Paris Fashion Week – Whelmed

It has taken me an entire week to get enough enthusiasm together to write something about Paris Fashion Week. It is usually the high point for me, where creativity and wearability collide with some happy bonkers moments too. I don’t know what is going on at the moment with regards the amount of fur being used by fashion houses. A few years ago, it was sporadic, tiny bits would pop up, perhaps on a collar or a cuff, but all 4 weeks have been awash with it, thousand and thousands of beautiful animals have been electrocuted and skinned alive because of people’s ignorance or refusal to face up to the horrors of the trade. Even friends seems to be jumping back on the bandwagon in the shape of little real fur pompom on a wooly hat or the dead rabbit gilet which ‘came from China’ as if that somehow makes it alright. It revolts me, it is a disgrace and anyone who buys into this evil trade needs to get over themselves and show some compassion.

As a result, I’m only going to show looks from houses that had no fur. As far as the rest goes, if you are interested; Dior had several mustard coloured catsuits – which, lets face it, will never be seen on anyone, Rochas, usually beautiful, had strange frilly, ill-fitting, boob covers on most of their dresses,  YSL was horrendous. The look was ‘Britney during breakdown with added Pat Butcher;’ ripped fish nets and pvc mini-dresses with zips that rose above your crotch, covered with a leopard print jacket. There is nothing innovative or high fashion about that. It is lazy and frankly an embarrassment to the famous name it is designed under. Do I sound angry? That is because I am. Even old misery features; Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collection was hideous. Of fur he said: “I’m very sympathetic. I hate the idea of killing animals in a horrible way ………. It’s horrible, no? So I prefer not to know it.” He may not have shown any fur in Chanel’s show that I could see (Fendi however, was awash with it) but it looked like this:

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Missoni on a bad day. Point made.

So, here are some looks by Stella and Vivienne, both unique and incredibly talented women who refuse to use fur, vegitarian and leaders in fashion. Who needs anything else?

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One beautiful winter coat and a wicked pair of platform boots (faux leather too – hurrah). Something slouchy, warm and chic to wear to the office:

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And a (Westwood-esque), super-structured dress to wear in the evening:

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Sure, these are all black/white or grey but hey, they go with anything.

Wonderful Dame Vivienne Westwood showed looks for both men and women. It has long been a gripe of my husband’s that men get such a short straw when it comes to fashion, their choices are so limited and they are forced to wear entirely pointless items such as ties in order to look acceptably ‘smart’. This is Vivienne Westwood’s perfect response to that:

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This coat looks amazing. There is no reason why men should be forced to wear only ‘masculine’ shapes. What the hell does that word mean anyway? Express yourselves and free yourselves from the boring world of men’s fashion! Set asside the polar fleece gilet and puffa jackets. Let’s get coat sharing! Apart from the possible size issues, I’m 100% for it!

Two gorgeous pieces:

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I love this top, it is classic Westwood, drapey and cinched at the waist. The trousers look great too, there isn’t enough grey pin-stripe in the world and turn ups can also become handy secondary storage areas if your pockets get full… And finally:

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It may not catch on but I am a much happier person for having seen it. The end.

(all photos from vogue.com)

Handmade Naturals Sensitive Face Cream – what a find!

Someone recently said to me ‘I would never put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat’, and I’ve thought about it a lot since then. If our skin is our biggest organ then we should be far more mindful of the chemicals we allow it to absorb through cosmetic use. When you read the ingredients list of your make up and facial creams, how much do you actually recognise? People now understand the benefits of eating healthy, fresh food but this is only part of the battle.

Due to my feelings about animal testing and the use of animal derivatives in products, I have almost stopped visiting shops like Boots. So this led me to search more widely on the internet and also ask questions on relevant Facebook boards. When I asked about plant-based, beauty for sensitive skin types I was recommended Handmade Naturals. I will be forever grateful to the person who did. It is a truly natural skin care range, using many of the oils I have been reading about as alternative antioxidant treatments. They are a small UK business and all their items are made here too. They are also 100% vegan and cruelty free.

I always try new products with some trepidation as I get reactions so easily. I was able to try their Unscented Sensitive Face Cream in a small travel sized bottle so I could check whether it was a great as I hoped before buying a full bottle.

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The ingredients are: purified water, virgin organic shea butter (butyrospermun parkii), unrefined rosehip seed oil (rosa moschata), golden jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis), peach kernel oil (prunus persica), emulsifying wax, aspen bark extract, vegetable glycerin, vitamin E oil (tocopherol).  I would happily eat it all!

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I used my small bottle within a couple of weeks and my skin absolutely loved it. No flare ups, no dramas. Jojoba oil, shea butter and rosehip oil are all well documented as being of great benefit to the skin and are also not irritating (though it is very important that every person tests their own skin’s reaction to new things). It is absorbed quickly, leaves the skin felling silky smooth and calm.  The creams come in pump-action bottles which are fantastic as they protect the cream from contamination (avoid buying anything to put on your face that comes out of a tub!) and stop you from using too much. One pump covers my whole face.

