Fashion Week

LFW AW14: Day 5

Ella Catliff LFW AW14 outfit 3 by Holly McGlynn_002

Wearing Club Monaco jacket (c/o), French Connection jumper, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Erdem at THE OUTNET skirt (available here), Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem shoes (sample sale purchase) & Anya Hindmarch bag (sample)
Image by Holly McGlynn

Last season, by LFW day 5 I felt like a dead person walking. Ten plus days and nights of NYFW madness followed by four in london had, unsurprisingly, rather knocked the stuffing out of me. This time however, I felt energised to the point of being really quite irritating. The fact that the lovely folk at Birchbox had given me one of their fabulous taxis for the whole day only added to my smugness. I must say, having the use of my own car (with the bonus of world’s most charming driver and Birchbox beauty treats inside) was absolutely amazing, oh if only this could become a fashion week habit, here’s hoping. My look for the day felt very AW14 in the fact that it revolved around the colour blue which, as had definitely been established by this point, is set to be the hottest hue (or “warmest colour” one might say… Sorry) come autumn.

LFW Birchbox

My ride… 

First on the agenda was Anya Hindmarch, a show I always look forward to. How Anya creates quite such catwalk spectacle to display her handbags is a true testament to the creative flair that keeps her global brand at the top of the accessories tree. Last season saw models suspended from zip wires, floating among an outer space installation, the season before an animatronic extravaganza based around board games. Yet, despite all that awesomeness, I strongly suspected Anya Hindmarch wasn’t about to rest on her laurels. And of course, she didn’t. A glance at the show notes revealed that AW14 would be all about elevating the ordinary, something Anya is undoubtedly adept at. This is a woman who sends the notoriously hard to wow fash pack into a frenzy over coin purses and phone cases after all.

Anya Hindmarch AW14

As a smile inducing soundtrack struck up the runway, painted to resemble a bar code, began to move and out came models clad in ice white mini dresses clutching accessories which sent us into paroxysms of over excitement. Along Anya’s supermarket conveyor belt came clutches bearing all manner of would-be mundane motifs from Daz’s to Kellogs by way of Swan cigarettes. Hindmarch’s classic Bathurst bag saw the addition of Tony the Tiger and I reckon the Coco pops box clutch will be next season’s instagrammable “it” piece. With playful, pop culture references in flawlessly high quality leathers and the retro mood kept modern with clean lines and understated styling, the show exemplified Anya’s knack of fusing cuteness and craftsmanship to make luxury a whole lot of fun. As a troop of braces clad male dancers performed a choreographed finale, there wasn’t a sombre face in the house.

I left the venue with a spring in my step, regardless of the truly agonising footwear I was rocking (the old adage that expensive heels hurt less? Absolute rubbish), leapt in my waiting Birchbox car and sped across town to Somerset House for OSMAN. Through a combination of back to back scheduling and personal incompetence I’ve managed to miss OSMAN show for several seasons in unfortunately succession. Well, I cannot tell you how happy I am to have made this one. It was utterly sublime. The show notes informed me that Mr Yousefzada would be introducing a “jet-set Bohemian” for AW14 I was a little dubious, after all, you know how I usually feel about all things boho. But this, my friends, was a million miles from the peasant skirts and hempy tops that make me want to spend the rest of my days clad head-to-toe in black leather in protest.

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OSMAN AW14 (Images via Style.com)

The immaculately precise cuts, bold colour blocking and city chic sophistication that constitute OSMAN’s calling card were all in place but, as promised, they had been given a joyful, jet set twist inspired by the travels of Talitha Getty. Shimmering floral brocades came combined with super bright separates in cobalt blue and sunshine yellow, further enhanced by equally eye popping fur scarves, intricate beading, Ottoman tile brocades, clutch bags with pop art hand motifs and playful fringing. As the show progressed, the palette did too, into delectable blush pinks, rich grey velvets and burnished golds culminating in a Red Carpet ready finale of sleekly tailored ensembles adorned with embellished cobweb esque overlays. Razor sharp asymmetric hemlines and one shoulder tops and dresses drummed home the message, OSMAN may be feeling footloose and fancy free this season but his articulation has lost none of its covetable crispness.

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OSMAN AW14 (Images via Style.com)

For the last day of LFW, this was rather a busy one, and the second OSMAN took his bow I had to leg it if I wanted any hope of making Fashion East. Going to completely the wrong place put a spanner in the works (entirely my own fault, I was to busy Instagramming to pay any attention) but I made it just in the nick of time and was rather pleased to find myself on the FROW. This season’s all female line up kicked off with the debut collection from recent Westminster graduate, Louise Alsop. Between the grungy layering, mega frayed hems and plimsols plus shredded socks styling, this was certainly not a collection for girly girls and Kate Spade aficionados. That said, Alsop pulled off this moody, rebellious aesthetic perfectly but her punkish attitude had an underlying technical precision. Louise Alsop’s frayed edges were underpinned by sharp cuts and those minty pastel greens were as alluring as they were badass. These were thoughtfully crafted clothes for the girl who parties hard, refuses to wear heels and definitely couldn’t care less about ripped stockings.

Louise Alsop LFW

Louise Alsop AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Next up came Central Saint Martins alum and Craig Green collaborator, Helen Lawrence. Lawrence’s AW14 offerings were as avant guard as one would expect, think thick wools sculpted into extraordinary, oversized shapes and natural fabrics distressed, deconstructed and reworked almost unrecognisable from their former selves. High shine PVC, neoprene and vinyl in an urban palette were softened with shades of powder pink and jean blue, further adding to Helen Lawrence’s fascinatingly contradictory aesthetic.

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Helen Lawrence AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Last but most certainly not least was Ashley Williams. An A-list fave already and, I have to admit, her work couldn’t be more up my street. Inspired by “Mississippi country girls, Calamity Jane and trouble in Prairie Land” Williams delivered an unashamedly, deliciously fun collection that bypassed bad taste by the skin of its teeth and I wish could have landed straight in my wardrobe. There were patchworked jeans, scaredy cat motifs, fabulously tongue-in-cheek horse detail leathers and fringing in neon brights and space age metallics. This was Little House on the Prairie on an acid trip, in the best way imaginable. It may have been tongue-in-cheek but there was mastery behind the mischief and an excellent array of fabric combinations including sumptuous silks juxtaposed with rawhide leathers, metallics and snakeskin.

Ashley Williams LFW

Ashley Williams AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Bright, punchy, patterned and kitcsh underpinned by remarkable technical talent, Ashley Williams deserves all the hype she gets and more. Oh those pig shaped clutches! I’d pair them with Sophia Webster pom pom heels and non-fashion folk would think I was completely unhinged!

My penultimate engagement of LFW day 5, after a much needed itsu pitstop, was Tata Naka. As a lover of all things involving lashings of print and colour, it’s probably not a shocker that I heart this label. Inspired by interior designer, the Surguladze twins’ latest offerings boasted prints and appliqué in rainbow shades paying homage to the paintings of Matisse, Persian rugs, Aubusson carpets, hand-painted wall papers, ceramic tiles and porcelain china.

Tata Naka LFW

Tata Naka AW14

Tata Naka LFW

Fabrics were a carefully crafted and wonderfully sumptuous combination of georgette, silk crepe de chine and luxurious wool crepe given an edge by the introduction bonded silk neoprene. As always, there was a lot going on visually, but the elegant modernity of Tata Naka’s silhouettes renders AW14 another beautifully wearable collection.

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Meadham Kirchoff invitation

What better way to bid LFW adieu than with a show from Meadham Kirchoff? I certainly can’t think of one, so it was a treat to see off another season with another of their riotous catwalk extravaganzas. Having produced umpteen critically acclaimed collections in a row, released a sell out Topshop collection and more recently, a fragrance with Penhaligons, Edward Meadham and Ben Kirchoff are undoubtedly on something for a roll. Judging by their AW14 offerings, this roll looks set to continue for the forseeable future, if not forever. A catwalk decorated with supersized hearts and metallic streamers played host to a collection that was both wonderfully pretty and a true testament to the designer’s technical prowess. There were pinks, purples and sparkles a’plenty but those sugar sweet boucle and scarlet check skirt suits came fully hand embroidered.

Meadham Kirchoff LFW AW14

Meadham Kirchoff AW14

Frothy tiered dresses in delicate French lace and semi sheer chiffon, luxurious crystal trimmed velvets, midnight dévoré and painstaking hand-embellishment all added to the sense that things may have looked like sweetness and light but there was some formidable craftsmanship behind it. As always with Meadham Kirchoff, there remained a hint of saccharine subversion, this time around in the form of a fucked up Park Avenue Princess vibe. That said, it was a rather more wearable take than in previous seasons and I suspect those graphic patterned velvet numbers will fly off the shelves. God knows if I can get my grubby mitts on any of it, I most definitely will.

Meadham Kirchoff LFW AW14 2

Meadham Kirchoff AW14

So there we have it, another LFW over and out! I hope you’ve enjoyed my daily diaries. Until September…

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

LFW AW14: Day 4 Pt 2

Firstly I must apologise for these essay length posts, I just can’t help myself! When the shows are as stellar as so many of them were during LFW AW14 it’s hard not to go on and on… and on. Having seen three really cracking collections already by mid afternoon on day 4, I still had a fair few to go so I’m now going to render that apology redundant by describing them in detail, soz.

After leaving Burberry and very, very nearly getting trampled by paps stampeding through the park in an attempt to snap Bradley Cooper I made the attempted high speed journey to Somerset House for David Koma. I’ve long adored David, both as a person and as a designer. Many moons ago he interviewed me as a potential intern. Luckily that never happened as my lack of I probably would have been useless but every time I’ve seen him since I’ve been struck even more by David Koma’s charm, dedication and talent.  When he was announced as Artistic Director for Mugler in December (at just 28 years old!) I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought “about time too!” Recent seasons have seen the welcome introduction of real experimentation within Koma signature body conscious aesthetic and his AW14 offerings were an example of a designer who perfectly nails his niche without becoming imprisoned by it.

David Koma LFW 1

David Koma AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Razor sharp cuts and silhouettes almost severe in their precision were softened by glossy ponyskin and flirtatiously flared hemlines. But of course, strong shapes are what we’ve come to expect from David Koma. What really wowed me was the extreme, flawless detailing and ingenious fabric use. Leather came intricately laser cut, woven into sculptural corsetry and crafted into immaculate accordion pleats or softly falling A-line minis. The colour palette flowed seamlessly through inky noir hues and vivid purples to ice whites and dove greys before reverting to black and cobalt combinations for a fearsome finale. Whether his girl is unleashing her inner vixen in form fitting leather or embracing full skirted femininity, she’s certainly not to be messed with.

David Koma LFW 2

David Koma AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Next on my LFW day 4 agenda was a show I was VERY excited about, Peter Pilotto. Having enjoyed the week of Peter Pilotto not so long ago, I couldn’t wait to reacquaint myself with their particular brand of design brilliance. Having scooped up this year’s BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and collaborated with Target on a collection that sold out globally in seconds, Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto are undoubtedly the men of the moment and as such, their’s was a seriously hot ticket show. To be honest, it usually is, and rightly so. Basically everyone who’s anyone was in attendance, from Business of Fashion Founder, Imran Ahmed, Natalie Massenet, Ruth and Tom Chapman of Matches and basically every Editor under sun to a strictly A list line up of sartorial ‘slebs on the FROW. The venue was certainly something, black glass all around, blinking fluorescent strip lights and only two rows affording us an incredible view of the show. And this was the kind of show you wanted to get a seriously good look at.

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Peter Pilotto AW14 (Images via Style.com)

After a bit of drama involving one of said black glass constructions almost falling on Hilary Alexander and Suzy Menkes (oops) the show began with a bang and there was a collective drawing of breath as the first models stormed out. Inspired by “hybrids and fusion”, Peter Pilotto offered up a play on contrasts and extremes to create a collection compelling in terms of both aesthetics and complexity. It was one of those collections that had me asking myself how on earth they possibly dreamed it up, let alone turned that dream into a wearable reality.

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Peter Pilotto AW14 (Images via Style.com)

As promised, there was fusion a’plenty in the form of mesh and nylon banding, neoprene and an assortment of other tech fabrics juxtaposed with delicate head-beading, mother of pearl detailing and Linton tweed. From the contrast coloured fur trimmed knits to the kaleidoscopic cocktail dresses adorned with architectural embellishment, no surface was left unworked. Sleek silhouettes allowed for vivid pattern, abstract panorama prints in a riot of clashing brights providing a visual feast for us show goers. I think it’s safe to say that the future of De Vos and Pilotto looks even brighter than their AW14 offerings (sorry).

