John Rocha

It Started at Celine…

Let’s be honest, the “it” in question could be any number of things. Frankly it would be far easier to name the trends, garments and general fashion moods not in some way influenced by or deliberately pilfered from French arbiter of all things chic, Céline. Low key luxe (duh), wide leg trousers, socks with sandals, label free it bags, double denim, summer leather… Whether you’re shopping at Armani or Primarni, I guarantee that the genius of Phoebe Philo has reached you in some way, shape or form. This time around the taste making move in question appears not to be a trend or far reaching aesthetic (although Céline continues to kickstart those too) but a specific garment. Namely, the pink coat. Roughly this time last year Philo sent two coats down the catwalk both of which were predictably and exquisitely understated in their immaculately crafted simplicity, save for the colour. The first was a dusky pink oversized mohair creation, the second a glossy fuscia pelt. In-your-face pink is not necessarily a shade usually associated with Céline but yet it seemed so right. The pared back, modern elegance and mannish silhouettes of the garments provided the perfect foil for their deliciously bright, shamelessly pretty hues.


Céline AW12

Whatever your shade of choice may be – candyfloss, powder, baby, magenta – the colour pink itself is nothing new. What struck me, and has evidently struck the rest of the fashion world too, was its place within an otherwise frill-free collection. The message was clear, pink isn’t just for girly girls and summer frocks, it can be grown up and serious too. I might be wrong (not a rare occurence) but thinking back over my shopping experiences these past few winters, there seems to have been a dirth of pink outerwear. Khaki, olive, navy, burgundy, tweed, camel, black and even scarlet all get a look in but pink coats, or at least ones that can legitimately be worn over the age of six, have been few and far between. Well, not any more. Not since Empress of all that is cool, Phoebe Philo decreed it. During AW13 fashion month pink coats cropped up on the catwalk at Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda Ilincic, John Rocha and Topshop Unique… And that was just in London! Across the pond in Paris, purveyors of Scandi minimalism Acne Studios delivered an incredible sculpted number and Guillaume Henry’s candy hued confections made him the talk of fashion week. Naturally it was Philo herself who delivered the ultimate take on the trend she kickstarted last year.


From left: Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda Ilincic, Carven & Céline AW13

While I probably won’t be snapping up the Céline version or even one of Carven’s snuggly coverups (sob!) their solid presence on the AW13 runways will no doubt mean that pink coats will be all over the high street next season. Whatever your preconceptions about Barbie’s favourite hue I highly recommend trying this trend come autumn, but do avoid venturing into toddler territory by giving the pie crust collars a miss.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 2

So hiatus over, let’s get on to London Fashion Week. In case you’re wondering why I’m starting from day 2, on Friday I sadly had to attend a very dear friend’s funeral. Disappointed though I was to miss the shows, some things are just more important. After an emotionally draining day, not helped by my extreme jet lag, I passed out at approximately 8pm that evening. Thankfully by the next morning I felt distinctly more human and ready to get back in my heels and hit Somerset House.

London Fashion Week

I wore… Dress, Jumper, Jacket & Handbag: Carven, Shoes: Kurt Geiger.

My first show was Antipodium held at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden. I really rate the brand and have been particularly coveting the cartoony embroidered skirts in their SS13 collection so couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for autumn. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing a show where I fall head over heels for every single look and this was certainly the case with Antipodium. The show promised “Sex, Lies and CCTV” which initially had me apprehensive but in fact translated into a perfect fusion of girlish gorgeousness and bad girl subversion. Feminine styles such a skater dresses, A line midi skirts and cropped angora cardigans were given a bad girl twist by way of high shine PVC, acid brights and zip detailing. Combining everything from tweeds and velvets and shimmering metallic leathers with a kalaidescopic palette of eye-popping brights is a bold move but one that definitely paid off on this occasion. My personal favourites included a fur collared mini dress in pleated chiffon and those spectacular PVC numbers but to be honest, I’d very happily take any (or all) of it.

London Fashion Week

Antipodium AW13

Given how completely and utterly arctic New York had been, I thought I’d be fine wearing Carven’s pretty much distinctly non insulating resort collection. I was very, very wrong and hastily shivered my way to the nearest Starbucks to grab an extra hot latte and thaw myself out. My caffeine cravings sated and hands a bit less blue, I tottered down the Covent Garden cobblestones in the direction of Somerset House. Much as I adored every manic millisecond of NYFW, it is lovely to be back on my home turf where I can scarcely move an inch without bumping into someone I know. After almost an hour’s mingling and catching up with various friendly faces it was time to head over to the BFC tent for the Jasper Conran show. Having been in the business for over donkey’s years, Jasper Conran is a long term LFW fixture and his FROWS are always packed with industry pals and a famous face or five. This time around I spied Jodie Kidd, Virginia Bates and the ever wonderful (and tireless) Hillary Alexander.

London Fashion Week

Jasper Conran AW13

I don’t know if you’ll remember but I wasn’t overly enamoured with Jasper’s collection last season. I sincerely hoped that he wasn’t going to continue in the same (barefoot, flesh flashing) vain this time and thankfully my wishes were granted. After a seriously prompt start, just 10 minutes behind schedule, the show opened with a succession of simple, immaculately cut skirt suits and shift dresses in subtle neutrals and lustrous autumnal hues. Texture was key and Jasper treated us to everything from glossy brushed velvet, softest suede and chunky cable knits to delicate plum chiffon and sumptuous satin. Lovely though the collection was in its understatedly elegant way,  I began to think that it was perhaps slightly at odds with the neon orange catwalk that matched our invitations. No sooner had that flicker of entirely unjustified doubt crossed my mind than Mr Coran swiftly dispelled it with a succession of looks so luminous they almost sizzled my sockets. If they hasn’t been so chic, I may even have looked away! The pared down skirt suits and 60′s shifts that had initially captured my attention (and had Alexa Chung’s name all over them) came re-imagined in day glo orange, magenta, coral and ultra violet shade. Finishing up with a party dress parade adorned with pailette sequins and ruffled organza, Jasper Conran’s latest collection was a testament to his talent and proved that after more than three decades as a designer, he still has the power to surprise.

I really hope that by the time I move there (it’s happening!) New York has sorted out their itsu situation, I was craving an Omega 3 Salmon Supreme all week! With over an hour to go until my next engagement I hot footed it down the strand to satisfy my cravings. After a restorative sushi eating and Grazia reading session I headed back into the fray for the John Rocha show. Having attended John’s shows for the past four or five seasons and interviewed him just the other week (click here to read it), I was excited to see what his latest collection would bring. For SS13 he embraced colour and while many of Rocha’s latest offerings came in dark and mysterious tones I was pleased to see a healthy amount of pink. In fact, the whole show felt like a change for the designer. Many looks were as exquisitely, extravagantly sculptural as expected (and, I hasten to add, admired) but others were perhaps rather more wearable. Rocha supplied sleek knitwear, draped mannish tailoring and jersey pieces enhanced with panels of semi sheer organza. There was also some truly excellent outerwear, my personal pick being a pea green cape/coat creation complete with pie crust collar. John Rocha’s masterful fabric manipulation and sheer imagination always wows but I suspect this collection will appeal to a wider customer base, never a bad thing I’m sure you’ll agree.

London Fashion Week

John Rocha AW13

As this post is now threatening to turn into an essay (like every single NY one did… Sorry) and day 1 was no where near drawing to a close after my third show, I’ve decided to split it in to two. The second installment will be coming soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

5 Minutes With: John Rocha

With Fashion Week now mere DAYS away, I thought it was high time to catch up with a few of the designers who’s collections we’ll be ogling. First up, John Rocha…

John Rocha

LPA: I’m extremely partial to a bit of colour so I was thrilled to see it on your SS13 catwalks! What prompted you to deviate so dramatically from monochrome looks this time around?

JR: Time spent in the South of France, the colours of the landscape influenced the palette for my Spring Summer collection.

LPA: Should we expect more of it in future?

JR: At this moment in time, yes but who knows what will inspire my future collections.

LPA: I always think your designs are works of art as much as clothes. How long does it take to make one of your sculptural catwalk looks?

JR: This depends on the individual piece; a garment can take two weeks to make or sometimes many weeks with a team of people working on hand embellishing or crocheting and involving many techniques.

LPA: Having been in the industry since the 1980’s, you must have weathered many ups and downs during the course of your career but clearly come out unscathed. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?

JR: The biggest challenge is designing a collection every season that excites and inspires.

LPA: Between winning Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and receiving a CBE in 2002, you’ve had some incredible career moments. What would you say has been the all time highlight so far?

JR: Showing my collection in Paris for the first time in 1995 was significant for me and seeing my daughter Simone show her own collection during London Fashion Week last season was a happy moment.

LPA: Besides fashion, you’ve also designed cut glass crystal for Waterfords, homeware for Debenhams and the interiors of the Morrison Hotel in Dublin and Orion Building in Birmingham. How did these alternative collaborations come about? How do you balance your work in the different creative areas?

JR: Clients approach me in view to collaborate a space or an idea based on my design philosophy.  I spend between six and eight months of the year working on the catwalk collections and the rest of the time is spent developing ideas for other design projects. I have a good team who help bring these ideas to life.

LPA: Over the past 20 years, I can imagine you must have experienced some pretty dramatic changes relating to the rise of online shopping and digital media. How has it affected you the most?

JR: This change has not affected me a huge amount, but we are working on developing the new online store which is exciting.

LPA: What advice would you give to someone hoping for a career as a fashion designer?

JR: Find your own voice, work hard and follow your dreams.

LPA: Without revealing too much, can you give us a hint what to expect for AW13?

JR: Unexpected winter colour.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 1 Comment

London Fashion Week SS13: Day 2

Every season I attempt to be all work and no play for the duration of fashion week. Every season, this attempt fails. What can I say, I’m young, foolish and extremely partial to free cocktails and fabulous company, things that are offered up in abundence during this magical bi-annual event. After Matches’ celebratory fashion week soiree, my friends and I somehow found ourselves ‘pursuaded’ to continue on to another two parties. This, combined with post-New York exhaustion and jet lag unsurprisingly resulted in my feeling a little fragile when my alarm went off at 7am the next day. One quick glance at my schedule (plus a triple shot latte and several max strength painkillers) soon sorted this out and soon I was back in my heels and ready to hit the road.

London Fashion Week

I wore…
Sweater: Boutique by Jaeger
Skirt & Shoes: Topshop
Hat: Uniqlo
Tights: Accessorize
Bag: Anya Hindmarch

My first port of call was the Julian Macdonald showroom in Mayfair where I had a private appointment to see his SS13 collection. Julian is a designer who knows how to do glamour and his latest offerings, ‘Island Life’, delivered it in spades.
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La Petite Fashion Week Diaries: London AW12, Day 2 (part II)

As you may have gathered, LFW day 2 was fairly full on and I’ve therefore had to split it into two separate posts… So to pick up where we left off, after satisfying my sushi cravings I headed back to Somerset House, planning on hitting the press lounge and actually getting some work done. In between stopping at Starbucks and a spending good half hour generally mincing around I somehow never made it and all of a sudden it was time for my next show, John Rocha. As far as I’m concerned, this show is a LFW must-see and with Virginia Bates, Leah Weller, Susie Bubble and Jameela Jamil on the FROW, I was pretty darned chuffed with my second row seat. There’s always something other worldly about John’s collections and this season was no exception. His trademark texture play was ingenious as always including everything from sheer chiffon and slinky silks to chunky knits, mohair, leather and PVC. The show was a fabulous fusion of haute couture and sportswear, contrasting the fluid and the sculptural to breathtaking effect.

John Rocha London Fashion Week

Next up was Todd Lynn, a designer who’s work I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know particularly well but certainly want to know better after seeing it in action yesterday. Sharp suiting, immaculate tailoring and minimal detailing were the name of the game with emphasis on the designer’s masteful manipulation of fabric. Ultra modern and subtly sculpted, the strikingly simplicity of Todd Lynn’s collection certainly set it apart from the crowd.

Todd Lynn London Fashion Week

At some point during London Fashion Week each season it inevitably pours with rain and that’s precisely what happened on the afternoon of day 2. Naturally I didn’t have an umbrella so was forced to make a deeply unstylish jacket-on-head dash to the nearest cab. My next destination was Westminster where Temperley London had invited me backstage (backstage post coming soon) before their show. I didn’t think it was possible for them to top last season’s venue (the British Museum!!!) but somehow, Alice and co managed it. One Great George Street provided a regal setting for the aptly named “Renaissance” show. As expected at Temperley, the FROW was strictly A-List with Jaquetta Wheeler, Jade Parfitt and Poppy Delevigne sitting alongside Peaches Geldof, Anouck Lepere and Jefferson Hack.

Pixie Lott, Peaches Geldof, Poppy Delevigne Fashion Week

If you thought Temperley’s SS12 offerings were delicious then frankly, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The collection was utterly exquisite, unapologetically opulent and nothing less than a treat to behold. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like gold could be the colour for AW12 and there were plenty of super luxe metallics at Temperley alongside rich autumnal hues, inky blacks and delicate nudes. The overall feeling was somewhat Slavic, with plush velvets, thick brocades and glossy leathers set against glammed-up folk touches and embroidered florals. Fabulous fur hats, sumptuous silks and gobstopper bling oozed high octane glamour, topped off with a blindingly bedazzled finale.

Temperley London London Fashion Week
Fashion Week

Getting that many buyers, journalists, fashion editors and assorted celebrities in, seated and then out of a venue is a fairly lengthy process. Add to that the fact that, even in fashion week terms, Temperley was a pretty late starter, and I found myself with roughly 10 minutes to get back to Somerset House for the Issa London show. What followed must have been a fairly comic scene; an impractically dressed, high-heeled mob legging it to their waiting cars or, somewhat less glamourously, piling into the London Fashion Week Press Bus. As you can imagine, stress levels were pretty high during that frantic journey back up The Strand but somehow we managed to make it in time and without anyone getting hurt. The Issa London show notes promised a “trans-siberian journey from Moscow to Bejing” and that is precisely what Danielle Helayal delivered. The collection kicked off with power prints and then morphed into slinky, jewel toned dresses and beaded, thirties style numbers before culminating in a sequence of baroque printed, fur trimmed emerald beauties.

Issa London Fashion week

Eight shows later, Day 2 was still far from over and after that I had to make a high speed dash home for a quick outfit change before the Temperley aftershow party. Countless cocktails were consumed, a lot of fun was had and (surprise, surprise) I felt none too fresh this morning.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment