LFW AW14: Day 2

Ella Catliff LFW AW14 outfit 2 by Holly McGlynn_001

I wore: ANTIPODIUM skirt suit (sample), Chinti and Parker jumper, Gap shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim handbag (c/o) & Sophia Webster heels
Image by Holly McGlynn

LFW day 2 got off to a rather less leisurely start than the previous. While I’d exercised uncharacteristic levels of self control and skipped the inevitably debauched New York, New York party (give the girl a medal) I had been to a party and a dinner before that… And three the night before, so I didn’t exactly jump for joy when my alarm went off like a bomb at 7am. But by the time I’d scoffed a bowl of porridge, showered and slipped into my ANTIPODIUM suit I was ready and raring to go. Or at least, fully committed to pretending I was.

On the subject of said suit, this was an outfit I’d been looking forward to wearing an almost pathetic amount. No one does tongue-in-cheek chic like ANTIPODIUM and I cannot get enough of it. Taking things to the next level of OTT with the addition a heart motif sweater, oversized neon pink Pashli and Sophia Webster disco heels I hereby dub this look “Clueless on crack” and recommend everyone gives it a go. Admittedly I did attract some serious stares at Hammersmith tube station, not surprising really since it was 9am on a Saturday morning and I was dashing around like a madwoman head to toe in luminous pink. My first port of call was in fact not a show, but an event I was working on with Aspinal of London and Glamour Magazine. Some of you may have even been there, I hope so! After wrapping things up at The Mayfair Hotel, my fellow hostesses Angela Scanlon and Claudia Mahoney all leapt into our cars and tore across town at a rate of knots to make the Emilia Wickstead show.

Emilia Wickstead is one of the hottest designers to watch right now and a personal favourite of mine. I’m certainly not the only person to feel this way, she’s a fash pack favourite. Her magnificent show venue, the Royal Institute of British Architects on Portland Place, was packed out with pretty much everyone who’s anyone. Think Yasmin Sewell, Caroline rush, Imran Ahmed, Lorraine Candy, Samantha Barks, Poppy Delevingne, Laura Bailey, Caroline Sieber, Natalie Massenet, Caroline Issa and Hamish Bowles. On the subject of Mr Bowles, it transpired that the “fashion plane” (AKA the flight from New York to London after the Marc Jacobs show) carrying him, Anna Wintour, Georgia May Jagger and a coterie of major editors and supermodels had its landing diverted from London to Manchester. I don’t know about you but I find the idea of Anna et al expecting to arrive in Heathrow and whisk straight off to Claridges or wherever they stay only to find themselves up north is pretty hilarious. There were even rumours of Hamish Bowles being spotted in Greggs… Oh to have been a fly on the wall… Anyway, I digress.

LFW AW14

Emilia Wickstead AW14 (images via Style.com)

Since setting up shop as a made-to-measure atelier in 2008, Emilia’s made a name for herself delivering deliciously feminine, sophisticated garments, all delicate hues and aristocratic elegance, to describe Wickstead’s work as “ladylike” wouldn’t do it justice but I suppose that is what her designs are. This season Emilia decided to do things a little differently. The show notes promised a “fresh androgynous focus” leaving me very intrigued as to how on earth a designer adored for and adept at creating contemporary Lady of the Manor clothes would convey this. My question was answered by the first look, a oil slick black, Swarovski trimmed leather coat, noirish femme fatal fabulousness epitomised the combination of elegance and strength Emilia Wickstead is offering for AW14. The show that followed wasn’t just impressive, it was utterly breathtaking.

LFW AW14

Emilia Wickstead AW14 (images via Style.com)

The classic, grown up silhouettes Emilia Wickstead is so renowned for were as impeccable as ever but last season’s bubblegum pink and citrus silks had given was to luxurious dark leathers, python prints, rich wools and intricate lace in moody palette lifted with hits of mustard, cream and powder blue. Sharply sculpted silhouettes combined with exquisite pearl and crystal embellishment and motifs of winter blooms made for a collection that retained the flawlessly tailored femininity with which Wickstead’s made her name while exuding an air of “don’t mess with me” ferocity that I, for one, can’t resist.

I left Emilia Wickstead’s show with a spring in my stiletto clad step, daydreaming of wearing one of that python coat and tottered off to Itsu for a magazine-email-and-sushi break. Salmon stuffed and having just about recovered from the sheer beauty of Emilia’s AW14 collection I headed across town to be wowed yet again by ANTIPODIUM.

ANTIPODIUM is one of my most beloved brands and I was devastated to miss their presentation last season. Sitting on the (delayed, as per usual) tube seeing people’s tweets and Instagram snaps of the SS14 collection all the while knowing I wouldn’t get to see it in person left me apoplectic with rage so I was extra excited on this occasion. And I most certainly wasn’t disappointed with genius Geoffrey J. Finch’s latest concoctions. AW14 saw synthetic fabrics and neon brights married with roman statue prints that matched those emblazoned all over the catwalk. It was, of course, a shining example of just what’s so awesome about the label; that playful, covetable fusion of creative flair, commercial savvy and wit with a hint of subversion that has borne so many devoted ANTIPODIUM followers.

ANTIPODIUM LFW

ANTIPODIUM AW14

Back to the collection itself, Geoffrey offered up shift dresses, neatly tailored coats and mini skirts in day glo thermofleece, high shine quilted metallics, ribbed knits and old man cardigans styled with lurex necks and socks paired with hairy toed sandals. Just the right amount of kitsch and a little “off” in the best possible way, to put it bluntly, ANTIPODIUM AW14 is basically a collection of imaginative yet wearable garms I want/need in my life. And for those who might knock said “wearability”, take a closer look at the incredible melt effect velvets, that my friends is impressive.

ANTIPODIUM LFW 2

ANTIPODIUM AW14 

Two great shows down and LFW day 2 was just getting started! After a much needed Starbucks stop it was time to head north for J.W. Anderson. It cannot be denied that J.W. Anderson, or “J Dubs” as he is sometimes affectionately known by those in the know, is a talented fellow on a roaringly upward career trajectory. The LVMH investment, the appointment as Loewe’s Creative Director, the many many high profile fashion fans, it’s long seemed that Anderson can do no wrong but opinions have been rather divided over his AW14 collection. While watching the show I gaped open mouthed at the incredible feats of fabric manipulation I saw on the catwalk. Corduroy contorted into sculptural shapes, origami folds and asymmetric dresses that seemed to exist almost independently of the wearer.

J.W. Anderson LFW

J.W. Anderson AW14 (images via Style.com)

It was fearless, masterful and unlike anything else we’d see all week but, as Maya Singer pointed out in her Style.com review, rather “tortured”. This got me thinking, while the J.W. Anderson aesthetic is a million miles from my own, I’m always awed by his work. But Singer raised a good point, his AW14 offerings didn’t seem to convey a particular story, source of inspiration or consider the physicality of the woman who’d wear them. On one level, what we saw was a display of the designer’s sheer, indisputable skill and therein lies the conundrum. Should we expect collections to have the author’s reference points written all over them? One wouldn’t expect an artist to make their audiences lives easy so why should it be any different for a designer? I remember reading an interview with Anderson a while ago where he explained that he wanted his work to provoke a response, be it good or bad. This collection certainly did just that.

I’m going to leave day two here for now as we’ve passed the 1200 word mark but more show reviews coming your way soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 1

LFW AW14

I wore: Alice + Olivia dress (available at THEOUTNET here), Sandro jacket (c/o), Mulberry Willow tote (sample), Gap jumper & Kurt Geiger shoes (c/0)
Image by Holly McGlynn

As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, it’s that time of year again people! Fashion week time. This season I was gutted not to be able to hit the stateside shows and spent the duration of NYFW in a state of chronic FOMO as I sat in the library, sulkily scrolling through my Instagram feed while pretending to be working on the dreaded thesis. My sulk came to an end last week when the fash pack swapped the New York snow for London rain and the second leg of the AW14 shows began. Having been ill to the point of wanting to curl up in a ball and cry for most of the week, I started LFW day 1 at the leisurely hour of 1pm. I’m not going to lie, the torrential downpour raging outside played a part in deterring me from leaving the house but I was also painfully aware of quite how bat shit cray my schedule was going to be over the days to come so figured easing into it might not be such a terrible idea. My first port of call was the ME Hotel for a quick shoot in Ada Zanditon’s latest haute couture creations. I literally cannot wait to share the pictures with you but can’t just yet, watch this space.

After an enjoyable hour or so posing in an incredible leather petal dress and larking about with Ada, Nik and Alexis it was time to brave the grim outdoors and head to Somerset House. Through sheer luck I managed not to slip over in my ridiculously impractical shoes (can you IMAGINE how embarrassing that would have been?!) teetering through the Somerset House courtyard and made it to Eudon Choi. One of my favourite things about fashion week is it’s slightly school reunion esque quality and sure enough, I found myself happily ensconced in a row with Naomi, Millie, Simbarashe (AKA Lord Ashbury), Style Traveller founder Bonnie Rakhit and Notion Mag fash ed Seb Law. The inevitable 20 minute pre show wait is so much more fun when you’re not sitting solo twiddling your thumbs and pretending to be busy on your iPhone. Said wait is also made less tedious when you know the show you’re about to see it going to be seriously excellent. In the case of Eudon Choi, excellence is basically guaranteed.

LFW AW14

Eudon Choi AW14 (images via Style.com)

Choi is undeniably a designer on the rise and his show was so jam packed that unfortunate latecomers were forced to crowd the stairs, straining to get a peek of the collection. Any neck injuries induced by the strain were definitely worth it. For AW14 Eudon Choi was playing to win. Entitled “Hysteria”, Choi’s latest offerings were an homage to 1960s Britpop but unlike many who’ve tapped this source of inspiration, there was nothing contrived or “retro” (yuck) about what appeared on the runway. We were treated to oversized yet sculpted tartan outerwear, dizzying houndstooth checks, slouchy pinstriped tailoring and playful patterned knitwear accessorised with luxe, slightly Phillip Lim esque bags and some of the jazziest footwear I’ve seen in a while.

Choi LFW

Eudon Choi AW14 (images via Style.com)

Choi reworked classic mannish staples; the duffel, the cigarette pant, the crisp white shirt; in a delectable autumn palette of navy, olive, royal blue, mustard, grey and rich neutral hues. The androgynous, dandyish vibe was counterbalanced by girlish fluted skirts and sleeves topped off by roll necks and mussed locks for added insouciance. Just at Eudon had truly captured the essence of swinging 60s London in a way that felt utterly modern he switched tack, offering up a palette cleansing finale of sleek, paired back ensembles reminding is of his minimalist prowess and versatility. Purist, beatnik, tomboy, ingenue… with the precision of his cuts and flawless attention to detail Eudon Choi can do everything and do it par excellence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, expect big things from this man!

Next on my unusually gentle afternoon schedule was the Amanda Wakeley presentation in her swanky new Mayfair boutique. As much as I adore a great big whopper of catwalk, sometimes salon show intimacy is just the thing to get a really good look at the clothes. Especially when you’re treated to pink champagne and chocolate truffles at your seat, well, it was Valentines Day after all.

Amanda Wakeley may be most renowned for her gowns but, as decisively proved by AW14, she does so much more than that. Wakeley’s latest collection is, for want of a better phrase, rather saucy. But of course this is high fashion sauce and far more editrix than dominatrix. The masterclass in luxe seduction encompassed obi belt cinched waists, glossy furs, exotic skins and lashings of leather applied to everything from trousers to pencil skirts to cocktail frocks. Abstract monochrome prints had a noirish feel, styled with low pony tails, bold brows and killer mesh stiletto ankle booties. Bold moves but ones that paid off for Amanda Wakeley.

Amanda Wakeley LFW

Amanda Wakeley AW14

After leaving the calm ambiance of Wakeley’s salon it was time for a high speed dash through abominable traffic (the first of many) back to Somerset House for Christopher Raeburn. While I vehemently oppose the idea that fashion week “peacockers” (i.e. anyone who dresses up in attention seeking clothes for the street style photographers… this probably includes me to some extent) are detracting from the coverage of the actual shows, the vast crowds in the courtyard do make navigating one’s way into certain venues a little difficult. But of course, we all made it, even if a bit of pushing and shoving was involved and Raeburn’s latest offerings certainly warranted the scrambling. Admittedly, utility isn’t exactly my cup of tea but the Brit born designer almost tempts me to swap my blouses and boucle jackets for upcycled anoraks. This season saw faux fur gilets concocted from former Siberian military coats and weather ready wool jumpers married with neon hued quilted bombers and iridescent parkas in high spec tech fabrics.  For anyone who wants to be neither cold, wet and uncomfortable nor compromise on style, Christopher Raeburn is your ultimate go-to.

Christopher Raeburn LFW

Christopher Raeburn AW14 (images via Style.com)

With three shows down and one to go, I took the opportunity for food, warmth and respite at The Apartment. FYI, The Apartment is a fashion week space (located in, yes, an apartment) where bloggers can go to refuel, work and hang out between shows. But it’s also so much more than that. Each day sees different brands and restaurants sharing their wares, professional hair styling and makeup as well as on demand branded taxis and endless assorted treats. The whole thing’s organised by a fellow blogger, Abi Marvel, whose entrepreneurial, not to mention organisational, skills never fail to astound me. Sadly I couldn’t lounge for too long as I had a couple more engagements yet on my schedule. First, I would be presenting for Claire’s Accessories backstage at the PPQ show at The Sanderson Hotel. There are few situations more manic that fashion show preparations and, unsurprisingly, the backstage area was packed with make up artists, models, photorgaphers and journos moving at such a frenetic pace they appeared almost in fast forward. Being the absolute babe that she is, designer Amy Molyneux made time for a quick chat with me and you can check out the video below.

As for the show itself, it was a whole lot of fun. Not to everyone’s taste for sure but a wonderful, unapologetic celebration of the brand and clear example of PPQ doing what PPQ do, not to mention a perfect way to kick off the evening to come.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

Shine On Whistles

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whistles

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Whistles Daisy Foil Skirt, Foil Patchwork Vest, Luiza Cashmere Crewneck and Harlow Varsity Bomber Jacket worn with AllSaint scarf, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag & Sophia Webster heels.

Another post, another pun tastic title. Sorry guys, but I just can’t resist. This particular ensemble is a celebration of, you’ve guessed it, Whistles. Anyone’s who’s read LPA for any length of time will be well versed in my borderline unhealthy obsession with the brand. From the elegant grey peacoat that was my pride and joy aged 17, to the pastel Peter Pan collar blouses I stockpiled during the summer of 2011, to my vast collection of all things Jane Shepardson designed today, they’ve got me hooked and willingly so. Whistles’ SS14 collection, displayed in their first ever catwalk show atop the Heron Tower is a true testament to it’s rise to the foreground of really great British Fashion. And this skirt, this shining, shimmering, stunner of a skirt and perhaps the piece de resistance. I fell hard the second I spotted it sashaying down the runway so when Whistles challenged me to style up their silver skirt for London Fashion Week I leapt at the opportunity. Given that it’s such a statement garment I wasn’t entirely sure how to make it work for daytime – not to mention, freezing February temperatures – but after an epic dressing up session involving most of the contents of my wardrobe and Whistles’ SS14 collection I settled on this ensemble. The personalised bomber jacket is not only my newfound favourite thing but, paired with a super cosy cashmere sweater, also puts a casual spin on what is essentially a mega glam evening skirt. Of course, we wouldn’t want to make things too casual so I threw my heart print Sophia Webster’s into the mix, keeping with the silver and pink theme. I’m also wearing a matching, bias cut silver top underneath which will be unveiled after dark (inside a well heated venue). All in all, I’m rather in love with this outfit and the fact that this skirt is SO MUCH FUN to wear is the icing on the cake. If you snap one up, I highly recommend taking it outside on a windy day and prancing around like a madwoman. You might get a few stares but the novelty factor makes your neighbours thinking you’re a nutter totally worth it.

You can watch Whistles AW14 London Fashion Week presentation live between 11.30am and 1.30pm on Monday 17th February here

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 1 Comment

5 Minutes With: Heidi Klein

Regardless of whether your a fashion fanatic or swimwear stalker, I suspect you’ve heard of Heidi Klein. Since launching in 2002, the label has become something of a one-stop-shop for chic holiday essentials for women, men and children with stockists the world over and famously fabulous fans including Olivia Palermo as well as legions of non famous but no doubt equally fabulous wearers. When Co-Founders, Heidi Gosman and Penny Klein decided to set up their first boutique the frustration of trying put together a great holiday wardrobe outside of the usual summer months, they clearly tapped into an angst shared by many. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend an intimate presentation of their SS14 and exclusive Jumby Bay collection (available here now) at the divine London Rosewood hotel, and of course, have a good old chat with the designers. So, without further ado, here’s my interview with one half of the duo behind the brand and fellow Breton stripe aficionado, Heidi Gosman.

Heidi Klein

LPA: In just over a decade, you’ve built one of the most coveted and successful beachwear brands in the world. Of course, there’s no such thing as a “secret to success”, but what do you feel it is about the heidi klein brand that appeals to such a wide range of consumers?

HG: We are constantly working with our customers to find out what works for them, what doesn’t, what’s missing in the range, etc. Having the two stores in London allows us to talk directly to our customers and feedback with a collection that’s in direct accordance to demand.

LPA: Today, heidi klein has standalone boutiques in two of the most prestigious areas of London, as well as a vast array of high profile stockists all over the world. Tell me a little bit about your professional journey to get to this point…

HG: We wanted our first boutique to open in an up-and-coming area, which was Notting Hill at the time. Then our clients told us they wanted a boutique closer to Chelsea, so we opened another there. The stockists started to approach us first. Barneys in NYC 2 years after we first launched the line, then the other majors followed. We are delighted to be in such great high profile stockists.

LPA: I’ve interviewed many different clothing designers and am always fascinated to hear about the creative process and methods that go into dreaming up their seasonal collections and then translating those ideas into saleable products. Is the process very different with beachwear do you think? How do you get your take your collections from mood board to store?

HG: I think the process is probably the same, you start with your inspiration, which is a print, colour, shape … it’s then a long, long process from there. Lots of deadlines, fittings, factory visits and late nights!

LPA: Besides heidi klein swimwear for women, you also stock a selection of other brands catering to men and children. What prompted this decision? And could you ever see yourselves either stocking other women’s swimwear brands or starting to design men’s and children’s swimwear?

HG: We actually started the business only selling other swimwear brands and accessories. The heidi klein brand started when we couldn’t find what customers were asking for, and that was chic, high end swimwear available all year round. We therefore noticed a gap in the market and went from there. We are also planning to launch a children’s swimwear line in 2015.

LPA: Tell me a little about your collaboration with Jumby Bay. How did it come about? And in what ways does the nine piece collection reflect your experiences of the island?

HG: We were thrilled that Jumby Bay approached us to host our photo shoot for this year’s collection. Jumby Bay is a stunning private island surrounded by the most beautiful blue water, which I tried to capture in the print. You go everywhere by bike or golf cart, it’s a very laid back place and so I wanted to reflect this in the styles I designed. Easy – yet super chic pieces.

LPA: What are your ultimate holiday destinations and are there particular pieces you would wear there?

HG: Some of my ideal holiday destinations are Portofino, Ibiza and Mustique. I always pack an easy, oversized shirt, great versatile sandals, a few maxi dresses for the evening, a floppy hat and lots of mix and match bikinis.

LPA: Aside from creating gorgeous beachwear, you are both fundamentally savvy businesswomen who have built up a global brand. Do you come from a business background? And what advice would you give to someone hoping or planning to launch their own business?

HG: Yes I came from a business background, but have always loved being creative. Best advise to launch business:
- Research, research and research!
- Great business partner
- Always seek out and recruit brilliant people

LPA: Talk me through a typical day in the heidi klein office…

HG: There is no typical day, that’s what makes my job so much fun. I’m either visiting a factory, in the showroom for meetings, at a press event or in the studio. My days are constantly changing.

LPA: What is your ultimate aim for the heidi klein the brand?

HG: To gift customers with a renewed brand of confidence that allows them to look and feel gorgeous on holiday.

Shop the Heidi Klein Jumby Bay collection here

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 1 Comment

River Island First Date Dressing Masterclass

I’m not ashamed to say that two of my absolute, ultimate favourite pastimes are getting dressed up and prancing around in front of cameras. For some sickeningly stylish liars people, outfitting oneself is a case of nonchalantly grabbing whatever’s handy and being photographed is a total bore but I openly revel in all of it. After all, I probably wouldn’t have started posting pictures of myself and my ensembles on the internet (bit weird when you put it like that) the following year if I didn’t!? Anyway, as you may remember I spent a fabulous few days eating, drinking and generally being indulgent in Ibiza with River Island last Summer and, not that the two are remotely connected, their collections have been going from strength to strength ever since. Given the fact that SS14 is unbelievably covetable, the team awesome and I do love cameras, when River Island asked me to star in a masterclass video with the lovely Marcus Jaye of TheChicGeek.co.uk, obviously the answer was a big fat YES! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, my masterclass was all about dressing for a first date. This was something my nearest and dearest found simply hilarious because my love life’s non existent and the fact I’m clearly going to die alone surrounded by small dogs and expensive handbags gives them endless LOLS. However, I maintain that my lack of love life is nothing to do with my ability to select super cute datewear and I hope this video proves it!

Getting Ready Look
Red Checked Oversized Shirt,  £25, click here to buy
Black Molly Jeans, £35, click here to buy
Black Cleated Sole Platform Boots, £75, click here to buy

Date Look
Coral Floral Jacquard Jacket, £50, click here to buy
Coral Floral Jacquard Short, £28, click here to buy
White Cut Out Shell Top, £20, click here to buy
Pink Jelly Statement Necklace, £28, click here to buy
Light Pink Gemstone Statement Ring, £8, click here to buy
Asymmetric Court Shoes, £35, click here to buy
Faux Pearl Embellished Clutch, £35, click here to buy

What do you think? Would you rock this ensemble for a first date?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 2 Comments