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Designers: Rule Britannia, Redux

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London was slumping for a while. McCartney, McQueen, Galliano and the rest of the Cool Britannia crew decamped for Paris a long time ago, urged on by high-profile gigs at storied houses, and the back bench of young talent that London had always nurtured seemed to disappear, en masse, only to turn up in New York. But the tide is turning: Marc Jacobs is celebrating the opening of his UK flagship by presenting his Marc by Marc line in London this season, English designer Sophia Kokosalaki has taken up the challenge of relaunching Vionnet, and Nathan Jenden, the man behind Diane von Furstenburg’s line, is moving his eponymous collection to London after several seasons fighting the crowds in New York. And in the meantime, a whole new generation of designers is making London a mandatory fashion stop once again. Here are a few of the best.

Beauty: Rock the Line

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Jemma Kidd is the kind of woman you want to hate. Ex-model, married to some kind of prince or aristocrat, it girl, mom, entrepreneur. Vomit. For real. She makes it all seem effortless. But give Kidd credit for letting the hoi polloi peek behind the curtain: Her make up school in London aims to educate women on effortless beauty, while Kidd’s Make Up School cosmetics line, launched Stateside last year, tidies up all those tricks into a few key products. One palette takes care of color for the whole face, a lipstick comes with balm attached, and minimalists can rid themselves of clumpy mascara for good by means of Kidd’s cult Eyelash Tint.

Icon: The Kate & Pete Show

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Sometimes I wonder why anyone bothers to pretend that we have fashion icons other than Kate Moss. Years from now, people will cite hers as the look of our time a look that’s hard to pin down, in fact, except by flipping through pictures of Kate and taking note of the changing ways she mixes high and low, old and new, sweet and slutty, slouchy and sharp, always to her own unerring whim. If she weren’t the one true supermodel, Kate would be the most in-demand stylist in the business and she remains the one true supermodel because now, because of her, fashion can’t exist without the approval of style. It used to be the other way around.

The Other Eden

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You have to want to love London. It’s not a city that reaches out for you it lacks the romance of Paris or Rome, the crazy dynamism of Tokyo or Hong Kong or New York, the grittiness of Berlin; coming to London as an American, speaking the language, there’s no edifying strangeness and no mistaking that the locals would just as soon do without you. I have friends, many of them, who visit London for the first or second or third time and return home befuddled by the fact that I love London as much as I do.

Playlist: Factory Girl

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OK, the trailer sucks. Like, Warhol must be twirling in his grave sucks. But who cares? Factory Girl is Fashion Week’s must-see movie. The biopic takes on Edie Sedgwick, one of the style community’s secular saints, and is set amid the Warhol Factory scene that many fashion influencers still consider the sine qua non of New York cool. Designers have taken advance inspiration from the film hence the color-blocking and A-line shifts in store for Springwhich means that even if you miss seeing Sienna play Edie on screen, you won’t be able to avoid the simalucra of Sienna-as-Edie on the street. How very Andy after all.

Designers: Auld Lang Syne

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Fashion is an industry that eats its young. This is generally to the goodfor the most part, the hacks and dilettantes fade away, while the visionaries become stars and the reliable churn out sportswear. And every season, the stylish place their bets on the Next Big Thing.

Rather than join in the anointing of untested talents, this season it seems appropriate to celebrate a few New York designers who’ve stuck around and come into their own.

Beauty: Stress Case

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There are those who would argue that each bi-annual fashion season begins with the couture, in Paris, and end with the prêt-a-porter, in Paris, and that everything in between Paris and Paris is just a lot of noise about clothes. But anyone who attends the shows knows that, as a habit of mind, fashion begins in New York. It’s with the New York City collections that the fashion week tempo is establishedthe rush from here to there and back again; the horror, overtaking you all of a sudden, that your outfit was only up to the last minute; the sensory overload that descends after a couple days navigating the scene on too little sleep and fashionably little food. It starts with the New York, and these days, the fashion season doesn’t end in Paristhe incorrigible go on to Sydney and Sao Paulo, Moscow and L.A., Miami and Toronto, and maybe even Stockholm, Mumbai, Jamaica, Beijing.

Icon: Hillary Rodham Clinton

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The only presidential candidate with 100% name recognition is in many ways a mystery in plain sight. Is Hillary Rodham Clinton the unreconstructed liberal of the right wing’s nightmares, the Wellesley College feminist who tried to shove universal health care down the throat of a recalcitrant nation? Is she the scheming politico who used the public’s sympathy, post-Monica, to propel herself to the Senate? Is she a centrist like her husband, forging pragmatic compromises across the aisle? Or is she a calculating perma-candidate who will say, do, endure and vote for anything that might help her become President? Is Hillary a harridan, a lesbian, a long-suffering wife? Did she kill Vincent Foster? Is she smarter than Bill?

The Apple of My Eye

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My iPod died the other day. I was heading up Sixth Avenue, fresh off the subway, on the coldest morning in New York in years. And as usual, when I venture into midtown from my Lower East Side digs, I was up there for a reason I’ve been a New Yorker long enough now, and a downtowner at that, that I no longer ascend past 23rd Street without some concrete motivation, like a business meeting or a sale on towels at Macy’s. About a minute before my iPod died, however, I had paused, freezing, to marvel at the tents going up in Bryant Park.

Saturday Trend

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This week, BurdaStyle celebrates Parisian perversity. TREND SHIFT KEY

This week, BurdaStyle celebrates Parisian perversity.

Trend: The Right to Boat

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If ever an accessory screamed un-hip, it was the boat shoe. Too functional to be campy, like a monocle, too staid for rappers and too provincially American to get swept up in fashion’s perpetual obsession with anoraks and sailor stripes, the humble boat shoe just couldn’t catch a break. They scream clam bakes, Kennebunkport and Yankee Republicanism; the icon of the boat shoe is, yikes, former President George Herbert Walker Bush. But the tide for the boat shoe has turned, as fashion tides inevitably must: Marc by Marc Jacobs recently gave the classic a satin update (dubious), L.A.’s Keep Company cross-bred it with Vans and manufactured the hybrid cruelty-free in Brazil, and now France’s taste-making boutique A.P.C. is doing a traditional men’s version for summer. Take the bait, but take it straight: Sperry’s is the old-money original, and dockside or not, it’s pair you want to be wearing all spring long.

Playlist: Etiquette

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PLAYLIST ETIQUETTE

In her instantly seminal book The Year of Magical Thinking, author Joan Didion relates her attempts, after the death of her husband, to “go to the literature” on grief. She found nothing much that was helpful, except from an unlikely source: Etiquette, by Emily Post. Though Etiquette has been updated over the years, it was Post’s 1922 original that Didion hailed as a masterpiece of matter-of-factness, and that manual has now been re-issued. Read Post not for her advice on debutantes, engaging though it is, but for her surprisingly modern dispensations on nothing less than the meaning of life: “If your community is to give you admiration and honor, it is merely necessary to be admirable and honorable,” reads one sample entry. “The more you put in, the more will be paid out to you. It is too trite to put on paper! But it is astonishing, isn’t it, how many people who are depositing nothing whatever, expect to be paid in admiration and respect?” Isn’t it, though?

Designer - Old School Made New: LYELL

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WASP style usually brings up a raft of Preppy Handbook connotations: Seersucker jackets and madras plaid shorts, striped ties and polo shirts with turned-up collars. Lyell designer Emma Fletcher, however, harks back to an earlier era of Seven Sisters and the Ivy League. Headquartered out of her eponymous shop in New York’s Nolita district, Australian native Fletcher makes clothes that wouldn’t look out of place in a movie adaptation of Catcher in the Rye. Tweed jackets, velvet shrugs, bias-cut dresses, tie-neck blouses and other bookish basics are modernized here and given an old-fashioned flourish therea nip to the pattern to update the silhouette, smocking and covered buttons for genuine vintage finish.

Beauty: Superpowder

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Once upon a time, powdering one’s nose meant putting powder on your nose, not into it. But don’t blame cocaine for the decline of an idiom. Long before Steve Rubell opened the doors to Studio 54, suntans and skincare had joined forces to render the noble face powder all but obsolete. The tan changed the paradigm of chic: Back when a sun-kissed face bespoke a day toiling in the fields, alabaster skin was the ideal. Not so much anymore, now that plebes work in cubicles while the rich jetset to St. Barts. We all aspire to that “healthy glow,” and to wit, improvements in skincare have made powder inessential. Once women are armed with cleansers, toners, exfoliaters, moisturizers, masks, peels, dermabrasions, and so on, there’s no blemish left for them to cover over. (In theory, at least.) What good is powder? Well, a fine translucent powder sets makeup to perfection, mattes a shiny complexion, and does not a thing else. It’s no multi-tasking, scientifically substantiated miracle worker, no lipstick that whitens your teeth, no hair-glossing serum that donates 10% of profits to indigenous rain forest tribes and aromatherapeutically boosts your pheremones. Powder is perfectly frivolous and Paul & Joe’s is most perfectly frivolous powder of all. With its pale pink, recherché case and cotton candy powder pouf, the Paul & Joe powder less makeup than objét, especially given that you probably have no need for it. It is, in other words, a luxury.

Icon: Queen Elizabeth II

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In a sure-to-be-unique accomplishment, actress Helen Mirren took home two Golden Globes this year, both of them for playing Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth I, Mirren’s role on TV, has long been red meat for actresses. The other Elizabeth that Mirren played last year, the currently-reigning Elizabeth II of the film The Queen, has been somewhat less celebrated. Yet Mirren, making her acceptance speech for win number two, offered that Globe voters had thrown their support behind Elizabeth herself, dowdy, fusty and cantankerous, rather than the glamorous actress privileged, briefly, to walk a mile in her sensible shoes. And Mirren is correct, to the degree that her performance in The Queen allowed viewers to re-examine the villains and victims of Buckingham. Diana was the presumptive martyr, hounded by tabloids unto death. But was it possible, perhaps, that dry old Elizabeth was the one really doing battle with the flashbulbs, not by driving faster to get away from them, but by asserting the need for decorum and restraint? Especially in the wake of Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth was the last one trying nobly, if a little ham-fistedly to keep her finger in the dike. Spontaneous shrines carried the day, but now, nearly a decade on, her stiff upper lip is looking better than ever.

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