Sunday, 29 May 2011

Favourite Designers: Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou
I like designers who aren't afraid to be different or push the boundaries. In no particular order, I will gradually document them and my favourite collections by them within my blog, beginning with one designer who continually surpasses everyone's expectations- Mary Katrantzou.
Born in Athens, Greece with qualifications from some of the most prestigious fashion colleges in the world, including Central Saint Martins, Katrantzou constantly creates inspiring and eclectic collections that are like no other in the business. Currently working on her highly-anticipated Fall/Winter 2011 collection and having just released an exciting collaboration with Atelier Swarovski, it would seem she is in high demand in the fashion world at the moment. In my opinion, her Spring 2011 Ready To Wear collection is her best so far. Katrantzou retains the extravagant, baroque-like style that makes her work so distinctly her own, whilst simultaneously breaking down fashion barriers by sending models down the catwalk wearing furniture- namely lampshades. Lampshades! In theory, it shouldn't work. But she made it work, decorating her models and their accompanying lampshades with Seventies inspired vintage prints of luxurious interiors. When describing her latest collection, Katrantzou identified her inspirations as old issues of Architectural Digest and World Of Interiors magazines. Don't say that's not creativity.

"With this collection, I wanted to put the room on the woman, rather than the woman in the room." This one sentence entirely sums it up- it does indeed look as though the models are wearing rooms. Illusional genius from a designer at the top of her game- and still only 28 years old. What will Katrantzou do next?

Disclaimer: I totally don't recommend anyone attempting to recreate this look by wearing their parent's furniture. Mums don't like it.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

when leggings go wrong

This is a subject I feel pretty strongly about. And it seems I'm not alone. There is a whole digital movement out there dedicated to it- Facebook groups, blogs and even whole websites. And this is it ladies- leggings aren't pants. (I'm not American but pants sounds better than trousers. Nobody wears trousers).

Now before I continue, I have to say that I'm not a legging-hater. When leggings are worn in the right circumstances, they can be acceptable. Lounging around the house- acceptable. Worn under a bottom-covering top- acceptable. Worn as an alternative to actual clothes intended for wear on the bottom half- not acceptable.

The 80's brought us a lot of things- MTV, Madonna and.. erm, microwaves. (And big hair of course, but that goes without saying). But it also introduced a new trend- leggings. Worn as outerwear. Which, as a result, has given birth to a few embarrassing fashion disasters over the years.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the rather unattractive (and unfortunate) situation called the camel toe, as kindly demonstrated here by La Toya Jackson. This is the number one rule as to why leggings ought to be worn under certain restrictions only. Nobody wants to see this. You don't want people to see this.

Its simply a fact of life that leggings do not flatter everyone. They have no structure or support to offer your legs. So those wobbly bits you have that you feel self-concious about? The sneaky cellulite that most of us collect round about our thighs? Leggings don't disguise them. They accentuate them. Therefore, they should only be worn under long tops or dresses- and even then, its a tricky area to get right.
Fortunately for us, some nice celebrities have demonstrated this exact fact for us. Step forward Helen Flanagan (Rosie from Coronation Street) and Amber Rose. Both are wearing some rather fetching pairs of leggings- only, neither are very flattering. (Mostly because it looks they forgot the rest of their outfit.)

The issue of underwear is one which must be taken into serious consideration before attempting the tricky task of wearing leggings in public. Underwear should not;
-be visible through your leggings
-be visible peeking from the top of your leggings
-give you a VPL (visible pant line) through your leggings.

The third and final disastrous legging fiasco is the one-time wildly popular 'wet-look legging' trend, particularly popular with chavs and sex maniacs. This is the rather fascinating look of wearing a couple of bin bags on your legs and calling it a style statement. Again, not a flattering look if you have any shape to your legs whatsoever. Even Katy Perry can't get away with it.

To conclude- leggings are difficult. If you have big legs, they won't look nice. If you have tiny legs, they won't look nice. If you are wearing underwear, they won't look nice. If you aren't wearing underwear, they won't look nice. And so on.
But basically, as all of these celebs have shown, is that they are never, ever, a substitute for proper bottom half clothing. They are not tights and they never will be. The only way to avoid such mortification as demonstrated on this page is to wear leggings with extreme care! And not with short tops!  

Thursday, 26 May 2011

bags from Zara which aren't mine yet

I didn't really like Zara that much until I found their online website. (Hello, someone re-introduce me to the outside world before I'm £5million in debt!!) I used to think it was just for Spanish businesswomen, but I've discovered some lovely stuff, especially accessory-wise. I'm particularly attracted to their range of scarves and umbrellas. My justification of this is the horrible weather we've been having so far this 'summer'. Anyway, its a tad tragic to order a brolly online and I do need a new bag. This one- (Drawstring with Stones, £59.99) is my favourite so far. I just need to decide which colour...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

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shoes that need to be on my feet.

I have a confession. I've owned the same pair of old hobnail boots for over a year now and during that time, they've barely been off my feet. Sadly, the lining inside them is now non-existent and walking in them feels like walking barefoot in a pit of gravel. So I've been searching for some new shoes to treat my feet to this summer. Seeing as theres no decent shoe shops where I live, I've taken to internet shopping and these are my favourites from the Office website.  (None of which I can actually afford but I'm going to look at every single day anyway).

Arabian Nights, £45

I'm not sure if its real reptile skin or not used to make these- if so, then I retract everything I'm about to say about how beautiful they are. And if I had them then I would have no excuse for not painting my toenails for once. The only thing is, I'm fairly sure my granny already owns them. Yeah. My granny.
Rendezvous, £45
Hello, cutest print in the world! These are like brogues, which I like, but they look comfier, which I like even more. And they're called Rendezvous. Like Craig David. They're win-win.

Simple Minds, £75
I like going out with my friends but I always seem to wear the same pair of heels when I do. The rest of the shoes I've picked out are ones I wish I had to add a bit of variety to my weekend wardrobe. These red ones are ankle-breakingly high but breath-takingly beautiful. I really love the oriental print, although it would maybe be difficult to match with an outfit? I'd try my best for these babies though.

Wig Out Wedge in black, £88
I like the fringing trend thats around these days, although it can sometimes look too much. These heels are just the perfect amount of fringe for one outfit, and there is two amazing colours. Would it be weird if i bought one of each and wore them at the same time?

Wig Out Wedge in blue, £88

Wild Beast Wedge, £75
I love leopard print, I always will and these wedges are leopard-print perfection. Wedges actually are so much easier to walk in than heels, its not a myth. Sometimes I'm scared heels will snap when I'm walking and you don't have that fear with wedges. And these look good. And go with anything.

Wind-up Wedge, £60
Probably my most favourite out of all that I've posted, but only just. I love the style of these, they look so good- if I were a shoe, I would want to be this one. The style makes legs look longer and being classic black means they'll be your new go-to shoe on weekends. I'm saving up my pennies as I write this.

Monday, 23 May 2011

what I don't look like in the morning

Elle Macpherson is the only person in the world who can do the school run in red leather trousers. Actually, she is the only person in the world who can do red leather trousers, period. The trousers in question are by Isabel Marant and cost a casual.. em, £1,500. Elle defended her morning wardrobe last week on the Graham Norton show saying, "What people don't know is I'm actually on my way to work, so they say "Why does she dress up for the school run?" It's like, "Hello, its half past 8 in the morning and I go to work like everybody else!"
If I had a job which required me to wear red leather trousers, I'd probably run far away and hide. Forever.  

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

the sheer maxi

From a little sprinkling on the S/S 10 catwalks to a full-blown floor-length revolution on the S/S 11, it seems the maxi is having a moment. And in particular, the sheer (thats see-through to you and me) maxi. First off the mark was Givenchy with their Resort 2011 collection which saw one of my favourite models, Daphne Groenveld, in a number of decadent (and alarmingly see-through) floor-length fabrics (right). If this collection doesn't make you want to get your legs out, then nothing will.

Although black is obviously the easiest colour to wear, Givenchy have just launched the Pre-Fall 2011 collection which includes more adventurous sheer maxis- including bright purples, heavy ruffles, wedding-dress lace and this patterned sheer maxi (left). In my opinion, these should be left to the truly brave- plain black is enough for this season.

Personally, I've always been too afraid to venture out in a maxi, what with the town I live in being so sartorially backward. (I've been asked on more than one occasion whether I was wearing fancy dress. I wasn't). Also, the whole see-through concept is slightly worrying, especially if you don't have the legs of a catwalk model. However, this sheer maxi (below) from H&M has had me seriously reconsidering.

 But the maxi is notoriously difficult to pull off. And notoriously difficult to walk around in with the ever-present threat of tripping over. Heels are absolutely essential- the maxi is not friendly to the short-legged among us.  Other danger areas include the length (you don't want a case of 'invisible feet'), the neckline (leave a little to the imagination- boobs and legs out mean you might as well be naked), ruffles (can take the Seventies trend a bit too far) and pleats (you don't want to be mistaken for a schoolgirl).
Add to this that maxi's are only ever flattering on tall, lean people and you have a tricky style equation.

So I scoured the Internet for people who managed to wear the sheer maxi without looking like they'd accidentally been wrapped in a net curtain. Of course, Mary-Kate Olsen was wearing it first, along with this fashionista (source unknown). Maybe I'll be next. But maybe not.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Festival Fever

Festival season is upon us! My local festival is T in The Park in Balado, Kinross but this years line-up didn't quite have me excited-(click the link and you'll see why. Coldplay on a Saturday night? Um, no.) 
However, for the past few weeks I've been looking at pictures of Coachella and watching the UK festival season officially kick off with Radio 1's Big Weekend on BBC Three, and it has made the little festival section of my heart scream with regret- I just realised one of the main reasons why I love festivals. The clothes.
Last year at T in The Park, it rained for approximately 98% of the 3-day weekend, meaning the mud was literally knee-high and in order to be in time to see an act at the opposite end of the field, you had to leave at least an hour beforehand. Maybe two, because falling over happened quite a lot and not just because of all the beer. So there are several requirements that festival clothes must meet before being packed alongside your tent. 

1.- They must withstand all weathers. Especially if you're festivalling in the UK.
Whatever the weatherman predicts for the special weekend will be a lie, therefore your clothes have to suit whatever is thrown at you- rain, wind, mud- maybe even sunshine! The trick is to layer your clothes. Then you can take clothes off if the weather is nice, and put them on again when it gets cold (because it will get cold.) Its always easier to wear something light because nobody likes the guy who tries to take a pullover off packed in the middle of a 20,00 strong crowd. Vests, t-shirts and cardigans are your festival friends, as are anoraks and hoodies with zips. And dresses and shorts. Maxidresses, playsuits, flares and thick wooly knits are not.
2. Sunglasses. Even if its not sunny. Everyone wears them. You're at a festival, you're supposed to.
3. Field-friendly shoes. Okay, I'm going to be blunt here. What really pisses me off this time of year are all the fashion magazines conjuring up magnificent outfits to wear to your chosen festival- (going to Download? wear leather and brothel creepers!  T4 On the Beach? a bikini and gladiators!) because none of their footwear MAKES ANY SENSE. Nobody wears sandals to a festival, unless they have a absurd desire for trench foot. Nobody wears heels or wedges to a festival, because there is never ever any even terrain-you will break both your ankles and both your heels and lose your dignity somewhere in between. Obviously the only appropriate shoe for a festival are wellies (preferably plain to go with most outfits, and not from Shoe Zone because they will cut your feet up) or sturdy boots. You are going to be standing in grass, dirt, beer- probably even pee. (if you've been in a festival portaloo, then you know what I'm saying). You need a comfortable and reliable shoe if you don't want to have to sit in your tent all weekend and cry because you've lost a flip-flop to the conditions. 
4.Dry shampoo. Necessary. Don't even think about festival showers. You will queue for half a day and miss that one act you desperately wanted to see. Be a true camper and embrace the filth. (But not too much- remember, if you drunkenly roll around in the mud on the Friday night, you WILL still be able to tell by the Sunday night. Trust me.) And besides, communal showers are nobody's friend.
5.Primark, etc. Don't buy expensive clothes to wear over the weekend because they will get ruined. Cheap, disposable fashion items are the safest option- if they do survive, then bonus, if not, then its not £40 wasted. Drinks will be spilled, items of clothing will be lost and by the time you get home after it all, it will be all be a big, crumpled mess at the bottom of your bag anyway.
5.Accessories. Again, don't wear any family heirlooms or Swarovski diamonds. If they don't get lost, they'll get stolen. What you need this year is an Indian head-dress, like Eliza Doolittle. The best thing about festivals is that its socially acceptable to be dressed borderline fancy-dress at all times (or all out, if you're going to Bestival). But if you're not quite brave enough, do headbands, face paints and feathers instead.
The last rule of festivals- have fun. You probably wont get to see all the bands you wanted to, you probably will lose and/or fall out with your friends, you probably will make random new friends you'll never see ever again, you probably will heave at the smell of the toilets and you probably will consume too much junk food and alcohol- for a start. But anyway, if you look good- you'll have a good time.

(The above rules don't apply to festival posers. You know who I mean. The ones who only go so they can say they've been, not because they actually like any of the bands. Who don't actually go and see any of the bands, but lurk around in the nice, fancy camping area with their friends or in the beer tent and use the toilets that cost £1.50 to pee in because they have running water and hair straighteners. Oh and then when they come home, they have four festival albums uploaded to Facebook before Monday tea-time. They wear stupid shoes and playsuits from Zara but thats because they don't have any fun. Festival rant over. See you on the field- from the comfort of my sofa!)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Exploding all over the fashion blogosphere this week are these amazing customised Vans.  Opinions have been varied over the shoes, which have been decorated with exquisite vintage Hermes scarves, however, personally I would probably sell a vital organ to be in possession of SUCH BEAUTY. 
To be completely honest with you, I don't like Vans shoes. The slip-on style is nice but I don't like the signature chequered pattern, it doesn't really go with the clothes I wear, and I don't really find them to be comfortable either. BUT THESE. Oh my. I love Hermes and every single scarf they produce and this, is just genius. Sadly though, the shoes are not an official collaboration between Vans and Hermes, as stated on Vans' official flickr account