Monday, 28 November 2011

British Fashion Awards 2011 - what do you think of the results?

So, the British Fashion Awards are over for another year. Here's who scooped the top accolades, and my responses:

Emerging talent award – ready to wear: Mary Katrantzou (this was to be expected. With her LFW status as the darling of the new design breed, and a diffusion line for Topshop, she was a dead cert here, but it's well deserved. I will be interested to see if she can keep her shapes evolving, though).

Emerging talent award – accessories: Tabitha Simmons (with lots of historical references and vintage nods in previous collections, particularly SS11, she's a designer who mixes the past and present effectively).

Emerging talent award – menswear: Christopher Raeburn (he's a great innovator and he's been on the ethical fashion radar for quite some time. I'm glad he's now got mainstream recognition. His recent LFW exhibition was really strong, with pieces suspended on ropes).

Accessory designer: Charlotte Olympia (I have previously posted about being a fan of hers, so unsurprisingly I'm pleased that she's been given this award. She keeps generating new ideas and updating the classics without compromising her integrity).

Menswear designer: Kim Jones (simplicity and edginess: two of my favourite menswear adjectives. He fits well with both of these descriptions, so it's a thumbs up from me).

Designer brand: Victoria Beckham (she works incredibly hard and really does know her fashion, contrary to her previous dalliances with WAG style and co-ordinating husband and wife ensembles. I never thought I'd call her an icon, but she truly is).

Model: Stella Tennant (yes, she's good, but I'd have preferred a buck in the trend of the last few years, which has been pale and interesting blonde women. Jourdan Dunn's triumphant win in 2008 seems ages ago. I feel like it's time for the BFAs to honour a more diverse image of British fashion modelling).

BFC outstanding achievement in fashion: Paul Smith (the creator of an empire that still generates quirky ideas to this day).

Isabella Blow award for fashion creator: Sam Gainsbury (having worked on the great Fashion Rocks events, which combined music and style, and more recently launching the McQ line for Alexander McQueen, she's also responsible for countless other fashion events. It's great that behind-the-scenes creatives are acknowledged - not just the designers themselves).

Red carpet award: Stella McCartney (another dead cert, as she's giving us an anniversary exhibition at LFW in February that will be separate from her catwalk collection, and there'll be a retrospective too).

Designer of the year: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen (after all the Kate Middleton hype, who else could it have gone to? Basically I think this would have gone to whoever had designed the Duchess of Cambridge's dress. Yes, Sarah Burton has been great taking over the helm at McQueen, but this award would have been all about that marriage).

New establishment award: Christopher Kane (intelligent, humble and very creative; I love seeing what he and sister Tammy come up with next. They're a design duo to be reckoned with).

British style award brought to you by Vodafone: Alexa Chung (well, she does represent the style ambitions of teenage girls across Britain, but I find her a little predictable. Sorry. Would have liked this to go to someone a bit more boundary-pushing, such as Paloma Faith).


What are your thoughts on these results? Do they feel representative of modern fashion to you, or do you feel like someone is missing from the list?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

High Hopes, High Waist - Miso's new jeans

[Images via Republic online].
I already have a thing about my Topshop high-waisted shorts, but Miso at Republic have gone one better with these Highwaisted Skinny Jeans. Not only are they a really intense blue (none of that pale and interesting baggy stonewashed look, circa 1990), but they're also a flattering cut that works well on curves, as the high waist tucks in a belly and emphasises the hips without them looking matronly. This is particularly relevant to me, as my office-based job has (unsurprisingly) made exercise more off-limits, and I'm fighting a losing battle with some very tempting chocolate bars at the moment. I can't wait to try these jeans on and not have to worry about squeezing myself into low-rise cuts, which often produce muffin-top.

I also like that the buttons are copper-coloured and really simplistic. Nothing fussy going on here, so you've got plenty of possibilities for creating an outfit. Personally I'd be torn between a lace vest top or a crisp white shirt, tied 50s-style at the bottom. The shape already gives a major nod to vintage trends, so it's time to embrace the silhouette when you're pairing these up. Either add volume to your top or continue with sleek lines, and you're onto a winner.

Miso jeans, £29.99, Republic

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hell for Leather

It's not often I post outfit shots, as you know, but these faux leather trousers needed their own shot because they look so flat on a hanger. When I saw them in H&M I was keen (I've been looking for a good pair for ages) but I was worried that my legs would look like over-stuffed sausages. Fortunately the synthetic fabric is very forgiving - perhaps more so than genuine leather - and I feel pretty confident in them because they are genuinely flattering.

Pro points: Comfy, warm in winter, understated enough to work with basics (not trashy), cut on the waist, zip pocket detail that makes them seem edgy rather than slutty.
Negative points: A little too hot if you're out and about (I was burning up wearing them on the Underground), they tend to give a little too much at the knee and the fabric goes thin, which might lead to splitting in the future. I'm unsure as to how I can stop this happening because I don't exactly have lots of faux leather knocking around the house. My solution will probably be to either buy another pair in the sales or look out for anything made in a similar finish from somewhere like Primark, which I can then cut up and patch on as necessary.

Faux leather trousers, £24.99, H&M.
Worn with vest top by River Island.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Vintage Style Gets Mobile: London to Brighton

[All images my own].
The other week (before my home internet died and I was forced to resort to blogging in my lunch hour) I went to see the annual London to Brighton vintage car and bike rally. Basically if you own a vintage vehicle, you can register to take part, though usually some of the really old and knackered ones don't make it the whole way - this year there were 5o who didn't make the finishing line. It's always a fun event and I couldn't resist fashion-spotting at the same time. Here's my first candidate, appropriately dressed for the dodgy weather in a wax jacket and matching hat.

This car gets extra points for effort as they have retro luggage on the roof. You might notice that a lot of the participants wore hats, and I don't know how the bare-headed ones did it, as it was freezing.

Here's a look at one of the cars up close. It's been kept really well and restored to its former glory, with leather upholstery.

Another vehicle shot, this time looking very much like Cruella DeVil's four wheels in 101 Dalmatians. The driver wisely decided not to go for any fur, but instead went for all black to match the exterior.

It's the blokes that make the real effort at this event, as you can see above. Several cars had co-ordinating drivers and passengers, which looked great and added to the flamboyance of the day. It felt so different from a normal Sunday outing. These two even have goggles to complete the look.

Best costume has to go to the moustachioed pair in sheepskin jackets. In order to keep their scarves flying backwards permanently, they had small strips of wire (yes, really), and I even though they were wearing wings at first. The facial fuzz was the icing on the cake.

Retro vs. modern transport - the old cars clearly look much sharper and more interesting, even if they go at half the speed of our chunky buses.

The ultimate accessory for a vintage rally participant has to be a wicker basket, as seen here. Useful for storing your lunch in, and it's classy too.

I loved seeing how much effort people had gone to when preparing for the London to Brighton run, and it was really entertaining to watch. Next year I'm going to try and get in touch with one of the drivers (some of them were solo and looked a bit lonely in the cold) and hitch a lift. 1940s tea dress and victory rolls in my hair would be obligatory, obvs.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Aussie Rules: Black Milk Clothing

[All images taken from Black Milk Clothing's official website].
What started as a brief foray into sewing a shirt became a full creative passion for James Lillis, the designer of Black Milk Clothing, based in Australia. Focusing on leggings, swimwear and dresses, with a smattering of tops and one very sexy lace catsuit, the brand knows exactly where it's going. The aim is to provide brilliantly patterned clothes that are sold exclusively online, and it works. The Galaxy Purple Leggings, above, are a great statement piece for wearing with basic tops or a shirt.

Some of you may know that I'm a massive fan of anatomical art, and that's actually how I came across Black Milk (via the brilliant site Street Anatomy). This skeletal swimsuit would make an excellent body over tights or a sheer skirt. It's beautiful and pays homage to some of the great anatomical illustrators like Andreas Vesalius.

The fantastically named Bone Machine leggings are another potential purchase - they're intricate but could easily pass for an abstract or tribal pattern. This is such a cool way to get into print, and you'd be hard-pushed to find another girl in the same outfit if you were wearing these.

Black Milk dresses are influenced a little differently, with the galaxy and skeleton prints still strong but a few visual links to more traditional art and design. I chose the Mucha dress to show you because it references Alphonse Mucha, a talented Art Deco painter and illustrator. It's a close-fitting number so it's not for the faint-hearted, but you'd get loads of compliments.

I am really impressed by Black Milk Clothing and I think it deserves to be seen. The designs are fresh and fashion-led but without compromising on quality. I'm considering placing an order once I can save up for overseas postage...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

River Island Shoes: Tell Me About It, Stud

[All images my own, taken in River Island, Crawley].
Footwear is as strong as ever in River Island at the moment. Whether you're looking for heels, biker boots or something a little bit punk to get you through winter, you'll find it here. I'm really impressed with the current collection and just had to share it with you. First up are these edgy black wedges that nicely channel minimalism and would look great for trying to emulate Gareth Pugh style in everyday life. All you need to accessorize is a sculptural dress and some checkerboard tights.

Next up, the studded biker boots. With a chunkier heel than most, there's definitely a fashion edge here, but you'd get some serious mileage out of this pair. Just don't expect the motorbike to be as easy to get your hands on.

For vintage tea dresses or 80s wet-look leggings, these bow-trim suede shoes would be ideal. Wear with lippie.

I would kill for these shoes - studs, mesh, gold on black... they're beyond my walking capabilities, but they still make my lust list.

More studs, this time with print. For the eclectic fashion lover.

An all-over pattern works just as well on these heels as it did on the biker boots, only here we have a variety of stud sizes. Another great investment.

In the window was a distinctly English Heritage vibe, meets English Eccentric. Thus we had Sloaney loafers, leopard print and riding boots.

How can the store improve on this collection? I'd like to see more studded flats, as heels aren't always practical. In the mean time, keep doing what you're doing. I'm impressed.

Shop online at if you're inspired by this post - I'm saving up already...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Teasers for this month - spikes, snow and vintage style

[Image via Zazzle].
It's been far too long since I last blogged, as my new job has unintentionally collided with my guest blogging stint for the feminist organisation Bitch Media (who created Bitch magazine, and run the accompanying website). I apologise for any delay in posts on this site whilst I get into the swing of my new blogging routine! You'll find me writing about the juicy subject of 'Art and Feminism', so there'll be much less fashion but still a keen eye on design.

In the mean time, I thought I'd give you all a heads-up on what to expect over the next few weeks on this blog (sort of like a sweetener). You can expect:

  • An in-shop review of River Island's spikey shoe trend, as well as their simple but brilliant wintery shop windows - whoever thought them up must be breathing a sigh of relief at not having to break out snow spray or fake snowflakes for another year
  • Unexpected style icons - drivers and passengers at one of Britain's best loved vintage car rallies
  • An upcoming Australian designer whose clothing you'll be lusting over - think modernist art punk
  • The allure of French jewellery that has conceptual fashion written all over it
  • The best Christmas window displays
Plus, of course, some random unexpected posts that will just pop into my head; well, you've got to be spontaneous when the mood takes you.

I hope you're all surviving the short November days and making the most of the countdown to Christmas.

Polly x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...