LCM AW14: Day 1 Part 2

LCM AW14

With Yu Masui outside the MAN show

After a much needed itsu pit stop it was back to the topman venue for one of my favourite LCM shows, MAN. MAN is the menswear equivalent of Fashion East AKA three insanely talented young designers handpicked by a panel of industry leaders (think Style.com Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks and Lulu Kennedy) and supported through their first catwalk shows. Like their Fashion East counterparts, MAN alumni inevitably go on to big things with J.W.Anderson, Christopher Shannon and Katie Eary among their ranks. As such, the FROW read like a who’s who of major industry players with the likes of Caroline Issa, Natalie Massenet, Caroline Rush and Dylan Jones poised to see what the three menswear prodigies had in store for AW14. On a side note, throughout the day I thoroughly enjoyed retelling my Christmas in the dark horror story which, thanks to the fact it elicited the desired response of shock/sympathy every time, almost made up for missing the Educating Yorkshire special and not showering for 3 days. However I suspect it may have got old for my LCM partners in crime who heard it umpteen times by this point but anyway, I digress. After recanting the tale yet again, I took my seat and the show began.

For AW14 the MAN panel decided to stick with the same line up as last season, kicking off with Dublin born designer, Alan Taylor.

MAN LCM AW14

Alan Taylor AW14

Since making his catwalk debut just last season, Taylor has established a name for himself with his innovative take on tailoring, transcending the Saville Row set to capture the avant guard attention of W Magazine, Vogue Italia, HERO, Dazed & Confused as well as Selfridges who named him in their 2013 Brigh Young Things. The designer combines a close collaboration with a traditional Irish mill to create bespoke woven fabrics with a renegade approach to tailoring which sees his luxury tweeds contorted into powerfully modern objets d’art. For AW14 Alan Taylor continued the masterclass in reinventing heritage staples with an array of pieces that, by some magic, managed to appear both raw edged and utterly precise. Earthy neutrals were brought alive by pops of highlighter bright neon while sleek jackets came paired with enveloping skirts. Collage played a central role by way of tweeds patchworked with dusty pink wool crepes, silk organza, faux fur, leather and even glimmering, coloured metallics. Not a collection for the faint hearted fellow but a fash pack favourite for certain.

Next up came Bobby Abley whose unmistakeable SS14 collection I bumped into fabulous Japanese fash ed, Yu Masui at the AW14 MAN show. If you’ve so much as glanced at his designs then the fact Abley worked at Jeremy Scott and Alexander McQueen will come as no surprise. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a label whose logo bears the shape of a teddy bear to come up with a collection entitled “Phantom Manor” but then, Bobby Abley’s take on playful print is a rather unusual one. The models swaggered down the runway rocking scraped back, dracule esque hair and menacing, grills style mouth. Combined with cartoon prints and baby pinks, it made for a faintly disturbing but utterly compelling array of ensembles.

MAN LCM AW14

Bobby Abley AW14

A glance at the show notes confirmed that Halloween had played a central role in dreaming up a collection that told a tongue-in-cheek tale of playful, pop cultural subversion with a ghoulish twist. Sculptural neoprene and jersey adorned with brain and barbed wire motifs sat alongside tactile furry shorts and mohair jumpers topped off with Piers Atkinson hats designed in homage to Maleficent. As with many a men’s collection I saw this season, it all seems terribly “fashion” on the catwalk but strip away the styling and you’ve got many wearable pieces that will zoom out the stores like hot cakes.

Last but not least on the MAN AW14 agenda was conceptualist newcomer, Craig Green. Remember his sculptural wooden body sculptures last season? Well, Craig did not disappoint this time around delivering faintly post-apocalyptic head gear, proportion distortion and masterfully sculpted silhouettes galore. The fabrics alone were a remarkable feat, think painstakingly worked textures, canvases and labour intensive hand painted patterns splices and stitched together to create truly one of a kind pieces.

MAN LCM AW14

Craig Green AW14

After piling out of the MAN show, Naomi decided that in lieu of working we’d hit the topman pub and make the most of the drinks vouchers left on every seat in the venue. Several hours and glasses of Pinot Grigio later (daytime drinking is totally acceptable during fashion week, rather like Christmas although always remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon) it was time for my penultimate engagement of the day, the Mr Hare presentation. For those that don’t know, Mr Mark Hare is one of the coolest men’s footwear designers/people ever; dreadlocked, stylish, seriously smart and as I learnt at the Esquire party that evening, one hell of a dancer. Known for taking classic men’s shoe styles and luxury fabrics and reworking them to concoct modern, strong and achingly awesome designs that every fella worth his sartorial salt should have a pair or five of. Mr Hare’s AW13 collection was aptly named “everything a man needs disguised as everything he wants” which captured it perfectly. Buttersoft Italian calf leathers, strokeable suedes you just wanted to reach out and stroke, high shine patents and exquisite detailing felt deliciously decadent. But each and every design, from glimmering wingtips to louche leather high tops, were fundamentally wearable and that, I suspect, is the secret to Mark Hare’s phenomenal and thoroughly well deserved success.

Mr Hare LCM AW14

Mr Hare LCM Aw14

Mr Hare LCM Aw14

With an hour or so to kill I headed to the Hospital Club where I found Naomi, Simon and Gurd lounging in the press area pretending to work. Or maybe they were working, but I put a stop to that pretty swiftly after pitching up. A good gossip later it was time for a show I was extremely excited about, Ada + Nik, the brainchild of two very talented people I absolutely adore. Some time last year womenswear wunderkind Ada Zanditon and fashion creative Nik Thakkar decided that their respective businesses and hectic work schedules weren’t enough. No, they needed to launch a menswear brand as well. The duo debuted last season with a presentation of super luxe, modern mens pieces including some of the most sumptuous leather bikers I’ve ever laid eyes on (and have been badgering Nik to make me one every since). This season they took things to the next level for the first I what I predict will be many catwalk shows.

“The Dark Wolf” opened with a specially created fashion film by Ada + Nik in collaboration with Oz Thakkar starring emerging rapper SMITH LDN, model du jour Diego Barrueco and illustrator and model Nikita Andrianova. The dramatic graphic visuals gave way to a powerful soundtrack and an even more powerful collection. A palette of midnight black provided the perfect foil for experimentation with texture and silhouette. Oil slick black leathers were married with slouchy jersey, sheer mesh and bold, geometric cut outs. The models were, for want of a better word, HOT and I can say in all certainty there are a couple of jackets I’ll be pestering Ada + Nik for in the months to come.

Ada x Nik LCM AW14

Ada + Nik AW14

Cracking start to LCM AW14, and the night was far from over! Until next time mes amies,

Love Ella. x

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

LCM AW14: Day 1 Part 1

LCM AW14

I wore… Jumper, skirt & shoes by Coach, Blouse by Whistles, Coat by Sandro & Bag by Lulu Guinness

Oh I do love fashion week, whether it’s men’s or women’s the whole thing always feels like a very stylish school reunion. As much fun as it is though, you inevitably feel a little pulverised by the end, even when the whole thing only lasts three days. But it’s fashion dahhhling, so you suck it up, wilfully ignore your throbbing toes and head on to the next party. On the subject of parties, every season I vow to start the shows feeling fresh from eight hours sleep and a pint of water (as opposed to wine). This has never happened thanks to the likes of GQ Magazine and Dolce & Gabbanna who think throwing a fabulous bash on night 0 is a great idea. Instead of waking at 6am as planned and ploughing through my to do list I lounged in bed until eight, realised the time and panicked. Luckily I managed to get suited and booted (and even apply lipstick!!) post my Candezza shoot, submit my thesis at uni and still make the Topman show with enough time to catch up with some of my favourite fashion friends before being herded to our seats.

The topshop, or in this case topman venue always lays on a good spread so it was with a restorative lemonade in hand, I people-watched David Gandy, Tini Tempah, Nick Grimshaw and Jack Guinness causing a pap frenzy on the FROW. Somewhat unusually, the catwalk had puddles on it and I assumed (correctly) that this wasn’t some oversight by the production team. Indeed the weather we Brits so love to hate played a central role in what was to be a Stella show. To the tune of a booming base and a John Cooper Clarke poem, damp haired, pallid skinned models stomped out bedecked in gloriously gloomy hues adorned with oil slick leather and PVC panelling. There was something quintessentially British about the collection which permeated further than the sodden scenery. Classic English tailoring came reworked, raw edged and fresh by way of cropped, sculpted duffel coats, elongated peacoats and glass beaded knits.

topman AW14

Topman AW14

Topman also introduced a new and contrasting menswear silhouettes; second skin, short jackets paired with voluminous pleat front wide leg woolen trousers versus oversized outerwear over super svelte PVC pants with an ever so slight flare. At the time, my mind immediately thought subcultures, punk PVC and tartan, modish Duffels etc. In retrospect (and having read the show notes) the inspiration is obvious, maritime. Oversized crochet knits inspired by fishing nets, heavy wool suits resembling rusting metal and all that weather proof gear. Know you know I love a bit of spectacle and topman delivered just that as the models took their final lap they quite literally “made it rain”. Cracking start to LCM AW14 and a collection that looks likely to strike the balance between commercial viability and critical acclaim.

LCM AW14

Topman AW14 Finale

Next up was a menswear designer I absolutely adore, Orlebar Brown. Much as I enjoy a catwalk show, sometimes it makes more sense for a brand to showcase their wares in a presentation format. This was one such occasion, partially because it meant we could get a really close up look at Adam Brown’s delectable designs. For AW14 Brown embarked on an exploration of the jungle. And not just the tropical jungle, although the rainforest installation and the prints displayed within were undeniably impressive.

LCM AW14

orlebar brown LCM AW14

Besides abstract hot house prints in mouthwateringly bright hues, we were treated to illustrative, graphic motifs; the fruits of a new collaboration with contemporary Greek artist, Konstantin Kakanias. More new additions for AW14 included an array of truly excellent accessories including printed rubber deck shoes and sunglasses so nonchalantly chic it was all I could do not to pocket a pair for myself. An indoor replica of downtown NYC in which achingly gorgeous male models posed wearing even more gorgeous ensembles only served to confirm my adoration for this collection.

orlebar brown LCM AW14

orlebar brown LCM AW14

orlebar brown LCM AW14

In the interest of keeping things short and sweet, the rest of LCM AW14 day 1 will be coming your way another day!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

Werk It

For all my banging on about forgoing New Year’s resolutions in favour of the far more enjoyable, fasholutions, I have kind of made one. Not so much a specific, check list style promise. More a decision to rebalance my life a little and generally be healthier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the whole work-hard-play-hard thing but somewhere in between all the working and the playing, and the playing that’s technically working but not really, you’ve got to look after your mind and body too. Sorry, that sounds hideously new age and preachy and whenever someone says something like this to me I feel an overwhelming urge to inflict violence on them but if this post has proven anything, it’s that I can on occasion be a bit of a hypocrite. Anyway my, oh go on then, let’s call it a “resolution”, wont involve anything too major. I won’t be going gluten free, juicing green things or spending every weekend on a yoga retreat. What I will be doing is spending more time with friends and family, indulging in activities of a non-fashion variety, actually cooking occasionally instead of just relying on itsu/M&S/late night Reese’s Pieces and last but certainly not least, doing a bit of exercise from time to time. Aside from toning, boosting endorphins, general wellbeing etc etc, the benefit of deciding to invest in a gym membership is that it provides the perfect excuse to buy a whole lot of work out gear. Currently lusting after these lycra lovelies…

werk it
1) GapFit Colour Block Half Zip Running Hoodie, £34.50, click here to buy
2) GapFit gFast leggings, £24.95, click here to buy
3) Nike Air Pegasus 30 iD Running Shoe, 120, click here to buy
4) T by Alexander Wang Rainbow Cotton Terry Shorts, £140, click here to buy
5) GapFit High Impact Sports Bra, £24.95, click here to buy
6) Orlebar Brown Hampton Bikini Top, £125, click here to buy
7) Orlebar Brown Hampton Bikini Bottoms, £100, click here to buy
8) Sweaty Betty Perfomance Run Sock, £15, click here to buy
9) Sweaty Betty 1.5kg Dumbells, £25, click here to buy
10) Zoe Karssen Bat Print Track Pants, £110, click here to buy

Love Ella. X

Ps) In case you were wondering about the post title it’s purely because I’m a Britney obsessive and listen to Werk Bitch on repeat every time I go to the gym. What’s on your work (or rather “werk”) out playlist?

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping 2 Comments

Look Du Jour: Ice Princess

ice princess

ice princess

princess

princess

Ella Catliff

Anne Bowes Jewellery

Ella Catliff Valentino

Ella Catliff princess

princess

What: Princess dress by REDValentino (c/o), Necklace by Anne Bowes Jewellery, Ring by Swarovski (c/o), Shoes by Sophia Webster and clutch by Wilbur & Gussie (c/o)

Where: Dolce & Gabbana London Collections: Men party

In my previous Look Du Jour post I questioned whether, metaphorically speaking, a leopard could change its sartorial spots. I think this ensemble proves that the answer is a definitive NO… Or at least in my case it is. But then when a frock is quite as goddamn gorgeous as this REDValentino number who the hell cares anyway? As anyone with an internet connection and an interest in fashion will have seen splashed all over the internet, this week the international style set hit Britain for London Collections: Men AW14. Naturally it kicked off with a fabulous bash hosted by Dolce & Gabbana and attended by Kylie Minogue which provided me with the perfect excuse to take this stunner for its first outing. Between the tiered skirt and lace brocade, this is one of the most unashamedly, deliciously early items I’ve ever owned so I decided to embrace the sugar sweet, princess prettiness of the whole thing and run with it. Queue pink lips, nails and detailing plus a touch or two of sparkle. The party was, unsurprisingly, wonderful and this ensemble went down a treat. Evidently New Year’s fasholutions are rather similar to New Year’s resolutions; both are made to be broken.

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 5 Comments

Oh To Be A Chanel Girl

chanel

Oh to be a Chanel girl! To travel to far flung locations for the annual Métiers d’Art extravaganza. To be part of Karl’s couture clad coterie of international beauties. Hell, I’d settle for shared custody of a Chanel handbag and be pretty darned thrilled with my lot! Especially if it was one of the drop dead delectable designs Monsieur Lagerfeld delivered for SS14.

chanel

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to Chanel’s London HQ to ogle view a selection from the Spring collection. Getting the chance to pour over the new season pieces was, for want of a better word, awesome. It only further served to confirm what I already knew to be true; Chanel is an extraordinary brand and Karl Lagerfeld is an extraordinary man. As you all know and are probably thoroughly bored of hearing about, for the past two-and-a-bit years I’ve been studying Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins. Learning more than I ever thought possible about dress from the Renaissance through Tudors, Stuarts and Victorians was incredible. But what really had me in raptures was the 20th century stuff, especially in the case of Maisons like Chanel. Over a century may have passed since Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel scandalised and then seduced with the androgynous elegance of her menswear inspired designs. Through a combination of creative vision, craftsmanship and fearless business practices (Coco certainly would not have needed to read “Lean In”) Chanel was born and today it continues to enthral new generations of women, while retaining the impeccable quality and effortless chicness that keeps dedicated customers coming back to brand decade after decade. Nailing this near impossible balancing act is a true testament to the sartorial genius that is Karl Lagerfeld who, in the politest possible way, also cropped up relatively early in 20th century fashion history making his flair for capturing the contemporary zeitgeist all the more impressive.

chanel

chanel

chanel

As everyone knows, Chanel shows are always something of a spectacle. So what do you do when you’ve already done indoor ice bergs, wind farms, solar panels and the life aquatic? You turn your show space into an art gallery, well, duh. And then you fill it with your own creations. I’m not even going to begin wondering how in God’s one finds the time to design 75 art installations on top of running three major fashion brands so let’s just talk about the clothes instead. In the tradition of taking Chanel’s rich heritage and turning it on its head, this season saw the house’s iconic tweeds woven from ribbons of chiffon, organza, lace and plastic threads, frayed or even torn on some occasions.

chanel

chanel

chanel

Stretch knit crêpe de Chine came lace printed with motifs in silicone, while elsewhere garments were adorned with intricate pearl embroideries and painstakingly detailed trims galore. And then there were the colours! Naturally Chanel’s signature monochrome palette was featured but elsewhere there was a riot of eye popping confections. Pastels, neon brights, denim, bleaching, you name it. The iconic jackets introduced by Mademoiselle Chanel herself came reimagined slim and sleeveless and sleek and belted as well as oversized and re-proportioned. Never have I seen a house so seamlessly combine its past and its future.

chanel

chanel

chanel

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment