Fashion Week

LFW SS14: Day 5

The final day of LFW SS14 dawned grim, grey and absolutely bloody freezing. Less than fresh from the Diesel Reboot after party at Le Baron, the urge to hit snooze on my alarm and stay snuggled under my duvet was almost overwhelming. But, knowing that we’d all be in the same exhausted and aching boat, the crafty so and so’s in charge of the LFW schedule had saved a few of best until last ensuring that come hell or hangover, no one would be pulling a sickie.

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I wore: Sandro jacket & shirt, Warehouse skirt, Anya Hindmarch bag & Joanna Stoker boots
Image by Holly McGlynn

First up was Anya Hindmarch, a show guaranteed to bring a smile to even the sulkiest fashion faces. The FROW was a veritable line up of people who matter in fashion. Plum Sykes, Joanna Hillman, Natalie Massenet, Cathy Horyn, Caroline Rush and Marigay McKee (newly appointed Saks 5th Avenue President) were all in attendance as well as Olivia Palermo who, let’s be honest, matters considerably less but looked wonderfully glossy and gorgeous.

Given how phenomenal Anya’s past few shows have been I couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for us this season. True to form, the designer didn’t disappoint. As always we were treated the personal touch, this time by way of adorable personalised star charts giving a surprisingly accurate (at least in my case) insight into our personalities based on our ruling planet (mine was “Mercury”). The show and of course the bags were even more impressive. This season saw my favourite, the Maxi Zip reworked in neon python. Other styles got an even more dramatic makeover with the Deconstructed Bathurst and Featherweight Ebury offering a sleek, pointedly contemporary take on the arm candy we’ve grown to adore.

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Anya Hindmarch SS14

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Oil slick ponytailed models styled in neoprene Lisa Marie Fernandez bodycon and Nicholas Kirkwood heels added to the overall feeling of modernity. As for the element of spectacle, where to begin! The lights went down revealing twinkling star lights on the walls and ceiling from which hung enormous illuminated planets. As the models strutted, bags began to descend on invisible wires and I caught my first glimpse of the holographic clutches I know I’m going to be craving until Spring. For the grand finale two cat suit & harness clad models were lifted from the ground for a zero gravity moment up among the bags and planets. Staging a sartorial extravaganza on this scale without totally upstaging the designs you’re actually showing is a tricky task. If said designs are accessories you can times this by ten. It was a true testament to just how bloody good Anya Hindmarch is at what she does that despite the levitating models, illuminated planets and general wonder of the whole performance I still left day dreaming of handbags.

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Anya Hindmarch SS14

After spending the next hour skulking around Somerset House feeling very cold, very tired and very annoyed with myself for having worn shoes two sizes too small just because they were sparkly it was time for my second show of the day, Simone Rocha. I definitely do not need to tell you that young Miss Rocha is seriously hot fashion property right now. She’s been “designer of the moment” for a lot more than a moment and if her SS14 show proved anything it’s that Simone is more than worthy of the industry adoration she receives and that things are only going to get more awesome (moresome?) as her reign of young, covetable coolness continues. This season the Simone looked to her Irish heritage for inspiration and, in that inimitable way talented designers can do and the rest of us cannot fathom, transformed the sheep, gorse, moss and rock of her childhood in Connemara into an array of mesmerizing creations realised in painstakingly concocted fabrics ranging from patent and hand crochet cotton, heavy silk and thick tulle to embroidered plastic and wet lace. Super low drop waisted skirts came voluminous and seductive thanks to cut out detailing and peek-a-boo sheer textures. If you’ve read Style.com, Vogue.co.uk or any other commentary on the show you’ll know that everyone lost their minds over the pearl rimmed knee high stockings but, at the risk of repeating my fellow attendees, they truly were inspired.

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Simone Rocha SS14

Simone Rocha delivered a textural mash up in high shine fabrics, monochrome, burnished gold, granite grey and mossy hues that was held together by the precise, other worldly, almost regal beauty of its execution and topped off by a succession of models veiled in nude gauze. I think it’s time to stop calling Simone the “designer of the moment”, this girl’s here to stay.

No matter how much your feet are screaming in agony, it’s hard to stay sullen after two shows like those I witnessed on the morning of LFW day 5. With, not quite a spring, but a definite sense of purpose to my step I hobbled at speed to The Apartment (an AMAZING blogger refuge filled with fabulous food, clothes, beauty products, professional pamperers and friends organised by the terrifyingly impressive Abi Marvel) to get my chill on for a couple of hours before show number three, Emilio De La Morena. This season the designer drew his inspiration from his own wardrobe, namely a well worn, sleeveless waxed jacket. How does this translate into catwalk frocks? Raw, organic feel fabrics masterfully manipulated, knotted, draped and contorted to create neatly crafted dresses in neutral, putty hues. These hessian-esque looks were contrasted with sleeker silks – sometimes even on the same dress – finally transitioning into burgundy on black prints applied to two piece looks and loosely tailored dresses. Grown up and neatly executed, Emilio’s latest designs undoubtedly have life beyond the runway.

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Emilio De La Morena SS14 (Images via Style.com)

Last but certainly not least, came Meadham Kirchoff and I couldn’t have thought of a more inspiring note on which to round off LFW SS14. It’s been a few seasons since I last had the pleasure of watching one of the design duo’s collections on the catwalk and given the epicness of seeing that particular Courtney Love inspired extravaganza unfold, I was pretty excited. Well, our beloved fashion renegade’s delivered a show and a half this season. From the set to the styling to the “oh good God this is GENIUS” clothes themselves, it was a joy to behold. Admittedly, it was a faintly disturbing joy but that inherent offness is precisely what makes the design duo’s work so utterly compelling. With a runway bedecked in dying roses and eerily beautiful, haunted manor set up by the entrance, it was clear from the get go that things were about to get fashion freaky up in the Topshop venue. And indeed they did, in the most mesmerising way imaginable. What ensued was a delightful mash up of Elizabethan, punkish, Victoriana, boudoir subversion that manifested itself in a collection that felt rather like some sort of gloriously fucked up fairytale. The show opened with an array of classic double breasted black jackets and matching skirt, gradually deconstructed almost beyond recognition and modelled by saucy school girls with corkscrew locks and lace pleats. Boudoir lace was combined with little girl gingham, resulting in ensembles that toed the fine line between compelling and disturbing, mercifully ending up feeling fun, playful and deliciously debauched.

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Meadham Kirchoff SS14 (Images via Style.com)

Olde world embroidery and lace cutwork came mixed with gold lurex and super luxe python to create looks that felt halfway between medieval maiden and Dalston dancehall diva. But belying the provocative playfulness of it all was Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff’s supreme, undeniable talent. Their catwalk creations may be fantastical and fun to behold but any designer who can pearl a bodice and then have the bravery to layer it with a hand embroidered Hansel and Gretel esque number like they do deserves far more than a round of applause. Gentlemen, I take my bow detailed beret off to your supreme skill and thank you for bringing my London Fashion Week to the best possible close.

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Meadham Kirchoff SS14

I hope you’ve enjoyed my fashion week diaries so far! They are most certainly not over yet though, we’ve still got my LFW party round up and Paris to come…

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LFW SS14: Day 4

Day 4 dawned sunny, bright and absolutely freezing! For some reason unbeknown to anyone even myself, I decided to do bare legs. This was perhaps due in part to the equally inexplicable fact that me, Nik and Serena stayed up until the wee hours eating Reece’s Pieces and giggling like teenagers after a few too many cocktails at the Belstaff, Purple Magazine and Dominic Jones parties. Not exactly a rock n’ roll end to the night but on the back of ten (I think) days and nights of fashion week fun, it was enough to make me feel a little on the deathly side when my alarm went off at 7am. Frost bitten knees and bleary eyes aside, there was no way in hell I’d even consider skipping show number 1, Roksanda Ilincic.

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I wore: Maje shirt, AllSaints Jacket & Skirt, Massimo Dutti boots & Jaeger London bag
Image by Holly McGlynn

This season Roksanda partnered with The London Bridge Quarter, resulting in the Shard providing a suitably spectacular venue with citywide views of bright autumn morning. As one would expect from one of the city’s shining design stars, Roksanda’s FROW line up included Samantha Cameron, Natalie Massenet, Kim Hersov, Paula Reed, Ruth Chapman and just about every other major editor, buyer and fashion face on the planet. After a fairly sizeable wait – Monday morning of LFW is usually when some of the top shows take place, meaning major delays when everyone inevitably gets stuck in traffic – the first look hit the catwalk and despite my, ahem, fatigue quite how brilliant it was registered instantly.

For SS14 Roksanda Ilincic delivered acid brights, graphic prints and neon colour blocking while somehow managing to convey the air of elegance we’ve come to associate with her. Cinched waists and full skirts were paired with boxy tees and jackets in sculpted neoprene, as if to really drum home the message that Roksanda does a hell of a lot more than just cocktail dresses. Asymmetric hemlines, chiffon pleats and flowing ribbons of fabric were juxtaposed with harder edged looks featuring jagged mesh prints and intricate laser cut overskirts. Roksanda Ilincic isn’t a designer one would usually associate with embellishment but this season she went for it and her gamble paid off big time. The final looks were adorned with gob stopper plastic and gleaming gems, strikingly stunning in a way that was both harsh and compelling.

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Roksanda Ilincic SS14 (images via Style.com)

Other than the fact she makes really nice stuff, what I find so impressive about Roksanda Ilincic is the way she moves her aesthetic on each season. While everything she designs has a quality than is inimitably Ilincic, her past few collections have each been markedly different to what we’ve seen previously. This time around Roksanda demonstrated the scope of her skill with athletic touches and a tomboy air (enhanced by chunky, neon Nicholas Kirkwood flats) I could never have predicted but completely and utterly fell for. Judging from the thunderous round of applause that accompanied the finale, I wasn’t the only one seriously impressed by Roksanda Ilincic’s bold SS14 collection. Who knows what she’ll have for us next season? Whatever direction the designer decides to take, you can be damn sure she’ll nail it.

The only problem with holding a show halfway up a sky scraper is the issue of getting everyone back out. This was especially the case after Roksanda when we found ourselves with mere minutes to get across town for Christopher Kane and a high heeled stampede ensued. Once we’d managed to get downstairs and locate Naomi’s car it was time for one of the most panic stricken journey’s of my life. That sounds dramatic I know but come on, you just don’t miss a Kane show! After quite literally sprinting halfway around Clerkenwell we made it just in the nick of time and, oh, thank God we did. If anyone is nuts enough to still doubt the sheer, mind boggling scope of Christopher Kane’s talent this this collection should have definitely put a stop to that.

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Christopher Kane SS14 (Images via Style.com)

This season the designer’s starting point was, to put it simply, flowers. But of course, there’s never anything simple about a Christopher Kane collection. His blooms took the form of metal teardrop cut outs inspired by sterilised petals, arresting images of floral reproductive organs concocted from gossamer applique blooms and shimmering sylphlike bias cut slip dresses with skirts and straps contorted by embellished clips loosely referencing those one might use to examine a plant specimen. Sounds odd? Well then look at the pictures. It worked, in an exquisite, magical, how-the-HELL-did-he-think-of-this kind of way. From the razor sharp midnight black tailoring to the pastel hued slogan sweatshirts (I smell a cult hit…) to the patterns created not from print, but intricate cut out patters, everything about the show was utterly hypnotic and unlike anything else I saw here in London or across the pond. Christopher Kane took another step towards fashion world domination this season and I for one am more than happy to dress under his rule.

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Christopher Kane SS14 (Images via Style.com)

After what I’m sure you’ll agree was a cracking start to day three, it was time for another high speed dash across town for Marios Schwab at the Topshop venue. Since wangling my way in during my first ever LFW, I haven’t missed a Marios show and I never intend to; he just gets stronger by the season and he started off pretty damn good! A master of second skin silhouettes that mould, sculpt and enhance the female form, Marios Schwab was at his body conscious best for SS14 delivering an array of slick looks featuring carefully positioned airbrush prints. Wicker like mesh detailing and matching caps added intrigue to immaculate monochrome looks while backpack esque straps brought shimmering sequinned numbers back down to earth. Denim dresses with deliberately frayed hems sat seamlessly alongside gossamer fine lace creations and red carpet floor sweepers with meticulously embroidered underskirts that we caught a flash of as the models stalked the catwalk. If the collection’s name, “Contours” hadn’t given us the hint then the svelte sexiness that exuded from every look drummed Marios’ message home; these frocks are all woman.

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Marios Schwab SS14 (Images via Style.com)

Season in, season out, the Burberry Prorsum show is always a major LFW highlight for all who are lucky enough to attend. From the crisp white card invitations featuring a 3D cut out of London to the welcome email “from Christopher” all guests receive on arrival and star studded FROW to the collection and it’s reliably fabulous finale, everything about it is so perfectly done I can’t even imagine the organisation it takes to pull the whole thing off.

LFW Alexa Cheung, Poppy Delevingne, Jamal Edwards and Kevin at the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring_Summer 2014 Show

Alexa Cheung, Poppy Delevingne, Jamal Edwards and Kevin Stytrom on the FROW

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Anna Wintour… Like I needed to tell you that!

