Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Remember Twiggy?


These days Tuesday nights find me in front of the TV, which is not like me at alll. What's on? Twiggy's Frock Exchange, that's what, and it's a real hoot. I stumbled onto it by accident a couple of weeks ago and I'm going to miss it when it's gone. What constitutes a 'season' of a British TV show apparently varies a great deal and, from my limited tolerance of the TV programming here, tends to be very short.

Anyhow, the format consists of something like 100 women (probably ones with money) being invited and they have to each bring several items of clothing they are willing to swap -- only they call it swishing. A weird name, I know. The women mill around looking at each other's clothing or hanging out in white toweling robes, occasionally disappearing behind screens with each other to exchange outfits.

In addition to Twiggy there are other personalities I don't recognise, but I've looked them up for you. One is Lauren Laverne, a TV presenter from this neck of the woods I found out. Another main person is Paula Kirkwood from TRAIDremade, based in London (of course). It's very much about eco-friendly fashion, which I'm all in favour of. They usually find something really special that's been brought, like an Yves St Laurent suit, and have several women try it on to see who gets to keep it. They generally have an older lady (anywhere from 50s to 70's I gather) that they highlight and make sure she finds something wonderful. They also have some sort of celebrity visit and donate something, (generally pop personalities that I'm not sure you'd know about in the US and I can't be bother to look up), which several women try on and model to find a new owner.

One of my favourite parts is where they take some amazingly hideous outfit from the 80's and transform it into something modern -- not necessarily something I would wear, mind, but something really new and trendy and I'm so impressed with the vision they have to see how to remake the old into the new. You can watch videos at the link I've put in at the top. I've even got the ladies from the sewing circle to watching the show!

The first time I saw it, the programme that followed was about all the tailors on Saville Row in London and it showed a lot about how men's suits have been made over the decades. There was a clip showing Fred Astaire dancing in a Saville Row tux and Roger Moore (one of the James Bond's) and Michael Caine (very well dressed in the Italian Job, one of Bill's favourite movies) were on talking about the good old days.
Paul Smith, a British designer who is big in Japan, was also featured.

Last week the programme that followed Twiggy was about British Rebel Designers, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. One of my favourite blogs, The Thoughtful Dresser, picked up on this programme as well so I felt I was in really good company. Whatever you think about their designs, I was fascinated by the catwalk shows that the programme featured (video in the previous link). I think of it more as art than clothing. That said, Jane and I did actually visit Westwood's store in Newcastle and found that the clothes were really lovely; unexpected, but really nice. These designers have made huge money, so their real clothes must be somewhat different to the shows.

I'm really looking forward to watching again tonight! The funny thing is, I live in jeans, sneaks and cardigans -- the quintessential little old lady, but I can dream, can't I?
(And wouldn't you know, Twiggy still looks great, even holding her own with the younger models in the Marks & Spencer's department store ads)

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