Tuesday, 16 October 2018

AW18 Trend: Animal Print

Last month, I wrote that brown is a HUGE trend this season and shared my tips on how to style the notoriously tricky hue. The popularity of brown is partially due to leopard print also being a big trend for AW18. I only gave it the briefest of mentions because I had this post up my sleeve, dedicated to leopard print, snakeskin, zebra print and every other animal print under the sun! The AW18 runway embraced it's wild side and the high street swiftly followed suit. 

Leopard print started emerging as an early autumn/winter favourite back in August as pieces started dropping on the high street. I let out an audible cheer and picked up this cheeky little flamenco skirt from Nasty Gal as well as some satin wide-leg trousers. See, I fall into the bold camp of people who declare that leopard print is a neutral. I have a couple of pairs of leopard print shoes which I have worn every season for at least 4 years...they're being held together by the skin of their teeth and the skill of my cobbler! I'm seeing this season as an opportunity to stock up on one of my wardrobe staples. 

This season isn't *just* about leopard print though, so don't fear if it's not your favourite print. While the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Max Mara embraced the print in a BIG way, Tom Ford opted for a punchy red leopard print and I've seen a handful of pieces inspired by his collection on the high street. Meanwhile, plenty of brands including Balenciaga, Victoria Beckham and Isabel Marant favoured snakeskin, faux python, zebra print and every other print imaginable. This has, of course, hit the high street, with Zara betting heavily on snakeskin and other high street stores dabbling in a range of different prints. 

I absolutely adore leopard print. For some reason, it makes me feel extra ballsy and fearless. I get that it might not be for everyone though, it's an acquired taste. I've outlined three different ways you can embrace animal prints: 

1. Accessorise
This is best for people who want to dip their toe into the world of leopard print without fully committing. A pair of shoes, bag or even a belt can give a subtle nod to the trend without being too overwhelming. 

2. Half/half
If you're feeling slightly braver, pair a leopard print piece with true neutrals, as I did for this look. I opted for a white top, black heels and a basket bag and let my leopard print do the talking. 

3. Head to toe
For a look that's straight off the runway, embrace a print from head-to-toe. I think this is going to be my favourite way to wear animal print as we head into AW18, though more likely to be snakeskin rather than leopard print as I've spotted SO many people in leopard print at the moment! 

Are you going to give animal print a try this season? If you need some inspiration, check out my Pinterest board

Top - Mebuar | Skirt - Nasty Gal | Heels - Aquazzura | Bag - Missy Empire (similar) | Necklace - Astley Clarke

Photography by Adorngirl

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

How to Wear Brown This Season

When I worked in fashion I learnt something very important: for most designers, Pre-Collections are more important than Main. In between spring/summer and autumn/winter, the majority of brands release a pre-collection, which is like a little preview that hits stores around December and July just before the main collection drops. This is what you should be paying attention to if you want to spot the commercial pieces and to get a preview of what's to come. 

I worked for a huge luxury department store for years and the buyers always invested heavily in Pre, so I paid attention and got an early indication of what trends were being picked up and gaining traction. While I saw what has been shown on the runway 6 months earlier,  I learned to always scope out stores early to help plan which trends I'm going to focus on for rest the season. 

And what have I seen for AW18? Pantone might be touting ultraviolet as the colour of the year but this season is an undeniable ode to brown. Chocolate, cocoa, chestnut, walnut, coffee....brown. The two trends which have emerged triumphant already are the seventies and leopard print/animal print, both of which lean heavily on one of fashion's most overlooked hues. Brown is really the new black! 

Brown was seen at the likes of Rochas, Gucci, Etro, Dior and Fendi as well as Chloe, who embraced the awkward hue with open arms. Chloe always draws inspiration from the Seventies but AW18 is literally like stepping back in time, Natacha Ramsay-Levi's collection features a muted, earthy palette and details including billowing silk shirt dresses and blouses, retro prints and chunky gold jewels. Coupled with the current craze for classic logo pieces from Fendi and Vuitton, it's no surprise that brown has been picked up heavily by the high street. 

The colour brown tends to be a bit controversial in fashion. It gets a bad rap for being boring, bland, ugly and difficult to wear. I have to admit, when I started seeing it appear on the runway and in store windows, I did have flashbacks to my uniform for the Brownies! My primary school uniform had a similar colour palette too and neither were a good look. 

Despite these two traumatising incidents(!) I'm open to embracing brown this season. I'm a huge fan of leopard print, for me it's a neutral, so my autumn/winter wardrobe will naturally skew towards brown and caramel shades. As for the Seventies, I'm more likely to adopt a couple of nods like fringing or flowing silhouettes rather than a full-on throwback look.  

