Fashion Week

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 2 Continued

So picking up where we left off yesterday… It’s taken me six seasons to appreciate the London Fashion Week press bus, not to mention work out where and when it leaves. I’ve now decided that its pretty much the best thing ever and seriously wish New York would consider supplying their own. We all piled out of Somerset House and onto the waiting coach (those of us without our own drivers anyway) and headed East for the Julien Macdonald show.

London Fashion Week

Julien Macdonald’s Show Venue

Few do unadulterated glamour quite like Julien and this season he really treated us to one hell of an extravaganza. An unbelievably ornate venue complete with chandeliers containing god knows how many real candles perfectly set the scene for a show that was every bit as opulent, if not more so. You can always expect a high celeb quotient at Julien Macdonald and last weekend he had The Saturdays, Pixie Lott, Mary Charteris and Jamie Winstone on his FROW.  The show notes were headed “Viva Las Vegas” and I certainly couldn’t have thought of a better summary. The collection was basically a succession of spangled, sparkly showgirl numbers with body conscious silhouettes and sheer panelling. There were no wearable separates to be found here but personally I respect Julien for that, he does decadence like no other designer and embraces it shamelessly. Morning after hair and make up added to the in-your-face sexiness of it all but felt fresher than if he’d gone for immaculate grooming.

London Fashion Week

Julien Macdonald AW13

Julien Macdonald’s dresses may have been barely there but the intricate beading on display reflect remarkable amounts of time and skill. So perhaps this collection won’t be featuring on my personal wish list but it was nonetheless pretty incredible. A finale involving glittery gold confetti erupting from the ceiling drove the point home, Julien Macdonald is London’s king of spectacle.

It pays to be on your toes at the end of that kind of show because the second it’s over, the hoards of snap hungry paps descend. Eventually I managed to wrestle my was out and promptly made for the nearest Starbucks to reboot, charge my phone and write the sentance you’re reading now. Two hours and several lattes later it was time to head back to Somerset House once again for the Issa London show. My plan to calmly glide back to the Strand failed miserably when I realised, three quarters of the way there, that I didn’t have my phone. Luckily a very kind stranger had found it in the Starbucks loos so after a panic striken dash across London, I managed to get it back. After yet another high speed, high stress tube journey I made it to the Issa show seconds before the doors closed. Issa designer Daniella Hellayel has built a solid business by delivering luxe looks for stylish but not necessarily fashion forward females however this time around she decided to branch out. Admittedly, every look still exuded glamour, but in a way that was both bolder and subtler that what we’ve seen before. Drawing inspiration from the Navajo Indians, Hellayel experimented with bold geometric prints and diverse fabrics including woven cottons, shearling, cashmere and feather jacquards in a myriad of earthy and eye-popping hues. That’s not to say the the brand’s signature, figure skimming jersey dresses didn’t make an appearence but this time they came layered over skinny ribbed poloneck jumpers for a fresh twist on the staple now synonymous with Issa.

London Fashion Week

Issa London AW13

With five shows down and two yet to go we headed towards Soho at breakneck pace (literally, those shoes!) for House of Holland. This sounds silly to say, but I cannot actually believe how much I loved this collection. After reading the show notes I was fairly dubious. I mean, “1989, acid house” doesn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea. Even when the first look came out I still had my doubts but it wasn’t long before I was completely and utterly smitten. Yes it was loud, proud and unashamedly in-your-face but do you know what? Sometimes subtlety is overrated. This was definitely one of those occasions. Henry Holland delivered a myriad of bold and often downright bizarre prints in acid bright hues, my favourite being a trouser suit covered in Martini glasses. The collection was deliciously kitsch in the best possible way with fluffy pink trims adorning denim jackets, leopard print PVC, luminous orange shearling and metallic puffball skirts. All in all I was totally bowled over by the sheer visual spectacle of House of Holland’s AW13 collection and as for fashioning a catwalk out of endearingly naff 80s carpet… genius.

