How to do London Fashion Week in a day

26 February 2011

London Fashion Week

There's just something about the Fashion Week hustle and bustle at Somerset House that happens twice a year. I love how the location is completely transformed and overrun by press, models, stylists, photographers, photographees, spectators and various others from behind the scenes.  Anything goes within the parameters of the cobbles and stars are made then forgotten within a five minute timespan. I was convinced that I was going to miss the AW11 season completely, but after deadlines changing and train prices staying reasonable, I decided to head down for the day to make the most of my press pass.

leather jacket trilby pleated skirt peter pan

next pleated skirt

Jacket - Topshop
Shirt - American Apparel
Cardigan - Kensie
Skirt - c/o Next
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Tights - Missoni layered over Topshop
Socks - c/o of Tabio
Satchel - Tom Brown
Hat - H&M 
Necklaces - Brooklyn and Gogo Phillip
Shoes - Nine West Vintage America
Photos - c/o Katie and Jill

For fashion week dressing, I think it's important to remain true to your style but also to exaggerate it a little bit.  Since I had to plan it in advance I had to know I'd feel comfortable in it on the day and not change my mind, so I had a little dress rehearsal of this new combination featuring the Next midi skirt.  The hat was a last minute choice and somewhat silly as I'd recently had my hair done, but thought it completed the look nonetheless.  The major obstacle about Fashion Week in February is the weather; you might be wearing something fabulous but there's no point if your coat covers it and doesn't complement the look.  I braved my leather jacket (with my Heattech underneath) so that most of the outfit could still be seen but I will definitely need to look at revamping my coat collection for next time.  I was also interviewed in the press tent so if you want to see rapid eye movement and hear a South London drawl, then this is for you!

press lounge

jena theo

I managed to go and see Jena Theo, but this is the only semi-decent photo I managed to get.  I think I was far too stressed about capturing the show rather than just enjoying it so ultimately I didn't fully appreciate the creations on show.  After managing to look back at catwalk images, I love the oversized yet wearable nature of the pieces and the cascading, dramatic layers; I quite want to wear it all now!

backstage london fashion week

carolinecharles fairisle

caroline charles hats

With the help of Abi (who I didn't end up having to impersonate, much to my dismay) I managed to see the Caroline Charles show and go backstage afterwards.  Although it's steered towards an older customer, I loved  the somewhat prim 1940s vibe but after reading the press release, I can now see it's inspired by the suffragette movement.  What might have seemed prim to me, could be seen as liberating to another with the slim shapes on complete with bowler hats that mean business.  Seeing as I'm named after one, I thought it was a fitting tribute.

zoe street style

Another thing I love about fashion week is meeting up with all the bloggers and friends there.  As each season unfolds more get accredited, faces become instantly familiar and greetings incredibly frequent; it's liked constantly being reunited with old friends.  Zoe is actually a friend from work but is always getting papped at these sorts of things, so I decided to capture her first wearing the Topshop sale buy of the year plus a gorgeous furry collar.

winnie's instant camera

Winnie was my companion for much of the day, a nice calming influence in a bright red dress and polka dot tights.  I love this take on the camera-obscuring-face shot; instead of a scary looking DSLR you have this cute white Fuji instax camera.  I'm tempted to get one too as I never did manage to buy a Polaroid before they disappeared into thin air.

shini park and cube sweater

I seemed to take the most rubbish photos of the lovely Shini, but had to share this one of her amazingly patterned cardigan.  I think I'd like to live in her wardrobe, can this be arranged please?

jill and marin shooting

marins shoes

I wish I had more of a photographer's brain sometimes; I love how Jill will see something and want to capture it instantly and Marin was a great subject, posing quickly before making her way to a casting.

mathew zorpas

Matthew is a pretty snazzy dresser and planned all his oufits ages in advance with military precision.  I need some of his skills as well as his accessories!

kit style slicker

Kit seems to have another wardrobe I would love to take root in; I loved this effortless combination of checked skirt, chunky scarf and trench coat and other elements I could barely describe.

until next time

And so my London Fashion Week fun was over for another season, as fleeting as it was I loved being around for the AW11 shows and braving the cobbles in the cold.  I still have more to share from the exhibition and hopefully some sort of guest post from my Mum who managed to cover a show for me.  Did any of you manage to experience London Fashion Week in some way, whether it was by watching the livestream, attending one of the many events or seeing some shows for yourself?

vapiano menu

I'd also organised an impromptu Blogger's Fashion Week Dinner which seemed like a great idea at the time, but what with shows running late and early trains, it was hard to get everyone there.  This in no way dampened the evening though, I had a great time chatting with Lucy and Kylie about all things blog and life related plus eating some fabulous pasta.  It was a shame that Reena, Harriet, Jen, Gem, Lily, Michelle and Victoria couldn't come, but it was great to see them briefly earlier on nonetheless.  I definitely want to organise another meet-up at a less stressful time of the year!

The giveaway closes on Monday, so make sure you enter if you haven't already!

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The Style Appreciation Society

18 February 2011

Recently I've realised that I must be following over 300 blogs!  That's a bit obsessive, isn't it?!  So if anyone asks me to follow them in the comments, I probably already do in some way, shape or form (I use Google Reader, Bloglovin and just plain memory) so don't fret.  I think the main pull of the blogosphere for me, is the constant access to individual style from around the world.  No longer do you have to just look in a magazine and see airbrushed models (though that can be fun from time to time, especially when limbs are missing due to over-zealous photoshopping) to inform what you wear on a regular basis.   Instead, you can just switch on your computer and see what people actually chose to wear that day.  As I wrote in my hastily concluded dissertation, there can be a sense of authenticity on the blogosphere that you just can't find elsewhere in life and I've developed an appreciation for personal style in general.  It may not always be something I might necessarily wear, but I still admire the way people dress to express their personalities and a wider awareness of what's out there can never really hurt.  I've decided to share a few of the blogs I've managed to find recently and found continuous inspiration from, so click on the pictures to be transported.

night lights

The nipped in silhouette never gets old and I love how Mitzi creates it using dresses, skirts and shorts of varying colours and prints.  Although I have much love for maxi and midi lengths, the mini is something I will always find flattering and each outfit is a creative variation on this theme.   She easily mixes high-street with vintage and really makes the effort to make the same pieces look different each time through careful accessorising, whilst rocking the Pretty Twisted trend.  I am definitely going to try wearing my new fur collar over a shirt, as I love the slightly decadent edge it gives to the first outfit.

lady moriarty in paris

Although I don't wear my jeans as much as I used to, Elodie makes me want to reconsider, what with the fantastic jumpers, shirts and jackets she pairs them with.  I am forever on the hunt for the perfect Fairisle jumper and might just have to give up and knit one myself once my degree is over, so I will definitely be bearing the above picture in mind.  I also love how each detail within her outfits is carefully thought out, from the pointelle socks to the choice of collared shirt poking out from underneath a jumper.  I'm also very jealous of her Parisian location, I need to go back!

trini g

I haven't quite figured out my trademark item yet, but Trini G is seemingly a big sunglasses fan, adding an air of mystery to her outfit photos.  Her look is harder to pinpoint, but I love the way she can go from midi skirts and baggy jumpers to a slightly more rocky look with band t-shirts and leather trews.  I'm also in awe of her shoe collection, especially these for some reason.

Which blogs do you look for inspiration from?  I find that I don't necessarily try to completely mimic someone else's look, instead preferring to incorporate a few new proportions or details into the way I dress. There's plenty more outfit inspiration on both of my Tumblrs (shameless plug alert) but I'm always on the hunt for more to follow (especially street style), so let me know!

The next post might just be London Fashion Week related...

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Me, Me, Me?

13 February 2011

It comes with the fashion blogger territory that we take obscene amounts of photos of ourselves.  My iPhoto is ridiculously narcissistic with a severe lack of family photos and I often have to shield it from passers by. When reading this article I realised what a strange breed we are, photographing, analysing our outfit combinations and sharing them with the world.  I guess the reason why all of my outfit photos tend to be in one handy post, is to ensure the authentic mix of topics on this blog and to make sure it's not just me, me, me each time you refresh.  This is why you're unlikely to see ten pictures of me in the same outfit; I just can't bring myself to do it!  I think the truth is I'm a little scared to let one outfit speak for itself and prefer to show you what I'm wearing within the context of a few days.  It might be different if I were taking my photos in interesting locations on a fancy DSLR (my fund has £80, though I might end up spending it on bills) but for the time being, you'll get Outfits of The Week and the white wall of my living room.  Here's what I've been wearing whilst trying to figure out what is going on with my final collection; it's still a bit vague.

vintage 50s dress

vintage 50s dress

close up 50s vintage dress

Saturday (night)
Dress, belt - Angels Sale
Tights - Ancient M&S?
Socks, ring - Primark
Shoes - Steve Madden
Necklaces - Brooklyn Charm & Brooklyn Flea

Isn't a bit of fancy dress fun?  I was invited to a 40s/50s style birthday party and what with having a few vintage dresses languishing from the Angels Sale, I decided to go with the latter decade.  I'd always meant to shorten this dress but never quite got around to it, so this length was perfect for such an occasion.  I might temporarily take it up though, as I'd prefer it slightly more mini for the (hopefully) warm summer months.  I also attempted something vaguely different with my hair, a beehive using Carrie's tutorial, even though the 60s hairstyle style pulls this outfit into Mad Men territory.  I don't have a massive head of hair, so the backcombing was somewhat redundant but I'm pleased to add a new style to my repertoire.  This video is also a good un.

asymmetric skirt horace tee

house of holland new york citights

Monday
Cardigan - c/o Next
T-shirt - Horace
Skirt, bracelet - Topshop
Shorts - H&M
Brogues - Office
Jewellery - Forever 21

I've been getting into my motif t-shirts recently as I love juxtaposing them with a smarter skirt.  Elisabeth is also a fan of the tee and skirt combination and inspired me to seek out a random design on Asos, back when there was no vague shopping ban in place.  I'm buying a lot of my t-shirts looser these days as I'm no longer a fan of the skin-tight tees from way back when, so hopefully my future self will thank me.  I wore shorts underneath this skirt as it's a wee bit short on one side and the gale force winds earlier this week were lethal!  As you can see I caved and bought the New York House of Holland tights but already the toes are ruined with gaping holes!  Luckily my Parisian pair is still intact so I guess it's just the luck of the draw, but I'm still rather gutted.  Expect to see them worn with ankle socks in the future.

breton tee midi skirt

asos fur tippet leather jacket breton top

Thursday
Jacket, necklace - Topshop
Fake fur tippet - Asos
Breton top - Laura Ashley via Charity Shop
Skirt - c/o Next
Tights - Topshop
Brogues - Office

I finally managed to find the pleated skirt I wore for the Next challenge in store, proving that the mock shop never lies.  I do hate when items are advertised as being in store and fail to materialise, so it was nice to see the familiar items from the bloggers day even if there was a lack of the 20-something fashionistas running around in floppy hats.  I am pretty much wearing a variation of the outfit  I styled with my own striped tee (working the Anti-fit look), but I will probably show off the waist the next time I wear it.  I ordered the fake (or fantasy) fur tippet after seeing a similar version styled here, and I quite like how it transforms my biker jacket.

tapered trousers jaeger shirt

brogues and tartan tights

Friday
Shirt - Jaeger via Battersea Boot Fair
Trousers - Topshop
Belt - Angels Sale
Tights - Calzedonia
Brogues - Office
Necklace - Marc by Marc Jacobs

I've realised that my trousers have been feeling a lot of neglect recently.  It all started off so well, when I found the Acne pair back in New York and this Topshop pair over the Summer, but most of the time I end up wearing some kinds of skirt/shorts/dress variation.  I'm trying to wear the forgotten wardrobe items a little more, so expect more trews popping up on here as I like to mix things up a bit.  I bought this vintage Jaeger shirt for £1 at the Battersea Boot Fair and it smelled pretty funky, but I saw the potential regardless.  I love the button detailing on the pocket and the metal pockets and what a bargain?!  The combined result is a bit of a boys school uniform, but future outfits will probably include the aforementioned motif tees.  I might have bought this one too...

So I'd be interested to know how you feel about your outfit posts if you're a regular; do you look at yourself posing in front of your tripod and just think 'What am I doing?'  Do you have to squint when scrolling down the page as you can't bear seeing ten photos of yourself?  Although I like to have a record of what I've been wearing, I can't help feeling a bit freaked out when I see myself on Google images....

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Bit of a Bookworm

9 February 2011

I do love a good read.  I think after seeing so many images of impressive libraries online, I've become a bit obsessed with collecting books.  A walk in wardrobe is all well and good, but in my imaginary future mansion, I'd like to have a library filled with all kinds of fashion related tomes.  I'm slowly working my way through my Amazon wishlist and as the research deadline approaches, I've been looking through what I already have to sift out anything relevant.  Of course these books can only truly be digested after several reads but I thought I'd share a few pages that have caught my eye.

fashion designers sketchbooks front cover

fashion designers sketchbooks

fashiondesignerssketchbook5

fashion designers sketchbook eley kishimoto
Pages by Bora Aksu, Blaak and Eley Kishimoto

I've realised that blogs are a bit like online sketchbooks, what with all the inspiration and musings that are posted on a regular basis, but unfortunately I can't really present URLs in my tutorials.  I had a quick look through Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks during my last trip to the Design Museum and knw instantly that I had to invest in my own copy.  It's really interesting and useful to see how the major fashion houses turn a quick scribble into a full collection and to see the many different styles of putting ideas on paper.  Is anyone else in the middle of creating a sketchbook at the moment?  I'm not usually the best at noting down my entire thought process but after reading this book, I can see that anything goes.

future beauty front cover

future beauty apoch

future beauty

future beauty comme des garcons twisted jumper
Pages by Issey Miyake (Apoc), Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons

You might have guessed that I was a major fan of the Future Beauty exhibtion after writing about it last year and even though I didn't manage to visit again, I now have the book to relive the experience.  I don't always get around to buying exhibition catalogues (after all, I am a cheapskate covert photographer) but I had to make an exception for this one,  which is an in depth compendium of modern Japanese fashion design.  This book picks up from where the Barbican left off and shows another dimension to the works involved with a lot more information and far clearer pictures that what I managed to take.  A prime example of this is the Comme des Garcons twisted jumper (shown in the last picture), where I can finally see the construction a little better.  I haven't included any photos of the Yohji Yamamoto section as I'm sure to be writing a massive post when I see his upcoming exhibition at the V&A, need to get saving for that book too!

the selby front cover

the selby

the selby

the selby lou doillon

the selby books
The home of The Smileys, Andre Walker's sofa, Lou Doillon's world and Karl Lagerfeld's book collection

I guess The Selby is my first book purchase linked to blogging and although I'm sure most of the photos can be found on the website, there's something about having the book in your hands rather than staring at a laptop screen.  There's even a page of stickers near the front (which I could never bear to use) relating to some of the items featured within the book, allowing a different sort of interactivity that you don't get on t'internet.  Being a bit of a nosy person, it's great to see the random knick knacks people seem to collect (one man has a shelf full of Heinz ketchup bottles) and to learn that a bit of clutter can be a good, creative thing.  Now to convince my Nan of this fact, as she's always telling me I have too much stuff...

influence front cover

influence missoni

influence olsen twins

influence olsen twins
An interview with Margherita Missoni, Giambattista Valli sketches,  Mary-Kate Olsen's sunglasses

I'm probably the last person in the world to come across Influence devised by the seemingly triple threat Olsen empire (am I the only one that still gets them mixed up), but I'm really glad I eventually did.  They've interviewed quite a collection of designers, photographers and models in a candid sort of way, not going into major depth but allowing you to unearth a few previously unknown details.  Even though it was brief, I really loved the Magherita Missoni section and her love for the brand created by her grandparents.  I'm wondering whether you've bought any fashion related books recently for inspiration?  Let me know whether you gain most of your inspiration online or whether you've bought any of the titles I've featured for some offline browsing.  These books are now taking pride of place on my studenty-coffee table! 

Remember the giveaway is still open; I've been working on the answers and it looks like the post will be one of my trademark essays!

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What I Wore, Where I've Been

4 February 2011

liberty

Well it's been a bit of a week.  I managed to escape to London for a few days of research, frolics and to figure out a bit more about my final collection.  First things first, I've been gifted a brand new Samsung Wave 2 phone as part of the Now Project and have been taking a few random photos of the things that make up my day (they can be seen and voted for here).  I've also managed to take a few more outfit photos outside with the help of my friend Lizzie and Jazmine, despite the threats of oncoming traffic and bemused passers by.  With regards to getting dressed, I'm still mixing all things old and new but most of the time, my new items are taking pride of place.

topshop barbour jacket american apparel peter pan

close up jewellery

japan centre sushi

pearl collar

Jacket - Topshop
Cardigan - Charity Shop
Shorts - Beacons Closet
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Tights - House of Holland
Satchel - Tom Brown
Shoes - Doc Martens
Necklaces - Brooklyn
Ring - Forever 21

I managed to brave a busy Saturday in Central London but had severely underestimated the chilly weather by only wearing one pair of tights.  I'm determined to wear more of my tights collection and went for the House of Holland suspender pair but played down the 'sauciness' with the ubiquitous peter pan collar shirt.  When in London I can always rely on a cheap lunch at the Japan Centre but it's even better to pick an insane amount of dishes and share the cost with a friend.  In the photo above you can see our very tasty lunch and even though it might be a bit too cold for sushi, it was much appreciated.  The last photo is a sneaky Samsung snap taken in Dover Street Market, I think an embellished collar is next on the list so Lucy's tutorial might help.

topshop pleated skirt ramones tee

satchel cross ring

horse necklace closeup

skirttwins

bricabrac

Jacket, skirt - Topshop
T-shirt - Amplified 
Brogues - Office
Tights - Calzedonia
Socks - c/o Tabio
Necklace, Ring - Forever 21
Satchel - Tom Brown

Usually I love to discover my own purchases, but inevitably through the blogosphere I am constantly influenced by others.  During my last Topshop spree for the foreseeable future, I was drawn to this pleated midi skirt that I'd previously seen on Jazmine and Elisabeth and ended up buying it after much scrutinisation. The midi-length can be tricky to wear sometimes, but I like that this style is somewhat sheer (with a bodycon type skirt underneath) and can be juxtaposed with a t-shirt, bodysuit or crazy heels.  I met up with Jazmine when I was wearing this outfit and lo and behold, she was wearing the same skirt too!  Cue lots of stares at the impromptu blogger uniform showcased at Battersea Boot Fair of all places! 

asos lace maxi dress

rainbow nails

sayfromage
The best of the Say Fromage photobooth, how many bloggers can you spot?  I spy Reena, Fiona, Winnie, Michelle, Gem, Frankie, Jazmine and Lucy.  Gutted I didn't get a pic with Elisabeth, Amy, Christina and Harriet amongst others!  Thanks to Helen for the invitation!

Dress - Asos
Slip - H&M
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Necklaces - DIY, New York, Gogo Phillip
Tights, ring - Topshop
Shoes - Nine West Vintage America
Cross Ring - Forever 21

Tuesday saw the first public outing of the lace dress at the Vouchercodes party.  It's always tricky to know what to wear to meetings featuring some of the most fashionable people around and whether to be smart or casual but I decided that the maxi could tick all the boxes.  When I first heard about the Fashion Revolution party with the tagline 'cupcakes, cocktails and canapes' I was pretty much sold but after hearing that so many bloggers would be there, I knew I had to take the trip down from Uni.  It's very rare that we can all be in one place and tweeting is all very good but it's nice to see everyone in person and to enjoy some photobooth action.  I've already decided that I want a photobooth for my eventual wedding but until then, I'd love for it to feature at future blogger events.  I tweeted a few days ago about organising a mass summer meet-up then all fashion bloggers could come to, without feeling left out, but it seems somewhat daunting to organise.  If anything we could just have a peter-pan collar flashmob in Trafalgar Square?

stpancras
Back to Notts via good old St Pancras

As usual, I have failed at any sort of a condensed post!  I guess since I aim to blog twice a week, these sorts of posts are the gifts that keep on giving and you can read over and over when bored on public transportation.  Another thing to mention is that I was featured on The Guardian this week to share a few of my shopping secrets.  I think they want more bloggers to contribute so I'd definitely recommend getting involved!

Remember the competition is still open so get your questions in; I'm glad I've allocated quite a bit of time to answer them because they've certainly got me thinking...


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