The New Romantics: S/S 2011

Britain may have a face like a smacked arse right now but whilst Spring does it’s very best to emerge from behind the sleet-grey backdrop of winter, romance is once again rearing it’s whimsical head and stretching out its languorous lace-clad limbs on the high street.

Of course it’s not all lace, think back to s/s 2010’s fetish for layering sheers and chiffon and add a dash of theatrical decadence. That’s the new romantic.

Now, time for your mandatory shot of runway inspiration…

Think déshabille chic and work sheers in dramatic layers for 20’s-nouveau-meets-art-house appeal a la John Galliano’s ready-to-wear collection based on the life and nefarious pursuits of Maria Lani – a Polish émigré who conned Paris’ artistic elite during the late 1920’s (read more about her here)

John Galliano S/S 2011 RTW

For something altogether more virginal why not reference Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring collection and work the table-cloth aesthetic (and no…I’m not joking…and it’s FABULOUS) – delicate tatting, sheer whites, crochet and beautifully executed broderie anglaise.

Okay, so virginal in a wild, animalistic, Wuthering Heights’ Cathy kind of way.

Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2011

Or, given the season – Golden Globes, Oscars…anyone? – why not look to Donna Karan’s breath-taking red-carpet chic…beaded applique, silk, tulle and (of course) sheers…*sigh*

Donna Karan S/S 2011

Of course if all that soft-focus, gentle femininity is too much for you, you can always rock it up with black leather (I recommend the Burberry cropped biker). Who said romance had to be good?


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Milan Fashion Week: Blugirl F/W 2011

Time for my latest fashion crush: Blugirl – fancifully flirty offspring of the acclaimed Blumarine label designed by the fabulous Anna Molinari.


After drooling over their completely covetable Spring/Summer offerings (think vintage pin-up in cotton candy baby-dolls, polka dots, florals…essentially a Lolita love-in of epi-cute proportions) I have been dying to see their take on Fall 2011…and what a take it is!


Drop-dead gorgeous feminine tailoring with an anarchic mix of retro references and super-chic layering all served up in a 70’s twist on the autumnal palette – think watermelon and ecru with flashes of punchy orange.

Styling steal – ribbed oatmeal mid-calf socks (usually the preserve of Granddads)  and cutesy mary janes; shouldn’t work but so does (and offers a work-friendly alternative to the sandal/sock trend which has been doing the rounds of late).

Check out the s/s lookbook over at becomegorgeous.com or head over to ELLE.com for the full f/w collection (no, really, do).

From Seditionary to Sovereign: Vivienne Westwood a/w 2011

Vivienne Westwood’s a/w 2011 Red Label collection takes us forcefully by the hand and drags us (not unwillingly) head-first through the looking glass into a wildly eccentric world of quirky Queens in skewiff coronets, surrealist shapes and cockamamy curiosities all served up in artfully Westwoodian disarray.

Gorgeously paired naturals (not neutrals) punctuated with striking cerulean and vamp-worthy red, tartan (in the VW signature asymmetric cut – natsch), an executed-on-the-Central-Line-at-Rush-Hour approach to make-up and huge birds nests of artfully teased hair. In short a collection which left noone in doubt as to the true progenitor of the London look.

All Hail Queen Viv!

FYI: Those feather leg-warmers? Mine.

Get Flirty in Florals This Spring

Spring is due to, well, spring fairly soon – maybe even this week if chatty recruitment consultants are to be believed, er *cough* – and, naturellement, spring in fashion means the inevitable re-emergence of that perennial favourite: floral prints.

Unimaginative, perhaps, but a welcome break from monochromatic colour blocks and, particularly when you’ve been cooped up in the City for what feels (both in terms of time and temperature) an ice age, a rather refreshing reminder that there is in fact life out there – somewhere.

Unlike s/s 2010 with it’s ditsy, chintzy, fairly unassuming foray into the floral trend, this Spring’s botanicals are big, blowzy and unabashedly in-your-face.

Think feature wall, think Interflora, think Nana’s beloved early 90’s curtains, and prepare to be transported to a hyper-real romantic idyll where merrily chirruping birds replace vocal drunks, where the rumbling, clanking progress of the Number 8 is replaced by the industrious yet soothing drone of furry little bumble bees, and where that gentle tinkling you can hear is an actual stream which in all likelihood flows into an enchanted grove populated entirely by faeries, gnomes and cuddly cotton-tails – not some sweaty guys having a whizz behind the bins next to Ministry of Kebab.

Transmuting the otherworldly floral delights of his couture show to the (slightly) more practical terenne of RTW, nautical meets Hawaiian graphic and 50’s sass in Galliano’s s/s 2011 collection – and single-handledly casts a designer life-ring to the beleaguered and all-but forgotten halterneck.

Christian Dior RTW s/s 2011

In a surprising move away from the cutesy Sunday-Best vibe which often permeates Chanel’s RTW collections, Lagerfeld offers up a bounty of dégradé chiffon florals in retro cuts with a strikingly edgy – verging on Rodarte-quirky – feel.

Chanel RTW s/s 2011

I could – quite literally – go on (and on) … the stand-out summer picnic prints at D&G, the flippant girlishness at Paul & Joe…the garden party garrulousness at Etro, et al…et al… But my personal pick of this Spring’s bunch has to be Kenzo’s gorgeously voluminous sun-bleached collection which speaks of a cool breeze on a hot day. And God knows we could do with a hot day (and a Kenzo in the wardrobe).

Kenzo s/s 2011

 

Faux…but Foxy: Fur Fall/Winter 2010

Winter. It’s here. A fact which struck me as I was stumbling home on the obligatory walk of shame at 8am on Saturday morning (and you KNOW it’s a walk of shame when the local homeless guy who probably hasn’t washed, eaten or enjoyed what one might consider ‘home comforts’ since flares, bell bottoms and Gary Glitter were deemed socially acceptable, inquires after your state of health and well-being).

How, I hear you ask, did this revelation manifest itself (and no, it wasn’t the tramp – he was just an interesting aside). Well. It was the moment I decided that I would quite happily sell my soul – and probably everyone else’s –  for a pair of Chanel F/W 2010 fur trousers…

When legs like Bungle become a viable – DESIRABLE – option you have got to conclude that either a) googlemaps has mistakenly led you to the arctic tundra or b) the season to be jolly has, for the umpteenth time, managed to catch you totally unawares and very unprepared (Soooo… you thought you’d get away without your thermals did you?!…FOOL!!)

With this in mind – and the fact that my wardrobe has, in conjunction with its local Trade Union representative, imposed a ‘No, not ever, not ever ever. Just NO‘ policy in relation to Long Johns – I decided to go and find some warm things I would actually wear. Conclusion? Faux Fur…everything. (Please).

Burberry Prorsum F/W 2010

Let’s start with fur coats which tended to fall into three broad categories for Fall 2010: either, massive, cosy and teddy-bear-esque a la Paul and Joe, slimmed down and chic gilets – see DKNY’s long length chocolate number for this season’s archetype – or edgy and elegant anachronistic beauties (take inspiration from Burberry, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana).

Gucci F/W 2010

The only issue I could foresee in owning any of these (they all have that magical  ‘go with anything’ factor you’d expect from a coat) would be the fact that I’d be too busy hugging myself to actually breathe. A minor inconvenience I think you’ll agree.

Gucci F/W 2010

Fendi F/W 2010

Christian Dior F/W 2010

Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2010

THIS I WANT with every fibre of my being…

Of course I’d  have to top it off with a  Cossack hat (still lounging in fifties redux heaven here, plus it fits nicely with the whole global-traveller-meets-alpine-ski-lodge winter utility “vibe” which has been doing the rounds) Oh! and a pair of tan leather and fur trim ankle boots (which may or may not exist)…and some Miu Miu cable knit tights.

Santa…you had better be writing this down…

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The Thigh’s The Limit

Galliano revisited old ground this season with an eighteenth century equestrian extravaganza for Dior which was arguably hot enough to stop Dick Turpin in his tracks, if not innovative enough to wow an audience still high on Phoebe Philo’s ‘new’ purism…


The entire collection was, essentially a sequel to his spring couture offerings, albeit with more of a Bohemian fairytale twist, but I digress…the purpose of this post was actually to bring your attention to the collection’s crochet knit hold-ups. Those who know me will be well aware of my ongoing love-affair with hosiery (it’s a curse; the man hours involved in hand-washing my collection, well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about)…anyway THESE are my new must have – the rest can carry on lounging in my laundry basket.

They even bridge the gulf between sexy and practical (close enough anyway!). Bonus, FTW, <3! etc!

Images courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo and Style.com

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Caped Crusaders: F/W 2010

Chanel f/w 2010

This Fall…the super hero style staple becomes your style super hero in a less-than-action-filled adventure, possibly starring Steven Segal and with a slight – to moderate – chance of cameos by Edna Mode and Chuck Norris. Yes, the Cape is back – on your back – and looking at the weather today (er, good? morning London) I’m wishing I had mine already.

Alexander McQueen f/w 2010

From sleek utility at Chloe and Rag & Bone to imperial extravagance at Alexander McQueen and vampish 20’s glamour-meets-geek cape-come-stoles at Marc Jacobs your day/night/home/work cape dilemmas have all been solved in one fell swoop of a season.

Chloe f/w 2010

Rag & Bone f/w 2010

Some say capes are tricky but (as with most things) the style lies in the balance…

Marc Jacobs f/w 2010

Celine f/w 2010

What you’re aiming for with utility, for example, is a kind of pared-back boho-meets-hobo fusion (think purism, classicism, sleek but with a practical edge a la Chloe/ Celine), not – I repeat, NOT – Glastonbury refugee or Bolshevik bag-lady, so don’t go overboard on your bottom half.  Think skinny trousers (my money’s on leather if you want to nail the mixy-matchy texture angle) and brogues – still trumping pumps as the fashionista’s flat du jour. Or, why not try sweater dresses paired with cable-knit tights and Burberry Prorsum’s fierce shearling-meets-biker boots for an edgier-take on the trend.

Yves Saint Laurent f/w 2010

Images courtesy of Style.com

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