Fashion

Are you an Anna or a Phoebe?

Anna Dello Russo

Image via Stockholm Streetstyle

In the cycle from brain to blog, this post has undergone several working titles. The first was “Why I’ll Always Dress Up For Fashion Week.” That got scrapped partially because my dear friend Naomi just published a really excellent piece stating the exact opposite so doing so would have felt a little pointed. Plus, who knows whether I’ll cave in a couple of seasons a take to show going in UGG boots and a cashmere onesie. Another was “Sneakers V Stilettos” but that seemed redundant. Everyone knows trainers are the show footwear du jour for cool kids and those with an aversion to blisters these days… I mean duh, we all have Instagram. I felt that the best way to broach this was to compare two opposite types of fashion week females that seem to have arisen in recent seasons, or as I like to call them, the Anna Dello Russos and the Phoebe Philos. It’s worth stating here that I know Phoebe ain’t no fashion week-er. But her style is one aspired to by so many show goers it just seems simplest to use her as my example here. My brain has also been reduced to the mushiest of mush by a week of 13 hour working days in the library and doesn’t have the capacity to be more imaginative right now.

I probably don’t need to explain the differences between these two sartorial specimens but just in case, here goes. Anna Dello Russos adore, nay, worship at the alter of flamboyant, ebullient fashion in all it’s embellished, multicoloured, look-at-me glory. They show their support to designers by wearing a full catwalk look on the FROW at their shows, or at least the absolute bloody closest they can get to doing so. Bare legs in January and multiple changes per day are de rigueur and if you suggested swapping their six inchers for Stan Smith’s the ADR woman would laugh in your face, or possibly faint, she does love a spot of drama.

By contrast, the Phoebe wouldn’t dream of forcing herself to wear footwear that could double as weaponry for umpteen days straight, regardless of the fact she has multiple minions and a driver. Admittedly most Phoebes-who-aren’t-actually-Phoebe probably have to run around like headless chickens and maybe even, shock horror, mingle with non fashion folk on public transport making comfy kicks all the more justifiable. Ms PP is stylish don’t get me wrong, effortlessly, achingly so. But hers is an understated, “I woke up like this” chicness involving vaguely weather appropriate clothing and denim. Does she pose for street style photographers? Good God no. Save for the occasional “ok I’ll indulge you this once” distracted stationary snap (most likely while on her phone), the Phoebe is always captured in motion while the Anna stops, poses, twirls and revels in showing of her finery to her adoring public.

anna dello russo

Image via Style.com

Ok, I got a little carried away with that “brief” description, but you get my point. Or if you didn’t and suspected I was enjoying a bit of a self indulgent ramble (which tbf I kind of was) then here goes. When fashion months arrive, different people choose to adopt different styles for the shows. For some, dressing up for the shows is as much a part of the experience as what they see on the catwalk. For others, their own attire serves as something to keep them chic yet crucially, comfortable while they survey the new collections. But at the end of the day, the vast majority of people at fashion week are there to do a job. Whether that is to feature what they see in a publication, decide whether to stock a designer’s work or support them by sharing their show with a vast social media audience, it’s work, albeit an amped up and (in my opinion) exhilarating and hugely enjoyable part of it. Some choose to do this work in sensible shoes and low key ensembles – which I admit, often look seriously cool – others embrace the opportunity to spend however many weeks getting their FASH on.

In recent seasons there has been a lot of talk about street style induced “peacocking” and whether the spectacle outside the tents distracts from the magic within. Much of this has been aimed at bloggers with IMG planning to enforce a clamp down over forthcoming New York Fashion Weeks. I discussed this last year in response to Suzy Menkes’ piece on the circus of fashion so I won’t regurgitate that argument (you can jog your memories here). But I stand by what I said then and while the Anna V Phoebe dichotomy is, on one level about personal style and pain thresholds, it is also indicative of a wider debate. Should fashion week be strictly business; conscientious journos, buyers and editors shuttling from show to show? Or does the decision of some people, be they a blogger making their debut or a seasoned pro running a global business, to get their inevitably impractical gladrags on add to the atmosphere of excitement, inspiration and self expression that fashion is fundamentally all about?

Personally, I think both are equally valid and indulging in the sheer joy of dressing up, regardless of the potential health risks involved, or admitting that you don’t actively dislike having your photo taken for Vogue.com doesn’t reduce one’s validity as a fashion week attendee. Provided, of course, that you still do what you’re there to do. If forcing yourself into mini dress and Manolos will stop you making Burberry on time then it would be downright ridiculous to do so. But if you want to rock a chiffon cocktail dress at 9am on a chilly Sunday morning and feel confident that coldness will only spur you on then why the hell not! A while back I was lucky enough to interview Paula Reed, a woman whose career, kindness and style I admire hugely. When discussing fashion week she told me that everyone had to ‘earn their seat’ at the shows by essentially providing something in return; an honest review, social media buzz, the potential to get their gear into a fabulous shop. Surely if you’ve earned your seat through hard graft, you’ve earned the right to dress up (or not) and maybe even stop for a street style shot in between shows. Plus, if no one peacocked it would put a lot of photographers out of business and a lot of writers out of article fodder.

So, only one question remains, which fashion week woman are YOU?

Love Ella x

Ps) this question is hypothetical and goes way beyond the small proportion of the population that are active show goers, I’m pretty confident that Anna’s and Phoebe’s exist in all fields… And I suspect you know which camp I fall into.

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

3 Ways To Wear It: The Fashion Sweatshirt

As discussed in a recent Look Du Jour, despite my aversion to things sportif I did give in to the allure of the fashion sweatshirt. What some, myself included especially, dismissed at first as a fad is now officially an essential component of any sartorially conscious person’s wardrobe. After loudly proclaiming that I’d never succumb to the sweatshirt, I found myself eating those words some time last Summer when I spied this Kenzo stunner in Browns Focus. I went in for a meeting and came out, some £200 poorer with what is essentially a glorified version of PE kit. But, I had a spring in my step and visions of how freaking cool I’d look rocking it whirring away in my brain so didn’t particular care that I had no idea what I’d actually wear my new toy with. My vast collection of preppy, pretty, unashamedly girly garms don’t lend themselves so well to streetwear inspired pieces… Or at least that’s what I thought, anyway.

kenzo fashion sweatshirt

Sadly this beauty is sold out but there are oodles of Kenzo new season pieces available on MATCHESFASHION.COM and Net-a-Porter or you could hit up Vestiaire and hunt the original down

In an attempt to get some bang for my buck and challenge my styling capabilities I decided to make said fashion sweatshirt the subject of this instalment of 3 Ways To Wear It.

Casual

fashion sweatshirt

kenzo

kenzo fashion sweatshirt

fashion sweatshirt

Worn with J Brand skinny jeans (available here), Gap slip on sneakers (similar here), 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli (similar here) & Lily and Lionel scarf (new season version here)

Ok, so this ensemble isn’t the most imaginative. It’s basically my go-to when I want to look halfway fashionable but have overslept, have a hangover or just can’t be bothered to give anything much thought. But hey, you can’t go wrong with a pair of classic J Brand 811’s (funnily enough, the subject of another 3 Ways post). I added Gap slip-on sneakers – Celine’s sell out version require way too much commitment for a ballet pump devotee like myself – and eye-popping pink accessories. Minimal effort for what I feel is a pretty decent outfit, result!

Preppy

fashion ella catliff

kenzo ella catliff

fashion sweatshirt

fashion sweatshirt

Worn with American Apparel denim skirt (available here), Russell & Bromley loafers (very similar here), Tezenies pop socks (basically identical here) & Kurt Geiger satchel (real deal available ON SALE here)

I thought that prepping up a fashion sweatshirt would be nigh on impossible but in retrospect, I think it works pretty well! Obviously no preppy look is complete without a crisp collar so I layered a trusty white Gap shirt underneath. Next step to prep, an A-line mini, namely an American Apparel denim number I’ve literally had forever. I added the final touches with a Kurt Geiger mini satchel and Russell & Bromley loafers. Then added pop socks because, well, why wouldn’t you?

After Dark

kenzo juicy couture guess

fashion sweatshirt

GUESS

Sophia Webster Ella Catliff

Worn with Juicy Couture waxed jeans (availble ON SALE here), Sophia Webster heels (similar here), GUESS handbag & Swarovski Crystallized Treasure Chest Necklace & Bracelet (available here and here)

Last but not least, fashion sweatshirt, after dark edition. Out of the three, I think this is the look I’m least confident about. As you may remember from this Kenzo sweatshirt’s previous appearance on the blog, last time I took it out for cocktails it was paired with a camo-leopard-hybrid print mini and Rag & Bone ankle boots. That totally worked, I (no doubt mistakenly) felt like the hippest person on the planet. This time I wanted to incorporate a killer heel and initially paired the two with a leather mini. That was a mistake. My top and bottom halves were clearly attending two very different parties. So instead I toned down my pins with a pair of Juicy Couture waxed jeans and upped the upper body glam factor by way of Cadenzza statement jewellery. I then decided to really go to town on all things pink and added a GUESS shoulder bag in the kind of fluoro hue you need sunglasses to look at.

And now let’s play favourites. Casual, preppy or after dark, which fashion sweatshirt styling do you like best? Or hate most? Tell me what you really think…

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

Lacoste SS14: Life Is A Beautiful Sport

Remember when I went to Paris with the lovely Lacoste? Of course you do, it was barely a fortnight ago! In case you do need a recap, the reason for my petite Parisian jaunt was the launch of their inspired Life Is A Beautiful Sport SS14 campaign, naturally unveiled at a great, big, fabulous party. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it is to come up with a fashion campaign film that doesn’t have “yawn” written all over it. Lacoste managed it, and then some. Instead of regurgitating everything I wrote in my previous post I’m just going to let this stunning snippet speak for itself. Enjoy…

The full shabang launches TONIGHT online at Lacoste.com

Love Ella. X

Credits
Creative agency: BETC
Production: Wanda
Director: Seb Edwards
VFX: MPC
Music: DISCLOSURE – “YOU & ME” ft Eliza Doolittle — Flume Remix / Universal Music Publishing

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

There’s Something About Cara

cara delevingne mulberry

Firstly I have to apologise for the frankly lame title of this post, I just can’t resist a bit of shameless appropriation. Secondly I know the subject of Cara Delevingne seems about as original as the blogger tastic ensemble I rocked on Monday. But bear with me, because this is one of occasions where I’d especially love to hear from you lot. The other night I slipped off my J.Crew sheepskin slippers and tucked myself into bed in my tartan PJs and cosy cashmere socks armed with a mug of peppermint tea and set about getting stuck into the February issues.The first thing I noticed, leafing through the many gorgeous ad campaigns on display before the first article, was the fact that Cara Delevingne starred in not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 of them. Namely, mulberry (above), DKNY, La Perla and Saint Laurent make up. This was not the first time I’d encountered Miss Delevingne that day nor would it be the last, she’s everywhere. And despite having been E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E for some time now, it doesn’t appear that her proverbial fifteen minutes are even close to being up. This, I know, isn’t exactly news but it got me thinking, what is it about Cara that has the world so enraptured? What unique qualities have made her fame and career eclipse that of her sister?

Cara La Perla

La Perla SS14 Campaign

Cara Delevingne is beautiful, well obvs, but dare I say it no more gorgeous than Karlie Kloss or Jourdan Dunn. I mean really, they’re all goddamn goddesses. But yet, it’s Cara who makes headlines on a daily basis, walked in practically every AW13 show, then had the clout to basically opt out next season and still scores more Vogue covers and major advertising campaigns than the lot. This led me to wonder that perhaps the key to this particular model’s meteoric success lies not in her good looks, banging bod, posing prowess or business acumen. Perhaps the reason fashion brands and fans alike go cray cray for Cara D is more down to her highly publicised personal life and possibly even her personality itself, or at least what we conceive her personality to be. Whether or not the Cara’s knack for face pulling selfies, A list besties and inherent naughtiness are a clearly calculated PR strategy, it’s sure as hell worked out brilliantly for her. She neither pretends to be perfect not subscribes to the Kate Moss school of enigmatic mystery which, I suspect, may not have been quite so effective in an age where everyone wants to know what their idols had for breakfast and swiftly direct their attentions elsewhere if their demand for 24/7 selfies goes unmet.

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Cara Delevigne closing the Chanel Haute Couture SS14 show

cara-delevingne-chanel-show

Cara’s backstage snaps

But of course, merely sharing the ins and outs of ones daily grind does not a megastar make. It’s got to be something people want to see and secretly, or openly for that matter, desire to emulate. A reason so many social media addicts flock to Cara D’s Instagram feed is no doubt because they can be damn sure those snaps won’t just be of her at home reading a novel. Cara spends New Year’s Eve partying with Rhianna, casual afternoons causing global scandal by snuggling with Michelle Rodriguez and last Tuesday morning opening and closing the Chanel haute couture show, playing muse to Monsieur Lagerfeld, documenting the lot with a series of gleeful and goofy selfies. On paper, Miss Delevingne seems like the ultimate rockstar supermodel but maybe the obvious joy and excitement she takes and shares in experiencing something most people could only dream of proves she is not so far removed after all. If you spent a night with Rhianna, let’s be honest, that shit would be all over Instagram. And that’s precisely what Cara does.

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Cara & Rhianna’s New Year’s Eve night out

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Michelle Rodriguez & Cara Delevigne getting cosy on the baseball FROW

As a supermodel, she appears to be both a combination of unbelievably lucky and comparatively relatable. For as long as I’ve read magazines it’s been something of an A list obsession to pretend they’re just normal people when of course, clearly they’re not. So no wonder we love (or love to hate) it when famous females openly live the excessive, jet set, high rolling lifestyles most of us can only fantasise about. The more major campaigns and famous mates Cara Delevingne acquires, the more she can revel in these particular perks of her job. The more her antics reach our ears, or rather our iPhones, the more we talk about her, the more campaigns she lands and thus, the cycle continues. Or at least, that’s one theory on it.

The question I’m really putting to you dear readers, is what do you think it is about Cara Delevingne that has kept her star rising and looks to keep it doing so for the foreseeable future. Is it her differences from other supers and celebs? Her willingness to share her life, flaws n’ all? Or just a combination of good genes and even better luck? Ultimately it comes down to the question of what it is exactly that elevates someone from the realms of mere celebrity and makes them a phenomenon.

What do YOU think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 3 Comments

Introducing: Stills

The Stills a

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? I first went aged 18. This decision was prompted largely by the fact my Dad was dead set against it, something than instantly made my visiting the Dutch capital inevitable. As the lone female in a large group of boys the trip itself involved a whole lot of aimlessly wandering around the Red Light District, very disgusting hostels and fast food that came out of vending machines. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy the experience. Since that deeply unpleasant trip I’ve been back to Amsterdam, discovered the impossibly picturesque, gallery packed and generally gorgeous side of it and fallen hard. If you’re not a scrubby, clueless teenage tourist it’s a city of such immeasurable culture and coolness you’re left daydreaming of the canal boat lifestyle. In recent years Amsterdam has also shown itself to be a veritable hotbed of exciting fashion talent. Case in point, Stills.

the stills b

I feel bad that I’m only posting about Stills now. I was introduced to the brand months and months ago so you may well be very familiar with them by this point. But then again, you may not. Theirs is a subtle, unassuming elegance. Once that resides in their Amsterdam atelier, focusing on perfecting the cut of their cloth, the architectural brilliance of their stores and the captivating beauty of their imagery rather than dressing ‘slebs or splashing themselves all over social media. Now, I’m a big advocator of using all the technological tools available to promote one’s wares far and wide but there’s something about the cool, calm and collected way designers Korrie Vulkers and Martin Tramper go about their business that is utterly compelling. I also suspect that they know, once someone’s stumbled across the understated sensuality of Stills they won’t forget it anytime soon even if they have to hunt a little harder than usual to find it. It is in fact only now, some five months on from being introduced to the brand that I’ve finally ‘got’ what the name’s all about; stillness, which, in a world that couldn’t be moving any faster is a rare and delectable luxury. That’s not to say for one minute that their creations are boring. You know me, I’ve no time for head-to-toe neutrals. Admittedly Stills gives great neutral, in tactile worked fabrics, buttersoft leathers and sumptuous silks, but they also deliver a myriad of rich hues which leave me weak at the knees every time I look at them.

the stills c

Spring/Summer 2014 provides a crystal clear example of this fusion of minimalism and eye candy. Razor sharp cuts and stark monochrome shades meet painstakingly concocted, hand woven raffia jacquards, delicate prints and melt-in-your-mouth colours. Gossamer fine, draped and flowing shapes are juxtaposed with structured silhouettes echoing the striking modernism of their Dopel Strijkers designed boutiques. Though a myriad of contradictory qualities and a rigid adherence to their core brand values, Stills is a brand to watch for 2014 and beyond. I recommend snapping up a piece or three now and revelling in feeling thoroughly smug.

Stills is currently stocked in the UK at Harvey Nichols and Fenwicks, Bond Street. More stockist info here.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments