Fashion Week

LFW SS14: Day 1

So after nine crazy days in New York and one distinctly less crazy day battling jet lag in my pyjamas, come Friday 13th (ominous or fabulous?) it was time for LFW to begin! Despite getting up at 6am in an unsuccessful attempt to make a dent in my to do list and not having a show until 11, I somehow managed to end up running hideously late, sprinting up the Strand Starbucks in hand and almost breaking both ankles in the process. It was also grey, drizzly and depressing weather which made me rather miss the NYC heat, despite all my whinging at the time. Still despite the stress and the miserable weather, I was excited to get cracking with the second leg of fashion month.

LFW SS14

I wore: Tibi dress, Maje jacket, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Monica Vinader rings, Kurt Geiger shoes & 3.1 Phillip Lim bag
Image by Holly McGlynn

My first show of London Fashion Week SS14 was Felder Felder. The twins boast a considerable celeb following so it was no surprise to spot Dionne Bromfield, Donna Air, Yasmin Le Bon, Laura Whitmore and Kate Nash on the FROW. Once we were all in our seats the lights went up and the first model took to the catwalk in an ice white, virtually sheer jumpsuit. As you know, I’m a big Felder Felder fan and have swirled around many a dancefloor in the talented German sister act’s cocktail numbers. That said, my feelings about their latest offerings were a little mixed. In many ways it was a very brave collection indeed. Drawing inspiration from the life aquatic, Daniella and Annette Felder concocted an array of shimmering ensembles featuring expertly teased textures, frothy chiffon, translucent latex and sculpted skirts with ruffled waists reminiscent of open mouthed clams. The palette was a deep sea blend of coral, seaweed green, turquoise and pearlescent monochrome shades with fishscale motifs adapting the designers’ signature use of print to their SS14 theme. But despite the bold use of modern fabrics and clearly referenced starting point, much as I wanted to love this collection I didn’t. There were of course some incredibly covetable pieces in the mix – yes, fit n’ flare party dresses I’m talking to YOU – but for me, it didn’t have the same cohesive polish as some of Felder Felder’s previous collections. The skill, imagination and fearlessness were all there but I felt there were one or two too many looks that weren’t quite up to the standard of the others. That said, this season did demonstrate that the design duo are capable of far, far more than flirty frocks (although they continue to do them par excellence) so I can’t wait to see where they take this next season.

One of the nicest things about coming back to London Fashion Week after New York is running into friendly faces absolutely everywhere. Admittedly this can make it hard to get from show to show but five days of catwalk shows, presnetations and parties with people you know well and genuinely like a lot is always a warm and fuzzy, if bloody exhausting, experience. After spending rather too long mincing around the courtyard telling tales from the Big Apple to any poor person who’d listen I found myself appallingly late for the Ostwald Helgason presentation. Given my obsession with this particular label-of-the-moment, missing it would have resulted in a fashion week meltdown so I basically ran all the way to Soho in my pretty but painful heels, arriving at Kettners a sweaty mess and having to lurk around a corner for ten minutes to compose myself. Once inside, the collection erased all thoughts of pulverised toes, it was quite simply joyful. Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason have been making pretty major waves these past few seasons and their SS14 designs should prove beyond any shadow of doubt that these two wont be disappearing anytime soon. The punchy prints, pitch perfect colour clashing and razor sharp cuts that earned them the support of Taylor Tomasi Hill (and God knows how many other fashion forces to be reckoned with) were at their very best this season with graphic, multi coloured florals adorning neatly tailored separates in cheerfully clashing hues.

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

Perfectly pleated midi skirts with wide stripes were paired with geek chic short sleeved shirts and accessorised with pieces from the brand’s divine ALDO Rise collection. But while playful, cartoon dog motif sweaters were, like everything else, utterly wearable, that’s not to discredit Susanne and Ingvar’s innovative use of fabric. Sheer panelled sweatshirts, chiffon pleat inserts, florals peeking from behind opaque overlays, lurex tees that almost appeared to be melting all belied the designers’ formidable talent. They simply deliver their creations with a hearty dose of fun, just the way I like it.

