Nonsense on Stilettos doesn't normally do news. Rambling does just fine for me most days, but this is a bit of a shock. I get the concept of employer comes first and all, but Dior has (I should've used past tense, what with Hedi Slimane quitting) some of the best talent in the contemporary fashion world working for it- what do they gain by getting rid of them? At least Kris van Assche sounds like a somewhat competent replacement for Slimane, but I'm having serious trouble visualising a successor to Galliano. Besides, as fashionologie says, it's just a Page Six rumour.


One Of Those Sickening Gushy Posts

I may be biased because I'm a fan, but Kirsten Dunst has this weird knack of wearing things that should look ridiculous (that Oscars dress this year was possibly the best way to give US Weekly the raspberry- Best Dressed lists are for suckers) and don't. But that's a whole other post (mustard tights, knee socks etc will all be dealt with in my version of detail), because I couldn't help noticing that her outfit choices of late have been fairly stunning ones. (note: this is nothing that hasn't been said before and better elsewhere, so feel free to tune out).
Go Fug Yourself said this looked like a maternity dress, but I'm honestly in love with all that floaty pinkness. And the back of the dress, up between her shoulderblades, has a rose on it. Sigh.
The look below is, as far as I'm concerned, pretty much the sparkler of the entire collection. Chartreuse is, on its own, a horribly ugly colour and pulling it off is tricky at best, but she's done it, and brilliantly- tights, clumpy oxford heels, big smile and all. And damn I sound like a fangirl, but I'd love to have the degree of inner cool you need for that.
I'm not sure whether she uses a stylist or not, but the evidence seems to point more and more towards not, at least for daywear- I don't see any self-respecting stylist letting her be seen in public in knee socks and oxfords. It might not be a Kate Moss/MK-A (I never got the appeal of looking like a monkey who rolled around in a giant dustbin before exiting the house. I think I'll stay fat if that's what anorexia does to you) kind of trendsetting look, but it's her own, and she looks like she has fun with it. And, best of all, manages to seem like she'd take someone up on a dare that involved spending a day wearing a fake moustache in public.
This is nowhere near being a comprehensive sample of her public wardrobe, but the pictures are still pretty good, I think.


And What Was The Big Deal Again?

It's an odd thing to be told that one of your favourite actresses is a style icon. I don't remember how old I was when I first saw Roman Holiday, but I'm fairly sure my age was still in the single digits and I freely admit that I'm biased when it comes to Audrey Hepburn- childhood loves are the next thing to sacred, and she happens to be one of mine. And at least in my immediate environment, love of Audrey flows free (partly influenced, I'm guessing, by her voice- that funny from-nowhere-in-particular accent she's got). We don't mind the fact that we've never fancied any of the male protagonists in her early movies, except for maybe Joe Bradley. And we truly respect the general awesomeness of a woman who can carry off what Psmith would call a whale of a hat- like the one below- and yet allow you to appreciate both her face and the hat in equal measure.
The blogosphere, on the other hand, seems a bit divided re: Ms Hepburn and whether she should in fact be a style icon or not. Not that we're not entitled to our own opinions, but I honestly don't think it's fair to call someone who had as much of an impact on the way women dressed in her time (and the way some of them dress even now) overrated simply because she didn't dress like Mary-Kate Olsen and looked ladylike most, if not all, of the time- she started out in the 50s, after all. But honestly, it really isn't about fashion. Half her appeal came from the fact that she bucked the 1950s trend as far as actress's figures went: busty and curvy was the order of the day (see Monroe, Marilyn. Or even Gardner, Ava), and blonde if possible- and somehow, she changed that. I suppose the biggest bit of all that was the idea that a film's female protagonist, or any girl, could be attractive while being something other than obviously sexy, which is an idea that's stood designers in good stead for quite a while now even if they didn't go with the shapes of the clothes she wore back then. And the 'something other than sexy' wasn't drab or boring- it was intelligent, sophisticated and yet didn't miss out on the (for lack of a better term) joie de vivre that being young is supposed to have. What added to it all was the fact that she knew how to play herself up, and did- the extent of her collaboration with Hubert de Givenchy on her movie costumes is something that never fails to amaze me. And before we start calling her out for not dressing like a latter-day hipster...I honestly don't think people had started going too far down that road when she was working in the movies, though Funny Face had that lovely dance with her in positively beatnikky-looking black. Most of all (and this is most important indeed) it wasn't really about the clothes at all- even the loveliest things would've been useless if she hadn't carried them off the way she did. Plus, most of her movie characters seem like they'd be fun to spend some time with. Marilyn Monroe was stunning all right, but I swear if I went out with her, she'd end up snitching any boy I fancy. Besides, sometimes non-revolutionary (i.e. Audrey as she's seen today), dignified (it's not a dirty word) dressing isn't such a bad idea. Like maybe when the boyfriend's parents have to be met.


...And So, Apparently, Is Vogue.

..to India, that is. This October (I'd like to know how this piece of news escaped me for so long- actually I do know: I dismissed it as a rumour). I'm not quite sure how I feel about this, to be honest. My views on Indian 'designers' (note the quotes) is that they're a bunch of pretentious Page 3* ass-kissers who put utter rubbish on the runway when they remember that they have a day job, because most of them have no conception of how to cut or fit clothes, and just hide that fact behind piles of embroidery in order to emphasise their 'Indianness' (which apparently consists of Bollywood and lots of ethnicky-looking textiles). And they're overpriced and unwearable to boot (about the only designer whose stuff I've approved of in recent years is Manish Arora, and I'm almost entirely convinced it's because he realised he couldn't get away with the usual crap job in London). And don't even get me started on the astounding lack of originality, and the two-year backlog of trends.. And given that Vogue seems to make a bit of a policy of promoting the local design industry in the countries where it sets up, I'm wondering what they'll find to push at us here. The luxury clothing/accessories market in India is, by and large, a new thing (the country had pretty much no fashion design history pre-1970), and I'm a bit ambivalent on the question of how good or bad this is. I wouldn't complain if it meant clothes and trends got here faster, and maybe gave the Indian design lot something to chew on (as in: MAKE DECENT CLOTHES. OR ELSE...), and this needs a bit of thinking about, but maybe it'll be good. Even if we haven't got anything like Preen or Giles Deacon for ourselves, maybe the next generation could use a bit of incentive to actually create, instead of just ripping things off..
*non-Indian readers: that's the social page. No glamour models on it, though it might've been more interesting if they were.


The Models Are Coming!*

(Pictures from fashionologie and hipster musings)
...at least, I hope so. The news of the modelblitz of US Vogue's May cover might be old hat, but they're so much more fun to read about than the people who usually go on the cover. And besides, which of those whiny Zoebots would ever come out with anything in the league of the following line:
"In Rrrrussia, vee have proverb: Only bad soldiers don't vant to be general."
(so says Sasha Pivovarova on the topic of whether or not she wants to be a supermodel. The young lady will henceforth referred to, eurobrat-style, as Piv because her name is just too long and I'm afraid I'll lose a couple of syllables somewhere if I try typing all of it). It isn't often that I actually want to cheer on the subject of a magazine interview, but I just had to grin when I read this. The alien models are all beauties in their own right, but Piv somehow stands out even despite the fact that she's the dead spit of Gemma Ward. Also, I can't think of too many other models who would look as hot with a moustache (she was pretending to be John Galliano for a French Vogue photoshoot).
Nor, for that matter, can I think of too many girls who would look as good with their hair chopped off as Agyness Deyn does. I'd never seen nor heard of the girl till the time the ads for the first lot of cheeky-rude House of Holland t-shirts started popping up all over the place (she's wearing one from the second lot in the photograph), but she certainly is eye-catching. In some ways it seems to be the Irina effect all over again: girl with massively cool personal style and highly distinctive hair (though Agyness's is the polar opposite of Irina's- cropped and blonde vs. shaggy and dark-fringed) makes it big thanks to single job from fashion world friend (Kate Moss in Irina's case and Henry Holland in Agyness's- they used to be flatmates, though the latter pair more or less made it together). Admittedly, neither Irina nor Agyness would've gotten anywhere at all if they hadn't had what it took in the first place- amazing bone structure being just part of that, along with the fact that they and Piv are all something more than just pretty- I used to think the phrase "personality matters" was just that- something people said to convince themselves that there was some level of brainpower involved in their job, but looking at these three, it somehow seems true. They seem interesting, especially Irina and Agyness**. And that's something new to me as far as models go. Maybe it's because they've lived a little longer than the others, and have interests other than fashion- Irina, I will get over her I promise, was once the Babyshambles drummer and Agyness deejays at clubs or used to- and I can't say exactly how, but they do bring something of that experience and attitude to their work as models. The old je ne sais quoi (I'm sorry if it's getting old), it must be. And Agyness reminds me a vague bit of Debbie Harry- never a bad thing I say. Now if only they'd give us the odd model on the cover now and then, I'd adore seeing any of the covergirls. Also Behati Prinsloo, Irina, Lily Cole and Freja Beha- who needs Renee Zellweger on a cover anyway?
*The post title is my poor attempt at a spoof of a Biggles story with the title The Camels Are Coming. Doesn't have the same ring, but I honestly can't think of anything better.
who, despite her Scandinavian-sounding name, is apparently from the same place as Oasis.


I Know I Promised To Stay Away..

But, inspired by the latest example of style heinousness in my classroom, this must go out as a note to everyone irrespective of gender, though I don't think anyone who needs it will read this:
When you wear a shirt with buttons down the front, please make sure that
a) those buttons, or as many of them as are needed to preserve decency, are CLOSED. Unless you want to flash cleavage/chest hair at the world.
b) when you do close the buttons, please make sure that the fabric between them stays in a relatively straight line over your chest. Translated into English: if you need a bigger size shirt, bloody well get one. I really don't need to know what your bra looks like, and the gaps between your shirt buttons are not sexy at all, just gross.


Sad, This

I love magazines, especially those of the glossy kind. It isn't as if my daily dose of the papers isn't important, because it is, but there's nothing quite like not worrying about the fate of the world for ten minutes (global warming, stupid American President, stupid wars concocted out of sexed-up intelligence dossiers, bring on the crap) and just looking at stuff instead. Like photographs. And the occasional debate over volume v. body-con - which is the cooler trend? (thinner people and boys might disagree with me, but I say volume deserves to win)- and that stuff isn't very important anyway, because all that really mattered to me about Vogue UK was the photographs inside- specifically, the editorials, of which I am bound to like at least one per issue (even though I can sometimes see a bit of a trend where the models get put in shoes, trousers/skirts, shirts and other accessories all by the same designer). I also appreciate the fact that flipping through a copy in the shop won't put me at risk of dislocating my wrist and elbow joints (major drawback to American Vogue, aside from being over-Photoshopped and too glossy).And even if I don't pay all that much attention to the articles, they're still ok and it's nice to be able to read them. Besides, it isn't as if Vogue wasn't capable of putting what looks to me like amazing stuff (and I don't mean the clothes) on its covers- just look at a few:
July 1928
April 1937
April 1919
And it isn't as if their ability to get out an amazing-looking cover image ended at 1950- the picture immediately below this text was taken in 2005 and served as the July cover. It looked so good, I bought the magazine- not something I usually do.
And right below is their 90th anniversary issue. Which is, frankly speaking, gorgeous.

Which is why I'm left wondering...what's happening to them? Practically all the covers that have been out so far in 2007 are a bit blah-looking, and really not that big a deal at all- Kate Winslet looked all right on the January cover though not great, but the rest were really, there's no other way to put it, lacklustre- this despite all of them featuring famous models who've done some really great work for other magazines and previously in Vogue itself. Jessica Stam looked fairly dead on the February cover, Daria looks singularly bored on the March one (pictured right at the bottom- it doesn't help that her dress doesn't even show up properly against that pastel background), Kate Moss- whatever anyone might say about her- just about managed to save the April cover from being as dull as the rest (shiny short black dress and cool pose might've had something to do with it), and now comes the latest- the May cover, featuring Natalia Vodianova and the chap from Razorlight. Three words: it looks awful. There is nothing about that cover which would induce a first-time reader to pick it off the stand, and the sad part is it isn't as if they can't do it. Put out a good cover image, I mean. And maybe this is just me being disgruntled, but if Vogue is supposed to be a fashion magazine, who forgot to put the shirt on Johnny Borrell?**

**Most galling of all is the thought that one of the following three people is probably behind the styling of that cover- Lucinda Chambers, Kate Phelan or Miranda Almond (Robson?). And not to be shallow or anything, but Johnny Borrell? I didn't quite believe the Queens about his being coverboy at first, but couldn't Vogue find anyone better? Even if the Gallaghers are too cranky and the Arctic Monkeys don't do fashion shoots?


Pictures! We Need Pictures!

My mum used to love dressing me up in super-girly clothes when I was small- and given that there was only one of me, and lots of time on her hands (she didn't start working till I was four years old), a lack of choices in the stores didn't bother her at all- she simply made the lot herself. And the girlier the better. There wasn't a single item of clothing that didn't have a bow or a frill or some funny appliques on it- and if it didn't, that was probably because the material of which it was made was an entity in its own right. What Thirteen wouldn't have been seen dead in, was quite a happy going area for Three. And somehow I've never quite gone back to girliness since- even the only black shift dress I own is inevitably worn with a t-shirt and sneakers.
Which is why seeing the pictures above made me think of Mum's early games of dress-up with me. Granted, they're a whole lot more subdued than my kid clothes (they're black, for heaven's sake!), but there's still the same sense of whimsy- only a lot more grown-up, and it wouldn't put me in danger of looking twee. That jacket in the bottom picture is seriously yummy (no other words for it)- the puff sleeves have just enough puff in them to be fun, and yet cool and historical-looking at the same time. This despite my constant stealing of skinny boys' jackets off my younger cousins (one of the very few benefits of having younger boy cousins who are still nice and narrow in the shoulder). And the image on top? Big whooppeeee is all the reaction I can muster for now. Roksanda Ilincic, I think I love you. Or at least the clothes you make- it's nice to be reminded that girly is fun too.

For Anyone Who Wanted To Know

What a newsboy cap looked like (i.e. boys- I can't blame either of you for a lack of knowledge) here's the picture of something that resembles the object I spoke of yesterday, before The Great Internet Block (now lifted thanks to loads of angry students howling about it and not shutting up- to anyone who doesn't know me in real life, I must explain: I attend a course of higher education that requires all its adherents to live on campus, thus turning what would have been a minor pain in the bum if we were a day college, into a flaming row between the students and the administration). A checked shirt is probably as wrong to wear with the cap as loose hair, but it was a bit of a warm day and I didn't have anything by way of a hair tie on me.



Even though it's April and all, this is still highly distressing to me...my precious university has installed itself a new filtering system which means that I can't access my blogroll, or view this blog despite the fact that I can see comments in my gmail inbox. I'm sorry to be putting the same content up on both my blogs, but I think some part of the world outside needs to know what's being done here. And even the gmail, I don't know how much longer it'll work if the filters aren't removed- the girl sitting on the computer next to mine has just found that she can't open her inbox because the "weighted phrase limit exceeded" bit says "banned phrase found" instead. And among the blocked sites are not only my friends' blogs and all my fashion blogs, but also assorted wikipedia articles on Internet censorship, assorted UN sites, images of any artwork featuring nudity- that includes Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, by the way, and certain search strings in Google have been blocked altogether.
Here's one of the messages I got:
Access to the page:


... has been denied for the following reason:

Weighted phrase limit exceeded.

You are seeing this error because what you attempted to access appears to contain, or is labeled as containing, material that has been deemed inappropriate.

If you have any queries contact your ICT Co-ordinator or Network Manager.

Powered by DansGuardian

Replace that url with any of the ones in the links list, you'll have what's been happening over the last few hours. And the bolded bits are by me.
I've just discovered I can respond to comments, at least for now, if I take the long route through the Blogger dashboard. I've also just discovered that I can, from the dashboard, view every individual post that has ever been put on this blog- comments and all. SO WHY ON EARTH CAN'T I SEE MY BLOG- ALL OF IT, I MEAN? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WARPED BUNCH OF IDIOTS WHO DID THIS TO US?

God Save The Cap..

