Look Du Jour: Gossip Girl & Personal Style

gossip girl

gossip girl

gossip girl

gossip girl

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn April 2014_006

gossip girl

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn April 2014_005

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn April 2014_012

gossip girl

What: Coat, Shoes, Handbag & Glasses by Kate Spade NY (c/o), Shirt by J.Crew, Jeans by HUDSON JEANS (c/o)

Where: Dinner at Bob Bob Ricard followed by drinks at Soho House.

Good God I miss Gossip Girl. It was, and still is one of my absolute, all time favourite shows… As if you needed further confirmation that I am perhaps the least cool person on the planet. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly Breaking Bad, not that I’ve actually ever watched Breaking Bad but everyone does bloody bang on about it. GG’s plot lines may have got a little cray at times, and more than a little predictable towards the end. But the clothes, oh those clothes! Blair season 1 continues to provide sartorial inspiration some six and a bit years after I first clapped eyes on her delicious array of knee high socks, headbands, girly detailing and masterful, masterful colour coordination. This certainly isn’t a new fashion fixation for me. Not by a long shot. While writing this post, originally just titled “Gossip Girl”, I was struck with a sense of deja vu. My words seemed to be flowing a little too freely and I wondered if I’d read them elsewhere and was engaging in a little semi unintentional plagiarism. I mean come on, we’ve all done that. A quick browse through my Look Du Jour archive revealed that I had in fact written another outfit post of the same name back in December. Somewhat embarrassingly, not only was the name the same, the accompanying musings were practically identical too. This got me thinking about personal style. Of course, most of us are well aware that there are certain cuts or colours that flatter our figures and skin tones. But it’s more significant than habitually opting for A line silhouettes because they make one’s waist look smaller. After a while, the aesthetics and inspirations we go back to time and again essentially become automatic, second nature, an integral part of who we are. I’m not saying for one minute that we should be entirely defined by what we wear, but I think the role our clothes (and accessories, obvs) play in constructing, portraying and protecting our identity is fascinating and goes far beyond the realms of die hard fashion addicts, pre ordering next season Prada while the bills pile up. On an outward level, appearance is the first thing you notice about someone so deciding what sartorial uniform to adopt is effectively deciding who we want to be to the rest of the world. On a more personal and perhaps more important one, it can shape how we feel about ourselves and that in turn shapes, well, just about everything else. I know full well that when I wear an outfit like this one, bright colours, shapes I know suit my body, time tested Gossip Girl inspired girly aesthetic, I’m well within my comfort zone. Regardless of what a rubbish day I’ve been having, when I don this ensemble I feel like myself and confident enough not to give a damn about a few strange stares on the tube (seriously, what’s wrong with people!? See last week’s post). That’s not to discourage mixing things up now and again, hell no. If I’m in a good frame of mind anyway then totally stepping outside my usual repertoire in, say, a mannish trouser suit or vampy haute couture leather confection can be unbelievably liberating, all the while safe in the knowledge that you can swap it for something a little safer that makes you really look and feel like you.

What are your thoughts on this? Don’t hold back, I’d so love to know!

Love Ella x

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 2 Comments

Monthly Must Haves: April 2014

Spot the feeble fraudster who claimed she’d never be swayed by pool sliders and is all of a sudden finding herself dreaming of these green bad boys… As for Phillip Lim’s latest array of Pashlis, the feelings I have for these bags are so far from normal. TBH all these must haves are, well, must haves and I must have them all!

monthly must haves april

1) Rodarte 3D Heart Motif Sweatshirt, 160, click here to buy
2) River Island Pink Floral Skirt, 25, click here to buy
3) Whistles Maya Gladiator Sliders, 225, click here to buy
4) 3.1 Phillip Lim Medium Leather Pashli, 805, click here to buy
5) Peter Pilotto Elizabeth Printed Silk Cloque Dress, 980, click here to buy
6) Acne Yellow Frame Sunglasses, 240, click here to buy
7) NW3 by Hobbs Yellow Cat Socks, 6, click here to buy
8) Charlotte Olympia Mandy Wedge Sandals, 595, click here to buy
9) Marni Striped Cuff Boyfriend Jeans, 250, click here to buy
10) NW3 by Hobbs Yellow Cat Jacquard Sweater, 69, click here to buy

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping 1 Comment

Introducing: Karen Mabon

This “Introducing” post is unbelievably overdue. I actually learned of the talented Karen Mabon when I judged Mulberry’s Brilliant Britain competition way back in 2012! Mabon’s brand was a fledgling dream at that point but, as you’re about to find out or perhaps already know, a lot has changed since then.

