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


Lula Loves…and so do we

UK fashion magazine Lula is celebrating its 5th birthday this month in its own inimitable style (gently kitsch, sugary-sweet…roll out the soft focus, add a wash of dreamy haze and stir in some guileless sexuality…) with a Lula Loves pop-up shop in collaboration with the colossus of retail aristocracy Harvey Nichol’s.

The store – designed and produced by Fiona Leahy and curated by Lula founder Leith Clark –  features a selection of Clark’s (soon to be your) favourite things including one-off pieces by Rodarte, Erdem, Charles Anastase, Miu Miu, Lover and Sonia Rykiel, some insanely covetable cult archive revivals (notably the Miu Miu glitter shoe) as well as a selection of books and music from the renowned artist/ writer/ film maker Liz Goldwyn and the insanely talented illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve along with other illustrious members of the Clarkian inner-circle (Derek Blasberg, Melissa Auf Der Mauer…)

The whole set up, found in the newly opened concept space on the fourth floor, is sheer Lula magic – a celebration of the ethereal, whimsical and beautiful. Well (I’m not sure how much I can stress this!) worth a visit, even if it is only to briefly exchange the non-stop monotony of the real world for a nostalgic jaunt through a sigh-provoking wonderland.
In fact I love it so much I’m considering relocating from my beloved E2 to planet Lula.

Images with profuse thanks to Style Bubble; click through to view more Lula gorgeousness (one of these days I shall get my hands on a half decent camera) and/or for the inside scoop (plus pics) on the launch night head over to Fashion Bite.

The Lula Loves pop-up shop is open in-store and online until the 1st August.

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Look du Jour: Frock Fantasy

I’m in the mood for some pretty, powder-pink, airy-fairy, cute-as-a-button, princess frock frivolity. Give me fantasy, daydreams and a romp through the wilderness with a knight in super sharp Armani paired with Grenson brogues wielding anything but a man bag…sigh. Otherworldly escapism with a side order of whimsy please – and hold the fainting (damsel in distress? Me thinks not).

Back to the outfit – a minxy thigh-skimmer of a hemline, peep-toe neutral wedges and socks and nailing the hot as hell asymmetric trend (look to 3.1 Phillip Lim and RM by Roland Mouret for references) this look couldn’t be more now. Details wise, the chic frayed edging of the under-shorts is VERY Prada’s s/s 2010 distressed graphic silks; deconstruction contrasted to perfection with the Rodarte-esque romance of that diaphanous one-sleeve wonder.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me…I’ve a wilderness to get back to…

Photograph/ Styling by Frida Johnson: Blog

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How Punk Changed the (Fashion) World – and why you should care…

Punk. It’s  everywhere (honest). From the frayed glamour of Rodarte‘s NY showing; rough hand-dyed fabrics, plaited leather tassels, tribal body paint. Through the safety pins adorning Christopher Kane’s Versus collection and adding eccentric detailing to Vena Cava‘s Spring 2010 show, to Marc Jacobs’ girly take on the safety-pin necklace – firmly cementing safety pins as the new accent du jour. And what about those killer thigh-highs? 2008’s, oh so tricky, leather leggings? McQueen? Westwood? Punk is the mainstay behind the eclecticism of modern fashion – a wry eyebrow raised in nihilistic insouciance, a sardonic nod to the sheer theatricality of it all. In short, fashion reference gold.

Spawned in the mid-70’s from the realities of a disaffected working-class youth with little hope of employment and housing. Anti-establishment, anti-materialistic, anti-aesthetic. Punk was a back-street backlash against everything that had gone before and nothing shouted this fact more loudly in 1970’s Middle England than a no-holds-barred, many-holes-bared approach to clothes.

Branded the wardrobe equivalent to swearwords; indeed (bondage, studs and leather aside), expletives – along with swastikas,  inverted crucifixes and other offensive symbolism – did play their role in Punk’s crude yet powerful form of anti-branding. A foil to the unrealistic ideals and fanciful imagination of the hippy era, exchanging the frothy patchwork maxi dress for distressed and dirty denim, flipping the bird to floral prints. Punk bit back with a mish-mash of crude realism. Made-up of unconventional materials – Bin Liner Dress anyone? – shredded knit-wear,  ill-thought-out forays into razor-blade jewellery, this really was the ultimate in Trash Couture. The Establishment was, suitably horrified. Punk gave us the sartorial rebellion of the century combined with a thrift-store magpie-esque vision that is, well, so now.

In plundering the cultural closet of Britain, taking ownership of its tight-laced tweeds and quaint tartans, and reworking them with an anarchic sense of fusion: the donkey jackets, ex-army surplus and tattered work-shirts all replete with an edgy DIY approach to accessories (marker-pen graffiti, electrical tape, badges, the ubiquitous safety-pin). Punk turned fashion inside out, upside down and then gave it a solid kick in the teeth for good measure.

And at the epicentre of this style revolution? The Grand Dame herself Vivienne Westwood and partner in crime Malcolm McClaren, whose Seditionaries collection – as worn by Punk anti-stars The Sex Pistols – forged the iconic early Punk look from the ideological play-off between tradition and transgression. This self-conscious pastiche of historical costume, combined with a don’t-equals-do approach to the rules of dressing and an in-your-face individuality liberated us from a complacent conformity and gave the British Fashion scene a much-needed injection of ballsy indifference.

It was a style tour-de-force from which convention never fully recovered. The ironic rise and rise of the original anti-fashion is still on the up with Punk now the proud post-modifying Grand-Daddy of an innumerable brood of subculture-styles from Pop-punk to Psychobilly. And, with a swathe of super-stylish celebrities already on the Punk-inspo bandwagon – Kate Moss, Agyness Deyn, Leigh Lezark – going Punk has never been so on-trend.

So, what’s your 2010 style? Raw Couture? Neo-Grunge? Urban athletic? Thinking of dressing-down that lacy Galliano mini dress with some sexy biker boots? Picking up on the body-art trend a la Chanel, Gaultier, Malandrino? Or even, taking the plunge with the latest underwear-as-outerwear craze? Punk has its plucky fingers in many pies so, the chances are, whatever you’re channelling this season, you’re channelling Punk. And if in doubt, a little bit of Butler and Wilson Swarovski skull glamour is sure to get your inner anarchist  going. Vive Le Rock!