Fashion

Introducing: meli melo

meli melo

I don’t need to tell you how I feel about handbags but, you know me, I probably-slash-definitely will again anyway. While I’m enthralled by all things sartorial, bags are my ultimate, my kryptonite, the thing I go to bed dreaming about and wake up plotting new schemes to be able to own more of. Ok, that last bit wasn’t strictly true. I usually wake up panicking that I’ve managed to oversleep, praying it won’t rain and checking my emails in a haze of sleepy confusion but still, you get my drift. Anyway, back to bags. I love ‘em and therefore few things get me more excited than a hotter-than-hot new purveyor of leather loveliness on which to fritter hours browsing and empty my bank account buying. meli melo may not be new per se – Melissa Del Bono launched the label back in 2005 – but recent investment from the firm behind Smythson and Astley Clark, a stellar AW13 collection and the unveiling of their first boutique in London’s Notting Hill make this the perfect time to introduce the brand to you lovely lot. Unless of course you already know all about them, in which case please feel free to ignore me and just ogle their divine designs instead.

Meli Melo

meli melo Thea clutch in camo, £105

meli melo

meli melo Thea in burgundy, £530

Over the past eight years, meli melo has stealthily infiltrated the hearts and wardrobes of some of the world’s most stylish women including Olivia Palermo (a proud Thela toter), Rosie Huntington Whitely, Kate Moss (!), Sienna Miller and Poppy Delevingne. Considering that the defining characteristics of the brand’s aesthetic are flawless quality, impeccable craftsmanship and elegantly playful modernity, this isn’t exactly surprising. To be honest, it would be way more surprising if these A listers hadn’t fallen hard and fast for the luxe leathery charms of Melissa’s arm candy. Doling out both ohmigod-I-want-it-now on trend styles in leopard and camo prints and wear-forever classics in luscious, trans-seasonal shades all concocted from the very finest Italian leather, these puppies are freaking fashion catnip and I want in. What’s also excellent about meli melo is that while high street prices by anyone’s standards, they’re not as mind bogglingly expensive as numerous handbag labels I could mention. When you consider the quality of each piece and how much use you’ll get out of them, on a cost per wear basis, they’re basically free. I’m seriously struggling to choose a favourite and have now spent the best part of an hour browsing instead of doing anything productive. If pushed, I’d probably say the Thela in Cheetah (top) is my most coveted meli melo stye. Which would you pick?

These autumnal delights are all available online and in the meli melo boutique right now! But of course, fashion is all about looking to the future so here’s a sneaky peek at what Melissa’s got up her sleeve for SS14…

meli melo

meli melo Thela Prep Spex Flamingo Splatter Snake, £800

meli melo

meli melo Thea Halo in mauve, £620

Love Ella. X

Ps) meli melo’s brand new boutique can be found at 324 Portobello Road, London, W10 5RU

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

A Question of Taste

Random post coming up people! Much as I don’t like to mess with my own schedule, sometimes it has to be done and at the moment I seem to be doing it on a pretty regular basis. On this occasion the source of my inspiration appeared during a high speed dash between meetings in central London. I was striding down Conduit Street, Starbucks in one hand, iPhone in the other attempting to simultaneously tweet, email, Instagram, not be late and avoid scalding myself with my extra hot skinny latte when something stopped me in my tracks. This “something” was Moschino’s boutique, namely a drop-dead-amazing heart detail tartan kilt in the window styled to the max with buttoned up shirting and Highland inspired regalia. All thoughts of promptness swiftly vanished and I went inside to take a closer look. The place was wall to wall with playful, tongue-in-cheek, preppette mash ups. Burnished silk jacquard skater dresses with crisp white collars, dizzying checks, equestrian inspired tailoring and the aforementioned kilt in various incarnations. Were Cher Horowitz still a High School Senior (and, y’know, slightly less fictional) she would have DIED over these pieces!

taste
Moschino AW31 (images via Style.com)

Before you wring your hands in fury and puzzlement, I assure you I’m not about to claim to have “discovered” Moschino. It’s one of the most iconic Italian brands in the fashion stratosphere (fash-o-phere?) such a thing would be ridiculous. But for some reason unbeknown to everyone, myself included, I didn’t manage to clock how completely and to my taste it is. As I’ve no doubt told you all before a million and one times, minimalism doesn’t float my boat. I like my fash with a side of fun and preferably a whole lotta pattern. After spending longer than I care to admit gawping open mouthed at the sartorial fare on show I finally made it to my meeting, late of course. But throughout the enjoyable hour of coffee and chit chat that ensued I couldn’t stop daydreaming of all things Moschino. Naturally the first thing I did when I got home was hit up Style.com to re-ogle the whole collection. I was both surprised and totally non-surprised to learn that Tim Blanks had given it perhaps one of the most appalling reviews of all time. This got me to wondering about personal style, good taste and the whole premise of fashion show reviews. Are any clothes genuinely, unequivocally “bad” – as Blanks would no doubt dub Moschino AW13 – or is it all just a question of taste?

A couple of seasons ago I remember the subject coming up with an editor friend at the Jason Wu afterparty. We got to chatting about the day’s shows and I began banging on about how much I adored the Kate Spade New York collection. To this my friend, a woman who’s wardrobe I shamelessly covet, pulled a face of complete and utter horror. Admittedly her style is more effortless Parisian elegance than Park Avenue Princess prep and she’s a fair bit older than me but still, the fact someone who really knows fashion could think a brand I’ve always considered to be the bees knees made fundamentally not nice clothes, left me equal parts appalled and intrigued. What if, after all these years lampooning Ugg boots, boob tubes, tracksuit bottoms with logos on the arse and other items that shall remain nameless, I’ve been wrong to insist on their vileness? Perhaps one woman’s jeggings are another woman’s J Brands, if you get my drift.

isabel marant taste

An item that particularly exemplified this conundrum were Isabel Marant’s now ubiquitous wedge high top trainers. Now, I worship at the altar of Isabel Marant as much as the next fashion obsessive but unlike basically everything else Marant’s ever designed, I absolutely loathed those trainers. To my mind, they were just plain bad however many very chic women whose style I generally adore thought they were fabulous. Surely they couldn’t all be wrong? Then again, I remain pretty positive I wasn’t either. Which leads me to ask, yet again, when it comes to fashion is there ever such a thing as the right answer?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 4 Comments

Stylenoir: The Monarchy Issue

Stylenoir

It’s not everyday that one of your dear friends launches their very own print magazine so when James Joseph, Editor-in-Chief of the world’s largest dark style digital publication, Stylenoir, did just that earlier this year I was very excited indeed. Well, I’m every bit as excited to share the news of Stylenoir’s second ever print issue which hits the stands today! The Monarchy Issue is an exquisite celebration of all things ominous which explores the way in which power, greed and corruption has pervaded the royal bloodline via 120 pages of darkly beautiful editorials and interviews with the likes of fashion designer Katie Gallagher, the duo behind Fyodor Golan and iconic American Horror Story star, Naomi Grossman. With photography by the talented Merry Phillips, Ekaterina Belinskaya and Jenny Brough and clothes by Vivienne Westwood, Todd Lynn, David Koma and Eudon Choi to name but a few, it’s the kind of mag that could and most likely will double as a coffee table tome. I was lucky enough to be among the small group invited to preview it last night and experience the inspiration behind it by way of a historic walk through Britain’s Monarchy with Alex Marx from Fox & Squirrel finishing up with celebratory drinks at the Golden Lion pub. Congratulations James and the whole Stylenoir team!

You can order your copy (and I highly recommend you do) online here.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

J.Crew Regents Street Store Launch

At long, long last J.Crew have finally opened up shop here in Blighty. But I’m sure you already know that. You may even have been among the hoards who queued half way up Regents Street to get your hands on the embellished beauties within and if so, I applaud you. Fashion folk are notorious for cracking open the champers to celebrate the slightest anything but I’m sure you’ll agree, the arrival of one of the most coveted brands on the planet is more than deserving of a knees up.

J.Crew

After a day spent looking at 1920s couture in the Victoria & Albert Museum archive (fascinating but not as glam as it sounds, trust me) and unsuccessfully attempting to get my head around the technicalities of bias cutting I was more than ready to have a little fun although admittedly, that is my default setting. By the time my party pal Maddison Brudenell and I arrived, the vast balloon covered boutique was already packed. Unsurprisingly, the entire industry were in attendance. It was the kind of event where the combined effect of everyone you’ve met being there and there just being a hell of a lot of people made navigating the crowds difficult but such mingle-tastic fun, no one particularly cared. Eventually we managed to navigate our way upstairs where cocktails were being served from a vintage trolley while the J.Crew dream team, Jenna Lyons, Mickey Drexler and Tom Mora held court in the shoe emporium. When a member of the lovely PR team running the show asked if I might be keen to be introduced to Mickey I practically knocked her over in my rush to get there.

J.Crew

J.Crew

J.Crew

In case you didn’t know (unlikely) Mickey Drexler is the retail legend who’s work at Gap during the 90s grew it into the multi billion dollar global label it is today. As for what he’s done at J.Crew, well, the proof is in every Editor’s wardrobe. Naturally I was more than a little nervous about meeting such an industry legend but as is so often the way with the people you find most impressive, Mr Drexler was not only charming but a real laugh too. I then turned around to find none other than Tommy Hilfiger standing behind me looking dapper beyond belief in pinstriped tailoring! After a few minutes dithering I thought, sod it, and said hello. It’s always better to grow a pair and go for it I reckon and of course, Tommy was utterly lovely. Chatting to the man behind one of the most iconic mega brands ever to come out of the USA about his fantastic, surf inspired SS14 collection was a pretty pinch-me-I’m-dreaming experience.

*Mickey Drexler and Jenna Lyons

J.Crew

J.Crew

As I’m sure you can imagine, I could quite happily have stayed sipping champagne amid the divine J.Crew clothes for hours on end but of course, all good must come to an end. We also had more places to be and people to see but that my friends, is a tale for another time.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

Role Models

role models

As long term LPA readers will know, from time to time I do rant talk about subjects of a non sartorial nature. When half the world lost it over Miley Cyrus twerktastic VMAs performance I joined in the conversation to argue my bit about the grossly unfair standards female stars are held to in comparison to their male counterparts. Well, since then good old Miley’s had the Daily Mail readers tearing their hair out by swinging butt naked in her Wrecking Ball video (which, might I add, promptly snagged the Vevo record for the most views in the first 24 hours after its release and for being the fastest clip to reach 100 million views) and then, just last week, for lighting up a spliff on stage at the EMAs. Naughty. I’m not particularly about to defend Miley’s antics or weigh in on her feminist fued with Lily Allen because to be honest, sex, drugs and who’s-the-bigger-feminist aren’t the issues that really get my goat here. The thing that’s been driving me nuts of late, and has only been further exacerbated by this whole situation, is the fact society seems to have the expectation that every remotely high profile woman should be some kind of role model. This was a subject raised brilliantly by the Dawn O’Porter in her Glamour Magazine column this month. Dawn questioned why the HELL any of us expect or even want Rhianna to be a role model rightly asking, “why can’t some women just be rock stars?”

role models

Plenty of male celebs have, and continue to behave badly in the name of rock n’ roll and while it may cause a few raised eyebrows here and there, no one’s accusing them of being a bad influence on all boys ever. From what I can gather, Justin Bieber’s world tour has thus far consisted of him running around drunk and shirtless, visiting brothels, getting chucked out of hotels and bailing on performances yet while we collectively label him an idiot, no one seems to be suggesting that he should be setting a better example to impressionable young boys. Even when Chris Brown beat Rhianna to hospitalisation it was her who was lampooned for condoning domestic violence when she decided to take him back. Do you remember Brown ever being labelled a “bad role model” or anything much being said about his responsibility to his fans? Admittedly this is a very extreme example. Brown committed a violent crime and the last thing I would argue would be that his actions are in any way condonable but it just serves to illustrate the huge disparity between the expectations placed on male and female stars.

role models

Personally, I don’t feel that being a performer automatically gives you the same degree of responsibility as a politician or a parent but if we’re going to decide it does, then that can’t just apply to women. I would go so far as to argue that condemning female celebrities in this way is not only deeply unfair but harmful to the feminist cause and in many ways, frankly, insulting. Isn’t the implication that women are less capable of mediating their own behaviour than men, or more easily influenced? The response to Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy was the final straw in this matter as far as I’m concerned. As noughties teen I’ve watched the first film at least once a year for the past decade and was beyond excited for the release of book number three regardless. I was gutted to hear it had earned some pretty rubbish reviews but my dismay swiftly turned to rage when I read a couple and learned that much of the criticism was focused not on shoddy plot lines but the fact Bridget had shaped up to be a poor “feminist role model”. Sorry but WTF!? When was Bridget Jones ever meant to be a feminist role model? And are we seriously now going to extend the demand that famous women set a good example to fictional characters?!

As is always the case with spur-of-the-moment opinion pieces, this isn’t going to be brought to a tidy conclusion. You’ve heard my opinions on the subject, what do YOU think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 3 Comments