Pretty in Print

28 November 2011

mary katrantzou dress

Sometimes I'm still amazed by some of the e-mails I receive as a blogger and not just those of the spammy kind (one asked whether I was dead or alive and wanted to collect a package worth $2.5 million).  When My Daily contacted me asking to confirm my attendance to an event where I would meet Mary Katrantzou and hear her in conversation with editor Libby Banks, I couldn't RSVP fast enough.  I've enjoyed witnessing the Katrantzou brand develop over the seasons and seeing how she continues to reinvent her signature multi-faceted prints.  It's always interesting to see how designers who come from various other disciplines (Katrantzou studied architecture before turning to textiles) approach fashion and I'm sure that the precision needed (this illustration explains what I think I mean) has helped her to create such strong, engineered designs.

mary katrantzou my daily

mary katrantzou dress

scallop canapes

mary katrantzou dress

mary katrantzou jumpermary katrantzou

mary katrantzou event hashtag

The event was hosted at Kettners in Soho and we were treated to the obligatory cocktails and canapes before we waited for the interview to start.  In true social media fashion, there was a hashtag created especially for the event and our tweets would appear on screen literally as soon as they were posted and it was easy to gauge the reactions of the room.  Some of my favourite anecdotes I took from the evening was the sheer amount of work that goes into making sure these prints work with certain silhouettes.  Instead of shying away from making bigger sizes, more work actually goes into them with the print containing more information and detail than that of a size 6.  We also got to give our input as to what we thought Katrantzou's website should contain (at the moment, it's a work in progress) and how best to make it a worthwhile platform for her work.  It's great to see a designer embracing Twitter, and Facebook rather than having a team in place to handle it and maintain a distance from her supporters.

topshop jumper versace for h&m skirt

office boots
versace h&m palm print skirt

Jumper - Topshop
Tights - Calzedonia
Boots - Office

I decided to embrace a bit of print myself and wore my brand spanking new Versace for H&M skirt.  Now I don't often buy designer collaborations and I didn't think I'd end up liking anything from the collection but somehow after seeing Susie in the palm print skirt, the design started to appeal to me.  I knew what to expect from her description, but I'm still amazed by the quality (100% silk for £40 ain't half bad) and the gold metal tips at the edge of the pleats add an additional touch not often seen on the high street where it's important to keep costs down.  I wasn't able to queue up myself as I was in Paris when the collection came out, but luckily my Mum braved the madness at the new Westfield in Stratford, which I'm very much grateful for.  After seeing all the pictures from the event, I was gutted I didn't get a photo with Mary as she was lovely and it could have been a picture to show the grandkids if her rise continues to that of mega-brand-like status.

mary katrantzou SS12
London Fashion Week SS12 Exhibition (still have so many photos I haven't posted yet)!

Have you found yourself becoming more excited about prints at the moment?  I've always loved vintage florals and polka dots but now I feel it's time for something slightly more vivid and photographic (this Zara shirt is a good example) as an update.  I'm excited to see the rest of the Topshop collaboration and am hoping for some knitwear pieces, but in the meantime I am crossing everything I can so I can win this dress

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Discovering Paris

26 November 2011

merci concept store paris

It's certainly true that everything seems a lot prettier in Paris.  Even though it has all of the familiar components of a city, the streets just seem a lot grander, the street signs more elegant and I found that a photo oppurtunity would arise for even the most mundane of objects.  The day wasn't just filled with visiting all the SS12 collections for La Redoute and luckily we managed to have a good wander around the streets nearby before and after.  After looking at my photos, I managed to work out that we were in the 3rd arrondissment, home to numerous small art galleries and what seemed to be lots of accessory wholesalers.  This probably isn't an area that I'd have enough time to visit on one of those weekender type trips, so I was glad to get a sense of a different area, far from all the typical landmarks and main shopping streets.

la france

bench paris

restaurant derriere paris

restaurant derriere paris


restaurant derriere paris interior

french pork and potatoes

restaurant derriere paris

Upon arrival, we were whisked to lunch at the intriguingly named restaurant, Derrière.  It's hidden away beyond an arch on a tiny side street and leads to an eclectic space, which instantly makes you feel right at home.  Each room is very different with some looking more like a traditional place to eat and others looking more like a bedroom (complete with naughty wallpaper and Chanel make-up), so it was tricky to choose where to sit.  The non-uniform nature of the place was naturally, right up my street and has given me much inspiration for how I want my future home to be, whenever it happens.  There are a few more pictures here featuring a few more rooms I never managed to find, but wish I had to fuel my obsession with taking pictures of collections even further.

bikes in paris

paris corsetry shop

parisian streets

vila duffle coat asos cable jumper cos shorts

vagabond grace boots

duffle coat asos cable jumper

vila duffle coat asos cable jumper cos shorts
Coat - Vila
Cable Jumper - Asos
Denim Shirt - Forever 21
Wool Shorts - COS
Tights - Pretty Polly (goody bag) and Calzedonia
Boots - Vagabond
Jewellery - Marc by Marc Jacobs, Me and Zena, Topshop 
Thanks Frances for the pics!

Meet the second of my new Winter coats, the duffel style I've always wanted.  It's described by the Guardian as the Peter Pan of coat styles and it's probably true that I don't want to 'grow up' any time soon.  The cable jumper is another addition to the knitwear collection and it comes with a furry collar that I haven't managed to brave yet for fear of looking slightly too twee (unsurprisingly, I have my limits) but maybe I'll brave it soon.  The shorts are another accidental purchase as a result of blog reading and as soon as I saw them here, I knew I had to have them.  They're slightly big on the waist, since Cos seems to adopt vague SML sizing in most cases but I love the fuller shape elsewhere and have worn them enough to get the cost per wear right down.  My Vagabond boots are still going strong as I continue to wear them to death, as they've been given the title of being the most comfortable heels I own.  I'm very much tempted to get a similar pair as a slight variation, as you can never have too many pairs of lace-up boots.

crates in the street

paris shop window

merci cafe paris

merci paris

concept store merci paris

merci concept store paris

When it comes to concept stores in Paris, I was previously only aware of Colette and I was slightly disappointed when I realised we wouldn't have enough time for a visit.  Luckily another similar type of store was in the area, and we got to spend some time in Merci admiring some of the French labels (hello again A.P.C) and homeware that wouldn't have seemed out of place in the aforementioned restaurant.  I was far too indecisive to find a suitable souvenir but I'm slightly regretting not bringing home even a plate to remind me of the wonderful day I had.  I think that it has to be one of my favourite cities for window shopping and the fact that I can't afford the clothes is not quite as depressing as it is in London.  It still baffles me that you can get on a train for two hours and end up in Paris but now I know how easy it is, I'll definitely be doing it this way again.

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Muses in Motion

23 November 2011

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

It's that time of year again!  I am always excited when the designers are announced for Fashion in Motion at the V&A, which I would describe as an exhibition in fashion show form.  As much as I enjoy looking at a static display, clothing is intended to be styled and worn and sometimes taken out of context.   I've always admired the quirky sort of character Peter Jensen designs for, so when I managed to bag a ticket for the 8pm showing, I was extremely excited.  The shows feature collections from a mixture of different seasons, though somehow due to the strength of the brand identities involved, all the looks makes sense together.  Each collection is based on a certain female muse and somehow Jensen manages to make the unconventional extremely wearable with flattering cuts and unusual detailing such as the print which reminded me of Paul Frank.  I somehow legitimately ended up in the photographer's pit (no wrestling for space a la fashion week here) and managed to snap a few decent photos despite worrying about the fly stuck in my camera.

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

peter jensen fashion in motion v&a

Consider the latest book added to the non-existent Christmas list. I am even more determined to visit the sample sale happening in a few weeks to bagsy one of Jensen's past pieces.  I'm not particularly fussy (but am determined to find either the collared jumper or dress above).  Who's with me?

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A Parisian Press Trip

20 November 2011

paris nord

 la redoute ss12

gare du nord paris
Another post, another press day you might be thinking?  It is becoming a challenge to differentiate these posts from one another, though luckily each brand I've seen has had a different way of presenting things.  The perfect example of this was a day in Paris planned by La Redoute.  Now this was a day of firsts; it was my first time on the Eurostar (I thought I knew every nook and cranny of St Pancras, until now) and my first blog-related trip abroad.  I am very much used to getting the train to Nottingham from this station and after waking up at a ridiculously early time to make the 8.02 service, I still thought I might end up somewhere 'up North.'  Fortunately my passport was definitely needed and after roughly two hours I was in the heart of Paris ready to see the new collections in their natural habitat.

rue de montmorency paris

flowers  la redoute ss12

vanessa bruno children's shoes  la redoute ss12
Can you believe these Vannessa Bruno shoes are for kids? They have all the fun...

 la redoute ss12

vanessa bruno la redoute

 la redoute ss12 brights

antik batik la redoute ss12

gallerie paris

 la redoute ss12 boots

skirt and jacket la redoute ss12

 la redoute ss12 lingerie

It might have been daunting to learn that the press day would actually be split into five different small galleries but fortunately they were all nearby and the concept of contrasting art with fashion worked extremely well.  It wasn't necessarily that the pieces related to the collections, but proved a welcome addition amongst all of the typical product shots and hand-outs.  I feel like I know SS12 better than some of my own family at the moment what with watching all of the catwalks religiously and figuring out the main trends from all the press days. However there are always unexpected elements to be seen at every brand and I really liked some of the designer collaborations for next season, allowing us to channel the spirit of Vanessa Bruno and Anthony Vaccarello.  The bright colours were again out in full force and I feel that next year is the time to embrace it wholeheartedly and take some risks.

 la redoute ss12

interiors  la redoute ss12

antik batik la redoute home

 la redoute ss12

 la redoute ss12 cat

Interiors aren't really my forte (if you saw my room, you'd understand) but I enjoyed looking at all the homeware collections almost as much as the clothes and being transported to a more sophisticated way of living.  I love all of the details that make a room unique and the knitted rugs, comfy cushions and random accessories would be in my ideal home (ideally complete with a Parisian postcode).

mini cupcakes

It was great to spend a fleeting day in Paris, so a massive thanks to Ellie and Patricia at La Redoute for arranging a press day with a difference.  I have plenty of photos left over for another post including my outfit, the carbolicious food and the concept store I discovered.  Have you been to Paris recently?  It was fun to discover a different area, though due to being rather disoriented I couldn't tell you where it was!

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