Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Frivolities

I realise that this post may be coming a little late for you to dramatically alter your Christmas outfit plans (as if I’d have the temerity to believe my words would have any effect on how you dress…) but nevertheless, it may help those who are festively and sartorially stuck. 

Whether your Christmas Day will centre more around lunch with your grandparents than a swanky glamourous gathering, what you really, really need is a great dress. As they key to elegance is, apparently, forgetting what you’re wearing, then a fantastic dress will provide a simple centre piece to accessorize and style how you wish. Thus, here is a selection of three great dresses styled by myself to suit any Christmas environment. Personally, my day will be more Christmas with the grandparents than cocktail party, but that’s no reason why you can’t dress up a little… Happy Christmas everybody!

Crushed velvet midi dress, Topshop £34
Chandelier earrings, Dannijo £260
Spotty tights, M&S £8
Silver lapis ring, Chan Luu £150
Metallic high heels, ASOS £75
Anna Hathaway image 

Knit dress, Pret-a-Portobello £30
Ankle boots, River Island £65
Oxblood bowler, Topshop £26
Jewelled collar, Karl £150
Bracelets, both Pret-a-Portobello

Lace shirt, Raquel Allegra £430
Leather skirt, Topshop £38
Embellished clutch, Matthew Williamson £995
Necklace, New Look £14.99
Wedge trainer, Zara £69.99
Bow belt, H&M £7.99
Ear clips, Topshop £6.25

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Lust List 13/12/2012

Occasionally, a spot of voyeurism never hurts anybody. Especially in the fashion world. And, even more especially, when you're a poverty- stricken student both at the end of their student loan and the end of their financial tether. Due to an unfortunate locksmith incident of an overwhelming magnitude, the past term has been a rather tight one and, until the pay slips start coming in for my holiday job, there will be no flashing of the proverbial cash for me. Proverbial because, for the last month or so, there has been none of it. Window shopping it is then. 

From top left, clockwise:

1. Pumps, ASOS now £16.50 (the cut price makes me want these even more now)
2. Statement earrings, Dannijo £260ish (obviously this is never gonna happen)
3. White Brogues, Church's now £126 (almost makes them affordable)
4. Art Deco, Urban Outfitters earrings, £10 (possibly)
5. White faux-fur coat, ASOS £80 (if only, this is so damn sexy)
6. Men's watch, Jacob Jensen now £129 (I love chunky men's watches on women)
7. Tartan trousers, Topshop £38 (I've wanted these for so, so long now)

And the NEWGEN A/W '13 winners are....

{Simone Rocha S/S '13 (left) and J.W. Anderson S/S '13}

London’s status as the creative capital of fashion has been cemented this week with the announcement of this year’s winners of the prestigious New Generation sponsorship award, run by the British Fashion Council.

The New Generation initiative (NEWGEN) supports, endorses and promotes innovative British design talent through financial sponsorship, business and mentoring support, the use of the British Fashion Council’s Catwalk Show Space or other venues, and key introductions to the international fashion press and buyers.  An invaluable award to claim, no? Seen as a key facilitator for the year on year growth of British fashion (the industry is worth £21 billion to the UK economy in 2012), the NEWGEN award has helped to establish designers such as Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll, Erdem and Mary Katrantzou, to name just a few, in the past.

The British Fashion Council continues its support of the next generation of new design talent through sponsorship divided into three categories: Catwalk Sponsorship, Presentation Sponsorship and Exhibition Sponsorship. The winners of the prestigious first category are current Brit fashion darlings J.W. Anderson and Simone Rocha, who will bring their individual edgy-design aesthetic to the catwalks of London Fashion Week in February. J.W. Anderson has already found notable success in his win of the BFC Emerging Designer of the Year 2012 award, and, along with a successful collaboration with Topshop, has been named as Christopher Kane’s first successor at Versus. Simone Rocha (daughter of John Rocha), was also up for the Emerging Designer award, showed in the BFC’s Show Space in September’s London Fashion Week to rave reviews for her skillful fusion of masculine and feminine designs. 

With continued support and sponsorship, these two bright lights will rise to shine for the British fashion industry, illustrating to the world the extent of the innovative design talent that’s currently emerging from London: just as their NEWGEN predecessors have done before them.

