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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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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Septuagenarian Chic F/W 2010

Okay Fashionistas, t’is the season to Nan-it-up. It’s time to don those duffel coats, cosy-up in a cardy, pull your woolly socks up and pop a couple of teabags in the pot. Autumn has come over all old-school.

Literally.

Prada f/w 2010 Ad Campaign

From ribbed metallics and alpine lodge sweater dressing at Michael Kors, to duffel’s and cable knits at Dolce & Gabbana, and lets not forget Miu Miu’s nan-tastic take on the fishnet. Granny glam is big news (and ultra practical – wouldn’t want to catch a cold now would we dears).

Miu Miu f/w 2010 Ad Campaign

Herringbone, cable, ribbed…the chunkier the better…even over-enthusiastic-Christmas-jumper knits are getting a look in over at Jean Paul Gaultier. Think blue-rinse chintz chic meets Celine-inspired layers: just hang fire on the lavender and moth balls. No one wants to smell like a doorway to Narnia.

Michael Kors f/w 2010

Dolce & Gabbana f/w 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier f/w 2010

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Look du Jour: MeOWza

Hitchcockian goddess Kim Novak…

After a summer of blousy pastels and girly minimalism f/w 2010 sees the return of an altogether more dark, sophisticated (and somewhat austere) elegance – think of Hitchcockian heroines Ingrid Bergman and Kim Novak with an 80’s twist; cool, coiffed and tailored to perfection; polished glamour belying a seamy and often murderous undercurrent…

Emilio Pucci Pre-Fall 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Pre-Fall 2010

Lanvin Pre-Fall 2010
Statement is the buzz-word when it comes to prints this season…forget the chintz, the ditz and the itty-bitty florals. It’s time to come over all Dan Dare and temper your beauty with a sizeable dollop of danger…rework the season’s strong austere silhouettes with animal prints a la Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Lanvin (no we are still not over them…and we have Alexander Wang’s s/s wedges to thank – profusely).


(I know it’s wrong – and probably illegal in some countries – but I am quite literally in love with these Forever21 metallic leopard print leggings as worn by Ania B!!!)

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The New Woman: A/W 2010

Finally (rambling apology aside) it’s here: my first post after an excessively long hiatus of quite literally days. So, in keeping with my fresh life, fresh job, fresh start mentality, it’s time for a fresh season (I know, it seems a tad premature to start thinking about a/w 2010/11 but, as we well know, time and fashion wait for no man – or woman – so we‘d best get on with it).

Louis Vuitton a/w 2010 RTW
Like s/s,  a/w looks set to offer an absolutely mammoth miscellany of trend and style options (excellent news for the easily bored) from purist minimalism to gothic Victoriana and androgynous tailoring. But, start somewhere we must and today that somewhere is the understated classic sophistication of the 50’s sex kitten: think Mad Men’s Betty Draper and shelve the overt sexuality of seasons past. Balmania may not be dead but it certainly is not demure and to rock this look you are going to need to unleash your inner Ingénue – or, at the very least, cage your inner Vamp.

Louis Vuitton a/w 2010 RTW

This look is all about grown-up femininity and that mystical concept of ‘lady-likeness’ often touted by well-meaning Grandmothers amidst bouts of disapproving tut-tutting. But that’s not to say go all out and ‘prude’ yourself! Think subtle sexiness meets wide-eyed naivety. In a word: coy.

Louis Vuitton a/w 2010

Prada a/w 2010 RTW

Drop your hem-line, ditch your sky-scraper heels in favour of flats, kittens and baby stilettos and rework a little of last season’s Lolita-look with bow detailing – just keep it sharp and sleek: Fashion’s nostalgia for the girlish has given way to picture perfect pin-up credentials. The cinched waist and the heaving bosom – as seen at Louis Vuitton, Prada and Loewe – provide the key silhouette for the season (raise a cheer all ye of gloriously curvaceous proportions – your time is now!)

Dolce & Gabana a/w 2010 RTW

Prada a/w 2010 RTW

Loewe a/w 2010 RTW

Images courtesy of ELLEuk.com and Style.com

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Nude: barefaced chic is this season’s must-have neutral

Rose-bud blush, peach, buff, ecru, biscuit, beige: be it shirts, shorts, shoes, bags – or anything else you can throw-on, slip-into or drape yourself in – nude is the buzz-word for spring. Seen everywhere, from flushed pinks at Fendi and Luella to soft creams and taupe at Isabel Marant and Chloe, even nails have been having a nude moment.

If, like the models over at Isabel Marant, you are lucky enough to come with a glowing tan as standard, rejoice! The neutral palette is your sartorial oyster – go forth, go beige, go greige, go and claim your place in the halls of new-nude infamy.

For those (like me) who have been blessed instead with a fairer complexion (pale and interesting is my preferred epithet) nude becomes slightly more tricky – but not impossible…and totally worth it!) Think English-rose or peaches and cream and head for the warmer end of the nude/neutral spectrum to avoid looking washed out.

How to wear?

A big feature in all the major s/s trends, work nudes with leather (tan works a treat for a neat daytime look), try statement black shoe-boots a la D&G for a tougher finish, or slip into utility with slouchy structure and neutral layers (as seen at Chloe). Or take on the trend in nude footwear – totally now and gives the illusion of longer legs (could you really ask for more?)

Tip: Layers and drapes are also ideal for disguising any pesky problem areas, they also make sheers less daunting (and takes them from X-rated bedroom-wear to a more street-friendly PG).

Here are a few of my favourite ‘high street nudes’…

Topshop

Mango

New Look