Burberry Prorsum

LFW AW14: Day 4

Ella Catliff LFW AW14 Whistles by Holly McGlynn_001

Wearing Whistles Jacket, Skirt & Jumper, Sophia Webster shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace & AllSaints Scarf
Image by Holly McGlynn

Here we have LFW AW14 Day 4, and only a casual fortnight late, result! Let’s ignore my tardiness and crack on with the matter at hand… the shows. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that LFW day 4 is “the big one”. We’re talking big shows, back to back, non stop from 9am. This season it was also the day that I had to submit my thesis 2nd draft (always during bloody fashion week, I swear they do it on purpose!) and I may have spent the previous night dancing until the wee hours at Matthew Williamson and Jonathan Saunders’ after parties, which made the 7am thesis editing particularly unpleasant. My spirits were soon lifted though as, triple shot (caffeine was much needed) Starbucks skinny latte in hand I leapt on the Piccadilly Line and headed to my first show of the day, Roksanda Ilincic.

Roksanda’s collections have been stellar since her LFW debut back in 2005 yet somehow, she manages to outdo herself time and again. AW14 proved this. The past couple of years have seen the designer moving away from the covetable, easy-to-wear cocktail dresses with which she first made her name. Don’t get me wrong, Roksanda Ilincic still does dresses and seriously great ones at that but she’s not afraid to challenge both herself and her customer. The fact she manages to do so while still creating pieces compelling enough to entice everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Lily Allen is a true testament to her talent.

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 LFW 1

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)

AW14 saw Roksanda building on the artistic inspiration which underpinned her also awesome SS14 collection, offering up sculpted felted wool confections with abstract patterns in wrong-yet-right contrasting colour combinations. Making pointedly uneven hemlines appear the height of sophistication is no mean feat by any account yet in Ilincic’s capable hands, lopsided skirting smoothly bypassed bizarre and simply felt elegantly unusual. The same goes for her colour palette; neutrals, burgundy, plum, orange, cobalt and ice blue all thrown together amid , surely that should be a disaster? Yet, it works, brilliantly. As for the textures, Roksanda really pulled the stops out here. Having begun her experiment with off kilter fabrics some time around AW13, the designer’s latest concoctions involved intricate PVC woven with tartan and 3D plastic embellishment, perfectly counterbalanced by luscious furs, shearlings and lambswools.

Roksanda LFW AW14 2

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Buoyed up by Roksanda’s show I trotted off up Tottenham Court Road for a presentation I was very, very excited. You’ve guessed it, Whistles. Holding a presentation in a stunningly elegant townhouse on Fitzroy Square is to some degree a risky move, especially for what is technically speaking a high street (albeit very high end high street) brand. Didn’t Jane Shepardson worry that the understated expensiveness of the surroundings might detract from collection itself? Not a bit of it, and with good reason. For AW14 Whistles delivered an array of ensembles so exquisitely perfect in their simple chicness one would have been forgiven for assuming they were the wincingly pricey produce of a bonafide luxury label. This is not to say, of course, that the pieces on show were flash. In fact they were the antithesis of bling and that was what made them so incredibly impressive. It’s easy to distract from non-designer-brand fabrics and imperfect cuts with oodles of colour and prints, but Whistles AW14 was a masterclass in polish. Delectably enveloping overcoats in tactile wools, soft shades and oversized checks tempted you to snuggle stylishly inside them. Whistles always gives good knits and this seasons jumpers came roll necked and ribbed, tucked into simple black midi skirts, worn loose over wide leg tailored trousers, and with lashings of nonchalant slouch.

LFW Whistles

LFW Whistles

After marvelling at the precision with which they had cut their pleats (seriously, it was mind boggling) I found my way into the eveningwear room and that, my friends, was the moment I knew I was done for. Thick pelted faux furs, delicately embellished tunics and peek-a-boo jumpsuits all in the most delectable shade of lilac! As for the off the shoulder, almost Dior esque sculpted co-ords and glossy navy satins… I fell hard and mentally kissed goodbye to financial solvency come August. This season Whistles had the exact same effect on me as every Phillip Lim show I attend inevitably does; it made me want a whole new wardrobe.

LFW Whistles

LFW Wistles

After the joy of seeing two excellent collections all thoughts of “headaches” were long forgotten as I loitered in itsu, munching on salmon sushi while hating myself for wishing next Autumn would just hurry up and get here until it was time to head West for Burberry. I will be forever grateful to the generous folk at Burbs for giving me the benefit of the doubt back in 2011 and inviting me to their shows ever since. It’s always one of my major fashion month highlights and I suspect that will remain the case for as long as I’m in the biz. This season was no different and from my usual seat next to Reem Kanj of Five Five Fabulous and Emily Johnstone of Fashion Foie Gras I witnessed a whole lotta spectacle. First up, there was the thoroughly enjoyable experience of watching Anna Wintour and Bradley Cooper lolling on the FROW. Far from seeming traumatised her unplanned trip to Newcastle, La Wintour was positively beaming every time I saw her! The mind boggles… But anyway, let’s talk clothes.

Burberry Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 - Front Row & Show

Anna Wintour & Bradley Cooper

Burberry Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 - Front Row & Show

From left: Felicity Jones, Naomi Harris, Tini Tempah, Harry Styles, Alison Mossheart & Mario Testino

As Ed Sheeran’s melodious tones filled the venue (live, no soundtracks here, obvs) the first tousle haired, fair skinned model took to the catwalk adorned in a captivating abstraction. How many variations can one man conjure up based on the classic trench? In the case of Christopher Bailey, it appears the answer to that is infinite. Deconstructed, loosely flung over shoulders and adorned with painterly florals I’m not even sure you could call the latest coverups “trench coats”, they were almost too bohemian for that.

Burberry LFW 1

Burberry AW14

Flowing, barely-there silk and chiffon ensembles evoked images of carefree yet cultivated beauties, just as Bailey’s show notes citing the “Bloomsbury Girls” as his latest inspiration suggested. Silhouettes came far softer than recent seasons (remember last Autumn’s foxy homage to Christine Keeler?!) with teddy bear textures and slouchy shearling adding a sense of warmth to flimsy slips and delicately ruched evening dresses.

Burberry LFW 2

Burberry AW14

Admittedly, it was less up my sartorial street than Spring/Summer’s cinched waists and sweet pastels but that didn’t stop the show, the collection and the entire experience being anything less than magical. The ever impressive final saw Paloma Faith serenade the cast of supermodels all clad in personalised blanket coats drumming home the message that Christopher Bailey had in one full swoop delivered both his most daring, and his softest collection for Burberry yet. No one marries creativity and commercial viability quite like he does.

LFW

LFW

More from day 4 coming your way soon! For now, I’d love to hear what you think of these collections?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

LFW SS14: Day 4

Day 4 dawned sunny, bright and absolutely freezing! For some reason unbeknown to anyone even myself, I decided to do bare legs. This was perhaps due in part to the equally inexplicable fact that me, Nik and Serena stayed up until the wee hours eating Reece’s Pieces and giggling like teenagers after a few too many cocktails at the Belstaff, Purple Magazine and Dominic Jones parties. Not exactly a rock n’ roll end to the night but on the back of ten (I think) days and nights of fashion week fun, it was enough to make me feel a little on the deathly side when my alarm went off at 7am. Frost bitten knees and bleary eyes aside, there was no way in hell I’d even consider skipping show number 1, Roksanda Ilincic.

LFW

I wore: Maje shirt, AllSaints Jacket & Skirt, Massimo Dutti boots & Jaeger London bag
Image by Holly McGlynn

This season Roksanda partnered with The London Bridge Quarter, resulting in the Shard providing a suitably spectacular venue with citywide views of bright autumn morning. As one would expect from one of the city’s shining design stars, Roksanda’s FROW line up included Samantha Cameron, Natalie Massenet, Kim Hersov, Paula Reed, Ruth Chapman and just about every other major editor, buyer and fashion face on the planet. After a fairly sizeable wait – Monday morning of LFW is usually when some of the top shows take place, meaning major delays when everyone inevitably gets stuck in traffic – the first look hit the catwalk and despite my, ahem, fatigue quite how brilliant it was registered instantly.

For SS14 Roksanda Ilincic delivered acid brights, graphic prints and neon colour blocking while somehow managing to convey the air of elegance we’ve come to associate with her. Cinched waists and full skirts were paired with boxy tees and jackets in sculpted neoprene, as if to really drum home the message that Roksanda does a hell of a lot more than just cocktail dresses. Asymmetric hemlines, chiffon pleats and flowing ribbons of fabric were juxtaposed with harder edged looks featuring jagged mesh prints and intricate laser cut overskirts. Roksanda Ilincic isn’t a designer one would usually associate with embellishment but this season she went for it and her gamble paid off big time. The final looks were adorned with gob stopper plastic and gleaming gems, strikingly stunning in a way that was both harsh and compelling.

LFW SS14

Roksanda Ilincic SS14 (images via Style.com)

Other than the fact she makes really nice stuff, what I find so impressive about Roksanda Ilincic is the way she moves her aesthetic on each season. While everything she designs has a quality than is inimitably Ilincic, her past few collections have each been markedly different to what we’ve seen previously. This time around Roksanda demonstrated the scope of her skill with athletic touches and a tomboy air (enhanced by chunky, neon Nicholas Kirkwood flats) I could never have predicted but completely and utterly fell for. Judging from the thunderous round of applause that accompanied the finale, I wasn’t the only one seriously impressed by Roksanda Ilincic’s bold SS14 collection. Who knows what she’ll have for us next season? Whatever direction the designer decides to take, you can be damn sure she’ll nail it.

The only problem with holding a show halfway up a sky scraper is the issue of getting everyone back out. This was especially the case after Roksanda when we found ourselves with mere minutes to get across town for Christopher Kane and a high heeled stampede ensued. Once we’d managed to get downstairs and locate Naomi’s car it was time for one of the most panic stricken journey’s of my life. That sounds dramatic I know but come on, you just don’t miss a Kane show! After quite literally sprinting halfway around Clerkenwell we made it just in the nick of time and, oh, thank God we did. If anyone is nuts enough to still doubt the sheer, mind boggling scope of Christopher Kane’s talent this this collection should have definitely put a stop to that.

LFW SS14

Christopher Kane SS14 (Images via Style.com)

This season the designer’s starting point was, to put it simply, flowers. But of course, there’s never anything simple about a Christopher Kane collection. His blooms took the form of metal teardrop cut outs inspired by sterilised petals, arresting images of floral reproductive organs concocted from gossamer applique blooms and shimmering sylphlike bias cut slip dresses with skirts and straps contorted by embellished clips loosely referencing those one might use to examine a plant specimen. Sounds odd? Well then look at the pictures. It worked, in an exquisite, magical, how-the-HELL-did-he-think-of-this kind of way. From the razor sharp midnight black tailoring to the pastel hued slogan sweatshirts (I smell a cult hit…) to the patterns created not from print, but intricate cut out patters, everything about the show was utterly hypnotic and unlike anything else I saw here in London or across the pond. Christopher Kane took another step towards fashion world domination this season and I for one am more than happy to dress under his rule.

LFW SS14

Christopher Kane SS14 (Images via Style.com)

After what I’m sure you’ll agree was a cracking start to day three, it was time for another high speed dash across town for Marios Schwab at the Topshop venue. Since wangling my way in during my first ever LFW, I haven’t missed a Marios show and I never intend to; he just gets stronger by the season and he started off pretty damn good! A master of second skin silhouettes that mould, sculpt and enhance the female form, Marios Schwab was at his body conscious best for SS14 delivering an array of slick looks featuring carefully positioned airbrush prints. Wicker like mesh detailing and matching caps added intrigue to immaculate monochrome looks while backpack esque straps brought shimmering sequinned numbers back down to earth. Denim dresses with deliberately frayed hems sat seamlessly alongside gossamer fine lace creations and red carpet floor sweepers with meticulously embroidered underskirts that we caught a flash of as the models stalked the catwalk. If the collection’s name, “Contours” hadn’t given us the hint then the svelte sexiness that exuded from every look drummed Marios’ message home; these frocks are all woman.

LFW SS14

Marios Schwab SS14 (Images via Style.com)

Season in, season out, the Burberry Prorsum show is always a major LFW highlight for all who are lucky enough to attend. From the crisp white card invitations featuring a 3D cut out of London to the welcome email “from Christopher” all guests receive on arrival and star studded FROW to the collection and it’s reliably fabulous finale, everything about it is so perfectly done I can’t even imagine the organisation it takes to pull the whole thing off.

LFW Alexa Cheung, Poppy Delevingne, Jamal Edwards and Kevin at the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring_Summer 2014 Show

Alexa Cheung, Poppy Delevingne, Jamal Edwards and Kevin Stytrom on the FROW

LFW

Anna Wintour… Like I needed to tell you that!

Gabriella Wilde, Simon Neil, Alison Mosshart, Paloma Faith, Sienna Miller, Harry Styles, Suki Waterhouse, George Barnett and Naomie Harris at the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring_Summer 2014 Show

Gabriella Wilde, Simon Neil, Alison Mosshart, Paloma Faith, Sienna Miller, Harry Styles, Suki Waterhouse, George Barnett and Naomie Harris

With so many other wonderful components, it would be almost tempting to overlook the clothes themselves and it’s a true testament to Mr Bailey’s design prowess that he manages to make them standout as the star of such a spectacular show. Remember how much I adored (and still adore, it’s only September after all!) Burberry’s AW13 collection? Well my feelings for the SS14 offering are every bit as impassioned.

LFW SS14

Burberry SS14

Indeed, in some ways the looks felt like a very natural progression from the latex pencil skirts, cheeky PVC trench coats and playful heart prints Bailey put down the catwalk last season. The hint of kink remained while the autumnal colour palette had been replaced by sugar sweet pastel shades of lilac, mint and blue, dusky pink, buttery neutrals and hits of rich rose. Incidentally, the collection was entitled “English Rose”, a perfect name for some of the most deliciously, unashamedly feminine ensembles I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Burberry LFW

Burberry SS14

Figure hugging, sheer lace pencil skirts and matching buttoned up blouses played a game of peek-a-boo paired with softly cocooning knits and coats and leather grab clutches adorned with embroidered blooms. Thicker fabrics were masterfully manipulated, folded origami style to form knot front detailing or sculpted trench style evening dresses cinched at the waist by embellished belts. As the collection progressed, glittering gobstopper embellishment grew to cover trench coats and almost painfully gorgeous skirts realised in candy coloured lace. Cara Delevigne closed the show clad in a playful plastic cape. As the models made their final walk, a torrent of rose petals rained down from the ceiling to the sound of deafening applause.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

Look Du Jour: Trench Kisses

trench kisses

trench kisses

trench kisses

What: Trench Coat: Comptoir des Cottoniers, Jumper: Chinti and Parker (gifted), Jeans: J Brand, Pumps: French Sole, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery, Hat: Accessorize, Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim (gifted).

Where: Personal Shopping Appointment in London.

Ok, so I may have shamelessly reappropriated the name of Burberry’s AW13 show for this post title but given that the look du jour in question involved a trench coat and a heart jumper I reckon Christopher Bailey would understand… If he ever found out which, let’s be honest, is beyond unlikely. The man responsible for restoring Burberry to its former glory and then some has far more important things to think about than my shameless pilfering of his ideas but anyway, I digress. March (AKA the first month of Spring) is here so no matter how abismal the weather I refuse to carry on wearing my winter coat. I donned this ensemble for my first EVER personal styling appointment last Friday. Given that someone had put the fate of their wardrobe in my hands it seemed only right I looked both chic and seasonally appropriate, the day seemed to go really well so I assume this look did the trick. Admittedly I did get pretty chilly tramping around town in the pouring rain sans socks and fear the ballet pumps/bare feet situation might result in my developing a case of gangrene. If the British weather continues refusing to comply with the fashion seasons quite this dramatically I may have to swap my beloved London for sunnier climbs, or accept spending the rest of my days with a perma-cold… tough call.

In other news, I now officially offer personal styling services so if you, or anyone you know, fancy a major wardrobe overhaul or just a bit of styling advice contact me at ella@ella-lapetiteanglaise.com

Love Ella. X

Ps) Since writing the point it has started snowing and I’ve been forced to dig out my winter coat, fur hat and thermals… Boo.

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 1 Comment

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 4 Continued

With every show I attended on day 4, my love for London Fashion Week grew that little bit stronger. Few designers exemplify the creatively liberated, Central Saint Martins taught, magpie style for which British fashion is celebrated more than Louise Gray. She can always be relied on to put two fingers up at good taste and this season was no different. The collection was a cacophany of riotous colours, wildly clashing prints and assorted textures thrown together with reckless aplomb in a way that so shouldn’t work but somehow aways does. Hats may have come courtesy of Stephen Jones but they were still made out of bin bags. Commercially orientated Gray most certainly isn’t but break down the looks, lose the madcap make up and many of these pieces will no doubt find their way into fashion forward wardrobes come September.

London Fashion Week

Louise Gray AW13

By this point I was in dire need of sustainence and frankly, a bit of a breather, so I headed to The Apartment (an ingenious bloggers sanctuary where we can hang out, eat, work and meet all manner of brands, arranged by the ever impressive Abi Marvel) to regroup before my final show. After all, it wouldn’t do to be feeling (and looking) anything less than my best for Burberry.

Since attending my first Burberry show a few back in 2011, it’s always been a major London Fashion Week highlight. Every season I get a familiar butterflies in my tummy sensation as I approach the vast Hyde Park venue and see the crowds of people lined up outside. Once I’d taken my seat in between fellow bloggers Ella of Coco’s Tea Party and Emily of Fashion Foie Gras I set about people watching as Burberry always attracts an A list crowd. This time around was no different and I spied everyone from Anna Wintour and Emmanuelle Alt to Freida Pinto, Kate Beckinsale, Rita Ora, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and Tinie Tempah on the FROW.

London Fashion Week

From left: Michelle Dockerty, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Freida Pinto, Rita Ora & Kate Beckinsale

After much milling and mingling the show began and what a show it was! Burberry Prorsum SS13 was one of those collections that I liked at the time but since seeing again in September, I’ve really fallen for. As for AW13, well, it was love at first sight and appropriately so because it became clear early on that Christopher Bailey was in a romantic mood this season. Surprised though many of us were when the Yorkshire born designer cited saucy sixties showgirl, Christine Keeler as his inspiration, re-imagining the brand’s trademark trench in latex was a stroke of genius and looked oh-so-right on the runway. Then again, it’s Bailey’s knack for infusing the Burberry heritage with just the right amount of provocation that has made him such a successful Creative Director. As well as trenches, pencil skirts, shift dresses and other style staples were given a hint of kink by way of latext, leather and high shine PVC in shades of soft nude and rich oxblood. Another key and highly covetable component of the collection was print, namely cute heart motifs and naughty leopard spots. Silhouettes were kept classic and waists cinched allowing for everything from leather fringing to snakeskin and cowprint calf hair to be incorporated into the collection while shimmering stripes and luxurious knitwear provided yet more sell-out separates.

London Fashion Week

Burberry Prorsum AW13

One of my favourite things about attending the Burberry show is the inevitable element of spectacle. Who could forget Bailey quite literally making it rain for AW12? Or the kaleidescopic parade of metallic trenches for SS13? This time around he went above and beyond with a surprise that had half the guests standing up in their seats. About half way through the walls at the end of the runway parted revealing musician Tom Odell and his band who proceeded to serenade Cara, Karlie, and Jourdan strutting their stuff for the remainder of the show… As Mondays go, day 4 of London Fashion Week AW13 was certainly a good one!

Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Autumn-Winter 2013 Show Finale

Burberry Prorsum AW13 finale

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 4 Comments

Novelty Knitwear

Having recently spent the best past of a month careering around town for the SS13 press days, I almost forgot that Winter’s barely even started yet! Plus here in London, Spring doesn’t really arrive until about July… If it makes an appearence at all, so we’ve still got plenty of time to covet, buy and get our money’s worth out of novelty knitwear. As someone who wears bedsocks and sleeps with a hot water bottle from September, I’m a pretty big fan of knitwear full stop. But wooly wonders that keep you warm and make you LOL? That’s nothing short of genius. Like most fashion obsessives, I’m more than mildly obsessed with Markus Lupfer’s tongue-in-check embellished sweaters. Over the past couple of seasons the high street has also churned out tons of playful and non-bank breaking versions so that anyone and everyone can have fun with their knits. A couple of years ago I picked up a red Christmas jumper at Zara that I’ve worn time and time again and you’ve no doubt seen crop up in my look du jour posts on numerous occasions. Much as I adore that jolly red number, I fear it might disintegrate if I don’t stop wearing non stop so I’m currently in the market for a new novelty knit. Here are a few of my current faves…

novelty knitwear

1) Banjo and Matilda Toucan Cashmere Sweater, £285, click here to buy
2) Burberry Prorsum Owl Intarsia Casmere Sweater, £895, click here to buy
3) French Connection Sequin Pug Sweater, £72, click here to buy
4) Chinti and Parker Reindeer Cashmere Sweater, £350, click here to buy
5) Markus Lupfer OMG! Bubbler Sweater, £265, click here to buy
6) Miss Selfridge Duck Jumper, £37, click here to buy

Which novelty knit would YOU pick?

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping Leave a comment