It was quite incredible to see Inbar Spector's concertina designs in person during the TASK PR press day, all the more special because I had seen how well they move on stage when I experienced Gabby Young's latest concert. I was hoping to see Gabby's stage dress that sank into a pool of aqua every time she crouched down, but alas it wasn't in the show room. Still, the intricate folding and stitching required to create the honeycomb structures I did see must have taken hundreds of hours of work. The pieces had all the drama of Viktor And Rolf's Spring 2010 collection and yet seemed almost lighter than air. Little hints of gold leather lattice work pulled the bigger pieces together and sculpted the silhouette, although I thought there was perhaps a little too much gold on some of the more 'wearable' dresses.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Many of the works at The Other Art Fair (sponsored by Club Monaco) featured some of Stasie's friends... *gulp* stuffed. There were also heavy doses of irony.
The giant If Six Was Nine leopard-print poncho I chose to make an entrance in for Emily's bag launch at Coach.
Monday, 28 November 2011
One of the most exciting press days I dropped by this season was at Karla Otto's London headquarters. Usually I'm in-and-out as quickly as possible at these things but this was two floors of the most exquisite brands and I practically had to be dragged out of their feng shuied offices kicking and screaming. The majority of my time there was spent examining Givenchy's SS 12 collection for men, and the womenswear accessories. At the time of the show everybody was raving about Givenchy turning over a new leaf and stepping out from the dark shadows of previous collections. Up close it's true, everything is light and mouth-wateringly bright, but the feeling of the menswear is very similar to the last few seasons: sporty, casual, unexpectedly luxe. My favourites have to be the printed or sequinned sweater tops with cutaway bellies at the front, giving an overall egg-shaped look. Not quite sure I have the stomach for that style anymore [Editor's note: ever] so I better start looking for the ideal undergarment now, in preparation for the inevitable purchase in Paris when these guys hit the sales around about June. Who knows - maybe I'll even have finished my DPhil and have a job by then!
The womenswear accessories were quite possibly even more exciting than the menswear, although it's hard to tell because everything was so ohhhhh-inducing. We all know I <3 a clutch and Givenchy gave us two options - a vibrant orange croc skin envelope (hello my previous blog post...) and a floral printed nylon and leather number. While the orange is simply to die for (and comes with a matching visor for the ultimate chic look on the golf course) I imagine the floral is going to be more in my price range, unless Stasie decides to jump into bed with Riccardo pronto. And doesn't it look so cute worn with my tattoo t-shirt from the S/S 11 collection? It was fate that I was wearing it that day - and I'll still be claiming it's fate when my credit card comes out in February.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Someone call the doctor because I think I have a problem!
Yesterday Brooke and I spent the perfect West London Saturday (now that I'm a local) with brunch at Tom's - sadly no Bloody Marys on the menu - followed by a morning of touring our favourite shops, lunch and wine at BBB (4pm) and a leisurely stroll home to a much-needed X Factor coma. I've only really wandered around Westbourne Grove a couple of times, and usually I'm on a mission for a particular object, so I hadn't quite realised how many AWESOME shops there are! At Matches we fondled the Celine and Christopher Kane while lamenting the poor menswear buy; at Diptyque I picked out my room scent for the new year (Pomander); at Feathers we both managed to find perfect Christmas gifts for our parents. We even dropped by Wolf and Badger for a fruity cocktail and a gander at their latest collections - in love with the Mark Giusti leather goods!
I also managed to keep my spending in check because, thankfully for me (if not for the fashion industry), many of the sales have started early again this year to try to boost pre-Christmas profits. Case in point: this great faux croc clutch found whilst perusing the rails of Whistles. There were a couple of other excellent clutch examples but this one took my fancy because: a) I need an alternative to my Christopher Kane squishiness for less 'dressed up' occasions, b) the zingy orange colour is a good way to drag myself out of my wintry SAD wardrobe dreariness and c) it was reduced to £27. Can't argue with that.
Now, if only I could somehow overcome my highly impractical clutch addiction...
Thursday, 24 November 2011
I'm not usually one for blogging about the myriad press releases I get sent - believe me, there are enough crappy blogs out there for all that "content" - but when the giddy Shelly from Karla Otto sent me over these images of Ann Demeulemeester's collection created for thecorner.com, I just couldn't resist reaching for the Publish button.
Not one to go for high/low collaborations (thank G-d!), Ann has designed four basic pieces - trousers, tank, waistcoat and bag - to be sold exclusively online. They are kind of like Ann's iconic style distilled into a capsule wardrobe. My favourite individual item is possibly the tank with its paint-splattered pattern looking like star constellations from afar. However, given the current lack of Muscle Mary arms (or any kind of arm 'tone' whatsoever) tank tops are total verboten; I'm simply not allowed to like them. The nabuk leather bag, on the other hand, is gorgeous and allowed. In fact, it's exactly the kind of easy-going, shopper style bag I've been searching for. And it's soooo luxe.
So people, the question is this: how on Earth do I convince my parents that £560 isn't too much to add this bag to my Christmas wishlist?
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Congratulations go to Emily, who last night launched the bag she has been designing with classic accessories brand Coach. The Fashion Foie Gras tote is oversized and all-American looking (just her style) and comes with so many internal pockets for all your knickknacks - one even looked big enough to hold a whole iPad! The party was suitably fabulous with model waiters (I really think we need to develop a term just for this phenomenon, fashion parties never seem to employ wait staff challenged in the facial department) serving champagne and 'vodka cocktails', gingerbread geese to take away, a fun photobooth and lots and lots of bloggers. Just off the top of my head I bumped into Alex, Danielle, Simon, Navaz, Catherine, Marian, Shelly... It was also the perfect excuse to whip out my leopard print If Six Was Nine poncho. Cue confused stares/squeals of joy.
Now the question you've all been asking yourselves - when is Duck coming out with his own designer line? I've been thinking long and hard about this and narrowed it down to two options, Issey Miyake or Littlewoods. Thoughts?
Just giving you the heads-up about two big sample sales I will definitely be attending this month! Issey Miyake starts today and McQueen starts next Wednesday. Perfect for some early Christmas present browsing - or just for me!
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
OK let's admit it, any trip I make to Browns is going to turn into a shopping trip. It doesn't matter how stressed I am or how little money is in my account, Mrs B and her fashion angels (devils?) are going to convince me to purchase something. And so the Browns/Browns Focus press day really turned into a mental shopping trip and here is the S/S list I eventually "narrowed" things down to.
My favourite pieces can be sectioned into three groups: prints, textures and accessories. The best prints come on Australian Dion Lee's skirts and dresses (like this shattered crystal look above) and Joseph Altuzarra's vibrant jungle patterns (parrots!). I still can't get over how amazing the laminated dried flowers are on Ostwald Helagason's pieces nor the highlights of silver fibres hidden inside folds of Pedro Lourenço leather. The multicoloured stitching on Leutton Postle's premier retail collection (there are some amazing photos of these pieces on Kit's blog!) makes me want to doll myself up with a Native American headdress and shake it in front of the fireplace. My favourite accessories come in the form of Olympia Le-Tan book and ointment bags ("ointment? That one sticks in my craw too"), and Laurence Dacade's statement shoes - especially the black lace sandal. Laurence also designs the shoes for Chanel...
Saturday, 19 November 2011
Being dragged backwards through a box hedge maze in the middle of the night, blindfolded, while white-labcoated models douse you with cold water and scream at you RUN SEXY RUN! That's what Maison Martin Margiela's (untitled) does to me. Now imagine discovering that feeling also comes in a limited edition silver bottle that could keep forever on your mantle piece. Maybe you could even keep your ashes in it. You could understand, then, why my credit card came out. I'm going to have to eke out every last drop of this stuff (or use it liberally for Stasie's bird bath).
[Oh, and then to my delight I discovered every box comes with a secret membership code and a special video game you can play on the Margiela Parfums website! Glee.]
Friday, 18 November 2011
I knew it would be virtually impossible to get through this post without making some kind of pun so I thought I should get it over with in the title and be done with it. Moving on... This morning I was treated to a slap-up breakfast (and super early morning wake-up call) at The Savoy so that I could find out about Gilt.com, which is just launching in the UK as of today. I've known about Gilt for a while, and was desperate to sign up when they did their amazing collaboration with Lady Gaga, but, alas, it wasn't available to UK shoppers until now. Gilt is one of those flash sales websites (along the lines of Cocosa and Vente Privée) but it dwarfs its competitors when it comes to the variety and number of sales it holds every day, particularly in terms of American or Japanese brands currently difficult to find in Britain. Also, Gilt doesn't just sell women's and menswear (with brands like Proenza Schouler and Alexander McQueen), but furniture for your fabulous home as well as stays in some of the most exclusive hotels and villas around the world. All at a massive discount. And - mega bonus - the discount is even bigger on US brands because you get to bypass the mark-up we usually have to pay in the UK :)
I also must say it was very interesting to get to meet Kevin Ryan, one of the founders and CEOs, who set up two other very successful companies in the same year as Gilt - Business Insider and 10gen/MongoDB. It's amazing that someone can have so many great ideas and the tenacity to see them through to completion. It makes me feel rather inadequate that I don't have my Master Plan all sorted out by now. Suggestions on a postcard, please, for the Materials Science PhD student with a penchant for blogging and oversized silk bunny ears?
Anyway, Gilt still works under the traditional invite-only policy that some its competitors (i.e. Cocosa) recently dropped. BUT if you click here you can join easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and enjoy the free shipping to the UK for this week only!
Now, time to hide all my credit cards from Stasie...
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Few shops leave an impression on one's imagination quite like the Margiela store in Brussels. Gleaming in clinical white, the maison boasts the full collection of MMM products including fabulously overpriced trinkets such as feather pens, empty snow globes and graffitied motor cycle helmets. The carpet is a trompe l'oeil wood effect, the windows have paint-swishing windscreen wipers and the rickety staircase is a death trap waiting to happen (cue Charlie's "I can think of worse things than dying in Margiela!"). I was so busy taking it all in I barely had a chance to look at the clothes, although I did admire (and pick up) a limited edition silver bottle of my favourite (untitled) perfume only available in store. I also got to sign my name on the mirror next to the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Monday, 14 November 2011
Last week I got a chance to investigate Corrie Nielsen's collection even further at the Forward PR press day. The looks I loved on the runway were even more impressive close-up where I could examine every element of sharp tailoring and what must have been hundreds of hours of pleating, steaming, sewing in her Somerset House studios... Hope you enjoy the shots :-)
Oh, and rumour has it Corrie is planning something quite different for next season so keep your eyes peeled!
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Another day, another post of me eating. This time it was lunch in Bonsoir Clara in Brussels, a cute brasserie type of place with an eclectic and delicious menu - including three vegetarian main courses (this is surprising for Belgium)! I had a pan-fried vegetable assortment but I just had to blog pictures of Charlie's duck with polenta and the classic steak frites the others opted for. While everyone else tried a glass of ice-cold Vedett, I couldn't resist my favourite Kir Royal. I would recommend Bonsoir Clara for a lunch or light dinner, but please be prepared for the staff with short tempers (one of them shoved Alex's SLR and Chanel out of her way, no questions asked) and a rather slow service.