karen mabon

Bull in a China Shop Silk Scarf

Originally hailing from Black Isle in Scotland, Karen Mabon, studied at Edinburgh College of Art before heading down south to complete her education in the hallowed halls of London’s Royal College of Art. After graduating she cut her industry teeth working for the likes of Margaret Howell and Fred Butler until 2012 when Mabon decided to go it alone and launching her eponymous line of silk scarves and handmade jewellery. I doubt I need to tell you that independent accessories labels are ten a penny these days. Some demand prices that would make an Olsen twin blanche, others come in more at the pocket change end of the scale. Some supply wares so gorgeous you’d flog your grandmother to own them, others are essentially market stall tat. Basically, there are a LOT of accessory start ups around with more starting up by the minute. You have to be offering something pretty special to stand out from the crowd. Karen Mabon is doing just that.

karen mabon

Beverly Hills Hotel Silk Scarf

Calling on a smörgåsbord of references, from pop culture and the artists that inspire her, to quintessential English pastimes and subjects so unbelievably ordinary their existence probably never even crosses your mind; Mabon’s work is a delicious fusion of eclecticism, detail and wit. One scarf might see Tippi Hendren fleeing from a flock of seagulls, another a vegetable patch being ransacked by rabbits, another a traditional British seaside holiday scene. When depicted on accessories (or any garments for that matter) poetic and traditional scenes run the risk of looking overdone or dowdy, while tongue-in-cheek designs can easily slip into novelty territory. If this was the case with Karen Mabon’s work, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Between the all encompassing array of influences she employs, and their playful yet intricately constructed depiction, Mabon toes the line between nostalgia and modernity just perfectly. These accessories are fun – who’s not going to crack a smile with Panthers at a party parading around their neck? – but not naff, not by a long shot. This is no doubt helped by the design process involved in the creation of each piece, a feat as impressive as the fact Karen Mabon’s managed to carve a niche for herself within the overcrowded accessories market. Each motif is constructed from layers of hand drawn images. Rather than using a repeated print, each design is a complete and individual composition, holding a distinct narrative and realised on the finest Italian silks and cashmeres. The jewellery pieces feature individual motifs from Mabon’s painstakingly created scarves, offering the kind of mix and/or match potential I’m an absolute sucker for.

karen mabon

Midnight Feast Silk Scarf

Karen Mabon set out create pieces that captured the “romance of the everyday” and her quirky play on the mundanities of life does so beautifully. And judging from the fact her wares are now stocked everywhere from Liberty of London to the National Maritime Museum to Strumpet in New York and The Beauty Candy Apothecary in Singapore, I’m not the only person who thinks that! I’m currently coveting the Beverley Hills Hotel scarf like mad but frankly, they’re all must haves. Oh and not stupidly expensive either (think £85 to £110) yay!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

Look Du Jour: Saying No To Normcore

normcore

Ella Catliff by Holly McGlynn March 14_009

normcore

normcore

normcore

normcore

normcore

normcore

normcore

normcore

What: Club Monaco jacket (c/o), French Connection t-shirt, Paige Denim boyfriend jeans (c/o), Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Quay Australia sunglasses (c/o), Hobbs shoes & clutch (both c/o)

Where: Dinner at The Electric, Notting Hill.

God, I felt so embarrassingly cool when I put this outfit on. The boyfriend jeans, the pattern clashing overload, the red leather… my thought process was along the lines of “NAILED IT”! That confidence somewhat waned when I entered Hammersmith tube station and my ensemble caused a group of youths to basically keel over in hysterics. But I thought, screw you all. You know nothing about fashion, fools. In retrospect, I think I maybe did look a little nuts (it was perhaps the glasses that did it) and when my Dad saw these pics his response was, “at least you’ve still got a sense of humour”.

But do you know what? I’ve decided I don’t care. I felt fabulous and that’s at least half of what matters. Plus, the fact that this look is basically the antithesis of normcore makes me endlessly happy. These jeans may be nice and roomy and the block heels wonderfully comfortable but let’s be honest, anyone who puts together this many prints clearly has no desire to fit in. You see, I just don’t get normcore. It’s not so much the aesthetics that leave me cold. The idea of spending everyday in grey, eschewing heels in favour of understated plain white trainers and generally keeping it casual may bore me almost to tears but whatever floats your boat. And while no fan of minimalism or perennial casualness myself, on others it can look fantastic. But beyond how that understated turtleneck or logo free pair of sneaks look, if they make the wearer feel confident, stylish and generally good about themselves that’s brilliant. No, there are two things that baffle me about this whole normcore shabang. Firstly, its premise; the notion of settling for sameness, accepting your fate of immersion into a sea of faceless blandness. It is pitched, not as a specific sartorial choice but genuine, couldn’t-care-less, normality. This leads on nicely to the second thing that peeves me about this phenomenon, the fact that, largely speaking, its premise is complete bollocks. Whether its a music journo in a thermofleece at SXSW or a Brooklynite rocking nondescript jeans and an unbranded baseball cap, the look is every bit as stylised and deliberate as that of the FROW-ing blogger, madly instagramming their sculptural, pom pom trimmed hat. Applied to the middle aged, mid Western tourist the concept of normcore would make sense. But of course, said Dad jeans wearer wouldn’t dream of referring to their “look” with such a name. I can’t help but feel that once a phenomenon has this kind of hashtag worthy moniker, a gazillion articles written about it’s origins, then it is by definition no longer really normal. A “how to get the look” feature on normcore immediately renders it about as effortless as head-to-toe digital prints or winter leg. I’m not saying that magazines should refrain from publishing these kind of pieces about normcore, more just that it’s rather ridiculous to pretend that hipsters and editors donning pool sliders means that they no longer care about making a statement with their lewk. Ultimately doing a Dello Russo is much the same as channeling Steve Jobs. Only one is infinitely less fun to look at that the other.

How do YOU feel about normcore?

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 6 Comments

Monday Funday with Gaultier

gaultier

I always adore a private view. It’s much like going to an exhibition (well duh) but with the additional bonus of getting to wear a fancy frock and drink limitless amounts of champagne while getting yo culture on. Generally speaking though, there isn’t much of a party vibe per se. Don’t get me wrong they’re always sociable affairs full of fabulous folk to chat with but, aside from the odd exception – Hugo Boss’s Saatchi Gallery soiree last summer, for instance – half the guests don’t end up being physically turfed out an hour after things were meant to wrap up. I’m happy to tell you that’s exactly what happened at the Barbican a couple of Mondays ago. Then again, the artiste whose work was being celebrated was none other than Jean Paul Gaultier so really, what else would you expect?

The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier - VIP Reception

It’s not often I pull five outfit changes on a Monday but that’s precisely what happened on this occasion. Six if you count wriggling out of my A-MAZING Ada Zandtion couture dress and back into waxed jeans after the private view to continue our party at Soho House. Having debuted my snazzy new fluoro gym gear and donned a little Carven number to shoot for Metro (watch this space!) in the morning, I decked myself in virtually head to toe pink for a project prepping session with Kate Spade that afternoon. Then, come 6pm, it was time for the aforementioned waxed jeans and leopard accessories for the unveiling of Gerald Scarfs installation at the Rosewood Hotel, where Ada then met me with the beautiful creation I’d be wearing to Gaultier afterwards. The whole experience was so ridiculously indulgent and generally over exciting I practically hyperventilated throughout.

gaultier

Once appropriately attired in a sculptural petal dress crafted from buttersoft swathes of glove leather (I know) I managed to regain my composure just enough not to make a total tit of myself among the A listers gathered at the Barbican. And when I say “A Listers” I don’t mean random selection of ‘slebs. We’re talking high fashion doyennes, industry icons and the kind of couture clad ladies and gents who live, breathe and dream Gaultier. You got the feeling that everyone there felt genuinely passionate about the man and his work. Not that I have any aversion to attending parties largely based on their open bar policy but given the immense impact Jean Paul has had on the worlds of fashion and pop culture I felt this was a fitting and wholly deserved tribute. Londoners ranging from Alexandra Shulman, Jade Parfitt and Erin O’Connor to David Downton and Miles Aldridge had all flocked to the museum while countless other fashion and art world figures had jetted in from Paris, New York and Japan for the occasion.

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Me, Ada, Nik, Alexis & Josh

The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier - VIP Reception

Erin O’Connor

The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier - VIP Reception

Alexandra Shulman

The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier - VIP Reception

Nik Thakkar

Suffice to say, it was a truly excellent evening. Besides getting to hang out with some of my favourite people while wearing a dress so exquisite it made my head hurt (or maybe that was the champagne which was indeed a’ flowing), I met Jean Paul Gaultier (the loveliest man!) and went round the exhibition at least three separate times.

If you didn’t spot my review, catch up here, and get your gorgeous selves to the Barbican toute suite!

Love Ella. X

Images courtesy of Dave Bennett for Getty

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Parties 1 Comment