Off To Paris With H&M Studio

H&M Studio Paris

As everyone on the planet probably knows by now thanks to my incessant complaining, thanks to my impending university finals this season I was forced to make the hideous decision only to do London Fashion Week. Not that London’s not awesome, obvs it is, but I had such a ball covering New York and Paris last Autumn and really, really wanted to do so again this time. Damn education, spoiling my fun again. Anyway, my unwillingly sensible intentions went somewhat out of the window when I received an offer I couldn’t refuse from H&M Studio. Having made their Paris Fashion Week debut last February, the high street giant will be putting on another catwalk extravaganza to showcase their AW14 collection and invited your’s truly to attend the show and partner with them on the launch of their global Pinterest. A quick trip to Pais for an evening of fashion and fabulousness and the chance to work with H&M again, what sane person would say no to that? All thoughts of looming deadlines banished, I didn’t need to be asked twice!

Tomorrow morning I will be leaping on the Eurostar to join a bunch of my favourite journos and international mega bloggers Cara McLeary of A Fashion Love Affair and Kim Pesch of Eat Sleep Wear to attend the show, drink lots of champagne and generally prance around the town wearing lovely clothes. Infinitely more fun than the library! I will of course be tweeting and Instagramming from the show as well as following it all up with a big, juicy blog post but for now I’d highly recommend checking out the H&M Pinterest. Over the past couple of weeks they’ve been adding design sketched and sneak peeks of the new collection which looks absolutely splendid.

Au Revoir mes amies!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 2 Comments

LPA x H&M for The LFW Daily

LFW H&M

I apologise in advance for being obnoxious first the on a Monday morning (feel free to click away, I’ll try not to be too offended) but I’m seriously excited to share my latest project with you all. In the lead up to London Fashion Week I was approached by the lovely folk at H&M to take part in a styling collaboration with them and The LFW Daily. For those that didn’t know, the LFW Daily is a brilliant publication released every day during London Fashion Week. Just to give you some background, the Daily was founded in 2008 by Cat Callender and Jenny Dyson, formerly of Elle and Vogue respectively and current contributors include top journos such as Rebecca Lowthorpe (Elle), Sarah Bailey (Harper’s Bazaar), Anna-Marie Solowij (Vogue), Sarah Mower (Style.com), Lauren Cochrane (The Guardian), Melanie Rickey (Grazia), Caryn Franklin, Susie Lau (Style Bubble), Alexander Fury (The Independent) and Orange Prize Winning novelist Linda Grant. It combines intelligent, informative fashion writing with insider knowledge of the industry and a welcome dose of wit. During the biannual shows there won’t be a single person not reading it, trust me on that. The Daily has a running partnership with H&M and for the past couple of seasons they’ve invited a few Editor’s to curate a window display in the flagship store and do a feature in one of the issues. This time around they decided to work with bloggers instead and I was indescribably honoured to be asked alongside Susie, Emily Johnston of Fashion Foie Gras, Navaz Batliwalla of Disney Roller Girl and Sandra Hagelstam of Five Inch and Up.

LFW Daily H&M

Styled by MOI!

LFW Daily H&M

One of the things that was so cool about the project was how different each of our personal styles are, especially when it came to seeing the finished displays. I’m not going to lie, I did have a total “pinch me” moment when I saw “Styled By La Petite Anglaise” emblazoned across the H&M shop window and in front of a troop of brunette bobbed, preppy clad mannequins inside.

LFW Daily H&M

In the LFW Daily

Thank you again to H&M and The LFW Daily for including me in this truly special project. I also just so happen to have another exciting collaboration with H&M coming up this week, I’ll be telling you all about it tomorrow so watch this space!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 5 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 2 Part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday, LFW AW14 day 2 was a marathon. Days 3 and 4 were too to be honest to prepare yourselves for a whole lotta words coming your was very soon! Last Saturday afternoon posed something of a problem in terms of scheduling. According to my iCal (I always make myself a colour co-ordinated show, presentation and party schedule… apparently my lameness knows no bounds) between the hours of 4pm and 9pm I was meant to attend a whopping TEN different fashion week related engagements scattered in different locations around the city. A combination of not having the ability to stop time and truly appalling traffic this was just never going to happen. In an attempt to make as many of them as possible I leapt in a taxi and made for Kensington for Joseph’s much anticipated return to the LFW catwalk after a 25 year hiatus. Or at least, I tried to. After half an hour stuck in gridlock somewhere above Bond Street I was forced to admit defeat and loiter in a cafe until the Hunter Original show.

