Glamour of Italian Fashion Private View

glamour of italian fashion

How else to toast the arrival of an exhibition showcasing The Glamour of Italian Fashion than with a evening of Italian style extravagance? Anything less would have been a travesty. But of course, no one was going to let such a fabulous excuse for fanciness pass them by so last week women (and men) all over London and fat further afield were digging out their finest attire to raise a glass of champagne or three at the V&A.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014, London, 1/04/2014

Martin Roth Director of the V&A, Sonnet Stanfill Curator of the Exhibition, Alexandra Shulman, President of Conde Nast International Nicholas Coleridge, Franca Sozzani & Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi

Dolce_and_Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbanna

Naturally I wanted to go all Italian for the night and had a choice between three equally exquisite REDValentino dresses. This was, of course, a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moment but also posed something of a conundrum. Did I go sweet and a little on the safe side in one of the flared hem, thigh skimming cocktail numbers? Or did I go all out in the 3D floral embroidered, ankle length, tulle showstopper? It was so goddamn gorgeous I could barely keep myself from putting it on right there and never taking it off again, but at the same time, I didn’t want to find everyone else in jeans and feel like a total plonker. Then I thought screw it, what could possibly be a more perfect occasion to don such a special garment than an evening celebrating the glamour of Italian fashion?! Paired with my beloved Pollini sandals and an amazing Marni necklace from Net-a-Porter’s exclusive V&A capsule collection I was indeed Italiano-d to the max and, on the red carpet leading into the V&A had a bit of a princess moment.

glamour of italian fashion

Me & Nik
I wore… REDValentino dress, Marni for Net-a-Porter x V&A Necklace, Pollini shoes & Smythson clutch (oops not Italian)
Nik wore… 

Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the only attendee dressed to impress. The V&A’s magnificent Grand Entrance hall was positively bursting with exquisitely embellished Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbanna and Valentino creations adorning the frames of impossibly beautiful people. After locating a glass of champagne – not a tricky task, there was virtually one handsome, tuxedo clad waiter to every guest – Nik and I entered the fray, raring and ready to mingle. And there was certainly no lack of opportunity to do so. Everyone from Caroline Issa, Jade Parfitt and David Downton to Emilia Fox, Jade Jagger, Laura Charmichael and Lily Allen were in attendance. I’m not usually one to get massively starstruck but when I spied an impossibly chic, Bvlgari jewels clad Caroline Sieber sashaying through the vaulted halls I did slightly go into girl crush overload.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014, London, 2/04/2014

Caroline Sieber

glamour of italian fashion

Me again

glamour of italian fashion

Evangeline Ling, Angela Scanlon & Bip Ling

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014, London, 2/04/2014
Emilia & Jack Fox

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014, London, 2/04/2014

Jade Parfitt

It was indeed an evening of exquisite Italian glamour, and drinking champagne in the V&A after hours will never cease to thrill me. After saying out goodbyes, Nik and I decided to hit the Linda Farrow party at Scotch, via the Groucho, so it was home for a high speed outfit change. Much as I didn’t want to take that dress off ever, no way in HELL was I going to risk taking it clubbing!

Love Ella. X

Images by Nick Harvey

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Parties 1 Comment

The Glamour of Italian Fashion

The Glamour of Italian Fashion

The second I caught wind that The Glamour of Italian Fashion would be the subject of the V&A’s major fashion exhibition this year I just knew it would be fantastic and that I would utterly adore it. You see, my own love affair with fashion began in Italy. Prior to that I was a die hard, pony obsessed tomboy with a (self inflicted) cropped hair cut the likes of which only a mother who secretly wants her young son to be bullied inflicts, and a penchant for tracksuits of the non fash variety. Then on a fateful family holiday to Rome aged 12, everything changed. My father was working on a TV programme called “Fashion House” at the time which, funnily enough, starred a then unknown Gareth Pugh. Visiting the studio and seeing the young designers at work was fascinating, even for someone (me) who knew basically nada about fashion. And by the time we’d unloaded our suitcases and headed to the nearest café for Capuccinos (this felt so sophisticated at the time) I’d decided that I wanted to grow up to be one of these chic signorinas with their slinky silhouettes, fur trims and exotic handbags thrice the size of their teeny tiny dogs. But ultimately what sold me on all things sartorial was the exquisite, unparalleled glamour I spotted in the boutiques. Visiting the Dolce & Gabbana on the Via Condotti was my lightbulb moment. I didn’t have the foggiest clue about the painstaking hours of hand stitching or the ancient artisanal techniques that went into creating the magical confections I saw before me. I just knew they were part of a magical, glamorous world that I desperately wanted to be a part of too.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion

Inside the exhibition space…

A decade later, and with a degree in Fashion History and Theory (almost) under my belt, I like to think I’m slightly less clueless now but The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014 still taught me more than just a thing or two. The first major exhibition to explore Italy’s fashion legacy, the show contains an enormous and diverse range of material. It begins with the tale of Italy’s first steps into the international fashion arena during the 1950s, when entrepreneur Giovanni Battista Giorgini began luring the press over to Florence after Paris fashion week with a series of ‘Sala Bianca’ fashion shows displaying the virtually untapped wealth of fashion prowess the country had to offer. From there the show charts Italian fashion’s development, both in terms of image and aesthetic, including ensembles ranging from bespoke Rubinacci men’s tailoring and Maria Grimaldi evening dresses from the 1950s to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli’s latest Valentino creations by way of 70s Missioni, 80s Versace and oodles of divine Dolce & Gabbana confections.

Dolce & Gabbanna

Dolce & Gabbanna ankle boots

Despite the endless supply of glittering eye candy on show, the focus of the exhibition is firmly on craftsmanship. While Paris may play home to haute couture, the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise that Italian fashion has brought to the fore since the 1950s also has a legacy that harks back to the days of yore. While many of us find this kind of thing gripping, in depth information on spinning, dyeing, weaving, cutting and stitching runs the risk of seeming a little dry, especially if you don’t have a particular interest in the subject. The V&A deftly sidestepped this potential pitfall through creating a digital map that visualises the networks of mills, workshops and related industries across the country. So even if traditional hand beading doesn’t float your boat you’ve still got a snazzy bit of technology to content with. On the subject of technology, The Glamour of Italian fashion does not only revere the past. The show also looks forward, considering how a national industry underpinned by tradition is adapting to today’s age of lightening speed fashion, global markets and digital media. This offers a captivating insight into how an industry steeped in history can in fact be perfectly positioned to adapt to the future.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion

Evening dress of embroidered net and matelesse coat by Mila Schön

Given the wealth of jaw droppingly beautiful examples of Italian design available, it would be easy to simply show them off and still pull the crowds in. It’s a true testament to Curator, Sonnet Stanfill that The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition manages to truly convey the depth, intelligence and legacy of the country’s sartorial heritage… Amid, some extremely gorgeous dresses.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion will run at the Victoria & Albert museum until July 27th 2014. Click here for more information.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Reviews 1 Comment

LPA & Kate Spade New York Invite You!

Kate Spade NY x LPA

I don’t need to tell you lot how I feel about Kate Spade New York. From my NYFW reports to my wish lists to my most loved outfit posts, I’ve waxed lyrical about my sheer adoration for the Big Apple’s prime purveyor of all things preppy so many times it borders on worryingly obsessive. But can you blame me? Between the colour popping hues, darling details and sheer joie de vivre exuded from every gorgeous garment or morsel of arm candy they dole out, Kate Spade NY is absolute fashion catnip for the girly girl in all of us. With this in mind, I could not physically be any more excited to announce my upcoming collaboration with the brand. Keeping schtum about it for the past few weeks has been no mean feat I tell you. But I don’t have to any more, huzzah! So here you have our invitation.

On Tuesday 15th of April, Kate Spade New York and I would love, love, love you to join us for a very special event at their Westfield store. There will be styling, shopping, champagne and 15% off E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G plus a pretty tantalising competition. This competition is all about accessorising, one of my favourite pastimes and something I’m sure you all do fabulously. On this occasion, that sartorial skill could help you win a Kate Spade New York Bow Terrace Justine handbag worth £270!!

Kate Spade NY 1

Kate Spade New York’s Bow Terrace Justine Handbag that COULD BE YOURS!

On April 15th I’ll be challenging guests to style up their favourite Kate Spade New York accessories in store – from handbags to pop socks and iPhone cases, there are so many to play with – and snap a polaroid for our in store photo board. At the end of the night, I’ll be going through the snaps and selecting a winner based on their accessorising prowess. That winner will have their styled up shot featured on La Petite Anglaise and, way more importantly, get to take home THIS BAG! If that’s not a cracking reason to tempt you out on a Tuesday evening then frankly, I don’t know what is! In case you fancy a bit of Kate Spade New York accessory styling inspo I’ll  be sharing my own take on it later this week. Watch this space my friends…

Whether or not you’re in it to win it, I’d be so, so thrilled if you came along to say hello, enjoy a glass of something tasty and join me in celebrating one of my absolute favourite brands. Hope to see you soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 1 Comment

Look Du Jour: Twinkle Toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

twinkle toes

What: Markus Lupfer shoes (c/o), H&M skirt & socks, Whistles top & Angel Jackson bag (c/o)

Where: the library followed by dinner at Dean Street Townhouse

These beautiful, twinkle tastic shoes from Markus Lupfer have been languishing rather fabulously in my wardrobe for some time now. You know when you have something really, really great in your sartorial arsenal and you’re torn between wearing them ALL THE FREAKING TIME or saving them for a special occasion? I slightly had that with these shoes. I waited, and waited, for that perfect moment but then as soon as the weather was no longer torrentially hideous I decided it was time for them to see the world. Or rather, for the world to see them. After all, nothing screams “look at me” like a pair of sparkly shoes. Then I added a borderline indecent gold jacquard mini and colour popping, patchwork leather hexagon bag. Once the maximalist ball starts rolling, it’s pretty difficult not to end up looking like you’ve been assaulted by a giant tube of glitter glue. I think I managed to just about sidestep insane and end up somewhere south of eccentric with the addition of a simple, leather collar detail tee. Admittedly, the socks did cause a few lols on the tube.

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 1 Comment

Spring Style Rules

spring style rules

A couple of weeks ago Sunday Times Style dubbed me a “controversial blogger”. Obviously my first thought was: controversial, moi? Seriously?! I’m about as controversial as green juice pics on instagram. Then I realised they meant that I wasn’t wearing Carven to a Carven party, which I totes was but that’s not really the point of this post. The point is that I may in fact actually be about to blog something semi controversial because in this day and age, the idea of style rules seems completely ridiculous. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of them, my view is more throw it all together – prints, patterns, sparkles – with reckless aplomb and then add knee socks and novelty sunglasses for good measure. Prescribed good taste is a ridiculous notion and would make the world a very boring, and rather oppressive place. However, since the sun tentatively peeked it’s head out I’ve spotted a number of sartorial crimes so heinous I reckon a few guidelines wouldn’t hurt anyone. Plus, writing them was pretty fun.

1) Too short shorts: thank you topshop for ensuring that as soon as temperatures are no longer sub zero, buttocks will be flying free from London to Aberdeen. Arse cheeks are just not an appropriate city accessory. Vaguely acceptable when sported by a Brazilian Gisele alike on the beaches of Rio de Janiero. NEVER ok for a pasty teenager on the platform at East Croydon station. I spent years breaking this rule myself so I do speak from experience.

2) Ugg boots: in April, WTF on so many levels. Especially so when paired with too short shorts.

3) Swimwear as underwear: totally A-OK and deliciously liberating on holiday but if you’re more than 5 miles from the beach it’s just wrong. Same applies to board shorts, confusing on so many levels.

4) Clear bra straps: you’re not fooling anyone… On that subject I kind of feel boob tubes (note: differed to bandeau’s and bralets both of which are très on trend) should also be banned. Aside from anything else that might discourage clear bra strap wearing.

5) Flip flops in the city: This is especially the case on the underground/metro/subway. The dirt, the sweaty foot smells, the potential broken toes, the fact they might flip flop right off and trip up a fellow commuter… There are so many ways this can go horribly wrong! Strangely the same doesn’t apply to a fancy pair of sandals, weird that.

6) Extreme Outerwear: Ok, I admit, unless you hail from certain climatically blessed places it may still be bloody cold. But seriously, it’s April people! Therefore in fashion terms, Spring started two months ago. So pack those parkas away and invest in some pastel shades. Top tip: if you really can’t deal with the chill factor don’t stress get Uniqlo thermals and wear them under your biker jacket/floral shirt combos, you’ll be toasty and no one will know you’re secretly wearing a lycra onesie!

7) Unintentional open toes n’ tights: I’m using the term “tights” to mean socks here too, hope ya don’t mind. As you’ve probably spotted, this season the fash pack have taken to wearing sports socks with their peep toe stilettos. While I can’t entirely bring myself to do this (yet) I am planning on digging out the Juicy Couture knee high pink trimmed “sports” socks I bought aged around 14. I’ll wear them with some form of high heeled footwear for an attempted Prada-meets-Clueless vibe. This is ok, it’s deliberate. What’s not ok is trying to sneakily get away with a pair of nude tights under peep toes which gives the unsightly illusion of webbed toes.

8) Christmas jumpers: Wearing your ironic Rudolf knit beyond January (February at a push) is strictly verboten, even if you possess a banging beard and live on Hoxton Square. In fact, especially if that’s the case.

9) Preemptive semi nudity: I think this is very much a British thing. The sun comes out, we all get over excited. That’s understandable, it only happens about once a year. But while wearing Winter fare in April is a bit rubbish, forgetting the basic laws of common decency and getting your kit off will just traumatise your fellow man. I swear to God I saw a man on the tube with his shirt off the other day. You just don’t get over something like that.

10) Self doubt: Somewhat paradoxically, the final style commandment I’d like to impart is to wear what makes you feel good! Not a fan of logos or sports luxe? Don’t force yourself into high fash track pants and Wang inspired boxy tops. Outraged by Phoebe Philo swapping minimalism for painterly prints? Why not try Altuzarra esque shirting instead. Or just keep rocking the clean lines you snapped up at Zara last summer, if it suits you we won’t judge! Whatever anyone says, fashion is meant to be enjoyable after all. Self doubt is out so indulge in whatever sartorial treats leave you feeling most fabulous. Y’know, unless they’re any of the above.

What style crimes do YOU wish would be made illegal?

Love Ella x

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments