Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

My review of LFW AW13 Published Today On The Luxury Channel.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Magazine > London Fashion Week – A Stylist’s PerspectiveBy Tamara Cincik


27th February 2013

Before London Fashion Week, there is a tipping point where anticipation meets anxiety: the fear that I will have no tickets to any of the shows, despite working hard all season on some killer shoots for some great magazines; and then the universal fashion editor’s fear that I have nothing to wear, despite having numerous wardrobes at home literally spilling open with clothes and shoes on a daily basis.

To off-set the first, the postman’s daily deliveries of a multitude of colourful envelopes displaced any nervousness I might have had; while two timely phone calls- one to the lovely Sara at RMG And Co, the PR for The House of Worth, the other to Lizzie from Mishka Vintage – meant without even dipping into the nether regions of my wardrobes (yes, wardrobes!) other than for some key accessories, I was able to sport some amazing clothes for the endless list of shows and events. As with every season, the gaggle of bloggers and assault course of photographers which meet you when you try to walk, without stumbling, across the cobblestones at Somerset House expands into an army of camera lenses, feeling like you are dressed for the day is ever more important. From a Bill Gibb brown leather coat with silver bee embroidery, so rare that at the Issa show, Zandra Rhodes begged me to donate it to her Fashion Museum, a fantastically chic black lace Worth coat and Peter Pan collared chiffon dress, perfect for a deeply chic fashion party, to a retro double act of a Bus Stop striped suit, teamed with a YSL coat so contemporary in its shape with its raised shoulders and slim cut that I wish Hedi Slimane had seen it for inspiration for this season. Like Cinderella camera-ready for the ball, I felt not only show-appropriate, but allowing myself some fun at the stylist’s best game of all, that of dressing up….

Vauxhall Fashion Scout is hosted at the Freemason’s Hall, a location filled with the best interior styling in London, that often I wonder how the shows will surpass this symbolised vision of stars, pentangles and stained glass. Portia from Pop PR hosts several of her shows there, and it was here I dashed uphill in Gina peep-toed heeled boots from Somerset House (no mean feat, awful pun!), for a selection of shows. One highlight was by newcomer to London, Turkish designer Zeynep Tosun: Elizabethan style leather ruffs, pattern embossed over knee boots, which matched the embroidered sleeves on a slouchy biker jacket, jet beads on black velvet teamed with the sheerest chiffon, fluted pencil skirts and wide legged trousers, all served in a palette of autumnal reds, yellows, browns, black and white. This was a confident collection from a London newcomer and one I feel certain we will hear more from very soon.

London Fashion Week is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with fellow fashion editors: sitting next to me at the Temperley show held in the Dorchester Ballroom was the lovely Tiffany Fraser Steele, whom I interned for at Tatler, and is now Senior Fashion Editor at Marie Claire. The collection was a cool customer of chic, inspired by Hitchcock’s leading lady Tippi Hedren. From a white swing coat, falling open over a chevron patterned black dress, teamed with soft black leather gloves, to Swarovski embellished collars, worn with polo-necked dresses and accessorised with white driving gloves, this was a collection perfect for cocktail hour and off-duty starlets. Bernard Chandran’s show had a similarly Hitchcock sensibility, styled by my friend Karen Binns, with Kim Novak as this show’s ice blonde heroine. Handbags were tightly taut to the elbow, while block coloured satin silhouettes were teamed with matching coloured polo-necked balaclavas (a trend in the making), topped with Oriental-style hats.

At the Osman show, I was seated next to the lovely Virginia, whose collection of vintage gorgeousness has been used by many designers as an inspiration for their collections. Her shop’s basement is an ode to Miss Havisham: visions of the palest pastel chiffon and lace, from virginal white Victorian underwear to delicate deco bias-cut dresses. These vintage clothes are a tutorial in craftsmanship, worthy of any fashion show. The Osman show was softer and somehow sexier than I have seen from him in previous collections. The dropped 90s style sleeve (a strong trend for all the collections) was in evidence: from a short-sleeved grey coat, teamed with brocade trousers and draped blouse, to an assymetrical hemmed gilt-hued dress, or an embroidered cream and gold cape. The coherent palette of winter whites, iridescent metallics and soft tones flowing into a strong black finale felt confident and is certain to sell well.

Roksanda Ilincic designed my wedding dress and very lucky I was too to wear something so fabulously fairy tale designed by a woman who wears her own designs, and therefore knows just where to place a zip or a pleat, to make her customer look as beautiful with as little fuss as possible. It sounds simple, but given the amount of complex designs out there, I can tell you that sadly it isn’t. Roksanda showed at the Savoy Ballroom, conveniently located close to Somerset House, but rather than a simple catwalk, has the feel of a latter-day couture show, with it’s Tiffany blue and gold walls and mirrored panels. For the show however, it was subverted with carpeted walls in pinks and pastels, designed by Gary Card, to hint at the colours in the collection. Pinks and greys were off-set by orange and lurid green. Roksanda is known for her clever colour combinations and this season didn’t disappoint. If the carpets and wood hinted at 70s suburbia, there was a subversion at the centre of this collection, with maroon woollen dresses and wide pleated skirts, teamed with black PVC T-shirts and sports jackets.

While Paul Smith’s evening show was hosted at Tate Britain, a 70s referenced collection of stylish separates, Meadham Kirchhoff’s show was held at The Tate Modern. I walked over from Somerset House across the river with stylist Sasa Thomann, admiring the view and chatting about the season. We entered the Topshop show space to Ravel’s Bolero, which lead me into daydreams of Torville and Dean. I was expecting therefore something dreamy, light and fit for ice-skaters. Whilst their signature, fast-paced, over-all-too-quickly show took each of us by surprise, it was as much for this season’s commercialism as for the beauty of the collection. Gone were the witches and puppets, the painted dolls and raver goddesses; in their place was a subversive take on Marc Jacob’s 60s monochrome SS13 world, with Chanel-style jackets, a PVC apron central panel over a double-breasted white coat and my personal favourite, a black velvet long dress with white chiffon collar and hem of patterned white lace, perfect for the Russian blogger star, oligarch’s wife and fashion big-spender Ulyana Sergeenko in its poetic romance.

My last London show of the season was Ziad Ghanem, which Sasha Lilic urged Tara St Hill and I to come with him to see, after enjoying the beautifully mature collection by Maria Grachvogel (that lady knows how to drape!), and the last-day-on-earth-so-let’s-enjoy-it eccentricity of the Ashish show, styled by my ex-assistant and bridesmaid Anna Trevelyan. Ziad Ghanem clearly has cult and underground in his very DNA; the make-up alone was fantastic: a vision of colour and drama, inspired by transvestites and 50s glamour. The models were a celebration of quirky casting – tattooed, curvaceous drag queens: each one a different, divergent sense of beauty and all cheered along by the buoyant crowd. From a canary yellow cat bowed blouse, worn with a slim cut African printed bold back split skirt, to a lilac taffeta wide-hipped skirt, worn with a poppy embroidered hand-painted blouse and 70s style turban, this was a happy collection, which the audience adored. When the finale came with a soundtrack of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, the crowd clapped along smiling, not a fashion pout amongst them.

To see more of Tamara’s work, visit


My Interview with Stephen Jones for Jimon Magazine

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Interview with Stephen Jones for Jimon

The Loveliest Mad Hatter of them all: Stephen Jones.

Stand and Deliver! My Interview with Dr Noki for the newly fabulously revamped Esthetica Review.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

My dear friends Jessie Brinton and Margot Bowman (bravo on that first from St Martins Margot!), have rejigged, rebranded and reinvigorated Esthetica into something quite, quite beautiful.  I feel proud to be a part of the new world order.

My Interview with Mary Portas for ASOV

Friday, August 26th, 2011


Mary Portas is a brilliantly British phenomenon. She transformed Harvey Nichols into the shop we all wanted to spend in; then she marched onto our TV sets, teaching her retail mantras to failing businesses, the charity market. From OAPs working in charity shops, to overly hair-gelled estate agents, her refreshingly real retail prowess made for gripping viewing, as we saw her map out how they could improve their businesses, we all felt her verve, her potent power at seeing where things could improve and wanted so much for them to listen. SS-Become
Now with her store-within-a-store at House of Fraser on Oxford Street, Mary has identified a gap in the mid-market high street here in the UK, the over 40s stylish woman. Cecilia Chancellor is the model: a face at once familiar to anyone who remembers ‘The Face’ or my old boss the talented stylist Anna Cockburn’s 90’s fashion shoots and I think the perfect fit for Mary’s store and its image. En route to a Cornish weekend away she kindly answered a few questions about the store and why someone like me (a new mother with so little time to shop, that service now more important than ever) might like to go there.


1) Mary Portas at House of Fraser is a new collaboration for Mary, in that it brings her manifesto – her Maryness to Oxford Street, to a department store and therefore to a mass market who know and love her from her TV shows. How different do you think this is from what is on offer currently on Oxford’s Street, or indeed ‘the’ high street?

Mary: Because I’ve created a curated space; everything in it has been edited down for grown up women in mind. Where there’s just too much stuff in the shops my space cuts through all of that to exactly what women need and want. Then the design of the shop is hugely important; the space and the staff is all geared towards a great experience. You’ve got to see it and feel it to totally get it. Bring your baby in, the staff will take care of you and him and give you coffee….


2) What I love about Mary is her direct no-nonsense charm: she gets straight to the point and we admire her all the more for it. It became a saying in our house: ‘what would Mary say?’ when we experienced bad service in a shop or restaurant. With online shopping so prevalent now, is service even more important for retail’s survival? Will we pay a little more for a little more?..

Mary: Service is a no brainer. Customers want service that includes knowledge. The staff in the Mary shop had an exam before they were allowed near the shop floor. When they serve you,  they will be able to tell you everything about everything in the shop; right down to how the shoes were made, and the essential oil in my candles and the story behind each one.

3) The over 40’s woman Mary has identified is a largely untapped  resource in fashion, which I agree is more fool the industry, as these  are the women whose kids have grown up, who have worked hard and
have  more money available to shop. What do you feel are the differences in their needs and wants from a shopping experience and how are you satisfy this?

Mary: This is the no bullshit audience. They want quality at a
reasonable prince, they want sexy shoes that won’t kill their feet,
they want modernity and style that reflects where they’ve got to in
their life and their achievements. Its not twee. Its slick and cool.
No-one on the high street is doing this.


4) My mother is an extremely glamorous 60 year old: ex rocker, child of the 60’s; well-versed in the ways of boutique shopping, as she started with Biba and Bus Stop. These babyboomers are the ones with
the cash, more than my generation are in lots of cases AND they are eternally youthful, way more than their war bride parents were. However they don’t like showing their knees and i saw alot of above
the knees looks on your website. Is this something, along with the arm coverage Mary has identified, which you are intending to add into the collections?

Mary: You can’t lump 40 year olds next to sixty year olds. Melanie is 40 next year! I’m sure you are in your mid thirties, you would not want the same things as someone twenty years older than you, it’s about a spectrum. There are a few above the knee dresses because the audience is grown up women; and not everyone wants to cover their knees! There are also below knee dresses; structured high-waisted leggings that are like spanx for your lower half, and pencil skirts that hit below the knee, as well as wide leg trousers. Later in the season, I’m proposing chic tunics to wear with those structured leggings and it is such a good look on a grown up woman. So many people are asking about this; I’m not dressing geriatrics. I want modern women through the door; if you don’t like your knees, that where the super high denier tights I’ve come in. My hosiery collection is designed to go with the dresses; the colours are great.

