Friday, June 29, 2007

What Was Paris Hilton Smoking?

We hate to call ex-con Paris Hilton a liar, but when she told Larry King last night that she had never taken drugs, it seems that the heiress somehow forgot about the marijuana, hashish, mushrooms, and Quaaludes. Hilton's, um, familiarity with illegal substances was memorialized on home videos she shot over the past several years in various cities. As we've previously reported, her videos are available on a web site that charges about $20 for a one-month subscription. In the seven clips you'll find below, Hilton does (and talks) drugs with sister Nicky, former boyfriend Jason Shaw, assorted swells, and a very accommodating guy named Jose. (1 page)

1) Filming a video message to an absent boyfriend, Hilton (accompanied by her dog Prince) notes that she's home "smoking pot and eating burgers that are old."

2) After attending a socialite's birthday party, Hilton meets up with an acquaintance named Jose, who offers to hook her and Shaw up with "some good stuff." Hilton asks, "Like what?" Jose responds that his friend has everything. "Quaaludes?," she asks. After Jose answers, "Yeah," Hilton says, "70 milligrams." "I don't know, I mean. Don't start talking milligrams to me," replies Jose. "Ludes," she continues. "Yes, I know," responds Jose. "Quaaludes," Hilton repeats. "I know what it is. He has everything. Percocet, you name it. He's like a pharmacy," says Jose.

3) "That's where we bought our 'shrooms," Hilton announces as she films outside The Mushroom Gallery in Amsterdam. Later, in her hotel room, she videotapes the psychedelic score and asks Shaw, "Should we take some before we leave?" She then adds, "Imagine being on a plane on mushrooms."

4) Hilton is seen smoking hash like a pro in an Amsterdam coffee shop.

5) Discussing her drug stash with Shaw, Hilton says, "I hope I can get this shit back to America." She then talks about the possibility of grinding up the dope, apparently for easier transport. "Plotting," Shaw announces. "The smuggle," responds Hilton, who adds that she needs to consult "an expert like Chuck, that dude who sold us all that weed. 'Cause he was, like, 'Call me from Amsterdam, 'cause I have a hookup out there.'"

6) At a party, Nicky asks her camera-toting sister, "Do you have herb?" Paris enthusiastically responds, "Yeah, the best pot. You wanna smoke pot? I have the best pot. I have the best pot. Lemme get it." As she winds her way back through the crowd, Hilton tells friends, "Dude, we're smoking pot if you guys want to smoke." After she apparently retrieves her pot, Hilton announces to some girlfriends, "Let's smoke some fucking herb." As they look for an appropriate outdoor spot, Hilton asks three times, "Are we gonna get arrested?"

7) During a visit to an Amsterdam pot museum, Hilton bogarts a bong-like instrument, much to the amusement of Shaw, who says, "Save some for the rest of us." Hilton reassures him that, "There's so much in there."


Thursday, June 28, 2007

>Earlier this year a spat broke out between Milanese designers and American fashion critics.

Good old days: styles are changing so much but timeless elegance can live on

The latter accused some designers of being out of touch and others of tackiness and vulgarity.

Cathy Horyn, the acerbic and much-respected fashion editor of the New York Times threw insults at Giorgio Armani's trousers declaring that they, "looked as limp and clingy as gym pants." While her colleague, Guy Trebay, took a pop at Dolce & Gabbana's trashy aesthetic.

There is much to admire in Milanese fashion but the critics had a point. Metal corsets belts, glitzy gold, animal prints and a ton of spangly crystals are what Dolce & Gabbana have in store for us next autumn. And they are not the only ones to blame.

We have had seasons of baby-dolls and micro-minis, girly frills or trashy Paris Hilton style glitz. Whatever happened to simple elegance?

The V&A's forthcoming retrospective - the Golden Age of Couture - which will be bursting with pieces from Dior, Balenciaga and Balmain, is a timely reminder of how women were once dressed. They looked refined, feminine and utterly chic.

While there are contemporary labels who do address the gap for grown-up, chic clothes - Alber Elbaz, Bottega Veneta, Prada and Jil Sander to name a few - this summer's dominant trends certainly don't reflect this.

But there's change ahead. Marc Jacobs, so often a forerunner of seismic shifts in fashion, has created a new direction for next autumn largely based on the ultra-elegant French chic of the mid-Seventies.

His show included immaculately tailored cashmere coats, some of which were loosely belted, worn over straight-leg trousers which sat neatly on the waist. There were simple blouses, lady-like hats and bags all in an eminently wearable palette of camel, inky navy, dark chocolate with an occasional jolt of mustard, orange or bright blue.

What grown-up woman wouldn't want to wear his belted berry red tunic worn and neat black trousers with deep red lips and a chic clutch bag? Despite its Seventies flavour, this look owes much to an American sportswear heritage which Jacobs, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren all regularly draw upon.

It's understated, stylish and most importantly it's utterly democratic - simple shapes in an easy palette which would fail to scare even the most conservative dresser.

While Jacobs' collection won't hit shops until next month there are already some signs of change this summer with more body-conscious silhouettes which celebrate classic hourglass figures and the return of grown-up tailoring.

"Our customers are real women and no fools," says Yasmin Sewell, Buying Director at Browns in London.

"It's exciting that more and more designers seem to be raising their game and responding to them, designing pieces for an older more, savvy woman who does not want to be seen in the same baby-doll smock as the fourteen year olds on the bus in their high street version."

Bridget Cosgrave, Womenswear Buyer at Matches agrees: "The whole smock, trapeze dress trend hasn't been well-received by our customers although it's been great for the teen market who have relished it. But this summer there are already touches of a new more sophisticated direction from Stella McCartney who has done beautiful boyfriend jackets which we sold out of in a day and a half."

"That Marc Jacobs show really made you sit up and think but we've seen this new direction in other collections too. In Alexander McQueen's pre-collection there were fabulous trousers that had darts so they really fit around the bottom."

The most important message is to keep it simple.

Focus on separates such as boxy jackets which are plentiful on the high street and neat tailored skirts (that sit just above or on the knee). Ignore all those smocks and little dresses in the sales and look instead for more body-conscious dresses - the linen cap-sleeved dress at Hobbs is a brilliant example of a flattering shape that women of varying ages and sizes would look good in.

Classic, timeless tailoring - especially which relies on great cut and fabric is worth spending money especially if you want really well-fitting, flattering trousers.

"Raf Simmons at Jil Sander is really blazing the path for this, says Yasmin Sewell. "It's really a fashion brand, much like Bottega Veneta but these are the kind of brands that if you buy into now you wear forever."

A model in a dress

Shopping in the sales is a bit like Glastonbury - without the mud. It can be fun, but you must have stamina and you have to be prepared.

Survival of the fittest: follow these sale rules and you won't be left empty handed

This is no easy-going, window-shopping browse; it demands meticulous planning, a list of clear-cut objectives - and an escape plan. First, though, you must decide your sales philosophy and work out what sort of shopper you are.

The Cool Customer

You are as reliable as clockwork, and your wardrobe is as pared down as a peeled cucumber - all space is reserved for classics.

Invest in... a ribbed cashmere cardigan, J62.50 (50 per cent off), at Belinda Robertson (020 7838 9170); classic black trousers, J104 (30 per cent off), at Joseph (020 7616 8441); a trenchcoat, J484 (40 per cent off), at Burberry London (07000 785 676); a fabulous Little Black Dress, such as Ralph Lauren's long, ruffled chiffon version, J869 (reduced by 50 per cent), at Harrods (020 7730 1234).

The Fashionista

You're a fad-hungry follower of fashion, and you can't wait for prices to drop.

You'll drool over... Maxmara's long silver shimmer gown, J382 (30 per cent off; 020 7499 7902); Matthew Williamson's disco-sequinned shift, J475 (down by 50 per cent; 020 7629 6200); Miu Miu's satin party dress, J300 (40 per cent off; 020 7409 0900).

The Heat-Seeking Missile

Your target is designer labels, so set your fashion sat-nav for... Collette Dinnigan, Betty Jackson and Paul & Joe, all reduced by 50 per cent, at Fenwick, W1 (020 7629 9161); Balenciaga, John Galliano and Lanvin, among others, with reductions from 40 per cent, at Harrods, SW1 (as above); Chloe and Alexander McQueen, with 40 per cent off, at Harvey Nichols (020 7235 5000); and Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Balmain, Fendi, from 40 per cent off, at Selfridges (0800 123 400).

Prepare to do battle

Go through your wardrobe and decide what you really need. What are the missing links? Something in red? A pair of flared, black trousers? Some brown suede boots? When fighting your way through the crowds, you need to be as focused as possible, so:

- Set yourself a budget - this includes cash and plastic. We're only halfway through the year, and you still have holidays and Christmas to pay for!

- Wear flat shoes, but take a pair of heels for checking length in the fitting room.

- Take the item for which you are hoping to find the perfect partner with you.

- If you find something you love, it fits, and you can afford it, buy in bulk.

- Hunt as a lone wolf. Friends will distract and frustrate you; she'll want the Manolos, you'd rather wallow in Lanvin.

- Travel light, and wear clothes that are easy to remove. Leave accessories at home; they may get lost, and you don't want to waste valuable bargain-hunting time taking them on and off.

- Look ahead. If you don't need anything for right now, buy pieces without sell-by dates, or items that hit on autumn's trends


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My life in shopping

Clare Waight Keller, creative director

Does shopping cheer you up?

Absolutely. I don't know who it doesn't cheer up, as long as you've got money in the bank.

What's your secret shopping tip?

I just couldn't live without my dry cleaner, Washington Dry Cleaners on Half Moon Street in Mayfair. He is just fantastic. I still go out of my way to use him. Once you have found someone who can look after your clothes, you have to move with them, like a hairdresser.

How would you describe your shopping style?

I like browsing and taking my time but I occasionally buy something on impulse - and I always regret it. I have such a strong visual sense that I do enjoy just walking around looking at things. Usually I hang on to things I buy for a very long time; I don't buy things for one season.

What are your rules of shopping?

Don't go shopping when you are angry or depressed because you always buy something you shouldn't - either too much food or too many clothes.

What items are always in your basket at the supermarket?

Organic cheese and yoghurt.

Do you always shop alone?

Always, unless it's for food.

What's your guiltiest purchase?

Vintage jewellery. I bought a really beautiful gold bracelet in Paris, something I didn't necessarily need but wanted. I would say it was more than I normally spend but vintage jewellery is an investment - that's how I justify it anyway.

Which one purchase can't you get through the week without?

Tea. I drink a particular one from Paris - called Marco Polo - and always stock up whenever I go.

* Clare Waight Keller is creative director of Pringle of Scotland.

Summer sundress glamour

After tea dresses, prom dresses, peasant dresses and maxi dresses, this is shaping up as the summer of the simple sundress. It is hard to say exactly what distinguishes a sundress from any other kind of dress - but suffice to say, it is a style to be worn only on unambiguously hot and sunny days. But as Lily Allen shows, they look best when they require no cover-up and the details of the dress do the talking, such as the giant bow on Hoss Intropia's tiered number. We know of no rules that say that a sundress can't have a straight skirt, but somehow fuller styles suit the carefree feel. All will work well with a flat or higher heel (wedges, not spindly ones, naturally) and many are suitable for work. So you can carry that graceful, insouciant vibe into the office, too.

John Mayer: "Design and manufacture a staple to help keep fajitas securely wrapped. Call it "The Fajita Staple." Make it strong, perhaps hewn from solid steel. Tangs must be very sharp so as to pierce steak or chicken, or in some cases fish. Can we get it into Rite-Aid by Christmas?"

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Clare Coulson takes a look at the hottest trends, music and innovative styles

The Harlow jean 18th Amendment's new style is already tipped to be a bestseller and goes on sale next month at Brown's Focus. A classic take on the 1970s flare, but without the scary ultra-high waist.
Easy dresses New online label Agogo ( goes live today. Look out for the coral Cannes Cannes sundress. Bi La Li, meanwhile, has created a capsule collection for, including tulip-shaped dresses.
British knits There's no stopping Clare Waight Keller's brilliant restyle of Pringle. The brand has just hired super-snapper Steven Meisel to shoot its autumn collection.
Pretty summer dresses and clompy sandals A look still going strong one year on - as worn by Yasmin Le Bon at the Royal Academy's summer party.
Roberto Cavalli The Italian maximalist has hired Pete Doherty to star in his autumn campaign. Will the gangly rocker be able to work all that Italian bling?
Cup cakes Time to move on to a lighter treat. A new branch of the French patisserie, Laduree, purveyor of divine macaroons, has just opened in Burlington Arcade.
Bikinis There's no time to get that bikini body. Invest in one of Princess Tam Tam's super chic swimsuits instead.
Inappropriate elevation How does a heel-obsessive dress for the sports field? In this summer's high-heel plimsolls, of course. Victoria Beckham gave the look its debut on Monday when she threw the first pitch of the LA Dodgers' game against the New York Mets.
Body Con Dressing It was dazzling on skinny models on the catwalks, but this look is seriously perilous in real life. Even whippet-thin Ellen Barkin couldn't pull it off.


He might not be a fixture at summer's smartest events but rugby star Jonny Wilkinson certainly knows how to look the part

Henley Royal Regatta

Cotton blazer, also in navy/white, J399. Hampstead-collar cotton shirt, J89. Cotton, military chinos, also in stone, khaki, blue, tan, brown, navy, J75. Silk, club-stripe tie, assorted colours, J59.

Canvas Bengal-striped belt, assorted colours, J29. Classic Panama, J59. Cotton socks, assorted colours, J12. 'Spectator' shoes, also in black/white, by Crockett & Jones, J255. Handkerchief, assorted colours, J9.