Valentino SS'16 Campaign shot in Kenya's Amboseli National Park.

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry (best (known for his hauntingly beautiful 1985 cover image,  ‘Afghan Girl‘) has in an out of character move, shot Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2016 campaign in a Masai village in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.

The campaign, featuring a collection inspired by ‘wild, tribal, Africa,’ has caused various accusations of cultural appropriation due to the use of predominantly Caucasian models, who all feature wearing their hair in cornrows (which I have to admit, is never really a good look - Monica Geller in the Caribbean much?!) leaving some also feeling that the, perhaps more interesting, Masai in the shoot were used as props.

As a big fan of photojournalist Steve McCurry, and as a Kenyan who loves drawing attention of the beauty of her country, I find these pictures refreshing, and exciting.  Rather than photograph the collection in a studio with a token elephant, this fashion shoot feels more like, as Pierpaolo Piccioli calls, a ‘cultural vision.’  

Steve McCurry commented, ‘photography is always finding the best solution to a puzzle and creating some wonderful feeling or scenario, making a great story’ adding, ‘the idea of these pictures is to take the viewer on a journey. The clothes were inspired by African motifs, to take the shoot to Africa and show how these interact and, this connection of the clothes, the models, the environment, the local people; I thought it was a great endeavour.’  What are your thoughts?...

Below:  A beyond beautiful behind the scenes video... and a stunning advert for visiting Kenya! 

HAWT: Cate Blanchett in Valentino

Hawt = A late 1940's and early 1950's acronym for "Having A Wonderful Time."
Now the word is used on the internet as slang for something reeeeally hot.

There surely needs to be a new word created in honour of Cate Blanchett.  An aspirational word named after this consummate red-carpet professional, who manages without fail, to nail EVERY event she attends EVERY time!!  Cate Blanchett, looked stellar (or some might say, "looked so Blanchett!") in Pre Fall 2014 Valentino, at the Chopard event she attended at Cannes last week.  The statuesque actress’ dramatic gown, in fifty shades of grey, had cap sleeves and beautifully intricate silver leaf details. The result was nothing short of regal...  Nothing short of Blanchett

PFW: Valentino SS'14

After spending four weeks in an utter fashion frenzy, either rushing from country to country then from show to show or spending the month pouring over a multitude of images back home, it really does take something really special to re-energise, awaken and lift the spirits of the weary fash-pack...  Valentino.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented the most exceptional ready to wear collection for Valentino at the end of Paris Fashion Week.  I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw the images pop up on my iPhone whilst running to a meeting.   Each of the 73 ethnic, opulent, folksy, medieval, exotic and regal looks were more majestic and striking than the last.  The severely WOW-beautiful micro-minidresses (below) would be much appreciated in my wardrobe.

HAWT: Alexa Chung in Valentino

Hawt = A late 1940's and early 1950's acronym for "Having A Wonderful Time."
Now the word is used on the internet as slang for something reeeeally hot.

When British DJ/Presenter Alexa Chung attended the ‘Valentino: Master of Couture’ tribute at the Miu Miu pop-up club in London last week she wore a 1950’s-style Valentino Resort 2013 green satin dress with a cream lace overlay top and black bow belt.  Accessorising her outfit with an Anya Hindmarch handbag and a pair of simple black patent Valentino Mary Jane shoes, Alexa looked both lady like and HAWT.  This girl just never gets it wrong.

Kate Moss 'Checking Out' of The Ritz in Paris (Vogue US)

I can’t believe I have only just seen this stunning US Vogue editorial, ‘Checking Out,’ published last April.  Photographed by Tim Walker and styled by the magazine's creative director Grace Coddington, Kate Moss wears a dramatic selection of Haute Couture SS’12 designs (Valentino, Dior, McQueen, Givenchy to name but a few!)  The supreme decadence of Marie Antoinette is channelled in the opulent surroundings of The Ritz Paris.  

I have a desperate urge to hop on the Eurostar right now.
Or have a pink bubble bath at the very least.