The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

4 - Jean Paul Gaultier. The Fashion Worl of Jean Paul Gaultier

In recent years, London has played host to some truly fantastic fashion exhibitions. Admittedly, a few have been more about hauling in the crowds than intelligently unpacking the legacy of a particular designer or topic (not naming any names, obvs) but the vast majority have deftly balanced entertainment and education in a manner that is a true testament both to the skill of their curation and the depth of their subject. That sounded a bit poncy, soz. But it just fascinates me how you can find yourself ogling shiny things and glam dresses one minute and learning detailed information about everything from couture techniques to globalisation and subcultural revolution the next, all within a fifteen minute stroll around a handful or rooms. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk delivers exactly this.

8 - Kylie Minogue, The Virgin with the Serpents. 'Aureole' Gown, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Kylie Minogue, The Virgin with the Serpents. ‘Aureole’ Gown, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection

I almost don’t want to say anymore because I want you to feel as utterly spellbound when you walk in as I did. I was lucky enough to attend the private view and was having such a fabulous time I almost didn’t go and see the exhibition. Then I did, and promptly returned twice more to gape open mouthed at it once again. The words “iconic” and “artist” are bandied about pretty freely when it comes to fashion designers but Gaultier embodies both. His utterly unique brand of street chic meets pop culture couture combines flawless, painstaking craftsmanship, boundless imagination and lashings of wit. Being walked through everything from his early influences to his most famous (or in some cases infamous) creations could never be anything other than a delight. But the combination of garments, photography and video arranged over two floors of quirky, sometimes surprising and always spectacular, themed rooms at the Barbican brings this exhibition alive in a way that does justice to its inimitable, irreverent subject.

2 - Ditta von Teese, 'Laudes' ensemble, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection. Spring_Summer 2007. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Dita von Teese wears ‘Laudes’ ensemble in Virgins (or Madonnas) show, Spring/Summer 2007

From Madonna’s legendary conical bra to Kylie Minogue’s 2009 tour costumes to the divisive Spring/Summer 2012 collection in homage to Amy Winehouse, there’s a LOT to see. However it’s presented in a way that feels more like a journey through Jean Paul Gaultier’s life and extraordinary mind, rather than an overwhelming barrage of  wow factor show pieces. You can learn about the techniques, the inspirations, those who Gaultier has inspired but the whole experience it entirely unpretentious and really, a lot of fun. Then again, an exhibition based around fashion’s original enfant terrible and pioneer of men in skirts should be nothing less than a good laugh. And make sure you don’t miss the Eurotrash room! One of my personal favourites.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on at the Barbican until August 25th. More information here

Love Ella. X

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5 Minutes With: Matthew Murphy, OTHER Shop Co-Founder

matthew murphy OTHER Shop

The mini introductions I include in my 5 Minutes With features are usually completely superfluous but on this occasion, it might not be. Still I’ll keep things brief so you can crack on with the interesting part of the post, Matthew’s answers. OTHER Shop is an extremely interesting concept and possibly one of the few niche, independent, under-the-radar operations to have remained relatively so. Launched in 2012, the shop – or rather the fashion, art and design space – opened its doors in 2012 as the brainchild of Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie, the fellows behind cult hit label, b Store. Now even if you’re not super familiar with OTHER Shop, you’ll definitely have heard of bStore. Launched in 2001 as a footwear label and stockist/support of emerging labels. In the bat of an eyelid the brand was collaborating with the likes Liberty of London, ASOS and Mr Porter, growing at a rate of knots and gaining fashionable fans all over the globe by the bucketload. But, in 2012, Matthew and Kirke decided to close down bStore’s retail operation and set up a new venture that stayed truer to their original vision. A seriously, bloody, ballsy move I’m sure you’ll agree but judging by OTHER Shop’s ever expanding fan base and status as the coolest thing on Kingly Street, it was one that appears to be paying off big time. I caught up with Matthew to talk emerging designers, collaborations and plans for the future…

LPA: Talk me through a typical day in OTHER Shop HQ…

MM: We start the day, as everyone should with a good coffee! Then discuss content and calendar for the website, OTHER/man and woman production, store events and new exciting deliveries that have arrived from brands that week. We are a small team, which has adopted a family relationship, so there is plenty of banter between ‘work discussions’. There are always many meetings with new and established creative partners, regarding collaborations, projects and working with new designers. Creating features for our social networks is also an essential part of our day, I feel that communication of the life behind the scene’s of OTHER, is important to build our community, increase awareness and show that there are ‘real’ people making the decisions, with passion not spreadsheets

LPA: Your previous venture, bStore, swiftly became a cult hit and during the following decade grew to the extent that by your own account, it ended up far from the original vision. How have you taken the core aspects of bStore and translated them into OTHER Shop without risking history repeating itself?

Without question there are similarities between the businesses but fundamentally b store was always based around a flagship store to launch a wholesale brand. With OTHER/shop the focus is exploring new ways to present creative talent, whether through our own brand projects or supporting young emerging talents. OTHER brand is a key foundation for the business and a tool to enable us to venture into wholesale projects, through collaborations, pop ups and corners. We have just secured a small corner in Dover Street Market in London to launch our OTHER/man, through this type of initiative we can control the creative presentation and distribution of the brand and gives us the opportunity to increase awareness for both the brand and store. The fundamental aspect at the core of both businesses is that we strive to take risks and continue to move forward, we ensure that this continues to be part of the OTHER/shop vision

LPA: One of the things that’s so inspiring about OTHER Shop is the fact that you seek out, stock and support new design talent. Why is this so important to you? And how do you select creative’s to champion?

MM: We are always overwhelmed by the amount of talent there is and unfortunately due to the size of our business cannot support as many as we would love to. To continue to be a platform to launch new design talent, is key to both the success of our store and the element that continues to keep us inspired. Our physical store is based in central London amongst some of the best multi brand stores in the world, which results in their being many outlets for established brands, so as a small independent, we have to create an individual identity and reason’s to shop with us, working with small emerging brands not readily available through established stores, stands us apart. It is also key that we have a friendly, approachable and knowledgeable team that can convey the story behind these brands, which I am proud to say we are lucky enough to have. The selection is always difficult but we try to find a brand that adds something new to the offer, we try not to duplicate brands and select each one for their individuality, whether the designer has the seasonal trends within their collections is definitely not a factor in the selection.

LPA: Besides stocking a range of independent brands, OTHER also produces its own clothing and footwear line with a focus on locally sourced fabrics, quality and wardrobe staples as opposed to seasonal trend led collections. In terms of design and production, how does this work in comparison to other brands?

MM: Currently we produce the brand as and when we need it through the season, it helps to keep newness coming into the store and often works as a tool to add categories that we could not find from the brands we work with. It is important for us to manufacture in the UK for two reason’s, one being the desire to support UK manufacturing but also being a small team it enables us to be more reactionary to our customers needs producing key seasonal product, when the consumer actually needs it. This said because of the success of our own brand and the interest in collaborative projects, we need to bring the collection inline with seasons and expand the category offer, particularly the shoes. This will put us in a position to create relevant season awareness tools such us, collaborative film and look book projects with artists and to have a sample collection.

LPA: Who do you see as being the OTHER Shop customer?

MM: A true individual spirit in search of a new experience.

LPA: Collaborations seem to be central to the OTHER Shop ethos and during 2013 you worked with brands such as Lee and Grenson. How did these come about and why did you feel these labels were the right fit?

MM: For us collaborations only make sense when each party can bring something new to each other’s offer. We don’t have a denim offer in our collection and LEE have been producing denim for 125 years, so what better brand to work with? With Grenson the handmade British craftsmanship also meant a lot to us. With both brands we took signature elements and created what we felt was a new way of presenting the brand. A Collaboration has to talk to new audiences for both brands involved and that’s why we approached established brands, which meant we were able reach consumers that did not know of OTHER and the same for the brands.

LPA: What up-and-coming brands are you particularly excited about right now?

MM: New one’s that have or will become part of the OTHER/family are London based women’s designer REJINA PYO, her modern clean aesthetic has been a big success for SS14 and Priority of 10 FROM New York, who have created a sports influenced cool collection for women, Munich based men’s brand A KIND OF GUISE, has been welcomed by the OTHER/shop customers, accessory brands FAUX/real (jewellery) and LEVIT02 (unisex sandals) are both exciting additions. For next season we continue to support London based talent and have added AGI&SAM to our menswear offer, whose AW14 collection felt very sophisticated.

LPA: As well as being a retailer, OTHER Shop also showcases contemporary art and design. Tell me a little about the role of those aspects within the overall OTHER Shop brand…

MM: It has always been key that we are an outlet for creative talent not just fashion but design and art. Generally this stems from our community, the people we meet through the store that become friends and then we host an exhibition or friends who we admire their work, such as DARKROOM the interior and lifestyle brand/store who we partnered with on a pop Christmas store. All these projects and elements keep our business interesting and current.

LPA: Do you have any upcoming collaborations or expansion plans for OTHER Shop that you can share (even very vaguely) at this point?

MM: We have secured and planned to launch the dover street market OTHER/man corner this month in London and Tokyo, are in talks with LEE to be part of their 125 year anniversary celebrations and we are planning a very exciting project with one of our long standing brands, STEPHAN SCHNEIDER.

LPA: What advice would you give to an independent designer hoping to work with or be stocked by OTHER Shop?

MM: They don’t need advice from us, just to be true to their vision.

You can find OTHER Shop at 21 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5QA or visit them online here.

Love Ella. X

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Look Du Jour: White Dress 101

white dress claudie pierlot

white dress claudie pierlot

white dress claudie pierlot ella catliff

white dress claudie pierlot ella catliff

white dress claudie pierlot ella catliff

white dress claudie pierlot ella catliff

white dress claudie pierlot ella catliff

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn April 14_007

white dress ella catliff la petite anglaise

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn April 14_009

What: Claudie Pierlot white dress, J.Crew jacket, Rebecca Minkoff bag, Pretty Loafers shoes (all c/o), Kate Spade NY iPhone case & Accessorize handbag (ancient and usually reserved for the gym by so shiny I couldn’t resist!)

Where: Meetings in London.

I know what you’re thinking… is the girl INSANE!? Wearing a dress so skimpy and breezy and icy white in London in April! Madness! I’m going to level with you, I was a bit nippy. But when one of my favourite Parisian exports, Claudie Pierlot, asked if I fancied getting my style on with a piece from their all white Flirt collection I wasn’t exactly going to say no. And having styled up said frock I wasn’t exactly going to get changed into something more weather appropriate before going on my merry way, goose pimples and risk of flu be damned. There’s something so deliciously palette cleansing about a lightweight white summer dress. After months and months and yet more months of coats, hats, rich hues and knits that were once oh so snuggly but now just feel plain oppressive, it’s a relief. However, donning that first white dress of the season is not without potential pitfalls especially if your arms, legs and face are quite as luminously, glow in the dark pasty as mine. Having tried to disguise the fact I have the kind of skin that could suffer moonburn by pairing the dress with long sleeved striped tees (I looked like a cartoon character) and even layering over jeans (I’m not nearly cool or layering savvy enough to pull that off) I landed upon this J.Crew boucle jacket. “Huzzah!” I thought. What better way to display this little number in all its glory without resembling a giant, white blob than by teaming it with seriously bright shades of pink and clashing houndstooth patterns?! I was pretty pleased with the results and the only fly in my ointment was the huge gust of wind that resulted in my unintentionally flashing my pants to half of High Street Kensington.

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 1 Comment

Women Who Eat On Tubes

women who eat on tubes

Before we go any further with this post I’m going to state my opinion on this right now, Women Who Eat On Tubes is abhorrent. On the whole, I think it’s great to start a debate (rhyme unintentional) regardless of whether it’s over the Kimye Vogue cover, Miley’s twerking antics or the ongoing hubbub about peacocking at fashion week. All totally unnecessary occurrences that spur some pretty strong opinions. Whatever side of the fence you fall on, you’ve got to admit that things, be they fashion, music or pop culture related, are that bit more interesting when get people conversing, discussing and arguing. Hell, even angry, most likely misspelled tweeting is infinitely less dull than a nonchalant “meh”. But no matter how many people hold forth about Women Who Eat On Tubes, I refuse to even entertain the notion that, as the site’s founder Tony Burke claims, it’s any form of art, observational or otherwise. It has not “thrown up a number of little tributaries of discussion”, it had caused understandable offence and anger.

I take two main issues with the site. Firstly, that it’s purely women. I’m not saying that it would be all fine and dandy if it was People That Eat On Tubes (although I suspect that site might be rather less popular) but the fact that its focused solely on catching women in the act of snacking makes the whole thing particularly unpleasant. Many, if not most, women’s relationships with food are complicated things involving a fair amount of guilt and dress size anxiety. Again, I’m not saying men are immune to this by any means. But the fact that the guilt/food association is both so widespread and so openly discussed among women – ever opened a women’s mag without at least three features in some way relating to the subject? – highlights the fact that whether the individual in question is mostly healthy person who endures the odd fat day/regretted pack of peanuts, or suffering from something more serious altogether, it’s a loaded and often painful issue. With this in mind, how could taking and publishing surreptitious snaps of women eating not have the potential to make them feel like complete shit? Especially when you factor in the inevitably vile barrage of comments that will follow. And, call me old fashioned, but isn’t knowingly inflicting shitty feelings on an absolute stranger for no reason other than your own amusement and validation as a harbinger of LOLS a bit, well, wrong? I also can’t help but feel that Women Who Eat On Tubes rather ventures into women not being allowed to eat in public territory which harks back to an age of “her indoors” that none of us want to go near. Poorna Bell wrote a far better piece on all this than I ever could for the Huffington Post, you can read it here.

My second major issue with the site is the extent to which it seems to believe that social media makes us all fair game. This is something that particularly gets me as a) I heart social media and b) I know that this has a hefty element of truth to it. If we’re constantly uploading images of ourselves to the World Wide Web, how can we take issue when someone else decides to do it on our behalf? Doesn’t that just reflect an innate vanity? i.e if a snap’s not taken at the most flattering angle known to man and sexified with an X Pro II filter it’s not going anywhere. I suspect this isn’t an entirely baseless argument, but that’t not really the point here. Being mocked, critiqued and generally not treated like a human being online is one thing – and still a bad thing – if you’ve willingly uploaded selfies and belfies and art directed breakfast trays to your social media pages. But if you haven’t, it’s infinitely worse. There are some people, I’m told, that actively dislike the idea of social media. Hard to believe in their existence, much like unicorns or the Loch Ness monster but they’re out there and effectively forcing them to participate, against their will and their knowledge is a massive violation of the basic human right not to have your face plastered all over the Internet while you’re simply making your oblivious way to work. Even if you’re as much of an Instagram addict as I, that just doesn’t make it ok for people you don’t know to do this in order to publicly ridicule. How is that not the most obvious thing in the world?

That’s not, however, to say that the rest of us our blameless. I’ve lolled harder than anyone at Jeanz and Scheuxsss. I know several other sites where men are snapped unawares on the daily commute for us gals to ogle, rate and pick over like T.M. Lewin clad pieces of meat. Perhaps the real reason Women Who Eat On Tubes gets us so riled up is that it hits a little too close to home and makes the Internet population (i.e. everyone ever) feel a little uneasy about their own online ROFLS. In an age of paparazzi insanity and street style celebrity coupled with our almost universal compulsion to share every second of our day with thousands of complete randoms, the lines are admittedly rather blurred. But ultimately, if you’re playing the fame game or getting your gladrags on to parade around Somerset House you have, to some degree, given your consent to have unapproved pictures of yourself published online. If you’re simply on your way to work, you really haven’t.

Maybe the moral of this story is really just about not taking and publishing photographs of strangers without their consent, something that should perhaps be more of a given than it is. Women Who Eat On Tubes is the tip of the iceberg, not the entire problem. Nonetheless, I still think it’s appalling. There’s something about the idea of capturing women-only on camera at a moment of potential vulnerability to post online for laddish idiots to leave sexual and/or abusive comments that is both distasteful and cruel. It just can’t be validated with the argument that we should all get a bloody sense of humour. Does anyone really believe that a woman who discovers a snap of herself eating breakfast wraps alongside her fellow commuters, captioned “three little piggies” and followed by a barrage of body related commentary, would simply chuckle and get on with her morning? Maybe some would, personally I’d struggle. And as for Burke’s pathetic assertions that his cheap gag site “cherishes its subjects in the way a wildlife photographer cherishes a kingfisher in a river”… pull the other one, luv.

That’s about enough from me! What do you lot think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 11 Comments

LPA & Kate Spade NY: All About Accessories

This week I announced an incredibly exciting collaboration with none other than Kate Spade New York. It was a piece of news I’ve been itching to tell you all for absolutely ages and I’m equally delighted to share part deux of our project. As you might have guessed, it’s all about accessories. Pretty much anything Kate Spade NY do is a winner with me regardless of whether its a fabulous coat or a playful phone case, but something the brand’s particularly renowned for is their accessories. And seeing as our event next week will be taking place at their accessory specialising Westfield Center store it only seemed right to get us all in the mood for it with a mega accessory styling session. In my opinion, accessories can make or break an outfit. They can elevate the kind of everyday clobber you thrown on unthinkingly into the realms of extreme chicness or add that extra pizzazz to your most favourite cocktail hour ensemble. When it comes to preppy, major accessorisation is basically mandatory. After all, what would Blair Waldorf be without her headbands? Or Cher Horowitz without her knee high socks? Infinitely less iconic, that’s for sure. So, given the power of accessories to amp up all manner of outfits, and Kate Spade NY’s extreme talent for designing excellent ones, it seemed fitting to apply them to my three favourite genres of dressing: casual, preppy and after dark.

Casual

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_009

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_015

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Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_016

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Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_013

Not exactly tracksuit bottoms I admit but this is about as casual as I go really! When accessorising for everyday I’m a huge fan of an oversized shades/understated jewellery combo. This delicate charm necklace adds a glimmer of gold without looking too trussed up for a quick trip to your nearest Starbucks. Mega sunglasses are obviously a must, come Spring they’re my tired eyes hiding saviour. A lightweight scarf is another trans-seasonal essential as here in London the weather can switch between glorious sunshine and torrential rain in seconds. I’m a big fan of handbags in all shapes and sizes but nothing caters to a day of running around town like a long crossbody strap and enough room to fit more than lipstick and a credit card. As for the bracelets, well, too much functionality would just be boring. 

Preppy

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_003

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_005

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Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_006

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_008

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_007

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_001

I’ve long thought that the key to preppy dressing lies in the accessories. The ones that immediately spring to mind are, of course, hairbands and pop socks but actually, I reckon the key elements of Park Avenue Princess accessorisation are coordination and sparkle. Both of these are heavily involved in this outfit thanks to Kate Spade NY’s talent for dealing them out by the spadeful. Whenever I venture into one of their shops to be greeted by rails and rails of gobstopper gems and bow detailing I become the proverbial kid in a candy store and it takes every ounce of self control not to pile them on by the armful. This outfit involves just the right amount, or at least I think so. The white n’  bright statement necklace and matching cuff are shiny enough to appeal to my magpie tendencies and dazzle a few commuters (literally and figuratively) while miraculously not venturing into tacky territory. Naturally I just had to pair them with a matching belt, the shade of which is perfectly picked up by the bag’s trim. These kind of accessories are perfect for important days that merge straight into enjoyable nights as they render high heels wonderfully unnecessary.

After Dark

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_017

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_021

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_022

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Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_019

Ella Catliff for Kate Spade by Holly McGlynn April 14_018

Accessorising for after dark is a high risk but potentially high reward situation. The right amount can turn relatively ordinary separates into something really special. Too much and everything can get a little Footballer’s Wives. Much as I adored that programme (if you’ve never seen it get yourself on YouTube… as soon as you’ve finished reading this post that is) Tanya Turner is not the vibe I’m going for. I think, or at least hope, this combo nails the glam V flashy balance perfectly. The gold accents compliment those my mini skirt, shoes and the insanely awesome clutch bag from Kate Spade NY’s Monaco collection while the coherent colour palette keeps it elegant. I always think a good rule for cocktail hour accessories is stop one piece short of a full set. If you’re rocking a necklace, earring and a bracelet the skip the cocktail ring, or vice versa.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this accessory style up! All of the pieces I’ve styles plus loads more will be available at my event with Kate Spade New York next Tuesday. Come along to enjoy 15% off everything, champagne, lots of styling and the chance to win a handbag. The soirée will be on from 5pm to 7pm at the Westfield Store on April 15th, really hope to see you there.

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 1 Comment
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