{J.W. Anderson's Topshop collection with famous bat jumper, as worn by Alexa & co}

The other A/W 2013 winners are:

Presentation sponsorship: Christopher Raeburn; J.JS Lee; Lucas Nascimento; Marques’Almeida; Nasir Mazhar; Sister by Sibling; Sophia Webster

Exhibition sponsorship: 1205; Huishan Zhang; Liam Fahy; Maarten van der Horst; Palmer//Harding 

Images: Vogue and Elle

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Year's Resolutions That Are Easy To Keep

In case you missed it, here's my article on New Year's resolutions which are really, truly, easy to keep. I'm on page 35!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bring On The Gems!

Jewels, jewels, jewels.

Big jewels, small jewels, sparkly jewels, Gothic jewels; of all the trends this Autumn/ Winter costume jewellery has to be the most ubiquitous. Chunky jewels lavish the necklines of chunky knits. Sparkly ear droplets adorn everything from casual-chic daytime outfits to the most directional evening attire.

Although it wasn't often hailed as a key look when the fashion forecasters had their say six months ago, neck and ear frosting (the two key areas to showcase your jewels) has slowly crept into the fashion consciousness as the winter nights drew in. They brilliantly lend to many trends across the spectrum this season, from Gothic to heritage to Baroque; perfect for when you’re trend cross- referencing or only want a nod to the look.

The jewels of the season differ hugely from the stacks of arm candy that has prevailed since the summer; this Winter opt for a single, statement piece. This decadent infection of the fashion subconscious can be seen to have stemmed from the shows of a number of individual designers and fashion houses, from Lanvin to Holly Fulton. The similarities in showcasing these jewels were the same across the board: none of them allowed the jewellery to take centre stage, but only to contribute and build upon a pre-established theme. Dolce and Gabbana used opulent layers of jewels to build up the Baroque feel of their sumptuous collection. Alber Elbaz bedecked the models at Lanvin with classically Gothic gems, and Holly Fulton accessorized her vibrant collection with OTT earrings. Chanel showcased a trend that has certainly caught on: a statement sparkly necklace layered over a downbeat knit. If you’re at all nervous about breaking out the gems, this is by far the easiest look to tackle.

Shop The Look

{Clockwise from top left: Necklace, H&M £12.99; Earrings, Urban Outfitters £10; Earrings, New Look £6.99; Necklace, Boohoo £12; Earrings, Forever 21 £5.65; Necklace, Tophop £28; Earrings, Topshop £12.50}

All photos from

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Midlands' Fashion Designer Awards 2012: For AREA Culture Guide

Originally written for Birmingham's AREA Culture Guide

(Sarika Pancholi, winner of the Emerging Designer of the Year Award)

An impeccably dressed and fabulous crowd descended on the Botanical Gardens for an elegant evening of champagne, cupcakes and cutting-edge design.

Returning for the 5th time, this year’s Midlands’ Fashion Designer Awards was a dazzling success, with 350 people attending to support 26 emerging fashion designer present their collections in a dynamic runway show. Competition was steep, with contestants originating from across the Midlands, the UK, and even further afield. Divided into three categories – Independent Designer of the Year, Emerging Designer of the Year and Young Designer of the Year – the Awards showcased the innovative work of exciting new design talent.

A panel of five expert judges, including Lizzie Gardner, a Birmingham based fashion journalist and stylist, and Debra Hepburn, a founding member ofYoung British Designers, had the tricky task of awarding the sought-after prize for each category: the presentation of their collections in a retail unit in a high footfall area of Birmingham City Centre, courtesy of Retail Birmingham, as well as the chance to showcase their work at the Midlands Business Awards.

With collections ranging from ready-to-wear and couture to lingerie and bridal wear the decision of who to crown the winners was indeed a tricky one. Highlights of the fashion-filled evening included the show’s opening collection by young designer Hiu Wing, whose nod to traditional oriental design was found in elegantly draped kimono-esque tops and dresses in a delicate palette peach, blue and gold, with a luxurious metallic sheen. Furthermore, rising bridal wear designer Katie Peake combined seductive corsetry and demure lace in a collection that was both traditionally bridal and stylishly bohemian.

Katie’s fellow classmate from Staffordshire University, Alisa Kate Brown, presented a collection which fused mannish outerwear with elements of the boudoir, such as suspender detailing and blush tones, in a manner which was both innovative and elegant.

(Katie Peake's bridal collection)

Another notable emerging designer was Jade Hope (pictured above), whose lingerie collection ‘Vintage Tease’ combined fetish straps, graphic cut outs and silky panels made for boudoir-inspired looks with a modern, directional edge. After the show, Jade explained that she was inspired by vintage lingerie from the 1920s and 30s, and had wanted to explore how this could be combined with bold strapping to give it a more structured appearance. In the future, Jade plans to launch a website in the New Year to showcase her designs, which will be reformulated into a more wearable collection.

(‘Vintage Tease’, by Jade Hope)

The winning collections, soon to go on display in Birmingham City Centre, were notable for their diversity. Winner of the Young Designer of the Year Award, Alice Moore, was ‘really, really happy and proud’ that her collection had won the accolade. Inspired by the prospective effects of climate change, Alice designed her collection to depict changing weather patterns, and the potential necessity of dresses for all weather conditions in a single outfit. Blurred aquatic digital prints were combined in layers of silk, chiffon and latex, with futuristic shoulder pieces and sculptural puffed sleeves adding a dramatic element to the collection, which was strongly reminiscent of both Christopher Kane and Christian Lacroix. Winner of the Emerging Fashion Designer award, Leicester based Sarika Pancholi used tribal-inspired tassels, beading and weaving embellishment to create a ground breaking knitwear collection. Oversized knitted cardigans in patchwork knits were deconstructed, with streaming tassels escaping from them like unravelling threads. Flashes of neon wool amongst the tribal motifs give a slightly psychedelic feel to the collection; this was innovative knitwear with an edge.

(Alice Moore, winner of the Young Designer of the Year Award)

Finally, Independent Designer of the Year Tamara Joseph showcased a collection which heavily focused on blown up silk prints on bias-cut, billowing dresses. Inspired by patterns such as collages, graffiti, pollen, or even stains, the ‘Catalyst’ collection featured a bold, dramatic colour palette which had been dyed and printed by hand.

(Catalyst, by Tamara Joseph)

This year’s Midlands’ Fashion Designer Awards showed us that there is no shortage of dynamic and innovative design talent emerging from the region. However international the outlook of the event may be, however, the breadth and variety of the collections was a perfect illustration of all the compelling diversity that Birmingham has to offer.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Matthew Williamson S/S '13

If there was ever a collection that summed up the ever-revolving cycle of fashion, it was the one shown by Matthew Williamson at London Fashion Week, as he celebrated 15 successful years at the helm of his own-name label.

 Williamson aim was to make a synopsis of “the DNA of the brand”- peacock bright colour ways and daring, red carpet ready evening gowns being eponymous with the label- and perform a thorough re-evaluation for the modern customer.

The traditional Williamson clashing hot ‘n’ cold colour palette was reimagined onto thoroughly modern silhouettes, proving that the designer has a lot more depth than singularly providing red carpet magic.

Blazing trails of peacock brights blistered and collided in a stream of white light on of-the-moment silken shirts and short suits. Ankle grazing tailored trousers and lust-worthy knits added to the wearable aspects of Williamson’s S/S ’13 collection; no longer will these designs simply clothe the pages of the glossies, but the backs of their exacting editors as well.

Kaleidoscope prints adorned more trousers, dresses and jackets; the design was abstracted using embellishment and laser cut-outs, indicating Williamson’s progress and experimentation over the years. Finally, flowing, bias-cut dresses in shades from aquamarine and cobalt to the fieriest of sunset orange/pink gave the designer his grand, A-list ending.

This was a style revision that followed in the footsteps of Galliano for Dior: Williamson chose a few precise elements of his brand’s makeup, selecting only those details which were both eponymous to the label’s image and which could easily translate into covetable modern designs, as John Galliano accomplished with the iconic New Look silhouette at Dior. We can only hope that Raf Simons will also perform such a successful transition in his first ever ready-to-wear collection for the label at Paris Fashion Week; he would do well to take some advice from Williamson on that one. 

All photos:

Friday, 14 September 2012

Bora Aksu Spring/ Summer '13


There’s a reason why Bora Aksu is one of the most watched designers emerging from London today. Adhering strictly to Louise Wilson’s, the fearsome head of the MA programme at Central St Martins, from which Aksu graduated in 2002, central mantra against derivativeness, this season the Turkish designer has produced yet another starkly original collection to add to his impressive legacy.

        Describing his work as ‘demi-couture’, for Spring/ Summer 13 Aksu has produced a collection which focuses upon the point at which sweet romanticism collides with a darker edge; he calls upon Queen Marie of Romania, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, to be his central muse. Torn from her British roots by her marriage to Ferdinand of Romania, Queen Maria embraced Romanian culture and traditions whilst still maintaining her quintessential Englishness. This can be witnessed literally through Aksu’s frequent depiction of traditionally shaped, gauzy puffed sleeves and heavier dirndl skirts in the collection, and more metaphorically with his melding of fabric and prints.

       The layering of tulle over cotton and silk embossed with abstract prints give an ephemeral, trompe l’oeil effect to the garments, speaking of a life full of uncertainties and layered with different experiences.  In fact, the meaning of the repeated print flows with the bias cut fabrics; occasionally floral, sometimes almost artery-like as it curves with the models’ bodies, it ties a sense of displacement in with a distinct celebration of the ornate and beautiful.

     Apart from the inspiration aspect of this collection, Aksu additionally displays an innovative approach to cut, utilising the build-up of the aforementioned separate layers to combine into translucent silken waterfalls of dresses, ideal for summer wafting. Furthermore, inserts of ruched chiffon brought low-key dynamism and shaping to some dresses, whereas shots of embroidered collars, lapels, belts and the occasional knitted vest grounded others sections of the collection.

     The last thing to mention is, of course, the crocheted crowns worn by each model that strutted down the catwalk. Made by Aksu to compliment the inspiration behind the Spring/ Summer ’13 collection, they were the perfect, unique accessorised the romantic but yet slightly gothic feel to the clothes on display. As always, Bora Aksu is anything but derivative. 

All photos:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Trend Forecast S/S 2013: NYFW

White Out


{Clockwise from top left: Theyskens Theory; DKNY; Alexander Wang; Carolina Herrera; Altuzarra; Victoria Beckham} 

Contrasting Collars
{Clockwise from top left: Alexander Wang; Peter Som; Thakoon; Victoria Beckham; Carolina Herrera}

Striking Silhouettes
                                                  {Clockwise from top left: Theyskens Theory; Monique Lhuillier; 
                                                             Victoria Beckham; Monique Lhuillier; Lacoste}

{Clockwise from top left: 3.1 Phillip Lim; Diane von Furstenberg; Victoria Beckham; Alexander Wang; Monique Lhuillier; Jason Wu; DKNY}

Sexy Sophistication

{Clockwise from top left: Monique Lhuillier; Zac Posen; BCBG Max Azaria; Peter Som; Altuzarra}

Leather Obsession

{Clockwise from top left: Monique Lhuillier; Jason Wu; Theyskens Theory; Jason Wu; Alexander Wang; 3.1 Phillip Lim}

All photos from

Friday, 7 September 2012

1-2-3-4 Festival

For my first post in a long, long time I decided to attempt something I've never tried before: street style snapping. The perfect opportunity presented itself at last weekend's 1-2-3-4 festival in the hipster- paradise that is Shoreditch. You just couldn't move in the festival for bloggers taking pictures of each other in a self -propelling cycle of brothel- creepers, denim shirts and studded leather jackets. 

Silvia Olsen (no, not a relation, although I did ask...). What especially drew me to her outfit were her play on proportions and textures, with her chiffon-y midi skirt paired with an oversized parka and chunky knit. Although a tricky look to pull off, the simple block colours and flash of skin at ankle and wrist ensure that the outfit didn't swamp her petite frame.

Amanda Lawrence. I was drawn to her dip-dyed hair and flash of red lippie from across the field- a simple yet striking look that is an easy solution to looking stylish on an everyday basis. 

I adored meeting Miss Vienna Green, a burlesque performer and fire eater (!!!) from London. She was glamour and sophistication personified, with everything from her fab shoes to her immaculate nail polish either sourced or inspired by the 1930s or 40s. I'll always regret not taking a picture of the back of her vintage dress, which was cut low into the small of her back and finished with a sultry scarlet bow. 

Lastly, I really liked Louise Donovan's Courtney Love-inspired grunge outfit...mainly because I recognised her playsuit from on I tried on in Beyond Retro a few months ago! I love the simple grey tee, too. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Vogue Old and New

I've just started a huge redecorating project for my bedroom, and in clearing my shelves to ready them for a much needed lick of paint I distracted myself for a good couple of hours looking through my collection of Vogues. One of the first covers to catch my eye is this one of Julianne Moore from July 2009, for that year's 'Ageless Style' issue. I just can't believe how beautiful this Julianne's cover is; the subtle, warm lighting, her natural (read: unphotoshopped) freckled skin and flawless makeup. The only incongruous aspect is the autumn palette and lighting that Vogue has used (for me, the colours look more suitable for a September/ October issue), but overall it's a hundred, million times better than the over-produced covers of the likes of Cheryl Cole that we've seen in recent years. More please Vogue.

I above and beyond prefer dynamic, inspirational covers featuring models to the uber-photoshopped shrines to the latest celeb (Lana Del Ray, Cheryl Cole, Adele etc etc etc), who most likely will have disappeared into the nether in a year's time. Cheryl Cole, anyone....

However, I adored in the most recent 'Ageless Style' issue was the feature on the wardrobes of inspirational, driven women.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

H&M Embraces the Avant-garde!

This winter H&M will be showcasing an influx of avant-garde, deconstructed and individual designs, brought to the public through an unforeseen collaboration with the mysterious fashion house Maison Martin Margiela.

The ultra-discreet 'maison', founded in 1988 by its retiring namesake (the Dutch designer is never photographed or appears after his fashion shows), will undoubtedly bring its own brand of conceptual design to the mainstream high street shop. Martin Margiela has never been known to conform to the sartorial- norm,   creating his clothes through deconstruction, allowing the creative process to visible upon the garments and playing with unusual proportions. Indeed, dresses in the house's S/S '12 collection were made from the re-creation of their pattern pieces, either in a multitude of sequins or through being encased in plastic.  

However, what is most intriguing is how these stimuli will be interpreted on a cheaper, mass-produced level; I await the collection, due to drop on November 15th, with baited breath!

Images all from
Maison Martin Margiela S/S '12
Maison Martin Margiela A/W '12
Maison Martin Margiela Men's A/W '12

So will there be a continuation of the deconstructed, hard/soft juxtaposition of silk, chiffon, leather and plastic seen in the S/S '12 collection? Or the masculine tailoring, leather inserts and muted colours of the winter examples? One thing's for sure, I think we'll be seeing plenty of funnel necks:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Gold In The Air Of Summer

Just a quick post to show you my Cleopatra impersonation at my student hall's summer ball. I wish I had smiled properly, I look like I'm trying not to laugh at something behind the camera- the girl wearing the same dress as me perhaps? (A complete and utter NIGHTMARE, I had to be refrained from 'accidentally' spilling a glass of red wine down her front. I'm not quite sure why girls get so angry about this sort of thing, but judging by the angry glares passing between us the entire evening, we certainly did. By the way, she was wearing the completely wrong shoes and bag to go with the dress...) I'm wearing a TFNC dress, which can be found here, and thrifted wedges and jewellery.

Hair inspired by this little youtube video here:

She is so sweet! And the hair style is super easy, even by my poor standards.

Photo courtesy of my friend Charley (also in the photo), whose blog can be found here:

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Eco Fashion Ahoy!

A recent article that I wrote on the end of 'fast' high street fashion, for Birmingham's AREA Culture Guide (p.60), has got me pondering the alternatives to the cheap, mass produced clothes offered by shops such as H&M and Primark.

