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Lily James's stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray on dressing a breakout star

Le 23 January 2016, 04:21 dans Humeurs 0


Rebecca Corbin-Murray is a British stylist best know for her work with Downton Abbey and Cinderella star Lily James. Based in London, she travels around the world with the actress to ensure that she is red carpet ready for the legions of premieres, junkets and photocalls that film stars are contracted to attend. She was introduced to James via her work with former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko; both stars share the same agent, and she was introduced to James around the time she started appearing in Downton Abbey.


Most actresses need coaxing into their red carpet personas


“I have never met anybody that loves doing red carpet” says Corbin-Murray, explaining how in the beginning, young actresses worry about feeling ridiculously over-dressed and looking too over-the-top for their events. Her advice to them is simple. “I tell them: 'If you want to be the movie star you have to dress like a movie star, even if you feel a bit silly,’ - especially when you’re English and you always act embarrassed about everything all the time.”


James’s Cinderella wardrobe was a once-in-a-lifetime affair…


James had wanted to look a certain way for her tour of the Disney film, but her style was soon dictated by the fairy tale nature of the film. “Half the people turning up to promotional events were small children, and they were there to see Cinderella. So we thought, how many times on a red carpet tour can you actually have to look more of the part?” Cue a wardrobe of beautiful, sugary dresses, which took months to prepare.


…and her Elie Saab princess moment won’t be forgotten any time soon


“That was the most perfect dress for that movie” enthuses Corbin-Murray of the blue, intricately embellished gown which James wore to the world premiere of Cinderella. “It’s one of those moments which will probably keep coming up whenever Lily’s mentioned, even in 10 years’ time. That dress was fantastic… I mean, if you’re going to have a princess dress then Elie Saab is the man to go to.”

Lily James at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' in Los Angeles on January 21



Sometimes, the stylist has the last word


For James’s appearance at the Golden Globes, they had narrowed the extensive selection of Marchesa dresses brought to Los Angeles for them by co-creative director Georgina Chapman down to two. “I put my foot down and said she should wear the one she wore” says Corbin-Murray. “It was her first outing at the Globes, and it’s really quite a big deal and everybody’s watching – not only for the awards but people are watching for the red carpet and I think she was a bit nervous about getting it wrong.” She was right to insist - James looked incredible.


Social media could influence James’s next look


As well as attending fashion shows, visiting showrooms and scouring through lookbooks, Corbin-Murray gets courted through social media.“I get tagged a lot on Instagram by brands which can be a little overwhelming getting through it all, but sometimes you come across a good gem actually – an unknown brand or an unknown something,” she reveals.


There’s definitely an alchemy to red carpet dressing


“There are certain things you can’t get around, and that is an actress’ body type,” explains Corbin-Murray. While catwalks employ 6ft-tall, Amazonian-like models, stars such as James can be a foot smaller and curvier. “And then you’ve got fabrics and colours to consider.. . a lot of actress won’t wear velvet or orange for photos… there’s so much to think about.”


Practising poses is definitely encouraged...


Prior to James stepping out at the Golden Globes, James’s stylist made her stand in the mirror “practising different poses and while we take pictures and then go through them and make sure that the way she is standing is the best for her and the best for the dress.” This is understandable when you consider how intimidating a red carpet can be: “We just see the pictures of the girl – you don’t see the thousands of photographers the other side – people staring, people screaming at them, shouting at them to smile, turn around, do that, do this.”


Dealing with diamonds is nerve-wracking for all involved...


James wore over $1.5m worth of jewellery to the Golden Globes ceremony, which Corbin-Murray had to sign for receipt of. “I just looked at the form and thought I was going pass out” she laughs. James’s jet-set lifestyle doesn’t help, either: “She went straight from the Globes to the airport and there was this whole having to intercept her somewhere to take the jewels and put them back in the safe.”


There’s a reason why stars employ a stylist


For an in-demand actress such as James, a stylist’s help is invaluable. As Corbin-Murray relays: “They work so hard, they’re on location, they’re jet-lagged, they’re doing 18-hour days and they’re in a corset, they’re doing a foreign accent and then they have to fly somewhere for two days to promote something. It sounds really fabulous and like a jet-set lovely life but actually, it’s very tiring, and they do not want to come home and look through Style and figure out what to wear.”

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Holly Willoughby showcases her flawless fashion credentials

Le 21 January 2016, 04:54 dans Humeurs 0

Holly Willoughby showcases her flawless fashion credentials and slim curves in a figure-flaunting ball gown at the NTAs

She never fails to impress in the red carpet style stakes.

So it was little surprise to see Holly Willoughby showcasing her flawless fashion credentials on the red carpet at the National Television Awards, on Wednesday night, in London.

Arriving at the O2 arena, the 34-year-old This Morning presenter cut quite the vision, as she made her way into the event wearing a fitted white ball gown.

Slipping into the flowing white frock, Holly channelled a timeless and classic look for her appearance at the star-studded event.

Thanks to the garment's figure-hugging design, the daytime beauty flaunted her slim curves to the max.

Featuring a halter-neck design and a flowing trail, Holly's form-flaunting frock straddled the line between modern chic and glamorously elegant.

Here they come: They roused applauds when they headed for the stage

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Letting her dress draw focus, Holly left her look uncluttered, and only accessorised with her sparkling wedding band.

She wore her trademark golden locks in a centre-parting, letting her tresses spill down in toussled waves to her shoulders.

Opting for a natural and understated palette of make-up, the Celebrity Juice regular highlighted her striking natural features with a dab of mascara and subtly accentuated her lips with a flash of nude lipstick.

And if she had any nerves regarding This Morning's nomination for the Live Magazine Show category, she didn't show it as she flashed a huge smile at the crowds waiting outside the O2.

And while she cut a solitary figure as she entered the event, she revealed she was in the company of both husband, Daniel Baldwin, and co-presenter and best friend, Phillip Schofield.

Taking to Instagram as she settled down for the start of proceedings, Holly shared some selfies with her 295,000 fans.

Sweetly snapping a picture of herself and her husband of nine year, Holly wrote: 'NTA's with my man xxxx.'

While she later posted a picture of her and Phillip smiling in anticipation, as the event kicked off.

It wasn't to be the peak of her excitement, because the blonde later took the stage to show just how excited she was to scoop the NTA, alongside Philip.

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Benny Ong weaves a playful nod to true craftsmanship

Le 19 January 2016, 04:42 dans Humeurs 0

Fashion designer turned textile artist Benny Ong weaves a playful nod to true craftsmanship

Somewhere in Benny Ong’s house lies a pile of “mistakes”, artworks that did not pass muster because they were either made in the wrong colours or were different from what the renowned fashion designer-turned-textile artist had envisioned.

Ong, who was well-known from the 1970s to 1990s for his upmarket designer cocktail and evening wear, and for dressing royalty such as the late Princess Diana and Queen Noor of Jordan, said these are part of his journey as a textile artist and bear testament to lessons he has learned along the way.

Those that made the grade have found their way into exhibitions such as the one held in partnership with Raffles Hotel Singapore. Titled The Pioneering Spirit, the exhibition is open to the public today from 9am to 3pm at the hotel’s East India Rooms.

Still, look closely and you may see some gaps in the weaves of some of the works. But Ong says these add to the flavour of the piece. “It’s important to realise that this is handmade, and we are not trying to make things conform. You and I have made mistakes in life ... and I want that honesty in my work.”

Ong, 67, said he made the switch to contemporary textile art in the early 2000s, after he realised the impermanence of fashion. “Fashion itself is very transient. All that time and work you put into it is gone after a season. It was a shame, there was so much value in the craft that we don’t see nowadays. It’s just pushed away ... forgotten,” he said.

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So he decided to “pay homage to people who are very skilful”, and at the same time marry both fashion and art.

Ong, who has been travelling to and from Laos for a decade now (he currently makes around three to four trips a year), said that he had cultivated an interest in the Laotian’s weaving techniques, one that has placed him on his current journey. The recipient of the 2015 Singapore Design Golden Jubilee Award found that people usually think of these woven pieces as crafts, and would buy them as souvenirs. And that led him to contemplate how he might be able to make “these weavers, who are so rich in culture”, relevant in the contemporary world, and “to bring the value of the past, the richness of the past, into the contemporary world, so it is not lost”.

He has since displayed several of his woven works, including a 2007 exhibition titled Re-woven, which contained 46 pieces of silk textiles based on the art of Lao weaving at the Singapore Arts Museum.

For The Pioneering Spirit, he collaborated with a family of master Laotian weavers, whom he claims are one of the top weavers in the country, after he had “bumped into them” while trying to find craftsmen for his design and art work.

Given his background in fashion, Ong said he chose to approach his artworks from that perspective, by focusing on textiles and accessories and “styling” each piece. Three of his pieces, for example, feature weaves of Laotian women wearing actual silver earrings. One of them also sports an ethnic silk scarf.

For each artwork, Ong would take a couple of months to conceptualise and draw out the piece. The weavers would then take about two months to complete the exquisite handwoven silk tapestries according to his brief.

The Pioneering Spirit, which comprises 21 pieces, took about a year to come to fruition, with the help of between 20 and 50 weavers, depending on what was needed. To be sure, these are detailed works of art evident in the fact that each thread is individually dyed, said Ong.

It would also explain their hefty price tags, ranging from S$4,000 to S$12,000 for a piece. “In many ways, I’m keeping a very couture approach to this,” he added.

This showcase, said Ong, also commemorates Singapore’s Jubilee year. “This collection captures and celebrates the values of pioneers — perseverance, strength, diligence and not least of all, patience,” he explained.

One of his more interesting pieces shows Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew wearing a white shirt in the shape of the island, which he has aptly named The Shirt (S$10,000), simply because he felt Lee was known for his white shirt.

“That is his brand. And I also think it’s important to realise that we often forget that we should enjoy art, we should have humour. People take art too seriously,” he added.

The Pioneering Spirit also kick starts a series of art activities the Raffles Hotel Singapore has planned to complement Singapore Art Week. Following the exhibition, the hotel will be launching the Raffles Art Walk, which precedes this year’s Singapore Biennale.

Organised in partnership with Singapore Art Museum, it will feature 15 posters of artworks by South-east Asian artists from the 2013 edition of the Singapore Biennale, which will be displayed around the Raffles Hotel Arcade (facing the Raffles Courtyard) and at Cad’s Alley.

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