New York Fashion Week

NYFW SS14: Day 3

NYFW Day 3 got off to an infinitely more sprightly start that the previous two mornings thanks to an uncharacteristically sensible decision to skip the parties in favour of an early night and a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to make a dent in my emails. My first show of the day was Lacoste at Lincoln Centre so I guzzled as much coffee as possible and steeled myself to enter the mayhem.

NYFW SS14

I wore: Tibi top & skirt, ALDO sandals & Mulberry bag 

Indeed the place was absolutely teaming and the show queue resembled some sort of well dressed protest march. Thankfully I found myself standing next to Caroline Issa and Susie Lau and pretty promptly we were whisked through by a London PR amid evils and not-so-subtle sighs from the antsy show goers around us. The FROW boasted a bevvy of industry names including Caroline, Susie, Mira Duma (so freaking beautiful in the flesh it’s ridic) Susie Menkes, Hanneli Mustaparta, Leigh Leizark and Robbie Meyers.

There was one hell of a delay in starting and the combination of excessive air con and minimal clothing situation resulted in an extremely un-chic case of goose pimples. Finally a deliciously French male voice came on the speakers and sent everyone to their seats for the show to begin. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be happening right away thanks to a rebellious FROW-er refusing to uncross their legs (crossed legs get in the photographers way) but eventually the bellows from the pap pit took effect and whoever the offending party was decided to play ball. What ensued was a collection so flawless it wiped away all Lincoln Center induced stress with cleaner-than-clean lines inspired by those seen on a tennis court and the precision of a perfectly executed serve. Given Lacoste’s sporting heritage, it makes sense for x to include an element of athleticism in his collections but doing so inevitably runs the risk of repetition, especially given fashion’s fixation with “sports luxe” over the past few seasons. Gratifyingly, there was none of that here and the SS14 collection felt fresh and contemporary with none of the naff accoutrements so often associated with the trend. Creative Director, Felipe Oliveira Baptista may have referenced tennis skirts and polo shirts but they were nothing like those you’ve seen before.

NYFW SS14

Lacoste SS14

With sculpted yet soft silhouettes in fabrics including neoprene, crispest cotton, leather and, most delectably of all, brushed suede this was about as haute sport as it gets, albeit in the most understated of manners. Colours ranged from tennis whites to powdery pastels and strong shades of burgundy, navy and green. Sheer panelling cropped up here too and, in a slightly geeky way, I relished the comparison between Lacoste’s take on what is clearly going to be a major look for SS14 and what I’d seen from the likes of Helmut Lang and BCBG.

After a quick trip to the nearest Starbucks I hopped on the subway to 34th street for show number two, Prabal Gurung. As you might remember, I died at the designer’s insanely awesome take on military couture last season so was excited to see what he had up his sleeve for SS14. Well, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. As soon as I entered the venue which had been decked out with black benches and an iridescent, box structure in the centre I knew we were in for something special. After the obligatory half hour delay a troop of models clad in what just a glimpse informed me were exquisite creations trooped out to radio silence and lined up inside the aforementioned “box”. The music struck up and one by one they walked out of the box and around the rectangular catwalk. I can’t even begin to do justice to the collection with my description but you know me, I’ll give it a go.

NYFW SS14

Prabal Gurung SS14

Couture silhouettes married with incredible technical fabrics ranging from double bonded cotton to laminated tulle, Napa leather and screen printed translucent PVC. Cinched waists and ladylike hemlines were combined with a colour palette including acid brights and sugary shades of candy pink, lilac and saccharine green further adding to the modern day Marie Antoinette feel. Indeed, while Prabal’s latest offerings were mesmerisingly stunning there was air of subversion lurking not too far beneath the surface which, aside from the unbelievably amount of skill and imagination it takes to deliver something like this, is what made the show so compelling. Those who criticise New York Fashion need only look to Prabal Gurung to be proved very wrong indeed.

NYFW SS14

Prabal Gurung SS14

Once I’d recovered from the state of sartorially induced awe Prabal’s show had put me in I realised that I had a couple of hours spare before my next engagement, a rare treat during fashion week! Naturally I frittered most of it away stopping in shops and accidentally getting on the wrong subway line but it was still a relief not to be rushing from place to place at a rate of knots. Not that what I had on that afternoon was exactly stressful, in fact quite the opposite. Remember PRISM by Anna Laub’s rooftop presentation at The Standard last September? Well this year they did it again and the whole thing was possibly even more awesome thanks to the A-MAZING collection and chilled out ambiance, not to mention the fact I knew a lot more people this time around so didn’t have to lurk in the corner on my lonesome.

NYFW SS14

NYFW

Prism NYFW

In between catching up with various familiar faced fashion week-ers, indulging in a cheeky 3pm cocktail in the sunshine and chatting with the lovely (and ridiculously gorgeous) Anna herself I was in no rush to leave. Eventually the models left their perches and, still fantasising about owning a pair of PRISM pastel shades, I reluctantly decided to hit the road before I actually got kicked out.

Day 3 was definitely an enjoyable one. Great shows, evenly spread out with no need to run around like a lunatic or go anywhere near Lincoln Center. My final port of call was Pier 57 for Tibi. Much like Marios Schwab in London, I always feel a little nostalgic about this particular show because it was the first one I ever attended in the city. Since that first fateful trip to NYFW I’ve been at the Tibi show every season since and Amy Smilovic’s collections just keep getting stronger and stronger. I think it’s fair to say that the Tibi aesthetic has changed definitively since the days when it was known for pretty print dresses were Amy’s calling card. But if the AW13 collection really hammered the minimalist point home, this season marks the return of something a little softer. Don’t get me wrong, the clean lines and air of fuss free simplicity that have put Tibi ahead of the pack in recent years but there was an element of femininity this time around which I absolutely adored.

NYFW

Tibi SS14

Oversized motorcycle jackets and boxy shapes were offset by adornments of white embellishment, delicate prints and lace inserts. For SS14 it’s evidently going to be all about the slouch and there was plenty of nonchalant, fluid fit tailoring here alongside laser cut cotton, sheer panelling (yes, more!) and fringe trimmings. The palette was an earthy medley of neutrals with pea green a’ plenty and the odd pop of tantalising tangerine. Overall Tibi’s latest offerings were a perfect culmination of Amy’s hard graft and the brands aesthetic evolution. Wearable, covetable and just the ride side of androgynous with a prevailing feeling of ease guaranteed to make you wish you were wearing it.

Much as I’d have loved to stick around post show and carry on catching up with fellow attendees The Elgin Avenue’s Monica Beatrice Welburn and Sandra’s Closet founder, Sandra Bauchnecht I had places to be and people to see so sprinted off into the New York night. As those of you who follow me on Instagram may have spotted, that evening I took the ferry to Governors Island for the Parisian Ball organised by my lovely friend Sharoni. This post is now verging into essay territoty so I won’t give you a blow by blow but I will tell you that there were vintage funfair rides, renowned Djs and countless fabulous attendees involved, in other words it was epic.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

NYFW SS14: Day 1

Right, enough messing around, let’s crack on with the New York Fashion Week coverage. Day 1 of NYFW SS14 kicked off with Nicholas K up at Lincoln Center. Having got home sometime in the wee hours thanks to a night that turned out to be rather more fun than intended (click here for a reminder) my mind wasn’t exactly at its sharpest, always a great way to start seven days of shows, or not. Having decided there was no WAY I’d even attempt the subway without an iced latte in hand I found myself running late and leaping on completely the wrong train in a state of panic. When I finally realised my mistake it was all I could do not to burst into tears but melting down so early in to fashion month would have been a bit pathetic so instead I leapt into the nearest taxi and spent the next 20 rather expensive minutes stuck in mid town traffic. This anxiety overload turned out to be entirely unnecessary because, as I’m sure you’ll remember, New York shows run notoriously behind schedule and I arrived in time to spent another 20 minutes in my seat feeling slightly foolish. But enough about my blunders, let’s talk fashion.

NYFW SS14

I wore: Related top, Tibi Shorts, Mulberry bag, Carrera by Jimmy Choo sunglasses & Vince Camuto sandals

Admittedly Nicholas K isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I suspect I’d look more than a little ridiculous attempting to pull off the urban nomad look. That said, the brother sister design duo have a clear aesthetic which they reliably nail every season. Their latest offerings were utility luxe through and through. Think lashings of drapery in neutral, earthy hues, organic fabrics and loose layering. Drawing inspiration from shamanism, the designers created an array of abstract prints inspired by the smudging fan traditionally used to ward of evil spirits. I could imagine seeing a lot of this adorning the waiflike forms of models hanging out in downtown cafes. Under no circumstances to be paired with knee high socks, ballet flats or anything that could conceivably be in my own wardrobe.

NYFW

Nicholas K SS14

Still mildly traumatised from the most stressful journey of all time, I decided to make a high speed Starbucks dash (yes, another one) before show number two. I know that just a few days earlier I’d been praising the New York heat but I’m going to have to go back on my word now. If you’re sans driver then a few shows in to the day you’ll inevitably start feeling like a sweaty lumberjack which is never helped by that fact Olivia Palermo is more often than not perched opposite you looking so immaculate you want to melt away entirely. Thanks to my walk-subway-taxi-sprint journey I was feeling pretty icky before things even started which wasn’t helped by the insanely long coffee queue which left me legging in back into Lincoln Center so as not to actually miss BCBG Max Azria. The FROW included a bevvy of immaculate editors and celebs including Olivia Palermo (looking as polished as ever), Joanna Hillman and Nina Garcia, naturally all sporting the a spot of the label. When a contemporary brand’s been around and hugely popular for 25 years I can imagine it would be easy and no doubt tempting to continue churning out the same stuff season after season. Well, the husband and wife team behind BCBG aren’t afraid to mix it up and the results this season were impressive and perhaps, dare I say it, a little more directional than what we’ve seen before.

NYFW

BCBG Max Azria SS14

As I soon learned, tailoring is a major buzzword for SS14 and the Azria’s articulated a wearable, city chic take on it with dipped hems, dropped waists and silhouettes that appeared both soft and sculpted all at once. The show opened with an array of pale hued, crisp cotton ensembles including collarless shirt dresses, low slung wide leg trousers and cropped shirting with voluminous sleeves. From there it moved into marbled and floral prints in billowing chiffon freshened up by way of sheer panelling, another major SS14 trend, it’s cropped up everywhere! Between the effortless-yet-precisely-executed summer layering, origami folds and cocoon trench coating BCBG Max Azria’s latest offerings built on the air of nonchalance we saw for AW13 and were worlds away from last Summer’s trussed up bondage vibe while a final few embellished numbers no doubt reassured the label’s less trend conscious customers that they’ll still be able to pick up a cocktail frock or three come Spring.

Anyway, stress and sweat (ewww) aside, morning 1 was actually a total breeze. Three shows all in the same venue, just what you need when your feeling like a cat nap could, or at least should, be impending. My final show was Richard Chai Love and having never attended one of his before, I was rather excited

NYFW

Richard Chai Love SS14

I’ll admit, I didn’t know a great deal about the designer before this but this collection made me want to change all that. I always find it fascinating to see the same styles, or “trends” crop up in God-knows-how many shows with each brand’s own spin on it. Layering, sheer panelling, structured yet slouch silhouettes are all, or so I know realise, hotter-than-hot looks for SS14 and Richard Chai offered them up in cleanly cut linens, fluid silks and barely-there gauzy fabrics. Besides ice whites (which, I’ll be honest, don’t entirely get my pulse racing) paired with crimson the designer delivered a selection of stunning prints including aztec inspired geometrics, picture pretty poppies and marbled greens that, on closer inspection, had a little tartan involvement going on. The show finished up with a dark and dramatic finale of billowing black chiffon, skintight leather bikers and oil slick effect sequins. Funnily enough I met the lovely Richard at the Phillip Lim for Target party that evening so got the chance to congratulate him on a great show in person!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

New York, New York…

This season I was lucky enough to make my New York Fashion week debut and whilst I feel a tad disloyal to my beloved hometown saying this, I fell absolutely in love with “the city that never sleeps”… not to mention the seemingly endless array of incredible designers that live, work and show there. After two days of non-stop shows, dinners and various press engagements we had an afternoon to kill until our flight back to London. And what did I do with these precious spare hours? You guessed it, I hit the shops. Like the rest of the sartorial community, Style.com serves as something of an online Bible especially during Fashion Week season when excess champagne and chronic lack of sleep can cloud even the most discerning eye. But lovely though it is to check out the latest looks online or on the catwalk, you can’t truly judge a designers work until you’ve seen, touched and, let’s be honest, tried it on in the flesh. Well that my friends is precisely what I did during that blissful day in New York and as a result came home with a whole new array of collections to covet. London may have spawned McQueen, Galliano and Mary Katrantzou but the Yanks certainly aren’t lacking in homegrown fashion talent of their own. Here are a few of the New York natives I’m obsessing over after my trip…

Milly

Milly SS12

Yigal Azrouel

Yigal Azrouel SS12

Nanette Lepore

Nanette Lepore SS12

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Leave a comment

Front Row and Fabulous: Olivia Palermo

I know I claimed that I wouldn’t be featuring pointless FROW-ers in these posts but how could I not include Olivia Palermo? I mean, does anyone even care whether or (more likely) not she ever works a day in her life? The girl is so ridiculously pretty and sickeningly stylish she was simply made to sit in the front row and no doubt will continue to do so for many seasons to come. After all, what good is having perfect cheekbones and world’s best wardrobe if you’re not going to spend your time getting papped?

My first close (well, close ish) encounter with Olivia was at the Tibi show in New York where she and Emma Roberts nearly caused several PR’s to be trampled by hoards of stampeding paparazzi. I then spotted Olivia again at the Jaeger show in London and am sorry to announce that she really is every bit a gorgeous as she looks on The City. I’ve heard through the grapevine that she isn’t actually as much of a bitch as she seems on the show which I personally find a tad disappointing but that, my friends, is another story.

Olivia Palermo

No matter what continent she’s on or which show she attends, Olivia Palermo always looks the part. Her’s is the kind of style that a lucky few are simply born with and she mixes classic staples with statement pieces as only the pro’s know how. Olivia may not be a role model in terms of climbing the career ladder but my God can she dress to impress.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

Front Row and Fabulous: Anna Wintour

Ok, so I may not be going to Paris or Milan this season (sob!) but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I’m going to be letting go of Fashion Week anytime soon. This magical time comes but twice a year so whether you’re attending the shows or viewing them from the comfort of your own home I say let’s make the most! Now we all know that the point of Fashion Week is really the collections. Ultimately we’re all there to check out the clothes in store for next season but no matter how inspiring they are, their beauty sometimes pales in comparison to the fabulous faces on the FROW. Thinking about who to feature in my first ever front row post, the answer was pretty blooming obvious. Who else could I possibly begin with than the Queen of fashion herself, HRH Anna Wintour.

Anna Wintour

Unlike other serial FROW-ers I could mention, La Wintour is not just there to pose. Anyone who’s watched the Septmber Issue (and if you haven’t I command you to stop reading and YouTube it NOW!) will be well aware that Anna has the power to make or break a designer’s career. A nod from her and you’re sorted, a scowl and you may as well pack up and go home. Having spent the entire Meadham Kirchoff show trying to get a snap of her instead of looking at the collection, I can understand why Anna is such paparazzi fodder. Aside from the fact she’s top of the fashion food chain, the Editrix extraordinaire never looks anything less than perfection. Ever immaculate but never boring, sensationally stylish and a little bit terrifying, Anna Wintour certainly knows how to work a FROW.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 3 Comments