5) I love the collaborations with British brands, such as Clarks and Biba. What more are in the pipeline?
Terry de Havilland perhaps, Eley Kishimoto? For those of us who like our fashion more edgy than Clarks can offer, but still want it age appropriate and fabulous?

Mary: I haven’t collaborated with Biba; Biba is a sub-brand of House of Fraser’s and nothing to do with me! Working with Clarks has been a phenomenal experience for all of uson both sides, and the whole point is that my shoes look nothing whatsoever like trad Clarks. The Clarks elements incorporated into myshoes is the high quality production values, old-school workmanship,and best of all the inbuilt comfort technology. We’ve developed our own colours, leathers, and lasts.  This is Clarks, but not as you know it.

6) Christian Lacroix once told me that women over 60 tend to stop buying fashion. What can you do to entice them back into your shop?

Mary: Nothing, I’m not trying to entice anybody over 60. I’m trying to entice women with modern minds who don’t go around with a number attached to their sense of who they are.


7) What trends can you see translating from the catwalk into your store, ie appropriate for the market you have identified, in the next season?

Mary: I don’t see this market as a sub-group who are inspired by different trends than the rest of the market. This market is living in the same cultural landscape as everyone else; their needs are just slightly different, their desires are more sophisticated, and they put up with less crap because they can spot it a mile off. These are women, who if they had the budget would be shopping at Prada, Marni, Jil Sander, Donna Karan and DvF. There is nothing out there for them at a mid-to-premium high street level.  My sister is at the top of her profession in the NHS; but she could never stretch her salary to Prada, only on big birthdays. When she came to my shop she was like a kid in a candy store.   We’ve already set down some of our Spring 2012 trends. We’re feeling for sleek 1990’s inspired modern sporty silhouettes; we’ve got some spectacular prints in development with a contemporary artist, and there is a definite 1930s feel of opulence and elegance in the air inspired by the chic of Nancy Cunard and Diana Vreeland.


8) Do you intend to take this to other stores after London?

Mary: Yes. Manchester is next.

9) How hard is service with a smile?

Mary: I only employ happy people, service with a smile comes
naturally to them.,default,pg.html


My interview with Diane Pernet – out now in Jimon Magazine.

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Part one of my interview with the lovely Diane Pernet for Jimon Magazine.


Interview with Diane part two.




Article with Mrs Burstein for Jimon Magazine.

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Mrs Burstein.

Mrs. Burstein is someone who somehow has always been a part of my life.  She might be the Queen of British fashion: the orb and sceptre bearer for universal good taste; but to me she is also my best friend Jessie’s Grandma and as such someone whom I have known since meeting for a family birthday lunch in Belsize Park many summers ago.

Here she kindly answers some questions I have always wanted to ask her for an article I wrote one handed, when my baby boy was no more than 10 days old.  Hope that you like it!


Interview with Mrs Burstein for Jimon Magazine.

Mrs. Burstein Proudly Receiving her CBE with her late husband.



That was a load off my chest! My article for Volt Cafe: Whatever Happened to Counter-Culture?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Whatever Happened to Counterculture


Posted: April 15th, 2011 ? Filled under: Features ?  No Comments

The Sex Pistols were cited as the voice of the underground: daring to swear on national TV, wearing safety pins and gobbing at the audience, they were the 70’s merry pranksters, hell-bent on pogo-ing their anger into our expletive-shocked consciousness: a reaction to the death of hippie free love and the shell-shocked dawn of Thatcherism. But look again, weren’t they styled to within an inch of their Westwood tees and Malcolm McLaren graphics; the World’s End refrain to punk’s politically angry throes: more boy band hype than voice of a generation?  Perhaps their svengali, Malcolm McLaren was a precursor of Simon Cowell; perhaps the Pistols were nothing more than a manufactured by-product of a maestro on the make.

