Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Top Five: Bomber Jackets

If I had to choose my favourite season, it would have to be Spring. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and everything is in bloom; it’s such an optimistic season and symbolic of fresh starts and new beginnings. While heavy winter layers have been shed, lighter layers are still are still appropriate, opaque tights make way for the odd bare leg day and boots can retire for a few months. I love Spring. The one thing that I find tricky is coats. On a good day, a winter coat is far too hefty but it’s not quite warm enough to pull on your trusty leather or denim jacket. This season though, we finally have a chic sartorial solution, thanks to the Resort collections. I love checking out the Resort and Pre-Fall collections for style inspiration, they often set the tone for the main season collections and tend to be a touch more playful and covetable.
This season, every Resort collection from Gucci to Stella McCartney and Chloe had one thing in common – bomber jackets. To be more specific, beautiful silk embroidered bombers. AKA the ideal jacket for Spring and Autumn. As always, the highstreet has cottoned onto the trend and interpreted it along with a more wallet-friendly pricetag. There are of course embroidered silk or satin versions as well as half a dozen iterations for all of your bomber jacket needs. For anyone who grew up in the 90s, you’ll remember the classic black and khaki bombers which for some reason came complete with a bright orange lining. Well, they’re back should you wish to take a walk down memory lane. Here are my favourite bomber jackets from the high street:
  1. ASOS cropped bomber - £50
    I love the cropped silhouette of this ASOS bomber - perfect for nipping you in at the waist and therefore best for pairing with more girly outfits and dresses. 
  2. Missguided Kennedy embroidered bomber jacket - £23
    How gorgeous are these embroidered sleeves? I also love anything navy, it's still a super wearable neutral shade but much softer than black. 
  3. New Look floral print bomber jacket - £29.99
    This is the prettiest bomber I've ever seen! Naturally it would look great with a pretty floral dress but I'd also like to see it toughened up with some cropped flared jeans.
  4. Topshop badged MA1 bomber jacket - £59.99
    The quintessential khaki bomber, complete with badges. Of course this beauty is by Topshop. 
  5. Boohoo Olivia satin bomber jacket - £15
    I just can't resist this cheeky little satin bomber, once the weather warms up I'm going to be wearing this every day.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Introducing Ivy Park

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with Ivy Park, Beyonce’s collaboration with Arcadia Group mogul Sir Phillip Green. Announced back in February, Beyonce’s activewear and athleisure brand will be launching in a few days – 14th April. I have to admit, when I first heard the news, I was more than a little sceptical. In a world where “celebrity-designed” collections and collaborations are the norm, I’m automatically cynical about the authenticity of these partnerships, which are used by brands to tap into the celebrity’s fanbase and social media reach in return for a lucrative fee.
However, I’m always happy to be proven wrong and after hearing about how the collaboration came about, I stand corrected. Beyonce reached out to Sir Phillip Green herself and had her sights set on a partnership from the start; “I think he was originally thinking I wanted to do an endorsement deal like they'd done with other celebrities, but I wanted a joint venture. I presented him with the idea, the mission statement, the purpose, the marketing strategy—all in the first meeting. I think he was pretty blown away and he agreed to the 50-50 partnership." Total girl boss.

It’s safe to say my interest was piqued…until I saw the collection in real life at the Starworks AW16 press day. While checking out next season’s offerings from the likes of Roksanda, Julien Macdonald and Nicholas Kirkwood, I spied the Ivy Park rail. The collection is legit, the real deal. The collection is dope, I immediately picked out half a dozen pieces pieces I needed from the edited selection I saw – the full collection is 200-pieces! Among my favourites were a mesh hoodie and shell shorts with a thick waistband emblazoned with Ivy Park. The collection was predominantly black and white but also featured beautiful cobalt-blue pieces, honeycomb prints, varsity-inspired detailing and lots of mesh. It is very Beyonce.

Ivy Park really carves out its own niche within the masculine-dominated sportsluxe streetwear market. I find that sportsluxe/activewear/athleisure brands tend to be rooted in menswear and expand into womenswear but lack the consideration that a woman’s body needs, pieces tend to be on the oversize side and adapted rather than designed specifically for women. It’s clear that Ivy Park is designed by a woman for women. This is best showcased by the leggings, which come in 3 different rises – “I” which is low-rise, “V” which is mid-rise and “Y” which is high rise.
The pieces are also constructed with women in mind, "There's an invisible underlining in our garments that sucks you in and lifts your bottom so that when you're on a bike, or when you're running or jumping, you don't feel that extra reverb. And there are little things like where a top hits under your arms and all of the areas on a woman's body we're constantly working on. I was so specific about the things I feel I need in a garment as a curvy woman and just as a woman in general."
Ivy Park is launched on 14th April online and at a number of retailers including Topshop, Net-a-Porter and Selfridges. I’m fortunate to be heading to the global preview on 13th April so keep an eye on my Snapchat - @Reena_Rai – for an exclusive first look.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Timex AW16 'Mix Your Watch' Collection

It's amazing how quickly time flies, isn't it? I can't quite believe we're nearly halfway through the year, the days and weeks are flying by so quickly. What's even more unbelievable is that it's been almost 4 years since I collaborated with Timex on their Style of the Times campaign. We were definitely well overdue a reunion so I was delighted to catch up with Team Timex at their Summer Party at Shoreditch House on Thursday.


While the Style of the Times campaign was all about fashion and I had the pleasure of getting styled and shot by Jackie Dixon during the shoot, Timex's AW16 collection is all about customisation and mixing up your watch to match your style. The collection features a variety of watch faces and straps which can be put together, chopped and changed to suit your every mood. 

After checking out the collection dotted around Shoreditch House's secret garden, I headed to the Mix Your Watch bar to put together my perfect watch with the help of the Timex team. After much deliberation, I chose a classic chronograph watch face with a beautiful tan leather Weekender strap. I love how dapper this combination looks and how much it contrasts with my black stainless steel Timex World Time watch.

Thanks to the Timex Team for such a fun evening.


Sunday, 27 March 2016

Selamat, Perhentian Islands

The last couple of weeks have been crazy - sunrises and street food in Penang, jetskiing and beach days in Langkawi plus the most beautiful natural scenery in the stunning Cameron Highlands. After all of that adventure, I’ve headed to the Perhentian Islands for a little R&R. Turquoise waters, white sand, sharks and a good book, bliss. Keep up to date with my adventures on Snapchat - @Reena_Rai and Instagram - @Reena.Rai. 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Selamat, Malaysia

After the longest journey, I am finally in Kuala Lumpur. As with previous trips to Vietnam and Cambodia, I’m going to be pingponging across the country over the next few weeks, mainly island-hopping across Penang and Langkawi ooff the West Coast and the Perhentians off the East Coast. Keep up to date with my adventures on Snapchat - @Reena_Rai and Instagram - @Reena.Rai.
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