Very very long term LPA readers may remember, back in my early blogging days I wrote a piece on up-and-coming designers featuring the talented Michael Van der Ham. Three and a bit years on, Michael has most certainly arrived and if there remained any doubt in anyone’s minds about that fact, his AW14 collection would have put paid to it. One thing that really struck me over LFW AW14 was how so many younger designers, like Van der Ham, David Koma and Peter Pilotto to name but a few, expertly manage to convey an aesthetic that is recognisably “them” while still evolving, innovating and surprising us each season.

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Michael Van der Ham AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Establishing a trademark aesthetic while continually pushing the envelope in terms of creativity is a delicate balance but this lot nail it and produce collections that are commercially viable, it’s inspiring. Michael Van der Ham achieved this beautifully for AW14 offering an updated version of the appliquéd collage that has become his calling card on sleek separates in bright silk jacquards. Intricate lace layered over contrast coloured silks, velvet trimmed chiffon and exquisitely embroidered gauze added to the textural brilliance of it all. But for all the sophisticated fabrics and the painstaking techniques involved, Michael Van der Ham’s AW14 collection had a light, playful air and was all the more delectable for it.

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Michael Van der Ham AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Last but not least on that very long afternoon was Giles, a seasoned LFW fixture as I’m sure you well know. He arguably provided one of the most instagrammable performances of the day, what with Cara Delevingne’s mid catwalk selfie and Kendal Jenner’s cameo. There was certainly a spot of spectacle, which I never think is a bad thing in a fashion show.

giles LFW

GILES AW14 (Images via Style.com)

As for the clothes themselves, the collection kicked off with an array of ensembles featuring a Hummingbird motif splashed across silks in a mouthwatering palette of orange, blue and grey. An array of sculptural monochrome dresses with tumbling swathes of satin were a masterful example of Giles doing what he does so well, and I have to say, Miss Jenner looked pretty hot. As for the tougher looks – low slung motorcycle pants, enormous knits and leather all over styled with wool tights and clumpy kicks – I wasn’t convinced.

giles 2 LFW

GILES AW13 (Images via Style.com)

Having since read Maya Singer’s Style.com review pretty much stating the opposite of what I’ve just said, this is no doubt reflective of my personal taste rather than any actual fault. Regardless of one’s views on grunge V gowns, combining both in one collection and doing so cohesively is no mean feat, I’ll say that much.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

LFW AW14: Day 4

Ella Catliff LFW AW14 Whistles by Holly McGlynn_001

Wearing Whistles Jacket, Skirt & Jumper, Sophia Webster shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace & AllSaints Scarf
Image by Holly McGlynn

Here we have LFW AW14 Day 4, and only a casual fortnight late, result! Let’s ignore my tardiness and crack on with the matter at hand… the shows. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that LFW day 4 is “the big one”. We’re talking big shows, back to back, non stop from 9am. This season it was also the day that I had to submit my thesis 2nd draft (always during bloody fashion week, I swear they do it on purpose!) and I may have spent the previous night dancing until the wee hours at Matthew Williamson and Jonathan Saunders’ after parties, which made the 7am thesis editing particularly unpleasant. My spirits were soon lifted though as, triple shot (caffeine was much needed) Starbucks skinny latte in hand I leapt on the Piccadilly Line and headed to my first show of the day, Roksanda Ilincic.

Roksanda’s collections have been stellar since her LFW debut back in 2005 yet somehow, she manages to outdo herself time and again. AW14 proved this. The past couple of years have seen the designer moving away from the covetable, easy-to-wear cocktail dresses with which she first made her name. Don’t get me wrong, Roksanda Ilincic still does dresses and seriously great ones at that but she’s not afraid to challenge both herself and her customer. The fact she manages to do so while still creating pieces compelling enough to entice everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Lily Allen is a true testament to her talent.

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 LFW 1

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)

AW14 saw Roksanda building on the artistic inspiration which underpinned her also awesome SS14 collection, offering up sculpted felted wool confections with abstract patterns in wrong-yet-right contrasting colour combinations. Making pointedly uneven hemlines appear the height of sophistication is no mean feat by any account yet in Ilincic’s capable hands, lopsided skirting smoothly bypassed bizarre and simply felt elegantly unusual. The same goes for her colour palette; neutrals, burgundy, plum, orange, cobalt and ice blue all thrown together amid , surely that should be a disaster? Yet, it works, brilliantly. As for the textures, Roksanda really pulled the stops out here. Having begun her experiment with off kilter fabrics some time around AW13, the designer’s latest concoctions involved intricate PVC woven with tartan and 3D plastic embellishment, perfectly counterbalanced by luscious furs, shearlings and lambswools.

Roksanda LFW AW14 2

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Buoyed up by Roksanda’s show I trotted off up Tottenham Court Road for a presentation I was very, very excited. You’ve guessed it, Whistles. Holding a presentation in a stunningly elegant townhouse on Fitzroy Square is to some degree a risky move, especially for what is technically speaking a high street (albeit very high end high street) brand. Didn’t Jane Shepardson worry that the understated expensiveness of the surroundings might detract from collection itself? Not a bit of it, and with good reason. For AW14 Whistles delivered an array of ensembles so exquisitely perfect in their simple chicness one would have been forgiven for assuming they were the wincingly pricey produce of a bonafide luxury label. This is not to say, of course, that the pieces on show were flash. In fact they were the antithesis of bling and that was what made them so incredibly impressive. It’s easy to distract from non-designer-brand fabrics and imperfect cuts with oodles of colour and prints, but Whistles AW14 was a masterclass in polish. Delectably enveloping overcoats in tactile wools, soft shades and oversized checks tempted you to snuggle stylishly inside them. Whistles always gives good knits and this seasons jumpers came roll necked and ribbed, tucked into simple black midi skirts, worn loose over wide leg tailored trousers, and with lashings of nonchalant slouch.

LFW Whistles

LFW Whistles

After marvelling at the precision with which they had cut their pleats (seriously, it was mind boggling) I found my way into the eveningwear room and that, my friends, was the moment I knew I was done for. Thick pelted faux furs, delicately embellished tunics and peek-a-boo jumpsuits all in the most delectable shade of lilac! As for the off the shoulder, almost Dior esque sculpted co-ords and glossy navy satins… I fell hard and mentally kissed goodbye to financial solvency come August. This season Whistles had the exact same effect on me as every Phillip Lim show I attend inevitably does; it made me want a whole new wardrobe.

LFW Whistles

LFW Wistles

After the joy of seeing two excellent collections all thoughts of “headaches” were long forgotten as I loitered in itsu, munching on salmon sushi while hating myself for wishing next Autumn would just hurry up and get here until it was time to head West for Burberry. I will be forever grateful to the generous folk at Burbs for giving me the benefit of the doubt back in 2011 and inviting me to their shows ever since. It’s always one of my major fashion month highlights and I suspect that will remain the case for as long as I’m in the biz. This season was no different and from my usual seat next to Reem Kanj of Five Five Fabulous and Emily Johnstone of Fashion Foie Gras I witnessed a whole lotta spectacle. First up, there was the thoroughly enjoyable experience of watching Anna Wintour and Bradley Cooper lolling on the FROW. Far from seeming traumatised her unplanned trip to Newcastle, La Wintour was positively beaming every time I saw her! The mind boggles… But anyway, let’s talk clothes.

Burberry Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 - Front Row & Show

Anna Wintour & Bradley Cooper

Burberry Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 - Front Row & Show

From left: Felicity Jones, Naomi Harris, Tini Tempah, Harry Styles, Alison Mossheart & Mario Testino

As Ed Sheeran’s melodious tones filled the venue (live, no soundtracks here, obvs) the first tousle haired, fair skinned model took to the catwalk adorned in a captivating abstraction. How many variations can one man conjure up based on the classic trench? In the case of Christopher Bailey, it appears the answer to that is infinite. Deconstructed, loosely flung over shoulders and adorned with painterly florals I’m not even sure you could call the latest coverups “trench coats”, they were almost too bohemian for that.

Burberry LFW 1

Burberry AW14

Flowing, barely-there silk and chiffon ensembles evoked images of carefree yet cultivated beauties, just as Bailey’s show notes citing the “Bloomsbury Girls” as his latest inspiration suggested. Silhouettes came far softer than recent seasons (remember last Autumn’s foxy homage to Christine Keeler?!) with teddy bear textures and slouchy shearling adding a sense of warmth to flimsy slips and delicately ruched evening dresses.

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Burberry AW14

Admittedly, it was less up my sartorial street than Spring/Summer’s cinched waists and sweet pastels but that didn’t stop the show, the collection and the entire experience being anything less than magical. The ever impressive final saw Paloma Faith serenade the cast of supermodels all clad in personalised blanket coats drumming home the message that Christopher Bailey had in one full swoop delivered both his most daring, and his softest collection for Burberry yet. No one marries creativity and commercial viability quite like he does.

LFW

LFW

More from day 4 coming your way soon! For now, I’d love to hear what you think of these collections?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 3 Pt 2

I’m not sure why LFW seems to have been even more back-to-back this season but despite my raging blisters and multiple bruises, I’m not complaining, so many of the shows I was lucky enough to see were seriously excellent. Temperley London was certainly up there with the best of them. After Mulberry’s presentation of the Cara Delevingne collection, Naomi and I legged it for the door, leapt in her car (huzzah friends with cars! Especially those of the chauffeur driven Mercedes variety) and hurtled in the direction of The Savoy. Or rather, we attempted to hurtle but actually just crawled along in hideous traffic getting increasingly stressed out about potentially missing the show. The we took a selfie, and suddenly life didn’t seem half so bad.

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Cheeky car #selfie with Naomi Mdudu

My feelings for Temperley London are no secret. I love, adore and covet every deliciously feminine, lace-and-embroidery strewn confection Alice offers up and for AW14, this is perhaps truer than ever. From my front row seat (not that I’m smug or anything) I was afforded an incredible view of an even more incredible collection. A brief glance at the show notes had me worried. “The start of a new and exciting era for Temperley”… a “sexier and savvier” attitude for Winter? But I like the old attitude, I sulked to myself. Luckily my fears were unfounded. While Alice did definitely offer up something fresh the DNA of the collection remained the Princess worthy gorgeousness we all know and love, albeit in a manner that felt like a departure from previous seasons.

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Temperley London AW14 (images via Style.com)

Print, texture and colour had been taken to knew heights for AW14 with mosaic inspired patterns in shades of cobalt, navy and grey adorning immaculately layered ensembles. Light-as-air chiffon was given new depth with the addition of elegant overcoats and wrap around scarves cinched at the waist by neat leather belts. Temperley may be renowned for her gowns but this collection proved she cuts a dashing separate with the best of them. And dashing those separates most certainly were. In fact I’d go so far to say they had a dandyish quality that appeared through smoking jacket esque quilted coverups layered over immaculately tailored, flared hem dress coats. Indeed, there was an air of opulence than conjured up thoughts of English country houses and velvet slipper clad aristocratic old Gentlemen. As for the dresses – because of course there were dresses – those were positively regal. Were talking ornate florals on silk in sumptuous shades of ochre and rose, semi sheer, billowing skirting and endlessly delectable thigh skimming hemlines styled with OTK boots in stoke-me-now suede. It was, as the show notes claimed, “funkier” and “very wearable” but in a way that was inimitably Temperley London.

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Temperley London AW14 (images via Style.com)

Next up, another attempted high speed dash over to the Tate Modern for Topshop UNIQUE. We arrived to be greeted by a mob of paparazzi, street style photographers and regular folk, unsurprising really since this show always boasts one of the most celeb-tastic FROWS on the schedule. Once inside I got stuck into a champagne-and-catch-up sesh with rainbow haired babe Chloe Norgaard and the lovely Amber Atherton while surreptitiously keeping my eyes peeled for Kate Moss or Harry Styles. Naturally they were both in attendance, as well as everyone from Chelsea Leyland to Anne Wintour (presumably recovered from her Newcastle ordeal by this point). And the show it’s self? I wasn’t expecting to, but I loved it. Don’t get me wrong I heart toppers as much as the next girl but feared their catwalk offerings might err on the side of nineties/sports/grunge/rave and therefore not be my cup of tea. Admittedly there were hints of all the above but in a was that was, for want of a better word, downright good. Oversized outerwear played proportion distortion with shrunken knits and flared hems.

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Topshop UNIQUE AW14 (images via Style.com)

Embroidered mesh and utility (well, ish) puffa jackets sat alongside glossy olive green and butterscotch leathers, delicate lemon yellow numbers with embroidered collars and hazy hibiscus florals. There was a distinct 3.1 Phillip Lim AW12 vibe which could never be a bad thing. Standout pieces included one fabulous python print trench and an array of patchwork faux furs I need in my wardrobe, like, yesterday. It’s also worth noting the amount of blue looks on the catwalk, evidently the colour to be seen in come AW14.

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Topshop UNIQ AW13 (images via Style.com)

Two shows left to go but bear with me mon amies, they were good’uns. After a quick gossip with Betty Autier – mega blogger, mega babe and one of the ladies I’ll be going on an insanely exciting trip to Paris with next month… Watch this space – I decided to leg it home for a quick outfit change before the evening.

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With Betty Autier at Topshop UNIQUE

Walking in precisely the wrong direction for the best part of half an hour left me all of ten minutes to slip into my Matthew Williamson number (so, so divine, can’t wait to show you properly!) and order an Uber. No way José was I going to risk missing my penultimate show, the ever inspiring Mary Katrantzou. Mary’s shows are always a seriously hot ticket and this season was no different. The FROW played host to everyone from Miroslava Duma and Olivia Palermo to Natalie Massenet, Anna Wintour and just about every other fash pack big hitter you could imagine. Was was rather different this season however, was the collection. I don’t need to tell you that Katrantzou made her name with mesmerising digital prints and sculptural shapes which have since become her trademark. But did those kind of looks flood her AW14 runway? Nope, not even one. It takes a brave designer to eschew the stylistic motif that has made her one of the most coveted in the world but in Mary’s case it paid off. Big time.

Mary Katrantzou LFW

Mary Katrantzou AW14 (images via Style.com)

Somewhat paradoxically, the collection that saw Mary Katrantzou move away from the prints and silhouettes that have become symbolic of her label drew its inspiration from the language of symbols. The uniforms of scouts, butchers, city boys and even construction workers were translated into sleek, long line shapes, asymmetric pleats and masterful layering adorned with intricate laces, painstakingly detailed embroidery, shimmying metallic chainmail, brocades and appliqué. As you might have guessed, texture was both key here. Between the razor sharp laser cutting, embellished fur sweatshirts(!) and silver jacquard tailoring the whole thing was both exquisite and a mind boggling feat of design innovation. It was a bold more for Mary Katrantzou but one hell of a smart one.

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Mary Katrantzou AW14 (images via Style.com)

My final show on LFW day 3 was Matthew Williamson. Yep, day three was a great one for me. So many of my favourite labels showing within the space of ten hours not least the ever wonderful Williamson. As a lover of all things glittery, girly and eye poppingly bright it’s not exactly a shocker that I heart his work. The show notes promised a reimagining of “the optimism and high glamour of the 1970s” and boy, did Matthew Williamson deliver.

Matthew Williamson LFW

Matthew Williamson AW14 (images via Style.com)

This season also saw a new found emphasis on tailoring and day wear in the form of chicly tailored coats, separates and shift dresses. Of course, this being Williamson, they came covered in jazzy graphic prints and embellishment, after all, why sacrifice sparkle for the office? I felt this collection particularly showcased Matthew’s knack with fabric. From the brocade tapestry’s to the sumptuous crystal appliqué sweaters to the gleaming metallics and sequin showers that formed the finale, it was a delectable combination of look-at-me exuberance and flawless quality. On the subject of said finale, oh it was excellent. We’re talking Ostrich feathers, purple furs, multi coloured star motifs and an A-MAZING glittering floor sweeper that matched the black and white striped runway. The mood was a celebratory one and, as his AW14 offerings prove, Matthew Williamson has a lot to celebrate.

Matthew Williamson LFW 2

 

Matthew Williamson AW14 (images via Style.com)

I left the venue feeling uplifted by the show, not to mention the splendid seven I’d attended before that, and leapt in a car to Soho House for a girly dinner with Serena and Millie to fuel up for a long night of parties.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

LFW AW14: Day 3

LFW AW14

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.

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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 LFW

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 LFW AW14

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.

LFW

LFW

LFW

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.

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LFW AW14

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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
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