Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Art of Autumnal Dressing

As autumn looms and the days grow colder, it is time to explore how you will update your wardrobe. Upon the arrival of a new season, I advocate not only making additions to your wardrobe, but also having a clear out. Like a gust of autumnal wind, a wardrobe detox blows away the dust and leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for action.

If you’re not careful, autumn can lead your wardrobe onto a path of drudgery and delusion. One misstep in this sartorial season and an awful autumn is followed by a woeful winter. If you begin autumn thinking that you can get away with a baggy brown jumper and a tatty scarf, by winter you'll look like the personification of frumpiness and complacency. 

The biggest autumnal mistake is the misuse of colour. Although you cannot get away with pastel coloured candy stripes, an autumn wardrobe should not be limited to grey, brown and navy. Instead, peruse the purples, yearn for yellows, and rise above the melee in metallics. Here's some inspiration to get you started!

Collared Dress - £15, Lace Dress - £347, Skirt - £36, Checked Shirt - £30, Cushion - £240

Sienna Coat - £189, Scarf - £23, Shoes - £30, Trousers - £30, Blouse - £33

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Are Designer Replicas Fair Game?

Whilst trawling through the pages of SheIn, a very familiar dress caught my eye. A full-skirted, brightly striped dress adorned with children's drawings jumped out at me. It was an exact replica of a dress featured in Dolce&Gabbana's recent advertisement in British Vogue's September issue with a comparatively minuscule price tag.

Confusion followed by "how?" followed by "should I?" ensued. I was incredibly tempted to purchase the reproduced dress for about 60 seconds and then I started to think about how this dress had originally come into being. Hours and hours of designing, sourcing, altering, checking, market research and advertising had culminated in D&G producing this dress. Then SheIn had swooped in and nicked it. 
Although legal as long as they don't claim that the dress is D&G, it still feels wrong. Dresses such as this are works of art, and deserve to be admired and respected, not replicated in cheap materials for mass consumerism. 

The average person can't afford a wardrobe bursting with authentic designer items, hence the black market for fake designer items is rife globally. A holiday in Europe isn't complete without a handsome local approaching you to offer 'Prada' handbags for €50. It has been estimated that losses to designers as a result of fake handbags total $70 million.
A street seller in Barcelona sells counterfeit designer handbags
If you can't afford to buy a designer item, the best option is to buy second hand. My treasured sites are BuyMyWardrobe, William Vintage, Hardly Ever Worn It, Naughtipidgins Nest, Style Sequel, and The Little Black Dress Agency. They require a bit of time to sift through the many pages, but you can find some real designer gems for more realistic prices! I've got my eye on this MSGM boucle jacket, and these Prada shoes, and this Prada shirt, ooh and those Mulberry bags on Naughtipidgins... I could be gone for a while! 

Monday, 17 August 2015

The One Thing No One Will Tell You To Take To University

A Level Results are in, and whether you got your first choice university or were temporarily in educational purgatory whilst going through clearing, you now know where you’re headed. You are inundated with a wealth of advice on what to take to uni, recommendations to ‘keep your bedroom door open’ during the first few days in halls, and panic searching TSR for the nitty gritty insider info about your impending halls of residence/classes/what the typical student wears at your respective university.

It stems from a desire to fit in. Every fresher wants to get off on the right foot so that they can have the best possible start to an unforgettable, mind-bogglingly incredible few years at university. The key is preparation. There is one, seemingly inconsequential item which no one will advise you to pack in your already overflowing suitcase but which is undeniably necessary: a ball gown.

There will be opening/freshers’ balls, sports’ balls, Christmas balls, summer balls, end of year balls, society balls, and ‘any other reason you can think of for having one’ balls. The dress requirements can range from cocktail dresses (sports’ balls) to formal ball gowns (Christmas ball). The frequency and formality of balls will vary depending on which university you’re off to, but taking at least one semi-formal and one formal dress with you will avoid any last minute sartorial scrambling. Of course if your old prom dress is still your style and fits you well, then take it. If you've changed a lot and feel like breathing new life into your formalwear, then here are my picks for a variety of budgets.

Green, Pink, Cream
Black/Gold Maxi, Gold Short, Drop hem

Colour Block Maxi, Turquoise Short, T-shirt Maxi
Good luck at university, you'll have a ball! 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Fashion Inspired Decor

Yesterday afternoon during my leisurely Sunday wanderings, I popped into a local interior design shop. Unable to resist and with a new home on the horizon, I treated myself (code for 'splashed out when probably shouldn't have done') to this unusual but strikingly stylish wall clock in the shape of a fob watch. 

As a result, I have now become fanatical about having fashion inspired accents dotted around my impending abode. Adding a mixture of quirkiness and personality, they are an essential addition for any style lover's home. Here are my favourite fashion furnishings: 

1. Fob Wall Clock £35 - M&S (highstreet version of the one I bought but practically the same!)

2. Crown 40 Years of Fashion Wallpaper £10/roll - I Love Wallpaper

3. Lampe Berger 'Athena' Perfume Shaped Lamp £53.50 - David Shuttle

Lampe Berger - The Twilights - 'ATHENA' Flame Glass Lamp, Black
4. Framed Vogue 1950 Blumenfeld Cover £77 - Redbubble


5. Rent or Chanel? Cushion Cover £16 - Etsy

Rent or Chanel? Pillow Cover. Fashionista, present, housewarming gift, cushion cover, , Free US Shipping

6. Coffee Table Fashion Books - Waterstones (click on images for link)

Vogue: The Covers (Hardback)Twenty-Five Dresses: William Vintage (Hardback)

"Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life"
 Bill Cunningham

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Louboutin: The World's Most Luxurious Shoes

Monday night saw Channel 4 exploring the raunchy but artistic world of Christian Louboutin. The documentary, entitled 'Louboutin: The World's Most Luxurious Shoes', was a charming portrayal of Louboutin as a character and gave a fascinating insight into the sources of his inspiration. 

Admittedly, I thought Louboutin was going to be off his rocker. I was pleasantly surprised by his endearing demeanour and evident self-awareness. It became clear as the programme ensued that the Louboutin brand was an absolute reflection of Louboutin's stylistic vision for women. 

I have always dismissed Louboutin shoes as the hallmark of a WAG, as being cheap looking (despite their average price tage of £600) and (dare I say it?) trashy. This documentary, however, offered a depth and credibility to the brand which I had previously found to be lacking. Louboutin detailed his fascination with film clips in which empowered women stalked sexily in high-heels. Forming the beginnings of his vision, Vivement Dimanche (1983) and the sexiness of Marilyn Monroe's walk in Some Like it Hot (1959) provided seductive inspiration.

Through a cinematic Caesarean, his brand was born.    

Since its conception in Paris in 1991, the Christian Louboutin brand has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. When questioned on his famous clients, the same discretion which has earnt him the trust of the A-listers which bolster his image, was evident in his answering. He presented Angelina Jolie's Maleficent shoe which she had worn to every première, he spoke of the image of a forelorn Princess Diana looking down at her feet as the inspiration for his pair of trademark red 'LOVE' emblazoned navy shoes. Yet, in a display of cautionary intelligence, he never once told a piece of headline-grabbing gossip. Referencing this, he said he thought of his role as that of a doctor with a confidentiality clause: "a doctor has secrets and a doctor never speaks of his patients.". 

Christian Louboutin: The World's Most Luxurious Shoes.
Louboutin with his Diana 'LOVE' inspired shoes

This interesting and humane nature of Louboutin as a person was furthered by the revelation of his recent venture in Bhutan (where he is of course personal friends with the Bhutanese royalty). Through the artistic enterprise of a group of Bhutanese students, Louboutin encouraged the creativity of a traditions-based culture. The students painted wooden blocks in the shape of shoes with varying designs of their own imagination, ranging from cigarettes to vividly coloured patterns. Louboutin then transported the hand-painted wooden blocks to Paris (so that he could make his selections in neutral surroundings without the emotional influence of Bhutan) where he chose the best pieces which would feature in his collection.

It may seem the polar opposite from the fetish-orientated foundations of his brand, but this venture only serves to demonstrate the pure artistry and expressiveness of Louboutin shoes. Louboutin as a brand serves not only to make women walk taller and more seductively (Christian notes that the high heel forces women to push out their breasts and pull back their shoulders in order to stay balanced), but also acts as the footwear representative of haute couture. It isn't practical, it isn't useful, but it is someone's vision. 

Bhutanese Student's Designs 

Louboutin testing a prototype of the Bhutanese Designs 
“You are going to see a documentary about someone who’s been loving what he’s doing, but he’s doing something totally useless,” said Christian Louboutin.