Mulberry Maisie Collection: exclusively at Dover Street Market

When it comes to cutting edge cool, nowhere does quite like Dover Street Market. So when I first heard the news that Mulberry would be releasing their latest collection exclusively at the original DSM in London and their newly launched Tokyo outpost, I was slightly confused. While my love for Mulberry borders on unhealthy, it’s a little hard to imaging the Somerset-based British brand sitting all that comfortably alongside conceptual Comme des Garcons creations.

Mulberry Maisie Clipper

Well, after one glance at the Maisie collection I was forced to eat my words as the ingenious Emma Hill has somehow managed to create an array of handbags that hint at their heritage, by way of ‘shadow’ effect postman’s locks and buckles while moving in an altogether more avant guard direction thanks to their uncharacteristically low-key detailing. Between the minimalist styling and trompe l’oil front panels made using heat-molded technology, I’d hazard a guess these babies weren’t made in Somerset.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

Behind-the-Scenes: Goat SS13 Lookbook Shoot

In the decade since fashion designer Jane Lewis launched Goat, the brand has gathered a reputation for being the ultimate in low key luxe. In fact, it was the gap in her own wardrobe for understatedly luxurious pieces that spurred Jane to launch her first 8 piece capsule collection back in 2001. Evidently, there were a lot of other women hankering after understated elegance too as Goat’s unique brand of effortless, everyday chic was an instant hit back then and ten years later, the label’s still going strong.

I’m ashamed to admite that while I was always aware of Goat – with famous fans including Gywneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst and Sienna Miller it would be hard not to be – I never really knew much about the label or, more importantly, quite how up my street Jane’s designs were. Well, all that changed when I was offered the chance to go behind-the-scenes on Goat’s SS13 lookbook shoot last month.

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook Shoot

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shoot

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shoot

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shootGoat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shoot

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shoot

Goat Fashion SS13 Lookbook shoot

Remember the oh-so-brief heat wave we had a few weeks back? It was on that 28 degree afternoon that I made the trek from Hammersmith to Hackney where virtually every studio in London is rather inconveniently (for me) located. Due to the fact I was off to interview Laura Bailey at Radley’s Westfield Stratford pop-up store launch that evening, I was rocking my cocktail finest. The 6 inch platforms, lemon yellow blouse combi attracted a fair few stares at Hackney Central station in the early afternoon but if I was going to be within close proximity to a supermodel I’d be damned if I did it wearing trainers! I arrived at the studio as everyone was breaking for lunch which gave me the chance to have a good rifle through the clothes rail. Seeing next season’s collections at press days is one thing but getting up close and personal with the season after next’s sartorial fare is even more exciting… Especially when the garments on show are quite as delectable as Goat’s SS13 offerings. I’m not sure how much I’m actually allowed to divulge about the collection itself so you’ll just have to trust my judgement that it’s pretty amazing. Think lightweight pastel knits, waffle-weave shift dresses and one particularly fab pair of blue and white, patterned capri pants. I could have quite happily carried on manhandling the clothes all day but before I knew it the team had finished their M&S feast, the models were back in hair and make-up and it was time for me to get snapping. I think it’s safe to say that by the end of the afternoon, Goat had gained another, albeit rather less famous fan.

Love Ella. X

Ps) Goat is, of course, stocked at my favourite London fashion emporium, Matches. Click here to buy or at least ogle the current collection.

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

La Petite Weekly Wish List, July 14th

wish list

1) Whistles Border Stripe Jumpsuit, reduced from £265 to £130, click here to buy
2) Carven Cotton and Linen Jacket, reduced from £469 to £234, click here to buy
3) Proenza Schouler Neoprene Finished Leather & Wood Sandals, reduced from £915 to £366, click here to buy
4) 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel Bag (new season!), £815, click here to buy
5) Charlotte Olympia Bisoux Loafers (new season!), £465, click here to buy
6) Isabel Marant Etoile Skinny Corduroy Trousers (new season!), £155, click here to buy
7) Boutique by Jaeger Claire Cherry Blouse, reduced from £99 to £45, click here to buy
8) Burberry Prorsum Raffia Effect Wristles Clutch, reduced from £695 to £417, click here to buy

Ok, so this week’s wish list is probably more autumnal than you’d expect in July but frankly, I’ve given up on Summer. The endless array of flimsy, pastel things I started amassing way back in February are, for the most part, sitting unworn in my wardrobe while I skulk around in jeans and cardigans, avoiding venturing outside at all costs. Much as I adore London, I’m seriously starting to consider emigrating. I mean, what’s the point of living in a city full of parks, pubs and fabulous shops if it never stops bloody raining?!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping Leave a comment

5 Minutes With… Amy Hall

With features, high profile stockists and fans including Susie Bubble and Paloma Faith to her name, it would be easy to assume that knitwear designer Amy Hall came from a strictly fashion background. But, unlike many other designers who knew their calling from the word go and went straight down the art foundation, fashion degree route before either going to work for an established fashion house or setting up on their own, Amy actually studied photography and then went on to work for Magnum Photos in New York. It was only after returning to London several years later that she decided to rekindle her childhood love of knitting, consulting at Rowan Yarns and teaching at Liberty London and Central Saint Martins where she herself had taken a summer course.

Amy Hall

Amy Hall AW12

In 2010 Amy made the bold decision to launch her own knitwear label and given the success she’s had in just four seasons, I’d say it was a leap of faith that paid off. I caught up with the designer to get the lowdown on her career so far and how she plans to make knitwear sexy again…

LPA: After studying and working in photography, what prompted you to pack it in and turn your hand to knitwear instead?

Amy: When I did my degree it was on the cusp of the start of the digital boom. Some of my fellow students embraced this but I didn’t, as the magic of doing everything yourself from putting the film in to developing prints in the darkroom, was what drew me to it in the first place. After spending a couple of years working in the industry I quickly became disillusioned as digital photography took over.  Knitting and crochet had been in the background the whole time and it didn’t take long for me to realize that that was what excited me more.

LPA: While Central Saint Martins’ summer courses are of an extremely high standard, they’re not as in-depth as doing a degree in fashion design. What made you choose this instead of, say, an MA in Fashion Knitwear Design? Have you ever felt it’s put you at a disadvantage compared to your competitors?

Amy: It wasn’t a case of choosing to do the short course instead of a fashion degree, more that I already had one degree and couldn’t really afford the time or money to go and study for another.  I took the summer course at CSM to improve my machine knitting skills and just thought I’d try to start the business with what knowledge I had accumulated myself.  If it hadn’t worked out, I would probably have gone back to art college.  Thankfully it doesn’t look like I’ll need to and I don’t think I am at a disadvantage as a result of that. To have studied fashion or textiles would have been fantastic, but to make a success of this without having done so is a huge achievement in itself.

LPA: After deciding to pursue a career in knitwear, you initially started by teaching knitting. How did you get from there to launching your own highly successful knitwear label?

Amy: I was already teaching knitting as a part-time job before I considered starting the business. It only served to remind me how much I enjoyed working with yarn and needles. I would say it probably helped to give me the boost I needed in order to get the business started.

LPA: What has been the most challenging thing about running your own brand?

Amy: Learning on the job. It’s a cliché, but I literally learn something new every day. I don’t really have a business head, so dealing with the day-to-day issues of actually owning and running a knitwear label alongside the creative element of designing and making the garments is the biggest challenge. I have to be quite structured when I’m planning my time.

LPA: Who, dead or alive, would you most like to see wearing your designs and why?

Amy: I’ve recently stumbled across some beautiful images of a young Talitha Getty in the ‘60s, looking stunning in a very natural, almost slightly unkempt way. I think she’d have slung something on and just make it look fantastic.Right now, I’d love to see someone like Erin Wasson wearing one of my pieces. I love her style – to me she owns that sexy, boyish, insouciant look.

LPA: The fact that it’s “handmade it London” is integral to your work. Why is this so important to you as a designer?

Amy: I think a lot of designers are becoming more aware of the importance of having their pieces manufactured closer to home. But for me, when I set up the label it was always something I felt very strongly about. I knew I didn’t want my pieces churned, en masse, out of a factory in China. How can you possibly have full control over something happening so far away? Every single piece I produce is made by hand, which makes each of them unique.  Everything is made by me, or one of my small team, in East London. They’re also made using the best quality yarns I can get my hands on, so if the garments are taken care of, they’ll last a long time.  As consumers are becoming more concerned with provenance and spending more on fewer things, it makes sense to offer them more for their money.

LPA: Wool doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being the sexiest or most fashion forward of fabrics. How do you hope or plan on changing this?

Amy: I hope I already am changing that.  Wool is an incredibly versatile fibre that is sustainable and long-lasting.  It’s tactile and feminine, and can be crafted into everything from a sheer dress to a heavily textured coat. There’s so much you can do with it, there’s no reason for it not to be sexy!

LPA: Could you ever see yourself doing a collection using a completely different material?

Amy: For Autumn/Winter 2012 I have introduced a leather belt to the collection.  I found somebody who works in London with the same values as me and we worked together to create something that compliments the knitwear beautifully. I love the contrast of leather with knitwear, so it is possible I will branch out further and do more leather pieces in future.

LPA: What’s your ultimate aim for the Amy Hall brand?

Amy: Ultimately, I aim to continue to push the boundaries of the medium and the perceptions around knitwear within the industry. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the label recognized and stocked by a couple of the most exciting fashion forward stores in the UK, so I’d like to continue to reach out to more women by being stocked by other cutting edge boutiques in London and beyond.

Love Ella. X

Amy Hall is currently stocked at Wolf and Badger.

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 2 Comments

Look Du Jour: Denim and Leather and Studs… OH MY!

Denim, Leather, Studs

What: Denim Shirt-dress: Reiss, Studded Leather Jacket: All Saints, Belt: H&M, Sandals: Topshop, Ring: Galibardy, Lipstick: MAC.

Where: Bacardi 150th Birthday Party, Shoreditch.

I know what you’re thinking. Denim, leather and studs… Really? Admittedly, this isn’t one of my most frequently worn ensembles or one in which I feel especially comfortable. But there are only so many Peter Pan collar blouses a girl can wear in one week, plus now and again it’s fun to mix things up. Whenever I venture over to the so-hip-it-hurts streets of East London – which, I’m embarassed to admit, isn’t especially often – I sometimes feel that I should try and go for a slightly edgier look. This isn’t something my wardrobe caters particularly well to – French Sole ballet pumps can’t be dubbed off-beat chic by any stretch of the imagination – so this denim shirt dress, leather jacket, red lippy combo was the best I could come up with when I headed to over Shoreditch on Tuesday night.

Sartorial succes or should I stick to pop-socks and pastels, what do you think?

Love Ella. X

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