'Props' (i.e. the hosiery, shoes, wings, 
diamonds, pearls, and a solid couple of tons of glitter) are so innovative, theatrical, 
and over the top creative you can't help but to want to buy into the brand,
regardless of how good the design or quality is! 
Well I can't help it; I'm their demographic.. but my boyfriend isn't.
I asked James if he could objectively decide if the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was the unique selling point of the Victoria's secret brand; or if it was the actual underwear itself?
"Pretty Girls in their underwear..." was the in-depth response I got. 
Case Study Conclusion: Even he's smitten.
I for one subjectively believe it's the Fashion show.
It's one of a kind: honestly, have you ever even seen another lingerie show televised? at all?

It's Innovative, Theatrical, and Creative
Innovative: Some of 2013's designs were made by a 3D printer!
2012 had the first LED powered wings with a micro sized battery!
2011's knitwear designs were hard work and trail blazed knit that year!
Theatrical: (Not much to be said; see photo's)
Creative: The fact that there are only so many ways you can reinvent angel wings...
but they still manage to do it year after year, theme after theme, and still wow us.
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite sketch to runway creations...

 Adriana Lima 2013
 Alessandra Ambrosio 2011
Adriana Lima 2011

In preparation for the show: apart my new strict workout and meal regime, here are some facts I sniffed out to better prepare myself for the big night!!

1. Incase you hadn't already heard, this morning the 2014 Musical Guests were announced!
Taylor Swift (repetitive but yay!),
Ed Sheeran (Britain's Sweet-Heart),
Ariana Grande (Trying to keep positive and grateful with this one but- struggling),
and Hozier (Hozi-who? Looked him up after hand. Irish and pretty groovy.)

2. I am going to be attending the first out of the two shows!
Two shows you ask? Well! There are two shows on the day to ensure every camera angle is captured! This is important seeing as the playback is what CBS and Victoria's Secret make their money off of, not all 100 of us Fashion College Girls and our free-loader invitations! (Not complaining)

3. We are going to be in Earls Court and instead of being amongst an audience of 5,000 like it always has been... were going to be in an audience four times that size capping at a whopping 20,000 audience members (and two lots of them, remember? so 40,000 live viewers in one day!)

4. We have to bring our passports as identification and our invitations are confidential.
That's right. Underwear is some serious buisness.

5. I just realized I need to decide what to wear!
Goodnight my sweeties!
Until tomorrow!
-J xxx