Monday, 14 July 2008

Icon or bygone?

Who we're loving and loathing this summer.....

Two good

1. Mary Portas
Congratulations to the BBC for giving us the fabulous Mary Portas. Credited with 'turning Harvey Nichols into the modern fashion powerhouse,' the 48-year old Mary, Queen of Shops is now queen of our hearts. Her unmissable shop makeover programme makes us laugh and cry - the Floyds of Chorlton episode had us blubbing like a freshly dumped Rhys Ifans. We love her blunt comments ('Are you buying horrible things or is someone else doing the buying?') and her supreme confidence, but most of all we love her style. The Guardian's Hadley Freeman called her 'an unexpected fashion goddess' and we concur. The Mary Quant bob, the over-sized sunglasses and statement jewellery are all perfect accessories for a modern day fashion legend. The cheeky tunic dress teamed with long opaque legs and a pair of amazing shoes, all make Portas the style icon du jour for the over forties, and earned her a place in Observer Woman's 'Cool Issue.' We have a grown-up lady crush.

Verdict: There's something about Mary

Tip: Don't call your shop Rumplestiltskin

Check out Polly Vernon's Observer Woman interview with Mary Portas:,,2288570,00.html

2. Nick Cave
Thanks once more to the Beeb for coming up with Nick Cave Night. We think this should be an annual event - or an annual holiday for the over forties. Before the St Luke's gig, the musician/poet/genius admits that he's starting to feel his age, 'I can't even imagine how I could do a gig - just the physical energy involved,' and we know how he feels, but Cave goes on, 'As soon as I walk out on stage, there's something about the Bad Seeds that's energizing. Like a defibrillator to the soul!' Beautifully put - but on or off stage, this 50-year old rocker has still got it. OK, so the hair's receding and he's starting to look a bit Max Wall but we dig (Lazarus dig!) his dandy attire. The sharp tailored jacket and fitted shirt are perennial style classics, a neck full of pendants adds a rock 'n' roll touch, and his er, purple striped boot cut pants may be a little too Austin Powers for our liking, but according to the fashion experts, boot cut is back so Cave is rocking a fashion-forward look. The Antipodean sex god can still make grown-up ladies (and men) swoon. He struts, points, shakes his hips, and the audience go wild.

Verdict: We'd like to sail our ships around him

Tip: Over forties shouldn't dance at gigs, ever.

Two Bad

1. Paul Weller
This month's Q magazine sees Paul Weller teaming up with Duffy for a duet and it looks like they've been sharing the Born Blonde too. Described by Holy Moly as the 'the thin old sod with hair bleached off the pH scale,' we think it's time Surrey's answer to Rod Stewart found himself a decent hairdresser, or a proper mate to tell him what a tw*t he looks.The 50-year old modster's attempt to revitalise his image with a Gallagher-esque barnet has well and truly backfired. The offending haircut is more Russ Abbot's 'Jimmy' than rock god. The grumpy old mod once told Q magazine that if he lost his hair it would be awful - we're not so sure about that.

Verdict: Could the Red Wedge socialist be turning Tory? The Boris Johnson mop top is a bit of a giveaway

Tip: Never ask for an 'Adam Barlow' at the barbers

2. Sharleen Spiteri
Could someone please find Sharleen Spiteri a new stylist? The retro-sounding tunes are all right (if you like that sort of thing) but the Glaswegian's latest retro makeover is a big old no-no. The sixties-inspired image is fine on 24-year old Duffy but not on someone old enough to be her mum. The severe school marmish dress and demi-beehive put us in mind of Nerys Hughes in 'The District Nurse,' which is not a look most 40-year old women aspire to. Sharleen please, stick to the checked shirt and jeans combo, and observe the sensible words of Good Housekeeping magazine - never ever wear a look the second time round.

Verdict: Bring back Ashley Heath

Tip: Grown-ups shouldn't fight in public, even if the sparring partner is Paris Hilton

Mary Portas from The Daily Mail
Nick Cave from
Paul Weller from
Sharleen Spiteri from