Thursday, 29 September 2011

The battered leather bag

How beautiful is this weekend bag by Vida Vida? It has completely captured my imagination, I'm yearning for some old school travel via the Orient Express or with a sticker-covered suitcase in tow in some exotic destination. As practical as wheelie cases are, they just tend to look the same and show no personality at all. This distinctive bag has a bit of a vintage look, as it's all natural leather the colours will vary giving it a slightly battered look, the sort of look that makes you wonder where it's been and what it's seen on it's travel. Much more interesting than a non-descript black wheelie case! I don't think I'll be taking it on the Orient Express anytime soon, but I could just imagine taking it for a short weekend jaunt to The Cotswolds with a really low-key outfit - some comfy flat ankle boots, a pair of battered Levis cut offs, a casual Alexander Wang tee and perhaps a big floppy bag. 


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Getting the swish factor

Picture beautiful, perfect waves. The type that's shiny, bouncy and looks totally effortless - I'm a big fan of the effortless hair look, there's no point in looking like you've had a battle with the hairdryer, straighteners, curlers and a bottle of hairspray! That Serena van der Woodsen easy, breezy, flipable hair. You know what I mean, right? Unfortunately, that type of hair is unattainable by mere mortals. My thick, tumbling locks go flat at the mere mention of a hairdryer so when I had a black tie ball to attend recently, I called in the big guns - Joe's Salon.

I was a little stressed and tired upon entering the salon and explained to the lovely Oray that I wanted 'sort of wavy, maybe a little curly, beautiful hair' in a very vague manner before my hair was transformed. It was a pretty big job, my hair was sectioned and dried using a round brush then my hair was neatly rolled up into a little curl before Oray moved onto the next section. He must have arms of steel after painstakingly tending to my thick mane. After he took the pins out and we shook my hair out, I definitely had big diva Beyonce-esque waves but they settled into a shiny swish of subtle waves which looked uber natural.

I was a little bit stressed about what to wear for the ball and eventually settled on the gorgeous 'Samantha' dress by French Connection. I don't usually shop there but I fell in love with this dress as soon as I saw it. They do an update of their gold sequin dress every autumn/winter and this is my absolute favourite. It's a little low at the front so I had to pin it, but other than that it fit perfectly. I paired it with some semi sheer tights and my lovely charcoal Georgia Rose courts from Sarenza. I wanted to keep the rest of the outfit plain to dress down the gold sparkles a little but the dark tights and dark shoes had a leg lengthening effect too which was a bonus. I was going to go for a black and gold vintage clutch but it just seemed a bit too matchy, so I went for a deliberate mismatch with this stone, highlighter yellow and snakeskin oversize clutch from Marks & Spencer Limited Collection


Wednesday Wish List: The owl trend

Woo knew that owls would be such a big trend on the high street?! Let's face it, they aren't the cutest or most obvious animal to like, unless you're Michael from Anastasia & Duck! I remember they first appeared on the high street, it was actually quite a few seasons ago on necklaces at Forever 21, Topshop and the like. It seemed like a short and sweet microtrend but a quick glance down the high street and you’ll see an abundance of owl print on clothing as well as the owl jewels which we’ve seen everywhere. It seems like owls are the new swallow/bird/butterfly/insert animal trend here but there’s more to the owl trend than a random surge in popularity of a particular animal. Marc Jacobs used an owl motif in his AW09 collection and owls were also a huge trend in the Seventies, which is one of the stand out trends of this season. Cute and quirky, there are so many different incantations of owls whether it's a realistic owl print or an adorable cartoon version. If you’re a fan of adorable owls, here are my top picks on the high street:

Clockwise from top left:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jersey Pearl's Fiore Della Notte collection

Settling down for afternoon tea at sublimely decadent The Dorchester was the perfect setting for checking out the stunning new collection from Jersey Pearl. Established 25 years ago, the family run business is one of the UK's leading pearl jewellery specialists. More than just beautiful, timeless pearls, Jersey Pearl have developed close relationships with their pearl farmers to offer CarbonNeutral pearls by offsetting the carbon footprint of pearl farming through renewable energy projects.

The Fiore Della Notte collection is a collaboration with ethical jewellery designer Annaloucha, using recycled 18ct blackened gold from Hoover & Strong, CarbonNeutral Akoya pearls and fairly mined Tanzanian rubies which were sourced by Ruby Fair. The collection is super exclusive and limited edition, each piece is made on request and engraved with it's own serial number so you can be sure you're one of a select few with that piece. 


Chambord Platinum Lounge at LFWe

Is it just me or does LFW give anyone the overwhelming urge to shop? Seeing so many inspiring shows and jaw-dropping outfits just seems to whet my shopping whistle. My beloved high street stores don’t do it for me right after fashion week; I’m always after something a little more unique and luxe, so thank the shopping Lord for London FashionWeekend! I know us bloggers can get a teeny bit snooty about LFWe after experience the extravaganza of LFW proper, but if you take it for what it is (a fabulous shopping event) then it’s great. Plus, who can argue with a bargain, I almost snapped up a Roberto Cavalli skirt in perfect condition for £90! I’ve got to admit, I haven’t found anything as amazing since it’s decamped to Somerset House from the Natural History Museum but there are plenty of reasons to visit.

Along with all of the fantastic shopping, there are also regular fashion shows in the main LFW tent and a Platinum Club Lounge hosted by the lovely folks at Chambord who have been sponsoring London’s chicest shopping event for 10 years! Offering a welcome respite from all of the retail therapy going down with a Chambord and champagne or three, this year they also had leading fashion photographer Fabio Affuso in attendance to show you how to shine in photos. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike know it’s not that easy to pose in front of a camera, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to pop down to the Chambord Platinum Club Lounge, hang out with Fabio and learn all about how to pose like a top model.

I thought I’d feel a bit self-conscious but Fabio was so lovely, giving me some great direction on how to pose and work the angles of my face. Clearly not a professional, I couldn’t help but giggle in between shots but Fabio was great. Although you should always work with your setting and outfit, he gave me some great tips to share with you guys:
1. The most important thing is to relax and feel good about yourself.  If you feel fabulous you will look fabulous too!

2. Everyone feels most comfortable with one side of their face, and most likely that is their better side.  Discover your best side and make it shine!

3. Light is a very important aspect. Position yourself so that the light shapes your face and highlights your best side.

4. Some people love to pucker their lips and brows, but don't overdo it.  It can look good with some faces, however if you do it all the time soon your pictures will look all the same.

5. The best models are the ones who can offer different expressions and emotions through their facial and body language. Try to offer to the camera something different all the time; don't get locked in one expression.

6. Remember to have fun!

Thank you to Fabio and Chambord for a lovely afternoon! 


Monday, 26 September 2011

Marks & Spencer AW11 accessories collection

Last week, I was invited to a fabulous Mad Hatter's Tea Party hosted by M&S to showcase their seriously covetable accessories collection. I've been a long time fan of M&S accessories, one of my favourite oversize clutches is from the Limited Collection. Held at the beautiful Kettner's champagne bar, the wood panelled walls and high ceilings gave the venue an old school, sophisticated gentlemen's club  feel which was the perfect setting for showing off the decadent collections from Marks & Spencer.
The Boy Meets Girl Collection - As the name suggests, slightly androgynous. Think lace up boots, the softest knits, buckles and tassled loafers.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Competition: Win a pair of tickets to Britiain & Ireland's Next Top Model Live 2011

Fans of Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model rejoice, the wonderful live event is making it's much anticipated return to London's ExCel Centre from 28-30th October 2011. Based on the only must-watch reality show for fashionistas, it's described at the ultimate weekend fashion, beauty and shopping extravaganza. As some of you may remember, I actually worked at the last event, helping to style one of the catwalk shows with my take on the geek chic look. I had so much fun at the event, shopping up a storm, getting some pampering in and of course watching the amazing catwalk shows.

Fashion Daydreams have teamed up with BINTMLive to offer two lucky readers the chance to win a pair of admission entry tickets to this year's event! To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question by commenting on this post along with your Twitter handle or email address.

Question: Who is the glamourous host of Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model show?

*Terms and conditions

1. This offer is only open to UK residents
2. Competition winner’s tickets are valid for any one day of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model Live,
being held at ExCeL London between the 28th – 30th October 2011.
3. These tickets are Admission ONLY.
4. Tickets are non transferable
5. Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated.
6. All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show
7.The closing date for this offer is Wednesday 28th September 2011. 

LFW - Inbar Spector SS12

Inbar Spector graduated from Isarael's Shenkar College in 2004 and in just seven years has become an internationally acclaimed designer, winning awards in both France and Japan. Showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, her spring/summer 2012 collection was inspired by nightmares and the antithesis of heaven and hell. With gothic references, the collection features lace, silk and perforated faux leather with zipper and chain detailing to give the collection a harder edge. Combined with her signature complex constructions, crinolines and corsets, the combination makes for a visual feast of a collection. 