I have just bought their Unscented Plum & Avocado Face Cleanser and Unscented Hand & Body Lotion with Almond, Plum Kernel and & Virgin Cocoa Butter as I am hoping the rest of the range will be equally talented. If it passes the face and hands test then I an a genuinely very happy (and not itchy) person!

 

 

 

Milan Marmite Week AW 2015

After the lightheartedness of London Fashion Week I found myself in a bit of a fug at Milan’s offering. Ok, so they have some super big names but really, although it had its good moments it was awash with bad. And fur. Ugghh, so much fur, popping up in places where, dammit, it really took the piss (fur shoulder bows at Prada anyone?)

So, I’ll start with the good. Alberta Ferretti is always beautiful. A gorgeous warm looking cropped jacket and in white. I also can’t resist a Victorian looking white shirt or velvet over-knee boots it seems:

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She showed some beautiful brocade fabrics, I loved this suit:

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And my old friend the pinafore, this time almost medieval looking but beautiful non the less:

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Fendi was a bit all over the place but it started well. I think a large white winter coat is in order for next year:

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And a beautifully cut white winter dress:

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Prada was so wonderful for colour, shape and freshness and had no need for the endless fur additions. Many gorgeous dresses and jackets were ruined by random fur panels which I refuse to show. There was also a fascination with ostrich skin leather which was a bit much for me I’m afraid. However, here are some of the lovelies that got away without them:

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This may be kinda crackers but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate its many lovely aspects.

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I love camel coloured coats and I have no idea why this works, who puts metallic lime, scarlet and pink together and gets away with it. Fab.

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Maxmara was a bit of a snoozefest, but at least it was wearable:

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Ditto Armani. I actually couldn’t find anything I was mad about, masses of identical trousers, some with flaps (!) and some without. Plus it went on an on…

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Dolce & Gabbana was pretty much exactly the same as it has been for every show for the past 6 or so seasons. All very spanish in feel, lovely shapes and lots of very wearable pieces, however, with slightly overwhelming themes of mothers and roses.This was pretty ravishing:

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There was also some really quirky child-drawn fabric at the end.

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Now for the less great. I’ll start with Gucci. I have nothing good to say about this collection. It felt lazy, self-important and just didn’t work. And don’t start me on the dead-dog shoes.. My evidence:

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Not even Alexa Chung would wear this (cue Alexa Chung proving me wrong).

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Ok, here is a nice print. But honestly, I really had to think about whether to show any of them given the shoe, fur situation and the ugliness of it all.

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Missoni was equally ugly. It felt like a bunch of cheap knits and matchign leggings you’d buy on Kat Moon’s stall on the market:

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Versace still think they need to plaster their name on EVERYTHING in order to get people to wear it. Really?

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I’m a Scorpio so I should love this but I don’t. Its hideous. Thanks Pucci:

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And finally. A whole lot of WTF. Am I missing something. The irony? The fact that it is so utterly awful that its brilliant?? Explain PLEASE!! Moschino:

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Not

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Even

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KIDDING.

(all photos from vogue.com)

 

Tata Naka – a lesson in colour, pattern and quirkiness

Back in 2000 when I started knitting and only dreamed of doing it for a living, Tata Naka had just launched their label and had shown at London Fashion Week for the first time. It was a beautiful, whimsical collection which mixed modern shapes with vintage fabrics from their birth place Tbilisi in Georgia. I particularly coveted a pale pink, hand knitted jumper in a batwing shape where one sleeve had been replaced with beautiful, delicate lace.

Fast forward 15 years and they are still as innovative as ever, using bold colours and patterns in wearable shapes, often with a wink to their heritage or an interesting period in time.

On the 11th February, Vogue.com posted this mood board from their upcoming collection:

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This glimpse into the story behind the upcoming collection, showing, amongst other things, a little nod to Asian styles and shapes, shown through the multitude of images of classic Asian actresses and the Chines dragon print. It is no secret that I love colour and especially appreciate it when used in AW collections. This all made me more than a little bit excited and the resulting show was not a disappointment. These prints are mouth-watering, as is the colour palette:

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I also love a good, bold monochrome print and in a long-sleeved, maxi-length dress it is a complete winner

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Why not throw it together with another pattern? Bingo! The pleated multi layered skirt can cover a multitude of sins as does the polo-neck cut top.

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To me this is a garment for our (generally not very warm) English summers, to a wedding or party when you really can’t face uncovering your arms or permi goose-bumped legs:

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And if you are self-conscious about revealing your stomach (which is pretty much all of us) then:

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Their prints are pieces of art, it’s as simple as that. Who doesn’t want a suave, cravat wearing man on their skirt?

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Did I mention warm? Actual, warm looking winter clothes. For winter! And crushed velvet! Oh, you’ve come a long way since the early 1990s..

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And lots of white too. It just gave it such a fresh and light feel. Nothing dour here..

