Saturday, 28 August 2010

Paris, Zara and Bag Love

Paris has been a revelation in so many ways; firstly, I have fallen even more in love with fashion than ever before, with just a little help from the fashion galleries, Chanel boutique and the all encompassing Parisian chic. Secondly, I have decided that a wardrobe transformation for the coming season is a must, commencing with a trip to Zara...

Oh Zara... I burn, I pine, I perish! After spotting a girl on the Tube in tailored, cropped chinos, khaki chinos, paired with simple leather sandals and a black strapless top, I was desperate to own the same. So, Paris arrived with a myriad of Zara shops, and for a measly 30€ I started my personal wardrobe transformation. I also intend on owning an A- line, hooded and thickly knitted waistcoat, with the most covetable leather toggle fastenings; the perfect pair of knee high, medium heeled boots; and a sleekly elegant trench coat.

Of course, none of these purchases will be student- budget cheap , but I fully intend on pairing them with my recent charity shop acquisitions. A £5.99 Dolce & Gabbana men's shirt; oversized but perfect belted with the sleeves rolled up- a nonchalant 'oh look I just threw on my boyfriend's shirt' look. And also, a £2 steal of a bag that saw me stylishly around Paris; black, patent and crocodile skin- esque, it fits in absolutely with the current trend for lady- like chic. It's shape, size and general appearance is is remarkably similar to Nancy Gonzalez's current line, which I saw in a brief visit to Harrods, before catching the Eurostar.
(From, not me!)

Furthermore, Paris proved a bag heaven for accessory- philes such as myself. Trips to Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel only fuelled this obsession; nothing found on the high street can meet the patent glamour of Gucci, the luxury of a leather, richly studded trunk from Louis Vuitton, or especially the draw of a classic such as the 2.55 Chanel hand bag, an infatuation that my 31 Rue Cambon visit only increased. Notably, I spotted in Paris two bags which I would do ANYTHING to own (start saving?Possibly...). Firstly a Lady Dior in shiny, patent scarlet, in the crook of the arm of 'une fille trs chic', also sporting an enviable trench; and secondly my first ever sighting of a classic Hermès Birkin. This was slung on the arm of a less chic woman- tight, white jeans (oh how I detest white jeans!) stacked heels and a perma tan. But somehow, the Birkin eclipsed all of this; in its subtle- yet- immortal shape, the softest of calf leather and elegant amber shade, this bag personifies the timeless, pared back aesthetic of Autumn/ Winter '10, as well as being a true life time classic.
I burn, I pine, I perish....
The Lady Dior- Marion Cotillard on the Eiffel Tower

The Classic: Chanel 2.55

And finally... the Hermes Birkin, in a divine shade of blue.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


The elegant streets of Paris are calling, and I have an itinerary planned as long as my arm. A tad too efficient, perhaps? But spontaneous, immediate adventures are all well and good, until the end of the 5 days and one realises that nothing much has been accomplished; the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, La Musée de la Mode et du Textile, Colette... these can all be enjoyed, perhaps more so, between wandering the Parisian boulevards and parks, and exploring chic little bohème cafés.

Picnics on the banks of the Seine, strolling across Le Jardin des Tuileries, visiting 31 Rue Cambon and Les Galeries Lafayette... I cannot wait! Expenditure will have to be (and already is...) strictly reigned in; sadly, no Michelin starred experiences on this little break, but freshly baked croissants, baguettes and pain au chocalat from tiny boulangeries each morning, sounds infinitely better to me.

And the pièce de résistance? Sharing brie, a baguette and a bottle of wine under the Eiffel Tower at night, as it is lit up by 20,000 light bulbs every hour, on the hour.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Style Icons: Garance Doré

The epitome of Parisian insouciance and 'je ne sais quoi', I have admired and (frequently) endeavoured to emulate this illustrator turned blogger/ photographer for a good few years now.

Garance's website,, is the place to go for an in depth, yet discreet, view of the fashion community; she combines her illustrations with behind the scenes photos of her own photo shoots, and intimate meetings with the fashion industry's brightest stars with street style titbits and musings.

Always funny, clever, thought provoking and charmingly Française, Garance, with her boyfriend, 'The Sartorialist', Scott Schuman, is a knowledgeable, entertaining powerhouse of street style and sartorial savoir- faire; her website proving an excellent addition to the world of on-line fashion journalism because of its ability to captivate, educate and inspire any willing reader (i.e. Me).

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Giles Deacon for New Look

I'm not usually a fan of New Look collaborations; however prestigious the designer (e.g Giles Deacon), the collections inevitably become tainted by that New Look blemish of cheap fabrics, gaudy prints and unflattering, generic tailoring.

However, I must admit that the new seasons' Giles Deacon collection is a revelation; Erdem- esque prints, lady- like Louis Vuitton inspired silhouettes and accessories, and a strict minimalism in terms of palette, cut and embellishment.

The only qualms I have are over the (seemingly) lurex, batwing tops, embellished with an unoriginal web of sequins. And that's it. I love the prom dress, the shift dresses, the curve hugging, off the shoulder, Mad Men inspired one... I even covet the pretty, Louis Vuitton- tribute 'mini stilettos'. And to think 6 months ago I was aghast at the very thought of a less than 4 inch heel!

Monday, 9 August 2010

I Want...

A cropped Aran knit jumper, as shown by Dolce & Gabbana in their A/W '10 collection. Perhaps not red precisely, although that rich scarlet wool does have a certain appeal.
No, I would prefer the classic cream version, cropped and thinly knitted to reduce bulk, and belted with a slim leather belt, a la D & G.

For the present inclement summer weather, this knit is perfection when paired with short shorts and boots; snug but yet suitable for the wind chill factor. Come autumn, follow Miuccia Prada's lead and layer over the new skirt shape du jour. Knee length and A line, waist definition is again brought by the addition of a skinny patent belt; glamour by Belle Epoque- style stilettos and seductively coiffed hair.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The New Chic

The coming Autumn/ Winter '10 has been hailed by many of the industry's most notable soothsayers as the dramatic rejection of the ostentatious glamour and exaggerated trends that epitomised the Noughties. Instead, minimalistic, sculpted refinement has clawed it's way back to the periphery of 'cool', led by a all woman cast of designers that include Celine's Phoebe Philo, Frida Giannini at Gucci and Stella McCartney. These trend ideals will prove difficult for the high street masses to emulate, for it relies on the luxe appeal of expensive fabrics, tailoring and classic accessories- and there isn't a sequin in sight.

Just a quick glance at street style blogs such as 'The Sartorialist' and Garance Dore will promote the advantages of luxurious, minimal, almost masculine clothes. Character is expressed in the individualistic manner of accessorising; soft brown leather, a metallic edge to your jewellery and structured 'ladylike' handbags are all shown to be the way forward.

I particularly covet the return of the trouser; lean cigarette pants at Celine and Mulberry (shown above), just cropped to reveal a slender ankle; the high waisted, 70's style flares at Gucci, Chloe and Yves Saint Laurent (below), which, paired with a skinny belt, chiffon blouse and stacked heels, just screams ladylike glamour.

And finally, the biggest news this coming season is the return of the 'it coat'. This can come in a variety of equally desirable forms: the cape, the camel coat (choose MaxMara if you want a lifelong classic), Burberry's aviator shearling jackets, the duffel coat, anything structural and tweedy... I have a particular lust for Erdem's hooded, floral cape, which just conjures up images of strutting around, cocooned in fabric, pretending to be the Scottish Widows advert...

Monday, 2 August 2010

Icons: Inspiration and Adoration

The classic 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' poster hangs above my bed, the protagonist, heroine, ingenue and icon mutely observing my daily life. La Hepburn is undoubtedly the world's favourite muse, and this I cannot argue with; I fell under her spell of simplicity, elegance and a Givenchy wardrobe a long time ago.

No, what I disagree with is the lavish attribution of the term 'icon' to faces with less than 100% fashion credentials; the use of stylists is increasing evermore (to the extent that they themselves become the celebrity... Rachel Zoe, for instance) and true inspiration, creativity and sartorial savoir- faire is disappearing as quickly as the fashion victims appear.

So I present thus: my own 'icons', presented as I see them and their individual effect on my personal style and fashion knowledge. Their 'credentials' are variable, but for me, each are sartorial geniuses and have inimitable individual style.

Olivia Palermo, the quintessential Manhattan fashion girl; impeccably groomed, even more impeccably connected, she lives the socialite dream of endless parties, paparazzi and arm candy. However, she is also a lot more than that; her outfits are the last word in accessorizing, showcasing the newest of the 'hip' designers alongside highstreet and classic brands. Her signature, perhaps the very epitome of New York glamour, along with the glossy blow- dried waves of hair, is a fresh scarlet manicure- this particular habit cost me a bottle of red nail polish as I tried to emulate. Her style is 'high fashion casual'; never overdone, never try- hard, her polished manner of bringing together outfits in a way that is neither ostentatious or pretentious, but subtly chic, belying a style intuition that I can only dream of.