The latest on-campus example of style heinousness (I wish I could put up pictures, but these people don't deserve to have that done to them) needs to be bitched about, because I actually have nowhere else to do it:
Ingredient #1: dark-wash blue jeans (not skinny, just regular straight or boot-cut ones)
Ingredient #2: black, slightly loose t-shirt tucked into aforementioned jeans
Ingredient #3: velvet-trimmed flip-flops
Ingredient#4: (and note, because this is where the outfit starts on its way to fashion victimhood) a brown corduroy newsboy cap. Worn with (and this is what sent the entire look straight down the road to hell)
Ingredient #5: a lot of rather long brown hair, loose under the cap. IN SUMMER. IN INDIA. WITH POWER CUTS AND THIRTY-SOMETHING-DEGREE CENTIGRADE TEMPERATURES IN ABUNDANCE. I admit, I'm not exactly fond of the girl in question, but I can usually divorce my opinion of a person's dress sense from my opinion of the person- and she's usually decent-looking, if a little matchy-matchy at times. And I know the description above actually sounds fairly ok, but it was just so try-hard I didn't know whether to feel sorry for her or just be my monstrously mean self and keep laughing at it (actually, I did know what to do- the mental equivalent of point and laugh. I wasn't the only one doing it, either). And the worst part was that the hat was actually, as an independent entity, pretty decent-looking. It deserved better from a wearer than this-and headgear isn't that difficult to pull off, I can think of at least two people in my class who do it with far more panache than this specimen.
Trend victims, bleargh......


They Don't Make 'Em Quite Like This Anymore..

My roommate returned from New York a few days ago with, among other things, a pack of 50 postcards from the Museum of Modern Art featuring old movie posters. Which got me thinking, most movie posters these days don't look all that great, I wouldn't want them decorating my walls . And they rarely, if ever, feature clothes I think are cool (Uma Thurman's yellow Game of Death tracksuit from Kill Bill will be covering the damp patches over our mirror as soon as the poster gets flattened out, and the wedding dress from Volume 2 looks amazing - maybe that's because of the katana in the frame, but they're the exceptions rather than the rule). I honestly can't think of anything recent that, fashion-wise, is a memorable poster image. Unlike the two below:
I know it's two posters for the same movie, but I swear, Audrey Hepburn wouldn't look out of place in 2007 despite the fact that it was made over forty years ago. Unfussy shapes, coloured and otherwise printed tights, and the sunglasses in the bottom picture..what's not to love? Especially the tights..and now I WANT the posters. Along with her tights, of course.


No, No, No Please

I refuse to put a picture up here, and I suppose I should be surprised they didn't get here sooner, given that they've been around the runways for almost three years now...but there are girls on campus wearing leggings. UGH. There are certain items of clothing my brain and whatever scraps of fashion sense I have just say a big no to- not many, but there nonetheless. They happen to include Stetson hats and, you guess, go ahead...leggings. Never mind the issue of how legs look, I honestly don't think the best way to deal with a temperature in the thirties (that's Centigrade, by the way) is by wearing a lot of black material that, even if it leaves a large chunk of your leg below the knee bare and ready to breathe, adheres to the rest of it without leaving so much as a millimeter of space between itself and your skin. Oh, and especially not if what you happen to have on top is made of some weird shiny fabric that is very definitely not Indian-summer-friendly at all.
EDIT: on request, I've put up a picture by Style Scout- the young lady in it actually wears her leggings pretty well, but then she didn't forget that there's supposed to be something more on your bottom half than just a t-shirt.

On Niceness.. And Not

Happy Easter, everyone! I'm sorry the blog is such a lazy space but posting takes time, not to mention energy..who'd have thought sitting on your ass for an hour can actually be that exhausting?
My question for the day is: why are some people nasty? To nice fashion bloggers, I mean (that came out sounding a bit whiny and immature, but it'll have to do). When I first started reading other people's fashion blogs, it was all a bit desultory. If I liked it, I bookmarked the page, if I didn't then I didn't come back. I didn't see anyone else leaving negative feedback either. So the first time I saw meanness on a commentspace, it was a bit of a shock because the blogger in question, Susie Bubble, is one of the nicest people on my links list and the comment (it was anonymous- no email, no homepage) was no more and no less than a direct personal attack against her, and a really nasty insult to boot. The flip side was that it was gratifying (for me, at least, since I wasn't into typepad commenting back then) to see other bloggers closing ranks around one of their own and proceeding to call the anonymous commenter a few choice names. She put up another post, that discussion closed, the matter ended there...finit, we'd have thought. As it turned out, it hadn't. On another post came another insult. People, again, disagreed with it. And then, up pipes someone asking her to fix her writing style (he/she got cyber-shouted down again), and on yet another post turns up someone claiming to work at Vogue and dissing the blog...these comments turned up on just a few posts out of maybe a thousand, but what I found odd was the fact that they seemed to show up only on Style Bubble, or about Susie. Maybe I'm missing something and horrible comments are in fact being sent by email to the keepers of the other sites I visit, or comments are being left and I don't see them, but it bothers me that people seem to taking potshots only at the girl they see as least likely to take their heads off for it. And I don't mean everyone should get rude comments (no one should, where are our manners?), or that everyone who reads a blog should agree with what it says, but there's a world of difference between plain old disagreement and the kind of pettiness I see in these cowards (that's what they are. I've yet to see any of them leave an email address or url with their comments). But this utter rubbish doesn't have to be put up with, by Susie or anyone else who keeps a blog about anything at all. If someone feels threatened by the fact that we have the inclination to speak our minds and people seem to listen or respond to what we have to say, that's their problem- not ours.


More Bangs For My Buck, I Say

(pictures from Kingdom of Style)
I'm not a massive fan of most models . I wasn't fond of the glamazons (Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista et al- stunning women, but I probably extrapolated my dislike of the clothes of their time into a distaste for the women who wore them) and the Young Aliens (Gemma Ward, Jessica Stam, Lily Cole and co.) of today are beautiful, but so many pairs of wide-open blue eyes made the average fashion magazine circa 2004 start to look a bit like Children of the Corn. But every once in a while, like maybe about once a year, I discover that I really like the way some girl wears the clothes . And for the last year and a bit, the young lady in the pictures above and below is someone whose work I have actually loved looking at. Kate Moss might not have done anything nearly as groundbreaking as what she pulled in the years of her collaboration with Corinne Day, but picking Irina Lazareanu as the model for the editorials in her first post-coke scandal stint as guest editor of Paris Vogue was nothing short of genius. Aside from the slightly kooky appearance (not so much anymore since every post-pubescent female with even the slightest pretensions to a liking of fashion started cogging her hair by cutting in the fringes they'd previously begged their mummies to let them outgrow, but that doesn't mean they have automatic entry to the Good Fringe club*), she's too bloody skinny (someone get a look at her modelling that v. pretty white dress on the Kate Moss for Topshop site, she looks practically childlike there), and she isn't even conventionally pretty, but despite scouring a year's worth of pictures of her in adverts and editorials, the only conclusion I could come to was that she has je ne sais quoi in spades. The quality in question is supposed to be beyond definition, but I wonder if being slightly older than normal (in a field of work where the average age on getting your first break seems to be about fifteen) has something to do with it. Or the fact that, in the only interview of hers that I've ever read, she actually sounds intelligent. I hate to be stereotypical about models, but given that most of them start as young as fourteen (some even younger) and never finish school, they don't often seem like the brightest bulbs in the box. It's no fault of theirs, but having a brain and not hiding it doesn't have to be a bad thing. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that she has hellishly sharp personal style- possibly influenced by Le Moss, but well-dressed girls in my immediate surroundings, no matter what my friend Girlface has to say, are so rare that I'm grateful for the sight of one anywhere. Even if that somewhere happens to be a computer screen. She's still pretty fascinating, though. And any female who manages making an 80s perm (not pictured here) look something other than ridiculous deserves my respect.
So what if I have a soft spot for a well-cut, or more importantly well-worn, jacket? Sue me, I say. And the days of sharp might just be numbered, since Hedi Slimane** quit Dior Homme and a new chap who likes baggies is now captain of the ship.

* previous members of the Good Fringe club-i.e. those who wear/wore it with panache- include Louise Brooks, Amélie Poulain (yes, I know she's fictional and it's actually Audrey Tautou, but still), Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Marianne Faithfull, Penelope Tree, and Jean Shrimpton. Oh, and Ms L above.
**he of the trousers so skinny, Karl Lagerfeld went on a baby food diet so he could fit into them. Also He Whose Style Icon Was Pete Doherty And Whose Suits Were Worn By Franz Ferdinand and who inspired the style of most halfway-sharp looking boys in the world, musical and real (even if they didn't know it), between 2004 and now.

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.