La Petite Anglaise 2013: Part I

Since starting La Petite Anglaise waaaaay back in 2010 I’ve celebrated the end of each year with a round up of the previous 12 months highlights. This year I’m sorry to tell you that there will be not one, not two but THREE editions to this post. Not many words though, I promise. You see, the past year has been so unbelievably, unexpectedly brilliant that it just seems silly to try and cram my best bits into one post. First and foremost, I have to thank all of you. Without my wonderful, generous readers La Petite Anglaise would cease to exist. At the risk of sounding like a gushing fool, I have to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that you’ve stuck with me on my fashion journey so far. Right, enough of that, let’s talk 2013…

Amsterdam with Supertrash

La Petite Anglaise

La Petite Anglaise

2013 got started with a bang. After mincing it up at London Collections Men and starting the second term of my second year at Central Saint Martins, I was off to Amsterdam for 24 hours of madness courtesy of Dutch über brand, Supertrash. My partners in crime where Alex Vanthournout of AlexLoves, Telegraph Fashion Editor, Sophie Warburton and the IPR London team who are pretty much the ultimate 24 party pals. It may have been freezing but we didn’t let that stop us having a hell of a good time. There where frosty walks (well, slithers), mulled wine, non mulled wine, delicious dinners, apple tart and round the table cocktail sampling sessions. As for the main event, well, click here for a reminder of that particular spectacle.

New York Fashion Week AW13

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

It may have been F-ing freezing but nothing and no one, not even “blizzard nemo” was going to stop me having an absolute ball during my second ever full on New York Fashion Week experience. And boy, was it seriously FULL ON. From getting snowed in to the Kate Spade 20th Anniversary bash and practically fainting over 3.1 Phillip Lim’s insanely awesome collection to Phillip’s own birthday bash, Prabal Gurung bringing sexy back military couture style, party hopping with Serena, Sharoni and Chloe plus blizzards, outfits galore and general mayhem. It was everything you’d want from the craziest (biannual) week of the year in the city that never sleeps.

Rimini with Calzedonia

Calzedonia Summer Show Forever Together

La Petite Anglaise

La Petite Anglaise

Another fabulous 24 hour trip, this time courtesy of lingerie & swimwear giant, Calzedonia. Laura Hayden, David Downton, Tali Lennox, Poppy Delevigne and I got the full VIP treatment at the spectacular Grand Hotel Rimini (where Fellini stayed dontcha know) before a Victoria’s Secret esque extravaganza involving mid-air hoop dancing, buff bods, Tyson Beckford and Ke$ha… Bonkers. And I met SJP, even more bonkers.

LPA x Monica Vinader Event

La Petite Anglaise

La Petite Anglaise

In May I was lucky enough to join forces with one of the hottest jewellery brands around, Monica Vinader, to host a very special shopping event at their South Molton Street boutique. It was my first major hosting gig so I was incredibly nervous but the evening went fabulously and the lovely team even brought in a macaroon Eiffel Tower just for me! Working with such a fantastic (and more-major-by-the-minute) company with an amazing experience and I made a lifelong friend out of it too. What more could anyone ask for in a collaboration?

Miss Vogue

La Petite Anglaise

La Petite Anglaise Ella Catliff

Having to keep this under my hat for four whole months was no mean feat I can tell you! Straight after London Fashion Week, I headed to Dalston to shoot a feature for the first ever Miss Vogue supplement. It snowed, I got very, very cold but boy, were the blue knees worth it when the June issue of British Vogue arrived with this baby alongside it. Huge thanks to Esprit, Exposure PR, Jackie Dixon, Nik Thakkar, Condé Nast and everyone else who made this happen. I will remember it forever.

Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2013

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

One word: MAJOR. How else to describe an awards ceremony held in Berkeley Square Gardens and attended by Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, Cara Delevigne, Rita Ora, Joan Collins and basically every other fabulous female on the planet!? Oh, and I wore next season Prabal Gurung which gave a whole new meaning to the somewhat irritating hashtag #lifecomplete. Thank you again to Pandora for inviting me as your guest, it was a truly fabulous evening.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of La Petite Anglaise 2013. More coming soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

Surviving Christmas By Candlelight

christmas by candlelight

Picture the scene. It’s Christmas Eve Eve, my family and I are gathered around the kitchen table chatting about the next three days. Oh the crumpets we’ll toast, the mince pies we’ll make, Christmas specials we’ll watch and Playstation games I’ll trounce my brother at. It goes without saying that throughout this merriment, there’ll be hot water a’plenty, a cosy Aga to hug and WiFi for when conversing with one’s nearest and dearest becomes unbearable. Then BAM! Lights out. Just as we’re tucking in to the first of many long, jovial feasts. At first it’s all rather novel, dinner by candlelight, what fun! So we all get fairly drunk and stumble off to bed, clutching hot water bottles to keep toasty in a house growing colder by the second. We awake the next morn (sorry, this tale telling thing is making me come over all olde worlde) expecting to fire up the Espresso maker and all have a good LOL over the previous evening’s drama. But the power does not return. At all. For the next four days and nights. Christmas by candlelight may sound dead romantic in a Tudor banquet, back-to-basics kind of way but pretty soon you’ll be tearing your unbrushed, greasy hair out and climbing trees in an attempt to get phone signal. In case any of you ever find yourselves in this dire predicament, here are a few pointers to help your and your family get out in one piece.

1) Do avoid physical exertion of any sort. And I don’t mean jumping jacks or jogging, that goes without saying. I’m talking heavy lifting (Christmas cake, turkeys, excessively large stacks of crumpets…), high speed present unwrapping, competitive board games, really anything that risks breaking out in a sweat. Unless you’re impervious to ice water, showering is a no go so by day four your family home runs the risk of smelling like a men’s locker room, before the invention of Lynx. Urgh.

2) Don’t attempt to remedy the situation by getting blind drunk. It will seem like a hilarious and ingenious idea at first but when your grandmother’s prizing your Sophia Webster stilettos from your feet so your father can drag you up the very dark stairs, muttering even more darkly about how you’re “not a bloody teenager anymore” the whole thing just gets embarrassing. I speak from experience here.

3) Do keep everyone entertained with a rousing rendition of All I Want For Christmas complete with Mariah style warbling. Some may complain at first but trust me, they love it really.

4) Don’t be the first person to get up in the morning. If you are, then you’ll get stuck doing the mountains of washing up it was “too dark” to do after supper. Remember, no electricity means no dishwasher… Quelle horror!

5) Do embrace hats indoors. Firstly, it will be cold enough to make this more of a necessity than a slightly wanky fashion statement. Secondly, no amount of dry shampoo and backcombing can disguise days worth of turkey grease, chocolate and glitter quite like a good old bobble hat.

6) Do GO TO TOWN on the Christmas grub, chocolates, mince pies and anything else you can lay your hands on. No one can see if you unbutton your J Brands or slip into something elasticated… Result.

7) Do not, under any circumstances use the words “it’s like Christmas didn’t even happen” in reference to your inability to Instagram every single second of it. The fact this is totally true won’t stop you getting mocked. Certain family members may even threaten to throw your beloved iPhone out of a window. #justsaying

8) Do still get your gladrags on. Ok, so no one will be able to see your fancy frock but wearing the same, stained pyjamas for days on end will depress you even more than the aforementioned lack of Instagram. Applying make up is a whole different story. Attempting vampy berry lipstick in the dark won’t end well, trust me.

9) If, by some miracle, you manage to cook something vaguely resembling Christmas Dinner do not grab a handful of brussels sprouts and chestnuts straight out of the pan and swallow it whole. Doing so will burn your entire oesophagus rendering those roast potatoes you’d been so looking forward to a painful ordeal. Obviously this also applies if you have light, but at least in a blackout you can pass greed/stupidity off as darkness induced confusion.

10) Do… Enjoy it. As much as I’ve whinged and moaned about the whole thing to anyone who’ll listen since escaping back to London it was actually pretty awesome being totally disconnected from the world for a few days of eating, drinking and chilling en famille. Admittedly it would have been better with heat, light and the ability to clean oneself but hey, you can’t have everything.

Love Ella. X

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Louis Vuitton SS14

Louis Vuitton

Generally speaking, I try not to get into the habit of posting ad campaigns. Don’t get me wrong, a lot are so utterly inspired I could ramble on about them for hours. But of course, I can’t post every single one and doing some but not others can get a bit awks. However, there are some campaigns so utterly spectacular it would be a crime not to share them, regardless of the fact you’ve probably seen them already. One such campaign, or rather triumphant work of fabulousness, is Louis Vuitton SS14 or, as I like to think of it, Marc’s Showgirls.

Louis Vuitton

Edie Campbell

louis vuitton

Catherine Deneuve

As you may remember, this season I attended my first ever Paris Fashion Week including the inevitably breathtaking, fashion month grande finale that is the Louis Vuitton show. The experience was one I will never forget. Despite being basically the only person on planet fashion not to have heard the rumours of Marc Jacob’s imminent departure from Maison Vuitton, I sensed something was afoot the moment I entered the venue. Iconic pieces from the sets of Marc’s most memorable shows, including the station clock, carousel, escalators and hotel corridor, had been re-imagined in black; a glamourously gothic take on the designer’s “greatest hits” if you will. The press release exquisitely packaged on our seats (mine was labelled “Mademoiselle Ella Catliff”, I nearly fainted) was equally poignant with a personal note from Monsieur Jacobs dedicating the collection to his muses and “the showgirl in all of us.” As for the show that followed, well, just click here if you need a reminder. But enough nostalgia, let’s talk campaign. Staging your swansong show for an iconic heritage brand you’ve turned into one of the hottest fashion labels around must be tricky. If, as Marc did, you manage to go above and beyond leaving even the most RBF (resting bitch face) afflicted among us practically weeping then concocting an equally incredible advertising campaign must be practically impossible. Or so one might think, anyway.

Louis Vuitton

Sophia Coppola

louis vuitton

Caroline De Maigret

How best to represent a collection in homage to the iconic, powerful females who have inspired the work of one of the most influential designers of our time? By featuring them, of course. As you can see, the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2014 advertising campaign is devoted to a series of portraits of the Marc Jacobs’ personal muses. Catherine Deneuve, Sofia Coppola, Gisele Bündchen, Fan Bingbing, Caroline de Maigret and Edie Campbell, the model hand-picked by Marc Jacobs to open his final runway show naked save for a theatrical headdress and LV graffiti. Shot by Steven Meisel in the same noir palette as the SS14 show and featuring this season’s variations on the iconic Noé bag in feathered or studded alligator, Sprouse sequins, or Monogram canvas trimmed with black leather.

louis vuitton

Fan Bing Bing

louis vuitton

Gisele Bündchen

There’s something both hauntingly beautiful and powerfully striking about this campaign. In short, c’est magnifique. It seems a fitting tribute to Marc Jacobs’ 16 years at the helm of Louis Vuitton. Nicholas Ghesquire, bring it on.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 4 Comments

Designers & Makers Christmas Market

Happy Saturday one and all! As you can probably tell, I’m in a festive mood. God knows anyone who took a peep at my Instagram feed these past couple of weeks will know that I’m desperately trying to embrace all things Christmassy… Especially those of the novelty variety. Anyway, the subject of today’s post isn’t exactly novelty per se but it’s certainly novel, in a great way. For anyone who’ll be in London next week, or who might need an excuse to hit the capital before December 25th madness well and truly descends, I have the perfect seasonal yet chic destination for you. Every year the Southbank is transformed into a glittering, bauble strewn wonderland of Winter treats with exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery (this year’s Ana Mendieta: Traces and Dayanita Singh: Go away closer are meant to be fantastic), cafes, restaurants, bars, spectacles and, as is the subject of this post, Christmas markets galore. While wine, cheese and chocolate are undeniably three of the greatest things ever, it’s the Designers & Makers market that’s really got me excited about the Southbank Centre Winter Festival.

Designer Makers at Southbank Flyer joint-3

This year the festival is bigger, better and more innovative than ever with over 50, carefully selected UK based independent designers bringing their wares to the bank of the Thames for one week, and one week only. I admit, I’m maybe a teensy bit biased because my mum will be showcasing her brand, Anne Bowes Jewellery there. But in all honesty, even if we weren’t related I’d still be banging on about her stuff because it is really and truly gorgeous. Vintage charms sources from all over the world, some of which inspire the pieces and others used in them to create totally one off designs you wont find anywhere else. She uses precious and semi precious elements to concoct unique, delicate necklaces, bracelets and rings all handmade at our house in Sussex. Naturally I’ve managed to pilfer a fair few Anne Bowes Jewellery pieces (well, wouldn’t you?) over the years and am rarely seen without one on. Over the past year I’ve worn them to shoots for Miss Vogue, Company Magazine and others besides and on every occasion, the stylist has insisted on featuring them.

Anne Bowes Jewellery Vintage Gold Swan & Crystals Necklace

Anne Bowes Jewellery christmas

Anne Bowes Jewellery Love Birds Necklace

Sharing her stand will be Lee Renée, another incredibly talented up-and-coming jewellery designer whose playful, contemporary creations have popped up in the pages of Vogue, InStyle, Glamour and adorning countless famous females. And if jewellery’s not your bag then fear not, the Designers & Makers Christmas Market will also have everything from ceramics to textiles, prints and homewares.

LeeRenee christmas

Lee Renée Starcrossed Lovers Collection

The Designers & Makers Christmas Market will run from 11am to 8pm every day from Monday 16th December to Sunday 22nd. Click here for more information.

Love Ella. X

Ps) For anyone who won’t be in London next week but likes the look of these can shop Anne Bowes Jewellery here and Lee Renée here.

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Buon Compleanno Pollini

pollini 2

Hands up WHO LOVES SHOES? You’re not alone, obviously not. Even I, a committed bag-a-holic, lose my mind over a pair of spectacular stilettos or batch of brilliant boots. Today I’m going to wax lyrical about the latest creations from a company that’s been beloved of high heel addicts since the the 1950s, Pollini. Masterminded by the footwear extraordinaire that is Nicholas Kirkwood since 2010, the label is well and truly on fire right now and their SS14 collection is a true testament to the power of a heritage brand revamped. What with frost on the ground and Christmas on our minds, it seems a little crazy to be thinking about next Summer already. But that’s fashion for you dahhhling. TBH most designers are probably almost done thinking about SS15 (!!) but I’m not going to boggle my own brain by even contemplating that. Instead let us contemplate the marvels that are these Pollini designs, after all they’ll start arriving in the early months of next year.

pollini 1

Pollini 3

In my opinion, one never needs an excuse to ogle really fab shoes (or bags… or coats… or clothes in general really) but in case you do, listen up. This isn’t just a collection, it’s the Pollini 60th Anniversary collection. Ok, that would have sounded infinitely more dramatic had M&S not used the phrase in one of it’s kinda-cringe-yet-seriously-enticing adverts but still, you get my drift. And it’s a milestone well worth celebrating. Spending the past two and a bit years studying Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins has taught me many things. The technical terms for each part of a Tudor Nobleman’s dress for one (although I’ve forgotten that now), how to use the Harvard Referencing System (well, ish) for another. An area I’ve found particularly fascinating is that of traditional artisan craftsmanship and how some of these original, pre LVMH luxury brands have managed to adapt their legacy of time tested techniques and in-house production to the 21st century. In an age of faster than fast fashion, live streaming, pre ordering and pre collections it seems almost impossible to conceive that the bespoke, handmade approach that clothed and shod the Olivia Palermos and Mira Dumas or yore could possibly still exist, let alone remain a viable business model. But, somehow and sometimes they do, Pollini is a prime example. Fusing the artisanal skill, flawless quality materials and painstaking attention to detail that brought about the company’s success in the 50s and 60s with the bold, boundary pushing style of Nicholas Kirkwood has resulted in this Italian heritage brand being one of the most coveted in fashion right now.

pollini 6

pollini 4

Every pair of Pollinis is manufactured in Italy but with a hearty dose of devil may care London experimentation, making for a heady blend of luxury and innovation that’s quite frankly impossible to resist. Take the aforementioned SS14 collection; Nicholas Kirkwood looked to iconic British figures from the seventies to give his designs an androgynous, retro allure. We all know retro can get boring but Kirkwood deftly sidestepped the dull factor by keeping things fresher-than0fresh with fruity hues ranging from ice whites and Klein blues to eye popping shades of coral, peach, lilac and primary yellow all paired back with pearl and lacquer finishes as well the brands signature metal detailing. As previously mentioned, craftsmanship and quality are integral to the Pollini DNA and the relevance of these time tested values today are clear to see in this collections masterful use of exquisite materials. Patent leathers, coloured python and printed calf are combined with plasticised woven fabrics, manipulated into leather fringing or panelled together to concoct bewitching textures you can’t held but want to touch.

This juxtaposition of old and new, tradition and fearless modernity, impeccable taste and in-your-face is what makes me fall in love with fashion all over again… In fact, it just did.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment