Fashion full circle

Although fashion is always moving forward – think Alexander Wang’s innovative fabrics that change when heated  –  it always finds itself coming full circle to the same ideas and motifs. Season after season, designers return to their crutch of lace, leopard print and leather, and yes, they (sometimes) do new things with them, but inevitably the same ideas do crop up every fashion week merry-go-round.  Fashion is forward-thinking and reactive, but with pressure to design up to 10 collections a year for some of the biggest players, it is understandable that not everyone can be Wang (who designs upwards of eight collections a year, not counting his recently announced H&M collaboration).

Speak of fashion carousels and you can’t ignore Marc Jacobs’ last show for Louis Vuitton, which revisited his iconic sets, designs and silhouettes from his 16 year reign at the creative helm of the French brand, and never has a collection all in black had more panache. The pieces were, of course, widely shot by fashion publications around the world, their dark sequined allure lighting up the pages of magazines and shimmering sombrely on the red carpet. As with every collection, there were numerous inspirations behind it and a young Kate Moss shot by the one-and-only Corinne Day in 1990 has airs of the show’s feel.

Kate Moss Louis Vuitton Edie Campbell Marc Jacobs Corinne Day

The question is: is this an intentional reference or a classic example of fashion coming full circle? Did Marc pounce upon the insouciance of the picture, or just the general attitude of one of his many muses? And if the latter, then did Vogue Paris use the photograph as inspiration for its shoot with Edie Campbell? Probably, but even so, it is a coincidence, especially considering that when you put Kate Moss and Corinne Day together in a sentence, this is not the image that springs to mind. That’s nothing against the image, but rather a comment of the incredible work these two produced together. In the 24 years since Corinne incarnated Kate’s personality in black and white, fashion has come right back to this place again. Just look at her footwear as a classic example. The only difference: on a Nineties Kate Moss, Birkenstocks actually look vaguely good.

kate moss  corinne day

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Fashion Week Recap: Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 Beauty Trends

Click the link below to read my piece on Vogue.fr’s Huffington Post blog, all about the big beauty trends for next season, Autum/Winter 2014-2015, direct from the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris.

Fashion Week Recap: Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 Beauty Trends

London Showrooms Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

London ShowroomsThe London Showrooms in Paris, a space where the up and coming designers on the eclectic British scene bring their collections during Paris Fashion Week, providing press and buyers a chance to (re)see them post London Fashion Week. Marques Almeida, J JS Lee, Michael van der Ham, Piers Atkinson, KTZ, Todd Lynn, Fashion East, David Koma, 1205, Christopher Raeburn, Sibling, Holly Fulton, Claire Barrow, Danielle Romeril, Nasir Mazhar, Ryan Lo, and a standout collection from Palmer//Harding were all on show in a modern Marais space until yesterday.

Important and enchanting as the runway show is, you get a much better sense of pieces when they’re in front of you and you are able to touch and feel them. The graphic qualities and innovation show through in a way that can only be experienced up close and personal. Take Danielle Romeril for example: she created a collection that had a Christopher Kane circa Autumn/Winter 2011 feel, complete with curved plastic trims that had such a graphic quality as could never be captured on camera or film, hard as you try. Using lenticular, Danielle printed it with polka dots in alternating strips that when looked at, seemed to be 3D and at different levels, but it was all flat. Trippy to the extreme, and a detail that can only be captured up close with the eyes. It gave such a detailed insight into just how innovative, imaginative and thoughtful London designers are. In London, bad taste, clashing prints, loud colours and modernity are all embraced and encouraged, and at the London Showrooms, they were on full display, from Marques’Almeida’s red feathers to Todd Lynn’s neon-tipped fur, all via the colour and ruffle mayhem of Ryan Lo.

It’s meeting some of the designers that is perhaps most valuable reason for popping along: show notes are one thing, but a face-to-face with one of the people behind it, to whom each piece is so personal, is another altogether. The Palmer//Harding collection, for example, was interesting to browse through, full of texture and flashes of colour, however, when one half of the design duo, Levi Palmer, started talking about it and explaining the inspirations behind it, the collection took on a whole new significance. Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding looked to paper for Autumn/Winter 2014-2015, playing with it in all its forms: ripped, shredded, scrunched, smooth. The shredding caught their creative eye, forming a hand-cut white suede skirt, soft, beautiful, 3D. Next, highlighters grabbed their attention, specifically the marks they leave on paper and the way the neon stands out against bright white. Another hand-cut skirt was created, this time with the ends of each strand of suede dipped in highlighter-bright yellow. Strips of neon mesh were plastered over scrunched white fabric like a discarded piece of highlighted paper, and, most subtle and clever of all, a white pencil skirt made of a white stretch fabric with very fine slits featured the same vibrant yellow as an underskirt, meaning that as the wearer walks, quick jolts of lively colour shine through. Would you get all this from just looking at the collection alone? Most likely not. If there is one reason to go to a showroom alone, it is in the hope that the designer will be there, breathing life into his or her collection.

With so many collections together in one room, it’s hard not to pick up on a few trends that appear as a thread throughout the inventive offerings. So, what will the London girl be wearing next season? Pleats, metallics, leather galore and fabrics that make a statement, be it feathers, snaggle fur, plastic or something that looks like shredded paper.

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‘Cover Girl’: A lesson in fashion history

Everyone has seen this by now, how could you miss Lena Dunham, of Girls fame, and fashion legend Hamish Bowles vogueing? The short clip is excellently done, with Dunham in classic Hannah-mode (and some rather delightful silk pyjamas – Olivia von Halle perhaps), being outshone by Hamish’s effortless elegance and grace when posing. Yes, it’s very entertaining, but it is also an important lesson in fashion history, featuring some very iconic images, albeit from only one side of the pond. One would imagine that Hamish had to do very little research for the piece, as he appears to have a wealth of knowledge, casually throwing names into the mix, and if asked, he would probably have no issue telling us the photographer, who the model’s wearing, and even the location and issue. That is so important, and all too rare. These days, so many people claim to love fashion, but have no concept of the basic history. Being able to identify references is so very important and, due to its rarity, impressive. So, watch the video, have a giggle, but then watch it again and again until you can see any of the images shown and know the information behind its creation, and then some. Powerful photographs don’t come out of thin air, they have the past behind them, pushing them into the future.

Sample sales and vintage victories

Paris has started with a bang. A buying bang. That is, once all the bureaucratic faffing was out the way and access to a functioning French bank account with money in it was gained. Then there was a bang. Think of it like a firework and you’re waiting for it to explode but there’s some technical hitch which Dad is trying to sort out; he’s wading through paperwork, waiting on letters, setting up transfers, waiting on transfers to take effect and then BANG, we’re off!

So, once said access was gained, I entered the world of Parisian journalist perks and the treasure trove of vintage wonders that the city of lights has to offer. First up, Sonia Rykiel sample sale. Sonia Rykiel is not a brand that has ever popped up on my radar too much (aside from her gorgeous Poor Boy sweaters, featured in British Vogue when I was working there), and so it was without much expectation that I went along to the sale with my colleague. What was the lesson learnt? Do not ignore Sonia Rykiel. Beautiful coats, butter soft leather bags, and a pair of maribou feather heels which in fact feature on a picture which I’m looking at hanging on my wall as I write this (thanks to my lovely ex-boss). It was a dream, and quiet to boot meaning ample touching and feeling time before leaving  with a gorgeous necklace, having been my most restrained self. I could have left with a navy blue ponyskin bag – too impractical – or a gorgeous, minimalistic camel coat – waiting until I can afford a cashmere one – not to mention a wealth of other beauties, but control was exercised. Needless to say the prices were fantastic, and my colleague nabbed herself a ball gown and left feeling like a thief for having paid such a good price.

Saturday brought with it more bargain promise, and it dealt up the goods. First up, a “vide-robe”, literal translation a “wardrobe empty”. People registered to come along and set up a stall where they sold their unwanted clothes. Simple. Being Paris, this wasn’t unwanted Primark and Topshop (although there was a lot of Zara on offer), no, clothes ranged from two season-old YSL blazers, to €1000 vintage Hermès bags, with a lot of Maje and Sandro on the way. I won the shopping award, scooping up a delicious military green Equipment blouse for just €40, a bargain seeing as they can cost up to €400 and mine is unworn. Equipment is a French brand, run by the husband of Carine Roitfeld, ex-Editor-in-Chief of my current employer, Vogue Paris. They specialise in silk blouses and are, in my humble opinion, the leader in this particular niche of the fashion world.

Rubbing my hands with glee, I headed further into the Marais under the guidance of my lovely colleague Holly, to explore what ancient treasures lay in the many vintage shops. The discovery was not what I expected. Spoiler alert: vintage shops in Paris are amazing, and cheap. The layout is generally hectic and you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some digging, but, my friends, the rewards will be plentiful. If you’re in the market for any type of sheepskin or shearling jacket, the Parisian vintage world is your oyster. Unfortunately, this savvy shopper saw the shearling jacket of her dreams on the back of someone as they walked out the shop having purchased it. Not one to dwell on what might have been, I quickly snaffled up a very loud, printed shirt, an oversized men’s navy corduroy shirt (new favourite item) and a top so Nineties, only Buffy (the Vampire slayer) would wear it.

So there you have it, the first forays into the Parisian shopping scene for Fashion(Ed) in London. I wonder how many people have read to the end of this and not given up, wondering why there are no photos…

Fashion(Ed) In London Returns

After a brief hiatus during which much time was spent in the library,  I am back in the world of Fashion. What a wonderful feeling! So here are some of the things that have been going on while my head was stuck in books, essays and poetry:

Sign your allegiance

New York boutique Les Plus Dorés have released a range of varsity-style t-shirts sporting the names of your favourite designers on the back, meaning we can show the world our brand loyalty. Not only do they have their names, but the numbers correspond to the year in which each particular designer was born. Nifty. So now in the Simons at Dior vs. Slimane at YSL debate, you can proudly show your team loyalty. Available here.

images from LPD website

Fashion Goes Disney

New York department store Barneys has collaborated with Disney to produce a film named Electric Holiday; the film follows Minnie Mouse dreaming her way to Paris Fashion Week. Along the way, she meets some of Fashion’s biggest names: Anna Dello Russo, Alber Elbaz, Carine Roitfeld, Franca Sozzani (long-standing role model for this blogger), Emmanuelle Alt, Juergen Teller, Pat McGrath and many more. The film looks very cute indeed but unfortunately it can only be seen in store. Let’s hope it’s released to a  wider audience later on!

images from Vogue

Thanksgiving Parade Re-imagined

John Januzzi has created a series of drawings depicting big fashion names as huge balloons in the illustrious Macy’s’ Thanksgiving Parade. A fun (and probably very popular) idea!

images from becauseimaddicted

And Finally…

It’s that time of year again: sample sale time! This week boasts Erdem, Christopher Kane, J.W.Anderson, Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Kirkwood sample sales.

Erdem: Tuesday 4th December 8.30am – 8.00pm
Wednesday 5th December 8.30am – 5.00pm

The Future Gallery
5 Great Newport Street
London
WC2H 7HY

Christopher Kane: Friday 30th November 12.30 – 8.00pm

The Mercer Street Studios
16 Mercer Street
WC2H 9QE

J.W.Anderson: Friday 30th November 4.00 – 8.00pm

37-75 Shacklewell Lane
Lighthouse Studios
Dalston
London
E8 2EB

Worst Dressed of the Week

Much as I like Julianne Moore, and therefore don’t want to criticise or be rude, this is constructive criticism for her own benefit. Love, you’re 51 now, so leave the sheer Alexander Wang t-shirt dresses to those who are 25-30 years your junior please. This dress is not flattering on you I’m afraid. However the likes of Alexa or Erin Wasson would be able to pull this off with such ease that many a woman’s face would turn a grassy hue with jealousy. The loose cut and awkward sleeve length do not do Julianne’s figure any favours and serve to work against her instead – not exactly what you want when dressing for The Wall Street Journal Innovator of the Year Awards. As for the shoes, well I think any comments are better left unsaid on that front. So in summation, sorry Ms Moore, but this is the epitome of mutton dressed as lamb. Great hair and make up though.

image from vogue.co.uk

 

Anna Dello Russo’s Fashion Rules

Anna Dello Russo has taken the time out of her busy schedule of adorning herself in show-stopping clothes, head pieces, sunglasses and jewellery to make a little song with 10 of her fail-safe fashion rules. The 3 below resonated most with me. Give it a listen, you might learn something new…

Lesson number 3: Fashion is always uncomfortable. If you feel comfortable, you never get the look.

Lesson number 5: Wearing night clothes in the day time is unexpected.

Lesson number 6: Somebody wearing the same outfit? Wonderful, you made the right choice.

Love, Want, Need – Alexandra Beneti in Jil Sander

This little beauty popped up on the Vogue website and I couldn’t help but fall swiftly in love with it. The dress is such a beautiful cut – obviously, it’s Jil Sander – and the print is just so eye-catching. Alexandra Beneti is working graphic florals, a big AW trend. The vibrancy of the colours saves the dress from being too pretty and wishy-washy. It’s everything SJP’s Valentino dress at the Met Ball could have been, but just wasn’t. A prime example of why colour is your friend.

The Giants of Fashion Illustration

René Gruau for Vogue Paris June/July 1985

Before the days of photography and photoshop, magazines and fashion houses employed the skills of Fashion Illustrators for their spreads and advert campaigns. These days fashion illustration is rare, so when I heard of David Downton, it was very exciting news. He follows in the footsteps of the greats, such as René Gruau and Carl Erickson, bringing whimsical romanticism to the world of fashion through his beautiful illustrations.

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