Marios Schwab

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 3

The Sunday of London Fashion Week posed a few scheduling issues due to three of my absolute favourite brands deciding to show at three different venues within the space of an hour and a half. In theory, attempting to attend them all sounds nuts but given that the labels in question were Whistles, Mulberry and Temperley, did I really have any other choice?!

London Fashion Week

I wore… Jacket: Theory, Skirt: Carven, Bag: Mulberry, Shoes: Kurt Geiger, Jumper: Mango, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery

Having managed to tear myself away from Rhi Rhi’s bash the night before (smug moi?) at a relatively reasonable hour, I trotted down to Dover Street with a spring in my step and a steaming Starbucks latte in my hand, excited to see what my beloved Whistles had in store for AW13. Given the ridiculously tight turnaround between that and my next show I felt ever-so-slightly tense but all angst faded as soon as the first look hit the runway. Jane Shepardson never ceases to amaze me with her intuitive knowledge of what women want to wear. Since she took the rains back in 2008 Whistles has gone from forgotton-by-fashion, slightly mumsy brand to purveyor of cutting edge, covetable cool. I felt that this collection, and the fact that the likes of Liberty London Girl risked missing Mulberry to see it, was a testament to the transformation it’s undergone. Camo print is proving to be a major trend for AW13 (more on that later) and the Whistles show opened with a series of army inspired looks boasting sculptural silhouettes and utility detailing. Another next season fashion obsession is leather (probably don’t need to tell you that by know) and Jane’s latest offerings included some of the most stylish skins I’ve spotted in shades of classic black, deepest navy and forest green. There were also marbled prints and chunky knits that will no doubt sell out in seconds while darkly glimmering sparkle reminded us that Whistles also caters for after dark. Overall the collection epitomised the kind of sleek femininity that feels so relevant now and best of all, provided those of us without mega bucks to buy into it.

London Fashion Week

Whistles AW13

So I mentioned in one of my New York posts that the end of a fashion show always heralds an unholy and deeply undignified stampede to leave the venue? In that respect none of those shows had anything on Whistles! The models took their final turn at approximately 10.51am, 9 minutes before Mulberry was due to start. According to my ever helpful Google Maps App the walk to Claridges was around half a mile and would take 11 minutes. While fashion shows generally always start late, this was Mulberry and I didn’t want to take any chances. So I decided to run the entire way, wearing 6 inch heels, possibly not world’s best decision. By the time I arrived (in under the google maps advised time) I was a sweaty mess and in danger of fainting. Naturally the show started almost half an hour behind schedule but hey, at least I didn’t miss it. Mulberry always give excellent FROW and this season’s line up was suitably A List. On one side sat Anna Wintour bedecked in new season Prada, on the other were Alexa Chung, Lana Del Rey and Juno Temple.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

From right: Alexa Chung, Lana del Rey & Juno Temple

I absolutely, unadulteratedly adored Mulberry’s SS13 collection so my hopes were high for this season. Luckily, and not surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. Inspired by rural England, Emma Hill offered up botanical prints rich shades of forest green (I spy another trend!) and navy blue. There was a homespun meets high fash air to the collection thanks to iconic checks and thick tweeds incorporated into everything from sparkle trimmed capes to sequin embellished shift dresses. Voluminous leg-of-mutton sleeves upped the catwalk anti while glossy leather skirt suits looked so buttersoft it was all I could do not to touch them. Texture is always perfectly executed at Mulberry and this season was particularly luscious with fur, shearling, angora, silk crepe, organza applique and gleaming brocade all on the table. After Cara Delevigne closed the show (natch) the models all trooped out to the rousing tune of “Rule Brittania”. The sight of HRH Anna Wintour applauding certainly made me proud to be British.

London Fashion Week

Mulberry AW13

We all filed out of the Mulberry show to be greeted by hoards of photographers jostling for a shot of Alexa. Assumedly she must have slipped out the back so they had to make do wit the rest of us. I imagine that Suzy Menkes must have been spitting and the sight of such a sartorial “circus”. Next up was Temperley London at The Dorchester hotel. Queue another mad dash across Mayfair in the direction of Park Lane. Fashion Week has evidently fried my brain because despite having my invitation in hand, I turned up at The Grosvenor hotel, rather than the Dorchester. Once he’d recovered from the initial confusion of my bursting in and blabbering nonsensically about a fashion show, the congierge pointed me in the right direction. I took my seat in the venue’s magnificent ballroom and had a good old gawp at the FROW which included a myriad of major fash eds plus Natalie Massinet and Olivia Palermo. I’m always a sucker for Temperley’s deliciously feminine style and last seasons collection, aptly named, ‘Return to Elegance” left me (almost) speechless. With the AW13 show entitled “Byrds” we expected Hitchcock heroines and as always, what Alice promised, she delivered. Temperley’s latest offerings were the absolute epitome of polished femininity. Cinched waists and classic silhouettes perfectly styled with immaculate chignons, cat eye sunglasses and elbow length gloves. Fine organza, blush hued silk and neat navy ribbon trims exuded a delicate charm while strict tailoring and contrasting cobalt and navy looks hinted at darker side of the Temperley woman. From the figure clinging cashmere polonecks that came tucked into printed midi skirts to the exquisite embellishment tastefully adorning Alice’s evening gowns, everything about this collection was perfectly executed in a palette of delicate cream offset with hits of emerald and gold. I got the sense that while the Temperley woman remains timeless and tirelessly tasteful for AW13, much like the silver screen star who served as this season’s inspiration, she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone.

London Fashion Week

Temperley London AW13

I left The Dorchester exhilerated from what, I’m sure you’ll agree, was a frantic but fantastic morning of shows. During fashion week I find it hard to believe that any sort of normal life or work continues but unfortunately, it does. I had deadlines to meet and about a zillion emailed to go through so decided to head home (via itsu of course) and cram in a few hours hard graft before heading back out later on. Having completed about half of the things on my never-ending “to do” list, watched an episode of Gossip Girl and changed into my new season Whistles leopard jacquard cocktail dress (they were having a party that evening) I headed back over to Somerset House for my last show of the day, Marios Schwab. I know I say this every season but Marios’ was the first show I ever managed to wangle my way into when I attended London Fashion Week for the first time ever back in September 2010. I remember catching a glimpse of Caroline Sieber on the FROW and not being able to believe my luck at attending such a fabulous event. I’m pleased to say that six seasons, three continents and God knows how many shows on, I still have a few “pinch me I’m dreaming” moments every fashion week. This is slightly off topic I know but it’s very easy to start taking the whole thing for granted when actually being there at all is pretty extraordinary, so I just felt it needed to be said. Anyway, enough of my rambling and back to the matter at hand.

London Fashion Week

Marios Schwab AW13

After a start so delayed it put New York to shame, the show opened with a succession of sculpted micro mini shift dresses enhanced with ornate black embroidery and matching ankle length capes. There was an air of the otherworldly to them and an implied complexity, both in terms of design and inspiration. At the same time take away the cape, add a stylish starlet and you could easily imagine spotting one at a fashion party. Indeed it was a collection was full of dualities and the whole thing was slightly odd, but not in a bad way. Embroidered PVC and rich velvets in a palette of pink, burgundy, russet and brown harked back to an earlier age yet were also powerfully futuristic. Fluted sleeves and more caped dresses would have felt almost medieval were they not constructed from complex, high tech fabrics. As always, Marios delivered a few truly jaw dropping, red carpet numbers and the final look – a floor sweeping, nude gown that was almost entirely sheer save for strategically placed glimmers of silver – was nothing short of mesmerizing.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

London Fashion Week SS13: Day 3

Having ever-so-slightly overdone it on the first evening of London Fashion Week and then attended six shows the following day, by the time night two rolled around I could barely summon the energy to drag myself home to bed, let alone hit the town. One good night’s sleep and several episodes of Gossip Girl later I felt like a new and significantly less grouchy person as I slipped into outfit number three and set off to Somerset House.

London Fashion Week

I wore…
Dress: Whistles
Bag: Mulberry
Shoes: Kurt Geiger
Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery 

Marios Schwab was the first show I ever saw, back when I made my London Fashion Week debut. Quite how I managed to wangle an invite that season still remains a mystery but I certainly wasn’t complaining! Two years on, things are rather different, but I’m always reminded of my first, magical fashion week experience every time that particular ticket arrives.
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Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

La Petite Fashion Week Diaries: London AW12, Day 3

fashion week

I wore… Hat: Topshop, Coat: A.P.C, Dress: Whistles, Bag: Mulberry

I love Fashion Week for many reasons; the shows (duh), the people watching, the endless photo opps and last but certainly not least, the parties. Last night I was off to the Temperley bash which proved to be both incredibly glamourous and deliciously debauched as only an aftershow party (with a free bar) can. Suffice to say, I felt none too fresh this morning but there was no way in HELL I’d be lounging in bed because I’d managed to land a ticket to Mulberry. Given my sheer adoration for the brand, they could have held their show in a primary school class room and I would still probably have thought it was fabulous. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t, instead decorating Claridges with golden handbag shaped balloons, supersized padlocks and more bonafide A-listers than you could shake a stick at. Anna Wintour, Olivia Palermo, Michelle Williams, Elizabeth Olsen and Leigh Leizark were all in attendance, as was girl-of-the-moment Lana Del Rey toting her namesake Mulberry bag.

Mulberry London Fashion Week
Michelle Williams, Elizabeth Olsen, Lana Del Rey, Azaelia Banks
Anna Wintour, Bill Nighy

As for the collection itself… well it was definitely worth dragging my aching limbs out of bed for! Then again, that’s no great surprise given the stellar form Emma Hill’s been on since basically the second she took over. This season Emma drew inspiration from “Where the Wild Things Are” and offered up her own version of monster chic with super shaggy furs ruling the runway. Naturally coats weren’t the only thing on the Mulberry menu and snuggly hooded shearlings, perfect parkas and quilted bomber jackets were interspersed with divine dresses in burnt orange lace and dappled, digital print silks. The combination of oversized outerwear and ethereal, chiffon numbers made for a romantic, yet deeply wearable, autumnal dream. Knitwear is always something this Brit brand does well and their AW12 collection included some seriously covetable confections. I’m not going to get started on the handbags or we’ll be here forever but you can rest assured they were gorgeous.

Mulberry London Fashion Week

A wise woman once told me that during February fashion week you can either be chic or be warm and this season I decided, or at least tried, to go for the latter. Unfortunately the temperature plummetted on Day 3 so after Mulberry I was *ahem* forced to seek shelter in Starbucks. One venti, extra hot, non fat, triple shot latte later I had just about regained feeling in my toes so headed back out into the cold and across town to Somerset House for show number two, Marios Schwab. Marios’s was the first fashion show I ever attended so I feel strangely loyal to the Greco-Austrian designer. Actually, it’s not all that strange as season after season he wows his Editor packed FROWs which today included Harpers Bazaar UK’s Kim Hersov, Grazia’s Melanie Rickey and the legend that is Suzy Menkes.

Kim Hersov FROW

According to the show notes, Marios was “returning the the femme fatale he previously encountered” for SS12 and I certainly couldn’t have put it better myself. For AW12 the designer continued doing what he does best, that is sleek silhouettes and effortless allure. The show began with an array of ultra chic tailored wool ensembles but just as I was starting to fear that Marios was coming over all prim and proper, out came the leather, lace and seductive sheer panelling. The collection was elegant yet ever-so-slightly subversive finishing up with a spectacular, shimmering finale.

Marios Schwab London Fashion Week

As you can probably imagine, by this point I was pretty exhausted so decided to nip home to watch Gossip Girl and reboot my energy levels before my last show of the day, Louise Gray. After an intensely frustrating couple of hours spent stuck on the tube (damn weekend track closures!) I arrived at the Topshop show space just in time to grab a glass of champagne and take my seat for Louise’s show. The designer took her trademark “more is more” approach again this season and the collection was a visual delight of clashing patterns, super brights and layered textures. Louise’s signature madcap approach to assembling her ensembles was at its’ very best with eye-popping prints, neon hues and excessive embellishment thrown together with sweetly old fashion brocaded pieces and stunning Scottish cashmeres. Once again Louise Gray broke every style rule in the book but thanks to her talent with textiles and devil may care attitude, somehow pulled it off with aplomb.

Louise Gray London Fashion week

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

BREAKING NEWS!!! Shortlist Announced For BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund 2012

Just as our feet are finally recovering from the stiletto induced agony of September Fashion Week it’s suddenly time to start prepping for the madness to ensue once more! Not that I’m complaining of course. I’d happily endure a lifetime of tender tootsies and handbag elbow (similar to tennis elbow, only rather more glamourous) for my beloved bi-annual celebration of all things stylish. Last week the British Fashion Council announced the nine designers shortlisted to receive the ultra prestigious BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund for 2012 and I feel it’s my sartorial duty to share the talented bunch with you…

BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund

BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund

BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund

The fund was launched by BFC Chairman, the lovely Harold Tillman back in 2008 provides talented British designers with the necessary means (a bespoke mentoring programme plus £200,000) to keep doing what they do best. But this isn’t a case of the winner takes all. Each of the eight runners-up also get allocated a mentor through the fund and after having heard the nominees, I’m sure you’ll agree they deserve it. The winner will be chosen by an elite judging panel of industry insiders chaired by British Vogue Editor, Alexandra Shulman. Personally my money’s on Jonathan Saunders or Mary Katrantzou… Who would get YOUR vote?

Love Ella. X

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La Petite Fashion Week Diaries: London SS12, Day 3

fashion week
I wore… Dress: Urban Outfitters, Jacket: All Saints, Shoes: Topshop,
Bag: Zara, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery

I skipped the parties on evening two, instead dragging my tired self home for an episode of Desperate Housewives and bed. After a geriatrically early night I felt refreshed and ready to launch back into the fashion week fray so I stepped into my trusty Topshop platforms and headed over to Somerset House for my first show of the day, Holly Fulton. Holly is one of the hottest design talents in London right now and as such her FROW was filled by some of the most respected names in the industry including Harold Tillman, Grazia’s Melanie Rickey and the impossibly glamourous Editor of Harpers Bazaar, Kim Hersov.

fashion week
Kim Hersov
fashion week
Susie Lau of Style Bubble

It appears that the 70′s is decade du jour for SS12 and the era which inspired Jaeger London and countless others also helped shape Holly Fulton’s latest collection. Ever the individualist, Holly took next seasons’ most frequently reccurring trend and gave it her own spin to produce something exciting and utterly unique. What followed was an eye-popping array of disco-tastic looks featuring animal, tropical and Holly’s signature graphic prints. The collection was a testament to Holly’s craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail with each look hand-embellished with sequins, studding, beading and fringing galore. Think super bright shades and louche, retro shapes in an eclectic mix of textures including everything from sleek silks to PVC, plastic and feathers. Unapologetically loud and undeniably fun, if your in search of the ultimate holiday wardrobe then this is it.

fashion week
Holly Fulton SS12
fashion week
Holly Fulton SS12

After that I made a mad dash into Somerset House for to see Peter Jensen‘s salon show, hot on the heels of Susie Bubble. Luckily there was no way it would begin without the blogonista extraordinaire so I made it just in the nick of time… And thank God I did for Jensen’s latest offerings were above and beyond anything I could have expected. In fact, the designers latest offerings were perfectly attuned to my own tastes it took some serious self-restraint not to run backstage and try to pilfer the lot. Peter Pan collars, broderie anglaise, classic shapes and exquisite detailing made for a collection which exuded a quirky girlishness that I can’t help but feel would be very much at home in my wardrobe! Below-the-knee hemlines and buttoned up shirts were perfectly styled with pop socks and chignons. Fashion forward and still good-enough-to eat, Peter Jensen’s adorable dresses and chic cigarette pants are set to top many a wish list come Spring.

fashion week
Peter Jensen SS12
fashion week
Peter Jensen SS12

As fashion week continues I become increasingly sure of my theory that the hotter the FROW, the later the show. Well, any lingering doubts I may have had were obliterated by what I experienced yesterday afternoon at Marios Schwab. Marios’s FROW was literally packed with international fashion royalty including Hamish Bowles, Juliana Reston Roitfeld, Erin O’Connor and Anna Dello Russo. Having heard a mere snippet of the A-List line-up it may not surprise you to hear that the show started a whopping 45 minutes late. Now this was my sixth day in 6 inch heels and I was starting to feel a teeny bit tetchy about all the hanging around. But when the lights dimmed and the show began any remaining tension was instantly forgotten as Marios woo’d us with what has to be his chicest collection yet.

fashion week
Marios Shwab SS12
fashion week
Marios Schwab SS12

Last seasons’ dominatrix still simmered under the surface of Marios’s latest collection but the look was subtler and infinitely more wearable this time around. It was the perfect blend of elegant and edgy. Classic silhouettes, demure hemlines and cinched waists were combined with mesh detailing, leather and sultry eye makeup. The palette was a mixture of striking monochrome looks, pretty pastels and luscious summer shades culminating in a breathtaking Swarovski encrusted finale. Yet another designer to look to the past for inspiration, Marios’s show had a distinct 50′s feel but these frocks are unlike anything we saw on Man Men. Sleek, sophisticated and dripping with sex appeal, Marios Schwab’s latest collecion could transform anyone into a femme fatal.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment