Lacoste in Paris

As you may have gathered from my no doubt infuriating Instagram feed, last week I managed to fit two trips to Paris into the space of four days. Admittedly the first trip wasn’t exactly full on fabulousness, research days spent in archives rarely are, but the second which came courtesy of Lacoste most definitely was. Before we go any further, let me take you back a few years to the start of my relationship with the quintessential French sportswear brand. Picture the scene, your’s truly aged 11 or 12 finally, after months of whinging, moaning and sulking manages to persuade her long suffering parents to buy her the Lacoste crocodile logo polo shirt she so covets. Baby blue in colour, immaculate in cut, she wears it with everything (particularly denim mini skirts, footless tights and over straightened hair… oh the shame) until eventually it becomes a health risk to do so anymore. Back then I had no idea about the brand’s legacy, or how to dress for that matter. Fast forward a decade and I like to think I have slightly more of a clue about the two, at least I hope so.

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You know how much I love me a label with a legacy and, mes amies, Lacoste is just that. Founded by René Lacoste, French tennis star nicknamed “the crocodile”, back in 1933 the company’s ingenious mesh material polo shirts soon transcended the heat of the American courts they were originally designed to combat and became THE preppy staple of the late 20th century. No WASP’s wardrobe was complete without several. But of course, a polo shirt alone does not a global mega brand make and through diversification into everything from bed sheets to beachwear Lacoste expanded to become just that. Today though, the company is about far more than the bottom line. Under the Creative Direction of Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Lacoste has begun to be hailed as a fashion force to be reckoned with and having attended their breathtakingly chic shows during New York Fashion Week several seasons in a row, I can attest to that. The catwalk collections garner critical acclaim while their classic sportif staples continue to fly off shelves all over the globe, an impressive feat no doubt about that. So when Lacoste invited me to attend the unveiling of their new campaign, “Life Is A Beautiful Sport,” in the French fashion capital I didn’t need to think twice before saying yes. The idea of witnessing the next step in a sartorial journey spanning almost a century was too tempting to resist and come on, what sane individual turns down a whirlwind Paris trip!?

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lacoste paris

lacoste

On Thursday night I could barely sleep for sheer anticipation of the events to come. Well, a combination of excitement and mild stress because I would be going straight from a crack of dawn gym/wash/work start to and very exciting photo shoot (ooooh you just watch this space!) to the Eurostar, hoping to catch up on emails, blog posts and uni reading somewhere along the way. For once, all went without a hitch and I even found time to pick up an itsu box and gross my fellow passengers out by gorging on sushi half the way to Paris. Even arriving after darkness has fallen and temperatures have plummeted, the city is magnifique and I spent my taxi journey gazing out onto the exquisite streets feeling a mixture of unattractive smugness and sheer unbridled awe. As for the hotel itself, what can I say, it was awesome. Located in the super hip area of République and Oberkampf (think Shoreditch but infinitely better) Hôtel Fabric is a rare combination of achingly cool, perfectly decorated and deliciously welcoming. Think shabby chic, exposed piped loft meets pop cultural homage to fun meets interior designer’s wet dream; it’s both wonderful and strangely homely. Sadly I didn’t have much time to kick back in my gorgeous room or loll on my super chic, art deco fab pink and stripy bed. After a swift but delicious room service-while-getting-ready session followed by a drink in the bar with fellow guest Menswear Style’s Craig Landale it was time to party! And Lacoste’s campaign launch celebration was one HELL of a party.

Lacoste

Lacoste

Lacoste

lacoste paris

lacoste

Held at La Générale, a vast warehouse esque space on L’Avenue Parmentier, the second our car pulled up I knew we were in for a good night. The entire venue had been transformed into a brightly lit and beautiful, high ceilinged emporium of fashionable fun. Set over two floors there were live installations, ping pong tables, multiple bars and live music. Despite being a mere half hour or so fashionable late the place was packed, no meat feat considering its size. Given the whirlwind nature of the trip, I didn’t have much of an idea which other bloggers Lacoste was shipping out for the event. I was delighted to be reunited with Betty Autier and Mathieu Lebreton who I hadn’t really seen since the Gucci trip and both of whose blogs I stalk endlessly. Other Lacoste bloggers included Fashion Toast’s Rumi Neeley (another one firmly bookmarked) so all in all, I was in pretty major company.

Lacoste

Lacoste

Lacoste

lacoste

lacoste

I read an article in February Vogue musing on whether there’s much point to fashion month shipping (or rather flying/Eurostar-ing) basically the exact same group of people around the world for half the year. Personally this is one of the things I adore about it so much. Whatever stylish city you’re fashion weeking in there are guaranteed to be people you know, like and want to party with. This was most definitely the case at Lacoste’s campaign launch bash and my over excitement at being reunited with Michael Shane bordered on hazardous to those around me. By the time this excitement subsided (well, ish) there was something else to get pumped about, namely the grand unveiling of Lacoste’s “Life Is A Beautiful Sport” campaign a breathtaking film directed by Seb Edwards and starring rising French actor Paul Hamy.

lacoste

lacoste

The film, and accompanying campaign set in a cityscape skyline, beautifully merged Lacoste’s sporting heritage with the clean lines and pared back everyday elegance associated with the brand today. The overarching message; life is a beautiful sport, whether you live it on the sidewalk or the tennis court. The full campaign video will premiere on February 7th and trust me, you’ll want to put that date in your diary.

A huge thank you to Lacoste and Starworks for a truly wonderful not-even-24-hours in Paris!

Love Ella x

Event & Campaign images courtesy of Stephane Cardinal and SAY WHO Jean Picon

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Parties 4 Comments

Look Du Jour: Be Bright

be bright

ella la petite

bright

Ella Catliff bright

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

be bright La Petite Anglaise

Anne Bowes Jewellery

Ella Catliff mulberry

bright

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

What: Bright pink jumper from Boutique by Jaeger, Hudson jeans (c/o), Sandro coat, Mulberry bag, Rag & Bone boots (c/0) & Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace.

Where: Paris

There’s something about Paris, the land of black on black and low key nonchalance, that always entices me to don my brightest brights. Perhaps it’s my inherently contradictory nature (damnnnnn was I a difficult child!) or maybe it’s the fact I know full well I’ll never be able to nail the effortless loucheness so many Parisiennes seem to exude and therefore shouldn’t even attempt. The fact I’m currently working with Mod Mods as a Colour Ambassador no doubt doesn’t help. Whatever the reason, whenever I’m in the French fashion capital I stick out like a sore-to-the-point-of-fluorescence thumb. Last week I made not one, but TWO trips over there in the space of four days. The first was for research purposes AKA umpteen hours in an archive looking at old things (interesting but not necessarily exciting) followed by dinner and drinks which was rather less informative but infinitely more fun. My second Parisian jaunt came courtesy of Lacoste who whisked me away from my laptop and off for 24 hours of fashion week fun. A whole lot more on that coming your way soon! But for now, tell me, how do you feel about this ensemble?

Love Ella. X

Images by Frances Davidson

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour Leave a comment

LCM AW14 Party Round Up

So you’ve heard about the shows I attended and large amounts of mingling that took place in between, now let’s talk about what went down when the lights went out. Well, not “out” exactly but it sounded snappy (right?) and you know what I mean. This may have only been London Collections Men’s fourth season but already it’s become synonymous with really awesome parties. AW14 kicked off with a very refined affair hosted by none other than GQ Magazine and Dolce & Gabbana with Kylie Minogue (!!!) playing guest of honour. As a child of the nineties and shameless pop music lover I completely and utterly adore Kylie. Add Italy’s most iconic design duo, a store that resembles a palazzo and some seriously fine wine into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for one spectacular evening. In honour of Miss Minogue and the general fabulousness I suspected would ensue, I donned the REDValentino number I’d been saving for a special occasion and my new Sophia Webster heart detailed shoes. Given that I rather resembled a human cupcake, I hoped others would embrace the glamour of La Dolce Vita and get their gladrags on. Luck was on my side and for once I hadn’t grossly misjudged the dress code; there were more slick Dolce suits than you could shake a stick at and Kylie looked exquisite in polka dots.

Dolce & Gabbana London Collections: Men Event

David Gandy, Kylie Minogue & Charlie Siem at the GQ Magazine x Dolce & Gabbanna party

Dolce & Gabbana London Collections: Men Event

Me & Thom Evans at the GQ Magazine x Dolce & Gabbana Party

Dolce & Gabbana London Collections: Men Event

It was a serene and splendid evening spent catching up with friends and even enjoying a violin performance by Charlie Siem (how civilized!). Later wiping out in my Sophia Websters on the slippery floor of Hammersmith tube station while, to my shame, clutching a bag of MacDonalds French fries was rather less dignified; bloody English weather.

As you might remember, London Collections Men day 1 was a cracker kicking off with Topman making it rain and ending with my dear friends Ada Zanditon and Nik Thakkar’s first catwalk show. Aside from the excellent clothes, one of the great things about the Ada + Nik show was that as soon as the models took their final bow, Sebastian Bartz hit the decks and the runway turned into the after party.

LCM Ada + Nik

Ada Zanditon & Nik Thakkar

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Alistair Guy, Me & Oz Thakkar on the FROW at Ada + Nik

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Sebastian Bartz on the decks at the Ada + Nik party

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Me & model Jimmy Q at the Ada + Nik party

After congratulating the designers on one hell of a performance I spotted my usual fashion week partners in crime, Serena and Millie. Having not seen either of them since early December hugging, squealing and general over excitement ensued. By the time we’d calmed down and guzzled a couple of Snow Queen vodka cocktails it was time to hit party number two.

Next up, was a cocktail ‘do held by my beloved Mulberry. Such is my love for this brand that they could frankly invite me to the opening of an envelope in Skegness and I’d be there. This, however, was a chic soiree on Bond Street packed with some of my favourite fashion faces alongside the likes of Arizona Muse, Suzy Menkes, Caroline Rush and Natalie Massenet. We got stuck into G&T’s and deliciously indulgent treats from Mark Hix “Fish n’ Hix” van parked outside (step up from the previous evening’s fries, no?).

LCM AW14

Gin O’Clock!

LCM AW14

Arizona Muse et Moi at the Mulberry party

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Suzy Menkes

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Fish Dog anyone?

LCM Mulberry

Naomi, Millie & Me at the Mulberry Party

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Natalie Massenet at the Mulberry party

After a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so ogling the bags and catching up with Naomi (hadn’t seen her in all of, um, two hours), Tanya Burr and stateside pal, Eugene Tong, it was time to hit the road. Party number three was calling.

Each season, there are always a couple of parties that everyone is going to and even the most usually nonchalant are excited about. The Esquire Magazine bash at Rosewood’s new London hotel was definitely that, and then some. With DJ sets from Charlie XCX and Boy George (!!) plus limitless Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve cocktails I suspected things were about to get raucous and I was not wrong. Quite literally everyone was in attendance. From Tinie Tempah, David Dandy and Dermot O’Leary to all my regular fash pals.

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Bar fully stocked with Johnnie Walker

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Wearing Coach & Whistles at the Esquire Magazine party

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David Gandy & Zara Martin at the Esquire party

LCM AW14

Lilah Parsons & Wretch 32

We danced, we drank and I forced everyone back onto the dancefloor against their’ will before the night was done. Pain may have been writ large all over our faces at the J.W. Anderson show the next morning but boy, it was worth it.

For a day with just four shows, day number 2 seemed incredibly long but by the time darkness fell I magically felt sprightly again, weird how that happens isn’t it? And it was lucky I did because my first evening engagement was another homage to the creative talent of a dear friend, the private view of Alistair Guy’s latest photography exhibition, White Shirts. Alistair is one hell of a portrait photographer and the images of David Gandy, Jack Fox, Mr Phillip Start and a coterie of other notable gentleman were the perfect combination of soft and striking. Simplicity was key, both in the works and the exhibition space itself located in Soho Members spot, the Century Club. The ever dashing David Gandy was also in attendance along with most of the London fashion community. After congratulating Alistair on a truly excellent body of work it was time for me to say my goodbyes and pop across town to Libertys.

LCM Alistair Guy

Alistair Guy at his White Shirts Private View

LCM David Gandy

Alistair Guy & David Gandy

LCM Ella Catliff Alistair Guy

Me & Alistair (clearly I did not think through the effects of pale cream underwear + flash photography, soz)

Last season I was well and truly gutted to miss this bash, co-hosted by Men’s Health Magazine, YMC and Liberty London. Everyone had gone on and on about it afterwards, while I’d spent the evening curled up in the foetal position thanks to the agony of acute ulcerative pharyngitis. Not that I felt sorry for myself or anything. This time around nothing and no one was going to stop me attending, even the fact that ever single other LCM attendee seemed equally determined. The place was packed fit to burst but despite the crowds we managed to grab a plateful of Moscow Mules and even find space for a boogie.

Ella Catliff Tanya Burr

Me & Tanya Burr at the Men’s Health x YMC x Liberty London party

LCM Tinie Tempah

Tinie Tempah rocking MAJOR florals at Libertys 

Once I’d managed to lose the cloakroom twice, “accidentally” venture into the store itself and catch up with Courtney Blackman, we hot footed it up the road to the London EDITION. Another party!? I hear you say and I admit, three in one night seems excessive. But I hasten to add it was only about 9pm (ok, 10) by this point, and hey, it’s not London Collections Men every day. The London EDITION opened just in time for LFW SS14 and swiftly established itself as the prime location for stylish debauchery in the city. During the fashion week interlude, this reputation didn’t wane and I’ve spent many an evening sipping Sancerre there over the past months. The host for the particular soiree was Ben Sherman who were toasting their latest collection. Down in the basement things were in full swing and we got ourselves straight on the dancefloor. Among my fellow revelers were Stylenoir Editor, James Joseph, Company Magazine’s Alexxsia Elizabeth, designer-of-the-moment Charlie May and Camille of Camille Over The Rainbow.

LCM Ella Catliff

Me arriving at the Ben Sherman party

LCM Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman Party

LCM The London EDITION

Inside The London EDITION Basement

LCM Ben Sherman

Eliza Doolittle at the Ben Sherman party

LCM Ben Sherman

Suzy Street, James Joseph, Me & Charlotte Bell at the Ben Sherman party

LCM Ella Catliff

Me & Alexxsia Elizabeth at The London EDITION

Many dances later a group of use decided to hit Soho House for sustenance and there we sat laughing and snacking until they booted us out into the chilly almost-dawn. All in all, a damn good couple of days! And not long until fashion month…

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Parties 1 Comment

Lena Dunham, Vogue & The Retouching Debate

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Let’s face it, Lena Dunham’s US Vogue cover was an uproar waiting to happen. If they didn’t retouch, the whole thing would have been out of sync with the rest of the magazine’s glossy, fantastical and 100% retouched images. Hell, some might even accuse Vogue of trying to portay Lena in an unflattering light. If they did retouch, which obviously they were always going to, outrage would ensue which of course it has. What I really don’t understand, is why anyone is remotely surprised and frankly, why it’s even newsworthy. Today it’s a pretty safe bet that every single image you see in Vogue, or any other fash mag for that matter, has undergone a spot of editing regardless of whether the subject is a “real woman” (God I hate that patronising phrase) or a supermodel. We all know this, it’s no secret. Being photoshopped is no reflection of the individual in question. Everyone’s seen enough of those shocking and mildly self righteous Upworthy features to know that not even the girl in the advert looks like the girl in the advert. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s healthy, but like the price on request gowns and more expensive than rent handbags, fashion magazine’s are about fantasy not reality. For me, far more distasteful was Jezebel’s $10,000 quest to get hold of the unretouched photos which seemed like a highly unoriginal piece of scandal mongering. As Kat Stoeffel wrote in her brilliant article for The Cut, what exactly did they intend to achieve? We’ve all seen Lena basically buck naked enough times to know what she looks like and she looks very much like that person, albeit with professional hair, make up and high fashion get up in the Vogue pictures. We all know that fashion magazines retouch images. While the retouching highlighted by the oh-so-predictable before and after shots on Jezebel may have confirmed it, the changes were actually pretty minimal. As for the digital placement Annie Leibowitz is so known for and pigeon on head palaver, I’m not really sure if or why anyone would care.

Ultimately I can’t help but feel it’s a positive thing that Vogue are championing talent, brains and unconventionality on their cover and perhaps our collective energies would be better spent pushing for more of that than lamenting the inevitable. Retouched or not, surely this is more interesting than yet another Alexa Chung/Cara Delevigne cover. But enough from me, what do YOU guys think?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 6 Comments

Look Du Jour: Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn Jan 14_002

Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

Fashion V Art

fashion v art

fashion v art

fashion v art

What: Damien Hirst x Alexander MccQueen Limited Edition Scarf (available here), BLK DNM jeans, Pollini 60th Anniversary boots (available here), Coach sweater, Alice + Olivia handbag (all c/o) & Monica Vinader ring.

Where: Meetings in London.

The subject of Fashion V Art is one of which I’m particularly and probably boringly fond. Long term LPA readers may remember my rambles about Parisian collective Each x Other which, FYI, later became a university essay. As I’ve learned during the course of said studies, the fashion and art worlds have a history of collaboration that dates back to the Renaissance if not before. In the interests of not actually chasing you all away for good, let’s not delve back quite that far. From the early decades of the 20th century (See! Practically last weekend…) couturiers have harnessed and nurtured the talents of other artists, ranging from Madeleine Vionnet’s active patronage of a young Thayat to Schiaparelli’s collaborations with Picasso and Poiret’s school of the decorative arts which both served to bolster his reputation as un grand créatif and resulted in the legendary decor of his own atelier and marketing outlets. Getting on for a century later, the collusion between the two creative industries is still going strong. And judging by the shows put on by the likes of Chanel, Prada and Celine for SS14 it only looks to be getting stronger this season. I thought this would be the perfect Look Du Jour to talk Fashion V Art because of the pieces involved. Firstly, the scarf. It’s part of the collaboration between Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen and is the kind of exquisite, painstakingly crafted treasure you’d sooner hang on a gallery wall than around your neck. The entire collection consists of only 30 one off designs, each an adaptation of Hirst’s Entomology series which sees butterflies, bugs, spiders and other insects worked to form kaleidoscopic geometric shapes, laid out to create the signature McQueen skull motif. If that’s not art, I don’t know what is. Then we have the jeans. Brain child of J.Lindberg Founder and Former Diesel CEO, Johan Lindberg, BLK DNM is not your usual denim brand. They don’t do seasonal collections, they don’t sell in department stores. But despite bucking all the sartorial norms, these jeans have become must haves due in part to their cult status but largely because they’re damn good and beautifully, nay, artistically presented. Then on to the boots. Created for Italian heritage leathersmith’s 60th anniversary and signed by the company’s current Creative Director, contemporary footwear extraordinaire, Nicholas Kirkwood these babies are less boots than collectors items.

So what do you think, have I convinced you; can fashion and art sometimes simply be one?

Love Ella. X

Ps) I’m not claiming the jumper is art too, it’s just really bloody cosy and I can’t seem to take it off at the moment!

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 5 Comments