24 December 2009

Cocaine Chic Linked To Rise In Young Addicts

London Times Online

The number of children being treated for cocaine addiction has nearly doubled in four years, NHS figures show, with the drug’s “glamorous” image being blamed for the rise.

Young adults are increasingly requiring treatment for addiction to cocaine, often after developing a habit in their teens or twenties.

Last year 745 under-18s in England sought help from the National Treatment Agency after abusing the Class A drug, up from 453 in 2005-06.

Among those reporting addictions last year was a small group of very young children, including at least 15 children who were under 12, the latest figures show. Fourteen children aged 12 to 14 and 169 children aged between 14 and 16 also needed help to stop using cocaine, although fewer teenagers were seeking treatment for crack and heroin dependencies.

Experts said that children who started to use Class A drugs so young were likely to be using them as a “coping mechanism” to hide other problems, copying parents or other family members who were already abusing the substances.

Overall, nearly 24,053 under 18s needed addiction treatment for misusing illegal drugs and alcohol last year, 150 more than the total three years ago.

The number of individuals treated for cannabis was 12,642 and alcohol 8,799, accounting for almost nine out of 10 of all young people receiving support last year.

Last year the agency treated 657 crack and heroin users who were under 18, down from 1,081 in 2005-06.

Three quarters of young people treated had psychosocial therapies such as counselling, but others required support for the breakdown of family relationships, poor school attendance or emotional and physical harms.

Harry Shapiro, director of communications at the charity Drugscope, said that a shift in use away from heroin and crack towards cocaine reflected a general trend among all age groups.

“If young people are in a particularly risky or dysfunctional environment, alcohol or cannabis abuse is going to be more likely, and that makes them more likely to try other drugs.

“Cannabis has gone down since 2002, the general trends might be flat or dipping, but there is a minority of young people trying drugs as a coping mechanism.

“If you are in an environment where the house is used as a dealing hub or there are users regularly coming round to score, or if they come into contact with Class A substances through family members who are using them, then clearly that is an issue.

“Although they are coming forward for treatment, it’s likely that their drug use is symptomatic of other problems that are going on at home or school.

“I don’t think it’s a question of children and teenagers hanging round street corners, buying off dealers, but that could be their future if they don’t get treatment.”

Figures published this month show that the number of people under 35 entering treatment for cocaine addiction has increased by 75 per cent among men and 60 per cent for women in the past four years. The average age to start using the drug was 21.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “There is a real problem with young people receiving mixed messages because of the alleged glamour associated with drugs such as cocaine.

“We need to get the message across about the dangers of experimenting with a massively addictive drug such as cocaine.

“The Government has been obsessed with trying to look tough on drugs while slashing funding for information services and refusing to listen to scientific opinion. Ministers must do a lot more to make people aware of the serious damage that drug use can do to your long-term health.”

Rosanna O’Connor, director of delivery at the NTA, said that the latest figures indicated that the heroin “epidemic” had peaked.

She said: “Most young people receiving substance misuse interventions cannot be described as addicts in the same way as adults in cocaine addiction treatment programs.

“Addiction is normally the result of regular, consistent use of substances over time; most under-18s who have problems have not pursued drug-taking long enough to result in dependency.”

John Mallalieu, of the charity Turning Point, said that there was no conclusive answer as to why fewer young people were receiving crack or heroin addiction treatment, “but it seems they may now be more aware of the potential consequences of using these drugs than previous generations were”.

He added: “The fact that more young people are drinking tells us that similar cultural messages for alcohol are not sinking in. In 2008 heroin was responsible for around 900 deaths, whereas alcohol was attributed to nearly 8,500.

“Quite simply, greater resource is needed to ensure that England’s next generation of drinkers are taught of the dangers of alcohol, and change their behaviour before it is too late.”

13 December 2009

Can You Own A Hepburn?


Little Black Dress: How to Steal a Million

Are you in need of a new ensemble for your sojourn in Rome? Or perhaps some loungewear for serenading the moon on your fire escape? Today in London, Kerry Taylor Auctions will sell off an important collection of Audrey Hepburn clothing during its Passion for Fashion sale. The collection has been widely publicized and anticipated across the globe.

For a woman who saw herself as "too skinny, too flat and too tall," Hepburn played a major part in the way women looked and behaved in the 20th century. From ballet flats to skinny black jeans, Hepburn's wardrobe staples continue to influence another generation of fashion. In 2006, Gap went so far as to have Hepburn star in a commercial by using old film footage for its line of skinny black pants, similar to the ones she wore in the film Funny Face.

During a time when the feminine ideal was "the perfect size 10," Hepburn broke the mold of what it means to be feminine. She sported a pixie-like frame among voluptuous contemporaries like Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. McCall's claimed that she had "all the curves of a piece of melba toast viewed from the side." And playwright Anita Loos once quipped, "Her hat size is bigger than her waist!" Despite the jokes and criticisms, many women still saw Hepburn as a symbol of elegance and grace.

The auction collection contains 40 lots and is the product of a lifelong hand-me-down tradition. Hepburn, who hated to waste anything, would send her old clothing to her former neighbor and lifelong friend, Tanja Star-Busmann. "Over the years a cavalcade of boxes filled to the brim with haute couture gowns and divine little cocktail ensembles arrived at my door. Unpacking them was always like Christmas, a thousand times over," Star-Busmann wrote in the auction catalog.

The auction also tells the story of Hepburn's lifelong friendship and devotion to designer Hubert Givenchy. Almost half of the collection consists of Givenchy originals, many haute couture and inspired by the actress. Instead of trying to hide Hepburn's petite frame behind bustles of fabric, Givenchy embraced her slender figure and emphasized it with clean lines and form-fitting silhouettes.

Many of the high-ticket items are Givenchy haute-couture gowns, including the black lace cocktail dress Hepburn wore in How to Steal a Million and the black silk dress worn to promote Paris When it Sizzles, which looks like the cocktail-length version of the famous gown worn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. One gown, which was worn during the opera scene of Love in the Afternoon, was sent to Star-Busmann shortly after she gave birth to her daughter with a note from Hepburn saying she thought the dress might remind Star-Busmann "what it was like to have a waistline again."

"It has been the most amazing experience to work with this collection," said Kerry Taylor in an e-mail. "We had an exhibition of the pieces at Sotheby's Paris and in two days 2300 people visited the exhibition."

Star-Busmann plans to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.

The Associated Press reports that the cocktail dress Hepburn wore in How to Steal a Million sold for nearly $100,000 -- more than three times what was predicted. The auctioneer told the AP Tuesday's sale brought in a total of $437,000.

Payless Announces New Partners In Shoes 4 Kids Holiday Program

PR Newswire

More Than 750 Charitable Agencies Representing All 50 States in the United States, Across Canada and Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American Countries Come Together to Create Expansive International Grass-Roots Giving Network to Directly and Immediately Give the Gift of Shoes This Holiday Season; Kids Start Shopping with Free Shoe Coupons

Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced today that more than 750 nonprofit partners located across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries have officially joined Payless in its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, a grass-roots effort aimed at giving more than $1.2 million in free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season.

Payless will give more than 77,000 total gift coupons redeemable through Feb. 28, 2010, toward a new pair of kids' shoes at any of its more than 4,500 stores located in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia.

A total of more than 150 nonprofit partners chosen from the United States' West/Southwest region include, among others:

    * Easter Seals Alaska (Fairbanks, AK)
    * Central Arizona Shelter Services (Phoenix, AZ)
    * Big Sister League of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
    * Shelter Partnership (Los Angeles, CA)
    * Denver Rescue Mission (Denver, CO)
    * Central Oahu Youth Services (Haleiwa, HI)
    * Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho (Pocatello, ID)
    * Hearts and Homes Family Resource Network (Bozeman, MT)
    * Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
    * Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM)
    * Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency (Shawnee, OK)
    * Operation Homefront (Albany, OR)
    * Communities in Schools Dallas Region (Dallas, TX)
    * Your Community Connection of Ogden Northern Utah (Ogden, UT)
    * Children's Home Society of Washington (Seattle, WA)
    * Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne Wyoming (Cheyenne, WY)

To see all of the selected 2009 Payless Gives non-profit organizations in your region, state or city please visit www.paylessgives.com.

Payless said that all the charity partners should receive their free shoe gift coupons by today along with a personal letter from Matt Rubel, chairman and chief executive officer of Collective Brands, Inc., the parent company of Payless, and LuAnn Via, chief executive officer and president of Payless, with a special request to get the coupons into the hands of the children that need them in time for the holidays. The quantity of gift coupons per agency is based on agency size and the number of constituents served and includes an average of about 100 coupons per charity partner. Many non-profit partners will also provide transportation for group shopping trips to the local Payless stores and already shopping trips have been coordinated for children in Los Angeles, San Juan and Cincinnati by charity partners.

"Kids have already started shopping for their free shoes," said Rubel. "Last year's program was truly amazing and we saw our charity partners coordinate directly with our local store teams to hold special shopping events outside of normal store hours -- many partners and store teams went above and beyond with special touches that included hot coco and other treats for the kids in addition to the free shoes," said Rubel.

"Already this year we've heard similar stories including NFL Hall-of-Famer, Anthony Munoz, and his foundation giving limo service and lunch for a group of second grade children in Cincinnati. Free shoes is an amazing gift to these kids, but to be able to shop with a super star athlete like Anthony makes it all even more special. We are thrilled with the hundreds of charity partners who are joining us this year in our massive holiday giving effort, and we look forward to seeing the smiling faces and hearing the heartfelt, inspiring stories that will result from this year's program."

The company launched the application phase for the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program on Oct. 15 with a call-to-action to the non-profit community to apply to be Payless partners in the shoe-gifting campaign to build a network of hundreds of localized organizations across the Western Hemisphere. This grass root approach is critical for immediate, direct access to kids in need at the holidays. In a 21-day application period, the retailer received nearly 3,000 applicants at its application website www.paylessgives.com and inquiries from nearly 37,000 visitors representing 109 countries across the globe. The application period is now closed.

Payless said its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids non-profit network includes a total of more than 750 agencies: more than 670 charities in the United States, more than 70 in Canada, five in Puerto Rico, and 20 throughout Latin America.

"We were overwhelmed by the response from the non-profit community to join us in this important effort - to give a free pair of shoes to children in need this holiday season," said Payless CEO Via. "Our intent is to work with and through a diverse network of localized non-profits that have direct and immediate access to the children. Our chosen partners - more than 750 in all -- represent every state in the U.S., as well as organizations across Canada and in Puerto Rico and 10 Latin American countries in which we have stores. Together we've created a diverse international network of non-profits located in small towns, mid-sized and large cities, as well as rural areas so that we can blanket these countries and most effectively reach those in need."

Payless initiated the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program last year in response to the economic crisis, its impact on the underprivileged, the significant need across the United States for children's shoes, and to support smaller, localized nonprofits with a tool to assist them in helping those in need during the holidays. The retailer expanded the program internationally across the Western Hemisphere for 2009 because the need for children's shoes continues, the need is international and Payless is in a strong position to help.

A striking number of children don't have shoes that fit. Studies show that properly fitting shoes can enhance self confidence in children and aid in their proper development and growth. As well, with rising unemployment and food costs, it is difficult for parents to cover basic needs, such as kids shoes thus making the holidays an even more stressful time for struggling families.

Greater Horizons of Kansas City, also a nonprofit, served as the independent third-party to manage the bulk of the selection process, based on Payless' core selection criteria, for the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids charity partners. For a complete list of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids partners, please go to www.paylessgives.com.

06 December 2009

Versatile Camel Coat Works On Many Levels

Detroit Free Press

A camel-colored coat might sound bland, but it could be just the thing to spice up a cool-weather wardrobe.

While a camel coat makes a classic chic statement, the style is malleable enough to be either a trendy boyfriend jacket or traditional trench.

Its place in fashion history, on the backs of Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Kate Moss, gives it a solid pedigree, and the color -- shades ranging from tobacco to fawn -- has a richness to it that, frankly, makes you look rich.

"Camel looks indulgent like winter white but has the pragmatism of gray and black. It's the best of both worlds. A camel coat evokes throwaway glamour," says Michael Kors, who uses camel as a core of his fall collections.

He suggests pairing camel with white or bold brights like red or orange; stylist Mary Alice Stephenson recommends it with one of the season's other trends, a neon color like hot pink or electric blue. And, if you don't think it matches your style, she says you probably haven't tried a camel kimono coat or a peacoat or a wrap.

More Online Options For Plus-Size Fashions

San Francisco Chronicle

Here's the good news about plus-size fashion.

The industry is more or less listening to what women want. Hip new Web sites and blogs are cropping up all the time with links and news about cute, chic clothes. Given that the average American woman wears a size 14, according to a recent segment on plus-size fashion on "CBS News Sunday Morning," and with the recent outcry over an absurdly altered Ralph Lauren ad that made the already teensy model look grotesquely thin, there's hope that more designers will cater to curvy women

The bad news: You won't find any Chanels, or sexy separates from hot labels like Alexander Wang, and the department store offerings are far more traditional than trendy - if they have plus-size departments at all.

E-commerce is taking up the slack, but it will take time. "Patience and research, patience and research," counsels Marie Denee of Oakland, a former Bay Area women's contemporary clothing retail manager who started her own Web site, in September, and blog, the Curvy Fashionista, in December 2008.

"I want my site to be a place where you can find out what Jennifer Hudson wore, what Beth Ditto said and where to find the latest trends," she said.

Denee is happy there are so many contemporary plus-size lines out there. "There's Jibri, Qristyl Frazier, Gayla Bentley, Faith 21 (Forever 21's new plus-size line), Torrid, Amanda Uprichard and Kingley & Posh," she says.

Several big-name designers, including Michael Kors and Calvin Klein, do cute plus-size lines; Oscar de la Renta and Betsey Johnson do plus-size lingerie. At Macy's, in addition to Klein and Kors, you'll find Tadashi, INC, Sunny Leigh and Studio M. At Nordstrom, the Suzi Chin line has been a longtime favorite with plus-size shoppers.

From New York, Sarah Conley's chic and cheery photo blog, On the Plus Side, is a fun, informative read. Locally, Igigi.com (pronounced ee-zhee-zhee) is a hip San Francisco plus-size Web site run by designer Yuliya Raquel. She started Igigi (the name given to some ancient Mesopotamian gods) in 2000.

Her Web site's LC (Limited Collection) is her nod to runway trends, with structured jackets sporting interesting cuffs and hems, and slimmer pants; all the clothes are made in San Francisco.

"The plus-size woman is a savvy and sophisticated shopper, and I think plus-size designers are finally starting to celebrate women's curves rather than cover them up with piles of fabric," she says.

Not the trendy type? For a more artful look, Go Figure, a popular plus-size boutique on Clement Street, delivers with lots of classic looks from European and Scandinavian brands. The boutique carries lots of hard-to-find labels in nicer fabrications than the polyester of old.

"I make every effort to get the silks, satins and georgettes," says owner Carolyn Honig. "My customer spans all ages and is looking for a more arty, unusual look." For the traditionalist, there's San Francisco's Harper Greer, which has carried its own made-in-San Francisco designs since 1985.

And, of course, the been-there-forever chain Lane Bryant caters to just about everybody, offering a range of both conservative and more youthful looks.

If there's a clear consensus among plus-size experts, it's to wear the proper foundation garments, find the best fit and let the fabric hug your body without clinging.

"Make sure your clothing choices are somewhat fitted so you don't add extra girth to yourself, but at the same time, making sure that they don't pull or ride is important," says Liliane Klein, a plus-size model and actress starring in Neil LaBute's poignant and provocatively titled "Fat Pig," at the Aurora Theatre through next Sunday. "Your clothes should lay nicely on your body. ... I am a huge fan of control-top anything," she adds with a smile.

For the holidays, palazzo pants have given way to slimmer lines; you'll find more jeweled collars and embellished dresses, one-shoulder gowns and tops with sexy cutouts, body-conscious silhouettes, structured jackets and contemporary prints. The Chronicle asked fit model Dana Roeting of Marla Dell Talent SF to try some of the options and see what worked.

04 December 2009

'Heavage' Is Back

Wall Street Journal

Man cleavage -- plunging necklines slit open to reveal chest hair, pectoral muscles, maybe more -- is back.

Until recently, male décolletage was an androgynous fashion affectation limited mainly to sporadic appearances on European runways. But the look, including deep V-necks and scoop-neck tops, hit the U.S. in full force at New York's September Fashion Week, turning up at shows by Duckie Brown, Michael Bastian and Yigal Azrouël.

This time around, the styles were more blatantly sexual and the models had a more studly swagger. New York designer Mr. Bastian said his show's vibe was inspired in part by "Latin guys" he noticed wearing their shirts unbuttoned, as well as the unabashed machismo of Latin American men in general. "We wanted to go back to a more natural body, a more '70s body with the models, getting away from the super skinny," says Mr. Bastian.

Plenty of men, from regular Joes to "Dancing With the Stars" contestants, have loosened to the trend.

On HBO's hit series "True Blood," 29-year-old ex-model Mehcad Brooks rarely went an episode without removing his shirt. Mr. Brooks also frequently displays his perfect pecs off-screen, wearing rib-hugging T's with deep V-necks or shirts with the top buttons suggestively undone.

"Even if people were making fun of me, calling me 'Miami Vice' like they used to in college, I would still wear it," says the 6-foot-4, 215-pound actor. "It feels comfortable and I like the way it looks. If you can pull off three buttons undone, then do it."

Other fans of the look include actors Jude Law and Ed Westwick, who've been snapped showing off their man cleavage -- or "heavage," as one style writer dubbed it.

"Harper's Bazaar's Stephen Gan is working the new male cleavage in a low-cut T-shirt; it's called 'heavage,'" tweeted Hilary Alexander, fashion director of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, in early October while at a runway show in Paris.

Mr. Gan, who, aptly enough, is also the editor of a magazine called "V," says, "I think I'm allowed to dress this way."

Vik Mohindra, a 27-year-old graduate student from Toronto, confesses that his guy friends sometimes tease him about his heavage. "I would not recommend it to someone who isn't confident with their body and overall sense of style," says Mr. Mohindra, who says he works out three to four days a week and has a "defined" chest.

Male cleavage, particularly on the silver screen, has long played a prominent role in popular culture. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. had his chest on display throughout the 1920s in films like 1924's "The Thief of Bagdad" and "The Iron Mask" in 1929. A dashing Errol Flynn showed man cleavage in the 1930s, most memorably in 1938's "The Adventures of Robin Hood." These actors made skin-flashing practically de rigueur for certain swashbuckling roles.

The aesthetic continued well into the 1950s and the 1960s, says menswear historian Robert Bryan, author of the new book "American Fashion Menswear." Among those celebrated for their heavage were Marlon Brando (in the 1951 film version of "A Streetcar Named Desire") and Sean Connery as James Bond in the 1960s.

The last time man cleavage was so prevalent in the U.S. was in the 1970s -- "the golden age of male chest hair," says Mr. Bryan. Epitomized by John Travolta in 1977's "Saturday Night Fever," the convention back then was to skip enough shirt buttons to show off a thick forest of hair, perhaps topped with a gold medallion as a sign of virility.

After decades in the fashion equivalent of Siberia, man cleavage got a boost in the early 1990s when Tom Ford, then head designer and creative director for Gucci, climbed to the top of fashion's ranks while often wearing a dress shirt unbuttoned practically to his navel.

It still took years for the fad to go more mainstream. Helping to pave the way were magazines like Men's Journal and Men's Health, which objectified the male torso on their covers. Marketers such as Abercrombie & Fitch attracted droves of fans with their buff, waxed male models. For those who don't have the goods naturally, cosmetic surgery offers an increasingly popular solution. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that pectoral implants more than tripled in 2008, to 1,335 procedures up from 440 in 2007.

Brad Wieners, editor-in-chief of Men's Journal magazine, believes that the magazine has made guys feel more comfortable about wearing more fitted clothes and styles that show that they work out. Mr. Wieners notes that for a recent cover shoot, actor Alec Baldwin donned a shirt open at the collar, subtly revealing chest hair. "He's not Burt Reynolds," says the editor. "But he's letting you know he's got a chest."

The latest resurrection of man cleavage does raise a not-so insignificant issue: to wax or not? For a number of years, any male chest hair was considered a fashion don't, but very recently a thin thatch has become quite acceptable. The low-cut look "is better if you have a little chest hair," says Tyler Thoreson, a New York-based men's style consultant. "It's not about showing off chest hair, it's about it peeking out a little bit."

Robert Caponi, a 32-year-old musician in Greensboro, N.C., isn't taking any chances. In order to get the hair-to-skin ratio just right, he shaves his chest every two weeks or so -- a regimen that helps him to feel comfortable in one of the six deep V-neck shirts he owns. Not all styles fit the bill. After purchasing a wide scoop neck recently, he declared it simply too revealing. "I looked in the mirror and I was disgusted," he says.

Some women share the sentiment. Posting on her blog earlier this year, Ketty Colom, a 22-year-old college student in Orlando, Fla., vented about the burst of men sporting heavage. "Leave it to the bedroom," she said. "I don't want to see your chest."

01 December 2009

Rihanna And Lady GaGa: Outrageous!

Daily News

Rihanna and Lady Gaga may not have won any trophies at the American Music Awards Sunday night, but the fashion-forward singers didn't disappoint with their onstage attire.

Both RiRi and Gaga choose to wow the audience with skintight bodysuits, each equipped with working light fixtures.

Marking her first stage performance since her beatdown from ex Chris Brown, Rihanna sang her next single, "Wait Your Turn" while wearing a flesh-baring catsuit with futuristic shoulder pads armed with laser beams.

The Barbadian beauty, 21, raised eyebrows when she showed off a new black tattoo written down her chest, reading "Rated R." However fans need not worry – RiRi's ink was temporary and was simply a ploy to promote her new album.

Gaga also managed to deliver a far-out performance of her hits "Bad Romance" and "Speechless."

Wearing a nude bodysuit with bandages and a lit-up skeleton bone fixture across her chest and on her head, the 23-year-old singer went on to dramatically break through a glass wall in order to get to her grand piano.

Gaga proved she was more than just a spectacle by showing off her piano skills as she played alongside a gas-mask-wearing violinist.

Though RiRi and Gaga went home empty-handed, the eccentric singers were successful in putting on a good show.