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?

Gotta Take the Rough With the Smooth…

Continuing the more is more theme of Spring’s print clash attack, the shift from summer to autumn is all about piling on the texture. Mix, don’t match should be your mantra for some slap-bang on-trend cafe intellectual meets sex siren chic.

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2010

From ultra-lavish velvet to sheeny-shiny silk and beyond into deshabille denim, crumpled chiffon, spangle-tastic sequins, gentle jerseys and luxe leathers (yes, I am ‘on one’, and by one I mean a self-indulgent post-modifying lexical binge… it has been – as great Aunt’s and Grandparents are oft heard to mutter – ‘too long’), rework the big trends of spring with a side order of grunge…column skirts and DM boots? Yes. You. Can.

Costume National Fall 2010

Pair leather with your lace, wool with your chiffon and inject some autumn glamour with shearling a la that Burberry Prorsum Aviator or a little bit of Oscar de la Renta-esque fur-hemmed extravagance, and a seasonal palette update of gilded pumpkin, russet and (mmmmm) chocolate.

Kenzo Fall 2010

Emilio Pucci Fall 2010

Images courtesy of

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Look du Jour: Sport & Sweet

Don’t you just love it when trends merge in a kind of opposites attract rom-com of an outfit…

Fairy florals and demure lace detailing get a preppy makeover with a totally sport-chic coral jersey bust panel (very reminiscent of the layered bralettes seen on Alexander Wang’s s/s runway, not to mention the body/skirt combos seen at Topshop Unique). All topped off with a pair of sneaker-meets-winklepicker kitten heels in a gloriously coordinated spring/summer style love-in.

Photograph by Illiana M.

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Look du Jour: Lace me Up Cherub

Friday night? What Friday night? There’s always call for looking sweet and innocent on a Saturday and you don’t get much more unimpeachable than high collar white lace, a pure peachy chiffon knee-skimmer and little leather booties (very Victoriana). The – enviably on-trend – leather waist cincher stops this look from veering into nauseating Little House on the Prairie wholesomeness – no one needs to look that vestal!

Photo by Fashionshesays

Look du Jour: Wear Your ♥ On Your Shoes!

It’s an affaire du coeur, an epic love story in lace, fanciful florals and those wonderfully wistful Westwood shoes…sigh. I think I’ve come over all starry-eyed…

Photo by Shan Shan over at Tiny Toadstool

Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon Heart Shoes s/s 2010

Love…or slavish lust? Who cares…I NEED these shoes!

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A Lingerie Love Affair

Titillating silk stockings, elegant lace garters and consummately carnal suspender belts…lets talk unmentionables.

Damaris Evans

Mimi Holliday: Ooh La La Set

Lingerie is the one area of your wardrobe where you can really indulge your selfish side in a full-on hedonistic orgy of immoderation…after all no one actually needs a pair of knickers with ribboned lace-up corsetry detailing bedecked with a garden of handmade silk flowers, or a corset delicately traced in floral lace motifs and panelled with Italian woven satin. Practical – no. These are articles of pure folly; heart-breakingly beautiful confections which ooze feminine sensuality and bestow an extra level of mystique on the wearer. Nothing beats the knowledge that under that strait-laced workaday suit (yawn) lies an utterly frivolous pair of naughty knickers and a racy half-cup bra. In a word – empowering.

Strumpet & Pinks

Lise Charmel Nuit Glamour Collection

Looking sexy is mostly about feeling sexy and lets face it, it’s not easy to feel sexy in a pair of granny pants and a faded old t-shirt bra. Slip into a Strumpet and Pinks set of silk and feather light chiffon panties or a fabulously fun Miss Lala brassiere however and it’s a very different story. An extra level of armour in the arsenal of the glamour puss, lingerie acts like an irresistable panacea to low self-esteem, bolstering courage and sky-rocketing self-assurance to the stars. Because in order to feel truly confident you need to be secure about what’s underneath. Hell, add silk seamed stockings and a lacy suspender belt to the mix and even world domination becomes a realizable ambition.

Sally Jones ‘Charlotte’ Silk Teddy

Miss Lala Presents Calligraphy Corset

It isn’t all for our own enjoyment…sometimes it’s about showing Him just how lucky he really is. And so – purely for the purposes of this post (of course) – I decided to try and debunk the widely held misnomer that guys don’t really give a monkeys when it comes to our intimates by taking the completely outrageous step of actually asking them…

Agent Provocateur s/s 2010

Dita Von Teese Vintage Collection

The results? (Inevitable comedy responses aside) I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised; even white girl-next-door cotton got a look in. Mystery, suspense and simplicity were the words to watch and the top scorers were lace, French knickers and understated sophistication. Thongs proved divisive  in the hot or not stakes (excuse the pun!) Ladies’ favourites – corsets and suspenders – were popular in theory…but proved to be a passion killer in practice. Well, all I have to say to that one is good things come to those who wait…
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Amazing Lace…

Dolce & Gabbana: s/s 2010

Philip Treacy for Valentino Garavani

I am not, as a general rule, the most girlish of girls so for me the s/s 2010 foray into Mills and Boon style flounces and romantic ruffles of chiffon and tulle in a palette of nudes, neutrals and pretty pastels was – from the off – going to be a tough one. It’s not that I didn’t like the idea – on the contrary, I have always wanted to be the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ girl – it’s the fear that, under all those delicate layers and wistfully nostalgic detailing, I’d end up less ‘pastoral goddess’ and more ‘Miss Havisham’ clinging desperately to the mouldering trappings of her faded youth.

It’s the lace that does it…conjuring, as it does, images of yellowing net curtains, table cloths, doilies and the whiff of moth-balls. But the profusion of prettiness storming the runways and the high-street has, as always, given me pause for thought. Tongue-in-cheek broderie Anglaise at Chanel, sheer lingerie-inspired delights from Galliano for Dior, even the sunglasses were all prettied-up at Erdem…I could go on…and on…And then there are the obvious advantages to this look – not least its endlessly fun good girl/bad girl versatility.

Chanel s/s 2010

Dior haute couture s/s 2010

With this in mind I decided to face my fear, bite the white bullet, march straight into the sickly sweet jaws of femininity and declare (with much exaggerated gusto): ‘I AM WOMAN hear me… er…giggle coquettishly as I wantonly skip through a haystack-bedecked pastoral idyll of innocence.’

Funnily enough, having got my hands on a fabulous Little Mistress mini dress (empire line, white lace, netting and tulle, ¾ sleeves and a low square neckline – bargain by the way; New Look, Oxford Street (I’m not sure if they do this line in smaller stores or online but it’s definitely worth a look)) I have been well and truly converted to the cause. And while butter would still melt in my mouth, I definitely don’t look like an embittered old spinster, and that’s good enough for me.

Style ideas…

Sex-up a barely there lace mini dress with leather and D&G-style shoe boots for a rock-chick vibe, or go pastoral with chintzy prints and tan accessories for some country-girl charm. Try teaming a dress with this season’s summer peep-toe/ cutaway heel boots for some so now style or be bold in brogues, scrunched-down knee socks, micro shorts and a Topshop lace body. Choose laced-up accessories for a more subtle take on the trend and mix them up any-which-way for some genre-busting subversiveness.

H&M Divided Collection s/s 2010