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


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

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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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And the Lord didst say ‘Let there be Prints’

And Lo! From the loud and the lurid to the chi chi and the chintzy, The Powers That Be hath delivered a plethora of punctilious prints unto the people. With more ways to wear than the legendary wrap dress and with clashes all the rage there’s no better opportunity for some gratuitous trend-whoring. Aint life grand.

Reminisce in reworked classics like all-American checks, flirty-fifties polka dots (a personal favourite), preppy-pinstripes or muted Sunday-best florals and relive those nostalgia-tinted daisy chain summers on the school-field in gingham.

Or (not for the faint hearted) make a statement and work seventies-style geometric prints –  remember to balance bold patterns with simple accessories and neutral shoes to avoid optical overkill!

Stand-out abstracts in provocative paint-pot brights provide the perfect foil for a summer sun-kissed glow and how about graphics – the super-brave should look for splashes of neon and futuristic shapes; think electro meets disco meets a stonking techno-rave on acid. If you’re eyes aren’t watering it’s not bright enough.

Something more muted? Try a blousy-boho look and go for the clash in layers of loose-fitting florals, stripes, spots – and whatever-else takes your fancy – keep colours faded and textures interesting.

Go on a global sartorial adventure in extravagant yet earthy tribals, ikat prints and a hotchpotch of cultural references – keep hair sleek, make-up minimal and throw on a pair of gladiator flats. A warrior is born.

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