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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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

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Paris Haute Couture week: F/W 2010/11

Ah, Couture…the apple of my sartorial eye. Gorgeous, improbable and quixotic fabric follies. Couture is the brilliantly madcap stuff of dreams and uninhibited fantasy – and be honest, who doesn’t revel in the occasional flight of fancy? Hmm?) It is fashion stripped back to it’s artistic core in a gloriously sinful, hedonistic embrace with the utterly impractical.  Pure, unadulterated indulgence: no pretence required, no situational definitions – couture by nature has no real ’place’ – sculptural cellophane hats are unlikely to catch on as work wear, for instance (although they would make for interesting boardroom meetings).

And so, before I talk myself clean out of literary flourishes, to the home of Haute Couture for a Fashionable Rat’s retrospective of the Paris Couture week f/w 2010.

I think I shall begin with a schedule, tasty visual treats and a few links before fleshing it out with linked posts: a) I am not aiming for the world’s longest, largest and most image heavy post award, and b) even a Rat’s gotta sleep sometime – and work apparently – more’s the pity.  So – to Paris…

…tout de suite!

Monday July 5th 2010

Christophe Josse

Images courtesy of Coutorture

Bouchra Jarrar

Images courtesy of head here for their runway review.

Christian Dior

Images courtesy of Thai Catwalk

Review by the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander

Atelier Gustavo Lins

Images Courtesy of Fashion Windows

Adeline Andre

Alexis Mabille

Images and review courtesy of

Tuesday July 6th

Giorgio Armani Privé


Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph

Lefranc Ferrant

Front row footage over at ELLETV

Images at: Maison Chaplin

Stéphane Rolland

Images courtesy of Fashion Fame

More at:



Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph.



Review: Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph.

Wednesday July 7th

On Aura Tout Vu

Images & Runway review over at

Franck Sorbier

Images: Focus on Style

Review: Yahoo News

Elie Saab

Images/ Review:

Jean Paul Gaultier

Images/ Review:

Maison Rabih Kayrouz

Image at


Images/ Review:

Thursday July 8th


Chanel Joaillerie

All images courtesy of Susan Tabak

Mellerio Dits Meller
Van Cleef & Arpels

Phew! I’ll update as soon as I can (and get down to some internet super-sleuthing to find those pesky missing images).

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Fierce Futurism for Fall 2010

Crash landing on the back of Summer’s neo-sports utility hoedown (cast your mind back to the reworked-neoprene surfer dolls at Proenza Schouler, Prada’s perspex wonderland and vivid high-shine brights at Versace) the future has gone well and truly futuristic. Visionary space-age styling in ultramodern fabrics, sci-fi structure and austere tribalism. It’s fashion Jim…but not as we know it…

Chanel a/w 2010

Balenciaga a/w 2010

Both Chanel and Balenciaga offered up a pared down post-apocalyptic white-wash, punctuated with gaudy geometry in pop-art brights and future-proof footwear.  My season favourite has to be Lagerfeld’s sexy Go-go boot /stiletto hybrid: alien Ice Queen meets PVC sex kitten in an uber mod sartorial supernova.

Tessa Edwards a/w 2010

Up-and-comer Tessa Edwards serves up an altogether darker vision which is fierce – with a capital F.  Strong, statuesque and redolent of an intimidatory exoticism, Edwards’ look focuses in on a kind of ancestral austerity channeled through a palette of severe blacks and abyssal ox-blood reds.

Tessa Edwards a/w 2010

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Go Crazy for Collars

Vogue Gioiello (Vogue Accessories Italia): Charvet Paris with Chanel & Bulgari collars

Thanks to Miu Miu’s knock-out s/s 2010 collection which saw the collar’s triumphant return to the gilded halls of sartorial cool, I have been on a web-quest of epic proportions in search of the shirt collar necklace to end all shirt collar necklaces…

Miu Miu s/s 2010 Detachable Collars

Gemma Lister: Peter Pan Collars s/s 2010

The Queen of big, bold and undeniably funk-tastic jewellery, Gemma Lister’s take on the collar trend is cute, classic and fabulously simple (not to mention slightly more affordable!)…♥

Utopia Accessories Collection: Clip-on shirt collar

Sadly, I haven’t yet come across any high street options, although Zara’s recent homage to the Miu Miu cat print replete with stylish shirtless collar gives me some small measure of hope! (If anyone comes across the elusive Zara collar let me know!)

Don’t fancy saving the pennies? Check out whatwasithiiinking for a shockingly simple Miu Miu collar DIY tutorial!

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To Clog or Not to Clog…

I try, in all things, to keep an open mind but I seem to have hit a bit of a trend-wall with clogs. The thing is my memory is already tarnished with images of cheap, tacky 90’s clogs and haunted by the nerve grating clack that these horrors seem to make on every surface known to man. This is definitely not a shoe for sneaking…nor for being even moderately discrete, in fact I would go so far as to say they are the unrivalled fog-horn of footwear. A clumsy, oafish folly of a shoe which either make you look like you have some kind of club-foot ‘thing’ going on or as if God had, in some kind of feverish delirium, commissioned Penny Crayon to pop-by and doodle you a pair (of feet that is).

Clacking, and general aesthetic distaste aside, there is another shadow looming over clog-dom, spat forth from the very bowels of hell: presumably because even the most wretched, most cretinous most loathsome residents could not abide their very presence. I am speaking – of course – of the clog’s mutant cousin…the croc. A shoe so vile that I would rather eat my own face than wear one.

In a nutshell – you say ‘Clog’ and I scream: Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me!!

Imagine then my agonised dismay upon seeing the return of clogs…to the runway…at Chanel no less. [Why Karl, Why?!]

But, like I said, open mind: even in the face of such ungainly monstrosity, I can still muster a few shreds of journalistic integrity  (plus I did foist brogues on you yesterday). So, it is for that reason and that reason alone that I have spent a significant portion of my day trying to coax out my inner clog-wearer…

To Chanel then and Karl Lagerfeld’s pastoral vision where goat-herder-chic met Marie Antoinette’s faux-farm fantasy and a good roll in the hay was had by all. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised: the clogs were, well, less clog-ish. More mule-meets-clog, less clack-engendering hunk of timber: a neo-clog if you will. Also, the use (in some cases at least) of buff and neutral tones worked well to mask – if not completely disguise – the overall orthopaedic-vibe in a fog of utter blandness.

The high-heel seen on most of the clogs this season was a definite step in the right direction: the tapered heel works really hard to try to cancel out the frump-factor. Sadly, most designers seemed to be favouring the chunky block-heel, and those that weren’t (Vuitton I’m looking at you) headed even further into a mind-bogglingly grotesque nightmare with such Frankenstein creations as the loafer-clog (below right)

And in case you were wondering – yes – that ‘shoe’ does indeed have it’s very own rat-tail-pony.

Even Miu Miu can’t save this trend for me…

Jimmy Choo: Urban Clog Sandals

Pair the heel with the peep-toe and they actually start to resemble shoes…shoes that I might give a cursory glance…

Prada: Studded Plexi Clogs

…the thing is, at this point can they really still be called clogs?

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