Thursday, 30 April 2009

Label Lust: Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli is famed for his voluminous frocks, statement heels and a list of clientele that reads like a who's who in fashion, film and music. Victoria Beckham is a fan of his sophisticated shifts, whilst Penelope Cruz, Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow all know that wearing Valli on the red carpet is guaranteed to land you a spot on best-dressed lists the following day. Valli has acknowledged the importance of dressing celebrities, telling The Independent, 'they are real women, not models. They have real proportions. Some are tall, some art short, some thin, sound roundish.' 

What is exceptional about the Italian Designer, is the way he combines his red carpet appeal, with a dynamic and inventive approach to fashion. Perhaps this is because - despite the seeming modernism of his designs - they are inspired by classical skills. Valli's dream to become a fashion designer was inspired by the watercolours of Yves Saint Laurent and this is evidenced in his collections, for - at the core - you will find sleek, tailored trouser suits and classic evening coats. There is an almost architectural quality to his designs, even his cocktail dresses, with their ruffles and feathers are perfectly sculpted to the female figure. Valli designs, not for the fashion critic, or for his fellow designers, he designs for the woman that wears his clothes, as he, himself confessed, 'it's very important that the woman I design for feels that i had a good time making this dress. I like the idea of dressing women for happy moments'. 

A/W 09

A/W 09

Catwalk Copycat:

  • Valli's S/S 09 collection was inspired by sculpted lines...Look out for a jacket or skirt with a strong silhouette.
  • Try contrasting different shapes to different effects...Valli paired his voluminous tunics with narrow silk cigarette pants.
  • Draw attention to your neckline - Valli's ruffled collars frame the face, but if you feel that's too flamboyant, you can create a similar effect with a statement necklace, like the one below.
  • This look is about balance. Avoid too many strong lines - to avoid looking too severe, pin a floral brooch to a sculptural jacket (as above) or pair a voluminous skirt with a ruffled silk blouse.

Clockwise from left: Ruffle Blouse, £25, New Look;  Flower Garland Catwalk Necklace, £18.00, Accessorize; Frill Back Patent Platform Peep Toe, £40.00, ASOS; Frill Silk Bed Jacket, £45.00, Topshop; Peep Toe Cut-Out Detail Shoe, was £120.00 now £95.00, KG by Kurt Geiger

Trend Watch: Grecian Goddess

From left to right: Reem Acra, Etro, Sophia Kokosalaki 

Etro, Gucci, Valentino...Designers everywhere were seduced by the grandeur and femininity of the Grecian Goddess, this season....And fashion editor's everywhere breathed a sigh of relief...Finally, a look that exudes style and comfort. So if you're shying away from shoulder-pads and turning pale at the though of acid brights, this is the look for you. 
On the catwalk gowns were worn loose but - if like me - you weren't blessed with model proportions, cinch in swathes of fabric with a statement belt. Draw inspiration from Julie Christie, Saffron Burrows and Diane Kruger in Troy (2004).

Oasis and Warehouse have the best selection of Grecian-inspired gowns. You're guaranteed to make a style statement in this royal blue number, or combine two trends in one with the red asymmetric design. If you're strapped for cash and it's longevity you're looking for, the classic style of Next's gold jersey drape dress will surpass the seasons. 

Left to right: Grecian Cape Dress, £307, Erotokritos; Jersey Drape Dress, £38, Next; Gathered Grecian Dress, £90, Warehouse; One Shoulder Drape Dress, £80, Oasis; Piped Grecian Dress, £35, River Island. 

Left right; Coin Drop Earrings, £9.99, River Island; Absinthe Embellished Bib Necklace, £16.00, Accessorize; Grecian Plate Bangle, £9.99, Accessorize. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Fashion Must Have: The Summer Party Dress

Liquorice Allsort Dress, £200, French Connection

This colourful creation from French Connection is the perfect way to combine two of the season's hottest trends. The stylish stripes pay homage to the SS09 catwalks...every designer from Herve Leger to Louis Vuitton showcased their take on the trend, while the clashing colours definitely fullfil this season's style mantra: 'The brighter the better'.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop: Verdict

I had my breath held in anticipation as I tottered through Topshop's doors at 9.45 am this morning (in Primark's fringed boots, love them!)...the day had finally come for style genius Barbara Hulanicki to launch her vintage inspired capsule collection for the high street store. 

Perhaps my expectations were too high. What did I expect?...A kaleidoscopic vision of the sixties?...Retro lights? Paul McCartney strumming on his guitar?... Did I picture myself wrestling Marianne Faithful for the the last printed silk scarf??

The reality was, er, less inspired. Where was it? I peered into each corner of the store...'Oh!'...Finally, I noticed a modest (and a little sad) looking stand to my left. I scurried over, frantically (I have no idea why, I had no competition...perhaps Marianne had opted for the flagship branch?) looking for the dress I'd had my eye on in the online preview.

I found it. Well, it didn't look quite the same. I presumed it was chiffon, but it was cotton, the fabric didn't drape, it stuck out awkwardly. Anyway, I grabbed it (along with a tight little blue number) and ran to the changing rooms (I kept up the pace...'the crowds could arrive at any minute', I thought...In retrospect, I'm not sure the manager even knew what it was).

It didn't look good...Actually, that's an understatement, it looked awful. I was falling out of the top half (and trust me, that's a hard feat) and the fabric stuck out at my hips. 'It might have looked OK on Twiggy's skinnier cousin', I thought. I quickly threw it off and tried on the tight little blue number. Not so all, but I couldn't help feeling that I looked like an extra from The Flintstones Movie (remember that?). 

Disaster No. 1

I had another peruse...maybe there was something I had missed? Nothing stood out...a few naive prints and a couple of flimsy looking chiffon skirts....Where was the sparkle? The opulence? The 'Great Gatsby' inspired glamour? Come on Barb, show us the feather boas!

I decided to give up on my sixties dream and went to console myself amidst the handbags...I found a gorgeous quilted number.

Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop...An ode to Biba? Or another way to line Philip Green's pockets?...My bet's on the latter

Disaster No. 2

Monday, 27 April 2009

Britannia Rules

British designers came over all patriotic this season, from Vivienne Westwood's trademark Tartan, to Paul Smith's London city prints, the homegrown have been pledging their alliance to Cool Britannia

Maybe it's the growing popularity of 'buying local' or maybe hard times are bringing out the nationalist in all of us...Either way, we'll be showing off our pride in style. 

Agyness Deyn has been in on the trend for a while and proves that, despite living in New York, she's a true Mancunian at heart, by carrying around her quilted Chanel Union Jack number (available from Dover Street Market). 

We all need a little 'pick-me-up' right now, and luckily the high street has finally come up with it's own take on the trend, meaning we'll all be flying the flag for Blighty this summer...and what better way to do it than with a gorgeous sequin clutch?

Clockwise from left: Premium Union Jack Blazer, £75, Topshop; Union Jack Clutch, £35, Accessorize; Red Union Jack Print Tee, £20, Miss Selfridge; Flag Print Tie, £12, Topshop; Multi Union Jack Vest, £8.00, Select

Budget to Blowout: Sequin Minis

Monochrome Sequin Mini, £65, Topshop
Silver Mini, £161, Antik Batik 
Sequin Mini Skirt, £1, 620 Isaac Mizrahi

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Rumour Mill: Angela Missoni for H&M???

We've only just recovered from the excitement of the launch of Matthew Williamson for H&M last Thursday and now rumour's are doing the rounds that H&M's next designer collaboration will be with Angela Missoni...

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the designer said:

"I would like to do something with H&M because I think it is a very powerful way to reach younger girls now."

Surely H&M don't need to her anymore than that?! And with Missoni dresses retailing at around £1,'s hoping! 

Trend Watch: Animal Instinct

DVF @ New York Fashion Week

There were lashings of leopard print on the catwalks at Fashion Week: from the acid brights at Lanvin, to the glamorous floor-sweeping gowns at Oscar De La Renta

At DKNY, models strutted the catwalks in body-con dresses in snakeskin and zebra patterns and at Diane Von Furstenburg there were dresses, leggings and waistcoats in exotic animal prints. And who could forget the accessories...there were the 'Tigresse' wedges 
at Louboutin, the sexy stiletto boots at Matthew Williamson,  the printed pouches at Marc Jacobs and the crystal snake bracelets at Roberto Cavalli.

Matthew Williamson @ NY Fashion Week 

Luckily, the high street is brimming with catwalk-inspired pieces to unleash your wild side: from tiger-printed scarves, to bird motif tees, there are pieces to suit every style. 

Left to right: Cashmere Sequin Tank Top, £290, Rebecca Taylor; Big Kat T-shirt, £45, All Saints; Multi-Coloured Tiger Print Scarf, £14.99, Matthew Williamson for H&M

Left to right: Leopard Dress, £1,349, Lanvin; Animal Twist Strap Top, £22.00, Topshop; Animal Print Halter Dress, £35.00, River Island
Left to right: Large Maia Hobo Bag, £1, 561, Jimmy Choo; Zebra Print Dress, £57, People's Market; Zebra Pattern Sandals, £25.00, New Look

Left to right: For the Birds T-shirt, £73, Marc by Marc Jacobs; One Shoulder Parrot Tee, £22.00, Topshop; Swallow Hair Slides, £4.99, Accessorize; Twix Seagull Jumpsuit, £40.00, Motel

Best Dressed: Chloe Sevigny and Kate Bosworth @ Chloe's LA Opening Party

LA's best dressed descended on Hollywood's Milk Studio's to toast the opening of the Chloe's new boutique at Melrose Place last week. The party's co-hosts, Chloe Sevigny and Kate Bosworth showed off two different looks. Chloe wore a boxy white blazer over black satin shorts, showing off her long limbs. While Kate plumped for an embellished nude crop top and a lemon chiffon pleat skirt. Ooo...and how gorgeous are Chloe's shoes??!

Best Dressed: Chanel Tribeca Film Festival Dinner

A bevvy of A-list beauties dazzled in Chanel, at the annual dinner hosted by the fashion house celebrating the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday night. The guests included Robert De Niro, Christy Turlington, Adrien Brody, Debra Messing,  Blake Lively and Poppy DeLevigne. 

22 year old ballerina-turned-model, Dree Hemingway, stunned in a black Karl Lagerfield creation. The great grand daughter of Ernest, has been applauded by fashion editors everywhere for her relaxed, casual style (think blazers by Zara, bags by Balenciaga and boots by Alexander Wang). And here she's upped the style stakes yet again - showing off her effortless style in classic Chanel.  

Mary Kate Olsen wowed onlookers in this stylish Chanel ensemble. 

Can she do no wrong? Diane Kruger looked as stylish as ever (and there can't be many who can pull off white hareem pants...) in a Chanel top and Chanel fine jewellery. 

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Matthew Williamson @ H&M

The much anticipated 'Matthew Williamson for H&M' capsule collection hit stores yesterday. 

The British Designer, famed for his creative use of colour, has dressed the likes of Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Mischa Barton and Helena Christensen. 

The collection for the high street store comprises studded belts, ruffled dresses in bohemian prints, embellished camisoles and ultra-cool jackets, with prices ranging from £14.99 for a printed scarf, to £199.99 for the collection's star item, the multi-coloured maxi dress, featured in the above ad campaign. And each and every item showcases Williamson's immaculate eye for detail: from the hot pink piping on the petrol blue blazer to the zip detailing on the leather jacket.

The designer told Vogue: "I wanted to create a strong urban collection fused with the brands signature symbols and shapes. It's been fascinating to search back through my archives to isolate the most iconic pieces, then rework them for H&M."

"Colour is one of the defining aspects of my signature style. I focused on the iconic peacock motif seen across my collections to develop a palette of blues, chartreuse and emerald. The spirit of the collection is both covetable and precious.

Sequin Cuff Peacock Dress, £49.99, Matthew Williamson for H&M
Leather Waistcoast, £69.99, Matthew Williamson for H&M
Colour Pop Blazer, £69.99, Matthew Williamson for H&M

But my favourite piece has to be this bold metallic clutch: 

Metallic Patchwork Clutch, £30, Matthew Williamson for H&M

And there's more to come, Williamson's initial offering will be followed by 'a second drop' of 60 designs on the 14th May. 

Trend Watch: Denim

Denim is making a big statement this summer: From navy button-down dresses, to bleached and distressed cut-off shorts. 

Here are two of the biggest trends, as seen on the catwalks...

80’s trend as seen @ Balmain, Fashion Week Summer 2009. Acid Wash Jeans, £40, Topshop; Sequinned Jacket, £120, Zara

Distressed trend as seen @ House of Holland, Fashion Week Summer 2009.  Garden Rose Crop Tee, £25.00, Topshop; Distressed Boyfriend Jeans, £30, Crafted, La Rochelle T-Bar Platform £65.00, Topshop.

And if you're looking to work the head-to-toe look this summer, this stylish denim dress by Topshop Unique is now in the sale, reduced from £70.00 to £30.00...bargain!

Unique Denim Jersey Dress, was £70.00 now £30.00, Topshop

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Trend Watch: Cream of the Crop

It all started with Take That...then Aggie stomping the streets of London in acid-wash jeans and Doc Martens. Even Beverly Hills is back on our small screens...Now, it's the turn of the crop top to make a comeback. 

The nineties-inspired trend was all over the catwalks at Fashion Week and the midriffs of Fashion Editors everywhere were shaking with fear...

Unfortunately, we don't all have the toned abs of SJP...but we needn't start doing our sit ups yet, this trend is as much about layering as it is about flashing the flesh.

Kate Boswoth showed us how, when she stepped out a few weeks back, layering hers over a tee and leggings for a casual, relaxed look.

Diane Kruger was one step ahead when she flaunted her tiny waist in a grey buttoned number last year at Longchamp's 60th Anniversary Celebration.

And Cheryl Cole made the look her own when she attended the Brit Awards Launch Party, proving the look can be glam aswell as grunge.

But if you're really feeling bold, you might be inspired by Daisy Lowe, who showed off her body in a tiny (and transparent!...well, it is a big trend this season) crop, bleached cut-offs and pirate boots at Coachella.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Style Crush: Zoe Kravitz

Zoe Kravitz, 20, may be Rock & Roll Royalty – she’s the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and actress, Lisa Bonet – but she’s created a unique style of her own: pairing stonewashed jeans with a smoking jacket and whimsical florals with black opaques. And she looks as effortless on the red carpet dressed in vintage couture and she does strutting her stuff in Topshop…Now, what’s not to like?

Left to Right: Zoe dazzles in Matthew Williamson @ the MoMa Film Gala; in Erin Featherstone @ the designer's show, NY Fashion 
Week; in vintage @ The Met Costume Gala 

Left to Right: Zoe boldly works a crop top, peg-leg jean combo at the Topshop NY Launch Party; in head to toe Chanel @ Paris Fashion Week; in a casual-chic ensemble @ 'The Wackness' Afterparty

You can pick up a pair of the high-waisted jeans Zoe wore to

 the Topshop NY Launch Party on the brand’s website

High Waist Tapered Leg Jean, £40.00, Topshop

Best Dressed: Looks like the LWD is back for Summer...

Kirsten Dunst and Chloe Sevigny both rocked up in LWD's (little white dresses) at the Coachella festival in California yesterday. This year's line up includes Paul McCartney, The Killers, The Cure, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 

Monday, 20 April 2009

Fashion Must Have: Spring Florals

Bold Rose Prom Skirt, £30, Topshop

Welcome the arrival of spring with this gorgeous rose print prom skirt. I'd love to mix it up with a clashing retro print tee and fierce heels.



Above: Striped Cut Shoulder Tee, £18, Topshop
Right: Stitch High Heel Sandal, £40, Miss Selfridge

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Barbara Hulanicki @ Topshop...One Week To Go

Barbara Hulanicki, the founder of cult sixties and seventies fashion emporium, Biba, will unveil her first capsule collection for Topshop next week. 

The 30 piece collection will be available in-store and online and is said to feature floaty chiffon dresses in corals and blues and - Hulanicki's favourite - a suede jacket with shoulder pads. 

Here's the sneak peek...