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And finally – no collection loved by me would be complete without a mullet relating item, seen here as a side-mullet top…

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This last one might just be overkill but so what. It is fashion fun at its best and not a dead animal in sight.

(all images from vogue.com)

My list of Yes/ No gettups from last night’s Oscars….

I’ll keep it simple:

YES! Emma Stone

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What a fab colour, is it green? gold? infected wound?? And its completely demure and classy (we forgive her the Jolie leg moment).

NO! Felicity Jones

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I just don’t think that the halter-polo neck thing works on a pig poofy dress. Nor is it very flattering. The top looks like she may have pigment removing skin boils. She’s gorgeous and this is such a shame.

YES! Anna Kendrick

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This is such a beautiful shade of coral and it fits perfectly. This is also how to make a halter-pilo neck both work and be flattering.

NO! Scarlett Johansson

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Its a great shade of green and from the ribcage down in rocks. But I’m not enjoying the throat chandelier, it looks like the ornate sequined neck of a gold medal winning figure skater. And is is taking away from a beautiful simple dress. Plus – wonky earrings.

YES! Eddie The Oscar Redmayne

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Navy and black. Thats all I need to say. LOVE. Her dress rocks too, even with the random feather pannier.

NO! Jennifer Lopez

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Oh God – Boobs. Zzzzzzz. Why? Imagine how elegant this would have been with pretty much ANY other neckline. Her make up is also questionable. The crying-eyes look?

YES! Reece Witherspoon

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Its not exciting but she looks great.

NO! Lupita Nyong’o

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I will try and refrain from making the obvious pearl neckline related comment and just say there IS such a thing as too many pearls…

YES! Jared Leto

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Oh come on! He’s wearing a LILAC suit. What is not to love? And plastic shoes which as a vegan I appreciate very much and give him great kudos for.

NO! Cloe Moretz

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This is not only incredibly unflattering but the fabric looks like my great aunt’s old (and very stained) curtains. She’s 18! Wear something fun for goodness sake.

YES! Meryl Streep

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Too cool.

NO! Gwyneth Paltrow

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There’s nothing particularily awful about this it just made me roll my eyes when I saw it. Gwyneth, pale pink, Oscars, blah blah. I’d have prefered it without the oversized arm rose. It has come from a little bit edgy to a whole lot twee..

YES! Cate Godess Blanchett

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Its not exciting but it is refreshing to see someone sidestepping the inevitable competitive dress situation. Its simple, flattering and the necklace stops it from being too serious. She’s been there, won her Oscar, worn crazier dresses than everyone else to has now else to prove.

NO! Keira Knightley

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I LOVE Keira. I have almost constant wardrobe envy so this make me sad. It is whimsical and sweet but I’m not sure that works when you are with child. Unless she is going to go full on HBC (Helena Bonham Carter) in future, in which case she has my full support.

I love Jenny Packham

So, we are already half way though New York Fashion Week and as ever it has been a mix of frights and joys. More on the frights later!

For now I would like to bask in the utter glory, glamour and gorgeousness of Jenny Packham. Originally a bridal designer, she later launched ready-to-wear, resort, accessories and lingerie collections. She has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity due to a certain Kate Middleton favouring her designs for black-tie evening wear. And thank goodness for that!

Firstly, I woud like a big, royal blue, sequin coat to wear all next winter:

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Then I would like to be invited to an event where a beautiful dress covered in what looks like cascading frozen leaves would be appropriate. A dress for Keira Knightly at this weekend’s Oscars (if she were not with child) perhaps:

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And colours! Why aren’t more evening dresses created in this shade of yellow? Remember Michelle Williams’s dress at the 2006 Oscars?

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Not to mention that olive green is massively underrated. What beautiful use of sequins again, made to look like glossy tree bark, or mirrored pheasant feathers (ok, I know they are two very different things but still..) I could see Kristen Stewart looking incredible in this:

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or in black!

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And finally the unique ‘Bonfire’ dress:

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Jenny Packham I salute you.

(photos from vogue.com)

Spring/Summer 2013 Trends – Metallics!

My second favorite trend for the coming Spring and Summer is the array of delightful, bright matallics that were seen on both sides of the Atlantic. The colours, especially from the Burberry show reminded me of sweet wrappers from my childhood which I collected because they were just so pretty:

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I don’t know where I will find a brightly coloured metallic mac that doesn’t cost the earth but I shall keep my eyes peeled. I could perhaps fashion myself a small metallic cape out of aforementioned sweet wrappers…

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What is this made of? (great shoes too)

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Then we had this great dress from Monique Lhuillier. Love the colour, love the shape, love the possible snow storm:

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Jonathan Saunders had some asymmetrical metallic patterns. The styling felt very wintry but I love the kick pleat at the side, some very clever cutting:

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I also really liked this super simple vest top and metallic skirt look from Badgley Mischka, the fabric looks , like the inside of a shell:

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And I’d like this jacket too please:

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(all pctures from fashionising.com)