Friday, 25 May 2012

A/W 2012-13 at Yumi, Part 2: A Closer Look

A cosy but fun swing coat in mustard-tinged yellow.

What I love about this coat: the bold button fixtures are practical but they also add clout; the rose print is abstract enough to resemble polka dots from far away, which is more forgiving than a tight ditzy floral pattern; the contrasting collar works so much better than keeping things the same, and it makes the colour more forgiving for people like me who have a sallow complexion.

Ready for a close-up? 

The pink jumper seems to have a touch of mohair/angora, which I think makes it even more tempting. As for that big gold button, it's a simple vintage touch that helps to make this coat look extra special.

'Prints charming' with these bird designs.

The owl blouse is what I often refer to as Holbein blue: a bright teal shade that was often used by the artist Hans Holbein the Younger, which really stands out. The simple print isn't too complicated and it uses little bows in between the owls.

Inside the showroom

You can just catch a glimpse of the fashion film made by Fleur from the PR team. It was also vintage-inspired, with that sort of dreamy sun-drenched feel (think California or Carnaby Street).

Those finishing touches...

I love a good retro accessory, so you can see why I was drawn to the radio, satchel and case on the shelf above the new collection. I like how the satchel's floral print mirrors that of the coat and blouses with their black rose motif.

Chintz and knits

Having worked previously in White Stuff and been involved in creating window displays and visual merchandising in-store, I felt right at home with the china plates, old lampshades and woodland wallpaper used here. Everything worked well together and helped to show off the collection without dominating it.

Duck, duck, goose

I'm a little bit in love with this print. Not being up on my bird species, I want to say it's a mallard, but I have a feeling that I'm way off the mark. Birdwatching aside, this is a fun print that isn't going to make you look too girly as it has an arty edge.

Specs appeal...

A classic range of monchrome prints featuring glasses, bow ties and top hats was highly effective and made a great focal point. The whole Mad Men vibe is going to have that spectacle cardigan flying off the shelves.

Putting on the Ritz...

This shirt doesn't actually glow - it's just me playing around with photo effects. However, it really shows off the moustache design and I'm sure this will be another big seller.

Colour block corner.

Some girls are indecisive about colour, but this clutch does the hard work for you. Channeling Celine, it's a wearable piece that looks sturdy enough to survive a good few nights out.

Nailed it.

Nail artist Sophie Harris-Greenslade of The Illustrated Nail, whose work has been featured in Stylist, and I.D Magazine, was on hand (excuse the pun) to provide amazing designs. Not only was she incredibly accurate and inventive, but she was also great fun to talk to. I came away with a beautiful set of nails featuring polish by Essie and Barry M alongside intricately painted heart and lipstick motifs. Stay tuned for the photos.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A/W 2012-13 Preview at Yumi: Photo Essay


This week I was given a sneak preview of Yumi's collection for A/W 2012-13. My full blogger report is still in the pipeline, but I thought I'd show you some of the brilliant prints and textures coming into play for next season. The big trends I picked up on were English Eccentric (repeated motifs included bow ties, ducks, owls and spectacles) and the Swinging Sixties (swing coats, Peter Pan collars, colours like mustard and burned orange, shiny PVC/Vinyl raincoats in ultramarine and pillar box red). I love the girly vibe and the way that the pieces could be dressed up or down.

Just to brighten things up mid-week, they even provided a pick 'n' mix stand, a nail artist and retro-style drinks. Look out for more photos, including my top picks from the collection, coming soon.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum: Review

Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum
 The shoes suspended by the staircase gave a hint of what was to come...

It's clear from the moment you walk into this retrospective that the mood of Louboutin's world has been captured. With tiny spotlight bulbs highlighting vertiginous heels and clusters of irresistibly sharp spike embellishment, it's a visual feast. The working carousel, which boasts images of the designer throughout his life, is just one of the gimmicks that really works in this show, taking inspiration from his theatrical past when he spent the 1980s working at the Folies Bergere in Paris. You half expect the cast of Moulin Rouge to pop up behind displays of showgirl shoes and crystal-encrusted stilettos.

Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum: Entrance
 The entrance to the exhibition.

I was particularly drawn to the more outlandish styles that Louboutin offered, such as the text-based heel that moulds words around the foot, and the quirky cool of Deja Vu, a sling back platform heel covered in googly eyes. These were playful and not anywhere near as mass-produced as his famous Pigalle shoe, a celebrity favourite, but they stood out in their own right for their aesthetic appeal.

Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum: Textual Art
 Check out the textual art on this shoe...

Louboutin's personal story is as interesting as the pieces he designs. Leaving school with no qualifications, he was always keen on the dramatic and the lure of the pin-up, finding himself in jobs that took him straight into the heady French nightlife scene. Once he began properly designing shoes, he almost gave it all up for garden design instead. Fortunately he returned to footwear a year later in 1990 and managed to garner his first piece of press coverage by 1991. It's clear from Louboutin's story that the attention of the right people in media and fashion is crucial; once he gained the right support then his career skyrocketed and he was opening his own boutiques. 

Evidently Louboutin is also a savvy collaborator, choosing to work with only the best labels and the finest craftsmen. The best example is his work with Dita von Teese, who has created a hologram burlesque performance that illustrates the link between the stage and the shoes. The burlesque feel is taken further with the brilliant fetish room, which is another exhibition highlight, pushing the limits of the body with impossible-looking feats of design that lead to perilously high heels and a heavy use of metal, often with the complexity and surreal feeling of an M.C. Escher drawing. If you're confused as to how some of these products make it past the initial sketches then the reproduction of his studio will go some way to answering your questions.

If you get the chance to see Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum (until 9th July 2012) then don't miss out. This is a colourful and memorable show that will leave you inspired.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Met Ball 2012: Impossible Conversations, Fairytale Dresses

Met Ball 2012 Bosworth Prada Kane Lauren
 [Getty Images].
 Burgundy on Ice
Kate Bosworth in Prada, Caroline Sieber in Christopher Kane, Mia Wasikowska in Prada, Camille Belle in Ralph Lauren.

The Metropolitan Museum, a giant in the cultural world, is also home to a yearly ball which honours the cream of the crop in the fashion industry. It's always a myriad of colours, shapes and risks, with everyone's eyes on the celebrities and their stylists. 2012 has seen Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli's combined retrospective setting the evening's theme, so plenty of celebs turned up in a nice bit of Prada. First up on my radar: the juxtaposition of burgundy lips and fabric with icy whites and blues, embellished with crystals, stones and sequins. This was glamour with a vintage edge, with an unusually brave lead by Kate Bosworth who was sporting a dress dyed in the same two-tone colours as my hair was during Spring 2011 (thank you, Schwarzkopf).

Met Ball 2012 Roberts Escada Banks Katrantzou Versace
 Structured, Not Stirred
Emma Roberts in Escada, Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou, January Jones in Atelier Versace.

The pesky peplum has been very much on everyone's lips when it comes to this season's fashion, but it's been well and truly propelled into your agenda for the next six months with these efforts of varying hip-accentuated degrees. Expect to see high street stores adorning your curves with boxy pleated sections for quite some time, either with a belt or a very well-defined bust. Perhaps not one for the apple shapes amongst us, but this is a trend that just won't die. If you want a quirkier take on the look then channel Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou's eye-popping graphic print.

Met Ball 2012 Fanning Vuitton Mara Givenchy Valli Olsen
 Fairytale of New York
Dakota Fanning in Louis Vuitton, Rooney Mara in Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci, Amy Adams in Giambattista Valli, Mary-Kate Olsen in The Row.

Yep, thanks to all of those 'heroes and villains' cinematic epics at the moment (double points if they reference Snow White), fashion is firmly focused on all things traditionally 'pure' or 'deadly'. Go really literal with an injection of frothy lilac a la Dakota Fanning, or seductive satin from Mary-Kate Olsen. Take your cues from the film heroines of days gone by and enter rooms with a dramatic sweep, especially if you're feeling evil (add your own cackle as you see fit).

Met Ball 2012 Stam Dior Knowles Roy
 Strike a Structural Pose
Jessica Stam in Christian Dior Haute Couture, Solange Knowles in Rachel Roy.

I'd say that this is the definitive pose, judging by how expertly both Jessica and Solange can do the dropped hip and one leg effect. Not only does it seemingly lengthen your pins, but it emphasises your arms and the strong architectural folds around your waist, which most definitely aren't signs of a muffin top (but would quite nicely conceal one - good tip, ladies). Props to Solange for leaving her amazing hair au naturel and not bowing to the pressure of the GHD straightening brigade.

Met Ball Hemingway Topshop Kebede Mulligan Prada
 Sparkling Things
Dree Hemingway in Topshop, Liya Kebede, Carey Mulligan in custom-made Prada.

Causing something of a field day for any magpies in the area, these three women added some sparkle to the evening with their dresses. I love that Dree plumped for Topshop (as did Jaime King), which admittedly looks far more comfortable than Carey's custom-made Prada affair. Having said that, I am incredibly jealous of the latter's quiff.

Met Ball Chung Elson Jacobs Dawson Klein
Bargain Bin
Alexa Chung in Marc Jacobs, Karen Elson in Marc Jacobs, Rosario Dawson in Calvin Klein.

Lastly, three who didn't quite work for me. I know that Alexa is seen as the high priestess of fashion in many circles, but I find a lot of her outfits can be too formulaic at times. It's great to see her stepping out of her comfort zone here and trying a shirt under a dress, but the whole two-tone style of the Marc Jacobs number doesn't quite work on any level. Surprisingly I picked out another Jacobs disappointment on Karen Elson, where the shape and the finish left me unmistakably reminded of the bargain bins at Jane Norman that some chavvy friends tried to drag me into as a teenager. It's really disappointing that Marc Jacobs has performed so uncharacteristically on such an important night. As for the third candidate, poor Rosario Dawson is left with one half of a 1990s Posh and Becks leather outfit, possibly reclaimed from Furniture Village remnants, only her Becks seems to have run away with embarrassment. Or he may be hiding under her big panelled leather skirt. Either way, it's not looking bright for 2013 if these three have anything to do with the fashion rules.

As you can probably tell, I devoured the Met Ball photos like a child at Christmas. I think it was a particularly interesting year for celebrities trying something new (albeit at the behest of their stylists), and it was refreshing to see fewer sensible LBDs or prom dresses and more of the quirky or artistically minded pieces that make fashion intriguing. If you get the chance to visit the Met and check out the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibition, I'm sure you'll be similarly captivated.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fashion Targets Breast Cancer 2012

River Island Fabulous Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
 'Fabulous' t-shirt by River Island for FTBC.

I'm always keen to see the latest charity fashion collaborations on the market and Fashion Targets Breast Cancer has really excelled itself with the Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Instead of working on the 'target' logo exclusively, they've allowed different brands to really put their stamp on things. That means you get Jubilee-inspired crockery from Debenhams and a flower-filled odyssey from M&S, with no two products the same. Here are my top fashion picks from the range, and how they tackle the current trends.

River Island Amazing Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
'Amazing' t-shirt by River Island for FTBC.

The 'Fabulous' and 'Amazing' t-shirts that River Island contributed are the perfect example of how to give a charity piece longevity, so you can pull it out of your wardrobe season after season. These tees also struck a chord with me because I'm a massive sucker for typographic art and anything reminiscent of the great artist Ed Ruscha, whose love of a good enlarged capital letter is well documented.

Trend boxes ticked:
  • 1990s Grunge - the washed out feel of the t-shirts means they'll look great with cut-off jeans and Vans, or creepers.
  • Wipe-out - that whole 'surfing in Hawaii' thing could be done nicely if you paired this tee with H&M's neoprene wedge shoes, a salt spray-splattered fishtail plait and some hot-pants.
  • Pale and Interesting - with the washed out palette of blues, pinks and purples, all you need to complete the look is a pair of pastel chinos or a toothpaste stripe pencil skirt and some vintage kitten heel shoes.

Coast Ana Dress Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
Ana Dress by Coast for FTBC.

If you're looking for the perfect Mad Men-esque outfit then Fashion Targets Breast Cancer can help there, too. This dress from Coast gives you a nipped in waist, hips and a defined bust (without flashing the flesh), finishing at mid-calf length. 

Trend boxes ticked:
  • Laced Up - you've probably noticed that lace is everywhere this season, especially in white or cream. The overlay here means that the pattern really stands out against the dress fabric. To toughen it up, add some minimalist block heel ankle boots and statement rings.
  • Cut and Paste - the patchwork element of layering fabrics on top of each other also gives a nod to another trend. I'd add sherbet-coloured socks and silver spike heels to create further contrast.

M&S Post-Surgery Swimsuit Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
 Post-Surgery Swimsuit by Marks and Spencers for FTBC.

A more poignant example of the important work done by FTBC is this swimsuit designed for women who have been through breast cancer surgery and are dealing with a single or double mastectomy. The print used emphasises that you don't give up on fashion when you're adapting to a changing body, and you can still give a nod to what's feminine or what's current without losing your own sense of identity. 

Trend boxes ticked:
  • Heavy Petal - the use of ditzy florals in pink, red, orange and jade green means that you get a gentle boost of colour. I like the way it could easily be a Liberty print fabric.
  • Illusion Shapes - the pattern followed by the panel of red is the same kind of illusion created by Stella McCartney's polka dot dresses, giving an hourglass figure.

M&S Shavata Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
 Floral satchel and purse by M&S; tweezers by Shavata, both for FTBC.

And now for the accessories: Marks & Spencer continued the floral theme with this satchel and purse, both of which have brown leather accents. They tap in nicely to the trend of English Eccentric, with the retro print and the overriding practicality for summer days out. As for the tweezers by Shavata, these are a more traditionally designed item, using the 'target' logo once again, but keeping things clear and precise (much like your brows should be, once you've used these).

All in all, this is a really strong collection that appeals to women of all ages and is sure to perform well at the tills. Combining relevant colours and shapes with practical pieces that you could actually imagine sitting in your wardrobe, it's brilliant to see that charity can be so seamlessly combined with fashion. Don't forget that an amazing 30% will be donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer from the branded products sold. Get shopping!

For more information, please see the official Fashion Targets Breast Cancer website.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...