Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Summer Solstice at Koppaberg Urban Forest

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of Koppaberg’s super cool Urban Forest pop-up in East London, which has turned into one of the most anticipated summer events. This year, the team have taken over a really industrial, graffitied yard in Hackney and transformed it into a pretty Scandi-playground with a rough-and-ready urban London edge. Add to this a stellar line up of DJs and music acts and you have one of the must-have pop-ups of the summer.
Last weekend, I headed over to Hackney Wick to celebrate Summer Solstice in Scandi-style with Kopparberg and celebrity favourite The Braid Bar. On Saturday, the girls from The Braid Bar set up shop at the Urban Forest with floral stylist Lara Sanjar to create flower-adorned Koppabraids for the girls and incredible Koppabeards for the lads.

While flower-laden braids have been en vogue for a while, I’ve never, ever seen flowery beards before. Inspired by the Koppaberg summer advert with an elderflower-bearded gent, it makes for quite a striking juxtapose. Super cool! After having my braids done, I popped across to Le Bun to enjoy juicy burgers with a French twist. Have you ever had a cheeseburger with sweet chillis and truffle mayo? I have and I’d thoroughly recommend it!

I missed the headliners for the night due to the rain (British summer at its best) but I’ll definitely be popping down for another night – the Urban Forest is open until 12th July with the likes of Miss Dynamite, Slow Club, Chromeo and Trevor Nelson headlining. You can check out the line up here, I’ve already Sunday 5th July in your diaries – Southern Hospitality’s Hiphop Karaoke is hitting the Urban Forest which is sure to be an unforgettable night.
The Urban Forest is only open to over 18s and it’s free!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top Five: Selfridges Summer Sale Buys

Quick! The Selfridges sale has gone into further reductions, this is the best time to pick up a discounted treat. Here are my top five picks from the sale:

1. Mary Katrantzou dancer-print double clutch - £155 from £525
I love Mary Kartrantzou’s accessories line, who can resist this quirky double clutch? A larger snakeskin embossed clutch with a bright mini pouch with her statement dancer print means two bags for the discounted price of one.

2. Paige Jimmy Jimmy denim shorts - £30 from £190
Denim shorts are such a great investment buy during the sales, I love the distressed detailing on this pair from Paige.

3. Christopher Kane lace detail split hem dress - £250 from £950
A neon yellow lace dress may not scream 'investment buy' but both neon and lace are Christopher Kane signatures, this dress is practically classic Kane.

4. Mih Breathless skinny jeans - £60 from £205
Another denim staple, these skinny jeans have a high waist and are slightly cropped for a super flattering fit.

5. Rodarte Rohearte tshirt - £30 from £125
Rodarte's quirky take on slogan tshirts have become somewhat of a staple, since the introduction of their Radarte tee. I love the navy and gold combination in the Rohearte tshirt.

Friday, 19 June 2015

London Collections: Men SS16

Here are my highlights from London Collection: Men spring/summer 2016:

Christopher Raeburn SS16

 The military trend, which continues to go from strength to strength for menswear, comes naturally to Raeburn, featuring heavily in his collections since graduating from art school almost a decade ago. Last season, Raeburn refashioned Royal Navy life rafts into a very literal iteration of the military trend. This season, inspired by Tom Harrison’s experiences “going native” in Borneo, his collection features sarongs, cork detailing and slightly abstract orang-utan silhouettes in his reliably wearable aesthetic. Coupled with signatures including bombers, parkas and track pants, Raeburn is fast becoming the go-to brand for luxury urbanwear.
James Long SS16

Set to a soundtrack of Death in Vegas and Tori Amos, Longs SS16 collection is inspired by clubbers emerging from all night raves in Brighton. The aesthetic was very much undone, slung on and a little anarchistic. “Unashamed” was a key word in the show notes, with Anderson explaining “I was looking at people who are so natural in their clothing, they thing they’re blending in, but they’re totally not. There’s a real freedom to it”. This deconstructed look is part dreamy, part acid house and features paisley, faded tie-dye, dressing gown coats, frayed hoodies and Long’s signature heavily texturised knitwear in a strong, progressive collection.
JW Anderson SS16

Spring/summer 2016 saw Anderson looking to both his childhood and the night skies for inspiration, creating an imaginary world similar to that he created with his brother in treehouses as children. The interstellar inspiration manifested in the words “orbital”, “stellar” and “asteroids” emblazoned on pieces, while old computer fonts and DIY badges made out of scissors and pins added a decidedly nostalgic feel. On the whole, the palette was neutral, with abstract board games and pops of orange spicing up cool blue indigos and soothing beige linens. Wide leg slightly cropped trousers were the stand out pieces in the collection which was decidedly more masculine than previous collections.
Sibling SS16

 London’s favourite knitwear trio took us on a trip across the Atlantic for their spring/summer 2016 collection. Inspired by vintage Americana and old football pictures, the collection features racy lace up detailing, sequinned sports jerseys and exaggerated beaded shoulder pads in a collection which delighted in taking a very macho, masculine pursuit and turning it on its head. If this is sounding altogether too tame for the Sibling trio, they offered up a flash of model-perfect glutes in their slashed-across-the-butt trousers. Saucy.
Casely-Hayford SS16

 The father-and-son duo behind Casely-Hayford were inspired by their seemingly innocuous studio move from East London to North London. For those unfamiliar to London, this may seem like a simple geographical move but the two pockets of London are tangibly different, poles apart even. Casely-Hayford meticulously merge a cool, contemporary urban sportswear aesthetic with classic, timeless tailoring, layering sharply tailored shirts with sporty bombers and wide leg crop trousers. Stand out pieces include the hoodie/blazer hybrid and the North London biker-inspired outerwear. One of the stand out collections from London: Collections.
Oliver Spencer SS16

Aside from consistently delivering my favourite collections during LC:M, Oliver Spencer always brings a new artist to my attention, as each season starts with a specific artist in mind. For spring/summer 2016, Spencer was inspired by minimalist sculpture Richard Serra, known for beautiful contoured curves of rusting metal. The resulting collection layered clashing fabrics in an earthy tone of leaf green, rust and aubergine with accents of cool slate. Voluminous shapes subtly echoed Serra’s work in a cool, commercial collection.
Astrid Andersen SS16

 Inspired by a trip to Shanghai and cult classic Big Trouble in Little China, pretty cherry blossom adorned almost every piece in Andersen’s SS16 collection. While very street sportswear and delicate cherry blossom may not be the obvious choice, it really works and is reminiscent of the past season collection with a gorgeous pink-orange sunset palette. Andersen’s signature basketball, baseball and hockey inspired pieces and kimono-like jackets were of course present along with 90s popper pants, returning in a blaze of nostalgic glory.  Still treading the path between masculine sportswear with feminine inspirations, Andersen is the master of urban sports luxe. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Top Five: Yogawear from Sweaty Betty


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Hotel Review: Hotelito Lupaia, Italy

The process of choosing a hotel is a funny thing; everyone has a different set of priorities and you can easily spend hours if not days choosing where to stay. But sometimes you get lucky and a hotel chooses you. As much as I love a gallivanting in a new city, I’ve been yearning for some peace and quiet recently, my priority became finding a lovely under-the-radar, hidden gem of a hotel for some much needed R&R. While trying to decipher which pretty, picturesque little town to visit in Tuscany, I stumbled upon a picture of Hotelito Lupaia. More specifically, the jaw-droppingly beautiful infinity pool which has views across the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Sold.
Hotelito Lupaia is located in the middle of a picturesque lush, green valley in Val d’Orcia, between the towns of Montepulciano and Pienza. As the images I had seen suggested, it’s very remote and idyllic. To describe it as off-the-beaten-path is an understatement; I used the latitude and longitude in the sat-nav and drove about 10 minutes on a little stony road to my final destination.
Hotelito Lupaia is truly breath-taking; even my pictures failed to capture how magical it is. A former medieval borgo, the hotel is made up of several cottages all connected with lovely old stone paths and surrounded with well-manicured gardens. And all around, the Tuscan countryside is laid out in front of you like a painting.

Like all good homes, the heart of Lupaia is its kitchen. Located in the biggest building at the centre of the hotel, the kitchen is a rustic Italian dream with the original beams, pretty tiling and copper pans hanging from the ceiling. The wonderful chef and team are on hand, preparing an authentic Tuscan feast each evening and the most impressive continental breakfast spread I’ve ever seen in the morning.
I was spoilt for choice and just had to indulge in a mammouth multi-course breakfast of homemade jams, cakes and croissants as well as fruits, cheeses and freshly cooked eggs. Hotelito Lupaia prides itself on being as carbon-neutral as possible; the cheese is sourced from a farm just across the valley which has the best pecorino I’ve ever tasted. The weather was gorgeous so I enjoyed my breakfast in the quiet wisteria-laden courtyard and took in the beautiful view of the Val di Chiana hills.

The rooms themselves are pretty, ivy-covered cottages from the original borgo, each one has been painstakingly restored and is unique. I stayed in the emerald green haven that is the Bosco room; I can safely say that I have never stayed anywhere so magnificent. From the cool, terracotta tiles to the handpainted walls and sumptuous window swags, the entire room was decorated in complementary shades of bold yet calming green.

I’m not the biggest fan of green but it really worked. Nothing about the décor in minimal, everything is carefully selected for impact – the hard-carved antique walnut bed with matching dressing table was the focal point of the room. Though the colours were bold, the room still retained an undeniably luxe feel with heavy fabrics and pretty, rustic touches such as the original rafters.

The real cherry on the cake is the magnificent infinity pool which overlooks the stunning rolling hills. The view coupled with the tranquillity and peace make for a killer combination; the pool at Hotelito Lupaia is among one of my favourite places in all of Italy.

My stay at Hotelito Lupaia was truly wonderful; all of the little details and touches have made this a really magical place unlike anywhere I have ever stayed. I can't fault a single thing, everything from the rooms and décor to the location and food is absolutely perfect. Lupaia has earned a special place in my heart and I'm looking forward to coming back for years to come.

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