Although I am fully aware of the social and moral implications inherent to shopping in stores such as these, I'm afraid that a third implication, that of economics, is usually the deciding factor when it comes to my shopping habits.

As a poverty stricken student I can barely afford Topshop, let alone well known eco-friendly labels such as Noir and Stella McCartney. However, I recognise that there's a very definite gap in consumer knowledge of affordable 'green' fashion; that's why I decided to bring together some of the best, most diverse and reasonably priced environmentally- friendly brands, right here on my blog.

I hope you are inspired by all them to change your shopping habits even a little bit- it could make all the difference.

'Bureh' dress, £50.00

An ethical label which works with tailors local Sierra Leone, and uses a combination of traditional West African prints and modern, stylish designs. Nearfar aims to provide a sustainable and ethical living for disadvantaged young adults living in the country's capital city, Freetown.

High-waisted Shorts, £35.00

Dress, £60

Slightly more expensive than Nearfar, People Tree boast an eco- perfect retail history. The online store, which has collaborated with the likes of Thakoon and Emma Watson to create previous collections, aims to use only organic and Fairtrade cotton, natural dyes, and recycled products. Furthermore, they are part of a  Fairtrade network which covers twenty developing countries. This season, People Tree are channeling the 50's housewife trend in gingham and hourglass-hugging wrap dresses.

Knit jumper, £85

Maxi skirt, £69

An ethical line which reminds me of the simple, cosy designs of Toast, Bibico uses only natural materials to produce its garments. Furthermore, the clothes offered in their online store are only produced in fair trade cooperatives in the developing world. 

St Tropez Shorts, £39

Check out my recent article on the end of disposable fashion in the June edition of AREA Culture Guide. Page 60-61 everyone!

Friday, 1 June 2012

On the subject of weddings

Ok! magazine. Don't Tell The Bride. Countless chick flicks which all end in one big fat wedding (because that's all women should aspire to, right?)

This recent landslide of nuptial- filled images has created something far from the 'fairy tale' romance they feign to offer. Encouraged by the awkwardly posed and publicity- paid for celeb weddings, as well as the slew of bridal- inspired programmes that now dominate our television screens, it seems that all the world now wants a part in these tacky celebrations of matrimony. The vast sums of money, the hideous (-ly expensive) white polyester meringue, hired suits, brash flower displays... does it not all appear just a tiny bit vulgar?

I first thought up this article idea in reaction to an indescribably horrific wedding invitation that my parents received. On first glance I thought the invite, written as 'poetry' in rhyming couplets (to symbolise their everlasting love, perhaps?) was bad enough. However, as I read on, I realised that wasn't the worst of it. At the very bottom of the card, hidden among the florid font and bad poetry, was a request for cash as a wedding present. Or cheque, I don't think they minded much.The invitation was the catalyst for my developing views on current weddings. Gone is a celebration of love among your closest friends and family, and in are vulgar displays of faux romance, complete with a final bill running into the tens of thousands. I wasn't as much put out by the style of the aforementioned invitation, but the underlying message that this young family had obviously spent all their money on this wedding, and were now having to ask for cash from their guests, left a very sour taste in my mouth.

Weddings shouldn't be about ticking off a checklist of venue, dress, catering, suits, bridesmaids' dresses, hair and makeup etc etc etc. Do what you want, I say. Celebrate in a way that demonstrates you and your love for one another, not a carbon copy of Katy Price's last wedding in Hello magazine. Be creative. You don't have to wear a homogeneous white polyester meringue, with a sweetheart neckline and matching nylon dresses for your bridesmaids. First and foremost it's a fire hazard, and secondly it looks (to me) incredibly vulgar.

Instead, take inspiration from Kate Moss, who added her distinct personal flair to the occasion. Inspired by the Great Gatsby, Moss wanted her wedding to be 'soft-focused' and 'dreamy'; she completed the look with 30s style John Galliano couture dress. However, if your budget can't stretch that far, I suggest opting for an authentic vintage gown, the most stylish of which can be found at, which is recommended by Vogue. My favourite from their selection is this 1920s beaded dress, which has the most divine back I've ever seen.

If you're really limited financially, then for God's sake don't blow your entire savings on the supposed 'best day of your life' (I like to think there'd be a lot more great days in your life too, thanks). There are countless vintage boutiques and stalls popping up over the country where, if you hunt hard enough, treasures can be found. Even if it's just the fabric that you fall in love with, collaborate a sewing machine- savvy friend to create a gown entirely to your taste. Simply flower displays, which can be homemade, can complement hand made invitations and table decorations. Round up friends and family and ask them to help with small tasks, meaning that when the day comes your wedding will be a true communal experience, with every guest feeling  like they're part of something special.

Then just add copious amount of alcohol, a great playlist and a large dance floor, and have a day you'll never forget.

Images from:

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Following a rather successful week of work experience at a well known regional newspaper (published everyday and two by-lines, woohoo!), I'm now taking the week off to relax, recuperate and take up the reins of blogging once more. To this end, I decided to interpret the latent 30's feel to the summer's collections, from Jonathan Saunders to Stella, with my dashing navy palazzo pants (parachute pants?) and a saucy slash of midriff. John Lennon-takes-on-Willie Wonka sunnies were pulled in to add a little futurism into the mix, lest I come over all Brideshead Revisited on you. Although not strictly a 30s fabric, I thought the grey marl tee hangs in a particularly androgynous manner, thus giving it the louche silhouette which epitomizes that era. 

Plus I kind of hope today's outfit makes me look a little bit like Maggie Gyllenhaal, in that cool, tomboy-ish way that she has. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Chanel Pre- Collection Spring/ Summer 2013

Ah the pre- collections. They're such a lovely antidote to the lethargy that the in- between months, such as we are in now, cause, when we can only look forward hopefully to wearing that carefully curated summer wardrobe whilst whiling away the hours pouring over the couture from Cannes and the Met Gala.

The most decadent pre- collections are undoubtedly, and unsurprisingly, by Chanel. Unconstrained by the necessity of showing at the Grand Palais, as at the fashion weeks in February and September, Karl Lagerfeld lets his imagination run wild, using glamorous locations and exotic stimuli to present collections which exude luxury, and showcase the very best workmanship from the the Lesage atelier in Paris. Last year, Lagerfeld's Spring/ Summer '12 pre-collection was presented in Cannes; this year, he went a step more sybaritic, and headed for Versailles.

Under the blazing sun and cerulean sky of Versailles, and in one of the palace's hidden- away gardens, Marie Antoinette was revived, unlike Tupac's hologram, in pastel wigs, washed denim, bouclé wool and hipster brothel creepers. Yes, baroque met a 90s Nirvana concert in a collection so unlikely it was, naturally, brilliant.

The sumptuous gardens combined with golden embellishment, floating organza and 18th century- style tailoring to evoke the feel that somehow, somewhere, Marie Antoinette was watching over the proceedings with an approving eye, her little sheep trailing after her on a length of blue ribbon. However, these nods to baroque were immediately contrasted with the aforementioned brothel creepers, bleached denim and low slung cargo-esque trousers, which lent the collection a grungy air last seen on Courtney Love sometime in the 90s. You thought that the decade was having coverage enough with both the street style trends for brothel creepers, giant knits and tie- die, designers such as Altuzarra showing day wear that would put Sporty Spice  to shame, and brands such as Calvin Klein rebooting the translucent slip dress, à la Kate Moss. However, now that Lagerfeld has illustrated Chanel's sartorial acceptance of the 90s revival, albeit translated through the 'frivolity of the 18th century updated in new materials and new proportions...', it is certain that this micro- trend will soon be becoming a maxi -trend.

Happy grunging readers, you have Karl's blessing.

Love, Amy Rose

Show images from:

Other images from:

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

‘Fast’ fashion: has it seen its day?

      ‘‘There is too much fashion’’ declared fashion’s king of exclusivity, Dries Van Noten, in a recent interview with The Independent. With the international fashion shows lasting an entire month, pre-collections, endless collaborations, and the increase of ‘disposable’ clothes in shops such as Primark, I’m inclined to agree with him.

        Fuel sources are destined to peak (and then go into rapid decline) around 2030, and with the textiles industry accused of both polluting landscapes and contributing to climate change through environmentally unfriendly production methods, it can be argued that the fashion industry is on a one way highway to self- combustion. However, a backlash against the unrelentingly greedy consumerism that created the cycle of production, consumption and waste has begun to emerge from the more conscientious and creative divisions of the fashion industry. The reaction to unethical and disposable ‘fast’ fashion can be viewed through three things: the rejection of globalisation by international fashion houses, the rising popularity of the’ arts and crafts’ movement, and the increased number of ethical, eco- friendly fashion labels.

           With a shocking estimated 60% of Western clothes being made in Eastern sweatshops, combined with the high street’s unchecked plagiarism of catwalk looks, historic British brands such Burberry and Mackintosh are leading the way in returning to local craftsmanship, through small factories located in the UK. Burberry has made its classic trench coats in the same factory in Castleford since the garment’s creation, and is in the process of building another factory for British production in Pontefract, Yorkshire. Mackintosh were on the verge of closure in the 1990s when staff bought the company, based in Cumbernauld, Scotland, and began establishing the classic coats as an upmarket brand; collaborations with Liberty, Louis Vuitton and Gucci followed. The Mackintosh and Burberry brands have since reached cult status within the UK, with customers celebrating the unique and artisanal nature of production in the British factories; thus, the backlash against the homogenisation of the high street began, through ensuring the quality and individuality of the designer collections.

             This reaction to sweat shops and ‘fast’ fashion can additionally be seen in Birmingham’s growing independent ‘arts and crafts movement’, which sees a collection of like- minded types encouraging and developing creativity and original design in response to the waste and unethical attitudes of high street shops. The Birmingham- based website ‘’ is at the forefront of the movement, pushing for a ‘celebration’ of handmade and individual clothes and accessories as well as a diminishing dependence on high street fashion.

            Furthermore, combined with this growing passion for artisanal and individualistic fashion is the increased international awareness of the ethical and ecological issues surrounding the industry.  The best collaboration between high end and high street has to be the upcoming Sophia Kokosalaki for ASOS line. London’s brightest new designer is launching an affordable, cutting edge and ethically produced collection, made in Sri Lanka by a women’s cooperative. Furthermore, online retailers have popped up such as Prophetik, People Tree and, a website which is exemplified by its motto: ‘by the people for the people’. The site sells Fairtrade jewellery and accessories from African cooperatives, and also features designs from celebrities such as Laura Bailey, Peaches Geldof and Pippa Small. Such high profile endorsement points to a growing market for sustainable and ethical designs within the UK, a market that is being embraced by Birmingham, from the eco and ethically friendly printers ‘Get A Grip’, based in the Custard Factory, to craft magazines such as ‘Folksy’ and the ‘Creative Open Workshops’  (C.O.W.), located in the Jewellery Quarter. 

A product of Birmingham’s Creative Open Workshops 

          As well as in Birmingham, the crafty movement has exploded across the international fashion scene, hopefully paving a way to a more creative and unique perspective on fashion. Burberry Prorsum’s S/S ’12 show featured a close focus on craftsmanship and innovative fabrics and prints, with tribal motifs woven in raffia and fabric dyed with rich, exotic colours using the ancient batik method. In Paris the atelier used by couturiers for decades, Lesage, was inundated with requests for individually crafted pieces for the A/W ’12 catwalk shows, from Mary Katrantzou’s embellished ‘HB pencil’ skirts, to the strangely compelling glittery eyebrows at Chanel.

Mary Katrantzou A/W ’12                                             
             Through all of this we can see another trend rising up through the fashion industry: one for craftsmanship, local design and production, and ethical manufacturing. Will we see Primark and co. decrease in popularity and profits, commit themselves to producing smaller, more ecologically and ethically friendly clothing and, dare we say it, more expensive clothes any time soon? Unlikely, but at least now the discerning customer has an alternative to the wasteful world of ‘fast’ high street fashion.  As for ‘too much fashion’? It seems that now we have even more choice. Poor Dries. 

Burberry Prorsum S/S ‘12

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Love, Amy Rose 

Article originally written for fusedmagazine

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