Monday, 28 February 2011

today i love... bright colours

Given that my favourite colour clothes are usually shades of navy, grey or nude, no-one is more surprised than I am to find myself drawn to bright colours right now. Such is the power of the catwalk shows, I suppose. Tomorrow is the first day of March, which means that finally, after months of talking about spring clothes, we might soon be able to actually wear them. And what better way to shake off the last remnants of winter than by embracing bright colours? Admittedly I'm not too keen to go down the Gucci/Jil Sander route of clashing them all up together, but there are certainly ways the colour-shy among us can work them gradually into our wardrobes. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adding a pop of brights to an otherwise neutral outfit. Coral goes particularly well with nude, while a flash of electric blue looks perfect against stark white. If you're feeling brave, try combining tonal shades such as blue with turquoise, or coral with orange. You'll soon find that a little colour goes a long way.


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today i'm wearing...

Jacket from Topshop; top from Topshop; skirt from Topshop; shoes from Topshop; tights from M&S; watch from Asos; nail varnish is Topshop nails in Parma Violet.

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Sunday, 27 February 2011

today i love... the best of lfw

London Fashion Week is always one of my favourite times of year. The chance to see so much fresh, exciting design talent crammed into five fashion-packed days is one not to be missed, and this season I was able to stream so many of the shows live it almost felt as though I were there. And what a week it was: full to the brim of lustworthy clothes, fresh design ideas and thrilling new trends. So now that the fashion folk have all moved onto Milan (click here for all you need to know about MFW), it's time to take a look back at the very best of LFW's shows.

Although it was certainly a week that celebrated the very best of British design talent, I'm going to start off by lauding a Swedish designer. Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with
Acne (below, two left-hand pictures), the cult Swedish brand that started life as a small denim line and evolved into one of the most cutting-edge and lusted-after labels around. For A/W'11, creative director Jonny Johansson did not stray from the signature cool-girl aesthetic that has made his label a household name. Rather he showed us exactly why its reputation is so deserved. Patchwork leather, slouchy denim boiler suits, loose-slung blazers and biker jackets, all delivered in an achingly cool colour palette of black, sky blue, dusty rose and yellow/green, with flashes of silver. It was exceptionally well tailored, exceptionally well put together, and little details like hits of metallics, leather panels and chiffon overlays elevated it from basics to brilliance.

So, from a non-British label to perhaps the most British label of all, next we come to Mulberry (above, two right-hand pictures). It really was a quintessentially, unashamedly British collection. There were duffle coats, pleated skirts, florals, knee-socks, knits and of course brilliant bags: everything you'd need for a lovely trip to the country. I especially loved the metallic pleated skirts, and the palette of khaki, lavender, dove grey and black, with pops of vibrant turquoise. A quilted leather jacket shown with matching skirt was the perfect way to prove that Mulberry can do edgy, too, while ensuring never to sacrifice its main appeal: beautiful, wearable clothes.

Next in my list of favourites are two of London's most hotly-tipped young designers. The first is
Jonathan Saunders (below, two left-hand pictures). I was very impressed by this accomplished, confident and beautiful collection. In a show that was perhaps more summery than some winter collections, Saunders celebrated print and colour, with a focus on beautiful dresses. His talent was clear to see in the way he made a whole range of bright colours and a mix of tropical and baroque prints seem to combine totally effortlessly with one another. Details like soft sequinned panels and supremely sophisticated colour combinations made this a highly desirable and wearable collection.

Richard Nicoll (above, two right-hand pictures) is another young British designer who, like Saunders, has had the Topshop seal of approval by designing several capsule collections for the high street mecca. To me that can't be a bad sign, and for A/W'11 Nicoll proved exactly why he appeals to Topshop's young, fashion-forward customer base. The slightly sporty feel to this show really appealed to me, as did the beautiful colour palette of nude, apricot, mustard, white and iridescent blue. It was all very casual and wearable without sacrificing that all-important edge. The liquid-look metallics were a particular highlight, as was the amazing colour block dress shown above. I would certainly make room for these clothes in my wardrobe.

Christopher Kane (below, two left-hand pictures) has perhaps become the hottest ticket of LFW (and is another graduate of the Topshop school of amazing high street collaborations). Until now I must admit I was always rather ambivalent about Kane's shows, somehow suspicious that they tended to favour style over substance. From his first shock-factor neon show, it seemed he had fallen into the young designer trap of thinking that the more outrageous his designs were, the better they would be. Not so anymore. He's definitely toned down his more outrageous tendencies as he has become more and more established, and this season focussed on adding a subtle Kane edge to simple but brilliant basics. And it was to great effect: this was by far my favourite Kane show to date. This collection had the theme of 'liquid', which was mainly shown in his ingenius idea of introducing plastic pockets filled with coloured liquid to his clothes. Why no one has ever thought of this before is a mystery to me, because it seemed a brilliantly creative but not overly ridiculous way to add some fun to basic pieces (in this case mainly beautifully cut, slit-skirted black dresses). The liquid-filled plastic clutches were also incredible, and at the beginning of the show crochet-cut leather proved to be another great way of adding a seriously sexy Kane touch to classic clothes. I was really very impressed by it all.

Next we have Erdem (above, two right-hand pictures), another of the most anticipated shows of the week, and a designer who this season wisely stuck to what he does best: beautiful prints. It may not have been anything particularly new, but never was the motto 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' truer. This season it was Monet-esque painterly prints, spattered over a range of perfectly-cut dresses in a variety of lengths and styles (and some trench coats and trousers). A range of fabrics, including velvet and lace, added interest, while the colour scheme was gorgeously wintry: black, deep red, forest green, vivid blue and rich purple. Very beautiful, very feminine and very wearable. No wonder Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron was so impressed.

And finally, two slightly more under-the-radar designers. First up we have
Emilio de la Morena (below, two left-hand pictures), whose incredible S/S'11 collection was one of my absolute favourites of the season (read all about it here). Admittedly I didn't love the A/W'11 collection quite as much as the previous one, but it was nonetheless a supremely chic, wearable and confident show. This is party dressing for the classy but oh-so-cool girl, epitomised by front row stalwart Julia Restoin-Roitfeld. The dresses, in a calm but well thought-out colour palette of cream, red, purple and orange, managed to be incredibly sexy despite their below-the-knee skirts and high necks. Peekaboo sheer panels, hints of chiffon and structured piping were all intelligent design details that served to prove de la Morena really knows what he's doing.

My final favourite of LFW was Simone Rocha (above, two right-hand pictures). Her debut collection for S/S'11 was an accomplished vision in white and I was excited to see what she would offer this time around (read about her previous collection here). She presented a beautiful selection of looks, keeping her signature chiffon overlays and shirt detailing, but moving to a slightly moodier palette of black, coral, lilac, nude and baby pink. It was quite simply very chic, with little hits of fur and pops of gingham adding interest to the simple but beautifully cut clothes. I really love the way she layers her looks, with heavier fabrics softened by silks and chiffon, and strong architectural shapes put together with immaculate precision.

You may well have noticed some rather glaring absences from my favourite shows, most notably
Burberry Prorsum and Topshop Unique. It pains me to say it, but I was somewhat disappointed by Burberry this season. Blasphemy, I know, given how much I adore Christopher Bailey's work, but I can't lie: this season it just wasn't for me. The strong sixties influence, with bright paintbox colours and monochrome patterns, just didn't speak to me, and I longed for the rock chick aesthetic of last season's biker leather and animal-printed chiffon. I suppose it was inevitable that after three absolutely perfect seasons, one would come along that I didn't like, but it was still upsetting. At least the stellar front row (Alexa Chung, Kate Bosworth and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld all looked sensational) cheered me up. The same goes for Topshop Unique, which just all felt a bit too prim and office-y for my liking. I didn't get the Dalmatian-inspired looks, and the pussy-bow blouses, buttoned pencil skirts and lace tights looked fussy and dated to me.

Conversely, however, there were other shows (like Christopher Kane) which I was pleasantly surprised by. A special mention in this category goes to
Matthew Williamson. I've never been a fan of his hippy/Ibiza chick aesthetic in the past, but this season I had to eat my words. The colours were really very good: orange and nude; red, pink and black; coral with tangerine; grey, sky blue and nude; cobalt, purple and black. There were lovely little feather and sequin dresses, and a very accomplished use of fur as an accent, which managed not to look out of place in the largely summery collection. My favourite look was a brilliant combination of silky coral trousers, nude blouse, taupe leather jacket and metallic blue shoes: perfect. Michael van der Ham is another designer I haven't paid much attention to in the past, but this season he softened his signature mash-it-all-up dynamic into asymmetric squares of same-colour fabric or cleverly draped cuts, to great effect. He even managed to make velvet look very chic, which is just as well because if the shows so far are anything to go by, we’re going to have to get used to it.

Other collections I was a fan of included
Charles Anastase, which was pretty much Alexa Chung's wardrobe put on a catwalk - peter-pan collared dresses, pale pink slips and appliqéd velvet - and Temperley London, which was refreshingly elegant and indulgently beautiful (and the shoes were just amazing). I also really rather liked Ann-Sofie Back, another Swedish designer (and Topshop collaborator) who is known for her slightly out-there inspirations. This collection was pure accomplished tailoring at its finest: sculptural, strong and simple. Hard edges lent a point of difference to otherwise soft, floaty dresses, while sharp gold corners punctuated simple white shirts and black trousers. I loved the use of metallics, too: a silver trouser suit was especially beautiful. Aquascutum deserves a mention, too; new designer Joanna Sykes is known for her wearable clothes and this was a cool, casual urban collection, with flashes of colour keeping things fresh. The clothes were mainly camel, white and black, with hits of bright tangerine and (surprise) cobalt blue. Particularly impressive was the outerwear, a great mix of smart/casual, with tweed jackets pepped up with puffa-style collars, and leather panels adding interest to sleek white coats.

So that's my pick of the best shows that London Fashion Week had to offer. It was definitely a great week for British fashion, and I for one can't wait until these trends start to trickle down into the high street stores come autumn.


Pictures:
Elleuk.com

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Saturday, 26 February 2011

today i'm inspired by... street style at lfw



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today i bought...

I've been meaning to buy an extra wardrobe for quite some time, ever since I started needing to double up on hangers. I finally got around to it and I'm rather pleased with this canvas guy from Sainsbury's. The roll-up front means I can easily see all my lovely clothes, and the extra space means they finally have room to breathe (and it doesn't take half an hour to wrestle something out when I want to wear it). Best of all, though, is that it meant I had to sift through a lot of my clothes, which was great for reminding me about loads of items I'd all but forgotten about. So if you're struggling for inspiration about what to wear, I really recommend reorganising your wardrobe. You're sure to stumble across a hidden gem you'd completely forgotten you had.

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Friday, 25 February 2011

today i'd love to wear...


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today i'm wearing...

Coat from Preen/Edition; shirt from Topshop; top (underneath) from Topshop; trousers from Topshop; shoes from Primark; bag from Topshop; ring from River Island; lipstick is Rimmel Lasting Finish in 220 Retro.

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Thursday, 24 February 2011

today i'm wearing...

Coat from Topshop; jumper from Topshop; jeans from Topshop; shoes from Zara; watch from Asos.

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today i love... milan fashion week

So London Fashion Week is over... sad times (super busy this week but show reports to come at the weekend). Now it's onto Milan, and the super-rich Italians are grabbing their sunglasses and monogrammed bags and flocking to see what the glamorous Milanese designers will be showing this season. Granted, it's probably my least favourite of the fashion weeks (not such a fan of the flashy maximalist aesthetic favoured by many of the Italian designers). But I'll still be interested to see which new trends they come up with. So here's the lowdown on MFW...

1. You will be able to live stream eight of Milan's most prestigious shows online (although Prada has already happened... sorry about that). Click
here for the schedule, times and websites. For all the other shows, visit firstcomesfashion.com to see videos and recaps of MFW's finest.

2.
Elleuk.com and Vogue.co.uk are still my go-to sites for all the show reports, front row sightings and catwalk pictures. They're updated very regularly, so you'll be able to catch up on everything that's happening over in Italy.

3. Stay tuned for front row pictures, street style and show reports right here on my blog.

4. Finally, here's my pick of the most exciting shows of Milan Fashion Week:


MaxMara: Thursday 24th February

Fendi: Thursday 24th February

Prada: Thursday 24th February

Moschino: Friday 25th February

Versace: Friday 25th February

Jil Sander: Saturday 26th February

Marni: Sunday 27th February

Missoni: Sunday 27th February

Versus: Sunday 27th February

Gucci: Monday 28th February


Picture:
Asos.com

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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

today i'm wearing...

Coat from River Island; blouse from Miss Selfridge; jeans from Topshop; shoes from Primark; belt from H&M; watch from Asos; lipstick is Rouge Dior in 565 Trafalgar Pink.

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today i love... grazia's 'this week you bought' feature

I was flicking through my copy of Grazia today, and what should I come across but my own wrist staring back at me. As part of a new feature, Grazia have been asking their followers to tweet with details of their new purchases, so I sent them a little picture of my beloved new Asos watch (which I can't seem to take off at the moment). They seemed to like it too!

If you'd like to show off your latest buy, just send a tweet to
@Grazia_Live with the hash tag #shopandtell.

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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

today i'm wearing...

Coat from Preen/Edition; jumper from Silence + Noise at Urban Outfitters; top (underneath) from Topshop Boutique; trousers from Topshop; shoes from Topshop; bag from Topshop; watch from Asos; bracelet from Asos; lipstick is Barry M lip paint in 129 Lavender.

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Sunday, 20 February 2011

today i'm inspired by... chloé s/s'11 ad campaign

I really rather liked Chloé's S/S'11 collection, and this ad campaign perfectly demonstrates everything that is so desirable about the coveted French brand. From the fresh-faced make-up and lightweight shiny hair to the beautifully simple ballet-inspired clothes, this is fashion escapism at its best. Oh, and how much do I want those nude perspex shoes?!



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Saturday, 19 February 2011

today i'm wearing...

Coat from Preen/Edition; top from Topshop; trousers from Topshop; boots from Asos; clutch from Asos; watch from Asos; earrings from Asos.

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today i'm channelling... kate bosworth


Click here to see Kate Bosworth's look

Zara messenger bag with fastener, £39.99; Asos clean shift dress, £40; River Island black ankle wedge boots, £64.99; Topshop cut out stacker ring set, £8.50


One of my favourite things about fashion week season is the supply of brilliant outfits available to ogle. From the front row celebrities to the fashion insiders, everyone dolls themselves up in their finest fashion gear to attend the shows, giving style voyeurs like myself a veritable smorgasbord of fashinspiration. My favourite of all the front row looks from New York Fashion Week has to be Kate Bosworth's perfect outfit of orange Calvin Klein shift + simple black accessories, worn to attend the eponymous American label's show on Thursday. Definitely one of my favourite famous style icons, Miss Bosworth excels because she knows - unlike some celebrities - that you can look incredibly chic and beautiful without piling on the accessories, loading up the make-up or flashing too much flesh. Kate is the queen of understated cool, which she proves amply in this beautifully simple ensemble. I just love the tomatoey orange colour of the dress, and Kate's perfect accompaniments of casual little shoulder bag, simple wedge boots and just a couple of gold rings lets it speak for itself. Above I've selected some lovely high street alternatives (really liking that Asos shift especially). Simply team them with minimal make-up and poker-straight hair to emulate Miss Bosworth's stellar front row style.

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Friday, 18 February 2011

today i love... the best of nyfw

So New York Fashion Week wrapped up yesterday and the fashion elite moved onto London (click here for everything you need to know about LFW). It was certainly a week crammed full of shows; I found it exhausting enough just clicking through all the pictures, so I can't imagine how worn out the editors felt by the time it was all over. But of course it's all worth it to see the best of America's design talent come together for one short amazing week. So here's the lowdown on the shows I loved, those I really didn't, and those that left me pretty much indifferent.

First up, the best of the best. Three shows really stood out to me as favourites. The first was Alexander Wang (above). Now, I've never been one of his hardcore disciples; his earlier collections have often left me distinctly underwhelmed. But then, given how much hype surrounds his shows, and how often he is touted as arguably the hottest ticket of NYFW, perhaps it's no wonder that he has sometimes fallen short of my high expectations. Last season, however, saw a turnaround in my perspective. I've written about how much I currently love his S/S'11 collection (read about it here), and I think it took me taking a fresh look at his designs, with all the hype and expectation stripped away and the focus purely on the clothes, to truly begin to appreciate his talent. This season, therefore, I approached his collection with an open mind, knowing that even if I didn't immediately warm to it, it might well grow on me as his previous collection had. But I needn't have worried: Wang's A/W'11 collection exceeded all my expectations. Granted, there were some pieces bordering on a nineties grunge aesthetic that I didn't love (such as oversized parkas, leather joggers and fur-trimmed ponchos, all in black), but most of the rest seriously impressed me. Skinny lurex trousers in silver, pink and blue were a particular highlight, as was a beautiful grey cocoon coat with silver panels. For eveningwear, the contrast between soft fluffy knits and shredded satin skirts worked brilliantly, as did the colour palette of coal black, silvery grey and dusty peach. Sheer chiffon shirts added an edge to slouchy silky trousers, while flashes of metallic accessories throughout kept things on the luxe side of grunge. All in all, an impressive, wearable and inventive collection, and, while I may be a little late on the bandwagon, I can safely say I'm now a Wang convert.

Next up, and moving on from downtown New York grunge to Native American vibrancy, we have Proenza Schouler (above). Bright colours and prints are admittedly two things I often steer away from, given the choice, so the fact that I really liked this collection is surely testament to the ability of the Proenza Schouler boys to make clothes look really, really desirable. Their label is pretty much the epitome of New York cool, as attested by oh-so-cool front row guests Chloë Sevigny and Liv Tyler, and they have that rare knack of designing clothes that look completely effortless, as though slung carelessly together in that model-off-duty way. Admittedly I didn't like this collection quite as much as last season, but then that's because I'm a little scared of prints. Still, I know that I'll be tempted to give them a try thanks to this show. McCollough and Hernandez took as their inspiration Native American blankets, and stamped these vibrant unmistakable prints on almost every piece of their collection. Slouchy printed trousers were paired with bright block-coloured tees; dresses were cut in graphic blocks of black, yellow and orange; the simplest shift shapes were emblazoned with interlocking lines of blue, green, orange and red. Towards the end of the show velvet made an appearance, leaving me to marvel at how Proenza must surely be the only label that could ever make printed mustard velvet look good. I wouldn't wear all of it, that's for sure, but it certainly left me feeling pleased that they had taken a risk by steering away from boring black and into vibrant new territory (and I seriously loved the shoes). The final dress, half sheer mesh and half printed turquoise velvet, was a favourite of mine, and I could easily imagine it on Chloë Sevigny, leaving me in no doubt that the label's loyal fans will not have been disappointed.

My third standout favourite was 3.1 Phillip Lim (above). Moving away from vibrant colours and prints now, and back into more comfortable territory for me: softer, more wearable colours and a subtler, sportier aesthetic. 3.1 Phillip Lim has always been one of my most anticipated shows of New York Fashion Week, and this accomplished collection absolutely reinforced that. It was a masterpiece of relaxed, urban chic; there was a sporty feel to it but in a very classy, grown-up way. And although my favourite looks above are predictably colourless, one of the things that stood out about Lim's collection was his incredibly expert colour combinations. They were such as I would never even have considered before, but which looked amazing: tan and cobalt blue; grey, white and dusky pink; olive, ochre and navy; and grass green with cobalt blue again (definitely emerging as the colour of next season). In addition, the pieces were expertly tailored and seemed to fit so naturally together: sleeveless oversized jackets over skinny jumpers and slouchy trousers; a leather panelled nude top with a casual white skirt; slouchy parkas flying open over knitted jumpers and leggings. The highlight for me was a black silk maxidress with leather sleeves: so simple, but so luxe. Other subtle details, such as leather panels and sequinned sleeves, added an extra dimension to otherwise simple looks. Overall, it was an incredibly masterful collection, and it served to remind all the other try-hard designers that if you really know what you're doing, and your clothes are beautifully cut, you can produce a collection that is as amazingly inventive as it is effortless and natural.

So they were my top three shows. In fourth and fifth place are
Christian Siriano (below, two left-hand pictures) and Preen (below, two right-hand pictures). Christian Siriano was the first show I looked at, and it certainly got things off to a good start. My love for it probably had something to do with the fact that it was about 70% navy, my favourite colour on clothes. But it was also the expert combination of textures that caught my eye: boxy jackets with shearling sleeves teamed with the airiest of chiffon skirts; sheer shirts paired with slinky pencil skirts; minidresses with leather panels or taffeta bustles. The cocktail dresses at the end of the show were highly desirable, if not particularly inventive, and would look perfectly at home at any A-list soirée.

Preen, meanwhile, is a label helmed by two British designers and it was certainly apparent in their quirky, inventive and highly accomplished collection. It felt fresh, easy and fun compared to some of the heavy, overthought American labels (more on that later). There were prints here, too, but they were softer than those at Proenza Schouler, and paired with more forgiving colours like plum, chalk white, black and cobalt blue. Whereas many designers focused mainly on dresses, it was separates that stood out here: beautiful embellished tees with mid-length skirts split to the thigh; panelled sheer blouses with simple pencil skirts; sleek straight-legged trousers with simple blazers and belted shirts. In some ways it brought to mind 3.1 Phillip Lim, in that both collections excelled in inventive colour combinations and clothes that fitted effortessly together, almost like tessellation. It was a standout show from Preen, to be sure.

And so to my final two favourites:
Tibi (below, two left-hand pictures) and Theyskens Theory (below, two right-hand pictures). Perhaps situated at opposite ends of the lightness scale, with Tibi very much a preppy, happy collection and Theyskens Theory at the goth end of grunge. But both extremely accomplished in their own rights. Tibi has recently unveiled Olivia Palermo as the face of its brand, and as I watched the models stalk their way down the catwalk I couldn't help but think that some of the looks could have been designed with her in mind. Certainly the salmon pink shirt, taupe tailored trousers and chocolate fur gilet combination pictured below is very reminiscent of Palermo's brand of uptown chic. Then again, this collection was perhaps a little more deconstructed than Olivia's signature polished-to-perfection aesthetic. This was relaxed daywear at its finest, and perfect for a stroll in Central Park. Loose open jackets, skirts that hung off the hips and casual jumpers, all in shades of grey, navy and olive green, were livened up with pops of fluoro pink. The eveningwear, meanwhile, was fun and cute; sweet little cocktail dresses in metallics and scarlet weren't breaking any boundaries, but they didn't take themselves too seriously either, which was refreshing. The messy ponytails reinforced the message that this was a young, fresh and relaxed collection, which is no bad thing, really.

Meanwhile, Olivier Theyskens' collection for Theory - one of the most anticipated of NYFW - took things in a darker direction. Here, too, the hair and make-up reflected the tone of the collection: hair was slicked back and poker-straight and lips were blood red. This was another collection that channelled New York's inimitable brand of cool, but which appealed to a darker, quieter girl than Proenza Schouler's bright prints. Models had hands slung in the pockets of their slouchy trousers, with oversized blazers hanging nonchalantly from their shoulders. The occasional flash of flesh, via metallic leather hotpants or sleek minidresses, was tempered with grungy layers and a palette of grey, olive green (another colour to watch out for), sludgy white and burgundy red. Full length coats and sheer tights played up to the nineties grunge feel to the collection, but sheer maxidresses, chic knitted jumpers and the odd flash of colour kept things feeling modern. An interesting collection, to be sure, and one which will certainly be exerting an influence on our wardrobes come autumn.

There were a few other shows that deserve a mention.
Hervé Leger was a fun, sexy collection; the label's signature bandage dresses are in danger of looking a little tired, but the addition of zips, embellishments and a Glamazon vibe kept things looking young, fun and enticing. Victoria Beckham continued to prove her worth as a bona fide designer by edging further and further away from her little-tight-minidresses comfort zone, playing with architectural shapes and a vivid colour palette to impressive effect. The Row, the label helmed by my all-time favourite style icons the Olsen twins, showed a collection that admittedly felt a little contrived after the brilliance of its pre-fall line, but was nevertheless truly accomplished and desirable. Fur accents here were evidence of this strong trend throughout NYFW. Eveningwear was also a strong theme of the week, and in this some designers truly excelled: Halston, Jason Wu, Vera Wang and Derek Lam especially. Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein produced a show that stayed entirely true to the label's minimalist aesthetic, focusing on strong, structured dresses and coats, but it has to be said that the colour palette felt a little tired (camel seems very last year somehow) and in remaining so loyal to his own trademark look, Costa failed to bring any freshness to the show. Having said that, his strong, architectural approach to dressing was a welcome change from the fussiness of some other designers' collections, and Kate Bosworth, resplendent in the front row in a tomato-red Calvin Klein shift, was evidence of the label's enduring appeal.

So, onto those shows that I really didn't like. You may have noticed that I've neglected to mention many of the most time-honoured and established names of New York Fashion Week:
Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger, for example. These are the most American of the American designers, and I think perhaps that was the problem for me. As someone who so loves the fresh, experimental approach of many of the young London names, I couldn't help but find many of the New York shows a little fusty and stuck in their ways. Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger are prime examples of this: they are so busy sticking to the wholesome American looks that made them famous - camel trouser suits, preppy coats and crisp white shirts - that they forget to try anything new. The same goes for Donna Karan. With Marc Jacobs, the problem is slightly different; if anything he tries too hard to create something fun and quirky, and it just ends up looking kitsch and dated (in my opinion). I've never been a fan of his, I'm afraid to say, and although I always eagerly anticipate his shows in the hope that one might change my mind, that's yet to happen. The same goes for Diane von Furstenberg: I'm a big fan of the woman herself, but her clothes seem stuck in a 70s/wrap-dress rut. And I always take issue with her styling: this season I particularly hated the stiff knee-high boots, horrible little hats and stacks of bangles that she teamed with her clothes. Additionally, there were some labels whose collections I've loved in the past - Prabal Gurung, Rodarte, Thakoon - but which disappointed me this season for one reason or another. Personal preference, I suppose.

Anyway, that's my take on the best and worst of the NYFW shows. I'd love to know whether you agree with my thoughts, or if you have a particular favourite I've missed out, so please leave me a little comment. Now it's onto London Fashion Week, and here's hoping some brilliant British fashion talent will come our way. I can hardly wait.



All pictures: Elleuk.com

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today i'm inspired by... street style at nyfw



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Thursday, 17 February 2011

today i bought...

I've been looking for a new trench coat for quite a while now; after all, they're an essential component of any spring wardrobe (read my feature on them here). While I still love my old Primark one, lately I've been yearning for something a little different. Regular readers will know that I had my eye on a certain leather-sleeved Topshop number, and might be surprised to learn it didn't make it into my wardrobe. Sadly, the pretty steep price of £135, coupled with its below-the-knee length (very, very few people can carry off a below-the-knee coat), meant I had to say no. Luckily though, I came across this beautiful Preen/Edition mac instead. As I mentioned a few days ago, Debenhams Edition is currently collaborating with Preen, Jonathan Saunders and Jonathan Kelsey, and this lovely coat from Preen's range immediately caught my eye. Love the zips, love the quilted shoulders, and especially love the fact that Debenhams were running a 20% off promotion when I ordered it, so it cost £64 instead of £80. Nice.

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today i want... topshop blue suede courts

Cobalt blue is fast emerging as one of the hot colours of next season, if New York Fashion Week is anything to go by (and it usually is). That's fine by me, because I'm feeling quite partial to a shot of electric blue at the moment. And thanks to Topshop, we can get in on the action early with these amazing suede courts. I love how the slightly angular shape and sumptuous suede elevates them above any ordinary court shoe, and would absolutely love to pair them with a loose white shift dress and bright turquoise nails come summer.

Topshop Glam blue suede court shoes, £46


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today i love... london fashion week

It's LFW eve everyone! I'm super duper excited. That's right, today the last shows take place in New York and then it's off to JFK for a lovely long-haul flight back to good old Blighty, where from 18th-23rd it's London fashion a-go-go. After a mixed bag of shows stateside (my show reports on the best of NYFW coming tomorrow), I can't wait to see what London has to offer. It's always my favourite of the four fashion weeks, and not just because I'm rather patriotic at times. No, it's because if there's one thing you can say for British designers, it's that they aren't afraid to experiment. Yes, sometimes they can go a little too far (read: bonkers), but mostly it's a breath of fashionable fresh air. And the fact that some of the New York designers seemed to be stuck in something of a safe rut this season makes me even more excited to see the brilliantly inventive designs of some of London's freshest talent. So here's everything you need to know...

1. Once again, thanks to the internet, you can see pretty much every show you could ever want to without having to leave the comfort of your home. Just as they did last season, Topshop will be live streaming all the shows they sponsor; click
here to go to their live streaming site. To watch many of the other shows, simply visit Londonfashionweek.co.uk. And of course, the grand dame of LFW, Burberry Prorsum, will be streaming their show, including backstage snippets and front row interviews, from their website.

2. Again I'd recommend
Elleuk.com and Vogue.co.uk for all the best pictures and show reports. Topshop's blog Inside-Out will also be particularly worth a visit during LFW, with regular show reports, insider info and street style snaps aplenty.

3. As with NYFW, I'll be posting my thoughts on all the best shows once LFW's over. In the meantime, I'll be searching out the best front row looks for your perusal pleasure. And if you need a handy catch-up of all the London fashion action from last season, click
here for my show reports for LFW S/S'11.

4. And finally, here are the shows I'm especially excited to see over the next few days, along with when and where you can watch them. (Click
here for a list of all the shows that will be live streamed at Londonfashionweek.co.uk). Looks like I won't be going anywhere for a few days... I can't wait!


PPQ: Friday 18th February, 8.30pm (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Charles Anastase: Saturday 19th February, 10am

Jonathan Saunders: Saturday 19th February, 7.15pm

Acne: Sunday 20th February, 11am

Topshop Unique: Sunday 20th February, 3pm (stream live at Topshop.com)

Osman: Sunday 20th February, 4pm (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Richard Nicoll: Sunday 20th February, 7pm (stream live at Topshop.com)

Peter Pilotto: Monday 21st February, 9am (stream live at Topshop.com)

David Koma: Monday 21st February, 9.45am (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Holly Fulton: Monday 21st February, 9.45am (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Christopher Kane: Monday 21st February, 11.45am

Erdem: Monday 21st February, 2pm

Burberry Prorsum: Monday 21st February, 4pm (stream live at uk.burberry.com)

Mark Fast: Monday 21st February, 6pm (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Mary Katrantzou: Tuesday 22nd February, 9.45am (stream live at Topshop.com)

Emilio de la Morena: Tuesday 22nd February, 2.45pm (stream live at londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Fashion East: Tuesday 22nd February, 3.45pm (stream live at Topshop.com)


Picture:
Asos.com

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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

today i bought...

I do love answering the door to a lovely little parcel from Asos. Today these adorable rose gold earrings arrived (which I featured the other day in my post on metallics). I love the slightly Art Deco feel to them and can't wait to team them with a grey and white outfit for a lovely subtle pop of colour. I also got these beautiful lurex socks. What can I say? I can never resist a sparkly sock.

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today i'm wearing...

Coat from Topshop; leather jacket (under coat) from Topshop; tee from Topshop; jeans from Topshop; shoes from Primark; clutch from Topshop; watch from Asos; bracelet from Asos; eyeshadow from Topshop; lipstick is Paul & Joe in 02.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

today i'd love to wear...


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today i love... the baftas

So, in case you've been living in a cave, the BAFTAs (aka our answer to the Oscars) took place at London's Royal Opera House on Sunday night. I settled down on my sofa to watch it on the good old BBC, and what a lovely evening it was. Largely more impressive in terms of outfits than the Golden Globes (which I was very disappointed by style-wise - read my thoughts on it here). Because of course, while I was super pleased that The King's Speech won so many awards (seriously amazing film), what I was really watching for was the dresses. So here's my take on the best and worst of the BAFTAs fashion. Simply click on the celebrities' names to see their outfits.

First up: the worst. Admittedly there were many contenders here, but I thought that rather than slate the obvious offenders (such as two members of Girls Aloud, looking horribly if predictably tacky), I'd focus on those celebrities who were particularly disappointing because they got it so wrong, when I know they had the potential to get it so right. First we have the beautiful Gemma Arterton. Her outfit wasn't outright horrible, to be sure. But something about this look was extremely disappointing for me. Gemma is so stunning she could wear anything, but lately she's really been impressing with her style choices. Take, for instance, the stellar looks she debuted at various Tamara Drewe premieres, which included a simple white Calvin Klein sheath paired with zero make-up, and a stunning black minidress with slicked back hair. I think that's why I was so let down by this lazy look. To start with, I'm really not feeling velvet anymore; it had a moment about a year ago but that's long gone. Essentially this YSL column dress is just pretty blah, and tying a massive blue bow around it really wasn't the way to go about livening it up. It just looks out of place, and, frankly, tacky. And then there's that golden rule of red carpet dressing: let your dress do the talking, especially if it's got a massive great bow on it. Slicked back hair or a nice tidy up-do, plus fresh-faced make-up, would have helped this look a lot. Gemma's red lips and messy layers only make matters worse. Shame really.

And then there's Emilia Fox, another sickeningly beautiful woman. So why, oh why, did she choose this awful clingy Kate Halfpenny dress? Nobody, bar nobody, can make champagne-coloured satin look good. That cut is doing nothing for her figure either, making her chest look saggy and clinging to absolutely everything. Boring hair and boring accessories, too. If only she'd opted for something sleek, simple and well-cut (surely that can't be too hard to find?)

And finally in the try-again-next-year category is Neve Campbell. Who knew she was still around, eh? Anyway, Neve has helpfully taught us some very valuable lessons with her Roberto Cavalli dress choice. Number 1: chocolate is for eating, not for wearing. Number 2: a badly-fitting halterneck and wide diagonal waist detail will make you look older and fatter than you actually are. Number 3: covering yourself in thousands of gold necklaces sadly won't detract from your hideous dress. Shame she didn't learn these lessons before getting dressed, eh?

Now that that's out of the way, let's move onto the good, shall we? And ah, look who it is: Emma Watson. I can always count on her to provide a shining ray of style in the murky dark fashion wasteland. To be fair, you can't go too far wrong in Valentino, but Emma absolutely nails this look. I think it's the pixie cut that makes it (even though as a general rule I preferred her hair longer). Paired with sickly sweet curls this dress might have proved a little too saccharine, but Emma's sharp short hair provides the perfect balance. Teamed with beautifully subtle make-up and just the perfect hint of glimmer from her divine earrings, this is surely a fashion home run for Miss Watson.

Secondly, it's another Emma: newcomer Emma Stone, who was a nominee alongside Gemma Arterton for Rising Star (though neither of them won). I was very excited that I immediately recognised this dress as Lanvin, and immediately loved it also. Miss Stone is proving one to watch in the style department, as this pitch-perfect outfit proves. I just love the combination of orange and coral on the dress, and Emma wisely lets it speak for itself (take note Gemma), teaming it with a soft updo, understated but eye-catching gold accessories and nude heels. Effortlessly done.

And our last fashion triumph comes courtesy of Swedish sensation Noomi Rapace, aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Noomi didn't win a BAFTA, but she certainly gets a style award from me in this sensational Givenchy haute couture gown. I love that it's fierce, but still incredibly beautiful. Instead of playing it safe, Noomi ramped up the glamour in this studded gold beauty, teaming it with winged eye make-up and two fierce cocktail rings. So bravo, Miss Rapace, for putting all the timid actresses in nondescript nude to shame, and proving that sometimes, bolder is better.

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today i want... mary katrantzou for topshop dress

So New York Fashion Week comes to an end on Thursday, and then it's all change as the fashion elite heads to our very own London town for 5 days of the best in British design (NYFW show reports coming soon). And one of the hottest tickets of LFW has to be Mary Katrantzou. Last season her interiors-inspired sculptural designs - think dresses in the shape of lampshades - were the talk of the week, and there's no less buzz around her forthcoming show. In an ideal world, I'd be attending this show, and I would be wearing this amazing silk printed dress from her latest capsule collection for Topshop. I've been going on about designer/high street collaborations a lot lately, but it just seems as though they're getting better and better (read about David Koma for Topshop here, and Edition at Debenhams here). So far this capsule line consists of only two dresses and two scarves, but in her signature kaleidoscopic prints they are Katrantzou through-and-through, and a great way to get a piece of an up-and-coming designer at a fraction of the price. Sadly I'll be watching her show from my sofa rather than the front row, but hey, I can still wear something nice.

Mary Katrantzou for Topshop turquoise silk print dress, £120


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