London Fashion Week

House of Holland AW13

By this point I was in dire, dire need of a glass of Pinot Grigio. Luckily this was a sentiment shared by my fellow bloggers (Alex, Zahrya, Emily, Reem, Natalya and Ella) felt too so we went in search of the nearest free table for seven and to indulge in an hour of wine, cake and gossip. Our appetites sated and thirst quenched, we hit the road once again, heading in the direction of Holborn for a rather special evening engagement. Unless you’re one of those strange individuals who don’t use social media, you’ll probably know that this London Fashion Week heralded the launch of none other than Rhianna’s debut collection for River Island. Unsurprisingly by the time we arrived (fifteen minutes early I might add) the queue was around the block! Eventually we got inside and were welcomed with an oh-so-welcome glass of champagne while we waited for the show to start. I have to say, in terms of lateness Rhi Rhi put even New York designers to shame and things didn’t get going for almost an hour. Not that I was complaining though as the delay afforded us prime people watching opportunities given that everyone from x to Derek Blasberg (who I later made a right tit of myself in front of) was in attendance. Eventually the lights went up and we were treated to a complete and utter spectacle as a bevvy of the most drop-dead-freaking-hot models I’ve ever laid eyes on proceeded to move up and down a vast, scaffolding esque stage set. As for the clothes themself, I was pleasantly surprised as celeb/high street brand collabs can sometimes be a bit of a let down. It was sports luxe meets hip hop with a super sexed up edge but a lot more fashion forward than I anticipated. After Rhianna herself appeared to take her final bow it was well and truly time to party which we did, rather a lot. Several Moscow Mules in I spied Derek Blasberg and decided to go and introduce myself. Naturally this turned into a pathetic, stalkerish “ohmigod I love you” situation but given his sheer fabulousness I think I can be forgiven on this occasion.

London Fashion Week

My night in RHIAN-STAGRAMS!

Any party hosted for or by Rhianna is going to be a good one and this bash did not disappoint in the slightest. Will a will of steel I forced myself to leave at midnight (don’t I deserve a medal!?) and felt positively sprightly the next morning… Result!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 2

So hiatus over, let’s get on to London Fashion Week. In case you’re wondering why I’m starting from day 2, on Friday I sadly had to attend a very dear friend’s funeral. Disappointed though I was to miss the shows, some things are just more important. After an emotionally draining day, not helped by my extreme jet lag, I passed out at approximately 8pm that evening. Thankfully by the next morning I felt distinctly more human and ready to get back in my heels and hit Somerset House.

London Fashion Week

I wore… Dress, Jumper, Jacket & Handbag: Carven, Shoes: Kurt Geiger.

My first show was Antipodium held at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden. I really rate the brand and have been particularly coveting the cartoony embroidered skirts in their SS13 collection so couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for autumn. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing a show where I fall head over heels for every single look and this was certainly the case with Antipodium. The show promised “Sex, Lies and CCTV” which initially had me apprehensive but in fact translated into a perfect fusion of girlish gorgeousness and bad girl subversion. Feminine styles such a skater dresses, A line midi skirts and cropped angora cardigans were given a bad girl twist by way of high shine PVC, acid brights and zip detailing. Combining everything from tweeds and velvets and shimmering metallic leathers with a kalaidescopic palette of eye-popping brights is a bold move but one that definitely paid off on this occasion. My personal favourites included a fur collared mini dress in pleated chiffon and those spectacular PVC numbers but to be honest, I’d very happily take any (or all) of it.

London Fashion Week

Antipodium AW13

Given how completely and utterly arctic New York had been, I thought I’d be fine wearing Carven’s pretty much distinctly non insulating resort collection. I was very, very wrong and hastily shivered my way to the nearest Starbucks to grab an extra hot latte and thaw myself out. My caffeine cravings sated and hands a bit less blue, I tottered down the Covent Garden cobblestones in the direction of Somerset House. Much as I adored every manic millisecond of NYFW, it is lovely to be back on my home turf where I can scarcely move an inch without bumping into someone I know. After almost an hour’s mingling and catching up with various friendly faces it was time to head over to the BFC tent for the Jasper Conran show. Having been in the business for over donkey’s years, Jasper Conran is a long term LFW fixture and his FROWS are always packed with industry pals and a famous face or five. This time around I spied Jodie Kidd, Virginia Bates and the ever wonderful (and tireless) Hillary Alexander.

London Fashion Week

Jasper Conran AW13

I don’t know if you’ll remember but I wasn’t overly enamoured with Jasper’s collection last season. I sincerely hoped that he wasn’t going to continue in the same (barefoot, flesh flashing) vain this time and thankfully my wishes were granted. After a seriously prompt start, just 10 minutes behind schedule, the show opened with a succession of simple, immaculately cut skirt suits and shift dresses in subtle neutrals and lustrous autumnal hues. Texture was key and Jasper treated us to everything from glossy brushed velvet, softest suede and chunky cable knits to delicate plum chiffon and sumptuous satin. Lovely though the collection was in its understatedly elegant way,  I began to think that it was perhaps slightly at odds with the neon orange catwalk that matched our invitations. No sooner had that flicker of entirely unjustified doubt crossed my mind than Mr Coran swiftly dispelled it with a succession of looks so luminous they almost sizzled my sockets. If they hasn’t been so chic, I may even have looked away! The pared down skirt suits and 60′s shifts that had initially captured my attention (and had Alexa Chung’s name all over them) came re-imagined in day glo orange, magenta, coral and ultra violet shade. Finishing up with a party dress parade adorned with pailette sequins and ruffled organza, Jasper Conran’s latest collection was a testament to his talent and proved that after more than three decades as a designer, he still has the power to surprise.

I really hope that by the time I move there (it’s happening!) New York has sorted out their itsu situation, I was craving an Omega 3 Salmon Supreme all week! With over an hour to go until my next engagement I hot footed it down the strand to satisfy my cravings. After a restorative sushi eating and Grazia reading session I headed back into the fray for the John Rocha show. Having attended John’s shows for the past four or five seasons and interviewed him just the other week (click here to read it), I was excited to see what his latest collection would bring. For SS13 he embraced colour and while many of Rocha’s latest offerings came in dark and mysterious tones I was pleased to see a healthy amount of pink. In fact, the whole show felt like a change for the designer. Many looks were as exquisitely, extravagantly sculptural as expected (and, I hasten to add, admired) but others were perhaps rather more wearable. Rocha supplied sleek knitwear, draped mannish tailoring and jersey pieces enhanced with panels of semi sheer organza. There was also some truly excellent outerwear, my personal pick being a pea green cape/coat creation complete with pie crust collar. John Rocha’s masterful fabric manipulation and sheer imagination always wows but I suspect this collection will appeal to a wider customer base, never a bad thing I’m sure you’ll agree.

London Fashion Week

John Rocha AW13

As this post is now threatening to turn into an essay (like every single NY one did… Sorry) and day 1 was no where near drawing to a close after my third show, I’ve decided to split it in to two. The second installment will be coming soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

New York Fashion Week AW13: Day 7

By the final day of New York Fashion Week I found myself, for the first time ever, craving a pair of trainers. My state of exhaustion wasn’t helped by the fact that I woke up on Suitcase Magazine Editor and my partner in crime, Serena’s sofa less than two hours before my first show of the day.

New York Fashion Week

I wore… Coat: Whistles, Shirt & Bag: Jaeger London, Skirt & Beret: American Apparel, Shoes: Kurt Geiger, Gloves: Accessorize.

With a lot more luck than I deserved I somehow managed to make it to Lincoln Centre in time for Nanette Lepore. I always adore Nanette’s collections and, as you may remember, had a slight Cinderella moment when she dressed me for the WGSN Global Fashion Awards last Autumn. Last season I fell hard for her joyous tropical brights and punchy prints but in the battle for my heart, Nanette’s latest offerings provided some stiff competition. Drawing inspiration from footage she’d seen of the Mars Curiosity, the designer delivered a perhaps bolder array of ensembles than we’ve seen from her in previous seasons. Fiery digital prints paid homage to the Red Planet while khaki looks and sculpted plum leather added a sharper, utilitarian element. As expected, there were killer cocktail dresses a’plenty but Lepore also tapped into AW13′s obsession with androgyny by way of hooded parkas, mannish overcoats and seriously sharp suiting. Much like last season, every other look I saw during the Nanette Lepore show elicited an “ohmigod I want it!” kind of reaction.

New York Fashion Week

Nanette Lepore AW13

By this point I was in seriously dire need of caffeine and made a high speed Starbucks stop to pick up a latte which I promptly spilled all over myself. By the time I arrived at the Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti show I was feeling more than a little frazzled but cheered up considerably when I bumped into the lovely Tali Lennox in the queue. Having also been at the Diesel ‘do’, Tali feeling equally worse for wear (not that you could see it) and we commiserated over our mutual hangovers in the queue. Once inside I waved Tali goodbye as she took her place on the FROW next to Miroslava Duma and Olivia Palermo who looked so unbelievably elegant that I almost couldn’t bear to look at her. This was Philosophy’s first season under new Creative Director Natalia Ratabesi and I was intrigued to see   how she developed the label. I can imagine that taking over from a fashion doyenne like Ferretti poses a fair few challenges but x really rose to the occasion, offering up a rather sleeker, more modern look than we’ve seen in previous seasons while still retaining the brands inherent Italian elegance. Luscious textural knits and rich, burnished gold brocades were kept fresh by their combination with clean lines and athletic touches including mesh panels, elastic trims and zip detailing. Excellent separates came by way of subtly embellishex peplum tops, neat cigarette pants and immaculate tailoring. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Philosphy di Alberta Ferretti show without a fur or five and several stunning evening dresses. Overall the collection was a rare combination of commercially appealing and sartorially surprising, an impressive debut from  Ratabesi.

New York Fashion Week

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti AW13

When a “celeb” turns their hand to fashion design, it is inevitably met with some industry reservation. Admittedly I havan’t always been overly infatuated with the boho luxe collections delivered by Rachel Zoe but this season I think it’s safe to say she nailed it. Gone were the floaty maxi skirts and the piled on accessories. In their place came svelte silhouettes, luxe fabrics and immaculate tailoring. The vibe was cool, contemporary and ever-so-slightly equestrian styled with minimal makeup, low ponytails and glossy, knee-high leather boots. A palette of lusciously understated neutrals, save for the odd hit of olive green or rich burgundy, enhanced the overall air of well groomed elegence while some truly excellent outerwear had me reaching for my ever growing wish list.

New York Fashion Week

Rachel Zoe AW13

After a breather and bite to eat it was time for me to venture back into Lincoln Centre for my final show of the week, Milly by Michelle Smith. Now you know me, I’m a sucker for a dance-ready cocktail hour ensemble and whether she’s doing super girly or, like last season, sportif chic Smith always delivers them in spades. Her latest collection was particularly covetable in a charmingly “look at me” kind of way. Hologram leather featured heavily, applied to sweatshirts and pencil skirts to be worn mix n’ matched or top to toe depending on how brave you’re feeling. Punchy prints, oversized checks and eye-popping shades of orange and cobalt blue were perfectly offset by simpler pieces such as tailored trousers and mannish overcoats in restrained grey wool. While I liked the Milly show last season, Michelle Smith’s latest offerings were infinitely cooler and her deliciously shimmering final provided a suitably covetable end to a truly incredible New York Fashion Week.