I like the challenge of wearing brown, like Miuccia Prada who stated, "Brown is a colour that no one likes, so of course I like it because it's difficult". There's something very satisfying about getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. Earlier this year I wrote about the dress that pulled me out of my style rut and I feel like embracing brown can shake up my winter wardrobe in a similar way too. 

Intrigued by brown and want to give it a whirl? Here are my top five tips for wearing brown this season: 

1. Stay true to your style

This is THE most important piece of style advice and is applicable for any trend and any season. If you're really not comfortable in brown or the Seventies trend or leopard print, simply don't wear it. I have to admit that the Seventies aren't my favourite trend, so I found this dress which is actually a nod to the Eighties (another huge AW18 trend) and it is much more me than some of the Chloe-esque pieces I spotted on the high street. 

2. Try a subtle nod

If top-to-toe brown is daunting, try gently dipping your toe in the trend rather than diving in head first. Brown and leather go hand-in-hand so try some accessories. I've also seen some lovely brown knits and tweed blazers. 

3. Keep it fun

Brown feels a *serious* hue. It conjures up images of librarians or my GCSE physics teacher, Mr Clark Maxwell. Brown definitely needs some fun, slightly whimsical or playful elements. That's why I paired this dress with pink fluffy mules, after trying on a pair of silver court shoes it just felt flat but the fun of the fluff perfectly offset the seriousness of brown. 

4. Don't forget the accessories

Brown is one of those shades which looks utterly delicious against gold. Like a fun or whimsical twist, I will definitely be piling on the jewels when I wear brown. For me, the combo of brown and gold adds a more luxury element and elevates the whole look. I wore layered necklaces through spring/summer in winter I want to pile on the rings and maybe throw on a waist belt. 

5. Accent shades

Brown is actually a super versatile hue to wear, especially when you pair it with jewel tones like emerald greens, sapphire blues and warm yellow. The overall look is rich, sumptuous and slightly reminiscent of a box of Quality Street! My finishing touch to my look was my little Miu Miu clutch, the shade contrasts beautifully with the deep brown dress and the gold chain detailing gives it a luxe edge. 

Dress - Zara | Shoes - Topshop (past season) | Bag - Miu Miu (past season)

Photography by Adorngirl

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Paris Fashion Week Diary FW18

This season, I headed back to Paris for Paris Fashion Week, which is fast becoming my favourite city to skip around for shows. I first attended PFW last March, I wrote about being a newbie and finding my feet in this post. It was slightly disconcerting going from knowing the ropes in London to being uncertain in Paris but I actually relished all of the unknowns - from the venue to the queue politics to the street style photographers.

Now back for my second season, I came armed with the knowledge I had gained during my inaugural season. And you know what, it felt like coming home. Hopping and skipping across the city between shows and showroom appointments felt like my natural habitat and I had a much more packed schedule than the first time around. Want to see what I got up to? Read on! 

Issey Miyake FW18

I was extremely honoured to attend Issey Miyake's AW18 show. One of my favourite designers through the '90s, his brand is always technically innovative while never compromising on its foundation in the beauty of simplicity. Perhaps best known for pleating, Miyake began to experiment with pleating in the '80s and his new method involved cutting and sewing each piece before sandwiching it between layers of paper and being fed through a heat press to be pleated. The fabric's "memory" held the pleats and each piece was super flexible and easy to care for. Revolutionary. 

This season, womenswear Creative Director Yoshiyuki Miyamae introduced gentle movement and waves to amplify the pleats, complete with a dash of colour to further accentuate the house's signature texture. A beautifully clean all-white collection made way for yellows and blues, a bold symphony of harmonious pleats. 

Mashama FW18

Mashama's AW18 collection is an ode to tender yet strong women. Inspired by Satoshi Kon's anime film 'Perfect Blue', she takes the split personalities of the protagonist, Mima, and translates them into a beautifully maximalist collection of overflowing layers and oversized pieces. 

Key details include exaggerated hoods, deconstructed and voluminous silhouettes and the most delicious bubble puffer jackets. The collection also saw the introduction of denim and several technical innovations including a colour-changing coat, heat-absorbing patches and body-warming puffers. The perfect armour for the woman of today. 

John Galliano FW18

As Creative Director of the John Galliano brand, Bill Gayyten has an unenviable task. It can't be easy to be at the helm of a brand named after arguably one of the most brilliant designers of our time. Yet Gayyten artfully translates Galliano's design signatures season after season. To my delight, this season saw the return of the Galliano Gazette, perhaps one of my favourite signatures of Mr Galliano. 

For FW18, he is inspired by the Great Depression in Midwest America and burlesque stars of the '30s and '40s. The resulting collection is a contrast between practical tweeds and denims and beautiful tulle concoctions adorned with diamonds and pearls. Further accentuated by the styling, sheer layers were artfully juxtaposed between boxy blazers and heavier fabrics for a look which is provocatively undone. Another utterly brilliant collection. 

Agnes B FW18

Few designers on the PFW roster are as quintessentially Parisian as Agnes B and this is why her collection is always one of my highlights of Paris Fashion Week. This season, inspired by A Une Passante poem by Baudelaire and Marguerite Duras' book L'Amant, her collection featured rich fabrics accentuated by jewel tones. Her laid-back silhouettes felt typically Parisian and super covetable. The bridal look which closed the show this season was a darling pretty millennial pink concoction. 

Valentin Yudashkin FW18

Set in the imposing Intercontinental Paris The Grand hotel, Valentin Yudashkin's show was a triumph of almost couture-like beauty. Gowns and cocktail dresses in tulle adorned with sparkles and ostrich feathers trims shimmied down the runway, each more beautiful than the last. A handful of daywear looks grounded the collection but all eyes were on the gowns. A nod to the '80s, with bold shoulder blazers, taffeta puffball dresses contrasting with slinky bodycon numbers. I can't wait to see these looks on the red carpet. 

Richard Quinn Showroom

Undeniably the designer of the moment, I popped in to see Richard Quinn's exquisite collection in all it's resplendent detail. You may remember Quinn making headlines as HRH The Queen sat front row at his AW18 show. The Central Saint Martin grad has been making waves since he launched his eponymous label in 2016. Best known for his bold and emotive use of florals, his penchant for prints really IS groundbreaking. 

His AW18 collection featured languid maxi dresses, simple gowns and oversized capes and puffers in his signature prints - blown up and clashing for a real style statement. I am very, very excited about Quinn, he is the future of British fashion! 

London Showrooms

As I mentioned in my last post about Paris Fashion Week, one of the most interesting aspects of Paris is heading into the showrooms to see collections up close. Although I see most of the London designers in our hometown, inevitably I will miss a show or presentation due to the packed schedule so it's great to catch up with the likes of Eudon Choi, Edeline Lee, Ryan Lo and Marta Jakubowski.

Eudon Choi FW18
Edeleine Lee FW18 
Ryan Lo FW18

Marta Jakubowski

Jaime Wei Huang

Huang is another British-based designer I caught up with during a showroom appointment in Paris. Unfortunately, I missed her presentation in London but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see her brilliant collection. Walking the line between commercial and conceptual, Huang's brand explores self-expression through fabrics and materials. I saw influences of abstract art in her collection, which featured her signature elongated silhouettes. The accessories were a real highlight. 

Alexandre Birman FW18

Alexandre Birman has been making beautiful shoes inspired by his rich Brazilian roots for a decade. Simple and feminine, his shoes are handcrafted in bold shades and prints making for a real style statement. For AW18, his collection featured exotic materials and both vibrant, clashing shades and rich plums and greys. 

Alexandre Vauthier FW18

If you are after unapologetic glamour, Alexandre Vauthier should be top of your list. Designing couture for the likes of Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier before launching his eponymous label in 2009. Officially recognised by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, his couture collections are of course sublime and echoes of this collection are evident in his RTW line. 

Using his key couture colour stories of rich ruby red, regal violet and deep emerald, the collection featured exquisite, luxe pieces in rich, heavy fabrics and often adorned with some sparkle. Inspired by the '80s, his signature dress silhouette is short, cinched and of course with a statement shoulder. I'm glad to see his crystal-studded jeans make a return and also the introduction of an eyewear collaboration with Alain Mikli and diamante stiletto designed with Amina Muaddi. 

The Fun Stuff

One of the best things about Paris is that absolutely everyone is in town. The fashion world really is tiny and I'm forever bumping into people I haven't seen since London or Paris last season! I have a little crew who I know are going to be at PFW so we sync diaries for shows, showrooms and delicious places to eat in between but it's slightly more fun when you bump into someone unexpectedly.

This season, I was in town at the same time the new Monki store was opening so fortuitously I had the opportunity to catch up with my old pal Fiona, who I've not seen for years! I popped into the new store on Rue de Rivoli before heading to Le Grand Cerf for a bite to eat and some bubbles. She loved my sequin boots and t-shirt dress by Tobi.

I also caught up with my pal Natasha of Girl In The Lens who moved to Paris last year! We've been blogger pals and friends for a few years now so it was lovely to catch up with her at Angelina, for their famed hot chocolate and une petite patisserie. 

Til next time, Paris! 
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