Hunter Original LFW

Hunter Original AW14 (images via Style.com)

Indeed, in case you haven’t already heard the iconic British purveyor of wellington boots has just unveiled a full ready-to-wear line! And I’m not just talking the odd Sloaney sweater. To call what was unveiled that evening “impressive” would be a major understatement. Held in an incredible set up below Westminster University involving a flooded runway and silver birch trees, Hunter Original’s LFW debut boasted an A-List FROW including everyone from Anna Wintour, Natalie Massenet, Kathy Horyn and Stella McCartney (who happens to be married to the brand’s Creative Director) to Jessie J, Katy B, Arizona Muse, Mark Ronson, Lupita Nyong’O and Dynamo. Watching Anna and Stella taking a selfie (!) and Dynamo wowing Jessie with card tricks provided plenty of entertainment during the wait time but the show itself was the true spectacle. Firstly, the clothes. Many of us were a teeny bit dubious about Hunter’s transition from country living to catwalk but the collection was truly excellent. Outdoor staples such as a parka, duffel and mac were given a haute-over in vulcanized rubber, high-tech fleece, neoprene and vinyl. Sleek, sculpted silhouettes came in a palette spanning from hunter green, olive, plum and black to primary block hues and gleaming metallics. Forget about boho/Glasto connotations, this was high spec, sci fi and modern with a passing whiff of recent Lacoste collections about it. Fashion and function aren’t always the most comfortable of bedfellows but with his intelligent, urban offerings Alasdhair Willis totally nailed it. The slick catwalk spectacle finished with Dynamo leaving his seat to join the dewy skinned, bare legged models splashing the catwalk and performing a spot of levitation (as you do) before a rainstorm of playing cards erupted from the ceiling. Like I said, impressive.

My penultimate show of day 2 was one I knew I’d adore, House of Holland. In many ways, the older I get the more powerless I become to resist the allure of shiny, fluffy and brightly coloured things. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of a simple silhouette and rich neutral hues but ultimately my affections are most captured by sparkle, print, embellished garms that toe the line between seriously awesome and mildly bad taste. This is a fine line walked perfectly by Henry Holland and done so this season par excellence. The FROW featured Henry’s usual gaggle of celeb mates, think Kelly Osborne, Lily Allen, Daisy Lowe and Katie Hillier with Chelsea Leyland, Harley Viera Newton and Atlanta de Cadenet providing the New York party girl contingent. Clad in his clobber and looking ready to hit the town as soon as the last look left the runway, I couldn’t help but liken this lot to the “HOH Harlets” described in the show notes for Henry Holland’s “Debauched Debutantes” AW14 collection. That, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a title that promises fun with a capital F and the show that followed certainly delivered. Think metallics, fur and shimmering satin in borderline offensively eye-popping shades and styled with pom pom detailed footwear.

House of Holland LFW AW14

House of Holland AW14 (images via Style.com)

Full skirts, poofy shoulders and ruffles galore harked back to the balls of yore while cheeky cut outs, peeping midrifts, sequins and leather yoinked the collection into the 21st century. Velvet minidresses came embellished with lobsters, champagne flutes and lipsticks, louche wrap dresses layered under hot pink furs and denim distressed and adorned with acid hues taffeta. Between the baby doll frocks with pie crust collars and need-it-now “Rich Bitch” embroidered silk bomber jackets I’d be very hard pushed to pick a favourite piece. More is more in the world of House of Holland and it sure as hell works for me.

House of Holland AW14

House of Holland AW14 (images via Style.com)

Last up on LFW day 2 was London’s reigning King of glamour, Julien Macdonald. Held in the grand surroundings of the Royal Courts of Justice and with Coco Rocha, Eliza Doolittle, Abbey Clancey and Samantha Barks resplendent on the FROW the show was a glittering visual feast. Then again, one would expect nothing less from the designer chosen by Beyonce to kit her out for her Mrs Carter tour.

LFW AW14

 

Julien Macdonald AW14

The looks that sashayed down the catwalk combined figure clinging silhouettes with flesh flashing and lashings of sparkle. But despite the plunging necklines, cut out detailing and vast quantities of bling, Macdonald deftly sidestepped tacky territory instead offering up red carpet fabulousness at it’s most unapologetically OTT. A perfect finale to a truly excellent day of shows that appealed to the diva in all of us.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 2

Ella Catliff LFW AW14 outfit 2 by Holly McGlynn_001

I wore: ANTIPODIUM skirt suit (sample), Chinti and Parker jumper, Gap shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim handbag (c/o) & Sophia Webster heels
Image by Holly McGlynn

LFW day 2 got off to a rather less leisurely start than the previous. While I’d exercised uncharacteristic levels of self control and skipped the inevitably debauched New York, New York party (give the girl a medal) I had been to a party and a dinner before that… And three the night before, so I didn’t exactly jump for joy when my alarm went off like a bomb at 7am. But by the time I’d scoffed a bowl of porridge, showered and slipped into my ANTIPODIUM suit I was ready and raring to go. Or at least, fully committed to pretending I was.