New York Fashion Week

Milly by Michelle Smith AW13

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

New York Fashion Week AW13: Day 6

No matter how much you adore clothes, parties and general fabulousness (in my case, a LOT) New York Fashion Week is a bit of a marathon. By day 6 I my limbs, eyes and just about everything else were aching, in short I was shattered. Despite having dragged myself away from the Phillip Lim party before 1am it took every ounce of willpower I had to force myself out of bed, into my heels and over to Lincoln Centre. Aching limbs, or no aching limbs, there was no way in hell I was going to miss that morning’s first presentation…

New York Fashion Week

I wore… Shirt & Sweater: Theory, Skirt: Carven, Coat: A.P.C, Hat: Vintage, Bag: Anya Hindmarch, Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem.

J.Crew may have chosen to showcase their AW13 collection in about the most basic format imaginable (two lines of models, boys on one side, girls on the other) but Head of Womenswear Design, Tom Mora’s creations don’t need fanfare or spectacle. With J.Crew, the clothes themselves do the talking by way of vivid prints, kalaidescopic colours and plenty of spatkle. But beyond the initial “ohmigod I want it” gorgeousness of it all, the brand once beloved by soccer moms still delivers fundamentally practical pieces, albeit in very pretty packaging. This time around we were treated to brocade cigarette pants, snazzy skirt suits in bright tweed and embellished collars galore. Knitwear and coats were excellent as expected, a particular favourite of mine being a delectable double breasted camel number complete with sheepskin collar and bling trimmed lapels. As expected, I left the J.Crew presentation having put every single look on my AW13 wish list which is looking to be a mile long after this week.

New York Fashion Week

J.Crew AW13

After a much, much needed trip to Starbucks I hopped on the subway (major lack of funds by this point) and made for midtown. Next on my schedule was the Victoria, Victoria Beckham presentation. The venue was a fair schlep to get to but despite my surprisingly uncomfortable Nicholas Kirkwood’s, I made it. The show notes promised a “new androgynous feel” and given SS13′s super girly aesthetic I was excited to see the results of this new direction. I have a lot of respect for Victoria Beckham as a designer and businesswoman and judging from her FROW I’m certainly not the only one. Anna Dello Russo was there sporting a full Prada catwalk look. Other important attendees included Harvey Nichols’ Fashion Director Paula Reed who, being basically the loveliest person in fashion, made a point of coming over to say hello, and LOVE Magazine Editor Alex Fury, funnily enough a former student of my course at Central Saint Martins. Victoria had promised us a departure from last season’s overt feminity and that is precisely what she delivered. The collection was a masterclass in elegant understatement while still retaining the youthful feel you expect from a diffusion line. Silhouettes were simple and lines clean with embellishment kept to an absolute minimum. Everyday separates and immaculate shift dresses came in a palette of neutrals, monochrome shades and rich autumnal hues while fabrics such as softest cashmere, tailored wool, boucle tweed and silk kept things strictly luxurious. Subtly styled with crisp shirting, glossy leather boots and oversized beanie hats, the collection exuded an air of effortless insouciance, no doubt forcing those who voiced their doubts about Victoria Beckham’s design abilities to promptly take it all back.

New York Fashion Week

Victoria, Victoria Beckham AW13

My next port of call was Pier 59 for the Diesel Black Gold show. Inconvenient though the piers are to get to on the subway, they provide such an awesomely atmospheric venue that I had to forgive Diesel for “forcing” me to take another taxi. While getting ready that morning I had spotted someone’s tweet about how much warmer it was and foolishly dressed accordingly. By the time I got to show number three I was absolutely frozen and vowing never again to put such faith in social media! Luckily I was doing backstage so the lovely PRs whisked me straight inside and I got to watch the model run through while sheltering from the cold and using the venue’s WiFi. It wasn’t long before my fellow attendees began pouring in and I was in prime people watching position. Like last season, the Diesel FROW was pretty major with everyone from uber blogger Chiara Ferragni to Editors Emmanuelle Alt, Carine Roitfeld and Giovanna Battaglia. As with most shows, all us European press were seated together so I got to catch up with my friend and former boss, VELOUR Magazine Fashion Director, Violaine. Twenty minutes chatting later the lights went up and it was time for the first model hit the runway wearing a long line black tux jacket, stark white roll neck and skin tight leather trousers; a high fash bad girl look that set the tone for what was to be an achingly cool show. I don’t know whether you know this (I didn’t) but Diesel Black Gold recently hired a new Creative Director. Having previously worked everywhere from Yves Saint Laurent to Calvin Klein, Andreas Melbostad is about as good as it gets and he certainly brought his A game this season. Sharp shoulders and sleek tailoring in monochrome shades were combined with all manner of treated fabrics ranging from distressed denim and waxed cotton to resin-treated wool and well worn leather. Indeed, leather played a crucial role in the collection applied to everything from badass boot cut pants (a far cry from those favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge) to ultra mini mini skirts and of course, many a motorcycle jacket. Studding was another key component of Diesel Black Gold’s new season aesthetic and every inch of the final look – a drop waisted, short skirted, body conscious dress/jacket hybrid – was covered in them. At the risk of sounding like a wannabe America’s Next Top Model judge, it was seriously fierce and left me pondering how to attitude-up my look for AW13.

New York Fashion Week

Diesel Black Gold AW13

After going backstage to meet Andreas (who FYI is utterly lovely) I made for the subway as quickly as my throbbing feet could carry me. Luckily I had a few hours to kill so I decided to go home for a breather. As darkness fell and my fifth (or was it sixth?) coffee of the day began to kick in, I slipped into an evening ready ensemble (and considerably more comfortable heels) before heading uptown for my last show of the day, Oscar de la Renta. Oscar’s show was a major highlight for me in September and this time around I was even more excited because, as you probably already know, John Galliano recently joined his design team. My state of fashion giddiness reached new heights when I arrived and found myself seated on the second row next to former Vogue Features Director Harriet Quick and directly behind International Herald Tribune Editor Suzy Menkes. As for the FROW itself, I hardly know where to begin. It was basically a “who’s who” of the international fashion elite ranging from Emmanuelle Alt and Justine Picardie to Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour. There had been some speculation about whether or not Galliano, who started in Oscar’s studio less than a month ago, would be working on the AW13 collection. Our question was answered the second the first look hit the runway – a cinched waisted wool coat in richest azure, the sculptural silhouette of which was unmistakeably Galliano.

New York Fashion Week

Oscar de la Renta AW13

Oscar de la Renta is renowned for his gorgeous gowns but this season’s offerings really did take it to the next level.  Every exquisite embellishment and fine fabric imaginable was employed to concoct a succession of painstakingly crafted, couture worthy creations. In a colour palette spanning everything from lime green and magenta to barely-there shimmering nudes, the collection was the embodiment of every girl’s (or at least my) ultimate fashion fantasy.  Extended cloche hats and elbow length, organza evening gloves added an almost other worldly air, resulting in an aesthetic that was less Upper East Side housewife and more serious style maven. Just when I though things couldn’t get any more mesmerising, Karlie Kloss closed the show in a embroidered, purple silk floor sweeper that felt positively regal.

New York Fashion Week

Oscar de la Renta AW13

Leaving the show it was clear that everyone else felt as awestruck as I did. No matter how physically, mentally and financially broken you are by the end of fashion week, seeing a show like that makes it all worth it.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 6 Comments

New York Fashion Week AW13: Day 5

Much as I’d moaned about the bitter cold on New York Fashion Week day 4, it was infinitely less grim than the following morning which was so rainy it almost put London to shame. Just as I was despairing that thanks to my lack of umbrella (it didn’t survive snowstorm nemo) I was going to resemble a drowned rat by the time I got to the subway my lovely friends at Kurt Geiger came to the rescue by offering to loan me their London taxi for the entire day! I have to say I felt pretty swish as I left the apartment and stepped straight into my waiting car.

New York Fashion Week

I wore... Hat: Vintage, Coat: A.P.C, Jumper: Boutique by Jaeger, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Boots: Massimo Dutti, Gloves: Accessorize.

After a not-so-brief Starbucks stop we were on our way to the ICB building for show number one, Belstaff. I love it when a heritage brand makes a major comeback and Belstaff has done just that. The FROW was a veritable feast of fashion big hitters including Nina Garcia, Natalie Massinet, Bryan Boy, Jemma Kidd, Suzy Menkes and Jefferson Hack to name but a few. Every second guest seemed to be sporting a supple skin something perhaps in homage to the label’s leather legacy, or maybe just because leather’s so totally OTM (of the moment in case you didn’t know!). I was very glad I’d picked that morning to wear my own black leather mini and my general sense of smugness was only enhanced when I took my second row seat and discovered that the benches were cushioned, a surprisingly rare occurrence during fashion week.

New York Fashion Week

Belstaff AW13

The show was seriously delayed, even by NYFW standards due to a fash-eds-stuck-in-traffic disaster but when it finally did begin it was every bit as impressive as expected. The collection opened with an array of belted waxed jackets (who knew barbours could be so seductive?!) before moving on to elegant motorcycle inspired ensembles complete with quilted knees and elbows. This was utility chic at its absolute chicest and besides excellent outerwear X offered thick, ribbed knits paired with sheepskin lined knee high boots, bare legs and flippy minis. Of course the collection included a whole lotta leather encompassing everything from luscious pleated skirts in regal burgundy to grown up toffee toned trench coats. A hooded aviator style coat lined in THE most luxurious shearling elicited an audible gasp from some guests (i.e me) and the final looks introduced an element of eveningwear with gleaming silver, chain mail embellishment. All in all Belstaff’s AW13 collection was the epitome of tasteful opulence and will no doubt be a big hit with both the fash pack and jet set.

At the end of every show there’s always a highly undignified scramble to get out of the venue. Evidently the combination of schedule stress and lack of taxi anxiety can reduce even the most poised style maven’s to a rabble of scrambling teenagers. On this particular occasion I didn’t join the fray because I had a sizeable break until my next show and my own personal driver. I was feeling so nonchalant in fact that I offered to give a few of the lovely ladies from Glamour and Marie Claire a ride to their next destination. Evidently the old saying that “no good deem goes unpunished” holds true even during fashion week and half and hour later we were still sitting in midtown traffic. Eventually I got so fed up that I decided to continue on foot and bought an umbrella that I lost within ten minutes. In the end I set up camp in the nearest Starbucks to make the most of their free WiFi. Two hours, several coffees and one slightly dubious Panini later it was time to venture back out into the damp for one of, if not the most eagerly anticipated shows on my schedule, 3.1 Phillip Lim. As you all know, I’ve got a bit of a “thing” about Phillip Lim (hello understatement of the century) and I apologise in advance because after last week my obsession’s going to hit new levels. Despite the rain, I spied a lot of his SS13 collection on my fellow guests which made me even more determined to get my hands on a piece of it than ever. Once inside the cavernous venue we were treated to steaming hot chocolate a, dare I say it, rather more welcome refreshment than champagne on such a grim day. 3.1 Phillip Lim always pulls in a good and this season’s line up included pretty much everyone who’s anyone ranging from Derek Blasberg and Taylor Tomasi Hill to Garance Dore and Hanneli Mustaparta. After a very enjoyable people watching session the lights went up and the show was at last ready to begin.

New York Fashion Week

3.1 Phillip Lim AW13

At the risk of gushing, Phillip Lim’s AW13 collection was genuinely one of my favourite collections ever. Building on last season’s grunge inspired look, Lim’s latest offerings felt a both effortlessly thrown together in that tomboyish was he does so well but still beautifully cohesive. Rather than sticking predominantly to one main “story”, Phillip Lim creates an attitude allowing for enough different colours, fabrics and styles to constitute an entire and oh-so-covetable wardrobe. Bad girl tartans and zip detailed motorcycle jackets sat alongside angora turtlenecks, patch worked furs (evidently a major trend for AW13) and shearling trimmed azure overcoats. OTK boots are evidently back with a vengeance for autumn and Lim paired his with low slung minis, statement sweatshirts and a healthy dose of devil-may-care attitude. Slouchy tailoring is always something Phillip Lim does well and this time around he turned his hand to the traditional velvet trouser suit, transforming it into something modern and totally relevant. A colour palette including everything from rich autumnal shades of olive green, navy and burgundy to neutrals and cool monochrome hues confirmed my belief that if you can afford 3.1 Phillip Lim, you don’t really need to shop anywhere else ever.

The novelty of having a car was still far from wearing off and with a spring in my step I skipped out of the show and into my waiting London taxi. My next destination was the Meatpacking District for the Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet presentation. I absolutely adore their last collection and this time around was no different. Tartans, leathers, plaids, prints and burnished metallic brocades all came in to play, applied to city chic separates, cute cover ups and of course, deliciously girlish cocktail dresses. Flared minis, boucle tweeds and perfectly coordinated accessories provided Park Avenue Princess prep while sleeveless leather motorcycle jackets and sharp suiting hinted at something bolder. As with every Alice + Olivia collection I see, virtually all of it went straight on the wish list. Day 5 was shaping up to be one of the best of New York Fashion Week and it still wasn’t over yet!

New York Fashion Week

Alice + Olivia AW13

Sadly, once again, I’d had to wave goodbye to my ride at 5pm so instead of gliding to a waiting car I made for the subway. At that exact moment a free taxi approached and, given quite how impossible they are to find usually, I took this a sign that I should take it and all good budgeting intentions went straight out the window.

After a couple of hours frantic blogging, email sending, outfit changing and, I’ll admit, watching an episode of Girls it was time to head back uptown for my final show of the day, Marc by Marc Jacobs… Yep, like I said, day 5 was awesome. As with Phillip Lim and Alice + Olivia, I really don’t need to tell you how I feel about this label. Marc by Marc is always a hot ticket show but this time it reached new levels thanks to the mainline Marc Jacobs show being postponed until Thursday evening when a lot of people will have already left for London. Lincoln Centre is never exactly a dull environment but that evening the atmosphere was electric. If anyone ever needed proof that Marc Jacobs wields serious power then they need only refer to this occasion. Every major fashion editor this side of Timbuktu was in attendance and the fact that Susie Lau was in the fourth row and Joanna Tillman in the second spoke volumes. As well as causing a fashion frenzy unlike any I’d seen all week (and I’d seen a fair few I can tell you!) Marc also managed to achieve the impossible and get virtually everyone in their’ seats on time. No sooner had I ogled Anna Dello Russo’s head-to-toe Louis Vuitton ensemble the show began, less than 15 minutes behind schedule!

New York Fashion Week

Marc by Marc Jacobs AW13

While I liked the Marc by Marc Jacobs SS13 collection a lot, his latest offerings were on the next level. The 1970’s never cease to inspire designers and for AW13 Marc really did pay homage to the iconic decade. Waists were cinched and prints punchy with plenty of pinstriped shirts and preppy plaid on offer. Wide leg wool trousers, everyday tailoring, ribbed turtlenecks and midi skirts came in a palette of typically seventies hues ranging from rich merlot and azure to burnt orange, olive green and violet, perfectly complimented by voluminous ‘do’s and luscious, berry stained pouts. As expected at Marc, there were plenty of big name models on the catwalk including Lindsey Wixen, Daphne Grunewald and Cara Delevigne who gave it her trademark swagger. To summarise, it was playful elegance and utterly delightful, yet another would-be capsule wardrobe collection.

Exhilerated from a truly fantastic day of fashion week-ing I headed back downtown again for the 3.1 Phillip Lim aftershow party. This has been a pretty lengthy post so in the interest of keeping things concise, it was SUCH a fun night and I may or may not have told Phillip I wanted to marry him.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments