Wearing Mulberry skirt, shirt & bag, Sandro coat, Hobbs shoes (c/o) & Swarovski rings
Image by Holly McGlynn
LFW day 3 got off to a truly fabulous start. The sun was shining, the sky blue and having got my exhausted self off to bed at a positively saintly hour (ok, fallen asleep in front of my laptop) I was positively skipping as I made my way to the tube station… And got in a taxi, after all nothing dampens the spirits like Sunday morning travel carnage. After speeding across town boring my driver with random ramblings all the way I arrived at the South Bank in good time for my first show of the day, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.
Me & Natalie at Preen
The venue was packed out with the likes of Portia Freeman, Yasmin Le Bon, Tallulah Harlech, Yasmin Sewell and Kate Foley on the FROW and a whole lotta seat jostling and side eye as people determinedly forced their leather clad behinds onto benches. Orchestrating the seating plan at a fashion show demands seriously high level diplomatic prowess, personally, I couldn’t handle it. I found myself placed next to mega NY blogger Natalie Suarez, who’s site Natalie Off Duty I’ve stalked forever. I always feel mildly intimidated in this kind of situation but, as on most other occasions, Natalie was a total babe and we had a good laugh chatting until the show began.
Preen AW14 (images via Style.com)
As for the show itself, I could not have possibly hoped for a better collection with which to kick off day 3. Thea and Justin delivered a masterclass in layering with voluminous outerwear (perma trend alert!) thrown nonchalantly over swishing chiffon in graphic, slightly ikat esque patterns. An immaculate hybrid of city sleek and bohemian, tomboy tough and feminine. The whole tough/soft juxtaposition extended to utility luxe parkas with thick fur trimmed hoods shrugged over the kind of flared fishtail skirts the fash pack adore. Dainty, baby doll shaped dresses strode out alongside sheer detailing, mannish tailoring and crotch skimming thigh slits, conveying a hint of rebellion that made the delectable collection even more compelling.
Preen AW14 (images via Style.com)
Earthy hues have way to top-to-toe tomato red ensembles and a glimmering metallic finale. It was a glorious mash up of textures, colours, cuts and influences; distinctly preen and effortlessly hip. The Star Wars motifs have garnered slightly mixed reviews. I’m still unsure how I feel about them but I was so totally bowled over by everything else that appeared on the catwalk I barely even noticed, let alone took issue with, Darth Vader’s cameos.
Natalie and I filed out, unanimously proclaiming how freaking GREAT the show had been and made our impractically dressed way across Westminster bridge smoking, taking selfies and scaring tourists. My second port of call – after a Starbucks stop, obvs – was Covent Garden for the Sophia Webster presentation. In three short seasons since leaving Nicholas Kirkwood to go it solo, Sophia has won over the industry, landed umpteen uber prestigious stockists and rocketed straight to the top of my most coveted brands list. As the proud owner of several pairs of Sophia’s shoes each of which I’ve clattered around town in all hours I can confirm they’re as well made and hard wearing as they are lovely to look at. But I suspect the real key to Sophia’s success lies in the originality, fun and unashamed girlishness of her designs. Ice cream shades, kitsch motifs, pom poms, fur and sparkle all feature highly and their delivery for AW14 was nothing short of awesome. Webster’s King Street pop up store had been transformed into a multi room homage to noughties pop culture. Dubbed “the girls guide to excess”, this was a colourful, delectable, tongue-in-cheek celebration of wannabe Princesses and Beverley Hills brats set in Sophia’s very own “Heartbreak Hotel.” Think hot pants, hair extensions and barbie hues with Blu Cantral on the sound system and The Simple Life playing on TV screens. Put simply, it was my own teenage years in a nutshell and I couldn’t physically be any more enamoured by it.
The shoes and clutches themselves were an inspired extension of Sophia’s trademark style with the introduction of sportswear touches the likes of which owed more to MTV Cribs than performance gear. Unicorn shaped clutches and unbelievably brilliant boots in metallic pink leather complete with fur trims took things to new levels of fantasy and elicited genuine shrieks of glee from some onlookers. For those of the minimalist persuasion it would most likely have been hell but for me, it was pure high heel heaven.
Had my schedule not demanded otherwise, I would have loitered all day living out my teenage dreams, body popping to Destiny’s Child and watching Paris and Nicole’s rural ridiculousness. Soaking up the last of the sweet, Sophia Webster induced nostalgia I headed back out into the Covent Garden crowds and tottered across the cobbles to Somerset House for Marios Schwab. I know I say this E-V-E-R-Y single season but Schwab will always have a special place in my heart thanks to the fact that his was the first LFW show I ever attended. Since then, I haven’t missed a collection, and they seem only to have got stronger by the season. Despite my love of all things sparkly and glam, I found this season’s rather more austere offerings really impressive. After all, brand DNA is all well and good but sometimes it’s refreshing to be surprised by what you see on the catwalk. Marios Schwab’s AW14 offerings still exuded a sexy, strong femininity but there was a clean lined simplicity to them that felt like something different. The Greco-Austrian designer delivered simple silhouettes, slick tailoring and crisp shirting in neutral hues, monochromes and navys. Hell, there were even a couple of bomber jackets which felt like a major departure from the last few seasons.
Marios Schwab AW14 (images via Style.com)
Despite how good these looks were, I did start feeling a little sad not to see any red carpet ready Schwab glamour. Clearly Marios had predicted this and brought his show to a suitable shimmering, semi sheer, floor sweeping finale.
Three shows down, four still to go, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again no doubt every season until I suffer a stiletto induced neck injury and can no longer run around town like a haute hooligan, fashion week is both a sprint and a marathon. But before I’d take my seat to watch another runway extravaganza Claridges was calling, dahhhling. Actually that’s not strictly true, itsu was calling. After basically inhaling an Omega 3 Salmon Supreme (I’m so obsessed with these bad boys I’ve taken to getting them delivered when working from home, ridiculous and unnecessary but exceedingly tasty) I hot footed it to the hotel for a presentation with a difference. As you may well know, Mulberry always hold their shows in the divine surroundings of Claridges’ ballroom. This season however, there would be no show, because the Brit brand I love so much is currently sans Creative Director. Instead Mulbs summoned a small selection of press to their usual fashion week haunt on the promise of a surprise involving a certain Cara Delevingne. Naturally the gossip mills (AKA twitter) began to run riot, most predicting the release of a “Cara” bag. I mean, the younger Miss Delevingne has been model-of-the-moment for so long now it was really only a question of when, am I right? No actually I’m wrong. Or at least, partially so. Rather than simply naming a bag after Cara D, Mulberry enlisted her creative nous to design a handbag collection. We all filed into the ballroom, awaiting the big reveal, to hear animal noises emanating from behind the elegant grey curtains. Eventually they drew back unveiling a woodland scene of silver birch trees (evidently the tree of AW14, remember Hunter Original?) and Cara lounging on a swing, holding the straining leashes of a pack of gorgeous grey hounds.
As you probably spotted in the video, Cara was soon joined by a couple of dashing red haired chaps and the attractive posse explored the mini indoor woodland as the bags themselves appeared. The press release had promised a fusion of elegance and practicality and the three-in-one handbag styles were exactly that. With their luscious leathers, glossy hardware and rich yet wearable hues, the Cara Delevingne collection fulfils the promises on the press release. Personally I would have liked to hear from Cara herself about the design process, how she worked with the Mulberry team and her inspiration behind the bags. That said, I’m sure they’ll still sell like hot cakes and the interior detailing – gold lion rivets and heart shaped patches based on Cara’s tattoos – provided a much needed personal touch.
Love Ella. X