Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Back to School: Wardrobe Planning

About this time of year, my mum would always take me shopping to buy my new school supplies: stationery, bag, uniform and shoes. I loved getting all my new things ready for the coming year, arranging all my new pens into my pencil case (remember gel pens? pretty sure I had upwards of 100 of those!) and choosing the all-important school shoes.

When I left school and went to uniform-less sixth form and started buying my own clothes and stationery supplies, this little ritual seemed to fall by the wayside, but I seem to have picked it up again since I've been at uni. I suppose it sort of ties in with me thinking about the big items I want to introduce to my wardrobe for the upcoming season. Winter is always my favourite time for dressing; I love layers, and woolly jumpers, and the dark reds, greens, and blues that always come out during this time of year.

In the perfect world, my winter capsule wardrobe would look very much like this:

wardrobe planning, winter wardrobe, winter accessories
1: Rag & Bone // 2: Underground // 3: Vagabond // 4: Zara // 5: Proenza Schouler // 6: Topshop // 7: Topshop
I blogged about these Rag & Bone boots yesterday; they're still perfection. I have a pair of Underground creepers already, but they're bright pink suede and pretty unsuitable for incessantly wet Scottish winters! These leather ones are much better; as are these leather Vagabond flatforms in comparison to my usual suede Topshop ones.

The Proenza Schouler PS1 is my absolute dream bag. This has been on my 'when I have enough disposable income' waiting list for a really long time, and will be staying there for the foreseeable future! Perhaps if I manage to clear my overdraft this year it could be a graduation present to myself. The Zara bag is in the sale right now, and I might buy it in the next couple of weeks. While I like to keep my shoes black, I like to inject a little colour when it comes to bags, especially in winter when everything is pretty dreary.

I love leather gloves in winter; woolly ones just seem to cumbersome. I've lost one of my old leather gloves which is such a shame as they fitted perfectly! I have really small hands, so it's quite difficult to find gloves that fit properly. My mum once bought me a pair of children's gloves with little puppets on the end, they're my absolute favourite but completely impractical! This Topshop leopard print scarf is gorgeous. I'm totally for regarding leopard print as a neutral.

wardrobe planning, winter wardrobe, winter clothes, winter fashion
1: Topshop // 2: River Island // 3: Topshop Boutique // 4: Burberry London // 5: Topshop // 6: Acne // 7: H&M // 8: Collette by Collette Dinnigan // 9: River Island // 10: Faith Connexion
Black skinny jeans and a black skater skirt: I like to keep it simple. I've already blogged about my perfect pair of black skinny jeans, but I'm really nervous that they're being discontinued! They're in the sale on the ASOS website but there's barely any sizes left - they'd better keep stocking them or I'll have to go on yet another hunt!

A Burberry trench coat is the ultimate classic wardrobe item, isn't it? My granny bought me a well-fitting and comfortable trench from Zara Kids last year, but this Burberry London one would just be the dream. 

Love this Topshop boucle cardigan. I find this style is perfect for slipping on in the library or coffee shops during the colder periods; they're super warm and cosy but look a lot more elegant and put-together than a hoody! 

I think it's pretty obvious that I love stripes. This H&M dress is an absolute bargain; the material also contains alpaca which I can confirm is SO warm! I've also developed a slight (read: major) obsession with this Faith Connexion dress. I really really hope it makes it to the NaP sale, or I find something similar somewhere else. I'm looking out for a plain navy dress as I can easily add the collar and buttons myself. Let me know if you see something similar! 

Monday, 30 July 2012

A/W Wardrobe Planning: Ankle Boots

I spent three or four hours spring cleaning yesterday - cleaning my walls, floors, and inside my wardrobe, washing almost all my clothes, cleaning my shoes - but about twenty minutes after I'd hung out the last load of washing, it absolutely poured down! Everything was completely drenched, and still is! I had to go to work in it as well, and my clothes were soaked through after walking the 45 seconds down the road to my boss's car. My first thought? I really need some rainproof shoes.

I buy a new pair of boots every winter, but I've never loved a pair so much that I've kept them for more than a year: this needs to change. I've always settled for what I thought 'would do' at the time, or what I could afford on a whim, rather than hunting out my ideal pair and saving up for them.

So what is my ideal pair of winter boots? They need to be black, so I can wear them with everything; made from leather, for comfort; and ankle height with a small heel. I'm also gravitating towards lightly embellished pairs rather than plain ones - nothing too blingy or brash, just to make them a little bit more interesting.

ankle boots, mid heel boots, black, leather
1: H by Hudson // 2: New Look // 3: Rag & Bone // 4: Jeffrey Campbell // 5: Dorothy Perkins
These Rag & Bone 'Harrow' biker boots are what I'd call perfection. A flattering almond toe, a decent-sized stacked heel, and interesting details in the contrasting white stitching and wrap-around strap. The only negative is the price (£345 on NaP); ideally I wouldn't want to pay more than £200, but none of the more affordable options please me as much. The plan is to shop around and wait until semester starts in the second week of September; if they haven't dropped in price by then, I'll pay the full amount. I know it will be worth it!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Paintings Update #4

Herve Leger // Faith Connexion // Alexander McQueen

Just a little update today; I haven't had much time for painting during the last couple of weeks, as my boyfriend has been up to stay with me for a while! Whenever he's here I like to spend as much time with him as possible because we're living in different towns at the moment, which is very different to what we're used to! I also work every evening, during my most productive time, so that's a bit frustrating!

Amazing news on the painting front though - I've made my first sale in my Etsy shop! I sold an A4 print, and the buyer was interested in buying a couple more so I'm super happy about that! Any money that I make from selling my art is going straight back into making more art, so I'm eyeing up some new paintbrushes as the ones I have at the moment are really cheap and keep shedding hairs - I think I'll just recycle them and use them for glue or nail polish instead!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Top 10 This Week #3

dress, shoes, accessories, jewellery, bag, jumper
1: Faith Connexion // 2: KARL // 3: ASOS // 4: Carvela // 5: Urban Outfitters // 6: Dorothy Perkins // 7: ASOS // 8: ASOS // 9: River Island // 10: Mulberry
I've fallen in love with the entire Annabelle Dexter Jones collection for Faith Connexion, which hit Net a Porter this week! Each piece is a beautifully-cut, classic piece with a little contemporary twist, like the velvet Peter Pan collar on the dress - a perfect merge of Annabelle's New York preppiness and Faith Connexion's Parisian style. Think I might have to attempt a DIY at this - likewise with the pearl collar and blingy studded epaulettes; I actually made some very similar epaulettes a few years ago when I dressed up as a unicorn for Hallowe'en (as you do...), I'll have a hunt around to see if I can find them!

I'm starting to get into back-to-school mode, as I've been emailing my new landlady and trying to get everything sorted for the beginning of semester. I'm in the market for a new bag; I only have a couple of black ones that are large enough to take to class/the library, but I want something more colourful to cheer me up a little on those dreary winter days. The bright orange Bayswater is my idea of the perfect bag, but I think I might have to settle for something a little more affordable, like this ASOS one. It's not leather though, and ideally it would be!

How amazing are those Carvela shoes?! I think I'd prefer display them as a piece of art though rather than wear them! They'd make a fabulously odd juxtaposition with this amazing Urban Outfitters tapestry - I love the colours of this, and I think tapestries are just brilliant! I'll either be looking for something similar on Etsy, or attempting to make my own version throughout the cold and dark winter nights, channeling my inner Little Woman!

Friday, 20 July 2012

A/W Trend Inspiration: Gothic

It seems like every UK blogger is talking about the weather in their posts, but it really is such a pain in the proverbial arse at the moment! When I posted about summer dresses inspiration, the weather was warm and sunny, but today it's been freezing and pouring it down with rain! So I think that the changeable weather is going to replicated in my changeable blogging schedule: summer inspiration when the sun is shining, and looking forwards to autumnal trends when it's not!

1: Alexis Mabille AW Couture 2012 // 2: Jean Paul Gaultier AW 2012 // 3: Givenchy AW 2012 // 4: Jean Paul Gaultier AW 2012
With that in mind, the top trend on my list is gothic: a dark colour palette, luxurious velvet and leather fabrics, and studded embellishments. Layer up lace and sheer fabrics on top of each other, accessorise with lots of heavy jewellery (especially crucifixes) and studded embellishments. Toughen up with skin-tight leather, or go for a more romantic look with billowing sleeves and flowing velvet.

1: River Island // 2: ASOS // 3: Jeffrey Campbell // 4: Topshop // 5: Topshop // 6: Kelsi Dagger // 7: River Island // 8: Topshop // 9: New Look

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Wardrobe Essentials: Leather Jacket

This is the second part of my Wardrobe Essentials series: the adaptable and versatile foundations needed to build a wardrobe for any occasion. You can read the other parts here.

Leather jackets were first worn by aviators and the military at the turn of the twentieth century; they were designed to protect the wearer from extreme temperatures, which is why some are lined with sheepskin. Throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s the style was popularised by Hollywood and quickly became an immediate way to define a character as 'cool': Marlon Brando and Honor Blackman both wore leather motorcycle jackets in 50s and 60s films and TV. In the 60s and 70s leather jackets were worn by punks and heavy metal fans, leading the item to be increasingly associated with rebellion; these jackets were often accessorised with chains and studs. 

Cropped: Acne // Coloured: Carven // Aviator: Acne // Biker: Topshop

I first began my obsessive hunt for my own leather jacket after seeing off-duty models, especially Kate Moss, wearing them effortlessly in street style photos. I say obsessive hunt, because it is really difficult to find the perfect leather jacket: I didn't want to settle for the first one I found in Topshop, I wanted it to be an investment, with the perfect cut, fit, and hardware. Believe it or not, but I spent three years hunting down my perfect one! I found it in spring last year, a gorgeous Burberry one in the softest buttery black leather, cropped with silver hardware, but it was far too expensive. Fortunately, it made it into the Net-a-Porter summer sale, and I was in a position where I could just about afford it at half price, and I literally bought the last one! 

1: Chan Luu // 2: COS // 3: Topshop // 4: ASOS // 5: Johnny Loves Rosie // 6: River Island // 7: ASOS // 8: ASOS

I now wear it all the time, and I think leather is one of those fantastic materials that only gets better with age! I can't wait for it to start weathering and take on that perfect lived-in look. It can be worn in infinite combinations: to add interest to a simple jeans + tshirt combination, to rock up a pretty floaty dress, making a casual slouchy dress more stylish.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

DIY: Mess-free glitter shoes tutorial

I wrote this tutorial for my university newspaper, The Saint: click through to read how to DIY your own glitter shoes!


1: Topshop // 2: Yves Saint Laurent // 3: ASOS // 4: Goldie // 5: Topshop // 6: Jonathan Saunders // 7: Missguided
I'm trying to become more active on Etsy at the moment, so thought I'd include some highlights from my Etsy treasuries in each weekly COLOUR! post, hope you enjoy!

1: Maddenphotography // 2: BlissfulCASE // 3: onetenzeroseven // 4: goodbyefolk // 5: thecraftartykid // 6: AndyFarrow // 7: voilaipaper 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Inspiration: Summer Dresses

It seems a little strange to be thinking about wearing summer dresses in Britain at the moment - so far this summer has been almost a complete washout (quite literally)! The past couple of days have been quite warm and sunny up here in Fife though, and that's more than enough to get me lusting after some pretty new dresses!

Florals: bright-as-you-like multicoloured prints, from tiny ditsy flowers to massive bouquets of Van Gogh sunflowers, seen at Erdem and Mary Katrantzou, of course.

1: River Island // 2: River Island // 3: Sister Jane // 4: Alice + Olivia
White: perhaps not the best choice if, like me, you're prone to spilling cups of tea, dazzling whites nonetheless are a smart and super chic summer addition, seen at Victoria Beckham and Paul Smith.

1: J.Crew // 2: Rare // 3: Topshop // 4: Acne
Maxi: summer isn't summer without a maxi dress. Perfect for throwing on for a saunter to the beach, they're just as easy to dress up for a night out.

1: River Island // 2: Topshop // 3: Chinti and Parker // 4: Coco's Fortune 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Paintings Update #3

I've been fairly busy this week painting-wise; I've finished off one portrait that's been lingering a while, and got a good headstart on a new mini series I'm doing: iconic fashion pieces! I really enjoy doing these, they're super simple but super effective (in my opinion!) - basically just repetitions of one single item of clothing or accessory. I think my favourite is the Alexander McQueen skull clutch one; some of them still need details adding though, but I've ran out of glitter! Tomorrow's plan is to head to Ryman's and restock my glitter collection, and also see what they have in the way of metallic marker pens - I remember in primary school my teacher had some really cool ones that you shook before you wrote with them, does anyone know if you can still get these/what they're called??

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Top 10 This Week #1

This week's wishlist is pretty eclectic... I've been seeing potential DIYs in so many things lately, especially this Acne leather jacket, potentially the McQueen dress if I can find some nice fabric, and maybe even the stag plate if I can find some cheap plain plates? I'm also on the lookout for fun house stuff, since I'm moving to my new flat with my boyfriend in the first week of September. We'll only have a few days before semester (of our FINAL YEAR OMG) starts, so I want to get as many things as possible before we actually move in! Luckily it's only about 30 seconds up the street from my current house so we won't have too far to lug everything!

On that note, does anyone have any favourite homeware/interiors online shops? Particularly UK Etsy sellers!

A-Z of British Style: C is for Catherine Middleton

I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Kate Middleton. When I first decided to apply to do my degree here at St Andrews, people would often ask me if I was looking to bag a prince - to an 18 year old attempting some serious academic study, this was infuriating, and as a result I'd roll my eyes at any mention of Kate and systematically avoided the 'rah'-types' hangouts about town in case people pigeon-holed me into the sloaney stereotype of middle-class girl on the hunt for a rich/posh boyfriend.

However, whilst I still avoid people who dress solely in tweed and red chinos and shout about Moet, Kate has decidedly grown on me. I think the turning-point was when she and Wills announced their engagement - the Issa dress! the shiny hair! the perfect-but-not-too-Hollywood smile! She definitely won me over, and from then on I've just loved practically every outfit she's been spotted in.

Aside from my personal views about her, it's clear that millions of others think that Kate's a true British style icon too. There a so many blogs and Tumblrs dedicated to what she wears, and literally within minutes of photographs appearing of Kate there are people pin-pointing exactly which designers and brands she's wearing - and more often than not the items she wears then sell out almost immediately, whether designer or high-street.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Liebster Blog Award

The wonderful Sarah Louise from Flowers at Dawn has nominated me for my first ever blog award - thank you so much!! The Liebster Blog Award is given to rising blogs with less then 200 followers, such a great idea!

1. You must link back to the person who gave the award to you!
2. Post eleven things about yourself
3. Answer the questions the person giving you the award has set for you.
4. Create 11 questions for the people to answer that you have given the award to.
5. Choose people to give the award to and link them in your post.
6. Go to their blog and tell them.
7. You can't give the award back to the blogger who gave it to you!

11 facts about me:
1. I originally went to art school, but dropped out after 6 weeks to do A Levels instead.
2. When I was little I wanted to be a professional roller skater!
3. At the moment I live in a gorgeous little house with my three bestest friends, but in a couple of months I'm moving into a flat with my boyfriend - it's only 30 seconds down the street but I'm terrified!
4. For the past few days I've only had about 30% of my usual hearing - and I'm a waitress! - but the doctor can't do anything about it for another fortnight. It's the most frustrating thing and I have a heightened respect for anyone with long-term hearing difficulties.
5. I've loved books since my granny taught me how to read aged 3, but for some reason I can't stand reading the set texts for my degree!
6. I am forever in my overdraft, partly because of the ridiculous cost of living here in St Andrews, partly because I'm just terrible with money...
7. I graduate next summer (fingers crossed...) but I literally have no idea what kind of career I want - only that I'll be moving to Glasgow!
8. My favourite ever TV show was LOST, I was completely obsessed with it the whole time it was running and still rewatch it religiously!
9. I was similarly obsessed with the Harry Potter books and films (and still am!), and was SO angry at the last book because I felt personally betrayed by J.K.Rowling! Some of that resentment still remains...
10. My three most favourite things to do are translate, bake/eat scones, and paint. If I could combine them into some kind of realistic job, I'd be the happiest person in the world!
11. I set my alarm every morning to make sure I wake up in time for Homes Under the Hammer...

The questions I have to answer:
1. What is your favourite colour?
ORANGE! My boyfriend always laughs when I say this though, because I don't really own anything orange! But it definitely is my favourite colour, it's just so difficult to find anything to buy in the right shade!
2. What is the last thing you bought?
A new black jumper for work and some chain bracelets and necklaces for an upcoming DIY post (ooh mysterious) from H&M.
3. Do you have any pets?
I used to have a bichon frisé called Poppy but sadly she died just before I went home last Christmas. My mum now has two new border collie crosses called Darcie and Blodwyn but I don't really class them as 'my' pets because I don't see them very much! I really want to get a dwarf rabbit next year but my boyfriend is quite reluctant!
4. What colour of nail polish are you wearing right now?
I've been redoing the gold and cream ombre nails for ages! I should probably mix it up soon to something different!
5. Where has your favourite holiday been?
I've been so fortunate to have some amazing holidays! To celebrate finishing my GCSEs, my mum took me on safari to Kenya - something I'd wanted to do since I was 5 or 6! - which was obviously incredible; I also went InterRailing around eastern/mid-Europe after my first year at uni, which was the first independent holiday I'd ever been on; last summer I won a few nights in a 5-star hotel in London with flights which was the first holiday I'd been on with my current boyfriend - we went to see the ballet at the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare at The Globe - so wonderful and magical! I can't decide!
6. What shampoo/conditioner are you currently using?
Superdrug's own brand coconut and almond oil shampoo and intensive conditioner - it's SO good! It smells absolutely delicious and leaves my hair soft and manageable. I got them for 70p each when they were half price and honestly feel gutted that I used to spend £8+ on other brands!
7. Is your hair naturally straight, wavy, or curly?
My hair totally has a mind of it's own; if I let it dry naturally, it could turn out like anything! It's usually pretty wavy, but occasionally it will end up poker straight or super curly!
8. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
Hopefully I'll have graduated, possibly with a Masters/PhD if I can decide what to specialise in! I'll be 27 in 5 years (gosh that's terrifying), ideally I'll still be with my boyfriend and settled into a flat in the city but realistically we'll still be renting. Hopefully I'll have a job of some description that I'm happy working at! I'd love to still be blogging away and selling some paintings on Etsy.
9. Name one place you've always wanted to go to, but have never been to.
Gosh, so many places! India, Ukraine, China, Russia, Iceland, South Africa... none are particularly realistic right now! Next summer I'm hoping to go to Norway, I've wanted to go there for ages and my housemate is half-Norweigan and she has lots of family there so hopefully I'll tag along with her!
10. What was the last thing you saw at the cinema?
I haven't been for ages! I think it was Dark Shadows - I'm a massive Tim Burton/Johnny Depp fan, but was left a little disappointed. Chloe Moretz was fabulous as usual though, can't wait to see more of her!
11. What's your favourite film?
THE LION KING! Or Black Swan. Both films left me emotionally wrecked for a good couple of days after the first few times I watched them.

Questions for you to answer:
1. What was the first film you ever saw?
2. Flats or heels?
3. Who is your fictional crush?
4. What is your favourite pudding?
5. What is your favourite quote?
6. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
7. Why did you start blogging/what keeps you blogging?
8. Do you have a party trick or secret talent?
9. What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe?
10. What is the biggest bargain in your wardrobe?
11. What is your favourite social networking site?

I'm going to tag Lisamello, Hannah from Hannah Said So, and Aishling from Le Stage, three blogs that I love and check religiously in my Google Reader!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Paintings Update #2

This update is a little late; I'd been using my housemate's scanner but she went on holiday last week and I had to wait until my boyfriend brought his down for me to use! But it works brilliantly, so everything should be back to normal from now on! And without further ado, here's my new paintings from last week:

COLOUR! Mustard

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tutorial: DIY lip scrub

This is a super easy and effective way to get lovely soft, smooth and moisturised lips using only three ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, and brown sugar!

Each of the ingredients used in this lip scrub has skincare superpowers: olive oil and coconut oil are both amazing natural moisturisers, and brown sugar is a fantastic gentle exfoliant.

1. Mash 2 tablespoons each of coconut oil and olive oil in a small bowl, until it creates this mushy sort of mixture.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and mix together until all the ingredients are combined, then transfer into a little pot (you can get these at Boots/Superdrug in the travel section).

To use, rub a small amount on your lips in circular motions, then rinse off.

You could also add a pinch of cinnamon or a couple of drops of lemon juice for a more enhanced flavour and smell!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Inspiration: Festival fashion

This summer's musical festival season is well under way, and although events such as T in the Park and Download have already been and gone, there are still plenty of massive headlining festivals to come, including Reading and Leeds (August 24th-26th), Bestival (September 6th-9th) and V Festival (18th-19th August).

Sadly, lack of funds have made it impossible for me to go to any festivals this year (although considering the horrendous weather so far this summer part of me thinks I'll be much safer watching from the comfort of my sofa..!) but I've thrown together a few outfit mood boards for those of you lucky enough to be attending:

The folksy boho look: lots of fringing, beading, and crochet

The grunge rocker look: think Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart with leather and leopard print

The sporty pop look: lots of colour and clashing prints, what better way to brighten up a soggy British summer?

ASOS £100 Challenge

I'd seen this challenge on Jennie May's blog and thought it sounded super fun, so decided to enter myself!

Basically the aim is to create an entire outfit from ASOS for under £100 - I love challenges like this, they really get my thrifty side going! The challenge is being run by the Discount Coder blog, and the top prize is £100 ASOS voucher, so if you love a bargain as much as me be sure to enter! If I win, I'll definitely be purchasing everything for this outfit:

Top // Trousers // Necklace // Blazer // Shoes // Clutch 
I've been wanting to buy into the printed trousers for ages now, and love this metallic detail pair! I decided to dress it up a little with the blazer, but the pops of yellow in the clutch and necklace keep the outfit fairly casual but still on-trend. Love this outfit!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Paris Couture AW 2012-13: Wednesday

You can always count on Elie Saab if glorious, shimmery dresses are what you're looking for - the designer is well-lnown for his red carpet-ready cocktail dresses and evening gowns - and he certainly didn't disappoint this couture week.

The pastel shades seen earlier this week at Dior and Chanel were seen once more, embellished here with intricate lace, beads, and crystals. Everything shimmered, from the dramatic black gowns that opened the show to the ethereal nude ones; but this wasn't just a procession of sparkly princesses. Long sleeves and high necklines made this collection elegant and refined: more Fabergé egg than Big Gypsy Wedding.

Jean Paul Gaultier's couture collection was characteristically dramatic and disparate; differing themes were held together by a fiercely decadent thread.

We were introduced with tail coats, top hats and cravats evoking cabarets and the Belle Époque; tuxedos were mutated into jumpsuits crafted from sumptuous velvet and accessorised with leather and sheer layers. There were elements of burlesque with risqué flashes of flesh; flapper-style fur, fringe, and beaded dresses were mixed up with geometric and Art Deco prints. Gaultier delivered a typically over-the-top theatrical show, full of opulence with a myriad of thematic points.

Maria Grazia Chirui and Pier Paolo Piccoli, the joint creative directors for Valentino, emphasised the poise and modesty of their beautiful gowns by sending their models down the runway with no jewellery, scraped-back hair, and minimal makeup.

This regal elegance was shown in the emphasis on rich blues rather than the fashion house's customary red, which made just a brief appearance towards the end of the collection, only to be replaced by blue again. There was an underlining sense of calmness and sobriety here: each piece seemed understated, luxury making itself heard through the exquisite tailoring and sumptuous materials.


Wardrobe Essentials: Silk Shirt

This is the second part of my Wardrobe Essentials series: the adaptable and versatile foundations needed to build a wardrobe for any occasion. You can read the first part here.

The blouse has been a classic wardrobe staple for years and years, since the 1900s when they first started to be worn regularly for both day- and evening-wear. My favourites are the silk blouses worn in Upstairs, Downstairs (so sad this programme's been cancelled!): Blanche, the lesbian archaeologist, wears her simple and plain for comfort and practicality, whereas Lady Persie wears hers embellished and bold.

Structured, more tailored shirts or flowy, more feminine blouses are both as versatile as each other: they can both be dressed up to be more formal or worn more casually depending on your personal style and the occasion.

A well-made, well-proportioned silk or chiffon shirt is a super versatile addition to any wardrobe, a true classic wardrobe essential.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Paris Couture AW 2012-13: Tuesday

Karl Lagerfeld titled his morning couture show for Chanel 'New Vintage', and throughout the collection throwbacks to Coco were fused with futuristic detailing. Elegant tweed suits in muted shades of mauve and pink were matched with sparkly lurex tights (the likes of which I hadn't seen since my primary school discos!) and shiny elbow-length fingerless gloves.

Karl's characteristic playful tone was evident throughout, notably in the pink pompom-embellished gown, and paired with that typical couture excess: tweed Chanel beanie hats, anyone? Amongst the bling there were some prim and proper elements: pretty loose bows, balloon sleeves, and the ubiquitous peter pan collar.


The Armani Privé collection continued this idea of fusing the brand's heritage with futuristic twists. Here, Armani's signature elegant tailoring was to be found in slouchy trouser suits, but Philip Treacy's angular headwear added elements of futurism.

Armani's theme of contrast was found throughout the collection: fluid pastels were matched with inky blues and blacks, and soft black velvet with shiny and sparkly metallics. Armani fans will delight in the relaxed tailoring, but the romantic and embellished full-length gowns stole the show for me.

Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy was on another planet entirely. Although only ten outfits appeared (compared to Armani and Chanel's fifty plus), each item was created with such breathtaking detail that it was beyond difficult to select my favourite pieces. The collection reminded me in turn of the fierce female warriors and poised princesses of mythology and fantasy: tough, strong, and powerful.

You can see the pure talent and painstaking diligence that has gone into all these pieces: embroidery, dip-dying, beading, fringing and laser-cut leather all combine into something incredibly magical and theatrical. It will be interesting to see how and if the high street attempts to recreate such artisanal detailing.