Monday Funday with Gaultier

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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.

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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

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter everyone! Few things make me happier than swapping the fabulous but frenetic pace of London life for a few days of eating, drinking and generally chillaxing en famille in the countryside. I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful long weekend and apologise in advance for the barrage of Instagram shots of Spring flowers, chocolate and sheep that will be coming your way.

Love Ella. X

Ps) Not the most traditional Happy Easter card I know but let’s face it, Miss Moss is far chicer than any four legged, floppy eared bunny!

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

LPA & Kate Spade New York: The Event

Kate Spade Ella Catliff event 15 April 2014_002

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to my event with Kate Spade New York this week. I was a dizzying combination of over excited and nervous to be hosting a soirée for a brand I adore quite so much and you guys made it great.

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After a day spent running around town like a madwoman (what else is new!) I slipped into a fabulous Kate Spade NY ensemble and headed to the Westfield Centre. Amongst the polkadots, bow details and glittery delights inside I was the proverbial kid in a candy store. Had no one turned up, I could have had a perfectly fabulous evening playing dress up solo but luckily, people did. The champagne was flowing and the macaroons almost ridiculously delicious (metallic ones, genius!), perfect ingredients for indulgent enjoyment. Kate Spade’s Westfield boutique is their lesser known London branch but boy, does it have some excellent stuff on offer. Accessories are the name of the game there so that was what our event was all about.

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We were, of course, running a competition challenging guests to style themselves up in Kate Spade NY accessories for the chance to win an unbelievably adorable handbag. I rather wished I could have awarded it to myself to be honest but that would have been cheating and thoroughly unfair, especially given how many of you rose to the occasion and accessorised so beautifully. There was certainly no shortage of outfit enhancers to choose from in every shade under the rainbow and it was really interesting to see how people put them together differently.

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Some went down the more-is-more route, layering up statement jewellery and colour popping clutches, others kept things simple with slim bangles and sleek leather tote bags. If I could, I would have rewarded everyone with a bag (and kept one for myself, obvs) but there can only be one winner. And I’m delighted to announce that said winner is the lovely Naaj Rona (below) who went for a colour combination of red, white and blue (one of my personal faves) and boldly clashed it with her own rather fabulous pink jacket. Doubled up arm candy is big news this season and I loved how she paired the cross body Abbie with a super cute coin purse, a look I may well be replicating myself sometime soon.

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In between all the styling there was mingling, drinking and a whole lot of instagramming. All in all, it was a really lovely and thoroughly enjoyable evening not to mention, an absolute delight to meet lots of you. Congratulations Naaj Rona, your Bow Terrace Justine handbag is on its way to you!

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 9 Comments

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

4 - Jean Paul Gaultier. The Fashion Worl of Jean Paul Gaultier

In recent years, London has played host to some truly fantastic fashion exhibitions. Admittedly, a few have been more about hauling in the crowds than intelligently unpacking the legacy of a particular designer or topic (not naming any names, obvs) but the vast majority have deftly balanced entertainment and education in a manner that is a true testament both to the skill of their curation and the depth of their subject. That sounded a bit poncy, soz. But it just fascinates me how you can find yourself ogling shiny things and glam dresses one minute and learning detailed information about everything from couture techniques to globalisation and subcultural revolution the next, all within a fifteen minute stroll around a handful or rooms. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk delivers exactly this.

8 - Kylie Minogue, The Virgin with the Serpents. 'Aureole' Gown, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Kylie Minogue, The Virgin with the Serpents. ‘Aureole’ Gown, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection

I almost don’t want to say anymore because I want you to feel as utterly spellbound when you walk in as I did. I was lucky enough to attend the private view and was having such a fabulous time I almost didn’t go and see the exhibition. Then I did, and promptly returned twice more to gape open mouthed at it once again. The words “iconic” and “artist” are bandied about pretty freely when it comes to fashion designers but Gaultier embodies both. His utterly unique brand of street chic meets pop culture couture combines flawless, painstaking craftsmanship, boundless imagination and lashings of wit. Being walked through everything from his early influences to his most famous (or in some cases infamous) creations could never be anything other than a delight. But the combination of garments, photography and video arranged over two floors of quirky, sometimes surprising and always spectacular, themed rooms at the Barbican brings this exhibition alive in a way that does justice to its inimitable, irreverent subject.

2 - Ditta von Teese, 'Laudes' ensemble, Virgins (or Madonnas) collection. Spring_Summer 2007. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Dita von Teese wears ‘Laudes’ ensemble in Virgins (or Madonnas) show, Spring/Summer 2007

From Madonna’s legendary conical bra to Kylie Minogue’s 2009 tour costumes to the divisive Spring/Summer 2012 collection in homage to Amy Winehouse, there’s a LOT to see. However it’s presented in a way that feels more like a journey through Jean Paul Gaultier’s life and extraordinary mind, rather than an overwhelming barrage of  wow factor show pieces. You can learn about the techniques, the inspirations, those who Gaultier has inspired but the whole experience it entirely unpretentious and really, a lot of fun. Then again, an exhibition based around fashion’s original enfant terrible and pioneer of men in skirts should be nothing less than a good laugh. And make sure you don’t miss the Eurotrash room! One of my personal favourites.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on at the Barbican until August 25th. More information here

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Reviews 2 Comments

5 Minutes With: Matthew Murphy, OTHER Shop Co-Founder

matthew murphy OTHER Shop

The mini introductions I include in my 5 Minutes With features are usually completely superfluous but on this occasion, it might not be. Still I’ll keep things brief so you can crack on with the interesting part of the post, Matthew’s answers. OTHER Shop is an extremely interesting concept and possibly one of the few niche, independent, under-the-radar operations to have remained relatively so. Launched in 2012, the shop – or rather the fashion, art and design space – opened its doors in 2012 as the brainchild of Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie, the fellows behind cult hit label, b Store. Now even if you’re not super familiar with OTHER Shop, you’ll definitely have heard of bStore. Launched in 2001 as a footwear label and stockist/support of emerging labels. In the bat of an eyelid the brand was collaborating with the likes Liberty of London, ASOS and Mr Porter, growing at a rate of knots and gaining fashionable fans all over the globe by the bucketload. But, in 2012, Matthew and Kirke decided to close down bStore’s retail operation and set up a new venture that stayed truer to their original vision. A seriously, bloody, ballsy move I’m sure you’ll agree but judging by OTHER Shop’s ever expanding fan base and status as the coolest thing on Kingly Street, it was one that appears to be paying off big time. I caught up with Matthew to talk emerging designers, collaborations and plans for the future…

LPA: Talk me through a typical day in OTHER Shop HQ…

MM: We start the day, as everyone should with a good coffee! Then discuss content and calendar for the website, OTHER/man and woman production, store events and new exciting deliveries that have arrived from brands that week. We are a small team, which has adopted a family relationship, so there is plenty of banter between ‘work discussions’. There are always many meetings with new and established creative partners, regarding collaborations, projects and working with new designers. Creating features for our social networks is also an essential part of our day, I feel that communication of the life behind the scene’s of OTHER, is important to build our community, increase awareness and show that there are ‘real’ people making the decisions, with passion not spreadsheets

LPA: Your previous venture, bStore, swiftly became a cult hit and during the following decade grew to the extent that by your own account, it ended up far from the original vision. How have you taken the core aspects of bStore and translated them into OTHER Shop without risking history repeating itself?

Without question there are similarities between the businesses but fundamentally b store was always based around a flagship store to launch a wholesale brand. With OTHER/shop the focus is exploring new ways to present creative talent, whether through our own brand projects or supporting young emerging talents. OTHER brand is a key foundation for the business and a tool to enable us to venture into wholesale projects, through collaborations, pop ups and corners. We have just secured a small corner in Dover Street Market in London to launch our OTHER/man, through this type of initiative we can control the creative presentation and distribution of the brand and gives us the opportunity to increase awareness for both the brand and store. The fundamental aspect at the core of both businesses is that we strive to take risks and continue to move forward, we ensure that this continues to be part of the OTHER/shop vision

LPA: One of the things that’s so inspiring about OTHER Shop is the fact that you seek out, stock and support new design talent. Why is this so important to you? And how do you select creative’s to champion?

MM: We are always overwhelmed by the amount of talent there is and unfortunately due to the size of our business cannot support as many as we would love to. To continue to be a platform to launch new design talent, is key to both the success of our store and the element that continues to keep us inspired. Our physical store is based in central London amongst some of the best multi brand stores in the world, which results in their being many outlets for established brands, so as a small independent, we have to create an individual identity and reason’s to shop with us, working with small emerging brands not readily available through established stores, stands us apart. It is also key that we have a friendly, approachable and knowledgeable team that can convey the story behind these brands, which I am proud to say we are lucky enough to have. The selection is always difficult but we try to find a brand that adds something new to the offer, we try not to duplicate brands and select each one for their individuality, whether the designer has the seasonal trends within their collections is definitely not a factor in the selection.

LPA: Besides stocking a range of independent brands, OTHER also produces its own clothing and footwear line with a focus on locally sourced fabrics, quality and wardrobe staples as opposed to seasonal trend led collections. In terms of design and production, how does this work in comparison to other brands?

MM: Currently we produce the brand as and when we need it through the season, it helps to keep newness coming into the store and often works as a tool to add categories that we could not find from the brands we work with. It is important for us to manufacture in the UK for two reason’s, one being the desire to support UK manufacturing but also being a small team it enables us to be more reactionary to our customers needs producing key seasonal product, when the consumer actually needs it. This said because of the success of our own brand and the interest in collaborative projects, we need to bring the collection inline with seasons and expand the category offer, particularly the shoes. This will put us in a position to create relevant season awareness tools such us, collaborative film and look book projects with artists and to have a sample collection.

LPA: Who do you see as being the OTHER Shop customer?

MM: A true individual spirit in search of a new experience.

LPA: Collaborations seem to be central to the OTHER Shop ethos and during 2013 you worked with brands such as Lee and Grenson. How did these come about and why did you feel these labels were the right fit?

MM: For us collaborations only make sense when each party can bring something new to each other’s offer. We don’t have a denim offer in our collection and LEE have been producing denim for 125 years, so what better brand to work with? With Grenson the handmade British craftsmanship also meant a lot to us. With both brands we took signature elements and created what we felt was a new way of presenting the brand. A Collaboration has to talk to new audiences for both brands involved and that’s why we approached established brands, which meant we were able reach consumers that did not know of OTHER and the same for the brands.

LPA: What up-and-coming brands are you particularly excited about right now?

MM: New one’s that have or will become part of the OTHER/family are London based women’s designer REJINA PYO, her modern clean aesthetic has been a big success for SS14 and Priority of 10 FROM New York, who have created a sports influenced cool collection for women, Munich based men’s brand A KIND OF GUISE, has been welcomed by the OTHER/shop customers, accessory brands FAUX/real (jewellery) and LEVIT02 (unisex sandals) are both exciting additions. For next season we continue to support London based talent and have added AGI&SAM to our menswear offer, whose AW14 collection felt very sophisticated.

LPA: As well as being a retailer, OTHER Shop also showcases contemporary art and design. Tell me a little about the role of those aspects within the overall OTHER Shop brand…

MM: It has always been key that we are an outlet for creative talent not just fashion but design and art. Generally this stems from our community, the people we meet through the store that become friends and then we host an exhibition or friends who we admire their work, such as DARKROOM the interior and lifestyle brand/store who we partnered with on a pop Christmas store. All these projects and elements keep our business interesting and current.

LPA: Do you have any upcoming collaborations or expansion plans for OTHER Shop that you can share (even very vaguely) at this point?

MM: We have secured and planned to launch the dover street market OTHER/man corner this month in London and Tokyo, are in talks with LEE to be part of their 125 year anniversary celebrations and we are planning a very exciting project with one of our long standing brands, STEPHAN SCHNEIDER.

LPA: What advice would you give to an independent designer hoping to work with or be stocked by OTHER Shop?

MM: They don’t need advice from us, just to be true to their vision.

You can find OTHER Shop at 21 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5QA or visit them online here.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews Leave a comment