Ella Catliff, Author at La Petite Anglaise - Page 9 of 226

LFW AW14: Day 3


Wearing Mulberry skirt, shirt & bag, Sandro coat, Hobbs shoes (c/o) & Swarovski rings
Image by Holly McGlynn

LFW day 3 got off to a truly fabulous start. The sun was shining, the sky blue and having got my exhausted self off to bed at a positively saintly hour (ok, fallen asleep in front of my laptop) I was positively skipping as I made my way to the tube station… And got in a taxi, after all nothing dampens the spirits like Sunday morning travel carnage. After speeding across town boring my driver with random ramblings all the way I arrived at the South Bank in good time for my first show of the day, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.


Me & Natalie at Preen

The venue was packed out with the likes of Portia Freeman, Yasmin Le Bon, Tallulah Harlech, Yasmin Sewell and Kate Foley on the FROW and a whole lotta seat jostling and side eye as people determinedly forced their leather clad behinds onto benches. Orchestrating the seating plan at a fashion show demands seriously high level diplomatic prowess, personally, I couldn’t handle it. I found myself placed next to mega NY blogger Natalie Suarez, who’s site Natalie Off Duty I’ve stalked forever. I always feel mildly intimidated in this kind of situation but, as on most other occasions, Natalie was a total babe and we had a good laugh chatting until the show began.


Preen AW14 (images via Style.com)

As for the show itself, I could not have possibly hoped for a better collection with which to kick off day 3. Thea and Justin delivered a masterclass in layering with voluminous outerwear (perma trend alert!) thrown nonchalantly over swishing chiffon in graphic, slightly ikat esque patterns. An immaculate hybrid of city sleek and bohemian, tomboy tough and feminine. The whole tough/soft juxtaposition extended to utility luxe parkas with thick fur trimmed hoods shrugged over the kind of flared fishtail skirts the fash pack adore. Dainty, baby doll shaped dresses strode out alongside sheer detailing, mannish tailoring and crotch skimming thigh slits, conveying a hint of rebellion that made the delectable collection even more compelling.


Preen AW14 (images via Style.com)

Earthy hues have way to top-to-toe tomato red ensembles and a glimmering metallic finale. It was a glorious mash up of textures, colours, cuts and influences; distinctly preen and effortlessly hip. The Star Wars motifs have garnered slightly mixed reviews. I’m still unsure how I feel about them but I was so totally bowled over by everything else that appeared on the catwalk I barely even noticed, let alone took issue with, Darth Vader’s cameos.

Natalie and I filed out, unanimously proclaiming how freaking GREAT the show had been and made our impractically dressed way across Westminster bridge smoking, taking selfies and scaring tourists. My second port of call – after a Starbucks stop, obvs – was Covent Garden for the Sophia Webster presentation. In three short seasons since leaving Nicholas Kirkwood to go it solo, Sophia has won over the industry, landed umpteen uber prestigious stockists and rocketed straight to the top of my most coveted brands list. As the proud owner of several pairs of Sophia’s shoes each of which I’ve clattered around town in all hours I can confirm they’re as well made and hard wearing as they are lovely to look at. But I suspect the real key to Sophia’s success lies in the originality, fun and unashamed girlishness of her designs. Ice cream shades, kitsch motifs, pom poms, fur and sparkle all feature highly and their delivery for AW14 was nothing short of awesome. Webster’s King Street pop up store had been transformed into a multi room homage to noughties pop culture. Dubbed “the girls guide to excess”, this was a colourful, delectable, tongue-in-cheek celebration of wannabe Princesses and Beverley Hills brats set in Sophia’s very own “Heartbreak Hotel.” Think hot pants, hair extensions and barbie hues with Blu Cantral on the sound system and The Simple Life playing on TV screens. Put simply, it was my own teenage years in a nutshell and I couldn’t physically be any more enamoured by it.




The shoes and clutches themselves were an inspired extension of Sophia’s trademark style with the introduction of sportswear touches the likes of which owed more to MTV Cribs than performance gear. Unicorn shaped clutches and unbelievably brilliant boots in metallic pink leather complete with fur trims took things to new levels of fantasy and elicited genuine shrieks of glee from some onlookers. For those of the minimalist persuasion it would most likely have been hell but for me, it was pure high heel heaven.



Had my schedule not demanded otherwise, I would have loitered all day living out my teenage dreams, body popping to Destiny’s Child and watching Paris and Nicole’s rural ridiculousness. Soaking up the last of the sweet, Sophia Webster induced nostalgia I headed back out into the Covent Garden crowds and tottered across the cobbles to Somerset House for Marios Schwab. I know I say this E-V-E-R-Y single season but Schwab will always have a special place in my heart thanks to the fact that his was the first LFW show I ever attended. Since then, I haven’t missed a collection, and they seem only to have got stronger by the season. Despite my love of all things sparkly and glam, I found this season’s rather more austere offerings really impressive. After all, brand DNA is all well and good but sometimes it’s refreshing to be surprised by what you see on the catwalk. Marios Schwab’s AW14 offerings still exuded a sexy, strong femininity but there was a clean lined simplicity to them that felt like something different. The Greco-Austrian designer delivered simple silhouettes, slick tailoring and crisp shirting in neutral hues, monochromes and navys. Hell, there were even a couple of bomber jackets which felt like a major departure from the last few seasons.

Marios Schwab LFW

Marios Schwab AW14 (images via Style.com)

Despite how good these looks were, I did start feeling a little sad not to see any red carpet ready Schwab glamour. Clearly Marios had predicted this and brought his show to a suitable shimmering, semi sheer, floor sweeping finale.

Three shows down, four still to go, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again no doubt every season until I suffer a stiletto induced neck injury and can no longer run around town like a haute hooligan, fashion week is both a sprint and a marathon. But before I’d take my seat to watch another runway extravaganza Claridges was calling, dahhhling. Actually that’s not strictly true, itsu was calling. After basically inhaling an Omega 3 Salmon Supreme (I’m so obsessed with these bad boys I’ve taken to getting them delivered when working from home, ridiculous and unnecessary but exceedingly tasty) I hot footed it to the hotel for a presentation with a difference. As you may well know, Mulberry always hold their shows in the divine surroundings of Claridges’ ballroom. This season however, there would be no show, because the Brit brand I love so much is currently sans Creative Director. Instead Mulbs summoned a small selection of press to their usual fashion week haunt on the promise of a surprise involving a certain Cara Delevingne. Naturally the gossip mills (AKA twitter) began to run riot, most predicting the release of a “Cara” bag. I mean, the younger Miss Delevingne has been model-of-the-moment for so long now it was really only a question of when, am I right? No actually I’m wrong. Or at least, partially so. Rather than simply naming a bag after Cara D, Mulberry enlisted her creative nous to design a handbag collection. We all filed into the ballroom, awaiting the big reveal, to hear animal noises emanating from behind the elegant grey curtains. Eventually they drew back unveiling a woodland scene of silver birch trees (evidently the tree of AW14, remember Hunter Original?) and Cara lounging on a swing, holding the straining leashes of a pack of gorgeous grey hounds.

As you probably spotted in the video, Cara was soon joined by a couple of dashing red haired chaps and the attractive posse explored the mini indoor woodland as the bags themselves appeared. The press release had promised a fusion of elegance and practicality and the three-in-one handbag styles were exactly that. With their luscious leathers, glossy hardware and rich yet wearable hues, the Cara Delevingne collection fulfils the promises on the press release. Personally I would have liked to hear from Cara herself about the design process, how she worked with the Mulberry team and her inspiration behind the bags. That said, I’m sure they’ll still sell like hot cakes and the interior detailing – gold lion rivets and heart shaped patches based on Cara’s tattoos – provided a much needed personal touch.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

Join LPA & Karen Millen…

karen millen

The weather may be claiming otherwise but SS14 is officially here people! March is mere days away so it’s time to pack away those chunky knits and once-fluffy socks, stash that all-weather outerwear and ditch the wintery hues in favour of something new. The next six months may not promise solid sun, at least not for those of us living in England, but they do promise seriously delectable clothes. And what better way to toast the new season’s arrival than with an evening of Prosecco, dressing up and goodies? Personally, I can’t think of one. On Thursday 6th of March I’m joining forces with Karen Millen to host a styling and shopping soirée at their Regent Street store and would be delighted if any of you fancied joining me.


There will be oodles of free booze, styling advice from your’s truly and the chance to take part in Karen Millen’s #MYCITYSTYLE social media competition to win a leather jacket … not to mention try out the other luscious new leathers, I’m currently coveting a green biker style. Even if you only have a few minutes I’d love to see you so do come and say hi!

The event will run from 6.30pm – 8.30pm on March 6th at Karen Millen, 247 Regent Street, London W1B 2EW and you can RSVP to rsvp@karenmillen.co.uk

Hope to see you then!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 5 Comments

Off To Paris With H&M Studio

H&M Studio Paris

As everyone on the planet probably knows by now thanks to my incessant complaining, thanks to my impending university finals this season I was forced to make the hideous decision only to do London Fashion Week. Not that London’s not awesome, obvs it is, but I had such a ball covering New York and Paris last Autumn and really, really wanted to do so again this time. Damn education, spoiling my fun again. Anyway, my unwillingly sensible intentions went somewhat out of the window when I received an offer I couldn’t refuse from H&M Studio. Having made their Paris Fashion Week debut last February, the high street giant will be putting on another catwalk extravaganza to showcase their AW14 collection and invited your’s truly to attend the show and partner with them on the launch of their global Pinterest. A quick trip to Pais for an evening of fashion and fabulousness and the chance to work with H&M again, what sane person would say no to that? All thoughts of looming deadlines banished, I didn’t need to be asked twice!

Tomorrow morning I will be leaping on the Eurostar to join a bunch of my favourite journos and international mega bloggers Cara McLeary of A Fashion Love Affair and Kim Pesch of Eat Sleep Wear to attend the show, drink lots of champagne and generally prance around the town wearing lovely clothes. Infinitely more fun than the library! I will of course be tweeting and Instagramming from the show as well as following it all up with a big, juicy blog post but for now I’d highly recommend checking out the H&M Pinterest. Over the past couple of weeks they’ve been adding design sketched and sneak peeks of the new collection which looks absolutely splendid.

Au Revoir mes amies!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 2 Comments

LPA x H&M for The LFW Daily


I apologise in advance for being obnoxious first the on a Monday morning (feel free to click away, I’ll try not to be too offended) but I’m seriously excited to share my latest project with you all. In the lead up to London Fashion Week I was approached by the lovely folk at H&M to take part in a styling collaboration with them and The LFW Daily. For those that didn’t know, the LFW Daily is a brilliant publication released every day during London Fashion Week. Just to give you some background, the Daily was founded in 2008 by Cat Callender and Jenny Dyson, formerly of Elle and Vogue respectively and current contributors include top journos such as Rebecca Lowthorpe (Elle), Sarah Bailey (Harper’s Bazaar), Anna-Marie Solowij (Vogue), Sarah Mower (Style.com), Lauren Cochrane (The Guardian), Melanie Rickey (Grazia), Caryn Franklin, Susie Lau (Style Bubble), Alexander Fury (The Independent) and Orange Prize Winning novelist Linda Grant. It combines intelligent, informative fashion writing with insider knowledge of the industry and a welcome dose of wit. During the biannual shows there won’t be a single person not reading it, trust me on that. The Daily has a running partnership with H&M and for the past couple of seasons they’ve invited a few Editor’s to curate a window display in the flagship store and do a feature in one of the issues. This time around they decided to work with bloggers instead and I was indescribably honoured to be asked alongside Susie, Emily Johnston of Fashion Foie Gras, Navaz Batliwalla of Disney Roller Girl and Sandra Hagelstam of Five Inch and Up.

LFW Daily H&M

Styled by MOI!

LFW Daily H&M

One of the things that was so cool about the project was how different each of our personal styles are, especially when it came to seeing the finished displays. I’m not going to lie, I did have a total “pinch me” moment when I saw “Styled By La Petite Anglaise” emblazoned across the H&M shop window and in front of a troop of brunette bobbed, preppy clad mannequins inside.

LFW Daily H&M

In the LFW Daily

Thank you again to H&M and The LFW Daily for including me in this truly special project. I also just so happen to have another exciting collaboration with H&M coming up this week, I’ll be telling you all about it tomorrow so watch this space!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 5 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 2 Part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday, LFW AW14 day 2 was a marathon. Days 3 and 4 were too to be honest to prepare yourselves for a whole lotta words coming your was very soon! Last Saturday afternoon posed something of a problem in terms of scheduling. According to my iCal (I always make myself a colour co-ordinated show, presentation and party schedule… apparently my lameness knows no bounds) between the hours of 4pm and 9pm I was meant to attend a whopping TEN different fashion week related engagements scattered in different locations around the city. A combination of not having the ability to stop time and truly appalling traffic this was just never going to happen. In an attempt to make as many of them as possible I leapt in a taxi and made for Kensington for Joseph’s much anticipated return to the LFW catwalk after a 25 year hiatus. Or at least, I tried to. After half an hour stuck in gridlock somewhere above Bond Street I was forced to admit defeat and loiter in a cafe until the Hunter Original show.

Hunter Original LFW

Hunter Original AW14 (images via Style.com)

Indeed, in case you haven’t already heard the iconic British purveyor of wellington boots has just unveiled a full ready-to-wear line! And I’m not just talking the odd Sloaney sweater. To call what was unveiled that evening “impressive” would be a major understatement. Held in an incredible set up below Westminster University involving a flooded runway and silver birch trees, Hunter Original’s LFW debut boasted an A-List FROW including everyone from Anna Wintour, Natalie Massenet, Kathy Horyn and Stella McCartney (who happens to be married to the brand’s Creative Director) to Jessie J, Katy B, Arizona Muse, Mark Ronson, Lupita Nyong’O and Dynamo. Watching Anna and Stella taking a selfie (!) and Dynamo wowing Jessie with card tricks provided plenty of entertainment during the wait time but the show itself was the true spectacle. Firstly, the clothes. Many of us were a teeny bit dubious about Hunter’s transition from country living to catwalk but the collection was truly excellent. Outdoor staples such as a parka, duffel and mac were given a haute-over in vulcanized rubber, high-tech fleece, neoprene and vinyl. Sleek, sculpted silhouettes came in a palette spanning from hunter green, olive, plum and black to primary block hues and gleaming metallics. Forget about boho/Glasto connotations, this was high spec, sci fi and modern with a passing whiff of recent Lacoste collections about it. Fashion and function aren’t always the most comfortable of bedfellows but with his intelligent, urban offerings Alasdhair Willis totally nailed it. The slick catwalk spectacle finished with Dynamo leaving his seat to join the dewy skinned, bare legged models splashing the catwalk and performing a spot of levitation (as you do) before a rainstorm of playing cards erupted from the ceiling. Like I said, impressive.

My penultimate show of day 2 was one I knew I’d adore, House of Holland. In many ways, the older I get the more powerless I become to resist the allure of shiny, fluffy and brightly coloured things. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of a simple silhouette and rich neutral hues but ultimately my affections are most captured by sparkle, print, embellished garms that toe the line between seriously awesome and mildly bad taste. This is a fine line walked perfectly by Henry Holland and done so this season par excellence. The FROW featured Henry’s usual gaggle of celeb mates, think Kelly Osborne, Lily Allen, Daisy Lowe and Katie Hillier with Chelsea Leyland, Harley Viera Newton and Atlanta de Cadenet providing the New York party girl contingent. Clad in his clobber and looking ready to hit the town as soon as the last look left the runway, I couldn’t help but liken this lot to the “HOH Harlets” described in the show notes for Henry Holland’s “Debauched Debutantes” AW14 collection. That, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a title that promises fun with a capital F and the show that followed certainly delivered. Think metallics, fur and shimmering satin in borderline offensively eye-popping shades and styled with pom pom detailed footwear.

House of Holland LFW AW14

House of Holland AW14 (images via Style.com)

Full skirts, poofy shoulders and ruffles galore harked back to the balls of yore while cheeky cut outs, peeping midrifts, sequins and leather yoinked the collection into the 21st century. Velvet minidresses came embellished with lobsters, champagne flutes and lipsticks, louche wrap dresses layered under hot pink furs and denim distressed and adorned with acid hues taffeta. Between the baby doll frocks with pie crust collars and need-it-now “Rich Bitch” embroidered silk bomber jackets I’d be very hard pushed to pick a favourite piece. More is more in the world of House of Holland and it sure as hell works for me.

House of Holland AW14

House of Holland AW14 (images via Style.com)

Last up on LFW day 2 was London’s reigning King of glamour, Julien Macdonald. Held in the grand surroundings of the Royal Courts of Justice and with Coco Rocha, Eliza Doolittle, Abbey Clancey and Samantha Barks resplendent on the FROW the show was a glittering visual feast. Then again, one would expect nothing less from the designer chosen by Beyonce to kit her out for her Mrs Carter tour.



Julien Macdonald AW14

The looks that sashayed down the catwalk combined figure clinging silhouettes with flesh flashing and lashings of sparkle. But despite the plunging necklines, cut out detailing and vast quantities of bling, Macdonald deftly sidestepped tacky territory instead offering up red carpet fabulousness at it’s most unapologetically OTT. A perfect finale to a truly excellent day of shows that appealed to the diva in all of us.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments