much too much

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Keep It Simple

This week’s post for the Huffington Post:

I prefer the idea of ‘style’ to ‘fashion’. My wardrobe contains mainly black and navy, rather more tonal than rainbow. Yesterday someone described my outfit as ‘ombre’; thank goodness my hair isn’t dip dyed.

I favour a simple kind of dressing, the trench coat and heels kind. The kind where style rules over trends, the kind that isn’t deemed outrageous enough to be a target for Somerset House street style photographers. That’s okay though, I don’t dress to impress at fashion week, I know my style and I’m comfortable with it. After all, aren’t we all too busy thinking about ourselves to care about anyone else?

Seated at a menswear show last week, I couldn’t help but consider the fashion vs style dilemma. In the midst of candy coloured mops of hair, enormous stacked brothel creepers, bright blingy jackets and some otherwise chronic get ups, I felt a little undressed by comparison in my Chloe-esque navy peter pan collar coat and tonal skirt and blouse ensemble. I was comfy, and politely, pardon the phrase, ‘on trend’. I’ll be the first to admit that Meadham Kirchhoff is an incredible work of art, but I’ll never own any of their pieces. I prefer Stella McCartney, Chloe, Celine and Burberry; even Vivienne Westwood is too exciting for me. I’m a fashion minimalist.

At the aforementioned show, I noticed something similar happening on the catwalk; my favourite looks were those ultra wearable pieces that I could imagine my male friends actually wearing. Admittedly many of them work in media; perhaps the rugby types are exempt from this. Agi and Sam presented gorgeous paneled shirts that any self-respecting young man would be proud to wear both to work, and for post-office drinks. Agi and Sam kept it simple, simple enough for their collection to be more than ‘show pieces’. Keep it simple stupid.

As for costume fashion, may it live on. Somerset House wouldn’t be the same without hoards of journos, stylists and associated media types swarming around its grounds hoping to be snapped and obscurely posted online. I just know I won’t be joining them anytime soon. Save me a seat at Chloe, for that is where my heart lies.

(Originally posted here:

HEY BABIES.  Totally shamelessly parading around my flat in these beautiful Miu Miu shoes I bought yesterday.  Thanks Joseph sample sale, they’re absolutely perfect and incredibly comfy given the height.  So excited to wear them!

HEY BABIES.  Totally shamelessly parading around my flat in these beautiful Miu Miu shoes I bought yesterday.  Thanks Joseph sample sale, they’re absolutely perfect and incredibly comfy given the height.  So excited to wear them!

The Huffington Post: The Beautiful and Damned

Originally written for The Huffington Post and posted here:

Public opinions differ on the CW show ‘Gossip Girl’. Whether you love it, loathe it, or have never watched it, I find a certain stylish attachment to the show that seems impossible to shake off. ‘Who wouldn’t want a closet like Blair Waldorf’s?’ tweeted a colleague recently, so I thought I’d look into this question. Some covetous results appeared before me as I watched almost a complete season for research. The show may deal with the often blindly farcical ‘first world problems’, complexities one might suggest, of life on the Upper East Side, but the fashion is fabulous. Just fabulous.

Chanel girl Blake Lively plays the ever impeccably clad Serena van der Woodsen, her divine locks and sky high legs tempting every man on the street to fall immediately, and completely, in love with her. The six-inch heels that she glides effortlessly around in don’t exactly detract from the picture, with the blonde starlet attracting attention from both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge. Her sidekick, gutsy Blair Waldorf, played by the much style-envied Leighton Meester, is the advocate of many a headband, kilt and dress coat. Where she might have appeared to be the less stylish of the two, times have changed, and now we see before us an altogether splendidly dressed young lady. Having grown up and out of prep school uniform, her wardrobe is coveted more than the men she keeps, notably the infamous Chuck Bass, played by London-bred Ed Westwick. B’s style (in Gossip Girl tone), is understated- she’s the American Duchess of Cambridge on the silver screen. At every junction she never fails to be anything but completely together- ‘keeping up appearances’ should replace Cornelia as her middle name.

2012-05-16-GG.jpg(Gossip Girl cast)

Even the names of the Gossip Girl episodes are as trendy as the Upper East Side itself; variations on names of major hit films describe the goings on in New York from week to week. Ranging from ‘The Witches of Hushwick’, to ‘Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ to ‘It’s a Wonderful Lie’; the writers have it all covered. Season two episode ‘The Age of Dissonance’ focuses on an exciting era the 1920s. During the inter-war period, a time of undeniably extreme hedonism, the society ladies lunched like it was going out of fashion, raced about town in their motorcars and decked themselves out in the best diamonds, frocks and furs. The Bright Young Things ruled the gossip columns, truly living for the moment. Photographed by Cecil Beaton, with appropriately embellished retellings described by Evelyn Waugh, the Bright Young Things roamed the streets of London in search of both liquid spirits and high spirits.

An integral part of British society in their prime, the distinctive and glamourous young people had an impact that stretched far beyond the social smallholdings in which they were stabled. Where the Bright Young Things seemed to lead by a perverted example, the rest of the country had undergone a revolution all of its own; the 1920s was truly the era of the fancy dress party. The obsession with glad rags and elaborate dressing went far beyond the confines of Elizabeth Ponsonby, Stephen Tennant and John Betjeman’s circles. The exotic costumes of the young people’s parties reflected a blend of styles; black and white tie united with casual wear produced an absolutely, unmistakably sumptuous selection of party wear. For most of these partygoers, as Beverley Nichols described, ‘any excuse was good enough for putting on a wig and painting one’s face and roaring around the town’. Bright Young Thing and novelist Nancy Mitford later described the 1960s as ‘sobriety itself’ compared to the wild ways of her pleasure-seeking youth.

2012-05-16-BYT.jpg(The Bright Young Things, photographed by Cecil Beaton)
In a blinding return to the present, where it appears that roaming the streets of London will only drench us half to death, where Harrods is too expensive to buy our lunch from and where we’re all just a little too busy for fancy dress parties, perhaps we should find a portion of the Jazz Age in our own lives. In times of financial crumble, political massacre and a real ‘you only live once’ attitude (thank you Drake), the influence of such hedonism is seeping back into our society. The Autumn Winter 2012 collections exude a certain 1920s appeal; glitter, beading and sheer material are a central part of not only the catwalk collections, namely Ralph Lauren where the American designer has returned to the impeccable rebirth of the Jazz Age, but also on the high street. Miss Selfridge produced a gorgeous Jazz Age inspired collection with pieces that scream decadence, just in time for the release of The Great Gatsby, coming to cinemas world wide in December. Jewel-bedecked wedges caught our eyes on the press stands; journalists were like magpies to the gold, silver and multicoloured assortments of shiny materials that will hit our stores in the coming months. For the colder season, it will be refreshing to glitz and glam up in every day life, without feeling like a fish out of water.

Although Gossip Girl might not be real, and on this side of the pond we are more adept to splashing through puddles than bathing in Tiffany diamonds on the Upper East Side, perhaps the twenty-first century glamour, glitz and gossip of their circle can remind us of the good times. Dig into some Fitzgerald, Wharton and Waugh and escape, in your minds, to a time of excess at a time when excess wasn’t appropriate. After all, as Waugh said, ‘the pretty can get away with anything’.

The Huffington Post: I FEEL PRETTY

Originally written for The Huffington Post and posted here:

In the rapidly multiplying androgynous culture spreading throughout the fashion world, I like to be reminded of the girly things in life. From Richard Nicoll to Raf Simons, clean architectural lines have dominated; thus came the vast sales of ladies brogues and button up shirts, supplying early forms of the Spring Summer trend luxe sportswear.

Shapes crafted with industrial, functional design in mind put women in clothes perfect for the beanpole, and less so for the hourglass. Although hardly a revelation, the simple shifts from Richard Nicoll’s Autumn Winter collection only served to highlight the clean lines of the fashion industry ideals. There is no doubt that bountiful success has been achieved as a result of the androgynous trend, but there is still room for the lady. Nicoll’s immaculate collection, while it includes one beautiful cobalt blue leather piece, nipping in at the waist, doesn’t cater for the ‘girly girl’. This isn’t his market, but spreading the net wider, we might discover more girlish shapes hidden amongst the androgyny.

A world away from Richard Nicoll’s East-end digs is the New York studio of Victoria Beckham. The huge success of Victoria Beckham’s fashion venture may have surprised members of the fash-pack but her impact has been tremendous. Triumphs in her main line led to an explosion of Victoria by Victoria Beckham, with the collection making celebrity appearances all over the world, and appearing on many a fashion editor’s wish list. With girlish cat prints, feminine shapes and bright pink scallops, no girly girl can resist the diffusion line. Even the Autumn Winter 2012 collection, though it contains a good spread of black, is cute and feminine. Waists are highlighted in hourglass shapes, and where there are straighter lines, deep v-necks compenste for any hint of androgyny. Her Autumn Winter 2012 main line boasts a full collection for the strong, empowered woman, with long, lean lines and diving necklaces, showing off the female figure to perfection. With few rigid seams, straight edges of waistless pieces, her frocks showcase the female form, with all its curves intact.

2012-05-16-RichardNicoll1.jpg 2012-05-16-VB2.jpg 
(Richard Nicoll AW12 - Victoria by Victoria Beckham SS12)

Like most concepts, this is not a debut for femininity in fashion. For Autumn Winter 2011, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton hauled us back to the 60s with his all-woman silhouettes, fighting the androgynous revolution that had gone viral through the fashion world for seasons before. This season, the beautiful insets of folklore at Valentino reminded us that femininity was still allowed on the catwalk. Another world away from Victoria Beckham’s main line of power dressing came the showing of a folklore tradition, with light, ladylike leather that totally turned last season’s fetish trend on its head. As ever, Valentino remained the go-to fashion house for the delicate collection.

We can have the best of both worlds, for sure. The fashion climate is peppered with exciting and varied design; ultra girly Valentino-inspired needlework and politely nipped in waists, draped necklines of pussy bow collars, peter pan collars and teardrop shapes contrasts with the straight athletic lines of the Celine Autumn 2012 collection. While prettiness might be considered non-directional, it’s perfect for the Princess fever that the Duchess of Cambridge has spread throughout the country. Even in a season of a Topshop filled with sports luxe, structurally sound neons and the tiniest hot pants I’ve ever seen, I will still defend prettiness. Naturally, the high street has presented pastels pieces from Oasis where lashings of lacy fabrics are dying to be worn on picnics with lashings of ginger beer. If only the sun would come out, we might get the opportunity to wear such frocks. Call that a fantasy, but delicate feminine collections call for matching girlish dreams, and that’s mine.

Raf Simons for Dior

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.  Excited that it’s nearly summer, excited that in five weeks my first year at university will be over, but more excited about the house of Dior’s announcement.

If you hadn’t heard, Raf Simons, the genius behind Jil Sander will fill John Galliano’s boots at the French fashion house.  It’s been rumoured for months, the fash-pack have sketched around the subject, dreaming up minimalist scenarios left, right and centre, but this week it was finally made truth.  From the rapturous applause that Simons have received from what appears to be the entire industry, there is no doubt that upcoming Dior shows will be enormously highly anticipated, with every editor clamouring to get hold of a front row seat.

We may or may not be surprised to learn that the Belgian genius didn’t study fashion; no, he went for industrial design.  This shows, for sure in every collection he’s produced.  Clean lines are the name of his game, he works with asymmetry and that paired down economic feeling to achieve the look that he is known and loved for.  If you love Cos, you’ll love Raf Simons, in every aspect.  He’s all about feeling a little bit architectural, and we can’t help but lap it up.

The Spring 2011 Jil Sander collection was packed full of fluorescent colours; anywhere else and we might have gasped in shock and shaken our heads, but Simons delivered it with such elegance and simplicity that we could not help but be won over.  This effortlessly chic collection made anything else presented that season look just a little too much, and consequently caused an explosion over the high street.  And that’s exactly how it should be done, designer to high street conversion in one fail swoop.  I would not expect anything less from Simons.

Simons makes his Dior debut in July at the ever anticipated Paris couture week.  He told the New York Times that he aims for a ‘very modern Dior’, finding the ‘period between 1947 and 1957 extremely attractive’, a period of ‘a lot of modernity’, so something quite spectacular is clearly on the cards.  This all bodes well for our favourite Belgian, and his new customer base in Paris.  Watch this space for what comes next for Raf Simons.

image via

Written for CUB magazine

Disposable Society

Admittedly this blog isn’t strictly a fashion blog, but I am mostly a fashion and beauty writer so doing this piece was a little bit different for me.  Fun, too.  And interesting.  All good things.  So anyway, here it is, my piece on the Disposable Society that we live in.  It was written for something really really really important, but my blog is quite important too so here goes…

We are in the wake of a tsunami, one that comprises non-recyclable packets, Dominos boxes and the fast fashion that lines the high streets of our towns and cities.  Whilst everything appears affordable and vouchers can be sought to further cheapen the load, we live in a society where everything is replaceable.  Significantly less people can sew, socks are replaced instead of darned; televisions are cheaper to buy new instead of repair.  Convenience is the highest point of desire.  The younger generation are stuffing themselves with processed food, the kind of food that can be ordered straight to their beds, hassle-free and mess free.  Fast fashion exemplifies the immediacy that everything must have; weekly outfits are sought from the lower end high street instead of keeping that one dress for special occasions.  Every night is a party without an occasion.  Special occasions are reborn with two for one’s, trebles for singles and supermarket offers making it easier for the younger generation to live hedonistically, with no care for their health, environment or their society.  Young people are being unknowingly manipulated by the multi-nationals into a culture where products are so convenient, so quick, so fast and so immediate that they have no concept of their true value or worth.  The riots of last summer showed the general public the extent of the young generation’s lax attitude towards both their surroundings and society.

As companies constantly update and revolutionise technology, it is no wonder that our society has become reliant on the newest, freshest pieces as they turn every corner.  We have become accustomed to replacing everything long before the expiration date.  Obsolescence has developed to become a culture in itself; the replace-ability of objects has powered its own train.  Where video games in years gone by could be played over and over, now those such as Grand Theft Auto have a beginning, middle and end, fuelling consumers to buy continual installments.  The twentieth century has bred this phenomenon, with products being unashamedly manufactured with some kind of conscious style obsolescence.

This surely cannot be healthy.  A generation brought up surrounded by convenience has bred a lack of work ethic, a lackadaisical financial attitude and the need for immediate results. 

How can we save ourselves?  Can we shout from the rooftops and inject chicken with awareness instead of water and hormones, can we infiltrate the minds of the young through media and social networking to appreciate life for what it is and discover how to make their own bread, darn their own socks and knit their own jumpers once more.  Can we rediscover how to enjoy each other and the true essence of life here on earth – it is short, valuable and amazing and not about stuff.