However, the vital difference is that they celebrated their teenage angst: a half-arsed career, spiralled by bad management and indolence, where shock was the common denominator, they didn’t care who realised how disgusted with the state of the nation they were, indeed I’d argue it’s this for which they are remembered more than their music; while the country waved Union Jacks to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, they dared to ask whether this really was a load of old bollocks…

A generation ago, in 1981, while the world was brimming with excitement over the romance of a Royal Wedding, in a parallel to today: Diana, a teenage virginal shy bride, who blushed into her fringe, the fascinating innocent, was held aloft with our expectations and collective gasps of adoration. We all bought into the myth, millions watched the spectacle and believed in the fairy tale. Sadly, like all fairy tales it had its dark flip side. Perhaps if we had been a little less naïve and more astute, we might have woken up from the fantasy earlier, to realise, that like all mythologised stories, there is always a rite of passage, a big bad wolf, a witch and a sacrifice.  A virgin bride, an older, diffident man who loved another, the innocent, yet aristocratic nursery worker who was bound to grow up and ask questions, the institution of royalty; it is only now with hindsight perhaps that we can see what a recipe for disaster this truly was.

While most of us were fluttering flags at street parties, or watching fireworks explode in red, white and blue celebration, there were already the hints of the anger at Thatcherism’s divisiveness to come. That summer saw the Brixton riots: London literally was burning, people who had lived and worked in this country for over a generation, were no longer simply happy to bow down to institutionalised racism, they took to the streets and dared to answer back.

To come were the Miners’ Strike, the Poll Tax Riots, the St Pauls, Toxteth, Hansworth and Tottenham Riots. While it was the era of yuppy, meritocratic materialism: a glossy sense of grab-it-now excess, where we were told that we too could work hard and reap the benefits, that if our prime minister was a shop keeper’s daughter, we too could rise to the top of the pile through hard work and endurance and even buy our own council house at a heavy discount to gain entrance into the exalted realm of the home owning middle classes. There was the insistent drum beat of the angered anti-voice, those who questioned Tebbit and Thatcher’s political framework, the dawn of a time when Britain morphed from manufacturing global force to banking pleasure isle and dared to fight back.

So what has changed in the past 30 years?

Well, again we are about to celebrate the flag flutterings of another royal wedding: this time not to Diana the hunted, but to Kate the middle class, a proto-icon of discreet taste and astute acceptance, who, let’s hope, is more protected, loved and aware of precisely what the contract she has entered into is.

Again, too, we have a Conservative (albeit in coalition) government, again we are in recession and again we really ought to be angry.  Ought to be…

But are we really? Personally I am furious! I am appalled that the cabinet is made up of the over-privileged and under-qualified; I am disgusted that they are closing schools, libraries, crèches, charities, hospitals and public sector jobs; I am shocked that they propose university fees which will prohibit the majority of students from leaving without a debt so epic they will never be able to pay it back. When Winston Churchill was asked to make cuts in the arts after WWII, his response was that the arts were what they fought for and if you cut these, what you had fought for was worthless.

I never thought that there would be a government worse than Thatcher. I loathed her with the venom of my youth: despising her glib, controlled platitudes. Where I too woke up from the seductive dream of the Blairite New Labour’s Cool Britannia, horrified at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least I felt that my sense of Britain was echoed back in the Labour government’s Thatcherism-lite appropriation of social conscience socialism. One where the state of the nation was tied into a world order of equality and democracy, however hard that might be to implement in reality.

Perhaps as one of the last of the meritocratic generations: a product of a grammar school and the first in my family to go to a university, I was a Thatcher’s child. Certainly I grew up believing that I too could and would do whatever I wanted, if I worked hard, possibly doubly hard than those from a more privileged background, who maintained their sense of collar-up entitlement, but against whom I knew I could play career poker and win the game.

The fashion industry I entered as an assistant stylist was a fascinating secret world and I was intoxicated by its perfume. I worked for the Fashion Editor Anna Cockburn, doyenne of a style called ‘grunge’ (but so much more), who challenged the style status quo, with work which allowed the raw, the beautiful and the damned their place; a fragile voice made strong, which meant fresh air, ruffling the feathers of fashion’s establishment (who else would call in Ann Summers which was then mistaken for Helmut Lang by colleagues at a Vogue shoot?), while we partied to Nirvana and rave and believed love was the way to break down the class barrier.

So here we are 30 years on from 1981 in 2011: another Royal Wedding about to entrance us with the dream of a good girl made good princess; another Tory government telling us they are in this too, while George Osborne, the trust fund tax exile, pushes through a budget so draconian, a generation of children will be tied into debt.

While the 1980’s had the Falkland’s War: a battle for a place which sounded Scottish, but which was actually closer to the South Pole; we have wars of so many fronts, that the war on terror seems an endless, expensive sacrifice.

While the 80’s had the poll tax riots, now they are about to make squatting illegal; while students then lost the right to claim benefits, now they are tied into a £60,000+ debt per BA degree; while then we had Section 28, last month Philip Sallon was seriously attacked while walking in Piccadilly, yet curiously there is no CCTV of the event; while then we saw the closure of mines and factories, of any possibility of Britain maintaining an industrial autonomy, now we sit back while the bankers foreclose on our debt, yet issue themselves with bonuses akin to Third World economies.

Am I alone in thinking the world has turned topsy-turvy???

Am I alone in thinking the world needs to wake up??

Am I alone in wondering why people aren’t taking to the streets?

Am I alone in wondering where is the voice of the counter-culture?

Am I alone in thinking that Lady Gaga and her glossy, veneered ilk are not enough of a reaction and wondering where fashion’s politically expletive voice is in all this?

Am I alone in disbelieving that what we have now is worse than what we had?

Am I alone?

Words by Tamara Cincik


My recent article for Jimon Magazine.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Seems like ladies have always enjoyed a bitch'n'stitch!..

Seems like ladies have always enjoyed a bitch'n'stitch!..

Here is a piece I just wrote for the online green glossy magazine ‘Style Will Save Us’.
New years’ resolutions: so well-meaning, so hard to keep…

After enjoying the Christmas Craftacular fair hosted by Bust magazine in December, perusing the cute handcrafted gifts on sale: from  embroidered brooches to knitted hand grenades; all to a DJ soundtrack of feel-good disco, I was inspired to use my Uncle Anthony’s John Lewis Xmas gift voucher to buy needles, a knitting book and 12 balls of grey wool.

My intention was clear: I have the allotment, I have the bike, I make my own hand creams and potions, I am keeping health food stores in credit crunch credit, but now there was another skill I needed to add to my list of DIY ticked boxes.

Knitting on your own is fun. I felt like my Nana, chilling, whilst knitting with one eye on the holiday season roster of film epics; but as I learnt when I went along to the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch event at the Royal Festival Hall, knitting with others is even better.

It was a rather bracing walk across Embankment Bridge and felt very
pleased with myself that I had made it along and not bottled out. 175
other knitters clearly felt the same!

It was such a lovely, nurturing way to spend an evening: there were novices and experts from  punkette students and office workers, to glamazons and grandmas.  Some taking advantage of the 2 for 1 cocktail deal, sipped colourful concoctions whilst sharing skills and smiles, pouring over patterns and needles.

Newcomers, like myself, were made to feel very welcome and could choose between an impromptu masterclass or joining the round table of knitters all happy to chat, ready to include you into the merry band.

With the ‘make do and mend’ mentality being all the more resonant in these economically challenging times, the message of coming together
as an ad hoc community and enjoying making something special and
unique for ourselves, seems the most pleasurable, yet modern way to spend an evening.

TAMARA CINCIK is a fashion stylist, writer and ‘style faculty expert’ at the fabulous new School of Life.

Quintessentially Knotty

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Quintessentially Knotty Click on the image to read.