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

After a slightly stressful hour during which I attempted to attend a lunch that was actually on a different day altogether, organise my clashing evening schedule and make a trip to Whistles to collect my outfit for their show the next day I arrived back at Somerset House for my first show of the afternoon, Christopher Raeburn. While I know Raeburn is an immensely talented designer, his utility focused designs have never really done it for me personally. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone, I’m more of a chiffon and lace than re-appropriated military fabrics kinda girl, but Christopher changed all that this season. Opening with a mesmerising fashion film, the aptly named “Mirage” collection was a shining example of a young designer branching out while staying true to their signature aesthetic. Opening with form fitted, neoprene looks in two tone black and neon blue, the show progressed into shirt dresses and sportswear inspired separated in technical fabrics featuring prints based on antique Ordinance Survey maps. The utilitarian aspect was certainly there – think drawstring waist parkas, pocketed shirt dresses and neat bombers, but the introduction of more luxurious fabrics such as quilted jacquard and rich indigo linen gave his womenswear a pulled together femininity that hasn’t been so clear to see in previous collections. In a platte of soft putty hues, navy, crisp whites and even pink with perfectly coordinating accessories Christopher Raeburn’s designs for us ladies were as strong as his menswear this season, no mean feat by any account.

LFW SS14

Christoper Raeburn SS14 (images via Style.com)

Next up was a designer who’s collection I was particularly excited to see, the lovely Eudon Choi. If you spied my LFW piece for Notion Magazine then you’ll know that Eudon rated highly on my “must see shows” and boy, did he pull out all the stops this season. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his was one of the most impressive collections I saw here in Blighty or across the pond in NYC. A magnificent mansion on Pall Mall provided the perfect setting for a collection that called to mind the delicate grace of a Japanese princess. Our seats were so close to the catwalk we could have reached out and touch the clothes, an urge I struggled not to give in too as each exquisite look glided past. Eudon has made his name through delivering peerless feminine minimalism and this seasons offerings were perhaps his most refined yet. Delicately sculpted shapes moulded asymmetric hemmed dresses, tee-and-shorts two pieces and immaculate corsetry layered over short sleeved shirts for that quintessentially Choi boyish twist. Indeed, the contrasts between fluidity and structure, girlish beauty and strong androgyny was a key theme here, articulated it perfectly by way of clean tailoring and crisp cottons paired with intricately embroidered silk and delicate, watercolour floral prints. The designer’s inspiration for SS14 was an ancient tale of a Korean Princesses loveless marriage to a Japanese King, a subject that could easily err on the side of costume or pastiche. But while the references were plain to see – oriental bloom motifs, kimono inspired pyjama silks and ornate headdresses – an underlying simplicity kept the whole thing fresh, contemporary and distinctly non contrived.

LFW SS14

Eudon Choi SS14 (images via Style.com)

The collection’s childlike, innocent beauty could have got a little too pure had it not been for the welcome addition of stripes and hits of super bright blue and pink. Of course, Eudon knew this, and kept us on our toes with the surprising and stunning addition of the aforementioned eye poppers. All in all, it was both inspiring and inspired. I’m not the first or last person to say this but pretty soon, Eudon Choi is going to be massive.

We filed out of the venue unanimously proclaiming our love for Eudon and his work. Happily, Naomi had her own car for LFW (she is the Fash Ed of a pretty major publication after all!) which naturally I hitched a ride in basically all week. If anyone fancies lending me their driving services next season there will be many a goodie bag in it for you, but enough shamelessness, and let’s crack on with day 1′s final show. Jean-Pierre Braganza is both a brilliant person and a very interesting designer. This season’s collection was particularly intriguing as it saw him trying something new. Inspired by the way his daughter and her friends wear their school uniform (cute!) Braganza opened his show with a wide striped, A Line skirt suit; perfectly insouciant, a little bit Clueless and exactly my cup of tea. Indeed the collection had a girly girl meets total badass feel with candy pinks, chiffons and silks given a dose of attitude by way of slouchy tailoring, thigh slits, biker style waistcoats and Jean-Pierre’s trademark moody red and black prints.

Braganza

Jean-Pierre Braganza SS14

I was more than a little dubious about the drop crotch city shorts and rather wish he’d forsaken the sportswear references but there were some killer looks on show and it was refreshing to see another designer with such a clearly defined aesthetic take things in a slightly different direction.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

NYFW SS14: Day 6

It’s an inevitable truth of fashion week that at some point something will go hideously, horribly wrong. This time around disaster struck on night 5, or rather the wee hours of day 6. Having attended the amazing DKNY 25th birthday bash – Rita Ora, ASAP Rocky and Iggy Azalea performed, Hailee Seinfeld and Jared Leto attended, mucho fun was had by all – I decided to forgo the NY NY party at Le Baron in the interest of not being a total wreck the next day. As is often the case when you choose the sensible option, things go so totally tits up that you may have well just been silly and enjoyed it. Somehow I managed to get myself locked out of my apartment and eventually slept in the hallway until a kind (and evidently pretty wild) resident coming home at 5am helped me get in… Suffice to say, I was not exactly on top of the world when my alarm went off two hours later. But where there’s a will and a triple shot latte awaiting there’s a way, especially when the first collection on your schedule is J.Crew.

NYFW SS14

I wore: House of Holland dress, Mulberry bag & Preen for ALDO Rise sandals

It’s no secret that I love me some J.Crew and having spent my pre fashion week New York days trying on basically their entire AW13 collection in various stores around the city, I was extremely excited to see what Jenna Lyons and Tom Mora had up their stylish sleeves for SS14. Yet another label to channel a little Californiacation for Spring, J.Crew served up a heady blend of hibiscus prints, loud n’ proud embellishment and pops of neon more tantalising than Malibu views at sunset. Silhouettes came crisp yet relaxed with everyday tailoring paired with slouchy tees to create an oh-so-covetable fusion of New York grooming and laid back LA vibes. Turned up, paint splattered khakis oozed fash pack cool and to my delight there were Breton stripes a’ plenty. As per usual the J.Crew collection was so ridiculously up my street, were I not devoid any design talent I could have dreamt it. In other, rather less well formed words… I WANT ALL OF IT!!

NYFW SS14

J.Crew SS14

NYFW SS14

Show number two (after triple shot latte number two) was Diesel Black Gold held in the magnificent Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station. I love a spot of spectacle and this venue, not to mention the A List attendees certainly supplied it. Happily ensconced in my seat next to Metro Fash Ed, Naomi and The Elgin Avenue blogger, Monica my retelling of the previous nights sticky end was suddenly interrupted by the mother of all pap frenzies. It transpired that Kanye West was in the building and everyone was going crazy. I even spied several major Editors attempting to surreptitiously grab a snap on their iPhones. While I’d no doubt look ridiculous wearing any of it, I loved Diesel Black Gold Creative Director Andreas Melbostad’s debut AW13 collection for the brand. Studs and leather and rebel attitude all over; it was tough girl chic at it’s most badass. I was unsure however how he’d move things on for SS14 by Melbostad managed it. The show notes opened with the phrase “Strength and fragility meet to express a new duality” and I definitely couldn’t put it better. The label’s trademark leather was realised in ice whites and pastel shades of pink and blue adorned with metal eyelets, discs, zippers, buckles and hardware accents. Sharply tailored, form fitting looks were juxtaposed by looser silhouettes crafted from crepe de chine, silk georgette and cotton even branching out into broderie anglaise and the odd baby doll dress. Indeed contrast was the name of the game at Diesel this season and flowing chiffon came with leather accoutrements. Melbostad made the bold move to take a house with a well known, seasoned aesthetic in a new direction without compromising it’s brand identity and if you ask me, he managed it.

NYFW

Diesel Black Gold SS14

After battling my way through the carnage that is Times Square (Londoners, think Leicester Square on crack) and grabbing a quick bite to eat I headed downtown to The Classic Car Club for my next show, Sass & Bide. This was the Aussie design duo’s New York debut after five successful seasons showing in London so I can imagine there may have been a few nerves backstage that morning. They needn’t have worried, the SS14 collection was a hit, at least in my opinion. As at Diesel, Sass & Bide was all about dichotomy for Spring, although this was the contrast in a very different incarnation. Cinched waists, peplums and thigh skimming Va Va Voom silhouettes (a fave phrase of mine, in case you hadn’t noticed) exuded a powerful femininity in rich gold brocades, graphic herringbone checks and woven panelled leather. There were also softer shapes in the mix by way of flowing chiffon trains, wrap around floral printed silk and, much to my delight, sheer gauzy skirting embroidered with polkadots. There was also an undertone of androgyny thanks to embroidered sweatshirts with extra helpings of slouch which will no doubt sell out in seconds. Admittedly the power shouldered silk tux jackets weren’t really to my liking but other than that, I really liked the collection. Sexy, wearable and polished without being to “done”, Sass & Bide are definitely a label who know how to please their customers.

NYFW SS14

Sass & Bide SS14

As if the combination of 2 hours sleep, possibly too much champagne and ninety degree heat wasn’t painful enough already, I found myself with mere minutes until the only show that starts on time, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Then I couldn’t find a cab, walked in precisely the wrong direction, finally found a cab, got stuck in appalling traffic and very nearly had a complete breakdown. Luckily I made it, but only seconds to spare and was extremely pleased to be shoved in a seat on the FROW. That is, until a photographer asked for a snap and I realised quite how sweaty and disgusting I was after my high speed journey. I spent the next few minutes wishing the ground would just swallow me up and swear I could see the people seated next to me attempting to edge further away. But as soon as the first look hit the catwalk my shame attack thankfully faded away. You see, no one knows how to put a smile on your face like Mr Marc Jacobs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the man is quite simply a genius.

NYFW SS14

Marc by Marc Jacobs SS14

What I love most about Marc by Marc shows is that you never know what the hell to expect. SS13 was all about youthful gingham and soft edged chambray denim, AW13 served by seventies chic, berry hues and a hearty dose of glamour. This time around the collection was impossible to categorise. With boyfriend fit satin tuxes, graphic print sixties shifts and MJ letterman jackets the collection felt like a glorious homage to teenage kicks through the ages, or at least, through the last few decades of the 20th century. On the subject of satin, there was plenty of shine on show here, whether in the form of bedazzled sneakers, shimmering pleats, twinkling star embellishment or head-to-toe aquamarine sequins. Ever the arbiter of all things fun, young and pop culture related, Monsieur Jacobs nailed it for SS14 with an unpredictable blend of varsity luxe, boy-meets-girl cool and kitsch glamour that resulted in a retro yet somehow totally relevant feel.

NYFW SS14

Marc by Marc Jacobs SS14

My final show of the day and, as it turned out, of NYFW SS14 was none other than MM6 Maison Martin Margiela… I know. Obviously, the show was held downtown in a West Village gallery and by the time I arrived the streer was already flooded with sickeningly cool fashion types pretending not to pose for street style photographers. In retrospect wearing an in-your-face print House of Holland number was perhaps not my best decision ever as naturally most of the guests were clad in various forms of conceptual black drapery but frankly the idea of fitting in multiple outfit changes per day makes my head hurt so I rolled with it. The refreshingly cool basement space had been arranged with a semi circle of benches facing white structures on which moving, translucent bubble were being projected in reference to this seasons theme, “Transparency”. An interesting choice of words as while many of the looks we saw had a literal element of transparency, to my eyes at least there was something intensely undecipherable about them. Staple garments – think bombers, trenches, parkas, tuxes – had been manipulated, distorted and reworked in all manner of surprising fabrics to create sartorial hybrids as beguiling in their mystery as in the sartorial mastery that delivered their flawlessly sculpted silhouettes. After reading the press release I learned that the idea was to proportionally lengthen and enlarge the aforementioned garments from undersized to oversized, further proof that it’s always worth reading that before the show starts. Fabric was both varied and doctored to rigidify, perforate and add an appearance of opacity and the range of materials that received the MM6 treatment was astonishing. Leather, thick knits and opaque tech fabrics came in optic whites, matt black and hits of bold, block colour ranging from tangerine to hot pink and seaweed green. While there was an eery, spectacular, otherworldy quality to the show itself, pull that apart and most of the pieces could easily translate into real life minus, perhaps, the transparent moccasins. Yes, MM6 Maison Martin Margiela delivered a collection that was both undeniably conceptual and commercial, a sure display of seasoned skill if ever there was one.

NYFW SS14

MM6 Maison Martin Margiela

Sadly this is where my show diary will come to an end. I managed to pick up some sort of hideous bug before day 7, I blame the food I had at dinner that night but burning the candle at both ends for over a week may have had something to do with it. Never fear though, London Fashion Week will be coming soon and then, my friends, there will be Paris!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

NYFW SS14: Day 5 Part 2

I’ll say now that day 5 of NYFW had me confused on so many levels. Not about the collections, they were of a unanimously excellent standard. But about what “girl” I want to be. Rainbow brights, ladylike lace and pretty prints in the manner of Tommy H, Karen Walker and Alice + Olivia or fash forward chic with undercurrents of rebellion in clean lines, leather and mannish shoes a la AllSaints and Phillip Lim. After mulling it over endlessly while I should probably have been doing something more productive I’ve decided I can’t decide and therefore need to build a VERY extensive wardrobe!

My third show of the day was the one and only, insanely talented 3.1 Phillip Lim. I don’t need to tell you how much I obsessively, head-over-heels LOVED Lim’s AW13 collection. Whatever internal debates I go through about whether or not to forsake frills in favour of something a little tougher (#fashiongirlproblems) my feelings for Phillip’s work remain unaltered. His show was one, if not the, most eagerly anticipated on my NYFW schedule and having nearly had a fashion month meltdown when my ticket didn’t arrive until the 11th hour, nothing and no one was going to stop me being there. It was evidently a bad day to be wearing sandals as the floor of the venue had been carpeted in opaque rock crystals. Unsurprisingly the FROW featured a bevvy of jealous-makingly cool fashion girls (and boys) including Harley Vera Newton, Elin Kling, Mira Duma, Bryan Boy and Leandra Medine. All were clad in and carrying Lim leaving me almost tempted to attempt a handbag grab and dash, only then I would have missed the show. Taking a break from people watching I peeked at the show notes to learn that this season Phillip had been inspired by the elements, raw landscapes, terrains and geode formations. Having looked to biker’s molls last season and “cut it up” art the season before, I was extremely intrigued by this polar opposite source of inspiration. Would Phillip let us down with an ill fated change of direction? Would he hell! The designs Mr Lim had up his sleeve for SS14 are even more wonderful than I, his stalker fan numero uno, could have envisaged.

NYFW SS14

3.1 Phillip Lim SS14

This season’s prevailing aesthetic was lighter and perhaps more feminine than we for AW13 but still packed every bit as much of Lim’s trademark cool girl punch. A palette of pinks, greens and creams was toughed up by strong silhouettes and mixed with moodier shades. The show opened with an ensemble featuring crisply cut avocado coloured pencil trousers paired with a neoprene hemmed jacquard tank and sheer, geode embroidered jacket. For me, this look perfectly encapsulated the balance between commerce and creativity that belies Phillip Lim’s success. The exquisite geode embroidery that adorned, cracked metallic suedes and marbled prints communicated his inspiration in a way that was clear but didn’t feel at all gimmicky or contrived. At the same time, while the patchwork raffia, psychedelic woodgrain and marbleized jacquards were utterly mesmerizing most adorned pieces that could conceivably be bought and worn off the runway. Hints of neon and mesh were coupled with prints reminiscent of natural formations but the cut, fabric and attitude remained strictly city. Somehow polished pieces featuring sleek leathers and sharp shapes still had an earthy rawness to them.

NYFW SS14

3.1 Phillip Lim SS14

And of course, the accessories… Where to even begin? Sunglasses in collaboration with Linda Farrow, chunky open toe “Darwin” loafers and don’t even get me started on the “Wednesday” crossbody! Well, Phillip Lim you’ve cleared up my debate a bit, I want to be the girl who lives in your SS14 collection. I didn’t think he could possibly top last seasons sheer awesomeness in my eyes but he did it. As of now I will be starting a 3.1 Phillip Lim find in the hope that come Spring I can have some of this in my wardrobe to wear at every possible opportunity and look longingly at in between.

Last but certainly not least was the Alice + Olivia presentation which, I have to say, got me slightly confused again. For SS14 Stacey Bendet aimed for “preppy meets pretty” and that is precisely what she delivered. Sweet pleats, pastel hues and embellishment galore; if Bendet had actually set out to include my every sartorial weakness she couldn’t have done a better job of it. The embellished trophy jackets and mint green leathers were my personal favourites and from now one I’ll be desperately searching for an occasion that might justify buying one of the breathtaking lace floor sweepers.

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

Presentations often have quite a party ambiance, especially when it’s late enough in the day to hit the cocktails without feeling too guilty. I wouldn’t have minded hanging around at Alice + Olivia but of course that wasn’t to be and instead it was back on the subway home for a speed-of-light outfit change and on to the DKNY 25th Anniversary Party.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

NYFW SS14: Day 5 Part 1

Day 5 got off to an excellent, if horrendously early start. London being 5 hours behind New York time forced me to be at my laptop at the crack of dawn several times during NYFW, never exactly a barrel of laughs. Buoyed up by having actually begun to made a dent in my emails and started to sort out my Paris Fashion Week arrangements (exciting!) I grabbed a venti latte and hopped on the subway uptown for show number one, Tommy Hilfiger.

NYFW SS14

I wore: Boutique by Jaeger dress, Alberta Ferretti for Cutler and Gross glasses, Whistles sandals, Mulberry bag & Monica Vinader jewellery

Being the industry institution it is, fashion big hitters and A listers always show up for Tommy meaning I basically had to wrestle my way through a paparazzi frenzy to actually enter the venue. Once inside all thoughts of bruised toes and sharp elbows were replaced by sheer awe at the fact Tommy Hilfiger had transformed Pier 94 into a beach, complete with sandunes, surfboards and white washed life guard seats. Sand is slightly tricky terrain to navigate in open toed sandals but the whole scene was so spectacular I was inclined to ignore a bit of grit. Unsurprisingly, the FROW read like a who’s who of London, New York and Hollywood combined with everyone from uber bloggers Chiara Ferragni, Bryan Boy and Rumi Neeley to Victoria Silvstedt, Marigay McKee, Jefferson Hack and Anna Wintour plus a vast number impeccably turned out American women who’s sheer commitment to grooming you’ve got to admire.

Californication struck up, the first model strutted out and, having been too busy catching up with Naomi to look at the show notes, I instantly realised surf culture was going play a central role in the collection. Tommy’s take on surfspiration was a long way from from what other, more contemporary brands have been offering but in the best possible, most covetable way. Polo shirt dresses came reworked in neon and neoprene, a distinctly SS14 take on the perennial preppy staple. Flirty flippy hems, bold colour blocking and contrast coloured ensembles paired with perfectly matching sandals felt fun and fresh with a newness too them which in itself is an achievement for a designer who’s eponymous brand has been around for nearly 30 years. Between low slung, skintight wetsuit style trousers and cut out swimsuits in punchy hues complete with plastic zips, the surf references may not have been subtle which sounds like a criticism but isn’t, the whole thing was adorable. An interesting comparison could be drawn with the pared back athleticism we saw at fellow US sportswear stalwart, Lacoste. But while Tommy Hilfiger’s take on the look may be slightly less refined than Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s, it was perhaps rather more of an attractive proposal for lovers of eye offending amounts of colour, i.e. me.

NYFW SS14

Tommy Hilfiger SS14

As a (remarkably youthful looking) industry veteran, producing 50 odd women’s show looks is a walk in the park for Tommy and his vast SS14 collection offered more than just neoprene. Scuba chic transitioned in to colour pop tailoring, bomber jacket shorts suits and Hawaiian shirt style hibiscus prints carrying the surf theme through to the finale which, fittingly enough, marched to the beat of “Surfin’ USA” and of course, thunderous applause.

NYFW SS14

Tommy Hilfiger SS14

After navigating my way through the hundred plus street style photographers gathered outside I headed downtown to a different pier for show number two, Karen Walker. Karen is a designer who’s clothes I wasn’t hugely familiar with until recently. Of course I knew and coveted her sell out sunglasses, who doesn’t? But it’s only since acquiring a pair myself that I checked out her R-T-W offering and swiftly fell in love with it. As a passionate print and colour aficionado, the fact that Karen Walker collections offer large amounts of both made me very excited to see her SS14 concoctions. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, there were prints and brights a’ plenty. Indian inspired motifs adorned loosely tailored separates, laid back luxe silk pyjama pants and day-to-night shift dresses with boxy silhouettes and thigh skimming hemlines adding an air of stylish ease to proceedings. Just as I’d hoped it would be, Karen Walker’s SS14 collection was my kind of sartorial eye candy, playful, punchy and – to use a phrase pinched from WWD – “retail ready”.

NYFW SS14

Karen Walker SS14

Next on my agenda was a trip across town (a whole lotta zig zagging goes on during NYFW!) to Soho for the AllSaints presentation. As you might have gathered from their frequent appearances in my outfits posts, AllSaints is a label I’ve been wearing a lot recently and their collections just keep getting stronger and stronger. I arrived at the quintessential downtown loft space that served as a show room to be greeted by a line up of mannequins sporting a collection that was, to my mind, nothing short of a triumph.

NYFW SS14

Inspired by the decaying beauty of Flora Mortis (that’s “dying flowers” to you and me), the label delivered a stella take on the hard/soft juxtposition that so many designers seem to be obsessed with this season. Building on the low-key-luxe-with-a-hint-of-badass aesthetic that won me over to AW13, AllSaints’ combined dusty pinks, putty hues and curved silhouettes with chunky, hard edged jewellery and fearsome footwear courtesy of their newly acquired former Louboutin show designer. AllSaints’ have always done great leather and the labels latest offerings included pieces so goddamn gorgeous I could barely stop stroking them. Pared back coffee coloured bikers, long line waistcoats and – sacre bleu – cream shorts in the supplest of skins.

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW SS14

NYFW

NYFW SS14

I could have stayed for some time admiring the collection, not to mention the artist live sketching an enormous pot of decaying blooms, but of course I had places to be and shows to see so I said my goodbyes and headed back uptown.

More from day 5 coming very soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

NYFW SS14: Day 4

The fact that NYFW takes place in September and February poses something of a problem, sartorially speaking. In September AKA well and truly the start of Autumn, or as my American friends would say “fall”, any self respecting fashion devotee worth their Kenzo sweatshirt should have long since packed away their summery gear. The reverse is true come February but given the fact that the former tends to bring sweltering, muggy heat and the later sub zero temperatures and the odd blizzard, only those who are either incredibly brave or in possession of a driver can feasibly dress for the (fashion) season rather than the weather. Many people do indeed do this – I always spy lashings of leather at the SS shows and bare legs in Feb but personally I can’t quite manage it. Hell, even in my sleeveless Sea NY shirt dress I nearly asphyxiated on day 4!

NYFW

I wore: Sea NY dress, Wildfox Couture sunglasses, Vince Camuto sandals & Jaeger London handbag

After a deeply unpleasant, sticky subway journey uptown followed by walked precisely the wrong way up 8th Avenue I finally arrived at the Sean Kelly Gallery with just minutes to spare before the Derek Lam show. On this occasion my lateness played in my favour as I got to stand directly where the models walked out, affording me a close up look at what was a truly masterful collection. The aesthetic was, at least in my opinion, All American elegance with a Parisian twist. Gingham ensembles were concocted with couture craftsmanship resulting in crisp, full skirted looks complete with matching turbans. There was a certain strictness to the cinched waists and immaculate precision with which Lam cut his cloth, counterbalanced by a soft palette of whites and blues with hits of cornflower yellow. With embellishment kept to an absolute minimum, the designer was left to experiment with texture. From my prime position I marvelled at his manipulation of raffia, hand-painted guipure lace, spongy crepe, indigo denim and silk georgette. The collection was the epitome of refined ease and I could certainly see Mrs Obama in one of those fantastic gingham looks, although possible sans turban.

NYFW

Derek Lam SS14

Feeling somewhat less flustered after seeing such a fantastic show (the venues “more is more” attitude to air con may have helped a bit too) I headed to the West Village for the Public School presentation. If you read my pre-fashion week New York posts then you might remember I enjoyed a night on the town with Public School designers, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. Both awesome, clearly very talented and a lot of fun to boot, I was intrigued to see what they had in store for SS14. When I arrived at MILK Studios it became clear I’d have to wait a while to find out, the queue for the presentation was a mile long! Clearly this was the place to be and once inside I spied J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons and just about everyone else worth knowing in town. The collection itself was the epitome of what any fashion forward fellow should be wearing come Spring. Urban inspired staples and modern tailoring in a blend of luxe, tech and natural fabrics. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… guys, will you PLEASE start doing womenswear!?

NYFW Public School

NYFW

After a brief spot of relaxation on MILK Studios roof terrace with Sharoni and lovely stylist Haya Maraka, it was back out into the sweaty streets and on to the Thakoon show a few blocks North in Chelsea. I needn’t have rushed though, there was a mega delay in opening doors thanks to lighting failure (fashion week nightmare alert!) but those kind of queues can be good for a mingle and this time I even managed to fit in a little interview for Glamour.com. Once inside I stared open mouthed at the unbelievable outfits I spotted fellow show goers wearing which were above and beyond anything I’d seen before. The FROW bore a seriously impressive line up, as befits a designer beloved by Anna Wintour (going from what I saw in The September Issue, obv) including Suzy Menkes, Caroline Issa, Paula Reed, Hanneli Mustaparta, Leandra Medine, Bryan Boy… Oh and your’s truly. Admittedly this may have been more by default that anything else but when the wonderful PR team managed to slot me into a seat, my feet and Instagram feed were both extremely grateful. I have to say, if ever there were a show worth being in a great spot for, it was this one. I don’t even know where to begin it was, just, wow. The collection began an exquisite ice white and cream ladylike fantasy, a modern take on aristocratic elegance complete with freshwater pears and lace embroidery. How Thakoon managed to make this feel so fresh is anyone’s guess but the duchesse silk, crystal embroidery and ivory chevron textured crepe all carried an underlying feeling of youth and newness.

NYFW SS14

Thakoon SS14

Thakoon’s meticulous attention to detail is unsurpassed and as a lilac silk gazar number glided past I spied the shimmer of a reflective floral slip layered beneath it. Delicate jacquard prints paved the way from Princess worthy shades of cream and ivory into stiffened hot pink floral pleats featuring laser cut latex and thigh skimming slits, what a transition! Cheeky PVC numbers in red hot shades moved into sculpted denim and noir satin slips adorned with crystal trims and lace inlaid pleats – think Park Avenue Princess with a wild side – displaying the vast scope of Thakoon Panichgul’s imagination and sheer design skill. It was the kind of heart meltingly exquisite collection that makes the frenzy fashion week just melt away while you gape in awe and wonder. Thakoon’s show was without a doubt a major New York Fashion Week highlight and it was frankly an absolute privilege to be there.

NYFW

Thakoon SS14

With an unimaginable stroke of luck I managed to pounce on a free taxi within minutes who sped me up to Lincoln Center at a terrifying pace, in good time for DVF. Once I arrived, the feeling of calm instilled in me by the Thakoon show disappeared pretty quickly. Lincoln Center is always akin to some sort of feeding frenzy during NYFW (think the scene outside Somerset House on steroids) but this was truly something else. DVF shows always attract a high celeb quotient which inevitably results in mayhem in the tents. Once in my seat, having politely asked the random trio of people occupying to if they wouldn’t mind moving I had the interesting experience of watching my row mates reactions to the seat stealers who proceeded to move into unoccupied spaces until there were none left. Some people asked them to move with a sigh, others were downright vitriolic and refused to so much as make eye contact with the offending parties as they apologised. Could make an interesting human behaviour study, don’t you think? The FROW was a frenzy of celebs and industry legends, with everyone from Janice Dickinson and the Hilton sisters to Grace Coddington and Franca Sozzani in attendance. Eventually the disembodied French accented voice I’d come to look forward to so much ushered us to our seats for the show to begin.

NYFW SS14

Diane Von Furstenberg SS14

Karen Olsen opened to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (cheeky or controversial?) in a monochrome wrap dress with a printed A line skirt. The show notes decreed “Be Your Own Oasis… An unexpected source of renewal, serenity and Beauty”, words Diane clearly stuck to when dreaming up this collection. We were treated to nautical inspired blue and white prints complete with rope detailing, crop tops paired with flirty skirts and of course, lots and lots of dresses. DVF was clearly drawing on her own heritage here with the bold hues and punchy patterns we all know and love incarnated in jersey, chiffon and denim accompanied by a soundtrack of RnB classics which got me smiling. All in all, it was DVF doing what she does best; sexy, wearable glamour not exactly pushing the fashion frontiers but bursting with joie de vivre. Between the A list model line up – Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Daria Werbowy, Karlie Kloss and finally a majestic Naomi Campbell – and Diane herself dancing down the runway to Mary J Blige, the whole thing was truly a joy to behold.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments