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The Conflicting Motivational Words of Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs

I am not one for motivational speeches or bettering myself through the wise words of self-help books.  In fact, the recent trend on Facebook to put up ‘go get ’em’ status update phrases like, ‘Life is a gift, never take it for granted’, makes me want to regurgitate.  Repeatedly and Violently.

However, I couldn’t help but listening to the full length of this Oprah Winfrey clip, where she tells the story of how she got the big break in her career and what she learnt from that experience-

In my opinion she seems to be saying, when you want something so much and you have done all you can to obtain it and it still evades you, surrender and let it go; for often, God can dream a bigger dream for you.

When I listened to this clip for the first time, I tried to take in the words and felt I had to take in the words as they had sprung from the lips of the lady who is one of the richest, most successful and as a result, uncharacteristically; one of the most likeable and admired person on the planet.  Consequently, I felt that anything she had to say which could help me in my career, where try as I might- I have not got to where I want to be.

 However, I wasn’t sure that I could abide by her words and ‘surrender‘ and let my main ambition go.  Even though I could find similarities in how our all-consuming passions for our respective desires had led us to do anything we could to express that feeling; for instance Oprah decided to go against her father’s wishes and took a leap of faith and auditioned for a role in, ‘The Colour Purple’; and I went against my father’s wishes and gave up law (and turned down a full-time legal job) and decided to embark on a career in the fashion industry.  Despite these similarities and upon coming to the same end, i.e. not getting what we ultimately wanted,  I couldn’t and still can’t sing the ‘I Surrender’ hymn.

Recently, I was sent a clip which featured the late Steve Jobs, and I found myself drawn much more to the motivational words he had to say to the graduates of Stanford University. 

Whereas, Oprah Winfrey seems to say that when one fails repeatedly to get what they truly want, they should let go and surrender to a higher power.  Steve Jobs seems to be saying that life is too short ‘to let go’ of what you truly want.  He insists that ‘believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference’.  That belief is what has continuously pushed me in my quest to get where I need to be in my career and what ultimately took me from the financial security of a legal profession to the unpredictable world of fashion.  Furthermore, my quest to (in Steve Job’s words) ‘keep looking’ and ‘not settle’ made me move from one of the fashion capital’s of the world-London to one of the most well-known creative hubs in the world- Berlin.

On a side note, watching both clips from beginning to end makes me cry unfailingly- I guess I am a sucker for motivational words after all.  Watch out Facebook, my inspirational ‘Status Update’ is coming soon.

Sounding Off..., This & That

Woodkid Rocks

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To think that last night I almost missed out on the music legend that is Woodkid, because I set my, not one, but two alarm clocks wrongly.  Luckily, my flat mate called me (thus acting as my wake up call) to alert me to the fact that I had 15 minutes to leg it to Festaal Kreuzberg, which was where the concert took place.

I must admit, I arrived the venue rather flustered but was soon put in melodic rapture by the soothing, eerie voice of the charismatic lead singer, Yoanne Lemoine.  Since my recent arrival to Berlin, my outings music-wise have pretty much been a techno, hip-hop, reggae/ragga nightclub affair; so it was refreshing to watch a live performance rich with harmonic symphony.

I wish I had a picture of Yoanne to show you as he was sporting a memorable geek chic attire (punctuated by his trademark cap tipped backwards and red statement frames) but you will have to make do with an amazing track and epic music video from his first EP, titled ‘Iron‘.  It was directed by Yoanne himself (who was a video director before launching into a career as a musician).  The video also stars top model, Agyness Deyn.

What I particularly liked about the tracks Woodkid performed at Festaal Kreuzberg from his first EP and forthcoming second album, were how most of his tracks were laced with a rousing tribal beat.  On a side note, I was particularly taken by his two drummers and got very excited when half-way through the concert, Yoanne began to introduce hs band to the crowd by giving us their names, hotel and hotel room numbers.  Alas, the two drummers were married, so their room numbers were withheld.  Merde.

I will most definitely be buying Woodkid’s first and second album (when it is released) ASAP.

Personal Style

Ask Biki- First Date Style Query

Question

Dear Biki

I have an evening, drinks date this Saturday with a guy in West London.  The thing is, he thinks I’m 26 and although I am 30 and proud, I like the way he’s thinking. 

We are just going out for drinks so it will be a pretty chilled affair.  What do you suggest I wear?

Libby

Answer

Dear Libby

No matter what people say all first dates are actually interviews.  However the key to this one, fashion-wise, is to look trendy not trend-led and easy-going not easy.

I would advise wearing the ultimate casual, functional bottoms- denim jeans (preferably slate-grey).  However, I would opt for a skinny or slim-fitted pair with a bit of a rock-edge in the detailing.  This can be illustrated through a slightly worn out or distressed detail.  A pair of dainty, statement flats will punctuate your ‘easy-going and youthful’ nature nicely.

With your bottom half being low-key you can afford to up the stakes on your top half.  Go for a vintage-like blouse with lace detailing (this A/W ’11 season, the Victorian trend is ‘in’, thanks to International designers like Alexander McQueen, Giles Deacon and Tory Burch) and wrap things up by pairing your ensemble with a smart blazer.

Also go easy on the makeup and accessories twenty-something girls don’t need all the bells and whistles to reign in the herd.

 

Sounding Off..., This & That

The Case of the Shrinking Plus-Size Top Model

I wonder if Toccara Jones, Sophie Dahl and Crystal Renn are good friends, for they all have one large (pun intended) thing in common- all 3 models rose to fame whilst being plus-sized models, and once they were welcomed into fashion’s flat bosom, they all lost a serious amount of weight.

Sophie Dahl was once the Queen of the Plus-Sized Model. Picture courtesy of Frostywomanmultiply.multiply.com

For those who are unaware of these three über models; Toccara Jones rose to international fame after appearing as a contestant in cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model.  She has since modelled for reputable editorials like Italian Vogue and in 2010 landed her first major modelling UK job with High Street store Evans, modelling for their Summer collection.  Sophie Dahl traded in the catwalk for her laptop and is now known as an author.  However, she is more internationally known as the plus-size model, who in her hey-day featured in campaigns for reputable designers like Versace, Alexander McQueen and that YSL campaign.  In fact, I have to share the image with you as it’s one of my favourite campaign images of all time-

 She also modelled for large circulation magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie ClaireCrystal Renn famously went from being a high fashion model at the tender age of 14 to gaining 70 pounds and re-marketing herself as a plus-size model.  To document her transition she penned a book titled, ‘Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves’.  She was the only plus-size model to appear on the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and has enjoyed many a lucrative contract by working with brands like Evans and Chanel.

When discussing weight and the fashion industry there are so many questions one can raise for discussion, for e.g.- at a mere size 14, was Crystal Renn ever truly a ‘plus-size’ model, what is the fashion industry doing to be more responsible about this issue and who are the culprits- the editors, designers, model agents or us the public/consumers (after all high-fashion magazines are still being bought and international catwalks still create a stampede rush)?

However, I believe pictures can sometimes say succinctly what words often cannot-

Toccara Jones

www.listal.com

Sophie Dahl

At the start of her fashion career she was a voluptuous feast-

Judgementofparis.com

At the end of her career , well, not so much-

Chockblockfiles.wordpress.com

 Crystal Renn

Before-

Now-

Entertainment.blogs.foxnews.com

With Crystal Renn doing a 360, the fashion industry has lost its latest plus-size model du jour to the thinner and darker side.  So, it would appear that there is now an opening for ‘The World’s Next Plus-Size Top Model’.  I wonder who it will be, and how long it will take for her to become a skinnier shadow of her former self?

Personal Style

Menswear- Invest in Sharp Tailoring this A/W 2011

This Autumn/Winter 2011, Mango mannequins illustrate that when it comes to menswear this season, men have two choices.

They can either invest in a sharp tailored look from head to toe, with matching sombre autumnal tones like so-

Or they can mix things up by investing in a tailored piece packed with heritage like a trench coat and match it with more casual pieces, like a pair of denim loose-fitting blue jeans.  On a side note, I have to add that I think it should be legal and mandatory for every man above the age of 18 to possess a trench coat.  There is just something about the traditional and functional apparel that can turn a mere boy/man into a sexy, formidable ‘man’s man’, and with the one below coming at a reasonable £119.00– it shouldn’t be too hard a law to follow-

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