Paris

PFW SS14: Day 4

Despite my sleep deprived state I found myself awake at 5am on the final morning of PFW SS14. Why was I awake and practically bouncing off the walls I hear you ask? Two words: Louis Vuitton. When it comes to spectacle, few do it better than Mr Marc Jacobs. Having obsessively watched and researched the Louis Vuitton extravaganza unfold online each season, the fact I’d actually be there in person this time was almost more than I could handle. Renowned as the only show to start on time, bar Marc’s eponymous one in New York, I wasn’t taking any chances and for once found myself leaving the house with over an hour to reach my destination, not that it stopped me panicking the entire way.

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I wore: REDValentino jacket, Warehouse skirt, Anya Hindmarch bag & Kurt Geiger shoes
Image c/o The Nyanzi Report

Within the palatial, Louvre adjacent venue a vast pink tent had been erected. On the stairs a troop of immaculately clad French maids “dusted” with noir plumes, giving us a hint of the wonders within. Once inside, I didn’t know where to look/Instagram first! There were more maids preferring trays of delicacies standing between what I suspected where objets recalling previous shows. The carousel, the water fountain, the lifts, the escalators, the station clock, the hotel corridor… All reminding us of the wonders Marc Jacobs has delivered in the past and making us even more excited to see what was about to be unveiled.

PFW SS14

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True to form, the show started literally bang on 10am with the chime of a clock and out strode Edie Campbell, arms outstretched, naked save for a thong, second skin, nude hued body suit covered in LV graffiti and a magnificent black headdress. At the end of letter from Marc waiting on each and every seat read the dedication “To the showgirl in all of us” and indeed, what ensued was quite literally one of the most incredibly displays of imagination, innovation and pure sartorial skill I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness.

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Of course, being the master of stylish subversion he is, Marc Jacobs showgirls weren’t going to succumb to the rainbow brights and feather boa stereotype. There were feathers and lots of them, but these where oil slick black Ostrich plumes as for SS14 Louis Vuitton is offering up a vision of gothic glamour unlike any you’ve seen before. Floor sweeping black chiffon adorned with glimmering, chiming metallic embellishment came paired with slouchy jeans, graphite grey chains and flat, crocodile biker boots that padded stealthily across the Mongolian lamb rugs covering the entire catwalk. This was haute noir with undertones of punk and a sprinkle of sparkle showcased on ethereal, otherworldly looking models resembling exquisitely beautiful birds of pray. Sculpted jackets with epaulets of spiky black crystals had a military feel while sculpted sweatshirts in woven fabrics bearing the motif “LV Paris” were so far removed from any other athletic influenced garments it took me a while to actually register what they were. This potent blend of vixenish streetwear, showgirl splendour and couture worthy regalia was taken to new heights of drama by the breathtaking tightly choreographed performance of each model making her journey round the water fountain, up the wrought iron lift, along the hotel corridor, down the escalators, past the carousel (on which lounged Kate Upton for the show’s duration) and back round the water fountain offering every attendee the chance to have a good gawp. It takes real cajones to put out an all black collection for Summer, a high risk move considering the rumours that this would be Marc Jacobs’ last collection for the brand – rumours I still refused to even entertain at this point – but the inky hues and hard edged beauty felt oh so perfect. I don’t think pictures would do it justice so here’s the video instead.

At the risk of sounding a little melodramatic – although I think that’s appropriate in this context – the show was really quite moving, a feeling that only increased when it was announced immediately afterwards that Marc would indeed be leaving Louis Vuitton. Former Balenciaga Creative Director, Nicholas Ghesquière is hotly tipped to be taking up the reigns but right now it remains unconfirmed. No doubt all will be revealed soon but whoever dares to follow Marc Jacobs incredible 16 year tenure next has some extremely big shoes to fill.

The feeling you, or at least, I have after leaving a show like that is nothing less than pure exhilaration. In my dizzied state I walked for the best part of a mile in the wrong direction until finally relenting, taking off my shoes and getting a taxi back to the apartment. After a couple of hours working/reading magazines and playing on Facebook I was back in my (literally) killer heels and off to my final show of PFW SS14, Zadig & Voltaire. Wearing a mink trimmed wool cape in 23 degree sunshine is not entirely a comfortable experience. Wearing it inside a boiling, packed out show venue inside Palais de Tokyo is practically unbearable. But, such is my (perhaps foolish) commitment to fashion that I decided to swelter and bear it and thankfully Cecilia Bönström’s latest collection made nearly fainting several times worth it. Admittedly, Zadig & Voltaire is totally not “me”. Their deliberately undone brand of grunge luxe is a far cry from the pastel hues and dainty shoes that tend to reside in my wardrobe but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. Hanne Gaby Odile opened the show stomping out in two tone fur, biker boots and a silk slip which oozed French rock n’ roll nonchalance. The collection that followed may not have been exactly earth shatteringly new but it was an excellent example of what this brand does so excellently.

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Zadig & Voltaire SS14

Biker inspired staples with lashings of leather and attitude to match accessorised with trilby’s and oversized crucifix earrings. Glimmering burnished metallics were paired with boyish tailoring and deconstructed boudoir silks, a masterclass in how to dress down sequins and shine by way of studied slouch. Sexy in an effortlessly Parisian way that screams “model off duty”, Zadig & Voltaire SS14 definitely got a thumbs up from yours truly.

My first ever Paris Fashion Week was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be and more. Here’s to many more seasons of shows, FROWS and general fabulousness!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

PFW SS14: Day 3

I don’t know how people manage the full fashion month circuit. New York + London nearly killed me and even after a week of flat shoes and elasticated waistbands before heading to PFW, by day three I was shattered. Perhaps having a driver at your disposal and the self control not to go to every single party is the secret, might have to try that some time. Anyway, I did manage to haul myself out of bed but I didn’t have to go far or get dressed for my first fashion fix as the first show on my schedule was of the digital variety.

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I wore: REDValentino Coat & Dress, Chloè Bag, Russell & Bromley Shoes & Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace
Image c/o The Nyanzi Report

The idea of a digital show has never really appealed to me before but the sheer sartorial brilliance of the Pedro Lourenço SS14 collection came across strongly on screen and watching it in my pj’s with a cup of tea in hand was blissful. The Brazilian’s latest offerings were the epitome of intelligent, modern design and technical mastery. From the flawless precision with which he cut his sleekly sculpted silhouettes and ruched peplums to the ingenious use of laser cutting and painstakingly developed fabrics – silk crepe cut into op art inspired patterns, double layered lamé satin and dégradé effect sequins to name but a few – the fearless, meticulous, futuristic elegance of Pedro Lourenço SS14 was almost overwhelming. Suddenly Lourenço’s decision made absolute sense, to merely see his creations stride past on a catwalk wouldn’t even begin to do them justice to show digitally; these were the kind of clothes that look fantastic from afar but truly fascinating close up.

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Pedro Lourenço SS14

Much as I was enjoying the whole pyjamas and Earl Grey situation I had going on, I was even more excited to change into my outfit for the day, a dreamy REDValentino ensemble in full skirted tulle and blush hues. For once I left with time to spare but went straight to the wrong venue and endured a panicked, high speed metro journey as a result. Thanks to the rudimentary thirty-minutes-plus show delay I arrived at Palais de Tokyo for Agnès B with time to enjoy my first PFW visit to the space and check out Agnès B’s floral decorations. The brand’s signature classic with a twist style is a winner with me so I couldn’t wait to see what treats were in store for SS14. Since opening her first boutique on Rue du Jour in 1975, Agnès has designed hundreds of collections spanning from womenswear to watches, jewellery and adorable children’s clothes. Her latest offerings paid homage to this legacy while proving that the designer is far from being out of ideas. Inspired by spring blooms, seaside afternoons and summer in the city, the collection was a vision of girlish elegance.

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Agnès B SS14

Boucle tweed short suits strode out alongside pinstriped silk shirts and immaculate tailoring in fine grey wools. School girl touches such as lace up brogues and round hats added an irresistible air of insouciance with school girl touches. Simple creamy knits paired with watercolour floral print silks and simple white woven plimsols moved into botanical hues and nautical touches with buttersoft leather Capri pants adding to the element of luxe. Some of the slouchy hessian looks lost on me but the cinched graphic waist stripes that followed more than made up for that and the ladylike pastel looks were my idea of fashion catnip. Agnès even threw a bit of rebellion into the mix with bag girl black leathers and graphic print silks before concluding with a voluminous ikat print finale complete with turbans. Ok, so she wasn’t exactly breaking the mould but one looks to Agnès B for easy, real life chic and that she most certainly delivered.

After show number two I had a much needed break during which I paid a visit to the Louis Vuitton high jewellery presentation at the majestic Hôtel Particulier in Montmarte. Unsurprisingly, the pieces were some of the most jaw dropping I’ve ever seen and the experience rather made me wish I had billions to splash on bling. But time to daydream was in short supply as it was soon time to head to one of my most eagerly anticipated shows, Valentino.

Valentino is by and far one of my all time favourite, nay worshipped fashion houses; hell, I’m even writing my university thesis about it. I cannot even begin to describe how it felt to be actually attending their Paris show. Striding through the photographers lining the walkway through the Tuileries into Espace Ephemere in my full skirted REDValentino ensemble I have to admit, I had a bit of a Princess moment all the while praying I wouldn’t trip over my own feet and die of shame. Once inside, the people watching opportunities were second to none with half the AW13 collection on show and rockstud accessories as far as the eye could see. I’m not even going to bother listing who was on the FROW, it was basically everyone who’s anyone clad in obscenely covetable clothing. As for the collection itself, I barely even know how to begin to describe Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli’s SS14 creations.

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Valentino SS14

Drawing inspiration from as diverse a range of sources to include Opera and the merging of different Mediterranean cultures, the design duo drew the most visually arresting elements of their many starting points resulting in a delicious to the point of being unbearable feast for the eyes. Print, colour and texture came rich and of the finest quality imaginable with exotic patterns in vivid hues the exact origins of which were impossible to place.

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Valentino SS14

A second glance at the show notes informed me that the idea of theatre costumes had been a key influence this season and there was certainly a theatrical element to the collection’s intricately embroidered textiles, veil-like gowns and regal, gold studded leather headbands. It is a true testament to the Chiuri and Piccoli that the haute couture which which a young Valentino made his name in the 1960s remains as revered as it was then today. Couture techniques, skill and the sense of garments that could double as artwork underpinned the Valentino’s RTW offerings, simultaneously elevating and being grounded by simpler but by no means less compelling pieces such as crisp blue poplin shirts, striped cotton coats and luscious, berry hued suede numbers with tassel detailing. Combined with tasselled shoulder bags, abstracted ponchos and high collared pieces embroidered with monastic patterns in intense shades of wine red and glimmering gold, there was an air of ecclesiastical elegance meets haute hippie about it all. This merging of old and new, different cultures, fabrics and couture worthy techniques resulted in one of the most impossibly stunning displays of sartorial wonder I have ever seen in my life. Maria and Pierpolo, I take my hat off to you and the incredible legacy of the Maison Valentino you’re both honouring and furthering so perfectly.

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Valentino SS14

Having had to go home to do a bit of non fashion week related work (hard to believe the rest of the world still exists in the midst of the madness) I decided I may as well throw in an outfit change before my final show of the day, Paul & Joe. I settled on my beloved Peter Pilotto pencil skirt with a crisp (ish) white shirt, black blazer, killer heels and Anya Hindmarch’s dainty Bathurst bag. I figured this could carry me straight through to the Louis Vuitton x Sofia Coppola event at Bon Marche although I did not take into account how difficult it would be taking the metro in that get up; pencil skirts, not great when stairs and walking are involved. Somehow I wiggled my way there in time to feel pathetically pleased when the photographers outside Palais de Tokyo noticed my new ensemble – little did they know it was the result of an uncomfortable underground shlep, not a waiting driver on hand to supply fresh garb – and smell the fresh garlands of flowers waiting on our seats before the show began. The collection was entitled “A Summer In Paris”, an enticing promise if ever there was one. According to the show notes, this season was all about “no stress” elegance and after seeing the first few looks I concluded that this was a pretty accurate summary of the Paul & Joe SS14 aesthetic. Wide deckchair stripes and soft chambray denim oozed casual, boyish cool while brushed silks, fine lace and ice white cotton jacquards provided a counterbalancing feminine touch.

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Paul & Joe SS14

Shapes came slouchy and fluid with dropped waists, loose lines and lightweight summer coats that billowed behind the models as they breezed down the catwalk. Paul & Joe designer, Sophie Mechaly is something of a whiz with print and her knack for throwing a medley of different patterns together within one ensemble was on point this season. Liberty prints, florals and checks came layered and styled with bandana belts, woven basket bags and studded leather flats making for a covetable brand of playful, Parisian nonchalance. Paul & Joe promised us “no stress” and that’s precisely what we got. I for one would feel very relaxed if I owned the lot.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

PFW SS14: Day 2

Having left the Kenzo after party (more on this coming soon, it was insane) at a saintly 2am I felt pretty pleased with myself as my second day of PFW SS14 dawned. Admittedly dragging my tired limbs out of bed at 7 was a struggle but I maintain that was more to do with the previous day’s shoes than cocktails or dance floor exertion. As is so often the case, despite waking two hours before the first engagement on my iCal I found myself horrifically late after pottering around making porridge and playing with my friend Laura’s adorable pup, Walter, resulting in one very panic stricken and slow (Paris traffic is the worst!) journey across town in an attempt not to miss Collette Dinnigan.

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I wore: REDValentino Cape, Hobbs NW3 Shirt, AllSaints Skirt, Alice + Olivia Bag & Kurt Geiger Shoes
Image c/o The Nyanzi Report

In retrospect getting an Uber cab was both lazy and stupid. There really are few things more irritating than sitting in stationary traffic to the tune of 30 euros when just taking the metro would have got you there in a third of the time for almost a thirtieth of the price. Luckily Collette dissipated my increasing rage at life and everyone in it with a collection that was oozed joyful, girlish prettiness. The Australian designer treated us to an array of sweet summer treats ranging from separates and sundresses in white broderie anglaise to colour pop frocks adorned with appliqué florals and scarlet shorts featuring intricate cut work and bow belts.

Collette Dinnigan SS14

Collette Dinnigan SS14

Carefully thought out details such as floral embellished spaghetti straps, ruched chiffon waistbands and contrast coloured ribbon panels kept the collection’s prettiness polished while the girly innocence of it all was undercut with the slightest hint of boudoir by way of peek-a-boo sheers and peeping lace bralets. Yep, anyone who thinks they’re not going to be flashing a (tasteful) bit of flesh next season better dream on. The show concluded with a succession of evening looks ranging from floor sweeping, ethereally beautiful gowns of delicate lace with waists cinched by trailing ribbon to dramatic silk navy numbers sparkling jewels.

All earlier taxi anger erased (at least until my extortionate Uber bill landed) I headed out into the drizzly Parisian morning and on to my first showroom appointment of the day, Jerome Dreyfuss.

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Jerome Dreyfuss et Moi

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Much as I adore the spectacle and excitement of a fashion show (and I really bloody do) in many ways a showroom appointment is almost as rewarding an experience. This is especially true when the brand in question is one that leaves you weak at the knees and the designer behind it is there to walk you through the collection. Jerome Dreyfuss’ accessories are universally acknowledged as being some of the chicest, coolest and most covetable known to man so I couldn’t wait to meet him in person. Well, the experience did not disappoint. Jerome’s relaxed yet stylish HQ on Boulevard de la Bastille was filled with bags and shoes so goddamn gorgeous the idea of grabbing as many as I could carry and legging it crossed my mind more than thrice. In the end I settled for stroking their glossy pelts and giving the super soft rucksacks (a new addition for SS14) a good squeeze.

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Dreyfuss designs come with a price tag to fit their luxeness but, as the charming fellow explained, he’s always aware that us young fashion obsessives don’t have mega bucks so each piece can be worn a number of different ways. Indeed, practicality is also inherent in the label’s ethos resulting in super lightweight bags with internal pockets to meet every need inspired apparently by Jerome’s desire to organise his wife (that’s Isabel Marant FYI) via her accessories. If forced to pick a favourite I’d be at a loss. Perhaps the sunshine yellow satchel… Or the multi leather, multi colour cross body… or one of the leopard print calfhair beauties he’s so renowned for. Actually, sod it, I’d choose them all. Probably time to start buying lottery tickets!

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Once I finally managed to tear myself away from Jerome Dreyfuss’ showroom I steeled myself to get back on the metro (no more unnecessary taxis after uber-gate!) and head to Saint Germain for my second appointment at Karl Lagerfeld HQ. Unsurprisingly, the place was majestic. After walking through one of those hidden gardens they have in Paris and I wish we had back home I ascended a stone stairway to enter and was immediately confronted by a Karl stencil illuminated in white on black (obviously) and flanked by equally sleek monochrome handbags from the SS14 collection I was about to ogle. This is definitely stating the obvious but Karl Lagerfeld really is an extraordinary designer. When I was studying C20th at university last year it was fascinating to learn how early on in the century he became a hugely important, innovative figure within the industry yet is even more influential and crucially, modern, almost fifty years later. Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous SS14 collection was a testament to just how well understands both what contemporary fashion fans want to wear, how this varies within a global market and how to deliver on both of these fronts while still retaining that unmistakeable “Karl-ness”.

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Karl Lagerfeld

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The worldwide sartorial obsession with leather continued at Karl by way of biker jackets and super skinny drainpipes black, white and silver leathers or in the form of panelling paired with cobalt blue calfskin on mini skirts and shift dresses. As one would expect, there were plenty of slick monochrome looks but they sat alongside eye popping neons for those less inclined towards minimalism. Geometric prints sat alongside pared back black dresses, artfully arranged up the winding staircase. Karl Lagerfeld’s accessories where particularly strong this season with the Bowletto bag reworked in a myriad of new colours and textures. Most of the bags also had a corresponding pair of shoes within Karls’ vast footwear collection, a fact I probably don’t need to tell you pleased me a lot!

By this point I was feeling a little weary and my feet were practically screaming so I treated myself to lunch-for-one at Cafe de Flore. A little indulgent and a lot clichéd I know but when in Paris it has to be done! Next on my agenda was an appointment at the Victoria Beckham showroom across the river in Le Marais. Seeing Mrs Beckham’s talk at this year’s Vogue Festival confirmed my suspicions that the she’s something of a superwoman. Yes, she may have stacks of (hard earned) cash which makes balancing a million and one things easier but how anyone has the head space, let alone time, to design and run a major fashion brand with multiple diffusion lines while raising four children, living a transatlantic lifestyle, patronising charities, sitting as a judge at Graduate Fashion Week and dealing with constant press scrutiny is beyond me. However she does it, the sartorial results are sublime.

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Victoria’s SS14 mainline collection was as sleek, chic and immaculate as ever with many a precisely cut, bold hued separate on top of the pared back power dresses she’s so known for. The younger, more accessible (well, ish) Victoria, Victoria Beckham was particularly delectable this season with kaleidoscopic patterns, silk pleats and oh-so-covetable pastel party numbers besides variations of the drop waisted, bell shaped cloque frock the designer has been spotted rocking herself. It was a perfect fusion of the girlish glee exuded by the playful prints of VVB’s initial collections and the effortless polish we all went wild for last season. Yep, all more proof Victoria Beckham is not actually human. As for the handbags, don’t even get me started on the pastel hued, buttersoft leather beauties!

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After a much needed cup of tea/breather/email blast through in a cute Parisian cafe (not Starbucks, impressed?) I was back on my now throbbing feet and off to the hub of Paris Fashion Week, Jardin de Tuileries, for my final show of the day Elie Saab. I suspected that this would be one to attract a combination of industry big hitters, celebs and the kind of (lucky) ladies who but, wear and adore his gowns and was proved right by the sight of British Vogue Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, Suzy Menkes and Hamish Bowles plus many a glamazon rocking Saab ensembles and footwear of the cab to curb only variety. Seating arrangements vary from being arranged by country, print and digital or apparently just at random (no doubt there is a method to the “random” ones, I just don’t know it) and on this occasion I was delighted to discover that the Saab team had sat all bloggers together. Our little area held Tala Samman of My Fash Diary, Sandra Hagelstam of 5 Inch and Up, Shini of Park and Cube and many more besides with Bryan Boy heading us up at the front. “Lovely” is a pretty lame way to describe anything but that is precisely what Elie Saab’s SS14 collection was. Well, lovely along with being a feat of flawless craftsmanship of the kind only a seasoned pro like Saab can deliver.

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Elie Saab SS14

Opening with array of coral and ice white confections in delicate Chantilly lace and featherweight chiffon complete with intricate embroidery and appliqué blooms. Indeed it was nature that inspired Saab this season and his colour palette roamed from the camelia whites and elegantine roses to verdant green, bougainvillea pinks and inky blacks recalling a garden at midnight. The beautifully bedazzled, red carpet ready gowns and flirty, fit n flare cocktail frocks were contrasted by fluid, elegantly tailored separates and styled with simple gold hairbands adding to the underlying feeling of refined luxury; like I said, a lovely lovely show to behold and the perfect end to the day. Oh what I wouldn’t give to come back for his couture performance next Summer!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

PFW SS14: Day 1

PFW SS14 day 1 dawned muggy and overcast but for once I couldn’t have given less of a monkey’s rump about the weather because I was in PARIS! Visiting the most undeniably, borderline offensively beautiful city on the planet always fills me with joy and the usual jubilance I feel being here was multiplied by a million because I was clad in head-to-toe Chloé and off to the Kenzo show.

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I wore: Blouse, Skirt, Bag & Shoes all by Chloé

On the subject of this particular outfit, I rather wish I’d had the time, energy or inclination to do a midday outfit change. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely and utterly in love with its prim and proper pastel prettiness but basically every single other show goer was clad in Kenzo. I did feel like a bit of a tit among the eye motifs, baseball caps and new balance trainers. But the lovely folk at Chloé had offered to dress me for their show later that day and no WAY was I forgoing the opportunity to wear Claire Waight Keller’s unutterably elegant creations for the sake of not sticking out like a sore (but hopefully chic) thumb at Kenzo. When I told my hosts the venue’s address the previous evening they laughed in my face because Kenzo like to hold their shows far, far away from the center of the city, presumably just because they can. Admittedly the place was totally worth the trek; a vast glass hangar like structure somewhere in the suburbs, both an awesome location for a fashion show and a testament to the pulling power of the brand. Once inside I noticed many people popping out what appeared to be a fire exit to smoke which made me smile; only in Paris would that fly, try it in New York and you’d get lynched!

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As expected, the FROW was occupied by Susie Menkes, Hamish Bowles, Caroline Issa (rocking some supremely stylish slouchy, pinstripe tailoring) Lucinda Chambers, Anna Dello Russo, Imran Ahmed, Harley Viera Newton, Chiara Ferragni (sporting a lion print Kenzo two piece and very big hair) Susie Lau… And various unbelievably cool Kenzo clad Asians who made me feel more than a little out of place all over again. A glance at the show notes informed me that Kenzo were another label to look to California beach culture for their new season inspiration. I was very intrigued to see how Carol and Humberto would put their own unique, witty spin on this much-repeated SS14 theme. A mere half hour late a beat struck up and water began pulsating from the lamps on floor we’d all been eyeing, now illuminated in blue and white. Suddenly a full waterfall began streaming from the ceiling at the end of the runway and a troop of models lined up behind it, offering us a glimpse of the pack a punch prints we’d soon be coveting.

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The first looks to hit the catwalk offered slouchy tailoring, oil slick leathers and wave cut edges in homage to the designer’s oceanic inspiration. From there it moved into cool blues, deep seaweed greens and finally eye popping fuchsia featuring geometric, hand drawn aqua motifs and melted fish prints prints and styled with neoprene bags that resembled hyper modern fishermans nets.

Kenzo SS14 1

Kenzo SS14

There was shimmer and shine a’plenty by way of drip embroidery and reversible sequins adorning crop tops, dresses and neatly cut separates with concealed zips adding to the wetsuit worthy sleekness. Strip away the show styling and element of spectacle and the collection was fundamentally functional in a wonderfully “look at me” kind of way. That, I feel is the secret to Kenzo’s success, we all lose our minds over it on the catwalk then, some six months later, wear it every day.

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Kenzo SS14

Print and shine with an urban, tomboy edge; trust Kenzo to concoct a cooler and more covetable take on surf chic than any other label. But it wasn’t just lovely clothes for their own sake. The brand have recently partnered with The Blue Marine Foundation so those punchy prints and statement separates are as much about bringing awareness to deep sea conservation issues as making best dressed lists. So, if you needed any further excuse to add to your Kenzo collection there you have it.

After a somewhat frantic metro journey in my two sixes two big shoes (turns out, just as agonising as too sizes too small) I arrived at the Place Vendome for show number two, Ellery. An utterly exquisite venue from the outside, equally charming once inside the intimate yet positively regal space. I was delighted to spot a few familiar faces and got to have a nice catch up with fellow Londoners-in-Paris Phil Oh, Vanessa Jackman and Bonnie Rakhit before the show began. Kym Ellery is being hailed as one of the hottest up and comers to know and Hollywood’s already obsessed with her divine designs with Madonna’s stylist rumoured to call in on the atelier regularly. As such, the FROW boasted some pretty major names including Bryan Boy, Natalie Joos, Candice Lake plus some less major ones, i.e. me.

At exactly midday the first model emerged ushering in a collection that fused classicism and modernity by way of couture silhouettes paired with oh-so-OTM metallic accessories. Timeless styles like black and white evening gowns and pinstriped tailoring had been reworked for the contemporary wearer with “off” twists such as pockets peeking from below super short tailored shorts, cropped, fluted sleeve satin peplum tops and ball skirts slung low enough on the hips to make your mother have a fit.

Ellery SS14

Ellery SS14

Immaculately sculpted silks and cottons came expertly contorted, draped and suspended as if by magic off the models’ ethereal frames, an old meets new vision with an air of haute nonchalance. I was rather less keen on the wicker like constructions but Ellery’s incredibly work with textures ranging from glittery graphite to metallic woven linen and stiffened gauzy chiffon. A varied and intriguing colour palette spanned from monochrome through metallics to glimmering burgundy and saccharine shades of blush and mint kept sharp by cleaner than clean lines, immaculate construction and an absolute absence of embellishment. Delectable ponyskin footwear was simple the icing on the cake.

After piling out of the venue armed with excellent goodie bags (coffee, scented candles, face creams and more) I strolled, or rather hobbled, to the nearest Starbucks. I know, I know, it’s a crime when in Paris but I needed wifi and a skinny latte asap so – excuse impending – it seemed like the only viable option. For some reason unbeknown to anyone including me, despite having spent really quite a bit of time in Paris over the past few years, I always spend my whole time getting lost. Perhaps this has something to do with my dependence on google maps (turn the iPhone data off and I’m screwed) or possibly my brazen inclination to set of at speed in random directions. Either way, I managed to spend 3 hours doing two showroom appointments and before I knew it, the Chloé show was up.

If you’ve checked out the blog anytime since, well, ever then you’ll know how I feel about Chloé. From the label’s rich heritage – not to mention the legion of game changing designers who’ve stood at its helm – to it’s stealthy cult hit pieces and the women who wear them, as a fashion house it’s nothing short of an inspiration. To be attending the Paris catwalk show while wearing the clothes was a thrill I could never have envisaged experiencing. In case you hadn’t realised, there may be some gushing coming up but I can’t help it, every aspect of Chloé SS14 was just incredible. The seasons’ venue was the Lycée Carnot, a traditional Parisian former school in the 17th arrondismont of the city. Inside the atmosphere was electric with Chloé clad beauties swinging their Marcie satchels and tossing their polished-yet-undone locks as far as the eye could see. On the FROW opposite my seat were Olivia Palermo, Iggy Azalea (looking very demure in cream broderie) Leigh Lezark, Anna Dello Russo, Harley Viera Newton and Coco Rocha providing me with ten minutes outfit ogling until the show began.

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Chloé SS14

The collection itself was the very epitome of effortless stylishness undercut by a feeling of luxurious exoticism. Fluid fabrics and languid, long line silhouettes came in an array of luscious neutrals, putty hues and khakis creating a fantasy of easy, holiday glamour with finely ruched and pleated chiffon concoctions offering an after dark alternative. Ice white cottons embroidered with metallic thread, featherweight summer knits and laser cut, navy broderie anglaise numbers offered a fresh femininity while persian blue print dresses conjured up a desire to be twirling barefoot around the souks at night.

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Chloé SS14

PFW

Chloé SS14 managed to exude a raw edged, relaxedness while being utterly immaculate. Distinctly non-flashy water green and faded blue sequins and opulent, burnished gold mesh sat alongside relaxed Summer tailoring paired with nonchalant cross body bags which simply screamed “buy me now!” In my opinion, it was a masterclass in modern elegance and one of Claire Waight Keller’s finest collections yet.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 4 Comments

Keith Haring: The Political Line

Keith Haring

Paris really does have a hell of a lot going for it. Breathtaking architecture, delicious food, handsome men, A-MAZING shopping and last but certainly not least, cultural happenings to convert even the most committed of philistines. One such cultural happening is the Keith Haring exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne.

Keith Haring

Whether or not you’ve heard of Keith Haring, you will have definitely seen his work. The American artist’s oh-so-distinctive style – all bold lines, vivid hues and figures that appear to be leaping off the surface – still adorns many a public space, not to mention a seemingly endless array of popular merchandise encompassing everything from t-shirts to homeware and mouse mats. But while I, like the rest of the world, had seen God-knows-how many Haring reproductions, nothing compares to getting up close and personal with 220 of the real things.

Keith Haring

The experience of walking through room after room of eye-popping, dizzyingly animated Keith Haring creations is incredible enough merely in terms of visual spectacle. However, as the name suggests, that’s not really the point of this exhibition. Living in 1980s New York, Haring responded both to his adopted home and the world at large, giving his work an intensely political dimension. He campaigned endlessly against for equality, freedom and the power of the individual, with the lasting ambition to create truly public art carrying social messages. His iconic “subway sketches” led on to the artist etching his powerful designs on billboards, murals, buildings and even the Berlin Wall. The exhibition explores Haring’s support of social and political issues with a thematic arrangement leading you from his early works rebelling against the the state, through his revolts against capitalism, mass media, racism, ecocide, nuclear threat and apocalypse before poignantly finishing with his last works looking at sex, AIDS and death. For me, this layout was the perfect way to understand more about the life and work of Keith Haring.

Keith Haring

The arrestingly graphic quality of his work, intricate detail and never ending imagination involved in every piece made for fascinating viewing as did the way in which Haring seamlessly adapted his aesthetic to every imaginable media. Even more fascinating was the close relationship between Keith Haring’s work, and his political conscience. Where the message behind some contemporary art is murky, his is clear to see and, as I learned from the handy information panels, directly corresponded with what he was doing to support these causes. As you probably know, Haring died from AIDS in 1990 at just 32. This, along with the unpleasant realities Keith Haring still makes us face, makes for an exhibition that is both awe inspiring and impossibly tragic.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Reviews 1 Comment