LFW - Georgina Hardinge SS12

Georgina Hardinge's collections always have pretty literal names, so when I received a bold invitation which proclaimed her new collection is called 'cubed' I had an idea of what to expect. As one of the 'ones to watch', her show is always a hot ticket at Vauxhall Fashion Scout and Freemason's Hall was packed to capacity. Inspired by the 'dark nature of cubo-futurism' and Raymond Duchamp-Villon sculptures, her mainly grey and white collection featured boxy shapes and various cube and square prints, carefully flattering by nipping in at the waist. The highlight for me were the sheer flowing gowns, absolutely stunning. 


Saturday, 24 September 2011

LFW - Joanna Hynes SS12

I had no preconceptions going into the Joanna Hynes show, she wasn't a designer I had heard of before. I think that was the best way to go into her super fun show. A colourful explosion of sequins, latex, leather and patent, it was definitely one of the brighter shows of London Fashion Week. With a myriad of influences, including sci-fi, disco, Hitchcock, Warhol, the collection could have gone horribly wrong but somehow Joanne combined all of these influences pretty successfully. The mood was quite eerie, with the Psycho soundtrack playing and robotic models, looking like the epitome of ladylike restraint. Oversize, a-line shapes and very slimline, bodycon silhouettes were Joanne's canvas for her sequins and embroidery with slightly Warhol-esque designs . PVC was one of the key fabrics used, along with colourful leathers. I absolutely loved the colour blocking latex stockings though, a collaboration with Atuko Kudo. It wasn't my favourite show of the season but there were some lovely pieces and I'm going to keep my eye on her future collections. 


Friday, 23 September 2011

LFW - Jasper Conran SS12

Inspired by bathing suits and languid sportswear, Jasper Conran's minimalist collection reminded me very much of Calvin Klein's aesthetic. The precise, boxy shapes were modern, lithe and sporty but far from clinical and boring thanks to the details - wraps, slits, cutaways, straps and ties. The predominantly monochrome colour palette was livened up with bright shades of fuchsia and scarlet as well as the odd block pattern. The collection was beautifully simplistic with clean lines, a refreshing change from the bundles of mish mash patterns, sequins and colours we usually see at LFW.

Thank you to Vitamin Water, official sponsors of London Fashion Week for the ticket to Jasper's show. 


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

LFW - Jayne Pierson SS12

For spring/summer 2012, Jayne Pierson collaborated with Derek Lawlor resulting in the Pierson Lawlor knitwear collection. Testing the preconceived ideas of knitwear, Pierson and Lawlor have created a conceptual knitwear collection which focused on movement and texture as well as Pierson's signature tailoring. The duo collaborated with The Royal Ballet, with several dancers taking to the catwalk to show off the stunning designs. Strutting down the catwalk like proud peacocks, the dancers were captivating. Some stalked down en pointe, showing off Pierson's structural designs while some shimmied to highlight the movement and textures. It really was a stunning show, from clothing to the cavernous church setting and fantastic dance performance which bought the collection to life. 


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

LFW - Holly Fulton SS12

The Holly Fulton collection is exactly what the doctor ordered to perk up flagging fashionistas on a cold and rainy day at London Fashion Week. Inspired by the lady that "dresses for Vegas but hits Margate", the collection is more glamourous 60s and 70s than Margate-chic (which, incidentally, does not exist!). The colour palette of classic Fulton yellow, cool turquoise, hot pink and checkerboard monochrome was inspired by Slim Aarons' poolside photos from the 60s and 70s. The Fulton deco also made an appearance in this lively collection alone with zebra print. Reminiscent of the Versace of yesteryear, every single look flawless. 


LFW - Izmaylova SS12

The birth of a new label is always intriguing, especially a luxury label. I always find it interesting to see how fashion (and automobile) companies position them, what their points of distinction are and how they achieve the luxury status from scratch. Izmaylova's first collection, entitled "The edge of darkness", somehow captured the essence of luxury and excess with it's reinforcement of the label's Russian roots. The Orient Express-esque tickets were intriguing, even more so when my ticket got punched by a lovely 'ticket inspector', complete with a uniform and cap. Inside the cavernous space in Freemasons Hall, a bench surrounded by pretty vintage cases sat in the middle of the catwalk.

The setting set the mood for a more is more collection, which is exactly what we got. The collection was literally dripping with luxury, from the soft silk fabrics and luxe leather detailing to the twinkling crystals and voluminous feathers. The craftsmanship harks back to a time well designed and beautifully finished clothing, when fashion was an artform. Indeed, some of the dresses have taken over 100 hours to finish. One dress has 3000 hand sewn black Swarovski crystals on it, while others are made up of laser-cut leather, structured hidden corsets or feather sleeves. 


Monday, 19 September 2011

LFW - Burberry SS12 Tweetwalk

It's no secret to anyone that Burberry is investing significantly in it's digital channel, about 60% of the superbrand's marketing budget is allocated to the online realm. While labels and brands are starting to embrace livestreaming much more, that's old hat for Burberry who have been doing it for a few seasons now; watching the Burberry livestream is as much a part of London Fashion Week for me as registering, navigating the cobbles in heels or surviving on Vitamin Water. A couple of seasons ago, they enabled super keen customers to pre-order certain pieces straight from the catwalk in strictly limited numbers. This for me was a stroke of genius, showing that although Burberry are huge advocates of making fashion more accessible, they are also keen to stay to their exclusive, luxury roots. What could be more luxe than getting next season's must have piece early? Burberry have also gone 3D and had interactive campaigns, they are truly pioneering the use of digital. 

This season marked another digital boundry broken - the tweetwalk. Burberry know that practically everyone in attendance will be tweeting pictures from the show as it happens so why not pip them to the post? Giving Twitter the world exclusive, models were snapped just before they hit the catwalk.  With the livestream showing in one half of my screen and the Tweetwalk in the other, I was glued to my screen. The most exciting, interactive way to show... ever. And my verdict of the show? Although the collection seemed more AW than SS, I cannot wait to embrace raffia, exotic skins, parkas and pencil skirts in autumnal colours and those beautifully rich prints. 


LFW - Burberry SS12 livestream

This is the first livestream hosted on Fashion Daydreams, I hope it works! 

*edit* the livestream worked a treat, but I've replaced it with a video of the show. Enjoy!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

LFW - Jena Theo SS12

One of my personal highlights of LFW is the Jena Theo show, I've been a big fan since they won Fashion Fringe back in 2009 and love their signature soft, billowing silhouettes in luxiourious fabrics and use of denim. Their "Fatale" collection was clearly inspired by the seductive, dark side of Hollywood, film noir and Vivien Leigh resulting in another stunning collection. Working with London-based O.Two on handpainting techniques, the blue-greys of the collection blurred into golden yellows and soft sepia almost like a sunset. They also incorporated geometric prints into their effortless luxe aesthetic. On the denim front, the look was super skinny with cut out details to contrast with the oversize billowing fabrics. Having recently announced that they are going to launch a denim line, I'm really excited to see Jenny and Dimitris expand their label, their future is looking very bright. 


LFW - John Rocha SS12

The two queues for the hugely popular John Rocha show both snaked around the corner of the tents, the sign of his status as a hugely respected designer. It's nice to know that some British designers choose to show in London and not abscond to New York or Paris. Of course, no matter where they show, the big names still attract big crowds and big talent. The John Rocha show started with a boom, thanks to the opening model, none other than Abbey Lee Kershaw. Inspired by mythical warriors and woodland creatures, the mainly monochrome collection showed a continuation of his exploration into beauty and form. Using traditional corsetry methods, he created a strong silhouette in his structural pieces, which seemed both fragile and strong at the same time. Black fringing, strands and feathers mixed with delicate knits, raffia and tufted lace in this majestic collection.



The infamous PPQ. After ten years of showing at London Fashion Week, the crowds have gotten wise to the oversubscribed, crazy popular PPQ show - people started queuing over 40 minutes early to ensure entry into one of the hottest shows of the week. With a star-studded front row including Peaches Geldoff and my LFW favourite Pandemonia (a 6ft blow up celebrity), the air was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. A soft piano version of Golddigger by Kanye West played in the background, a sign that Percy and Amy are still enamoured and inspired by hiphop. 

The actual soundtrack to the show was much more upbeat, thumping 90s tunes were the perfect accompaniment to a collection which took them back to their roots. The first few looks were fairly pared back and grown up -  sensible, pretty dresses with shiny gold buttons, big lapels and pocket details. The pretty pastel colours met with a tougher, Western look, courtesy of their collaboration with Lee Jeans. The duo also collaborated with Bebaroque for some truly stand out tights, leggings and bodysuits featuring the brand new PPQ crest which also adored most of the pieces sent down the catwalk. The fun, crazy prints also made an appearance as did heavy embroidery, for me some of the pieces were a little too young and trashy but on the whole I really liked the collection and the collaborations. 


LFW - Ada Zanditon SS12 film

A stand-out amongst the ethical designers, Ada's geometric, sculptural collections show clear evidence of her previous work at Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. Inspired by seahorses, Greek goddesses and Haiti Kanaval, the film of her collection, "Poseisus" depicts the namesake heroine as elegant and serene shot in monochrome with an urban backdrop. An otherworldly creature, she seems slightly at odds with her urban, London setting as she swirls and flutters in the breeze. As the music pulses, colour begins to seep into her world as the film builds into a crescendo of vivid colours and movement. 


LFW - Teatum Jones SS12

As exciting and dramatic as fashion shows are, I do prefer presentations. There's less of the queuing and herding and more actual time with the collection, having the opportunity to see it up close and appreciate the details. The Teatum Jones presentation was a welcome breath of fresh air during day one of London Fashion Week and the presentation really complimented the stunningly beautiful collection. 

I adore the dark, complex inspiration behind the collection: "examining the sentimental perfection of 1950s American Suburbia and explores the darker side of life behind the sugary pastel coloured walls. A story of a vibrant young couple swept along by a well packaged dream of perfection and what happens when that artificial dream expires and leaves you with nothing but your own surreal and frantic desire to escape: a secret desire hidden well beneath a cloack of self deception, repeatedly used as an anaesthetic towards the reality of soured dreams and painful truths".

Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones both trained in womenswear but met whilst working in menswear, which explains the delicate balance between masculine tailoring and voluminous feminine shapes. The collection, named "Sometimes it snows in April", features thin, sheer fabrics in pretty blush pinks, dreamy blues and pale lavenders. The fluid silks in crepe de chine and sheer organza coupled with buttery soft leather are ultra luxurious, while the tailored elements added a nonchalant edge to toughen up the otherwise saccharine sweet collection. This is definitely one of my favourite colletions of the day. 


Saturday, 17 September 2011

LFW: Leutton Postle SS12 collection

My favourite shows to go to during London Fashion Week are the smaller names showing over at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue, there's just something about getting a glimpse of a label on the start of their journey. Sometimes, you get the feeling that you've stumbled across one of the future stars of the London fashion world. That's exactly how I felt when walked out of the Leutton Postle show this evening. Winners of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award, the duo have already impressed a panel of industry experts including, Grazia and Not Just A Label. Their debut show was one of the highlights of the day, it was just so incredibly fun. The multicoloured knits and candy colours really brightened up my evening and I loved the use of textures, each piece was a flurry of haberdasheries, patchwork, crochet, mesh and fringing. 


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

M&S style challenge the final outfit! Plus win £50 from M&S

Today is the last day of the M&S Limited Collection style challenge! The week has absolutely flown by. I saved my favourite piece for last. How gorgeous is this jumper?? I love the swallow print and the muted colour palette makes it really versatile. It's cropped at the waist but I tucked it into my pumpkin orange pleated midi skirt for a bit of definition. The colour definitely perked up the outfit but without screaming 'look at me'. The shoes are a favourite which I have literally worn to death, RIP beautiful polka dot peep toes! My housemate Bob the bunny got so intrigued with all the posing and flashes that he got involved in the mini-shoot, bless him. 

Anywhoo, onto the competition! As you know, this has all been part of a competition to win a trip to Paris. At the moment, I hear I'm second which quite frankly isn't good enough! M&S have kindly offered a £50 to one of the people who votes in the style challenge, so mosey on over to the M&S Facebook page, 'like' my pic and comment here to let me know you've voted. Bob and I both appreciate the votes! x

Strike a pose...
'scuuuse me!
Oi, mate, listen I'm trying to shoot...
Aww you do look cute though
Hmmm well I guess you can stay
Scene stealer! 

Primark skirt
Vintage belt
New Look shoes

*Edit*. The winner has now been chosen. Congratulations, Tinkuke B. 


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

M&S style challenge outfit six

Almost the final day of my M&S Limited Collection challenge. Today I've chosen this lightweight charcoal grey top. It's so effortless, the oversize fit, batwing detail and leather trim make it great for just throwing on over anything. Unfortunately, the dark grey colour was matching the weather this morning so I perked up my outfit with this pretty Moscow print skirt. How gorgeous is it?! The weather also called for opaques, but I wore my favourite 'work' shoes to brighten up my day, a pair of lovely buttersoft leather slingbacks from DKNY, courtesy of Sarenza.
If you like this outfit or just want to cheer me up with a trip to Paris, please 'like' my outfit on the M&S Facebook page. If you don't, I'll send some flying monkeys over to terrorise you, Wizard of Oz style. You have been warned. Vote! x

Phase Eight Moscow print skirt
DKNY slingbacks, courtest of Sarenza
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