Nichole de Carle: Undercover Luxury

A couple of weeks ago I became very popular with a number of my male friends.

The reason for this sudden interest was not, as you’d expect, due to my general fabulousness (shock, horror!), but because I’d been invited to the press launch for the new collection from top lingerie designer Nichole de Carle.

'Westminster' bra, brief and braces

Nichole’s high-concept, beautifully constructed designs caught my attention when I first saw them featured by Queen Michelle on the Kingdom of Style blog. Featuring braces, curves and bold cuts, the underwear seemed to achieve something in lingerie that I’d not come across before; stunning, daring underwear that felt feminine in its complexity rather than fetishist.

The past twelve months have been incredibly exciting for the label and the future is looking even brighter. The designs have appeared on many a famous figure, including Nicole Scherzinger and the girls from The Saturdays, and on the day I visited the pop up store at The Lingerie Collective, one basque was being borrowed for a shoot for an international superstar – I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say who, but rack your brains and you might be able to guess, the label is a perfect match for her.

Emily of Nichole de Carle teams her Westminster braces with simple daywear for a quirky edge

Nichole’s also become a familiar face on British television, having had her work featured on the E4 shows Great British Hairdresser and the recent Dirty Sexy Things. Her sister, the lovely Charlotte de Carle (and arguably the breakout female star of the latter show), serves of the face of the brand. Nichole is now  venturing overseas and will soon be featured on the Dutch version of Great British Hairdresser and Russia’s Next Top Model.

Charlotte wears the Chateau Villette

The label gained favourable press attention earlier this year after it was featured in a list of Selfridges’ must-have Christmas gifts for 2011. The product that hit the headlines back in July is  The Diamond Brief Collection; several different shapes of knickers featuring a Coster-produced ‘Brilliant Cut’ diamond set in sold sterling silver by Salima Hughes Jewellery.

The Diamond Brief

The party invite I received to celebrate the launch of the latest luxury Nichole de Carle pieces took place on the eve of London Fashion Week at The Lingerie Collective in central London. Feeling I should embrace my feminine side in celebration of the brand, I donned a pencil skirt and abandoned my usual massive choice of bag for a vintage market find, my lucky housemate Simen in tow.

Going Underground: Skirt by Zara, top by Forever 21

The party itself was packed full of fashiony types (that I always feel slightly hopeless around!) Lucky there Jude’s Icecream and amazing Iceberg Vodka to keep my confidence crisis underwraps and my focus elsewhere! It was also brilliant to catch up with Charlotte, having produced the E4 site for Dirty Sexy Things and to meet brilliant bloggers and photographers such as the stunning Emily of Fashion Politics and the very talented Poppie Ellis Clinch (whose portfolio is truly stunning).

It’s enough to make me want to compete on The Apprentice and get a high powered job… be still my empty underwear drawer!

Skins… an end to controversy?

Recently a post I published on 02/01/2009 has been getting an incredible number of hits.

Presumably because it was tagged ‘Skins’, ‘Frankie’ and ‘controversy’, fans of the E4 teen drama are curiously searching for hints and clues for the new series, which kicked off a week ago.

It seems ironic that I wrote a post querying the chaotic series 3 trailer, then wrote and a more positive blog the following year about the penultimate episode of series 4. This change probably came as I worked over the summer on the Skins website. I even got to visit the set in Bristol, and took part in the filming of Series 4, Episode 1. I also enjoyed the new cast in the ‘second phase’ more than I expected to, and was pleasantly surprised when they were all wonderful people too.

So what of the new series then? A common comment on the last series is that it was considered ‘too dark’. Last Thursday’s opener did away with the wild raves and portrayed a more truthful portrayal of what it means to be 16 and an outsider. Even glamourous ‘Mean Girl’ Mini had a party in a bar that featured nicely dressed teenagers, as one would expect from a ‘sweet sixteen party’ – rather than an ecstasy-fuelled romp. Franky, almost underplayed by former child film star Dakota Blue Fanning made for intriguing viewing, with her unsteady social standing creating a mystery around how our ‘gang of eight’ will finally come together as friends in time for series 6. Thankfully we’ve also been spared a love triangle too!

I’m not sure how long this more realistic portrayal of teen angst and social awkwardness will last, but TV series are allowed to descend into fantasy, aren’t they?


Skins: Courting controversy for the sake of it?

This is the first full trailer for teen focused drama, Skins.

The third series will focus on former lead character Tony’s sister Effie, and her friends. I’m looking forward to a casting change as I felt that the former characters lacked something (um…realism?)

Skins is one of those marmite programmes. I personally find it irritating, completely unrealistic, often poorly scripted, (the line “whoa nice swearing!” haunts my dreams…) and yet still utterly compelling.

The very first trailer for Skins a couple of years ago mixed semi naked revellers, sexual activity and lots of booze. The new trailer, as above, is oddly full of violence and more of the expected ‘aren’t we cool’ posing.

In the original series Effie, who at first appeared to be a dedicated privately educated school girl (but actually spent her evenings out partying) was involved in one of the more interesting plot twists concerning her adventure filled evenings out and her brother’s part in her double life.

This advert is probably nothing to do with the series, bearing in mind that the characters are just sixteen (!) It reminds me somewhat of the scene in Trainspotting when Begbie throws a glass over a balcony just because he feels like fighting. That however is not a scene that takes place with 6 posh teenagers in a Bristonian pub!

The second series took advantage of the fact that most of its cast had turned 18 and were legally allowed to flash more than before…one of the production team even wrote about having to film certain scenes late on in the schedule because they were waiting for a cast member to come of age. If they couldn’t shock with the partying, booze and drugs of the previous series they could fill it with sex and they did, usually with one sex scene per episode- Skins therefore telling teenagers not only how to party but how to ‘do it’ as well…

…what ‘how to’ will series three give us? How to draw blood without displacing elaborate hair?