On the subject of said suit, this was an outfit I’d been looking forward to wearing an almost pathetic amount. No one does tongue-in-cheek chic like ANTIPODIUM and I cannot get enough of it. Taking things to the next level of OTT with the addition a heart motif sweater, oversized neon pink Pashli and Sophia Webster disco heels I hereby dub this look “Clueless on crack” and recommend everyone gives it a go. Admittedly I did attract some serious stares at Hammersmith tube station, not surprising really since it was 9am on a Saturday morning and I was dashing around like a madwoman head to toe in luminous pink. My first port of call was in fact not a show, but an event I was working on with Aspinal of London and Glamour Magazine. Some of you may have even been there, I hope so! After wrapping things up at The Mayfair Hotel, my fellow hostesses Angela Scanlon and Claudia Mahoney all leapt into our cars and tore across town at a rate of knots to make the Emilia Wickstead show.

Emilia Wickstead is one of the hottest designers to watch right now and a personal favourite of mine. I’m certainly not the only person to feel this way, she’s a fash pack favourite. Her magnificent show venue, the Royal Institute of British Architects on Portland Place, was packed out with pretty much everyone who’s anyone. Think Yasmin Sewell, Caroline rush, Imran Ahmed, Lorraine Candy, Samantha Barks, Poppy Delevingne, Laura Bailey, Caroline Sieber, Natalie Massenet, Caroline Issa and Hamish Bowles. On the subject of Mr Bowles, it transpired that the “fashion plane” (AKA the flight from New York to London after the Marc Jacobs show) carrying him, Anna Wintour, Georgia May Jagger and a coterie of major editors and supermodels had its landing diverted from London to Manchester. I don’t know about you but I find the idea of Anna et al expecting to arrive in Heathrow and whisk straight off to Claridges or wherever they stay only to find themselves up north is pretty hilarious. There were even rumours of Hamish Bowles being spotted in Greggs… Oh to have been a fly on the wall… Anyway, I digress.

LFW AW14

Emilia Wickstead AW14 (images via Style.com)

Since setting up shop as a made-to-measure atelier in 2008, Emilia’s made a name for herself delivering deliciously feminine, sophisticated garments, all delicate hues and aristocratic elegance, to describe Wickstead’s work as “ladylike” wouldn’t do it justice but I suppose that is what her designs are. This season Emilia decided to do things a little differently. The show notes promised a “fresh androgynous focus” leaving me very intrigued as to how on earth a designer adored for and adept at creating contemporary Lady of the Manor clothes would convey this. My question was answered by the first look, a oil slick black, Swarovski trimmed leather coat, noirish femme fatal fabulousness epitomised the combination of elegance and strength Emilia Wickstead is offering for AW14. The show that followed wasn’t just impressive, it was utterly breathtaking.

LFW AW14

Emilia Wickstead AW14 (images via Style.com)

The classic, grown up silhouettes Emilia Wickstead is so renowned for were as impeccable as ever but last season’s bubblegum pink and citrus silks had given was to luxurious dark leathers, python prints, rich wools and intricate lace in moody palette lifted with hits of mustard, cream and powder blue. Sharply sculpted silhouettes combined with exquisite pearl and crystal embellishment and motifs of winter blooms made for a collection that retained the flawlessly tailored femininity with which Wickstead’s made her name while exuding an air of “don’t mess with me” ferocity that I, for one, can’t resist.

I left Emilia Wickstead’s show with a spring in my stiletto clad step, daydreaming of wearing one of that python coat and tottered off to Itsu for a magazine-email-and-sushi break. Salmon stuffed and having just about recovered from the sheer beauty of Emilia’s AW14 collection I headed across town to be wowed yet again by ANTIPODIUM.

ANTIPODIUM is one of my most beloved brands and I was devastated to miss their presentation last season. Sitting on the (delayed, as per usual) tube seeing people’s tweets and Instagram snaps of the SS14 collection all the while knowing I wouldn’t get to see it in person left me apoplectic with rage so I was extra excited on this occasion. And I most certainly wasn’t disappointed with genius Geoffrey J. Finch’s latest concoctions. AW14 saw synthetic fabrics and neon brights married with roman statue prints that matched those emblazoned all over the catwalk. It was, of course, a shining example of just what’s so awesome about the label; that playful, covetable fusion of creative flair, commercial savvy and wit with a hint of subversion that has borne so many devoted ANTIPODIUM followers.

ANTIPODIUM LFW

ANTIPODIUM AW14

Back to the collection itself, Geoffrey offered up shift dresses, neatly tailored coats and mini skirts in day glo thermofleece, high shine quilted metallics, ribbed knits and old man cardigans styled with lurex necks and socks paired with hairy toed sandals. Just the right amount of kitsch and a little “off” in the best possible way, to put it bluntly, ANTIPODIUM AW14 is basically a collection of imaginative yet wearable garms I want/need in my life. And for those who might knock said “wearability”, take a closer look at the incredible melt effect velvets, that my friends is impressive.

ANTIPODIUM LFW 2

ANTIPODIUM AW14 

Two great shows down and LFW day 2 was just getting started! After a much needed Starbucks stop it was time to head north for J.W. Anderson. It cannot be denied that J.W. Anderson, or “J Dubs” as he is sometimes affectionately known by those in the know, is a talented fellow on a roaringly upward career trajectory. The LVMH investment, the appointment as Loewe’s Creative Director, the many many high profile fashion fans, it’s long seemed that Anderson can do no wrong but opinions have been rather divided over his AW14 collection. While watching the show I gaped open mouthed at the incredible feats of fabric manipulation I saw on the catwalk. Corduroy contorted into sculptural shapes, origami folds and asymmetric dresses that seemed to exist almost independently of the wearer.

J.W. Anderson LFW

J.W. Anderson AW14 (images via Style.com)

It was fearless, masterful and unlike anything else we’d see all week but, as Maya Singer pointed out in her Style.com review, rather “tortured”. This got me thinking, while the J.W. Anderson aesthetic is a million miles from my own, I’m always awed by his work. But Singer raised a good point, his AW14 offerings didn’t seem to convey a particular story, source of inspiration or consider the physicality of the woman who’d wear them. On one level, what we saw was a display of the designer’s sheer, indisputable skill and therein lies the conundrum. Should we expect collections to have the author’s reference points written all over them? One wouldn’t expect an artist to make their audiences lives easy so why should it be any different for a designer? I remember reading an interview with Anderson a while ago where he explained that he wanted his work to provoke a response, be it good or bad. This collection certainly did just that.

I’m going to leave day two here for now as we’ve passed the 1200 word mark but more show reviews coming your way soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LFW AW14: Day 1

LFW AW14

I wore: Alice + Olivia dress (available at THEOUTNET here), Sandro jacket (c/o), Mulberry Willow tote (sample), Gap jumper & Kurt Geiger shoes (c/0)
Image by Holly McGlynn

As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, it’s that time of year again people! Fashion week time. This season I was gutted not to be able to hit the stateside shows and spent the duration of NYFW in a state of chronic FOMO as I sat in the library, sulkily scrolling through my Instagram feed while pretending to be working on the dreaded thesis. My sulk came to an end last week when the fash pack swapped the New York snow for London rain and the second leg of the AW14 shows began. Having been ill to the point of wanting to curl up in a ball and cry for most of the week, I started LFW day 1 at the leisurely hour of 1pm. I’m not going to lie, the torrential downpour raging outside played a part in deterring me from leaving the house but I was also painfully aware of quite how bat shit cray my schedule was going to be over the days to come so figured easing into it might not be such a terrible idea. My first port of call was the ME Hotel for a quick shoot in Ada Zanditon’s latest haute couture creations. I literally cannot wait to share the pictures with you but can’t just yet, watch this space.

After an enjoyable hour or so posing in an incredible leather petal dress and larking about with Ada, Nik and Alexis it was time to brave the grim outdoors and head to Somerset House. Through sheer luck I managed not to slip over in my ridiculously impractical shoes (can you IMAGINE how embarrassing that would have been?!) teetering through the Somerset House courtyard and made it to Eudon Choi. One of my favourite things about fashion week is it’s slightly school reunion esque quality and sure enough, I found myself happily ensconced in a row with Naomi, Millie, Simbarashe (AKA Lord Ashbury), Style Traveller founder Bonnie Rakhit and Notion Mag fash ed Seb Law. The inevitable 20 minute pre show wait is so much more fun when you’re not sitting solo twiddling your thumbs and pretending to be busy on your iPhone. Said wait is also made less tedious when you know the show you’re about to see it going to be seriously excellent. In the case of Eudon Choi, excellence is basically guaranteed.

LFW AW14

Eudon Choi AW14 (images via Style.com)

Choi is undeniably a designer on the rise and his show was so jam packed that unfortunate latecomers were forced to crowd the stairs, straining to get a peek of the collection. Any neck injuries induced by the strain were definitely worth it. For AW14 Eudon Choi was playing to win. Entitled “Hysteria”, Choi’s latest offerings were an homage to 1960s Britpop but unlike many who’ve tapped this source of inspiration, there was nothing contrived or “retro” (yuck) about what appeared on the runway. We were treated to oversized yet sculpted tartan outerwear, dizzying houndstooth checks, slouchy pinstriped tailoring and playful patterned knitwear accessorised with luxe, slightly Phillip Lim esque bags and some of the jazziest footwear I’ve seen in a while.

Choi LFW

Eudon Choi AW14 (images via Style.com)

Choi reworked classic mannish staples; the duffel, the cigarette pant, the crisp white shirt; in a delectable autumn palette of navy, olive, royal blue, mustard, grey and rich neutral hues. The androgynous, dandyish vibe was counterbalanced by girlish fluted skirts and sleeves topped off by roll necks and mussed locks for added insouciance. Just at Eudon had truly captured the essence of swinging 60s London in a way that felt utterly modern he switched tack, offering up a palette cleansing finale of sleek, paired back ensembles reminding is of his minimalist prowess and versatility. Purist, beatnik, tomboy, ingenue… with the precision of his cuts and flawless attention to detail Eudon Choi can do everything and do it par excellence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, expect big things from this man!

Next on my unusually gentle afternoon schedule was the Amanda Wakeley presentation in her swanky new Mayfair boutique. As much as I adore a great big whopper of catwalk, sometimes salon show intimacy is just the thing to get a really good look at the clothes. Especially when you’re treated to pink champagne and chocolate truffles at your seat, well, it was Valentines Day after all.

Amanda Wakeley may be most renowned for her gowns but, as decisively proved by AW14, she does so much more than that. Wakeley’s latest collection is, for want of a better phrase, rather saucy. But of course this is high fashion sauce and far more editrix than dominatrix. The masterclass in luxe seduction encompassed obi belt cinched waists, glossy furs, exotic skins and lashings of leather applied to everything from trousers to pencil skirts to cocktail frocks. Abstract monochrome prints had a noirish feel, styled with low pony tails, bold brows and killer mesh stiletto ankle booties. Bold moves but ones that paid off for Amanda Wakeley.

Amanda Wakeley LFW

Amanda Wakeley AW14

After leaving the calm ambiance of Wakeley’s salon it was time for a high speed dash through abominable traffic (the first of many) back to Somerset House for Christopher Raeburn. While I vehemently oppose the idea that fashion week “peacockers” (i.e. anyone who dresses up in attention seeking clothes for the street style photographers… this probably includes me to some extent) are detracting from the coverage of the actual shows, the vast crowds in the courtyard do make navigating one’s way into certain venues a little difficult. But of course, we all made it, even if a bit of pushing and shoving was involved and Raeburn’s latest offerings certainly warranted the scrambling. Admittedly, utility isn’t exactly my cup of tea but the Brit born designer almost tempts me to swap my blouses and boucle jackets for upcycled anoraks. This season saw faux fur gilets concocted from former Siberian military coats and weather ready wool jumpers married with neon hued quilted bombers and iridescent parkas in high spec tech fabrics.  For anyone who wants to be neither cold, wet and uncomfortable nor compromise on style, Christopher Raeburn is your ultimate go-to.

Christopher Raeburn LFW

Christopher Raeburn AW14 (images via Style.com)

With three shows down and one to go, I took the opportunity for food, warmth and respite at The Apartment. FYI, The Apartment is a fashion week space (located in, yes, an apartment) where bloggers can go to refuel, work and hang out between shows. But it’s also so much more than that. Each day sees different brands and restaurants sharing their wares, professional hair styling and makeup as well as on demand branded taxis and endless assorted treats. The whole thing’s organised by a fellow blogger, Abi Marvel, whose entrepreneurial, not to mention organisational, skills never fail to astound me. Sadly I couldn’t lounge for too long as I had a couple more engagements yet on my schedule. First, I would be presenting for Claire’s Accessories backstage at the PPQ show at The Sanderson Hotel. There are few situations more manic that fashion show preparations and, unsurprisingly, the backstage area was packed with make up artists, models, photorgaphers and journos moving at such a frenetic pace they appeared almost in fast forward. Being the absolute babe that she is, designer Amy Molyneux made time for a quick chat with me and you can check out the video below.

As for the show itself, it was a whole lot of fun. Not to everyone’s taste for sure but a wonderful, unapologetic celebration of the brand and clear example of PPQ doing what PPQ do, not to mention a perfect way to kick off the evening to come.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments