One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Over to the Dark Side...

From Shakespeare to Shelley, the British have always celebrated the macabre and the gothic to some extent. Not really surprising, given our windswept moors, unpredictable weather and ancient historical piles and ruins. So there has been plenty to ignite the imaginations of some of our greatest fashion designers when it comes to adding a dark twist to their creations, and I would like to take this opportune moment to pay homage to 2 of my favourites: Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh.

McQueen was well known for his acknowledgement of the sinister in his collections; his historical references included highwaymen and Hitchcock heroines.  It was in 2006 that he took part in a Gothic revival and famously sent a ghostly hologram of Kate Moss down the catwalk at the end of his show: a moment that has been cemented in fashion history as truly iconic and to those that were present, both moving and unforgettable.

McQueen, Autumn Winter 2006

McQueen, Autumn Winter 2006
McQueen, Autumn Winter 2006
McQueen, Autumn Winter 2006
The Kate Moss hologram that ended the 2006 show at McQueen

And where McQueen referenced the past, Gareth Pugh's take on this aesthetic is entirely different: think neo-goth in high-tech fabrics and modernist symmetry.

Gareth Pugh Autumn WInter 2010

Gareth Pugh Autumn Winter 2010
Gareth Pugh Autumn Winter 2010

(OK I promise this is my last Halloween inspired post as I shall be busy planning costumes and trick or treating!) 

Black Magic

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Having trouble deciding what to wear this Halloween?? Here are a few of my favourite gothic heroes and heroines to get ideas flowing:

The Corpse Bride

Edward Scissorhands

Eva Green

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby

Alternatively, if none of these are inspiring you, it's halloween, so you can always think outside the box!! Imagine if you will a goth-glam Karl Lagerfeld or Daphne Guinness.....the possibilities are endless. Only a few days to go now....

Sexy Denim: Label I Love

And so introducing a recent discovery of mine: the stunning MET denim collection, an inspired and varied collection which is guaranteed to jazz up your jeanswear. The brand is quintessentially Italian in that it is super-glamorous, and the range is sure to satisfy both denim and fashion lovers alike! The tagline for the brand is 'Pensato e produtto in Italia' (produced and created in Italy); the materials are all locally sourced and the entire collection is regionally produced, further adding to its authenticity.  Some of the most stylish celebrities around have been quick to cotton on and fans of the brand include Halle Berry and Kristen Stewart.  My personal favourites are the dark metallic, snakeskin finish 'Angel' pair, especially coming up to Christmas when I always love to add a bit of seasonal shimmer and shine to my wardrobe. I will be pairing mine with super-fine knit jumpers, cosy fur stoles and ankle boots. Simply gorgeous.

AnnaLynne McCord rocks out in her MET jeans

Angel Metallic Snakeskin Jeans

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Ghouls and ghosts; spirits and sceptres.....Halloween is very nearly upon us once again. With tricks and treats galore in store, there is always an excuse to embrace your gruesome side, get dressed up and have a party! One definitive treat I have discovered so far this week is this amazing nail art from WAH nails. Absolutely loving theese designs, especially the gothic spider webs - although the bats and pumpkins do add a fun touch! The only dilemma now is which one to choose.....

Photo credit: WAH nails

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Emerging Trend: Cut Outs

There is a  trend slowly beginning to emerge at the moment for items of clothing with cut-out details. I like it because when I first came across it, I was instantly reminded of when I was younger and used to spend hours making those kirigami paper snowflakes by folding up paper and cutting out shapes. It is also a new way to show a subtle glimpse of skin and it allows for interesting and creative takes on staple items like jackets, shorts and dresses.

Pictured above: jacket by Mink Pink 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Saturday Morning Inspiration

Today I am loving these stunning necklaces by English jewellery designer Lucy Hutchings. I have always loved anything art deco, from architectural examples like the Oxo Tower and Battersea Power Station in London, to designs in interiors and fashion so I can see why Hutchings was inspired to create these pieces. These necklaces would surely provide a show-stopping addition to any outfit, whether dressing up a more casual look by day or adding some high octane glamour at cocktail hour.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Easy Outfit

I have had my eye on these graphic print maxi dresses by Religion recently! So easy, yet stylish. Just add ankle boots and a ton of chunky jewellery. Love.

Rockabilly Revival

Leave it to Isabel Marant to come up with a new take on 2 trends: leather and the 1950s. We have seen a proliferation of leather on the catwalks and at the most glamorous parties over the past few seasons: the biker jacket, the leather shorts, studded leather boots and now we have the leather capris! These are slim fitted, with zips at the side to maintain rock-chic credentials. Isabel Marant is the queen of sparking new trends due to her wearable take on effortlessly cool rive-gauche chic, and as a result, these red leather capris (pictured) have become one of the most coveted items this season. Kookai (apparently they have had a recent revamp) have done a copycat version at a fraction of the price. The trick here is keeping the rest of the look relatively simple and injecting an ironic dash of '50s rockabilly chic.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Future's Bright

The inspiration for Christopher Kane's latest collection was Princess Margaret. On acid. Princess Margaret was the ultimate royal rebel and has always been one of my personal style (if not lifestyle) icons, so I love the fact that Kane paid her this homage in his collection, which was made up of simple, elegant skirt suits and pretty summer dresses, re-imagined in the lurid technicolour glory of neon brights!

Princess Margaret 'Kaning' it? Royal Ravings? I think she would have liked this very much!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sheer Beauty

Sheer fabrics, those diaphanous materials that skim the body like water and allow the outside world to glimpse the skin underneath: now that is beautiful. This trend is creeping into fashion now and is set to be huge for Spring Summer 11: undoubtedly the 'new lace'. It is slightly more tricky to pull off, however, as you do not want to reveal too much at once: it has to be more of a flirtatious suggestion rather than an explicit exposé.

For their SS 11 collection for The Row, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen demonstrated to perfection how this look can be worn, by emphasising the contrast between luxe sportswear separates (think jersey fabrics and simple tees) with sheer panels for beautiful and delicate yet extremely wearable designs.

Pictured: AW 10 Religion mesh seamed skinny jeans; looks from The Row SS 11 collection

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Big Bang

OK so it is not a world-changing scientific discovery but none the less, it is pure genius. The combination of Marc Jacobs and Juergen Teller reached chemical boiling point and exploded in the recent campaign for Jacobs' new scent, 'Bang' and sent temperatures rising within the fashion cosmos. I like this science.

Hot Off the Press

This week sees the publication of 'Luella's Guide to English Style' by Luella Bartley. Luella has penned her book following the liquidation of her company, and I can not wait to read it! I am sure, like her collections, that it will be full of irreverent quirks and punctuated with a 'tongue in chic' sense of humour (Luella's first collection was called 'Daddy, I want a pony!'). The book examines quintessential English style and fashion icons, from Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and last remaining Mitford sister, who feeds her chickens in gumboots and couture; to Kate Moss, whose inimitable style has become synonymous with her own brand of 'I'm with the boys from band' British cool.

'Luella's Guide to English Style' is published on 14 October.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Hello Kitty

After years in the fashion doldrums, the kitten heel is officially back. Kitten heels were seen all over the Autumn/Winter 2010 catwalks: at Stella McCartney, at Valentino and at Isabel Marant to name a few, and they were recently given a stylish seal of approval by Alexa Chung at Paris Fashion Week, which will undoubtedly launch thousands of copycats, or copy kittens if you will. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Yet despite all of this, kitten heels continue to divide opinion amongst women. Are they elegant, or are they a little bit twee? Are they dainty and demure, or are they sickly goody too shoes? There can be no doubt that kitten heels are the Audrey, not the Marilyn, of the footwear universe. I can certainly see their appeal from a practical point of view, in that you can be 'wearing heels' yet still run around the perilous cobbled streets of London in a degree of comfort, and they don't turn you into a towering giant, which is certainly an advantage for a girl who is taller than 5"10.

However, it is the very word 'practical' that trips me up and has prevented me so far from purchasing a pair. It reeks of that other word that just doesn't sit terribly comfortably within a stylish vocabulary: sensible. I am on the fence for now (or maybe until I turn into Carla Bruni and marry a French statesman). However if you do insist on wearing them, pair with rolled up slim fitting trousers and channel rockabilly-irony as seen at Isabel Marant (pictured).

French Fancy Number 5: Valentine Gauthier

Alors, I know that this is already my 5th 'French Fancy' in as many months but I simply cannot deny my penchant for the Gallic grace.

Please allow me to introduce you, my readers, to the Parisian designer Valentine Gauthier, whose eco-friendly ethical designs have already been causing waves across the Channel. Valentine trained with Maison Martin Margiela and Rochas before branching out on her own and in 2009 she opened up her first boutique in the Marais.

The latest collection for Autumn/Winter 2010 was aptly entitled 'Feathered Fawn', and a bucolic palette of rich, russety browns with interjections of teal blues and leaf greens conjured up thoughts of woodland fairytale fantasies. Feminine touches were subtle: tonal floral prints on skirts, elbow length, flesh coloured arm warmers and pretty hats, which also provided the touch of eclecticism that is Gauthier's signature. These more delicate flourishes were offset with military gold buttons and strong silhouettes, which added an extra dimension and further layer of interest to the theme of the collection. Unfortunately the brand is not yet available to buy in London just yet but hopefully this will change in the near future, or there will be some tres expensive trips to make on the Eurostar!

'Feather Fawn' and previous collections can be viewed at