Personal Style

Ask Biki


Hi Biki

I have an event next week in New York, the dress code is ‘Fashion Week Chic’ and the party is happening in the evening.  Please advise on which of the below outfits is best?

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

From Chichi.

My Response

Dear Chichi

The event’s dress code imply that you are to look fashionable and chic, so the second outfit best fits the theme of the night.  Reason being, the low neckline and length of the romper, make it more youthful than the other options(and as we all know fashion favours the young!)whilst the olive-green hue and silk texture still make it chic.
In my opinion, the first and third outfit are far too formal for a fashion event and most importantly they hide your best assets!
As New York is still mildly warm at the moment, you can afford to show your fabulous pins in their full glory.  For this ensemble I would like your prominent colour themes to be olive-green and gold, because I believe the two tones really compliment each other.  Furthermore, with your skin tone the combination will make you glow and gleam like a Greek goddess. 
Your accessories– namely,your jewellery, shoes or bag– will be a great way to incorporate a golden hue into your ensemble.
I would especially love to see a vintage-inspired gold and black belt cinching your waist.
I would also advise on using soft golden hues, olive-green and earth brown hues with your eye-makeup.
Lastly, I would say that to really show you know your ‘Fashion A. B, C’s’, accessorize your outfit with statement accessories, because with fashion it’s all in the detailing.
Sounding Off..., This & That

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

Dear Fashion Editor-In-Chief

I hope all is well.  This week for my blog I flirted with several fashion ideas namely, giving my take on New York Fashion Week, commenting on the start of LFW, A/W 2011 Colour trends, accessory trends, style tips and the like.  However for this post, I feel I am more inspired to delve into underbelly of fashion- to speak of what most creatives whisper about in fear of being ‘outed’ and their work drying up.  The topic kind Sir/Madam is money and when it comes to (most) fashion and art magazines, the extreme lack thereof.

When I was younger, like the creative genius Natalie Massanet (Founder of Net-a-Porter), I too wanted to be Editor-In-Chief of my own magazine, however several internships working in the esteemed fashion cupboards of magazines like In Style and Tatler, made me reconsider.  Why, I hear you ask, because after doing some press pick ups and learning how much particular magazines owed stores and showrooms due to not returning press pieces, I (for lack of a better word) got pretty freaked out.  Also after befriending a certain Editor-In-Chief who had started up a fashion and art magazine that was continuously praised in the media, but could barely make his rent, like Fagin (Oliver Twist), I told myself, ‘I think I better think it out again’.

As of late, I have seen a sharp rise in fashion and art magazines finding new ways to get creatives to work for free.  In fact one such magazine who of course is trying to sell itself as ‘more than a fashion magazine’ has this written on their Facebook Information page-‘Should you be brave enough to join us in our adventure…we want to hear from you!’  When I got in touch to see if this ‘more than a fashion magazine’ would be funding creatives to go on this ‘adventure’, as usual the response was negative.

Just this week, I read the blog of one my favourite fashion editors, Vanessa Friedman, Financial Times (Material World), and she too seemed to be showing her ‘astonishment’ at a certain fashion and arts magazine that has just started up, who instead of paying creatives for submitting their work insists that the payment is the world-wide exposure they give that creative through publishing their work.  Now this is one hymn I am tired of hearing being sung, in fact, I’d very much like to throw the book at all ‘choir conductors’ who orchestrate this hymn.  However, violence is never the answer.

I am so tired of seeing magazines use the ’emerging creative’ loop-hole to skirt away from financial remuneration for services rendered.  If most of these magazines were publishing the work of fashion students, then maybe, just maybe that reasoning would fly.  As it stands, having studied magazines like ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ that insist that they are all about ‘new talent’- a few issues in, most of these magazines begin to use much ‘older talent’ to raise the profile of their magazines.  Despite doing this, because they remain hidden under their ‘doing it for the new creatives umbrella’, they manage to avoid payment.

I have also noticed a trend of new magazines avoiding to pay for editorials by setting themselves up as pure submission (as opposed to commission)-based magazines.   By doing this they are saying, ‘Hey, for our next issue, the ‘edgy’ theme is ‘Sex,Drugs & Rock n Roll’, we won’t be paying you but here are all the rules and high standards we have set which you have to adhere to, to  be published. Furthermore, due to the large scale of submissions we get, we will only be in contact with you if we want to publish your work.  BTW we won’t be giving you a commissioning letter for this shoot either as the less contact we have with you before the shoot, the less likely issues of fees are likely to be raised.’

Some might argue that most magazines are pretty upfront about non-payment and that creatives have a choice on whether to work for free or not.  But here’s the thing, they don’t.  Emerging photographer’s, stylists, hair and make-up artists need portfolios (be it online or printed) to get jobs, and the more published work they have to show potential clients,  agencies and so on, the higher the chances are of them landing a job.  This is the way the industry works, so in fact, creatives have no choice in the matter- they need to be published, if only to get the ‘golden tear sheet’.  It is my belief that many an Editor-In-Chief realises this and exploits it.  They base their ‘business idea’ on exploiting the fact that there will always be creatives out there who will do ‘anything’ to be published, in time these magazines always crash and burn (Wig, Anglomania, Colures, War, Panther Style, Random-anyone??!!) and then from their ashes rise more non-paying magazines and so the vicious cycle continues.

Here’s an idea Fashion Editor-In-Chief, if you really want to support fashion, art and new talent, why don’t you treat setting up a magazine as a business and leave of starting up your fashion magazine until you have the necessary financial investors?  Why don’t you spend more time seeing how you can pay the people that you commision?  When will you realise that ‘exposure’ can never, ever compensate for lack of payment, as one cannot use ‘exposure’ to pay the bills.  When will you stop taking the more lazy option of setting up a business where from the get-go you are content with the fact that the people who work (really, slave) for you are never going to get paid?  And if you cannot pay for the editorials you crave and commission, can’t you at least work out how you will pay for the basic expenses needed to execute these editorials?

I fully admit that although I am well-versed in the creative aspects of fashion, I still have a lot to learn about the commercial side and I am more than willing to learn. So maybe your response to the above questions will help shed some light on why ‘non-payment’ has scarily become the norm for (a lot of) new fashion and art magazines.

I look forward to your response.

Many thanks

My Fashion S/ash Life

Personal Style

D(esign).I(t).Y(ourself) Style

One of my earlier posts was about me fashioning a jacket, having got the material from a Lagos market.  Whenever I wear it and people ask me where I bought it from, I always feel a certain smug satisfaction when I tell them that they can’t buy it anywhere in the world because it was designed by yours truly.

Recently, I had to admit that I lost the ‘D.I.Y style’ award to this fabulous lady who goes by the name, Titi.  Having spotted her statement ankara print jacket a mile off, I rushed to ask her where it was from and got a taste of my own medicine when she replied that she had designed it herself.

Like me, Titi got her ankara print material from a market in Lagos and she cleverly decided to give it a youthful and chic flair by adorning it with sequins, which she got from the same market.  Titi will be happy to know that she is bang on trend with this jacket as this A/W 2011 season, the waist has made a shapely return.  International designers like Rouland Mouret, Gucci, Valentino, Loewe and Emporio Armani  all sent their models down the catwalk in jackets that cinched and pinched their waists to hourglass perfection.

Alexis Carrington (character played by Joan Collins in the iconic ‘Dynasty’ TV Series, as if you didn’t know!) would adore the exaggerated shoulder detail, n’est ce pas?

Courtesy of

A clutch with a similar colour tone compliments the jacket-

What I love about this look is how Titi has managed to fuse two cultures, namely Western and African.  One of the great things about fashion is its ability to unite various traditions and styles in perfect harmony.  Titi illustrates this by modernising her African-inspired jacket by pairing it with a skinny belt from Topshop, bag from Reiss, leggings from Asda and shoes from New Look.

Ladies (and adventurous) gentlemen, my advice is to take yourself to your nearest market, buy some material and like Titi, bring out your inner Tom Ford.

Sounding Off..., This & That

Selfridges’ Magical Window Display

As my last Topshop mannequin post indicated, I am going through a ‘mannequin’ phase.  At the moment Selfridges, Oxford Street, London window displays will make you feel like you are on a chemically induced trip when you see them.  Case in point-

What I have always loved about Selfridges’ windows are the way they manage to blend the creative and commercial aspects of their business and portray this union through their windows.  Somehow they manage to set amazingly styled mannequins against impressive set designs and manage to throw in kitchen ware, home accessories and the like.

After the recent lady bug invasion I had in my room, I felt a particular connection to these little monsters.  Don’t be fooled, what they lack in size, they more than make up for with their bite.

This window reminded me of the Alice in Wonderland…must have been the clocks.  How adorable are those lambs?

Also when I saw the windows I felt like I had fallen down a rabbit hole of my own, where people have elasticated ‘Go-Go Gadget’ arms and legs like so-

I adore these little workmen-

Like Topshop’s window,lips played a large (pun intended) part in the displays.

It’s raining style.

Nautical is the only way to sail.

Do you dare wear tomato-red from head to toe?

Personal Style

Inside the Wardrobe and Mind of ‘The Queen of High Street Style’

As much as I love taking note of what people are wearing on the streets, at events and so on.  There is a particular, indescribable pleasure and pride I get when my friends’ ensembles teach me a thing or two.  For years now, a very good friend of mine’s various stylish and unique outfits have had me asking repeatedly, ‘where did you get that?’  And after a while, I realised that more often than not,  the response was from a High Street store.  In fact I think she could give High Street ambassador, Gok Wan, a run for his money in picking up the best looks on the High Street. 

This is a lady who is up to date with all the various High End and High Street collaborations and is so dedicated to possess them that she will queue for two hours to get the limited garments and accessories.  Not content with the more obvious finds in High Street stores, the pieces in her wardrobe hail from interesting finds in her local charity shop, Oxfam all the way to secretly hidden boutiques in Argentina.

This ‘High Street Style Queen’ goes by the name Fayola Saunders and on a recent trip to her house, I convinced her to wade through her boxes, rails and even more boxes of clothes and accessories to come up with four main looks-  work wear, day wear, date wear and evening wear And as if that wasn’t enough, I also decided to pick her brains at the end of it all to get some tips for girls and women out there who are still trying to work out how High Street stores can work for them

Faye’s Work Wear


Faye’s work outfit- Grey jacket and shift dress -M&S, black pair of shoes- Primark, black bag- H&M

Faye’s Day Look


 How print-tastic is this skirt?

 Faye’s day outfit- Bead necklace-Oxfam, bangle Oasis, Navy blue blouse- Primark, skirt-, sandals-boutique in Argentina, leather fringe bag- Primark, silver and blue ring-

Faye’s Date Look- This is not a ‘First Date’ look, but rather a look for when you have been on X amount of dates and it’s more ‘acceptable’ to start looking like you made an effort

Faye’s ‘It’s now ok to look like I made an effort for this date’ look- Blue cardigan- Primark, blue feather earrings- Primark, peacock print dress- New Look, turquoise blue and aqua green bag-Matthew Williams for H&M, blue,silver and diamante ring-, blue suede stilettos-Primark

Faye’s Evening Look


Faye’s evening outfit- Dress -Lanvin for H&M, snakeskin stilettos Kate Kanzier, gold snake bracelet- Roberto Cavalli for H&M, snake ring- Roberto Cavalli for H&M, gold earrings- Topshop, black leather bag- Primark


My Fashion S/ash Life- Talk me through why you chose this particular work outfit?

Faye-It’s my favourite suit dress, I don’t normally shop in M&S but I saw it in the shop window and I loved the ruffle detail and initially I just wanted the dress, but when I tried it with the jacket, I loved the combination and decided to get the whole outfit.

My Fashion S/ash Life- I absolutely love the structure, shape and print of your Asos African batik-print skirt.  Talk me through your day ensemble.

Faye- I love African print and when I saw this skirt I knew I had to have it.  I also happen to have a lot of blue accessories and a top from Primark which complimented the skirt, so I went for it.

My Fashion S/ash Life- And why this dress for your evening look?

Faye- A year or so ago, I wanted a nice, classy dress for New Years Eve and when I heard Lanvin was collaborating with H&M,  I knew that would mean chic, timeless dresses at an affordable price.  So I went down there and queued for two hours before the shop opened and it was worth it.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was for me- I loved the asymmetrical detailing, the ruffled detail and I love the fact it has a deep purple tone and is not black.

My Fashion S/ash Life- And why this outfit for your date?

Faye-I love peacocks and the colour blue, so when I saw this dress in New Look, I knew I had to have it.

MyFashion S/ash Life- From looking at your jewellery I can see you are one for statement pieces, is that a fair assessment?

Faye- When it comes to accessories, I’m an all or nothing kind of gal.  I can quite happily wear an outfit with no accessories but when I do decide to, they are very much in your face.

My Fashion S/ash Life- How would you describe your personal style?

Faye- It’s a bit of a mixture- for work my style is classic and simple and I tend to wear a lot of blacks and greys, but when I’m going out at night, I’m much bolder and adventurous in the way I wear my prints, colours and cuts of garments.   So like I am with my accessories, I don’t have much middle ground- I’m either classic or I’m wacky.

My Fashion S/ash Life- What do you mean by wacky? In this day and age, we associate wacky style with personalities like Nicky Minaj and Lady Gaga.

Faye- Well I’m not wacky by those standards but when I dress up outside work, I like to use detailing, colour and print to make me stand out in the crowd.

My Fashion S/ash Life- High Street or High End?

Faye- High Street

My Fashion S/ash Life-  Which is your favourite shop to shop in and why?

Faye- Primark, because if you have the right eye and you know what suits you, you can find good pieces that are priced cheaply.  Also with the vast selection, you can buy pieces to spice up an outfit as well as the basic essentials.  So I tend to mix and match my brands by donning an expensive bag and then balancing it with a fab piece from Primark.

My Fashion S/ash Life- How often do you edit your wardrobe?

Faye- I don’t edit, I just add!

My Fashion S/ash Life- Who are your style icons?

Faye- I don’t have any.

My Fashion S/ash Life- That’s interesting, most people tend to have one.

Faye- To be honest, I am not that influenced by people, I know that everyone is to a certain extent but for me, I either like something or I don’t.

My Fashion S/ash Life- What skeletons are hanging in your wardrobe?

Faye- Ah there are so many…

My Fashion S/ash Life- Indeed there are, I remember from our uni days! 

Faye (laughs)- Well I do have a pair of purple satin, skin-tight flares.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Ooooooh Boogie Nights! How has your fashion sense changed through the years?

Faye- As I’ve grown up and become more confident, I’ve got a lot more experimental with my fashion picks which shows through the range of colours and prints in my wardrobe.

My Fashion S/ash Life- How has the fashion press by way of mags, blogs and TV shows influenced your way of dressing?

Faye- I’m a ‘Look’ mag girl as opposed to a ‘Vogue’ girl, reason being, I like the way Look mag has carried the trend of making the High Street more chic and trendy.  So I’m influenced by fashion mags who have picked up on that tend.

My Fashion S/ash Life- And how exactly how have you been influenced by Look magazine?

Faye- Well sometimes, I’ll read mags like Look or Grazia and not buy it (laughs), yes I know, classical cheap! Anyway I’ll do that, see what the High Steet stores have in stock and if I see a piece in a mag I like, I will go to the store to try on the piece and if it fits right, I will buy it.  So I use the mags like a catalogue.

MyFashion S/ash Life- Oh I love it, that’s exactly what fashion mags want you to do!  Good to know, it still works.  Now, if you won a prize where you got to have a free consultation with an image consultant, which area would you say you needed help with the most?

Faye- I definitely need help streamlining my wardrobe.

My Fashion S/ash Life- I can help you with that, at a friendly fee of course!  And finally, Carrie Bradshaw or Cheryl Cole?

Faye- Definitely Carrie Bradshaw!

 My Fashion S/ash Life- Good girl.

I would like to give a big thank you to Faye for making this article possible.  You wouldn’t tell from the pictures and how forthcoming she was during her interview, but Faye wasn’t feeling well whilst I took these shots and grilled her, but she was ever the professional and amazing friend and let me poke, prod and prim her to my heart’s content.

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