Author Archives: Federica

5 Reasons why Azzedine Alaïa exhibition at London’s Design Museum is a must see

Six months after passing away, Maison Alaïa has decided to celebrate the legacy of Turkish haute couture designer Azzedine Alaïa.
The exhibition, running from 10th of May to 7th of October 2018 at the Design Museum in London, is Alaïa’s temple.
It showcases the couturier most recent works, including a gown modelled by Naomi Campbell during the very last show of Alaïa, held in Paris in July 2017.

Here, it is what you can expect…

1.You get to see Alaïa obsession for perfectionism up close
“Azzedine would not release any design unless he was satisfied with it, so there are no deconstructed pieces on show here, only the finished works,” Mark Wilson, long time friend of the couturier, explains to Vogue.
Renowned for working like a sculptor, Azzedine would take care of every step of a garment production. From the fitting on the model to cutting the patterns and polish details of outfits before the show, Azzedine would do everything himself, which is quite unusual for a designer in modern era.
There is no need to deconstruct his famous one-shoulder leather dress to appreciate the creation, you will be able to value the piece in all its details right at the entrance of the exhibition.


Campbell during the last Azzedine runaway

2.You get to see pieces worn by Alaïa muses
Among the 60 pieces collection, you will get to see creations worn by supermodels of the like of Naomi Campbell and Grace Jones and singer Tina Turner. What they have worn has now become iconic and distinctive sign of the designer style.
As Wilson explains to Vogue, when Azzedine passed away they were 90% done with the preparation of the exhibition and the designer ensured there was a balanced theme throughout the showcasing. He included a series of famous bandage dresses, versions of the flamenco dress that are embroidered in metallics, and pieces that show use of rivets or exotic skins.

3.You get to appreciate Alaïa knowledge of good presentation
Before passing away, Azzedine recut every piece to adapt it to the mannequins. He was aware of the elongated figure which would have made his creations look much more impressive, knowing the relevance of a great silhouettes.

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Famous Maison Alaïa flamenco dress

4.You get to see how Alaïa empowered women through fashion
More than once throughout his career, Azzedine affirmed his main obsession was to make women look good and comfortable in their clothes, which were supposed to be uniquely designed to fit women with different bodies and features.
At the exhibition, you will be able to check out how all the dress can be re-adjusted to ensure the owner feels special in it.

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Azzedine Alaïa with model Frederique 1989

5.You get the notion of timeless fashion
Maison Alaïa pieces might have been created 30 years ago or tomorrow. They are timeless and you cannot put a date on them. Indeed, as explained by Wilson to Vogue, the unicity of Azzedine work was that he did not follow a theme throughout the season, but he would follow his own style and inspiration, often working on the same piece to reach his ideal of perfection.
To prove Maison Alaïa is still very much love by the public, last year in June, they opened up, a boutique in New Bond Street, London.

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Interior designs at Maison Alaïa, New Bond Street, London

















Review: Childish Gambino grips American reality in new song

Bob Dylan ‘Masters of war’ has been the first to be declared best protest song of our time, in 2014 by a Rolling Stones poll. Now, it’s Donald Glover turn.
‘This is America”, the latest track of the American-born actor and singer better known as Childish Gambino, has reached 73 million views in less than a week from its release.

To fully appreciate it I have been on the internet trying to dismantle the enigmas surrounding the song.

I was looking for details, insightful pieces of journalism, instead all I got was listicles, mere churnalism. On the web, you can find a pile-up of tweets, reactions and “Watch the satirical Childish Gambino’s latest music video”. No interpretation drawn, nor conclusion reached. This type of journalism is so empty, almost an insult to the core value of the job. But we all know the pressure of the newsroom, stuffing webpages with viral videos to reach the daily traffic target.

Whomever has been struggling, like myself, to get their head around ‘This is America’, has definitely noticed the sad reality. Cultural criticism in its traditional form is dying. Indeed, it has been replace by something, by far, way scarier: the internet phenomenon of the “fandom”.
People want to consume art, rather than consider it.
Fandom provides criticism, although of a different form. Fans are obsessive, have got their opinions and often these are pretty harsh. They know what they are talking about and have a closer bond with the creator, thanks to the era of technology, and so the critic has been replace by the co-creator, whom view is every bit as artistically worthy as the subject.
This scenario is definitely more diverse and entertaining, but there are losses of impartiality and independence. The “fandom” offers love, hate, strategically written nerdy reviews and nothing in between. So the future of traditional criticism is possibly evolving into crowd-sourcing and sharing comments.

At this point, I’m still left with my doubts.
Why has this song been released now? Why did it take so long for a mastermind to put into lyrics and choreography the Americans common feeling of oppression and imprisonment? Will this song affect, in any way, how Trump plays with politics?

The trap gospel is a piece of slick art that rebuff the DNA of the protest music and constructs it into an oddly graceful gust of torture, death and slavery.
Gambino sings a story of impossible escape. It’s a blood-soaked video of blank salvation, but here it is where the artifice begins to show its brilliant traces. The lyrics are so soul-moving that one wants to keep inspecting their dark interiors, waiting for the next “truth of regeneration” to sprout.

‘This is America’ is successful in every way. Its meaning belongs to every listener differently ,according to their belief and views, breaking down into unlimited implications.
But is it a coincidence that the song has been dropped right after Trump has stated that London hospitals are like a war zones, due to the high rate of knife crime?
Is Gambino trying to prove the President how wrongly powerful guns are as mass attacks tools?
Did we all forget the dreadful events happened at the release of a trigger, in USA during the past few months?
The general feeling is that Trump is trying to extend is “security protocols” overseas, declaring that:

“more guns on the streets in the hands of good guys are more efficient than weapons in the hans of bad guys”. (Phrase widely popular among guns rights advocates.)

If closely analysed, London has seen 58 victims of knife crimes since the start of 2018, while 58 people have been shot dead in Las Vegas, during a country concert in 2017, in the space of 10 minutes. During the Las Vegas accident, police has not been able to identify the perpetrator right away, making it more difficult to prove that armed good people can stop bad ones.
Childish’s Gambino video explores the twin spectacles of entertainment and ultraviolence as the motto of Trump’s America, shifting in between registers of afro rhythms and church chorus.
This makes of the song such an unorthodox production and whether saturated with a social or political rant, songs of resistance and salvation typically envision an antagonist or a threat, in this case Trump has been exposed in the lines. But Gambino doesn’t offer no solution. No paths forward, only a spiral of question.
Next, we hope to see a British artist creating a masterpiece with May’s response to dubious Trump’s statements.



The most bizarre thing Kanye West has said so far

The opinionated and controversial American-born singer has shocked us once again.
On Tuesday, during an interview for entertainment website TMZ, Mr. West hinted that enslavement of African American over centuries might have been a “choice”.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said during the talk hosted by Mr. Lathan

“We’re mentally imprisoned,” the star added.

It is not the first time Kanye West makes the headlines for his bold statements, but this time around, the audience including TMZ host thought the singer had gone past the limit.
Black people were forced to move from Africa to the US during 17th, 18th and 19th century and later sold as slaves, but Kanye commented that:

“Right now we’re choosing to be enslaved”.

The interview has sparked a backlash on Twitter, which did not stop even after the singer tried to explain himself in a series of tweet that, if anything, made the reactions even more sour.

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The consequences to the interview have been severe. Adidas’ CEO, one of the biggest sportswear company on the market Mr. West has collaborated with, decided to delay the drop of the latest collection designed by the singer.

Generation vote: do students still care?

Post local elections, the WNOL staff went around the University of Westminster campus to find out how important our fellow students think it is for young people to be involved in politics.

It may be thought that not enough is done to encourage students to participate, but there is change happening. Tom Snape, 2017 Union Development and Democracy Officer at Keele Students’ Union, tweeted about how proud he was of the students involvement with the local elections in Newcastle.

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But as suggested by Chelsea Mordue, Political History expert who joined us for a brief interview, it is crucial that students start to get their head around the political scenario earlier on in their education and before they turn 18.

Miss Mordue commented in the clip below that more effort should be put into shaping and nurturing the political nature of primary and secondary schools attendees, for instance through the implementation of more student councils.

Regardless of the overall outcome of these local elections, students have little faith in the MPs promises. @poppyanna_ is, indeed, not the only one to feel that a lot has to be done, but the change has to start from students. If not, from who?

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Federica Riondino & Millie Richardson


Karena Evans

Cover picture: Imbd

As good as lyrics of a song can be, the best thing is sometimes the music video bringing them to life. It is an added value and huge part of our consumption of music, art and in general entertainment, possibly one of the reasons why we spend so many hours on Youtube.

As if we could not love more Drake, he is now due to promote his new album and decided to release “Nice for What” as anticipation and the best feature about it is the music video woman director.
We are pleased to introduce you to Karena Evans, who at only 22 is the most sought-after video director in the music industry.
She is a triple threat. Started as an intern at DirectorX, Karena is a talented director, writer and actress and has previously collaborated with Nike and another Drakes’ hit, “God’s Plan”.

Since “Nice for What” has been release on Saturday morning,it has accumulated already over eight million views, and we know the brilliance of the video is due to the fact that the multifaceted Karena has wisely chosen some of the most beautiful  women to star in the video, from top model Jourdan Dunn, to Issa Rae, Rashida Jones and many others.
The women in the video are not being sexualised or idealised, as it often happens, but are shown in their true independent, inspiring nature.




Listen down below to find out more about Karena!

The reactions to the “Nice for What” video have been epic online from Taylyn Washington-Harmon, social media editor at Selfmagazine, to Drake’s fans and women appreciating the impact the song will have on women celebration.



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By the look of it, we expect big things from Mrs. Evans and we hope to see her involved with the up and coming artists of the moment SZA, Cardi B and why not the Pop queen Beyoncé!


Music Credit
Drake-Nice for What (2018)

What is ‘gaslightning’: from a play to the court room and Trump

Gaslighning pic

Cover picture:

Last week,after almost nine months from Kellie’s Sutton death, her partner, Steven Gane has been found guilty of coercive and controlling behaviour.

It’s a landmark case in the implementation of the relative legislation, as the concept has only been criminalised in 2015 and it’s the first time a conviction has been determined after the victim’s death.


‘Gaslightning’ was first introduced in 1944 from the Hollywood movie “Gas Light” in which a killer makes his wife think she is losing her mind. Used as a manipulative tactic to deliberately make the other person or entity question the reality they live, it has not taken long before the technique has got everybody talking in a society, where mental health and women independence are of extreme relevance.

The Girl on the Train: A 2016 movie in which the main character Rachel is victim of gaslightning by another woman, influencing her memory and capability of providing information of a crime to police


– In order to gain power over somebody else, perpetretors tell obvious lies with a straight face, leading the victim to be confused regarding anything that is being said to them.

– They deny everything the victim has seen or heard, even when they have got witnesses.
The process is gradual and the more the victim doubts of their life, the better the gaslighter plan work.

Random compliments
– Looking at gaslighter behaviour over time, often their actions don’t match their words.
Gaslighters try to bring the victim down all the time,making them believe to have no values, and randomly praise them for their quality. This aggravates the situation bringing a sense of uneasiness. The victim start believing their abuser is, after all, not that bad.

Everybody seems to be against the victim
– Gaslighters know really well the people dear to the victim, therefore they try to align them against the vulnerable individual, making them believe nobody is safe to trust.
Indeed, all the gaslighters are looking for is isolation which will then force the victim to only trust their abuser giving them more power to control.

Although in a strenuous and abusive relationship, gaslightning victims can sometimes spot the issue themselves, according to Robin Stern, author of the book “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life,”.
They can check for the following possible ‘symptoms’:

-More anxious and less confident compared to when the victim has started the relationship with the abuser
-Feeling as if they are always at fault when things don’t go according to plan
-Doubting they’re being oversensitive (or unreasonable, not loving towards their partner)
-Apologising often
-Feeling isolated
-Feeling it’s hard to take decision
-Making excuses for their partner behaviour


Many psychologists have researched the now-legally punishable behaviour to define causes,consequences and eventual support plans, but as informed to The Sun by Dr Jane Monckton-Smith, a forensic criminologist specialist in coercive control, in case of extreme circumstances as of the victim’s death, the explanation of such act “may not always enter the thoughts of investigators — but it soon will. Kellie’s Sutton case has established that it’s possible.”

Unfortunately, there is no specific support for the victims of such relationships.
The first step is to recognise there is an issue within the couple (please note, the problem is not confined to couple, but could involve an entire family, or work relationships) and eventually seek help consulting a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist.
Experts can help the victim explore fear and doubts arisen from the experience they have been through and eventually assist them with the development of coping skill to manage their anxiety. Rekindle and bond with people the victim has been isolated from is suggested by experts as the most effective way to regain control over reality, life balance and reinforce the sense of worthiness.
If you believe somebody you know is involved in a gaslightning relationship, you can seek advice contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline or calling 1-800-799-7233.


Truth has no agenda


The term ‘gaslightning’ became one of the most popular words in 2017 along with ‘fake news’,during the beginning of the most controversial American presidency.
Trump elected president of United States in January of last year has been then proclaimed by the CNN and other media outlets as nation’s gaslighter in chief.
Journalists from all over the world trying to uncover and report the truth have had an hard time.
Life, during the Trump’s era, has become fuzzy, a blurred line between the dream of making America great again and daily routine.

American citizens have been affected the most. During the long campaign for presidency, people asked themselves if the future Prime Minister was an actual fan of the Intelligence or against it, belittling the intelligence professionals work through mock quotes during the ongoing Russia hacking investigation.

Americans had to assist to the falsehood of Trump winning the election by a landslide, when instead was a clear narrow victory.

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Trump on Twitter claiming to have scored a landslide


J. Pitney, professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College, elaborated a chart showing the Electoral College share won by every president since George Washington and found that Trump’s margin of victory ranked 46th out of 58 U.S. presidential elections. You can find the complete list here.

And besides that, people had to ascertain if Trump had mocked a disabled reporter or their eyes were lying to them showing something that had never happened in reality,like in the “Gas Light” movie when the killer dims the gaslights and pretends it’s only the wife who thinks they are twinkling, even when the room starts getting darker.
The list of statements and actions made by Trump is still long and people still have to get used to the gaslightning term gaining popularity in parlance, as new forms of political and domestic abuse take place at various rates across different countries, with the same goal of disorientating victims in order to obtain power and total control.

All genres of relationship are subject to some form of gaslighning, but before we reach a definite understanding of the phenomenon, it’s essential that we don’t end up flattening it and it will start to mean nothing. We cannot apply the term to all deceptive behaviours, but only in case of manipulative operations. The next step is to protect the victims in all circumstances, from dictators, bully leaders and abusive partners.



Learn how to make a living out of your darkest moments


Cover picture:Pixabay

Malachi is a qualified personal trainer, speaks three languages and is always willing to help.
What most people don’t know is his past experience. Life inside has given him the chance to become who he is today.
We had a chat in the peacefulness of a park, that for him represents freedom, and he revealed a few things about him, growing up in different continents and his goals.

Far from the camera lenses, Malachi admits his clients are his pride. When he can help somebody living a healthier lifestyle and feeling confident in their own body, he feels he is on the right path.
He believes he still has a long way to go in life before he can feel successful and complete and he claims he wants to transfer his motivational skills from the gym to in and outside the jail environment. He wish to become one day a life coach, to inspire people do great in life, achieve realistic goals, but above all encourage teenagers to be engaged in studies or work, avoiding them being involved with gangs crime and drugs selling.

Listen to him sharing thoughts about his story and advising the youngsters.

Federica Riondino

Music Credit
First Day Out Tha Feds-Gucci Mane
(Everybody Looking-2016)