London Fashion Week Rundown – Boho Craziness

There were two main themes running through London Fashions Week, firstly our old friend Boho, a look that has been missing for all of about 5 seconds. Its not that not I’m a fan, I am, but too much can get a bit, well, Edina Monsoon (Lacroix sweetie!) Secondly, many of the catwalks were so darn dark and moody you couldn’t see the clothes. However, here is my snapshot of what went down:

Boho Burberry. I can’t help but love this, my 16 year old self is having a meltdown…

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Great colours, in a 1970s wallpaper themed fabric:

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Um, no.

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Erdem had some similar shapes (but shiny shiny versions).

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But then this happened, heaven:

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This coat is just incredible. How the heck did they blend thes completely opposing fabrics together? Or is the shiny shiny part painted on? Whatever –  a massive YES PLEASE!

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And I’ll end with this little pretty, worn by Laexa Chung the following day at the Elle Style Awards:

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I love Giles, but the catwalk was so flipping dark it was hard to see any of the details and many of the looks were primarily black. However, a fab magic mushroom print appeared:

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Happy days – as did this witchy number. I love a cape though I may pass on the ruffles:

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Christopher Kane was feeling romantic. Delicate blue vein print? Or winter branches?

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Navy, black and red velvet. Oh yes.

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Then this range of dresses began to appear. There is some lovin’ special time going one here:

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And goodness, LOTS of lovin’ special time going on here:

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Roksanda was my favorite show my a country mile. Fabulous colours, fabrics, shapes. But there was also lots of (UNNECESSARY) fur which made me very sad. I will continue to hope that it was faux but I will not be showing any look in which it featured.

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The make up is beautiful too. I love dark berry lips. Works so well with the mustarrd and other pops of colour. Not to mention those shoes!

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Peter Pilotto was a as colourful as you would imagine and fell on the Boho side of the proceedings.

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It’s great fun, and the colours were mouthwatering. This makes me very happy in an AW collection because they can so often fall on the dour side of the colour wheel.

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I love this dress:

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Mulberry was pretty dull but I loved this coat:

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Temperley equally underwhelming (on the whole) despite rolling out a few retired models like Sophie Dahl. However I thought I’d post this look beause it was the high point of the show and shows how skilled she is at putting together patterns.

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Jonathan Sunders rolled out a load of clashy 70s looks with A line skirts and polo necks. It wasn’t my bag. The shapes were fine but the patterns and colours gave me brain freeze.

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Matthew Williamson was as expected really, Bohotastic but overkill, and lots of dead sheep. However this was rather lovely:

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And who doesn’t like a crab on a print?

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Mary Katrantzou was really interesting. The colours, fabrics, textures and shapes were exciting. And the shoes were perfect:

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Possibly the most beautifully and futuristically adorned rain coat in history..

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And finally, the great Dame of London – Vivienne Westwood (Red Label). Look at this incredibly chic coat, not to mention what looks like a gorgeous, soft gersey dress underneath it:

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Trouser suit!

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This dress may be my favorite of the whole week, for its pure drapey, delicacy and comfort factor:

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But so as not to lull anyone into a false sense of security, there will always be batshit crazy, tartan and super boob lift in there somewhere:

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(all images from vogue.com)

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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.

A Bird of Paradise

It’s still February and the rain is pouring outside my window. But this does not mean that I can’t think about sunny climbs and the promise of warm weather around the corner (or a couple of corners). I have written before about my problems with fragrance, I can’t wear it on my skin as I will develop a rash within minutes. Instead I spray it onto my hair (spray a little cloud above your head and letting it settle) and onto my clothes (spray a little cloud in front and then walk into it).

I’ve become a huge fan of Marks and Spencer cosmetics recently. They have been given the cruelty free (leaping bunny) stamp of approval and most of their products are free of animal derivatives too. I’ve always found the cost of designer perfume utterly ridiculous, we pay for the jazzy bottle and the name rather than the smell and that seems bonkers. So to find a fragrance which not only smells lovely but has a magic bottle for the princely sum of £15 for 100ml makes me very happy! Behold:

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It is an eau de toilette so it is not as powerful as a purfme but I’ve never minded this. A little refresh during the day is not a problem when M&S do a little handbag sized 25ml version of all their fragrances. It has a very light, fruity smell, of peaches and tropical flowers. It is a scent to raise a smile, as is the bottle. I love the lid, it looks like the tail feathers of a very proud little bird. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of kitsch and maybe a wink to Marc Jacobs.

Victoria Beckham AW 2015 a lesson in effortless style

I have an embarrasing confession to make. Back in the far gone days of my  career as a knitwear design I was asked by a stylist if a certain Victoria Beckham could borrow and wear one of my dresses to an event. I said no. To clarify, at this point in time she still dressed like this:

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Less than ten years later, the same woman is designing my favorite collections by a country mile. She seems to share my obsession with navy and black (together), and makes clothes that are a perfect mix of slouch and fit, in fabrics you would like to touch. And very importantly for me – no fur in sight:

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Her clothes could be worn at work, or to a glam party. they are cut in such a way that you wouldn’t endlessly be worrying about vpl, sweat marks or sitting down. They are wearable.

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Anyone who uses suck a vibrant pop of colour in an A/W collection gets a prize in my book, and even more so if it is yellow. I love the kilt-like slouchy hip fastening and the fact these are BIG comfy trousers:

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I WISH I had designed this sweater. It is utterly perfect. I want one in every colour there is.

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And coats – how great are these sleeves which form part of the coat’s neck? Very great. It even looks like there are some secret under-arm vents (the designer in me wonders if this started life as a way of getting around a complcated arm seam) but hey, its different and why not:

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In a nutshell, I am an idiot. I should have give her the dress, given her 20 dresses. Maybe my fashion fortunes would have changed along with hers. Keep doing in Victoria. You have a massive fan in me.

(photos from vogue.com and mtv.com)

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)

How Vegan make-up turned into Vegan Vegan….

The first thing I should say is that I am an animal lover. I don’ t think I’d function without animals in my life, being in their company makes me very happy. My husband would tell you that he has often felt second fiddle to various members of my animal family over the years and I would be unable to argue.

I was brought up on a farm, where cows, sheep, pigs, horses, cats and dogs were part of my every day existence. There was milk on the table every morning from the small herd of dairy cows and I loved taking left overs to our pair of pigs Bubble and Squeak. My family ate meat, lots of it, we weren’t allowed to leave the table without finishing it. Even as a small child I was fussy about food, specifically meat. It looked wrong to me, it was brown and lumpy and had strings that I didn’t like. My family ate everything, liver, kidneys, heart, tongue. There was a paticularily bad experience with some brain that I won’t go into.

This didn’t go down well. I spent many hours sitting in front of a plate of food I simply could not stomach. However it wasn’t until I was 6 or 7 that I made the critical link.

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I went to feed Bubble and Squeek. But Squeek was no longer large and pink with wiry blond hair and a big snuffly nose. Squeek was small and had brown patches on his back. I asked my father what had happened and was told that pigs grew differently to people and sometimes they get smaller. I’ve asked my parents about this lie recently and they said that they guessed how things would go if I understood the truth and wanted to stop it for as long as they could. They also appreciate that this was wrong. Unfortunately for them, I have 7 older siblings and the truth came out almost immediately. I understood that I had been eating my friends and would be continually asked to.

I won’t spend too long dwelling on this. There were battles over food, over meat for years. There simply weren’t vegitarians in my family. Everyone shot, hunted, fished. I became anxious about food, I didn’t trust where it came from. As soon as I was old enough to become vegitarian I did. I found it easiest at school where vegitarian food was readily available. In school holiday at home I lost lots of weight because I simply ate the vegitables that were offered alongside the meat. My best friend was vegitarian as was her mother. I loved staying with them, no anxiety, no suspicion.

I was not perfect, I went through phases of eating fish, chicken and at one point (and I cringe saying this) bacon.

This brings me to Summer 2014. My husband (not vegitarian) had been working abroad for 6 months so there had been no meat in the house for a while as i had not need to buy any for him. I began to look into veganism. What took vegans that step further than vegitarians? What was I missing? So I asked the question: What is wrong with dairy? The cows and chickens don’t die so it can’t be that bad. I was overwhelmed with horror when the anwers came flooding back. I was heartbroken. How could I have been so ignorant? I cried for days and decided that I would bear witness to the suffering so I would never go back. The suffering and abuse that animals go through because of human greed is unacceptable. Dairy cows are inseminated every 14 months to keep them pregnant and their milk flowing. Their calves are taken from them at birth and either killed on the spot or taken to be raised for veal. Their mothers scream for days. After 4 or 5 years the cows produce less milk and they are then slaughtered. Chickens have a similar fate. I don’t need to labour the point but there are no happy endings here. There are two films that made a huge impact on me: The Ghosts In Our Machine (http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/) and Earthlings (http://earthlings.com/).

So that was it. The leather shoes, belts and wool hat and jumpers went out the door. As did the milk, butter, eggs.

I was concerned about how my husband would react to the change when he got home. I didn’t need to. He was interested, and did his own research. He now eats vegan too.

Life is made far more simple today due to the internet. We can educate ourselves on any subject. We can research food, recipies and ingredients. There is no need to be afraid of the unknown because there will already be millions of people on that journey ahead of you waiting to give you a helping hand.

I have more energy, my eczema so rarely rears its scabby head that I sometimes forget I have it. And my food hang-ups are gone. There is no looking back.

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The start of my Vegan journey

It has been almost 2 years since my last post, and quite alot has changed. I have been on a journey which relates to my skin, physical and mental health (which are all intrinsically intertwined). We’ll start with make-up.

For those of you who have read my earlier posts and have an interest in very sensitive, allergy prone skin will know that after years of reasearch and endless flair-ups I realised that I was allergic to lanolin (a fat derived from the wool of sheep) and carmine (a red pigment taken from a type of beetle). I also react to beeswax. This would usually come in the form of contact dermatitis and eczema, in oozing patches on my face, lips and eyelids.

From these two discoveries I was able to begin to eliminate all sorts of products and understand the problems I had had with my skin from trying to keep it moisturized to wearing nice make-up. The make-up was the easiest to conquer. Pretty much every high-street and high-end brand uses carmine in their red pigmented items which incluedes everything from lipstick to blusher and ofted strong brown coloured eyeshadows.

So, there was only one option. I would start using only vegan make-up. It was that simple. All the things which caused my skin issues were dreived from animals. I also found that the mineral powder forms worked better, especially for foundation, as the powder sits on your skin rather than being absorbed into it.

There are wonderful brands out there, Inika, Concrete Minerals, LunatiCK, Neve Cosmetics, Sugarpill Cosmetics, OCC Vegan, to name but a few. The days of people seeing vegans as un-glamorous, sack-wearing wierdos seemed to be over. And this is just from the make-up perspective!

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And it didn’t stop there! Superdrug in the UK jumped on the bandwagon and started to produce vegan cosmetics, their own brands (B, Simply Pure) are vegan and cruelty free. GOSH, another brand available in Superdrug is mostly vegan (they will email you a list of items that contain any animal derivatives if you email them). And my most recent and exciting discovery – good old M&S! Their cosmetic line is 100% cruelty free and mostly vegan too. I may no visit Boots half as much as I used to but the possibilities for someone like me is ever growing and that is truely fantastic!

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(images from beautylish.com & lipglossiping.com)