Gabriella Wilde, Simon Neil, Alison Mosshart, Paloma Faith, Sienna Miller, Harry Styles, Suki Waterhouse, George Barnett and Naomie Harris at the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring_Summer 2014 Show

Gabriella Wilde, Simon Neil, Alison Mosshart, Paloma Faith, Sienna Miller, Harry Styles, Suki Waterhouse, George Barnett and Naomie Harris

With so many other wonderful components, it would be almost tempting to overlook the clothes themselves and it’s a true testament to Mr Bailey’s design prowess that he manages to make them standout as the star of such a spectacular show. Remember how much I adored (and still adore, it’s only September after all!) Burberry’s AW13 collection? Well my feelings for the SS14 offering are every bit as impassioned.

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Burberry SS14

Indeed, in some ways the looks felt like a very natural progression from the latex pencil skirts, cheeky PVC trench coats and playful heart prints Bailey put down the catwalk last season. The hint of kink remained while the autumnal colour palette had been replaced by sugar sweet pastel shades of lilac, mint and blue, dusky pink, buttery neutrals and hits of rich rose. Incidentally, the collection was entitled “English Rose”, a perfect name for some of the most deliciously, unashamedly feminine ensembles I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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Burberry SS14

Figure hugging, sheer lace pencil skirts and matching buttoned up blouses played a game of peek-a-boo paired with softly cocooning knits and coats and leather grab clutches adorned with embroidered blooms. Thicker fabrics were masterfully manipulated, folded origami style to form knot front detailing or sculpted trench style evening dresses cinched at the waist by embellished belts. As the collection progressed, glittering gobstopper embellishment grew to cover trench coats and almost painfully gorgeous skirts realised in candy coloured lace. Cara Delevigne closed the show clad in a playful plastic cape. As the models made their final walk, a torrent of rose petals rained down from the ceiling to the sound of deafening applause.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

LFW SS14: Day 3

Despite the weather being – for want of a better word – completely crap, LFW day 3 was an excellent one. In fact they all were to be honest, but anyway, I digress. My morning kicked off bright and early with the Smythson presentation at their Bond Street store.

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I Wore: Club Monaco jacket & shirt, Tibi shorts, Whistles sandles & Mulberry bag
Image by Holly McGlynn

I’ve often thought that fashion would be the ultimate career for an alcoholic as regardless of whether its 9am or 9pm, champagne is served. I was rather tempted by the bellinis on offer at Smythson but with a will of steel, stuck to freshly squeezed juice instead. A good call as aside from anything else, I needed my wits about me to fully appreciate the gorgeousness of their latest accessories. Whether it’s a notepad or a briefcase, everything Smythson does is flawless and just about the ultimate in tasteful luxury. The latest edition to their handbag family, the x, is a perfectly formed top handle tote with contrast colour side panels, definitely a future classic. Their Panama range was truly a joy to behold with camera bags, clutches, iPad sleeves and basically everything else your heart could desire in the highest quality leather imaginable and a range of eye popping colours. It remains my lifelong dream to own a full set of, preferably monogrammed, Smythson gear… One day! I was delighted to run into Naomi in the store but then, as we were munching granola pots and shouting at each other we had the out-of-body experience of running literally smack into Anna Wintour clad in ice blue leather and enormous sunglasses. In that situation it’s hard to know what to do. We opted for averting our eyes and flattening against the wall while employing every modicum of self control not to whip out our iPhones and take a picture.

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Having just about recovered from our literal run in with La Wintour, we trotted across the road to the Halycon Gallery where Emilia Wickstead was showing. This was definitely one of my favourite shows on LFW SS14, if not ever. Opening with an exquisitely elegant full skirted look in palest blush textured cotton, Wickstead’s latest offerings were the very epitome of timeless elegance. Edible candy colours ranging from tangerine and turquoise to mint green, chocolate brown and ruby red.

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Emilia Wickstead SS14

Swing coats and crisp pleats exuded a demure, old world feel styled to perfection by Mark Cross box bags and Manolo Blahnik heels. Sculpted, couture worthy silhouettes complete with cinched waists, wide hems and voluminous, ankle grazing skirts were given a contemporary edge by way of bold horizontal stripes, piano prints and the surprising use of fabrics such as white denim. Emilia Wickstead’s SS14 collection was so mouthwateringly beautiful a challenge anyone not to go weak at the knees just looking at it, irrefutable proof of just why she’s being hailed as one of the hottest names in fashion right now.

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Emilia Wickstead SS14

Whereas on day two the scheduling of shows had provided something of an obstacle, the day three line up worked in everyone’s favour. After recovering from my Emilia Wickstead induced awe stricken reverie I joined my fellow fashion week-ers for the five minute trot up the road to Claridges. This venue can only mean one thing, Mulberry. As per always, the street was lined with photographers, some doing street style, others waiting to pap the guaranteed A List attendees. Mulberry is a brand that’s not afraid to reference it’s English heritage and on this occasion, Claridges had been transformed into a country manor complete with flower daubed wrought iron gates at the entrance, daisies on the grass carpeted stairs and a full afternoon tea spread once inside. Given that our invitations had been adorable miniature Wedgewood tea cups, I probably should have guessed this would be the case. The FROW featured a bevvy of celebs including Alexa Chung, Brit Marling, Douglas Booth,  Juno Temple, Lea Seydoux, Rebecca Hall and Tallulah Harlech plus Anna Wintour, Alexandra Shulman and every other important fashion figure this side of Antarctica.

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From left: Brit Marling, Lea Seydoux, Rebecca Hall, Alexa Chung & Douglas Booth

As this would be Emma Hill’s swansong collection for the brand, I was both excited and a little nervous to see the collection. What if, after God knows how many stunning seasons Emma got it wrong this time? But of course, she didn’t. In a delightful homage to all that is English, Mulberry’s SS14 offerings were a delightful fusion of countryside inspired chic and swinging sixties cool in shimmering grey floral jacquards, pop art prints, modish leathers, fiery red silk twill and embroidered cream cotton. Cara Delevigne, who had been noticeably absent up until this point, made one of her rare SS14 catwalk appearances to open the show and a wayward bulldog tugging his poor model minder down the runway bought a smile to everyones lips.

Mulberry SS14

Mulberry SS14

Mulberry always put on a beautiful show and the collection felt like a celebration of Emma Hill’s revival of a beloved British brand, offering something fresh for the new season while reminding us all of the designer’s signature playful style we’ve all fallen so hard for. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll be on tenterhooks to see both what Emma does next and whether her replacement can continue Mulberry’s reign of excellence.

After an Itsu pitstop (they don’t have them in NY so naturally I’ve been having an Omega 3 Salmon Supreme bonanza since arriving home) I headed to The Savoy for my fourth show of day three, Temperley London. The hotel ballroom provided a fittingly regal setting for a collection fit for a princess. If recent high profile fans of the brand (AKA the Duchess of Cambridge) are anything to go by, adorning royal frames is probably where a fair few of these dreamy dresses will end up. For there really is no other way to describe the unbelievable beauty of what Alice Temperley served up this season. The designer treated us to an array of duchesse satin creations in a rainbow of delectable shades ranging from rich purples, pinks and mauves through to soft blush, ladylike lilac and peachy hues, midnight black, cream, ice white and palest mint green.

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Temperley London SS14

It was every girly girl’s fantasy realised in organza and brocade with floral embroidery, appliqué blooms and intricate lace cutwork. Combining delicate cherry blossom print with leopard while keeping things classy is no mean feat but Alice pulled it off with aplomb. Overlay skirts featuring hundreds of tiny ribbon bows had my jaw hitting the floor and wasp waisted creations were taken to the next level of red carpet glamour with shimmering crystal embellishment. I don’t know how else to describe Temperley London SS14 other than stunning for that is exactly what it was.

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Temperley London SS14

I wandered out of The Savoy fantasising about swanning around town in one of those Temperley gowns and was unceremoniously jolted from my daydream but the fact that it was raining and I had precisely 5 minutes to get across town for my Gap event. Luckily I made it just in the nick of time for a few hours of official “hosting” duties before re-entering the fray for my final show of the day, Mary Katrantzou. I’m a die hard Katrantzou fan (who isn’t!?) and have never before seen her work on the catwalk so excited doesn’t even begin to cover my pre show emotional state. Fearful that the appalling traffic and multiple road closures might make me miss the show I badgered my poor driver incessantly about his route. So desperate was he to get me out of his car, we made it with enough time for me to take my seat and enjoy the excellent people watching opportunities. As expected at such a hot ticket show, the FROW was strictly A* List with Olivia Palermo, Natalie Massenet, Ruth Chapman, Mira Duma, Elena Perminova, Anna Wintour (in a new and even chicer ensemble than the morning’s), Suzy Menkes, and Cathy Horyn gracing it to name but a few. Those who had been allocated standing spots were left virtually wrestling one another for space, proving just how much the world wants Mary. Having spent that trip to Doha in her charming company I can attest that such adoration couldn’t happen to a nicer and more deserving person.

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou SS14

A peek at the show notes informed me that this seasons inspiration was footwear and I was very intrigued to see Mary work her magic and spin it into something extraordinary. “Shoes” is a fairly expansive field so Mary cleverly narrowed down her collection to three sections based on three distinct styles. First up was the humble brogue inflated and distorted to form voluminous, digital printed concoctions complete with punched leather detailing, lacing serrations and pleats in moody shades chestnut, deep blue and olive green.

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Mary Katrantzou SS14

The second footwear style du jour was sports shoe, fitting really considering fashions ongoing fixation with trainers. But this, my friends, was like no other manifestation of athletic inspiration (thank God). The oh-so-talented Miss Katrantzou took the idea of gym kicks and transformed them into cropped and extended bikers, form fitting bandeau dresses and mini skirts crafted from neoprene, rubberised leather and mesh in neon bright shades complete with velcro straps and rubberised detailing recalling shoe soles.

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Mary Katrantzou SS14

Last but certainly not least came the evening heel, but not as you, I or anyone else have ever seen it before. For the second consecutive season Katrantzou worked with legendary French embroidery house, Maison Lesage, resulting super size gobstoppers of embellishment decorating the final array of architectural, rococo coloured creations. If I ever have the cash to splash on a Katrantzou frock I would consider it an investment on par with a priceless work of art because in all honesty, that is precisely what each and every one of them are.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

LFW SS14: Day 2 Part 2

LFW SS14

Whenever I start to think that NYC does it better I’m reminded that London does it pretty damn well too. LFW day two definitely provided such a reminder. After stellar shows from Holly Fulton, John Rocha and Whistles, Coco’s Tea Party blogger, Ella Gregory and I headed West (via Starbucks, natch) to Mayfair for the Markus Lupfer presentation. I, like the rest of the sartorially inclined world, have no qualms admitting to my fixation with Lupfer’s trademark embellished sweaters. With tongue in cheek slogans and oh-so-comfy fits, they’re total fashion catnip. But of course, Markus Luper doesn’t just do great jumpers, oh no. The German born, London based, unbelievably charming designer does great just-about-everything. From flirty frocks to city chic separates and footwear, Markus is no one trip pony and he certainly demonstrated that this season. The presentation space in Il Bottaccio – a gorgeous Georgian building overlooking Green Park – had been decked out to resemble a retro teenage girls bedroom complete with posters, stuffed toys, a pink and white desk plus other girly accoutrements. Among the clothes themselves there was no hint of the cult knits for which Lupfer is renowned. In their place came super bright ditzy floral prints, cute cat motifs, bicycle embroidery and cheeky slogans adorning flirty hemmed dresses, cropped bomber jackets, sweatshirts mini skirts and cropped trousers. Playful, irreverent and perfect for anyone who likes their fash with a side of fun. In short, I want it all and I want it now!

LFW SS14

LFW SS14

Having started to feel an afternoon slump coming on despite my triple shot latte, Markus’ presentation perked me up no end and I felt positively perky as I made my way to the House of Holland show, stopping for a self indulgent sushi-and-magazine session en route. Henry Holland is another designer who’s work doesn’t take itself too seriously. If the jostling crowds outside (and inside for that matter) the Brewer Street Car Park venue were anything to go by, I’m clearly not alone in falling for his devil may care attitude every season. House of Holland shows always pull in a considerable coterie of his celeb pals and by the time I took my seat Pixie Geldof, Alexa Chung et al were already installed on the FROW. Mere minutes before the lights went down Harry Styles entered flanked by Kelly Rowland and Nick Grimshaw causing an absolute frenzy among the paps, not to mention pretty much everyone else who would no doubt have considered themselves worldly enough to know better. At last the lights went down and the first look hit the catwalk. Remember his “Rave Nana” show for AW13 that has since spawned a million high street copies? I loved and still love that collection so am delighted to tell you that this one was definitely of the same standard. Opening with a white shirt waister dress adorned with orange, tattoo style roses and a high shine belt, Henry’s latest offerings walked the fine like between tacky chic and just plain tacky perfectly.

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House of Holland SS14 (images via Style.com)

Between the wildly clashing hues, wallpaper prints, leopard print PVC and ghetto gold jewellery everything was “off” but deliciously so. Chambray denim (lots of that for SS14!) with floral embroidered cut outs, graphic patterned gold jacquard, saturated gingham checks, high shine metallics and neon lace were all held together by an feeling of 90s inspired Miami cool that, minus the in your face styling, will translate effortlessly into real life. There’s something about the kind of shamelessly loud and proud style that, when delivered by House of Holland, is irresistible in it’s sheer so-wrong-its-right-ness. Hell, by the end of the show I was even coveting Henry’s white leather jacket featuring a giant religious motif on its back!

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House of Holland SS14 (images via Style.com)

Yep, day 2 was a marathon and I still had one show left at the hideously late hour of 8pm. But when it’s a show like Richard Nicoll you suck it up and shiver outside the Regents Park venue in the knowledge that the collection you’re about to see will make those purple knees worth it. Admittedly had I not a) done bare legs b) worn painful shoes or c) stayed out until stupid o’clock the night before I may have felt slightly less shivery but hey, I survived it and Richard’s collection was everything we’d all hoped for and then some. By this point all the major players had arrived from New York and the FROW included Carmen Bornogovo, Kate Foley, Alexandra Shulman, Lorraine Candy, Natalie Massenet (who’d changed into a impossibly chic black jumpsuit, how does she always look so perfect?!) and Kim Hersov to name but a handful.

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Richard Nicoll SS14 (images via Style.com)

Much as I love all things bright and bold, Nicoll’s SS14 collection was both a reminder of how powerful simplicity can be, especially in the hands of one so supremely skilled as Richard Nicoll. In a palette consisting largely of monochrome and graphite greys with just a few pink looks somewhere in the middle, the focus was on razor sharp cuts, clean lines and ingenious fabric use such as the sheer, optic white ensembles embroidered to create a herringbone pattern and metallic panel detailing.

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Richard Nicoll SS14 (images via Style.com)

Boyish cuts and super slick tailoring had a menswear feel to them while structured, two tone shift dresses were all woman. But this, my friends, was a crisp, powerful femininity articulated in graphic, black and white stripes, sheer sleeved tux jackets, waistcoats and perfectly precise cigarette pants; no flounce or frippery from Richard Nicoll. Even the handbags were fuss free, boxy confections by Golden Lane and, as luck would have it, I’d found myself sitting next to their designer, Fran, so got to congratulate her in person. There was no extravagance or theatrics here, just beautiful clothes beautifully made by a truly talented designer; surely the ultimate end-of-day palette cleanser.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

LFW SS14: Day 2 Part 1

LFW Day 2 got off to a truly terrible start when fashion week disaster numero duo struck and I slept through my alarm… By three hours. I maintain that the damn thing didn’t go off but frankly, who knows. Eventually I managed to get myself dressed, breakfasted and on the slowest tube ever (damn you district line!!) to Embankment getting steadily more enraged reading everyone’s tweets about the ANTIPODIUM presentation, knowing full well I’d never make it in time. It was raining, I was doing bare legs and I had the mother of all blisters, generally not a great start to the day. On the bright side, I could console myself with the fact I would be attending a Holly Fulton show and her punchy brights and tongue-in-cheek chic style were guaranteed to put a smile on my face.

LFW SS14

I wore: Whistles top & skirt, Club Monaco jacket, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Alice + Olivia bag & Kurt Geiger shoes
Image by Holly McGlynn

Once inside the morning’s earlier stress continued to fade away, sitting next to Susie Lau on the FROW I felt pathetically thrilled. I know that sounds beyond vacuous but hey, I’m only human. Holly’s show pulled in some seriously important attendees this season – think Natalie Massenet, Sarah Harris, Jessica Bumpus, Lucinda Chambers – a fact I was thrilled about as a long term Fulton fan. With people like that at your show, the pressure really is on and I thought that Holly absolutely rose to the occasion. The designer’s trademark prints, brights and embellishment were all present and correct although perhaps a little subtler than we’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of OTT chic but this collection felt perhaps more grown up and infinitely more wearable while not compromising the signature element of fun that makes Holly’s work so irresistible.

LFW SS14

Holly Fulton SS14 (images via Style.com)

More often than not, the press release for a show gets shoved straight in my handbag to be rediscovered later, a small crumpled ball. Holly’s however I always read in full straight away because I love reading about her latest “woman”. This seasons muse is a 70s siren inspired by soft focus pop icon Noosha Fox. Belted dresses, statements tees and day suits came in soft denim and printed silks featuring hazy florals, kitcsh birds and modernist graphics influenced by the geometric interiors of David Hicks. For after dark Holly delivered intricate embroidery, crystal chokers and touches of tinsel. Particularly impressive this season was her experimental approach to fabrics, creating textured cork ensembles out of leather and mesmerising surfaces from manipulated ribbon. Unsurprisingly, I adored it all, and felt the collection marked a kind of “coming of age” for Holly Fulton. The fearlessness, fun and disregard for all things trend related remains as does her boundless imagination and attention to detail. At the same time what we’re seeing for SS14 is perhaps a more refined and definitely a more wearable vision from the designer. Holly Fulton’s good time gal is all grown up.

Feeling buoyed up by such an uplifting collection I headed back out into the grey London afternoon for a loiter in the courtyard until show number two, John Rocha. John’s show was was another FROW experience (yay) albeit a slightly less comfortable one given how many well clad derrières were squeezed in. I found myself crammed between the lovely Angela Scanlon which is always a laugh and a black clad woman who I think was Lady Victoria Hervey and was rather less jolly. I’ve been attending John’s shows for a fair few seasons now and his sheer, awe inspiring skill with fabric always blows my mind. For SS14 the designer set out to “weave a narrative of grace and elegance”, an aim we can safely say he achieved.

LFW SS14

John Rocha SS14 (images via Style.com)

We were treated to an array of embroidered, sculptural creations, utterly elegant and slightly otherworldly. Like Holly, John Rocha is a designer who pays no regard to what anyone else is doing and simply serves up his own brand of sartorial genius by way of sculptural silhouettes crafted from silk organza, crouched georgette and sheer chiffon. While there were many objets d’art, as one would expect from John Rocha, we also saw many more wearable garden party ready numbers too. The watercolour floral dresses were a particular favourite of mine, adorned with origami roses and sunset infused prints. “Summer blooms” run the risk of being a tired look but in John’s seasoned hands it felt original, beautiful and serene. As the show progressed the designer continued his masterclass in textural, offering up sheer black georgette gowns adorned with burnished gold embroidery and laser cut PVC.

At the risk of sounding like a colossal whinger, I couldn’t help but feeling the scheduling on day 2 was a little dodgy. Julien Macdonald, Whistles and David Koma all in different locations within the space of an hour? Even those in possession a driver with no regard for speed limits this would have been impossible. Much as I wanted to see Julien’s latest spectacle and generally rate David Koma, there was only going to be one winner here. Yep, you’ve guessed it, Whistles. The show was held high up Heron Tower with eye boggling views across London and seated cosily with some of my fashion faves, Briony of A Girl A Style, Ella of Coco’s Tea Party and Anna of South Molton Street Style I couldn’t have been much happier. Until I saw the collection that is… Just wow. I warn you now, my borderline unhealthy obsession with Whistles looks set to reach new heights of insanity come Spring. This show was a true testament to the genius of Jane Sheperdson and so far from “fast fashion” or other not-so-favourable terms usually associated with even the highest of high street labels to associate it with such would be criminal. For SS14 Sheperdson offers a more feminine vision than last season, although still oozing the pared back cool we’ve come to expect from Whistles. Opening with an blush pink and faded chambray denim featuring boxy cuts and an attitude of nonchalance, the collection moved seamlessly into ice whites (lots of those for SS14 so maybe steer clear of Merlot), buttery tans and the most incredible, liquid look silver lurex.

LFW SS14

Whistles SS14

A peek at the show notes informed me that Jane had drawn inspiration from an African Safari, a reference that really came through in prints such as blown up Ocelot fur and flamingos, and later looks featuring vibrant shades of evergreen and fuchsia. Shapes stayed true to Whistles now well established sleek, modern aesthetic leaving Jane free to experiment with texture. And experiment she most certainly did, as with basically every other collection I’ve seen this and last season, there was leather a’plenty as well as rubberised and plastic coated cottons, luxe satin jacquard and woven raffia. Without exception, Whistles SS14 collection was a parade of gorgeous clothes I want, nay need to wear perfectly styled with pool sliders, two strap sandals and obscenely covetable handbags.

LFW SS14

Whistles SS14

So, three shows down, three more to go and kudos to anyone who’s persevered with this ridiculously long post up to here! Given that we’re approaching the 1200 word mark I’m going to save the rest for next time but I will tell you that the collections I viewed on day 2 continued to be unanimously awesome!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment